Lesley Quayle

 

 

 

A Woman Who Writes

A woman who writes feels too much. Anne Sexton

There’s a price to pay,
always trying to outstare the sun and not go blind.
This handful of words, skin peeled from flesh,
spreads out like a stain, is the genie loosed from your heart.

You spotlight life or death
but the passion is never simple, you are as inward
and as outward as a maze, your voyages smash
against the stars or slip beneath rolling oceans.

It’s a strange house you live in,
not hostile, full of embryos and ghosts,
where men and children, food and dust,
the friendly, confessional company of women,
are not enough     –      are much too much.
Each day breaks over you with startling light,
nights clasp you in their shuddering dark.

You are chameleon, the invisible eavesdropper,
hearing the breath beneath whispers as bombs or choirs.
Fill your ears with lead, your mouth with salt,
cast out your eyes – you still feel too much.

 

 

 

Lesley Quayle is a prizewinning poet and a folk/blues singer currently living in Dorset. She has a collection (Sessions – Indigo Dreams) and a chapbook (Songs For Lesser Gods – erbacce) and is currently working on another collection and her first novel.

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Maxine Rose Munro

 

Moving On

Disjointed we sit amid boxes, you and I
lost in the tape and wrap of it all. New
life for us we had said. Our old life had
floundered, had stalled so soon after
birth we had not recognized the truth
till now. You make me coffee. Kettle
boils on bare boards, we drink it out
of washed out jam jars left on a shelf.
We joke it is avant-garde, funky, cool.
It is not. I wonder where to start to
begin to unpick our world. To bring
to light things we had covered over
in the rush, the need to be somewhere
else. Maybe I think I should leave it
boxed, become someone else without
baggage. Maybe I think there is hope.
But I think none of these things. Instead
I take your hand, lift you off the floor.
And together we open the first box.

 

Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. Her work has appeared in Sarasvati, Open Mouse and Obsessed With Pipework, among others. Find her here facebook.com/maxinerosemunro

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Cian Murphy

 

The Park

 

My grandfather told me of a crowd coming out of the Park

after a county final: how the crush was so great that he had

to brace one leg against the wall, hands flat on the concrete,

to guard my young father from the throng.

 

When we toast

him at Glen Rovers clubhouse, I think of this story, not the

parchment hands and caught breath of days in the Mercy.

 

 

Cian Murphy was born and raised in Cork and lives between London and Bristol where he teaches at university. His poetry has been published in Envoi.

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Rizwan Akhtar

 

Birds
for you

They scrape and bill for answers
I peck evenings for small words
finches and robins temper tones

They don’t flutter against my desires
Or rise from foggy halos
like sentences blurring intentions

only stare my doubts with little eyes
over ponds of petaled flowers
carrying conviction under feathers

a stripped choir of town’s winter
land on raven craggy earth
sank in scrimped necks

a milky whiteness of nude bodies—
clamp beaks against an urgent silence
of blue, red, and magenta quills

These birds I see cloister you
huddle like expressions
muted by long flights

They drop our histories
tied to footnotes, on vague wings.

 

 

 

Rizwan Akhtar works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his PhD in postcolonial literature from the University of Essex, UK in 2013. He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines of the UK, Wales, US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He has also done a 5 weeks workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010.

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Antony Owen

 

 

 

The Fencer

I had my hair cut by a man who spoke through scissors
he judged when my hair was short enough
this man was old but he made me tingle
perhaps I am gay because of this and
I like to fence olives in dirty martini’s.

I had my hair cut by a man who made my blood run cold
and I forgot to ask if he was gay in Daily Mail kind of way.
I had my hair cut and the scissors were gay scissors and blue.
It doesn’t matter that the blades were blue but fuck it they were gay.
Perhaps we should have shared a Martini and made it dirty,
ate brexit fish and chips from the mail and fenced with tongues.

 

 

 

Antony Owen was raised in the industrial heartland of Coventry which is a notable inspiration of his work. Owen is also a prolific writer on war poems and his fifth collection of poetry by V.Press will focus largely on the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This work was inspired by testimonies of atomic bomb survivors and years of research on the detritus of modern warfare on those caught up in it.

 

Note: After The Daily Mail headline: “The judges who blocked Brexit: One who founded a EUROPEAN law group, another charged the taxpayer millions for advice, and the third is an openly gay ex-Olympic fencer”.

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Matt Duggan

 

 

 

The Echo Chamber

Every night I listen to a man going mad
it starts with the moving of wardrobes
the wincing cry through thin plasterboard,
a building crescendo of expletives
repeated again and again –
At the voices that surround him,

Every night I listen to a man going mad
until one night the screams paused
no sound of friction behind these thin walls;
just rolling sirens melting in windows
that blue and red repetition –
Every night I listen to a man going mad.

 

 

 

 

Matt Duggan is the winner of the Erbacce Prize for Poetry 2015  Poems have appeared in The Journal, Graffiti, The Dawntreader, The Seventh Quarry, Prole, I,S,& T, Lunar Poetry Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, Apogee Magazine, The Jawline Review, Harbinger Asylum. His first full collection Dystopia 38.10 (Erbacce-Press) is now available. http://mattduggan.webnode.com//

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Lynn Woollacott reviews ‘Shippen’ by Dawn Bauling

 
Dawn Bauling is the current editor of The Dawntreader and Sarasvati poetry magazines and co-editor of Indigo Dreams Publishing with a long list of poetry awards. Shippen is also the title of the opening poem in Dawn’s second poetry collection, this poem sets the standard for these original love poems. Once I was familiar with the physical landscape of Shippen (on the Devonshire coast) I became aware how the connections and spirit of the poems link back to the title:

I will take the platinum pins
from my silent sea of silver hair,
let its spirals tumble down
to the briar and bracken //

I will unbutton crystal on a last coat
show him the skin he patterned
in paths, pearled with aconite
and tobacco kisses like jewels …
[from Shippen]

The collection is then divided into four parts, the first, ‘Field’ takes a journey into the landscape in a variety of active forms: running – ‘we took the running dog / through the fields up to the long wood’; soaring – ‘I’ll soar to the North’s / rock walls and waters, / to rough edged fell tops’; and walking:

Stick gathering at Golitha Falls

If every stick or stone
in my bag and boot
on this unexceptional day
had a walk attached
all valley tied, fell studded
plain or plimsoll,
even barefoot tired,
I would have enough.
They would be my wood,
my hedge and beach,
my cottage hearth beside,
each one turned
and seasoned by hand,
a paw, a storm,
a child or tide;
a better gathering tied
under the chiselled hazel
lintel of my heart
unbriared.

New places are explored metaphorically; one of my favourite lines: ‘laughing as rain fell sideways / down our necks in rivers / ready for us to follow …’ There is a sprinkling of rich short poems and haiku:

Rapids
The river rolls
rapids over
stone cold fingers.

The second sequence ‘Gate’ steps through a more settled landscape. In ‘Reveille’ for example, when the dawn chorus awakens her there’s a woodpecker ‘fast-gattling’, sparrows with ‘beaks boot-shiny’, a pigeon ‘muezzins smooth minims’, and the poems ends with, ‘After one night’s fire / you said that the birds would wake me.’

I liked the playful surreal poem, ‘On Days Like This’; imagine lying in bed and hearing the guttering spilling over outside, Dawn’s humour sees her metamorphose into a marvellous fish, and the spillage is a waterfall and she is ‘the fish that leaps / that glistens for you / within it.’

A contentment and confidence of the relationship works its way into the poems, in ‘A Small Exhibition’ nothing much happens but the moment is captured – an art exhibition – the colours – the man and dog waiting for her outside. Throughout this section there is a sense of weather:

haiku

Thin drips of light lace
rattle leaf bells ice clappered
wood peels its winter.

‘Hearth’ the third section, water, wood and stones remain a spiritual presence. These are rooted poems. ‘Hearth’ because there is sense she has ‘come home’ both to Devon and the love of her life, the love for her children shines through and even in the death of her father she sees in her mother how the love they shared can make you stand in death’s wake (Swallowing My Father). Snaps of images and moments are re-created with emotions, places are specific, ‘Trenannick’ a list poem; ‘Today I know I am rich, / I have pasty, beer and fresh / love on my breath …’ and another example:

Stones
(at Blackingstone Rock)

Where you are round
I am flat;
your song
my whistle;
weathered smoothness
to dull my bristle
and angles that are
made suddenly curves.

We are at times
unalike
as leaf and flame

but together
inexplicably
logan stones
balanced perfectly
forever.

‘Loft’ the final section takes us journey into the lofty heights of a poet’s emotion of being in love from a schoolgirl’s disappointment to Dawn dallying with a witches craft casting a love spell. These poems particular to the narrator’s observations where she ‘learns to love like a swan’.

The beauty of this collection is the well-chosen detail and the echoes of landscape. I would highly recommend this book to bring many moments of pleasure and to uplift your spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn Woollacott has two poetry collections published with Indigo Dreams Publishing and writes reviews for Reach Poetry magazine she also has a historical romance e-book on Amazon Kindle (Lynn Haywood), her website is: www.lynnwoollacott.co.uk

Shippen by  Dawn Bauling is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing and available here:  http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/dawn-shippen/4584012931#

 

 

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