Gooseberry – by Ceinwen Haydon

 

You. Pale green orb, cream-licked,
sprout pubic down of youth,
moonballs flipped from Mars’ sky.
Will you, your bushy branches part
and –
seeing how I pant
hold back your spelky thorns?
Or will stiletto thrusts penetrate
my flesh, draw scarlet wine
from secret folds?

I had a bobble-popper necklace, as a girl,
It shared your hue and glittered
As I sucked each hard blob
whilst writing homework.
I tried not to bite, and yet my teeth
still left sharp-needled scars.
If I taste your juice fresh squeezed
I’ll fall to hell in tart-sweet sin.

 

 

 

 

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short (and not so short) stories and poetry. She has been published on curated internet sites and in print anthologies. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

Winners! June Monthly Awards

All the shortlisted poems received a healthy number of votes, but the winning Readers’ Choice Poem is

The Theology of the Anderson Shelter – by Jean Atkin

The Editor’s Choice Poem for June was chosen by Jane Kite who said:

“Each of the poems revealed more and became more surprising as I read them over and again and attuned to their rhythms.  The winner, We don’t know what to do with the dead things by Louisa Campbell repelled me at first, not only for its subject matter but because I’m not keen on rhyming couplets. I kept coming back to it though, because of its unusual point of view and that it catches something I haven’t found before in a poem. Sonnet 917-589-9XXX by Drew Pisarra was a close second – a well constructed and sensitive poem

Congratulations to both our winners, Jean and Louisa.

We only came for the sky – by Tom Sastry

 

We, who weren’t born to this
have fallen among walkers again:

mired in Gandalf-talk
Celtic mountain names crunched under the tongue
and exhaled as polite boasts;

a thesaurus of tired weather-words
squalling to no conclusion;

the sighs of health and aching limbs;

three hours gathering, chopping, bringing in
and turning foragings into weak broth
before drinking away
the last of the day’s fire.

There’s no need
to foul their crisp breakfast with our temper.

We can just let them go.

They will look surprised and leave happily,
perhaps glance knowingly at our door.

Later, we’ll watch blue-ink clouds
pool on distant rock-tips.

 

 

 

Tom Sastry lives and writes in Bristol. In 2016 he was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets. His first pamphlet, Complicity was one of the Poetry School’s books of the year for 2016 and was Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for Spring 2017.

Three bird four-liners, one bird three-liner and one bird two-liner – by Glenn Hubbard

 

No point looking for a bee-eater when you hear one.
They throw their voices or just move too fast. I dunno.
Your best bet is to look where the sound didn’t come from.
Or you could give up. Look at something else. A heron, maybe. You know.

Magpies would make you sick.
Nice colours it’s true.
But when they hop and then pounce on a helpless chick,
you tend not to focus on the iridescent blue.

The corn bunting can drive you crackers
with that song like jangling keys.
It’s not just those of a nervous disposition that go bonkers.
I’ve seen bird-besotted ornithologists brought to their knees.

What is it about a pigeon that turns a Jekyll into a Hyde?
I think it’s the way it moves its head.
Like it’s spent many years carrying a hod.

Has anyone ever seen a long-tailed tit having a breather?
Me neither.

 

 

 

 

Glenn Hubbard lives in Madrid. He is fluent in Spanish, but poetic only in English, especially about birds. He has been reading poetry for many years but only started writing in 2012. His poetry has appeared in The Bow-Wow Shop and will appear in The High Window and Carillon later in 2017

Monophobic Mother – by Clifton Redmond

 

You stand at the gate and see the children off to school,
try not to cry when they twist free
from your wrist-grip, wipe
the spit of your kisses from their faces,

nod and sigh when other mothers say they are relieved
to have the house to themselves, say nothing,
but know the sound of empty rooms is deafening,
the absence of child screams, footballs bouncing

on lino floors, spreading dirt for you to sweep.
It stops the four walls papered
with swallows on a yellow background,
from closing in and swallowing you.

So you break away from the herd
heading for home with their dreams
of sweet tea and talk shows, Facebook and Tinder.
Walk back along the streets of the town; wander

through the aisles of the supermarket,
pretending to search for some make-believe
brand of washing detergent, fill grocery bags
with scones, milk, baked-bread and secrets;

trudge through the Do It Yourself section,
searching for thumb tacks, blue tack,
sellotape, magic adhesive
to keep it together, buckets for the tears.

 

 

 

 

Clifton Redmond lives in Carlow, Ireland. He is a member of the Carlow Writer’s Co-operative and has had work published in Orbis, Antiphon, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Silver Apples and various other journals in Ireland, Britain and America. In 2015 he was long listed for the Over The Edge Poetry Contest and Shortlisted for the Fermoy International Poetry Prize. This year he was chosen to take part in W.I.S.P.A. (Welsh, Irish Spoken Word Alliance).

Trump’s Cock – by Eliot Jacobson

 

Oh, you tubby lubby of mine
You big boss man fire me
Tie me to your tree and stretch me
Make me scream mon petit carrot cake
Swim on me
Breast stroke all over me
Drive me on your beautiful golf course
Take me into your tower
My sweet coming billionaire
My gorgeous orgasmic El Presidente
Oh, Dongaldo, Dongaldski, Dongaldez,
Chongfu! Povtoreniye! Repetir!

 

 

 

 

Eliot Jacobson is a retired professor of mathematics living in Santa Barbara, CA. He spends his time hiking with his dog Rosie, docenting elephants at the Zoo, playing Irish music, performing in theater and opera, and reading and writing poetry. Eliot has three books on gambling available on Amazon.

Call – by Alicia Fernández

 

Every time I call my mother
I learn about the weather,
the unforgiving sun crippling the yellow plains,
the sermon at Sunday’s mass,
the full prescription record for her cold,
my father’s second glass of whiskey.

I feel a tender anger.
I recall the frost,
the week’s sharp evenings,
the heartbreak of this filthy winter,
the mellow memory of my aunt.

The town’s fair lanterns torch
in my stomach
as I mute and nod and remain absent
in a hand-crafted field of serene soil
where you could harvest all trouble.

 

 

 

Alicia Fernández was born in Spain and works in Leeds as a translator. Her poems have been featured online by Sleepy House Press and included in the anthology Freefall by Wellhouse Publications. Her first solo pamphlet will be published by Half Moon Books (formerly Otley Word Feast Press) in September.