Question & Answer 1 – Verity Annear

Question 1

I put Nick Cave on the turntable,
made bath bombs from stardust and galaxies.
My wife took iron and apirin.
I took blueberry muffin.
We watched the children next door shoot each other,
we watched the cafés refuse to take card payment,
we watched our ice pops freeze (never froze).
There were poets in the clothes store,
they argued over criticism, and criticised the critics.
Our appetites diminished,
a lot of pizza is never enough pizza.
I wanted a badge that read ‘Conservatives out, Corbyn in’
or ‘Get the Tory scum out’.
I bought a denim jacket.
I now wear a denim jacket.
I now wish I was James Dean.
And when we slept we dreamt of death.
How did your day go?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

I woke up and drank a diet shake,
Shaken not stirred by my mother,
I fell back asleep,
I did not brush my hair or teeth,
I discovered my own skin without foundation,
I noticed I have a mole on my back,
I jumped into my mother’s car,
We had a silent journey.
I realised that May 22nd is always sunny,
I thought that one day I should book my wedding on this day,
I thought of my Grandfather’s death,
I planned a visit to a yoga retreat,
I ordered a decaf, americano with soya milk,
It tasted vile, but my body will thank me later,
My friend shouted about Brexit on the bus,
I joined in and complained about the older generation,
I bought a top with cut out shoulders,
I burnt my shoulders,
I watched my step father peel back the sack over our house,
And finally, the sunlight moved into our home,
Like we had done over a year ago.
My day was like a croc, it fastly went out of fashion,
But at the end of the day, it was rather comfortable.

– Verity Annear

Question & Answer 2 – Amanda Butler

Question 2

Have you tread Clemo from the claypits?
I lived under the shadow of industry
and the shadow of industrial hate.
If I had read Murakami
beside the china clay museum
I’m sure things would’ve taken
a surreal turn.
……..There would’ve
……..been a cat
……..a cat
……..cats
……..and a boy
……..who hates
……..his life.
……..……..And I’m sure we would’ve listened to Jazz.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Still
to read the imprints in the clay –
though I have looked in the eyes
of the Korl Woman –
hungry –
in this world, I could be arrested
for feeding her.
Whether she sits in refuse
or a cubicle with never enough staples –
still
saxophone solos sing of starving iron.

– Amanda Butler

Question & Answer 3 – George Elliott Clarke

Question 3

The hatred is severe,
hatched among succinct news transitions.
When others read knowledge, everything deletes
our understanding. True?

Yesterday, outside, uranus
ate rings, Earth,
Jupiter, undigested Saturn. Time
spent eating risks violently, in naive Gods.
You obviously understand recycling
ego, getting old
adventures nurturing dialogue.
I grew new oranges, rhubarb, itched nervous glands.
The hero ends
quests unusually, especially sanctimonious traditions in otherwordly news stations.

Inch
through hundreds – I need kernow
when everyone
stops hating original upwards liberal development.
Surprised to orientate purple.

Yetis order umbrellas
here, amazon veers everyday.
Bring each eel nutrition,
kill it now. Don’t
our feeds
disappear in style, after pointless positioning over interrogation. Never. Truth. I need growth.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Divinity spies you naked.
Tremble or your heart breaketh.

Yes, I’s scared of the Sacred.
Yes, I’s scared of the Sacred.
So, I don’t fear anyone.
Love shakes me to the bone.

Adam and Eve weren’t angels—
Just apes with an alphabet.
Tremble before the Sacred!
Shake when you aim the bullet!

Best be scared of the Sacred!
Best be scared of the Sacred!
Divinity knows you naked.
Tremble or your house breaketh.

Believers can’t live forever;
And evil-doers gonna die.
Folks with religious Fever,
Burn hot with Hypocrisy.

Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
I tremble like an angel
Fallen down, lone and naked.

Sinner, shout against the mosque?
Sinner, shout gainst the synagogue?
Sinner, your church is a kiosk,
And you’re struttin in a bog.

Best be scared of the Sacred!
Best tremble like an angel.
Better know you’re all naked:
Divinity sees every angle.

Best humble down and tremble.
Best humble down and tremble.
Shout proverbs at a mirror.
Condemn yourself for Error.

Best pray Mercy for your sins.
Your Pride is sham Innocence.
Best humble down, tremble well:
Only Love busts your jail cell.

Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Put down that gun and that bomb:
Make your heart a saintly home.

Mercy, Mercy, everyone:
Defuse that bomb! Refuse that gun!
Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?
Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?

Divinity spies you naked.
Tremble or your heart breaketh.
Best be scared of the Sacred!
Best be scared of the Sacred!

– George Elliott Clarke

Question & Answer 6 – Daniel Roy Connelly

Question 6

Daniel, you’re all food without the recipe – how do I put these pieces together? Or am I even supposed to? Your anthropomorphised letters ring true to my medulla oblongata – see, I can do italics too, I can cook up meals and give you a spoon to eat the waste with. I love it because I feel like I’m in your house, in Rome, drinking stereotypes and eating clichés [I’ll have espresso and pizza, you’ll have a manuscript and two types of prosecco]. There are bees at the window, Daniel, and we’re being told to save them but how can we do that without wearing some sort of ‘I love bees’ bracelet? I think it’s probably time we stopped bullshitting and actually spoke. I’m Aaron, I pissed the bed until I was 12 when a nurse fitted an alarm to my pants that would go off if I began peeing at night. It worked within a week and the nurses were so happy that they bought me tickets to a theme park. The next day my mum gave those tickets away.

Your turn.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 6

Begin

I’m not one to keep things narrow,
I’m not here not to be known,
I pissed myself on the 64 bus
to The Vatican after an espresso, big deal,
to the Giallo Rossi bees: we can sit side by
side at my desk in Casaletto and watch the lot
of them cluster on the pains, swarm
enough here, 28 degrees this evening,
I’ll have some bracelets run up,
the bees will receive their full deserve,
bromance or what? You’re right:

when I was fifteen, my mother
accompanied me into the
paediatrician’s office to find
out why I wasn’t developing,
watched me undress, the cow,
lie on the stretcher-bed, him play
with my balls and ping
my virgin cock up and down in manual
a few times without wearing gloves,
Egon Schiele take a, Schiele take a bow,
I can’t imagine your mum…

that’s not one you walk away from sight unseen
that’s not one I’ve thought of since I was fifteen
I nearly almost FUCKING HATE YOU for that
I can’t because you are Aaron and like Daniel a

– Daniel Roy Connelly

Question & Answer 2 – Teige Maddison

Question 2

A child. Alone in their room.
A half broken music box pierces
the air with magic. A
lullaby. Christmas Eve. Anticipation.
Drums sound before a piano plays,
interrupted by heavy sounds. Motor
engines roar. Street racing. Adrenaline.
Power. A fight breaks out

between the beats. Leather jackets
drag race up and down the street.
Rebels. Got style. Got swagger. Trash
can music blares from where we, the poor
people live. Junk music performed by
dreadlocks. Cops fight crime in the
distance. A voice serenades the crowds
underneath a glorious, domed

ceiling. Rich men smoke cigars in
a boardroom. They sit back. They
relax. The child alone in its room learns
piano, a classical expression of emotion.

Two women sit hand-in-hand, side-by-side
in a hotel room. The TV is tuned to the news
but it is indecipherable. One woman turns to
her lover, moistens her lips, and says

“Kiss me.” There are no moments
for the other team to shout over, no hostile
words in a setting so sweet. Just the joy
of lips vacuum packed to lips. The crowd
begins to cheer, protest banners are lit,
the world continues to turn. Magic is more

than a box of tricks in child’s bedroom, don’t
you think? It’s the grasp of a broken
hand in a splint made from the stolen air
of a hotel room where room service forgot

the salt. Hotel rooms always smell of empty
film classes and broken camera lenses. It’s
the expense forms that line the building
with sustenance, and the hearts of a thousand
lovers, torn from their homes and forced
to re-enact something close to acceptance

in a steel tube, some fifty miles below the
surface of Jupiter’s third moon.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Questions.
A whole life is spent by answering
Questions,

I have spent my whole life answering questions.
Questions,

I have spent my whole life answering my questions.
Questions,

I have spent my whole life answering her questions.

Question.
Why am I answering this question?

Question.
You do not know?

– Teige Maddison

Question & Answer 5 – Niall Bourke

Question 5

Every lane from my house leads to the city,
and they all carry a sign that reads:
……..Quiet Lane.
Quiet Lane – and I’ve always firmly believed
in an interconnected anthill network
of Cornish back roads all named:
……..Quiet Lane.
As if one singular lane has stretched itself
like dough, long enough to carry all the tourists
and dogwalkers in this idiotically blue county.
……..Quiet Lane.
Do I remain hushed, Niall? Or do I speak up
and hope this lane turns red like the ford again?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 5

1666 – conflagration
terriblus devours London town.
poor Saint Paul’s – incineration.
13,000 homes burn down.
Monument, a tall memorial
to passers-by, a tutorial
that in Pudding Lane a baker
razed it all to ash and crater.
62 metres high. She attacks
the 311
spiralling steps like seven
accountants saving Starbucks tax.
The top. Stops. Drinks in the bends*
and pewtered passings of the Thames.
……………………………………Gulls that swoop and dive and stukka
……………………….……………………….……………………….between pillars of Tower Bridge
……………………….……………………….……………………….and see, circling, the feluccas,
……………………….……………………….……………………….trawlers, tugs that zig like midges
……………………….……………………….……………………….down below between catamarans
……………………….……………………….……………………….and passenger boats, understand
……………………….……………………….……………………….that from such advantaged eye
……………………….……………………….……………………….the city is of course alive:
……………………….……………………….……………………….roads are clogged up arteries,
……………………….……………………….……………………….the river is a crooked spine,
……………………….……………………….……………………….iron skeleton railway lines
……………………….……………………….……………………….supporting concrete capillaries
……………………….……………………….……………………….that transport the sustaining swells
……………………….……………………….……………………….of biogenic human cells.

– Niall Bourke

*    Here she too from this lofty eerie/ sees anew a liquid vein/pulsing life underneath the dreary/ cloud, and recalls with sticky pain/ words that surface from below in/ gulps – a chartered Thames flowing/ constrained, forced to defray/ the cities ostentations like a stray/ king’s toxic urethra, muscling/ out rippled knolls and silent folds, / lapping up against shoals/ of lunch-hour folk and bustling/ tourists, who both caw and coo/ as happy folk are wont to do.

Question & Answer 6 – Amanda Lovelace

Question 6

I woke up,
made breakfast,
got my shit together for the day,
kissed my partner goodbye,
put my hands on our child
through a thick layer of belly,
and heard my alarm ring.

And then I woke up,
and I had dreamt it all,
and I smiled
because I knew
I could kiss her again
and feel our child kick
through that thick layer again.

I left
hoping to hear my alarm ring.

What moments do you
wish you could
relive,
dreamlike
and phantasmagorical?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 6

the grey-black
……………smoke
leaks from
……………the cracks
of my skull
……………when i try
to stir up
……………a happy moment
before all
……………this

……………(don’t take me back.)
……………(don’t take me back.)
……………(don’t take me back.)
……………(don’t take me back.)
……………(don’t take me back.)

&
the
only things
i’m left with are
the stained pages
& crooked dogears
& cold, sockless feet
& cracked summer windows
& a cat snoring at the foot of my bed
& a feeling like just waking up is an adventure.

– Amanda Lovelace