Issue 31


Dream Catcher 31 is particularly rich in work that takes us across that line from where we are comfortable, to another place, sometimes one which feels not at all familiar. One of the joys of poetry, of fiction, is how they can both turn the world upside down, or create new worlds, as well as casting a sideways glance at the world we have.  We have Andrea Bowd’s The Loud and the Dead, Philippa East’s chilling inversion of the TV game show in The 2000 Calorie Man, Emily Drew’s excursion into the world of zombie memory, and, less edgily, Sam Kemp’s conversion of the writer’s stock in trade, words, to currency. 

We have included sequences or groups of poems which reflect an author’s continuous engagement with a subject.  We also have Marion Ashton in New Orleans, David Cooke in North East Lincolnshire, and Ann Heath in Not Barmouth.  In each case a real location is used to step off into other places of the mind.

Through our partnership with  the art gallery According to McGee, we have the stunning  black and white photographs of Ros Garland both on the cover and through the magazine. Ros’ photographs are from the 1970s and ’80s and represent a world that has largely disappeared and these images remind us of a world that is largely lost.

This Time Last Year

At first we didn’t hear the Fates
Singing over the ice locked land,
Saw only hoar frost,
Breathed in fog.
In our mouths the taste of snow.

When the owls carried his name
Through the darkness around the house
We allowed through the cracks
Only owl talk
While, out on the hill,
The ewe lamb broke into the pheasant bin,
Filled her belly with corn
And died.

Is a man’s life no less precarious than that?

He phoned us,
This time last year.
Familiar voice warm and lively
But bringing with it
A strange unfamiliarity –
The sound of the Fates
Who already knew
What he and we did not.

Julie Baber

One Step Beyond

I didn’t know you until I was in my thirties
but by the end of the decade we were on

first name terms. I remember our first words
in a cold room at the chapel of rest;

I knew you were a bit bloody weird then,
beaming with pride at a job well done.

You even said: “It looks like him, dunt it?”
referring to my scrubbed up dad, on your slab.

It was Yorkshire empathy at its best.
I wanted to say you’d been inappropriate

but what could possibly be appropriate
in the presence of the dead?

Since then, you’ve done my mum, neighbours, an old school friend,
and each time I see you, the closer we become.

I’ve even dreamt about you in your black suit,
and a bowler hat, playing the trumpet for Madness

to One Step Beyond, like some cockney grim reaper.
But you’ve never ventured down the M1-

you’ve been far too busy
burying those I’ve lost and loved.

One day, you waved at me from your hearse –
I waved back. We were like bus drivers

who’d known each other for years.
Listen: don’t take this the wrong way mate

but can you just pretend you don’t know me?
No offence, but please, just look the other way.

Mark Connors


Larnax, embossed with a perfect celestial star,
yolky gold, glowing emblem of the Temenids
descended directly from the Gods.

Within the quiet chamber, delicate diadems
forged from sunlight. Tiny laurel leaves for high birth
and myrtle flowers, symbol of immortality.

Silence. Gold and ivory couches, silver ladles, cups,
amphoras brimming wine. Plates of figs, olives, cassia
moulding. Persephone’s fate in faded paint.

She waits for her guests, deep in the underworld,
with libations for the dead. The powerful, the beautiful
drawn by the sleek stallions, jewelled and bridled.

Purified by fire, great King, encircled by weapons: his sword
greaves, iron helmet, shield. His ash wears an oak wreath.
He lies inside his chamber, held in this metallic womb.

When they break through, centuries have stacked in the gloom:
great wedges of dust, crumbling stone, warped iron nails.
The faint shrieking of horses, screaming from the flames.

Khadija Rouf