Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The Cost – Anzac Day

Someone must identify ‘the missing’.
The line, drawn in sand.
Fretworks.
A coarse curtain
Of stars
To convene beyond
The bay’s deceptive vermilion.
There’s the Provencal
Wilderness voice – and
Flotsam’s
Interpolation extremities
Powered by
Darkly glowing
Caretaker eyes
Someone must
Identify... ascending.

© Stefanie Bennett


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

A Six-line History of American Politics: 1968-2020






A Six-line History of American Politics: 1968-2020
 
We voted for people we hardly knew,
People who made decisions about
Matters they could not understand,
Decisions benefitting very few of us.
We called it democracy, we still do,
And we're about to do it again.

© George Salamon

Biden Uncut Could Rival Trump's Reality Show

Monday, 29 April 2019

What Put The Diamonds In Your Owner’s Wife’s Ears?























after Bertolt Brecht


You clean collared columnists
should first help us fix the basic roof-over-head
dilemma, before penning your next sermon. 

You shower, who preach careful now
and always know your own exact bank balance, 
what is this mature democracy towards which you sweat?
Without a door I can safely lock behind me
to keep your pity at bay, civilisation
doesn’t even begin.

First bring those of us who get by on Supermacs 
each our own mahogany table and a big, silver knife 
with which to cut the turkey and ham into manageable slices
(with a vegetarian option for those so afflicted)
and answer us this:

What put the diamonds in your owner’s wife’s ears?
Or the Prince Albert ring in her boyfriend’s willy?
The fact you’re in there polishing phrases 
and we’re out here in the undemocratic rain
which everyone – from the Primate of the Church of Ireland 
to the Council for the Women of Consequence – agrees
must never be allowed land on you,

this is what keeps pinning diamonds 
to your owner’s wife’s sad little lobes, 
and puts the ring that winks up at her 
in her boyfriend’s knob.

© Kevin Higgins

Housing crisis set to become a catastrophe, warns Fr Peter McVerry

Kevin Higgins 

Kevin is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway, Ireland. He teaches poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre, Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute, and is Creative Writing Director for the National University of Ireland - Galway Summer School. He is poetry critic of The Galway AdvertiserHe has published five collections of poetry. His next poetry collection, Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital, will be published by Salmon Poetry in June 2019.

Visual Poem

















© S.O. Fasrus

Extinction Rebellion supporters row over whether ‘hippy language’ is watering down climate change message

S.O. Fasrus

S.O. Fasrus is a Social Justice Campaigner & Social Research Interviewer. Her verse and poems; some comic; satirical; and serious; can be found online. Recent poems are in New Verse News, Culture Matters, and Poems for Grenfell Tower.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

That Was the MUSE That Was

Pōwehi

If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you — Nietzsche

What do the science-deniers see
when they look upon the abyss?

I come back to it—so much larger
than our little narcissistic leaders;

how could they think themselves
a center of any universe?

There is a tiny gravity
in this photo, it pulls me back,

keeps me centered on the thought
of all matter grinding into particles—

electrons and neutrons disintegrating
into a dense dark soup.

It is the hole of death, it is the crown
of creation, it is and is not     imagination. 

I was once an event horizon but
never an event.

I fell away…               I fell into…
both realities in simultaneity.

I said I love you more than once;
I never said it, and it broke down

into smaller parts
that still look big from so far away.

© J.P. Dancing Bear

That First Black Hole Seen in an Image Is Now Called Pōwehi, at Least in Hawaii

J. P. Dancing Bear - [Twitter: @jpdancingbear]

J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, most recently, Fish Singing Foxes (Salmon Poetry, 2018) His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary ReviewCrazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.    Later this year, his sixteenth collection, Of Oracles and Monsters, will be released by Glass Lyre Press.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Fake News - Old People Are The Problem!

Old folks must give their benefits away
To make it fair for young folk so they say
The global mess was caused by hair that's grey
It's time for seventy five year olds to pay
Give up the TV licence, peers do bay
You don't need winter fuel, you've had your day
You live too long, it costs too much that way
No wonder old folks nerves begin to fray

For young folks times are hard is truth laid bare
But not because of folk with silver hair
Who chose to privatise our health and care?
Whose money went off shore to rich men's lairs?
Who watches as the social fabric tears?
Who sold the Council Houses now so rare?
Who charges rents so high they are not fair?
It's not the old or young, they wouldn't dare

They want  to cut  us up and  therefore rule
They want  the money, not for winter fuel
Let old folks keep warm eating winter gruel
Then young folks needn't worry they're too cool
Set young on old, let generations duel
While politician's hide their gold and jewels
Leave citizens in zero hours pools
No profits to the ones who work the tools

First disabled or workshy ones  must  quake
Old folks in beds must shiver and must shake
Give to the rich and from the poor let's  take
If they are hungry let them cry a lake
But  lessons from the past do not forsake
For tales of old might keep the rich awake
Miss Antoinette said there's no bread to bake
Don't worry old folk you can still eat cake


Spoiler alert - it ended badly!

© Lesley Webb
Curbing pensioner benefits could help the young, says report

Lesley Webb

Lesley is a member of the Gillingham (Dorset) Writing Group, she writes poetry and fiction
and has had a Pocket Novel and a short story published recently.

Friday, 26 April 2019

The Perfect Woman

(Immediately after a live news bulletin about Notre Dame burning, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about a man who sleeps with dolls in the same bed as his wife, and an ‘entrepreneur’ and his prototype sex-robot) 

Somewhere in America,
a man makes love to a doll,
nuzzling her flawless, latex breasts,
opening her compliant legs, her soft, submissive cunt,
kissing her silent, willing mouth.

Somewhere in America,
his wife lies beside him,
swaddled in her imperfect aging,
eyes squeezed tight, fingers taking root in her ears,
rocked on the malaise of her common, unloved flesh.

Somewhere in America,
a snake-oil salesman creates a robot,
a dream for sale, the perfect woman.
Doll Man burns like wildfire to possess her,
a docile goddess who never grows old.

In Paris, Our Lady is ablaze,
the blessed Virgin in flames;
Immaculata, mother of god - immolated.
Crowds gather to lament, nations band together,
anxious to commiserate and grieve.

Somewhere in the world
a woman is beaten, mutilated,
raped or killed – alone, ignored, forgotten.
Love and worship are for perfect women
deadly, worn-out clichés peddled as gospel.

© Lesley Quayle

Notre-Dame fire: Treasures that make it so special

Creepy £7,000 ‘Harmony’ sex-bot with a saucy Scottish accent goes on sale – as fear over rise of robot lovers grows

Lesley Quayle

Lesley is a widely published, prize-winning poet, editor and a folk/blues singer. Her latest pamphlet – Black Bicycle – was published in May by 4Word.


Here Comes, There Goes Joe Biden






Here Comes, There Goes Joe Biden

Superman fell to Kryptonite's
New, improved formula.
Batman's fingers turned stiff
After years of dread arthritis.
Wonder Woman retired to
Doing reruns on the television.
Now it's up to old Joe Biden
To "battle for the soul of America,"
To return it to its original flavor.
We were well advised by sly
Old Bertolt Brecht, telling us
"Pity the country that needs heroes."

© George Salamon 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Horse Collapse in Cardiff

A Better Attitude Towards Horses
After Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)


Beating hooves seemed to sing
Clip clap, clap clip on Cardiff cobbles,
a sad spring song of heat stroke
for this worst for weather 
on Westgate Street working animal.
Suddenly she fell in the dust at dusk.
Plunked down outside the Principality Stadium.

No one laughed or  scorned her
but there were raucous cries
for those who laid her low.
The street flow stopped
for a horse in distress.
Some sign of human progress
I am glad to say Vladimir.
It would do your heart good
to see her stood in the stall
in the sanctuary, feeling
the colt inside of her growing,
her life worth living.
Helping those who can not ask,
This is work worth doing.

© Phil Knight 

Two arrested after horse collapses in Cardiff


Phil Knight

Phil is poet from Neath in South Wales. His poetry collection 'You Are Welcome To Wales"was published in 2015 by The Red Poets.

(Note: A Good Attitude Towards Horses was a poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky in which he noted the indifference to animal suffering. Sometimes things change for the better.)

Embargoes on Cargoes






Embargoes on Cargoes

Vladimir travelled
to Vladivostok
and Kim Jong
went along
hoping to unblock
or at least ease
the Russian embargo.

© Luigi Pagano 2019

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

How can fire undo stone?

"I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality."
                    Victor Hugo - The Hunchback of Notre Dame


History will live on in the blackened stone, 
with breath on pleading breath, with all the prayers
raised by the people looking to atone
for each small sin. They built up hope in layers, 
in breath on pleading breath, in all the prayers
lining the walls, the smoke from candles lit
for each small sin built up their hope. In layers
of centuries lost pilgrims came to sit, 
lining the walls. The smoke from candles lit
became the most pleasing of offerings
to centuries lost. 

                                Pilgrims came to sit
among the statues of the saints and kings,
became the most pleasing of offerings. 
How many feet have shuffled down this aisle
among the statues of the saints and kings? 
We listened to the bells chime for a while, 
on tired feet we shuffled down the aisle
to light our own candles. For some relief
we listened to the bells chime; for a while
we bowed our heads to pray, heavy with grief. 
We lit our own candles for some relief
and sat and watched, hypnotised by the fire.

We bow our heads today, heavy with grief, 
but one day we will gaze up and aspire. 
We sit and watch, hypnotised by the fire;
history will live on in the blackened stone, 
and one day we will gaze upon a spire
raised by the people looking to atone.

© John Newson

Notre-Dame fire: Paris surveys aftermath of cathedral blaze

John has a wide variety of interests, ranging from architecture to zoology, and a corresponding inability to focus on any single task. He writes to achieve such focus.

If the media was an online store






If the media was an online store
its home page would look like this

CUSTOMER: our attention 
OUT OF STOCK: the truth
BESTSELLER: fear

© Gargi Pandkar

Sri Lankans Slam Indian Media for ‘Politicising’ Easter Blasts

Gargi is a student-in-transit who dabbles in poetry on her blog when she is not eating books for breakfast

Gargoyle of Notre Dame

They put me here
to protect Our Lady.
To keep a beady eye out
for scoundrels, evil spirits.
Those medieval minds
unsurpassable in superstition.

Contrary to popular opinion
I am not the devil's wingman -
grotesque as I may seem.
I am a keeper of safety,
guardian of sanctuary.
The cathedral's secret security.
to ward off danger or enmity
(the water spout is just an excuse.)

Centuries pass and I, in my cement state
am pressed to observe.
Look how I slump and slouch.
It's boring being a stone look-out.

I have watched this city 
full of beauty and fierceness for too long.
Remember 1789?
I couldn't count
the heads that rolled by.
And the 1800s...the tricoleres, canon fire,
that small wiry guy
intent on pomp and glory,
the buildings fallen around me.
And then the Germans.


But she stood despite it all. 
Here was the heart that harboured
the lost in her forest of faith.
(Not to mention a lovable, malformed, wretch.) 
Cherry blossom shade, rose window blessings.

On the banks of the Seine, a place to rest,
space to lessen the grief of the ages.  
City of light, city of sin. 
Ile de la cite -
this one beautiful thing.


Now a fire rages behind me and she burns.
Mon Dieu!
I am powerless to stop it. I weep with you. 
But in the embers, solace abounds. Proof
that people still care 

about beauty 
even now.

What to do?
Light a candle, begin, believe again. 
Don't make a stone of the soul, 
like me.
Isn't that everything
here on earth?


© Siobhán Mc Laughlin

Notre Dame's gargoyles protected the iconic Cathedral, and the city of Paris, for centuries

Siobhan is currently taking part in NaPoWriMo poem a day challenge. Twitter: @siobhan347

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

45

In this poem, proper sentence
structure will be followed.

For example, sentences will start
with a capital letter and end

with an appropriate punctuation mark.

Sentences will be grammatically precise.

Some will likely say that following 
such rigid rules

will detract from the poem’s poetic quality
but I’m not sure I can agree.

I’m also not sure real poems require words

I italicize for emphasis.

For example, is an image held in the mind
 of crying children, of thousands

of immigrant children separated
from their families at the border,

never to be reunited, poetic?

Is the image symbolic and evokes
strong emotions? Is it repetitive
and sick at heart?

Is the precision of language
of one’s internal dialogue
describing the image 
what make it poetic or not?

Can a number be a poem
or at least poetic?

Such as the title of this poem?

I will never think of “45” in the same way again.

© Gil Hoy

Trump denies reports he will reinstate family separation border policy

Gil Hoy

Gil 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.

Peach




















Plum.
Liked soccer -
quiet, intense teacher
trade unionist
socialist.

Overt stammer
explosive repetitions
facial tremor
sudden rush of words
so much to say
couldn’t get it all out

Except when he taught.
Clear when he fought -
for the vulnerable
oppressed,
against racist
pub landlords.
Or fascist fucks

Killed by police.
Beaten in Southall
they caved in his skull
couldn’t get up
or hold a glass.
Died in a Hospital theatre.
11.40pm, 23 April, 1979

© Des Mannay

Southall ’79, when the police killed Blair Peach

Des Mannay - [Twitter: @hooliganpoet]

Des has won prizes and been shortlisted in 6 competitions, performed at 8 festivals, published in 8 magazines/blogs. His work has appeared in 15 poetry anthologies. Catch him on Facebook as "The stuff wot I wrote' Des Mannay - hooligan Poet".

Swing low






Swing low

The opinion pollsters
are sure of one thing:
that among voters
there is a swing
to Labour from Tories.
And that is the truth,
not fictional stories.
It is estimated
that the Reds would beat
the bungling Blues
by at least sixty seats.
With such a victory
what would happen then
is that Jeremy Corbyn
would be in number 10.

© Luigi Pagano 

Monday, 22 April 2019

Lyra, Rest in Peace

I am roaring, bull thick red
Eyes bloodshot
Tears rolling down rosy cheeks
Beetroot, scarlet, shame-faced.
She was a fire, aflame, furious
Now referred to as a dying ember
Ceasefire baby who never ceased
to ignite support for human rights.
We are sore, sad, at your senseless
murder, Lyra – writer, orator
Advocate, hope for the future.
Your shining light quenched
but not extinguished.
© Frances Browner
'Bright light has been quenched' - tributes pour in for Lyra McKee

Frances is a creative writing/history tutor, in Wicklow, Ireland. Her fiction and memoir pieces have been published and broadcast on radio. Poems have appeared online and in print.

Extinction Rebellion





















(Image, courtesy of S.O. Fasrus)


Does anyone recall the distant thrill of hope? 
The cries of the city echo the spill of hope. 

It is all too easy to slip from the tightrope;
another bottle dropped on the landfill of hope. 

A politician lies, spews out the same old trope. 
Only the most selfish can boast the skill of hope. 

Comforts and futures clash in a kaleidoscope
full of hypocrisies — a crass windmill of hope. 

Everybody dances when they run out of rope
so march with all the marchers up the hill of hope. 

I thank the Lord that I was born a misanthrope —
humanity always adapts to kill off hope. 

I have nothing new son, no other way to cope;
listen to the birdsong, pretend there's still some hope.


© John Newson

Extinction Rebellion climate protest

John has a wide variety of interests, ranging from architecture to zoology, and a corresponding inability to focus on any single task. He writes to achieve such focus.

Haiku






Haiku

Faced with extinction
tiny bees drink salty tears
to drown their sorrows

© Bex Tate

Doctors discover four live bees feeding on tears inside woman's eye

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Tomb-Sweeping Day

The ophthalmologist, whose name is Hung,
tugs on one of three visible legs
protruding – an extra, alien set
of lashes. Then another, then another.
The woman, named only as He, did not
rub, kept all four Halictidae alive
nourished by tear-salt, saving her own sight.
News stories show close-ups on big screens
on Taiwanese TV, their eight silver-black wings
and antennae preserved; tiny stings
(apparently like one hair catching fire)
unused. From my kitchen, I realise I can’t
remember visiting a grave – let alone
sweeping one – as He had, the day before.
The ants and Ancestors barely taking note
of the fragments which catch in our eyes.


© Caleb Parkin

Four bees found living inside woman’s eye, drinking her tears

Caleb Parkin - [Website: Could Be the Moon] [Twitter: @CalebParkin]

Caleb is a poet, performer, facilitator & filmmaker, based in Bristol. He works with schools, museums, universities and others & is completing an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. Winner, Winchester Poetry Prize 2017 National Poetry Competition 2016 - 2nd Prize The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2016 - Shortlist Watch filmpoem 'Bony Orbit' on Atticus Review I was on Poetry Please here

We are the champions






We are the champions

We often hear that Britain is the best,
our football league harder than the rest,
that with every invention we were first,
that it was here democracy was nursed
but in the art of comedy we truly excel
and in Westminster our comedians dwell.
They are not in the league of Mark Twain
but their fame spread as far as Ukraine.

© Luigi Pagano 

Migrant Mapping






Migrant Mapping

Great-grandmother1 left Ireland for Wales
Great-grandfather1 left Ireland for Wales
Great-grandmother 2 left Wales for America
Great-grandfather 2 left Wales for America
Grandmother1 left Ireland for Wales
Grandfather1 left America for Wales
Uncle1 left Wales for South Africa
Sister1 left the UK for France
Cousin 1 left the UK for Australia
Nephew 1 left the UK for France
Nephew 2 left the UK for America
Nephew 3 left the UK for America
Nephew 2's wife left Israel for America
Nephew 3's wife left Cuba for America

© S. O. Fasrus


UK-born baby of parents with right to remain given six-month tourist stamp

What College Does To You






What College Does To You

Who's in and who's not
In the meritocracy or elite
Is easy to tell.
 
There are tests for the former.
Assets of the latter by
Which to measure.
 
But who belongs to the
Common people, that's
Harder to tell.
 
You are where you went.


© George Salamon

Graffiti





Graffiti
It’s what made a derelict stone wall
beside the A487 a history lesson
in red and white. Two words scrawled
as elegy and warning: Cofiwch Dryweryn.

Deface it with your paint, your hammers.
attempt to erase from sons and daughters
our history. And we gather:
a storm to unmuddy your waters.

© Brett Evans

Cofiwch Dryweryn memorial attack treated as hate crime


Let's not forget Tryweryn / Cofiwch Dryweryn