The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 8 “Corridors and Passageways”

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Hannah and the Shadows
from Charlotte & The Charlatan – and other Cautionary Tales
by J.A. Sutherland

Hannah loved the shadows. She dwelt among the deepest, darkest places of the mind. Hiding behind her public persona, Hannah chose to disown a reality that might reveal her personality.

Hannah loved the shadows. Standing at the brown brink of water it wasn’t the thought of her reflection; she had no predilection to sink or swim. It was the shadow upon the murky surface that pulled her in. And as she waded in by the weir, she didn’t imagine her fear would overwhelm or wash away the darkness: her shadow would stay whatever the time of day.

Hannah loved the shadows. As the sun set in the trees she saw the elongating shadow like a chimera; ominous and treacherous ephemera hovered over her neglected intellect. And yet she never let the silhouette of setting sun illuminate the prospect of another day. Hannah loved the darkness better than the light, but try as she might she couldn’t deny the source of her shadow was stronger when either the sun or the moon lingered longer.

She belonged to the darkness. Hannah shunned the sources of light; the darkness addressed her; the forces malignant possessed her, indignant, held her in thrall; the fall of humanity was a calamity Hannah rejoiced in and concelebrated; the designated angels, cherubim, and seraphim, standing guard, hard against the garden gate were there for hate and guilt and fault and blame: the same as those who sat in judgement over all their fellow human-kind.

For it’s in the mind the deepest shadows fall. It’s not the yoke of light enthrals you. It is the truth appals and calls you to illuminate your mental state: Hannah would not could not, see how others’ truth can illustrate her darkened slate. It was for her to scrape clean or to smudge or trudge the darkness in. It was her truth, within, within, within.

Hannah loved the shadows. She hid in darkened corridors, bidden by the doors that shut upon her, followed by another and another – but she never dared or bothered to allow herself to push against their closing – supposing she was trapped in tunnels of her choosing, in a maze of multiple emotions, in a crazy labyrinthine dream. Hannah wandered on unseen, hiding an emotional charade, chiding her façade, berating her competing with the self-defeating beating of her heart.

A dark, foreboding fear prevented her from penetrating deeper, or of finding any exit whether self-perceived or outwardly-revealed. She conceived if any person wore a mask or sword or shield they could transport themselves in thought and word and deed into a life hereafter. But for Hannah, laughter echoed around that outer mansion in a gloomy reverie.

Held in her own self-defining palindrome, a prophecy macabre was far darker than the shadows Hannah loved. For on that tipping fulcrum; in that swing of pendulum, within the shrinking gyre of hell-fire, it was clear it was the shadows that loved Hannah. And Hannah loved the shadows not in any symbiotic mutuality, for in their grave duality lay a buried dependency; it was Hannah’s tendency to dig away at darkness.

Hannah loved the shadows that loved Hannah.

Hannah dug herself into the ground. And, surrounded as the sinking sand dissolved, swallowed by the earth that gave her birth; she wallowed in the peristaltic drag of soil until her turmoil was complete and whole.

Whether it was a rabbit hole, badger’s sett or foxes lair, it was to her a box that best prepared her for the logic she admired.

So mired in sin and all things impropriety could pile upon her, Hannah longed for darkness. But as leaf and bark and bole dissolve and rot or turn to ash and dust; as if we must be re-composed with some resolve to prove or, deep inside, improve, that darkness is no darkness as the shadows lengthen… every picture has its shadows…

Yet if through a miracle, superstition, or imagination; or through moral, mythological, or pseudo-philosophical elaboration, clouds of darkness part and drench the fecund ground with light to end what Hannah’s plight – to slight her right to life – had led her into self-interred corporeal hibernation.

And as the dry earth parted, and Hannah attempted to draw her final breath, it wasn’t Lazarus, Persephone or any resurrection myth, nor was it death that forced her rise from her deep sepulcher and thrive; nor even light that gave her life renewed vitality. It was the shade that shielded her eschewed reality.

……………………………………………………………*****

Sleeper
by Karen Little

What might have been: the sleeper
waking up in the same place. I understand
we’re hidden in plain sight. The journey
of the sleeper means we cannot expect
to be in the same place on awakening.
I put my art where the camera records.
The camera records, the eye perceives.
I recognize the lion within the journey
of the sleeper. What might have been,
but never was: the fixing of meaning.

…………………………………………………………….*****

The Barrel
by Karen Little

He owns the barrel we’re rolled over. In my chest
I sense thirteen floors; flies buzz on every level,
feasting on thoughts trapped in dozens of diaries,
written in haste by schoolgirls paid to swing our legs
for his satisfaction. Perched, we discreetly shave
our hairs when we risk giving offence by growing up.

I rely on what is sculpted in my bones; at the back
of my neck, three senses coded pink, turquoise, orange
reveal everything at times. I’m a hiss of aerosol,
wanting to throw a party and burn all my thoughts,
sprinkle their ashes from this dangerous spot. He has
dipped into too many lives, too many times.

I walk though the door, where smoked mackerel
hang from brass knobs. Inside, a wicker man lies
stuffed with a harvest of battered packages no one
will post. I forage, taking my time until he enters
with his forked stick of demand. The navy blue
of another dark week opens in a swollen cloudburst.

………………………………………………………….*****

Ink
by Karen Little

In veridical rooms
squids siphon talcum dusk
into bottles
with one fearful ejection.

Squids siphon dusk
through their bodies
with one fearful ejection
of ink.

I grow quills
draw death
into portraits
to create ancestors.

Draw death
with a flourish
to create ancestors
on my walls.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Darkness
by Karen Little

Consider all the burrowing creatures; some never
surface, but consider themselves free, grubbing
for creatures smaller than themselves, who imagine
themselves free as they grub for even smaller prey.

Think of the flurry of earth as they mate, the slight
earthquakes always present beneath your feet, supple
bodies slithering across each other, one entering
the hollow of the other before exiting, fertilized.

My journey is inaudible in the silence; cradling
darkness is to swallow a shallow gasp of eternity.

…………………………………………………………….*****

Respiration
by Maggie Mackay

Tonight, this spangled night, strange corridors of sound echo,
reminiscent of the winds of Aoelus from a distant myth.

Sirocco, mistral, zephyr blow through steel tubes,
make corridors of unearthly droning, weird stringed harps.

This metal arch spits out a porcupine organ of pipes.
Inside its confines those winds of Aoelus shift

and break as wires vibrate. Spooks come alive,
chill arteries, stop the windpipe, shift thoughts into fears.

Thoughts shift into fears, stop the windpipe, chill arteries.
Spooks come alive, and swither as wires vibrate

in those winds of Aoelus, inside the confines
of a porcupine organ of pipes. A metal arch spits out

corridors of unearthly droning through steel tubes.
Sirocco, mistral, zephyr blow from a distant myth

reminiscent of the winds of Aoelus, weird string harps.
Strange corridors of sound echo, tonight, this spangled night.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Coming on Connemara
by Mike Lewis-Beck

by car down a wriggling lane, grass-
stripe in the middle,

I slow for a drove of sheep and a shepherd,
him with his hazel stick.

Rain washes my window shield in waves
while I gaze at gray, thinking how I didn’t ring back

Assumpta, although I promised, but
then again, she hadn’t rung either.

Now stopped sheltered among stone
ruins of a cairn, I wait

for these black-masked sheep, painted pink,
to pass. Staring past rinsing drizzle

I decide it doesn’t matter much,
about Assumpta, I mean.

From these treeless lowlands cropped
with lime, I wind upward to Pallacappul Lake

with Kylemore Abbey and its nuns. Inside
Sister Noreen confides her Jesus mantra

to me in a way Assumpta wouldn’t accept,
particular as she is.

Around the lake I walk slow,
circling up and up, skyward

till I stumble on a pale marble Jesus jutting
from grizzled green crags. Down below

I see a light sandy beach and recall Assumpta.
Bet she’s back in Galway Market, hungry

for those large pulled carrots covered with moist earth.
She loved carrots, I recall.

………………………………………………………………*****

Pumpkin Patch
by Mike Lewis-Beck

Out to the dead pumpkin patch in late autumn
with barlow in hand I hear a French voice
low down near the pumpkin pyramid— hybrids seen
as the sun flashes against my wife’s window face.

……………………………………………………………….*****

Making Butter
by Mike Lewis-Beck

Liam tells Seamus: gaze low from your haymow
window in the barn next to that far field,
the field mapped out with dawn’s dew— a path
around cow pats— cow pats that Colleen skirts
coming to myself on butter mornings.

Watch Colleen.……….And be still as a mouse,
so’s not to scare, not to trip her into manure,
not to rouse her churning sister yet asleep

………………………………………………………………*****

A Narrow Roof of Sky
Firenze, Italy
by Jennifer McGowan

Rain can only fall straight down through
this narrow roof of sky.

Under scuds of soaring wind, the twentysomething
hooker, pale skin and soft curves, a wealth of curls,
forgoes a coat, quietly soft shoes a crowd
laughing their way over the cobbles of this ho,gah-walled Street.

Indoors I order a Chianti, sip, chat. She slides out of sight.
She is not alone forty minutes later, when
our paths interweave again. She does not see me.
She does not touch her client. A look is enough.

Clouds rush across from the west, libating
the top storeys. Long below, she smiles,
tosses her dark hair, knowing it won’t get wet.

…………………………………………………………….*****

Barclodiad y Gawres
“The giantess’s apron”: a Neolithic passage tomb on Anglesey
by Jennifer McGowan

She hides things.
You must bring a torch to see
spirals, chevrons, living organic forms.
Without, there is just darkness, past history,
other things to break your shins on.

Escaping with your breath, you
take in the smell of the day sea,
let the wind wash over you, make you new.
It is good to be here, in the sun again.
Stretching limbs that respond,
this time.

Behind you, an apron of green
over her swelling belly, birthing
the dead, over and over. Clouds turning
to rainbows in a darkening sky.

…………………………………………………………….*****

Barrow
by Jennifer McGowan

Words quicken into a drumbeat.
Consonant after consonant ripped from
our tongues, lips. Surely we are loud enough
the heavens hear; surely loud enough he will rise
on our throat-wind. No—nothing appears o
land or in sky that was not there before.
Sweat and sinew push the last stone into place;
our breath is silent. We have sent him home.

……………………………………………………………*****

Estamos Bien
by Jennifer McGowan

Some say the devil lives in the heart
of the mountain. When it takes you
it is not cold. After sixty-nine days
“Los 33” were hothouse butterflies:
thin, vague, wanting only a sip,
a cool breeze to fly on. When
they were lifted to the surface, all
felt the earth’s weight
fall away. They danced.

Only one, still pinned in the mountain’s
velvet, went back into the haunted earth
to exorcise the devil; listened to his heart sing
its only song: again, again, again.

 

Note: Estamos bien en el refugio los 33 w the note that made it to the surface that gave location and status of the lost Chilean miners in 2010.

……………………………………………………………*****

Houses
by Tawnya Renelle

I have been dreaming about houses

haunted, maze-like, spiraling staircases and broken floors
…………..Last night it was a series of doors that led to nowhere
………………………and one window that opened to a raining
………………………………….parking lot with discount Halloween
……………………………………………..Decorations. and homeless people
…………………………………………………………sleeping in rooms curled in their blankets
……………………………………………………………………..and children that ran up and
……………………………………………………………………..down through the corridors.
…………………………………………………………The other night it was haunted, I had
…………………………………………………………warned everyone that we had to get out
…………………………………………………………by nightfall. Nobody had listened and
…………………………………………………………when we went to find our car keys they
…………………………………………………………had been taken by a ghost, I told them the
…………………………………………………………house was haunted

………….And the night before it had been “little boxes on the hillside” playing in the
background as a soundtrack to the creaking floorboards of an attic I was navigating
with a map drawn on the palm of my hand.
……………………………………And then again, a house with a ghost that liked to show off and
scare people. And when he did it was an amalgamation of rotten body parts and ………….screaming mouths. I was coming and going to the house
………………………children were descending a staircase and telling me I was not to write
…………………………………..about them. Then in a car, 1920s rolls royce convertible
……………………………………………..The ghost and I were in the back
………………………………………………………….A woman was driving
……………………………………………………………………….I remember the cushions of black and red
………………………………….Back in the house I threw offerings of figs into the basement
……………………………………………..I had been glowing white the entire time
………..And then awake in the waiting room for a blood draw
………..Fleetwood Mac plays and I look up to see a woman in a black and red
………..dress, red cardigan, red and white shoes, the very colors of the dream

………..Framing

And what philosopher compares the mind to a house
and the eyes the windows?
the soul is housed there?
Housed within?
is it a house itself?
Hobbes-White-Aristotle?
search
still the phrase I am looking for is not there and
perhaps I merely think it
The house is like the soul and the soul like it
under construction built from the foundation

………..Pouring Foundation

And in waking moments houses are under construction
Behind the wheel of a car
I turn on roads where
new homes
new sheds
Fixed roofs and frames being added
Ladders and tarps
Hammering drowning out the sound of the engine
moments are being built

……….Install Insulation

And then I am house sitting
In a world of houses
the chaos of stairs and floors and walls
I sleep in rooms not my own
caring for a house entrusted with the maintaining

………..Interior Drywall and Exterior Walls

And what influences what?
Are the dreams flowing to life
Life flowing to the dreams
Like seeing the car of a lover over and over again on the streets
Like noticing a familiar face on strangers
A repetition of images
An eye more attuned because of the patterns of thought

………………………………………………………………*****

Wake Up
by Tawnya Renelle

My lover and I quarrel in the morning
after the cheating and the fighting

Down a long corridor
A gauntlet of flashing films
I am on an errand

You reach for me
stretch out your arms
kiss my neck

I stand in front of a marsh
becoming a desert
becoming an ocean
becoming a mountain
becoming a jungle
and then
a slab of concrete highway

I turn away
I turn away
I turn away

I return to

a washing machine overflowing with clothing
soap spilling onto my feet

You were there
…………..They were all around you
………………..You were kissing them all
………………………………………….Every single one of them
…………………………………………………………………..You

standing on the front porch
I drop the package in my hands

eyes glued shut with sobbing
you reach for me

I push you away
I push you away
I push you away

We fight

Scream

You were kissing all of them
No I wasn’t
You thought that is what you saw

Soap squishes under my toes

……………………………………………….But I saw you
………………………You didn’t see anything
……………BUT I SAW YOU

Are you ok?
My shallow whimpering sobs continue
You pull me into you

…………I push you away

My lover and I quarrel in the morning
after the cheating and the fighting

……………………………………………………………..*****

The Shortcut Home
by Susannah Violette

am I to split open
a bashed fruit
a nose
a lip
other places
bleed for you

the tide is full
I feel our footsteps
compress
you are too close

salt from the ocean
crusts my fists
I’m reminded of the waves
of drowning

you tell me
with your sliding voice
I want to see
your cock
its length, its breadth
that I want to feel its size

I am a cool sea wind
I am a fury
I am a trained fighter

this is the wrong alley
for us both

………………………………………………………..*****

Liminal Space
by Susannah Violette

we call it the liminal space
but really it’s a hall or a passage

it’s a place where anything could happen

a space between space

the young tongues
of my daughters
make new aspirant loops
around the word

the laundry room
opens there
a gallery of spiders
hang like so much washing

I walk through
and back again
– basket in hand
as if I too, wove
as if I had waited
like them, for my wet prey

occasionally
I sit in the liminal space
on the persian carpet
with the angel who plucks
feathers from her own wings

sit companionably
at her feet
and fold clothes

………………………………………………………………*****

Wind 
by Susannah Violette

our valley makes a corridor
for the wind

this spring wind is fast

It careers around
a scrambler revving
its way through the wood
both necessary and not

the green walls groan
and keen with animation
trees meet their inner fervor
let the wildness in
(the pollen out)

blood pulses faster

the wind is here too
in my atria, my ventricles
butting at the dam
of my breast bone
like an old familiar goat

the forgotten bridleway
of my nervous system
rattles

a train on its bumpy tracks

an electric jingle

says:

we’re going places!
you and I!

I believe it

with the wind at my back
I imagine crossing continents
Europe, Russia, Canada

vivid pictures ride that train
that glorious wind

everything is possible.

………………………………………………………………*****

The North-West Passage
by Mantz Yorke

A couple of wine bottles, a food can,
some plates, a desk with open drawers –
that’s all the camera showed us in Terror’s
sunken hull, upright eighty feet down
and looking as if the tide had simply
receded from an anchorage in the bay.

Of Franklin’s sailors, no other sign:
we knew the survivors left Terror
in the relentless embrace of the ice
to trek southward, hoping for salvation
but finding only a frozen oblivion.

The north west passage, now ice-free
in summer, allows merchant ships
and even liners to sail between Atlantic
and Pacific – unlike three half-centuries ago
when Franklin’s pair of ships set sail.

As the Arctic melts, what relics of exploration
will be revealed? Will chance some day
give us the bones of those who trudged south
with dwindling food, and whose bodily heat
could not defeat the unrelenting cold?

In 1848 Sir John Franklin’s two ships, Erebus and Terror, made a doomed attempt to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the north west passage. All 129 men were lost. In 2016 Terror was discovered, sunk but in good condition, in a bay on the west of King William Island.

…………………………………………………………….*****

On the Tube
by Rona Fitzgerald

Voices hail from many places, Slavic sharp slides
lisping Spanish & choppy cadences of Chinese
from the fresh face photo hunters
…………………………………………………………of the next Empire.

Cold pierced my jacket, we decided not to walk
warmth would be welcome even bustle
…………………………………………………………………..cavernous tombs.

The long walk to Mrs Cannon’s office
for chastisement, skittish
……………………………………………..apprehensive

down cast.

The confession box with blackened screen
……………………………………………………………..low light
penitential. Bless me father for I have sinned!

Descending to the now
………………………………………platform ten.

Warmth beckons, even company!

Forgetting the shuttered eyes of regular travellers
weary, unseeing, unwilling.

Electric readers
………………………that bend heads like herons.

Circles of exclusion.
………………………………………..and no daylight.

………………………………………………………………*****

(up left close / up right close)
by J. N. Nucifera

I waltz down / these hallways.
……………(up left close / up right close)
There is no- / thing that can
stop my feet / while this song
in my head / plays on loop.

My partner, / my shadow
……………(up left close / up right close)
mirroring, / matching me
making this / pathway here
less lonely / for us both.

Pushing in / deeper for-
……………(up left close / up right close)
evermore, / nothing seems all that new. / I wonder
and wander / through the walls.

The edge fades / from my sight,
……………(up left close / up right close)
drifting in / to my own mind.
Am I / really go-
……………(up left close / up right close)
ing toward / greatness or…?

Return to / position-
……………(right turn left / right back left)
corridors / empty but
……………(right turn left / right back left)
for shadows / and naught of

the music / reverb’rat-
……………(right turn left / right back left)
ing. Breaking. / Discord-ing.
……………(right turn left / right back left)
Reflecting / nothing me.
Walls to waltz, / corridor
……………(right turn left / right back left)
into tun- / nel vision.

One way out: / railroad spikes
……………(right turn left / up right close)
pulled from the / ground. An up-
ward step to / my future.
……………(right way up / left behind)
Making my / escape door.

………………………………………………………………..*****

Paying the Price
by Pat Edwards

Behind every door is a conversation
punctuated with body language.
You know before a word is uttered
that it’s not good news. There is no
good news, so you walk out changed.

Behind every door is a procedure
punctuated with prophylactic lies.
You know before the needle strikes
it’s going to hurt, that sharp prick,
taking your blood like a highwayman.

Behind every door is your limitation
punctuated with your measurements
by degree. Titration drip feeds you
some magic lethal potion, your reward
for being at death’s portal this time.

Behind every door is a body of tears,
punctuated with regret, absorbed by
tissues proffered in chapel silence.
Alcoholic handrub kills the germs,
too late to stop the car park fee expiring.

………………………………………………………………..*****

The Shapeless Dance of Lovers 
by Subhadip Majumdar 

I often desired more
With the impatient burning within the chest
The shapeless dance of naive shadows
Being stripped of love and wish
In the dusty single bed of a portrayed room
The scent of womanly fragrance floats like the last desire
Of the tempted skin and fragile body
I wish I could say it all
When no one listens at the corridor of sliced moon and slant doors
The prism of the glasses awaits
And I slowly understand what the world tries to say me
I laugh, as lovers do.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Film Noir
by Gene Groves

Behind boarded windows, broken stairways climb.
This was some sixties architect’s baby,
part of a grand plan.
Rats hug steps, spiders throw their ropes
across gaps,
for a moment make them whole again,
a trick of the light
and there’s not much of that.
Focus on this flight of stairs,
around the corner
where a blonde girl fails to see
the shadow of her strangler
or hear the crescendo of the music
that throttles the air.

………………………………………………………………*****

Bones
by Rachel Burns

Bones stick white, small, perfect human form.
Irish sons and daughters found in a field of red clover

a stain on the reputation of the sleepy village
and the Catholic Church with its crumbling brocade.

Human life disposed of as worthless
the pattern repeated, the numbers are uncountable.

Bone after bone after bone, stacked high
then tightly wrapped in tissue paper

placed in boxes labelled fragile ― to be discovered
centuries later in abandoned government warehouses.

……………………………………………………………….*****

Hall Hurling
for my brother Bill
by Tom Daley


I can still see your grin,
your joyous determination,
the speed of your dimples.

I can still hear
your exaggerated groan
lowing over the carpet

in the wall-to-wall hall.
Leap and deflect,
leap and catch.

You were the best
defenseman of the bed-
room door

against the compact
toy bunnies, packed
with cotton or polyester,

refugees from Easter
baskets, that we hurled
across the space

between us. A score
would have to be heard: a thump
that sounded the length

of the corridor,
that might have annoyed
Mom and Dad

if they had been listening
when a bunny slipped
by the defender’s

torso and limbs
and hit the wood
of the door.

A small joy that punctured
your smelly hurt,
the one that kept oozing

over your younger siblings
like the bite of shoe polish
when first freed from the can.

Laughing and cheering,
huzzahs that rankled
the translucent light fixture

that the bunnies occasionally
grazed but never shattered,
that unsettled the lonely

bottle of Lourdes water
that kept dark house
in the linen closet

with the scanty
stacks of washcloths
we always forgot to use.

………………………………………………………………….*****

A Walk in the Woods
by Carolyn Batcheler

Annie had been given a Fitbit for her birthday. She was not convinced at first but it did show how little she moved. She had become very sedentary since taking up an office based job, hardly moving from her chair. It wasn’t the present she’d been expecting from her grown-up children but she’d said “Thank you” anyway. They set it up for her and added her to “Fitbit friends”, so they could “monitor her progress”.

On the first day, she got up as usual and walked to the bus stop. It read 400 steps, that was all. The walk at the other end was 640 so she thought she was doing well. However, as she sat at her desk the thing on her wrist kept buzzing to tell her she needed to take more steps. She thought a trip to the loo might help but it didn’t make much difference. She went out for her usual sandwich at lunchtime and considered walking around the park but it was raining so she just went back to her desk. By the end of the day she had hit the 4000 step mark. She was disheartened to think that both of her children were doing well over the recommended 10,000. It made her think that the best way forward would be to take the darned thing off and throw it to the back of the kitchen drawer.

The next day at work someone mentioned how expensive they were, which made her feel guilty for considering throwing it away. On her walk around the park, she celebrated by treating herself to a bar of chocolate from the newsagent. Several people in the office had Fitbits too, so she added them as friends and it made her feel better. By the time she got to the weekend, she was beginning to increase her steps.  Saturday was her chill out day, reading and tv catchup. The steps were even lower than on the day she started, but she didn’t care. During her weekly phone call from her son, that Sunday, he commented: “You need to be consistent, mother”. She quickly changed the subject.

Over the next few weeks, she found herself adding more and more steps to her day. The walk in the park became a regular thing and she was joined by Josie most days. On Fridays, they went around the shops as a treat. She even found herself going out in the evening as the light nights crept in. She still wasn’t hitting the targets her daughter set, but she was often beating Josie. She was surprised how good this made her feel.

Weekends were easier as she looked for places to go for longer walks. She hadn’t been to the local woods since her kids were little.  It was great, there were mapped out walks with directional posts in different colours. She started off with the blue route which was the shortest. It went down to the lake and there were plenty of birds to add interest.

It was a good day and she got praise from her daughter. She had hit the 10,000 step target now, every day for a week. She didn’t know how it had happened but she was hooked. She planned a walk or two every weekend, sometimes with a friend, but mostly alone. Her favourite place to walk was still her local woods. She often spoke to other walkers and got to know the names of lots of dogs. She could anticipate who she would see, depending on what time of day she was walking.

One Saturday she decided that she wanted to explore the woods a bit more. She felt so much fitter and she was determined to beat her children’s steps. She packed up her small rucksack with her water bottle and some healthy snacks, and a little packet of tissues. On the walk, she bumped into a couple of dog walkers at the entrance and had a natter with them. As she strode off they said to her “Have fun, you’ve got the weather for it” She waved at them but it was more like a salute.

Two days later Annie’s children were discussing their mother. Steven had tried phoning the day before and had also texted. Unusually there was no answer. Her daughter visited on Monday evening, there was still no answer. There was unopened post on the doormat, her car was in the driveway and all the curtains were still open. Breakfast dishes were left on the kitchen drainer, but as Penny said to her brother “ It’s hard to tell when they were last used” Penny knocked at both neighbours, but there was nothing to report. Steven called his mother’s work the following morning and was worried when he was told “She hasn’t been in this week, can you remind her of the sickness absence policy when you speak to her, thanks”

He called Penny and reported in. She said, “ We’ve got to call the police, we’ve neglected her”. Steve wanted to disagree but knew she was right. The police were reassuring at first but said there was little they could do if she wasn’t vulnerable. The officer Penny spoke to said “Perhaps she just wanted some time to herself” Penny and Steve posted missing posters of their mother. They were ashamed to admit they couldn’t find a recent photo. Penny posted photos to social media sites, local to their mother, and they got a response from one of the dog walkers. “We saw your mum on Saturday morning. She said she was going to try one of the unmarked tracks for a change and that she wanted to beat her personal best, then grinned and pointed at her Fitbit. Hope you find her soon”

The police used dogs to search the woods and some local walkers volunteered to help. Joining in the search, Penny and Steven were surprised how many new friends their mother had made. After four days the police called off the search, with no sign of their mother.  It was then that Steven noticed the activity on the Friends section of his Fitbit. It would appear that his mother was still walking….. and this activity continued.

They never saw her again.

………………………………………………………………*****

The Hice
by Martin Zarrop

She speaks to me sometimes
in that voice of hers.
It’s usually in the early hours
when she can’t sleep.

We wander the corridors
discussing horses, art,
the latest prime minister
and cheese, of course.

Occasionally, I make plans,
suggest I might move on
but my husband and I
want me to stay.

Slowly, she sips her Ovaltine.
You’ve outdone Victoria, I tell her.
You’ve outdone Tom & Jerry, she replies
and I feel privileged.

In her job, she doesn’t tell many jokes
to men or mice.

………………………………………………………………….*****

Abandoned
by Geraldine Ward

She places her P.E. kit
in the cloakroom
at the end of a twisting corridor.
Dad has left. Mum’s upset,
she explained to her class teacher.
In this girl’s world, I see through
like a kaleidoscope of horizontal
and vertical memories.
Snapshots on white screens,
blank canvas, until she reflects her mum’s
hazel eyes and the labyrinth which
stretches out before her daughter
when she leaves after dad, finally deserts.
She savours grandad’s peppermint swirl,
left in her coat pocket as a treat
and gran’s lavender scent,
gently permeating her coat sleeve.
Her parents, only mildly missed,
thanks to fate’s duplicitous tricks.
Will grow up leaving those bad
memories in the corridor forever.

………………………………………………………………..*****

Rite of Passage
by Linda Menzies

In halls alive with bustle, parents lug cases,
examine rooms, trundle the corridors.
Students walk the passages from home.
Aglow with clean hair and new shoes,
they swarm bright-eyed , busy with keys.

My smile set as he hung up clothes.
He saw my face, took off his gold chain
and clasped it round my neck.
‘Tug it and I’ll know’, he smiled.
I mustered a hug, wiped tears of pride,
then left the bright white corridor, stepping out
into the new life of semi-detachment.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Trails at Huelgoat
by Jude Brigley

Through the wet fern, opening like dragon fingers,
the shutters linger on the silver of Le Lac.

The mill is silent around its milky waters
and trees close ranks making the woods dark.

At Huelgoat the mossed stones lie as if in waiting
to charm the stranger into a solid chaos of rock.

The streets of Brest are bustling with shopping sailors
as the ships lie in state in the bay’s liquid arms.

French voices break the afternoon’s slow suspension
as the aroma of coffee patrols the shut-down streets.

In Roscoff cafes, explorers laugh and jostle
where the church and harbour hide; granite and discrete.

The tourist and the trekker catch the silence
of the ferns trailing teardrops on the trembling rock.

……………………………………………………………………*****

The Miners Walk Owl
by Janet Smith

Sits silent inside the hollowed
oak waits feather-wrapped still
listening

to crumbled morsels……… memories
in a fumy sky of crumping boots on
an ice cold morning ……soft blowing
breath on chilblained fingers …a pick
ringing on a miner’s pinch barsoft
spitting fall of a miner’s apple core

receding footsteps …..the pit-head whistle
and the grinding rattle of the mine shaft lift

still in the dark and a beetle rustle

a robin’s chatter in a bright blue sky

………………………………………………………………*****

The Corridor
by Ann Cuthbert

We must‘ve walked that corridor two thousand times,
over uneven wooden blocks dipping outside the chapel door.
Under globe lights, we moved from class to Lunch to Break.
Below eye level on the walls, long photos lined up in frames –
faded faces of other girls who’d walked that way over the years,
their indoor shoes sliding like ours on the parquet floor.

We walked that corridor to Latin. I was always floored
by the endings. What case? What tense? I fluffed it every time.
Active at first, my mood became passive in a year.
Sullen, I’d sit, head down, till told to stand outside the door.
I wanted to get it right. If the questions had been better framed,
I might’ve stood a chance. But she never gave anyone a break.

We had to walk down that corridor. Breaking
into a run was against the rules. They’d wipe the floor
with you, wring their lips round words framed
to hurt. ‘What else could you expect of scholarship girls?’ Sometimes,
though, we’d risk a stretch, flying from cloakroom door
to staircase, defiant soles light on polished wood. Seven years

I walked that corridor, my face appearing in the yearly
photos, passing through the phase of secondary school – broken
by bells. Days, weeks, months, terms lined up like doors
along the sides. Doors that we opened, finding our feet on floors
where words went gliding – reading The Tempest, Howard’s End, Hard Times.
Inside, we saw what life could be, unframed.

It was wide, that corridor. But it confined us, framing
our lives so we knew what to expect, year after year.
Now, I think it would soothe me to follow a timetable
set by someone else. But then, we craved a breakout –
heyheying with the Monkees, falling in a heap on the floor,
singing, waving madly, going round and round in a revolving door.

Forty years later, a reunion. In the doorway,
faces I try to remember, girls who’ve jumped out of their frames,
stretched and grown, changing as they ran across the floor.
The school’s been gone for years –
demolished for a ring road – but here we are, breaking
through, sliding down that corridor one more time.

…………………………………………………………….*****

Point of no Return
by Roy Moller 

A crowd of around 200 men and women stood in silence in the watery
sunshine outside the prison…  At 8.15am…seven warders came out
of the prison. There was a minor outburst of booing and a cry
of ‘You murderers.’ Five minutes later a senior police official told
the waiting crowd: “It’s all over.  There will be no notice posted on
the gates. You can all go home now.”
Aberdeen Evening News, August 15th 1963 

Baby-faced Burnett, the last lad in Scotland
steadied for eight o’clock, to make the rope walk,
to break by short drop takes his last sip
shadowed by a Chaplain, hears the key turn
on his last adrenaline, watches the warder
move away the wardrobe
to lay bare the exit out onto no return,
a shuffle into bondage by hood and leather cuff.
Quick completion comes in a clatter,
roof birds scatter;  then all he does is dangle
down in the drop room, kinked in the neck,
left to be cleaned.

Baby-bodied me, presented to be tested
that same morning under my birth name,
borne out the ante-room,
wriggling as I’m shifted, dabbed and needled.
Six-weeks old on the stairs of disinfectant.
My blood mother’s already left the country.
You who’ve shown me kindness
can’t return me. But you can take me home.
I’m clean.

Baby Jamie Hoffman
This baby was examined on 15.8.63.
His clinical condition  appeared satisfactory
and blood tests showed –
Wassermann Reaction  NEGATIVE
Kahn NEGATIVE
He has, therefore, been discharged.

………………………………………………………………...*****

Corridors
by Hannah Welfare 

The paths
I walk
Through
The woods

Are twisted
And I want to lose myself
In the crackle of dead pine needles
And the ripe drag of leaf rot

But the scolding voices
Of crows
Scream that
I cannot live with
With those fists anymore

That man of mine
Who thumps
His head into the bolsters
As I feign sleep

This autumn
Is a new season

And the cold wind
Streams and blasts

I own this place
I want to scream at him

I pay the mortgage
And this is my
Highland farm

Oh yes
Let me fill in
The story of this horrific marriage

In the corridors of our
Cottage
Pictures are smashed
And doors are slammed

Thank god
We don’t have kids

I am not sentimental
About Scotland

God help me
But
I miss the big cities

Glasgow and London

The ghosts of my
Grandmothers
Taunt me

With their

Stories of fairies and ponies and perfect
Marriage

My marriage is cold
And stained
With fresh blood
From the war we
Do not remember starting

Fetid in this warm October
Are puffballs that gasp
Spore clouds

The slimed bonnets
Of toadstools
Are fanned underneath
With dust

Like the dank pages of
A mouldered book

Let’s start again he says

He falls against the walls
Of corridors
In our house

Tomorrow

I will lick
My wounds clean

Find new places to hide
The bottles

Scrub floors and smirch
My skin

With a pain
That makes me weep again

And an understanding
Of
What it means

To be free

…………………………………………………………………..*****

Portrait of my Passageway Embedded with a Corridor
by Owoh Ugonna

…………………………………………………………………………..While painting a portrait of my passageway,
………………………………………………………………………………………………I’m also entrenched into a bone,
………………………………………………………………………………………like a word strangled between pages.
……………………………………….I paint it with a shade of a brick,
………………………….so brittle mellow and clustering of shiny kelps.

The first rhythm I heard from my passageway,
was the echoes of my father’s voice turning my bones into a prince
It sounded like a ghost hidden behind walls.

…………………………………………………………………………………..My passageway is a freedom of sounds,
……………………………………………………………it tells the rhythm of a man’s voice lost against walls.

………………………………………Embedded with sturdy bricks slots,
…………………………………….it tells me the shrieks of a man’s ghost.

My passageway owns a corridor,
it is a stolen raft for my siblings to crack their jokes,
Giggle on their knaves,
and tell their stories.

..The last colour I painted my passageway is a shade to dim to see the enthusiastic ears of ………………………………………………………………………the walls,
………………………………………………and I call it a man’s bone in a hidden soul.
………………………..And learn that the promise of this tranquility is a vigorous emblem.

……………………………………………………………Because my passageway is the ghost of my ancestors,
………………………………………….I shall learn to lend my plea to the walls to neither swallow me,

…………………………………………………………………………..for their fright are whoop to gag my breath.

……………………………………………………………….*****

 

……………………………………………………………
Walking at Rush Hour
Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich

Inside the subway
corridors pedestrians
want to trample me
to death. They are
something fearful,
non-stopping—
eternally powerful!

Don’t stop, I say—-
I want to get out
of here, back outside!
to hail the wind,
feel the pressure &
the adrenaline rises—-
pulse & heartbeat rapid.

Crowds of people: black, white,
homeless and on wheels—-
you can never knock
me down!
I gain my strength &
stop in the streams
of stomping footsteps—

black boots, high heeled shoes—
thick leather cracking
from newness.
It is suddenly raining &
black umbrellas pop open—
steel tips poke at the ceiling
as I climb back down into the subway.

Here there is no rain—
only thunder roaring by:
The trains rumble coming
into the station
as gas exhaust fumes
and brakes squeak
to a hiss.

The A train is waiting,
its doors slide open—
destiny squeaks
as the rubber door lips
close and my feather pillow
breathes the soft air like silk.

……………………………………………………………..*****

The Ends of Things
By Penny Blackburn

Why do we always have to go
Right to the very ends of things?
As if that last three feet unwalked
Could hold the answer
To a question not yet formed.

Strong-strutted piers, plumb straight,
Or blocked stone breakwaters
Arcing into elegance;
Half-rotted lakeside jetties
Left to disrepair;
Clanking marina gantries, fighting washes
Of diesel dirty water.

No matter that they lead
To nowhere else,
No other view before us
To strike the eye;
No shift in horizon, no great reveal
No change in temperature, light nor tide.

Yet still the ends do lure us on
Till no more land awaits, our feet to hold.
One more step would free us if we wished –
Launch us into blank space
New born,
Unboned

So step onto the gangplank steady
And come with me to seek the ends of things.

……………………………………………………………………*****

Mr Barrass looks for a way out
by Rob Walton

Mr Barrass could be heard shouting on the telephone through the scabby door with the greasy brass knob and the chipped paint. The paint was even worse on the corridor wall near the door. Every time the door slammed – somewhere between ten and twenty times a day – flakes of battleship grey fell to the floor. The cleaners and caretaker had entered a pact which involved not cleaning it up. This meant more slamming and more paint on the floor.

John was sent to Mr Barrass’ office for paying undue attention in History, a lesson taught alarmingly badly by an alarming supply teacher. Olivia soon followed. These two friends occupied the chairs either side of Barrass’ door, waiting to be summoned. Before they were called, Laura Monk joined them. On this peculiarly hot March day, sweat poured down Laura’s face.

“What did you do?”

“Looked out of the window.”

“Oh.”

Laura stood, licking her lips.

“How long do you usually have to wait?”

“Depends.”

“Oh.”

The Moledina twins arrived and stood against the wall, opposite the door, occasionally looking at each other and shaking their heads.

In the next fifteen minutes there was a steady succession of children from Year 11, Year 9, Year 8 and Year 7. By 2:15 there were twenty-three children lining the corridor.

Five minutes later, Year 10 returned from a trip to a synagogue, where they had disgraced themselves to such an extent that they were all sent to Mr Barrass’ office.

Where was Barrass? There had been no sound from his room for such a long time and some of the children were having anxiety attacks. A Moledina was twitching, and Laura Monk had removed her blazer for the first time ever during school hours.

Vik Dunn arrived, looked at the throng, swore, and knocked on the Head Teacher’s door. No reply. She shrugged her shoulders and found a tight space at the far end of the corridor. She took out a small knife and started scratching something into the wall.

With fifteen minutes to go before the end of the regular school day, and the start of revision classes and after-school clubs, there were over a hundred children in a corridor that was one metre wide and about twelve metres long. Rahim, the older Moledina twin, was dead and the new boy in Year 9 had tried to kill himself by filling his mouth and nose with pencil shavings. He’d done quite a lot of sneezing and there’d been quite a lot of blood.

At 3:12 p.m. Mr Barrass emerged. His skin was painted blue and it was starting to peel. He looked at the Moledina corpse, and patted his hair. He looked at John, then closed his eyes. He dropped to the floor, crawling over the children, trying to find a way out.

……………………………………………………………………*****

Closed Doors
by Nina Simon

There’s a concrete edge to urban streets,
a hidden underground network
beneath rain-soaked pavements;
passageways where sewer rats scurry
amid dust and clutter
and fear is constant.

She throws his flowers in the bin
before running,
unaware of where she is headed,
mind fogged by the sickly smell of lilies
and memories

memories of death in a bouquet,
tied with pain’s black ribbons
a child alone,
swallowed by the shark-like system
then spat out into the cold.

He shouldn’t have given her flowers,
It was just a job,
money for rent, food and drugs,
shouldn’t have shown he cared.

Shadows call her name
drawing her further into the dark side
of nature’s elements,
along the long corridor
with its doors,

so many closed doors
where life’s orphans play a dangerous game
of risk and consequence
and the only direction is down

Scalded by the heat of unshed tears,
jabbed by knife-edged words
she’s reached a dead end,

There’s nowhere left to go.

………………………………………………………………….*****

The Maze
by Connie Ramsay Bott

We should have known from the start.
We set off together, but soon he was rushing ahead,
laughing at the complexity, retreating, then ploughing on
while I, ever tentative, worried my way
from dead-end to dead-end.
He was determined not to be defeated.
I panicked as I took each turn.
I’d have made my way
back to the beginning if I could.

Now he’s happily headed for the end
and I’m still looking for a way out.

……………………………………………………………..*****

The Door
by Linda Goulden

All along the passageway
he knew the door would open.
Whatever shape of a key might turn
that lock was always broken.
For it’s never blocked for good and all,
and it’s seldom clad or covered.
It’s never locked to a traveller,
though she’d rather choose another.

As she leaned over the stairwell
the whip of wind that caught her
stung her face with sand and shell
and tasted of salt water.
For it’s never capped or built upon
without some rusty grating
and nothing is dry or silted up
if you still feel a beating.

She set her foot upon the stair
and a spiral spun beneath her,
the rope under her fingers frayed,
the risers rose to meet her.
For it’s rarely slow or steady.
The descent is steep and scared,
coming down from might-have-been
to what was never there.

As she stepped out on the jetty
she saw no ship was waiting.
Whatever shape of a wave she waved
this tide was not abating.
For it never ebbs for good and all
but rolls in undercover
to break apart the grieving heart
who can never love another.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Nightwandering
by Paul Waring

Last night I fell into the arms of a dream –
scaled column of spine and arch of rib
to roam contours of face at the summit;

wandered deep beyond forehead along
putty-smooth corridors; Gaudi-house curves
of cortex — warehouse store of memories

knitted from spooled threads of experience.
And inside a cavernous factory stood agape
facing a sky of screens — uncensored

scenes from my past, stretched and distorted
like a hall of mirrors; heard asylum laughter
of moon-faced production line operatives

editing life at random into film of sleep;
and snapped awake by ghoulish nightmare,
watched myself scream like a Munch.

……………………………………………………………..*****

Choosing paths
by Mark Blayney

You lit our way with paper lanterns,
showed me your favourite painting:

a depth-charged Sargent,
girls in Edwardian dresses

caught at a precise hour. Faces glowing,
flowers a vivid dusk violet,

eyes wide at the concept of, one day,
hanging on a silk-lined wall. A school

party winds in dutifully
to stare at pictures and yawn at frames.

Can we see from the brushstrokes
how their lives unfold in a single moment

the guide asks, and to her shock
a girl at the front, dark hair, pales to lilac

and is rushed to the canteen
where she’s given tea and honey

till her colour returns. You and I split soon after,
the memory of that day a tube ticket

inserted in the book I couldn’t concentrate on
for the jammed strap-hanging return.

I found it the other day, its ink faded.
I study it carefully. Can just make out the year.

……………………………………………………………………………*****

The Grandmother
by Mandy Macdonald

The woman is called Muriel McCalla. We don’t really know where she came from, and God only knows where she is now. She was due to board the ferry at 1700 hours last Friday, but she never showed up. She seemed fine when we saw her last – Thursday, that would have been – yes, a week ago now. Her husband contacted us when she didn’t show up at home. He’d phoned and texted, but there was no reply – straight to voicemail, you know how it is. We tried the police, the hospital, the coastguard. No joy. Looks like she’s vanished off the map.

Muriel feels ready to go home. She hails a taxi and asks the driver to take her into the town. Or perhaps she asked to go to the ferry; later she can’t remember. But the taxi takes her down to a small shaded beach, where a tall sailing ship is drawn up on the sand. The sand is dark and smooth, without pebbles or the usual flotsam; the shoreline uneven, fractal; she can’t be sure where the land ends and the water begins or how it is that the ship is not listing impossibly. Some children are playing on the sand, dancing barefoot to some rhythm of their own around a design they have drawn there. Their clothes are gaily coloured but old-fashioned, with frills and sashes and high-buttoned collars; their hair is long and ripples as they move.

The air is heavy but cool, the light dusky. Muriel lies down under the jutting stern of the ship and goes to sleep on the sand. Later, in her lantern-lit cabin, she cannot explain this either. When she wakes and looks up at the hull soaring out above her in a long graceful curve like the tail of a tern, she remembers that her things are not here, they are back at her hotel in the town, and she must go and get them quickly before it is time to leave. She stands up, looks about; she can’t see how to get off the beach, which seems now to be surrounded by shallow, quiet water. She wonders whether she has been cut off by the tide. Then she notices a faint path leading inland from the beach under a low stone arch, tall grey houses visible beyond. Even that little distance inland, on the other side of the arch, the light seems brighter, the air promises to be more kindly, there is a hint of sunshine.

Passing under the arch she finds herself facing almost directly a large indeterminate room, its front wall entirely open to the street, like an open shoebox lying on its side. At the front left-hand corner, where the sun strikes, there is a little creature, not much bigger than a cat, and in fact somehow furry and catlike, but humped and graceless. It is a tiny woman, with darkish, apple-wrinkled skin, black hair seeded with grey, large, shiny, very dark eyes. She wears a chocolate-brown woollen or velvet garment, or else it is fur. Somewhere between a person and a macaque, with suggestions of bumblebee. She is clinging to the doorjamb, and while Muriel watches she begins to climb.

Without being told Muriel knows this little figure is the grandmother of the children on the beach. She watches. The grandmother climbs. She has got far enough up for her face to be on a level with Muriel’s when Muriel knows what she must do. She plucks the grandmother from the wall where she is clinging like a moth and clasps her to her body as you would a baby or a pet. The tiny grandmother nestles in close, buries her little dark face against Muriel’s shoulder. Her fur bristles softly. Muriel has never known any creature to trust her so completely. She is terrified and awash with something like love. Neither she nor the grandmother has uttered a sound. Carrying the grandmother, she turns and goes back under the round arch to the beach and the ship, which is now waiting with sail set. As she walks up the gangway, the children leave the beach one by one and follow, like the bright ribboned tail of a kite.

……………………………………………………………….*****

The Balcombe icicle
by Mandy Macdonald

On the first day of spring
(officially, that is)
a temporary stalactite formed
in the railway tunnel at Balcombe, West Sussex,
between Gatwick airport and points south.

An eight-foot icicle,
sword of a northern Damocles,
forged in freezing weather
on a night of icy stillness
not expected,
when the windrush of passing trains
was lulled in the dark.

We’ve all seen those tunnels,
black and white, in old sci-fi movies,
haven’t we?
Those sinister perspectives, their vanishing points
dots of pitiless light that offer no hope,
clandestine factories where extraterrestrials,
whose poisoned exhalations
drip from the roofs, devise
unspeakable weapons of mass destruction!

But who would have thought
this hidden pendant warhead would menace
the railway tunnel at
Balcombe, West Sussex, between
Gatwick airport and points south?
The trains crept through at half speed
on the first (official) day of spring.
Unease shaded into alarm as
commuters, shoulder to shoulder, shared
a frisson – could this be more than news? –
while grumbling about delays
and yet another Southern Rail excuse.

An alien weapon, a brief natural wonder,
or a really good excuse?
No matter. The Council took it down.


Biographies

Gene Groves lives in Northumberland but is originally from Wales. She had 35 poems in Flambard New Poets 2. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines including New Welsh Review, The Interpreter’s House, Pre-Raphaelite Society Review, Prole, Orbis, Obsessed With Pipework, Weyfarers, and on the Diamond Twig site. She enjoys reading at poetry events and is working on a collection.

Jennifer McGowan When not hiding in the fifteenth century, Jennifer A. McGowan 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.

Mike Lewis-Beck writes in Iowa City.  He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review,Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Rootstalk, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues.

Subhadip Majumdar is a writer poet from India. He is certified in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. He also edited for a long time a reputed Bengali poetry journal. Wrote a short novel as Tumbleweed writer in Shakespeare and Company, Paris. Two poetry books published and one novel in process of publication.

Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer from Mid Wales. She has been published more recently in Prole, The Curlew, Ink Sweat and Tears, Magma (due this summer) and Deborah Alma’s #Me Too Anthology. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mic nights and curates Welshpool Poetry Festival.

Maggie Mackay has a range of work online and in printincluding the recent #MeToo anthology. In 2017 and 2018 her poems have been nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem, and for the Pushcart Prize last year. Her first pamphlet will be published by Picaroon later this year.

Tawnya Renelle is currently living in Glasgow and pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing. She loves experimenting with form and finding new ways to convey experience in her writing. She considers her poems part memoir, part dream, part surreal, part prose, and always hybrid.

Tom Daley’s poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, and elsewhere.

J.N. Nucifera is a queer creator presently living in Scotland as a researcher in waste recycling processes. His creations, including paintings, prints, and poems, and have been featured in various galleries in the eastern US.

Rachel Burns is a poet and playwright living in Durham City, England. Poems published in UK, USA and Canadian literary journals. Anthologised in two Saboteur Awards shortlisted anthologies #MeToo and Please Hear What I’m Not Saying.

Karen Little trained as a dancer and a fine artist, performing and exhibiting internationally. She is widely published as a poet, and has had three novellas published.

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, The Writers’ Café Magazine 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).

Martin Zarrop is a retired mathematician. His pamphlet ‘No Theory of Everything’ (2015) was one of the winners of the 2014 Cinnamon Press pamphlet competition. His first full collection ‘Moving Pictures’ was published by Cinnamon Press in October 2016.

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.

Jude Brigley is Welsh. She has been a teacher, an editor, a coach and a performance poet. She is now writing more for the page. Her chapbook, ‘Labours’ was published in 2014. She has been published in various magazines.

Carolyn Batcheler is a Manchester based writer who has spent the majority of her life in the northeast. She has been published with Writers against Prejudice, Dotty and the Dreamers, Number Eleven Magazine, Durham Magazine, The Writers’ Cafe Magazine and I am not a silent poet. She has only been writing for 4 years but it is definitely what makes her happy. Spoken word performance adds to the buzz and Carolyn is part of  “The Pankerchiefs” based in Manchester.

Ann Cuthbert is one of Darlington’s Bennett House Writers and a member of Tees Women Poets. Her work has been published both online and in print. Her chapbook, Watching a Heron with Davey, was published in February 2017 by The Black Light Engine Room Press.

Nina Simon is a librarian by day, immersed in children’s literature.  At night, cloaked in darkness, she loses herself in imagination to write poetry and short stories.

Mark Blayney won the Somerset Maugham Award for Two kinds of silence. Story collection Doppelgangers and poetry Loud music makes you drive faster published by Parthian. Mark is a Hay Festival Writer at Work. http://www.markblayney.weebly.com

Mandy Macdonald is lives in Aberdeen. Her poems have appeared most recently  in Songs for the Unsung (Grey Hen, 2017), The Winter Solstice Anthology (2017), #MeToo (Fair Acre, 2018), and Dusk (Arachne, 2018) and in numerous other places in print and online, including Causeway/Cabhsair (2018, forthcoming),The Writers’ Café (issues 4 & 5), Coast to Coast to Coast (issues 1 & 3), and Poetry24. When not writing, she makes music.

Susannah Violette is an artist, silversmith and poet living in the ‘endless forest’ in Germany with her husband and two daughters.

Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and now lives in Glasgow.Her most recent publications are Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry, Oxford Poetry XVI.iii Winter 2016-17. Ten poems in Resurrection of a Sunflower, Pski’s Porch 2017, two poems in Ramingo’s Porch Winter 2017. Her poems are included in Dark Bones a Grenfell anthology 201 and #MeToo a woman’s poetry anthology, Fair Acre Press 2018.

Lisa Rhodes Ryabchich is the author of “We Are Beautiful like Snowflakes” and  “Opening the Black Ovule Gate” (http://www.finishinglinepress.com. She has a MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Piermont, N.Y.

Penny Blackburn is a teacher living in the North East of England. As well as writing poetry she enjoys performing it ‘off-page’ as part of local spoken word events. She also writes short fiction and was the winner of the 2017 Story Tyne competition, as well as being runner-up in the Readers’ Digest 100-word-story competition 2018.

Rob Walton is from Scunthorpe.  His poems, short stories and flash fictions have appeared in various anthologies and magazines.  In 2018 some will be published by Popshot, the Emma Press, Atrium, Bloomsbury, Arachne, Paper Swans and Verve.

Paul Waring is a semi-retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in Liverpool bands. Paul’s poems have been published widely in anthologies, print journals and online magazines. His blog is https://waringwords.wordpress.com

Hannah Welfare has had two collections of poetry – “Garden Of Ghosts” and “Insect Nights” – published by K T Publications.  Her poetry has been published in many magazines, including Brittle Star, First Time, Fat Damsel, Miracle Magazine and Obsessed With Pipework.  She lives in Northumberland and was born in Scotland.

Linda Goulden writes poems and the occasional story or song lyric.Some of her words have appeared in Words for the Wild, Riggwelter, The Fat Damsel, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Verbatim and The Writers’ Cafe Magazine.

Connie Ramsay Bott dabbles in poetry and prose from her Warwickshire home. Her novel, Girl Without Skin, was published last year, and she hopes one day to have a poetry collection published. She teaches creative writing to adults.

Geraldine Ward is an author, writer, poet and mother from Kent. She has had work published in ‘I am not a silent poet’ and ‘The Blue Nib’ among others. She enjoys learning the ukulele, singing and playing piano. She frequently attends local open mic nights and is keen on the folk scene in her area. She likes connecting with other writers online and in ‘real life’.

Roy Moller was conceived in Canada and born in Scotland. After several seasons of singing and performing, he returned to poetry five years ago. He lives in Dunbar, East Lothian.

Owoh Ugonna is a writer and poet, his work has been featured in so many literary magazines.

J. A. Sutherland is a writer and performer based in Edinburgh, widely published in pamphlets and online, producing work in a variety of forms, and on a blog, throughtheturretwindow@blogspot.com The work, Charlotte & The Charlatan – and other Cautionary Tales was a long-term collaboration project with textile artists, illustrators and film-makers, and performed with spoken word, music, and dance elements. Artwork is by Lizzie Quirke,  https://www.lizziequirke.com/

Janet Smith is a former scientist and published poet, she lives in Birmingham, UK. She has Poetry in: Abridged, Ink Sweat & Tears, Under the Radar & others & in anthologies by Flarestack, Hippocrates, Red Squirrel Press & Offa’s Dyke Press. She was placed in the 2017 “Write a Bridge” Competition.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4 thoughts on “The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 8 “Corridors and Passageways”

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