. . . .Both pamphlets can now be purchased from the Ink Sweat & Tears shop: http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?page_id=5711
This event is the pamphlet launch for the joint winners, Jay Bernard and Jonathan Morley, of the 2014 Cafe Writers Commission held in conjunction with poetry webzine Ink Sweat and Tears (inksweatandtears.co.uk) supported by Joanna Hollins, 2015/2016 recipient of the IS&T Poetry Writing Scholarship (MA) at the University of East Anglia
Jonathan Morley is Programme Director at Writers’ Centre Norwich. He has previously programmed and produced theatre shows, concerts and outdoor arts festivals for The Drum in Birmingham, been a publisher and literary activist in Coventry and taught writing and literature at the University of Warwick, Coventry University and the Workers’ Education Association. He contributed essays to The Oxford Companion to Black British History and has edited the work of numerous Caribbean writers, both historical figures and contemporaries. His poetry, which won an Eric Gregory Award, was included in The Allotment (Stride) and Voice Recognition (Bloodaxe), and he has perfomed from his pamphlet and jazz CD Backra Man at festivals in Scotland, Ireland, Trinidad, Slovakia, Portugal and Brazil.
for Tony Owen
Rogation-tide and you can choose
from a weighty Ariel in blue tattoos
an out-of-work Falstaff trading sweat for beer
or a lamppost Juliet SHANK Romeo.
Collapsed gravestones, moss obscuring their facts
an afternoon rubbed bright by the April wind.
Where tourists are corralled up Sheep Street to overpriced cafés
blossom stencilling speech bubbles overhead
we muscle like critical swans into the pale chapel
where once a whittawer paid his men two shillings,
ymages tumbling Escheresque above the nave
their scrubbing and defasyng unmarked still.
Jay Bernard is a writer from London, and the author of two previous pamphlets, English Breakfast (Math Paper Press, 2013) and Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (Tall Lighthouse, 2008). Jay is a film programmer at BFI Flare and a regular columnist at DIVA magazine. Recent projects include 100, a London-wide poetry installation commissioned by Transport for London and partaking in Breaking Ground, a Black British writers tour in the US. Twitter: @brrnrrd
The Red and Yellow Nothing
(Extract from Poem ‘III’)
The wild man revealed himself a king
and took his black bride, who stood in wait,
put his arm around her waist, and kissed her
full and long, brought her mouth to his mouth
and kissed her like a bride. The other men
formed a line. On bended knee they pressed
their mouths against the woman’s ass, laughing,
relieved: the wild man was in fact a king and
beneath her skin the black was white in fact.
How white, is another thing. If the colour
was the smell, then the maid was grey. Tallow,
fish-oil and potash; saddle seat; monthly blood
in dusty streaks along the base and up the crease.
As Morien pressed his nose into the fine clothes
and finer stench, he caught a woman in the corner
of his eye: she was dressed in red and yellow, sat
silent in the crowd, mouth and lips full and pursed,
both cheeks shining black like whorls of wood.
Then everybody roared, clap clap and chaos
as gymnasts like an untangling chord began
to roll around the air. A magician, dressed
in green appeared, and by a cunning sleight
of hand, smoke flew from his fingers to the roof,
came down like an epoch and billowed past
the crowd towards the wild king and his lady black.
When it lifted, she was nowhere to be found.
Two gloves left swinging in his hand. A mask
of singed air powdered in the shape of full and
smiling cheeks fluttered to the ground.
Joanna Hollins is a student on the poetry strand of the Creative Writing Masters at UEA and the current Ink, Sweat and Tears scholar. Her poetry has previously been published in the university’s undergraduate anthologies Underworld (2014) and Undergrowth (2015) and in The Cadaverine. Her writing centres around family relationships and, currently, bees.
dear sister I am writing this
yes I am writing this or even
running from writing this
I have dipped myself into
the penumbra of internet
around a building to tell you
that I am alive and you
are invariably at work
dear sister I am inseparable
from several things these days
you would not approve you
have always advocated clean
separations till recently I never
understood fought you to hug
now it worries me that we are
able to hug except we’re not
not now dear sister you are
away and could be further
but far is far and strangers
are closer to you then I but
I am conspiring to bring
you home or myself home
and I am conspiring to make
more sense and less distance
dear sister between us
let’s admit not getting
each other’s heads
always strangers so
like in prosopagnosia
you will always look strange
and that is how i will know
how you are familiar