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?”
“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.
She tried the frames
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.
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.
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
Delighted to announce that the April/May Editor’s Choice Poem will be selected by Mike Farren.
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.
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 –
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.
As anyone who has submitted to us will know, we are quite big on objectivity and transparency here at AoO. To this end, I thought I’d share with our readers our full submission statistics going back to April 2017.