Rosie Johnston

 
*

They lie with the wild
honeysuckle,
dip their hair and toes in sunshine.

*

A sliver of time – her inhale,
his blink –
silence vibrates around them.

*

She holds both the clock’s hands, wrests
Time to a
stop, while he rests in her arms.

*

The longest minutes of her life:
between
last contraction and first breath.

*

New moon watches her nuzzle her
baby’s head,
tells Time to leave them be.

*

In each lark’s heartbeat, each spider’s
stitch, each
baby’s blink, Time stretches, yawns.

 

 

 

 

Rosie Johnston’s three pamphlets (sequences of 17-syllable poems) have been published by Lapwing Publications in Belfast. She also writes fiction and journalism, facilitates writing groups in London and Cambridge and is Poet in Residence for the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust. www.rosie-johnston.com

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Noel Canin

 

 

 

Two Humming Birds

I phone the accountant,
answer emails, tidy the flat,
put papers away in the file
where they belong.

From my desk, I hear the birds
speaking their messages,
the neighbor putting away cups and plates
on the shelf where they belong.

Up north, two humming birds
dive past a friend’s open door.
Joy, she said, that means joy.

Here at my desk,
I listen to the birds
as they whistle on the air,
the trees as they creak
beyond the window screen,
and I think about things
and where it is that
they belong.

 

 

 

 

Noel Canin is a South African who has lived in Israel since 1968. She has two children and five grandchildren and currently lives in Herzeliya. In addition to writing poetry and prose, she is also a translator from Hebrew into English. Noel is a Reiki Master and works with people through healing and massage. She has also worked with special needs children through touch and movement.  She is training to be a Hakomi psychotherapist. Noel Canin’s first collection of poems, Let the Rain Listen For Me, was recently self-published by Xlibris. She has published extensively in Israel, the UK, and the USA.

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Herb Kauderer

 

 

Artifaction

His early days are so far gone that few
recall just what a troublemaking teen
became this hard and steady man.  They view
him only now, see only new routines.
Their iron expectations leave no doors
for his escape.  The past once nurtured him,
now he discards it.  Blindly, Mike ignores
once valued parts, his wildness and his whim.
Abandoning the layers of his past
but rooted in them, he is a little more
concealed each day, a hidden remnant cast
from fossilized bones of doubted lore.
His new friends see no change, perceive no fall.
And Mike, now solid, does not see at all.

 

 

 

Herb Kauderer is an associate professor of English at Hilbert College, and is the author of about a thousand poems including eight chapbooks, some of which are available at:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/search?query=kauderer

 

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A sequence by Runa Svetlikova, translated by Willem Groenewegen

 

 

Our padded white rooms

 

I am
In a room I’ve built myself
Four straight walls
One floor
One ceiling
And day after day, I wake up feeling
Day after day, I wake up feeling, feeling

Potentially lovely
Perpetually human
Suspended and open

Regina Spektor, ‘Open’

 

 

Birdie

A dead bird lives here
in a box of threadbare shoes.

It doesn’t take its last breath here
but keeps heaving, up and down.

Here that tangle
curled about that russet tongue
through the gullet right into that stomach
has not yet been seen

Here you haven’t pulled at anything
there’s nothing bleeding,
bare skin that is far from going cold.

 

 

Care

Guard it in a cage of fingers.
Warm it with your breath.
Fold its wings.
Carry it through the day in a box.
Let it sleep.

Watch it gasp for air
with shoulders raised.
Caress it and then close the box.

Tomorrow it will be colder
smooth out all goose bumps with a kiss
wake it with a breath and carry it along.

 

 

Habitat

It resides in pictures and a tea set
in the dog that died.

It resides in taking chronic detours
on your way to anywhere.

It resides in little white pills
in taking them so you can take it
till it all dissolves.

We all gasp for air
in our padded white rooms.

 

 

Classification

It’s a festering pin feather
the maniacal licking of dry lips
the endless pouting.

It’s the insatiable drinking
the boorish bellow of laughter.
The shivering in the bath.

It’s the shapeless prayer
said in front of every altar, any god
it’s the unshaken heretic.

It’s everything you once forgot or lost, destroyed
the blessed body in your grave.

 

 

Conception

We tripped over the edge, were pushed
we let go tried to save ourselves.

The perps are at their best when you love them
the love that gnaws its way in
like semen does into an egg. Revolt

will only hurt ourselves. There is no black and white
we flutter with clipped stumps it’s just conception.

There are no victims.
There is no perpetrator.
There is just posterity.

 

 

Gestation

Fold in on yourself with your head
beneath the blanket. Rock to and fro.

Take in your own breath. You are
a naked bird in its hermetic nest.

Think. Think. Sleep.

Get up. Walk. Your arms are free now.
It carries itself. Carry yourself

closer to me. Carry yourself out of your body
and totter into me.

 

 

 

Runa Svetlikova (1982) is a poet, writer, student and visual artist. Her debut Deze zachte witte kamer (2014; These Padded White Rooms, Marmer Publ. Netherlands) won the Herman De Coninck Debut Prize in Belgium in 2015.

 

Willem Groenewegen (1971) has been translating Dutch-language poetry since the late 90s. Work published with Arc Publications, Shearman, Seren. Rutger Kopland selection (Dublin: Waxwing Poems) shortlisted for Popescu Prize in 2007. www.willem-groenewegen.nl

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Bud Faust

 

 

Drinking electricity

Next door,
the light from a television
through the window,
always the light
from a television
and nothing more,
no sign of anything that
isn’t drinking electricity
or running on battery acid
and brake fluid,
no sign of the
good earth stuff,
no sign that anyone is
ever one step closer
to heaven,
no sign
that any of us
should expect
anything approaching more,
not anytime soon.

You can have this one
for free,
on the house,
the one that’s glowing blue,
spitting in the face
of an otherwise
beautiful night
that could not
care less about
the creatures below.

And the channel
never
ever
changes.

 

 

 

 

Bud Faust is a writer, poet and playwright from New Orleans, Louisiana.  Website: https://budfaust.wordpress.com/

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Frank C. Praeger

 

 

 

The Long Walks

Now that the rains of August have passed
there are the long walks into autumn,
the even longer leavetakings with the dead,
the ever lengthening shadows,
the unimaginable apotheoses of late flowering plants,
the off and on worrying over winter, over did I forget,
the downward tendency to tomorrow,
and, for now, fictive inextricable solace in the now and then
distant and haunting while, yet, indifferent
sound of a solitary and what might
possibly be
the season’s last cricket.

 

 

 

Frank C. Praeger is a retired biologist who lives in the Keweenaw which is a peninsula that juts out from the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into Lake Superior.  His poetry has appeared in various journals in both UK and USA.

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Pete Goodrum

 

 

 

Lonely Train

Sat, on a train,
I watch my reflection in the glass.
Because that’s what everybody does
in a train poem.

Unless they’re looking at the girl
in the opposite seat.
They do that to wonder where she’s going
and ponder on how they’ll never see her again.

She’s always reading a book.

My reflection disappears
because it’s broad daylight.
There is no girl either. Nor book.

So, because I’m in a train poem I should
stare out at the people and their patios,
and their plastic chairs and pointless lives.

But we’re in open country.

Of course I could see a girl.
Perhaps the one who isn’t on my train and therefore not in my poem.
She’s the train poem person who is in her upstairs window
and I’m supposed to ponder on how I’ll never see her again.

Which is a pain
because in train poems she’s usually naked.

Missing all these essential railway poem people and plots
I stare  pointlessly out
with no reflection. Except I reflect on
my astonishment at the speed
of the hurtling bird
keeping pace with my rolling  carriage.

I smile. Pointlessly, because no wry reflected image smiles back.
I feel an extra sadness
as I realise that
the bird’s not there either.
It’s a mark on the window.

 

 

 

Pete Goodrum is a Norwich based freelance writer and broadcaster. A committee member of Cafe Writers, Pete writes for magazines, a range of commercial clients and has four best selling  books of local history to his name. He broadcasts on radio and tv.

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