Picaroon Poetry - Issue #6 - January 2017


This issue has quite the mix of voices, from adorably sinister to tenderly brutal, deadly serious to charmingly irreverent, and everything in between.

Featuring work by Peycho Kanev, Karen Little, Stephen Nelson, Mike Jewett, Belinda Rimmer, Lizzie Holden, Darren C. Demaree, Wren Tuatha, Uma Dwivedi, Mark J. Mitchell, Chris Hardy, Seth Jani, Elizabeth Gibson, Harry Gallagher, Bobbie Sparrow, Stephen Daniels, Kitty Coles, Gareth Writer-Davies, Michael Albright, Richard King Perkins II, Tonya Eberhard, Ann Howells, James Bell, Paul Vaughan, Larry O. Dean, Shadwell Smith, and Rex Davies.

Issue #6

January 2017

Edited by Kate Garrett

All poems copyright © 2017 individual authors

Selection/issue copyright © 2017 Kate Garrett

This Month’s Rogue Poems ● January 2017

The Moment

Peycho Kanev

Blind Spot

Karen Little

The Gentle Art of Moving On

Stephen Nelson


Mike Jewett


Belinda Rimmer

Lost and Found

Lizzie Holden

Emily As Why the Path Is Winding

Darren C. Demaree

Your Violin

Wren Tuatha

Today, another pause

Uma Dwivedi


Mark J. Mitchell

Up the Garden Path

Chris Hardy

Olly Falling Short

Seth Jani

In Cambridge

Elizabeth Gibson


Harry Gallagher


Bobbie Sparrow

Sharing your light

Stephen Daniels


Kitty Coles


Gareth Writer-Davies

Because of your problem, are you depressed?

Michael Albright


Richard King Perkins II

On the Menu

Tonya Eberhard

Reflections of a Pop-Art Madonna

Ann Howells

electrocuting sea slugs

James Bell


Paul Vaughan

The Beard Won’t Shave Itself

Larry O. Dean

Vincent Van Gogh joins the Witness Protection Programme

Shadwell Smith

The Man-kind

Rex Davies

The Moment

Peycho Kanev

That moment before

jumping off the bridge –


the freckles on her face

twinkling in the indigo darkness.

The Christian kneeling before

the lions.

One more step –

There’s nothing sad in this world

or happy, also. There’s only the next

moment. And the one after that.

Blind Spot

Karen Little

Shredding urges, she steals beats from tree trunks, shapes heads.

Birds light for flight are bronzed heavy, feathers tipped gold

sag ashamed, brass taps from old bed sits sold for scrap are false

exotica. I’d rather watch than listen.

The crosses she always leaves out; absence sharpens

hidden religion. Invisible stick birds make their mark,

clumsy uninhibited claws, hollow boned, in tatters.

Feathers find their use, dipping ink as her beak dips

into everyone’s business, worming out deceit.

He is always the maternal blind spot, scratched into dirt

covered by seasons. I sway in front of her; it’s been

a long haul, drawn by magnets, compass swinging every

way. She folds wings before they spread, clips them given

half a chance. Imagine her as gull instead of sparrow

trapped in a bottle. Imagine how she’d snatch. Imagine her cry.

The Gentle Art of Moving On

Stephen Nelson

Chopped nuts make my cheeks swell and I’m tender-tongued in the morning,

resetting myself to the plastic art of living. Grey yellow dreams of ice cream

melt into the sheets, easily recollected on a particular flavour of thought.

Our eyes lock in a café over waffles, tongues of love licking up me like tasting

sundaes as a child and listening to Blondie sing Atomic. The first bite

vanishes you, and you’re on the streets again, handing a beggar a fiver for junk

as Cassandra passes and remembers her father and the dream of the sun

setting over the Firth while she sucks a hazelnut Cornetto. Her peach-pink cheeks

are aflame, speaking French to a Corsican refugee before the President resigns

and Crimea burns red like cherries. One world ends and another begins.

At night I find her closer than you, reading a book about hidden lunar bases,

a safety net of cocoa and marshmallows balancing edgily on the puffed out bed.


Mike Jewett


tremont, your bones—

a theology

we pick up ripe




faraway land

she spreads

fat wings

or painted bellies

or bulleted crows


& the look—



& sometimes

they pick up their feet


a grey autumn

clouds wince with


& glow



follow the curve

of your body when walking

the curve of the shore

it’s a midnight dance

hips hold each other

& feed each other fruit

& dry in a black kettle

hung over the mantel

like a different songbird

with rusted feathers

of black


(when your face



to the sea

salty lips

pucker up


& pastries built

of fine) silt


& you drink your shadows

at night when they can’t

ever, ever

see it coming


Belinda Rimmer

My father’s old donkey jacket,

cement dusted, jaggy edged.

I can picture him in it,

collar turned up against the cold,

off to the pub for a few pints

and a game of darts.

On days when his moods hung in the air

or smashed bottles littered the linoleum

I’d hide inside his jacket,

breathe in the smell of cigar.

Sometimes I’d wish for a different father.

On me, the jacket is still ten sizes too big.

I plunge my hands into its pockets,

imagine my father’s hands

pushing up through the lining.

Our tangle of fingers and thumbs.

Pitching around, I find a clump of my baby hair.

I wonder what else of me my father kept back.

Lost and Found

Lizzie Holden


Small lesbian.

If found

please don’t return.

Emily As Why the Path Is Winding

Darren C. Demaree

Sometimes there are roots

or manmade ponds full of promises

& sometimes the city

engineer is in love with a girl

& she likes to be chased

while she serpentines

the local parks. I asked Emily

about this theory

& all she would do is smile.

Your Violin

Wren Tuatha

When you look at me your ancestors fall out your eyes–

Romania, the Camps, Zion and Lady Liberty.

You are traveling still, I may not be home.

You look at me when you’ve found a crack in

your grandmother’s violin. Your swaying and fingering

stops in the stream as your son bows still.

Your china shop bull is prancing in my living room,

and my grandmother’s candy dish clanks claps in time

or on the edge of it. You would build a village with

words or playing cards or particles, electrons, if you

could just learn the trick of pulling them through

the veil. The veil to that dimension, the veil between

the world of the living and the world of the dead.

The ancestors, reduced to Platonic forms in your head,

to the thoughts of a violin bow as she sings old notes,

and remembers leaving home.

When you pull at me your ancestors fall out your eyes

and you become all ages of a human man, out of order as

your face squints affection and worry. “Impish,” that’s the

word you prefer for the boy who makes you say the

wrong thing. And a moment later you’re a lover at my

neck or the traveler at mid-life, the highway a neck of a

violin. Thoughts veil your face and your fingers twist your

beard. I expect a Torah lesson but then you return to me

and the boy grins, hands full of liberty and my locks.

You hide in science as if God has hidden your homeland in

space time and we are to live in the house that experimentation

built. I just want to collect your DNA. For further study.

I’m a witch. I know the power of words better than a physicist.

But I’m a poet. I know words are sirens and a ship on the rocks

is no homeland. But our eyes locked, telling ages and the

myths we make to hold hurts, our eyes locked, our bellies

locked, dimensions, homelands, make me your violin.

Today, another pause

Uma Dwivedi

with Durga swallowing her words

like gasoline. Today,

another grimace

as she puts down the matches.

Durga doesn’t want the spark,

the lick of fire,

this tangled burning in her throat.

Today, Durga wants to walk under the waterlogged sky

without it falling down.

Today, Durga’s lungs interlock fingers with the air.

In. Out. In. Out.

Palms pressed together

like a prayer. Pike Place remembers her footsteps

and the rain reaches out to greet her,

swirls the sharpie

on her sneakers to watercolor,

pigments leaking together, edges blurring.

Parvati laughs next to her,

peels off her jacket and lets the rain

run its fingers through her hair.

Durga grabs Parvati’s hand

and her sister squeezes back.

Some things never change.

They duck into a Starbucks and talk about the girl

with the quiet smile and paisley hijab who gives them

their coffee. The sky

doesn’t even tremble.


Mark J. Mitchell

The riddle never reached

the page. This morning

no alphabet could shape words

(except that eternal, accidental article).

Paper, like a bird trapped

behind a window, despairs,

gathering its corners to itself

forms itself into a letter.

Up the Garden Path

Chris Hardy

Straight out with it before

we’d got in through the gate,

Oh I’m alright, had a good Summer,

but he’s left me for

a twenty year old escort.

(And how old’s he we wonder,

how did he manage that except

he’s loaded and will she be alright

in that big house alone?)

I uncharitably speculate on

the other girl’s dimensions,

while she stands in the morning heat

lightly sweating as the sun shines

on her large, unhappy face. I doubt if I

can let it go this time, thinking of him

(we all that instant do) peeling off lycra

after a long bike ride. Now I’ll worry

where he’s been, chafed and niffy,

running to the shower saying

he’ll wash his togs in there.

We pause before her on the path,

an obstacle of sorry anger

that we cannot pass.

She told everyone, we soon discover,

looking for a clue from somebody

who doesn’t have a stake in this affair

maybe – how to pay him back,

and get him back.

Above, birds prepare for Autumn in the trees,

feeding fast and leaving this year’s mate

for flocks that circle in the air.

She steps away and we go by,

very sorry, perhaps he’s ill.

Yes, he’s ill alright, sick of me.

Nothing can be said to that just

useless sighs and trying to

catch her eye, show sympathy.

A moment later the lock clicks shut,

releasing waves of confused remorse,

that we can’t or won’t help sort

this ancient, simple mess;

also unspoken thoughts about

our own complacent hours apart,

delayed at work,

car out of gas, too busy to reply,

missed the bus, the traffic ..

All that’s always true,

and always is a lie.

Olly Falling Short

Seth Jani

Olly fails because he’s someone else’s

Idea of an angel.

His heart’s not white, but expectation

Clouds his body.

He doesn’t belong here, not anywhere really.

Such is the burden of perfection,

Of moving beyond the trajectories

Of pain and music

Into pure sensation and sound.

He meditates with beads

His girlfriend left behind.

They are the color of misunderstandings,

Of Chicago skylines changing shape

In the past-tense of winter.

Every time he moves towards

Some sort of reimagining

The weight of those losses

Holds him like a ghost.

In Cambridge

Elizabeth Gibson

Soft lemon fudge in the rain back in time,

one small umbrella with two huddled tight.

Streets grey and gothic

frowned up at our crime.

Bridge dripping softly with tendrils of slime

led us to harbour, we followed the light

to soft lemon fudge

in the rain back in time.

Slippery cobbles accosted our climb,

skies blue and rainy gave little respite

while streets grey and gothic

frowned up at our crime.

Across sodden grass, a delicate chime

led us ahead like the call of a kite

to soft lemon fudge

in the rain back in time.

Chocolate and toffee and ginger and lime:

wet fingers brushed as we sucked in the sight

while streets grey and gothic

frowned up at our crime.

Seven years later, continue the mime:

pass me a piece, a sweet-sour bite

of soft lemon fudge

in the rain back in time.

Streets grey and gothic

still frown at our crime.


Harry Gallagher

He tracks the trails of the river

and the trickling of time,

trawls by the terraces

of an unemployed working town

and finds magic in the cracks.

Sees Quaker bricks bearing

fingerprints of outsiders;

these bridge builders who played

jointhedots across a globe,

smaller now than it was.

Headstones are logged:

marble, stone, iron, still

spattered from the works.

Reads strange immigrant names,

forgers a future now passed.

Allthewhile, blackwings feather

the frontage of borders

invisible to him. Each turn

of the light noted captive

in a pocketbook for nightfall.


Bobbie Sparrow

Had I not been awake

I would have missed it.

Gratitude quietly lying there.

An apology too,

as I snipped her nails –

already dead

she followed soon behind.

Behind mother

yet imbued with mother.

I saw her leaving face.

Sharing your light

Stephen Daniels

Her satin body nestles, close

to breath and temptation.

Between my intentions, my desires,

alongside your indentations.

I used to care about her

movements, how she would sit

in a high corner of our bedroom,

waiting for the light.

Occasionally, I find her children

in the wardrobe. They sit

between cotton and wool,

take turns to bite the fabric,

escape the moments I would wave

a hand in her direction, avoid contact.

Now she lies next to me,

asks me to touch her.

I reach over, tease

the tip of my finger

lightly on her body,

watch her disappear into dust.


Kitty Coles

Nine candles over the hearth, their buttery flames

attenuating, swelling, as if breathing.

The copper kettle radiating warmth,

glowing, pouring its light across the kitchen.

My jams in the glass-fronted cupboard, each pot a jewel;

blood-red, blood-dark, at each slow-pulsing heart.

The books lining the walls, their inky stink

brewing the air with must of cave and root.

The chest of linens, white and blue and folded,

lying in lavender, old stems, dry petals.

The heavy teapot, its steams, its floral curve,

holding my applemint, my lemonbalm.

The shoes in the hallway, row on orderly row,

my sturdy boots, your heel-scuffed, toe-scuffed slippers.

The photographs in boxes, the cherished letters,

scraps from the wreckage, fragments against ruin.

The potatoes under the earth, grub-pale in darkness,

growing smooth-skinned and firm as stiffening wax.


Gareth Writer-Davies

like the lips of Jean Paul Belmondo

I am ninety per cent straight

though missing

out, happy with the cards dealt me

I am the wet blanket, flung upon a fire

the early night, a cuppa

but there is something, in the eyes of certain men

that hangs, in the flex of their shoulders

and the part of me

that bends, affected by male beauty

unshapes me

like a moth, emerging

I have told you

in confidence, that I am ten per cent bendy

I will go no further

now, kiss me

Because of your problem, are you depressed?

Michael Albright

I have been on FDIC & USDA

along with peyote & then trillium

for the path free monks, & you

would have no idea how dearly still

I have been. I have many times thought

that I am trying, & yes, I've been lying.

I called prison patrol & they told

me to go to the OD & I said NO WAY!

As I went beneath, they did knotting,

but put me in the Bunny Barn for free

daze & charge me 8,000 volts. It was

absently mothering, & did no thing.

So, I called the Christ Is Worker who

said to waltz until I see the Dictator

today. Then I walked into the Harm-

acists who said it sounded like I had

that darned Sarah Toning Sin Drone.

Well, the halflight I am going Kuwait

for the Dictator to tell me I can get off!

Do I want to tell him where to go? But,

I had better take the duck tape, to cover

my big mouth. My hallucination is going

with me. It is LETHAL! You have no idea

how “drooge cockatoos” can KILL YOU!

I can't say it enough. There are altering

things to take out there. Look out for

Maniacal Progression. It is only a gold

watch. Out yourself because they will not.

They seethe to fuse a crews love noose

when it comes to what the machines

can do. I talked to the purse today & it said

“You stink of weird tit,” & I think,

“Oh my, what bridge are we coming to?”

These skies should know these things.

If we do not speak up for ourselves,

we will be dead. Enough said.


Richard King Perkins II

A fruit fly has fallen

into my freshly poured cup of coffee;

I discover it

floating on a small white island of creamer.

Pragmatically, I pluck it out

and begin to drink without hesitation.

Twenty years ago, I would have dumped out

and scrubbed the entire cup.

Twenty years from now,

I’ll slurp down the insect

with a big sip of coffee,

happy to get a buy one, get one free special.

On the Menu

Tonya Eberhard

appetizers. stimulate the desire to eat.

no-bone wings, lumped cottage cheese sauce.

Asian pears choked in syrup. heavy dizzy spells in cold bowls.

whipped sweet potatoes. wine-battered lungs.

hummus. flatbread and white jelly spread.

crab bites. fungus, mushroomed stuffed.

bacteria-clutch diaphragm. with or without lemon aioli.

sixteen minutes till entrée order.

one of our most popular: Adam’s rib, half rack.

ulcered stomach. includes charcoaled carrots, caramelized onions.

grilled duck. mango-yogurt dressing drips from its eye sockets.

risotto. burned broth, rotten rice. body lice.

soup of the day?

the chef’s choice: catalepsy. roasted cauliflower soup.

cow-bone broth. bitter marrow. sick slaughterhouse.

spinach leaves soaked in beet blood. bulimia.

romaine. dried cherries. shriveled skin, inhumane.

please, save room for dessert.

and when the servers bring out the blackened goat on a platter,

I dare you to ask what dish they loathe the most—

corpses. those undying breeds of men.

Reflections of a Pop-Art Madonna

Ann Howells

I don’t remember my mother’s face

just taut, bloodless lips,

as she recited Shalt Nots,

dressed in bath or closet,

unable to bare breasts to her daughter.

The 60s caught us unaware.

I stumbled, blind, from her Eucharist box,

burned my bra, knelt and took The Pill.

Later, I wrapped my daughter

in motherhood’s voluminous apron,

taught her sex was neither totem nor taboo.

Yet, she named herself Immaculate Conception.

Left me wobbling on a pedestal –

pop-art Madonna swaddled in fluorescent light,

gold wedding band my halo.

She wrinkled her nose,

sounds, she said, filtered from my bedroom.

Embarrassing. Unseemly.

She tucked me back in Mother’s Eucharist box,

and though she professed no religion,

it reeked of frankincense and myrrh.

electrocuting sea slugs

James Bell

remember when we did it –

the set up the organisation was immense

each only with twenty thousand neurons

at a millimetre diameter makes them big


hard to miss

strands thick as a high E guitar string

ugly creatures of bulk

though tuned by their synapses for a floppier purpose –

question mark cerebral cortex

of which primates have with neurons in their billions –

hard to see even if you lose a few

to bacchanalian delights –

no animal rights types protested –

much easier than monkeys –

an experiment to test for memory

wasn’t it –

I’d forgotten about that until now


Paul Vaughan

Her jaw dislocated

when they got the ‘phone bill

charging eight hundred and eighty-two pounds

for a forty-two hour call

to Bulgaria at premium rate.

In small print,

if you need help, please contact us,

we’ll see what we can do.

She rang, explained that she had not called up

Annie’s Farting Fetish Line and,

having checked with him,

neither had her husband.

She got upset,

when the customer service officer

sounded oh so bored by her repetitive insistence

that something must be wrong.

The Beard Won't Shave Itself

Larry O. Dean

Place your face

right up to the TV,

flush to the screen

for as long as possible,

low-frequency radiation

expelling hairs which pop right


Smearing honey

instead of shaving cream,

hurry to the zoo

and seek the nearest bear's cage,

jam your face between the bars,

let nature take its course.

Affix multi-blade razor

to doorjamb, cupboard, or coatrack,

bobbing head up and down

as if nodding

yes, yes, yes...

Epilate cheeks

with bikini wax.

Find something flammable,

marinade beard

and light a match.

Caution: have bucket

full of water nearby.

Or when falling asleep,

keep repeating,

“I need a shave...

I need a shave...

I need a shave...,”

dreaming of barbers

stropping blades to such extremes

of acuity

with steaming hot towels

and adjustable height chairs

that the mere thought

makes follicles

recede overnight

back into pores.

Vincent Van Gogh joins the Witness Protection


Shadwell Smith

March 10 th , about 11:20 am

The Van Gogh Exhibition at The Royal Academy –

thirty five letters

(one blood stained)

sixty five paintings

and thirty drawings

but I could have told you Vincent

Still Life with a Plate of Onions

was never meant to be a decoy

for the sledgehammer raid on the Rolex shop down the road

The Man-kind

Rex Davies

Chief science officer

I have to report:

The Man-kind was here.

As usual, the world itself is recovering.

Small mammals dominate the ecosystem

Which once having purged herself with plague & pestilence

Luxuriates everywhere, even the dead zones.

The customary close sift of digital detritus, however

Revealed this document describing

How, when archaeologists

From the future arrive (like us, sir!)

Long after the man-kind died

Then our extensive analysis

Of flora, fauna and fused file-space

Will conclude that “the poets really nailed it”.

For writer biographies / web links, please see the

‘Contributors’ page on our website.

Thank you for reading!

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