Issue 1: Leo Mellor


A shape ache in plain shadow

         is brewing flowers for cordials.

To be so out of time is itself a story,

of running slackly loose,

day warm air drifts in from the side

bites on heels, sweat in wires.

To want something enough is enough

to spare a thought to grow: the head spins

bluntly again and levels a view

nothing but frame for matted grass.

To walk or to run? The scent under the foot.

Yet grainy attention now spikes blood in the ear,

loud flows scald the waxen cone and

echo-swells in eyelids screwed tight.

Dreamt pressure in this climate pursues

         pattern to strangeness to earth.

September 12th 2006 - Between Gaiman and Dolavon, Patagonia

Walking along a gravel – ripio – road.

It is straight for the next five miles.

The floodplains of the Afon Camwy

are on either side, the first signs of spring

in the reddish tint to the  willows

and the green buds on the poplars.

Disbelief of seasons in the mind of a prisoner: a cheap novel. The road is wide and bordered by irrigation ditches, beyond them ramshackle farms, each still in the squared plots of land that were distributed in the 1870s.

Measurement and more measurement.

Slaughtered Indian heads. 

Occasional barns and shearing sheds, abandoned Renault 4s, howls of dogs tethered on long chains. The electricity is carried beside this road on poles made from white and ghostly trees.

Wish, wish.

These have had their top branches left jutting out and the wires casually looped over them.

There is nothing like this.

There is a fizzing hiss at a crossroads where one road leads up, out of the valley and onto the escarpement.


Dead maps to sound

scales sliding, layers bite:

fog is nectared stuff gone grainy

a spilt imagined place

was so cold that it skates into

all those who charted

a quill rash, a crest of skilled

navigators, a swallowed pendulum

all exchange disenchantments

or news of a time that is no time,

in this colour plumage fading

is every glassy colour cooling

seen as lost directions then forgiven

to waxy burn of decay and crease.

in solution

for Trevor Joyce

and slowing to                                  low light striking

a bed of restlessness                        a little bit apart

taking gaunt likeness                       head silhouetted

like a rope trick                                 fat with clay

pearl light bulb shards                    a flash of something

crystalline or implausible                bonding fine with foul

water burns the ice                           in a lost window

ice scalds the water                           enough of a gasp

a frame disfigures                               the pump stutters

on a pattern                                         cultivated rusty upswings

to make a firm fist                              in dampened dust

a pose of a voice                                 pieces of river driftwood

through the intensity                        a calyx of teeth

spits curdled sleep                            in key and code

leaf print heart print                          October street

out along these long roads           the dark itself is singing

Leo Mellor is a fellow and college lecturer in English at New Hall, University of Cambridge. His prose poem sequence ‘Things Settle’ was published by Landfill Press.

Copyright © 2008 by Leo Mellor, 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.