Kenneth Pobo





At the club you wear
a bold orange shirt
and purple pants.  I stay in

and pop corn. Hot kernels
dance in the pot.  The moon
wears a bright red headband.

It too disappears
as we will,
October hummingbirds.



Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Duck Lake Books called Dindi Expecting Snow.  His work has appeared in: Brittle Star, Orbis, Hawaii Review, Amsterdam Review, and elsewhere.  He can often be found in his garden fending off ticks and encouraging the dahlias to bloom.

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Helen Kay is the September 2019 Pick of the Month Poet with ‘NIMBY and the Supermoon 2018′

It was an extremely close run thing but ‘NIMBY and the Supermoon 2018′ by Helen Kay edged over the finish line to be our Pick of the Month for September 2019. This topical and emotive poem naturally gelled with voters’ concerns over the environment, which thoughts are at the forefront of most peoples’ minds at the moment (or should be if they are not). And as one voter put it: ‘She has such a refreshingly novel way of describing everyday things and making us experience them anew.’

Helen’s poems crop up in magazines. She was recently placed second in the Leeds Peace Prize, Wakefield Sanctuary and Welshpool competitions and commended in the Shelter and Festival of Firsts Competitions.

She has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to Shelter.


NIMBY and the Supermoon 2018

The window by her pillow has the best job in the house:
it sneaks in day to kiss her awake to      a tail-thumping heart.

Curtains slice a piece of sky, twig-flecked, let her taste
the creamy dawn            shame it’s a #supermoontease.

She breaks open sleep-stuck, blackout linings. Her heart howls.
New houses, with scaffold ribs                      fatten on the fields.

Her hatred self-harms as the ‘stunning’ Wildflower estate
chews up trees and newts                    smirks at her terrace.

She is Sleeping Beauty. No sweet lips, just golden JCBs drilling
her mad. She goads the moon to flee       prays for a spindle prick.



Other voters’ comments included:

Helen’s poem uses challenging language and form to bring attack to her argument. Her theme is relevant and relatable and the poem moved me.

Originality of language – ‘chews up trees and newts smirks at her terrace.’

It’s a cracking poem.

Imageful, rooted in reality

Her imagery is visually stunning.

Just a thought provoking piece of poetry.

This compressed so many thoughts and feelings into a short poem. ‘Nimby’ invites us to make a simple judgement but the poem exposes something much more complex.

Beautiful balance; quietly menacing language. Loved it!

This poem really resonated with me with its deft handling of an emotive subject – one that’s close to my heart.

I think this poem puts over its message in an economical but magical way.

Witty and relevant.

I just like the description it gives you, as you read it and takes on the journey with the pillow.

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Veronica Aaronson



I am the Prevaricator

I’m distracted clearing Granny’s house.
I don’t see the sprig of barbed wire
sprouting with weeds in the garden.
It rips my dress from pocket to hem.

For weeks the orange-rayon hand-me-down
has been curled up on the sofa.  It never moves,
like an animal that needs more sleep than
one winter’s hibernation.

I could mend the tear tonight, with backstitch,
in the time it takes to boil the rice,
instead, I convince myself this rice needs stirring.
Last night the thread wasn’t
a good-enough colour match.

Maybe it’s the way this torn dress,
once her pride and joy,
lights up the whole room,
like an earthed moon.



Veronica Aaronson lives in Devon.  She is the co-founder of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival.  Her work has been published in journals, anthologies and online sites.  Her first collection Nothing About the Birds is Ordinary This Morning (2018) was published by Indigo Dreams.

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Michael Bloor




Auntie Pam’s Postcard

Dear Kylie,

Saw this in the motorway services – I know you like pandas.

You’d be expecting a card from Scotland, but we’ve only got as far as Doncaster – it’s your Uncle Raymond’s erratic bowel movements again. He blames it growing up in a house with an outside toilet. But he needs to lighten up a bit: since he’s retired, he’s taken to reading out loud to me bits from a book called ‘Constipation and Our Civilisation.’

It was very kind of you and Harrison to lend us the motorhome, but I’m afraid we’ve decided that The Freedom of the Open Road is not for us. Harrison’s gift, ‘A Hundred and One Sri Lankan Curries,’ was a nice thought, but perhaps not an ideal recipe book for a motorhome.

We’ll be returning the motorhome shortly to you and Harrison. Just as soon as we’ve replaced the chemical toilet, which is slightly damaged.

Love from Auntie Pam



Michael Bloor is a retired sociologist living in Dunblane, Scotland, who has discovered the exhilarations of short fiction, with more than fifty pieces published in Ink Sweat & Tears, The Drabble, Everyday Fiction, The Copperfield Review, Firewords, Litro Online and elsewhere.

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Kate Noakes




Pure Brilliant Ultra

A long time ago there was queen and her king
who lived in Pure Brilliant Ultra.

Their land was made of Ash, Chalk and Wishbone
their palace Cool with Jade, Marble and Alabaster.

Linnets sang in the Blossom of Almond
and Nutmeg trees, as their favorite Goose nibbled

Primroses and Violets in the Apple orchard Mist.
The queen admired Edelweiss and Apricots, but knew

these would not thrive, so she chose Daffodils,
Jasmine and Fennel for her walled garden.

Orchids and Vanilla she imported, Cornflowers
she seeded in the Barley fields.

The king was more Metal: Lead and Panel
yet he had his soft side. His rooms

were Voiled with Cotton and Chiffon
his Handkerchiefs always Linen.

They travelled, preferring the Chilterns to
Rome, Wiltshire to Greece, York to Sweden

India to China, Absolutely always
taking with them their own Piano.



Kate Noakes’ seventh poetry collection is The Filthy Quiet, Parthian, 2019.  She has  Non-Fiction forthcoming from Seren: Real Hay-on-Wye (2020) and her website is archived by the National Library of Wales


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Lavana Kray



Lavana Kray is from Romania. She has won several awards, including the status of  Master Haiga Artist, from the World Haiku Association. Her work  has been published in many print and online journals.  Currently she is the editor for Cattails Haiga works of the United Haiku and Tanka Society.  This is her blog:


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Jack Andrew Lenton





“I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
Isaac Newton: Brewster, Memoirs of Newton (1855), vol II, Ch. 27

It’s eighteen fifty
something: Polar
North, out here,
there, only blue.
Hefting fish barrels,
sloshing crates of
bear livers, eugh.
Bored, the reds
of my eyes well up
nails splinter
like I dragged them
down the deck
hey-ho, work to be done.

Pearly sweat
licks my nape
bites as it freezes
frosting my fishstink.
From utterly
nowhere freights
of ice ghostship past,
under coldstar,
sharp hefts
that bear up
like teeth in the night
more things in heaven n earth,
Horror-ratios and that
I quiver on bandy wood

You may be suffering
From nematodes, raw
Acute Trichinosis

Watch now, how
the doctor’s tricky worm
clacks against his palette
luminous chunk of moonblubber
pay him no mind,
his version of a hard day’s work
is playing in guts.

The men are grown silent,
beds covered in hair,
skin peeled, we begin
to resemble our catch.
Rocktongued, tightened
and tasting our own iron,
as if we sail just North
of the world’s cold
dark throat.



Jack Andrew Lenton currently works in London for Royal Museums Greenwich as a writer. Earlier this year, he had a first book published, Kingdom of Mud with Sky Burial press. The book is a dialogue in words and pictures (from London photographer, Shiri Lee Webb) the small pockets of wilderness left in the Norfolk landscape. His work has appeared in Vice, Time Out and was nominated for Canterbury Festival’s Poet of the Year in 2017

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