The Dance …lilac Nehru jacket, ploughman’s amble, gadabout eye-flicker - you doorstep… * …pare sweet breads into morsels, deform, hand out. Tump with cauliflower… * …retreats into a dive, yells. “Something titanic, icy, flush and gin.” The barman… * …we’d never waltz on shingle, ripple-drenched feet, as vinyl purred… Horizontal Vision …barrows to-and-froed. Hagglers impressed, lurking. I corner nosegay oils, you earmark… * …tilt steamer on disengaged hob 10-15 minutes. Baste… * …check-up. Paramedic eurekas - something woefully awry – deduces tip-off… * …metro expired at Wallsend, bus green-lighted an hour to cloud-gather, you’d never essentially… Earth …peachy-keen upbeat guitar seesawed your hips. Taffrail clover, dribble… * …rattle all footloose. Chip walnuts. Grease loaf tin… * …ventured into Bronx Flea Market, bisected dummy cornered into a pin-stripe… * …lick-and-promise miasma Overhauled drained instincts. Only traffic faded… Fixations …in rag-order knee-highs yodelled, single-filing my alley. No cur whined… * …kibble, tooling rutty blade of mincer. Dissolve ½ oz… * …Pegasus’ foals vamoosed, so the knight… * …we quick-timed hours. An invisible… Not Quite June …gabby-guts rooks air-cleared your nickname. Evening shade diffracted urgency… * …groundwork panade. Turn out as for béchamel, stargaze an hour… * …wolfed my quill.” “What shall I do?” “Take advantage of a crayon…” * …rule-breaking headaches spared, though we blethered all…Read more "CHRISTOPHER BARNES – 5 POEMS"
SEATON As we walk across Seaton Beach My Grandfather Asks me of my prospects ‘I’m 75’ He said ‘Soon I’ll be fucking dead’ He seems to think life will work out for me But for a brief moment We are lost Eventually we find my mother And grumpy Grandma Before eating fish and chips My eyes looking up towards the sun Bristol, August 2006 GULAG Where he worked He lived And did not like To be reminded That he did He was always reliable But found others far from it He cursed them Under his breath As the days rolled by With cigarettes and coffee To try and ease the strain Sometimes it rained Sometimes it was windy And jobs would not be done He sat in his chair Made phone calls Annoyed Often cynical He would nonetheless Face his humiliation With a rare bravery One day One of his sons Wrote on a piece of paper ‘GULAG’ And stuck it on the wall Of his office He snarled At his sons sense of humour Because by Christ It felt like one Colchester, April 2007 Mark Anthony Pearce lives and works as a Receptionist in Bristol, England. His poetry has been published in University of Essex Poetry Journal, BS Poetry Magazine and online, Inefável, Coronaverses, Winamop, Horror Sleaze Trash, Duane’s PoeTree & Piker Press. Mark’s writing has also featured in ‘Anne Bean: Self Etc’ (Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books, Autumn 2018)Read more "MARK ANTHONY PEARCE – 2 POEMS"
You speed through
the Minotaur’s labyrinth
hoping to avoid the monster.
The motor responds.
You have another
someplace to go.
You look into the wind,
a lop-eared hound
head out the window.
the GPS tracks your
departures and arrivals.
In your sonic life,
you are the hip hero pointing
toward the next adventure,
the lover with the ball
of thread to navigate
Her Final Email
Days you stayed in bed.
Migraines. Texas heat
made you sweat. And then
another week had slipped away,
unlike your chores and wishes.
At your desk, a compost heap
of essays. You even began grading
and then Shadow would sigh
to say it was past feeding time
and you abandoned them. You called
him the best dog in the present world.
One son announced he was moving back
so you removed the sewing machine
from his room. You then grew angry
with your husband for leaving.
The other son mentioned downsizing
and you heard nursing home.
Your grandchildren were delightful.
In your final email, you acknowledged
you were lucky, but only so far.
And soon after, the fatal dose.
We could have reunited,
here in Kentucky or there in Texas.
We could have remembered,
and renewed, our luck.
Read more "Gaby Bedetti – 2 POEMS"
Navigating the Ocean
I crave you like oxygen sometimes,
as if I couldn’t breathe without you and
this terrifies me, makes me want to
push you away, prove something,
find the key that unlocks this tether, set
you free, to go away but come back, choose
as if there was a choice,
as if I could become amphibious, grow
some gills, maybe a tail to navigate
the oceans of the loss of setting you free and not
drown; or possibly build a raft, to float above,
but not so far that I’ll miss your hand reaching
up out of the water to come aboard, in case
I can save you, as humans rarely do;
or maybe there will be a sunset and a night
when the ocean grows moon and stars
while a gentle current transports me to
somewhere my love for you is not so full
of need, will be refined of dross, capable
The phone is ringing.
Maybe it’s you.
There’s no escaping the constant whirs,
hums, chugs and buzzes of summer,
like birdsong, in variety and nuance,
but less conversation, more dictation,
as if to an old fashioned stenographer-
get this down, condense the languorous
signals of summer to shorthand,
We shorten grass, shrink hedges,
embarrass pieces of wood with hammers,
(to drown out the woodpeckers)
interrupt the lifespan of recalcitrant
weeds, till them under, nip and tuck.
Each hum, buzz, whir, chug
a jigsaw piece of putting nature
in her place, a pissing upon,
a tiny fist raised in defiance of ice-
storms, blizzards, microbes, death.
We oil and tighten, plug in and refuel
until the entropy of it catches up
in the end while the birds have
their say during the intermission.
A soft wind blew across the moor,
And the heather danced in tune,
Some grouse flew up to test the air,
Then snuck back, into its sweet perfume.
A sparrow hawk circled low,
In anticipation of its prey,
Then attracted by some other thing;
It quickly flew away.
A beauty haunts this desolate place,
With its contours shaped by ice,
Where beasts can still roam wild and free –
A small touch of paradise.
Bracken on the moor-edge slopes,
Mixed flora in the glens,
All produce their radiant colours,
Without the help or seed of men.
The walkers-path is overgrown,
Not many came this year,
The changes in the weather,
Have brought many summer storms to Clare.
There are some patches now of topsoil,
I hadn’t noticed at first glance,
Just a small sign – like so many others –
That we are on our final chance.
The Invisible Stranger
I love lying,
in my own bed,
with my hands
stretched above my head
and my fingers barely touch one another—
as if they are unfamiliar,
as if they are unknown to the rest of me.
And now it’s not just a touch, but a graze,
an affectionate line drawn onto one finger
by the other.
The line ends
and becomes a hook,
an unwillingness to part;
a stage to go through,
I don’t want to let go
of the unfamiliar hand,
lying next to mine
The invisible stranger,
I hope to see again.Read more "Julia Gerhardt – The Invisible Stranger"
Me & my brain are making sandwiches for the first time in years
& I remember
I like sourdough. I wonder
whose hands made the bread & if this cooking,
this creation, is a kind of holiness. My brain laughs.
We’re having a sleepover on a school night
& I wonder
whose mother authorized it
By the grace of God
I am with my brain
& by the grace of God,
this brain’s a scrappy one
Which is to say, she is still sprinting: I’m impressed-
she did a lot of math this month. I joke that
she looks like she’s here
to eff the party up.
Brain tells Body (my body’s here too)
The first rule
of any effective love practice
is to synthesize its thoughtwork
with its bodywork: “Classic
substance-presence query, honeybee,” she sighs
& I know
that sigh was for me
I tell them, “First rule
of the big city
is to mind ya own damn business.” My body sets up
a cot at the foot of my bed
Gingerly removes her stockings, that they won’t rip
& I know
mishandling must be a violence
in which the body keeps score. She, of all people,
must be keeping score- I could stand
to learn a thing or two from this inclination
of tenderness, alone
My mouth, every morning,
rooting ‘round any regional iteration of the daylight
To inhale a verbose evidence
& then exhale, like
my photosynthesis must be scheduled
to kick in any day now
As though this were the only thing
I knew how to do
Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage
She says, “Look. The rain’s harder now.”
I say, “Yes, but the theater’s close.”
She thumbs a path across
her melting glass.
Her daughter in third-year law.
Her granddaughter a swan.
When did I say I believed
in anyone’s tomorrow?
Her cupped hands; lines
connect, curve, cross,
predict nothing. She stares
into the passing moment.
“I never thought I’d be this person,”
she says, “never this alone.
I’m afraid sometimes, though
it’s nice not to be second guessed.”
My bedroom a chaos of shadows.
She’s unsure what comes next.
Then her legs clamp my hips,
and her mouth finds my neck.Read more "Douglas Collura – Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage"
The car appeared outside the house, as if by magic
dropped from the sky into a pile of snow, tire tracks obliterated by fresh snow.
A sleeping bag blocked the back window completely, candy wrappers
could be seen on the front seat.
After a couple of days, my neighbor came over and asked me if it was my car
if I wouldn’t mind moving it so that her nephew could park there. I told her
how the car had just appeared in that spot, and that I didn’t think anyone
had come back for it since its arrival, although
I thought I saw a couple of people sitting in the front seat very late the night before
hands frantically moving in the dim overhead light
but it may have been a dream.
A week or so later, a tow truck came and got the car, probably called by my neighbor
the one who came over or perhaps a different one entirely
the spot where the car had been parked was black and green with oil and antifreeze
dirty snow and a couple of smashed beer cans. I watched the car get pulled
backwards down the street, waited for a door to fling open angrily
in the car or in a neighboring house, but no one came out after the car
no one chased the truck frantically down the street.
Read more "HOLLY DAY – BLUE CAR"