Buttons by Clive Donovan

 
Like someone else's mother's button box
not quite the same
and these lingering threads
and grime are they not just
a little repulsive?
Not meaningful
their stories missing
such as my favourite
big blue button off Sandra's coat
that never got sewn back on
and where is the real bone
and abalone
mother-of-pearl
and early bakelite
and look at this disgusting
cloth-covered nub
off a suspender belt
my God the things some folks keep!
And this absurd picture of Scottie dogs
disgracing a toffee tin
our classy shortbread box- lid portrayed
a Gainsborough velvet boy
I remember days of her
sorting through possessions
as she prepared to enter
her final home from home
she sifted slow with crabbed fingers
that never more would stitch
and preoccupied with beds and chairs
I let her say farewell and ditch them all
with many ornaments
rattling to the landfill bin
and I regret that now
and forever since
catching myself at frowsty stalls
and charity shops
purveying bric-à-brac
hovering over other people's
lost small fortunes
of family collections
but it's never quite the same.

About the Author

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Agenda, Fenland Poetry Journal, Neon Lit. Journal, Prole, Sentinel Lit. Quarterly and Stand.  His debut collection will be published by Leaf by Leaf in November 2021. 

Bird’s View by Jenny Robb

 

We watch grounded, heavy humans
fly in metal coffins. You’ll never know
the rush of air separating

and thinning over curved upper-wings,
and skimming under flat-planed under-wings,
pushing our bodies high.

We are music, song, infinite colour.
We are feathers, predators, prey.
We are air creatures. 

Our telescopic eyes ignore
your feather-less lives,
but some of us devour decaying flesh.

Our Peregrine Falcons
dive like stealth-jets,
beaks severing necks in mid-air:

but you could eliminate us all.


About the Author

Jenny lives in Liverpool.  Since retiring from work in mental health services, her poems have been published in online and print magazines, and in anthologies. She has poems forthcoming in Prole, Orbis and The Dawntreader. Her debut pamphlet will be published by Yaffle Press in 2021.

Two Poems by Paul Waring

Pizza & Trumpets

There’s no greeting fanfare in Arrivals, 
chest-high sign blaring your name in black 
capitals, pat on the back for a model past,
reunion with family tree and pets. All that 
awaits is white, corridors of unfamiliar faces 
like first day at school. Hymns plucked 
on thousand-string harps, no flamenco 
slap or Starman on the radio oh-oh. 

Driven wild by whispers of basement 
parties, Jesus flipping burgers at barbies, 
brobdingnagian pizza and trumpets,
gin-swilling saints, Hollywood greats, 
Elvis, Prince and Jimi Hendrix on stage,
John and Yoko together again.

Turning Point

Tongues loosened by quaffable red,
shared ear for Ella, Miles, Lady Day 
and Coltrane, we ratchet up banter.
Air scents of kitchen roast chicken notes, 
winter light all but out, rain playing 
percussion on window panes, I watch 

you ovenglove the cradled beast to rest, 
brindled, bedded on veg, carving knife 
poised before my curveball comment 
punctures the mood. Eyes fixed apart, 
we bolt down dinner, chew over barbed words, 
wait for time to dress, digest the wound.



About the Author

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist from Wirral. His poetry is published in Prole, Atrium, Obsessed With Pipework, Ink, Sweat & Tears, London Grip and elsewhere. Awarded second prize in the 2019 Yaffle Prize, commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition, his debut pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ is published by Yaffle Press.

www.waringwords.blog 

Twitter: @drpaulwaring

Two Poems by Mark Fisher

I Street

there is another world 
	down that street 
filled with fault line fables 
cracking through 
the archetypes of neighbors 
and all the loving truths
stuffed away 
	in the backs of refrigerators
in Tupperware hells
with all the other leftovers
grown fuzzy with mold
but such a pretty blue
blessing the bread


Midnight City

moonlight bright streetlights
cast shadows across your soul
while angel faced women dance naked 
through the saxophone streets
and late night vagabonds with the cash
shell out for crispy potato prayers in diner cathedrals
sipping Stella Rosa communion wine
wistfully looking through mandala windows 
into blind primordial streets
feeling the liquor bottle emptiness of waiting
and just getting older




About the Author:

Mark A. Fisher is a writer, poet, and playwright living in Tehachapi, CA.  His poetry has appeared in: Angel City Review, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, Altadena Poetry Review, Penumbra, Young Ravens, and many other places. His first chapbook, drifter, is available from Amazon.  His plays have appeared on California stages in Pine Mountain Club, Tehachapi, Bakersfield, and Hayward. He has also won cooking ribbons at the Kern County Fair. 

Three Poems by Kayleigh Campbell

Lunar Eclipse 
 
She stares at the triangle between her legs,
the darker tip of it like a snow-covered
 
mountain top. She lifts her foot from the water 
and suspends it as a skin-covered moon.
 
She lifts her right hand as Zhenyi 
might have, scrunches it into an earth-fist.
 
She holds her left hand up, palm flat, fingers
outstretched into a pygmy sun and pauses: 
 
she aligns here in this moment, 
before letting her limbs go limp.

Dear Vera Shimunia 
embroider me a star  
splattered night sky  

and sew my body so beautifully  

into a constellation so I can hang myself  

and the universe  
on the kitchen wall.

Andalusia 

She licks crisp schnapps from her lips  
as she watches palm trees sway in Balearic breeze. 

She fingers pages of The Handmaid’s Tale, 
as she examines the body language of sun loungers.  

She spots her fiancé in the pool, hazy with cheap beer
and chlorine. She imagines it is a stranger.

She begins to imagine a different holiday,
where she is alone.

She looks beyond the resort, across the beach
into carolina sea and imagines

she could be crystallised like salt
and drift away from here.

About the Author

Kayleigh Campbell is a third year Creative Writing Ph.D candidate at The University of Huddersfield. She has previously volunteered for Stand Magazine based at The University of Leeds; she lives in Leeds with her partner Joe and their daughter Eliza. Her pamphlet Keepsake is available from Maytree Press. Her work has appeared in the likes of Anthropocene, Butcher’s Dog and Ink, Sweat & Tears. 

Siren Song by Leanne Moden

The clamouring of rooks among the trees
reminds me of the sirens on the shore,
whose raucous songs were blatant augury,

of omens too pernicious to ignore.
The scream of sirens on the motorway
remind me of the sirens on the shore:

a devastating ending to the day.
Those birds will seek the car-crash carrion.
The scream of sirens on the motorway – 
a call as bright and clear as clarion –
inviting us to seek our own demise.
Those birds will seek the car-crash carrion:

like Erysichthon, nothing satisfies
the calling void. Obsession quantified,
inviting us to seek our own demise.

The war inside my head is amplified;
the clamouring of rooks among the trees.
The calling void, obsession quantified,
whose raucous songs are blatant augury

About the Author

Leanne Moden is a Nottingham-based poet. She’s performed at events across the UK and Europe, including WOMAD Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sofar Sounds, and Bestival. Leanne’s latest collection, ‘Get Over Yourself’ was published in July 2020 by Burning Eye Books, and she’s currently working on her debut theatre show. You can find out more about her work on her website: http://www.leannemoden.com 

Resurrection by Imogen Foster


In my dream-space I pick up a garden fork 
and driving steel through compacted soil
I find that among the worms and sharp stones 
I am excavating something that looks familiar.

Fragments rise from the dirt, shape themselves
into cups and saucers, a floral jug, a sugar bowl.
Intact again, each piece takes its place on starched linen, 
fine drawn-thread work laid over red chenille.

A photographer ducks under his black cloth, 
his subjects posing, stiff beside their tableware.
Behind them stands the housemaid, my grandmother,
sent into service aged eleven, and now about to speak.

She tells me only that this house is a lonely place
and that she has been taught a few words of French 
in case they should be required: le lait, the milk; 
le pain, the bread; le sel, the salt, la bonne, the maid.

About the Author

Imogen Forster returned to writing poems a few years ago, after a long interval, much of which she spent working as a translator  from French, Spanish and Italian. She has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University, and expects to publish a pamphlet in 2021. She lives in Edinburgh, and longs to be able both to travel outside the city again and to attend live poetry events.

@ForsterImogen

Dad Teaches Me to Light Matches by Holly Magill

Welephant had done too good a job on me

him and all the scare-scar horror stories.

Boy who, on November 6th, picked up – he’d thought – 
a dead firework. Boy now with no face.

Girl who stood too close to the fire in a shellsuit – 
green and purple glued her a second skin.

Birthday sparklers, gas hobs, Bunsen burners
the casual lighter-flicks of the smoker girls in school.

Me, 19 years old. Still petrified.

*

He stands me at the utility room worktop
in the dream cottage he’d restored with Wife No.2

the counter where she spoons the cat-food
whole other room from the show kitchen.

He squares the small oblong in my palm
its rough sides flinch my fingers.

We’ll do every one together until you can.

His hand cups mine steady
guides me to do something practical, useful.

Love – matchbox-sized – 
terrifying with each strike

proves to me I can be safe

whatever lies in years either side.

About the Author

Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House, Bare Fiction, and Under The Radar, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She won first prize in the 2019 Cannon Poets ‘sonnet or Not’ competition. She co-edits Atrium – www.atriumpoetry.com. Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady Flambé, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/holly-magill/4594330527

I Remember the Bedroom by Cristina Discusar





i slept in every bed
the blue cover 
was my favourite
                         like the dark air
every time i woke up i was alone
                         and knew nothing
it was only my eyes that captured:
the backyard behind the block of flats
the window
the park in our neighbourhood
the health centre in the afternoon light
- as if they were polaroid snapshots
and i could not recall the cold, as if it never existed

several days ago, i sat on a bench and watched
two cranes, moving slowly as they were building a block of flats 
it looked like they would never finish 
I recorded it deep inside my mind

several days ago, i watched electric wires and trees
and didn’t blink

About the Author

Cristina Dicusar (07.08.1993) is a young, talented poet from Chisinau, The Republic of Moldova, who was already introduced to our readers in the autumn in our Translation Tuesday feature. She published her first poems in the „Clipa” magazine and in a poetry collection: „Casa Verde”/„The Green House”. Now she is writing her PhD with a thesis on contemporary Romanian poetry. She read at various literary clubs: The “Vlad Ioviță” Workshop (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova), “Tram 26” (Romania), “Mihail Ursachi” House of Culture (Romania), Bar Behind the Curtains (Czech Republic), Prague Writers’ Club (Czech Republic), Beseda Castle, Švrček Theater, (Slovakia) etc.  She is member of the “Vlad Ioviță” Creative Writing Workshop and of the “Republica” Cenacle. The featured poem is visually powerful and brings a different poetic view from a different corner of Europe. Translation by Cristina Discusar, Mircea Dan Duta and Natalie Nera.

Visual Poems by Seth Crook








                                THE VISIBLE WORLD







                                I DISCOVERED
          
                                                                 THE EX T







                    






                                      THE INVISIBLE WORLD




                                       AT LAST

                                                  I FOUND

                                                             THE WAY  N
    


                     


























. 

About the Author

Seth Crook is transitioning into a seal, swims daily. His poems have appeared in such places as The Rialto, Magma, Envoi, The Interpreter’s House. And in recent anthologies such as Port (Dunlin), Green Fields (Maytree), Declarations (Scotland Street). His concrete/word-visual poems have recently appeared in Streetcake, Dreich, The Projectionist’s Playground,  and a forthcoming anthology celebrating Edwin Morgan.