Wood Pigeon – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

Wood Pigeon

In the wood is a moss-brushed stump
green like the mouth of a well.
From it one can see
bracken playing cat’s cradle
with the spider’s web
that is slowly pulling it down.
First there is a wooden sign post
to chase across a field
of scratchy colours. All this
must be negotiated first.

Of course before that is the hill
and the open door where the sun
fights shadow on the carpet.
The woman walking past,
her dog and a car swimming slowly
towards each other
through a puddle of heat,
have gone now. The bird in the hedgerow
goes on with the same three notes.
Our father. Our father. Art.


Carolyn Oulton‘s poetry has been published in magazines including Orbis, The Frogmore Papers, iota, Seventh Quarry, Ariadne’s Thread, Envoi, New Walk, Upstreet, Acumen and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk

The Virgin of Pico Rivera with Child – a poem by Richard Manly Heiman

The Virgin of Pico Rivera with Child

after artist Jaime “Germs” Zacarias


I saw you in the rundown K-Mart on Cudahy. Guadalupe miracle teen mom like a cuttlefish, cuddling baby cephalopod wrapped in swaddling clothes or a quondam shroud. No polyester sweaters covered boneless arms. No lotion soothed dry suckers. No infant hoodies in the three dollar bin fit a gold-trimmed mantle.

Who cares for madonnas in palatine blue and horn-rimmed spectacles? What lips ever dared press your Aztec zipper mouth?

At the strip mall laundromat papa clutches his lapis cross and strokes his Fu Manchu. Your eyes wobble loose behind teardrops and riotous tentacles. Could Los Angeles infect with chastity? Could the Lamb enfold this broke-down town like a mother hen, riding his hydraulic Chevy, aglow in a Nautilus halo from Rosemead to Southgate?

And the six-armed shall inherit the Earth. And the eight-armed shall rise on a perfect spiral from Marina del Rey to enter the kingdom of Heaven.


Richard Manly Heiman lives on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. He works as a substitute teacher, and writes when the kids are at recess. His work has been published by Rattle, Rust + Moth, Into the Void, Sonic Boom and elsewhere. Richard holds an MFA from Lindenwood University. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and his URL is www.poetrick.com

Trees Feral for Light – from a sequence by Peter Larkin

Trees Feral for Light


Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 19.35.35


Peter Larkin’s poetry explores the idea of scarcity in its phenomenological aspects. Previous collections include Lessways Least Scarce Among (2012), and Give Forest Its Next Portent (2014). He contributed to The Ground Aslant: an Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, ed. Harriet Tarlo (2011). City Trappings (Housing Heath or Wood) was published in 2016 and Introgression Latewood is due out later this year.

Right from Wrong – a poem by Serena Mayer

Right from Wrong

the notion that salvation might
the limb that could not be felt
………..the thing in itself
…..the electronics haven’t
the stuff worth debating
…..the idea that we
………..the towns unfriendly
the list of acknowledgements
the boy who was not to play
………the current tallest building
…..the strength of the waves
the coward with fear
the journey might
…….the flow of everyday life
the weather has got to do
….the walkers who roam
…..the harbour island
the stillness is absolute
………………the modern age
the further down the visitor
…….the sky in every direction
the car the protagonist
………….the peaks disappeared
…….the hidden children
……………the growing industry
the townspeople on an excursion
….the outdoors can be enjoyed
…….the heart of the rose
………….the time being
….the surroundings
……the power to effect
the distant land of overtones
…..the woods or along beaches
….the artist uses her hand
……..the going

Serena Mayer studied anthropology and social geography. She is interested in hidden texts and forgotten or discarded language. Her writing has previously appeared in Nutshell, Electric Zone and X-Peri.

Restitutio – a poem by Maria Stadnicka


I covered my face with black ink
rounded all my possessions up
and set fire to everything
at the top of a hill.

My burning hand waved at
imaginary maps
disturbed the fish and the seed
with a silenced echo.

And God came in a poem
with a fresh loaf.
Just us now slicing the crust
to the end of my days.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, freelance journalist and lecturer. Winner of 12 Romanian National Poetry prizes, she worked as a radio and TV broadcaster. She lives in Gloucestershire, England. Published poetry collections: O-Zone FriendlyA Short Story about WarImperfect, Exitus. Further details about Maria’s work and portfolio are available on her website www.mariastadnicka.com

A Mindful Reunion – a poem by Jacqueline Woods

A Mindful Reunion

We meet in silence
Clutching blankets brought from home,
Holding memories from a year ago
When scars were raw,
Heads disguised by wigs
And tears too salt to weep.

I found words difficult then.
‘Body scan’
Was not a mindful exercise
But a machine at the end of a corridor.
There were places in my body
I could not touch with thought.

Like chrysalis we scatter the floor
Each section of our being
Revisited with childlike curiosity,
Sensations magnified,
The tickle of wool, the press of cotton.
A forgotten ache from an ankle.

Our teacher’s voice
Both lesson and lullaby
Returning to the breath
Again and again
We try to train our thoughts;
Naughty as puppies
With Baskerville bites

I find peacefulness within the ordinary,
Rest my head in the soft cushion of a second
Savouring the beauty of this moment both
Rooted in earth and reaching for stars.

Jacqueline Woods lives in Lancashire but originates from Suffolk. She attends Open Mics and writing groups in her area. She has had poems published in various pamphlets and has published her own collection. She is a volunteer Reader leader bringing poetry to older people who have dementia. She also volunteers for Arthritis Care.

Confession – a poem by Jay Ramsay


for Deborah & Diana


An empty room I didn’t realize was there
in the centre of my being

where I am with You.

So many other rooms, a palace of faces
but without this

there’s no well inside,
above and below.

So in my innermost heart and soul
I must say I am that I am

I can surrender,
and I can command

I can say
I love you, I am sorry, please forgive me
to this heart

for creating a reality separate from you.

And so I bow,
and because I can bow
I can command.


I am lying in a river
underneath your hands

on heart, on brow.

The healing is now,
the table floats.

Running glissandi of above and below,
the healing is music in the cells

that we have never heard out loud.

It is birdsong without conversation.

But I am speaking
words I do not recognize
come to my lips
in a rapid whisper—

like pouring sand,
tumbling over each other
precise as cards dealt from a hand.

A language I remember, but do not understand.

So call that language poetry
call it healing
call it speaking in tongues

uttered in the in-between space
of stars and desert centuries;
of earthenware jars broken open

of our secret being within.

Deeper than personality,
devoid of ego
the lips, the tongue moves
like a kiss.

We lie in this little London park
like an oasis
surrounded by swirling traffic
desert sands beneath,

a honest Biblical living.

And now
our way is resurrection,
where the whole of this life is with You.

1 July 2017
the crypt, All Saints,
Uplands, Stroud

Jay Ramsay, who co-founded Angels of Fire in London in 1983 with its Festivals of New Poetry, is the author of 30 + books of poetry, non-fiction, and classic Chinese translation (with Martin Palmer) including Psychic Poetry—a manifesto, The White PoemAlchemy, Crucible of Love–the alchemy of passionate relationships, Tao Te Ching, I Ching—the shamanic oracle of change, Shu Jing—the Book of History, The Poet in You (his correspondence course, since 1990), Kingdom of the Edge—Selected Poems 1980-1998, Out of Time—1998-2008, Places of Truth, Monuments, and Agistri Notebook (both 2014). In 2012 he recorded his poetry-music album, Strange Sun. In addition, he’s edited 6 anthologies of New Poetry—most recently Diamond Cutters—Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania (with Andrew Harvey: www.tayenlane.com), as well as many collections for other poets, also under his own pamphlet imprint Chrysalis Poetry. He’s also poetry editor of Caduceus magazine, working in private practice as a UKCP accredited psychotherapist and healer, and running workshops worldwide (www.jayramsay.co.uk).


13. February – a poem by John Gimblett

  1. February

Consumed by a star. Or, at least, by a waxing crescent moon in
the west, over the twm of the mountain. And beside it, nestled
off the curve of it, first Venus a pin-prick of snow whiteness.
Further again, the width of my fifth finger towards the north,
Mars; the fourth planet has a pink tinge. Less than red, it’s
easy to see without the glare from the city. Turning my back
to them, facing me – opposite – in this cloudless night sky

Jupiter is glaring. On its own in the east, a three-star belt
keeping these planets apart, it flickers as if with code above
the trees where sometimes we dash around treading our old
paths. I was once guided towards Plato by Venus; a vision
struck from the dead of night that splashed every cell of me
with an understanding, an insight, into some words of Aristotle.
Sometimes we open up to the immense, the universal. Other

times we are little; simple small children with limited sense.


John Gimblett lives in Wales, UK, and is primarily a poet and novelist, whose work has been published widely. He has read at the Hay Festival (‘The Woodstock of the mind’ – Bill Clinton) and elsewhere. His novels are crime/thrillers set mainly in his home city. #NewportNoir @johngimblett

Joke – a story by Mary Breaden



#Blessed: A man and a woman recline in the golden hour. Their eyes are halfway lidded; their irises are cornflowers. She wears cherry. Ripeness is the color of young lust.




A picture is what liars reveal about themselves.




#Found: Once, I saw a girl of a woman who took pictures of her toes pointed towards oddities and distressed curios; all things abandoned by strangers. Her toes were arrowed expressions she thought no one wished to hear.



Silence within the frame—anguish without. An excellent composition may require you to move the body.




She knows that at some point, she will have to photograph her face.




#Missing: If he had the time to think about it, he would have published the one photograph he thought told the entirety of the entire summer trip. Him alone, inebriated by lunch, flying through the air after tripping on cobble stones and the face of painfearwonder and he could not stop himself from laughing when he landed on the prosaically sweet Grecian street.




Not pictured: The whiteheat of domed buildings rising up from the ocean or the thick, impenetrably blue water.




#DarkLight: Her dark eyes know they miss so much.




Her eyes were the ones who could make art from neglect. They were the ones who crouched, or sat, or let themselves naked on down to the floor to look at a crack in the wall where a broken tooth of plaster resembled a dragon.


They were the ones who would make darkness encroach upon a photograph until, then, the unknown marvels whispered a spell, touched the air, and the monster emerged.


Horrifying lives frame themselves within walls and under beds and beneath freeways and inside of discarded pop cans.




#Sweat: The heat is just a joke. The heat is a test she’s walked out on.




July evening hunger. A chilled bottle. A wine extracted from the caverns of a cooler and the joke of that pleasure, that saunter down the avenue’s wants with a black plastic bag, yes, stuck to the sweaty crook of her arm, but inside the plastic, ice cube bottle blues. She has fallen into the waves, breached cloudy waters, freezing waters, and she emerges clutching treasure.




Ever listening, failing, close.


Mary Breaden is an Oregonian native living in Brooklyn. By early morning light, she writes, and during business hours, she works for a social services nonprofit. She and Andrea Janda founded an experimental literary journal, Visitant, in 2016. Mary’s work has been published in Education Week, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Joyland, the Fanzine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Persistent Visions, The Mondegreen, the Portland State Vanguard, and Portland Book Review. She was selected as an Emerging Writer in the Lamprophonic Reading Series and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015.

Do You Believe in God? Climate Change? – a poem by James Croal Jackson

Do You Believe in God? Climate Change?

Ancient gods rain fire into
winter’s mythological mitt.
Inhabitants escape from the
tampered breaches to become
apprentices of harmony and
tell of wondrous kings
the bestiary a cephalopod
might preach. Tell me
less of spirit, more of
body. Tell me hunger.
Tell me deserts, dry
open mouths.


James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.