outside the supermarket
through the sliding doors
I see a friend recently
returned from retreat.
In that momentary flash
it is not his face I see
but a still bright light
body halo, silver white
with shopping trolley.
Stepping forward, I dismiss
the ridiculous –
civil servants don’t see auras.
Kathy Gee started writing creatively (but secretly) in 2007, joined the Worcestershire Stanza in 2011, and has since had poems accepted by various magazines and anthologies. Her blog WordString is an experimental vehicle for occasional video poems.
The Infant’s Faith
When I was a child my mother told me
that clouds were angels sailing in the sky.
Like Nordic ships upon a sapphire sea
they voyaged into the unknown, endlessly.
It followed then that God was sunlight, freed
in its blinding beauty, or else distilled
in fleecewarm, soldery scoops of creamy cloud,
striking the city’s minarets with gold.
I believe in believing. I believe
in that sky so truly endless, where no wind
obscures a heaven that’s no more given to deceive
than it is less real for having been imagined.
Jim Newcombe was born in Derby in 1976 and now lives in Chiswick, West London. He is currently involved in recording a Librivox audio anthology of the work of the English visionary William Blake. He has had work published in Staple, Poetry Nottingham, Tears in the Fence, The Bohemian Aesthetic, Shot Glass Journal, The Poetry Box, Mobius, The Stone & Star and The Recusant.
Plotting for Kisses
The girl from up the stairs is plotting for kisses.
While making her lips taste of tea leaves before painting them,
she collects the stormy weather to darken her light eyes with.
The girl leans back and turns her hand into a piece of art,
or a photograph of two lovers.
She slips inside of stained glass and roams through dusk
in shades of purple, blue, and milky white angel wings.
She casts aside her identity for just a few hours
and pretends that she is anyone you want her to be,
while never changing her smile.
You can hold onto her, around the slender waist,
but only with a grip as weak as autumn light,
before she passes back out into the night,
swooning into the pages of history books,
like all good stereotypes.
James Cramphorn was born in Southampton and currently lives in York, studying English Literature and Creative Writing at York St John University. His poetry has been featured in York St John’s Create festival, during Create 11 and Create 12.Read More
In the first turn
of the stubby little pencil sharpener
is a reminder for next door
To keep an eye
out for a missing cat
and can they water the tomato plants
A second turn
and the paper thin shaving
A third turn
and there’s a new word
that would beat all known scores
The rousing blade
to the point of the matter
The last twist
is a sealed bond
containing all that you need to know
Gareth Writer-Davies, gardener living in Letchworth. Over last couple of years, after a girlfriend told him to get serious, he has been widely published. In 2012 shortlisted for Erbacce Prize and Highly Commended for Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize.Read More
It was dark and he pointed at the street. ‘There is frozen?’, the guy said in an accent. Hungarian or something. I said yes, the street was probably frozen.
‘But I cannot see ice’ he said, ‘How can you know there is ice?’
I said that you just had to expect it, in this cold. You had to expect ice this time of year. The dog pulled at the lead, my husband’s dog. If the dog was pulling at the lead it must have been cold.
‘I need to be careful, right?’ the guy added, smiling and pulling his collar to his throat, ‘The ice cannot always be seen here.’
Rich Fox is from Shropshire. He has had poems published in several collections for Poetry Now, commentary published in layoutmagazine.net , and self-published ghost stories. Some of his work can be found at theuprightman.blogspot.co.uk . He is currently doing an MA in European Literature at University of Bristol.Read More
If this flat were the one and the chain held
and if we fell for ‘String’ by Farrow & Ball –
or ‘Cat’s Paw’, ‘Joa’s White’ or whatever it’s called –
would we strip the ceiling rose and walls,
sweep up dead scraps in a cloud of distemper,
prop coffee cups and lean on ladders feeling
pride in our sense of authenticity, moreover
if you popped the lids off tins revealing
the perfect shade of beige to answer prayers
and if I asked with which hand would you hold
the roller, would you mime the action, pause
to admire this period apartment we’d been sold,
then, changing sides, consider which was best
in mirror-image before pronouncing ‘left’?
Robin Houghton is a communications consultant, trainer and writer. Her work has appeared in many magazines including The Rialto, Agenda, The North, Iota, Poetry News, Mslexia and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She blogs at http://www.poetgal.co.uk
In memoriam Kurt Waldheim*
Small world, what, Excellency? We shall not shake hands.
I do not care how you manage to live with the murder of children
among the conquered women and spoilt vineyards and olivegroves
back in the Balkans, back in your youth: that is your affair.
But what you have done, to me and my world, that’s mine.
At last, our final meeting. You were an obedient officer
ordered to make a corpse of me, perforce a small one.
I have survived the mayhem to make a poem of you.
I am more generous than you and far more consistent.
Old soldiers like you in public life can still be of use.
Admit the past for the sake of the future, and go in peace
at the mercy of your smouldering, sordid, meandering memories.
Or dare to persist in denying the truth and the value of life,
pretend that nothing occurred to stir your attention,
and I promise you will never escape the stench of corpses:
for I will record your name as well as the crimes
from which you say you averted your indifferent eyes,
in tales of horror to be recounted throughout the ages
till the end of the march of innocent future generations
to weigh up anew, again and again, and recoil from your life.
Thomas Ország-Land a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent. His books include eight collections of verse in many editions. The Survivors: Holocaust Poetry for Our Time, will be published by Smokestack in 2014.
*Kurt Waldheim, (1918-2007), former president of Austria, secretary-general of the United Nations and intelligence officer of Hitler’s Wehrmacht, who died peacefully days after publicly repenting his silence over the atrocities.
House on a cliff
The little wooden house
peers over the edge, at
generations of his owners
inching forward. A premonition
of fence tips, broken teeth in
free fall white foam and roar.
He spies his future, rhododendron
roots and cats bones that kneel
at the foot of nothing. He
stares, fractured eyes look at
grey sky. Diving forward, the
foundations, precarious, roll
to salt. He holds his breath.
Jennie Owen is an experienced University Lecturer in Creative writing, she is also a Senior Editor for The Blackmarket Review on-line journal. A member of Skelmersdale Writers, she is a proudly dyslexic, long time writer and lover of poetry.