Two poems by Jennifer Lee Tsai

  Breathing after Song Dong Tiananmen Square, New Year’s Eve, sub-zero temperatures; he lies face-down, breathing gently for forty minutes while from a distance, Mao observes a few policemen on night watch and the lamp-posts fitted with video cameras. This is the gate of Heavenly Peace. Soon, a patch of frost thaws, just to freeze over again when he rises. In the morning, by the … Continue reading Two poems by Jennifer Lee Tsai

‘High Society’ by Ian Humphreys

  Inside the camphorwood chest – forgotten treasure: a pair of leather cowboy boots with metal toe caps. How they shone. As loud, proud and polished as the men                         they sparked a trail through. Three decades of dust can’t hide the cracks. A genie-rub conjures up swirls of dry ice, the wink of the glitter ball, and the Night Fever dance floor, a chequerboard                            where … Continue reading ‘High Society’ by Ian Humphreys

Two poems by Degna Stone

  Blackface Live Theatre, Newcastle. 3 December 2016 It’s the sucker punch of an actor walking onstage wearing blackface; the roar from the audience as they piss themselves laughing. The vocabulary has shifted but the old problems remain. I was a fool to think that we’d been moving forward when we were only ever standing still.   Weighing of the Heart When John Dark held … Continue reading Two poems by Degna Stone

‘Scratched Light’ by Raymond Antrobus

for Phoebe Boswell The heart is circled by sorrows and bitter devotion – Derek Walcott Southbank’s Security guards wake anyone sleeping as if they don’t want us to miss who we might bump into like how I bumped into Phoebe today, sat at the tall window, drawing a man called Anwaar. I pull an extra chair and sit next to them and talk about maybe moving … Continue reading ‘Scratched Light’ by Raymond Antrobus

‘The Counterplayer Gazes In and Lives to Play the Tale’ by Dzifa Benson

What is the meaning of Legba’s red baritone saxophone in the Five Spot Café at midnight? On the cliff face of this wet indigo, he is the man who tied water. A trumpet sounds: the prince is in a hurry to dance in the street. Sometimes it sounds like the boom of the earth stretching and yawning. Sometimes it’s as erudite as a tabla. Most … Continue reading ‘The Counterplayer Gazes In and Lives to Play the Tale’ by Dzifa Benson

‘icarus breathes’ by Reuben Woolley

icarus breathes   flight is explosive breaking sound   i trim my wings tight to this body. take it   circling a world. i’ll skim waves & settle grow fins a while & fly with dolphins     (previously unpublished)     Reuben Woolley has been published in various magazines including Tears in the Fence, The Lighthouse Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Domestic Cherry, The Stare’s … Continue reading ‘icarus breathes’ by Reuben Woolley