REFLECTIONS ion t c i F t r A y r Poet
Issue 3 Autumn 2009 www.exeterreflections.co.uk
When you are born I will lay me down In a meadow, in clover Still damp from last night's dew; When you are born I will contemplate arrows, Kisses, never-silence and The music of eyes; When you are born I will doubt, that you Might be proud, some day As three magpies fly; When you are born I will be glad I survived, and hope You will love me by and by; When you are born I will bless your beauty: Sweet innocence prevails; I will no longer need to write poetry As to attempt would always fail.
I sat inside the Norman earthwork, Called wrongly Dane's Castle As it was King Stephen busy Sieging in eleven and thirty-six (Not Vikings, they were before, Snaking longships up the Exe) Who built the fort, Part-pallisaded, 'Til it wasn't needed, As the city capitulated Sooner than he expected, Trying to write a poem As the sound of Sunday pm Washing-up clattered to the left As shouts of drunks in the nearby park to the right Invaded. I wasn't happy with the poem But I could never be. It was about too precious A thing to be so contained. So I'll just cross my fingers And hope to see What I tried To convey Become reality.
William Blake Didn't make a penny From the work he drew, And I don't make a penny From my art; I don't see angels like He used to do, But I see you And feel your heart.
Fred & Mickael Paris
May you feel the hug of the summer sun, And the kisses of a summer shower; Kick through autumn's crisp and damp, Smile at mist and a crackling fire; Wonder with frost, at winter's chill When storms out rage as you're warm inside; Stroke the petals of roses, Be tickled by bluebells, Delighted in spring and the turn of the tide.
It is Autumn. An Indian Summer has come and gone. So we think it is a time to think of the ages, fairies and memories, the loved, the lost, the old and the new. It it time for firesides and stories. Roast chestnuts and read this, the third issue of 'Reflections.' And don't forget the sparklers! This one's for Coco with lots of love xxx This months contributors are:
Please get in contact to let us know what your thoughts are about this issue. Also, send us your own contributions, whether you are previously unpublished or incredibly famous! You can get in touch by emailing Steve at
Since the last issue, we have now developed the new Reflections magazine website including archive. www.exeterreflections.co.uk featuring news of the magazine, along with profiles and contact details for all the contributors
Also check out and join our 'Reflections magazine' Facebook group Remember: there are no themes, no restrictions, no generic or stylistic boundaries
ntal illness In Totnes, they say that me Is just a perception, nd It's a negative state of mi your chakras fine as soon as you've had be l u'l yo n ma t ou ill Ch realigned! ck, ughing in your chimney sta la s in bl go g in ar he e u'r I know yo de But it's not a psycho episo whack! of t No, your Kundalini's ou ra, You've got holes in your au - er. Head up Glastonbury Tor your stresses and woes. Let the land absorb all of eling, you need 'Cos when you get that fe Ancestral healing, cus on, grows. And they say what you fo But I'm not a new-ager, Or Dartington major, town isn't for me. So perhaps that transition e se, in need of a brain-brac 'Cos they say I'm a headca from reality. But it's just too detached
ATIVAN Eyes impenetrable - like a shark. You know, us hysterics are polymorphs and mimics Under attack, we can become our surroundings And I take hypnotics 'cause we are what we eat. That night - my body drank up sleep, Like the thin white roots that sip from the earth, Like a child gorging on dreamless sweets That rot more than her teeth.
Scrubs and bubble s and butters an d creams, It's my topshelf bathroom pornogra phy. As my razor slyl y shivers around My knobbly knee's topography. Cos bathtime is me -time, it's peacetim e a ceasefire. There's no crime in spending an ho ur or more In the tub with a loofah and fat Ji lly cooper, Becoming a Body Shop whore. My feet are the be st, In that oiled embr ace they become th e slinkiest flippers, In that soapy co coon scented jasm ine and rose I'm ensconced in the kinkiest slip pers But I'm frightened one day that I'll get it screwed up And scrub down wi th the stinkiest kippers. So crack out your sea-salt, patchoul i and fig leaves Satsumas and blue , berries and oatm eal. Have a good long soak in that elli ptical womb But get out when you start to cong eal.
No one, Not even the director, Has any motivation for this scene. We sit - heads hanging like puppets in vast ruined rooms, Ingesting gram upon gram of saturated fat And bitter benzodi-ecstasies. Doctor - you know that those words are just Notes on an Icon. Like her, running through the wet grey streets, I escaped in boys clothing.
TODAY. The baby graves Lie in unconsecrated ground. Swift with the rattle of bright windmills, And smiling playtime creatures. Whenever I visit There are always tiny rectangles of freshly-turned soil. Fragile bones so well-beloved Rotting quietly In the deep silence of the earth.
I dropped fifty pence into the phone. + 353 - Dublin. Pat? Are you there? The sadness is coming Can you hear me, Pat? The sadness is coming.
Yes, I am here. And I know, I know.
Eden is a pe rformance poet and flam boyant wordsmith, fo raging a lyrical exis tence in the ruins of a proper job. She spen ds a lot of time in pa radoxical ponderings. Eden doesn't like nights out, he r sense of hu mour is dreadful, she enjoys ba d weather and her special interests in clude earplu gs, ready meals, Gnosticism and insomnia .
The Cistern Field, Long-Strip Field, eighty-two began to build, cholera-pit nearby somewhere he doesn't remember. Road a country lane. Rode a carthorse. The June air is warm and oaktrees on the horizon line leafed; cubist redbrick angles spread the hill, gables peak toward three types of cloud. Think now. Dream the old man in his wheelchair, poring piles of yellowed paper, antique globe of his bald pate shining, gaslight will-o-the-wisps shadow. I am stretched to the same moment that is time; the umbrella manufacturer at 43 listens to the students celebrate, and we smile. A letter from a lady, scented, lies on a welcome mat with last year's autumn leaves, a hairband and junk; the genteel pass through the stumbling, and are themselves past through. I look down on beauty and the clipping of hedges; I miss so much. Is it necessary to name names, music, or the evaporation of dewdrops on the pink petals of roses? The sheep graze, the cows gaze, vaguely, to the pony trap that that clatters northward. In time, sunglasses legs and arms are out for tanning; the laughter the tears the fears and disregard of youth melts centuries, bricks are laid as eggs are layed as boys and girls lay entwined and loving. Arguments and violence too, windows smash as she dies in calf; cans of cider discard; bees swarm; swifts scatter their flight. She is locked outside in her too-tight blue dress, smoking, as every more-than now and then the sun breaks through. The conqueror comes this way in sixty-nine to cross the brook to lay his siege and gain his sway and build his castle. Just over there. The stream runs and quietly echoes to itself and rats, hidden, bridged contained and tarmacadamed And the girls they just get prettier and I have no sense of time. The shower wets the jogger, momentarily between the sailor's patches of blue sky, as a sort of change marks the cars, up and down; throw a stone to Lion's Holt and this newfangled engine to Brunel's station, and down the line Topsham where the Countess schemes and plotted, shoring up the river. We have travelled everywhere now. Right inside the furthest atom, and we find sheepshit and a vixen somewhere stealing shoes, for her cubs to be amused. Queuing for sweets and beer and barbeque stock the water memory soft unlocks the farmers' banter, the business, the busy-ness, both restlessness and the peacefulness where now I can, refracted with the earth, glimpse this sweeping meadow. Dickens wanders up this way, possibly fuelled by his champagne-pint for breakfast-time ; he wryly smiles as, with their bags and files, the students revise books in hand and bottled water. And energy drinks. The occasional stub of lager. Flicked sprayed bleached hair, breasts and thighs- Charles, his eye on his actress, is pleased. Give it a week and there won't be a queue to view, or ear the gossip scattered as far as another cycle of a year pretends to end, the calendar, the clock. Cuckoospit foams on the gorsebush by the station; it is evening now so the sun-released scents of coconut have, for whatever moment this is, stopped. This is not my recollection. These are not my ghosts. This is a sort of realisation. I know where. And I know when.
Dave says I should learn my words For when the lights are dim; I reply that in my life I've never Learned a thing; O I can pretend to scan and rhyme Sometimes and reflect upon: A journey. There are crows that fly to the west Through clouds of misery; And there are ravens that head to the east In air of mystery; While jackdaws tap at your window When the frost comes, I've always liked magpies. The bells they ring out bright for birth And youthfulness; They toll in the the end in spite Or sometime honour. In between there was blood And love and theft and kisses-sweet, Success and failure. She sang a song Of emptiness and sorrow. I picked the chords and made A beautiful nest with you. Then we ripped it apart and I fell down to the mud anew, And dug deeper.
uthor, friend, poet, partner, father, former teacher, editor, publisher, collaborator, performer... and grandad!'
I lost a life and another Through badly-dreaming; But hospital-pipes and mourning Were not for me; I wrote again and spoke again Of Springtime, And the gorse-flower. There is much outside your window That could save you; Petticoats or bluebirds May enthrall you; Oil paint or sacred texts May tempt your soulI'll go for singing. The Muse doesn't choose yet You can't use her needlessly; The rocks don't wait for the rain To channel your memory; The owl doesn't pounce Without her sudden silenceHeart-piercing. If truth be told if he'd waited For you I would be dead; Celendines would lower their Sunshine-bright-lit heads; The rolls and folds of ferns Wouldn't give a damnThey just bring the sheep in. The angels play with sin As naked truth is glimpsed; The stag is ripped apart 'Though he was innocent; In the waterfall she sails A pyred boat for meIt's not sinking. There are crows that fly to the west Through clouds of misery; And there are ravens that head to the east In air of mystery; While jackdaws tap at your window When the frost comes, I've always liked magpies.
Part One: Street Corners and Broken Ribs Admittedly, there are a few things that any traveller with a modicum of common sense might consider to be "essentials". So, arriving in Milan in the middle of the night with no map, no GPS, no prior knowledge of the location or language, no real idea of where we might stay, and a phrase book containing Italian translations of such gems as "when are the ladies arriving from Paris?" and "I have read more than four books", was probably not the most "intelligent" thing any of us had ever done. Getting to Milan was enough of a challenge; initially my driving skills were of such a high quality that it took some time to remove ourselves from the airport car park. It didn't help that, during the previous week, the combined efforts of a bottle of Jack Daniels and a friend with ADHD had conspired to land me with a cracked rib, which made driving a somewhat uncomfortable activity. But get out of the car park we did, and, rather impressively, we even got on to the right road for the motorway; for at least 3 minutes we drove along smoothly with me feeling sufficiently smug to be - let's face it - asking for trouble. Oh yes, we were in Italy (major excitement), we were almost on the motorway (impressive stuff) and were heading for Milan (the first port of call in what promised to be an awesome road trip) and then we were hit by my complete incompetence with the toll road system. It's fair to say that, on entering the toll booth area, driving into a lane headed "telepass" was not a sensible plan; we clearly needed to pay by cash and were anything but local thus unlikely to have something that might be deemed a "pass". However, we all seemed to be blinded by these "blindingly" obvious facts and pulled up in the wrong lane with no means of appropriate payment. On realising this, I proceeded to crunch the gears of the car in a most horrific manner, continuously and completely failing to find reverse whilst somehow opening all the windows without any semblance of being able to close any of them again, despite furious pressing of all available buttons and switches. So, we
an eventually found ourselves half an hour into our Itali ged experience driving down the motorway with a possibly dama on gear gear-box, the front seat passenger having to change their command, the driver (me) trying with great difficulty to get ng tioni condi seat belt on, and a new and powerful variation on air trying to in full-force. I guess someone or something somewhere was tell us something about Milan. sh) Rather good-looking (although not very conversant in Engli Italian bar-man: "You have a map?" own Me: [with brazen attempt to hide minor suspicion of my stupidity] "No." Him: [with look of slight incredulity]: "You have GPS?" it; why Me: [with growing embarrassment and growing desire to hide in oh why do I have to look what is, to be fair, a touch ridiculous front of such an attractive man??] "No." da Him: [with look of significant incredulity] "You have booke hotel?" stupidity, Me: [with major discomfort and great feeling of monstrous , by now] world the of probably obvious to the entire bar, if not most "No." "You're Him: [with look of someone dealing with an utter moron] stuffed." . We had At least, that's the essence of what he said. And he was right motions a drink and some food, felt much better and headed off with "on the of great thankfulness and a belief that we were finally through n right road". Two hours and many miles later, we had drive Milan, what probably amounted to the whole of both inner and outer f belie uided taking routes through industrial estates (in the mis-g ed there that a small map we had found suggested a hotel was locat what were we thinking?) and narrowly missing out on being of way flattened by an on-coming tram (to be honest, the right . The sleep to ere nowh wasn't exactly mine), and we had still found ge". You thing about Milan, you see, is what I call the "lunatic signa e then follow "centro" signs, thinking you're on the road to the centr in a elf all of a sudden the signs stop appearing and you find yours backwater area.
Dix jours passés à Paris pendant l'été. nous avons visité de nombreuses fois, et n'ont jamais été vraiment touristes .. Il est presque notre deuxième maison .. J'ai pris plus de 400 photographies, chacune cherchant à appréhender ce qui est de Paris, pas de l'Arc de Triomphe, la Tour Eiffel (à l'exception d'un couple à distance des zones de discussion), nombreux panneaux de signalisation routière, la circulation, le balcon, les rues, de galets, des cafés, des restaurants, le vrai Paris ...
In The Shadow Of T
Previous Page: Pigeon, and Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner... The photo with the newspaper was taken the morning after the Tour De France, and for those who follow these things, a record breaking performance Briton Mark Cavendish... The Newspaper seemed an idea photo... Note the cafe, Les Deux Maggot, one of the most famous restaurants in Paris...
Njinsky in Montemartre Cemetary, Montparnasse Tower, Cinematiere Des Chiens, Mary Clichy
Then you notice a sign facing the Jules Reed is a local other way that says "centro"; the freelance writer and proofcentre that was advertised as reader. You may also catch her being ahead of you is now somehow behind one of Exeter's most popular where she has lurking in your rear view mirror. access tobars, an infinite source You question how that is possible of interesting characters, some of whom may one day turn seeing as, logically (according to up in her writing. the signage), you must have passed through the centre to get here. You turn the car around, you head off back the way you came and, hey presto, half an hour later a centro sign appears once again in your rear view mirror. It is amazing how such a big city appeared to offer no clear means of finding your way around and no visible accommodation. Do many people, once there, find themselves unable to drive anywhere but round and round (which might explain the huge amount of traffic in Milan)? Do the Milanese build their hotels underground? Or do they not need to offer accommodation due to visitors constantly being stuck in their cars headed for a seemingly nonexistent centre? I may never know. And that is how I ended up sleeping in a car on a street corner, in a decidedly rough area of the fashion capital of the world, with a broken rib. Arguably not the greatest start to a holiday and the reason why, although I'd love to tell you about the wonders of Milan, I can only advise any visitors to arm themselves with a variety of maps as I'm sure Milan has much to offer; we (simpletons that we are) just couldn't find it.
This is the sound of love dying, shivering and squeaking, mewling in terror and pain at the feeling of its end becoming nigh. Look at the sight of love crying, becoming tears and flowing into a river that leads away from us and into our past.
Feel the ache of love waning, lost of its hope and starved of its opposite in you, knowing it lives alone and dying because. All I feel is my love shredding, losing its grip, leaving despair and a strange quiet, where all before was noise, the noise of your beauty. This is the sight of love changing, becoming a shell where within it withers, trims and grows to become a butterfly, that hatches as friendship?
running away It's the difference between fighting or better game. When it's the odds you cheat to play a instead of It is a letter "R" that makes me scarred scared, just the same. When in the end it feels they both are the molehill, It is the mountain that I climb to view upon, It is the potter's wheel for me to work oven an de insi bake I'd Forever moulding what on. er wond For us to gaze at and forever t movie, It is the making of a "Making Of..." shor s I hold, The way to tell me how to play the card ever trying It is the fear that keeps me back from the cold. When in the end I know it's me who's in It is It is It is When
hold me, the "once" I feel I've found in how you be, ever ld shou too soon to know if this y the only way I know that I'll be happ s for me. we kiss and hope you'd write these word
, please, A pint of Meadfoot Stiffy e, and one for the wife-to-b s earned, it say to r fai s I think it . this peace beside the sea rd please, A Meadfoot Stiffy, landlo day, for bride and groom this ds han g kin sha so many smiley . way to see us on our sir, A pint of Meadfoot stiffy not? y wh d, roa and one for the s rt hea my in, For four pints aflame . with all this joy I ve got est ale, One Meadfoot Stiffy, fin lf. rse and do have one you find Generous? I think you ll . lth I m drinking to our hea to end, A shot of Osborne Clench t, fas for time is called so my wife, For I m a husband, you re last. and this night will always
I am emotionally hungover, in mourning after the night bef ore, my ego feels like a dirty whore so I might have one for lunch. I am spiritually bedraggled, owing a pony to the holy ghost, seeking savings where I spend the most of my pennies behind those bushes . Intellectually aflame am I, embarrassed by this long IQ I join for more than is my due, as my words are not enough.
Ian recently move d back to Exeter af ter fifteen years of audience cultiva tion in London's theatre scene. He has been writing for twenty years, and is work ing on his fourth collection of poetry, entitled 'So Much.' Never bef ore published, his re turn to his home count y of Devon promises a new creative period watch this space! firstname.lastname@example.org
you ask, How did I get in your head, . how w kno not and I honestly do , ned lan I could say it’s unp as you’re far from unmanned, sync. but I feel we just fell into I reply, How did you get in my head, all works, s thi how for I need to know see the way you are choosing, make damn sure I’m not losing signals. the sense to be reading your ld be postured, How did you get in my bed, cou race, with a startling need to emb ng ldi all the love I am mou when it’s you I am holding ire. builds a passionate web of des rred in it’s The question remains, undete coming, a sigh, breaking surface with merely ken spo and it stays far from for my need is awoken: my dear, how do I get in your heart, rt? hea how do I get in your
Her feathered cape was a little tattered in places, but still beautiful. What appeared at first to be a solid block of snowy white was actually alive with hints of rainbow lights, threads of indigo and incandescent blue, shot through with murmers of pink and apricot hue. A slender neck supported a delicate face whose yellow eyes were alert to every beat of the butterfly's wings as it hovered over a nearby lily before chasing its fate past the cat stretched out in worship to the sun. Its paws uncurled and ears pricked up before deciding it was too much effort and rolled onto its side to dream of sugared mice and twists of string, putting off the moment until food time- when going home means having to face a precocious little girl who, armed with a brush and a ribbon will attempt to untangle and beautify him.
Vicky is still following the yellow brick road, not k nowing whether it turns back on itself or carries on into infinity. Time is irrelevant, or at least she hopes so.
Many come to this place of sanctuary: the young, the mad, the lost; those looking for salvation or just a few moments for a quick cigarette with a private phone call. She has seen much turmoil both below the water and above, seen lovers kiss while sheltering from the rain, been witness to lost hearts and shattered souls discarded among rushes to feed the fish and nourish the plants, their diamond tears cradled among the leaves for birds to sip. Centuries pass quicker than the blink of an eye, so much so that her perception of time dissolved, though she could not tell you when. Today, pretty parasols float on the breeze, their struts straining in the occasional stronger gusts, and their owners giggle whilst clutching even tighter to a stranger's arm. The hems of dresses flutter, revealing glimpses of polished shoes that only see the daylight at weekends, worn hands and even tireder faces disguised by layers of cotton and face powder. A day at the races is exchanged for a day in the park, sips of champagne become a lesser vintage from a plastic bottle with a resealable cork. Charm is dictated by good breeding, always carry a clean handkerchief, you never know when it might be needed in wiping away lipstick and tears. Or even waved in surrender towards a gunner's sights. She is always there in her disguise of frippery and bows, but not deceit for she is never anything but honest.
Silence is golden, she was told once, many moons ago or was it hours? Look ahead, never make eyecontact, concentrate on the job in hand lies the way to succeess. Don't forget this responsibility has been in your family since the beginning, it's your reason for being and is the very air that you breathe. They are just dolls- playthings- alive by the winding of a key kept in a rusty box dented and scratched by age. Ladies and Gentlemen, the show is about to start so please take your seats. There is no main act, just farces and skits that when put together may be coherent if the night air is blowing in the right direction. The manager asks for no jeering for every player has a right to be heard, and we reserve the right to drop the curtain at any moment. Sorry, sir, tickets are non-refundable. Best not to sit too close to the stage, madam, the lights can be blinding. Certainly sweets are permitted, we can all do with a little honey at times. It is said that if you pick up one of her feathers and place it on the sundial that your dreams will attain wings, fly away and become fulfilled. But without you. They are given their freedom,unencumbered by your leaden weight and allowed to achieve their potential. What then becomes of the creator? Are these moments written in stone or quietly brushed to one side only to be taken out and unwrapped. Something to pass the time during a rainy day when it appears impossible to occupy your restless grandchildren. That autumn morning of checking your hat was on straight, the apron tied, whilst hoping he wouldn't be late. Many fine words came from a velvet mouth that concealed a serpent's tongue; scales became sleek, hidden behind a smile and a whisper. Unknowing that many had stood here before in your place, the names whirlwinds of bitterness and fury. Her yellow eyes had seen it all before; hands stroked the trampled grass and picked amongst the petals and bones. Unable to sing out a warning but knowing that you would be back some day with your flowers and your smile. Heart bandaged clumsily, no longer on your sleeve. Feathered cape sullied and dirty, rendered blind by your own failings and lack of insight. Torn out by grasping hands that support caged minds, photos burnt and curling on a bonfire made of mirrors and mirth.
Letters from vienna
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I 20 year old Matt is an undergrad. at Birmingham Uni. studying English Literature and Creative Writing. My goal in life is to be asked to play a gig in Radio City in New York, and then sell out the venue, and get signed to Island. I have played and play in lots of bands, so poetry is my back up. Matt although not being published has appeared in several student magazines.. His favourite poet is Allen Ginsberg, “If I had to live on a desert island I would eat Yorkshire puddings everyday of the week and read Ernest Hemmingway until I naturally felt I had to end it all.”
First signs of heyday as shutters rise in crinkles and council road sweepers trundle. Travel agents flooded for the last, quick getaways. Brochures left in tatters and chip-and-pin warm pounding fingernails. Sterling in freefall, fruit and veg rolling off the shelves of stores, bruised and battered. Parade day packed in the town gardens, pawning Devon fudge and Cornish pasties to those too familiar to take any notice. Unnaturally toned geraniums and usurping Engheraldlish rose, ed in daffodils. Jumble sale jammed at the clock tower promenade, beach books two decades old (irrelevant topics - Diana insinuation, terrorist sub-plots), clocks missing hands and porcelain fairing similarly. D: What is this, a mass exodus? [Oyez, Oyez]
S: More like a hibernation, a gestation. Living the summer in April is common practice round here, I’ve observed. There are two different towns, the low season and the high season. D: And which do you prefer? S: I don’t think I’ve decided yet. I haven’t the capacity to emotionalise quarters of the year, anyway even if I did I would have to live through all four. So making a sweeping remark about November wouldn’t make that passage of time any easier. Final chance to hear the town crier, before drowned in caravan dust. Locals stocked up like Armageddon, bread turning hard at edges and milk filled freezers - prepared for the fallout of ‘Northern’ schools. Alternate route to Exeter devised, family members telephoned and debriefed, ‘We’ll see you on the other side’. Finally gardens potted, planted, sown and reaped all in four months, a life-cycle in miniature, condescended to days-off.
Slowly prizing the market to cleanliness, matte metal rubbish collector, poking into the town’s crevices. Pinching chewed waffle cones and wooly candy-floss sticks, with an extendable arm which retains the dignity of service industry. In a sea of athletic merchandise and football shirts, a single frown in a torrent of fluorescent jacket against the heat. D: Y’ know, its just as well they ban dogs in the Summe r, imagine the havoc they'd cause amongst all these Grockles. It’d send all those boxes back up the M5! S: You can’t look at it that simply, tourism is an indus try, and like all industries we must be aware of the marke t. We are a commodity, and cannot expect our clientele to be wading aroun d in water with animals. D: Do you have the capacity for imagination? Boys heads stuck from windows, they accelerate harsh and brake more so, between the dunes where tombstoners flip off 4 metres to impress tanners. 100 watt speakers telling all the bathers what’s really on their minds. Toddlers drip dry from factor 50+, sand clinging to their fingers and drawn to lollies, playing giants in rock pool civilisations, ‘Mummy is this sea-horse dead?’/’No, becau se that’s not a sea-horse. Its a hypodermic needle,’ Clink of amusement arcade, 20p’s titter on brass and mirrored cubicles, clumsy claws without grip let slip teddies just throu gh their grasp. The intoxicating dark, drugs tourists with prize fixat ion and haveanother-go, bright light of noon reawakens to fooli shness.
III.(Autumn) Sea fog submerges the estates, until we all feel isolated (therefore guilt-free television watching on bad weather days), and dogs won’t leave trellises. Lifting off; so each row, then road emerges from the soup, remembering exactly its location in the complex. Cats lost in cloned flap decisions again, forgotten owners ask ‘Wanted. Answers to *Name*’. Fireworks wow the crowds of teenagers, asking who the Guy on fire is. Their first night out, flirting, getting numbers they’ll text but never ring. A go on Twister, makes us all feel ill, can taste rock and penny sweets at the back of our throats. Very original virgin alcohol, Scrumpy Jack’s perhaps, White Lightening likely. Bit of alright here, wouldn’t say no there, dragged away at end by impatient parents, embarrassing horn blowing. D: I think its exciting, the autumn, like we all have nothing more to look forward to but Christmas, so we put effort into escapism. S: Really? All these lights and sounds are basically just a distraction from the worst part of the year. D: Ah so you have made an emotional attachment to a point in time? Row after row of muddy Winnebagos, robots in disguise with jutting hatches and awnings. Travellers with dirtied names, famed for siphoning petrol, dragging carnivals and fairgrounds on the backs of trucks. Diesel engine fumes, whirs and shakes generating the night sky, estuary like an inverted skyscraper, (red, blue, yellow bulbs) lights all the way to Topsham. The sandy hair of petrified Kelp, washed aground. Beginning to putrefy, so even the Avocets give up, coast turns toxic - stench of rot.
IV. (Winter) Dappled moon surface, when footprints sink cratered under trainers (rain turns the sand to slush). Those dogs are here again, shitting. Fitting in the shallows, chasing pebbles under water, coming up empty mouthed and disenchanted with the activity of stone throwing. So all the debris of last night, a curving brown-green mulch, three miles stretched, is torn up for play. Seaweed nets crabs, netting catches mussels for the entire length of the bay, like a boundary between town (white grains, and coffee cups. Wooden stirrers and bicycle pumps) and sea.
D: Won’t you please just pick that shit up? No, fine leave it. I’m sure someone will - or you can always, yep, great idea - kick some sand over it. S: It’ll be re-integrated, digested, recycled. Don’t get het up, at least its not some child being guided over to piss in the rock pools. D: Out of sight, out of mind. Should people be warned about the hazards of floating raw sewage pollution?
A new storm front, backs up behind a former, careering up the A38. All the bar fronts - in for it, boarded, bleached and washed down. Out of action until June. Puddles merge into the estuary to convey canoes and kayaks, old ladies with trolleys hop mirky water all over town. Expect: splinters through doorways and doorways through rooftops this evening. [Easterly, southeasterly, rain or scrawly rain becoming cyclonic, 1006 rising.] Driving at night through villages, swerving ghost stories and places of public execution. Radios become unbearable and you can’t hear for the hammering on your bonnet, Kites caught in wires - flag for the seafront, empty. You begin to love the place where you were raised.
Steven Harris writes in varying styles and different media. From short fiction to academic work; from poetry to the novel he is currently working on; from song-writing to journalism: words are the thing. He has published two books And Other Stories; Flotsam & Jetsam â€“ and plans to bring out a collection of poetry later in the year. Two of his short stories have been included in the long-list for the Happenstance Story Competition 2009.
Love used to be an easy game called love, An easy come and wave tomorrow gone Till moment after wave, and sand and sun (Declining sun) divide and conquer love. There never has been want enough of want; Enough of wait and hesitating need. The hesitance of fancy over greed Crawls underfoot, climbs overhead anon. tongue: All words become more words and spoil the up; torn Sweet mother-tongue, sweet innocence : luck of Up sticks and out of hearing, out . dumb or The luckiest are sensitive Desire defines the blood, decides the day, Disgraces sense, denies the things we say.
This life is dreams and vapours, Empty spaces filled with holes. The only solid truth Is that there is no truth at all. All men are mostly water, All the women shift like sand. They meet on moonlit shores, Talk in whispers, Holding hands. Building futures out of nothing, Turning vapours into love. Perhaps there's room for one mor e dream If it proves pure enough.
I want to leave no footprints, Leave no traces of the muddy pain I feel. My heart has been inflated, Been deflated till it’s thin And stretches, Saggy, Like an old balloon Refusing to give up and disappear. I want to leave no footprints, Float about an inch above the ground instead. More ghostlike still, Less likely to trip up And land face forward In the dirt of all I’ve done And all I’ve said. I want to leave no footprints, Leave no trail of tear-stained hopes In place of dew. I’d walk upon my hands If sweaty fingers could disguise The blood, The rage, The bile. My only soap and cleanliness is you. I want to leave no footprints Till I’ve scraped and scrubbed The bottom of my feet, To make them new And wholesome. Fit for planting on the ground, Once more belonging And at peace.
Occasional Promoter (Nick Harper, The Night Before), sometime CD de signer (Steve Smith, Rosie Eade), infrequent ph otographer, frustrated we b designer, budding magazi ne designer, poster maker, flyer creator and general go od egg... All things dim ar e at dimspace.ne t, and the nightb efore.org.uk
The Wall 1. So this is how the end began. Strange how readily it crumbled When it took so long to build, And how at the most difficult step People didn't falter - they ran. But the barbed wire around the brain Takes longer to coil away. And the walls not only keep you in They also keep you out. Freedom is a two way street With one lane permanently under repair. So bar the door, liebchen, before The barbarians descend. 2. That castle was built on the edge of the sea Out where the weather and the tide ran wild and free. Stout and tall, solid and plain, glorious and grim. A castle to last, oh a thousand years, For people to live within. But the tide turned and the wild waves Came pounding in once more, Proud walls crumbled and the sand grain wall s Became the beach again. 3. Vote, they said, you owe it to us, make you r choice. Vote they said, you must be counted, use you r voice. Vote they did, and to their surprise Their voice became the choice. 4. This was the place we went to pray To get down on our knees and thank The good Lord that the Russian tanks Had stopped where they did that day. This was the place we held up high To show our young where ideas lead you
When the State demands a higher due Than the rights of you or I. 5. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, That they might not have died in vain. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, So that we might all try again. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, And their sacrifice we hold so dear. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, For the tide is turning and gone's the fear. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, Satisfy their one last plea. Bring back the dead, bring back the dead, So they'll know the Folk are free. 6. So this is how it ends. Bold play begets bad friends. Envy crawls crawls from behind the walls And jealousy consumes good trust. The walls we build that we might defend, Become barriers upon which we all depend. So there's you in your small corner And I In mine. But did you ever dare to think that so soon They might combine.
December 19990 On the first anniversary of the removal of the Berlin Wall. 1959 to 1989.
Jo trained in graphic design at Brighton College of Art in the 60’s & went on to work in advertising. He has always written and was part of the Mersey Poets group in the ‘70’s, and appeared on Poets and Pints a program produced by Granada TV. In the late 80's in Devon he was a member of the Pied Poets group. These days poetry is only a sporadic occupation. Jo took to computer based illustration about six years ago and finds a lot of satisfaction in the discipline of photo realistic illustration.
The Great Grief Swindler In the fallacious engines of your brain, I espy a swindler of human pain. Perhaps you are a bedlamite. me For such a cliched opprobrious approach makes deem you less honourable than a cutthroat. Only a fiend such as yourself could reclaim the m most basal of philosophies and then print the accredited to your ignominious name.
Another fucking dive! Sweet salacious embrace syncopated to such a contemptuous pace makes of the fickle fun & folly. As your sanity slipped I kissed your lips so worn of melancholy oâ€™er despoliation. Then voracities claws scrawled a map to perditions great aphotic libation. Fettered but walking in deposit care. It is with fervent dolour that this robin must fly.
Tom Hu tchins on has years enjoyed as a se 24 mi aut popsicl onomou e of q s meat uestion neurol able ogy. Hi s love making of drin others k & laugh taken has al preced ways ence ov work e er any thic h r e o al w e churn ve r h e out the does odd bit here & of writ there. ing Tom li centra ves in l Exete r with hamste his dea r Yuki d whoâ€™s n a conv ot much ersatio of nalist quite f & to be rank n ever wa s.
Queensland Her twisted hands tell stories of mangrove mornings mud-skipping, shrimping. Our picnic ripening on the Sun-baked park, barren but for children. Burning roads scorched plimsolls beneath unrelenting skies alive with women’s choir. At our step, locusts swirled like brittle echoes of those voices rising to the unforgiving Sun. We pedalled on until Oonoonba, pulled up short before the bridge. That snaking river brought fever nights and mosquitoes; by daybreak, washing lives away: summer cyclones crashing cross the railway that welded men’s hands with fiery copper and flaming cane. She’s moved now, high up on the hill. Deformities of mangroves cleared away to shimmer-blue-sea-view-horizons. In church, she hides her knotted hands in gloves. She remembers us. Remembers sun-baked picnics.
Laura Quigley's bes t writing is the stuff she doesn 't want her Mum to read. After half a lifetime of work and bri nging up kids, you'd think tha t wouldn't matter anymore, bu t unspoken truths accumulate. Based in Plymouth, Laura loves writing for performance, but sh e's also had some success with poetry and short stories over many years. Her goal for this year is to make enough money to get the shower fixed. An d a holiday would be wonderful.
Shaman awake to the ready, Freeing another from their slavery, Away from the emptiness and their need, Toward enlightenment we shall walk. And relationship of two, When one becomes dependant, If I do; warn me wise. Step back; no back up, If I fall, another’s problem I am not. We do not live in absence of self-hood, ‘Cause we contravene the spirits way, when each other mirrors, Teachers we become. Upon this we do, hy A healt relationship shall bloom. Is a writer, artist and pub lisher of Independent Graphic Nov els. He have been drawing and painting since he was ver y young. Adam also write and draws comic strips, self-published und er the name ‘Clown Press’ as well as producing work for Insomn ia Publications and Heske’s Horror. He is currently writing a series of short stories based in a prison called HMP Temeraire, , and will soon be working on a larger graphic novel for Insomnia called ‘Conway’ written by Sean Michael Wilson www.adamgrose.com
carlylightfoot The suns silk nightgown is moth-eaten, brazen flesh peeping through. I know it outside-in; every stitch, every seam, and hemline horizon viewed until my eyes are sore, when it finally drifts to the floor. I lay like a stone on the seabed, the duvets cold waves trying to hammer out my imperfections as she, having endured three movies to avoid looking at me, sleeps soundly; snoring along flight paths that flame through my ears and crash at my brain, coughing as if possessed by some devilish dog terrorising those who approach. My body is like clay dug eagerly then discarded by the sculptor, even my malleable spine is ashamed of the mouth that told her I love her. Arranging the swollen stars in my mind, I compose the dreams Ill never have. . Carly lives in Exeter. She has had poems published in magazines including Agenda, Broadsheet, Monkey Kettle and the Rialto.
Magazine Published by Steve Smith/Reflections h Smit e Stev 2009 ÂŠ
Editor Steve Smith
Sub-Editor Vicky Franklin
Magazine-design Dave Marsdin at thenightbefore www.dimspace.net
Website thenightbefore www.thenightbefore.org.uk
Cover photographs By Dim
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