Alice Harrison

 

 

Reunion

There are no shrieks of recognition.
Skiddaw outside the window is the least changed
though it changed with the weather then.

Gradually the faces fit the names;
last seen on the brink of womanhood,
the bodies never could.

Voices are the key:
timbre, intonation and rhythm are the same,
if accents have softened.

No one is famous or rich.
Most seem content. One has got religion.
Several always had it.

Talk is of our children’s lives
as if ours are no longer relevant,
as if we’ve stood aside.

Fifties girls in our fifties,
we have sedate lives and sedate bodies.
All tumult is past or ahead.

We pass round photographs
of ourselves then; eager, good girls
who wrote home regularly.

We remember the clothes we wore,
the way we did our hair, the boys we knew,
and absent friends.

As talk, dinner, wine and time
pass,  the years reverse and redisclose
the dreamer, the wit, the swot.

We become the girls we were
and are shocked at sight of the old men
who arrive to drive us home.

 

 

Alice Harrison is a retired teacher living in Rhyl. She began writing seriously when she joined the Open University Poets in 1992. Her poems have appeared in several magazines.

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Jed Myers

 

 

 

Poems in Bed

 …the darkness around us is deep.
—William Stafford

Winter’s close—light’s low and brief.
The body’s slow heft slumps
in the early dark toward sleep.

I resist, propped up steep
on a barricade of pillows, reading
poems. It’s a solo siege.

Big blinks to keep awake—
to drift unconscious is to cease.
To close the eyes, to not exist.

Dark equals cold in this
geography of loneliness.
It’s true enough across the earth.

Time for the anthology of rhyme.
I mutter to the rhythm of a dead man’s
breath—someone alive here whispers

Let’s try something else. I think
I’ll pick up my notebook and pen
from the floor by the bed where they fell

before I slipped deep last night
despite the lamp—I’ll write
some thoughtless lines. All I’ve got

in mind is the distance of the sun,
how its zenith heat’s forgotten
and the woman who slept here is gone

south where it’s warm. I’ll write that.
She’d hold her hands to a candle
in a restaurant. It’s closer to dawn.

 

 

Jed Myers lives in Seattle, Washington. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, qarrtsiluni, Atlanta Review, Quiddity, Palooka, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Rose Alley Press anthology Many Trails to the Summit, and elsewhere.

 

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Melissa Collin

 

 

 

Woven In

i.
Once my head was off
a new house was needed,
as though the stones had blood
so soaked into their porous,
gritty hearts that no water
could wash them clean.

The pond fills slowly;
it rains so rarely. The weed
waits, with the one shark-eyed
pike in the shallows. Men
build slowly, stone by stone,
until the roof shines in its

dull, red brilliance;
fakey turrets crowing in
fat glory over the dry moat.
They are a bold bunch.
The wainscotting is shined
to a rich red sheen.

ii.
In another country women stitch,
between sharp white wings,
at raw canvas; threads coloured
with saffron, spinach, beetles’ blood;
shape face after face.
I get myself in there, somehow,

with some  sleight of hand.
They said I was a witch.
At night I step down, taking with me
my newly stitched head that is wiser
than my old one. Corporeally,
I walk their halls, feet ringing.

 

 

Melissa Collin is originally from Manchester and lives on the North Norfolk coast. She studied Cultural Studies at NUCA and has worked in the book trade and as an editor. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals. Twitter ID @melissacollin seaislighterthanthesky.blogspot.co.uk

 

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Joseph R. Clarke

 

 

§

Angel, the morning after heroin first time. I was your boy.
Once, we were Gods ignoring each other. Rats come out
The back of dim wood lacquered mantle-piece. Sweat drips

On the sleeve notes of hoi-polloi zeitgeist poet who finds
Sirens in bluebirds’ song & only owns a bin-bag full of postcards.
We all feel as bad as each other so who doesn’t want

Saturday night to end. As I wake up in the shower,
I am ten different People; I am Dean Moriaty.
I am the kid that got bullied at school. I am Fred Dibnah.

I am Pablo Picasso. I am Pete Doherty. I am Norman Crabtree
I am William McGonagall. I am Rembrandt Clarke. I am not
Doing very well. I am a bad Simon Armitage Impersonator but

Can also do a mean Elvis Presley. Then last of all, I am me
With nothing but the want of the axis of your body, undressed,
When eyes blink burn light blinking truth, just like an angel

 

 

Joseph R. Clarke Is A Poet. Poems he has written have appeared on t’internet, anthologies, sewn into the back of bus seats & recently appeared in Burning Eye Books Anthology of Alternative Young Poets, Rhyming Thunder. In his spare time he is an amateur hermit.

 

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Eric G. Müller

 

 

4’33”
(In honor of John Cage’s centennial –1912 – 1992)

He climbed up the stairs and said – No more.  Sinking into the sofa he wired himself to his iPod, thumbed for the track 4’33” of silence, shut his eyes and listened.  Within a minute he pulled out the white ear buds and shifted over to the piano, determined to play the entire piece himself – all three movements.

Palpitations punched against unwelcome thoughts during the first 30 seconds. Toward the end of the 2’ 23” middle movement his breathing and pulse steadied and he surfed through a lazuli tunnel.  The illusory peace parted in the last 40 seconds, when graphic images of his flame-turn-femme-fatale sucked him into Charybdis’ gullet, spitting him out in gut-grime rage.

Foiled, he slammed the piano lid shut, jumped up and kicked the stepladder that led to the attic where he hid his past and kept his future caged.  The rickety ladder crashed onto his guitar.  With a yelp he snatched his old Epiphone and sat on the sofa to inspect – just a dent, no cracks.  Relieved, he again set the timer of his iPod stopwatch.

Hugging his guitar he settled into silence, this time playing it as one instead of three movements.  Everybody needs their 4’33” of silence, he thought – a time to reach out into a freed space of nothing.  Halfway through his cell phone erupted with Radiohead’s “Creep” ringtone.  Unable to ignore the techno-nymph he put the six strings back on the stand and silenced his cell, growling at the unwanted caller – the one he’d love to stick in the attic and stuff into a box, together with all the diaries, letters, photos and vinyl albums.

Walking over to the French window, he blew a vapor heart on the glass, and cut a cross through it with his tongue.  The cold of the pane calmed him.  Can’t be that difficult, he thought.  Let’s try drumming.  He set the timer for a third attempt, jammed his djembe between his knees and began.

After seven seconds Merce, his beagle, scratched against the front door, needing to pee in the garden; the squirrel with the split ear started raiding the bird feeder; and after 2’54” he suddenly remembered the appointment he should be at. From nowhere a great line for a poem flashed up which would evaporate if he didn’t write it down immediately; thick raindrops plodded on the deck, and the washing needed to be brought in.

Undeterred he played on, drumming in perfect silence, eyes closed, accepting the moment and its peripheral sounds, letting them go – letting it all go, releasing his remorse and freeing his fears, his need to control.  He forgave her and wrapped her up in his warm hush.  All sounds ceased.  He’d made it through the 4’33”.  Space was transformed and stillness resounded.  It needs practice – daily.  He felt un-caged.

Eric G. Müller is a musician, teacher and writer living in upstate New York.  He has written two novels, Rites of Rock (Adonis Press 2005) and Meet Me at the Met (Plain View Press, 2010), as well as a collection of poetry, Coffee on the Piano for You (Adonis Press, 2008).  Articles, short stories and poetry have appeared in many journals and magazines.www.ericgmuller.com  

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Chris Guidon

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Guidon is a confessional artist and poet from Kidderminster. Like a snake he needs sunshine to live.

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Julia O’Brien

 

 

 

Sometimes when I miss you

 

I buy bananas

and I don’t mind if they’re unripe and stick

to the roof of my mouth.  I picture you – empty

purse in one hand, birthday bunch for mother

in the other – smack against a father raging

at your injudicious purchase; the imprudence

of your short-term thinking; the criminal waste.

The story was only of the judge’s fury.

 

I never thought to ask who tasted the exotic fruits,

how they looked (what shade of yellow, for example)

and whether they were sweet or puffy dry?

Was each one shared?  Did you eke them out

because of him until the last was shrivelled,

dark and weeping in a corner of your kitchen?

 

(Published in 14 Magazine, Issue 13, Spring 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

Following careers as a copy editor, juggler and woodcarver, Julia O’Brien relishes her new work as a casual library assistant in Lewes and nearby seaside towns. She has an MA in Creative Writing & Personal Development from Sussex University.

 

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