Stay


Rain is falling outside.
Stay, you say,
I pull on my clothes.
It would be so easy,
To pretend this is more.

I want you the way I want sunshine,
Cool water to bathe in,
Roses drizzled in raspberry stripes,
Breathing out perfume,
Hot city streets baked to gold,
A shadow walking next to mine,
Green wooden shutters to hide behind,
Hands on sunburnt skin,
Cold sheets to pull over us,
No satin lies or promises.

You are orange and red flames,
Fingers dancing over my face,
A hundred meadows of poppies,
Stolen and sewn into a quilt,
A hot waterfall filling a bath,
After walking home through the snow,
Music flowing onto a silent stage,
Summoning ballerinas from shadows.
No matter how high I jump,
I cannot dress this up as love.

                               Linda Anne Atterton




Linda Anne Atterton was born in Scotland and her first poem, ‘Anerley Memories’, won the junior competition in Lallans, when she was seventeen. She studied Psychology and Philosophy in Aberdeen and is a practicing psychologist who now lives in Norfolk. She returned to writing poetry in 2012 and her poems ‘Topiary’ and 'The Question' were recently published by Poetry Scotland. A further poem ‘Hands’, was published in May. 'Stalk' was just published in Abridged's latest issue, Lockjaw. Linda’s first piece of flash fiction was published recently in Litro.


Real Estate

we stand in the sun, like a new belief. 
as if by now, as if by magic. 
and ‘oh, boy wouldn’t it be swell 
to move out here for good?’ 
does not sound good to me today,
or by tomorrow.
we stand in the sun,
looking out across the valley,
and the sun in the valley.

                                               Rowland Bagley




Rowland Bagley is a 21 year old student of English Literature, currently based in Oxford. He is  the third of five children and wear size 11 shoes. He hopes to write for a living.


 Goodnight


Goodnight, my love
sleep here beside me
my lifelong man. My
champion who hurls against
cobblestones the fears I reserve
for he, whose shoulders arch
city streets and deeper still
on concourses of sheets. I wonder
which of his ribs made me. Dust
settles in the sky as we name
fleeting things we have seen.
Light will dim eventually my
compass, glass and archer and
I will streak west contentedly.


                                          Charles Bane Jr


Charles Bane, Jr. 's "The Chapbook: Poems by Charles Bane, Jr" ( Curbside Splendor). is available at Barnes and Noble Booksellers and on Amazon.The Huffington Post described Bane's work as 'not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them ."Queen Of Folly



I once met the Queen, the Queen of Folly,
and just like with all Queens, I could tell she
was used to getting all of her own way.
But as I'm not a royalist, I watched her dust
her mantlepiece over a log fire in the dark,
while I drank locally brewed beer and smiled.



 Ulterior Motive


So subtle the ulterior motive,
not at all, but thought to have
been exercised. Peasant
shoes, peasant clothes, with
all their honesty, give away this
child's obvious hiding place.
But with times help always at hand,
its removal of surface beauty
reveals decays initial bloom.
Then the spell is broken,
like the lifting of the Big Top from a
clowns performance, to expose nothing
more than a tragically poor comedian
standing alone in a field. So just be patient,
be patient, and maybe the truth in some
cases, is only a few years away.

And the audacity of the pain and woe,
showed by bombers one way mirrored
mind, while scorched earth, deformed
insect, nature does best to repair.
But always the wailing of shrapnel met child,
will expose easily the sanitised actors world,
because it's well known, popcorn still has to
be sold when watching 2D battle zone.

                                                      Jefff Bell


Jeff  Bell, poet and musician, originally from South Shields in the North East of England, now living in London over  last thirty years. Has recently started writing poetry/prose and finds it a release from the restrictions of songwriting. Has had several poems recently accepted in various magazines. A sample  of his music can be heard at www.myspace.com/quangomusic http:  //www.jeffbellmusic.com

 



Flash-flood.
 
Blue bolt flash fractures the pounding torrent.
This chamber is a
Maelstrom, a wet whirlwind that
Splinters buildings, flattens branches,
Ruins everything.
 
Basement waterlogged;
Memories floating like
Paperback fish. Never
Too late to try I guess. Line
Cast out in the mud-murk. Bait: False hope.
 
Two days to dry out -
Couldn’t believe it.
Dangerous sockets
Hiss with voltage venom,
Strike at wet skin
 
While up above ground, up in
The daylight, sweep shops out, sweep
Lives onto the pavement.

This community, we
Pull together.
 
In the morning,
Busy like ants;
Rebuild the town we once loved.


Ice-Queen.
 
When I saw you that morning
Caught up in the stripped-tone gloam, I thought
Oh no!
Here we go again:
 
Eyes frantic rampage
Shoulders shivering hysterics
Mouth dribbling panic
What now?
What next?
 
But you just sat there,
Face dressed like ice-queen, cheek creases twitching
At the thrill of my torment.
 
Don’t worry, you said, black coffee brooding.
I’m not in the mood to fight,
Not this morning.


Whipporwill.
 

Grey brown plume and black bulb,
Your shivering bones are still now with waiting,
Tight pressed by the windowsill;
 
That black bulb;
Polished stone filled with lost souls;
That still pool of eternity
Where Charon waits,
And forever waits -
I have no obolus nor danake
Nor desire for traveling.


                                                       Aaaron Bennnett


Words under vertigo
 

like a falling debris from a construction site
slowly committing suicide as it touches
the ground, again I looked up
 
to witness how words magnetized the tongue
to remain silent as if under oath,
the oath to abandon solitude
 
in its imprisoned cradle humming a familiar
song only the heart understands unless
the words are triggered to end,
 
to end the reign of fear inside the brain,
twisting and distorting the reality until
words under vertigo.
 
                                                    April Mae Berza



April Mae M. Berza is a member of Poetic Genius Society. Her poems and short stories appeared in numerous publications in the US, Romania, India, Japan and the Philippines. Nominated in 2012 International Who's Who in Poetry, her poem is broadcast in IndoPacific Radio. She lives in 
Taguig, Philippines.



WHAT IS NEXT
 

The windstorm has left the 
old yellow shotgun house intact
the sheet metal garage
has been blown into the neighbor’s yard
your tools have ended up
in a trash heap in the alley
you gather your tools 
and stack the remains of the garage

                                               Larry Blazek



Larry Blazek was born in Northern Indiana,but moved to the southern part because the climate is more suited to cycling and the land is cheap. He has been publishing the magazine-format collage "OPOSSUM HOLLER TAROT" since 1983. Larry could use some submissions.He has been published in the "THE BAT SHAT","VOX POETICA","LEVELER POETRY","FIVE FISHES" ,"FRONT" , and "MOUNTAIN FOCUS ART" among many others. Larry Blazek  5094n co rd 750 e  Orleans,IN 47452, opossumhollertarot@yahoo.com


SECOND DOOR TO THE RIGHT

I can tell
from the tilt of your head 
at the window
that you've been looking out 
at a lot more than rain. 
You've been racing
the clouds again - 
going to places
far beyond what I can see.

You say nothing,
just smile at the flowers
I so hopelessly try to arrange 
in the cheap standard vase. 
There's so much I want to say, 
but this is not the time for words, 
only for us to sit together -
to watch the rain run on glass,
each droplet beginning to form a dream.


NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
 
A chunk of gold grins,
untouchable behind thick glass;
a dull slab of granite
holds the secrets of the world.
I close my eyes as we move
through a room stuffed with birds,
you gasp in horror at the size
of the teeth on a dinosaur.
 
Everything here frozen in time
but we haven`t got long -
we seize our chance to race outside
and stand together in the sun.

                                                       Idris Caffrey

Idris Caffrey has poems published in The Rialto, Agenda, Acumen, The North and Smith`s Knoll. 


 By the Boathouse.
(Port Elliot. St Germans. Cornwall.)

 
The boathouse is settled into the bank.
Like an old man in a favourite chair.
With the same slumped shoulders
and a bald patch where thatch
has whittled away over a hundred
Cornish winters. The Tamar strolls in.
Unhurried. Pushed by a slow tide.
That lacks the rage of winter.
Small boats lie noses forward in the current.
Like dashes upon a liquid page.
The yelp and cackle of gulls
cracks the summer air.
As they ride like kites upon an up-draught.
The grass is thick and fragrant.
Overhangs the muddy bank.
In a frowning bushy brow,
gazing over brown water.
Behind me cedar and cypress whisper
and beyond the swaying trees
the spire of St. Germans church is raised.
Like a finger that points the way to heaven.


Change.
 
Children laugh at cruelty. Kill every day in virtual worlds.
Press the button on communities. Cheer grotesque heroes
who notch up kills in slashes upon  muscled, worm-vein arms.
 
The young dismiss us. We who have gathered our bouquet of years
and remember tales of torn flesh: Murderous bombs,dropped
for random causes and who know that bodies are fragile.
 
Eight year olds skip. Dressed like supermodels. In designer clothes
and heels too high for unformed backs. The small daughter applies
lip-gloss to her baby-pout. Mums eyes narrow as the strange
 
Man stares lasciviously at the girl. She cannot think why.
Her responsibility has bent into fashion sense and the desire
for a mini-me. Innocence dies. Savaged by media stimulation.
 
Children have adult needs and adult addictions. Parents feed themselves
to their young piece by piece to provide technology and isolation.
The young devour unthinkingly. Ceaselessly selfish in their metamorphosis.


 Almost Lost.
 
Where was Deacon?
Now it was nearly dark.
I wondered how I had got here.
At neither starting point,
nor destination.
I felt brainwashed,
with jumbled thoughts.
Rain-washed by the cold drizzle
That played about my face,
Scratching with its sharp taunting fingers.
I thought of hot crumpets
and Ma came to me.
Her grave-sent voice saying
‘Where’s your sense? Go home.
I thought of that time in Greece
but we had a compass then.
I made for the crossroads below.
Deacon  had beaten me to it.
I forgave his supercilious smile.
We walked on. Wrapped in the safety-net
of company. Till a distant glow
set our minds at rest.


Nature Reclaims. 
 
They say it takes three years:
For ivy to enter the eyes and mouths
of dead buildings.
For grass to prise apart the teeth
of pavement slabs.
To edge them with the plaque of moss
and bring worms that slither beneath.
For water to infiltrate. Spill over
blocked guttering. Morph its way
through wood, brick and plaster.
Leaving metal fixings to bleed rust
and wallpaper to mould and peel
in leprous, drooping strips.
For silverfish to scuttle
in the seams of dark rooms,
air vents to clog with chickweed,
ants to trail like spilled brown ink
over surfaces that once held food.
And for spiders and cockroaches
to colonise corners.
For a building to shed its last vestige
of human occupation and be smothered.
Drawn down to the earth
which envelopes its foundations.
Reclaimed. By natures hunger.

                                                        Michele Byrne


Miki Byrne is the author of ‘Nice-bits and Hissy-fits’ a large collection of poetry. She has won prizes for her work and judged poetry competitions. She has read and performed her poetry on both TV and Radio. She reads at many Literary Festivals and open mics and her work hasappeared in over twenty-five respected poetry magazines. Miki has also run poetry workshops. She writes short stories and proof reads a magazine. Miki is disabled and is the disabled tenant member of the board of a large housing society. She is also a member of Arthritis Care’s People Bank. She has a BA Hons in 3Dimensional design and a PGCE also a Diploma in Creative Writing. She lives with her partner in Gloucester. Miki writes something every day.


The House of Common Room
 
 
The Common Room filled with the babble of voices
At the bell cacophony, the left wings, the right wings
Soupy in teenage individualism, bubbling bedlam
Frothing in language moulded by embryonic views
The petty concepts, the picayune politics
About the people in power and the power in people.
 
The structure of the room starts with those nearest
The door, slumped with a fuddled head and fizzed drink
At lunchtime, those who do not care, who sit apathetic,
Thinking of hometime, they are excluded from the talk
Of abstractions and interjections and intellections
Words which conjure “how does this affect me?”
 
Next are those who sit right on large table, near the
Headmaster’s office, sovereign of the school, King
Mr Thomson, these pets perch with superiority,
Placing podgy bottoms clenched firmly in comfort
                Hissing old slippery serpentine deceptions
Over slimy sips of Earl Grey about the richest father.
 
Left of these as far as possible are those who tut and tilt
Their heads to the posh nosh and speak of Student
Councils, bringing responsibility to the populace
Of the school, rather those in the thrones too long.
                Jealous disgruntling and murmured spite to
Those whom needn’t work as hard to get the grades.
 
A little to the right of these assembled the adolescences
Who’d open the corridor doors for the Year 13s
Faking toothy grins in order to hem amidst the
Cool and trendy, those excelled on the pitch or in lesson
                Nodding dogs scrambling up a too tall tower
To get first in the canteen queue of succulent command.
 
Right of all next to the wall hunched the grumpy visages
Devoid of other skin tone who simpered moans about
The new girl, who spoke oddly, and was rumoured
To have come in illegally, and without turning up
For English lessons, which were important.
These were the bullies who knew little of affability.
 
Those by the window stretched the communal
Arm in arm listening to The Beatles and drinking
Soft concoctions of carrot and parsley, noticing
The darkening clouds of climate change and how
The other parties will get caught in the rain,
Clueless that last lesson started five minutes ago.


                                                                      Diona Dobrznski

Dion Dobrznski is a seventeen year old student from Nottinghamshire, England. I read and write poetry widely, loving Shakespeare to Hughes. I am exceptionally aspirational to publish poetry, despite my inexperience. 



Peril
 
He wakes up suddenly
in the middle of the night
from a deep sleep
rubs his eyes reaches for the light
gropes in the nightstand
for his eyeglasses pen and notebook
because She’s calling again (thank God)
and he learned a long time ago
that you ignore Her at your peril
 
 
Cake
 
St. Simeon Stylites lived
atop a 50-foot pillar
in the Syro-Arabian desert
for 39 years.
 
“Piece of cake,” he was heard to have whispered
that final day when while attempting
to rise from his praying position
he leaned too far forward
and plummeted to his death
in the boiling hot sand below,
smiling all the way down.
“Finally, thank God,” he murmured
his last words
to no one in particular.
 
 
 
Heat Wave
 
When you get to be my age
95 degrees is dangerous
stay indoors
in front of the fan
hydrate hydrate hydrate obviously
 
Time for me to get up
on the ladder shirtless at mid-day
finish painting the gutter and overhang
I enjoy taunting the gods
they’ve been taunting me
for 65 years already
the sons of bitches!
 
 
                                   


                                           Michael Estabrook


Unusual Shiver in Winter Days
 
She was a creeping winter,
coiling and settling into the wardrobe
of my lined collections-
 
of cassettes and clothes
(Scattered in a bachelor’s room)
 
 
Suits arranged by brands
fragranced by sensuous nights
brought by you moulded me
into a gentleman
below uncombed hairs
and unwashed hands.
 
 
I was into lessons to be clean
while
I was feeding on my love.
 
 
From a scrappy life
beside a pond
abound with weeping cranes
she was the only fish
in front of my hungry beaks.
 
 
Short-lived and destructive
as most pleasures are
I am wedged back
back into an untidy shiver
 
from an act worthy of no mercy.
 

On not finding enlightenment under the banyan tree

I try to find enlightenment
under the banyan tree
but discover only
six old tyres hanging inside its trunk,
an electric flex
and four empty booze bottles.

Roots nudge apart the brick wall
promising to crumble it,
lay it to dust under fallen leaves.
Bee nests hang
from upper branches,
humming.

I ponder tyres, flex, bottles,
muse on links
between motion, light and spirit.

I am not sure whether,
like a mountain summit,
nirvana can be reached by uphill struggle
or whether, like this tree,
it is a gradual becoming.
Either way, I will heed its guidance,
keep on pedalling and drinking
and one day maybe
I’ll see the light.


Hard Core

The digger hangs its head.
All day it has smashed rock
scoffed earth like jam
scattered stones.

The light fades.
The hole fills with water.

Brown Bear

You see me, don’t you, when you lift your snout?
teddy ears like radar dishes swivel.
I am in your range, I see you register.
Our eyes lock on, I gaze, you monitor.

So when you sniff, then drop your head, relax,
a shoot tip here, a whole leaf tongueful there,
I know the grace of being seen, accepted
watcher, neither enemy nor friend.

It’s smell that ruins our detente,
dissolving as you catch my whiff.
Distaste sends you scampering up the bank,
our brief truce broken by my human scent.


 
                                                                     Mandy Haggith


Mandy Haggith has had two poetry collections published: letting light in (Essencepress) and Castings (Two Ravens Press). In summer 2013 She was poet in residence at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.



The flight of starlings hammer at my window


a chorus of the thinned and wavy leaves
fanned and skeletal
they give their serried chorus
singing birdsongs
as you sit inside listening to the starlings tantalised
by the bowls and flasks and cups by the flickering firelight
clasps the rose and the light
flame curl and coil in crinkling
flickered flexuous
flickering
This is a birth in the wrinkle of time on the desert sand
a rose of the desert opens and flies
through this howling sandstorm
opening, opening
Pitch bitumen, black-tetters leech, ooze
from gaped trench and wadi,
shadow of your balloon on sand twists, thins to its own eclipse
you are your own shadow
lariat on its throat squeezes
and it gasps
to spiral and sink exhaled
shrinking
into the cactus
or the propinquitous remorseless
desert birds.
Their pinks and griseilles:
this is the sound of the desert birds
as they circle over these empty words
that echo in their whine and their broken dried split gourds
that show that where and how and now
all must come to this end of time.
 

                                               Colin Honnor


Colin Honnor, based in the English Cotswolds, is a widely published poet with several published collections  and appears regularly  on the Web and on paper.  A  writer and an independant  publisher, he is a translator of  modern European poetry. His "English Poetry" is forthcoming from UPA.


I Am Translatable
 
composed of modern language, I have
all the proper parts:  a title, a body,
a conceived (if a bit contrived) ending. 
I am legible, my edges do not blur.
I am not smeared.  My spine is
sturdy, but broken.  A bit of wear and tear is visible,
and to be expected after almost four decades
of use, but my message still holds
a ring of relevance underneath a light
layer of accumulated dust.



Uncapped Pens
 
stand, voiceless instruments
of expression, denied
access to imagination, hand
of muse.  Plastic soldiers
stuck in stance, at attention,
wait in silence as the thick,
black blood meant for creation
drains down, lingers in hollowed
bodies, before drying
out, leaving only remnant streaks
clinging to crease in memory
of words left unwritten.



The Road to Bare Road
 
Does not begin at the pre-conceived underlayers:
bras, bikinis, boxers reveal nothing
worthy of lighted remembrance.  They provide lock
and key, potential portals (if connected properly)
to stolen moments of safety,  the real hollow in
the metaphorical wall, constricting communication.
Where the lies of tongue and skin can be shed. Where
blood and soul converge, conversing in silent game
of show and tell.  Where touch replaces need
for words. Where split [a]parts conjoin again in infinite
hopeful attempt at peacing together
                                                            two wholes.




The Paper Lies

                          Responsive
in its subtle silent knowledge.
Too sure of the world’s uncertainty,
it is solid in its stance.  Blind
and blank, it can hold only concept-
ions of right.  [Left by hands 
foraging for forgiveness and 
understanding].  Nothing
is beyond its agenda.  
Three strikes doesn’t equal an out
(line them up -- or delete them 
for aesthetics -- doesn’t matter) 
in the end.  Only the meaning
between the ink waves will hold
memory’s hand.
 
 
                                   Amy Huffman



A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com.  She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals.  Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press ( www.kindofahurricanepress.com ).  Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000191382454 and https://twitter.com/#!/poetess222. 

Homeward Bound

 

millennia pass and the waters flow melodically
on a sojourn epic, in testimony to our Creator.
gathering speed and resolution, the channel
widens, polishing and recreating stones of ivory.
the torrent stream cascades downward in a
swirling and spiraling display of wonderment,
manifested by our God.  time is frozen to all
who purvey the enchantment spun by our senses.
the whitecaps swell and heave in effortless
force as they recombine in frothy resonance.
the turbulence recedes and becomes tranquil
and peaceful on the journey home.   


Color the Earth

 

the season unreels with an aura of
majesty, measured by God’s celestial
clock.  the world would witness the changing
times, as the air became cool and crisp.
the leaves labor to maintain their life flowing force,
only to be swept away by
the wind and rain, returning to the earthen
soil from whence they came.
the colors embark on a glorious endeavor,
filling the spectrum of the senses and
shining in the hearts of all who purvey
God’s work in nature.  the leaves labor to
maintain their life flowing force,
only to be swept away by
the wind and rain, returning to the earthen
soil from whence they came.

 


 

Wetlands

 

spring time brings willows blooming in the
marshes, skirting the shallow shoreline.
small game, swallows, gulls, finches and
black birds harbor themselves amongst
yellow-green shoots and reeds and stalks
and wispy and spinally young ferns and firs.
smaller vegetation, dandelions and cross-bred
grass weave a velvety tapestry on the outskirts.
an eagle takes center stage, soaring effortlessly
overhead.  the billowy white clouds kaleidoscope
against the blue sky from moment to precious
moment. the breeze, gusty winds and sunshine
exchange voices, complementing and completing
the perfect picture in time and space.

                                                 Steven Jacobson



Steven Jacobson was born and raised in the Mid-west graduating from UW-LaCrosse,WI with a double major in Physics and Mathematics.  His poetry has been submitted to Access Press, an online newspaper, featuring selected poetry.  He has attended (8) classes from the Loft Literary Center, promoting all levels of creative writing.  His start in poetry afforded itself through a monthly newsletter at Vail Place, a support group for mentally challenged people across the country, which he has been associated with for more than 15 years.

 Steven has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, going on 15 years.  He has been in and out of psych wards several times and needs to take medication every morning and night and the medication treatment is for psychotic thoughts and depression, curbing both situations.


INVOICE

Hypothetically
if I wasn't alone
I'd be home.
I'd enjoy the suspense
of an unfinished
ellipsis.
 
Presumably
misunderstanding is
unquantifiable.
In solitude
symmetry isn't quite
attainable.
 
Ostensibly
human compatibilities
aren't untenable.
Shopping for people
obviates monotony
— provisionally.
 
Apparently
isolation & solipsism
are mutual, universal.
Affiliations are,
however partial, proxied,
diagonal.
 
Supposedly
human mutual is
congenital, inexorable.
Unilateral is
anomaly, shopping
for impossible.
 
Hypothetically
if I wasn't alone
I'd be tangible.
I'd enjoy contrapuntal
logistics of
volatility.


 

WAS TO IS
 
Chaos was my oxygen until
I learned to breathe you. Sudden
start an omnifarious heart. Untuned
guitar no longer, you play my
air like a silver zither.
 
Nothing was my address until
I gained sense of better ubiety.
I possess a more buoyant place.
Cracking rubber band now zings
like bouzouki strings.
 
There was indifference of universe
until coalescing carbon nova now.
That was you. Atonal twang sang
wrong, then you galvanized
my chromatic chime.
 
Purposeless pressure emptied my
ears until I syncopated prism in
harmonic eye. I saw you embody
bell ascending. Now a better
fretboard: calliope sound.
 


REVISING COLOR

 

Your adventures
are unknowable
to anyone
save you.
Maybe
that's why
they are
so important.

 
Your intuition
is inscrutable
knowing what no one
else calls true.
Maybe
that's how
you got so
exigent.

 
Anoetic
is the method;
what's recondite
stays unsaid.

 
Your inclinations
are primitive
except when
they're different.
Maybe
because
doesn't really
illuminate.

 
Learning language
is the challenge;
every word opens a box
to another paradox.


Our proclivities
are abstruse
save times
exchanging alignment.
Maybe
it's that maybe
is all there is
of fate.

 
Revising color
is the endeavor;
any disclosure
is a wonder.

 



                                                                Craig Kurtz
 
 
Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work appears in Out of Our, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Penny Ante Feud, The Bitchin' Kitsch and others. His first record, The Philosophic Collage, 1981, was reissued by BDR in 2012. He has been a staff writer for Perfect Sound Forever since 2003.
     


LIKE A RIVER

 

 
Like a river, you carry me down

washing over my senses

 

the fort of my seven skins has abandoned

the rite of defence to the waves

 

unsheltered, my nerve-raw flesh in its freedom

spatters into the current

 

like a river, you carry me down

between singing, mountainous shores.

 
    TRAP

       For Bernard Kops

 


 

Just view that blatant

trap in our nasty,

rapturous play –

Negation cast it.

 

 

A trap, sprung

on the foolish young:

Obey the rules

and await your day!

 

 

A trap, holding

the foolish old: You’re

too late by the rules...

No! You are past it.

 

 

And I am the young

and I am the old

if I hold to the rules,

and so are you.

 

 
                                                Thomas Orszag- Land


Thomas Orszag- Land is  a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent writing from London and his native Budapest. His poetry appears here and in current issues of Ambit, The London Magazine and Stand.)


Creating a Scene
 
She’s playing an actress in a bedroom scene,
using lines from celebrity magazines
where dating two men means a ditsy
girl and not an unplanned pregnancy.
 
She commits to having her daughter.
Openly admits to a preferred father,
who’s cleared by a DNA test. He washes
his hands, slinks off stage and vanishes.
 
The unpreferred man refuses to return.
Judged before the baby was born,
he faces a wall of maternal indignation:
from a princess who had kissed two men,
 
didn’t check her reflection in the mirror,
assumed there’d be a happy ever after.
 
 
Mimicking a Snowdrop
Playgroup London 1944
 

Minnie pulls her arms tight to her sides,
bows her head and stares at the floor,
wishing her thin dress was less grubby.
She senses the rumble of bombers.
She bites her lip, tucks her chin closer:
can’t cry in front of the boys.
She remembers the handkerchief fluttering
amongst the rubble of her aunt’s house,
where she used to have to take her shoes off
and promise not to touch the ornaments
so she’d look at the photo of auntie in a long, white dress
when auntie would say, “It starts with you
unbuttoning his shirt and ends with you ironing it.
See yourself doing it for the next forty years,
before you even think about saying yes.”
Minnie had snatched the handkerchief,
looked up the embroidered flower in a book at school,
wished she had time for delicate stitching
instead of sewing sheets edges to middle.
Swore if she saw one in bloom before her January birthday,
next year would be better.
 

 
The small hours have become my friends
 

Two o’clock used to be the return from a night out,
head full of lyrics, heart still following a rhythm,
body reluctant to be still and let sleep in.
 
Three o’clock in a shared bed, dark enveloping you,
restricting me to sensing your breathing slow,
deepen in your sleep as I kept you warm.
 
Four o’clock the awkward not night, not morning,
where my mind drifts into nascent ideas
nebulous sensations not yet coalesced into words.
 
Five o’clock and the day intrudes with lists and plans,
until I can retreat into watchful dark,
refuel and tend the flame of the coming day.
 

                                                                 Emma Lee

 
Emma Lee’s collection “Yellow Torchlight and the Blues” is available from Original Plus. She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and is a blogger-reviewer for Simon and Schuster. She also reviews for The Journal and Sphinx magazines.


Good Morning Gone Wild
 
He said good morning like a bright white Wiffle Ball bursting with goose feathers and mom’s homemade marmalade all sticky sweet and full of delicious do-it-yourself goodness that only consummate concern for culinary excellence, the orange-growing season, and the methods of modern canning can supply to a female homo sapien intent on making her out-of-this-world conserves as appealing and awe-inspiring to aficionados of jams and jellies and to others who might be reticent for dietary purposes or matters of personal taste to consume a comestible comprised of boiled fruit pulp, rinds, and sugars that provides a perfect compliment to lightly toasted buttered bread or sumptuous raisin-and-nut filled scones in the early a.m. or at any time in the circadian scheme of things when men and women are about the quotidian tasks of getting their work done and needs fulfilled so they can unwind and relax in the soft glow of a languorous evening that has gradually descended from the celestial heavens bringing with it hope that tomorrow will be a better, brighter, and more beneficent day than the current sunrise-to-sunset was.
 
I replied, “And a good morning to you.” 


 
Unintelligent Design
 

Jaundice, gout, eczema, scabies,
arrhythmia, chlamydia,
diaper rash, rabies,
 
dandruff, acne, cold sores, gallstones,
constipation, diarrhea,
chicken pox, broken bones,
 
leg pain, neck pain, back pain, joint pain,
hemorrhoids, heart attacks, hearing loss,
growths on the brain,
 
hair loss, toothache, groin strain, neuromas,
ingrown nails, whooping cough,
plantar warts, lymphomas,
 
wheezing, sneezing, lupus, malaria,
senility, obsesity,
hives and hysteria,
 
boils, burns, bulimia, bursitis,
liver cancer, kidney cancer,
flu and phlebitis,
 
shingles, shin splints, sickle cell, psoriasis,
tennis elbow, toxic shock,
communicable viruses,
 
ADD, OCD, IBS, TMJ,
tendonitis, tics and twitches,
end of list, now let us pray.

                                                Martin H. Levinson



Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, Academy of American Poets, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published 8 books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.


The Criminals of Amsterdam
 
Around stars the dream of time,
the song of light, where
nakedness is a sea
of fences, a Camelot of clouds.
Christian of smoke, Idol with
dying eyes, what palace of gold
is not burning with the graves
of beautifully dressed women?
What city of terror
is not resurrected in crosses
of water, in peaks of crimson snow?
 
In the city, faces of endless trees and
gardens.  We arrive in a summer of wind,
of sterile occupations, tyrannical futures,
swept like gutters with traces of blood,
in suburbs of
drowning waves, in ports of unclean tides.
 
The blueness of sky is like police of a sacred
design.  On packed streets, with vicious
executions, barbaric cages,
the heroism of proud and doomed animals.
On rows of flowers,
the sun of sewers, the sun of magic and death.
In parks of water, in museums
of painted sound, the moon of unknown worlds
is like a fallen bird, simple and free.
Foolish as swine,
we sit on the steps of luxury, engulfed in history,
but what eternity of machines is unleashed
when beauty at last is satisfied and the climax
of generosities
is met by enemies of cruel and distinguished chaos?
 



I Cross the City


I cross the city
with my broken leg
and each step 
is like a sound of which 
pain is unknown.


The street is like hair
of time, worn like hats
of voices, growing 
in silence with disgust
of its shuddering mane.


I grip with blazing fingers
the immense concentration 
of light.  In the market
I purchase the most 
precise drawing of my soul.


Gently I bite the river of all
its diseases.  In my mouth
prayers of quaking stone.
In severity I alone approach
the most silent of religions.
In my possession, blood of 
secrets, pathetically marked,
passed out like sneering gifts,
comic revelations.



The Season of Death


I return in the
season of death,
where
the wind is cleaner
than sea with hands.


Beneath the son of earth,
a fault bubbles and blazes.
In such a well the conceit 
of stars is inspired 
by roots of history and fire.


I work on a farm of floods,
in a museum of magnificent
blood and sounds, where the
water is like juice of young life.


The founder of my possessions
is a beggar of secrets and words.
Great hanging trees evoke
cities of green and silent wood.
The river flows over hills of time.



Climbing out of Drunkenness


Climbing out of drunkenness,
I am the intruder of my silence 
and my insides burn
like vinegar of immense sores.


The wine on my face is frozen in a storm
of glass.  The snot 
of my colour rests on a table of worms.
The vest of morning
is whiter than spirits of incurable gold.
I drink the summer of 
orchards with flames of European kisses.


I reach the sound of light, where birds
of time thump out blind and dismal music.
Drunkenly,
I suspect the sun of the theft of visions.
I hover at the gate of existence with the
pride of civilisation but what marvellous
sorrow waits for me in the cloudless sky?


                                               Austin McCarron

Austin McCarron is  from New Zealand but has lived in London for many years.  Austin's work has appeared in various magazines in the U.K. over the past five years.


The Black Mamba

I am convinced that
there has been some kind
of mistake, a misnaming,

as I watch a pale green snake
slither across the floor of its cage.
I am just about to inform one

of the keepers when I read
that the reason it is called the Black
Mamba is because of the colour

of the inside of its mouth.
That little morsel keeps my own
one firmly shut.


The Blood Python

It looks like designer
water balloon but, of course,
it is not. It is a living thing,

and it is filled with bones
and, as its name suggests, blood.
The only hint that it is alive

is in the rise and fall of its
breathing. In that, and in the occasional
flicker of its tongue. The rest

of its moving parts are still.
It looks as if it has been bored
stiff for a very long time.


Dragons

There are two of them, but one
would have been more than enough.

Their presence is excessive; their very existence,
a threat to my own. I do not need to be told that one
of them was in a fight scene in the latest Bond film.

The idea of Daniel Craig defeating one of these
creatures which, I imagine, he must have done,

seems ridiculous. I choose one to look at and try to concentrate. It looks at me too, each of us a statue,
separated by nothing but a pane of glass. I am sure

that, if it wanted to, the beast could shatter it.
In order for it to kill me, a single bite would be

enough. Even if I were able to escape, the bacteria
in its saliva would, eventually, do the trick. It would then
track me down and devour me. After a while, I decide

to leave and visit some of the other cages.
At the end of the day, however, I have to go

back for final look. The chosen one has not
moved a muscle, nor even blinked a single eye.
I am afraid that I find its stoicism repulsive.


                                                    Gordon Meade



Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet, now living in London. His seventh collection of poems, Sounds of the Real World, is due for publication in September 2013 with Cultured Llama Publishing. He divides his time between his own writing and running creative writing courses for vulnerable young people.


Unusual Shiver in Winter Days

 

She was a creeping winter,
coiling and settling into the wardrobe
of my lined collections-
of cassettes and clothes
(Scattered in a bachelor’s room)

Suits arranged by brands
fragranced by sensuous nights
brought by you moulded me
into a gentleman
below uncombed hairs
and unwashed hands.

I was into lessons to be clean
while
I was feeding on my love.

From a scrappy life
beside a pond
abound with weeping cranes
she was the only fish
in front of my hungry beaks.

Short-lived and destructive
as most pleasures are

I am wedged back
back into an untidy shiver
from an act worthy of no mercy.


 
                                       Sonnet Mondal



Sonnet Mondal is the founder of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review. He has authored eight collections of poetry. His recent works have appeared in The Sheepshead Review, Nth Position, Fox Chase Review, The Penguin Review, Two Thirds North & California State Poetry Quarterly to name a few. 


Vampires Anonymous
 
My name does not matter anymore.
Who I was and what I am have become one and the same:
I am hungry and I have been hungry for so long now
 
I eat, of course, after a fashion,
what has for now become my fashion,
still I  am always empty.
 
People share with me, they sense my need,
people who do not know who I am,
yet their gifts are always cold.
 
I have forgotten what it is like to take what I want.
I have forgotten what it was ever like to be warm,
but I can't forget the taste of blood.
 
It would be wrong to.
 
 
 
 
Chemistry
 
She brought herself to the poem
wanting something to happen
but it just sat there.
Waiting.
 
She couldn't understand what for.
For her to do something more?
When would the magic
begin?
 
She didn't know what else to do.
It takes two to tango and
she wasn't sure how
to dance
 
alone.
 

                                                               Jim Murdoch


Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow. His poetry has appeared regularly in small press magazines from the seventies on. In the nineties he turned to prose writing and has since published three novels His latest book is a collection of thematically-linked short stories entitled Making Sense. He’s not given up on the poetry though.

 

accept

feature length films
piling up in a stack in your room
unwatched and unthought of
after the initial impression charade
you partake in with your friends
to prove how hip and cool you are
when shopping

you bought Belle and Sebastian
because someone at a party
put them on and everyone but you
smiled
you wore tight jeans and glasses too big
for your face

was that red in your hair that time
you fumbled in Starbucks
and dropped your coins
so they exploded like little silver bullets
bursting through your social life
and killing your street cred?

you should have bought that wallet chain

your blackberry has a crack in the screen
and your not sure if smilies are the done thing
anymore
or if people just don't like you enough
to send you any

you like everything on Facebook and
plot revenge against those who don't like you back
but you know
you'll never go through with it
and just keep clicking that
little blue thumb

just keep listening to music you don't like
on an Ipod you have no idea how to work
while wearing a seventy dollar shirt
and riding your white bike
to a job that makes you cool
because you are cool

you're James Franco and you know it


rainsoakedbuildings

after everything that happened
and after you left behind the spinning bottles and
falling paper plates
I knew you stormed past the homeless guy
at the bottom of the stairs and thrust your way through
the rain
(you probably stomped in the puddles on purpose)
to the subway station to sit with your face
in your hands and hope everyone saw
but no one would help
I sat on the old couch with party guests
floating around my head and whispering nothings
about your temper and my back bone 
(someone said you boiled it and fed it to the dogs
what dogs? we don't have dogs and neither do the neighbours)

your sympathy attracts hangers on that lap up your tears
and nibble at the juicy leftovers you spill behind during
your martyrs walk through free coffee, offered (but rejected)
cocktails and napkins dabbed at dry mascara eyes as 
you sit under the glaring white lights of the cafe
a block from your apartment (that you walked past after the subway)
and the floor slithers with flattering lies and everyone
fumbles to light your cigarette and warm up your coffee and heart

the party guests have left and your spilled drink
and half eaten mini pizza slice
is the only thing I haven't clean up yet
and now I sit cross legged on
the kitchen table and wonder why I ever let
you in the door in the first place
I knew the night would be ruined by
a fight you were involved in
and I could see the glare in your
green eyes and a whip of blonde hair
(I would give everything to smell)
crashed my small little place
to pieces and I know I still love
you somewhere out there
in between the buildings and chain link fences
and yesterdays coffee cups filling slowly
with tiny silver disks of hope


electronicfundamentals

I understand things  wish I didn't
there are thoughts not my own
within my head
they belong to everything
phones pressed
screens viewed and cars drove
I hear the screaming and complaints

I know the lava lamp wants to be turned on
and the TV off
the clock ticking tells me its time to leave
but who will keep him company
and what if he is afraid of the dark?
should I leave the light on
or will the bulb taunt him
for his lack of luminescence?

sleep will come poorly tonight
my cell phone will provide a night light
but slumber soundly beside me
and will not wake if terror enters
protection is not part of his job description
he is no bodyguard
but his glow comforts me
when I wake with shakes in the middle of the night

maybe one day I will feel harmony in my house
and when darkness descends there will be no more piercing shrieks
I know I could accomplish this
but how do you get the laptop to be at peace with Hifi?

                                                               Stuart Murphy


Stuart Murphy currently lives just outside Glasgow in a town called Airdrie. He is 30 years old and has been writing and submitting poetry for the last year. He has  had one poem on the website thecadaverine.com.
I am submitting 3 poems for consideration today.

GOD OF NOTHING.     
    
Always there, his whole body-
His legs, his hands, his fingers,
   fenced  out the unknown.
His eyes, his ears, his tongue,
 were alphabets of caring;
 We  understood our first words, 
As meanings fired our head kilns,
the sentances foil-wrapped us
 in their security blanket.

Sometimes spade, sometimes bars,
 we clutched  hard   to look out,
 on the outside world in wonder,  
 and dreaming to touch on our own.
Sometime pegs, we hooked our future, 
to bungee jump into   free space 
to lick the free air around-
Rearing ,bouncing back 
to the confines of his shade.
Knowing  he is  sword and shield 
against the darkness outside.
Sowing seeds of security,
 striking roots of confidence
in our minds, heads, hearts,
keeping out fear, even death.
                     II
The legs, the arms, the fingers,
All that muscle, bone and flesh ,
lie,lying, lysed in coma in ICU-
so still, stiffened, stunned.
Sheathed in green gear;  
Plastic tubes snake out 
from his ventilator mask, 
 Head, chest, kidney, stomach-
every where, rumbling hissing,
 blinking machines  making him
 not a superman father,
  a  mortal, hapless, aged man-
 fighting the final pass over.
  
Brain stroke claimed him, 
reducing the body,our defence army 
 to a cardboard  cutout of memories.
A vanishing country of nothing,
history and geography of our beginnings,
reduced to a cipher.

 
THE NEW SCRIPT

An ancient light reads
The hieroglyphs of yesterday-
Eyes were necessary, fingers too.
To play “handmaiden” to light.
The ‘bar-codes’ stand, black and white
New-age dolmens,  simple and straight.
A new now light, man made laser
Braille the spaces, the distance speak.
Emptiness has alphabets,
Light has tongue-
Sans mouth, sans eyes, sans fingers
The cold metal machines
Do it all for you.

                                           Nirmala Pillai 



Nirmla Pillai is a graduate in Microbiology and post graduate in English Literature. She has also done my post graduate diploma in Journalism. Nirmla have published two books of poems in English and a number of poems and short stories in various magazines in India like PEN, The Asian Age, Indian Literature, Bare Root review from Minnesota University, Poetry Can, UK [Poetry Southwest]. Kritya, The Telegraph,The Little Magazine, Cha; an Asian literary journal from HONG-KONG etc. 
She belong to the civil service and is posted as ADVISOR -FINANCE] DELHI.
She paints. Nirmla has held painting exhibitions in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin etc.
 

Walthamstow Miracle

The painting of the weeping Madonna
became the talk of Walthamstow.
Believers travelled from the west and east
of London to light candles and pray
in George Bolton’s neat front room.
News of the miracle spread and the truth 
was exposed in the tabloids alongside 
the scandal of Profumo and Christine.
George exchanged his pounds for drachmas 
and settled by the Acheron river. 
Alice, married with a baby and one on the way, 
never spoke of her brother again.

 

 
Funeral


Her hand resting on your coffin
as if on your shoulder;
the vicar invokes saints
and angels to greet you.
Almost forgotten cousins
gather to watch your descent,
then cast down farewells,
wilted pink roses,
handfuls of dry sieved earth.
I linger to read
messages on flowers
no-one will see again,
step between headstones,
and hear the engine
of the waiting digger.
 
                                                        Karen Powell


Karen Powell has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. Her poems have appeared in Hearing Voices, Swamp and The Prose Poem Project.



The Dream House of Archie  Katz

Off Highway One, Archie Katz,
who had made a lot of money in construction
and thought he could do anything,
bought a meadow
high above the Pacific Ocean.
No one else lived up there at all
except for the Riddle family,
who were tenant farmers on the next ridge.

Against the advice of a geologist,
Archie built his house near the edge of the cliff,
first constructing a road
(which won?t hardly last the winter Harlan Riddle said)
bringing up diggers and earth movers and cement trucks
and crews of men in hard hats.
The Riddles had never seen anything like that house.

Archie married his own wife all over again there,
when the house was finished,
Mrs Katz wearing red lipstick and red fingernails
and a peach coloured linen suit and a jade necklace,
and they had a big party which overflowed
the house and the limestone patio.

But Mrs Katz never liked living at the house
partly because of the poison oak and the ticks
not to mention the rattlesnakes and
the mountain lions.
Also they didn?t get on with each other
and she wanted to go back to the city
to see her friends
and to resume her real life.
They had such loud fights,
you could almost hear them on the next ridge.

After she left,
a crack appeared in the foundation.
Cement trucks laboured up the hill.
He loved his wife
and he missed her
and he couldn?t have her.
Why?s she got such a hold on you?
Harlan Riddle asked him.
Sex, he said.
And he kept ordering more trucks of cement
and they poured it into the cracks night and day
but whatever they did the cracks opened up again.

You can pour all the blue circle cement in Pittsburgh in there,
Harlan told Archie,
and it will never work.
Don?t be stupid.
Look around, how big the mountains are
compared to your trucks.

After a while, Archie gave up
and went back to the city
and the house was empty.

There have always been fires up there.
One year one of them came down the canyon
and crossed the field
and burned the house.

Later on, seagulls sat on the charred frame,
the views as good as ever,
of the rumpled tops of clouds
and the bright ocean.
The Riddles got one of the marble bathtubs
and the cows got the other for a drinking trough.

Archie still comes back to see the Riddles.
I don?t regret it at all, he said.
Did you ever think to get yourself another woman?
Harlan Riddle asked him.
There isn?t any other woman possible, he said.


                         
The Great Pizatti


The great Pizatti was hungry to be funny
but he tried too hard
and he rushed his lines.
He was often more embarrassing than funny
until he met Margot,
a gangly woman,
who drank a lot
and who, even when sober,
seemed to be well short of the correct change,
and who thought
he was the funniest thing she had ever seen.

She laughed and she wheezed and she howled.
Sometimes she fell out of her chair.
He is so funny, she said.
What she started, other people continued
until they were all out of control,
even when,
or I guess it would be true to say, especially when
not much was happening.

He had to wait for them to finish
and he was forced to adjust his timing and his volume.
The less he did the better he was
and in this way he got outrageous success.
Also love.

He and Margot drank together all the time.
She had never seen the point of being sober.
But she did not have his bull like physical strength.
She fell apart
and had to stop drinking
and then she hadn?t anything.
She was just another unhappy woman
holding on to life.

But the Great Pizatti
married someone else,
a good sober woman,
and moderated his drinking for a while,
even pretending that he wasn?t doing it,
and was quite funny for a long time
and made a lot of money in Hollywood.




                                   Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a retired mathematician who lives in Bristol.  He loves poetry, likes coffee very much, and dreams of a better world.


Driving from Ocala, Florida, to Munising, Michigan

 

The state flower of Georgia

should be a construction cone,

a racist construction cone—

I text this to Melissa,

despite the TEXTS=WRECKS

billboard, but there are no cars

around, just semis,

so only I could get pretzel-crushed

the way that Mike Cox’s head did

when he opened the door

to his father’s closet

and a bowling ball fell

on him, sending him

to the hospital where they worried

he could die; so much death,

in the simplicity of texting,

so easy to open a closet,

and the highway seems filled

with all these skid marks

that if you realize what they mean

demonstrate to us all

on a second by second basis

that someone went plummeting

off the road, here, and here,

and there, and here, and this

cross at the side of the road

with the flowers all dead,

that’s a son, a corpse,

another billboard for liquor,

a liquor store, a gun shop

billboard, a strip club,

a strip club billboard.

Georgia, for a state with so many

supposed Christians, you look like

Sodom, a capitalist apocalypse,

and no one seems to be working,

just road torn to shreds.

Another gun shop.

You must be 
embarrassed

for your state.

Try harder, Georgia.

For Jesus.  Or at least

your napping daughters.


                                          Ron Riekki



Ron Riekki wrote the novel U.P. and edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Wayne State University Press, http://wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/way-north).


Imaginary Property Boom
 
“Like Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure dome, less the drugs,”
Says the winsome, degreed bookseller at an aspiring writer, “It’s
A fine faux-Tudor with gravel drive and lockup, The Cloud Atlas house.”
 
“I don’t have much to invest,” they reply, “how much to buy into,
The latest Tolkien housing development?”
 
“More than you got, mate, so why not just stoke the hormonal fire,
Of teenage girls, of all ages, with a one bedroom Bram Stoker conversion
Or a Stephanie Meyer efficiency?”
 
“Forget it, bookseller, and your swindle; I’ll download it to my Kindle,
And pray that these bricks, this mortar tumble upon your head,
While I read an eNewspaper at Nero’s and secretly wish,
I was playing Sudoku on a tablet,
Instead.”
 


Penpushers, Forward!

 
Vicious gossips stoke hate furnace mobs
But can’t get them lit in the first place, can’t get the job quickened,
No, not no more, no, in these changed times
 
Into the breach, ‘Pen’pushers! Forward!
 
Manifesto picked Blackberryings, across teleprompted news
Media Militia Hotheads, unite! Planetary deployment in sight!
Pour a libation in your mouths, in honor of myriad eyed Argo,
Your god and plantation overseer,
As for libation, yes, brandy, peppermint tea and water are fine
 
Fall back! Fall back!
‘Pen’pushers and auxiliary wordsmiths, to the rear guard!
Cover the retreat! Ennoble the failures! Sweep up the crimes!
Fire a salvo of human interest stories cum History texts!
 
Do you apes want to live forever?
Yes, of course you do, so get stuck in!



 
Malibu: Afterbirth of an Ad Campaign

 
Barbie can, at the Barbican
For her glorious man, Mattels her so,
Impressed that she kens Middle Global English,
We pre-order the Holy Orders range, of fine collectable figures,
In a strange denial frenzy, taking ourselves ever further,
From prime, locked-in Mortgage rates, as wielded by our better peers,
To hack and fray our grated nerves, their nerves: cool and intact,
At least the investors tell them so, leaving their urine-stained walls,
Neatly papered over with laminated bank notes and degree milled diplomas
 
Stands in the Market
Faces in the Crowd
 
Plastic in my Wallet
Hope in the Ground




 
Joseph Robert's poetry has appeared in Decanto, Unlikely Stories, The Journal, Mistress Quickly's Bed, The Commonline Journal, Dead Snakes and Pyrokinection.

 

Decline

Someone has held her nerve-endings over a flame,
singed synapses, neurons fizzled out, no connection.

Her veins are still under her skin but they have been shredded
with a fine knife, a skilled slice, each individual vein horizontally frayed.

The brain feels unbearably heavy, anchored in its cell
where escape is not an option, it bears its pregnant weight.

A fine mist settles in front of her eyes, the familiar glaze that shrouds
her sight, the hazy mess that does not leave when she closes her eyes.

She is unaware of the limbs attached to her body, they don’t belong
to her, they only move when forced, bringing with them an intolerable effort.

Her face is scratched all over, vertical scarlet streaks, marks of a domestic
struggle between this girl and her brain, evidence of her surrender.

Trembling hands clutch clumps of hair, harshly plucked from her scalp,
holding something that is dead to remind herself that she is alive.

Lips are swollen from the biting, throat is raw from the screaming,
skin is ashen, she does not know if she is hot or cold.

Her lungs move violently in her chest, matching the pattern of her heart,
forcing life through her mangled body, erratic breathing to equal her behaviour.


                                                              Helena Louise Rollason


Helena Louise Rollason is an undergraduate from London, currently studying for a degree in English. She writes poetry on her personal blog, and articles and reviews for The Founder and The Orbital.


We Are as One



Fade, like the sound of soft rains


that plummet down, onto a rusted 


tin roof of starless ink night. 


 
Drift, into the dark sleep of the just,


as gentle winds blow through hollow 


willows weeping for humanity. 


 
Drink, from alabaster fountains rejuvenating 


life from the inside out. Please do not fight 


among your fellow humankind, love one 



another, show compassion. 


 
Swim within dreams of surreal ecstasy, plunging 


the spear of destiny deeper, into the galaxy of 


infinite oneness.  


                                                                   Wayne Russell


Wayne Russell hails from Tampa, Florida and has been doing creative writing since he was five years old. Wayne has been published in various zines over the years, includin The Cannon's Mouth Quarterly, The Rolling Thunder Press, and Poets Espresso.

His first flash fiction story “Breaking Point”, has recently been published at Staxtes.com Greek Literary Review via their “English 
Wednesdays” Internet zine.


THE WORK BETWEEN US
 
The two of us are tired
and saying goodnight to the day's gray efforts
...I, with those words which the Moon evokes
and her brain dances with a thousand images in dream.
 
Later, she works them, in the months while the painting formulates
its composition to fit a frame
and save salvation and earn God's  name
as the subtext of that parlayed choice.
 
And together we find our voice!



                                                                  Sam Silva


SAM SILVA has poetry in print magazines including, but not limited to Samisdat, The ECU Rebel, Sow's Ear, The American Muse, St. Andrews Review, Dog River Review, Third Lung Review, Main St. Rag, Charlotte Poetry Review, Parnasus...most (but not all) of these magazines are now defunct. For the Past four years his magazine portfolio has grown by and large on line including Rio Del Arts, Megaera, Big Bridge, Views unplugged, Comrade Magazine, Ken Again and at least thirty others. Over the years four small presses have published a total of nine chapbooks by Sam Silva ...these, being Third Lung Press, M.A.F. Press, Alpha Beat Press, Trouth Creek Press. Brown and Yale Universities solicited many of these chapbooks for their libraries. These chapbooks were well received in newspaper reviews by Shelby Stephenson, Ron Bayes, Steve Smith, and the late poet laureate of North Carolina Sam Ragan. Silva has ebooks available without cost at Physikgarden.com.He has well over 300 poems archived in online magazines. He was nominated a total of seven times by three small presses and has a full length collection of poetry called Eating and Drinking based on a royalties contract signed with Bright Spark Creative available for order at any online bookstore and has other full length poetry books available at amazon.com . Three spoken word CDs of Sam Silva's have been marketed through CDBaby.



 
SONATA IN E MINOR


jacks from the toybox, rusted
her old letters
an empty box of hair colorant.
 
love needs
            truth
love needs
            subtlety
the purpose of subtlety is to
            (not) 
                        tell the truth
 
I keep these tucked away:
            cigarettes
            an old condom
            a dried flower
            a snapsot of a man      
            walking away on a
            bridge, his hair ribboned
            with sun.
 
 
 
 
THE MADONNA INN


That Pepto Bismol pink chalet
Crusted with white gingerbread, sprawling
Like an unraveled intestine, vibrantly.
 
The themed rooms—Safari, Paris
Violets, Mountain View, Sugar and Spice,
Caveman—the pink ballroom hung with
Fat cherubims two feet tall, gilt everywhere,
Festooned with masses of plastic flowering
Vines—all this is beyond tasteless, beyond
Kitsch. There’s a koi pond on the grounds,
And a running grotto behind the swimming
Pool, flowing from the side of the mountain.
 
Near the entrance is a bronze statue of Alex
Madonna on a rearing horse, portly and smiling,
Holding a bronze cowboy hat in his right hand.
 
You remember the place as you remember a
Person. That should be the purpose of creating
Anything: to say that a singular vision is different
Than another person’s, but no less complete.
 
 
BRETT


My sister Brett has eyes like dinner-plates: blue eyes—blue plate special eyes—twin willow patterns hung above a mantelpiece. They widened at stories when she was a toddler and sat in my lap, along with that smudge of her baby-red mouth. She’d listen to stories of fairies living under the deck, of angels nesting in the walnut tree, of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the rest of children’s theology. She believed solemnly, her lower lip set in acceptance, dribbled with baby-drool.
Now she is taller than me and stronger than me and got into a better college and she never believes anything without getting the facts first—statistics, source of the statistics, their source of the statistics—the same smudge-red mouth crooked up in disbelief, her great blue eyes rolling at the slightest hyperbole. It cuts something cherubic in her expression like lemon squeezed over cream. She has moved from gullibility to skepticism with the zealotry of a convert, and there is no room for her former habits. 


Catherine  Simpson




Catherine Simpson is a cellist who lives in Santa Barbara. She has been previously published in Big River Poetry Review, Right Hand Pointing, Spectrum, Step Away Magazine, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Poydras Review, and Splash of Red.


 Stopping Love
 
It took courage, especially
after my recent disasters,
to tell her I loved her. Her
 
response was simply, “Why?”
I didn’t think she would ask
me to explain. “Because you’re
 
sweet,” stumbled out of my mouth.
“You think I’m sweet, because we
just met,” she said, “and everything
 
is coming up roses. But will you still
love me when you see me bitter?”
“Of course,” I said. What was I going
 
to say, It depends upon how much
bitterness you show me. Wasn’t
life learning to take the sour
 
with the sweet? I probably could
have handed her bitterness if it wasn’t
directed at me. There were no justification
 
for the copious amounts she aimed
my way. I didn’t tell her I stopped
loving her. I felt there were some things
 
I’d rather not say, because she might
ask me to explain and our relationship
 
was well beyond explanations.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Imagination on Hold
 
Let me show you how
to change a flat tire,
father said. First, you
find the tire that’s flat.
 
That’s the easy part.
Next, you unscrew
the hubcap. That’s
what separates the men
 
from the boys. You can’t
do it with brute strength.
You’ll need the right tool,
like this monkey wrench.
 
Why were you looking
at that girl, who just walked by?
So what, if she was staring at us
putting on an imaginary tire.
 
Half of what we do is imaginary.
How was I able to meet your mother
and make her my wife - through
a rare blend of reality and cunning?
 
Since I’ve been married and raised
a family, my imagination is mostly
on hold. Reality has grabbed me
by the neck and won’t let go. That’s
 
why it’s a waste of time teaching you
anything. You wanted to follow
that woman. What would it have
gotten you in the end – her phone number
 
if you were lucky, but most likely,
aggravation. Trust me, she didn’t
look like the outgoing type. You’d
be better off if you knew how to change a tire.
 
 
 
 
 
Greeting
 
“It’s me,” I said, speaking
into the phone. “I know it’s
you,” she said. “You have
 
a distinctive voice.” “Couldn’t
you have given me,” I said,
“a nicer greeting?” ‘I was
 
just stating a fact,” she said.
“You could have stated it,”
I said, “in a more joyous manner.”
 
“You give me no choice but
to hang up the phone,” she said.
Then I heard a busy signal.
 
It was the first time she hung up
on me. I never saw that as an option.

                                                           Hal  Sirowitz


Hal Sirowitz is the co-winner of the NoirCon 2012 Poetry Contest, judged by Robert Polito. He's also the author of "Stray Cat Blues."


"Hunger"

Baby girl
your lips pout
plump and white
with nursing blisters
like you're on
the pipe.

You drool.
You fiend.
You tug
and lunge.
You hug
the boob
like a moon-
shine jug.

Your eyes skip to and fro
with scheming;
then as the milk flows,
roll back,
with dreaming.

With a quiver
and a quake
you release.
Shiver
to sleep
and soften.

Good
like orgasm.

Good
like heroin.



"Baby's Breath"

I lean over your body
and breathe in
the warmth wafting
from your sleeping skin.

I love to kiss your chin
and let the air from your laugh
fill my mouth.

By loving you
I will never accomplish anything
but loving you.

All because I am a hapless hedonist
a wanton masochist
a willing slave
to your breath.




"The Tree"

I drive past your tree beside the highway.
As Spring becomes Summer
the memorial ribbons fray and wither
lose color
take on a sun bleached pallor against the greening of leaves.
Season by season
the nubile bark
will envelop your picture,
swallow the trinkets, the tributes, the wreathes.
Consumed first on fiery impact
now twice, by patient degrees.

Life and death
matter or memory -
none of these exist
but for the vain insistence
to define a thing by being not some other thing.
I am alive, because I am not dead.
Yet it's insufficient to call it living if living keeps death distant.
Life is no exception to existence.
And it makes no real difference
if I am not you and you are not me;
if the tree becomes you, or you become tree.

Oh, but I do wish you could see
how the carbon from your burning body
has kept this tree so green.

                                         Karin Terebessy



Karin Terebessy has a  Masters Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University and has had her poems and stories published in the past. She haven't submitted any of her work for the past decade.

Karina is a yoga instructor living in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters.


Oscillation

As he aged,
His hand-
Once bold, round, and sharp,
Scribed with masterful strokes,
Both striking and firing
As it fox-trotted across the page-
Became whittled down to a scrawl-
Until yielding a flat line.

 

Green

 

Our life cycle’s not too different from plants.
Often hidden or going unnoticed,
Standing in wait for the bloom
Before setting seed some fleeting flourish-
Remaining dormant more often than not.

While some blossom more than others,
Some don’t blossom at all,
Lingering verdant amongst verges of vegetation
Blending in as opposed to blooming out.
 

Semantics

 

I not very good at explaining,
I’m better at expressing.
I understand things I cannot comprehend,
Finding it difficult to figure out what’s gone in,
Despite this sense of knowing
What’s precariously on my tongue
Remains sound within my head.

 
                                      Anthony Ward


Anthony tends to fidget with his thoughts in the hope of laying them to rest. He has managed to lay them in a number of literary magazines including The Faircloth Review, The Pygmy Giant, Shot Glass Journal, Turbulence, Underground, The Bohemyth, Torrid Literature Journal and Crack the Spine, amongst others.


Silencers

It is not
the words of the guns that I fear
nor the men who speak with them.
It is the silences
whilst guns are thinking
and who that silence means.



Dementia
 
Ragged bloom winding the trellis of memory
a clematis, broad-leafed, strangling its flowers
honeysuckled in evening scents,
the moon clouds,
the stars soften, sugar on the ceiling.
The plant can’t reach around the wall no longer there.
 
Moments flower. Moments fail.
Upon the soil the spoil petals a battlefield
but no Hannibal, no Alexander.




Homecoming
 
Houses are smears on the sunset.
Steam music escorts the night. The train
pulls her closer, stretching the smile
on her butterfly lips, as he nears.
As thin as watered silk, the sky
pinks as wheels touch her station.
He is in the crowd. He is lifting his hand.
Houses slide together as the sun melts.

                                                              Noel Williams


Noel Williams is widely published in magazines and anthologies and has won his share of prizes. He is editor of Antiphon magazine (antiphon.org.uk) and Associate Editor of Orbis. He's Resident Artist at the Bank St Arts Centre in Sheffield, and lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. His collection Out of Breath will be published by Cinnamon Press in March 2014. Website: http://noelwilliams.wordpress.com/