Rails snake over the snow to some
distant point in op-arctic strokes;
narrow, neglected ledges are now bright diagonals
framing buildings, fixing whole
backdrops of dull brick in relief.
Dumps, coal heaps are hidden and
all the long, industry stained line,
that oil-black to London track,
lies sheathed in virgin white.
Here images glimpsed are immediate
like impressions, lightly sketched.
Beside the tracks, traces of ochre
stroked by some Japanese sable
imply grasses newly implanted
and a factory’s a pendant between
two washes of different white –
a pearl on an imperial breast,
a majestic mound of Muscovite domes.
But in this aquatinted emptiness
it was not sky flakes that fell to
drape and bury an unbeautiful world.
They are not snow drifts there settled
in sharp elbows round the chimneys
making purple shadows on the sheer white
roofs. They are just rucks in the paper
for no snow fell. It was the pure paper
that surfaced and sucked clean
the multichrome mess, daubed by men.
So sense is transformed in the suburbs,
but in the city the very surface
of the paper is so pocked and pitted
that no whiteness can ever emerge.
Snow here is churned like ash in the sugar.
like windscreen glass it litters the walk.
Here the permanent deep world of the grey
neither snow, time nor imagination changes.
David Perman lives in Ware, Hertfordshire, and has had two collections published – the latest, Scrap-Iron Words (2014) from Acumen Publications. He was a joint founder of Ware Poets and is the publisher of Rockingham Press. Twitter @david_permanRead More
Sometimes a Woman
Sometimes a woman
leaves a man
for another man
or just leaves.
Sometimes a woman
leaves a man
by staying with him
after saying something
he can’t forget
though she has no idea
what she may have said
that makes him forget
she is still here
not at the North Pole
where he thinks she is
barking with seals.
Donal Mahoney has had poetry, fiction and non-fiction published in print and online in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some of his work can be found here on : his websiteRead More
after Liz Berry
Hot, the rhythm of our exhalations is a pigeon flock
disturbed. Without reference, my dialect is unplaced
so swap me your snicket for a cut and I’ll lend you
my bones like brittle spires, help you find a direction.
We could use the maps held in our heads unknowingly
overlapping, with hard-traced line and contentious
boundaries. But the truth is I would rather be left here
in the heart of it—an aftermath, unbridled, bare-hoofed,
growing feral in the fret. You’ll feel it on the margins
of the Lee, how our friction gets kneaded in and out.
Zelda Chappel writes, often on the backs of things. Her work can be found in several publications both online and in print including Popshot, Obsessed with Pipework, Lampeter Review, HARK and The Interpreters House. Her debut collection, The Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat was released in July 2015 from Bare Fiction. She tweets, sometimes a little too often as @ZeldaChappelRead More
Horses of Construction
the black pony
drives hooves fast into red ground,
resists the pull.
In the fruit garden, every tree is in a row
and bowed low with stone fruit.
Beyond velvet plums and fizzy moon
along the dark wall
small Shetlands are espaliered head to tail on the top wire,
foreheads lowered, docile, blinking;
some with bulging skulls like embryos on a stave.
They look patient.
It seems inevitable.
My bent body screams no sound.
On the river path
a black mare grinds forward,
reined in close against the high wall,
led by the bit from above.
A wide blinker crosses from outside eye to brick,
so she sees no river.
She sees nothing
are each one different.
They grab her into
of red and yellow,
each scene newly thrown, like gravel,
at each blink,
The edge of the old clay pit
hosts biting stonecrop
They push through stone,
laugh over banks, and
where a mare drinks
deep from silt-water,
her face reflected cloudy red.
Fianna (Fiona Russell Dodwell) is from Fife and lives in the Fens. She has had poems published in IS&T, I am not a silent poet and Three drops from a cauldron.Read More
At Ernestine’s instead of the funeral
Two black trees
a pair of charred hands
hiding the bungalow’s pebble face.
Ernestine in the doorway.
Inside, my eye catches her step
as she kicks off teal slippers:
dead spider a brown bow
stuck to her bare sole.
She brings me a beaker of juice,
a party plate full of Hula Hoops.
A fierce log fire licks dry
my blurry eyes.
Sarah Sibley currently lives in King’s Lynn and works as a freelance copy editor. Her first pamphlet The Withering Room is available from Green Bottle Press. Twitter: @sibley_sarah)
NB: A version of this was first published in Obsessed with Pipework, Issue 65 (2014)Read More
65 in a 30
Wind pulls at what’s left
of my hair, as we hurtle across
the interstellar blackness
of the Niagara River.
Fools rush in to the lanes
in front of me,
reminders from God to
slow the hell down.
Toes kiss brakes, like
Icarus into the sea.
From the side window,
I look into a pale, slack-jawed
and witless countenance.
He returns my rage with
as if to say: “Wait!
I must slow this van to
almost full-stop as we corner.”
His martyred look says:
“It’s in memory of our
Lord, who only lets me
drive on Sundays.”
Alan Katerinsky is an assistant professor of Computer Security and Information Assurance at Hilbert College. He has had half a dozen stories and over thirty poems published in ArtVoice, HazMat Review, and other markets that mix upper case and lower case letters in the same word.Read More
Instructions for my Funeral
1. don’t you dare
like a scarf that doesn’t suit you.
it will be enough
having a broken pulse,
don’t break my heart too.
2. don’t let the priest
turn my memory
into a list of virtues. bring me to the beach,
tell the waves about my clumsiness,
about my fingers
scarred from nervous habits.
3. don’t worry
about being formal. i never was.
i’d rather you wear
my favourite cerulean shirt,
get up and sing
like we did in the car.
4. don’t layer death
on top of me.
don’t steal winter from Hades.
hell is cold. i was always
a summer girl.
Alessia Galatini comes from Italy and lives in London, although her mind is constantly wandering. She makes it her task to find poetry in the unexpected – she will write a lot about the world, sometimes as it is, sometimes as it should be. Twitter: @AlessiaGalatiniRead More