All posts filed under: Women Writers

‘A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas’ by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Trade An assortment of crooked and straight arrows for the crest of a bulbul or a handful of sesame Uncut turquoise for juices of scorpions and glow worms A dozen poisons for an embroidered collar/ a pinch of saffron/ abalone knob Spotted eggs for knotted shoes Peacock feathers for beet sugar How much fur will buy cloves for my toothache? How many sprigs of mint/ radishes to restring your rabab? The market is spinning between us How much of us has been stolen by the ghosts of aromas? When night comes there is spinach again for the promise of quail Your dream of cake feeds on wild berries You kiss my cold shoulder I comb out the market from your hair A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas You give me Fez honey on Fennel cakes in a ceramic saucer because you say, to eat from this bitter clay (glazed and caressed with geometric precision), will draw me into the shapeless sob of the future. You read invasion’s epistle even in the smoothness …

‘Mangoes are a night food’ and other poems by Finnuala Simpson

Linen A candied calligraphy of colours, I said that I would change the sheets later. And I said also that I could handle it but I could not, and will I fry for that? I may, but only if you return. The stink of sheep hangs on me like wisdom. You leave in a blur and your bag is heavy with spices, I hope I do not let you back again. It depends on my resolve, and on whether the seasons let me float. I’ll take myself running for the friction of denial, cross my legs under the tables of the library. I’ll spin yarns and wear black and eat fruit in the evenings, till I’m taller and more thoughtful than I have been before. And I’ll try harder, too. Kindness is like witchcraft, it must be brewed and stirred, mulled over in secret with the herb scent of the night. If it threatens to drown you, you must set yourself on fire. Do you think of me? Or am I a stop-gap to you? …

‘Top Shaggers’ and other poems by Emma Gleeson

Top Shaggers At first, we felt a clear hot rage. This girl. Torn into hysterics. But not beyond reasonable doubt. Fear Response freeze, a mind grasps it’s body tight brain-stem trained by centuries in how useless it is to fight. But where justice is hewn from happenstance consent is an irrelevance. But those boys. Raised on porn and privilege paying for impunity in more ways than one. We have let them down too. We have let them all down. We turned blind scoffing eyes as they grew unfettered. uninformed. We let it happen. My Grandfather, stepped into his wife’s shoes the day she died. He learnt to make soda bread. Took the smallest one, my father, to sleep in his bedroom with him the first year after. Squeezed the boys orange juice before school in the morning. I never knew him in his prime. His spark and sight dwindled as I grew. I covet the memories of my older cousins like jewels through a shop window, nose pressed against a room I cannot enter. A …

‘Brontë in Boots’ and other poems by Denise Ryan

Portobello   The summer is in town when the ducklings wear their sequins; performing the salsa, gliding on the continental ripples from the lights’ projections. Glistening water arena of summer juices featuring mirrored swans wearing white tuxedos dancing the tango to an applauding sun and ever changing clouds imperilled on the lacquered sky.   Delicately they flush their sacred win,gs a waterfall of transparent energy to baptise birds. Happily, I rest beneath the arm of a weeping willow. Time is in no frantic rush, unwinding near the rushes. Can-Can dancers perform on the Canal Bank, swishing their feathers to and fro, a chorus line of marsh plants, costumed in petticoats of weeds and black root stockings.   They look burlesque for the seedy traffic, as clowning butterflies uplift – their papier-mâché coats, like tiny fluorescent parachutes ejecting from the smallest of flowers landing gently on the rugged edge of silken waters.   Brontë in Boots   Winter, my Heathcliff warms the narrative, growing in my chamfered heart. I imagine the moors reaching out behind the …

‘Hinnerup’ and other poems by Jess Mc Kinney

*dint It Began as most things do moist things do everything everything berry stained mouth beer stickied floor & blood bloom undies you ‘don’t mind’ and sure I could probably get into you . I only ever feel the bubbles on impact during I’m somewhere else the sun was a hot coal in the sky seeing another one like you he came just before I decided a bit too late that I didn’t want what he asphyxiated thinking about sourcing justifications for those who insist swear that my saliva isn’t a contagion for those who are unknowing because kissing me will give you cancer then you’ll never be the invisible thing you imagined running alongside the car and In Dreams my hair falls in chunks to a cheering audience I grow old & genderless for money nightly I wake feverish trapped in the tight fist of your affection drowning between cool bathroom tiles & Christmas cake sponge but I won’t keep us downstairs knitting and gritting at the base begrudging closed doors & far off …