Forever Changed, by Susan Coyle

I can’t tell you anything about
the moment time stood still
as your world rearranged itself
feeling your heart silently crack
this fracture will mend
only those who really know you see the scars
you have the gift to conjure memories
hear a voice who scolds you for being sad
as refracted light on glistening tears sparkle
to know an unconditional love until the last breath
I am not exempt from the conclusion of this world
grief is a multitasking emotion
being happy and sad in the same moment
not something you fully know
until it's your front row at the funeral
there, long after the last sympathy card,
it becomes part of you

Susan Coyle is based in Galway and has been writing poetry since 2019.

She attends “Over the Edge” writing workshops with Kevin Higgins in Galway. 

She has had poems published in North West Words, Pendemic.ie and Vox Galvia section of “Galway Advertiser”

 

Mindfulness + Beauty, by Heather Nelson

Mindfulness + Beauty

It’s the second Monday after I quit-
five years is epic, I can rest for a bit. Indulgences are strategic when shown the exit, I’ll get no sympathy if I wear a target.
On the morning of my pedi,
I can’t find my glasses, can’t seem to get ready
I take a Xanax, try to keep my gaze steady
get behind the wheel, text goodbye to the family. At the Beauty Spa I extend my swollen foot
to the technician who kneels at her habitual spot. She’s tired and practical, I’m deep in thought- my relaxation imperative seems overwrought.
I leave with toes the color of wine
not blissed out or bitter, I’ll settle for fine.

Heather Nelson has been a student of poetry since college, where she developed her thesis project under the guidance of CD Wright and Peter Gizzi at Brown University in 1991. She returned to writing in 2011 and has since been published in Ekphrastic Review, Lily Poetry Review, Free State Review, Spoon River Review and others. She currently leads a local free-write, runs writing workshops for high school students and hosts a book group in Cambridge, Mass. She has been active in the Boston area literary scene since she began writing, and has taught classes at Grub Street, planned events for Litcrawl, organized author talks and other activities. Heather has a manuscript of poetry titled “Motherland” out looking for a home and continues to write, and is already thinking about her next book of poetry!

 

Packaged, by Beth McDonough

Packaged

Stiffed over a couple of continents,
you arrive, a strange-patterned flatness.
My six pairs of vacuum-packed socks.


A minimal method to post merino,
knitted-up bits of running Greek keys,
orange chevrons and lined tiny fish.

One dozen ribbed ankles all drill up one side.
Flip over for overlaps of bright toes.
Sealed-in little labels offer real heat.

But, I must burst your pristine rigidity,
pierce your unbubbled tight wonder,
turn you into soft, just workaday wear.

 

A Practical Woman, by bern butler

A Practical Woman

She used to sigh
throw eyes to heaven
push feet, irritated, into slippers
at first comedic bars of Yakety Sax

when nurses in scant uniform
came on, to buzz and bend
in frantic rhythm round
the suspect wheelchair patient,
pursue in tottering, mindless
swarm, the masquerading nimrod
in the fleeing doctor’s coat.

While we guffawed merrily,
in a fashion then acceptable
for dullards and buffoons
she made toast and tea for us
noted contents of the cupboards,
rinsed cups and spoons,
pushed home the bolt –

used Page 3
(if one snuck in)
to light the fire
in the morning.



From Galway, Ireland, bern butler’s work has featured in Force 10, Ropes Anthology, Galway Review, North-West Words, Abridged, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Dodging Rain, The Madrigal, Gnashing Teeth, Cuirt New Writing Showcase. She holds an MA Writing from NUI Galway.
 

On taking a poet to bed!, by Rona Fitzgerald

On taking a poet to bed!

A big decision, I take my time
savouring lines images moods
metaphors. Considering palette.

Soft greens, vivid blues
maybe some orange zest
no red-hot lines or purple prose.

Yeats on tranquillity

Bee loud glade
leafy islands, flapping herons
drowsy water rats.

I’m partial to the waters and the wild, ready for dripping peace

Mind you, I like the muscularity of Robert Bly.
He’s nocturnal a walker like myself.

His lines about unknown dust waves breaking on shores
Energetic, maybe too much activity for night.

In the morning, I’m weary from pondering and wandering.

More drowsy water rat than graceful heron.

Ah, solitude, a book!

But I ‘m aware of the perils of eating alone
the benefits of sociability

I’ve read about long lasting Ikarians.
Morning rambles, herding sheep, coffee at three.
Aperitifs at 5.00.

So I ask Shamus Heaney to stop digging
to join me for an Irish fry-up.

Before you can say rashers there’s Jimmy Joyce
and Sam Beckett at the table.

Insisting, if you please they’ll both have eggs Freud!



Rona Fitzgerald ‘s poetry is published in UK, Scottish, Irish and US,
in print and online.

Recent publications include Dreich Number 8, Season 2, April 2021, Littoral Magazine 2021, The Brown Envelope Book, 2021, The Arbroath Anthology 2021, Marble Broadsheet September 21, Fixator Press September 21, Dreich Season 4 no 3 2022, A Fish Rots From the Head, Culture Matters 2022.
 

Summer Pastoral, by Maurice Devitt

Summer Pastoral

The weather was so good that I left
a poem unfinished on the desk,
swapped slippers for dancing shoes
and stepped out onto the street.
As I did, every door seemed to open
in sync, disgorging a series
of flawless figures, just about recognisable
as my neighbours, dressed uniformly
in chiffon and silk – greys, blues
and powdery pinks – falling
into geometric formation.

A man passed me a parasol
and I sashayed into the swell,
toes and heels in perfect time
to the lush music that enveloped
the scene, every movement
choreographed to a jaunty rhythm,
smiles appearing on even the cloudiest
faces. When we reached the end of the street
we twirled and bowed in concert,
hats and caps erupting into the sky
as the music crescendoed and started to fade.

Conversation turned to the rumour
that a famous musical director
had bought a house on the road
and we wondered would he really fit in.

A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.

Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.

 

Davros’s Daughter, by Simon Williams

Davros’s daughter
rebelled in her teens,
took against her father’s
domineering ways.
By 20 she had left Skaro
now glides the streets of Brixham,
never too close to the slipway.

Davros’s daughter
doesn’t take well to jokes
about climbing stairs.
Lives in a bungalow, though.
She enjoys cool jazz,
looks straight to camera,
murmurs ‘Extemporise’.

Davros’s daughter
has a blue light on her forehead.
She believes she got the idea
from an Indian lady.
She dresses from Saltrock,
fleece hoodies hide her spiky hair,
to blend with other Brixham folk.

Davros’s daughter
wears a bra with 48 cups,
often slips it off and sighs
at the end of a long day.
She knows little of love,
can be quite abrupt
but, oh, how she glides.

Simon Williams has been writing since his teens, when he was mentored at university by Roger McGough. He has nine collections, the latest being The Magpie Almanack (www.simonwilliams.info), from Vole, published December 2020. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and published the PLAY anthology in 2018.

 

The Cannibal who Came to Tea, by Arran Potts

The Cannibal Who Came to Tea

Hello I see you made it then?
I’m not too hard to find.
Between your teeth? Aperitif
Small pieces of my mind.

This spoon is finest silver
So you can gouge and pry;
I’ll never see, your love for me
As I give you the eye.

I’ll lend an ear, poke out my tongue,
If you can fit it in.
Then I propose, you pick my nose;
My gravy on your chin.

No-one knows that we are here,
I’m glad that we’re alone.
No need to cook, I’ll let you suck
The marrow from my bone.

Pull me apart, eat out my heart
Slurp up my blood and bowels.
I’m such a giver, please take my liver
Mop up my mess with towels.

Make some bacon from my back
Carve into my cheek;
Have a nibble, on my nipple
Chew me till I'm weak.

Now take my hand, you’re nearly done,
I see you have the guts.
It doesn’t hurt, and for dessert
I’ll let you eat my nuts.

Arran has friends who are poets and fancies a little bit of the glory and adulation they receive. He’ll also settle for someone saying, ‘That’s ok.’ He’s a husband, father and teacher.

 

An Archaeology Student Thinks about Sex in Maes Howe Chambered Tomb, by Tonnie Richmond

An Archaeology Student Thinks about Sex in Maes Howe Chambered Tomb

She’s aware that Gavin’s staring at her bum
as she bends double, clambers along
the long dark passageway into the tomb.
The others follow, cluster round, eager to learn.

Her lecturer begins his talk; all about midwinter
when this tomb aligns with the setting sun.
He offers theories -
about it being a humongous womb,
the sun-god penetrating the long stone vagina,
rays striking the back wall, impregnating Mother Earth,
ensuring fertility and good harvests in the year to come.

As theories go, it’s pretty good.
Gavin’s standing close, she feels his body heat
in this claustrophobic chamber.
All this talk of penetration, sexual congress overwhelms;
her nipples tingle. She moves, imperceptibly,
leans in towards him. Feels his breath upon her neck.

————————-

Tonnie Richmond has, since she retired from working in Local Government, spent her time either doing archeology in Orkney or writing poems. As the digging gets harder, she finds writing a slightly easier choice. She has had several poems published and is currently working on a collection of poems about Orkney.
 

Lent in a Time of Coronavirus, by Sharon Larkin

Lent in a Time of Coronovirus
‘The Wet Market Sources of Covid-19: Bats and Pangolins have an Alibi’

A forty day diet can focus the mind
flatten the curves and trim the behind.
So, in choosing food for a modest dinner
to boost the spirit and make tums thinner,
why not just opt for tomato soup
and leave the bats to dive and swoop?

It would be best to eliminate snacks
to fit back into our jeans and slacks
but if the munchies come upon us
and we’re sick of all that hummus,
for our elevensies or for our tiffin,
let's not p-p-pick up a pangolin.

Do you want to stay asymptomatic
of a nasty virus and global pandemic?
Well, here’s some advice, long overdue,
when making casserole, hotpot or stew,
a couple of hints and easy quick wins –
just leave out the bats and the pangolins.

Taming the flesh refines the spirit,
in time for lots of Easter Eggs, innit?
So as we discipline mind and body,
to purge the flesh of all our gluttóny
and deliver ourselves from beastly sins,
let’s set free the bats and the pangolins.


With thanks to Professor David Macdonald, University of Oxford Science Blog, Jun 2021
https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/science-blog/wet-market-sources-covid-19-bats-and-pangolins-have-alibi

Sharon Larkin’s poems often begin with a visual stimulus but soon become ‘infected’ with psychosocial concerns, evident in ‘Interned at the Food Factory’ (Indigo Dreams, 2019) and ‘Dualities’ (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020). She runs Eithon Bridge Publications https://eithonbridge.com, edits ‘Good Dadhood’ ezine https://gooddadhood.com and blogs at ‘Coming up with the Words’ https://sharonlarkinjones.com