Roberta Verdant

 

 

 

Incendiary

I’ve been deciding how my wings would look,
Ruled out downy-swan-feathered (& occasionally a little bloody.)
Not Victoriana fae, the era that forgot fairies are toothed beings.

Instead I’d like enormous blue-green dragonfly wings,
Iridescent in moonlight & slightly dangerous,
Flickering, almost-ready to catch fire.

On the days when my limbs are made of lead,
I’d stroke that lightness,
stoke that incendiary potential.

 

 

 

Roberta Verdant lives in Devon. She facilitates creative writing workshops, blogs for The Huffington Post, dances, swims and dreams.

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Kathy Halliday

 

 

 

The Last Fish

–– is an Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, or ‘Finn’ to his mates.
He was once one of 30 million tapioca eggs.
You can sponsor Finn for as little as £1.00 a month. You’ll
receive a special certified adoption pack and a cuddly toy. He’ll
even write to you when he’s not busy launching ships or
performing card tricks at little Jimmy’s 5th birthday. He’ll
update you on his progress at least three times a year. On a
good day, his body becomes a blue-black capsule, capable of
streamlining up to 40 miles per hour in chilly Atlantic waters.
He would prefer to stay in bed, spend the morning in his Y
fronts watching Ice Road Truckers and drinking milk, straight,
from the bottle. Sponsor him today and you can choose
between a window sticker and a fridge magnet. He dreams of
performing at the Super Bowl’s half-time show, but his voice is
a bit pitchy at best. He did meth once with a school of
Herring, but the slim-sheen of their bodies created a silver
tornado that gave him a bad trip. He didn’t sleep for weeks.
Very soon, he’ll take a boat out to the Gulf of Mexico, in the
hope of miraculously spawning against all odds. He is an
anomaly, and is more likely to be picked up off the coast of
Tokyo, and auctioned for sashimi at Tsukiji fish market.
His body is worth millions in yen, and when they split him
lengthways down his underbelly, they’ll find only pink-red fronds
of meat, and the remains of a child’s rubber pencil topper.

 

 

Kathy Halliday is a Creative Writing MA student and graduate of the Creative Writing and English Literature BA programme at York St John University. Her work appears in The Cadaverine , Little Fiction  and Turbulence Poetry. She lives in York.

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Stephen Giles

Passchendaele

No doubt the morale of the German army
was shaken by Passchendaele. It is unlikely
the morale of the British army was much improved.
AJP Taylor

We share the same wet pitch:
its pocks, its hollowed plains
of wretched brown. We are
the two bald men with one

proverbial comb. Last year
we tricked along in inches,
conceding men in their dozens
over each blade of imagined

grass. We lost a Yorkshire pit
village of pink-faced teenagers
in the cause of this old barn –
hundreds more young boys

drowning to snatch the entire farm.
Morale gets spoken of less and less.
Death is simply our way of life
and all of war is mess.

 

Stephen Giles was born in east Yorkshire and now lives in the east Midlands. He has been shortlisted for several poetry awards including the Virginia Warbey and the Plough, and been runner-up for the Troubadour and Ware Festival prizes.

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Jennifer A. McGowan

 

 

 

Infidelity

Sweet Jesus, Matt swears,
and collapses on the bed.
Somewhere—she can’t remember where—she’d read sex
puts men to sleep but wakes women up.
She lies, thoughts distinct.
Arms behind her head.
His breath is sluggish.  She considers
reading a book.  Or—writing one.
Three characters take form,
do an impromptu minuet.  Or
maybe the twist.  One of them
has another man’s eyes.

Some time later he twitches,
opens his eyes.  She rolls to face him.
Touches his chin; notes neck, shoulders, clavicle.
Sleep well? he asks.
Lovely nap, she lies, thinking,
Perhaps the other one will have Neal’s hands.

 

 

 

Jennifer A. McGowan is a disabled poet living in Oxford.  Her second chapbook appears later this year from Finishing Line Press.  She is a second-generation academic and a third-generation sweet tooth.  Her website is www.jenniferamcgowan.com

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Ralph Monday

 

 

 

Ketchup on Okra

A quaint southern diner, throwback to the 50s.
Football and country music star posters dotted
the walls. I splashed ketchup on fried okra.
You were horrified, couldn’t believe it.
No one does things like that you said.
Here in mid-December I looked at you,
considered the irony between bites of grilled
catfish, its dead white flesh nourishing me.
How strange that we live on the dead.
Two years ago you betrayed me,
your Christmas present.
Found trash online, a religion professor
that you flew to using the GPS I bought
because you were terrified of driving long distance.
Did he preach to you of love, convince of Cinderella
dreams? What took me a year of patience, consideration,
took mere days with him. He must have been Prince
Charming, for you opened your legs to him on
meeting for the second time. Had the gall to email
me later that the whole time he was fucking you
all you could think about was me: you were in
the back of my mind. How sweet. The front of you
was moving back and forth under him, the back of
you thinking of me, special.
How he must have preached imagery from Solomon’s
song before impaling you with his crucifix, how his
sermon seared your carnal soul.
You knew me, not him, where I had treated you with
kindness, care, you were just the latest online plaything,
for aliens like him do not love girls like you.
Discarded like a broken, ugly toy, you returned to me,
contrite, pulled the fool from the Tarot, and though I
knew you were a dark angel I embraced the horror.
Now, in this diner, splashing ketchup on okra,
I see in your eyes my reflection.
This is the meal that I have paid to eat.

 

 

 

 Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. He had been published widely including The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review.  He was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he will have poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 saw a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. He was featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

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