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17 Melbourne Road

Oliver Reynolds

‘A room at the top of the street / preserving his life in sunlight’

6 March 1989

Salman Rushdie

‘Damn, brother. You saw what they did to my face? / Poked out my eyes. Knocked teeth out of place’.

A Cloudless Sky

Michael Dickman

‘A cloudless sky and I’m back / an ice-cold sky-blue rag / for my eyes’

A Meeting of Minds with Henry David Thoreau

Andrew Motion

‘What am I doing here more than looking – / which I would stop / only to help things through their vanishing’

A Spell For Going Safely Forth By Day

Jynne Martin

‘The hunter pushes a bullet beneath his tongue to fix his aim, / or is it to stave off his thirst?

Abingdon Square Park

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

‘I once had had a thought / About a thought I once had had’

Accidental

Sadaf Halai

‘Of the 36 views of Fuji, this one is the strangest: / the great wave off Kanagawa, frozen and tempestuous, / both sound and silence.’

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Falaq in Corpus Christi / Whose name means Dawn’

All the Good Help

Togara Muzanenhamo

‘He will not understand her fascination / for rain, these summer months of water / that somehow keep the money coming in’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

Après

Jamie McKendrick

‘greener / for an alien crop of hogweed higher / than us’

At Thirty

Paula Bohince

‘At thirty, I fled from my life / in a hailstorm and firestorm’

Beyond Sunset

Mary Ruefle

‘Red sadness never appears sad . . . it appears in flashes of passion, anger, fear, inspiration and courage, in dark unsellable visions; it is an upside down penny concealed beneath a tea cosy.’

Bianca Burning

C.K. Williams

‘The sexual terror lions are roaring into my ears as I make my way between their cages’

Biographical Detail

Ángel González Muñiz

‘The cockroaches in my house complain because I read at night’.

Bird of Fire

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

‘No more, no longer the sweet difference / Between real and dream I knew.’

Black Against the Sky, the Giant Mothers

Selima Hill

‘Black against the sky the giant mothers / are whispering together in the moonlight’

Blue Sky Thinking

Gillian Clarke

‘Let’s do this again, ground the planes for a while and leave the runways to the racing hare.’

Blueberries

James Lasdun

‘I’m talking to you old man. / Listen to me as you step inside this garden’

Citizen

Claudia Rankine

‘Certain moments send adrenaline to the heart, dry out the tongue’

Coming Night

James Schuyler

‘what did you think of, / how long did you wait’

Cooley High: 1991

Aracelis Girmay

‘Please stay with me as I / replay the last touch.’

Coronation

Gillian Allnutt

‘We waited quietly for the Queen who wasn’t there’

Crusoe

Salman Rushdie

‘Let me tell you, boyo, bach: I love this place’

Cyan

Paul Farley

‘I’m holding out. / I’m blue in the face.’

Demeter

Fiona Benson

Up in shorn Drake’s Meadow the hay bales shine. / They’re sheathed in plastic tubing and the plastic / is slack at each end then tight round the bale / like a film.

Dilation

Ben Lerner

‘We need to harness the vaguely erotic disappointment that attends the realization you aren’t being followed’

Dog Days

James Lasdun

‘Blizzard died. I’m remembering / his limitless affection’

Don’t Flinch

Adrienne Rich

‘How could this still / shock or sicken you?’

Eel Tail

Alice Oswald

‘untranslatable hissed interruptions / unspeakable wide chapped lips’

Einstein on the Beach

Hugh Seidman

‘So many thugs in any century how crush them all? / All passports stamped for the underworld’

Elegy

Sean O’Brien

‘It seems there's no such thing as history. / We must have dreamed the world you've vanished from.’