John Grey

 

 

The House’s Role

The house stays put.
It has its reasons
referred to as people
for my purposes.
Separated from the outside
though not thought
particularly isolated –
the house considers
what the world has to offer
other than itself
but respectfully declines.
Its windows are more
than willing to open.
They appreciate the sun,
even the mossy smell of rain.
Even bodies partake
of that oozing glow
and minds have
a mellow dark liking
for that gray smear
of inclement weather.
Bright or chilling,
winter or summer,
the house can take it.
Therefore, inside holds together
no matter what.
At night, the house
willingly gives itself
up to darkness
knowing, as it does,
the number of lights
it has on offer.
Electricity knows the ropes.
Even shadows are
incorporated into the whole.
People leave the house
on occasion but return to it
in equal numbers.
It could by anywhere
else but it’s always where it is.
That kind of loyalty
doesn’t go unnoticed.

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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Nick Carding

 

 

Turanj, September 1995

a river crossing
as over the Styx

time hangs here
heavy with loss
suffocating houses
pocked
profane
eviscerated
guts rotting whitely
on the street
the private bared
for anyone to see
if anyone
were there
to see)

above all
a depth of silence
in which no bird sings
no dog barks
no-one cries

time
only time
hanging heavy
blade of a guillotine
waiting to fall

 

 

Nick Carding is an Englishman now living in Croatia. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in print and online in Europe, USA and Australasia.

 

Note: Turanj, south of Karlovac in Croatia, was on the front line between Croatian and Bosnian Serb forces during the conflict of 1990-1995.

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Linda Rose Parkes

 

 

The door sings its welcome

it’s the kind of door
that trickles honey in the light

and says come in
twice at least

leave your coat in the hall
the kettle’s singing

sit yourself down
here at the window

in the garden oak
a blackbird warbles

breezes play
among the cushions

next door is grey
and cracked at the hinges

too much slammed
yanked open

lost   or stolen   jobs
hopes  loves

but this door is a honeycomb
a promise

don’t keep walking by
scarred with disappointment

don’t slow your step
to rush silently on

only knock
and step in out of the ruins

only knock and the door
will swing gently wide.

 

 

 

Linda Rose Parkes was born in the Channel Islands and published her third collection Familiars, with Hearing Eye in 2015. She is co-editor of Wavelengths, an anthology of Channel Island Poetry, and is a painter and lyricist.

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Steve Black

 

 

*

a life in boxes
the memories her daughters
fought over
priced to clear
in the last hour of the car boot sale

*
this moment of clarity
a dying star
burns itself out
surrenders to the void
behind the gas works
*

since the misunderstanding
in marks and spencers
she takes communion
two bus rides away
where no one knows her name
*

the early light
bleeds out
another documentary
about sharks in big water
and small
*

his mother away
visiting her sister in margate
he introduces me
to his friend
gabriel from rio de janiero

 

 

 

Steve Black: Other recent work maybe found at the likes of Atlas Poetica, Failed Haiku and Skylark Tanka Journal.

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Edward Lee

 

 

 

Mother

I do not give you enough credit
for the strength it must have taken
to turn your back on all you knew
to live a life with a man
wed to another,
knowing you could never marry him,
divorce an illegal
and dirty word
in a country decades away from change,
and yet spending forty years
with him,
holding his hand
when his last breath
entered the world,
your two sons to hold you up
at the funeral
when all you wanted was to fall down
beside your love
and never get up again.

 

 

 

Edward Lee‘s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

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Kathryn Southworth

 

 
Canada  Christmas 1891

Dear sir you are most welcome to Memkumbli,
may the spirits of my longhouse light upon you.

‘Tis pity you cannot abide potlatch,
 – a sorry offence against all virtues
of economy and improving labour.

Won’t you, just this once, sit down and eat with us?
Join with our dance, bear spirit guide your steps.
Stay for the gifting – or if you will have no gifts
then I’ll destroy my copper shield, worth all of two canoes.

No wonder native peoples’ degredation!
throwing away a fortune just to mark
another girl’s first bleeding!
– Yes, I have heard such sentiments before.

But sir, remember your own Jesus and his story
about the merchant who gave everything for one choice pearl:
such is my honour, and my gifting
honours you and all our company here.
Come, do you refuse gifts from your friends
upon the birthday of your lord?

Well, now I see how the owl surrounds the moon
the woodsmoke clouds your eyes and the shrill pipes
have dulled your weary brain; ‘tis time
to show you to a bed. Good rest
and soft dreams be yours.

– My people, now we can begin. Wanistalkilia!
All will be cleared from house and home today.

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Southworth is a retired academic living in London. She has published reviews and poems in a number of anthologies and magazines including South Bank Poetry and South.

 

Note: The potlatch celebrations of northwest coast indigenous peoples involved elaborate gift-giving and were so disapproved of by church and government that the practice was banned and practitioners imprisoned. Wanistalkilia (meaning clearing out the house) was the name given to rare and valuable copper shields which might be ritually destroyed at a potlatch.

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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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