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 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.

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.

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.

A Summer’s Afternoon in Castile – Glenn Hubbard

 

Endless August afternoon.

Vegetation yellows.

Seed heads

sizzle and pop.

Their beaks

open wide,

distressed,

beside themselves,

the small birds

are overheating.

Only the kite,

tirelessly circling

above the exhausted

earth, endlessly

adjusting the angle

of its forked tail,

appears unaffected.

 

Then a breeze arrives like a blessing

and in the tiny pools spangling the river bed

the pond skaters ride the ripples

while the dragonflies, momentarily spooked,

rise and stand off a while

until the rushes come to rest once more.

Up above, the leaves of the poplar

tremble, sparkle and click.

Down below, the dozy dogs

prick up their ears.

And out on the stubble,

the never-knowingly-not-nibbling sheep

raise their heads

in slack-jawed, dumb surprise.  

 


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.

The Argument Of His Painting – Julian Bishop

 

After Robert Herrick

 

I think of tainted saints, unseemly Madonnas,

Bacchus hung over, artichokes in butter,

dirt-caked soles, two mop-headed angels

coupling, Jesus and Cecco baring all.

 

I paint in bone-black, bloody vermillion,

backdrops of ochre and black, umbers that burn,

throw in hasty halos, Gentileschi’s feathers,

water-snakes and corpses hauled from the Tiber.

 

I picture Paul being floored, John’s head severed,

Matthew tethered, Lazarus resolutely dead

and Goliath, beheaded, gasping for air –

deft self-portraits of violent despair.

Painted or unpainted, in every picture

I’m a spectator, the spectre who’s always there.

 

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.

The tender pines – Robert Beveridge

 

It is not far, not far at all beyond

the city limits where the road ends,

even the tire tracks peter out amidst

the wild-grown grass surrounded

by trees, invisible from buildings.

Just enough room to park, lay out

a blanket, pitch a tent.

 

Off to one edge, a ring. I thought

at first of mushrooms. But no—

of snails, their variegated shells

ablaze in the afternoon light.

I read to them awhile, until the sun

was low enough that it was time

to gather wood. Whether they

enjoyed it I’ve no idea.

 

A fire just long enough to warm

ramps, mushrooms, beans, a chunk

of bread torn to pieces, then to bed

and dreams of snails who aspire

to write their first poems.

 


Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Blood and Bourbon, The Stratford Quarterly, and Stonecoast Review, among others.

Chronos – Anna Ross

 

Tick, tick, tick.

The clock hands are all heading for twelve,

And there is nothing I can do to stop them.

Perhaps I could break the clocks.

Tear their hands from their faces,

Scatter their cogs on the floor.

But I don’t. I know it will not help.

For no matter how many timepieces I destroy,

The clock hands will still reach twelve.

 

Tick, tick, tick.

I’ve tried to look the other way.

But time is a tricky thing to hide from.

It is indefinite and exact, constant and ongoing.

And it knows not its own value.

I’ve played my part, fulfilled my role,

And in this I make my exit.

 

Tick, tick, tick

Twelve will be my final hour, when I shall meet my ‘justice’.

Under the midday sun, as the church bell rings,

The hour is near and they have all come for me.

The tides still flow, the sun still rises,

I am no longer scheming escape.

My life and my innocence are inconsequential to time.

For all the clock hands are heading for twelve,

And there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.

 

Tick, tick, tick.

 


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.

Bogquilt – Jacob Riyeff

 

blue goose road at night

cuts thru bog country

streams of leaves

flow the road

and moats dogs 

aflight, all 

of them. gray 

light purpling 

the air. vertigo 

round cedar-lined 

curves. watching 

for deer –

there – the moon

shines over acid

water, pitcher-plant

relics, my brow.

 


jacob riyeff is a translator, poet, and scholar of medieval literature. his work focuses on the western contemplative tradition and the natural world. jacob teaches in the english department at marquette university and lives in milwaukee’s east village.