Friday, 20 January 2012


Neon Highway  Issue 21                                  ISSN 1476-9867

Note from Jane Marsh:
November 2011
Welcome my friends. It seems there has been anarchy in the UK. Riots throughout the country!
It is strange that young people will risk gaining a criminal record for the sake of a plasma TV? That to me is the saddest thing, that these material items have gained such prestige amongst the youth of today that culture and art have taken a back seat.
When I was a girl, I spent most of my youth walking through the Coleccion de Arte Cubano, in the Belles Artes Museum, Havana, admiring the paintings of Jorge Arche. So what has happened to create such emptiness that these material possessions somehow have such power to fill these gaps in people’s lives? If I had it my way, I would introduce kids to art. Art needs to be top of the list at school. Artists, Poets and lecturers should be invited in from all over the world and kids should listen and take part in these projects, projects that show how to protest through art and writing projects that are fun and colourful, projects that are messy projects that are refined, projects that involve communities and youths together. It is this lack of inspiration, I feel that is preventing young people from discovering the key to their future. We need philosophy, discussion, creativity, poetry and love and beauty. The Uk could be turned into a society that encourages the journey of aesthetics. Etymology is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic, sensitive, sentient"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning "I perceive, feel, sense"). This is what I feel these children are missing. That’s why so called ‘privileged’ people were looting also much to people’s shock and confusion. It’s because they are looking to feel. The trouble is that the looting did make them FEEL. That rush of adrenalin, the excitement, the feeling of self- control, the misguided barbarism and hooliganism. This is all just an excuse to perceive to feel, to sense to feel inspired!
And autumn approaches us and I am feeling SO happy. I can’t explain it but there is an inner peace I have not felt in years. The letting go of old attachments, the letting go of heavy memories, the desire to wander through my midnight park alone with only the sound of owls and foxes.

4. Sutirtha Roy
4-5. Alexine Aschler
5. Van Den Budenmayer
6. David Morgan
7-8. Eunice Ogunkoya
8. Richard Thomas
9-10. Grzegorz Jędrek
11-12. Scott Cameron
12-14. Nicholas Falkowski
14-15. MUDI
15-16. Nick Monks
17.Ben Macnair
18. Anthony John Ward
18-20. Drew Smith
21. David Mac
22-24. Graham Brodie
25-26. Stephen Doyle
26-27. Anne Rees
28-29. Steve Troyanovich
29-30. Robin Moore
30-34. Emma Bullen
35. Christopher Barnes
36. Publications/Listings.

Artwork for this issue by AC Evans.

Sutirtha Roy


The clock was ticking towards midnight
It was creepy cold – trampling down
The sound of the darkness and sea waves
A weird stallion reeled into the eight
Polish Street – alone, perhaps leaving
Behind the easel of Picasso instead.
No one else except a swarthy blind
Angel flying high in the late city sky
Ever saw that – but the miracle prevailed.

Alexine Aschler
When to the milky walls of the
When to the milky walls of the
Last city on earth their wagon
Came, they did not expect the
Gates to be open, unguarded.

Scouting warily ahead, the
Leader found only docility
Among the dwellers, no one to

Challenge or to challenge him.

Languid imbeciles met him with
Vacant mouths, obsolete eyes.
Concluding this place also was
Infected, the Leader told

his team they must face the
wilderness again. His
wife said, ‘There was no clue?’
No,’ he replied gruffly.


Van Den Budenmayer

Of Course I didn’t meet the man near
The marble arch at Hyde Park in an
Idle Sunday afternoon, precisely at
Four p.m. nor he shook my hand or lifted
The dark felt hat for a while, before
He could slurp. But I always knew that
He was the one – the invisible maestro,
The Dutch who loved waltz, red tulips, merlot
Fragrance or, may be sometimes fresh polish
Scones, – certainly the life above all.
And only he could capture the immense beauty
Of time and space silently flowing like rain
Beyond the grey-scale, perceptively limned ever
By him – the most perpetual Van Den Budenmayer.

Eunice Ogunkoya


In words and language,
By signs and symbols,
For speech and writing,
Is perceived and interpreted,
By the Sixth Sense.
She is an ultra-sensation,
Which goes beyond the experience,
Of the five normal senses,
Put together.
Her empathy is oh so human!
She expresses,
All manner of emotions,
Feelings and opinions,
Very vividly and vivaciously,
Such as hopes and fears,
Happiness and sadness,
Life and death.
Her drama is oh so amazing!
She feels free to speak up
And let the writing flow…
The heart racing at overdrive,
A rush of blood to the head,
A surge through the forearm,
An outpouring at the fingertips,
Totally out of breath,
Writing whilst catching her breath,
The strange scenario,
Like a stroke of genius,
That is simply expression,
Her freedom of discourse,
For being such a wild card.

Hopes and Fears

Richard Thomas

The Tear
The drop that drips down the plump, twitching cheek
Magnifies the skin with a salty ooze.
Water that gathers in the cracked face creek –
The joy of Earth we’re afraid to lose.
The make up destroyer filled with hot rage,
An anti-mascara duct causing pain,
Putting black gunk on the writing punk’s page –
But how dare it play such a tactless game.
The poor eye is bathed and the face is splashed –
Agony, the sea of the human face,
Waves of anger and brutal times have clashed
As the eyelid swims from the sad salt’s chase.

The eye shall close soon in great heaviness,
Open at daybreak in half of the mess.

Grzegorz Jędrek

From Lowell’s Letter to Liz Hardwick

an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting
my eyes have seen what my hand did
R. Lowell “Dophin”

Madam, the lake is filled with feathers
after you. Who would have thought that an eel
feeds on nightingales?
(Only those dainty wings could soar up to the past,
but you locked up the skies and it is out of reach.)

Fear none/Do not worry, I can be a kingfisher,
I am heading for the ocean, would like to listen to
the dolphins’ songs again. Their bodies
are not carried with the current.
Were you capable of learning
they would show you how to breathe.


Inhale, apnea, exhale, and in between
there are two ways, chimney outlets
of an old house you occupy in dreams
incessantly writing yet another incarnation

we all have to type
new lessons, medicines and wars
to save/salvage the walls and the roof from collapsing
renovating the house filling up our words

the thought is our native tongue
order from the above, the first principle
that you will not deceive before yourself
but can develop closing it to the full

Oddechy – zmiana, bo brak słów o podobnych podstawach = polskie “dech”, które działają w tym kontekście

Save – coś jest w złej sytuacji I ratujemy
Salvage – coś ratujemy, bo inne rzeczy zniszczono w takiej sytuacji

Filling up = zapełniać, tzn. Fizycznie, nie „robić to, co się obiecało, na co się dało słowo” Tak?

Opcja: command/rule
Ten wers nie jest dla mnie jasny po polsku.

Scott Cameron

Fight The Flag
Rules incorporated, freedom overstated
Beneath the scheme there’s a healthy dream
Growing right out of the mushroom cloud.
Feel the power, feel the power
Charging through the streets at the vital hour.
Electricity spark and the flame is set
Licking up the flag with the people’s fire.
They say the war is needed, the plant is seeded
Money for oil, and the wealth is weeded
The man on the television’s telling lies
Giving you an enemy you must despise
But you can tell by his eyes
It’s a big disguise.
Volatility rises, the bomb explodes
And the alliance erodes.
Damn this nation to all damnation
Working overtime in their occupation.
Convalesce your dreams and reveal their schemes
And fight until they hear your protesting screams.

Salute the flag with your fingers raised
Stand up and be praised by the ones you saved
From demoralisation and degradation.
Plot a revolution and spread the cause
Fight with all our fibre for the one solution
To overcome the pollution of our pregnant airwaves
Collected consciousness mounting in the streets
Raining non-conformity in naked sheets.
Dead heroes mounting like fallen leaves
Testify before they bleed you dry
Testify before shots begin to fly.
I’ve seen in my dreams
Calamity bursting society’s seams
Blood flowing like rain from an empty sky
Paralyse the hope in the tyranny’s eyes
Until victory’s impossible, justice inevitable.
March on the capital and take the palace
Surrender to our soldiers, lower the flag
And celebrate the birth of a brand new nation.

Nicholas Falkowski

You might not understand and it is very hard for me to
but there are certain sights sounds and strokes
of the pen
set fires in my soul and
fill me with an
energy –
some bastard child of
and salvation
it tastes electric and grabs hold of my hands, shoulders
and thoughts
like the sweetest
of fevers
for the briefest of
I swear I glimpse the burnt oak gates of a heaven
where words



and the angels

are all mutes with the biggest blue eyes
and the ground is my bruising
and my soul is both the mountain, the river, and
the sky.



The winds came and stole your livelihood
The waters came and took your family
Skies opened up and unleashed the contents of hell
The breath you take has become a poisoned enemy
Polluting plumes assault your possibilities
Your tears are of salt, fire, water and ash

And yet…

You are reclaiming your waterlogged memories
Rebuilding the firmament of hope and kindness
Re-clothing yourself with the stoicism that never fades
Speaking only to find order in the chaos
Never descending to the victimless cries of “Why Me”
Desperation never taking a foothold
Self-abnegnation your default
Possessing the patience,
The endurance
The perseverance
Akin to death itself

But your end is far from near
Dipping further into your infinite reserves of Gaman
You continue to find great strength
Your core unshaken
You will rise again

Ganbatte kudasai

Nick Monks

Manhattan Skyline

Luminous eyes across
The low rise, we have achieved
This, setting sun behind
The statuesque scrapers

The blocks of steel and glass
Breathtaking viewed from afar
Babel’s towers reaching
To conquer the pristine sky

From ground level look on watch
The sky change colour, reflected in
The Chrysler tower The Sony building
Our eyes meet their eyes

We drive down the roads
In the fantasia of neon
Owning all proud, while poverty
Lies dishevelled in the gutter

Ben Macnair

The Artist’s Self Portrait

He wears his scars with pride,
pulls at the wounds until they bleed.
A face like a map of experience.
He has the face he wanted
but not the one he needs.
The tattoos are not permanent marks of pain,
they are the rituals he went through to join the tribe,
and the arguments he has are not with himself,
but with an unjust God.
Darkness is hungry.
It threatens to shallow you,
and in the foreground stands a man,
as he sees himself,
at the mid-point stage of play
that is only part written.
He is all splodges and lines,
closed eyes blocking out the world,
a Boxer’s nose
caused by drink
and not an opponent’s fist.
An image where life has removed hope,
hanging on a wall in a millionaire’s holiday home,
where the canvas is seen as being far more valuable
than the artist who poured himself into
lines, splodges and whirls,
half a century ago.

Anthony John Ward


We astronomers
like to watch the stars
through our telescopes
as astronauts in our own homes
observing the light of those astral bodies
whose light shines from darkness
far from the earth that keeps us grounded
our lives influenced by the celestial activities
that hold our interests for the duration

Drew Smith
Airless Mauve

a woman labours
beneath the weight
of a lightening-striking
migraine headache

she sits on a park bench
with her head in her hands

beside a carp lake
that fascinates
a spinning chaos
of high-tuned flies

that are sniped in the wide gape
of a swift on whose eye

tenses the airless mauve
high summer storm sky
that aches to crack under the pressure
of the rashly flaring sun

that instinctively juggles nine disparate planets
for a sparse audience of blind furnace-stars

that crowd in tiny galaxies
in a minute aqueous universe
as whirling pearly organelles
suspended in the mis-firing brain cells

of a woman
who sits

on a park bench
beside a carp lake
with her head in her hands
labouring under the massive weight

of a super-nova-star-spangled
migraine headache

sequence of illusions

in deep disbelief of my daydreams and delusions
in a dismal state that reiterates my most cynical conclusions
in absolute denial of my reality in cloud-cuckoo-land and staring
into infinity in silent isolation in suspended animation
in starry-eyed mesmerized space-cadet lunacy

then all my insecure confusions spontaneously convert
into truthful solutions for far too long inert
the sequence of illusions tripping ethereally
fix into vivid visions that serve to alter me
in jettisoning the familiar paranoia and claustrophobia

i invent a state of blissful tear-spilling euphoria
and in the psychedelic primary colour blur
i’m sun struck by a fantastic phantasmagoria
in stretched perfect connection with the sense of ecstasy
that shines like mercury-venus filling me to capacity

with the promise of redemption atonement and entry
to glorious annihilation in such light and purity
and now i create beyond me a superb crystal cube
wherein i perceive i recognise and conclude
the natural the absolute the out and out truth

and therein accepting immaculate reality
i compose my ultimate abstract philosophy
and conceive the theory of the freedom
that sentences me to the margins of this
prolonged catastrophe

David Mac

a cigarette hissing in a
glass of Coke
the glowing ember
fizzing into the
sweet blackness

her eyes are sad petals
she’s the mud of my mind
I’m her male of
bony words, but
here we are in these
meaty costumes

darling, don’t you know?
this flesh is fake
and skulls are
so it’s no wonder we
refuse to smile

Graham Brodie


This winter is coming
towards us
our home sheltered

I remember the first time
when the grey lag goose
swept low across
harvested fields

migrating for feeding
seeking innately
to survive our harsh blown winds
our darkness'

like fishermen
following the herring
who dart and dance away
through the seas

they followed the route
given them by nature
a path plotted
through skies shedding their skin

white and grey swirls of snow
falling like forgotten souls
left behind, empty
spinning as if to cry out

'Wait for us'

we wait
watching in wonder
the geese chasing life
over our heads

and ready our fire,
our supplies of food, water
stored in preparation for this winter
out here

this winter will greet us
passionately again
and we will love with it
accepting her gift
Burned bridges, broken up

To look back
seeing all the bridges burning
feeling the losses
friendships thrown away

the smiles of memories
given freely on first meetings
now withered
lost in a haze of life

of fears unspoken
along this river
paths to where waters fall
now drowning joy

not warming hearts
nor loving welcome friendships
just thoughts mixing in pools
with feelings lost

no bridges not burning
looking back through a darkness
along this river

Stephen Doyle
Between Death and Decay

Drifting ashes settle slowly among films of glass,
My bag of bones is heavy from the crush.
And mortars and martyrs and pestles and petals
Too sweet for decay,
But things are beautiful too which aren’t held by bad air.
Burning on my lips was only,
Who I am to you?

Chew a bleached rag,
And purge your mouth of mortal vice.
Cracking scraps of glass wreaths,
But you can’t tense with bones in your pocket.

To love a man is a masochistic kiss,
For cruelty has talons of vice, of vice.
Indifference with your callous and your unyielding malice,
Wretched in woe, wring you not,
For dry runnings don’t flow.

But strength, oh contours, oh clay balls on birch,
Tease in landscapes so meticulously sculpted
In tessellation, we have, nothing to go by,
Except the sweet morphine of hypothesis.

Hypothesis, hypothesis, subconscious, dreams, hypothesis,
Deadly serious in graveness action,
Makes harder stones fall harder yet.

To think as you, is a sacrificial grace,
For I have loft and breasts of baste.
I’ve always liked standing upright,
Hung off a rafter, my petals flaunt sweet songs.

And in this compromise of sex against sex,
I stand at a window,
Like naked, painting mammals.

Anne Rees



Beyond the bedroom windows chimney pots, strung wires
are bolted rigidly against hot sunset radiance,
these few minutes by myself, I'm sitting on the bed
hands gripping one another so bone-white the knuckles with self-pressure,
family noises boil up the staircase cavern, then mercifully a door shuts.

I admit to myself that I'm very frightened of my head:
you may ask what I mean, I know I'm going mad,
how else express it? I fear these nosy others
their looks, unspoken comments, they're the Welsh
working class I married into, this terror is too personal I am too English.

My brain is splitting and I'm hearing Voices
steady girl – taunting sneering parodying, I have held it in
in the kitchen, down the beach, enduring the incessant television
every evening, hearing the Welsh accents and the hinted racism:
crouched with gripped hands staring through purple cloud maps

making a valley of red and green material with my body
weighting the bedspread. The Voices clamour you're not mad you are aware
shut up shut up! I must be mad, punching myself in the head,
too miserable to cry, if I could claw out
a hole in my skin – dusty white trails with beaded blood on my forearm -

I'll have to go back in a minute. Saying I'm mad
is self-dramatising, claiming such a certainty of fiery
Gothic-winged mythology is this really me? This word mad
is too definitive – the Voices say I'm showing off,
that I am fradulent, but what is this terror then?

Why can't I be sane like the others? They are Darwinian about extraordinary
aberrations like mine, and so they flourish like the green bay tree.
Christopher Barnes

An Offspring Manufactured From Kiddiewinks

The residue dreamers dispense
Has a lacework membrane,
Is postponed on her Baby’s- Breath leaf
As sun glints thaw, sea curls see-saw,
Fruit flies blurp a lullaby.

Ferments are mettle, back, go-getting,
Stepped stones. A bundle-
To the farthermost of isles
Where an incoming cell
Flooded its ocean.

Steve Troyanovich


you are gentle
the soft sounds
of a hummingbird’s wings
remind me of you.

your smile embraces me.
like the spring rain
you caress and warm
the earth’s rebirth.

you are like an angel of twilight.
your laughter hushes the sadness of the lost day
while fireflies scatter the silence of memories
and shattered souls.

sirenlike the music of your body
ignites the doomed night’s longing.
you blanket it with your tenderness
unfurling your arms at the edge of the falling moon.

troubadour of melancholy dreams
my poem to you is written on the wind.
somewhere before the cold fragments
of another loveless dawn I touch you. . .
i offer you my kiss and my loneliness
all that I own.

Snow fall

For Elizabeth

You renewed me by losing yourself
To our deepening dialogue in fading light.
To stardust we shall return

---Philip Casey

you are lovely.
i dream you again….
the snow falls in
fleeting stillness
lost images
in lonely white….
seeking your lips
moonlight touches you

Robin Moore
Strangers Once in Love at a Sports Day

We stand at our daughter’s sports day clapping and cheering for her to win,
She runs with vigour and youth just like our love once did
But now there is a gap between us old and withered like a witches skin
In some dusty office a white paper sits our names side by side but waiting to be apart
A decree nisi the cat collar a scaratch behind my ear where did the love go it was there only last year
Did some passing wind and cold ice blow under our bedroom door, I really can’t remember when our love departed I never saw a post card, Maybe you did and hid it in the side board. Did it move to the coast with our memories, curl up under a blanket and retire.
Your lips look strange to me now, I once knew every contour and valley and sweet peak and shore. That dimple in your cheek that once I loved has turned into a furrow on my brow, an old farmer drags his plough through my heart sowing seeds of regret.
What would happen now if our hands touched , would there be sparks of lust without any trust, would we fall crashing to floor like felled trees lifting leaves. Parents would scream and turn their children’s heads as we threw open our bedroom door, a new event on sports day is what the teachers would say.
As I turn to leave you both something breaks each time like the first, I turn to see my mother standing at the school gates waving goodbye trying not to cry. I drive away from the stranger that was once my wife.

Emma Bullen

Unicorn Child

First man succeeded in finding a mysterious baby girl. ‘Below her stretched a Dawn Card from the east and from the south a Sky Blue Card and from the west, a Twilight Card and from the north a Card of Turquoise. The child was rocking on Dawn and Turquoise Rainbows, supported by these cards. ‘First man reorganised that Darkness was her mother and Dawn her father and when he took her in his arms he found a small White Wind in her right and a small Dark Wind in her left ear, placed there by her parents. She was Changing Woman.

-Navajo Emergence Myth

I sing
the unicorn dance
of an autumn child,

flood of a veil
sewn by the hawk and the deer –

echo of antler,
rust of silk.

A white hind
mimes the dust

and a blue fawn

she chants, she chants


autumn flower
lit backwards
through hunger

-the reverse of herself –

mirror daughter

and the delicate changing of the stars

* * *

I am, I am
In wisdom I walk
In beauty may I walk…
In beauty it is restored.
The light, the dawn.
It is morning.
* * *

In the hour of the wolf
the wren sings,

gold and
snow –

her wings are drawn from flowers,
a thread of owl, a petal of dawn

offering thought

* * *

The raven craft
of a violent prayer


through her blue footfalls

White raven
blossoms –

iridescence of winter,

invocation of a starling fire

* * *

She leans through the smoke
of the sacred pipe of twilight

silver woman, silver wheel,

Arianrhod, ishta-devi

* * *

The widow deer
with the hooves
of turquoise,

dances the laughter
of winter.

And the white mare
walks the thunder

* * *

The world before me is restored in beauty.
The world behind me is restored in beauty.
The world below me is restored in beauty.
All things around me are restored in beauty.
My voice is restored in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

Note: Arianrhod is the name of the Welsh heroine who features in Mabinogion, a collection of ancient Welsh tales. Here she is understood as
An ancestral spirit of the land.

Christopher Barnes
An Offspring Manufactured From Kiddiewinks

The residue dreamers dispense
Has a lacework membrane,
Is postponed on her Baby’s-Breath leaf
As sun glints thaw, sea curls see-saw
Fruit flies blurp a lullaby.

Ferments are mettle, back, go-getting,
Stepped stones. A bundle-
To the farthermost of isles
Where an incoming cell
Flooded its ocean.


'This Sepulchre' - Avant-Goth poems by AC Evans.
Published by Springbeach Press 2000


whirlpool press
poetry imprint
Editor: Graham Brodie
publishes 50 chapbooks of 54 pages of work for the poet
Author holds all rights.

Symmetry Pebbles
Online poetry journal for new and exciting poets.
Editor: Richard Thomas

P.O.Box 145
Brighton BN1 6YU
East Sussex England

Abridged for news of Abridged
Abridged is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Neon Highway
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Alice Lenkiewicz: 37, Grinshill Close, Liverpool, L8 8LD
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