JONATHAN COWARD lives in Glasgow, having moved to Scotland for postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh. He is editor of the pamphlet micropublishing project, Thing Power, which mediates environmental theory through word and image. Twitter: @jonathan_coward

ALEX MCMILLAN grew up in Livingston and now lives in Lima. When not working he reads and writes poetry.


a window box

last night i removed the daffodil from atop
your avo-lux protein pot. from then on
neither you nor i were willing to curate
the day-to-day so narrowly.

when you said your snaps were for a special project,
the daffodil made for the door.

without the daffodil we were set to lead happy lives.
crates in our cupboards, packed with photographs
of you, and i. not shots of momentary things
lost from memory otherwise recalled
as unimportant, probably.



on ercol

our seated love permits
these dreams in adobe.

annotated, unabridged
hardcore slurps.

the utopian reelings
are a sort of unfurling

and kyoto,
how it glows!

                                               Jonathan Coward



Nothing Unbroken
For Nayya

I’ve only ever had two STDs
both picked up
from the same woman, the first time
we had sex and
the last. Between
times we bought
little rings and
pretended we were

She was small and everyone said
ugly. We rented
a house in west Jakarta and
broke the bed and the sofa,
the kitchen table and a coffee table I liked
to put my feet on when I read
at one point she –
or I? – ripped the shower
curtain from its rail and a few mirrors
plates glasses and bottles were smashed
in drunken arguments and laughter
but mostly through scratching and biting and trying to break one
another in two

She was never too faithful –
nor was I – but naked
like animals
without words and
between us everything
was fine

When we left that house there
was nothing
unbroken we’d spent most of
our time trying to break each
other and everything around us
I’d never met anything so
exciting or anyone
so intent on being taken away
from the world through
sex but it wasn’t enough and she
went back
to her incredible little kid and all the other men she used
and was used by
and there was a sadness to it but
she was a woman like I’d

it’s the world that gets in the way
not the sex or the infidelity
that was natural but
the words and the
which couldn’t leave us alone
to keep smashing up furniture
with our



Curse at the end Old Man

When you bow out of 
here, old man,
let them fucking

Let them know about the taxes and
he Women who never
loved you about
the kids who forgot you the
newspapers that bled 
you and all the kind people you
never met too busy
to share a smile

Let them know about the
bank accounts and the 
bills, the kids in school the
politicians the football players who
sold the strips the priests and 
school teachers and bosses who
told you what
you were 

Let them know. When that bell
dings for ten seconds take
everything you’ve left from 
your ankles through
the veins of your legs your
too tired balls the guts
that digested all of it
bring up that hungover bile spat out in your last breath make
every last one of them
hear it and know. Sit
back, with a smile

at last. 

                                                            Alex McMillan


All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.

Leave a Reply


The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is an online journal which publishes critical reviews, essays and interviews as well as writing on translation. We accept work in any of the languages of Scotland – English, Gàidhlig and Scots.

We aim to be an accessible, non-partisan community platform for writers from Glasgow and elsewhere. We are interested in many different kinds of writing, though we tend to lean towards more marginal, peripheral or neglected writers and their work. 

Though, our main focus is to fill the gap for careful, considered critical writing, we also publish original creative work, mostly short fiction, poetry and hybrid/visual forms. 

Find us on: