Preparing the Garden – by Wendy DeGroat


There is satisfaction in the reclaiming,
defining again where things end and begin.
Twigs and leaf-debris cleared from beds.
Dime-high seedlings, oak and holly, pulled,
weeds too. Willow fence restaked. Bench
brushed clean. Afterward, shoulders
and back that good kind of weary. Heat
seeps from my shirt as I rest in the shade,
peaceful riot of birdsong and traffic, cheers
from a distant ballgame, a fountain gurgling.

What more could I wish of this place?

As I think this, two sparrows race past.
And for the first time, as my eyes follow
their flight, I notice a Celtic cross
under the neighbors’ Nandina and recall
the dogs they lost this winter, our cat
we lost this fall. I wonder if the cross
marks one or both their losses, or whether
it’s planted to help us remember them all.



Wendy DeGroat’s poetry has appeared in U.S. and U.K. publications, including Common-place, Raleigh Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Mslexia, Forage, and The Brillantina Project. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she works as a librarian, teaches writing workshops, and curates poetryriver.orgHer chapbook Beautiful Machinery is forthcoming from Headmistress Press in 2017.

Lord, will my phone be saved too? – by Vince Borg


Lord, when my time is up, will I be saved…
And will my phone be saved too?
It’s just that I rely on it so much
And I would hate to be without it,
Even in eternity.
I lost it once, and I was really upset..
All my contacts gone, my photos,
All my messages from friends and relatives,
My Facebook, twitter and What’s App
All disappeared off the face of the Earth.
I know it was lucky that
I’d backed everything up.
But still it was a scare
Not being able to hold
It in my hands.
It gave me a feeling of deep unease.
So please Lord,
When my time is up,
Will my smartphone be saved too?

No, my child, there will be no need.
In fact there will be no need for you
To attend in person either.
Where did you think your data
Was going when you saved it in the Cloud?
No my child, I will already have what I need
To make a judgement.
Your SIM is in my hands,
Metaphorically speaking of course.
When the time comes
I’ll give you a call.

Pick up, won’t you.




Vince is a retired Maths teacher. His family has lived in North Leeds and enjoyed the Yorkshire countryside for over 40 years. He performed in open-mic at Wicked Words in Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, for many years, and produced an unpublished anthology ‘Running Down the Up One‘ in 2012.

The Weight – by Ryan Stone


One drunken night, he lay on the coach road
and she lay beside him. He pictured a truck
descending – wobbling around corners,
gaining momentum. They spoke about crushes,

first kisses. He told her of an older woman
who’d stolen a thing he couldn’t replace.
He tried to describe the weight of lost things.
She listened until he stopped,
until I stopped

hiding behind he. I felt small,
watching the cosmos churn
while I lay on the coach road
one summer night, speaking
of big things
and nothing.



Ryan Stone lives in Melbourne, Australia. He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two beautiful sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes. His poetry has recently appeared in Writers’ Forum Magazine, Eunoia Review, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain, Poppy Road Review, Ekphrastic and Pyrokinection

The Poet’s Breath – by Audrey Howitt

i met you in the sun

you wrote your poetry
on clouds
blue on white
a daisy, your pen

until grey streaks pushed
your kind aside
deeper and deeper
into the edges
pulling petals apart
a litany to tiny ends

the wilt of a berry
on your breast
rebirth it’s red
this new ink
the leaves your pages

poetry, your breath.



Ms. Howitt is classical singer and voice teacher, a licensed attorney and psychotherapist. Her work has been published by Lost Tower Publications.

Hills Without Elephants – by A.J. Huffman


Hills Without Elephants

glow like twin moons, lost
to a distant skyline. I close my mind
like a window, leave
my eyes open as I make a wish
for occupancy. Silence
echoes back at me, a most unwelcome
response. I grab two markers –
neither true black – and color
the pain. The distortion is temporary,
but provides projections
that shimmer like giddy ghosts.



A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

already always – by Lonnie Monka


fall asleep
just fall
sleep is not death
fall as we all fall from each day’s peak
fall into the morning
          fall out of this pre-emptive mourning
for the moment when consciousness breaks
            fall asleep
                     just fall to your death while dreaming
            that dreams only seem
digest those dreams
          defecate their meaning
                      pleasure yourself interpretations
just fall the fuck to sleep

fill discontinuous time-gaps
            speak theories
say all possible words
               till lightning-like
desires flash into tickling touches
            that hover over blanket-less backs
just plead your case to invisible ears
           that carefully compile your memories
of striving to see the surrounding darkness
           with eyes that touch the lack of light
painful memories
               fall into the future
                       fall these memories
                                               into tomorrow
fall asleep
fall all memories of failing to fall asleep
             into waking up
tomorrow depends on falling asleep
           having fallen asleep
this is already always     tomorrow




Lonnie Monka is a U.S. native now living in Jerusalem. He loves the finer things in life, like reading & writing, and experimenting in the kitchen. He runs occasional literary events and readings under the name Jerusalism. Feel free to check out his literary musings at



I’m Walking Home – by Alec Solomita


I’m walking home from the convenience store
thinking about an old girlfriend who shape-
shifted into nü gui one summer evening
when a stone garden cat gives me the eye
and the creeps. I’ve got three almond
Hershey bars in my pocket for the mad wife,
and a package of peanut M&M’s for me.
The street’s dark and cold and when the
wind picks up, I roll myself into a ball
and turn around to avoid the sting, facing
where I’ve been, the wind at my back
and remember how I dreamt about women again
the night before. I dream about women almost
every night next to her coarse quiet breathing.
And then I remember the scene in Fargo where Mike
Yanagita at the Radisson restaurant tries to put up
a good front for Marge Gunderson then falls to pieces,
and Marge delicately lowers her head to her diet Coke.




Alec Solomita lives in Somerville, Mass., USA. His fiction has appeared in, among other publications, The Adirondack ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewSouthwest Review and Ireland’s Southword Journal. Recently, he’s published poetry in Literary OrphansSilver Birch PressTurk’s Head ReviewAlgebra of OwlsDriftwood Press, and The Fourth River.

Reunion – by Alicia Fernandez


Their bodies unexplored
will leave the earth to bury us
in the heat of summer storms
and recoil back to the soil
at the end of this favour.

They will serve us warm milk,
provide blankets, bags of crisps,
remind us of our predilection
for cherries and the hopelessly lonely.
They will leave our nerves numb.

Their hands will warm our bones,
peel our prawns, break pieces of chalk
in half and count to ten endlessly.
They will revel in the triumph of
gracing our dreams with their elegance.

By then I will have failed at being healthy
and having children; I will have given up
faith and smoking, liquor, intimacy.
When I join them, though,
I want the flowers to be bright yellow.




Alicia Fernández was born in Spain and works as a translator. Her poems have been featured online by the writing collective Sleepy House Press and in print in Seeking Ataraxia, both based in Manchester.

Full English – by Jimmy Andrex

Tommy Robinson, whatever your name,
I’m glad you’re so keen on English culture.
Let’s get together, maybe have a look
at some Anglo-Saxon poems, brought over
from Norway by Vikings. You’d like them lads:
Hardworking, enjoyed beer and a good scrap.
You’d love Beowulf, especially that tale
where he dives deep in a freezing fjord,
grabs Grendel’s mother and hacks off her head.
Just for you, I’ll use English sonnet form,
just like Shakespeare, whose plays and poems
helped make and shape our green and pleasant tongue.

If we’re English, can we help but admire
all the voices in our mongrel choir?

You might like to try out Morris Dancing,
amidst the pint pots on old village greens,
though I guess you’re less keen on blacking up
as Arabs. Still, if it’s culture you want,
let’s start with our own language as it rolls
off our lips like the sea on Dover Beach:
Warm waves of Latin, regular as roads;
Harsh hatchets of Norse, its vulgar vowels
spat through tense teeth, consonants like crackling
ripped off roast ribs round friends’ fires after fights
over land or laws, a fusion of French
words and German that gels the best of both.

If we’re English, can we help but admire
all the accents in our hybrid choir?

But this might be too academic
for bunkered believers, burying their fear
under flags with clenched fists and gritted teeth.
Simple as it is to believe we are
pure, the village green you think you stand on
is Bermuda Grass, your flag Chinese,
your parents Irish, your splintered thinking
from 30’s Germany, (just like your car,
I notice). There never was a pure island:
It always was this invasive mixture,
accident of limestone, granite and chalk,
where foreign forges itself into fixture.

If we are English, can we help but admire
Mixed beauty in every single breath of our choir?




“Full English” was aimed at the founder/leader of the EDL as Jimmy was sick of hooligans and nutcases talking about our “heritage” as a front for racism.  He even used medieval/Norse alliterative rhymes.  No-one ever noticed, but the day after he performed it for the first time, the EDL leader resigned.  Sadly the EDL didn’t go away.

Jimmy is on Soundcloud and on Facebook with Northern Beat Poets.

Never – by Peter R White


I like to think. I can do some things well,
especially when I sit down to write;
but I could never do a villanelle

because it taxes every cerebral cell
to render both refrain and rhythm right.
I like to think I can do some things – well,

perhaps the sonnet’s where I could excel
if that iambic metre weren’t so tight –
but I could never do a villanelle.

And when my novel’s finished, it might sell
enough to make me famous overnight;
I like to think I can do some things well

enough, and would improve if I could spell
sophisticated words like ‘sexpartite’;
but I could never do a villanelle

without descending into doggerel.
Although I must admit I’m not too bright,
I like to think I can do some things well.
But I could never do a villanelle!




Peter R White’s poetry has won prizes and has appeared in 9 anthologies to date. He played a prominent role in the running of the popular Poetry by Heart readings in Headingley, Leeds. The publication of his pamphlet, Ways to Wander (OWF Press, 2015) somehow led to his being seconded as Joint Managing Editor of OWF Press