Wednesday, 14 August 2019

reflected in puddles by Paul Robert Mullen


locals gather                centre of the village

an old man flying                    kites
            high above the square
which is small / somehow oriental

she stops to sit
beneath the fingers of the husky oak
            a postcard to a lover

. . . it rains heavily here
                        but the town is like a painting . . .

long september nearly over                 coastal pathways
            down to hotels snaking past pier heads
and fishing boats
translation of Tristan Tzara under her arm

. . . i miss you and i love you
            but i may never understand you . . .

at night her window open wide
            the scent of falling dew outside 


---

Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Liverpool, U.K. He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018). He has been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies worldwide. Paul also enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Zooming in by Sharon Phillips

I can see it on Google Earth, 
the hillside cluttered with brambles
where one day I turned my ankle 
and sniffed back snot and tears
as we scrambled to the top;

on the brow of the hill we stopped 
to look back: at houses and flats; 
the salt marsh checkered by rhynes; 
the smokestacks of ships in the docks 
and khaki fumes from the chemical works; 
the silver glint of the Bristol Channel 
and over the water, Wales;

then on we rushed, past cabbage fields, 
through the wood’s green hush 
to the pond, carrying jars for newts 
we caught to take home: quick 
and brown, yellow bellies spotted black. 
Mine lived in a seaside bucket 
until I got bored or forgot.

I zoom in to find the wood, exactly 
as I remember it, though the fields are 
covered in barns, the salt marsh striped 
by a motorway’s asphalt. However hard 
I look, there is no trace of the pond.

---

Sharon started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she retired from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017), the Indigo Firsts pamphlet competition (2018) and the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The Incident by Chloë Clarke

After the incident, it will not seem like a crime
has occurred. There will only be silence;
no noise, no police cars.
You will inspect the crime scene for signs of a break in;
for shattered glass, a broken door.
But you will find nothing.

You will wonder what to do, who you should call;
whether you should call someone at all.

But you won’t
call anyone,
tell anyone.

Instead, you will try to remove any trace of the crime:
shower your body, scrub your skin raw,
wipe away tears you never got to cry.

Then hang yourself out to dry.

---

Chloë Clarke is a spoken word and performance artist who found herself in the poetry world after becoming Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate in 2014-2016. Chloë has been commended in the Foyles Young Poet of the Year award and has been published by Forward Poetry in ‘Simply Love – A Collection of Poetry. She has performed at the MAC Birmingham and headlined Worcestershire Litfest, while also running her own Open Mic night.  

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

“If the only prayer you say throughout your life is “thank you” then that will be enough.” by Ian Brunner

If the only prayer you say throughout your life “thank you” then that will be enough.” - Elie Wiesel

I am learning to pray,
which I suppose is to ask for what I want,
but what I want is to learn to want the right things.

I want to learn to ask for bridges made of intertwined hands which water runs under.

I want to see these hands from a different angel and think: Here is my church, here is the
steeple, open the door and see all the people.

I want the steeple to be our steeple and the world to be our world.

I want to see with the eyes of a child but wonder with the heart of a man.

I want to ask for the easing of burdens, for the changing of the system, for more men to look up
at night because how can we be important among all that clutter?

I want us all to know true madness just once. The kind that makes men sing and dance and
boys and girls laugh because the old curse: “May you live in interesting times” is also a blessing.

I want for you to learn to pray in whatever way you need to.

I want you to ask for the right things and I want you to sing as the universe revolves around you
and you revolve around the universe.

I want you to dance and laugh and go mad and when it comes time to say goodbye I want the
amount of times you said thank you to litter the shores of all the hearts you touched.

---

Ian Brunner is Buffalo born writer. He is the author of the chapbook: Ruminations. He has recently been published in The Novice Writer, Volume 1: Fear, Flash of Dark Volume 2, and Life as It Happens: A Nerdfighter Poetry Book. He can be found on Twitter @MadRadIan and Facebook.Com/IanBrunnersWriting. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Enchanter's Nightshade by Gareth Writer-Davies

Circaea Lutetiana


is actually 
quite a dull little plant


and if the definition of a weed is a plant where it is not wanted
(descriptive and prescriptive) 
then 
it deserves its own entry


as usual 
Latin confuses (from Circe the witch) and the habit of growing in dark 
out-of-the-way places


it’s the common name 
that thrills 
evoking a charismatic figure stooped over a pot and stirring


there is not enough magic in the world
yet when pushed
to choose
we prefer the natural super
but tidy


and enchanting 
has come to mean delightfully charming  


words spread
coming up in unexpected places


follow the root
you may learn something

---

Gareth Writer-Davies is from Brecon, Wales. He was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017) and the Erbacce Prize (2014), Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition (2015) and Prole Laureate for 2017; Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition (2015) and Highly Commended in 2017.

His work "Bodies" was published in 2015  by Indigo Dreams and "Cry Baby" came out 2017. “The Lover's Pinch" (Arenig Press) was published in June, 2018. His pamphlet “The End” is due out later this year.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Just a small sinkhole by John Porter

in an unmapped village 
they worked round it
made no calls, no fuss,
inch by inch it crept till
cows tumbled mid chew
people just putting the kettle on
then gone with house,
bedridden uncles, caged birds,
into the void.
It spread and consumed 
grey towns 
where beige takeaways 
looked gratefully to the abyss,
second level cities submitted
at sea it ate retirement cruises.
We knew it was near
but still worked, sent invoices, bought fruit,
did not mention the hole,
at the end allowed our eyes to meet,
held hands, fell in.

---

After living in a Moscow and London John Porter is now in Gloucestershire. He has degrees in Russian and Law and when not juggling his two small sons he writes poems, usually on trains. His work has appeared in  magazines including The Stinging Fly, Prole, Marble, Streetcake and Strix.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Absence by Kristine Brown


breathing, pallid, passively tremulous. feet crunching into October leaves beneath her cuticles, torn with premature age.

eyelids crinkled :: skin still smooth.

rosary—a confidante—is piercing her palm till it’s rosy with warmth, saving strength
amidst the snowflakes seen in a haze; souvenirs kept from travel to Tears.

watching behind the austere oak—its bark like glass, icy and stern. her eyes seem to find me, though I—I am nothing in her mind.

she never would have known me, this awkward lamb I have become.

trying to picture myself in her shell—that body, so brittle, and still withstanding the impact of angst’s exhalations, punctures so deep that my dear, Heaven is yours.


gracefully, wistfully, subtly, listless. finger of the promise ring—caressing the stone
granite pinnacles and chaste, white pledges.

rocks still glisten in dirtied Tears.

nails quite short, broken, scratched, but profound as they trace the words of his stay.
murmuring hopes that she’ll lie there so timely, compelling her—the best are buried with smiles.

---
On the weekends, Kristine Brown frequently wanders through historic neighborhoods, saying "Hello" to most any cat she encounters. Some of these cats are found on her blog, Crumpled Paper Cranes (https://crumpledpapercranes.com). Her creative work can be found in HobartQueen Mob's Teahouse, Burningword Literary Journal, Sea Foam MagPhilosophical IdiotThought Catalog, among others, and acollection of flash prose and poetry, Scraped Knees, was released in 2017 by Ugly Sapling. 


reflected in puddles by Paul Robert Mullen

locals gather                 centre of the village an old man flying                    kites             high above the square w...