Penthouse March 1963 by Rodney Wood

I’m Chris Wood aged 57

I’m sitting on a radiator in a chapel
crematorium in Manchester
listening to Big Al talk about my cousin

he was a brilliant decorator
(he did some work for Jason Orange)
he loved practical jokes
(painting front door panels in different colours)
his laughter flattened the grass at Old Trafford
and all of this was new to me.

I wish I had known him better
I wish I’d kept in touch
(we didn’t even exchange Christmas cards).

When he was 8 and I was 5 years older.
I was sitting in the lounge with my parents,
Aunts and Uncles when Chris walks in waving
a glossy magazine and says “I found pictures
of naked ladies under Rodney’s bed.”

My face turned red and it’s turning red now.
I remember rushing out the room
and throwing myself on the bed.
So much for the cool teenager I wanted to be.

Decades later my parents, aunts and uncles
are all dead and I’m the only one left
who remembers the story and the picture
of a smiling Cynthia Maddox on the cover
draped in a pink towel with a bunny logo.

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Rodney Wood is retired and lives in Farnborough. Currently holds the flag for the Woking Stanza and revising a novel, The Poet Assassin. His work has recently appeared in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, South, The Frogmore Papers, Message in a Bottle, The Lake and Stride.

Owl by Chris Butler

At the witches’ hour,
I howl with the owls,

with mating calls,
teasing the birds.

And when the moon shines fullest,
I holler at the wolves

with hollow yowls,

disturbing the neighbors

with insomniac
aching boredom.

Chris Butler

Chris Butler is an anorexic starving artist. His latest chapbook in his Poems of Pain series, Bummer, was recently published by Scars Publications. He is also the co-editor of The Beatnik Cowboy.

Blaengwynfi Blitzkrieg by Paul Tristram

“Sarg, there’s absolute hell up here, mun!
You’d better send backup immediately,
if there’s any WPC’s on?
get them in riot vans, a bit sharpish, like.
It’s not ‘Gang Activity’ as was first reported,
Christ knows, we’re team-handed
& we could have handled that kind of carry-on.
It’s far worse, see… it’s a cowing ‘Hen Night!’
They’ve been on ‘The Lash’ in Maesteg
since dinnertime and it’s now 4:35am.
They’ve got a Milkman trapped in a phone box
& he’s literally shat himself & is crying like a baby
whilst whimpering ‘No, no… I’m not getting my cock out’.
PC Thomas lost his helmet in the first scuffle
& PC Davis a truncheon in the third or forth,
a Scrum-Prop looking one shoved it up her skirt,
you can write that off… we’ll never get it back!
What? … Oh, I’m up on the roof of The Chippy,
I’m not bloody daft, mun… they’re worse than animals.
I’ve never been so frightened in all my life,
Basic Training didn’t cover anything like this?
They’ve threated to set fire to a bus stop next,
to get the Fire Brigade here… only don’t send them,
it’s a trap… it’s what the dirty buggers want!
Look, I’ve got to go, they’re flinging tampons up,
get female reinforcements here now on the double.
You can’t miss them, they’re wearing next to nothing
with ‘Welsh & Proud’, ‘Princess’ & ‘Cute As Fuck’ sashes,
oh, & Red Dragon ‘Cymru Am Byth’ cowboy hats.
Chanting ‘Oh lay, oh, lay, oh lay, oh laaaaayyyyyy’
& yelling ‘Dick or Death’, hurry, please,
or someone’s going to get seriously molested or killed!”

paul smoking - Copy

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Window Pained by Nicole Surginer

The menacing rattle of tattered
shutters woke me unsettled.
Bone piercing cold seeped
through my lonely window.
I felt it lurking just beyond,
drawing my eye to midnight sky.
Ghastly grey smothered brilliance,
swallowing whole hope’s glimmer.
Through dull shadings I watch as
razor winged raven clip the moon.
She bleeds light in sporadic flash
through torn flesh and teary eyes.
A weeping ring of hazy glow,
she sullenly slips beneath a
cloak of thunder coated cloud.
Devoured whole in maddening fog,
we fade in the drip of candle
wax on a cold window sill.

nicole-surginer-4

Nicole Surginer is a poet from the small town of Bastrop, Texas. She is inspired to write by her love for nature’s enchantment, a fascination with the power of raw, intense emotion and a desire to create beauty with words. She has been published in Tuck Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Indiana Voice Journal, Sick Lit Magazine, Your One Phone Call and In Between Hangovers, with pending works in the Contemporary Poets Facebook group anthology, “Dandelion in a vase of roses”.

The Canal Lady – Parts 1, 2 & 3 by Natalie Crick

The Canal Lady – Part 1

The canal was still and hushed at night
Like a beautiful painting.
I could see their silhouettes in the little boat
Like a puppet show.

Eyes were everywhere.
Lantern lights flickered on the canal
And shadows floated on the water.
The moon shone down like her conscience.

I saw her arms moving
Like ten thin rakes.
They were all alone together in the dark
In their own little world.

She said
“I have to see my Mother.
I am going to visit my Brother”.
That’s what she said

The faces are coming.
She hid her head like a troll in a dark tent
Where she could have a good time
Being another person.

The Canal Lady – Part 2

O Christ! She was explicit.
Ten days of darkness.
I shall kill,
Kill all of the ill.

Everything swam around and stank
Until she went blind.
Shaking the baby up and down, up and down.
This place, it was the centre of her world.

When her sister committed suicide
She lost her wits,
Banished to bedlam
Like a wasp in a nest.

Passing by: a cyclist,
A walker.
The pedestrian,
She knew something was wrong.

Something was staring out, breathing
From the boat
Rocking on the water
Like a cradle.

The Canal Lady – Part 3

They started to talk about her Brother.
He had stopped coming.

She had two legs,
Arms and hands
And she was a Woman
And a Mother.

She sucked out his soul
To catch the devil
And find out the truth.
Come here you little shit.

To think of all of the days,
Sitting in here together,
And her son
With a spider for a best friend.

She loved creeping around the boat.
Creep, creep, creep, creep,
Dreaming of Winter.
And that’s the reason why she jumped.

natalie-crick

Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women’s poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne’s Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.

 

When The Doctor Asks What Do I Want To Talk About Today by Matthew Borczon

a laundry list
of barking dogs
ghosts in
desert camo
a babies single
tooth left
on the pillow
an orange
rotting sun and
a coffin sized bed

a trembling nightmares
of boots full
of camel spiders
an infected sore
a suction pump
a morphine drip
a helicopter full
of wounded marines

dead children
falling from the
sky like rain
suicidal ideations
drunken accusations

the tears of
my children
the ghost of
my father
my hand on
my collar bone
the sound of
phones ringing
inside my head

panic like   a
kick in my balls
and the tension
that comes not
from the idea
it may all
happen again

but from certainty
that is still all happening
daily
despite our discussions
and all  the medication
you give me.

matthew-borczon

Matthew Borczon is a nurse and navy sailor who served in Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2010-11. He writes about war and life with PTSD. He has been widely published in the small press including pieces in Dead Snakes, In Between Hangovers, Rasputin, Anti Heroin Chic, The Yellow Chair Review, Revolution John, Dissident Voice as well as many others. His Book A Clock of Human Bones won the Yellow Chair Reviews Chap Book Contest in 2015.

666 by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I woke up this way

Didn’t know I was branded
By some mega machine somewhere
Seemingly everywhere
Collecting all my info
Especially hearsay

Immense
The Thing
Once controlled but now running the show

In the beginning it just buzzed and hummed
Now it creates earthquakes
Its electrical particles charging the atmosphere
And it has learned how to snicker
As we search our skin
For its nasty little mark.

the-underground-gang-by-stephen-jarrell-williams

Not so long ago, Stephen Jarrell Williams was called by some, the Great Poet of Doom… Now, he writes at night, enthused, and waiting for the Coming Good Dawn.

Ocher Handprints by Nalini Priyadarshni

I am growing into junipers you inhale
but refuse to prune
with the scent of new books
you pick for me
Dreaming of petrichor
I wait
and count days
between now and then
when our breath would mingle
and set our tongues on fire
What started as innocuous drizzle,
is now a torrent that drums
against my baked thirst, in rhythm with
clinking of jade and silver danglers
you bought for me in Peru
many moons before we met in ether
Soaking every drop of your laughter
that comes my way
I spring new shoots, strengthen old ones
the scent of your being mingles with my becoming
and come up as a flavor from my lungs.
Stay forever, like ocher hand prints on my heart

nalini-priyadarshni

Nalini Priyadarshni is a high school teacher, writer and editor. Her work has appeared at numerous magazines and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review and The Yellow Chair. She lives in, India with her husband and two feisty kids.

 

Yet The Sun Doesn’t Have The Courage To Die by John Grochalski

102 years old, she says to no one

my aunt, she says
she shakes the big picture she’s holding

only this isn’t her
this is my great-grandmother

she shows the whole bus her picture

my aunt died, she said
so i get this picture of great-grandma

wasn’t she beautiful?
didn’t we look alike?

a group of mexican day laborers
shake their heads in unison

muy hermosa, one shouts
before he goes back to sleeping in drywall dust

i’m sorry if i’m bothering you
she says, but i don’t know to who

but i’m very depressed
it’s hard going through somebody’s things

even if they died at 102 years old
even if you get to have this wonderful picture

she shows great-grandma around the bus again

and i got a jacket, she says
i got an old fur coat
i have it right in this bag here

but i’m very depressed, she says

it’s very depressing when someone dies
even though she had the courage to live 102 years

not many people can do that
how many people on this bus will see 102?

she looks around at the screaming kids
at the day laborers and tired mothers

at the girls singing along to songs
coming loudly off their cell phones

at the people trying to make it home from work
at a still reasonable hour

people who already look dead

didn’t we look alike? she says to me
she shows me the picture of her great-grandmother

of course she never saw 102, she says
not like my aunt

imagine that, she says to me
as i nod and turn away from the photo
to watch the sun as it starts to sink
behind one of the dull gray buildings lining the avenue

housing people who must
endure the rudiments of the day
for reasons they no longer understand

maybe for the few small moments of bliss
that come their way and make up a life

imagine 102 years and what that must feel like
all those years, she says to no one again

oh, it’s very depressing to talk about
oh, but this life, she says

it’s also such a miracle, right?

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John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.