Michelle Wareham

 

 

 

 

Bottled eyes

I am here in this hover of flowers
counting eyelashes
and fingers and toes,

before I knew it I couldn’t breathe
for I lost my heart
in the quivering pollen.

 

 

 

Michelle Wareham is an Australian born poet living in London writing to express the strange and the ordinary that conflicts inside like duelling conquistadors. She has written two novellas (Leatherback and Under Gaslight – the latter shortlisted in Amazon’s curated Kindle Single List, 2014.) Her poetry has appeared in small presses online, such as streetcakemagazine.com, and print – eg The Journal this autumn/winter.  Facebook: /MichWareham Instagram: /nadir_nascent

 

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Stefan Parker

 

 

Inside

Your heart
is a foot pedal
on an airbed
pumping away,

as I feel your first kick
at this late hour.
My hand on the hillock;
a creeper on a gravid marble sphere.

Can you hear my voice
inside that colloidal world?
Was that a punch
against the dark cloud?

Our nocturnal colloquy
hastens into eruptive silence.
What nub enfaced the shell?
A shrimpy knee perhaps.

We exchange parts in the dark.
A string of berried vertebrae;
A knolled skull; a timorous elbow.
Only nature’s secret blind spot knows.

Over time there will be more
mute and balletic musculature;
but tonight we sleep as three,
cudgelling the dark for contact.

 

 

Stefan Parker: Born in Germany and residing just north of the M25. Daily practitioner of poetry in all forms. Once published fifteen years ago and never tried again. Fine-tuning the form ever since.

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Angela Readman for National Flash-Fiction Day

 

 

Letters to a Pizza Company

  

Dear Papa John’s,

Let me tell you something I’ve been thinking. I have some pizza concerns. I enjoy the odd slice on Thursdays. Once I’ve put the children to bed, swished out their Disney cups, ironed, and packed their school bags, I bring whatever they leave in from work.

  I like the fellow offering pie on your lid. He looks friendly, this Papa John, like a father who works to make sure everyone eats but has a slight sorrow in his eyes. I can see he’d never let it get in the way. He’ll swirl dough in the air forevermore.

   He’d be disappointed by your cheese protectors though. Excuse me if this isn’t the correct word. You might have another. Dough Saver. Crust Hero, something like that. I’m no expert. Whatever you call it, it’s that round bit of leggy plastic that stops cheese sticking to the box. There’s so much more you could do.

   I’ve noticed it looks like a small table, the sort people sit at outside cafes sharing sorbet. I have an idea. You should make some shaped like small chairs or stools. (for garlic bread, perhaps?) Children could play with them and imagine very small people in tiny cafes. This way, I wouldn’t have to throw so much away and could stop thinking ‘what a waste.’.

 Looking forward to hearing from you,

 

Ilona

 

~

 

Dear Coke-a-Cola,

Today I bought your product, which you’ve recently decorated with people’s names. I saw a man on the bus with a label that said Ivan. And even though it was Sunday and I had to work, it made me smile. I looked at him and thought he didn’t look like an Ivan. He looked like a Tom, a Tom stuck with Ivan. He’d hear people call him all day and it would always sound strange. It was good to know.

   I switched buses and used the opportunity to purchase cola, but I couldn’t spot my name. I riffled through the fridge trying to find myself and had to settle with Fiona.

    I drank and felt I was lying to the woman beside me. This woman who was probably thinking: There’s Fiona, enjoying her cola.

   Please expand your range of labels. Or, consider replacing your names with something else. Perhaps someone’s favourite song? Or the pet they love? That way we could look at strangers and know: Oh, that lady loves Bright Eyes. That man has a rabbit. It wouldn’t matter so much that no one talks. When people yell, ‘Go home’ I’d stare at their hands and understand they just want something to stroke.

I hope you appreciate my suggestion,

 

Ilona

 

~

 

 

 

Dear Papa John’s & Coca Cola,

Thank you for your reply, but my daddy won’t be able to take me for free pizza and cola. I have kept the coupons however, I’ve papered them to the wall in my room. Free sausages, burgers, fries, skittles. I have vouchers for free everything, except time.

 

 

 

 

Angela Readman’s stories have won The National Flash Fiction Day Competition, The Mslexia Prize and The Costa Short Story Award. Her collection Don’t Try This at Home won The Rubery Book Award and was shortlisted in the Edge Hill.  She’s also a poet. Her latest book is The Book of Tides (Nine Arches, 2016.)

 

More about NFFD: http://nationalflashfictionday.blogspot.com

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Sue Spiers

 

 

Wider When Standing

After Les Murray

Lower gravity means less weight
and a woman is wider upright.
Phonophobia is a natural fear of loudness.
You may fear your own voice.
Norway is the happiest country in 2017.

A whip crack breaks the speed of sound.
Lower gravity means less weight
and a woman is wider when standing.
Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn played with Booker T
and the MGs who created Soul Limbo.

A cricket’s chirp is made by stridulation
but only the males do it to attract females.
No earwig tunnels into your brain
to lay eggs but they have two penises.
Four minutes, thirty-three seconds.

Lower gravity means less weight
and Ecstasy was originally used
in psychological warfare to lower
inhibitions. It became the hottest thing
in the search for happiness by chemistry.

Zazen focuses on posture and breathing.
Quiet is where we go to see ourselves,
a meditation on nothing, a negation of noise,
even if silence is recorded, the recorder
whirs, the orchestra inhales, exhales.

Five hundred trees have visited the moon.
Good health is the slowest form of death.
Imelda’s shoe stash was eaten by termites.
Lower gravity means less weight.
Nothing hears you scream in space.

 

 

 

 

Sue Spiers helps out a bit with Winchester Poetry Festival and British Mensa’s Poetry SIG while encouraging editors to include bits, thanks Helen. South Bank Poetry has her ‘Breast’ and Bloodaxe has her ‘Fanny Farts’.  @spiropoetry

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In Memoriam

 

 

 

 

IF

Grenfell Tower a Year On

If trying to keep your head, you raced
towards the pillar of flame and smoke choking
the building, not knowing if your children, partner,
mother, brother, friend were trapped inside it;
if you lost one or many whom you loved;
if hoping to find a keepsake you made a visit
to your flat after the furnace was quelled, found
a smashed sink but nothing to take away
among the heaps of rubble, the twists of metal;
if numb, you received and offered sympathy for days
and soothing voices promised a new home
within weeks;
if living in the shadow of the Tower
you heard the reports of the corners cunning knaves
had cut in ‘ascertaining’ it was safe and a year on
you still had no place to call your own,
what trust would you have in promises, in words –
lashings of fine words which butter nothing?

 

 

Myra Schneider’s most recent poetry collections are The Door to Colour (Enitharmon) and the pamphlet Persephone in Finsbury Park, (SLN). Other publications include books about personal writing. She is consultant to the Second Light Network for women poets and tutors for The Poetry School. A new collection is due this October.

Myra also contributed to the poems for Grenfell Tower anthology (Onslaught Press), available here, which includes poems from Georges Szirtes, Medbh McGuckian and Red Watch fire fighter Ricky Nuttall. All profits go to The Grenfell Foundation being set up by Grenfell United.

Grenfell United are calling for the UK to observe 72 seconds of silence at midday to remember each life that was lost in and after the Grenfell Tower fire. On the evening of the 14th June, the group will be taking part in the Silent March and then will gather to observe “Iftar” and the breaking of bread at sunset. They hope many  fellow marchers will join them. For more details go here follow @grenfellspeaks on Twitter or Grenfell Speaks on Facebook.

Tomorrow, Friday 15th June, has been designated #GreenforGrenfell day.

💚💚💚💚💚

 

 

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Richard Lewis

 

 

 

Whales

 

I know not to tell you that one day you’ll be better,
so instead I tell you this: We are blue whales, we lie
solitary on the ocean floor, looking up at a surface
where life is nothing but silhouettes. I tell you I feed
on white tablets of krill, committing to the analogy,
take them each morning with yesterday’s water. They
keep me anchored, low to the ground. Without them
I’d be battered by storms which rip metal from ships.
Without them I’d be a husk; a carcass in the currents.
I tell you it’s nothing like this at all. But close enough.
Nights down here will twist you until you snap; days
will cut you off under the ice; every few seconds a sudden
drop into remembering, so that you can never truly relax.
I know this doesn’t make you feel any better, that you think
you belong down here, alone, and maybe you do. I know
you think that it will never change, and maybe it won’t. I know
how easy it is to wrap yourself in the water and the silence
and forget. And so I tell you, instead, about the importance
of perspective. that you only appreciate the magnitude
of blue whales when you’re up close, when you can run
your fingers over the old scars of their thick hide. Or when
they venture out of the depths to pass ships. Finally, I tell you
that I’m kept going by those moments: When a certain song,
smile or break of sunlight calls me to the surface. And just for
the briefest of moments, taking a deep breath, the cold air
stinging my lungs, the world says ‘welcome back’.

 

 

 

 

Richard Lewis is a writer from Swansea currently residing in Cardiff. He was second prize winner of the Terry Hetherington Award, and has had work appear in publications including Cheval and London Grip. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection.

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Julia Stothard

 

 

 

Sick Leave

I tip the whole dark tray
night gave me into the trash
and tie the sack

having woken with a gutful
of aching uncertainty
and wishing a white sail for sickness.

I call for the sun. It comes
sliding its hands inside
the curtains – almost touching

then defining an island
on the blank wall. The others
are sleeping on

comfortably curled
inside the moon they came from.
They will get up hooded

flicking switches,
nudging the pivot
between night and day.

I track the lozenge of light
across the throat of a room
that has lost its voice.

 
Julia Stothard lives in Middlesex and works in Further Education as a database report writer. Her poetry appears from time to time in poetry magazines and webzines and her Twitter account is: @terzaverse

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