British Steel

By M.J. Cole



The Station is printing an escalator that spirals clockwise

At point break banally raptured and as immaculate

As identity shouted down from history

Windows inhale to shatter themselves

Reveal a shrapnel portal beckoning

Forceps scalpel forearm force in fragments

Permeate the wall and drop void-wise

Nothing gets rebuilt only rebranded

Imperial facades are a kitsch warning

The preservation of a threshold symbol

Slack-jawed sovereignty compounds

While social combustibility ghostwrites

Parricidal syntax to trace the arc of survival

Potentiality pixelating into grain silos of undifferentiata

The new black is squared and the crack is cubed

It makes us stop at the border of them and us

Boiling footsteps of indiscretion as every starting car

Might shudder a prelude to an explosive sigh

Finally stones comfort as they rise

Two hundred fifty miles per hour as they rise

To spite the muscle and marrow of history

As they rise as they rise as they rise



By Caitlín Róisín


a film of sweat

washing dry

my lips apart

the heavy uhhhh

oh the heavy limbs

stuck here and here


blew into my nose

and I tasted

the grey light, also

cotton wound on dust

a warm shape gone

fraying the reeds, horses


kick the day, my toes

brush the wet neck

soiling our land our

dry mountain we

are lead out of the desert

we are sunk onto the coast

low sun

weight-ed sky

there is an arc of dryness

our wheels could click

I watch it part and



the salt licking my lips

Not All Poems Are Love Poems


Artwork by Claire Potter

Photograph by Matt Cole

Text by Frankie Mace 

I have lived within your absence

the negative pressure of your breathing a medical ventilator

expanding the shame that lurches in the cavity

forcing the exhalation at your name.

You have killed me in your sleep ————

vengefully you amputated

// the terminal infection //

that I am to you.

The knowledge of my destruction is dizzying:

expensive bombs raining        a future            a famine          a fallout.

To destroy unutterably is a fresh power

a cave full of bones, thrilling in its horror –

only debris lives longer that death.

Don’t use the word forever

luckless wreck, Medea.

The magnitude of your devotion threatens,

bruises darkly, flowering its juices.

Your shadow in an image ¦ egami na ni wodahs ruoY

I may only pale and wane

clammy as the moon on an old plate

… Surrounded by the imagined company of the dead …

That is but is not history

I have things to say that are unemailable.

You with your souks, your Maroc skies

blameless as a porcelain saint – Hero

wrenched from her Leander.

Memory has perfected for you a martyr

an old rug torn for a love of the same hook



as it


leaving a floor shadow the texture of echo

/ echo of texture the shadow floor a leaving.

Shiver out of your skin ( I will wear it )

the psychic cloak of it unique in its

remoteness and intimacy.

For then I was Circe, temptress

[Treacherous in the dark]

rival on a foreign isle

where < need springs > from desire

and claims manhood like a trophy.

Whispered dissent a poison——–delivered on a tooth

Fawned over by drugged   victims    of a    simple   magic

Which turns them all to swine.

And yet, living in the half-light of unknowing

will soon be mine to inhabit.

From the edge it drifts to the centre in @n eternal return:

I have become Penelope now

and will clean the cups and fluff the pillows,

facilitate in waves of succour

[Loving fearfully in the shadows]

To adorn a *fresh fantasy* with honey

As a patient handmaiden at a loom;;;

Prepares a new rug.



*Originally published by the London Review of Fiction*