‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: Linda Rose Parkes, Marc Woodward, K. S. Moore




A True Version

honest to god
i can’t bear
to look at myself
in the mirror

i stalk her she’s my new poem in her fitted coat and high heels on the number 10 bus         put bars on the lines

last night
i told him
Megan’s seeing
a married guy

in the morning she’ll wake to cadence and pauses    rhythms of wingbeat flocking the page

that’s good
he says
if it
her happy

she’ll soon forget her passionless marriage when i leave her here for others to find

then i say so you
don’t mind
if i start fucking

let’s hope they bring food    let’s trust they bring fresh hope   that she isn’t alone in this fortress i’ve built her

that’s how low
we’ve sunk

i hear calling in my sleep     she wants to go home    she wants her own grievance    

i can’t
to see
these days

she wants the truth of her own shadow 


Linda Rose Parkes lives in the Channel Islands and has published four collections, the latest, This Close, was launched last winter. She continues to run poetry workshops and is also a painter.




Confessional Poetry

So how long have you truly felt this way?
When we converse about your infancy
I have the sense there’s more you need to say.
Sadly I think you’re withholding on me.
It’s always the same. Novels say too much,
they go on and on, I can’t shut them up.
But you Poems? Always I’m left guessing.
You just smirk there. Hinting, half confessing.
Yeah, we both know you’ve done a little time;
you’ve stolen stuff to get yourself a ‘line’.
And this thing about being a sonnet
in a past life. Just grow up – be honest!
All poems can change – and that includes you.
Of course you must really, truly, want to…



Marc Woodward is a poet and musician living in the rural West Country.He has been widely published in journals, anthologies and online sites.  His collections include  A Fright of Jays available from Maquette Press (2015) and Hide Songs from Green Bottle Press (2018). www.marcwoodwardpoetry.blogspot.co.uk




What I have to Say

Can I tell you
before it’s tarnished?
Before the lichen crust
absolves me of need to share?

Well, listen:
this is a bud of a story,
a soft shoot, weepy-
green leaf of a dream;
it is all yours
if you hear

what I have to say
is blooming on my tongue.
It is rare,
it is syrup
in my pharynx.

As it spills,
I feel it leave
like a lover
with an eye on my heart;
with a tug
at the tears
held back
from my teens.

Can’t reign it in,
this runaway . . .




K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, Spontaneity, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Work is upcoming in Other Terrain and Atlanta Review. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition and Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition.

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K. S. Moore



The Changeling Spiders

The changeling spiders
borrow their skull-heads
from fairies, who leave them
in corners, to spin out earthly
imaginings of themselves,

haunt and drop with
bent-thorn legs, a
dance they were born to
execute softly. Their webs
are dirty grey chains,

hung at the highest points
in each room, they take
time to break, grow back,
are stubborn, hold me
unclean, ashamed.



K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, The Lonely Crowd, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition, Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition and Blog Awards Ireland.  http://ksmoore.com/

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K. S. Moore




Foldout Body

My new foldout body,
has bones I can feel
and the cold lives easy,

wedged between muscle
and cartilage, stone-like,
my limbs hold winter.

I fold up, hiding the one
piece of flesh I possess,
since having my daughters.

The curve is empty
of person now, and the self
that blossomed in pre-baby years
has emptied and rebuilt twice.

I call for layers, they dress
me with sheets and I lie in
sympathy, willing sleep,

for my children,
for me,
for a soul unstilled.




K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in Southword, The Stinging Fly and Crannog.  She has work forthcoming in The Lonely Crowd.  K. S. Moore’s work has also featured in Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, and The Bohemyth. http://ksmoore.com/


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K. S. Moore




Off the Rails

At midnight, the town
travels, swallowing snake-
joined, dot to dot
houses, breathing through
windows, illusion borne
currents, electric gold,
mirrored and flaming.

In my mind I control
it, a plastic snake
snapping, each click
of each segment
a jut of its hipless,
wavering song.

Holding the train
between thumb
and forefinger,
I throw the trails
from each mapped out
journey, lacing the paths
of luminous strangers,
chained like fairy-lit pearls.

The span of my hand,
a flesh-webbed cloud,
covers their eyes and
becomes their earth,
until I let go and they
hurtle, back into
timetabled stops and changes.



K. S. Moore blogs at ksmoore.com and was recently shortlisted for Blog Awards Ireland. She was a Flash Mob 2013 finalist and has been published in FlashFlood, The Bohemyth and Writing.ie. She has work forthcoming in The Seventh Quarry.

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James Naiden reviews ‘Invisible Strings’ by Jim Moore

This delicately rendered collection has many durable insights conveyed simply, almost epigrammatically. These poems have clarity as well as many saddening, irrefutable truths, a mixture of both prose as poetry and poetry as prose, although the dominant genre is poetry. This is Jim Moore’s sixth collection. His first book, The New Body (Pittsburgh, 1975), appeared when he was thirty-two.

Full disclosure: I am a mere three months younger than this poet, so when he writes about the near-despair of aging, his own or those he sees in his beloved Saint Paul or in Spoleto (his adopted home in Italy), his insights have an unstoppable truth-telling (as Richard Wilbur once described Ruth Stone’s poems). The deaths of one’s parents, for instance, and later remembering them beset the poet, as in the opening part of “Love In The Ruins”:

I remember my mother toward the end,

folding the tablecloth after dinner

so carefully,

as if it were the flag

of a country that no longer existed,

but once had ruled the world.


Or later in the fourth part of the poem, whence the book’s title, there is a sentient theme that if the poet keeps busy at his craft, he will live and not have to die any time soon:

I vow to write five poems today,

look down and see a crow

rising into thick snow on 5th Avenue

as if pulled by invisible strings

and already

there is only one to go.


The brief portrayal has always been a hallmark of Moore’s work ever since he began publishing his poems more than four decades ago. As such, Invisible Strings has many short though complementary parts, rendered into mellifluous sequences. In this vein, too, the poet has always been aware of injustices. Earlier in his career, he might have thought as a writer he could do something about inequities and wartime killing. Boris Pasternak’s admonition here is worth recalling: a poet, or any artist, must witness, describe what is seen. But to do more than this is to risk bitter disillusionment, even premature death. Moore serves as an eloquent witness. He may be in Saint Paul or Spoleto, but he’s fully aware of starkness and unbidden death elsewhere, as in “Poem Without An Ending”:

Listening to acorns fall

such a lovely sound

I thought it was the whole poem

until I saw the girl in the paper

with the mussed hair

the bombed bus

no one bothering yet

to close those two black eyes


For anyone who has experienced rejection after a long relationship, the memories can be poignant, lasting a lifetime. The following short poem, punctuation in the title, will allow perspective – maybe:



I have forgotten many things.

but I do remember

the bank of clover along the freeway

we were passing thirty years ago

when someone I loved made clear to me

it was over.


Rather than unremitting bleakness, Moore’s poems can also display wry insight and subtle humor. This volume is dedicated to his wife, the photographer JoAnn Verburg, hence the book’s epigram to her, and what a milestone means, as in the third section of “Anniversary”:

One bird, then another


begins to sing

outside the store

where you try on dresses.

The black is beautiful,

But so, too, is the blue.


To find love again after disappointment is always good. Moore can still recognize irony in one sentence toward the end of a long prose-poem titled “My Swallows Again” – written in Spoleto: “How can you not love a country where the meter maids wear high heels?” Except for this longer effort at the book’s end, Moore indents every other line in these poems, as if to slow down one’s reading, as Renee Emerson has suggested. Variance in poetic strategy is always a risk, but the reader does stop and think, even reread – and this has a salubrious effect.

Invisible Strings is a book of strengths, evoking the onrush of getting older – it’s always a rude awareness – and having to say good-bye to those one cherishes along the byways of mortality. Born in mid-1943, Jim Moore should have many poems and collections of this high quality still to come.



Invisible Strings was published by Graywolf Press in 2011.  Order your copy here




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Natalie Moores




A Different Sky

A solitary brick hut spilled tyres
three sheep gossiped about something

or other.

Fenced in
the farmer’s daughter
teased a brood of hens
they followed her winding
assault course with adoration.

She was grateful for their company.

I kicked an acorn
on the short walk back

to             double glazing
tesco bags

and a different sky.



Natalie Moores is a poet from South Manchester. She is currently finishing an MA in Creative Writing at Loughborough University and recent publications include Agenda Broadsheet, Poetry24, Poet and Geek and others.




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George Moore is lying on a desert bed




The alkaline white histories are as permanent as anyone gets, bone
pure, salt cured, and the bike rides like a hot spider on the back of a burning
deck, and all the sea is white cream fire, and the outskirts of Las Vegas
recede into the blood of evening, a McCarthy trick that leaves you thinking
this apocalypse is an old century, and singularity your necessity, skirting
Badwater, only to be extinguished by the skillet heat of the desert, any time,
night or day, Jurassic or primeval prehistory, basket days, Sweet Grass or
Hupa, the darkness suffocates, and you climb downward into Furnace Creek, into
the raw subterrain of another volcanic aftermath, tümpisa, a rock paint region defined on the maps by its ability to
exorcise even the more persistent ghosts, and you wonder why that little guy in
the only store for a hundred miles doesn’t charge a ten spot at the door, air
cooled by what seem the insidious machines of the future, here in the heart of
enemy earth, the tires bubbling like fresh batter on the black macadam, and
there is no way you can stand, let alone sleep, the scorpions sizzling, the
darkness a monster, it teeth the iron heat, and so, weary as a dead man walking
the hundred mile stretch a hundred years before, you climb up the slow valley
toward the heaven of funeral hills and another desert, this one out of the
post-apocalyptic, this one simmering in the rains and artesian blessings that
have refused to die in heat beneath, this water-rock desert in its rough sand
blasts of spring, a place where the light is not absorbed, and time does not
stop, and at last in the purer darkness of starlight you can sleep.

* George Moore lives in Colorado. He writes “I've been interested in the prose poetry here on the IS&T site for awhile, but am just now thinking I might have something that fits the criteria.  Although I'm not familiar enough with the flash distinctions you mention, I think what I do basically merges the language of prose and poetry, and I've had some luck with pieces over the last few years.  I like mostly here what I've seen of the prose poems and flash fictions in early April.  In any case, I thought I'd submit.  Last year I had poems published internationally, in the States, England, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Iceland, France and Singapore.  I have published poems in Diode, ditch, Zone, Bathhouse, Blast, Cafe Irreal, Anastomoo, Apparatus, Eclectica, Fact-Similie, Cortland Review, and also The Colorado Review, North American Review, Orion, Queen's Quarterly, Dublin Quarterly, Antigonish Review.  I was nominated last year and this year again for a Pushcart Prize, and two Best of the Web prizes, and this year for The Rhysling Poetry Award.  My most recent collections are an e-book All Night Card Game in the Back Room of Time (Pulpbits 2007) and Headhunting (Mellen, 2002).  

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