Aidan Casey

 

 

 

Taxi

i need t hustle i need t score
i need a drink & then a few more
i need a hand t get t my feet
i need an elbow t cross th street

i need a hug baby i need a kiss
i need t skip th preliminaries
i need a proxy an adult toy
i need a girl sometimes i need a boy

i need a map i need a chart
i need a fix for my broken heart
i need th dinero i need th dope
i need a tree & a length of rope

& i need a tonic i need a gin
i need absolution for my sins
i need a prayer, i need a poem
& i need a taxi t take me home

 

 

Aidan Casey was born in Dublin and studied English and Philosophy at UCD. Since then, he has mostly taught English in Spain. He has recently returned to writing and has poems in several online reviews and anthologies.

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Annie Wright

 

 

 

Night Owl

In the worrisome hours before dawn you’d be up
quartering the house for silent chores.
Never an easy relationship, you’d send
letters or cards I treasured. Four-thirty,
I’ve just finished ironing. You hated fluorescent
tubes, preferred the lamp’s seduced light.

I saw you in the kitchen’s amber glow,
perched at the table or ironing board,
a mug of Yorkshire tea at your elbow;
the loop and glide of your cursive hand.

 

 

Annie Wright‘s most recent collection is Dangerous Pursuit of Yellow (for details see smokestack-books.co.uk). A founder member of Vane Women, Annie edits for their press and, since moving to SW Scotland, runs poetry workshops and The Lit Room Press.

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Robert Etty

 

 

 

The Bones

Since no one’s left to pad out the story,
these are the bones of it: Saturday evening,
an RAF base (south Yorkshire, most likely),
the last weeks of World War Two.
The lads fix to meet at a hotel in town –
they might not be here next Saturday night.
The bar soon fills, and there’s laughing and noise.
The girls are friendly. They all should be dancing,
but where’s the band? The barman says the band’s
gone to War, but they didn’t take the piano.
As far as the airmen know, no one can play,
but somebody calls out: ‘Who plays piano?
Let’s have some music!’ And tall, quiet George says,
‘I play a bit’, and they slap his shoulders
and let him through, and he plays a bit for hours.
They sing and dance because War’s nearly
over and here come the post-War days.
Lads line up pints on the piano top,
too much beer by half for one pianist,
and anyway George is no drinker.
Then someone announces they ought to lock up,
and George is shutting the piano lid
when one of the men leans across and says,
‘By, bloody hell, George, though, you’re a dark horse!
All this bloody time, and none of us knew.’

This is quite slender, as stories go,
but it has a beginning and moves
to an end, with a crisis in-between.
There’s still some fleshing out to be done,
which bare bones leave plenty of space for:
uniforms, Brylcreem, blue smoke in glass light shades,
the shade of the lipstick the girls lay their hands on.
And how have they got there? Bikes? A lorry?
Will any man marry his dancing girl,
or only promise to?
What do the old ones
keep to themselves as they watch from the side?
Possibly stories with broken bones
they could relay the flesh onto if they wished,
but old ones don’t tell all that might be told.
Or if they do, not the same way twice.

 

 
Robert Etty lives in Lincolnshire. His poems have appeared in literary publications since the 1980s. Shoestring Press has published several of his collections.

 

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Joanna Nissel

 

 

 

Eagle
After Kathryn O’ Driscoll

Wasn’t my heart a finch bird?
Wasn’t it the yellow-joy chirp overheard
on the dawn walk to work

–a reminder of the things in this life
that are delicate and made of more
than the hollow-boned expanses
between their filaments of cartilage?

These days I break over a disapproving glance,
forgotten change, the endless endlessness
of doing a little better every day.
But I remember when,

before his heart stopped, my father
and I used to sit on the flint wall
in the garden and listen to the gurgle
of wood pigeons he swore were eagles.

I raised an eyebrow; he snorted, smiled,
and told me he pitied the man who married me,
this great, wise queen to whom he offered his arm.
I took it and rose, stood on the wall’s flinty precipice

and under the glow of moonlight
I could almost see the feathers sprouting,
their glint of gold so bright against the garden
and my legs, wings, ready to kick off, to dive.

 

 

Joanna Nissel is a Brighton-based poet. She was the runner up for the 2018 New Poets Prize and has been published widely, including Tears in the Fence, The Fenland Reed, Eyeflash, and Atrium.

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Maxine Rose Munro

 

 

 

On the edge of the Arctic

If the light were to leave our world,
what of it? We would gather
with fire under sturdy roof.
We would share spirits
and stories, songs,
laughter.
We would sleep
soft in warmth of ourselves.
If the light stuck up above, day
and night, well what of that?
We would work our skills,
sail over horizons.
We would seek
things
to be sought, go
or stay as we felt we should.
If you don’t suppose I speak true,
visit with me.
It is north,
then north some more.

 

 

Maxine Rose Munro writes in English and her native Shetlandic Scots. She is widely published, including being a previous Ink Sweat & Tears Pick of the Month. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. www.maxinerosemunro.com

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Rachael Clyne

 

 

 

Full Sail

She feels like a ship in a bottle,
its sails pulled erect, through its neck
by a man with a string.
He sighs with pleasure,
as he seals it with a cork.

Placing her on an ornate shelf,
he can keep an eye on her,
admire her graceful lines.
She dreams of catching an evening tide
and a small but effective hammer.

 

 

Rachael Clyne is widely published in journals. Her recent pamphlet, Girl Golem (4word.org) is about her migrant origins and sense of otherness. She is involved in climate activism and hopes the lockdown has made us see sense.

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