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.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

A poem by Jasmine Blackney


Grant me a grade
of blue light in the dark;
A torch that will lead
the leeches out and into
that black hole lake.

If you must, sell me the
Diamonds, fake and bright,
the white nothings,
the ideas, and leave
my hands empty of hers.

Tell me to choose,
Turtles or doves,
Sundays or silk ties.
Tell me to find
the exit –

I am blind in this maze.

Ask me for answers,
while I hunt for the questions.
Clouds behind eyes
Stars blinking
Heart wide.

Suit me up
In black
Sit me in a cube
A moving window
Pulsing, clicking.

Show me the meaning
Of a life
In the concrete.
I would rather
A lantern made of moons. 

Jasmine Blackney studied a Creative Arts Degree with Honours and is currently taking time to travel, read, blog, write poetry and finish her second novel. She has never been published before.

Monday, 3 December 2018

A poem by Clair Chilvers


is the colour of my psyche
of the all-year-round dark mornings
of tears
of Requiem masses - Requiem Aeternam-
Et Lux Perpetua-
of warnings of the abyss ahead
with no bridge
of the folded mourning clothes kept
in the tall dark chest
of the dread of loneliness on Sunday evenings
until one day
the cat with yellow eyes
may cross my path.

Clair started writing poetry at the age of 70 after she retired from the NHS. She lives in Gloucestershire and was inspired by the work of UA Fanthorpe who was Head of English at her secondary school. She is the author of Pilgrimage - a collection of poems written following a visit to Palestine. Her work has been described as ' powerful and moving' by Anna Saunders founder of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.