Matthew Dobson




Howler Monkey

The other two were cracked,
Their braincase burst by slips of steel,
So those I didn’t buy. But you, your skull
Is still intact,

A smooth confection, done
In by a dart to your lax breast.
You know, you sometimes howl, hurl megahertz.
A homesick phantom.

Yes, I hear your moan
At night; the echo of yourself
Unfolds across your glass case, the quiet roofs
Of the whole town.



Matthew Dobson is a teacher in Hong Kong.  He tries to write every day, and loves nature.

Read More

Brian Michael Barbeito




St Theresa at American Malls or Angels and Popsicles

It’s a crescent moon there, but only for quick seconds. It gets drunk up like a quick libation by the storm clouds. See, the afternoon was overcast and now the night joins in on the trouble. It begins to rain. And hard. It hits the bricks and summits, the retaining walls even pause for some panic. Yup, the dusk and the afternoon and the night all meeting against odds- intermingling, sharing forces like three dogs jumping another and pinning it.  Why? There is not really a real why. Not that we can know. But north, at the topmost part of the State, is a series of malls. A strange lady wanders ‘round there. In lots where curt sturdy white demarcation lines paint themselves on black asphalt and the rain gathers from curbs and streets and other, pissing down solid industrial grates and making its way. The lady? She comes and goes but is there more than not. Its little things she does. Unseen. Minor. Nuanced. But there is a secret that not many people hear, and those that do, hardly believe. The secret is that there are no small things. Theresa knows this. She opens doors, helps children who have fallen and bruised a knee. Shows the aged the way when they are lost. Whispers on the shoulder of us, acting as the right force and conscience in times when nobody sees. Though the outside is lurid and unkind, Theresa remains unafraid. One time, a decade ago, she sat at a table with some of the old ethnic men who pawed beads, rosaries, and other artifacts. Theresa told them she had come to help the world in unseen ways, in her own manner, which was really the manner of something much larger but not grandiose. Of course they looked at her blankly. Behind her were the electric lights of the food court, and beyond that, the numerous places with signs and sales. One of the old men ate a Popsicle, and listened intently. He believed. Theresa knew this. They exchanged a knowing glance. Then, in the over-industrialized world that was vacuous at heart and head, haughty in the eye, and greed ridden for things it could not even understand, Theresa bid the men adieu and walked into the crowds to continue her work. Rain banged the mall tops like a million marbles thrown down in anger.



Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer. He is a two time Pushcart nominee with work that has appeared in various print and electronic publications. He is the author of the book Chalk Lines, [FOWLPOX PRESS, cover art by Virgil Kay (2013)]. He is the author of the experimental novel Postprandial, and of the episodic novel, House of Fire.

Read More

James R Kilner




Norfolk Sands

The sea is drawn back like a blind
from a window. The sands near Wells
are amber and open – half a mile
or more to the water’s edge.

We walk away from ourselves
over sand that feels like new snow,
or corrugated iron, over brittle shells
snapping painfully beneath bare feet.

This will be land for just a little longer.

We stop, tune in
to the silence.

Not even gulls come here
where there is nothing
but frequencies of light.

Now the world exists
on the principle
of the horizontal:

a strip of saffron, of periwinkle,
of ultramarine.

We have stepped through the frame of a Rothko.



James R Kilner worked as a journalist in the newspaper industry in Yorkshire for a number of years, before embarking on full-time PhD research. His publication credits – forthcoming and previous – include Other Poetry, The New Writer and Aesthetica.

Read More

Sharon Woodcock




The Cynical Gondolier

Back then he sewed up his
world with an oar.

Couples nestled on his boat,

lost in each other,

while he saw the bones
of their lives, glimpses
of threadbare wives,

husbands playing
knight, martyr.

One eye closed.

They would fixate
on eggshells, talk riddles.

Abstract pictures formed
of gigantic looms,
the stitching
of marriage vows,

while some clawed,
one hand
in the paper-tray.

One night, he saw Venus
on a bridge of the River Po.
She spun him into her loom
and by the moon’s light
darned threads
into the river bank.

He did not see the queue
at the river side,
or hear the serenade,
as she added layer upon layer
to their tapestry.



Sharon Woodcock‘s poems have been published in anthologies; Sea of Ink (Ink Pantry Publishing) and The Busker (What the Dickens Magazine), and in the online magazines: Kumquat Poetry, Anti-Zine, Message in a Bottle, Ink Sweat and Tears, Atavic Poetry and The Zen Space. She co-edits the webzine and quarterly journal at Word Bohemia.

Read More

Ian Osler




A Few Words

She removed her coat and folded it over her lap as she sat down.
‘How are you today Leo?’
He pushed against the mattress with both fists, two pillows supporting his
back as he reached a more or less seated position. ‘I’m alright,’ he
gasped. ‘I’ve been reading.’
‘You and your reading; if you’d done less of that and taken more exercise
you might not be lying there now.’
He smiled. ‘I’ve written something.’
He leaned away from her and reached across to a bedside table, where books
and sheets of paper were piled in no apparent order.
She looked down to the side of the bed and examined the grey cardboard pan
of his toilet. It was moulded to the shape of a household lavatory bowl
and she wondered if that was some attempt to make patients feel at home.
Leo turned back, out of breath, and let his arms rest. ‘Here it is,’ he said.
She edged forward and took the sheet of paper from his left hand,
expecting a list of things to be done, things he’d forgotten to do, things
that would need sorting out.
‘What’s this, a poem?’
‘I suppose it is.’
‘You wrote this?’
‘Yes, will you read it to me?’
She hesitated. His breathing sounded more comfortable.
‘Later. I’ve brought you a newspaper and some chocolates. Wouldn’t you
like a chocolate?’
He let the back of his head rest against the uppermost pillow. ‘Please;
read it to me.’
‘Well, alright,’ she said, with some attempt at enthusiasm.
She coughed and glanced around the room, as if there was a wider audience.
‘A Sense of Promise’ she read, ‘by Leo Siran.’
She coughed again.
‘The future sings
Along a tunnel tightened
To his girth, that grew
Before the notes were sighted.
Now that shell, surrounding, cracks
And he can clearly hear the song.’

She continued to look at the page.
‘What does it mean Leo?’ she asked, before lifting her head and watching
him stare at the ceiling.



Ian Osler has worked in research, international sales and marketing and ineducation. He has a poem included in the anthology  Click of Time –Reflections on the Digital Age  and prose published in the online literary magazine ken*again.

Read More