The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 7 “Shoes”

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Skates
by Anne Harding Woodworth

Sidewalks of flagstone occur to me.
Not one stone like another, each pocked
in its own way, flaking, unevenly heaved

from somewhere beneath. And roller skates—
adjustable to fit any foot. The key dangles on a string
around your neck. Saddle shoes slip into the steel skates.

You tighten them with the key and move calamitously
over the flagstones. When I was a little older,
I skated on the wooden floors of roller rinks.

I have it in mind to go to one again sometime soon,
if they still exist, this being my generation’s time
of disappearance.

I will rent lace-ups that have the warm essence
of others’ feet. And out on the oval floor,
the ALL SKATE sign will flash in familiar neon,

as I hold on to someone who’s still here.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Good-Luck Bin
by Anne Harding Woodworth

Each day it yielded
something she would need.
This time a diamond earring
sparkled on the walk
beside the bin. She squinted
at its brilliance,
bent to pick it up,
stem askew, golden setting dented.
In her pocket safe it’d be
from heavy feet
of those with scraps
and clods to toss.
She never wondered
if the diamond trod upon was real,
never wondered
how it happened to be biding there
amid the grit beside the bin,
where she came daily shod
in worn-out running shoes,
not knowing whose they’d been,
nor was she curious.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Capitol Hill, 13th March, 2018
by Bethany Rivers

One pair of trainers, well worn
size 4, sitting on a grand lawn
their soles open to the sunshine

they remember a boy of 14
who sweated them
whilst playing football

in his neighbourhood
with his big brother
his father and his best friend

they remember the scuffs
and the kicks, the bumps
and the heat within.

………………………………………………………………….*****

Me and Chuck
by Peter Wolf

It’s no wonder I trust you with my soul
let you embrace me
cover me
shield me
your coat of arms makes me

royal.

Our misguided adventures are of my design
but you are the perfect partner
wings to this dragonfly
as I lope over
Carolina’s creeks
and swing from the mahogany of her oaks
you’re there with me.

My cousins say I’m not ready.

Boy you’re so skinny
you could hoola hoop with a Cheerio
they yell.

Ya mama
I yell back
now gimme the rock
and I shoot like the Pearl
soaring with your stars beneath me.

By evenin’
my uncles let me in their circle
they pass
cigarettes
beer
gas

lies and laughter.

Their feet are bound for the burdens they must carry

heavy
muddied
scarred.

They call me
boy
cause I still carry stars in my eyes

and on my feet.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Start Right
by Finola Scott

Childhood was safe skipping
snug in silver-buckled sandals.
The way lay sure before me.
I was shod strong. Mum taught me
to put my best foot down.

Later, striding out long limbed and cheeky-
all flamingo legs in clumpy,
clacky, patent platforms,
slithery slinky sling-backs,
– the world was mine.

Marriage was different rules.
Another’s choices caged me,
his pleasures determined mine.
His blue stockinged harlot, tottering
ankle-tied, knife-edged,
I could leave my shoes on.

Now free, I stomp and stride
dancing dangerous
in kick-ass damson
boots.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Men’s work 
painting the Dazzle ships 1918
by Finola Scott

Boots! We’re wearing boots! Feet and legs
break free, climb ladders, straddle scaffolding.
Breasts bounce in men’s coveralls.
It’s freezing outside but Vickie’s stuffed
newspaper under her socks. Says it’s cosy.

This painting work is crazy – no order,
just piebald jigsaws. Shapes vibrate under
our brushes as we splash dots and dashes.
We’re assembling mazes. And the singing and
gossip and laughing. I’ll never go back
to trit-trotting in debutante dainty shoes.
We never mind the stink of paint.
Our mouths taste the sea.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Dancing Shoes
by Linda Menzies

In the dusty cupboard, behind rusty umbrellas
and an ancient walking frame,
the sons found the battered box, half-hidden.
The shoes sparkled in yellowed tissue paper:
Silver glitter uppers shone atop worn soles,
The laces frayed and tugged apart.

Her dancing days were in middle age, when,
freed from the tyranny of matrimony,
she was light of foot and spirit, glowing,
eating chips at dawn, laughing out loud,
kissed and kissing, her body alive.

These would be what she should wear,
the sons agreed, smiling through tears,
carefully wrapping the shoes back
in tissue, for the undertaker.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

She’s the Reason I Wear Pink Shoes
by Jackie Biggs

You should have seen the shop –
deep marine blue all over the front.

If her tan was good
she’d wear bright yellow

to make the contrast with the blue.
And she’d make sure her hair colour

was the correct shade of red
real red, not auburn.

She sold teapots,
all white, with coloured dots –

blue, red, yellow, green.
And jugs for milk, butter dishes to match.

Cups, saucers and mugs in primary colours,
with spots and stripes.

Even her scrubbing brushes had colours –
red and green bristles shone out of willow baskets.

There were throws in autumn garb –
rust, Virginia creeper scarlet, acer and beech brown

and cushions to scatter like falling leaves.
Candles in all colours

some even rainbows,
with holders to match or contrast.

Customers touched things,
they couldn’t resist

picked them up
put them back askew,

a tight smile
a taut thank you as they left.

She’d wait until they had gone,
the door closed behind them

and she’d put everything back
where it should be

perfect
it was her favourite word.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Last Wishes
by Susan Castillo

 

Most people just don’t get it
when we go on about shoes.

At this point in life I’m forced to go
for geriatric styles that grip the ground

so I won’t totter, break my neck, come to grief.
But my heirs know that in my will there is a clause

that shouts, ‘Disinherit!’ if my last wishes are ignored.
So they’d jolly well remember:

In death I intend to be a femme fatale,
buried in my Jimmy Choos.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Standing In My Mother’s Shoes
by Connie Ramsay Bott

I’m standing in my mother’s shoes
looking down.

My words are hers.
My son is me.
When did I cross over?

I know too much.
I’ve seen too much.
I know where all the traps are laid.
He intends to dance over them.

I wince at his pain.
He groans at my stupidity.

He says I can’t live his life for him.
When will I ever learn?

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Uncle Vanya Pot-Pot-Pot
by Valery Petrovskiy

Tractor driver Uncle Vanja had no handle on his steering lever; a round thingamajig on the top was missing. They nicknamed him “Uncle Vanya Pot-pot-pot” because of his small tractor that rattled “pot-pot-pot” when starting up. In spring and fall, he was in much demand to plough up one’s truck farm or take out some yield from a distant vegetable plot later on.

He used to lunch at home in a log house while he left his vehicle on the street. Exactly at that moment, I detected it required a knob on the steering lever. There were several of them spread wide apart like man’s fingers, and one looked as if had no wedding ring. Uncle Vanya was never married; he had just a small motor with a tiny shed instead of a cab, well fixed here and there. In old times, folks had horses and it looked as if Uncle Vanya still kept a red charger with him.

His motor impressed me much with its tires scoured out, its carriage freshly painted. Nevertheless, a bar with a bare head there affected me even more – like a splinter in one’s boot. In autumn, we needed high boots to go to school through mud outskirts until it froze up, and it froze up in November. They called it autumn but the stream froze over and we could walk to the school straight on ice.

…It happened in the holidays, on a red-letter day. In the clubhouse were overhanging national flags, some little ones strolled by with colored balloons in their hands. With not much domestic chores, the young lads stuck around on the street. We had an icy patch there, halfway along the street, right in the middle from its two sides. When I ran out into the street, I would see from the downside if there was someone there at the patch. Alternatively, when Boris went out at the upper side of the street, he had a good view of the patch as well. However, he could not see me, because the street was arched, swelling in the middle.

We met together one holiday there when it was rather cold. Moreover, the street was slippery with ice. The local women would carry water in buckets and spatter it little by little walking home. They left an ice stripe behind as if the track were paved with a white linen cloth. That time the street froze all over – after cold rains possibly and the patch was slippery. There we gathered, and we made a common bustle there: one had to stand fast on the ice to knock down another. Soon we stopped the row – there was no need to hurt each other. At that moment, a small red bead – like my sister’s pompon but one made of plastic – showed up at my feet. We started kicking the bead about, a kind of football play but on the ice. It looked fierce: we fell down one after the other, one hurt an elbow, and another injured his knee. Thus, the red round knob was an evil one.

Limping my fellows went home, and I took the plastic bead with me; just put it into my pocket. Going by Uncle Vanja’s motor that stopped dead because of ice-sleek, I fixed the red cap on the handle, one without a knob. The other handgrips had black knobs on, and this one had a red head ever since. It appeared somewhat dangerous, the thingamajig I attached there.

…Once Uncle Vanja was not back home in the evening, and they did not turn off the light all night through. In the morning, they found his toppled motor in the country road ditch. Black ice! They said that Uncle Vanja lost control of the motor: supposedly, he pulled a handle turning the tractor body, one with the red knob.

After that, his boots went to me, the strong high shoes, never worn. He was not of a sturdy built, my uncle Vanja, he looked like a teenager and drove a small vehicle. I did not wear the boots, it’s an ill omen, I knew. Therefore, the boots lay under a bench for some time and then went missing. Perhaps, mom put it in the closet furthermost away. After some time, she got the boots out to make dad wear them when he had to go to a remote side of the town. When coming back, dad chose a shorter way along the weir, and there he was stuck in the dirt on the sodden dam. In the dark, he lost the boots off his feet.

Nice, it was summer.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Progression dancing
by Kathy Gee

I thought that willow-pattern tree
could hide intrusive jackdaws,
rollicking like sailors
in its layered Chinese boughs.

Now, its yellows dance
and strain against a formless sky.
The north wind rustles, sending
leaflings into next door’s garden.

Light, between the clinging on,
creates a ripple-shimmer.
Sequins on my wedding shoes,
worn just that once and not again.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Platform soles
by Kathy Gee

Suede as soft as down on a powdered cheek,
a gentle, brazen poppy pink I fell in love with.

I have them still, displayed among the glass
and figurines, a symbol of the days when
shoulder pads and charcoal suit were uniform.

Addressing conference, with hips tipped back
I ostentatiously ignored my feet, their rebel yells.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Conference Footwork
by Kathy Gee         

Expert feet in a semi-circle.
Chestnut brogues speak out.
The crossed leg dips and floats,
attacks with confidence.
……………Left footswing poise
……………rise toe hold. 

Across the platform, feet,
defensive, interlock. A right shoe
starts unconscious tap tap.
Left foot swing swing
……………rise toe heel toe
……………heel toe tap

Black leather foot retreats
to roll, rise, lift, lose tempo.
A scarlet shoe winds skirted calf,
holds back the urge to heel toe,
……………heel toe
……………tap tap curl

Both sides hug sharp knees,
their tension earthed by carpet;
Damn the Health and Social Care Act.
Here’s an enemy they share.
……………Shoes swing rise fall lift
……………applause

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Tasseled Loafers
by Larry Pike

Last week I heard on NPR a retired men’s store owner
lament the current style with which I’ve grown comfortable.
He advocated a return to certain sartorial traditions,
a dignity observable even on radio, so I listened

to his arguments opposing casual Fridays and other
crimes against fine fabric. He could have been one
of the tailors, tape measure draped around his neck
like a stethoscope, who welcomed gentlemen and their sons

at the downtown clothier where my father took me
to be fitted for the tasseled loafers all my friends wore,
handsewn calfskins with a wide toe box and narrow heel
that slid onto the feet and flexed with a limber hinge.

To enter the Shoe Room, we’d stride the length of the store,
past slacks terraced like Incan hillsides on broad oak
tables, past over-and-under racks of conservative suits,
mid-weight worsteds with a smooth hand, busy fellows

intent on an important mission – but not too hurried
for my dad to speak with the men he knew, those
who had knelt to chalk a cuff for the right shoetop break,
selected ties he always appreciated as what he had in mind.

………………………………………………………………………….*****

Americans in Oxfords and Toecaps
by Maggie Mackay

Imagine. For just three minutes
Fred and Gene spar on wood
jamming syncopated rhythms
with quicksilver feet,
heels alight with golden spurs.
Call them Hermes and Puck
divine tricksters of dance,
floating, leaping,
spirit and flesh in tandem.

………………………………………………………………………..*****

#MillionsMissing
by Spangle McQueen

shoes all shapes of lives
we had before the shadows
slipped into as easily as
grandma’s slingbacks
when we were small

now stuck in treacle
we ache
like we ran a marathon
in hi-tech trainers
with day-glo laces

we are invited
to lay out our shoes
empty symbols
of the lives
we’re missing

I can’t decide
which pair to choose

………………………………………………………………………..*****

Slippers
by Ron Lavalette

In the dark, he puts his slippers on the wrong feet; they walk away and he never sees them again.  Sometimes he misses them, wonders if they ever think about him, if they pad around someone else’s kitchen now, dreaming of his rainforest hardwood mornings, his quiet carpeted bedroom nights.  All day long, no matter what he does or how long it takes, he’s only doing it to kill some time while he’s waiting and hoping they’ll find their way back to him.

But it’s no use, no use.  They’re lost forever in the great wide world, lost somewhere in the vast asphalt universe, no doubt someone else’s slaves, pacing strange floors at odd hours, bending to foreign biddings.

He vows never to forget them, promises himself to remember even their most minute detail, but with each passing hour he can feel them slipping further and further away.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Dear Cinderella
by Ali Jones

I need to tell you that the power of shoes is limited,
not simply by the fact that the sumptuous carpeting,
of the story, blood red, and the fragrance of shoe balsam
and expensively dyed skins cannot prove anything.

It used to be my temple, I’d enter, clutching hands,
sacrifices ready at the threshold, I’d been told,
promised, that my feet could be pretty,
I was a willing sacrifice, price prepared,

Please I’d pray, make this my day for supple blue leather
elegant T-bars, bright brass buckles, to hold my wings in
not playground soaring, but earthed, just like all the others.
Silent words behind the eyes, as ‘sensible things’ were suggested.

I looked down at my feet, more ivy and wildwood
than fairy steps, more goblin than sprite,
their path, rough cast stone, disappearing into winter,
masterful at rendering the spherical into a flat dancing space.

A glass slipper is not enough to shatter a glass ceiling,
you need something more substantial,
a heel that says this soul cries with hunger,
not anonymous beauty-bait for the future.

My marching shoes were gun coloured,
laughing at rumours of shadows on parchment
coloured counterparts, of bruises heel hidden,
in thin smiles, and wide eyes, revealing all.

I was no hostage of ignorance or ornament,
the difference inferred in past and present,
I felt it and knew it, brailed in the consistency
of recovering days, they were the fictions of my purpose.

I loved shoes once, they seemed so neat and right,
like a full moon in a month of flowers, but it wasn’t easy,
there was never anything to fit me, and I had overlooked
the sutures of truth, the flaws and the crystals.

It takes some flowers a life-time to bloom,
we all turn clockwise, climbing like honeysuckle;
now my boots are physic, moving like a lived out myth,
listen, bend your head, share their story.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Dragon Shoes
by Maya Horton

On the edge of Loch Awe we threw in my shoes:
hole in the toe, heel ripped open. Those clunky, three-inch platform
monstrosities
that I clearly couldn’t drive in.

We laughed. Read them their last rites. Gave them up
to the waves. And my much-loved, favourite shoes
bobbed away. Twin red-dragon faces smirking at me.

If only I’d known
it would be the last of that life.

No more ridiculous expensive
cartoon-childish boots
stamping individuality and rebellion
all over the earth.

No more flagrant disregard for nature, perhaps,
or the self-assured cognitive dissonance
of a teen pagan vegan.

But most of all,
no more trips to the Highlands. No more us.

It was the end of our shared, imperfect laughter.
End of a summer. End of our life. End of our car,
home, family. Everything. My entire universe,

then,

taking on water

waiting to drown.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

The End of Running
by Lynn Valentine

Who knew how long that shoe
had spun, spiralling down
from the tree in a glitter of green.

A marbled mossery all that remains,
laces like grass snakes wriggling
in the wind to catch the unwary.

The forest traces the ghost of races,
the sigh of sprinters,
the breath of marathons, undone.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Footwear – Lucky with the Weather
by Christine Newman

The Yodel delivery man has failed twice to find a suitable secure place, or a neighbour, to leave my parcel so I arrange for re-delivery on a Saturday ‘for my convenience’: anytime between 7am and 7pm.

At 5.00pm the doorbell rings to announce the delivery of my new Scarpa Baltoro GTX, waterproof with breathable Gortex lining, padded collar, heel tension system walking boots, designed to be comfortable from the box with minimum breaking in. Lying nestled in white, heavy duty tissue paper these black and grey beauties (with a splash of purple on the tongue), are the long overdue replacements for my classic, 15-year-old brown Karrimor boots. Scuffed and scratched and with fraying laces and feeling as heavy as lead weights, they had more than served their time.

I immediately try on the Scarpas and stomp around the sitting room for a bit to see how comfortable they really are. They are certainly light and almost feel like slippers. I venture out on to the patio and then the lawn. Yes, these are the business! In the garage, I find the old Karrimors and can’t believe how cumbersome they feel as I push my foot into one for direct comparison. No contest, and yet…

The narrow, uneven and at times rocky, path of the Gower Peninsula stretched before me, fringed on both sides with coconut-smelling, yellow prickly gorse. The sky was a cloudless blue and the sea reflected the intense colour. Around the next headland the granite cliffs soared up from the beach and the waves crashed white and frothy around their base. We’d been lucky with the weather those few days we’d spent walking in South Wales.

Then, the majestic Seven Sisters signifying the end of the South Downs, marching out across the South of England and stopping, tall and terrifying edging our island. The gradient had been tough, up and down, up and down, from Beachy Head round to Cuckmere Haven. We’d walked down to the valley floor to paddle in the sea, where the snaking river mingled its silty water with the salt waves on the beach. We’d been lucky with the weather that day too.

Up to Yorkshire to visit our daughter at Leeds University. Whilst she had her lectures we struck out for Malham Cove, the finest example of a limestone pavement to be seen in this country. It was one of our longer walks following the rugged pathway trod by sheep and ramblers. Through heather and peat alongside the burbling Malham Beck to the foot of the Cove – an impressive tower block of limestone that rises dramatically out of the landscape to form a natural amphitheater. I remembered learning about it in A-level Geography many years ago and delighted in my memory of deep clints and grykes, the result of ice and water weathering that feature on the pavement. The view across the Pennines that day was stunning; clear and sharp and with a nip in the air that reminded us that October was nearly over and the dark days of winter were just around the corner. We were lucky with the weather those few days in Yorkshire.

I return the new boots to the box. It’s good to have a spare pair.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Dressing Up
by Giles L. Turnbull

It matters
what you have on your feet —
the difference between
underground weekend engineering work
and a system that does
(works)
not tied up in a diversion of mazes
and replacements

step step
inappropriately in the wet
in flip flops
the colour of your shoes
pausing to take a breath
a vision, brewing from the paths
of percolating days
pacing out to the tune of fretting coffee machines

in the evening meets
as afternoon walks home
heading here in heels
in grey
your phone
you pause to answer
your toes

………………………………………………………………………*****

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day
by Giles L. Turnbull

Effervescent green is the morning
oscillating with butterflies
flutter or fight.

I am the coca cola Red Admiral
with skinny arms
iPhone white.

It’s tough landing a job
when you’re uncomfortably skin and bones
behind a dozen anemic replies.

Like being back at school pupating
-was my denim too faded?
Was it not distressed enough?

A young girl
struggling to separate fashion from fears
even now am I too uptight?

Across the swanky table
the power suits
staring at me

staring at my pink shoes.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Horse Shoes
by Rebecca Gethin

They poke through the soil
like spring bulbs shooting.
My new garden was once Wilfred’s yard
so I showed my finds to him
and he said, That’s Charlie’s,
That one’s Prince and That is Darling.
He sensed their booming tread,
three horses stepping through his life,
like the beating of a heart.

After long nights when Plymouth’s
fires glowed on the sky-line, he lifted
evacuee children on to Charlie’s wide back
and walked them down the lane to school,
later, home again for tea.

In summer, horses pulled the wagon
piled high with hay from first light
until darkness brought an end to work.
In the spring and autumn, they hauled
cart-loads of manure and drew the rake
across fields where cows and sheep would fatten.
Through the mud they dragged out logs
to keep the farm-house warmed through winter.

Every evening when the horse
was let loose in the field he upended
himself, rolled over in the grass, hooves
flailing the air, then, standing snorting,
shook his limbs free of the impress
of collar, harness, load,
to feel the wind sift sweated fur.

Hoof-marks imprinted every inch of earth,
squidge of bog and stony track,
with Wilfred, in his mud-caked boots,
walking step-by-step beside them.

………………………………………………………………………..*****

At 29
by Marilyn Longstaff

he’s not averse to their bunions, hard skin,
although he keeps his own hammer toes
a secret, locked away in staff-discounted
Barkers, Cheaneys or Ted Bakers; he loves
the artistry of double-stitching, leather soles,
the touch of green or heather tweed
in the up-market deep-tan brogues;

and he’s proud of his ability to sell,
to share his passion, chat to find
a customer’s weakness, discuss
the smell of good hide, the shoemaker’s
attention to detail, fine laces; he knows
his trade and relishes an orderly stockroom:
keeps note of what has sold well,
what must be reduced; he’s good at this

but he hates the long hours, shoe-horn pay,
three flights of stairs, the feckless manager,
his titanic debt with Student Loans. And
worst of all, his lack of status and a certain
cultural attitude towards those who serve.

………………………………………………………………………..*****

Seeing Red
by Marilyn Longstaff

Hm, not high enough for the Cannes catwalk
and too slingback.
………………………………….As if that isn’t enough
we have been chosen for our ability to mask
her bunions, although she has misshapen us
in her attempt.
………………………………….Does she not know
that we are an on-trend brand, sporting
our cerise patterned fabric insoles, our bright
scarlet leather uppers, our designer buckles.
On her we look like an old woman’s shuffling
slip-ons.
………………………………….And talking of slip,
she can’t keep her heels from falling off us.
We think her ankles have atrophied.

When she wore us to that up-market poetry thing
the metropolitan barrister looked down at us
and remarked, ‘You cannot be serious?’

If we had our way, we’d try on the customer,
choose young, slim, pretty, lightly-tanned feet
with beautifully painted vermillion nails.

Definitely no hard skin, no fungus,
no bunions.

………………………………………………………………………*****

That Dream Again
by Marilyn Longstaff

The shoes were there –
one black, one white,
just like at university
when me and Helen swapped one each
to see if our philosophy professor
would notice
in the Problem of Evil seminar.

Surprisingly he did.
Commented on mine as
interesting. I said,
“Helen has a pair just the same.
Look.” He raised his left eyebrow
and continued with Karl Barth
(or it might have been Leibniz).

But the dream shoes were not like those –
not like the clompy shoes I wear.
These were pointed-toed stilettos.
Trouble was, the heels
were different heights, so when I walked,
I was the visual equivalent
of Eeyore’s voice – up and down,
up and down – unsteady.

Then you appeared,
recurred like a bad dream,
which, of course, you were – are,
bobbing about too,
somewhere behind me,
like one of those nodding dogs
on a saloon car parcel shelf.
I think you were hovering
above my right shoulder.

What’s good about all this
is that I found you a bit weedy,
a bit pathetic, a bit of a nuisance;
not in the least attractive. What’s bad
is that you’re still pestering me.
……………………..And I am hamstrung,
limping a half-life
unable to move on.

Maybe, the hobbled black and white shoes
will rescue me,
in some kind of hop-along fashion.

First published in‘Raiment’ , Marilyn Longstaff, Smokestack Book

……………………………………………………………………….*****

Miss Jewsbury’s Shoes
by Marilyn Longstaff

Miss Jewsbury had big
feet, walked like a man
in a tweed skirt. We
didn’t have much money

and my Mum had big feet,
size 9, the same size as
Miss Jewsbury. Big shoes
were hard to find and when

you did discover them, they
were expensive. Here’s a
good thought my Mum
had for making ends meet,

“Miss Jewsbury’s got big
feet, ask her what she does
with her old shoes”. “Yeah, OK
I’ll just slip that into the frame,

when she’s quizzing me
about the Jarrow marchers.”

First published in ‘Sitting Among The Hoppers’,  Marilyn Longstaff Arrowhead Press

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Gluttony
by Marilyn Longstaff

Feragamo, Christian Dior, Chanel,
Givenchy, even though they were pinchy,
shiny high heels, strappy pumps, boots, sandals,
soft leather moccasins, the black canvas
espadrilles she wore when she fled to Hawaii
made locally, in Marikino city.

Imelda Marcos got extremely cross
at press reports that she had 3,000
pairs of shoes. They went into my closets
looking for skeletons, but all they found
thank God, were shoes, beautiful shoes. I had
1,570.
Everybody kept their shoes there. The maids….
everybody. They were all size 8 and a half.

First published in ‘Raiment’, Marilyn Longstaff,  Smokestack Books

……………………………………………………………………….*****

Left Shoe
by Marilyn Longstaff

We hiked from Leeds to rural this,
a solid pair, and pretty.
I settled here, I wore her down,
she legged it for the city.
Now instep-sunk and upper-worn,
I’m aged from black to dirty.

My heart is cleaved like half a seg,
as light as half a twin.
All memories of sox replaced
with compost, nut husk, sin.
Only a ghost of rubber sniff,
past cobbling, my soul is thin,
O lace me, lace me up again,
I’m lost without my laces.

First published in ‘Raiment’, Marilyn Longstaff, Smokestack Books

………………………………………………………………………………*****

Dead Shoes
by William Doreski

Shoes at the back of my closet:
flap-soled, split-seamed, reeking
of stories they’d like to tell.
The saddest are the desert boots
that hiked all over Somerville,
up Winter Hill, into Charlestown
the summer of being so alone
I tried lying on the railroad

but spooked when a train hooted.
Their red composite soles stiffened
decades ago, but their souls
retain the taste of filthy asphalt,
a breath of crankcase oil and vomit.
Not so sad are the penny loafers
that strode through the hurricane
on Duxbury Marsh. The tide arose

and stranded us in a cottage
with cheap wine, beer, potato chips,
and a mutual lust for drama.
Almost cheerful are the Keds
I sported for tennis on tough
urban courts with sagging nets
and junkies retrieving the balls
for quarters and friendly words.

These sneakers have torn at the seams,
but their soles remain as thick
as the bunk bed we shared in a hut
in the saddle between Mount Adams
and Mount Jefferson one spring
when a freeze burst the water tank
and rime furred the rocks and froze
all the tiny alpine flowers.

The hiking boots I wore that trip
have disappeared into the ether,
but their duplicates, still wearable,
crouch in the dark, waiting for me
to resume the life afoot
I can never quite abandon,
even with these dead shoes mocking me
with their many outthrust tongues.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Buying shoes, 1949
by Mantz Yorke

Fascinating, the bones of my toes
on the green-lit screen, wriggling
as if trapped in a shark’s mouth of nails.

The Pedoscope promised us
a benign scientific accuracy
when using X-rays to fit shoes

but, back then, few understood
the balance between exposure’s
beneficence and its inherent risks.

The Pedoscope is long gone:
I don’t know yet if the shoes’ cost
included a surreptitious surcharge –

harm.

…………………………………………………………………………….*****

Talking Tall
by Diana Devlin

Was it the colour that put you off
the boots of my dreams?
Did the gleam of metallic blue leather
cause offence?
Perhaps the platforms – all three inches –
made you panic?
Were you afraid I would tower
above you, get ideas
above my station?

You never did explain.

The boots would have been my badge
of belonging, all sass and sisterhood,
kickass good.

Instead, mamma, you bought me
black leather, solid and silent
on streets unkind to strangers:
ready made respect.

You have to walk tall
when you’re expected
to crawl. You learned this
in the first days you arrived
in this cold country.

Your badge was homemade.
You wore it with proud elegance,
dignity, daring.

Your shoes said, I see you and I can
walk your walk, hold my own
amongst you.

My boots would have said, See me,
walk with me.
I am one of you.

…………………………………………………………………………..*****

Shiny Shoes
by Diana Devlin

I want some shiny shoes
that reflect the sky as I run,
that taxi the rain in proud little drops
and dazzle the day just for fun.

I want some shiny shoes
but Mum wants a sensible brogue:
You’re at school, she says with a sigh,
you’re not on the cover of Vogue!

I want some shiny shoes,
they’re all I’ve ever wanted
but Mum says she hasn’t been paid yet
and the piggies have all been emptied.

I want some shiny shoes,
from the charity shop’d be fine
‘cause even though they’d been worn,
they’d be mine – and only mine.

………………………………………………………………………………….*****

I Hate Shoes
by Rosemary McLeish

Nothing singles a person out
as a weirdo, a whackjob, a fruitloop,
as much as a passionate hatred of shoes.
Not that they were the only things
that separated me out from the sheep –
there were socks, and waistbands,
Liberty bodices and knicker elastic,
and, in their time, bras and roll-ons,
sanitary belts and suspender belts,
all grist to the grinding of young girls’
bodies to a shape and submission
acceptable to the grown-up world.
Shoes were only the most visible,
the most easily dispensed with.

I used to long for summer, to go
barefoot on the sand, or, careless
of Mum’s wrath and broken toes,
to wear flip-flops on the campsite,
with no-one to point the finger,
snigger behind their hands, hold
their noses in mock repugnance
at my bare feet under my desk.

The thing about whackjobs is
that they simply don’t care
when they feel the air on their feet
and wriggle their untrammeled toes
and taste the freedom of kicking up heels
leaving their enemies spluttering
in the dust of their wake.

These days, now that I’m old and stiff,
and can’t bend to cut my own toenails,
and my chiropodist comments as ever
on my beautiful unspoiled feet,
in my unfettered inner self I let fly
with an unconfined and wicked grin
from top to beautiful toes, as I thumb my nose
at Form 2A, Ilkley Grammar School, 1957.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Black Brogues
by Lizzie Dunford

Black leather lace-shoes.
Always.

As a child I used to watch
your ritual of cleaning
biscuit box packed with
tins of polish
wooden backed bristle brushes
red for smearing the sticky blackness
yellow for rubbing to a shine
the rhythm a kind of hymn

Black leather lace-shoes.
Always.

Or almost always.
Sometimes, on holiday,
your feet exposed
tan sandals on the beach.
With socks, of course.
Shocking as nudity.
Never plimsolls or trainers
Slip-ons or Velcro.

Black leather lace-shoes.
Always.

Now, stacked in the kitchen
between fridge and freezer
a jenga tower of
identical specimens
collected for decades
cleaned, cared for,
predictable, safe.

Black leather lace-shoes.
Always.

………………………………………………………………………*****

I Am my Own Parent
by Deborah Alma

I love my red shoes,
all of the shoes I have loved,
they are.

I swing my legs against the wall,
scuffing them slightly.
My Dad is not here to pick them up

by the scruffs of their dirty necks
and leave them shining in the morning.
Instead, the arc of my swing

not quite so high,
the shoes every day a little duller.
At night I leave them in the hall like hope.

In the morning,
absentmindedly dreaming of old loves
and reading poetry until it hurts,

I spring out of bed and decide
to roll up my life into a fist,
smelling of patchouli and roses, and then

unroll it; and to my surprise
it becomes a snail’s yellow shell,
unravelling. On and on it goes,

I tap tap my red shoes,
find I’m already home.

First published in True Tales of the Countryside, The Emma Press (2015)

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Shoes
by Ian Waugh

The shoes sparkled and winked at her through the boutique window. Shoes for Discerning Children, said the shop sign.

Belinda Abigail Persephone Fosdyke furrowed her brow with a concentration reserved for big decisions. “I want those!” she said, planting her feet solidly on the pavement, bringing her mother to a stop.

Her mother sighed. Taking the line of least resistance had proved beneficial in the past but a fashion-conscious ten-year old soon developed expensive tastes. Still, what are a few pounds to spare another tantrum?

They went in.

The shoes, those shoes, were presented on a plinth, an altar, in the window. From the inside, Belinda could see the sparkle on the deliciously-curved, wear-me, elevated heels. They winked just as brightly as the enticing, finely-detailed toes.

Her mother plucked a shoe and flipped it to look at the price. Her gasp was cut off mid inhalation by the metallic sliding of a door at the back of the shop.

The assistant glided soundlessly towards them. An electrically-frizzed mass of white hair framed a tanned, emaciated face.

Belinda didn’t look at him. She pointed to the shoes and said again: “I want those!”

“Certainly young madam,” said the assistant, looking at her mother for confirmation. Her mother took a deep breath and nodded.

“And what size are we?” asked the assistant.

“I’m a size 2,” said Belinda. She knew her shoe size exactly. A woman can never have too many shoes.

The assistant relieved her mother of the shoe. “They’re a size 1, I’m afraid. Perhaps we have your size in the back.” He smiled, his skin stretching thinly over his cheek bones as he floated back through the sliding door.

“Are you sure you want those, dear?” asked her mother. “You’ve already had six pairs of shoes this year–“

“Five!” said Belinda.

“Well, five is still a lot. You can only wear one pair at a time and you’re growing so fast they’ll be too small for you in three months’ time. And they are very expensive.”

“Perhaps I have a solution,” he said, his lips thin as he floated back to the sliding door.

Belinda harrumphed. Her mother sighed.

The assistant returned, opening and snapping shut a pair of scissors with blades a foot-and-a-half long. He smiled his taught-skin, shadow-lipped smile. “Now, little madam, shall we start with the right toes or the left?

……………………………………………………………………..*****

She Likes Shoes
By John Mills

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
Black shoes, brown shoes,
Any shoes you want to choose
She’d like a pair of Jimmy Choos
But they cost about as much as the Forth Road Bridge

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
Pumps and sneakers,
Open toed peepers
I bought some brothel creepers
But she went and gave me the order of the boot!

She likes boots, she likes boots,
Doctor Martin’s, wellies for the garden,
Calf, ankle, knee length,
She likes the bloomin’ lot,
I said, “Thigh length patent leather?”
And I think I hit a soft spot.

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
High heels, flat heels,
Cubans, kittens, wedges,
She’s got heels for every occasion,
She’s got more platforms than Euston station.

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
Lace ups, slip ons,
Mules and slippers,
I bet if she went swimming
She’d wear high heeled flippers.

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
She has shoes that look quite neat,
Sadly they just cripple her feet
Wrong size, wrong shape,
I think you’ve heard the jargon,
They don’t even fit,
But were definitely a bargain.

She likes shoes, she likes shoes,
Clogs and sling backs,
Shoes to go a courting
So many shoes they take some sorting,
It gets me down I do declare,
She’s got so many shoes but not a pair to wear!

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Shoe Tongues
by Liz Mills

1950.
She looked in the window.
Shoes the size of her feet and her weekly wage,
the red of her lips and hopes.

1960.
Pointed toes, stiletto heels
digging into her dreams
as she pushed prams up cobbled hills.

1970.
Platforms built up my confidence
to dance all night
and make plans to escape.

1980.
Sensible flats
for a sensible life
Following others’ wishes.

1990.
Young girl in Paris
trying on the red shoes
her grandmother could only dream of.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Not Quite 8½
by Paul Waring

It was one of my Fellini dreams.

I’m Guido (or somebody)
running red lights
past cool cats in cuban heels
waiting to kick sand
into city eyes of night.

Someone’s on a promise
in a wrong-side-of-town
film noir hotel. The band
strikes up rush hour
and we cha-cha-chá.

The floor sweeps
forward-back-side-to-side
and hips twist until
I mis-time a rock step
onto your peeping toe.

And you scream
and notice my two left feet
and grey plastic 8½ slip-ons

and the game’s up.

Original version published by Northampton Poetry Review, 2017

………………………………………………………………*****

Plastic Sandals 
by Sheila Jacob

All my friends owned a pair. Moira’s were red
and I coveted them, watched her stroll past
Woolworth’s one Saturday eating popcorn.

She pointed to her feet and smirked. I tugged
Mum’s sleeve………Moira’s got plastic sandals
some kids wear them to school………they look 

really nice……don’t cost much…….Mum bristled,
said plastic looked common, supposed it was
alright if you were poor, couldn’t afford leather.

I knew we weren’t rich. I had free school meals,
used bus tokens instead of coins when Dad’s
T.B. laid him off work. That was different, Dad

explained, he and Mum grew up without things,
wanted more for me. Grammar School. O-levels.
An office job in town.  Decent shoes on my feet.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Polished Shoes
by Sheila Jacob

Newspaper on the kitchen lino.
Two dusters, hard–tufted brush,
tin of black Cherry Blossom
and Dad’s ready, sits
pinch-breathed: flu all winter
and now(the doctor says)
just a touch of bronchitis.

I fetch my school shoes
from the cubbyhole, leave
the lace-ups Dad hasn’t worn
for months, they look shorter,
slimmer than those I slipped
onto my young-child’s feet,
clumped around the house in.

Dad scoops a nugget of polish,
smears and rubs, balances
each shoe one by one
over his left hand-
Pass us the brush then, duck-
buffing and shining until
they wink at the ceiling’s light.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Driving towards Ypres
by Jennifer McGowan

Jerry went overboard last night.
Our left flank really caught it.
He’d given up on his mud,
I guess. The mud is always shallower
on the other side. He practically skied
in on it—there’s a thought, skis—
too much smoke to see his blades
but they were there. God
I hate night attacks. We fell back through
the dead left. In a few hours when
the French reinforced us, we managed
to regain half the ground. By dawn
Chaplain marked where each body fell.
If we hold, we’ll bury them there.
What I miss most is the socks Mary knitted.
They were new. When we get orders,
I’ll get ‘em back. It’s easier,
just thinking about the socks.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Shoes and Diplomacy
by James Lang

The manner in which diplomacy is executed has been changing rapidly. Here is a manual to offer the necessary tools to succeed in politics.

Filling a Senate seat is now worth negotiating into the millions even though few stand to gain. We recommend the FYl425 shoehorn. Compact, solid, it follows a straight trajectory and you can use it over and over until the candidate offers to cough up the extra millions.
Wooden_Shoehorns 1

Need to fill a seat in the orient? The FYl425A is a winner! Slightly bowed in a katanas tradition, this shoe horn can is guaranteed to get results without the risk of blood and can easily double as a wide chopstick. The FYl429 and FYl429A should be employed only in small countries that are looking for temporary appointments. They can be flung with ease and nicely concealed but are inappropriate for filling seats of monarchy or royalty.

For more difficult diplomatic situations such as global warming agreements, it is necessary to move up to shoe trees. Only wooden shoe trees have the caliber to break long standing stalemates and impasses that can sometimes last years. Regarding coal emissions we consider the GO3001 (the model in the middle) to have sufficient conviction to shatter the hubris of countries who want to protect their own interests.

The GO3002 -on the left- has been proven effective to get all sides to obtain joint rectification on hydrofluorocarbons in record time. Depending on the proficiency of the user, the GO3002 can have a range of over 20 meters making it appropriate for large convention halls.
shoestrees 1

The GO3003, on the other hand, should be used for those intractable conventions where even the framework is disagreed on. With a range of over 25 meters and the ability to open up on impact discords on CO2 have evaporated in seconds.

Lastly, when it comes to war and peace and dealing with heads of state, as recent events have proved, nothing beats the old standard shoe which can be thrown either from the heel or the toe. Although some negotiators have a sworn preference for l980’s models stating that the tassels have an aerodynamic advantage, so far this has not been proven in clinical tests and success has been achieved with models going back to the 50’s to today. Although the shoe remains the most effective tool in today’s diplomacy it is challenged by the fact that it has a range of just over 10 meters and it takes much greater mastery to use compared to previous models mentioned.
musclerub 1

Therefore, before undertaking strategic positioning, warming up is ever important and if one aims to be an esteemed and honored politician in the line of a skilled James Baker or Tony Blair, please don’t forget S & R’s Muscle Rub Miracle cream. Remember to apply sparingly and rub behind the shoulder blade to get best results.

………………………………………………………………………………*****

Her Shoes
by Susan Jordon

She always wears dark blue Crocs, so I never see her feet. I take my shoes off so she can see my socks that have separate toes like gloves, but I don’t know if she even has toes. They’re hidden, like so much of her. I’ve no idea if she has a partner or a child, but I know she has a cat because I’ve seen it. She sits and listens and nods sometimes and smiles sometimes, and sucks up things about me that I’ve fed to her without realising it. Then she opens her beak and feeds me with them like a mother bird so that I’ll grow beyond her and fly the nest. Or does she want that? Perhaps she wants to keep me coming here, to this little room with rocking chairs and toy animals and photos of the sea, to trap me inside the secret spaces of those Crocs so I’ll never leave her. As I talk, my words are trickling into her feet through the holes. I wonder if they feel weighed down, her feet if all she’s absorbed makes it harder for her to walk.

……………………………………………………………………………*****

Shoes or Footprints 
by Lynne Flx

Aunt Isabelle always warned me about selecting shoes – never too tight, error on the side of comfort and always choose a pair to grow into. According to her, you could tell much about the life and status of a man by his shoes but more about his soul by the footprints he leaves behind.

While living in China I became fascinated by the old tradition of foot-binding and listened to scholars describe the custom and process of “molding” the three-inch golden lotus. Starting from the age of three the girl’s feet were tightly bound with cloth strips and the toes were broken to keep the feet from growing larger than 10 cm or about 3.9 inches. After years of binding the arch of the foot snapped and the heels were mashed against the front toes resulting in a concave arch similar to a camels hump.

The lotus shoe fashion gained popularity in traditional China turning on its head the old adage “when the shoe fits wear it.” Instead, the foot was “molded” to fit the miniature shoe. It was a painful process and odious tradition that deformed many while stigmatizing women who kept their natural feet size as not marriage worthy.

Foot-binding waned in the 20th century with the end of imperial dynasties and the increasing influence of western fashion. As the practice faded, many of the women were released from the binding, which was sometimes a more painful experience than the binding itself.

Denounced by many and even outlawed by Mao in the 1950’s, the foot-binding custom is a taboo subject in China today and it is nearly impossible to find anyone to talk about the subject or acknowledge it existed. I pressed one of the Chinese scholars to tell me where I could find more information about the foot-binding custom and he mentioned there was a private museum in a nearby town. Excited to be on a fact-finding expedition, I set out the next day to visit the “secret” Lotus Shoe Museum.

I took the train and embarked on my journey. Curiously, there was no mention of the museum on the Internet or in any city literature. I asked taxi drivers about the museum and even went to a tour office inquiring about the location with no luck. My questions drew quizzical eyes, disinterested mutterings and one sour respondent directed me to a nearby flower shop. After hours, I realized that I was getting nowhere so I went to the ancient cultural street and approached an old man selling calligraphy and Cultural Revolution memorabilia in an art store.

“Is there a shoe museum near here? I asked.

“What?” He yelled staring at me through his oversized bifocal glasses.

I leaned in closer so the old man could hear my words, “I’m looking for a shoe museum, old traditional lotus shoes. Is there any shoe museum near here?”

The old man looked at me while stroking his straggly white beard. “You want to buy some? Too small for you,” he drawled while glancing at my size nine shoes.

“I’m visiting from Beijing and I was told there is a museum here that displays lotus shoes worn by beautiful Chinese women – you know, like your wife,” I persisted.

He opened his mouth showing yellow worn teeth and belched, “Down the street, turn left and circle around the back. How do you know my wife?” he added grinning as I thanked him for his assistance.

I found the Lotus Shoe Museum and entered the lobby waking up the attendant who seemed surprised to see a foreigner or anyone willing to pay a fee. I passed him the ticket and he steered me to the entrance.

The museum was dimly lit with several glass displays that showed the custom of foot-binding and its history spanning decades of shoe fashion in old China. There were shoes made of wood, clay, leather; many adorned in silk, all beautifully dyed in elegant flower motifs and so fragile that they reminded me of toddler’s shoes rather than adult footwear styled in the shape of a lotus flower.

One display case showed the scene of a wedding night where the groom was gifted with a box of shoes and instructions on how to have sexual intercourse and foreplay with the bride starting with massaging the feet. Despite the restriction of movement and flexibility, women with bound feet were considered sexually appealing. The wobbly gait that replaced an upright stride and miniature bones were considered erotic as highlighted in photos of men stroking and licking the stunted fee and deformed toes.

At the corner of the room was a large map of China with color codes representing locations where foot-binding was predominant during its heyday. The map showed Southern China and ethnic minority regions where foot-binding had not caught on, probably because of resistance to the imperial court and because minority women were more engaged in the day-to-day toil of making a living.

I left the museum, taxied to the modern part of the city and watched the shoppers steam by while I sipped my coffee, pondering the images I had seen earlier.

“Anything else?” I was startled by the café hostess as she asked me if I wanted another cup. She clanked away on her fashionable, high-platform shoes reminding me of the arched nodes of the bounded feet I had seen earlier in the day.

I thought about Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the lunar surface, the right foot print of Jesus at the Mosque of the Ascension in Jerusalem, and the Footprints of Eve discovered on the shore of Langebaan Lagoon, South Africa, marking the oldest known human footprints on record. These were symbolic communiques that lasted over time and place.

Culture can press the individual to fit the times just as fashionable shoes can stunt physical and psychological growth. Shoes leave their imprint on culture and the financial condition of the wearer but a man’s footprint tells us about the legacy left behind.

………………………………………………………………………………*****

Wanna Be a Member?
by Lynne Shapiro

Shrouded figures huddle
in muffled corners
convalesce amidst orbs of wool

Cabal of tattered knitters
………knitting in the knitter’s circle
knitting beards
……………….and goats
………………………and gods

Vigilante crafters
tailors
wooly-haired
woven conspirators

whose minions of needles click
like beetles, like cameras,
squeak out skeins of existence
accompanied by the sound
of circulating shoes
on hardwood floors.

a single sorry light bulb’s tarnished chain
stirs the air, casts silent films
that flicker in the clearing of conjoined feet

Outlets seethe; voices cackle.

It was here they conspired
with felt and longing
and disappeared
through the floorboards
lured by warm entrapments
and silhouetted initiates
outsiders can’t see.

……………………………………………………………………………….*****

Brockport Morning Etude #2
by Karla Linn Merrifield

May your eye happen upon objets d’art:

my dated late-’50s globe

four mini typewriters in line
(the Fabergé opens)

tiny pair of red shoes
in embroidered silk
faded foot-bound geisha’s wear

also keepsake jewelry box—
Austrian pine edelweiss-carved

twin cast-iron painted brown
totem bears bookends

and sixteen turtle talismans
among them terrapin
of Zuni malachite
…………………………of Huichol beads
……………………………………..of Amazonas seedpod

come see the world


Biographies

Susan Castillo has published three collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (2003), Abiding Chemistry,  (2015), and Constellations (2016. Her poetry has appeared in Southern Quarterly, Prole, The High Window, Ink Sweat & Tears, Messages in a Bottle, The Missing Slate, Clear Poetry, Prole, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Foliate Oak, The Lake, Algebra of Owls,The Yellow Chair Review, Poetry Shed, and other journals and anthologies.

Finola Scott is published in The Ofi Press, Obsessed with Pipework, And other Poems and  Clear Poetry among other places. Mentored by Liz Lochhead on Scotland’s Clydebuilt Scheme, she recently read at The Edinburgh Book Festival.

John Mills Since leaving teaching John has pursued his psssion for poetry. In between studying for an MA he performs his own poetry all over the country.

Ali Jones is a teacher, music lover, and mother of three. Her work has appeared in Proletarian Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Mother’s Milk Books, Breastfeeding Matters, Green Parent magazine and The Guardian. Her pamphlets Heartwood and Omega are forthcoming with Indigo Dreams Press in 2018.

Jackie Biggs has had poetry published in many magazines and anthologies, both print and online. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first collection, The Spaces in Between was published in 2015 (Pinewood Press). Blog:  http://jackie-news.blogspot.co.uk  Twitter: @JackieNews

Valery Petrovskiy is a Chuvash University, Cheboksary graduate in English. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Finalist to Open Russia Literature Contest 2012 he is the author of e-book Into the Blue on New Year’s Eve (Hammer and Anvil Books) and hardback Tomcat Tale (Editura StudIS). Valery lives in Russia in a remote village by the Volga river.

Giles L. Turnbull is a Blindness Advisor to the Scottish Poetry Library (voluntary) Lives in Abergavenny, South Wales Web: http://gilesturnbullpoet.com Twitter: @Bix_cool
Debut poetry pamphlet, Dressing Up, available from Cinnamon Press https://is.gd/VxQJnz

Maya Horton is an artist, writer and research scientist, currently pursuing a Ph.D. Her work has taken her all across Europe. Her artwork has been exhibited around the world, and her writing has appeared in publications such as The Guardian and New Scientist, as well as numerous poetry magazines.

Connie Ramsay Bott grew up in Michigan, where many of her stories and poems take place.  Her novel Girl Without Skin was published by Cinnamon Press in August 2017. She lives in Warwickshire.

Marilyn Longstaff is a member of Vane Women. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Newcastle. Her previous books include Puritan Games, Sitting among the Hoppers and Raiment. Her latest book, Articles of War, was published by Smokestack books in February 2017.  She lives in Darlington. Her new pamphlet , The Museum of Spare Parts, will be published by mudfog in June.

Larry Pike’s poetry and fiction has appeared in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, The Louisville Review, Hospital Drive, Seminary Ridge Review, Caesura, Amethyst Review, Exposition Review and other publications. In June 2017 he won the George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry.

Linda Menzies lives in Fife.  Her work has appeared in a number of magazines, e-zines and anthologies including New Writing Dundee, Shortbread, Green Queen, East Lothian Life, Contour and The Fat Damsel. She’s won prizes for both poetry and short stories. Publications: Epiphanies (poetry, 2009) and Into the Light (poetry/ short stories 2014).

Sheila Jacob was born and bred in Birmingham and now lives in North Wales with her husband. She’s had work published in Sarasvati, Clear Poetry, The Dawntreader, The Cannon’s Mouth and various other publication/ webzines.

C.Z. Heyward(Peter Wolf) is an emerging poet and playwright whose work has appeared in a number of journals including Serendipity MagazinePoetry Quarterly, and The Sacred Cow. His work has found platforms in the United Kingdom, France, and Greece.  When he’s not writing, he enjoys live jazz in dark bars and riding his vintage motorcycles.  He is also pursuing his PhD in educational leadership at St. John’s University (New York).

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of six books of poetry and four chapbooks. Her sixth book, The Eyes Have It, appeared last month. Harding Woodworth lives in Washington, D.C., where she is co-chair of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library. http://www.annehardingwoodworth.com

Jennifer A. McGowan, when not hiding in the fifteenth century hits words with spanners until they approximate poetry. She has been published in several countries and many journals, and her latest book, With Paper for Feet, can be had from Arachne Press.

Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 12 books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. Forthcoming this fall is Psyche’s Scroll, a full-length poem, published by The Poetry Box Selects. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poe Redux, at http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.

Linda Menzies lives in Fife.  Her work has appeared in a number of magazines, e-zines and anthologies including New Writing Dundee, Shortbread, Green Queen, East Lothian Life, Contour and The Fat Damsel. She’s won prizes for both poetry and short stories. Publications: Epiphanies (poetry, 2009) and Into the Light (poetry/ short stories 2014).

Paul Waring is a clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and his poems have been published or are forthcoming in Clear Poetry, Prole, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron, The Open Mouse, Riggwelter, Foxglove Journal and others. His blog ishttps://waringwords.wordpress.com

Deborah Alma is editor of Emergency Poet-an anti-stress poetry anthologyThe Everyday Poet- Poems to live and #Me Too – rallying against sexual assault & harassment- a women’s poetry anthology (Fair Acre Press).  Her True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press and a first collection Dirty Laundry (published by Nine Arches Press, May 2018). Website is: https://emergencypoet.com/

Roberta Gould ’s work has appeared widely in poetry journals and anthologies. Her 11th book of poems To the Dogs was preceded by Pacing the Wind, Shivistan Press and Louder than Seeds   Foothills Publishing.She resides in the Hudson Valley of New York, is a birdwatcher and a student of ants.  Her website is:  robertadgould.net

Rosemary McLeish is an outsider artist who has been writing poems for about 20 years now. Some of them find themselves becoming works of art and some have been published in anthologies and magazines. She lives in Kent and is currently writing a book of memoir, ‘Not Doing The Ironing’.

Ian Waugh is a writer, a poet, an improviser and a musician. When he’s not trying to make a living doing any of these things, he sleeps the sleep of the damned.

Maggie Mackay, a jazz and whisky loving Scot is a recent MA graduate with work in Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Atrium, Prole, The Everyday Poet, Southlight and Three Drops Press, and forthcoming in the #MeToo anthology, March 2018. Her poems were nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem and the Pushcart Prize in 2017  and her first pamphlet will be published later this year.

Ron Lavalette lives in Vermont. His debut chapbook, Fallen Away, will be published in September by Finishing Line Press.  His work has appeared extensively in journals, reviews, and anthologies ranging alphabetically from Able Muse and the Anthology of New England Poets through the World Haiku Review and Your One Phone Call. A reasonable sample of his published work can be viewed at EGGS OVER TOKYO: eggsovertokyo.blogspot.ie

Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and hopeful poet who lives in Sheffield.

Lynn Valentine is a dog-walker and sometimes writer living on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Her work has appeared on the Scottish Poetry Library blog, the Federation of Writers Scotland anthology and the Scottish Book Trust’s website among others. She is a previous winner of the Glasgow Women’s Library ‘Dragon’s Pen’ award and has been placed in competitions.  In 2018 she read at StAnza as part of the ‘My Time’ project.

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

Diana Devlin is a Scottish-Italian poet living on the West Coast of Scotland. She writes full time and her poetry can be found in a variety of online and print journals. She is owned by two bossy cats and a subservient dog.

William Doreski’s most recent book is A Black River, A Dark Fall (2018). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals. He lives in Peterborough, NH.

Bethany Rivers’ pamphlet, Off the wall, published by Indigo Dreams, explores art, voice and silence. She teaches and mentors the writing of novels, autobiography, poetry. http://www.writingyourvoice.org.uk

Susan Jordan moved to Devon from London in 2011 and has never regretted it. She takes an active part in the South Devon poetry scene. She has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. Until recently she thought of herself mainly as a prose writer, and she continues to write fiction as well as poetry.  Her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2017 and she is now starting to work on a second collection. She has had poems published in a number of print and online magazines.

Christine Newman has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent, works full time (school librarian) and writes part-time, mainly short stories but the novel is also progressing! She is also the founder and organiser of the Cranbrook Literature Festival (www.cranbrookliteraturefestival.com) and enjoys walking particularly, by the sea and her ambition is to own a beach hut!

Lizzie Dunford spent her childhood in a seaside manse near Belfast, where she scribbled stories as the Troubles rumbled. Studying English Literature scared her off writing for decades, during which she taught English and raised 3 children; recently, working for her MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes has kickstarted writing again. She is interested in the relationship between poetry and mental health.

Liz Mills, now living in Staffordshire, has acted for most of her 60-something years and has now turned to writing in her dotage. She insists that the right shoes are an integral part of an actor’s performance. That’s her excuse anyway!

Rebecca Gethin lives on Dartmoor.  In 2017 two pamphlets were published: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press.  She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and runs a Poetry School seminar in Plymouth.  In 2018 she has a writing residency at Brisons Veor. http://www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com

James Lang is a high school English and Art teacher working in Switzerland. He has been writing quirky stories for over 20 years and uses some of them to create his artwork.

Lynne Flx is a specialist in Southeast Asia law and economic development. Worked as a linguist at the UN and legal specialist in IP law in China.  Currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kathy Gee’s career is in heritage and in leadership coaching. Widely published online and on paper, her poetry collection was published by V. Press and she wrote the spoken word elements for a contemporary choral piece – http://suiteforthefallensoldier.com/


6 thoughts on “The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 7 “Shoes”

  1. Such rich diverse poems, a joy to read. I was especially moved by Capitol Hill 13March 2018 by Bethany Rivers.
    Sparse yet said so much, a strong voice speaking for the vulnerable.
    Thank you.

    Like

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