REFLECTIONS n o i t c i F t r Poetry - A £4
Issue 2 Summer 20 09
Hum - The Trip
Welcome to the second issue of the magazine, with thanks to all those who bought our first, and so made this possible. We're bigger and brighter this time around, with a stunning range of poetry, fiction, art and non-fiction. There's work here that may make you cry, smile, rejoice and think- so head out into the Summer sunshine with a copy and enjoy. 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 Also, send us your own contributions, whether you are previously unpublished or incredibly famous! ( I'm still waiting Nick... xx) You can get in touch by emailing Steve at
exeterreflections googlemail.com Contact details for all this issue's contributors can be found with their work.
Also check out and join our 'Reflections magazine' Facebook group: Ian did and now he's been published! Remember: there are no themes, no restrictions, no generic or stylistic boundaries just work that the artist believes in.
Summer For Van Morrison I'm listening to Van the Man, He's singing about a higher plan, What it is exactly He's not saying. We're taking a walk From the church of St. John To Cumbria via Avalon To smoke sometime With Romantic poets And feel the uplift of the soul As memories of Nature Entwine us. Through gorseflowers Shining mysteries uncovered As the clouds that flee From winds that reveal Sun in warmth and Splendour. I take the valleyPath again, The dry bare-branches Leaf again, The nettles and the brambles Burn in rapture. There is peace here. Despite the ice of Recollection.
There is stillness In movement In corners of eyes, A moment of carelessness Stroking the sky, Give me Constable brooding A gathering storm In the sunlight. I saw the mist In the morning damp, The dew that cliched Spikes of grass As rabbits fled from bright Headlights at dawning. The adder near My childhood haunt, The lizard on the Breton wall, The anthill burnt In pyre of foolish Knowledge makes a piece Of my own dreaming. There is peace here, Despite the ice of Recollection. He played to the crowds Of mud and dust, He sang to the trees
And the air that brushes Every cheek to be turned And kissed And bloodied. She slipped inside A shroud of thorns, Screamed for water Pouring scorn on Anybody falsely who would Judge her. They crashed against The Cornish rocks, They masqueraded Standing megaliths The shards of which In poppy-dappled Postcard beauty Life engenders. There is peace here, Despite the ice of Recollection. I kiss farewell To the pregnant dawn, The midnight light, The fallow faun I saw Make tracks and Startled flew to shadow. In dewdrop, meander. In sand, quake. In sap, awaken.
Just beyond the fourth estate Wh ere Cromwell's troops dug I am not so much now down To wait for orders lon g ago and now Plagued with ghosts; Just in sight of the cit y wall Exorcised with written word And modern sprawl, They pale now, The airport glimpsed In cracks, As jetplanes glint Only in the interstices And wires cross, Communicating, the old Of space between -fashioned way The full stop. With cannnon and sword , Quickswitched allegian ce and Betrayal, We saw the buzzard, Then two, then three, th en four: Kites unstrung on updr And the next sentence. afts Slowly wheeling, once here Then further, far away then Back, above, hunting, Not gloved by aristocr acy Trained for morsels of service Zooed and clipped With yellow eye of som etime Anger, dispersed by ch ains of democracy, Unruffled by the dives of ravens Or the jealous sparrow hawk, ia, ss He Ru or ed sh ur e to ca we me low: Last night We saw the mottled taw ny-browns, Me speaking poetry h-chipped The beige and grey, th And you singing, toot e orce. div ng Tor ati n pl fea em thers on the left wing, nt co And ywhere The drunks were ever And heard the cry, ard, ty ur co Over the hotel Th e call, the voice, n years Their average sixtee And surrendered. t conflic And sixteen years of Co-inciding, nd pillars But we played on behi , And locked doorways Lanternlit, oden stage Sometime on a low wo Or on cobbles.
the letter to search If you were to look them up in the phone book centuries ago The under would have to be 'I' for incompetence. Many warriors who knew Hit-Munks had been a brave and noble band of en neighbouring right from wrong, sorting out disputes betwe been lost in the have s trait villages. Sadly all these admirable mists of time. look good in the These days anybody can join as long as they Their last few jobs had uniform and can find their way back to base. and an unnamed Hitnot been successful, resulting in some arrests Munk becoming wedged inside a chimney. g the sewers and But let's rejoin our hero who has been negotiatin nce hidden behind has somehow managed to locate the secret entra some loose pipes. pulling strands of Bobby dragged himself on to the narrow walkway s. packing straw and leaves from his scale corner which on There was a doorbell stuck to the top left hand slowly died to a being pressed emitted an out of tune wail that heard he rapped crackling hiss. Just to make sure he had been a few tiles in the dging dislo , smartly with the handle of his torch was a steady hear process. For several seconds all he could faraway voice was dripping coming from overhead before a accompanied by slow footsteps. pair of feet you know.â€? "Alright, keep your hair on, I've only got one an elderly chipmunk and A small section of wall opened outwards ng a chipped mug. stood there wearing tattered slippers and holdi seen it all, had a "What do you want? Whatever you're selling we've ance. I said to him, bloke here a few days ago flogging health insur But he wouldn't take 'We're far too much of a risk for your company.' we'd previously been the hint and just kept on saying that whatever him away with a flea quoted his company could do better. I soon sent breath. in his ear.â€? The watchman finally paused for
Vicky Franklin - email@example.com Vicky enjoys living in a fantasy world but keeps finding real life intrusive, and is rather disturbed by her dreams, especially when she dreamed she was 'Face' in the ATeam and Dick Van Dyke in 'Diagnosis Murder.'
“I'm here to see the chief Hit-Munk.” Bobby advanced upon him in what he hoped was a friendly and non-threatening manner. “I just need to have a quick word with him.” “You're behind the times mate.” There followed a heavy smoker's cough that sounded like his lungs were about to explode. “The last fella left months ago, we've got a woman in charge now. Think there's a bit missing up here though,” - he tapped his forehead- “But for a girl, she's alright.” Bobby took out a cigarette and lit it. “So can I see her?” "Well I don't know. Got an appointment? You need one of those; we can't just have anyone swanning up here making demands.” “Of course I have.” He made a pretence of conducting a detailed search patting down his suit and checking his wallet. “It must be here somewhere.” “Take your time squire I'm in no hurry.” The doorman leant against the wall and took a swig of tea. “Tell you what, how about you let me in and then I'll call back round and show you the letter. It doesn't matter if you don't see it today, after all what's a piece of paper between friends?” “Well I don't know what the boss would say.” “She'd congratulate you on your quick thinking and probably even reward you for it.” “Well I suppose there's no harm in it, you look like an honest fish. I can usually tell the good from the bad.” He stepped aside. “I'm assuming you know the way and don't need an escort?” “Don't trouble yourself.” Bobby flicked on his torch and stepped over the threshold. “Just follow those pink arrows on the floor, you can't get lost.” He closed the front door. “Oh..and remember what I said, she's a bit funny in the head.” On the way through the dripping passages Bobby passed several groups of chipmunks who didn't seem in the slightest bit suspicious as to his presence there. One even paused to ask him the time. The tunnel seemed to be endless, with the deep pink lines forever pointing on. There were signs marking the entrances to adjoining pipes reading ' Laundry,' 'Canteen,' and lastly 'Boss's Quarters.'
He stepped into a high-ceilinged room with white tiles covering the walls causing the candlelight to bounce back from all directions. A rickety chandelier swung overhead, making him step out from underneath it warily. It was while stumbling between two stone pillars that two Hit-Munks stepped out, brandishing swords that they crossed over his chest. "State your business,” squeaked the one on his left. They were dressed in the formal uniform of the Hit-Munk protectors: white ninja suits that looked suspiciously like pyjamas that had been adapted to the job, with matching bands of cloth wrapped around their heads. "I'm here to speak to the leader of your great tribe.” Bobby's eye was caught by a bar pushed against the far wall, decorated with fake palm trees in pots and empty cocktail glasses still containing their paper umbrellas. The remains of a penate littered the floor. He'd obviously missed Happy Hour, but surely this woman wouldn't allow a guest to go thirsty? "Her Magnificence will be most angry at this intrusion.” They uncrossed swords then began using them to prod him past a metal gong to where a throne sat, some paces beyond. Whatever picture had been in his mind I doubt it would have corresponded to the sight that met his eyes. A small rag doll was sat there, her bright pink hair held up in two high bunches with diamante clips either side to keep any stray strands in place. Her black ninja suit provided a startling contrast, whilst her feet were snugly encased in piglet shaped slippers. Across her lap lay a magazine that looked to be about ponies. They stared at each other, both surprised. Bobby was aware of his muddied suit. "Well, what do you want?” “To speak to the chief Hit-Munk.” She sniffed daintily. “You already are. I am Jemmima-Mai the brave and resourceful one, the light that will lead my companions back to their former glory.” She flicked a page over and glanced at it; by her side was a table littered with scraps of paper and a plate containing the remnants of a cake. Bobby fought the urge to laugh at her. “I am here because my clients are the victims of intimidation.” He produced his business card. “I have heard that the Hit-Munks are the perpetrators.”
"Is that so?” Jemmima-Mai tore the free stickers from the magazines cover and held them towards a candle for a better look , wobbling them from side to side so the glitter would sparkle. “Am I supposed to be scared by your visit?” “Well it would help me tremendously if you were.” Bobby despaired of ever being offered a refreshment so sauntered over to the bar to help himself to a glass of wine from an open bottle he had spied. She flung her reading material onto the ground, hopped from her throne and snapped her fingers at the two chipmunks loitering by the door. One of them ran past Bobby and reached for a cocktail shaker, while the other dusted down a bar stool with a tea towel. Jemmima-Mai tugged at Bobby's bottom fin. "Would you be kind enough to lift me up?” He was tempted to shove her in a cupboard, but saw her little hand resting on the hilt of the sword buckled around her waist. "I'd be honoured.” The pair of them sat in silence while she fished the fruit out of her Pimm's and selected the pieces she liked best, discarding the rest in a nearby ashtray.
"I'm still not sure what you're doing here Mr. Angel. I don't need a private detective.” Bobby produced the letter received by Augustus and held it out for her to read. "I have information that it's down to you, and I intend to put a stop to it.” He stood up, and elbowing the guards aside crossed the room and began delving in the junk surrounding her throne. Underneath some ribbons he discovered a pot of glue and a pair of safety scissors that had scraps of newspaper stuck to the blades. “So, how much of a cut do you want?” It would be nice to think that Bobby was affronted by her offer, being the gentleman that he was. But back to reality. The agency was quiet and he hadn't paid Theresa for several weeks, telling her he'd lost his bank card, and his tailor's bill was well into three figures. “So, what's your decision?”
I braced myself against the impact of the kiss that would surely kill me, but it never came, so I sat there with my eyes closed all evening, in fear of opening them and seeing your face. While I sat there, I saw myself with you and we were walking along a windy beach, when my heart blew away, and we spent a breathless eternity chasing after it. I would dream so long of being on the wind, and of being swept up and down and away, so fast into the future, with the wind whispering that everything would be all right in the end. I never died that night and not ever since, because your kiss never came, and I never opened my eyes, and still I hear the wind whisper to me that you're chasing me along the beach.
Ian Taylor - firstname.lastname@example.org Ian recently moved back to Exeter after fifteen years of audience cultivation in London's theatre scene. He has been writing for twenty years, and is working on his fourth collection of poetry, entitled 'So Much.' Never before published, his return to his home county of Devon promises a new creative period- watch this space!
On the day that I ended When I ceased to be, you looked for me and found me hiding under a table, weeping softly to myself. When I stopped, no more circles in the sand, no more footprints left, following so close was you and your eyes. On the day that I ended, you shouted at the space that I had been, demanded to know why I had gone. When I became a nothing, spiralled down from life into places so taboo, you found a way to look into my abyss. Then I reached out, you took my hand to your breas t, you told me of your love and like a kiss of life, I began again.
ed? Who is this Bill Posters, and why is he want onted? confr and stood Could it be he had demons he be counted, and head Will the real man stand up, lift his unted. Let his riders of anguish stand still and dismo As I wonder aloud at his brave bitter stand That leaves him so lonely and so in demand, I walk through a storm of tears wet on my head d. Drowning all I have loved in a river of drea I know I must stand up and fear just like him, hymn. In the church of my longing, this is my only her gaze I would rise and be counted, but to fall from . Is far worse than a future of Bill Poster days ns, Just to love without fearing that no love retur s. burn To feel and not run from the hottest of free, Will I trust what I feel, let my deepest run me? in rs Poste Bill of all Just for her to find
I'm limping along because it's you Who took my feet away, You took my eyes as well so I can never see the day. My hands were stolen from me So I'll never, ever touch, No nose to smell the perfume That I want so very much. The arms made to caress you Are now burning in the fire, My loins are now an empty space With no more taut desire. You've taken all of me that was, My heart is surely next, But you missed this slightly vital pen With which I write this text.
One Day, My Queen One day I will find that I'm looking for you, I've been found and been lost but I've never been true, One day I will find that I'm looking too closely, When I am miles away, but it's you I miss mostly. One day I will trust that our friendship is growing When it's hard to ignore that our love signs are showing, One day we'll awake when our arms are embracing The truth that our hearts are finally facing. One day, it makes sense, all the years that I wasted, Should have known that my path had forever been fated, One day in the future you'll look in my eyes And you too will then see where your destiny lies. One day we'll share breakfast of fruit and of bread, Through a sunrise where I have been sleeplessly led, One day I will see when my eyes are revealing, You're the Queen of my heart at whose feet I am kneeling.
I shake rattle and stroll awa y from where I la y on the green g rassy bank across the wat er from the qu ay I left the sun in the leaves of the weepin g willow tree s coolly shaking in the breeze on this late s ummer day And the Moon i s a bow for cupid's arr ows far far above m y cloud.
Tom Matthews - email@example.com Tom writes â€œI was born in Exeter. I like rock n roll. Sometimes I go to the pub.â€? Actually he is omnipresent at all groovy happenings in town. If you want to go to a good gig, find Tom and follow him. Or if you want to find Tom, go to a good gig. You may even hear him sing and play guitar.
December 21st you keep your own secrets. Liv ing in fear keeps you sile nt. And sile nce means are just as dangerous lies And thi s turns you, eve ntually, into a liar. Small the truth, it is to defy dict as profound ones. Because to lie is not just to contra etrable, the re is no pen rea lity. And once you see truth as permeable - as the unfortunate ones in or telling what destruction you can inf lict on yourse lf your path. in utte r stasis by it. Fear For nearly a year now I have lived in fear - held ing anothe r person taken of admitti ng what happened to Katey. Fear of hav Fear of livi ng. And I . from me. Fear of my atheism. Fear of going outside ts to lie. That life is star have confided in no-one. And to combat the fear one hip when you are ions tole rable when it is not. That you don't need compan spiracy of fate, when con desperate for it. That you blame your despair on a inside. Inside your p you no-one is to blame at all. And all these thi ngs kee perpetuated lies will hou se. Inside your head. Inside yourse lf. And these self def lect, ignore or break. can't continue until the re is not a sing le truth that you Fear has made a liar of me. And it is destroyit. of side out d live y rel me I th. tru the nge cha did But I never Mothe r's son and her my am I ily. fam her d An ily. fam my d An . me ing st go to the m. The lies I tell parents' son in law. That is the truth. And I mu myself of nearly anyce myself have rea ched such heights that I can convin thi ng.
December 24th I sometimes wonder why I didn't blame the devil for Katey's death. I wonder why I blamed god and played the devil. If I had held to this logic - and still believed in these figures, why didn't I look to the devil for blame and recompense? He is, if the bible is to be believed, responsible for the evil in the world - or at least, he is the one who orchestrates man's evil. He should be responsible for the hell I'm in. Not god. But then, our anger - or more specifically, the blame, is always misdirected. We don't blame the evil of the perpetrator, we blame the lethargy of the gatekeeper. Man's blame is never directed at the wrongful one, because they are usually endowed with strength - or rather, they have hardened into ignorance or have been fortified by their own hatred. And how we fear this strength. This indestructability which the amoral enjoy. And the gate keeper? The protector? Apologetic. Guilt ridden. An easy scapegoat for the hurt, and their fury and rage, orphaned from the mind, and desperate for a home. And we always discharge our anger at the sleeping guard and not the thief. Because after all of the anger and loss, confrontation with the culpable is unthinkable. Another war is inconceivable. And so the perpetrator goes unpunished, and so immune to justice becomes invincible. And the good are lashed for their lack of diligence; for their weakness. And so become the perpetrator themselves.
February 6th I have learnt so many truths in the last year. But they have come at the cost of my peace of mind. It seems that truth and happiness are not, as I once s thought, and as I once prea ched, inextricably linked. In fact they are some times opposites. For some truths are those things which are evide nt, and some truth are the things we have to simply admit rather than observe.
I and Eye
www.myspace.com/humdingerdoo Best known as a sublime singer -songwriter, MC for acoustic nights and the man who turned down a Virgin Records contract, Hum here gives us a rare look at some of his visual art work.
Ankh Hawk - Hum
Shadows Of A Projection
Shadows Of A Projec
These two images came about after purely wanting to experiment with slides in the sense of how said images are observed when the image has become physically altered through the means of collage. And I mean collage in all its varied forms. I wanted to see how melting the slide film and cutting into it, painting over it, scratching away at it, sticking other film or slides on to it etc would look when projected. As it is really difficult to imagine the final outcome of such an experiment when faced with working on such a small scale, say around 3cm squared, it's only until curiousity gets the better of you and you sneakily check your progress by inserting the manipulated slide into the projector and turn the lights off that you get a sense of how it looks. It's amazing how the smallest and sometimes more accidental scratches can look when projected. It's the same when dust gets stuck to the image. I found using sellotape produced a great effect. Regardless of how hard I tried I could never keep the images dust-free, but in all honesty I thought that whatever was stuck to the final design was only ever going to add to it. Anyway I would highly recommend trying this out. You can pick up old slide projectors at dumps or charity shops for dirt cheap. The same with slides. It's good, almost wholesome, entertainment for a rainy Sunday. .
Phillip Wyatt- firstname.lastname@example.org Phil is an artist, designer and musician, playing in the psych/funk/blues/jam band 'Bearfoot'. He is also one of the organisers of the Umbrella Factory, an eclectic performance event in Exeter.
Katey's death showed me truth. I learnt that god won't protect me or reward me for my faith. I learnt that I cannot affect evil with good. I learnt that evil is stronger than good, only rarer, which is why the world doesn't fall apart when it seems like it should. I learnt that my Mother's love is utterly conditional. And I have learnt that despair is contagious if it is not contained. All these truths are a compromi se. Becau se to live a life of worship to a god is, ultimately, to live a life without absolute truth. That is not to say that a religious life is a lie. It mere ly means that faith is a risk; faith is the gamble that truth and righteousness will emerge. I have no god. But it means that I have truth. Becau se I have reality. Faith is optimism. It is the hope that some thing will bare fruit if we nurture it. Faith is the hope that someone we love or cheri sh will reward our love for them by returning it. Or perhaps by redee ming themselves. It is a lottery. It is a life of comfortable anticipation - until you are removed from it. We all gambled that god would reward our good deeds on earth with protection in life and a place in heave n after death - but there was no certainty. Or rathe r, there was no evide nce. We were certain becau se we felt it. We didn't stop to wonde r if we knew it. And in having no faith, the world seems darke r. Sma ller. Loude r. But more real. I will not begrudge others their faith, but I will keep to the safety of reality, and let those with more courage than I wade into those deep waters I used to call hope. The outside looks blank. But not hopeless. And at least it does not look deceptive. I can trust this world, simply becau se I do not trust it. And I cannot help but feel this, the liberation of so called disaster.
March 22nd Somedays I see her everywhere. I see her in the queue outside Lloyds bank. I see her waiting for the no. 55 on the high street. I see her walking up the street away from me wearing a long green coat. I see her smoking in the doorway of Cooke's record store. Even though Katey never banked with Lloyds or travelled on a bus, and never wore a long green coat. Or smoked. My reflection in the window of the cafe is faint. It is made transluscent by the slowly vanishing day light. I only see a full reflection of myself when someone walks past the cafe, briefly replenishing my features with their bodies. How am I to interpret this? Should I take this to mean that I need some other individual to rejuvenate my tired soul? Is this a sign that the only way to become whole again is to seek the solace and completion that being with another human brings? Will I degenerate further if I don't make a connection with someone else? Or is it a sign at all? It is tempting to try to see god in these trivialities. Like the pull of an old addiction. People of religion are not just the worshippers of a god; they are followers of a leader - and they will seek him and find him. Everywhere. There is nothing more tempting to a person who follows god to incarnate him in the domesticities of life. To personify him. To actualise him. To turn triviality into a crusade. Domesticity into a pilgrimage. To incarnate him in the minutiae of existence. But now that I have left god, what shall I read into these little occurences which used to be the word of the lord? The church roof falling in on the first anniversary of her death. Her last words being, "I wish it would snow," and it snowing on the first day I went to her grave. These incidents still shimmer with the immortality of god. I cannot help but notice them. But these are not divine instructions or answers to our prayers. Solutions fall upon our hopelessness like artless rain falls upon a grateful desert, quenching
quite accidentally, our various and desperate thirsts. And being human gracious as well as brutal - we thank god. For who else can we thank? But I need to distil these so called miracles; to extract the godliness and hold in my palm what they really are; the world turning, the sun rising, life being lived. And the slow and sometimes cruel breath of fate. January 13th. Standing by her grave today, and having walked past our two old houses on the way to the church, I reali sed that she lives in my memory in two different ways. That is, grief has two faces. It is possible for the heart to grieve quietly; to grieve philosophica lly. In fact, you can even relish it. Like when you walk past the entra nce to the library and reme mber it was there you fled from the pounding rain one afternoon, holding each other and shaki ng. Laughing like incredulou s children. Or when you reme mber some thing you said to her which made her laugh so that her eyes squinted closed and the top of her nose creased, and it was too beautiful to explain, even to yourself. Some times when the sea breaks on the rocks at the far end of our beach, I reme mber her body below mine. Rhythmic. Blissful. Impossibly real. And yet reme mbering her brings such hate it frightens me. It can fill my blood with the desire for revenge and I become drunk on the sheer indiscrimi nation of my loss. Some times everywhere you look is a monu ment of her absence. Of her abortion from your arms. You become a prisoner in her mausoleum. But this isn't really anger. It is memory collidi ng with your sense of justice. It is what happe ns when we transpose the dead into our living world, becau se we think that would be just. It is when we ask why our loved ones are not here with us. Now. Memory is the past. Grief is the past conve rging with the
prese nt. And if I am going to surv ive without her, I need to remembe r her, not mourn her. February 4th I was talki ng to a union representative once about what motivated people to do their particular line of work. On asking him why he chose to do what he did, he said, "Because things can go very wrong for very innocent people." I think what he was saying is that there is a hell. That there is a very real hell, and one on earth. And not the hell that I was brought up to fear. Or the hell that I spent so many years warning people of. I can't believe that this world leads to a place which punishes the evil when they die. A place where the people who have sinned are finally held culpable and corrected. There is no such prescription justice - I have lived long enough to know that. Long enough to know that this imagining of hell is too conspiratorial. Too devised. Too easy. Hell is mere ly a crescendo of misfortune, and when all these lines of despair conve rge they create a living hell, becau se as strong as we are to create our own empires, we are still unable to surv ive when they collapse and fall on us. And when they fall, this is still not hell. It is misfortune. It is when they don't stop falling that we find ourse lves in true hell. And to suppose that hell will end is to suppose that fate has a conscience. But it does not. Heaven I suppose is the gaps in between.
Matt Roberts - email@example.com Matt is a teacher who has taken a year off from school life to write his first book; he has had a couple of poems published in the past year. He is also a singer-songwriter. This is the cleaned-up version of his biog by the way...
and there is no God, but today Iâ€™d like to think there is. He is drunk and clumsy; after a glass of wine too many at lunch has knocked over the salt shaker, which rolls precariously along the tableâ€™s edge showering white rocks on all below. But, no, there is no God. Maybe Death The hail is caused by thunderstorms, updrafts, or something. is like walking up a hill There is an air of romance towards the sun about frozen snowflakes set against a bleeding sky. fragility encased in ice, Maybe it is the crash performing a tragic ballet of cymbals, or a mandolin before their descent. lullaby. The way fires are You never told me if you were a believer; we waltzed around the subject like strangers brought together just to fill a dance card. You said that religious discussions Feeling that you have cause epic arguments. forgotten something; Politics, also; avoiding these topics that forgetting with the diplomatic verve of an embassy official. will cause irreparable damage and everything will go wrong and everyone will shout. We sheltered from storms in silence, waiting for the sky to clear Maybe death is doubt. I, longing to taste the snowflakes Or words on my tongue, and you stood still, that cannot be taken back, smoke swirling from your lips. The meek glow of embers fading; swimming so far out to sea each passing day a long drag that land cannot be seen; on a cheap cigaretteâ€Ś panicking, paddling,
put out; by breath, by stamping feet, by blasts of water.
submitting to the tide, content finally to drift and wait for the inevitable.
Flood Relief System Years ago St. Thomas drowned, or at least waded, every winter when the Exe would break its banks. People paddled in dinghies along Cowick Street and clambered through their front room window as doorways were blocked by sandbag barricades if you think it an exaggeration there is always a mark on some wall that proves the water rose this high or the sludge invaded that far. Second only to the Blitz in the list of popular accounts of collective history, but the stories have dried up since the flood relief was built. Times the Exe showed up on doorsteps and spilt are forgotten as old folks die, inevitably of a kind of cancer, and the young werenâ€™t there and have little reason to care. The world has grown up around the river, which now swells in the shadows to be drained in to the concrete half-pipe; stifling a scream. It seems bare feet no longer wander on grass banks, sinking for a millisecond in soil that feels the wild flow and knows this water will one day flood our town. Now cycle paths and broken glass and bins for the mess of dogs that have grown to resemble their owners, or the other way round. Atop the slope all the pigeons shut up shop, braced against the wind people flee past fearful they will fly over them again, walking alongside a body of water that moves like a man who has lost his will to live.
Carly Lightfoot - firstname.lastname@example.org Carly is currently 24 and lives in Exeter. She has had poems published in magazines including Agenda, Broadsheet, Monkey Kettle and the Rialto.
There's always one, to be. That girl who everyone either longs for or longs . rsity unive or days l schoo During hellish secondary You know the type, The shining hair, sparkling eyes You've heard the hype, Flimsy fashion trends a thin disguise For blushing alabaster limbs, Sweetly rounded, spot-free skin, The perfect weight; a veritable playground swan Preening feathers at the college gate. Perkier tits, peachier arse, Favourite debutante of each biology class. social faux-pas, Flashing bitchily her bone-white teeth at every are. Which you do a lot, bespectacled geek that you Her voice a medley of melodic trills, I envied her communication skills fawning and fellatio) ( for which I read: follicle-flicking, flirting, . I wanted to bury her beneath a patio For being 'perfect,' this model girl, This dizzying height, r fright night. I never caught her looking like a Hammmer Horro Yet fast-forward to this present day, I found she doesn't have a lot to say, Too busy checking the whereabouts of Dave, Her cheeky-chappy, sleazy-geezer, Lager-drinking, cocaine-sneezer, Itemised phone-bill deceiver. ms deep, It turns out, that beauty is not skin, but fatho down, you put usly vicio so That popular girl, who once weep, lls eyeba And made your myopic Might not be one to cut out and keep. She takes last place in the personality race. An ugly trophy to match her second face, aller. The one she speaks with if you're not a footb And so, my freakish, social-failure friends, ry, Fans of sci-fi, fantasy, fantastic sword and sorce filter-tippers, nia vergi n golde Tardis-trippers, alien strippers, , elief self-b t bough See the fall of gloossy, shoprelief. And breathe a huge, heartfelt, nerdy sigh of All in all, ring, limited-edition DVD, At the end of another baggy-trousered, glasses-wea Doctor Who, Discworld and Dragonlance day, I'm so happy to have turned out this way.
Bakerloo Line Up and down the escalators, Diesel-dyke emasculators, Socialist ejaculators, Leonard Cohen imitators, One-night stand initiators, Sleazy, covert masturbators, Psychedelic recreators, Terrorist co-ordinators, Toddler pacificators, Psychomotor agitators, Flu-like symptom incubators, LED annunciators, Pest control exterminators, That includes the fumigators, Born Again amalgamators, Missionary penetrators. One memorable Kling-on narrat
Mix it up into one big-city par anoia perpetrator: A tripping, rat-infested, scienc e fiction, Fundamental, wanking, whining, politician, Schizophrenic musical infection , Sexual and gender-varied contra -indication. Divide, multiply, slice, dice and cube. Suck your humanity soup, Through a tube.
Gone Fishing The surface breaks , A hundred sunlit thoughts- my litt le fish, Shatter the still dark. They leap, thrash , Chase away the fl urry of best-forgo tten things.
Deep beneath, The demon in the dream pond. Ghastly, long-jawe d pike Hangs hateful, gl aring glassily. Waiting for the ti de to turn, To wake, In the rolling da rk. Listen, get out yo ur anorak, Turn to Radio 4. Load up your hook with worms, Mindfulness and wh olemeal bread. Land that bastard.
Eden Dart - email@example.com
Eden (or the lesser-spotted scandal addict and bachelor of liguistic wizardry) is a performance poet and flamboyant wordsmith, foraging a lyrical existence in the ruins of a proper job. She spends a lot of time in paradoxical ponderings. Eden doesn't like nights out, her sense of humour is dreadful, she enjoys bad weather and her special interests include earplugs, ready meals, Gnosticism and insomnia.
Somewhere just outside of Okehampton, on the edge of the moors, there is allegedly a stone placed in memory of the late poet Ted Hughes. On a windy but warm day in late July, myself and a fellow writer – Oli - embarked upon a quest to find the stone and, perhaps, “find” a little piece of the poet himself. We somewhat unwisely arrive without the recommended OS map, and with only a vague idea of where the stone actually was. Our only forms of guidance are a compass and some hand-written notes of mine, which are so badly scrawled as to be almost illegible; the fact that Oli at one point deciphers “Cranmere Pool” as “Chamomile pot” says it all. We had also failed to check the local military camp’s firing times, but decide what the hell – we’ll take our chances. Clearly neither of us were in the scouts / brownies, as we did not seem to be familiar with the adage “be prepared.” After numerous wrong turns and accidentally driving into a military camp, we eventually find what we agree is the “rough path” we might be looking for, and start driving up it, only to be met with a sign saying “No Unauthorised Vehicles.” At this point I reverse - rather too quickly - back down the track, crushing a gate-post to within an inch of its life (woops) and causing minor damage to my bumper. I decide to have a fag before venturing out of the car; Oli struggles to put on the hugest walking boots I’ve ever seen before deciding it’s too much hassle: “These boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do …but not today.” Walking up past Cranmere Pool, I am struck by how barren, harsh and unforgiving the moor is in this area. There is a sense of unrelenting wilderness; simply acres of sun-roasted grasses with the odd smattering of gorse bush. Its open, rugged expanse stretches for miles around. The landscape has probably changed little since Hughes’ time, maybe some of the foliage has come and gone, and the road behind me and the military camp are surely new features, but apart from that I feel that what I’m looking at must significantly resemble what Hughes saw. I wonder if perhaps he was inspired by the power inherent in such a stark but strikingly beautiful landscape when he wrote the words: ‘The trickle cutting from the hill-crown / whorls to a pure pool here / with a whisp trout like a spirit / the water is wild as alcohol …” (from “Sugar Loaf”). Sugar Loaf appears in Hughes’ Wodwo collection and is a classic example of his “nature poetry.” The variegated language in the above extract perfectly captures many facets of the water. The choice of the verb “whorl” followed by several succinct, monosyllabic words generates a rapid pace,
neatly complementing the later suggestion that the water is “wild”. The repeated “w” sounds here add to the impression of power and frenzy. Nature is also presented as mysterious through the selection of the softer words “whisp” and “spirit”. There is something eerie yet beautiful about the water; the attraction of the mysterious and untamed is conveyed almost effortlessly. We stumble across a tuft of fur and humorously (or so we think) speculate as to whether we’ve discovered the remnants of Hughes’ beard clippings; so caught up are we in out little “joke” that almost don’t see the East Dart river until we’re practically on it’s banks. Just the sound of the water falling down through the valley is awesome. As I sit on a rock looking East, it seems as if a huge waterfall is powering down the hillside behind me, but the river is only maybe 2ft wide at this point, falling no more than 80ft. It exemplifies the sheer force of unbridled nature, the majesty that Hughes felt so touched by; as I sit there it’s hard not to start engaging with his possible mindset when writing such poems as “Fern”: ‘…the fern / dances gravely, like the plume / of a warrior returning, under the low hills / into his own kingdom.’ The simile of the warrior works beautifully to convey the strength and nobility of nature as I see it now, sat amongst the “low hills” of north Dartmoor. It seems almost oxymoronic to suggest that anything might dance “gravely” yet what Hughes achieves with his choice of adverb is to clothe the fern in a majesty befitting his other images. Yes, the fern dances, but not with gay abandon; it dances with regal splendour. I try to stammer out a few lines of poetry myself, feeling that if I’m going to be creatively inspired, this is the place … but I can only come up with such horrors as “Kingdom of sun-ripened ears / With lush and abundant wealth / In your presence I am nothing.” Hardly lyrical. On re-reading my pathetic “poetry” I spot the horrible ambiguity of the word ears, and wonder whether I’ve actually been writing a weird science-fantasy extract … “The kingdom of the sun-ripened ears.” Oh dear. Stick to what you do best. I sit and read “Barley”, in which Hughes’ opening line suggests “barley grain is like seeds of gold bullion.” My own “sun-ripened ears” are frankly awful standing next to this. The comparison to gold bullion gives a very powerful image of colour, strength and “richness” all encapsulated in one small phrase. It’s an expert lesson in how to use the simile. Pure genius. Humbled as I am by the surroundings, my lame attempts to capture them
lyrically evoke an equally magnificent sense of humility towards Hughes. To powerfully and succinctly capture this splendour in words is a truly remarkable achievement, which I am in great awe of. Having walked for a good hour and having followed our (admittedly dubious) hand-written instructions as best we could, we determine that the stone MUST be somewhere in the vicinity. We stumble across rocks and rivers, up hills and down dales, avidly seeking a glimpse of it, to no avail. Apparently, the stone had to be air-lifted onto the moor, which implies it’s of a size that would make it noticeable from some distance, and which begs the question of why we just cannot see the remotest hint of it. Frustrated, we annoy some local sheep by joining in with their bleats; their glaring faces show visible distaste and I suggest we shouldn’t aggravate them in case they are guarding the secret location of the Ted Hughes Memorial Stone and we need to pass through their flock in order to access it, lol. We leave the sheep alone and, as another half hour passes, debate whether we might still be here at 3am tomorrow morning, exhaustedly inspecting every stone in the near vicinity for inscriptions: “Does yours say ‘in memory of Ted Hughes,’” “No,” “Mine neither.” We spot an odd shaped stone a little way above us and, filled with hope, clamber up in its general direction. A tired Oli says, “This better be the damn stone,” but it’s not. An hour later we give up and wander back to the car. Reflecting back on our adventure, I feel somehow glad that we didn’t actually find the memorial stone. An old university lecturer of mine once talked about something called the biographical fallacy – a belief that the meaning of a poet’s work can be found by reading his / her poems in light of events in their life. Of course, finding meaning in poetry is really not that easy, just as finding the stone turned out to be something of a challenge. I went to the moor and felt at one with nature, I felt inspired by its majesty, and I felt some appreciation for what inspired Hughes. But I’ll never find the true meaning of his work, or the essence of the man himself. One day I might even find the stone, but it’s only going to connect me to a very small part of Hughes. He’s there somewhere, but he’s also highly elusive; it’s like the stone is a metaphor for the man. Now THAT’S poetry for you.
il.co.uk Jules Reed - jules-reed-writes@hotma editor, whose and Jules is a local freelance writer, proof-reader ng. writi l trave and y raph biog writing is a blend of
Oli Nejad - firstname.lastname@example.org Oli's first poetry collection, 'Coffee and Cigarettes,' was published in 2008 and he was one of Foyles Young Poets of the Year. He also shakes and stirs the best cocktails in Exeter.
Today I am a work of art, and you Parade the public gallery awhile; You mutter about red rather than blue: The light, the price, the label make you smile. I wish I were a camera instead, A frame by frame by halogen in truth; Wrapped up and cut and rushing to my head: It’s something for an eye, not for a tooth. The cheek of it, we turn and turn again, We call and we interpret to the bone; It’s either head to head or friend to friend, Why stand against the wall to see who’s grown? No art, no sign can signify the soul; You see a work in progress, not the whole.
I am not sure of the daylight But have no need of the rain; You told me once while I still slept: Forget me not. The time is bulky and brazen And skin slips off at the edge; The lustrous street adores my feet: Perfectly lost. I rub my stomach for comfort Then ball up into your curls; We shake, we smoke the final words: Everything stops.
There are cracks between loving and leaving, Where slithers of heartache Touch splinters of joy. Here the impact of needing Is cushioned by wanting If the glass remains clear. So the girl reflects boy, Refracts yearnings and sighs; Mirror images lie side by side Through their looking-glass eyes. Make the most of these times For they fragment and fracture, They shatter, They fall, Leaving lovers in pieces And blood on the walls. There are cracks between loving and leaving, Where slithers of heartache Touch splinters of joy. Here the impact of needing Is cushioned by wanting If the glass remains clear. So the girl reflects boy, Refracts yearnings and sighs; Mirror images lie side by side Through their looking-glass eyes. Make the most of these times For they fragment and fracture, They shatter, They fall, Leaving lovers in pieces And blood on the walls.
My three words Are not your words, anyone's, Not his, not hers, nor They're mine alone. And what they mean Or what they say ys) on golden autumn da es ski (Like e. Can chang My three words, Are secret things the sand. I've softly written in oming waves, They hide beneath inc Are not erased lation But lost in the trans Into rain. My three words May sound the same m other lips, As those that fall fro ce: on me s But kis te? tas you can What ain ag me s Kis and mine Till your three words Amalgamate.
I'm a friend, I'm a stranger, kind of face An always been here You remember laughter e From lat nights and rise Or sad songs and sun es. And half said goodby You're a call, Not an answer; An offbeat heart sting mysteries. Jump-starting new-ta this step I know but don't know One-two-three - stumble - stand up - repeat: Smile.
I curl into a ball-gown, I dance the errant night; I’m not so logo-centric might That I hope the sword/pen Be everything or over, dreams; Though wishes once were e drowners Like drowning dream-lik s. Waving softly, so it seem here, You flicker in the still eth: Still magnet, pulling te you, You’re all and thus I hate eath Love you, hate me undern hter, The mirror shade of laug . And crumble at the eyes g I can’t perfect this dancin d die. Didn’t know the beat coul beasties, Don’t know the world is rules; Do not care to learn the I curtsey as I falter st fools. With the shipping foreca -kiss; Ay-ay and curling tongue You’re eugenic after all, se Therefore I am a nonsen . And I shan’t go to the ball Spike: email@example.com Spike is a man of indeterminate age who has spent most of his life writing in one form or another. Beween his late teens and early 30s he performed with bands and solo, writing some 400 songs along the way. More recently he gained an MA in English at Exeter University, and an incomplete Doctorate. His poetry examines the distance between language and meaning, and the effects of culture and social structures upon the individual. Oh, and relationships, since that is why we turn to poetry in the first place...
exeterreflections googlemail.co m
Reflections Published by Steve Smith/Reflections Magazine © 2009 Steve Smith
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