John Grey

 

 

The House’s Role

The house stays put.
It has its reasons
referred to as people
for my purposes.
Separated from the outside
though not thought
particularly isolated –
the house considers
what the world has to offer
other than itself
but respectfully declines.
Its windows are more
than willing to open.
They appreciate the sun,
even the mossy smell of rain.
Even bodies partake
of that oozing glow
and minds have
a mellow dark liking
for that gray smear
of inclement weather.
Bright or chilling,
winter or summer,
the house can take it.
Therefore, inside holds together
no matter what.
At night, the house
willingly gives itself
up to darkness
knowing, as it does,
the number of lights
it has on offer.
Electricity knows the ropes.
Even shadows are
incorporated into the whole.
People leave the house
on occasion but return to it
in equal numbers.
It could by anywhere
else but it’s always where it is.
That kind of loyalty
doesn’t go unnoticed.

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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Nick Carding

 

 

Turanj, September 1995

a river crossing
as over the Styx

time hangs here
heavy with loss
suffocating houses
pocked
profane
eviscerated
guts rotting whitely
on the street
the private bared
for anyone to see
if anyone
were there
to see)

above all
a depth of silence
in which no bird sings
no dog barks
no-one cries

time
only time
hanging heavy
blade of a guillotine
waiting to fall

 

 

Nick Carding is an Englishman now living in Croatia. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in print and online in Europe, USA and Australasia.

 

Note: Turanj, south of Karlovac in Croatia, was on the front line between Croatian and Bosnian Serb forces during the conflict of 1990-1995.

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Linda Rose Parkes

 

 

The door sings its welcome

it’s the kind of door
that trickles honey in the light

and says come in
twice at least

leave your coat in the hall
the kettle’s singing

sit yourself down
here at the window

in the garden oak
a blackbird warbles

breezes play
among the cushions

next door is grey
and cracked at the hinges

too much slammed
yanked open

lost   or stolen   jobs
hopes  loves

but this door is a honeycomb
a promise

don’t keep walking by
scarred with disappointment

don’t slow your step
to rush silently on

only knock
and step in out of the ruins

only knock and the door
will swing gently wide.

 

 

 

Linda Rose Parkes was born in the Channel Islands and published her third collection Familiars, with Hearing Eye in 2015. She is co-editor of Wavelengths, an anthology of Channel Island Poetry, and is a painter and lyricist.

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Steve Black

 

 

*

a life in boxes
the memories her daughters
fought over
priced to clear
in the last hour of the car boot sale

*
this moment of clarity
a dying star
burns itself out
surrenders to the void
behind the gas works
*

since the misunderstanding
in marks and spencers
she takes communion
two bus rides away
where no one knows her name
*

the early light
bleeds out
another documentary
about sharks in big water
and small
*

his mother away
visiting her sister in margate
he introduces me
to his friend
gabriel from rio de janiero

 

 

 

Steve Black: Other recent work maybe found at the likes of Atlas Poetica, Failed Haiku and Skylark Tanka Journal.

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And the Pick of the Month for August 2017 is ‘Cowardice’ by Freya Jackson.

This was a nicely balanced competition with votes and comments across the board but Freya Jackson’s supporters just tipped the balance at the end and her ‘Cowardice’ is Pick of the Month for August. This ‘raw’, ‘visceral’ poem disturbed and disoriented but you found beauty in it too. A very worthy winner and one for our time.

Freya is a 21 year old writer from Leeds, Yorkshire (UK). She has been published in, amongst others, Arc Magazine, The Literateur, Hapex and the A3 Review. She was a finalist for the 2015 Princemere Poetry Prize and Highly Commended for the Binnacle Ultra Short Competition 2016. See here also: http://www.pothook.co.uk

She will receive a National Book Tokens gift card for £10.

 

Cowardice

& I did not even as she was screaming, 2 policemen between
her holding her like the edge of a dam edging into her
onto her but that’s not my business makes me think too
much all the times I was – the woman on the wall
was either screaming or struggling but not both I can’t remember
and my mother said he was probably her boyfriend it
was probably fine don’t panic don’t cry no-one was hurting
her but he was the replay in my head was old stereo she
was screaming or she was struggling but not both I remember
why can’t I remember – it didn’t happen to me nothing happened
though all the fear in my head made me fizzy-drink shock
stuck I either screamed or I didn’t or I didn’t it happened two
three times nothing though he scared me kept following me
couldn’t shake him shake myself in the mirror I knocked on every
door but only one woman answered and my brother looked
afterwards like something awful had happened though the police
didn’t knew it was a waste of their time like they wanted to shake
me as I slotted the pound coin into the dip-centre of my palm
you’re a good girl, aren’t you I kept thinking about Mary before the
fall all dirty feet I’ll never let a man touch me wash me like that didn’t
let him either and he didn’t force me – nothing happened sixteen
and I’m playing at pain walking around suburban Sunday screaming
no-one around but me didn’t know if I was capable of it took too
long like learning to play the flute can’t get a sound out it the breathing’s
all wrong then all at once scream scream scream but no-one left their
house a wasted effort still I should have stopped at least it was like she
was falling in slow motion I thought they were going to hit her but they
didn’t & even if they did I wouldn’t have

 

Voters comments include:

Freya’s mastery of structure gives the poem a great sense of tension by exploiting the cyclical nature of gendered violence. Thoughtful and dynamic, her poem evokes both deep feeling and deep contemplation that relates to issues we must all face. A work made beautiful by its intent.

This is punchy, raw and very brave.

A careful & interesting use of words

The pace and sense of fear it conjures with the hopeless cowardice.

The panic and fear and disjointed thoughts really speak to me – it twists a knife in my gut. That kind of confused impression of something large and horrible and all too real.

The tone is just right – disturbing stuff, and the disturbance resonates in the language used. Lack of punctuation helps sense of disorientation.

Stunning poem

It’s just a beautiful poem

Awesome poem!

Freya’s poems are so vivid, I feel like I’m living the words she writes

 

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Edward Lee

 

 

 

Mother

I do not give you enough credit
for the strength it must have taken
to turn your back on all you knew
to live a life with a man
wed to another,
knowing you could never marry him,
divorce an illegal
and dirty word
in a country decades away from change,
and yet spending forty years
with him,
holding his hand
when his last breath
entered the world,
your two sons to hold you up
at the funeral
when all you wanted was to fall down
beside your love
and never get up again.

 

 

 

Edward Lee‘s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

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