Magazine Preview!

We have been busy going through the poetry and prose you have been sending in. We have chosen our publication pieces. This week’s article, therefore, is a free preview to our upcoming magazine, the debut issue of Foxtrot Uniform.

The first issue of Foxtrot Uniform will be available from October 1st 2017, so place your orders at foxtrotuniformpoetry@gmail.com. Issues will cost £1.50, and while you’re at it, let your local library know that they can order a free copy.

Remember: if your work is accepted into the magazine you will get a free copy sent to your door, so be sure to give us your address if you’ve been accepted.

So here’s your first preview, two poems: one by Joshua Cialis and another by Reece David Merrifield:

Club Night Journey – Joshua Cialis

Do you know that club
with the cages
where half naked girls
gyrate and swirl?

Half dazed giving you the eye
It’s a far cry from sanity
It’s a far cry from love

It’s obscenity!

Cruising through the night
you’d better hold on tight
while we shout
through the dark, the

lost men in our generation
groping something incomplete

There’s a show on;
contesting the contested
in their skirts and heels.

Where are we going?
Where have we been?
I’m not sure we’ve seen anything!

Mortal Multitude – Reece David Merrifield

I lie in patchwork sipping the shade from
European light as I think back to
the multitude of hours, nations, new
friends, old artwork, flat fields, fauna and
forestry, beer and whisky, pound and
krona, all language into one language,
one language lost in all language, the year
the longest constant on this vast continent.

I am three hundred thousand litres a second
tumbling down the seasonal waterfall
I am Kopparklinten, wanting higher still
There’s always pieces of Britain scattered
around, a puzzle never finished
I lie in a patch of Europe, my hands are
blind, my eyes stretched out, searching.

Ears in Cafes – Pt. IV

Words by Joshua Cialis, picture by Vinyl Head Instagram account.

Here is the final edition in our Ears in Cafes series. Due to Jade leaving us, this week’s poem is Joshua Cialis’ poem written in Vinyl Head Café in Ramsgate.

Ears in Cafes – Vinyl Head (Ramsgate)

Vinyl cracks in the corner
A reminder of where we were –
An escape from the grey world
Outside, where love and death
Walk together arm in arm.

But here is vibrancy
Where coffee and food
Dance in the intermingling
Of music and language
Where an old man sits –
As if in Paris:
But its Ramsgate –
A grey coastal town
Where only colour comes from
Shops and cafes
Galleries and eateries.

But here we sit
Making conversation
And watching the gentle clatter
Of mugs
While vinyl cracks in the corner.

 

Ears in Cafés pt. III

Words and photo by Reece David Merrifield

After an extremely long journey, FU’s Reece has written two poems about Cafés in Copenhagen…

No

No
food
No
water
No
way
of knowing where I am.

No
sleep
No
shower
No
day
has seemed like forever.

Nørrebro
sleep
Nørrebro
in
Nørrebro
heaven
and the happiest of hours.

Nørrested
cortado
Nørrested
sigtebread
Nørrested
keykeeper
of foreign fantasy, of familiar luxury.

Second Brew

A short walk from Nørrested
the serene cyclists
on the wrong side of my road
alongside urban gardens
with rope swings
with long hair
with Kierkegaard’s cemetery
round the corner on my short walk from Nørrested
on the corner of Jægersbroggade I sit
with a cold brew
as the cold brews
and a German nods his head and smiles
it’s all come together
at the coffee collective.

Sweden Bound

Our very own Reece Merrifield is off on a study year abroad to Sweden. Although he will still be on the Foxtrot Uniform team he may not have as much time to post as he always does. So here it is Reece, GOOD LUCK and See you soon!

Here is his poem ‘On Reading’:

On Reading
A writer builds a ladder out of words for eyes to climb and transcend towards
A multitude of clouds
Clouds of Victorian romance
Clouds of feminist breakthroughs
Clouds streaming in and out of consciousness
Clouds of sonnets, clouds of haiku
Clouds of Orwellian warnings
Clouds that reign over distant solar systems
Clouds that precipitate in more than one way

The eyes are captured within the shape of a teardrop and
land in a barren ocean
swimming back to shore to search for the feet of
authors, essayists, poets,
take a trip to the floor so they can hold your hand,
lift your senses,
exchange awkward, brisk

Hello’s and goodbye’s
Mentioning a name in-between
Jump on the rungs once more.

 

Ears in Cafés pt. II

Words and Pictures by Holly Royle

Later than usual, but here is the second instalment for our Monday Special written by Holly Royle…

The Café and I

I walk through the door and leave behind reality. I enter a universe of imagination and wonder. The shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling, each contain another world.

I sit down with my cup of tea at the wooden table and start to flick through a newspaper. It makes reality seem like just another world to read about.

I finish my tea and walk down the spiral staircase to the basement. I browse through the ongoing bookshelves. The oddities carefully placed among the books make me smile. The raven shaped book ends, Gothic candelabras, trinket boxes and tarot cards. I am not at all surprised by the skeleton leaning against the wall in the corner of the room. He smiles at me and I smile back.

I head back up the spiral staircase. The number of people in the cafe have increased. I see the wonder on the faces as the browse the shelves of different worlds. I smile to myself as I head through the door into the sunshine, and I see the world in an even better light.

Too be, or not two be

Words by Holly Royle

Too be, or not two be; the relationship between pronunciation and spelling in the English language.
The English language has been subject to critique regarding spelling and pronunciation for centuries. In the modern-day world those who reinforce the supposed ‘proper’ means of spelling and pronunciation are often labelled as ‘Grammar Nazis’, but where did this obsession with correcting others originate?
If we travel back in time the English language appears extremely different. A significant difference to modern-day English is the lack of standardisation; people pronounced and spelled words however they chose. For example, take the phrase ‘Þe Olde Book Shoppe’, this would be pronounced ‘The Old Book Shop’ even though many modern-day individuals pronounce it phonetically. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the English language was undergoing some significant changes; one being the Great Vowel Shift which involved a transformation in vowel sounds. The 1600s saw major changes and the start of prescriptivism. This involved a group of elite scholars who decided the English language should be made more prestigious. They decide to standardise the language and introduced more Latinate terms into the language in order to create a greater sense of sophistication. This had negative effects regarding the social classes. Those who lived in more rural areas or who could not afford to be highly educated would not be aware of these new terms, instead their lesser educated speech would deem them as being less prestigious. The scholars who created the supposed ‘proper’ means of spelling and pronunciation did not always link the two; hence why the language contains substantial amounts of words that are pronounced differently to the way there are spelled. This causes many issues with young children learning to read and write and those learning English as a second language. There is also confusion caused by words being pronounced the same, but spelt differently to identify their meanings, and vice versa.
The English language has undergone many changes over the centuries, this article discusses only a small amount that took place. Therefore, surely it is acceptable that language evolves and changes over time, whether in the form of spelling, pronunciation or introduction of new words.

Ears in Cafes – 1

Words and Pictures by Joshua Cialis

Our new Monday series is called Ears in Cafes and it features poems written in a café. Our first poem was written by Joshua Cialis in the Broadstairs café Peens.

Ears in Cafes by Joshua Cialis

Cutlery clatters
And chatter explodes:
Two old men reading tabloid papers
Talk of when times were better
And I in my coffee’s hour
Read tattered books
Bought in dusty shops
Down rambling roads.
A couple drink wine and eat
Their daily occurrence of words.
Children fight for attention
In this idle adult world;
A mother and her teenage son
Talk of father’s inheritance
While a busy barista clatters
Around – an unheard vivacity –
But I come down in my coffee hour
Finding who I am
In the pages of someone else’s words
And in come an attractive couple
Out of the rain
But sit in awkward silence
Avoiding something more painful
Than talking.
And outside a man feeds his dog
Sausage out his sandwich;
Just left eating buttered bread:
But we’re all living like kings
In solitary hours,
Shared cups,
Conversation and the day’s events.


I in my final sips
Gather the courage
To venture out to the wider world.

Ginsbergian Mysticism

Words and sketch by Joshua Cialis

Mysticism, according to Butler can encompass many different subjects from Christian Science to Occultism and Magic so it is difficult to pinpoint what mysticism is and therefore, whether Ginsberg was a mystic. The Germans however, split mysticism into two distinct words mystizimus – for physical and occult phenomena – and mystik – for what is generally taken as authentic religious mysticism or experience. The latter is ‘a fundamental consciousness of a beyond, of a Reality, changeless and eternal, that permeates and gives meaning to the world and experiences of finite creation’ (Cox, p. 21). In a less wordy sense it is that which one spiritually experiences outside of everyday rational experience and cannot therefore explain. Is this what Ginsberg was on about in his ‘cosmic vibrations’ and ‘visitations’?

While Allen Ginsberg was a graduate at Columbia University he had, what he calls his ‘cosmic vibration breakthrough’. In this ‘breakthrough’ Ginsberg heard the auditory hallucination of William Blake’s voice. It was this event that, according to Ginsberg’s biographers, changed his life and poetry forever. Despite 8 weeks hospitalisation for what doctors described as a psychotic episode, Ginsberg continued to seek further visions. Experimenting with various drugs and trying to induce these visions, is what invariably marks Ginsberg as a mystic, if only unto himself. However, it has also been argued that visions cannot be seen as mysticism if they are induced by any kind of drugs (Kellenberger, 1978).

Although we cannot verify Ginsberg’s mystic ‘cosmic vibrations’, his poetry is a testament to its partial truthfulness if only by acknowledging its mystic experience. Not only does Ginsberg reference Jewish mysticism and mystics of other religions in the lines ‘who studied Plotinus Poe St John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas’ (‘Howl’, p. 127). The unpunctuated flood of words of these lines form the random mysticism intrinsically woven throughout Ginsberg’s poetry. ‘Bop kabbalah’ is Ginsberg’s take on Jewish mysticism but uses the bop jazz his friends continually listened to as the catalyst of that mystic experience, which materialises as an instinctive vibration. Whether this ‘vibration’ was spiritual or a physical experience due to dancing, we may never know but from its preceding words we can only suspect a spiritual outlook was probably there somewhere. Ginsberg’s mysticism continues throughout his poetry. He talks of ‘seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels’. This is an apparent attempt to acknowledge the blindness of his mysticism; acknowledge that some of what he sees he does not understand. However, this line also acknowledges a statement of seeing oneself as an angel; as one of these mystic beings. Which seems in someways to go beyond mysticism and into the realm of self-beatification. However, I do not think that this was Ginsberg’s desire or aim in this line – or in life.

It is still difficult to verify whether Ginsberg was a mystic, or he simply followed a Beat Lifestyle. However, it can be seen from his poetry that Ginsberg’s imagery definitely had mystic tendencies. Make up your mind, was Ginsberg having ‘mystical visions and cosmic vibrations’ or was he simply suffering from a psychotic episode?


Cox, M. A Handbook of Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to the Christian Mystical Tradition, (New York, Harper Collins, 1986)
Ginsberg, Allen, Collected Poems 1947-1997, (New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2007)
Kellenberger, J. ‘Mysticism and Drugs’ in Religious Studies Vol. 14, No. 2 (1978), pp. 175-191
Miles, Barry, Allen Ginsberg: A Biography (London: Virgin Books, 2000)