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Invitation by Sue Finch

She says I will be able to see
Perseids tonight in her armpits, 
just as I am worrying 
that I cannot read binary. I assure myself I can Google it laterhoping that the instructionswill be simple.I plan to have a notebook and pen ready.I know that joke aboutthere being 10 kinds of people in the world:those who understand binaryand those who don’t.I tell her it would be greatto see the meteors up close, nuzzled right in.They don’t make your neck achethis way, she says,and you will be able to hear the crackles of ancient firesit is all deep in there.I wonder if we will ever be sociable again after this.How many people in the world are hankering to seenight skies in the armpits of lovers?
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Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. 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 …

When I Am Gone by Sue Finch

Serve soul-cakes.
Sprinkle dried green lettuce on salty crackers,
plate up purple and orange macaroons,
yellow too if it pleases you.
Spear black olives onto cocktail sticks,
put out far too many bottles of red wine.
Spend an hour of your morning cracking 
almonds into small bowls
sweeping up the dust and debris
with your hands.
Let each fruit be a memory 
(trust me they are not really nuts)
but watch out for the bitter ones.
Everything must fit mouths that are not hinged
to be wide;
that potential to be slipped in nonchalantly
between tales that bring out hard laughter.
Except apples;
they will let you watch for
who bites right in,
who takes a knife to them,
who puts two in their bag for later.
If a soul cake remains on that table 
at the end, 
take it to the coast,
await the interest of gulls
then toss it decidedly upwards.
Let the cries fill the air.
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Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. Her first published poem appeared inA New Manchester Alphabetin 2015 whilst studying for her MA with Manchester …

Annabel by Jennie Farley

In the dorm at night
she lives in the washstand
beneath the porcelain bowl,
the water jug, the mug
with her toothpaste
and pink toothbrush.

The cupboard is a cottage
somewhere in the country,
with a garden of hollyhocks,
rambling roses, an apple tree,
beside a field where friendly cows
look over the fence.

In class if she’s told off
for something she didn’t do,
or a squabble breaks out -
she just smiles and thinks of
bluebell woods and a comfy sofa.
She smiles, and keeps on smiling
as she practises tiny handwriting.
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Jennie Farley is a published poet, teacher and workshop leader living in Cheltenham. Her work has featured in many poetry magazines and been performed at Festivals. Her first collection is My Grandmother Skating (Indigo Dreams Publishing 2016) followed by Hex (IDP 2018). She founded and runs NewBohemians@CharltonKings, a popular arts club providing poetry, performance and music throughout the year.You can find out more information about Jennie's work on her website: jenniefarleypoetry…

The Lonely Glove by Jennie Farley

Every morning on my daily walk
I passed a solitary right-hand glove
stuck on a gate.

Each time the glove looked
more sad, more forlorn,
as if hoping for someone

to claim it. We formed
a rapport, the glove and me;
chatted about the weather,

about this and that, while the horse
in the field behind looked on.
The other day walking past

an abandoned bus shelter I saw
a silky blue left-hand glove
wafting in the breeze.

I took it with me to the gate,
placed it beside the lonely glove,
and wished them both happy ever after.
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Jennie Farley is a published poet, teacher and workshop leader living in Cheltenham. Her work has featured in many poetry magazines and been performed at Festivals. Her first collection is My Grandmother Skating (Indigo Dreams Publishing 2016) followed by Hex (IDP 2018). She founded and runs NewBohemians@CharltonKings, a popular arts club providing poetry, performance and music throughout the year.You can find out more information about Jennie's work on her website: jenniefarleypoet…

Paths by O.T. Park

I like walking worn down tracksWhere the beat of human feetHas steadily marked the time.
Paths where trees eclipse the skyand where dabbled light anointsThe knotted and gnarled ground.
Long lanes scarred by raised rootsWhich form illegible inscriptions;Where vegetation creates a naveand the trail itself an endless aisle.
A placid place that celebratesFeet moving in communion.
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O.T. Park lives and works in Guildford. He has had poems published in Eye Flash Poetry, The Dawntreader and The Cannon's Mouth.

Easy peace in uneasy times by Leena Batchelor

Today, I walked. Riverside paths that led through and past my fantasy escape, intoReality, broken exhaust fumes and fractured conversations, whispersOf promises, breaths of sunshine glinting across currents, watery intrusions welcomed within mypeace.Gulls called as a dazzling elegance of swans skimmed to the Cathedral steps, promised food inreturn for the sustenance of watching a beauty still existing. Shedded feathers bobbed along theriver, forming cirrus clouds atop the wavelets. Scentsplayed peek-a-boo, tickling noses and faces with fragrant hints of summer emergingin the musical notes suffusing through the earphones, catching the rhythm of my breath.Smiles were nodded as the shackles withered, the cautious stepping aside with apology,still afraid to taste the freedom on offer. The smorgasbord of fear still laid out on the tablesof a misled populace; we were offered a reassured safety, protection.We received the darkness of uncertainty.Yet I feel that clouds are lifting, peace is c…

for you by Tiffany Shaw-Diaz

dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescopeshot up into the cosmos, eased into an orbit around Earth
you have silently watchedas comets wag their tails of dust and light through solitary jauntsand you have silently watched
as stars violently die, time after time in a luminous burst of colorand you have silently watched
as the far ends of space beam echoes of its creation into your brainand it is through your eyes i first learnedthat the universe is more vastmeaningful and complex
than my existence will ever be 
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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, and her second chapbook,filthwas published by Proleteria in 2020.