The crack had spread like an art print of ants,
an angry line that seemed to grow each night.
It stepped from off the skirting board and danced
a zigzag sketch, as if in flight or fight.
Sam wasn’t sure exactly when, or how
it started, just that it was here now – black
on tea tone walls, with its brick crumbs to sow
on soggy rug, behind the music rack.
Sitting on two chipped wood planks stretched across
two upside down, warped plastic crates, Sam thought
back, trying hard to find the memory of
an earthquake, truck or broken bath, then lost
hold of his beer and cigarette. He caught
the can, but ash fell, burning rug hairs off.
Luigi Coppola’s poems have appeared in Anon, Equinox, Fourteen, Frogmore, Iota, Magma, Orbis, Other Poetry, Pennine Platform, Poetry Digest, The Rialto, THE SHOp and South. He has a website – www.bit.do/luigicoppola – with some of his published poetry.Read More
Riverside section within Stubbylee Park, Stacksteads.
Sophie Lancaster was fatally assaulted in the park in August 2007.
The ground is digesting
the park in its underbelly.
All the things that used to shimmer
are being swallowed.
The rust dappled skate-park
does not welcome me,
the ground there is hungrier
since it happened.
It has already taken so much:
my first memories of the earth,
her blood, her last words.
I find Fairy Dell, ten years on,
find it sullen and negatively charged.
I wonder, is it still Fairy Dell
or just another riverside road?
The wooden shoe we carved at school
is licked with rot.
The witches’ cauldron is clogged
with dirt, our well of old water
we’d stir, chanting, casting.
Behind it, the stone circle hides
behind ash trees, the stones half-chewed
by the earth. It will keep devouring
until there is nothing left
but the orange sky,
tiny rotting organisms
stagnating the fringe of the pond.
Lew Kelly is a recent graduate of LJMU. He has previously been published in Cake, In The Red, 1533 and ISWrite. He’s currently publishing Lifejacket, an anthology to support refugees. His poetry aims to re-enchant adulthood.Read More
Sailors are the wings of love
Sailors are the wings of love,
the mirrors of love,
the sea is their companion
and their eyes are blond the same as love
which is as blond as love itself, just like his eyes.
The vivacious happiness poured into our veins
Is also blond,
identical to the skin beginning to appear:
don’t let them leave because they smile
blinding upright light over the sea.
Yes, a sailor is the sea,
an amorous blond sea whose presence is a chant.
I don’t want the concrete city,
I desire only the sea swarming with water,
aimless body drowning in his blond.
Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. His collections of Tanka, For the Men to Come (2014), and From Life to Life (2014) were released by Amazon. He’s a two time Pushcart nominee and a four time Best of the Web nominee. His poems have been publish in over four hundred journals and anthologies.Read More
Before She Went
She rests in music all day long
Jazz, Opera, Nationalist folk,
The closest thing to silence I can find here.
If she raised her head,
she would see Tesco, a pub and the steelworks,
the new Wales,
rolling out like steam,
But instead she watches the sky
As an airplane splits it in two.
Her legs become just rumours under the duvet, and
her skin stops fitting,
That’s because it’s mass produced
Its transparency seeps through into her bones,
And when she hoards enough will to
lift her arm
The moonlight slips through it
– salt dissolving –
Where do I end?
As the nurse jumps
– I did not see you there,
what with all this light.
She peers at my face
Breaking into her vision
“Picasso, Van Gogh, Toft.”
You have grown so much,
you say to me,
As we lay our hands on her
our fingers becoming a roof
keeping her anchored
for just a moment longer.
And so she brings us together again,
in dying as in living,
As she had before the Swansea ocean,
before whose great exhales
our young hearts shook to,
until we gripped her hand
fingers wrapped around her thumb,
her skin the softest material
I had ever felt,
its constant beat so strong
it was if I held all of her
in the tiny shadow of my palm.
Sam Parr is an English with Creative Writing Graduate from the University of Birmingham. He is currently an intern at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and writes in the breathing space before work in the morningRead More
Forgetful, in a stroke of genius,
you set the dictionary on a shelf in the fridge
where it lay all night in dark wordlessness:
rosetta of crystal, coomb of roots,
the house of language cooling like a hive.
What were you thinking but this new winter?
Participles glinting, nouns to glass, I took it out:
an old terrain under ice, sub-zero of the word
where you traced clawed prints on a page,
found sound snugged and dumb in earth,
a world reformed in silence.
tap it now with a tuning fork, put it to your ear
like the sun’s spring choir; say Corby, Eden,
Gelt Wood, place where spinneys raise letters
of boles, ice shucked as a crow lifts into blue,
and your lost tongue comes to a litany of fields,
landscape of boundary and dyke, the mud lanes
returning in a shine of names and signs,
a familiar river rising on the grammar of rain.
What might it be but the start of thaw?
Sit with me here, word hoard between us;
sense meltings, warmed breath on air, the whisper
of sibillants turned clear and hasped on the branch;
note hedges and furrows in rime: and there –
do you see it? Watch it go,
a fluent rabbit in a field of snow.
Terry Jones‘ poems have appeared in a range of magazines, including The New Statesman, Poetry Review, Agenda, Ambit, Magma, Iota, Envoi, The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, Wasifiri and others. In 2011 he took 1st prize in the Bridport poetry competition. Poetry Salzburg published his first short collection, Furious Resonance in 2011.Read More
Chambers of Horror
The good the bad and the ugly
I’m imagining a statue
of a man in anguish standing
in a public square;
but I haven’t yet made up
the proper patriotic words
to chisel on its plinth
to say why it commemorates
the body as an instrument
for undergoing pain.
But have I mixed grave monuments
to famous men with glib exhibits
in a wax museum
where villainy and virtue mix?
If scoundrels have to be lampooned
in stocks or on a scaffold
it’s one small step to taxidermy:
stuff and mount the bogey men
like beetles in a box.
Or skip the stuffing and the mounting:
stick their severed heads on spikes
then hang them up in chains.
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is poetry editor of the on line magazine London Grip and also helps to run the North London reading series Poetry in the Crypt. His most recent collection is Pictures from a Postponed Exhibition (Lapwing 2014), which features artwork by David Walsh.
One day I will wake up
and realize just what kind
of story I’m in. My words
will finally carry weight. I will
know how to deal with the villains,
real, flesh, natural, and imagined.
I will one day know
how best to be this human
being I’ve named myself
to be. I will be the hero of my
own short story.
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.Read More