Kiss
 
The thought that I will never kiss you
stings my lips, like chilli
that tickles, even as it smarts,
as my cloth-eared heart
will not hear “never”
and tries to make a saucy smacker
of an indifference that is
a full-fisted smack in the mouth.
 
But bruising is not bussing,
a slug is not a snog
and, overreaching, as ever,
I will never have my way.
 
And so, I kiss you
through the words on this page,
in the hope that you may one day read this,
perhaps even read it aloud,
and hence the plosive spice of my language
will part your lips
as my tongue never will.
 
You may never know it’s you
I wrote this for,
but, in the fevered pulse of this stanza’s rhythm,
you’ll feel the tempo of my heart
and you may brush my cheek with
the air kiss of your pity,
a pursed nothing
filled with a counterfeit currency
I may pretend is
true tender.

Bad Company
 
Love is a tactless neighbour
who walks in without knocking
interrupts you in the middle of something
and will not go away.
You drop hints that now is not convenient,
but he blathers on regardless
with his one-sided, monomaniac conversation,
not noticing that you are naked,
not noticing that your bath is about to overrun.
 
Passion is a drunk friend
who comes round at three o’clock in the morning
and makes you listen to the same song
over and over and over again
and you don’t even like it –
it’s a cheap, tinny tune –
but the chorus is so catchy,
the rhythm so intense,
that you find yourself playing it
even when he’s not there.
 
Infatuation is an annoying colleague
who wears a silly hat to work,
embarrasses you in meetings,
farts in the canteen
and people wonder why you sit with him,
but he’s there for you when you’re lonely
and have no other friends.



Sleeping Beauty
 
I know what you’ve been told,
but they got the details wrong.
The truth, I swear, was far less Grimm.
 
There were no godmothers.
My mother was both good and evil fairy
powdering my childhood with angel dust,
then pricking my heart on the spindle of guilt
as she dwindled to a wheezing hag.
 
It wasn’t that bad,
that hundred-year lie-in
behind thick hedges
that shut out the light,
thorn bushes I planted myself
to keep out suitors:
 
plans and hopes for my own future
were poisoned apples
I didn’t want to shove down
my mother’s throat.
 
My friends’ lives moved on.
I faded to a rumour,
to a legend obscured
behind a fifty-foot wall.
 
There was no handsome prince:
only frogs were left by then.
When he blundered in
on his off-white charger,
he thought his kiss would set me free.
Instead, another poisoned prick,
another sun-starved fortress.
 


Melanie Branton lives in North Somerset and has, at various times in her life, been a teacher, an assistant theatre director and a full-time carer. She has had poems published in a variety of journals, including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Monkey Kettle and South.



Is There Violence in the Ocean?



If there is, could you liken it to the problems on the land?

Brackish is the deep, prickles you to say

my needs are just as strong as yours.

The listings of the ocean’s glitches

might be difficult to comprehend!
On the other hand think of migration?

Crikey the mileage whales have,

to look for food, shelter and their young.

Not to mention little fishes, such swift-moving,

                                                         
with the possibility of strong currents flinging them

in a manner, above the tide mark!

How can we control these evils?

The salty ocean stings deep.
 
 
 
The Egg Timer

Who’d have thought?

The third largest desert

after Antarctica and Arctic 

the Sahara, a desert full

of sand, fine grains

of sand equipped

a glass blown bottle

also made of sand,

could tell me just

when my soft boiled-egg was done.
 
 
 
Nearly, tells a Story

Once watertight,

now see my leaky aging skin

my coated, crusty covering

reveals a life  once lived.

The husband I nearly had

see my nearly once house

and the family I nearly had.

Understand the pain I nearly caused

how closely I came to my senses

to live the life I wanted.

Come here, look carefully

get the wooden box I am nearly in. 



Johanna Boal lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, England. IShe has poetry published in several magazines, showcased and read over the radio. She recently had a poetry pamphlet published titled Cardboard City, by  publishers Poetry Space, Bristol.


Never Enough


Watching the harbour as sailing boats return,
followed by February's darkness and storm
cloud rain. Imagined somewhere right now,
sailors Sunday meal cooks, while lone gull
caught on wind passed by, with out of season
fairground ease.

Another two hours before hotel check outs
meaningless farewell, then taxi to airport, on
motorway to somewhere else. And in knowing
words can never be enough, as they form the
lie too, soon room 601 will be behind me, as
with everything else this life of mine has so far
seen.



But The Third?

Three photographs told me she was mine,
the first, as natural as a summers day. The
second, proof of the effort she will go to for
me, down to the local park with an array of
items on display. From sparkly wine to daffodils,
not forgetting, programmes from Madame
Tussauds and Planetarium.

But the third? This image stole my heart,
with her looks that could grace Monaco
and help retain whatever it was built for in
the first place. All accomplished, in a back
yard in Newcastle, as the local radio station
announced, yet more heavy rain for the
coming week.



 Johnny The Moth


I see him most days as I set off for work, he's always
hanging onto a particular wall, perfectly still. I've
nicknamed him "Johnny The Moth". One day he might
fly again, but for now he seems content to stay near the
church on Balls Pond Road, London N1.

Since noticing him there over a year ago, I've actually
started to see him all over town, even on TV on top of
the mountain in Rio De Janeiro. He seemed well thought
of, had all the answers they tell me, so they killed him as
they always do to men who speak too clearly. He wasn't
impressed with money lenders either they say, would have
been great to have got him drunk, then encouraged him to
throw all my football teams merchandise from their shop
onto the street, shouting, " Johnny The Moth says out with
you Wonga!". Funny how the right wing eventually took him
as one of their own, was that done to just confuse us, or was
his father no more than the first developer, on a universal scale?

As darkness falls, content in the knowledge that "Johnny
The Moth" will resist the urge to head towards the nearest
street light, where the dark cobwebs will forever await his
return. No, instead he bathes himself in the rich fragrance
from the local Caribbean restaurant, and with help from their
menu, of snapper or flying fish, "Johnny" will again feed some
of the five thousand in Dalston tonight.



The Monkey And The Ox


How can an ox harass a monkey, and make it pick up
banana skins, come to think of it, how can an ox ride a
monkey, while stopping it from using its dishwasher?

2.00 am, I send a text message to her phone, telling her,
"While you sleep next to me, I'm trying my best not to
fart!" Not realising, her mobile phone would bleep from
nearby table in bedroom. She stirs and asks, "Was that
my phone?" I text again, "You will soon come to read this
nonsense!" The second text duly arrives, announced by
another bleep, and on cue out of my bed she jumps, goes
to table, picks up her phone and reads message. "Silly Billy!"
she calls me, then naked, goes to the bathroom. As I await
her return, I justify to myself, thoughts of having woken her up,
in knowing that she will sleep far better now, after having taken
a piss.


 Uncle Hazza


I remember he looked after our goldfish and stick insects
while we all lay on a Kefalonian beach. Fed Wilba, named
by the children, our only fry to survive, so well that the water
turned into lentil soup. Wilba with her crooked jaw, too young
for his inexperience and excess in aquatic love, unfortunately
died. The stick insects on the other hand, took him in their stride.
He told me later, he cut pieces from neighbours privet hedges with
scissors, feeding them daily to keep them strong, even got chased
by someone who saw him desecrating their garden.

My kids loved their Uncle Hazza, an easy touch for any child, he
now lives in Carlisle, I'm in Dalston, and my family's in Potters Bar,
funny how life works out.




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



Spider



was my name. Long legs, little meat

on nine year old bones that towered over other

skinny kids – we were all skinny then – I longed

to join short games without fear of that

spat name, that spinning name, that

sounded like spite, that fright rhymed with,

that might mean they screamed and ran but

worse laughed, pointed, made faces behind me.



I knew Spider, friend of my aloneness. Her home

in corners of windows, cracks in plaster,

weaving, intent and undeterred with her silent

making. No harm. No alarm. I could watch

from my seat on the sill, no fear, soothed. Safe.



Look


I hold out the Big Issue, this woman stops.

I’m waiting for filth to come out her mouth,


but she looks up, smiles. I roll up my sleeve,

show her my bad arm down from the elbow.


Now she shuts her eyes, pulls in a breath. I tell her

she’s not like the bitches that screamed at me,


the guard that threw me out of A and E.

She doesn’t run away so I feel like I’m one


big open sore she can see right through.

She says sorry and some other stuff


about how she was scared to look. I'm shouting,

what harm could I do anybody, like this? Anyway,


there’s this place in Lambeth I could stay

if I pay up front. How much, she says.



Sue Aldred is hoping to overcome an allergy to submission. She lives in London but is an active member of Poetry ID, the North Herts Stanza of the Poetry Society. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Poetry-ID/324831130881681?ref=br_tf

I Wanted One Word.
 
I learnt to live with broken promises,
lies, your complete lack of integrity.
Understood your need to split our marriage in two.
Take your half of its carcass, then return
to pick the bones of the other like a scavenging crow.
I coped with the knowledge that you took no photographs,
gifts, tokens we had exchanged. Held no love
or sentiment for evidence of shared house, home, love.
I tried to understand your frustration that exploded
in red-raged violence. Bloomed on me like mould
on a damp wall. The worst hurt was that the word ‘sorry’
never crossed your mind.


 
Transience.
 
She walked, head up.
Endured the bee-buzz that clouded her entrance.
Blanked dark looks when she raised her hand,
got questions right. Ignored scrum huddles
that clogged the school’s arteries.
Disappeared alone into the towns anonymous hive
for lunch, past clotted gates barred by curious stares.
The BFF thing remained a mystery.
Life was every girl for herself.  She had developed a knack
for silent invisibility. Knew the dangers of being close.
Friends were fine chains easily broken. Pulled asunder
by instructions, a sudden ride to a different address.
Her lacquered shell lay brittle but strong. Sufficient to last
till another shiny front door was closed, a new foster home found.


 

Surprise.
 
I was never surprised at your kindness.
It had always been a shining trait.
Nor at your generosity,
an open-handed need to share.
 
I was not surprised that you copied
my fashion style. Bought the same things,
only allowing a change of colour to differentiate.
Yet never wore them at the same time.
 
I was not surprised when you visited me
in hospital. Brought thoughtful necessities,
made me laugh at my pain, put perspective
inside panic.
 
Nor was I surprised when you took
a casserole to my husband. In case
he was not familiar with culinary puzzles,
the cookers complications.
 
I was not surprised when you listened
As he unburdened his worry.
Showed you the fear in his heart
as you gave reassurances.
 
Nor when you toasted my health
in well-wishing drinks to cheer him up,
return the smile to his drawn face.
I was surprised when you slept together.



 

Miki has written three poetry collections, had work included in over 130 poetry magazines and anthologies and won prizes for her poetry. She has read on both Radio and TV, judged poetry competitions and was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Gloucestershire. Her latest collection, ‘Flying Through Houses’ is available now from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury. UK.


On Reflection

 

Falling

 

I

fall

backwards

over the side of the boat, the way divers do.

 

Sinking

down

in a splash

and gush of sea-froth; my arms and legs

 

 

Forced up as if they are reaching for

The sky that hovers above the waterline.

(Not a good technique, but I am a novice.)

I open my eyes and see the sun casting

Blurred rays across the surface,

Playful, strumming. Think guitar.

But I sink deeper. Light is

Extinguished, all sound gone.

The memory of water fills in the

Space that held me only

Moments ago.

 

 

Inverted. Inert. Suspended;

I am a constant now.

 

 

Will there be a flicker of fear?

When the last little breath has left

My body and I wait

Still for him to appear,

Will I feel a cold surge of panic,

Colder even than the water that took me down?

 

Will I be afraid he isn’t going to rescue me?

 

Selkie girl

 

She walked along a beach, a stony one. Barefoot, she trod

Carefully, leading with the callous-free ball of an unaccustomed

Foot. 

 

The tide was coming in, following her as if

On a string, attached. Did it know her? Was it sure?

 

Heel.

Cold, so cold – but as soon as the sea touched her,

It would pull back again.

Afraid and uncertain of who she might be.

 

 

On reflection

 

Afternoon slid into reluctant

Evening. The full snow moon shone down through

Loosely interwoven layers of sinewy clouds,

Its reflection reflected,

Fragmented, like a dissected

Grapefruit on the shimmering skin


Of the soon to be night water.

 

 

Rosemary Carr lives in London, England and has been published in Words with Jam, All about the girl and The Long Short Story. She works as a proofreader and editor and is working on her first novel, The Precious Sea, which will be published shortly.  http://www.rosemarycarr.co.uk
 

 

 Tsunami


 

On the beach, we spread out towels
apply suncream,  Around us,
children dig holes,  build sandcastles. 

Smug, we think of all we’ve left back home:
Mortgages, the bin collection,
Papers full of dismal news.

The sea spreads out like glass.
On the horizon, something shifts,
begins to rise, blots out the sun.



 

Blood Tears 

 

In a gilded church in Italy
There’s a statue of Our Lady
her heart transfixed by seven swords.
Local lore maintains
that on a certain day each year,
her tears flow in crimson streams

Rationalists mock. “As if!”
What do they know.

I have it on the Very Best Authority
that on occasion,
tears ripped from the heart
spurt arterial scarlet, viscous,
leaving acid trails
of blood    
Moments 

 

 

22/11/63

Louisiana afternoon,
high school history class
The football coach comes to the door:
“President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas.”
Some of us weep. Others grin and shrug.

04/04/68

Nightfall, small Spanish town.
Televisions flicker, blare:
El reverendo King asesinado en Memphis.
I wonder what has happened to my country.
The screen shifts to flamenco thunder.

25/04/74

Early morning, Portuguese village.
I go into the greengrocers’
A fat lady dressed in black bursts in:
“There’s a Revolution down in Lisbon!”
I buy lettuce, spuds, sweet apples.

 
31/08/97

Early morning, Scotland.
In the corner shop, tabloids shriek
DIANA KILLED IN PARIS CRASH.
I think, perhaps she will find peace, poor girl
brace myself for avalanche.

 
11/09/01

Evening, Greek café.  I sit and watch
planes crashing into towers
people fleeing in clouds of dust
a man yelling, “Holy shit!”
Again and again and again.
Nothing will ever be the same,

 
They say that at the moment an atomic bomb explodes
outlines shimmer, colours radiate out
shadows of what was  imprinted on the walls
time slows, stops, crystallized
in all its fractures.



Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the Sussex countryside. She has published a book of poems titled Candlewoman's Trade. (Diehard Press, 2003)   Her poems have appeared in poetry magazines in Scotland,  US, and Luxembourg and in online publications (The Missing SlateThe Stare’s Nest, Nutshells and Nuggets),  She is a member of two poetry groups, The Conduit Street Poets (London) and 52.

 



Understanding

Miss understanding
where words conjugate
separates, where
time means nothing,
it is easier to talk in the dark where
all is present tense.



Maria Castro Dominguez was  born in London, living currently in another isle, Las Palmas. Written books of poetry including "Four Hands" (A Cuatro Manos) and prologue in Jacobo Valcárcel's new poetry book "Escondite Mágico". Contributed in several newspapers and magazines, including "Blaze Vox" "women's Weekly" "Retort", and “The Argotist”. Lover of words and languages, Philologist and teacher.



Fate

 

I step over a penny in the street
Dad you can’t leave it there
bring it home save it
it’s bad luck if you don’t

 
Okay honey I didn’t know
I pick it up promptly & drop it
through a sewer grate

 
Dad No!
she stops and stares
her hand over her mouth

 
Bring it on you bastard!
come and get me
I yell to whoever this vindictive
petty penny-pinching god might be

Nothing happened
(but you already knew that)

 

 

Temptation

 
Whenever he finds a spider
in the house he leaves it alone
life is tough enough
he reasons even for spiders.
But sometimes one will show up
in the bedroom
around bedtime
and his wife notices and says
“either that spider goes or I do”
So of course he captures it
releases it outside
where it belongs anyway
but honestly at times
he’s tempted to leave
the damn thing
right where she found it.

 

 

 

Droppings

 
In the woodpile
behind the house
he discovers a nest
of newborn mice.
Feeling sorry for them
he moves the entire woodpile
mice and all
out back into the trees
so they won’t get into the house.
But a few weeks later
the cold coming on fast
he finds droppings and chewed acorns
in the garage and the laundry room.
“That’s what I get
for being a damned softie,” he thinks.

 

 
The first time,Inside out


 
I was sitting in a barber’s chair
and I noticed a
solitary carmine tear
trickling down a stranger’s cheek.
I motioned
and he swept it away.

Four days later, lost
between the minutes and the matters arising:
rust red splotches on the agenda
as if drops of acid rain
had corrupted through the ceiling.
I touched one with the tip of my pen,
then turned the page over.

And then last week,
an unrelenting flow
from the end of every finger.
She collected up my left hand
and then my right
and held them to her chest
like she would a weeping child.
“I’ve ruined your top”, I said.
“It’ll wash away”, she said.
“it will pass”.

But it’s getting worse.
And if the worst does happen
I’d be grateful if you
pretended not to notice
or looked the other way.

 

 

 

Small Journeys on a Road Trip

(RV from Dallas Tx. to San Francisco Ca. - 2,400 miles/18 days )

Amarillo, Tx.

(Folsom Road RV Park to ‘The Big Texan Steak Ranch’ - 4.2 miles/7 minutes)

 

Our driver—
voice like a gut tackling a 30 ounce rump—
reckoned he’d hauled forty nationalities
in the restaurant limo and liked them all,
except for the French.
Arriving at the Ranch,
I licked my thumbs,
placed a palm gently on each of his cheeks
and smoothed his longhorn moustache.
Then I kissed his lips.

 

Navajo Nation, Az./Ut.

(Monument valley tour - 17 miles/2.5 Hours)

 

He drove the Chevy Suburban in silence
(In business with his brother)
between the snap stops—
(and had once spent a week in Japan.)
Pine Tree Arch, The Mittens, Rain God Mesa—
(He told us that cancer and diabetes
are killing the Navajo)
speaking only to answer our questions.
(and that his grandmother’s spirit lived with him.)
That evening,
as I sheltered leeward of the RV
to watch a sandstorm grit the dusk,
my grandmother mentioned that she had enjoyed
our rendition of ‘Lovely Leitrim’
at her wake.

 

 

Las Vegas, Nv.

(‘The Venetian’ to the ‘Hitchin’ Post’ RV Park – 9.6 miles/42 minutes)

 

“A Disneyworld for adults”,
said the strip of face in the rear-view mirror,
“but Vegas is no place for children.
You like Plácido Domingo?”
“Sure”, I said,
glancing along the back seat at the kids,
who were wearing expectant grins
at the scent of another show.
And then he sang
‘E lucevan le stelle’, from ‘Tosca’,
or so he informed us afterwards.
“It’s about passion and love and loss,
very Latin”, he said.
And then I sang ‘Revenge for Skibbereen’.
“It’s about famine and exile and death”,
I said.  “Very Irish”.

 

Monterey, Ca.

(Cannery Row to Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot – 1.3 miles/4 minutes)

 

Nervous fingers
tap the steering wheel
in sawn-off knuckleduster gloves
attached to tattooed arms.
And a yellow cabbies cap.
Approaching the tunnel he says,
“You guys, listen up to this”.
It was the sound of a marriage proposal accepted,
an exam passed,
an armpit tickled.
“I invented this horn,
put it together just to give a little happiness.
I find that if you give it out,
people respond”.

RV – Recreational Vehicle/Motor Home

 

 

 

 

The Chain

 

Each time we meet
(christenings, weddings, prisoner of conscience exchanges)
you take an angle grinder to it,
you wedge a crow bar in and heave
until your body shakes
and your face contorts and swells.

But it’s not one of those flimsy
fumble-with-the-clasp chains.
No, it’s a colossal great fucker of a thing
more akin to the launching chain of the Great Eastern
in that picture of Brunel from our history book.

And its matter is piss-soaked blankets
and bog-drizzle backache
and Saturday afternoons cleaning sheds
and pounding at the frosted window to get in
and Mike Scott singing ‘This is the Sea’.



Aidan Fallon is originally from Ireland and lives in East Northamptonshire.  He started writing a few years ago and his first published poem appeared recently in Ink, Sweat & Tears.


 Seriously


 

Walking mindless
round and round the promenade deck
of this cruise ship
is all I want for eternity

 
No, I told the interviewer
after my third,
greatly acclaimed collection of poetry
was published,
I don’t take myself seriously                                                                                                        
How could I take myself seriously?
How could anyone?

 
If I were a member of 
an animal protection society
who snuck into slaughterhouses
with a hidden camera
at great risk to myself
then I might take myself
seriously


if the owner discovered my activities
and had his Mexican crew chief
and her twin sister 
take me outside
in the space between the killing floor
and a set of battered dumpsters
to beat the shit out of me
and leave me like a carcass
bleeding from the mouth
maybe then I’d take myself seriously

  

 

 

Russians

 

During the McCarthy Era
when I was five years old
my father
who was an aeronautical engineer
and had a high-level security clearance
pulled me aside one evening
rather roughly
after my mother had stuffed me
with dinner
pushed his face into mine and commanded:
Don’t ever tell anyone we’re Russian
His parents had been Russian
Waves of his aftershave
Old Spice
radiated off him
and nauseated me

I knew my grandparents
I knew they spoke with an accent
but didn’t know they were Russian
I didn’t know what Russian was
I didn’t know what he did for a living
or that FBI agents came to his work
questioned him
and tried to entrap him into admitting
that he was an alcoholic
an adulterer
and a homosexual
though he was none of those things

I learned the lesson
to keep my mouth shut
which served me well
when I married a Sicilian
and went to work for her family

  

 

 

Country

 

Craig and Sophia moved into the country
into a pretty brick house surrounded by trees
and Craig built Sophia an art studio
on the second floor
They felt blessed

Then a mile north
an entrepreneur put in an industrial pork feed lot
8,000 pigs in four steel buildings
sending nauseating vapors
their way

Craig and Sophia and their neighbors
protested
but the Michigan Right to Farm Act
gave farmers the right to do
pretty much anything they wanted

Then, a few years later, a power company
put in a “wind farm”
Sixty turbines five-hundred feet tall
permitted by corrupt commissioners
surrounded their home

The noise and flicker gave them headaches
insomnia depression
but the experts hired by the power company said that
“Turbine Syndrome”
was a figment of their imagination
and that they were unpatriotic and selfish

Craig and Sophia
put a refrigerator in her art studio
covered the windows
added a thick layer of new wall
and barricaded themselves inside

Sophia paints fanciful scenes
of places far away in the universe
Craig writes tour books
for medieval pilgrims
who are handicapped and poor and
even if they hadn’t died
hundreds of years ago
would never
have travelled



M. Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

 

 Seriously


 

Walking mindless
round and round the promenade deck
of this cruise ship
is all I want for eternity

 
No, I told the interviewer
after my third,
greatly acclaimed collection of poetry
was published,
I don’t take myself seriously                                                                                                        
How could I take myself seriously?
How could anyone?

 
If I were a member of 
an animal protection society
who snuck into slaughterhouses
with a hidden camera
at great risk to myself
then I might take myself
seriously


if the owner discovered my activities
and had his Mexican crew chief
and her twin sister 
take me outside
in the space between the killing floor
and a set of battered dumpsters
to beat the shit out of me
and leave me like a carcass
bleeding from the mouth
maybe then I’d take myself seriously

  

 

 

Russians

 

During the McCarthy Era
when I was five years old
my father
who was an aeronautical engineer
and had a high-level security clearance
pulled me aside one evening
rather roughly
after my mother had stuffed me
with dinner
pushed his face into mine and commanded:
Don’t ever tell anyone we’re Russian
His parents had been Russian
Waves of his aftershave
Old Spice
radiated off him
and nauseated me

I knew my grandparents
I knew they spoke with an accent
but didn’t know they were Russian
I didn’t know what Russian was
I didn’t know what he did for a living
or that FBI agents came to his work
questioned him
and tried to entrap him into admitting
that he was an alcoholic
an adulterer
and a homosexual
though he was none of those things

I learned the lesson
to keep my mouth shut
which served me well
when I married a Sicilian
and went to work for her family

  

 

 

Country

 

Craig and Sophia moved into the country
into a pretty brick house surrounded by trees
and Craig built Sophia an art studio
on the second floor
They felt blessed

Then a mile north
an entrepreneur put in an industrial pork feed lot
8,000 pigs in four steel buildings
sending nauseating vapors
their way

Craig and Sophia and their neighbors
protested
but the Michigan Right to Farm Act
gave farmers the right to do
pretty much anything they wanted

Then, a few years later, a power company
put in a “wind farm”
Sixty turbines five-hundred feet tall
permitted by corrupt commissioners
surrounded their home

The noise and flicker gave them headaches
insomnia depression
but the experts hired by the power company said that
“Turbine Syndrome”
was a figment of their imagination
and that they were unpatriotic and selfish

Craig and Sophia
put a refrigerator in her art studio
covered the windows
added a thick layer of new wall
and barricaded themselves inside

Sophia paints fanciful scenes
of places far away in the universe
Craig writes tour books
for medieval pilgrims
who are handicapped and poor and
even if they hadn’t died
hundreds of years ago
would never
have travelled



M. Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

 Line of Sight


The room overflowed:
chairs, little round tables,
food, waiters, débris.

The noise rattled
round the walls to no escape;
was forced back, in a roar
threaded with clatter.

You ministered
the needs of froth and latte;
back turned, made passes
with cups and grounds.

Face to black pipes,
the hiss and click that spoke
of stages in your work,

you flicked your wrist
enough to change its tone,
and boiled down 
your corner of the roar
with close attention.

Not once, all day,
did you notice me, watchful
in my quiet corner.


A Ride on the River

The riverbank reeds
rustle, breeze stirred; their soft rasp
ancient as Moses.

A pee-wit calls.
Her arrow-sharp wail
possesses the sky.

I stop to watch
the moor-hen, her nodding swim
agreeing with the world.

Riding on the sea-seeking river,
reflections
of me, reeds, birds
go nowhere.


How to Cook Lightning

First, catch your thunderbolt.
Forage for the lost cauldron, then observe
the storm brew. Hold your net steady.
Remind yourself as the clouds roll,
your window of pounce will close 
in nano-secs.
Be ready! Be ready!

Second, carry it home,
limp and sizzling in plastic bags,
supermarket logo neoned from within.
Fridge it, crimped, on standby for use.
Breathe in its odour
hear its tang.
It’s fresh when it smells
of stratosphere juice.

Now wash your hands.

Next, turn to page two million and nine.
In the forty-fourth footnote find
the fifth instruction.


E. A. M. Harris writes poetry and prose. Her poems and short stories have appeared in several print and online magazines and in anthologies. She blogs at http://eamharris.com/ and tweets at @Eah1E.


The Guildford Line

 

I wake in Horsley on the Guildford line
to find a tree quiet night, moonbright,

I missed my stop by many miles – asleep –
now nothing for it but retrace my tracks,
walk back between the dawn and midnight
on velvet roads, grey within the foliage
slow decease, October’s woodland.

The season’s late and what has been cut down
up to this date is gone as by intention: 
cancer is all stealth and drone, Ebola’s 
plague, and in the Orient a new crusade’s 
ferocity; which beckons to the young – 
I hear its summons,

                             even on the road 
in Cobham, even at this time of life.

Hours on foot, softness of the tapped-out year,
at dawn, I see I did not want to stop, 
why else pass Surbiton?  Drunk as I was
my thought was that I wanted to go on.

Plodding on through Elmbridge, among the bats,
plump sweet chestnuts fall at the roadside;
determined on my bed in daylight
I make my slow way home.







Dawn’s Eastern Fabric



The lantern’s torn; warm light 
spread to yellow parchment
from the paper in her palm.

What was a girlish hand
claws at the wrinkled sea
which draws us on to separate
from our familiar body

as the party beckons,
even as its slow procession 
pokes among the marram grass.

She points to the horizon,
dragons on her sleeve collapse
in faded colour.  Brushes

in sweet apricot,  widening,
wash out the summer bloom of peach.
Night’s ocean towers on the west
stooping down to beach and forest.



Dominic James lives in Hungerford, a market town on the M4 corridor. His poems have appeared in the UK and abroad, online and print. A member of the Bright Scarves group in Richmond on Thames he takes the open Mic from Guildford to Covent Garden.



Everything

The curious manner in which
you brush indigo from your laughter;
the quaint style you have so it’s true
you demur future out of your sighs;
the upwards of your carmine,
the almost of your close by;
what I like about you
is nothing less than these sounds.

The uncanny motion you now
when you coax golden from out of your when;
the original tone you perpend
spins lavender terms with a grin;
the oblique of your then,
the amber surprise of your that;
the part about you I like
is the everything far uppermost.

You might be simply circumstantial
or rather singularly definitive;
you have a manner unpredictable
that knows how to upend a circle’s return;
and when I hear your magical,
I can see a far geography;
what happens is openly in white
with additional ineffable. So, there!

The perplexing technique you affix
when you auburn the former utmost;
the classic soon of the next you possess
is inevitable with blue swoops of good luck;
the innermost was a hint,
the outer-seeming is this:
what I love about you today
is the everything achieved hitherto.

 

Sweetheart, asleep

When I watch your sweet face sleeping
I wonder, is this not lucid dreaming?
I see smiles on your eyebrows
& equanimity on your lips.
Drowsy perhaps, but rest I will resist
to cherish the elapse of minutes
which cushion your soft dozing.

Your unconscious countenance
reverses the torpid darkness.

When I watch your sweet face asleep
I wonder, is not life magnanimous?
Are not fanciful fictions
reticent to recognize you?
Hyperbolic I suppose, but untryingly you rival
all the creatures of inconscient repose
which once enthralled my somnolence.

Your expressive quietus
undoes the day’s anxieties.

When I watch your sweet face awaking
I wonder, is this not grand fantasizing?
I behold the supernovas of your eyes
and derive afflatus filling mine.
Languorous from my vigil I’ll allow, however
innervation resurrects in the vision
of your beatific morning mien.

Your incipient daylight greeting
revises my reverence of nebulous slumber.

 

 
Universe in Two

Little room, the size of a 
universe, sealed up nucleus, 
invisible without a key.
Here I reside, somnolent
& dormant, wondering what is
the conundrum of a rain.
You shake the contents,
then chemicals awake.

This is the room, conundrum
of a key, invisible contents,
sealed without a rain, & wondering.
Little universe, coiled inside a
can, improbable awakening
thirsting for an opening
that splits the nucleus
in two.

 
This is the universe,
a coiled conundrum
wondering improbable
thirsting that splits
invisible. Here I reside,
somnolent chemicals you
shake awake inside a room,
opening a key.

 

Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work has appeared in Bird’s Thumb, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Blotterature, The Blue Hour, Drunk Monkeys, Fishfood & Lavajuice, Literati Quarterly, Indigo Rising, Harlequin Creature, No Assholes, Reckless Writing and The Tower Journal. 
 

Twin Girls, 1948

Beth was always different
marching as she did
to an armless drummer.

Her sister Kate marched
to another drummer,
one with arms on certain days 

but never with a drum 
that caught the sticks Kate 
kept in the air flailing.

When the girls were young
their mom and dad took them out
for walks on Sunday

afternoons in summer.
The girls waved to butterflies
but never to anyone else.

It was hard for other kids
peering from porches
to understand the problem.
 
When the twins were small
they didn't call it autism. 
It had no name on my block.

Now the illness has a name
and different medications
that sometimes temper

but never cure.
The girls are women now
old and living in a big home

with others in a small band
some still playing instruments
no one else can see.




Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What's missing, Dad, I ask.
It's midnight and I'm in bed.
It'll take awhile to get there.

Your mother went to make 
pineapple upside down cake 
hours ago and still no cake.
She's nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won't come over.
It's just me and the dog
and he's asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony's.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you're right again
Sorry I woke you but where's
the pineapple upside down cake?
I've been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I'll turn in.





The Parish Carnival

That's Bernie's wife on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms.
Once again she won't get off 
even though Bernie is yelling
next to the concession stand
jumping around in his wheel chair.
He's finished his cotton candy
and wants to go home. 
He probably has to pee.
He never goes anywhere 
except to the parish carnival. 
He loves the cotton candy.
He says it's the same as when 
he was a kid years ago 
before he fell out of the tree. 
He needs Stella more than ever now
to push his wheel chair and she does
except when she comes to the carnival 
and gives old Bernie a big plume 
of cotton candy and hops on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms 
once a summer every year.




Donal Mahoney has had poems published in Message in a Bottle and other print and online publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.



the atmosphere scatters blue light

I wait for the 
yellow glow to loom
in my viewfinder mumble

I’ve lost the moon
and my son says
I hate it when that happens

the oceans stop being pulled along
we all fall off the edge
and get smaller

I carry on trying
while my hand shakes
and I capture balloon animals



Dear Mum


I’m writing this in telepathic shorthand
if you stick it in google translate

maybe it’ll be something
you can get something back from

Remember your notepads of enigma
curls and strokes

you pored over of an evening
whenever a swirly code remained

 swirly and coded
I might think of the right word

fill in the blankety blank 
and you’d say that’s it

Now I can’t tell
if all my words to you are blanks

if the odd one unswirls itself
inside your stroked blank head

you nod
that’s it


Laura McKee lives in Kent, and likes to write things in her head, whilst walking, and taking photos. Her poems have appeared on postcards to friends, and in journals and zines, including, Obsessed with pipework, Other Poetry, Aireings, Snakeskin, Nutshells and Nuggets. 



Black Country Evangelicals

 

Pews ‘ard as oaks ‘n Pastor Paul’d
wheedle and coax us ter gerrup
‘n tek owern Lord Jesus
in ter ourn proud ’n stubborn ‘earts.
Uncle John ‘n the Lindas’d
shut their eyes ‘n try ter rise me
wi' their prayers, but I sat toight
when others stood ‘n they bist saved instead.
After guitars we traipsed ter the ‘ouse
wi' the table where little David  wuz laid.
We’d a corner apiece ‘n uncurled
‘n stretched ‘is arms ‘n legs –
faith ‘ealin’’n fillin’ his bones with Christ
‘n summat ter do with sinnin’.
There wuz a knack ‘n a throb that I catched
‘n dropped each time I looked past
the crosses ‘oong from the Lindas’ necks
all jigglin’ about ‘n bostin’.
Then David guz yampy ‘n splothers
‘n spits ‘n flails ‘is puny limbs.
Oi’ll gerrup soon as ‘e does, I thought,
‘n it’s proven a sound enuff wager. 



the white butterfly
 

the wax doll mirrored herself in a puddle
she felt a scent of moist earth
upon her barren belly trees were blossoming
full of wild bees
 
after the magician’s performance she raised on tiptoes
dancing with her arms above her head
for life and for death
she kept the moonrise in the palms of her hands
and the song like a dagger between her teeth
she melted gradually
through her naked breast through her naked body
other swords passing
colder and colder
bloody icicles growing in her heart
 
the real woman lay down in the grass
with a white butterfly sleeping on her pubis
like a sailboat over the sea
she did not know
how much she resembled her wax replica
same little mermaid dancing all night long
piano fortepiano
al fine


epi-logue

 
you waited too much
about thirty years before you can say jack robinson
cheops kephren mikerynus
otherwise life like a water under the desert
always played tricks on you
pushed you hunchbacked inside caverns
where everything drips and leaves a small hole
everything yells
tears or laughter tear off from the flesh
they’re forbidden since the world began
they declare you subhuman
because so many still cry with their eyes closed
you are just a riddled dummy
the more you scream the more you unwind
there’s no place for you at the charity soup feast
you don’t understand why
everyone is something because you are nothing
you have no bright star left
as a proof
amid the stubs from yesterday’s garbage
you still smell good still wash yourself with soap
children still play with marbles
hitting the wall against which you lean
tentatively


infatuation
 
 
when I fell in love I pressed my heels against the sky
as if in a bread oven
sitting with my forehead on the warm ground
and the wind and the butterflies and the clouds like smoke
were hard to be spoken they stuck inside my chest
 
without even knowing
I invented God in a new season of the year
believing it was the same
through days with sun and moon both white
because of heavy blessing it rained with sweet incense
clocks lagged behind from their minute hands
gooseberries and  red currants popped between my nails
milk teeth grew in my virgin bosom
with the name sculpted by man lips
 
I slept another one’s dream in a stranger’s bed
he looked at me on Sundays through the train window
he saw through me
from our century of loneliness only dust flew over
like from an old Bible leaves




Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu is a Romanian living in Bucharest. Her poems were published in three Romanian poetry journals, in the Indian poetry journals Conifers Call and Bizz Buzz, in three Romanian haiku anthologies, two Romanian poetry anthologies, Off the Coast Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, Up the Staircase, Wordgathering, The Barefoot Review, A Little Poetry. Her haiku and haiga appeared in Ploc!, Asahi Shimbun, Sketchbook, the Romanian magazine Haiku, three Romanian haiku anthologies, a bilingual haiga anthology, Notes from the Gean, Multiverses, Daily Haiga, Ardea, Mainichi Daily News, The Heron’s Nest, Frogpond, Lynx, Moongarlic. She was awarded the Distinguished Work Prize in the 4th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest.



By The Sea

 'I hear Gordon's been painting;
 He must be feeling better in himself’.
'No, Gordon's busy dying;
 The cancer's spread.
 He's at home in Ireland, 
 Somewhere by the sea.’

High clouds ever more distant;
The low horizon glares
With promises it cannot keep.
A wave collapses into itself,
Another follows,
Memories torn off,
Again and again,
In the dying sea.
       
 Grief hangs in the air,
 Kisses flesh it craves;
 The mind hurts and horrifies;
 So close to oblivion, 
 Condemned by fate.


No Place Nowhere

 

She said,

'There was a knock at the door; 

The boy had returned,

Walking through the night,

To be with us once more'.

 

Beyond the padlocked gate,

And seamless trees

Dividing our worlds,

One by one the branches fell,

I never saw them bleed;

It was never meant to hurt.

'God help me through this', 'Mama, I love you',

Scribbled on wardrobe doors,

In rooms of differing colours,

In rooms with no mirrors,

Where the sounds have been turned off,

And emptiness fills every corner,

Is sucking something out of me every day,

Learning to lie while smiling,

Imagining being on the phone to mummy;

Where is she? Where can she be?

 

I climbed you and scratched myself,

I learned to bleed at night, where I can't be seen;

I learned to sleepwalk with open eyes,

So no one can hurt me.

 

Awakenings

 

A veil of whispering shadows

Divides night from day,

Love from hate,

You from me.

 

And all the while

A howling wind roars,

Releasing memories

I thought were lost.

 

Even so distant,

The mind sees so clearly,

How easily hurt bleeds,

Dulls the pain we feel.

 

 

 ‘NORTH FACE’
John Michael Mouskos is a poet and mountaineer.
His first anthology, ‘Autumn’ was presented in 2011 at the Society Club in Soho.        He has since gained prominence at European literary festivals and his poetry has featured in recent publications and films including ‘Opaque’, for which he also wrote  the screenplay and directed. The film was shortlisted for best short film at the 2012   UK Film Festival.
The submitted poems will be included in his first book ‘North Face’, which examines the intimacy of love and loss against a backdrop of nature and the changing seasons. Conversational in style, his poetry reads as philosophical essays and sonnets, expressing the vulnerability of all things. 

 tower view

 
what a generous day
the battlements reveal such an azure of clouds
in a day of green trees
and ruddy stones
the bagpipes must be playing




foursquare
 
map grid and contour map
bed and breakfast
keyhole in the city
a certain landscape
townscape and park


  
Christopher Mulrooney is the author of flotilla (Ood Press). 




paris

i guess the solo toothbrush
in the white china cup
will serve as the most potent reminder
that drowning in the bathtub
will hide the smell and guarantee i wont be found
by neighbours for weeks

will i turn off all electrical devices
and save the electric company some money
they will never gain
or just turn it all on
leaving lights blazing so the house
stands out lighthouse style
against this winter fog

at least with empty cupboards
and a fridge freezer of decorative value only
will ensure nothing is wasted
that could be better served shipped and packaged
sealed and stamped and hustled
by rough delivery hands onto trucks and planes
to third world countries

ill pack up all clothes save for the ones ill wear
into black bags that for once
will not be tossed and hidden inside darkened
bins but will see light before bursting open
to reveal last minute donations
designed futilely to bring a half hearted
shrug from ungratefully clad shoulders

there seems little point in morosely
continuing to exercise or bandage these
scrapes and bruises from your fleeting departure
and i cant reach the ones that hurt the most
although an internal consumption of rubbing alcohol
may indeed save me time and energy better placed
filling a white tub with salts and pockets of rocks

ive changed the bed sheets in the aimless goal
of a good nights sleep and the wide awake
bloodshot eyes resting on clean pillows
will watch the dawn break the curtains open
and a new day may bring something with it
that i can use to cling and climb and beat
into a shape i use to pull the plug
and lumber myself out of this murky water
to stand dripping all over a new day



Stuart Murphy currently lives in Scotland 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 currently has one poem on the website thecadaverine.com.



     OF BIRDS & FLOWERS

          Letters from Nossis in Lorci, 3rd C., BCE

 

 

          1. Homage to a Bird

 

 

Grieve at her graveside, smile and linger with Rinthon

of Syracuse... that brightest of singers, whose

voice was her own, her loves the leaves of laurels:

that modest, that smallest nightingale of the muse. 

 

 

          2. Oral Tradition

 

 

No flavour, no scent can surpass the sweetness and power of love:

I am Nossis
– and I suspect you know what I mean.

I burn for its testing taste on my tongue... more than for honey.

Lilacs of Cyprus loved by Thomas Land: rejoice

in the nectar, songs and moans and cries of your yearning flowers.

 
Thomas Orszag-Land is a  poet and award-winning foreign correspondent covering Eastern Europe. His poetry has been published by Message in a Bottle; and it appears in current, forthcoming or very recent issues of Acumen, Ambit, The Hungarian Quarterly, The Jewish Quarterly, The London Magazine, and Stand.



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
By Joseph Robert
 
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




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



Power Kernels

 

Break down the elements, split them
To non-existence;
Then shatter all solidity’s illusions,
Free impulses
Beyond the viscous mind, still feeling hard
By vanity's gas upholstered.

 
And then, for happiness’s definition,
Shut the door;
Relax, and don't be squeamish;
For every grit of teeth, a pull of trigger,
A sear, a cloud . . .


Then, if the bacillus, the charge
Breaks through even your filter-screen,
Then paper barrier that defines
Your victims and yourselves . . .


And you, amoebae, become specimens
Now that your brainchild ogres
Have outstepped the frames of will;

 
Oh super-brains! Limp, flapping squids;
Now that you’ve burst your cranial canisters,
Now that you’ve blundered on the combination
To open up the vault
Wherein you case your muffled
Conscience-bleats
to soothing, doped oblivion;

 

Did you first conquer all remorse, all fear,
Destroy all that might have the power to save?
 

And will you now be laid low, by yourselves,
Even denied all retribution’s flames,
All instantaneous dignity?

 

Oh ones still solid, cynicism’s crust
Thickens and stifles, yet absorbs,
Driving life’s final spark to desperation;
No scope to flash
Without full-voiding all outside itself.

 
Oh loosen now your halters,
Clean growth, no fission-cancers,
Live now; be novae

 


Space Capsule Volunteer

The final pull of severance will magnify you
The downward controls make you equal
                         to the general gravitation

 
You are higher than the air, and so you leave,
You are bigger than the air, and so you breathe

 
Caught in a feeling circle
Knowing measurements for what they are

 
Your  particles arrested
Your museum absolute
Until new ores from meteors transmute
Their other ends that hold you

 
All proportions quite dependent
On the nearness of your eyes
No lies – for lies are measured
And you touch them all for what they are –
Little one, bound hand and foot,
The outer ring of man to me.

 


Fast Lane

Let’s get in the fast lane –
Rip off the doors and slice the breezes;
Let’s get in the fast lane –
Thread the highway through a needle.

 
We can loop the date-line
In a coral reef-knot;
Turn our jet-lag inside out,
Inverted, oblique, reversed.

 
Let’s fly an exploding plane,
Turn on our parachutes –
Chrysanthemums of fire
In the fast lane.



David Russell was born in 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube.



Like a ton of Lego bricks
 
I carried my bed of roses home,
where they still teach the children
to not be, how to kill the chickens
before they hatch and where the slap
of a hand is more cutting than the sharp
of a belt. Mother was busy, as always,
 
cooking curtains into arguments,
stirring the pot of radiator music.
Father’s chair smelled of damp
dinners, he, on his knees, picked up
the crumbs of you’ll be a man my son.
I came in from the yard, hid all the locks,
 
shook out the mildew, laughed myself
out of my shackles and flew.


You hide, I count.
 
I drove you, moonfaced moonstruck moonblind, to Bedlam Court, Fear Castle.
All the way through the antiseptic in corridors, I dragged you by the hand.
A copycat nurse Ratched hustle-bustles you inside the secure ward, slamming the double doors on my goodbye.
 
The words I wanted to say tip-toe away.
 
You hide, uptight in your silence, blanketed in your unsaid.
Inside your mind, you walk and walk and walk, jumping over the pools of sunshine,
playing hopscotch with the echoes of your steps.
The walls follow you with a sneer and you close all the open doors, one by one.
 
You sit on the wooden floor, your thoughts – like tiny diamonds you stroke softly until they purr. You hide.
 
I count the hours, it's midnight and all is not well. I bang my drum, I make strawberry and heartbreak jam.
I count the days, nearly autumn, I hang the salmons and my salty tears out in the smoking shed.
I count the years and wait. I don’t go looking for your hiding place.
I shout: Ollie, Ollie, in you come, free.



Impervious to hugs
 

Impervious. What does that mean, impervious?
Is it like being wrapped up head to toe in an
all singing all dancing no hokey-kokey
ground sheet, which for some reason is sky-blue,
like your eyes?
Or is it like a small child watching from outside
the glass cage of a spider monkey that cannot
find a grip for its prehensile fingers, slip, trip, spill,
kneel in the desert of no hugs and softly sobs?
 
And the wait, and the expect, and the anticipate, and the linger, and the pause,
and the tingle, and the sizzle, and the fondle and the flutter, and the pause
and the longing and the yearning and the thirsting and the tremble after the pause,
 
when in the skin to skin of silences you hold me in your special order
hug from the top drawer of your new chest that sits in the new of home
of your wide brim smile under blue and brown eyes.


Myriam San Marco is a French performance poet living and running open-mic events in Bournemouth as Word Maker.  Her words have been published in Boscombe Revolution, Interpreter's House, Odd magazine and she is not a silent poet.



"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 has a  Masters Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University and has had her poems and stories published in the past. She hasn't submitted any of her work for the past decade. Karin recently came across MIB magazine online and really enjoyed the quality of the work . One recent poem  published really stood out -- whilst she is blanking on the author's name --  the image of a veteran who has lived a life with forgiveness because the bullet just grazed him, has stayed with her.  


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



Silent Lines


You lean forward, hands trying to

shape words you can't see, but know

are there. The alien film started long

ago, our lattes cold, the cafe empty.

You stand up, turn, face me, take

my hands. I don't understand how

we've gone from four hour phone

calls, duvet weekends high on cola

bottles, to empty mouthed strangers

with wet eyes. You're framed by

glass and silent lines of cars, stretching

out, waiting as others travel onwards,

choeograghed and unwavering,

shoulders back. As you hold your scalp

in your hands, the colours change,

and it's the others' turn to pause, drum

palms to the beat on steering wheels, as

they watch for amber, picturing the

place that waits. I pick up my bag, stand

up, sit back down.


Hannah Tuson has an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. Her poetry has appeared in Pomegranate and MAP. Her short stories have been published in Cadaverine Magazine, Notes From the Underground, and Spread the Word's 2012 anthology Things That Have Happened.

The Day the Earth Grew Tired


The sea is at one with the sky, they agree
with me, the earth has grown tired.

The road is too long
Look ma, no hands
The rain is too big
Look ma, no hands
The wind is too strong
Look ma

She suffers a surfeit of history, where
there is no vacancy, no relief.

The shore is too weak
Look ma, no hands
The sky is too small
Look ma, no hands
The view is too bleak
Look ma

The earth is at the bottom of her dream.
Grant her asylum from herself.






I Bet the Moon

"Still the tides for me,
hang over the hills.
I will ride the sea
to reach you."

The moon just smiled,
thought a while,
lay a causeway down
across the water.








On Wenlock Edge


Each morning when the skies resume
the hills come down
horizons straggle

The phraseless melody
of an imagined land

Where hidden creatures hear me
expect more of me
defer to me

Saunter soft away down
paths leading noward

Dark shapes doing ancient things
I tread home wearily
missing inaction

Barely rustling the margins
of the page.





Gary Twynam turned his back on poetry some 25 years ago after minimal success, but finds it seeping back into his soul. His debut novel Farewell Trip has just been published by Carina.   


(Editorial note. All of these poems were originally laid out "centre justified". People keep telling me this is a crime against contemporary poetry. They don't explain why. They seem to assume the reason is self-evident. This confuses and vexes me. I feel like I've missed out on a memo. 
Still, I remain pragmatic.)  


I like the ending of walks


Short-cuts measure her way:
the crumbled lip of cliffs or
a mute cave mouthed with webs;
those broken rocks like teeth,
a path across quick water.

I drift along close-by:
maps tucked in the rucksack
heavy with flasks and cakes,
packets of sweets, the hope
of kids and home, that tent
where we cwtch in the quiet.



A Fisherman No More

Alfred is strolling down
along the cobbled streets
towards the pebbled beach.
Today he paints those times
of boats and bloated sails,
the sky a rash of gulls
screaming with rusted voices.
His canvas is the board
he's torn from packing cases
and he was once a rag
and bone merchant, and now
his wife is graveyard stone. 
He paints at seventy
for company, and dies
alone in the workhouse.
His work hangs salted air
in the Tate, at St Ives.



Phil Wood was born in Wales. He found permanent employment in a statistics office after being made redundant in the shipping industry. Temporary work included teaching for N.A.C.R.O. He enjoys working with numbers and words. He studied with a specialist teacher at the age of ten because of his poor reading. He has a B.A. Hons in English Literature. Proof that education and poetry does inspire! Previously published work can be found in various publications: The Centrifugal Eye, Message in a Bottle, Streetcake Magazine, London Grip, The Open Mouse,  Ink Sweat and Tears.



The Body Orogeny
a rough guide to The Corpus


Let us explore this shivering orogeny,
this body, once fleshed out
upon the map - no longer an area 
of outstanding, natural beauty, 
but a challenge for the intrepid 
none the less.

We begin the ascent at the foot,
where a trace of summer, Berry Blush,
clings resolutely to a roman toe.
Rising at mother's high arch,
we scale the first furred leg,
a forgotten, scree-rough limb.

Climbing the smooth, glacial thigh,
we trespass into a private place, 
(the right to roam revoked)
a mysterious, hidden cave,
where once gushed the Amnion,
diluvian waters of life.

Dipping down into the hip’s soft scarp,
we mount the belly’s rise,
where lies the deep, maternal pit.
Take a wide berth and forge on, 
breasting the slack, landslide slopes,
and wild, unbridled paths.

From here it is but a short shrug 
to the shoulder’s ridge,
where the weathered Phizzog beckons.
The apogee, the pinnacle,
that fickle facade of the soul,
that proclaims the orogeny
whole.




Gold

Dearly beloved
with your curlicues and your virtues,
and that flashy, million dollar smile,
filling the dullness with a mile of glister.

You ran those city pavements, 
straight to my brazen arms,
encircled me with your charms.
Oh, but you were worth the weight!

Glisten to my invocation,
transmute me now - corrupt me with your hallmark spell,
and I promise to protect you 
from the diggers and the fleecers

to feed your goose from this day forward,
for though your heart is pure
and I love you - I do,
sometimes, my love,

you are a fool,
for what you do to lilies. 




Restoration

I put down my roots in those sun slaked walls,
those plundered, mouldering halls, abandoned
half a century in succession’s bitter battle,
a ruinous rift of petty strife. The house waits
for death to bring it back to life.

I put down my roots in that musty rubble,
where dusty bats hung in raggedy ranks,
strung like tattered bunting over littered boards,
and doors, the nightly roost of owls
cemented open with a stop of droppings.

Wide-eyed dormice skittered over splintered glass,
peered from sagging laths and crumbled cornice.
Outside, bees nosed, bumbled through wild thyme,
thickets of campion, brambles thick as broomsticks.
A confetti of butterflies celebrated the perfect union.

I put down my roots in this untamed place,
transfused sapless arteries with a pulsing force,
laid myself vein on vein in the marble floor,
scented myself with sashes of cedar,
powdered myself white with a talc of plaster.

I gave up my breath to the windlass rafters,
the house holds it still in its fabric,
whispers it back through the fostered rooms.
I put down my roots in these breathing stones
and this where I bloom.



Stella Wulf hails from North Wales but now lives in South West France. She has had poems published by The Screech Owl, Prolebooks and The Sentinel Literary Quarterly (being placed third in their quarterly competition, September 2012). She has had flash fiction, poetry and articles published by AD Newspapers in Nottingham. Stella is also an artist and exhibits her work under her real name, Claire Jefferson.

The Body Orogeny
a rough guide to The Corpus


Let us explore this shivering orogeny,
this body, once fleshed out
upon the map - no longer an area 
of outstanding, natural beauty, 
but a challenge for the intrepid 
none the less.

We begin the ascent at the foot,
where a trace of summer, Berry Blush,
clings resolutely to a roman toe.
Rising at mother's high arch,
we scale the first furred leg,
a forgotten, scree-rough limb.

Climbing the smooth, glacial thigh,
we trespass into a private place, 
(the right to roam revoked)
a mysterious, hidden cave,
where once gushed the Amnion,
diluvian waters of life.

Dipping down into the hip’s soft scarp,
we mount the belly’s rise,
where lies the deep, maternal pit.
Take a wide berth and forge on, 
breasting the slack, landslide slopes,
and wild, unbridled paths.

From here it is but a short shrug 
to the shoulder’s ridge,
where the weathered Phizzog beckons.
The apogee, the pinnacle,
that fickle facade of the soul,
that proclaims the orogeny
whole.




Gold

Dearly beloved
with your curlicues and your virtues,
and that flashy, million dollar smile,
filling the dullness with a mile of glister.

You ran those city pavements, 
straight to my brazen arms,
encircled me with your charms.
Oh, but you were worth the weight!

Glisten to my invocation,
transmute me now - corrupt me with your hallmark spell,
and I promise to protect you 
from the diggers and the fleecers

to feed your goose from this day forward,
for though your heart is pure
and I love you - I do,
sometimes, my love,

you are a fool,
for what you do to lilies. 




Restoration

I put down my roots in those sun slaked walls,
those plundered, mouldering halls, abandoned
half a century in succession’s bitter battle,
a ruinous rift of petty strife. The house waits
for death to bring it back to life.

I put down my roots in that musty rubble,
where dusty bats hung in raggedy ranks,
strung like tattered bunting over littered boards,
and doors, the nightly roost of owls
cemented open with a stop of droppings.

Wide-eyed dormice skittered over splintered glass,
peered from sagging laths and crumbled cornice.
Outside, bees nosed, bumbled through wild thyme,
thickets of campion, brambles thick as broomsticks.
A confetti of butterflies celebrated the perfect union.

I put down my roots in this untamed place,
transfused sapless arteries with a pulsing force,
laid myself vein on vein in the marble floor,
scented myself with sashes of cedar,
powdered myself white with a talc of plaster.

I gave up my breath to the windlass rafters,
the house holds it still in its fabric,
whispers it back through the fostered rooms.
I put down my roots in these breathing stones
and this where I bloom.



Stella Wulf hails from North Wales but now lives in South West France. She has had poems published by The Screech Owl, Prolebooks and The Sentinel Literary Quarterly (being placed third in their quarterly competition, September 2012). She has had flash fiction, poetry and articles published by AD Newspapers in Nottingham. Stella is also an artist and exhibits her work under her real name, Claire Jefferson.


Not a fable

All my mothers go by in canoes –
I dip and try fastening to them
but the gruel river is utter thick and besides
there are too many flounderers, too few boats,
and someone once told me if you lie still
in quicksand you will drift to the surface
somewhere and how,
so why not love the mud and turn from the hellwash and the skiffs,
pierce up instead through those blackfire boughs
overclapping the stream up through the sticks and prickly leaves up
through polluted and the atmospheric
and wish sometime upon one of those pins
in the pitch?


Rob Yates has spent the last nine months moving and gardening through Indonesia. He originally hails from Essex, and is currently editing his first novel attempt, entitled Trumbling Grandsire.