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.

Two poems by Laura McKee

rain

 

cows do have best friends
and become stressed
if they are separated
how do they know
who their friends are really
or if it’s going to rain
but still they lie waiting
bent at the knees

 

(First published in Obsessed With Pipework, November 2014)

 

 

the sweat bee

 

he had this craving
never wanted
to hurt you

only to lie
against your warm skin
collect pieces of you that shine

 

(previously unpublished)

 

 

Laura McKee’s poems have appeared in various journals including Other Poetry, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, Morphrog, Obsessed With Pipework, Butcher’s Dog, and The Journal. Last year she was a winner in the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, nominated for Best Single Poem in the Forward Prizes, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. This year she has a poem in the anthology, Mildly Erotic Verse (Emma Press). Twitter: @Estlinin

 

‘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.

Two poems by Jacqueline Saphra

 
Hampstead 1979

He says he’s a Gemini too,
always wears white linen
to parties and is a recreational

heroin user in an open
relationship. He whispers
lunch and writes his number

on a £1 note and yes
on a rainy Friday he buys me
real champagne at Sheekey’s,

feeds me oysters with his fingers
pays with the dregs
of his overdraft.

All night he toys with me limply
but lovingly on the floor of
my childhood room

and when The Girlfriend
arrives to pick him up
the next morning as arranged

but two hours early and his tongue
is confusingly in my ear
it falls to my early-rising mother

to open the door and offer tea
and conversation to The Girlfriend
who admires my mother’s

easy way with the I Ching
and spider plants, falls in love with
her collection of African beads

and new alfalfa sprouter and
(my mother tells me later) is slimmer
than I am, with longer hair.
 
(first published in Ambit)
 
  
Getting into Trouble

Mr Giles said he didn’t want the school used as a political jousting ground and made me take the pro-abortion poster down, although I explained patiently that the ancient Romans didn’t mind it, that the church was okay with it in the 13th Century until quickening (when, they said, the soul enters the body), and the statute books condoned it.

Michelle, who was a Born Again, insisted life was ensouled even before conception; Clare believed that once the foetus was viable it had a right to exist, my mother said she didn’t believe in the primacy of the unborn, and I sat in biology wondering if I had a soul, and if I did, where it was. I daydreamed of knitting needles, coat hangers and permanganate.

After my mother came back from hospital – unharmed, grateful and political, only to find that my stepfather had spent her emergency money on canvasses and Carlsberg and dinner with that woman in Portobello Road, she sent me straight to the doctor to get myself a Dutch cap.

My boyfriend who was stupid but useful told all his friends I was a virgin and forced me to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind three times and listen to nothing but Genesis, which I preferred to The Sex Pistols, because I never believed there was No Future, not when my mother was, at least for now, empty-wombed and full of soul, as she stirred a pot of her famous lentil soup, not yet tied by blood to the man she loved.
 
(first published in Poetry Review)
 
 
Jacqueline Saphra teaches at The Poetry School. Her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions, (flipped eye) was nominated for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. An illustrated book of prose poems, If I Lay On My Back I Saw Nothing But Naked Women, was recently published by The Emma Press.