Frank Gillougley

Just Being There

Let us discard the night
and let it fall like work disassembled,
and feel ourselves lighten and evaporate
into this ether and listen:
to flies buzzing in and out of earshot,
to birdsong, or to a lone dog
barking at its own plaintive thoughts.

Let us listen to the apples and plums growing older,
to the dismembered walnut tree sprouting new growth,
and to ants scratching their initials on stones.

Ilike calls from Zagreb on the phone,
‘Szia dragam!’ Anyu Magdi says from the swing-seat,
her retrospective reading wearily laid aside.
Zigi obliviously practises handstands on the grass,
for the day he will join the Candy-floss Circus.
A freight train carries its load eastward
and we sit, sleep, write and draw in the garden waiting.

Our lives here abound with angels, who arrive
unannounced and in the main, look unappealing.
In this transitory state, what we perceive is invariably
not the case. The care we take in the morsels of council
from our own murmurings never enough.
In my dream last night, I sorted banknotes into
many bundles of a thousand pounds each.
I wrote my name and address on the last banknote of each pile.

Today, Magdi delighted in telling us the scandalous
gossip concerning the mayor of Gymörő,
who recently featured on a video snorting cocaine
from the belly of some poor woman.
Naturally, the citizens were all delighted at this:
Oh the risible paragons of virtue.

Later that night, we ate hamburgers, mustard and salad
from a barbecue of old wood we burned down by the river.
They all drank from cans of cold lager and Radler.

We drove on down to Zagreb the following day and Zigi
played Johnny B Goode on his ukulele and sang falsetto.

Copyright © Frank Gillougley 2015

Frank Gillougley was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1959. He has had 2 collections of poetry published by Lapwing Press, Belfast. He lives and works in Blackridge, West Lothian.

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Josep Almudever

Mum calls

Mum calls every night
With a platter of chatter,
mouthfuls of aging laughter,
and local bitter sweets.

Mum calls every night
to sprinkle my roots.

Watering can to the brim,
she thumbs my elephant ears,
and turns them to check all’s well,
while shadows of chitchat and puppets
perform for me and at length.

Encased in obituaries, jewels
On my sister-in-law smoothed
By it’s-not-her-faults,
A scatter of silences
That I manage to fill
With reallys and vale-vales like little
Burps after a pink fizzy drink.

Although I suspect a soothing
Like almond paste,
Mum calls not to hear my breath.
She calls me like a poet posts
A self-addressed note
With his one good verse,
Not because the rhyme is good,
but to keep marvelling
at the past
returning to his gate.

Copyright © Josep Almudever 2015

Josep Almudever lives, works and writes in Edinburgh.

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Kriss Nichol

Solitary Reflections
(Swan on Loch – photo by E. Nichol. Inspired by Limonia and Laburnum, longest partnership of  Bewick swans recorded at Slimbridge Wetland Centre.)

A low sky melts into the scene
as I capture her solitary course.
Through thinning mist and shrouded air
she glides across silvered ripples,
slow, lilting movements leaving
wrinkles of water
trailing in her wake.

Solitary but not alone;
her lover is always there,
a shadowing ghost in the loch,
connected in perfect symmetry.
As I stand, hair pearled with moisture,
fragile barriers inside me shift,
breaking into a thousand pieces.

Copyright © Kriss Nichol 2015
Twitter – @KrissNichol
Facebook – Kriss Nichol, Writer
Novel – In Desolate Corners, Shadows Crouch:a story of loss and redemption set in the wild places of Northumberland and Cumbria – available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon
Poetry – The Language of Crows :a collection of poems available from the author
Poetry – Between Lands : a collaboration of poetry and photographs on a Greek myth theme with fine art photographer Elliot Nichol available from

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Bethany W Pope

Two poems

No Exit

Little girl, what are you looking for
in the dusty corners of this barn?
Something clean, something new, an unlocked door
Leading away from him, his blood-edged shovel, and sour
sperm dripping from the hind-parts of a cow. Run,
little girl. What are you looking for
in the black of this closet, your
scabbed scalp shorn, your clothes all torn?
Something clean, something new, an unlocked door
leading to a cool green place where milk pours
sweet from the teat and I can lie, untouched, in the sun.
Little girl, what are you looking for
in this institutional bathroom where your
roommates hold you down and make your insides burn?
Something clean, something new, an unlocked door
to lead me from this ‘now’ that is a tour
of Hell eternal, this place where the world never turns.
Little girl, what are you looking for?
Something clean, something new, an unlocked door.


In dreams, I run in the body of a fox; a male
with a thick red bush and a hungry mouth.
My teeth are sharp. Your bones are pale,
rabbit; so white in all that red. Your little fluff-tail
twitches in the spattered snow as you claw your torn body south.
In dreams, I run in the body of a fox; a male,
ripe with strength and rank with stale-
smelling hormones. I’m following your path.
My teeth are sharp, your bones are pale,
but you’re not afraid. You’re a bitch, here; beautiful and hale,
and you’ve got steaming, fragrant genitals to taunt me with.
In dreams, I run in the body of a fox; a male:
I mount you while we sleep. Our bodies thrash and flail
until one takes the other in their mouth.
My teeth are sharp, your bones are pale.
We come to swift agreement. Love leaves a trail
for us to follow. It leads from mind, through flesh, to truth.
In dreams, I run in the body of a fox; a male.
My teeth are sharp. Your bones are pale.

Copyright © Bethany W Pope 2015

Bethany W Pope is an LBA winning author. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program, and her MA from the University of Wales Trinity St David. She has published several collections of poetry: A Radiance (Cultured Llama, 2012) Crown of Thorns,(Oneiros Books, 2013), and The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press 2014), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing, 2014).

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Maggie Mackay

The Glaistig

We please her at the gloaming by the pond
with a pool of milk in a millstone cradle
not warm at all or scorn-boiled.
Solstice, all seasons, each generation.

We flatten against the standing stone
never knowing how she might appear,
always in her favoured green, plaid wafting in Atlantic surge,
or what her mood might be, grey or blue or gold.

We wait for the wailing or the tricks or her
fixing on our scent. Dragonflies and moths
hover on her heartbeat. Deer dart into the ether,
a distant fiddler strums a jig through the indigo.

Copyright © Maggie Mackay 2015

Maggie Mackay, a co-editor at and a second year student on the MA
Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, has work in several publications including
Bare Fiction, The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Dawntreader.

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Simon Weller


…and this is where my faith lives.
This is its bowl, and here
Is its blanket.  I am afraid
We had it neutered.  Better safe than sorry!

Any day in the park, you see
All kinds of people with their faiths.
Some large, some small, some pure
Bred – they take them to Crufts,

Spend all their time grooming and training,
Chatting with those who own
Faiths of the same kind, keeping records,
Inbreeding.  A lot of weaknesses creep in,

In my view.  Mine is a bit of a mongrel
Heinz 57, really.  It suits us very well,
But sometimes keeps us awake at night
Barking at shadows.

Copyright © Simon Weller 2015

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Bridget Khursheed

The last days of petrol

The ebb of a country lane and meadowsweet;
or those hot verges seen from a corner
for a second brown itching with seed; and
the stop by an unfamiliar signpost;

the humpback bridge over a chubb stream
taken fast so the belly flops;
driving up above mills getting away
from work with a teak chest

wedged in the back of a hire car
until the Cauldshiels car park
reverse in and out again and back
across the downs to keep

out of the hotel; the solitary race
from Moffat to Perth business parks
faster each time until the sallow trees
perspire sap on the bonnet;

chug of petrol in the last garage in Broadford;
driving round the block and round the
block and round the block
and round until I am no longer

early; empty journeys
fast except by speed cameras;
and the trip to shops
things nobody needs packed

by a teenager; the edgelands
a route for dogwalkers at the last smoke,
cough and stop on the slip road;
grid flows into green lanes.

Copyright © Bridget Khursheed 2015

Bridget Khursheed is a poet based in the Scottish Borders; recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for poetry in 2014; editor of magazine & blog; occasional orienteer & over-excitable birdwatcher. @khursheb

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