Daniel Bennett





A road trip. That old saloon: deep blue
finned in a quaint English way,
more sea bass than marlin. No destination.
We were testing freedom, heading out

across the fen landscape, where aircraft
buzzed tree crowns and farm buildings
and tore away, stitching trails
across our temporary portion of sky.

What happened to make me retrieve that day
with such chunky accuracy? The bright cold,
the leather seats with their rigid stitching,
a car sick feeling of time’s vertigo.

No adventures or outrages, only a quiet sense
that our time was nearly spent. We stopped
by a limestone column, topped with a pineapple
an eminent Victorian’s idea of grandeur,

smoked in the blue air, talked. A cold kiss,
fingers meeting. A cord of vapour, dwindling.
Days lie sealed, evaporate when retrieved
and you stand by, breathing as they fade.



Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire, and lives and works in London. His first collection West South North, North South Eastis published by The High Window Press. You can read more of his work online at https://absenceclub.com

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Tim Kiely



I think I feared the morning

I think I feared the morning. As if
it would drop on me like a planet; as if
the first light would wring me from sleep;
as if it would play every ache my limbs

had been ribboned sleepless with
in sadistic symphony; as if
no hour on the pillow could be redeemed
and the first stumble through the front door

would finish me; as if the street’s
first magpie would dig at my eyes
and I would be robbed of its blue wings;
as if the drizzle would not soothe my cheeks;

as if all this were not exactly
what my cells knew would be there when the roar
of traffic from the night was left
to wither, leaving only

this. As if the morning and all
its clarities could hurt me more
than the vague desperation before dawn,
before knowing, before the fall.



Tim Kiely‘s poetry has appeared in: Ariadne’s Thread; Lunar Poetry; South Bank Poetry; the Morning Star; and on the websites the Blue of Noon and Spontaneous Poetics. Most recently he contributed to the Emma Press anthology, Everything That Can Happen.

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Madelaine Culver





through the flowers
white, on the water’s edge
the little boat will take you
to a headless woman
pale beneath the moonlight
arms outstretched



Madelaine Culver is a freelance writer and proofreader with a background in arts administration. Based in the North East of England, she is currently studying for an MA in Writing Poetry at Newcastle University. Twitter: @fromxthextower


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Michael Estabrook





I step over a penny in the street
Dad you can’t leave it there
bring it home save it
it’s bad luck if you don’t

Okay honey I didn’t know
I pick it up promptly & drop it
through a sewer grate

Dad no!
she stops and stares
her hand over her mouth

Bring it on you bastard!
come and get me
I yell to whoever this vindictive
petty penny-pinching god might be



Michael Estabrook small press poet since the 1980s striving always for greater clarity and concision rendering language more succinct and precise more accessible and appealing a Sisyphean adventure for sure. Retired now writing more and working more outside just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard or rather above it which explains the nerve-wracked chipmunks. The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany is a recent collection (The Poetry Box, 2019).

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Stella Wulf





She wafted in like a nymph,
charmed us with her grace,
her birch-pale skin, hair
the liquid gold of butter,
melted on a silvered tongue.

Neither aloof nor overbearing
we folded her in hugs, shared
our bowls and our picnic rugs,
as we served up our hearts,
not too hot, not too cold,

and in return she helped us bear
the grisly pain of my mother’s fight,
became my father’s buttress,
supporting him in his gnawing fear
of an unhappy ending.

She broke our family seat,
poisoned Mother’s happy-ever-after,
fed Father a new once-upon-a-time.

Very sweet and very clear,
she dripped her honey in his willing ear,
took herself to his bed,
declared it just right.



Stella Wulf’s work has been widely published and has appeared in several anthologies, including #MeToo, and The Very Best of 52. Her pamphlet, After Eden, was published by 4Word Press www.4word.org

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DS Maolalai





I suppose
that’s what it must be,

to assume that I would have
chapbooks out my ears by now.
to assume that the girls who come
will want to stick around a dirty apartment
just because I am there.
to assume that a face full of scars
(I fell down in paris)
would make me seem distinguished
instead of just looking
like a falling down drunkard.
to assume that anything I say
is worth
being heard by anyone.

did you ever see that picture? this lady
looking in a mirror
but the face you see in the mirror
is hers
and they call it vanity
but don’t understand;
in the picture
she’s looking straight out
at the people
admiring her ass
knowing it or not
rating themselves against it
“do I have it/could I get it”. vanity;
what everyone is doing
if they are human
and god bless them
even when they think
(money to beggars, fingers through the hair)
they are doing something else.



DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)

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