Why do you need more than one word for rain?
After all, I only need one letter to end my beginnings.
And owls only need one syllable
to call each other home.
Amy Bunker is a poet and author living in Oregon and lives with two lazy cats. She is a social worker, currently is a screener for the state child abuse hotline and spends her days off working on farms around the area. Though she does not sleep, she rightfully considers her life to be a charmed one. Her work has appeared in Bacopa Magazine.
Ode to my childhood friend Sharon
I’m not scared of the boys hiding in the bushes
but there’s mean old Mac
She told me in the night
he creeps half-baked
into her bedroom
trying to peel her
Because we are ten minutes late
Mac grabs one leg sweeping her high
I can still hear her cries the crisp crack
of tender skin
see her kick her legs
until she has pees
his trouser leg
She tries to ignore all the names
he calls her
but they continued to sink
deep into her fat.
Later, her husband will grow spuds
blue & yellow wild flowers
until they bloom
Now her family sit in their
brown-eyed cockerel kitchen
looking like Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters.
Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing. She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation. She has been published in magazines & online: Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Fat Damsel, Ink Sweat and Tears, Panoply, and various anthologies.
Thanks to everyone who voted for this month’s award. The winning Readers’ Choice Poem for July is
I Help My Husband Sleep – by Karen Greenbaum-Maya
The Editor’s Choice Poem for July was chosen by Matthew Hedley Stoppard who said:
“After much re-reading and re-interpreting of July’s poems, I finally came to choose The Fag End of the Meal by Lee Thompson as my favourite. Selecting prized poems from such a good bunch is a tricky business and, I have to admit, I almost forgot why I agreed to do it. However, “Fag End” has a nuanced nostalgia that I identify with, without the sugary shortcuts that some poems take to get to the finish. I especially enjoyed the wordplay, kitchen-sink rhythm of the scene-setting and the George Barker-esque conclusion. I think a special mention should go to Call by Alicia Fernández as well because this is another poem that explores a longing for home without any twinge of blubbing sentimentality. Thank you to all the poets who have contributed this month and thank you to the editors who invited me as a guest”
Congratulations our winners!
The beach is a strip of sun, arcing
through twenty-six degrees of heat;
I’ve forty-five degree slopes to clamber down,
the sheep scattering like cloud,
Ahead, Filey Brigg is a long red wedge
Reaching out into a grey North Sea,
while behind, the white cliffs of Bempton shimmer,
as if drifting into dream.
Late last night, the stars were naked
and unashamed, proud to be found again.
Time, eternally reborn, at every moment;
what is seen today will bypass the spheres.
A butterfly on a garden wall,
a blue brooch on red brick.
An atom of an ant, a planet-sized ocean.
Tomorrow, a slow train home.
The sea shall fold in on itself,
the map of ten square miles
will fit in my pocket.
But nothing will ever be gone.
Howard Benn regularly attends Word Club poetry evenings in Leeds, and has performed at Headingley and Ilkley Litfests.
first week of may monday
10:30 am and
the cemetery is full of men
pruning tree branches
and clearing debris.
they have weedwhackers
wheelbarrows and saws
and some drive
machines that raise a lot of dust
and make a lot of noise.
slow and heavy the workmen go
through the commonplace ritual
and i can imagine in an
hour or so
they will congregate
under three or four trees to eat lunch.
some will boast of their
prowess with women and
others will bemoan
the plight of ruthless contingency.
i expect a few
will drink beer with their lunch
and a couple of them may doze off
humoring the remains of the sunday hangover.
it’s nothing special
but you can’t
do it if you’re dead.
a man in blue jeans
and gray t-shirt speeds by
in his bicycle
singing in spanish
loud and off key.
very soon i can’t see him and
the focus is back on
the dust and noise of the machines.
J.C. Mari is a Floridian who ekes out his living in occupations unrelated to poesy or the arts. He is occasionally published here and there. Like everyone else he does his best to achieve/maintain some degree of functionality.
a fragment of residue, fractured
at the bottom of a bowl, rubble
with the butt-ends of party chaw.
I know you’ll say that I was the one
who bemoaned the boxes, the labels,
but I’m not even honey-roasted
or maple-glazed. And where’s the sea salt,
the cinnamon, the granola?
I want to be whole again, in my shell
on a tree, eyed by Nubian Nightjars.
Helen Freeman published Broken post-accident in Oman. Since then she has completed several poetry courses and has poems in some online magazines. Brought up in Kenya, she now lives between Edinburgh and Riyadh.
Everyone round here’s asleep
also dogs birds foxes cats.
The wind has dropped
and the fridge is off.
Aircraft are landing
somewhere else and
no one is driving down my street.
No one doesn’t exist.
My house is old
and settles on itself
peacefully as if
after a large meal.
I listen to silence
and hear it all.
I also hear myself
hissing like a fountain
in a dawn piazza.
arch their backs
as the sun
from side streets
in wet paving,
before people wake
and buses run.
Chris Hardy’s poems have been published widely in magazines, anthologies and on websites. They have won prizes in the National Poetry Society’s, and other, competitions. A fourth collection will be published in 2017. He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe (little-machine.com). “The best music and poetry band in the world”. Carol Ann Duffy.