WHEN IS A TRUCK NOT A TRUCK



the inspector claims that you have an unregistered truck
 
parked in the back field of the highway house
 
you insist that the truck has been converted to a wagon
 
you have trouble finding it in the overgrown weeds
 
you show her that the front end and engine have been removed
 
and replaced with a hitch but you left the seat
 
so people helping with the hay have a place to sit
 
she grimaces


 
 
THE MATCHMAKER



down a rough narrow paved road lined with old cottages
hers is the second on the left after the right hand hairpin
greeting you warmly she tells you that you must meet her friend
father down the road at the apex of a shallow right turn
the next turn in the road is a nearly identical cottage
a thin woman with her hair pulled back
 and a sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks
invites you in as you converse you find each other
 saying the same thing at the same time
you remark that it is scary how you think alike
you lay upon your cot and think of her later


 
THE BEAT-UP OLD SCOOTER


has been made to run again
with the installation of
a powerful new engine
when you try to ride it
it rears up like a prancing horse
and you  fall off the back

on your bum in the gravel driveway



Larry Blazek was born in Northern Indiana,but he 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. He 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. opossumhollertarot@yahoo.com


"The L Train"

I rode the metro through the graves

so I could lay down violets at twilight,

the kind that bore into brick like ivy,

the kind my mother plucked for my father,

before the shutters closed and the curtains drawn,

on our shambled, flickering house, now an empty home.


I lay them down so I can dream by your tombstone,

and let my mind sit and rest a while,

prop its feet up by the brick fireplace that smokes ivy,

for I have been carrying the flowers like a cross

ever since the day you died, and again,

ever since the day you woke.


I do not see you in my dreams

nor when I lay awake at night,

collecting my thoughts like cool water,

but I will let you drink if you want, if you thirst,

the silver marrow of my mind of violets. 




"The Dance of the Hive"


Its an exodus of experience,

a song on a song,

flakes of gold on gold light,

beats that thunder like

shards of dreams, shattered,

tongue roaming over numb holes,

taste buds aching for a sip

of something sweeter, like

stolen honey that drips 

from the sun –black

bear, do you dance

like me, to the beat

of the stone drums and

the drone of steel bees?




“Dreams”


Red dust billows and rises and sets

like the aching roar of the lion-sun

as it settles into weary sleep,

the bones of the mountain rumbling

deep beneath purple stones and

shadows rise from rest in

sheltered crevices and resonant caves

to tiptoe through stalactites to

stalk through the gold wheat fields

at sunset and dance around fires.

The song of wolves and jackals

and men spin like webs to

the moon, who, beautiful and vain

with a face of pallid porcelain,

refuses to hear their desperate pleas

and uses stars to cloud her ears. 


Taylor Bond is a 2014-2015 Lannan Fellow, a writer, and a freelance photographer. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in various publications including Underwater New York and the Belle Reve Literary Journal. Her personal website can be found at www.warrior-princess.wix.com.



Moving On.

 
In the mist-rise, at cloud-shine
the Vardo’s* form up like a snake uncurling.
The clop and clatter scatters woodies from dark trees
and mud-sucked hooves leave indentations along a track.
She sits. Crone-old, shawled and blanketed.
Reins slipped between gnarled fingers.
Tongue and teeth click them forward as battered pots
rattle at the back. Horses ears twitch and rumps roll
in their ground-eating gait. She leaves behind a small town
of little profit. Yet the fortunes told brought smiles,
pierced the young girls’ studied ennui,  brightened the day
for the muttoned, smoke-stained bingo queen.
Hopes were raised as coins were pocketed.
Wheels rumble on now, to a new place, old prejudices.
Yet she is sanguine. Has seen it all.
Would spit in the eye of any gorgio*
who dared cast a lairy glance at her.
 
 
*Vardo-a traditional gypsy caravan.
*gorgios- a non-Romany person.



 
Coincidence Spoiled Our Holiday.


 
It’s funny how the world is sometimes,
the little surprises it holds.
Like when we went to Weston super-mare.
Thought it was miles from home.
Far enough away to bring adventure.
A sense of pastures new. We felt released,
unrecognised. No-one here knew us.
We could be whoever we wanted to be.
Make up lives that were more shiny than school,
home, playing out. We flounced along the beach
Free as birds from home’s contrasts.
Kitted out in new clothes bought specially.
Brought in a case that was grown-up, chic.
Then we saw our maths teacher coming toward us.
Almost unrecognisable in his out of context shorts.
Coincidence really but it took the wind out of our sails.



Nostalgia.

 
Memories fluttered. Leaves shed in a brisk breeze.
I caught many of them, clipped them out of
the backward rush, held them as they settled
bird-like in my hands.
Pictures imprinted on them lit up. Grew,
opened eyes to stare at me:
The place where I had lived in the pudding-bowl
cul-de-sac. Homes of old friends, guitars leaning on walls.
The kindly shopkeeper who talked of Persia,
reached sad hands back into a past dream.
I recalled numbers on the front of buses,
where they had taken me, to identical termini,
what those places had held. Then I let the memories go,
drift away, fade into the smoke of burnt hopes.

Reaffirmed that where I am now has more solid walls.



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.


TRUST
 
The summer sales are in full swing.
For what it’s worth I’ve tagged along,
trailing behind you through a maze
of bright concessions: Linea,
Diesel, Coast, and then on past Dash…
 
My take on colour imprecise,
my sense of the fashionable
shaky, I suggest, when pushed,
the dresses I think will suit you,
then wait for you to try them on.
 
Abiding my summons, I grab
a chair – the sales assistant’s smile
indulgent – until I’m absorbed
in random thoughts that dissipate
once I’m drawn towards two figures.
 
What is it about them that seems
unsettling? Identical, too,
I note with a start. Sisters, then,
and middle-aged, joined by a third
who is soon all flap and fluster.
 
Left alone momentarily
by a rail of bargains too good
to ignore, they stare like two blank
mirrors into each other’s gaze,
clasping their hands as if at prayer.
 
Nothing stirs their self-composure.
here where each display’s strategic
and logos catch the eye – as you
now return to mine in a blaze
of yellow well worth the gamble.
 
 

TAMLA MOTOWN
 
Before my approach to life grew earnest
I was all ears for Tamla: the sweet sounds
of soul as far removed from its roots
as I am now from The Motor City.
 
When I was thirteen the change a-coming
was an awkwardness with girls
and a biblical plague of spots,
as I tuned in on a cheap transistor
or played the vinyl
I’d bought from Woolworths.
 
An ocean away those mythic streets
were hard slog and prejudice,
a life I had no sense of beyond teenage angst.
 
But when the drummer found the beat,
the writers tweaked their slickest chords
to a symphony of heartache
that never lasted longer
than the couple of minutes it called for.
 
Behind white smiles
and the sharpest moves
hope had soured
long before the music faltered.
After the rip-offs, drugs and sleaze, 
fashions changed
and cars blazed in the ghetto.





FOR MAXINE POWELL
 
On my best behaviour and trying
always to remember my worth,
how inside we’re all unique,
I’ll start with a name: Mrs Powell
and never merely plain Maxine
or a too familiar sobriquet.
 
Straight from the Projects and raw,
they fetched her charges,
requiring her to groom them–
sassy girls with pipes,
impatient to scale the charts;
and talented boys who slouched.
 
Rude and crude she called them,
lacking her idea of class,
but sharing one thing with her –
the pigmentation of skin.
Creating acceptable product,
she offered lessons for life;
 
and taught each of her ingénues
the way to approach a chair
or how to enter a room
with style, taking measured steps
from drudgery to a future,
even if, in the end, it kills you.
 
Diana, Martha, Tammy, Flo…
Balancing books, they toed the line
and then eased into evening wear.
Marvin, too, she moulded,
a shy boy who, when he sang,
needed to open his eyes. 
 
 
VIGILANCE
 
Having surfed the in flight entertainment
and played through most of Five Leaves Left,
 
I sink down in front of a film I missed
until, barely past the titles, I slip away...
 
Resurfacing, I am slowly aware
of how my wife’s involved in chit chat,
 
engrossed by the screen of a  laptop
she is shown by the man beside her. 
 
It seems he’s a name in Qawwali music
and loved by throngs in Pakistan.
 
Discreet as ever, she tells me,
once we’ve landed, she had tried to nudge me
 
and how unnerved she’d been: the way
he kept looking round and seemed obsessed
 
with our flight path over Turkey.
Laptops. Devices. It’s what they use. 


David Cooke won a Gregory Award in 1977. A Murmuration, his fourth collection has recently been published by Two Rivers Press. His work has appeared in many journals in the UK, Ireland and beyond in Agenda, Ambit, The Bow Wow Shop, The Cortland Review, The Interpreter’s House, The Irish Press, The London Magazine, Magma, The Morning Star, New Walk,  The North, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Reader, The SHOp and Stand. He is the founder and co-editor of The High Window.  



DANIELLE’S DOG TAGS

 

A good postal team at the
19040 post office in
Hatboro, Pennsylvania, so-named
for the hats they made
in the American revolution
thousands with their
bloody deaths where we
free men and women
tread over the grounds
where their blood flowed
like spilt wine
they freed us
from the tyranny of
the British, yet we
still drink their spritely teas
from fine Royal Albert
Bone China, pinkies lifted

How quickly we forgive

Danielle of the page boy
shining black hair I have
never seen at the post office
her short sleeved blue blouse
reveals a pair of jangling
dog tags upon her breast

A loved one, I am certain,
has died in one of our wars
most likely in the Afghan or Iraq
where we send our black men
to perish instead of cherishing
these descendents of our
peculiar institution and
helping them become
architects or wealthy
entrepreneurs, it’s
only right

Danielle tells me
with a shy smile
her gleaming
teeth white as a
pearl necklace
that he is a victim
of another one of
America’s peculiar atrocities.

Her black brother was
shot
shot dead
by a sniper’s fire
not overseas
but here in Philadelphia
in what we call a
drive-by shooting
black turning on black,
cannibalization

“The worst day in my
mother’s life,” she smiles
her eyes brimming
like a river overflowing

Thirty-five. His whole life
before him. His sister’s dog tags
clink together
a Hail Mary full of
grace
chimes on the old
clock tower tolling
twelve times
lest we forget
lest we forget.

 

NOR BREAK FOR REVERSALS

 

The air parts with
the call of flying geese,
a hysteria of syncopated oompahs
wing power that breaks for no reversals along the way
body after body
pumps ‘til
they're done.

Where to? Which pond?
There to feel cool water
over eye and neck bent double
then snap for fish clean.

 

 
A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE AT THE HARDWARE STORE

 

In the hardware store, the things I bought were put
into a plastic bag:  my cans of spray paint, my ball of twine,
and some peculiar wire I found on a crowded shelf.

The little plastic bag which held my things
swayed daintily from my arm, a plastic womb,
which assumed the shape of the things inside,
rustling against my coat.

I thought I was going to leave
but then I saw the dowels,
wooden dowels. I hardly know what dowels do.
I thought perhaps something to do with
hanging curtains, though probably not.

There was a field of them,
a field of dowels,
like sticks flowing in a bin, each one holding its own,
silent, erect, tender in their attentiveness.
Waiting to be acknowledged.

I wanted desperately to know how to acknowledge
a dowel or even an awl, which is another
hardware store word that has
no meaning to me, so I removed my glove
and caressed the dowel the best I knew how.
The thin round wood made me remember
Tapping on pecan shells long ago.

They were 29 cents apiece,
so I counted out five. Five round dowels with no use
at all.
I went back to the man to ring them up.

 

Ruth Z. Deming has had her poetry published in literary journals including Metazen, Mad Swirl, River Poets and Eunoia Review. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.



Oh silent night
 

It was a night
         Like tonight
So firmly in the present
Sleeve dipped in beer
To give me my idea
Flame grilled
And no more than a bra underneath
The dressing gown
Of the waitress
And he said
            ‘I’d never be so rude as to
                      Expose you’
And he wrestled
With the bears
While soaking his sleeve
36 years
And his wife has got a haircut
What did those years mean
More than his childhood
And worthless
If remembered
And recovered
A lot of it went over his head
For why
Was he –
Was he what?
And the children too
Schooled
How many years
And was that the point?
The drift had been long lost
Since the
I do
And he didn’t
A night’s stars and lust
Before the interest went bust
A rich in toffee cake
                     Was put down on him
On the bar
And the waitress leaned far
To bring him to
What was her present
And his end
If only he knew which end
And sucking toffee
        From her hair
She fell asleep
‘Let’s do the funeral    
                          While she’s napping’
He said
It has been a long day
Marriage is legal religion
And licks arse like an animal
Live old
Die young
He spoke again
To demonstrate
That, yes
He was drunk
And drunk on nowt
But a drink
That had been drunk
So fill me up, the glass sung
For pity’s sake.
 
 
A title shouldn’t give away what the poem is about
 

Life is
Waiting
I was orphaned
By the
Setting sun
Picked by shelter
To a crumbling wreck
I did not wreck it
Nursed by music
Bought to death by
Love need filled
         By
      Stemcell
Could be a
Comfortable canvas
Picture on the wall
Crumbling when the hurricane comes
Used like money
And sometimes faked
That square peg
                      In the triangular hole
Snug headphone
Beat
In your hand
Fingers toast in pockets
The weight of a machine
A piano sliding
 
Another day
 
Is that what we leave it to
Another day
And then when they run out of supply
Do you expect a loan
No
Your discover your own immortality
It comes to nothing at all
You are a marked grave
In a field of thousands
You are not invincible
Keep pulling your weight
You need to
Until you get through
So it won’t be just
Another day
One of those days
Make it a death day
Bury your old self and make it
The day
The day when you got uncomfortable. 

Katie Lewington is currently studying Maths and English at college. She spends the rest of her time searching for a job although she does often tend to be distracted by the blank page and all of the ideas in her head clamouring to get out onto it. She lives in Hertfordshire. She has previously been published in online magazine/journal After the pause. 
 

Spit


His tunic is a tailored white
His eyes a mouthwash blue
His tray of tricks of fine pin-pricks
His sharpened steel and you

Some herd hens or tend to sheep
Some weave mountain wool
Many sleep and love to dream
But he has teeth to pull

His waiting room wallpaper
His carpet’s rose and briar
His telephone is plastic black
His heat electric fire

His nurse is trained to hand to him
Immediately he asks
She notes in numbers mumbled clear
The second of her tasks

When low he draws his lantern bright
And snaps his rubber glove
She stands a little closer to
You feel the gentle shove

He pins a poison to the gum
That’s deadly cold within
Your cheek and lip will soon be numb
His pliers will soon go in

He grips and seizes near the root
He squeezes firm and snaps
Your mouth fills up with bright red blood
She curtsies, smiles and claps


                   Hay Machine (e)


City break

Budapest, March 2013

                       

A woman sifts through the bin in the street
outside the restaurant of our five-star hotel.
She sucks her lips over toothless gums
while we breakfast on coffee and pastries.

Muffled in layers of coats and scarves,
plump as a Matryoshka, a woman hauls
a shopping trolley full of coal onto the bus.

By the top of the funicular railway,
a man with a moustache like an unkempt creeper
corners us on the terrace that overlooks the grey Danube.

He pulls a tattered card from the pocket of his long black coat:
Official Tour Guide. ‘It is impossible to find your way
without a guide,’ he shouts as we retreat. ‘Impossible!’

Around the statues, in streets that once rumbled
beneath the tracks of Soviet tanks, signs compete
for tourists’ Forints: Rolex, Armani, M&S, McDonalds.

A Hungarian friend back home suggests
budget restaurants. We forget to bring
the printed email, but remember ‘Café Gerbeau’.

Liveried waiters serve us ice cream sundaes
in a chandeliered room, heavy with drapery.
The bill is tens of thousands, but so is everything
in Forints. Back at the hotel, the email says,
‘Don’t eat at Gerbeau; just look in the window.’

 

 

The President of Poland visits Hungary

Buda Castle, March 2013

 
Guards in sentry boxes, rigid as tin soldiers,
flank the entrance to the President’s palace.

Hobnail boots stamp wrinkles flat in the ribbon
of red taped to the cobblestones,
smooth the path for the President of Hungary
to greet the visiting dignitary .

A brass band strikes. Hussars
on horseback and soldiers
on foot reflect in the tuba’s mouth,
parade around the square and out.

We drink Hungarian Rosé in a deserted café.
Our waiter paces from kitchen to bar,
between the empty tables, cherishes
the chance to recharge our glasses.

‘Not usually this quiet,’ he says in halting English.
His moustache, a down-turned horseshoe,
frames his frowning mouth.
‘They have closed the roads.’

Up and down the waiter marches,
up and down, straightening cutlery,
huffing and muttering, awaiting the end
of the pomp and circumstance.

Outside, policemen idle in the front seats
of a convoy of parked Audis,
blue lights flashing to no passersby.


Maria C McCarthy is the author of a poetry collection, strange fruits, and a short story collection, As Long as it Takes (both published by Cultured Llama). She writes in a shed at the end of her garden in a village in north Kent

 

Lines

 

When Beeching stole 
Glen Ogle’s lines and tracks
beside Loch Earn
he could not shift the viaducts,
nor stop the leaching drips
amossed from bits of bridge. He left
behind the pictures framed
by spikes of unburst sloes,
the fissured countenance of hills,
of fallen rocks. He could not halt
that lucent primrose prickle up
through the tiny cracks.

 

 

 

First night away

 

All night creaks of him.Half-dreams hear
strange turnarounds of sighs. Calls 
crack wide this sored air as breaths
draft under doors and curtains stir. Toast
scratches deep in pillow smells. We
tense, alert and ready to pace 
till darkedout eyesprint cold 
at his empty bed next door.

 

 

 

A translucent riddle

 

Some days sunlight     slants to blind you
Cherry trees      weave coracles
To launch into the limitless      lift, all out of clouds.

Your feet will feel their way,    will find your way
On to that kindness of crystal   path, patterned far ahead.
What manner of magic     maps your road?

 

 


 

Beth McDonough first trained in Silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art and continues to work across disciplines. Currently Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts, she finds poems whilst foraging, swimming outdoors and riddling with Anglos-Saxons. She often writes of a maternal experience of disability, and her poetry may be read in Gutter, Poetry Bus, Under the Radar and other places. Her reviews are published in DURA.

 

If The Heavens Were Fair

 

It’s nearly time for your medication.

I’m drinking my seventh cup of tea

and thinking how much better you are

since the start of the new regime.

That sounds like you’re sick,

or a political beast,  not merely slow

and easily distracted; the worst

combination of tortoise and hare.

If the heavens were fair

your sister wouldn’t grasp

the lion’s share of love and loom bands

you’re teaching her to manipulate.

You should be less free

with your expertise.

But today’s sky is huge and blue to bursting,

you’re not such a freak

with your hair cut short;

the end of year report opines

you’re beginning to recognise

the difference between truth and fiction.

So when that wood pigeon coos

you are doomed, you are doomed,

we’ll sing whooooo

do you think you’re kidding?



Jeremiad

 

I used to think I

was my own worst enemy

and so did many

of my friends.

 

But I wanted to be sure.

 

So I kept a diary:

a record of faces and names ,

fluctuations in pulse,

blood pressure,

respiration,

frequency of swearing

and kicking the cat.

 

You get the picture. 

 

Turns out I was wrong.

My worst enemy

is Jeremy Kyle.

I only made 4th place.

I grabbed 3rd

on the death

of Jeremy Beadle

but I’d have to do something

really stupid

to overtake

Jeremy Clarkson.

 

 

 

 

Ray Miller likes Jeremy Corbyn.


SCULPTORS AND SINGERS              

...the sculptors of exquisite spiralling structures
of warm-hued wood or metal
...the hummers of sounds
breaking through to soar as music
...the wordsmiths fashioning poems,
and woodsmen tending the trees

...all expressing the same energy,
the desire to create, so strong
that it becomes yearning

...a passion that, long ago,
was seen as mystical
and they, who shaped its magic,
the priests and sages



FIRST DAY OF SPRING

Sun splintering like a manic Sparkler
me, driving in cool-dude shades,
window open
to the first day of spring.

Sadly, Sibelius isn't quite drum 'n' bass
and I stick to 30
in my old-lady Nissan

and it's only my yellow lenses
that cast such a golden glow
upon the world.


COUNTRY GRAVEYARD

Tree whispered to tree
and wind spoke to grass
but the dead in their wicker caskets
didn't reach out
to touch hands
or even speak to each other.

So perhaps it doesn't really matter
where our bones lie
as we dance in other dimensions

THE LAST REVELLERS

 

This grey morning smells
of oranges and wet paper.

Bigging up the dawn chorus
forgotten tunes roost
in unborn market stalls
while damp ghosts shuffle.

Too early for coffee it is
too late to find a bar
for the last revellers.

They are their own agendas.
Immense in droplet dimensions
devised wholly for their own needs



GLEAM

By the time you read this I will be miles away.
Not miles. That doesn’t do justice.
I will be an immensity away. Let me explain.

Throughout your lives I was there for you
but never knew you ,could never know you.
I was long gone before any of you were born

but I reflected often, while you,clever things,
found ways to exploit me.
Found ways to harness my exhaust.

Time in a bottle is a neat trick
but don’t show me the snapshots.

Your entire being is a done deal.
Your maudlin histories are alien to me.

I am ahead of the curve.
Riding the wave and it matters
little to me what lies ahead.

The journey is it’s own reward.

Luckily for you there is no end in sight.

 


BLUE ROOM

The older I get the more
people wind up
dead in my inbox.
No big loss
sez one txt but
buying the whole
island thing
I hope cold
cyber ripples here
make antipodean waves 



Tony Noon lives in Mexborough , South Yorkshire. Poems have appeared in local and national press , and many anthologies. Magazine credits include Acumen and Envoi . A former Bridport Prize winner , Tony's work can also be seen on popular poetry websites such as The Blue Hour , The Camel Saloon and Hinterland.


Stradivarius

It was crafted from wood
felled when the moon 
was furthest from earth.

Cut and curved for resonance,
strung for human fingers
to press and pluck - vibrato, pizzicato -

and the sweep of a bow.
Neck, shoulders, rounded belly
varnished to a deep glow, were shaped

to nestle against warm skin,
blend instrument and player as one,
above all, to sing - legato, cantabile.

Violin and musician, paired, can spark
the feet to dance - allegro, vivace -
soothe the heart - adagio, andante -

climb and climb 
to reach a note, trembling
on the edge of infinity.

Now, it sits
imprisoned in glass. Silent,
like a song that has died on the lips.


Motorbike cortege

He wasn't doing a ton up the motorway,
hurtling along a narrow lane,
or leaning, knee to ground, around a blind bend.
he was cleaning his bike, at home,

when Death came, a sudden darkness
brushing lawns' first cut, trees not yet in leaf,
in barely awakened gardens.

A scarlet helicopter roared, amid blue lights,
a yellow ambulance, and green jumpsuits,
but could not outcolour that shadow.

Later, thirty motorbikes rumbled and boomed
in the face of pale silence.
They carried him, glass-cased, to church;
gentle pall-bearers in black leather.



Gabinetto Segreto

A secret room, barred by a gate
only opened for those
"of mature years
and proven morality."

Pompeii's excavations
made museum curators blush;
mosaic nymphs and satyrs,
dark torsos pressed to rosy thighs,

rows of phalluses,
some enhanced with bells and rattles,
some glowing from within,
and a statue of Pan

making love to a goat.
horn to horn, hoof to hoof,
hairy haunches entwined
and frozen in marble

they are far from secret,
being cheerfully displayed
in an array of postcards
downstairs in the gift shop.



Sheila Spence has been writing poetry since 2000, and has had work published in Orbis, Iota, and Envoi; she also won first prize in the Gloucestershire Writers' network last year, and was commended in the Hippocrates prize in 2011.

TO A WOMAN WITH STARS TATOOED ON HER BREAST

 

What strange constellation

Or comet in the sky

Inspired these inky scars

Where a babe turns to cry

What great meteorite

What sign from outer space

Caused you to mark yourself

In such a sacred place

With gaudy trail of stars

Of uncertain meaning

 

Was this decoration

The result of dreaming

About faraway lights

And mysteries unknown

A cry for attention

Fear of being alone

Or was it just a whim

On a grim winter day

Yearning for the needle

That drives all pain away.

 

 

HUNTED

 

Astride her horse she glows with confidence

Coal black curled hair by a hard hat concealed

Gloved hands gripping reins, tight control revealed

Spurred boots adding to her magnificence

She rides to hounds jumping each hedge and fence

Galloping through forest and muddy field

Cheeks flushed with excitement her both eyes peeled

For any hazard in undergrowth dense

 

The master's horn squeals its bloodthirsty cry

Hardening her expression in response

She urges her mount on with crop and steel

All thoughts of safety gone as hounds rush by

They have the scent but death is her fragrance

For today is the hunter's turn to die.

 

 

TONIGHT IN BLOOMSBURY

 

These trees are higher

Than suburban trees

They witnessed the Blitz

Some sustained damage

Breaking the landing

Of bailed out airmen

Falling from angry clouds

Tonight they sway gently

Against the August sky

 

These pavements are warmer

Than suburban pavements

They have been relayed so often

Since enemy bombs fell

Smashing stone to dust

Later came other explosions

Accidental and deliberate

Tonight they rest firmly

Tickled by tourist feet

 

These people are louder

Than suburban people

They put aside their books

Donned helmets and gasmasks

Dug bodies from the rubble

Extinguished deadly flames

Tonight in Bloomsbury

Their spirits surround us

In the late summer heat.

 

 



David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK). He was born in the medieval walled town of Aberystwyth of Italian roots. He writes in English, Welsh and Italian.

Cestrian Press has published two collections of his poems. ‘First Cut’ (2012) and ‘Hiding in Shadows’ (2014) and David has been widely published internationally.

BLOG
 
http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi

Tinker Bell, in a Drawer


The little silhouette gathers pace

In a starless musk of ink and Sellotape,


Her flutters are lost in this abyss 

Way up in the blackened sun.


A keyhole is her portcullis 

Barring her from the chamber of night.


The keyhole is her port hole 

In which she gathers information on the outside:


A shoe left without a foot to comfort it, 

A tennis racquet without a wrist to give it life,


A French door open which she gulps the night as one,

A vanishing, a drowning enveloped into broken glass stars.


She fights the queasiness of a mist of murk rolling in 

To the moth eaten flood banks of oaken walls,


She prays for her sad lovers bones

Gouged with a hook, she prays


Together with all of our days 

And streets and defeats and pilgrims hunched, 


She prays that this Babylon tar 

Will not dowse the shadowed flame,


A black rose in a tired wilt,

There are no strangers in the dark.



Gaunt Tongue 


My voice is as thin

As a wafer, the

Rude mechanicals,

A voice box untrained 

For the weariness 


Of the jabbering 

Players who holler 

With no regard for

My ears or spirit.

Oh, let me not shout.



In the Still of the Crumbling Night 


In the still of the crumbling night I creep

About pitch streets, about a flower's head,

Oh sigh to me nothing so I can sleep.


One more word and I'll crumple in a heap,

Comfort me with nothing more to be said,

In the still of the crumbling night I creep.


Disappearing with the melting snow's leap,

My limbs are stewed fish bones tied up with thread,

Oh sigh to me nothing so I can sleep.


Standing in the airing cupboard I weep,

Longing for a sigh I scratch until red,

In the still of the crumbling night I creep.


And what my hauntings sew so shall I reap,

All the houses in a row drawn with lead,

Oh sigh to me nothing so I can sleep.


Coated in the amber of a lamp's peep,

Chill street portraits, plain as death, I behead

In the still of the crumbling night I creep,

Oh sigh to me nothing so I can sleep.





Grant Tarbard is the editor of The Screech Owl and co-founder of Resurgant Press. His first collection Yellow Wolf is out now from WK Press. 



Footsteps.

Footsteps behind her. Two miles home in the blackout, pinhole of light,
hooded torch. Blind trams and windows. Her with a hatpin

at the ready. The walk downhill. From dark closes, a cloister of shadows
and breezes dissembling on the stairs. She knows he’s there

by the clip of his boots and the tarry smell of Senior Service. What
an eejit. Furtive into a close, torch off, and he tramps on by,

doesn’t know she has him in her sights. Footsteps behind him.
“Hey, stupid appearance.” He’s there like a sick calf, struck dumb.

And he only wanted to see her safe, so he did, in the long dark
of a two mile walk. Her with the wicked hatpin, pokes it back

into her beret.
                   Sixty years on and she’s lost without him,
in the long dark and the blackout and the walk downhill.

 

*close – alleyway or ginnel.

 

As You Sing.

 
You play your silver flute and
each small light thins, slips through dark
on sequinned points, tiptoes round you

and you seem fainter,
almost transparent - as water,
spectral as frozen glass.

When you play the bodhran
the circlet of your wrist,
boned like cherrystones,

describes the air
in rings of ivory and rosewood
drumming the tight pith of skin.

As you sing, a voice
for lullabies, the warp and weft
of hill and quiet moss, shadow glimpsed,

part blessing and part sorrow
stilled in your throat,
and your heart on a lonely road.

Agus och, och Éire 'lig is ó
Éire londubh is ó
And the Quiet Land o' Erin 

 

All the Pretty Children

One million of you there at the beginning,
calling, crying, whispering. I never heard.
I didn’t know to listen then, swaddled
in my infancy. By puberty, hushed away,
rocked in seashells, snug on the lullaby breeze,
only three hundred thousand left still bedded
in ovarian cots. Then, lathered and prinked
by the larking of hormones, three or four hundred
of you gathered, orderly now, for the monthly harvest,
ripened, rosy pink, small fry ready for the off,
into the dark red darkness, shipwrecked on bloodstained
seas. All the pretty children never shawled or shimmied,
never a sleepless night or wakeful day, never a sock
with a toe peeped through, never a curl cut and stored
in a locket, never a milk tooth to swap for a coin.
Shushed and hush-a-byed, all the pretty children.

 



Lesley Quayle is a Scottish/Yorkshire poet, author and folk/blues singer currently living in Dorset.




                   
THE WISHING SEASON



Another new year
brings brutal cold
and a cutting wind.

A Sunday morning
television evangelist
rambles fire and brimstone

in the background.
I used to go to the woods
till the land got sold.

The alter of tree and sky
spoke to me then.
Living in cities leads

to mental fractures.
Abstractions need nature
and open spaces.

Deer hunting in the fall
years ago, I remember at dusk
kneeling in the musty leaves

as dark shapes moved silently
across a hillside meadow.
Wind died down to a mild lull.

I squinted hard to see
the stealthy shapes
enter another grove of trees,

as the distant woods
swallowed her crafty ghosts
for one more night.

I walked
back to my truck
through pillows of darkness,

my senses teeming,
my heart full
of solemn gratitude.

Now, I spend the days
cooped up in my apartment,
a bastion against the winter.

During the summer,
cool fog rising off the water
fishing at the lake;

pink and orange sky
bleeding low in the east;
a muskrat snorkeling

across the surface to its den;
a heron in the shallows
standing majestically on one leg;

I would bask in the beauty
knowing all the while
that this day would come.

Now, the pine tree green
isn't enough color
to carry the winter;

and I remember clearly
as a boy complaining
to my grandfather

(during winter)
that I wished it were summer;
how he matter of factly

and quite correctly
said to me
“you're wishing half your life away.”






Barry Yeoman was educated at Bowling Green State Univ., The Univ. of Cincinnati, and The McGregor School of Antioch Univ., in creative writing, world classics, and the humanities. He is originally from Springfield, Ohio and currently lives in London, Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Red Booth Review, Futures Trading, Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, Red Fez, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Crack the Spine, Burningword Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, Soundings Review and The Rusty Nail, , among others. You can read more of his published work at www.redfez.net/member/1168/bookshelf  


  

  Shooting photons in the Canaries


They can get lost on the way, you know, violating inequality.
We need a security guarantee.
Are Alice and Bob truly influencing each other?
If local realism was to be believed
he would likely be enamoured with the flutter of every photon set in stone.
Hardcore diamonds containing potential bugs patched the universe,
but so ingrained into our daily thinking is a property called spin
that every test they did was toast, leaving a gap,
a hypothetical pair conventionally known as
rival teams at the University.

 


Detecting Eden

The ideal person is working blind
Hunting down spectra instead of making predictions
Sniffing out life that might resemble the vegetation
The first evocative whiffs written in starlight
All the scents, perfumes and poisons generating a framework
A backbone of six or fewer atoms
So wild and weird were these chemical footprints
That those modeling the atmospheres
Named their library of spectra
The garden of earthly delights


GENE TWEAK


My mother made herself so I did the same, an incredible thrill ride, seven minutes of terror. I spin like a molecular turbine surrounded by runnier water, exploding balloons in a sandbox, the testicles of a giant mouse lemur. We are running out of unknown territory, ghostly wisps strewn across three-dimensional heart-like organs. How to stitch all that information together? Slipping syntax is mining medical literature; our best, if slim, chance. The voice of patients in the wild smelled like a pentaquark – emotional training has reduced violent crime, agitation and hostility. The cushions are key, sobering Earthly pits barking up the right tree. Their bodies are plastic, they scour the sky as the object fades its own face in the mirror. It’s not just about pretty pictures. We have to combat medical conditions, whether there is a bar across it more than a decade wide; everything’s mined.




Jo Waterworth lives in Glastonbury, UK, where she has been writing for many years. She has been published in a number of print and online magazines and had a pamphlet produced in 2013, My Father Speaks In Poetry Too by Poetry Space (Bristol). She is currently compiling her first collection, and blogs at https://jowaterworthwriter.wordpress.com/