Katie Half-Price: Issue 36

13 September 10 words: Katie Half-Price
Loads of poetreh and reviews from the latest issue of LeftLion Magazine

“Ayup! I’m just your average slebrerteh aurfer. As you can see, I’ve got some right tit on meh and when I lob‘em aht, publishers give us free books. LOL! Here’s what I’ve bin tryin to read this month as well as some poetreh from the forum...”



J.D.Salinger: A Life Raised High Kenneth Slawenski Pomona Books, £20
Pages: Loads
You’d think that writing a book about a recluse would be dead small but this book is massive, which is odd because he only ever wrote one good book. Catcher in the Rye has sode 65 million - which is more than you can win on the Euro lotto – and it made some bloke kill John Lennon (his other books are shite – they wun’t even mek someone want to kill Jive Bunneh). Salinger didn’t leave the house for thirty years which is a bit gash if you ask me - it’s not like he lived in Top Valleh - but I reckon he wor lying cuz back then they didn’t have internet shopping so he must have got dressed up like that Denis on Mansfield Rd and snuck out when he needed some snap. Consequentleh the poor biographer has had to spend his time in boring libraries tryin’ to wok aht what the ‘ell he’d been doing with hissen. Waste Man.



Chilling Tales from Nottinghamshire Netty DB Publishing, £9.99
Pages: Norrenough
This weird author dun’t even have a surname - maybe her famleh cun’t afford one – but don’t let that put you off. The book is filled with weird and scareh tales about panorama activiteh in Notts - like ‘Yorkey’, the ghost in the Trip, or sightings of UFOs (which, as we all know, is really kaylide students who think they’re still on holiday in Thailand, letting off them ponce lantern things). Personleh, the only thing that scares meh in Notts is them dozy gets at the council who invested all meh hard earned benefit moneh in Iceland. The kind of people who’d like this book are the type that think the bubbles that come out of your bath when you fill it up with Matey are orbs, and fantasise that Derek Acorah is geein ‘em one while pretending to be a 17th centreh murderer when they get nobbed outside Yates at the weekend.



Obelus Gareth Durasow The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, £5
Pages: Hardly nowt
This poet has posted on our WriteLion forum and has now had his first collection published. Wicked. He’s even acknowledged the Lion. But I ant got a clue what he’s gooin’ on about. He mixes together all these fancy words and references which make about as much sense as tryin’ to give the Thurland a make-over. It’s a waste of time. The best thing about this book is it’s dead small so you can read it on the bog. But be warned. It’s like having an acid trip and a whitey at the same time. Personleh, I think this bloke’s got problems. Instead of sitting down spaahtin’ out stuff that’s so weird it could be in that Chilling tales book, he should go on telleh and face the Kyle. He’d tell him there’s no point being a smart-arse if no one can understand what yer on about. Yer get meh?

Anyways, that's enuff of borin' books. Here's some poetreh from the forum that our literature and poetreh clowns put in the mag. This one by Joe Coghlan is so wicked that he came on our WriteLion 7 podcast to read it. I won't tell yeh where else he came after LOL!

15th of December Joe Coghlan

It all started off with the cost of a pot to piss in
and a job description of being hot-boxed in a kitchen.
A chef slash pot wash who’d watch the clock till left eye twitching
then swab the chopping blocks and hopscotch with indecision.
Did I quit the grotty slog before it robbed me of ambition?
or feed the boss rotten stock, so he got botulism?
I’d teeter on that plot, wield the mop and cheat the system,
stealing back my time, by keeping my mind on rhymes I’d written.
Fifteenth of December, I finished my shift late again
as Christmas lists became plastic bags past their breaking strain.
The heart of the city under cardiac arrest,
wind on Exchange Street, cold enough to catch your death,
with the absence of ambience and no sense of magic,
just collective habits consuming, stressed and frantic
and an ambulance stuck in congested traffic,
I headed for the flat and left the festive masses.

Alone at last, on the overpass I lit a cigarette,
thoughts domicile, till a view mid stride slowed my step,
a man’s profile silhouette on the bridge was about to swan dive.
A modern day Christ crucified, minus the nails and wounded side,
arms coiled behind the guard rail, this gargoyle of neutered pride,
was stood at the height of the streetlights that pollute the sky,
goaded on by juveniles, as cars grew into scythes
and I was stood just behind him, thinking “all you can do is try”
I made a connection, stretched out my hand, “hey man…yo”
He was middle aged, Caucasian, a shabbily dressed John Doe,
no distinguishing features on show to articulate bar, Mr
lonely product of these days, nobody in particular,
needing more than serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.
“Hey man, I know what you’re trapped in, I’ve been in it before,
you don’t deserve this, your life’s not worthless, don’t let this happen”
the reaction I got was a look that said “You couldn’t imagine”

“Come on man, talk to me, we’ll sort this mess,
I’ve known and walked the ledge of a tortured thought process,
that resorts to abort the flesh and haunts unbalanced steps,
but now I author the writing on the wall and it’s palimpsest”
I got nothing. No light bulb lit, not even a match stick,
I felt doubt’s rot manifest, so used it to switch tactics.
“You won’t die from this height, your attempt’ll be botched
you’ll be woken up in hospital surrounded by cops,
the killer of a driver, wishing you’d decided to stop,
cuz you’ll be a lifer in prison on suicide watch”
Speak of the devil, Sirens signalled its arrival,
the law deters, but maybe my words had been insightful,
cuz he fled, his cry for help now a flight for survival.
I tried to forget what happened but couldn’t let it lie though,
his reaction of “you couldn’t imagine” replayed in my mind,
so I took his challenge and spent a day in the life.

I woke next to my wife, once angelic when she slept,
now I dredge myself from the sea bed of this relationship wreck,
in this house of cards, short of a deck, angels fear to tread,
where the queen of the heartless henpecks, cuz we live cheque to cheque.
It’s been this way ever since ‘mortgage’ translated from French,
turned our wed lock to a death-grip held tight around our necks,
it went from rehearsing vows and wedding arrangements,
to resent. Unable to settle debt repayments,
dreading days spent together, in the limbo of stalemates.
I used to romanticize about her dancing with a willow’s grace.
Now I fantasise; her smothered with the pillow before she wakes,
holding it there in place, with the intensity of our first loving embrace,
the way I held onto my dreams before her, the next best thing,
before deferring my ideals to buy the wedding ring,
before I asked her to marry me, cuz our laziness had made a baby,
before that I’d never heard caged birds singing in my aviary.

This morning the slob in the bathroom mirror is an impostor.
My father’s adopted my moniker and mimics my posture,
while in chronological order I run down the roster,
of all those who have wronged me, or left me the victim of dishonour,
cuz today is the film’s end scene and I’m the cinematographer,
shooting it with all the clinical detachment of a coroner.
On the corner I queue for the bus, same routine act,
faking cool and on track, awkward with human contact.
I’m not commuting back, that line drawn the night before,
where the ghosts of Christmas present haunted me for all I can’t afford.
With my daughter we were treading water, panicked then sluggish,
now my son nags me for CD club hits and other plastic rubbish,
Santa clause is the wolf at my door and his adverts drug my kids,
while we their parental guidance share a lie in parenthesis,
evident when it’s said, we stay hitched for their benefit
and not just cuz we don’t know how to be friends, mend or end it.

I watch the clock at the office, thinking thirty more years of this!
Husband to a loveless marriage, dad to damaged kids.
Victims of an environment which reflects my own genesis,
where the oppressed becomes oppressor, passed down via heritage,
but now I’ve got his gold watch retirement gift.
“Boy j’know what time it is?” I did and it’d strike with clenched fists,
but today I’m putting an end to it, making my way to the bridge.
I lift over the barrier “get ya guts up” said under my breath,
I look down, my stomach drops as I face my final step.
I fight’n’lose the inner tug of war, so my grip on the rail tightens,
then this kid says he’s known the pain and dilemma I reside in,
so I fire a look to say “you couldn’t imagine” and he replied,
“you won’t be killed from this height” Then came the sirens and flashing lights.
So I climbed back from the ledge, found my feet and fled into the night
and after months wanting to die, planning to conduct my demise,
I realised mid stride, I was running for my life.

Mike Schofield kindleh illustrated Joe's wicked poem.


Harry Patch ‘The Last Fighting Tommy’ (extract) Andrew Motion

First the hard facts of not wanting to fight,
and the kindness of deciding to shoot men
in the legs but no higher unless needs must,
and the liking among comrades which is truly
as deep as love without that particular name,
then Pilckhem Ridge and Langemarck and across
the Steenbeek since none of the above can change
what comes next, which is a lad from A Company
shrapnel has ripped open from shoulder to waist
who begs you ‘Shoot me’, but is good as dead
already, and whose final word is ‘Mother’,
which you hear because you kneel a minute,
hold one finger of his hand, then remember orders
to keep pressing on, support the infantry ahead.
© Andrew Motion, from ‘The Cinder Path’, Faber and Faber Ltd, 2009






Lava Field Siobhan Logan

brown land
girdled by iron hills
rusted in the rain

the burst mouth
of a cone seeping
oxidised red

a rubble of lava
fly-tipped and strewn
by frost-giants

tuff cairns
smothering ash
of grey lichen

black rocks huffing
gusts of wind
-snatched steam

blue milk river
a snake shedding
husks of salt

© Siobhan Logan, from ‘Firebridge to Skyshore’, Original Plus, 2009



Revisited Rebel Rhymes Mat Brinks

"Please send us your gold"
In the post, right away
you may get a prize
If you send some today!
"Please send us your gold"
and we'll melt it all down
then we'll cast some Gold bars
to replace Gordon Brown's!
"Please send us your gold"
Cos' our's is all spent
'The War on Terror'
Is where it all went!
"Please send us your gold"
& we'll make it worth more!
thats after we own it
of course, not before!
"Please send us your gold"
cos' we've got the least
& the cost of our Weapons
has really increased!
"Please send us your gold"
For more information
go to Bull****.com



Soft and Malleable John James

What a marvellous being you are Dave
To have friends like Rupert and Lord Ashcroft
Who can buy you the power you’ve long craved...
From your Nivea gaze you look quite soft -
And as malleable as a face mask -
Which I secretly think you are wearing,
To contain Thatcher’s face in a news cask
And to keep every trace of her hair in...
So they’ve bought you more votes than the others,
And will rob the nest clean through their cookoo,
As you stand on those steps with your lover -
Tweeting out about how we should trust you!
While the person you thought was the big joke...
You’ve selected to be your right hand bloke!!!


Canyon Pippa Hennessy

Points of quartz and granite
tear my fingertips.

I cling to you like a stunted tree
whose leaves have dried
and blown

It hurts more than falling

so I let go
                 and drop
                                         I plunge

into the river’s itch
to carve channels
leading somewhere

         I grow shale
layers pressing millennia
As I mould them into you.

I have become
the gulf
the walls.

From ‘Into The River’, the UON
Student Anthology, Jubilee Press, 2010        


Untitled A Catterall

While we have been waiting
Wonderful things
Have been happening
All around

New plants have grown
While the old have died
Quietly through the night

The bottles have all
Been moved to the side

The gate to the door
Locked behind us
The windows have let life in
And sent sorrow out
To the birds who have carried
It many miles away

While we have been left
The world has turned over
One thousand times
While our bodies
Have not had to move
But to breathe
Though the night
And then


Honouring the Boy Villayat ‘SnowMoon-Wolf’ Sunkmanitu

I remember going to my first unit by train,
In my best blues and white hat,
Shoes like mirrors,
Creases you could cut paper with.
A young man realising the ambitions of a boy.
Nothing was impossible,
Everything was up for grabs.
There were hurdles of racism,
But I’d overcome them so far,
The whistle and the two stripes were mine,
I couldn’t be denied,
Having worked hard,
Pushing my levels of endurance.
Creating a new path for myself,
Where I decided the route,
Or so I thought.
I smile at the 5, 13, 17 and 22 year old boy with fondness,
I let him fulfil his desires now,
Without internal hurdles.
As for the hurdles placed by society,
We’ll go over or around them when we can,
And when we want to.
© Villayat ‘SnowMoon-Wolf’ Sunkmanitu, from ‘Words of a Wolf’,
SnowMoonWolf, 2010


And finalleh, here's some more book reviews but this time by ppl who tek themsens too seriousleh. And before yeh ask meh, yes his real name is Wolf and no I haven't had him. Not yet. Lol! x   



Heartland Anthony Cartwright Tindal Street Press, £7.99
England are playing Argentina in the 2002 World Cup. A crowd eagerly gathers in a Cinderheath pub, desperate for something to be proud of. Across the city, a mosque is being built on the site of the once-iconic steelworks that define a way of life gone by. ‘The Tipton Three’ from down the road are banged up in Guantanamo Bay, the BNP are on the prowl and a controversial Sunday league football match between a local Muslim team and white kids from a deprived area looks set to ‘spark a race war’. This cleverly interwoven narrative eloquently captures the demise of the New Labour project through a vast array of believable characters clogging up the arteries of this all too familiar and disgracefully forgotten heartland. James Walker


Vintage Maxine Linnell Five Leaves, £5.99
This young adult novel is a ‘Freaky Friday’ style body swap that sees two seventeen year olds switch lives between 1962 and 2010. The girls, Holly and Marilyn, each go through a convincing range of emotional responses to their parallel personal journeys that keeps you turning the page to discover how they will cope. Sense of time is evoked through the small details such as the conversations, clothes and responses of friends. The narrative itself is straight forward in its delivery, accessible to most readers, but with a few quirks and subtleties that will please a more demanding audience. A must for fans of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. To read an interview with Maxine, see here Adele Harrison



Words of a Wolf – Poetry of a Veteran Villayat ‘SnowMoon-Wolf’ Sunkmanitu
Wolf Photography, £6.99
Sunkmanitu’s inspirational first collection of poetry and photography was created partly as a coping mechanism for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an illness he contracted after serving in the armed forces. Using his creative work to raise awareness of this debilitating condition, he discusses his mixed experiences of Mental Health services, poignantly outlining his frustration in Circling the Drain. The poem Bottles and Bricks vividly details traumatic incidents from his time in Northern Ireland: ‘Parents stand behind their children, The first brick sails through the air…’ while other writing describes his quest for healing and peace of mind. Sunkmanitu’s desire to shed light on issues faced by veterans living with PTSD makes for a moving and informative read and is the perfect accompaniment to Simon Armitage’s The Not Dead. Aly Stoneman


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