Issue 2

The Interpretation of Jung’s Dream
By Charles Lauder

The house is mine
…………………yet unknown to me.

The first floor a salon wrapped in gilded vine
the ceiling a rush of leaves swallows
………………………………………….fountains
………………………………………………….cherubic children
a painting of a girl on a swing
………………….kicking off her shoe
……….to the boy waiting with outstretched arm.

The ground floor and its tables & chairs
……………………………………….cupboards & chests
possess that darkness and heaviness
of centuries earlier the salon’s parquetry
replaced with red brick.

The cellar is ancient a Roman vault
walls of stone block a floor of slabs
one with a ring by which I lift it up
descend
………………into a low cave of thick dust
…………………………….and scattered bones of beasts
whose claim to this lair has been supplanted
by broken pottery
…………………and two skulls
……………………………………piecemeal and petrified.

The key to the house
………..proffered by Freud over toast
is an interior…. spacious like a womb
the skulls my buried desire to kill
………………….two women. Freud presses
until I offer up the bodies
……….of my wife and her sister. But this
…………..is no death wish. The salon is my consciousness
the furniture all the knowledge
……………………………………………..I’ve acquired
my descent is that exploration
of dark ….and darker ….and more alien
……….when my human soul prowls
…………………………..beside the animal
copulating hunting copulating.

Charles Lauder Jr’s pamphlet ‘Camouflaged Beasts’ will be published in spring 2017 by ‘Black Light Engine Room’. He is the Assistant Editor for ‘The Interpreter’s House’.


ECHOES AFTER THE CLOCK STRUCK MIDNIGHT
by Jane R Rogers

The other shoe sinks through the water.
I lope, barefoot along the castle walls –
the shoe sparkles as if polished skin.

The alien carriage of turquoise glass
channels a path, wooden wheels race sky –
a flock of books left in their wake.

The ballgown slips off my shoulders. I levitate,
naked above the battlement. The gown’s echo
hangs bell-shaped: a glittering failed chemistry experiment.

I run on adrenalin:
an aftershow light,
switching itself off and on.

Crumpled pages scale up with bougainvillea –
the books meet my waiting desire.
On the parapet, ideas arrive, find me

wondering where to go, what to wear:
melt like ice cubes onto my nakedness,
goosebumps of a thirst I want to keep.

And rain seeps onto my skin. I caress,
bathe away the musk of others,
erase echoes: curlicues of their tattooed intentions.

At 1am I can create magic: dry ice, new shoes.
I dance, find new choreography – discipline muscles.
With the reverb of a false ball chime

I leave the fortress: now visible
where once upon a time
might have been.


Hurt (after Sylvia Plath)
By Janet Hatherley

I think of Sylvia
but a shock, not a thrill.

Something about food
and the cutting of skin…

I’m slicing red pepper,
mundane on white plastic

and cut my thumb,
code red, pepper flare.

It hurts! A flap, a cap.
Trepanned veteran,

pale faced, pace,
run under the tap,

tear off paper towel,
swaddle in white,

unpeel a plaster
with one thumb down.

Cover it.
Calm.

She could make a poem

out of this.


The burning house
By Richie McCaffery

If I can save only one thing
let it be that fearful love
of storms from childhood,

of counting the seconds
between the arc-welding
of lightning and the loose
rabid dogs of thunder.

I was afraid when the time-gap
narrowed, and disappointed
when it didn’t.


The Big Forest
By Clarissa Aykroyd

It was always dark and vast, that which awaited,
though just round the corner and straight on
past Iso-mäkiläntie, counting sober sidewalk squares
with skipping feet, a little fearful of the trees.
My mother knew where to go: I’d never find the gap,
never go alone. It wasn’t just the drunks and red ants –
it was a place where you might need to be saved.
It was ascent, that walk; wearing shadows,
pine needles grating underfoot, the thick air, our hunt for the light,
scrambling up that strange rock – the bare heart of the forest.
I’d touch the twisted, rusted metal up there,
the firm efficient bolt still grounding it. My mother said
it was a watchtower once, against Russians,
those wars her parents knew and I couldn’t imagine.
And I could see the world from there.
I saw or thought I saw the darkness to the East,
the distant tangle of my real life,
the treetops, the darkness of invisible air.


LERNA
By Chris Hardy

Through a garden of pomegranate, orange and cherry
the river slides and winds, close to the ground,
past a gun emplacement, its turret cut away,
the stone rim, on which it turned, revealed.

Around the edge incised and numbered lines
helped the gunners in their hot, steel dome
aim at any point along the opposite shore
and out to sea from where the ships might come.

Somewhere here, perhaps the deep pool
by the pumping station below the road,
Herakles butchered the many-headed Hydra,
that lived in the spring and killed
the thirsty traveller, the unwary bather.
Each neck from which he struck a head
in retaliation sprouted two.

Behind the beach, where the river turns
and slows before entering the sea,
long green plants wave beneath the surface.
At night the moon must flood these depths with silver.
Fish, and creeping things in shrouds
of twig and gravel, see then do not see
black plumes twist, twisting blades shine.

Two women talk quietly on the bank then
with a smile one sinks into the stream.
The other stays between the current and the
white rope of tide uncoiled along the shingle.

I come back to where you are, knowing we
will leave this place and never return.
But not the moon, the garden, or the smile.
These we must carry with us.

Chris Hardy: My poems have been widely published, and have won prizes. A fourth collection will be published in 2017. I am in LiTTLe MACHiNe (little-machine.com) ‘The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’. Carol Ann Duffy.


Ronnie Wathen (1934-1993)
By Rodney Wood

Ronnie Wathen was a shaman / Only he knew what it was he blew / From the mountains of his life /
Through his poems and his pipes – Terry Gifford

There are so many brilliant performers out there and I want to tell you about
one of them you will never see. Ronnie Wathen on St Patrick’s Night in 1985.
He pulled himself onto the stage with a full set of silver mounted Uilleann pipes
strapped to his back, sat on a stool and squeezed out the notes to Miss McCloud’s Reel
and everyone smiled:-
…………………………Johnny Doran, Jamie Joyce, HCE and his
wife Anna, their children Shem, Shaun and Issy, a cumannity of nuns,
metalmen and me, with two front teeth missing, sitting with Grace O’Malice

Ronnie talked about growing reeds for his pipes in his back garden in London,
once lived in the mountain village Deya next to the poet Robert Graves, loved to climb,
mentioned his horrible toes, cleaned his hornrimmed specs and pumped leather bellows
and poured out music sweeter than honey a three part jig, The Queen of Rushes
and everyone danced:-
…………………………Johnny Doran, Jamie Joyce, HCE and his
wife Anna, their children Shem, Shaun and Issy, a cumannity of nuns,
metalmen and me, with two front teeth missing, sitting with Grace O’Malice

With his quizzical smile and public school tenorist voice Ronnie recited from memory
some dirty bits from that marble cake and Arabesque of a novel, Finnegans Wake,
mentioning among others, the iron thrusts of Cockspurt and his runagate bowmpriss,
Lady Pokingham, incestous insects, imputations of fornicopulation, bedding and buckling and everyone laughed:-
………………………………………Johnny Doran, Jamie Joyce, HCE and his
wife Anna, their children Shem, Shaun and Issy, a cumannity of nuns,
metalmen and me, with two front teeth missing, sitting with Grace O’Malice

When finished Ronnie smiled his quizzical smile, bowed to the cheering crowd
wrapped his silver mounted pipes in green silk cloth, lay them next to his stool,
thought he was on the summit of Ben Nevis and jumped from the phase of the stage
with bear-like arms outspread. He was a firework display just mad enough
to embrace everyone :-
…………………………Johnny Doran, Jamie Joyce, HCE and his
wife Anna, their children Shem, Shaun and Issy, a cumannity of nuns,
metalmen and me, with two front teeth missing, sitting with Grace O’Malice.

Rodney Wood lives in Farnborough. Chairman for the Woking Stanza and jointly runs an open mic in Send. His work has recently appeared in the International Times and Envoi.


Travel sickness: A common condition
By Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Your body has reneged on obligations
you took lightly- till they were ungranted.
Sumps to drain discomfort are all clogged
and levels in a worry-reservoir
surge around uneasy medium.

Unmanned and far away from your familiar
surroundings, you are suddenly and randomly
at one with anyone who’s lost.
……………………………………..Magnetic north
can’t move, but anybody’s compass can be biased
by a load of iron stuffed into his knapsack.
Needles swing towards immediacy of need:
addiction fixes on its fix and hunger trumps
taboos on scavenging. Surrendering to bullies
may defer a beating: but it’s worth a fight,
when homeless, to secure a rank abandoned mattress.

You’ll glady pay a walk-in clinic
anything to fix up your malfunction.

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a more-or-less retired mathematician but still-functioning poetry editor of the on-line magazine London Grip. His latest full collection is ‘Fred & Blossom’ from Shoestring Press.


The Cat Considers Her Surrogate Hedgehog Pups
By Simon Williams

I was given four to add to my small brood,
to suckle and share a little of my fur.
They are draughty, trap no air to keep their heat.
They snicker and crawl when the evening grows.

Their secret names are strange to me;
guttural syllables that sound too old for words,
but they communicate among themselves,
say much by touching noses and incessant licking.

It’s their eyes that worry me the most,
poor, black things without a drop of colour.
I wash them for all my tongue can take,
but they remain small, nocturnal, volish.

When they sleep, they wheeze like piglings
and smell of spores and the skeletons of leaves.


Linguist
by Katherine Stansfield

When I got home she’d made
her own language. I didn’t know
her speaking voice. Her lips

moved like a foreigner’s.
I’ve forgotten her spelling
of hello. It involved fricatives

and yet sounded more like goodbye
when she found a way to shout it
at me. I could see she was tired

because she was crying.
I could see that even though
the light was poor, what with

her notes papering the windows.
I’d only been gone a night
and yet she’d sworn off

the past tense. New ways to say
I will in letters cut from magazines
were glued to lampshades.

I rummaged, to humour her,
in the sheaves piled on the floor.
I saw she’d given up e, w and u

and replaced them with her own
shapes that looked to me
like the Cheerios lost

down the back of the fridge.
There were gaps, of course.
She waved a packed case

for words she didn’t have
and I took this to be a signifier
of something I had still to learn.

In the morning she’d gone and left
me her dictionary. Fourteen tries at
please had been crossed out.


Katherine Stansfield: I’m a poet and novelist living in Cardiff. My first collection, Playing House, was published by Seren in 2014. It includes ‘Canada’ which featured as The Guardian ‘Poem of the Week’ online.


Graves Avenue
By Jocelyn Page
i.m.

The light and the dark of it,
…………………………………that house.
We’d enter through the buttery-bright kitchen
where first thing, Dad would lift the dome
to check for chocolate cake.
………………………………………………The voodoo doll
hung on a nail across from the cookie jar,
its little brown body wound in threads
of yellow and red.
……………………………………..The warm maple
of the family table where we’d sit
in the company of chickadees and robins,
beefy as quarterbacks and, feathery tailed
acrobats, those damn squirrels.
…………………………………Tapped on the shoulder
by the tapered arc of a spider plant.
………………………Then the armchair where you
and your cousins would tuck up
your legs and lean in toward her
at her end of the sofa,
……………………..the one cushion worn to a shine.
Crochet needles joined in tablets
………….of little sweater fronts and backs.
Watched from the mantle above by creamy faced
………….dolls and teapots.
………………………And down the hall, a gallery
of high school photos, still lives of teens, decades
of hair-do fashion.
…………Things came from cold closets, too:
postcards, the Ouija board for contacting
the dead, ………………………………………….(I confess
…………..now I would guide one eye open)
…………..loose ends of
stories of Indian blood
trailing through our veins
……………………..and fortune tellers,
…………………………………Ferris wheels.

She liked my story of a palm reader
who told me what I already knew:
you have a large family, I can see here, like a net
or a spider web,
………..some little lines broken.

What I think of spider webs today
is simple: how dainty,
………….how strong.


Jocelyn Page is from Connecticut, USA, currently living in London. She has published in The Spectator, Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ambit, The Rialto, The Moth, The South Carolina Review and other publications in the UK and USA. 


THE FIGHTER
By Ruth Valentine

He’s back from a war somewhere. Or not back,
his body in the city thickening,
things he won’t talk of acrid in his nostrils.

Near with his speech. Can’t listen,
only take out the same translated words,
mine the road back with gutterals: cadre, struggle.

Meantime he’ll bury himself inside of her,
same way he buried those over there, one
he’d known a lifetime, solemn in Maths lessons;

wake slowly, his new trust clearing
the cloud-cover for once, hold her against him
lightly, her skin smelling of saffron,

she saying the words women say afterwards,
her childhood, what she’s afraid of, what she wants
he’ll agree to, thin rainbows flicker on the ceiling.


Chrononaut
By Peter Kenny

I stoop in the cavern
of my beginning,
with my yew-wood bow,
my hog-skinned quiver
of crow-feathered biros.
I ignore the dolmen faces
in the hearth glow of TV,
to journey upstairs
to a darker region
where ancient shapes of bears,
horses, horned aurochs,
loom in the wallpaper’s
Rorschach patterns.
I enter the chamber
of my prehistory,
lift the coarse curtain
to see my brother
in his night terrors;
jawbones on the floor,
the black under his bed
glittering with the teeth
of his predators.
Then there’s me;
little grunting animal,
wordless firstborn,
locked in the coma
of my childhood moment.
I discern my scrawls:
the bindweed lines,
bedside scuffmarks,
eggless scribble nests.

Peter Kenny’s poetry includes The Nightwork (Telltale Press 2014), and The Boy Who Fell Upwards (2010 supported by the Guernsey Arts Commission).

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