Marcelle Olivier

 

groundwater

i will never be as innocent
as i was then. as ripe
as this root, as sound

as a lock of mistletoe to its tree.
i will never be as thirsty.
i will never again be as near

to gods.

when i walk back into my
phantasies, shoes shed,
my palms sweetly pleased

with the stain of groundwater
shorn away from your body;

when i slip into the fatty
memory of it, the two of me;
when i count the many

days i have lost at your ream,
courting the threads
like a wet, blossoming moth,

my world shrinks. the drought
of an obstructive moon

flourishing in my triad
lights at the dividends of bones
better left behind.

to gods

i offered my youth. those unmarked
moments of lust stargazers refuse
to divulge, and the chance to lie

with my arm across your back,
the two of us shackled together
by the melancholy of hope.

 

 

 

 

marcelle olivier is a poet and archaeologist. Her translations of contemporary South African poetry appear in the recent edited collection In a burning sea (Protea, 2015), and you can read more of her writing in, amongst others, Oxford Poetry, New Contrast, Carapace, and The Mays.

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JD DeHart

 

 

Secondhand

He lived a well-meaning
secondhand life,
pants and shirt
and soul a hand-me-down,
ideas and thoughts
the spitting image
of someone else’s until
that day when old
wares are thrown away,
the growing becomes
hard, and lips part to say
something entirely new
borrowed from someone.

 

 

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His blog is jddehartwritings.blogspot.com and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available from RedDashboard.

 

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Clare Marsh

 

Sibling

I helped my mother pick

ripe gooseberries

loaded with their bitter seeds.

She straightened up

rested her hand on her vast belly –

my sun was blotted out.

 

I saw my mother rushed to hospital

in a screaming ambulance.

Days later she came home

with a red-faced creature

whose siren-shriek

made my milk teeth curl.

 

I watch my mother wash

mountains of stinking nappies.

So I take the consolation doll

and, with my seaside spade,

bury it under the gooseberry bush –

a trial run for tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Marsh recently completed an Intermediate Poetry course at UEA/WCN. She won the Sentinel Annual Short Story competition (2013). Her poem 93442- the Numbers of War  won a WW1 competition and was shortlisted for the Wells Literary Festival (2014).

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Molly Miltenberger Murray

 

 

Sanctuary
An Elongated Haiku

I am a pocket
of lake lapping from the pond
much like a hangnail,

a little lagniappe
of water mapped by green stalks
where frogs come to hide

in the salty-fresh
sanctuary of my still
tide-watered shade.

I am becalmed. A
swamp of sea the marshy shore
moves without moving,

holding cast aways
from wind-ridden waves of the
uncertain off-shore.

When the sunlight sinks
the obscurity rises –
swelling from my roots.

 

 

 

 

Molly Miltenberger Murray is the author of Today, She Is (Wipf and Stock, 2014), and editor of the blog and book, The Atelier Project (2015). She is working on her MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow.   Website: http://mollymiltenberger.wix.com/mollymiltmurray

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Martin Figura

 

 

School Room, Upper Silesia 1933
Freedom and Bread

In that moment when the shutter was pressed
no-one looked away.  So the camera
held each luminous face in its gaze, kept
them there, each grin, lost look or open stare.

Fifty boys in rows, with folded arms or hands
in front, their grubby fingers curling over
the rims of wooden desks.  The master stands
at the back, his hat on a peg by the door.

He tells them that knowledge is wealth.
My father looks out from the third row
chin raised and clear-eyed, sure of himself,
but there were things he couldn’t know.

The alphabet hangs on the wall, every
underlined letter chanted until known
well enough for words to come easy,
as beyond the door, the first stones are thrown.

One boy blinked and is given clouds for eyes.
The smallest sits at the front and wears
a dirty striped jacket, his face betrays
that he already knows the use of words.

The words on the streets are Fire and Murder
they ring clear against the tenement blocks
and shop windows.  The schoolmaster
turns the key of a black music box,

its wooden bird rises from her burning nest
a voice as pure as the serious child –
black tie and leather strap across his chest
which rises and falls where his heart is held

and beats quietly in a bed of soft ash.
Its slow grey storm coats tongues, clogs nostrils
and stings eyes.  By the time they can wash,
scrape it away from under their fingernails,

they’ll have become men of sorts, outgrown
the classroom’s hard benches and made their way;
some in polished boots, some with triangles sewn
on their shirts and nothing left to know.

 

 

 

Martin Figura’s collection Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine (Cinnamon Press) and pamphlet Shed (Gatehouse Press) are both due out in 2016.  The show of Dr Zeeman starts touring in 2016.  He was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the Saboteur Award for his previous show Whistle.  He lives in Norwich where he works part-time at the Writers’ Centre and runs Café Writers.

Note:  School Room, Upper Silesia 1933  was first published in The Rialto and was commended by Anthony Thwaite in the Ledbury Poetry Competition.

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Paul Burns

 

bringing it home

outside the pub the trees shone gold then ruby
as the sun tried to leave. I held it up
for long moments, clutching at its rays
and its power to melt cars, helping them morph
into the shapes of distant hills, or clouds

looking out at the harbour, as the edge
of another world , another view, seeps in
rearranges stones in me, moves my clouds on
in silent dances, puts in a fleet of laden vessels
carrying the treasure of the universe

until the voices in the bar break in
she said you can still see half the scar
he left me with. someone else was fucking this
and fucking that, and a TV glared down from the wall
and said that four were killed today

and suddenly the ships were ghosts,
clouds were unimportant
the sea now miles away

 

 

 

 

Paul Burns lives in rural Cheshire, working with his wife in their flower-growing business, playing guitar, and writing when he can. Over 15 years ago he had several poems published in magazines such as Staple, Tears in the Fence, and Purple Patch. After that long break he joined Jo Bell’s  52 Group last year and recently one of his poems appeared in Obsessed With Pipework.

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