Mary Franklin – Murmurations

Murmurations

(I.M. Alice Herz-Sommer 1903-2014)
A concert pianist she played
all twenty-seven Chopin Etudes
in Theresienstadt and flocks
of starlings wheeled and darted
in fluid formations, wings flapping
above the rooftop of the council hall.
 
Music is my religion, she said,
to the sick, hungry and doomed,
those her concerts soothed.

Mary Franklin has had poetry published in numerous print and online magazines and anthologies including Bonnie’s Crew, Ink Sweat and Tears, Iota, London Grip, Nine Muses Poetry, The Stare’s Nest and Three Drops from a Cauldron. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Natalie Shaw – Anchor Baby

Anchor baby

As tether
As terrible chain
As foot nailed to floor

//

As hand in larger hand
As hand stopping
all the balloons from being gone

forever

Natalie Shaw has a kind husband and children of varying sizes. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies, most recently Strix and Butcher’s Dog. She was commended in the 2018 National Poetry Competition.

Julian Dobson – Sandmartins, Kelham Island

Sandmartins, Kelham Island

 

As if machines at rest

they click

as if gorging on espresso

they dart

as if practising unwelcome faith

they hide

as if sizing up a property

they bet on stone

 

industry slumped, curled into curiosity

factory smells twisted into neighbourhoods

mills morphed into apartments or museums

 

the speculators eyed rates of return

hipsters scented coffee and craft beer

and in a draughty hall saints spoke in tongues

 

as if all this were not the action

they click

as if they know the clock is running down

they dart

as if conscious of a sixth extinction

they hide

as if connected to a slower rhythm

they bet on stone

Sarah James – The Mermaid with the 12m Tail

The Mermaid with a 12m Tail 
 
Landlocked near Keele, a naked mermaid 
is perched on top of a white lorry trailer – 
the M6’s equivalent of a smooth wet rock. 
 
Passing too fast, I’ve no idea what she’s meant 
to advertise with her plastic pose, only  
the weird impression of a trailer as her tail. 
 
And the other trailers? Those creatures beached-up 
in shadowed laybys, their guts spilled open, 
like Jonah’s whale but no sign of the girls 
 
trafficked across borders, ports, oceans… 
Does it feel like hope, this land  
of petrol fumes, unpaid work and bartered flesh? 
 
The naked mannequin sits in silence on her lorry.

Sarah James is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Author of seven poetry titles, two novellas and a touring poetry-play, she has poetry featured in the Guardian, Financial Times, Bloodaxe anthologies and The Forward Book of Poetry 2016. She was Overton Poetry Prize winner 2015 and her recent titles How to Grow Matches(Against the Grain Press, 2018) and plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press, 2015) were both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Award. Her website is at http://sarah-james.co.uk.

Emma Lee – A Long-Awaited Angel

A Long-Awaited Angel

He longed for the snow he’d read stories about:
a white dazzle that renewed the landscape.
The new ice rink in Harare opened too late for him.
His adopted country only had one season: winter.
Warmth faded as he learnt the difference between
drizzle and mizzle, and how damp embraced.
He dreamt of catching snowflakes on his skin,
a carpet of desiccated coconut softening
the hard lines of concrete and bare trees.
He rubbed his eyes at the blanket of sequins
that had fallen and rushed out to touch, to taste,
to fill hungry sight, hear the crunch under his feet,
then slipped onto his back, arms and legs sprawled
to make a rough angel. He didn’t know
if it was her or the snow that shivered him.

 

Emma Lee’s publications include “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK, 2015). “The Significance of a Dress” is forthcoming from Arachne. She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), is Poetry Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.​

Annette Volfing – Decluttering

Decluttering

Where do I even start? I am a hoarder
of hate, a madwoman squeezed
between tottering piles,
a caver in my own home. That over there –
don’t touch – is every single thing
my sister-in-law ever said. And here
are the minutes from Faculty Board
the year I made Reader, not Professor.
As for when the seventeen million
voted to deport me – that generated
a fair amount of paperwork.
It may look a mess, but that’s because
I still go through it, every day.
Other things are a bit more remote –
under the bed, mixed in with the dust mites,
you’ll find transcripts of Mrs Ainscough
ticking me off, and of Vanessa who said
I’d never get a boyfriend. To be honest,
I haven’t looked at those for years,
but it’s good to know they are there.

Annette Volfing is Danish. She has lived in the UK since 1982 (and obtained British citizenship in 2017). She is an academic. She has published a chapbook (‘Ecliptic’) with Black Light Engine Room. Her poems have appeared in a number of magazines.

D A Prince – From the Future

From the future

We are their past, and just
as we look back––

on crinolines and slavery,
the South Sea bubble,
stays and periwigs,
chastity belts,
the drowning of witches,
how flat the earth is––

the future will look down
on all our proud invention

and laugh

and laugh

and laugh

and laugh

and laugh

D A Prince has two full collections from HappenStance Press plus a pamphlet, Bookmarks, published in 2018.