Joanna Mackintosh – The Lonely Town

The Lonely Town

 

A blink, a glance, a second look,

Once there, now lost to shadow.

Bustling streets, brilliant light,

So calm, the pavements wait.

The breaking dawn removes the cloud,

Sunlight filters through,

Empty roads, lonely parks,

Such silence reveals all.

Lonely town, once loved by commerce,

Left empty, cold and forgotten.

Time has betrayed your local market,

Grocers, old and bare.

Cobwebs line the empty shelves,

Dust, thick as treacle.

A blink, a glance a second look,

No memory of what was there.

 

 

Joanna Mackintosh: I am 31 year old mum of three living in the north east of Scotland. I have been creatively writing since I was a child and have a particular interest in writing within the genre of science fiction and horror. I recently won short story of the month in A Long Story Short Magazine.

 

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Kevin Reid – Three poems

Begging

 

Sorry if my unkempt beard offends.

Sorry for wearing a suit when I beg.

Sorry for my ruddy face, the stains and

smell of piss. Yes, my hands are filthy,

but so is money too. If it’s any bonus,

last month I was a banker.

 

Iraq Inquiry

 

I had to take the decision as prime minister…

 

Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Falluja – bombed.

 

Suppose we backed off… we know he retained

the intent, knew how to restart a nuclear and

chemical weapons programme.

 

Immense levels of dioxins, depleted uranium.

 

In the end it was decisive, I am sorry about that.

I did my level best to try to bring people back

together again

 

Birth and brain defects in newborns,

 

Responsibility – but not regret… No regrets…

I’ve got something to learn.

 

 

Mass Grave

Where cars, bicycles
zimmer frames and
white goods are crushed
by their own kind
just like Yazidis.

 

 

Kevin Reid lives in Scotland. His poetry has appeared in various online and printed journals, such as, Pushing Out the Boat, Ink Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, The Interpreters House, The Open Mouse and forthcoming in Domestic Cherry. He is the founding creator of the >erasure and >erasure ii projects. Wordless (Knives Forks and Spoons Press) is a collaboration of images and text with George Szirtes. He is editor at Nutshells and Nuggets, a blog for short poems. View his website at http://eyeosphere.com.

 

Ali Znaidi – East

East

 

wind lured

the

Orient-a-list

to wait

for two

antiquated

mythical

b(r)easts—

a panacea

for his

bewilderment.

 

Perhaps,

he could

write a new

list of

priorities

concerning

Western/

Eastern

relationships.

 

The cleavage

again, an estuarial

point…

 

 

Ali Znaidi (b. 1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of A Hurricane Press, 2014). Links to his published and forthcoming works can be found at  aliznaidi.blogspot.com and his tweets are posted on his account: @AliZnaidi.

Sue Barnard – Song of the Square Mile

Song of the Square Mile (an EC-Shanty)

What shall we do with the merchant banker?
What shall we do with the merchant banker?
What shall we do with the merchant banker?
Make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

Take away his dirt-cheap mortgage,
Take away his dirt-cheap mortgage,
Take away his dirt-cheap mortgage,
And make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

Make him work in his own call centre,
Make him work in his own call centre,
Make him work in his own call centre,
And make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

Pay him no interest on his savings,
Pay him no interest on his savings,
Pay him no interest on his savings,
And make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

Sting him for obscene high charges,
Sting him for obscene high charges,
Sting him for obscene high charges,
And make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

Take away his guaranteed pension,
Take away his guaranteed pension,
Take away his guaranteed pension,
And make him earn his bonus!

Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
Show him life in the real world,
And make him earn his bonus!

When he’s learned the value of money
When he’s learned the value of money
When he’s learned the value of money
Then he’s earned his bonus!

 

Sue Barnard is married with two grown-up sons, and is a published and prize-winning poet and the author of two novels.  She lives in Cheshire with her husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.
 

John Alwyine-Mosely – What they never said

What they never said

When you’ve seen your mate, you shared a laugh
and a smoke, turn into something you couldn’t bury

When you’ve shit yourself as the whistle calls you
over the top and you climb slow to let the eager die

When you’ve looked into the eyes of a man and see
the child calling for mummy but still you stab him dead

Then you’ll keep the home fires silent and make a
garden clear of poppies for the children to find laughter.

 

 

John Alwyine-Mosely’s poetry usually draws on autobiography or history as starting points but has only just started to seek publication. His most recent poems are in VerseWrights, and York Mix.

Sarah L. Dixon – A Chalk Zoo

A Chalk Zoo

I draw a pig, a bird, a cat.
He sketches an aardvark,
a dinosaur, a platypus.

You clap, leap, dance on these
at our instruction.
When we obey your tasks
you complain
when we dance quietly,
want our bodies to shout
like yours.

You have given it all
and with dusk fall
your retreat for a bath
and tale about Mama Bear.

I visualise the paving
filled with purple giraffes,
orange penguins
and turquoise moles.

I cancel plans, to sketch a zoo,
on our suburban avenue.

I sear Saharan camels on to
this Chorlton pavement
savannahs and jungles
grow from my chalked movements.
I bask green in rainforests
and snorkel in the only Coral Reef
in South Manchester.

A murmuration of starlings,
a wilderness of monkeys,
a sounder of wild boar,
a parliament of owls.
All intricate in imagination
ready to be realised

When I shake the packet
one small stub of white chalk
bowls forth.

I had grand plans.
Instead I draw you a smile,
a kiss,
a daffodil  you dismiss
as messy,
and a shrew holding a heart
holding your name.

You are delighted
as if the road
was filled with feathers and snouts,
with talons, scales, dinosaur’s jaws
and the scent of evolution.

 

 

 

Sarah L Dixon hosts Quiet,quiet,LOUD! in Manchester. She has recently been published in Loose Muse, BOMP3 YorkMix and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She is taking The Quiet Compere format on a tour of the North in 2014 thanks to Arts Council funding. Find out more here: www.about.me/thequietcomperemcr

Daniel Sluman – 1991-2006

1991-2006

 

My father’s pounded-blue Ford
& my feet barely glancing the receipts

& Marlborough cartons piled on the floor

the peeled strips of paintwork     snagging
empty promises       from neon signs

the city’s horizon burning into a yellow pair

of hands    composing the softly-lit dreams
of business men in hotel rooms       screwing

silk ties in their worn palms      their heads full

of yes       every night        a heaved dice
a million shades of blonde        & we are driving

further into it each year      my toes starting to plant

the mat      your hair greying in the rear-view
mirror         & each face from our life together

passing like boarded-up doors

in a neighbourhood
beyond repair

 

Daniel Sluman is a 28 year old writer based in Cheltenham, whose debut Absence has a weight of its own was released to critical acclaim in 2012 through Nine Arches Press. He has been published widely in journals in the UK and abroad, including B O D Y, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Hinterland, and Popshot. He gained a BA and MA in Creative Writing at University of Gloucestershire, and won AHRC funding for his PhD into Disability Poetics, at BCU starting in 2014.

Gary Beck – Structural Greed

Structural Greed

Gentrification
drives out
the poverty class,
undesired ethnics
who can’t afford
constant rent hikes
by righteous landlords
asserting expenses
always go up, up, up,
so if you can’t pay
you can’t stay,
and it’s not their concern
whether you survive
or perish in the quest
for greater profits.

 

 

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has seven published chapbooks. His poetry collection ‘Days of Destruction’ was published by Skive Press; ‘Expectations’, Rogue Scholars Press; ‘Dawn in Cities’, Winter Goose Publishing; ‘Assault on Nature’, Winter Goose Publishing; ‘Songs of a Clerk’, Winter Goose Publishing. ‘Civilized Ways’, ‘Perceptions’ and ‘Displays’ will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His novel ‘Extreme Change’ was published by Cogwheel Press; ‘Acts of Defiance’ was published by Artema Press. His collection of short stories, ‘A Glimpse of Youth’ was published by Sweatshoppe Publications. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City

Kathy Gee – Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

Somewhere in Ukraine,
a finger rests on metal.
Here, a peacock butterfly
basks on a gravestone,
tasting the scent of buddleia
with antennae designed
for the purpose. Ten white dots
on feathered wingtips quiver.
Then the butterfly stamps.

Kathy lives in Worcestershire and has a parallel life working for museums and heritage. She organised the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings poetry trail in 2012, enjoys performance and has an occasional blog at www.wordstring.co.uk – an experimental vehicle for occasional video poems.

Peter O’Grady – Holy Deeds

Holy Deeds

The day you brought your holy deeds to my house,
remember how I showed you mine on paper,
written by mortals; my father, his father
and back beyond memory.

Still you made your holy claim, your righteous
fingers poking scripture fiercely for proof,
neatly circling the love song of the prophets,
ignoring the rocks that know our family name,
trespassing the soil that holds our olive trees.

Then, with God’s bulldozer,
your heart still fixed in exile,
you violated the law of neighbours.

 

 

Peter O’Grady: “At 65 I started writing the poems I should have been writing all my life, and reading the poems I should have been reading all my life – that’s 3 years ago. I read my efforts regularly at the Words & Ears monthly poetry sessions in my home town in Wiltshire, UK. So far so good!”