An Allen key called Allen, nothing but storm and a trace of stars

I had an adventure on my way to The South Bank. Trying to find the shard I wandered into the familiar site of a Hospital (17 years in the NHS – I seem to be drawn to them) looking up and forwards all the time. I turned around and there was 100 stories of shard. Impressive and poetically non-existent! As I left the shard I decided to get myself a little lost and found a three hundred year old wooden staircase up to The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret. Give somewhere a title like that and you give a poet and an ex-medical secretary no option. I paid the entry fee and took notes and photos, peered into cabinets at ancient cures and sneaked into a sixth form lecture and was told off for answering a question about surgery (forgetting myself). Then I went to The Poetry Library alone, yet spent hours among friends and rediscovered the poetry magazines I love and those I dislike. I left with a renewed enthusiasm for sending entries to Interpreter’s House and Popshot and notes about many other publications and the type, length, style, subject matter they choose. All with me in ink. Then a trip on a London bus, a swift pint and to the Hackney Attic to soak in the buzz of another Picturehouse (The first Quiet Compere gig away from home was at York’s The Basement (one of The Picturehouses group). Clarissa Aykroyd:                Clarissa captures a lack of choice beautifully with ‘He had to fly into the storm, because there was nothing but storm.” And from her Cairo poem “I am sky when I breathe, road when I run.” Loved the space between notes and Chopin poem and particularly the “Trace of stars across the keys.” Claire Collison: I worked at The Christie for 8 years as an Oncology Secretary and admire the honesty of patients sharing their experience, especially about the reactions of others: From Rules regarding leaning from windows the line: “they crave convention – all their mothers have highlights” and the gut-punch that here there is no hair to highlight and the final line “We all have nightmares of crones in orchards, don’t we?” I have a note about space being “leaky with joy”. Nicky Phillips: Tube poem – having been on enough in two days prior I appreciated this one. It was my first time traveling alone in London. In Circle Line, Nicky is “Deep below the chatter and excitement of a London Monday morning” “catch a smile – pin it to my face”. I enjoyed her Sunflowers that “bow this way and that, like a confident teenager”. Find two poems by Nicky here: Tom Gill: Loved a lot of his word play: Especially in the poem about Fashion: “Just give them more choice/They’ll all be trying them on soon.” “Let’s invest in a dress for anorexic buyers. Bring out a new Size 5 and pretend that that’s fine.” from #Magazines Also, Intuition Fees here: Gary from Leeds: For Christmas Gary wants his own bus-stop countdown timer so “ people will view my future sitting down, as not just sitting down anymore, but sitting down with purpose.” and the Allen key “he’s called Allen, frankly it suits him.” In the Life Achievements of Big Dave, the Dave of the title “Downed ten snakebites, swam three lines of the resort’s septic tank, went out without a shower, talked his way into the VIP Room, without a guestlist.” Gary here at Evidently Salford: Nina Simon: Loved the internet dating guy who took Nina “to a cheap Turkish diner in his dented Golf” though he had a Ferrari on his photo!” Her ‘space’ poem started… “Every night I stand at my window counting stars, one for each skeleton from my past” Natalie Shaw: Clytemnestra is steeped in passion and the raw anger “If you knew what it was to stretch yourself to fit a life, to watch a body you have made find itself and move and grow, you’d not make this, this nothing.” I also loved the line “It is when I describe you that things unravel” and in reminded me of talking about the parts of films that make me a cry and crying just talking about it. And a brilliant vision of all the babies watching the stars. “a whole new constellation just before baby massage began. ” Clytemnestra in Interpreter’s House Issue 58. Susan Castillo:    The poem about the American South, Ruthie, was heart-wrenching – the “no-one shouted. No-one raised their voices.” I can see how that attitude would “break your heart and drive you crazy.”. Loved Bibliophiles version of heaven “Caress their spines… never stop at endings.” Susan’s second collection is called “Abiding Chemistry” (Kelsay Books) Math Jones            Math was a gothic steamroller end to the evening in the best way possible. The lines that played me were “”…saw shoulders bright as the dripping moon at full.” “And I, with skin of broken scree.” “Saw colours deeper than the folded rose tipped with the beads of dew.” And “So naked with sorrow that I cannot raise my eyes to the sting of heaven.” All quotes are from the story of how Freya spent a night with each of four dwarf silversmiths, and was gifted the necklace, Brisingamen. I had bought some heart-patterned tights in Hackney and had had two days negotiating London with pride at avoiding crush-time on platforms and tubes. I asked directions to Whitechapel tube station and then tripped down a kerb in the middle of pavement. Who put that there? A short poem about clothing gathered on the tour (usually randomly because it is the item I forgot that time): Places dress me Small axes lie at my neck in Knutsford. Hull tattoos roses and lisianthus on my skin. Hackney ties my legs with trails of hearts trips me into the sting and pulse of playground knees. Leeds provides heels and feeds patent leather needs. Sarah L Dixon 2015 Never stop at endings! (Susan Castillo 2015)…

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