Highly Commended Category
Congratulations to the following poets who were recognised in the highly commended category. Read their poems below plus interview with poet Patrick Preston:
'The Fuck Tree' - Patrick Preston
Mosquitos dance to bare flesh,
and taking blood from a stranger under stars
seems darker. Men tramp new lines along tissues
of unforgotten paths to unspoken others
who haunt in signs towards touch
in gloaming faces you’ll never know
and ruined looks given back
to where I come, guilty again,
bottles sunk in a circle around a bonfire
of history. Derek, Thom, warm joints disappeared
against cold nights blind down here
spent hours disconnect days still
fade to fear and blue screens
cast strange wounds up against that oak un-
rooted while raw faces turn
to gold behind fags
'Divining the Pipes' - Stacey Forbes
On the quietest nights I shower with ghosts,
or the voices of ghosts, anyway.
Water dropped on porcelain
breaks in strangely human tones.
Listen: the stream babbling
over your body breathes
goodbye in other tongues
that leave you clean – but
leave you nonetheless.
Ruminations of rain rushed in
from what was once a field echo
in your house’s old machinery,
uttering something you can’t
quite make out but you know
somehow could change you,
could find you again and this time
save your life. How long have
I been trying to divine the pipes?
I am not afraid of ghosts.
What terrifies me is believing
all the tender words we’ll ever
need are circling the drain.
you're bleeding because you don't floss - Catherine Hou
I had a tooth pulled out a week ago / and my mouth has been bleeding ever since /like a letter of rejection / like an unopened text / like receiving bad news right before showtime / like firing at the fox in the chicken coop / and hitting nothing / but feathers and fat / like my fingers when I sat on my bathroom floor 1:13 am fluorescent lights cheap shower curtains a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the dollar store / replacing all my teeth with broken glass / had to have my canines removed / because of an old rot in my gum line / the kind borne for generations / by my mother and grandmother and all the women / that were taught to eat in the kitchen / after serving their husbands / and fathers / at the table / unsavable said the dentist / biohazard said the dentist / when I asked if I could keep them / before replacing my bone / with titanium / and it’s like this: / I’m going to rip out / all my teeth / so I can bite you properly.
Interview with Patrick Preston...
Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing...
Patrick Preston is a writer based in the midlands. He has a PhD in English from UEA, and writes about place, queerness, trauma, and other things.
Why did you enter this particular competition?
Because Joelle Taylor was judging it. Because Mono was recommended as Best Writing Contest for the past two years. Because I wanted to send out a queer poem and thought it might sit well with MONO.
What inspires you?
Sex and politics, the changing cityscape and how it affects marginal lives. Ephemeral queer spaces, how they take place, what they might mean.
Thom Gunn, for The Man With Night Sweats, and the way it turns loss and stigma to beautiful poetry.
Love, love, love it. Thankyou again to all who entered this year's competition and for putting such heart and soul into your entries. As a working-class journal run from the depths of one of the most deprived cities in the UK, it will never fail to be a source of joy, surprise and inspiration when we receive work of such a high calibre. We want to continue growing and being an expected beacon for the best cutting edge, contemporary literature out there.
Watch this space for Issue 3 ready to drop any day...
Peace and Light,
Kayleigh & Tina