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

 

Bricklayer – by Clint Wastling

 

English, header, stretcher, Flemish bond,
he taught me the basic stack before a brew
of builder’s tea and a fag break drew all to
the Portacabin.
If he could lay five hundred bricks
he’d get a full day’s pay.
Through all but the worst of weather
he’d work long hours, fingers taped,
shammy gloves kept out the lime:
bed of mortar, brick, tap, level.
He could halve a brick with one rap of the trowel:
Before he died,
dad listed houses, bungalows, schools,
a cold war bunker
but his first, he spoke of fondly,
flats on Bricknall Avenue whilst
apprenticed to old Jack Mather.
Perhaps he thought we’d photograph them all.
Make the mortar
mix sand and lime: 3:1 – blend in the water.
I see him now, his thin frame,
a shock of auburn hair
and fingers which
built brick on brick to house his every dream.

 

 

 

Clint Wastling is a writer based in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He’s had poetry published in Gold, Dreamcatcher and River Poets Journal  among others in the UK and USA. His first novel, The Geology of Desire, was published recently by Stairwell Books. His second, Tyrants Rex, part 1 of a dystopian sci-fi trilogy, is due out in August 2017. www.clintwastling.webs.com

Aleppo, 2016 – by W Luther Jett

 

That pale shimmer
of white is not
glass reflecting
noon – is not
someone’s lace
dress – nor new
fallen snow –

Ashes, ashes
coat the street
of ruined houses –
and amid the rubble
a lone arm
upthrust toward
a sky now forever
out of reach.

 

 

 

W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland, whose poetry has been published in numerous journals, including: The GW Review, Poetica, Syncopated City, Synæsthesia, ABRAXAS, Scribble, Beltway, Innisfree, Xanadu, Haiku Journal, Steam Ticket, Potomac Review, and Main Street Rag. His chapbook, “Not Quite” has recently been published by Finishing Line Press.

Inexorable – by Devon Balwit

 

We build our monuments looming, fortress walls high,
brows and hands sculpted noble. They look down
their noses at the town square, take the long view
of the surrounding valleys. We assume they will
continue to speak for us and hold their own against
forgetfulness. But our descendants see only building
materials, a place to hang laundry. Our empty sarcophagi
water cattle. The young graffiti the flanks of our war horses,
skateboard along our great walls, pulverize the past into
parking lots. And this while some of us still remember.
The geological forgetting will be utter and absolute.

 

 

 

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, OR.  Every morning, she uses the height of her dog’s leaps as an oracle to gauge her fortunes for the day, then writes and writes and writes – hoping to produce a thing of beauty.

It Lives in the Basement – by Linda Kleinbub

 

Loneliness crept up the stairs
stood in a corner
observed the situation
searched for the easiest to infiltrate
curled around her unknown
smoke unseen
loneliness holds her tight
she thinks its warmth is comforting
quickly she is left abandoned,
alone, trying to make snow angels
at midnight.

 

 

 

Linda Kleinbub is a volunteer at Girls Write Now,  a writing organisation that works with at-risk high school girls.  Her work has appeared in The New York Observer, The Brooklyn Rail, Yahoo! Beauty, Grabbing the Apple: An Anthology of New York Woman Poets, and The Best American Poetry Blog. She is a painter and organic gardener.