PUSH no.14


unnamed 2Nuclear Medicine Facility. Two hours, waiting. Kandinsky’s poetry strokes the walls and the chairs are extra comfy. It wasn’t going to take me long to make myself at home. I flick through some airbrushed dreams and watch the conga of shuffling patients on their way to the zapping room. Arms high linked to vines of iodine, stilling me in a room of pings and Manilow.

I look up at a large sign. No Mobile Phones. WTF? I rummage in my bag for entertainment. There is an unopened bank statement, lip gloss, tampons and a yellow highlighter. I start to draw. Bored, I dig deeper – Salvation! Right at the bottom, packed up against a hardened single serve cup-a-soup is Issue 14 of PUSH. Brilliant! Requiring no electricity, I do a quick head check, tuck legs under and glimpse the nurses station just in case I’m breaking any other rules and open it’s stiff face.

That was my first taste of PUSH. The cover all urban beauty boarded & condemned, but with a facade you just know is still well lived in. It’s a compelling pic by Paul Talling and for this eye, derelict is very chic and close to my heart. PUSH was shoved my way when I stumbled upon the excellent review by Kit Cayliss on the Best of The First Ten Issues Anthology launch – Momentum And Memory: PUSH Magazine – Poetry At The Gates http://thequietus.com/articles/16959-push-literary-zine-football-west-ham-fanzine-joe-england. I was curious as to what I had been missing and especially keen not to miss out ever again. That ten issue celebration, bound in blue, is now on a plane heading my way http://eastlondonpress.bigcartel.com/product/push-the-best-of-1-10. That’s another beautiful quirk of a zine. Limited runs sell out quick. When they are filled with writers like these, you want to be ready to pounce. Now that I am addicted to the format of Literary Zines, I need the pure stuff, the original short runs that keep paper and print alive. A quick blink through the contributors info has me excited. Names I know, towns and football teams I can empathize with.

I’m eased into what looks like a woodcut print, two footballers by Jose Arroyo, which brings me to publisher and editor Joe England. Joe sells PUSH the old fashioned way, outside games and gigs, a tradition the likes of Sniffing Glue, When Saturday Comes and many other passionate’s championed. What’s left is offered online and word of mouth. There is a heart to PUSH that is rarely represented by the mainstream publishers, you won’t see this in digital format. This is all about texture, great writing you can easily dip in and out of, mark with tea rings and thumbprints. Mine is already a mess. I’ve pulled it out on trains, buses, in queues, and at lunchtime shared with co-workers whose quick skims have turned into “can I borrow this”.

No wonder. Writer P.A. Levy comes out with an early goal with The ‘We’ Lies. This couple is drifting. Its ‘West Ham V’s Simone Weil’ storyline is as beautifully real as it is poetic. Michael Keenaghan’s Cally Blues is as tense as the last kick in a penalty shoot out. Great drama, real banter which seems to be a common thread in a lot of these pieces. English poet Tim Wells’ Thai Crack Chicken Lady is a delight, warm as chilli fingers, his style has left my belly grumbling. Wayne Holloway’s epic King Bun flies with a montage of image. For me this has a touch of the ‘Shaver Mysteries’ about it, a forteana life of it’s own truth or fiction. Set in the 1930’s Georgie Boy Pallen is angry and might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. His story is to be continued, an old style trick of serialisation that I love. Writer Dean Lilleyman’s Seventeen smacks ya. He mouths off fast leaving one breathless and smiling, gasping at the adrenalin rush of words that is magic. Another bonus of all these writers is finding all their other work, their own literary releases. Like Joseph Ridgewell. His submission 7/7 ‘s look at mass panic in the London underground, survival instincts and a first hand witness to tragedy gave me goose bumps and crystal eyes. Just another writer whose work I will investigate.

Paper & Ink Zine’s Martin Appleby’s piece is as quick and sweet as a Buzzcocks B Side lament. Paul Reaney has your life laid out in two pages. Jim Gibson pic derelictlondon.comintroduces us to a nasty piece of work called Skeb Again? Johno’s old friend, crazy as a cut snake, and on the streets, is a chilling read. You feel his anxiety and just know this ain’t going to end well. Punk Aesthetics now plagued by his “Creeping Nihilism” Gary Budden’s Up And Coming was another stand out. Last night at The Stockwell Arms, “standing in venues where the term shithole would be an aspiration”. Generations there for the send off, even those with “Jackets a bit too clean, badges yet to rust”.

The final pieces Gwil James Thomas’s Dick Head Poem I immediately loved and Ian Cusacks The Bogus Man. Bryan Ferry is god and the price of love is painful when pheromones are calling. Raymond Gorman’s Friends & Enemies sits centred and doesn’t budge with the strength of conviction. John Tait’s Snake Blood Shots broke my heart while Ford Dagenham did the summing up on life with his lyrical Living Jism.

PUSH 14 was well worth the fiver. My copy is already scarred from sharing an inch away from my knives, dogeared in battle, stained and shelved now. I sniff and yearn for England. Now over read and rough handled it makes a pretty addition to the words I found inside.

You can find all things PUSH via http://www.pushmagazine.co.uk/index.html

Connect w Joe England via twitter @JoeEnglandBooks https://twitter.com/JoeEnglandBooks




Out Of The Blue

The Restless Main – Felix Ratcliff

Over the years one accumulates quite a hefty backlog of blogs to follow. Some blogs die, others sit and don’t do much for months, maybe years. There are bloggers, like myself, that post in spare moments, procrastinating, adding bits like clay until it’s ready to burn. There are also those writers one admires because of a certain discipline and dedication to their art. Writers that I tend to rely on to inspire me or just simply enjoy their company on the page. I see them all the time, a beautiful compulsion to work out mind bugs or just share moments that may make a connection.

I came across Felix, a Sydney blogger on one of my regular mind strolls. A diarist of thoughts, his poems on his The Restless Main blog http://www.therestlessmain.blogspot.com.au/ is a stunning mass of days that flip like barrels of foam and blue on the page. The formula clean cut. Image and words, filled with moments of sand, salt, family and sky.

Your Squinting Face

by Felix Ratcliff

pic - Felix Ratcliff

pic – Felix Ratcliff

Sometimes it’s enough
to just sit and watch,
feel the spray shape
your squinting face
into a grin, 
then a smile,
that seeps, 
then pours
via veins 
to bones
in search 
of its own.
It’s then 
you both 
and forget,
it’s just you,
the sea
and the sky.
Neither and none,
ever alone.

pic – Felix Ratcliff

The Restless Main reads like a diary, what compelled your first entry?
I’ve always struggled with keeping a diary, I would usually only make it to Easter then chuck them away! My first entry was a way of publicly asking myself who I was and was the path I was following the right one. I’ve always enjoyed pulling different pieces of personal and cultural memory together, blogging seemed an excellent way to do that. I’d also stockpiled a lot of unpublished writing, poems prose etc and felt it was time I put it out there. Some are diaristic, some experimental. All are crafted to clarify ideas and to identify key themes and motifs in my thinking.


The first post of yours I read was from the beginning of your blog from Feb 2010 called Water’s Edge . Such a wonderful piece to set the tone and pace. They were bulkier yarns then, these days they are more streamlined, encapsulated…why?

Two main reasons. The first being that I dislike long reads on a screen and also spent most of my recent working life (I chucked my job last September) reading endless posts and emails. I also felt that what I am primarily interested in is distilling experiences and language into forms that are easy to read physically but are still multi-layered and have depth. Late last year I began posting each piece along with its accompanying image on Instagram as well as at The Restless Main. Both those audiences can access the writing easily. On a personal level, the confessional aspect of blogging can often negatively dominate. To counter this I decided to reduce the straight narrative approach to hopefully a more nuanced shorter form of writing. Posting content each day also makes preparing longer pieces more prohibitive!
“Your saltwater obsession” is the ocean the place where your ideas are formed?
The ocean is where ‘I’ disappear and become part of something larger that doesn’t care about me or even acknowledge my existence. A great place to lose one’s ego (unless you are surfing which can be an ego-mad activity!) It can be a reflective environment 
but also one where you can observe nature, people, culture etc. I’m happiest when I’m in or near water. Its energy, light, colour etc inspire me in new and different ways each time I engage with it.
You love music, you have many pieces about bands or artists – Patti Smith, Husker Du, Bowie to name a few…the importance of heroes and mentors those that connect and shape you threads your work
I’d be long gone without music! Some songs and artists, regardless of their genre can bowl you over with their power and passion. My tastes run from Classical through to Punk and most things in between. Artists like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop and Bowie are particular favourites though I’m wary of heroes and gods, even if I appear to worship!
Musicality in my writing is also very important to me. I don’t write lyrics, but hope people read out my work to themselves to pick up on the rhythm and flow I try and hide in them.
Your photography seems to be speaking a lot for you these days. Nailing a photo. So much blue on your page it is breathtaking. Your skylines and photos is like looking out of my life’s window, no coincidence as we live in the same city, we smell the same smog, taste the southerly, waiting in the dark like background actors in The Day Of The Triffids’ for its arrival. Familiar to me, exotic to others, but still connecting on a personal level.
It’s interesting, most days I wake (waiting in the dark) with a phrase in my head or a picture in my mind and am lucky to be able to match them with something I have photographed either previously or on that day. Sometimes an image says everything. I then use it as a point of departure for additional thinking and writing. Other times the image and text have an obvious relationship. Hopefully my texts stand alone without the image. Images can always do that far more easily. Southerly changes are the best!

As you so eloquently put it, “a mass of days” is what I’m trying to make sense of in my own way via the blog. Poetry is both a private and a public language. I’d love to publish a traditional book and eBook down the track but I love the fact that everyday across the globe, people are reading and responding to my work on a daily basis, people that might otherwise not read much (or any) poetry as well as those that actively seek it out. If an idea is not shared, it doesn’t exist in a social sense. Technology can easily alienate and isolate us from our thoughts and those of others, I’d like to think it can also enrich them.
You can connect with Felix via



Blog Hop Poetry Twitter

the ZOOM ZOOM by Penny Goring

 Artist – Penny Goring


pic by Penny Goring

When my mind feels there is no where to go, smeared with the white noise of life, a vision often appears. A bright square as big as a postage stamp wakes inside. Penny’s face a flicker n zap, shaking up dormant parts of me. A static stimulus of words and colour. A black beauty screaming in an isolation tank of perfect originality. An artist so stripped bare, she becomes invisible so she can slip inside you and play with your guts. She thinks she is her parents ‘costly heartbreaking disappointment’, but those who can’t get enough of her approach, her creativity, know that we will never stop looking. Her tagline of self knowing “i am in the ludicrous position, do you like it or absolutely adore it?” always at the forefront of our response, for me, it usually is the latter.

Penny Goring is a London artist. I knew that about her first. I was immediately captured by her digital strokes, her movement. It wasn’t until I started following her closely that I discovered her larger pieces of writing. Who knew she had a book? Several in fact. I have started with the Zoom Zoom. Not one for the heavy self promote, Penny seems to want you to find her, an almost shy gentleness that sits side by side with her imperviousness. The art in her words shaped to tell her stories is as colourful, evocative and fierce as her visual work, lit with even more taboo, unease, humour and beauty. A story only she could have been inside of. It’s a froopy dark ride dripping in trip. Penny is honest and fearless. Sad threads bind the tapestry of poems, a beautiful ugliness weaves inside the rug you get to ride on. The Zoom Zoom is not a new release, but it will remain on it’s electronic shelf fresh as forever, hopefully waiting to be snapped by eyes and minds more adept at expressing what a powerful piece of literature this is.

The Zoom Zoom is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-Penny-Goring-ebook/dp/B0053CZHI0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420976243&sr=1-1

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Book Reviews Poetry

My Stupid Little Heart

Originally posted on The Mistress & Evangeline:

Small questions like a brooch, tiny french, a book of poems she cant read, only left with her eyes
Hatpin? harpsichord? She slowly unbuttons. Wary of feathers. Her purse is fireflies and vehement curses from lands where dust is treasured.
On the platform is an old friend. In the hamper is a letter too wet to dry over her shoulder. It is bloody murder in vanishing ink.
The conductor snarls. He says what now? She’s had enough pleasantries and guffaw to stuff an ostrich.
Of all stamps and glands devoured she seeks one wisp of him. A miniature viola from Paraguay sewn into her pocket. A broken nail, post haste.
Nothing to hit, merely a dandelion the tone of a flickering bulb.
Does it matter? A monk a knave a priest? The bells ring. The pigeons fly. She nods at the telegraph kiosk.
I know nothing of freedom, only tickets…

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Oracle Of Wallaby Square

Originally posted on urban f:

Yesterday I went wandering through some local shops. I walked by the dodgy pharmacy that has no prices on any of their stock. I’m sure the owner just makes them up on the spot as you approach him. His displays have no order to them either, it feels like a ruse, a front for something else. I just needed some toothpaste, but had a craving for raspberries so I headed to the supermarket a little further on. Out the front of the supermarket was a huge table full of animal swap cards. I was just randomly shuffling the bright colours, looking for something to catch my eye. They were very cute, some weird and rare creatures appeared and I smiled over hearing some of the kids comments and screams as they struck gold.

20141217_064837_20141219195717212I could feel this man stand next to me with his son in tow. They began to…

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On Location

Originally posted on urban f:

notes on the landscape

It is often hard to explain the philosophy behind psychogeography. When I discovered it, I realised I had been practicing it all my life. To me there are no specific rules in the study of it. I just experience memories, and discover my own myth behind personal landscape and how it appears in my mind. Art lines my paths, hidden down lanes, through parks and seldom walked roads.

Headphones on, I usually walk pass this gate, unearthing forgotten hours. On this particular day, the gate was open. The fact that it was wide and unlocked startled me.  I’d never seen this path and I have lived here for over five years. I dipped into my bag as train people scurried past. I focused and stopped to take a picture. Questions started to appear. Why hadn’t I ever seen this way before. Where does it lead to…

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