He receives £75 prize money for his poem 'Squaring the Magic Circle' and a place in our next poetry anthology. The authors listed below were short-listed in the competition and will receive £5 for their poems, a chance to submit work for the next anthology, and a temporary membership of the Earlyworks Press Writers and Reviewers Club.
The anthology, 'Sky Breakers' is due to be published on 5th November. Details here
Squaring the Magic Circle
by Keith Shaw
When he winks at me and whispers, "It's just
a smooth curve with neither a beginning
nor an end," I say to myself: "There must
be more to this than meets the eye. Nothing
is what it seems in the world of magic."
At first I think his props aren't real: the white
dove - a battery bird, the knives - plastic,
and the bearded lady - a trick of the light.
And when he produces things from nowhere,
I guess they were up his sleeve: that armful
of pink carnations, the big teddy bear,
a string of colourful gags. Not until
the lady he's locked in the lion's cage
begins to lose her head, no one can find
the key, and blood starts dripping on the stage,
am I convinced that it's all in the mind.
© Keith Shaw 2010
In praise of
by Anna-May Laugher
the way flies settle on the sugar,
spit, suck, couple and fuck mid-air
so versatile and clever.
Glorious winged ones, angels of the dung,
stream-lined in casings of blue and green
built for flight, what a delight
to watch them siphon shit
then come to fret or sit
persistently at tea with us.
Batted or swatted they return
choreograph the germs minutely
clinging to their dancing feet,
produce with every step a ballet of disease'
then lay their lines in carrion to hatch
and maggot plumply in the rot.
© Anna-May Laugher 2010
by Phil Powley
I parked in sun some miles beyond the town,
to dire reports of massacres and bombs
in war-torn Muslim lands, of raids at dawn
on pushers, smugglers, dealers in Hong Kong.
And then a spreading shadow dulled the day:
a huge, dark bird had tumbled from the sky
to settle on a fence-post yards away:
a buzzard, billhook-beaked and amber-eyed.
It steadied, swooped, snatched up a writhing vole
and drifted off, majestic, powerful:
a killer playing out its natural role,
unversed in hatred, faith or principle.
The radio droned on: more racist crimes
in Leeds, more body-bombs in Palestine.
© Phil Powley 2010
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by Catherine Edmunds
the stone angel looked down on the cobbles below
through the water of tears or rivers - he couldn't tell
his senses were dulled by eons of lichen and crumbling stone
as the woman clip-clopped through
© Catherine Edmunds 2010
Landscape with Hands
by Anthony Watts
Something unknown collided with a world,
Seeding its surface with fragments, which in time
Grew. Five suckers apiece like blind white worms,
They wriggled and thrust until the crumbling dark disgorged
Arizonas of spineless cacti, horizons
of panpipes, mute signals of supplication.
The place was silent, deserted
But there was plenty of litter. They began to feel around
Each in its hundred-and-eighty degrees of freedom.
They latched onto anything: cigarettes, guns, rattles,
Breasts, microphones, money. It was not enough.
They wanted to be doves, uproot themselves,
Fly home. They fluttered, flexed and clenched
But hadn't the strength.
So they sought each other out, swivelling this way, that
In their appointed area
Like bean shoots after the light and when they met
Within a common segment
The small ones grasped the big ones by a finger
as though it were a lifeline;
The big ones wrapped themselves around the small
As though they were the last of the gold dust. Some
Felt each other's textures in a trance of wonder
And held each other captive. It was no use.
Anchored in the bedrock of their separateness
They could never reconstitute what each could only
dimly remember. One by one
They wilted, withered
like the wind-stirred leaves
That scratch faint signals on a paving stone
In some grey suburb, under a blighted tree.
© Anthony Watts 2010
by Craig Aitchison
Soon I will return to that room,
© Craig Aitchison 2010