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Issue Two

James Giddings


Born in England


Reads the tat slapped on his skull

as if the proud shine of his baldness


and his dislike of the Arabic English accent

wasn’t enough to read into.


He sips a pint and recalls a night

post cup tie, Rotherham win


where after a scrap, he locked

a black lad in the pub cellar.


They all laugh fat bellied laughs

the sound, hanging there.


They down their pints, the round

slammed on the table; the knocking


like fists on a wooden cellar door.






And it starts here behind the shed

dark brown-red with rot, gypsy Jasmine

from next door dropping her knickers

her top speckled with dirt from playing;

she takes my hand, thumb in my palm

fingers lapping the ridge of my knuckles.

Then between the warmth of her legs

she guides my hand, buries it, the heat

of the summer holiday beating our necks

as we hide behind the shed; her brother

shouting out her name, Jasmine leaving

as he calls; me wondering what’s for tea.




Robot Heart


When they told me Granddad was getting sick,

said his chest would need to be opened, cut

because the heart he had just wouldn’t tick

and the clock inside him was loose a nut,

I thought he’d be gone for sure, not come back

but I knew he wouldn’t give up, he’d try

if there’s one thing you could count on it’s that.


Now every time when Granddad comes on by

you can hear it in his step, like a click

of heels, of a cog, falling into place

his robot heart clanking as he skips, flits

dancing with Grandma in the open space

of living room floor. His heart is strong, beats

to a new rhythm, to his woman, her feet.


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