Mandy Macdonald – four degrees plus

four degrees plus

first they said
it’s not happening,

then they said
it’ll never happen
and
it’s not our fault
anyway
not really
natural cycles
ice ages come around
all the time
don’t they?
.

then they said
it won’t happen in our lifetime
in our children’s lifetime
maybe
but hopefully not
and by then
we’ll have
the technology to deal with it

and anyway
we’ll adapt,
we’re an adaptable species
let’s look at
adaptation

agreed, then?
somewhere with
better wine perhaps but
same time
next year?
if there is one

 

Pat Edwards – Walking by the Shore Instead

Walking by the shore instead

Someone on the radio is banging on,
reportage of truths and alternative truths,
falsehood and fantasy

When I was a kid it was the six o’clock news
We’d sit and watch smart men in suits
tell us how BBC it was

Now I am straight-jacketed by sharp opinion
These quarrels fly at me from crossbows
aimed right at my head

I want to duck and weave, get out of range
before the bowman reaches again into
his quiver of news

Then the man on the radio says how a walk
on the shores of the Bosphorus always
seems to re-energise him

I worry that, if I walk away now, the fortunes
of the world will be in the hands of archers,
firing arrows and bolts

not from out the blue, but with arrow heads
dipped in outrageous, deadlier poison
no shoreline walk can cleanse

 

Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. She has been published on line, such as in Picaroon, The Rat’s Ass, Amaryllis and Ink Pantry, and in some anthologies including Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology 2016. She runs Verbatim open mic nights in Welshpool and Montgomery and is curating this year’s Welshpool Poetry Festival.

Carmina Masoliver – Leaving

Leaving

When she leaves, some say
it is an act of bravery,
some say it’s running away.
Really, it was a necessity,
a feeling in her gut.
But she’ll come back for her city,
for her man, for doors not shut.
She’s hoping for a change,
a chance to make the cut.
Her city’s looking strange,
too many zeros on its rent.
We used to save for rainy days,
but now the money is all spent.
And oh the theatres, and the cinemas,
we’ll wonder where they went.
Art stripped away for soulless bars,
we’ll miss beer-soaked wood
the smell of salt and vinegar.

Carmina Masoliver is a poet and teacher from London, England. She is founder of She Grrrowls feminist arts night, and is a regular contributor to The Norwich Radical. Her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies, such as Popshot, and her chapbook was published by Nasty Little Press in 2014. She has featured at events including Bang Said the Gun, Latitude, Lovebox, Bestival and Goldsmith University’s The Place for Poetry. She has facilitated workshops independently, as well as whilst shadowing Ross Sutherland, Niall O’Sullivan, and Michael Rosen. She currently lives and works in Córdoba, Spain.

Website: www.carminamasoliver.com

Sarah Wedderburn – We have cast ourselves out

We have cast ourselves out

after Masaccio

Over the door floats an angel,
his blackened sword raised
in case we change our minds.
Adam covers his face, I my nudity.

We are fresco. Adam says
art brought us to life. He says
we are naturalistic, with rounded bellies,
rendered in chiaroscuro—almost the first.
We were painted fast, on plaster.
We were painted on separate days.
Adam was fine with Paradise.
I’d had enough.

That is one serious angel.
Going back is not an option.
So we rush through the creamy portal
into the world beyond the painting’s edge.
We are the departure of the symbolic,
Adam says. We are real.
We are different.

He was happy to stay. I never thought
it was up to much, Eden. I felt patronised—
you know? God just sent rules
from on high. He was remote,
he had no mandate.

We are chalky white. My face is my shock.
We lacked for little but—it’s hard
to explain—it wasn’t ours.
That serpent insisted we could
take back control. I wanted
that. Now, I am sore afraid.

We have cast ourselves out.
We are the departure of the symbolic.
Look at us—we are bombed by shame.
Adam and I are fresco.
We were painted on separate days.

Bee Smith – Chaos is Good News

Chaos is Good News

For Sioga

I say to you:
chaos is good news.
It is not just hood and noose.
It is the dance of atoms
longing for love,
a yelp of glee,
a shudder of release,
a constant choosing

of joy in the random
and the deliberate –
not in ignorance
of both hood and the noose,
nor as an antidote
to hood and noose –
just because
chaos makes joy.

I have news for you.
As there is darkness, so too
there is light. Even as the dark wave
of a floodwater high tide
engulfs you, chaos is also consciously,
gleefully rushing towards the empty space
to meet, exuberantly embrace every morsel
of tidal flotsam and jetsam.

All those found objects
the next day are the makings.
Chaos is good news.
It makes us makers whether
stories of storm and survival or
the quiet joy in purposeful making
using the random pieces of our self
that float beyond.

Bee Smith has subsidised her writing habit in many ways over the past three decades. Poems, short stories, creative non-fiction, have appeared in print publications in the USA, UK and Ireland; she current blogs as ‘The Crone from Corrogue.’ Ireland is her third country of residence where she rusticates in West Cavan. She teaches creative writing and is a member of the Art Council’s Writers in Prison panel.

Bee Smith facilitates Word Alchemy Creative Writing Workshops in West Cavan and is on the Irish Art Council’s Writers in Prisons panel. Her articles can be found widely across the blogosphere. She is the author of “Brigid’s Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine” available as an ebook on Amazon. BrigidsWay.

Catherine Eunson – A refusal to complain about the rain

A refusal to complain about the rain


So the first of June lashes in
pissing down enough in one hour
to wed a whole townful.

I should be downcast, not standing
in the sodden scented grass saying
here it comes that somewhere sun.

Yes, the long grey eel, snaking through the sky,
says the mid-year fiesta can begin,
and I’m in.

Then at night, dawn dreaming,
to sit there and to look
as another thin page turns
in June’s gilded book.

Waiting by the window
to stare and stare
at the washing of the rain,
the subtle suspension

of summer in the air.

Originally from Orkney, Catherine currently lives in Glasgow, but was in the Outer Hebrides for nearly twenty years prior to that. There she was variously busy with her family, arts jobs, events organisation and community groups. She wrote and recorded music for Pauline Prior-Pitt’s ‘North Uist Sea Poems,’ (see catherineeunson.net) and has had poetry published in Algebra for Owls, Northwards Now, Southlight and on the StAnza map.

Sarah Wedderburn – Seeing Madam Butterfly

Seeing Madame Butterfly

For God’s sake, this is wrong. She’s fifteen, caught in a follow spot
of voyeuristic pity. Houselights barely dimmed, we’re ogling.
Where’s her mother when the ship of love glides in, gross
with steam and angles? Men in suits collude. The girl just…sings.
Hell, she’s fallen for him: Christian, kind, unthinking. Bastard.
We understand the score but, swooned in music, all we do is snivel.
Cho-Cho-San, you know the delicate placing of a cup, not America!
I want to shout my warnings across custom, time. At the interval,
staggering out for air in London’s fetid night, I hear a man roar
at a woman’s sobs, fear I’ve learned little from my own fool’s games.
That’s when I’m sure I see her. Knelt on the stage door step, bent
over brush and paper, she’s writing with her deft calligrapher’s hand
in fast, light flashes, undoing her story like a star’s collapse till, quick
as a kingfisher, her blue kimono flickers out of sight. Back on stage,
here’s Pinkerton again, his wife, their offer. In some other universe—
in us, the orchestra, the dumbstruck cast—the music soars as Butterfly
stands up. Her eyes blaze refusal. While the drab-clothed couple stutter
their remorse, she turns and clasps her little boy. She will not let him go.

 

Sarah Wedderburn lives and writes in Kent.

 

Cynthia Rodríguez – The Murder

The Murder
(after Leonard, before Donald)
 
Everything I fight for starts to disappear.
Vanish and dissolve like it was never there
and the will to live
is only ruled by illusions.
I’ve seen murder,
and it’s the future.
I’ve seen murder,
and it’s the future.
 
Give me poppers and violent scissoring,
give me lessons that no one’s listening,
give me anything but control
as I can’t handle it.
 
Give me hammers and give me TV screens,
old computer boards and new limousines,
give me fire, Prometheus,
and give me your vultures.
 
The butterflies lost their way
way before we did.
The whales, like reverse sailors,
getting lost at the beach.
Nature is wise, believes in suicide,
euthanasia is the way it can laugh ‘til it cries.
We’re the ones left to clean the aftermath
and you clean the soil in my boots.
 
Once they said
“the end is near”
“the end is near”
“the end is near”
and now I know what it means.
 
Cynthia Rodríguez can be found at http://www.cynthiaescribe.com

Patrick Taggart – El apático

El apático

(After Percy Bysshe Shelley)

I met a traveller from a future time
who said: two small and stunted hands of stone
lie in the desert, the fingers short and fine.
Half sunk, a weathered head, a sun-bleached dome,
the orange skin long faded to dilute piss,
is also there, the candyfloss hair all gone
save for a strand or two, the merest wisp.
Sat on the head is a Mexican, he smokes and yawns.
Look! You can see him on my screen.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Orangemandias, king of kings.
Look on my works, ye Mexicans, and despair!
I will build a great wall – and nobody
builds walls better than me, believe me.
I will build a great, great wall
on our southern border, and I will make
Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
Nothing beside remains, not one stone
upon another, just cacti and miles of sand.
The Mexican takes a piss, then checks his phone.

 

Patrick Taggart was born in India and grew up in Ireland and England. He was spurred into trying to find some form of creative expression in 2014 by his (now grown up) children, Ben and Emma, who are both talented in visual arts. A pen seemed more manageable than a paintbrush, so he decided to give poetry a go. So far he has had poems accepted for publication by Here and Now (a Buddhist magazine), Freckle and the anthology, Watermarks.

For more information about him visit: http://www.letgoandjumpin.webeden.co.uk/.

Kate Ennals – Trumped by Nature on 9th November

Trumped By Nature on the 9th November.

When I closed my eyes to leave what felt like the twilight zone
Midnight had turned to 5am
Rectangles and squares had turned solid red
Angular, angry, abrasive
I could not see the swamps and prairies
Dustbowls, oceans, Rocky Mountains
It was difficult to hold the passion of people
who worked and lived the land;
to understand that these geometric shapes
contained fretful human anger

my dreams were ridden roughshod
by Horseman and Scream
thick with fearful swirls of oil and edge
spiralling colour in mad descent

I awoke to the soft light of Irish day
morning white, grass green, weak sun rays
I decided to walk, to think, to unravel,
discourse, tick tock.

Out in the bog, my dog, Mary Poppins, and I
met a puppy who wanted to play
I watched his scampering bliss
Ignorance and happiness
beneath scudding clouds of grey and white,
skies of blue and black,
earth of gold and brown
indigo, violet, red, orange, yellow, blue, green

A moment of mine
While America made herself great again

Kate Ennals is a poet and short story writer. Her first poetry collection, AT The Edge, came out in September 2015, published by Lapwing. She has had poems and short stories published in various literary publications such as Crannog, Skylight 47, Burning Bush 2, The Galway Review, Ropes, Boyne Berries, North West Words, New Ulster Anthology, The Honest Ulsterman, The International Lakeview Journal and featured in The Spark.
A Londoner by origin, Kate has lived in Ireland for 22 years. In 2012, after working in community development at national and local level for 30 years (London and Ireland), Kate did the MA in Writing at NUI Galway. She now runs poetry and writing workshops in and around Cavan. Kate also facilitates a regular literary reading evening and open mic (AT The Edge), funded by Cavan Arts Office. Her blog can be found at http://www.kateennals.com .