A grey Huddle descends:
Hilda and Beryl roll the tide forwards
Although the wave is
sedate and unsure
Chris grabs Ben’s hand
off to the side
needing a friend
Bernie thinks there’s something stuck
to Joe’s right foot
Should he tell him?
He remembers when he had cheek
Head up, face front
Quietness is power, see and be seen
Loneliness rattles in his pocket
They departed the rural climbs
for an urban descent
leaving and arriving the same day
Parted hair unruffled from
the stuffy train
Names on luggage tags
swing from necks uncreased from age or sleep
un-morgued bodies labelled
From scuffed knee, to long sock
from satchel to carrier bag
They smell of the unknown
Its dust drifts from blazers
lingers, and fogs the air
They journey and arrive
Letting go of Mum’s hand
holding a strangers name
In 2010 Emma McCourty‘s chapbook; Everynothing, was published by knives Forks and Spoons Press. In 2013 one of her poems ‘A view from the Top’ was published in the Sculpted anthology by Northwest Poets.Read More
This is the tragedy
of enduring many loves,
that we give away
valuable pieces of ourselves
to unworthy people.
And in time
we have so little left
to give away
has starved to death.
Herb Kauderer is an associate professor of English at Hilbert College. He has had over 1000 poems published including ten books of poetry. Details are available at: HerbKauderer.comRead More
A fault line down a white washed wall.
The corner of the mirror. Beads;
beryl, turquoise, topaz, jade.
Late summer hums, power lines hiss,
rotting stems seep their stagnant stench.
In the street, a car stutters to start.
Somewhere, a child shouts
and a pigeon, startled,
flaps its wings, flutters the curtains,
sends in a breeze. A runnel of sweat
runs down my back between shoulder blades,
over the lumbar curve to sacrum and coxis.
Her fingers thumb my flesh,
The weight of water drops
like a rush of hot piss.
Heavy as lead I lumber to the bed
sink down to all fours, belly grazing
the covers, ready to be empty.
Then a shift, a slippage,
mottled hands guide mine;
underneath, a cup, a head.
Helen Goldsmith lives in Brittany, France. She writes poetry and prose and has work published online and in print with Mothers Milk Books.Read More
you have to eat
she cries if i do not eat
so i eat the breakfast
i eat the clouds, i eat my words
letter by letter
scooped with gravy onto a knife.
i eat a sandwich she’s prepared
and the plate.
i eat some lunch.
in the evening
we eat a chicken together
and i eat the local paper and the stars
slowly chomp the stories about
a newsagent and a sex scandal.
i eat an ice cream
and i eat through time
chewing it like an awkward baguette.
some supper appears
during ‘the apprentice’.
then i eat the night with chopsticks
but there is so much of it i swap them for
too full to sleep i lie awake
and eat the tears
one by one
as they crawl under the door.
Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams lives and works in London. His poetry has recently appeared in The North, Magma, The Frogmore Papers, South Poetry and other magazines. He is a keen surrealist photographer and painter.Read More
The Stones of Jerusalem
Arrival & Departure
Oblivious to his grandson – a gift! –
absorbed in a birthday book,
my timorous brother lifted his eyes
to the Mediterranean sky.
The stench of burning human flesh
eternally clung to his own.
Persistent hunger whipped him crazy.
The death he’d escaped filled his life.
He clenched and raised his fist towards
a distant, friendly sky:
For Your own sake, my Lord, I take,
I take… You do not exist.
My father taught me to die,
when I must, like a human being.
My mother taught me to trust
and sing like a human being.
And a boy and a king, alone
with a stone, a sling and a harp
has left me the chutzpah to try
to hone and sharpen and fling
each thought and word and line
beyond the confines of time
that bind a human being.
A Feast in the Garden
– For George Konrád
Worried, what with his women and walls and wealth,
poor Solomon wisely bade a scribe to describe
the lofty lifting – like the sun – of depression.
A bestseller from the past!… well worth a review.
A wretched start: There’s nothing new under the sun.
The women are fickle. The flowers bow to every wind.
The men are tyrants or servants or fools, and even
I might die – outrageously under the sun.
…Even the women will, and the flowers, and you.
These walls might crumble in time. We must return
into being dust or rain or hillside or thunder,
whatever our desires under the sun.
How dreadful. Still, this hour is mine, while it lasts,
enough to complete my poem among the flowers
rejoicing in my loves and our never recurring
lives as human beings under the sun.
At the Press Club
You’re here to feed your pension and tension.
I’m chasing a soaring bird – the truth.
We are not even friendly rivals.
I covet neither your fancy title
nor your impressive, official hat.
I am a writer. I couldn’t be more
than that… though I could be, I could be, less.
Thomas Ország-Land is a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent who writes from Jerusalem and London as well as his native Budapest. His last book was Survivors: Hungarian Jewish Poets of the Holocaust(Smokestack/England, 2014), and his last E-chapbook, Reading for Rush Hour: A Pamphlet in Praise of Passion(Snakeskin/England, 2016).Read More
He was a reassembly job. A fixer-upper. A jigsaw puzzle. At first I tried with stitches while he slept; my mother had taught me how to sew when I was a little girl and I knew all the different patterns but none of them held. He shuffled free from the sheets beside me each morning looking like a man but, by the time he came home, his heavy shoes had torn his ankles, his helmet, lopsided, perching on the semblance of his head, had ripped loose my careful backstitch.
His eyes were the hardest to fix. Every night, he took them out and left them by the side of the sink, not wanting to see anymore, and we lay in the dark, two strangers side by side, never touching, never speaking.
But I loved his eyes the best. They were like two deserts; full of stormy sand and reddened by the sun. I didn’t mind what they’d seen. I still remembered the first time they’d ever looked at me and filled me with some of that burning warmth. My mother was wrong in her tuition; sometimes cotton wasn’t thick enough to rebuild a man.
I went to classes that taught me how to plaster. It was hard at first not to let the sloppy paste cling to my arms but I worked at it until I could get it smooth and then, one by one, I plastered up the fissures that were tearing him apart.
One night, I stopped him from taking out his eyes. I eased the plaster deep inside the sockets and held him together in my arms until, at last, rain fell on those deserts and washed away all of the things that had made him crumble.
Amy Crosby lives on the south coast of England and has been scribbling away since a young age. Her work was featured in MUSED – the BellaOnline Literary Review and has won several local competitions.
One last goodbye to start
You board a plane set
into a bevel-edged hum of concrete;
it has spread its enormous metal wings
into the inkspill of this, your last
English night: damp chill
and dryskin hands like rustle-paper,
now you ‘taxi’ (how absurd
an expression when
the feeling is like
pressing into a world
whose red gravity switch
has been snapped at the wire)
down the path lit by lamps
whose sodium lights effervesce
in the early-morning muck
and the wind socks hang limp
as you draw a salt-hard blanket
around your foreign shoulders
and wish you had an aspirin
and think that in thirteen hours
you will be so near to the forest
your mouth and nose will fill
with green but for now, the world
is lifting away in squares
and the sodium lamps
are stretched in the curve
of your small window,
like arrowless bows
one after the other
after the other.
Aki Schilz is co-founder of the #LossLit Twitter project with Kit Caless, and co-editor of LossLit Magazine. Her poetry, flash fiction, short stories and creative non-fiction have been published in various magazines both online and in print. She tweets books, editing and publishing at @TLCUK, and micropoetry at @AkiSchilz.Read More