Pulsar Poetry Webzine
       Pulsar Poetry Webzine

Poems 2019 - 2020 - most recent poems at the top.

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September 2020 (96 editions in total)

 

44th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Removal - Gary Beck

 

The Caveman - Holly Day

 

Disraeli's Statue - Will Daunt

 

Thaw - Michael Jennings

 

Everyday is like Sunday - Ben Macnair

 

Size Nines - David Pike

 

We Must Rebuild - Paul Tanner

 

Perun, the Pole Sky God - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

Removal

 

Winter winds blow harshly

on the abandoned homeless

marooned on city streets

‘til rain and snow drive them off,

no choice but to leave behind

cardboard signs imploring aid,

cardboard mattresses, cardboard blankets

decomposing from the torrent

that washes away the last hope

for primitive survival

before eradication.

 

Gary Beck

New York, USA

 

*

 

The Cavemen

 

I spent nearly a whole summer staring through the slats of the fence

at the people next door. We weren’t allowed to talk to them

because something was wrong with them, they didn’t have electricity,

they had an outhouse in the back, a pond in their yard.

Once a week, an old woman would come out of the house carrying a stack of rugs

and beat them until they were clean. I didn’t understand what she was doing

thought she did it because she was angry,

like when my mom broke glasses and pop bottles in the driveway

when she was mad.

 

They had kids, but they were too old for us to play with

one boy had a motorcycle, like my dad, but my dad

didn’t ever talk to the boy about his motorcycle. “They don’t have a television!”

my mom would wonder, in those days before she got so angry

she smashed up our own set, threw a boot through the screen

ended Saturday cartoons in our house for good.

 

I used to wonder what it was like in their house, if they had furniture

or if they slept in piles of blankets spread over the freshly-beaten rugs

drew hieroglyphs on the walls with fingers dipped in home-made paint

huddled around a roaring fire in the middle of their living room, the smoke

disappearing through rotted slats in the ceiling.

 

Holly Day

Minneapolis MN, USA

 

*

 

Disraeli’s Statue

 

L39 2AL: 3/1/2020

 

I’ve lost a pound or two       but the fresh year’s

fortune might improve if everyone took

a new look at themselves      and figured out

how to re-dress these ghosts of M & S

or H & M       or B & M      That bleached

kagoule who voted in this oddball tribe

slides aside to pass the mum who disowned

her dad for Wanting Out      The uni-hound

in shorts has seen the green and waves towards

the bloke who snubbed the lights      then flings the Vs.

 

Will Daunt

Ormskirk, West Lancashire

 

*

 

Thaw

 

It was like seeing unexpectedly

what seemed the gleam

of something lost and given up on;

something seeming to redeem

a long abandoned hope;

like a faint trickle of a thaw,

a hint of Spring

after Winter’s icy grip on your soul.

 

Going about household chores,

while you were showering,

beyond the forbidden door,

I’m sure I heard you singing.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

Everyday is like Sunday

 

The neighbours are cleaning their cars,

the third time this week.

They will never shine like this again.

The neighbours are cutting their lawns,

playing a symphony with the notes

produced by their mowers.

The Church Bells are still.

Silent.

 

We have the same rituals.

Read the papers.

Watch the news.

Listen to experts,

and people on Facebook, and Twitter,

spouting their incendiary views.

 

We take the government-sanctioned walk.

That brief respite from the house,

is a sanctuary.

We start conversations with former

nodding acquaintances,

and look forward to things going

back to normal

that will never really be.

Someone somewhere is playing Itchycoo Park.

No-one is playing Morrissey.

 

Ben Macnair

Lichfield, Staffordshire

 

*

 

Size Nines

 

Let them get on with it

jiggering about

making mistakes,

and whatever comes through

don’t intrude,

keep your trap firmly shut

buttoned, zipped,

because you won’t be blessed

for planting your oar in;

in fact

you’ll be seen as a meddlesome

old fart

just as you thought others

were meddlesome old farts

when you were their age,

when you were young, irritable and

obscenely green.

 

Now you’re just irritable

and obscene;

so don’t run amok

with an opinionated gob

take it easy

give up, you’re not up to the job,

you may be acknowledged

but thankfully not heard.

 

That’s the problem with ageing

you think you’ve copped the lot. . .

 

let’s face it

the whole thing’s absurd.

 

David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall

 

From David Pike’s books, In the Mix,

2007 & Sometime, Somewhere, Somehow, 2018.

 

*

 

we must rebuild

 

went in the jobcentre

and the place was gutted:

the walls stripped,

the empty desks turned over,

wires dangling everywhere.

 

I turned and walked back out:

I was glad the revolution was happening

but I’m too little and pretty for prison.

 

was halfway up the road

when three builders started chasing me.

two of them pinned me against the wall

and patted me down,

screaming “WHAT YOU TAKE? WHAT YOU TAKE?” 

while the other was on the phone, saying

“SOMEONE WAS TRYNA TAKE OUR TOOLS,

WE GOT HIM THOUGH, WE GOT HIM!”

 

when they realised I had nothing on me

they asked “WHAT WERE YOU UP TO IN THERE?”

 

“looking for a job?” I squeaked, my mouth kissing brick.

turns out

the jobcentre was shut for refurbishment.

no one had told me, least of all my jobcentre advisor.

 

I stood face-first against the wall,

a hand to the back of my neck

while they cancelled the police.

 

I felt like I’d let them down.

 

Paul Tanner

Brighton

 

*

 

Perun, the Pole Sky God

This winter solstice
The full moon glows like a crystal ball
Illuminating my lanai;
And I think how my dead mother,
Would have loved it,
Saying it reminded her of my father’s smile.

But once again,
I wish she hadn’t been a Catholic,
That she had instead raised me in the old ways
So that I could believe the North Star was the Eye of Perun,

The Slavic god of oaks and heavens,
Who watched over his radiant world,
With its forests and fields filled
With eternal spirits, like her and my dad;

The god who taught his people not to fear the wind,
The all night wind,
With its hoots of distant owls
And the cries of small birds that dream of owls
.

 

Ron Yazinski

Winter Garden, FL, USA

 

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*

 

June 2020 (95 editions in total)

 

43rd edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Ardent Forclosure - Frank De Canio

 

Fashioned - Michael Jennings

 

Teen Years Revisited - Frank Joussen

 

Pig - Lynne Munn

 

Not So Crazy Kate - Lynne Munn

 

Intrinsically Bad - David Pike

 

Bowling Reunion - John Short

 

No Longer Free - John Short

 

A Day Away From The Circus - Paul Tanner

 

Murder on EBay - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

Ardent Foreclosure

 

Although he brandished her a harmless gift,

it only took her seconds to disarm

him. She gave fugitive designs short shrift

through agile demonstrations of her charm.

And even though he bargained that she’d spare

his sensibilities, she drew him near

so he could feel intruding through her hair,

the hardware of her cockleshell of ear.

Her firm embrace constrained his face beside

hers with maneuvers that would scarcely spare

him. Since he couldn’t run, and still less hide,

he sighed, relieved that his designs were good,

despite the heat still hidden where he stood.

 

Frank De Canio

Union City, NJ, USA

 

*

 

Fashioned

 

Despite the care, the deftly argued case,

you still said, no, to each request,

though each reply though brief was yet polite.

No matter how my feelings were expressed,

how phrased and how precise,

your answers never slapped me down, not quite,

and so inspired another go at getting yes.

Meantime, an alchemy beyond all wit,

had used those all too frequent blows

to fashion from that hardened self-concern,

a wiser, less possessive point of view

where visceral success no longer burned

and in its place was fashioned, bit by bit

someone more accepting and more resilient too.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

Teen Years Revisited

 

at the parties, dance schools, school dances,

down by the river with its rocky banks,

sometimes the warm sand of the beach,

there were the couples

always busy, timelessly happy

in the breaking up – making up game

then again, there were the teens

all alone in the crowd –

“no one wanted to be them”

 

before they fell in love

for the first time

at the parties, dance halls, school halls,

the cool rocky river banks,

sometimes the warm, soft beach

and then, and then

everybody wanted to be

us.

(Quotation taken from Louise Glück´s poem “Midsummer”)

 

Frank Joussen

Erkelenz, Germany

 

*

 

Pig

 

There is something loveable about a pig,

Lolling in fat, fleshy folds,

Snuffling with greedy snout,

Slitted eyes with pleasure glinting,

And grunting, snorting, almost bellowing.

 

As a city child, my first glimpse of pig

Was of its head set on a large, blue platter,

In the window of a pork butcher;

Mouth shaped as in fixed grin

Around a ruby, rosy apple stuffed in.

With eyes agape and heart untimely shaken,

I asked my mother what had happened to the rest of him,

It would, she said, become pork cuts, ham and bacon,

Poor, poor pig, all of him broken…broken…

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW

 

*

 

Not So Crazy Kate

 

Grotesque Kate, gargoyle Kate,

Tottering along Finchley Way,

In shoes too big, heels too high,

Mini-skirt flapping ludicrously

Against an ancient thigh.

 

Make-up trowelled in

The rutted ruin of her skin

Clown’s lips painted round

A wide distracted grin,

Hair like crow’s nest torn

From a quivering elm in storm.

 

People gape as Kate sails by

But she is blind to pitying eye,

For in the twisted thicket of her mind

She has found sanctuary,

Shielded from the fiery sun

And frantic crying of the wind.

 

Lynne Munn

 

*

 

Intrinsically Bad

 

This poem

contains explicit material

and should only

be read by

persons of 18 years

of age or older

and includes many

references to things

which entice, solicit, smoulder

and are disgustingly rude,

crude, and unsightly.

 

Do not read

if you are of a timid, shy

or nervous disposition

because this stuff

has all of the above

with a bit more thrown in

of an erotic, suggestive

ouch elected

yaroo! - thank you

corrective, bothered,

slobbered,

chafed and bruised

nature.

So, WARNING

don’t read this poem

as it is intrinsically bad.

 

Oh, you already have.

 

© copyright David Pike, from books At Durgan, 2017

& Sometime, Somewhere, Somehow, 2018

Listen to Intrinsically Bad via YouTube, click: https://youtu.be/kVTkdzMxqQY

 

*

 

Bowling Reunion

 

The whole crowd’s out tonight:

perfect blazers and club ties,

veined visages, cut-glass accents,

they are a wondrous bunch

with polished spitfire elegance

a curious breath of yesterday.

Some need assistance, shuffling

to crackers and candlelight

and a confusion of cutlery.

Some struggle with names,

catch threads of conversation

half-grasped through hearing aids.

But they’re all so glad they made it

to this celebration of another year

though their aim is failing,

the score sheets a disaster zone,

woods gathering garage dust

and the jack seems permanently lost.

 

John Short

Lydiate, Merseyside

 

*

 

No Longer Free

 

You used to make me happy:

our rendezvous in the square.

I’d wait a bit then you’d appear

out of the darkness with a smile

then I’d take you to a bar

and put my arms around you

then later to bed in the old hotel.

Years on we’re still together

and I am certainly no longer free:

all effort flows away

to your needs and aspirations

but it’s good to be important to someone

and it beats the hell out of being alone.

Life and people congeal around us,

set like gelatine but it’s okay really.

I can’t imagine life without you.

 

John Short

 

*

 

a day away from the circus

 

angry in the dark

on your rented bed

after the longest shift

of your short life

too angry

to sleep

and would you believe

you take no comfort

from knowing that countless others

are in the same boat,

adrift

in this angry dark?

look around the rented room

see their hands

come out of the rented dark

and capsize your boat …

it’s your day off tomorrow.

well, today

and the lady downstairs will start blaring her tv

in a couple of hours

and you’ll be standing red-eyed at the rented window

40-odd hours without sleep

looking out at the world you rent,

fine-tuning your thoughts

down to:

‘I want my money back’

and then finally just

‘urgh’

or ‘ugg. ugg, god.’

 

Paul Tanner

Brighton

 

*

 

Murder on EBay

 

“Murder on EBay,” stated the headline.

A t first glance, because this is Florida,

I thought someone had placed a winning bid

For a hit man to do away with either

A cheating husband or his girlfriend;

Or, if the winner was, like many of my smiling neighbors,

A follower of the Prosperity Gospel,

Had him do what Jesus endorses, but does little to facilitate,

Remove a boss who stood in the way of promotion.

Instead, on reading the piece, I found it was a mundane shooting

On East Bay Street, a mile from where I live,

A street that everybody calls E-bay,

Where a drug deal had gone so bad a thirteen-year-old

Gunned down a twenty-five year-old father of two.

How have I reached the point where

I am moved more by the absurdity of the headline

Than the tragedy it tells?

 

Ron Yazinski

Winter Garden, FL, USA

 

*

 

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March 2020 (94 editions in total)

 

42nd edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

A Scorned Snail - Lynne Munn

 

November Sunset Over Lake Ontario - George Payne

 

Not a Biscuit - David Pike

 

He Was Here - Dr. Roger Singer

 

Return to Nowhere - Julia Stothard

 

Untethered - Julia Stothard

 

Some Ode - Paul Tanner

 

Tutorial - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

A Scorned Snail

 

I am a snail and move very slowly,

Never, ever do I hurry,

Because you see, I have a house

Of shell, always to carry with me.

 

Humans, I suspect, at sight of me

Wonder what can my purpose be,

Except to gnaw the vegetation

Carefully nurtured in their garden.

 

But nature created me, as well as they,

Her’s is the law by which we have no say.

She reigns, and what she rules must prevail,

A scorned snail! yet in my wake only I

Can leave a shimmering diamond trail.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW6

 

*

 

November Sunset Over Lake Ontario 

 

She handed me the egg,

between the bones, slowly

and meticulously, and the egg,

in her fingers, if one could call

them that, reminded me of the sun

oozing below florescent indigo-

tangerine clouds with chocolate

shadows on the cheekbones of houses.

 

George Payne

Rochester, NY, USA

 

*

 

Not a Biscuit

 

Once you’d read the sub-text

wading through yards of paragraphs

and spellbinding legalise,

jargon, designed not to please

and close the eyes

of an involuntary reader,

you come across a glaring

small-print intrusion

a barbed get out of this

hidden in the depths of minutia.

 

‘Just sign,’ it doesn’t say

but implies

knowing the reader

will be weary and disinclined

to read anymore,

so, the ‘Accept’ button is clicked

and the package permits access to more,

with a spy buried deep within

keeping a note of the ongoing score.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

He Was Here

 

And then…

he was gone

he took with him

his voice

and crooked smile

his welcoming eyes

and calm purpose

to all he met

he left behind

his favorite hat

a pen for writing

a few books

and a cat and dog

that still look for him

sorrow fills in hard

the void at first

flooding cherished

memories into corners

of what remains.

 

Dr. Roger Singer

Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA

 

*

 

Return to Nowhere

 

These outskirts are tattered hems of a city

ragged and knotty, crusted with blotchy

islands of paint

where life revs up to the highs encircled

on signs lining the road

through the cemetery, north and south.

 

Our ambitions are wired pylon to pylon

but all routes out are snubbed by debts.

Time is local

and comfortable only

with knowing the boundaries

and spraying names on faceless walls.

 

The potholes mouth a welcome to rain

reflecting our faces, creased and oily

beneath the debris -

in summer, the ruts will drain to dust

as we blow along on the breeze,

returning to nowhere.

 

Julia Stothard

Shepperton, Middlesex

 

*

 

Untethered

 

Grass has overtaken the path,

the churned earth settled to maple-red

& our stream has silted smoothly

in its bed.

We no longer leap its banks.

 

The forest heals from us,

slips quietly away when voices

tune out against the distance.

It keeps its lips sealed

and thinks in green.

 

We have dried out and furled inwards,

stiff in our bones, slow streams

thinning through us.

We have become the shade

of our own shelter.

 

When there’s nothing left to tether us,

we craze and flake;

a scattering

that snags in the cedar, the beech,

Scots pine and silver birch.

 

Will we always meet back here,

gathering ourselves

in leaf?

We trust in the faintest whisper

carried amongst the vigilant trees.

 

Julia Stothard

 

*

 

Some Ode

 

what sort of job are you looking for? she asks me

and I mean

I’m here

signing on:

what are my options, exactly?

I’m a drunk pervert

so I’d like to be a politician please

but no: they’re looking for a toilet cleaner in the shopping centre.

I decline

and when she denies me help

she smiles the smile that can only be smiled

when one fulfils a quota

and this place that exists

to keep people like me off the streets

sends me out into the streets?

tis confusing:

if only 1 of the 3 GCSE’s I got were in council logic, eh?

and in these streets

a spherical woman a quarter of my age

flings her kid over a wall with a defiant cough,

the burnt vagina sky framing her in purple strings:

when did I miss the bomb drop?

even the very atoms that encase and fill us

have the whiff of the charlatan about them

and the kid has a cough, too.

 

Paul Tanner

Brighton

 

*

 

Tutorial

 

I’m so old I’ve outlived my metaphors,

Like that night in Colorado

When the multitude of stars were so bright and precise

They looked like numbers and symbols on a blackboard,

One endless equation written in a meticulous hand,

Proving that from the first flash of time,

I had to be there,

Studying that night;

 

Whereas, on filmy Florida nights, the few stars I can make out

Are white flakes on a blackboard, like the points of chalk

Hurled by sophomore boys

As soon as the substitute teacher turned his back.

 

Ron Yazinski

Winter Garden, FL, USA

 

*

 

Click: Return to Home Page

 

December 2019 (93 editions in total)

 

41st edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Casket - Michael Jennings.

 

Foxgloves - Lynne Munn.

 

Trees - Lynne Munn.

 

Expert in the Field - David Pike.

 

Scotland - David Sapp.

 

The Missing Part - Soran. M. H

 

Fast Journey - Soran. M. H

 

Ghosts - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

Casket

 

Three in the morning in a hospital bed

and the name came to me.

But what process and by what clues

had the search through the chaotic files and folders

of my mind been conducted?

Had it lasted from the time

the ambulance doors closed

and I had been unable to return her wave?

And who or what had done the searching?

How kind she had been

when I had fallen in the street.

Had gratitude given life

to whatever was taking place

along the skull’s labyrinthine corridors?

Did the desire to remember

match a desire to be remembered

and, drawn and pushed,

the name had struggled

past goodness knows what obstacles

to the surface of my consciousness?

Was the name important?

Perhaps it was a hand casket

in which to keep what little I knew of her.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottingham

 

*

 

Foxgloves

 

School holidays were always spent

In the country with a spinster aunt.

Such bliss! to freely roam many a fragrant hour,

Among the foxgloves, dusky-pink, and tall as me,

Growing wild outside her garden, so orderly

And neat, while joy wiped clean of memory

The streets where never blew a flower.

 

Dear Aunt, only now long after your demise,

I suddenly and ruefully realise

Why, when I arrived you rummaged with such haste,

Through the contents of my shabby case,

So anxious to ensure no tiny, parasitic interloper

Had, unbeknown to me, covertly made the journey

From the streets, where never blew a flower.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW6

 

*

 

Trees

 

Only the wind brushing their leaves

Moves the trees,

Anguish can fill the air

They feel no despair

 

Only the rain pearling their leaves

Touches the trees,

Tears can flood the ground,

They stand unmoved.

 

But when come storms with blast and hail,

Perhaps when bent in wild travail,

They, too, may feel some part

Of all that ravages the human heart

 

Lynne Munn

 

*

 

Expert in the Field

 

He thought he was an intellectual

elite, intuitive, respectable

and in possession

of an exceptionally keen brain

while others knowingly proclaimed,

“he was a steaming great twit.”

 

And from a lofty academic plain

he craned to look down his nose

on those he thought undesirable,

non-intellectuals

because he posed

there was nowhere else to go

when conversing with those who were common

or slow

they possessed little incite or wit

and annoyed in a rough uncultured way,

meanwhile others exclaimed,

“he was a steaming great twit.”

 

It wasn’t that he was pompous

arrogant or rude

although he could be all three

when in the right mood

and his spoken illustrations

on the minutia of

something of low significance today

was by default

and in its own way

party interesting

but people, in summary would mainly say,

“he was a steaming great twit.”

 

He had an opinion about anything

had an answer for everything

but did nothing

and said everyone should keep in pace

and not complain

(because he never did)

being well-off and removed

from what everyone else had to do

to survive

and at night he’d wear a deer stalker hat

and go out for a drive

and anyone who saw him surmised,

“he was a steaming great twit.”

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

From DP’s poetry book, The Strand, 2012

 

*

 

Scotland

 

When I arrive at clavicle, humerus,

Acromion, the view is breath-taking,

A vista nothing like the map.

Still, after thirty-some years,

I am a fortuitous Norseman,

Longboat aground upon the shore;

I discover the northern-most

Pinnacle of your back.

Here, you could be Scotland

But just south of Ben Nevis,

More hummock than summit:

Your curiously arousing scapula.

I assumed my caresses were familiar

With your bones, every curve

Of your topography, but here, oh here!

Is a delicious, neglected crest.

I’ll ascend your gentle highland tor

With fresh, audacious kisses.

 

David Sapp

Berlin Heights, OH, USA

 

*

 

The Missing Part?

 

If love can be

the dynamo of life

as most of us believe

20 springs

with all their blossoms are so many

and 20 autumns too

with all their fallen leaves,

if not in them

where else

the expression

‘I love you?’

I don’t know

whether light follows the dark

or night hides from the day

but I am certain that

both are perfect together,

all those blue eyes

are marvellous,

such a clear sky

at summer dawn,

such a wide blue ocean

with all its calm blink waves,

but I wonder

where are all these desperate fishes

who lost the shore?

most poets write

their dreams

but this is different

it’s the reality within the dream.

 

Soran. M. H

Coventry

 

*

 

Fast Journey

 

You were a minute late.
The train left you behind,
Your poem unfinished.
You woke.

Your reading of the stories of rivers
Was interrupted.
Night fell.

Not acquainted with the deeps of
Oceans
You desired to know the mysteries of
the sunset,
Of the yellowing of leaves.

 

Soran. M. H

 

*

 

Ghosts

 

There are too many ghosts.

First, there’s the couple who built this house,

And then that of their daughter

Who lived here before us,

All flitting from room to room,

As if looking for lost keys.

 

And then there are those of their parents and grandparents

Who haunted them,

All dressed in period clothes and worn shoes

Following the first group around,

Hanging on their every word

Just in case their names are mentioned.

 

Lately, I’ve started seeing them down town,

Following me in legions,

Without even the courtesy of pretending to look in shop windows when I turn around,

So that Plant Street resembles a busy day at Disney World,

When you can’t see the sidewalk because of the crowd.

 

All of them jostling, quietly studying me,

As if they expect me to say or do something important, like mention their names.

At first I admit I was scared,

Chills up and down my neck and spine.

But I’ve grown used to them.

Now when the dog grows restless at three in the morning

And I awake, I bravely smile and wave.

At which, like hungry children watching a fat man eat an ice cream, they stare

 

Ron Yazinski

Winter Garden, Florida

 

*

 

Click:  Return to Home Page

 

*

 

September 2019 (92 editions in total)

 

40th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

George Street South, SP2 7BQ - Will Daunt.

 

Bourn Bridge, CB21 6AN - Will Daunt.

 

Underground - E A M Harris.

 

Speechless - John Miller.

 

An Invitation to Your Wedding - Lynne Munn.

 

The Mohawk - George Cassidy Payne.

 

Warning Device - David Pike.

 

Final Phase - John Short.

 

*

 

George Street South

SP2 7BQ

 

We got off slightly, our road a footnote

beyond the city’s bandage, twenty-five

years after Meadow and George Street went

under the knife - two lags left limp for dotage.

Hardly Berlin - but the hacking asphalt

bustled and flickered through our first three years -

Churchill’s Way, perhaps. Before leaving, one

wayward trip wheeled us up on the city

side, and our terrace’s score of siblings.

Who lived there then, and knew the other street?

 

Will Daunt

Ormskirk

 

*

 

Bourn Bridge

CB21 6AN

 

The science park is barred and filmed and partitions

shape those fields we’d cross. Here’s rugby

country and there are some chirpy Baltic

women, bent over veg.,

organically.

Permissive paths have occupied the wood

and the World Famous Cafe puts up a bund

of cemented wire across the gap once

called a Welcome, while the listed half-baked

shack next door is swallowed by a bury-

built school for kids who pay to learn by trees.

 

Will Daunt

 

*

 

Underground

 

the men of the mine, swarthy and smiling;

the pick handed down from great-great-grandpère;

an eye that understands the ore;

tock, tock, tock of pick on rock;

water, cold and fusty;

dust;

air;

pale insects scurry from a lantern;

tick, tick, tick of hammer;

the smell of bat droppings;

tock, tock, tock from far ahead;

cold sweat;

scratched boots;

the perfume of wet ore;

the perfume of its value;

tick, tick, tick – drips in the distance;

incline of the roof;

roughness underfoot;

rough timbers;

lamplight knocking on darkness;

tock, tock, tock of someone’s watch.

 

E A M Harris

Bridgwater, Somerset

 

*

 

Speechless

 

Father, we had no consecrated ointment,

no rites for the observance of your death.

When you were grimacing with pain

as your life ebbed, we—your family—uttered

no consolatory prayers, could think

of nothing that would help any of us.

We didn’t prop your head with cushions

to encourage last words

 

though I had precedents enough

in literature for memorable deaths.

We knew Goethe’s last request—

more light, more light

and what friends did for Franz Schubert,

hushing his cries with pious ministrations,

soothing him with scripture.

 

Should we have known some benediction

 to recite when the last feeding tube,

the last polygraph was being unplugged

from what had been your life support?

Only my younger sister thought to croon

your boyhood nickname in Hungarian,

stroking your damp forehead, while I stood

stricken speechless and numb, father,

not even reaching for your hand.

 

Here, now, with these words

is it really better late than never?

 

John Miller

Lexington, Virginia, USA

 

*

 

An Invitation to Your Wedding

 

I will be shrieking round suburbia,

Hoping it is not too late

And you will hear.

 

Race up and down each quiet road,

Startling all the sleepers

And the moribund.

 

Howl, howl round trees provoking

Cushioned cats to sir and stretch,

Dimly remembering.

 

But if, like leaf fall in October,

My cries too shall be unheard,

Sadly then, I leave you to your sepulchre.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW

 

*

 

The Mohawk

 

My world is concealed

under the Mohawk’s

waters, way beneath the

cries of geese in flight and

rockslide scars of slippery,

olive skinned hemlocks

smeared in October’s maple,

blood- red moss, rushing

past my descendant’s statues.

 

George Cassidy Payne

Rochester, NY, USA

 

*

 

Warning Device

 

Festering in a corner

the affronted, wounded

offended

member for January to December

was about to explode, pondered a bit

then did

off blew the lid

showering remnants of life

clothes, former abode

and other indiscernible

bits

to various areas of the world

where they lay as unrecognisable fragments,

not part of the whole

picture thing.

 

Nearby a monkey on a bicycle

pushed a bell, a warning device

that sounded

with a ring.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

From: The Strand, poetry book by David Pike, published 2012

 

*

 

Final Phase

 

They are giraffe-tall

and allergic to silence,

have never heard 

of multiplication tables,

 

they stand aside 

as I pass - say Sorry.

A visual reminder

of teachers perhaps?

 

I might as well sport

bargain basement shoes,

a beige windjammer

then realize I can play

 

the part without props:

this lined exterior

declares to everyone

I'm in the final phase

 

John Short

Lydiate, Liverpool

 

Click: Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

June 2019 (91 editions in total)

 

39th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Grove Seasons - Richard Dinges, Jr.

 

Uncle David - Michael Jennings.

 

The old man in the cage - Sean Lause

 

A Gift in Winter - Lynne Munn

 

Divorce - Lynne Munn

 

The Gogs - David Pike

 

Unusual and Dangerous - John D. Robinson

 

*

 

Grove Seasons

 

Tree leaves packed dense

filter sunlight,

my eyes dilated

in shadows.  Leaves

fail, shed into

brittle piles that mark

my steps with bitter

cackles, reveal

branches, dark frames

between stained glass

panes of pale sky.

Snow piles over

limbs, reflect sun

to blind me in

a gentle spray

of crystals.  Dark buds

erupt into green

shade, block sunlight

again and I cool

into a damp earthen

 

Richard Dinges, Jr.

Walton, NE, USA

 

*

 

Uncle David

 

When uncle David came the chances were

he’d brought something to be altered –

a shirt collar needing to be turned,

a pair of trouser shortened.

He sat in our living room,

drank a cup of tea and chatted

in his deep easy-going voice,

swapping family news and other matters

while mouther worked the treadle

and the Singer clicked and clattered.

With the alteration snipped free of the machine

he’d be off on the bike he’d left against the wall.

This was poverty that didn’t bite too deep:

it clothed us in a dignity that no one knew they wore.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

The old man in the cage

   

It is Sunday.  The old man in the cage
is wheeled through the town again.
His lips tremble with violations.
There must have been a time when he was young.

 

He signatures the wind with words
they cannot decipher.  He is no one.
Though some say he knows when time will end.
His face is a map of sins and visions.

 

The citizens baptize their cars, their souls
as white as the illusion of innocence.
They toss him mirrors and laughter.
He shows them rage and the seat of his pants.

 

He is the sum of all their ages,
guilty of a crime he can’t remember.
At sunset they return him to his cave
where he’ll remain ‘till they need him again
to preen their jaded dream of being gods.

 

Sean Lause

Bluffton, Ohio, USA

 

*

 

A Gift in Winter

 

Solitary, creamy-yellow, full blown rose,

There is surely a lapse in your memory

To make you bloom like this in January.

Flaunting your delicate beauty through days

Dank and drear with flutterings of snow,

When you should have rusted and died

Like your kindred, long, long ago.

Each fragrant petal fully open

Blows undefiled by winter’s thrust,

Beauty so brave, so flawless,

Amazes eyes grown used to dreariness,

Uplifts the spirit driven low by sunless

Days, and revives a sinking trust in nature,

The magical and eternal conjuror.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW

 

*

 

Divorce

 

When the last leaves of autumn

Snatched by wilful wind,

Lie like shredded sunset

On the grass,

Will they remember spring

Before they pass,

Under footprint and snow

Into the crust of earth?

 

When all my future days

From yours are severed,

Finally and forever,

Will they remember spring

As documents are passed

From hand to legal hand,

And when our case is closed

What then? Will we shrivel?

 

Lynne Munn

 

*

 

The Gogs

 

A sickly-sweet odour of cutting oil

filtered through a hedgerow

oozing from an overflow

that bordered a workshop

of industrial noise;

it was a cloying smell

that lingered in the nostrils

of a small boy

crouched on a muddy track

peering intently into a shallow

backwater stream

that meandered betwixt, between

and down past The Lamb.

 

A small jam-jar

rested on the ground

filled with aquatic fauna

and a dazzle of bright water,

liquid that deflected light

Schlieren style

as flickering rays

filtered through an array of trees.

 

Two sticklebacks swam

in the close confines

of the ex-jam jar,

magnificent creatures,

silver, red, with a touch of

gold.

The boy looked for another,

where small fishes swim,

totally enthralled, taking it in,

relaxed in his skin. . .

 

before becoming old.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

 

Unusual and Dangerous

I didn’t know what I
was looking for
and I began
looking in some of
the most unusual
and dangerous of
places and people:
high life
low life
no life:
I searched
all over,
found nothing

that meant
anything:
I grabbed a pen
and started
scribbling, not
knowing what
else to do.

 

John D. Robinson

Hastings, East Sussex

 

Click: Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

March 2019 (90 editions in total)

 

38th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.  

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Dictate – Gary Beck

 

Vermin – Holly Day

 

Old Crocker – Michael Jennings

 

American Beauty – George Cassidy Payne

 

Low Rider – David Pike

 

Roughing It – Fabrice B Poussin

 

Foundry – John Timothy Robinson

 

Cottage Song – Roger Singer

 

Unskilled – Ian C. Smith

 

*

 

Dictate

 

Statistically speaking

most humans

prefer to be told

rather than asked

to do this or that

at the behest of someone

rarely concerned

with the needs of the people.

 

Gary Beck

New York, USA

 

*

 

Vermin

 

I’m sorry

I think to the cockroaches that squish under my boots

as I walk home along the roaring breakers of ocean surf

on a thin strip of sidewalk crumbling slowly to sand. In the darker shadows

cat-sized rats scurry over concrete pilings, carrying greasy chip bags

hamburger wrappers and bits of rotting fruit in their mouths

claiming the fetid remains of the day for a midnight feast.

Years before, these rats and roaches would have been in hiding

in the ramshackle brick houses and empty warehouse spaces that used

to line this part of town, but now that all those old buildings are gone

and the new buildings, mostly condos, are too brightly lit for vermin

the rats and the roaches have all come down to the beach. The new condo owners

might have chased away the junkies and the whores

and the homeless drunks with their overflowing shopping carts

but the rats and the roaches are here to stay.

 

Holly Day

Minneapolis MN

 

*

 

Old Crocker

 

Old Crocker brought us coal.

His blackened, scary face

had bulging bloodshot eyes

which stared below a greasy cap.

From lorry to his leather-aproned back

he heaved each sack and humped it

down the concrete path

in battered blakey-studded boots,

which as he thudded through,

struck sparks,

until the thunder of black fuel

tumbling in the bunker.

Such was the fearsome ogre

who brought us warmth in winter.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

American Beauty

 

Is mermaid legs of

silk noodles and storm

trooper boots. It’s pant

less. A hemmed blouse

of Amazonian orchids.

Tattooed neck. Marine

haircut. A chair made

of wolf pelts. Dressed as

a lemon meringue pie.

Drinking mushroom

tea and giggling at stars.

 

George Cassidy Payne

Rochester, NY, USA

 

*

 

Low Rider

 

Opt me out

of anything spontaneous, spectacular

or rash,

but don’t let me stop you

having a bash

on the scariest rides

that thrill making engineers

design and provide

for fun seeking fun seekers -

 

persons who enjoy a thrill

to show they’re alive

though nearly being killed,

and queue for the privilege.

 

It’s their bag you see

to be at the peak of anxiety

screaming out loud –

but leave me out,

I’ll be taking a step back

to realign my inner self,

addressing a wealth

of calm idiosyncrasies.

 

David Pike,

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Roughing It

 

A rough dress forgotten, designed for a lady, worn by 

a mother who never took much to the traits of stars.

 

Modelling hands of ruby nails and soft lotions, bare

no likeness to the digits crevassed by cold and rain.

 

Mouths needed feeding, food to be planted

and dirt soiled the folds of a skin still trying to be young.

 

No time for jolly waltzes in the dusty, musky ballroom

only a moment to turn from oven to table at work.

 

Eyelashes faded, braids unravelled with the passing days

the make-up hardened to become cement in a tight jar.

 

When death came at last beauty was allowed anew

she lay still rosy cheeks, peaceful under deep foundation.

 

The little girl had dreamed of a cover glamour shot

success indeed; that it is the last memory of her.

 

Fabrice B Poussin

Rome, Italy

 

*

 

Foundry

 

When I first saw the place one summer

it looked like someone dropped a bomb.

Through a chain-link fence

sheet metal siding charred black as coal

hung on steel girders.

From the car window

you could only look through one end

where furnace number nine made silicon.

When they tapped, a fiery glow exploded,

split darkness in a shower of volcanic light.

 

Waiting in the gravel parking lot

after dad’s shift,

the car was an oven of three o’clock heat.

They walked from the small building

covered in black steel-dust

like old photographs of miners.

Covered with fine filings,

this dust that resembled glitter

inside through a shaft of light,

you cleaned from your nose an hour after shift.

Black snot.  Black spit.

Steel was in their blood.

Fifty years, my father worked

through changing names, collective bargaining,

a strike, an employee buy-out.

 

Lines on his face and in his hands

were other stories.

He drove almost an hour every day to work.

one direction,

strung electrical wire,

checked switches, relays, transistors.

 

Sunflower seeds and cigarette buts on the plunging station floor.

Mess hall cuss and days of jokes.

Once in a while someone brought food.

Talk of mortgages, political snares.

One summer on furnace number two,

Miller looked at me and said,

“Welcome to Hell.”

Everybody just wanted a better life.

 

Many years later

one of them was pulled over;

a rumor of cocaine in his trunk.

Prison.

After all this time,

here and there they fall,

felled by life;

alcohol, heart disease and cancer.

 

John Timothy Robinson

Gallipolis Ferry, WV, USA

 

*

 

Cottage Song

 

I remember shadows

and the long arms of strength.

 

I see smiles and pain

seasons passing.

Voices over a river

one I’m familiar with -

 

thoughts provide a healing,

of scars no longer visible.

 

I recall the aroma of lilacs

in the morning,

dew covering canvas awnings

and red wing blackbirds

heading to the tidal basin.

 

Roger Singer

Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA

 

*

 

Unskilled

 

I have an apartment lease to offload, need a foxhole

after another upheaval in the hum of these days,

discovery, escape, possibility, blood fizzing.

I recognise the canny suit who responds to my ad,

taking me back to the cages of earlier restless times.

 

He was my boss when I quit, storming out offended

by tactless remarks criticising a distressing call,

a medical emergency halting sweaty work.

No phones in pockets.  Work scarce.  Bosses ruled.

I had vowed to find another job before day’s end.

 

He remembers me, an emotional boy-father

of an injured child, who showed up the next morning.

Smug, compassionate, I couldn’t tell back then,

he assumed I would retract my notice, was shocked

I landed a job that day I told him where to stick his.

 

He wants the apartment for his student daughter.

I mention my language studies, enjoy his surprise again,

omit shameful wreckage bobbing in life’s wake,

the married girlfriend, cheap drama like a bad movie.

We all want our hazardous lives to turn out magical.  

 

Ian C Smith

Sale, Vic, 3850, Australia

 

*

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