Amy Bernays is a painter and writer living and working in Los Angeles, California. Amy graduated with a BA(hons) in Fine Art from Central St Martins, London in 2001. Her work is a mix of paintings, prints, drawings; short stories and behind the scenes narratives from London and California. Using her daily experiences and various materials, she provides a window into western culture. Shortlisted for the Mercury prize in 2006, her work can be seen in galleries in Los Angeles, London and Edinburgh as well as online at

Read This Events

The Read This Store has launched! Get over there to get your hands on any copy of RT, past or present, or to get hold of a subscription. You can also buy the brand new Read This Press anthology Skin Deep in the shop!

Editors Hayley, Struan and Dave, and Editor-in-Chief Claire, will all be reading their work at a series of events to promote the DUO anthology. They'll be reading at Forest, Edinburgh on Saturday 2nd May and the Bowery, Edinburgh on 18th May.

Editor Chris and Ed-in-Chief Claire will be competing in the Voxbox Sotto Voce Slam at Meadow Bar, Edinburgh on 6th May. Come along from 7.30pm... £2/£3 entry.

Feel free to get in touch via submissions@
to find out more about RT events.

In the print issue...

Read This 17 has hit the shelves, featuring work by Eric Hamilton, Lauren Singer and many others, plus it's illustrated by the incredibly talented Ms Amy Bernays. Get your hands on a copy!

Issue 11 - October 2008 - Poetry

Three Fragments by Kevin Cadwallender
for and after Kristin Dimitrova

i.Mr. Miagi’s Meditation on Hearing that Icarus had attempted flight too close to the Sun
Wax on,
Wax off.

ii. The Snake
Freudian logic
‘Ho Ho’
I know the kind of
Snake to choose
envious of

iii. On seeking a second opinion from a specialist
The football rolls on
I long for salad
and goals.

It is lonelier
to be a spectator
of you eating alone
than a crowd
in my own

Attack by Aiko Harman

Focus center:
You, knelt, sitting on your feet,
Winning all the single-player time-trials
To unlock karts and question marks.

Pan left:
Me, seated at the laptop,

You head for the kitchen
Pan right, pan further right
To start the kettle for two teas.
It is our second night here.

Pull back.
Tilt and follow spotlight to target.
Launch egg through 6-inch opening in the kitchen window.

You shout from the kitchen, "Someone has thrown an egg through our window!"
You apologize for Scotland.
We grab towels and console one another.
We love our house. It is ruined.

Camera has long-since stopped tape.

It does not follow us, mopping goop off our ceiling
Before it sets or stains. Before it reeks of sulfur.
It does not see underneath the fridge where I reach precariously
To swab up puddles of smell
All Saturday evening.

This Poem by David Prisk

This poem
will be found
where you live,

somewhat short of breath,
missing an arm,
and looking

for the way
things used to be.
It will tell

the story of a dream
watching a dream.
Behind small jars

of cardamom
and bay leaf
you will catch

its scent, and,
as you move aside
a thing or two,

it will look up
with lips that move
like an eye

to recite
all the words for blue
(which might also

be all the names
for wind, weariness,
and God).

It will tell you
what kind you have been,

the shoes you wore
when you were.
This poem

will be found
where poems always are.

Notes on Oblivion by Amber Beilharz

The cat's disappearance
is not comparable
to cranial nerves,
although, you're living out
the same oblivion.
Aunt is an expert on light
and suffering, and knows
about nautical knots.
With effort she's kind
to routine: everyday: the bathroom,
at noon to feel her ribs taper
to thinness, building inward, a knitting
needle tepee: warming hessian,
a penitence
pod for howling and concealing
tucking insanity into neat folds.
Aunt has compulsion to remind
the eldest of guilt
and its hereditary properties
At noon, beside herself and cool tiles
she rests forehead, a jutting brow
of blushing scars-–symmetry less.
Aunt recognises the faux knot
scaling throat and mouth–
the room laughter-lashed and the cat's
disappearance a misdirected forever.

Motel by Emily Smith

The light buzzes
Overhead, flickering.
The scent of stale
Air-freshener lingers,
And dead flies, on
Their backs, litter the
Dusty window-ledge.
Sheets already stained -
Some old, some new,
Legacies of lust.
With beads of sweat I
Stain these sheets too,
Leaving my scent to
Mingle with the rest.
Anonymous me.
Whilst he “treats” me -
A cheap motel and
Cheap wine - all I’m worth,
Meaningless to him,
Worthless to the rest.

Vodka's Punch by Katy Murr

We push each other on swings,
hold tight at the top before touch down:
we’ll roll across the hill, elbows in red gravel. 

You turn, whispering goodnight goodnight
to somebody I don't know. ‘Night, I shout.
I smell washing powder and remember

when I woke somebody was missing.
I cleaned up the Kleenex, and stripped the bed.
Next time let’s be practical, no white canvas.

Like the seesaw, your head pivots.
It reminds me of Judy or Punch, I can’t decide which.
You turn to me and vodka dribbles over lips.

Sticklebacks by Sean Hewitt

We went out with buckets held on fishing nets,
Cocked up over our shoulders like adventurous
Travellers, the wet rubber of our wellies
Rubbed red rings into our thin, youthful calves.
The stream was full-gorged with water from the rain,
Pummelling brown and rushing over the dams
We had built with rocks and blocked with sods of grass,
The weeds and stems overhung the bank,
Heavy with spring dew and trampled from our
Mudded feet. Setting down a half-filled bucket
On the slope of the path, we began to swoop
And scan for sticklebacks, newts, toads, minnows,
Waterboatmen, whatever we could find.
Occasionally, a small startled frog would
Be spotted and chased by excited hands
Before it took cover under the sheltered
Spilled over bank where the brown swell of the water
Was darker. We took our catch home, sometimes
The spines of the sticklebacks pricked our palms
As we held them up, still alive and struggling,
To our parents’ proud eyes. Mum said to put them back
In the stream, we said tomorrow, always tomorrow,
Hoping we might keep them, that she might forget.

We offered bread to them, but it just swelled
And sogged on the surface of the water.
I think we knew each time what would happen,
But a paternal necessity overcame us,
We were gods over those small waters.
And it was always the same when tomorrow came,
The skin-furred silvers would bob stagnant in
The bucket, the sticklebacks’ red bellies
And hearts thick-clogged with the unflowing,
Murky blood of the stream and a life’s lost swimming.

The Temporary Hiding Place by Aileen Lobban

Ugly, the face of grief -
a gargoyle showing two sides,
mutinous mouth grinning
into Death’s bad breath.

Cavernous chest, skeletal fingers
clawing at open veins,
meshed wire and purple-red threads,
inside out perception;

in bloodstained reflections
I see harsh reality, blank cardboard windows
framing empty hearts.

You come for them, untimely,
with your nicotine yellow nails,
grey teeth, your twisted body
metamorphing with lazer like

Did you think they didn’t fear you
when the guns fired, when the bombs shattered
the membrane of their paperthin shelters? 

Crawl into earth’s barren womb,
using treachery as your disguise -
the hideous depths appear dark and safe;
but caverns can be plundered,
surfaces crack
and you will burn in the light of justice
when it is your turn.

Cosmos by John Tynan

Halfway up on the wall,
a tiny pinpoint of light
is signalling out through darkness,
a firefly beams through night
its presence to the stars. 

Soon other lights appear,
pulsating, blue and clear,
on the wall, in the air above us,
spirals whirling with light,
a soft, barely audible murmur.

Fireflies kindled in light
as they merge and join together,
in the darkness now they glow,
sending signals where they go
each to each in life's encounter.

Way above them in the void,
through the myriad, myriad miles,
the stars and constellations,
in unchanging variation,
seem like snowstorms on the dark.

Galaxies rolled up like scrolls
clustered and spread round their poles, 
quasars and remnants of time,
filaments tracing out lines,
light that lingers from lost supernovas.

Beside me on the wall, a tiny
pinpoint of light, other lights
splayed all round it.
Light leads onward to light,
everywhere, out through darkness.


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