Issue 29: Stuart McPherson

Evolute / Become Perennial

Window bricked parapet

soaked in demilune substrates.

Mutes the night silk, a young

seed spun from scant prison

windows, lifts up the privet

where perverse secrets curse the

silhouettes running hairy legged

down the path.

To thirst beside ivory skeletons

of our favourite dead nuclear

animals. Jabbed, right in the neck

of it. Razor clam, hollow water.

A bird body, comfy lived-in ribs.

Polaris targets young backs only

when space knowledge sends us

spiraling into glossy sleep.

Grow stems. Slither up all earth

wormy. Chokehold tidy gardens

with unprecedented nighttime

surprise attacks.





What If I Just Run Away?


Burst world, a festering world boiling in a pan. Lank pale tendrils, a pigs head looking blank. Milky cataracts, our fretful sun rises, the moon gnaws on its own grey forearm. Such fetish horror, to bake our daily bread.



Four walled measurement curse. A squirrel pelt marmota monax hung from rusted fascias neck tied rapping on a work-day window. Immortal season    beast or   bestiaries. The  repetition of real or imagined dead animals.



A severed past knotted in laces kicked off to browse footwear catalogues for old, tired feet. Bootlace snake venom pushed occasionally into thirsty veins as deliberate ignorance ingests pain-tolerant test papers.



Burning world, starved world struck on a tinderbox. Bespoke tailored suit, Prada shoes coughed from the lungs of a charred street carcass. Politicians shovel coal to shut mouths. Placate greed, handfeed tiny birds.



Polar-bear winter fuel club discussing variable ice thickness. To trust in human meat as reliable energy source. Gather your bitter snow-storm. Invade empty streets.  Chew them up besides cold, lonely hearths.



Restless sheet music. Polyrhythmic artery congestion table. The daily rise and shine as pestilence. Our gratuity packages are to be squeezed of all marrow. All souls liquified into bone thin broth. Moth at night, aimless.




A fantasy prison break. I won’t forget your face as I fly. Blue-throat migrations. A freedom deathless as a drying room wrapped in oil softened fabric. Argan. Saponin. Olive.  Essential lavender perfumes.



The expected pain of separation. An unzipping of skin to climb into the body of a fox. To become the hunted again. We can all go if we disguise our home as a death crater, some beautifully faked identity documents.



The arc split open, and two by two return to land. Split waves to see a horseshoe crab, a seahorse. Return your blood to sand, flesh to soil, and spooky ritual. Run very far away.  Omnipotent creature,  become disassembly.





Controlled Explosions

Mania as expressed

avoidant late payment

charges or the way

attic beams sporting

wounds dampen, are

always ready at night

to fall, suffocate like

duvets full of terribly

graphic dreams where

swilling weedkiller,

sweet sugar in mouths

ready for the rasp of

struck matches before

boom everything has

been controlled, is fine

until torrid water drips,

red lights on the dash.

Then know that I am

held into jarred position

besides bleak suits, very

tall expressionless men.




[Stuart McPherson is a Forward Prize nominated poet living near Leicester in the UK. Recent poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, Butcher’s Dog Magazine, Poetry Wales, Anthropocene, and One Hand Clapping Magazine. The pamphlet Waterbearer was published in December 2021 by Broken Sleep Books. A debut full length collection Obligate Carnivore will be published by Broken Sleep Books in August 2022.]

Copyright © 2022 by Stuart McPherson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.