Front cover and artworks by the artist Jacqueline Mckenzie
Note from Jane Marsh, assistant editor.
Page 5-6: Chris Hardy
Page 7: Harriet E Rose
Page 9: Leilanie Cesnik
Page: 10: Carlos Nogueiras
Page: 11: Noel King
Page 11- 12 Rabie
Page 12-13: Geoffrey Godbert
Page 14: Anne Reese
Page 15-16: Phil Knight
Page 17: J.P Christjansen
Page: 18-19: David Mac
Page: 19-20: Darren Caffrey
Page 20-22: L Montauti
Page 22-23: G David Schwartz
Page 23: Chris Churchill
Page 25-27: Scott Laudati
Page 28: Publications
Page 29: Submissions
Note from Jane
It seems a long time since I applied my thoughts to poetry. For some time now I have been worrying about my rent. I lagged behind for a while due to the fact I was travelling. My landlord, a certain 'Vinny' as they call him wanted seven weeks rent from me. I had to delay him and told him that it would be fine next month, that he would be paid but intead he sent me an eviction notice. (Nice man). My neighbour opposite is on housing benefit and Vinny wasn't very pleasant to her as he didn't want to wait for her housing benefit to come through even though she showed him the letter with backpay as proof. She has a child and wants to get a place through a housing association but the goverment have changed all that now so it's alot harder. So, it looks like my friend is stuck in her dingy bedsit for the rest of her life unless she comes into alot of money or trains again but even that is hard as the fees are high. Times are becoming harsher my friends. And yes, we cn see what is happening. It's that old, dog eat dog mentality creeping up again, the survival of the fitest and all that rubbish.
I must admit, I am so bored with success lately. Succesful people bore me. I want to hang around with down and outs, people of the street, loners, dropouts, the homeless. There is a beauty in this kind of exile. I get so bored of people parading their success stories around during these harsh times which is why poetry is still so important because poetry speaks between the lines, poetry is for every person. Don't forget to care and help others my dear friends. And while I write this on 31st October of Halloween, let us spare a thought for those who have very little comfort and whose lives have not gone according to their wishes.
The cliff top leans
like the lid
of a grand piano.
High up on rising ground
the air sings
the note first struck
when I drew breath,
that will sound while I am here.
Ahead the horizon retreats
step by step.
Above it stands
a trackless blue
The sheer impossible face
must be accomplished
in one move,
to be silent again
with the unborn.
BLACK MARSH UNDER CORNDON
Black hedge- trees drip along the lane,
cut lines across the hill
beneath its snow-cap merging
into a white cold sky
as we approach Black Marsh
A big grey mare hooves stamping down
between rough grass tussocks
thick with snow appears
her eyes are marble yellow globes
her mouth and soaked hide smoke
in the perishing wet air.
A driver on the road
glancing through the gate
saw us stop then stumble on
across an empty field
towards the stones that stand
above the snow like graves.
Harriet E Rose
GRISELDA – OR THE SECOND COMING
The microphone exaggerates, spittle on tongue, acid rain.
The Divil has many progeny
Sanctus erectus, his member, large as a bull’s
has been fruitful and multiplied
subduing earth with numbers, rivers of blood,
purple as robes of office, decorated with gold
by that Sun that melts the soul in summer.
The Devil’s spawn are greedy as swarming locusts.
They are consumed by lust.
Each creature has a time.
The prophets of Lucifer have made
a God of Death, Prophets speak in riddles
and aphorisms widely broadcast to any who will listen.
They claim that they can placate Death with worship
and the weapons of destruction.
that nothing there is can be uninvented.
The tigress roars, Blood drips from her mouth.
Blood stains the metal fangs of engines of destruction.
In cap and gown a crocodile of young gradulates
approach the podium each to receive a piece of printed vellum
that will enable them to indoctrinate the following generations
to practise alchemy in laboratories and surgeries,
to lie in courts of law enslaving
their own kind with legislation.
Sun burns their foreheads and souls of feet.
Thunderclouds gather in the east
from where originates all weather and disease.
Then a grey harridan, her body bent double with old age,
begins to hum a Muzak echoed by planets,
millions of transistors joining in. My name’
she announces ‘’ is Griselda’’.
A white acid rises from her forked tongue
becomes a vapour. It cleans away
all signs of age revealing beauty.
She grows in stature till she dwarfs the universe
which with all inhabitants she swallows whole
mouth expanding to the mouth of a cave.
This she calls ‘’THE SECOND COMING’’.
PERCEPTIONS AS TRUTH
What if the sky was made of Papier-mâché
and the land a giant bathtub
with its stopper in New Zealand?
And what if the lines of latitude
were rings of wire suspending the paper dome
above the earth?
What if it's all illusion and we're simply make believe
and our eyes are telling us
what they perceive to be the truth?
What does it really matter?
What do we even care?
A Terror Let Loose
Men divulge their sadness as proof
That in all endeavour there is
An attempt to get across
A terror let loose,
And if time cannot be relied upon
As a measurement of talent
Then destiny must surely be a fluke.
All caution thrown to the wind
Should we die in a tailspin,
Yet for those who live long
A kindness in old age,
For a battering awaits them
In the world beyond.
The longer you live - the more karma
To your name, and don't tell me
You think yourself strong.
Lemons in History
Yellow is this mother's colour. She sees
lemons on branches of a tree bending
in gentle winds, a tree that bottoms her garden.
But oranges are the more normal orifice
of her routine. She squashes eight to her family
every morning with an electric squeezer.
Her mother did it by hand while her father
made porridge; her own children eat Ready Brek.
There must be something, perhaps a meaning
in Greek Mythology? For now we squeeze away
onto foods, tongues, while less cultured families
buy processed lemon juice in plastic lemons.
Shades of Love
winter skies tremble
‘never leave I beg you’
The wood nymph sneers sadly
‘It is our calling to ensnare the issue of Adam
and over the centuries I have ruined myriads of men.
Why should I feel any differently about you?
I gurgle like a baby
‘witch-demon I love you,
left everything because you love me.
I know it and so do you.’
Now the temptress sobs and unfolds
wings feathered with green leaves
like thumbnails, her sighs hollow as a bell,
‘Then I must leave you for a while
to return to my master.
A year is but a day in our time
so wait and I will send you word.’
Twelve months pass like
a slow slow drive behind a tractor
on a winding country lane.
I sip autumnal wine in my rose garden,
thoughts of her promise
‘I will send you word’
And as I muse
a leaf like a thumbnail
drops into my glass,
floats on my drink –
so brown and twisted
how it curls
like a sigh.
IL SISTEMA PERIODICO
In memory of Primo Levi
I’ve just been breathing to see
what happens tenderly
a touch of strangeness, a drop
of this or that, otherwise
it wouldn’t work, it couldn’t protect
and so give rise to change
generate life, diversity
in a grain of salt
of what is needed
from the hidden order
what naturally makes
the natural world
suddenly and best of all
in one’s own surprised life
even for a second or so
is quite long enough
so we can pass through infancy
we can pass through adolescence
scenes of daily life, survival,
to see what happens next
which makes a story
of which all the peoples are composed
even in foreign languages
as each make their own detections
just as I shall make my own
into what is worth discovering
and so begin my own enquiries
and everyone’s discoveries
for as long as life allows.
MOMENTO MORI SADIE
The sun’s still golden but it’s local
to sheltered corners, hazy white middays.
at dawn, at sunset, sharp cold draughts of air
blow through frayed leaves and spiders’ webs
winter is coming near down its freezing corridor.
The first anniversary of your death presages
evaporating golds, scaffolds revealed behind motheaten fabrics
gardens yawning illimitably to let in frosts and darkness.
Nothing I can say can stop it, our shadows fade just like
our deaths sewn to our heels, flickering greyly over sunny brick.
Overhead at night wide wings beat, musical trumpetings
ring out as wild geese flee the Arctic tundra
daring depths of raging autumn air to reach the reservoirs.
Branches may snatch their rags, we may clutch coats
but wild geese expose warm feathers to cold searching night
like warriors, like Valkyries, they called, your brave soul went in faith
that God would not obliterate such courage. Wild geese are harbingers
of the terror in my heart in this dark borough, the wilderness
wormholing town hall and glowing pubs, people are getting ill
and dying all the time beneath this crust of brick and tile.
Jolly voices cry out on Capital FM, we can’t kid ourselves, no - one is safe,
wild geese cry out for death, for glory and Valhalla! Death!
HOW CULHWCH WON OLWEN
“Before you can take as a bride my daughter the fair Olwen
She of the short dresses and golden thighs,
you must perform certain tasks to convince me of your worth”
said Ysbaddaden Chief Man of all the Giants of Wales”.
“Ask for any service I shall perform it,
ask for any gift and it shall be yours”
said Culhwch the Hero, friend of good men.
“A flock of seagulls has take up residence in my beard
and their fighting and squawking gives me no peace to sleep
therefore I ask you to bring me a comb”.
“I can do that” said the Hero.
“Not so fast young man, not any comb will do for my beard
I require the comb that lies between the ears of Reg
the Red Boar of the Rhondda, who belches fire
and farts clouds of mustard gas”.
“No problem it will be easy for me,
though you think otherwise”.
The Giant then reeled off a list of other fabulous creatures
that needed putting down, including eight dragons,
seven flying Lyons, six huge snakes, five Unicorns
one of them a Cyborg armed with a chain-saw and a giant
evil talking Octopus called Bob.
Each time the Hero replied “No problem,
It will be easy for me though you think otherwise”.
The Giant then demanded a large a number of rare and magical items
Including the Lost Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail
the sword Excalibur and a whole host of singing harps
and other such knickknacks, regarding items of more recent origin
the Giant said “ can you bring me the time travelling bicycle
of H G Wells, the braces of T S Eliot, Ezra Pound’s corduroy trousers,
the eighteen straight whiskeys that killed Dylan Thomas
and the knockers of Jordan, but remember I want them alive
such harsh critics I will kill with my own hands”.
In each case our Hero answered “No problem
it will be easy for me though you think otherwise”.
“Lastly I require that you obtain the Social Conscience
of David Cameron, it will be the glory and pride of my collection”.
“Ah” said the Hero “that will be a problem
according to Boris Johnson it is already lost”.
QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
Queen Of the Night,
with long black hair and lips of red
would be waiting in the shadow of guilt
hiding to others seeking the dark mistress
of secret lustful hearts deceiving their wives
resting and expecting child and telling them
“please don’t be late!”
as into the twilight they steal with just-less plans
and I find the shadow where she waits
to take me into her arms for the opening kiss
confirming the whispered promises of the one
who naked under the moon locks me tight
with legs pulling me up inside her womb
where I find my ancient primitive self
shipped of all senses but the spelling one
cast on my loins by the Queen of the Night
who out from the shadow of guilt once stepped
to show me her long black hair and painted red lips
contorted in a smile of irresistible seduction
making me deaf to please of “please don’t be late!”…
words which haunt in the tired moon
and neons shutting down.
Do Another Day
Night. Strange blue coming in,
my wild head eating up thoughts,
the clock’s noose around my neck.
And there’s a large number of sheep in this tomb,
about 2 per second,
for hours now.
There’s a thick panic when I discover birdsong:
It’s early it’s late,
It’s morning it’s night.
Perhaps a drink will soften the blow
as the quick hours fall
away into the dawn
Get up and get to work, sad life,
know the poet’s
the lowest paid creature in humanity.
But still, as an alligator caked in cool mud,
at the thought of the world.
With an alarming sound, I get up,
Into the universe.
I drift into the sun,
where I harden
Idea for a dream…..Scene 2
would there be a cage between the body – shaken leaves – oddly falling into piles -
structures that make it easier – I can hear the wind through a whistle – I cannot see much
more – and mistakenly begin to run – told – tiresome to a voice – when a mad dog cuts the
silence – foot stopped into heart – looking over – toward the meaning of a sun – on the rise
-one or two are pounding the tarmac – cannot run forever – one more flight in brief – off –
where music keys into - how – and they are coming – the felt of lightening iron – a cast of
oranged beacon – tables turned by a dream – too cold to hear my own – beneath the
gorgeousness – fires – and blood a distinction to remember me –ready by the mouths –
cornered into a V – carried up – and taking nothing – to imagine – bedlam of a beginning –
tell them again what you have seen – and the light falls – by your side
The invasion of flesh
awaking in the night
to find someone’s already inside.
No question, no request?
I wake to feel
the push and change.
screams my shock,
I lie still
wondering if you’re awake too?
Do you even know
the damage you are causing?
This sleepy satisfaction you seek,
is it me you want?
Is this pain worth the virtue
the heart beat you corrupt
The kisses you disease
the promises you broke,
the pain relief
that love promises
occurs only in the
The pain it creates
punishes again and again.
The confusion it portrays
Is implausible to any man.
The abuse of respect
To wake and feel invasion
to see with eyes open,
to look upon
G David Schwartz
Come Cry In My Arms
Come and cry in my arms
Just be close to me
I need to be close to you
You are all I want to see
If you think you need
Come crying in my arms
Never go away again
Just stay in my arms
I have always loved you
With a touch of respects
Loved you past trust
And sung to my neck
So strep up into my arms
If that’s what you need
And soon or later
We’ll get up to speed
So come and be in my deep thoughts
Let’s make shards ad water bots
And let us sing between
The yellow and the green
And with you in my arms
Life will take on reason
Once again this session
This Imperfect Love
What are these words I hear you speak
This story you have layed before me
Please tell me I sleep
For I cannot bare this to be reality
I would tear off my ears, wash my eyes, destroy
all senses if it left me blissfully unaware of this truth.
This truth which haunted my dreams, and would have plagued my thoughts if I had known
it was to become an eventuality.
There is nowhere to hide, no open arms to run into, as the man whome I entrusted,
whome unleashed this terrible fate, is not there,
as he has polluted this imperfect love and now a stranger stands before me, for the man
I once knew is gone.
I hold many questions, to which I could not hear the answers, for the thought, which
excludes elaboration is painfull enough.
It is no longer a nightmare, for it is now an intoxicating memory, a wound cut so deep
into my very soul.
To which I cannot nuture with my hands, I hold no anesthetic, and I prey time will
bring back my sanity.
From Here to LA
we drove from here to LA
in total silence
because Ace Enders,
said we should.
of course he talked,
actually he just screamed
and he did it for hours,
into a cell phone
as he paced around the trailer
in the parking lot of every gas station
from here to LA
he wrote his best songs at his worst.
after the phone calls
with his soul mate,
the women never understand
but if she didn’t tear him apart
he never would’ve written those songs
and I wouldn’t have fallen asleep each night
listening to him finger the guitar strings
and singing about the love he would see
when we finally sold enough merch
to fly her
from here to LA
his hair grew long
(he was the converse wearing allstar)
he grew out his beard
(mad whiskers on a mad dog)
somewhere between Wind Gap and Winnemucca
we became a tribe,
wore the feathered headdress.
it was never spoken of,
but he was the man for that place
and the other bands knew it too.
we weren’t the headliners
and we didn’t draw the biggest crowds,
but the other bands hushed
when Ace walked into the room,
we all knew we were treading
with a real songwriter.
but HE DIDN’T KNOW IT,
would never accept it,
and I watched him go mad
trying to write
The Book of Love,
and recite it every night
to the girl on the cell phone.
in every parking lot
every gas station
from here to LA
half the band watched
the karate kid on repeat,
the rest of us read road novels
and listened to Wilco,
but not Ace!
he just stared
and occasionally would jump up and scream
until his face got hot and red
and then he’d quiet down
and start staring again.
Ace and I jockeyed across the city
to find a post office.
the mental institution had just run our of funds
and all the crazies were living on the streets,
one grabbed Ace’s shirt
and like a zoo animal does when you catch it staring at you,
he looked right into Ace’s soul,
and said, “I know what you did.”
that he knew
whatever it was,
no matter how nuts the bum was,
that he really knew
what Ace had done,
even if I didn’t know Ace had ever done anything.
Ace asked me if I though the bum knew what he did.
I didn’t ask what he had done, but said that the bum probably did,
but Ace liked attention,
and asked everyone this question
from there to LA
they called him a mad genius
they called him a crazy artist
they called him a possessed songwriter
I’m not really sure of any of those things,
because it took a woman to make him crazy
and a country to drive him insane,
but on monday most people still have to get up and
go to work.
I do know that all it takes to make a beautiful brain crumble,
is a woman
pushing the ‘ignore’ button
on the other end of the cell phone.
and it can happen in less time
then it takes,
to drive from here to LA
Review of The Given in
It's the ezine of Penned in the Margins, run by Tom Chivers.
Read the early fictional poems of Rene Van Valckenborch at
Follow his fictional twitter trickle at
A C Evans
Twilight of The Avant Garde
Small Press Scene
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)
POETRY and ART
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.
Follow us on http://neon-highway.blogspot.com/