I’ve found your secret Daddy.
What have you found son?
There is a room beneath the shed. It’s full of little wooden boxes of different sizes.
You won’t tell anyone will you son. I’ve only told the butcher and undertaker.
Why only them Daddy?
The butcher has promised to cut up my body and put away what should be in boxes. While the undertaker has promised to collect everything else, bones, flesh, skin and so on and have them put in a box labelled “Miscellaneous”.
I’ve lived my life being put in boxes, working in a box, living in a box, travelling in a box, dreaming of boxes. When I die I want to be buried in lots of little wooden boxes and not just the one to show that I’m an individual.
How long have you spent making little wooden boxes Daddy?
My life son, has been spent making little wooden boxes. I’ve made boxes for my toes, my false teeth, my heart, my ears, my eyes and well, you get the idea son.
When will you be finished Daddy?
Next Tuesday. After that I don’t know what I’ll do son.
Daddy, what if you're cremated?
Platform 7 – with Apologies to William Wordsworth, by Ben Macnair
Platform 7 - With Apologies to William Wordsworth
I wandered, lonely as a train spotter,
that floats on high over platforms and rolling stock,
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of train drivers,
beside the cafe, beneath the eaves,
and thought what a strange sight were these.
They spoke of the time it took to get from
London to Carlisle,
in their eyes a look of romance,
on their lips the hint of a smile.
Continuous as the track
that took them away,
and bought them back
They reminded me of Ivor The Engine,
and Jones the Steam,
as vivid in life as in any dream.
The platforms filled with a giddy dance,
of people with journeys, to jobs, families,
and maybe to some romance.
A train spotter could not join in the revelry,
for unlike everyone else, he could never be free.
The weak lemon drink, the out-of-focus photos of trains,
discussing the findings with strangers on the internet
and for some, that is enough.
Collage Machine, by Carla Scarano D’Antonio
Before the sun is the sun
Stay play say
Name hard sharp
Today is your day
Make it happen
Join the human
Be wild be wild
Wonder the universe
The desolate melody of the spoons
The skylark voices
Of the rock and roll
Carla Scarano D’Antonio obtained her MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and has published her creative work in magazines and reviews. She published two poetry collections, Negotiating Caponata(2020) and Workwear (2022). She was awarded a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading in April 2021.
Mystery Man, by Phil Huffy
Consider now Hercule Poirot,
a criminal’s cleverest foe.
and quite erudite,
though sometimes exceedingly so.
Phil Huffy writes early and often at his kitchen table, casting a wide net as to form and substance.
Holiday Memory, by Pat Jourdan
From the coast road, springily square,
car-crammed, the family, bull-bumptious,
descends to the shore.
Aunt Maud mumbles a knuckle-Kyrie Eleison
of never-ending keeper-key prayers against rain.
Uncle Owen, bottle-party-bovate,
sets out drinks four-square
while Baby Ann, duck dummy
spinach-spitting, sobs on the sand.
Cousin Willy two-times-tables the sandwiches
next to Father’s drum-duchy with his
spouse-special tobacco treasury
and orange-peel organisation.
Wearing her haberdashery-handy straw hat,
Mother, nightdress-nifty, certificate chatty,
sits Empress enigma on her silver strand,
the fidgety pastry-peckish children
as they bucket-bustle, sandcastle-building.
At Bank Holiday’s end
traipsing back to trunk-road Tuesdays,
the car’s hostage-houseful returns
to minute-book miseries and ashpan aspidistras
to wait, promising-proper, for the next
Jam-Jehovah all-allowed holiday
with a sand-scattered holdall-homecoming,
leaving the darkening beach
nightwatch-noble to the bow-legged breeze.
Pat Jourdan was writing poems even while at Liverpool College of Art. She has published five collections of poetry, the latest : Citizeness. Broadcast on BBC poetry Please, Radio Eireann, Radio Norfolk, Radio Suffolk. Latest poems in Orbis, Tears in the Fence and poetrycooperative.org.
Destination : Land of Nod, by Jill Vance
Destination: Land of Nod
High-pitched hum of mosquito,
chant of ten green beer bottles,
bizarrely clucking chickens,
yet no sign of winged Hypnos
with his magic dust to sink me into sleep.
Lagoons, balloons, candles on cake,
endless counting of fence-dodging sheep,
tipping towards anger as I’m more awake.
Breezes, sunsets, turtles in the surf,
the whoosh-whoosh of waves,
feet downing into the plashy sand,
torso heavier, scent of lavender,
but no blasted sleep.
Jill Vance is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her poems have appeared in Truth Serum Press, Pure Slush, Dirigible Balloon and Green Ink Poetry. She hopes one day to have a pamphlet published of poetry and artwork.
Treadmill, by Karen Jones
The eve of Christmas Eve
Tills in overdrive, the carol
Of sale items no one wants
To give or receive
Cars snake into the underground
Of an out-of-town supermarket
Bulge in restrictive spaces
Swollen with purchases
Nearby at the chemist
Scripts arrive faster than FedEx
Inside a white-coated woman
Bags pills against the threat
Of rising inflammation, anything
To ease the innards of millions
Inhaling mince pies and Baileys
All to discard again
Dump from car to cistern
Via the slow mulch of bellies
Pressed against festooned tables
And now it is you bulging at the wheel
Rounding the corner on new year
Smelling of gift-boxed eau du parfum
That isn’t as nice as you had thought
But wager if nothing else
Masks the sulphur of January diets
En route to the gym again
Of retail conveyor belts
Karen Jones began writing poetry in 2019, and was privileged to be a student of the late Kevin Higgins. Born in Northern Ireland, she lives in Dublin and works in public relations.
The new Celtic Ode to the dreamed mother Nature, by Pawel Markiewicz
The new Celtic Ode to the dreamed mother Nature
You are an enjoyable juniper!
You are a pleasurable bush!
You are an agreeable poplar!
You are a delightful spruce!
You are a gratifying cedar!
You are an amusing birch!
You are a diverting corn!
You are a bonny pine!
You are a lovely palm!
Your sepal be alluring!
Your petals be delightful!
Your stamens be appealing!
Your carpel be graceful!
Your corolla be good-looking!
Your filament be pretty!
Your ovary be stunning!
Your ovule be foxy!
Your anther be ravishing!
You honor starlet-like dreamland.
You admire moonlet-like mirror.
You exalt moony fairyland.
You deify moonlit enchanted rose.
You praise starry gingerbread house.
You glorify starlit forest.
You apotheosize comet-like spell book.
You magnify spherical tower.
You gratify sunny Ovidian sword.
Paweł and the Neoceltism
This poem is a dreamy manifesto of the Neoceltism, the spirit, in which Paweł has created his English poesy.
Shelf Life, by Stephen McNulty
Stephen scribbles things whenever he is not forcing a member of the public into a CT scanner. His poems have appeared in Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Strukturriss and Vox Galvia.