Poem, Poetry

Adam Chiles

Sunday’s at my Grandmother’s House

By 4 it was already dark. The remains of the roast
put away. I’d wander the house then,
studying her walls, the faded brass of stirrups,
horseshoes, yellowed portraits of the dead.

Each visit, she’d lament the state of things,
the corner store open now on Sundays.
From her window, frown at the young women
in their Bombay silks walking home down

Westfield Road. That was 1975. The foundries
long closed. Their chimneys blackened against
Bradford’s millstone walls. My Grandmother
observed her late sabbaths, alone. The nearby Calder

running its metal through her veins. Her cadence,
hardening. Her face, the silhouette of another world.

Adam Chile’s first collection of poems, ‘Evening Land’ (Cinnamon Press) was nominated for the 2009 Gerald Lampert Memorial award for best debut collection in Canada. His second collection Bluff has been accepted by Measure Press and will be published in Summer 2021. Adam’s work has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar) and has appeared in numerous journals including Barrow Street, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Connotation Press, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Magma, Permafrost, RHINO, The Threepenny Review and Thrush Poetry Review.

Adam grew up on the east coast of Yorkshire and now lives in Virginia, USA. He is professor of English and Creative Writing at Northern Virginia Community College and serves on the editorial board at Poet Lore.

Friday Feature, Jazz

Blue in Green – Joe Bidder

Our featured publication this week shines the spotlight on a brand new publisher doing some extraordinary work in the poetry world.

Dizzy Press is a new independent literary publisher dedicated to producing high quality books of poetry by disabled poets. Their first publication, and our Friday Feature, Blue in Green was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery funded Project Grant scheme. Dizzy Press aims to publish 10 books in the next 10 years, bringing a range of voices from the UK to poetry audiences globally. https://dizzypress.co.uk


Inside the barber shop
I pose before the mirror,
then stop –
as the age
flashes to my face.
He cuts away
at the loose ends
as I cut away
from the past.
The face reflects the fear
in the polished glass,
my feet want to flee
but lead pounds in veins
where blood used to be.
So, I sit seemingly patient
whilst my face is transformed
from a hairy throwback Aztec
to a slickly groomed Casual.
It should be easy
to adopt this tame new role,
sink back inside
the well-worn groove,
rest on my record.
As grey speckled hairs
fall thick to the floor
I fear the head-hunter
will search once more,
the balding patch
does not please at all;
when the cutting is finished
he shows the back of my neck –
so clean and neat
that I panic,
reach for my cash,
nearly over-tipping
in haste
to escape
the reflection
of my face.

The Tool of My Trade

The tool of my trade
is not a club or a whip
not a bucket or spade
or word from my lip,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the teacher
though he tries very hard,
not the end of the money man
counting jeans in Taiwan:
not my pen.
My pen is poised to strike
though I’m a peaceful man;
my pen probes originality
but my origins aren’t unique.
The tool of my trade
is not a pick or an axe
not a mechanical aid
or tune from a sax,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the clerk
scuffling at computer’s foot,
not the pen of the psychiatrist
scribbling prescriptions:
not my pen.
My pen awakes when I least expect,
makes me glide on my dreams
to challenge my mind:
my pen is my implement.
Now, I must confess:
the tool of my trade
is not my pen,
though I thought
I was in control
the pen is the master of my soul
for I am the tool of the trade
of my pen.

About the author: 

Joe Bidder is a poet, published author and founding member of Survivors’ Poetry. He is the author of Blue in Green. He is also a writer, critic and publisher. Joe served as chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Arts and Disability Advisory Panel and was a member of Arts Council England’s Literature Panel. Joe was born in 1941. In his life, Joe worked as a chemical engineer. He graduated from Imperial College in 1962. He travelled and worked around the world, selling oil refineries and power stations as a successful businessman. At age 33, he started writing poetry seriously.

In 1991, Joe co-founded Survivors’ Poetry along with Peter Campbell, Frank Bangay, and Hilary Porter. Survivors’ Poetry nights hosted diverse line-ups of music, poetry and comedy, attracting audiences and fans from across the UK. Acts included comedians Harry Enfield, Paul Merton, Molly Brown and Julian Clary; poets Patience Agbabi and Jean Binta Breeze; and other then up and coming names. What started as a self-help group, Survivors’ Poetry soon became a charity and evolved into a UK and global movement, inspiring chapters in Manchester, Leeds and throughout the UK.

As a publisher, Joe Bidder set up Survivor’s Press and published two poetry anthologies.

Blue in Green is available now with a launch event planned for the 22 April – you can find out more here: BLUE IN GREEN by Joe Bidder | Dizzy Press

Poem, Poetry

D. S. Maolalai

Dublin. Covid. Late afternoon.

the shops
all boarded up
with old plywood
and posters.

gone walking
and the faces
of shut shops. dublin
with an all-over
rustiness. carlight
on fox-fur
in a ditch
by the road. the sun-

set on flowers.
the collapse
of a lifetime. the world
all a detail
of fading
cracked bricks.

DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

Twitter: @diarmo1990

Poem, Poetry

Craig Dobson


Less a border than an end of choice:
marsh land, mists, cries to frighten any night.
Beyond are stone lands; beyond those: ice.
Law here favours the living.

Furs, amber, mammoth calves,
whale snout, slaves and dirt-strong
spirit, moving both ways
like souls uncertain of themselves.

Business happens quick, never alone.
Dogs smell fear, wolves and the weak.
Grey tomorrow, grey today.
What must is done, then stole away.

All the cold of stone and water
worshipping only wind: gulls for seraph,
moans for prayer, a god of storms
to wash off blood. Those with fire die for it.

Litter migrates north. Oils, plastic, the jitter
of nuclear spill. Currents pass on
what isn’t eaten by the starving shoals;
nothing is wasted save regret.

The real trade’s in ghosts, though:
the myths of myths of more. For those,
men go farther still, into cold so fast
they’re young again before they die –

just before – the flint kindnesses
giving in, the greed freezing their eyes
to dream the wounded time again,
striking nothing’s richest need.

Craig’s been published in Acumen, Agenda, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Crannóg, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The London Magazine, Magma, Neon, New Welsh Review, The North, Orbis, Pennine Platform, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Poetry Village, Prole, The Rialto, Stand, Southword and Under The Radar.

Friday Feature

Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas

This week our Friday Feature celebrates the marvellous Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tansho-Thomas (Fly On The Wall Press).

Akulah Agbami, Artistic Director of Sheba Soul Ensemble, writes: “In this highly readable, sorely needed collection, Tina Tamsho-Thomas tackles subjects close to many people’s hearts. There are personal poems and political poems; poems designed to make you grin and others to evoke remembrance of horrors past. Some poems catapult us to the heart of Jamaica, or stir us in our front rooms: as we sip our tea, we are encouraged to expect ‘cake, not crumbs.’ Others teach us how we can mend a broken heart. Some poems deal with emotional, complex questions, such as excluded, absent fathers and the continuing colonialist onslaught on Africa. Someone Is Missing Me celebrates the enduring spiritual relationship between Tina and her excluded, Nigerian father. This collection is guaranteed to empower Black women who seek out her wisdom and is an exhortation to re-position ourselves, to assume our rightful stature.”

CarnivalMoss Side Style

The park transformed
by marquee tents,
Black music throbs and beats.
Festive air-fried chicken scents,
long-time friends I meet.
Friends of now and yesterday,
fond memories come to mind,
acquaintances, ex-lovers,
those I left behind.
Is that Corrina over there?
not seen her for a while,
heard she’d locked herself indoors,
it’s good to see her smile.

The babies out in numbers
are mostly golden brown,
Black and White mix easily
when carnival’s in town.
The force are out less forcibly
strollin’ round in twos,
I’d even let them dance with me,
if they could sing the blues!

Welcome to the Millennium

Manchester – linked by Metro lines,
football teams, urban regeneration schemes
and music dreams are made of.

Ancient mills and warehouses
host all night raves, where Ecstasy
extends night into day and in the morning,
manufactures nightmares.

City of commerce and business-like
relationships, cleaned canal ways, café society,
alfresco with attitude, unless unemployed,
undervalued and homeless.

Manchester – city of enterprise,
entrepreneurial drive, car-free zones,
broken homes, pipe dreams,
regeneration schemes.

Welcome to the Millennium.

About the author:

Tina Otito Tamsho-Thomas is a published writer, poet, spoken word artist, writer-in residence, playwright, Black Writing Development pioneer and Human Rights Advocate. Her unique, forthcoming memoir Haunted By The Truth explores identity, adolescence and belonging. Her poem ‘Like Never Before’ was runner up in the Black Artists On The Move, Virtually Living, International Poetry competition 2020. Her work can be found in several anthologies including Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry, Sexual Attraction Revealed and Brown Eyes. Her poetry collection is Someone Is Missing Me, published by Fly on the Wall Press.

Someone Is Missing Me is available now direct from the Fly On The Wall Press online shop: Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas | flyonthewallpoetry (flyonthewallpress.co.uk)