Mariam Kadhim

The sun rises everywhere

Criss-crossing air and water
Clocking miles none can measure
What’s the deal globe-trotter?
Searching for hidden treasure?

Oh, I’m just teasing!
Clearly
You’re a lucky chap
who’s nearly
out the door again…so fast?
Heavens no! My time has passed

Along you go without me
Arrivederci! Adiós!
See Aruba, Bonaire, Fiji,
Here I’ll be in Kinross

Chow on empanadas,
duruka and ceviche
Spy blue-green iguanas,
Explore your coral reefs

Walk round Mayan ruins
Speak the tongue of stranger nations
Take guided tours – from palaces
– to Ceylon tea plantations

Away with your pity! away with you pet!
I wish so too, but life ploughs on
I’m happy with these hills, these sheep,
My tea and buttered scone

Write me under a Judas tree
Send me olives and black rice
In fact, don’t feel obliged my lad
Two, three stories will suffice

Don’t think of me with sorrow
I know fine well that life is short
Yet wrong you are, and fluffed you’d be
To assume from my passport
That I’m a mere provincial,
Uncultivated miser
For what such pages don’t disclose
Is I’m an early riser;
The dawn of day, the morning dew;
Life’s little reasons
(In my book)

The boundless world, all around
And all I do is look

Copyright © Mariam Kadhim 2017

I’m Mariam Kadhim: a twenty something aspiring French language teacher of Iraqi heritage. Scotland is where I live, study, read, and write.

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Frederick Pollack

Adaptation

The angel has the impression
that if he stays in one place
on the street a safe
will fall and crush him, so he constantly
shuffles, forward, sideways. Awareness
that he can’t be hurt, by however
many tons, has somehow gone,
as well as the skill to be anywhere
at will. Invisible now less
because of rarefied spiritual
substance than general rattiness, he tries
to love, protect, comfort. But there are
so many of them! So vivid! And they move
so fast! It isn’t that I’ve forgotten
(he assures that inner tweet
which is God) what love is,
what You are, only how to plug it in. Herding
him along, a cop realizes
after weeks of worry where to
move that extra kilo
from the bust on 18th. A bishop
sees how with little strain or
bad press to acquire the rest of his block.
And here and there like stars in that surge
of pedestrians comes the knowledge
what else to pawn.

Copyright © Frederick Pollack 2017

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and a collection, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press). Another collection, LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT, to be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK).

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Tristan Moss: three poems

My Old English Sheepdog

On windy days,
I sometime think
that I might spy
between the weeping
willow’s branches
one of his eyes.

Measurement

Yes, we’re oddly shaped
when compared to Archimedes’
perfectly rectangular tub.

And when in
we’re not allowed to float;
we must push
our bodies under.

And the more of ourself
that displaces water
the more normal
we become.

A crack in the concrete

The cause?
a root
frost
a seed
settlement.

Does it matter?
Both sides
still concrete

unless
this rift widens
and more spread

beyond a mosaic,

beyond the concrete.

Copyright © Tristan Moss 2017

Tristan Moss has recently had poems in Algebra of Owls, Snakeskin, London Grip and Amaryllis.

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Clive Donovan

REVISITING

With my sister I revisited
That place where we all used to live.
I felt nervous.
We were parked and loitering;
We could be casing joints or worse
With our studied photographs.

I noted that the bus-stop tree had gone
As had our old garage
And strips of woods
Where we had run and hid
Constructing many a tunnel,
Now were clogged by thickets
Which had flourished, I presume, by neglect
From the new, odd, indoor type of electric children.

Feeling twitchy and a bit subversive,
We took pictures of the present
And high-tailed it out of there.

But now those prints look fake, unreal;
They lack lustre in their power.
In my mind our favourite tree,
On which we hung like monkeys
Telling stories upside down,
Is recreated, sprouting, from the ground
And dens beneath the rhododendrons welcome us
And we, the watchers of the neighbourhood,
With marbles, chalk and hula-hoops,
Command the very centre of the road
Whistling shrill, glad alarms whenever cars,
So rare as they used to be,
Come cruising in,
Musically hooting,
Bringing all the daddies home.

Copyright © Clive Donovan 2017

CLIVE DONOVAN    Clive  used to live in Scotland. But finds the weather is better in Devon. He devotes himself to poetry full-time, more or less, and craves the attention of magazine editors.

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Helen Freeman

On the Back Burner

I crush roast beans with my pestle
then throw grounds into water on a high flame
stirring till the colour succumbs and bubbles.
Bitterness rises within.

As I brew Madam’s coffee,
she engages in more crucial matters –
manicures and massage, her driver’s lateness
and yet another Riyadh wedding invitation.
The employer’s affairs, they say,
are not for me to censure.
I must learn my place. I must salute.

I stir and stir to prevent the overflow
that leaves such a splatter to scrub –
there’s a clasp here to master.
I drop cardamom pods into the darkness
adjusting the scent, and I’m home:

the bombs, my father under Aleppo rubble,
the hawk who sometimes hooked
meat from my palm long gone,
my inheritance expunged.
Count to ten. Breathe Dad always said
but look where that got him.

Heat dissipates, coffee cools
in the pot of beaten silver.

Copyright © Helen Freeman 2017

Helen Freeman published  Broken  post-accident in Oman. Since then she has completed several poetry courses and has poems in some online magazines. Brought up in Kenya, she now lives between Edinburgh and Riyadh.

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Katerina Neocleous

Wish

A boy picks wishes
on the edge of the car-park,
a strip of ragwort and thistles
rising from gravel and turf
carved by tyre tracks.

He is not playing –
covered in its silky fibres
he harvests thistledown
with a sense of purpose
well beyond his years.

Balling it into his fist
he can feel his pulse
beating through it
like it’s a living thing;
able to grant his only wish.

He extricates a crumpled
seed from the rest
and blows it
away from his hand
with a pensive breath.

It rises askew, then drifts
meandering in a tangle
like a daddy-long-legs;
loitering in the boy’s
lengthening shadow.

A car backfires,
the grey sky condenses
into a barn owl
quartering the heath.
The boy turns back.

Copyright © Katerina Neocleous 2017

Katerina Neocleous is a poet and home educator, settled in North West England. Her poetry has been published in various journals, most recently Clear Poetry, Obsessed With Pipework, and The Dawntreader. To see more, please visit laurelsofrain.wordpress.com

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Sonja Benskin Mesher

hospital pyjamas


I come here late, hospital pyjamas,
was it body or brain paralysis
that kept me there, tired
lace curtains drawn.

I lay as a child, arm high
tracing patterns and bows,
thinking in the wind,
when there is no wind?

to the door i find
earth smell, light rain
and music from the overflow.

little toads still hazard,
everywhere, everywhere.

i warned you yesterday,
tread very gently my dears

Copyright © Sonja Benskin Mesher 2017

I am a painter who writes, a writer that paints, a drawer on life, and landscape. … Watch me make things. Am quite patient, hold my tongue, but can’t say multi-disciplinary. Easily I live here, in Wales,  Easily.

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