Jo Grey – Pisagua

Pisagua

1973

The trucks began to arrive
and cries rang from those
who dragged themselves
naked
up the glass-strewn nitrate slopes.

No visitors.
No Red Cross.
Executions took place
beside the cemetery.

Now an unscarred monument
in black and blue and red
guards the place of the dead.

Vultures still circle overhead.

 

 

Josie-Anne Gray is a freelance writer, musician and community arts development worker in Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire. She is part of Celtic folk-rock band Merlin’s Keep and works alongside a range of arts professionals in the town to bring high quality and varied arts events and experiences to the area.

Josie is editor of the Arts Council England supported website www.thedock.info, a resource for writers that has grown in scope since its inception in 2012 and which now has global reach.

Josie has published a collection of poetry The Poplars and a novella, Just One Night. The former is available from the author, the latter from Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-One-Night-Josie-Anne-Gray-ebook/dp/B0072VL7OI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405438060&sr=8-1&keywords=just+one+night+josie

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Mandy MacDonald – endangered

endangered

 

you probably haven’t been

to Bukit Tenggek, Malaysia

 

and you probably won’t, now

because it’s almost gone

a limestone outcrop, sculpted karst

turned meringue

being quarried out of existence

as you read this

 

how did anyone notice

Plectosoma tenggekensis, this

minute snail clinging, creeping

on the hollow hill, fractured hell

of dust and ruin?

 

well, no-one did, until last year

when it got its name, became

‘known to science’

 

look at your fingernail

no, look

at a sunflower seed, an aphid

P. tenggekensis is smaller

translucent

helical, coil upon coil

and all the colours of roses

 

it lives only on that hill

it will not outlast it

 

it has cousins on three nearby hills, themselves

dissolving into man-gouged lakes

they have drowned in the mud

their jewel colours fading into once-was

 

not only snails but whole hillsides

can wink out like dying stars

almost before we see them

 

Mandy Macdonald is n Australian writer, translator and editor living in Aberdeen. She has been writing poems for as long as she can remember, but no-one else knew until very recently. She has had poems published in Poetry Scotland, Pushing Out the Boat, and Haiku Scotland.

 

Susan Castillo – Perhaps An Angel

Perhaps an Angel

Past midnight, A&E.  Nurses check charts, murmur
about coffee, boyfriends, changing shifts.
In a cubicle, a doctor stitches up a scalp
as though he’s making lace.  Deft hands,
cappuccino skin, eyes  bruised gentle almonds.
I know I’ve seen him somewhere.

I flash back to Manhattan. In a museum called the Cloisters
mediaeval faces look down from stone walls.
Enigmatic Virgins, tortured Christs.
In a corner on a plinth there’s a head
of soft brown stone. The face smiles gently down
at hordes of children.  I read the label.

              Perhaps an angel.

Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the East Sussex countryside. She has published a book of poems titled The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003); her poems have appeared in poetry reviews in Scotland, the US, and Luxembourg, and in online publications (The Missing Slate). She is a member of two poetry groups, the Conduit Street Poets (London) and 52.

Tim Cresswell – Four Poems

List sonnet on justice

Striking north over Brooklyn, Sam reads billboards
laughing at one which says – for justice call
( 3 1 8 ) 5 6 8 – 1 2 3 4
kicking off a kind of catalogue

           For peace… Send a stamped, addressed envelope
           Equality….25% off, one week only
           Beauty!…like us on Facebook!

Well, I know you know how that poem goes.

So perhaps I would let myself ramble
Like Ginsberg. Like Whitman. Like America.

Billboards, oversize flags, sincere
New England apples, brown bodies and red barns

maples in fall, the calls of children with yarmulkes playing softball in the parking lot.

But I was left with a sonnet and a sad refrain
We’re not in right now. So please leave your name….

 

Karl Marx in Tesco
(after Allen Ginsberg)

            I saw you, Karl Marx, stateless, lonely aged prophet,
in Tesco, wandering the aisles looking for a bargain.
            I heard you muttering to yourself: “What are sun dried tomatoes?
Where is the sauerkraut? What price potatoes?
            I followed you between the detergents and the ice cream as you
read the Ben and Jerry’s carton chuckling gorgeously.
            Together we strolled down lines marked “ethnic foods”
imagining a world without labels, possessing everything we need
and never paying once.
            Where are we going Karl Marx? The store closes soon.
Which way does your beard point tonight?

            Will we march through the years down tree-lined suburban streets? 
Two cars to every perfect house, warnings on the lawns of dogs, 
alarms and closed circuit television? And us alone? 
            Ah dear prophet, greybeard, stubborn old courage teacher, 
what history did you foresee when Lenin stormed the citadel as you 
lay dead in Highgate: was it this?

 

Life in the Anthropocene

We loved the Jurassic with its ferns
and stegosaurs, charismatic megafauna
on cards in teabag packets.

All that hum and blunder squeezed and stacked
till liquid and thickblack
for us to suction out and burn.

Ozymandias has nothing on us!
Choosing shades on colour charts, installing
shelves with plumb bobs and spirit levels.

Scattergrams and isopleths, lattices
of halogen across the plains. Protons looped
under Switzerland. Measurements in milliseconds.

 

Dendrochronology

here the factories came alive
        the era of trains
        ozone and petroleum
Hiroshima
        contrails across the sky
the week in Magaluf
        humvees
        the end of elms
        the rise of rhododendrons
        recession and recovery

a summer when the rain held off
        an unexpected frost
a year that lingered
        a year that flew
steady rise of isotopes
        fate of honey bees

here too was love
when rain dripped
through the canopy
on lovers taking shelter
in each other

in its bark
my mark
once freshly knifed
and full of love and sap
now gnarled and whorled
but visible.
Look.

Tim Cresswell is a geographer – poet who has published widely in poetry magazines in the UK. Since moving from London to Boston in the summer of 2013 his work has started to appear in American and Canadian magazines including Riddlefence, Spiral Orb and Soul.Lit. His first collection, Soil was published by Penned in the Margins in 2013. He is currently working on his second collection – erratic. He is also the author of five books on the themes of place and mobility.

 

Michael Scott – Six pence an inch for Little usherette

Six pence an inch for Little usherette

Little usherette, a hundred shiny latex lashes anemone your eyes. You are Albert Pierrepoint contemplating just the one more. THUD! In this witless place of least resistance you beckon me aboard the milking stool. Your hood is my hood with eyeholes, are we the same person with a front row view? I smell the wrong sort of hemp and hear knitting needles click. A kick, a trap door – a neck unravelling crunches like a pound shop monkey wrench. My this that and the other hits a void, slides into space, stretches.

 

Michael Scott is from Swindon, his work has been published by And Other Poems, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Verse Kraken (online) and The Morning Star.

Six pence an inch for Little usherette‘ is the final poem in a sequence of 25 poems (25 being the usual number of seats across a traditional cinema row* unless it’s a drive-in movie show in which case the average row tends to have slightly over 2 seats). The ‘Little usherette‘ sequence began at a poetry night in London as I gazed at the poet reading and imagined that she was playing chess with me using a 12 pack of Krispy Kreme donuts as pieces. The poet also looked like a cinema usherette in my world of velvet curtains. As I walked along Old Brompton Road explaining this to Hilda Sheehan, we passed the graveyard, crossed the road and Little usherette began to follow me, always the same, always slightly not.
 
* I made this up as I wrote this description of Little usherette came to be, I have no idea of, or interest in, the usual width of a cinema row.
 

Carrie Etter – Two Poems

Arcadia, or Something Like It

 

 
after Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and Virgil’s first eclogue

 
 
Before everyone excused themselves of the boxer’s death,
Arcadia, or something like it, prospered. Two shepherds met
under a beech’s ample canopy.
 

One, prostrate on the summer grass, spoke in the drawl of leisure.
The other stood with his back against the sun; he spoke
of the soldiers gifted with his land
 

and lamented his imminent emigration.
The pipe-player replied with apples, chestnuts,
 

curdled milk, the bounty that would satisfy
those who were sated.
 
 
 
 

 
 

Soporific Red

 

 
 
The high street reddens with holiday,
and in your want of a rudder, the abundant dye
seeps upward, colours your trouser cuffs.
 
Already you wonder whether you’ll have to pay
for the unordered dish, the neighbourhood flavour.
Already you’re keen to roll it on your tongue.
 
On the fifth day of rain, home truths
seem irrelevant. It’s a soporific red
divining the high street, blinding your hands.
 
It’s a siren, ineluctable, inaudible, at your ear.

 
 
American poet Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014); she also edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). Individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Statesman, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and many other journals worldwide. She also reviews contemporary poetry, most recently for The Guardian and Warwick Review. More information is available on her blog at http://carrieetter.blogspot.com. Arcadia, or Something Like It and Soporific Red were both first published in The Tethers (Seren, 2009).

Richard Devereux – Bitter Lemons

Bitter Lemons

Cyprus, 1974

Lemons weep
the tears of Aphrodite.
Bitter lemons –
these are the fruit
this earth considers hers.

The lemon tree is nourished
in a rich potash
of blood, whole corpses and tears;
ensuring the yield
of another bitter crop.

The lemon tree
remembers only
bitter lemons.

 

Richard Devereux is a member of the Lansdown Poets in Bristol. He has read this year at the Cheltenham and Nailsworth Poetry Festivals. His first love is Greece; he is currently absorbed in writing about his grandfather – a soldier of the First World War in Salonica.

Marilyn Hammick – Two Poems

Suffrage

Many years ago I lived in Iran. I learnt how to bargain so merchants believed me when I said this city is my home. I watched foreign women married to local men withstand the desert sun to salute the Shah and his Empress. I listened to students reciting Ferdowsi, Hafez, Saadi as they paced our street.

 

When I returned years later there were Tehran University banners with my name, date, time, lecture title. My first task was to not show my hair; one strand can fill a man with lust. My second task was to remember not to shake hands with the men who greeted me. My third task was not to ask questions about the forthcoming presidential election.

 

At home, I listen to reports of people filling Tehran’s streets looking for their lost votes. People wearing green scarves, green ribbons, green shawls: symbols of their revolution. People I might know: professors, students, friends.

 

I read about Neda Agha-Soltan, her music teacher, many, many others defying the Ayatollah, about the tear gas, the bullets. How Neda’s blood soaked a Tehran street. How Neda looked into Emad’s camera-phone, the image of her suffrage digitised.

 
Jubilee

I board the train at Waterloo, squeezing in with strangers.
A plugged-in lad breathes angry silence as his legs

are grazed by hamburger gripped in a petite fist.
Bodies stiffen at her Mother’s ignored apology.

By Bermondsey the juice on his thighs has dried,
a stiletto tall woman offers Mum a seat,

she enjoys her supper, comforts her papoosed baby.
Between Canada Water and Canary Wharf the floor

is littered with half a chip, ketchuped tissues,
the cellophane wrappings from a straw and the child

legs outstretched offering up undone laces,
unknown fingers reaching to fasten double knots.


Marilyn writes (and reads) when travelling, during still moments at home in England and France, recalling a childhood in New Zealand and years living in Iran. She tweets @trywords and blogs at
glowwormcreative.blogspot.co.uk

Frank Dullaghan – Gaza Haiku

Gaza Haiku

 

who sees
the sunlight that falls
after the bombs?

the little you have –
how can you bring it back
with your home blown open?

your home
will not be your home –
they come with their guns

a child
with her brains spilled –
still the bombs fall

a knock on the door –
you leave everything behind
go with your life

 

Frank Dullaghan lives in Dubai. He has an MA Distinction in Writing from the University of South Wales. His 3rd collection of poetry – The Same Roads Back – will be launched by Cinnamon Press at the Poetry Cafe, London, on 29th October 2014.

David Olsen – Vantage Points

               Vantage Points

 

The town’s highest point
   isn’t the water tower
      or the banker’s hilltop house.

 

Though some believe
   the spire atop the church
      makes you think of heaven,

 

from the public library
   anyone
      can see forever.

 

 

David Olsen won the 2013 Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award; Unfolding Origami will appear in early 2015. Poetry chapbooks from US publishers include:

Sailing to Atlantis (2013), New World Elegies (2011), and Greatest Hits (2001).

www.davidolsenpoetry.net