Monday, 26 February 2018

A poem by Claire Walker

Red Plans her Escape

An axe fells the forest a little more each day.
She knows the sadness of this:
The branches that will miss facing sky;
leaves cut down before they have a chance to fall.

And yet there is the thrill of dark
fear that blazes through her.
Every sawn trunk is a notch on an escape plan,
each new stump a hop-scotch pad to freedom.

Yes, she knows the sadness:
That wood will be planed from natural shape,
made to hold the weight of a roof.
But for now there is space – all this space –
to feel the sun and test new paths.

Claire Walker's poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies and webzines including The Interpreter's House, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, The Poetry Shed, and The Chronicles of Eve. She is a Reader for Three Drops Press, and Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine. She has two pamphlets published by V. Press - The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile (2015), and Somewhere Between Rose and Black (2017).

Thursday, 22 February 2018

A poem by Kitty Coles


These trees have eyes deep in their green trunks:
we feel them creeping on our skin, lifting
the fine hairs on our arms, making
our scalps shift. We are silent under them.

There are no paths. We walk and push aside
thin whip-like branches that spring back
in our wake, creepers that hang and move
like hanks of hair. There are holes

in the trunks, odd gaps that gape and o,
filmed thick with webs, stuffed with a muttering
of leaves becoming mulch, a stink of rot.
An apple rests in one, shiny and clean

and green and startling in its virulence.
The birds that scuffle in the canopy,
run in the undergrowth, won’t pierce its flesh.
It burns, a jewel in the tree’s dark throat,

and the bark sloughs itself in sunburnt strips
that drift, translucent scales, through hazy air.
The old roots break the earth, impede
our progress. We falter under

the arch of this cathedral, which lifts
its arms to the sun and shadows our way
so we receive light sieved and secondhand,
only that apple bright for miles ahead.

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey with her husband and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. 'Seal Wife' her first pamphlet was published in 2017 by Indigo Dreams.

Monday, 19 February 2018

A poem by Emma Jenkins

Do You Stock it in Any Other Colour?

you are either sick or,
you’re not.
You’re either better or,
you’re not.’

So, depression is a newspaper.
It could also be a zebra.
Grazing, nibbling, running,
fast from
invisible lions.
It’s a blob of ink on a pristine


But it isn’t black and white.
It’s not even grey,
is it.


It’s a purplish wine stain
on a white work shirt.

It’s the mottled patchiness
of old skin.

It’s my paint brush water in
a small glass jar.

Regret, shame,
creation, pain.

Is that a colour or a shade?

Can I buy it in a tube?
Can I wash my canvas in it?

What if I go to Homebase?
And scan the home décor aisle,
could I find it in a drum?

I wonder what the name on the label would be.

‘Eggshell despair’
Subtle, cold overtones of,
Overtones of fear of
dying alone.
Hues of
‘I’ll be fine’

I’ll dip my brush in
that bucket.
Slather my walls in it, with
a sodden roller.

I’ll bathe in it.
I’ll drink it.

It’s so very becoming.

Emma, originally from London, currently lives and writes in a sleepy village nestled in the hills of Kent where she was fortunate enough to work alongside fantastic poets during her degree in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Kent. Since graduating, she has been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to live and work in Japan, teaching children English through creative writing and poetry, while also learning about the art form of the Japanese haiku. Emma is hoping to begin a MA in creative writing in 2018.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

A poem by Marissa Glover

Truth We Cannot Tell 

Before they burn down our house
our bodies singed, the beds black dust

before they drag us 3.8 miles
behind a pickup truck down gravel road

before they tie us to a barbed wire fence,
beat us with baseball bats and a cattle prod

before they anoint us with honey
and plant us in the ground for ants

before they hang us from the southern
magnolia—wind chimes, a warning to others

they will break into our throat and rip out
the words too close to the tongue.

Marissa Glover teaches and writes in Florida. She shares her thoughts more than necessary, which she considers a form of charitable giving. If it counted as a tax deduction, she'd be rich. Her work has appeared in various places including Gyroscope Review and Solstice Sounds and on her parents' refrigerator.

Monday, 12 February 2018

A poem by Louise Wilford

Love me like a wake

Love me like a wake:
the sweetheart’s eulogy, the fizz of beer
across the tongue. Revere my form,
laid out on the bier of your gaze,
twenty summers gone, as I was
when I wish you’d known me.

Cheer me to a new heaven,
elsewhere on this mindless ball;
spin me out a new thread
as I fall.

               Love me like a feast,
mouth greased and juices rising, ready
for more than the dessicated core
thrown, thoughtless, to the floor.

Yorkshirewoman Louise Wilford is an English teacher and examiner. She has had around 50 poems and short stories published in magazines including Popshots, Pushing Out The Boat and Agenda, and has won or been shortlisted for several competitions. She is currently writing a children's fantasy novel.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A poem by Tina Edwards


The capitalisation of words hang
within a frame  like a rhetoric painting
on the gallery’s closed doors

people push past without a glance
even the polite please is not noticed
hold glossy foolscaps  stroke glass stems

a tall red haired woman wears McQueen
her tendrilly hair a nod to Guinevere
in black leather boots   minus her ride

stands back from the huddle  stares hard
at canvases hung on exposed brickwork
responds with a mix of facial contortions

bites of salmon  beluga  grace mother of pearl
mingle with Dior   absent linen napkins
a subtle reminder not to touch

before the night’s over and lights dim
Prosecco fuelled limbs stagger
hands reach out to walls for support

Tina Edwards lives in the rural and coastal county of North Somerset. A keen walker and keeper of ducks she is a new Poet recently published in Reach Poetry, Visual Verse, Clear Poetry and Poetry Super Highway (USA) amongst others. Her first collection of ekphrastic poems was recently long-listed for the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet prize 2017.

Monday, 5 February 2018

A poem by Susan Richardson


You hid a diamond in an old jar of
vitamin E, a glimmering secret that
you showed me only once a year.
You said it was valuable, payment
from a client who was suspiciously
low on cash and lacking in character.
As the years passed, it took on the
distinct scent of fish oil, slick across
edges that cut grooves into the moon
and sparkled against the tips of fingers.
It was supposed to be a legacy, passed
to me on the bitter tongue of death, but
I sold it to pay my rent and buy booze.
The diamond was polished and displayed
under glass, in a case filled with guilt
and heirlooms from other dead mothers.
I hope it still smells like the vitamin jar,
and that you forgive me for letting it go.

Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Hollywood. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002 and much of her work focuses on her relationship to the world as a partially sighted woman. In addition to poetry and short-fiction, she writes a blog called “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”. Her work has most recently been published in, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal and Literary Juice. She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig Winter Poetry Prize.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A poem by Caroline Hardaker


We're tied into carrying clusters of plants with us
at all times, like respirators, or portable dialysis machines.
'It's your civic duty', 'fulfil your O2 quota',
'here's your weekly batch of filtered water'

and with each new birthday a fresh crate of Boston ferns.
We rock around the streets like medieval milk maids
staying clear of other people lest we bruise a root
or drop a leaf. It’s always a relief to reach home unscathed.

I received a spotted tiger lily last year, and a rare orchid
which I promptly over-watered, so my left lung was aborted
the following month. Confiscated organs are fed
through the composter, crafting a softer bed
for the greenest breathers to blossom in and breed further.
Now I receive half the ferns I did before, and breathe shallowly,
hardly tasting the hard-earned air at all.

Caroline Hardaker lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with her husband, a giant cat, a betta fish with attitude, and a forest of houseplants. Her poetry has been published widely, most recently or forthcoming by Magma, The Emma Press, Neon, and Shoreline of Infinity. She is a guest editor for Three Drops Press, and the in-house blogger for Mud Press. Her debut chapbook 'Bone Ovation' was published by Valley Press in October 2017.