Tickles – by Jamal Martin

ticktext

 

 

Jamal Martin was born in 1986 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. His writing reflects the variety of experiences in his tireless search for knowledge and desire for self-improvement. He has a voracious appetite (apart from the necessities of academics) for reading and this has greatly contributed to his literary ideas. He has struggled with religion but is unable to say that he is an atheist. He is simply a man that has decided to treat everything with a slight dash of salt. His blog can be found here

Heading Home – by Hannah Stone

 

The tube is somnolent at six am,
the odd drunk slumped across two seats
whirling round the circle line;
strapholding backpackers perform with thumbs
their morning liturgy of status updates.

The clattering upward rush of escalators
ejects me onto the concourse,
blinking-bright shopping mecca
packed with passport-clutchers
choreographing wheely cases into pole position.

A clutch of hopefuls air-kiss greetings, crane
to check the departure boards – Brussels, Paris, Lyons.
I dodge gleaming puddles on a rainy taxi-rank,
traverse another crowded plain,
board a train back to the emptied north.

 

 

Hannah is a writer, forager and hill-walker who lives in Leeds. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University. Her first solo collection Lodestone was published by York-based Stairwell Books in 2016. She finds poems in landscapes, people-watching, galleries and libraries as well as the usual love and death stuff. 

Powhattan’s Mantle, Pocahantas’ Magic Cloak – by Joan Leotta

 

Powhattan’s Mantle
Pocahantas’ Magic Cloak
(on display in the Ashmolean Museum)

(Pocahantas, daughter of Powhattan, was born Matoaka, known as Amonute, and later known as Rebecca Rolfe, b. circa. 1595 in Virginia – d. March 1617, London, England)

 

Wrapped in the regal
softness of her hard homeland,
Amnute, Makatoa, Pocahantas
reigned over all.
The cloak was her father’s.
A bit of home that travelled
with her to this harsh new
place called England.

This outer mantle matched her inner honor,
touched the place in her that
gave her the strength
to save John Smith
from the ax,
to  become John Rolfe’s wife,
to endure rough seas on the ship,
to try to embrace the cold damp of London.

I wonder, did she ever cry herself to sleep
wrapped in that former finery ? Did she
lift it to her face amid the stink
of London to recall the
clean sweet smells of forest and the Bay?

After the birth of her son, Tom, or
doing the bidding of her spouse,
caring for her babe
did she quietly repair to cupboard
to stroke this cloak,
crying out to her father?

Then, there she could save the lives of others,
now could not save herself,
from raging fevers, not
even with the magic of her father’s cloak.

Swiftly, too swiftly she descended
into the ground at Gravesend!
We have her father’s cloak but
Pocahantas took its power with her.

 

 

 

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She has four novels, a collection of short stories and a picture book in print with three different publishers, available on Amazon. She has won awards in the US and abroad for her writing and performing. Her poetry and essays are in Gnarled Oak, Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, Eastern Iowa Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Postcard Poems and Prose and others. Her second picture book, Summer in a Bowl, comes out in September 2016. Joan also performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures. She lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband Joe. Find her on her blog or on Facebook.

 

Ice Scraping – by James Greenwood-Reeves

 

The car now sleeps, its morning slumber too cold
surely to ever move. Its skin, still as
the epidermis of some ancient creature,
forgotten in ice and darkness. Have you ever
wondered how Arctic explorers must have feared
the sleeping death of cold, to wake and find
they kept no breath? Frost as thick as a thumb,
as hard as nails: an inch of tooth-white ice.
It bites the skin: it stings like lack of love.

And when you next scrape off that layer of white,
imagine clawing out of their ice-house
as desperate as the wind, alone as night.

 

 

 

James Greenwood-Reeves is a young writer and lawyer in Lincoln, England. His first poems were inspired by songs from The Smiths, R.E.M., The Cure and other mildly dated bands. His more recent writings, including poetry, short fiction and essays, can be found here

For Humanity – by Nick Romeo

 

Yesterday I walked to the store
I passed two people begging for money
and another unconscious on the sidewalk
I kept my head down and moved faster.

Today I heard the small cry of a cat
the little guy was by the dumpster
I had to take him in and feed him
It’s too dangerous outside.

 

 

 

Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer.  His writings have been published in various literary magazines such as Uppagus, The Gambler, StreetCake Magazine, and others.  He was interviewed for Pankhearst’s Fresh Featured in December 2015 and The Daily Poet in February 2016.  Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat, Megatron.

 

The Black Spit of The Red Wine Drinker – by Alec Solomita

 

They can say whatever they want. But you know, she talks so slowly I could love her forever. I’m so glad she found me. This has been kind of a rough summer for me. My girlfriend left me. My wife’s sick. My shrink has been acting really hostile. My back went out. The weather’s been wacky, too. And what with the frankenfish and the hogweed scares, it’s just a creepy time. And then this girl comes through the bar’s dark and says, I have a feeling I’m going to love you more than God loves Wonder Bread, in a tone so languid the sentence lasted minutes. I said, well there’s a lot you don’t know about me. And she says, I don’t know anything about you. I paused and looked down, I shot that man on purpose. Luckily, she said, I have the resilience of an abused child.

 

 

 

Alec Solomita has published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review and elsewhere. His poetry has appeared in, among others, 3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, and, forthcoming, Driftwood Press and Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. He lives in Somerville, Mass.

Some of his other published poems can be found here: Invisible, Pulpy the Wit and Upstate/I’ve Come to Think