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.

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.

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.

In the Archives – Charlotte Cosgrove

 

I keep a list of all the books I’ve ever read.

A catalogue of all the presents I receive.

It is not the reading of the book,

Or the opening of the gift,

That excites me.

It is the afterwards.

Like the look you give

After sex, days later, at dinner.

I write that down, too.

How many times, how long it lasted.

I don’t mark these things out of ten,

I don’t compare them to each other.

They are just there –

For data.

A hoarding of my history.

 


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.

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.

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.

Flowers and night-time flowers – DS Maolalai

 

camden. the bus

flipped like a swing

in bad weather

with somebody

kicking their heels.

11pm. earth gone

grey in salty

shades of orange.

the shops all closed, bars

curled open,

like flowers

giving way to night-

time flowers. someone

already hammered,

being sick in a corner

next to a fish shop.

pavement alive

like a pond

with ducks.

a part of the city

with evening in shades,

beautiful and busy.

stylish people

and shirts

bought from second

hand stores.

 


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).

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.

Beyond the Tree Line – Hugh Cartwright

 

It’s our first Christmas adrift in the stars.

And Molly’s first egg.

“Can I break it now?”

“Be gentle.”

Molly’s just four, the youngest of our tiny community. She taps the egg with fierce concentration, as if it’s the most important job in the Universe.

Suddenly the egg shatters and a glittering shape unfolds from among the fragments – a silver Christmas tree. It would weigh a handful of feathers on earth; here in deep space it floats effortlessly.

The tree glides quietly through the cabin until I tie it down with red ribbon. Our little group of 19 gathers round in a circle, linking arms and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly helps me shepherd her tree into the airlock and we set it free. It glides behind the ship, not wanting to leave. But, as the hours go by, it gradually falls away, dissolving into the star-strewn sky.

#

Our 27th Christmas; it will be the last before we reach our new home.

Molly is unwell, but she is our talisman; she must crack the final egg. A shimmering, golden tree emerges, capped with a crown of sparkling stars.

Our group now numbers 22. We gather around the tree for the final time, holding hands and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly, whose memories were of nothing beyond our ship, is dead; she is the first to die.

27 trees drift behind in a soundless, invisible line, watching over us as we rush towards a world that Molly will never see.

 


Hugh’s not really a writer. His career has been spent in Universities, working at the interface of artificial intelligence and physical science. Now retired, he has begun to write occasional stories, some colored with elements of science fiction, others being just a little odd. It helps to take his mind off his impossible project: growing citrus trees in the Canadian climate.

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.

Grief – Yvonne Gaskill

 

And there were days

Days when my chest screamed

My blood wept

And I choked on my own pain.

 

Days like empty glasses

Cold, cutting, cavernous.

 

And there were days

Days I felt so small

I could have slipped through pavement cracks

My skin so thin.

 

Days like vacant tombs,

Diminishing, decreasing, dying.

 


An English graduate, Yvonne has always enjoyed creative writing, particularly poetry. Recent bereavements have led her to write more as a kind of therapy. A journalist for more than 30 years in print and broadcasting, Yvonne covered everything from terrorist attacks to celebrity interviews. She reported and presented on regional TV and radio stations and also for national news networks in the UK.

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.

Time travelling in a coffee shop – Demi Lloyd

 

Sarah smells like caravan

holidays when I was small

I reach for a chip and

I’m stranded,

trapped in a blur of playing

Go Fish with Dad

 


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.