The lawn is overgrown,
grass sprouts like unruly hair,
the flowerbed bare
where a patient trowel turned the soil
like little gravestones
mark the spot where come spring
green shoots will rise out of earth
from inert bulbs buried there.
Scraps of shrubs.
perching precariously on spiked stilts
petals of vermilion velvet.
Paint peeling from eaves
recovering from sunburn of summer,
and something emerging through the doorway
between two men.
I remove my cap.
Blackbirds lift from a tree, sound
an ironic round of applause.
James R Kilner‘s first collection of poems, Frequencies of Light, is out now. He is a former newspaper journalist and holds a PhD from the University of Leeds. Originally from Yorkshire, he now lives on Tyneside. Please visit www.jameskilnerwriter.wordpress.com.
Not Because Its Chic
Here I have a place
where I can be sad.
I adore it. I adore it.
I exist only in roles.
I want colors! Colors!
Just as above me the sky is always blue.
Not because its chic. Not because of that.
Kinga Fabó is a published Hungarian poet (linguist, essayist). Her bilingual (Indonesian-English) poetry book Poison has just come out. She has an essay on Sylvia Plath as well. Website: www.hlo.hu/news/poems_by_kinga_fabo
Note: Translated by Michael Castro and Gábor G. GyukicsRead More
Oaks rumble in deep bass
that thrums straight down
their roots, draws from the earth.
Hornbeams belt out Sixties pop songs,
twist and shout. Willow divas wail
soprano dramas in a minor key.
In the blades of grass, whispers coil. Spirals whisper
when the south winds sigh, ruffle and caress
the soft green hair of graves.
Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the Sussex countryside. She is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emeritus, King’s College, University of London, and has published a book of poems titled The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003). Her second collection, Abiding Chemistry, is published by Aldrich Press and was reviewed on IS&T on 1st July. Her poems have appeared in The Missing Slate, The Stare’s Nest, Nutshells and Nuggets, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Snakeskin, Literature Today, York Mix), She is a member of three poetry groups, The Conduit Street Poets (London), 52, and Slant 2015.Read More
I’m not looking for perfection
I don’t really want it
It is essence I seek, wholeness
with blunders and errors
and the unexpected surprise.
The hand that shakes
when you unwittingly are being the hero.
From small talk and blabber
to the sublime
I treasure your humanity
It must have room to breathe.
The calluses on your hands
the mud on your boots
the cut under your lip
the leaning shoulder
the hesitation in your voice,
they are a book we can all read.
But don’t be timid
nor aggressive, nor complacent.
You speak more clearly
when you body is in motion.
It is then that your portrait is complete.
Jay Frankston was raised in Paris, France. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust he came to the U.S. in 1942, became a lawyer and practiced on his own in New York for nearly twenty years, reaching the top of his profession, sculpting and writing at the same time. He is the author of several books and of a true tale entitled A Christmas Story which was published in New York, condensed in Reader’s Digest, translated into 15 languages. El Sereno, his latest novel.Read More
Sometimes in the car I forget to breathe,
almost. Respiration reduces to
tiny transactions reluctant to leave
any trace. Warm skin and car seat a new
union, matter overcoming mind,
the windscreen a cornea to see through,
the heartbeat of wipers. I am confined
until a sickening jolt of preservation,
a shriek of tyres. Less than seconds defined
by red lights focussed, the dislocation
of time, and a density of fears
like a stone, but with the termination
of burnt rubber on tarmac, it appears
there are only white lines stretching on for years.
Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in Poetry News, Prole, 14, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and The North among others. She has also had poems in 2 anthologies. She works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden.Read More
We live, perhaps, in a lawless world,
rejoicing as it does in the wild swings
of good against bad, confounded
by questions of maplines
and the democratic process,
informed by gods,
the tensile strength of duplicitous reason,
by spatters of blood.
And yet, in all this vital disorder,
this human-threatening human flux,
I can’t quite flap the feeling out of my hapless sickened bones,
that there is a truth
that mocks this chaos with its constancy,
even as it underwrites more chaos still.
For it seems to me, that
ours is a civilisation built on war,
and a civilisation built on war
is no such thing.
Charlie Hill is a writer from Birmingham. Both of his novels have been critically acclaimed. His short stories have appeared in many publications in print and online. Website:
from DIVING LESSONS
Friday: death of God. Sunday: birth of body.
Dive deeper into God: she’s relocated,
bequeathing the heavens to faeries
and astronauts. She’s chosen darkness:
a sett under the ocean, a space
at the pit of your belly; a cry.
This is the wordless womb birthing
word, colour, opening into sun.
Dive deeper into God: she’s reunited.
Forget the three: there’s two
into one – that’s you-
in-christ or christ-in-you
doing the tree dive: upwards
into pain, arms outstretched, then
the perfect three-day arc down into the source,
the sea, the non. So,
count up again: christ-you
and creator-emptiness. Two?
No, one! One breath, one axis,
with two poles, two movements
into one circle. Life dives into death,
death bursts into life: diastole, systole.
Fire flares, warms, sears, crumbles to ember: watch.
iii. A Life
Dive deeper into God. Today
we have the sky dive, up. Yes, I lied:
the relocation was temporary.
She’s arched like a gymnast across curved space
into the dance of the sky.
So fall upwards into nothingness
whose colour is light.
Dive deeper into God, but don’t
strip off yet. Wear a first-communion meringue,
a Protestant suit, a hat to outdo the others.
Sport a creed; arm yourself
with the steel of a rationale;
bear a tradition like a tortoiseshell,
or a spirituality like a brightly coloured scarf.
Others have built impressive promenades
at water’s edge: parade along them,
strut your stuff, give us a twirl before you jump:
a flash of your chosen accoutrements against the seaside sky.
No striptease is required. One day you’ll dive
so deep the water’s force
will do the stripping for you.
Chris Fewings lives in Birmingham and writes poems, stories, rants and reflections (some of which have been published) and loves reading or reciting poetry aloud, from Shakespeare to Kei Miller.