29 July 2020

Read of the day

The Model

I sit essaying stillness,
hands placed so, and so;
feet: there, and there;
immobile save for an occasional blink;
a persistent itch at my brow,
as my mind weighs words.
While you, charcoal in hand,
measure my form’s proportions:
shoulders – two head lengths across;
hips, two head widths;
carefully observing negative space
between elbow and abdomen,
between hand and thigh;
calculating angles; committing to paper.

You scrutinize my body,
appraising each curve and crease and plane,
heedful of every subtle variation
of light, each tone of skin.
A darker hue beneath my chin and arms;
a paleness on the shoulders;
a hint of shade below the collarbone,
the breast, the abdomen.

From the corner of my eye
I see your concentration,
your every move, every assessment;
each transfer from eye to representation,
as I’m transformed from living flesh
to only two dimensions.

And then it’s done; your efforts, my body,
captured on paper, and I can move again,
free to ease stiffened muscles,
and relieve at last my itch
to picture us in words.

‘The Model’ by Malcolm Fritchley was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.

Blast from the past

Unoma Azuah


Nwaka, sing the song
of birds blossoming
among sunflowers
sing a song to quiet
the shrills of restless crickets
Sing songs to light up
the bulbs of my tears
I’ve borne the waters of my gorge
Furious for an outlet
I’ve stared into many nights
searching for a single star
I’ve groped through scorched sands
In search of a glitter in a grain
I’ve seen the rage of broken waves
scurry like scorpions
Nwaka, sing songs to me
Sing songs of dark clouds
Slashed in lightening
Of rains roped in deserts
For I’ve witnessed the birth
of too many crippled dawns
in too many tortured nights.

‘Nights’ by Unoma Azuah was published in Sentinel Poetry (online) Magazine, February 2003. Azuah is a writer, activist and a college professor. Her research and activism focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Nigeria. Recently, she concluded a book project on the lives of gay Nigerians entitled, Blessed Body: Secret Lives of LGBT Nigerians.


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2020)
Closing date: 31 July 2020
Judge: Terry Jones
This competition is for original, previously unpublished poems in English language, on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long. Poems posted on members-only non-public groups for review/critique as part of the creative process are not deemed to have been previously published. Poets of all ages, gender or nationality living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes: £250 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £30 x 3 (High Commendation), £15 x (Commendation), 3 x SLQ Paperback (Special Mentions)

Fees £5/1, £8/2, £10/3, £12/4, £14/5, £16/7, £22/10)

Results: 31 August, 2020

Publication: Prize-winning, commended and specially mentioned poems will receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine (online and print).

Enter competition now >>

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