My Night’s Two Hands

A poem by Paul Brookes


against exits and entrances,
eyes cornered by sleepdust.
 
Riff raff cast offs witter
as they’ve seen better.
 
Day is two rats in a bag
snotting one another.
 
Light, light against the living of the rage.
Life measured out in how many
plastic carry bags for your shopping.


Paul Brookes was and is a shop assistant. He was previously employed as a security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, and performer in the Rats for Love poetry troupe. (His poetry has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990).)

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993; his second chapbook, The Headpoke And Firewedding, was published by Alien Buddha Press; his third, A World Where, was published by Nixes Mate Press; and his fourth, The Spermbot Blues, was published by OpPRESS.

Brookes has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, and hosted a creative writing workshop for sixth formers (grades 11-12 high schoolers) on BBC Radio Five Live. Some of his written work has recently appeared in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate Review, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, The Bees Are Dead, and other publications.

Feel free to visit his website!

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Latvia, 1861

A poem by Matt Dennison


A cord of blood sausage wrapped
within his throat, he spat a suet pile
and slipped into the sod-house unseen
by his wife. Never having tried to fire
the crockeries of their time, he squinted
through the mud-slots as she lumbered
about, finally to settle beside a sickly
calf to study its urine pool for signs.
They worked for different sovereigns:
hers a cauldron of entrailed darkness
imbued with bleak idiocy—that biblical
humbug hung fast about their necks—
his a vodka panacea for the pigsties of
their lives, never raised upon the same pike
as the other’s. Nearby, the boy stood
stupid in the sunflowers as an eel-slide
of curses welled his loins to burst upon
them from the sod-house. Fury spent,
he stopped counting and swam into
the sun. Remembering he once had dined
on lobster while his fishwife, frightened
by the cutlery, keened for chum, the sight
of old lemons on the sod-shelf roused him,
crouched behind the serving girl, tonguing
her fresh mustards: delicious, faint, ripe.


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also developed short films alongside Michael Dickes, Swoon (Marc Neys), and Marie Craven.

The Postman Does Not Deliver

A poem by Paul Brookes


insists she break the law,
stuffs his heavy, packed bags

around their home, under the stairs,
in the loft. Other folk’s messages

and parcels never arrive
as he sups pints in the local,

pots balls over the green baize.
She sees him chat up lasses

in the pub, online, changes
his FB profile to single,

She coddles their new bairn
till he returns to her why.


Paul Brookes was and is a shop assistant. He was previously employed as a security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, and performer in the Rats for Love poetry troupe. (His poetry has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990).)

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993; his second chapbook, The Headpoke And Firewedding, was published by Alien Buddha Press; his third, A World Where, was published by Nixes Mate Press; and his fourth, The Spermbot Blues, was published by OpPRESS.

Brookes has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, and hosted a creative writing workshop for sixth formers (grades 11-12 high schoolers) on BBC Radio Five Live. Some of his written work has recently appeared in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate Review, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, The Bees Are Dead, and other publications.

Feel free to visit his website!

Baltimore City, 2016

A poem by William C. Blome


Sparrows pompous, pompous, on a granite ledge
and green willows clutching silver trunks—
hugging the shit out of the mothers—
as circus elephants’ll surely panic methodically
if you keep stuffing your tits in my nostrils again
and again. Yet a truly much-feared rainstorm
simply doesn’t get here close to lunchtime,
and I’m pressured big-time by your girl friend
to quit pulling on my own sugary peter,
as some tomato growers from the Eastern Shore
take turns pissing in the privacy of their truck.


William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Poetry London, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers, and The California Quarterly.

Hammer Face

A poem by Matt Dennison


One night after dinner
our father rose from the table
walked into the parlor
sat before the piano
pulled two packs
of thumbtacks
from his pants
slit the packs
with stiletto slid
from shirtsleeve
into hand and back
opened the piano top
worked a tack into every hammer face
ragtime’d wild for twenty minutes
and never played again.


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also developed short films alongside Michael Dickes, Swoon (Marc Neys), and Marie Craven.

Down in the Country

A poem by Jack D. Harvey

(Published in The RavensPerch, September, 2017.)


I found dancing does,
roses waving on their stems,
hobos, vagrants of all sorts
roving around my back forty.
The does ate the roses, the rogues
kicked the does to kingdom come or
into the woods, I think.

Who knows?

Yesterday, a gorbellied tramp
came to my door or
knocked on my window.

Who remembers?

He said “Jesus, you’ve got some
sweet setup here, pal o’ mine,
wait’ll the nosy distant neighbors
see and hear about it,
look over the fences,
listen at the door,
tell the authorities.”

“Oh, go to hell, I don’t care,”
I said to him,
I am the god of
my house, my garden.

“Hell is my god,” said the tramp,
bursting into tears;
“my dear old dead dad
went there in a handbasket.
Pot Riley, they called him,
he drank a lot and
now I carry his pack,
on my back,
a sort of monument,
an empty sack of nothing
you can touch;
just memories and
paradigmatic gestures.”

After that lost unraveled language,
a locution, a fancy word,
I had to give him something;
something for nothing
is always nice.

I gave him a rose.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, the University of Texas Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years, many of which are probably kaput by now, given the high mortality rate of poetry magazines.The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He was born and worked in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. He once owned a cat that could whistle “Sweet Adeline”, use a knife and fork, and killed a postman.

Invictus

A poem by Jack D. Harvey


The coolness of night chills;
from the frail body
the rasp of night scours
dreams, visions like rotten iron.
Fires are burning in
hell that would hold
even the infinity
of God;

Satan has conceptions.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, the University of Texas Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years, many of which are probably kaput by now, given the high mortality rate of poetry magazines.

The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He was born and worked in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. He once owned a cat that could whistle “Sweet Adeline”, use a knife and fork, and killed a postman.

My Character’s Death

A poem by Alyssa Trivett


Record relaying to needle
blood seeping in
room top-spins and my head
kicks the coffee-burned throat
half scowl up again. Circus tumbles
and words water-slide down my arms into cement.
Made conversation in sample cup wisps
with the electric fan blades whirring.
Fingernails chomped off like a wine cork, obliterated.
Someone is calling my name from the other room, or maybe,
it is the neighbors’ ghosts who never introduced themselves
yelling get off my lawn kids insults through the vents.
The last movie-thought displays in my head.
and piano neck wires snap,
this is death, this is death!
I can’t tap dance off the stage,
I never had the correct shoes to begin with.


Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from America’s Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has recently appeared online at VerseWrights, In Between Hangovers, and Hidden Constellation. She has fifteen poems featured in an anthology entitled Ambrosia, a collaboration with eight other poets, released by OWS Ink, LLC.

Jealousy

A poem by Allison Grayhurst


The deep yawn of night
follows this. Follows into a strong fire
of orange and blue rhythms
that destroys all but blame. I blame no one
but my heart that twists on
this precipice. I have chosen
this intractable devotion for you –
you who can take the gravity from my walk,
leave me a fugitive, limping
for unholy escape.
What follows this is the street
at three in the morning, starved of children,
agitated and cruel.
What follows this is nothing
I can cope with, is my imagination
bent on the morbid decay of love,
is my faith underfoot
and you as someone other
who would steal the lyric and bone
from our good tomorrow.


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications’ “Best of the Net” in 2015, she has over 1100 poems published in over 430 international journals. She has had sixteen books of her poetry published—seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay… Visit her website!

Cakes and Ale

A poem by Jack D. Harvey


Something there was about
Martin the glutton,
killed by too many suppers,
too many paddles of gravy
carried him on like
a south sea chieftain;
disordered his pouch was,
chaos marched over
his midguard like Attila.

He stammered like Demosthenes
before he puked and puked,
pissed and shat,
to the end of reckoning,
till chilly Christmas came onto the field,
till the Rockies slid into the gulf.

Something there was
about him, though he died
blowing at both ends;
those shadows of pain and surfeit
rolled him on
to greatness, to unattainable
braveness; for he ate
until he was dead,
confounding his
miserly mean-spirited enemies.

in their nightmares
they behold him, an angel
ascending,
a mighty Nimrod,
hunting the stinters and
the cautious.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, the University of Texas Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years, many of which are probably kaput by now, given the high mortality rate of poetry magazines.

The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He was born and worked in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. He once owned a cat that could whistle “Sweet Adeline”, use a knife and fork, and killed a postman.