Alex Rankin – “Chlorine Dream”

Chlorine Dream

deep sea divers we are
under the surface
discovering used plasters
and long lost coins
bubble up
a few lengths are enough
wrinkled feet
lungs beat and starved
of main road pollution
weekly chlorine fix
swap pool water for sugar
sweet shop fury
investment opportunity
how to make 20 pence go the distance
with five more cola bottles
or an astro belt.

Alex is a life long writer, but discovered poetry more recently after undertaking a mentorship with a surrealist poet in 2020. He is currently exploring various themes and ideas and ways of expressing them.

Sandra Noel – two poems

The same ornate cake-stand, crisp paper-lace

Up close, you’d see the crumb
at the corner of the woman’s mouth,
her stare at the empty chair.

Tea-dregs jiggle in her cup,
the waitress swaps the cake-stand
for a white paper bag.

The door sighs.
The woman crosses the road,
eclair and custard horn clutched
to share with the birds
under the cemetery oak.


At tide-turn where the pebbles dwindle

the sea’s cut a valley into the sand,
pushed wave ridges under my toes.
The beach hides its sea treasure here —
tumbled pot bits and shades of cloudy glass
from ocean’s other haunts.

In molecules of colourless winter water
I finger-rake shingle, pocket jewels
for the shadow-walk over the rocks.

The final sea glass gem glues to the canvas,
the body of a 5th moon jellyfish.
my gift to Diane, swim buddy, purple friend.

Sandra Noel is a poet from Jersey, Channel Islands. She enjoys writing about the ordinary in unusual ways, often weaving her passion for the sea into her poems.

Some of her most recent work appears online in The Phare magazine and in print with Dragon Yaffle, Dreich and Cerasus. Two of her poems are currently on the buses in Guernsey.

Kevin Reid – “Moving Country”

Moving Country

A school in Athens to a shop in Irvine.
Moussaka to mince and tatties.
A roof terrace of sunsets over Aegina
to a retired garden of rain in Stevenston.

To be fair, there is the dance of sun
and cloud over the Isle of Arran,
Paddy’s Milestone, The Clyde,
TV in a town you don’t want to be.

I arrived after a fire in my sister’s loft.
No life but my stored history lost. Now,
all my possessions fit into one bedroom
above the garden I once planted tubers
with my father. Here, I am alien too.

Kevin Reid lives in Scotland. His poetry has been published in various online and printed journals.  A mini pamphlet, Burdlife (Tapsalteerie) was published in 2017. He has two pamphlets published by 4Word, Androgyny (2018) and Suitcase (2020).

Katherine Collins – two poems

Flesh, blood, and bones, that’s all

You may put your faith in birds or books
written in two columns. You may believe

in statues, arches, stained-glass windows
the jittered intricacy of the velvet
that lines the violin case open on the pavement.

You may rely on flamingos, black wings and legs
like rusty rods, old and tarnished, which you trust

will secure the chair-o-plane seats
in the funfair that comes every summer
smelling of singed sweetness.


The gardener

I like to plant things, the gardener said,
that die well. What I mean to say

is when they’ve gone, they leave
something for us to cherish in the low

September light. Translucent petals
that whisper to the winter wind, remember

spring. Seed heads held high, bearing
the frosted burden of knowing

that beneath their steadfast stems,
I have planted snowdrops.

Katherine Collins is a writer from Portishead. Her poetry has appeared in The Rialto, bath magg, Shearsman Magazine, Finished Creatures, and featured in the Osmosis Press ‘new writing’ series. ‘They multiply their wings’, a collaborative work with composer Christopher Cook, won the 2022 Rosamond Prize.

Aidan Fadden – “Germany”


Of all of us, being first, you seemed
to get the treats – the bikes, the microscope,
the six-week hikes to Ireland.

You even got the chance to go to Germany,
albeit with the school.
It was the seventies;

some of the photographs I can recall:
the flares, big collars, snorkel jackets,
names which sounded so mechanical.

Berlin, Bremen and the Rhine,
Borussia Munchengladbach,
the oddly tender Lorelei.

How strange it must have been
for you with only thirteen years
to be in Germany.

But I remember disappointment,
on an evening,
when you got back home, and from your pocket

Brought out nothing more
for me
than the wrapper from a chocolate bar.

As foreign as it was it bore
the hallmarks of an afterthought,
(your smile said it all).

But I accepted it, my own small Germany,
and studied it – the foil,
dark printed words I tried to read –

Then smoothed it out, the map-like creases,
and held it to my face;
the distant smell of chocolate being broken into pieces.

Aiden was born and raised in Birmingham but currently lives in Rome where he works as an assistant university professor teaching composition and creative writing. His poems have appeared in various print and electronic magazines, including Magma, Stand, The North, Orbis and Prole.

Alison Jones – “Infiltration”


When my grandfather died,
his shade tunelled back up through loam,
lodged permanently in my mother’s head.
He always worked like a specialised machine,
digging incessantly at each part of her,
shovelling away dirt to the trenches
like a fossil, expanding underground,
into a new hardness of ripening stone.
Conditions just right for ridge and furrow,
he kept pushing until he had
displaced her landscape completely,
letting a vacuum  into murky passageways,
leaving at the centre, a small wet creature,
crying  alone in an empty nest.

Alison Jones’ work has been widely published in journals such Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. Her pamphlets, Heartwood (2018) and Omega (2020) were published by Indigo Dreams. She is working on a full collection.

Greg Freeman – “Sutton Hoo”

Sutton Hoo

Encroaching fret’s damp
fingers at river’s throat.
Engrossed turnstones
comb low-tide mud,
teal sift sand, leave
criss-cross artwork.

Is that a prow slicing
through the mist?
Acquisitive warriors
with weapons
that slash, hunting
king’s treasure?

Trick of the half-light.
Turn up collars, too cold
to point binoculars for long.
Proceed vigorously
to Whistle Stop cafe;
coffee, bread, pea soup.

Heat thaws bones, steams
up glasses. Yet in the ear
a ghost lingers. Haunted,
chilling cry across the Deben.
Lone curlew laments the tide’s
turn, antiquarians, tomb raiders.

Greg Freeman is news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His three published collections are Trainspotters (2015, Indigo Dreams), Marples Must Go! (2021) and The Fall of Singapore (2022), both Dempsey & Windle. He recently moved from Surrey to Northumberland.

Gill Connors – “Algebra”


All weekend she worried.
While her dad jacked up the caravan,
made it spirit-level, her mum
unpacked the car, lifted the chocolate cake
from the Quality Street tin, and her brother
did keepie-uppies outside.

All weekend, while the Word Search book
and The Chalet School did their best
to take her mind off it. Still, it squeezed
inside her head.

She tried to comfort herself
with her Grandma’s words:
Don’t let anyone make you
do anything you don’t want.
But she was sure it didn’t apply
to Maths tests.

Later, when she was trying on
her wedding dress, while her Grandad
iced the wedding cake and her Grandma,
on her knees with a mouthful of pins,
said the same thing again, she knew,
like equations, she would have to see
this one through until the end.

Gill Connors has been published as Gill Lambert for years and has two collections: Tadaima (2019) and A Small Goodbye at Dawn (2022) with Yaffle. She is hoping to continue to have her work published in her new name and she is working on a new collection.

Matt Thomas – “Sunday Afternoon”

Sunday Afternoon

While you finish eating,
I step onto the back porch
to throw an empty green chilli can
into the garden for the slugs to clean.

Cyclamen and primrose are growing
under the cherry tree but it’ll be some weeks
before there are flowers.
The cherry tree is a maelstrom of bare limbs.

I start to bring in the laundry,
which hasn’t frozen, and notice you
repositioned my big yellow towel,
spread it out across three of the many
clotheslines that span our tiny outdoor space,
after I draped it over just one of them
when I was finished using it.

We do this every week with my towel,
and I think, while I fill my pockets with pegs
and throw your almost dry t-shirts over my shoulders,
about all that’s held between us
by such a small, ordinary ritual.

Many years ago, Matt Thomas read in poetry slams in cocktail bars in Seattle, and published poems in obscure zines. These days, he reads and writes in Plymouth. His first Collection, What I Thought About While I Watched You Shorten the Handles of Two Canvas Shopping Bags Thereby Making Them Easier to Carry was published by Shoals of Starlings Press in 2021.

Chris Hemingway – “On the Beach”

On the Beach

The somewhat less-than-genial host,
who lied about the mermaid’s ghost,
is lining up the tea and toast
as picture windows cloud the coast.

The architect who never shaves,
on weekend trips to coastal caves,
finds the wildness that he craves
among the rattling, rolling waves.

An inner voice he can’t ignore,
somehow drowns the breakers’ roar,
as all the dreams he had before,
scuttle crablike on the shore.

The flotsam gospels he could preach,
through crumbled curtains stained in peach,
to windswept jetties out of reach.
We nod in passing,
on the beach.

Chris Hemingway is a poet and songwriter from Gloucestershire. His first pamphlet, Party in the Diaryhouse, was published by Picaroon in 2018, and his most recent, paperfolders, by Indigo Dreams in 2021. More details can be found on his website: