Starlings – John Muro

 

Dispatched from dusk, an iridescent stubble

breaks over everything and lacquers the lawn,

and each inch of terrain becomes a mangle

of brunette sheen. Sodden acres are now

blanketed beneath a chattering with numbers

too vast for counting. In precipitous precision,

they rise, like a head-wind suddenly made

visible, quickly extinguishing any creases

of light as each bird binds itself to the whole,

keeping tightly to form as if something

foreign and intent on anarchy might displace

it and lead the murmuration astray, none

daring to pull opposite of their dark destiny

and fretful portage between earth and heaven.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Living with parents – Christiana Sasa

 

My mum and dad call me

many times a day.

we live in the

same house,

but on different floors

when I’m working,

I hate to get interrupted.

They understand me

and I, too, understand them.

still….

it often makes me

erupt in a yell,

“What’s wrong?”

“Don’t call me now please”;

but my heart sinks,

every time I react like that.

An emptiness

bites on my nerves.

I know

One day I’ll miss getting interrupted…

 


Christiana Sasa has been writing poetry for three years. Her work has been published in the literary magazines Poetry Life and Times, Literary Heist, Rye Whiskey Review etc. and in two E-zines called Dark Poetry Society and RavenCage. Besides poetry, she’s interested in painting, music, short films, and comedy.

The Tree – Daniel Tobias Behan

 

I spoke with

the tree-man,

and he told me

 

how deep his

roots buried

into the Earth;

 

connected

through moss,

rock, and soil,

to places far

and wide –

 

they held

knowledge

humanity had yet

to even consider.

 

His trunk, he

told me, contained

layers in concentric

rings, infused

 

with memories

of all people who

had passed

him by over

the years.

 

His branches,

he said,

kept secrets

of the birds,

 

who sang him

tales of their

dinosaur ancestors –

 

his leaves

communed, with

the sun,

wind, stars,

 

sky, and moon,

about the

state of affairs

across the galaxy.

 


Daniel Tobias Behan is a London born-and-based poet. From 2017 to 2019, Daniel performed regularly at the London Irish Centre, Camden; in 2018 Daniel was interviewed by the Irish Post as part of their London Calling podcast series, and in 2020 had a short film made of ‘The Visit’ featuring acclaimed actor Nora Connolly and directed by Patrick O’Mahony, was interviewed for Wombwell Rainbow, and commenced a poetry series ‘Findings’ on channillo.com.

The Beach of the Cathedrals – Glenn Hubbard

 

The pseeping of pipits. The ticking

of robins. The flicking of redstarts.

Is the curtain-raiser.

 

Descend to the sand to walk up

dark naves. Arches and stacks

of schist and layered slate.

 

Stop to peer into the cracks and caves,

the patient work of tireless waves. Wait.

To hear the drip of fresh water.

 

Blue mussels in dense colonies.

Clenched goose barnacles in clusters.

Safety in numbers.

 

Near the shore

note the pools.

How they shelve.

 

Imagine the sun-tempered cool

on a day in July. The slide

in from the soft edge.

 

The sand sucks at the soles

of your shoes. Ascend,

the sound of the sea dissipating.

 

The pseeping of pipits. The ticking

of robins. The flicking of redstarts.

Is the send-off.

 


Glenn Hubbard has been writing since 2013 and lives at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama near Madrid. He has written a good deal of nature poetry over the years, inspired by the flora and fauna of both Spain and the UK. Some of this work has been published in journals such as Words for the Wildthe Dawntreader and Sarasvati.

all – Mark Goodwin

 

all

 

washed from

land-rim through

 

sea’s miles

 

-high-sky &

fathoms-deep

 

en

 

twined

 

light

 


Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist, and speaks & writes in various ways. He is also a walker, balancer, stroller, & climber. He has a number of books & chapbooks with various poetry houses, including Leafe Press, Longbarrow Press, Nine Arches Press, & Shearsman Books. His poetry was included in The Ground Aslant – An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry edited by Harriet Tarlo (Shearsman Books 2011) and The Footing edited by Brian Lewis (Longbarrow Press 2013).  His latest chapbook – a compressed mountain travelogue called Erodes On Air – was recently published in North America by Middle Creek. Mark lives with his partner on a narrowboat just north of Leicester. He tweets poems from @kramawoodgin, and some of his sound-enhanced poetry is here: https://markgoodwin-poet-sound-artist.bandcamp.com.

Compassion for the Undertaker – Charlotte Cosgrove

 

His feet press gently on the pedals

More pianist than driver.

The black hearse slows to the church

An inkblot spreading on white paper.

He opens the door for the grieving

Remains solemn as duty expects.

His eyes look down at pebbly gravel

Feels it within him as if made of concrete or hard minerals

Ready to decompose into the ground.

It has been just a week since he returned

After his compassionate leave came to an end.

 


Charlotte Cosgrove is a poet and English lecturer from Liverpool, England. Her work has appeared in Trouvaille Review, Dreich, The Literary Yard, The Broadkill Review, Wingless Dreamer, Confingo, Beyond Words and various anthologies online and in print. She is editor of Rough Diamond poetry journal. Her first poetry book Silent Violence with Petals will be published with Kelsay Books in June 2022.

Arran Postcard – Anna Percy

 

Dear T.

I know you have cycled on the coast road where I bumped along on the bus I haven’t asked if you stopped here at Kildonan where seals are promised or whether in fact the flop of their sea adapted bodies fills you with the same glee a fortification crumbles in a dark stone on the hill a look out a warning place the first line of defence the current light house sits on an islet must be lonely have to row back and forth to find another body the sun has started to blaze and yet the sea froze my toes a swimming costume was a dare to the water the water itself is all subtle movement and glitter past the sand everything is bands of blue and white you would swim.

 


Anna Percy has been writing for the page, stage and publication since 2004 mostly in the North of England. In 2010 she co founded the feminist collective Stirred Poetry. She has three full length collections with Flapjack Press. This poem is from an upcoming pamphlet The Everlasting Now from Some Roast Poets.

Song – John Muro

 

Last night I fell to dream

of Castle Combe,

 

Its shambling mists and tawny stream,

the holy pathos of its homes.

 

Wind-washed clouds, the lunar gleam

of cream-colored stone.

 

And there, somewhere between

drowsy dusk and day, I stood alone

 

In fevered dream,

in Cotswold cold,

 

Woke to air, moon-tide dimmed,

and the lulled hush of wool-

 

Soft hymns

with all hope gone.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

don’t – Mark Goodwin

 

don’t

 

try to tell

a wet shape

 

silent but for

grasses’ grasping

 

at it

 

that the five

snail shells lit

 

like tiny bulbs of

coloured glass

 

kept in wet’s

cradling

 

palms

 

cannot hold

solid

 

sound

 


Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist, and speaks & writes in various ways. He is also a walker, balancer, stroller, & climber. He has a number of books & chapbooks with various poetry houses, including Leafe Press, Longbarrow Press, Nine Arches Press, & Shearsman Books. His poetry was included in The Ground Aslant – An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry edited by Harriet Tarlo (Shearsman Books 2011) and The Footing edited by Brian Lewis (Longbarrow Press 2013). His latest chapbook – a compressed mountain travelogue called Erodes On Air – was recently published in North America by Middle Creek. Mark lives with his partner on a narrowboat just north of Leicester. He tweets poems from @kramawoodgin, and some of his sound-enhanced poetry is here: https://markgoodwin-poet-sound-artist.bandcamp.com.

Index of Sylvia Plath’s Journals Used to Make a Poem – Anna Percy

 

I cannot and I cannot and enough heartbeat and warmth enough and you won’t see him if he asks again would no doubt be shallow the lady or the tiger encouraging letter I met a man I moved to a new house at midnight excerpt bronze boy night after night screaming only listen to me this last once I thought even dreaming of being strewn with starfish and shells we also had trouble yesterday the rejection girl thought she wanted each wrapped why don’t I write? So the headlines blare the two of them in an unidentified hand

 


Anna Percy has been writing for the page, stage and publication since 2004 mostly in the North of England. In 2010 she co founded the feminist collective Stirred Poetry. She has three full length collections with Flapjack Press. This poem is from an upcoming pamphlet The Everlasting Now from Some Roast Poets.

Francis Ecstatic – Julian Bishop

 

Brother Leo gives chapter and verse

on this ecstasy: as if heaven were exploding,

its glory splashing forth in millions

of stars like waterfalls. But it’s the reverse

 

for Francis on the mountain of Verna

at this moment of stigmata – no flaming

angels but a beefy stripling shoehorning

the stubbled saint onto his seraphic lap.

 

The landscape is blissful, Francis basks

in the afterglow of some divine happening.

No stigmata, no wound, no bleeding

except perhaps within the saint’s heart?

 

(The lad-turned-angel is identical to the youth

in the painter’s infamous Boy Peeling Fruit.)

 

This is one in a series of poems about the painter Caravaggio

 


Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who is a member of several London stanza groups. A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s also been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and was longlisted in this year’s National Poetry Competition. He won the 2021 Poets And Players Competition judged by Sean Hewitt with his poem Sitting For Caravaggio.

He’s also had poems in The Morning Star, XR’s Rebel Talk, Riptide Journal, Finished Creatures Magazine and the first few issues of The Alchemy Spoon. He is one of four poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. Read more at https://www.julianbishoppoet.com.

70 Seconds – Anna Ross

 

A small spark

A flicker, a flash

Blink and you miss it

A lone reaching flame

Small, steady, silent

Growing at both sides

A red hand waving

Calling for attention

Its journey begins

Rug, stool, chair, bookcase

Claiming them all

Flaring up, grasping

Ascending the curtains

Smoke pools above

Now unstoppable

All within is lost

Inferno rages

 


Anna Ross lives in North Yorkshire and works as a university administrator. She greatly enjoys reading and writing stories and poems of all shapes and sizes. Her short stories have been published across a range of anthologies. Though she is noted amongst her peers for writing literature with dark underlying themes and messages she is actually a very friendly person in the real world.

How to Photograph a Mirror – Carys Crossen

 

The mirror, undiscriminating, swallowed everything. Mel studied it, its pink plastic frame, the tarnish around the edges of the pane. It sucked in the carpet, the windowsill, the radiator, Mel’s feet and legs.

How do you photograph a mirror without photographing yourself?

Mel had tried it from several angles. Always, some body part crept obstinately into the reflection. Her hands and wrists, clutching the camera. Her right hip and leg. She’d even thrown a sheet over herself, a ghost of childhood Halloweens, but she remained corporeal. Observable.

Whenever she’d stood next to Lisa, whose mirror it had been, she’d never seen herself reflected. Lisa’s golden glow blotted out all else. Her prettiness, her outgoingness, her unassailable status of family favourite.

Now Mel couldn’t be erased. Unlike the remnants of Lisa. When/if Lisa returned, she’d find her room as impersonal as the cell she was currently living in.

Dad, whose love for Lisa had been spun round like a tarot card to reverse its meaning, had been adamant. He was selling off everything the bedroom contained and chucking what wouldn’t sell. Ripping down old photos, stuffing magazines and romance novels into binbags. Mel and her camera had been pressganged into service. Photographing the furniture for an auction website.

The dressing table, once laden with makeup and perfume. Click.

Wardrobe where the doors never shut, stuffed with clothes. Click.

The bed. The hidey-hole for the bills, the demands for payment. Click.

The chest of drawers Lisa had tried to hide behind when the police came, wanting a word. With a warrant. Click.

Click. A thousand reflections of Lisa, frontpage in the local rag. Falsifying invoices, theft, arrest, bail, court date, four years at Her Majesty’s displeasure. No need of mirrors where Lisa was. Plenty of time for her to take a good long look at herself.

Mirror, mirror. Mel stared at it through the convex eye of the camera. Wondered what it must have seen. Perhaps it had always seen her.

Mel had always been there. She just never saw. The eye lied, not the mirror.

She raised the camera. Her waving outline, her round face, camera at waist height, the mirror imitated them all.

Click.

 


Carys Crossen has been writing stories since she was nine years old and shows no signs of stopping. Her fiction has been published by FlashBack Fiction, Fudoki Magazine, Dear Damsels, Every Day Fiction and others. Her monograph on werewolves, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ was published by University of Wales Press. She lives in Manchester UK with her husband, their daughter and their beautiful, contrary cat.

Swallows – John Muro

 

Easy to envy

their erratic

exuberance

ascending with

scythe-like wings

in fevered flight,

rounding rooftops

and the crowns

of trees before

returning like

blind oracles

with a divine

purpose and

grim prophecies

to share. Their

delirious arrivals

and farewells

blend then blur

into fleur-de-lis

pivots and pirouettes,

chevron tails split

apart like lengthy

shears slicing through

charmed circles of

air moments before

their tiny throats

of glossy indigo

morph into embers

as daylight falls

upon the tongues

of tides just catching

the last wink of sun.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

You’re so cool – Anna Idelevich

 

A tear mist stettled on the city

and I can’t see, I don’t write for show-off,

I’m driving on the night road of interconnections, you can’t see

point blank,

but it is audible, audible as if the stars are pouring ointments,

on the rustle.

I am one of them small, millionth.

Communication with you is nothing but needles,

but it’s dark in the car, I’m sitting lit up,

let’s say lit, but the Universe was not enough

gunpowder,

and it’s just a silhouette filled up with you

light, do not remove all the sadness from the stains,

and you can call for a long time and pull your hands into the distance.

Such a nebula over the city

illegal,

your colossus is reinforced concrete,

but the song sounds not funeral, but restless,

as if window tokens were nailed through the air to

rest,

and if there is no time, then there is neither river nor bank,

turn your head, I am parallel to you, to the fire and

time.

 


Anna Idelevich is a scientist by profession, Ph.D., MBA, trained in the neuroscience field at Harvard University. She writes poetry for pleasure. Her books and poetry collections include DNA of the Reversed River and Cryptopathos published by the Liberty Publishing House, NY. Anna’s poems were published by BlazeVOX, Louisville Review, Salmon Creek Journal, Bourgeon Magazine, In Parenthesis, O:J&A, Gyroscope Review among others. She hopes you will enjoy their melody, new linguistic tone, and a slight tint of an accent.