Bombs Don’t Fall – Scott Elder

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Bombs Don’t Fall
And King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba
                       all her desire, whatsoever she asked…

A dog was barking in the early hours.
Who knows what you were dreaming.
I held your head between my hands
and heard a distant lute,
a desert drum and tambourine—
I was dreaming, too.
And in my dream I kept you whole—
spare parts, rivets, glue.
First comes the flash and then the thunder.
Try to wake before the thunder!
I shook your body till pieces flew
and woke, myself, before the dawn.
The wind was ever from the north.
It made the tent cords whine.
I put on a scarf and worn out shoes
and walked, a queen, into the night
against the wind and wind borne sand
bearing a gift for Solomon.


First published in‘Part of the Dark’, Dempsey&Windle Press 2017 and third prize winner in Southport Writers’ Poetry Competition 2017


Scott Elder lives in Auvergne, France with his three young children. Since Winter 2013 his poems have appeared in Orbis, Poetry Salzburg, Cyphers, Nimrod International, The Antigonish Review, The French Literary Review, Crannog Magazine, Big Muddy, Dream Catcher, Acta Victoriana, Quiddity International, Cake, Sentinel Quarterly, The Journal, Obsessed with Pipework, Morphrog, and The Moth Magazine (Spring 2017).

A debut pamphlet was published by Poetry Salzburg in July 2015.  He was a runner-up in the 2016 Troubadour International Poetry Prize and his work has been highly commended in both the Segora Poetry Competition 2015 and the Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition 2017, commended in the Wild Atlantic Words Competition 2015, shortlisted in the Fish Poetry Prize 2017, in the 2016 SPM Publications International Poetry Book Competition, and longlisted in The Plough Prize (2015) (2016) and the Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition (2016) (2017). A first collection entitled ‘Part of the Dark’ has just been published (August 2017) by Dempsey&Windle Press, UK.


Drowning in Wembley Stadium – Joe Carrick-Varty

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Drowning in Wembley Stadium

If you chained yourself to the top-most seat
on the top-most tier of Wembley Stadium
and one drop of rain fell on the centre circle,
then two drops, then four drops,
doubling every minute,
how long would it be before you drowned?
Twelve hours.
So, that last minute,
the last of the seven hundred twenty,
eleven hours fifty-nine,
the second before that last minute,
how full would the stadium be?
It would be half full.
At eleven hours fifty nine
the water would be fifty metres from your throat,
it might resemble a swimming pool, or a lake
with ripples, yes, plastic bags,
a reflection of the sun, a flock passing,
then the wind might hush,
that sun disappear,
traffic on Rutherford Way or Falton Road might stop,
look up at the ocean emptying out of the sky,
think to themselves,
‘I hope nobody’s in there.’


Joe is a poet based in Manchester whose work has appeared in Crannog Magazine, The Manchester Review and The Interpreter’s House amongst other places. He recently travelled to Alaska and saw a real grizzly bear.


Tell Mistakes I love Them – Stephen Daniels’ new pamphlet

steven daniels


Really pleased to be mentioning Stephen Daniels’ new pamphlet on The Poetry Shed. It is from the fabulous V. Press and is causing a bit of a stir – fabulous endorsements and there’s a review from Ben Banyard here.

V. Press is a small independent press set up in 2013 and publishes poetry and flash fiction. Some of their other poets include Carrie Etter, Gram Joel Davies, Sarah James and Jacqui Rowe. They have a submissions reading window which you can check out here.

Anyway, back to Tell Mistakes I love them – I have included the poem, You lay on the floor, waiting for me, below and have previously published two others, one which I particularly love called, One hand on the steering wheel, which is also in this pamphlet.

Hilda Sheehan is one of the poets who wrote a testimonial:  “Stephen Daniels’ poems deal with the difficulty of growing in an uncomfortable world. These poems are structured to be as uncomfortable as the stories they reveal, they are awkward and honest, show the true damage of childhood shame rising into adulthood – they take unexpected turns: human trauma in a real twisted, surreal reality. A striking first pamphlet!” Indeed…

 To buy this pamphlet visit V Press here

you lay.png

Stephen Daniels’ debut pamphlet, Tell Mistakes I Love Them, is published  V. Press. is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry and Strange Poetry. His poetry has been published in various magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, And Other Poems and The Fat Damsel.

His poems have also appeared in several anthologies including Richard Jefferies Writers – ’78 Anthology, Domestic Cherry, Ink Sweat & Tears ’12 Days of Christmas’ 2016 and my poem ‘Light’ was runner-up in the Candlestick Press micropoem competition 2015.


On a July Friday Evening – Yuan Changming

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On a July Friday Evening

All construction noises gone. Except fewer
And fewer cars swishing by. A vegi dinner
I watched wolf warriors. She stared at
Her smartphone. No visitor as on every
Other eve. I thought of making love
I want. No! She is no longer a woman
Let alone mine. No internal communication of
Any kind. So aged we can no longer go to bed
Earlier or later. I wandered awhile online
Trump again. Doklam standoff continued
No fire between Guam and NK. No body
Contact either. No more. The bed is too small
For two big different dreamers. However
Always too large for a small stanza


Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include Best of the Best Canadian Poetry:10th Anniv. Ed., BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 1339 others worldwide.


There are Boats on the Orchard – Maria McCarthy


Imagine pulling off the road at the height of Summer to a wooden stall at the mouth of an orchard, cherries dripping from the trees. A woman behind the stall shoulders a week-old child. A toddler sits in a playpen beneath the trees. You ask what is in the punnets. Merton Glories, each fruit a yin–yang of yellow and red. Early Rivers, purple red. Autumn brings bulldozers and bonfires, and all that remains is the rusted shell of a burnt-out car and a planning notice.

There are Boats on the Orchard chronicles seven years of living alongside the disappearing orchards of Kent. Poems by Maria C. McCarthy. Images by Sara Fletcher.


Boy on a ladder

It was all hands on deck and up before the lark,
beating the birds, loading baskets,
ferrying cherries to trains and barges,
and off to the London markets.

Two rungs up, and there you are,
In sturdy boots, short trousers,
crew neck sweater, grubby knees.
Did they coax a smile? Say cheese.

You were having none of it. Your elbows lean,
fingers splayed as if playing a small guitar.
A deep-filled basket rests at the foot of the ladder,
bigger around than your hands could reach.

The war to end them all just past.
But what would you know of that?
Life was a bellyful of cherries,
tummyache the worst of your worries.

Another year, another war,
in Navy cap and uniform,
waved from the same station
where the cherries had departed.

This photograph kept – where?
In a book, an envelope, a kitchen drawer?
A corner is torn, a crease threatens to rip,
arcing like a scythe at your shins.

In memory of Ronald Leslie Harding, who died on active service in World War II. From a photograph, with kind permission of Jacquie Kirby.


There are boats on the orchard

Tarpaulin stretched over hull, on twin wheels
with one flat tyre, tilted starboard,
a parched prow points towards the water
butt that catches the run-off from the outhouse roof.
It’s seen the turning of the seasons twice
in this spot across from its mate that nestles
in the hedgerow, mast scraping hawthorn.

The farmer’s in the orchard with a man
and van with Drainage Solutions inscribed
on the side. A handshake, then Solutions
man hooks hedgerow boat to trailer,
tacks between the blossoming trees.

There was a speedboat, too, that should have been
cresting the waves at Whitstable, but sat so long
in the gap by the broken-down horsebox
that I noticed neither its presence, nor absence,
till a policeman neighbour saw paperwork
at the station, relating to its liberation.

There were floods in fifty-three.
Hundreds of sheep were drowned
due to loss of local knowledge,
left to graze on marshland
reclaimed by the estuary
that lies between the mainland
where the orchard stands
and the Isle of Sheppey.

One grass-locked vessel
waits for the waters to swell.


Maria C. McCarthy writes poetry, short stories and memoir. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent, and was the winner of the Society of Authors’ Tom-Gallon Trust Award in 2015. After several years of living in the north Kent village of Teynham, where she wrote in a shed looking out on boats on an orchard, she now lives in the Medway Towns, and looks out on boats on the river. Her website is www.medwaymaria.co.uk

Sara Fletcher grew up in Kent, and now lives in the village of Halling, a few minutes’ walk from the River Medway. A chartered civil engineer with over twenty years of working for local authorities before setting up her own consultancy, she is also a zoology graduate with a passionate interest in the natural world. Having always enjoyed drawing and painting, as well as a variety of other creative activities, she was delighted to be offered the opportunity to collaborate with Maria McCarthy on There Are Boats on the Orchard.


How to Not Drink, and Other Useful Suggestions – Abigail Conklin

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How to Not Drink, and Other Useful Suggestions.


Go to the staircase behind
your building, next
to the parkway, and run them
until you’re wobbly in the knees
and your ribs are bubblegum.

Make a pot of coffee
at 9pm, and take a melatonin
pill with it.

Text lots of people because
you are crazy.

Drink more coffee.

Fuck it, just drink.


Sit down to write about
your internal landscape,
only to find
that confronting your internal landscape
just makes you want to drink.



Speak aloud to the wall
shared with the neighbors.
Maybe they’ll stop practicing piano.
You’re speaking
to a wall and a piano.



Try valiantly in some
brave, Washington-Crossing-
the-Delaware way,
to have some compassion for yourself.
Except the coffee is wigging
you out a little, and the neighbors
are still playing piano and



Draw a face for every person
you’ve ever loved.
If you run out, go back,
and draw petals around their faces
until they’re nothing but flowers.
And if you run out of petals, go back
and color them in black
so you have bouquets of the plague.



Think something devastating
yet insightful
about how you have loved,
and wind up drinking.



Imagine owning a houseplant.
Vines tendrilling over the sides
of a pot, and colonizing the floor beneath,
cleaning the air in the room
as you sleep.
Water it sparingly, so it does not
grow mold or drown.


Abigail Kirby Conklin lives in New York City, where she works in education and curriculum development. Her poetry has been featured by Indolent Books’ online series “What Rough Beast,” the blog Bonus Cut, and the writers’ community The Bridge. Her work is appearing in the Winter 2017 edition of The Lampeter Review.


The ones that fall die young – Max Eevi

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The ones that fall die young

My father showed me skimming
at a lake in Devil’s Bridge,
taught me how to keep the little thing
in conversation with the water:
flitting for the open-ended questions.
Wrap your fingers, as a gun, and watch
between release and destination –
“Everything is in the rock, and each rock
is the next best thing.” Perfect stones
are rounded gently at the bottom,
polished as a whisper. Sullen
Fragments of the mountain.
And then there is the throw, to which
all throws seem feeble in comparison.
Straight along and without bend or arch:
The ones that fall die young.

But I’m too old for lakes. So
nowadays, on visits to the sea,
The violence of the water
Stirs the nuisance in my soul.
And I go on, one after another,
Far away, for the new land, skimming.
Some crack the waves and drown,
Others flick against the current,
Lingering a moment by the swell
Then disappear, return in 20 years, smaller.
Houses, holidays and tax returns –
Strange, how that in every throw you tell a lie.
The water reels back revealing
Drafts of many colours, baying
For a part in the great nothing.
A pause and I am powerless,
The deckchairs are deserted.

My name is Nobody.
My mother, father,
All my friends
They call me Nobody.



Max Eevi was born in London. His influences include such writers as Barthelme, Bowles and Beckett. His work has seen the light publication in Journals on both sides of The Atlantic (Lighthouse Press, Wraparound South, Palooka Press, Glasgow Review of Books)


Tavistock Poetry Readings – 17 October 2017


A strong theme among Tavistock Institute practitioners is that they don’t just explore the world through their social science identities, but they also realise the value offered by the creative arts in making sense and communicating complex societal challenges. Over the last six years poets, artists, storytellers and filmmakers have visited the P3C (Practitioner Certificate in Consulting and Change) programme bringing this different perspective to questions of organisational development.

This poetry session will be given by two Tavistock social scientists who both fulfil this intra-disciplinarity and have also become successful poets. At the end of the first day of the festival they will select and read poems that have been influenced by their Tavi identities, their organisational, research and evaluation practice.



Joe Cullen: aka ‘Bard of Dalston’, has been published in a number of poetry magazines and journals including ‘South Poetry, ‘South Bank Poetry’, ‘Other Poetry’, ‘Long Poem Magazine’, ‘Decanto’, ‘The North’, ‘Stand’ and ‘The Delinquent’ as well as ‘Footballpoets.org’. Poetry awards and commendations include: ‘Poetry Pulse’, 2012; ‘Rhyme & Reason’, 2012; ‘Sportswriters Awards’, 2012. He has given poetry readings at Torriano, London, RADA, London, Salisbury Arts Centre, Barbican Arts Centre, Poetry Café, London and the Crystal Palace festival. He was nominated by ‘South Poetry’ for the Forward Prize 2010/11 in the ‘best single poem’ category and received a 2012 ‘Poetry Kit’ Award for best poem of 2012. Themes in his work include politics, place, identity, popular culture and biblical stories.

See and hear work at: www.bardofdalston.co.uk. Joe is also a Professional Partner of the Tavistock Institute.


Karen Izod: Poet and writer on wild places, thin places, city spaces, people, politics, memories that weave through places and generations. You can see or hear some of her poetry at: Karnacology; New Welsh Review; Poetry Shed; Agenda Poetry.

Additionally Karen’s poetry has been published in Agenda, Journal of Attachment, and a number of anthologies including Paper Swan’s Best of British, Curlew Calling, the Stanley Spencer Competition anthology, and Dempsey and Windle.

Karen is also a Consultant to Organisational Change and Professional Development, and Professional Partner at the Tavistock Institute.

Register on their site: http://festival.tavinstitute.org/event/tavistock-poetry-reading/

Swiss Church
79 Endell St




Two winners will receive a royalty publishing contract from award-winning Indigo Dreams Publishing and 20 copies of their poetry pamphlet.

Submission: Full poetry pamphlet sent as one document up to 30 pages 36 lines max including line breaks.

Entry Fee: £15 per submission

Closing Date: 31st October 2017

Publication: Summer 2018

Postal entries must be accompanied by cheque to correct amount made payable to ‘IDP’ or pay via PayPal. Email via PayPal only.

See full submission rules at


Postal submissions to

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize, 24 Forest Houses, Halwill, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5UU