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Issue One




1. This Terrarium


In the heavy bellied glass of the city

life is sustained by light and air.

In the sprawl, the vegetation’s

measured breath is a veil.

The globe holds streets,

seats outside cafes,

wandering feet.

Like ghost orchids,

dwellers are suffocated

and thin as paper.

This orb uses filaments of sun

to warm tendrils,

the back legs of a frog waiting to leap.



2. The Rib Cage


I follow the Tyne

from the raw winds

of North Shields,

from the charity shop economy,

bakery to bakery

to the city.

The Quayside

is the water’s bracing cage.

Grey chokes of ice spit escape

as they launch from bridges,

I am a minor thing.

The river is a lost mirror,

a freighter for dead twigs,

plastic bags like beating hearts

are wicked passengers.

The creases of white like

the rings in a trunk

show the age of the Tyne,

its tumbling shape,

its escape from the sea.




3. Busk


On Northumberland Street the slabs

are cracked like a spring cocoon,

they are steadying buskers.

The sounds merge,

then drown each other out

as I push against the crowd.

‘Bass player man’ plucks an

abstract funk. He sits, swaddled

in poncho, rehearsing his pulse.

Two young girls with guitars

whisper, call, breathe;

shy bodies in bold prints.

A lad covers songs I know from school;

his cardboard sign shows

his twitter name, sharpie marketing.

His metaller counterpart does not sing,

a louche indulger, heavy and

incredulous under a beanie hat.

The only effected spectators are

the toe-tapping grandmothers; they waltz to an Elvis;

quiff and shades and stone-washed jeans.




4. Plumage and Kiss


I am walking home,

taking the route

you walk to work.

I am walking your walk;


we are together in ghost steps.

I inhale your beard hair,

grains of skin, daybreak specks.

Your shoes have left a rushing print

in February snow,

the smudged outline of Clarks’ rubber

like shed feathers.


I catch your morning face,

pale and slow peering

into the paper shop window,

watching the first streaks of light

form an old constellation.

Your cigarette butt lies

near the crossing, nibbed

by taut lips.

I linger at the discarded kiss.



5. Lunar Bulb


The street is an isolated arrow;

the brightest lamp is the moon.

On this night-walk, free from

taxi chat, yet cold and small

in the wide space,

the lunar bulb is a detector;

your shadow is a ghost,

which has never quite

fitted your clothes.

When the nocturnal mood lighting

is replaced with dawn,

it will decipher the stains

of splintered bone branches

on Victorian stone.

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