from DREAM THEORIES, by Iain Britton


reflections spill
a mix of painted mangoes
mothers are plaiting      their daughters’ hair
the lagoon      ripples with still-life
a carved marsupial      stiffens up
on wooden haunches      claws
permanently scratched
into the bright pink earth

a flute player      on his stone pad
plays to birds      which flock & silently spiral
children      paddle the green slushing
slime of the lagoon      we go
between the plastic palms
advertising this year’s      special rates
for sleeping under the stars
a church choir      opens the collective self
& harmonies spin & bounce off
outcrops of stellar hardware

we emerge      on the other side
cloaked in grass      eating berries
& a stream      stutters past
as if choking on messages


someone      hits
the midnight bell

a translocated forest
gouges out      large
clearings for people      like us
to congregate      we pretend
music heals      poetry heals
we listen to sunflowers
stretching their sinews      hills
swapping contours for blue colouring

women      in white hats
wait all day for sunsets to sign off      & a goat
stares at the pock-marked characteristics
of a world      dodging failed promises

myself & the village
meet for one more folk story

we live      by a lake
amongst unwrapped ancestors

early morning life forms
of foetal-tucked beginnings      our eyes
search for islands      floating in bottles



persons of no fixed abode
paddle the green     slushing murk
of the lagoon        sunlight
pushes beyond office blocks
sunlight invades       the scaffolding
of winter trees
the lagoon edges the city      the homeless
wear dreadlocks of dreams
the lagoon       ingests
the sky’s capriciousness        it takes
whatever splashes down
whoever stoops too close

an amoebic mind        has created
its own alphabet
its own numbers system
it has written       its own
Rosetta lingo        a child

fails to recognise       the maternal touch
its tribal significance      this moon’s
disrupted monologue



only acclaimed for an instant
a person’s eloquence
a person rolling a stone
across a renaissance canvas
of a warped crucifix      torso-clad
in a prayer shawl

a blackened house      sadly reveals
last week’s frivolity
the orgiastic wear      & tear
of this street’s inferno
a ladder      offers a rare climb
to some marbled Taj Mahal
with flags flying      banners
unfolding indigenous proverbs     shrines
open for lovers

gift-wrapped      this family
emerges      from broken shells
the hatched remnants
of a solar theory      which
has worked for some      for others
a Florentine garden
has been spoken for



Does the old alchemist
speak in metaphor … Robert Duncan

the best phase       comes later
the companionship     of horse & man
man & horse       the influence
of a green face from amongst the hills
is rugged     in folklore      the horse
stares at me        the man licks
his white lips         they quiver & smile
the animal stares        a rattling machine
is haymaking       bundling up the grass
the goats are being milked
the sheep are being milked
each morning      the village
is cut neatly     into slices       of bread
& buttered        each evening
the magpies      pluck at luminous grubs
the best phase       comes later
inside my house        local heroes
run freely        take up vantage points
a gold tree grows voluptuously
in the front room         the man
with the green face        & the horse
are at the window        wondering if


Since 2008, Iain has had five collections of poems published, mainly in the UK. Recently poems have been published or are forthcoming in Cordite, Harvard Review, Poetry, Stand, Agenda, The Fortnightly Review, Long Poem Magazine, Poetry Wales, The Reader, Blackbox Manifold, Molly Bloom, Poetry Salzburg Review and the Journal of Poetics Research. A new collection of poetry THE INTAGLIO POEMS was published by Hesterglock Press (UK), 2017.


The Sadness of Things, by Rupert M. Loydell

The sarcasm of birds:
two crows bickering on the empty bird table.

The disappointment of biscuits:
too sweet and crumbly for middle-age.

The distraction of other things:
screens flickering, new music demanding attention.

The disintegration of light:
darkness reflected in a discoloured mirror.

The enigma of memory:
what I remember, what I choose to forget.

The destruction of history:
ancient monuments deliberately reduced to dust.

The seduction of the unknown
rather than what we should care for and love.

The impossibility of calm
and quiet and order, of making a perfect home.

The absence of speech:
words unrecognisable, books left out in the rain.

The elusiveness of meaning:
playful disjunction is not the same as synchronicity.

The sarcasm of birds,
their caws and cries waking me up too soon.

The drawn-out day:
silences, pauses, worry and dismay.

The fickleness of language,
refusing to mean what I want to say.

The Spare Parts Shop, by Steven Waling

Shadows carry parcels blown valves whistling
teenager in gang torture ordeal branded
forties & fifties ghosts & obsessions

post war world after midnight consensus
it’s crunch time for United’s deal
rusting engines won’t buy it new

hands reach out for gadgets retreads
your 24 page guide to the week
austerity no blacks no Irish demob suits

back of drawer tuned to
shooting victim offered bribe news
Radio Moscow Hilversum a touch he

says of this and elbow grease
with hot iron and sexually assaulted
behind some dusty window frequency defunct

dust collectors long since junked
a friend dropping in full story
in back room sofas polishing their

passion for machines that never work
the new New Order city life
come in Saturday with oilskin bags

say let’s make this woodwork gleam
the boy’s horrific injuries page 7
at the back of their heads

our shopkeeper serves in low light
Michelle eyes up her first million
out of stock have it Monday

meanwhile you could skirt the edge
the essential guide to what’s on
of town centres like lost coins

Live at the Poet Manqué, by Steven Waling

I would like to see your smiling face*
in this corridor of long words, tired explanations
the leased words of Romeo Anschilo

In a corner of the snug George scribbles
his epic The Pubiad. Brown Windsor
and Iambic Pentameter
playing tonight at the Purple Moccasin

Collage of wires tubes monitors
old men surrounded by prose
the lisped words of Rosine Macoolh

Two girls wander in looking for the Greek
His liver’s evacuated to the country
where death is just shortage of breath
from a dropped incendiary

                        trawling old notebooks
                        for new words

Days and nights in the coffin factory
switch electric connections off in the brain
the lapsed words of Alsonso Moriche

Waiting for Just Published Tam
and his 30 variations on Spleen
………………the eternal present puts a pen in my hand
no-one will read his magazine
when moral policemen read verse

So our poems were full of disaster
composed between dropped cigarettes

When your ghost comes to me* I recite
the lost words of Nicholas Moore

David I’m Only, by Steven Waling

dancing you dancing?     horror flicks
waltz through out childhood     learning
to feel the fear     chance
a for instance     do it
David     I’m wearing all my

masks again     in clown make-up
looking like a lyric eye
in a maxi dress     dancing
with my dodgy knee     throbs
in the harsh Berlin night

by the Brandenburg Gate     kissing
the Western Canon disintegrates into
constituent parts     you little heathen
you     the night’s still I
stars in its own galaxy

shining bright     Big Momma Thornton’s
special toffee     boys keep singing
we learn so much from
television     Omnibus bottle floating in
the dark sea     later I

strung out in heathen heat
change into the lounge suit
on Cosy Avenue     the temperature’s
always corporate     turn to face
the word     come out of

your dens woodland denizens     but
it’s snowing in white space
and David     today I’m tearing
that little black number     in
memory of my rebels     crows

eating kebabs in car parks
are following me    wonder if
we’ll ever know    David I’m
only chancing     don’t know who
tomorrow I’ll be dancing with