The Barbecue (Royal Wedding, 1981) by Paul Stephenson

Mum was mincing steak when it started with Dad’s panicked shouts. She darted out onto the lawn, freshly Flymoed, to see flames dancing, him charging across the about-to-be- christened patio like a bull in a wipeclean plastic apron of a busty bikinied woman, his legs zig-zagging, his beard ablaze, soon tangled up in bunting. The cold tap wouldn’t gush so he buried his head in … Continue reading The Barbecue (Royal Wedding, 1981) by Paul Stephenson

‘On the lifeside’ by Sepideh Jodeyri

A poem by Sepideh Jodeyri, translated to English by Fereshteh Vaziri Nasab On the lifeside He had a shapely smell, Cruel shapes And stranger-biting eyes It seemed that he craved for my heart I poured sugar for him on the lifeside He ate and didn’t eat The lifeside is huge and high On the lifeside there are silent hands So many That no one desires. … Continue reading ‘On the lifeside’ by Sepideh Jodeyri

Two poems by Polly Atkin

  Imaging We can’t say for certain how long it had been there before we found it, masked by the hulk of the wardrobe, our own poor perception, its creeping rapidity, the weak radiation of winter light – its circular messages breaching the paper that glossed its scribblings over so many blinkered moons. It lived in our midst, clandestine. We slept together. It breathed in … Continue reading Two poems by Polly Atkin

‘Praise Be to Unexpected Ways’ by Chaucer Cameron

Praise Be to Unexpected Ways after Sepideh Jodeyri I have breasts, which I love, I can speak the word breast, I can write the word breast, I can associate the breast with a robin on a branch. I love birds, I love the way they sing, and how they capture territory in unexpected ways. Praise the breast. I have lips, which I love, I can … Continue reading ‘Praise Be to Unexpected Ways’ by Chaucer Cameron

Two poems by Jacqueline Saphra

All My Mad Mothers My mother gathered every yellow object she could find: daffodils and gorgeous shawls, little pots of bile and piles of lemons. Once we caught her with a pair of fishnet stockings on a stick, trying to catch the sun. My mother never travelled anywhere without her flippers, goggles and a snorkel. She’d strip at any opportunity: The Thames, The Serpentine, the … Continue reading Two poems by Jacqueline Saphra

‘Posted in stone, O’Connell Street’ by Beth McDonough

Posted in stone, O’Connell Street Most buildings improve as they lose their blueprint finish, weather off architect too-sharp plans. Some wear layered flaked paint, for shuttered quaint takes, while carved seats bottom out smooth. When an engraver’s cut blurs into brass, it surely gains from handled warmth, but this grey braves a Europe-wide boulevard, all pocked out, holed and whole with the guts of wronged … Continue reading ‘Posted in stone, O’Connell Street’ by Beth McDonough

‘Silently, The Women Waited’ by Angela Carr

Silently, The Women Waited The clocks ticked down, the men debated the Proclamation and celebrated while, silently, the women waited a hundred years to be placated, a body, sovereign, emancipated – the clocks ticked on, the men debated – and by the roadside Virgin, consecrated, and on ferry crossings, expediated, silently the women waited in convent laundries, incarcerated, their ‘fatherless’ children emigrated – the clocks … Continue reading ‘Silently, The Women Waited’ by Angela Carr