Talking With Martin

I suppose, Martin, with your culinary background, you do all the cooking at home?

No, I just do the bacon. Oh, right. I see.

And that, was the end of that particular line of conversation and Martin was left to reflect.

Wife gone. Not told anyone. Eats nothing but bacon. Every day. Blunt knife. Straight out of the frying pan. Mountains of the fucking stuff. The truth of the matter was that he didn’t quite know what to do with all the pigs in the back garden. They were her pets. She left them when she left him. He had killed them all. Pork products all over the house. A pair of trotters fashioned into a toilet roll holder, brains encased in resin and used as doorstops, skin hanging from the walls like medieval tapestries.

The house reeked of hot meat. He was still holding out that one day she might visit.

Steve Scott

 

Friend Request

You used to chase goodbyes you weren't ready for
down the street like letters snatched by wind.
Mostly now, old faces don’t disappear but re-emerge,
the years brought alongside like a draught.
You’d forgotten the am-dram actor, the school bully
whose smile is now Hollywood white but here
they all are, thumbnails dribbling down your screen.
They wave showreels of alternate takes, dressed
in good self-esteem. A harem of friends, beautiful,
starry-eyed, gorge on carpe diem. You drool, try to fit
your mouth around the guh sound, guh for goodbye,
but their ambrosia is so delicious, you are sure it is:
better than the plonk in your own cellar, turning sour.

Jasmine Cooray

 

i love you cos

if a terrible accident meant your head needed grafting onto someone's neck would want it to be my neck my babe I

love you and if you transpired to be a ghost and told me to become a maths teacher or i don’t know tattoo my body with scales i would unquestioningly proceed my stun-gun this isn’t

a good example but if you became dictator of the world it would be impossible/v v difficult for me to form a rebel group & overthrow you i'd demand a fair trial at least and secretly write you love letters let’s not

dwell my little red button see the cameras hidden in the basil pot for the indie thriller horror rom-com we are stars of trumpets defenestrate dead ideas as we run for the X78 governments annotate our whatsapp our duvet arrangements in diagrams on think tank walls my kindling my forest fire my mushroom

cloud your fingernail dirt is rainbow discretion heavy-petted away doing things we hope will one day shock the kids delete that bit no don't it's true my love my front-line how i try when it's you

Andy Cook

In praise of us.

When we puffed away
the dandelion days of youth,
Darren, all camp six foot of him,
wolf-whistling builders
on scaffolding from his bike,
Jennie graffiti-bombing Brixton
with hearts and flowers, peace signs.

The smoke rings and conversations
that hung in the air,
the booths and powder rooms
at the Rivoli before retro was cool
the queue for chips after.
Michelle leaving answer phone messages
for the cats at our Vauxhall flat
like letters carved
in wet sand on the beach.

In praise of making pennies
last for weeks, when nothing else did,
vaulting the gates into Greenwich Park,
stargazing, pints downed too fast,
Victor laughing that enthusiasm
was my only grace at African Dance,
the tangled limbs, the heart to hearts
‘til morning frayed the edges
of a faded Levi’s sky,
the sweaty bumping of bodies at Mass
drugs and fiddle playing at Matt’s,
the craic, when we threw our beauty
like rags to men who didn’t deserve it.

When we didn’t know
freedom was like champagne,
if its been too long you forget the taste,
in the days before we were
weighed down by children,
squandering entire weekends,
those boat trips up the Thames,
those dreams, when we were dragonflies,
for who we were when we
had no clue what we had,
for  all that’s gone,
and what we hold on to now,
indelible, like a song.

Charlotte Ansell