falling to the floor, a flight of gloves – by Jane Burn

 

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. 

 

Winners! September/October Monthly Awards

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.

My Mother Came Back as a Pigeon  – by Michelle Diaz

The Editor’s Choice Poem is:

Memory is held by water – by Jackie Biggs

selected by Clare Shaw who said:

“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.

The foal from the Batagai crater – by Devon Balwit

 

The foal from the Batagai crater

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

Pillar of Salt – by Jane R Rogers

 

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.

John Ellis – by Natalie Scott

Executioner of Edith Thompson, 1923

 

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.

Alone and together – by Jackie Biggs

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.uk Twitter: @JackieNews

Time to Vote – Sept/Oct Readers’ Choice Poem

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.

The poll will close with the announcement of the winning poem on 10th November.