Metal – by Matt Duggan

 

We are selling the metal that kills
so we can afford the spoons that feed our children;
then killing them with the metal that we’ve just sold
feeding them with the blood on the spoons from happy meals.

We place them in the hands of our enemy –
How far into this storm must we all walk before we feel the cold?
preferring the shine of killing steel that glinting blue in falling skies
than the breath with flesh applied – prescribing to gain from the metals of subtraction.

The daylight would be our undoing
eyes were transfixed by computer generated handshakes –
division of the heart and soul the lies are the truths of man’s inked ruin
where only smoke rings travel along carpets like tiny drunken mice.

 

 

 

 

Poems have appeared in The Journal, Prole, The Dawntreader, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Harbinger Asylum, and The Seventh Quarry. In 2015 Matt won the erbacce prize for poetry with his first collection Dystopia 38.10 and in 2016 he won the Into the Void Poetry Prize. He has a new chapbook out called Metropolis with Hunting Raven Press.

Jam Tomorrow – by Lynda Turbet

 

I think of promises unkept –
once, a morning spent
stripping an espaliered apricot tree
limbs pinioned against old red brick.
August sun burned us both
as wasps in constant sleepy hum
gorged on fallen fruit
luscious pebbles in uncut grass.

Beyond the garden
cows moaned in nearby meadows
and the dale dipped to road and river
rising again to fields and drystone walls
Pen Hill sketched across a cloudless sky.
Steadily I filled the bowls
carried them to shade
ready for jam.

Split, each fruit revealed
a cluster of white grubs
squirming, fat and foul
sated on juicy flesh.
The compost heap devoured the lot.

I don’t regret the jam – rather
a loss of something purposeful and shared
bridging generations, unaware
this visit was my last
that fruit would hang ignored
and empty jars sit gathering dust and flies.

 

 

After decades teaching in the north of England and Scotland, Lynda Turbet now observes the world from rural Norfolk, and tries to make sense of it all through writing.

Milky Way of Moths – by David Gross

 

Her pale green eyeliner glowed in the dark.
A sargasso sea redhead with a black widow
tattooed on her pale neck, two silver hoops
looped through her left nostril, taking tickets,
righteously stoned, a carnival honeymoon of
maniacal clown laughter, buzzers, sirens,
blood-curdling screams, laser tracers, and
heavy-metal machine-gun fire litanies of gyp.
She’d been on the street since turning twelve,
landed a graveyard shift at Mickey D’s where
she met this guy with a pink mohawk and two
black teardrops inked below his bloodshot eyes,
who operates GALACTIC BATTLEGROUND
hovering above humid midwest midways in
small-town fairgrounds that smell of stale beer
and livestock piss, with a clutch of small space
invaders, suspended in shiny fibre-glass saucers
spinning through a Milky Way of moths, beetles,
and various species of flying insects. Then, on
Saturday night they pack up their universe

and drive away. 

 

 

 

David Gross’ most recent collection is Little Egypt (Flutter Press, 2017). He lives with his wife on a small farm in the hills of southern Illinois. He has recent work in Big Muddy, Blue Collar Review, Lilliput Review, Poppy Road Review, Solitary Plover and The Cape Rock.

I Thought – by Lesley Quayle

I Thought

that driving back through Bradford might alleviate
the pain. Its dialects of stone and slate, a slab sky
steamed open on a spout of sunlight.
                                                                   I thought
the narratives of ‘mucky oyl’ and soot stained mills
like teeth gone bad, would sabotage that other,
keener hurt, remind me why
                                                     I thought
it would be fine to leave. The tactics of delusion.
My greener bailiwick of fells and sheep, hay meadows,
black skies wheeled with stars,
                                             I thought
there’s not enough bairns’ tea in all the world
to comfort and my heart’s a blade in my chest.
Back, south, through Bradford
                                                      I thought
to dissolve the ache, like copper pennies
in Coke. But it’s maudlin beneath my skin, I feel
unexpected affection – protective.
                                         I thought
to unpick all the echoes, bridge both
hemispheres –  oasis/sinkhole, National Park or
dreggy, blighted back-to-backs.
                                                      I thought,
I truly thought, that driving back through Bradford
might alleviate the pain.

 

 

 

Lesley Quayle is a poet and folk/blues singer currently living in The Purbecks in Dorset. She has a pamphlet, Songs For Lesser Gods (Erbacce), featuring her prizewinning sonnet sequence of the same name, and a collection, Sessions, published by Indigo Dreams.

Manor Park, E12 – by Julian Dobson

 

In a city where the stars were out of sight
they named streets after astronomers,
but we were telescoped into a world of fumes
and sirens, burned out cars, abandoned mattresses.

In seven years there were four murders in this road.
The businessman bulleted in his restaurant; the dealer
bludgeoned in an upstairs flat; a man that no-one knew;
and a woman, found face down in a sluice.

But I remember Tony from Dominica, whose laugh
exploded like a Caribbean sun; lonely Krish,
who cooked the best potato curry in the world;
and you, beaming, when you first rode your purple bike.

 

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Brittle Star, The Interpreters’ HouseAcumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is here.

Guest Editor for May – Patrick Lodge

Our Editor’s Choice Poem for May will be selected by Patrick Lodge.

Patrick lives in Yorkshire and has an Irish/Welsh heritage. A retired academic, he now devotes much of his time to writing and to reviewing poetry. His work has been widely published, and translated in many countries.

He has been successful in poetry competitions such as the Envoi International and the Poetry Space International. He won the 2015 Blackwater International Poetry Competition, and has been invited to read at poetry festivals in the UK, Ireland and Italy.

Patrick reviews for Envoi, The High Window and Carillon.

His two latest collections, An Anniversary of Flight, and Shenanigans were published by Valley Press in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

The Pitman Painter – by Tom Moody

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For Jack Harrison, the pitman painter who loved light.

Out before back-shift starts
breathing the air’s clean sting.
Setting up paint and easel
A cold dawn, the light thin.

The Staithes are glazed black.
Snow crystals crust the handrail,
sharp, bright as crushed coal.
The air – soundless, frozen, still.

The horizon is a dark screen
that sieves the slow sunrise.
One thread trickles through
to streak gold on grey waters.

A boat chugs out of the haze.
Not Temeraire; the squat ash-barge
barely makes way against the ebb.
A dark curl runs from bow to bank.

Under the timber deck
a spreading ripple,
a rhythmic cat-lap
that licks each pile.

 

 

 

A former nurse, Tom was a ‘late starter’ in writing and is trying to make up lost time. He has had articles published in journals, written a prize winning short radio script for BBC Newcastle and was a prize winner in last year’s New Writing North Crime Short Story competition. He has had several poems published in Orbis and has just completed an MA in creative writing at Newcastle University.