Friday, 2 December 2016

A poem by George Morehead

This is our first poetry film - depending on the number of submissions received, we hope to intersperse future posts with Poetry and Poetry films. I highly recommend that this film is listened to with headphones.





George Morehead used to follow foxes through the dark. In 2016 he buried all manner of cursed things in a hole beside a tree. He is the determined survivor of a brain that went bang, and prays with hope for light to fill any terribly wounded hearts. He's very certain your next adventure will be better than your last, and told me to tell you, "Bon nuit mon amour, bon nuit."

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A poem by David Henson

This Time, Swords


A giant sword rises through the floor,
skewers the sofa,
pokes through the ceiling.
She turns the page.

A blade crashes
through the window, slides
behind her neck.
She tilts the book out of the shadow,

then lifts her feet
as another sword nicks at her heels.

She fights to stay awake
as a half-dozen more
criss-cross around her.

The land line sounds.
When she picks up, a pin
juts out of the mouthpiece
between her open lips.

Applause crackles in her ear.
She hangs up then twists
and limbos to bed --
tomorrow's another day.





David Henson and his wife live in Peoria, IL. His poetry has appeared in two chapbooks as well as various journals including Ascent, Lullwater Review, Pikestaff Forum, and 7x20.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A poem by Christopher Iacono

Earth, Waving

Inspired by Bridget Riley's Fall (1963)

A rumble outside the window
trickles into your ears
like shooting drops of rain.
A waving floor shifts your feet,
bends your legs.
Then the first picture frame
slides down the wall,
the second one
collapses on the mantle
before crawling over the edge,
broken glass streaking
into your veins,
cracks growing like ivy
against the wall,
sheet-rock powder
sprinkling on the carpet.
Hundreds of crashes
pummel the wet sand
of your skin, rivers of noise
overflow in your skull, linger
until you yank the door open,
run from the threatened shore.
When the flood recedes,
you gaze into the last shards
of glass intact in the mirror
before the sight of the damage
sends the final tremor.






Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. He has been published in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, Dirty Chai, Pidgeonholes, among others. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org or find him on Twitter (@ciacono1973) or Instagram (@ciacono761).

Thursday, 24 November 2016

A poem by Colin Crewdson

Sprites


Prompts, night flares:
      
Last night you were blond,
      
bobbed.  You had a small sharp nose.
You left for Paris.

Before:
       
You walked like a farmer,
       
solid, mistrustful,
your mind on the technicalities of minutes. 

In the darkest night of grief
you carried off the last light, a thief
softly unbodying herself.
 

And then:
               
You leant over
               
created a bridge over the years
       
        with whisps of golden hair.
Should I feel grateful?

Photogenesis:
                
neurones briefly flash,
                 
noctilucent,
                 
as your torch beam
swings by in the dark, randomly. 






Colin Crewdson lives in Devon where he works as an osteopath, after a career in other european and middle-eastern countries. He's been published in Ink Sweat & Tears, The High Window, The Open Mouse and The Journal.

Monday, 21 November 2016

A poem by Julia D. McGuinness

Not Muriel


Low sun through the windows
gilds dust in a bone-weary lounge.
A rasp cuts the air; specks whirl.
That's my sister! It's Muriel!
A stranger spears her finger
at me, pins me not Muriel

with a rigid stare, shadowed
in sockets dark with old grievance;
Her stiff hand needles my sleeve.
What's happened with the house?
I flinch, like a Muriel clamped
and mantled to fix the family.

Stumped, I scan bodies slumped
in Care and see Mum asleep,
mouth open, in a tan chair:
upright; plastic; urine-resistant.
I crouch low, whisper by her face
the name she gave me once.





Julia D. McGuinness lives in Cheshire where she writes, counsels and runs writing workshops for creativity and wellbeing. Her poems have been published in anthologies and online appearances include Clear Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Her collection Chester City Walls, was published by Poetry Space in 2015. She belongs to Lapidus, the network of therapeutic writing practitioners, and the Mid Cheshire Stanza BLAZE.
Visit her at www.creativeconnectionscheshire.co.uk

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A poem by Louisa Campbell

Feral You


Oh no, no, no do not forgive,
but grab on tight to all your grief.
Don’t take your fury by the arm
and frogmarch it into the street:
It will survive on scraps of thoughts
and memories left out for it

and sometimes scrawny, sometimes sleek,
at night time it will stand and screech as
bold as brawn, outside your gate,
when you're grown up,
when it's too late.







Louisa Campbell is a product of a weird religious upbringing, happily married (third time around) mother of two children, who hangs around spa towns. A psychiatric nurse in the past, she now has a bizarre illness that can make her everso slightly psychotic, but has the bonus that it provides lashings of material for creative writing. Her ambition is to reach out with her poetry and connect with, or even comfort, someone. In the mean time, she adopts stray dogs, stray people and stray thoughts. And bakes cupcakes.

Monday, 14 November 2016

A poem by Hilary Hares


Illusion

Braque expands upon a collaboration between himself and Picasso  (CĂ©ret, 1911)


Come, let me be your guide, I know the cypher to its depths.
   We call it Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantelpiece.

Pull the bottle from the cork, drink from its geometries,
   attune your ear to subtle notes of ochre and grey.  

Now, abstract your gaze.  See how the images surface and dive,
   overlap, distil.

What?  What’s that you say?  You see no clarinet, no mantleshelf,
    no bottled rum?






Hilary Hares has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Winchester in 2010 and an MA in poetry from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in the following:
Anthologies: Lines Underwater 2013, Inspired by my Museum 2014, Hampshire Writers’ Society Anthology of the Best of 2011-2014
Competitions: Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2016 (shortlist), Christchurch Writers Competition 2013 (First Prize for Poetry), The Plough Prize 2011 (longlist)
Collaborations: Elemental Dialogues (www.elementaldialogues.wordpress.com), Writing Hampshire (www3.hants.gov.uk/writing-hampshire).
Magazines: Antiphon, Bare Fiction, First Time, South, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, The New Writer

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A poem by Elizabeth Gibson

As the darkness fell


Red spots, ink stains on your back became a
flowing stream; fear in my mouth, my legs, as I
ran upstairs the way I would always run after my
big brother but there was no man to hold me,
hold us, when the darkness fell.

You sat in the office with Mr Jump, holding his
soft green body, bandy legs dangling. You knew
something was wrong but you were serene. Emily
bounced about and then came to cuddle you, eight
condescending to six as the darkness fell.

If I thought you would be like saintly invalids
in books I was gladly wrong. You taunted your
sister, black spots beneath your eyes, as she
scratched her head furiously and screamed at you
and all seemed okay as the darkness fell.

Trawling through the zoo with a buggy – mine?
No, it was your cousin who slept, oblivious
to the treat that I had dragged myself out to
bestow upon her. The giraffes didn’t impress you
either, as the darkness fell.

You turned seven and we celebrated in the garden,
your long legs making waves in the grass and Emily
rocked her chair and told you not to rock yours
and the bad meat made her sick but you were
spared, thank God, as the darkness fell.

You went back to school and did well but you
were never like them; never loud, clever, fast.
But you survived, your summer hat perched over
your new curls and my psoriasis erupted and
I didn’t give a damn as the darkness fell.

When the thunder crashed you listened, rapt, while
Emily stood trembling. We watched all night and
she seemed okay, I couldn’t be sure but separating
you would be wrong and taking you from what you
loved would be a sin as the darkness fell.

You couldn’t eat a thing, you said, you cried when
I tried to make you, you were sick and sick and sick
and the doctor looked at me and shook his head and
I knew that was it. How I longed to feed you from a
banquet of the gods as the darkness fell.

The white of the bed, the sheets, as we stand looking
at Emily who will give her cells for you, who is smiley
as ever, cheeks full of colour and you are white and
thin and I know this is our last chance and I love you,
I love you as the darkness falls.

Today, my darling, you will get new marrow and get
better; you will run wild, two little girls keeping up
with one another how it was meant to be. Tomorrow
all will be well so I will say goodnight and hold
you tight as the darkness falls.






Elizabeth Gibson is a Masters student at the University of Manchester and a Digital Reporter for Manchester Literature Festival. She is a member of Writing Squad 8 and has work published or forthcoming in The Cadaverine, London Journal of Fiction, Far Off Places, Myths of the Near Future, The Mancunion, Octavius, Severine and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She tweets at @Grizonne and blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk.

Monday, 7 November 2016

A poem by Jo Waterworth

Shooting photons in the Canaries 


They can get lost on the way, you know, violating inequality.
We need a security guarantee.
Are Alice and Bob truly influencing each other?
If local realism was to be believed
he would likely be enamoured with the flutter of every photon set in stone.
Hardcore diamonds containing potential bugs patched the universe,
but so ingrained into our daily thinking is a property called spin
that every test they did was toast, leaving a gap,
a hypothetical pair conventionally known as
rival teams at the University.

(with thanks to New Scientist)






Jo Waterworth lives in Somerset, is a member of Wells Fountain poets and has performed with Strange Sisters. She has won prizes and been published online and in print, most recently in I am Not a Silent Poet, Hedgerow, Gnarled Oak, Obsessed with Pipework, Poetry Space showcases and prizewinners anthology. Her pamphlet My Father Speaks in Poetry Too is available from Poetry Space. Currently studying at Bath Spa University, she blogs at https://jowaterworth23.wordpress.com and https://jowaterworthwriter.wordpress.com

Thursday, 3 November 2016

A poem by Bethany Rivers

Honeymoon


Laughter flings itself on the walls
of a derelict Spanish village.

He stops on the steps
between two tumbling cottages,

sperm leaking down my leg.

He turns his palm to the sun blenched wall
and listens, as if with a stethoscope

to the baby in my womb
two years from now –

before we know it dies.

I want to be his hand against the wall
skin against stone, warmth of ages

the generational laughter
trapped in horse hair crevices.

I watch the caress of the wall –
those fingers that slid inside

and made me cry out not an hour ago.
I listen to my stiletto heels echo

as I climb up the sandstone steps
to where he is, I catch his glance

lilting between sun and shade
and I forgive him, everything.





Bethany Rivers' debut pamphlet has just come out (July 2016) with Indigo Dreams Publishing, called 'Off the wall' - a collection inspired by a series of paintings on the theme of finding your voice. Previous poems have appeared in Envoi, Sarasvati, Cinnamon Press, Bare Fiction, Picaroon Poetry, Clear Poetry, and many others. She runs poetry inspiration and healing days and mentors writers through writing their first novel/memoir. www.writingyourvoice.org.uk

Monday, 31 October 2016

A poem by Maggie Mackay

How to Distil a Guid Scotch Malt

Separate the Gross from the Subtle
                                             
Hieronymus Brunschwig

Wrap yourself in Mum’s dressing gown, its envelope-hug,
pour a dram of uisage beatha, sip peppery Talisker peat.

Hear the barley grain grind in the mill, conjure a mash in the steel tun,
a flow into the wash, stroked by hushes and baloo baleerie.

Gloamings on salty coastlines, sweet kiln smoke, skin oil grams,
cloud the floor of the tumbler, climb the sides, pull you into the cask.

Acids blend with ethanol, transform into esters, fruity and aromatic.
A Hebridean sunset copper-pots your tongue, biscuit-beaches rise in your throat.

There’s a nip in the air, a lifetime of goodnights fermenting in a kipper fire.
Her arm entwines in yours. She comes home, full flavoured.

Task begun, the heart of the run is now, my middle years of fear and longing.





Maggie Mackay, a retired additional support needs teacher and lover of jazz and whisky, lives on the east coast of Scotland and is enjoying life as a final year Masters Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University where she is currently working on her poetry portfolio.

She has work in various print and online publications, including Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Indigo Dreams Publishing and in several Three Drops Press anthologies.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A poem by Helen Kay

Floaters


She swims into herself,
to see the tadpoles darting.

They tease her scarred attention
to the lie of space before her.

Tail whip to free fall. Blink.
Pupils close in to catch them

in a vitreous underworld
of flaking retinal spawn.

Experts gaze in crystal balls,
and predict the changes

of moons she cannot reach.
She foresees latex fingers

fishing out crescent larvae
before eyes spew out toads.





Helen is a dyslexia tutor and proud owner of five hens who inspired her debut pamphlet, A Poultry Lovers' Guide to Poetry published by Indigo Dreams in 2015.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A poem by Catherine Ayres

Single-breasted


Always the echo of what’s left,
a heart’s empty warehouse
the swim of abandoned light.
We fall through afternoons,
find ourselves face down and framed
in bottom drawers, holding hands
with bastards in a tomb of bras.
The saints have lost patience;
they grant us single magpies,
blow-dry halos, dreams of bad sex.
Night skins us. We drink the street lights’
wallow, lie quivering in an absence of backs.
Try our false dawns for size:
blink through a veil of clean sheets,
suck your finger, spit dust.






Catherine Ayres lives and works in Northumberland. Her poems have appeared in a number of print and online magazines, including Mslexia and The Moth. In 2015 she came third in the Hippocrates Poetry Prize. She has a pamphlet published by Black Light Engine Room and a collection – Amazon – to be published by Indigo Dreams Publishing later this year.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A poem by Sarah L. Dixon

Woodland Burial


Feed nature
let scattered plaques of fat
be a platter
for fatter cats
and Natterjacks

my duodenum
would feed them
for the longest season

Feed nature
An evil force ignores
an enormous dormouse
to gnaw my jaw ajar

Feed nature
Weasels deem it feasible
That feet’ll be
a reasonable neat meat treat

Therapy failed to save her
Now starving strays savour
The flavour of her navel





Sarah L Dixon tours as The Quiet Compere. She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The Lake and Clear Poetry among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her five-year old, Frank. She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4! http://thequietcompere.co.uk/

Monday, 17 October 2016

A poem by Emily R. Frankenberg

A Chronology


My grandmother referenced dates in cats:
“Oh, that was in the time of Pixie the First,”
or “Those were the days of Mittens,”
elevating them to the status of dynasties
or perhaps of Old Testament prophets.
The interregnums were brief and generally
relatable in dogs, or in apartments, or in hamsters.
Thus, a bird flew into my mother’s birthday cake
sometime at the height of the reign of Teddy,
and I was born in the decline of Pixie the Second.
I miss this way of classifying dolls and Halloweens,
kitchens abuzz and yards of fireflies illuminating dusks:
the things that chafe against the measure of a day.
I miss the angle of her lilt bent toward a village in the rain
across the jagged wound of ocean intervening.
I wrote her phrases in a notebook in a print now obsolete
in the era of Snowy and my recurring C’s in penmanship.
Some would have said it was Scotch-Irish dialectology,
but for me it was her voice, and when I try to hear it now,
it comes back staticky and odd. I heard her clearly once,
not knowing it would be for the last time,
in the overlapping reign of Tinkerbell and Mittens.






Emily R. Frankenberg was born in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Delaware in 2004 with degrees in Spanish and English Language and Literature. In 2006, she moved to Seville, Spain, where she continues to live. She writes in both Spanish and English and has been published in the United States, Spain and Colombia.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

A poem by Caty Lee

Who would like to nominate the white blood cell count
For the Zelda Fitzgerald emotional maturity award?

Some skid-free mats,
Misrepresentation by wheel chairs,
A hospital elevator in non-repair.
Sort of reductionist, but

the thin scope down my throat loves my
California-poppy esophagus
denoting acceptance
of scandal by strategic eye contact.

It’s never sunny anywhere except the muscles
Of Mesa, Arizona. Lesions large enough to be seen by the naked eye,
And my platelet count clicks into
Chromosome avalanches in the spinal
tapping irony from the sidewalks of Eastern Standard Time.

The fruitful doubts that emerge when eyeing my CT scan,
Subliminal messages from some German electronic band,
Some cancer of the gut I’ve been meaning to get beyond.







Caty Lee likes third-person biographical information, clementines, the mind-body problem, and synthesizing with literary texts. As far as she understands it, honest writing is about tending to the sore back and the philosophical leanings at the time of deliberation. It isn’t about conforming to a self-sponsored concept of what a reader wants to see. She is an English major at St. Bonaventure University and hopes to embark on an MFA program after completing a bachelor’s degree.

Monday, 10 October 2016

A poem by Linda Leedy Schneider

I Can’t Forget


    the lilac bushes or the secret space
in the center of their circle,
sheltered from the sun.

I can’t forget   
    the sound of bees gathering nectar
from lavender trumpets,
or jazz drifting from an open window.

I can’t forget
    the lingering taste of buckwheat pancakes
and syrup from the sap of our maple tree.

I can’t forget
    the feel of my first grade books
or the joy of reading them over and over.

I can’t forget
    my hideaway protected by heart-shaped leaves,
or the boy, visitor next door, who intruded.

I can’t forget
    the music, the scent of lilacs,
my books, his hands,

or his grandmother who said I lied.



Previously published in Peninsula Poets







Linda Leedy Schneider, poetry and writing mentor and psychotherapist in private practice, was awarded the 2012 Contemporary American Poetry Prize by Chicago Poetry. She has written six collections of poetry including Some Days: Poetry of a Psychotherapist (Plain View Press) and has edited two collections of poetry written by poets whom she has mentored: Mentor’s Bouquet (Finishing Line Press) and Poems From 84th Street (Pudding House Publications 2010).

Thursday, 6 October 2016

A poem by Elena Croitoru

Changes


Two countries ago, mother
spread like the horizon. Immutable.

She is now crayoned in sepia ink.
The borders have shrunk her.
Must not go back,
for she is thinner every time.
A sliver of feeling leaves me.

Her skin is heavy, full of lines assembled into a map
of wrongs and rights.
Her heart is a violin filled with water,
no longer echoing.

She must be looking at the bones of a memory
past the bedroom eaten by black threads.
She must be sliding her fingers
on the umber desk, like I used to.

I did not tell her the stars took me in.
I used to climb up there
when it got too loud.

If she were to see it too
the cold forever, disguised in trembling light,
the cemetery of young thoughts,
her life would fall into mine and
we would fold the world into what
it was supposed to be.





Elena Croitoru is based in London and is working on poetry, short stories and novels. She is currently studying for the Diploma in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slink Chunk Press, Foliate Oak, The Front Porch Review and other magazines. One of her stories has been selected as an Editors' Choice in Bewildering Stories' Fourth Quarterly Review of 2015. She also works as a software developer.

Monday, 3 October 2016

A poem by Jane Burn

YOUR TRUE LOVES ARE THE END OF THINGS


Rest, they say. The vanquished heart
                                              is a peaceful heart,
no more need for questing. The victory
                                   is soft, soft
as the invisible fall of a wasted eyelash, but definite
as railtracks. You can pass into legend, now. I have
a file for you, between
                        this and that,
            him and her,
   them and it.
            Daedaleum,
                       flicka-flicka-flicka-flicka -
I got you stuck in this moment, just as I come
in a room and your head goes up
                                    goes up-goes-up-goes-up.
The colour of your iris is immaterial.
                                             Flicka-flicka-flicka-flicka.
Smile a little. Who ever knew what you
were thinking anyhow? I made another crock of shit,
that’s all. My zoetrope love, pushing back your chair,
                                half rising-half rising-half rising.
                        tilt-tilt-tilt-tilt your neck
            and smile, look away. You,
pretending not to see me, pretending
            not to see you. You, looking out the window,
                        at an empty glass – you fold your arms and
                                it hurts my heart.
                                        You and me, we wear our scars
like lacework across the skin of tripe. We ought
to be snatches of light, escaping their gyre-ing gaps.
                                   Flicka-flicka-flicka-flicka-
                       flicka-flicka-flicka-
           flicka-flicka-                        
flick.




Jane Burn is a writer and illustrator based in the North East of England. Her poems have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, from The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter's House, the Black Light Engine Room Literary Review, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Beautiful Dragons and the Emma Press. She is also the founder of the online poetry site, The Fat Damsel https://thefatdamsel.wordpress.com/

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A poem by Sam Loveless

After the Swings


Leaving the seat,
                          You left an impression,
                          however brief.

Try to remember
                          trying to forget.

The chemicals 
                          cleanse your mind,
                          not your history.

You can be accepted. 
                          Choose your apologies
or                       change your future.

                          Swinging happy.
                          Swinging melancholy.

Not forgetting
                          how high we swung.
                          Where you landed.






Sam Loveless is a Swindon-based poet and railway worker. He began writing poetry at Swansea University and now comperes the open mic night for Poetry Swindon. He also produces ‘Rhythm & Rhyme’ a radio show on Swindon 105.5 dedicated to literature and related arts.

Monday, 26 September 2016

A poem by Ben Banyard

Something in Common


So you meet
open up
and sometimes there’s enough

to make you laugh and sing
look at each other
beyond physical nights
feel that there might be hooks
sliding bloodlessly under flesh
to keep you together
even when you’re lying awake back to back
with a foot of cool air between you

That’s your hot beating heart
the always-fire glowing at home
with a half-life which will continue to react
long after you’ve both slipped into memory






Ben Banyard lives and writes in Portishead, near Bristol. His debut pamphlet, Communing,
was published by Indigo Dreams in February 2016 and his poems have appeared in The
Interpreter’s House, Prole, Popshot, RAUM and Lunar Poetry, amongst others. He blogs at

Ben edits Clear Poetry, an online journal publishing accessible writing by newcomers and old

Thursday, 22 September 2016

2 poems by Gareth Writer-Davies

It Was a Big Decision to Paint the Cupboards


I like white
but imagine what it would be like, to paint the cupboards yellow.

It would have to be a subtle shade (not daffodil or lemon)
something, Austro-Hungarian perhaps, as you see in Vienna or Budapest.

This will be a departure, catholic even, for my room is modest
and having taken the walls back, to lath and plaster, colour (seems) unnecessary.

Maybe a tone (like the sun on a snowy day) could be painted on the cupboards.
A yellow which goes with white.





Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition.
Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014.
His pamphlet "Bodies", was published in 2015 through Indigo Dreams and his next pamphlet "Cry Baby" will be published in 2017.



-----

This poem was first published on Amaryllis 24/11/2015

IOIO


the tafarn is cosy
warm-ish to
the English who pass through

hogiau bitch
the ffwclyd
shit Seisnig

but Iolo is friendly
and happy
to chinwag with anyone

a pint of Red Dragon
in his hand
the overt vowels of Welsh

playing upon his lips
the bi-fold
brand of economics

the reason he is sat
here watching
the English beat themselves

but that is how it is
the two tongues
in the one thirsty throat

the twofold
melody
of the mouth

the grating chord of one
country hard
up against another                                     



Previously published in The Journal #46


Monday, 19 September 2016

A poem by Nicholas Antoniak

An Icy Road


As if in the pursuit
of troubled eyes that follow down narrow hallways
you stopped and spoke quite plainly
too plainly, in fact
about the way a car slides out
under thick, December, ice

For we,
who prefer to live beneath shrouds
and behind thick doorways,
would rather think
that the car remained oblivious
to the ice, the road and the spin.






Nicholas Antoniak, is an 18 year old emerging Australian writer. He writes both creative fiction, opinion pieces, poetry and anything else creative. He has been included in the 2015 Lane Cove short story anthology. In July he will commence a bachelor of arts majoring in philosophy and sociology and hopes one day to become an author.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

A poem by Sarah Satterlee

When I Lost the House


Flurry of coins on hardwood,
haphazard, flat hailstones,

she stands above them shaking
the ceramic cow,

they shimmer and skate
in loops, each swooning mirror.

Is it enough? she asks,
moon-eyed.

I wrap each photograph
in paper,

each dish,
each half-burnt candlestick,

I line them up in boxes
like offerings to the dead.






Sarah Satterlee is a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she was the recipient of the 2007 Jean Garrigue Award for her collection of poems. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Wilderness House Review and Chronique. She lives in Rhode Island with her daughter, where she works as a nurse.

Monday, 12 September 2016

A poem by Katie Munnik

Grey


The week of our sister’s wedding, we painted the basement stairs.
Grey, not industrial, not cosy either.
Practical like nickels or skate blades,
work socks, sidewalks, pigeon grey.
We started at the top
but after a step or two,
reconsidered.
The stairs were too steep for the two of us,
daughters still at home,
jostled for space, trying to keep our balance,
worrying about falling or dropping the brush.
So we lowered ourselves, stretched
reaching toes down past the wet paint,
elbows and knees extended as far as they would go
to start again at the bottom.

I hoped our little brother would stay where he was.
Outside hunting for ladybugs, likely,
behind the garden shed.
We should have laid newspaper at the top of the stairs
to warn him
or told our mother
or made a sign.

Instead, we decided we only needed an escape route ourselves.
The basement window might work,
with a stool and a shove or two,
if we could manage to pop the bars from their brackets
the way Dad showed us, the day he installed the smoke detector.
We hatched a better plan.
We would paint every second step, then long-leg it back upstairs,
drink lemonade in the sun, catch ladybugs ourselves,
work on our perfect bridesmaids tans
until the paint dried.

It was a good plan, twenty-one years ago Thursday.
Maybe someday, I am very sure
we’ll go back down and paint the rest.




About Katie Munnik
I am a Canadian writer living in Cardiff, UK. My prose, poetry and creative non-fiction work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, in newspapers across Canada and on CBC radio. I recently completed fiction mentorship through the Humber School for Writers in Toronto, Canada.
@messy_table

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A poem by Anas Hassan

Pheidippides


blast thresholds through Friday evening hail
blench in the cryotherapy chamber’s last chance saloon
wake fretting at a 3 a.m. derailment on the racing line
deplete energy with a novice's fierce dance routine
flail in the slipstream of a too speedy skort
snatch Jelly Babies from high-fiving kids at Shadwell
get overtaken by a toilet at the Tower
bite frantically at a sachet of factory-fresh fruits
fight the Naseby raging inside you
clasp your battle souvenir like a venerated relic
jostle through the makeshift Renkioi
shuffle down the stairs like your great-grandfather
peel dank kit off your weeping nipples
shovel calories like you've just escaped Leningrad
start again like a trader after a market crash








Anas Hassan lives in London. He is a strategy consultant and keen runner, and speaks French, German and Arabic. He studied history and international relations at Cambridge University. His poetry has recently been published in Ink, Sweat & Tears and The Interpreter’s House magazines.

Monday, 5 September 2016

A poem by Lindsey Talbott

'Worn'


Sea blue dress
breathing water
gulls call
and fingers tauten in the sand

Buried at the back of the wardrobe
still breathing faintly
she touches the unreachable blue
and curls in on herself like a shell

Letting go
she catches a glimpse
in the mirror
and turns to look herself in the face

Sunlight running through air
weeping

Familiar red-brown hair
the first tints of winter as
ice creaks and shifts
in a far-off land

cut and coiled
in a shoe box under her bed

Her body knows
and leaves the sea blue
hanging





'Lindsey writes poems sitting under trees on occasional small time islands in the flow of her life as a talking therapist, co- steward of a small woodland project, in the dance and her spiritual practice. She is drawn to the dance of bodies and in the natural world, more than the dance of words – and she writes and reads poetry and prose along the way, as she has from childhood. Poems in particular are a form of process overflow – she talks in poems when there is no-one around to share with.'

Thursday, 1 September 2016

A poem by Vanessa Gebbie

To a Welsh tunneller killed in France in 1916, whose body still lies 40 ft below ground


Did you prefer your garden wild,
all edges softened, scented? Did grasses
seed for you
in the evening light, and
Spanish daisies dance
                                   down the old brick step?

Did shallots wait in untidy rows, with
chives and parsley frills and leeks, and
on your two apple trees, did russets grow?
Was all stone mellow,
none bright, and in the ivy
were dunnocks nesting year on year,
and robins too, wood pigeons in the ash?

And everywhere was light, everywhere
the kindest shadow,
and when it rained
at night
did you stand at your open window,
                       the sweet air on your skin,
and listen
to the small sounds,
                                as though

you could hear the whole world, greening?





This poem is previously published, in Vanessa's collection 'Memorandum, poems for the fallen' (Cultured Llama, 2016).




Vanessa Gebbie is author of seven books including the novel ‘The Coward’s Tale’ (Bloomsbury 2011), two collections of short fiction ‘Words from a Glass Bubble’ and ‘Storm Warning’ (Salt), and two poetry publications ‘The Half-life of Fathers’ (Pighog) and ‘Memorandum, poems for the fallen’ (Cultured Llama). Her work has won both the Troubadour International and the Sussex poetry prizes. Twelve poems from Memorandum will form part of an exhibition for Hurstpierpoint Festival in September 2016, and will be illustrated in stained glass, photography and sculpture. www.vanessagebbie.com

Monday, 29 August 2016

A poem by Edward O'Dwyer

My Best Friend Sammy


My best friend Sammy is a stubborn bastard
about everything. When we were eight,
I’ll always remember it, he took a shot
and it went over the jumper. It was post,
nowhere near a goal. No fucking way,
Sammy started screaming. It was in.
And crazy eyes on him. When he gets
the crazy eyes on him he isn’t messing.
He fell out with me over it, took his ball
and went home, not a word. Days passed
and turned into two weeks and enough
was enough. I called over to his house
after school and I said, Okay, Sammy,
it was in. That was that. Minutes later
and we were out kicking the ball again,
playing a game of Pole. Stubborn cunt,
I said to Sammy as he was heading in
and he laughed. They beat the absolute shit
out of him, the fucking scumbags. Sammy
could be his own worst enemy sometimes.
That was just a plain fact. I know him.
I know he could have stayed down but
wouldn’t. They kept putting him down
and he kept getting back to his feet
and laughing and calling them pansies
and then daring them to try it again,
his big fat eyes bulging out of his head.
They took their turns having their kicks
and digs. Then they took one of the eyes
out of him. They stabbed him, piercing
a lung. They’d have been looking for a fag.
That’s how it goes. You’re probably
fucked if you give it, fucked if you don’t.
They’re not asking. It’s not about the fag.
Gizz a fag ‘ill yuh, they say, and the best
thing you can do is peg it, but Sammy
wouldn’t ever do that, the stubborn fuck
that he is. Gizz a fag ‘ill yuh, they say,
and their hoods up, a scrawny shower,
tracksuit bottoms tucked into white socks.
G’wan will uh, iss ony wan fag like.
I really need Sammy to wake up.
He’s my best friend and I need him.
The same day it happened I shifted Jenny.
I want to tell Sammy all about it,
the fucking magic of it, her tongue
in my mouth, mine in hers and my hands
all over the juicy denim arse of her.
Finally did it. Sammy has been listening
to me going on and on about Jenny
for must be over four years now and never
doing nothing about it. Shifted the face
off her but it doesn’t feel real now.
How can it if I can’t tell my best friend?
Jesus Christ, wake up, wake fucking up.
Sammy has to be the first to know, I owe
him it. You stubborn cunt, Sammy.
It was post, Sammy, when we were eight.
Post. Now wake up and scream at me.
Open up your crazy eye, tell me it was in.






Edward O'Dwyer, from Limerick, Ireland, has poetry published in magazines and anthologies throughout the world, such as The Forward Book of Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Manchester Review, A Hudson View Poetry Digest, The Houston Literary Review, among others. His debut collection, The Rain on Cruise's Street (2014), is published by Salmon Poetry, from which the follow-up is due early 2017. He is an editor for Revival Press, a community publishing house in Limerick. His work has been nominated for Forward, Pushcart, and Best of the Web prizes.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A poem by Prerna Bakshi

Be an unruly woman


Be an unruly woman. Be that woman who laughs aloud at people who tell her that she shouldn’t laugh aloud in public. Laugh aloud and show those sharp teeth that are meant to bite and chew. Chew off people’s unsolicited advice telling you what to do. How to conduct yourself. How to smile. How much or little to smile. Smile enough so it starts to hurt your jaw. Enough so it grows flowers in your neighbor’s yard. Enough so a rainbow appears in the sky. But, not too much either. When interacting with men you do not know, don’t smile too much, they say. They might think you’re immoral.

Be ‘immoral’.

Chew off these pieces of advice. Chew it all off. Feast on it. Enough so your loud burp, after the grand feast, kills their appetite. Their appetite for giving unasked-for advice. Be that woman who laughs her heart out and aloud.

Be an unruly woman.




(First published in The Ofi Press, Mexico)


Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released book, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press, The Harpoon Review, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. More here - http://prernabakshi.strikingly.com/

Monday, 22 August 2016

A poem by Thomas O'Connell

An Unfinished Book


Starting to worry
Because the phones know too much
They trouble my sleep

I feel the heat arriving
The sound of flutes in canyons

Where we found comfort

Days spent inside caves
Meditating with the stones
The buzz of ghost bees

No other death will move me
In the shape of every tree
                                       
                               An unfinished book




Thomas O’Connell is a librarian living on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, NY, where he happens to be the 2015-2016 poet laureate. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in Elm Leaves Journal, Caketrain, Jellyfish Review, Otoliths, and The Los Angeles Review, as well as other print and online journals.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

2 poems by Gareth Culshaw

Passing Trees


I see old friends like passing trees
their lives spreading maps and rings.

One, for all his strength, stare and growl
was struck by a storm that brought him down.

Some sprouted branches like sea anemone
gasping for air, gasping to be seen.

Another has left behind a skeleton of himself
having been and gone, life too short.

I see old friends today as I pass by and by.




Gareth Culshaw is an aspiring writer who has been published in different magazines across the U.K.


------

First published on 9th February 2016.

Tryfan


Once there was life upon you,
growing up, growing strong.

Until you came to a stop
setting out your figure amongst the rest.

Today your shadow weakens
as you erode back to the earth:


As a child I came to you for support
to build my cartilage and bone.

Your rock face in morning light
deep in slumber, ravaged by weather.

For years we have walked all over you
pushing you deeper, further away.

One day you will be gone
then we will walk in silence, grieving.




Monday, 15 August 2016

A poem by Will Badger

Ode to an Olive Waistcoat

for E. Passannanti

‘Waistcoat’
her mother called you,
a puffy vest,
one she’d once worn
before you became her daughter’s
(on permanent loan)
at sixteen:
for her mom you meant
some things last
while others are
fit for the fire

But does to last mean
merely to persist,
or to find
function in the fire:
a phoenix’s
rise over run?

For me
you symbolise survival:
clothes that crept
to the bottom of the closet
when other articles
went out,
wore out.
You waited –
until she wore you again

All I want
is to hide here
and hold her
as you do
and for her mom
to see
sometimes
things that don’t last
are only lost

and can be found.





Will Badger holds an MFA in Fiction from NC State University and an MSt in English Literature from Pembroke College, Oxford. He is currently pursuing a DPhil at Pembroke as the Browning Senior Scholar in English, exploring representations of witchcraft in Shakespeare.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Nominations for 'Best of the Net' Anthology 2016

This week the excellent poetry site 'Three Drops from a Cauldron' announced its six poems nominated for the 'Best of the Net' anthology. Seeing the brilliant poems submitted by this site has inspired me to put together our own nominations for this anthology.

Below are the six nominated poems that were published on the Amaryllis site between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Please take a look at the poems and feel free to comment on and share your favourites.

It has been a great year for Amaryllis and we published over 50 poets during this period. I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

I wish the six nominees the best of luck, it has been a real pleasure reading and publishing these fantastic poems.

Thanks,
Stephen Daniels
Editor of Amaryllis


You measured my depression in pheasants by Richie McCaffery

Under the Elm Tree by Claire Walker

Raft of the Medusa by Maurice Devitt

Coroner's Court by Mark Russell

Teaching on a Gun-FriendlyCampus: A Brief Guide* by Leila K. Norako

The Ravens of Japan by Ryan Warren

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A poem by Amy Schreibman Walter

Continental Shifts

On a plane above Amsterdam, bodies tilt
towards land. A stranger in the seat next to me
spoons chocolate from a disposable cup, asks
if I like to cook. I might be domestically inclined.
Thinking of how I want to be making you dinner,
I am instead eating small salami sandwiches with my fingers,
I am instead sipping tomato juice from a plastic cup. I have
flown over the continent this week, flown in the dark over
metropolises all lit up. In these places, I don’t ever cook,
I eat with my hands, I drink local specialities. I want to cook
dinner for you in a kitchen I don’t have, want to shuffle
crockery out of cupboards, warm up soup on some stainless
steel hob. I am falling for you. The captain
says we should prepare for landing. Out the window
there is only the night sky, tinged with little lights.






Amy Schreibman Walter is an American writer living in London. Her poems have appeared in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, and her new chapbook, ‘Houdini’s Wife and Other Women,’ was published by Dancing Girl Press this spring.

Monday, 8 August 2016

A poem by Sarah Carey

Identity Theft


My husband worries someone is trying to steal “our” identity.
There was in fact a letter from the IRS

about a fraudulent tax return. Nothing came of it—
we paid our thousands to the government—

but the worry-seeds took root. We sleep
less well at night, fight panic on days

the mail is late, as if it might not come,
as if someone had absconded with our packages,

our bills, and oh yes, what few personal cards
there might be from a relative or friend.

Suddenly encryption isn’t good enough.
We decide to put a hold on things. Our credit,

for example. Records vanish into the shredder.
Extra anti-virus downloads occupy our desktop.

Soon we’re locked so tight, a thief
would have a time breaking the firewall.

We race to the deep web, looking over
our shoulders. My husband’s hands are everywhere,

his prints on my keys. Then there’s the cloud,
where our trove of photos has become a heaven

we visit to remember faces, to remind ourselves
how our parents looked, how we looked

when we were young, unconcerned with betrayal,
uncompromised. We stay safe, our drives restored,

no worries to eschew. It’s simple:
If my husband’s life is taken, I’ll vanish, too.





Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her work has appeared in Rattle, The Carolina Quarterly, Portland Review and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, The Heart Contracts, is pending publication from Finishing Line Press.