The Open Mouse has now closed. After twenty years of posting poems, mostly twice weekly, the time has come for me to say thank you to all the poets who have sent me submissions over the years. Your work has pleased me a lot, and it has been a great pleasure to publish you. I wish you well in your poetic careers in the future.
we gathered in abandon
queen anne’s lace
along that old dirt road
arranged them in an
old porcelain pitcher
handle broken off
before we owned it
Copyright © Terrence Sykes 2018
Jesus Turns In His Grave
‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.’
Behind the altar there is a scar on the wall,
a bricked up entrance revealed beneath a lintel.
In the graveyard lives lie scattered, engraved on stones,
flashy monuments, some with iron railings.
Rabbits graze – no wild flowers grow.
Soldiers, fishermen, couples, husbands, lairds.
Sarah – aged 2, from typhoid.
But outside the consecrated ground I search
for the suicide’s unmarked grave.
I find it there in the unkempt grass,
a heave of earth just visible,
as if even now he tries to rise
from beneath the heaviness of living.
Copyright © Gerard Rochford 2018
She sidles up beside me
At the vegetable section.
They are washed, naked, smooth and ripe.
I am choosing what I like
– Not too long, not too stubby,
Certainly not broken.
Some are very long indeed,
Difficult to fit into
These skinny supermarket bags.
She arrives, but doesn’t linger
And, as our fingers nearly touch
In that almost intimate transaction,
We don’t make eye contact or talk
About the harvest or the weather, even,
As we delve and pilfer from that bright, slippery pile.
She doesn’t select the best, I know,
But hurries to the salad packs;
Leaves me in the aisle alone with all those tasty roots.
Copyright © Clive Donovan 2018
there was the grave
my sis and i had to dig in the yard
& then i had to find music
that didn’t make me cry
so hard i caused an accident on my drive to work
the sharp June sunlight sniggered
as dog tags jingled
my curly hair turned straight
in-between hair fell out
with a pure sleep,
& courteous waves
a hundred comrade dogs paddled my dog
to the mother-ship–
the left/right/left/right of it all
i had the plague
the rest of the summer
was a scorcher
it’s summer & the days never end
you’re a dot & a swim & a drink at the tiki bar
i’m a sunspot, a lawn, & a backlit dog
now is the time for lizarding by the pool
dressed in fancy next-to-nothings
now is the time for wilting in the quilt-like heat
when the pavement sizzles in the afternoon glare
we brace ourselves
for the Venusian air that gushes out
when we open our parked car’s door
autumn we glimpse from a million miles away
but fall’s held captive this year
& no one’s allowed to complain
except when your bald spots get sunburned
Copyright © Eileen Murphy 2018
A former Chicagolander, Eileen Murphy now lives 30 miles from Tampa with her husband, three dogs, and one cat. She teaches literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland.
Wrinkled faces behind glass windows.
Ours are always open.
I see her. Her crystal blue eyes.
She can’t fly away.
White hair, gold earrings.
I wonder if she has a name.
Yellow cup, sippy lid,
But she’s not a baby.
Brodie thinks she’s just like her,
That one day she’ll jump outside.
Our house isn’t a prison.
I don’t have the heart to tell her.
Copyright © Emma Guinness 2018
Emma Guinness is a writer from Glasgow. She recently finished the manuscript for her first novel, be guid tae yer mammy, and has previously published in a number of journals including The Honest Ulsterman, From Glasgow to Saturn, and The Attic.
Baked to Perfection
His hands leave a trace of flour
where he touches me,
my face, my neck, my shoulders
later I shall look at them
and remember how skilful he was
a master of his craft
On the floor next to my clothes
his baker’s white’s lie discarded
our passions rise without the need for yeast
proving by the moment
shapes and forms
merging into one
Copyright © Dora Wright 2018
We listened through remnants
of wood and broken stone,
pieces of art selected by the sea
for an exhibition about floods.
Trunks and branches washed high
onto the sand; Kathy didn’t see them,
didn’t talk about the sea, the logs,
the half-gone beach; only of memories,
things from under another sun.
We recalled the bale of hay
swept from a nearby farm;
a large weed-covered heap, its grassy smell,
hot head, taken by the night sea.
Next morning, Kathy was gone too;
the sand left bare, without stones,
without wood, without trace.
Copyright © Ion Corcos 2018
Ion Corcos has been published in Panoply, Clear Poetry, Atrium, The High Window and other journals. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. Ion’s website is www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com and he tweets at @IonCorcos
TIME WITH YOU
(for Donna-Lisa Healy)
Guilt may photoshop
from the tip a flower
but I had to stop.
It’s where she and I were
snoring and the weeds
rose round fake satisfaction.
Her paranoia of perfection
didn’t meet my needs.
May time with you mean
we see the tides of light
through a canopy’s green,
on the tansies’ white;
as a dog trots off leash,
the wood, a temporary
ribcage, is intermittently
clacking blown trees.
Copyright © Ira Lightman 2018
Undeniably modelled on the interior of
a Soyuz spacecraft, the only method
of electrocution missing here is a toaster.
However, undeterred, in the morning
(having considered my chances of survival
slightly better than having a bath)
I take a shower, which is also next
to the plugged-in washing machine.
Later on, my mother-in-law and I conduct
the most perfunctory of communications
concerning the cultural mores of the
salle-de-bain cum fürdőszoba
in quarter-pidgin French
and eighth-pidgin Hungarian
– the latter really only to show her
I am not a complete Neanderthal.
Which reminds me, O thank you,
Jimmy Sheekey of Sacred Heart High School
(long since demolished)
who taught me 45 years ago
what little French I can now muster.
Jimmy was a boxer-turned-teacher
with obligatory broken nose.
See Angels with Dirty Faces?
See Jimmy Cagney?
Anyway, I recall Ronnie Brown unfortunately
gave Jimmy some bad attitude one day
and ended up being well-beltet furrit
and we the paralysed mob, could only look on
in shock at this reign of terror.
Come to think of it, I really must remember
to retrospectively petition the Renfrewshire
Committee of Public Safety to cough up
they spondulics for the ruination of my soul.
Copyright © Frank Gillougley 2018
Frank Gillougley was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1959. He has had 3 collections of poetry published by Lapwing Press, Belfast. He currently lives in Blackridge, West Lothian.