Briar-Rose Jacobson is writing poetry


Matt Ryan told me to write a poem
He said that it was to be written and turned in by Sunday night –
Emailed to his real email
And put in an attachment
Single spaced, all poems are written single spaced
He said it was to be three pages long
Let’s be real Matt Ryan
I can’t write a three page poem
Let alone a poem that’s a few lines long
Poems never use bland language
Although it helps to have a built vocabulary
I went to a public school in LA
So my vocab was never properly built
And poems can’t rhyme, rhyming is unoriginal
And it’s over rated anyways
The only rhymes you should use are the internal ones
I can’t rhyme internally it’s so hard to find the time
Also you have to have a good topic for your poem
You can’t write a poem on the Burr-Hamilton duel in 1804
Or the difference between the word honor and honour
Poems are made of words-words you feel
Poems are made to come from your mind and soul
A poem is a container for these words
When writing a poem you have to find the right shape
If you don’t find the right shape the words will fall on the floor
Like alphabet soup
Good poems are usually written by good writers
I’m a terrible writer – That’s why I’m taking this class
Maybe one day I’ll get better at it

* Briar-Rose Jacobson is a senior political communications major at Concordia University, St Paul. She works for the university newspaper The Sword as the staff photographer and is also a student leader for the Communication Club.

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Two short poems from John Vaughan

New Growth

One trims his toe-nails
Another gathers up the cuttings
Plants them in the patch of ground
Behind the shed

Someone now supervises
Organises a rota
And watches out
For an earth moment.

A signpost spouts up
There’s now a field of toe-nails
Sturdy enough to be reaped
And lifted into storage silos.


It’s the bad dreams that meat-cut through
the  neck of sleep. Again, there’s blood
on your hands from your torn and stretched
fingers. The branch you are holding is weakening;
the roots of the aspen tug out braids of earth,
dislodge grass and begin to lift and shift stone.
Unable to move, you hang
like a weight.

The nightmare now takes you.
You say a prayer to anywhere. Once more,
you hear a voice but there are no words
meant for you. In the real world no one
is listening; in the real world no one
is breathing.

*John Vaughan went to an evening class in 2003 on writing, re-discovered Poetry, took a Creative Writing degree at the former Norwich School of Art and Design 2005-08, and admits that he has caught the 'poetry bug'. Enjoys writing.

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Ben Macnair is looking at an empty chair

The Empty Chair

Dust gathers in unexpected spaces,
in the groove left by the impatient
drumming of your fingers,
waiting for nothing to happen, again.

Dust gathers in the silence of the open door,
never to be filled by your presence,
the library that stored your experience,
and your learning is shut, the key has been thrown away.

Shadows threaten the reverie,
they highlight the difference between now,
and that which will never be,
between fiction and fact,
and the stages of life,
in which you will always be present,
but only in bittersweet memories.

Your absence,
is never more present,
than in your empty chair.

* Ben Macnair
was born in 1976 in Nottingham, and now resides in Staffordshire. He
has been writing creatively on and off for the last four or five years.
His poetry has appeared in Purple Patch, Raw Edge and various other print publications and websites.

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Sheila Hamilton is living in the moment


    The street.


    A bird lands on the fuchsia bush.
    A black cat strolls.

    A man is knocking
    at the red door opposite.

    Elsewhere, dusty roadsides
    are exploding at vehicles.

    Someone calls out something
    we can't quite hear.

    The bird flutters
    like a mad heart

* Sheila Hamilton is a poet and occasional reviewer. She lives with her family, which includes cats, on the Wirral.

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Gill McEvoy is surviving




You should get your hair cut, mother,

it doesn’t suit your face like that.


They’re right, I know,


but I have seen my

riding on my neck


bold and bald as a


When the first faint
fleece grew back

I threw away the hats


and let it grow.


Daughters, I do not
need it cut

to know how hair can

* Gill McEvoy has two pamphlets to her name: Uncertain Days (2006) and A Sampler (2008) both from HappenStance Press. And her first full collection The Plucking Shed (2010) is available now from Cinnamon Press.

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Conor Ebbs is watching waterfalls

Weeping Waterfalls

Braided streams of smoky sand
Dance in time by the water’s edge
Hissing as they pass
Dressing my feet.
Cascading cliffs yield their stocks
Weeping waterfalls of mist and stone
Unveiling the future
With past designs.

* Conor Ebbs says “I've been in a tryst with words and music since I can remember. It's often a rocky relationship. I hail from Dublin, Ireland.”

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New flash fiction by John Sheirer

Mr. Boots

The last thing Bruce wanted to do while driving though upstate New York was stop at the highway rest area – but he had to. He brought in a book, locked the door, and sat down.

After a moment, someone came in and sat in the next stall. The new neighbor was wearing huge work boots that must have been about size sixteen, so Bruce named him “Mr. Boots.” After a moment, the man began whispering very softly. Bruce couldn't tell if he was whispering to him or himself or someone else. Bruce couldn't make out any of the words. He wasn't even sure they actually were words.

Then Bruce heard a strange crinkling sound, followed by repeated crunching and more crinkling. He was confused for about half a minute, but then it hit him. Mr. Boots was eating chips while sitting on a public toilet.

Without warning, a chip fell to the floor and skittered a couple inches into Bruce's stall. It was one of those curlicue corn chips that Bruce really liked, salty and satisfying.

They both sat in silence for a long ten seconds.

Finally, Mr. Boots asked, “Are you going to eat that?” in a clear, intelligent, almost refined voice.

“No thank you,” Bruce replied.

“Okay,” Mr. Boots said, and he reached down to pluck the chip from the floor with a large, clean, well-manicured hand. The hand and the chip disappeared from Bruce's view, moving upward.

A fraction of a second later, he heard the crunch.

* John Sheirer lives in one of the last sane states in American (Massachusetts) and teaches in another (Connecticut). His most recent book is Loop Year and he can be found at

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