on the Skirrid
you can follow in the steps of Rudolph Hess
through the strident bracken
I imagine him as a romantic figure firmly gazing
upon The Sugar Loaf
silently cursing his inaction
but like a true trooper gallantly performing for his captors
written by Goethe and scored by Wagner
whilst a thousand miles away
German soldiers are wiping the sweat from dead eyes
he is killing time
burying notes beneath the stones of the asylum
hoping that a bargain can be made
from vain deeds and the vainer thoughts of Nietzsche
Gareth Writer-Davies; shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize (2014), winner of the Prole Laureate Competition (2017), and highly commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition (2015). His latest pamphlet Cry Baby has just been published by Indigo Dreams, who also published his debut pamphlet Bodies.
I saw this advertisement for a dictionary that said
it was the newest, the biggest, and the best.
And I thought about this sex shop in Benson
which has a tunnel of love.
It is a small hall with a metal grate floor
and walls that are green and glimmering and rotate.
When you exit, you find yourself staring at a display of dildos.
It makes me feel very disoriented.
It also makes me want to buy a new dildo, which is
marketed much like the dictionary.
Hannah Kludy, an MFA candidate at Creighton University, is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing and Publishing. She has work published in the Northwest Missourian, Medium Weight Forks, The Sucarnochee Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Broad Magazine, The Red Mud Review, Progenitor, Five on the Fifth, Drunken Monkeys, Adanna Literary Journal and Unlikely Stories. She also won the 2016 fiction contest for Cardinal Sins Journal.
He mentions how he loves to walk
under an umbrella in the rain, how its drumming
gives him so much pleasure; he doesn’t get the irony –
how much she yearns for this, and the beating
of a downpour on her night-time window pane.
The bloody useless fusing of the tiny bones
in her middle ear: malleus, incus, stapes.
Tomorrow: she’ll walk along the water’s edge
towards the mouth of the German blockhaus,
imagine the bay they watched in the war,
catalogue her vision, plunder her sound bank
to recall waves shushing on the shore, racket
of children shrieking, splashing, the pock pock
of that couple with bat and ball. Remember,
and record it all.
Marilyn Longstaff lives in Darlington and is a member of Vane Women (www.vanewomen.co.uk). Her previous books include Puritan Games, Sitting among the Hoppers and Raiment. Her latest book, Articles of War, was published by Smokestack in February 2017. Increasingly, she finds herself writing about the experience of losing her hearing.
Catching the early morning train
you’ll see her waiting, whatever the weather,
with back to the crowd
and the tips of boots touching the yellow
metalled safety line where she stands
without flinching as the fast train passes
without slowing. Dressed from head to foot
in black with remnants of blue green hair
and self styled tattoos around her neck;
sometimes she’ll look this way and sometimes the other
with pink eyes that say more about us than the faded
LOVE and HATE hidden beneath costume jewellery.
But like us, she’s there every day for every early train
travelling to some other place, silently praying for rain.
David Coldwell is an artist and writer based in the village of Marsden in West Yorkshire. His poetry has been published in a number of print and on-line journals and also featured in various poetry anthologies. His debut pamphlet, Flowers by the Road was published by Templar Poetry in 2017 www.davidcoldwell.co.uk.
It was in the papers. They’re looking for extras
for a crime thriller they’re shooting in Detroit.
It doesn’t say exactly what they are looking for
but I think I would be good as Older Man
Eating Alone at a restaurant in Greek Town
where Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
are making plans we all know will go awry.
If I wear what I have on today, they might want me
for Bum Slumped Against Liquor Store
at Cass and Michigan, drunk on Mad Dog, oblivious
to the car chase with gunfire as it roars past.
I think I’d be perfect as Curious Onlooker In Crowd
standing behind yellow crime scene tape
at Rosa Parks and Grand River
sandwiched between Nosy Woman With Unruly Red Hair
and Boy In Hoodie With Skate Board.
Distinguished Looking Gentleman With Cane
hailing a cab at Woodward and John R?
That might be a stretch for me but I could pull it off
with a little help from wardrobe
and a decent haircut from a Hollywood stylist.
I’m a versatile actor who can play any role
if it’s small enough.
David Jibson lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he is a co-editor of Third Wednesday, a literary arts journal, a member of The Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle and The Poetry Society of Michigan. He is retired from a long career in Social Work, most recently with a Hospice agency.
We are not immune to a bit of vindication here and there, and are delighted when we receive positive comments from the poets that submit to us. There have been dozens, but here are a few samples.
“I’ve been an instructor in the Writers’ Program at UCLA Ext. for more than 20 years and have seen rejection letters of all kinds sent to my student and colleagues. Some are thoughtless, some just plain hurtful, and some are impersonal beyond even feeling as if they were written by a human. I think your note to me was one of the kindest and most considerate I’ve seen. Thank you for holding a higher standard…for poetry and courtesy.”
“Thanks for the finest rejection letter I’ve ever received. Almost better than an acceptance.”
“It is so helpful to get such feedback from editors. Thank you again.”
“Bravo for the transparency. That sort of mindset makes me very happy.”
“Thanks for considering my work. I really appreciate the numbers. I blogged about it (no names!) Check it out here ”
“I’ve never had that kind of information before: useful and interesting.”
“I truly appreciate your openness and your process. I know of no other journal or magazine that offers such valuable and responsive insight to a writer.”
The Mets are at the bottom of the sixth
when lightning trips
on the circuit breakers
and downtown Manhattan blinks;
game show hosts are cut
mid-question, fridges arrest
and beneath the vanishing high-rise
narcoleptic traffic lights sleep.
In smothering upper Fahrenheits
glass webs are spun –
stores get mugged in Brooklyn,
alarms sing out on Broadway,
smoke ghosts a path to City Hall
while hip-hop is born on Valentine Avenue.
Fifty pristine Pontiacs
are rustled from their showroom
and sitting alone in the Yonkers dark
is a .44 calibre killer.
Dan Stathers is a widely published poet and recent distance learning graduate. He lives in South Devon.
B is for brains and beat-up bifocals,
black and blue elbows and bad overbites,
brooding brown eyes and biceps like baseballs.
B is da bomb! So where were you last night?
Blah-bitty-blah-blah. I’ve heard that before –
the best laid bullshit this side of Beijing:
Keep blaming that buddy from Baltimore,
and I’ll bash in your Buick. Stop babbling.
You beat ‘round the bush. You’ve burnt every bridge.
You’re bruising and blighting beyond beyond.
Now bye-bye be-yotch I bitterly bid.
The billionth botch-up will break any bond.
The best was basically what came before.
Bygones are bygones. Go bless the back door.
For the last two years, Drew Pisarra has been writing sonnets inspired by a Venezuelan philosophy professor who dumped him, and by the meaning hidden behind certain numbers as well as letters used to represent numbers in algebraic equations.
If your elevator breaks free and drops,
Jump up and down.
Your chances are 50-50.
Don’t try to outrun a car,
but if one takes you by surprise,
Your odds are better
if you’re thrown to one side
and not run over.
If you are lost in snow, very cold,
and a Saint Bernard delivers a keg of brandy,
Don’t touch it.
Alcohol opens the blood vessels,
siphons off heat.
Hold on to the dog instead. Dogs are warm.
Soak your lettuce in bleach,
for twenty minutes to half an hour.
Don’t weaken your eyes by wearing glasses.
Don’t worry about living to a great age.
Great age breeds all kinds of foolishness.
Get a seat over the wing,
and don’t wear synthetics when flying.
If your plane catches fire
you want to be wearing cotton or wool.
Before the internet,
I had my father,
preparing me for life in short instructions.
Jasmine Shahbandi is a visual artist whose poems appear in Nowhere But Here, and Sea Above. She lives in California where she champions lost causes and errs on the side of optimism.
Frog knows He’s green
and has a tongue sticky for lies,
with feet that all have kissed.
Squirrel looks up to the sky
from tree trunk home,
Yggdrasil etched into the inside wall;
listens to the gospels
from the birds.
Worm believes He can be halved beyond the atom
without fading away
reincarnation and regeneration
can explosively grow another tail.
Bee knows She is female
of death overcoming.
Spidergod knows there are many unbelievers
six quadrillion at last count,
pity every single soul
bless their cotton socks
their 48 kneecaps
and their hairy legs.
Baby hamster prays
to Mother Supreme
asking that She won’t eat her children
when they’ve had enough
of listening to her stories.
Giles L. Turnbull is a blind poet. Originally from Harrogate, he
studied chemistry at Swansea University and has lived in south Wales ever since, apart from two years in London and a 5-year sojourn
Stateside. His debut pamphlet Dressing Up is published by Cinnamon Press. More info here.