Time to Vote for IS&T’s June 2016 Pick of the Month

From Japan to Peru via the Abellio Greater Anglia train to London Liverpool Street with stops at heaven and the back garden, our shortlist for June’s Pick of the Month – your favourite poem or work of flash fiction – is what you might call diverse.

So have a look at this month’s six finalists below (or see the ‘Vote for your June 2016 Pick of the Month’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen). These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

Voting is now closed.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity*. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative.

 

(*Ink Sweat & Tears reserves the right to refuse certain charities if we feel they are too controversial.)

 

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Colin Pink

 

 

 

New Perch

We balance on the balcony like two Japanese cups
on a high shelf – together – rim to rim
perfect and fragile in equal measure.

A shingle of stars lies scattered across the sky;
it takes a long time for their light to reach this far
– like a thought that dawns too late.

As we gaze up we reconfigure the constellations,
tracing ourselves, joining dot to dot, making
new stories to grace this velvet night.

 

 

 

Colin Pink is a freelance writer and art historian living in London. His poems have appears in Ink Sweat and Tears, The Shop, Poetry News, Poetry Salzburg Review etc.  His first collection will be published by Poetry Salzburg later this year.

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Geoff Mills for National Flash Fiction Day!

 

 

Manners

Gladys Walker ascended to heaven in her eight-first year to find the place not at all to her satisfaction. Glancing critically over the field of serrated clouds upon which a manna market had been erected, she collared the next person who jostled past her.

‘Einstein?’ she barked.

‘That is I,’ he replied candidly, for in heaven no untruths may be told.

‘This is not what I had in mind when I pictured eternity. Is this all there is?’

‘All there is? What more could you wish for? Any flavour you care to imagine and it may be found here!’ He swept his hand across the teeming plain and gazed in wonder.

‘And beyond the market?’

Einstein’s eyebrows rose up like a pair of ambushed seagulls. ‘Madam, once you’ve tasted our manna, the question of beyond ceases to exist.’

‘Yes well! I’d like to have a word with God all the same. If you could point me in the right direction!’

‘Not possible I’m afraid. He’s indisposed. Indefinitely.’

‘How so?’

‘Depression or some such. He just doesn’t believe in himself anymore.’

‘Well then, Jesus?’

‘Blackholing in Andromeda I believe.’

‘St. Peter?’

‘Otherwise engaged. Problem at the entrance. Went to ask about letting some thieves in, came back to find the gate missing.’

‘Outrageous. This is not the heaven I imagined!’

‘Ah! Heaven, madam, is a problematic concept. By what standard do you take measure? It’s rather a question of relativity.’

And with that, Einstein disappeared greedily into the munching masses.

 

 

Geoff Mills is a Midlands based writer and teacher. He is currently in the final year of his PhD in creative writing at Birmingham University and teaches on the script writing module at Worcester University. www.geoff-mills.com  @geoffmills7

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Hideko Sueoka

 

 

 

Cherry Blossoms

Today dark blue is my facial colour.
So can you see ashy-indigo confetti?

A cherry addict admires pale pink
fluttering down in lambent sunlight.

But through the flyaway organza of misty breath,
my skin hides another complexion

that lurks on the counterfeit surface
in spring frolics. After catharsis of my mind,

unknown beauty you can find in me
bright blue – like cranesbill,  grape hyacinth, catmint.

 

 

 

 

Hideko Sueoka has been working as a translator, living in Tokyo, and was the winner of 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Competition. A recent poem was published on the online journal Stravaig issue 4: http://www.geopoetics.org.uk/online-journal/stravaig-issue-4/

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John Greening

 

 

Seven Steps

but the stream itself is in full spate
Dennis O’Driscoll

The first stepping stone is nearest the house
Preparing the second, I discovered roots, and an immovable erratic
The third stone rocked, rocked
On the underside of the fourth, I signed my name, spoke a few words
At the fifth stepping stone, I hit (then quickly dismissed) an electric cable
By the sixth, the pond was in sight, and the path’s curvature
Past last year’s bonfire, through hawthorn, elder and sunset
I laid the seventh
No use for an eighth stepping stone
so I leant it with some broken slates where the privy had once been

 

 

 

 

John Greening’s latest Carcanet collection is To the War Poets and a collaboration with Penelope Shuttle, Heath, appears from Nine Arches this June. His OUP edition of Edmund Blunden came out in 2015. He is RLF Writing Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. His website is www.johngreening.co.uk

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Jo Dingle

 

 

 

 

Dawn

And the raven suited night,

feathered at the edges
with the pinking guts of morning
sends from its shearing seams
a flock of cloth winged commuters
to gather at platforms,

beaks towards the yellow lights

of the Greater Abellio service
to London Liverpool street.
That wingless flight path
absorbing at stations
the black flock of overcoats,

line stitched into carriages
and speeding through the
peeling sky

 

 

 

 

Jo Dingle lives in Norfolk and so irons nothing. This leaves her plenty of time to write poems and dream about hills.

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Rose Mary Boehm

 

 

 

We didn’t know we were poor

Sometimes we went hungry.
Mother made dandelion salad
and stingy-nettle soup. Potatoes
and carrots in water with salt.
Mother had been on the train again
to visit farmer Ruttenberger. Left our
last silver flatware with his wife.
Brought back a big sack of rye.
Can see her still, her too large dress,
her apron, the coffee machine
between her thighs, milling.

My scary aunt with the deep voice
and a wart on her chin would send us
into the woods: ‘Don’t you go eating
the blueberries now. Bring them home,
you hear? I need them for jam making.’

There was a place near the brook
where the world smelled of woodruff
and ceps, where bluebells announced
our indelicate approach.

Getting back empty-handed, round-eyed
and honest-to-god we hadn’t found even one,
my aunt wiped blue-purple stains
from our guilty faces.

 

 

 

 

Author of TANGENTS (published in the UK in 2011), Rose Mary Boehm’s work has been widely published in the US. Twice winner of the monthly Goodreads competition. A new poetry collection is earmarked for publication in the US in 2016. Twitter: @alia38

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