Steve De France

 

 

 

 

The Man in the Moon

 

I am watching the moon

when I bump into a man with just a mouth

in the middle of his face.

 

This mouth—grins—and asks for a light.

Is this some kind of a joke?  I ask.

 

He twists and opens his ancient mouth

into the shape of a waiting grave.

 

I stand looking into nothing.

 

I don’t know why or for what reason

but I suddenly recall a childhood

memory—a dream, or perhaps both.

 

I can’t be sure—maybe it is now I dream.

 

A dream of such pure white snow

it clings like a freezing shroud

to the windward side of a young girl’s face.

 

Passing me on the street she smiles

so sweet a smile—its memory & sweetness

has lasted all of my days.

 

“Have you a light?” the mouth demands.

 

My hand, under a broken street lamp,

trembles & the flame—ethereal—surges.

 

Just before everything goes dark

something funny happens to the moon.

It tilts at a crazy angle as the universe

pours through a rip in the sky.

 

 

 

Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 2002, 2003 & 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

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David Mark Williams

 

 

 

Shadow Child

 

What has that child been doing again?

Don’t tell me: snipping out shadows,

all shapes and sizes, making a mess.

 

No doubt there’ll be little silhouettes of us,

with our teeth and happiness obliterated.

Are we never to be spared this?

 

She hides herself away for hour after hour

while we wait for her to go off like a siren,

to publish herself, to show us up.

 

And that stare she gives me,

fixed on something beyond my shoulder.

What is it she’s so fascinated by?

 

As for how many times a day she washes herself

I lose count, the plughole clogged with shadows

I have to steel myself to deal with.

 

What has she to wash away?

It is beyond anything. If she only knew

what she was doing to us.

 

This obsession with shadows.

She finds them no matter how well hidden.

She flaunts them in our faces.

 

Worse than that, the journal she keeps

fat with shadows, sticking to every page.

To think her hands did this.

 

Her hands looming with shadows,

that flutter all around me

and will not be brushed away.

 

 

 

David Mark Williams has been published in several magazines including South, Envoi and Orbis.  His debut collection, The Odd Sock Exchange, will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2015.

 

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Lisa Oliver

 

 

 

The Melancholy of Final Pages

 

The aim is still the same,

reflect what it means to be human.

A tale, of ghosts past and present.

 

The voice was unmistakable,

this calculated rudeness feeding the cooked flesh,

a vehicle for rage irredeemably cursed.

 

Hatred does not always need excision,

enchanted with metaphor,

he cannot resist lurid detail.

 

The randomness of landscape

set in the present, infused

with archaic memories of a primitive age.

 

No-one is safe

in the shadow of the zone

of the Dead City.

 

My chest is sprung open

with arresting clarity

in the experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Oliver is a writer and tutor based in Cheshire.  She has an MA in Creative Writing from Keele University where she specialised in prose fiction. Lisa graduated with a new-found love and respect for poetry and is addicted to finding poetry in the everyday, the weird and the wonderful. lisajoliver.wordpress.com

 

 

Note:  Sentences and phrases found from The Guardian Review, 1 March 2014

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Fiona Sinclair

 

 

 A month’s trial…

 

Attempting to butch up your girly home,

you consign Marilyn cushions to the spare room,

replace boudoir duvets with dark covers.

Underwear entwining in ‘a big wash’,

your vegetarian trolley re-discovers

the meat counter at Tesco’s.

His’ You’re trying too hard’

is drowned out by the vacuum cleaner.

 

But after years of solitary living,

you long to replace your siren shift

with comfy leggings and Tee shirt,

stretching out in your bed like a cat before a fire.

Read a chapter on the loo

encouraging your coy bowels to poo

without anxious ‘Are you alright? ’up the stairs.

 

And when he blames village water for his unruly hair,

mock winces at your cheese grater towels,

will not exchange constitutional beach walk for bridle paths;

it becomes clear that you are some way off

handing in sea view keys

and adding his name to your rent book.

 

 

Fiona Sinclair reviews for numerous poetry magazines including IS&T and Happenstance. She is  the editor of the online poetry magazine Message in a Bottle. Hew second pamphlet A Game of Hide and Seek is out now from Indigo Dreams.

 

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Geoffrey Heptonstall

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere, a Lifetime Later

 

The song she sang by the half-open door,

One melody echoing in the public bar,

Or where geese gather.

And midsummer snow

Falls on hills’ horizon.

And the river is swollen

Into the island lanes,

As they were warned.

 

The birds that fly to the forest

Are the souls of lovers remembered.

They hear her singing

Beneath the moon of Araby.

 

 

 

Geoffrey Heptonstall contributed to previous editions in 2012 and 2013. He is a poetry reviewer for The London Magazine, and writes regular commentaries on politics and culture for Open Democracy. Recent creative work includes work with several fringe theatre companies, as well as a regular stock of poetry, fiction and essays.

 

 

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Mary Franklin

 

 

 

Crystal Ball

 

She polishes her crystal ball with Windolene

until it gleams.  A client has asked her

about someone – is he earthside or airside?

 

She guides her hands over the cobalt-blue surface.

Her long fingers laden with black nail varnish

explore like traffic grids on an inner-city map.

 

Scrying spirit-land she finds authenticity –

there on the banks of the River Lark

in Bury St Edmunds, the diamond pattern

 

of one of his Argyle socks emerges.  She stares

as he sips a pint of Old Speckled Hen

and sprinkles malt vinegar on his cod and chips.

 

 

 

Mary Franklin has had poems published in various journals, anthologies and ezines in UK, Canada, Australia and the USA.

 

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Raoul Izzard

 

 

 

Sabre

 

Budget jeans, and stubble,

a lean face more bone than meat

is all I remember of the grown-up

enigma in our dorm, reeking of serious,

stunted in manner, yet sure of himself.

Once in blossom, out came a failed

marriage, temper temper, domestic

violence. This mature student

who called himself Sabre, after the blade,

a veteran of the Falklands war,

lost our confidence and trust

on VE day when he, magician-like,

pulled out a house plant and called it therapy,

declared himself an alcoholic and

drank beyond his fill, falling

and knocking  his head on the table,

spilling his blood  like morse code,

a message that led to his den.

 

Weeks passed in which we heard

nothing. The door to his room was

locked,  the curtains pulled down.

Being the tidy one, the kitchen fell

into disrepair, dishes filled the sink,

and mould grew up to reach

its prime. Unnerved, by the chaos,

we broke into his room to find him

blacked out in the shadows by his bed,

so many plastic bottles and bags,

the pungent smell of the body’s pureness.

I wish I could say I did him good but when he

couldn’t walk I stocked  him right back up

with booze. He forgave everything but

that game  of Tenpin bowling.  Inebriated,

he couldn’t believe that anyone

could roll the ball so badly,

that I must have rigged it

so he would win the match

but all the mistakes were mine,

nothing was faked.

 

 

 

Raoul Izzard is a 37-year-old English teacher, dog owner, and plasticine animator living in Barcelona with his wonderful wife, Susana. He moved to the city in 2007 to do a teaching course and decided to stay. He can be found at Inklings and Devlings on WordPress.

 

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