a sense of solidity

the McDonald’s bag is brown paper biodegradable
to help prove this you kick it in the river
watch it float and then soak up water

it goes along on the current slowly
like the Canada geese who have taken to the water
from the opposite bank          the bag travels

along a little longer then ducks under            is gone
has began to illustrate your theory how
at some point fast food has to slow down

how even the bag will become something else
though not be remembered in the ancient way
before history became more than an assumption

of legend melded into myth
geese on water are so much more solid


James Bell - lives in Brittany with his wife Lynn and Arthur the cat, the latter who usually sleeps through his writing activities. His poetry has been published internationally and his flash and short fiction is beginning too appear widely.

Box of Her.
 
I open the lid, wicker-work, rustic
and spills of silk bloom
like trapped blossom-boughs
from an orchard.
Spring under their own flexibility,
pour out and over the bed.
A purple length, soft as cloud,
twines and settles like a kitten
snugged against the side
and even more tumble as I tip the box.
Release ghosts of Anais, Anais
that gut-punch me,
as if she had appeared out of the blue.
I find a deep green pashmina
worked in shining pink 
and a jaunty striped scarf,
like lined-up cloud and sky.
Winter scarves hold knots and knobbles
of eccentric woollen construction,
that curl back on themselves,
riot colour along their lengths
and gather shadows in folds
that promise warmth.
A rainbow lies here
and multi-toned streams.
Captured leaves of autumn
and all the shades of a summer day.
Year’s worth, a life’s worth,
folded and quietened down
to flat layers,
trapped in this box till now.
How glad I am
that they jack-in-the-boxed out.
Leapt into my day,
like her own personal goodbye.
 
First Light

The mercury's fallen,
this morning,
and the thin clothes
that we laid out last night
are now unsuitable.

The air is swollen,
tender, like bruised flesh,
and, touching it,
it's soggy, laundry-wet.

Birds I can't name flow, 
a dark arrow, low,
over the hazel, dipping
and calling, calling tirelessly.

Our cat preens,
languid as a duchess,
extends
her fingers, reaching,
grasps the blankets.

The skin of the scalp
is stretched, 
a vellum thinness,
pulled taut, taut,
over hard bone.
The pain is starting,
pooling at the temples,
and darkening
the dawn-light
with stains like ink.

Kitty Coles is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, will be published in August 2017.



Chatham


A still-going dockyard town
east of London,
plenty of addicts
on the cracked high street this morning,
roadworks spilling out the sewers
and Thomas Fletcher Waghorn 
wears a red cone on his head.
Up through skimpy thickets
of September blackberries,
little droppings caked on bushes,
is the war memorial.
I look vainly for an Elston, dead.
At the docks a submarine propeller
is dismayingly thin
like a mummified honeycomb wafer
and I learn
that the descendant of a seventeenth century Dutch admiral 
came to break a children’s paper chain
in commemoration
of a battle.
How dryly time makes its joke.

Guy Elston is a 24 year old born in Oxford, now living in London and working with homeless youths in Soho. He writes a poem a day and is sharing his poems with others for the first time.



Last Days

At the club pool
squeezing the last rays of sunshine
out of the last days of summer
but I’m not anxious
about the coming fall
because I’m not returning to school
not going back to work
seeing as I’m retired, relaxed watching
as the woman in the orange bikini
surveys her domain
and the wasp
beneath my chair
continues building her nest
of dried grass.

 Patience

 

My grandfather taught me patience,

not the virtue but the game

cards laid out on the kitchen table

diminishing like days.

 

The stoic bearded king, the silent queen

presiding over red and black cascades

or completing at last the final stack

only to scatter and start again.

 

Once more the leisurely spread

the count of three, the thoughtful

turning of the pack as if


he had all the time in the world .


Eileen Farrelly lives in Glasgow. Her  poems have been published in From Glasgow to Saturn, The Glasgow Review of Books and have  been included in two  anthologies.  As well as writing poetry she is also a songwriter and performing musician.  


The Milky Way

 

A waning gibbous moon glows red
above the granite cliffs.  In the bay,
warm rain embraces and interweaves
into the sleeves of the ocean waves.

Tell me the story again, she rasps.
The nurse and I plump her pillows up
behind her head and wheel her bed
to the window.  I grasp her hand

as I retell the Algonquin legend:
how spirits of the departed travel along
a path of stars to the twelfth heaven
to be with the maker of all things.

Her eyes close.  Then silence –
only the hoo-hooing of an owl
perched on a branch of a black yew
and the patter of coastal rain.


Mary Franklin’s poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Message in a Bottle, The Open Mouse and Three Drops from a Cauldron, as well as in several anthologies by Three Drops Press.  She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.    

                            
The Resting Place

I lived in bed for a year,
With short respite breaks for it and I,
Where I took the opportunity to stretch contracted limbs,
And for it to rest its fixings, for the mattress to relax and sigh.
 
Not a bad bed, this framework with mattress atop,
With polished chrome finish, reflecting light and shadow in elongated argenteous slivers,     
A quiet bed, when the mind permits the body to still,
But on restless nights, shrieking complaint as the springs squealed in recoil, and the fixings cried 
out to be tightened.

A slatted base, where crumbs and fur from my tom cat became entrapped, 
Between the laths, fitted perpendicularly to the side rails,
With a mattress that remembers with its foam-like ways,
That it does not need to be turned or flipped,
A low-maintenance kind of pallet.

And the award for best-supporting role must be bestowed upon the sturdy oak bedside table,
For its solid, unwavering thereness,
With uniform surface, a reliable platform for pills and potions and liquid refreshment,
Absorbing spilled drinks without complaint or dissent.

I lived in bed for a year, 
A queer year,
With curtains drawn tight to keep out the light,
The fug of accumulated breath released by cracking the window,
Enabling birdsong and fresh air to enter on the breeze's blow,
Mountains of books stacked beneath to occupy the mind, 
While the body was too unwell, other pleasures to find.

And now I am grateful for my prison to be freed from,
Not discounting the service I received from this bed,
No gilded berth, as enjoyed by indulgent pharaohs,
Far removed from Odysseus' primitive charpoy,
Just my own ordinary resting place,
Honouring its primary functions of comfort and support,
Through that difficult time that I was denied peace.

And an advancement on Odysseus' charpoy

Despite that on some nights, thoughts plagued me with dread,
Its comfort and softness I can remember with ease, 
Through that difficult time that I was denied peace



Geri Owens lives in Hull, East Yorkshire. She has never submitted a poem to a magazine before and only started writing poetry in earnest in the Spring of 2017, during a career break. The Resting Place describes a year where a long-standing health condition dominated her life for over a year, leaving her very debilitated.


RESISTANCE

We used to raid the freezer
in that dirty garage but cement
and dust made him cough.

His mother was a puritan;
he'd sniff and splutter when upset,
dance defiant on the car roof
then run off to town
giving her two fingers.

Winter mornings across ice,
spitting steamy gobs
through a face-hole in wool
with pink-pale knees shivering
out of coarse grey socks
and after he died
the school doctor said
I'd developed a resistance.

Wouldn't need that second jab
like all the rest of them.


John Short was born in Liverpool and studied comparative religion at Leeds University and creative writing at the Liverpool Centre for Continuing Education. He later spent some years in Europe doing different jobs. Poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Prole, Orbis, Frogmore Papers, Obsessed with Pipework 


Teahouse, dark lake, all but forgotten

 
Teenagers, we wed, my fiancée not yet pregnant
though dancing guests love clinging to clichés.
After the reception at my new in-laws we decamp
to a rented two-room backyard bungalow
patrolled by a sour widow, our voyeuristic landlady.

Thirty-six hours later we journey east by train,
my savings eked for a three-day honeymoon
at Lakes Entrance because I love the name, the idea,
imagining future pleasing replies when asked.
Rural waiting rooms glimpsed slide into my past.

Not working disorients my obsessive senses, as does
sharing a bed all night despite sex on awakening.
Ways of loving, understanding, vague, my privacy
paramount, I skitter from strangers’ glances
touching us, their resentment of what we get up to.

A non-swimmer doggedly compiling a romantic CV,
cigarettes soaked, elbows a semaphore, hull sloshing,
seagulls wheeling, eyes, beaks, claws, from a movie,
I manage to moor at a teahouse in miasmal mist.
Cloud low now, her laugh’s dark ripples echo.  



Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in , Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Journal,  The Brasilia Review,  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.