Thursday, 28 July 2016

A poem by Melanie Branton


Loving you is ridiculous
like ardently supporting
the football team
of a small town in Argentina
where I’ve never been
and don’t know anyone
and I don’t even speak Spanish

but still I wear their colours
and pore over their match reports
and call them ‘Our boys’
cheering on their goals on the radio
or what I infer to be their goals
seeing as I don’t even understand the commentary
and don’t even like football

Loving you is ridiculous
like following a stranger in the supermarket
because I want to be a gumshoe
but only know how to be
a childish approximation of one
watching them through holes
cut out of a newspaper
making notes about what they put in their trolley
deducing dark secrets
from their preference of Shredded Wheat
to Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
and their ominously inexplicable purchase
of that fifth bottle of sauce

Loving you is ridiculous
like suddenly performing a sex act
on the person in front of me
in the dole queue
because he or she happens to be there
and everyone else seems to have someone
and it’s Tuesday
so why not?

And on good days
I get aroused by
parallel possibilities.
Tonight, I haven’t got a headache
‘cos I’m in the subjunctive mood!
‘Should you love me,…’
‘Had you kissed me,…’
‘Were you to touch me down there,….’

And on really good days
I feel purified by you
as by a non-evangelical God
from someone else’s religion
knowing I’m not of your flock
and can never fall within the ambit
of your miracles
but worshipping you, anyway,
without self interest
feeling blessed
that such intelligence
such intensity
such beauty
exists somewhere in the universe
though I will never be touched by it

And on bad days
the fact that you have a girlfriend
seems an act of deliberate spite
something you’ve been carefully planning
for the past ten years
just to piss me off

And writing poetry about you is ridiculous
I’m like a woman with no legs
knitting herself a pair of socks
so she can vicariously experience
what it’s like to have feet

But still I do

Melanie Branton is a poet and spoken word artist from North Somerset. She has worked as an English and Drama teacher, both in England and Poland, an assistant theatre director and a full-time carer. Her poems have been published in journals including Prole, The Interpreter's House and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She was the 2015 Bristol Hammer and Tongue regional slam champion.

Monday, 25 July 2016

A poem by Victor Buehring

The Balloonist

My breath threads and swells
outward, prolonging
the exterior. I mould
the supple extension
by turning its periphery
toward the center
in a junction of surfaces
choked into points
and spaced to create
successive portions; interrupted
    _    _   _    _   _    _  __   _  ___     ___    ____     ____    ____    ____    ___                          
--(@)(_)(__)(_)(__)(_)(__)(_)(____)(____)(_____)(_____)(_____)(____ )(____)(_)=
spans set side by side; assigned
here and there and then brought together
in multiple intervals
and series which combine
to fashion parts: a tulip twist snout (@),
pinched ears (() ()), locked legs ( ));
joined up; rolled up
in a continuous connection
to give an outline; a form:
a hollow imitation: 
            ____(() ^ _^ ())
       ( )(____ )(_(@)_)
         (_____)( )
         ( ))       ( ))
Tell me if you can imagine
what it’s meant to be

Victor Buehring performed "The Balloonist" with an orange modelling balloon at Poetry Swindon's December open mic and the poem was previously published in Ink Sweat & Tears. Some of his other poems have been published in The Interpreter’s House, Orbis, The Journal, Carillon Magazine and Eunoia Review

Monday, 18 July 2016

A poem by Adele Fraser

Another Theory of Relativity

On the bus to my ex’s house,
I encounter a woman
who lost five children
to Social Services.

She carries their photographs
like crosses, plays with them
like rosary beads,
and wouldn’t part with them,
even for a half ounce.

And, inside me, something flips over,
and I know now I will cope.

For this woman takes my burden,
dismantles my dollhouse furniture
and reveals it to me as out of scale
or proportion.

She tears up my mental pictures
of baking and bedtime stories,
nature walks and birthday parties,
which I’d nailed to my brain
to torment myself.

There is more than one paradigm,
more than one point
of comparison.

My default was set to perfection,
until this stranger made me see
how small had been my sample
and how blinkered was my vision,
when I’d asked the age-old question
‘Why not me?’

Adele Fraser lives and writes in the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales, UK. Her work has been published in a number of magazines both online and in print, most recently The Interpreter’s House, Vada Magazine, Clear Poetry, and Ink, Sweat & Tears

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A poem by Nancy Iannucci

Vicious Cycle

When our eyes met for the first time,
I heaved a sigh that I thought you heard.
You knew a simple hello and goodbye would never
do, so I dropped my weighty anchor into your palm
and you rubbed it seven times like a horseshoe.
When our eyes met for the second time,
I picked your words like berries while catching
chords that fell from your guitar strings; my arms
were open like a basket eager to carry your
lyrics as if they were meant for me.

When our eyes met for the third time,
it was in a delirious dream of whirling desert sand.
Yellow & tan, tan & yellow scenes of grit crusting
my sight, distorting your fair face like an omen; you
were a dark creature choking in a harmonica neck hold.

When our eyes met for the fourth time,
Alex Forrest gazed back at me on the edge
of psychosis sinking in paranoia quicksand
with arms flailing, gasping for air,
suffocating in your circle of games.

When our eyes met for the fifth time,
I willingly closed them; hoisted my anchor from
your palm and walked into the woods like an
emancipated slave where Anath took me in;
she placed a bow and sickle in my hand so

when our eyes meet for the sixth time,
I will have the skills and weapons to resist you;
And it will be you who will heave a sigh that will
go unheard at the sight of me- strong and dauntless.
But the day will come when you will hum

another song that will break me and the vicious cycle
between us will resuscitate, rendering us helpless- gyrating
like a red and yellow mane on a stallion horse. 

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in a number of publications including Eunoia Review, Three Line Poetry, Fickle Muses, Red Wolf Journal, Rose Red Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Mirror Dance, Pankhearst, Picaroon Poetry, Yellow Chair Review, and her poem, HOWLING, won Yellow Chair Review’s Rock the Chair Challenge.

Monday, 11 July 2016

A poem by Marion Tracy

Blog of the Ninth Lady, Stanton Moor

Things I like about being a stone

I get to spend a lot of time with my circle of friends.
I can keep an eye on Martin the fiddler
and my best friend, Jane Wainwright, see
they don’t get up to their old tricks.
Us all sleeping with each other.
This yellow lichen on me because it’s the colour
of the petticoat I was wearing
the night I was punished for dancing around being happy.

Things I can’t stand

Being awake at 3 a.m. without a drink in my hand.
People I don’t like the look of who kiss me
and think that it means something.
Being pissed up against.
How tight it is in here.
When I wake up from a dream about my mother
and everything still looks the same.
The time a young man came up behind me
and touched my back
just gently
and me not being able to turn around and say:
Do that again, please do that to me again.

First published in Obsessesed with Pipework

'Blog of the Ninth Lady, Stanton Moor' is taken from Marion Tracy's forthcoming collection 'Dreaming of Our Better Selves'

Marion Tracy has two degrees in English Literature and was a lecturer in Colleges of Further Education. She recently lived in Australia for seven years where she started writing poetry. She is widely published in magazines and previously published a pamphlet Giant in the Doorway (HappenStance Press 2012). She lives in Brighton.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A poem by Susan Evans

After the Honeymoon:

When you no longer hold her gaze
When you no longer consume her thoughts
When you struggle for air-time across the waves
When she no longer accepts your faults
When conversation is misconstrued
When there’s no freedom of expression
When all we do is shop for food
When deeper subjects lead to regression
When you’ve come to rely on her thoughts
When you’ve looked to her for how you look
When you’re having a crisis of sorts
When she’s glued to her program or book
When she openly admires the qualities in other men
When you hear yourself fish for a compliment
When you’re in need of a bit of recognition
When you used to be outgoing and confident
Yeah that.

(First published in Prole, Issue 14, 2014)

Susan Evans is a Brighton-based Performance poet and facilitator; originally from north east London. Susan was recently Shortlisted `Best Spoken Word Performer' in the Saboteur Awards, 2016: `celebrating the best of the indie literature scene’. A stage and page poet, Susan is widely published in anthologies, indie magazines and journals; in print and online, as well as a regular feature on the alternative poetry & cabaret circuits:

"Unlike so much `performance’ Susan's is full of content. A rich brew” Sam Smith, The Journal.

Find her here:

Monday, 4 July 2016

A poem by Richard Biddle

4.30 am

“The more you look at anger in this manner, the more it evaporates under your gaze, like white frost under the sun’s rays.” Matthieu Ricard

Staggering into the cold jolt of an early start, I stop to
stare at the guiltless stars.

Gasp at the sudden shock of white.
Overnight, a universe of frozen cries
has settled on the earth to die.

Offering a prayer to an upturned table and seeking
forgiveness from a smashed-in door.

The crystallising spirit has passed by.
Objects have become their own icy
phantasms. The moon, welded to the sky.

My hands shake like they crave love and not, as usually
happens, another drink.

Listen, even the birds are stilled by
this change. Nothing sings, flies.
Everything glistens with bleached light.

Before leaving, I pause to watch my breath cloud the air.

Gradually this sugar-coated design
begins to melt; coloured outlines
once more return to sight.

Richard Biddle won the @BigBlakeProject Poetry Prize for his poem 'Transparency'. His work is published online, and has appeared in; Urthona, Brittle Star Magazine & Dream Catcher and in the anthologies 'Transformations' and 'The Nine Realms'. As @littledeaths68 he regular contributes to the experimental writing projects @chimeragroup0 and @echovirus12.

His long illustrated poem for children ‘Horizon’ a collaboration with the artist @Vivianolala is due to be published this year by @BirdsNestBooks.

He lives in Chichester UK with his partner and two sons and is a member of Chichester Stanza.