WANT TO FORGET HOW TO REMEMBER WITH YOU

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.

LEAKE STREET TUNNEL

By LJ Cadogan

 

my skin no better
than a graffiti stained wall
from where you tagged your name
over and over and over
until every brick was covered
in your signature mauve spray-paint

you only ever tagged me after sunset.

like all illegitimate things, I was

a secret held in the flap of gum

at the back of your mouth
before the wisdom tooth grew out

and you could say you knew better

 

 

CIRCULATION

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,

Intertwined.

BCWK

 

 

 

EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

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.

 

 

 

VOICES AFTER THE CITY LIGHTS

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVED BY LONDON AFTER DARK

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.

LONDON

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.

DEADBEAT DARKNESS

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.

 

 

 

 

12 SAUNCEY WOOD

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.

FALLING ASLEEP ON THE THAMES

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.

NIGHT VISIONS

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
eyes.

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.

IGNORED NO MORE

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.

PURPLE

By Kristiana Smilovska

it’s a dark and gloomy night

but it defies all expectations

 

it changes you completely

irreversibly

you feel engulfed

lost

and a little bit purple

 

no longer is the tube a mere train that

gets you places

but

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

AFTER DARK IN THE CITY

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.

 

WAR WORDS

By: myTh the Poet

Arm The Arsenal

If my pen is mightier than the sword
Then I shall be a mighty creature in folklore.
Serving hoards from moors,
Disarming them without chain-metal and gore.

***

Chain Reaction

I tread in the vacant and remote.
I’ll descend through the depths of hell,
Patient yet betrothed.
Given a reason to compel.
Proverbial, I’m not the sacrificial
Lamb or goat.
Paddling in the moat, nervously peddling.
Hoping the creatures won’t swallow me whole.
Wallow and gloat, calm at the surface
But purposely churning steadily.
Like a Memphis duck, stuck in a shooting gallery
No rubber duds, when adversity wishes to scuffle it with me.
It is what it is, if the ends justify the means.
Then I’m ready with certainty.
I rather die trying, enduring incredibly.
Than retire, allowing what I desire –
Slip by, with regret
Embedded in memory.

***

The Mushroom Cloud
A featured presentation, the main event.
Essays on a philosophy, contradicting in nature.
You say you support me, but you wish for me to wait more.
Now the time has come: progress has finally come!
Your stake – go for it with a calculated equation
Be weary of your travels toward destination
That seems cowardly and evasive.
Persuasive, inherently my poetry can’t be invasive
Capturing mind, body and soul
Like this is a pipe dream and I should resort to packing skoal.
It’s no illusion or delusion
Prose flows through me, like it’s a transfusion.

***

The Aftermath

Live by the gun
Die by the bullet
Which figure’s ring finger rests on the trigger, eager to pull it.
Living by the scimitar’s blade
Dangling overhead, over the neck
Flipping spades like it’s a charade,
Russian Roulette.
I scrape the razor’s edge
Shave the narrow ledge.
Digging as a far as any drill can dredge.
Tip-toe the serrated haemorrhage
The frontier you fear
Trembling to be the pioneer.
The biggest figure is the one who can outlast.
Circumstances’ contingency plans.
It’s not a gauntlet or a massacre.
You can’t flaunt it like macabre.
A man unleashes his vaunted monster
To thwart phobia from stepping off the pier.
Peering from inward toward out,
A man versus himself, the ultimate profound bout.
Entrenched in the ground, with a posture stout.
Tremors and fright, will not be the surrender and plight
If I perish, may it be I challenged these harriers tonight!

***

The Fallout

Poetry flows free like water from a faucet,
You cannot order nor force it.
If so, these tenants erode caustic.
The ability comes naturally
No predetermined prerequisite required
Harness your heart, soul, energy and effort perspired.

***

TIME

By: Amanda Hein

 

Thousands and thousands of books.
Hundreds and hundreds of stories.
Centuries, decades and years,
Cities, maps and streets.
Mothers and children,
Dates and graves.
Names, ink,
Time.

Time.
Ink, screens,
Graves and photos.
Children and television,
Streets, satellites, and google.
Years, minutes and ancestry.com.
Hundreds and hundreds of timelines.
Thousands and thousands of data.

OUTSIDER

Poem + Photo By: LaAerial

in a corner

out of sight

eyes wide open

fear of flight

she holds her breath

and waits in vain

for someone else

to know her name

all seems lost

as time suspends

until she hears

a voice within

act this moment

wait no longer

what you’ve been through

made you stronger

you’re a nova

built to shine

don’t dim your light

don’t hide behind

fears of your mother,

your sister nor your brother

inaction is your only doom

so be as bright as the moon

take charge of the night

you may feel out of place

but all is well

all is right

***

A proud foodie, LaAerial, is also a poet, singer/songwriter, and a wellLaAerial rounded creative with experience in film/video production, editing, and audio production. Coming all the way from the U.S.A., she has traveled extensively with a keen interest in seeing even more of the world and engaging in all forms of art, in particular, screenwriting, acting, and photography. aglorifiedvagabond.tumblr.com

FREE DIVING

By: Gillian Horsley

 

Marionettes of shadow and light
from which a single string hangs;
a rope that guides my tactile sight,
hunger for adventure pangs.

Another world on Earth
in blurry tech-ni-colour;
my underwater birth,
light fades, colour becomes duller.

A crux to rely on vision,
a species designed with precision;
more natural than most kin will know.
Weightless in this alien time zone.

My heart, beats, slow
breath abated.
For eternity,
I’d happily waited.

A silver-blue blanket above
the sky is open, the sea transparent.
I am found, I am in love,
Meditation complete and apparent.

Gasping strong with a clear mind
pressure restored, recovery brief.
That other world left behind,
eyes open in disbelief.

HELLISH DELIGHT

By: Hammama Issa

 

Every morning after breakfast you always savoured your coffee,

One cup was all you needed to see you through the day,

‘You shouldn’t be out alone,’ I heard,

A dark, murky lake outstretched before me – still and lifeless,

The faint cigarette smell that lingered on your clothes,

Faint boomerang scars littered my pale arms,

Large trees stood hunched over in defiance,

You held my hands through the busy market streets,

As darkness loomed closer and the night grew older,

That throaty laugh and toothless smile,

Numbness stalks up the trail of my spine,

Eighty years young with a twelve-year-old mind,

A faint chuckle echoes throughout yet I know I’m alone,

Al Jazeera in the background ‘Subhan’Allah ála dunya’,

Bitter tears drowning my face,

Homemade lamb tagine and flatbread was your favourite,

I’m close to the end.

‘Let me see your smile,’ you say,

A pungent, ripe vinegar smell surrounds,

Lost in the moment –

Curling up in a nearby space I waited.

SOCIAL BEINGS

By: Sagal Haji

 

They say that humans are social beings

But I can’t seem to conceptualise

The way we have to socialise

Vain talk and vapidity

Are thrust upon us

As if it isn’t toxic

To our hearts

Our minds

Searching for authenticity

In world filled with dishonesty

 

 

I feel out of place

 

 

I feel alien

Like a lion in the ocean

I look to the clones around me

Engaging in idle talk

Superficiality breeds

Into a collective consciousness

That is London

A city filled with dreams and hopes

That can only satisfy

Shallow beings

Social beings