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Inspiration: a Space for Words


Ed: LMA Bauman-Milner

John Gledhill

Oz Hardwick


ISBN 978-1-909357-689-1


Indigo Dreams Publishing


Poetry and Prose Anthology


138 x 216mm


62 pages


£7.99 + P&P UK


PUB: June 2015










A Bottle of Mythos – Steve Nash

(for Sleeping Dragon Island)


The sleeping serpent owns the horizon.

His great rock back breaches the affiliation

of sky and sea,


frozen on a whim by the god of poor decisions.

The plum pit of a stone, on whose kiss he waits,

chafing ever closer.


Soon, the tideless sea will stir. His warped-wood tail

will tunnel blue into black - heritage to honour -

in the crack of his wing.


But for now, the stiff-kneed cicadas croak lustful breaths,

olives grow heavy on miscalculated branches,

mottled tourists count down final hours,


and Mythos flows more freely than myth.

There is no rush.


The dragon sleeps.





Ariel on a windy night – Andy Armitage


As I turn printed leaves

under flickering candlelight,

your last fierce breaths issue


from the spaces between word

and word, whisper through the

gaps between window and sill,


door and threshold. Uninvited,

irresistible guest – grave voice

of the airy element that twists


the most wilful of trees and

your tongue. Dead and unborn

heard the tempest that was always


at your ear, impatient for you.

But you fastened the windows,

and closed the doors before you


bent down to that virulent breath.

It lashed those leaves from you

and carried you down the path with its debris.


Now I hear your voices hiss together.  












After the Late Shift – Oz Hardwick


She is waiting for the darkness to take shape,

enter, and join her at the white table,

brushing warm lips on her cool nape.


She is waiting for the darkness to take shape,

smile, and conspire in her escape,

lead her from this life while she’s still able.


She is waiting for the darkness to take shape,

enter, and join her at the white table.




Words of Wisdom? – Caroline Bond


Should love be tough

from birth to twenty three?

Must I and we draw lines, not crossed,

pre-empting what might be,

for fear of calamity?


Should love be soft,

ensuring space and ease

and cars at just past seventeen,

protecting what we have

with our desperate willingness to please?


What child to nearly-man

emerges from this stew?


We breathe deep

and let it be.








Wordspace: a space for words; or, indeed, many spaces.


Wordspace began life as a monthly open mic night in Horsforth (Leeds), with a visiting writer and plenty of room to try out poetry, prose, comedy, sketches, magic, music, or anything else participants brought to share. Run by a rather fluid aggregation of staff and students from Leeds Trinity University, it quickly established itself as one of the most welcoming spoken word nights in the area.


Words, however, have a habit of taking on lives of their own and moving into other spaces. You can now, for example, subscribe to the Wordspace Radio channel on YouTube! And there is the book you are holding; the second Wordspace publication with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Inside, you will find a hive of words, voices buzzing with life, bearing both honey and the occasional sting. They have been contributed by Wordspace regulars, visiting writers, Creative Writing BA and MA students, and writers from across Yorkshire who have been drawn to Leeds Trinity University for events such as our annual Writers’ Festival.


In this anthology, established writers sit comfortably – or occasionally uncomfortably – alongside those whose voices are just starting to be heard. There’s flash fiction, formal verse, free verse, horror and humour. As with all Wordspace projects, no writer or genre is privileged, but I think you’ll find every piece gathered here well worth reading and rereading.

This is a space for words to do their stuff: jump in and join them.


             OZ HARDWICK

Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott – Hannah Stone


Darkness dominates; the inscribed hull

is blacker than the frame of trees.

The lantern’s out; the final candle

sighs its flame sideways.

Beneath the flourish of a prow,

waters make way.

Desire girdles the girl’s belly.


Brightness centre-stage; a bleached halo

for a face, the chin resolute.

Behind lowered lids, she sees Ophelia

squashed by floral tributes,

her sanity vanishing in the slipstream.

The Lady drops the chain

that linked her to the shore.


Boundaries abscond; the reeds rise up

but, brittle to the core, collapse.

The riverbank loses itself in ripples,

the tapestry lining the floating coffin

sinks its woven history into wet depths.

Pale with yearning,

she floats to meet her curse.





Stress – Lauren Oldacre


Rip, strip, flay the flesh

like streams of shredded wallpaper,

furled and curling desperately

from itself.


Pick, pinch, pull

with instruments, like

nails or teeth.

Dredge-up the colour throbbing

deep in the foundations

until extraction.


Too far.

Siphon, sterilise, and soothe.


Sore, split skin,

dry and torn.

Squeeze to suture the wound

with strands of sticky blood.


Scratch, sand, smack, claw, gnaw

lips, wrists, fingers, face –

whatever can be reached.


Because tearing myself apart

helps me hold myself together





In the Dark – LMA Bauman-Milner                 (EXTRACT ONLY)


‘Oh, for fuck’s sake, not again!’

  He grabbed at his brother’s face, bore the boy to the ground. Gerald struggled and tried to shout, but Hank’s hand covered his mouth, fingers digging into his cheeks and jawline. Hank sat on Gerald’s stomach, knees pinning the boy’s flailing arms. He shook Gerald’s head sharply. ‘Keep still. It won’t come out cleanly unless you keep still.’

  Gerald whimpered and ceased moving.

  ‘Eyes. Always the sodding eyes.’ Hank bent close over the boy’s face, peering into his left eye. ‘Keep it open, best you can.’

  He stared into Gerald’s eye, waiting. His breathing slowed, his attention on the hazel gold iris. He couldn’t see the fear within. He didn’t loosen his grip.      He didn’t notice that Gerald had wet himself. Again. He was focused, his free hand poised next to his brother’s eye.

  He waited.

  A swirl of black raced across the iris, pivoting around the pupil, making it dilate, contract. The blackness moved like smoke with a purpose; it appeared to be playing. Exploring its new playground.

  Hank didn’t move. Watched instead for the right moment. He started a countdown in his head; he had done this enough times to know the precise moment to strike.

  The smoke twirled around the pupil, switching directions, playing a spiral tag with its own tail. Soon enough – forty-five mississippis – its amorphous shape solidified, drew in on itself. Eighty-seven mississippis and it became a hooded silhouette. Hank’s fingers, locked around Gerald’s jaw, were cramping. He knew he was close to losing his brother. Ninety-nine mississippis hold on, kiddo, nearly there and his striking fingers twitched once, twice.

Esque – John Gledhill                                  (EXTRACT ONLY)


What kind of shoes does one man wear? The same as another man anywhere: walking down the streets, walking in the rain with his children, trying to teach them something that he knows, something that he’s learned, something that will be relevant to them in their turn. And what can he say? Death is my boss; he tells me when I can retire.

  That simply won’t do because he mustn’t think that he’s a failure: no, no, no. Yet when he looks inside, he finds he can’t meet their eyes. And they wonder why so many empty shoes? Well, dead feet are inside them and yours will be, too. But he can’t leave their little hearts to marinate in the juicy world-wickedness of men.

  So, instead he haunts the darkroom; glances at stills, rifles the mirrored cabinet, looking for pills that were once legal. He rummages through a box in which he keeps old toys from the 1980s and, selecting the exact cardboard reel and inserting it, he puts the View-Master to his eyes. This is what he sees.

  Click: A man with a jack-o’-lantern putting on a Halloween mask; the man has now become Emilio the skin-changer, so called because one day you can meet him and the next he is a stranger.

  Click: A speech bubble appears out of Emilio’s fixed rictus and it reads: ‘you can ask me about your God and danger, or where we go when we die and I’ll reply: nothing, there is nothing, only what you ceased to feel.’

  Click: An axe has appeared in Emilio’s left hand, a rifle in the other. There is a jukebox and the speech bubble coming out of it reads: ‘Pop hits of the 1960s – no Stax, Motown or reggae because immigrants have taken all the jobs at the burger shack.’ Emilio is dancing.

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