Status: by Lilo Umpfenbach Ducommun

So many cracks & the light comes in
blinding – the comfortable low light gone
Our mercenaries are fighting wars even they don’t believe in
it’s a job and there are contracts, aren’t there?
We are asked to thank them for their sacrifice,
fighting to keep us free, are we?
Deception, delusion and Illusions rule
Reality has left the building




Fake Christmas by Sue Kindon

The first stone, as soldiers load
heavily weighted weapons
to defend their promised land.

Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock,
Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
is nothing sacred?

A salvo of syllables,
and the prayer-settlements
launch rocket-boulders from borrowed ground.

You can dress it up,
in skull caps, chequered headscarves
or the president’s new clothes,

it was always about an out-of-favour tribe
wrong side of the barb-wire-words, denied a home.

all of the drunken defeated men by Martin Hayes

all of the men in all of the alleyways
who once worked in control rooms or workshops
where they had to listen to 3 inch high supervisors scream at them
until they had pumped themselves up so that they could feel as though they were 8 feet tall
all of the men slumped in all of the shop doorways
too drunk to make it home who once tried to hold down a job
where they had to lump 25lb boxes of frozen lamb
into the backs of trucks for £8 an hour before tax
all of the men in all of the gutters who had to juggle 6 am drunks with clocking on at 9 for more years than you would believe
all of the men at the bottom of their rivers who now have to wash cars or move the contents of houses for men they consider not to be men
all of the men who needed to kill themselves to free themselves of the pain of being men but couldn’t because they were all too men
all of the men
angry and bitter that their principles and strength
were not enough to keep their women in love with them all of the men
who once batted their eyelids free of sleep and got up
feeling thirsty and invincible who now
find themselves walking around their bedsits at 4 am
unable to sleep
trying to work out why
they feel like they are the only ones left

In Response to the Daily Fail who Mock my City of Culture by Antony Owen

You portray rats as refugees like Nazi propaganda,
we take them in like mothers do scent to their kin
they paint our grey city as a portrait of sanctuary,
take that in for a moment and let it absorb like ink.

You report there is more culture in a yoghurt than in Cov,
like the yoghurt and milk from foodbanks under our ring road?
Or yoghurt adverts on your website interrupting fake journalism?
Did you know that twitter is a nest where some vultures circle?

In my city is a Rastafarian man washing his hair in a library sink,
he reads books and reads people then begs for change yet changes us.
it is people like him with his cap filled with rain and loose change,
that make us the richest city in all the right ways you fail to see.

My grey city was mixed with two tone to get to this colour,
a colour you can never see so why not come and feel its palor,
all of us shall welcome you like real people in the real news.
We are making a tide and a shore, shaping the rocks for all to stay here.

Come and see.

Fuck Your Feelings by Esi Yankey



Miss Yankey is a London based British/Ghanaian poet with a healthy addiction to verse. She runs Poetry Prescribed, who provide therapeutic workshops promoting poetry as a healing tool; and an effective way to manage mental health and wellbeing; In addition to this Miss Yankey is a co-host and resident poet at The Chocolate Poetry Club. To find out more please follow her on social media or email

Jerusalem by Antony Owen

Earth was born a small stone from sling shot stars,
belonged to all before borders were fault lines.
Goliath was a giant hailed in the yellow sun, star,
I think all the stones have melted like ice in fire.

This is the age of walls being built or knocked down.
I dreamt of cuckoos in Jerusalem threading Acacia from Gaza,
they nested in the safety of mosque, spire, and synagogue and
I think the peacemakers with guns never heard that peacefulness.

Oh Jerusalem, a fool sang a ballad and asked wise men to dance to his tune,
and the fool saw a king so vain he was throwing crumbs like stones.
The stones looked big in the disappearing wastelands beyond the wall,
A slum child watches her breath shrink in the window pane and sees Palestine

Oh slum child, Gaza is an abacas made up of stones a little boy once held.
You live in skin that is not disputed yet it craves a place to be childhood.
Oh Jerusalem, your compass pin breaks at west yet your true north is all,
I am not going to tweet the songs that have come from your millennia’s.

There is a white house where an ass hee haws to the birds in Gaza
Once upon a time lived a family who lived to live and feel alive sometimes.
Nobody would know how a man excavated the shape of his son in linen,
How death wax leaves a fossil of who we were before the claiming.

Oh Jerusalem, the peacemakers with pens and guns will meet in the world,
land cannot be disputed if we are built of bone and the same blood.
I want to negotiate that I will decide as a citizen of the world
That I will not become a citizen of nowhere, I decide this.

The Conquest of Iraq by Gary Beck

The last shot fired,

the guns are silent,

the wounded carried to safety,

the dead stored in body bags

ripening for the return home.


Only chaos remains

unresolved by war

of an arrogant intruder

proclaiming lofty ideals

not practiced at home,

on a hostile regime

not a direct threat

expanded to a menace,

an imminent danger.


Asserting might makes right

we toppled a totalitarian regime

leaving a disrupted country

leaderless, lawless,

a state of total anarchy,

looters  pillaging with impunity,

feudists settling old scores,

sectarian violence

across a divided land

consumed by hatred

preferring murder

to tolerance,


And the pretext for invasion,

weapons of mass destruction

never discovered.

Yet no apologies,


prompt withdrawal

of an occupying army

that crushed native levies

like colonizers of old,

who at least established order.


The prodigious cost

in blood and treasure

devastated the loser,

but bankrupted the winner

and the people at home

who did or did not support

the extravagant adventure

of excellent warriors,

incapable state builders,

paid for the inept aftermath

of military success

with loss of homes, jobs.


Burdened with national debt

our children can’t repay,

the weakened remnants

of an industrial economy

now unindustrious,

replaced by hi-tech for few,

service jobs for many,

abusers of the system

escaping unpunished,

despite betrayal

of the American dream.

Poor Plan by Gary Beck

The American hope,
a stable Afghanistan
after years of training,
wasted billions,
remains a fantasy.
Afghan security forces
dangerously riddled
with unreliable soldiers,
erratic police officers,
suddenly turn weapons
on unsuspecting allies
in a pattern of attacks
that deepens distrust,
shatters cooperation.
If our soldiers
can’t trust Afghans
they won’t achieve
even limited goals,
so the Pentagon
should advise the president
once again we’ve overreached.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction(Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions & Fault Lines (Winter Goose Publishing). Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Dilemma by Cath Campbell

You’re a darlin’, she says, her canny voice
smoked with years of distilled grain
followed by highs so high she bleeds.

Her rasping breath at home by the wall
in dirty streets tunnelled with memory.
Imbued synapses, the snake of her veins
saturates skin with paper verses
written in invisible ink.

The good old, bad old days of chasing the dragon,
and so tired of it wiping away all that she is:

This changling belonging to nobody,
in a city that she will never leave
until keeping level gives her a final spin
down the hurdy gurdy lanes.

A waste of cash? Maybe – but, then again,
she might buy a coffee or a burger, instead.

Trump is now our Moral Barometer by David Susswein

stretching her bare arms above her head,
to fix her ponytail
her breast swells up with lift of her arms,
she’s trying to catch the sun’s rays.

Her upreached fingertips block the dazzling light,
she’s been watched, and is watched,
she’s watching being watched, and in watching,
she’s complicit in her rape

well… no more pretence, take her to the cement ground floor,
punch her face, once twice and three,
bloody pump i’ve made of her nose [squirting out],
rip off her clothes, the panties – thin dirty g-string,
i stuck my hardness right up her, a swift motion,
i said… thrust i said… thrust  i said… thrust..

gave another light slap on her face, withdraw i’ve finished,
withdrew before i exploded – spunked that on her face.

“She was wearing dirty clothes, and her panties! My God!
she touched herself in public! I swear!
And do you know what, Mr.Jury, I’d already had her!”
i sat on the uncomfortable testify bench in court,
looking at the jury, with honest open eyes,
“We’d already done it then – and then she said she liked it!”

the jury humphed and muttered to themselves and spoke
in voices swallowed up by breaths when the judge stared at them.
my barrister presented the torn little g-string
in a tiny plastic bag, and told stories of previous boys,
me, i got quite aroused, and touched myself again,
but beneath my bench – so no one could see.
and as for the injuries? well, i guess that was not me,
i mean; any dirty whore putting her bits up for a-reaching
gets them all reached up by any guy who’s up.

When the jury [yea!] acquitted me, and i shook my
barrister’s hand [she did not even look at me],
i did notice this little waif of a girl thing,
turning her back to me: her ass to me: in the jury box,
she had such innocent eyes.
I think I’m going to follow her home, just to say hello.

Pssst. / Wanna buy / a dirty bomb? by Mark Young

Well at least the
North Koreans
didn’t blow up cities,
contaminate the marine
ecosystem of the
South Pacific, displace
people, force volunteers
to stand in the path
of the contaminant

But then, but
then. The question
must be asked. With
that frightening
plethora of marching
bands & a
chorus line that has
more people in it
than half the
nations on this
planet, why do they
feel the need to
have a nuclear
deterrent as well?



Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over forty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent book is random salamanders, a Wanton Text Production.

Apologies by Rupert M Loydell

So, we apologise for everything.
The NHS and parking, unemployment,
attitudes to immigrants, the price
of food and drink. It doesn’t
really affect us, we don’t know
about shopping bills, bus fares
or the cost of fuel; but we’re sorry
to hear you’re struggling –
can you try harder to earn more?

We didn’t mean to pinch your arse
or overlook promotion. Didn’t mean
those rude remarks, or your
lower pay scale wages. If you
want a job then fight for it,
you must pay for education;
sitting in the bar, like us,
won’t help with your ambition.
Can’t you try harder to earn more?

The line is longer than you’d wish,
the pub was quiet and empty.
I’m  always amazed how much I know
compared to all the experts.
We’ve started so we’ll finish,
the odds are stacked against us;
nothing’s ever gained by deceit,
so figure out your reasons
for not earning what you’re worth.

Yesterday’s forgotten, tomorrow
isn’t here, so work out your position.
You didn’t mean to end up this way,
but this is what the facts say:
you did this and you did that,
then thought of other things to do.
You say that you deserve more,
you are worth more, but we’re
at the mercy of market forces:

you’re only worth what they will pay
and you are always undervalued.
Life is shit, and what is worse,
there is no love between us.
Things we value are worth less
(which implies a kind of freedom),
but we are lost and without work,
even though we want to earn
what we’re worth or more.

Trust us and we’ll prove ourselves,
return on your investment.
Pennies pinched and spent
will reward phantom guidance.
We don’t know the cost of things,
are not involved in daily finance,
but of course we understand
and care, please rest assured
we know how hard things are.

We apologise for everything:
the price of drink and unemployment.
Revise your attitude to immigrants
and the price of food and drink.
We don’t know about shopping bills,
bus or train fares, what gas costs.
Sorry to hear you’re struggling,
we’re sorry to hear you’re poor,
but can’t you manage to earn more?


Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.

Predator Response by Steve Lane

They lay around all day
and the people come in
Poisson waves

all the little ones
enthusiastic but not too
loud the slow wind plies

above the short green grass below
where they lay around all day
The sign says talk quietly

but it’s hopeless—lions!
They lay around all
four, five

hundred pounds apiece
snoozing, chuffing
head up head down eyes closed or

barely open

all day behind their moat beyond
their fence and the people come
bearing gifts of little ones

from Japan and San Jose and
always Australia
in their stripey tights and tiny boots

colors lost in every rainbow
never seen on any veldt
They lay around conserving

bored looking

for a moment’s
for a moment’s

time alone

One More Bullet by Steve Lane

Just                                                              one.






One more high–speed fuck–up   …    ……..tequila–fueled  fear–induced  ham–fisted

hammer–jawed  throat–crushing  blind–eyed

absolutely–good–for–nothing  ball of




Just                                                              one.




You’ll tell yourself final   last   just

oh how the words lie and lay about lost

out in the garden coming in on the tide


You’ll tell yourself and anyone who’ll listen

since you can’t any more not even hear the

begging the screams feel the woman’s hands


tugging  pulling with weakness with final

ounces of  without hope but pleading none

theless  maybe you used to wonder


how could anyone with an iota of humanity

pull the trigger on a fourteen–year–old

child just standing there just riding by


but that was before they put the fear in and you                                                         stopped

wondering about anything at all stopped

questioning your motives stopped


watching your own actions from a close

distance and asking yourself where did your

last iota go?





Just                                                              one.




If only now, in this instant, you have



Yesterday was hell, still searching for heaven by Dave Rendle

Yesterday I searched for something
some hope I guess, but could not find it,
what  else was  bloody needed
so I begged ,prayed and pleaded,
mind in array, how could I actually tell
no answers came all seemed like hell,
as politicians pillaged and clouds turned dark
left their truly horrible inedible mark,
I searched for solutions ever so far away
but lacked religion a God that could rearrange,
found some power on the streets instead
friends like me still hungry for change,
fighting, struggling for an end to this mess
releasing  thoughts of another world instead,
as this planet whirled on the path of destruction
searching for that elusive place called heaven,
a place where we could all find salvation
a kinder place that can’t be broken or stolen.

Word association by Sarah L Dixon

You tie

my favourite pet

to a sign


‘government interference’.


Make my first gig

when I was discovering

who I was

about proving

my identity.


Take the model and colour

of the Mini

that gave me freedom

and drain the happy flight

from these memories.


What is your memorable word?


And have we sullied it

enough for you yet?


Is it still happy?

If so, we have more work

to do here.