Wednesday, 4 December 2019

An Eavesdropper Walks the Streets by Joe Cushnan

It’s my relationship, nobody’s business and it suits me.
It was a hammer-and-tongs conversation outside a pub,
A young girl with a screeching diva voice that could rattle glass
Talking to a man, red-faced, and trying to get a word in.


A break up, a breakdown, roll credits, the end, wait for outtakes.
Don’t speak to me. Don’t speak to me. Don’t speak to me, rotten git.
She let out a Baskerville hound-howl followed by expletives.
He walked away, raising an arm for a Churchillian V.


*


I was so sure his middle name was Charles, turns out it’s William.
Two women of years chin-wagging outside a greetings card shop
Talking about a deceased neighbour and how much they’d miss him,
His Walter Brennan musical-chuckle laugh and good manners.


He came round one day and killed two big spiders, one with his boot,
The other with a rolled up People’s Friend which I hadn’t read.
The women hugged and went their separate ways. One shouted back,
His handwriting was perfect. I wish I’d kept all his postcards.


*


He cut his hand on a salmon tin and the biggest laugh is
He doesn’t eat fish. Outside a bakery, a couple sit,
Eating sausage rolls and talking with their mouths full, crumby lips.
He needed stitches. Took ages because his hand was shaking,


Not fond of blood but he likes them Rambo films and vampire stuff.
Snacks finished, they dispose of the bags and rummage in their coats.
One lights a cigarette, the other sucks on an e-fag, merged
Smoke, a thin fog around them, cancels the smell of bread baking.


*

---

Joe Cushnan was born and raised in Belfast. Now retired, he devotes as much time as he can to writing. He has a portfolio of published features, reviews, poetry and fiction, and he blogs at www.droppedthemoon.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

the agony of the everyday by p.a. morbid

that you can’t go back
ever
and this
will torture you
throughout your life


that the past is gone
even as it remains
a tantalizing ghost
that can
only be made solid
by an act 
of imagination
you find hard to summon
and it 
will never be solid 


that the here and now
is a lie
the present moment
is a fleeting thing
and to say
the now 
is an effort of will
and the now
you spoke of 
is already 
in the past


that your body 
is heavy with memory
and memories
change
with time


that one day
you will end 
and the world will
carry on
as if you never were

---


p.a. morbid is a Poet, Editor of The Black Light Engine Room Press. Outsider Artist/Musician. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Late Summer by Lynne Cattafi

On late summer nights I sit near the open window
so I can hear the tree frogs.
They know autumn is coming,
understand they might hold on a bit longer 
if they are a little more stubborn, a little tougher.
Lately they sound like guiros played by old men:
careful, slow, soft.
Summer is 
unexpected moments like these:
warm tomatoes on the vine, 
orange and pink wildflowers on the side 
of the highway, exultant amidst the smog, 
a child learning how to ride a bicycle, 
another braving the deep end of the pool 
for the first time. This is what life becomes. 
Once it was faraway places stamped on a passport, 
or a new boy, or too much wine on a work night. 
Now when the tree frogs sing it sounds like they say
winter, winter, winter.

---

Lynne Cattafi teaches English at a private school in New Jersey. When she's not teaching her students to love writing poetry and reading books, she enjoys drinking coffee, building Lego cities from scratch with her children, walking her beagle, and reading historical fiction and mysteries. Her poetry has appeared in Elephants Never, Marias at Sampaguitas, The Wellington Street Review and Vita Brevis. She can be found on Twitter at @lynnecatt.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Where the Gods Went by Miki Byrne

The ocean stole the Gods.
Drew them down
from hallowed heights.
Enticed them into soft waves
then closed over
in furious surges.
Now they sit on the bottom.
Plait their seaweed hair.
Flex webbed toes and keep
pet octopi in order.
Sometimes they think of home.
Power wielded, destruction
caused but they do not move.
Are content under ebb and flow.
Poseidon brings them
anything they need.
  
---

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, 6 November 2019

Grief Bucket by Claire Walker


After the administration was complete –
the registering, the funeral bill -
they handed me a small metal container.

This, they told me,
in their clinical-yet-tender way,
was a Grief Bucket, Standard Issue.
They said I might find it useful from now on,
and please could I sign to confirm I understood.

At home, I placed the bucket in the middle
of the living room floor,
carefully removed its cellophane wrap
and stared at it for days.

Sometime later, I found myself on the sofa,
head between my knees,
and the bucket proved useful for catching drops;
catching the sad plop of grief as it lived up to its name.

Friends showed mixed reactions.
Some had no time for buckets,
were too concerned with their unfair jobs and sore feet
to acknowledge this recently acquired possession.
Even in its shiny newness.
Even in its glare-in-the-winter-sun-ness.

Some were more attentive. One reached
into a kitchen cupboard, brought her bucket -
careworn and rusting - down and set it next to mine.
She filled them both to the brim with tea,
told me to take all the time I needed.

Once, when I was caught off guard,
didn’t scramble for mine in time,
my loved ones heard the siren, grabbed
their own regulation buckets from pegs
and swooped in, surrounded me.
They didn’t think twice about sitting for hours,
bailing and bailing and bailing.

---

Claire Walker's poetry has been published widely. She has two pamphlets published by V. Press - The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile (2015), and Somewhere Between Rose and Black (2017), which was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet at the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Her third pamphlet, Collision, was published in September 2019 from Against the Grain Press. She is Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Hard to be alone by Maxine Rose Munro

I saw to the burial myself,
it was only right. So much
time together in the garden.
Even when it was too cold
for me, there she would be
out working, checking.

The ground was near frozen
when she went under, worms
were nowhere to be found.
But it was him I worried for.
Plumed pepper-black, white
streaks salt on his face – 

striking is how I'd describe
him. You couldn't mistake
him for any other. Birds
of a feather, always together.
Come spring he will look
for her, find an empty nest,

broken, unfixed. And what
will he do then, poor thing.
Will he re-enact the years,
sing, strut, all for her
no longer here. Or will he,
purpose lost, stop.

---

Maxine Rose Munro writes in both English and her native Shetlandic Scots. She is widely published in the UK and beyond, both in print and online, and her work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. You can find more about her work just here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Turn the other cheek by Linda M. Crate

a life incomplete
undone
pulled apart 
the pearls still dancing
across the ground,
i count them;
have always noticed the other
things people miss
like the cobwebs on their door jambs
or the dust on the sill
but i am too polite to say a thing—
even as they jab at my 
perceived flaws,
i don't let their misjudgments impale them;
whilst living amongst monsters 
one must remember their humanity
because i promised myself i would be better
than those who break me down—
i am not an apple to be shaken loose from a tree,
sometimes the best response is none;
if you don't react they are left to turn the other cheek.

---

Linda M. Crate has been full of words and stories for as long as she remembers. Her works have been published in many magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is a two-time push cart nominee and author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).

An Eavesdropper Walks the Streets by Joe Cushnan

It’s my relationship, nobody’s business and it suits me. It was a hammer-and-tongs conversation outside a pub, A young girl with a scre...