By Zahrah Surooprajally


The one thing I want to do is forget.

All the shit the other guys put me through.

You’re different. I love watching the sun set

with you. I don’t get bored. Get stuck like glue.

The rainy days in – we snuggle and fight.

We’re so different, but our souls are the same.

Clichéd? Love always is. Let’s dance the night

away. Take my hand. Close. Whisper je t’aime.

I’ll say Ana Behebak. It’s our thing.

You teach me the gavotte and I teach you

how to Bellydance. Then I let you sing

to me in Arabic. The way you do.

It’s been tough; shit, but there’s one thing I know:

you fix it all, but let’s just take it slow.


You fix it all, but let’s just take it slow.

Stop the phone calls, because you “need” to know

what I’m doing all the fucking time. No.

I’m done with this third break up shit, just go.

We go through the motions, like a TV

series that was never going any-

where. Yes I’ll roll you a cigarette. Easy

way to avoid the arguing. Many

thanks for doing the bed this morning!

Turned off Spotify when you heard our song.

Saw the texts. Don’t say I left you! Storming

off. Blaming me for the things you did wrong.

You weren’t the one, you are all just the same.

Our love is like hairspray when set aflame.


Our love is like hairspray when set aflame.

We want closeness, just to feel less alone.

Just want that posed picture in a gold frame

Reasons to keep looking down at our phone.

I really miss waking up next to you.

Numbing with Netflix and chill: smoking weed,

kissing me, holding me. I miss it too.

Dancing in the moonlight; I’ll always need

you. Broke my heart, why did you do that for?

Why did you fall for her? Why the lying?

I wait, with my Oyster card, by the door.

Knowing you won’t come but still I’m trying.

While you are waiting for the sun to set –

The one thing I want to do is forget.


By Benjamin Corry Wright Kootbaully


I take a step from off the deck and in

To night; a heady lift of air, to steep

The week.


As light subsides, lungs open wide,

Exhaustion, engines, fall behind.

The grounds will rise at lower tides,

Unlatch the filters – serve the night.


My breath awakens freeze-dried streets again,

My spirit stirs this cast of featured bronze;

My smile returned, black liquour on my lips,

My eyes, acute with widowed innocence.


For London runs within my blood; to drink

In waves of scoured brass upon the Thames

Enlivens thought, as caffeine does; to sink

The weight of life to come when study ends.


I take a seat.

The cold dispelled, I meet the sun,

With weary eyes and absent mind,

Myself and London,







By Sophie Raphael


The lights turn off and my existential crisis begins.

I am a lie and a figment of my own imagination,

Caught between who I want to be and who I’m settling to become.

I chop, re-design and change.

Should I be allowed to dream, to believe, to feel?

Fear of failure, I’m too afraid to fear,

It’s a burden and a weight on my tired shoulders.

I fear the dark, the shapes that shift with no rules,

Moving along my walls, waltzing to an eerie beat.

A tap drips; wind rustles the trees and loud breathing is heard,

Tormented, I twist and pull the sheets around me.

Sun rise,

Another night not slept.

I get ready and conceal my heavy eyes with heavy makeup.

Drawing a smile onto my face, opening the door to another day,

Knowing that it brings no meaning, purpose or value.

But I wait until dark to allow my crisis to begin once again.





By Dele Oladeji


I fell apart, not to fall ever again.

Flickering like a lone star. Voices, I hear.

I wove myself out of darkness,

My cataract infected eyes twitched.

I looked through the window,

Murky smell of thick air oozed.

This is the East End-

When the leaders see our faces

They see nothing. What we feel is poverty

That has drowned our lives.


Where do I start? How do I survive?

These bliss’s that ferociously reap us apart.

The leaders said, with pomp,

‘We’ll improve the economy of our Great Country!

We’ll reflect on medical services for all!

We’ll reform the state of social welfare!’

Mama said, put your head down boy,

Do your very best and let the devil run mad.

What I feel are pains of wretchedness and hopelessness.

Set me free! I need freedom! We all need freedom!

Won’t you come to me soon daylight?

We are the hopeful Voices after the City Lights –

We’ll be free to speak out!

Let me dance one more time.

Let me fall in love with living all over again, dear fucking life!














By Sophie Bowles


Because I

only have friends who

do madnesses unto themselves and never go out on

Saturday night,

only out to the offy, bed & back to hide behind the pillow with the strops and

socks while everyone else laughs and dances away, or robbing the bookies,

I watch

the scenes alone,laughter, and smoke and stilettos

looking for meaning in men and picking my mind

off the floor with the fag ends, striking a match in a strangers eyes but the lights

have died in all of them, I need that one with the black clouds, not mr  happy with his hair preened back roaring his head off, the one who could

hold the leash back and teach me.

I still look for his face in the large crowds

Looking for love in the next one.

I see him dancing away,

come out for a fag could you handle me and everything I have done,

deal with my father, waiting at the door with the silent questions…could you be that

who’d rise up to him and take me out of myself, don’t just pacify, but grab my waist

and smash the life out of the man who ever tried,

I’m spinning… How quickly the night wants to rain down

on my head, in a trail and the girl with the square head and bloodshot eyes puking it out,

looks at me dead,

mind your own, never taking her eyes off the strangers who eye up the orange mess on the streets

I need that arm around my waist of the girl with big tits and glittering lips, tossing at the traffic lights,

oblivious to banging her head on the wall begging for change in the steamed up window,

and crying it out in the city after dark.

I can grip it if I wanted to,

Be that woman who the music and lights long for

Who laughs over glasses and conversation and men in shirts showing lust and affection

And up is the cloud of the future, me, great beautiful bum one day in silver heels, folded into the city’s

dazzling arms by the men pouring shots at the bar, away fom the chips and the

longing for change, I’d be that one who London loves, not spinning.

Loved by London after dark.


By Morghan Nunn-Menson

It was all cast

In colourless tones,

And an air

Of crossed eyes

Weighed down

The streets

Like a military parade.


The birds I heard,

But rarely did I see.

So much life,

Yet so little.


What united us,

It seems,

Were our guarded hopes

And sacred dreams

And the lullaby

Of sunset.


By Sajidah Iqbal


His soul shrouded in a dismal, dreary darkness,

Bereft of as much as, a tiny tinsel of brightness.

He is destitute of words and deficient in life,

Devoid of any luck and depleted in pride.

Blitz, bombs, burns, rifles, tanks, devastation,

His life upside down, like some frenzied fiction.


He was Aleppo’s born, where life brimmed with life

Before his brood was massacred, in front of his eyes

His nest burnt to ashes, he witnessed his folks die,

He had to leave his homeland. He had to say good-bye.

Once a living man, boasting home and hearth,

Today a path-finder, … a burden on earth.

He suffered through war and had had no brake,

His hopes have been vanquished, inciting immense ache.


He persuades his inner-mate, it is London no more war

But smears and scars of yesterday haven’t faded so far.

Those visceral voices and thundering squalls

Still strike, crack and shatter his glass eyeballs.

Splinters of his dreams, dent his drowsy mind

And his torpid, tired self is gloriously declined.


Shard, Plazas and towers, everything cast in pale,

His jaundiced view of life, shall ever stop to prevail?

Heralds of bright future and cheerful songs of spring,

Are often illusory promises, with silvery fleeting wings.

“If London is vicious, venal and vile in darkness deep,

Light a beacon of hope, to get you through disbelief

You came from the death’s door, pale and knackered

But the dream of budding life won’t keep you shattered.






By Amanda Hein

It was after 4 am, I can remember that. Herded; the change of music to a slow hum, like a pied piper sending the sheep out of the club at 3, flocking to the nearest kebab. Bah. Greasy burgers sopped in mayonnaise, chips drenched in ketchup, the overpriced taxi ride. Yes, it was at least 4. The front door’s latch echoed through the marbled entrance. Bastard. We scuttled quickly, my hand and heels in each of your hands, you balanced like a tightrope walker on a slippery line. Sanctuary is carpeted stairs, politely silencing our steps. Stairs do not judge. Shh, the first door on the right, a stagger and a half past my sleeping parents. The room was a cascade of moon light; I didn’t dare disturb the glow with a bulb. I undressed, leaving stained and smoky clothes in a heap on the floor. You left your underwear on. I stole your shirt, and wore it as a nightgown. Fucking buttons. You were so thin, it barely fit over my breasts. You loved it. We fell into the sheets. My antique, third generation bed creaked and sighed underneath each turn and breath. I didn’t want to sleep, neither did you. Please. You pulled me in close, too drunk to notice my unbrushed teeth. Laughs, giggles; short and long kisses through the night. It came out, bursting from me like a shaken beer can rich with alcohol: “I think I’m falling for you.” Shit.

More kisses.

“Trouble is, I’m falling for you too.” Thank God. My eyes were lead; the alcohol wore off and overcame me. In the last moments of consciousness, you cradled me, your long arms swaddled me. Our breathing slowed, and we drifted away. Your head rested on mine.


By Rachele Salvini

My grandfather had a little boat, where

we sailed until our salted skin got burnt.

His hands were fast, spotless and young

as he talked, gripping the ship’s wheel.


He told me about squids and moray eels.

We had no canals, but we had Fossi

which literally means moats. Trenches.

Green, dirty, putrid water, stagnating


among the pitch black streets of the city, heading

to the sea. And when the dusk sets over the Thames,

we go back to shore. His suntanned fingers

caress green waters. He smiles. Night comes.


In London, I can’t smell the sea, but can feel his voice,

the pungent odour of his shaving balm,

squid, fish and moray eels swimming home,

the rocking of the boat putting him to sleep.


By Zoe Maynard

White lights speed past
my body. Screeching screams
escape from the track, the
doors fly open.

No hustling and bustling
like in rush hour mayhem, the
carriage has a scrunched up
newspaper to keep me company.

Outside the station, the eye
watches me as she turns
full circle. Without blinking,
she watches the city sleep.

The Thames, her beloved
friend, swims past the decaying
walls of parliament,
and sighs.

Crown jewels glimmer inside
the Tower of London, away
from the prying, intrusive

The Shard, still awake, looks
across the miniscule buildings,
Canary Wharf catches his gaze
and winks.

St. Paul’s will not bow down
to the illuminated dome, the O2
that roars with music. He prays
in silence.

Red, white and blue, the soldiers
protect the sleeping Palace walls,
and Her Majesty treasures her
sixty-five year reign.

These visions curtsy in front
of her ageing eyes. I pull out
a fiver for the next train, and
she smiles back at me.


By Keith Fuchs

The apocalypse is upon us!

Thankfully it was a nightmare

Awake next morning to know the world is still right there.

That problem you faced, well that was yesterday

There is no promise of tomorrow,

So be another gift, to overthrow the sorrow

To capture ecstasy in the narrowest window.

For now you will never know,

If on the morrow, the earth will still revolve and rotate.

Abate! Take flight like a sparrow before it’s too late.


By Kristiana Smilovska

it’s a dark and gloomy night

but it defies all expectations


it changes you completely


you feel engulfed


and a little bit purple


no longer is the tube a mere train that

gets you places


a golden carriage

taking you where chaos and music meet

a place where dreams come true


are they ever going to be yours?


suddenly, impatiently

a jump from the audience seat and onto the stage

searching for a clue


my carriage took me to someone else’s ball

and I saw the success of another

love, work

love work


I think they taught me something


it’s a dark and gloomy night

like most other nights

but against all odds

tonight I feel purple


By Rosalind Raphael

After darkness falls, a quiet calm descends:

There’s no one walking on the pavement or around the bends;

Busy workers leave their desks, shouting their goodbyes,

And disappear down stairwells to the labyrinthine

Underground tunnels where they all disperse

On trains that take them homeward bound, to the suburbs.

The wide roads empty as buses, vans and cars

Carry their occupants to restaurants and bars.

Everything has stopped; no sound can be heard

Except the distant rumble of a train towards its berth.

Lifts are static chambers clinging to buildings, amid

Precarious crane sentries that quiver in the wind.

Lights go out in office blocks like a slow… power… cut

And shop floors darken as the doors and grills are shut.

Windows remain lit, where mannequins show their wares

To foxes that prowl the alleyways, pitch black despite their stares.

They knock over dustbins, pigeons in the eaves:

There’s nowhere to sleep here, there are no trees.

Chairs upended on tables and stored behind glass

As bins overflow with remnants of many meals passed

On the pavements, now cleared of newspaper stands,

As after darkness falls, a quiet calm descends.