In the field of opportunity (It’s tattie time again,}
The pickers scrambled from the bus,
gasping in the crisp October air.
Children ran across the furrowed fields,
kicking up dust and startled pheasants.
The older women built small fires,
soon smoke curled through the hedgerows.
The boss a small, mean, ex-fighter.
who’d fought until his face was flattened,
trampled through the tangled shaws
Measuring out each stent.
Sweat from his pounding head
stained his battered hat.
A heavy tractor dragged the digger
hard and relentless, rumbling and clattering,
laying a carpet of potatoes in front of bent backs
The daily rate a pittance
“A king’s ransom” boasted the boss.
“A damned disgrace” said old Jenny Fintry.
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.
Sunday mornings, in gardens
EM Forster would have worried that these are days for getting smuts in your eye.
Or, more likely, losing dahlias in bloom to the gusting wind.
It is terrible, this havoc among the flowers, and,
Right enough, the Ox-eye Daisies are being tossed about wildly;
A brave little clump of yellow Poppies are nodding away, in their hide among the Thyme;
Rogue Sycamores, peeking up beyond the Beech hedge, have big-handed leaves, waving frantically.
On either side of the valley the regimented Pines seem hardly to move,
But the rushing sound of the wind ploughing through them is huge.
Massive black clouds loom over the garden, as barrage balloons might,
Cutting off the warmth, obscuring the late July sunlight.
Someone’s hammering away down at the sheds, fixing loosened tiles,
And the Swallows and House Martins have been grounded from their gliding flight.
Sitting in the corner here, on the old garden bench, with blistering paint,
A suggestion of rain falls across the page, my face, and I wonder
What the end of things will be – I squint up, at you, reading too,
And notice the white tea towel flapping beyond us, on the fence;
Its little black map of these islands,
Copyright © Andrew Hunter 2017
I live and work in Glasgow and have been writing all my life. I continue to learn from everyone I hear and read and I hope their good influence comes out in what I produce.
After struggling for a couple
of minutes to fasten my 4
year old granddaughter’s
sandals, she says to me,
‘Come one Grandpa, this
and she was right,
knowing already how
precious time is, not
something to be fucked-
about with, like tying
shoelaces or waiting for a
bus or an answer, no
just get on with having a
a good time, that’s all
LUNCH TIME FUNNY
It was raining very hard and
I was soaked and pissed-off
making my way home from
work for lunch when I was
stopped by an old grey
bearded guy asking me
where the nearest bar was,
I quickly gave him the
directions and then he
asked me if I liked stand-
up comedy, I nodded my
head bored wanting
nothing more than to
get away but I stood for
20 minutes laughing my
ass off as he fired joke
after joke, he was
something else and then
he was gone, I stood for
a few moments, smiling,
not caring about the rain,
or getting someplace
warm and dry until some
asshole approached me
asking if I had any spare
coins I could give him
for a coffee, I stopped
smiling and shook
Copyright © John D Robinson 2017
John D Robinson is a UK 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.
You can sip from this waxy cup anywhere,
impulse buy millionaire’s shortbread
in this beige chain’s parallel universes.
We should know not to come here,
that this is not distinct enough for
our northern burrs and estuary vowels.
We aren’t a place of everythings and averages;
we are multi-coloured hundreds and thousands.
We are remarkable, every one of us,
even you; especially you.
Lay out the blankets and unpack the picnic.
Sit cross-legged in a circle,
giddy with wafts of grass and cracked soil.
Don’t mind the boys leathering a football
or the damp snouts of curious dogs.
Imagine if we’d never moved.
Our kids would be growing up
with their throats crammed with the city.
Here we can watch model boats on the lake,
their captains prowling with radio control units,
or turn to see Newport, clear across the estuary.
Copyright © Ben Banyard 2017
Ben Banyard lives and writes in Portishead, near Bristol. His debut pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016, and a full-length collection, We Are All Lucky, is due out from the same press in 2018. Ben blogs at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com
Tor Mor, Look East
No great inspiration in this naming.
Tor Mor, Bruach Mhor: big hill.
Our distant Ben More tempts a gaze.
From here I can spot un-roaded ruins:
Wintertown, populated by foxgloves,
doorless doorways, ambling hooves.
Downhill, The Loch of the Pot of Iona
offers a shimmering promise of fish.
Inside dry stone walls, adders doze.
I point, name Gorrie’s Leap, imagine.
Some cliffs are a kind of fairy hill:
nobody at home, but with a dizzy music.
Copyright © Seth Crook 2017
Seth Crook rarely leaves Mull. His poems have most recently appeared in Northwords Now, Pushing Out The Boat, Envoi, Antiphon, The Rialto.
Please note that The Open Mouse is taking a break during August, and will be back in September.
The entire class
detest the eyes
that match so evenly
the brown cheeks and brow
and glitter like the gemstones
that dangle from her coffee-colored arms.
But much worse is her tongue.
She can’t say her name
so they can understand it.
Every scribbled note,
every whispered strand of gossip,
takes as its subject
the new girl in the fourth row,
the one the teacher introduced
as being from some place
and how everyone should
make the effort to welcome her.
Now, even that teacher
has lost faith in her own words.
If she didn’t have the girl’s name
written down phonetically,
she wouldn’t understand it either.
And yet she’s doing well in class
despite her struggles with the language
and her tears for the words on the bathroom wall
that read, “Go home spick.”
She changes it to “Go home Ximena”
Copyright © John Grey 2017
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.
Grab the grackle’s wet
wing festering in the lemon
twilight. I’ll dip this lit
finger in the flood & finally
sign the court document. In our
shrinking backyard stands
the falling swing-set
where we held A.A. meetings.
I stole the word, our record.
Slid the secret note saying what
I heard in the rusted weft
of the oval tube. We stood
in a circle—a wheel inside
of the air, like the wheel that took
the prophet Ezekiel—discussing
night crimes. Condemned sliver,
gnarled knuckle. Let go finally of
everything you clutched & tried
to drag to the bottom of the sea.
Looking low with slit eye sockets
I see little white Christmas lights
strung around your head shine
like phosphorous in the night
Copyright © Charles Kell 2017
Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.