The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”

 

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Contour Lines
by Peter J. King

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………………………………………………………………………………..*****
Reading Maps: Between the Lines

by Peter J. King

  1. Isotherms

………………………………..the Arctic Circle’s no such thing —
…………………..its border loops and detours ……………….bulges
………………………………………………………………………………(see where the BeringSea’s
………………………………………………………………………………………a magnet, pulling out the
………………………………………………………………………….isotherm like iron filings on the chart)

the northern tree-line gives a clue;
………..it almost marks the line upon the Earth
…………………(though leaves us free to fill in gaps
……………………………………where sea intrudes)
…………………………………………………tracing forest edges
……………………………………………………………scattered larches
……………………………..with their trailing skirts

……………………….the Arctic Circle is a southern latitude
….within the northern hemisphere…………………………. the sun
……………………………………………………………………………..on the horizon
…………………………………………………………………………is constant at the centre
…………………………………………………………and it rises in the middle of the afternoon

…………………………the Arctic Circle is a midnight line
………..and gives a direct view of mountain peaks
…………………..when the seas rise
……it appears
…………….on top of the horizon

ii Isobars

Pascal bet heavily…………. on Jam Tomorrow
(a three-year-old filly …………..with form on the flat).
She led till the water jump, ………….then took a fall;
the favourite won…………. by a length and a half.
Pascal hit the bars ………..where he drowned all his sorrows
in bottles of water — ………..some fizzy, some flat.
The bars were identical: …………on all the walls
were posters of winners. ………….He managed a laugh.

……………………………………………………………………………*****

Cartographic Ontology
by Peter J. King

………….a map is an image
…………………..that stresses an object
………………………………………………..a region
………………………………………………………a theme
…………..a map may be still …………………………….a map may be moving
……..be printed on paper……………………………………… or flashed on a screen
may last for a lifetime …………………………….may die when the monitor fails

what is mapped may be real …………………..what is mapped may be fantasy
mountains and rivers …………………………………………………………the borders of states
……the map may be flat …………………………….may have all three dimensions
………….be concrete……………………………………………………………… be abstract
……………be coloured……………………………………………………………… be plain
…………………….independent of Earth  —  modelling paradise
………………………………………..fabric of surface
………………………………………………unique

……………………………………………………………………………*****

“One Has to Wander through All the Outer Worlds to Reach the
Innermost Shrine at the End” — Qiu Zhijie
by Peter J. King

the architecture of imagination
planned and labelled; columns,
porticoes, and many-storied architraves

and in ……………archaic atlases the spouting krakens
……………………….challenge G.P.S. to take us
……………………….where our hopes and fears are birthed

where ………………………….archaeologists with trowels
……………………………………..and soft-haired brushes
……………………………………..sift the myths from dust

is this ………………huge archipelago of interlinked and
…………………………layered archetypes a puzzle
…………………………meant to draw us on

an archway from mundanity
to every known escape — into
an archive full of dreams?

……………………………………………………………………………****

Simon of Cyrene helps to bear the cross
from The Stations of the Cross
by Peter J. King

Only that his reasons for climbing have
blurred; that he can’t remember past
his mother’s face. He’s too crowded; he can
feel the fingers of the people round him
pluck at him (the people round him are too
far away to reach, but this one reaches);
glances have become too readable.
He has no reason for this assent —
he nods, though, letting one approach,
allowing borders he let flash fire
fall a while.
…………………..It was, perhaps,
the only bundle of reactions he reached out to.
A silence of the silent contact sparked his
own preoccupations, melding into three
distinct components, all unrecognised (and largely
unremarked).
……………………….He feels few needs, now, but
is too aware of it. He needs to know that
this is right, but contact takes his barrier
and twists it, warps the map
from which he works.

And he can’t know the scale is slightly out,
that maps’ and landscapes’ meetings are
unlikely; he refers to one or to the other,
never noticing the two together — if he’d
noticed them together, this connection, this
assistance he accepts, would surely have been
hampered, would have been delayed at least.
Probably he’d not have started.

……………………………………………………………………………****

Maps Are A Foreign Language
by Gene Groves

I can’t translate them.
Is that north or south?
Should I turn the map around
to help me?
Where are we? The A what road?
If that’s a dog leg
do we go left or right at the end?
I stare out of the car window
in a desperate search for a road sign,
easier to decipher.
Trees obscure everything
till we approach a junction.
Five ways, which one to take?
I’m no use at all.
Pulled up, map grabbed and scrutinised
I’m told we should have taken the other left,
back there.
Now where are we?

………………………………………………………………………………….*****

Like Water
by Gene Groves

… and so history issues from geography in the same way that water issues from a spring:unpredictably but site-specifically. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, Robert Macfarlane. Penguin Books.

This old map with its colours
muddied by time, traces boundaries,
each fence a nail in a coffin,
the places, tainted or lauded.

Bayreuth and Wagner,
Zurich and banks,
Salzburg and Mozart,
Nuremberg and trials.

Cartographers outlined land,
threaded rivers through countries,
yet water goes where it wills,
ignores borders.

…………………………………………………………………………………….*****

Laniakea
by Peter Clive

(Written in response to the release of a map of the Laniakea supercluster of 100,000 galaxies, of which our Milky Way is one)

Kick the tin of confetti over the cliff.
Watch. The wind whips it up.
Watch the updraft celebrate nuptials
that never happened,
nuptials between no-one
in the nowhere past the precipice’ brink.
Watch the wind take those little scraps
dancing off into the distance.
Imagine written on each
are the hopes and dreams and memories
of an entire world.

All our riches are borrowed from oblivion.
Distant cosmic cataclysms are their mint.
We raise our telescopes to the sky
and lay beams of light across the earth
for neutron stars to strum across the epochs
but our retinas remain a precipice
beyond which we cannot pass. We see stars
strewn across the abyss of indifference,
galaxies thronging along its sinews,
and caught in the folds of its membranes
as they are stretched over the palpitations
that heave the universe into being,
as though it was an animal
as eager and desperate to live as us.

We are the animal that lies, and thinks
the world must change to fit our lies.
The only words we are capable of hearing
must carry the hallmark of our deceit,
as we insist the world measures up
to our abject inability to describe it,
as we condescend to the universe
by making jewelry from atoms of gold
forged in the death of stars.

We can no longer lie when we see this.
We can no longer lie when we behold
Laniakea.

Take off your trinkets,
your embellishments,
and drop them to the ground.
Dishevel your hair.

Derange all ornament.
Tarnish the silver,
and beat the gold.
Pull a blade across the canvass
where you thought
you caught a likeness.
Throw your stool
through the stained glass
of your most cherished
and reassuring dogma.
Confound all the theories.
Rip up all the maps.
Stand naked and alone
at the edge of the precipice.
Cast those lies to the wind.
Toss them like confetti over the cliff.
Let the wind take them where it will.
Embrace the nuptials of nothingness.
Become no-one and everyone,
living nowhere and everywhere,
owning nothing and everything,
in the celestial commonwealth
of Laniakea.

………………………………………………………………………….*****

Scan
by Pat Edwards

Like a map of all the guts it takes
to drive a heart, lungs, kidneys,
the mesh of grey and white
hides pathways to places
no one wants to go.

Turn a corner to cells not yet lost.
Climb a peak to view tributaries
carrying who knows what.
Search out caverns where
there may be growth.

When they get you up on screen,
they talk about you as if you weren’t there.
They talk about your masses and your shadows,
your chances if they were to make
diversions, alter your landscape.

All I hear is the voice saying
hold your breath,
then,
breathe normally.

…………………………………………………………………*****

How We Will Read The Maps
by Claire Walker
 

We will unroll each crumpled piece,
lay them out across the table,
set four stones, hold every corner safe.
Here he will show me, here, and here –
nautical miles sailed will swirl
beneath his thumbprints, and I will feel
seasick for the span of his hands. 

He will point to the deepest places,
nights where water swallowed coasts,
where storms stretched wild arms
and islands were lost.
He will signpost markers on his body
where waves swarmed over, battered the hull.  

I will turn the lantern lower,
hold his face steady in the lull of our room.
Breeze will sway outside our window,
a gentle touch against an inland sky.
Here, I will show him, here, and here, is home.

……………………………………………………………………….*****

The Culbone Stone
by Penny Sharman

I still have that photo of you and me
holding the inscribed stone, the golden
light of the moment, the circle of trees
in the glade.

This map`s a bit like my brain,
strips of ordnance, pretty patterns
of green woods, red and yellow roads,
unclassified lanes and footpaths.

I’ve tried to piece them together
but the edges don’t match.
The brown contours indicate
valleys and hills, the blue lines water.

I love all these names: Weirwood Common,
Stent Hill, Lillycombe Ho. I must have
walked their way. I remember County Gate,
the viewpoint, vistas to sea and Exmoor.

I know the smell of open spaces where sheep
and wolves sniff at Cloud Farm, Quarter Burrow,
and Porlock Weir. I’ve tramped over old roots
in the Worthy Wood.

In the Doone Valley weren’t those hens
pecking at our feet, pestering thoughts,
scratching at your serene face,
at my ridiculous fears?
……………………………………………………………….*****

Tate Liverpool
by Penny Sharman

I`m on the fourth floor
where the roof plays
a drum beat with the wind.

The Mersey is all stirred up,
the dirty brown and choppy waves
make it look like the sea.

It`s big and wild and I`m a bird
looking down at Birkenhead as
she glows in sunlight.

The ferry ramps are empty
and the Liver bird stands like
a lost colossus waiting for

any updraft or zephyr to unwrap
her pterodactyl instincts to fly,
to soar above this water.

………………………………………………………………………….*****

Being near St David’s
Y Maen Saffir
by Penny Sharman

I hear the bells every morning in my bed at Wdig cottage.
A reminder to get up, a nudge from a spiritual heritage,
when monks walked barefoot and drank only water.
There was no tea or latte, no hot buttered toast.

A pilgrimage is carried across this peninsular,
through the farmhouse door into our dormant psyches.
Just like the dormouse in the field or teapot we can
wake up in time for tea.

Yesterday we walked with sore feet from door to door
to feel those lost vibes, to listen to unheard tongues
of carved green men on chair backs on a rood screen
or high vaulted ceilings.

But my hallelujahs caught me by surprise, slapped my face
at the humble wooden altar that holds a relic. The unpolished
sapphire stone, a portable healing rock carried from one holy land
to another.

We placed our fingers on the worn down stone to soak up
any miracles remaining, to feel the force as the breath
of another tourist rested on the hairs of my neck, disturbed my peace,
my connection to the past.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Danes Dyke
by Penny Sharman

There are sea otters that splash and sniff
the pong of salty seashores, between the wracks
and egg bladders, wet algae that holds fast to
limestone pavements.

You can see them in quiet light fishing
in pools of dabberlock and thong weed,
where fronds and air bladders dance
the incoming surf and flotsam.

This beach is hard sand and white pebbles,
limestone jewels of worn holes, full of emptiness.
How many hands have shovelled stone to build
this bank and ditch in Dark Ages?

How many generations of alaria sculenta have listened
to ancient tales of civilisations around Danes Dyke?
How many edible weeds, the badderlocks, winged kelp,
and wavy lamina on this shoreline know their stories.

There are sea otters that splash and sniff
the pong of salty seashores between hoards
of wet brown and green algae, the landscape
of a fishy heaven.

…………………………………………………………………………….*****

The Peach Light
by Penny Sharman

I think the light, the peach light hitting the farm buildings
is the dawn as it rises once more in the pitch landscape.

There are no stars or moons.

I can’t hear any owls or foxes gnawing or busying themselves
with the night. The painting is pitch, the black tar of sky.

If I were to voice an idea from the smallest upstairs window
into the quiet black, who would hear such a noise.

There are no stars or moons.

There are no human ears in this pitch, only a camouflaged adder,
a sleeping grasshopper, or sea eagle that waits for dawn.

There are no bat echoes to pick up my callings.

………………………………………………………………………..*****

The Wood in the Rain
by Susannah Violette

clay, as clay will
fitted itself to us

the umbrella of our bodies
a nest beneath of folded legs

rain sweetened mushrooms
swoon swoon in their dresses

spruce cut his brawn to give blood
and pitch to build an ancient story
on the tips of our fingers, sticky

the wood works hard
to give us what we came for

we shed suffering in sighs
quiet as listening birds

our voices are leaves

the essence of amber
glued the forest map

to our needy skin

……………………………………………………………………………***** 

Map
by Susannah Violette

a pattern realized, made manifest

true as the ravines and inclines
on aging skin

we walk here, the moon our cool torch
we night-read like palmists

I’m certain in the creases fanning out from your eyes
that grief can’t touch us

here, in this territory
where I pin my soul to your lapel

where I gift wrap shadows
into brightly coloured birds

singing mystery as if that was all they are
and all they will be

the map of you is how I orient

my pain embedded in the distant north

but joy lashed to the south of you

……………………………………………………………………*****

Checkpoint
by Oz Hardwick

He has forgotten his destination, but finds himself at a checkpoint between a country he didn’t know he was leaving and a country that isn’t labelled on his fold-out map. It’s a question of scale and worn creases, and the usual guns waving him off the bus, casual as handkerchiefs or flowers. There is nothing but a card table beside the road, with two men in uniforms the colour of the horizon, sifting luggage and stamping visas, checking receipts and loose change. The day is neither hot nor cold, neither here nor there, and there is only road to distinguish ground from sky. He joins the back of the queue and checks his papers – passport, doctor’s note, driving licence, swimming certificate, current CV, unsent postcards – but no visa, and insufficient cash to bribe officials; and as the two men in uniforms sift and stamp, sift and stamp, he wonders what they are looking for, and thinks of his own backpack, with its sleeping bag and week-old washing, the Kerouac paperback, the A5 Moleskine and hotel pens; and, bought for a blackbird’s song from a shoeless refugee, the fourteenth-century altarpiece of St Dymphna, slim sword jutting from her surprised throat, still smelling of frankincense and prayer. The seasoned oak panels are heavy on his shoulders, towering over him, casting a weak but inescapable shadow. There is just one person left in front of him, a nondescript woman with a cockerel and a loaf of rye bread, and he is sure that there will be rules about antiquities and devotion. Already the driver’s started the bus, and the other passengers are looking at him out of the window, fingering beads and crossing themselves. As casually as his conscience will permit, he swings his bag onto the card table, which sways slightly under the weight of painted oak, seven hundred years, and the beliefs he has never quite shaken through years of travel. As one, the two men look up, meeting his eyes.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Nightfall
Ricarda Huch, Germany 1864-1947
Translated by Timothy Adès

I love the hour of the last glow of light,
When heaven turns to elderflower-white
And all that was divided is at one,
Seeing no sense in quarrel and affray.
Blurred are the hamlets on the brown hill steep;
The jarring cries of day are doused in sleep;
The peaks become a sea whose billows run
Quiet and dark and mighty on their way.

…………………………………………………………………*****

The Importance of Maps
by Finola Scott

I like to know where I stand
in relation to .. well to what’s at my back,
to where my feet are
on shifting sand or hog-backed drumlin?

I like to know where I stand
in relation to that inset box of Shetland,
to quivering ley lines, to disused mines.
How far is the slicing equator?
Where does the polar axis tilt?

I like to know where I stand
in relation to Marmite and anchovy,
to lullabies or pacifiers, to Food banks
and The Great British Bake Off,
to open relationships.

Sat Nav gets you there quickly.
I dawdle on less obvious routes.
I’d like to know where I stand. Should I prepare
for flash floods or roadblocks?

I’d like to know where I stand
in relation to you after all this time.

First published in Algebra of Owls Jan 2017

……………………………………………………………………………*****

Air So Thick
by Myna Chang

April 20, 1935
Oklahoma Panhandle

The chicken coop is 57 steps north of the back porch.

Chickens suffocate easily. We find them, after a dust storm has passed, entombed in drifts of powder-fine dirt. Daddy says the blowing grit blinds them and they lose their way. Even if they make it to the coop, they still might choke. Pulverized earth seeps into their eyes and their beaks and fills them up.

The radio is two steps from Daddy’s chair.

Our farm is inside a bowl. The radio announcer said so after last week’s storm. He called it Black Sunday, though the dirt whipped all the way through Tuesday night. Momma wishes our bowl was filled with soup instead of bone-dry dust.

The barn is 100 steps from the porch, due east.

Daddy strung a rope from our porch to the barn door. He says to use it as a guide when the wind is strong enough to knock us off our feet. The horses need hay and water, whether we can see the path or not. Tie a damp rag around your face to filter the silt, he says, and hold the rope tight.

Momma’s garden is 5 steps south of the kitchen door.

Potatoes and carrots can survive a dust storm. Shovel every speck of blow-dirt away from the leaves as soon as it’s clear enough to see. Plants buried beyond two days die. Momma says remember, Millie, if you’re starving, dig up the roots. Half-grown turnips will keep you alive. Just boil them and drink the pot water.

The kitchen table is 8 steps from my bed.

Powdered silica swirls for days after a storm passes. The air’s as thick inside as out. When your little brother’s chest rattles like a snake, rinse his breath rag. Shelter him under something to block the settling dust. It probably won’t help, Daddy says, but hide under the table with him, anyway.

The clothes line is 25 steps northwest of the back door.

Fabric scraps dry in an hour under the sun. Sheets take all morning. Momma used to say hurry, when a black roller tainted the horizon, hurry and collect everything from the clothesline. Now she says leave it. Little boys suffocate almost as quickly as chickens. Now Momma says cover your mouth, Millie, and run inside. Don’t let the dust fill you up.

………………………………………………………………*****

On the Last Day of my Life
by Milton P. Ehrlich

I’ll be writing and re-writing a poem,
just like I’ve done every day of my life—
hypervigilant as a diving cormorant
and able to rest in perfect stillness,
holding my breath for as long as I can.

I was already dead—
no snapping synapses, no sensitive feelings—
until I heard the murmur of your voice
and inhaled the scent of your skin.

I’ll tattoo your loving touches in invisible ink
and take along a laptop in case they have Wi-Fi—
and stationary to test out my forever stamps.

Let go of the withered leaves on our favorite trees,
there will never be another me or you.
Prepare to take flight through the door I left open.

I’ll send you a map of my location.
Take your time. I’ll wait for you.

…………………………………………………………………..*****

Journeying Our Roads
by Lorraine Caputo

What do travellers do
during a bus ride from
one destination
to another?

Some fall into conversations
with a neighbor,
exchanging tales.

Others write in journals
or write poems, the script
jumping with each bump
in their road.

Some take the time to read,
savoring their mother tongue
so far from home.

Another counts the stitches
of rough wool yarn, wooden
needles clicking, knitting something
for this cold foreign clime.

Some bite a sandwich
or nibble from a bag
of dried nuts and fruits.

& others fall into the oblivion
of jostled dreams
until their new destination
is reached.

………………………………………………………………………….*****

Timeless
by J.S. Watts

Mist flattens land and water;
greying, confusing, devouring.
Plains of yesterday hide under its cloak.
Tomorrow’s hills are crowned.

Within this shrouded landscape
there are places outside of time,
beyond its embrace, its smothering love,
waiting for someone to see.

A tower rears through smoke’s confusion;
built by hands long since
returned to the mist
from which no one escapes.

A church wall, stones raised to the blood
of a god long since dead,
built with the blood of lesser men,
is stained pink in the light of dawn.

The morning sunlight kisses the sleeping knight
on his bed of marble stone.
Her sluttish charms will never disturb
the peace of his eternal dream.

And on the skyline, baptised in light of sundown,
the lone runner, spear in hand,
runs his journey to the three dark oaks:
silhouette in moving amber.

Who of us, those who claim to see,
wants such glory for ourselves?
Do we not make our sacrifice to the god,
our sacrifice in paper and stone,

hoping it will be preserved in places beyond time
and we revealed through its beauty
while hiding, safe in our world of grey,
crying in the night for our want.

…………………………………………………………………..*****

Landscape of Scissors
by Julia McGuinness

They snip his sleep into dreams
where he cannot walk lest his feet
become bladed, bloodied.

He feels sharpness in each step.
Formless possibilities splinter
into choice cuts, scar-edged.

Like God he must divide to make.
Let none stay joined.
The world becomes in fragments.

He sees how hills jag skyline.
Above split roots, trees tesselate air.
Rivers incise dry ground.

Dawn: birdsong shreds silence.
A chime of bells slices time,
summons the parting of sheets.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Futures Imagined
by Hilary Alton

I turned the pages and beheld map after map of futures, some now futures past. Common features were;

  • They were secret futures.
  • Their content was unknown to the people affected.
  • There was no point in sharing the information, there was nothing to be done ahead of time.
  • The mapped futures were catastrophic, to greater or lesser degree, depending.
  • Some are now maps of futures that didn’t happen, or didn’t happen there.
  • Some of the futures are still possible.

……….Map 1.
……….U-boats to be sunk this week. A plan. The reek of men, in too small a space, ears on ……….stalks, sitting ducks breaking sweat.

……….Map 2.
……….Bombing targets for Coventry. Home for tea, blackouts in place, bread and dripping, ……….churchwarden locks up as he leaves.

……….Map 3.
……….Radioactive fallout zones three hours after an attack. Overlapped by so many ……….circles here, no escape, nowhere to run, no point.

……….Map 4.
……….Rise in sea level showing which cities will inundate or sink. Metaphors for all our ……….failures.

……….Map 5.
……….Maps of where the water will run out. Nightmare futures with walls and armed ……….guards, a future strewn with obsolete technologies.

……….Map 6.
……….Maps of the projected spread of future viruses and plagues. All necessary force will ……….be used to contain them.

……….Map 7.
……….Maps of metasteses on my full body PET scan. Small scale disasters, tiny futures ……….gone, local ripples only.

They are the sayers of sooth, the mongers of doom, the divinations of liars and seers, scribes of vested interests, those who make these maps.

But the map is not the territory, remember this, it is but one version of the territory. That territory is a future imagined, is all. Futures are illusory, even those that seem most certain. Some of the people in Coventry choked on a fishbone the day the bombs fell, died in childbirth, or broke their necks falling off ladders.

They write down their visions of the future, these map makers, these men, of where the edges or borders may be. They colour the coastline blue, add dragons where they run out of ideas.

It may not have had to be this way.

It may not have to be this way.

These maps are works of imagination, until the moment that they are real.

Apocalypse now.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Topography
by Kathleen McPhilemy

The names of roads encode the long story:
Castletown to Carrick and the garrison;
Ballylagan, Straid and Legaloy,
but the Irish of Irish Hill long gone;
Calhame –sounds Scottish but could be Danish.
Dour Scots farmers settled the Ollar valley
grazing sheep and cattle under Slemish
where the lonely saint,1 six years a shepherd boy,
served out his exile.
………………………………..Likewise Jonathan2
pressing his horse along the soldier’s path
beside the Six Mile Water to Carrickfergus
and his patron’s well-stocked shelves, felt alone
among those soggy pastures and the uncouth
Presbyterians who shunned his service.

………………………………………………………….*****

Hunting Lizards in the Dark
by Neils Hav

During the killings unaware
we walked along the lakes.
You spoke of Beethoven,
I studied a rook
picking at dog shit.
Each of us caught up in ourselves
surrounded by a shell of ignorance
that protects our prejudices.

The holists believe that a butterfly in the Himalayas
with the flap of a wing can influence the climate
in Antarctica. It may be true.
But where the tanks roll in
and flesh and blood drip from the trees
that is no comfort.

Searching for truth is like hunting lizards
in the dark. The grapes are from South Africa,
the rice from Pakistan, the dates grown in Iran.
We support the idea of open borders
for fruit and vegetables,
but however we twist and turn
the ass is at the back.

The dead are buried deep inside the newspaper,
so that we, unaffected, can sit on a bench
on the outskirts of paradise
and dream of butterflies.

………………………………………………………………………….*****

Women of Copenhagen
by Neils Hav

I have once again fallen in love
this time with five different women during a ride
on the number 40 bus from Njalsgade to Østerbro.
How is one to gain control of one’s life under such conditions?
One wore a fur coat, another red wellingtons.
One of them was reading a newspaper, the other Heidegger
–and the streets were flooded with rain.
At Amager Boulevard a drenched princess entered,
euphoric and furious, and I fell for her utterly.
But she jumped off at the police station
and was replaced by two sirens with flaming kerchiefs,
who spoke shrilly with each other in Pakistani
all the way to the Municipal Hospital while the bus boiled
in poetry. They were sisters and equally beautiful,
so I lost my heart to both of them and immediately planned
a new life in a village near Rawalpindi
where children grow up in the scent of hibiscus
while their desperate mothers sing heartbreaking songs
as dusk settles over the Pakistani plains.

But they didn’t see me!
And the one wearing a fur coat cried beneath
her glove when she got off at Farimagsgade.
The girl reading Heidegger suddenly shut her book
and looked directly at me with a scornfully smile,
as if she’d suddenly caught a glimpse of Mr. Nobody
in his very own insignificance.
And that’s how my heart broke for the fifth time,
when she got up and left the bus with all the others.
…………………………………………………………………Life is so brutal!
I continued for two more stops before giving up.
It always ends like that:…. You stand alone
on the kerb, sucking on a cigarette,
wound up and mildly unhappy.

……………………………………………………………………*****

African Dust
by Maggie Mackay
 

Take Hill Road, Malawi’s most scenic route,
and wind east towards Golomoti’s bustle
on hair pin bends and gradients,
snatch a speckle-glisten
of the ninth largest lake on earth.

Then, at the half-way stretch, to the west,
follow the track into Mganja,
where, on your map, you meet a single rectangle,
the school playground. Hear its wail on winter dust
under giant pylons, wired from Blantyre to Lilongwe.
Boys kick a plastic bag football.

Witness women washing sweat out of cotton
in the Namkokwe’s current, rushing through forest.
No legend for the laughter, the water pump[s gush,
connected back to front, nor the maize monitor,
the one electrical connection to the world.
Forest howls wild beast, star-beds sparkle and wink.
Girls, invisible, scavenge for firewood, wait for marriage.

No cartographer maps chants, campfires or drums
vibrating down bicycle tracks, bodies pulsing.
There’s no coded symbol for traders’ stalls,
their vibrant fabrics of earth and fire,
only blurred images of corrugated roofs,
orange trees amid dust bowls,
a deserted maize mill.

…………………………………………………………………..*****

a familiar map
by Miriam Calleja

if you trace a finger around it
you find that it’s exactly like you heard
the shape of a fish
the smells of caves, the moon
gives off a different kind of light
you don’t see that on the map
it isn’t indexed
and though you know its secrets
you don’t remember how you know
yellow stone recognised
jazz on the stairs
I didn’t show you my poems then
at 3am
now you open atlases and write
about the shape of countries
everything has become familiar to you
an open palm
you’re not sure if you’ve seen
my face, the freckles on my arm
you trace them like a map too
counting the days until you leave

………………………………………………………………………..*****

New Media
by Bridget Khursheed

that boy on Soutra in his old car
nothing is the same

at the lay-by where the farmer drops
the feed from his quad bike

the cows in a circle
waiting quiet

even when the hedge brash is burnt
the windfarms grind

except the one forgotten by the wind
he types out requests to other officers

at home, in Edinburgh
he manages the landscape

until the top squall and windbreak
drop off his shoulders

the right man interviewed on radio
lapwings like waves on the plough

…………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Candle Lamp
by Jane Lovell

I look closer: low grade glass from India,
gilt insignia and a stranger looming in its brass,
a stranger with eyes much wider than mine

we’ve been had, you say, it’s 70s tat

outside a blur of trees, scattered gold,
fence, hedge, fence, ghost sheep pinning down
the floating Earth

I say it doesn’t matter
quietly imagine it fixed on the wall, the light
through bobbled glass far-flung constellations,

the shimmy of flame conjuring journeys
through distant lives

and outside our window, as the days rattle by,
those ghost sheep grazing, their bones
bright phosphorus in the dimming sky.

……………………………………………………………………..*****

Another Paradise Lost
by Marjon van Bruggen

My uncle’s house stood, a fairytale,
where the woods begin.
Many summer vacations I spent between
vague fogs of bluebells that absentmindedly
invested the house in steamy hot days.

I once was sent in winter, when
curdled dollops of snow
flopped slowly from almost invisible
branches of fir trees.

A real wood surrounded this house;
you could get lost in it.
The trees were nameless
homes of jays, foxes, and squirrels.

The path leading to the front door
had an air of leading nowhere
visitors retreated to the village,
thinking of having coffee somewhere safe.

Blackberries and fifty-seven different
weeds had their greedy eyes on the garden
but shriveled each year in flames
only to return unemphatic the next day.

To uphold suburban standards
there should be a garage; there was nothing
but a shed where bicycles cowered
under a leaking roof.

Indoors, all doors were open or else jammed.
Having a bath invited crowds of spiders.
Cats landed on chests with a jump
and a yowl in mid-dream, while
overhead the patter of tiny paws
or dense whirring of wings could be heard.

Many humans always present,
more than you quite expected
living furtive separate lives
in damp rooms.

Meals, haphazardly and elaborate,
happened when abandoning hope,
you had surrendered to bread and butter.

Choirs sang solidly through the masses
of Haydn, abruptly changed
by the jazzy sounds of Louis Armstrong.

Sometimes someone was sent out
to forays, to return with fifteen
kinds of liver sausage but no sugar.

The house provided happiness ___
The council decided there should come
a long line of black asphalt
called progression, a highway.

The house and the wood disappeared.
The people, bereft and unhappy left
to vanish in a big city.
Uncle died shortly after.
The children grew up and went to school.

…………………………………………………………………..*****

Somewhere
by Priscilla Long

I’m off the map, nowhere,
boyfriendless, broken up.
At this jolly party, somewhere
in a holler in Kentucky,
I raise a shotgun, shoot
the pitched tincan to watch it ping
and jerk, drop to the mountain
rising straight up in your face
out the back door. I pass
the shotgun to someone.
I’m a good shot, a stranger
in a new job. The map inscribes
waters and sorrows. I’m not drunk,
not on wine, not on poetry.
My despair perfumes the air.
This map bewilders its brook,
its hickory stick and river
stone. Erased in the crease
the road out. An old-time banjo
hangs on a clapboard wall:
Ain’t no use to sit and cry
We’ll be angels by and by.
Sweet words I think
decades later, having a smoke
on a park bench by a river
in a city whose name I know.

………………………………………………………………..*****

Cold War
(inspired by a true story)
by Ashley Harrison

Soviet Research Outpost. Antarctica. 1974.

Fifty-six below zero. If our pilot turns the engines off, he won’t be able to get them started again. It’s agreed he’ll stay with the plane while the rest of us—a five-man inspection team operating under U.S. diplomatic cover—trudge across the hardpack to meet our Soviet hosts.

As we approach Vostok Station, we’re greeted by a team of the nicest Russian scientists you could ever hope to meet. Even though they know we’re actually spooks—and they know that we know they know—they don’t appear to give a damn. It’s as if they truly believe they have nothing to hide.

Inside the habitat, it’s time for the traditional exchange of gifts. Before leaving McMurdo, we’d stuffed our snow pants and parkas with as much contraband as we could carry. Now, as the layers come off, we hand out the miniature bottles of Jack Daniels, the packets of playmate trading cards, the Puerto Rican cigars—which we insist are superior to the Cubans they can get back in Moscow. Our hosts, in return, haul out the vodka, the pickled herring, borscht, stroganoff, blinis, and caviar. One of the scientists raises a shot glass and toasts our arrival. Everyone drinks. Even me, who never—or rarely—touches the stuff. The alcohol hits me in the head like a blast of hot sand, and it occurs to me I’m drinking at six-thousand feet above sea level. Not a good idea.

As the celebration carries on, I casually make my way to the door, throw on my parka, and grab my 35mm “sightseeing” camera. When no one is looking, I slip out through the heat-lock and begin my search for the little building with the retractable roof.

#

It’d been nearly two months since I’d spotted the damn thing in a satellite photo. That was my job as the division’s geographer: analyze hundreds of reconnaissance satellite images every day and report anything out of the ordinary. It was understood that—despite the fact that the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 specifically prohibited military activity anywhere on the continent—the Soviets had a nasty habit of operating outside the bounds of international law.

When I came across this strange-looking building in a recon photo of Vostok, I showed it to my chief. I explained that, if the roof was indeed retractable, it could indicate the presence of an FSOB guidance transmitter. Fractional Orbital Bombardment System warheads could then be directed at North America down over the South Pole, thereby outsmarting NORAD’S north-facing early warning system. My chief instructed me to write a paper. Sure enough, it shot straight up the chain of command and landed on the President’s desk.

#

So here I am, crunching through the snow at the bottom of the world, looking for proof that I was right.

It takes over an hour to find it. A small building about a hundred yards beyond the drilling rigs. The size of a large garden shed. But it’s the roof that gives it away.

I take out the 35mm and start shooting. Then, with my heart kicking in my chest, I grab hold of the door latch and pull.

When I see it, I don’t know what to think or how to feel. Elation, because I was right? Horror, because the other side has forged a new path toward mutually assured destruction?

The guidance transmitter is mounted on a turret, with VEB Robotron-Elektronik printed in large black letters on the side. East German. Roughly the size of a refrigerator, but cylindrical. It’s basically a photographic telescope. But its most impressive feature, its raison d’être, is its ability to project a narrow beam of radio signals as far out as the earth’s thermosphere, where an R-36 ballistic missile might happen to be passing by, in desperate need of a course correction.

I stand in the open doorway for a minute—maybe two—getting shots of the transmitter and the underside of the roof. The mechanism for retraction is partially visible from this angle. Purely mechanical. Hand-operated with a crank. Such a simple device to conceal a such a sophisticated piece of electrical engineering.

I squat and point up at the mechanism, trying to get it all on film. A little lower. Not good enough. I have to go all the way down, lying on my back in the snow. Just a few more shots. That’s all I need.

Then…

Crunch.

Crunch.

Boots. In snow.

I look up at this Russian guy standing over me. He asks what I’m doing, and all I can come up with in Russian is, “Hey there! What is this thing?”

He doesn’t answer me right away. He just looks at me, like he’s weighing his options. When he finally does speak, he claims he doesn’t know what it is. Something to do with geodesic experiments. Not his department. He tells me my colleagues are looking for me. That our plane must take off now, or we’ll run out of fuel on our return-flight to McMurdo.

I thank him with a firm clap on the shoulder, and run as fast as I can back to the landing strip.

#

As we fly over Victoria Land, headed toward McMurdo Sound, I cradle the 35mm in my lap and look out the window at this strange, treeless landscape. And although I can barely feel my face from the prolonged exposure to the cold, I’m pretty sure I’m grinning from ear to goddamn ear.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Vital Capacity : Residual Volume
By Steve Smartvital capacity-residual volume_large #2

………………………………………………………………..*****
Compass
by Joseph Murphy

To the west, everything is hushed, clouded. Seams
split; doors smashed open.

I watch a mountain top repel words
death had fashioned
from the grime of its forehead.

But when I speak, flowers cascade
through the trough of my memories;
when you speak,
our memories join; disembark
from fear.

Anything can happen for those who wonder.

Right here, a window is open; a book
is laid aside, and dreams
splash down the legs of my chair.

Lightening shed its abandoned thoughts,
here, while my radio played.

I shook them from sleep,
as the fan turned,
while lightening
swallowed a mote of dust
that anchored my throat to the world.

Anything can happen for those who imagine.

In the east, along a sunny path,
mirrors reflect fabulous histories,
tenderness and love; a lost chest
is found, reopened.

What was in shadow beams with light; malice
is repented; wounds rectified.

To the north and south, bells ring, riderless horses
trot across the heavens:
clouds murmuring, swelling
as women holding scented herbs look on;
as I look on;
as other men’s open hands fill with light;
as the world spins
along the edge of a coin.

Much beckons to those who appreciate the invisible.

How wonderful to breathe cool air, right here,
as rain falls
and shadows of the unborn
mingle on the nib of my pen.

…………………………………………………………………………..*****

Take The Map
by Carol Moeke

I’m glad a map doesn’t have a voice
to boss me left or right.
It leaves the choice to me to fathom
the way to destination.

I’m glad a map folds into creases
frayed by fold unfold.
It never ceases to satisfy
when it packs back in line.

I’m glad a map settles me
into how it used to be
before it ever mattered to me
to know how change took hold.

I’m glad a map hangs on the wall
framed by lines and colour,
claiming the world  is tamed
with names and borders.

I saw a map,
an Escape Route in case of fire.
It called me to follow, explore
where I’d never been before.
I  went and got lost. Long corridors,
winding stairs, alarmed doors,
all caused confusion, panic, desperation.
If I’d taken the map I would have been glad.

………………………………………………………………………*****

Keld
By Carol Moeke

Eight hours of walking, shirt’s stuck to your back,
legs become leaden, feet almost on fire;
turning the corner – it’s the final track –
each bend and boulder takes the path higher.
Lungs protesting, knees giving up the fight,
this altitude’s the element for swifts
but flightless humans? Hoving into sight
the resting place for weary bones: mood shifts.
Two dozen dwellings, a pair of chapels
(recycled for living) – that makes up Keld,
folded into the crease where sky greets fells,
and birdsong and waterfalls sing like bells.
Boots off, bath running. Outside a swallow
invites us; come the morning, we’ll follow.

……………………………………………………………………………*****

Flookborough Footpath
by Hannah Stone

A fingerpost invites, but doesn’t explain:
you may walk here, but don’t ask where you’re heading.
The tractor tracks and sheeptrails know their way;
walkers must scan the walls for covert field styles.
The rain-rinsed morning sky glows and shimmers
above the sleek treachery of Morecombe bay,
where damasked sands twist sunlight, sand and water
into uncharted, but enticing scenes.
On Humphrey Head, the wind has bullied the trees
for so long they’re hunched in protest.
And here, a human hand has subjugated living stems –
a pleached hedgerow submits to a new role

…………………………………………………………………………*****

The Map
by Megha Sood

“A ship that sails without a compass will get lost at sea.”
…………………………………………………………….― Matshona Dhliwayo

The cluttered thoughts
in my tangled mind
begging for the sunshine
to make their way through
the cobwebs of uncertainty
and slippery steps of the doubts

I precariously chose my way
out of here
through the dark alleys of the doubts
those treacherous lanes
where I always get lost
looking for my way out
hoping to get in the right direction

I have lost the map
jumping the hoops of the
rules and regulations
in the patriarchal society
filed to the brim
with its naysayers
with their sardonic mouths
and their grim faces

I’m learning to weave
spun and crochet
a map to my heart
and a pathway to my soul
before I finally get lost

 ……………………………………………………………………..*****

Driving Through a Small Town in New Hampshire on Saturday Night, Labor Day Weekend
by Tom Daley

I want sand to scour
my scribbles, want to return
home through towns

where gas stations
keep their pumps
lit all night. Where maps

keep the secrets
the satellites will not spill,
where grey is a formula

and not a remedy. I want
to pass through a small town
rife with purloiners

of exotic painkillers,
where pharmacists snore
in the gated boneyard,

where war and influenza
keep the steeples
shined. In the starless

night, the kettle ponds
should give the sky back
with the taste of bootblack.

The wind takes its cat claw
and streaks the maple trunks,
splices the gossip

from the party lines. Tomorrow’s
Sabbath-violating rummage
sale signs glow and curl

with dew. An oncoming
pair of headlights forms
the fork of an omen

that another death
is coalescing on an opposite
coast, one more

tribulating than all
the tithes suffered
by this sleeping town.

…………………………………………………………………….*****

Atlas: Corner of Norfolk & Bishop Allen
by Tom Daley

Yellow the followbrick walls
and the blackened orange shag burn
North Northwest to the denim stains
drywalling where we somersaulted
the night after the giant and the home movies

What’s a windowscreen if not for the neighborhood
size-queen colts to scratch late at night
(It was either you or the porn mag)
it was either the hoodlums with chisels
or the roommate all ratty
in a disheveled silk dressing gown
bitter over how they cancelled Lucy
faithful as cocktails to Fred Rogers
lingering at the door for his wrestling match

In the southern corner of the kitchen
orange chicken and powdered onion soup suppers
lavished on the hunky new boyfriend
who’s surprised by your mime of Carol Merrill

Fancy the squeamish upstairs gospel solo
who begs you to de-mouse the bathroom
and later bemoans the Eurythmics
bellowing from hooks in her floorboards

Fancy the roommate hankering
for the salon of the jazzy polemic
for the gossip of the lavender Leninists
(she chitters like a squirrel between smoke puffs)

The red and yellow posters slapped on red brick
with evaporated milk in Central Square
pledge the eighties will show up the Depression
as picnic figment, deviled egg, ant’s holiday

Round the corner’s the label of the Alsatian Riesling
on sale in the window of Libby’s Liquors
the one with the smoke full of whiskers
with pepper and sweet little whistles
the afterburn of pollen lit in a German dialect
though the French are still strafing the vineyards

…………………………………………………………………………*****

Aphorisms for Private Property, Central American Style
by Tom Daley

Shock dries every anthem.
When the cob matures,
bend the stalk. There you have
a trellis for the red bean vines.

If they are no longer teaching
cursive, how will the pestered farmers
anticipate the wormy toxins
of land reform?

Capital evolves only when
the fungus evades the surplus.

The road to a tin roof
is paved with the prolixity
of dogs bred for their nose
for wronged compost.

A flattened plastic bottle
viewed from the air-conditioned bus:
wet ink smeared in the bulletins
warning of intensifying drought.

Page after page carries you
to subtlety, to the red neck
caught like a blister
in the comfort zone’s pillow.

Beauty squires a spare betrothal
between runoff and suffering.

…………………………………………………………………..*****

States of the Union
by Tony Press

He told me he hadn’t seen New York since he was a boy of ten “and that was thirty years ago.” I’d have guessed fifty; hell, I would have be fifty years, but I didn’t say anything. I’ve never even been to New York, much less reach the stage where forty looks like sixty. I’m twenty-two and have the ID to prove it, which I had just done so I could buy a frigid bottle of Point.God, there is nothing like a dripping-cold Point right out of the fridge, especially if the fridge is set at seriously cold. I’ve been in Wisconsin long enough to know that Pointis thebeer of choice. For me, anyway. You could almost say it wasthe point, but if you did somebody would think you were trying to be a smart-ass and they’d probably be right.

“What I remember most,” he said, “about those days, was watching the Mets on television. They had this beer commercial that they played over and over: ‘Schaefer, The One Beer to Have When You’re Having More than One!’ I think that’s why I went in to this profession.” I’d never thought of bartending as a profession, but hey, why not? He clearly knew his way around the bar, I’d seen him in action – even though I never ordered anything more complicated than beer – and he knew the laws, and checked for ID’s and stuff. My ID is legit, by the way, though for years I carried a variety of less-than-honorable paperwork.

Anyhow, I was sitting on an uneven stool on a Monday afternoon, nothing much going on in this Beloit bar whose name I can never remember, still a couple of hours from the Monday Night football game that would pack the place, just shooting the shit with Francis (that’s his name). I’d be gone before the masses arrive. I like beer and I like football, too, but I avoid merging the two with a bunch of guys who think they could be playing smash-mouth like the pros on ESPN. I played junior varsity in high school; well, I got on the field for about three minutes each game, usually at the end when we were behind by thirty points, and that was enough for me. Besides, the Chargers weren’t playing tonight.

Why we were discussing New York I’m not sure. Maybe it had started with the faded New York Giantspennant on the wall but I don’t think so. It was a cool piece because it was for the old baseball Giants, not the current football ones. The walls were covered with pro and college pennants though they were mostly green ones that said Green Bay Packers. And the dozen or so red ones that said Wisconsin.

There was also a metal placard that looked like a no-parking sign you’d see outside except that it cautioned Drink Wisconsinbly.Cautioned, or urged.

Francis not only hadn’t seen the Big Apple since he was ten, he hadn’t once made it out of thisstate since then. Really? I was beginning to like Wisconsin, definitely, after only a few months, but to be here and only here for that long? No. Thank you very much, but no. While he was dealing with another customer I reviewed my own trail and figured I could claim nine states that I had actually lived in, including six different ones where’d I’d gone to school, whether elementary, high, or that college-thing. And to get into and out of those states I’d have crossed a whole bunch of borders and time zones. If the bar’s faded and stained Rand McNally map of the USA, which I had just noticed up on the wall behind the bourbon, was as accurate as my memory, then I must have set foot in at least thirty of our fair states.

“Equally incidentally,” Francis said, to me or to the other guy or to himself, but loud enough for all of us to hear, “equally incidentally, my parents were actually both born in Kentucky, but they met at Rikers Island. That’s a New York jail with like, ten thousand people locked up in there. Mom was a guard. Ironical, isn’t it?”

I couldn’t disagree. I settled in and raised my hand for another.

………………………………………………………………….*****

Finding Elkhams Grave without a Map
by Karen Jane Cannon

Breaking through holly trees—a small stream busily swaying its way across the Anthropocene, countless shifting stones, polished memorials to the dead. I was looking for a barrow like the one at Stoney Littleton—a huge eye towering over farmland, the living held by a gaze. Once I crawled inside its dark chambers, felt the o(h!)verwhelming weight of earth above, saw a panoramic view of the living across the valley, it’s every stage of growth and harvest. A great stone stood across its opening, blinking for each new set of bones—a procession of flaming torches illuminating the way up. Everything is

lost—the old bones, the sad souls who carried them to rest, now rest too. Loss a preoccupation of the living—the dead know their place, earth and stone mark nothing
you can locate without S(OS) coordinates.

Crossing heath and marsh strewn with the bones of burnt gorse, the silence broken by rumbling belly moans of bovines. A sheen of water shimmers, tiny stars of celandine underfoot, a single bell of heather tolls.

We couldn’t find it—the way-marker, quiet and unexplained, somehow hidden in a forest that keeps its heart to itself. No footpaths as visual clues to lead us on this journey across millennia.

Towards Tiptoe—the sun a burning globe, turning the forest to dapple and bright spots. A wide stream glints under silver birch, hoofprints lead to the edge, out the other side. We kick off boots, carry them across, toes disappearing into pebble, the water clear, calf-deep and cool. A circle of water, the crossing point, the sacred divide.

Climbing steeply, old pony tracks, protective briars spilling berries and thorns. Stopping to look back, how high we’ve come, from marshy valley floor to a close-cropped slope, footprints fading to dust.

At the top we stop—are we treading on ancient bones, long since given up the secret of marrow? No gaping eye—no view down, somehow hidden behind a copse of dogwood. We sit and catch our breath.

Here is death—not the land in perpetual harvest, but the laying to rest. Nothing man-made far as the eye can see—only heath and trees, the unfolded map of sky, a slipping back into place.

In the land above the twisting streams we salve sorrow with feathery yarrow, u.n.t.i.e the laces of your hold.

*Elkhams Grave is the name of a round barrow in the New Forest. It is marked on the OS map, but there is very little information available about it.

………………………………………………………………..*****

Taking the Coast Road
by Ann Howells

Our driver, color of espresso
and quite as enervating,
provides commentary
to groggy rumpled passengers,
a baritone of springy consonants.
Like a Paris taxi he is all gas and brake,
swerves past cars: old, older, oldest.
Past goats, bicycles
and one turbaned old man
whose donkey has stalled mid-road.
This island defines hyperbole.
Houses of haves, a mélange
of serendipitous architecture: turrets,
cupolas, balconies, domes, and spires,
provide an implausible ambiance
that sprawls hillsides. Roadside,
have-nots’ homes flash vibrant gold,
turquoise, apricot, flamingo –
even the rudest boasts a Moorish arch.
Interior mountains produce coffee;
here it’s sugarcane like long-limbed corn.
Hibiscus, ginger lily, every tree
and shrub glows, festooned
in exuberant yellows and pinks
unimagined north of the Caribbean.
This, then, is Jamaica.
Villages huddle: quiet houses,
then a burst of carnival stalls
and carts pedaling guava,
plantain, mango, papaya,
and the tiny purple Jamaican apple.
Every street is a bazaar, a kaleidoscope
of commerce – business and social.
You doin’ okay, Mon?

…………………………………………………………………*****

Hitch-Hiking
by Nigel Hutchingson

can only be done in colour, starting with
that rainbow side-of-the-road smell of petrol,
dark acids of exhaust and some bright hope

for that day’s destination; roads become
ribbons of steel greys, lexicon of tone changing
with each border crossed,

surface and engine noise colouring your ears,
roadside food tasting of primaries –
egg, bacon, tomato, tea strong as bracken,

afternoon drones with brushstrokes of conversation,
local brick and slab give way to granite and fir,
road twists and turns like a painter’s brush,

muted blues, violets and greens roll
towards diminishing hills, surprising swatches
of sage, slate, straw and heather;

with luck evening will break at the mouth of a pass,
valley pouring to a sea of reflected sky,
sharp and sweet as oranges, roses, memory.

After the painting ‘The Drift Posts’ J D Fergusson

……………………………………………………………………….*****

Stations
by David McVey

On the train to Fort William
station names rasp like corncrakes
forming a throaty Gaelic poem.

Garelochead – the landscape greens,
steepens and becomes the Highlands.
At Arrochar and Tarbet, Ben Lomond
chisels the sky and Ben Arthur is
a gnarled fist.

Crianlarich, just a huddle of Lego
among great hills. Bridge of Orchy
marks the edge of The Moor,
a swelling ocean of peat and rock.

Rannoch Station, a speck of civilisation
on the wild edge, like a 1950s feature
in National Geographic.

We drop from The Moor to Tulloch,
a hill-girt corner, quiet like sleep.
But from Tulloch, Fort William isn’t far.

………………………………………………………………..*****

To Mercy and Back Again
by Ellen Wade Beals

Sundays walking the seven blocks to church,
Mother would pace behind, chanting “out, out,”
to counteract my pigeon toes.

On school days, there’d be the twins, a Molitor or two,
Beth if it was before she went to private school,
perhaps a Biancalana sister, and Jack Riley too.

We’d troop down Sunnyside, scouring the sidewalk
for the little imprints of paving companies
stamped in the cement. We called them “fish”

and it was bad luck to walk in these marked squares
so we’d shout them out like el stops and watch
each other jump, making sure our feet cleared the line.

At an apartment near Whipple
Alphonse in his black leather jacket smokes
in the gangway, looms, so we run to

the next block, the house there clean and ordered.
But again at Albany, a three-flat makes us walk fast,
curtains knotted and basement windows boarded.

Always the same when we turn onto Troy,
we look to the alley and remember how a garbage truck
ran over the appliance box in which two brothers played.

The driver never knew, the nuns said, as if that were a comfort.
Here’s the rectory, its hedge clotted with wrappers, and in a grotto
dank as a zoo cage, open-armed and welcoming– Our Lady.

Going home we traipse down the other side of the street.
By the blond bungalow at Sacramento, we’d pick our way
on those rocks we thought were asteroids, so porous and burnt

they must have flown through space. They poke into our thin
soles but the big thrill of walking that little precipice
was the danger. So much as trip and you were in for a scrape.

A lady keeps her harp in the picture window on Francisco.
Once I tried to vault the mail box there but smacked right into it,
chipping my tooth. I can still hear Superman’s shepherd bark

as I set off, hand over mouth, past Mr. Adler working on his car, up
each scuffed porch step though that heavy wooden door,
its Venetian blinds swinging, clacking like the Ravenswood train.

……………………………………………………………….*****

Mappa Mundi
by Emma Baines

Sunday. Words wake. Foot meets leg –Yours – Husband.
Tucked into the blind spot of my god-eye atlas
where marriage is cartouche.

Circumstance pinned us to this route, to a sheet of paper, ten years on, blank as ever.

You unfold. I, pencilling,
push my body toward something less crumpled than bedding;
lay a whole world flat for compass points: small-detail-synapse-bridges
to span the void across my pillow.
Two people in two dimensions, lie sandwiched between double glazing.

I name this country Sunday,
map a sky not blue or grey or clear or cloudy,
but contoured, waiting to be populated.

All our days are born from story. Words and pictures shaping something like life,
drawn of breath and body; our misunderstandings.

And you, other half, are the one thing I never had words for,
like you took language and put it to music, movement,
the clattering downstairs.

I am seduced by embellishment:
‘green blades shiver like waves across the lawn.’ I am looking for our poetry.

And you betray us. Faithful as a Sunday morning–
two clumsy feet in two shabby slippers.
Two moles snaffle in darkness,
turn the earth with no fixed course.

We scribble.
feel our way for something tangible.

Destination shrinks to Sunday
and a new North is born.

You, clomping, haul children, pin down:
the heart is nothing without the hand. Yours,
……………………….cupping hot coffee on a Sunday.

……………………………………………………………………………….*****

Where’s the Loot, Doolan?
by E. M. Eastick

The blue gum does little to block the sun as I lean against the trunk and sip me tea. Jack lazes a little ways off, dusty boots crossed, arms folded, his crazy eyes lost in the shadow of his hat.

Yesterday was a good craic. The publican earned a generous share of our riches as we celebrated our national day, but as the evening progressed, me mind surrendered to the Guinness and the foot-stomping rhythms of the fiddle, until I was just another drunken Irishman flat on his back in the alley.

The inside of me forearm aches. After the night’s shenanigans, I woke to find crude etchings on me skin, a tattoo that appeared during the night without me noticing.

This morning when I asked Jack about me arm, he shrugged. “They’re closing in, Danny. ‘Tis only a matter of time.” And when I remained confused, he smiled and lifted the billycan from the coals. “Trost me.”

I study the lines and colours staining me skin and wonder if it’s a map. The skull shape hugging the curves of the muscle must be Blackman’s Billabong; Deadman’s Lane meanders to the dip under me thumb; the rise of the wrist, now tinged brown, could only be the Ironstone Ranges; and the blue streaks that snake between me veins must be Plenty Creek, a favourite hideout when the troopers are afoot. But the green stain on the ball of me hand is a mystery. Is it a rocky outcrop, a copse, a cave?

As the sun swings westward, we saddle up. Me arm itches, and me hand throbs as I swing into the leather. When we reach Talisman Gap, we hide the horses and crouch in the scrub to wait for Judge Mackey’s wagon.

The rattle of a harness echoes through the canyon. Jack bounds onto the road, his pistol high. “STAND AND DELIVER.”

Two figures spring from beneath rumpled canvas, and a third launches from the driver’s seat. “Jack Doolan, rogue and scoundrel, surrender your arms, and lead us to the loot, and your life will be spared.” I recognize the voice belonging to Fitzroy. He crouches behind the wagon, his pistol trained on the outlaw planted before him.

“Troopers, Jack. Come away!” I yell from the rocks, but Jack Doolan is not one to run. His pistol explodes and one of the troopers, a man called Kelly, drops to the dust.

Jack spins to the sound of footfall. Davis fires, and Jack crumbles with a shattered knee.

“Where’s the loot, Doolan?” yells Fitzroy.

“Fook you,” screams Jack, wiping spittle from his chin as he struggles to stand.

The last shot pierces Jack’s proud heart, and I watch him keel sideways, dust clouding his face as his cheek hits the ground. His eyes are wide, but the fire is gone.

Fitzroy stands tall by the wagon and scans the rocks where he knows I’m cowering like a mangy dog. “Give yourself up, O’Toole, and we’ll grant clemency.”

I press meself into the stone. The troopers curse Doolan, lament Kelly and then Fitzroy’s voice rises over the clang of chains as he and Davis load the dead trooper’s body onto the wagon.

“What about the other one?” says Davis, his grizzly voice lusty for something beyond justice.

“Forget O’Toole,” says Fitzroy. “Doolan was a selfish bastard; he wouldn’t have told the lad where the loot is.”

“You sure about that?”

“Certain.”

When the wagon finally rattles past, I glare at the marks on me arm, and the mysterious green blur on the ball of me hand. Slowly, I smile at Jack’s foresight—the loot is mine.

Then me face drops when the details of the night before come to me in a flash. Jack’s crazy eyes glint at me from under his hat. His voice is in me ear: “The Hidden Valley is so green, Danny. Just like home. Promise me you’ll bury me there when they finally cut me down. Will you do that for me? I’ll leave you a map.”

That son-of-a-bitch.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Forever
by Agnieszka Filipek

I will love you
in another world
in yet another life
on the map
I will designate
coordinates
of our meeting
a joyful moment
will find us
submerged in time
and will last
eternally
like love
it will lose itself
in the hands of the clock
like lovers
in their bodies
and it will freeze
on our
wedding day

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Black Tulip Summit
by Vasiliki Albedo

In the picture I’m propped
on her shoulders and she’s shooting
my one-year old arms up to a needled
sky as if to sign ‘Victory’.
Her bronze jersey‘s tarnished
with mud from my booties as I
crown her head. My fists
are out of sight inside her
fingers, our outstretched arms
forming a U and a Y
into my father’s unfocused
camera. I am looking
nto the distance
but my mother beams
face-on, her hair shades darker
than my own flyaway curls, not
yet the violent red of my jacket,
but a pale-orange flame, taking a hold.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

A Possession of Moments
by Vasiliki Albedo

Mexico city streams
endlessly through the plane’s porthole, hyper-
real on my phone-camera, lighting up like a heightened
dream.

………………………………………………………………………………...On the OLED
………………………………………………………………TV we played Baraka
..I am here, under a chipped Jesus
…..painted on the mustard wall
……..in an apartment that is really a room
of children bobbing on knees, reaching out
……….to fingerprint the lens’s inurement. They sharpen
…..into focus when I click. ………………………my senses sketched in
……………………………………………..the moments
….Later, monoxide-thick with technicolour
dragsters, hagglers and horns a nighttime
…………………fiesta: swarming tiendas, pungent
with chilli and tacos. I let it all
……….in……………………..the spices, the mountains, the temple
…………………………………………………………I’d visited in Nepal. It looked truer and more
……………………………………………………...serene on screen
……….A river of sewage hooks through
………..the barrio composing itself misleadingly
on the drone’s postcard-picture. …………….which was big enough for every pore to be
……………………………………a pixel I couldn’t see
……….And then the backpacker beach, intensified
…………….by a Danger sign. There are palapas
………..and hammocks. I am chatting
to an American writer over fish con ajo.
………………………………...I wondered if the colour had been boosted
A crowd quickly forms near the water.
……….They bring someone out on a jet ski
………..lay him on the sand, pump his chest as he’s purpling.
……………………………………………………………...the men so vividly
…………………………………………….…..bowing down to their god
………It’s windy, so I can’t hear his wife when she lets out a cry
……………….and slaps him, but I feel her inside me
like a fictional heroine…….I had to pause.
…………………………………………………………There’s a sense
………..of finality. This doesn’t feel real.
……………………………………………….I capture the scene
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Never Compare
Adrianna Zapata

Who else can be me, with hair that coils from my head,
Each strand strong, and coarse, a helmet to my mind
Each springing curl bouncing back those who don’t recognize
It’s greatness. My helmet is glossy, moisturized and impenetrable.

And my eyes, almond shaped, brown like the giving earth,
Eyes that squint with smiles,
Eyes called beautiful, eyes called hypnotizing under a canopy bed
Or forgiving and loving, its depths showing empathy.

My lips I’m told, were sculpted by Venus
Lips that bruise after giving too much
Painted a deep rose pink, and when my lips opened,
Intelligence poured out from its depths.

And my hips, hips one day that will bear infants,
Hips that that twist and turn and dip in dance,
Hips from my mother, and my mother’s mother,
Hips that branch to thighs, strong enough to stand its ground.

Who can say, but me, that her skin can appear exposed
yet beneath my soft barrier, is a chain mail armor
To protect from arrows shot by worthless men who
Would never compare to me.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Words I Wished My Mother Said
by Adrianna Zapata

I’m sorry that your ego runs to hide when I walk in.
There you are, short and scrawny hiding in the corner.
Shameful, like your pay stubs littering the nightstand.

I am not the cause of your lack of motivation–
When did it become my fault you can’t find a job
Or that at thirty-five you’re not ready to commit?

I was not built to make you feel smart,
Or to help you become a better man,
I can’t hold your hand and give you power all at once.

But I’ve made some stupid choices
Because of love I stop, shrink, and swallow myself,
My voice once strong, now stunted but I’m too gone to care.

Before long the playback of my voice is a stranger,
My words are those I don’t remember, I’m changing
I don’t recognize myself in the mirrors I pass.

I’m too tired to be a flame, so instead I ebb.
I’m too young to be this woman, can I stop?
I’m too hurt to try again, but I will.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

The Reality of Love in your 20’s
by Adrianna Zapata

My shift lets out at six, five cities away
You take 40-minute train rides after 14-hour shifts
We find time between work and sleep for a few hours each week
Our I love yous are spoken silently
Through fingertips cupped under my ear tracing circles
Through an arm gone numb under my head
Through the lacing of legs on days when we need sleep.

Our love can be loud sometimes because
We keep it to Thursday nights
So, we sometimes find it in the aisles of supermarkets,
with silly jokes and creaky carriages that pass by cans of tuna
Because even if love wants to spend all day in bed together
I have work in eight hours, and you need sleep before your next shift
And we have gotten good at making Thursday nights
Seem like years
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Yerevan in Winter
by Rebecca Ruth Gould

As we hewed words from the stone tower,
the planets completed their orbit.
Ice cracked & froze.

Our glass walls gazed on the circus below.
Cars sailed through smog.
Buses creaked their way to work.

As we sat secluded in our icy fortress,
the firmaments lit the horizons
that translated our union into words.

I watched you stare into the abyss.
I watched the passage of
the lives we could have lived.

I watched our fates diverge,
& our shadows merge.
I watched the images

from our quarry twist & turn,
then melt like snowflakes
in the crisp morning snow.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

No-land
by Alwyn Marriage

This land is yours, I lay
no claim to what will never
bear my name.

It’s yours because, by accident
of birth, it’s where you first
saw the light of day.

The land I once called mine
has been claimed by terrorists
and laid waste by war.

I fled the only home I’d known
abandoning everything I owned
except my hope and dignity.

Although unsure if you can trust me,
you offer kindness and a welcome
born of sympathy;

so I’ll stay for now, accept your charity,
while longing for the day when I’ll be free
to return where I belong.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Rolling Coverage
by Ian Murray

Stifled maps mutter and twitch like sleepers,
sheets squashed flat as travelogues pile on
to chunk the pictures into lexical code.
On the upside they stay in shape and avoid
breezy blustering and the black folds that rush
like a sand-blow from the Sea of Nihilon.
On that same evil day the ragged margins
enter squares to beg relief and villages and
numberless fields crumble over edges into
a mystic repository or union with the dust.

Florid city blotches breaking out in heat
and sheaves cropped from furrows broken off in
drought are packed in bundles on a soldier’s map.
The grey trowelled on brick – an afterthought.
A road surface doubled back in the sun,
a town diced right across, T-shirt colours pitched
against the spires as hamlet fingers dropped
a glass. The Inca craft of pools, their terraces gelled
beneath a cold commercial cap that could still yield
when rusty shares of anecdotes cut up a crust.

Eskers poured from their mixers have become endlong
ornaments strung on a wiry linen frame.
Lopsided rashers are left piled as hillsides,
in turn carved and devilled by workflows that passed,
chipped and quarried like concentric dishes
next to draining bowls and their blue stranded slops.
But, in passing, a few things were ironed out —
the crooked coastlines flexed by pre-modernists,
the lochs that dried on their way to print and wells
left uncapped in glens of creativity.

Picks from cabinets are laid out side by side.
Glowing stations tied to a track at twilight
are now blank rounds lidded and stitched with trees.
The roadways hide their scars with overflown tattoos
on dumb brash shoulders next to buzz-cut woodland
The vertigo of symbols, a mash of hearts,
spirals in time like a Mandelbrot trip. Saved
from strain, the trap of scale, the walker’s muddy hand,
now each is scanned by an audience of one.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Waymarks
by Mantz Yorke

 Don’t worry, he said, as the fog thickened
on the top of Scafell Pike. If you can’t see
the cairns marking the way down to Seathwaite,
to reach Sty Head all you do is follow the trail
of junked drink cans and plastic packs

 These waymarks, though, won’t last for long: folk
will bring grabbers and bags to collect the trash
the few who’ve so carelessly climbed the Pike
have inconsiderately left behind.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Heartwood
by Kathy Miles

These pages: long unopened, a flimsy crackle
of leaves that tense against the spine,
ochred from the shop’s forgotten shelves.
A sinter of melded forests, how fragile
it is, how brittle. I should know better,
and yet unfold the book against its will.
And the perfect binding breaks,
snapped back like a sprung lock.
Poems lose their bearings, go racing
round the room like scattered birds.

There is no map for trees. But held
in the memory, perhaps a twist of bough
that marks the lane where you
turn again to your own place.
Held in the threnody of wind,
in the starlings’ hefted code.
Each twig and latticed branch
tuned to the rook’s sharp compass,
the geodesy of a blackbird’s eye.

So hold them while you can.
Feel that woody hug, smell sugary sap,
let their cells mutate your flesh
into leaves and bitter acorns.
Enter the trunk. Count whorls and rings,
peel back the door of bark. Step inside.
And see how a black hole opens up,
sucks you into the heartwood,
down past taproot and bedrock
to the iron-nickel core, where landscapes
are forming in an artery of fire,
and a kenning is forged
from the glowing trope of furnace.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Transverse Orientation
by Colin Bancroft

Vega declined at 39° – so Columbus knew
That he was north of the Equator,
West-bound, dead reckoned
By the angle of light thrown down
hjAnd the twitching finger of the compass.

Around the candle the moth oscillates,
Dragged into a highly elliptical orbit
By the fulminating frequencies of light,
A luminescent signal that love
Draws, fires, expends.

The road signs on the A1
Read like roll call:
Wetherby, Richmond, Piercebridge.
Somewhere in the ember glow of the village
Our house lights burn, waiting
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Waiting for the Megabus
by Barry Fentiman-Hall

An athlete in official training top
Is warming up for the off
Stretching, his eyes to the sky, angelic
Like a statue of a soldier called to god

An old Leeds couple banter
Over who had the last cake
“I didn’t want you to be ill on the journey”
“Always thinking of me you are”

The world listens in wearing headphones
Glassy at the prospect of Megabus
And the numbing hours ahead
Of grey on grey dead scrolling wilderness

Data roaming on the plains of Hertfordshire
With the Skodas and the Peugeots
And other hulks of European metal
Flying trucker jacks and home county codes

Megabus has been delayed indefinitely
The passengers cannot agree
On a destination; the maps all lie
So we stay in our seats and do not speak

Guilty eyes watch imported screens
We will look anywhere but at each other
Watching business parks fall apart
Remembering when they were the future

Megabus advertises savings on the side
That nobody will ever seem to find
In the contraflow of plausible deniability
While we sit and wait for another driver

 

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Soft Whiskey
by Jessica Malen

This is how it starts: with a sixteen-year-old girl’s heart breaking. It sounds like shattered glass and pink rose petals falling onto white marble in slow motion. Delilah is crumpled, sobbing, on the carpet of her bedroom floor. River’s message is lit up on her phone screen:

Sorry, Lilah. Can’t do this anymore. Soccer is too much to juggle with a girlfriend. We can still be friends tho. See ya at school.

“Instagram,” she wails to her walls, “fucking Instagram! He can’t even be bothered to text me like a normal person.”

Just last night, they kissed and felt each other up in the backseat of her mom’s hatchback. She had to beg to borrow it. They exchanged whispers down at the water’s edge wrapped in his duvet that they snuck out the window so they would keep warm after dusk. They stared up at the stars at Quarten Lake and she told him how she’s afraid of staying in Michigan forever, or being trapped. He smiled, kissed her neck. He acted like he gave a shit.

But it’s over now, three weeks till school starts.

She’s going into 11th grade single. And it’s the worst thing in the world. She really wanted a boyfriend by now, just one. Just to try it. To see what it’s like to belong to someone else, for them to belong to you. Worse yet, she actually loves River.

She pushes off her bedroom floor and stares out the window as the tears dry on her flushed cheeks. Her ache for him is as deep and wide as summer’s ending. The first of the yellow leaves fall and the smell of bonfires waft up the street of her parent’s cul-de-sac.

The next day, she cuts her hair and dyes it dark. She doesn’t need him.

Fast forward to spring and they’re still talking. River couldn’t keep away.

At a party Nick threw that April, they made love for the first time. All the lights were on and the animal heads seemed to stare at her from the walls. It wasn’t how she imagined it would be. It wasn’t all hearts and stars and glitter.

But when Delilah stares into River’s hazel eyes, crushes her lips against his, she drowns out the noise.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

It’s become a chant, a mantra. All she wants is for him to say it back.

She hopes he doesn’t get bored of her. She hopes he doesn’t forget about her. He is young and strong and beautiful. Her Adonis on a longboard flying down Cranbrook Road at three a.m., slick on weed and whiskey stolen from Nick’s parents liquor cabinet.

It’s the good whiskey, the soft whiskey. The kind that burns her throat and makes her spin and spin. The kind that makes her tilt her head back, stare at the stars, and weep private tears.

Everything seems so far away and right around the corner, all at once. It’s almost summer, senior year is starting soon. She’ll apply for colleges and everyone will either move on or stay stuck. She’ll either get her shit together or she won’t. She’ll either keep seeing River or they’ll lose touch.

The problem is, with River, she can talk about anything. Especially when they’re lying on a blanket under the pine tree in his backyard. He only smiles with the gap in his teeth around her. He knows it, too. She can tell. She can tell it scares him. This is happening too fast, she’s falling too hard. Even though they’re friends, even though she’s told him all her secrets.

Even though, even though.

Summer comes and they lay sweat-drenched at River’s family’s cottage in Port Huron, getting drunk down by the dock. They fall asleep in each other’s arms. She goes home at dawn before his parents find out, leaving the pink heat of his room for the solitude of her own.

It’s stupid she can’t just stay over. Adults are always acting like they know better, when half the time they don’t. Everyone treats her like she’s young, and she is, but it’s infuriating. Grandma cried when Lilah pierced her nose. Mom and dad are always gone, but they yell at her for coming home past curfew. They don’t ask her how she is, but they expect her life to be put together. Today, not tomorrow. Like a good little Birmingham girl.

But she’s not good. She’s shattered into a million pieces and she’s still trying to figure out what the picture looks like, when she finally puts them all back together. Like one of those one-thousand piece puzzles mom buys, but never finishes.

When she gets home from Port Huron, as the sun is coming up, she slides open her bedroom window and climbs out onto the roof barefoot. She lights a joint and takes a drag as the light fractures through the old oak in her front yard. It lights up like a cathedral. Better than a church.

Once she’s good and high, she grabs her notepad and starts sketching.

She feels that feeling, the closest thing to magic, besides love, she’s ever known. The feeling when her subconscious takes over and the images just pour out. She feels like she’s levitating, coming out of her body. Transported to a place where creativity flows freely.

Soon an hour’s past, and she’s got charcoal all over the side of her fist. She has to pull back, to blink into reality. When she does, there is a page full of lines, all connecting to form a piece of her: coherent, connected, tangible.

That night, after she and River kiss in the cold green of his backyard before going to the sanctuary of his bed, she shows him the tree. She tells him it’s how he makes her feel.

Sweaty-palmed, she waits. It’s a gift.

“To remember this year, before everything changes,” she says.

“It’s good, babe,” he tosses it onto his nightstand, then goes back to taking off her shirt.

He doesn’t know it, because it’s dark, but she weeps then. Something in the pit of her stomach uncoils, slithering up her throat so she has to choke down a scream. For the first time, she thinks about what her life would be like without River and it doesn’t make her cry. It makes her think of wasted time.

But everything shifts, as it always does, swirling fast as plastic bags caught in humid July air. River and Lilah go to a dirty Detroit party and she kisses another guy. She doesn’t even know why. River is withdrawn and drunk. They go home together and have sex.

It’s the last time.

Delilah knows it, with every bone in her body. When she gets home that night, she locks herself in the bathroom. Mascara is smeared down her cheeks, bloodshot eyes, toilet paper stuck to her chin.

She can’t be with him. He can’t love her like she deserves.

That’s what hurts most of all.

So this is what it feels like to lose the first love of her life. To abandon the one who lights her on fire, for something else. A flicker, a spark of a new beginning. This is the feeling they write songs and poems about. This is why Aunt Julie was catatonic on their couch for a week last winter.

Lilah dug out the notepad and pencil from her bookbag, slumped against the wall. She started drawing, putting everything onto the page:

River is second-hand smoke, the smell before a thunderstorm, the feeling of pink silk sheets against naked flesh. He is the feeling of a broken promise.

Delilah realizes right then and there, at midnight on the cold tile floor, that she will always love every person she’s ever loved.

But she loves herself more.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Off Map
by Linda Goulden

Stan always was the cold one, hoping for a loan of warmth from everyone he met, especially if he could see Dree’s Southern smile. 

He often thought back to his first sight of her, in her white dress, lighting up the dance hall, and daydreamed should he maybe try again? But then he’d keep in mind that time they left the car and wandered in among the trees. She’d vanished for a whole quarter of an hour, only to reappear right at the top of Soam Hill. Her: laughing and dancing around. Him: wondering, why would she cross those cold streams not even calling once for me?

The nearest place to Soam was Shedding. They’d planned to sleep the night, pitching the tent, only the two of them this time, but she stayed up there on the hill, waiting while the sun set. By the time she’d come back down it was already dark, he’d tried and failed to pitch the tent and knew now by now the pump and pegs were still locked in the car.

It had been entirely moonless, starless. They’d no matches and no torch or perhaps the battery was flat.

By the morning there was a Shedding, right enough, and by the time each had said their piece, they had already reached Burnt Bridge.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

 

My Blue Bucket List
by Wilda Morris

I’ve order a blue plate specials eat bluefin tuna,
blueberry pancakes, muffins and pie, and map out
what I still want before I die. I want to feast
on Blue King Crab from the Bering Sea
with a slice of blue velvet cake served a la mode
on an antique blue willow china plate.

I’ve listened to bluegrass, swooned to the crooning
of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Cheered that Blue boy band.
I’ve sung the blues while driving through
the Blue Ridge Mountains under a blue moon. Now
before my bucket tips, it’s time to travel farther
on this orb that looks so blue from space.
I’ll spend a day studying The Old Guitarist
from Picasso’s Blue Period at the Art Institute in Chicago,
then head to Tulsa for the Blue Dome Music Festival.

I must to sail to Santorini, ride a donkey to the top,
look down on the azure caldera after the mist rises.
I’ll circuit blue-domed churches set among
the white-washed homes. In New Zealand, I’ll pad
barefoot over sand and pebbles on Blue Cliffs Beach
at Te Waewae Bay, gaze at granite cliffs, hidden caves,
Hector’s dolphins and southern right whales
cavorting in the sometimes wild, tempestuous water.

In Amhara where the Blue Nile begins, I’ll hire a guide,
head for Tis Issat Falls where the river plunges 150 feet.
An Ethiopian hawking souvenirs and charms will sell me
a blue walking stick before I hike across the Portuguese Bridge.
When I come back to Chicago, I’ll take the Blue Line
back to the Art Institute, spend a day with Beggar with Crutch
and The Frugal Meal, more Blue Period masterpieces from Picasso.
By then my meals may be frugal and I may walk with a cane,
but I won’t be blue. I’ll have memories enough to see me through.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Masada Moments
by Wilda Morris

As the cable rises, we exclaim at the view
across miles of wilderness. Sunglasses and caps
protect our eyes from glare off sandstone structures.
At the top, we see remains of frescoes
in Herod’s ruined palaces and bathhouse.
Here, the guide says, Herod stored food;
over there—the armory and barracks.
Here is the cistern for catching rainwater;
there, the library, the scriptorium and synagogue.

The docent tell stories of Zealots hiding
in this fortress 450 meters above the Dead Sea,
the siege, the Zealots selecting ten men to kill
their family and friends, then commit suicide themselves.
He turns us loose to explore on our own.
We check the site map, move to the edge
where our eyes trace the pattern of the Roman camp
in the sandy ground at the bases of the mountain.
What’s left of the ramp the Tenth Legion
built for their battering ram catches our attention.

Casually dressed tourists mill around
the cable car platform. I ask if I can walk down
the Snake Path with its steep, hairpin curves.
The guide agrees after young men, thinking me old,
say they’ll walk with me, make sure I’m safe.
They soon outstrip my cautious steps,
disappear below, as I breathe in blue sky,
and stunning panorama, pondering
the suicidal end of the trapped defenders.

I wonder if some children sacrificed
on this hilltop, had they lived, might
have risen in Rome like Cicero’s slave,
or Joseph in the court of Pharaoh.

The leaders gather our group at the bottom
of Masada. They do not chain our hands or feet,
do not whip us, force us to march into exile.
I am an alien in this land temporarily and by choice.
How can I judge those who chose death
for themselves and their children
over loss of freedom, over capture
by merciless soldiers of empire?

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

In Mexico: The Road to La Huerta
by Wilda Morris

We leave the galleries, shops,
upscale restaurants of San Miguel,
take the road to La Huerta.
Lake Allende spreads its fingers
through the valley; mesquite tree
thorns stab azure sky. Corn struggles
in fields shared with sunflowers.
A brown horse limps across the rugged side
of a rock-lined ravine.

At the bottom of the drop, water flows
under lilios. A grey-winged dove flits
into a bush. We await our turn to drive
through the one-way tunnel
into the canyon of Rio Noche
where cacti cling to high walls,
their candlestick arms seeking sun.

Past the footbridge, stables
where yanquis ride and the cane fence,
we disembark near the stucco schoolhouse,
yellow and cinnamon. We park, and climb
a unmapped path us the mountain,
rocks slipping beneath our shoes.

We cross train tracks, clamber
farther and farther up into the poverty
and riches of a subsistence rancho,
the small homes where children
with loving abuelas play on dirt floors
and women gather laundry to take down
to the river, the same river where goats
and dogs drink and children play.

On the hillside, one fortunate man
has a donkey to carry the firewood
he collects. Fruit trees are dressed in gold,
red and purple bougainvillea
accent the dry earth, and morning glories
cascade down, their blue and white trumpets
silently calling, gloria, gloria, gloria.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Backwoods Town
by Randal A. Burd

The tattered glovebox map did not reflect
The backwards nature of this backwoods town.
I moved here to belong, instead I found
Contempt, which I did not at all expect.

My ancestors once lived here long ago;
The paper said they were respected then.
But no one living can remember when
They saw them here or who they used to know.

I’m cousins with a lot of those I met,
Though it seems not to matter that I’m kin.
I still am from the outside looking in:
Politeness and cold smiles is all I get.

That is, they smile until I turn my back.
And that is when they plan their next attack.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Lost
by Randal A. Burd

A long-abandoned logging road still winds
Through wooded hills, off paved, familiar ways.
There, careless motorists get lost for days
While navigating hazards of all kinds.

That I’m off-course is just a simple fact.
I blindly listened to the G-P-S,
And doing so resulted in this mess–
Lost and alone on this forsaken tract.

My compact car was never meant for this.
How soon until they locate my remains?
My legacy will be my lack of brains
And absence in the lives of those I’ll miss.

Then, just before the fear sets in for good,
I find my way out of the loathsome wood.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Overthrown
by Randal A. Burd

I slowly cruised our former neighborhood:
Locations once familiar now are strange.
Most houses there are worse for wear and change;
No laughter echoes from the nearby wood.

When everyone grew up and moved away,
Our plywood platforms rotted in the tree.
No Robin Hood remained to climb and see
His merry men engage in daily play.

The paths we made have long since overgrown.
Our wooden forts became the forest floor.
Adventures don’t occur here anymore–
Our sacred places have been overthrown.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Peripeteia
by Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich

Is changing lanes, away from the weary trucker, trying
To squeeze into your LANE

Or the lone, racist trucker, suddenly chasing you
Down the Vermont highway, at 100 miles per

Hour, and your wheel-chair bound daughter, is
There in the backseat, playing obliviously, happy with

Her beautiful dimples, sitting next to her new
Au Pair, from Namibia, who is fully trained,

In the complexities, of how to raise
A disabled child. After telling me, about her two previous stints

With families, with Special Needs kids, and getting
Shit on her head, as one child’s uncontrollable bowels,

Exploded all over the place…
She tells me in a serious tone, “Your kid really isn’t that bad.”

Interestingly enough, her old host mom, was also her
Community counselor, and used a series of scare tactics

To keep her in her place. No private entrance to bathe, just take a
A trek through the kitchen, to find your shower!

No worries when the camel cries at night,
Just put in your earplugs… Better this way.

Nobody will know; no police report… just died in her sleep.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

The Reassurance of Maps
by Diane Jackman

He says the flats are built on the river,
actually on the river,
where the water can slipstream in secret,
a midnight feast on the foundations.

Their names bubble in streets and alleys.
Dallingflete and Cockey, Dalymond and Muspole.

The moss pool, surging out of the marsh
by St. Mary Coslany, seeking
blindly beneath the buildings
for the broader Wensum at Fye Bridge.

Stan is adamant. He has lived here
all his life. Not a man to be gainsaid.

I let him have his say for several weeks.
Until one day a neighbour speaks.
Stan frightens me. I lie in bed
and hear the walls creak.

And so the stream of untruth
must be dammed. I find a map.

The Muspole, culverted and contained,
trickles over St Mary’s Plain,
winds along Muspole Street and runs
along Colegate to the waiting Wensum.

The flats are three streets away.

I show the map,
refute the fantasy.
Reassured they sleep easy.

Only Stan is damaged,
omniscience diminished
by the evidence of maps.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

The Act She Mapped
by P.A. Livsey

She’s having a green day, sat outside; the sun
kisses features she’s grown into. How others
see her, I don’t know. Maybe  they just see

the case with its mouldings and not the cranium
secrets. She is the visitor, listening to past tenses,
interjecting with humour, reliving repeats;

she switches off  at the boredom threshold.
She is the lover, sideswiped into a chosen course;
lusting after silk-white-skin like O’Keeffe’s forms.

She’s a fatalist at heart and a philatelist, two rare
images represent another past, one best forgotten
and not repeated. Some call her tight, mean-fisted.

Her opinion; she’s careful, resourceful and green.
It is not how she’s seen by family, the pokers
and jokers at her expense.

This no longer hurts her, a spark of being not doing;
they are not blood, she once said.
Who is? I asked. I know not, nor care…she replied.

If she was on display, what would you say?
Pick her features till they fray. See secrets
in the lines, define the smile from the smirk.

………………………………………………………………………………..***** 

In Search of a Map of the Via Negativa
by P. R. Walker

You won’t find the Via Negativa on a map.
This is no Watling Street, Fosse- or Ridgeway
laid down by Romans or Saxons for us to follow.
This is not a wild path over cliff top and shingle,
mapping the coastal contours, nor a new toll
road making us pay for the pleasure,
this is a map in the head, the red and the white
of England versus the blue and the white
of a Scotland or a France. This is a map on which,
unlike the wood to Dunsinane, nothing moves,
nothing is fixed, yet wiggly lines are straightened
out and drawn with a thick felt tip that brooks
no argument, allows no slippage.

On this map, the truths are marked in a relief
as simple as blindness. There’s a crowd,
a cluster of Dickensian ridgebacks unsympathetic
to the touch, there’s a manifesto, a would-be series
of pockmarked guffaws, there’s a gunny sack
of a revolution dying to eat its children
and pocket their brittle bones. This is the map
we English follow. It plots the amnesiac’s
well travelled route to a past where red was
our colour and English the lingua franca of choice.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

On the Road to Hue
by Roddie McKenzie

In the hotel,
the Đèo Hải Vân road traced the contours
of the coastal highlands.
A switchback on the map,
from Da Nang to Hue.

Here, the cumulonimbus gather
ominous as gunships
above the shadowed peaks
of the Hai Vin pass.

Darkness coalesces like anger
above the green vertebrae
of the Central Highlands.

Lightning tears like pain across the forehead of the sky
twisting like falling fragments of white phosphorus
persistent and penetrating
like the sorrows of war.

And the thunder bursts in the pass
with all the fury
of a B52 strike.
History is always
on my mind.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Little Toffee
by Callum Beesley   

Toast and apples for breakfast. One year on, toast and apples, apples and toast. Early, minus one and sunglasses today, the winter sun no match for my blue tint strip and
visor. I take my mug of coffee in the car. Mum’s sleeping in – Best Daughter In The World! Mist lies in valleys but when it reaches me through air vents it’s warm, a strong
hand on my chest, one on the wheel. Stagnant. Damp. I check the footwell for a forgotten apple core, green spores on the windscreen. I can’t see any but I touch the
glass. He’s gone. Cold.

Outside. Fog kisses my cheeks and temples, is it him? Best Daughter In The World! I wrap my fingers round the last present he bought me; feel its warmth, warmth. I must walk from here. Root Root Head up Root. It’s easier to follow winter footpaths. The wooded trip down to the church by the sea is without red skins (that shock and bleed) and broken ankles. Twisted, misshapen roots and wind-sharp bracken are here but they don’t hide behind green foliage or autumn leaves, don’t grab me. On the left, the old orchard. Look hard to see a man in the shape of my daddy, hugging, doing a facedown snow-but-itwas-once-grass angel, swimming breaststroke in morning apple dew, fingers in dirt, getting as close to the brown, as close to the core, as close to his apples as possible. Compost. Now there’s nothing left but bones of a man haunted by the sound of his apples. Dr

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. o
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… p

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… p

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. i
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. n

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………g.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..On a good night you can hear his cry. Through the little trees it comes: Best Daughter In The World! Call to me again. Murks of green on Royal blue, carbon fibre slaps crushing wave. Call to me, I dare you. As some weather comes in I hear the lifeboat go out, wind sprint through my hair;take with it loose strands. If a crow crosses my path do I await the same fate as when a black cat does the same? What if Crow catches one of my loose hairs, mid-flight, beak still open, invisible against the night?

Farther down the path a figure thumps across a field I haven’t seen foot fall in years, from the old battlement it comes, a hermit from a shell, and crosses my path up ahead. The familiar figure presents itself to me in all-yellow, I don’t want to say golden, then muddy primrose, then brighter, then darker. Whether this is due to the rising light or shadows cast I can’t tell. I hope it doesn’t lead to bad crop.

More flakes try to fall. He comes forward with his yellow hood up, weaving and ducking along the coastal path. Without asking for anything in return the weather gives him several silhouettes, each with a – a golden point, four cones barely visible, church spires in the distance – I can see St. Martin’s.

Lamps out at sea: apples bobbing. An on-shore breeze carries the sound of whitecaps through the trees. It brings something else too: footsteps, his – Teeth diving into the white flesh of the earth. They move with the tide, and the time of day, towards me. Don’t shiver. Don’t shiver. If at times I can see through the mist, I can’t see through the thicket. Feet shuffle, twigs snap, dead boughs creak. Rot talks to me from hollow branches, Have you sat beneath a tree whilst birds rustle above? Yes, I say, It sounds like this: A sky-born symphony of disturbed night creatures; of herring gull, owl and pipistrelle interrupted while they huddle under their leafy duvet; trees that whisper, boots on shingle and waves lap-lapping the shore. Layer upon layer of seafront at dawn. Blue on blue. An audio impasto.

Late morning mist creeps into what’s left of the woods making it unclear whether the white I see is dapple light, white horses in the distance or snowfall. The snow – it is snow – is pink against the hue of the stain glass window. Pink as the blood of the ram in the Binding of Isaac.

A weeping canopy, hawthorn and a tree marked for cutting. A public footpath, a forgotten animal trap and a frown at a flake in my eye. One more stile and I’m at the church gate and able to touch the bark of the last apple tree and the graves. The touch of dead moss on his stone is hard, but some south-facing fungus remains velvety, biro-green with water-clogged spores full of winter juice that scream, Push me, push me, until their sponge surface gives in and water spills over his name towards the grass that licks his stone. I break a few more stems; pull them up with my heel as I stand, slip and skid on the ice. I reach out and he supports me, closed position, my cheek a little grazed from the clips of his serif font.

Thistle heads sway, dance, flap like cinnabar moths on brown stalks and rise. They wait for the wind to push them down. Each bend in their stalk risks another break in their stem. It’s dangerous work out here with St. Martin performing for the dead. Some people leave flowers. I leave my apple core.

As I put on my gloves I remember holding his hand in that raised white bed for the last time, and all I could think about was how he forced me to peel the Bramleys. How cold one’s fingers can get.

……….Root Root Keep my head up.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Ne oublie
by Judith Milburn

Calendar of Border Papers ii, 163 [in Reed, James (1973).The Border Ballads. Athlone, London]: John Fern to Lord Burghley:
‘Deadly foed, the word of enmitye in the Borders, implacable without the blood and whole family distroied’

Margaret walks the hill above her home.
Everything quivers.
Leaves, branches, bows of trees,
Stems and fronds of grass and docks and nettles,
Daisy heads,
Swallows, martins in flight,
Sheep tearing grass and flicking flies away.
Everything quivers.

‘They’re always fighting,
Always
Spoiling.
Feuding’s
Their business.
My father says
They’re from the East,
But now when they come
It’s from the West.
Liddesdale’s their land, then
Along the flat valley
Longtown way
Between the Crosbys
Or over by Riccarton
Bearing down.
They’re all foes
Even of each other.
Friendships are few.
My father says
They’re all our enemies
My father hates

The Scots.
My father hates.’
She does not know how long
He’s been here
Or how long
She’s known.
Lodging by Deadwater
They say
Chopping wood
And keeping watch
For some kith or kin.
Seen him
At gathering time –
‘And now
Each time
I see him
When our eyes meet
So do our souls.
I know
Nothing, and
I know.

And yesterday
In the village
He brushed past my hand
And as we passed
His head bent to mine
And I shivered as I felt
His words on my cheek.

All evening I watched
My mother sew by candle
My father spit
And polish blades.
They know completely
What must be,
The absolutes
Of love and hate,
Kinship and enmity,
And the absolute
Fragility of those bonds.

Today
His folk are foes.
And I
Catch my skirts on the heather
As I run to meet him.

The land rises
Taking itself upwards and away.
The highest hills stand four-square,
Their heads in the clouds,
Seeing everything.

I am all – the hills, trees, clouds.
I see everything.
And if this were
My last day
It is enough
That I have seen it.

I know all.
No more but this:
The land.
The sky.

Still, he lies in me; his weight is heavy
And more light than thistledown. We are
Conjoined, my arms around his back.
A thousand years pass by.
And then
He draws from me and back into the grass.
Slowly I lift my head to turn and look.

His hair swept backwards from his face
His eyes closed, lips apart, his nostrils flared.
I touch his body as he lies asleep.
Here the skin is calloused, here like silk.
Here the hair is thick, here more like down.
Here’s bone and sinew, here a nerve pulsates.

Here is my all now, in a moment. All
Is changed.

There are some absolutes
I cannot comprehend.
He goes. I stay.
I feel
His passing.
A wind. A silence.
A wind.
I sense
The oak bow bending,
Bend myself to walk
The long road home.’

Margaret waits by the open door,
Sees the world beyond the dark hearth.
Her mind recites the truths learnt,
The knowledge of what is.
‘He’s my blood’s hate, my heart’s love…’
In the dark hearth
She works, and watches,
Sometimes breathes
And waits
For morning.

On Longtown Road, down Brampton way
Between the Crosbys,
Rain falls again.
Horses stamp hooves, shake heads,
Sheep stand proud against the wind and wetness.
Low land, high road, the long and open valley –
Weather won’t stop them…

Once they are apart
He cannot think
There might be truth
In what she fears.
She cannot fear
Because she knows
This truth.

Before she is awake
A hand is round
Her throat.

Her father drags her from the hearth,
Spits as she tries to cover up
Herself. She’s nothing now.

‘My mother screams my name
And his.
We are all screaming.’

He ties a rope around her hands and feet
And throws her in the filthy byre.

Margaret, here in the dark
Amid the smells of dung and fleece
The ewes’ endless chewing,
Their warm and oily wool
Touching her skin.
It is much more
Than she deserves.

When footsteps sound
She raises aching eyes
And strains to hear a voice.
And screams his name.
They are three, two watching
As he breaks the bar
And cuts the rope,
Soothing with words.

The animals step back to let them through
The others would take them
But he shakes his head;
They go back in
To take them anyway.

‘My father’s here; I see
His dirk
And his rage
Too late as he lashes out
And lands a blow
And turns and now he slashes at me, low
As if he knows where lies
The deepest hurt
Until the others take him from behind
And hold a dagger to his throat.

I look into my father’s eyes
Before they throw him to the ground.
Fear and hate forever.
It is enough.
One man heaves my lover to his horse
One lifts me to the other saddle.
And so the world ends as we take
The low road, the long valley winding
Leaving the grey stones hard against the hills
Against attack
Against defence.
Leaving the things I know
And cannot know anew:
Burn water, playing over rocks;
The hearth wall, wide as my arm;
Lambs mewing;
The particular sky;
My mother’s hands.
I am nothing... I am all.

I see his breath
Intaken at the incline
Of the axe.
The sinews tighten
Muscles flex
As he hacks down
Into wood.
All these I know,
And where he hides
His scars –
The knife blows
And the subtler strikes.
My hand flies
To my belly
And my scars.
I press my fingers
To our wounds.
Our knowledge.
Where we know
All things.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

You Brought Us To A Lovely Place
by Tamsin Cottis

Our new home ran with damp,
thick walls crumbling, cold.

Open moor swelling at the horizon,
colours unstable as cloud shadows.

Hedgerows higher than upstairs,
dense with nettle treachery;

long-reaching bramble arms,
ready to snag at a brand new anorak.

I navigate the unmade road,
black wellington boots,

heavy with clagged mud.
There is a hole in the sole,

right at the ball of my foot.
Water leaks in, rain rippling

zigzag over cracked tarmac.
Herringbone, I think,

like the farmer’s jacket.
Our new neighbour,

his pockets lumped
with pony nuts,baler twine.

From a high elm I watch
my mother lean into his chest,

the scratch of tweed against her cheek,
his hand caress her straw hair.
………………………………………………………………………………..*****

If You Only Knew Her
by Anne White

She’s strong and powerful,
……a presence
that commands attention.

……………..She’s seductive,
…………inviting people to admire
……………………….her flowing curves
…………and fascinating rhythms.

……………………………..She’s everchanging hour to hour,
……………………………………mirroring the time of day,
……………………………………………..the light,
……………………………………………………. moon,
…………………………………………………………..the tides.

………………..She’s moody,
welcoming at times with calm demeanor,
…………………..except when agitated,
………………………………………she turns rough and squally.

……………………………………………………..I sit beside her every day
…………………………………………………………..and know her well.
…………………………………………………….They call her Hudson River.

……………………….And now as I gaze at her flowing waters enfolded by ice-carved bluffs,
……………………………………with the colors of sky and clouds reflected,
……………………………………………………………..and tugs nudging barges,
……………………………………………………………..and ships bound for China,
……………………………………………………………..and sailboats with spinnakers flying,
………………………………………………………………………I’m grateful for her winning ways,
………………………………………………………………………..her captivating company.

……………………………………………At peace, I sit beside her watching
………………………….the crimson and gold of the sun setting over the hills
…………………………………………..and the lighthouse standing guard
……………………………………………….with two bald eagles circling.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Liquid Map
by Mairi Murphy

Let me plunge my hands
into your drawn-out country
contour by contour
line by line, drape over
vacant landscapes
tack roads to the hillside.
Allow the moon to rise
slowly, slowly to our left
drip, drip, dripping to our right
a blood-red sun, a pulsar
as we head south
the skirl of the train on track
the twist of the earth
as the world moves beneath us.

There is sense to this somewhere
swirling off kilter, virtual steer n’ go:
lulled by what has been
excited by what might be
faced with future possibilities.

My hands-soaked trees and hedges
barns, boundaries, spires
a holographic vision
the only way to travel.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Street Map
by Angi Holden

Back then a sheet of paper salvaged
from a parcel served as a street map
for matchbox cars and lorries,
tankers and busses.
We drew the layout with thick felt pens,
colouring in parks and shopping centres
between the crossroads and roundabouts.
We lifted the trays of vehicles
from their storage cases,
you stretched on your belly,
me leaning over the swell
of your soon-to-be younger brother.
After his birth, when the health visitor called,
she seemed surprised to find a small girl
smiling up at her from under blond curls,
offering an ambulance and fire engine,
inviting her to play.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Landscapes
by Irene Cunningham

I found Vosene in the pound shop, plunged
back to the sixties, clean when my hand
squeezed rinse water off – that fresh squeak
before the conditioner operation.

The old home held a dead grandmother,
dead father, dead dog. My mother made it
to hospital and the house died alone.
Its wallpaper layers captured decades,

the deepest skin, pink emulsion, stamped leafs;
potato-art picked up my father’s voice telling
tales of decorating after the war. Newspapers
under the lino; new raincoats for 19/6, corsets

like the dragon-grandmother’s laid out on her bed,
talced-rubber waiting to roll around her, beneath
the Paisley-patterned wrap. In the 60s, home
smelled of soup, of scones shaped like people.

A small boiler cooked the whites, and great big
clootie-dumplings in a pillow-case, to be baked dry
in the oven. Cousins stayed – my mother bought
food: not ornaments and fancy rugs or posh tosh.

The air in our rooms was thick with mess, laughter…
they never wanted to go home to their glass houses.
Friends came and didn’t go…the years spun
out of control. Grandchildren hung on Mum’s neck

in a house that wasn’t home any more. My house
is full of me, portable, already claimed to dress
grandchildrens’ lives; books, shelving, bedding…
digital gadgetry to sail up a century smelling of me.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

et in arcadia id
by Julian Isaacs

‘Midwinter spring is its own season’ – T.S. Eliot

frost for sale
reflecting the silver in the birch
meandering reblanketed ponies
nuzzle cold white rails
the mulberry bush mantra recovered
forgotten plainsong issues
from a Norman church

the farmer’s old-fashioned hobnails
crunch the cracking earth
exposing hyacinth teeth
that reveal the mirth
entombed beneath

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Spring Comes to Chan’an
by Jennifer A McGowan

I sit at the east window and watch the world begin,
the earth warm, sweet, fragrant. Gently
the blossoms release their scent, which climbs the hill
and caresses the summit. On this still day,
the river softens the air with song. I listen, unmoving
as the hours flee—until dark brushes across the wall
into the garden, as your hair used to slide over my shoulder.
We will not meet again in the shadows by the gate.

………………………………………………………………………………..*****

Crossing the Glass Bridge in Hunan Province
by Jennifer A McGowan

Scattered language floats as far as Guangdong.
I walk into suspension.

Of course there are people who jump to make it swagger,
to make others scream. Others cross on their knees,
scarcely-breathing pilgrims, determined that 24mm
of clear vision will not, this time, defeat them.

I waited for sun, chose good grips,
but these blue slip-overs are the tourists’ weeds,
negate caution. They say this protects the bridge. They say
bare soles would scratch, would scupper it. I only know

I have lost my footing. Alone
high in the winds’ chorus, I throw involuntary vowels
into crystal-thin air. Ghosts of your words echo,
fall broken glass at my feet.


Biographies

Peter J. King (b. Boston, Lincolnshire) teaches philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford.  His poetry, including translations from German and modern Greek, has been published widely in journals.  His latest collections are “Adding Colours to the Chameleon” (2016, Wisdom’s Bottom Press) and “All What Larkin” (2017, Albion Beatnik Press).  He runs the “In the Pink” series of poetry readings at Pembroke. 

Julian Isaacs has been writing and performing poetry since the early 1970s, when he first sold his work in pamphlet form in the corridors of Kensington Market. Also known as Auntie Pus (The Punk Balladier) and citing his major influences as Michael Ho-rovitz’s ‘Children of Albion’ and the Beats, Julian’s poetry takes the listener or reader down an intense, and sometimes dense, eclectic lexical journey. He has recently had poems published in The Broadsheet, Plymouth Herald, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Poems Against Prejudice, I Am Not A Silent Poet and Razz.

Gene Groves lives in Northumberland but is originally from Wales. She had 35 poems in Flambard New Poets 2. Her poetry has appeared in numerousmagazines 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.

Peter Clive lives on the southside of Glasgow, Scotland with his wife and three children. He is a scientist in the renewable energy sector. As well as poetry, he enjoys composing music for piano and spending time in the Isle of Lewis.

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.

Claire Walker’s poetry has been published widely. She has two pamphlets published by V. Press – The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile (2015), and Somewhere Between Rose and Black (2017), which was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet at the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Her third pamphlet, Collision, is due in September 2019 from Against the Grain Press. She is Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine.

Penny  Sharman is a poet, artist, photographer and therapist. She has an MA in creative writing and is awaiting her debut pamphlet FAIR GROUND to be published this spring by YafflePress.

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

Oz Hardwick is a York-based writer, photographer, and occasional musician, whose work has been published and performed internationally in and on diverse media. He has published seven poetry collections, most recently Learning to Have Lost (Canberra: IPSI, 2018), and has edited and co-edited several more. Oz isn’t sure what he wants to be if he grows up, but is currently Professor of English at Leeds Trinity University, where he leads the Creative Writing programmes.

Timothy Adès, rhyming translator-poet, has books from French (Hugo, Desnos, Cassou) and Spanish, and has awards for both languages. He translates from German (Brecht, Huch) and, rarely, Greek and Latin. He has a book of Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets with his own versions alongside, not using letter E. He runs an occasional bookstall. Always good to hear!

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.

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87 year old psychologist and a veteran
of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as
the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine,
Wisconsin Review, Taj Mahal Literary journal, Antigonish Review,
Ottowa Arts Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian
Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer whose works appear in over 100 journals in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa; 12 chapbooks of poetry – including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017) and the upcoming On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019); and 18 anthologies. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the several decades, she has been traveling through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.

J.S.Watts is a poet and novelist. Her writing appears in publications home and abroad and has been broadcast on BBC and Independent Radio. She has published six books: four of poetry, “Cats and Other Myths”, “Years Ago You Coloured Me”, “The Submerged Sea” and an award nominated poetry pamphlet, “Songs of Steelyard Sue”,  plus two novels, “A Darker Moon” and “Witchlight”. See www.jswatts.co.uk for further.

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.

Julia D McGuinness lives in Cheshire where she writes, counsels and runs writing workshops. She is a member of Lapidus International network of Writing for Wellbeing Practitioners. Her poems have appeared online at Ink, Sweat and Tears, Clear Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Silver Birch Press, Amaryllis, Picaroon among others, and in her collection Chester City Walls (Poetry Space 2015) In 2018, she was commended in Wirral Festival of Firsts. Julia will be the next Poet-in-Residence at Chester Cathedral for a year beginning August 1stnext Poet-in-Residence at Chester Cathedral for a year beginning August 1st. Find her at http://www.creativeconnectionscheshire.co.uk.

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.

Hilary Alton started creative writing an the end of her lifelong career in the NHS. She is loving the whole process of writing for pleasure, and is fascinated by the surprising outcomes. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and sometimes her grandson.

Kathleen McPhilemy was brought up in N. Ireland but has lived most of her adult life in Britain. She has published three collections of poetry, as well as having poems in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.

Irene Cunningham has had many poems published in literary magazines over the last twenty-odd years. She lounges around Loch Lomond and sometimes blogs at https://irenecunninghamisinsideout.wordpress.com/

Niels Hav is a full time poet and short story writer with prestigious awards from The Danish Arts Council. In English he has We Are Here, published by Book Thug, and poetry and fiction in numerous magazines including The Literary Review, Poetry Canada, The Antigonish Review, EVENT, Exile, The Los Angeles Review, DanDelion Magazine, Filling Station and PRISM International.

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 debut poetry pamphlet “Heart of the Run” is published with Picaroon Poetry.

Miriam Calleja is the Maltese bilingual author of poetry collections Pomegranate Heart (EDE Books, 2015) and Inside Skin (a two-book series in collaboration with a lith photographer, EDE Books 2016). She has been published in the anthology for mental health charities Please Hear What I’m Not Saying (editor Isabelle Kenyon, 2018), in the collection Poetic Potatoes (a collaboration between Valletta 2018 and Inizjamed together with Leeuwarden 2018), in Persona Non Grata (Fly on the Wall Poetry Press, 2018) and in Leħen il-Malti (Għaqda tal-Malti, Università ta’ Malta, 2018).Her work has been translated into Slovene in the collection Wara Settembru (2018, Slovene Writers Association) and also into Romanian, French, Greek, and Frisian. She regularly facilitates creative writing workshops and literary salons, and performs poetry. She has read at events in Malta, Berlin, Italy, London, and New York. She particularly enjoys using her words in collaborations.

Bridget Khursheed is a poet and geek based in the Borders; a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipient, her work is widely published in magazines including The Rialto, Butcher’s Dog, New Writing Scotland, Zoomorphic, and Gutter; @khursheb.

Jane Lovell won the Flambard Prize in 2015 and has been shortlisted for several awards including the Basil Bunting Prize, the Robert Graves Prize and Periplum Book Award. She has been published by Against the Grain Press, Night River Wood, and Coast to Coast to Coast. Her latest collection This Tilting Earth has been recently published by Seren. Jane also writes for Elementum Journal.

Marjon van Bruggen wrote poetry since she was seventeen, but started writing seriously when she got pensioned. She is seventy-eightyears of age;  originally Dutch, she is over thirty years a Spanish citizen in the beautiful island Mallorca.
Since 2008 she plucked up the courage to submit her work for publication, with remarkable success. Her protest poems were received very well by I Am Not A Silent Poet; up until today, 11 poems were published there. Work was published by The NY Literary Magazine (Anthology August 2016) and another poem was awarded by the same magazine where she ended as a finalist. Several anthologies and literary journals followed. Her first book is on its way and awaited eagerly.

Priscilla Long is a Seattle, USA–based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, fiction, and history, and a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her how-to-write guide is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life(Second Edition, University of New Mexico Press). Her work appears widely and her books are a collection of linked creative nonfictions titled Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press); Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Poets, and Other Creators (Coffeetown Press); and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). She is also author of Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry. Her awards include a National Magazine Award. Her science column, Science Frictions, ran for 92 weeks in The American Scholar. She earned an MFA from the University of Washington and serves as Founding and Consulting Editor ofwww.historylink.org

Steve Smart “I am an Information Designer in Scotland, United Kingdom. Visit my website. I’ve been involved in a broad range of creative disciplines over a number of years, leading to collaborations with artists, performers, scientists and others in a wide range of fields.”

Joseph Murphy’s poetry has appeared in a wide range of online and print journals. His second collection of poems, Having Lived (Kelsay Books), was published in 2018; his first collection, Crafting Wings (Scars Publications), in 2017. Shanti Arts is publishing a third collection, Shoreline of the Heart, this year. Murphy is a member of the Colorado Authors’ League and for eight years (2010-2018) was poetry editor for an online literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs.

Carol Moeke “I am of the older generation.  I live in London.  I have had some of my poems published in online magazines and a couple in independently published books.”

Hannah Stone has published three collections of poetry, Lodestone (2016), Missing Miles (2017) and Swn Y Morloi (2019). She convenes the poets/composers forum for Leeds Lieder festival and comperes the Wordspace open mic. She collaborates with poets, composers and broadcasters and lives in Leeds.

Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is a contributing author at GoDogGO Cafe, Candles Online, Free Verse Revolution, Whisper and the Roar, Poets Corner and contributing editor at Ariel Chart. Her 290+ works have been featured in 521 Magazine #Sideshow, Oddball, Pangolin review, Fourth and Sycamore, Paragon Press, Royal Rose, Visitant Lit, Quail Bell, Adelaide Magazine, Modern Literature, Visual Verse, Dime show review, Nightingale and Sparrow, Piker Press and many more. Her poetry has recently been published in the anthology “We will not be silenced” by Indie Blu(e) Publishing and upcoming in six other anthologies by US, Australian and Canadian Press.
She recently won the 1st prize in NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Mental Health Poetry contest. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/

Karen Jane Cannon is a UK poet and author. Her poetry has appeared in a wide variety of print and online journals, including Envoi, MslexiaAcumen, Orbis, Obsessed with Pipework, The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Popshot.  Emergency Mints, her debut pamphlet, was published by Paper Swans Press in 2018. She was a finalist in the Mslexia Poetry Competition 2017. and is a PhD candidate at the University of Southampton, researching poetry & place. http://www.karenjanecannon.com

Ann Howells edited Illya’s Honey eighteen years. Her books are: Under a Lone Star (Village Books Press) and a D/FW anthology she edited, Cattlemen & Cadillacs (Dallas Poets Community Press). Her chapbook, Softly Beating Wings (Blackbead Press), was published as winner of the 2017 William D. Barney Contest. Her latest collection, So Long As We Speak Their Names, will be released in spring from Bowen Books. Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, I-70 Review, and The Langdon Review.

Nigel Hutchinson studied Fine Art and began writing in the margins. His work has been widely published and anthologised. His first collection ‘The Humble Family Interviews’ is published by Cinnamon Press.

David McVey lectures in Communication at New College Lanarkshire. He has published over 120 short stories and a great deal of non-fiction that focuses on history and the outdoors. He enjoys hillwalking, visiting historic sites, reading, watching telly, and supporting his home-town football team, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy FC.

Ellen Wade Beals “I have had poems and stories published in literary magazines, anthologies and on the web here and in Ireland. I will copy a standard bio below. In 2011 I started a publishing imprint and came out with Solace in So Many Words, an award-winning anthology. More recently I have had work in Pithead ChapelThe Olentangy ReviewThe Offbeat, and LitroUK.”

Emma Baines has published poetry in magazines and journals including The Lampeter Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. In 2011, she co-edited The Month had 32 Days, published by Parthian. She has read at festivals and events including the Laugharne Weekend and travelled to Ireland on the Coracle literary exchange. Emma has translated work from Welsh for Menna Elfyn and her own writing has been included in installation by glass artist Linda Norris.

Agnieszka Filipek lives in Galway, Ireland. She writes in both, her native tongue Polish and in English, and also translates in these languages. Her work was published internationally in countries, such as Poland, Ireland, India, China, England, Wales, Bangladesh, Canada and the United States. For more see http://www.agnieszkafilipek.com.

Vasiliki Albedo lives in Greece. Her poems have appeared in Ambit, Magma, MsLexia, The Rialto and elsewhere. She was commended in the 2018 National Poetry Competition.

Rebecca Ruth Gould’s poems and translations have appeared in Nimrod, Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Hudson Review, Salt Hill, and The Atlantic Review. She translates from Persian, Russian, and Georgian, and has translated books such as After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and The Death of Bagrat Zakharych and other Stories by Vazha-Pshavela (Paper & Ink, 2019).  Her poem “Grocery Shopping” was a finalist for the Luminaire Award for Best Poetry in 2017, and she is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Alwyn Marriage’s ten books include poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
She’s widely represented in magazines, anthologies and on-line and gives
readings internationally. Formerly a philosophy lecturer, Director of 2
international NGOs and a Rockefeller Scholar, she’s currently Managing
Editor of Oversteps Books and research fellow at Surrey University.
www.marriages.me.uk/alwyn> <http://www.marriages.me.uk/alwyn>

Ian Murray has worked as am archivist and librarian and is based in central Scotland. His poetry has appeared in Northwords Now and Nitrogen House and he has published books and articles on aspects of Scottish and local history.

Kathy Miles is a poet from West Wales. She has published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, and is a previous winner of the Bridport Prize and the Wells Literature Festival Poetry Competition. She has published three collections of poetry (Poetry Wales/Cinnamon Press) and her latest pamphlet, Inside the Animal House, was published by Rack Press in October 2018. She is also a co-editor of The Lampeter Review.

Barry Fentiman Hall (BFH) is a writer based in the Medway region of Kent. He is primarily a poet of place. He has been published in several journals such as Picaroon, Anti-Heroin Chic, I Am Not A Silent Poet, and Crack The Spine. His debut solo collection The Unbearable Sheerness Of Being was published by Wordsmithery in 2015. His latest book England, My Dandelion Heart has just been launched (Wordsmithery 2018) . He is also the host of Roundabout Nights, Chatham’s oldest regular live lit night and the editor of Confluence Magazine.

Linda Goulden lives on map but off sat nav. Her poems appear online and in magazines and anthologies. Her pamphlet  Speaking Parts is just published by Half Moon Books.

Wilda Morris is Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons of Chicago and a past President of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Her poems have found homes in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications, including The Kerf, The Ocotillo ReviewPangolin Review, and Journal of Modern Poetry. She has won awards for formal and free verse and haiku. Her second poetry book, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick, was published in 2019. Her poetry blog at wildamorris.blogspot.com features a monthly poetry contest.

Randal A. Burd, Jr. is a married father of two, an educator, freelance editor, writer, and poet. His poetry has been featured by Halftime MagazineThe Society of Classical PoetsAncient PathsThe Chained Muse, and Rue Scribe, among others. Randal received his Master’s Degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. He currently works on the site of a residential treatment facility for juveniles in rural Missouri.

Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich is an English instructor with University of the People, and the author of “Opening the Black Ovule Gate,” 2018; “We Are Beautiful like Snowflakes,” 2016, both from (http://www.finishinglinepress.com). She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and was a recipient of a Martha’s Vineyard Creative Writing Fellowship in 2016. Her poems have appeared or forthcoming in Dash Literary Journal, Nothing Substantial, Chaffey Review, WRATH Anthology by Pure Slush,  SLOTH Anthology by Pure Slush, Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love,  Civilized Beast Vol III, Remembered Arts Journal, Breadcrumbs Magazine, Greed 7 Deadly Sins, I AM STRENGTH, the Medical Literary Messenger, Literary Nest, The Writers Café Magazine, The Moon magazine, Madness Muse Press: Destigmatized Anthology,
http://www.praxismagonline.com, Gather Round: A Collaboration of Cave Canem Workshop and Retreat Poets, The Journal of Poetry Therapy and elsewhere.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in Rialto, Spillway, Bangor Literary Journal, optimum, Snakeskin, small press magazines and many anthologies. She won the Liverpool Festival, Deddington and Café Writers Norfolk prizes. Starting out as a children’s writer with seven books and 100 published stories, she now concentrates on poetry. She is passionately interested in Anglo-Saxon literature and medieval rabbit warrens. She has just had a microchap, On the frayed rope of my imagination published by Origami Poems.

P. A. Livsey’s writing is a mixture of raw, playful and surreal about life’s generalities. Poems and short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Poetry School Campus, Erbacce Press and Best of Manchester’s Poets vol 2 & 3.

P.R. Walker has recently returned to writing poetry, rather than prose or plays, after a gap of some thirty years.  In a previous writing life he won a poetry competition and had several poems published.  Over the past nine months he has been building a new body of work.  Some of the new poems have been well received in workshops and a recent poem has just been “specially commended” in an Irish competition.

Roddie McKenzie has published in Nethergate Writers anthologies since 2006 and recently also appeared in “Lallans,”“Seagate III”,“New Writing Scotland 35”,“50 Shades of Tay”, and “Rebel”.

Tamsin Cottis is a Child Psychotherapist and writer of short stories and  poetry. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. Her writing has been long and shortlisted for a number of prizes and has been published, among other places, in the Mechanics Institute Review, MIRonline, The Morning Star, Tell Tales 4 and Rattle Tales. Her story, ‘What Goes Around’ won the Mslexia short story prize in 2012.  She was the recipient of a Word Factory Special Commendation in 2017.

Judith Milburn has been writing poetry and prose since childhood, and having a butterfly brain, always has several notebooks and projects underway simultaneously, inspired by landscape, life and dreams.

Anne White is a photographer, poet and lifelong activist. Formerly the Director of Education at the International Center of Photography, with “concerned photography” as a central focus of workshops, her own photos are wide-ranging, including children in natural environments — from Central Park to granite islands in Maine; and photo stories about people struggling on the edges of society — from a Puerto Rican street gang in East Harlem to cormorant fishermen in China. Since moving to her new home beside the Hudson River in 2016, she has turned to writing poetry, creating images with words. Landscape and cityscape are central to her work. Recently, she led a project to embed poems in a new winding sidewalk alongside the Hudson River and was the Featured Poet for an Open Mic at the Hudson Valley Writers Center.

Angi Holden’s poetry and short-fictions, widely published online and in print, explore the environment, family history and personal experience. Her pamphlet Spools of Thread published in 2018 won the inaugural Mother’s Milk Pamphlet Prize. Her short story Painting Stones for Virginia was a prize winner in the 2018 Cheshire Prize for Literature.

Mairi Murphy is a distinguished graduate of Glasgow University’s MLitt course in Creative Writing where she was awarded the 2016 Alistair Buchan Prize for poetry. Her poems have been published in New Writing Scotland 30 and 35, From Glasgow to Saturn, Shetland Create and Crooked Holster. She is the editor of Glasgow Women Poets, published by Four-em Press, of which she is the co-founder.‘Observance’, her first collection of poetry was published by Clochoderick Press in 2018.

Tom Daley has been a machinist for over twenty years, now leads writing workshops in the Boston area. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, Fence, Crazyhorse, Witness, and elsewhere. His first book: House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems (FutureCycle Press).

Colin Bancroft is currently living in the North Pennines while he works on his PhD centring on the poetry of Robert Frost. He was the winner of the 2016 Poets and Players prize and is working on putting together a first collection of poems.

Myna Chang writes flash and short stories in a variety of genres. Her work has been featured in Daily Science Fiction, The Copperfield Review, and Dead Housekeeping, among others. Read more at mynachang.com

Callum Beesley lives with his family in Deal, Kent where you’ll find him writing by the sea or in the haunted chair at his local Pub. Fixated by tales of the supernatural, Callum fell in love with the classic Victorian-Edwardian Ghost Stories of MR James, Edith Wharton and EF Benson from a young age. Find him on Twitter @callum_beesley.

Jesica Malen is originally from Detroit, Michigan and is studying my Masters in Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

Ashley Harrison’s first novel is currently out on submission with ICM-Partners.
Harrison has written two plays for the stage: PEACOCK, about the bad-boy English drama critic Kenneth Tynan (voted Best New Play by the Dallas/Fort Worth Theatre Critics Forum) and IN TIME OF ROSES, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy that focuses on the character of Margaret of Anjou. For twenty-five years, Harrison worked as an actor. Credited as Ashley Smith, television appearances included co-staring roles on Mindhunter (Netflix), VEEP (HBO), The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah (Comedy Central), and a recurring role on all four seasons of TURN: Washington’s Spies (AMC). New York and regional theatre credits included principal roles for Jean Cocteau Repertory, the Tony Award-winning Shakespeare Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Olney Theatre Center, Dallas Theater Center, the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Harrison lives in Washington, DC with his wife and their two children.

E. M. Eastick is an Australian writer of no-fixed form or genre. Her creative efforts appear in Alimentum Journal, Leading Edge Magazine, and many fine anthologies.

Tony Press tries to pay attention and sometimes he does. His 2016 story collection Crossing the Lines was published by Big Table. Equinox and Solstice, a 2017 e-chapbook of his poems, was presented by Right Hand Pointing. His resume includes two Pushcart nominations, 25 criminal trials, and 12 years in the same high school classroom. He loves Oaxaca, Mexico; Bristol, England; and Brisbane, California.


9 thoughts on “The Writer’s Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 16 “Landscape and Maps”

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