Tuesday, September 25, 2012

fiction snapshots: carys bray

Dancing in the kitchen

She is sewing pips of reminiscence in his fertile mind, selecting scenes for the reel of his memories. She is the Director, Writer and Makeup Artist. She would like to be the Film Editor too and supervise the relegation of her inadequacies to the cutting room floor. She would like to censor any shameful language: ‘You stupid boy,’ ‘I can’t take you anywhere,’ ‘I should have thought twice about having children.’ She does this in her Director’s Cut. In this version she is always smiling. She makes delicious, nutritious meals, irons his favourite clothes in time for him to wear them, patiently explains homework and never shushes him in the car because she is listening to the radio.

But she does not have final cut privilege. He is The Editor of this portion of her life. He selects rare, single-take footage of her shouting and crying. He creates miserable montages of her mothering misdemeanours. ‘Remember when I really wanted to go on a donkey and you wouldn’t let me?’ he asks. ‘Remember when you said I would have to sleep in the loft with the wasp’s nest if I kept getting out of bed?’ he enquires.

She is determined to expunge her failings. She selects a location, prepares the storyboard and applies makeup.

Take One: Dancing in the Kitchen

The radio is loud. The dance is a comedy combination of moves she used to perform in earnest several years ago. The noise will draw him to her and her exuberance will proclaim: I’m so happy to be your mother that I’m dancing in the kitchen. I love you so much; let’s dance in the kitchen, together.

Take Two: Dancing in the Kitchen

The radio is louder. This time he will forsake the television in order to investigate. He will burst into the kitchen and join in the dance. They will laugh together in a way that allows her to begin sentences with, ‘Remember when we danced in the kitchen?’

Take Three: Dancing in the Kitchen

The radio is moderately loud so as not to irritate him. He will come into the kitchen eventually, when he wants a drink or to ask what’s for tea. He will chuckle at her dance.

Director’s Cut: In the Kitchen

The radio is on. Eventually he comes in. She sends him such a smile. Perhaps he will remember it.

Carys Bray's prize-winning short stories have been published in a variety of magazines and literary journals including Mslexia, Dialogue, PoemMemoirStory, Black Market Review, The Front View and New Fairy Tales . Her collection, Sweet Home won the 2012 Scott Prize and will be published by Salt in November. Carys teaches at Edge Hill University. She is working on a PhD and she is a co-editor at Paraxis.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

poetry snapshots: andy fletcher

meeting you

i go to the station to meet you

the train stops at the buffers
passengers with suitcases and bags get off

i look through the faces for yours

the next day
i go to the station to meet you

pigeons flap into the air as the train pulls in

people step off wave to relations
light cigarettes hug loved ones

every day
i go to the station to meet you
soon from the mass of faces
i know you'll appear and smile

years pass

the station's refurbished
old trains are replaced by new ones
timetables change

still i stand on the platform
litter blows towards me
plastic bags rise from the tracks

each day
i go to the station to meet you

Photo credit is here

Andy lives, works and writes in Hull. He graduated in Law but has since had a varied career as a machine operator, bus driver and currently part time worker with Social Services. He was the founder and only member of Revegtisana (Revolutionary Vegan Tigers Supporters against Nuclear Arms)! His work has appeared in various UK magazines including Bete Noire, Tears in the Fence, Iota and The Reater and was anthologised in Old City New Rumours (edited by Carol Rumens and Ian Gregson) and The Hull Connection (edited by Peter Knaggs) both 2010. His collection ‘the mile long piano’ was published by Ragged Raven Press in 2007.

Monday, September 17, 2012

poetry snapshots: shanta everington

To Die For

Half a packet of raindrops and

as much ice cold water as

you can drink for your body

to warm up and burn. He

pinches half a millimetre

of flesh on my ribs and says,

You need to take better care

of yourself, my dear. I peer

through the veil of my fringe and

nod my head three millimetres,

picturing my picture in the papers.

I  can be ready in a week. I peek

at the tick next to my name.

Next. My smiling eyes roll

down over the twigs of my toes

and all the way to the park where

I will perform a hundred star jumps

and remember how your skin

used to shine when you laughed.

For you understood it was important.

First published in Seeking Refuge, edited by Jan Fortune-Wood, Cinnamon Press.

Shanta Everington is the author of literary novel, Marilyn and Me (Cinnamon Press) and YA novel, Give Me a Sign (Flame Books) Shanta’s first poetry chapbook, Drowning in Cherryade, will be published by Bedouin Books later this year and she has two YA novels forthcoming for 2013 - Boy Red (Musa Publishing) and XY( Red Telephone Books).

Thursday, September 06, 2012

poetry snapshots: rose drew



1. Kings Crossing

He walks his daily tightrope,
head dropped forward,
eyes tight to floor tiles,
arms hugging sides,
cramped shuffling walk;

all in black, simplicity
for dressing in the mornings.
I hope he has splashed out in grey,
or a mild blue,
tho' the black black jeans,
black jacket, black trainers give me doubt.

But he's out there.
He manoeuvres, firm control,
one tube station to another,
one obligation to another,
rising brave to lunge into the frightening crowds,
traverse the large and noisy spaces,

II. Victoria

Her eyes gleam
with tales of the children she tutors, two days a week,
two hours a time,
homework, role playing, practical sessions
on how to survive.        How can you work with kids like that?
she is asked, but I know how, 
the frustrations, rewards,
how always searching for another way
to explain the world
teaches you more than you bring them.

Fresh from Argentina,
she travels Europe alone, on recast Honeymoon
now the fiance has failed,
and her children,
the ones she loves,
will feel vague peace
when she returns.

Besides, you never know:
the one who is lost may grow
to own a dozen matching jeans
in future closet:
learn to trek the underground,
head down, arms stiff with effort,
oyster card safe within a fist.

Rose Drew, from York via Miami, is finally wrapping up a PhD involving human skeletons and will decide what to do next.

Rose is addicted to hosting open mics, co-founding three in two continents: York’s Spoken Word is now in its 7th year.  Her work, mostly poetry, has been published in anthologies, newsprint, and journals starting in 1977; her favourite place to be is in front of a large audience, performing. 

Rose co-owns small press Stairwell Books and is delighted that all the hard work, especially from partner Alan, demon book designer, is finally paying off. Her own first book, Temporary Safety (Fighting Cock Press) was No 9 of the 2011 Purple Patch 20 Best Individual Collections. Rose collaborates with composers and musicians at the Sounds Lyrical Project Website  and she can be seen performing her poetry on Youtube.

York Literature Festival HUB 2018 event, Tuesday, 20th March

I'm looking forward to my first event for absolutely ages - at the York Literature Festival HUB. Many thanks to YLF and Valley...