Kevin Cadwallender

Joyce Tutorial

He told me it was his life’s work
To write a definitive study of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’.
I thought of the word teleological but I didn’t say it.
 
Have you read it?  he asked,
I hadn’t
But wondered why he would
Spend so much time trying to unravel
A ball of literary string.

It took Joyce seventeen years to write
And it had taken him twenty five years
To not finish his study.

So I read ‘Dubliners’
At least I made the effort.

Oh Dubliners is all very well, he smiled,
But until you can come to terms with and
Understand the intricacies of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’…
Well I’m sure you’ll agree.

the most colossal leg pull in literature
as a quote came into my head but I didn’t say it.

You really should read it, you know.

Oh I’ve read it, I lied
But I prefer the musical version
With Fred Astaire and Hayley Mills.

At that point the academic really hit the fan.

Copyright © Kevin Cadwallender 2015

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Raymond Miller

I Live Over There

Past houses where spouses are spitting at children
and satellite dishes are marks of distinction;
where villainous vermin shadow-box curtains
and takeaway cartons bespatter the gardens;
where nobody bothers to pick up the dog shit
while stood on the pavement twittering gossip
and stubbing their ciggies on steps without polish,
deploring the darkies and ordering curries
and voting for parties that all sound like Tories
then falling asleep to the new bedtime stories.

Past bungalows where 999 has been rang
for Cornelius Hawkins has let himself hang;
the neighbours come round to hush the dog’s yap
at the rope in the loft to which Con was attached.
The TV was left on but nothing worth watching.
I wonder what dogs make of men hung like washing.

Past knickers and needles and knives in the back
down the alley that leads to the railway track
where Malky the Alky in a flash of insight
had laid himself down between the train lines.
The train passed straight over and Malky survived,
some people just cannot do anything right.
Now they’ve got a new plan for stopping a topping
and drivers sound horns when approaching the crossing
as a warning of sorts to those bent on dying
and a curse to all others attempting a lie-in.

Past the park that the council desire for allotments;
the football pitch now has but one set of goalposts.
Bureaucracy’s moved them to state its position:
the residents draw up another petition.
A perennial game of attack and defence
over cabbages, peas and a faded green bench
by the burial grounds where the dead cannot rest
but be shuffled around to make room for who’s next;
before the barb-wire surrounding the wood
that’s a small tuft of hair on a balding man’s head,
and it’s soon to be shaven, the signs indicate,
for my local estate is a cancerous pate.

Oh, I do it disservice, I’m all bile and jaundice,
tomorrow the snow will have smoothed every surface.
The earth will resemble a different planet;
one I’m able to visit if not quite inhabit.

Copyright © Raymond Miller 2015

Ray Miller is very old and has too many children. His poems have appeared in Prole, Antiphon, Message in a Bottle,  even The British Journal of Psychiatry.

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David Subacchi

STRATA FLORIDA

Teifi water flowed
Through the valley
Only two miles
From its source
So monks struggled
To protect their land
Against flooding
Soft hands bruised
By hard labour
Diverting Afon Glasffrwd
To reduce danger

These same hands
Steadily created
The chronicles
Of a nation
Brut y Tywysogion
Llawysgrif Hendregadredd
Painstaking work
Requiring the closest
Concentration
The most careful
Attention to detail

There were times
Things got out of hand
Drinking and brawling
Brother against brother
Besmirching their calling
But relieving pressure
Like the constant
Playful foolery
That is the way of men
Shut up together
And yet isolated

When dissolution came
And the great walls
Were torn down
Locals took stone away
For their own purposes
Compounding sacrilege
With common theft
Much else was removed
For safe keeping
Even now we dig
Searching for something.

Copyright © David Subacchi 2015

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. Cestrian Press has published two of his poetry collections First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014).
You can see more of David’s work and get further information from his blog: http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi

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Jack Houston

Lineation

In the spangled glare of the spotlit pitch through swonking winds and turbot rains hid under depths of deep-fall snow or the blister-parch of summered days and bent under the gut-rip roar of thirty thousand furied souls with the quick peaked shriek of a whistle blown how else can know when we’ve gone too far and where our boundaries are? These days there’s techno-fixes true but between me and you an old-fashioned line across a park remains the only way to mark the lines in which we play to know if what we’ve scored can be called a goal.

Copyright © Jack Houston 2015

Jack Houston works within Hackney’s public library service. He is a poetry editor at nutshellmagazine.com

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Harrison Abbott

Progeny

When you’d dealt your painting your word
Had nothing to the scope of the victory,
And the grace you had was left, buoyant and
Sad by the rush of the same ocean wrong-sided
To your old and real Home, and somehow
You couldn’t have caught the grief or the guilt
Like you couldn’t have shame from whence born.
But then you return again, and it’s by the lush
Fortunate colours, synthetic or restored;
By the progeny you complete and offer
The lashing drench – image of that black spiked
Sweated hair, hands thin grappling –
But oh the complications were there by
A kinship you should seek to found,
If not make your ode to by violent and eventual death.

Copyright © Harrison Abbott 2015

I currently study in Aberdeen as an undergraduate, writing regularly as a serious hobby. My Tumblr account may be found here : https://www.tumblr.com/blog/h-j-linklater-abbott.

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Edwin Stockdale

Wessex Fog
(for Thomas Hardy)

He lingers in Yalbury Wood,
breath choking like tear-gas.
A thrush cries in a thicket.

Beech branches flail,
barbed wire against desiccated sky.
He lingers in Yalbury Wood.

Snow falls: grey,
tainted with ash.
A thrush cries in a thicket.

Fence posts are machine guns
primed to fire.
He lingers in Yalbury Wood.

His feet shatter bones,
dried leaves under his boot.
A thrush cries in a thicket.

Narcissus planted for spring,
soldiers’ buttons.
He lingers in Yalbury Wood;
a thrush cries in a thicket.

Copyright © Edwin Stockdale 2015

Edwin Stockdale has lived in Chester and Lancaster and currently lives in Leeds.  He has recently been published by Long Poem Magazine, the Coffee House and Ink sweat and tears.  His debut pamphlet collection, Aventurine, was published last September by Red Squirrel Press.

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Tom Foy

Dundee Rap:

Tak tent

gaither roon’
Jock Broon
kneel doon
pray fer King
or yer deid
pistol shot
in yer heid
wife an bairns
maun jalooze
Bluidy Clavers
in da hoose.

In 1685 Graham of Claverhouse captured a Covenanter named John Brown. When John Brown refused to pray for the King, Graham of Claverhouse drew a pistol and shot him dead in front of Brown’s wife and children

Copyright © Tom Foy 2015

“Tom Foy is a dilettante in his mid 60’s who lives in Inverness.  He enjoys trying to sing in Sacred Harp and kirtan gatherings and has been an enthusiastic, if unaccomplished, bell ringer at the Cathedral for several years.  He sometimes writes throwaway haiku.”

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