Saturday, 31 March 2018

America First

Are we a family of nations or are we not? How did this

nation thing happen in the first place anyway where just

about every man woman and child belongs to one like

a fraternity or club Was it the different languages we spoke

Or is that a chicken before the egg kind of thing Because we

look different? No slant eyes here No blacks there We all

know the Americanized lily white Monet Europeans will

inherit the earth Not the Chosen People Not the Nazis nor

Japs Build that wall. Rousseau wrote about this: The man

who enclosed the first piece of ground was… How many

crimes wars murders stopped and mankind saved by pulling

out the stakes Like Woodrow Wilson and the League

of Nations Or Clinton (the philanderer) at the second Obama

Dem Convention: "Democrats believe we’re all in this together

is far better than you’re on your own" Not the selfish spoiled brat

hoarding all the kids’ toys causing him to be sent to his room

for a timeout. When my son was a little boy he fought with his sister

about who would sit in the front seat of the car And he was so sad

when his friend’s mother made brownies for school and the class

bully ate the last one and many many more before that one

and before my son had had even a bit of brownie to eat And John

Bolton’s now the new national security advisor Wants to bomb North

Korea and Iran too Thinks if you remove the top floors of the United

Nations nothing will happen When will the meek inherit the earth

Bolton's boss still loves hoarding kids' toys and gorging on brownies.

© Gil Hoy


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in Ariel Chart, The Penmen Review, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The New Verse News and Clark Street Review.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Tarmac













I stood on the cold tarmac.

For common humanity,
I stood on a bleak runway
where charter planes roar and lift
into a heaven so blue that no-one
can believe the brutality of their flight.

I only stood to bear witness
as people, secret and guarded,
flew in transit to anywhere but here.

Deportees, unnamed and faceless, slipped
into faceless night, lost above the scattered nimbus
of an English evening with an anonymous dusk falling.

I could not bear the way we break ties of love or kin
to keep laws written for judges in cynical chambers.

I only stood on that cold tarmac to say ‘enough’,
for decency to prevail over sleight and shadow
and I saw those unwanted people scathingly
denied all human comfort for their going.

They are leaving, unwanted, according to rules
we made, rules we revise daily, all statutes
being mutable and subject to change.

I stood on the cold tarmac only to find the same law
take me as a terrorist, simply for standing there,
me, a terrorist, in the way of political convenience.

I was amongst others who believed in safe havens
for the persecuted, who believed we should
abandon no-one just to make up the numbers.

But they say, I am a terrorist, not because
I strapped explosives across my chest, not because
I held an AK47 in my trembling hands but because
I stood out on the cold tarmac in my dissent.

And those whose grim compassion is ash and cinder,
who name themselves righteous despite the terror
they inflict, will be my judge and jury.

Because I stood there, at the going down of the sun,
the law, once more an ass, would send me down;
knowing, as it does, neither love nor wisdom.

© Brian Hill


Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).

Thursday, 29 March 2018

My Country And Yours

Behold the noble warriors locked in combat

        smashing each other's armament

        searching for vulnerabilities

        delivering blows below the belt

        simulating gentlemen, imitating nations.



Circling warily, observing time honored rules

        wounding, but not killing (at first)

        boasting impeccable aims of sport

        bleeding internally without a whimper

        century old traditions upheld.



Intentionally, unwittingly we reward the players

        shouts of encouragement

        dollars from tax pockets

        bandages from foreign factories

        medals from POTUS Draft Dodger.



Unceasingly the cost of indulgence soars

        we always were a rich nation

        money to spend on frivolities

        rarely taking sport seriously

        when properly fought inside the arena.

© Judy Shepps Battle


Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, and freelance writer.


We're not human when we become a stat

Data is who we are now
Information is all they need
We're not human when we become a stat
Just a potential lead
Potential profit
Consumer, supporter
Or even the gold mine of a new voter
Harvesting data
Reaping the reward
Analysing you
Selling abroad
We're not human when we become a stat
Lost on spread sheet
Or in some analytical graph
Spied on, listened to, watched
Skills they use
Tricks of the trade
Technological abuse
Trust betrayed
Surveys, poll's
Questionnaire
Giving away your life
Totally unaware
We're not human when we become a stat

© Robin Welsh


Robin Welsh writes poems and rhymes daily about all life in general...but mainly politics, human rights and world affairs. Performing at every opportunity he can get, not yet published because of procrastination.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Caught

The red whine sits
Like cricket slips in
It’s amateur hour
At the end of its wick
You’ll always get caught
In the Black River
These days
When the sign in
Away day ledger
Reads Mr. Smith
When the baggy mind
Makes green choices
The flabby heart
Will sink
When the lily-livered
Gets the
Sorcerer’s
Apprentice to
To do the dirty
In the public launderette
It goes without that
However steely
The 45th Dan
On this
Will be pressed
Will be finished

© Mark Coverdale


Mark Coverdale was born in Darlington, grew up in the hills of Saddleworth. He now lives in London, writing and performing poetry around the subjects of politics, homelessness and social justice. Twitter: @cov_art Blog: www.cov451.com

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Testing Inflation

Away with pork pie and lager prices
For we no longer are interested,
Having resolved they be substituted
In calculation of key indices,
By mashed potato and women's leggings,
To ensure that inflation is tested;
Quiche and action cameras now included
Together with various soft play sessions.

The cost of leg waxing is also out,
Edam cheese prices too and camcorders;
We experts know what we're talking about
So all must meekly follow our orders;
This refined calculation beyond doubt
Based on great analytical powers.

© David Subacchi


David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2016).

Monday, 26 March 2018

Earth Hour

Lights out

mobiles off

No Facebook likes

No Trump tweets

Rolling News Feed off.

You are here.

No Instagram stories

No Snapchat filters.

Just your feet on the Earth

Back to basics.

A speck on the surface

of the Earth.

© Katy Konrad

Earth Hour: Millions participate in global switch-off to raise climate change awareness

Katy Konrad lives in the North West. She has performed at Callander Poetry Festival in Scotland twice. Her poem ‘Totality’ was published by Silver Birch Press in 2017.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

The Motorcade Was Travelling Slowly

Nights were drawing in and the bonfire had burned down.
We were counting down the days left till Christmas.
When the news came through it was late afternoon -
we were toying with our homework before tea.

After Mum talked to Dot over our backyard fence
she came in and switched on the telly.
While we gathered in the warm round our black and white TV
our sausages and mash went uncooked.

Our world dimmed that night like before the power went.
Dad laid aside his evening paper.
On the BBC News a man dressed in black
spoke words that seemed to rumble like stones.

Mum dabbed her eyes and said he died too young
but we thought he looked older than our father.
The motorcade was travelling quite slowly they said.
Mrs Kennedy was heard to cry, ‘Oh, no!'

© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley


Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance where the sea air and beautiful scenery keep her mostly on the right side of sanity.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Step into these shoes

Seven thousand shoes
spangled by winter sun
on the lawn of Capitol Hill.

Pink shoes,blue shoes, brown
and multi-coloured shoes.
Striped shoes,patterned shoes, plain
and glittery-purple shoes.
Green shoes,red shoes, black
leather shoes with ankle straps
and silver buckles.
Girls' shoes,boys'shoes,small
and medium shoes.

Size ten and a half shoes
Daniel Mauser wore the day
he was shot at Columbine
nineteen years ago.

Scuffed,comfy,off-white shoes,
laces untied,fabric stretched
to the width of his toes.

His Dad brought them to Washington,
wears Daniel's second pair-
a perfect match
for his own feet.

Tough, skateboarding shoes.
Gray and black Vans
Daniel won't be needing.

© Sheila Jacob


Sheila Jacob was born and raised in Birmingham and lives on the North Wales border with her Husband. She's had poems published in various U.K.magazines and webzines

Friday, 23 March 2018

A Most Distressful Country

(After 'The Wearing of the Green" Trad.)

O and John Bull dear and did you hear
The news that's going around,
Our passports are no longer
To be made on British ground,
No more we'lł paint the coat of arms
Or the royal crown enhance,
For they're making British passports
In some factory in France.

Then since Euro procurement rules
Are very far from dead,
We'll not renew these documents
And stay at home instead,
For we've plenty manufacturers
Of our own who live much nearer
And if they charge a little more
Their quality is superior.

O I met with my member of parliament
And I stretched out my hand,
Asking how is the United Kingdom
And how does she stand,
She's a most distressful country
Being led such a merry dance,
For they're making British passports
In some factory in France!

© David Subacchi


David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2016).

Spring Equinox

Winter
has hung around too long, too long
this year.
Like a busted flush of government,
what looked bright and clear
once
has morphed into dull chill of
despair.

The worst days have names:
Storm Emma,
the Beast from the East,
like a porn star spewing bad curry.
The 21st century whisks serious news into
PR spin
and layers of thin ice creak and crack
and scare.

Today,
a sparrow chirps brightly,
and a black-headed gull really does
sport black on his head, his summer colour,
after winter white.
Catkins wink from rejuvenated birch,
and just for a moment,
spring
is in the air.

© Charlie Lambert


Charlie Lambert is a former journalist and sports broadcaster who turned to a different form of media in 2016 when he started writing poetry. He lives in Liverpool.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Circle of Life

Cancer kidnaps healthy

cells leaving pain as



surrogate and terrifying

loved ones.



Scathed by Death's

razor scythe whether



awake or in denial we

bleed crimson drops,



clot and bleed again.

We cry til no tears



remain and cry again

until our time comes



and others fear and

weep for us.



© Judy Shepps Battle


Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, and freelance writer.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Payphone on the Catwalk

He’s a prison guard, give me credit
for that; I mean, there are women
who think fucking a serial killer
is a turn-on. And never mind where
I met him, this guy’s clean.

I can’t imagine what it’s like
to be locked up every day
without a weapon, in a place
where men won’t hesitate
to stick a homemade shiv
in your back, but no one ever has.
I’m fair, he says, whatever that
means, but it has kept him safe.

He gave me the number
to the payphone on the catwalk,
so it’s not like he’s surprised
when I call; well, maybe a little
when I describe what
we’ll do and how we’ll do it,
details I leave to your imagination.

I can hear shouting in the back-
ground, clanging steel. A lockdown?
Cells tossed? He’s gone.
Oh God, what if he’s lost his edge.
He might not get off for days;
but even dog-tired, he’ll be ready
for what he’s been promised.

© Nancy Scott

Pasquotank prison remains on lockdown

Nancy Scott, poet and short story writer, is author of ten books and also managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets in New Jersey, USA. She was in a relationshiip with a state prison guard for many years. Her latest book is Marriage by Fire.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

I’m alright Jack

It’s not always the world news
which inspire the poetic Muse.
For local papers it is the norm
to report our own snow storm.
Who else would want to know
that many roads in Wilmslow
were closed due to a blizzard
that made our travelling hard?
It was not only about travel:
sport plans started to unravel;
our town’s Half Marathon,
we were told, could not go on.
But most of all, it was the old
who were put out in the cold.
It was a sad state of affairs,
but apart from us, who cares?

© Luigi Pagano


Wilmslow Half Marathon rescheduled

Elderly care home residents in Mobberley evacuated during snow storm

Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines, UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Out of Time…















Our great mind has gone
But no-one knows precisely where:
If he has risen into a heaven
Whose intricacies he understood
Or else simply scattered
His human debris, like cosmic confetti,
A handful of brief atoms returning
To the hearts of future suns.

So he has gone, leaving us with remnants
Of his deep thought, having considered,
More than most, the actual where of going.

Mind over matter, they said, was his attribute:
The supremacy of intellect over substance.

Yet he was one who taught us how
Apparent opposites may be bound together
Like eclipsing binaries dancing, unfathomable,
In a reel of darkness and light beyond
Our momentary here, somewhere
Inexplicable and inexact.

Life, for him, was a thought experiment, as if,
After all, practical experience was another distortion
Of space-time, another gravity-well in the continuum,
Our quantum prison.

I suspect he knew that even the black hole
Inside each human heart decays in a haze
Of sparks and quarks and bosons.

I suspect he was waiting, in his inimitable way,
For time to catch up, for just one more spin,
For the door into tomorrow to swing shut,
As it inevitably would.

He once said that we exist through imperfection,
Being aware, in his wisdom, that cancelled matter,
The dark and the light, with their equivalent energies
Cancelled in turn, leave an imperceptible residue.

He understood, laughing as if it were a cosmic joke,
How we are made from the shreds of a left over universe:
Pieces of jigsaw time in a randomised puzzle
For our impossible intelligence to solve.

And he did not tell us about the state of being gone;
Which, among all the states of energy and matter,
May not even exist or it may be a precedent where-ness,
Spinning, opposite and contrary to the heat-death
Of the receding stars waiting for the universe to be reborn,
For it to become something else, somewhere else,
Remade by a different beginning.

© Brian Hill


Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

Triptych

in memory of Inga-Maria Hauser


Back Packer

She is a swallow
on the heart hammering
brink of blue
for weeks her sleep
silvery with dreams
of maps and moons
and magnetic fields
now her bright brown eyes
on the edge of flight
the leap the drop
the rise the rise
the jolt of sky
the swoop the curve
the turn
her maiden voyage
a practice run
wound down at dusk
on a telephone line
her throat full
of sorrel and stars and sun
and miles
and miles of blue
and the miles and miles
of blue to come.


Solace

In her bedroom
she is a student of song
practising
guitar chords
before pressing record
not knowing
every time
her mother
presses rewind
the gold crocus
on her child’s tongue
candles the night.


Self Seeding

Left broken
in the place seed fell
they brought
their corn haired girl
back home
thinking of those
she might
have brought
to them
her mother
smoothed the earth
out over
her shoulders.
And yet
still in the forest
her dark eyes
blent with theirs
she waits at dusk
among the sika deer.

© Clare McCotter



Clare McCotter’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Abridged, Algebra of Owls, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Envoi, The Galway Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Iota, Moth Magazine, A New Ulster, Revival, The Poetry Bus, The SHOp, The Stinging Fly and The Stony Thursday Book. Her haiku, tanka and haibun have also been widely published. In 2013 she won The British Tanka Award. Black Horse Running, her first short form collection, was published in 2012. Revenant, her first collection of ‘longer’ poems will be published by Salmon Press in 2019. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.    

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Grey Beards

My dear quite frankly it's an impertinence,
To suggest that I was anything
Other than a model of innocence,
My reputation questioned in this way
By men I have never encountered,
Is just too much for a lady
To even countenance.

And every few years the same treatment,
From another 'biblical scholar',
An article with well worn content
Implying my lack of morals,
Discussing matters personal
That are nobody else's business,
All in the cause of entertainment.

The saviour and I were well acquainted,
He was an inspirational character
And I was not as I was painted
By camp followers and ageing hangers on,
Yet almost two thousand years later
I still suffer hurtful speculation
From the tales those grey beards related.

© David Subacchi


David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2016).

Friday, 16 March 2018

Oak and Pine

Dreaming out the window, beyond the Michigan horizon,

The ticking clock on the wall inching closer,

To the close of another school day,

I sigh with the oak and pine trees.



The year is 1988 and then 1989,

The classrooms vary every year,

But the ceilings remain tiled overhead,

The windows always firmly closed.



The books become more than colors,

Numbers become longer +×÷=%

My father's hunting rifle at home,

Remained stored in the closet until autumn.



The idea of any gun in school,

Never once entered my mind.

Or my dreaming, living classmates.

Today I sigh with the oak and pine.



© James Schwartz


James Schwartz is a gay ex ‪Amish‬ poet and slam performer. His poetry has been published by various poetry journals including Poetry 24, Politiku, @7x20, Babel: The Multilingual Multicultural Online Journal, The New Verse News, Nostrovia! Poetry, piecejournal, Silver Birch Press blog, Diversity Rules Magazine, Eris Magazine, WritersResist.com and Science of Mind magazine.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Year 2000 AD

I was five years old when Raymond Baxter
told me about the wonders of "Tomorrow's World":
The Twenty-First Century. When electricity
would be free thanks to Nuclear Fusion,
they would not waste money sending
out bills that said "nothing to pay".
There would be world peace
and an end to all illness and hunger.
We would be living on the Moon
or the bottom of the Ocean.
And when we did our "one day of work a week",
our robot butlers would tidy the house.

Now I am living in that future
and not one bit of it came true.
No Nuclear Fusion,
so no free electricity, no world peace,
no cites on the Moon
or the bottom of the Ocean,
and we still have illness and hunger.
But one day, I still believe,
my robot butler will bring me
my long promised flying car.

© Phil Knight


Phil Knight is a poet from Neath. His Poetry Collection 'You Are Welcome To Wales' was published by Red Poets in 2015. He is the MC of Neath Poems and Pints.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Dear Mattel

I found Frida Kahlo's head—
"She-ro" Barbie Frida Kahlo's head, that is—
lying in the playroom corner
beside her Mexican peasant get-up
and the slim-proportioned, headless body
of every other Barbie (our girls,
disinterested, having disappeared).

Frida's eyes glared up at me: thoughtless
dupe who'd imagined corporate interests
might somehow bottle in a Barbie
the artist's damaged body, her Communist
dislike of the capitalist rich, her flaws,
complexities, symbolic art—all subordinated
to a plastic-perfect Barbie figure.

I regret my advert-susceptible mind
helped you make bank on Frida's name.
(Had I kept the receipt, you'd see me back!)
Fortunately, books are still "in", the girls say.
We're reading one now about real Frida
and her animalitos: a vehicle truer to the artist.
As for Barbie, c'mon, that's so yesterday!

© Darrell Petska



Darrell Petska has had work published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Chiron Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Star 82 Review, Bird's Thumb, Verse-Virtual, and elsewhere. Darrell worked for many years as communications editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leaving finally to focus on his own writing and his family. He lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Strike - A la huelga

Señoritas y Señoras,
strike
while the iron is cold
and leave the pile of crumpled shirts in the laundry basket
Señoritas y Señoras,
strike
a match to light the way
Señoritas y Señoras,
strike a chord
and march to a different tune
Olé, olé, olé

¡¡A la huelga!!

© Bex Tate



Bex Tate is passionate about pottering, young childrens' literature and black cats. She lived in the Basque country for two decades before moving to Mallorca. She is currently tinkering around with words in English and Spanish and growing the odd cauliflower.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Tête à Tête

The US Vice-President Mike Pence
said the Chief didn’t sit on the fence.
On the contrary, Donald did not duck
the issue and stood up to Kim Jong-un
when he told the North Korean leader
that there would be no concessions
unless denuclearisation was achieved.
Until now they’ve exchanged insults
instead of behaving like adults.
Both men were believed to be peeved
that no further progress could be made
but it’s claimed that Trump’s strategy
of isolating North Korea bore fruit
and a meeting will take place, it seems.
The news of a summit is stunning;
we’ll see who of the two is more cunning.

© Luigi Pagano


Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines, UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

That Mother

Do not place in her lap −

the irredeemably stained book bag,

the unbitten golden crisp apple,

the sticky wads of molten Wrigley’s,

the half-written Renaissance essay,

the earmarked and penciled-in Odyssey,

the infinite Java loops screaming ‘Hello world! ’,

the unanalyzed data of Simple Harmonic Motion,

the patriotic tunes stuck inside the trumpet,

the Vainglory demanding the next move on the iPhone,

the plastic ID displaying the year of graduation

the deluge of thoughts and prayers of effect unseen.



Do not send her contents of the locker −

She is a mother. That mother.

© Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar


Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American. Her work has appeared in print and online. She is also Pushcart nominee for 2017. Twitter@PunyFingers

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Rich

If you only knew how rich the rich really are
you would turn in your grave
Scratch at the coffin lid
until your fingers bled
cry out at the top of your lungs,
but you are dead.
Nothing stirs.
An amorphous mass.
A lifeless blob.

Wait a minute.
You are alive.
Can think, reflect.
Do it!
Read, listen, look, learn.
The possibilities are endless.
The knowledge is out there.
Critical analysis should not be dead,
but alive and kicking.

© Jonathan Stainsby


Jonathan is originally, from Nottingham, and now lives in Haarlem, the Netherlands. He has been writing down his thoughts since he was 16.

Friday, 9 March 2018

For the Record: Syria

You’ll understand
That enough
Is enough
When the stars
Climb down
From The Labarum’s
‘Chemistry
Of change’

Leaving
It bare

Like a hole in
The heart
Of darkness

© Stefanie Bennett


Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry – worked with Arts Action
For Peace, & ‘Equality’ [Human rights]. Of mixed ancestry – Italian, Irish Paugussett
-Shawnee, she was born in Queensland, Australia.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Cold Fusion



















only
180 million years
later were the first suns
lit in cold hydrogen and
dark matter cloaked
in the shadows
of a universe
hardly
begun

only
a hint of radio
from the beginning
a broadcast impression
hydrogen’s brief imago
fluttering to an end

only
creating
the stuff of stars
stuff of our skin and bone
and half the unknown
universe driven back
to deeper
black

© Brian Hill


Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Sensory Deprivation

The silence
is
as deafening
as
the
bombs
that
rain
down
on
them

Second monkey
takes refuge
under an umbrella
ella
ella
plugged,
furry ears
delivered from evil
by
a
pop princess

Eyes
turned
as blind as Horatio’s
blink
as fingers change channels
to avoid
seeing
children
drown in them

Mothers
struck dumb
by
the
world's
indifference
open their mouths
to scream
and
are
met
only
with the echo
of
our
silence.

© Bex Tate


Bex Tate is passionate about pottering, young childrens' literature and black cats. She lived in the Basque country for two decades before moving to Mallorca. She is currently tinkering around with words in English and Spanish and growing the odd cauliflower.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Word-adept

Charlie Lambert recently wrote the following poem, 'Gun-Adept' which was published in the In Brief... section.
'Word-adept', as Charlie put it, "seemed the logical follow-up."

Gun-Adept

I've trained for my mission.
Checked my guns, my ammunition,
scouted the entrance, the classrooms, the hall,
planned my escape round the swimming pool wall.
Reviewed all the details to every last feature.
So first to die must now be the teacher.




Word-adept

It’s not my fault this poem’s so bad,
it’s the adjectives that drive me mad.
I just find words to pepper my book
like bullets from Parkland or Sandy Hook.

The President knows just who to blame.
He’s learned his script, takes careful aim:
mental illness, he tells the camera,
and the FBI for getting it wrong,
and the armed guard who didn’t stay long,
and it isn’t my fault I am a

writer of words which aren’t always
under control.

Today I’m advertising across the nation.
I’m setting up the National Word Association.

Its constitution I’m going to write
to give all folk the sacred right
to carry words about their person,
and use them should the story worsen.
The second amendment will guarantee
whole sentences spouting liberty,
free to wound the good, or idle,
and get repealed the laws of libel.

With rapid-action bumpstock chatter,
true or not, it doesn’t matter,
the President conducts the crowd
of sycophants and thinks aloud
of all the things he’s done to date
that in his head make America great.

And the National Word Association’s there
to guard him should he curse or swear.
We’ll give the senators a million bucks
to stop the guy who says it sucks
to fire vocabulary at innocent targets -
not bribes, just our natural largesse.

The NWA will check you’ve seen
both ways to use a magazine,
syllables pumped up to fire,
spike counts reading ever higher,
verbs, nouns, smart effects,
all on sale with no real checks.

Illiterates welcome at our shop,
A horror tale with no full stop.

© Charlie Lambert


Charlie Lambert is a former journalist and sports broadcaster who turned to a different form of media in 2016 when he started writing poetry. He lives in Liverpool.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Spikes

Saved up pocket money got me a pair of spikes
from the second-hand pile; spikes you had to screw in.
Smelling of leather and stained with another's sweat,
I sought to gain an edge in these at the County Sports.

My arena was a stadium full of athletes to chase,
a roll call of names whose mention quickened the pulse,
like Lillian Board (same name as my mother). Silver was
not enough in Mexico; cancer set to beat them both.

Today the name is Bannister, the disease Parkinson's,
his Everest miles behind him, the stop-watch still.
And I remember the smell of grass, our numbers
safety-pinned, the starter's gun, my running spikes.

© Pat Edwards


Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. Her work has appeared in various publications including Prole, Picaroon, The Curlew, Ink Sweat and Tears and the soon to be published #MeToo Anthology. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mic nights and curates Welshpool Poetry Festival.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

It's always good to talk -

The first time I mentioned self-id
I was talking to a male Party colleague.
It was a social thing, really, but the subject came up
and this guy happened to be there.

He admitted he didn't knew much about it.
He didn't even know the terminology.
He didn't know what cis gender was
or the requirements of the current GRA.

I expected maybe not complete understanding
but surely a sympathetic hearing.
We were comrades, weren't we, after all?
We shared the same ideals.

But I was wrong about this man.
He rounded on me fiercely.
WHY couldn't a man be a woman -
if he had a strong 'feeling' - in spite of his penis -
that this was in truth what he was?

These people, they are oppressed, he blustered.
Women are oppressed, I responded.
How can it be right to safeguard
the position of one oppressed minority
via the erasure of the legal category 'women' -
and by taking away without consultation
women's hard won rights?

It's a matter of policy, my comrade insisted.
But he couldn't tell me when this had happened.

What about the promise that 'impact assessment'
for all legislation would be made?
Policies have to be formulated, surely?
When was the membership consulted?
I am a member. I don't recall that happening.
Wasn't it worth mentioning at least?
Exactly when did the party in its infinite wisdom
overrule the facts of human biology?
What about democracy? Wasn't this a test?

He said that all he knew for sure was
'trans women are women'.
How this came about, however,
it really wasn't up to him to say.

If you women don't like it then it's up to you, he said.
You'll have to fight for your rights like in the old days.

He meant it, too. It's OK for the Party
to pull the rug out from under us -
and OK for some men to hang on to their genitals
but call themselves women instead.

© Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Women are a vital part of the socialist movement – they must be consulted over changes to the Gender Recognition Act

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance where the sea air and beautiful scenery keep her mostly on the right side of sanity.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

A Question of Identity

Colin Firth has acquired an Italian passport.
Lucky him! I have one but it will soon expire.
I immediately sprang into action to renew it
but my endeavour did not bear any fruit.
It seems that the economic situation is dire
and many Italian consulates got the chop;
Manchester was closed and Liverpool too.
What’s the problem, you’re bound to ask,
there is an Italian consulate in London
where you can similarly perform the task
Yes it is true: it opens three days a week,
the public has three hours, from 9 till 12,
to be seen and provide biometric data
by appointment only it must be stressed.
If the phone’s answered is the acid test.
If you are from Manchester, oh what a pity,
to arrive in good time to the Capital City
you might be required to rise at dawn.
You travel by train, at an exorbitant cost,
when you get there you could get lost
and all because you can’t do it by post.

© Luigi Pagano


Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines, UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Ricochet





















You still don’t understand the feeling, this churning in the gut,
as if you’re the one caught in the assassin’s cross-hair,
as if your drawn bead is marking out someone else to die.

Is it revenge, this roulette? Russian, American? Who cares?

In the tumbling game of chance your last inevitable marble runs:
black for win, red for lose; death or blood, there’s little difference
when the wheel’s in spin; just cup your hands and blow,
warm these rolling dice for your crap-game gamble;
but you were hiding in some dead-end, pitch-black alley
while the bones were loaded; not knowing who drilled the spots;
not knowing who filled their hollow eyes with lead;
not knowing who was cheating who.

The war inside you has finally broken out and the sun
is far too bright for it to be just any day; still,
it’s a day, a good day to be weaponised.

This ringing in your head (don’t ask, is it just for you?) comes down
like the one last chime of freedom, the sound of the soul cut loose,
triggering every alarm in Heaven, where you will never go now.

You tell yourself, it’s only anger, not madness, something stirring
in your blood, unease, disease, adrenaline pumping up your heart.

It’s not knowing who you are and knowing who everyone else must be
it’s believing what you believe and, for all the differences in the world,
it’s all that’s left here on the outside where you’re in exile
even though you don’t belong, you don’t belong at all.

Be careful what you carry: the man is wise and you are just a boy,
alone, normal on the street, walking like normal through gates and doors,
acting as if nothing could be so wrong, acting as if the cold sweat on your back
is imagined, and your glistening upper lip is not a dead giveaway.

Did you even think about it as your right to bear arms? Not once.
Still, you bring them to bear, swivel them into the whole world’s face?

It was all too easy, and natural, in your view, such as it is,
as you peer through the scopes for sense, for targets,
for some way to see, some way to recognise the ones to blame.

But that’s not your call: too confused, too many words to take in,
too many slogans, too much TV-talk, yadda-yadda-yadda;
now their faces look back at you in stupid surprise,
you never expected that at kill or die time,
but you’ll take them down all the same,
take them all down with you, if only you knew where…

© Brian Hill


Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).


Thursday, 1 March 2018

In terms of night

One can conceive of this
only in terms of night.

And deep within the pitch
of this night, like ashes rising

against a wall of shadows,
something like a man moves.

There is breathing inside
this dark. We can hear it

as we can hear our own.
There is a voice. There are

words spoken. And from
all this we read humanity.

But there is a dislocation:
blood runs black; it circumvents

the heart. Each synapse
carries a twisted charge.

And from all this grow deeds
whose doing lies beyond

the farthest edges of
the dreams you and I share.

© Dick Jones


Dick Jones’ work has been published in magazines, print and online. In 2010 Dick received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea of Stars. His first collection, Ancient Lights, is published by Phoenicia Publishing. His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ influential epic poem ‘La Prose du Transsiberien…’ was published an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press in 2014.