New haibun: Roger Jones is waiting for Labor Day


Labor Day


To my surprise, the boss tells me I can have the whole weekend off.
          I elect to drive home to see family – seventy miles north. Little traffic, mainly farmland, some modest towns, a small lake or two.
          I drive with windows down, a slack late-season feel in the muted air; a laggard sense of things flowing Elsewhere. 
          Back at school, my friends are partying.
          The moon rides shotgun, thin sickle blade tilted just above the dark tree line in the west. 


          autumn cottonfield
          halfway up a row
          an empty tractor



* Roger Jones says “I teach at Texas State University and am poetry editor of
the
Texas Review.  I've published haibun in Contemporary Haibun Online,
Lynx, Frogpond, Modern Haiku
and Haibun Today.

Read More

Melissa Collin has gone tilling


Tilling
 

I work the soil with my own hard hands
while my neighbour, his sky-blue eyes
ringed with granite, stalks the fields
like the elements that close hard fast around me.
 
The deep furrows in the raw sienna mud
are waterlogged with bits of the sky.
A rook swims across one, then another.
He raises his gun. The shot thuds in my chest.
 
Birds scatter like thoughts; outwards.
The kickback jolts his shoulder which is,
I know, suede-soft and softly tanned, giving
gently to the touch of my clay-hard hands.



* Melissa Collin says “I am a freelance editor living on the North Norfolk coast,
and have had poems published in
Ambit, Birdsuit and various competition
anthologies.”

 

Read More

Fiona Sinclair reviews Carole Bromley's 'Skylight'














Carole
Bromley Skylight, Smith/Doorstop 2009
, £5 ISBN 978-1-906613-08-2

 

Carole
Bromley strikes me as a keenly observant poet. The poems in her pamphlet Skylight brim with the minute
particulars of daily life. Much of this collection is set in the 50s and 60s;
however this is not mere nostalgia. Bromley writes of the past with purpose. We
may be in world of The Dave Clark Five, Radio Luxemburg, Ovaltine and Wright’s
coal tar soap but she has skilfully rooted events amongst the products and
music of another generation to effectively prove that the issues themselves
which include; a teenager at odds with his parents and a first crush, are
still part of the human condition today.  

 

Bromley’s
narrators are wise women, who offer their experience in a gentle reminiscing
tone ‘‘What comes back to me,’’ ‘‘She was chalk to my mother’s cheese’’ so that
reading them resembles listening to an elderly friend. If the first part of the
pamphlet deals with teenage years, the latter part concerns itself with the
problems of adulthood. In ‘The lovers’ Bromley uses her considerable technical
skill to copy the embarrassment and clumsiness of a couples ‘first time’.
 In the opening line speech is employed effectively ‘‘let’s do it he said,’’ revealing that the euphemism for sex has not
changed over the decades, thereby reinforcing the sense of continuity felt in
the pamphlet.  In other poems such as ‘DIY’ and ‘Heading for the Hurst’
her narrators permit women to be kinder to themselves. The lexis in ‘DIY’ takes
the form of gentle instruction to a nervous young mother ‘‘Listen’’, ‘‘Don’t
fret about the damp patch’’ And in ‘Heading for Hurst’, a daughter allows
herself time away from looking after mother in order to ‘‘breathe again. Breathe.’’

 

The pamphlet
also comprises of more straightforward memories that reflect upon; rivals in
love, a stale relationship and the joy of being a grandmother. The final
poem   ‘Winding the clocks.’ creates an appropriate conclusion.
 An elderly narrator observes her partner’s nightly ritual, the timepieces
becoming a  metaphor for loss yet still suggest some optimism for the
future as she hopes ‘‘perhaps they know what time still holds in store for
you.’’  This encompasses the overall tone of the pamphlet, a reflective
woman who has experienced much and has learned that generally events have a way
of sorting themselves out.

 

 

Reviewed by
Fiona Sinclair

 

 


Read More

Myra Connell is thinking of jars of jam


Her China Seagull



It is smooth like skin but cold.
When I lick it it tastes like salt.
(We must be careful at all times and know what we want.)

When I see it, I think of my grandmother,
I think of her house and the cellar with the jars of jam.

I think of her house with the cellar and the jars of jam
and of the garden, and the orchard,
and the blackbirds in summer in the cherry-tree above the wall.
It is smooth like skin but cold
and when I lick it it tastes like salt.

We must be careful and at all times know what we want;
but the seagull is smooth to the touch and cold,
and I think of my grandmother
and her fingers which were bent, and which plaited
each morning the long hair of her daughters.

And I think of her house with its cellar
and the jars of jam and preserves,
and of the orchard, and her hands stained with beetroot.
My seagull is smooth like skin.
When I lick it it reminds me of salt
and of the blackbird, that last summer, in the tree by the wall.
 
 
* Myra Connell's second collection of poems From the Boat has just been launched by Nine Arches Press (www.ninearchespress.com)

Read More

Brian Cole remembers soup







Soup

 

In winter he made soup,

taking me down the garden

to draw parsnips from jaws

frozen by the night stars,

 

then to the scullery

to defuse an onion,

chopping off its squib,

peeling  away
the casing.

 

He’d slice its acid spheres

and pore over them

to find the green shoot

which he carefully set aside.

 

Carrots next –chuckling

at a trouser shape

with errant wrinkled member.

I’d laugh too, and peer up,

 

trying to see the gravelly cleaver,

watch him ‘sweat these chaps a little’,

add some stock and simmer.

Then he’d skim away the scum.

 

He’d get me to choose;

sieve for smooth – my favourite –

or leave the chunks to bob and dip

like flotsam from a shipwreck – his.







* Brian Cole says: “I had no contact with poets until one crashed into the back
of my car in Ireland. He apologised – ‘I’m a poet you see’.  I started writing 20 years later.”

 

Read More

David Mohan is nursing a star


Nursing a Star



I wanted it to be mine.
They said it was just a piece
of broken rock.
I said a meteorite.
My dad threw it up
and let it fall, a dead weight,
but I knew it merely slept.
At night I felt the echo of its radiance
from the mantelpiece. Inside, I knew,
an ember lived and glowed
like a prehistoric egg.
To me it had been born of the sky,
was bred out of star dust.
To me it had held court to the moon,
had worn a dress of luxuriant light,
had danced each night in the ballroom above.
Held up, examined
in naked daylight it looked as dry as granite,
but I knew it was biding time on our planet –
that it could last millennia
until the time of bursting suns.
I tried to feed it stories – reports from earth.
I set it on a shelf to breath our climate.
But it sat silent, a prophet to nothing,
and when I nursed it back to a polish
it sat dumb in my hand,
bursting to shine like a lamp,
or looked ready to explode,
just like the little spark
that hatched the dawn of time.


* David Mohan is a poet and short story writer based in Dublin, Ireland. http://davidmohan.wordpress.com/

Read More

Barbara McCarthy has an owners manual for subdued women


Medicate or Rape Her: An Owner’s Manual on How to Quiet a Woman


Fill her up with compliments; fill her up with food,
Undermine her confidence; tell her she’s a fool,
Buy her drinks then fuck her,
Then call her fat when through,

Slap her when she speaks up, then tell her I love you,

Tattoo her with your name, to show her that you own her,
Keep her from her friends until she’s just a loner,
 
Pull the phone from the wall when she tries to call for help,
Then fuck her up the ass until she has no sense of self,

Medicate her tears to push down all that anger,
‘Cause in the end she just really wants a willful man to bang her,
Keep her numb and question-less with pills and electric to her brain,
Watch those brain cells die, and make “Yes doctor” her refrain,

Quiet her with your fists, make her flinch and cower,
Corner her in a room, to show her who has power,
Fuck her in her mouth, to end her constant nagging,
Bruise her where it will not show, to keep the neighbor’s tongues from wagging,

Give her all the pills she needs for moods and endless diets,
Eventually you’ll get the gift, of blessed peace and quiet.



* Barbara McCarthy is a writer from New York City. She recently
published three works – non-fiction and poetry in
The Legendary.

Read More