Monday, 28 February 2011

Historical Irony in Jersey City

This story shows both how small the world really is and just how ironic it can be.

Around the time of the Civil War, a student from Harvard was waiting to take a transfer train in Jersey City. Because of the people on the platform pushing and the area being crowded he was knocked into the gap. A man grabbed his collar and pulled him, saving him from injury.

What makes this story so interesting is who the two individuals were. The student was Robert Lincoln, the son of then President Abraham Lincoln. The man who pulled him up was a famous actor at the time: Edwin Booth.

(After this incident occured, Edwin's brother, John Wilkes Booth would assassinate Robert's father.)

Here's a link to some more information

I always thought that this was a fun little story that happened right in my backyard.

Jim Moretto

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Crazy Patchwork of a City

Saint Peter's College is located in Jersey City, New Jersey--just a stone's throw across a thin section of the Hudson River from majestic Manhattan, the center of New York City. Jersey City has been known in recent decades as an economically-depressed area, but over the past ten years or so much of the city, especially the business center and 19th-century "brownstone" homes near the waterfront, have been significantly renovated. Close to the river and in the historical district of the city, new and interesting restaurants and shops continually open; Saint Peter's College itself is a notable cultural center which continues to grow and improve.

Other areas of the city, however, remain a run-down hodgepodge of buildings of various styles, in various states of disrepair. Streets are narrow, drivers are aggressive; now, in February, mounds of dirty snow make parking virtually impossible.

However, Jersey City is also vibrant: its population is extremely diverse, with residents from Egypt, India, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and many different states across the US. People who want to be near New York City can live in Jersey City when they cannot afford NYC prices--and it's a quick subway ride from JC into the heart of Manhattan. Our shops reflect our diversity, from hookah cafes to Indian jewelers to Halal butchers. This optimistic, bright-yellow meat market: "Lucky 4," which also purports to sell "coffee, chocolate, and vegetables," reflects to me the crazy patchwork which is Jersey City.

Rachel Wifall
St. Peter's College

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Meeting in a familiar place

I sit here
in the dark cafe,
lit up only
by the sunshine
from outside.
The smell of sugar
and tea tickles
my nose as I
see a young
lad attempting to
devour an ice cream.
I remember the
day the dolphins
put on a show
for us across the road,
nature’s performer.
I can feel the warmth
from the sandy beach
touch my skin as
the bell on the cafe
door sounds.

Kat Howford, DMU

Stoned Stroll


meandering urban zones

death-butts clog drains,

nicotine cake, lip stick lychees.

'They hate us ennit?'

Smoking scrubbers stare

at scribbling quills.

Trainers dangling: crack house!

Wired, wrecked, whacked.

Class A economy pushed:

'Free entry, free drinks, it's free

at the Republic tonight.

Demo frenzy on Bath Lane.

Condom slung willy-nilly

rotting seed swaying

in Leicester's castle foilage.

Razor wire, imperial bricks

piles of disco, dancing army.

'Get down with the brethran,

banging tunes.'

Electrical harzard, max headroom.

'Crusaders slaughtering.'

Fraying St George flutters

fighting the invisible

the Great Game

ensnares once again.

Lauri Cusack.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Walk Poem - Leicester


Open closed Open closed.

Crawling Insects.

The hooks, spindles and Spine of Fletcher.

Good reception,

coins and cards.







Regimented buildings

Judgemental pigeons


Wet hands

and still water.


Lost World Demolition's new broadcast for today is:

'I like Ben and Jerry's'.

A metal bird peering through the

window, suspicious

of passers


Some artificial voyeurism is afoot!

Grumpy trolls work on cars

under the bridge where

they belong. Grumpily

looking out to the light

of day, at me, grumpily holding

their tools.

A Honda with it's ears pulled back, growling silently.

'Can anybody else smell jam on toast?'

'Don't make no difference to me,

I'm retiring.'


I’ve been here for a good few years, now. Every single night, numerous students walk past me, using the river-path as a shortcut to get back home. Sometimes, they must think I’m thirsty; men stand against me and urinate on my long neck. If I’m honest, I don’t really like it. I’d much rather be given a stick of bamboo to chew on. After all, I do watch after them as they stagger down the steps, clutching a bottle of half empty Sainsbury’s Basics Cider. I always make sure the swans don’t eat them, even if they do put their cigarettes out on my fur. That burns, you know.

Sometimes, the swans come and talk to me. They don’t like flying up the steps but its tough because I can’t move, can I? It’s not my fault some graffiti artist sprayed me on the wall and decided to give me a long neck. I’m not a bloody giraffe, you know. I can’t even go and talk to my brothers who live a bit further downstream. It’s okay, though; I send messages to them through ducks and they occasionally find the time to respond. However, they have each other and just share leaves between themselves. I don’t get any leaves, just the odd takeaway carton thrown at me from Pizza King. Sometimes there are some leftover vegetables in the carton, even if it is a bit of limp lettuce and not delicious bamboo. I miss bamboo. Sometimes, my mother sends me some for Christmas and its delivered mid-December, via a swan with a big, red bow tied around its neck.

Every Wednesday morning, at around ten o’ clock, an old lady comes to visit the ducks and brings a loaf of bread with her. When I watch her throw the bread into the river, some of its speckled with green and even that reminds me of bamboo. Ducks in Leicester are a little stupid so they gobble the bread right up and then wonder why they throw up three hours later. I suppose they blame it on a dodgy water-bug though and not the generous old lady whose hair is as white as swan feathers.

By Laura Jones, DMU, Leicester

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Miss Fortune

The market sellers called their unintelligible persuasions, trying to sell her things she didn’t want or need; old toys, used shoes, dodgy DVDs. In Winter, the early darkening of the sky causes the traders to call well into what feels like night, causing an odd sense of disorientation. The orange streetlights filled the wet gutters with gold that sparkled, shimmered and shattered as her boots broke the surface of the water. The few shoppers still around gave her curious, nervous glances; she rewarded them with a shark-like grin that caused an involuntary recoil.
A homeless man muttered to her from beneath the red brick archway leading to the town hall.
“Spare any change?”
She threw him a twenty and that smile and made to walk away.
“Well... th-thank you, Miss...?”
“Fortune.” She threw back over her shoulder, leaving the old man huddled under his worn red blanket to wonder, exactly what kind of little girl walks the streets alone at this time, handing out that kind of money?
She thought about crossing the paved road to the fountain that sat at the centre of town hall square. She remembered it being a different colour when it was installed. She turned left instead, taking another left at the Starbucks and stopping at the end of a long, wide, grey street lit with tall colour-changing lights the council had installed for no real reason. Gallowtree Gate? She chuckled, What a lovely image.
Now... where’s the nearest Chinese?

By: Aimi Jeffs, Dmu.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Jack and the Tree

Treading cautiously through the night,
up the hill and out of sight.
Through the graveyard, Jack did climb,
through the haunts and through the grime.

At the top, there stood a tree
high enough for all to see.
But while the people were asleep,
the tree would wake to take a peep.

People don't stay up at night
for fear the dark would come and bite.
By the time the sun has set
all were tucked up in their beds.

But one night, the tree did find
a little boy still out at nine.
Twisting his roots into the ground,
coiling his trunk, he turned around.

Poor little Jack, who was running away
was rooted on the spot and began to sway
as the mighty tree atop of the hill
began to dance and twist and twirl.

"Oh little boy, why are you awake?"
the tree said and Jack began to shake.
"Oh please, Mr. Tree, don't make me stay.
All I want to do is run far away!"

The tree took Jack's frightened hand
and led him back to his snoring land.
All night, they listened to the sleeping voices
and he taught Jack how to make scary noises.

And now every night, the villagers hear
another noise that tingles their fears;
because that is when Jack and the tree
come out for their nightly haunting spree!

By: Rosina Ellis, DMU.
A work in progress; feel free to leave feedback

The Bathroom.

This is based on a rumour at my old primary school, Sherrier. It was said there was a ghost in the year 6 bathroom.

The bathroom. Well, this is a lovely place to be stuck! Of course I can glide around pretty much anywhere but this is my “haunt” This is the area where I rest and so I’m attracted to it, body and soul. I didn’t die locked in a cubicle, I was buried here way before this lump of bricks was built. 1983 they decided to move their primary school here to keep up with the modern era, and I ended up with the bathroom on top of me. Talk about disrespect for the dead!
I can hear the scraping of chairs. Here they come. Lunch time, and they’ll all be stamping around a meter above me. Well, the physical me. My presence hasn’t gone unnoticed. I haven’t actually appeared to any of them…yet, but kids can sense these other worlds where they bleed through, it’s why they get so exited at Halloween.
Some have claimed to have seen some kind of monster. I’ve been blue, green, had a tail and deep voice. Apparently I often hover over the washbasins along the front or lurk in the cubicle on the right which has the window.
Already I can here the first few who keep their eyes on the clock. They always feel the need to scream as though they were imprisoned for life. Sometimes I hear them playing “what’s the time Mister Wolf” on the opposite side of this wall. Occasionally they’ll play some kind of ghost hunting game, usually based around ideas which involve me having some kind of powers. It’s nice, becoming a celebrity in a way.
I watch as the 12:15 stampede rush in. I don’t peek, if you were wondering. It can sometimes be quite content to just hover in the corner and watch them. They grow up quicker than I thought. It’s mainly year 6’s who come in but that’s their final year here. Often I see them boast about their status, worry about SATS, and then prepare for the grand transfer. They mature so much, gain confidence. There are a few who I thought would never be able to get themselves together, but they always surprise me. I grow quite proud of them.
I notice a few don’t wash their hands and dodge aside. It feels dirty enough when they go through me anyway, I don’t want them plonking their germs inside me as well!
A few of course put chewing gum all over the place and stuff the toilets. It’s only 15 minutes into Lunch and already we’re one toilet down. I know who all the culprits are, smirking because they think they’re so smart for making the place stink even more. I sometimes hold the cubicle doors shut for a second on them or spray the tap water just enough to get the message across, keep the act up. These toilets are protected. Ghosts have noses you know!
The girl with the blond hair is doing her usual trick. Blocking the exit to targeted individuals, demanding that they say the password to be let out. Oh and look her sheep are here too. Spoilt b b b…..biiii….brat. This is my time to step in and live up to the legends given to me. It doesn’t take much to distract some. Tapping on the shoulder, throwing some paper, the expected ghostly stuff. Enough to get them to let their guard down, just long enough for the victim to escape. Today I couldn’t resist being heard. All I have to do is say “go” from the first cubicle, it echoes from there. They like to think they’re so big, trapping the timid students in a haunted toilet. It feels good to see them scamper off with petrified stares, serves them right. Ironic really.

Becky Butterwick.

the night before I saw Phil Dillon on the news

We mark the paths that take us home
We look up at the Kaballah code
on bricks, those records,
the grimoire of the tribe.

We piss on fagends and heineken cans
We mark the places where you can see Cost;
every boz and spliff we contribute
to this legacy in Rizla.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Stood By The Riverbank

(to be placed on the fence overlooking the river)

Watch the hungry ducks. There is no
bread left, just discarded packaging
blowing down the path. A shadow
on the river hiding a floating

forgotten football. Kicked, lost, goal?
Hear the carrier bag lightly rustling
up in the branches, a solitary soul
ensnared by the wind. Start noticing,

looking, you might see odd smiling faces
staring over at you. Gang symbols,
graffiti painted in impossible places
or elaborately printed cubist angels?

You stood here before, yet seldom
saw images so abstract and random.

Lester Easterbrook DMU

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The sand warm on my feet,
the sun burning my left cheek,
the water lapping along,
to the hum of the jet ski's.
The smell of coconut sun lotion,
and orange lingers in my nose.
I look across the sea,
as it stretches for miles.
Never ageing,
never changing.
But when I look back,
rotten pieces of wood,
where the boats once stood.
The chairs- no longer there,
and my skin no longer supple,
as it once was.
They can still be there to me, to us!
God bless your soul.

By Nicky Mason DMU.

My Birth Right

I always knew I was special. It wasn’t just a childish illusion, I knew.
As if to prove the point my father said that there was a banner hanging outside the hospital where I was born which read ‘Louise Jack was born here’. So it wasn’t just me who knew, it was everyone who passed Stamford Hospital and saw those words as a dedication to my birth place.
It all seemed utterly reasonable. Plaques were erected to the likes of Dickens, Kings, Peter Pan. I’d seen a statue of a black horse in London with a warrior raising his sword.
It all made sense considering when my school needed someone to open the yearly fete one of my parents would be asked. We lived in the biggest house in the village, why couldn’t I be famous before I was even born.
It was with such delight (and silent excitement) when we went on a trip to Stamford. I would actually get to see my banner. I remember sitting in the back of the car, waving at people in the street, they would smile back.
We motored through winding lanes, passed churches with towering steeples. And then we turned a corner and my father said – proudly, ‘This is where you were born.’ My banner! My banner! There was a long stone wall and I looked and I looked and... It was just a wall, no banners, no words.
‘Where’s my banner?’ I asked.
My father didn’t miss a beat. ‘They took it down yesterday.’
How unreasonable. They took it down the day before I arrived!
Sadly I never got to see my banner, some would argue that it never existed, but for many years, I felt robbed that day and for many years to come!

Let's Drink To You

The whiskey pouring hard and fast,
a hangover being built to last.
Uncle John takes me by the hand, and
within the hour I can barely stand.

He dances to his favourite tune,
and talks of friends gone too soon
When seven brothers sang as one, and
now so many of them gone.

A playful wink to a girl nearby, he's
never accused of being shy.
With a laugh to melt the coldest of hearts,
he fills the room as the music starts.

I sit and watch with bleary eyes,
this dear old man with his 'band o' guys'
I truly pray that when I leave,
I'm celebrated by men like these.

Daley James Francis

Naughty Ghost

My auntie’s hair salon is just two streets down from me. I would often call in on the way home from school, giving it a quick clean up in exchange for some pocket money. On one such occasion I’d stayed late and so she offered to drive me home; I looked out of the window of the shop noting the dark sky and the dripping of rain. I accepted her offer.

Huddled against the wall outside as we tried to pull down the ancient shutter, passing customers shouted their greetings and a fair few ‘bet you’re glad you’re finished’ comments. Everyone however, kept on with their own purpose, all except one man.

He stood opposite the shop, leaning against the horrible wall just staring at us. I knew who he was but it was still unnerving to see him like that. He had nothing in his hands except his car keys, so I assumed he was just heading to work at the Chinese Takeout around the corner.

Eventually the shutter was down and we turned to head off. As we stepped out onto the path, he stepped forward.

“That place is haunted you know.” We stopped in our tracks, a little confused.

“The hairdressers?” My aunty asked.


I shifted nervously. All of the staff there had long ago assumed that the shop was haunted. Many strange happenings had occurred there. One time, my aunty arrived early in the morning, being the last one out the night before and the first one in that morning, only to find all of the drawers were open and some were tipped over. Naturally her first thought had been a burglary but checking it all out, she found nothing. Case One.

Another time, a set of the staff’s hair scissors had gone missing. They were looked for all over the shop and she said she checked at home too. Weeks later, after she was forced to buy a new pair, her old pair were found. Inside the ancient microwave nobody ever used. Case Two.

All of these memories rose up in my mind, along with the fleeting images of a shadow I had once seen myself, where nobody should have been.

“Yes. It’s sitting on the old Manor’s private graveyard. You can check the maps if you like. Bet you have some trouble in there don’t you?” he chuckled as he walked off.

We stood there aghast. We had already heard that this strange man was a little bit psychic, now it seemed confirmed.

I never did check to see if he was right.

Rachel Melissa Robson. DMU.