Question & Answer 10 – Charlie Baylis

Question 10

I had fun, Charlie,
did you?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 10

Yes.

– Charlie Baylis

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Question & Answer 1 – Elizabeth Scanlon

Question 1

When I dove two hundred odd meters
below sea level
I found creatures that both should and shouldn’t
exist,
and I knew we should stop playing God.
Stop categorising
mother nature as if a library book on how to
read unicorn
dreams, or pull the fantasies from old skulls.

I threw myself head first into nuclear
remedies
and waited for the fall out to firm out,
pull me back
to that old tin mine town where all my dreams
could go to die
like my fathers and his fathers and his fathers
before him.
Where do your dreams go to die? Or get resus

citated? The road lead to my wife, and our
daughter, and
too much ER too close to the due date.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Everything in your dream is you,
in the Jungian mode, so you learn
to say, if say, you dream of a lion eating a turkey club,
the lion part of me is eating the turkey part of me club part of me,
to crack the code of the sleeping brain.
The lion-me wakes hungry every day and wants
to run back to the savannah to loll in tall grass.
The turkey talks jive. But the club part of me, oh the club –
it will beat you with the longing to belong.
The dream is to wake before dying.
You are not you, I am not only I, not even
in my dreams.

– Elizabeth Scanlon

Question & Answer 2 – Verity Annear

Question 2

We haven’t had sunlight in our house
for eleven months
and I never sunburn anymore –
never peel my skin in a mizture
of thrill and frenzy.

I order decaf soya Americano too,
hold the decaf,
hold the soya,
extra shot of espresso.
My body will hate me for it tonight.

But the prazosin
and the melatonin
will help.

Did shouting about Brexit help?
I want to write begging letters
to Europe
and tell them I still love them,
it’s not them, it’s them,
and I’m not with them.

The future
looks bright
looks red.

Keep shouting, Verity,
and one day we can write poetry
about how we raised our voices
against the blue tide
and xenophobia
and maybe
perhaps
hopefully
won.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Truth be be told,
My names origin in fact,
I miss the darkness,
I miss the cold floor of my cottage
and the duck down duvet,
Now my dorm room is full of traffic lights beaming
and freshers…
screaming.

How was your espresso shot?
I picked up a hat whilst shopping that said,
‘I need coffee’
I’m allergic to caffeine,
I put the hat back.

The sugar keeps me going,
A can of Fanta at 2AM,
From the common room vending machine,
I flip open the cold source of energy,
The fizz feels like a frenzy,
You could call it a high,
Though I heard sugar is the world’s deadliest killer,
Above drugs and booze,
But will I stop?
My poor dentist,
probably not.

Shouting about Brexit did not help,
But what I did learn today is,
I’m going to write to my local MP,
There are too many tweets,
And not enough letters,
It’s so sad that it takes hashtags to sort out life long social issues,
So I’ll pick up my pen,
Once again,
To try and make a difference,
I hope you do the same,
After all, our most powerful weapon,
Is our pen,
Because our words,
Can change everything

– Verity Annear

Question & Answer 1 – Lauren Elkin

Question 1

I grew up as the Laurel
to an alcoholic Hardy –
a man who pressed plates
into walls like I pressed
Hungarian stamps onto
the back of my sailor’s heart.

Are your memories sepia,
or seeping into your retinas
during REM sleep? We
retain each other’s tastes –
peanuts, and lemonade,
but not our airs and graces.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

I was reading something recently about someone who tried to get through childhood as quickly as possible, I can’t remember who, and that’s a bit how it was for me, avoiding the kids with Cheetos mouths and Doritos fingers, trying not to get their ick on me, ready for the day when I could be on my own and not have to go where I was told and see who I wanted and talk to them about whatever I, they, we wanted.

And then I was reading something else recently about families and the way they echo each other and it made me think about how I have my mother’s airs and graces and my sister has them too and if you heard one of us on the phone you wouldn’t know who it was, the mother of two on Long Island, the younger daughter a Manhattan lawyer or the older daughter who’s French now and lives in Paris, we all sound the same, and when it comes down to it, mother, lawyer, writer, we say much the same things, too. It made me wonder who else on our family tree, what long silent voice had our voice, or is it just the three of us voicing a sound no one will make again?

– Lauren Elkin

Question & Answer 4 – Stu Watson

Question 4

I’ve seen that reptilian hand dance in the
cold of the shower, when I’m drying myself
and wasting the air with the toxicity of
interruptions. The taps cold and burning,
the reasons to exist still forming in the marsh
at the back of the room. All the walls are just
excuses to leave the city now, Stu, and I don’t
know whether to take a train or walk. Both
are great ways to see the countryside, but
it’s really a question of quality over quantity.
Have you scaled the garden wall yet? Found your
neighbours hive and stole all their honey?
The sickness of my voice makes me shudder,
especially when I try to record the mess I’ve
made of everything and realise life is ok.

At best.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Life is at best okay when edged
On either side by what was once
The possible so fast become
The comforting lineaments of doom,
The cracks that rise out of the earth
To shock and stun, allow for us
To witness this apocalypse of fact
Unharnessed and alighting once again—

It’s like the difference between a lawyer
And a barrister, we register the present
Through a different lens
On account of our furious knowledge
Of how close so many other worlds were
And are, though may not be as things
Continue to advance, in fact spread out
Break up in coldly distances of time.

It all sinks in across the gap
The train leaps over reaching out
Expanding tracks divert our course
But still we cannot even see
The open road, that lonely tree
There standing in the periphery
Of our so rapid flight for and against
The currents of the denser dreaming force.

– Stu Watson

Question & Answer 1 – Maureen Miller

Question 1

Have you ever disappeared?
I burnt my phone card,
……..rid myself of:
…………….MK,
…………….AM,
…………….Japanese clothing store dismissals,
…………….Transatlantic screams,
…………….Apartments I never wanted,
…………….Careers I couldn’t afford,
…………….Espressos and Ristrettos and Americano,
…………….rejection letters from:
…………………………..Journals,
…………………………..Magazines,
…………………………..Job Interviews,
…………………………..Universities,
…………….Parasomnias,
…………….All day forcing booze,
…………….Stolen sofas,
…………….SA80,
…………….TR13RA:
……………………Gary at TR152ET,
……………………the 1st, 2nd, 3rd affairs,
……………………ceilings – dropped,
……………………stairs – Pikatrapp,
…………….Coalition governments,
…………….Faslane,
…………….Helensburgh,
…………….Redruth,
…………….Truro,
…………….St Austell,
…………….Plymouth,
…………….Never home,
…………….Never home,
…………….Never home.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

For Hannah Frank

going on as Goose was wont to do
is to be left to one’s own devices

and ohh was she sent from one

……..HNNH
…………….(uhm)

……………………HN,
……………………NH,

……..WOMAN
…………….(ungh)

……………………wonking about who knows what,
……………………or to what effect, e.g. “tell jokes w/threes in twos,”
……………………plus record store dismissals, recs I never wanted,
……………………references I couldn’t lord, Eisenstein and Akerman,
……………………and never heard of that man, or see more in comments

……………………Paltrow saying “Hoboken” over and over again, for ~10 mins.

…………………………..… hnnh?

…………………………..(unbelievable HMF)

……..the things you said: all day, wordplay,
……..the ganders at whose flesh was cooking
……..last clauses – dropped, lost causes – copped,
……..the hyperacusis for who was pandering

…………….and suddenly a notification:

…………….GOOSE.
…………….FLED.
…………….COOP.

I was coasting and the kowtows
to you in this poem form
started you-ing in 33’s
(you were, of course, punning)
in a hurry to release

I went for a dunk off the headboard
and shattered every ounce of self-respect
just embarrassing myself, goosefeathers
errywhere, all over the damn place,
looseygoosey disgracefest, never actually

…………….writing to this all too sudden
…………….vamoose of yours !

……………………Your X-treme vetted
……………………gosling go-betweens
……………………stomped up five stairflights
……………………tracking shorn plumes
……………………on pilgrimage to that crowded
……………………house of yours In Hoboken.

……………………Welcome home, palindrome.

……………………Your dream is not over.
……………………We’ve fallen,
……………………but you won’t get up.

– Maureen Miller

Question & Answer 2 – Daniel Owen

Question 2

…I’ve seen that triangle,
Daniel, have you?
I’ve seen it do spiteful things.
It tore me from my house
and gave me to the universe
so I could be shredded into stardust
and used as bath bombs.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Regretfully
the triangle’s absence
amounts to the same star
that houses the triangle

when I dust I turn
my back to dust
when I wake in a square
I regret that it’s not
all other squares

preferring to turn stickiness
into elasticity
I go out to the ignorant woods
and pretend to touch a leaf

– Daniel Owen