Lee Prosser

 

 

White-Knuckles

In the force of the fall, it’s OK
to call your screams outbursts of joy
as long as they don’t shrill.

You can fool everyone,
if you keep your body still and maintain a grip
on the restraining bar.

You can hang on to your courage
sat next to your 12-year old son if you don’t swear
in the section that flings you upside down.

You can be deceptive,
if you can hold your last meal or tears from spilling
as the twists and turns take their toll.

You can get away with a lot
if you quickly lure them towards the hotdogs,
before your mask of terror belies your stalwart stance

flashing up on the exterior screen.
That photo booth revealing your fear as you leave—
and you praying

once more that your corkscrewed body can deceive.

 

 

 

 

Lee Prosser currently lives in West Wales and graduated with an MA in creative writing from Swansea University in 2018. He initially studied fine art at college but gravitated into writing and performing poetry.

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Lauren Mason

 

 

 

The Woman Hidden in the Forest

 

would tell you

this is not a disappearing act

this is in fact                a transformation

 

to be                so naked

and so wrapped in leaves

that boundaries cannot be determined

in respect to surrounding trees

 

that skin accepts bark as kin to keratin

and each instance of breathing

so expands                  that everything

is rooted                      is body

 

no                    she is not hiding

 

 

Lauren Mason is based in London.  Her poems have been published widely in magazines and anthologies, and she holds an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University/ Poetry School.

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Tristan Moss

 

 

 

Origins

She would not have the mini bag
of Haribo, even though she loves them,
because they had been handed out
in her classroom for the birthday
of a boy she did not like.
She’s going to hold grudges
which eventually will hurt her,

or hold the origin of all things
above her wish to have them:
the type of person we will need
if the world is to be saved.

 

 

Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has recently had poems published in The Poetry Shed, Antiphon, Ink Sweat & Tears, Snakeskin, Amaryllis, Lighten Up Online, Open Mouse, Picaroon Poetry and Algebra of Owls.

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William Keckler

 

 

 

hugging mother’s urn
inner child steps
over sidewalk cracks
      *
first grey hairs
he stands on his hands
before making love
        *
pew pew
some homely holiness
aims at us
         *
talking to a snake
we discover just skin
shed skin listening
          *
big white moth
flies past the red light holds us
pinned to the moon
          *
October cold
making a dead man’s wife’s children’s
pumpkin smile for them

 

 

William Keckler‘s books include Sanskrit of the Body, which was selected by Mary Oliver for the (U.S.) National Poetry Series and published by Penguin. His visual art work was included in the group collection Four Photographers.

 

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Vote. Vote. Vote. Choose your IS&T Pick of the Month for April 2019!

Often when we make up our IS&T shortlists for Pick of the Month, there is a connection between the works either unintentionally because of the zeitgeist of the moment or, on rare occasions, intentionally when we feel that spirit and run with it. This time, we can say that the only connection between the six poems on our shortlist is that they are all very very good indeed.

So take a few minutes to go through all of them before you make your choice. Does the beautiful use of words and imagery in Matthew Friday’s ‘3 Swans Arrive in Prague’ delight? Or is it the strength and wit of Stephen Lightbown’s ‘Wheel’? Are you truly moved by the ‘Vital Signs’ of Emma Baines or so floored by Michéle Beck’s ‘Siblings’ that you cannot think of anything else? Could it be that you are overwhelmed by Gemma Harland’s ‘Possession’ or think that Alex Josephy has said it all in ‘Therapy’?

The poems are featured below (or click on ‘Vote for your April 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen).

Voting has now closed. April’s ‘Pick’ will be announced on Friday 17th May at 4pm.

The winner each month will be sent a n£10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and was Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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Harriet Jae

 

 

 

Bid for Freedom

If I could gain the freedom of my mind,
my God! I’d map its streets out like a town
and then explore those alleyways that wind
that never could be charted or pinned down.
I’d race full tilt to scale its highest towers
then leaping off I’d strut about in state,
I’d whirl around its carousels for hours
then lie down in its grass, stare up to space.
But my mind’s strange ground, I don’t possess the key.
I’m neither honoured guest, nor citizen.
My cramped thoughts never did yet wander free;
this citadel’s their prison. Pity them.
And listen – then I’ll not stay penned in long,
for I’ll outleap these bounds in outlaw song.

 

 

In 2016, Harriet Jae emigrated to Ghent, Belgium, where she is studying Dutch and recovering from a long illness. Previously she worked with refugees and as editor of a national refugee agency’s magazine. Published in The Ofi Press; long-listed for the Plough Prize in 2017.

 

 

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