J M Brown

Penitentiary Poem.
Small groups huddled into corners,
coats hitched over shaven heads.
Others marched back and forth,
military style.
By noon a slither of sunlight
beamed into a cobbled yard,
shined by feet going nowhere.
Men jostled to capture its rays,
like fading stars,
desperate for the limelight.

Ablutions
Startled by the morning activity
cat sized rats.
black coats spiked and glistening.
fled between squatting legs.
six holes in the ground, overflowed.
Paper at a premium.
a rusty can of water was at hand.

Copyright © J.M. Brown 2017

Born in Glencraig Fife at the end of the 2nd World War,  After many years of drifting and working, James returned to Scotland. Once retired he began to write things. Some have been published as poems and articles and with the help of Citadel playwrights performed on stage by professionals. Still married with three children and four grandchildren.

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John McIntosh

Sunflowers
13/08/16

On your wedding day you wanted sunflowers.
Not gentle roses – pastel, suitable – but sunflowers:
In the church and on the place cards,
On the favours and the cake,
Dazzling and exotic, they burned with livid fire,
Glowing oranges and flaring yellows,
Lurid, blazing noontimes from la France profonde,
Banishing all cold and darkness from your day.

Heliotropic as they grow, driven
By some dumb intelligence they turn
Their heads to track the sun across the sky,
Bright Jodrell Banks locked onto signals
Unimaginably faint and far away.
They stand, cold sentinels, in darkness as the
Earth sails round its black and silent sea,
And a trillion firefly stars blink on above.

All through the best man and the dancing
I was thinking – sunflowers?
Surely somewhere underneath lay symbol,
Some connection waiting to be made.
It flickered in the dark beyond my sight,
But when I turned my head it hid in light.

Well maybe. Sunflowers, when they reach full height
Grow tired of chasing down the sun all day and night.
That swinging watch, that glinting ring, no longer hypnotise.
So Jaimie count to three, and when you open up your eyes
You are a sunflower, gazing out on one far view:
Wild, rain-forested infinities,
Contained in him and you.

Copyright © John McIntosh 2017

I’m a 56 year old teacher from Glasgow who is sporadically moved to write poems. Have had a few things published on this website and in the Glad Rag, a Glasgow southside Arts magazine, and hope to do more and more of this  as retirement appears on the horizon.

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Raymond Miller

The Gaffer

He knew the score and stated
suicide is like hanging
up your boots when
the season is early doors.
It’s going to ground too soon,
not waiting for the whistle
and refusing to play through
the pain barrier once more.
It’s not being able to look
at yourself in the mirror
because you’ve lost
the dressing room.
He was giving us the eyes.

Copyright © Raymond Miller 2017

Ray Miller thinks he’s somewhere between George Formby and T.S.Eliot when he wants to be between Althea and Donna.

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Laura McKee

for John
i.m. John Mackie 

I’d had fantasy relatives before of course
Lily Langtry my distant LeBreton granny
Cary Grant my uncle Archie Leach
then you came along
you called me cousin then cuz
because of the Mackie McKee thing
and it stuck
though you felt more like an uncle
in reality a Facebook poetry friend
we only ever spoke through the ether
the cradling of a phone
the pressing of silent letters
we only ever touched on the day to day
the name of the latest passing
hurricane or star
we only found time
to argue about Bowie
you knew more about him than me
and more about Sorley MacLean
who was your actual uncle
you remembered sitting on his knee
and the smell of damp tweed
now I feel a need to find you
not necessarily to sit on your knee
but certainly to give you a hug
you have gone
from being nowhere near
to being nowhere
nothing comes to mind
only dumb questions
I had asked one in your last summer
is there anything more delightful 
than bananas with ice cream?
your answer: you, I would imagine
immediately vanquished bananas and ice cream
forever in my heart

Copyright © Laura McKee 2016

Laura McKee should really be living by the sea. She maintains an adoptive cat in Kent. Contact her on Twitter @Estlinin

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John D Robinson

SAVING YOUR ASS

Trembling and paralyzed with
fear, the poor little thing hid
behind a dog’s water-bowl;
my 3 cats and in particular
the big black bastard with
mean green eyes was
towering above, poised and
prepared to strike and kill
I knew it wasn’t anything
personal between them
so I moved in with
a plastic container and a
sheet of card and scooped
up the little fellow;
I walked by my 3 pissed-off
looking cats and set the
mouse free in the back
garden;
‘Don’t come back’ I said
‘I may not be around next
time to save your ass’
and I watched him scurry
away, startled and jubilant
just
to be alive;
a feeling I know all
too well.

Copyright © John D Robinson 2016

John D Robinson was born in the UK in 63; He is a published poet ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide’ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016)  ‘Cowboy Hats & Railways’ (Scars Publications 2016). His work appears widely in the small press and online literary journals;

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Louisa Campbell

Shhh…

 

…you won’t see him,
solitary,
sidling up at the bus stop,
faceless in the shadows,
stealing snippets.

 

You won’t notice him
scribbling silently
beneath a black umbrella
in the slanting rain.

 

Later – maybe years later –
you will turn a page
and a line, or a phrase will
flicker,
startle you
with its truth.

 

You will never know
that thought was yours
all along.

 

Copyright © Louisa Campbell 2016

 

Louisa Campbell is a product of a weird religious upbringing, happily married (third time around) mother of two children, who hangs around English spa towns. A psychiatric nurse in the past, she now has a bizarre illness that makes her unemployable, so she writes and adopts stray dogs. She has realised that life is silly, but important, and she is very happy about that. She is currently working on a book of short stories and a poetry collection. She tweets from @Snugglebunks.

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Holly Day

In Closing

I imagine them finding her on the beach
blond hair spread out on the sand, skin pale and taut
the water pooling in a foamy halo around her head
eyes fixed unblinking on the early morning sun.
I don’t think about the crabs and seagulls

that must have surely found her before the first pair of joggers
stumbled across her in their morning run
and whatever other damage that must have occurred
from being battered about by the waves before being
hurled up on shore. I close my eyes

against the curt voice on the phone
methodically ticking off the contents of her pockets
the jewelry she was still wearing, the description of a tattoo
I never knew about
and instead, think of angels on Christmas trees, tiny, wings spread
half-remembered psalms, shattered lectures of Heaven.

Copyright © Holly Day 2016

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in New Ohio Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

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