Instructions for a Dissident

A poem for that time of year, by Rob Schackne


First, do not (whatever you do)

organise yourselves into perfect cells

it’s a dead giveaway, other people talk

plus, resist creating any magical crowds


Second, do not talk to the bigmouths

even if their conscience is a lighthouse

or if the one you want is really the funny wife

they’ll spill all the beans you don’t have


Broken Scotch

A poem for lovers (and haters) of single malts – by Anthony Tao


To clean up a bottle of good whisky

        you have to get your hands dirty.

                Never mind how

seven hundred milliliters of Aberlour

        crashed onto my quarry-tile floor,

where it cried in the grief of shore widows

        an elegy for sea salt, shire boughs,

                        and citrus notes.

Inspire with the nose of the finger

        saturated earth off the burn,

the spirit of the air in highland mist.

        Tactile perception is truest.


Let's Drink!

A poem channeling the spirit of Li Bai – by Stephen Nashef


– A translation (loosely speaking) of Li Bai's 将进酒 (Jiāngjìn Jǐu) written with the intention of being read loudly, with slurred consonants, at a room full of people with bellies full of rum. [part of Writers & Rum night]

The Yellow River crashes down from the sky;

watch it heave toward the sea never to return,

and that beautiful face of yours,

which might yet engage a few

beautiful people into beautiful encounters;

watch it wither in front of your eyes

in the flawed glass of some decorated mirror.

Watch your brilliant hair disappear into scalp.

And watch the yellow river crash forever into the sea.

If you've got a heart, by God be happy!

and never let that moon look down upon

an empty glass in your hand.

Rice Fields

A poem by Tom Mangione



To Lu Xun, From The Iron House

A poem by Rob Schackne


Locked inside the iron house

Seventeen others are snoring

There are no windows anywhere

No ventilation means we’re dying