Her Blue Nail Varnish by Zvezdana Rashkovich

My aunt had painted her nails blue before she died. Mama grabs my hand as we walk into the dim apartment. “I need you,” she says. My body bends with the combined burden of mama and the growing child inside me.              The curtains are pulled together tightly. My youngest aunt, my childhood friend. Laid out on a tattered brown sofa in her living room, surrounded by a circle of shrunken middle-aged women. Their shoulders bow like sunflowers at the end... Read More

Anaesthesia by Anne Stevenson

They slip away, who never said goodbye, My vintage friends so long depended on To warm deep levels of my memory. And if I cared for them, care has to learn How to grieve sparingly and not to cry. Age is an exercise in unconcern, An anaesthetic, lest the misery Of fresh departures make the final one Unwelcome. There’s a white indemnity That with the first frost tamps the garden down. There’s nothing we can do but let it be. And now this ‘you’ and now that... Read More

Bridges by Rena Robinett

            In 1984, I rode the bus to Grandma’s house in Los Feliz, up Vermont Avenue from the lowlands of East LA, through Hollywood and into the manicured isle of Griffith Park. On the way to upper Vermont which is respectable area of small, family-owned novelty shops and gourmet delis, we passed through lower Vermont where the bums still hang out in doorways. I got off the bus at Los Feliz and walked up the hill toward the Greek Theatre. It was a steep, hot walk even... Read More

Signs by Shaquana Adams

Others would have boasted about such an object, but not her. An adjuster held it closer, but not close enough. The pretty, petty gem chaffed and scratched her tanned skin And it hid more often than not. To top it off, Once she forgot to take the tainted jewel off Before entering his parents’ house. Shaquana Adams is quiet on the outside but goofy on the inside. She writes because the best thing about writing is that she can say what she needs to say. It is an awesome experience.  Read More

i by Wisam Chaleila

ikids own: ipads, ipods, iphones, itunes, icams. They don’t have Freud’s “I”. Nor is that Hegel’s “I”. Rather, an i that externalises the “I” onto the façade. One that is squeezed into a lowercase but never hyphenated. Though this i becomes integral to Individuality subjugated, Immanency cancelled, Innocence “ikidded”. It’s all calculated. ikids are carbonated and dissolved into their world of the small “i”; where great philosophers are dead, Gods... Read More

Feedback by Jimmy Smith

I agonised over the photo.  You look like a dickhead if your thumb is in the photo, don’t you?  But you can’t get a decent angle without holding it up.  Anyway that’s why there are still about eight photos of Doolittle by Pixies on my phone.  I must’ve picked the right one to use as there were a few bids before she had met the “buy it now” price.  Four quid plus p&p isn’t a lot for an all-time classic to be fair, but these days who needs actual albums? I’ve... Read More