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Showing posts from July, 2021

Falling, and How do you leave someone who won’t even look you in the eye? by Amber Louise Horne

Falling  Icarus fell for the sea, found that waxed wings were too heavy, winced at blisters formed on his shoulder blades.  Icarus tried to carve shavings off the ends, pluck white faux feathers from divine intervention. Icarus didn’t  even like flying. He loved to fall. Icarus knew he was a candle in waiting. When the sun called him up with brightness and warmth, Icarus saw a way out. The sun  beckoned and melted and freed Icarus to the sea. Salt can sting and soothe all at once but it is cleansing. The  sea caught him in its vast arms and cooled his singed head and kissed away the burns on his back. Icarus fell asleep in the sweet push and pull of the midday tide. He would never see land again and he was happy. Salt coated his eyelashes and lips. The sea fished his heart out.  --- How do you leave someone who won’t even look you in the eye? Sometimes I think Eurydice had forgotten  how to feel lonely. She’d forgotten how  to miss Spring. She’d forgotten how to  miss the kiss of a bo

His Wife Was An Electrician by Gareth Culshaw

He wore slippers made of duck feathers, drove a skoda through the snow, but a lada in the months of summer. I never knew if he liked oranges or apples as he ate both at the same time. His wife was an electrician fed the house light bulbs through pringle tubes. She had wired him up for years and when he walked you saw him leaning on a lamppost as if running out of battery. They were married for the length of my childhood. He made scones on a Tuesday, and bread on a Wednesday. Brought them to the local school. We spread butter with our ironed palms, used lego teeth to change the shape of the food in our mouths. He walked his dog every day with a brown belt for a lead. His flat cap fizzed with electrodes that his wife planted in there before he left. If our ball landed in the garden we knocked with our feet hoped the rubber soles kept us alive. He answered through the letterbox, talked out of a tuba mouth. His wife watched us from the living room window as we hovered above the lawn. Daffo

Dear Reader's future

  Charley and Talis are actively looking for ways to make Dear Reader better, for readers and writers like. Since the start of 2021, we've put out themed calls for submissions and we've also updated (albeit on an ad hoc basis) our inspiration page, with pictures and music for stumped authors to use as prompts. While throwing ideas around this week, we made a drastic decision that we nevertheless feel is a sensible move for the site. So, following the final Wednesday in July, when two amazing  poems will be published, Dear Reader will be closing down entirely. For a month.  During this month, Charley and Talis are going to be editing and tweaking the site a lot . Rest assured, though, that if you're already published with us then your work will remain published . If you're hoping to be published with us, you are still encouraged to submit work during this month period , but note that Charley and Talis may be a little slower than usual with replies.  After this month - on

Flash: Empty Bedrooms by Talis Johnson

Bram disappeared on a clear summer evening some weeks ago. I missed his brown warmth pressed against my calves as I made coffee in the morning. Missed the steady thump of his ever-wagging tail as he traipsed the hallways looking for someone to fall into. I even missed the low whine in the mornings, wet nose snuffling at my bedroom door begging to be let in.  Eventually, however, you move on. The silence becomes welcoming rather than a reminder of the noise that once filled the house. Autumn was starting to drop leaves on the front porch when Bram finally came home. I heard the familiar rhythm of his tail hitting the wall as he padded down the corridor.  When he whined at my bedroom door it was a welcome sound, and I rushed to open it. When I reached it, however, he was already gone, tail whacking on the stairs behind me.  Later, in the kitchen, I felt him pressed against the back of my legs as I stood at the window, staring out over the empty garden. The rusted swing set looked lonely

Review: Learning to have lost by Oz Hardwick, reviewed by Charley Barnes

Oz Hardwick’s Learning to have lost was recommended to me during an open mic event where I probingly asked what people think of prose poetry. The results were mixed, as they often are. So, then, in this series of ‘reviewing poetry’, where Talis and I will spotlight some of our recent reads, it only feels right that I break the rule of reviewing poetry by reviewing a set of prose poems, a genre that seems to have no rules at all – or, if it does, they are ones that are constantly under interrogation.  Hardwick’s bitesize collection belonging under this heading, though, is a beautiful exploration of what prose poetry means to so many writers: it is the undefinable. In these moments, Hardwick asks that we lean on ‘a muscle memory… a mix of faith and reflex, like a small religion’ (“Space Invaders”) and it is in doing so that we, the reader, find a way to explore these works fully. Hardwick borrows from familiar languages and less familiar structures – is it prose, is it poetry – to expl

I am in my blue childhood, and Finding a Game Token in My Change Jar by James Croal Jackson

I am in my blue childhood  bedroom, black Walkman  spinning CD-Rs of Mega Man music. I want to dance–  anything but obsidian.  Scraped knees learning  to ride a bike– bloodstained  handlebars leaving the woods.  I can handle myself better now, not always falling into  potholes I noticed yesterday.  Last week, driving home from work in the city,  my tires hissed  as they failed to replicate  their cells, then blew out in the middle of the road in the warehouse district.  But I had music going– OverClocked ReMixes from Chrono Cross, which got me thinking about the Winds of Time, parallel universes, the inevitability of Lavos– I had to call for help.  I spent green youth cooped in front of  the basement television.  Now, if I were to fetishize anything it would be no real consequences– to the cyclical parallels of the universe. --- Finding a Game Token in My Change Jar  I shuffle through memory for  a single midnight. What did we do  at school? Redeem gold tokens  at Swings ‘N’ Things? Cl