What I Learned From Peter.
 
Peter shattered scepticism, gently, through a smile. 
Showed that the inexplicable had a place,
and not knowing ‘why’ didn’t mean that knowledge
would remain unobtainable forever or that it had no value.
He had patience. An old man’s all-the-time-in-the-world attitude
from which the rush and bustle of life had been neatly trimmed
like fat from  a Sunday joint.
He offered me time and two brass, rods, shining, bent
into long ‘L’ shapes.
Gave me the skill to hold them with a loose grip, meld them
with my hands warmth, let  them feel like an extension of my arms.
He showed how to walk steadily with them over moist green grass,
through sun-stippled trees, to muddle about in piles of rock
in searching hope, the rods pointing like a hounds nose.
He taught how to trust the twitch and pull of those rods
in their otherworldly seeking, accept their swivelling in my hands,
fuelled by nothing but faith.
My heart and head opened to different perception then-
a little creepy, not my usual past time, yet it was enlightening.
For the rods did move, crossed, pulled down to earth,
bent into the horizons arc, held me fast with an unseen power
that lifted my hair, tingled my spine, held me spellbound.
We dug in the pointed-out spot, where, flowing crisp and clean,
we found  the silver thread of water.

Miki Byrne has had three poetry collections published and had work included in over 170 poetry magazines and anthologies. She has read on Radio many times and on TV. She is active on the spoken word scene in Cheltenham. Miki also runs a poetry writing group at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury. Miki lived on a Narrowboat for years and began performing her poems in a bikers club in Birmingham.
Miki is disabled and now lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire.UK.


Disillusioned
 
I fell in love
With a skirt
And knee socks
One day
They rode the subway
In two inch heels
And took me
For everything I had
But I was wearing a mask
For Hallowe’en
And no-one could see
What a fool
I’d made of myself





Andrew R. Crow is a Senior Research Assistant for the Canadian Blood Services and has published many research papers, review articles and book chapters dealing with autoimmune diseases. Andrew's short fiction can be found in the anthology Doorknobs & BodyPaint: Fantastic Flash Fiction. He and his family live in Toronto, Canada. 


 Arachnophobia
Fear of Spiders
 
Ironic lying here in bed
she’s playing Spider Solitaire on her iPad
while I’m watching a black hairy spider
working his way across the ceiling minding
his own business but if she only knew . . .
 
We’re sitting out on the wicker chairs when I notice
a huge spider crouched underneath my wife’s armrest.
But he’s not bothering anything
so I remind myself that some things are better off
remaining unmentioned such as spiders and old girlfriends.
 
Whenever I find a spider in the house I leave it
alone but sometimes one shows up in the bedroom
and my wife says “either that spider goes or I do”
and at times I confess I’m tempted
to leave the damn thing right where she found it.

Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby boomer child-of-the-sixties poet freed finally after working 40 years for “The Man” and sometimes “The Woman.” No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he’s able to devote serious time to making better poems when he’s not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.


Instant Recognition

A pale salamander woman at the door
asks if she may interview me.
She is not wearing a bra.
Her erect nipples remind me of a back seat
Chevy drive-in triple feature disaster.

The phone rings.  I excuse myself
recalling intermission and the third feature.
When I return, she has left 
                        but        
there is popcorn on the doormat.



R. Gerry Fabian is a retired English instructor.  He has been publishing poetry since 1972 in various poetry magazines. HIs web page is https://rgerryfabian.wordpress.com  He is the editor of Raw Dog Press https://rawdogpress.wordpress.com.

His novel, Memphis Masquerade and published poetry book, Parallels is available at Smashwords and all other ebook stores.
          
Eels
 
Me and dad sometimes fished a murky stretch of the Brant,
marshalled between levées of belly-high grass and nettles.
Unless you’d pulled one out yourself, you’d never know
the river hid writhing knots of eels in its catshit-coloured waters,
that barely moved as they searched the edges of the fen for
a gradient to follow, still forty pancake miles away from the sea.
It was always hot. Everything was a shade of green, yellow or blue,
and the man at the Royal Oak would swap a netful of live ropes,
with their angry, pinprick eyes, for beer, and a lemonade for the lad.
 
Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland, and writes poetry, short stories and non-fiction. His poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including Firewords, Antiphon, Gyroscope Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/
 
An Average Man
 

 
Tertullian of Carthage, engaged in abstract reflection.
Origen of Alexandria, bewitched by sensory diversions.
St Augustine of Hippo, studying the synthesis of matter and form.
 
And yours truly, close to the ground, under an inarticulate sky,
unimpressed by metaphysics, banality my watchword.
Average only because sub-normality’s the norm.
 
A vagrant mind to the body’s squalor.
 
 
 


Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, is a Pushcart nominee with over 
a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His latest book out now, ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ is available on Amazon and through Cawing Crow Press, while in September of this year, another book of poems,  ‘Like As If’, will be published by Pskis Porch. His poems on video can be viewed on YouTube’s ‘BruceMcRaePoetry’


I-95
 
As he drives, a tornado warning,
sky like the bruise he got
from being pushed down the stairs
in eighth grade.  He sees
a billboard: LEADERSHIP MATTERS.
 
Steve’s never been a leader,
prefers the end of lines
even if he has to wait.
 
The one high school class he failed,
Speech.  He sweated and stammered,
looked away from his listeners,
sat down, a stubby pencil eraser. 
 
The tornado must be near.
Pelting rain, cars pulling off to the side. 
He keeps going, perhaps into
wind’s jaw,  Or maybe,
 
in a few more minutes,
a calm dusk opening its lily bud
across the city skyline.
 


Kenneth Pobo had a book out from Urban Farmhouse Press in 2015 called Booking Rooms in the Kuiper Belt.  In addition to Message in a Bottle, his work has appeared in: Brittle Star, Mudfish, The Fiddlehead, Orbis, and elsewhere.
Bob Bodycomb
 
 
Most fights were hardly gladiatorial,
wrestling jousts until the one pinned ceded,
promoted by schoolboy agents provocateurs.
These rituals of strength presaged our future,
the ether through which we were about to plummet.
 
Keen for peer approval I usually excelled,
good at sport, rash, while he was sound, calm.
We rode the same bus, neither friends nor enemies.
Expecting to win I was soon discomfited,
shielded within the circus from teachers.
 
The years grind on. I read his name, remember
his precocious ambition to be a cop.
He has shot dead a criminal during a siege.
On the run from sad times I reflect
how simply giving in ended youthful foolishness.
 
Far afterward, news with his name again,
this time a wheat silo, a rural shift,
his attempts to rescue two boys from suffocation.
Do distant echoes blister his quiet moments,
the price we sometimes pay for our dreams?    



Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in , Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Journal,  Cream City Review, New Contrast, Poetry Salzburg Review,  The Stony Thursday Book, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.


Tarmac



There he is, God,
among the moon-streetlights
(there's the real moon, a mere slither in the wake)
in the back of the van
the road like the great splayed tongue of a cow;
the old boar of a bus roaring with human fungus,
a parasite to the oil and grit of the machine,
of the bruised and dishonest road.

 

Out there like a crippled dove

Banging on the hoods of cars as they pass,

Hurtling into ravines


somewhere, flowers blossom,
and the hand that bends to pluck them
is the most cherished and beautiful thing
I own.

 

Tom Stevens

 

Hailing from the countryside of Gloucestershire, but currently living in Brighton, East Sussex, Tom Stevens is a twenty-one year old who studied English literature at the University of Sussex. Most of his poems are unpublished, and those that are, are in small editorials and student collections.


Blog link 

https://miragesofleavesinspring.blogspot.co.uk/


Pussycat

Plain sailing Sue tacks through the pub,
she rounds the men like buoys,
short-skirts the whirlpools of their wives,
ignores the leers swelled from their beers,
drops anchor in a booth
beside her friend, sits thighs on hands,
leans closely in conspiracy, to hiss in ear
Tom’s just tried to chat me up,
the bloody cheeky fool.

Jill runs a finger absently
‘round rim of glass of Chardonnay,
as icy as she likes it;
a memory, a distant secret room,
a catch of scent of musky bloom
of hopeful flowers that withered soon
un-dulls her nerves and aches her bones;
a momentary lapse
before her fox eyes narrow sly
Ah Tom; he’s just a pussycat.

Tom lounges at the bar;
sharp velvet ears prick at her words,
Ah yes, a pussycat am I,
so stroke my fur, entice a purr,
I’ll scratch your arms and hunt like night,
lay dead birds at your feet.


Paul Vaughan is a Yorkshire poet. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Seventh Quarry, Sarasvati, Peeking Cat and variously online. He also edits the poetry e-zine Algebra of Owls.