The Bursting Shell – by Oz Hardwick

 

The Bursting Shell
                    after Christopher Nevinson

Sightlines curve, break, I
see spirals, trace shadow-shards,
splinters split from darkness, I
hear colours, smell fear,
exhilaration of blazing sky,
flying fragments of still night
surprising stone, rising, I
hold breath, blind to colours,
bright light splinters, spirals
traced in black, bloodlines,
wood split, rising in eyes
that can’t blink, can’t think,
curve up to dark noise,
strict discipline of chaos
spun through hard shadows, I
choke on broken fear, flying
down to blazing roots, ripened
fruit of fire, ripped sky,
spiral light, sightlines split,
my eye closed, closed, I
close my eye, never unsee
the vortex of sharp unbelieving,
light shearing skin and bone.

 

 

 

Oz Hardwick is a York-based poet, photographer, and academic. His latest poetry collection is The Ringmaster’s Apprentice (Valley Press, 2014), and he is co-author, with Amina Alyal, of the Saboteur-shortlisted Close as Second Skins (IDP, 2015). He has delusions of musical competence, and his one regret is that he is not Belgian. His website can be found here.

What Can I Do For You? – by Sasha Singer-Wilson

 

He sits too much.
He knows this is true.
He eats too many chocolate chip cookies.
Hard to resist.
Hard to resist.
Betty forwarded an email article about “Standing Desks”.
Maybe he should get one of those.
His doctor says he has high blood pressure.
No more egg yolks?
No more custard before bed?
He goes for a walk or two and then thinks:
I’d rather be sleeping.
He reads a few passages of the Bible…
(Betty highlighted them and tagged the pages with post it notes).
He decides he’s going to take Betty on a date to the Planetarium.
“Why would we look at fake stars when we can look at real ones?” she says.
He hadn’t thought of that.
Damn.
He takes Betty on a date to the park and he brings a blanket.
“Why did you bring this blanket? It’s going to get dirty!”
Betty drinks all of the hot chocolate.
“It’s cold,” she says.
It’s cloudy so they don’t see any real stars.
He kisses her, though.
That hadn’t happened in awhile.
A kiss that makes them both remember a time before the toilet seat being left up.
A kiss that keeps them warm, inside out.

 

 

 

Sasha is a theatre maker and writer. She has been collaborating with Julia Pileggi on thesefiveminutes for almost five years. They write on the same prompt every day and post it, unedited, to their site. Sasha lives in Vancouver, BC and is working on an MFA in Playwriting at the University of British Columbia. www.sashasingerwilson.com

Existence, Explained – by Tonya Eberhard

 

Scraping ketchup off the plate
with limp French fries,
the philosophical discussion begins. With

spelling out existentialism
on a clean napkin. E-X-I—
the beginnings explained. Simply

wiping the fingers. Spelling out
existential ideas on a dirty napkin.
U-&-I— don’t matter. We are simply

existentialists, explaining atoms
of chance, particles of existence
formed, rearranged, scattered

into the Universe. All coincidental.
Like seeing the face of God in the
smears of ketchup on the empty plate

in the café-restaurant.

 

 

 

Tonya Eberhard recently graduated from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Dirty Chai, Lingerpost, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and Sun & Sandstone, among others.

The Company of Butterflies – by Lynn White

 

In the company of butterflies
I can whistle up the wind
and fly
without boundaries.
Flutter by
and then rest
in the sunshine
and drink
sweet nectar
and dream
and dream.

In the company of butterflies
I can whistle up the wind
and soar
over fragile rainbows.
Then stop
in a fusion
of colour
to taste the gold
at the end
of my flight
of fancy.

In the company of butterflies
I am boundless.

 

 

 

“The Company of Butterflies” was previously published in Dawntreader magazine.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her work can be found on Facebook or her blog.

Treefall – by Ace Boggess

 

 

I turn onto the Southside Bridge,
pass in the opposing lane
the city dump truck
packed with Christmas pines,
on top the littlest waggling, breaking free.

It bounces in a spray of brittle glitter,
glass dragon shattered by a hammer,
then comes to rest. I drive past,

slower, more cautious,
lucky I was there to witness.

Calamities often go unnoticed, voiceless,
each day in the blank & shadowed woods.

 

 

 

 

Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014, available on Amazon) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. 

He has just released Abuse Cycle, a micro-chapbook available here

Orlando – by Chris Taylor

 

I thought I had no words –
that only silence
could do justice
to Orlando.

But I am scared.
Because text books tell me
this is just the start.
As empires crumble
all sense of certainty is cast aside
leaving us to tip-toe
through the minefield
of someone else’s fear.
Where to love
is to place your body on the frontline
for self-loathing males
            whose fragile sense of worth
            conjures up more hatred
            than their souls can hold
to use as target practice.

And we are left to
stand in line for seven hours
in ninety degree heat
to give blood
in devotion
to our lovers.
Whose broken remains remind us
that to follow your heart
can be a dangerous thing.

And this is just the start.
These are days
when psychopaths lie
and cheat and brag their way
to hate-filled power
over what’s left of a once-proud endeavour.
Only to prove their rhetoric is empty
their deeds are shallow
and their desperation more extreme
than their egos can contain.

I am scared
more blood will be spilt
more wars fought
more others vilified, blamed
and cast into the fire
as walls crumble,
ponzi-capitalism chases
its tail into a spiral
of crash upon crash,
boom and bust echoing
like so many semi-automatic rounds
until the whole thing
goes down in a CGI
fire-ball blaze.

And we are left to find
more love
           for every act of hate
more peace
           for every act of war
more calm
           for every rabid rally-cry
as chaos seeks to spreads contagion.

This is the task
we have taken upon ourselves.
A test beyond biblical proportion.
What some put out
we will repay double
in equal and opposite measure.
Where there is death
we will give blood.
Where there is greed
we give all we have.
For Hatred – love.
Frenzied clatter – deepest hush.
Despair – only joy.
Anything else is retreat,
anything else risks the end,
anything else forgets
that love
is love
is love
is love.

 

 

Chris Taylor lives in Yorkshire and is unofficial poet of The New Story. His poems, which are often blunt and heart-felt, channel a more beautiful future. Part political, part spiritual his work avoids polemic while refusing to duck the issues of our age. Chris splits his time between writing and working as a life-coach, facilitator and mentor for people and organisations that are building a better world amongst the ruins of late-stage global capitalism.