Thursday, 28 February 2019

A Poem by Adam Lee

Thomas Hardy

Spare us a thought

as you stumble on 
down the inclined slope
of the long gone. Because 

you and others that
knew Life for what it was

-and is-

would have shuddered
if you could have intuited 
what the not-too-distant

future would do to the alienated.

Adam lives and works as a bid writer in Manchester. Over the years he has studied English Literature, Psychology and History. He is interested in writing a poetics of subjectivity, like his hero John Ashbery. He has never been published before.

Monday, 25 February 2019

A Poem by Mark Tulin

Menthol Light

When my mother smoked a cigarette,
she held it awkwardly 
between the wrong two fingers. 
She never inhaled.
The cigarette never touched
her lips.

She would take short puffs
that never saw the inside
of her lungs.
She never savored
the taste.
She never smelled the aroma
or enjoyed its flavor.

She would often smoke in secret,
almost embarrassed
by the habit.
She watched the smoke rings 
snake to the sky
in crooked circles.
She believed that smoking
could change her worrisome nature
just by a snap of a match.  

She went from regular
to Menthol Light.
From Virginia Slims
to Pall Mall.
She had hoped that she looked
the part, like Hayworth or Bacall. 
She had hoped that she looked 
sophisticated and cool.

Mark Tulin is a former family therapist who lives in Santa Barbara, California.  His poetry often finds richness in the lives of the neglected and disenfranchised. He has a poetry chapbook, Magical Yogis, published by Prolific Press (2017).  His work appears in Page and Spine, Fiction on the Web, Amethyst Magazine, Vita Brevis, The Drabble, smokebox, and others. His website is

Thursday, 21 February 2019

A Poem by Charley Barnes

Nature feeds Herself

Her beak claps at cracks in the tarmac
as she snaps at the remains of another creature.

She doesn’t recognise the tyre marks, chooses
instead to eat around the rubber remnants.

Small feet pad over a flattened – something;
it tastes good enough and fills the gap.

A car horn disturbs her evening meal. She leaves
with weathered skin between her bill –

Nature finds ways to nurture her own.

Charley Barnes is a Worcestershire based author and poet. In 2018, her debut poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, was published by V. Press. Her debut novel, Intention, is published by Bloodhound Books.

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).