Featured Poet, Nicola Harrison


PSALM 1985

she would light candles in every church for him

and skywards send a million orisons

to silt stone sills | and alabaster wings

with luminary pleas made manifest

in smudge and soot | thus would she pester | a pitiless God,


kneel in chapels until her poor knees | split |

cast pebbles on tombs | speak the golden names

of seraphim | she has invoked them all

Gabriel, Raphael | Uriel, Behemiol

and in one desperate moment | Lucifer | who hummed

the tune of Angel Eyes with changed words;

‘Lady, your soul cannot be thrown into the ring’


cloisters echo | with whispered sibilance | and sighs like fires

Lord’s Prayer and Creeds | her chest crossed hourly

by unfailing hand | and still nothing | Nada;

the son is not healed | rosaries are just strung beads

the incarnation | another waiting sorrow.


Beyond the house of God | the universe

the sensuous nappe | of midnight on her skin.

Incense of comet trails | moon’s splendour falls

with unspeakable grace | irradiation of archangels

pointing skywards | the rustle of the stars deafening

the fierce cantata of the planets | it’s all about love, they sing

love | let love be your spaceship.






My Lover is a Slug

      The tracks you leave upon me

    shine silver in starlight

   tracing the flowerbed of my body

    with a longing for dahlias.


My Lover is a Scorpion

        Curled in the elegant toe of my shoe

      you await the tender dawn

       with dark, trembling want.


My Lover is a Spider

   Darling, as I sleep   

    you weave endless odysseys

     of dreams dark and tensile

      with your devouring ecstasy.





What time is 6/ 8 in? | six quavers to the bar!

yeah, but it doesn’t feel like that…


Feel it in 2, feel it in 3

you may do | but how does 6/8 feel?


How does anything feel | how does empathy feel

if it comes from you – and not me?


you love my music, my feel |but what is that feel?

and what’s the fricking point of any feel –

if I can’t feel love for you?


And on the lonely road | you feel

the bumps of worn tyres in potholes | you feel

60 miles in every hour | you feel

the rattle of worn brakes in 4/4 | you feel


the emptiness of advent windows full of laughter

of Christmas scintillating down Regent Street

past Santa Claus to bright applause

standing ovation | motorway service station.


Dawn crawls into dirty bed | there’s tinsel in your hair

from some nameless girl | and you still smell of her.


The 12 sighs of Christmas | well that’s in compound time

earned by carving the endless turkey of night

on dark roads void of infant joy’s delight


lonely cadenza | playing life in 6/8 | you can sing Noel

But it’s not real | so how in hell | does 6/8 feel?


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