Karen Kelsay is having thoughts in a boat

Childhood Thoughts from a Boat
Damp with Pacific breath, my pillow
is lit by a fringe of moon. A sequence
of waves from a departing boat sloshes
against the hull and jars the closet door open.
Bells chime along the bougainvillea-tangled
hill that juts above the harbor. Scents of mildew
and vinyl hover near musty life jackets
stored below my bunk. Plastic mugs, with anchor
designs, creak together on the rack; the dinghy
bumps against the stern. In the bow, I zip
my sleeping bag and listen for phantoms
and sea sprites; those unseen entities
that capture children by lifting an unlocked hatch,
and pull them off to feed.

* Karen Kelsay is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of three chapbooks A Fist of Roots, Somewhere Near Evesham and Song of the Bluebell Fairy, published by Pudding House Publications and The New Formalist Press. Her most recent work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Linnet's Wings, Flutter and Tipton Poetry Review. You can read more of her poetry at http://karenkelsay.com

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Two tanka for a Friday by Spiros Zafiris

they effervesce
in cosmic cauldrons – to leap
with frightful legs,
these pangs of lightning
already gone
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
it must have been a rose
to send the death rattle's
zigzag bolt back
had it traveled one more instant,
through my lips, I was done for

* Spiros Zafiris is a Montreal poet…he is 60 years old and single. (What is this, some kind of dating service? …Ed)

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Justin Kenny says maybe one day…

Maybe One Day


You stand in
the mirror every

morning and
ask yourself why.

You pristinely

your make up
and do your hair.

With each step

you take out
of the house

you question
the monotony

of your
existence –

the gods have
offered you

no opportunity.

I stand in the
mirror every

morning and
ask myself when,

when will I
see a sign,

an indication

that I will

If it is not
today I will

wait my turn, maybe

one day we
will meet and change

each others’
lives for the better.

It is not the
gods who help us,

it is the
beauty we see in each other,

the beauty I
see in you that

I have yet to

and maybe one

we will wake

and ask
ourselves nothing.

* Justin Kenny is a musician and poet from Kidderminster.

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Colin Cross is listening to music – and other things

never lets me down
I can play it
whenever I wish
and switch it off
when I want to
without it complaining
it relaxes me
I can play
a certain CD
without all the others
getting jealous
and I don't
have to buy them drinks
before they'll
give me pleasure
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I only miss her
when she's not there
when she's there
I don't miss her
at all

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


the artist
already damaged
from a previous
suicide attempt
by jumping
from a bridge
hanged himself
in the former church
now an art gallery
where he was
the caretaker

I guess
he just wanted
to be part
of the exhibition

* Colin Cross is a regular IS&T contributor. His latest CD Crip Tick and the Bee Levers is available free to anyone who wants to send an SAE (IRCs abroad) to Cnut Records, 37 Wellington Green, Norwich NR2 1HG.

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Two poems from Gill McEvoy

In Red and White
You could helter-skelter down their columns on a rug or tray,
pretend they’re giant sticks of rock in red and white –
slice through their middles and you’d surely find
the names of places where they stand:
Strumble, Needles, Bardsey, Portland Bill.
In the whine of wind you hear the thin bewildered sighs
of men whose long-forgotten ghosts drift round
the eerie robot systems that transmit the beams.
Men amazed that no-one has to trim or light the lamps.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Apple Harvest
Apples cobble the orchard floor;
at my feet the zebra’d gold of wasps.
The basket on my hip is full. 
I rest it on the table that
stands beneath these trees,
its grain split like the bursting fruit.
The bones of the basket are brittle.
The trees are cragged and bowed,
but still each year the wasps come,
lurching from the apples into flight,
staggering upwards in the air.

* Gill McEvoy is artistic director for Chester Oyez! the performance section of the Chester Literature Festival. She has two pamphlets out Uncertain Days and A Sampler (both Happenstance Press) with a full collection The Plucking Shed due from Cinnamon Press later this year.

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Vanessa Gebbie's selling poems to Indians

Selling poems to Indians
When I sold the poems
the Indians gave me wampum.
‘Hang on a tick,’ I said,
‘that doesn’t go down a bundle
in Tesco’s.
I’d rather other currency.
If money is out
what about
a night or three
in your tepee?
Hours of exotic redskin sex
followed by post-coital
pipes of peace
round the fire.
How’s about it?’
The reply came carved on a dead
sequoia in hieroglyphs:
deer, feathers,
eagles, horses,
flying axes.
I didn’t understand a thing.

* Vanessa Gebbie is author of Words from a Glass Bubble and contributing editor to Short Circuit, a Guide to the Art of the Short Story (both Salt Publishing). www.vanessagebbie.com 

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New prose: Dave Early is picking his way through the brambles

A Way Through The Brambles


There’s a perfectly paved path. It began, as all things
must, once upon a time. And stretches forth toward the horizon to a place I
know not where. Many feet traverse this path. Black shoes, white shoes, shiny
shoes, shabby shoes, large shoes, baby shoes, backless slippers, high-heeled
shoes, bare feet with bells on their toes… They all pass across my eye-line.
For I am not on this path. I was discarded. Kicked from it by the differing yet
identical sets of feet.

path lays flat atop an embankment with a ditch either side. The side which I
inhabit is filled with brambles. Thorny devils woven together in a virtually
impregnable matrix taller than I can stretch. Presumably the other side is as

day I inch through the barbarous forest at one-hundredth the pace of the feet
above me marching to their soft rhythm. And as darkness descends my clothes are
torn, my skin is scarred, and my determination is less than the previous night.
Nevertheless, at sun-up I orchestrate another assault on the blockade… desperate
to reach the destination the feet eagerly head towards in streamlined fashion.
Is there a castle on the other side? Filled with riches. Or a beautiful maiden
betrothed to me. Will there be luxuries? Entertainment or tranquillity. Or will
I be too late?

me the feet pass with veritable ease and eventually out of sight. Night will
shortly fall. And already exhaustion and futility have taken their toll.
Perspiration drips from my brow, stinging my eyes and magically blurring my
surroundings. Tomorrow would be my eleven thousandth, five hundredth and
sixteenth day battling these fiendish weeds. And I know not how near I am to my

need to rest. And decide to lie down upon the thorns… winding my limbs through
the loops and strangleholds surrounding me. They have provided me with bedding
for so long now, any discomfort I may have once felt has been replaced by a
sense of belonging.

probably isn’t any end to the brambles.

      Best just to lie here… and



* Dave Early says “Life for me began at an early age… and a few things have happened since then.”

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