Sharon Phillips

 

 

Counting

Imagine that you’re sitting
on the edge of your bed.
Perhaps you’re shaving your legs.
And you see that the floor
is covered with dust.

Wherever you look there’s dust
and the longer you look
the more dust there is
but you do not fetch
the hoover or dustpan

because your father has just died
so you sit on the edge of your bed
look at the floor and think
that you might stay there
counting the motes of dust.

Imagine that you’re sitting
on the edge of your bed.
You remember your father’s arms
brown against the white sheets,
the dry scrape of his breath

and you are lost
in the uncountable
spaces of grief
 

 

 

Sharon Phillips retired from a career in education in 2015 and started to write poems and short stories again, after a break of forty years. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two cats and two dogs and is currently doing an MA in creative writing.  Sharon’s poems have been published in Snakeskin and Three Drops from the Cauldron, and on Algebra of Owls and Amaryllis.

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Peter Eustace

 

 

 

Words

These words, little more than trinkets, piffle,
Trade in counterfeits with the soul
(Should there be one).
They stack loose change in separate piles
Hoping they might add up one day
To sums almost enough to pay
A bigger bill. A shambles, bric-à-brac,
Surreptitiously changing meanings

As time plunders and loots along
Its gaudy way, hooting from start to finish.
They strut, preposterously, gasp, grunt
And grapple with approximations
Stuffed into boxes that are too small
Or wallow in shallow waters
Or clatter against the bars of mindless cages.
Simpletons, yet our only hope.

An occasional monument mutters and natters
In memory’s swamps. Words are alligators,
Prowling semi-submerged among
Neurons’ mangrove roots, dense, impenetrable,
Repetitive, tarnished, unclear.
Some creatures learn their way around
Among the gaps, the misunderstandings,
Throwing words at the page

Hoping someone will catch the re-bound
And pass them on and even help them
Come home again with a new suit of clothes,
Walking sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs,
Provided the sparkle still glimmers there.
I tinker with the search engine.
It cranks up sometimes, spluttering, coughing.
It takes me places, like somewhere and nowhere.

 
Peter Eustace has published two books of poems in English and Italian (Vistas, 2006, and Weathering, 2010) and an English-only pamphlet (Brink, 2009) with erbacce press, Liverpool. He has been a guest at the Valpolicella, Verona, Monte Baldo and Nogara festivals (Italy), as well as the Small Press Day/10th anniversary of the UNESCO World Academy of Poetry, Verona. He was the featured poet in issue 45 of erbacce magazine (June 2016). Other poems have appeared on-line and in print (Ink, Sweat and Tears and Equinox). Two of his poems opened the Carrillon Ten Forward anthology. He will be one of the selected 6 invited poets in issue 50 of erbacce.

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Julie Sampson

 

 

 

As we climbed the slope

we’ve followed the route of the old stone wall
dappled light’s playing tricks of blue on bells
then shaping and sharing our way
as it shades upwards over cobbled-path’s
curves; a scatter of white flowers
lines the path, as shattered bone.

Just right of the lych-gate
at  the summit of long Pilgrim’s Avenue
below the site of Okehampton’s Saxon church,
there’s the black-hole of a badger’s set
and its over-stitched white garlic spread.
We’ve stumbled on a place of crossings.
Family labyrinths are running beneath and across
this graveyard’s Styx. Badger is Charon,
grave plunderer, under-
ground ferryman.

Other lives, signs of roots’ growth rituals
spread, like lichen
on our Harris slab.
Stones have toppled; one
is ours; she’s covered with
pretty stitchwort, pennywort,
creeping moss.

In the undergrowth beside the set
where badger cubs sleep
the genetic threads of family
weave with the thriving microbial community –
skeletons’ hosting
moles, earthworms –
delicate the little-springtail.

i.m. Richard Harris & Jane Harris-Sprague

 

Julie Sampson‘s poetry has been widely published and placed in competitions. Edited Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems (Shearsman, 2009); collection, Tessitura (Shearsman, 2014). Both from Amazon. Non-fiction MS., ‘Women Writers in the Devon Landscape’, shortlisted for The Impress Prize, 2015.

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David Hanlon

 

 

 

Waiting  

Waiting,
looking out of
our bedroom window
at the car park
in the distance,
wondering
how long
you will be.

Killing time,
we drop
your Action Man
out of
the window,
the one we’ve tied
a carrier bag to
as a poor,
makeshift parachute.

The wind isn’t strong
enough for him
to glide
like we want
him to;
instead, he plunges
to the ground
with a thud

every
time.

 

 

David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales, and has recently moved to Bristol. He believes the reflective nature of his current studies in Counselling, and the artistic influences of his previous degree in Film Studies, have engendered this new creative endeavour.

 

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John Doyle

 

 

When It Rains and No-One Else is Around

I mimic that previous moon,
whose drowning
was little more than murk-filled puddles
and longwave radio crawling up walls –
in wheezing lines of French;
I remember mornings after,
of exploding skulls and breath that seized
nations by their gut,
the clock stout and cherry-faced on my sterling wall;
there are lovers who never die,
they merely grow fat, and sit, and wait
for rains to fall; they recall
what little they held,
in their atlas-palmed grooves,
between pattering voice,
between an ocean of scowls –
and the moon knew everything, its lungs ready to burst; its spears are
rattling my mirror-ball again.

 

 

 

John Doyle, 41, is from County Kildare, Ireland. After a long convalescence from his battle with words, he returned to his old demons in 2015, and has since been published in Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S.A. He intends on forcing his first full-length collection A Stirring At Dusk upon the unsuspecting innocents of the world in 2017.

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Simon Cockle

 

Father
The child is the father of the man’– William Wordsworth

In the beginning, you laughed at everything.
You rubbed your heels together to make blood
soak the blankets in the cot.  Dreaming

of milk and cats, you pissed in arcs
and woke up, wet. Then, you held
buttercups under chins, killed wasps,

dug holes, swam like a starfish, climbed
apple trees. Soon, you grew up fast and thin,
fought in meadows, told black and white lies,

spoke to Diana the moon at night,
lost teeth, kicked balls against the pricks
and told the Speaking Clock to go fuck itself.

Much later, in the golden age of cigarettes,
you smiled at the girls with Pepsi-blue eyes
in the Coke-black dark, smirked at Christ

in a Welsh church, pissed money up walls
and watched it fall. You left me with little to show
for those years of front and fireworks.

And I watch you now as you shave in the mirror
for no-one, wondering what you did with all that
incandescent energy.  You let it seep out through

the floorboards to settle in with the dead
skin, tears, clippings and stardust.
I want to grab your shoulder, then

tell you I’m lost without you. Dad, look here,
I say; I want you back, I don’t know what to do
since there’s nothing left to laugh at anymore.

 

 

Simon Cockle is a poet from Hertfordshire.  He has been published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal and Pantheon Magazine amongst others, and was invited to read at the 2016 Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event.  He has a wordpress site, www.simoncockle.wordpress.com and a twitter account @simoncockle2010.

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Daniel Fitzpatrick

 

 

Great-Granddaughter

When I arrived you called me John,
Katie’s John, I guess, mixed up with me
in the background meadow of memory.

I sat Therese on your mattress
but cradled her away when her babble
started flicking at your lids,
her blindness shining off your yawning false teeth.
She couldn’t see the difference in your skin,
the frescoes of the beating treatment,
the white bones in the bruised
black back of your hand,
or the whiteness like fungus veining your horned feet
when Katie drew up the sheet.

She seemed to see nothing
but the clock circling on the wall.
She’s smiling at clocks now,
pointing when we say “Tick Tock.”

She knows little of the Rubicon you’ve crossed,
only what she knows in the cries
it kills us not to answer
as she struggles toward her morning sleep.

 

 

Daniel Fitzpatrick grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, and now lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his wife and daughter. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Dallas, and his poems have appeared in 2River View, Coe Review, and Eunoia Review, among others.

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