Sharon Phillips

 

 

 

Weather Forecast
after Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

That thin haze over the sun
is made of ice crystals,

a woman on the radio
said as you dressed,

cirrostratus nebulosus
heralding bad weather.

Here chairs judder
across tiled floors

lights shine icy
on white-painted walls

and a careful voice asks
would you like to sit

somewhere quiet,
my dear?

 

 

Sharon Phillips started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she retired from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017), the Indigo Firsts pamphlet competition (2018) and the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset.

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Judi Walsh

 

 

 

 Stone

Let me look at your face in wonder, and hold it in my hands. Let me, with careful fingers, trace that noble nose, handsome and proud, which now can’t poke where it doesn’t belong. Let me stroke those silky eyelids with my thumbs. I will try and fail not to press hard on those eyes which see too much. Let my mute mouth claim your cruel mouth, so that your teeth are exposed, and so I have two tongues, and you have none.

 

 

Judi Walsh writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has been listed for several awards including the Salt Flash Fiction Prize, National Flash Fiction Micro Competition and the Bath Flash Fiction and Novella-In-Flash awards. She tweets @judi_walsh

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Frederick Pollack

 

 

 

The Job

Time was privatized long ago.
The firm that absorbed it,
a major multicosmic,
plans only to gut and chop and sell it off.
Meanwhile, those images you see
among our peasantry
of smiling Adam walking with a doggy
dinosaur are ads,
like any faith or flag. Even your and my
own dialectics, gentle reader,
are like those ancient signs on kudzued walls,
drawn painfully by hand
for some doomed local brand.

The executive in charge of what remains,
resentful, never at his desk,
thinks often of quitting
but where could he go? Beyond the office
is no life, only time;
as if in a strong wind, he would
dissolve into grey dust
like any supervillain.

 

 

Frederick Pollack is author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (Story Line Press), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals.

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Alwyn Marriage

 

 

 

Ghosts

dry rot, damp and musty airlessness
conjure up ghosts that even dogs can see
drifts of blue under green leaves bear a whiff
of young romance in maytime long ago
sunlit cafés in foreign city squares
waft in on the aroma of fresh coffee
a gas leak in the pavement
drags me back to a reluctant
visit to those chambers
where I once smelled evil

 

 

Alwyn Marriage’s ten books include poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Formerly university lecturer and CEO of two NGOs, she’s Managing Editor of Oversteps Books and research fellow at Surrey University. She gives poetry readings and workshops in Britain and abroad. Website: http://www.marriages.me.uk/alwyn/

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Stephen Kingsnorth

 

 

 

Rows 

A strange condition for a row
amongst the headstone rows that flank
the hill side cemetery,
that hangs and flows,
marble chips and chips off marble, chip paper,
scree of lager cans and driven flowers;
sunlight bearing on the granite backs
lapidary curlicues of the shade.

Does she entreat or remonstrate
as they pace on and through the slabs,
an avenue of undying love inscribed,
he silent, power-walking ahead against the wind and mood?
She, some pace behind,
outstretched arm and cupping hand towards him,
relaying, I assume,
the beg to hear her, or impress the point, backhanding.
I wonder if, affected by the tight clipped yews
and angel wings and comforts versed,
and likewise outstretched arms,
she solicits advocacy of heaven.

But as I muse on irony,
the hope of ancient dead to hold sway,
to influence for good,
I realise that in her extended hand
is her phone.

 

 

Stephen Kingsnorth, 67, is retired from ministry in the Methodist Church, living in north Wales.  (He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease five years ago, and has been writing poetry for some 9 months)

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Daniel Bennett

 

 

 

Vapour

A road trip. That old saloon: deep blue
finned in a quaint English way,
more sea bass than marlin. No destination.
We were testing freedom, heading out

across the fen landscape, where aircraft
buzzed tree crowns and farm buildings
and tore away, stitching trails
across our temporary portion of sky.

What happened to make me retrieve that day
with such chunky accuracy? The bright cold,
the leather seats with their rigid stitching,
a car sick feeling of time’s vertigo.

No adventures or outrages, only a quiet sense
that our time was nearly spent. We stopped
by a limestone column, topped with a pineapple
an eminent Victorian’s idea of grandeur,

smoked in the blue air, talked. A cold kiss,
fingers meeting. A cord of vapour, dwindling.
Days lie sealed, evaporate when retrieved
and you stand by, breathing as they fade.

 

 

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire, and lives and works in London. His first collection West South North, North South Eastis published by The High Window Press. You can read more of his work online at https://absenceclub.com

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Tim Kiely

 

 

 
I think I feared the morning

I think I feared the morning. As if
it would drop on me like a planet; as if
the first light would wring me from sleep;
as if it would play every ache my limbs

had been ribboned sleepless with
in sadistic symphony; as if
no hour on the pillow could be redeemed
and the first stumble through the front door

would finish me; as if the street’s
first magpie would dig at my eyes
and I would be robbed of its blue wings;
as if the drizzle would not soothe my cheeks;

as if all this were not exactly
what my cells knew would be there when the roar
of traffic from the night was left
to wither, leaving only

this. As if the morning and all
its clarities could hurt me more
than the vague desperation before dawn,
before knowing, before the fall.
 

 

 

Tim Kiely‘s poetry has appeared in: Ariadne’s Thread; Lunar Poetry; South Bank Poetry; the Morning Star; and on the websites the Blue of Noon and Spontaneous Poetics. Most recently he contributed to the Emma Press anthology, Everything That Can Happen.

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