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The Fringe Poetry Magazine '17








Published by SeaQuake Books

Copyright 2017. Individual contributors.

ISBN: 9781370767571

Shakespir Edition, License Notes





This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook should not be sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please obtain an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not obtain it, or it was not obtained for your use only, then please return to your favourite ebook retailer and download your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of these authors.

Publisher contact: [email protected]

Cover image, ‘Tree of Life’, by Pauline McNulty








‘The Fringe Poetry Magazine-17’ follows the success of ‘The Fringe Poetry On the Move’ and ‘The Fringe Poetry Festival’ series of poetry pamphlets and e-pamphlets and from two books, ‘The Fringe Poetry Cafe’ and ‘The Fringe Poetry White Book’.


‘The Fringe’ is a poetry collective based in the North West of England.


We received a tremendous response to our call for submissions to the Magazine and used experienced sub editors to initially handle the entries.


Ultimately we chose a relatively small number of poets for inclusion in the Magazine and limited the number of poems to a maximum of two from each entrant.


The poets selected represent a cross section of experience from those already heavily published, and known nationally and internationally, to emerging writers with something genuine to say.


Our contributors in this issue are predominantly from the United Kingdom, the USA and the Republic of Ireland.


The Magazine includes varied subject matter, expressive techniques and forms.


We were, principally, looking for integrity of purpose in the submissions and in some cases the strength of feeling is encouragingly raw and emotional.


If you were unsuccessful in gaining inclusion in this issue please do not be discouraged from submitting in the future.


We are grateful to everyone who submitted work and it is refreshing to see such a range of creative output. Please keep it up.


Very Best Wishes,


Phil McNulty



April 2017






(Alison Chisholm)


Summa cum laude was her mantra. Life

rewarded her hard work. At college, she

took no time off from studying, and when

her room-mate tempted with a heady round

of parties, socials, bars, she shrugged, refused.

The room-mate flunked. She soared. Aged thirty, she

had earned a junior partnership, was dressed

in clothes that said ‘designer’ but discreet.

By forty, she had meteored her route

to chair the board, acquired a sleek-lined gold

Mercedes, modest mansion, staff of six.


Summa cum laude meant that she achieved

her full potential, revelled in success,

her ruthless reputation making sure

that no one crossed her. In her private life

she demonstrated her compassion when

her ageing parents could no longer cope –

googled the best retirement home in town

and sent them flowers the day they moved there. No

successful daughter could have offered more.


She met her college room-mate once, by chance,

surprised to see she’d put on forty pounds –

looked rough in non-designer jeans and top –

who introduced two boys with skateboards, and

their father (like some balding trophy). They

moved on, all smiles, and left her with her prayers

of fervent thanks that she had found success.




(Alison Chisholm)


I chant my mantra till its whisper roars

to fix my focus, concentrate my mind:

Le Chiffre, Scaramanga, Blofeld, Jaws.

A dry martini, always shaken, draws

bewitching beauties where élan’s enshrined.

I chant my mantra till its whisper roars.


I need no praise, no medals or applause.

Reward is knowing evil’s undermined -

Le Chiffre, Scaramanga, Blofeld, Jaws.


To keep the peace, I fight the whole world’s wars,

protect my masters, monarch, humankind.

I chant my mantra till its whisper roars.


My purpose is unquenchable, ignores

each hint of danger, leaves all fear behind.

Le Chiffre, Scaramanga, Blofeld, Jaws

My Licence is the charter that ensures

this planet’s future: but at night I find

I chant my mantra till its whisper roars.

Le Chiffre. Scaramanga. Blofeld. Jaws.




(Grace Rossi)


The wounds of the world

Bleed through you; my pen

A tool for chaos and salvation

So write me better

Write me clean

Write me clear; the lives unseen

Smudge the smug

Line the smiles

Blot the bold and all the while

Put the lid on the night’s distress

Succumb to the depth of my inky breath




(Grace Rossi)


“You’re out of your head”

You said

And I was so full of “how dare you?!”

Soaked in feminine pride. An ego on the rampage.

I sighed.

And riding that sigh was the whisper from my forgotten core-

No need for anger from this place-

Perhaps to be “outside my head” is all I need and more.

The ego caged

inside its skull

No longer dictates my mood.

“You’re out of your head”

You raged

And I’m so full

Of gratitude.



The Companion.

(Miki Byrne)


She lived with an elder sister,

whose hair would excite comment,

carrying as it did the precise shade

of cochineal.

She was demanding.

Everything had to fit.

Carved or gilded, padded softly

in shabby splendour.

She would hold a candle,

preferred lambent light,

viewed her sister’s black dresses

with narrowed eyes,

and conceived certain theories

about eccentric mumblings

that came from her chair.

‘We are but insects’

her sibling’s small voice would cry,

‘grains of sand—nothing, just nothing.’

She patted the agitated hand.

Murmured sympathetic offerings

against despair.

The keys at her belt tinkled

sad, small arpeggios

as she locked the door behind her.




(Miki Byrne)


She sits at the edge

of the sea, faded, worn.

An ageing beauty

watching her gown

tatter and fray.

Waves lap her feet.

Salt scale nibbles colour

from her dancing shoes.

Her perfume is the waft

of chips and vinegar,

burgers and slush

Raucous seagulls pick pieces

from her hair.


She gains colour only

from clumps

of pink candy-floss,

brash neon signs,

fluorescent trainers.

Bandstands are empty,

dancers gone.

Her music is the clash and rattle

of amusement arcades.

Yet, when the clouds part

and sunlight falls,

catches her, just so,

the glamorous lady

that once was she

tentatively peeps through.



A life once lived

(Mike Parsons)


Old Age comes suddenly.

To stand, dress, walk – suddenly, a chore.

‘Strive to make perfect thy will’ -

Perhaps, slowly, little tasks will get done.


Only the passage of time marks you out.

Longevity has lost its sacred lustre,

Families are strung like beans on a pole -

Grandads at forty, new mums at fifty.


It’s a drag to end as medicalised frailty

Stumbling down Time’s Lane -

That future was once forgotten – donkey’s years away!

Now, you are falling at needless fences.


On the endpage is only a cursory ceremony:

Duty morticians officiate in the geriatric block

There, among the carefully warded living dead

And the tail-end loneliness of lives once lived.



Love’s last reward

less than the dust beneath your feet …

(Mike Parsons)


Now lay my ashes in your lane, my love,

Beneath your feet once hallowed by my tears;

For though I fall through Time a thousand years,

Become a shadow cast midst ghosts of woe,

My dreams of you will bless me still, my love.

Through eerie dark and silent depths you’ll be

My one true charm against all sorcery,

You’ll guard my feet down paths I could not know:

No chant, no praying, only you will show

My frightened heart the way to blissful rest,

Eternal peace that’s by your vision blest.

Once Life on me your slave you did bestow,

And now I’ve fallen through this breach in Time

That Life, your gift, you’ll make forever mine.



Blood Running Cold

(Patricia Walsh)


Calling time on your nemesis.

Drinking like fury at last orders

Interrogating friends a common purpose.


Things said over a shadow of a pint

Reconcile nothing, not even sleep,

Tears find a way onto your pillow.


A flummoxed face, a goodbye bespoke

Met with incredulity over coffee

Smoke blown into an unrepentant face.


On a self-made island, sport while you may

I give birth to problems, a spinning yarn,

You not caring besides the perfunctory.


I could stay forever, jokes permitting.

Singular promises eat through the heart

Munching on soul, a lost energy.


Working on the sodden ground

Witnessing your prize on the outskirts

A glory she is, pitching in at will.


Marriage seals the deal. Lying cold

Not thinking of parallels to assuage the situation

Nor perfection through a cracked eyeball.



As History and Warning

(Patricia Walsh)


We are the people, an unfaithful tribe

Still being picky over a twisted root

Times of our lives resurrected

A history being bunk, a catalogue of spite

Blood on the banner a close second.


Boycotting what doesn’t suit us, voices of place

Gone to ground, to seed, frankly obliterating

The hidden children, parallels once too often

A city in wartime ekes out smartphones

Surreptitious laundry an agent of culture.


Timemaster and arsonist puncutate the great war

Allies to hand, born survivors

Good neigbours’ housekeeping, landscapes

Stroll past on the train, trite existence

Lost masters a lesson in decorum.


Searching for a saviour, all but our lives

Awash in some cold fish, swimming in a bucket

Silently rebelling against some boat

Rocked to breaking some promise at will

Conquering domestic status in colour.


Orderly and human, all right for some

To preach frugality and the simple life

The greater evil hoped for, a broken world

Higher form of chattles secure a place

In the world at large, a square of sky.



You are my island

(Miriam Calleja)


You are my city

Ceremoniously a ribbon was cut

In your honour, the brass bands played

The mayor put on his best suit

For the occasion

Of which there aren’t many



You are my country

I fly your flag in honour

I don’t care what the neighbours think

My screams and cries permeate the air

You are my country

I wear you with pride


You are my beach resort

I play loud music till the small hours

I don’t tire, but when I do

I sleep on the warm sand

That you made for me

I drink your tropical fruits

My skin smells of sunshine


You are my island

I swim around you to protect you

I swim and swallow the water

But it is sweet

My skin gets wrinkled in your waters

You are my island

I wait for my end of days in you.



I see the Manhattan morning

(Ian D. Hall)


I see the the Manhattan morning from the dusk

of a Maltese bay and I realise there is no colour,

just black and white memories

with the spectacular vision of off-sepia groove thrown

in for effect as I recall days of stories

from the Adanac house and I know that

Time is eating away, burning up, like a Catherine Wheel,

spun by an unseen hand in the darkness

and the fireworks light up the sky

in desperation, in ground down coffee bean surrender

and the taste of yoke screams in heat

as it slides down my throat, forcing me to understand

that Manhattan no longer exists

except in my heart

for I cannot see, cannot feel my time

walking down seventy-seventh street

and serenading the rain as it pounds at my head,

I feel the howl of the wind

as the twenty first century leaves

its shredded soul behind;

I feel the howl,

I am the howl.



For me, it’s a middle aged death…

(In homage to Roger McGough)

(Ian D. Hall)


For me it’s a middle-aged death

Not become a bore, sore

At my own time and choosing death

At my books and music, gathering weird looks

At the end of the chapter, death

When I get into my mid-sixties

And before the winter of life starts

Keep me from the vengeful doctors

Plotting to keep me alive and expecting thanks

In way of tax

For their benefit


Save me from the worry of children

Leaving children leaving children

At my ever frail thoughts

Sniggering in teenage glee

That their Granddad’s way so last century


When at two they hung on my words of wonderful insanity

Let me die a middle-aged death

Not in flippancy and pain, where’s the gain

Of a heart attack death

Restricted food, put on pills- keep paying bills

What a waste of my life- death


Let me know my own mind at time of death

One final journey, save getting the court attorney

To decide on what’s best for me death

To decide good cheer, one more round of beer

Je ne regrette mort- death.




Colour of slate

(Mary Braithwaite)


Slate sea sliding

to ochre shore.

Waves break

in snow white

still sliding

to ochre shore.

All is a slate colour.

Wedgewood sky

subdued to grey.

The highlights

are where

the quiet waves

throw up their

snow white.

Sky slowly

breaks to life

throwing off

its greyness

for white clouds,

a staccato

from white waves.

Nature has sung

a song

reaped from

life of waves

from life

of sky,





(Mary Braithwaite)


Into the blue veins

of the English countryside.

Depth and calmness

blue and green.

Going into the heart

where such beauty is



Flowing through the veins

of the country,

beauty of willows and a clear river

flashing with fish.

Jewelled grass

and fat, patchy, cows, grazing.

White daisies and white clouds,

bushes brown with hazel nuts,

and blue wood pigeons cooing

in this place, mainly known

by children.


Away on the far side sat the father

brown hair and blue eyes

silent and strong but at

times spirited like the children.

calling ‘Catch the ponies,

ride them without a saddle

hold tight with your knees and

kick with your heels

they will trot and canter

and even jump the hay bales.’


So the children rode

without the saddles

and the ponies tossed their heads

and flicked their manes.

There too was the donkey

and the donkey was naughty

and bit the ponies

but the children laughed

riding the ponies

as the donkey chased and kicked

until dusk coloured the sky

with stripes and beams.




(Neil Beardmore)


Summer collapses into storm,

The zip of flashes

Distant as searchlights,

The pomp of thunder

Hinders hills.


Summer rain,

The river regurgitates,

Thrusting through grey clay cliffs

In a push seaward

Over stones and sunken soil.


And us, under the awning

By the white caravan

Dripping under a clutch of trees,

Sit with guitar.

You explore chords,


Fingers trail frets

Looking to unlock

A melody not out before,

‘Let’s write a song,’ you said,

Gave me paper,


And with an inner groan I started.

In grey rain it found itself,

A rhythm of words to the sound

Of strumming: how she left him,

The angry man. Yeah, yeah.



Catch a falling star

(Jacqueline Pemberton)


I am collecting memories like lucky pebbles in the pocket of a winter coat.

Moments honeyed; warm as whispers.

A secret treasure chest amidst the debris.

I want to bring them back,

To hold them in cupped hands,

Breathe new life on them,

Feel them glow, revive and live again in heart and mind.

See again for the first time the night view across Victoria Harbour,

Listen to the symphony of the Super Trees in Singapore Bay,

Watch the sunset on Aldeburgh beach,

Swim with my dad in Suffolk tides.

I want to be waiting for Leonard to skip on stage to caress me with his words.

I want to pose again for that photo with my children by my side,

Smiling in the sunshine.

I want to hug my poetry for the first and best time,

I want to turn the corner in the hospital to see my daughter with her baby:

Shock of golden hair, warble of new-born cry, first touch of milky skin.

I want to bathe after my operation, soapy water healing the hurt.

I want to hear the call of his love echoing through lost years.

I want to be 12 years old and dancing to Perry Como,

Believing that I could:

‘Catch a falling star

Put it in my pocket

And never let it fade away’.



New fruit

(Jacqueline Pemberton)


I study the fruit in my palm.

The long and short vowel

of its name: raisin.

Salvation and sin.

Withered by the sun

it has become an ugly thing.

Lopsided pellet,

its ridges rest on my skin.

Useless, inanimate.

An imposition

I had not asked for.

Then, I lift it to the light

between my thumb and finger.

Its wrinkled body transforms to amber.

A translucent jewel; precious and delicate.

Carefully I place it between my lips,

Touch the edge of its dry kiss.

I bite and pierce the leather skin.

My tongue tastes a release of ripeness.

Tease of sweetness glides down my throat.

Tantalised from its dry casing,

Resurrected from its darkened tomb.



By Appointment Only

(Stephen Beattie)


(And those who were seen dancing

were thought to be insane by those

who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900.)


You’re staring out of the window

at a naked tree

that dominates faded November light;

branch and twig

as stark as the etched lines

that lattice your face.


All softness has departed,

the season stripped back

to constituent parts

revealing an exoskeleton.


I sense that you find this a comfort,

the false pretence of summer abandoned

like the small-talk

you could never endure.


I lay my offering of white Lilies

on the metal framed bed;

with a smile that isn’t

you enquire

if they’re in lieu of a wreath.


Before departing

I lock in your image,

frail against black glass;

fingers absently picking

non-existent lint

from the hem of your dressing gown.


Coming to a decision

you ask a solitary question,

‘When did you stop hearing the music?’



Davy Says

(Stephen Beattie)


Me and Davy night-driving,

a purposeless journey

taking us nowhere,

somewhere and everywhere.


Davy keeps the conversation constant

whether we’re having a third gear crawl

down drug dealt streets

or limit breaking hurtle

along a deserted motorway

Davy keeps the calm:

Davy gives direction,

Davy has acuity.


Sometimes it’s city centre

for the crush of bumper to bumper

neon crowds;

Davy ensures the doors remain locked.


Sometimes it’s country;

Davy says watch out for deer

the bastards leap in the dark

leaving bloodied windscreens.


Sometimes it’s suburbs

because, once,

through an uncurtained window

Davy says he saw nakedness

and feels guilty for not sharing


but mostly

we circle the ring road

not daring to stop.


If we do

it will become evident

it wasn’t a deer

and there is no Davy.



Sea Mist.

(Nicola Shelley)


The horizon of our love

once had a sharp and perfect edge of definition.

Depthless azure beneath and fathomless possibility above.


Light gathering and taking the shape of ourselves.

Urgent whispers of a rumourless breeze

in a language beyond translation.


That was before the fret began to form.


An imperceptible change in temperature:

warm air moving over the cooler surface


hazing and erasing the colour from our space.



Height restriction.

(Nicola Shelley)


Carousel thoughts turning

and returning

spinning recklessly to the hurdy gurdy clatter of mixed emotion.


Freakish and over painted grimace of memory

comes to taunt

and haunt her.


Sure thunder of wheels firmly set on rails

and the delicious temptation to let go and fall

yet trapped behind the safety bar of her own decision.


She chose to ride.



Thoughts about Dying

(Bob Eccleston)


I could never imagine my own death

Death was for other people

I had no difficulty foreseeing

his death or her death or your death

but my own death, that was different


That which I cannot imagine cannot exist

On this basis my subconscious knew that I was immortal

Although my conscious mind pretended a belief in mortality

Funny how small events can change ingrained perceptions

Events such as the blocking of a narrow tube


Followed by talk about ninety five per cent success rates

and five per cent failure rates

The likelihood of long-term survival

The likelihood of short-term non-survival


Forcing an awakening from that myth driven dream

into the acceptance of an uncomfortable reality

where one clear certainty opens up hosts of uncertainties



A Knock on the Door

(Bob Eccleston)


In retrospect it was nothing but

the first warning stroke of the brush

starting but not completing the cross


At the time however it seemed

more akin to the thundering rake

of cannons in full destructive force


Then came rush and bustle and control

followed by an unexpected awakening

to an electronically guided existence


where facsimiles of those early waves

from which our ancestral life first sprang

charted the current viability of being


The gradual release from that unscheduled womb

led me into this marginally different world

where taking for granted is no longer an option



Moonlight Sonata at Midnight

(Barry Woods)


Let slugs slither into my parlour,

let siders watch me from cracks

as I play the moonlight.


I sooth my ghosts with this melody,

hear them shift under floorboards

where woodlice creep in time.


The rhythm of sorrow in C sharp minor,

gentle piano

slowing its breath,


Beethoven’s masterpiece.


And my audience stand supportive

in gilded frames, those ancestors

in war uniforms.



Autumn Mum

(Barry Woods)


Remember testing my spelling on the walk to school

Monday mornings

with chill wind at our ears. A time

for scarf and gloves.

You kept tight hold of our hands,

kept it all together.


Your hair was red of the season, shoulder length

through the seventies, for that Charlie’s Angels look.

Heated rollers and hairspray.


Your sewing machine stitched hems for us,

and curtains for your living room; always the fashion


polished and gleaming.


When Elvis died you were peeling potatoes

at the kitchen sink,

I remember your tears.




(Bill Lythgoe)



is the only one


that can light a fire,

warm up water,

foul the air.


And when he’s dead and gone

the earth won’t care.



Dying to be thin

(Loraine Darcy)


Mary dressed in frilly pink

looks so cute, she makes you think

you’ve witnessed something sweet and rare.

She’s beautiful beyond compare.


Mary now in fancy dress.

A fairy princess.

Nothing less befits such an angelic face

and Mary’s unassuming grace.


Mary in her uniform,

with a figure that just won’t conform

no matter what her teachers say

to regulation gymslip grey.


Mary in her skin tight jeans

at fifteen knows what sexy means.

She feels for bones beneath her skin

and promises herself she’ll slim.


Mary in a magazine

in a pose her father calls obscene

is sheathed in black, looks thin and gaunt.

An imagine that comes back to haunt


her mother, also dressed in black.

She wants her lovely daughter back.

Not this Mary, still and quiet.

Fashion victim. Death by diet.




(Loraine Darcy)


Damaged people are dangerous.

They give you their hearts

like a second hand jigsaw

with one piece that’s missing, demanding you fix it.


They show you a wound

that’s beginning to heal.

Tell you this time it’s different

and dare you to risk it.


Their kisses are contracts you’re frightened to break

for the rules of the game are you give and they take.

But don’t think that it’s love you can see in their eyes.

Their promises are unintentional lies.


Encased in their armour’s an ego that’s weaker.

They hand it to you and appoint you its keeper.

Until all you can hear in your head is their voice

and the realisation you’re left with no choice.


So battered and bruised you’ll be forced to withdraw.

Like some sad refugee of emotional war.

Proceed with great caution. You’re taking a risk.

Because damaged people are dangerous.



A living death

(Joe Forshaw)


Let me not die a living death

in a darkened room with curtains drawn.

Let me not draw my final breath

in a rocking chair on carpets worn.

I fear, a door bell that never chimes,

a telephone that never rings,

a front door that sees only passersby,

a letter box with idle springs.

Let me not live when living is a lie,

plugged to a machine that hums and bleeps.

I did not ask to be born but I can ask to die,

peacefully between clean white sheets.

If I could I’d just pull the plug,

go to sleep and quietly fade away.

I’ve lived my life as best I could,

now it’s time to declare I’ve had my day


No tears for me when I have gone

and please, no contrived eulogy.

I’m quite happy to just move on

and take my place in eternity.



Things happen

(Joe Forshaw)


Was it just a year ago

the vicar said ‘Do you’?

Faces lit with a loving glow

we both said ‘we do’?


Was it just six months ago

we stepped from a migrant boat.

Passports proclaiming man and wife

a new life and high hopes?


Was it only a month ago

we sat on a fallen tree,

planning all our tomorrows

a dream couple you and me?

Was it only a week ago

a car came through the rain

putting you on a mortuary slab

never to kiss me again?

Was it only yesterday

the vicar spoke your name

sending you away from me

never to see you again?

As I travel through the years

I’ll lock you in my heart

so no matter what becomes of me

we will never be apart.




(Malcolm Terry)


It’s too cold for ice cream, she said,

tone of voice told more than words,

and the wheelchair, ever responsive, jerked;

she was in a bad mood.

She hadn’t mentioned the boyfriend this morning,

that was probably significant;

last week she had been full of him -

in a manner of speaking.

I glanced across at Megan

in the wheelchair next to mine,

she sensed my gaze,

grimaced and rolled her eyes,

making me smile;

she had a fine boned face,

mobile and expressive,

and a soul full of laughter

despite the accident that left her paralysed,

but only I realised how special she was.

We left the kiosk behind,

moved on down the promenade

by the sand dunes that concealed

the restless sea,

perhaps next week they would buy us ice creams.



Aurelia aurita

(Malcolm Terry)



a bloom of jellyfish

left by the tide in uncountable numbers,

dried in the sun,

leaving just an imprint,

a circle in the sand;

and in the centre – like pale watching eyes -

four symmetrical dots, the only discernible structure,

remnant of more substantial flesh, gonads,

the base of long, trailing filaments.

They make odd geometrical patterns

decorating the beach

like environmental art.


And would they sting

encountered in the water?

There must have been thousands of them

come on that high morning tide,

unavoidable for a bather;

but who would paddle in the polluted

waters by the muddy banks

of the Mersey estuary?

Only the bold;

it was fatal for jellyfish,

from ocean to beach they came and died,

their reasons a mystery,

in this small extinction event.



Shining hard

(Linda Lewis)


There are treasures held

in a secret place,

precious gems


by all

but those with eyes

that appraise and do not judge.

They shine so hard, it hurts.


Children choke on blessings

and turn in on themselves,

crushing diamonds to silt

with their hands.


Out there,

in Life’s emblazoned showroom

there are displays

of such brilliance,

they are blinding.

Polished specimens,

glittering with intention


and wrapped


in newer,







Small Hands and Pink Lips

(Linda Lewis)


You wear your faded memories

in the yearning behind your eyes,

they come to you like dreams;

images formed from clouds,

to hold your hand at night

and colour your world

by day.


When you look in the mirror

you sometimes see

the girl you were,

as you smear shadow above the eyes

that made him fall in love with you

and pink on the lips

he kissed.


Your children’s faces gaze at you

from photographs

on the wall

and the mantelpiece.

You look at them often,

feeling the grip of small hands

in yours.


Your skin

matches the bark of the oak

they climbed, long ago.

The tree has gone now,

felled for flats,

Concrete towers for sad souls

behind nets.


The phone rings and your heart ripples.

It bounds with the flush of joy

and your day is complete

as you hear your great grandson’s voice…

“Happy birthday Nana.”



Sometimes Poet

(Shaun Fallows)


Sometimes poet is what I put on all the forms

Occupation sometime collaborator

Of many temporary storms


Sometimes poet is what I put on all the forms

Because I like the Show

Another chance to say hello world

What do you know?


Sometimes poet is what I put on all the forms

Because all the biggest questions have open sky ceilings

The definite is death

But until then we sketch the feelings.



The young shouldn’t feel useless

(Shaun Fallows)


It hurts when you’ve felt young and useless

Never been idle but been suicidal

And every cliche doesn’t take the disappointment away


Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know, yeah, but what did they do in the meantime?


And so you write when it feels right, hoping you can’t stop a waterfall

Trying to keep perspective, so many many things aren’t the be all and end all,

Just as often a short lived life outshines a long one.


Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know, yeah, but what did they do in the meantime?


It hurts when you’ve felt young and useless

I’ve heard of the ‘big society’

And I know what I see

The one that doesn’t include me

Where Governments get people to do their jobs for free.


Rome wasn’t built in a day, yeah, I know but what did they do in the meantime?


I’m not even a bloody cog in the massive wheel

So you tell me

You’ve probably got a word for how I should feel.



One of those days

(David Subacchi)


Dirt on windows

Smudges the view,

A morose sea still spits shingle

When backs are turned;

It knows winter is over;

We know it is too

So we don’t care

And the tables are out

In a show of optimism;

An aroma of frying

Tempting passers by;

Soon they will jostle

To be served fish

Under brighter skies.

Well wrapped photographers

Pass by hesitantly

Fumbling with lenses;

It’s a neither one thing

Nor the other day;

The kind you get

At this time of the year.



Tidying Up

(David Subacchi)


Fast food containers

And empty

Beer bottles

Near gravestones

Where we come

To remember,

Bringing flowers

For comfort.

An abandoned


And other


Personal debris;

We try

To work out


A late night


An argument

Or just



A cry

For attenion?

We tidy up

As best

We can,

Look down

Across the valley;

It’s still cold

But we can feel

Spring in the air.



A few places of interest

(Marc Carver)



As I walk over the bridge

city on my right

I see a man staring into a woman’s eyes

when I look again

I see how old he is

and how young she is.

There must be twenty five years between them

but it could be a hundred

for all he cares.



In the national theatre

I look at a young woman as she sits down

she spits on her phone

then rubs her finger around the screen.


Then she starts to comb her hair

right to the tips as she twists it at the end

then she starts to talk to her hair.


Perhaps she is annoyed with it

having a bad hair day.


Then a man sits next to her

too close for it to be anything else than they are together.

Then they get up and walk off

without ever having said a word to each other.



At the South Bank I sit in on a talk.

It is about Hayden and a bit about Handel.

There are two women on the panel

and a man. He is academic, American.


The man talks about the genius of Hayden

and the women talk about why he was not as revered as Mozart.

The man tries to defend him

One woman says she has read his diaries

and gives us some examples.

He was boring and that is all it comes down to.

A genius can be many things

but he can never be boring.

Look at Mozart.




(Zoe Dalton)


Printed words glare at you and angrily whisper, ‘stop boring us.’

Emotions form an inter-tangled knot

hampering every step you take,

like walking in clay.

Racking sobs leave you exhausted.

Morning and night become entwined as dreams swirl.

Inner strength shrinks then dips to rock bottom

Stacks of unloved poems cry out in pain.

Incensed you long to take a stand

but words fail you.

Snap shots of advice sneak in

raising a watery smile.

Open fears moan softly

before wounds start to heal.



Skin Deep

(Robert Cunliffe)


We are not the stuff

That dreams are made of.

We are wafer-thin.

We live on the surface

Of the holes that fill us in.


We think in three dimensions.

We think that we’re all there.

We fill our space

With cut and paste

And breathe in toxic air.


Our dwellings are fermenting.

Our walls are caving in.

The ties

To all our insides

Are hanging on a string.


We know we need amending.

We know there’s something wrong.

We’re polishing

The pedals

But the camshaft belt has gone.


Our hope is for the future

And better days ahead.

Our greatest fear,


Is that we have been misled …



Burnt bird of paradise

(Robert Cunliffe)


Burnt bird of paradise,

Cockatoo of the causeway,

Fan-tailed, charcoal-clawed,

Puffed up with self-pride,

Feeling good about yourself,

Serene as cream,

As you take that last drag

Of another fag

And expertly

Flick the tip away.

Another dimp,

Another dollar.



Carnival incarnate

(Neil D. Crawford)


In Depression, dustbowl America, the heyday of the

nineteen thirties sideshow, Roustabouts would round up

desperate hoboes, plying them with booze for several

days before its abrupt and cruel withdrawal.


The man who had the D.T.s, the screaming fits,

the shattered wits, the one who tore his

clothes and hair became the new attraction

for the fair.


Chained in a cage, consumed by rage,

‘The Wild Man of Borneo’ prodded

with provided sticks by the gawping,

heartless crowd.


In my own time, in my own mind, in my own way,

I have done the very same to myself, taking hostage

one side of my soul, shouting ‘Yalsa, yalsa, yalsa’

all the while.




(Mark Rawlins)


This is the tyranny. This is the fear.

This is the misery for those who live here.

This is the hatred. This is the war.

Nothing is sacred, not any more.

This is the anger. This is the pain.

This is the hunger, but this is no game.

This is the pestilence, this the disease.

There is no resistance from down on your knees.

This is the rotten, and these are the starving.

The people forgotten when it comes to the carving.

These are the children fighting for rice.

This is globalisation, and this is the price.

This is humanity at its very worst.

This is insanity, and these are the cursed.

This is the murder and this is the rape.

This is the fervour they try to escape.

This is the boat and this is the lorry.

‘This is our quota, we’re terribly sorry.’

This is your ploy to protect your own land….

This is the small boy washed up on the sand.

These are the bodies left to decay.

Whoever your God is, he’s just run away.

This is your power and this is your glory.

This is the hour …. the end of the story.



No beginning and no ending

(Mark Rawlins)


… then after the violence

and after the dying ..

after the silence,

and after the crying.

Here come the bombs

to right all those wrongs …

… then after the violence

and after the dying ….

after the silence,

and after the crying.

Here come the bombs

to right all those wrongs….

… then after the violence

and after the dying …..





Other titles from the same publisher include-


The Fringe Poetry Festival One

The Fringe Poetry Festival Two

The Fringe Poetry Festival Three

[* CQEC Journal, Inter-Agency Working- (academic) *]

One True Thing-(poetry collection)

[* CQEC Journal, Regeneration in the North West- (academic) *]

The Fringe Poetry on the Move Three

The Fringe Poetry on the Move Two

The Fringe Poetry on the Move One

[* Darren and George- (play) *]


The Fringe Poetry Magazine '17

'The Fringe Poetry Magazine-17' follows the success of 'The Fringe Poetry On the Move' and 'The Fringe Poetry Festival' series of poetry pamphlets and e-pamphlets and from two books, 'The Fringe Poetry Cafe' and 'The Fringe Poetry White Book'. 'The Fringe' is a poetry collective based in the North West of England. The poets selected represent a cross section of experience from those already heavily published, and known nationally and internationally, to emerging writers with something genuine to say. Our contributors in this issue are predominantly from the United Kingdom, the USA and the Republic of Ireland. The Magazine includes varied subject matter, expressive techniques and forms. We were, principally, looking for integrity of purpose in the submissions and in some cases the strength of feeling is encouragingly raw and emotional.

  • ISBN: 9781370767571
  • Author: SeaQuake Books
  • Published: 2017-04-10 23:20:19
  • Words: 6137
The Fringe Poetry Magazine '17 The Fringe Poetry Magazine '17