Author Archives: Louis Kasatkin

About Louis Kasatkin

Unadulterated commentary and analyses on all aspects of contemporary literary arts news and topics, can be viewed on twitter under the cunning guise of @louiskasatkin also at my blogs,"fahrenheit451"on and "And So It Goes"@ My facebook page etc.etc, ad infinitum...

Photograph Lockdown ( by Doug High )

Photograph lock down.

27 March 2020


Where shall we go my darling
now that we’re locked down
we can’t go to the cinema
or take a walk down town.

I’ve just had a great idea
to go travelling once again
I’ll get our photos albums out
and we’ll go to sunny spain.

We’ll take a walk along the beach
dip our toes into the brine
then off to our favourite eating place
steak and chips and the local wine.


Then off we’ll go to Italy
lake como I recall
a trip across on the ferry
we liked the best of all.


Why don’t we go to butlins
we’ll arrive just after noon
three kids in the back seat
to start our honeymoon.


Flying off to tenerife
that island looked so small
gentle smoke from that volcano
gave wonder to us all.


Let’s go a cruising
first port of call sicily
a trip up that lovely mountain
the godfather wedding to see.


Then sail off to uncovered pompeii
the ruins make you think
life is so very precious
all humans have a common link


Home again to England
what fun we had all week
looking at our photographs
the world didn’t look so bleak.


What shall we do on Monday
it’s driving me insane
maybe get the photo albums out
and do it all again.

Doug High.

Only Time Will Tell

“This is the Watch

that was broken for you”..

Who forgot to partake of

the sacraments of Time

and found themselves

short of days?

“This is the Time

that was spent for you”..

Days they will never see again,

nor gather unto themselves

those ephemeral moments

spiralling beyond their grasp;

“This is the Watch

that was broken for you”..

And the body of the hours

now broken for them on a platter

so that they might never

have to break the hours again;

“This is the Time

that was spent for you”.

The Ban on Straw

Reports have come to light

that Camels’ backs

have been broken

by Straw;

So, from tomorrow the government,

following expert scientific advice,

is urging all manufacturers

of straw to cease production

and all consumers of straw

to use alternative materials;

The ban on straw usage will

extend to the tubular pipes

used for drinking and all products

that might include actual straw itself;

The mortality rate amongst

herds of Camels exposed to straw

has reached pandemic proportions

and needs to be reduced;

until then:

members of the public are advised to

stay away from straw of any kind

and keep well away

from anyone using straw

or a straw.

Stay safe.

ROOM 42 ( by Susan McCartney )


The fog crept on kitten-cat paws

A comforting grey blanket

Holding a hint Of frost and coal dust

‘Bye Mam. See you later.’

Maggie, 17, might have called

Closing the door

heading for her last shift

at National Filling Factory No 1

Tuesday, 5th December, 1916

The fog, tiger-like

padded around Barnbow

A yellow miasma

engorged with TNT and cordite,

Staining skin entering lungs and livers

tapping sulphurous claws

on doors, windows

Widows Of Filling Factory No 1 watching

Waiting For the inevitable

Then,,10.27 pm

With a monster roar

It came

Earth and ear shattering

with screams

Scattered limbs,

hisses of scalding water running scarlet

Plumes of toxic fumes

and the smell of blood

The fog sucked it in

that scene designed by Dante.

Then satisfied with its carnage,

It turned yellow eyes

towards the city

whilst those remaining

picked up the pieces

Of Room 42

By Susan McCartney

Foot Note: The explosion, in Room 42 of the munitions factory at Barnbow, took the lives of 35 girls and women. Many more died later of shock, their injuries, and TNT poisoning. Some unidentified. They were nicknamed the ‘Canaries’ because of their yellow skin – chemicals having entered their livers. It was a foggy night. A veil of secrecy was drawn over the dreadful event. The full facts remain shrouded. Even now. Maggie Barker, 17, from Kippax. A victim.

(This is original work presented at Writers Assemble who meet fortnightly at The Junction Pub,Castleford,West Yorkshire.The group is a community development project of Destiny Poets)

End of Empire

Magnolia-scented archipelago morning,
camouflaged gun-carriages
slinking along
taut cobblestoned arteries
to the grand Palace de Ville;
half-awake kepi’d corporals
tune battered transistor radios
catching the tresses of
fleeting Francoise Hardy chansons,
their spiritual melange of
love,hope and understanding
struck down by the
bayonet sharp rays of the sun
glinting on pristine marble statues,
quiescent cherubs of moments
dawning and dying,
holding thoughts in thrall
evoking a lassitude that will never
see its own likeness again
in all the mirrors
that blank and fade,
as the first of the artillery
heralds the crucifixion
of Coup d’etat.


In the darkened gloom

of a wooden tomb,

you kept me smothered

in a dank ,musty cloth,

my burial shroud wrapped around me,

like nightmares wrap themselves

around my dreams

were I be allowed to dream,

to suffocate on my own dust

passing time watching iron nails rust,

distant noises muffled

my own screams caught in a throat

that cannot issue its own currency of speech,

my counterfeit visage

its motionless mouth,

my fugue turns a darker shade of night;



until you release me

on parole again;

and as I sit obediently on your knee,

the applause reaches its crescendo

and you bow your head

as Charles did upon the chopping block

to which my thoughts stray

and before you put me back

into the wooden tomb,

I know now,

what I must do…

Visible (by Jade Thomas)


And he said it never happened…

However, she still felt a sharp pinch in the pit of her stomach, her pupils widened. The back of her neck began to sweat.Thoughts consumed her entire body and for once, her memories of another women enlarged.

How could she forget? How could she forgive?The love of her life could not cause her any pain. She knew he was dedicated to his work as much as he was to her. He amended his past and gave her anything her heart desired.

So why did he glance more than once that summer’s day and patted the neighbour’s pretty shoulder when she came home claiming she had been fired?

How could she have been so visionless? How could she have been gullible?

Are these thoughts all a coincidence or now has she become more visible?

He made a beautiful vow, her husband caressed her into his arms, the same places she always felt protected. “She is jealous”! He justified.

She stared with her blue eyes at the sparkle in her wedding ring, she felt disconnected.Her hopes and dreams shattered into a million pieces while she felt their first kiss on her lips. Once again the magical power of feeling in love.

She could still hear his voice through the pounding of her heartbeat. His declaration of undying love would always be with her but now would never be enough.

Suddenly, her mind was screaming aloud and nothing in the entire world mattered anymore. Unforgiving images came flooding into her perfect life.

She could not handle the pressure of her soul darkening; she clenched the sharpest kitchen blade that hung down symmetrically to their family portrait.

She was no longer a person with a conscience or even a human being; she was no longer a beloved wife.

Staring Contest

See the empty pages


staring back at you

staring as you stare

at them:

All those pages,

empty,void and


waiting for a stroke

of your pen

the cut and thrust

of some intellect and

a little wit;

Scratches on the surface

of the Sun,

etchings on the landscape

of the Moon;

and still you stare at them

whilst they’re staring back

at you,

and you alone

hold the pen.

Excerpts from a Conversation

Who are you again?

Oh,that’s right!

yes,I remember now;



erm,no,you’re thinking about someone else,

no,he was there round about the same time,

yeah,that’s right,

and you?

cancer of the bowel? wow!

no,I..I’m sorry to hear that?

Me? oh coming up to 30 years..

Department of Work and Pensions,Benefits,

erm,well no,not particularly

I can’t remember ever sanctioning anyone suffering from cancer;

Tens of thousands? really?

that’s just shocking!

Yeah, I am a Union member..

Oh,I don’t know..

anyhow,nice catching up with you..

see you around again sometime?