The Rainham Diver – Rebecca Metcalfe

 

The tide slips away, the river lowers, and he is there beneath the water. Striding across the mud towards the bank, he does not move. Seagulls circle overhead and shriek, boats chug past going East or West, but he does move. His body is a cage that imprisons river water with each high tide, releasing it as the moon shifts. In front of him, the reeds lead up to the bank, and beyond them the oil refineries, chemical works and factories that line the estuary all the way to the sea. Behind him is more of the same, just with the heaving mass of grey water between. He has sunk into the thick, green mud and so there he stays; a grey figure against a grey skyline. And he does not move.

 

 

22752130_10210178275199633_1006394601_nOriginally from Essex, Rebecca Metcalfe studied first at the University of Chester and then at the University of Liverpool. She now lives in an attic in Manchester with two black cats and works part time in a museum and part time in a restaurant. She has previously been published in Spelk, Flash: The International Short Story Magazine, Peach Street Magazine, Lumpen Journal, and Foxglove Journal, among others. She can be found on Twitter at @beckyannwriter.

Sight of a Night Otter – Martin Potter

 

Scrabble on the slipway like

A dog making for the water

Caught too far from the river’s edge

Expecting solitude at that hour

 

The otter observed unhurried once

Back in the element supported

On welling untraceability

Swam away into its comfort

 

 

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.

Echinoderms – Margaret Holbrook

 

You take all life from your

immense, fathomless,

median disc.

Asteroidia,

spangle tipped in salt

to the end of your arms

red spotted markers.

No brittle stars or

basket stars but true

Asteroidia.

And in your watery sky

environment you flourish,

live, die, regenerate,

shine brighter than any

celestial form.

 

 

IMG_0641Margaret grew up in Cheshire where she still lives. Margaret’s poems and short stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines and online journals including most recently: Schooldays, Best of British, Flash, I love you, Patches of Light, Torrid Literature Journal, The Foxglove Journal, The Wilfred Owen Association Journal. Margaret also writes plays. Her monologue ‘Our Brian’ was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Opening Lines’. In 2017 her play ‘Ruthless’ was longlisted for the Top Five Competition at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre. Her play The Bus Stop was performed at The Old Sawmill in Congleton in May 2019 and will be performed at Buxton Fringe Festival in July this year. Margaret hosts the Poetry and Prose Open Mic at The Petersgate Tap in Stockport. Keep in touch: www.margaretholbrookwrites.weebly.com

Secret life of seals – Rebecca Gethin

 

Secret life of seals Rebecca Gethin 1

 

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.

Copse – Yuan Changming

 

Standing tall against the frozen sky

Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy

Of an entire season

Your name is curly writ

 

Not in water

But with wind

 

 

IMG-0647Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline, among others.

Peach Pit – Kara Goughnour

 

The thunder was growling

like any defenseless thing

and the birds flew in circles

over our heads. Everything

was tired; the branches lied

vine-like over the rain-slick

street like lost shoelaces

inching back into pairs,

and we bent our boredom

to the back burner in origami

folds. The whole store sat unnoticed

which, to the lot of us, led

to a collective unrest.

I tucked the worn rags into water

and you, with your names

I’ll forget easily when it’s time,

cleared the mold off

of every peach. These days,

in my monotony,

I am a thing capable of rotting,

scared or stoned, a still-stemmed

stone fruit already molding,

before the bird wings catch

in the fence snares, before

the stars yelp back to life,

before anyone can taste it,

before anyone would care.

 

 

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.

Glass Man – William Doreski

 

Made of glass this morning,

I’m pleased that anyone can see

through me to the landscape beyond.

 

Being so fragile I take great care

walking up the post office steps,

and standing in line avoid

 

bumping old ladies clutching

parcels intended for grandkids.

The day sighs many great sighs.

 

It expects me to understand why

I’m made of glass this morning,

instead of rising in a fist

 

of stainless steel. The river

brims at the post office window.

It also is glass this morning.

 

If I stepped on it, tried to walk

its naked water, we’d collapse

into each other’s shy embrace,

 

subject and verb uniting.

I reach the window to buy a stamp

but the clerk looks right through me

 

to the next person in line.

I cough to get his attention

but something inside me cracks

 

and I have to step aside and clutch

myself to myself to avoid

shattering all over the floor.

 

I’ll mail my letter tomorrow

when I’ve reverted to simple flesh.

Today I’d better lie down somewhere

 

in the shade so I don’t start a fire.

Somewhere in the damp old forest

where no one will step on me,

 

my utter transparency

plain as an artist’s model,

too slick to exhibit shame.

 

 

william-doreski175William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His poetry, essays, reviews, and fiction have appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene
State College. His most recent books are A Black River, A Dark Fall, a poetry collection, and Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston. His website is williamdoreski.blogspot.com.

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.

A Wave in the Ocean – Peter Fullagar

 

Just a wave in the ocean,

a drop in the sea,

the tiniest speck

that is you and me.

The wave that may carry us

to lands far beyond,

the gentlest lull

of the sweet-scented song.

The whirlpools that capture

and stay in the round,

refuse to release

to treasures unfound.

The stormiest water

that must be obeyed

withstanding this

and serenity so craved.

The soft soothing current

brings out the best

leads me to shore

and lays me to rest.

 

 

Image-27Peter Fullagar is an editor and writer living in Berkshire. His first book, Virginia Woolf in Richmond, was published in November 2018 to coincide with a Virginia Woolf Statue campaign and his short story, The Walking Stick, is included in an anthology called Tempest. He also writes ELT materials and has some exam books published. He tweets at @peterjfullagarFind more at www.peterjfullagar.co.uk.

Come stay with me and be my night – Michael H. Brownstein

 

Come stay with me and be my night,

We’re done with dinner’s clutter

As stars blister through the moonlit light.

 

Water anchors moon streams white

Across the wake, across the cutter.

Come stay with me and be my night.

 

The children at peace, everything’s right,

Goat milk, huckleberry bread, apple butter.

Stars blister into pimpled light.

 

The children dream, the wind grows slight,

The storm is but a mutter,

Come stay with me and be my night.

 

Now comes a fullness full and bright,

Leaves skip across the gutter

As stars blister into moons of light.

 

My love is strong. It knows to fight.

I no longer need to stutter.

Stars blister through the moonlit light.

Come stay with me and be my night.

 

 

unnamed (3)Michael H. Brownstein has had his work appear in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). His book, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet’s Journey To The Borderlands Of Dementia, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press (2018).

Hearts – Rhianne Celia

 

I got to thinking about hearts.

How they seem to be everywhere – hearts.

a heart fritter;

a bitter heart;

a heart-shaped spoon;

 

an up-for-grabs heart;

a not-in-service heart;

a hammock-lolling-in-the-breeze heart;

 

a slap-on-the-wrist heart,

a deep-water-flunking heart;

 

a heart with pins

and needles;

a light-blockade migraine heart;

 

a heart of gold, an at-best-bronze heart;

a slit of heart;

a bottomless heart

 

The rail of bleeding-heart

fuchsias in my sister’s garden

heart.

 

An I-couldn’t-believe-they-were-called-that

heart.

 

The ____ of the storm

The wind-swept ____

 

Writing from the ____

 

A searching heart, angling itself to catch

the height of the sun.

 

 

FGBorn and raised in Manchester, UK, Rhianne has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at The University of Manchester. She has loved words (and arranging them) since she could put fluffy pen to paper (that’s a lot of fluff, and a lot of paper!). She explores human relationships in all of their wonderful complexity in her work and writes a lot about mental health, a subject close to her heart. You can find more of her poetry and general musings over at rhianne-writes.tumblr.com.

Over – Spangle McQueen

 

He is explaining

supernumerary

rainbows to me –

 

how it’s all about

raindrop size

distribution.

 

‘Sunlight reflects

not only from inside

the falling droplets

 

but interferes with

wave phenomena.

It’s similar to ripples

 

when someone

throws a stone in

a pond,’ he says.

 

And I am impressed

with his knowledge

of atmospheric optics

 

but I’d only asked

how there could ever be

too many rainbows.

 

 

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

Old sludge beds – Mark Totterdell

 

The former sewage settlement lagoons,

a wasteland wedged between the river’s curves

and an elbow of equivalent canal,

have been recolonised by sedges,

by bulrushes releasing feathered seeds,

by tall blond reeds in broad stands, rustling

with unseen life, suspicious scurryings.

 

From leafless trees, the great tits and song thrushes

are cleanly piping out, respectively,

their simple and their complex repetitions.

Close your eyes and you can almost see

the sounds as clear distinctive prints

cutting into the greyish sludge that spreads

everywhere from the traffic on the bridge.

 

 

This one DSC00795-herefordMark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).

Argonaut – Mark Totterdell

 

Small paper nautilus,

cockleshell octopus,

two of her tentacles

soft wands for conjuring

calcium carbonate

into her miracle

shell, light and delicate,

white ribbed and tuberculed

elegant watercraft,

henceforth and constantly

hers for the captaincy.

 

 

This one DSC00795-herefordMark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).

Crepuscular – Rebecca Gethin

 

At the wooded creek, a sheen

on hexagons of damp basalt

water like charcoal silk

where a pied cormorant has settled on a branch

and a catbird yowls nearby

till kookaburra unswallows

the songs of day –

 

we hold a breath, nudge each other

when the surface puckers, ripples

but it isn’t the platypus.

 

The moon is in two places

stars speckle the water

we can still just see enough

with the surface shine

but it isn’t the platypus.

 

We shift, feeling it’s time to give up.

As the darkness tightens

a thread of droplets needles the water

and air clusters with presence –

cloak-winged flying foxes

queue to swoop-drink

first one way, then the other

but not the platypus.

 

 

unnamed 2Rebecca Gethin lives on Dartmoor in Devon. In 2017 two pamphlets were published: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press who published an earlier collection called A Handful of Water and two novels. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow. In 2018 she jointly won the Coast to Coast Pamphlet competition and has been awarded a writing residency at Brisons Veor. Find more at www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com.