Carolyn Oulton

 

 

 

Hop Picking

Dickens sees bodies wet in the hedges,
hop dust is believed to cure consumption.
Eden Phillpotts, writing in 1916,
starts with sunshine and deft fingered girls.
By the 1930s and Orwell it’s blood
all over the fingers and chaff in the throat.

But for Eileen one January morning, hops
nailed to the ceiling brittle as dust,
in the home where she now lives?
Her school at one end of Canterbury
was bombed. I didn’t know
it had a chapel.

They were let out early
for hop picking. Wincheap.
I’ve got smoke-stained alleys
and the carpet shop. Like a holiday
she says, she could go there
now and see it all again.

 

 

 

 

Carolyn Oulton (www.carolynoulton.co.uk) is Professor of Victorian Literature and Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press.

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Jeremy Young

 

 

 

Return

They used to hang bodies over the black-water creek;
picked bodies of picked men, their entrails pulled
by the birds in greedy jerks. The dead glass eyes watching
over and out to the waves and the clouds:
or with a twist of wind, or the collapse of a gull tugged neck,
those same dead eyes might turn back, to the landward
from which they came, a week or so before.

We step across to the sand, as through a rent veil
which locks out the sound of the marsh, and the traffic.
These riddled sands, caught between the turning tide
in expanse, hold only ourselves and the wind.
We do not look back, but sometimes down
to the dry, to the empty, to the occasional shell still sealed.
We do not look back, too tempted by the coldness of the sea.

On each ripple dies a star, combed clean as morning.

 

 

 

Jeremy Young lives and works in Yorkshire. He had had work published in numerous articles and anthologies, and is a member of the beehive poets.  His work can be found at https://bluemedia68.wordpress.com/ 

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Amanda Oosthuizen

 

 

 

A Concert at the Doge’s Palace with Fans
 
I’m chased by airbnb on facebook, instagram,
twitter, Ebay, there is its fluttering gif, checking
me out, even on booking.com, which is perverse.
I search for Palladium, Copernicum, Moscovium. 
£98 a night, it blares. But hopefully less, I think. 
 
I sleep in a crumbling palace behind a shabby door,
and one afternoon, taste an orange Aperol spritz 
in the shadows of a backstreet bar, listening to the cheesy 
songs of gondoliers. 
 
A Danish man pulls up a chair, tells me he’s lost and frightened.
‘No one knows I’m here,’ he says. I search his case
of bagged-up shoes and clean, pressed shirts 
for a sign, a clue that might help, but all I can do
is put his phone on charge. 
 
One steamy night when the Doge’s Palace 
is abandoned by visitors; in my bright green dress
with its too-tight belt and my shoes like rooks, I believe
I’m a lion. With linen fans on beechwood struts, 
the air is wafted in violent beat to lute, crumhorn, 
portative organ. Lyrics tell of journeys over Adriatic 
seas and long-gone people searching 
for the element of surprise.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Oosthuizen’s stories and poems have featured on the London Underground, in art galleries, Winchester Cathedral, in anthologies and numerous competition listings. Recent work is at Cosmonauts Avenue, Storgy, Under the Radar, Ellipsis, 3:AMMagma, Somewhere to keep the Rain, the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Reviewand is forthcoming in LossLit, RiggwelterCabinet of HeedPrelude, Humanagerie and Ambit. She earns her living by writing and arranging music and teaching woodwind. http://amandaoosthuizen.com 

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Mike McNamara

 

 

 

Hinterland

Man outside
in the dark.

She looked the same
age as her mother.

Spider in the sink.

You remind me
of no one.

People who shouldn’t
be in prison.

A phone call and
the night is ended.

Dark eyes
and a swallow’s nest.

It’s not true.

On the top of the stairs.

 

 

 

Mike McNamara had his Selected Poems published by Grevatt and Grevatt . He’s been published in Envoi, Orbis, Tears in the Fence, New Welsh Review, Acumen, The Dawntreader etc.  Also a selection of poems  in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003).

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Miki Byrne

 

 

 
Yellow but Moreso

How odd that flowers glow.
Flash that acid-bright,
lens-scratching flare
that sears eyes,
draws drivers to turn heads
and me to stand and gaze.
It’s too fierce, fizzing, sharp.
Too downright bright for nature.
Impossibly, improbably, yellow.
Not yolk, primrose, daffodil,
sunshine, sulphur or topaz.
Not amber or dandelion.
It fluoresces.
Sharp as hi-viz vests.
Yet if it is an anomaly,
a throwback,
an agricultural morph forward,
I like it.
Nothing has such visceral power
as a spreading, vast,
lemon and vinegar
smack-in-the-eye, field of rape

 

 

 

Miki Byrne has had three poetry collections published, work included in over 170 poetry magazines and anthologies and has read on Radio and TV. Miki also ran a poetry writing group at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury.   She is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire.UK.

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Marc Janssen

 

 

 

 

Cold Night So Far Below Disinterested Stars

The indecisive rain
Moved dirt around on the red car hood
The way it marbled
Your thoughts about me.

It is a black satin morning
The clouds having slipped away;
I am the sidewalk
Between pools of streetlight.

The air, my air, has escaped me-
Whispered away, gone;
The way it mirrored
You in my life.

Around the sleeping homes
Of quiet corners,
The crimson line of false dawn
Scribbles a lie from right to left.
The earth turns regardless of me
Of what it might crush
In its disinterested steamroller rush.

Soon the houses will make
Toast, eggs, cereal-
While my house sleeps
Below disinterested stars.

 

 

 

Marc Janssen has lived in the state of Oregon, the state of Jefferson, and other mythic places. He coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly poetry reading and open mic. Janssen has been published in dozens of journals most recently Penumbra, The Ottawa Arts Review, and Cirque Journal as well as anthologies such as Manifest West.

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Jessica Mookherjee

 

 

 

Honey Shot
 
Samson knows the sound of lies
and scissors, clings to some muscle he used
to have. Jumping through hoops
to stay alive. You don’t need to impress me.           

Snip, slash in a dirty flat, he gathers
bottles, cans, vials, he couldn’t let go,
and I say, aren’t you pleased to see me
again? And What was she like? And how
 
could you love her so much when she cut
you like that? He wants me to slice
off his head. I tell him it will grow back,
as he sings fragments remind me,

I tricked him too, got to the truth,
out of the strong comes something sweet.
Let out he’d sucked something unclean,
rubs blind eyes, waves his hands, says

he can’t remember any times he told
me he loved me, only the girl who blinded
him, gave him the honey, cut his hair,
took his money. He says he can’t see me.

 

 

 

Jessica Mookherjee has been widely published. Her pamphlets are The Swell (Telltale Press, 2016) and Joyride (BLER Press, 2017). She was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2017 for best single poem and is author of Flood (Cultured Llama 2018).

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