Thursday, 28 April 2011


Neon Highway                                                    issn: 1476-9867

Note from Jane Marsh.

I simply had to show you our new shoes! Dolores, Myrtle and I went to Manchester and found this old vintage store.
Aren't they just glorious! Okay ladies, shoulders back. Head up. Single file!
Welcome to the Spring issue 20011 of Neon Highway.
Neon Highway is now a member of EBSCO.
That means that our magazine and your poems can be downloaded via the USA cataloguing system for research and reference for students. Gosh, I can't believe I am saying that. To think my little magazine started in the gutter!
Here is the link if you wish to look further at where your dear little poems will be going on a journey to.

Now I don't know if I can make any money at this but if I do, I will make sure you know about it and that it goes towards Neon Highway or even to you! Don't worry, I won't be buying vintage shoes in secret with any of the profits! So I'll keep you updated. Darlings! xxx

Now here we are in April. It is a little hot for my liking, kind of when the daffodils and crocuses should be coming out. . .? and instead we are blasted with this ultra heat of Caribbean sun. I don't care what anyone says, I like the seasons to remain where they should remain and right now I am not enjoying this early summer especially as I went out to buy a summer dress the other day and we were back to Winter the next day without any warning. It was most embarrassing to get caught out like that in the rain on the way to my interview! I arrived like 'Princess and the Pea', a lady standing at the door in a puddle of water, with the sun shining outside. Goodness knows what they thought. . .
One more thing! I have become a vegan! Yes, Jane Marsh is now a Vegan! This is my way of protecting the beautiful animals of our earth and also protecting your health and our planet.
Veganism is wonderful. Do not think that if you become a vegan you will instantly be confined to lettuce leaves. Oh no, don't you worry, it is not like that at all. There is alot more to being a vegan than meets the eye my friends. It is the way forward, amazing diet of fresh and delicious food. By the way, while I am on the subject, please sign my petition to ban abattoirs, to give animals the right to live and to help restore peace and harmony to our planet.
Believe me, I have rediscovered  tastebuds all over again and the good thing is at the same time you save an animal! How about that? You save an animal! Which offer do you prefer? Greasy hamburger filled with preservatives that makes you unhealthy, blocks up your arteries and comes with free plastic toy or Lovely refreshing healthy meal that gives you energy and offers you a whole new group of friends who believe in ethical issues and also gives an animal the right to live?
Go for it my friends. You know what the right choice is. I will send you vegan recipes from time to time. In fact Jane Marsh may just start up her own Vegan recipe book! Bye for now darlings. Enjoy the poems. xxx

Tribute to poet, Kate Edwards.

Artwork by Joe Murtagh.
"Joe's distinctive style is influenced by music, fashion and pop culture.

He uses Adobe illustrator and photoshop to create his colourful, bold artwork.
Having been a figurative painter and sculptor, his work is very much based on the human form and portraiture."

In this issue Jane and I would like to pay our respects to the poet, Kate Edwards who sadly passed away this year. Two of her poems are published in this issue, 'Arabian Nights' and 'Wedding Gift'.

Kate Edwards was raised and educated in Runcorn, Cheshire. She wrote poetry from an early age, but only started to send it to editors a few years ago. Behind the house where she now lives are hills and heathland overlooking a wide estuary, which inspires many of her themes. Other poems are derived from shades of memories of relationships and incidents long past, or spring from imagination. 
After leaving school Kate worked in a bank, which did not suit her, then became an actress, a cat walk model and later a supply teacher of English and Drama. She loved reading, theatre, galleries, cooking, dogs and horses. Kate passed away peacefully in January of this year, 2011. She is deeply missed by her husband and four children, who take great comfort in reading the legacy of her work, more of which can be seen on her website -

Kate Edwards:  5-7
Sally Plumb: 7-8
Alistair Hayes: 9-10
Nick Tsaldaris: 10-11
A’Yara Stein{ 11-12
Tendair Mwanaka: 12-14
Deborah Maudlin: 16
Adam Flint: 18
Jane Penaz Eisner: 19
Morgan: 20-23
Roy Bayfield: 23-24
J.P.Christianson: 25
Alfred Gosschalk: 27
Chris Hardy: 28
Catharine Wignall: 29
AC Evans: 31-32
John Elliot: 33
Claud West: 34-35
Robert Ensor: 36
Jacob Shaw:36-37
Anna Hands: 37-38
Publications: 39-40
Subscriptions: 41

      Kate Edwards                     

                                         Arabian Nights

There is no balm in Gilead anymore,
nor is there peace in the mosques and temples,
the thurifers no longer wave the censers,
the alleyways are silent, even the souks
almost deserted., the hard eyed men
with gold no longer importuning.
Once the sands were soft and empty,
now there are broken bodies, bones and blood.
Once the scents of attar, musk and jasmine
loaded the sultry night with fragrance,
now smells of cordite and burning
engulf the hot and stuporous air.
Cooking pots laden with aubergine and cumin
lie smashed among the fallen bodies,
yesterday a silken women lifted a latch
to meet her lover. Now the house is gone
and so is she. The wreckage, the damage,
the mindless uncaring, the struggle for territory,
how to be bourne, how to be ended.
Where shall we find faith in the East again,
what have we missed, what have we not done.
If only this horror was a myth, a tale, a story
told by Scheherazade on an Arabian night,
not the terrible reality we know it to be.

            Wedding Gift

That was a bleak harsh day when they told me you had married her.
They came running with the news, still in their wedding finery,
excitement in their eyes, their fevered, mocking words
splattering like crystal rain into my head.

I wanted to throw my body down and lie on the soft beech mast
pouring my tears onto the browning leaves and the damp earth,
making fresh pools with the fluid from my seeping eyes
and tearing at the roots with naked hands.

Instead, I smiled, and went indoors to dress
in sheening satin, brushed my dark glossed hair,
placed lambent jewels against my olive skin
and touched a perfume stopper to my neck,
a pair of gilt strapped shoes slipped on my feet,
a pair of long sleek gloves pulled up my arms.

The wood was dark and shaded as I paused
to pull some seedlings from a darkling plant,
then to the tented lawn where music played
and bride and groom sat cheerful at their feast,
she with her blue eyed smile and curled light hair,
he fawning on her with a loving look.

I started dancing, drifting round the floor,
waiting until I caught his hungry gaze.
I ventured close and locked his eyes with mine,
holding a hand across the garlanded cloth,
fixing him with a look, while letting fall
the seeds onto his plate, a final gift.

Just as he reached toward my outstretched hand,
his bride cried out, he took his fork instead,
began to eat. I moved, back through the billowing white,
watching him still, and he still watching me,
all the time his fork moving from plate to mouth.
How avidly he ate, and longing, gazed.

Out of the tent, I ran back through the wood,
the deadly Nightshade loomed up through the dusk,
I rolled the gloves off, inside out, they fell
by that same plant whose poisonous seeds I took.
Now, indoors, I lie upon my bedsheets.
It won’t be long before they come for me.

He will no longer steal into my bed,
nor into hers, on this, their wedding night.

Sally Plumb

Imagine  -
the whole universe
cupped in a hand
sparkling and clear
it is bright
in the night of the mind
pregnant and gently expanding.

Thought explodes

the devil's root
rose from the ground
laughing clouds
of sounds
made from the sky crying
red and silver
mixing the light
of day and night
in storms of stars
and spinning moons
with the sun burning
in its own heat
and the universe
cooly looking on
at its own destruction
and blaming the unknown.


He fused her womb
with angel dust
and she gave birth
to a star

Alistair Heys

Peter Pan

Musky scent of out of season lilies,
bird of paradise plant, fronded date tree,
juvenile bananas, eucalyptus taste,
dome of glass and painted white steel,
the uniform guarding against the dark
with its trees and magpies and waste bins,
Peter Pan statues of departed things.

The helix stairway to a dome of stars,
hoop stress acting on the cupola's tit,
the renaissance men of the slaver's port.
Lights from the tower blocks that girdle
Sefton Park with sentinel orange squares,
a muddly rill discharge into coarse ponds
that reflect fireworks on November fifth.

A hot house prison flushes the forehead
of the bored plant minder; the angel
of the dome, his own echoing footsteps
following him around the arboretum
to the sound of a hovering helicopter,
the smack head face seen at the window,
redbrick walls sprinkled with broken glass.

Mesmerized by the dome of pleasure,
socialist twinkle in a dead dog's eye,
dream of paradise in a bubble world
of books, this library of plant species
an out of season tourist attraction,
a boil of love, fizz of fresh creation
on the millions of tiny sand grains
smooth as the second they were vitrified.

Nick Tsaldaris

Love poem to a junkie

An old-timer, cruising up and down
Costcutter in Kings Cross begging
for a few quid.

She approaches me
tiny, wearing men’s clothes
with short hair (looked self-cut)
open blisters scattered all over the face
eyes heavy with dark shadows.

“Spare a pound?” she asks.
“I fancy a bit and I need a pound.”

And on that face I saw warm summer mornings
on empty beaches with long lost lovers.
Heard on her words the
hesitant voice of my grandmother
calling from another country
where things seem unchanged;
like the days she used to wake me
to eat the sweet warmness
of the day’s first bread.

That woman’s smile what happy memories
it offered;
a smile to
cut through stones
with a feathery caress.

I regret not having that pound
to this day.

A’Yara Stein


We drive up around the curve of the lake
To pick apples in Michigan and I asked you,
Between the cool, grassy lanes of trees to lie
Down with me but you declined and said
I can’t be with you as if nothing happened.

Later, I walked the long mile between
the fences of tomatoes, so many
so long unattended now it’s October
that I felt like the world’s abortionist
as I crushed thousands of tiny orbs
under my heavy feet –
there was no other way to get down that path.


The thing is, I always knew I was hungry
for something that should resemble Love.
Miserable, I was forever without reaching
that unfamiliar country where men find work.

With you came another kind of love,
that sort of secret ideal one cherishes
in the depths of the heart, not knowing why;
coming from no one knows where,
like a hunger that drives wolves to attack men.

It was Saturday toward the end of autumn;
you felt that it would rain soon.
Your lips, instruments of convenience
and forgetfulness, brushed my body
foolish with unusual music; I trembled.
It’s true. I never loved anyone as I’ve loved you.
I grew afraid and brave in turns. Revolutions.


Squatter slums

The not-yet-in-the-now
The slums are still ghosts
Of yesterday, the slums we never
Left, demarcating boundaries of
Safe travel for comma travellers
Blinded, convulsing against mindsets

At home electricity was cut
In the dark of the candles’ flame
We chew our nails, entertaining ourselves
With smells of kerosene fires, dampening
Our minds, sometimes eating cold
Bread, heavy and stale, too much butter
Tightening the vein that circled
Our throats, the cold drinks

We sleep in cold rooms
Getting warmth from the cold
Bodies, penetrating the night
Clawing the night’s air
We have done away with sleep
Trying not to break
Trying not to crash
But still crying ourselves
Into child-eyed dreams

Freeing ourselves from the tyranny
Of facts, flying is just another
Embodiment of human exchange
Like fluids to language, currency
To meaning, sound to touch
I will name my unconcieved child
Hope, her hopes like morning dew
Will float like soap bubbles

Circling the cold air like streams
Of oppression, skin flying
The layered earth’s flies
Singing sings of mother earth
Till we find ourselves again when
Slave becomes master, he will not
Rule us by force, by favour, by
Fear, he will not cage our hopes,
Our dreams in prison, his power
Will come by bestowing it on the
Brave and the beautiful in heart.

Their meeting

It just happened
They were going
The same direction
They never stopped to ask
For directions
Or go separately

They did not compare notes
Try to define the methods
To get there or the end of things
They never thought of love
It just happened

It was beyond time even
Though time had other agents
Ivy, stealthy, prising them
They did not know what moment
Tipped time into abandonment

It just happened
Like two dolphins caught
In the shaft of the moon’s light.

Deborah Maudlin


An intoxication of words
A babble of voices.
A kaleidoscope of colour in a dream.
She felt so much
yet learned so little
this gift of ancient sight
was wasted upon the girl,
she was too caught up
clawing for breath
in her modern world.

Adam Flint


I remember an area of Edinburgh
where the Newcastle brewery was;
where the rusty air smelled
of beer gas and yeast
and I'd wake to metal dawns,
assentingly banging my head against
monumentally metallic walls

And it didn't matter
how much I hid
or what I did to take
that cold, matt, stale taste away.

Drink had become
a fully-formed spike
skewering a newly-born core;
a paling that held me,
helpless in place:
an inflexibly vital new spine.

And a pinned sodden butterfly,
blind I was
to the white swaddling I waved.

I remember Edinburgh
Land of my mother.

Jane Penaz Eisner

Love Letter

I would not say California, not a nation
in a nation, nor a nation apart from Nation
I would not call her California, though she
feigns indifference and winks while
                  she beloved, because dead poets
range in her North Beach apartments,
those where piss-smell carpets line crooked rooms
   mid-night the dead ones howl  an ecstasy
with comrade ghosts near the sea:  Come
slip with us from Ambien dreams to walk
the green and gold denuded hills that fold
quaking earth from highway to cliff  Come
dream no more but walk home   Breathe
the landfills, pines and eucalyptus, sweet car fumes
Come to work again and again in the crooked rooms
                    I would not call her California

David  R Morgan


Weary at the bar in the pub
in Stratford the Scientist

"What am I doing wrong?
I wanted to make

I gave them perfect rhyme,
clear memories of great

aesthetic theory and
polished skill at intricate

All they write is crap,
Unworthy of a Hallmark

He drank deep from his
virtual ale.

They lined up in the
Skycar bays, rhyme without
reason. Help me?''

The out of work poet
tapped the bar.

''Listen,'' he said, I'll need
a hammer, Some magnets, a
handful of

dust, and a knife. '' These
being provided the out of
work poet
set to work in the Skycar

He cast magnets among the
robots pocking perfect

with potholes as verse
became a stay against loss.

He hit them with the
hammer, some here, and
some there.

All dented, all different. He
scattered dust upon their

dribbled it in thheir joints.

So they all saw the world
through unique

and walked with personal

They remembered
perfection, remembered
memory even,

but knew neither any

Their hymns rose up
aching, moving, and

They were very good,
the Scientist was impressed.

He said, ''But what about
the knife?

''Watch'' smiled the poet,
''My work is almost

Roy Bayfield

Pinewood Studios
From Milton’s cottage a home-counties hike
Through miles of wet suburbs and country-park 
Heath leads to dreamland’s security fence. 
Beyond metal palings on marginal 
Concrete, foxglove and buddleia grow around
Fibreglass boulders -- erratics from At the
Earth’s Core, The Land or The People That Time
Forgot. In deeper, long walls are holding a
Batman, the Supermans, the Bonds -- the stories
Of orphans battling Powers, overcoming
Dominions. We walk on through drifting rain
Once round the boundary, into the woods, into
The hidden space behind all screens -- where dim
Coverts and the understory channels
Hold lost adventures, uncertain beginnings.


it was mentioned
in the car, after New Year:
my first attempt at typing had been thrown
away in an early spring clean

I tried to recall those Imperial
characters as we drove

past the end of Long Lane, Shropshire
past the end of Long Lane,    Cheshire
past the end of Long Lane, Lancashire
past the misted fields

                             where the lost ends

J.P. Christiansen

Form of Poetic Thought Made Visible

The architecture of inevitability
which emerges naturally
when mind's rhythm
manifests breath
onto paper

onto paper
breath manifests
mind's rhythm when
naturally emerges which
inevitability of the architecture?

Visible Form Made Of Poetic Thought


I cremate a million neurons
paring thought for the poem
hidden in its slab of irrelevance

Fired by ethanol and music's fiery note,
mind sculpts history's mass to form an essense.

Alfred Gosschalk

D'You Hear
The Cuckoo?

There really should be a place,

not necessarily a globe,

but hexangular, or oblong, perhaps,

with possibly an atmosphere

composed of all you should have done,

or not done, or thought, or said, the day before,

with nothing wrong with any of it,

and healthy enough for tiny babes to breathe;

a place where two and two

not making anything like four

make pain unrecognizable,

and life no longer a journey from sty

to grave,

but liveable.

Chris Hardy

Heaven and Earth

Every night an owl tries
to make me think there is more
in the wood I walk through
than trees, leaves
and a watchful bird.

My daughter sleeps on her side
in the house.
Her belly holds
Africa and England.
I hope she sleeps easy,
too old for me to tuck in,
too young to leave alone for long,
sleeping under stars and owls,
though neither can touch her
here, safe on earth.

Stars pricked through
the black canopy of night
show that, behind, above
there must be
a world of light.

Cathrine Wignall

Mirror, mirror on the wall. . .

Ever the heart or banshee
reside in her gaze
in days full of wailing and growling.

In reach of the reflective line
a behemoth prowls
ready to crop its mighty bulk

onto such lesser creatures -
untrained is the art of condemnation.
The behemoth has weight and clout

to claim top prize, an invitation
for every single reflective surface
of any size and need -

even a home in the spoon that feeds
and fuels the call,
mirror, mirror on the wall. . .



Blue light, empty hall and bare stage,
The music in her head, she stands alone
And, with such graceful gestures,
Gently makes her moves,
Gazing at an invisible audience.
They silently watch her indigo plumes,
Inscribe a formal pattern,
And, held briefly in a single spotlight,
She shyly turns around – too cute,
Like an angel,
            This welcome visitor
                         To our sinful city.


Never again such as this sunset
Exploding across far horizons
Herald of a new darkness
Deep as ravens’ wings.

But yes, such as your halo,
A gilded, gleaming nimbus
Oh, a corona of pain!
Oh, this convoluted desire!


A place of mystery: a shattered crag
Towers over a ruined city, a forgotten land
So far beyond our understanding,

Yet, from here the muses venture forth
To stalk the world disguised in human form,
And (condescending to speak through dreams
Of otherworldly inspiration) cause
Desperate poets to abandon familiar hopes,
Cause them to make that dire journey,
Across the dusty plains of a wilderness
Where dread predators of the spirit
Hunt souls by day and haunt the ruins by night.

What do they seek in the hinterland?

This is where pale-faced Hypnos guards the lair
Of our glass-eyed muses: they whose presence
Is a source of terrible clarity – and of transformation.

John Elliott

Ageing faces

There are things that can be done
ageing faces around dinner
will tell you;
ways to wring the light from the world
and dance in the puddle barefoot
like a boy again
without a plan
following the ripple –rings
that swell out and freeze in confused patterns
across ageing faces
always looking back.

and with heavier years
I rise no further
and my trailing coat tails still snag
on the dead minutes

so I sit on them bunched up,
a foot taller at the table,
looking down at the
meal-messed dishes
that amass tiredness
like ageing faces
with a feast behind them
and a feast ahead. 

A Poem for  Du'a Khalil Aswad

Claude West

This is a story about a girl aged 17
and this was her sin
She fell in love
To her family's shame,
yet she proceeded with her heart
Unaware of looming pain.

A plan was concocted
Designed with enthusiasm.

They dragged her from her home
Kurdish men gripped her hands and feet
Her fragile body
Out into the heaving street

All the while watched over
By undisturbed police.

They ripped off her clothing
Lashed out at her skin

All under orders,
Prearranged by her kin.
She lay there,
Bloodied and broken
With each individual kick
And hurl of a stone.
As the cheers grew loud
Harder they kicked
Until she did not make a sound.

There remains this community
That kicked a young woman to death
For what they called their 'duty'
Tradition looked on
As she took her last breath

She had to die they said
To preserve her families honour,
But this family lost all dignity
When they murdered their own daughter.

Must love permit death?
For the sake of our differences?
Must we forbid those to love?

In the name of our ignorance.
One girl,
                         out of many
Learned the world's truth

Yet this death would be meaningless
If you don't remember her name.

It was Du'a Aswad
And on me she brings no shame.

Robert Ensor

Someone Stole a Vineyard, Summer 2010

Thieves have  cruelly trampled out the vintage
Where the grapes of passion were grown.
They struck in the dead of night like ghouls & spirited
Away and entire crop of precious, prime fruit.

Harvesting machines were used in the audacious
Theft, thirty-odd tonnes of the delicious grape
Stripped bare as a baby’s bottom from four fertile acres
In the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.

A whole year’s craft stolen like a draught in one moonshine
Night: detectives suspect the immigrant Russian Mafia,
And the vineyard owner is facing financial disaster
As raw fruit cannot be insured in the Riviera area.

But the grape with ease can make the righteous dissolute,
And from their indiscretions Logic can easily confute

Jacob W Shaw


hands that groove in the night
shades. who come from under long
sleeves. under and out. through
routine serve cold. at best room
temperature risks. too see other
hands gesture the okay. who
might think for a change. broken
silica. In a hand that grooves.
kristalls scattered on bitumen
slabs. what would a batch house.
hot end. cold end. Say keep it
coming. probably nothing.

Anna Hands


Whittle cleared of driving charge
Boys ‘thought dead parents asleep’
Bank warning fuel recovery anxiety
I have no reason to lie – Campbell

Want to quiz toddler death mother
Part-timers drive employment total
Drug smuggler jailed over rum death
Jenkins: Compensation not important

Anti-terror hotline advert banned
Married Robbie ‘happiest man alive’
Three clone offspring in food chain
Apology over storage room patient

Ramadan goes high-tech on mobiles
Hitman facing lifeterm for murder
Perroncel denies Terry affair on TV
Senator wants Lockerbie man’s data

Nurse guilty over faded crash death
Star denies photographer car attack
Woman, 90, locks herself to railing
Airline worker takes emergency exit

Get news from MSN

David Mac

The Night Running in Heels

And you ran down the street,
away. You
ran down the street and
I could only stand and watch.

You in the night,
heels on an empty town. You
trying to get away
from me,
to catch a taxi home,
leaving me with the moon,
a sighing face and
nothing at all.

Who are you?
Where you running to?

But get back, girl,
I am just
a stranger
waving goodbye
into blackened outer space.

Will I get to see you again?
What can I do to
make you stay?

And just then a mad car of lads
scream past,
horn bibbing fast,
‘Oie, oie!!’

I’m grateful,
I ignore their advice.


Robert Sheppard: When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry
Paperback, 218pp, 9x6ins, £13.95 / $22
ISBN 9781848611368
© 2011 Shearsman Books Ltd

Robert Sheppard: Berlin Bursts
Paperback, 96pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15

ISBN 9781848611351
© 2011 Shearsman Books Ltd

Experimental poetry in Manchester

The Other Room is organised by James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston. Get in touch with any of us at
The Other Room is a reading series presenting experimental writers at The Old Abbey Inn in Manchester.

Jean-Pierre Parra

Rupert Loydell: Wildlife
Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15
ISBN 9781848611528

was published in 2010 by Lapwing publications
Northern Ireland.For more check his blogs at

Knives forks and spoons press

Blacklawrence Press

Read the early fictional poems of Rene Van Valckenborch at
Follow his fictional twitter trickle at

Pen & Sword Books Limited
The Pocket Guide to Poets and Poetry
Andrew Taylor
ISBN: 9781844680887

Contemporary bangla poetry in translation
editor: Tanvir Ratul
15, Adelaide Place, Liverpool L5 3RJ

Pen and Sword Books Limited
The Pocket Guide to Poets and Poetry
Andrew Taylor
ISBN: 9781844680887
Price: £12.99
Buzzwords is a monthly poetry group in Cheltenham and in order to raise funds to survive in the current economic climate we have decided to run a yearly competition.