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).

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

I Become a Gymslip Girl by Jennie Farley

We wear our boaters tipped to one side, 
our navy-blue cardies back-to-front,
tunics tucked up to show our knees.
We stick out our tongues behind 
the prefects’  backs, clamber over the row
of toilet cubicles to lock them from inside,
practise real kissing with smoochy lips. 

Susan is famous for her back-flips in gym,
Annabel for her trilling voice,
Tansy Trout for being a hoot.
I am famous for telling horror stories 
in the dorm after lights out, my fee 
two pennies from each gymslip girl
intended for Sunday Church collection.

In the mirror my eyes have gone black.
I have sold my soul to the Devil.

---
Jennie Farley is a published poet, workshop leader and teacher living in Cheltenham. Her work has featured in magazines including Prole, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House, and been performed at festivals.  Her first collection was Her Grandmother Skating (Indigo Dreams Publishing 2016) followed by Hex (IDP 2018). She is working on a short pamphlet The Gymslip Girls.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Touch-type by Thomas McColl

I lightly tap
your naked back
with my fingertips.


You say that touch-type
is the best type
of massage to give.


Not that it does a thing until 
I gently type the magic word
which begins in r and ends in x.


In any event, 
it’s only upon that final tap, 
where x marks the spot,  


and there it is, 
invisibly 
but, all the same, 
indelibly 
imprinted on your back… 


relax 


…that your massaged-with-a-message muscles will.

---

Thomas McColl has recently had poems published in magazines such as London Grip, Fat Damsel, The High Window, Prole, Dodging the Rain and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His first full collection of poetry, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, was published in 2016 by Listen Softly London Press and, this year, is one of four poets showcased in Co-Incidental 4, a pamphlet published by The Black Light Engine Room Press.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Things They Don't Tell You by Barbara O'Donnell

That the moment the words terminal diagnosis
leave the doctor’s mouth, the grieving starts.
Speaking a foreign language to cover for

the fact that there is nothing they can do.
That the family will fight, even as they know
the treatment plan is the best medicine available.

That his swallowing reflex will depart before him,
making you figure out ways to give him
the only thing he begs for, cold juice or whiskey.

That you’ll beg the pharmacist to tell you,
which is the better mouthwash to use.
As if it would make a difference.

That you’ll spend those last days, not telling
stories or saying how much you love each other.
But that he’ll repeatedly throw you out of the room.

Make you wonder again, whether to contradict
the doctor’s orders; to give him what he wants.
But which will also hasten his demise.

So that you can try to eke out the minutes, that
the clock tells you are passing, but which seem
to stand still inside the close, bare room,
which seems to be his wish.
That when he does go, the
guilty relief is almost immediate.

---

Barbara O’Donnell was born in West Cork in 1975. She works full time in the NHS in London. Her poetry has been published in Atrium, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Skylight 47, South Bank Poetry and Three Drops Press. She also dabbles in essays and flash fiction.

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. ...