Paul Connolly





A becalmed sea, the patient files
of Bluebell Revolutionaries
softly jostle in the nettles,
a flashpoint which, stored beneath
like hope, softly bursts
each year afresh, to remind us
of possibility, renewed urge
and of a final blight-sweet fragrance.



As well as contributing to Ink Sweat and Tears, Paul Connolly’s poetry has appeared in Agenda, The Warwick Review, Poetry Salzburg, The Reader, Scintilla, and numerous other periodicals. Shortlisted for the Bridport and Charles Causley Prizes, he was third in the Magna Carta Competition.

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Carol J Forrester




It all takes too long.
Sheep too narrow, lamb too big
and rain hammering on the tin roof
scattering the quiet.

Sunrise still sulks out of sight,
out of mind.
The farmyard a black mirror,
midden cloaked in shadows
until the security light catches
on a fox scurrying for shelter.

Knelt in the straw,
concrete cold on her knees,
her breath is mist.
Knuckles tucked between
the new-born’s ankles
as she pulls it free.

She lays it straight,
rubs a fistful of bedding
to its ribcage.
Tries to scrub breath
back into its body.

Twenty miles away,
her own child will be sleeping.
Her husband’s mother
holding her place
until Spring runs its course.

She lays the lamb by the door,
notes to call Bradshaw’s
in the morning
and tries not to carry it home
to the empty room
where the cot is waiting.



Carol J Forrester is a young writer posting stories and poems to her blog She’s been featured at Ink Pantry and River Ram Press and had two poems included in the dVerse anthology Chiarscuro.

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Kitty Coles




What tool is best to slice the skull apart,
to split it neatly, cleanly as a melon,
and winkle out that small stone at the temple,
cuddled up like a frog in its deep-mud winter burrow,
growing fat as its skin sucks in the life of its host?

What will that stone look like, held aloft
to the light, the air drying the ooziness from it?
Like nothing much: it withers like a vampire
without its sustenance, exposed and bald,
and corrugates with age remarkably fast.

And neatly the scalp is sutured back together
and hair grows over the wound like a field of corn.
And in the warm grey fluid under the flesh
a similar stone is busy birthing itself
and soon will thrive and nestle like its forbear.




Kitty Coles’ poems have been widely published and have been nominated for the Forward Prize and Best of the Net. She was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016: her pamphlet Seal Wife was published in 2017.

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Caroline Am Bergris




A ping-pong chat with a stranger,
dots join to form a picture –
his steering wheel will turn towards you.
However, you hear zero
and confide in doughnuts.

A ring from a friend marking twenty years,
you see a green light for the next thirty –
yet the cirque’s not worth a penny,
for she cycles on alone.

Put ‘tick’ on record but as for ‘tock’-
practise holding inference
like a foam bubble
in your hand.




Caroline Am Bergris has been a mediator, church organist, mediator, comedian, a Phd theology student, and a teacher of ethics.She is physically and mentally disabled, has been published in various journals and has won the Over The Edge poetry prize.

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Ralph Monday




Elementary Elements

The elementals element-speak to each other more
deeply than clever machines pinging out
ones and zeroes.

That is what the wind said ripping
through the woods, an angry verdict
blown down from an arctic conscious
of living, unseen energy & blasted down
a gigantic pine tree in the yard between

We live in a world of shadows & dreams
crossed by a naked mechanical reality.
That power could not be imprinted on the back
of a cereal box, or a mattress from Sears & Roebuck
laid out to absorb the shock,

or a dip in the North Sea in the middle of winter
like a rain soaked taper that cannot illuminate
the watery depths, chord extraordinary only held
for an instant.

But the tide returns, all of them, rhythmic unison
whether moon or mind-driven as we live on
sculpted patterns implanted like a stake driven
into vitals, so used to the pain that not even
a lost whimper drips from the trees.

Paralyzed by the clock, locked in lines,
moon forgotten, these now mass hobbies
silently squalling like little hungry babies
for the bottle.

Elementary illiterate, prone to doctor
appointments, cafeteria grazing, to specialists
who specialize in telling us our afflicted

What is the plan you say? What is the plan?
That same wind knows no allegiance to the clock;
Neither does the tree.



Ralph Monday is Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., and has published hundreds of poems in over 100 journals, as well as a chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, a book Empty Houses and American Renditions, a Kindle chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer and an e-book, Bergman’s Island & Other Poems. A humanities text was published by Kendall/Hunt in 2018 with vol 2 coming in 2019.

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Peter J. King




Cromer, Norfolk

We sit and eat our toasted teacakes in the rain
on Cromer pier.
No-one round us seems to find this strange —
but then they’re also sitting in the rain
to eat their scones and drink their teas
and cappucinos.

When we arrived, the tide was on the turn;
the beach is slowly reappearing,
and the sea’s incessant motion
is replaced by flat monotony of sand.
One neoprene-clad surfer paddles out
then skims back in to shore;
the nine-inch waves defeat him
every time.

There are no walkers on the cliffs
above the brightly painted bathing huts;
the weather’s driven them
to damp refreshments here.
We look out at a wind farm,
barely visible in shifting mist and drizzle.

I ask the waitress for more butter, please.



Peter J. King’s poetry, including translations from German and modern Greek, has been published in numerous journals; his latest collections are Adding Colours to the Chameleon (2016, Wisdom’s Bottom Press) and All What Larkin (2017, Albion Beatnik Press).

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Matthew Davis



His Arms were Cold and Red

When he lowered in the fish,
they sank
belatedly, like coins and
just sat there
on the plastic liner
waiting for night
or the first algae
to cover their piebald backs.

We knew how foolish he felt;
he stopped using the patio.
We drank instead, watching
the news and american sitcoms.
Dad’s theory;
the fish were impaired,
bred in a garden centre
that once held POWs.
Imprinted, he said.

It would have been better
for a crow to take them.
Drop some blood orange
scales on the drive.



Matthew Davis is 33 and lives in Prestwich, Manchester. He started writing 12 months ago and submits poems for publication to avoid foisting them on friends.


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