Skip to main content

The Cutting (#1 and #2) by R.M. Francis

Rusted hummock of rusted sands,
torrid tanned cobbles, ovalled, 

watch numb graves watching back

at wagging boys scaling stacks

of morainic concretions

left from slow floes.

Roots tentacle lamina grounds,

rope swing noosed over boss’ frown

initiates these ephebes, taking

turns through covet, making

brave leaps as grinning clan

stand with stones, marksman

each oscillating rite. In quarries

boys bioturbate to burtite.

The Cutting #2

Sephardim boys shadow

BMXs behind businesspark rails,

search Hayes Cutting in dayra drifts

for edge-base away from mom’s gaze.

Corrugated iron, tipped tyres chipped 

bricks form dens on basal beds. Nearly

teen Safina etched into dusty anticline 

with the sharp end of rusted fails. 

Wargames of pebble shots at tramps’ tinnies

punctuate trials with dad’s superkings

then top trumps, then bush porn. This dipping 

sequence holds placoderm, polypterid, actinopteri

and youthful peregrinations, grinding against ghost lineage. 


R. M. Francis is a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton and is currently the poet in residence for the Black Country Geological Society. These poems form part of his ongoing work with them. He's the author of five poetry pamphlet collections, his debut novel, Bella, was published with Wild Pressed Books. Smokestack Books are publishing his collection of poems, Subsidence, in December 2020.


Popular posts from this blog

Home by Jessa Forest

Home scratches at her shingles with tree branch fingers, pulls the air conditioning unit close to her grimy aluminum siding, and keens an empty song of mourning. We found her wandering the tornado snarled wild three months ago, starved and lonely. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself, you see? We fed her shards of dining room tables, kindling for the fireplace, and cast iron bathtubs clawed feet first. She was slow to recover so we gutted her plumbing, ripped out her nerves, and rewired the electricity. She let the water in every time it rained so we put a new roof on her and let her out for regular walks around the wolf pen. Let her mingle with the vultures, I said, let her feel useful and clean up the dead but no one wanted to listen. We found rot an mold in her corners, infused her insulation with antibiotics, and quarantined her for two weeks while she belched ladderback chairs, sofa cushions, wind chimes, and broken bookcases. She still has her bad days. After feeding time

Smoking and Swearing by Ian Manson

He’s stood outside, he’s on his break. He’s unsure whether to be smoking or swearing. He decides on both. Inhale. Fuuuck! Inhale. Fuuuck! A person, a visitor, or a patient. Heading to the hospital, sees his scrubs and scowls. “ It’s not very professional for a nurse to be smoking and swearing. ” But he doesn’t care. He’s already done his good deed for the morning and by midnight he’ll have done a dozen more. Yesterday was a paltry four. Tomorrow’s shift will be five or two or maybe eight, and another night of finishing late. Inhale. Fuuuck! He breathes a cloud of smoke. Watches it swirling, ascending, a spirit en-route to heaven. The person’s saintly sanctimony means nothing to him. Because he’s on his break. And he’s smoking, and he’s swearing. --- Originally from Scotland, Ian has lived and worked in Worcestershire for the last 11 years. He can normally be found performing his poetry and prose at events on the Worcester spoken word scene

This morning I wanted to send you a photo essay: The Year in Volcanic Activity by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

You’d see the beauty in a fountain of lava, fires spreading across the blacktop, the necessity of creation after destruction. I drink tea—try to swallow my suspicions with lemon and honey, the bright sweetness doesn’t stop my obsession with destruction. Monday, I will try not to disintegrate—try to unravel the lies, how you once wanted a weak girl who shared the same type of destruction. I find ways to eviscerate your former paramours in conversation with others; I have been leisurely indulging in my own destruction. Sometimes I want to spill the secrets that I keep from you; I see ghosts around every corner—they poke at my fear of destruction. My anxiety is death by a thousand cuts—yours a slow suicide; we do our own dances with the Grand Dame and Varlet—Destruction Even on the days when I rage alone, I long for the nights curled next to you tracing sigils on your back to protect you from self-destruction. Archetypes sewn in my bones—I’ve mast