Lauren Murphy, Jute Street


The hand shows you the way to the notorious Jute Street of Aberdeen. Enter if you dare. Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, I believe, was inspired by the walking dead that linger here. However, they would rather suck on a fag then your blood. It is fine during the day but please be cautious of the night. Both vampires and junkies share a fear for the light.


I’m guessing a guy called Finn used to live here. The police came and took down the banners of graffiti-love and this is all that remains. Every morning, when I wake up with my coffee and look out my window, this is what I see. R.I.P. Finn R.I.P. I always see people walking into that building and wonder, how do they get on with their lives. Every day they are faced with the reminder, that someone died here. It’s inscribed on their walls. Whenever, I look over to Finns first resting place I feel a sickness in my stomach. It starts at the pit and crawls up my body, while raising hairs up my neck. I feel sick. R.I.P Finn R.I.P. I repeat these words over and over until something lets me get on with my day. I know it is weird, I didn’t know this Finn, but something changed on the street the day he died. Aberdeen has always been grey but Jute Street is black and white now. Apparently, he was dead, alone, for five whole days. Did no one wonder where he was? He must have been loved as people have marked the house with his name. Making sure no one forgets that a real human being died here. All I know is that an incident happened here. Five years prior a man’s throat was slit in this flat over a ten pound bag of heroine. The realm of death curses this building. Two deaths in less than a decade, I just can’t quite comprehend. His friends, drunk, well I assume drunk, come and sit on this wall. I like to think they sit here and talk about memories with Finn. Then they leave needles and cider bouquets outside his window as a sign of respect. I always wonder how this one died. All I know is that something happened here. Then I try get on with my day. R.I.P Finn R.I.P.

Michael Doran, A Kind of Kansas to California


the sea is too large,

for the hungers of flesh and heart

are heavy,

with the weight and maze of the lostness of gods

and their importunate harassment of wills.

and i will have been convinced

by these siren songs

that this world is too big for us

and our stupid instincts

and our stupid desires.

On my walk tonight. night. i got caught, in the myriad mazes between the cobbled stones. lost as a jew, jess in Egypt. in the best way, best, possible. What makes a man? i pose pos epode prose. expose. exploded prose snows. haha. i think i might know. i think i might know what makes a man walk away from his mind, mine. i can hear the Richie Tenenbaum suicide song playing. i can, hear. here. Too many late night basement punk shows. punk. not punk and I’m telling everyone. no left eardrum.Fuck you and your fascist chords. you’re not Bob Dylan, Donovan. so What did i do when she broke my heart? i did what all young men do. cried bent arm Uncle!, i went to war. fighting constantly. on the front lines of thoughts and, an unidentifiable recalcitrant enemy; self, and all its philosophically meandering slithering, crisis criss cross cut syllabic over-enacted terrorist reigns. the ineluctable modality of self awareness. drunk on joyce again again again, at least that if no more thrthrthrthrough mine mind. hemingway said faulk you fuckne; language; its simple, really, but I’m not; letter R; nothing more than cold linguistic constructs.;i came here to find the american dream and now I’m in the vortex, in its new facade; expatriation. its all in milky-way shambles, the everythingness of everything exists within the pretexts of human limitation, nations cobbled maze, i know because i saw you trip not slip on them, i pretended not to see because you look looked so ghoul of george gorgeousness in the stale lights fighting the apocryphal fog, creating a halogen haze illuminating the low k sky and slippery glazed stones. and and trip hiccup start i . . A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a bow legged girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world. too big; don’t you know that pooh bear is god? because he did. ha imnot ,hybridNew York Boston accent, im no not, no closer to any kind of truth than you, knowing only the guarantee that comes with the forlorn rags of growing old. you who looked back from jersey and saw the great night lights lowering over some kind of Kansas to California, the evening star drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the praying prairies and flatlands, the badlands bad and saw the boys lay their heads down at night, and in iowa with the children crying, in the land where they let the children cry; you enveloped a nation,youknowing, accepating some kind of buddha truth under a pine tree thicket and dharma beds made from the layers of acquiescent pine needles in the carolinas, pontificating, how can man expect god to respond to the cries of man, if man wont heed to the cries of dog? atheistso supplicant i pray; bless the earth, darken the rivers, cup the peaks; roll out the first and fold in that final shoreoror with all the roads growing, the people dreaming inthe immensity of it. now i look out to inform from my new not old northeast corner and think ofmy mine old westward home through the window, think of this 12 hour island and a smaller island still, as bigas the irish Ireland island hy-brasil is real, the great expanse of the great atlantic hearts that roll in one big unbelievable bulge back to home. i’ll crawl out like a tanker to where i can see the curve of the world. i wonder. i wander around through the myriad mazes between these cobbled stones. streets and stone. walls. stonewalljacksonsbane;;, a twenty-first-century minotaur of mind. no longer a claustrophobe for creativity.. when you trip i will laugh, because because

Cameron Houston, Haiku

Practiced fingers work
Patience through the earth and wet
Worms are innocent       

Vicky Birks, Ink


‘Biscuit?’ he enquires, in his thick European accent,
He thrusts the packet in my face,
I glance at the Tesco Value Custard Creams,
He’s already scoffed four, they’re not going to waste;
I respectably decline, the thought turning my stomach.

Brushing the crumbs from his mouth, he snaps on a pair of gloves,
A smooth reggae beat sounds from the speakers,
Dulling the sound of the profession he loves,
My teeth clench and my muscles tense, preparing myself for impact.

The needle breaks the skin, expelling droplets of pink,
Colour onto my upper dermis which is quickly followed by blood,
And I’m fighting the urge to dive for the sink,
Whilst the steady beat resonates in my head.

Flip flops weren’t the best choice of footwear,
As i attempt to avoid the onlookers perplexed by my limp,
Subtlety, clearly, was not my suit as passersby begin to stare,
It was all flip and no flop as the rubber contraption attempted to cling on.

But, I drag my swollen, aching foot along with pride,
As pain, along with £60 pounds, is part of this lifetime guarantee;
I ignore the boys behind me, imitating my silly walk,
Because my tattoo, is a cling-film wrapped present and a present just for me.

Evelyn McKay, Mimosa Pudica


The Mimosa pudica
shies away from the inquisitive finger;
it has learned fear from approaching hands
and closes in on itself for safety.
The delicate insides are protected
from the dangerous world around it;
‘No,’ it says, ‘you cannot harm me now,’
then cautiously unfurls itself,
mysterious, seductive, inviting;
ever so vulnerable.

You pry, you touch. Much too much.
(You such and such.)
me not,’ I am saying, when
I touch myself
I enclose myself
within myself.
For a time.

Elizabeth Howliston, Orkney Wind

ImageThe wind picks away at the doors like a locksmith,

A scrabbling screaming child is loose above stairs,

Whistling a long lost song to the same old tune,

Wild hands pull on the skirts of the house.

There is a rattling and scratching at the windows,

Cold fingers push in the howling night into every crevice,

Eyes are rubbed sore, in shuddering sleep,

It is morning, and all is well, but it might not have been.


In a low field, for they all lie low, the calf is still,

The tin roof is off the barn, the seal pup waits on the shore,

Flattened oats carpet the fields, grey geese are fastened to the land,

One more Peedie house falls into a churning sea,

She rocks and rustles in her Orkney chair,

The chimney smokes, the last Elm isd own,

There are too few trees to lose even one, too late,

It is morning, all is not well, but it might have been.


Sally McDonald, Two Haiku


Glinting of mirror,

Eyes blinded, shot by silver

Sunlight on the sea.



Tick-tock of wall clock,

low lights and whispers,

oxygen hisses the end.


Gabriel Neil, Panic Attack


Vision narrows into a narrowed field

Nausea stares with cold eyes

Nebulous fear like blood surfaced, congealed.


No choice, no choice but to submit, to yield.

A buzz of carrion flies.

Vision narrows into a narrowed field.


A mind unpicked dissected torn ripped peeled;

Fingers tremble, madness lies.

Nebulous fear like blood surfaced, congealed.


Doors windows walls eyelids hands, each a shield.

Waiting for calm to arise

Vision narrows into a narrowed field.


A limbic system overcome, unsealed.

A mind flooded, broken – cries.

Nebulous fear like blood surfaced, congealed


Waiting for the line of calm to be reeled

Nausea stares with cold eyes.

Vision narrows to a narrowed field

Nebulous fear like blood surfaced, congealed.


Ana-Maria Dragomir, Tattoo



At four, Taipei is made of pink and blue

And all the streets are circular.

I played fifty-two games of mahjong

To get here.


Your hair was red in Valparaíso – two years ago.

The following year, in Macao, one of your sleeves

Rolled down as you danced the Lakhon

And I could see again the thirteen-petal flower

Branded in your skin.

Your hair then had the burnt shades

Of the school of Siena.

Muted tongues of fire

Quietly licked the flower on your shoulder.


At night, the flower  grows enormously

Exhausting perfumes wrap around me

Vegetal, clenching

Till I am weary.


My city has risen and fallen fifty-two times

In the meantime.


I played fifty-two games of mahjong

To get here

And see you again.


I fold the maps in three, in four, in five,

And follow you



But as you deal the cards to the dum-dum of this joint

Your hair is blue

The flower’s gone.

Rebecca Morrison, The Road to Ménerbes



The road to Ménerbes

Led to unexpected treasures:

The first lizard of the season

Slid from the crack in the chapel wall;

A rabbit, too – not the tweed-knit

Greys of the vineyard, but a Parisian lapin,

All elegant in black and white.

A pair of stone lions

Guarded the nunnery’s emptiness.

Spring hovered, chill,

And we five had the run of the place –

Lions, rabbit, lizard, girl.