Rachel Burns





I am distracted by the bang, bang, bang
shotguns ringing out across the fields.
November and the grouse hunt is in full swing,
Boris and Bean, both fat both mean
with their combat trousers and hardened stare
beating the grouse out of woods and fields.
I avoid the area this time of year, sticking to the public
paths, the railway lines, curbing my need to trespass.
I once asked the men, what they intended to shoot?
‘Nothing good,’ came the reply.
My computer makes white noise
a steady hum and cackle. I think of false information
travelling at speed down coloured ribbons of centrifugal wires.
And who do we believe? The vampire war mongers
craving bloodshed? Or the mothers
screaming for their dead?





Rachel Burns is a poet and playwright living in Durham City, England. She is currently an Arvon/Jerwood mentee in playwriting. Poems published in UK literary magazines. Shortlisted in competitions Mslexia, Writers’ & Artists Yearbook and The Keats- Shelley Poetry Prize 2017. Twitter: @RachelLBurnsme  https://rachelburnssite.wordpress.com/


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William Harper




Fisher’s Folly

What was it that brought us to Jasper’s,
We both asked of each other
Late that evening.

I paused, long and hard
And thought of
The lines
My need to keep
To clasp her.

The party looked up and stared
Straight at the fasten
Between us, the current
Now visible and
Each arm inter-locked
And in turn
Witnessed by that
Woman in the corner
That I once worked with
Some time ago.

Drunk on love and oblivious
To the unfolding folly
Of a lunar lined
Liverpool Street,
We marvelled at the series of coincidences.

Synchronicity—I called it
Descending into bed:

If we had not had that fight on Primrose Hill,
If you had not changed your mind,
If I had not phoned my mother,

You would have missed me by minutes
And would have gone to Providence
Without my
Cargo of best wishes.

You bought that Neruda book with the Spanish
And English translations.

We took turns
Side by side
In our languages
You chiding me if I missed the title.

I will shelter there for certain
In a future that is not.
I will live there
As if I could afford to.

And the bedlam neighbours
Will keep me up
As they always have
And always will.

To the sleeping lips at her side,
To drink, as I drank there,




William Harper is a writer from Maryhill, Glasgow, living in London. He has published short stories in The Galway Review, Swimmers Club at Dostoyevsky Wannabe independent press, and poetry in Amyrillis.

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Grant Guy




The Waitress Brought Him the Menu

his wife threw him out
told him he was not handsome
told him he was not romantic
told him he did not earn enough
told him he was a bore in bed

pulling the pickup out of the driveway
like a thunder clap over the Prairies
loneliness wrapped him up in a sad embrace
embraced what little remained human in him

he drove numb

he pulled his vintage ford v8 into a truck stop lot
he sat at the counter   3 stools b/w him three burly truckers
they reeked of cigarettes & diesel & sweat

the waitress brought him a menu
her eyes sd welcome    her heart was somewhere else
coffee   she asked     yes     he sd
he paused   his eyes lingered on the midnight angel
more than he should have      he turned to the menu

the truckers returned to their rigs
a purolator  driver sat at a booth by a window
jane   a coffee & hot beef sandwich    he sd with a wave

she returned to him    asked    are you ready to order
he tripped over his tongue     uhhhh     & blurted out   blt
his eyes followed her   she moved like a dancer

when she brought him his blt his fingers graced hers    good gracious

he was in love for at least the next 30 minutes

he ate    finished the last of his coffee with one gulp    paid the bill
before he stepped outside into the cloudless night
he turned to look at her one last time
she was too busy to look up at him    he thought     a hapless hope

she handed a menu to the 16 year old   trying to sober up

he stepped into the black night
loneliness kissed him on the lips
I love you    it sd




Grant Guy is a Canadian poet, writer and playwright. He has over one hundred poems and short stories published in internationally and five books . His plays include an adaptation of Paradise Lost and the Grand Inquisitor. He is the recipient of many grants and awards.

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S.A. Leavesley


S.A. Leavesley is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer and journalist. Latest poetry collections include How to Grow Matches (Against The Grain Press, 2018) and plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press, 2015). Her unpublished ‘This < > Room’ was longlisted in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018. She also runs V. Press poetry and flash fiction imprint. Websites: http://www.sarah-james.co.uk and http://vpresspoetry.blogspot. co.uk/.

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Rachel Bower




How to Speak of Grief

I break it to her gently. He was old, I say,
he had a good life, he was ready.

She stares back at me, waiting for more.
He won’t wake up again.

She drops her sandwich and howls.
Wracked with sobs, her body crumples,

small hands cling round my neck
as if I too might disappear,

wet face buried in my coat.
But I don’t want him to sleep forever.

I know, I weep, stroking her hair, I know.
Passing shoppers glance at the bench

where we cry for the city farm, for the field
that now stands empty, our apples left to rot.





Rachel Bower is the author of Moon Milk (Valley Press, 2018) and Epistolarity and World Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). She co-edited Verse Matters with Helen Mort. Her poems have been published in Stand MagazineThe Interpreter’s House and Frontier, and they have won several prizes.  Blog: https://rachelbowerwrites.wordpress.com

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Maryam Gatawa



…And tell the stars

Then tell the stars
To take their leave too
For within our breasts
Shines the inward light
To sail us through
These fields of darkness

Why wait for the gardens to
Bear you sweet roses
Or rent the cloaks of your hope
To greedy mighty whales

Go forth with your hoe
And till the fertile land
Plant upon its face
Sweet corns and grapes
And  when the winter knocks in
Tell her to stay
You have enough grains in your home.


Maryam Gatawa is a poet from northern Nigeria. Her works of poetry have been published in reputable journals inside Africa and overseas. She can be reached through facebook at ‘Maryam Gatawa’ and twitter @meegat12.

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Jeri Onitskansky




Home Grown Poem

Bo’s trampled the bleeding hearts
and not for purely metaphorical reasons.

Squashed and pink in a mulch
of pig manure, passion’s illuminated

by mango martinis disguised
as garden lighting. Among bluebells,

a fern unfurls like a huddle
of Martians. Oh love,

love, what comes apart like
your white lies / white lilies?





Jeri Onitskansky is an American-born Jungian analyst and poet who lives and works in High Barnet. Her pamphlet Call them Juneberries was an IOTA shot winner and was published by Templar Poetry in 2015.

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