Downtown after the offices let out – John Grey

 

Tall buildings cast overlapping shadows.

It’s night long before nighttime.

Last of the commuters catch their train, their bus.

Garages empty out.

The few inner city dwellers

lock and latch the doors

of their small fortresses.

At street level,

two men approach each other.

It’s dark. Identities are smudged.

Is it? No it can’t be?

Wasn’t he the one who… ?

And didn’t he…?

They nod as they pass –

recognition or just acknowledgment

that there’s no other in this world –

neither gives an indication.

Each hears footsteps

on the concrete sidewalk,

softer and softer,

farther and farther away.

Then all would be silent

if it weren’t for themselves.

But they don’t feel responsible,

just alone.

 


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Published in Nebo, Euphony, Columbia Review, Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

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diner – Tammy L. Breitweiser

 

A three day trip

A torn plastic booth

White stuffing protruding

From the wound.

Bandaged haphazardly with silver tape

 

The aroma of stirring coffee with a spoon

On day 16.

Fills my nose

But my mind is still on

Six driving hours and two time changes

 

Misty droplets roll in from the lake

The fog horn is not the sound

Which concerns me.

 

“I am four years old

The year I learn to lie,”

Says my little companion.

Elsa always told me

“Don’t get attached”

 

What else do you need?

“Pink marshmallow mountains”

You had a bowl of ice cream

I had a glass of tequila and lime.

 

We drive down Highway 90

The bridge from old life to new.

I grip the wheel and think about

All the times I have driven on this road

Where I was going and how

A boy started the whole thing.

 


Tammy L. Breitweiser writes, walks, inspires, and teaches. She is the conjurer of everyday magic with short concise poems and stories. Her fiction has been published in Gone Lawn, Cabinets of Heed, Spelk, Five on the Fifth, Clover and White, Fiction Berlin Kitchen, Shorts Magazine, and Elephants Never. She is the lead moderator for the Sarah Selecky Centered community and a teacher for the school.  You can connect with Tammy through IG @inspiretammyb.

Palm Civet – Rahana K Ismail 

 

To Úrsula Iguarán

 

A mouth gnawing at the cemented floor.

The tail a sky of shadow. Between niches

mousing, a scratch of claws. Two eyes

planetting the room

 

of my conscience. Guilt can take on

many forms. As a hole

in the sprawl of air. A hole

that housed

 

a spear. A throat it makes around it.

A head it wedges in, the mesh

of bone and body it zeroes in on. The hand

that weaves into esparto grass.

 

Walking as a man does, sad

and searching

until you haunt courtyards

for the open faucet, or floorboards

for the ticking beetle,

or the telling heart in spite.

Ever since grandma told me, a civet cat

 

knocking over boxes of what I have

squirreled in my head.

 


Rahana K Ismail is a poet and doctor from Kozhikode, Kerala. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Penn Review, Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, nether Quarterly, Contemporary Haibun Online, Usawa Literary Review, POSIT, Io Literary Journal (Refractions), The Alchemy Spoon, Paradoxlit, Farmer-ish, Poetic Sun, Chakkar, Alipore Post, Aainanagar, Hakara, Verse of Silence, EKL Review, Pine Cone Review and elsewhere.

Breakfast Club – Jeffrey Joseph

 

I take my daughter into Breakfast Club,

Tracksuit bottoms sparking as I force myself along,

And leg ends heavy with damp;

She skips beside me, taut with a promise of the new,

Her sentences long, long, her questions unanswerable,

Her laughter unanswerable.

 

In the busy, smelly, milk and plimsoll hall, she stands bemused –

Aware, perhaps, that something is changing,

Hearing across a span which I have lost

(Or, if not lost, forgotten),

The din of warring hopes.

 

Through the window I see her – a uniformed dot –

Move, unnoticed, to her place.

 


Jeffrey Joseph was born in London in 1952 and was educated at the University of York, University College Cardiff and at The Open University. He worked at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before spending many years as Performance Manager at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. He is a heavily published musical journalist and poet. His music has been performed on the South Bank, at St John’s Smith Square, in Westminster Abbey, in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, throughout Europe and in Africa and the USA. He is published by Warwick Music/Hal Leonard Music and is distributed on-line by lulu.com.

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.

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.

Hush – Don Thompson

 

The night, this night anyway,

has requested quiet—

using an older, quieter word.

 

The owl complies, sounds one note

pianissimo on a marimba

with a soft mallet.

 

No crickets fidget.

 

No feral tom cats talk trash.

 

Even the hound over on the next farm

howls for only a few minutes

and then, whatever had been bothering him,

lets it drop

and drifts off to sleep.

 


Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. A San Joaquin Almanac won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2021 in the chapbook category. For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com.

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.

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.

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.

Late September Morning – Glen Sorestad

 

You always hear them 

before you see them.

 

When I heard them, 

I stopped, looked up:

 

the cries of Snow Geese, 

thousands of them, 

 

ragged flying necklaces 

strewn across 

 

a robin’s egg sky, 

slant of rising sun 

 

glinting off 

brilliant white feathers.

 

That familiar ache 

seized my throat, 

 

their plaintive cries 

waning as they flowed by, 

 

carrying summer 

southwest to the river.

 


Glen Sorestad is a Canadian poet whose work has appeared in publication in various parts of the world, has appeared in over 60 anthologies and textbooks, and has been translated into eight languages. He was nominated for Best of the Web 2020. He lives with his wife Sonia in Saskatoon on the northern plains.

Imperfect Shelter – Martin Potter

 

Overcast and when it starts

To come down a heavy headed

Tree appears to offer

 

Round its trunk a dry space

Above countless leaf strata

Parrying the downpour

 

To begin with it’s like a roof

Secure you hear the percolation

Working through the rafters

 

Until collected the outsize drops

Single out whatever tender

Spots are homing unwary

 

 

FullSizeRenderMartin Potter is a poet and academic, and his poems have appeared in Acumen, The French Literary Review, Eborakon, Scintilla, and other journals. His pamphlet In the Particular was published by Eyewear in December 2017. Read more at https://martinpotterpoet.home.blog.

Spending a Day with an Uncanny Nature – Chandan Dey

 

a snowy day–

 

the green leaves of the garden

are wrapped in the thick blanket of ice

 

the dangling white rose

is the face of a black tiger

in such a depressing morning

 

a flock of one-winged birds

are migrating to a sunless island

through gray clouds arranged unruly

in this pale light of dreary noon

 

the deepening dusk

with its illusive movement

is descending swiftly to the earth

through eerie sound of the crickets

 

in the distance–

 

the wavy mountain

is a strayed dolphin, swimming

in the ocean of night-fog

 

alone

 

 

CD biog picChandan Dey is a new and emerging writer living in Kolkata, India. His work has appeared in Liquid Imagination, Vayavya, Sky Island Journal and is forthcoming elsewhere. He works in Kolkata and is a passionate reader and writer of poetry. He loves to write articles on scientific philosophy; some of them have already been published online. Some of his work can be found on http://www.chandankumardey.blogspot.in.

Choughs – Rebecca Gethin

 

Choughs Rebecca Gethin poem

 

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.