Saboteur Awards 2017

Delighted and honoured that I am not a silent poet is on the shortlist for the Wild Card this year. Voting is open now – just click on the link and then on ‘Vote’. You’re not obliged to vote in more than one category. You are asked to say why you think whatever you vote for deserves to win.

It Had by Dominic Albanese

come to pass
only appearances
evolved-grew-remained static
models, concrete, not mud
or straw
commerce caves….
women weeping
but not for long
yet among men
this same
*golden calf*
now full grown
stood near doors of
a brass girl…laughed
one more time
this unbroken circle
of all our sins
became a knot…none
of us not one of us
could un-tie………
phony teachers + preachers
sleep in silk sheets
some where….on either
a hill or an island
one watches….yet
one sees

Listen by Rick Richardson

The night
so quiet like
a loaf of rising bread
or a letter
to the condemned
while the dead trees
of silence spread
their naked limbs
like a willow by the water
someone’s empty bed
all I know
is this universe
is a swarm of stars
and the moon
that ancient stone
burning like a ship
takes my life
on a journey without me
deaf as sleep
cold as the black sea.

Too Sad To Be Funny by JD DeHart

Everyone knows, she says,
that when a woman wears
more make-up she is seeking
an affair.  It’s these kind of
small terrible statements that
make me wonder if the contents
of the mouth speak more of the
person spilling them than the body
at which they are aimed.
This is the handgun wielding,
life besmirching voice I have
heard, with wild claims purporting
to have basis in ancient writ
or recent science.  Now I wonder
what each entry says
about the diarist.

To The Politicians by Dave Rendle

They will offer you

a handful  of inflated emotion,

tie you up in knots

having eaten their fill,

will not do anything you ask for

whilst continuing to deliver soundbites,

eager to show that they do really care

will continue to offer you handshakes,

full of lies and deceipt

with warped sense of logic,

as the pain frosts over our breaths

offer us scraps of austerity,

whilst  hours draw by keep us unsatisfied,

continue their games to bend and shape us

apart from a few, most of collassal self-importance,

with their rhetoric full  of emptiness

deliver to us, utter complete disrespect,

it is up to us to stir their will

in sweet sheer defiance,

carve a new domain

into which, us they must serve,

instead of corporations and lobbyists

and others with a lust of power,

deliver us human foundations.

built on us concepts of truth

that can be seeds of future’s rebirth.

.division. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

numbers came suddenly, soon after one. nothing added any more, all began to subtract, divide, the result algebraic there are no rulers, lines to divide, the total is irrelevant now, the addition foremost. i have been to the counting.

initially, crossed the  sea to the land, from one to another, then, talking. crossed the narrow bridge spoke of the past, you know what i mean.                                                                       courage to walk


a book about death. 14.


.mathematics. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

irregular, you came, your best clothes shining.   never mind. the first tune hit the mind, patterns and mathematics.   the kindness that is.


he said. machine you see.   glass reflecting.            slowly it starts repeating.   the walls of differing colours.  we have the dvds.                                          on and on repeating on and on repeating on and on repeating.


back to the counting, how many have there been, how many are left still standing. an issue for some, yet we  amend the figures here and move on. lucky ones,            maths divides and decimates others.






. next wednesday 29 . by Sonja Benskin Mesher


simple notes, there is much discussion now, where the place used to be pure quiet and  acceptance.

it seems to him that talking does not get the job done.                 gently balancing wool.  words  fall .


we had gathered here before to watch the weathering.     referendum come and gone with fury.




fails us.


simple notes. none rise higher than the one next.


to you, to me, this may not be

the acceptance



Fire and the Feast by Nick Cooke

For the girls choosing self-immolation rather than surrender


You want fire

From your hot little mama

Your hot little nine-year-old mama

Hot little nine-year-old mama of a bride


And she gives you a fire

And the rich aroma of a feast

And when you walk in and whiff it

You might think this girl’s a decent cook


And rub your hairy hands

With thoughts of a winter’s supper

And a lovely lipsmacking bonus later on

Between the newly washed matrimonial sheets


Where the child exchanged

For a sliver of your life’s hoard

Will arise like the flaming sword

And sear the clouded heavens open

Westminster, March 2017 by Marilyn Hammick

The people who won’t be going home today
are people like you and people like me.
This morning they checked their emails,
read another chapter of their book,
bought a coffee to go and, wrapped against
only the March wind, chose the pavement.

The people who ran towards the blood
are people like you and people like me.
This afternoon they took off their coats
to pillow an injured man’s head,
blew their breath into a dying women,
put their palms across pulsing wounds.

All these people walked from the south
or the north, they were willing to cross over
and look east and west towards the other side,
the side with plenty of places for more bridges
if people like you and I make the space. 

S.O.S. A Sparrow Falls. by Carol Argyris

Warm thoughts are necessary
to wrap a dressing over exposed nerves
protect them from the stinging air.
They are the opiates that bring sleep,
make waking possible.
It grows harder to conjure them,
easier to despair.
A million children starve
daily, bombs amputate limbs, 
decapitate, kill dreams,
destroy all peace
and rip through hope.
For heaven’s sake
cast spotlights on beauty,
on cathedrals, on churches,
make stained glass glow.
Not all we have created is ugly.
Illuminate ancient city walls
moss-covered, softened, 
no longer borders.
Shine light on statues of other gods
who promised nothing
were equally cruel
yet somehow more humane
understanding as they did 
the human condition, living it.
Make ruined abbeys beautiful,
halo them in luminescence,
let penumbral shadow 
soothe the sight
of cardboard city sleepers
drugged against the night.
Let light 
put aching hearts to rest
for a while
to Save Our Souls

Silhouettes in the garden of the east lawn by Rick Richardson

Who cares about the affairs
of poor women
who work their fingers
to the bone
just ask them
those who have been let down
and taken up
like the hem of a gown
rich ladies wear
at the country club
taking up a collection for the nun
who cares for the orphans
when there is golf
and invitations to dances
to attend in the evening
on the east lawn
by the garden
the master in his white gloves
brushes dirt
off of his evening jacket
and a flash of a silver flask
in the moonlight
like a dagger in the back
of ambassadors
while those authorities on gas
and all of their advisors
go over lists of the uninvited
keeping tabs on who has
and who hasn’t shown up yet
smoking cigarettes
and drinking cold duck
with their fish eggs
as the dark guests
who were never invited
dance alone in the garden
with their silhouettes.

My Ash-Sham by Sofia Kioroglou

Damascus, the city of Jasmine, my ash-Sham
now in throbbing pain, with intra-ocular pressure,
higher than normal, the omen is permanent vision loss
of a brighter future, our people are blind
Damascus, my Madīnat al-Yāsmīn
traumatized, yet squinting at a sliver of light
peeking through the door, a wished-for chimera
if wishes were horses, the future would be ours to create
Damascus, my homeland, the Barada river
a throbbing jugular, still alive
a knive in the heart, hot burning pain
peace floating driftwood on gory water

A Bridge by Paul Brookes

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,
you and your kids
a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.