Monday, 3 January 2011


Neon Highway Issn:1476-9867

Issue 18


Note from Jane: 3-4

Michael Lee Rattigan: 4-5

E. Seymour: 5-6

A.D. Hitchin: 6-7

Laura Montauti: 7-8

Patrick Green: 8-9

Charlie Millar: 10-11

Anthony Ward: 11-12

Jennifer Lane: 12-13

John Feakins: 14-15

Alexandra Lister A.: 15

Tim Stiles:16

Kate Edwards: 16

Kavita Prajapati: 17

David Mac: 18-19

Tendai Mwanaka: 20-21

Terry Buchanan: 21-22

James C Smyth: 23-24

Joseph Farley: 23 - 24

David Sealey:24-25

SJ Fowler: 25-26

Anne Rees: 26-27

Submission and Subscription guidlines. 28-29

Front cover and images by photographer, Tony Knox

Catching up with friends!

I have just arrived back from Paris after a crazy weekend of luxury and sleeping rough, experiencing beauty with my two artist friends, Dolores, and Myrtle. We had the most amazing time. First of all we took the tube to the Tour Eiffel, climbed all the way to the top.

Myrtle was crazy and got herself on the outside of the safety area, clinging on for dear life to scare us. She likes to do that now and again. . . We then lost Dolores but found her eventually kissing some strange man further down the tower. Later, we secretly slept under the tower after a crazy night out at Opéra Bastille where we saw a fabulous opera of Faust, music by PHILIPPE FÉNELON, made our way to 15 Place Vendôme, Paris, France, to the Hôtel Ritz, where Dolores had a good friend who worked as an assistant manager and booked us in to a suite, free for one night. It was the most luxurious night of my life!

And now here I am sitting and drinking tea in Liverpool watching the bin men taking take the early morning rubbish to tip. An old woman smokes her cigarette on her doorstep in her dressing gown. Enjoy this issue. Summer’s on the way!


Michael Lee Rattigan

Right Now

There's wind in the dark. A still night, with the sea beyond:

breakers white-hidden and flared by a light-house's sweep-

back-water rush, crowding foam in a hiss. . .

Deep, deep as cold.

Barely a car through the trees: lightless,

as a plane engine groans in descent.

Clocks compete with each other; sunday sameness

as the fridge cracks, a flame throws light:

gold-blue warmth, warm to the cheekbone.

Three candles scarred with bloody wax.

Pares are weightless this time of night;

dreamcatchers hardly stir a feather.

Life seen and felt now, freed to what's real in the moment-

as a clock blurs, melts, folds into itself-

catch me if you can, calls the clock.

On standby the radio, all its voices behind.

The lamp's shadow in love with the wall-

now, as ever shall be.

Air smells like nothing so much as nothing-

like that one for kids:

a room without walls, ceiling, windows, a floor. . .

A mushroom, of course!

E. Seymour

Because You're Worthless

I exist in a state of constant terror

Of unseen enemies

These spectres of

A hideous past

No forgiveness

They are self-damned

And I curse them all

They haunt my dreams

Slowly squeezing

A dying soul

I must crush them

Their accursed spirits

A.D. Hitchin


Psychoastronomy beyond earthy mechanics

secret structures of future alien realms

sun dog eye-opener of Saturn musical outlaw – beat scene – he travels the spaceways radio on.

nebulas music drifting constellations, radar-like continents four hydra melodies, unorthodox bold

multimedia sample looped Saracen jigsaw

utopian space-race - techno past – passive - contact special of space, inner/outer

unhindered by structural angles, formula changes the punisher armoured warrior programme.

The Cult of Exultation: Initiation video (Initial Notes)

DVD focuses on mysterious woman of light -

her eyes inducing vertigo, glace lips dissolving all sense of distance in the empty room,

translucent, her curious iridescence filtered in fresco canopies- a kimono-style dressing gown cloaks

her meridian sunlight, encrusted hydra clusters presenting a cathartic, agitated vision, half melted snow

guru staining hotel linen. Egyptian cotton, glittering untouched conviction, silver chain gems snaking

her index- a compass of gilded pines transfiguring a wet forest dusk-these sheathed ferns of

collective history, crystal shells of presents, she straddles

the thick, mottled leviathan head of my unconscious-these scarlet curtains; imaginary handcuffs,

her subterranean cavern cult of exultation dedicated to bearers of light, the shepherds all blinded,

cataracts milky-white.

Laura Montauti

My magazine had a picture of you

Your anorexic mind needs a new thought,

No more bulimia for the soul.

You're an abomination of control.

All the voices were cruel

So the sickness took hold

And the disgust

In your stomach,

Is a sign that salvation

Was lost when you left your forest

In search of stars.

This view doesn't suit you,

Smoke yourself thin

Till all that's left,

Is your skull and bones

Wrapped in your summer clothes

You started hanging round with

The wrong type of clown,

Their insults became papercut's

That exposed your light

Across the headlines,

You're no front cover of glory.

You're this issue's tragic story.

Patrick Green

Who was the first doctor

Twisting and agitated, shuffling, mumbling

the doors await a new heaven to face.

A floral dress, a smile

shimmers and disappears.

All confusion dream state,

dead or alive now who's to know?

Sterile, clinical room adult conversation.

Ignored for awhile then 'hello friend!'

Have a drink,

onto your suit.

The walls are creepers without moving.

Want to reach for the corners and

escape, this block has no exits.

Talk, talk, blank fill, blank fill,

off and on, hot cold, here now, gone then.

Lie down, stay still, pinch skin,

mum, dad, blurred.

In god's league?

They've come to pack for the next life.

Floating wish suspended, see the situation

from a diamond perspective.

Reality zero, reality what.

Pull the threads and rip the curtain.

Under and out.

Please help you're hurting me.

Future use the power people in those fists.

For the walls are melting, feet bleeding.

The grass trying to run, slowing down.

Past rage illuminating bedroom,

spectacles leaning over the morning after.

A rare entrance of embrace.

Stones thrown as hard as possible

across an empty farmer's field.

Start of making sense of all the pills.

Charlie Millar


So I rang Bernard this morning and I said

Bern, this is really important.

We have to be clear on what we agreed last time Bern.

and he says:

The chick peas

are done.


I boil an egg?


Big Bombs

Newly Commissioned Art

And The Specials

all in one.

Anthony Ward


I remember that afternoon

Whence I passed her in the street

Still I ran after her

Attempting to appertain an apparition

That I found agreeable

Yet she disappeared

As if she had not been there

And I had lost her once more

Standing alone amongst a crowd

Along the cobbled pavement

Of absent abandonment

I didn't even recognise her

I only recognised the memory

Jennifer Lane


Doll felt alive

As star-tears fell from the moon

That maybe one day

Would gush back

Back to the hands of the worthy.

And the doll was glossy,

Wet face shone,

Shone like the Aryan moon;

Pearls encrusted on her brow

Of purest space-silk.

As the living stopped

The stones moved

In perfect unison

To the beat of her feet.

Doll smiled in minor keys.

The music taught her

As it went: Cadences falling rapidly

Like pebbles singing

In cold water,

The melodies lapping

In her ocean mind,

Expanding and shrinking

As a ripple.

Doll danced,

A shudder and a flick

That tore cream linen from her shoulders

Bare, bare as the night,

Convulsing in moonlight.

And the moon wept on

As on the body of a sailor

Lost at dawn.

Doll praised

Exalted Pearl.

And Pearl.


And the sky was forever set with tears.

John Feakins


He introduced himself

as an artiste, a red silky

handkerchief in the pocket

of his well-cut blazer

she was impressed

with the dark mystery

of his glinting eyes

and at once noticed

his well-manicured

nails, pale slim, fingers,

his neat moustache,

his confident gestures

the way he smiled

lifted his head

and knowingly

nodded at her,

giving her his full

attention and gaze,

his soft voice

and gentle manner.

You see, this is cunning

art, it requires an instinct

for deliberate deceit,

an ability to divert

the watchers’ eyes

from our essential

and important tasks

of dramatic revelation.

A cigarette appeared

from nowhere, a match

ignited, smoke drifted

and then vanished.

Alexandra Lister A.

How Often

How often have I sought you, when the lapwings skydive

and cry, and the earth is shattered by winter? Or when

the wind comes so cold on me from the bright

mauve peppered sky, and I, speaking your name

have stopped, wrists unbraceleted, the same

as before, yet different, separate? Why would

rain not be the same without you, or the grass, springy

underfoot not forget the tread of where you were, my love?

As often as I sought meaning in the corners of a silent hour,

in the loveliness of a single evenings English sky, in the

quick step along the cobbles where you and I have watched

the people go by, in every hour that I have known. And my

lips know too, when they kiss you goodbye, every bone

of the hand that has held mine in the heather and over

oceans, I know by sight or blinded, in the light or sunken

shadow of a dry open shell. You were there to find

when I said how often, how often I had sought you,

you who know not the fear of mine that days

are taken from us in hours. I’m in a sweet, strange

place now that the seasons have changed and I walk the

meandering lanes in mists and woodsmoke, alone,

rearranged, not quite without you, until the slow

choking start of morning breaks over the city, departing

so that I sometimes think perhaps I could forget you,

that we could be apart. I think it, but my heart, my heart.

Tim Stiles

‘sup G, you alright?

Aright? I’m alllllll night alright.

Yeah, I know. I know.

Kate Edwards

Back Where he Belongs

(After looking at a Jack Vettriano painting.)

I hope he’s back where he belongs,

I can’t be sure because I don’t know where that is.

Is where he belongs at home? Or with a lover?

Perhaps if the artist had called the picture

‘Back home where he belongs,’

I would be more certain the woman

he lifts and kisses so passionately

is his wife and not a mistress.

The flowers deceive, because men soon forget

to bring flowers into a domestic situation,

more often they’re an inducement to illicit love.

Something about the way the woman’s dressed,

doesn’t look like much like slaving at a hot stove

over a welcome home meal has gone on there!

Still, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt,

he’s probably phoned to say they’ll eat out,

perhaps he’s never stopped bringing her flowers.

Even that leads to further speculation,

are the roses a guilt offering? And if he is

back where he belongs and that is with his wife,

where has he been while he was away?

Kavita Prajapati


If I could strip her essence down to its essentials, I would find an ore

a cluster of sapphire with a pulse of its own. Within it, intricate arteries

of thought coursing through at universal speed. In her pit, there is a certain

respect that reaches its cool attention to every porous life. And there is a

definite immediacy in the way she registers and aligns with chaos. An

organised soul, there she is as her own entity. The balm in her mouth is evidence

of loyalty, a partial stance no-one could match, imitate or contain for very long.

Elusive, keen – it belonged to her, she owned it like a centre of gravity.

Keeping a more finely tuned moral compass, an immaculate radar.

She would never come undone or become overwhelmed. Her side of the

equation always checks out without deviation – like elastic, her final verdict

resorts to the natural way. It has its own manual of laws, internal ones that

operate like a distilled stringent. She is the base of the flame, stiller than the blue

it inhabits. Sliced by her very line of vision, I can only watch, astonished along the way.

David Mac

The Actress

I am not in the mood for embarrassing situations

or sincere moments

today or forever

No slow-mo action sequences please

No soundtrack in the sky

No tender faces or heartfelt death scenes

I’ve no time for the movie you put on

just bad hassle, time wasting, soul

slicing, cut through, empty

me out, you

pout on the screen in your shit blockbuster

Ah, this pallid landscape

corny dialogue and awful CGI

Hey, darling, most things are fake

most things are made up

for big crowds, maniacs and madmen

fools who only wish to believe

something actually happened

something actually went down

fools like us, or

how we used to be…

Now the words have us and

tell us something about who we are now

who we’re supposed to become

And what I really want to do is

go out and get plastered, hammered

fucked up

with the actress Keira Knightley

and maybe

tell her how great she is

how beautiful she is

and that I’m in love with her

If you see her, will you tell her for me?

I would say it myself

but only when

we’re both on our way


If Keira Knightley was here now

Love this life? Yeah,


I’m still trying.

Life’s what you make it


I’m looking for the exit.

Don’t you get it?

Don’t let them take you in,

you little maniac!

Why can’t you resemble

Keira Knightley

smoking a fag?

Why can’t you be more like

that perfect creature?

If she was here now…

And you haven’t made me laugh yet.

You haven’t broken the ice.

You haven’t even managed

to crack

a smile.

There’s got to be more than this.

Surely there’s got to be!

(and don’t call me Shirley)

But for Christ’s sake,

take a look

between the sunbeams,

through the little rays of light

and tell me,

tell me,

tell me!

that you

see it too.



Everlasting leadership

of a born leader.

The leader in control

the led in responsiveness.

They think

and reflect together.

Like sunset on the windows.


like excess baggage to lands beyond

vital young men shipped daily to

worlds-wild, of which they knew not

like wild beasts lived, like Lazarus, they

worked all day long, eating out of view

rich man's little crumbs. lumps and left-over’s

with contempt and aversion they were viewed

troops on troops, cattle, horses, carriages

across our vast abundant homelands

scrambling started, so did demarcation

bequeathing unto themselves rich lands

stretching beyond the reach of eyes

in bulk; gold, oil, silver, ivory looted

to enrich a people belonging not to us

leaving a honeycomb, nectar less, depleted

lowly tribal trust lands paired to dark ones

in townships, farm compounds, in prisons

in our own birth-right by a people foreign

and cool fertile highlands paired to light ones

and as oceans-apart, divided we stood

like prisoners in chains, dark toiled for food

and light harvesting milk: dark- tears and sweat

and light took all of dark's tears and sweat

which they feasted on to enrich themselves

dark in backward nameless enlightenment

light enjoying the best in enlightenement

dark to an enlightenement to slave for light

light to an enlightenment to master dark

in unlit, dirt, potholed streets, dark

loitered, leisured, shopped and slaved

but in streets like paradise's beautiful lands

light worked, ate, shopped and leisured

at war, dark against light for freedom

were sacrifices both sides of the divide

cripples, orphans and casualties

resulting in beautiful sweet freedom

but in-came another colour, light unlike

yet dark it remained and lied to dark

like a mosquito it cared little but sapped

continuously scrambling on a scale so shameless

taking all, eating all, sharing in nothing

in light the other people happily lives

in darkness, not of our own doing

we live and lick wounds still painful

why we had to suffer from all these wrongs

what wrong had we done, why us?

to deserve this disgusting dehumanisation

and how are we ever gonna heal these lames

who should really take the blame?

Terry Buchanan

James C Smyth

Stars Talk Down To Me Of Death

"We are weeping down in rains of stale

to birth to you our stories past and spent

of men like you and her

and loves in tearing flesh intent.

Loves in coffins wormed and beetle-dead.

Deaths like loves of Byrons flame.

Deaths like bangs of gunners,

oaks and reds.

Loves and deaths and loves around again.

And time will pass and leave

and death will die.

Immortal as we are

the winds are more

and as we see Omegas of your kind

we wait in kind to see the starless shore

and nought but black and windlessness shall grieve."

Joseph Farley

Salvation Of The Absurd

my whole life seems ridiculous,

a mad rush to the funeral home.

I feel the need to please

a non existent audience.

vacant stares come

from empty chairs.

if I had an athletic bone,

I would jump clear across the universe

and outrun both life and death.

once beyond puerile thoughts

of being and non-existence

I would meditate on

the gravitas of grapefruit

and other non sequiturs

that fill the space time continuum

with irrational exuberance.

for the rational

there is alpha and omega,

for the foolhardy, well,

there's heaven

or hell if you prefer

to think about it.

that's why not thinking

is the best course,

and idiocy is

the wisest wisdom.

David Sealey

the slow burn

The ember burns bright

buried beside pebbles,

flickers, flutters, dissipates

so close to wooden surround.

The birth and death of stars;

brilliant flaming balls

without air, breathe

anaerobically and die explosively,


casting finite light

recalling life.

SJ Fowler

(drowning in the Bosphorus)

The rivers of Turkey , I say

March twenty-fourth at five on the threshold of morning

The water hums in the teakettle

Ozdemir Ince

on the banks of Bosphorus

brawnly; the water lies panting

with silt thin on the surface like cigarette ash

it smells, the river, this close

the shingle broken from the beach

given sparse separation on the water save

it is unlike any river I have seen

before the mouth of Montevideo

I sit upon an island rock

broken from the land given; so wide is the river

the dirt in the water

flows into my nose and mouth

hacking and choking me

as I strain to swallow more

and then - a bellyful

I float like a gorged baby

sick and plump with tepid liquid

saltine and brine filled

weaving the enamel of my teeth

clogging my throat against my tonsils

it burns my eyes

I am adrift on a river of effluence

but I shan’t drown

flapping my arms like a seabird

a secret I shall relate

underwater they worship panic

they condition the body

so I have in the Bosphorus but not by rising

I am made of this water

I am not under this canopy any longer

for my body is full of the river

Anne Rees


A dark night, sleet stinging eyelids and lips,

Needling through the orange tents of sodium streetlights,

the broadest, most expensive lurid orange can’t keep out the sleet.

There is space, between granite kerb and shivering privet

for three to walk abreast, three sisters fill it

marching in belted macks, deliberately noisy

to define themselves against thrillingly imagined

prudes dark closed curtains as they pass,

self conscious in their bad manners, devil may care in one another’s eyes.

They are unhappy, hate their mother so they come out here

to fight the stinging wind in public, out in a black glamorous night,

ready to shout banter if anyone else has dared this sleet.

Mutually jealous, they cheer each other on, two link arms and shove, with jeers

the third who wields their shared lit cigarette, into the main road,

she swears and protests, they giggle at themselves, and, staggering, reunite.

Assyrian in their contempt for “hypocritical” decencies

they come down in violence on the chip shop out of darkness,

to serve the whole village right for never noticing their unhappiness:

they don’t complain. Bright-eyed, they wolf their chips

and cheek the chip shop lady. She wonders at their behaviour, because:

“Their Mam’s a magistrate and they’re such bonny, clever lasses!”

Neon Highway Poetry Magazine is edited by Jane Marsh and Alice Lenkiewicz. Neon Highway was set up in 2002 as a non profit making little poetry/arts magazine

Neon Highway (ISSN: 1476-9867)


Literary journal



Neon Highway is available bi-annually, with 2 issues costing £5.50, or a single Issue available at £3.00. Order your next issue by sending a cheque made out to Alice Lenkiewicz at 37, Grinshill Close, Liverpool, L8 8LD


We prefer to receive work by snail-mail. Sometimes email is useful if your work format is 'experimental' or you have images and of course if you are abroad. For these reasons, email submissions will be accepted. On a general level, email submissions will only be read if we have time to, as we prefer to receive your works in the post. Please do not forget to enclose a sae for returns and replies.

Alice Lenkiewicz

37, Grinshill Close, Liverpool, UK, L8 8LD


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All writers and artists published in the magazine will receive a free contributors copy.

However, this is not the case if postage abroad runs outside the price for UK postage.

If postage exceeds our budget this becomes far too expensive for a non profit making magazine. We are happy to send you a free copy of the magazine, however, if you are abroad please do send us cover for the price of postage.

Waiting for a response.

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