Issue 6 of the Algebra of Owls anthology will shortly be available, featuring some of the poems that appeared on the site in the period from November 2017 to August 2018. As usual, it will initially be distributed free at events around Yorkshire.
I’ll let you know when it is available by post for the usual nominal fee.
The featured poets are Ed Aust, Devon Balwit, Elya Braden, Melanie Branton, Carole Bromley, Richard Carpenter, Sarah Clayville, Maureen Curran, Stephen Daniels, Julian Dobson, Ian Harker, Ceinwen Haydon, David Jibson, Gill Lambert, Laurinda Lind, Marilyn Longstaff, Beth McDonough, Clint Margrave, Sally Michaelson, Katerina Neocleous, Robert Nisbet, Stuart Pickford, Bethany Rivers, Jane Salmons, Jasmine Shahbandi, M. Stone, Olivia Tuck, Lynda Turbet, Giles Turnbull, Richard Weaver, Julia Webb, Roddy Williams and Peter Wyton.
Inside the store, a cornflower genius
smiled minted teeth, asked my name,
gripped my hand, told me everything
about megapixels and retina displays.
He pressed a grey circle, clicked –
a selfie of new best mates.
Sold on seven inches of bevelled chrome,
he turned, stuffed it in a plastic bag,
took my credit card, found someone new
I walked out to cement footpaths,
concrete buildings, tarmacadam roads,
a silent drive on the bus, staring down.
Simon Lewis is a former Hennessy poetry prize winner and his first collection, Jewtown, (Doire Press, 2016) was shortlisted for the prestigious Shine/Strong Award. His second collection will be published in 2019. You can read more at simonlewis.ie
Cigarette foil origami –
a thousand cranes fly
above fallen trunks, filters
that take twenty years
Paper whispers against paper
and shredded leaves
as you show me how
a homeless man
taught you to roll.
Lick the edge, strike a match,
breathe in four elements,
the cigarette a sign
bringing wish into being,
a flick of feathery ash.
You smoke, touch
tobacco on your lip,
broken Zippo in your pocket.
I lean toward oblivion
for a light.
Dana Sonnenschein is a professor at Southern Connecticut State University, where she teaches Shakespeare, folklore, and creative writing. Her publications include books of poetry (Bear Country and Natural Forms) as well as two chapbooks of prose poems (No Angels but These and Corvus). Individual pieces have appeared in numerous print and online journals, and are forthcoming in Measure, Feminist Studies and elsewhere.
It couldn’t hurt, his therapist says fingering her pearls
and noting in her spiral-bound, Reggie circling awareness
once a week for four years like a dog his water bowl
with a bug in it, and she unable to stop composing
her grocery list, his voice a drone spiraling and spiraling
her office ceiling, his voice a whiny dog tied to a brick
outside, a leaf blower down the block each week
for an hour. Dharma, says Reggie. Time’s up, she says.
Ron Salisbury has taught poetry for the past forty years. Since moving back to San Diego nine years ago, Ron has taught classes and workshops in poetry for San Diego Writers, Ink and the Encinitas Library. He graduated from San Diego State University with a Master in Fine Arts, Poetry in 2016. His book, Miss Desert Inn was the winner of the 2015 Main Street Rag Poetry Prize and was published in the fall of 2015. He has been widely published in journals and his manuscripts have been finalists in many manuscript contests.
Barging through the dawn chorus
you shuffled in –
Left no footprints
but pinned your hate
to the gatepost
near the shed with no door.
Bits of you fell off along the gravel path
as your head spun on your shoulders,
but the house had heard you coming
and locked the front door.
Words still got in though,
and it was as if a new language
had just germinated in your throat
watered by yesterday’s scorn.
And you’d slept in the shadows
of the old goods yard
between the rails,
amongst dead fireworks.
Black rockets from the school
hitting your body still smoking.
Winston Plowes shares his floating home in Calderdale UK with his 18-year-old cat, Sausage. He teaches creative writing in schools and to local groups while she dreams of Mouseland. His latest collection Tales from the Tachograph was published jointly with Gaia Holmes in 2018 by Calder Valley Poetry. www.winstonplowes.co.uk
Sometimes, a fishhook
and a bit of flesh
are all you need
to save your baby
Take the knife,
slice off a piece of thigh
and with that meaty part
of your own body:
Bait the hook.
the sweet taste of the fish,
arctic flavor of this lake trout
that saves you.
Everything may be frozen,
encased in the ice
that killed your tribesmen.
Your son may grow cruel.
But for now:
You need only
a knife, a hook,
to sliver your own flesh.
Mary R. Finnegan is a writer and nurse living in Philadelphia. Her poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Dead Housekeeping, HEAL, Medical Literary Messenger, Catholic Digest, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and The American Journal of Nursing.
To draw blood. To press razor tracks
against your shaking wrists.
To destroy parties.
To finger-paint bruises
across friendships as you cling.
To make sunsets hurt.
To beat up the walls, and the doors,
and the windows,
and the sky.
To turn the dialling tone
into the revving of a chainsaw.
To slice off the top of your skull,
and scoop your pumpkin innards out
until you’re all ribs, and living for digits
on the backs of chocolate bars.
To then swivel you
like you’re an owl’s neck
and get you fat again.
To brew hate.
To pour hate.
To serve hate.
To keep you awake at night.
To give the shadows gargoyle faces.
To blag you a ride in a police car.
To break both your parents’ hearts
with one stone.
To demonstrate failure
to your little sisters.
To leave you with no grace to fall from.
Olivia Tuck has had poems and prose published in literary journals and webzines including The Interpreter’s House, Lighthouse, Amaryllis and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Her work also featured in Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, a charity poetry anthology on the subject of mental health, and she has been Highly Commended and shortlisted in one or two short story competitions. She is due to start at Bath Spa University this autumn, to study for a BA in Creative Writing. Find her on Twitter: @livtuckwrites