3 Haiku from the Pit

By Lorna Frankel

I. OVERTURE Black shirts, black trousers tune up in the dimming lights. Arms raise to begin –  II. INTERVAL Dialogue means tea and emptied valves. Interval  means spit avoidance. III. FINALE Applause: the vamp bar endlessly circulating. Pack up. Hit the pub.

Out in the Open

By Nat Norland

She can recall the moment with Sickening clarity: each night, starting As she steps out into the halogen glare And stretching on, on until she forces Her arms up and her mouth open; Until the silence breaks, surges back Carrying her off, leaving nothing But an idea. No time for fear then, when She isn’t […]

The Theatre Workshop

By Charlotte Chalkley

Not far from my house there lies A strange, empty – perhaps – warehouse of sorts; Down the scuffed sidewalk, it shows Only a bland, unassuming white face, cracked in places –  Four clouded windows, no wider than a curious face, pressed close But all the reserved facade will reveal Is a dusty rocking horse […]

a pair of hands for Rusalka

By Eleanor Penny

unsweet, and coffee is as black as it. If he’s twisted at the neck or heavy at the eyes enough to take the wood for water fall through and hold him under for he cannot go home. But careful now – he plucked her on a filament exactly cherry-caught a cog upon a string and […]

Behind the Curtain

By John Blackmore

Applause cascades down the corridors Crackling like electricity, flooding the ears Through dull walls: Nothing scalds like someone else’s praise. They’re running late tonight. Grinning with hubris, stumbling through the lines I’ve mouthed a thousand times Behind the curtain – off the stage. For every name in lights there’s a shape in the shadows Whose […]

Musings of a Makeup Artist

By Lucy Thynne

On the wicker chair I steal a face and give it to you. I can feel your eyes coolly assess, watch my hands impregnate your cheeks with colour, cheeks that I know have been hollowed by the hands of a woman. If my fingers spoke a language it would be in great pigments of colour. […]

Clean

By Hannah Hodgson

I scrape off the gum disfigured into curdled milk chunks. I empty bins of tissues marinating in tears. I hoover popcorn  dropped into blood splatters. I pick up the tickets you moult  at your seat. As the light dims and darkness pours itself like a drink, save a little awe for me.

Cue

By Benedict Mulcare

“Here; behind the plywood boards, I can’t quite reach the lighting switch myself. Give us a hand, buddy; just hold this shelf.” You’re detached. From upon the second floor a skylight gazes on a flock of birds, oblivious to the actors’ distant words. I wear a night-gown. Disembodied sounds vats of electric noise are spilled […]

Summer Photograph

By Amy Wolstenholme

Bluebells bloom from the refuse heap, Plait a crown for broken pots and leaves. Grass blades weave: in-out. Beetles dart – come in come out! – through the dandelion gridlock. Beating hearts; butterfly eggs on nettle beds. Moth wings. Shining things. Fireflies breed in luminous excess behind the potting shed. Night dark, quick start, bats […]

mynydd y graig

By Eleanor Smith

hill seethes with rain bone festering with moss wind scraping it raw sweated and curled with furze and fern hill is carcass hollowed out ribs holding the sky buried under clouds, only its shadow visible like a whale underwater invasions of plant life: hill is bruised with heather and gorse hill is labour pangs, crystallized […]

dandelion clock

By Ella Standage

held between forefinger and thumb: the stem like a green vein, and balanced above—time as an exploded diagram. see the hours stellated, the minutes anatomised as spokes of a wheel that does not turn, struts to hold up this whispered globe of wishes. between fingernails you pluck one from its earth the way you’d dissect […]

Tree Talk

By Francesca Weekes

We are taller than your most extravagant tales. A drawn-out note on a mellowed cello Describes our skin, Our bark, roughened under wind and sun Ripples more slowly than the eye can follow. We are water, wood, sunlight; We are tree. We sense everything: The languid pop of mushrooms at our roots, The prickle of new […]

The White Wolf

By Amelien Fox

The snowy ground shines with the white moon My silent paws are the only mark in the wilderness The pines tower over the sky further than I can reach In the distance my pack lie together But I am alone I howl to the moon Letting the anger out of me All the past I […]

the writer comes across a hedgehog at midnight or the hedgehog comes across a writer

By Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer

little wolf in grandma’s bonnet and dress sways at an easy pace across pavement space, a two-step beat for four tiny feet – but then, under sudden lamplight, splits at a stroke, turning into two dancers, each looking to lead: the first is keen to effect a pause to worm for well-earned sustenance; the other, […]

Butterflies

By Alannah Taylor

Until that grand unravelling, along those puckering, pocketed contours, it is all layers of blood and spleen crusted up on one another in crystalline collusions of chaste diffidence, like the sore kinks around the hips and shoulders of a skeleton which has been forced to grow coiled up inside a cupboard. But when you dredge […]

A Woodpigeon

By Tanya Kundu

I tend to avoid large bodies of water But when dehydration decrees That I must visit one such brimming mirror, I am told again that I am ugly. My crooked beak laps and splashes, Distorting that once still surface with circles: Echoes of distaste – Widening, scornful eyes. So I try to make amends For […]

The voice of a nation

By Emily Brown

New life brought into the world We hold within us The power to change a nation A way of thinking Faces hidden behind veils Ingenuity on the wrong side of closed doors Words as old as time tell us that this is how it should be But we do not have to look far To […]

Mind the Gap

By Sarah Adegbite

i stand on a platform of unidentified faces, and business coats so long they flow over onto the tracks and make a swaddling sea of tweed and leather and polyester. i stand beside a beggar, wearing the night sky as his cloak; broken pieces of glass jabbed savagely into his sides, and the blood stains […]

An equilibrium?

By Jasmine Thom

“Inequality doesn’t exist anymore; If you work hard, you have the same chance as anyone.”   Tell that to the infants Who are still sold before their first breath, Because another mouth is another death.   Tell that to the girls Who are sold on their twelfth birthday, For their brother’s chance to thrive.   Tell that […]

‘We are dying here’

By Emily Reader

She is in an abyss, A vacuum where no thoughts can be voiced, The words cling to chords, Unable to sneak past walls of teeth, Into the dust-choked air. Her story is old news, Dried up and dull, And like toddlers, we have tossed her problems aside, When they lasted too long and got too […]

The secrets of the dominant patriarchal plant

By Faiza Manzoor

Pacing back and forth, 11pm at night, Redrafting and editing my work again, To make sure it is precisely right. The work in which I have become so invested, caffeine filled days and nights, And yet can’t expect to receive the same as Jim from the office, Despite equal pay entailed, in basic human rights. […]

Equals

By Hannah Hodgson

I feel you over my shoulder and I try to remind you that this ring is not a magnet towards pots and pans. This ring does not sew a cleaning cloth to my hand. This ring does not mean I can’t understand maths. This ring is not a band of ownership, like a receipt at […]

United Unit

By Emily Raisin

Our world is a unit, a spherical whole. An entity. An entirety. A wonder to uphold. In defining a ‘unit’, we understand one. This is the problem. It’s where we’ve gone wrong. Our world is not a lone, singular thing, As its heart is laced with infinite strings, Like a robust rope, a weaved tether, […]

Yousafzai

By Deborah Ashfield

The blurry taste of blood / aromatic injury swelling in my lungs, in my mouth, in my throat. Kick me. Kick me again, and again, We are the cement; there is no wall without us. Where are your children? did you kill them all too? Driven to madness. Stripped of their youth. A bullet skims […]

Bed

By Mel Pettitt

My mother taught me to bleed based on the instructions of my grandmother– she made sure I might never forget. My daughters’ birthdays hurt like bee stings. He says I am ugly, which is why he wanted to touch me, my breasts swollen unchristian things, and painful; there was darkness wrapped inside my apology.   […]

Hearth-life

By Annabelle Fuller

First there was the heat. Kiln womb, Suffocated after being dragged up from the ground. Clapped together, clay compressed, Neat brick forms made. The twenty-fifth blackbird roasted, Fed with burning warmth. Dragged out into the cold, cold air. Beside my brothers, weeping in the brightness of the day, Formed into clean-cut lines, Mortar slathered onto […]

Memory

By Fashokun Adeoti

I have seen so many things So many people have roamed through my walls So many changes humans and time have wrought on me But my soul remains the same. Tudor – my fireplace has warmed the hearts of many And my oak clock chimes to remind me What I already know – I am […]

The History House

By Amelia Doherty

I remember the living room, the pale colours of furniture, the blazing fire with the intricacy of a mantlepiece, the booming noise of a grandfather clock the swinging and ticking and tocking I remember the dining room the long table with the small chairs the vase that was cracked the antique mirror to one side […]