Nick Cooke

 

 

 

Never Lost Control

I saw one on the street once, not made up,
as she came out of a small grocery store
with a plastic bag containing green tea.
She barrelled straight through me, point blank, though we
weren’t a hundred yards from the usual place.

Another I saw strolling the King’s Road
between the barracks and Chelsea Town Hall,
in a fur coat long after they were hip,
a crimson layer on her bowed top lip
and a boundless stare at the heart of things.

 

 

Nick Cooke has had around fifty poems published, in a range of print outlets, as well as the anthologies Poems For a Liminal Age and To Kingdom Come. His poem Tanis won the Wax Poetry and Art contest (April 2016).

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Kushal Poddar

 

 
The Dead Stars

On the old cable
drops of oblivion
settle in seriatim.

Fog stills the sky.
Smoke adds
strokes to the mist.

From a dusty
What’s On The TV
I gather death’s itinerary.

 

 

Kushal Poddar, widely published in several countries, presently lives at Kolkata and is editor of the online magazine Words Surfacing. He authored The Circus Came To My Island (Spare Change Press, Ohio), A Place For Your Ghost Animals (Ripple Effect Publishing, Colorado Springs), and Understanding The Neighborhood (BRP, Australia). His forthcoming venture is Scratches Within.  https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/

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Edward Cody Huddleston

 

 

*

reflecting
off the owl’s eyes
mOOnlight
*
burn warning
the fire in
her voice
*
giant catfish leaping into Grandpa’s story
*
low winter sun
an urge
to be Icarus
*
g r a n d m a  andgrandpa
the rhythm
of morning coffee

 
 

Edward Cody Huddleston is a writer, editor, and radio personality. He’s worked for Stanford University and Carnegie-Mellon University as a coder. You can find him online at codyhuddleston.wordpress.com.

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Konstandinos Mahoney reviews ‘Acrobats of Sound’ by Colin Pink

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Pink’s impressive first collection, Acrobats of Sound, takes its title from his poem, A Peal of Bells that marvels at the ability of heavy leaden church bells to be rocked into joyful conversation. And this is what Pink does over the seventy-seven poems in this highly readable collection, finding in nature, art, the city, memory, transience, subjects that can be coaxed and swayed through the rhythms of poetry to loosen their tongues and sound out their hidden song.

Pink, an art historian, has an eye for the visual, though his poems go beyond the merely descriptive, delving behind the surface to interrogate what lies beneath. Victorian Woman in Green Dress, one of a number of ekphrastic poems in the collection, this one based on Vittorio Coroc’s oil painting , Sogni, perfectly exemplifies this, going from the visual, /as your/chin rests on the soft plinth of your hand, fingers/ gloved in a second skin of supple leather./ to the final line, Let’s unwrap time, peel/back each brittle layer, until we might meet, a powerful insight into the real behind the real, realism in the painting of the woman as a representation of both surface and hidden realities, the construction of an aesthetic reality through dialogue between a living man and the artist’s illusion.

One of Pink’s strengths is his ability to develop an arresting image into a wider metaphor and open the poem out into a philosophic observation, his is the poetry of both image and thought, an ability to move from the concrete to the abstract. His poetry only occasionally uses end rhymes, his preferred way of shaping a poem is through stanza length, meter, and a deft use of internal rhyme and assonance. Though images are vivid his verse does not feel lyrical or rhapsodic, pace is steady, poems build steadily delivering an observation that is always worth sharing. This gives his work a feeling of integrity, a poet you can trust, a poet who is gently sharing observations on the strangeness and wonder of things. Field Path takes us on just such a modest journey, a country walk through ever denser foliage until the path runs out, but on the journey back /retracing/steps that now seem so different,/no longer recognizably ours at all/ he captures the strangeness and paradox of landscape altered by the direction we move in with it’s wider echoes of the forward passage of time and the unfamiliarity of the past despite having lived it.

Pink’s poems are economic, often making their point over three to five stanzas, poetic journeys that are neither too taxing nor too leisurely, poems that help you to arrive without overtly signposting the way. The longest poem in the collection is American Civil War Bubblegum Cards, in which, over thirteen sestets, Pink makes a sustained comparison between the realities of the American war in Vietnam as seen on television and the progress of the American Civil War as portrayed in the illustrated bubblegum cards he collected as a boy. Seen again through the eyes of his boyhood Pink uses simple language and syntax allowing the horror to come though in descriptions of the printed images on the cards/In one scene a little boy/is hanged as a spy; he looked a bit like me,/it made me feel sad, I guess that’s what//it was meant to do/ And images on the television, /Napalm illuminated the screen/like every firework display you’d ever seen./Children came running, naked, down a thin/road, their thin arms outspread, their thin skin/burned off./ Comparing the two American wars in this way is original and gives a renewed freshness to both, a wholly original and successful way of showing history’s futile repetitions of war and violence.

The starting point of Pink’s poems are often landscapes, paintings, buildings, objects in the present or past. His wonderful poem Games The Dead Play jumps straight at you from nowhere, from behind a tombstone, spare, boney couplets frolicking in skeletal scariness, gothic playfulness, /On birthdays they blow out other people’s candles/and watch darkness descend from all angels./

 Acrobats of Sound, a handsomely published book by Poetry Salzburg, reward the reader with accessible, thoughtful, beautiful and engaging poems. Reading Pink’s poems is like being with a friend who delights in opening your eyes to the mysteries of the world around you. His counterbalance of deep thought and vivid image has a European feel to it, a philosophical thread running through his poetic oeuvre. I look forward to his next volume.

 

 

 

Order your copy of Acrobats of Sound  by Colin Pink (Poetry Salzburg 2017) here: http://www.poetrysalzburg.com/acrobats.htm

 

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Kathleen Strafford

 

 

What’s done is done

         The Thane of Fife, had a wife, where is she now?

I wonder what it’s like to be dead

wonder         if he touches my flesh

will it feel the same?

 

I try to remember             but cannot

remember             his hot ties of affection

 

thought it would be easy

to unsex myself

screw my courage

into the vacuous

business of men

Oh this murky business

that creeps day by day

 

filling my breasts with vinegar

emptying my womb

of its junk

 

At first     it creeps under your arms

stings                 like pins and needles

Next           you cannot bend to pick

poppies                   sprouting from your hips

as they reach to flatten each breast

inverting

 

each nipple into submission

Last thing you hear is your

frightened womb                   escaping

 

as your features

wrinkle         loose skin sags

 

leaving your hands free

for the black night

and bloody water

 

 

 

Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation, called Her Own Language.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House; Butcher’s Dog; Algebra of Owls; Fat Damsel; Cinnamon Press Reaching Out anthology; Trinity’s Journeys; Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Anthology, and received honourable mention at the 2016 Ilkley Poetry Slam.

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Dennis Tomlinson

 

 

Postcards

At the End of the Street

At the end of the street
a grey-haired woman
walks her black pig.
She sniffs the ground,
eats up a tomato,
eats and eats,
sniffs and sniffs.

Volcano

A jagged plain,
battlefield of gods.
In the far dark mountains
you see a white flash
as the bus drives on.
Deep under the ice
someone is sleeping.

The Beach

White the boardwalk,
white the sky,
white the snowy beach.
Ice on the water,
broken ice on the water,
the ferry steaming
towards Sweden.

Homecoming

The bus heaves
through obscure, wet night.
On the dark stair
the dog whimpers and wags.
In our black bed
you wrap yourself up
beside me.

 

 

 

 

Dennis Tomlinson has had poems published in Blithe Spirit, Lunar Poetry, other small magazines and anthologies and on the Ink, Sweat and Tears website, also translations in Modern Poetry in Translation and The Wolf. He lives in London.

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Anjana Basu

 

 

 

Thirtieth May

why is it now the old language sounds harsh
without that ease of familiarity?
Because we no longer share our tongues
And the meanings draw away
As you have into the clouded twilight
With the night falling  fast.

 

 

 

 

 

Born in Allahabad and schooled in London, Anjana Basu is a writer based in Calcutta. She has 5 novels, a book of short stories and two anthologies of poetry to her credit. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue published by Roli in 2007. Her byline has appeared in Vogue India, Conde Nast Traveller India, and India Today Travel Plus.

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