A Tale of Rosemary, by Aladdin Bouhamla

By the bloody gardens of the strawberry,
Where the red sun meets the sea;
Children were playing happily and merry,
When a voice yelled “comrades come here and see”

It was the voice of the beautiful Rosemary,
Calling her friends under the ancient Oak tree ;
“A strange man with a face so scary
Is holding a blade dripping with blood”, said she

“I’ve seen his soul dead as the cemetery;
His demons are whispering, whispering to me.
In his hand, holding the cold carcass of an eyeless canary,
And in the other a bloody knife scented with the blood of girl of three.”

In fear gazed the children, clueless and unwary ,
As the man marched forward to the hive of the golden bee.
“pray with me Children”, said the beautiful maiden Rosemary,
But prayers will do the man no good if you ask me.

The Angels abandoned the forest, and so did the tipsy fairy,
Yet what to expect from man, after going on a killing spree,
screams of his victims glow with radiant light of the extraordinary;
And the man then started murmuring while he sat on his knee.

With a shovel, himself, started to bury
“if he is no longer a man, but then what is he? ”,
Said the children to the beautiful Rosemary
“he lost what he was, and what he will never again be”

And here the writer finished his work of literary,
Yet the reader may notice that the man looks like you and me;
For my story is not out of the ordinary,
But of the madness of this world, for we are no different then he.


Two Poems from Joe Williams


I have emphasised
the importance
of using
appropriate language
in maintaining a
professional veneer.

I have stressed
the significance
of the
client-supplier relationship
in ensuring
customer satisfaction.

I am pointing at
the projected screen
to introduce my
next theme,
when the fire
alarm erupts into life.

I shout, ‘Fucking


In most towns the
station pub’s the worst one that there is.
In Harrogate it
proudly boasts its title.
Pub of the Year

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. In 2017 his debut pamphlet, ‘Killing the Piano’, was published by Half Moon Books, and he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at the Ilkley Literature Festival.


You weren’t supposed to laugh, by Paul Vaughan

I’ll surprise you tonight.

Eyes hungry, lips licked,
fox to her chicken, dog to her bones.

I’ll hide in the wardrobe.
Get yourself sexy,
say when you’re ready.

She sighs on the inside.
Oven-ready, she thinks.
Rolls on the stockings.
Four weeks of dating
now feeling too long.

You can come out now.
Ready or not.

He flings the doors open,
struts out with a grin.
In a Paddington costume,
with a sign round his neck.

Please fuck this bear.

Duffel coat. Jaunty red hat.
Hand on his member,
jutting out like a rod.

Paul Vaughan lives in Yorkshire. His work has been (or shortly will be) featured in Agenda, Acumen, Prole, Frogmore Papers, Poetry Salzburg, Obsessed with Pipework and Ink, Sweat & Tears, among others.


Pleasure, by Hilary Willmott

Like finest Belgian truffles she rolls them around her lips,
delicacies to be savoured, rotund parcels of delight.
She lets her tongue caress their secrets, teasing herself,
tracing them with her lips, backwards and forwards.
She knows it’s wrong, there will be reprisals.
But it’s too late to stop – her need is overwhelming
and as she flicks her tongue, one pouch disappears
into her salivating mouth. Oblivious to the pained cries
for her to stop, she swallows. One satisfied canine.
One less piece of horse shit on the towpath.

Hilary has been writing since her schooldays many decades ago. She sees poetry as a companion who is much braver than she, taking her to places she wouldn’t dare venture on her own. She has been published by Templar Press, Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis, Flarestack, Leaf and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives by the river in the south west of England.


Chiffon, by Alice Carter

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
Her parents were dead, they said
But still she waited in silence of the dead.
She waited in red.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that she was wrong.
That something about her was wrong.
But she didn’t see that the little girl had gone.
And it was then that it was done.

Her red coat was made of chiffon.
The flames were red
And dead well before they were gone.

A girl in red and a girl dead.
The reed had seen the yellow,
Making them dead in sorrow and dread.

She was the one in the wrong.
The other girl who said.
She was the one who had gone.
The winter was dead and gone.
Gone with the little girl singing her song.

The daffodils were dead,
The timing was wrong.
It was her, the girl in chiffon;
That had done something wrong.

When the servers sounded the song,
She realised that she was wrong.
She had been too headstrong.
Burned and red,
Before it was dead and gone.

The other girl who sang her folksong,
She was the one in the wrong.
But it was her they said,
Her the girl in chiffon red,
Who was the one in the wrong.

The girl in chiffon was not wrong,
They had told her to do it or be gone.
The folksong girl had told her to do it,
But she was in the wrong.
And now her time would be long.
Spending it with others of wrong,
Others who had their own,
Their own folksong song.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that everything had gone.
And if she was in here for long,
Her folksong girl would too be gone,
And the daffodils seeds would too be gone.

I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer from London. I am currently working on my first children’s book, adult novel and original musical.

This poem is about a girl with a mental schizophrenic disability who on acting on the voices in her head accidently set fire to her home. She escapes but her parents do not.
It is about her journey will mental illness. Discovering that she has it, accepting it, and then dealing with it.


Meeting a working-class Zero, by Sudeep Adhikari

I once met a ghost
with mouth on the middle of its chest
dripping blood, and shooting bubbles
of fire that kept growing in size,
till they circumscribed
me inside their radiant sphere.

Transfixed with fear, i screamed
like a sacrificial lamb
and asked, “why don’t you creepy
things leave us alone”?

The ghost took its head on its hand
and while spinning it like
a professional soccer player,
on the only finger it had

It calmly replied
“homie, i am just trying to make a dying.
I have some voids to feed.”

Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer from Kathmandu, Nepal. His recent publications were with Beatnik Cowboys, Zombie Logic Review, The Bees Are Dead, Silver Birch Press and Eunoia Review. His poetry volume, “The Art of Changing Nothing to Punk Gigs” was released by Alien Buddha Press in July, 2017.


The Land of Cheese, by Sarah Henry

Hit me again
with a log
of Vermont
paired with
seeded crackers.

Let me decide
on the best
French brie.
A round baked
over scalloped
is a possibility.

Roll me a wheel
of Spain’s manchego
in the underpass
of the supermarket.

Lend me a wedge
of Dutch gouda
to make a doorstop.

Feed me a Greek
omelet every day
and keep feta
on hand for security.

Give me a slice
of American
to deposit
in my stomach’s
food bank.

Find me a land
where cheese
is a food group
and the staff of life.

Sarah Henry used to work at the busy switchboard of a major American newspaper. Now she writes poetry and lives in a cave.


Hen Party, by Belinda Rimmer

Hen Party

The afternoon was hot and steamy,
made worse by all of us crammed into one room.
With open hearts and lipstick kisses,
we raised a glass or two or three
to the bride-to-be.

An artist breezed in murmuring something
about a life drawing class.
He prepped us on perspective,
shading and how to furnish stick men
with all the necessary bits.

Some of us coughed, others laughed
and the bride-to-be said: bring it on.

We waited for our life model.
Had anyone seen him?
He’d either taken a liking to the bathroom
or a disliking to us,
or else had suffered stage fright.

Finally, he appeared,
fake-tanned and on the wrong side of forty.

Our fidgety embarrassment
dripped and seeped
into curtains, carpet and settee
as we willed him to put away
the pendulous dead weight,
silvery fish-scale of a thing,
so disproportionately large
for such a thin body.

Belinda has worked as a psychiatric nurse, counsellor and lecturer. She has also taught creative arts in primary schools. Her poems have been published in magazines and on-line. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival and came second in her first poetry slam.



You know, Wassername by Rachael Clyne

You know, Wassername

‘er wi’ mucky frocks

eeh she were a chatterbox,

chubby knees, never a please

or a howdoyoudo.
Knew her when she were flea high

to a snot-rag – now look, she’s writ a book
a best seller, gorra fella wi bags of it.

‘Appen I’d’ve done t’same if I’d a mind ter,
mark my peas and cucumbers,
it’ll be filthy as a brass’s gusset.
Yer can tek girl out of t’frying pan
but yer canna tek snicket out of’t’girl.

Mine’s a gin and orange luv, no ice.

RACHAEL CLYNE lives in Glastonbury. Her prizewinning collection Singing at the Bone Tree – is published by Indigo Dreams. Anthologies: The Very Best of 52, Book of Love and Loss, Poems for a Liminal Age. Magazines: Tears in the Fence, Prole, The Rialto, Under the Radar, The Interpreters House.


A quick message, and a poem from Robert Garnham


Just to let you know that I’m working through the submissions. I’ve been inundated! It’s great reading all the poems, quite inspirational in fact. If you haven’t heard from me yet, then don’t worry, you will.
Anyway, here’s one from me, just to demonstrate the sort of things I do. 

They’re all called ‘Poem’, by the way. I come up with the titles first, and then the poems just see, to write themselves.

You’ll like the countryside, she said,

There’s lots of scenery,

There’s lots of greenery.

There’s fields and trees and they’re all green,

Especially the evergreens,

The greenest evergreens you’ll ever see,

And there’s moss and dappled sun and rhododendrons,

And there’s villages and villages greens

And the village greens are green

And everyone eats their greens

And also some of the tractors are green.

But I like the city and there’s green here too.

The Starbucks logo is mostly green

And so is the fungus in the bus station.

And my friend Pete’s car is green

And so is the tie i was wearing yesterday,

And the traffic lights are occasionally green

And salt and vinegar crisp packets,

Again, green,

And the District Line is green

And it passes through Turnham Green

And even though the neon signs are multicoloured

You could probably turn em green

And in any case

People here are too busy eating donuts and hummus.

We frowned across the plastic

Bus station cafe table.

Her coat was green

And so was her luggage.

Tenderly, I asked,

Would you like some broccoli,

Just for the journey?

No thanks, she replied,

I’ve got an orange.

Robert Garnham is a spoken word artist originally from Surrey. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for the last three years, and at various festivals and performance poetry nights including Bang Said the Gun, Hammer and Tongue, Evidently and Jawdance. His first collection ‘Nice’ was published by Burning Eye Books and he was longlisted as Saboteur Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He recently headlined at The Duplex in New York.