Dark – by Patricia Nelson

 

The dark opens
like a bird or a refrain,
makes loud the forest.

They speak in calls and whistles
who come to the unfamiliar dark:
The death apart from speech.

They gather the meaning
not with tooth or voice or claw,
but with a savage wonder.

The light is small and subtle
that moves in the branching dark
like finch or aspen leaf.

 

 

 

 

Patricia Nelson is a retired environmental attorney who has worked for many years with the “Activist” group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird (Poetic Matrix Press).

Kwa-Zulu Natal, late August – by Fiona Cartwright

 

All afternoon we drive
past No Hawking signs beside
orange sellers in full sun, dust
coiling round their toes, unsheltered
by the bony branches of the trees.
There are only oranges to sell,
the fruits clinging to each other,
an outbreak of harvest moons,
the tiny navel hanging from each apex
an ungrown twin. No-one can buy

such an overflow of oranges,
although we try, squeezing
the last taste of a dry season
into our mouths. All afternoon,
I pass you segments, the juice gluing
your hands to the steering wheel.
I lick at the sap
dripping from my lip,
let you spit pips into my open hand.

 

 

 

Fiona Cartwright is a conservation biologist, poet and mother of two young daughters who lives near London, but wanders elsewhere as much as possible. Her poetry has previously appeared in various publications, including Mslexia, Butcher’s Dog, Envoi. Under the Radar and Ink, Sweat & Tears.

i compare everyone to my meth addict rights advisor – by Ryan Kelley

 

so its like this, she
leans out with skirts and canvas shoes
street art should be ephemeral
she says
what matters is time
and how much is left to climb
since then flustered, hallucinating, glowing at the meet
those autos look like ghosts
out at midnight to cop hugs and randoms
knifed wheels spin another sweater out
its all cool
to taste charcoal
she crept across with those gaunts
pretty for her age, aged for her youth
gold light soul so
hearts trying to beat the same
but off key, off kilter, atonal, atoning, gabbering rain

 

 

 

Ryan Kelley is a consumer-survivor of schizophrenia and associated issues. He was born the year they invented intersectionality and is in love with the moon when it’s waning anorexic.

You Don’t Fit The Way You Used To – by Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

 

I am unable to explain my inadequacies
to your nearly five year old stamping foot.
How you have grown too heavy for my weak hip.
You were too heavy in my womb, your growing body
creating a weak spot in mine.
A hinge that crumples under the weight of you.

I cannot carry you home.

 

 

 

Zoë is a Poet and Mum from Dukinfield. She has an MA in Poetry from Bath Spa University. Her work has appeared in Magma, Atrium, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Picaroon and The Black Light Engine Room amongst others.

another country – by Tristan Moss

 

five domes rise
calyxes in a Red Square sky

echoes of the cedar cone
open into petals

tops curling down
soft as a bottom lip

a pout, silken, promises
and I want to

pick one to send to you
but know it would never survive

 

 

 
Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has recently had poems published in The Poetry Shed, Antiphon, Snakeskin, Amaryllis, Lighten Up Online, Open Mouse, Picaroon Poetry and Algebra of Owls.

From my window – by Sharon Phillips

 

When they took Mum to hospital
her face was yellow, belly swollen
tight as a bloody drum, dad said
on the phone. It was mid-April

and I watched the laburnum’s
grey-green leaves being ruffled
by the wind. Just for a few tests,
he said. I sat on the sofa, dopey

with tramadol; the last daffodils
had shrivelled brown; blackbirds
fussed around ivy so overgrown
the fence tilted under its weight.

Don’t go worrying. Women wearing
white salwar kamiz carried bowls
of curry and rice from house to house.
He said she knows you can’t come.

 

 

 

Sharon retired from her career in education in 2015 and started learning to write poems. Her work has most recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in The High Window, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Words for the Wild

The Body Wishes it Could Remain in its Own Palace – by Nome Emeka Patrick

 

every ending to this poem unfurls with an ache, which means it opens with blood
carving a name from a wound         or a wound eaten into salt, or rather the ending
to this poem starts with a heart,       which means there is a winged bird nurtured
close to the arrhythmia of burning,                      or a garden full of rot & feathers

let us reconsider the ending: once, there was ache where an ark should be carved,
which means we should be sailing not drowning, which means once you were the wood
creamed for survival, which means survival turned out to be flames eating itself into you,
which means the ending to this poem is ache, is axe, is burning, is drowning

        prelude #1: you are a flower & we name cities after you. once, you bloomed out of your
mother, a petal carved from you,    or once you were a firefly & you danced out of your
mother with radar lights,          or once you were the lights that claimed the garden, or once
you were a songlet humming out of your mother

         prelude #2: you are a unicorn & we name rivers after you. once, we opened your mouth
& there was a city of songs, a star carved into you,         or once your body was the magic we always
dreamt of,         a labyrinth cold inside you,     or once we looked into you & found an ark,       & we
thought survival                  or rather revival

         once we imagined everything: rainbows, birds, arks, sail, water, flowers but not storm,
not dragons, not drown, not fire, not thorns,                              not anything besides survival

every ending to this poem unfurls with blood, which means it opens with ache
carving a wound from a name         or salt eaten into a wound, or rather the ending
to this poem starts with a winged bird,    which means there is a heart nurtured
close to the arrhythmia of burning,           or a garden full of feathers & rot

 

 

 

Nome Emeka Patrick is a black poet and a student in the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he is studying English language and literature. He is a recipient of the 40th edition of Festus Iyayi poetry award in 2018. His works have been published in Gaze journal, Vagabond city, African writer, and a few others; and is forthcoming in Barnhouse Journal. He lives in a small room close to banana trees and birdsongs in Benin. You can holla at him on twitter @paht_rihk