Pulsar Poetry Webzine
       Pulsar Poetry Webzine

Published Poems

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September 2017 (84 editions in total)

 

32nd edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Forward Retreat - Caroline Am Bergris

 

Summer Sun - Purabi Bhattacharya

 

Sons - Daniel Galvin

 

Digging - Daniel Galvin

 

At Sixteen, My Neighbourhood - John Grey

 

Pause for Tales - E A M Harris

 

A Suet Pudding - Lynne Munn

 

Errant Daughter - Lynne Munn

 

Still Thinking - David Pike

 

*

 

Forward Retreat 

 

I'm going for a retreat inside my head

from where I need a retreat

here the curtains rebound, lightbulbs switch on twice

and the backdoor key disappears after each use.

The quiet of apartfrom

is visited by the whiff of stillwith.

Magazines and papers

work to take me away

from door knocks, torch checks, and no hangers.

Let me think about wine and fashion,

not tea and incontinence.

Let me be my educated self,

rocked by raw eloquence,

rash civility,

rude style.

 

Caroline Am Bergris

Northolt, London

 

*

 

Summer Sun

 

When I walked out that day in the summer sun, I had not ever seen

     the pallid with pain.

It was a necromantic day, a day full of signs

                            strange.

Mad rush, chaotic street

screaming words

aperitif enough for the bystanders,

         hungry.

There was space between the hospital beds

and

         there was waiting,

for men to become

bodies;

filed,

and fed to woodpiles.

 

Purabi Bhattacharya

Gujarat, India

 

*

 

Sons

 

we got to talking about fights with our old men

stories about soft-as-shit young fellas who didn’t want to work

featuring mothers that deserved better

and fathers hard as bone

 

It was all face offs in blustery paddocks and shit-smothered bull pins

curses wetting chins with spit

no one around for miles to be shocked

no woman pleading for peace

 

one of the Fathers threw stones at his son

until the son cracked him onto the hoof-bitten turf

then sprinted the half-mile home

heart a ragged gasp in his throat

muscles on fire with power and fear

 

then one Dad, in pure spite, caught his son in one hand

and an electric fence in the other

so the current jolted through him, shocking them both

we had a good laugh at that

 

the characters were all the same

everyone hard-done by

everyone presumably forgiven in the end

 

we all forgave our fathers to each other

numb on wine in the stifling city

 

Dad probably forgave me to himself

in the months he walked the half-mile alone

 

Daniel Galvin

Galway, Ireland

 

*

 

Digging

For the Kinsale gang

 

if we scatter across the world

into loneliness, money, delirium

stranger kinds of love

 

with the friendships we placed on pause

ticking away from our minds

leaking out our hearts

 

then find each other later

lifed beyond all recognition

and nothing at all like the children

doing a sun-faded dance in our memory

 

could we take

our strangers’ hands and voices

and go digging for laughter again?

 

Daniel Galvin

 

*

 

At Sixteen, My Neighbourhood

 

All morning, the woman

moves about the house,

still in her bathrobe.

Her husband left at sunrise

 

for his job in the foundry.

I sit on my stoop across the street.

She comes to the window

from time to time,

 

looks out for the mailman

for some reason I don't understand.

I'm indifferent to letters.

She seems to live for them.

 

Maybe a secret lover writes.

She still has most of her looks

and there's a shape inside

there somewhere.

 

It can't be family.

Nobody's that anxious

to share in old grudges.

And she's certainly not

 

holding out for more bills.

I figure that she's at that age

where she has everything

she ever wanted

 

and she just plain

misses wanting it.

She waves to me

like she's admitting

 

to this clandestine affair

with her mysterious correspondent.

I wave back.

See. I knew I was right.

 

John Grey

Johnston, RI, USA

 

*

 

Pause for Tales

 

The bus-stop wait in acid wind

drove us into the treasury

where old yarns lie shelved

in boxes painted anecdotally.

 

Long words in long memorials,

our tales stalked the aisles,

took stock of our common stock, found

at each corner a rotating quibble.

 

You stipple your experience

with stencils of actual.

Can we agree – approximate

better suits your pique –

 

facts abrade our sepia scenes

in mixed recalls,

are they mine? are they yours? Please respray

each time we meet.

 

E A M Harris

Bridgwater, Somerset

 

*

 

A Suet Pudding

 

Wrapped in a cloth and tied with string,

The suet-pudding all morning has been simmering

In a black, iron pan lodged against the fire.

When Ma lifts it out, steam rises in a cloud

To her harassed face and lustrous hair, smoothly bound.

 

She puts it on a plate, unties the string,

Then gingerly peels away the hot cloth, revealing

The pudding, round, naked and glistening

Like a sun-bathed, newly whitewashed wall.

We children are now slavering.

 

When sliced, the inside is a golden honeycomb

Bees might envy, made even more toothsome

Topped with a dollop of gooey, shiny syrup, melting

Seeping into each tiny hollow with succulent sweetness.

Silence now reigns, except for sporadic purrs of happiness.

 

Looking back, and dwelling on the of-times strife,

And sometimes calm of this roller-coaster life.

I find it strange with so much beauty and ugliness to see,

Why a simple, syrup-soaked suet pudding

Should so long linger in the memory.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW6

 

*

 

Errant Daughter

 

Often I saw you lean

from your bedroom window,

To touch with wandering hands

Laburnum blossoms, swaying

Like lanterns in the wind.

Now I hear it wail

Outside your empty room.

Where, where have you gone?

In which dark night

Did you shape this wound?

 

Whose hand will sever

The swelling bud,

Make void the oldest bond.

Oh! who will hear you

When you cry aloud?

 

Now branches, leaf bereft,

Stretch to a desolate sky

While winter covers with its shroud

Laburnum blossoms, rotting,

Rotting in the ground.

 

Lynne Munn

 

*

 

Still Thinking

 

2.55 a.m.

awake, again;

bathed in weak

bedside light,

too tired to read

too wired to

sleep,

just thinking,

always thinking

redrafting, tweaking

 

with a notebook,

pencil,

pen.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

 

Link: Return to Home Page

 

*

 

June 2017 (83 Editions in Total)

 

31st Edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in no particular order.

 

* * *

 

 

Poem Index

 

Love at First Sight - Stephen Philip Druce

 

The Murmur of the Goose Machine - Stephen Philip Druce

 

Supermarket Love Song - Michael Jennings

 

Classmates - Michael Estabrook

 

Glittering Fragments - Lynne Munn

 

Wild Wood of Youth - Lynne Munn

 

General Selection - David Pike

 

Tynemouth Priory - Phil Powrie

 

Freudian Slips - Fiona Sinclair

 

*

 

Love at First Sight

 

He fell in love

with a lady he’d seen

standing in a shop window.

 

He didn’t drool over

the usual body parts that

many men do - he appreciated

the more understated qualities

of her female form.

 

She had tastiest pair of

ankles he’d ever seen - like

unclimbed mountains so pure

she would never have allowed

an expedition of rookie climbers

with inadequate equipment to

stomp all over her tender gristle

bone - leaving their rubbish around

her feet, disrespecting her newly tanned

ankle surface, her leggy cloaks of smooth

golden flesh.

 

The sight of her nostrils drove him

berserk. He ripped his shirt off and chewed

the pavement until the police arrived.

He told the officer he was fine and that

it was the irresistible sight of her mystical

nasal hair and snot that had prompted such

an uncharacteristic display of unbridled passion.

 

He fell on his knees and thanked the lord

when he saw the aesthetic wonderment of her

bright red fingernails painted without any smudges -

“Picasso who?” he said.

 

He walked into the shop to declare his love

for her and realised she was a plastic window dress model.

 

Stephen Philip Druce

Shrewsbury

 

*

 

The Murmur of the Goose Machine

 

Behind the shuttered rapture

the raconteur pours a diamond sun.

 

Did you hear the murmur

of the goose machine?

 

As you slunk astride rackety

fruit stall - gorged on shrieked

spleen to its riotous belly,

 

did you clamour to such book flesh,

as trumpeting foxes leapt from

dead chapters on paper horses?

 

did you warn the night fox

of the snapped twig?

 

For the storm preacher, did you

run with drumming hounds upon

drunken daisies splashed in carnival wine?

 

Or did you turn and face

the dust in the cruel wind?

 

Stephen Philip Druce

 

*

 

Supermarket Love Song

 

You’ve passed your prime, it’s true dear Pearl,

your figure has a certain dumpling look,

but still I won’t abandon you, no matter what.

 

Your hands have veins, that’s nothing much,

and your catwalk dreams are gone,

but, Pearl, you’re human when all is said and done.

 

I shun the check-out next to yours

because, I’ll tell you this –

it’s a self-serving monster, that’s what it is.

 

I love you Pearl, you look me in the eye;

sometimes you’re ill and take time off:

you’re human through and through, and that’s enough.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

Classmates

 

Not sure why he likes having us around, he’s

a successful academic, photographer, singer,

a Renaissance man, a perfectionist

with a million interests and friends.

We don’t bring anything special

to the party except

for being high school classmates

from 50 years back. Perhaps that’s

the attraction we remind him

of innocence and hope before getting caught

in life’s undertow

of divorce and disease, duty and drama.

 

Michael Estabrook

Acton, Massachusetts, USA

 

*

 

Glittering Fragments

 

Old companion, twin reveller in youth’s riotous ferment,

By chance we meet after a long lapse of years,

In a car-congested, city street, and for a while

Chat about wives, children, and coping with retirement.

 

We talk and smile, though inwardly awash with pity,

Each for the other, when comparing how we were,

Wild with aspiration, heady with dreams,

And the certainty of their ultimate reality.

 

Cruel to disinter them from where they now lie,

In the measureless burial-ground of shattered hopes.

So neither from you nor I, let escape one word

About being young, ardent, and in our heyday.

 

Tacitly, only on the surface do we choose

To skate, and deeper forbear to probe,

Fearful, by mischance, to unearth the glittering fragments

Of those fragile baubles, life determined to bulldoze.

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW6

 

*

 

Wild Wood of Youth

 

Wild wood of youth that sheltered

Squirrel, mole and badger,

Torn apart by bulldozer,

Beaten down by tractor.

 

On its grave, players now disport their girth

Nimbly on tomb of celandine, of willow herb,

Shrilling love-fifteen, fifteen love,

Into the silence left by chaffinch, left by dove.

 

Where owl outstared the moon,

And with his haunting cry

Made lovers blood run cool,

Now tea-cups rattle in the afternoon.

 

Lynne Munn

 

*

 

General Selection

 

Don’t jig me

about,

or give me any

of your edicts,

you know,

the stuff you

continually spout

about this and

that,

claiming things will

happen

and that predicted change

will come about –

 

because you’re a

would-be politician

of the orange, red,

blue,

attempting to amaze

and proposition,

until the counting

is over,

and the truth

comes through.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Tynemouth Priory

In all those years I never once went
into Tynemouth Priory.
I knew I should;
quite frankly, I was never monk material.

But, Father, bless me, for I have sinned.
I did walk along the pier behind the ruins,
pointed like an accusing finger
at the land of the Vikings.

I designed longboats.
I drank God Lager from the skulls of my enemies.
I dreamt of fair-braided maidens called Inga

or Gudren.


Phil Powrie

Portsmouth, Hampshire

 

*

Freudian Slips

 

Occasionally, as you hang wall paper OCD smooth,

eyeball laptop screen to see which odds will blink first,

back pain strain with electric saw to fell light thieving trees,

previous women’s names slip out and slap me.

And I begin to realise that despite your initial Bryan Adam’s

declaration, which I accepted like winning a major prize,

you have always mistaken depth for difference.

The biker blonde exciting lust, the little girl lost invoking a

shinning knight, the younger stunner turning your head…

So I bet initially you said that to all us girls.

 

As living together brings you round

from my first entrance Ker-pow!

that temporarily knocked out memories of exs,

I now compare with nail quick smart my USP worth

against the model, the teacher, the nurse,

scab pick my ranking amongst them.

Behind I think, the name that slips out most

from your subconscious like a photo hidden in a wallet.

The sweet one, who never went off with a better offer,

who brought you trout as a treat for tea,

who fell for you long after the flash cash had dried up.

 

But middle aged disappointments are soon shrugged off.

And I catch your knife glint irritation as your own name

frequently competes with that of my gay BF

with whom you share a first consonant and vowel.

Our friendship’s alchemy creating 20 years

‘things just happen to us’ laughter,

with no past’s distance between us, rather the 500 miles

to Manchester, shrunk by Facebook, texts, Skype.

 

Fiona Sinclair

Faversham, Kent

 

Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

March 2017 (82 Editions in Total)

 

30th Edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in alphabetical surname order

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

She is Sci-Fi - Stephen Philip Druce

 

It - Robert Dunsdon

 

Hunting and Gathering - Jennie Owen

 

Grimshaw - David Pike

 

Key West Cemetery - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

She Is Sci-Fi

 

She stripped off her

retro boots - ripped up

her non-descript Sunday suits,

 

trashed her ugly

dresses - burnt

 

the dark cuttings from

her tresses - now short

dyed ocean blue -

 

in futuristic design she

put on some devil horns and

a wrought iron spine of

prickly thorns -

 

square shades and

silver-glittered roller blades,

 

giant collar and shoulder fakes,

face paint and wings of snakes -

open jawed,

 

she flew with higher birds, and

with her sabre sword she carved out

the words in the sky -

 

I am sci-fi.

 

Stephen Philip Druce

Shrewsbury

 

*

 

It

 

Sometimes it was too much on me,

sometimes so tenuously there it seemed it might dissolve,

but I always thought to frame it:

 

to paint it in its shyness with caution

and in its pomp freely, forgetting the art and getting it down

with freshness damp on its face.

 

I thought to understand it, to hang on its every word and worry it;

extemporising hymns, cajoling and persuading it

to reveal more than perhaps was reasonable -

 

and I’ll not desert it;

only regret a complacency

carried far beyond an allowance for youth.

 

It is the whisper in a drift of nettles,

the light off a weather-cock animating a town;

 

it is the kick or benediction taken off a breeze

that is accusative and kind, admonishing and promising the Earth -

 

that over time is fading; over the drip of a thousand compromises thinning

to little more than an idea.

 

Robert Dunsdon

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

 

*

 

Hunting and Gathering

 

The hovering black knot

aligning dawn blush,

beats tension.  Poised to fall

so quickly out of view,

beneath the dot-dash

of moon and jet fuel.

 

Grim and bloody beaked,

I know what you catch

in those grisly talons. 

Crushing  tiny heart-flutters,

leaving a lingering absence

punched into the ozone.

 

Idling a weave along the path

I gather your feathers

from under damp hedgerows.

Finding them curved like boats

floating on mirrored skies.

 

Jennie Owen

Mawdesley, Lancashire

 

*

 

Grimshaw

 

The Grim Reaper

stood at the foot

of my bed

in the early hours,

a time when minutes

are devoured

by comatose heads,

as nocturnal creatures

flit unseen

in the shadow land

between night

and dreams.

 

The grim burglar

jabbed the duvet

with a white finger

and said

“now my friend,”

but in a foreign language,

which I took exception to.

He was no friend

of mine.  I hadn’t

met him before,

nor would wish to.

 

He sighed and reiterated

“now my friend,”

in a strange dialect,

which at the time

I couldn’t comprehend.

 

The Reaper stood

swaying there, standing tall

and all-in-all

appeared the worse for wear,

possibly pissed

and a tad underfed

with clothing that left a lot

to be desired,

clad in a rag-and-bone shroud

that had almost

expired.

 

He remained standing,

glaring around

holding a black metal scythe

which he swung about his head

impressively

as bones clicked randomly

like yellow castanets,

and he mumbled for effect

“now my friend.”

 

I gestured

with a show of hands,

and said “I don’t understand,

what you’re about,

perhaps you could come back

another day,

with someone who speaks English

to interpret what you say?”

 

With that he folded the scythe shut

and with a disgusted grunt

stomped out, muttering

an indecipherable spell

which was hard to comprehend

but as far as I can tell

encompassed chickens

and music

or something similar,

and sounded a bit

like

 

“clucking bell.”

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Key West Cemetery

 

Key West is a good place to consider death;

Christened “Cajo Hueste,” or “Bone Island,”

By the Conquistadores,

It was littered with the remains of Indian forefathers,

Rowed to this spot closest to the setting sun,

Where there was enough fresh water

To supply their next voyage;

 

Now in the Key West Cemetery,

Amid the sounds of bicycle bells and crowing roosters,

Surrounded by bunkers built to keep the newly departed secure,

Until the next big blow washes them out to sea,

I shade my eyes from the glaring sun

With the headstone of “Captain Bob,”

A local sailor and luminary,

Whose marker is topped by a sailboat, tacking into the wind,

Its epitaph reading, “The Adventure continues.”

 

Perhaps, for him, it does,

As it did for the natives before him.

But I’m more like the countless, stranded roosters that scuff this island,

Mazing their way through grave sites,

Strutting as if they’re treading on hot coals,

Scratching the dust and crowing about it.

       

Ron Yazinski,

Winter Garden, Florida , USA

 

Link: Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

December 2016 (81 Editions in Total)

 

29th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in alphabetical surname order, below

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Ode to Olga - Gregory Santo Arena

 

Fading Pleasure - Gary Beck

 

At Arm's Length - Will Daunt

 

Gulls at Night - Will Daunt

 

Coshton Avenue, 1977 - Daniel David

 

Leaf Blower - Daniel David

 

The Promises in My Garden - Holly Day

 

Letter Not Sent - Michael Jennings

 

The Final Shift - Lynne Munn

 

Gun-Site Kent - Lynne Munn

 

On the High Plains - David Pike

 

Somewhere Among These Things is Part of What We Mean - John Timothy Robinson

 

Other Man's Junk - Ian C. Smith

 

*

 

Ode To Olga

 

 I love you Olga.

To Russia with internet love.

Most beautiful Olga.

Actually I had written it in Italian,

Bellissima Olga.

I do love you, I think, in a fashion...

You said you loved me and wanted to come

And live with me in Italy.

No new messages.

 

Gregory Santo Arena

Bergamo, Italy

 

*

 

Fading Pleasure

 

Culture lovers

are a minority

without rights,

privileges,

just desire

for the arts.

Beethoven is alien

to most humans,

so is Picasso,

T.S. Eliot,

an endless list

of creators

appreciated by fewer

and fewer,

as the Information Age

encourages the spread

of the common denominator.

 

Gary Beck

New York, NY, USA

 

*

 

At Arm’s Length

   

Move back: the building’s been alarmed.

Its doors are closing like a quilt

held close to foil intruder’s arms

and curled around the warmth of day

and dark as some abrupt dead end.

 

Shut down: some daylight risks a last

caress, a tender brush with matt

and gloss that ventures over blind

and vinyl, closing up and close

as breath - or fingers in the dark.

 

Let go: the grey custodian

takes care to set the other dials

to sleep and isolation. Stairs

lead nowhere, coldly, lie alone,

repelling every dark advance.

 

Will Daunt

Ormskirk

 

*

 

Gulls at Night

  

Awake is sleeping fast while still awake

in this vacated harbour town of squalls

where thousands stir if several curse the night

and gulls dispute the wrecks of cod and spud.

 

A dream’s no dream and nightmares lap and lurk

around the idle swing bridge, under lamps,

when brittle sirens break the patterned din

of seabirds marking out their blind terrains.

 

Some loneliness is more when by the sea

against the smoke house, through the undead crowd

or in the withered souvenirs of how

a few may graft where those that fly, hold sway.

 

Will Daunt

 

*

 

Coshocton Avenue, 1977                                                                             

 

In 1977, Jim Teeter played the drums on those pulsing, summer

afternoons when all was loud heat, blunt asphalt, concrete, a few

houses down, on the edge of Coshocton Avenue, thumping on his

little porch, shaking his mother’s house by the shoulders so hard

it might bounce off the foundations. He’d open the window and set

the stereo speakers on the sill, behind his ears, pounding to all

the usual bands, roaring snare, symbols, bass, each blow clashing

with whining tires, bad mufflers, a tumultuous, rhythmic din

of rubber and metal, rubber and metal, each engine a battle, again

and again. I had no guitar, no beat, nothing to whack or wallop;

didn’t know where to stand, whether to slouch or shuffle; wouldn’t

know the band; wasn’t paying attention; after all, I was just now

hearing the tempo of Bach, of Chopin for the first time; I had no

intention of contributing to the clamor. Jim didn’t know his dad;

there was a battered silence on the subject; his drumsticks hammered

at this circumstance. And I had a small, throbbing crush on his mom

after she passed the window in a black bra, but she was always

a mother getting ready for work. My dad and she, thunderously

alone, drifted precariously on the edge of the same street;

however, I was certainly no matchmaker, not in all this racket.

 

Daniel David

Berlin Heights, OH, USA

 

*

 

Leaf Blower                                                                                                  

 

When we were gassing up the tractor, greasing the bailer,

setting twine, Grandpa remarked – and my memory is vivid

as he rarely offered any sort of conversation – and how his

nostalgia was exceptionally earnest that day – an old man

peering into the past, divulging to a young man peering

too far into the future – he said simply, with no elaboration,

that he missed plowing with his team. I guessed,

 

without the clatter of machinery, he heard the sloughing

of earth across steel, the huffing of horses’ breath, the

slight jangle of harness, the easy slap of leather on broad

flanks – their strength gauged in the reins – a soft, rhythmic

thumping of hooves on sod, a lowing of trees in the woods

and the squirrels’ barking there – overhead, the piqued cry

of a hawk evading crows’ beaks, and if you listened acutely,

a popping of buds, the palpable clamor of the sun igniting dew.

 

I recall this past as the wind, up to now, has been timid

in its task. Leaves are loitering at the fence, snagged among

lilies, iris, hibiscus, an aimless carousel whirling around

the birch tree. I know, eventually, the wind will pick up

and using the rake, in the scratching, I might better admire

a singular moment – my mind might wander. However,

I am impatient. The leaf blower, a deafening bluster,

dispatches these vagrants with its artificial tempest.

 

Daniel David

 

*

 

The Promises in My Garden

 

The moth selects the leaf carefully from the others

following some algorithm or philosophy only she knows

lays her eggs on the ribbed, green surface in patterns that seem

either profound or random, depending on the decipherer.

There could be messages for her unborn offspring in the discarded casings

they will soon burst from, perhaps a forwarding address so her children can find her

a map to a treasure of honeysuckle vines and wide, green backyards

religious texts that have been passed from one generation to another.

 

In turn, the leaf reacts in dismay to having the eggs deposited on its surface

begins layering cellular material around the encased larvae, like an oyster or a clam

trying to protect itself from an irritating grain of sand

by creating a pearl, leaving the moth’s original message all but obliterated

by a jungle of thick, green spikes jutting out of the leaf

its formerly flat surface curled and distressed. But perhaps this, too

is part of the moth’s message, the transformation of her words

into a Braille illuminated by the agony of a weed.

 

Holly Day

Minneapolis MN

 

*

 

Letter Not Sent

 

This is not the letter I planned to write –

your problems with next door’s dog,

my trip to Nottingham to buy a shirt,

were surrogates for deeper thought.

 

Thought not deep enough, even now,

that still reflecting on what I could have put,

only a cloudy yearning vagueness

is the result.

 

Elopement?   Well not that for sure,

nor that I am sick with love,

or I wish to take you in my arms

and yet those things contain some truth.

 

It is as if there needs to be

a higher category of close rapport

that leaves the outer world unharmed

and us in an eternal, depthless bond.

 

Michael Jennings

Keyworth, Nottinghamshire

 

*

 

The Final Shift

 

Hang your docker’s hook

For the last time behind the door,

No more faltering through icy dawns

To the fog-bound river, swept by a wind

That cuts like a sabre.

 

No more huddling in crowded pen

Straining to hear your name,

Ravaged and worn your once fine frame,

Younger men are called out now.

 

Sit at home, take your rest,

Wonder sometimes what happened to the beat

Of you, where did it go?

Wrung out drop by drop, bitter drop,

In the dark holds of countless ships,

What have you to show for all of it?

 

Lynne Munn

London, NW6

 

*

 

Gun-Site Kent

 

Night so black, night without stars,

Except the fiery stars of bursting shells

Stalking a singer-seater, enemy plane.

Pinned like a butterfly collector’s item

In the searchlight’s brilliant silver bars,

Until suddenly plummeting out of them

As an eye-searing pennant of flame.

 

I pray the pilot was not young,

Eager and quick, warm and good.

Pray he was ironical and grey,

Weary of flight and fight.

Uncaring if his blood

Pumps into tremulous age,

Or waters the earth this night.

 

Lynne Munn

 

Editor’s note: I hope the above poet won’t mind me noting she mentioned, in correspondence, that during the war she served in the army, on a gun-site on the Kent coast.

 

*

 

On the High Plains

 

A herd of steel

shopping trolleys

gallop and graunch

on castor wheels,

sliding, objecting

on a carpark hill,

squealing obscenities

jostling around

wrangling the angles,

juddering ever down

the ASDA prairie,

 

towards a plastic

corral.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Somewhere Among These Things is Part of What We Mean

Winter. A country road at night beneath clear sky, stars.
The moon crouches tight in a tree-limb's pocket.
Windows over snow-sloped fields
glow in the softer glow
among icy glitter all around.
And the sound,
that almost soundless sound
of deer hooves
up these blue-emblazoned, steepness of hills;
river horns . . . a distant train.
Somewhere among these things is part of what we mean.

 

John Timothy Robinson

 

*

 

One Man’s Junk

  

Referring to my barn-cum-office on auction day

the agent whispers, Have you anything of value there?

after he directs a slovenly man to where

what I cherish waits, inky hours flanked by books.

Only to me, I reply, my intended rueful tone

somehow sounding rather pitiful, a groan,

the creak of an old boat slipping its moorings.

Strangers, smirking locals, peer into nooks,

taking selfies before coloured glass, yakking on phones.

The agent has seen my collected belongings;

my boys’ blue-tacked art, loosened now, framed prints,

among them, a $10 flea-market Raymond Wintz,

sentimental scene typical of both artist and me.

He knows, shrewd witness to clients’ collected longing.

 

Ian C Smith

Sale, Australia

 

Link: Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

September 2016 (80 Editions in Total)

 

28th edition as a webzine, see below.

 

 

Poets listed in alphabetical order, below

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

Brief Encounter - Frank De Canio

 

Brother wreck - Dominic James

 

Umbra - Kim Malinowski

 

On Occasion - David Pike

 

Clothed in Memories - Fiona Sinclair

 

Human Aposematism - Fiona Sinclair

 

Water Rights - Ron Yazinski

 

*

 

Brief Encounter 

 

If you had scorned my overtures

of friendship and, with scathing yawn,

dismissed my amatory lures,

I would have stoically since drawn

the curtain on the show’s sole act.

But exiting before the play

concluded made me rue my tact

at walking flippantly away.

Aside from grades of happiness 

ensuing as the dividends

of many dramas that progress 

as such, I won’t know how mine ends.

I rail thus on an empty stage

where want of closure is my wage.

 

Frank De Canio

Union City, NJ, USA

 

*

 

Brother wreck

 

No foothold on this black, unlucky spur,
with icy hands he clings as best he can
to naked rock despite the mighty waves’
increase in shock and pace to drag him down,
his bitter sobs and high despair soon lost
in night’s relentless surge.
                                        The sea rides high.
The lifeboats of his entourage, old friends
and kin, inevitably pull away;
he knows that at this station he must drown
but daren’t abandon barren purchase.
In endless shows of lightning crashes
he composes epigrams for comfort:
let them remember one held true, drawn-in
he did not sink, it was the waters rising.

 

Dominic James

Chalford, Gloucestershire

 

*

 

Umbra

 

My shadow deepens the carved

name and dates,

grooves lovingly traced.

I’ve laid a picnic blanket

over the neatly trimmed grass,

saving a clump of buttercups

near the stone.

There are mimosas to toast

our anniversary.

I am eating a rhubarb jelly sandwich,

wearing a peach colored day dress.

The cedar stands beside us,

its branches protecting, blossoms faded.

A couple sits near,

placing irises by dirt.

I see your face

gasping at the foot of your bed.

The wind ruffles the cedar,

the blanket,

your limp hair would blow in the breeze,

my palm touches the grass and buttercups.

I would like to uproot you,

my shadow obscuring your name,

and then you wouldn’t be dead.

 

Kim Malinowski

Laurel, Maryland, USA

 

*

 

On Occasion

 

“During winter

the wind blows

so hard

you have to lean forward

at a slant,

to address the gale,

or be blown

afar

by the squall -

and fall away,”

 

said distractedly

during a brief interlude,

passing the time of

day;

 

another Cornish anecdote

from a local resident

to a summer migrant

who was there by arrangement

for a temporary stay.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Clothed in Memories

 

He recalls favourite garments with

same transcendental gaze into past

as remembering Norton, Ducati, Triumph.

At 17, a Here be Dragons trip north of Watford gap

to course in Manchester. Only land mark that registered,

clothes market under railway arches

colourful as St Pepper album cover,

where he found herringbone Oxford bags,

with flares, high waist, indigo dandy twist.

And on a rainbow rail of afghan coats

one cobalt suede with white coney trim.

 

Was it just you so foppish?

but all his mates took inspiration from favourite front men:

hunting down in indie boutiques, Hendrix hussar Jackets,

Bowie spangled stacks, Jagger velvet flares,

Accessorized by hair so long your Granddad

Thought he was a girl from the back.

But no girly squeamishness in face of a ruck,

rather platform boots ideal for crotch crippling,

shared tips for getting blood out of a shirt,

becoming as adapt with needle and thread as a spanner.

 

Now Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry

are replaced by memory slipping lead singers

who come and go like office temps.

And young men whose warrior avatars fantasy fight

whilst they online skim shop Matalan for polo shirts,

for whom under the bonnet is unfathomable as

brain surgery so leave cars at Kwikfit,

killing time in Burtons buying another pair of jeans,

lunch time dash into Next to grab they’ll do brown lace ups;

every garment forgettable as a drunken one night stand.

 

Fiona Sinclair

Houghton, near Faversham, Kent

 

*

 

Human Aposematism

 

Historically tattoos meant armed forces, Hells Angels, ex-cons;

anchors and daggers branding service men non officer material,

diabolic coat of arms making bikers indelible members for life,

love-hate on knuckles warning no rehabilitating these prison hands.

Some toughness skin deep though; ‘Mother’ embedded in heart,

‘Emma’ entwined in rose, kids’ names enlacing armband.

Many woman get clit tingle at twisted designs grown on Pop-eye muscles

proof bearers can handle pain; so other blokes watch their words…

 

*

 

Water Rites

 

Here in the Bible Belt, folks

Talk of Jesus as a loving grandfather

Who lives in the nursing home down the road,

Who forgives anything they do,

As long as they put up with his funky smell once a week.

 

Soon it’ll be time to divvy up his estate,

And buy that new Chevy pick-up with the gun rack

They have their hearts set on.

Then they’ll drive to Daytona, park on the beach,

And watch the sun rise over the warm Atlantic.

 

Which, with my Catholic upbringing, is blatantly silly,

Because a worthwhile god doesn’t give you things,

He just leads you down to the pier at Newton Park,

To look at yourself in fouled Lake Apopka.

 

Ron Yazinski

Winter Garden, Florida, USA

 

Link:  Return to Home Page

*

 

June 2016 Edition (79 Editions in Total)

 

27th Edition as a Webzine, see below

 

Poets listed in alphabetical order, below

 

* * *

 

 

Poem Index

 

Owl - Richard Dinges, Jr

 

Cold Deceit - E A M Harris

 

Moving - David Pike

 

A Small Town In The South - Sam Silva

 

View from an attic window - Ian C Smith

 

Release - Tim Taylor

 

*

 

Owl

 

We have become

friends, this owl and I,

each evening after

darkness prevails

and trees become

shadows against

a pale divide

between sky and

where I stand, this

sound no question,

an echo from

a question asked

long ago by someone

I once knew.

 

Richard Dinges, Jr

Walton, NE, USA

 

*

 

 

Cold Deceipt

 

‘Tweren’t no rain

when I put yon out.

 

The air were thick, like,

and the clouds way high,

but I c’ld stitch a shipful 

o’ sailors’ britches

from them blue patches.

 

There were a breeze

when yon and I stepped out,

friendly, like, after the vandal gale.

 

No frost. I checked th’ forecast;

I knows yon’s fear o’ cold.

I turns, the dale’s whited,

cheating, behind my back.

 

Like that hoss

at th’ New Year races;

look away and he’s lost.

 

I blinked is all,

not one second,

and yon limped off.

 

E A M Harris

Bridgwater, Somerset

 

*

 

Moving

 

Down in a cellar

something stirred,

something that shouldn’t

be there

but was there

anyway –

to linger and lurk

unseen

with an ugly smirk

across its face

in a place where

darkness dug a trench

and light paled

to something less,

dust fell as velvet

snow

in a recurrent

dream

upon something that

was there

moving, persisting,

existing

 

but shouldn’t have

been.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

A Small Town In The South

 

A simplicity of sleeping things

under cold rain and wet earth

...and that dazzle

of blue jazz

on the computer stereo

 

giving light and sound to images

where the mind mingles

...one half on the screen

...the other...on the yard outside

 

and with its own interior voices

...the lingering voices of the others

...more strange and frightening

than nature

or dead brick.

 

Sam Silva

Fayetteville, N.C.

USA

 

*

 

View from an attic window

 

Fields of frost below, early days of writing,

shucking the duvet on runny nose mornings

to fill pages instead of slouching off to work

quickened me, my dream world manifested.

I didn’t know about nearby Adlestrop station,

had never heard of Edward Thomas’s poem.

 

Rain on wind protested at the window

of my attic I probably called a garret,

ruffled rooks high above sheltering horses.

A gas heater on castors by my side

like a metallic seeing-eye dog-cum-desk,

collected a pattern of Olympic coffee rings.

 

I backpacked on after winter toting an archive,

crisscrossing latitude and longitude’s grid,

an urge to arrest smell, sight, sound,

a selfish kind of love like a secret luring me.

Now at ground level I feed a wood stove,

outside, attendant currawongs, different crows.

 

I squeeze into my navy pea-jacket

worn those years gone, heavy with silence,

the spare button in its silken pocket

to finger-fiddle, conjure past voices,

a high window, a view, a fierce fever,

breath steaming through the strainer of memory.   

 

Ian C Smith

Sale, Victoria, Australia

 

*

 

Release

 

You question me with patient tenderness.

“I’m fine”, I lie: my leaden undertones

reveal what language struggles to express.      

This sullen murk that seeps into my bones:

I have no name for it, nor has it shape

or substance.   Stagnant, undefined, it sits

in hidden pools from which there’s no escape.

It is my prisoner, as I am its.   

But do not cease to ask: for you, each day

I try once more to picture it in words.

If I could make it concrete, find some way

to form it in the semblance of a bird

and, through the gift of wings, to set it free

then it would lift its cold embrace from me.

 

Tim Taylor

Meltham, West Yorkshire

 

Link: Return to Home Page

 

* * *

 

March 2016 Edition (78 Editions in Total)

 

26th Edition as a Webzine, see below.

 

Poets listed in alphabetical order, below

 

* * *

 

Poem Index

 

With Fire For Eyes, A Mouth Full Of Grubs - Holly Day

 

Dream Ephemera - Mark A. Murphy

 

Appearance of . . .  David Pike

 

Autumn Reverie - Jane Stuart

 

Faults - A K Whitehead

 

Return and Release - John Zedolik

 

*

 

With Fire For Eyes, A Mouth Full Of Grubs

 

in my living room is a woman

dirt under her chipped nails

 

pouring out of her very skin,

like tentacles underwater

 

of sick sea serpents

in my kitchen is a man

 

criss-crossed with old scars and new bruises

dangling by a hook

 

ever since I bought that cursed locked storage chest

from that guy with the sinister laugh and the bad facial hair

 

at the boarded-up second-hand store

things just haven’t been the same around here

 

Holly Day

Minneapolis MN, USA

 

*

 

Dream Ephemera

 

In the first and in the fading light,

whilst the wind yawns at the gable ends

and the impudent traffic below

ebbs and flows, I dream of your return

from the dead, as if your death

was only temporary and absurd.

 

Almost strange to hear you whisper,

‘I love you.’ High above the town

and the pavements of loss,

locked in the garret, I hardly concern

myself with the affairs of men

preferring instead the low notes

 

of your whispering across space and time

to fill my head with other longings.

As the mist beneath begins to lift

we must insist on laughter.

All will become clear soon after –

in the moonlight we dream as one.

 

Mark A. Murphy

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

 

*

 

Appearance of . . .

 

. . . a stereotypical

young bloke

in a hooded coat

hood up;

by default

a dodgy sort,

nothing more.

 

It’s a kind of uniform

purchased

to conform with

others of a same

age,

just a phase

at a moment in time,

not something emblazoned

deep within

when born.

 

Just a temporary

uniform.

 

David Pike

Swindon, Wiltshire

 

*

 

Autumn Reverie

 

When summer came, the world was autumn-green,

with dark leaves floating on the bristling grass.

Earth filled with sunrise, wind blew through the trees,

and shadows dark as moments, dark as glass,

filled every meadow, every star-filled night

and days that keep the glow of midnight’s moon.

This world was made of love and silver light

and swept across the hills, across the dunes,

and reached time’s cold beginning, on the shore

where ocean water waits for warming sun-

There is no window and there was no door,

when night was early, day had just begun,

and moments made of madness-love’s fair flight

over the wave, in autumn’s cold moonlight.

 

Jane Stuart

Greenup, KY, USA

 

*

 

Faults

 

You are to me as some would see Lastrade

to Sherlock Holmes, who incurred the latter’s

scorn as one who was stubborn to select

the right clues to indite a wrong suspect,

or make the right suspect blighted with wrong

clues.

 

            My faults were plain, but your somersaults

invented other ones that better fit

your own philosophy and special needs,

that turn the truth into a parody

of what could be perception - - just the blood

of selfishness that masquerades a wish

into the place of some reality.

 

Let not invention be the galleon

that sails my ego to the rock of lies.

 

A K Whitehead

Pontefract, West Yorkshire

 

*

 

Return and Release

                                             

Venice is sinking outside of sight

while the man extends his arms.

 

His hands must contain bread, for scores

of pigeons alight, which, he may hope,

 

will lift him from the city drowning

in the lagoon that will claim every Chiesa

 

pressing centuries into the submerged earth,

a long-delayed return, at least to the salt and sea,

 

and, I imagine, an acceptable occurrence, a substitute,

for the dead emperors of the eastern Rome,

             

who—brazen steeds and sundry booty sunk—

 would likely let the man and birds alone.

 

John Zedolik

Pennsylvania, USA

 

Link: Return to Home Page

 

Video, (below), of Talis Kimberley performing her original song, The Orchard,

'live' at a Pulsar Poetry Evening at the Goddard Arms, Clyffe Pypard.

 

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