Her Mother’s Daughter – by Rob Evans

 

She was the Daughter of the House of Masks and yet
when the golden thread trembled so did she, unsure
of what might strut from the dark mouth out to the sun.

Then he came, bringing the acrid musk of something
more than sweat and victory and his eyes were as hot
as those ox-blood stains on his ox-hide shield.

All day they celebrated. He ate the figs and olives,
broke the bread and drank the wine of a grateful king
but his eyes stayed on her and they never cooled.

That night in her chamber, she shook again, in time
with the rutting thrust of him, with each guttural grunt
as his thick tongue licked at the salt on her skin.

 

 

 

Rob Evans is an aerospace Engineer who lives near London but who works all over the world.  When not flying or doing sums to prove that he can, he spends his time writing poetry and sometimes reading it to hushed and not-so-hushed audiences.  He is a one-time UK All-Comers Poetry Slam Champion but has since clawed his way back to some kind of respectability.

Confession – by Henry

This week our intrepid co-editor Nick Allen was reading at an event and a drunk old fella sitting at the back snored through the whole thing. At the end he roused himself, introduced himself to Nick as ‘Henry’ and handed over a crumpled bit of dirty paper with a hand-written poem on it.  Here it is (and by the way, don’t push it people, we have dedicated email accounts for a reason).

 

at the end of a half lit bar
at the end of a half lit day
and you found me
you said you needed to talk

I ordered another whisky a large one
and one for you and said OK let her rip

you told me of infidelity
and you told me again of infidelity
you told me of the thrill of stolen sex
of those unknown fingers brushing your flesh
and of your lips plump on unknown flesh
and you told me of overnight conferences
and you told me of anonymous towns
of walking hand in hand in the daylight in the park
and you told me of the blistering half-drunk hotel room sex
and of those all-night conversations that ran between
life the universe previously unfelt connections with another human
and you told me
and you told me about that I can’t believe I wont see you for ten days sex
and that once more in the morning before we go home sex
and that please don’t mark me sex
and you told me about the boredom

you told me about boredom
and you told me of mundane love
of taken for granted everyday mundane love
and you told me about your lover’s kids
and you told me and you told me
and you told about the discovery
how quickly your lover’s sweet words turned to dust
and you told me about the 2 am screaming phone calls from the partner of your lover
how they said you were a fool to believe they would ever leave their home

and you told me
and I bought another drink for each of us
and your telling continued
and the night grew darker
and the bar was finally closed
and your telling was told

and I went home alone
and stared into the icebox
and poured another large drink
to the silence

Alterations – by Mel Parks

 

You stood on my chair in dim winter light
fidgeted, squirmed, giggled as I tickled
your legs with pins, tucking skirt hem tight
to mid-thigh. You paid me with cigarettes.
I didn’t ask how, didn’t say I no longer smoked,
or mention tenners disappearing from my pot,
each visit. But told you, stay for soup. Chicken
from scraps. Carrots too. Bring kids after school.
You sat on my chair that dark winter night,
eyes drifting, filling, welling, elbows sunk raw
in my gnarly, creaking table. Kids slurped soup,
played dominoes fetched from the attic, fell asleep
on the sofa, one each end, after you kissed them
in your new short skirt, and let the door slam shut.

 

 

 

Mel Parks studies part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at Brighton University. She is a copywriter and runs creative writing workshops in Mid Sussex. She is inspired by Welsh mythology, ecofeminism, motherhood and the connection between movement and creativity. Her poetry retelling the story of Blodeuwedd has been published online in Three Drops from a Cauldron and in their print anthology, Lughnasadh 2017.

mary magdalene – by Amy Kinsman

                                              at the burial, they discover
                                                        you sing ave verum
                                            just as sweet as joy division,
                 voice wishing for resurrection
                      like a sudden apparition of birds,
                      like forgiveness,
                      like baby’s breath grown among the gravestones
                                                        and digitalis.

andrew’s hand
        strokes over the swell of your belly.

who sired the bastard babe to be?
         they catcall in the streets,
      but before all else the child is yours.
even god’s son raised him higher
        better than he could have been before.

                                                                                whore.

                      when they speak of broken things, they speak of
                        japanese pottery, grounded doves, hearts –
                                      never the creak of a bedroom door,
                             bruises worn like pearls, everything you have
                                          shoved in an overnight bag.

                                          wicked woman, witch,
                                                  cursed, possessed, lain with the devil
                                            temptation in a too-short skirt –

                                            but what of wicked fathers? wicked husbands?

                                                         you were dark-eyed and drunken;
                                                   yelling your sins from the top of your lungs;
                                                                          divorced and dancing
                                                                under god’s gaze. he might have played guitar
                                                       but you, bravest among them, banged the drum.

and now alone again in the gardens, always,
               earthly delight, prayers for heaven,
                  paradise, first wild, now withered.
    falling’s such a heady scent.
you light another cigarette;
   shed eyeliner tears for happy endings,
           saviours
                  and the girl worth saving.

he promised these things weren’t your fault

                    but it doesn’t feel like it.
                    he promised. he promised.

                                                           woman, why are you weeping?
                                                   who do you seek?

                                  you kiss his cheeks, his temples,
                                   press your face into his neck, run your fingers
                                         through his hair, earth in every fold.

                    don’t be surprised,
                           it was you who taught me how to rise
                     from the pit they dug for me.

 

 

Amy Kinsman (they/them) is a genderfluid poet and playwright from Manchester. As well as being the founding editor of Riggwelter Press and associate editor of Three Drops From A Cauldron, they are also the host of the regular, Sheffield open mic Gorilla Poetry. Their debut pamphlet & was joint-winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017.

Mort Street, Paddington – by Jane Frank

If the door’s open when I lie in the bath, I can see
your painting rinsed in soft louvered light. You
sketched it from the top of the street. I visualise
you still in old corduroys, notebook in hand,

squinting at the sardined houses holding tight to
hills, roofs patch-worked in silver and oxblood,
ridges of fig and jacaranda, stephanotis vines
swallowing front fences and the lantana-laced

yards where chickens ran among vegetable rows.
I smile when I remember the horror on your face
when we rented the ibis-legged house in the dog-
legged street leading nowhere – you patiently

explaining the sketchiness of the aspect, the way
fog would pool at the lowest point and the hot air
that would hang low and suffocate our days if
there was no huffy breeze, but in later years you

laughed joyfully at our madness. And it was mad –
the paranoid eyes peering through lattice, séances
we witnessed in the house next door from our
window just a metre away. Herds of cats crouched

on cracked walls, thick with fern, bougainvillea
claws splashing neon-pink against a washed-out sail
cloth of sky. The scent of rotting mango mixed with
hops. The strange sci-fi twins that lived in the flat

below. The way we huddled on the back-step as
Crowded House resounded into a frosty night.
Those months camping in a deep crease of the city,
and not just surviving – taking on the colours.

 

 

 

Jane Frank’s Milky Way of Words was published by Ginninderra Press in 2016. A collaborative work – Flotsam – with Scottish poet Hugh McMillan will be published with Flarestack later this year. Jane’s work has appeared most recently in Popshot, Morphog, The Poets’ Republic, Pressure Gauge and in The Heroine’s Anthology (Perrenial Press, 2018). She teaches in cultural studies and creative writing at Griffith University, Australia.

Ivy – by Sarah Doyle

 

Your hands, those hands, like
five-point stars,
your clingy-scrambling-clambering
hands,
your sucker punch, your muddy
boots, your native tongue, your questing
never-resting roots, your itchy feet,
your snake-charm dance, your
fuck-you swagger, your
green-green eyes on
the main chance, your all-pervasive
persuasiveness, your hosting skills,
your outstaying-your-welcome-ness, your long
so-long,
your lust for the limelight, your shady
deals, your social climbing, your ear to
the ground, your dirty secrets, your
trip-hazard
trickiness, your hanging around, your
muck-raking, your wheedling
beauty, your take-take-taking,
your heard-it-through-the-grapevine, your loving
strangle, your hands, like five-point stars
in mine.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Poet-in-Residence, and (with Allen Ashley) is co-author of Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System (PS Publishing, 2014). She holds a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway College, University of London. Sarah has performed at numerous poetry events; has been published widely in magazines, journals and anthologies; and placed in many competitions. She works as a freelance manuscript critique provider, and is currently co-editing a new anthology, Humanagerie, for Eibonvale Press. Website: www.sarahdoyle.co.uk