Laura Kaminski – Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread

for Christopher T George, after “All That Glitters”

All night, the surface of the earth’s been
hidden beneath snow-floured cloth of linen —
now the sun peeks above the bread-pan rim

of the horizon, ready to slide into the oven
on a cold December day. I want to warn it:
the oven isn’t ready, everything is gray,

better to wait, you’ll never bake —
but a hope for sunlight doesn’t take advice,
there’s no reason to waste breath on warnings,

better to listen for the bell for Matins —
it will ring faint and late today, its call
to chorus and communion muffled by the snow.

I’d like my feet to answer that cold iron cry,
bundle in a parka that saw its first winter
in Europe, 1942. I’d like to join the faithful

ones who gather there in sanctuary, sit in
back, listen to their voices warming, hear
the scratchy grackles becoming golden larks.

I wish there was a seat above the chancel
where I could stow away, let the reverberations
of the organ fashioned in some other century

tumble through me, heat my cells. I’d like
to peek, hidden and unseen, between the rails,
watch the faithful queue up for communion,

kneel for the sacrament, see the emissary
place small disks of unbaked sun between
their lips, hear the whispered blessings.

Cold stained glass held by lead threads will
light then, the sun will find its own way in,
touch upturned faces with its grace-hued hands.

My friend, my friend, it’s winter, it’s the time
of all things ending, the time it’s always darkest —
and the time we most remember all those who’ve

gone before. Tonight when you sing “Auld Lang
Syne,” remember this acquaintance. I will not
wait till Evensong. I’ll pray for you at Matins.


Laura M Kaminski grew up in Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives with her husband in rural Missouri. She is an associate editor at Right Hand Pointing; more about her poetry can be found at The Ark of Identity


Beth McDonough – Would I were there…

Would I were there …

Remembering 18th of July 2013


O David may I swim with you?

I think you awfully brave,

O David, let me swim with you –

I‘d love to call you “Dave”.


O David, may I swim in front,

just by a stroke or two?

O David, pull a wee bit close,

I’ve lots to share with you!


O David, let me warm your waves,

You’ve such a lot to learn

of open water swimmers’ tricks,

and yellowing Lough Erne.




Beth McDonough has a background in Silversmithing, and continues to work in mixed media. She often writes on the subject of a maternal experience of disability, and finds poems walking, foraging and swimming in Scotland’s cold waters.

Simon Williams – Beyond Beaker

Beyond Beaker

While interesting,
the Beaker people
are known to have lived
calm, sedentary lives;
cereal in the morning,
malted milk at night.

More adventurous,
the earlier Tankard people,
with their regular binges
in numerous stone temples,
were more gregarious.
New research has them
emerging over centuries from
the over-indulgent Stein Age.



Simon Williams is a poet from Devon. He tweets @GreatBigBadger

Myfanwy Fox – Ode to Waste Land

Ode to Waste Land
Here’s to those abandoned plots
tucked between des-res estates,
light industry, our unbuilt blocks
of social housing NIMBYs hate.
Buddleia, butterflies, blackcaps’ nests;
builders’ rubble, piles of grit;
tramps’ respite, brave children’s quests,
teenage lovers’ midnight trysts.

Here’s to ancient, awkward fields
stone rush corners, claggy cliffs,
impervious to economic yields;
that cause their farmers endless grief.
Bramble tangles, badger setts,
alder, ash and silver birch;
woodpeckers drumming, owls duet,
spit fur-bone pellets beneath their perch.

Here’s to gardens gone to briar,
rotting log piles, veg plots swelled
with rosebay, thistles, old car tyres
where mosquito larvae snorkel.
At dusk moths flirt with star-sparked glass
newts and toads seek oozy mates
house eaves heave with stirring bats;
death watch beetles tick and wait.


Myfanwy Fox blogs at:

Emma Lee – She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

Instead she gets her three children to paint

the board covering it,

their chatter mingles with chart music

as she smokes in the yard, door open

so she can still watch them,

before the evening ritual of bath and bed

in clean linen and a story from

the youngest’s father, willing to adopt

the two that weren’t his.

Then she’ll close the curtains over the broken pane

and drift into the back room and TV,

which still won’t drown out

the eldest father’s drunken melody

as he arrives, demanding to see his son.

She tosses a coin: does she open the door

to a torrent of swearing and try and calm him

or does she phone the police, again?

Michael Ceraolo – Excerpts from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditation

Excerpts from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditation
“be ready to speak well of teachers”
at the same time trying to destroy their unions
“if anyone is afraid
of an operation of nature
he is a child”
have a hurricane party
or chase after a tornado
“We ought then to check in the series of our thoughts
everything that is without a purpose and useless,
most of all the overcurious feeling”
about celebrities,
                          especially those
celebrities who haven’t actually done anything

Jeff Skinner – Christmas

Christmas 2014


Central Office has commissioned snow,

blue skies, a sun to pose under

outside the church: God-given light

illuminates an expression, serious-smug,

effortless confidence you’re right.

Then England closes ranks inside the snug.


In other news,

three vouchers trump three kings

when you’ve children to be fed.


Migrant couple, homeless, seek a bed.

SJ Moran – Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call
Leeds sleeps rough.
The night does not descend
but rather abandons her
to the horizon.

She has made her bed
out of unmade car parks
that pit and flood
and reflect the void.

The station hotel
is the foyer of Hell
where uniformed demons
guard the forecourt.

Inside this cruise ship
all walk in a swell,
leave shoes outside doors
and settle down to porn.

Blue Nun from the mini-bar
is followed by Pils.
The free preview is enough,
it won’t show on the bill.

You are dried-up and sleep
the burnt sleep of the damned.
Trains shunt and hammer you awake
From nightmare with a yowl.

In the morning you will go
where the natives swarm,
be a stranger in their offices
and eat curd tarts for lunch.

You’ll pass by the night club
where Leeds footballers sank
too many drinks and kicked
two Asian boys nearly to death.

The suits are astir now,
squirming with their itchy groins.
Stilletto P.A.s are powdered, ready
to gun their Beemers round the square.

The high Victorian statuary
is bigger than all these boutiques,
travel agents and burger bars
crushed into one paper cup.

S. J. Moran was born in Dublin, emigrated and ended up in London in his mid-twenties. He is married with one grown-up son. He has had poems in Gargoyle (US) and a couple of other print publications as well as many online. Some of his stories have been published in magazines and anthologies. He published a short story collection in 2004 that – mercifully, he says – is now out of print. (

Jane Commane – Border Dispute

Border Dispute

I don’t break a mirror, pick the clear thorns
from the sink, this time I don’t take the car keys,

and the neighbours won’t hear us, because this
time I tear up and re-join the maps instead,

and am redrafting the territories again, tonight.
You ask if we should make these boroughs ours,

streets that detail the marbled thighs of hillsides,
that are spilling out as the map lets them go

like stuffing from a bad pillow, bought too cheaply.
The A-roads too are being lost beneath an argument

of latitudinal lines, and again the parish of black and
red, the lines of the danger zone, the firing range:

this is my fear. Gather them up, sweetheart.
Put the Great Central back and redraw our borders.

This new map says what happened, tells why.
and the land west of here doesn’t apologise.

Jane Commane was born in Coventry and lives and works in Warwickshire. Her poems have been published in Tears in the Fence, And Other Poems, The Morning Star, Iota and Anon and collected in Best British Poetry 2011 and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam. She is editor at Nine Arches Press and co-editor at Under the Radar magazine, and also a creative-writing tutor who has taught workshops in an array of unusual places, from museums and walled gardens to castles and riverbanks.