Every summer, oranges grew like heartbeats:
my father went to the grave of his sister
and my mother picked them from the trees.
Mornings and nights were peeled from their days
and every day seemed a Sunday, a few fruit bathed
in cold water to slow their ripening.
Occasionally, with the oranges unwatched,
we would steal them early from the water –
our hands dripping across the kitchen floor.
The juice went sticky and stained our hands
till we soaked in the basin water at evening,
when the sun is a fruit on its lowest branch.
On those evenings, my father would sit
in the orchard after every fruit had fallen
and watch them change to molten shades.
Joseph Davison-Duddles is seventeen and lives in the north of England. This year he was a winner in the Foyle Young Poets competition, commended in the Hippocrates Prize for Young Poets, and came second-place in a Lancaster Writing Award. His hobbies include untidiness and political disappointment. His poems can be found in Ambit, Cadaverine, and Prole magazines.Read More
Sentry Billy B.
Good dope kept
Viet Cong on white
chargers at bay while
on guard duty,
seeds for poems
about Rimbaud, etc.
fell from saddlebags
said Billy B.
Slight of build, no nose
for the specs he wore
so always frame poking.
His faded fatigue jacket
but survival and good
deep pockets perfect
No one on campus could
roll joints with such skill
with the dash and élan
of a screen cowpoke
fashioning a legal stick.
Later teaching fancy
prep school English
his poetry and tales of dope
might have been visible
in his busy, haunted eyes
or stolen from
from his rucksack..
That look or the awe
on looted legal pad pages
reeled in unruly classes
so expertly they checked
their pockets and purses
for missing wallets
after a poke at the specs
and an easy erasure
of textbook words
as charger chalky
off the blackboard
long and green
as Billy B. recalled
together as a kid
and the muffled waste
good dope made
of war noise.
Tom McDade is 68 year-old retired computer programmer living in Fredericksburg with his wife, no kids, no pets. Graduate of Fairfield University, he served two tours of duty in the U.S. Navy. His poems have most recently appeared in Release Magazine, Gadfly and Paragraphiti.Read More
Waiting at the junction where I turn left: logical
and you turn right: creative, I take down my guard
gesture for you to. The glass partition gone, I see you are all
nose, the whites of your winter fleece and Northern
hair distract me from snare-eyed suffering.
If we weren’t caged at a red light hiatus
we’d wag our heads and go – run free, gallop as swift horses do
across sugared snow, finger the glacial, part the silver waters
stretching far, a voyage to play at us until I was beneath you,
Orion over you. We’d kill her; the seal, bite off her slick
head, crush at fat and brittle shell, gorge on cerise slush.
The traffic lights spark green and our eyes converge,
the ice screen between us. I imagine your big hands pawing
the steering wheel on the A52 towards home.
Rachael Smart is a social worker from Nottingham with a thing about words. Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in various publications including LITRO, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole. Rachael recently co-edited My Baby Shot Me Down, a women’s anthology which features ten new writer’s work, including some of her own. smartrachael.wordpress.comRead More
Look up on a clear night,
you’ll see me glint by.
I’ll try to wave assuming
I’m not doing space things.
They’ve got me growing
weed under lamps;
I have to roll it generously
and put on funny hats.
There are box sets
but not what you’d hope:
“Little House On The Prairie”,
“Merlin” and “Bread”.
I’m the last one aboard,
a chimp in loungewear.
I’ve spilt my peanuts
to see if they notice.
Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, where he writes poetry and short fiction. His work has appeared in print and online in Shortlist Magazine, Sarasvati, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Stare’s Nest, Fry Your Friends, Nutshells & Nuggets and others. He edits Clear Poetry, a weekly blog publishing accessible contemporary poetry: https://clearpoetry.wordpress.comRead More
Itinerant Singer ‘Two’
Four walls contain acquaintances:
Table and chairs
- Immensely relevant.
As well, the wine cup,
The ticking clock, and
Neatly folded paper-money
To nurse me through
An oncoming second life.
Here, in plenitude, abides the astringent
Light of Eastern Nigredo.
Perhaps the copper
Will become an emerald
The size of
That September moon
Upending treasure’s residue!
Outside, each morning, a mottled sparrow
To a sky-full
I must ask
The Ornithologist why
Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry and poems online. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Townsville, Qld., Australia in 1945. Her latest poetry title, The Vanishing is due at year’s end.Read More
A boy gnew me by a stonepit. He steemed
in th sun stone-waking, lighting trees like wicks;
his eyes were sofd as ash, and cities hymned
and chymneyed in the atlas of his sex.
I tricked in him, – unclocked all tocks, all ticks;
a debt that ploppd its anchor in my tchest –
nd 8 weeks fraille in rocking lihgt, I foamed
at the mouth like the sea. He ssuppd the moyst
unplundered of my underarm; he yessed,
impressed on me the braille of wouldlice
havocking the rocks.
I kept him at a cost:
he got with dogg my daughter, bent our house
toward a future wigged with cirrus,
fingernail’d with hangman’s lime. I died in prison.
Camille Ralphs started in Stoke. Currently Senior Poetry Editor at The Missing Slate, she was recently also Cambridge Editor-in-Chief of The Mays XXII. She has a few published poems kicking around.Read More
The pencil tree
I want a pencil tree,
its black heart
of wind and rain,
and summer flourish.
I want a pencil tree,
but not that one.
That one has
its grey hide,
ready to burst
and spread death
the other trees
in the grove.
Cut it down.
Dig it up.
Colin Will (@colindwill) is a poet and publisher living in Dunbar. His new collection of haibun, The Book of Ways, has just been published by Red Squirrel Press. www.colinwill.co.ukRead More