Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Endless / Nameless ~ Rachel Sills & Richard Barrett

The gingerbread silhouette of my father
Is absent today I’m perspiring
Or you could say shimmering over a coastline
In a row pegged-out, colour coded
Three weeks' worth of hearts
A Freudian couch with sponge cake perhaps?
An arrow, a narrowboat, arrowroot blot
A stair-lift stops, temperamentally
I decline to use the honesty box
But am generous for life-guards
On a good day, only on a good day
A magazine before dinner before, later, the paper
The evening smell of tobacco
'Papa?'  I hear; to which I answer 'yes, Nicole?'


Beneath the H bar shadow in the bathroom
The lie of the land becomes clear
Land's End here. Oh no that's Cornwall
White is perfection, turquoise calm
Enjoy a Toblerone, like the Prince on Wednesday
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
But keep fingers crossed the interview goes well
A wing chair can overwhelm a room
As the sea can. Green, wet and very deep
An unruffled surface is far more disturbing
For dream interpretation avoid Yahoo Answers
So what IS the significance of a cream tea?
On a worryingly under loaded passenger ferry
The message in the bottle reads "let's talk"


Oblivion. Nothing: side-by-side on a bookshelf
Above a bookshelf. Where I keep last year’s diary
Volumes I - III and VI - VIII
They are not a legal proof, dreams
They melt into dark praline shadows
It's your birthday tomorrow so "best wishes"
Or alternatively "bon voyage"
None of this matters of course (still I worry)
Note: avoid ledges, edges, suspension bridges
One room is not the house taken over
After this the conversation flags, imagining
(Easier to) the end of the world than the end of capitalism
And prefers his seascapes to be stormy
Meaning re time and motion: a different concept entirely

Rachel Sills lives in Manchester. She has a PhD on Frank O'Hara's poetry, and has had poems published in Stand Magazine.

Richard Barrett lives and works in Salford. He is the author of several collections of poetry and the editor of Department Press. He co-organises the reading series Peter Barlow's Cigarette.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Poem ~ Isabell Dahlberg

wide skirt
knocked off head
swamplike tattooed
tiny feet

let’s meet after
when all apricot beer has been
rally with pouting
watched by
laughing moons

hoards of nesting boys
in her hair
and silver blouse and socks
ticking with

bereavement says it will
read the papers again
until politicians
washing their mouths with
war mold

under wonderland
the shadow:
pale blue african roads
where redtopped butterflies
batter hands with eachother
then roaming off
to get to the public bath house
in time

not where I was
but after that
the ceiling here hung hurt
like the heavy body of
a newly slewn
fallow deer

shave that boldness off
bear in your
that not one
of these trees
has seen
the ocean

grandmothers make time
after death
make and take and
won’t talk about it
                                         unless fed with ripe prunes


swirls of pancake
in the grass
needle glitter
pop in for needless
speechacts with
and then:    dream

hearing the afternoon
sweet dollhumans
crowding the city
fat with

no pressure
in mouth the month after
swallowing the news
of disaster

making work
the essential goal
for any society
is honestly
– rubbing your knees
more shameful than

the bus will wait
he said
she said it will not
as the sky drove by
ancientlooking and
speed-ticket fast 

not pale but
in july
air whispers behind
your back

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Foetus ~ James McLaughlin

There are places where my mind
simply refuses to go.
A place of intimacy and correction:
a sullen unnurtured child
that stands beside me always.
A locked box.
A concrete sarcophagus.
A cist in the lens of completion.

It formed long ago - perhaps
in childhood - or in the unformed foetus -
in that egg the turned unwanted
in that sage saline liquid
that coil of blood and hope that
gasped a breathed nicotine

It holds me – still
always a little way off -
always a just at arms length -
always almost there.

Now it
Turns stoically.  
From closed doors -
from broken dreams.
from life itself.

Always seeking sanctuary -
walking through woods in summer
along river banks
through ancient tunnels to nowhere
always always alone.

poems ~ Rob Burton


breath a fabric woven in three strands
will let its spool pattern out the ways
hours slipping return in its flux; the life which
flickers in a flame’s passing also carries its heat
into the dark and burns its flare a deep
sea white. thawing the primal wo/man untwists
its mercury lip and pulled from the deep
returns new flesh warmed in the flesh to come.
as long as there is flesh intention accretes in
colour; layer by layer laid in flakes of coral
and dispute it reaches after warmth. this spring
again will not be denied and breath will push
on through the years stretching its limbs out
in your limbs; the air and any future yours

we lie out under open skies;
between sunset and rise of sun there is probably
cold enough to freeze water from its vapour
no intervening phase. I try to start a fire
carving it to a lens and focussing
a single beam to paper thin wood,
but can’t begin and who
can start them anyway. Image holds
the surface of the lake for a moment where
we dip hands. The traveller felt pressed
by derision there once, at the hill top
and grinning reached a hand to thawed earth
cracks widened to swallow the journey as fatuous;
her temp a constant 0 degrees

in morning I think of my optimism
(disguised) as its own priest
persuading to gatherings, as
smoke in the room and every
particle lit in its movements
turning the skin’s crosshatch
close up

it applies makeup the face wide at the
cheekbones a cadmus son  in drag
its substance drawn apart
by the eager hands of daughters

sometimes it is shaped, as
encounters taking petals, in hotel
corridors, those broad petals
held by dolls

Greet the dog, a good one
Telling condition as “well”
You learn short or long
That’s all there is
Playing its vast weight up on
Your shoulders there
Muzzle pressed against the back
Of the neck a single frame stop
Seeing you arch back into it


my girl painted Barbie pearl necklaces
drawn bigger than eyes strained match
wood open
held the wig on blonde like the mouth
plumped trying young and innocent
mouth a little too hard for full and
on fate more than I knew gets there
looking to walk onto villa party lists
stars drawn over breasts fall showers, counterpoint
flesh defies gravity, disengaged as vacant stared
intent and
understrut marginal the elder hand support,
redundant skin the towel to dry
officials after bathing, weathered past it, hands
cracked and aching

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Impossible I ~ David Eingorn

Delighted to announce a new title on the Red Ceilings Press.
Impossible I by David Eingorn - available as a free ebook from the Red Ceilings Press website where you can also see all our ebook titles and our limited edition chapbooks in print.


Mono-oxide ~ P. A. Levy

i was chemical you was oxygen
that’s how it all began
and i collected
the elements of every kiss
you’d left on my lips
keepsakes trapped in petri dishes

over time we became
a breathless reaction
long shadows holding hands
on the edge of sound
un-hale me you said
leaving me blue
hypoxic over the rust of ex you

Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, both on line and in print, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and many stations in-between.  He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at www.cluelesscollective.co.uk

Monday, August 5, 2013

Songs My Mother Taught Me ~ Simon Howard

The street leads to the shout at the start of a ghost
and bitter juice of boy inside the body. 
Giles Goodland, 'Streetview' from The Dumb Messengers

Beware bright ribbons offered on a stormy day
slow clouds rumble
over rapid buildings / temporary dwelling

The child who gathers wind worn pebbles
against catastrophe
the fuzz in their uniforms grim

Ace; inside out, in my lovers arms
on a quiet day of wispy clouds
& burning automobiles

Do you remember
the man who fetched the rent, children playing on a wilderness-ed
bomb shelter / first amnesia, last narratologist

One year the fair came to visit
until I missed the target
& lost out on the toy

And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. Therefore

They drove all night & are driving still
you were wearing the latest slacks for ladies
some kids played one game of pinball

another until
we were no longer there. 

Simon Howard : walkingintheceiling