Neighbours: NEIGHBOURS


Our first home – semi detached
Three bedrooms, big garden
Full of newly married enthusiasm
Next door people came and went.
Sometimes smiles, sometimes not
Just passing through, in transit
Waiting for a place of their own
Paying rent, temporary.
This two said nothing, no looks
But at night sounded like
World war three
Going on over there.
When he ran upstairs
It was like he was coming
Up our stairs
Lay on the bed, like our bed.
She cried, he hit something
Hit her, we thought
Once we pounded
On the dividing wall
Protesting in shock
Objecting in anger
They calmed down
For a while.
The worst night
We went round
She opened the door
Dreamlike, smiling.
‘I’m sorry’ she said
‘We get carried away’
‘You know?’
‘So sorry, so sorry’.

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David Subacchi

DAVID SUBACCHI lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots.
He studied at the University of Liverpool and is now a full time writer. David writes in English, Welsh and Italian. Cestrian Press has published his English language collections ‘FIRST CUT’ in 2012 AND ‘HIDING IN SHADOWS’ in 2014. A further collection ‘NOT REALLY A STRANGER’ is due to be published in May 2016.



Neighbours: New Years Eve

New Years Eve

Redwinekiss of red skied night
hearts aflutter but full, frostbitten of fright
eyes diminished, cold,
confused as a storm
aye, eyes worse than cold, eyes lukewarm.

Here I stand on the precipice of living
watching the sensation slip
hot, wet and red like remember me
down the throat of social alienation.
Hearts, minds, eyes as empty a midnight bus station.

The street is cold
and dry and gold from winter sun and it might be
the coldest day of the year.
I see my old acquaintances, whom
I have forgot
each passing face marked with the same fear.
Alone amongst the alone
alonetogether we begin a new year.

We really must meet for a drink soon
Ach of course of course, soon,

But what of you will not be said of me?

I have amended nothing
I have wrote these poems
I have built these walls.



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Jarlath Mulhern

I attempt to focus much of my writing upon neither the happy or sad but the indifference and
failure to connect with those around us which falls somewhere between the two. It can make for
some slightly melodramatic stuff, but I suppose we can all be guilty of that sometimes.
I am interested in poetic form and the playing with it is that which brings me the greatest joy in


If I were to write
to the widow
next door,
I might ask why
complains our yard’s
not perfect enough.
I might reminder her
what a good neighbor,
and collaborator
her husband was.
I might ask if
one knee surgery, unhealed (check)
one spouse unemployed (check)
one under-employed self, with no bennies (check)
one auto collision, with injuries (check)
and four deceased immediate-family members (check)
—all in the space of three years—
qualifies us for a gossip exemption.
I might ask why
none of this
merited her attention—
not a casserole, a sympathy card,
nor even a good wish.
I might ask her to
“Stop berating
your early 60s neighbors,
too young for Medicare,
monthly retirement
or social security checks,
but too old to get back in
on their career treks.

get off your tuffet,

grab a rake,
lend a hand.



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Denise Buschmann

Denise C. Buschmann is a freelance editor and proofreader in Carmel,
Indiana. She started writing poetry during a master’s writing class in
2009 and has never stopped. Her poetry has been published in numerous
journals in the U.S. and the U.K. Husband, Nick, and miniature
schnauzers, Cupcake and Coco, keep her grounded. She invites guests to
stop by her rarely updated blog at

Neighbours: 360


Most of these days
are giants,
where our surreal memories
space out the unnecessary pause
in between (our) letters and journeys.
I remember
only once in the middle of a conversation with the store owner’s niece,
how our lives seem to be distinctly memorised
like a routine
that guides us into a biological template
of blood and bone.
consciously handed me a fresh cup of their morning tea
just to keep me smiling –
she nodded
as she tapped on the counter hurrying to the back of the kitchen; Ten minutes later she waved goodbye and yes, I left –
I left the shop.

Walking to the car
I remember seeing a man,
coming out of a bookshop
making his way to the nearest ATM;
he looked very old and educated –
content with his hope-riddled life,
his wrinkled eyes and jittery smile
as he gripped two psychology books in his hands.

I walked to the car
placing one hand inside my pocket and noticed
another man walking to a tree;
He came and sat down on a bench underneath the shade
as if though he was thinking
about something he had remembered
once so long ago
like far away days pushed out like mountains beyond the grass.

In the evening
I sketch analogue dreams
in patterns
blowing out stars to the east
to the west.
As I take my chair
I sit outside to look at the refulgent skies
almost reflected in my coffee,
as if I can see -as if I can see my friends;
Old friends long gone,
passing through
almost arranged like the stars.
In between,
the locusts grasp the midnight frames
alongside the bed fittings, curtains and the cupboards
hatched along the Meranti doors -quiet and peering
roundly up and down the ceiling,
the broken window,
to the sounds or voices or something like that, shivering
to the full discrete shadows
staring to the half dawn.

into the room side by side,
the paint fades into golden-crystallised watermarks
filled with patches of paper dreams and body trails – close, intimately stained
next to cardboard calenders taped to a corner;
Another corner brightened by a skewed candle,
with one mattress on the floor,
one paper cup
and a book
half open near the corner of the room.

“How are you finding the neighbourhood?” asked an inquisitive neighbour.
She had baked a cake, a berry-delight & fudge cake with crushed pecans generously sprinkled on its side.
I replied.
“That’s exactly what the previous tenants said, ‘Intimate Neighbours’. You know,
rumours had it that they moved out
because they thought
they were being watched,
followed,” she chuckled,
“See that old man across the street,
he is convinced that nobody knows
this neighbourhood
like he does – a bizarre and crimpling, old figure lingering intimately
in his garden…”

A figure stood inched
at the door – wounded
like some brain-washed imposter
to enter
the strange door
which had no definitive colour or solid contours;
a door
that appeared to a stranger
as an empty room
of black
and white;
Of colourless memories
falling to the floor
in echoes of October.

I get to the post office the next day neither excited nor fazed;
To me everything still looked ‘old’ -the houses,
the automobiles and trains,
and whistles and stares
except for the quickened strides
all around;
all around with shadows
framing the sidewalks
man next to man
breathing sounds like murmurs finally, at last! I remembered once
how I seemed to enter
that room
with stillness
like I wore another man’s face
on me, close and almost perfect, hidden like a secret sleep.
This feeling as if though drawn out of me -pulled like a useless, loosening knob that as it falls to the ground I hear echo, echo

and then a perfect calm.

But then,
I remember
and think that in our journeys
when the world comes to see a faded dream,
what will it see? Or open this washed-out envelope,
what will it find?
When it remembers
all the times we stood
with our backs to the wall
facing the sun, or reminisced walks in the open fields counting backwards to none, to zero;
Our shaded memories
like black thoughts in a book,
just simply vanishing
to hours
to seconds,
to such imperceptible ideas
that cloud every sounding tree, every coffee shop, every dream and ghostly landlord perched
at the edge of his chair
waiting for his son;

Waiting for his son.

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Clementine Kganyago

Clementine: ‘We are indeed strangers – intimate ones. 360 summarises how an individual goes about his daily life in the same routine, which he inevitably notices: his own words, “To me, everything else seems old..” shows how he is used to these common strangers – that even his old friends, with whom he supposedly does not have any contact with, seem like strangers/imposters. To him, everything is pushed out into the days like far-away mountains stretched into the horizon…’

Neighbours: The Night The Lights Went Out

She took a small canvas bag
from the cupboard under the sink,
filled it with an assortment of nightlights –
vanilla, blueberry, winter spice –
added a couple of dumpy glass holders,
a box of matches, a bar of chocolate.
The house on the corner was in darkness,
the knock on the door answered
with a tentative ‘Who’s there?’
Years later, they laughed about the tea,
the water boiled in a pan on the gas ring;
the shortbread eaten straight from a tin
intended as a Christmas gift;
the chocolate eaten square by square;
the shimmering candle flames
shining light into the darkest corners.

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Angi Holden

Angi Holden is a freelance writer, whose work includes prize winning
adult & children’s poetry, short stories & flash fictions, published
in online and print anthologies. She brings a wide range of personal
experience to her writing, alongside a passion for lifelong learning,
Her family are central to her life and her research into family history
is a significant influence on her work.

Neighbours: And no-one will mention it

And no-one will mention it

Belfast 1969

Imagine terraced home, curtained room
table set neat with supper,
the radio hums.
A knock at the door
Shadows through glass
Staccato bullet-raps on wood
No curtains twitch
no-one sees, hears, speaks
Outside, shoulders square set
Balaclavas snarl, a fist punches out
a rattling can
A barrel winks, trigger oiled
‘Collecting for the lads’
Coins shake, paper unfolds
Purse empty, chest pounds
Boots to the next
door next door
through flowers and hedge
and next and
the glowing room
fat congealed on plates.

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Finola Scott

Finola Scott’s poems and short stories have won & been placed in
national competitions and are widely published in anthologies and
magazines including The Ofi Press, Hark, The Lake, Dactyl & Raum. She is
pleased to be mentored this year on the Clydebuilt scheme. A performance
poet, she is proud to be a slam-winning granny.

Neighbours: Newgate’s knocker


The knocker of Newgate prison was swathed in crepe on execution days.

‘Black as Newgate’s knocker’
my father said, banging
a last nail into the coffin of black.

He meant our neighbours.
They all came out, shades
of cinnamon, nutmeg, ebony,

to place strategic dustbins
in the street so funeral cars
could dock.

Cough-drop dark, shiny lozenges,
the limos swallowed us, our hats,
our crêpe, our stilted flowers.

How come he loved the dung-fed soil,
the bloom of berries, the bird
that stalked his spade

but never called them black?
The khaki man in the paper-shop
smiled, moist eyed ‘…always a word…

a gent, he was…’ Are 50 Shades of Grey
enough to chart the contradictions
of the human heart?

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Kate Foley

Arachne Press has just published my latest book, The Don’t Touch Garden, to be followed by a Selected and New from Shoestring Press next year. I live between Amsterdam and Suffolk and love to work collaboratively with artists in other media.