a sink, cobwebbed with bubbles hands coined with freckles a dishcloth approaches lockets of spilled milk the door, booked open
like a half read thing a draughty wing of calendar lifts, slices the week with forgotten things by the basket, the gathered throat of a wet sock
pungent oranges jewelled with smell an umbrella hooked like a dead life scribbled words on an envelope scrap a letterbox
tongued with junk thumbed glasses make a story of use a judgement of wax reminds the room of scuppered light
Jane Burn’s poems have featured in magazines such as The Rialto, Under The Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Iota Poetry and many more, as well as anthologies from Emma Press, Beautiful Dragons, Emergency Poet and Seren. Her pamphlets include Fat Around the Middle, published by Talking Pen and Tongues of Fire published by BLER Press. Her first collection, nothing more to it than bubbles is published by Indigo Dreams.
Delighted to announce that the winner of the September/October poll for the Readers’ Choice Award is Michelle Diaz. A prize mug of infinite joy will be on its way to her shortly. That may be hyperbole but I’ve been at the wine.
“This was no easy task – a wonderful bunch of poems with many strong contenders! I narrowed it down to five and could go no further for a while – should I choose the passionate, powerful, urgent imagery of “The Function of Emotions” (Olivia Tuck), the concise and precise strength of “Bishops’ Hearts” (Matthew Stewart) with its devastating final line; or the ache and punch of “Instructions for My Husband When My World Comes Undone” (Michelle McMillan-Holifield), with its fractured imagery? Or the perfect portrait of “Hospital Night Wardress” (Natalie Scott), oozing with darkness and sensuality?
All wonderful poems, and plenty more besides. In the end, I chose “Memory is held by water” by Jackie Biggs with its painful, chilling insights and its stunning restraint. This takes the story of one man in one place, and through the voice of the river, offers us something universal – as disturbing and heartbreaking as the subject demands. In its strangely calm and impersonal sense of compulsion, completion and comfort, it speaks for the people it depicts – with tenderness and respect. A great poem.”
lived two months before succumbing to cold or hunger. Tamped into tundra
for over thirty-thousand years, it emerged statue-perfect from its earthen skin, a marvel
of muzzle against foreleg. I see this pose in every pasture I pass. Like the corpses raised
from peatbogs, I await some sleight of hand to restore motion. If it could clatter away
from the cold table of the lab men, I could run my hands over warm flanks in greeting.
Leaning in, I would breathe an earlier air. Save yourself, I might whisper. Save us.
Yet if it had, I might never have seen the delicate quick of its hooves, its mud-
caked lashes, its matted tail-tuft. Every cult calls for sacrifice. Every poet requires a body.
Devon Balwit lives scarily close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. She has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found here as well as in print and on-line journals. For more, see her website at:here
My muscles hold the memory of when I was a pillar of salt, exposed to the radiation of the sun, the vengeance of the rain. Motionless my sinews must have been on pause, caught out by a crick of my neck, and somewhere behind my shoulder with the buzzing of insects, the stutter of a goodbye.
Jane R Rogers has been writing poetry for seven years. Jane is a member of the Greenwich Poetry Workshop and was a member of the Magma Poetry magazine team where she co-edited Magma 65. Jane’s poems have appeared in Atrium, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, Long Exposure Magazine, Obsessed with Pipework, in Greenwich Poetry Workshop’s anthologies and in the Tate Gallery Website poetry anthology 2012. Jane lives in London but misses the West Country.
She had to be carried to the shed but it wasn’t like they said that she “disintegrated as a human creature”.
She was restrained and intoxicated so it couldn’t have been like they said that she “screamed all the way”.
She did bleed from her private parts but it wasn’t like they said that her “insides fell out”.
She was autopsied and declared so it couldn’t have been like they said that “the drop was a coffin birth”.
Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.
A city that snares slow rhythms (Federico Garcia Lorca)
A river flows through afternoon’s slow heat Lorca’s pace
(together and alone juntos y solo)
babble at café tables rises and drops into shadow by the waterside
sun falls through trees the flicker of fresh leaves in green spring
(solo y juntos alone and together)
wine is red, time is yellow the rhythm of the river is ours for this hour adrift.
Jackie Biggs has had poetry published in many magazines and anthologies, both in print and online. Her first poetry collection, The Spaces in Between, was published in September 2015 by Pinewood Press (Swansea). She is a member of the four-woman poetry performance group, The Rockhoppers. Some of her poetry appears on her blog:http://jackie-news.blogspot.co.ukTwitter: @JackieNews
In September and October these were the five poems that generated the most engagement/reaction with readers over multiple media platforms, and are shortlisted for the bi-monthly mug prize. Please vote and make a poet happy today.