Pulsar Poetry Webzine
       Pulsar Poetry Webzine

Poems  Years 2022 - 2023, most recent poems at the top.

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December 2023 (109 editions in total)


57th edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (March/June/September, plus other poems), see below.


* * *


Poem Index - December 2023


The Last Barbecue, poem by Edward Alport.


Resurrection (after Gustav Mahler), poem by Jeff Gallagher.


The Place Where Pain Lives, poem by Dan R. Grote.


Cracked, poem by Michael Jennings.


Starlings, poem by Michael Jennings.


"a fair grace," poem by Maëlle Leggiadro.


Even When, poem by David Pike.


New World, poem by David Sapp.


A Pebble Then, poem by David Sapp.


Waking Up, poem by Anthony Wade.




The Last Barbecue


It’s okay to say that it’s still summer.

The trees are silhouettes against the blue,

The blue is still bright enough to hide the stars.

Though soon it will consume the trees too.


Standing here, in a little pocket of heat

By now I have to warm my hands above the grill.

I drink the beer cold. Must be cold. Ritually chill.

My hands would much prefer a cup of tea.


I’m clinging on, only a week since summer was done.

Okay, a month. Time passes or it doesn’t pass at all.

I deny I ever complained about the heat, but still

I cling to it as though it will never be gone.


Edward Alport





Resurrection (after Gustav Mahler)


My beliefs mostly consisted of

avoiding cracks in the pavement

or throwing handfuls of salt over

my shoulder - no amazement


at icons or the familiar 

false world religion depicts - 

no stirred pride in the priest’s call

to arms or the usual tricks.


I expected the arrival of strangers

after dropping a fork - and shoes

were never left on a table - these 

were my signs of the cross - a ruse


to stave off imagined horrors - 

the irrational fear - that lingers

in the heart - weapons to defeat

the devil - while crossing fingers.


Then I stood with others singing

the creations of mortal minds -

blank pages etched with emotion

through a common code of signs -


and this passionate immersion

in the interrogation of things

shall see me soar to true heights

on my own self-won wings.


Jeff Gallagher

East Grinstead, West Sussex




The Place Where Pain Lives


It’s just a haunted house on a dead end street

Somewhere shy of the wrong side of the

Tracks in a part of town you don’t

Want to find yourself walking in after dark.


But, if you are brave enough to

Venture out some night, when all

The ghosts are in, you just might

Hear a lifetime of regret singing


Out a siren’s song, a lonely funeral dirge

Carried on a wind that never changed

And no matter where you are standing

Right there is where you’ll always be


A beating heart you’ve kept boarded

Up like the windows you are terrified

Might give the world a peek inside

An address long since vacant, a


Future that has up and

Moved away.


Dan R. Grote

Waymart, PA



NB: New book of poems by Dan R. Grote, We Are All Doing Time.






You were a nut we couldn’t crack,

your inner thoughts were guarded by a toughened shell –

we got the foliage – the jokes, the tantalising tales,

but wariness prevailed in anything too personal.


Subtly and with practiced guile you had hinted at

a classy flat in town, a busy, lucrative career

which stopped you joining in our lavish leisure time,

and, we thought, caused you without warning, to disappear.


But something wasn’t right.  A flashy way of life

was just a front to cover someone so ashamed

to own to poverty and lack of an admired career.

He lived a lie, pathetic, secretive and maimed.


What brutal blow destroyed that hardened shell

we do not know but he escaped that suffocating hell

and like a butterfly released from its cocoon,

encountered freedom and unfamiliar happiness as well.


No raucous fanfare advertised he was around once more,

working as a cleaner at the local hospital

and lading soup to people like himself –

a saint some called him if they noticed him at all.


Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire






The chattering in the trees has ceased,

and starlings make the sky the grand arena

to make their proclamation wafting

as a grey diaphanous veil swirling

and swept as by an unseen ballerina.


In the language they know best,

in this artistry of sheer delight,

they write “Thank you!” on the still blue

of the evening with the pure joy

of uninhibited, masterfully exuberant flight.


Michael Jennings




a fair grace


this melancholy is a fair grace

after I spent the whole morning lingering

on your sofa with heavy eyes

your smile stretches dreamily

as if the angels have just lured you in

my hand rests closely on the folded sheets

delicately offered for contemplation only

a few inches apart is a tender void

to gap it is to disturb the universe

do you dare disturb the universe?

idle speech shall always deceive

what eager lovers must question

therefore strike measure

in the unmeasurable

erect paper ramparts with a burning match

held tight between your fingers

we’re the steadiest fighters,

resolute to never surrender

but please, tell me

that inside you’re a forest fire

goodnights are spoken with courtesy

but please, tell me

do your dreams of me bear the same chivalry?


Maëlle Leggiadro





Even When


It’s very serious

being serious,

there’s no room for hilarity

or that throwaway stuff,

you must concentrate

upon gloomy matters

that plumb the rough depths

of incredulity

and sound super-intelligent,

even when

intelligence is lacking,

(or unwilling),

you shouldn’t enter

the world of japes

oh no, that would rarely do,

instead, explain

the inner workings

of your brain…


five minutes should do.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall




New World


With a sketchbook

And a pocket full of

Pencils in my only tan

Corduroy sport jacket

(Brown elbow patches

Exceedingly wide lapels)

My first time

At Severance Hall

When I knew

Next to nothing

A guileless young man

New to the city I bought

A $3.00 student ticket

For the front row

(Not acoustically ideal

But I was thrilled)

A peculiar kid I played

My Dvorak George Szell

New World Symphony LP

More than disco or punk –

That same orchestra

Now played for me

And at arm’s length

A weary venerable cellist

White fly-away hair

Flaccid around the jowls

Pausing his tuning leaned

Conspiratorially toward me

And said of my drawing

Grumbling unhappy with

The new fledgling maestro

“You’ll be doing something

Much more interesting”

A guileless young man

I didn’t comprehend then

Now his age the critique

Resonates perfectly


David Sapp

Berlin Heights, OH, USA




A Pebble Then


A pebble then

By comparison

Once intrepid pilgrim

Lugged from the arctic

By an obliging glacier

Here again is this stone

Dense granite and

Quartz complexion

(Curiously I’ve ignored

The wild violets –

Everywhere ephemeral)

More aptly a boulder

I suppose but not so

Obviously presumptuous

Levered from a field by

A farmer and his horses

Some two hundred years ago

It is comforting to know

This stone hasn’t moved

Since and will reside here

Long after any remnant

Of any memory of me

For at least a little while

Until it hitches a ride

On the next icy express


David Sapp




Waking Up


Spring and summer mornings

I am enchantingly woken by birdsong,

and digitally fetch up the breakfast papers,

packed still with pages of dead trees

devoted to the preoccupations, the peccadillos

of personalities and politicians

when the world beyond is alarmed

with fire and drought,

flood and drowning,

greed and poverty,

rape and war.


The blackbird noisy

outside my window

is not singing

but shouting

threats of violence,

alarms of danger.


It is awake.

Why do we pretend

to sleep?


Anthony Wade

Midleton, Ireland




Click to: Return to Home Page


September 2023 (108 editions in total)


56th edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (March/June, plus other poems), see below.


* * *


Poem Index


September 2023 (108 editions in total)


56th edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (March/June, plus other poems), see below.


* * *


Poem Index


Your Name, poem by Michael Jennings.


Absent, poem by Michael Jennings.


Not Even Dust, poem by David Pike.


Untitled, poem by Mykyta Ryzhykh.


Shade, poem by Soran M.H.




Your Name


Your name: it’s quite a common one –

a sound, a line of letters not too long,

and yet it holds the whole of you,

the known, the unknown except to God.


That name projects a disparate response,

and every individual pictures you

according to their disposition and the circumstance

where and when your mystery is viewed.


And there are some, surely quite a few,

where it invades their dreams, disturbs

their sleep, creates unsettlement and

a ceaseless longing lures them into writing verse.


Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire






She worried that her looks weren’t right,

her hair too thin, her skin too dry,

her legs too short, her clothes too tight,

and the present moment passed her by.


She worried that mistakes she’d made

that warranted at most a shrug or sigh,

buzzed like angry bees inside her brain,

and the present moment passed her by.


She worried that she might be sick,

that every twinge a sign that she would die,

that every cough predicted cancer, every tick,

and the present moment passed her by.


The present moment passed her by –

she feared the future, the past with near despair,

when people greeted her with “Hi,”

they found she wasn’t there.


Michael Jennings




Not Even Dust


Eternity isn’t that long,

being present forever

right or wrong

kicking stuff around

raising dust,

is not achievable,

for ordinary people.


Being ordinary

is common,

or a foregone conclusion,

even for those who think



Time without end

marches on

leaving denizens

and extraordinary folk


nothing resides for ever

not even dust…

just the ins and out

of a relentless tide.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall






strange pigeons

paint the night with their bodies


hungry children

beg while picking up pigeon crumbs




a passer-by asks

for the name of the street


but I don't know

and in general it got dark


around after my funeral




night sensors go off scale

the bride covered in blood is happy and smiling

bed full of tender flesh

the moon is full of light

the stars are naked and bashful


Мykyta Ryzhykh







when night falls
in silence,
the heart fills with rhythm.
Look behind the window:
there is a shadow,
to dissipate loneliness,
it does not sleep…
Even after the vigil surrendered.


Morning glow
smiling between hills,
makes your shadow long
on narrow paths,
following you,
when you lose the way,


Before reaching an ambush of spiders
the sun will be behind
and the shadow is longer,
extending in front of you,
before reaching the crowd,
again, it disappears.
You do not know,
from a far angle
it looks at you furtively.


your feet tremble,
you fall,
but the shadow
does not fall


night will make warriors
fall asleep again,
But the shadow alone does not sleep.


Sleep, in those moments that
are behind the window,
dissipating loneliness.


Soran M.H.





Click to: Return to Home Page



Poem Index


June 2023 (107editions in total)


55th edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (March plus other poems), see below.


* * *


Poem Index


Shed Leaves, poem by Richard Dinges, Jr.


If Only, poem by Joanne Holdridge.


Sunday, Sunday, poem by Michael Jennings.


Leaving Work, poem by Tom Kelly.


Unsaid, poem by Tom Kelly.


Learning to glide, poem by Trystan Lewis.


Crack in the Ceiling, poem by Mike McNamara.


Soiree, poem by David Pike.


Clear Out, poem by Gordon Scapens.


Celebrity, poem by John Short.


There Before Us, poem by Dr. Roger G. Singer.


Conundrum, poem by Anthony Wade.




Shed Leaves

Held between scut
gray sky and ground,
hardened and dry
by cold wind, trees
gnarl limbs into
fists and fingers,
bereft of leaves
for another season,
dare me to question
their place held
firmly, cast shadows
across my path,
their trunks a sold
resolve against
my steps that crush
brittle leaves they
have discarded


Richard Dinges, Jr.

Walton, NE, USA




If Only


Clifford was the father I didn’t have

the one I wish I’d had

in life we get the parents we get

don’t get to trade them in for better models

but in art, a poem, a story, in my mind


I’m standing again with Clifford

in his old shop on the Neck Road 

it’s winter, late afternoon, close to dark

I’ve left my skis outside, come in

through the side door, shut it quickly

behind me against the wind


he’s wiping grease off his hands

around his cuticles with a rag, looks up

and smiles says my car’s ready, but he wishes

I’d let him pick me up, it’d be no trouble

and would be faster than my skiing

across the lake and through the woods  

he asks how Mame’s is, listens when I tell him

nods says he’s never had a bad meal there


propping up the hood, he shows me

how he’s fixed my latest coolant leak

laughs at the little lilac pitcher

I keep in the trunk along with water

and three extra gallons of coolant

then stands outside in the cold

watching while I back out

waves until I’m out of sight

and doesn’t wish me any harm


Joanne Holdridge

Devens, MA, USA




Sunday Sunday


Those Sundays long ago when shops were closed,

no football ever played, a gloomy silence fell.

A few in posh attire walked up the hill

drawn by the mournful tolling of a bell.


Best behaviour, a constant “no” brought boredom

to a pitch that snuffed out any fun.

Slumped on an outside step with lowered head

in hands you yearned for the following day to come.


What adult took my youthful thoughts

and had them written into law?

I tell you, sir you’ve set a painted lady

where the real one was before.


Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire




Leaving Work


running up the road,

Civic Hall clock stuck at some time I ignore.

Heading back to work, that will happen

soon enough, passing the second-hand shop,

seeing my reflection walking through furniture.


What I cannot see in this remembrance

may well feature sometime in the future.

Ahead of me are changes, the list I try to recall

as suddenly it begins to rain and sun smirks

through broken-up clouds


Tom Kelly







You are wondering what to do,

how to respond, following me,

giving your usual uncertain look,

mouthing, ‘what’s happening?’

I will not list what you endured,

a litany of hardships you can do without hearing.

There is a dewdrop on your nose,

I realise it is winter and seasons are taking second place

to our conversation.

These words are laden with remorse,

‘I love you,’ you never said.  I never did.

Now I repeat the words.

Take my hand.  I will hold yours.

The past is dead,

this moment is all that matters.


Tom Kelly




Learning to glide 


The warmth of the sun and the strength of the breeze 

The air’s not as thin as they’d have you believe 

Do you remember the time you left me behind said that I’d never fly?  

now I’m learning to glide. 


An effortless physical force on the wing 

The distant horizon the silence within 

I remember the time you left me behind, it was yours and not mine 

But now I’m learning to glide. 


On eighteen square metres of fibreglass wing 

I’m independent as anything, 

And no internal combustion engine, 

On which I must rely 

Now I’m learning to glide. 


Rising on the thermals, colliding with cumulus clouds 

Feeling the crosswinds and riding the turbulence down  

I’m forgetting the time you left me behind and now I know why 

I’m learning to glide. 


The bank and the roll and the climb and the fall 

The sunlight refracts through the canopy wall 

I remember the lies, words harsh and unkind but I’ve left that behind 

I’m learning to glide. 


From five hundred kilograms to suddenly nothing at all 

With the smooth flow of air over the aerofoil 

Nothing else is required, 

And there’s nothing to hide, 

I’m just learning to glide. 


The warmth of the sun and the strength of the breeze 

The air’s not as thin as you made me believe, 

And this is the time I’m going to thrive because I left you behind. 

And I’ve learned to glide. 


Trystan Lewis

Morecambe, Lancashire




Crack in the Ceiling


This story is based on real events.

Some names have been changed

and some characters and scenes

have been created for dramatic purposes.


But there’s a crack up in the ceiling

where reality seeps through.


Another city. The crowd danced,

clapped, called for more

soaked with sweat we obliged

encore after encore.


Outside the venue

amidst the modern prefabs

and residential streets

an old church could be seen,

its incongruity illuminated by

strategically positioned lighting.


Do not bear false witness.


At night I dreamt in colour

of a town I’ve never known

where I walked through streets

searching to appease some

long abandoned addictions.

Cigarettes, alcohol, powders, pills.




of a green field that ran into hills.

I dreamt I would find sanctuary there,

a solitary safety from things I couldn’t name.

Overwhelming fears.




outside the sun is shining.

A bright October morning.


I eat seeds.

Google their nutritional value.

Talk at the tv.

Drink coffee.

A numb restlessness.


Read someone else’s poems

about nature, birds, rivers.


Last night on the way home

from just one more gig

of head down hardline


I saw the moon.


Mike McNamara

Newport, South Wales






She had a distant

look to her eyes,

being physically present

but not really there,

or there by default,

an automatic setting

for such occasions,

when duty called

to do nought,

but appear, glammed-up

to the nines,

not giving a damn

for hideous husbands

or bonkers wives,

there on display

but far away,

passing time.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall




Clear Out


This wardrobe has the secrets

of a life needing first aid,

holds all the heroes I’ve worn out,

with names forgotten,

and reaching for me

from across the years…


I can no longer stretch

what never fitted anyway

and they sit on me

with a fear of failure

like a badly-delivered joke.


Doubts are now answering

my unasked questions.

These faithful remnants

must go to a charity shop

where old heroes sell well,

size being irrelevant

to elastic clientele.


Then stumbling on ordinary feet

through self-made delusions

I’ll appear at the front

of my own life parade

only to learn the world is rigged

to dress in clichéd fashion.


Gordon Scapens

Penwortham, Preston






At the careers session

he'd voiced a desire to sell

shampoo in a shiny suit.


Music was never his thing,

just a fake passport

to the limelight he craved.


He's not the perfection

that we witness.

He's had assistance

from experts who ensure

it all slots into place.


Talk of an actual person

spotted in Tesco

choosing kitchen paper

you could in theory touch him


and deconstruct the aura;

take it apart

like a watch and see

how the magic evaporates.


John Short

Lydiate, Liverpool




There Before Us


each year

a roadside meadow

bordered by stonewalls

breathes out a harvest of

wild flowers and weeds

sharing soil and space

rain and wind

seasons of change

providing evidence

of a glorious gift


Dr. Roger G. Singer

Ocala, Florida, USA






When I was young we were taught

to recognise and fear danger, and so

to climb preferably stout-limbed trees

and only as high as nerves permitted.

Now the teaching is to recognise

and to fear all real or possible risk,

and so to climb only safe indoor walls

supervised and with lines attached.


Yet risk is inherent in living so is

the lesson to fear living itself?

And if such teaching is accepted

can we ever again be free?


Anthony Wade

Midleton, Co Cork, Ireland




Click: Return to Home Page


March 2023 (106 editions in total)


54th edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier, (December plus other poems), see below.


* * *


Poem Index


Posture, poem by John Grey.


The Problem With Despair, poem by Joanne Holdridge.


September Rain, poem by Dominic James.


Theft, poem by Michael Jennings.


Rattle and Hum, poem by Gary Lechliter


Everything was this Moment, poem by Kevin McManus.


Alas, No More, poem by David Pike.


Buying Laughter, poem by Gordon Scapens.


Apocalypse, poem by Anthony Wade.


Paying The Price, poem by Anthony Wade.






To experience the power of discipline,

he ordered the class to adopt

his idea of the perfect seating posture.


That’s why we all sat in class

like our great grandparents

posing for an ancient daguerreotype camera,

with faces blank,

feet flat on the floor,

hands pressed just above the knees

and spines as straight as prison walls.


 “Now don’t you feel better,”

he would say from time to time.

“You can breathe more easily.

You’re alert.”


We were none of these things.

We nodded in agreement anyhow.

The perfect posture

did wonders for a corrupted reflex action.


John Grey

Johnston, RL, USA




The Problem With Despair


is that it clouds vision

has its own unmapped geography

no GPS, compass points

celestial navigation possible

to chart your way back

easily vast enough to lose


your way, keep you

from returning to who

you once believed you were

wider and deeper

than the sea the distances

between mountain peaks


despair is the sky

knocking you flat

on the sidewalk

and then standing on your back

to keep you from

getting up or walking away  


but if you turn your head

on that concrete pillow

open your eyes to what’s there              

pebbles, a puddle, red maple leaf

soggy black child’s mitten

pink lump of bubblegum


there is even in small

often unnoticed things 

the depth of your breath

traveling through every

cell in your body  

reason enough


to open your mouth

and sing, it’s what we hold

in us, love enough to remember

that knows not just the words

but the melody too and that beat

beat beating of hurt and heart


Joanne Holdridge

Devens, MA, USA




September Rain


Autumn dawn.  Morning starts.  Behind

the windows blind rain’s connection

to the land – even older than our own –

declares wet precedence.  Its topography’s

invention planned in drops that shape

and join the sloping roofs and trees

as ground reverberates.


A rush of gutter talk.
I’m woken by the rain.


Its mounting energies create
a hiding place, the shelters ripe
for cave dwellers, like us, peeping
from our secret lairs. Aren’t we all
as such, small creatures staring out
on mysteries of downpour? Well,


sound lifts. Rains stop. In leaf tap,
pigeon note and sparrow song, light returns,
the London train come chuntering.
Familiar strong scents of earth and plant
abound, enrichened by a passing rain
that we were bound to find enlivening
after these months of too hot sun
in a temperate zone like England.


Dominic James

Chalford, Gloucestershire






When I stole that apple from the costermonger’s barrow

and boldly bit into its crisp and juicy flesh,

I didn’t hear, an indeed it wasn’t clear,

The creaking of foundations – the cosmos in distress.


Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire




Rattle and Hum


Hearing Aids rest on top of my ears

with fish line curved like half-moons

holding them firmly in place.


Now and then, they rattle and hum,

like gremlins rosining their bows,

calling for minor adjustments.


And that’s how it is, like it or not.

Everything worth hearing goes on

through the stirrups and canals.


There’s something about the need

to amplify my world, the call of

a cactus wren, the whine of traffic


that I don’t need to explain or be

ashamed of, because we get old,

and the city we live in is older.


The birds continue to call at dawn.

Our dog barks when the doorbell

rings, and boys with the need for


validation roar their tailpipes

in the desert darkness, past our

house and on through town.


Gary Lechliter

Las Cruces, New Mexico





Everything was this Moment 


The white sash window was open slightly, 

it was early May. 


The net curtain waltzed back and forth 

like the swash and backwash of a wave, 

as the early, fresh and clean Summer air 

flowed in.  


It was quiet, almost silent apart from 

birdsong from the tree in the garden and 

the flutter of the green leaves. 


The afternoon light that shone through 

the curtain landed on a spot on the brown 

flower-patterned carpet. 


Everything was in harmony, 

everything was this moment.


Kevin McManus

County Leitrim, Ireland




Alas, No More


On the A39,

between St. Kew Highway

and the Wadebridge reveal,

at a bend in the road

on the offside, flattened,

and ingrained to appeal

reside the remains

of a desiccated snail,

that had once been


but after being run over

by a Vauxhall Nova

failed to be so.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall




Buying Laughter


Beach walking, holding hands,

winter’s grip not quite released,

the sun not yet urgent,

we smile at the elements.


I want to stamp the day

with an easy bravado

to try and impress you,

even after all these years.


Discarding shoes and socks

I rush the waterline,

grim artwork of rubbish

and seaweed embellishment,


and hit the blade of the sea,

a shock that reaches

right through my body,

a lesson in miscalculation.


I retreat rapidly, my face

a tell-tale exclamation

that you find humorous

and meet me with a hug.


Laughter is always worth buying.


Gordon Scapens

Penwortham, Preston






With the waning sun

comes a Death-bringer

to break edifices,

raze settlements,

sunder families,

remorselessly scatter whole tribes,


indifferent or unmindful

of the immeasurable

numbers forced to flee,

fated to perish

of cold or famine

when winter rapidly advances.


Sacks of leaves now gone

to the composter,

the gardener tidies tools

and surveys,

with satisfaction,

a garden now tidied for winter.


Anthony Wade

Rostellan, Midleton

Co Cork, Ireland




Paying The Price


The family drive to the shore,

happy children playing and paddling,

lifelong memories stored,

a price worth paying, one might think,

in microscopic particles unseen in the air,

in the smell of life-shortening nitrous gases.


But the quick click on the unmissable bargain

that seductively pops up on the smart device

and brings the diesel van hurrying to the door?


Anthony Wade




Click to: Return to Home Page


December 2022 (105 editions in total)


53rd edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (September) poems, see below.


* * *


Poem Index


The fishbowl on top of my head, poem by Jodie Iveson.


As Light as Air, poem by Dominic James.


The Same Age, poem by Tom Kelly.


I dreamed our children, poem by Tom Kelly.


Torrent, poem by David Pike.


Timothy, poem by David Sapp.


Casanova, poem by John Short,




The fishbowl on top of my head


The fishbowl sits on top of my head.

My own personal, portable aquarium.

Too shallow to drown,

Too deep to swim.


Looking through a very dirty window,

I can make out the noises,

I can make out the shape of words,

I cannot make out their meaning,

I cannot make out their reasoning.


The fishbowl sits on top of my head.

It fills up with water when I stand in a crowd,

It drains when I find my exit.

It bubbles to a fog when I speak my mind,

It calms when I bite my tongue and close my eyes.


The fishbowl on top of my head is my biggest burden,

And my greatest relief.

Frosted glass as my own social shield.


The fishbowl sits on top of my head and I wish it would never leave.


Jodie Iveson

Loughborough, Leicestershire




As Light as Air


A touch, as if by accident,
his hand dropped from the bar,


two fingers glanced
against your calf,


so natural, familiar, 
among the office staff


penned in,
a coincidence of timing


and you, that night,
your legs were bare


only, it was winter
and they weren’t.


A moment of sensation
lit by one accord,


exciting and surprising too:
the start of the affair.


Dominic James

Rack Hill, Chalford




The Same Age


‘Am I being punished?’ She says.

And this is what she believes.

Not accepting her too easy falls,

bruises along her arms, dark question marks

telling the tale.


Shuffling slippers, not using her walking stick,

pride coming before another fall.

‘Why is this happening’? She asks.

Forgetting her age, running steadily to a century

as we march towards the exit.


Tom Kelly

Blaydon, Tyne & Wear




I dreamed our children


were still home and I was

listening at their doors

for signs of breathing as cars

rustled up the bank.


Our cats are gone,

no longer doorstops. 

Grandchildren at the planning stage,

we are alone with the house creaking 

one-sided conversations.


The moon is sitting above the house opposite.

I was not anxious but concerned,

hoping the earth will revolve as   

each one sleeps and

in their future.


Tom Kelly




Torrent, early November 2022


Rain, rain and

more rain,

stair rods of the

stuff – pelting down

but allegedly not enough

to drown

summer’s dust

and infuse the baked crust

of depleted reservoirs.

“Use water wisely,”

a cry in the rain

as November watches

thousands of gallons

go down the drain,

but alas, it’s not enough

to dissuade

the liquid loss

and summer’s drought,

and still it rains

it rains, it rains…


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall






In 1970 or so

Easily he could be

Jean-Francois Millet’s

“The Sower”

An anonymous

Peasant immortalized

(And idealized in my eyes)

In a much too

Elaborate frame

A remnant of the

Nineteenth century

My grandfather

The old farmer

Was a romantic

He left his decrepit

Wheezy tractor

And rusting grain drill

In the machinery shed

Preferring a quiet walk

On a warm June morning

Through the dew

In overalls and straw hat

He moved across the

Hayfield seeding timothy

Amidst the lush clover

A cloth grain bag

Slung over his shoulder

He dipped his hand

In the seed and swung

His arm scattering

Rhythmically to and fro

As if he stepped

From the painting.


David Sapp

Berlin Heights, OH, USA






He maintains the weights

and the much younger woman

but clueless on modernity,

at sea with buzzwords

and dialogues of the day.

Still stubbornly insists

there are two genders

and all the rest is aberration:

symptoms of a deep confusion

in dysfunctional times.


She has to teach him

how to handle smart devices;

his nose usually in a book,

he thinks she’s the only blessing

from the last twelve years

as he clunks home on a hybrid

that’s seen a quarter century of road.

Flexes biceps in the mirror,

a faded suggestion of six-pack.


John Short

Lydiate, Mersyside




Click: Return to Home Page


September 2022 (104 editions in total)


52nd edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (June) poems, see below.


* * *


Poem Index


Lamppost, poem by David Pike.


Just Call Me Faust, poem by Dan Grote.


When I'm Gone, poem by Gordon Scapens.


No Good No Bad, poem by Carla Scarano D'Antonio.


Pristine, poem by Carla Scarano D'Antonio.


Mental Hack, poem by Fiona Sinclair.


Empty Streets, poem by Dr. Roger G. Singer.


I Wish I Was On It, poem by William Wade.






If I win the lottery

I will go berserk, I’ll lash out

and buy a new set of remoulds

for my car, plus a bag

of liquorice allsorts

and perhaps a new plastic sandwich box

you know, of the classy type,

or is that going too far?

And on top of this

to maintain marital bliss

I’ll purchase a tiny

designer dog,

a yapper, snapper, crapper

that serves no purpose

other than to be seen

peeing up a lamppost

in a diamante shower,

plus a host of similar gifts

to treasure for what

they are.


Remoulds, lower priced car tyres


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall.




Just Call Me Faust


Either the Devil is a fiction

or that my life is truly worthless

is a fact.


Every night I pray, not to save

my soul, but to try and sell it,

no such luck.


No cloven-hoofed, red-complected

fire and brimstone scented spiritual

speculator has shown


Up to so much as kick the tires

of this tired life and offer up

temporary success in


Exchange for an eternity in

fire, and I’ve been standing at

this fucking crossroads


Like a modern-day Robert Johnson

with a typewriter where a guitar

should be, waiting


For a dotted line that I could

sign and to seal the deal with

a drop of blood and


Toast of bourbon, but the days

passed with nothing and I’m

left to slash my price like a wrist,


The World’s Worst Salesman,

trying to peddle something I

can’t give away.


Dan Grote

Chicago, Illinois




When I’m Gone


When I’m gone

don’t feel your tomorrow

will only be a time thief

or that the world

is going to let you

fall through its cracks.


Take your attitude

for a long walk,

give it a good talking to.


Assemble your needs

and put them on stand-by.

Admit they’re important,

place them on a pedestal

and read them their rights.


Your vulnerability

can be a speech

you make with your eyes

and someday, somewhere,

someone will ask your name

and mean every word.


Just acknowledge I’m gone,

your sky is swept clean,

and that there’s a beginning

after the end.


Don’t drown in a question.

Swim in an answer.


Gordon Scapens

Penwortham, Preston




No Good No Bad


We were taught to soften our voices

to avoid bullocks or shit,

to keep our eyes straight or down,

don’t look upwards to the sky.

Astonishing the first time I saw the sea,

light exploding in shattering waves.

Quicksilver emotions grew up inside,

others saw stigmata.

I felt opened up to wet realities,

other scenarios with ferries, trains,

foreign cities.

This was bad,

so I hid my tender core

I sifted myself so fine, like powdered snow.

Now I want to spend my time outside,

cursing, surviving spells,



Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Chobham, Woking






To my grandma Conforta


I would like to paint the smell of clean laundry

in the hospital basement where you used to work.

Wet on wet, the white stripes and lavender dots of the clean sheets

under the ironing roller,

the colours running loose,

the whirling sound of the washing machine always going.


Your confident hands showed me how to iron pillowcases

fold straight blankets and towels.

I was thrilled to be busy and useful.

And if I speak of your dedication to the family

even when life wears you down

tatters your clothes

and new ones cannot replace what is lost.

Your body capable of creating hope

in the zigzagging of life, blurred patterns.


Carla Scarano D’Antonio




Mental Hack


I assumed my parent’s legacy would be

death to feel my collar prematurely.

Inhabiting a body with a talent

for false alarms meant expecting the worst

became my best defence. 

And middle age was an exotic destination

I never expected to visit. 

But in my 50s you hand brake

turn my life, and giddy with fun

I take my eye off the future, feast on the now,

dampened fears only occasional flaring, 

you might be more trickster than saviour.


60th year all adventures are quarantined.

I kick around the days,

until pandemonium in my head,

not the virus but every twinge

whispering waking disease

that I am de-skilled at managing now.

To mark the day, pillion on your motorbike,

the scenery rushes by like life post 40.

Suddenly achieving sixty seems

remarkable as all the other ways

I have outstripped my parents. 

Then the gift of a mental hack,

 Everything now is extra.


Fiona Sinclair

Boughton under Blean




Empty Streets


I hear hounds


and windmills

slowly grinding

bitter rust


a porch light flickers,

as moths circle

above dusty chairs


there’s an

upstairs light,

someone passes by,

casting a shadow



steel wheels of


promise safety

and a soft

wooden floor

to the next place.


Dr. Roger G. Singer

Englewood, Florida, USA




I Wish I Was on It


Like shape-shifting shadows

We gathered at the concrete sheds,

Jittery from the cold.

Sheltering from the damp winter darkness,

We shrouded our teenage fears

With jokes and jibes and stories of bravado.

The lazy graffiti of other tribes

Daubed broken hopes across our eyelines.

Twinkling reds broke the overhead view;

A plane in flight

To somewhere other than here.

‘I wonder where it’s going,’ I said,

As we continued our heavenward stare.

‘I don’t know, but I wish I was on it,’ he replied with a sigh

That betrayed years of household harm.

And we stood in silent solidarity,

Cold in the obscure night,

While inside, for a moment, we dared to believe that

Some distant day we might escape.

That one of us might be on it.


William Wade

Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire


Click: Return to Home Page




June 2022 (103 editions in total)


51st edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.


For earlier (March) poems, see below.


* * *


Poem Index


Not Enough, poem by Holly Day.


The Bird Man, poem by Holly Day


Another Ending, poem by Richard Dinges, Jr.


History Repeats, poem by Dan Grote.


Memory, poem by Michael Jennings.


Joyriding, poem by J L M Morton.


The Strand, poem by David Pike.


A Vast Perhaps, poem by Gordon Scapens.


Gospels, poem by Ian C Smith.


Mourning Dove Cooing, poems by Soran M.H.


Every Other Man, poem by John Tustin.




Not Enough


We meet for coffee as we have for so many years

this old friend of mine, we don’t meet as much as we used to

when we both had small children and had nothing to do with our days

except change diapers and garden and gaze longingly out the window

out at the rest of the world. There are words we’ve learned to avoid using

around each other, because some words make my friend think

of the daughter she lost so many years ago, and some of her words

make me remember the dreams I had for myself when we’d first met.

I need more people who are as careful with me as she is.


There was a time when every conversation we had

led to her crying over details of seeing her daughter in a coffin

the memorial gardens that kept springing up all over her yard

the one she dug out and planted at her church

always ended with her holding my hand and squeezing it so tight

so unbelievably tight. I don’t even remember the things I told her

I wanted, I know I told her I wanted a lot.


Here we are, two old ladies having coffee

at the same spot we’ve met at for so many years

hiding out from our husbands and the noise in our lives

picking up our conversations right where we left off

the last time we spoke.


Holly Day

Minneapolis, MN





The Bird Man


There was once an old man in my neighbourhood that was always being followed

by flocks of birds, he stuffed his pockets with birdseed every morning

left a trail of seeds wherever he went, he looked like an angel with those great wings

always settling around him, almost on him, just inches from being truly domesticated.

He was tanned and gaunt and had a long, white beard, seemed almost biblical

in his disdain for weather-appropriate clothing and sensible footwear.


Someone said he had cancer, and that’s why he was so thin,

he had decided to spend the little time he had left

feeding and talking to birds, but someone else said

he lived on birdseed and sunshine and orange juice,

and that’s where he got his energy from

he hardly ever needed to sleep.


I used to see him every morning a little after sunrise, when I was riding my bike to school

he’d smile and raise his hand a little as if required to acknowledge me

and I’d raise one or two fingers in response as I hurried to make it to class on time

until the day he didn’t show up, and didn’t show up the next day, either,

and someone said he’d been found on the beach, covered in seagulls

it was such a gruesome way for such a gentle man to go, they said, but I think


they were just taking him up into the air with them, one little piece at a time

because that was all they could carry, since they were, after all, just birds.


Holly Day




Another Ending

Dead trees sprout birds
from shattered tips
of barkless limbs,
fingers clenched against
a steady wind
that sweeps dry leaves
and dust into
a scattered cloud
that echoes a sky
stretched too tight
between horizons
devoid of anything
green to filter
my sense of longing
for summer now gone.


Richard Dinges, Jr.

Walton, NE, USA




History Repeats


Alone in this cell, middle of the night,

memories drift like messages in bottles,

waiting on wishes we’re taught to call

prayers, pleas for help offered to The Dark.


The years fall away with no answers.

Life is just dying to believe in something,

waiting on an echo, and answer from The Void.

Just how long will this silent treatment last?


And do us both a favour: just save the

whole “faith is belief in things not seen” line

for amateurs, the ones not yet beaten

down, not yet jaded, those naïve and unscarred.


The failures of my worldly father have done

much to prepare me for the abandonment and

shortcomings of a Heavenly One who has

given me the will to fail quite freely,


No hard Feelings.  You see, I think

I finally understand.


Dan Grote

Chicago, Illinois, USA






In conversations memory let me down –

the books I’d read, things said to me.

Sometimes a prompt would bring them back

and sometimes not, but every word, or frown,

or smile, the flicker of an eye, or crack

of thunder, had changed my life to some degree.

I’ve forgotten almost all of them – my memory is me.


Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottingham shire






Swaddled in the consolation of soft foam

at the economy carwash, the sputter

of a Volkswagen Beetle catches my ear

and I’m back at Little Haven, summers ago

picking lobsters from the fishmonger’s tank,

their blue bodies like small cars articulated,

brake cable antennae, the spoilers of their tails.

How we agonised over preparing each twitching carapace:

freeze to unconsciousness and stab in the cross

or boil to death in cold blood.

    After the killing, we feasted with animal hands,

wine glasses smeared with aioli. We

clinked and sucked at claws, inhaled the sea

salt steam, flicked the embers

of cracked shells off our fingers. Our mouths thick

with meat and adventure. Oh, how we ate

and all just for kicks – at ease with our indignities.

As the air drier comes at the windscreen head-on,

how I feel it – my hunger. The hunger of not feeding for years.


J L M Morton




The Strand


Shuffling along

the pair of them

him bent over, hunched

inspecting the ground,

her, shorter

making no sound

towing a small brown dog

alive, but resembling

a stuffed toy, at heel

trundling on

as if on wheels.


Their clothes are dated

but that doesn’t matter

you could say faded

jaded, not smart

and lacking appeal to anyone

other than themselves,

plodding on

in the bustling seaside town

of bright summer apparel

and seasonal vim and vigour,

they ghost around

unnoticed by most

as people kaleidoscope

in and out of focus

talking, squawking

with endless chatter;


they are together,

their mottled skin resembling

faded leather,

breathing the air

walking the strand.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall


From DP’s book of poems, The Strand, © 2012




A Vast Perhaps


Stand on the beach,

salt riding on the wind,

and look the incoming sea

straight in the face.

Let its moving tongue

explain the loneliness

of perpetual travelling

in search of a role.

Understand how anger

can swallow the land,

how its passion smothers

what it gets close to.

Spot the aggression

it tries hard to conceal

lurking under the surface,

and its desperation to be

just considered a friend

to all who meet with it.

Here is a reminder

there are traces of all of us

and our place in the world.

Treat the sea’s edge

as a new knowledge of reality.


Gordon Scapens

Penwortham, Preston






I know even as they slam their car doors,

man in suit, close-shaved, with a fat briefcase,

woman dressed as if from a tale of yore,

a support player, obedient, chaste.

I know when he shall switch to the action,

wait while he witters on about weather,

spurn the concept of angels’ great feathers.

 My bedevilment cues his spiel’s traction.

She asks if reading is an interest.

I preach reverence of sacred authors

absent from the pantheon of their blessed,

pity this alchemised adult daughter.

They bestow bumf with condescension,

wider reading my means of ascension.


Ian C Smith

Sale, Australia




Mourning Dove Cooing


The Mourning Dove has flown away


from the misfortune of the seasons


I saw one today                             


on her flight to exile  


as if she is the one


landing every morning


on the window of a broken heart


and sadly crooned her rhyme


Soran M.H





Every Other Man


I am every other man;

Neither repulsive nor pleasing to the eye,

I am in debt but I have a place to sleep.

I would be content to live a small life

If I could have just a few around me,

Living their own lives as big as they can.

I am every other man:

Aging gracelessly,

Shedding the skin of anger

With the skin of acceptance now shining.

No longer waiting for the angels to descend

And perch outside my window

But waiting for something more certain

And certainly more sinister.

I am every other man:

Accepting love wherever I can

And not needing to wash more than one fork,

One spoon, one glass, one knife, one plate

Night after night after night.

I am every other man:

Ground down by the boot

Meant to trample most of us.

Writing words for myself,

Sticking them in my coat pocket.

Whispering words to myself

Into my coat sleeves.

Crying tears into a dish that sits outside

A window she never opens.

I am every other man:

Trying, yes, but also waiting.

Waiting the way an insect waits

In the struggle of the spider web;

Fighting because it must

But resigned to the probable conclusion.

The sinking fangs painful

But familiar.


John Tustin

Myrtle Beach, SC, USA


Click: Return to Home Page




March 2022 (102 editions in total)


50th  edition as a webzine, see below.


Poets listed in surname alphabetical order


* * *


Poem Index


Dry Spell, poem by Frank De Canio.


New Road, poem by Robert O. Harris, Jnr.


Like Finding New Oceans, poem by George Cassidy Payne.


A Dream of Leaving, poem by Robert Pfeiffer.


Rush Hour, poem by David Pike.


Going To A Christmas Church, poem by Anthony Wade.




Dry Spell      


The devil sends visions of a windfall 

harvest so that the season’s crops seem pale 

amidst lustre. Later he’ll rescind all 

His promised gleanings and send us a bale 

of hay to gainsay the abundant yield 

we’d hoped for. Friends conspire with our dreams 

of celebrating on a teeming field 

until, despite hope, the sterile earth seems 

worse than before. Though planning for the fruits 

of our labor, we’re left with wasted seed. 

More harsh than flooded plains are withered roots 

that mock ambition’s enterprising need. 

And what were once just fallow strips of land 

appear as desolate as desert sand. 


Frank De Canio

Union City, NJ, USA




New Road 


When you told me about the new road 

and the coyotes with their 

homeless look of horror and confusion, 

the furrow in your brow 

was so new and deep 

like the new road displacing your friends- 

I had to stop and avert your eyes 

for my own fear’s sake, 

realizing your loss.


Robert O. Harris, Jr

Cedar Hill, Texas, USA




Like Finding New Oceans


as a trumpet vine grabs

onto every available surface,
on arbors, fences, telephone poles,
and trees, you wrapped your tendrils
into my yellow throat and made the world
feel closer than it ever has. Unmediated

by the veil of what we think we know,

I kissed you. Together we became unfamiliar.


George Cassidy Payne

Rochester, NY, USA




A Dream of Leaving


I only ever dreamed of leaving.

My cul-de-sac’d childhood in Rockwood

was lovely, if only for a year or two

before we packed up and moved on, again.

We were always going, it seemed –

Sao Paulo, Tokyo, yo-yo-ing back and forth

between the States and the whole world.

But Rockwood seemed like ever after.

Our house was first on the right when the road

bubbled out like a cherry from its stem.

From our front porch, I could see the tracks

where each night, a freighter lumbered

around a hillside, the cone of headlight

vanishing along the dark track to somewhere.

And beyond that, the sound of the road –

cars rushing at all hours, the on-ramp to I-95 –

Philly, New York, Boston – towering

smoke-shrouded cities from the movies.

From the furious pedals of my dirt bike,

I would look up on bright, clear days,

trying to stretch the depth of the sky.

I remember once, a jet flew overhead

low enough to see the individual ovals,

and behind each, a human on their way –

the aisle seats full, peanuts and sodas,

over patchwork fields, broad oceans,

banking into the magic of distant time zones.

And if I hopped the back fence my dad built,

past cattails and dwarf pampas into the woods

there was a creek I waded into up to my knees.

The water would flow east, towards the sunrise

that had already disappeared forever.

I’d stand there with my jeans pulled up

for what seemed like hours, listening

to the great cacophony of bugs and birds,

of cars and planes and trains, of children

screaming their way through games they invented.

The water would slide around my legs,

over smooth stones and, soon as seen, gone.

Once, alone, in late August, at dusk,

standing in the creek, the sound of geese

somewhere beyond the canopy of trees

I felt something and looked down –

a small leaf had floated on the current

into my calf, and before I could ignore it,

I saw a leaf-eating beetle in the center.

It was almost as though I was in the way.

So after a moment’s hesitation, I bent down

and lifted the little craft to eye level.

The beetle ticked his legs at me, clear as day,

so I smiled, and set him back on the water.

And now, all these years later, I can still feel

the cool water on my legs, the slick stones

underfoot, the dusk air thick and humid,

can hear my mother calling me back home

from the window in the kitchen, can sense

an understanding moving in like fog –

there may be nowhere better to get to,

but you can always go there, just in case.


Robert Pfeiffer

Decatur, Georgia, USA




Rush Hour


Clouds of grey

two-stroke smoke,

commuting, mid-week,

steering the sloth

down Botley Road,

hanging on

with fear of stalling,

juddering along

past stationary cars,

hoping the thing would last

before checking out

and falling apart.


The 175cc tin machine,

by its very ugliness

and attempt at functionality

endeared itself to me

by its very basic need

to break down readily,

during 1972…


It was always in need

of something new

a clutch or throttle cable

usually, in the middle of

nowhere, or blocking a queue

of vehicles behind me;

set adrift

on a two-wheeled liability.


David Pike

Camelford, Cornwall




Going To A Christmas Church


Humanity gathering,

individuals and families collecting

in a larger community congregating

in a old place of sanctuary

anciently imbued with sanctity,

ritual again promising a firm future,

solace sought from inconstant tides,

an ancient cave of smells and sounds,

shoes and boots squeaking on stone,

damp woollen coats shedding

their warm animal smell,

shuffles and coughs slowly rippling

from those who have never

mastered silence and stillness,

the breathy communal voicing of hymns,

known songs of reverence

as comforting as childhood’s rhymes,

ears ringing with the pealing

of mighty unseen bells calling

the constant communicant,

accompanied by the seasonal attendee,

a needed coming together even

with socially prescribed distancing,

a comfort unfound in a video link.


Anthony Wade

Rostellan, Midleton

Co. Cork, Ireland 


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