4: Thomas Lawrence
4: Rebecca Thornton
4: Thomas Hornigold
“Broadcast me a joyful noise, unto the times, Lord…”
– R.E.M. , Bad Day
They forgot to colour in the sky, once again, today.
Like the computer simulation’s running overtime;
blueskies.exe has encountered a fatal error
and all that’s left is the blank page of white.
Look up and you could be anywhere, anyone, anyhow
Look up and you’re horribly, wildly, devastatingly free.
Look up and cease to remember, into the endless nothing.
I had a recurring dream about a day the sky would look like this.
You and I would lie on the ground beneath grey tower-block skies
All the tiny, invisible harpoons of the world dragging us this way and that
Lying there, on the cold, hard earth, not saying a word.
This is where I’m met late at night stumbling home with too-heavy too-much shopping
and I take the shortcut, the way I don’t really know, and I’m encountered
by knife-wielding, slavering, desperate, guttural, crackhead love:
mugs me and steals my alone, and this is how I thought it would be, silent.
The clouds hide us from the stars and the knowledge of the vast expanse of space
the thousands of light-years between the way things are and could be
and they allow us the morphine fantasy that we are a drawing in the middle of the page
and not a shivering-confused blob that lives nowhere-in-particular,
for nothing but itself.
4: Adam Milner
4: Annie Hayter
dreamt, on a cold night in June
that your house was dressed up for a death
and I was in it, looking, longing for you.
all the doors were shut
there was a darkness, that has never quite
left me, the smell of damp wood,
acid of paintstripper on your window frame.
there were people in the garden
in the mud, I did not know them,
they simply looked back at me
turned around, then carried on the silence, and the
drinking, wearing veils so I could not see
I walked up the stairs
up to the attic, which led out, to
an open sky.
4: Charles Pidgeon
4: Adham Smart
When you go to sleep, I go to work.
I slip myself into a suit and slide 800 milligrams
into their coffees, then watch their bathroom-tiled existences
turn marble and too illuminated.
My government is inside me, my motives classified
It’s you that I’m writing about;
even from me. But I can’t conceal myself from you
the only double agent
forever. One day when I finally break my cover
is the citizen who wants freedom
you’ll see the tattoos underneath my skin, you’ll see
without wanting to see the shadows
that I was an instrument all along,
which break the light in the gap
and I too was being played.
at the bottom of the door.
My life with you is a two-way mirror; I’ve watched you
kiss my reflection a hundred times. Every day I hear my name
said in so many ways that your screams when we make love
move nothing in me. Screams are just
more cups of tea to me,
or cups of boiling water.