Monday, 27 February 2017

A poem by Ben Kingsley

I Am


I am the black             and white        and red all over S&M priestess
howling           like biblical Wisdom
for Solomon’s sky-shattering             discernment from every street
corner. Peeling            apart this electronic newspaper          licking dark
wires fired       and my hair is kindling that I             break off to     ignite
our arguments that smell        so solipsistic    because I cannot
pluck off my nose       so you can smell         what I have smelled
or dip my kingfisher’s beak    into the eyes of a thousand    lidless
little stories: goldfish              heads who have no voice        yet I know some cry
for: “Tyrannicide!”      I get it. We’re both     rocking            down the back of every
blue donkey,   dancing down the trunk          of every claret-red       elephant,
sucking            the shaft of a thousand            golden trumpets, and was it Uncle
Calvin who said that   on Jesus’ thigh a name is        tattooed that no one
knows but Himself?
            Revelation I am.
Telling my children    about Rumpelstiltskin’s scalp             bought and sold
and thrown      from the spread corollas of     my finger tips so that the child
on my lap can              imagine          what I used to, as I read to him even if only
for a little while, for ahead there is grief        and great trials. He doesn’t
need to know about     blood   swirling in a wine-dark scrim             shanked
from a fleeing Arab’s side because for now               I am
the pink mist   sprayed on a table       collected          in pouches methamphetamines
wailing to be               snorted so I can soar through your     lymph nodes and remind
you that when you were six    years old there were only two             women you
loved your       mother and your mother and your mother—and—
my fear is
            not that I Am
failing at anything. but rather             succeeding at those things      which do not really matter.












Ben Kingsley is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Mahatma Ghandi. This Ben is a touch less famous. He hasn't acted since a third grade debut as the undertaker in Music Man. Currently, he is a Michener Fellow, VONA: Voices of our Nation Scholar, and belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently his work has been published in Prairie Schooner and Diverse Voices Quarterly.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

A poem by Jennie Owen

Pastoral care


Your voice is cramped and tinny at the end
of the line. Is it you that crackles
or the bad connection? I do not know.
I do not know you. But I see the bitten
peach of your face, the juice staining
the down on your cheeks. 

You tell me how
the neighbours steal your fruit for drugs;
that you’re bugged, a microchip
in every last grape as they fuzz and jelly
in the bowl. You do not know what you
will do. I do not know what you will do.

You’re afraid to unbolt the door,
to allow anyone in. To let anything out.
When I disconnect, I still do not know you,
but your sighs in the darkness
are like family playing to a different chord.









Jennie Owen is a teacher of creative writing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines. She lives with her husband and their three children in Lancashire.

Monday, 20 February 2017

A poem by Mandy Macdonald

wages for housework


‘not working?’
not getting paid, i was thinking as i
rearranged the furniture
staked my best geranium, which hitherto
had been fending quite well for itself
against the windowpane
you’ll not call me in-
efficient (liberating the ex-Oxfam
armchair from behind the door where
no-one ever sat in it)
just hand me that feather duster and

well?
don’t say i never get anything done
you think i’m lazy but i’m just
sensual
and you can’t complain about that
(filing papers in chronological/alphabetical order)
when i have the time i go through the motions
making new rooms for old
getting paid
getting laid
getting laden
with guilt is getting
nowhere

ha! there’s a pound here
down the side, i knew it

the geranium nodded its heavy scarlet head
agreeing with every single word i said








Mandy Macdonald lives in Aberdeen, trying to make sense of the 21st – and earlier – centuries. Music and gardening keep her sane. She lived in Cuba for a while in the 1980s, and it still pops up now and then in her poetry. She has been writing poems for most of her life, but only recently could be persuaded to show them to anyone. You can see some of them in the anthologies Outlook Variable and Extraordinary Forms (Grey Hen Press), Poetry Scotland, The Fat Damsel, Triadae, Far-Off Places, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Ground: Poetry, faith and doubt, and elsewhere.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A poem by Sharon Larkin

Lone wolf


All alone on the canyon rim,
he sniffs the air, deciphers scents,
to find out what a state she's in
and where she is, right now.
He watches as she skips along,
mindless to danger overhead.
He squints to see beyond mere skin
to former wounds, panting heart.

She's no more than a little kid,
neat feet silent on the scree.
He melts, a mystery, back to stone,
snaps lids tight to dim his gaze,
drops to haunches, tracker-mode,
stalks with stealth the undergrowth.
Now she senses that he's near,
nose to earth, sniffing musk.

He visits every place she's been,
studies what she's left for him,
tastes, licks lips, laps her up
just to dismiss this oral bliss
to deal with a more base desire.
Soon his teeth will gnash on bone,
saliva, froth and blood will blend.
She will learn what's eating her
is him alone.







Sharon Larkin's poems have been published in anthologies (eg Cinnamon, Eyewear, Indigo Dreams), in magazines (including Prole, Obsessed with Pipework, Here Comes Everyone, Reach), on-line (eg Clear Poetry, Stare’s Nest, Ground, Rat's Ass Review, Grievous Angel, Open Mouse) and she has work forthcoming at Ink, Sweat & Tears. Sharon is Chair of Cheltenham Arts Council, was Chair of Cheltenham Poetry Society (2011 - 2015), is on the committee of Gloucestershire Writers' Network and organizes Poetry Café - Refreshed in Cheltenham. She has an MA in Creative Writing and a passion for Welsh language, literature and history.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Nominations for 'The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem'

For the first time The Forward Prize is open for all online poetry sites to submit nominations for the best single poem. An opportunity I didn't want to squander the opportunity, so I spent some time revisiting the past year's poetry and what a brilliant pleasure it was. After shortlisting, I have put forward the following three poems as Amaryllis' nominations. I hope you enjoy them too.

Leila K. Norako - Teaching on a Gun-Friendly Campus: A Brief Guide*

Maggie Mackay - How to Distil a Guid Scotch Malt

Ryan Warren - The Ravens of Japan

I'd also like to add a special mention to the following poem which was not eligible as it was part of a collection before the cut-off date - but it is one of my favourites.

Catherine Ayres - Single-breasted

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A poem by Kathryn Alderman

Roll Up The Rug


Let’s wind the years to a tight rug-roll,
pin it out to air to huff
past participles
from its comfy nap.

We’ll unlock the cellar door,
open the high windows
for strange breezes charged
with vanilla and spices.

We made this house with Lego and lullabies,
sweet nights, responsible days,
the ebb and flow
of shouts and songs,
and daemons battled
with our wooden swords.

The path ahead runs shorter
than the one behind.
Come love,
let’s travel light —
here’s a picnic of our favourite things.








Kathryn Alderman -- @kmalderman1 – was an actor for 15 years before becoming a mum and her poetry often dramatises the nuances of human life. Competitions: won Canon Poets’ ‘Sonnet or Not’ (2012), Gloucestershire Writers’ Network runner-up (2012). Publications include: Dear World (Frosted Fire Press, 2014), Salt on the Wind (Elephants Footprint 2015), Last Word in Art (Wilson Art Gallery/Museum 2017). Readings: BBC Radio 4; Cheltenham Literary Festival; Poetry Can Bristol and regularly at Cheltenham’s Buzzwords Poetry Café; Poetry Café Refreshed and with Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s ‘Festival Players’. Kathryn and husband Cliff are herded around Gloucester by enthusiastic Border collie, Isla.

Monday, 13 February 2017

A poem by Abigale Louise LeCavalier

Sweet Jane


She's in love
with the moon
in black cherry skies,
it reminds her of the killing
dark waters
of her mind.

Swept away and under
feeling the pressure
like a Spanish butterfly,
her brain is on fire
walking on dark sands.

And she doesn't feel the rain
it's already a part of her,
the thunder
a play on words
she heard so many times before;
a not so comforting reminder
of how broken
she's become.

Alone in the tide
with a turtle and a fish,
she waits to be carried away
or to drown and die.

And she knows she's mad
and she knows frustration.

Sick and tired
of waiting for something to happen.







Abigale Louise LeCavalier lives in San Diego California by way of Mammoth Lakes California. An admittedly 'self absorbed poet' and full time Alien, Abigale writes from the heart. Most of her pieces are dark and revealing narratives of things and issues she has had to deal with in her life. Giving the reader a look on the not so bright side of life.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A poem by Quinn White

~Aesthetics~


What's beautiful?

          Floating, daughter.

Starfish.

          Applause.

Mermaids. Bluebirds. Karate Tuesdays.
Paisley diamonds. Daisy tiaras.


          You're a cowlick of air,
          dust beneath books. I talk to myself.

Fairy tales. Glow sticks. Rapunzel's hair.
Willows. Ghost story shivers.


          I call you "Ghost Daughter."
          I build a house for you to haunt.

I already live on Peachtree Street.


          Your haunted house
          is close to complete.

My mother saws invisible wood.
Nails invisible planks.
Raises a haunted house.


I walk within her mirrors.

Who are you talking to?


          A question.

A crush.

          An orchid pinned to satin.









Quinn White is the author of My Moustache (Dancing Girl Press, 2013) and Orienteering (Origami Poems Project, 2013). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Sixth Finch, Word Riot, Hot Metal Bridge, and The Adroit Journal. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech's MFA creative writing program and is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

Monday, 6 February 2017

A poem by Al Ortolani

Roseland Road House 


You left me after I was
knocked to the dance floor
by a boy with storied knuckles, more
seasoned, more muscled than I,
one of many who couldn’t hold
your gaze. As I was shuffled
from the back door, supported
by two of my friends,
I wish you had followed me
into the parking lot, and explained
the gap between us.
Anything would have sufficed,
even a lie, a story about the man
I was trying to become.






Al Ortolani’s newest collection of poems, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, and Word Riot. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and he has recently been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Currently, he teaches English in the Kansas City area.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A poem by Stephen Mead

From Fotheringay Maze




A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. His latest P.O.D. amazon release is an art-text hybrid, “According to the Order of Nature (We too are Cosmos Made)”, a work which takes to task the words which have been used against LGBT folks from time immemorial. In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in a site called Poetry on the Line.