I Have Walked This Path Before – James G. Piatt

 

I am peering through raindrops, which are

washing away my memories watching the past

fade as I walk along an old path I have walked on

many times before.

 

I have walked this path before, in the springtime

when cheery trees were pink with blossoms,

giant maple trees were showing their pink buds,

and young animals in their new born freedom

loped along the river, carefree, and filled with the

excitement of new birth.

 

I have walked this path before when the summer

heat silently placed its warmth upon my

shoulders as I sat on a beach chair near a placed

pond thinking about the beauty of nature, and

listening to the sweet warbling of tiny songbirds.

 

I have walked this path before when autumn’s

slowly increasing winds started their polished

journey into winter with whispered hints of

fading time, and the sun was covered with dark

moisture filled clouds.

 

I have walked this path before when the chill of

winter blurred my footsteps, tiny birds took

refuge in bushes and I, bundled up in wools and

layered cotton, pondered on the coldness of the

season, and what I should etch onto the marble

face of my tombstone.

 


James is an internationally published poet, a Best of Web nominee and three time Pushcart nominee. He has had four poetry books; Solace Between the Lines, Light, Ancient Rhythms, and The Silent Pond, 1500 poems, five novels, and 35 short stories published worldwide. He earned his doctorate from BYU, and his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, SLO. He writes poetry to maintain his sanity, and sometimes succeeds.

Baskett Slough III – Marc Janssen

 

The milk sun combs uncombed fields

While

An atonal chorus of geese concert invisibly directly overhead.

 

All around

The illusion of softness

In the graceful curving hill-scapes,

Rust carpets of oak leaves,

Before it is broken by an insincere tittering of human voices.

 


Marc Janssen lives in a house with a wife who likes him and a cat who loathes him. Regardless of that turmoil, his poetry can be found scattered around the world in places like Penumbra, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, the annual Salem Poetry Festival, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate.

A Dream of Flying Over My Childhood Home – Isabel Greenslade

 

I open out my skull bones like leaves

my head a white hard dome

                     hot knife humming.

Current flows along my skin like oil

slicking rigid arms to body.

I rotate my neck as I do just before speech

gasp as I rise head-first to my element

                     a fish of the air.

 

Only then do I see them standing there

mother father brother neighbours all

gazing up by the fence, rooted as sunflowers

soundwaves lapping at their stems.

 

I flick my shoulders like fins

                    I am gone.

 


Isabel is from and of London where she works in a museum. In a former life she was a youth worker then a tour guide. Her poems has been published in Orbis and she can be found discussing poetry, art, gardening urban history, and the natural world on her Instagram account @ijgreenslade.

Preserved – Stephen Kingsnorth

 

I dusted coal soot from the sill

and came across the brittle bee,

stuck, desiccated, frosted pane.

And yet, with yoghurt, muesli dish, –

a bowl of porridge not amiss –

I plunged my fork deep in the pot

and spooned gold honey onto mix.

 

The jams and pickles, sloe gin jars –

ghoul specimens of organs, blood –

thank God for vinegar preserve,

a promise realised before.

Those languorous, drawn heady days

of elderflower, drone buzzy gnats,

will come gain, blaze summer tastes.

 

For now, past future on the shelves,

swelt sweating stove for spreading loaf,

float gherkins, onions, sweet with cheese,

a ploughman’s grubby hand from sheaves,

slow thaw, then other layered snow

cannot remove year’s heavy brew,

sure harvest cycle, budding soon.

 


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 250 pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies. Find more at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com.

The prints you laid – Gareth Culshaw

 

The coast elbowed the land

a sea came from afar

nudged the pebbles until they rolled.

 

We walked. Left a memory

in the road. I unclipped

the lead from my hand,

 

and you cut away the distance

between yourself and a gull.

 

I followed the earth’s golden dust

as you pounded the edge of land

and water.

 

An oystercatcher flicked up into the gulp.

I watched the sun on your fur

 

that carried light, put prints

in the sand before I got there.

 

I hope they’re still around to lead me

when I go back, alone.

 


Gareth lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle, The Miner & A Bard’s View. He is a current student at Manchester Met.

Ghosts in the Nursery – Kerry Ryan

 

Will you help me? My son says.

Always, I reply, as I always do.

He looks up from his Lego.

What if one day you say no?

(To play what ifs is his favourite).

I laugh. That’ll never happen.

He pulls a roof tile off a brick.

But do some mamas not help?

 

My mind drills through years

to rain, ocean, storm.

 

Outside, a child wails.

Oh, that sound, I say.

My son frowns. What sound?

I can’t hear anything.

 


Kerry is the founder of Write like a Grrrl. Her writing has been featured in various publications including Steer, The Manchester Review, the Kenyon Review and Spilling Ink. Kerry has recently been published in Queerlings and has poems forthcoming from Off Menu Press. Her play Trust was recently performed at the Gulbenkian Theatre. Find Kerry on Twitter @writelikeagrrrl and at www.writelikeagrrrl.com.

White Butterflies – Andy Eycott

 

White butterflies

crisp as a new playing cards,

hinged wings

guitar picks strumming.

 

The first rests on yellow petals

the second fluttering

over blackberries ripening,

both blown into the bushes

 

as a train that doesn’t stop 

at this station thunders through.

A flash of bright white returns

drawn back by a dandelion sun.

 


Andy lives in South East London and currently works within the NHS. Since being diagnosed with dyslexia at forty-eight he has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies. These include Obsessed with Pipework, Worktown Words, Orbis, The Dawntreader, The Cannon’s Mouth, Snakeskin, Runcible Spoon, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Poems in the Waiting Room. He had also qualified as a counsellor and enjoys writing stories for his grandson.

El Dorado – Ted Mc Carthy

 

“The fish fanciers, sitting by their ponds and gazing

into their depths, were tracing shadows

darker than they understood.” – Rubicon by Tom Holland

 

Arid – it took twenty years for the word to come.

And what did we expect, creeping that Saturday

down laneways whose leaves were dying into red,

towards the El Dorado of an orchard whispered about,

its apples untasted for years, guarded by a gun?

How near we were to town. How easily lost.

 

The youngest, last seen years ago, standing asleep,

wedged between three squatters in a phone box.

His eyes, they said, when he opened them, still had

that child’s disappointment at finding his last sweet gone;

suddenly he remembered himself and retreated.

He was a river of words at twelve

 

and I remember him now, from nowhere,

his life too fierce and frank to be glossed over,

unlike the rest of us, we on the cusp then of knowing

not the taste but the craving for it. So on

we blundered, countryside itching under our collars

until we turned and stumbled into a yard

 

ringed by trees, their fruit greener than leaves,

huge, monstrous almost. But we had to pick them.

And the house. No gun as frightening

as that abandoned silence, or the comb-teeth

litter of fish we knew we’d seen in books.

Never earth so bare as that dried pond.

 


Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. He has had two collections published, November Wedding, and Beverly Downs. His work can be found on www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com.

Patchwork Candle – Cat Caie

 

I used up all my candles, collected all the leftover wax.

My big Orange, Cinnamon and Clove came to an end.

Rusty flames, heat in my cheeks, an envelope-seal kissed shut.

 

I bought you a ring with my words engraved in.

Liquid gold melted wax over your silver band in a jar,

I poured in your favourite colour to cover the question up.

 

Now, I wait.

 

You’ll burn the wick whilst I pace alongside the festive scent.

Autumnal colours make it smaller everyday.

Maybe you’ll find the answer at the bottom of the jar.

 

I wonder how long it will take.

I wonder how long the candle will last.

I wonder, what will be your answer to the question I asked?

 


Cat Caie is a poet and writer who is currently based in Liverpool. Studying Creative Writing and Popular Music, she cites inspirations such as Orla Gartland, Halsey and Philip Pullman.

Souvenir – Isabel Greenslade

 

I left the car on the cliff top,

went looking for a toilet, found a bird.

There used to be a coal mine under here –

that’s what the guidebook said,

and the mark on the map.

 

It’s long dead, whatever it was,

probably dead when I was at home

looking it up in the bird book.

Fieldfare? Thrush? Which colour plate,

which description did it fit?

Anyway, there it was, trapped in a toilet block

in a car park empty of other visitors.

There were only two of us.

 

This assemblage of stone sand wind and air

progressed up and down the cubicles,

one two three four five five four three two one

its feet scrabbling on the overhead cisterns.

Too far above me to catch, it wouldn’t be wafted

towards the doorway with my map.

 

Already I was trying to name it as it struck

at the skylight that we could both see.

Death was always certain – inside a neglected egg,

by teeth or talon, by being shaken loose.

It didn’t need its name, only the sky which turned solid on it.

 

I flushed and walked out over the stone floor

into the wind, past the laminated pictures of the mine.

I got back into the car, drove to the heritage museum

where miners are trapped on a screen, to be bidden by a button

so someone knows they’re still there.

 

It’s history now, that bird. I thought about it

on the motorway all the way home.

 


Isabel is from and of London where she works in a museum. In a former life she was a youth worker then a tour guide. Her poems has been published in Orbis and she can be found discussing poetry, art, gardening urban history, and the natural world on her Instagram account @ijgreenslade.

Haze – Neil Fulwood

 

Soft haze hangs

over trees, over road,

view losing focus

near broken gate

at field’s edge,

rich man’s house

vaguely outlined

a half mile away.

The rumble

that trembles teacup

could be anything

passing at any

distance at any

point in time.

 


Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, England, where he still lives and works. He has published two pamphlets with The Black Light Engine Room Press, Numbers Stations and The Little Book of Forced Calm; and two full collections with Shoestring Press, No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. His third collection, Service Cancelled, is due for publication later this year.

Hot as a log – DS Maolalai

 

cold as logs

in water, a wet

and winter

evening. a rain

which cracks

the windows,

sounds like logs

in burning

hearths, and you

here on the sofa, curling

with me around tea.

you are hot as a log,

as solid and beautiful

as a pile of dried firewood

stacked carefully next

to a fire. outside, the grass

is wet and quite

miserable, taking weight

with the softness

of age-wilted salad.

even the dog’s

feeling anxious this evening

and rubbing the carpet

with her head.

 


DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019).

Interior design for fools – Demi Lloyd

 

Come and pick up your stuff by Thursday

or I’ll take it to the tip.

The voicemail repeats,

clanks round eardrums

 

I pull up, golden hour drips through,

glazes your ornaments. Bittersweet.

The white rabbit clock,

five minutes too fast.

 

I trace my fingers over the curves

of your sofa, green velvet hills

like last summer at the castle in Dover,

when we realised it might be over.

 

I look at your art for the last time,

shapes and maths, strong and clear.

My abstract dreamscape is

Decaying in a landfill

 

I collect what’s left of me.

Obnoxious orange and purple bags.

Full of the things you detested;

resting on your polished oak desk.

 

My wrist threads through the handles.

We could never thread love like that.

The cat, thrown from the cradle,

but she lands feet first.

 


Demi Lloyd recently gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. She is part of a poetry group based in Nottingham called GOBS and is working towards her contribution to their spoken word showcase in March. In her spare time you can find her reading, listening to podcasts or thinking about cats.

A Meeting in Dyrham – lou moon

 

Where I am she will meet me

among the naming of the trees

and the subtle serendipities

I land gently on crows’ laughing feet.

 

Carefully trace the blue rivered breast,

try not to worry about what comes next,

for only time can bloom fruit sweeter,

and where she is I will meet her.

 

Only here, only now could she meet me,

and could we open arms so completely,

that where the branches meet the sky

we could slip away inside and

be calm,

 

for we will meet where we are,

and we will meet where we are.

 


lou moon is a vague and formless artist occasionally found reluctantly exploring the spaces between poetry & music, gender & sexuality, bristol & london. Part time artist, full time hippie & a regular at LBGT+ spoken word open mics in London, their work explores the intensity of the interplay between mental health and relationships, spirituality and symbolism, metaphor, vulnerability and queerness in all its forms. @_lou_moon on instagram & twitter

Cromarty, 29 April 2019 – Neil Fulwood

 

Wake early. Take a cafetière

through to the conservatory.

Mist blanks out everything:

the road, the firth, the sea

beyond the curve of headland.

The oil rigs are vague shapes –

storybook monsters; phantoms.

Plunge; pour a mugful. Take

your first sip of the day. Feel

the bitter kickstart of caffeine.

The day hasn’t come alive yet.

Give it time. The sun will burn

through the mist. Landscape,

sea and sky will correlate.

 


Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, England, where he still lives and works. He has published two pamphlets with The Black Light Engine Room Press, Numbers Stations and The Little Book of Forced Calm; and two full collections with Shoestring Press, No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. His third collection, Service Cancelled, is due for publication later this year.