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 .

Paul Jeffcutt – Morning

Morning

Near Elephant and Castle
eight lie in cardboard
bunched at the foot of
a block of flats

Teenagers yawn
jape and blather
in the cemetery
of sleepers

Hoar frost glistens
drain pipes seep
one of St Mungo’s
stops and asks

 

Paul Jeffcutt has won prizes for poetry in England, Scotland, Ireland and the USA. His debut collection of poetry, Latch, was published by Lagan Press in 2010 and was chosen by The Ulster Tatler as their Book of the Month. He co-hosts The Squat Pen, a regular series of literary events that take place across the island of Ireland.

http://www.pauljeffcutt.net

Rachel Bower – Yarl’s Wood

Yarl’s Wood

(A Palimpsest Translation of Anne Askew’s “The Ballad Which Anne Askew Made and Sang When She Was in Newgate, 1546”)

Detained without trial,
no hum of faith but
she is my shield –
sister with the voice of bronze
that rings out as we squint
through the two-inch gap
in mirrored glass.
No human is illegal.
We remain belly strong
and our force will prevail,
even as you call
for our removal.
I feel her great-grandma’s
fingers locked between mine
waking the women in my bones:
we are bolder than we were.
It is not enough to ask
and wait to receive
or expect open doors –
we have nothing to lose but our chains.
Set her free.
There are many many more of us than you.
And even though we are locked in
and even though they call us by our room numbers
Avocet 123, come to your unit
she is Sapphire to me.
We put our cloths out.
They told us to take it off.
Our toilet tissue streams through the gap
and we hear them.
No borders! No nations! Stop deportation!
Take down this wall.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
We are fighting for you.
Justice is not sitting on her throne.
When they attack, we fight back.
They lifted me like a sack of potatoes.
Dove 321, to your Unit.
A ribbon of blood-orange air
trickles through
the crack in the glass
and I open my mouth and drink.
I will come back and sing
to women like me
when I’m free –
we are here because you are there.
Perhaps they know not what they do
but when they do it to me
they do it to you.
No human is illegal.

Rachel Bower is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and a Poet in Residence at Bank St Arts in Sheffield. She is currently editing an anthology with Helen Mort, to be published by Valley Press in June 2017. She is also currently working on a collection about pregnancy and birth, and is the founder of Verse Matters, a monthly feminist arts night in Sheffield. More information about her work can be found on her website: 

https://rachelbowerwrites.wordpress.com 

Myfanwy Fox – Bleachers

Bleachers

Excited white sheets line-up
in regular suburban yards
riding storm-force gusts
that rattle picket fences.

Pale clouds scud, darkening
like imagined demons rising
camouflaged in pastel shades,
obscuring light.

Who’ll draw attention now
to dirty linens once kept under wraps,
soaked, scrubbed and rinsed
to preserve a respectable finish?

This town ain’t big enough
for a burning cross not to attract
attention in the early hours of wet
heat Mississippi nights.

Now stains are cause for pride
no longer secret zealotry;
bleach a negative stain
across once-dark blood.

Petra Vergunst- Folktale

Folktale
A damp evening – a selkie tale
kinsfolk gathered
in the dark fisherman’s croft
 
Told and told again
the mystery of this seal woman
whose skin
her husband had hidden
 
Hanging onto every word
we foresee every twist of the tale
but prod for yet another retelling
 
knowing that the shape shifting
is now salt in a larger sea
the skin we settle on
 
 
Petra Vergunst is a writer based in the northeast of Scotland. Inspired by local landscape and heritage her work investigates the multi-layered relationships we maintain with our natural and historical environments. Her narrative poem Embrace will be published in March 2017. Imagine and Folktale were written as part of Edgelands, a poetry project in which she investigates what lead (Scottish) fishing communities to vote for Brexit.
 

Chris Hemingway – Home

Home

I make my home among timeless things.
The hills, the valley,
the neck of the river.

Borders, boundaries,
sketches on a map.
Limiting land with language and law.

Listen hard,
There are words of guarding,
not sharing.
The country hasn’t spoken,
the country knows,

my breath will not choke the air.
My sweat will not make the rivers swell.
My feet will not cause bridges to crumble

I make my home among timeless things.
Compassion, community,
a sense of whole.

 

Chris Hemingway is a poet and singer-songwriter from Cheltenham. He has self-published two collections (“The Future” and “Cigarettes and Daffodils” on lulu.com) and has read at Cheltenham Poetry and Literature Festivals. He is also developing a WordPress Blog and Facebook Group “Tell Me Everything You Know About Poetry, I’ve Got 15 Minutes”, title taken from a quote attributed to Phil Ochs.