Keep reading the poems

And Other Poems is taking a break and will be back in 2017. Thank you to everyone who’s sent poems this year and thank you to Rishi Dastidar for being a wonderful co-editor. I post updates on the News page so it’s worth checking in from time to time. You can read all of the hundreds of poems at And Other Poems by exploring the archive or by clicking on Index. Thank you for reading poems.

Best wishes

Josephine

poinsettia-2016

‘The remembering business’ by Rishi Dastidar

The remembering business

Today a truth was decided, |                  | Like marching ghosts, we rip
seven centuries ago, that |                 | pages out of ourselves to tell you
bread and wine could be |                 | all is well, that we won’t be the
more than the best of us, |                 | future trapped in these trenches,
the closest we can be to God. |                 | where the mud of ambition,
But we never remember |                  | power, mulches into memory.
blood transforms borders, |                 | Peace has a pulse too,
never our natures. |                 | it is skittering into a silence.

 
 
 
 
Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre amongst many others, and was most recently in Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe, 2014). A fellow of The Complete Works, he was longlisted in the 2016 National Poetry Competition and his debut collection Ticker-tape will be published by Nine Arches Press in March 2017. He is a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, and also serves as a trustee of writing development charity Spread The Word. Twitter @BetaRish

Guest Editor at And Other Poems

I’m excited to announce that, during the next open submissions window (May 13 – May 15), And Other Poems is going to be co-edited by Rishi Dastidar a widely published poet whose debut collection Ticker Tape is forthcoming from Nine Arches Press in 2017. Rishi is a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, a fellow of The Complete Works, a consulting editor at The Rialto and teaches regularly for The Poetry School (phew!). He will be reading your submissions along with Josephine.

Two poems by Rishi Dastidar

 
The anniversary issue

I am forglopned*, struggling to load,
pixelated while walking down Wardour Street.

Greying personalities with media hair
pass me, talking about intertextuality

and Paul Morley, while I pretend
to be Eustace Tilley, the way you do

with the anniversary issue.
The queues queuing to get pancakes.

beseech me instead to contemplate
the fact that DFW would have been 50

today, and that he and I will never
write the Great American Novel,

so my green card will forever be
a redundant bookmark. If only

there was a dummies’ guide to help me,
like the one I am currently following

to write this New York School poem.
I don’t mention any of this to the ex

I meet, merely contenting myself
with the standard envy at the sunny

contentment. I am left to discover
I have missed the LRB with the best verse

ever in it. I settle, to await my move
to an emirate, knowing that resident there

is a metaphor involving a lemon, a butterfly,
a monocle and the rest of my life.

*overwhelmed with astonishment

 

The last neon sign maker in Hong Kong

His hands flutter by the five tongues of flame,
joints articulating at 800 degrees Celsius,
lips blowing commercial wishes down glass tubes,
speaking of honest scripts for certain characters:
light-heads, bending, swirling, inflating.
Thousand layer paper slides in to protect
the messages, before chicken intestines
shake hands with neon breath and iron hearts
for a brighter light: “without displays of prosperity
my city is a ghost town.” If you’re feeling blue
the answer is argon, he says, but best
is daylight red. A door above an air con
unit glows rainbow ready, the past slipping out.
He inhales the town gas one last time.

(Inspired by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsIo57pH-pA)
 
Rishi Dastidar works as a copywriter in London. A graduate of the Faber Academy and a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, he was a runner-up in the 2011 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and featured in the 2012 anthologies Lung Jazz (Cinnamon Press/Eyewear Publishing) and Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins). He is also currently part of The Complete Works II programme.

‘Toad gives a lecture’ by Rishi Dastidar

 
Toad gives a lecture

I vaulted the proscenium arch last night,
a one-act show-stopper of my own stealing,
featuring a throne of cool wrapped in chocolate
velvet, the devastating transparency of Wilde
translated by a firebrand Marxist with a fondness
for the glottal stop, and a servant whose trousers
fall down. That the room actually saw me as Toad
of Hall (not Hull), wearing a neoprene shellsuit,
toting a MacBook Pro, semi-digested pop
neuroscience and case studies of other people’s
brilliance flecked with a cheery misdirection
and curdling bonhomie, what of it? She laughed and
laughed and laughed and gave me the cheque
and asked, when can you come back?
 
 
Rishi Dastidar works as a copywriter for an advertising agency in London. A member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, he was a runner-up in the 2011 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and has featured in the 2012 anthologies Lung Jazz and Adventures in Form.