Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-SEVEN – Cato Pedder


It’s all very well watching documentary film
with its true untrue stories, its old fake rhymes

of man versus man and good versus evil, or retelling
how on the screen the man was split open

like fruit and how he moaned Mama Mama,
how all our mamas – poor crooked beings –

how they all hand down some small gesture, some hand
to a hot forehead, it’s all very well but fruitless

to say that now when the seed in the dark soil
is bone seed and what will spring from it

are warriors of darkness or so it seems in these days
of endless dusk when all we were is ending and all

we will be is lost, these talismans worth no more
than an apple lovingly cored and sliced on a plate.

Virunga (director Orlando von Einsiedel, 2014) is a documentary film about rangers in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and their fight (often to the death) to protect the last mountain gorillas from armed militia, poachers and oil men attracted by the discovery of a vast oil reserve under the park.

Cato Pedder is a former reporter with 15 years’ experience writing non-fake news for national newspapers in the UK and South Africa. She is now writing a work of literary journalism alongside poems and reviews poetry at website Write Out Loud. As a dual UK-US citizen she is currently exposed on two fronts.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-SIX – Sara Elkhawad

Again America Great Let’s Make

here we lie on our young beautiful piece of arse
drooling at your daughter, your fake tan, your farce
corona in left hand, built a wall higher than your IQ
‘My dick is big. Be assured. My hands are bijou
and toasty warm in climate change. That’s gay
by the way. As are my fabulous friends by the way
I love the blacks! when they’re trodden, roughed up,
lives forgotten. I love the muslims! but they blew-up
7/11. I watched – my eyes moved to Beyoncé’s pussy,
just. One. Grab. Those words were disgusting, unsavoury
of Jay-Z’s. We fill up arenas the old-fashioned way:
taking money out of your fat arse pockets
and giving you the old trump bullshit

I pledge to every citizen
that I will be president for all Americans.
It’s going to be a beautiful thing.’

Sara Elkhawad is a student at Newcastle University and is studying English Literature. She has been writing poetry from a young age since being published in a young person’s anthology entitled Chasing Shadows. Her poetry is influenced by her English and Sudanese background.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-FIVE – Sandeep Parmar & James Byrne

The Wakeful Trump of Doom Must Thunder Through the Deep

(‘On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity Compos’d 1629’ – Milton)

The Fool – Sean Spicer

The face you are looking at no longer exists.
On message
then on cue,
fanning the rage script.
First deny, then deny.
Braced like a quarterback.
Apostle in warpaint.

The High Priestess – Kellyanne Conway

Pollster at the goalposts, pulling
For the slow-witted striker plagued
By bone-spurs. A mastermind
Of massacre, queen of borrowed light
In her crown of horns. Gnostic
Interviewee, confounding facts
With their alternatives.

The Magician – Reince Priebus

High-wire adjudicator
Of ‘American values’ vs. Growth
and Opportunity Projects.
Nicknamed ‘rancid’, but
Dick to his friends—
The tea-parties of Wisconsin.
‘I was once a man’, he declares
pulling something familiar
from under his cloak
and snapping its neck.

The Empress – Melania Trump

I am gold—see my son, he is also gold.
It is his mother tongue.
1600 Pennsylvania Ave is just an address.
A dress is just a way into a woman.
A woman is just a means to an end.
An end is a wife who never says never.

The Emperor – Donald Trump

Nuclear comma splice—in the year
Of the fire rooster. Caligula at the chapel
Of himself, neurosyphilitic, sexual sadist,
Horse as counsellor, sisters in his bed.
Terrible omen, a reign of four years.
This card rises to the top like heat,
Like the blast from a furnace.

The Hierophant – Paul Ryan

Orderly for anything but the coldness of failure.
This card, placed upside down, means the victory
of restriction. Belief in a God occulted by man.
He is a metalogical jostler, in the traditional sense.
Positioning sticky, he applies himself
to hero sacrifice and other peculiar seekings.

Justice – Jeff Sessions

Trellis of hate. Lynch power.
Left-hand bridesmaid to Justice.
Something old. Something borrowed
Something fated, raised like a standard
Or burned ceremoniously. Something blue.

The Devil – Steve Bannon

The harbourmaster’s sudden oar.
The overstir of an invisible hand.
Evil or injur’d merit, serpent or martyr.
This card is impervious as any recruiter
of terror. Hear war whistle from the sea.

Temperance – Nigel Farage

Whatever needs feeding is feeding on you.
Upright uprightness.
Downright excess.
A regular mucky Bombardier
in a four million semi.
Temperance to Emperor signifies
blind domination,
a vomitus grimace in the gold lift.

The Tower – Theresa May

Beware a woman bearing Royal Invitations.
Beware sharing a bed with Empire
or other genocidal dictators.
Beware the special relationship colour
CODE RED. Beware she who offers her hand
To the tyrant stumbling with vertigo,
her house crown-roofed,
her tower contorting with fire.



Sandeep Parmar is a poet, critic and Senior Lecturer in English and Co-Director of the Centre for New and International Writing at the University of Liverpool. Her books include Eidolon (Shearsman, 2015), The Marble Orchard (Shearsman, 2012) and scholarly editions of Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees (Carcanet, 2011) and Selected Poems of Nancy Cunard (Carcanet, 2016).
James Byrne is a poet, editor and translator and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. His poetry collections include Everything Broken Up Dances (Tupelo Press, 2015), White Coins (Arc Publications, 2015), and Blood/Sugar (Arc Publications, 2009). His translations of Burmese poets, Bones Will Crow, was published in 2012 by Arc. He is Editor of The Wolf. 

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-THREE -Ross Wilson

A Pint In Plato’s Cave

Sometimes the stories we tell
cast shadows on the wall.
On the big screen, Mel
fought for freedom while
the flesh and blood, warts n’ all
Wallace flayed de Cressingham
to make a scabbard for his sword
out of the treasurers skin.

I remember arguing with a man
who had a badge of Lenin
on his bunnet. We were in a place known
as Little Moscow. He had a pish stain
on his jeans. The colour of his lager
made me imagine his brain
was a catheter his tongue
would drain.

I prefer to get drunk on beer
than ideas filtering down through a bar.
What’s propaganda but hot air?
There’s no left or right to shite –
~stink diffuses far and wide,
and where fuses are short
explosions are inevitable;
even Jesus kicked over a table.

It takes a foot on the ground
to give abstractions a kicking.
It takes a boot rising up
to make cracks in the wall
for light to spill in.
Plaster and paint them as you will,
sometimes the stories we tell
cast shadows over us all.


Ross Wilson has published a pamphlet of poems The Heavy Bag (Calder Wood Press, 2011). A full collection is due via Smokestack Books in 2018. Several of his poems appeared in Aiblins, a 2016 anthology of Scottish political poetry.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-TWO – Gillian Mellor


You amplify damage which used to be local.
Your inflammatory markers highlight
the severity of infection.

They concentrate around troublesome sites,
open up susceptible vessels so wide eyes roll
into the backs of heads. There are observations.

There are record lows. Pain is rated
as a score of one to ten. Hearts race.
Temperature spikes. This is your fault.

Abnormal becomes systemic without challenge.
You hold our swollen tongues. They wedge between
your fingers: for the moment, useless as thought.



Gillian Mellor now lives in Moffat and co-owns the Moffat Bookshop. She has had work published in Southlight, The Fankle and online.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY-ONE – Charles G Lauder Jr.


There’s a river that runs behind the house
where most go to murder,
hands around the throat, head held down.

A day doesn’t go by when a body
isn’t being dragged to the water’s edge.
There’s not much resistance as I stare

at the back of the empty skull; I never
look at the face—all complete strangers.
One could be my family but I’ll never know.

I rummage through the pockets
before the current takes them away
and then go back inside for dinner.

Some are of color, some pale.
I never give a thought to ghosts
or what their life was like.

It’s a fair assumption I wouldn’t
have liked them. At some point
they probably would have shot me

or my kin, or stolen from me. So much
of what I have is less than what
my father and grandfather had.



Charles G Lauder Jr was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and has lived in the UK since 2000. His poems have appeared internationally, and he was highly commended in the 2015 Stanza Poetry Competition. His pamphlet Bleeds was published in 2012 by Crystal Clear Creators. His forthcoming pamphlet Camouflaged Beasts will be published in spring 2017 by Black Light Engine Room. He is the Assistant Editor for the poetry journal The Interpreter’s House.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY TWENTY – Penelope Shuttle

Melania Fair

Oh Melania!    Silent soulful Melania!
You speak six languages but your silence persists.
What are you thinking, my lovely?

Statuesque Melania!    Tallest girl in Slovenia!
Tall as Michelle O or Eleanor R!
Beautiful secretive Melania!

Simon Cowell was a wedding guest.
So were Hil n Bill.
Your immobilizing wedding-gown was soon shed,

for its embroidery weighed a ton.
There’s a tad of Morticia Adams ’bout you, Queen Melania,
you’ve cast your spell on me!

Oh that Inauguration smile of yours!
Thy rose hath no canker, Super-duper Melania,

Do you suspect how subject old men are to lying?
Is that what your silence is saying?

Daughter of far Novo Mesto,
Sibyl of the fashion and cosmetics world,
let me be the dust under your shoe.

No one in my hearing will dare call you
a hollow pampered jade,
or fie you from news both fake and true.

While your lord and master mammocks away
to the general weariness of the world,
how do you spend your days, sweet Melania,

what vistas of horror and regret
behold through those hand-crafted lashes?
Ah but you persist, my gorgeous Flotus,
as doth the raven o’er the infected house.

Is your heart a stone?  If he should strike it,
will it hurt his hand?  Let us hope.

I don’t think you plan
to sing the sweetness out of that bear.
Instead you’ll wait till your mockery king of snow
melts to a White House puddle.

Then you’ll walk away, my Melania.

(with thanks to W.S. and J.M.)


Penelope Shuttle was born in 1947 in Middlesex, and has lived in Falmouth, Cornwall since 1970. Her first full-length poetry collection was The Orchard Upstairs (1980). This has been followed by several further collections, including: The Lion from Rio (1986); Taxing the Rain (1992); Building a City for Jamie (1996); and A Leaf Out of His Book (1999). A book of her Selected Poems: 1980-1996, was published in 1998. She has also written several novels and non-fiction books. Her eleventh collection of poetry, Will You Walk a Little Faster?, will appear from Bloodaxe Books in 2017.