Lynne Caddick

 

 

A Fish Hook (Barbed)

The wardrobe is shut tight, the latch awkward
as she lifts it, up and over the rusted catch.

Her fingers touch the jacket first: wool-worn,
fraying at the seam. The arm across her shoulder

limp, loose, a useless thing.  It smells of rain
and nettles – the river where he’d listened for the trout.

Reaching for his pocket feels like theft,
a spying on his river-watch.  She finds the book

of coarse fish, open, where his thumb has turned
the waxy page:  barbel, bleak, bream,

a litany of names, like Adam’s roll call,
stewarding new life.
.
The second pocket stabs her, a finger hooked
by metal, hiding in the feathers of the fly.

She holds it close, puzzling its form: exotic bird;
a scarlet moth; a question mark?

 

 

 

Lynne Caddick, originally from West Yorkshire, currently lives in a small village in Cheshire.  She belongs to the Shrewsbury Stanza Group, and attends the Whitchurch Bookshrop Poetry Group and Nantwich Speakeasy.

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Maureen Curran

 

 

 

Dairy tale

It is the first twin thefts I like least
Her calf stolen
Her milk stolen

Then the theft of her wandering
Her daylight stolen
Her grazing stolen

There is the theft of her name
Her Daisy stolen
Her Henrietta stolen

Not to mention the theft of her standing
For she was Bo Finn
She was Bo Ruadh, Bo Dhubh

Next the theft of her twenty years
Her udders swollen, lifespan stolen
Her short life slit.

 

 

 

 

Maureen Curran is from Donegal, Ireland. Her poems are published widely in journals and can be read online at Honest Ulsterman, Lake Poetry, Southword, Spontaneity, Word Bohemia. She blogs with her group at http://gardenroomwritersdonegal.blogspot.ie/ and tweets @maureenwcurran

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Charles D Tarlton

 

 

 

San Francisco, On the F-Train

He was a poet and when he saw something really interesting he made notes in a little black notebook.  He noticed a young girl in careless hipster clothing scrunched up on the front bench of the antique Milano streetcar.  She had a distant look in her eyes, he thought, a blank helpless Rhesus Monkey kind of look.  The world around her, the poet imagined, had become a cage that blocked her every move, so that she lived in ever-smaller circles of distress and boredom.  He envisioned her numb at work, distracted on the street, bored in the grocery and,  of course, her lonely nights.  When she stood up to get off the train she smiled at him, a friendly unselfconscious smile, then glanced down at the platform carefully.  The door opened, she stepped off, and was gone.  The train pulled away, its bell ringing, and he took out his notebook as he watched her crossing over Market Street.

darkened ships really
passing on the sea unseen
he thinks to espy
she barely notices out
the corner of her eye

this kind of romance
imagines assignations
on the sly, cheaply
arranged.  The fantasy guy
the dreamer up on the roof

she gets off the train
and walks the block to her flat
where she’s living with
a dog and a cockatoo
who stutters and only speaks Greek

 

 

 

Charles D Tarlton is a retired university professor living and writing in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter.

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Ken Cumberlidge

 

 

 

The Answer

Oh, you know me: resourceful type.  I’ll manage.

– my reply
as we sat in a corridor grown too familiar,
waiting for the nurse to call your name.

You understood, as did we both,
the function of the words —

legerdemain, no more,
(the act well-practised now)
to feint, divert and by such palming
draw attention from the squirming gnaw
of it: the fear – insidious, tacit, dark –
we held and hid in kind

and, being my confederate
in this triumph of illusion,
smiled as though you’d never had a doubt.

In truth,
we’d not a clue between us
how I’d make my way

nor did we ever – even in the
dwindling, end-of-season days
when fear and falsehood both
had given way to last-act honesty
and oral morphine taken as required.

Now,
reaching for the calendar
to tear off and discard
a month used up
like every other month
without you,
I know the answer.

Doing fine, thanks.  That’s the way it goes
on the rarer-now-and-few occasions
people think to ask.

They understand – are grateful for –
the function of the words

and, being my confederates
in this triumph of illusion,
smile.

 

 

 

Currently based in Norwich, Birkenhead-born Ken Cumberlidge has been writing and performing his work for 40+ years. Recent work has appeared online (Algebra of Owls / IS&T / The Open Mouse / Picaroon / Spilling Cocoa… / Strange Poetry / Snakeskin).

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Trevor Conway

 

 

 

Progress

Wasn’t there a time when
All that adult talk
Of a past where dark skin
Swung from trees,
And ballot boxes beyond the reach of women’s hands,
Seemed like a sad dream?

I was a full-bellied child.
“Famine” was an antique word,
Rusting like the Titanic.
Exposure came leaking through the years:
New famines in far-off places,
Pictures of people still losing things
Like homes, rights
Or their lives.

I passed a family in a clouded car,
Their breath painted on its cold windows,
Huddled like prey in the sparkling night.
The children were sleeping, their mother wounded
With worry and regret, a battered spirit.
And hunger seemed ugly when I saw it in her eyes.

The past is a lens turned slowly,
So you barely notice.
It’s getting dark again,
No light to brighten some homes.
And every child will grow to understand
The past is a modern thing.

 

 

 

Trevor Conway writes mainly poems, stories and songs. He posts to his website/blog occasionally (trevorconway.weebly.com), and his first collection of poems, Evidence of Freewheeling, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2015.

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Robert Boucheron

 

 

 

Potluck

What do you bring to the table?

A bunch of sweet-smelling herbs
in a clenched fist,
a salad of green leaves plucked today
and drenched in tears,

a loaf of bread studded with seeds
as hard as pearls,
a serrated knife with teeth
that cut to the bone,

a cake stuck with candles ablaze
like a forest fire,
a bottle of pink champagne
and a corkscrew,

a page torn from a notebook where a child
has drawn a monster,
a bag filled with all the materials needed
to make a bomb,

a map to buried treasure
drawn in blood,
a song composed of shards
from a broken heart,

a promise to do better
next time,
a list of reasons why
you cannot stay.

 

 

 

Robert Boucheron grew up in Syracuse and Schenectady, NY. He has worked as an architect in New York City and Charlottesville, VA. His short stories and essays appear in Bangalore Review, Fiction International, Litro, London Journal of Fiction, New Haven Review, Poydras Review, Short Fiction, and other magazines.

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