Monday, 18 February 2019

A Poem by Tim Taylor

Mountain Man                                       

There’s not an ounce of fat on him:
thin, like the scraggy grass that feeds his sheep
he is the product of these hills, as they are.
Behold, the ridge and dale of him,
boulder chin and craggy nose exposed
above the heather moor of threadbare tweed.
The eyes, set deep in caves
beneath the cliff wall of his brow
let nothing slip.
But look at them at sunset
when the light is on his face
and see there his secret:
This place does not bind him
as towns will tether other men.
Reflected in those eyes you see
only the boundless ocean of sky.

Tim Taylor lives in Meltham, near Huddersfield, and teaches ethics part-time at Leeds University. His poetry has been published in Pennine Platform, Orbis, Acumen (forthcoming), The Lake, The Poetry Village and various other magazines and compilations.  He has also published two novels.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

A Poem by Seth Jani

These Ruins

My sorrow is ordinary,
And I lay it out beneath the trees
For the bone-picking birds to follow,
For the sun to open its seed-pods of light 
And drop onto.
I send it down river
Tied to a heart-shaped boat
Where it will easily break
In the hands of children.
Where the someday fire will calcify,
Becoming just another stone-house
Abandoned to the wind. 

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, Washington, USA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( His work has been published widely in places such as The American Poetry Journal, Abyss & Apex, The Chiron Review, The Comstock Review and Oracle Fine Arts Review. His full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about him and his work can be found at 

Monday, 11 February 2019

A Poem by Sam Rose


When you get the phone call, you leave
work early because you know what a
phone call like that means. You head to
your best friend’s house and it’s almost
like it was when you daydreamed [daymared]
about getting this sort of news. You had imagined
the phone call, but with a definite diagnosis
and a rush to your friend’s house to tell him,
to hide somewhere within him. It is a little
like this except you are less collapsed than
you imagined you would be You pick up food
on the way to his house, somehow enjoy in a
tiny way the freedom you have been granted,
grateful for everyone’s understanding but
needing to hide from them all. Needing to hide
so much that when your friend says he has an
interview to go to you ask if you can stay at his
house until he gets back. He is accommodating
to your needs, your words, your silences, your
knees hitched up to your chest on the couch.
You talk about your pending diagnosis, you talk
about his job interview. Straighten his tie at
the back, brush neck lightly. Hugs. Good luck.
He leaves and you feel in hiding, in safety,
sheltered from a world you can’t face. You strum
his guitar a little, rest a finger on his keyboard,
tap out a tune you used to be able to play as a kid.
You still can. Explore his library, pick up a book
or two from the mountain, avoid an avalanche.
Curl up on the couch and nap for a while. Wake
up with drool setting on your cheek and wonder
why your face leaks like that. Wonder if he has
come home and just didn’t want to disturb you –
wander the house just to check. It has high ceilings
and feels grand, summer sun streaming through
sash windows. Sit back down in the living room,
await his return, his interview story. Next stop,
the pub down the road, the regular haunt, or
these days, the regular place to be haunted. Sit
in the beer garden, realise you are going mad
when you walk straight past some upturned
benches and only notice their strange configuration
maybe an hour later. This is what these meetups
are like. Going mad, expressing the madness, hiding
from the madness. In a mathematic sense, darkness
plus light, living days in twilight, wondering if these
are to be your twilight years. Sort of enjoying them all
the same, in a strange way, amid the horror of it all.

Sam Rose is a writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. She is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Scarlet Leaf Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Haiku Journal, In Between Hangovers, and others. Sam is a cancer survivor and primarily uses her experiences with this to write poetry and memoir. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to rock music and eating too much chocolate.

Twitter: @writersamr

Thursday, 7 February 2019

A Poem by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

The Poet’s Creed

They worship the poet. His students, to be precise. I’m just an observer, another writer, someone who doesn’t buy into the myth. They think every word this CrossFit loving scholar utters is gospel. They absorb every metaphor, inhale every image he paints in his poems. Rants about Bauhaus architecture, dreamy sonnets of Emily Dickinson fucking Walt Whitman in some sort of demonic poetic fanfiction, even though I question the originality, the intent. They prey on his abstractions. They ignore the fact that he worships himself, masturbates in the tub to his own poetry. They ignore his peccadilloes, embrace them, elevate him. They ignore his drunken adventures, slamming deviants into jukeboxes, ignore his edicts issued in poetry class. You will do things my way, he proclaims, as if he is the headmaster from Dead Poets Society.

They agree. They worship, they throw independent thought from the windows. They build statues of the poet and recite his name, these once promising poets, with their big glasses, and their nerdy awkwardness. They adhere to his creed, which they chant, while they do CrossFit, building their conformist muscles, and excising independent flesh. I stand, I plead, they keep drawing closer, closer, and the poet smiles, paternalistically.

And finally, when I try to pull them back from the herd, from his hypnotism, they come after me. They eat my brains with fava beans and a fine Chianti. They eat me as if this is some sick Communion table, except instead of renewed life, they are taking someone else’s life for criticizing their hero. They eat, eat until they leave me dead, a ghost flitting about the moon and the stars, with no home left, while the hoi polloi continue to worship the poet, uttering his name, their voices rising, rising, rising like a fire, engulfing the moonlight, the beauty. I have failed and other people fail, the flames rising, rising, the poet hovering above them, a master, a monster.

Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His short-stories have been published or are forthcoming in various literary journals, including Sinkhole Mag, Gravel Magazine, The Courtship of Winds, and Ink In Thirds.

Monday, 4 February 2019

A Poem by Jude Cowan Montague

In a Playfield Kinlet

Nefting her horn to the verdy brook,
she rocked, she crooked in broathing gard,
o where is my kampt and bambery rush?
hah ha, the far away plumwell bay,
she rides with wool and wrothesley heart
to the woodful cresent to the macooma call,
to rescue the maxey from green Tom Cribb,
and flamsteeding, oglib the maryon girl.
It's far away, sitory, repo and pony,
the burragey spray will lovmunk us all.

Jude Cowan Montague worked for Reuters Television Archive for ten years and now presents and produces 'The News Agents' on Resonance 104.4 FM. She is working on a graphic autobiographical novel, Love on the Isle of Dogs. Her most recent album is Hammond Hits (Linear Obsessional, 2018).

Thursday, 31 January 2019

A Poem by Louise Wilford

The being between

Sip my too-hot coffee, fingers shielded by its cardboard sleeve;
balance my tablet on top of the half-open bag on my lap;
listen to the ghost of voices murmuring elsewhere,
rattle and creak of a whiny railbus.

It’s in the being between,
space flanked by here and there,
that thoughts seep up like bubbles in hot mud,
through the stones of my heart, through the steam in my head.

Fume of air, scooped up by the train’s mad transit, thrown back
against the glass;  someone in front stands up, stretches,
wrestles the trembling window shut. A child cries,
somewhere behind. A screen lights up:

Next stop: Wombwell.  Where you live.
Nowhere place, no one’s destination, none alight;
less than a town, not quite a village; weird name on a sign;
the warm, wet place we begin - the source of the water that winds us up.

And I’m not standing up. I’m still watching my tablet screen
flicker and fade without my finger’s  pressure, listening -
distracted by the grumble and clatter of wheel on rail;
wondering what waits at home, what wild

whitewater words he’ll throw at me tonight.
And the train doesn’t stop; the name on the sign
flutters in my chest, a bird’s scrabbling claws, half-unfurled
wings, flapping and bent out of shape. The coffee I’m holding is cold.

It’s in the being between, the space flanked by you and him,
that thoughts leak like blood from a badly-dressed wound,
as I set the coffee cup on the quivering floor
and gather up my last few things.

Yorkshirewoman Louise Wilford has had around 100 poems and short stories published in magazines including Acumen, OWP, Orbis, Iota, Dreamcatcher, Tears In The Fence, Popshots, Pushing Out The Boat, The Stinging Fly, The Frogmore Papers and Agenda, and has won or been shortlisted for several competitions.  She is currently writing a children's fantasy novel.

Monday, 28 January 2019

A Poem by Ceinwen Haydon


Swimming in the baths, eyes wide, we smiled
over our children’s heads, you two girls. Me, one of each.
Chlorine kept us clean, no rules broken.

On the beach, a storm brews,
breezes speckle goose-bumps on our skin,
waves ripple in, barely stop in time
to keep us dry. A crab pincer-nips
your child. Her screams shake us back.

Next week we’ll sail alone, on badass breakers,
out from Druridge Bay, where strong currents surge
to sandbanks and shores well known for ship wrecks.

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in web magazines and print anthologies. These include Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Alliterati, Stepaway, Poets Speak (whilst they still can), Three Drops from the Cauldron, Snakeskin, Obsessed with Pipework, The Linnet’s Wing, Blue Nib, Picaroon, Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Write to be Counted, The Lake, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Riggwelter with work coming up in Prole, Poetry Shed, The Curlew and Atrium. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in December 2017.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

A Poem by Michael Gessner

chattering.  They’ve been up all night,
dancing ‘til dawn.  They could be heard
down the hallways, even the walls shook.
Later they gathered around to plan
their next outing.  Who knows where?
Even tho’ they are their shadows
flitting on walls, they are
all about the future.
I don’t want them to leave.

 Michael Gessner has authored 11 books of poetry and prose. From the most recent, (Selected Poems, FutureCycle Press, 2016,) The Poetry Foundation chose several for its online archives (2017). His latest publications include those in The American Journal of Poetry (forthcoming Jan., 2019,) Innisfree Poetry JournalThe Kenyon ReviewNew Oxford Review, and North American Review, (finalist for 2016 James Hearst Prize). His reviews appear regularly, and he is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Monday, 21 January 2019

A Poem by Susan Elliott

El Hotel Fantasma

Our guide said they were making condos
out of the closed-down hotel, overgrown
with dried beach grass, shadowy white
columns flanking the vacant lobby.
Maybe a golf course nearby. A virgin beach,
he called it. Honeymooners in our group waded
into shallow water, took photos of themselves
with outstretched arms. I sat at the abandoned
beachside bar on a stool risen from the sand, shards
of iridescent shell, sharp coral making the bar front.
Behind the counter, stainless steel mixers were silent,
clean. I wished for a piña colada and remembered
that pineapple juice hurts my stomach.
I wished for a cuba libre instead and wiped
the dirt from my eyes. I wanted to relax,
like a newlywed should, carefree and waxed
clean for the week. I held my disposable camera
too tight, thinking of the warnings of our guide,
that local children might pilfer our buggies and steal
our sunglasses and money so quickly and silently
that we wouldn’t notice until they’d slinked away
behind a palm tree. Like phantoms, I thought.
I checked my finger again for my
wedding band and it was still there.

Susan Elliott is the author of the chapbook The Singing is My Favorite Part (Etched Press, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in the Best American Poetry blog, Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, Reunion: The Dallas Review, and Broad River Review, among others. Susan received her PhD in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she won the Joan Johnson Award for Poetry in 2014.   

Thursday, 17 January 2019

A Poem by Sarah Lao

Crossing Fields

We left with June still undressing in my mouth
like a wound, ripe as a
summer plum in harvest, exit
sharper than the limit of a switchblade.
School’s out, and there’s nothing
I want more than
      to forget.
Sure we’re driving through the countryside,
your hand stitched to mine, the pedal of the red
Cadillac rasping over the wind.
Look at the fields. You said.
And I
looked. It was nothing special—a
typical prairie ecosystem.
Coyote feeding on jackrabbit feeding
on grass feeding on sun.
Copied straight from Barron’s Biology.
But you shook your head. Look closer.
So maybe
you wanted to point out the clean
pair of sneakers left on the roadside. Give me
the chance to pick up some free knockoffs.
Still we already passed it and—
No. You said. Easing off
the pedal and unlocking the doors.
Touch the ground. What is it made of?
It was dusty, of course and hard to
breathe outside. The sun was out,
but I couldn’t     see anything.
everything was black.
There was a fire. I said. And
the fields burned.
Yes. You said.
But look again. What’s left?
A hint of green, scattered in the
dark, the first shoots of grass.

In September, we came home.

Sarah Lao is a sophomore at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently edits for Evolutions Magazine and reads for Polyphony Lit, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sooth Swarm Journal, Eunoia Review, and the Inflectionist Review. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

A Poem by Katarina Boudreaux

Revelation Sings Sweetly

There are friends,
and then there
are friends who
will sing while feeding 
your baby sweet potatoes
with a neon spoon
cross legged on
a dirty, uneven floor
in a kitchen full of flies
while you stem the tide
of disaster with scrap
wood and old glue.

Katarina Boudreaux is a New Orleans author, musician, dancer, and teacher. Her first novel “Platform Dwellers” is available from Owl Hollow Press. She has two collections of poetry -- “Alexithymia” from Finishing Line Press and “Anatomy Lessons” from Flutter Press.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

A Poem by Holly Magill

The Bobblers are Coming

Initial sightings coincide with the first frost – spotted
on seafront dog-walkers, cyclists muffled against the raw.

An old woman at the front of the bus, shrunken head
nodding under one bigger than a snoozing Bagpuss.

Then suddenly they’re everywhere – a woollen pandemic,
spread from high-end boutiques and market stalls alike;

indiscriminate to age, race, gender, faith –
from old boys in the bookies to girls in Gap puffers.

In the corner shop, at the school-gates,
at the urinals in Wetherspoons.

Some say they shouldn’t be part of society –
the rise of the hoodie all over again.

Under her tasselled standard lamp, your Nan clicks
patient needles over Coronation Street.

Soon you could be joining the ranks.

Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House and Bare Fiction, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She co-edits Atrium – Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady Flambé, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing:

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Poem by Maurice Devitt

A False Dawn

You open the curtains when the day
is still half asleep, the eye
of a bleary sun just clearing the horizon
and the trees, so verdant in your dreams,
all dressed in black.
The street begins to well up with colour,
remembers precisely how it was left
last night, while taking care
to add an extra scratch to the paintwork
of the car outside number twelve,
knowing that it will never
have to explain how it got there.  

Winner of the 2015 Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition, he has been runner-up or shortlisted in Listowel, Cuirt, Patrick Kavanagh, Interpreter’s House and Cork Literary Review. A poet of international breadth, he has had poems published in the UK, US, India, Romania, Australia and Mexico, and has also been a featured poet at the Berryman Conference in Minneapolis and the Poets in Transylvania Festival.  He is the curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group and has just published his debut poetry collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

A Poem by Sharon Phillips

* The following poem deals with the subject of miscarriages. *


She scrolls
screen after screen,
checks her body 

time and again for signs
this baby will be safer
than her last,

the scan’s moonscape 
by an empty sac.

to be done
to stop that loss,
little to prevent another, 

but she scrolls
through the screens
and performs her ritual.

Nausea. Sore breasts. 
No bleeding yet.
All's well.
Sharon is retired and lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset. Recent publication credits include Ink, Sweat and Tears, Algebra of Owls, The High Window and Snakeskin; poems are forthcoming in Eye Flash and Bonnie’s Crew.

Monday, 31 December 2018

A Poem by Jack Warren


When the river burst its banks
swallowed the cycling path,
and bloomed like a grey peony
into the dual-carriageway,
it raised his expectations of what
the elemental could accomplish.
He saw hawthorn hedges submerged;
the masonry of bridges falling
away like wet pastry and a navy
Honda-civic with it's interior
bloated from the flood. He began
to imagine a deluge. Water filling
the pubs and churches, pouring
into the stadiums and schools,
roads becoming tributaries, cities
becoming lakes and the whole
of his life straining and creaking
with the terrifying weight of it.
How wonderful to be so close
to drowning he thought, trusting
instead in buoyancy; reaching out
into the depths and choosing
simply to hold ones breath. 

Jack Warren is a British poet and long distance walker from Somerset. His work has appeared in Corrugated Wave, The Anomaly Literary Journal and he was recently selected as one of the 'Fifty Best New British and Irish Poets 2018' by Eyewear Publishing. In 2015 he completed a 224 mile hike following the River Severn from sea to source and in 2017 he completed sections of the 1056 mile Via Francigena Pilgrim route from Rome to London. He currently lives in Moscow.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

A poem by Susan Castillo Street

Old Rocker 

He sits in front of a blue piano,
ancient rhino in the cross hairs,
blinking in the spotlights.

He leans forward, touches keys,
eases into surfin’ safaris,
dreams of golden California girls.

Melancholy swirls around him
rising like blue smoke.
God he’s ancient I think. Time to go to bed.

I turn off the telly, head upstairs,
glance in the mirror,
grimace when I see

a strange old woman
glaring back at me.

Susan Castillo Street has published three collections of poems, The Candlewoman's Trade(2003), Abiding Chemistry, (2015), The Gun-Runner’s Daughter (2018) and a pamphlet, Constellations(2016). Her poetry has appeared in Southern Quarterly,Prole, The High Window, Ink Sweat & Tears, Messages in a Bottle, The Missing Slate, Clear Poetry, Prole,Three Drops from a Cauldron, Foliate Oak, The Lake, Algebra of Owls,The Yellow Chair Review, Poetry Shed,and other journals and anthologies. Her poem ‘Bird of God’ recently won first prize in the 2018 Pre-Raphaelite Society Poetry Competition.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

A poem by Paul Waring

Of All The Things

imagine me, Elvis
larger than life in Memphis
twitching lip and hips, hound
dog in shades on a Harley

or me on a mountain
high enough to see Marvin
and a constellation of stars
called Stevie, Diana and Aretha

and me moonwalking
like Michael back to Neverland
at the news Prince is alive
again at Paisley Park

and of all the things

imagine the day John Lennon
died. Eleanor Rigby and all
the lonely people on Penny Lane
in the pouring rain

it’s easy if you try.

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in Liverpool bands. He is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee whose poems have been published in Amaryllis, Prole, High Window, Atrium, Algebra of Owls, Domestic Cherry, Clear Poetry, Ofi Press, Marble Poetry, The Lampeter Review and others.

Monday, 17 December 2018

A poem by Skye Anicca

News On Your Birthday While Respirator Instructs Lungs, April, 2008


Canadian Red Beetles Devour Forests

first green then grey then red the voice said
it’s insects that matter of factly exhibit clues
the earth is softening, the seasons melting its edges
and there is no equation for which came first
just that there are beetles making matchsticks from forests
without time or flesh
there is no evolution no crisis
only this relentless crackling of branches this shell shedding
methodical munching
these red crawling tides


Balloon Flying Priest Lost

believers now require sacred carnivals
blessed ticket takers
and the damned— well, they seek a heavenly strike
solemn miracles and smoting
instead I choose laughter
and six hundred helium yellow blue balloons
above the pacific storm
a little bad weather
a touch of God


Impoverished Renegades Steal Cobalt

prices rise with the value of loosely bagged earth
fall when false claims of false cheating
float gracefully above calloused palms and sweat
miners night-pick cobalt while middle
men color houses with minerals
and mine bosses buy back what was carefully lifted
a five dollar bill for an airplane, a dishwasher, porcelain a brilliant blue
sediment hue dug from artistic trenches
strange-tinged, thieving lands


Father of LSD Dead at 102

medical memory’s problem child
a stop-heart human guinea pig
sight like a “warped mirror,” he said
while he was searching for fungus
to cure some unnamed disease
a ”horror show” of displaced movement
and time he said,
self-discovery, enlightenment, drug sprees, window jumping
though he mounted the mind lubricant defense:
“open your eyes”

Skye Anicca is the recipient of a Dana Award in short fiction and grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and from the Vermont Studio Center. Her writing has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Alligator Juniper, Puerto del Sol, and Passages North.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

A poem by Thomas Tyrrell


Now we are to begin a History full of surprizing Turns and Adventures; I mean, that of Mary Read and Anne Bonny; the odd Incidents of their rambling Lives are such, that some may be tempted to think the whole Story no better than a Novel or Romance…
—Daniel Defoe, General History of the Most Notorious Pirates

Ah, Mr. Author, our lives
were no mere amatorious novel,
unlike your Roxanas, Clarindas
and such drabs of the bookseller’s stall.

I was pirate and woman and all,
and I sailed with and slept with Jack Rackham,
who, if he had fought like a man,
need not have been hanged like a dog.

And still a warm glassful of grog
or a lungful of salt air recalls those
fiery kisses from Jack and from Mary
and the tang of hot blood on the deck.

We left many brave warships a wreck,
many argosies spoiled of their cargo.
We were pardoned by Governor Rogers
but returned to our old course the same.

Beyond law, beyond guilt, beyond shame,
slipped free of the cables of duty,
we sailed by the wind and the starlight
and lived by the codes that we chose.

When the pirate-hunters, our foes,
found us moored off the coast of Jamaica,
the men fled below, drunk and fearful.
Only Mary and I stayed to fight,

and our cutlasses gleamed and flashed bright,
and our pistols roared out like the thunder.
We fought, back to back, for our freedom,
with our teeth and our nails and our knives.

I’m the only one now that survives.
The Revenge’s crew went to the gallows;
Mary’s dead in the jail of a fever;
I’m left with the memories alone,

the proud sins that I’ll never atone
for, adventures not found in the pages
of your idle romances and novels
poured upon by the leisured and bored

where the heroines find their reward
in making a dazzling marriage
to a cultured and virtuous husband
as their dainty and dutiful wives.

Thomas Tyrrell has a PhD in English Literature from Cardiff University. He is a two-time winner of the Terry Hetherington poetry award, and his writing has appeared in Spectral Realms, Wales Arts Review, Picaroon, Lonesome October, Three Drops From A Cauldron and Words for the Wild.

Monday, 10 December 2018

A poem by Liv Chapman

What To Expect

Over there
A black hand just out of reach, behind the curtain
Our daughter insisting it’s a monster
You, insisting it’s a shadow of the jasmine
That creeps lovingly around the door
I’m insisting...who knows?
A pitch for ambiguity.
A love of disquiet.

True, it looks like jasmine
But see how wiry, and suspect
It is, how it moves to and fro
(Blown about by
The wind, you tut)
Unsure of what it is, or where to go.

My daughter curls up in bed
Satisfied with your response
Perturbed by mine
Her body a knot, casually tied.
It’s important to know things at five you, the book,
Says. The difference between what is real, what is dead
What is fake, what’s alive.
You can’t go around making things up about
Shadows being real.
Do you want her to have nightmares?
Do you want her to expect the worst?

Of course not, I say. I just want to make a
Pitch for ambiguity.
The love of disquiet.
Stories with no ending, no beginning, no
Meaning that is taught, only felt,
The way a Shakespeare sonnet skirts
Thinking to ring deep down in the bones
Where nothing and everything hurts.

About Liv Chapman
I live in the U.S now but am originally from York, U.K. I earned my PhD in Art History there, and moved to the U.S. to get married. I now have a beautiful daughter, Arrietty, to whom ALL my poems are dedicated! Until recently I was a school administrator (having been an English teacher for some years) but I'm currently on disability due to chronic pain. Despite the pain, I still love warm fall mornings, coffee, reading, and writing, writing, writing.