John Upton



Aquarium

She recognises me and mocks my work with her own lithe labour, arms like kisses on the glass. Smooth as oil she copies my mop and wringer, slipping her body through a narrow ring of rubber, eight handshakes but no …

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Review Short: Andy Kissane’s Radiance

RadianceIn ‘Percy Shelley’s Heart’, Kissane writes with gusto and surreal humour. But he is equally at home portraying domestic intimacies within the poet’s own relationship (‘Sea of Tranquillity’), or hardship and joy as a child plays soccer with his friends following a day scrounging a living in Phnom Penh’s garbage tip (‘On Smoky Mountain’).

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Nagasaki Rain

Silence is always audible through the noise, it’s your watching soul disturbed. The buzzing city is a laminate pressed upon awful stillness. You arrive among a Ninja whispering of rain under a riot of tyres at Victoria Inn, 6-24 Dougashou. …

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Review Short: Ron Pretty’s What the afternoon knows

What the afternoon knowsFor Ron Pretty, the everyday is marvelously complicated. He’s in a hotel bar in Wales, the Welsh Dining Club is ‘eating out in a language rich and strange’, a birthday party is ‘agog with singing’, two young men are flirting with a blonde waitress ‘who shocks me with her flush / of free flowing hair’. Then, suddenly, he’s back in Junta-ruled Greece 40–odd years ago, involved with a young woman who, ‘behind closed windows’ is ‘singing for love, singing for freedom’ in a town with ‘rifles guarding the bakery’. Then back to Wales, and the two young men exit the bar holding hands with each other, not the waitress, who ‘takes my empty / memories and smiles as I too climb the stairs’.

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Defrocked Priest

This clockwork day he joins the congregation gathered outside the lunchtime T.A.B. He smokes and watches the open-sesame doors wink at punters, touting quick salvation. He knows the truth of hope, tamps out a careless smoke on a post; then, …

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