Marissa Glover

 

 

Running Into My Ex at Publix

With all the hard pains passed
we stand in silence—two years
and shopping carts between us—
pretending to search for expected friends,
hoping some familiar face will save us.

Without much to say
that hasn’t already been said,
we swap half-smiles, ask about deli deals.

Soon, we’ll make polite excuses and go
different directions at rush hour.

One learns to check fruit for ripeness,
feeling hard skin for soft spots. One learns
to buy just enough—and to eat it
before it all goes bad.

 

 

 

 

 Marissa Glover teaches and writes in Florida, where she spends most of her time sweating. Her work is found in After the Pause, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, Solstice Sounds, and other journals. Read more at MarissaGlover.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter.

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Holly Magill

 

 

Completely safe in Colwyn Bay

We know a man, you see – well, we don’t
know him, but we’re certain he was nowhere
in the vicinity on that January night

when the Victorian pier finally came undone,
collapsed, gave up its ghosts. We do not
speculate – aloud – on those not spotted

round town since: the buttock-dented empty barstool,
granny’s wedding ring in Cash Converters, unclaimed.

The outbound tide at dusk waltzes an unlaced left trainer,
a fag packet shedding its last sodden few to the wash.

These are the things not mentioned,
hushed by the gulls’ leering swoops.

We know a man who was definitely elsewhere.

 

 

 

Holly Magill has had poetry in various magazines and anthologies. She is co-editor at Atrium – www.atriumpoetry.com. Her first pamphlet is forthcoming in 2018 from Indigo Dreams Publishing.

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Phil Vernon

 

 

 

Instructions

Select your glue with care
as most are designed for smooth
or porous surfaces – not both

brush clear of debris
then dab with alcohol
rehearse the join – and breathe

the contours
where the break occurred
must match

press firmly – tentatively rotate
till both sides fit as they did before
with a silent click

and breathe – now practise again
for you will not have a second
second chance

should you misjudge
the union will be
not as good as new

so breathe
unscrew the cap
imagine every step ahead

then pierce the seal with a pin
apply the swelling glue
and breathe

wipe clean the tip – replace the cap
and set aside the tube and pin
you should not need them again

can you feel your breathing?
spread the adhesive evenly
with an unspent match

position both parts so you’ll be
almost sure to grasp them right
can you feel your breathing now?

next you must wait
until it is almost
dry to the touch

so sit, and notice your breath’s caress
assess the glue with a fingertip
and test again

and now
while breathing quietly out
suspend your disbelief

take both in your hands – rotate
attempt the angles again – again
and breathe

in one swift movement press and hold
until your fingertips turn white
and breathe

a final check – the angle’s right?
wipe swollen beads from the join
the hairline disappears

set down the delicate whole
and breathe
and wait

and learn
while breathing
if the join will take.

 

 

 

 

Phil Vernon has lived in Kent since 2004, after twenty years living in various countries in Africa. He started writing poetry again in 2012 after a twenty-year break. Whereas in the past his poems were mostly written in free verse, he now embraces more formal forms, and finds his words and ideas thus surprise him more often. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Other Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, Acumen, Anima, Elbow Room, Gold Dust, Pennine Platform, Crannóg, Poetry Salzburg Review, Out of Place and The Poetry Shed, and he has been shortlisted and commended in several poetry competitions. Some of his poems are on his website: https://philvernon.net/category/poetry/

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Dani Schlosser

 

 

 

‘Dolls cannot stand alone’ #adollslife

You want the life of a Barbie doll—
the pink dream house,
fancy dresses, driving Ferraris,
riding My Little Ponies,
being married to a man as perfect as you,
whilst having occasional trysts with He-Man.

Those things will happen once,
perhaps twice.

Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your days
going through multiple wardrobe changes,
lolly-coated fingers, plaiting and unplaiting,
placing your body in compromises,
exposing anatomically blank nether regions.

Your travel will entail riding shotgun
under a minivan seat
next to empty Walker’s bags
and soaked-through McDonald’s cups,
forgotten until the next spring sort-out.

You’ll be retired to a Tupperware
grave amongst your kin
and their accessories,
some missing arms, legs and heads—
for some of them, those are all that’s left.

If you’re not as fortunate as the others,
your beautiful life may end
at the hands of the neighbour boy
who will hang you from a tree,
cover you and your lovely pink gown
in ketchup and lighter fluid
as a little girl’s tears burn.

 

 

 

 

Dani Schlosser received her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from University of Gloucestershire in 2016. Her poetry has been featured in anthologies such as Carnival and Fire in the UK and Journey Student Literary Magazine in the US.

 

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John Mee reviews ‘Long Pass’ by Joey Connolly

 

 

The author of this cerebral and assured debut is the joint editor of a magazine called Kaffeeklatsch. Its manifesto suggests (in the midst of a post-modern welter of interlocking footnotes) that the reader of poetry ‘must be like the cat, flirt with everything’. Long Pass offers a wide variety of attractions up to which the reader may sidle and against which to rub his or her back.

One of the themes of the book is poetry itself and its making, the mutability of the words with which ‘[t]he darkness is swarming’ (‘The Draft’). Connolly is interested in ‘[t]he orthodontic meddling of language/ with the world, its snaggling malocclusions’: ‘[Untititled]’ (sic). At times, his language mimics the sound of nature, as in ‘Liguria’, which captures ‘the plump primary note/ of a woodpigeon swelling rhythmically into the air’:

 

‘ the glue goes. We pool so, it

schools us. The rules: yes, they fooled you, accruing …’

Demonstrating the scale of its ambition, the collection includes ‘reworkings’ of poems in six European languages. Connolly presents two new versions of each poem (except in the case of Rozhdestvensky’s ‘History’). In each case, the second version departs from the original to a much greater extent than the first. In his second version of Christine de Pizan’s ‘Third Ballad’, which tells the story of the drowned lovers Hero and Leander, the poet addresses de Pizan across the centuries:
‘Listen, Frenchy: the gap between our tongues

is just the blackest water, nothingy and unbreathable’.
The business of reworking is fraught since ‘ideas have words/ and words ideas and they get/ everywhere, sand in sandwiches/ at the beach’: ‘An Ocean,’.

And if poetry and translation weren’t difficult enough, there are also the poet’s ‘financial/ and romantic perplexities’ (‘Why?’), ‘a stack/ of unread books, the constant dull subpoena of alcohol/ and tobacco’ (‘Average Temperature at Surface Level’). An unconsummated love affair is recounted in ‘A Brief Glosa’, having been foreshadowed in earlier poems:
‘Twenty-four days, really, all told,

straggling Manchester’s dive-bars until five for the pretext of drink

between the kitsch and neons as if there was no agony

keeping our bodies apart.’

 

The poet stands at the edge of a city bridge in ‘I am Positioned’:

 

‘                 thinking of the woman who has asked

for us to keep apart, for two months, while she

 

works things out: the woman I love. Although

I didn’t, I suppose, make that clear.’

 

A defining feature of the collection is its willingness to engage with philosophical concepts. For example, ‘to the materialist’, Connolly says, ‘if you can’t ride two horses at once/ you shouldn’t be in the circus’: ‘Of Some Substance, Once’. The book’s centrepiece is ‘Average Temperature at Surface Level’, an extended meditation on information and human attention, and the relationship between seeing, describing and remembering. The ‘tone veers uncontrollably’ from abstraction – ‘object/ bleeds into type, the starvation-ration of quiddity’ – to the helpfully concrete: ‘new, still-wet permanent marker is the best plan/ for erasing old permanent marker’.

Connolly’s work places more demands on the reader than straightforward lyric poetry – e.g. I found myself looking up words such as ‘doxological’, ‘dialetheic’ and ‘ideolected’. Any poetry that is intelligent is in danger of being perceived as overly clever but, for me, Long Pass generally avoided this trap. Admittedly, the line may be crossed in ‘Poem in Which Go I’: ‘There but for the goes of going walks our lord. There/ but for the gauze of saying so goes all’. Another risky moment comes in ‘Fantasy of Manners’, where the poet flagellates himself in Latin for being too intellectual, albeit with deflating mentions of ‘bollocks’ and ‘shite’.

The title of the collection can be linked to the reference, also in ‘Fantasy of Manners’, to the poet’s ‘own hailmary explanatory’ – a ‘Hail Mary’ is a long pass in American football which is unlikely to find a receiver. The pessimism implicit in the title of Long Pass is belied by the excellence of the work it contains. The collection is a substantial achievement, which repays repeated reading. Ultimately, as reflected in his concluding poem, ‘Last Letter from the Frontier’, Connolly’s tenacity wins a strange victory over despair:

 

‘I know that we have years – perhaps forever – to wait

until the drawling missionaries and the thrill and the skin drums

of pirates. And until then, I am bricking myself in.’

 

 

 

 

 

John Mee is a poet and academic from Cork in Ireland. He won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2015 and the Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition in 2016. His chapbook, From the Extinct, is published by Southword Editions. www.johnmeepoetry.com https://www.munsterlit.ie/Bookstore Other Titles.html Twitter: @JohnMeeLaw

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Hannah Jane Walker

 

Their small day

The trunk is carried down from the attic,
the dress beaten and hung out to bleach.

After the truck dust clears
100 white plastic chairs are unstacked into a grin.

The ceremony spot is tagged in black gaffer tape,
out of Zip Lock primrose, marigold, geranium.

The kitchen drain runs blood and onions.
A small fridge for cold drinks cables from the balcony.

Rocks are washed to weight down the napkins.
White paper garlands shimmer building to building

The USB backup in a labelled envelope
sellotaped to the underside of a speaker.

The stage is swept.
She washes her hair, plaits it, bracelets slip to her wrists:

I promise this
and this.

 

 

Hannah Jane Walker is a writer and producer from Cambridge. She studied literature at the University of East Anglia and poetry at Newcastle University. With Chris Thorpe she had made four plays, two published by Oberon.  She has written for The Guardian and BBC Radio 4 and is currently working on a solo show about sensitivity called ‘Highly Sensitive’, a collaboration with playwright Rachel Mariner called ‘recovering misogynist’, a dance circus collaboration and a children’s book. Hannah’s poetry has been published by Nasty Little Press and she has just finished her first full poetry collection ‘Shark!’ edited by Caroline Bird and Joe Dunthorne. She is an Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing  http://www.hannahjanewalker.co.uk/?page_id=2

She is getting married this month.

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