Two poems by Kathy Pimlott

The Rookery Redux

The rain collects by drains stopped up with fatbergs from the eateries,
in cracks and trips of slabs laid slipshod and craftless. Step carelessly

and soak your shoes. Do you belong here? Do you loop grey nets to foil
the suck and growl of traffic’s heat? Do you open your windows at all?

At night the seven streets pinball each drunk chorus, each deal undone,
each spat. Roused sleepers turn and mutter vows to flee to Harpenden

Peterborough, somewhere normal. Let’s not forget it always was about
money, this star conceived for dosh, more rental by the frontage foot

than squares. Cute schemes, smart ideas leap and crash, leave logos,
hidden eglomise, blind windows. The crack crowd keeps its ground, Soho

to St Giles, between cameras and lights. Watchful, unbranded and urgent,
heads over cupped palm, with sudden limping dashes, they shout, feint,

twist and turn, wry faced and pissen pants, hopeless and eternally hunting
for that one good deal among the pop-ups, the fairy-lit trees, the bunting.
 
 
 
Makeshift

When you’re drowning in blah and good knife skills
so much depends

upon

believing the promised
pops of

a red the greater for being half forgot When the wheel skews
and sweating outweighs the ease

of trundling the barrow

make it a bed for Mara de Bois
a support for those exploding

                                                       cucumbers

for these are makeshift times when every chink’s
needful
                When you’re thrown back on sand

grit and the nous to gouge channels

wipe your glazed eye so you might see to guide rain
to the right place

Water
your stiff heart for though the world’s

beside itself the Middle White’s
still entirely useful except its squeal and

chickens

too of course in all parts
even their gurgle’s balm
 
 
 
 
 
Kathy Pimlott’s pamphlet Goose Fair Night (The Emma Press) was published in 2016. Her poems have appeared widely in magazines, anthologies and on-line. She lives in the Seven Dials corner of Covent Garden.

‘Five Unusual Things’ by Kathy Pimlott

Five Unusual Things

You open the quarter-lights, get out of the car.
‘Five minutes’ you say ‘and while I’m gone,

look for five unusual things’. And I’m alone
on a back street of workshops and offices.

No-one appears. There are no balloons,
no burglaries. Nothing disturbs the street.

Two thirds up the warehouse wall
the brick course swivels ninety degrees,

three fanciful rows and then back
to a sensible horizontal.

I breathe on the window, draw a face
that fades with the clearing mist,

breathe again and it reappears.
Years later, when you’ve been gone forever,

seeing a sign for invisible menders,
I say for you, ‘you don’t see many of those.’
 
(published in The North, Dec 2014)
 
 
 
Kathy Pimlott grew up in Nottingham but has lived in London for the last forty years, most of that time in Seven Dials, where she manages public realm projects. Her poems have appeared in magazines, anthologies and on-line and her pamphlet, Goose Fair Night (Emma Press), is due out in March 2016. She was one of the Poetry Trust’s 2015 Aldeburgh Eight.

‘Plait’ by Emma Simon

Plait

The trick is to hold three braids in two hands
and ignore the logistics of mornings.
Wind the first over the second, then cross

the third over the first, and so on. Don’t get cross
with excessive fidgeting, or arguments slipping like hoarded minutes out of hand.
Keep a zen-like calm in your fingers. Remember even school mornings

don’t last forever. Focus on this unremarkable Tuesday morning,
the soft nape and collar crease beneath the wonky plait. Let the yin yang of its criss cross
weave a tender magic, like a proverb handed

across the generations, mourning that there is never enough time, or enough hands.
 
(winner of The Prole Laureate Competition, 2013)
 
 
 
Emma Simon lives in London. She was one of the writers chosen for this year’s Jerwood/ Arvon mentoring scheme. She has had poems published in various publications including Bare Fiction, Popshot, Prole and The Interpreter’s House. She also works as a part-time copywriter. Twitter @SimpleSimonEmma

Two poems by Stuart Mckenzie

Earplugs

Some mornings  I wake up, find them
pressed into my hair, dangling

like two small clumps of snow
on the ears of a cocker spaniel.

I’d like to ask him upstairs
as he enters his flat,

to please switch off your gristly cough
and mute your feet.

I know silence,
I held it in my hands once:

a one-sided 7” single – so blasphemous
the plant refused to press it.

In place of the song – two minutes of nothing.
I smoothed my fingers across

the empty black grooves,
to the run off  – I knew

from beginning to end
would lead nowhere.

Dear neighbour, this evening
I  remove you from my playlist.

(first appeared in The Interpreters House Issue 54)
 
 
The Dead Weight of Beauty
 
The last hours were spent cosying up
to the likes of Kate, Linda, Naomi –

the spines of a hundred vintage 80’s
– 90’s Vogues. His nose now sniffed

at the best parties of bygone eras
sandwiched between Live Aid Chic

and How to Go Boho on a Budget.
His heart was back where it once belonged –
 
its dull thud petered out below pages
of reportage: a Westwood Retrospective –

super elevated moc croc ghillies that
brought down a Supermodel, bummy skirts,

cosages and corsellettes, bloused and housed
cleavages whispering Vigée Le Brun

Frans Hals and Boucher – a detail
from Daphnis and Chloe: Shepherd

Watching a Sleeping Shepherdess. Now,
his last scene – a Magazine Death Riddle.

Toppled by the Dead Weight of Beauty
 
(first appeared in Magma Issue 56)
 
 
Stuart Mckenzie is a freelance illustrator living and working in London. His poems have appeared in various magazines and are featured in the recently published Sounds of the Front Bell anthology by ‘The Group’ featuring poems from John Stammers writing group. He is also author of Creative Fashion Illustration published by Bloomsbury.