Thursday, 28 September 2017

A poem by Olivia J. Young

Jail Bait

I’m not, actually, none of us are. But some of us look like it, but not me. But they, the customers will say it about the girls whose thighs have the pipe cleaner silhouette of late-middle school-youth. Their bodies are long, and narrow, and they drop from the pole to the stage like wind-sliced power lines. Their hips are as high, and unspread as the pitch of their voices. We talk about it in the dressing room. How during lap dances, the men lean in close and say, you look just like my niece.

Olivia J. Young was born and raised in Rochester, New York, where she studies psychology, sociology, and English at SUNY Brockport. She loves animals and is convinced that she has too many jobs, and not enough cats. Olivia writes short fiction and poetry in addition to painting, and whatever else she can get into, including experimenting with Bizarro fiction. She has kept her writing to herself for most of her life, but her poetry did appear in the most recent issue of Jigsaw Literary Magazine. She lives with her dog, Mittens, her cat, Pepper, and her boyfriend, Matt in Rochester.

Monday, 25 September 2017

A poem by Ellen Kathleen Smith

His Chest Pains Pain My Chest

How my bones are not his I cannot be sure.
How my actual teeth are not his teeth,
how my heart is not his heart baffles me.
That I am nothing without him and yet

eventually, inevitably,
his heart will cease to beat, his tears will cease
to fall, his joy will cease to be, and still
he says all is very well, very well.

We disconnect and I start digging for
anything that will make me closer to
the fatherland, my home, the only one
who’s always been, before I ever was.

He is in the future. I am only
following in his timeline, his footsteps,
his heartbeats, his handclaps, his wisdom, his
only daughter. I am his only one.

He is in the future. I am only
following along his timeline, his footsteps,
his heartbeats, his handclaps, his wisdom,
his only daughter, I am his only.

Ellen Kathleen Smith is a writer, artist, and art teacher living in Washington State with her
husband and chickens. She is a former (US) National Poetry Slam competitor and has facilitated
numerous creative writing workshops in her community. Her hobbies include bike packing,
stargazing, weaving, and starting new hobbies. Find her online at

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A poem by Judi Sutherland


You say up front, it’s not PC, but still,
you’re going to tell it anyway, because we
are listening and, what the heck, it’s Friday.

So; this joke’s an opportunist in a lift
that’s stuck. Implied are cipher women
getting knocked about, knocked out,

knocked up, but they’re not real,
just women-in-a-joke, and they don’t feel
a steel wall slam into their cheek,

the fumbling of a beery, bristly bloke
who’s rucking up their skirts, and then
the shame, the hurt. They don’t react;

they’re disbelief, suspended between floors,
and just how rapey is it? As we fall
towards the punchline, down the shaft,

I just can’t answer back; in this tight spot
I sense that lurch and drop. I’m pressed against
these sliding doors that closed and will not open.

Judi Sutherland lives in Barnard Castle, County Durham. Her poems have appeared in a number of magazines including a Black Light Engine Room chapbook "Dark Matter VI".

Monday, 18 September 2017

A poem by Stella Wulf

Sovereign Tea

When the clock struck three, cosies limbered, 
caddy lids chattered, teapots hummed 
to the kettles' anthem. 
Tannin ruled the brave.
Tea was togetherness, tittle-tattle, 
the chink of china, the rattle of spoon on tray, 
and nothing was finer than a biscuit 
with the beverage of the day.

Nutty cookies sprawled from their strait-jackets, 
hobnobbed in barrels and tins. Garibaldis 
mingled with McVities, Chocolate Fingers 
rubbed along with Gingernuts. Wafer Thins,
Jammy Dodgers, Bourbons, Custard Creams,
a melange of eclectic confection, 
with dreams to be laid, displayed, selected,
nibbled with affection. 

Then came the rise in popularity 
of a freeze-dried granularity. 
The pot called the kettle black, 
cracks began to show. Discontent
stirred in pot bellies as kettles hissed, 
rumbled, poured scorn on Oolong, 
Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong. 
‘We’ve put up with you for far too long,'
the teapots grumbled.
‘Echinacea, Rooibos, Chamomile,
we don’t want your sort settling here, 
infusing our great British feeling, 
give us back our Assam,
give us back Darjeeling!’

The toffs ignored the brouhaha,
looked the other way declaring, 
'let them eat cake! The order of the day
is coffee and a bake!’
They called for ristretto with danish, 
denied the benefits of teapots, 
fobbing them off with sweepings 
in flimflam bags, designed for mugs.
It left a bitter taste.
The baristi topped up the rich roasts, 
pulled shots, spun frothy concoctions
in nifty jugs, dredged with favours,
served with hollow wafers.

Stella Wulf lives in France where she spends most of her life up to her oxsters in muck and dust, restoring a ruin. She has an MA in Creative Writing and her work has been widely published both in print and online magazines and journals. These include, Obsessed With Pipework, The High Window, Raum, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, and many others. Her poems have also been included in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology. She is also an artist and her work can be seen on her website:

Thursday, 14 September 2017

A poem by Paul Vaughan


Heat’s peeling off the walls,
thick as the smudged scarlet lip gloss
concealing tiny cracks she traces
with fingertip across her mouth.

Curtains hang dead as her dank hair.
Nothing stirs in darkness
but the cold flicker of Abbott and Costello on silent screen.

Flare of a lighter flutters her face.
She sucks hard on her cigarette,
stares at the red stain on filter tip.
Crimsoned butts pile out of the ashtray
on the glass of the coffee table
and the colour of blood
pools by her feet
on her dress
on the glint of the knife.

Paul Vaughan lives in Yorkshire. His poems have appeared in Agenda, Prole, Poetry Salzburg, Frogmore Papers, Obsessed with Pipework and Dream Catcher, among other places. He is also an editor of the e-zine Algebra of Owls.

Monday, 11 September 2017

A poem by William Harper

Chiswick Rain

Chiswick Rain on my window
    At night
    The sound
    That is all
    Sweet dreams
    And a kiss

    The patter of water
    At night
    The sound
    That is all
    Sweet dreams
    And a kiss
    A love unfolds
    Like the trees
    When they grow
    The sound
    That is all
    Sweet days
    And a kiss
    The fizz of your thinking
    At night
    The sound
    That is all
    Sweet dreams
    And a kiss

    Chiswick Rain
    The sound
    That is all
    And a kiss

William Harper is a writer from Maryhill, Glasgow, living in London. He has published short stories in the Galway Review and swimmers club.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A poem by R. A. Allen

Fine Dine

While trying to decide
between the scallops Veronique
and the roasted rack of lamb
he notices that a nearby
two-top accommodates
a fashionable couple, and
from its angle of repose
atop her waxed-leather
miniskirt, a satin napkin
embarks on a furtive escape, slipping
like the subduction of tectonic plates
like the silence of Death Valley
like a nitro-burning funny car
like The Marriage of Figaro
like the second law of thermodynamics
like a hallucination born of too much dining alone.

R. A. Allen's poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, Night Train, RHINO Poetry, Word Riot, Amuse-Bouche, The Recusant, and elsewhere. He has one Pushcart nomination for poetry and one Best of the Web nomination for fiction. He lives in Memphis, where he waits for that other shoe. More at

Monday, 4 September 2017

A poem by Quinn Christensen


he can pick her up.
it doesn’t bother me that he does. but i am jealous

of the way that he can drape her across the arm of the sofa.

i am jealous of the way her arms fall -
elbow thinner than arm, wrist thinner than elbow, click click clicking like perfectly timed gears all the way down.

i am jealous of her bones (not bones) for being a chain of pearls,
an ivory necklace

that would look stunning on her own porcelain collarbones, and no one else’s.

there is something about the way she moves
that makes her seem like she belongs somewhere, that makes her seem

like she’s flying
something ethereal that i can’t quite put my finger on.

so yes, i suppose i am jealous
because lord knows i always wanted to be a fairy.

there is something about the way she moves that reminds me of my best friend

see, my best friend used to be the most drapeable person i knew,
and she isn’t so pretty anymore.
but she also isn’t dying.

so i wonder what it says about her
that she is so pretty.

and i wonder what it says about me that i am so jealous
of the way that he can drape her across the arm of the sofa.

Quinn Christensen is an avid reader​, cat lover, and high school student. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and spends her free time writing, revising, and spending time with her muses.