September 2017 (84 editions in total)
32nd edition as a webzine, see below.
Poets listed in surname alphabetical order.
* * *
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
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,
Caroline Am Bergris
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
Mad rush, chaotic street
aperitif enough for the bystanders,
There was space between the hospital beds
there was waiting,
for men to become
and fed to woodpiles.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
bathed in weak
too tired to read
too wired to
with a notebook,
Link: Return to Home Page
June 2017 (83 Editions in Total)
31st Edition as a webzine, see below.
Poets listed in no particular order.
* * *
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
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
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.
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.
Acton, Massachusetts, USA
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.
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.
Don’t jig me
or give me any
of your edicts,
the stuff you
about this and
claiming things will
and that predicted change
will come about –
because you’re a
of the orange, red,
attempting to amaze
until the counting
and the truth
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
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.
* * *
March 2017 (82 Editions in Total)
30th Edition as a webzine, see below.
Poets listed in alphabetical surname order
* * *
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 -
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
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.
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.
The Grim Reaper
stood at the foot
of my bed
in the early hours,
a time when minutes
by comatose heads,
as nocturnal creatures
in the shadow land
The grim burglar
jabbed the duvet
with a white finger
“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
appeared the worse for wear,
and a tad underfed
with clothing that left a lot
to be desired,
clad in a rag-and-bone shroud
that had almost
He remained standing,
holding a black metal scythe
which he swung about his head
as bones clicked randomly
like yellow castanets,
and he mumbled for effect
“now my friend.”
with a show of hands,
and said “I don’t understand,
what you’re about,
perhaps you could come back
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
or something similar,
and sounded a bit
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.
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
* * *
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,
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
are a minority
for the arts.
Beethoven is alien
to most humans,
so is Picasso,
an endless list
appreciated by fewer
as the Information Age
encourages the spread
of the common denominator.
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.
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.
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.
Berlin Heights, OH, USA
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
gallop and graunch
on castor wheels,
on a carpark hill,
wrangling the angles,
juddering ever down
the ASDA prairie,
towards a plastic
Somewhere Among These Things is Part of What We
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
Link: Return to Home Page
* * *
September 2016 (80 Editions in Total)
28th edition as a webzine, see below.
Poets listed in alphabetical order, below
* * *
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
Laurel, Maryland, USA
the wind blows
you have to lean forward
at a slant,
to address the gale,
or be blown
by the squall -
and fall away,”
during a brief interlude,
passing the time of
another Cornish anecdote
from a local resident
to a summer migrant
who was there by arrangement
for a temporary stay.
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.
Houghton, near Faversham, Kent
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…
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.
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
* * *
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
We have become
friends, this owl and I,
each evening after
and trees become
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
‘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
Down in a cellar
something that shouldn’t
but was there
to linger and lurk
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
in a recurrent
upon something that
but shouldn’t have
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
or dead brick.
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
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.
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
* * *
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
Minneapolis MN, USA
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
in a hooded coat
a dodgy sort,
It’s a kind of uniform
to conform with
others of a same
just a phase
at a moment in time,
not something emblazoned
Just a temporary
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.
Greenup, KY, USA
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
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.
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.