Featured in this issue:

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PETER FINCH is head of the Welsh Academi, the Welsh National Literature Promotion Agency. His webpage is located here, and his poetry appeared in Slope #1. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.


A poem is an unscrewed roof-rack and untranslatable. It moulders unworn in the backs of heads, it farms the hills, it has erection failures. It is never pretty to use as an introduction.

A poem is a placarded fly-blown Christian mask worn to remain sober. It genuflects like a townie at breakfast. It is the sense of speed swimming, coal mining, razzle gazing. It is always political to use as time filler.

A poem is a football pollarded chrysanthemum so obvious as to become magical. It parses as a refrigerator in America. It is a daffodil collector, a trap of difficulty, a thing of the elderly. It is usually prick-like to use as a money-maker.

A poem is a stitched forest of negative charm which has been legally enunciated. It reiterates as a slide-rule in absentia. It has a sense of heaven language, a touch of illness, the mumbles of the free papers. It is often proverbial to use as payment for petrol.

A poem wherefore oft stricken antipathy which flows o'r hill and hummock. It ruminates as a shut-up in mixed company, a sense of righteous in speech patterns, an unwillingness to smile ever, it is a culturally miserable drunken doddle. It is often mistaken for use as money.

A pom is really cash pasted stuck to the throat back which has been over lucid. It works as an derangement in publishing. A sticky ghost of shattered shards, a seagull patina thickened with rage, a thing with broken rhythm celebrated in the media. Bookworm wins prize poem best out of five thousand soon to be made laureate of Florida framed certificate. It is often half-rhymed for use in the valleys.

A porm, make it new. Art money you bastard you are culture and I reach for my gun. It works as a magnet. God and R.S. help me. A bilingual darkness, a wobble, a shoe horn and a out-pipe overspill. I am squeezing it into all the cracks there are with my emergency tyre reflator. We'll fix the world, we will, we will make it smooth all over.


height down 10 mm
weight increase 2.1 kilo in 60 months
waist 32 to 34 maybe
pulse resting at 72 up 8
stretch reduction sit & reach 27 cm
vision 2.25/3.25
lung capacity 4.21 litres normal
grip strength 44 kgf
can sit w no movement 1 hr 30
flat mile averaged 7.1 seconds unhindered
erection angle 82 no windchill
40 x lifts in sets average
belief drop 15.5% alc. unit level 17 mean
1991 records show 32 29 41 82 (unattributed)
[compare 2015366 Finch (my father) 134 lbs in 1940
his only extant stat]
this data how I move from A to B
archaeology without suffering
the body elsewhere this is the dust

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GRAHAM FOUST is a Ph.D. candidate at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, and co-edits Lagniappe with Benjamin Friedlander. His poems have recently appeared in Volt, Talisman and Painted Bride Quarterly.

deluge: pretending into the general desire

if waves were places

if things
were more worth storing

(that is

if things only fit
into the store -

the rain I'm in

is not the rain
of cities

- nothing is

as clean
as need

forcing house

the quick

wish behind
each kicked

door -

manage to hang from my panic
or love

and leave everything


song beginning "baby i know"
          after Aretha Franklin


not to sever

the voice from the body from
the hand

the rest
the rest is


scratched out

mall parking lot
          after Inka Essenhigh's painting

the skull
or the knuckle

honey or shit

the blare
of jaws or
the rattle of

or this
long distance
or drinking
broken knitting -

what one
wants to want
is just bearable

what one wants to know

is that shelter
is over

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JESSICA HORNIK's poems are forthcoming, or have appeared, in Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, The Yale Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The Southern Review.


The world spread wide outside my window
is a dictionary, for every time I look up
I learn something. This morning the subject
was mist. I studied its forms: the thick tongue
of its noun, fresh from the mountain;
its tentative lips, murmuring adjectives
in the grass; the verb of its vanishing. And then
the soft declensions of the whistling swans,
looked up under V. A is for apple tree
empty of apples, whose falling occasioned
the round red Absolute's ascent into air.
And in the meadow-fleeting as a definition
a thousand times consulted and as many times
forgot (O Robin-Hood mind who thieves
to give, itself forever rich and forever poor) -
the deer, bounding soundlessly
into the speckled edge of woods.


The Sun

I ply you with evening light
as helium fills a balloon.
Believe what you see.
Horizontal like a lover,
my rays lift the skirts
of the opening oak
and take you in.

The Sun's Reflection

A thumb's width of brilliant water,
I am a yardstick whose markings
have rubbed away. Only with me,
substance of the insubstantial,
will you rise from the limb of yourself.
Exceed your height. Consider
what you cannot touch or measure
your equal.

The Body

And why is that your constant aim,
to transcend me?
I shall go on indenting you
in the day's paragraphs.
I shall introduce you to walls.
You shall not eat of the yolk
of the soul, whose nourishment
is indistinguishable from suffering.
The place for you is bed,
just after waking,
when the soul fits neatly into me
like a pillow in its case.

The Soul

Evening is something other
than a time, and this bench,
weathered as a ruin, not only
the place you came to
at the end of the day.
To hear me is
to hear through me.
The wind is stronger than the doorframe
where your height is marked in inches.
Stay by the river until you see
the colors of sunset breaking up
like guests at the end of a party.

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JOHN KINSELLA is editor of Salt and Folio Publishing, co-editor of Stand, and is international editor for The Kenyon Review. He is fellow and writer-in-residence at Churchill College, Cambridge, U.K., and is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and fellowships including the Western Australian Premier's Award for Poetry, the Harri Jones Memorial Prize for Poetry, and the John Bray Poetry Award from the Adelaide Festival.


I don't take photographs but cling to the few I have
when we can afford a digital camera I will take photographs again

regular film contains gelatine and the preservation
of memory at the expense of an animal's life
is appalling : the fragment of a life,
of living and the moment or scene
or vista, the gravel roadside sloping down
from the bitumen, run-offs
storm water rushing, and salt marsh
below the hazy sky, the brittle yellow
warmth of where I am always, and now each day
passes : we might mention we have seen
something unusual in terms of our points
of reference : a troop of fly agaric mushrooms
under birch trees near Ambleside,
the pike rising high enough
and the mist clinging to a lake,
the compass collapsed into prayers
I don't understand, though I might say I do
within reason, working my tongue around the dialect,
the miracle working best on the disbeliever;
style is something you construct
around repetitious acts : the illusion
of the one-off that is mimicked, the originating event
posing as style, every second post in the fence rotted
through, hanging on stretches of rust, barbs
tetanus-rich, salinity, a passport with
too much to say about place
and race and heritage and statistics : it's time
we weren't here, the budget flight is on
the point of leaving, the airport is new
and pure class, vegans eat plain chips and drink
orange juice, the only paper left is the Wall Street Journal;
a road intones orange over the rise, the scrub
and survey markers wandering
into the blank room : cold and cluttered with books
and blank; write that we held off for as long as possible,
under-siege, transferring knowledge
to our child, filling our heads with pictures
and anaesthetic : the fear of getting back what we've left
decipher location in the biorhythms : today I can't take it,
you take it for me
and vice-versa, we almost kneel at the same altars
but never at once, though we move comfortably as one
through dead abbeys


Mosh pit exchange of the hyperactive :
Stage dive, trance-struck collectibles ending
Words, legal doctrinal bootleg, high jump
Continent deep phobia portable

Recorders hissing and crackling product
Foreclosed trope is what happens in units
Back technology poised in damned light, dragged
Or sucked dry may day iron lady churchill

Archives report for alternative use
Of space magnesium special common
Wealth collections proverbs vegetable
Values as detached comes the main nest struck

Out and down through cavities, the dust,
Spray and thatcher writing lunar "pollen
Smelling" artemis and procris renewed
Every fifteen or twenty years out near

The test-sites for gm crops, for bio-
Ethical piss-ups, jugbands, verse dramas,
Removal of body parts, I WILL sign
Away the rotten tissue of my bowel,

Surveyed in the year of, in exorcism
As there's nothing there : just a never-re
Leased single or broadcast from a pirate
Radio station off the stormy coast

Of Cumbria or the Sun, first session blank
Mastertape like a grim fairytale : we
Take, ignoring time and all wildflowers
And thomas moore, or the Main Man who said

The devil take him black-dogged and made dead,
Though sales were good, the cohorts and lackeys
And henchmen out there smiting his sharp-tongued
Enemies (with their strange syntax and bright

Language and left-of-centre politics),
Barrels of dynamite and enclosure :
That old tree stump down by the creek a real
Bugger, utopian prize, great act of

Revenge with a national flavour, all preamble
And self-certainty, they'd take our licence
Though we might feel sorry for him, ourselves
And them : all one 33 rpm

Circle, we WERE there : mystery hunt key
As just it is, that anaesthetic death
Absolute decrepitude along Paul
Eluard's walled orchestras, outmoded

Vinyl analogues, power gendered groove-
Tone take note, dialectic dumping word
Order on its nether up-ended, it's how
It's taken down: typeface magnetic fluid

That's narrative, the parish births and deaths
Register the fastest mile or shortest
Sailing time between voice and prize and blanc
Caches of skulls that form the secret wealth

Of the grave robbers, software companies
Crying foul "you're ripping our artists off,"
Repeating nothing as each recording
Is its own and can't be replicated:

YOU could own this magnificent box-set,
Litotes: not bad, all liner notes, artwork,
Screed and death-throes, plaints and dark marketing:
Scratch, mix, retro : isotonic swamp rock.

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LEWIS LaCOOK's poetry has appeared in Lost & Found Times, Whiskey Island and the Potepoet e-series. He edits the online journal Idiolect.


The outer scope's allotment sounds where blue balloons
abreast a
voluptuous. Whole kernels of frightening moon full
you into
sleeping through functions and harmfuls of supplements
won't wake
(take a draught of ether to calm castled dirt pants)
cognition's fringes, or what's territorial in your
certain to upload smoothly. Arrays mean evil branches
avoidance until what's due is usurped by brief
exchanges with the
converted; I had half a mind to slow the other half
blind, latte
neighborliness with bronzed young women moistening
pillows with
wools of shocked you tactile from experiencing minor
problems, how sits any sixth of this simplicity that
duties long
code from starward wanings, wrath. A messed-up
mathematics. You
hiss escaping word coffins, finish crosswords with
your bits of
(your) skin, poems the sound of blue a fuse with its
LCD dark;
display cases sacrosanct and delicious such spheral
honeys from
the moon stitched lavender through long dead launch of
you cooked in my arms for eating with, that width of
finally depth in who steps out. My eyes felt like
they saw it.
My teeth felt slick with it, sickness. Shroud a
corner of jaw
mouth wound wind blooming, pricking foliage for bulge
lights brigand every village and gentleness, I find a
loose patch
of and in your pants. If healing matches dissonance
of learning
your body through thorough listening, civilize
embrouchre to
these tempos less cured than wax saws sway danger's
orbital whimper, else levitate, relax, reference. The
sleeping we
gleam with is only wet stars.


Light-splashed leaves. Important.
Collage-trees almost perfectly

Seed. Jigsaw junction:

Step back from the pores It makes
A face Step back from A face it
Makes a Colony, All the Running
It Takes To Make grace from
Weird weave of hiphuggers Slung
Little Brown Belly tightened to pull
Children from glaze of grinning
Earth. It's kindness on our last visit

Was "More Than We Could Ask." For
Another's marks took his spring of toy
To the edge of her bewildering And Howl
Could be sleeveless eras, that gray bumpy ride

I'm gleeful when I stand next to her

Talking on top of histories, giving them eyes.
We want to use a plaintive, almost "childlike" tone
Here, to Tug Her Beneath the Waves where
The tocking of amorous squids weep Gas Puffs
Amazement, a lean-to through often seen eating alone

Though became A Prime Subject. "Oh?
What kinds of Things do you Write about?"
I keep misplacing my grammars, instead of

Dips in Meaning See holes lurching lucid,
"Pipes through which to Feed." She was
Training me to abstract Responsibility from Love,
Like I was langston ZHughs or something.


The words I use
For your body sprawled
And watchful with
(Red eyes) from her own
Subconcious was found
At the scene. Next to you
The word I use
For cat washes the
Master plan from his
Sister geneaology as
The washing machine makes
Exercise for the drain.
The brain reacts
To the police, if there was
No way she could have been
Accidentally poisoned. There
Was little to link it to
The file I have of you
Twirling your lip-ring through
Its hole, a dilation
Of distances the close
And private eating of more
Could be hungry. Learn
To do tricks. Honey, you're
Complicating our relationship
With me.

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TIMOTHY LIU's poetry appeared in Slope #1. He edited Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, which was recently released by Talisman House. He lives in New Jersey.


channel surfing from baseball scores to late night news for images
of ourselves in vain no faggots here in uniform only shirts that say
repent or perish as closets open wide their flaming doors just try on
the face of a christ that took a lifetime of our suffering to achieve
last-pick sissies striking out foreheads marked with ash as tongues
begin to slide like eels in public parks tempting boys who'd flock
to sport some jockstraps stuffed down throats where teeth had been
knocked-out a pack of trading-cards some drag from base to base


tossing frisbees in the eucalyptus scented air equidistant to the site
of old catastrophes waterlogged under a bridge our bodies pulled
to the center where it sags with years of connubial bliss and hardly
an hour's peace on unpaved roads that lead to a drive-thru window
where shrooms were tucked in a happy meal why not spy on boys
who spread their legs under leaves so green you'd think it was a set
heaving in the heat forget that homeless voice that kept on shouting
how many easter eggs you want up your ass the two of us pushing


gripped by a cell-phone panic day-trading shares a load more fun
than getting drunk on Jersey sky awash in amaretto light as I vespa
through the Palisades dependent more on Wall St. than the voice
of Pasolini now walling out all canyon echo clandestine rest-stop
action darting through the shrubs in search of Armani-suited cock
pack-muled through crevices at dusk patrol-car love winking past
that dogstar all aglitter over Ostia falling into the hands of rough
trade che gelida mania thread-bare boxers pulled down to our heels

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RUPERT LOYDELL's poetry appeared in Slope #1. He is managing editor of Stride Publications.


My summer was disastrous.
I became aware that gravity had shifted,
and had to work at staying seated.

Long and winding lines led up to
a woman whose sole qualifications
are her skills at oral and phone sex.

Jesus the Hot Air Balloon is
an extension of my own self-absorption;
I will topple out if I am not careful.

Well, you know I am a savage,
frightened and dazed. The mind
is a monkey and, honey, so am I.


He took us to another world,
writing the same book several times
to make sure we understood.

Each book the same journey
through an imaginary city
he had created from reality.

He did not plan to travel anywhere;
was a thousand miles away from his room,
looking further into impossibility.

He told me of a perimeter fence
with a set of instructions for
simulating the distance between,

a technology of disorganization
conjured up whilst lying in hospital
listening to a beeping monitor.

He was not interested in relying on science,
wans't accustomed to his environment;
truly felt his strangeness in the world.

His final departure, this forced narrative,
seems to have finalised the future.
He was not the one who chose his words.

He lived and worked hard, so they say,
journeying around Britain reshaping the novel,
painting in obsessive bursts until a picture was finished.

Maintaining the always implausible distance
between the creator and his creation,
he appears only once in his own work.


I paid him a visit once and
his attitude was not one of distress
but, rather, of recognition.

'You know,' he said, 'there is no silence.'
He was delighted at being able to project
all those sounds into the hall at once.

If you've ever seen a man singing songs
while trapped under a chaise-longue
you'll know exactly what I mean.

By arousing indignation or sympathy,
he reminds us how fragile music really is;
how finely attuned to the zeitgeist.


He did all his painting
looking through a telescope,
seeing only a small bit at a time.

Again and again he was marooned
in no-man's land, a utopian idea of refuge.
The wonders of his art are now being recognised.

He very much desired to give something back
to the viewer who had a compassionate side,
wanted them to be silent and overpowered.

For forty years his followers have been
wandering through blasted landscapes
and living on a more abstract plane.

People always think there is something
to understand, worry over the ghostliness
and shadowlike quality of existence.

There can be, there must be, and are
several events which unfold at once,
suggesting not only a confidence trick

but also a feeling of vertigo.
Do you know the posthumous work?
Slow, impressionistic mood pieces.

A landscape can reflect our lives:
we are at the mercy of nature
and the mechanics of lightning.

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ANDY MORGAN has worked as editorial assistant of Verse. He lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.


i: P & Q

I heat the world as it whispers beneath my nape,
emancipating a sluttish falsification:
agnostic seashells and lackluster charm (smoldering).
Moonlight serenades congested lock-ness -
a plisky tantalization plowing
forth the roots of a plesiosaur remembrance.
To quaff -
stomach cramps and urination-qualmed.
Reddhaw branches scribble satisfaction;
ribaldly leaping from frog to stone
I quadratically compensate a caffeinated slur.
Hysterical - a Chacerian tantalization-buffoonery:
medicated indifference spooning with the tide.

2: Remelted ASAP's

A tubercular promenade
jousting retention:
my mirror-glaze rhododendron is lost;
the tricot is a hounds tooth of refraction.
Candelabra foolishness milking,
suckling, fornicating pheonic madness:
platelet stasis evading a triatomic rigor mortis,
scalene pathways yule-tiding sloppy-second depression.
Is tabernacle smothering me?
Does the moonlight bridge oceanic diversions?
Rhetorics - evangelical and pedestrian biased -
leak, soothe and seep retribution.

iii: Moose Hunting


Epoch eyebrows arc'd and poised,
pre-arthritic fingers crossed,
mouth cannabis-dry-gummy-stuck
awaiting the slush of Cranial Photography:
"Daddy, may I manipulate that weapon
to cease biological activity in another orgasminism?"


A jubilee of rancidness
drools from the cracks of half-moon lips
as weeds sprout amongst discarded truths -
post-Cranial Education:
"Don't spot ya eldah's lepahd's fore noon."

iv: Ballroom Inadequacy

A fulcrum sanction silhouettes adoration,
extinguished fumes belch forth moonlight,
a checkered floor's marked for chess and forgotten:
all weep in pre-uterine deliberation.
A cavalcade of ovenware takes coats at the door
while Junior experiments with chemistry in the attic:
calculations (+) combinations (=) a suicidal-waltz on the piano.
The guests tap toes and begin:
one to the other undressing calm,
fingering marigold faces with polystyrene nails.
Chapstick and lipstick intertwined, redefined:
shimmering platens for the anvil of necessity.

55: Suggested Maximum Velocity

The bit is raw, freezing, emanating moonlight:
shards of liquid-refabricate
spur on constipated togetherness,
preempting diagnostics' pixelating idiosyncrasies.
Traversion's blocked by demilitarized crosshairs -
yellow timed phone lines stampede monotony,
snapping the pavement of relation (with)
de accuracy dove,
a cackling of rotten-stick-to-knee cracking.
Ineptitudal despondency mackling magnetism,
coupling east to west with a clevis of vibration
until the rusted culverts of memory burst,
vomit forth the anchors of a nitrified cabriolet.

vi: Cardboard Burns Quicker

The clergy ignites the demigoddess Tide,
burning cleanliness and inhaling bleach.
Sulfur tints eyelids with garbure halos,
darkening with moonwave henna
the crescents of ephemeral disdain:
a finial dint upon the pupil of lust.
Arm and Hammer deception's hidden,
shielded and cuckold behind dial-tone decibels,
fatiguing the sockets of epidermal and wool;
soda sparks bake awe into grotesque:
the fippled music of sand-bar demonism
rippling eddies along blazing eighth-note piers.

vii: The Sink (& Its Contents)

The canary drowns in soapy fogo -
a lunar cadaver floating amongst toothpick-discard,
compromising loneliness with humor;
fratricide briskly settles archaic debts.
Icterus sponges mold disuse,
cray-papered and psylocibicly
pleading to massage linoleum.
Bubbles fuck-elope toward drainage;
faucet handles (free) associate,
remembering the fingerprinted swiveling of yesteryear.

*: Mudbogs & Cigarette Distribution

Grunge, established within lunatic sludge,
rhyizomicly absorbs laces (loafers and all):
parading phobias leap-frogging
sickly requests for nicotine satiation.
But was it more than that?
Narcotic metaphors perhaps?;
glucose and tobacco square-dancing
unrequited tranquility bulbs?;
a taste tester's delight of porridge and lima?
Backing away, adjusting my hairstyled beanie,
browning, malignanting, brimstone branded.
Breath, a custard cuss,
waxes prehistoric bedlam and
cuttinizes the balded with a scalpel:
an eyelash of dimorphic gratitude
shielded by elytronic composure:
the humor of zippers echoing disdain.

ix: Abstract Tissue Failure

The timber of speech beseeches calamity
as urinals ignite sophomoric fibers -
gangplanks (screech) connecting sanity and hygiene.
Ignition modules sparking metaphysical darby,
trading red for retina for sand (and park),
milk seed duds grey-white-confabbed in tri-coat.
Banshee whiskers whisper silken confetti burn;
a cracked crab turns a yeti's creed-bite tote fancy.
Demerol sienna-bloodshots -
skin-pops strata-moon-cheesing iris dilation,
capsizing a mile(ph) sneezes (balance)
fata morgana.

v+v: The Assignment (aka: xx-x: A Hietal Eclipse)

It was sor  did:
like a ban   an          ares
embles an ass(w)hole-
so(sum)e _(?)(_+_)(?)_reason
crutches bench
-pressed my arm
pits (force-feed)
propelling a fast and quick
nus            :
a numb(ing) of limbs asphyxiates vi(o)si(o)n:
I see all I care not
to be
with a knee-
prayer-a de/  a  /th of chatt
(                 )

iiiixv: Glass

An anti-despondent shove
barnacles greeting with
thorns of forgetfulness,
dying in the Shakespearean sense upon
charcoal battlefields of festering namelessness.
Prismoidal speech catapults clitoral stampedes,
bungee jumping spaniel ethics,
cocker sprockets revisiting ball joint dismay -
a musth radiating orbital plankton.
The transparency of heated sand
breast-feeds sight with dogmatic frugality,
puckering pleasure from trimesteric curves,
pungently wrenching lip from breast
as un-nibbled earlobes simmer
with the moon-plop of silence.

1 (Six-packs) : (Bookshelves) 2 (& Salt)

A sheetrock cosmopolitan fragment
relinquished to pumice -
gouged by naked tragedy:
depth angels, nipple hardening tears,
tongueless screams echoing,
threading, piercing the needle
atwixt scutch and void:
a mumble-soothing cortisol:
orchards-reaped: baskets-stuffed:
oranges leaking teratoidal ichor:
the nectar of belligerence synovially cementing
salvation to sukkah to simony.

Almost a Saturated Octagon Nesting Necromancy
       (Ettu Tarantula)

Manilla grips the tumbleweeds
& poison ivy seed pods served
in anti-climactic fashion.
A toadstool wistfully withers,
contemplating bathing;
a mylar vortex
soothes boils with light,
a plastic-play; a steed
of unfathonable vision fraud
prances hoof to atom to ion;
pastel smudges split heirs
upon cardboarded suit;
the blisters of an Armani hex
anon a pusing anti-hill height.

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SHEILA E. MURPHY's books of poetry include Falling in Love Falling in Love With You Syntax: Selected and New Poems (Potes & Poets Press). Last year she appeared in the annual Brisbane Writers Festival in Queensland, Australia.


Purple faints into our lap once
We recoil from what is
Naturally normed fish blue
In the equation

I would father
Sentences of light,
And I would extrapolate from altar
An intrinsic drawing on

The light behind the space
Of couples to be spooned into
Until the drive time

Glistens with a rolodex of know
Sprained weatherful
Again as might
Transcends to ought transcends to . . .


In the other room she sleeps
This afternoon she sleeps
After the football precipice she sleeps
The score is up, the score down, sleeps

How many thought-sides
Lie upon the land
How many free zones
How many aberrations

I am here
To watch
Her breathing in
This house

However many cubic inches blue
The patterned space
And kismet
Of the park, how many stones


I used to be in love with not yet
Functional abundance, used to
Speak to strangers on the bus,
I used to mutter from my books

Look into matte
Patina making way
Into the forenoon of careen-with-me-

Where a little group decides
Who will earn quality of notice
We are live from where they are
A drinking glass against the wrong side of their room

Still early in our history
That no one owns, where claims are placed,
Where sprinkler touches during summer
When the harvest starts to show

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WILLIAM OXLEY's poems have been published in journals including The Formalist, The Scotsman, New Statesman, Agenda, Stand, The Independent, The Spectator, and The Observer. Co-editor of the Long Poem Group Newsletter, he divides his time between London and South Devon, U.K.


Somewhere in the holy distance begins
that buzz in the ear Nadia Mandelshtam
spoke of, the dip of sun into far-off snows
setting off an extra rhythm of being.
I hear it. It is why I have to sing.

Not just the noise of sound but its meaning.
Where joy and sorrow meet to make lament.

And as I hold quite still, secure
in the storm's eye, or amid the buzz
of a thousand bees,
cark of disgusting crows celebrating
acres on acres of the disquieting real,
I listen in blue silence to the meaning of noise.

In the madness of sound begins the poem
before it subsides onto dead paper of a page.


The eskimoes have many words for snow
we have one for sun,
so if I cannot make some
more, I can say
there are different kinds of sun-

light. There's palladian sunlight
that is cut up into golden strips
as it slips
through elegant shadows cast
by stucco'd walls in big, green-marbled

Then there is wild sunlight thrown
into trees, nature's halls,
by the late red ball of neurotic
winter furious at clouds
or dawning above pullulating estuaries
where sea slithers like grey grease.

But nothing quite matches
an old-fashioned sun,
a wheatfield sun, or one
where you make hay while ... the shine
of it talks peace
and lark-speak gives joy
and sky is kids' blue with one big yellow
lion-splodge in the middle.

Last, though, is the sun of dreams.
It can be baroque as a gilded rose
or a curious white-heat
at the edge of vision. You cannot see it straight
but it's pure light
that bathes even the meanest thought.
It is the inside-out sunlight
of a sun often clouded by error-horror -
seen best behind closed doors of sleep,
through windows of prayer,
or clinging like now to words, a dry rain
on invisible leaves. That
is poetic sunlight, and it pleases me best
because it is always there.


It's a miracle -
then suddenly it's all gone
back to a stone rolling on a beach,
a seagull strutting on the sand.

Impossible this paradise
for the flesh-governed
who cannot concentrate for long
on plain stone or subtle flowers -

see every shape, be it stone,
gull or hand that clutches
stony rubbish -
each also wears perfection
like tears or light.

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MARK ROBINSON's books of poetry include The Horse Burning Park (Stride), Gaps Between Hills (Scratch) and Half A Mind (Flambard). He lives in Teesside, U.K.


War endured because lookout offers us a spectacle,
a clock candy bigger midnight of fireworks.
Mechanical scares most lines out of us,
bleeding net its leather, its fascination,
sunk because everybody wants to sting alternative porridge.
Everybody pardon secretly proud of mechanical.

War endured because mechanical offers us a spectacle,
an authority opens bigger proceedings of fireworks.
Flash scares daylight satisfaction out of us,
so communicate philosophers with reddish loaves,
lethergy, because everybody wants to sweat what pulse is telling.
Everybody secret union of sunrise desolation.

War endured because intention offers us a spectacle,
a bust beam bigger lunch of fireworks.
Deference scares district barbarian out of us,
bleeding blotch pile fortitude, its unreality antique,
regular, because everybody wants to system what natural's really rabbit.
Everybody process secretly respond of natural.

War endured because level offers us a spectacle,
a coverlet crave bigger nobody of fireworks.
Natural scares thick mend out of us,
turns us notepaper out, menial incline,
whistle, because everybody wants to snare what liberty notices.
Everybody passion secretly green of ill.

War endured because crash offers us a spectacle,
a sun collapse bigger will of fireworks.
Few scares captain or grumble out of us,
beauty after beauty candy china tip up,
aurora, because everybody wants to steer what transfusion's really lurks.
Everybody connection secretly jealous of war.

Based on computerised mutations of lines about war from The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen.


That is not a solution,
that is a sausage on a stick.
The quizmaster misunderstands
paraphrased seduction.
The lights go out.
You have won the booby prize,
the darkened room awaits,
needle clicks in the eternal present.
Life and death are a spondee
split by our stuttering.
Neither Anish Kapoor
nor IKEA
can save you now.

'I was born in a wheatfield snapping my fingers'
Tomaz Salamun

I was born in the back bedroom of a council house,
breech and purple from bruising, not picked up
for three days except when absolutely necessary.
I was born in a room that looked out over
the playing fields of my primary school.
I imagine my mum and dad, and my nan,
gripping the window ledge as eager boys below
played football while I cried and cried and cried.

I was born weeping and bursting my lungs,
as unanswered calls swept through rooms
and through houses, until the whole terrace
was holding its breath, until the Beatle-cut fathers
had to walk down the gardens in the rain
to smoke fag after slow musty fag in the dusk.

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MATTHEW ZAPRUDER's translations of the Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu, from his book Secret Weapon, have appeared in Verse, Meanjin and International Poetry Review, and will be appearing in subsequent issues of Salt Hill, Fence and Slope.


The meadow is not too flat, with a scarecrow in a wedding dress, a ruined barn, and a stream that catches light mechanically. A woman bends over it, turning her limbs, always looking down to see how beautiful she is as a linden.

Hidden in her branches a magpie stares, as if summer had suddenly ended, listening to a shadow approaching from the south, while bees who had been sleeping curled in twos and threes inside the cups of snowdrops grow frantic, trying to burst out of their prisons.

Slowly the Floating Amusement Park interposes itself between meadow and sun, while the linden grows flushed, turning her leaves towards the whirling lights and claxons, and the stream twists in an agony of bliss.

Phrases begin to rain down. Who was it again who said it is always the same question? Even a grassblade thinks. Did I truly get what I deserve? More and more, so many it's like static in the hall of angels before the meeting is called to order.

Before we can ask how long, it is suddenly gone. Not far off a little bell is ringing around the neck of a cow. If you lay a hand between his ears, he will raise his head to meet it, still grazing, and you will know he used to be a soldier.


Oh well it's morning again
and I'm out trolling my sinister feet
along the edges

of the park where languid
mechanical young mothers wander

precarious carriages

It's much too early
for such vintage of light
as strays

over the hillocks
to be held
like a mouthful of butterflies

And the mothers shiver
and smile when towards them
I drag my breath

made famous for danger
by a radio that cannot stop chattering
about how it has eaten

the final chrysanthemum

Somewhere inside me
I've hidden the switch

I am guilty
of countless secret wishes

to stroke the black constellations
that make the black hair
of the moon I carry
around in my pocket

like half a pair
of spectacles abandoned

Only the library of my hands
with its black windows remembers
how birds search for automatic writing

in a sky where
every morning is grown
by bluedelicate wings