Picaroon Poetry - Issue #2 - May 2016

Welcome to our second issue of Picaroon Poetry, where we have sideshows and mussels, taxidermy, the many facets of aging, ancient history and current political commentary (albeit in an eerie, off-kilter setting). Featuring work by Mark J. Mitchell, Angela Croft, Stephen Bone, Kiley Creekmore, Beth McDonough, Demi Cybulski, Kymm Coveney, Kate Hodges, Hilary Hares, Finola Scott, Carol Gloor, Charles W. Brice, AE Stueve, Stephen Daniels, Jovan Jakic, Pru Kitching, Mab Jones, Mary Imo-Stike, Holly Magill, Marilyn Francis, Joanne Key, Faye Boland, Laurie Kolp, Bethany Rivers, and Broc Riblet.

Welcome to our second issue of Picaroon Poetry, where we have sideshows and mussels, taxidermy, the many facets of aging, ancient history and current political commentary (albeit in an eerie, off-kilter setting).

Featuring work by Mark J. Mitchell, Angela Croft, Stephen Bone, Kiley Creekmore, Beth McDonough, Demi Cybulski, Kymm Coveney, Kate Hodges, Hilary Hares, Finola Scott, Carol Gloor, Charles W. Brice, AE Stueve, Stephen Daniels, Jovan Jakic, Pru Kitching, Mab Jones, Mary Imo-Stike, Holly Magill, Marilyn Francis, Joanne Key, Faye Boland, Laurie Kolp, Bethany Rivers, and Broc Riblet.


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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>#2</strong><br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Edited by Kate Garrett<br />

All poems copyright © <strong>2016</strong> individual authors<br />

Selection/issue copyright © <strong>2016</strong> Kate Garrett

This Month’s Rogue Poems ● <strong>May</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Campground<br />

Mark J. Mitchell<br />

The Shooting Season<br />

Angela Croft<br />

Walter Potter<br />

Stephen Bone<br />

In Pursuance of the Shiny Things<br />

Kiley Creekmore<br />

The Woman they called Stramash<br />

Beth McDonough<br />

Baltic Salt & Pepper<br />

Demi Cybulski<br />

To Me They Are a Homonym<br />

Kymm Coveney<br />

Mussel Memory<br />

Kate Hodges<br />

Party Animals<br />

Hilary Hares<br />

Rollercoaster<br />

Finola Scott<br />

115 Candles<br />

Carol Gloor<br />

Your Name in the Lake<br />

Charles W. Brice

Strange Baby Days<br />

AE Stueve<br />

He just stopped (blinking)<br />

Stephen Daniels<br />

Remnants of a Quasi-sleepless Night<br />

Jovan Jakic<br />

What’s Not to Like<br />

Pru Kitching<br />

Lover<br />

Mab Jones<br />

My Coat with Rainbow Sleeves<br />

Mary Imo-Stike<br />

‘Do you think David Bowie would like my trousers?’<br />

Holly Magill<br />

Boudicca in Bedford Square<br />

Marilyn Francis<br />

The Rat Angels<br />

Joanne Key<br />

Charles Byrne, The Irish Giant 1761-1783<br />

Faye Boland<br />

Teaching in the 21 st Century<br />

Laurie Kolp<br />

The Bargain<br />

Bethany Rivers<br />

Pearl Blue Car<br />

Broc Riblet

Campground<br />

Mark J. Mitchell<br />

A trick shooting priest<br />

palms a canary. Swallows it.<br />

Tents brood gaily on the brown lot.<br />

The sword swallower and<br />

dancing bear swap jokes and recipes.<br />

The circus can’t wait<br />

to leave town.

The Shooting Season<br />

Angela Croft<br />

In this, the last of my How To series, we<br />

will consider ways to prepare a pheasant,<br />

satiate the gourmand. It is not a topic<br />

for the faint-hearted so, Violet, you may wish<br />

to leave the hall before I put it to the assembly.<br />

The fowl must first hang by the neck<br />

to tenderize. The process takes longer in winter.<br />

In summer, no trouble, a couple of days will do.<br />

To pluck and gut, wear rubber gloves.<br />

No, it doesn’t matter if they’re not actually<br />

Marigolds, Fay. Start at the rump and grab<br />

the feathers in tufts; a short sharp yank<br />

against the grain, ok? Use a whetted knife<br />

to take his head off clean. That’s right Judith.<br />

Slit the skin up to its ribs. Open up<br />

and hook out his innards. Split its gizzard<br />

like a bag of corn down to the crop. Your overalls<br />

will wash. Now, chop off his scaly feet. Blast<br />

with a blow-torch to remove any stubble<br />

or run him over a gas flame – and you’re done.

Walter Potter<br />

Stephen Bone<br />

An owl professor,<br />

pince-nez on his beak.<br />

A kitten bride, tearful<br />

beneath her veil.<br />

Two duelling squirrels,<br />

cavalier plumed.<br />

How endlessly busy<br />

this after life he made for you.<br />

Walter Potter (1835-1918) was a celebrated taxidermist.

In Pursuance of the Shiny Things<br />

Kiley Creekmore<br />

With pursed lips.<br />

Purse lips?<br />

No, that’s not what I said,<br />

although my purse has swallowed a cat before, and some<br />

shiny lighters from the Pub at the End of the Universe, (no, I<br />

don’t smoke, but you never know when you might need to<br />

start a fire) and ketchup packets (I hate ketchup) for people<br />

that don’t have homes, and plastic silverware wrapped in<br />

plastic (why is everything plastic these days?), although, once<br />

my purse ate actual silverware, and the clanking reduced me<br />

to really quiet walking (because this was before everything<br />

was plastic and I ate at cafes that had real forks that wouldn’t<br />

break if you accidentally stabbed your finger while eating real<br />

biscotti because you forgot to dunk it in your coffee cup that<br />

was not styrofoam), and so many napkins (because I had a<br />

home, but could barely afford rent), but after my purse ate that<br />

cat I was reduced to feeding the purse with tin cans (ah, but it<br />

was nice to hear that clanking again) to feed the cat.<br />

So the cat would purr.<br />

And I guess nobody says pursed lips anymore.

The Woman they called Stramash<br />

Beth McDonough<br />

I suspect Kate’s undiluted words hung in air,<br />

loose-skinned as saithe, lined out to dry<br />

in sunned salt wind, close to Kilearnadil.<br />

Perhaps they caught odd innocents, who silvered in<br />

to sentenced creels she’d bent<br />

from hazel wands. She turned her glare<br />

from other hags, still pinnacled nearby.

Baltic Salt & Pepper<br />

Demi Cybulski<br />

She’s collectivised [to cope] now.<br />

Rampant Individualism via spin cycle,<br />

communally wowing [trying],<br />

Fabric conditioned and state sponsored<br />

with her own pots, pans, boxes marked Me;<br />

Packed up for the good of a concrete colony.<br />

A ride along - adjacently - soon to be,<br />

Staking her claim [content] on Maestro’s<br />

rungless ladder to domestic bliss.<br />

Runoff wetlogged kitty litter, [she’s untrained]<br />

and among his severely baltic smoke and spices,<br />

Maestro opens windows, sings from tobacco pipes,<br />

Shows off other souvenirs of human folly.

To Me They Are a Homonym<br />

Kymm Coveney<br />

Caña,coño. Coño,caña.<br />

The funny en, the elusive<br />

gender. Who knew beer,<br />

not cunts, was feminine?<br />

What you want is a pint:<br />

‘Quiero una caña’<br />

what you ask for is a cunt:<br />

‘Quiero un coño’<br />

Grab the language by the horns,<br />

Own its vowels.<br />

Conquer its cues.<br />

Make those enyes cry uncle.<br />

Stop asking, start demanding.<br />

Go on. Tell that barman:<br />

(A pint, dammit!)<br />

¡Coño! ¡Una caña!

Mussel Memory<br />

Kate Hodges<br />

“Making a romantic dinner for two? What should I serve with it?<br />

Tips?”<br />

Epicurifoodnetwhiteorred.org message board<br />

21 replies. Contrary food wars come to a Boil<br />

“I brought a bottle of red and a bottle of white…”<br />

We rustle up a cork screw from the junk jar-so glad I cleaned it<br />

right before you came.<br />

Raise the cork and throw away<br />

mussels that refuse to open.<br />

Stubborn shut. Can you help?<br />

“Can’t wait to try them.”<br />

We swap plates and laughter<br />

as they slip out of your hands.<br />

Anticipation.<br />

“Is it sauce or gravy” you ask<br />

and gently pry the shells apart.<br />

“Tell me the best part of your day...”<br />

But you say nothing and stare off.<br />

“It’s good luck to find a few closed<br />

off.” You have to work a little harder<br />

to get the pearl inside.”<br />

“No, that’s oysters.”<br />

“No, that’s you.”<br />

“Anyway, when you finally separate the shells<br />

you’re supposed to make a wish<br />

and have a taste.”<br />

He holds one up for me to try.<br />

“Close your eyes. Make a wish.<br />

And put the mussel where your mouth is.”

Party Animals<br />

Hilary Hares<br />

I live in a house<br />

that shares a wall.<br />

The sounds are doors and feet<br />

on stairs, a sneeze, a cough, the turn<br />

of a key in a patio door.<br />

I know his name. Five months ago<br />

he moved her in.<br />

As they leave for work I can see<br />

two heads at the edge of the path,<br />

their tyres leave mud on the road.<br />

If the football’s on their mates<br />

come round. If the rugby’s on they sing.<br />

Through the layers of night her voice<br />

has an edge, his a soft restraint.<br />

One summer weekend<br />

when she was away<br />

the lads brought a crate of Becks<br />

and barbequed a six foot plank.<br />

Sometimes the doors are slams,<br />

the feet on the stairs are a train.

The remains of the plank<br />

lie propped against the fence.<br />

At the quick of dawn the walls are thin.<br />

She says: No. Don’t.

Rollercoaster<br />

Finola Scott<br />

When folk moan about growing old<br />

metal hips and peeing pants<br />

I think of my new settee.<br />

The style boutique called it<br />

a ‘love seat’.<br />

I didn’t think so<br />

imagined scoffing scones<br />

curled up happy<br />

in soft slippers.<br />

But you thought differently<br />

that rainy Saturday.<br />

Home from the washed up Mela<br />

we sprawled and rocked<br />

smoothing old wrinkles, making new<br />

fumbling folds in familiar corners.<br />

The roomy seat cradled our cavorting.<br />

Who would have thought –<br />

sticky and sweaty at sixty?

115 Candles<br />

Carol Gloor<br />

They give a party for the alligator,<br />

the oldest one known, complete<br />

with a lemon sheet cake bristling<br />

with candles. They sing Happy Birthday.<br />

He never moves, shows no interest in the cake.<br />

He wants to eat the leg of the singing woman.<br />

She wants to pet his gnarls<br />

and whisper him good words about<br />

the world he lived through and animal rights,<br />

just like when we hug sequoias,<br />

rub against their rough backs,<br />

knowing they lived at the fall of Rome.<br />

He knows nothing: only dark, then light,<br />

then dark, the taste of their fed meat<br />

turning bland on his tongue.<br />

It’s something to be the oldest of your kind,<br />

even if you don’t know.<br />

He stares at them with the blank<br />

eyes of all reptiles.<br />

He would run away if he could.

Your Name in the Lake<br />

Charles W. Brice<br />

I wrote your name in the lake<br />

then my name,<br />

our son’s name,<br />

our daughter’s name,<br />

then the universe’s name,<br />

then god’s name<br />

in the lake. I swam<br />

in our names, dove<br />

below and felt how cool<br />

our names were, how fresh<br />

when our surface cracked.<br />

I wrote your name on the brow<br />

of your budded green profusion,<br />

the leaf you became<br />

stout, proud, frim—<br />

how you trembled.<br />

The season you had was grand<br />

then gilded, crinkled, beldame,<br />

you dropped<br />

weary winds<br />

blown undisclosed<br />

unknown.<br />

I breathed your name<br />

over snail, slug, toad and turtle<br />

their days spent<br />

from spore to tadpole to crick scum<br />

the abundance of life<br />

in your name<br />

in every writhing arroyo<br />

of your body.

Strange Baby Days<br />

AE Stueve<br />

A chubby pink baby sits, giggling<br />

as a stream of green<br />

feathers babbles<br />

around<br />

his feet.<br />

He looks up at an ant<br />

standing over him, saying,<br />

“See the blue moon,”<br />

and he does.<br />

And the light is on, then off, then on.<br />

And the rocks are like pillows that smell of pestilence.<br />

And the end is always near, wearing a sign around his<br />

neck that shouts,<br />

“Beginning!”<br />

And the sky dances; it’s in a club, shaking the ground<br />

and changing,<br />

morphing like a ranger.<br />

A box of gray crayons falls,<br />

and the baby laughs as he scribbles on the walls.

He just stopped (blinking)<br />

Stephen Daniels<br />

He was a genius,<br />

that’s how they always described him,<br />

able to order an Indian<br />

takeaway with the smallest of thought,<br />

he turned to answer<br />

the quickest of questions with the sharpest<br />

of movements,<br />

his legs tripped over the air, his arms saved his genius<br />

but not his knees,<br />

I knew him before and he was regular, a packet<br />

of crisps, he was crunchier<br />

than the average bhaji, which is why he avoided the markets,<br />

he sold his right arm<br />

to a cheese-maker, who refused to smell it first, he started<br />

every sentence<br />

with an exclamation mark and finished each with a slur,<br />

his father was known<br />

for his train-like movement, he left yesterday two hours early,<br />

he started writing this poem<br />

in his sleep, when he lived – he wanted to grow trees,<br />

when he got young<br />

he wanted to eat greens, sometimes when no one was watching<br />

he stopped.

Remnants of a quasi-sleepless night<br />

Jovan Jakic<br />

10 of August – 11 of August (11:56pm – 3:00am)<br />

I lost a watch upon my desk<br />

In puddle of the midnight wine<br />

I fuelled myself with when I thought<br />

How these words could be mine.<br />

There is a screw upon the edge<br />

That's sliding through the drooping sea<br />

Of spleen I spilt last night I heard<br />

A song on MTV.<br />

And there's a paper wet with grease<br />

Of lunch I shared with summer flies<br />

I care not, for there I just wrote<br />

Two bleaching lies.<br />

Beside that mess, my moonlit hand<br />

In break of day melts down to steel;<br />

Before I wake I'll have no touch<br />

With which to feel.<br />

When I awake my heart will leap,<br />

The screw will fall, the words will fade,<br />

And my molten hand shall rise again<br />

From a sunbaked shade.<br />

This morning I will find my watch<br />

And make it sing a lullaby,<br />

So that I'll sleep before the time<br />

For me begins to die.

What’s Not to Like<br />

Pru Kitching<br />

This morning I<br />

could have a lie in,<br />

didn’t need to go out in the snow<br />

or share my toast and marmalade.<br />

I could turn around without tripping,<br />

push back my chair without checking.<br />

This afternoon I<br />

don’t need to go out in the wind,<br />

can eat the whole bag of sugar snaps<br />

must not play tug<br />

or Febreze the sofa<br />

the bed, the car, the rugs.<br />

This evening I’ll<br />

sit and watch telly<br />

without an eye on the time,<br />

not do a late night trudge<br />

and come back soaking wet<br />

having missed the last of the programme.<br />

Tonight I<br />

will eat more cheese than usual<br />

need not tuck you in and kiss you<br />

remove your collar<br />

will deep-sleep myself back<br />

into yesterday or the day before.

Lover<br />

Mab Jones<br />

Written after a visit to Llandough Psychiatric Unit<br />

Your mind, like blown glass,<br />

has cracked.<br />

They have taped up<br />

what they can. Only a few<br />

fragments are missing.<br />

In the tea room,<br />

an older woman in tight jeans brags about how<br />

you give her bear hugs.<br />

In the hallway, a girl<br />

is pulling herself toward the door,<br />

on the floor. Ragdoll thin,<br />

her hair streams behind her<br />

like a wedding veil.<br />

You are bearded. A young prince.<br />

Dandruff confettis your shoulders<br />

as you hold court.<br />

You are popular here.<br />

It is Sunday, and I am your fifth visitor.<br />

You tell me you love me.<br />

You want to show me your poems but<br />

they are in the older woman’s room.<br />

I see two people I know:<br />

a sex offender I taught to write haiku;<br />

a well-to-do woman<br />

I need to invoice for work.

You put sugar in my coffee,<br />

forgetting that I do not<br />

take it.<br />

You kiss me. I kiss back.<br />

I am let out and walk past traffic,<br />

keep walking until<br />

I don’t know where I am.<br />

You drink tea. Set up pieces<br />

on a board game<br />

you do not know how to play.

My Coat with Rainbow Sleeves<br />

Mary Imo-Stike<br />

I pick up the many partial skeins of yarn around my house<br />

to knit a coat that is the story of my life<br />

the best way I can tell it.<br />

I make no attempt to bind dropped stitches from unravelling,<br />

they are my ragged reflection, my stubborn stand-in<br />

for beauty.<br />

The big hole in my center is where my unnamed baby,<br />

given up, fell through, roughly pulling pieces<br />

of my body’s stuffing out with him.<br />

The sleeves are rainbows<br />

miles long, and wide as sunrise.<br />

Their colors paint my portrait,<br />

my flushed rose cheeks and blue bruised lips<br />

memories of black cherry blood;<br />

the ochre and cream of innocence,<br />

like the shades of a daisy chain that was my childhood,<br />

green ache of first love<br />

and the depths of purple pain.<br />

Some mornings I pull the ample collar<br />

over my head and walk faceless<br />

into town.

‘Do you think David Bowie would like<br />

my trousers?’<br />

Holly Magill<br />

This was two summers back, when he might’ve<br />

smiled at her (somewhat bland) beige slacks,<br />

invited her to join him at his table,<br />

listened to her go on about the Spiderman film<br />

she’s seen half a dozen times without paying<br />

– she knows a door at the back of the Odeon –<br />

had he happened to be in Costa,<br />

the one by the taxi rank in Worcester.<br />

Or he might’ve been non-plussed<br />

to be nobbled by this crazy-lady, minus cats<br />

or a flat she’d tell him – the Housing people<br />

won’t talk to her after that last trouble,<br />

but she can get in<br />

the Odeon any time she wants;<br />

Spiderman 2 is great, he should see it.<br />

That Thursday afternoon, he was otherwise engaged;<br />

I said I thought he would like her trousers very much.

Boudicca in Bedford Square<br />

Marilyn Francis<br />

There was this girl<br />

she was always going ‘down the Roman’<br />

Saturdays.<br />

Other times she worked up West<br />

messengering papers between the houses<br />

and cobbled-together offices of Bedford Square.<br />

I knew her for a while<br />

when Bow and Roman Road<br />

seemed so authentic, so romantic<br />

the market stink, Kelly’s pie and mash<br />

the horror of green liquor. A real<br />

kitchen sink drama in production.<br />

This girl, she never felt cold.<br />

Even when it was taters, brass monkeys<br />

she’d saunter about in her cotton frock<br />

as if it was springtime. That girl, she had red hair<br />

and a fuck-you look in her eyes. I bet she went<br />

‘down the Roman’ in a chariot.

The Rat Angels<br />

Joanne Key<br />

grant sanctuary to shadows.<br />

They welcome outcasts –<br />

those threadbare ghosts<br />

and fleabags that roam<br />

in your head, nosing the decay.<br />

You curse their dirt, their runs<br />

and footprints. Shiver<br />

at the thought of them.<br />

But on the way home<br />

from a never-ending bad day,<br />

they’re the ones that throw<br />

a dead mouse into your path:<br />

body splayed, spatchcocked,<br />

flattened in a boot print, opening<br />

at the seams. And as you side step<br />

the unholy mess, walk on<br />

to the verge of forgetting,<br />

the Rat Angels cast a thread,<br />

stitch an odd thought to the back<br />

of your head of a scruffy old<br />

woman slipping her coat off,<br />

to reveal another woman, shiny<br />

and pink underneath,<br />

laughing until her sides split.

Charles Byrne, The Irish Giant 1761-<br />

1783<br />

Faye Boland<br />

For two shillings, six pence<br />

I sell myself, The Irish Giant.<br />

Frockcoated gentleman<br />

in knee breeches, silk, frills,<br />

three cornered hat. The price<br />

will get cheaper yet.<br />

On swollen feet I entertain crowds<br />

in the stench of haymarket.<br />

Through a smog of whiskey, gin<br />

I watch their eyes reach my navel,<br />

heads loll back, mouths gape.<br />

I am courted by king and queen,<br />

nobility. While I sup in a tavern<br />

afflicted with consumption,<br />

pickpockets rob my fortune.<br />

Preying doctors, wait to pounce<br />

on my cadaver when I expire.<br />

In school I drooled, shunned<br />

by peasant pupils who called me freak.<br />

In death I still am this. My corpse purloined,<br />

flesh is boiled, my plea to be buried at sea<br />

ignored. A glass case exhibits gargantuan<br />

bones but my soul sails.

Teaching in the 21 st Century<br />

Laurie Kolp<br />

everywhere there are teachers<br />

who hide and cry in bathrooms<br />

while defiant six-year-old kids<br />

draw stick figures with dicks in vaginas<br />

there are teachers everywhere<br />

who map out escape plans<br />

should a shooter appear<br />

from the womb<br />

and after the tears become salt on lips

The Bargain<br />

Bethany Rivers<br />

The cellar is well lit and extends<br />

the length and width of the house.<br />

How much for this one? – he asks me.<br />

I raise an eyebrow at him. I raise my clipboard,<br />

hold the nib of my fountain pen to my lips.<br />

I’ll add it to the inventory – is all I say.<br />

Each cell once stored 425 bottles<br />

of dearest wine. But not anymore.<br />

What do you call this one? I ask.<br />

Without looking at me, he says – Drowned Syrian Refugee.<br />

Bronze statue of a man with most of his<br />

torso missing, a broken suitcase, water lapping<br />

above his head. Why Syrian?<br />

He nods at the plaque showing the date.<br />

Ah. <strong>2016</strong>. Indeed. It was a fine year.<br />

I tap the five inches of glass with the end of my pen.<br />

The water ripples into the eye sockets.<br />

What about this one then? This must be worth something.<br />

I follow his perspiring trail to the end cell. I can’t quite<br />

make out what it is at first. Sculpted ice capped mountain?<br />

I peer closer, steaming up the glass. Three naked women<br />

their hands reaching, pyramid-like. I raise<br />

my eyebrow: What does this represent? He looks down<br />

at his polished shoes – The Three Muses. A baby is falling<br />

from the ripped womb of each woman. One baby is stuck<br />

in a mini wheelchair created from paint brushes;<br />

one is deformed, stunted arms of carved crotchets,

legs broken into quavers; the largest baby<br />

has an oversized head and a hole<br />

in his chest with his heart hanging out.<br />

Will this cover the whole thing? You can<br />

save me, right? Undo everything?<br />

His tone of voice needles my nerves.<br />

I slide the fountain into my top pocket<br />

and place the clipboard under my arm.<br />

When will I know? When will I find out?<br />

I can hear the panic in his voice. I try not to smile.

Pearl Blue Car<br />

Broc Riblet<br />

As I drove to work an older man<br />

in a BMW Z4 kept unintentionally<br />

cutting me off.<br />

I made a point to pull up beside<br />

him and linger for a second<br />

with the purpose of catching eye<br />

contact.<br />

Well he never looked over but from<br />

his pleasant face, his bushes of white<br />

hair around his ears, and his<br />

straw hat panning the sun –<br />

I am compelled to think that he<br />

earned that car and he earned his<br />

smooth ride.<br />

I also thought of yelling<br />

“Hey man if I crash my<br />

Kia Optima, I'm going from<br />

28 years old to infinity on<br />

the pavement.”<br />

And to prove our equality<br />

“Hey man if you crash<br />

your BMW Z4 you're going<br />

from 65 years old to infinity<br />

on the pavement.”<br />

And we would nod at each<br />

other and keep driving<br />


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