Irasshai: Welcome; Come In

The first time we meet you bow at my feet.
Five years on, I home-stay.

You buy me the biggest nightie in Japan.
I needn’t wear my own.

You replace my chopsticks with a knife and fork.
Serve, not rice, but thickly sliced foreigner-

friendly bread, spongey and insipid.
You tell me I look like Cupid.

You nod as I talk your language,
I mustn’t improve: I’ll no longer sound cute.

O Mother Tachibana. O Mrs. Standing Flower.
I think I have your number:

I’ll always be the other.
And yet, I am the mother of your grandson.

Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana trained with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and has enjoyed poetry all her life. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Fish Publishing Poetry Prize, and her work has been published in print and online in Silver Needle Press, Newcastle University’s Bridges anthology, Typishly, Eunoia Review and Snakeskin, and is forthcoming in Streetlight Magazine. Alexandra relished the opportunity to read at Crossings: Newcastle Poetry Festival 2018, and will read at the AWP Conference as a delegate of Silver Needle Press in March 2019.

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You’re a Legend Until You’re Born

There are mass shootings on your behalf, riots in the street, technology dedicated to viewing your heartbeat.

The world is color-coded based on what you’ll be. Shoes are gifted early for the protection of your feet.

Your home is sacred, enclosed and warm. Strangers wish you well and pray you aren’t harmed.

Your name is debated, searched for, and created. Your life matters without compromise, no gray lines can complicate it.

To hell with your sick mother although you’re the disease. No one cares about the burdens you’ll carry in your knees. They simply want your arrival, and once you’re here they’ll quit.

Like they do with all legends, they’ll eventually forget.

Andrea Jefferson is a creator residing in Southern Louisiana. Her chapbook Stray Curls and Dirty Laundry was released digitally in 2018.

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Sertraline

These empty blister packs left around the flat
are prerequisites.            This is the price of love,
or what this is.            And the side effects –
the longer sleep, the occasional bleed… –
are signs things are working.            We are working:
I can’t remember the last time the crisis team
were called.            When the allegations came,
I forgave you like a Christian.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Survival Horror

Having got past the loft with its lunging beast,
rummaged through the piano,
my avatar consigned afternoons to Derceto Manor.
A dark mirror of school:
dragged by a zombie to the tune of Chopin’s L’adieu.

With each resurrection I was more skilful
with my fists, shotgun or sabre,
vigilant too in saving prior to exploring new rooms.
Each night I filed myself at the foot of a staircase,
moving through catacombs.

I slept on problems, no web access or walkthroughs,
let my psyche be the house,
my dream be the labyrinth, my self be the haunting.
A polygon and inventory,
lumbered with a biscuit box, oil lamp, statuette,

retreading footsteps, dealing with angry paintings,
Indian arrows, axe-throwers, I died
many times over. I leafed through occult books
for clues on how to kill winged sentinels on the balcony.
The grimoire on a giant worm:

its words were instant death.
Evading library vagabonds, the hardest part,
duelling with the pirate or blasting carnivorous birds.
I was most scared by the laugh of Pregzt.
Who am I? – I’d ask myself.

A gramaphone played Danse macabre to ghosts of dancers.
The key was on the chimneypiece.
Bullies in the cupboard, under the trapdoor, the chest.
I failed to trigger a secret mechanism.
Saved on a disk in the loft: this stasis of adolescence.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Roller Disco

Did I grow up in a circus?
Clearly a clown, coin-fed;
acrobats, sequins, a roller rink…
Clearly knife-throwers –
gangs aiming for my father’s head.
He wore a disguise, an identikit.

Bulldozers grazing Odeon chairs,
ephemera of the flicks.
Recces of upstairs rooms –
guanoed sills, a Spider-Man figure,
Mad Max memorabilia,
a hint of perfumes, hairdos…

Unhomely. At the grand opening
I lost myself, far side of the rink
under a glitter ball,
before skaters performed,
while mum mopped the entrance hall.
I’d go off on wheels –

a ghoul drawn to where, last night,
ribs broke on a barrier.
They told me tales –
a body walled up, unearthed in the work.
It wasn’t in the news.
Or of a ghost or two.

Was it a haunted house?
The balcony’s tasseled curtain:
the site of a tragic fall.
The silver of those strips, they’d twitch
on a breezeless upper floor –
the dark behind it. Then distracted:

after stories of cold spots,
chairs stacking up, unseen hands –
father busy with partners –
I moved to ankles, thighs, skirts
by a changing room door.
Was I the ghost? Was I always alone?

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Another Kind of House

From scratch, a house built from the ruins up
follows no architectural plan, save for what’s
dreamt over several times. No-one I say in their
right mind would climb that staircase, unsure
steps, less than a match for what’s safe, abstract.

At the shop I grab only greys and whites,
sometimes greens for the lichened parts.
As cement, the studs go fine; though the
shapes are make-do, unhewn for the task.

It’s devised as a homage to Lovecraft, rooms
within rooms, alcoves, and a walled-up cat.
I’ve hinged it like a doll’s house, so its doors
can be swung open to sunlight, or lamplight
might trail through the table legs, a strange star.

Residents thus far comprise of a mermaid,
a gingerbread man, a cliché ghoul in Day-Glo
sheets. I proceed on the basis of metaphor.
Or is this my actual house?, come to think.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Selfies

No one takes a photo at a funeral.
Forgetting is all that’s real.
Whereas, for you, each pic’s a reminder
that part of you is dead.
You pose as if sight lives,
like you’ve painted, each time,
false eyes over eyelids,
and still know, precisely, how light
prints, done selflessly, for my benefit.

Each time, click, an archivist,
filing jpegs on folders of my Seagate.
One-sided: you have no say
in the lighting, no sense of which angle,
I think, shows off your
better side. Take this one:
finger-flashing your engagement ring,
us doing that cheek-to-cheek thing.

Custodian of this solo gallery,
have I robbed your life review,
pried into a preview of unseen
arms-entangled images, of us,
lived perhaps twofold or more
intensely? While each selfie
gets blown to the back of your brain –
the darkroom of your settee –
there’s me: each evening bereaved,
a widower, prizing thumbnails,
dense with everything. As I describe
to you my smile, it seems –
how can I say it? – your blindness
rehearses the grief we’ve denied.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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