In Praise of Desolation
by William Snelling
A sunlight-mottled river shunts its weight
Towards the sea, having nowhere else to go;
Even the evening’s syrupy light can’t glaze it
Into something pretty. The days are slow,
So I come back often to this crease in the city’s palm,
Where you might see a rabbit stare from the gorse
Then vanish as quick to its deep, unseeable home,
Like a coin you’ve slipped between the floorboards.
My sadness is small amongst the river’s slithering moods
Where nothing means except the thought-clean flow
Of browns and greens and occasional newspaper shreds
And dragonflies ruffling the water where they flew.
Hollow redbrick warehouses discuss themselves,
Towering and useless, lit up by the low-hanging sun,
The windows shimmering pockets of gold like scales.
They used to make leather, or seatbelts, or chewing gum.
Above me, the cars glide quietly across a bridge.
They’re small enough to hold, up there near the moon.
Here at the river’s slow, unglistening edge
Where nobody knows me at all, I’m clean as a bone.
watching the match at the field on berkeley road
by Natalie Perman
next to the vineyard tree pub extra
ordinaire free gravy on the side
with all chips and running down
the carvery yellow walls as brown
shadow coats rusted telephone poles
in something pretty home of the famous
hooke team their sweaty shins and boys
crying after hours behind the mccoll’s
dogs pissing up the side like a height chart
mark their land on the Leading Neighbour
hood Retailer of fizzedup stella-
green glass and exploding instant
the boys chug lucozade spiked
with their fathers’ eyes wide whites
screaming go on, son! from the side
lines as a boy with flush fresh head
ing cheeks thrusts a knee into son’s
groin twisting to the others’ cheers
he holds victory arms straight
out like the parked audi’s dang
ling crucifix wooden jesus grinning
after the game of his life.
man heaves up stairs
man pauses on step seventy-two
man spits a prayer
man gropes doorway
man forgets keys
man forgets keys in back pocket
man pushes through
man finds air
man plunges onto rails
man seeks the bars
man has cold cheeks
man catches a cloud
man lets it go
man plucks a green daisy
man counts his loves
man runs out of petals
man coughs and sits
man gets wet arse
man almost laughs
man makes tiny receipt plane
man won’t let it fly
man looks at his petals
man looks at plane
man drops plane
man opens eyes man finds world staring back
At The Farm
by Max Dixon
Leaves falling through my open window,
I hear thorn bushes rustling in the wind.
I see trees dropping apples,
Birds rustling their way through the thick branches
To reach their nests.
Eagles swooping down on my house,
Searching for rats.
Horses running from the barn.
I hear the sudden noises of the cows mooing,
Ants marching through the muddy ground.
I hear the pigs rolling in the mud.
I see the grass swaying in the wind.
I hear the cars zooming past.
by Grace Q. Song
walking down the side
of my house, i count
the number of steps
it takes to cross
this white field of pebbles.
for months, i could not
touch the world. i only knew it
through the window
in my room. now
the wind bounds past me
like a dog. someone
has overturned a stone
in the backyard.
the vines are crawling
over the summer-
tanned fence again,
and every day I feel
by Jack Cooper
They were here when I arrived;
decadent strata of spots
in rich orange, red, and green,
a pointillist Zhangye Danxia
on the ceiling of my student en-suite.
I tried to kill them, but they came back,
appearing out of nowhere
like an absurd flash mob
so I shower each morning
under a hundred spiteful sunrises,
a firework display
exploding in slow motion.