Monthly Archives: July 2017

Stepford on Steroids by Cath Campbell

I am not a silent poet

When I listen to those bastards on the telly
I feel my beating proletarian heart more clearly.

All the crap such elitist tricksters foisted
upon the masses over countless years,

the swindling lies and moral panic buttons
pushed by pearly chested twin-set ladies,

or hand-made suited slick-backed guys
(that specific one with the seriously untidy hair).

Hiding a pig-eyed wealth of stolen privileges,
smirky blue-eyed never-been-hungry boys and girls,

degrees got somewhere grand with daddy’s money
and mum’s, ‘never be an easy lay, but it’s ok to flirt.’

Their wide awake coke induced earnest stares,
and rictus red Faye Dunaway lipstick balms,

and don’t forget the jolly jolly laugh at anyone
who dares argue their opinion is not first class.

Those fawning bourgeois hangers-on, mendacious
as sycophantic changlings sucking from the teet,

the trough of scoff, denying workers constant sweat,
dismissing murder as tragedy and dreadful accident.

They love a…

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The Intricacies of Persistent Failure by Paul Sutton

I am not a silent poet

I am an expert.

In a faded ski-jacket and old trainers, it loafs along, dodging backward glances, following my every step.

I’ve had enough.

So I book my annual holiday in a motorway Ibis – amidst a migraine patchwork of dusty vegetation, flight paths and conveyor-belts over graphite lakes.

Here I await my brothers in failure.

I. Menu Rage

Geoff from accruals and accounts payable has ordered some ‘Ukrainian bird’ for marriage and children, perfect for flights from Kiev – her family a mixture of gangsters and radioactive meat suppliers.

We meet in the bar.

‘Women’s teeth are so important – have you read Zadie Smith?

‘Most Slavs suffer from halitosis. I’m hoping my luck will change.’

We discuss the menu. I am familiar with the dizzying rhetorical tricks but Geoff smiles in expectation.

“Here she comes…”

I can’t decide between Hunter’s Chicken and Harissa Lasagne.

No one has…

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.. the flight to egypt, revisited..

sonja benskin mesher

Edwin Longsden Long RA was an English genre, history,  and portrait painter.


there are many pictures at this house, two dimensional and more. how can I love one

child above another?

I had only one, so that was easy, then questioned if I loved the late arrival more, I said no just different.

so I talk out loud instead of writing .

a new prose. I  talk of formative years, the safe place.

russell coates museum. have you been there? it was free on thursdays a haven from the rain,



indoor fish pond, quiet on the stairs, to the edwin long gallery. the flight to egypt. looking

back now, I never thought of it religious.  immense it covered the wall.

I use the past tense, yet it is still in place.

on googling I see  the topic is biblical, I remember the procession, the faces, the space …

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Against the Grain Press announce their debut poet

Abegail Morley

Whilst busy reading the submissions from poets for next year’s list, I thought I’d like to announce our commissioned poet whose collection will launch the press. Why commission someone? Well, all three editors agreed on the voice and mood of the press and in our meetings were throwing around names of poets whose work we admire and wish we had published! So we thought about inviting someone to be our first poet…

One name kept popping up – her poems are startling in their energy, beautifully crafted, tender yet muscular, and gathered in the pamphlet we are currently editing are absolutely stunning. We don’t only want to publish the poems, we wish we had written them!

AnnaKisbypicSo, our first poet is Anna Kisby – a Devon-based poet and we are so pleased to have her on board. A leap of faith in the press for which we are most grateful. So, a bit about her…


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Oedipus and Tiresias by Jonathan Taylor

I am not a silent poet

After Sophocles


Beloved Oedipus,

there will always be a Tiresias

sitting tight-lipped in the corner

of chamber, pub or courtroom,

not saying what he is thinking,

his eyeballs an opaque mirror

on plague, famine, massacre,

a city of wailing and ashes.

Beloved Oedipus,

you can interrogate him,

beat him, even arrest him

for silence under oath,

deviancy, transgenderism

or for your father’s murder

(as you have many others)

but still you see what he sees

within and cannot unsee it

despite dossiers, ministers,

secret police and newspapers.

Beloved Oedipus,

you can kill him as your father

or fuck him as your mother

or both. It hardly matters

for there’ll always be others

somewhere in the crowd

blindly knowing what you

have done in the past

and will continue to do.

Or maybe one day,

beloved Oedipus,

you’ll even take his place,

donning sackcloth and ashes,

haunting foreign cities,


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Freighted by Graham Turner

I am not a silent poet

Lowly in the high street’s Jim.
Jim says so much depends upon
the hang of the bags
the depth of the stoop
the slip of the lip
the knot of the loop.

They take him in.
They let him out.
They wash his hair.
They whet his drought.

Jim pulls his bike like a pit pony.
Jim’s bike sheds rubbish already rubbished.
The rubbish stays shed.
The bike is rubbish
but sometimes a pony.
Jim has been shed.
Jim is a pit.
Jim was a pony. And trap.
Legs shanks’s pony.
His head was the trap.

Are the handlebars aligned?
Are the fashion stars refined?
Are these tangles in his mind?
Are you wankers humankind?

Weighed down until it stops
by what you haven’t said,
Organic Jim sets off
to find his daily bed.

They fret
they spurn
they vet
they worm
they spliff
they piss
they kick
they kiss

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Belshazzar’s Feast by Ruth Aylett

I am not a silent poet

These are the right men: bonuses
nannies and secretaries, fast cars
designer suits. Masters of electronic
transactions, bestriding the stars.

Silver candelabra stroke warm tones
into the white napery and haute cuisine,
jump glinting riches off the gold plate,
bathe well-fed faces pink with content.

Belshazzar gives the after dinner speech
about hard-working families incentivized
by tax cuts, aspiring to riches. Then
that hand appears, more than life-size.

A hand that writes with quick certain
movements, holding its non-pen
as if a screw-driver, thick fingers,
square nails, with dirt under them.

A buzz of puzzlement at its words,
carved into the flock wall-paper:
weigh, number, divide. “Who knows
what that means?” Belshazzar enquires.

A young immigrant waiter translates.
“You’ve pressed too long on the poor”
“More of us than there are of you”.
“We’ll not fight each other any more.”

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