Mark Carson

 

The Fear of Flooding

Up the valley there are dams to hold back heavy poisons
rusty slurry tanks sequestering cattle shit
and stinking ponds for retting flax
and if we had diamonds there would be dangerous spoil heaps
and if the gold had not run out there would be pools
of mercuric compounds.  The dams are are fragile
all will perforate and undermine and wash away
in torrents.  All that bad stuff will come down behind us
while we look the other way, we’d like to look
the other way, but angry groups are shouting at us
look at the shit look at the shit shout the shit-shouters
and we will have to listen once again to their just complaints
and it’s true the shit is really shitty and the awfulness of it all
and it’s all the badness of the past will overwhelm us
and stifle carefreeness and happiness.  Do I hear a call for judas
judacilious judelicious review a judicialous review into the pernicious
aspects of excessive judicilicial review?  Do I?

 

Mark Carson is an offshore engineer, ran aground in South Lakeland thirty years ago.   His first pamphlet, Hove-to is a State of Mind, was published in 2015, see www.wayleavepress.co.uk

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Jennifer Harvey

 

Coconut Fever

The days were long and there had been six of them apparently, though that meant very little. Weeks or months would have felt the same. That’s how it is when you’re a kid. Time passes differently.

All I knew was that the bed had grown smaller as I’d lain there, shrinking like something Alice would have known. The fever bending and warping everything in a way that pleased me.

It was fun. The bed sucked me up and I spiralled away into the folds of white sheets, laughing and shaking.

From somewhere I heard a voice which could have been my mother’s.

‘Get a doctor.’

She sounded exotic, like a mermaid, her voice deep and long, something I felt rather than heard. The sound rippling like a current underwater. But when I turned to look for her, to see if she had a glistening, scaly tail, there was no-one there. And, disappointed I spiralled away again.

Six days later, I was shivered loose and rose to the surface, back into the room where I lay, bored and exhausted, the sheets clammy, and damp, and sticking to me like an extra layer of skin.

There was a strange lightness to my muscles that left me feeling floaty, like an astronaut, and with nothing to do, I decided to become one. Took to imagining the dust motes which flickered in the sunlight were distant stars and planets. Through the gauzy gaze of half sleep it was easy to believe the bed was a space craft carrying me off into deep space.

It was nice to drift that way. It passed the time. The days. The weeks.

Every now and then someone would pop their head around the door and say something, like: ‘are you okay?’ or ‘do you need anything?’ then disappear. Sometimes they’d come back, bringing with them the usual comforts for the sick – soup, a glass of water, a cold facecloth. But always leaving before I could explain.

‘Hey! Stay a while. I’m bored.’

I could hear them below, the sound of their voices filtering up through the floorboards. It sounded like they were having a great time down there. There was a lilting, melodic quality to their voices I’d never heard before, a bit like a baby laughing, and it left me wondering what they could be doing.

When curiosity got the better of me, I shimmied to the edge of the bed, and flipped my legs over and onto the floor. It was December, but I’d forgotten, and the shocking cold of the linoleum gripped my feet with a vicious chill that made me wince, then fall to the floor with a thud.

Below, the music stopped, and in the silence which followed, I lay there not moving, the oily smell of the linoleum strangely soothing, the way familiar smells often are.

It reminded me of the biscuits my grandmother used to give me. Strange, pink, foamy things, sprinkled with coconut so they tasted like a summer beach. The foam always sticking to the roof of my mouth, like polystyrene and glue, a taste which lingered for weeks, though it may just have been days.

 

 

 

Jennifer Harvey is a Scottish writer now based in Amsterdam. Her writing has appeared in Carve Magazine, Litro Magazine, The Guardian, and various anthologies including the 2014 and 2016 National Flash Fiction Day anthologies.  She has been shortlisted for various prizes including the Bridport Prize (2014, 2015), and the Waterstones & University of Sunderland Short Story Award (2016). Her radio dramas have won prizes and commendations from the BBC World Service (2016, 2009 and 2001).  She is a Resident Reader for Carve Magazine.  You can find out more over at www.jenharvey.net

 

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Clive Donovan

 

 

What’s Going On?

What is this inside me?
Who parcels up my heart
In scoops and chunks
And strains it through my mouth,
Lofty as love speech?

What keeps that organ going
– Ticking, beating, kicking…Enough!
It is drowning in its own red sweat.
Who is in charge down there,
What’s going on?

You can’t keep passing out
Morsels of my heart, it is not
An endless banquet dish like the rump
Of some vast mammoth.
Teaspoons of it only, please,

From now on and let us
Pad it out for the customers;
Thicken it with spice of truth,
Grain of caution,
Sob of salt…

 

 

 

 

Clive Donovan devotes himself full time to poetry and lives in the creative atmosphere of Totnes in Devon. He has had many poems published in a variety of poetry magazines including Agenda, Acumen, Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears. He has yet to publish a first collection.

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Sam Payne

 

 

 

After the funeral

The rope swing at Nanna’s
still tethered to the Sycamore
tree, still the safest place to be.

I make dust clouds with my feet
and watch the heat rise in waves
from the tarmac on the drive.

I’m six again and see her
standing there, a tub of laundry
by her feet, a wooden peg
gripped in her teeth
and sheets sailing the wind.

Beside me a sparrow
perches on a wooden post
watching us both,
tilting his head and listening
to words I no longer hear.
 

 

Sam Payne has recently completed  a degree in English Literature with The Open University and would like to write a novel but poetry is a small child constantly following her around and demanding attention.

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Saloni Kaul

 

 

 

Sunchaser’s Escapades
 
So , as I tell, to cut long stories short, succinct ,
Wild conservation by elders-ancients in the system
Was inbuilt ; animals protected most by dint
Of sheer association , making gods of them.
The flying monkey god, of these the most endearing one,
Beloved Hanuman leaps monkeylike agile at all ,
Straight from birth hungry sunchaser thinking the sun
A fruit , chased to Indra’s heaven the golden ball.
Gold skinned, rubyfaced, long tailed, flies father windspeed,
Ram’s staunch ally, devotion’s tested to extreme,
In whirlwind haste brings herbs* cure, his farfamed good deed ,     
Even if it mean carrying whole mountain beams !
Who cares for common sense when escapades bring laughs  !
Ram’s trusted messenger upscales prowess, speed graphs.
 

 

Saloni Kaul, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed thirty eight years of being published. Saloni Kaul’s first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All. Most recent Saloni Kaul poetic production has been published in  Poetry Quarterly, Eye On Life Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Horrorzine, Poetry And Paint Anthology, Misty Mountain Review, Inwood Indiana, Mad Swirl , FIVE Poetry, The Voices Project, The Penwood Review, Mantid Magazine, Haikuniverse, Blue Pepper, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Cabildo Quarterly.  AJI Magazine, The Voices Project, The Penwood Review, River Poets Journal, Scarlet Leaf Magazine and Military Experience And The Arts.  

 

Notes: Venerated Hindu monkey god, though overpowering and strong when as Bajrangbali, in his eagerness to please his idol Ram exhibits many an endearing human frailty. His impulsive nature that causes havoc in Lanka is also a source of amusement when as he rushes headlong to save Ram and Lakshman. Unable to identify exact herb cure that he has flown all the way to the Himalayas for, he ends up carrying the whole mountain. His flight invariably creates whirlwinds , such is his speed.

 

* jaribooti from Mt…that saved Ram and Laxman

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Jessu John

 

Alles, Alles

“And something miraculous will come

close to the darkness and ruin…”

  • Anna Akhmatova, Everything

 

 

Everything rings willow most days and wears every shade

of jade.             Eyes and trees set             life             running free;

no shape binds this Indus.                         And we watch something

 

left             or lost somewhere,             laughter or tears held back

but not     our pulse and cant             though the old

returns inside us.

 

When you leave a country, do its rivers

tremble on your skin long after

from cloudbursts and shower

clinging for breath?

 

I rest now             after escapes.

 

But the past hunts always. And what is seen

sharp or faint makes banks we occupy.

 

Do places ever let us go?

 

After journeys, here is this country, the Ganges

and a woman found – one seed, one pulse, one spruce.

 

What country leaves us – ones we choose,

ones that own us,             all hold shadows

and these songs we must know.

 

Eyes are willow, ghosts or healing;

home is warm,             or a stranger,             and all rhythm’s

a bronzed dancer with hands on hips – a whole woman.

 

Out of the alien country, I’m dancing;

all shadows keep singing; hand on hip, always alive within

and dying, we shake off             tides.

 

Spirit of Song, unearth us

bold as metal through all of this.

 

 

Jessu John is a journalist from India. She’s currently working on completing her first collections of poetry and short fiction. Earlier versions of her poems have been published in US based journals Urban Confustions, Sugar Mule and The Rusty Nail.  

 

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