Barbara O’Donnell






Stacks of National Geographics

filled the wardrobe to my waist.

The dust inviting sneezes.

Misaligned yellow spines.

Careless visitors would toss

them back any old way.


My fingers would itch

to restore their rightful order.

Oh the itch, manifest many ways.

Persistent chafe of rashes,

result of childhood curiosities.

The itch where my wings should be.



Barbara O’Donnell was born in West Cork in 1975, and currently resides in London.  She works at a major London teaching hospital and writes in her spare time. Her blog can be found here:

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Ron Riekki




Panic Attacks


They’re like swallowing rust.

The tongue tries to be a shield,


but the bed explodes.  The best

bet is avoiding the avalanche


of thought by forcing a monk

mind set or—what I do—just


jumping off the cliff so I fall

sixty stories into something


that never seems to kill me.

Thank God . . . and all else.




Ron Riekki‘s books include U.P.: a novel, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book), and

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Charles Tarlton




I go to great pains to mask the agony. But the struggle is there. 

It’s the invisible enemy.

— Richard Diebenkorn



He made this image

(carved it and smoothed it over)

expressing it by marks


in his mind; wordly and unseen

as quickly written over, stretched into full words

and the marks only at first suggested


in his ear she’d whispered — “bird”

(but he wasn’t listening, did not hear)

and he flapped his wetted wings


The painted image is just that,

the thing painted, not some standing in.

An adequate description


would have to trace infinitesimal specifics

of length, width, and thickness,

pick a shade of color from the chart,


note granularity and sheen,

locate it with calipers on the canvas

alongside similar patterns not the same,


and on and on the never finished, never ending


and then to have just that repeated


because it’s nothing else.

When the painted image told a story

we could capture that


in words and sentences because

well, narrative is narrative;

but when the painted thing’s unrecognizable


what we call a splotch or blob,

oh, it’s tempting to define it

by his exertions painting it.




Charles Tarlton is retired from university teaching and has been writing tanka prose (and poetry more generally) full time since 2006. His wife, Ann Knickerbocker, ( is  an abstract painter and they and work in Northampton, Mass.



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Charlotte Eichler







Then, your quiet scrubbing shoulders

as bats fly past outside like broken plates.


I unpeel fish spines, scrape away the skin

and sticky flakes. Our lists are done,


the kitchen’s clean, but the cloying scent

of supper fills the air. Beneath the hiss


of steam, the kettle’s rattle, potatoes claw

inside the cupboards, cheese furs over


and lost scales still glint along the surfaces

in certain lights.



 Charlotte Eichler lives in West Yorkshire and has been published in various magazines, including The Rialto, Agenda and The Interpreter’s House. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2014. Twitter: @CLEichler




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Nick Power




All I Could Steal


From Bidston

to Belfast

I traced the line of you:


Said my goodbyes

despite the gale,

imagined your head, bobbing with

the current

through secret

shippingforecast zones

as my heart grabbed at imaginary


that trailed helplessly

through the moss-


felt the tome of the sea

as it lashed its pages

against my carbine.


I thought that I might cry then,


in the salt wind


and so broke the seal on a bottle of


to drown the lump

in my throat.


Drunk, I stumbled home through

Cammell Laird’s

and felt spite

stirring in the spine

of my tongue-


I taunted all the ghosts, and sang

to them:


‘When the big ship sails on the alley-






Nick Power has recently had perfect-bound book Small Town Chase published by erbacce-press, and is in the process of writing a new collection. He has  had poems published at M58, erbacce-press, The Camel Saloon, Boscome Revolution and Jarg Magazine.

He has worked with actors such as Maxine Peake and John Simm, and recorded their readings of poems from Small Town Chase. They are available to listen to here:



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Dan Stathers




The Burial


Spring arrived with a thud at the window

and the loose neck of a sudden corpse.

I found it in the mad sunshine, with eyes

snapped shut and wings tucked in;

a feathered grub plucked belly side up.

Its static talons clung stiff

to the breeze as I held its tiny weight

on my palm. Digging through

severed roots, I shored an only grave,

fit for a runt

and placed the prim body

at its cold end. I spilled the mound

over, to clog the pit,

inviting blind slitherers back

to pick down the carcass –

its restless heart still wet.

Now the daffs bow their heads

and the robin waits

on the wall,

keen to beak the turnings.









Dan Stathers is from Kingsbridge in South Devon. After studying creative writing at the Open University, Dan was awarded the William Hunter Sharpe Memorial Scholarship by The University of Edinburgh (for poetry). He likes football and Border Terriers.


This poem was first  published in Obsessed With Pipework, 2013

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Andrew Shields




Third-Person Effect


for Ben Detenber


Somebody’s wrong on the Internet, and everyone else

is grabbing a mouse to be sure to get in on the clicks.

Some guy in Johannesburg already knocked down his Coke and destroyed

his keyboard, but luckily not his computer. He looks at

his screen, and all he can do is stare at untruth while the phone’s

ringing the tech-support number. And now he’s on hold:

music he’s always despised is worming its wily way

into his brain. Can you hear it? He doesn’t have

an icicle’s chance in a Richtersveld summer. He’s lost to the music

that somebody else in Geneva can hear and ignore.

Natalie’s reading the page, and she’s changing her mind even though

her English has never improved as much as she’d like.

Maybe she wouldn’t be falling for lies she was reading in French.

From her apartment, she has a good view of the lake

except that this morning the fog is so thick she can barely see

the building going up on the other side of the street.

Her coffee is ready; she carries her cup to the window to think,

watching the shivering people below as they wait

for buses to take them to work, where they’ll turn on their screens and discover

that somebody on the Internet is wrong.




Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His first full-length collection, Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong, is being published by Eyewear in June 2015. Twitter: @ShieldsAndrew      Blog:

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