Rizwan Akhtar

 

Birds
for you

They scrape and bill for answers
I peck evenings for small words
finches and robins temper tones

They don’t flutter against my desires
Or rise from foggy halos
like sentences blurring intentions

only stare my doubts with little eyes
over ponds of petaled flowers
carrying conviction under feathers

a stripped choir of town’s winter
land on raven craggy earth
sank in scrimped necks

a milky whiteness of nude bodies—
clamp beaks against an urgent silence
of blue, red, and magenta quills

These birds I see cloister you
huddle like expressions
muted by long flights

They drop our histories
tied to footnotes, on vague wings.

 

 

 

Rizwan Akhtar works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his PhD in postcolonial literature from the University of Essex, UK in 2013. He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines of the UK, Wales, US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He has also done a 5 weeks workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010.

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Reuben Woolley

time songs

1.

night

is unstable

sometimes

it rolls over you
in the dark
& flattens a secret
population

this thing
this incessancy
is a traitor.it

counts

to twenty-four
& starts again

2

there is no
time

counting

i’m slowly becoming
dead

like all

the others

hung
up to dry
on several days

 

 

 

 

Reuben Woolley has been published in various magazines including Tears in the Fence, The Lighthouse Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Domestic Cherry, The Stare’s Nest and Ink Sweat and Tears. His collection, the king is dead  was published in 2014 with Oneiros Books,  and a chapbook, dying notes, in 2015 with Erbacce Press. Runner-up: Overton Poetry Pamphlet competition and the Erbacce Prize in 2015. A new collection on the refugee crisis, skins, was published by Hesterglock Press, 2016: . He pretends to be busy editing the online magazines: I am not a silent poet and The Curly Mind.

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Tom Montag

 

Is Is

what it
is. This
is not

symbol.
I am not
moving

ideas
about
these lines.

The birds
speak truth
to the wind

as plain
as they can.
It does

not mean
something
else. It

is what
they say
it is.

Don’t look
for any-
thing more.

 

 

 

 

Tom Montag is the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, This Wrecked World, and The Miles No One Wants. He has been a featured poet at Atticus Review, Contemporary American Voices, Houseboat, and Basil O’Flaherty Review.

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Andrew Turner

 

 

 

The wolves were not invited

but they came regardless
their manners were dreadful
never cleaning between
their claws after meals
or their teeth at bedtime

but they displayed a certain charm
when finally agreeing to leave
placing a single golden chocolate
on the pillows where
your children used to sleep.

 

 

 

 

Andrew Turner has been published in a number of online and print magazines. He lives in Staffordshire.

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Fiona Larkin

 

Lotus Garden

In a shifting drift
of regulars and strangers,
in a passing place
of daily alchemy,
a cook is orchestrating
a fivefold composition:

a stirring of the tastebuds,
a flavour carousel,
a virtuoso matching
of salt and sour-sweet,
piquant in the top note,
a bitter undertow.

Rooted in his kitchen,
he primes the appetite
with a million small collisions –
braised, fermented, smoked –
inducing chilli tears
with elements of heat.

This couple will remember
the unions he invents.
She glances from the stairwell,
one glance, and he is falling,
it feels like recognition:
umami on their tongues.

 

 

 

Fiona Larkin is studying for her MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. Poems have appeared in journals including Ink Sweat & Tears, And Other Poems, Envoi, and South Bank Poetry, and are forthcoming in The North, Southword and The High Window.

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Cherry Doyle

 

 

 

Fox-wife

When I told you I’d trick the moon
right out of the sky and into your wine,
your eyes said I couldn’t be trusted;
you knew my kind that come
on the breeze, under the crow’s wing,
when hope needs us the most.

My hands are rugged, eyes sag
with the weight of a forest’s century,
that I fished the sky for stars, until
I found my nights in the pit of your heart,
and I leave each morning, unsure
if I’ll return at dusk, a woman.

 

Cherry Doyle lives near Cannock Chase. She has been published in Cannon’s Mouth, The Cadaverine and was the Leaveners Poet of the Month for June 2016. She is completing an OU degree in Creative Writing, and tweets occasionally @ms_n_thrope

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