Poetry Issues #9

Thursday, 05 January 2017 16:29

Poetry Issues #9 is out today. You can also read it here:





Shambling in his old-man slippers

out to the humble unkempt garden

he checked closely with the first dew

in the hanging cheap-blue plastic net

for puny craters on the smooth lard

planets of seeds and dried mealworms

to see if any sparrows had come

or if he would spend the winter alone.




His Greatest Act


He had the mane, alright.

But with the untowardly stretched

pink satin shirt and strassy pants

none of the kids could really tell

that there was an old defeated lion

and not a great illusionist trying

to escape the burning iron cage.




New Paganism


We are so eager to become

nothing but bodies

freed from the hold of endless excuses.

Carnal pleasures aren’t for the fainthearted.


We are so eager to find peace

in the white noise

of a hangover brain. We aren’t ashamed.

This is only a primordial ritualistic instinct.


Quiet people are afraid of Chaos

but they seem to forget

that he gave birth to their cherished Day,

that wry officeholder with the glowing teeth.




The Gigolo Triptych




She dismissed it as

disruption. A waterfall

in a dried up land.




He lowered his head

as his hands smoothed along in

search of her wallet.




She invested in

a more trustworthy asset:

Church-cut dignity.




A Love Story


In the heart of the city

that doesn’t have a heart

I followed the lamplights

for one last time.

The oracle had told me

that a black river ran

through you

and hope had to cross it.

I paddled up the mucous dream-stuff

up to the city’s poisoned hills.

You were nowhere to be found.



[You can read about the project and find other issues here.]

Published in news

Poetry Issues #7

Friday, 04 November 2016 14:28

The seventh issue is out. If you can't get the printed version, you can still read it here:




It’s a beautiful day, outside

One of the last, if not the last


Before a heavy winter sets in

I like to think of windless autumn


Days as rare, and endangered

They make the wait more puzzling


What am I waiting for – perhaps a force

To make me – step outside



Family Values


Happiness was a bottle

of iridescent soap water

meant to burst in bubbles

on my mother’s marble floor.

She was annoyed and banished

from our common home

what she saw as stains.

She, who mercilessly counted

good times in fridge magnets.



In Flight


I looked suspicious.

My heart was in the hidden

pocket of my bag.


I forgot to put

my breathing mask on before

I turned to help you.


Falling, the dancing

lights on a welcoming sea

told me I belonged.


Pain was the red paint

on Claude Monet’s poppy field

in Musée d’Orsay.





Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.

Raised by chip factories, we’d grown virtual feet.

Our time was running out like early morning coffee

and patience was the throbber on our loading screens.


Raised by chip factories, we'd grown virtual feet

and the first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange.

Patience was the throbber on our loading screens

until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms.


The first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange

but it shook off our belief in confined square spaces.

Until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms

our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism.


What shook off our belief in confined square spaces

was the flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves.

Our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism

and we just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.


The flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves

while time was running out like early morning coffee.

We just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.

Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.



Dinner for the Wolves


If I were a daube de boeuf

at an intellectual dinner table

would I find purpose and pride in

being eaten and praised and escorted

with pinot noir straight out of Burgundy


or would I try to crawl off the silver plate

daring to blotch the too white linen

and then straight off into some

drain leading to the gutter

where I would call out

my revolution?



[Read more about the project.]



Published in news

Poetry Issues #6

Monday, 03 October 2016 16:12

Ladies and gentlemen, Poetry Issues #6 is out:




The Screw


It was waiting for me, on the kitchen table

full of suggestion and gleam. It wanted

to be pressed hard on the wooden floor.

Its whole body begged to be twisted.


My moves were decisive. My expression

said it all, in a low grunt of womanly power.

Dominant in nature, I didn’t mind the sweat:

It validated my consistent, punctual effort.


I thought we were aligned – reciprocally

understood. But in a moment’s glimpse

it snapped, and rolled under the low couch.

Now, I have to find myself another screw.



The World Scaled Down


When I was fifteen, we lived on a lane

of big fir trees and low, curtained windows.

The lonely man on the corner once bought

a little cactus he placed on the mantel.

Passing by for school I waived at it, as

some children will befriend anything.

Within a few weeks I saw it wrinkle

and shrink in monumental misery.

I felt the impulse to knock on his door

but still feared the myths plaguing people.

“What kind of person let’s a cactus die

of drought?” I asked my mom distressed one day.

“The kind of person that also kicks his blind dog”

she said and turned to bake food casually.





In a way, it was a rite of passage

to qualified motherhood:

The fantasy of the steaming

fresh-baked bread and

the lemony glove next

to a matching apron.

And before that, the satisfaction

of the kneading hand

in slow motion, suspending

particles of flour pushed away

by the fluffy dough explosion.



Terza Rima for the Unhappily Married


You think that war is the ultimate carnage

that wakes in a man the blood-thirsty beast.

Wait ‘til you’ve seen the perfect marriage.


Wearing white in their coming-of-age feast

lies choose almond cake and harpsichord tunes

that you dance to, when your better half insists.


Cagey comfort turns you numb and immune

to the slow death of your once-flaming lust.

Soon you learn to mask silent rage with croons.


Absurdities bullet out of your mouth just as

last-minute, habitual lovers appear alluring

under the flattering light of a compulsive past.


To the downward spiral there is no ending

until you cry “revenge” and make for the landing.



The Hysteria of Fräulein von R.


He would press my head’s cross with his thumb

and instruct me to remember. He put on

such a show

with the pretext of conjuring up

forgotten memories. Once,

he turned me into a puppet

with his induced somnambulism

just to prove an argument.


He was so full of himself.


To get rid of him, I pretended

the paresthesia in my legs had left me.

He was contented, proclaimed me cured

and freed me of his presence.


But on some quiet nights the pain returns

out of the blue, as strong as ever.





[If you want to learn more about Poetry Issues, check the press release.]



Published in news

Poetry Issues #5

Thursday, 01 September 2016 14:24

The September issue is out now. Read it here:





In sarcastic punishment

the word hangs from its hinges

like a rusty sign turned upside down

flapping due to unstoppable winds

in the flat desert sands of civilization

losing its meaning like it never had

personal history. Its essence hovering

projecting wraithlike visions

of what might have been.



Evenings with Grandma


Among the reassuring roundness of buttons

in the churchly silence of the haberdashery

I examined with the stern brow of the assessor

treasures in mother of pearl and carved ivory.


Along the hollow spools of silken thread

that tied me to nothing but minuter tints

of damask red and cobalt blue, I contemplated

on their amaranthine possibilities for coalescing.


At home, I danced away to the airy scissors snips

and the fast, unsteady beat of the sewing machine.

On the pincushion I did my little voodoo thing

wore a thimble and pronounced my pointer queen.





An acute change of

wardrobe. Never seen flowers

thirsting for the sun.





From all the ghosts that

haunt me, the ones I fear the

most are still alive.



A Break-Up in Late Thirties


She tried to gather her thoughts

in a single confrontational sentence

while the children slept in their cots.


She dressed the table in blue polka dots

brewing on her need for acceptance

as she tried to gather her thoughts.


She cleaned the fridge and paired the socks

but her eyes never strayed from the entrance,

while the children slept in their cots.


She decided, dusting her chipped teapots,

that the cheap ones have greater endurance,

and then tried to gather her thoughts.


Under the louder than life kitchen clock

she thought she heard a car in the distance.

Meanwhile, the children slept in their cots.


Petting the faithful, warm-breathed dog,

the only male who was still of assistance,

she tried to gather her thoughts.


Her husband came at midnight and brought

a loaf of cold bread and a bag of repentance.

She was waiting with gathered thoughts

and the children still slept in their cots.



The Monks


For forty years, in utter silence and candlelight

the three of them worked copiously in their cells

with the tomes of hellenistic philosophy.

Their indoctrinated quills were ablaze

while copying Aristotle’s unmoved mover

and Plato’s conforming form of the good.


But on Epicurus there were long pauses

for there was a worm in the heretic’s words

eating out the apple of unquestioned devotion.


The hegumen kept his raven eye on them

sensing how they shook their fatigued heads

in dread and understanding. The rest went about

their common business of trade, intrigue, and prayer.


Longing for the Garden of their secret faith,

in their deathbed they didn’t call for priests

but for one of the agriculturists, and asked

for gardenias and lemon trees to be planted

above their unsung, shameful graves.






Published in news

Poetry Issues

Friday, 14 February 2020 00:00






Read the latest poetry issue (#28)!



Poetry Issues is a poetry and visual art project that began in 2016. Until the end of 2019 a small pamphlet of five to six poems was being printed along an online publication on a monthly (issues 1-12) or bimonthly basis (issue 13-21), with a drawing accompanying the pieces, and was distributed in several European cities, starting from The Hague and reaching regularly Leiden, Malmö and Lund, and occasionally Liverpool, Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen and Athens, thanks to the invaluable help of good friends. The project has been the topic of an interview and the pamphlet has also been exhibited


From January 2020 the project changed shape, as every poem came with its dedicated visual art piece. Printed materials were handed out again – this time not in the form of pamphlets but as postcards – and up to #26 (December 2022) the issues came out as a bundle of five poems and five visual works. 


The project has been increasingly growing and changing: The use of diverse publishing formats and much experimentation, the addition of new dimensions such as audio and video in #26 (2022), the gradually growing integration of text and image, the desire to go further with assemblage and object creation demand that every individual piece has enough time and space to grow. Therefore, from 2023 onward poetry issues becomes a journal and a bulletin for single, separate works.

Here you can read poetry issues #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, and #27.






Published in poetry

Poetry Issues #4

Monday, 13 June 2016 19:55


Poetry Issues #4 is out there, and in here too:





Under embalmed squirrels and framed Jesus Christs

vast world maps with the USSR and Czechoslovakia,

under roofs that leaked on glossy hospital-pistachio walls

child eyes rolled outside tall windows on the concrete yard

where allies were chosen and enemies constructed

as demanded by parades in mid-length skirts

and blue-white flags so big that only boys could lift them.

By the blackboard the chalk flakes still landed like snow

on the thyme-honey-haired girl with the red barrette:

I will never climb on the fig tree again.

The Dying Art of Restoration


I don’t know for how much longer

I will be able to fix things.


My swift fingers are cemented

in the once dripping glue.


Now I’ve only got my thumbs left –

a true crustacean with hard-shell woes.


I will crudely mend another gimcrack

before some mishap makes me watch


tacky friendships smash like bibelots

in my life’s living room.

The Shakespearean Prophecy


You will raise your children on free-range ambition,

lull them in the cradle with sonatas of success.

Like race horses, they’ll have a taste for competition

but you will find that their minds quite often digress

and bend under the brewing threat of mediocrity.

Concerned, you will then use your means to devise

a stratagem rooted in sincere parental hypocrisy

as your offsprings will hunt a vacant glittered prize

or seek arduous relief in codependent relationships.

They’ll spend small fortunes in mindfulness remedies

make gods of psycho-gurus trying to come to grips

with panic attacks and other acquired emergencies.

Your greatest investment will lose much of its equity

but you’ll always save face with industrious charity.



Those twilight moments,

when neither here nor there saves

you stay still and hark.

Temperature Rising


I am the grumpy one.

The one who flinches at the sun.


Hot summers should be banned

along with bronze tans.


Since all association was removed

from counting ice creams and dips in blue


in the sunswept nooks of memory resides

the transparent smell of the moribund.


And I – I keep my dead roses in the vase

unwilling to accept or to part.


Next issue: September 2016

Published in news

Poetry Issues #3

Saturday, 07 May 2016 17:00


May’s Poetry Issues is out, including “Platamon” by Alexandra Mouratidou.


Along with The Hague and Malmö, I am pleased to announce that a small number of copies of the current and previous issues are distributed to a selected audience for the first time in Berlin, thanks to the publishing professional and co-founder of Litdocs and the Literary Field Kaleidoscope, Dr. Sandra van Lente, and in Liverpool, thanks to the curator and visual artist Jenny Porter, some of whose work you can admire here.


And if you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can still enjoy the content of Poetry Issues #3 right here:



The end of our affairs


We’d like to fold them up in a neat

bedsheet-in-drawer manner

but they’re a roomful

of hopelessly knotted yarn.


So we set them on fire in the yard.


We resume our conversations

with ashes-on-mantel earnesty

then stuff them in shoe boxes

at the back of the garage.


So we get to keep the advantage.


In cardboard urns we align the has-beens

the would-be husbands we never miss

but then we judge it inefficient

as it all comes down to mass.


So we finally throw them in the trash.



I asked him to tell me once again

about the death of stars.

He went up and down the room

and I stayed focused on his arms

that broke into a dance against

the stubbornness of time,

tracing harmony and flow

back to when

each loose moment had the stamp

of the movement of the sun.



by Alexandra Mouratidou

The evening leans

the sea shies behind a fan:

geranium red.


A Child’s Solace


A memory of

forever invincible

young parents laughing.


Mirror Image


It took me years of staring

at a flat map


before I saw

the night’s stereogram


as firefly lights descended their strings

one by one


and surfaced to the unlit soul

of the one staring.


Interrogation Triolet


The empty pages forced me to confess

to all the murders that I didn’t do.

The pen is now resting on my chest.

The empty pages forced me to confess

insisting that we made some progress

before the late-night shift was due.

The empty pages forced me to confess

to all the murders that I didn’t do.

Published in news

Poetry Issues #2

Friday, 08 April 2016 13:51

The second issue is out, featuring the Greek poet Alexandra Mouratidou, who lives and creates in Malmö, Sweden. Again, if you can't get your hands on a printed copy of the pamphlet, either in The Hague or in Malmö, you can still enjoy its content here:





Oh, I get the Flemish masters, now. Why

it’s always three quarters rampant sky or

a biblical sea crashing ships filled to

the gills with apples from China. I get

the art-nouveau postures of disfigured

trees reaching towards the promise of a

future sold through foolproof far-fetched words like

bioscoop and magnetron, and regal

swans chasing seagulls in rainy cobbled

streets – a mental note of life’s absurdity –

the rulers of the waterways losing

feathers like pillows dusted with long rods

letting off shrills carried through loud, defunct

chimneys. This is the place I’ll learn to miss.




                by Alexandra Mouratidou


I’m scared of secrecy, silence, and sighs

the muted thoughts, the faceless sounds

and what does the unuttered hide.

Do words die out with time like past’s incense?

Soon, “I love you” will become a shroud you wear,

forgetting when or how­.

Dad died. But since the years have passed

it’s like the phrase has died.

Words die.

Just like a fallen star, an embryo, that hope,

the tears that have gone dry, the years behind –

Words wear banalities mostly when they’re cold.

Sometimes, they’re bored and tend to lie.

Words fly. At times, they choose to abandon all

their fateful sense.

The rebellious ones diverge:

They fall from poetry’s cliff revived.

Adolescence in Small Town


They were coming back from the church:

None of them believed in much of anything

but it was Good Friday. From around the corner

there ringed the laugh of the easy girls,

a silver bell calling paupers to charity supper.

Eager, the boys turned their untempered backs

on the spring wind, to light hand-rolled cigarettes

bought for a copper and a half each

by some older brother. They were fixing

their baby rockabilly quiffs,

ready to make an entrance and if there needed be

a scene, when a father’s bobbing belly came panting

and chased them down the road

thrusting insults mixed with warm spit.

The poor bastards ran like demons on that holy night.


Morbid Sensitivity


The crippling effect

of human interaction:

I take it all in.


I’m like sunglasses

with no filter to reflect

those carcinogens.


No good can ever

come from a self-image clung

on passer-by frowns.

Dear Contemporary Art Gallery


You are unequivocally clinical,

with blinding whites and cold spotlights,

and your wine is lukewarm and papery dry.

Your Django Reinhardt live nights

are of conservatorial principle

and your well-ironed guests will kindly abide

by smoking only outside. But art is a log cabin

in the thick dark woods, not a sterile science lab

for measuring and tagging pure consumer goods

– and it’s known for being moody and quite cynical.

Published in news

Poetry Issues #1

Monday, 07 March 2016 20:07

So, Poetry Issues is out into the world! Nothing competes with paper but at least, if you can’t get your hands on a printed copy, you can still read the content of the first issue:

Job Search in Athens


Dreams die choked by job listings

soaked in strong communication and

numerical skills, overwhelmed by

excellent multitasking, tangled in

risk management drills.

Notably unadaptable

and lacking in combed manners

dreams cannot develop

concise and comprehensible content.

Completely uninformed on proper

social and business etiquette

and not client-oriented at all, dreams

die with near-native English

for a competitive thousand

to thirteen hundred monthly gross.

Black Cat, White Dog


Improbable friendships flourish

on freshly mowed backyard lawns.

Stencil flower fabrics host nightly

cuteness contests for a place

close to the lady’s painted toes.


We chase butterflies together

lick each other’s furs under the sun

in a mutually profitable agreement

valid for as long as you

keep your paws off my food.



They say we are Millennials.

That’s how they flatter

us, the Big Pharma Generation

of Seroquel and Ambien

Ritalin and Risperdal.


Where there’s a need there’s

a way, and now you can even

tame that crude, primeval kick:

Try Adderall – They say it does

miracles for lack of concentration.




Refugee Haiku


Now trending: The trade

of man-made pain washed upon

a picture-blue shore.




Repressed Tanka


Drunken you order

a Sex on the Beach and text

your ex to let her

know your blind date is coming

oh yes, she’s cum-cum-cumming.






when the sun



a soft breeze



the face of the earth


Published in news
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