I carved your bones
Into a tree.
Discovered you in velvet petals
Powdered with pollen,
White feathers sullied by soil,
Mouth smeared pink with juice,
Seeds shining from tiny teeth,

Suddenly sullen
Inside the wild strawberry plant.

Perhaps my hands offend you.
They nurture sin.
They lose their colour,
Pulled back as skin from Godly grape.
They spin spider silk,
Stand at the edge
Of a field shivering,
Licked to sleep.

Natalie Crick


Your name tingles at my touch in the dark,
as I trace its shape with my fingertips, explore all its sharp points
and smooth curves.
Three letters taste like whisky,
one like silence,
one like snow boots.
The others melt in my mouth, filling it with light. Oh beloved,
whom once I did not know so long ago,
nothing is so beautiful as this. I'm a messy lost human, I know,
but I love you so much I can't think straight.
Cross my road, you streetcar. Break my seal.
Remind me why I am.
Tonight has no moon but you, and the wind is inhuman
but you wrap me in flames and your name is so safe.
Your breath is fierce.
I am completely yours.
I am completely here.

Finlay Worrallo

You and existentialism

You are a free agent. You are left alone, condemned to be free. The authenticity of your life is your experience and not your knowledge. You can act without being determined by your past, which is always separated from you. Your consciousness of death makes you realise what is important.

So thought Sartre, perhaps the Godfather of Existentialism.

On the other hand, Albert Camus, who saw himself more as a writer (un écrivain) than a philosopher, argued that you can’t create experience. You must undergo it. You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.

Whereas Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre’s soul mate and co-philosopher said, “You can’t assume responsibility for everything you do – or don’t do.”

But what do you think?

Tom Warman

Not Friendship

If I speak to you now
when the hammer has hit your throat
and your breath has become bone – lightweight, almost
fossilized, would you believe in the miracle,
would you kiss the shoulder of responsibility, eat the loaf
you were given with great gusto,
stop pushing your cart of distractions, stop
and see.
August is around the corner. And no spiritualist’s spell
nor week of Sundays will change the face of nowhere.
Letting go is always in my veins.
Letting in the emptiness
and not being afraid.
If I speak to you now,
it’s just to let you know you are forgiven,
the smoke has cleared and all my expectations have long
since died. It’s just that I feel for you.
And I need you to know
that I am not, will never be
your enemy.

Allison Grayhurst


She weaves idle chatter
into patterns of finespun flirtation
while considering the subtext
of your conflict, an unwelcome
concept in this context
as she contemplates the shape of you.

She is not your only lover.
She is bumbling on the surface
with this frenetic meditation
allowing her scattered thoughts
to form an orderly queue.

With a thin skinned presence
and a dependable cadence
that resonates, she deliberates
how best to hold the space for you

while you keep a place for her,
behind the embraces you cling
to as they dissipate, evaporate
like candyfloss on your tongue
but with a sharper taste.

Let the others call that love.
You know better.

Kate Garrett