One Poem by Edward Alport

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Midas

It just takes one touch,
Just one soft fingertip’s brush,
A fleeting glance from
Under your eyelash,
And I turn to gold. Shining,
Bright, but not living.

 

Edward is a lecturer and writer, mostly on business and politics. He often posts twittaku (double haiku in 140 characters) on Twitter, plus the occasional political limerick.

One Poem by Ann Rhodes

The Harbor

Eight-year-old Hailey stands perched on tiptoe,
her little hands wrapped around the white metal railings
of her bedroom balcony. She sees the orange fire
of evening cool as the sun hangs lower over the harbor
and the sky turns a deeper blue than the water.
She watches the last lingering daylight burn out,
distant sailboats silhouetted against it.
It reflects off glass windows in the buildings of the town
overlooked by her family’s cliffside house.

She recalls visiting that harbor town not long ago
for another nighttime excursion.
Having been tugged along by the brisk pace
of her mother rushing to make their reservation,
she saw only the luminescence of neon signs
and the shape of a fishing boat on the horizon.
She didn’t take notice of the cracked asphalt
of a sidewalk overgrown by weeds,
moth-swarmed streetlights flickering precariously,
or posters of missing Amelia Garrison
drooping from mossy telephone poles.

She doesn’t know those neon lights
frame the overrun gentlemen’s clubs
where the inebriated men congregate
after their wives have fallen asleep,
and on that far-away boat, a crane pulls up
a ripped, empty net and the fisherman wonders
if his family can still afford a meal tonight.
And now, as she leans over the balcony,
she sees only glimmering buildings and a haze
of fading sunlight over emptying city streets.

From here, she can’t see the line dissipating outside
the too-crowded homeless shelter
turning away yet another mouth to feed,
the working moms setting sticky traps to force the rats out
of their cramped one-bedroom apartments,
or the week-old corpse of Amelia Garrison
washed up on the shore, neck bruised deeply, lips blue,
entangled in the torn fishing net that dredged her up
from her final resting place.

 

Ann Rhodes is an author from Baltimore, Maryland. She writes in many different genres, from narrative poetry to sci-fi novels. She has six years of professional experience writing and is currently pursuing a degree in creative writing from a college in Southern California.

One Poem by Daphne Milne

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Through a Glass Darkly

Behind this bottle of Pastis I see my Father
disguised as a cat  the past creeps up behind him
shameless secrets piled high as a jumble sale
the ones that huddle together around the bed
at 3 a.m. wringing their hands  complaining

The pale wolf that was my Mother lies
abandoned on the ground
the whited sepulchre she truly was
now nothing more than history

Youth lingers at the bottom of a glass
an insistent vortex beckoning  beckoning
oily yellow  hot as ice  cold as fire
the world looks better with this golden glow
the future’s fluorescent  the future’s Aperol

 

Daphne writes poems, short stories, novellas, flash fiction. Work published in print/on line in magazines and anthologies internationally.

Daphne now lives in Fremantle, W. Australia. She reads regularly at Perth Poetry club. She has recorded two podcasts for ILAA on Kalamunda radio.

Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams Press: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/daphne-milne/4594486684.

One Poem by C G Thompson

On Coming out of Rehab

Sometimes all you can say is that the coffee tastes good today,
or the odometer in your car turned over to 76,000 miles
(three zeros in a row looking like an accomplishment).

Sometimes remembering that the trash goes out in the morning
is the best you can do the night before, leading you to roll
carts down the driveway, arrange them side by side,

feeling at the moment that neatness is the only gift you have to give.
Sometimes knowing the definition of a word — maybe imprecate
or peripatetic — is the highlight of your afternoon,

a test you didn’t know you’d be faced with, but passed.
Sometimes reaching the crossing just as a train has gone
saves not only gas and minutes but hints at optimism.

There are pallid days like this, when hot drinks, mileage,
precision, language, railroads can sustain you — or have to.
Thus you lavish time on pouring cream, collecting zeros, tying

trash bags, emphasizing syllables, finding music in metal on metal,
hoping your chance won’t vanish in a distance of tracks.

 

C.G. Thompson is a winner of the North Carolina State University Poetry Contest and a runner-up for the Barry Hannah Prize for Fiction. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in or are upcoming in North Carolina Literary Review, Jersey Devil Press, Redheaded Stepchild, Fictive Dream, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and epoque press ezine, among others.

One Poem by Felix Purat

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Drink-O-Glyphs

Birds scour the warzone
And the drunken deer-demon
Oversees direct command

Wolves howl among the Xs –
Molecular barbed wire shuns
Lightness and darkness alike

A quick glance at the bottle:
There’s no whiskey left
No sustenance of any kind

The deer-demon hesitates:
Only some drink-o-glyphs exist and
Already the inspiration dissipates

Three shadows watch from
The bottle’s dried interior: together
They commence the fluctuations of chaos

 

Felix hails from Berkeley, CA but lives in the Czech Republic and travels frequently. In addition to three micro-chapbooks (all published by the Origami Poems Project), Felix has been published in numerous outlets and magazines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His webpage is: beyondnorcal.wordpress.com

One Poem by James Walton

Wuthering

for a while I was Cathy and that knocking was your return because pain has no gender its seeking ways of counterpoint slim branches on the window wispy enough getting through the social veneer of a card house teeter your breath held within mine from the firebox the slow drumming still so young all wings nothing gained by asking it fell to this place took the day when offered lost the latch key of reason resumes by night confused upon release it hovers browses Christmas lights as any honeyeater might although your hands were gentle enough for rescue before waking again to deconstruct this dangerous allure our palms all moony on the glass cupped enough to settle here

 

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He is now old enough to be almost invisible.

One Poem by Simon Williams

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Cat and Dog Converse

Did you see that?
Dark matter, little blips of it
showering like gravity.
Pretty, really, in a waterfallish way.

               Sorry, my ears were too alert;
               I can hear the stalking
               of black wolves
               out near the corner of the canvas.

               The falling caltrops may get them,
               but it’s best to be prepared
               to push the bottle;
               capture them like masted ships.

I haven’t got the grip;
tiny feet on this scratch-scratch table
polished to reflect the sky,
the fundamental swallows first wave.

 

Simon Williams has eight published collections, his latest being a co-authored pamphlet with Susan Taylor, The Weather House www.indigodreams.co.uk/williams-taylor/4594076848, published in 2017 by Indigo Dreams. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and produced the well-received PLAY Anthology. He has created the science poetry show, Cosmic Lattewww.simonwilliams.info

Two Poems by Elizabeth Jane Timms

The Loving Muse

The night window was sparkling with old rain
Behind a vase of dying daffodils.
That was spring in my English village,
Geese splashing into puddles
And wet April mornings
When the rain got into my writing paper.
But I’d felt the familiar ache at the wrist –
I’d longed for it all evening,
Throughout the burning chatter of the party.
At last, I was alone with the desk!
I’d longed to rest my head on its hard pillow –
For the midnight hour to come to my table,
For the poem to arrive like a guest,
For whom the blank page stood ready.
I wanted the desk’s dark silence,
It’s ever listening ear –
My Great Dane of a desk,
My faithful wooden dog,
Stood waiting for me.


To Where the Train Goes

Only the train could take me there
And under its quiet power
It took me on that journey of its own.
So I let my feelings run loose like hares
To gallop out across the passing fields.
I had to retrieve a thought from a tree
Where my eyes had lodged, thinking of you.
Your words pressed themselves upon the dark
Frown of the hills from my pouring window.
To keep those words warm,
I sipped my black Viennese coffee.
Whilst your face appeared at the window,
Your scalding gaze into my long ago eyes,
The hills were bruised by these emotions,
Beaten by my heart and weathered,
Heavy with the imprint of my passion.
The pale stare of the approaching city beheld me
As from a passing mirror.
My life pressed itself against the windows,
In a kind of kiss,
And I, the eye of my life, looked out.

 

Elizabeth Jane Timms is a poet and is published in various literary journals and magazines, including The Oxonian Review, Coldnoon, North of Oxford Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Allegro Poetry Magazine and elsewhere. Forthcoming poetry includes a mini-collection of ten poems, in Trafika Europe Journal.

One Poem by Martha Landman

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Yellow Science

Errant molecules don’t make a necklace
as two swallows don’t make a summer.
Look at the signs —
the cat on the table holds a bottle
with its tail, prevents it from falling
onto the dog underneath.
The X-sign repeated in mischievous
curtains, holds a warning, forbidden
for what reason? This isn’t theatre.
For all the animals in the room,
on the curtains, there are no people.
Criss-cross, zigzag, no matter
which way you look at it —
errant molecules don’t make a necklace
as two swallows don’t make a summer.

 

Martha Landman lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has previously contributed to Nine Muses Poetry.

Two Poems by RCJ Allan

Properzia de’ Rossi’s peach stone sculptures

You must lean close to see us
for we are almost invisible
and have been taught silence as a virtue.

We are carved, virgins, saints,
upon the bits you spit out
the pits of plums and peaches

hidden in the withered, crinkled stone.
Primed potential. For look –
how the tiny, the unseen, take root and grow.

The Madonna flings wide her cloak
revealing many shouting faces –
eyes wide, lips open to devour the world.


Bathing

Sky unhemmed
no border on the ocean
we lie flat upon the sand
crabs scuttle sideways
in the wrong direction.

You slide into the waves
emerge
teeth glinting silver
flesh marbled by the water
that salt tang shivering
on your lips.

Seaweed belches its tangled smell,
clings to your legs
a tattoo spray.
Message in a secret tongue.

When did it begin to feel like a dream?
That cutting edge of loss
for one who is not gone
but remains feet dredged in sand.

It was I who plunged back
into the cold waves
and could not find the shore.

 

RCJ Allan is a poet and teacher who originated in the North but has drifted South. Her work is often preoccupied with memory and an attention to place. She has been published in magazines such as Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Artemis and Brittle Star.