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Showing posts from March, 2022

Trains are not Trains (if you are Jewish) by M. E. Silverman

Every train you see is not a train. Every train is a story. Some seem to shrug and stroll along ready for anything that goes. Others keep their eyes forward but break from the pack the first chance they get. Some scream through the night as if set afire. Another aches and aches. This one is sleek but strong like your mother; that one broods like your father. And look at this one painted for town and that one filled with swaying cattle. But oh, these are always cozy and carry you in their womb. A few even whisper words that tickle your ear and say love love love. Every train you see is not a train. Some are grandmotherly; others are fresh out the station. Some trains take each day at full force while others know the journey is all about possibilities. Others never even get to start. So many trains: how many track back and forth and loop back again? How many never give mind to the cargo packed painfully tight moving through the heavy night? How many chug along past all the town squares

Advice for cutting onions by Jack McGowan

Place a clean teaspoon in your mouth. Be safe but be as firm as you can. Use a sharp knife to break the skin wear sunglasses, chill beforehand. Try not to think about it: the onion plays tricks on the mind. Turn the exposed cuts away from you  so that they are hidden from view. It’s fine to cry if you are already crying, know that sometimes tears attract tears. Kindness is hard: the dangerous part is the skin. Know that a life lived without onions is bland, tragedy makes the thing a thing. What’s the big tent without the clowns? Or the circus without a ring? And when you have been caught in a nightmare and you wake with tears drowning your eyes tell yourself you have been cutting onions. --- Jack McGowan is a poet and researcher with over a decade of experience writing for both print and performance. His work has been published in a number of print and online publications and he has performed his work at high profile literary festivals across the UK. Jack is a Senior Lecturer in Creati

Empires fall everywhere by Antonia Taylor

All your ghosts hang pale blue shirts, I pick the small comb, gunpowder debris dragging its teeth & my mouth  across your woollen scent. Pile scratching moths on the bed next to a siege of unfinished sentences  & all your bad days. A language you kept at arm’s distance. Like love, you picked the easy parts,  I sift through old receipts, two alphabets, the dusty harbour-town in your bedside table.  The end of God’s name  seamed into a jacket, sleeves you wrap in dreams; somewhere, you’re watching Ayia Sophia flush red, turn east & Constantinople’s still burning. I take your plaid scarves, now smoky with years. You’re telling me how when you were small, soldiers searched animal skins for weapons & your father’s loyalty in the childhood home, I never saw. It was early spring. Choose the forest green Aquascutum, it made you feel like London.  Keep your passport, unapologetic as burnt-out foxholes. I loved how you were unafraid, just your stride, made every cut-through in Ba

Blood Brothers by Jennie Farley

I used to be Robin Hood roaming the forest behind our house, carving  R H in the bark of trees.  Not Maid Marian, too mumsy in her cambric skirts and flaxen braids. The thigh-length boots appealed to me.  I cropped my hair, collected long green feathers. My Granddad taught me archery. Hold tight the bow, and let the arrow fly. The gymslip girls were my Merry Men. They followed me through waist-high bracken, braving the sticky green spikes to the fence where the ferrets were nailed.  We dared each other to touch the feet.  We smeared our bloodied fingers across each others’ cheeks.  Blood brothers now, we plundered the woods for willow and yew, gathered whortleberries, wild sorrel and nuts which we fed each other in earthy dark, as we hid from the Sheriff in the Mighty Oak. --- 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 Grandmothe

Enough by Antonia Taylor

Your daughter tells you all constellations are arbitrary.              She worries about your potential.  The headline says the oceans choke  on planes. A new war started holy — it’s been pouring since you were small & now, you’re out of mascara. Hurt your knees with the same prayer,                  forehead against the sycamore.  You buried God here; when  you came back for him; they’d cut it down. Trip on the doorstep’s air; feel how breathing catches you out. Take only what you need & sell what you can’t hold.  When did the piano become  such an extremist? The only way  you can sit opposite your friend  is if you look away. How are you   a woman with three dead friends? Four, if you count Elena. Brush a stray hair  from the desk – another & one more. Notice you rake your ribs in your sleep. They discounted your ancestors till Monday to tell you who you are. Nothing   of your mother, but the fingernails of five empires scraped clean.  Yesterday, irises swelled the yellow