Op Art – by Steve Harrison

 

Bridget Riley had read that
it was Monet’s vanity that had stopped him wearing glasses.
He never saw stars after the age of 14
caught the wrong buses
botched the paintings of his out of focus garden.
She decided to have her eyes tested.
“Can you read the middle line, Bridget?”
“O -P -A -R -T”
“Is it easier to see the Red circle
or the Green oblong?”
“The oblong”
“Now Look at the lines,
Which are the clearest; horizontal or vertical?”
“They’re both a bit wobbly, but the vertical”
“Now Compare these lenses”
“The second is definitely better!”
The world came into her focus.
Clear lines.
She tried the frames
chose black
then caught the right bus home.

 

 

 

 

Steve Harrison born in Yorkshire and now lives in Shropshire where he worked teaching. His work appears in various forms from The Emergency Poet collections, The Physic Garden, Pop Shot, Mid-Winter Solstice to Wetherspoons News. He regularly performs across the Midlands and won the Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam in 2014.

The Lie – by Nairn Kennedy

 

Once, I had a name as smooth and clear
as all the streams of Poland; it poured through ears
like melting snow; but over here

it warped to ugly consonants
which clattered off your tongues
like Scrabble tiles.

In the local coffee shop last week,
baristas pounded out their war drums,
bashing out the grit of coffee grounds.

What name? said the Recording Angel at the counter,
poised with a tattered ballpoint and plastic cup;
the queue behind me snorted in frustration.

I stared straight through my spectacles and hers
into brown eyes. Jim, I said, biting
a suddenly unwieldy tongue.

 

 

 

Nairn Kennedy lives in Yorkshire, and is a member of the York Stanza Group. He’s been a prizewinner in the Ilkley Walter Swan competition twice, and been published in Ambit and Orbis.

Together – by Stewart Carswell

 

Underneath the park bench
there were four loose pieces of a jigsaw
face down in the frost. I turned each one over
and they were all sky.

Is that always the hardest part to get right?
I look up to the real thing
and with my son in my arms I can’t tell
where one piece ends and the next begins.

 

 

 

 

Stewart Carswell is from the Forest of Dean and currently lives in Cambridgeshire. His poems have been published in Envoi, Ink Sweat & Tears, and The Fenland Reed. His debut pamphlet was Knots and Branches (Eyewear, 2016). http://stewartcarswell.wordpress.com Twitter: @stewcarswell

Guest Editor Apr/May – Mike Farren

Delighted to announce that the April/May Editor’s Choice Poem will be selected by Mike Farren.

 

Phil Jackson-8091

 

Mike Farren is an academic publishing editor from Shipley. His poems have appeared in The Interpreter’s House, The High Window, Strix, Algebra of Owls and Valley Press’s Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry. His pamphlet, ‘Pierrot and his Mother’ was published by Templar in 2017. In 2018 he was a ‘canto’ winner for Poem of the North and in 2019 he was runner-up in The Blue Nib’s Chapbook Contest, judged by Helen Mort. He is a member of Beehive Poets and Wharfedale Poets, is part of the Yaffle Press publishing team and co-hosts the Rhubarb open mic in Shipley. A further pamphlet, ‘All of the Moons’ is to be published in May 2019 by Yaffle.

Unpeople Stay in a Travelodge – by Helen Kay

 

She used to wake on a Pokémon pillow,
uniform hooked on a shell pink drawer,
liked a laugh with her bestie at the bus stop.
Miles from school now.

A fingered Daily Mail in the foyer, centre-fold
her family- LIVE-IN-LUXURY SCROUNGERS.
No word of knickers in the sink half-dry,
Her pull-out bed.

In the street, cars sneer, next room’s TV growls.
Some days she dreams of cottage pie. Mum wraps
a blanket round the twins, hopes for news
they can go home.

The law stops them: contracts, courts, files.
She can’t tell Mum about the Mail.
A baked bean tin sits on a heater.
It will be warm by tea.

 

 

‘unpeople’ coined by John Pilger in Hidden Agendas

 

Helen’s poems sometime pop up in magazines. She was recently placed second in the Leeds Poetry Peace and Wakefield Sanctuary competitions, and highly commended in the Shelter Competition on the theme of Home. She spends too much time on facebook.

Those Pyjamas – by Helen Freeman

Those Pyjamas  –

I bought
from Debenhams sale

with climbing roses
in soft grey

lie empty, folded,
not worn enough.

You seemed so
pleased with them.

That male nurse
named you ‘Model’–

stem-thin at 90
flowering all the way.

 

 

 

Helen Freeman loves reading and writing poems and has been published in several online sites such as Barren Magazine, Red River Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Corbel Stone Press, Sukoon, Open Mouse and Ground Poetry. She lives in two polar opposite cities – Riyadh and Edinburgh.