Will it be published? Probably not, novellas are often considered too short. Will it make you the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Hard to say, if you’re extremely lucky, then perhaps. Though you might as well start playing the lottery if that’s your goal. What a novella will do is probably give you a sense of accomplishment. And hey, you can still refer to it as a “book”, so what if it’s a small one?
You shed your skin with sinful ease as time runs to keep up.
Ten weeks worth of smashed cots burn bonfire-bright in your belly
despite the December rain. You throw his letters to the wind now,
you wash your own hair now.
by Serena Malra
He’s sitting at the bar, sipping a Porn Star Martini, my usual drink of choice. Today, I’ve opted for a Strawberry Daiquiri, to give me a feminine vibe. If he was swigging a pint of beer, I’d know he was straight. The cocktail offers just enough doubt that I stay in my seat to do my detective work. My table is near the door and I’ve pushed my chair far enough back that the spotlight above me illuminates my knees onwards. If we were on the beach, I’d wear sunglasses, but here I’m taking advantage of the darkness to provide cover. His dark brown hair is lightly gelled into a quiff reminiscent of a 2000’s pop star and he swirls his glass for some time before each sip. He’s wearing a Ted Baker charcoal blazer with matching straight leg trousers and burgundy boat shoes. He must work in the City, probably at a hipster marketing firm where no one wears socks.
to relish in the terror of my death
as I plunge into the concrete
ocean of broken dreams.
Sat sinking deep
Red armchair thinking
Curtains on the cusp of something –
Open them let the light flow
Softly, softly now, into the room
Where it reveals old being new;
On the windowsill there is a sunflower
With its head confidently raised
‘you’ve watered it every day’
To bring the English country home
Inside to confide
With warm unnatural glows
Trim it down the stem
And realise as day turns to night
Turns to leaves falling
Turns to winter
Turns to water droplets on the window
Mist and fog
That it cannot last it will die –
Watch the petals fall and slide
To the floor
It cannot handle or understand
the urban interior light
it makes no substitute.
Its vase remains
Close the curtains
Again – the petals fall one by one
by Michael Morgan
Six am struck and Joan opened her eyes, bracing the sense of despair that had been clouding over her for weeks; weeks that had at some point turned into months. As she pulled back the duvet, those months of sweat, tears, and the occasional (daily) bottle of white wine that had ingrained onto her sister’s pale pink pyjamas fumigated the room. Joan stumbled out of bed, her head beating its constant pounding rhythm that told her you lived, you lived, you lived.
Holly Hopkins is an award winning poet, having won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition for her debut collection, Soon Every House will have One, as well as the Eric Gregory Award, and the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice amongst others.