Byron Beynon

CAPE TRIBULATION

We witnessed the rare and tropical rainforest
as it nears the waterline,
the movement of an endangered creature
that stirs from hiding to drink.
Creeks inhabited by crocodiles,
the cable ferry
slips cautiously over the face of the Daintree.
The poison peach tree
startled into focus
by the ghosts of fires.
Sands that gather driftwood,
the discovered cape
sirened by the unseen
dangers of the reef.
The ruined wind, with the leaves
creates a distant sound.

Copyright © Byron Beynon 2017

Byron Beynon is widely published in the UK and abroad.  Collections include Human Shores (Lapwing Publications) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

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Roddie McKenzie

Evening Sailing From Mumbai

To the passengers
on their home-bound train
we are a constellation of lights
in a sharp, dark silhouette.
A moving island,
that slips into the tidal dusk
sweeping into Back Bay
from the interstellar blackness
of the Arabian sea.

We
see the Cyclops eye of their locomotive
brightening,
momentarily facing us
as the train
snakes along the side of the hill.

Gazing at each other,
like astronomers,
trying to make meaning
from the distant pinpricks of light
and to wonder at the nature of
the different worlds within
as our trajectories diverge
into the darkness,
like galaxies, after the big bang.

They arrive at their home station
as we disappears into:
the black hole of night,
distance,
the curvature of space,
and their
indifference.

Copyright © Roddie McKenzie 2017

Roddie McKenzie has published stories and poetry with Nethergate Writers since 2006 and recently appeared in “New Writing Scotland 35” and “Seagate III”.  You can follow his latest news at: http://www.nethergatewriters.org/.

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Kathy Gee

Last Laugh

So, Kathy, let me introduce myself.
We’ve never met, and I admit I’ve left it
rather late, but you should know me now.
Remember how I once put off our meeting
in the arid deserts of Peru?
And when they caught you falling off that mountain,
I was ready. Then you touched my hand ,
but waiting at your shoulder gave me purpose.

May I take this chair? I’ll stay here now.
No thanks, you can’t distract me with a bowl
of cherries, lemonade or get-well cards.
I’m quite surprised you didn’t get the message.

Please don’t think me dour – it’s wrong to think
that Death can’t smile. I’m having fun right now.

Copyright © Kathy Gee 2017

Kathy Gee’s first collection was published in May 2016:  http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/book-of-bones.html. She lives in Worcestershire and works very hard but no longer gets paid for it.

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Colin Crewdson

Sholto’s lament

Aroma is everywhere, a beckoning air scented
with a matrix of blends, he searches

in the bogs where the pheromones are strong, the pull of the air
sweetened by sea, he searches

in the density and clothness of peat
in its settling the damp seasons into memory, he searches

in the tracks of ancient wanderers, heroic seekers
in the meadows rills sundews and cotton-grass
as the larks spiral their notes on the pulsatile shore, searching:

in the bog the pheromones are strong,
buttercups and glinty tormentil spray fragments of sun
for the dung brown butterflies.

But the cutters have been there.

The wet slap of westerlies moulds these landshapes,
their folds and rises, falls and hollows smothered

by bristly heather brushforms;
through a nettling net of midges he searches

where the pheromones are strong and the cows still absent.
The cutters have been there with their sweat-heavy spades –

Sholto crashes into the hole, a mattress of tweedy peat
whisky wet

trapped despite the bulge and heft
of struggling muscle,
he waits

waits, listens to the smoothing whispers
of the tannin-stained sleepers in the bogs, lost bodies
waiting for rescue.

Chan eil saoi air nach laigh leòn
Even a hero can suffer injury
 
(Sholto the Shorthorn bull was rescued by the fire services of Skye, July 2016)

Copyright © Colin Crewdson 2017

I live now in Devon, but have lived in many other places. My career has been osteopathy, built on the back of many other things.

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Rachel Carney

Growing into Myself

Yesterday, a small green bud
sprouted behind my left ear.

Today it began to unfurl,
curling out of itself, reaching

for the light. Tomorrow it will
become a perfect leaf – veins

leading down into my core,
spreading its cytoplasm

mucus-like, through blood
and bone. The leaf will

grow. More leaves will appear,
blooming like tattoos gone

wrong from every pore,
stretching out to catch the rain

as I walk, spreading for sun
light, precious as air, slowing

me down, as I root myself in
solid, earthen, welcoming

ground. I will grow into my
self, becoming my own desire

for peace, slowing into an older
version of time, climbing, like

hope: steady, grip by grip,
leaf by leaf, above and beyond.

Copyright © Rachel Carney 2017

Rachel Carney runs a book review blog at www.createdtoread.com. Her poems have appeared in Sarasvati Magazine and The High Window Journal.
 

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Eileen Murphy

Caravan

I dream about my house of antique stuff,
my sagging sofa, bookshelves caving in;
then you pull up your caravan of love,
with furniture in mountains, moving in.
You don’t arrange or paint my living room;
at first, you don’t stir up a lot of dust.
You keep your snake collection safely tombed
and your bushy hair precisely brushed.
And I endure the Mozart tapes you play
all day and night without a moment’s halt.
And you consume the burnt meatballs I make
and do not spit and say it is my fault.
You are a king of men–unlike my ex–
And let’s not even talk about the sex.

Copyright © Eileen Murphy 2017

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.

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Anna Frances Conway

Underground 

My feet stick to the ground
and I stare, long enough to recognise him
below the Kings Cross arches —
dark brown dips below the skyline

I can’t remember his name.
I close my eyes as tightly as
I can and think of the
words we’d exchanged.

Greg, Jeff, James
there are only so many names, I choke
back the consonants
like gargling salt water.

Someone drops their oyster card.
He picks it up with his sandpaper fingers
she shuffles on the spot, wiping her sleeve

and holds her hands to her mouth
as if the place reeks; hoards travelling
on the Piccadilly line,
the ones who sit have no where to go.


At night, the red overhead
flickers like Christmas
I watch his underground sanctuary,
shaking with heat, or movement or
music.

Tinsel smeared with that 70s charm;
I watch clumps of it gather as he works
it bulges, too old to dazzle.

The dark, the loneliness of it without
the lights. The charm of the transport
a cold wet slab

a living scab, he was called; a thousand particles
come up from his lungs,
the walls say scumbag
but his hands clutch to something above
him, thinking of someone else.

When I come back
to see the lights flicker along
the hot placenta blue, trying the
Bakerloo

I say a few words.
I trace his forehead.
I think of the cracks
in the concrete

and the way his feet were
wrapped in black woollen socks,
the way his hands were still cupped —

how I asked and stared
as if that was enough.

Copyright © Anna Frances Conway 2017

Anna Frances Conway is an eighteen year old writer from Northern Ireland; she has previously had her work published in The Penny Dreadful and Abridged magazine.

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