In the Woods – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

In the Woods

I can hear without sound,
see shapes without looking.
That is what words do.
Like a match held under wax,
a colour tasted in the dark.

I can carry thoughts where
I feel them, just behind
my face. Scrabbling up
for air though, words get
gummy, stiff as bone.

That is why I’m mumbling.
How so many times now
have you brought me here?
Then suddenly we’re talking,
I’m bouncing on water.

Making bubbles, God
I love you and I love you, God.
I can’t stop laughing.
And I tell you, I have never
Laughed like this before.

 

Carolyn Oulton has been published in magazines including Acumen,Artemis, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, from the edge, Ink Sweat & Tears,Nine Muses, Orbis, The Poetry Village,The Moth and Seventh Quarry.

Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk

A Flight Transferred – a poem by Pauline Duchesneau

A Flight Transferred

A Northern Flicker lay
feet curled and still
on the roadside where I walked.

So sad, thought I.
Next instant, Awed, by the
unmarred form so close beside.

Details of the artistry
inspired by eclectic mood
that creation day…

Dramatic contrasting gentle
in style unlike others.
Diverse, their own painted cloaks.

This sweep of pure night, high on chest,
a bib of honor above darkest round
spots on each tiny, pale breast feather’s tip.

Emboldened, the back of neck by
shock of brilliant candy apple red, all the more vibrant
bordering soft gray.

Dark bands on mellow brown back,
underside of tail hidden, unknown,
a burnished butterscotch.

Kindly buff of face, throat, and neck,
strong point of beak lined by
another midnight drop onto cheek.

So benign it seemed to me,
this being of moments before,
whose call and percussive wing-flap familiar.

These features I’d gift to admire,
from bittersweet inertness.
I walked on, new flight of wonder now in me.

 

Pauline Duchesneau’s writings of various sorts have appeared in Dime Show Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, Adelaide, Riggwelter, and Rosette Maleficarum, among others. Her first novel of magical realism seeks its final draft. Pauline’s greatest inspiration wells from her gratitude for the myriad daily gifts.

A Flight Transferred – a poem by Pauline Duchesneau

A Flight Transferred

A Northern Flicker lay
feet curled and still
on the roadside where I walked.

So sad, thought I.
Next instant, Awed, by the
unmarred form so close beside.

Details of the artistry
inspired by eclectic mood
that creation day…

Dramatic contrasting gentle
in style unlike others.
Diverse, their own painted cloaks.

This sweep of pure night, high on chest,
a bib of honor above darkest round
spots on each tiny, pale breast feather’s tip.

Emboldened, the back of neck by
shock of brilliant candy apple red, all the more vibrant
bordering soft gray.

Dark bands on mellow brown back,
underside of tail hidden, unknown,
a burnished butterscotch.

Kindly buff of face, throat, and neck,
strong point of beak lined by
another midnight drop onto cheek.

So benign it seemed to me,
this being of moments before,
whose call and percussive wing-flap familiar.

These features I’d gift to admire,
from bittersweet inertness.
I walked on, new flight of wonder now in me.

 

Pauline Duchesneau’s writings of various sorts have appeared in Dime Show Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, Adelaide, Riggwelter, and Rosette Maleficarum, among others. Her first novel of magical realism seeks its final draft. Pauline’s greatest inspiration wells from her gratitude for the myriad daily gifts.

A Jazz Prayer – a poem by Brett Peruzzi

A Jazz Prayer

Pound the piano keys Thelonius
tap your foot to the odd time signatures
that tick in your head like a clock.

Play the chords Bird
string them together
like pearls on a necklace of sound.

Hold the single note Miles
with a tremelo more delicate
than birds at dawn.

I listen to your music
the way some people salute the flag
or recite the rosary;
but with absolute surrender.

The sounds are like
the most gilded and ornate birdcage
you can ever imagine
except the door never closes.
It just swings daddy
it swings in the perpetual breeze,
a zephyr across time.

Turn your back again
to us Miles.

Spin your body again
in a mad Benzedrine circle Bird.

Nod your head again Thelonius
to the melodies that course through your brain
like a rain-swollen river.

I’m still listening.

 

Brett Peruzzi lives in Framingham, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in Boston Poetry Magazine, Muse Apprentice Guild,Gloom Cupboard,The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly,Modern Haiku,Sahara, Pine Island Journal of New England Poetry, and many other publications.

Reluctant Recidivist – a poem by Patricia Walsh

Reluctant Recidivist

Slow to commit any form of crime
Faithfully deported to suitable lodgings
Hunting heads of the conscientous consumed
Matching like to like, as a jigsaw.

Not a race, therefore not racist. What I would give
For a standard textbook to judge others by!
Forget the stereotypes, bleached to the root
Vainglorious in circumstance tempers the cold.

Coat drenched on another’s chair
Dancing in time to a foreign clap
Eating meat, prayer, upon, consuming
With a wounded conscience looming small.

The days lenghten by degrees.
Controlled fasting becames the determined.
Determined in eyes of the god of hosts
Killing as if we make an educated mistake.

Picking the chicks in a submerged ballroom
Where no light can escape, cross upon back
A journey towards salvation, a criminal’s death
Singing towards home, oblivious to danger.

Not my will, but yours. Killing the solution
If you’re not part of the problem, so what?
Green on red colours the recidivist spirit
An acreage of beauty redeemed for others.

 

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland.  To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

The Dragon and Me – a poem by Katerina Neocleous

The Dragon and Me

Abstinence won’t solve
love’s mysteries, the play
has just begun and there
are scenes to set:
evading it, you will remake

this drama every chance
you take – love’s logic
is a road, however
serpentine or straight;
it leads, we follow.

It infuses all, uncoiling
strong roots like
a dragon rousing from
the earth’s magnetic core;
emitting flames –

the lives we forge
and share on this stage,
with its starry roof.
Love is the prime directive
even when its brief fruits

turn too soon – we journey
to true north the same;
while some of us arrive alone:
that’s alright, but
no reason to abstain.

 

Katerina Neocleous is assistant editor of the poetry journal, Obsessed With Pipework. She is widely published in magazines; and has two pamphlets forthcoming in 2019 – one from Maytree Press, and another through Obsessed With Pipework and Flarestack Publishing. She is also a mother and gardener. For more information please visit her at visionsfromhell.wordpress.com

Farewell from Tennyson Down – a poem by Ruth Gilchrist

Farewell from Tennyson Down

After Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the Bar’

“One day I`ll go sailing,” you`d said.
Sixteen, alone, I watched you cross the bar.
Of course, there was foam,
I hated you for it.
I felt the future cliff behind me,
fought the tide to keep you with me,
even with your withered boards,
crippled sail and splintered mast.

Now, up here on Tennyson Down a skylark calls.
I have let your ship sail out of sight, and turned
to lanes where children ride their bikes,
lizards bask and chestnuts ripen.
Chapel bells and thatched cottages evoke a time,
but this time is for living.

 

Ruth Gilchrist is an award-winning poet living in East Lothian, published in magazines and anthology. She enjoys being part of several writing groups as well as performing her pieces. Ruth writes on a variety of subjects and experiments with different poetry forms. Her joint pamphlet The Weather Looks Promising is published by Black Agnes Press.

 

On Becoming the Waves – a poem by Ahrend Torrey

On Becoming the Waves

Somewhere the waves are alive. Like an endless longing they push and pull from the vast body of blue, forward, to the sanderling—white and brown—who when the waves come, scurries away, then back to the receding water to eat from the foamy sand.

What does it mean that waves are relentless— that no matter where, no matter what they’re going through, they push and pull?

Close your eyes and think of terns. In the darkest hour imagine gulls lifting intermingled from the shore. Become waves rising, falling, behind them, knowing the worst can never stop you— reach, reach again: that glimmering shore!

 

Ahrend Torrey is a creative writing graduate from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. When he is not writing, or working in New Orleans, he enjoys the simpler things in life, like walking around City Park with his husband, Jonathan, and their two rat terriers Dichter and Dova. Forthcoming this year, his collection of poems Small Blue Harbor will be available from The Poetry Box Select imprint.

 

Saint Veronica Who is Not Mentioned in the Bible – a poem by Lisa Zimmerman

Saint Veronica Who is Not Mentioned in the Bible

I heard the soldiers were bringing him
up the hill past the shop, dragging
that tragedy of God-forsaken tree branches
some guys had whip-tied together
with leather straps.
I was in the back room folding linens
for a wedding we were catering later
when my daughter called me out front.
I admit, he looked rough, little rivers
of blood, maybe even tears, sliding
down his cheeks and neck.
When he tripped and fell to his knees
on the stones in front of the shop
I felt a stab a pity for him.
I handed him the cloth I was holding.
He wiped his face and gave it back.
Of course he said thank you.
His mother raised him right.
But he looked far beyond me
when he said it, like an animal in pain.
No, his face was not printed on that napkin.
People made that up after he died.
I rinsed the blood out in cold water in the sink.
I will admit the arthritis in my fingers went away
after that. And the eczema.

Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry has appeared in Florida Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Cave Wall, SWWIM Every Day and other journals. Her first book won the Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award. Among other collections are The Light at the Edge of Everything and The Hours I Keep. She’s a four-time Pushcart nominee.

Furrows and Barrows – a poem by Rory Tanner

Furrows and Barrows

Long labours of attention dig down, heap up,
leaving furrows and barrows,
these lasting features of ideal landscapes,

and familiar legacies of centuries’ belief:
…….monuments to precepts,
…….principles that we can touch.

From a train heading north,
watch treelines where cathedral spires emerge,
cities on hills, well-weathered but still standing,

just as a quiet witness watches ancient rubrics emerge
unbidden from deep memory to treat with wild experience,
and the sudden achievement of order in an unexpected place.

 

Rory Tanner is a general-purpose writer based in eastern Ontario (Canada). He’s published a handful of essays on the poetry and politics of early modern England, and regularly reviews volumes for the Journal of Canadian Poetry. He received a PhD in English Literature from the University of Ottawa a few years ago, but has been working as a technical writer pretty much ever since.