It’s All Over – by Paul Waring

 

Shooed out of our homes
with sixpenny bribes
we feed fruit machines
on New Brighton Prom
as Germany score first.

Spid, twelve-year old opportunist,
steals a packet of ten cigarettes
after Mr Ellis, the shopkeeper, hears
‘Hurst, goal! one-all’ and wheels
away to watch in the back.

Behind park bushes the first
drag burns. I inhale; choke
out smoke. Two ciggies later
my eyes close as the world
starts to spin.

Communal roars greet
Hurst’s first extra time goal
as I race home
clammy-sticky and weak
up steep streets

through the door-on-the-latch
along the hall’s silk-shiny floor
past the living room
down into the kitchen
and reach the outside toilet

just in time to kneel
and throw up. In the background
Kenneth Wolstenholme exclaims
‘they think it’s all over’.
It is for me.

 

 

 

Paul Waring is a clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Prole, Clear Poetry, The Open Mouse, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Foxglove Journal, Rat’s Ass Review, Reach Poetry and many others. His blog is https://waringwords.wordpress.com

 

How to Be Deposed – by Elya Braden

 

Apply two coats of waterproof mascara.
Floss until it steadies your hands. Sit down
while you sheath your winter legs
in ultra-sheer pantyhose, Nude #2. Remember
the time before your ninth deposition,
teetering in your hallway in a twisted
tree pose, you wrenched your back,
flailing like a netted trout.
Do not bat your eyelashes at your lover,
I mean, lawyer, until you two are alone
in a taxi fleeing the scene.
Don’t shriek when plaintiff’s counsel
accuses you of sleeping with
the defendant. Try to forget
that co-counsel’s son carpools
with your daughter. Count the lines
in the wood grain of the
conference room table. Hum
in your head to the rat-a-tat
of the stenographer’s flying fingers.
Breathe. Wait for your lawyer’s objection.
Later, when he asks: Was it true?
don’t slap him. Don’t place a straight razor
near your bubble bath. Leave
your pearl-handled revolver at home,
tucked under your monogrammed hankies.
Remember you don’t have a revolver…
or hankies. Remember all the dimes
you earned ironing your father’s hankies.
Try to forget his shadow in your doorway.
Try to forget his hand over your mouth.
Try to forget the sticky touch of your brother’s
beanbag chair on your bare thighs,
your brother’s threat: I’ll tell everyone what you did.
Try to forget his needling question:
Does it feel good when I touch you here?

 

 

 

 

Elya Braden, a former corporate lawyer and entrepreneur, is now a writer and collage artist living in Los Angeles where she leads workshops for writers. Her work has appeared in Causeway Lit, Forge, Linden Avenue, poemmemoirstory, Serving House Journal, Willow Review and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.elyabraden.com.

How One Thing Has Led to Six Others – by Susan Siddeley

 

When I was seven I fished a newt out of the Conker Pond.
Newton, I breathed, stroking his mottled green back,
entranced by his crest.

As, years on, I was entranced by Gordon
who came from Newton-Le-Willows.
When Mum called Tea! that long-gone day, I left Newt in a puddle.
By the time I returned, full of baked-beans-on-toast, he was gone.

Just like my bag, the morning I bent to select a pair of chops
for Gordon’s supper. Worse, was losing a child for an hour
in the subway. A child who might not have been
but for an accident.

After Newt and the man from Newton-Le-Willows, I love the sea;
the salt-spume tang that engulfs me in Whitby and Isla Negra
when cresting waves pound cliffs, and cormorants cry.

The sea has the same effect on my knees
as the sherry with which Gordon plied me
before the accident. When, to make things right, I sang the school song
whose words now bring the sea to my cheeks
as I recall how we stood in assembly,
all tunic and tie, and were promised
Honour before Honours – if we didn’t drink too much sherry,
lose pets and small children, and the world seemed a sensible place
because we kept to the left in the corridor
and went to Italy to study Art.

Since cobbling a fishing net from a stick and a nylon stocking
trailing it through murky water, landing a creature with a flailing
tail, seems one thing has led to another.

 

 

 

Susan Siddeley was born in Yorkshire, attended university in Swansea, then emigrated to Canada with her geologist husband. After various overseas postings, she now divides her time between Toronto and Santiago, Chile, where they’ve hosted several writing retreats. These resulted in four poetry chapbooks and a memoir, Home First.

 

 

A Realistic Love Poem – by Terrance Edwards

 

It’s all butterflies, soft-focus glances
With orchids, rainbows and shooting stars too
In a rosy world where taking chances
Means happy ever afters all come true.
But I say sod the fucking butterflies –
We don’t live in a world of fairy-tales;
And sod the longing looks from wistful eyes –
We must be practical: or else it fails.
Don’t sell your soul or lie down in traffic
To profess your undying love for me;
Or pen verse verging on pornographic
To prove how passionate your love can be.
Love me enough to miss me when I go;
If you’re glad of my return, let me know.

 

 

 

Born in West Wales in 1979, Terrance Edwards holds an MA in Creative Writing from Trinity College Carmarthen. He has had poetry published in Ink Sweat And Tears, Haiku Journal, and Roundyhouse Magazine. Currently living in Cardiff, he has performed his own poetry throughout South Wales and further afield for over ten years.

On How Ghosts Take the Moral Highground – by Anna Saunders

 

A week after he’s hanged himself he’s back,
returned to the house of his fickle lover

shroud-bound, glassy faced, righteous, hovering above her bed
like a see-through falcon, ready to drop on prey.

The noose that did for him is lank as a shed snake’s skin
and his tracing-paper fingers claw the air,

and he moans each time she kisses her new paramour
until they split apart, startled.

In life he was licentious,
but after death he’s immaculate as a saint

scrubbed clean as if the Spiritual Realm
were a rough sponge brandished by a fierce hand.

All his sins are exfoliated now, his new skin
light as bible paper, lucent as rain.

Pity the poor woman who lies under him
too guilt-struck to enjoy another’s embrace.

Imagine if each time you kissed a new lover
you were haunted by the one you betrayed.

Imagine if your sin was sent back – fingered,
pale hands holding a candle,

the flame a halo around the shaft
so your darkness was broken by their pure white light.

 

 

 

 

Anna Saunders is the author of Communion (Wild Conversations Press), Struck (Pindrop Press), Kissing the She Bear (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Poems published in journals which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, and Envoi. The CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Tradition – by Vivien Jones

 

Every fourth courgette is spiralised,
I read in The Guardian.

Meanwhile I take down my china bowls,
my bendy spatulas, my bi-numeral scales,
my unlabelled jars of this and that,

my flours of many kinds (the thrill
of a light loaf with rye flour
and sour dough, a recent triumph)

my thumb and finger rub soft butter
through silky flour, patiently,
motes hang in the sunlight.

Grams and kilos would have flummoxed them,
but I am my mother, my grandmother too,
a conduit for simple knowledge,

the temperature, the place on the shelf,
length of cooking, the way to test the rise,
what seems like wisdom is merely repetition.

Today I have a visitor, an observer,
my daughter-in-law, who spiralises courgettes.

 

 

 

Vivien Jones – Her first poetry collection was About Time, Too (2010). In that year she also won the Poetry London Prize. Her second poetry collection was Short of Breath (2014). She is one of three editors of ‘Southlight’, a literary journal in south-west Scotland. She also writes plays.

Pressed – by Sarah Clayville

 

I’ve scraped the last remnants of a crispy dinner
from the pan and crushed the crumbs like snow between my fingers.

I’ve blown out the candles, kneeling too closely
and letting the wax dangerously coat the tips of my eyelashes.

I’ve pressed my head against the empty dining table
in a prayer that this will be the last of our disastrous last suppers.

I’ve mouthed a promise to myself, like CPR exhaled,
that I will stop trying to resuscitate our broken and tangled sweetness.

I’ve flung the dishes against the wall and knelt among
the collage of broken shards to remind myself how much he hurts.

I’ve forced myself to hold steady against the front door
and draw the chain across the lock, in case I lose my nerve, to keep him out.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Clayville is a high school writing teacher and freelance editor. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in such journals as The Threepenny Review, StoryChord, Central PA Magazine, and Mothers Always Write. Find more of her writing at SarahSaysWrite.com.