Soft Landing – Jessica Michael

 

I spend an afternoon listening for the sound sun makes when it hits the ground,

a symphony as it slides off blades of grass, drowns itself in pools of shadow,

then stumble up a broken mountain to see how wind is cradled.

 

Not a single straight line is made anywhere.

 

Perhaps this accounts for our human obsession with maps,

our need to press curves into grids.

They say it is for memory, but I don’t believe them—

you can’t remember this.

 

How land spreads before sunset fire.

How ravens fly without moving a wing.

How a single leaf makes the decision to fall.

 

Does earth know to catch it when it does?

 

 

10036_2Jessica Michael lives and writes in Prescott, AZ when she’s not traveling this intriguing blue planet. Her work has appeared in Allegro, Comstock Review, Red Fez, Rebelle Society, Outdoor Australia, and others. Find her poetry and photography at www.authorjessicamichael.com or follow her on Instagram as @authorjessicamichael.

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Yellow Ribbons – Pene Morley

 

The newspaper did nothing to stop the cold seeping from the wooden bench into Steve’s bones. He hugged his anorak tighter around his shoulders and tucked his hands under his armpits. Swapping that old blanket for a tin of baked beans had been a bad idea.

Shoppers, muffled up in coats and scarves and hats, trudged to and fro in front of him. Most ignored him, but some watched him out of the tail of an eye as they passed him. He wanted to grab them and tell them, ‘I was like you once, before I went to fight your bloody war’, but he knew they wouldn’t believe him; they never did.

A woman hurled a half-eaten burger into the bin at his elbow, and he eyed it for a moment before snatching it up. Then he noticed the girl staring at him, knock-kneed, gripping a plait in each hand as though she thought her hair was going to fly off.

‘It’s for my dog,’ he said, nodding to where the lurcher was curled up among the carrier bags at his feet.

The dog raised its shaggy head at the sound of his voice, and he tossed the burger between its paws. It snapped it up.

‘What’s his name?’ the girl said, edging closer.

‘I don’t know. I call him Bob but he’s not really my dog; he just follows me around.’

‘Can I stroke him?’

Steve nodded. The girl bounced down on to the ground at his feet with a grin, and the lurcher stretched out his neck to sniff her mouth, his tail thumping the pavement.

‘My dog’s called Scruffy,’ she said, giggling and squirming as Bob licked her face. ‘I got him when my daddy died but nobody can see him; he’s invisible.’

Steve crumpled up the burger bag and chucked it into the bin. Not having a dad must be tough on the kid, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her now. She was holding Bob’s ears up like butterfly wings and chatting to him about everything and nothing. Steve was about to ask her about her dad, when a slip of a woman rushed up and grabbed her by the shoulders.

‘How many times have I told you not to run off like that, Anna?’ she said, pulling the girl on to her feet.

Anna twisted in her grip. ‘I just wanted to see that man; I thought he was daddy.’

The woman’s body slumped, like a puppet no longer in play. She glanced over at Steve, exasperated, and for an instant he thought her tired eyes were pleading with him for help.

Then she tugged at Anna’s arm. ‘Come on, I don’t want you bothering him.’

‘But he’s got a dog,’ Anna said, digging in her heels, ‘and it’s real.’

‘I don’t care.’

‘And he’s got no laces.’

‘What..?’

Her mother stopped pulling her arm and turned to Steve. She studied his cracked, unlaced army boots and then looked back at Anna, frowning.

‘Remember when Daddy’s laces broke and he used my ribbons to tie his trainers,’ Anna said. She smiled at Steve. ‘Would you like my ribbons for your boots?’ She knelt at his feet. ‘I think they’ll look ever so pretty,’ she said, threading her ribbons through the lace holes.

Her mother gazed at Steve as if to say, ‘I’m sorry, about her’. He grinned at her, and she reached down to stroke Bob and hide the flush of colour that had appeared in her cheeks.

 

 

PM bio picPene Morley lives in the south of Germany with her husband, teenage son and two Labradors. She discovered very short stories on Twitter over a year ago and now tries daily to do one of the writing prompts. Since then she has also started writing flash fiction and is writing a novel which she hopes to have finished soon. You can follow her on Twitter @PeneMorley.

Skomer – Rebecca Gethin

 

Above the cliffs a swarm

of sea birds circles

the cinched waist of the island

a nimbus of puffins and auks

flying higher, faster,

almost silent except for beating wings –

a dervish dance

a typhoon rooted in one place

a lighthouse beam of dark motes

a spell to herald darkness

praise for another day of incubation

this ritual of summer evenings

and my small white face

watching from the bobbing boat.

 

 

unnamed 1Rebecca Gethin lives in Devon. She was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition with Messages. A pamphlet about endangered creatures called Vanishings is due to  be published by Palewell Press in 2020. Two pamphlets were published in 2017: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press who previously published a collection and two novels. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and undertook a residency at Brisons Veor in 2018. Find more at www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com.

Foal – Anthony Watts

 

On Thorncombe Hill

I saw the world

 

balanced

upon four saplings

 

itself-begetting

in the dew of the foal’s eyes

 

who whinnying

down nostrils newly bored

 

printed upon that

immemorial quietude

 

his infant sneeze.

 

 

Anthony Watts - head & shoulder portrait (3)Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years. He has won 26 First Prizes in poetry competitions and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Salzburg Review, The Rialto and Riggwelter. His fifth collection, Stiles, is due to be published by Paekakariki Press. His home is in rural Somerset and his main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking – activities which he finds can be happily combined.

Belated Farewells – Linda Rhinehart

 

That summer night we walked

together under the moon,

brighter than a fluorescent snow

globe in a Halloween window;

You told me to look up, so I did; I saw

a scattering of sun-dipped stars behind,

stepping stone to bright unknown horizons.

Later that night mist fell over a silent ocean,

and now I sit alone before a window

wondering if there is anything I could have said,

if there was anything I could have done,

and the moon a mere piece of cloth

pinned to an ink-dark sky.

 

 

IMG_1172Linda Rhinehart, 30, is a student, writer and translator currently living and studying in Cardiff, Wales. In the past she has lived in Switzerland, the USA and Germany. She has been writing poetry for around three years and reading it for a lot longer. In her spare time she enjoys playing piano, going for walks in nature and cats.

Granada – Hannah Patient

 

We step outside of time for just three days

and make this place our own: get coffee

every morning at the same café, where

ageing waiters all wear neat blue waistcoats.

This city’s pomegranate-like, they say:

bursting at the seams with juicy seeds

of things to come, of things that might have been.

We walk around the town in midday heat

and everything slows down: we’re living at the speed

of unripe fruit on orange trees and buskers in the streets.

Lost in Sacromonte, we give up and watch

the whole world pass us by, the palace

on its lonely hill a solid compass point.

As night falls, we get brave and mess around:

go rambling through the undergrowth

in the belly of the town, eat tapas in

our favourite bar as the Spanish sun goes down.

We join processions through the streets

where children chant and incense swings;

get punch-drunk on the smell of it,

turn sleepy listening to the man who sings

each night, alone, in the courtyard by our house.

 

I say that like it’s ours; of course it’s not –

nothing here really belongs to us.

The next day when the sun grows restless, hot,

we pack our bags and leave for a new place.

Time speeds up once more; how quickly we forget

the peerless lustre of these Andalusian days.

 

 

35842420_883314205202005_529810939248115712_nHannah Patient is a third-year English student at Somerville College, Oxford, and the former Essex Young Poet of the Year. Her work has appeared in publications including ASH, The Oxford Review of Books, Blacklist Journal and The Purple Breakfast Review. In her spare time she enjoys exploring crumbling buildings, watching detective dramas and eating chips with mayonnaise.

Daily Dreaming – Kara Goughnour

 

I don’t want to give too much away

but the sun doesn’t rise in this one.

Instead, I light a matchstick on your spine

and our slept-over sweat doesn’t burn

and the bathtub quakes with lavender and grime.

These days, we sleep in shifts

and watch for shadows, crawling about

like things that don’t live here, like things

that don’t live anywhere.

I’m hoping that, in every scenario,

you still love me more in the end.

Outside, the hydrangeas are sagging

with rain and inside you are looking me over.

I don’t want to give too much away

but, in this one, the night is both wasted and spent well.

 

 

Photo Jun 12, 9 13 09 PMKara Goughnour is a writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are the author of “Mixed Tapes,” forthcoming in the Ghost City Press Summer 2019 Micro-Chap Series. They are the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and have work published or forthcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Third Point Press, and over forty others. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @kara_goughnour or read their collected and exclusive works at karagoughnour.com.

Bio-luminescent Creatures Of The Deep – Sunita Thind

 

I wish I was a bio-luminescent creature of the deep.

Welded to lightning, conversing in sparkle.

Noxious in the dark.

Optic nerves splattering like fireflies.

This weakening broth of fire and flame.

Cavorting in an indigo sea.

These astral jellyfish glutenous from their latest neon feast.

Flippantly playful is the octopus.

Corpses of the sea.

Contemporary glamour of the synthesizing colours.

Craters of watery moon beams.

Fermenting are these sea soaked elementals.

Water gods disfiguring their oceans.

These deranged, sparkling fish with their minuet brains- melancholically wired.

See their despondent jellied eyeballs and droopy mouths.

A congregation of twinkling fish scales.

Like dress code diamonds.

Embryonic and heavenly, these fish bones.

These dreamy textures and mermaids meandering.

Prismatic light in the howling water.

I wish to be a bio-luminescent creature of the deep.

The embittered old whales.

Sonic flash lights, sonic clicks of porpoises.

Narrow beams and bio sonar.

This whale song.

Marine life habituated to incandescence, pale blue and crystallized.

 

 

sunitaSunita Thind has always been passionate about her writing and now she has the time to concentrate on it fully. She has dabbled in many things including being a model, primary and secondary school teacher and trained as a make up artist. Make up, poetry and animals are her passion. She has recently suffered from Ovarian Cancer and is grateful she has survived it but she is not in remission yet. All these experiences have coloured her as a person and enriched the poetry she writes. She loves to sing and takes singing lessons and has a beautiful, male Samoyed puppy named Ghost.

Siren – Jessica Michael

 

There is an ache like oceans

emptying themselves of everything but salt.

 

I walk the bottom,

cut my feet with wandering,

I fear her reckless chasms

and keep going.

 

Because for years

I thought I had a choice

in who and what and how I loved

 

when the only choice I ever had

was if I loved at all.

 

Here I am,

singing music to call the sea to shore.

 

 

10036_2Jessica Michael lives and writes in Prescott, AZ when she’s not traveling this intriguing blue planet. Her work has appeared in Allegro, Comstock Review, Red Fez, Rebelle Society, Outdoor Australia, and others. Find her poetry and photography at www.authorjessicamichael.com or follow her on Instagram as @authorjessicamichael.

Final Swim at Warren Dunes – Leah Mueller

 

The sun, unchained a few weeks,

direct and unapologetic.

 

Like me, ready to bloom.

 

Water surface tepid,

unfiltered rays against my cheeks.

 

Solar angle closes

one degree at a time,

until the heat extinguishes itself.

 

Wrap towel around my shoulders,

rinse my feet in water.

Cold gnaws spaces between toes.

In the distance, hills of sand

extend in all directions.

 

Earlier this afternoon,

I ran down the largest hill

amidst hordes of children:

 

more slowly than last year,

but still upright.

 

Swim one more hour

until the sand cools.

Place towel in the trunk,

turn ignition key. Listen

to the crunch of tires on asphalt.

 

Another August gone.

How many are left?

 

 

me readingLeah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her next book, Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices will be published by Czykmate Press in Autumn, 2019. Leah’s work appears or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Mojave River Review, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, Barnhouse, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest.

Tornado – Robert Beveridge

 

The tornado

whispers across

the green lake

 

heads for your eyes

so that when I kiss you

your body splatters me

with droplets of jade

 

 

20160903225845_IMG_2924_20160903230828315Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. He has recent/upcoming appearances in New American Legends, Toho Journal, and Chiron Review, among others.

where we are – Spangle McQueen

 

we can only start from here

no blaming the illness

myself

or all the others

just start here with the breath

where the succulent’s still

unplanted

and the sunshine soothes an aching temple

and turquoise sky fills my mind

bliss

a neighbour bangs on the window

for attention

the black cat slips off the fence

I open my eyes and wave

reset the clock

start again

focus on the breath

try to stay in the moment

while an ice-cream van

is playing the tune

about a pony

a feather

macaroni

 

 

20171019_233122-1Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and hopeful poet living in Sheffield.

Horses on the hill – John Grey

 

It’s near sunset and the horses are high up on the hill.

Clouds are moving in. No rain but much shadow.

The light’s an untrustworthy yellow.

He opens the barn door wide

then climbs the rise toward where

the mare and her colt, the stallion,

nibble away the hours on the lush grass.

 

It’s the third day of his new status

as a widower farmer.

He looks at the turkey vultures

with a more jaundiced eye.

Likewise, the red fox.

Or anything willing to peck over a carcass.

The death of a loved one

brings out every death.

Some creatures react with glee.

Others, like the horses,

indulge their mellow indifference.

 

Some things won’t change.

He’ll still cut up his apples,

pour salt on the slices.

He’ll drink tea with globs of honey.

And he’ll attend to the horses,

fetch them back to their stalls

while it’s not too dark out.

Their manes glow.

Their heads nod amiably.

And they follow where he leads.

The horses are the perfect companions

if life is to reestablish itself.

 

 

unnamed-bioJohn Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Nebo, Euphony and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

 

 

Boxed Dusk – Jenny Moroney

 

A beginning of an evening was grasped by the room

whose sparse light seeped in from a solitary window.

Lain on the bed, a pencilled in person noted the square

of sunset with its pastel pinks, blues and greens

layered over a charcoal city skyline.

 

Moving their hand against the square

so the light was sieved through their skin like dust,

they noted how this beginning of an evening

could be anything from a painting

to a life.

 

 

IMG_8563Jenny Moroney lives in South-East London. She studied English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and has been published online and in print.

Breathless – Bojana Stojcic

 

A storm was raging

that afternoon.

He stopped

to breathe with me.

 

It’s starting

to thunder.

I’m learning

to breathe on my own.

 

 

Pic...Bojana Stojcic is a teacher from Serbia, living in Germany. Her poems and flash pieces have been published or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, Down in the Dirt, Mojave Heart Review, Dodging the Rain, The Opiate, The Stray Branch, Tuck magazine, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow and Visual Verse. She blogs regularly at Coffee and Confessions to Go.