One day I will wake up
and realize just what kind
of story I’m in. My words
will finally carry weight. I will
know how to deal with the villains,
real, flesh, natural, and imagined.
I will one day know
how best to be this human
being I’ve named myself
to be. I will be the hero of my
own short story.
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.Read More
(Tor Vergata, Saturday 8 am)
Timetables abated till Monday morning,
exegeses and formulae on hold,
the Faculty celebrates as best it knows
its air-conditioning. Via vents, flues,
windows which someone forgot to close,
thrums a rhapsody to Nothing Doing.
The odd bird, taking a rest from north,
east or west, the pecky triangulations
between, throws in its penny-whistle’s worth,
primordial tweets that predate clown
and emperor, high-pitched whirrs, castanets,
a caw-cra-caw karaokeying Tom Waits.
Randomness makes music all its own,
complete with poppy-strewn sensurround,
pine-trees’ verdant black, the dance of pollen.
Sun as baton, now starts up an early insect –
heat’s cellist creaking it ever higher,
testing acoustics for noon’s fête champêtre.
Martin Bennett lives in Rome where he teaches and proofreads at the University while contributing occasional articles to ‘Wanted in Rome’. his poems have appeared in Agenda, Stand , Poetry Ireland Review and elsewhere. He was 2015 Winner of the John Dryden translation prize.Read More
Here is the subversive heart:
Through which rebel blood rolls in secret passages
Dark is the meat, opaque and shiny as a horse’s eye
Bones fine and curved as tusks steeple a cage for it,
Under sediment of the water of you
Here are the nobs, the joints, the blades that arch like fins,
The guts like a sack of jewels,
Coiling spine as creeping as a tendril of white ivy,
The knees, the femurs, the pelvis,
Marrow filled machinery the colour of old stones that makes you walk so-
Why not pretend we are little planets of flesh with cores of white hot soul
Like avocado stones
Galactic would the movement between us be, unencumbered by thought
As rock is impassive when it’s smashed into;
It delights in scattering pieces of itself with a feeling of
I would degenerate with you-
Shrink my frame as a wizard puddles to nothing with a bang
Legless and sticky and thin skinned
A see through stained glass body through which all is visible
Little pebble hearts quickening in our swampy chests
O’ come with me to the water now,
(I would drown with you too)
Basic tongues for tasting elements not words-
Tadpole delicate would we slip without breath
Dissolve as stars do in morning
Here are the atoms unaligned:
Without mystery, without anger
Like the calm indifference of the soul of salt.
Aimée Keeble was born in London but raised in America. Once graduating from high school, she moved back to London to pursue a career as an actress. She has been writing short stories and poems since she was a child. Her work has been recently published by the Lighthouse journal,Forward Poetry, and ink, sweat and tears. Her greatest inspiration has been her great uncle Alexander Trocchi, a beat writer who produced a handful of novels and began a prose and poetry publication called Merlin. She hopes to follow in his footsteps and have a literary publication of her own one day.Read More
I was growing tired of trees, already,
before the end. Tired of going to nature reserves, forests,
woods, with your tree index book, looking up words in
Latin: Quercuis ilex, rubra, robur,
chasing after your over-excitable stinking dogs,
that muddied and laddered my tights,
or worse, when you produced that battered bat detector.
Everything comes back to trees: breath, literature, doors: the
furniture of life. Your calloused hands
always smelt and felt like bark,
your hair too – that space between your neck and
hairline, it was like that forest in Centre Parcs
where we went together, and then I alone, ‘escaping’,
(my chest tight in the healthy air)
– fresh, smelling faintly of damp sweat from
a freezing wrapped up winter walk.
Your favourite is the Oak. Like you, I thought:
classic, strong, reliable. You, the least complicated of men/
Even trees understand you –
Like the one you climbed in Epping Forest
and shouted from that you were king of the world, while
I refused to join in.
I’ve always liked willows: reflective, flexible, lazy.
Like the one where we had that perfect Indian Summer
picnic and made love next to cows in the stream, there was a
wedding just beyond the hedge.
I retain knowledge against my will, on how to
fell or pollard a tree. I know that they go into shock,
how they heal themselves, how you studied that tree
like an archaeologist, in Grace’s garden in Essex,
twisted like hair, it wormed its way in and
out of the ground, how you found a body
hanged from a tree in Hampstead Heath.
Sally Beets is a poet and Young Adult fiction writer. She is completing a masters in Children’s Literature and Creative writing at Goldsmiths University where she has had several pieces published in student publications. She has worked as a teacher in the past and is involved in various local literacy charities and projects based in London.Read More
For Steve M
A feathered thud against the windowpane,
and there outside, a crimson bird, a cardinal,
stunned and faintly trembling on the gravel
where it fell hard. So fragile and downthrown,
so close to death. You went out with a plain
old box; nested the bird in false nocturnal
dark, set aside the box like an unclaimed parcel,
and, heavily, we turned to our work again.
But now there’s an urgent scratching, claws against cardboard;
you carry the box outside, you loosen the strings,
you open wide the flaps; nothing happens; we wait;
and then in one smooth upward leap, restored,
the bird sails out, red shaft of open wings,
and everything’s re-written by its flight.
Christine Whittemore is based in her home county Gloucestershire after years in the US. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The American Scholar, Orbis, Outposts, and Antiphon, and won several awards. Her novel Inscription is out now.
This poem was first published in The Cannon’s Mouth, Issue 58, December 2015 (commended in Sonnet or Not competition 2015).Read More
The Ghosts of Devon
I see the clash of sea
Shining rock of dead black
Broken bark cracking the weeping shorelines
a crumbled gun-turret above the beautiful belly of Torcross;
faint circles of white trailed blue
whirlpools fading into depth.
I see a ghostly old sea village
Souls of fishing women – Field of daisy picker,
I journey the battered coastline,
Sip from cloudy glass of apple
Seagulls feed on chip pebbles while the smoke of hand rolled tobacco
Inhaled the brutal silence;
Leaves float like sequins that hang
Circling a sky humbled by vicious twists,
A crooked aerial like a falling angel
bludgeoned on the surface of mapped ether.
Born 1971, Bristol U.K. Matt Duggan won the erbacce prize for poetry in 2015 with his new collection Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press) he has appeared in The Seventh Quarry, The Journal, The Syzygy Poetry Journal, The Linnet’s Wings, Lakeview International Lterary Journal, The High Window, Of/With:Journal of Immanent Renditions. Matt also runs a poetry evening in Bristol titled Page and Performance and is the co-editor of The Angry Manifesto.Read More
Happy Birthday, Dear Madame Blavatsky
She didn’t think things could get much better. Madame Blavatsky blew out all the candles on the cake, closed her eyes and wished. Each of the encircling adepts then extinguished their own single candles. A cloud crossed the lambent Sicilian moon, she breathed in a mixture of incense and mountain thyme. The ceremony had reached its climax. Aleister Crowley rose up from his oaken throne, cast his eyes upward and uttered a short prayer to Horus. The entire assembly stood in reverent silence. Apart from the goat.
Crowley then took a step nearer to the Unicursal Hexagram that had been incised on the flat-topped limestone boulder. Unluckily, in the shadows, he collided with L. Ron Hubbard, crushing Hubbard’s toes beneath his glass-beaded sandal. Hubbard groaned and inadvertently released his hold on the goat. The goat should perhaps have escaped at this point, but leaping away in alarm from Hubbard’s groans and curses, it only succeeded in thumping into the massive posterior of Lord Tankerville, who was shaken but not stirred. The stunned goat was then instantly recaptured by W.B. Yeats. However, a great glob of hot wax from Lord Tankerville’s extinguished candle spilled onto Madame Blavatsky. Naked as she was, the hot wax caused her to send up an animal howl of shock and rage, which would have surprised her old Tibetan Lama-Instructor. Crowley made a mental note concerning Blavatsky’s probable unsuitability for sado-masochistic rituals.
The shredding cloud tore away from the moon’s face and ghastly light returned to the pagan grove. In a compelling voice, Crowley called for the ceremonial blade. Gerald Brousseau Gardner stepped forward into the circle, wearing his newly-designed Wiccan robes (golden sickles, sprigs of mistletoe, and wreaths of oak-leaves, all on a pink background).
‘Hast thou the blade, O Scire?’
Gardner, bowed his head and produced a long-bladed knife from the folds of his robe.
A ragged chorus murmured: ‘He has the blade! He has the blade!’
‘A terrible beauty is born!’ (this last was from Yeats).
Crowley received the knife and, with a bow, passed it to Madame Blavatsky. Blavatsky began to utter a long, hissing incantation in a strange tongue. The adepts listened in awed silence. The strangely passive goat gazed upward at the long, glittering knife. Dennis Wheatley averted his eyes.
In one flashing movement, the knife plunged downward. And sliced the cake – icing, marzipan and all.
Michael Bloor has previously published essays and poems, but has recently discovered the exhilaration of short fiction, with one previously published piece, in Breve New Stories.