Now Gwynus Decorates His Cell Wall Red
The door slammed its explosion,
a naked bulb hung like a conviction.
Comfort was sought in graffitied walls –
initials of Saunders Lewis
scribbled from ’36 he liked to think.
Despite an evening in such company,
come morning those walls began
to nudge and jostle, graze and bruise.
And Owain fought back
as Owains do; beat bare walls
‘til raw knuckles birthed dragons
on a Wales that had never boasted
such confined spaces.
Brett Evans, lives, writes, and drinks in his native North Wales. He is co-founder and co-editor of poetry and prose journal Prole. Brett’s two poetry pamphlets, The Devil’s Tattoo (2015) and Sloth and the Art of Self-deprecation (2018) are published by Indigo Dreams.
Little did I know
There was a someone out there
the North to my South
and he spoke with a Mancunian accent.
That when he was growing his lungs
in an incubator, with no one to visit him
I hadn’t come into existence yet.
I watched the rise and fall of his tiny chest
from the ether.
When at last I came screaming into this world,
he would be building sandcastles under Blackpool lights
and placing his toys in a box for the third time.
That when I was revising for my GCSEs
He was sitting his A levels, both bowed
before Post It note shutters on cupboard doors.
We’d have the very same desk lamp from Argos,
our funnel of light.
That we’d lose our virginities simultaneously
sharing in pain and heartbreak, balancing
the giddy skip of infatuation on a see-saw –
it’s base set in the Midlands,
somewhere around Loughborough.
That I didn’t know what real love was.
Victoria Pickup is a previous winner of the Ernest Frost Prize and Café Writers competition. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies, magazines and online, most recently Nine Muses, Peeking Cat, Runcible Spoon and Reach Poetry. In 2018, Victoria co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group in Hampshire.
Mock Sonnet XI
Another novel/play of middle class manners
has our heroine, distantly married with distant
children, but a husband doting obsessive,
and she in a quandary over a pre-marital
lover’s return to the domestic scene;
the pre-marital lover now married to hubby’s
new female boss (of chambers, where else?),
and she a voracious seducer of keen-to-please
young interns. Alone in her kitchen our heroine
answers phone to pre-marital lover who
confesses how deeply (shallow characters
always claim deep) unhappy he is and
how he regrets leaving her for the sake
of a career ‘not now worth a candle…’
Mock Sonnet XIX
An egg needs a hen to lay it as
speech, on occasion, needs to be
weighted with action, with deeds.
But do I need a preface to tell me
how I should read a book, a poem?
And does any author really need to go
before a live audience, their mouths agape
and gurning, all eager to have their buttons
pressed? Does any performer, let alone
an author, need (no matter how bad/good
the performance) the introductory ritual applause
and obligatory encore? When the solitary
and silent reading of a poem can be like
must-be-quiet sex, self-consciously intense.
Mock Sonnet XXII
Leonard Cohen wrote, ‘Poet is a verdict
not an occupation.’ And pretentiousness
is that something that is intended to
impress, but has the opposite effect:
bar-room boaster telling nightly of his
busy sex-life, not a girl in sight;
raconteur inflating every experience beyond
credibility; and grown men in classrooms
and in court deepening their voices to make
all that they say sound sophisticated and/or
profound; plus poets and players on small stages
singing their own praises, being sure to hoot
and applaud when they too are sitting back
among those few making up the audience.
Sam Smith is editor of The Journal magazine and publisher of Original Plus books. Author of several novels and collections of poetry, he presently lives in Blaengarw, South Wales. https://samsmithbooks.weebly.com/the-journal.html
Booking this house had spooked me with its crass
happenstance: Coleman and Tennant parked once
by the drive to fathom who’d done what, or
how, dissecting this drain-straight, dead end climb
into slices of fiction.
Up Beach RoadI pause and imagine summer – Dorsets
of infinite shingle and hand-stitched fields.
But we’re trapped by those half-fledged gulls, over-
night anglers and un-cleared paths through National
Trust barricades. Whatever next? ‘Keep Out’.
Four of us slid past March store sales and plate
glass lies, bought pints of fear and remembered
him, lost at home. We knocked that Sunday back
from sleazy chairs then crossed the soaking street
and met you where that plastered ceiling rose.
They’d packed off the seats and you took the hall
by warmth, played a set of loss and comfort
and left its list by a foldback. You paused
at the death then stepped through a secret door
to sign the songs: an evening played for him.
Forgive or take forty years: the landmarks
have moved up that concrete strand and these new
palms and parasols throw little shade. My
photo shows hotels that smothered the last
but aged twelve I encountered
Guardia up every calle, and Franco’s
army of flats down unmade paths. Many
had smelt the slaughter four decades before.
They hid behind shutters like dry silent
hills and watched English lads working out Spain.
Will Daunt recently edited Eddie Wainwright’s selected poems: Pleading At The Bar of Truth, and his sixth collection of poetry Landed was published by Lapwing in 2013. Gerard Manley Hopkins: the Lydiate Connections was published in 2019, and he’s reviewed for Envoi, Pulsar, New Hope International and Tears in the Fence.
The sequence ENGLAND EDGING features 100 poems of 100 syllables.