Wednesday, 1 April 2020

By the Boathouse by Miki Byrne

(Port Elliot. St Germans. Cornwall.)

The boathouse settles into the bank
like an old man in a favourite chair. 
Same slumped shoulders and a bald patch 
where thatch has whittled away over 
a hundred Cornish winters. 
The Tamar strolls in, unhurried. 
Pushed by a slow tide that lacks winter’s rage. 
Small boats lie, prows forward in the current, 
like dashes upon a liquid page. 
The yelp and cackle of gulls cracks summer air, 
as they ride like kites upon an up-draught.
Grass is thick and fragrant. 
Overhangs muddy banks in frowning 
bushy brows that gaze over brown water. 
Behind me, cedar and cypress whisper. 
Beyond swaying trees the spire of St. Germans stands. 
Like a weather-worn finger, that points the way to heaven.

---

Miki has had two poetry collections and a pamphlet published, plus over 500 poems included in poetry magazines/anthologies. She was a finalist for Gloucestershire’s Poet Laureate and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Miki has read on TV and on Radio many times. She also ran a poetry writing group at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury. She has read at many festivals and venues. Miki is disabled and now lives near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Anna Pavlova by Tiffany Shaw-Diaz


and suddenly
her arms became wings

not like the dainty ones
given to a finch

but the luxurious ones
bestowed to a swan

she was born a human
yes I know

but that word
is simply ill-fitting

for her veins
must be charged

with the breath of angels
or the melodies

that drift between
each burning star

because I can
easily assure you

she was never  
fully of this earth

---

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz is a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award nominee who also works as a professional visual artist. Her poetry has been featured in Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, Bones, NHK World Haiku Masters, The Mainichi, and dozens of other publications. Her first chapbook, says the rose, was published by Yavanika Press in 2019.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

"Where Do You Want To Eat?" by Ace Boggess

[question asked by Grace Welch]

Book us a table for two on the moon 
in a glass-topped prefab, 
naked spectacle of stars our bold hors d’oeuvres.
It must have oxygen
lest these suits get in our way.
Order wine like honey.
I want to be drunk on the moon with you
before salads come, & (green) cheese soup.
We will spin on our axes:
you a dust devil, I a moon’s moon.

By time our meals arrive,
our heads will skip
as we find joy in barren, rocky wonderlands.
Later, dancing off dessert, 

we shall modify the Earth tides with our feet.

---

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry, most recently Misadventure (Cyberwit, 2020) and I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018), as well as two novels, including States of Mercy (Alien Buddha Press, 2019). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, The Laurel Review, River Styx, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

My Last Angel by Sarah James

Other guys had dreadlocks or beards
silver-threaded with curls of carnal knowing.
His wings were invisible, but his tongue glistened
with an A-Z of plant wisdoms and sage witticisms.

Every day, he fed me new leaves, chopped, ground
and smoked. The laughter was aphrodisiacal.
His protective Acacia promised physic powers.
I swallowed all this juice, relishing the future

suggested by paired leaflets; I knew we’d no need
of Adam and Eve roots for love.
He told me Adders Tongue was healing. I didn’t ask
for what, or let drop that I’d tasted snakebite before.

When we jumped from Angelica to Arabic gum,
I noticed the missing Apple.
I feared his powers were weakening.
Bittersweet was our failed attempt at fixing.

Bored now, I grew keen to fast-forward.
He’d nothing listed for ‘z’. I didn’t voice
my own entry: the ‘zzz’ of instant sleep,
leaving us with Yucca –

supposedly for transmutation.
My teeth scraped his creamy sauce
from the plant’s sword-shaped leaf;
it did nothing to quell my hunger.

That night, when he opened his wings
to hold me, the feathers that brushed my face
were edged with black. I wasn’t sure whether
he’d always had this, or if the dark tinges

were my gift to him – a last glimpse
of something beyond his garden knowledge.

---

Sarah James is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer, with poetry featured in the GuardianFinancial TimesThe Forward Book of Poetry 2016, on the BBC, regional buses and in the Blackpool Illuminations. Author of seven poetry titles, two novellas and a touring poetry-play, she also enjoys working with audio poetry, poetryfilm, photo-poems and VR. Her website is at www.sarah-james.co.uk.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Walking to Moel Arthur by Sue Finch

We packed the rucksack
with more than tissues and water.
Tied our boots, checked the laces.

On the way up 
we stopped looking at our watches, 
let time surround us.

But at lunchtime
I worried that if I sat down
I wouldn't get up.
Where we were going seemed so far.
The sun diluted and dipping
threatened to leave our muscles cold.
We did not really speak 
as we ate our separate lunches.
Mine seemed bland and I didn’t ask about yours.
I only sipped my water 
as I studied the path ahead;
narrowing and bending, 
hiding its end from us.

If we went where we were headed
we might not get back. 
I couldn't tell if we were yet 
halfway to our halfway.
I wanted to read your mind,
were you for giving up?

I wanted to ask you,

If we turn back, will we ever come here again?

---

Sue Finch was born in Kent. She now lives with her wife in North Wales and enjoys exploring the coast. Her first published poem appeared in A New Manchester Alphabet in 2015 whilst studying for her MA with Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has also appeared in The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetry Bus Magazine and in Crossings Over, an anthology published by Chester University Press. Having a number of poems in the real world makes her smile. You can follow Sue on Twitter to find out more about her work: @soopoftheday

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Nymph by Laura Brinson

sensitive to a subtle change
the nymph slips from birth water to dry earth
feels the icy rush of air against her body

pushed on by irresistible instinct
driven higher
to a place of changing
elongated leaves spiral in the breeze

anchored to bark
twisting in a drying skin
wings folded stickily to her body
thorax muscles ripple

trapped in the hardening carapace
a labour obstructed
six x-rays exist in hospital files
cephalopelvic meat on a photographic plate

breech baby and me
wings now a leaden cape
a well of foreboding opens
instruments clatter on a tray

pumping fluid into a tracery of veins
with the energy of desperation
slipping from me like a dark spill
the icy rush of air on a fragile new form

---

Laura Brinson is Melbourne based. She reads, writes, recites at open mikes, gardens, and sews. Her sewing room, in which she makes wedding dresses and costumes, catches the morning sun. Her poetry is reflective.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Mine by Holly Magill

Fifteen tubes of pastel, tooth-rot happiness
tumbled from pink palms to the counter in Spar.
The older girl smirked, counted
my 10p pieces like a slow handclap.

Home, I’d unpeel each packet, scoff and crunch,
mouth all fizzy. But hoard the pale purples
– the sweetest, the prettiest – 
in a sandwich bag, back of the wardrobe.
I could be a mean girl too, didn’t want to share.

He never knew about them, nor did she,
or the people they worked with, or the neighbours,
or teachers, or the dinner ladies, or the girls
who weren’t my best friends, or the girls I wished were.

*

Now I am taller, a bit, and remain a mean girl
– not the sweetest, not the prettiest – 
and no one can make me, no one can force.

Some never stop trying, tell me how much
they want this sharing. I know

how hungry they are – jaws spasm to bite down
on any shred screeing off flimsy partition walls,
mouths wet for pavement-scrapings.
Half-chewed half-truths
– not the sweetest, not the prettiest –

just glitter-grit candy sun
to baste a new conservatory much nicer than next door’s.

*

Curtains pulled against glare,
I turn up Madonna’s Immaculate Collection,
groove with wooden spoons, let the wardrobe spill:

too-high shoes, perfume, scarves, satin knickers,
your all-time favourite Thornton’s chocolate bars.
The carpet tides with colours and kitsch

– these the sweetest, these the prettiest.

This is beauty. This confection is only mine.

---

Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House, Bare Fiction, and Under The Radar, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She won first prize in the 2019 Cannon Poets ‘sonnet or Not’ competition. She co-edits Atrium – www.atriumpoetry.com. Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady FlambĂ©, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Twitter: @HollyannePoet 

By the Boathouse by Miki Byrne

(Port Elliot. St Germans. Cornwall.) The boathouse settles into the bank like an old man in a favourite chair.  Same slumped shoulde...