Alako Abdul-Hafiz

I look in to their eyes, I see the beast. The scarred and spotted being called me. I peer into their soul, I see the truth. They think “oh he’s a monster, a beast unseen”.
I stare in the dark looking at a faint reflection, and I realize, the light is cruel but darkness subtle. And I think to myself the light reveals it “the beast unseen”, but the darkness conceals it.
I love the darkness for it embraces unlike people judging, staring at the faces.
I am the Dark Lord, and the darkness my abode. But even Dark Lords yearn for the light.


The Gale

Chandler Yang

Up in the North and out in the cold
I howl to the Moon, brawl with birds, scud with a boom,
Whistle through the skirt of woods and never caught
Am I—the Gale of Emotions—in the time of Gloom.

He sighed me out before he was born,
Before Big Bang tolled; Great Gods polled; Goddesses had sewn
Stars on the sable soft, sable silky and sable—sealed—
Where I wander along, waiting for the Last Silent Peal.

I am the sad-ness which you hear on the window;
I am the ANGER which you see on fallen trees;
I am the ecstasy which you moan with libido;
I am the liberty which you feel across the streets;
I am the disgust which you sniff in the air;
I am the fear which you know is everywhere.

Then he summons me
To his room in Lancaster
Where a ventilator rumbles and lights flicker;
Where he sees me at last and, moaning, sucks me in:

There I whizz through Echoing Channel like a glider—
There I hear frenetic beats beat through Secret Chambers—
There I dance across the Lava of Desire by Potho’s Temple
Before the Hurricane of Heat blows me—up past Secret Chambers and Echoing Channel
I hurtle, and into the Maze of Gloom I stumble.
“Traitor!” “Dissenter!” “Adulterer!” the Guards calmly reason,
And, stooping or crouching, slowly they come to arrest me for Treason.

But I blow them all, blow them all, blow them all,
For I am the Gale, the madness, and you always call me so.

In the Cornfield

Catherine Whitmore

The moonless night has wrung out
the whitewashed
hours of day,
and snowflakes gather as lint
from the great open pocket
of the sky.

Somewhere a corncrake caws into
the stillness;
its echo rings,
and in the woods beyond, branches
crack like splintered bones
in the chill.

I lay low beneath the frozen earth,
the seasons
sink my body,
and you will not think to look beneath,
so you will not hear or
see me there.


Sandra Ussellman

I am standing with my arm around Aurora’s waist, laughing at something she’s said, when I see something flicker in Carla’s eyes.
Something I can’t quite name; can’t quite work out.
It makes me uncomfortable. I stiffen, unsure what to do. I almost pull my arm from Aurora’s waist. Almost.
But then Carla laughs and the moment’s over. It’s gone. We’re a trinity again, an unbreakable unit of three. And because I don’t need to think about it; don’t want to think about it, I let it go. Let Aurora distract me; pull me in before I can think about it any further.
I shouldn’t. I should read the warning signs. But I don’t. I don’t because… because Carla’s…well, Carla. Nothing can ever break us apart. Nothing.

(Or so I thought)

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Mr. Emmeline Pankhurst

Megan Smith

I come home to an empty house, again.

Alone I sit,
Alone I eat,
Alone I sleep, Bitch.

My identity is slowing eclipsing in the darkening shadows of her glory.

At night I toss and turn,
Suffering in silence,
Whilst she is absent,
in prison; committing felonies; arsony; assault; corrupting whomever she can get her claws into,
and ‘Emmeline forbid what else’.

She used to let me touch her.
Kiss her,
Caress her.
My passions and intimacy were the only rights she used to yearn for.
Alas, she found another to spend her nights with,
One of whom she lets encompass her for hours, sometimes even days…

Sometimes I wait until she is gone,
and consider showing the housemaid my member of parliament.
Perhaps she won’t be underwhelmed by his dictatorial policies.

Like a desperate mouse, I am trapped
under the sinister and slowly sharpening claws of the cat I call emasculation.
So when the hushed man inside of me finally does fall,
I doubt all the King’s horses and all of the men
will be able to stand in her way, ever again.


Simon James

My eyelids pull themselves apart fully for the first time in… how long? Years it seems.
I’ve been awake every day, but unconscious. Now suddenly I can see: the shadowy clinical bedroom that’s identical to every other room on this corridor. Bromidic brown curtains I would never have chosen myself. On the bedside table: a yellow lily that reeks of sympathy. I’m not meant to be here.
I can feel the power pulling at my bones; the sorcery invested in me by Hecate, once ruler of the earth, seas and skies. It’s crying to be brought back into the world, to prove to them all I’m not a snivelling trout just waiting to die. I can show them who I really am.
I slowly lift myself out of bed and, after noticing the evening rain against the window, wrap my nightgown tightly around me; this body is still weak. That won’t be the case once I have what I need. I take my keys, hidden inside the purple socks in the top drawer, and put them in the pocket of my nightgown.
Out of the room, I’m careful not to walk too quickly. The automatic light goes on at the far end of the corridor and advancing footsteps grow louder from around the corner, here to stop me turning the skies red.
Trying to be fast but subtle, I twist the knob on the door to my left, sneak inside and close it again. The room contains the walrus man who often asks if I want to join him for cards. A pool of drool sits between his chins.
A young girl in a white uniform has followed me in. I know the face but not the name. Her blunt bob is as trite as her place of work.
“Mrs Morgan, what are you doing in here? You shouldn’t be up at this time, and you certainly shouldn’t be going into other residents’ rooms!” The patronising quim puts a radio to her ear. “Angie, will you come to Brian’s room? Mrs Morgan has got out of her bed again.” Read More

The Retrograde of Mercury

Betty Doyle

The search for a soul;
A meaning, something to hold is lonely,
Lost in the kaleidoscope night –
Deep green over crimson pink, flickering auroras
Like the shifting colours and calm light
Of an aquarium tunnel,
Face-to-face with your own reflection.

Jupiter is clear:
It blinks like it knows; it glitters in its own blue shift,
In its own tropical year.

August dawn, and Orion shivers.
Sometimes the moon looks so low, I’m scared
It will fall.
Then those lovers can catch it,
And their love won’t mean much at all.

I saw Venus once, with my own glossy eye;
Sitting dumb in a blood-orange gas sky,
With the smoke stacks and signs far off,
Brighter now, than any wandering star.
It sizzled behind the acid and heat, like a mirage,
Like melting tarmac.
It gazed back at me; unfeeling, and tired

Of burning white.
I feel smaller at night –
When a clock ticks away in a final heartbeat,
Pounding out an iambic pentameter
In my hot ear;
When the weight of these nineteen years flares like nickel alloy
Inside the crater of my chest,
And the colossal weight of Umbriel clatters in my head;
And when I am unspun, like Saturn’s rings,
I notice,
My universe is made up of useless things.