Robert Gross /Still Life at Sea/

Still Life at Sea

winter’s coming in through the slits boy
you see your breath wobbles on its way
discernible distortions of tree trunks
portions of shadow men in black glass

no more time old boy
all manufactured
all on the grid grows grey old boy
extinguishers metronomes
statues vases
all wobble

 


 

Robert F. Gross is a melancholic masochistic queer with anarchistic impulses. He’s directed plays, from Sophocles (Women of Trachis) to Richard Foreman (Hotel Fuck) and has published poems and short prose in, most recently, Zany Zygote Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and  Sein und Werden. He’s enjoyed his recent radio adventures on WAYOPlay and Juxtaposed Soliloquies, Elaborated (both on WAYO-FM). Among his favorite writers: Witkiewicz, Kleist, Powys, von Horváth, Walser, Dostoevsky, and Gombrowicz.

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Nick Lovell /Sky Cows & Spring clean/

Spring Clean

I mopped the kitchen ceiling.
Swept cobwebs from the corners
Of the round window
And dusted the insides of the freezer.
I soaped the circuits
Of my personal computer
And varnished the keyboard
Of my impersonal one.
With great dilligence
I hoovered the exterior walls
Then painted the telephone
To hide the stains.
Before steam cleaning the soup,
I took each and every pea
From the packet in the freezer,
Careful not to leave fingerprints
On its newly dusted interior,
And buffed each one up
Until they sparkled
like earthy emeralds.
In the background the tumble dryer
Rumbled and grumbled
Its load of freshly laundered books around
And around and around and around
White spirit removed all the Marks
But didn’t touch
The Stevens and Daves.
It took two tins of boot polish,
A trip to casualty and several pairs
Of gardening gauntlets
Before I could get
A mirror finish shine on the cat
And my dog appears to be in hiding.
I bleached the teabags,
Ran the spaghetti
Through the dishwasher
And hung the children out to dry.
While in the garden
I sandpapered the lawn smooth
Then folded up two trees
Stacking them neatly
Behind the elephant which had
Wandered unnoticed from the room
To join me outside.
No one mentioned it,
So I climbed onto its back to
Hose down the sky
And wipe a spot of dirt
From the surface of the sun
With the corner
Of a blue polka dot paper hankie,
A plump of toilet ducks
Quacking their approval
At my efforts as they flew past.
I scrubbed each and every cloud
With a long handled brush
Before laminating the hedgehogs
To save effort next time.
I rubbed wire wool
Over the strawberries until
Each one gleamed as if
Factory fresh
Then put the roses
in to soak.
Yet I cannot wash you
From my mind.

 


 

Sky Cows

I dance beneath fat, white sky cows
Grazing endlessly across
The silent blue fields.
Hair riffling in the breeze
Of their passing,
My feet trace
Intricate patterns,
Beautifully marring
The perfect velvet grass.
I dance with abandon,
Careless, delighting in the beauty
Of the world before me,
The thrill of the trees,
The beat of life itself
Controlling my soul
As my body gives itself
To the never ending
Song of existence,
The joy and freedom of life
Until a sky cow
Eats the sun,
Ending my dance
as if the song had been the light,
Or the light the song.
Regardless, it ends,
And I walk back to life
Leaving the shining herd
Of fat, white sky cows
To finish their endless meal
Alone.

CJ Miles /Footnotes/

Footnotes

Ron Goldman’s modeling career. The day Jesus
Rose, shook the dirt from His shins and
Took a bath: a pale or dirty bath water
Poured through a Brita Pitcher.
A cigarette in a diner, a stretch across
The Atlantic, an island howling,
Amelia, where did your plane go?
The first bomb was never dropped, it tripped.
An orange jumpsuit calls passion collect,
But no one answers to accept the charges.
A hotel balcony shakes under a thunderstorm
While a cross whispers, Let me live or let me live.
Love does just that. Yetis are born blurry.
Specs of light stay stuck frozen in night.
It’s frightening how most of what shines
Is already dead: souls lost in still light,
Desperate to find its way home.

 


 

C.J. Miles lives in Iowa with his wife. His poetry has appeared in Forklift, Ohio; Cease, Cows; (b)OINK zine; Amaryllis; Gravel; and Unbroken Journal. More of his work can be found online at https://cjmilespoet.wordpress.com/. Follow him on Twitter at @cjmilespoet.

Thom Boulton /Smell a Rat/

Smell a Rat

In confined spaces
you can
really get
a good whiff,
really smell
someone’s neck,
something you don’t often
get a chance to do
in normal circumstances.

If there were such a thing as
Halal buses, or Kosher,
they could say a prayer or
blessing
before everyone’s packed
into the killing floor.

What is this need to cram? To overcrowd?

Put a smeared cotton bud,
swabbed with a bead of sweat,
under the microscopic lens of a microcosm
and watch the population boom.

What’s next?
Will the buses be stuffed in bigger buses?

£16.95 for a
bird within a bird
within a bird,
within a bird, within a bird
within a bird.
Six bird roast is what his neck smelt like.
Six bird roast is what his neck looked like.

Cut a slither and serve with
a gravy made
from the stewed juices of tracksuits,
odour drenched trainers
and
everyone’s combined salty moisture,
slowly condensed upon the vehicle’s ceiling.

A packet of frankfurters has more room.
Silly sausages in cling film,
like they’ve all just been to the tattoo parlour.
Frankfurters all smell the same,
reconstituted meat fat and sugar.

Her neck smells like
meat fat and sugar.

It’s too crowded in this rolling sewer.

Rats like to escape,
flee the nest and go out on their own.

Signal to the driver,
wave a flag made from crumpled tissues,
because semaphore is impossible
when arms are pressed in tight.

The door opens
and another sniffer vacates.

 


 

Thom has been writing contemporary poetry for twelve years. He credits his prolificity to his love of words and his interest in the world. As of October 2016 Thom was chosen by a panel of literary professionals to be the new Poet Laureate for the City of Plymouth. Following his instatement as Plymouth Poet Laureate Thom performed during the Plymouth Literature Festival 2016 at various events across the city. He has self-published books for both adults and children which often centre around folklore and fairy tale themes.

Mandy Macdonald /Machine-spotting (Cathedral Square, Christchurch)/

Machine-spotting (Cathedral Square, Christchurch)

Look over there! Yellow earth-movers, a pair!
Feeding on shattered stone, concrete, plaster rubble —
see how elegantly they swan their metal necks,

how gracefully they dip their steel heads
to scoop up a particularly tasty morsel –
a leafy Victorian capital, for instance,

or a tortured length of lead piping.
Fortunately, they’re not endangered — in fact,
their numbers have risen sharply here since 2011.

There are now many breeding pairs
throughout the city centre, grazing among ruins,
their song a steampunk dirge of rattling chains

and groaning pistons, and crunching, crashing rock.
But for the racket, their dance would be as eerie
as a sarabande of ghosts.

Oh look, look now, they’re spinning around!
They’re doing a courtship dance, offering each other
bucketfuls of seismic detritus!

They mate for life, you know.

 

 

Lucia Sellars /Memory and Sigh (I am but a memory and you remain but a sigh.)/

Memory and Sigh

(I am but a memory and you remain but a sigh.)

To grow old – a thought spiralled
anti-clockwise
in the morning sink.
To keep quiet – a bouquet of rotten flowers,
that remained in the air,
sticky taped like children’s silence.

A single leaf waves in winter.

To spell your name in quiet breaths,
like unseen footprints in no mans land.
A space between smiles that became bare.
Organic but not at close grasp,
the alphabet fell from tongue to lungs.

Dust precipitates in the universe.
Our voices disintegrate,
suspended in the quiet air.

 


 

Lucia Sellars – luciasellars.blogspot.co.uk

Irene Koronas /Excerpts from Codify (Editions du Cygne, forthcoming, 2017)/

24

she slits tail to mouth
guts half man

dangles backbone
because pole dancers

fuck the line

toiletries drip
hard flesh melts

the connect

ends
face

 


 

95

the heap
pregnant
with ritual

tubular corridor
to a neolithic
cartoon

 


 

61

shear
the head corpse

its ears
can’t run fast

having a big fat hole

 


 

112

jacks
his private

warts of evil

trans the divine
con
with a flirt

 


 

87

uninvited fist
thick with mucus

tight genes
imprison to bruise

in the afterhour
weight

 

 


 

Irene Koronas is the author of 8 collections of poetry and collaborative writing including Codify (Éditions du Cygne, forthcoming 2017), heshe egregore (with Daniel Y. Harris, Éditions du Cygne, 2016), Turtle Grass (Muddy River Books, 2014), Emily Dickinson (Propaganda Press, 2010). Some of her poetry, experimental writing and visual arts have been published in Clarion, Counterexample Poetics, Divine Dirt, E·ratio, experiential-experimental-literature, Lynx, Lummox, Of\with, Pop Art, Right Hand Pointing, The Seventh Quarry Magazine, Stride and Unblog. She has exhibited her visual art at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Henri IV Gallery, the Ponce Art Gallery and Bentley College. She is the Managing Editor and Co-Founder of X-Peri.