Picaroon - Issue #7 - March 2017

Happy first birthday, Picaroon Poetry! We published Issue #1 last March, and I'm so pleased to see how far our little home for rogue poems has come. Thank you to writers, readers, submitters, supporters, and everyone who fights the good Picaroon fight (poetry-related or otherwise) for you are all the reason we do what we do. This issue feels like spring: parents and children, the glory and disappointment of youth, nature, and sex all make appearances, as do religion, mental health issues, dwellings, and learning from mistakes. Featuring work by David Seddon, Steven Bruce, Sue Kindon, Yoni Hammer-Kossoy, Marc Woodward, Jamie Houghton, Rachel Burns, Nikki Robson, R.K. Wallace, Jennifer Lothrigel, Rosie Garland, Sophie McKeand, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt, Leslie Thomas, Courtney LeBlanc, Scott Edward Anderson, John C. Fitzsimmons, raphael d'abdon, Bobby Steve Baker, Oz Hardwick, Louisa Campbell, Brett Evans, John Grey, Robert Ford, Kate Noakes, Cheryl Pearson, Simon Cockle, Ben Banyard, and Howie Good.

Happy first birthday, Picaroon Poetry! We published Issue #1 last March, and I'm so pleased to see how far our little home for rogue poems has come. Thank you to writers, readers, submitters, supporters, and everyone who fights the good Picaroon fight (poetry-related or otherwise) for you are all the reason we do what we do. This issue feels like spring: parents and children, the glory and disappointment of youth, nature, and sex all make appearances, as do religion, mental health issues, dwellings, and learning from mistakes. Featuring work by David Seddon, Steven Bruce, Sue Kindon, Yoni Hammer-Kossoy, Marc Woodward, Jamie Houghton, Rachel Burns, Nikki Robson, R.K. Wallace, Jennifer Lothrigel, Rosie Garland, Sophie McKeand, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt, Leslie Thomas, Courtney LeBlanc, Scott Edward Anderson, John C. Fitzsimmons, raphael d'abdon, Bobby Steve Baker, Oz Hardwick, Louisa Campbell, Brett Evans, John Grey, Robert Ford, Kate Noakes, Cheryl Pearson, Simon Cockle, Ben Banyard, and Howie Good.


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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>#7</strong><br />

<strong>March</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

Edited by Kate Garrett<br />

All poems copyright © <strong>2017</strong> individual authors<br />

Selection/issue copyright © <strong>2017</strong> Kate Garrett / <strong>Picaroon</strong> Poetry

This Month’s Rogue Poems ● <strong>March</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

Therapy<br />

David Seddon<br />

Waiting for the Number 52<br />

Steven Bruce<br />

Maternité<br />

Sue Kindon<br />

ambition<br />

Yoni Hammer-Kossoy<br />

‘One Under’<br />

Marc Woodward<br />

How to Be Lonely<br />

Jamie Houghton<br />

Rachel and the Seven Wonders of the World<br />

Rachel Burns<br />

The house near Cornacrieve<br />

Nikki Robson<br />

Landlords (Part 1)<br />

R.K. Wallace<br />

Uninvited Guests<br />

Jennifer Lothrigel<br />

The topiary garden<br />

Rosie Garland<br />

My mother speaks thorns<br />

Sophie McKeand<br />

the gift<br />

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt<br />

At twelve<br />

Leslie Thomas<br />

If There Was No Sixteen<br />

Courtney LeBlanc

Ant Logic<br />

Scott Edward Anderson<br />

Imaginary Mixtape #33<br />

John C. Fitzsimmons<br />

a munchies story<br />

raphael d’abdon<br />

What Not To Do<br />

Bobby Steve Baker<br />

Passing for Normal<br />

Oz Hardwick<br />

Hallelujah, The Easter Bunny!<br />

Louisa Campbell<br />

Sloth on the Cross<br />

Brett Evans<br />

Hallmark and Me<br />

John Grey<br />

Eve and her mother have a little chat<br />

Robert Ford<br />

How I’ll wait for you<br />

Kate Noakes<br />

Beachcombers<br />

Cheryl Pearson<br />

Beachlands, Hayling Island<br />

Simon Cockle<br />

Perfect Bound<br />

Ben Banyard<br />

Ghost Dance<br />

Howie Good

Therapy<br />

David Seddon<br />

because slack hands poke bulbs<br />

in makeshift ground,<br />

tubers and corms tear iron frost;<br />

because the worm withers the root,<br />

snub fingers stricture the clay,<br />

the birds peck no pistil,<br />

the bees bear no corn.<br />

Bulbs twist,<br />

slow in the dark,<br />

hanker for light they resist;<br />

dwell in their own vegetation;<br />

Bulbs push –<br />

force old soil,<br />

wait for rain explosion,<br />

warming earth.

Waiting for the Number 52<br />

Steven Bruce<br />

Fuck her, fuck him, and fuck his mother<br />

she says into the phone,<br />

while the child flaps with excitement.<br />

In his hands he is holding a jam donut.<br />

He spends a few minutes tearing<br />

at it and squeezing out the jam.<br />

He dabs it across his smile.<br />

And he isn’t just happy,<br />

I tell myself, he’s carefree.<br />

As the bus approaches<br />

he looks up at me, wide eyed<br />

and grubby, waving his tiny<br />

hand in my direction.<br />

I give him an indecisive smile.<br />

I swear I knew him once.

Maternité<br />

Sue Kindon<br />

My roommate was in a twilight gang<br />

you could tell by her entourage<br />

the leather coats the whispers<br />

in a language not French<br />

plotting to snatch my boy,<br />

my hope born of good omen<br />

when a blackbird sang<br />

on the boulevard.<br />

I closed my eyes,<br />

and her accomplice<br />

planted a floppy effigy<br />

in his warm crib.<br />

When I woke<br />

the other bed was smooth.<br />

She’d gone<br />

with her swollen breast milk<br />

and my hungry child.<br />

I tried not to imagine her<br />

feeding him on the Metro.<br />

The doll demanded nothing.

ambition<br />

Yoni Hammer-Kossoy<br />

five am<br />

the day no more<br />

than an open<br />

and closed bracket<br />

the world outside<br />

my bedroom<br />

an aviary stuffed<br />

with bright plumed birds<br />

and rare blooms<br />

if I reach high enough<br />

I might touch its glass dome<br />

painted with stars

‘One Under’<br />

Marc Woodward<br />

Sometimes I consider drops of rain<br />

lying on the steel girder<br />

of a railway line.<br />

I think of them<br />

shaking and glimmering<br />

as the engine nears.<br />

As if sentient,<br />

trying to speak<br />

or make a sign.<br />

Yesterday the train was late again.<br />

Not leaves this time<br />

but fallen tears.<br />

*Wikipedia: "...train drivers have used several phrases to refer to suicides, such as<br />

"person under a train", "person on a track", "passenger action", and "one under".

How to Be Lonely<br />

Jamie Houghton<br />

Go on social media.<br />

Get off social media.<br />

Say yes when the lady who runs the slow coffeeshop<br />

asks for help with email.<br />

Write a friend<br />

who broke a knee. She writes back<br />

I urge you not to burn your old journals.<br />

Realize she just stopped you from breaking your own heart.<br />

Talk to loneliness.<br />

Yell into its den<br />

(You must yell<br />

loud as you can)<br />

or just sing a little bit, badly.<br />

Don’t scream now, you will have to<br />

anyway next time<br />

you stub your toe<br />

jolt awake from the sleep of your thoughts.<br />

Ajax your sink until it’s bone white<br />

take some old newspaper and polish your mirror<br />

look in.<br />

Don’t look in.<br />

Coax loneliness out of the den. Offer it beer.<br />

It prefers milk. Ask it about the weather.<br />

It will tell you that nothing alive doesn’t burn<br />

to be touched. Even the sun.<br />

It will break your fingers

if you try to keep it near you.<br />

Loneliness is wild please do not pursue when it runs.<br />

Do not feed either.

Rachel and the Seven Wonders of the World<br />

Rachel Burns<br />

From a book with my name on the cover<br />

I read about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon<br />

and I think all the stories are about me.<br />

I dream of gods and monsters and magical<br />

spirits as I sit cross legged on the floor in front<br />

of the fire. The smell of burning pine as logs<br />

smoulder on the grate. I can hear the roar<br />

of lions and feel the heat of dragon’s breath<br />

on my cheeks. My father listens to his cassettes<br />

on the old player, Richard Burton booms<br />

from the stereo, I lost my step in Nantucket<br />

Do you see me Captain? The white bone talking.<br />

My father makes supper. Every now and again<br />

I look up to watch him butter the bread<br />

then top with rings of apple, and sprinkle with sugar.<br />

He puts the sandwich down with a glass of milk<br />

at my feet. I don’t have time to eat.<br />

I read on and on, hurling myself through<br />

the beautiful tiled Ishtar Gate, into the arms<br />

of the goddess of love and war.

The house near Cornacrieve<br />

Nikki Robson<br />

He couldn’t stand to live with her and left<br />

himself in drying canvases<br />

stacked against the walls of unused rooms,<br />

unglazed.<br />

He’d planted out the garden single-handed;<br />

she’d stayed inside and scorned his<br />

straining back through glass, then looked<br />

away<br />

while birds dropped seeds in all the stony<br />

spaces, dibbled clumps of forest shade<br />

and the rockery went<br />


Landlords (Part 1)<br />

R.K. Wallace<br />

Proud survivors of Mao’s revolution,<br />

they come into this<br />

Cambodian household<br />

in the ghettos of Long Beach,<br />

mocking Buddha with their Christian arrogance,<br />

“he is not even a God!<br />

Jesus loves you!<br />

Repent or face the wrath of the Lord!”<br />

The wee Khmer granny simply smiles,<br />

does she still hear the voice of Pol Pot’s<br />

will to Angka?<br />

She softly bows her head, happily submitting<br />

the rent cheque, without a single word,<br />

the gentle spirit like smoke<br />

of incense crawls with the cockroaches<br />

playing like innocent children on the floor,<br />

which the landlords hate,<br />

and they offer to kill off “those demons”<br />

one by one,<br />

for what they regard as a reasonable<br />

price, of course.

Uninvited Guests<br />

Jennifer Lothrigel<br />

My acupuncturist sometimes placed<br />

a needle on the upper inside<br />

of my right calf<br />

to exorcise ‘uninvited guests’<br />

from my body.<br />

For 37 years I collected them<br />

by accident<br />

or because I felt obligated<br />

to be available to them wanting me<br />

or<br />

because I believed I could help them.<br />

Some guests never left,<br />

and my uterus became a ghost hostel.<br />

When I discovered that<br />

they were marking the walls<br />

I sent them eviction notices.<br />

I swept the floors with my besom,<br />

then I painted the walls<br />

the most delicious petal pink color.

The topiary garden<br />

Rosie Garland<br />

She spreads the petals of her skirt, the dress of a child<br />

two decades past its wear-by date. She kneels, peers<br />

into the pond’s looking-glass. The water flusters<br />

with fish, tiny as eyelashes striped with mascara.<br />

She eases one foot from its shoe. Sticking-plaster unpeels,<br />

heel wet with a blister’s weeping.<br />

On the first day she spent all her money:<br />

Hello Kitty hairgrips, a matching clutch purse.<br />

Geese patrol the space that is not-land,<br />

not-pool. They creak, loud as old doors winched open.<br />

She startles; circles her lips, pats her hand over the little hole<br />

and lets go her ice-cream. It swims with ants.<br />

He takes her picture. He will post it<br />

like a card of wish-you-were what you are not.<br />

If these box trees were not clipped so tight<br />

they would grow anywhere they pleased.

My mother speaks thorns<br />

Sophie McKeand<br />

My mother speaks thorns.<br />

Twisting dense & sharp<br />

from open mouth<br />

her words become sparring Red Kites that<br />

maul our secrets.<br />

After they have shredded my guts across the lawn<br />

she collects me back up,<br />

fashions bright innards into<br />

bunting –<br />

ties them to a tree to<br />

fight the wind.<br />

Sometimes, when the birds are sleeping<br />

she will call me to swim with her<br />

in a purple lake<br />

edged with silver moss.<br />

But I am wiser now<br />

with bones of coiled snakes<br />

– thorns of my own –<br />

and I cannot swim<br />

for the tangle of our hair.

the gift<br />

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt<br />

I bring you broken walls and shark’s fin razor wire<br />

grown into the hard lines of my stone-scape<br />

a handful of berries harder than a rosary<br />

brighter than a maiden’s menstrual blood<br />

I bring you fallen leaves and a handful of petals<br />

steeped in salt tears to make a potion<br />

swallow it down for its taste is quick and bitter<br />

it is the seasonal remedy of my ice-house years<br />

I bring you bird song and the bones of small birds<br />

green nuts that sleep on and dream of forests<br />

blue-violet shadows the mystery of roots<br />

my spiked tongue the snapping of my spine.

At twelve<br />

Leslie Thomas<br />

She stepped out of a section eight<br />

where they air their laundry<br />

over the railing.<br />

Head down, bangs over her eyes,<br />

chewing bubble gum.<br />

It was warm but she was covered<br />

in a long coat, sleeves hanging past her hands<br />

pulled a cigarette out of her pocket.<br />

I know that tough.<br />

Don’t need anyone<br />

always know what’s packed<br />

inside your lunchbox.<br />

Pretend to be surprised at the table<br />

with perfumed girls who squeal,<br />

What did mom make me today?<br />

I am under this gloss veneer,<br />

won’t write you off or stare<br />

such a shame.<br />

I want to whisper into your ear<br />

it gets better later<br />

but never goes away.

If There Was No Sixteen<br />

Courtney LeBlanc<br />

There would be no county fair,<br />

no cotton candy carnival rides,<br />

no walking the hot pavement<br />

in short shorts and thinking<br />

it’s a compliment when the 25-year old<br />

carnie let us ride without tickets.<br />

There would be no Boone’s Farm<br />

bonfires, no cigarettes in the smoky<br />

shadows, no mascara trail of tears<br />

when some boy dumped some girl<br />

and then kissed her friend.<br />

There would be no friends crammed<br />

into your car, no driving the main drag,<br />

no flirting with the Air Force guys<br />

who found themselves trapped<br />

in your frozen town.<br />

There would be no skinny dipping<br />

in summer lakes, no jet skis, no bikinis clinging<br />

to non-existent curves as you kissed<br />

the boy from the cabin across the cove.<br />

There would be no freeing from braces,<br />

no gilding of your boyfriend’s tongue across<br />

the sudden smooth of your teeth,<br />

no heavy petting sessions in the dark<br />

basement.<br />

There would be no first taste of alcohol,<br />

no loosening of limbs and hands and mouths,<br />

no 2am puke sessions when you thought<br />

your mother was asleep.

There would be no sneaking out of windows,<br />

no fast drives on back country roads,<br />

no laughter ringing as the gravel spun<br />

under your tires.<br />

There would be no pierced nose<br />

(to piss off your mother), no boyfriend<br />

(to piss off your father), no awkward<br />

sex talk, no period, no breaking<br />

curfew, no pinkie swearing.

Ant Logic<br />

Scott Edward Anderson<br />

There’s an ant crawling inside my tent ceiling,<br />

meaning upside down on the fabric,<br />

perhaps trying to find a way out.<br />

Tiny feelers touching down in front of him,<br />

to no effect; at least, it doesn’t seem to help<br />

navigate the cool, white nylon surface.<br />

Yet, I’ve seen leaf-cutter ants in Ecuadorean<br />

forests appear to know exactly where they are<br />

and where they are going, even how long to get there.<br />

Once I found an unusual ant during a breakfast.<br />

I was at a conference in Aspen. E. O. Wilson,<br />

renowned myrmecologist, was sitting at another table.<br />

I took the specimen to him, asking,<br />

“Dr. Wilson, what kind of ant is this?”<br />

He looked at me and then to the ant, saying, “Lost.”

Imaginary Mixtape #33<br />

John C. Fitzsimmons<br />

Side A –<br />

Yarn Clap & the Rheumatoids – Voicemail from a Dead Horse<br />

Edna Jerk Flint – Kick out the Skin Flints<br />

Peetie Faceplate – My Face Still Hurts<br />

Illegitimate Son of the Eyewitness News Team – Not Without Our Son<br />

Glaucoma Glenn – Cornea Jokez (Live at the Third Nipple)<br />

The Phone-Ins – Phoning it in at the Phoney Inn<br />

Melted White Chocolate Tuxedos – Shades of Cleanliness in Glades of<br />

Deadliness<br />

Toilet Stilts – Walk it Off<br />

Experimental Banking – Tax Season Again<br />

The Inkling Ensemble – Distinctively Inclined… (from Live at the Inkling<br />

Palace)<br />

Merle Cobblecrumb – Cookieduster Blues<br />

Forest Clearing Information Desk – Contemporary Actuality<br />

Sea Battery – Unpowering the Power Vacuum<br />

Side B –<br />

Dickhead Slim & the Vasectomies – Drowsy Sword<br />

Open Casket Wedding – A Rupturing of Nuptials<br />

The Reception Environment –<br />

Porkchop Sally – Good Luck with the Raffle<br />

Otto Von Bisquick – Reign of Batter<br />

Vividness Digest – That Mountain Can’t Be Real<br />

Footnote Pajamas – Slaughter on Pajama Mountain<br />

Abel Wanton – Ladled by a Swan Song<br />

Frig Factory – Friggin’ Down at the Frig Factory (Frig, Frig, Frig)<br />

Martha Wobblenaught – Table Shim Shuffle<br />

Tree Surgeons – Knuckle Bark<br />

Ambulatory Lozenges – Walking Down a Throat<br />

See-through Robespiere – Your Hip Replacement is Blocking My View<br />

of the Afterlife

a munchies story<br />

raphael d’abdon<br />

(based on actual events)<br />

at steers.<br />

me: “can i please have a veggie burger with no sauces, extra avocado sauce<br />

and chili sauce, and a bottle of sparkling water?"<br />

waitress: “with no bubbles?”<br />

silence.<br />

she laughs.<br />

i laugh.<br />

the burger was great.<br />

the water too.<br />

i gave her a very good tip.

What Not To Do<br />

Bobby Steve Baker<br />

after a stupid argument with your spouse do not<br />

sit down to a large bottle of vodka and a small bottle of pills<br />

after you have consumed a great amount of each do not stomp out the door<br />

refusing to talk grabbing your wife’s concealed carry jacket<br />

after you get outside in the head clearing air do not<br />

decide it would be good to put distance to this and get in the car<br />

after you get in the car feeling just fine to drive do not<br />

start’er up and head down town to a great bar you know<br />

after you get to the bar and settle in to a few drinks do not<br />

think the knock out body at the end of the bar has been dying to meet you<br />

after you get this woman of questionable age to the car do not<br />

suggest a romantic drive around a more questionable part of town<br />

once you have driven her around awhile telling lies do not<br />

take her up on the offer to go to her place for another drink<br />

when you get inside her run down digs do not<br />

listen with heartfelt sympathy to her plight to pay the rent<br />

after you fork over a hundred bucks to ease her mind do not<br />

believe you are now soul mates as she reflexively takes off her clothes<br />

after you have taken your clothes off also do not<br />

lay on the bed with her for a little tender late night cuddling<br />

after you have had unprotected sex and notice needles strew everywhere do not<br />

give her more cash because she is screaming she is 17 and is calling the cops<br />

after you cough up another hundred and the cops come anyway do not<br />

open the door naked and yell no problem here go find some fucking criminals<br />

when the cops frisk your pile of clothes and find your wife’s gun do not

scream out that they have planted that gun because they are dirty cops<br />

when the cops tell you get someone to drive you home and leave do not<br />

assume they are gone for good get dressed and head for your car<br />

when the sirens and flashing lights come speeding behind you do not<br />

try to outrun them because my friend you have created what the survivalists<br />

call a SHTF scenario and the only question left is are you negotiating<br />

with your wife from outside your little house or inside the big house

Passing for Normal<br />

Oz Hardwick<br />

An anonymous café. We exchange notes<br />

over coffee – quetiapine, venlafaxine, olanzapine –<br />

nod in mutual understanding of the Prozac<br />

twitch. I shook for three months on lithium<br />

and my body’s not my own. It’s a Top Trumps<br />

of chemistry, but we’re not keeping score.<br />

We’re three espressos in, and my hands are moving<br />

in ways I don’t recognise: nothing to do with me,<br />

though I’m faintly curious. We tick off therapies,<br />

expert opinions, the ten month wait<br />

to feel lost and awkward with a harassed stranger,<br />

failing to communicate in a flaking Victorian asylum<br />

or an unmarked terrace, a secret headquarters<br />

with codes and cameras, where professional voices<br />

check passwords, offer rudimentary disguises,<br />

attempt to smuggle us back to the real world,<br />

to pass for normal, mixing into the morning crowd,<br />

our minds tight as suicide vests, counting down.

Hallelujah, The Easter Bunny!<br />

Louisa Campbell<br />

They said I should trudge to Golgotha<br />

And kneel at the foot of the cross, looking up<br />

at Jesus’ twisted body;<br />

his hammered-through hands and feet;<br />

the thorns – like crows’ beaks – rammed<br />

into his battered head.<br />

Crimson, so much blood, mingled with tears<br />

he wept for all the Sin he had created<br />

and all the Sin he had loaded<br />

on my shoulders<br />

like granite.<br />

Then lo, along bounced The Easter Bunny!<br />

Hallelujah, The Easter Bunny!<br />

Six foot six of primrose-yellow fur,<br />

and arched window-shaped smiling eyes:<br />

like a cuddly toy, but real<br />

(the way animals often seem, after all).<br />

He said, ‘What are you doing?<br />

Down there?<br />

On your knees?’<br />

‘I am weighed down with Sin,’ I replied.<br />

And he chuckled, ‘No you’re not, you twit!’<br />

His wondrous grin<br />

was all the prayer I needed.<br />

He held out his furry mitten hand<br />

and I accepted it.<br />

He raised me up<br />

and stood my feet on his thumper feet<br />

and hugged me to him.<br />

I threw my arms around his neck<br />

and off we bounded.<br />

We sprang so high

I could really breathe<br />

and the air grew soft in my lungs.<br />

I felt his strength like the sunshine.<br />

Even though we soared over the Arndale,<br />

over Carphone Warehouse<br />

and closed-down Woollies,<br />

I feared no evil: Yay!<br />

Verily, merrily,<br />

his perky pom-pom bobtail,<br />

his pearly buck teeth<br />

and all the boingy-boinging<br />

restored my soul.<br />

Now I believe! I believe in The Easter Bunny!<br />

Surely I will bounce with the bunny forever.<br />

Amen, Easter Bunny,<br />


Sloth on the Cross<br />

Brett Evans<br />

Sloth is dredged from torpidity<br />

by a strange breed intent on banging on<br />

about a man dying for sins. Sloth asks<br />

if we all aren’t, and in his wooziness<br />

swears he hears himself a sin;<br />

rich, he thinks, from unsolicited<br />

slumber-wreckers.<br />

Welcome to his sins; Sloth hopes<br />

that they won’t wash his sleep away<br />

yet does his best to remain alert, endure<br />

their noon-time story. Sloth’s lazy thinking,<br />

between belly and ball scratches,<br />

concludes they do disservice<br />

to the back-stabber who did himself in.<br />

Sloth reasons the back-stabber, money-grabber,<br />

grafted for Big Chief Slumber-Wrecker<br />

unawares; part of His, decidedly wacky, plan.<br />

No, a dastardly cad, and Sloth’s too tired to argue that.<br />

Sloth’s asked about the ending of the world<br />

and remembers a time when he thought it had;<br />

hours before this unholy interruption. And now wishes<br />

it would again. They drone on and Sloth daydreams<br />

he’s permanently fixed to a timber rest<br />

before being elevated skyward – seems idyllic,<br />

but not for shy and simple Sloth;<br />

all that adoration<br />

and misinterpretation.

Hallmark and Me<br />

John Grey<br />

Greeting card stores<br />

have the worst poetry<br />

because the gaudy, feckless<br />

hunks of bent-over doggerel<br />

don’t conceal their ambition.<br />

Open one up and<br />

what is the message:<br />

this is the love poem,<br />

this is the ode to<br />

a twenty fifth anniversary.<br />

And still I buy the<br />

tackiest of the tacky verse,<br />

send it to a loved one.<br />

I want them to know<br />

that I care enough<br />

to have some unnamed,<br />

unknown, Hallmark copy writer<br />

say I do.<br />

You know,<br />

I couldn’t have said that better<br />


Eve and her mother have a little chat<br />

Robert Ford<br />

Be careful how you peel a quiet man.<br />

Loud ones are notoriously easy;<br />

with just the merest hint of encouragement,<br />

everything falls away. And don’t worry;<br />

you can be blunt. Or sharp. Or occasionally<br />

not even in the same room, and still<br />

you’ll find your loud man easily peeled.<br />

Not always worth the effort, but<br />

easily peeled (of the core and pips<br />

we’ll speak another time, perhaps...)<br />

His skin often being unusually thin,<br />

a quiet man may bruise easily;<br />

quietly too, of course, and the silence<br />

walling in the damage may be deafening;<br />

you may not notice the harm inflicted till<br />

the peeling is done, so handle with caution.<br />

Cradle the quiet man in an open hand;<br />

begin boldly, well away from the stalk,<br />

but keep as close as you dare when the job<br />

is nearly done. The juice should never be shared.

How I’ll wait for you<br />

Kate Noakes<br />

By pitch, my tanned thighs<br />

tensed for your touch<br />

velvet in the dark<br />

by star in a silk slip<br />

crushed and rippling<br />

on the pink breeze<br />

by streetlight as I<br />

glow my lips<br />

and nipples with gloss<br />

by crescent moon, dressed<br />

only in a bracelet<br />

a snake with its silver tail<br />

in its silver mouth<br />

or, in nothing at all<br />

save a splash of scent.

Beachcombers<br />

Cheryl Pearson<br />

The Winter sun hits wet sand,<br />

and the struck world whitens.<br />

The sea is lightning<br />

strung with salt. The sand is white fire.<br />

You find a crab and lift it,<br />

red legs clicking like worked locks.<br />

You find a seahorse, crispbrown<br />

and snappable, curled in a<br />

permanent question.<br />

But it’s my find you handle like real treasure –<br />

the mussel shell, hinged like a fairy-door,<br />

with its tin stink and violet folds,<br />

the insides holding their own wash of light<br />

like a net of pearls cast at a throat.<br />

I watch as you tilt your palm sunward,<br />

then away, to see the lilacs rise,<br />

to see the goldpinks shift. Your eyes<br />

are the crucible where magic lives –<br />

colours from nowhere, rainbows<br />

rinsed from dead shell.<br />

I shift, too, when you look at me like that.<br />

I am also made beautiful.

Beachlands, Hayling Island<br />

Simon Cockle<br />

1<br />

You hold tight the memories you wish to keep;<br />

you discard the rest like knots in handkerchiefs.<br />

So the plastic afternoons<br />

of my childhood,<br />

spent cross-legged<br />

in wet trunks on the<br />

flea-peppered beach<br />

at Hayling Island,<br />

become a fairy-tale of ice-cream<br />

and Black Forest castles as<br />

the sun splinters,<br />

crystalline, on the ridges<br />

of slow-motion breakers.<br />

I throw smooth, patterned stones at the waves;<br />

only noise and filth are returned at my feet.<br />

2<br />

Close season; snow settles<br />

in for the night as the sun,<br />

whose journey above the horizon<br />

had barely begun, lies low<br />

behind its sleeve of water.<br />

The beach has gone;<br />

under this covering<br />

of pale slush, it attracts<br />

no one. Even the dogs<br />

of winter fain interest.<br />

Drifts collect in the shelter<br />

of tarred groynes, making dunes<br />

around derelict castles with

their shed feather flags<br />

and cigarette butts for soldiers.<br />

Other flakes fall on the slate<br />

face of the sea – their mathematics<br />

makes little impression;<br />

in the moment they present,<br />

they are nothing again.<br />

3<br />

My father and mother met on this beach;<br />

they parted company here, too,<br />

when half a century had passed.<br />

There were no words then; the sea<br />

had more to say that April morning.<br />

A scattering of ashes, and she was returned<br />

to the whale-deep of the echoing sea.<br />

She loved its sound, its promise;<br />

now, I hear her rush of excitement<br />

in the constancy of her waves.

Perfect Bound<br />

Ben Banyard<br />

Just 28 pages<br />

gloss cover<br />

bright white paper<br />

but these words<br />

came from you<br />

even if you<br />

didn’t write them.<br />

They flew in<br />

driving frosted mornings<br />

washing up<br />

ironing small clothes.<br />

They’re caught on breezes<br />

blowing your music<br />

scented like you<br />

they ask after me.<br />

Everyone should know<br />

this book is for you;<br />

I’d give anything<br />

to hand you a copy.

Ghost Dance<br />

Howie Good<br />

Sure, God can prove to be too small, careers can collapse, lovers leave. But<br />

then the sky is so thoroughly that sapphire blue you adored it’s impossible to<br />

believe you aren’t still alive to see it. The genes that give humans the ability to<br />

speak give birds the ability to sing. It reminds me of my grandmother, how<br />

she’d pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside. Look up<br />

there. Cave painters depicted running animals by showing them with eight<br />

legs. Now, as remembered constellations float into view, the dots of fire<br />

combine to conceive this woman carrying a tired child up these starry stairs to<br />


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