Virtual Love – by Joan McNerney

 

A
long
slim
poem
full of hyperbole
& alliteration drifted
into the wrong e-mail box.

There she met an erudite
rich text format file.
They became attached.

Her fleeting metaphors
lifted his technical jargon.
They were a word couple
spinning through cyber space
giddy with inappropriate syllables.

 

 

 

 

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary zines such as Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net. 

Stopping the Push-Mower Several Times to Capture the Poems Leaping Up Out of the Grass – by John Berry

 

I.
When I’m not confined to the part of me thinking
I ought to do this, I should have done that
And the birds in my brain do not chitter and chatter
Their worries and whinings for futures beyond their control,
And all there is to do in this moment is mow the grass,
Maybe compose this poem while walking,
I start at the base of a tree. I begin pushing the mower
In circles, and circles to spirals, and spirals to orbits,
And orbits to systems,
To galaxies
All the while taking longer and slower and deeper breaths
Needing only to breathe
For one
For a while.

II.
It may not seem as though I’m doing much more
Than standing or sitting here
While you are bagging my groceries
Or bringing a cup of coffee to my table
But I’m loving you, even if I don’t know you.
Even if it makes you wonder why, to yourself,
Your body has softened, your feet do not hurt,
You have grown confused, perplexed,
Disoriented under this challenging lighting.
You find yourself drawn to the windows
And out to the trees.

III.
Remember how much it rained last week, last month,
And we wondered how dogs and cats got involved
But it seemed to make sense at the time?
Remember how thirsty it made us? How dry
Our throats became as we stood in the doorway,
Watching the lightning, feeling the mist of the rain
As it splashed on the screen of the door?
Remember how the hibiscus folded its funnels of flowers
And drooped its heads to protect its golden pockets of pollen,
And the birds had all disappeared, but we imagined them
Under umbrellas of maple leaves, shaking the rain from their feathers?
And we were not thinking, then, of today or even tomorrow.
How we would be eating this rain from the raspberry vines.
How we would be breathing this rain in the lush green forest.

 

 

 

 

John Berry’s work has appeared in numerous online and print journals. His first collection, Wobbly Man, was published this year. He hosts a monthly poetry night in Winchester Va., where he and his beloved wife Brenda live with their two Yorkies, Molly and Lily. John has also begun an internet poetry show called The Sock Drawer Poetry Series which airs here .

Ardnamurchan – by Robert Hodkinson

 

Of the first drowner she knew little:
aching out of the Glendrain Hills, raw water
drank him down: where Sanna’s river muscles
below the crofts and hearth-bright windows
warm a suicide’s doubt, tempt him
from the waters’ cold vice as it tightens.

“What of the second?” I asked. He lived in Sanna
when her mother was a girl; dressed himself one morning
in the waves’ welcome, by a granite ledge
that shelved some ten or twelve feet under high water.
At low tide they found him: sure as a mountaineer,
spread-eagle on the rock, white-knuckled in kelp.

“The third?” A gamekeeper who waded the tarn
below Meall Nan Con; eye and ear emptied of stag,
and black-throated diver. With fistfuls of shale
weighting his pockets, he greeted patient water,
while in the grass by the tarn’s edge slept
the silence of his loaded gun.

 

 

 

 

Robert Hodkinson lives in Derbyshire. His first pamphlet collection, Malvern Gibbous, won a Templar Poetry award in 2013.

Elegy for my father – by Ann Randlette

 

I stop on your gravel parking strip
stand outside your house
try to slow my breathing
I hear only
the ticking of my truck engine.

I approach the threshold
no blood spatter, no brain matter.
Your pink plastic tulips
grace the front flowerbed.

This morning’s paper, rolled and rubber banded,
waits for you to step out in your blue tattered bathrobe,
stretched out leather slippers
cigarette ash dropping
to pluck it from the doormat.
Welcome.

Opening the front door, I inhale
smoky fireplace, tobacco-tinged dad odor.
‘Hello’ escapes before I know it
my ritual of warning and greeting.
I’m coming in, drink that drink up.
Hide that bottle. Let’s not fight.

The news not blaring from the brown plastic kitchen radio.
The TV not booming out the sports.
No distant murmur of 1940’s music from the bedroom.

I open cupboards, drawers, the fridge,
touch bottles of cream sherry, a carton of whipped cream,
jars of pickled beets, a can of Spam.

Your butt-sprung armchair is a still island
surrounded by a sea of Wall Street Journals.
I lift spare change off the dresser,
a penny, a quarter, a dime, a nickel.

In the front hallway closet
I put on your faded army jacket,
scented by chainsaw fuel, cigarette smoke
and your years of wear
in the piney outdoors.

I walk out,
finding a nail, some string,
a pencil stub, a matchbook.
You, still in these pockets.

 

 

 

Ann has been writing for about 10 years, but has only recently begun submitting
work to magazines. This is her first published poem. She is a healthcare worker in Olympia, Washington, newly retired from over 30 years of cardiac ultrasound scanning. She also does collage, drawing and painting.  She attends a Poetry Writing Class
taught by poet David Wagoner at the Hugo House in Seattle, Washington.

Revision – by Nicky Phillips

 

An empty chocolate digestive packet
lies on the desk in a nest of crumbs.

Underneath, a GCSE timetable,
already half struck through in red.

Einaudi is doing his best
to keep things calm.

I hand her a cup of tea; she stretches
for it, knocking Dante to the floor.

It isn’t the smile I note, but those dark pools
of panic that no amount of kindness,

extra Italian lessons or trips to Venice
can dilute. How to remind her that we all have

different strengths? Through the window
there’s the first glimpse of cowslip,

a sky of cracked gold, her crazy spaniel, doing tricks.
She giggles. I hold out her guitar. She grabs it.

 

 

 

 

Nicky Phillips lives and writes in rural Hertfordshire, where she’s a member of Ware Poets. Her poems have appeared in Brittle Star, South Bank Poetry, and SOUTH; at Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake and Snakeskin; and in various anthologies. She delighted in being involved in Jo Bell’s ‘52’ Project.

Warning: DO NOT EXCEED! – by Sarah L Dixon

 

Ok. I read the label.
For the first week I keep the load light:
a slim volume of poetry,
two pens (with lids on)
an A6 notebook.

By the end of the month
I can’t remember the capacity,
think I can fit in another book,
a mini first-aid kit,
some flyers, Sellotape and Blu-tack.

Then, the lids fall from the pens,
they leak on the notebook.
I throw it away and replace
it with a hardback one twice the size,
alongside three novels I am halfway through.

Add toys I am handed to “look after”,
three conkers, a chewed lolly,
(that finds a corner so I can forget about it)
and sweet chestnut cases, that spike me
until I remember not to open that pocket.

I hear the bag strain and creak,
the lining rips
I keep losing things behind it.
The zip is broken half way
and still I load it further.

I stand on the tram platform
clutching a bag with a snapped strap,
surprised stitching has unravelled
the leather has worn through.
It couldn’t take what I expected it to hold.

 

 

 

 

Sarah L Dixon tours as The Quiet Compere.  She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Interpreter’s House among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her five-year old, Frank.  She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!  More info at The Quiet Compere.

Nauset Beach – by Stuart Nunn

 

wind brings the gulls
to a hover
and they drop down out of it
complacently
sand stretches north
and south forever
there are colonies
of hardy bathers
by the lifeguard’s chair
but we
have gone beyond all that
allowing the waves’ wildness
to lure us on
the broken shell you find
half smoothed is strange
to our European eyes
the seals watch us
more astutely than we them
turning
we find the wind
in our faces
and home an ocean away

 

 

 

Stuart Nunn is a retired FE lecturer living in South Gloucestershire. He belongs to poetry groups in Cheltenham and Cherington (near Tetbury). He is chairman of an athletics club, but never runs.