Picaroon Poetry - Issue #13 - September 2018

This issue features work by Sue Kindon, Marc Frazier, Attracta Fahy, Darren C. Demaree, Anne Babson, Kevin Reid, Karen Little, Rachel Burns, Louise Wilford, Marne Wilson, Linda Stevenson, Kelli Simpson, Emma Lee, Ben Banyard, Bethany W Pope, Kristin Garth, Jared Pearce, Sally Kidd, Sophie Petrie, Thomas Tyrrell, Jude Cowan Montague, MiRo, Darrell Petska, David Linklater, Douglas Cole, Kasey Shelley, Pru Bankes Price, Cara L McKee, Tobi Alfier, Bekah Steimel, Michelle Hartman. The cover art is 'Scary Baby', a mixed media piece by Chuka Susan Chesney.

This issue features work by Sue Kindon, Marc Frazier, Attracta Fahy, Darren C. Demaree, Anne Babson, Kevin Reid, Karen Little, Rachel Burns, Louise Wilford, Marne Wilson, Linda Stevenson, Kelli Simpson, Emma Lee, Ben Banyard, Bethany W Pope, Kristin Garth, Jared Pearce, Sally Kidd, Sophie Petrie, Thomas Tyrrell, Jude Cowan Montague, MiRo, Darrell Petska, David Linklater, Douglas Cole, Kasey Shelley, Pru Bankes Price, Cara L McKee, Tobi Alfier, Bekah Steimel, Michelle Hartman. The cover art is 'Scary Baby', a mixed media piece by Chuka Susan Chesney.


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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>#13</strong><br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Edited by Kate Garrett<br />

All poems copyright © <strong>2018</strong> individual authors<br />

Selection/issue copyright © <strong>2018</strong> Kate Garrett / <strong>Picaroon</strong> <strong>Poetry</strong><br />

Cover image is ‘Scary Baby’, a mixed media piece by Chuka Susan Chesney.<br />

Copyright © <strong>2018</strong> Chuka Susan Chesney

Hello rogue readers and writers.<br />

I don’t really like to take up space with a long editorial, but I wanted to remind<br />

everyone this is our last issue of <strong>2018</strong> (I reduced the issues for new baby<br />

reasons). However – there’s no reason to be sad, because we will be returning<br />

to our regular bi-monthly issues from January 2019! Next year you get six<br />

issues of <strong>Picaroon</strong> again. Phew. I can’t wait.<br />

And our submissions are now open – I’m accepting work for <strong>Issue</strong> #15 in<br />

March onwards.<br />

Anyway, let’s get on with what you’re all here to see: tonnes of offbeat poetry<br />

with something important (or frivolous, or both) to say.<br />

With piratical literary love,<br />


This Month’s Rogue Poems ● <strong>September</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Plague // Sue Kindon 7<br />

Crossings // Marc Frazier 8<br />

These Are The Days // Attracta Fahy 9<br />

bone requires bone #27 // Darren C. Demaree 11<br />

A Hymn for Julian // Anne Babson 12<br />

Our Priest // Kevin Reid 14<br />

Supper Time // Karen Little 15<br />

Strange Little Girl // Rachel Burns 16<br />

The Tattoo On My Sister’s Shoulder // Louise Wilford 18<br />

Hanging Out // Marne Wilson 20<br />

Profile // Linda Stevenson 21<br />

Non-Credible // Kelli Simpson 22<br />

Naming the Colours // Emma Lee 23<br />

Jim // Ben Banyard 24<br />

(Dirty) // Bethany W Pope 25<br />

Entertainers // Kristin Garth 27<br />

We walk through the crime scene where my student was murdered<br />

// Jared Pearce 28<br />

Exploration // Sally Kidd 29<br />

Headland // Sophie Petrie 30

A Frightful Ballad of the Third Lord Boyce // Thomas Tyrrell 31<br />

A Morncoat Troutthwing // Jude Cowan Montague 35<br />

Emma // MiRo 36<br />

A Short History of Cheerios // Darrell Petska 37<br />

Renaissance Shake // David Linklater 38<br />

The Doghouse // Douglas Cole 39<br />

Hard Work // Kasey Shelley 40<br />

Almost a Love Letter // Pru Bankes Price 41<br />

Your <strong>Poetry</strong> // Cara L McKee 42<br />

Out of My League in Honfleur // Tobi Alfier 43<br />

Separation // Bekah Steimel 44<br />

Ode to October // Michelle Hartman 45

Sue Kindon<br />

Plague<br />

The inner sill is deep with ladybirds,<br />

dead ones you can sweep into a dustpan,<br />

or clinging on, wings half open,<br />

a horde of fading hopes to harden in the bin.<br />

Broken, they smell of bitter leaves,<br />

nasturtium, like a house on fire.<br />

How did they get in through double glazing?<br />

This has been going on for days, weeks, I forget.<br />

I can't extinguish tiny carcases,<br />

the dottiness of blackened spots en masse.<br />

My children flew the nest ages ago.<br />

They never lived in this place<br />

with its crematorium view.<br />


Marc Frazier<br />

Crossings<br />

No matter whose bed you die in<br />

the bed will be yours<br />

for your voyage…<br />

—Anne Sexton<br />

We maneuver city crosswalks and don’t collide<br />

radar guides us as we<br />

enter into no man’s land and back during warfare<br />

or over to some banal hatred.<br />

I know the border of madness,<br />

drugged back as<br />

a fish deboned by night,<br />

a purple hedge going to seed.<br />

Boards from my childhood creak.<br />

Dawn’s light: a leaf, I turn toward it.<br />

All but one image of beauty slid from Aschenbach,<br />

and two breathtaking syllables: Ta-dzio.<br />

In the end, the sea will take me like a rose,<br />

that, now, can be handled.<br />

I ride this last bed, rising to the mouth of God’s moon.<br />

There will be no questions, no password given.<br />

In Judgment’s place: bang bang, knock knock,<br />

the madman’s thrum.<br />


Attracta Fahy<br />

These Are the Days<br />

when the wind spirit bites<br />

your door, shivers –<br />

‘Is it me? – am I imagining it?’<br />

Your face dappled in Autumn<br />

leaves, auburn, chestnut, gold,<br />

whisper,‘I have let go.’<br />

Grey clouds reflect<br />

our bodies,<br />

the sun rises crimson<br />

in another land.<br />

Beyond the snow moon,<br />

hope calls,<br />

‘Breathe – the ebb, – the flow,<br />

light needs dark to shine’<br />

Stars move close, remind,<br />

‘The Mayan’s may not<br />

have got it wrong’<br />

The world as it was, did end.<br />

Here on the night side, a dark<br />

grid divides us, fires<br />

storm the micro-chip gods,<br />

burn cultural memory,<br />

floods sweep away<br />

evolution.<br />

The volcanoes’ guns erupt,<br />

mirror our chaos, our leaders,<br />

our age of madness, our murder<br />

and dying morals.<br />

Dangerous to speak,<br />

lost in our own skin,<br />

hidden behind masks<br />

and cloaks,<br />

the emperors suit laid bare.<br />


The gods have us,<br />

seekers with new tongues,<br />

scrawl on digital billboards,<br />

sharing screens with blood<br />

suckers slugging our<br />

power, crawling in black.<br />

‘Too late,’ I hear apple trees cry,<br />

‘the spell has broken, evil,<br />

no longer hidden, must run<br />

its course.’<br />


Darren C. Demaree<br />

bone requires bone #27<br />

all this abuse is regulated there is an infrastructure and bureaucracy to it there<br />

are meetings held with bottled waters and coffee orders and bad pastry and<br />

people stand in front of the mirror to check their image before these meetings<br />

as if they will look like anything other than monsters in the meeting they speak<br />

clearly in full sentences about the abuse they congratulate themselves about<br />

the progression of the abuse there are fucking charts collated images indexes<br />

of abuse somebody picks a fucking font for this shit<br />


Anne Babson<br />

A Hymn for Julian<br />

The Christian position is victory<br />

Always. The nails of the cross jackhammered<br />

Into modern flesh – receive them singing.<br />

They tack us to cards like lone, glowing moths<br />

That we may obtain a more perfected<br />

Resurrection on the last day of days:<br />

Maybe next week, maybe when we get old.<br />

Those scars, receive them singing holy songs.<br />

My God, My God, why have you forsaken?<br />

My God, My God, sinew snapped and searing,<br />

My God, My God, gather the dusty dregs.<br />

My God, My God, I take nothing with me.<br />

The Christian strategy is holiness.<br />

When he smites one, turn to him the other.<br />

When she cries out stolen water is sweet,<br />

Leave the water. Take the nails while singing.<br />

They tack us to the ground, their carpeting.<br />

When the Panzers roll over, don’t shudder.<br />

Remember the children in the furnace<br />

And sing their fire-baked barbershop quartet.<br />

Them bones, them bones, ground in dry pool hall chalk,<br />

Them bones, them bones, burnt up in the desert,<br />

Them bones, them bones, what is left afterwards,<br />

Them bones them bones, gathered up walk it off.<br />

The Christian responding is at a loss<br />

Never. The thorny crown is tiara<br />

Tacked to the spotless head. Here comes the bride.<br />

They tear her dress. See how she is singing.<br />

The nails driven through her feet bloody her,<br />

But again, see she refuses crooning<br />

To call herself victim, struts though He slay<br />

Her, yet will she trust Him, His aria.<br />


How long, Oh Lord, until it suddenly?<br />

How long, Oh Lord, can they count the martyrs?<br />

How long, Oh Lord, to when the whirlwind speaks?<br />

How long, Oh Lord, will You leave us singing?<br />


Kevin Reid<br />

Our Priest<br />

didn’t always wear a collar,<br />

said it wasn't gospel that prayer<br />

should always be of the cloth.<br />

Made a point in visiting those who<br />

didn't know what a priest looked like.<br />

Told me about a brothel,<br />

where women were paid to pray<br />

while being fucked Good News style.<br />

There’s wine in both testaments.<br />

Our priest always brought a bottle.<br />


Karen Little<br />

Supper Time<br />

When she opened the door to the man in a brown suit, the girl<br />

already saw him blowing cigarette smoke up their chimney,<br />

heard him tunelessly accompany Wings from behind the sofa,<br />

headphones clamped over hair containing not a single grey strand.<br />

Her mother brushed mascara into the ones greying at her own temples<br />

and beside her ears; she was eight years older than him, and often<br />

told her daughter, you will be the death of me. The girl refused<br />

to let him in, wouldn’t let him leave the box of albums indoors;<br />

she knew how to say no before he established himself as family.<br />

She didn’t know the sound of juggled coins in his trouser pocket<br />

would drive her mad, that the rattle of a ‘supper tray’ outside<br />

her bedroom, a fat sugary scone reflecting the light from her bedside<br />

lamp, could instill a freezing in her chest. She didn’t take her eyes off<br />

the sugar; imagined crawling inside to where the raisins were concealed<br />

in a plump, secure silence. Burrowing to the centre, her hands scooped<br />

a breathing place. When he left, she crumbled the scone between<br />

her fingers, opened the window to throw crumbs for the birds, poured<br />

milk in a steady stream down the outside wall, turned out her light.<br />


Rachel Burns<br />

Strange Little Girl<br />

You are wearing a red coat with a red hood,<br />

like that little girl, do not stray from the path<br />

your mother said, the woods beyond lead to death.<br />

But you lost the path an hour ago.<br />

It’s pouring with rain, and your blue dress<br />

is sticking, sticking to your goose pimpled flesh.<br />

You can feel your shoes sinking in the mud<br />

and your legs scratching on the brambles.<br />

You remember the story was the same,<br />

but the woodcutter never came.<br />

Strange little girl, where are you going?<br />

He grabs you by your red coat, that rips at the seam.<br />

He squeezes you so tight you can’t breathe<br />

and your world is swallowed up whole<br />

white, white, white then blackness buzzing<br />

buzzing like a swarm of angry bees.<br />

You go deeper into the forest<br />

so deep that you can never return unmarked.<br />

You can hear somebody walking behind<br />

twigs snap, the sound rings out like the<br />

sound you heard in the pigeon cree.<br />

Snap, snap, snap, their soft little necks.<br />

Strange little girl, where are you going?<br />


You wander back home, your mind numb<br />

and you’re voice thick with unshed tears.<br />

You whisper to her, but she doesn’t hear.<br />

She is too busy mending the tear<br />

the needle goes in and out, in and out<br />

crimson thread the colour of blood<br />

mending the ripped seam.<br />

You remember the song but the tune is all wrong.<br />

Strange little girl, where are you going?<br />


Louise Wilford<br />

The Tattoo On My Sister’s Shoulder<br />

The single horn of the unicorn half turns towards me<br />

from your shoulder blade, an upturned cornet.<br />

The animal trots on dancing white hooves, doll eyes<br />

coyly flirting through the bars of your sundress straps.<br />

Maybe the freckle, half an inch above the cone’s point,<br />

wasn’t there when the picture was inked onto your skin<br />

a decade ago, but it looks as if the horse has seen it,<br />

this fat brown flaw, and now picks up speed, tossing<br />

its yellow mane, ready to skewer the error on its spiralling<br />

tip. You can’t see the unicorn unless you twist,<br />

unseemly and contorted, or set up double mirrors.<br />

Perhaps you’ve forgotten it exists, this spiky guardian<br />

on your shoulder. Your first. It doesn’t quite fit, does it,<br />

all puppy fat and Disney grin? Doesn’t quite sit right<br />

with your pagan ankle foliage, the Celtic knot<br />

on your forearm, or the curved tendrils of ink that scale<br />

your abdomen. Like them, it has its time and place,<br />

seen more often by more people. It was painted<br />

when you were young and sentimental, still green<br />

enough to enjoy the thought of stabling a cartoon<br />

unicorn on your shoulder for a lifetime. You weren’t<br />

qualified for unicorns even then. Your other tatts<br />

emerge and vanish with the hour, the weather,<br />

the clothes you choose – bikini-ed on the beach,<br />

wrapped in a towel after showering, seductive on your bed<br />

wearing only cocoa butter. In winter, the shutters<br />

are drawn, your drawings are shut. End of Season.<br />

But the unicorn isn’t bashful. It appears each time<br />


your sloppy sweater falls off your shoulder or your t-shirt<br />

is too thin. It’s childish lines ripple as you move your arm;<br />

its cerulean body has no diffidence. Cheerful and over the top,<br />

it’s the thing people notice but you forget. It suits you.<br />


Marne Wilson<br />

Hanging Out<br />

Sitting on beanbag chairs in your parents’ basement,<br />

we listen to the Shaggy Dog Cha-Cha-Cha<br />

on my record of Disney Dance Tunes.<br />

Your smiling but unobtrusive mother brings us<br />

tall glass bottles of Coke with straws peeking out,<br />

a pan of brownies,<br />

and, if it’s close to suppertime,<br />

a plate of toasted cheese sandwiches.<br />

This is the happiest day of my life,<br />

just hanging out with you.<br />

Too bad this isn’t a real memory.<br />

Instead, it comes from a variety of sources:<br />

Nancy Drew books,<br />

Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Home Entertaining,<br />

nights I spied on my big sister<br />

and afternoons spent with Barbie and Ken.<br />

Bits and pieces of these implanted memories<br />

have formed an image much more perfect<br />

than any actual hanging out either of us have ever done.<br />

I could not expect you to live up to this teenage ideal,<br />

forty years out of date<br />

and twenty-five years too young for us,<br />

but it travels through my mind<br />

every time you say the phrase.<br />


Linda Stevenson<br />

Profile<br />

Temporary<br />

profile<br />

picture, here’s<br />

mine, it’s about<br />

the fortieth I’ve<br />

done, I think,<br />

say one every couple<br />

of years, say<br />

those set up<br />

on terraces, quad<br />

rangled children,<br />

holding plaques,<br />

temporary if you must<br />

but actually in for life,<br />

position proscribed<br />

by height, at the back<br />

if you were tall, that’s all.<br />

I always fought shy<br />

of those visiting<br />

school photographers,<br />

thought they might<br />

be stealing my soul,<br />

or knowing things,<br />

secrets;<br />

they hid their heads under<br />

black cloth, then struck.<br />


Kelli Simpson<br />

Non-Credible<br />

I’m washing up<br />

the last of the breakfast dishes<br />

when every phone<br />

in the house rings at once. Hello?<br />

An inappropriately cheerful automated<br />

voice from my child’s high school -<br />

a social media threat . . .<br />

. . . determined to be noncredible.<br />

I picture the slender<br />

wrists and fragile hands of my transgender son.<br />

I hear Orlando, Las Vegas<br />

Parkland like a mantra.<br />

And I wonder: isn’t credible /<br />

non-credible a line<br />

we’ve already crossed?<br />


Emma Lee<br />

Naming the Colours<br />

“My favourite colours are fire colours.”<br />

In a Lebanese camp, her son selects black.<br />

He explains that Syria is smoky<br />

because of the bombing and sometimes red.<br />

In Europe he sees every colour,<br />

especially white, like a pure, clean page,<br />

unlike the dirty scrap he draws on.<br />

His mother pays five hundred and fifty dollars a year<br />

for the tent, a further twenty for electricity for light.<br />

Europe means three hours in a black rubber dinghy<br />

and the ache of holding children aloft<br />

to prevent them from being crushed.<br />

Her fire colours don’t include the orange<br />

of the fake lifejackets sold at fifty dollars.<br />

Cerise, scarlet, poppy, saffron, turmeric,<br />

pomegranate with gold threaded embroidery.<br />

She remembers. Daesh spoke little Arabic.<br />

They were Chechen, Afghan, Chinese,<br />

American, Somalian, Pakistani.<br />

Fire colours mean rebirth. She calls<br />

her newborn Sulaf, which means sunrise.<br />


Ben Banyard<br />

Jim<br />

Ought to have retired eight years ago<br />

but he’s on the bus by 5am every morning,<br />

an apparition in orange high-viz.<br />

I see him around the city pushing his barrow.<br />

Stop to catch up with news,<br />

how everyone still lives in the same houses<br />

except the problem family with the wild kids<br />

who were moved on, and now there are no more<br />

police raids in the middle of the night.<br />

Imagine being 73 and picking litter in the rain.<br />

He always works overtime, barely takes a holiday,<br />

just the odd bacon sandwich at the depot to look forward to.<br />

And one day I’ll realise that I haven’t seen<br />

him for weeks, and wonder what that might mean.<br />


Bethany W Pope<br />

(Dirty)<br />

You are a kind that is familiar<br />

in every nation, middle-aged, from<br />

the upper middle-class, with a Waitrose<br />

accent, expensive outdoorsy boots (unscuffed)<br />

and though you are balding, your skin has that<br />

sleek, buttery-smooth look that comes<br />

from regular spa-days. You are very<br />

tall, with a good, strong frame, which (I'm sure)<br />

you hope your boys inherit. Your wife<br />

is small, and just your age. Her gold-plated<br />

hair brushes her shoulders and every<br />

strand is daily hammered straight. Your children<br />

have perfectly blended features. They will<br />

be as attractive as you were, once.<br />

I know that you were attractive, once.<br />

It's written on your face. And there I was,<br />

facing you, facing your wife, reading<br />

the solid cost of your watch, the tasteful<br />

heft of her two rings (understated,<br />

elegant) with their terribly clear diamonds,<br />

telling you that (for once) you could not get<br />

exactly what you wanted. The film was<br />

rated fifteen. Your children were between<br />

thirteen and eleven. When I pointed<br />

out the sign with the law printed on it<br />

(laws passed by people sharing your accent<br />

which, if broken, would result in a fine —<br />

to be paid by myself — of two-thousand pounds)<br />

and asked for ID, you bent down between<br />

hunched shoulders and thrust your arched raptor's nose<br />

almost between my eyes, as though you'd like<br />

to gouge holes in my cheeks. Your spittle flew<br />

as you cawed your disbelief, 'Are you calling<br />

me a liar? My children are above<br />

the age. How dare you call me a liar<br />

you little foreigner!’ And that is when<br />

I called the manager. Minimum wage<br />

is not nearly recompense enough<br />


for being drenched in your warm saliva.<br />

You pecked at a man (earning eight pounds per hour)<br />

for a solid ten minutes, measured<br />

by the hands of your Rolex. In the end,<br />

documents were produced, or at least<br />

some agreement was reached. You were waved through<br />

one more of life’s tiresome little doors,<br />

ushered past one more exhausted, little,<br />

foreigner. Your wife flashed her perfect teeth<br />

at me, her blue eyes crinkling (attractively)<br />

at the corners, and you took her hand<br />

as you stalked the long corridor.<br />


Kristin Garth<br />

Entertainers<br />

They play the Beastie Boys. He says let’s dance.<br />

The “let’s” implies all — you, him, stranger stuck,<br />

all rayon sweat slunk pleather couch. Askance<br />

dark irised other jiggling man tits, sucked<br />

to sleep tonight, his baby concubine<br />

if you obey this signal, strip for two<br />

more men. It’s Friday night, the hundredth time,<br />

at least, for you — an entertainer, too,<br />

like him, a guitar player. Consider<br />

a Jimmy Page analogy, his hotel<br />

room post concert when the other stripper<br />

asked him to play and he said bloody well<br />

just did. He’d just hear the hotel. Think whore.<br />

It’s better if you don’t say anymore.<br />


Jared Pearce<br />

We walk through the crime scene where my student was<br />

murdered<br />

I’m kicking a stick<br />

Then a rock,<br />

I’m snapping my knee<br />

And whipping my socks<br />

For the kicks that I send<br />

To the clocks,<br />

To the sand, to the strident<br />

Bird in the ugly tree,<br />

I’m kicking the dawn,<br />

The boss’s flab face,<br />

The kids from outer space.<br />

The kicks are small but mean<br />

And well placed, poking<br />

The waste and wasting me.<br />


Sally Kidd<br />

Exploration<br />

I stayed up late, wide-eyed to watch<br />

the men land on<br />

the moon.<br />

Sat in my gran’s yellow<br />

paint-stained lounge<br />

filled more with smoke<br />

than air.<br />

I knew how Armstrong felt<br />

struggling in an<br />

alien atmosphere.<br />


Sophie Petrie<br />

Headland<br />

The rain pours the bracken into a wet backed dune,<br />

the yellow heads cowering in tufted whorls,<br />

hoof prints become their own waterways.<br />

Rock trills and reels,<br />

the wheeling absence of wings,<br />

only a thousand voices.<br />

That black seal<br />

a rearview mirror of a face<br />

bobs and disappears,<br />

dissipates, wearing wave shawls.<br />

Here the rock is primordial,<br />

teeth too black to rot.<br />

The sea lies on its back<br />

waiting for the stars.<br />

There are no ships to wreck today.<br />

Pickings were better yesterday.<br />

The sea lies ready to ground<br />

those peril faced buckets<br />

those waiting water sacks.<br />

But there are no ships today.<br />

The old man is lost in sleep<br />

turning and turning over<br />

bundled in soft pleats.<br />

The sea lies on its back<br />

humming to itself.<br />


Thomas Tyrell<br />

A Frightful Ballad of the Third Lord Boyce<br />

October winds, October seas,<br />

Around the ship they seethe and roar.<br />

John Graham, the third Lord of Boyce<br />

Hears a knock on his cabin door.<br />

“With compliments of Captain Spence,<br />

You’re wanted on the deck,<br />

To see a sight was never seen<br />

From Cape Town to Quebec.<br />

“Your father’s ship has come alongside,<br />

And John Graham, the second Lord<br />

Of Boyce cries out in a fearful voice<br />

For you to come aboard.”<br />

The blood fell from Young Boyce’s cheek,<br />

His heart was sore afraid.<br />

“My compliments to Captain Spence,<br />

Sure some mistake is made?<br />

“My father’s dead ten years this night,<br />

My father died at sea.<br />

All souls aboard his ship were drowned<br />

In the storms of ‘ninety-three.”<br />

“And was that ship the Son of Eve<br />

Out of the Port o’ Spain?<br />

And did it have a figurehead<br />

Bearing the mark of Cain?<br />

“And is your father a red-haired man<br />

Who stands full six-foot high,<br />

With a blazing cheek and a broken nose<br />

And a hellfire gleam in his eye?”<br />

And then Young Boyce went up on deck<br />

To a crew half-mad with terror,<br />

And looking on his father’s face<br />


He knew there was no error.<br />

Old Boyce bestrode the quarterdeck;<br />

His cannons were shotted and rammed.<br />

“I’ll have Young Boyce to join my crew!<br />

Though we be cursed and damned,<br />

“A man’s own son, when all’s said and done,<br />

Should stand beside his sire.<br />

So have Young Boyce conveyed aboard,<br />

Or else I’ll open fire,<br />

“And the salt sea-waves will be your graves<br />

And your daughters and widows will grieve.”<br />

With a single leap, Young Boyce spanned the deep<br />

And stood on the Son of Eve.<br />

Young Boyce went to his father’s side<br />

And clasped his outstretched hand,<br />

As fiery red and burning hot<br />

As any cattle brand.<br />

He made his quivering knees be still<br />

He made his heart beat slow<br />

And in a steady, offhand voice,<br />

He asked to go below.<br />

“Oh, my young Boyce, you’ll have the choice<br />

Of cabin, as you ought.<br />

A long, long trip you’ll spend on ship<br />

Ere we come to any port.<br />

“This night we sail the seas of earth,<br />

And feel the fresh west wind.<br />

The Other Place has oceans too,<br />

Though of a different kind,<br />

“With a hot and sulphur-stinking breeze<br />

And a bitter, burning spray,<br />

Where I and you and all our crew<br />

Will sail till Judgement Day.”<br />


And then Old Boyce took up his lamp<br />

And led his son below,<br />

Where the lantern’s gleams showed only scenes<br />

Of horror, shame and woe.<br />

Backs flogged until the ribs gleamed white<br />

And angry blistered burns;<br />

Dead hopeless eyes, that haunt Young Boyce<br />

Whichever way he turns.<br />

But his cabin was filled with gold and jewels,<br />

The spoils of piracy,<br />

With a narrow bunk and a cannon-port<br />

That looked upon the sea.<br />

Here Old Boyce left him to his rest<br />

With the ghastliest of grins,<br />

And Young Boyce, sinking on his bunk,<br />

Bethought him of his sins.<br />

“In Paris and in London, I<br />

Have lived a life of pleasure,<br />

Not thinking how my carefree wealth<br />

Was blood-soaked pirate treasure.<br />

“Not thinking how my easy wealth<br />

Was buccaneering booty.<br />

I sought not to redress this thing.<br />

Alas! I shirked my duty.<br />

“For these bright stones how many bones<br />

Lie bleached and bare and dry?<br />

For wealth untold of Spanish gold<br />

How many men must die?<br />

What comfort can these trinkets give<br />

If I lose my soul thereby?<br />

“Shall I sail aboard the Son of Eve<br />

On seas of grief and dole,<br />

Or cast myself from yon cannon-port<br />


And swim for life and soul?<br />

“Must I share the fate and bear the curse<br />

Of my father and his men?<br />

Oh, I’d rather brave the salt sea-wave,<br />

If my strength should fail—what then?<br />

“Better lose my breath to a sailor’s death,<br />

With Davy Jones to dwell,<br />

Than forever ride by my father’s side<br />

On the fiery seas of Hell.”<br />

And men still speak of the thin white smile<br />

Of his corpse as it lay on the shore,<br />

Like one who’s braved Hell’s worst and saved<br />

His soul forevermore.<br />


Jude Cowan Montague<br />

A Morncoat Troutthwing<br />

Up the beach he kelked, half-knitted<br />

and rising, leaning back into him, harping<br />

and with a gembling grans he took his bram<br />

as if to ask the oct what wold the world<br />

its frais wil. The kelk from the sea, carnaby,<br />

adriff, a low thwing, one russy morncoast<br />

grinning the gap, sew to skerne, weavering<br />

Agnes, the bain he fossed, he scors<br />

the beeland, sledding the holes but no hut<br />

no wick wats, the skip is sawed arramsby<br />

and with a lut he aikes atwards into clold.<br />


MiRo<br />

Emma<br />

First of all her hand caught fire.<br />

Then her arm caught fire.<br />

Then her chest caught fire.<br />

Then her other arm caught fire.<br />

After that her neck caught fire, then her face and also her hair caught fire.<br />

Meanwhile, her stomach had caught fire.<br />

Then her legs caught fire. And her feet caught fire.<br />

Emma was fully ablaze by the time the fire service turned up to put her out.<br />

Then the fire service put her out.<br />

At this point an ambulance arrived and they fixed her up.<br />

Then she was naked and gave birth to octuplets.<br />

She took them home and raised them as her own.<br />

I forgot to mention that this all happened in a park by a lake.<br />


Darrell Petska<br />

A Short History of Cheerios<br />

Cows have been grateful since the Pleistocene.<br />

Neanderthal women strung them about their necks<br />

to attract Homo sapien suitors. Mesopotamian potters<br />

patterned wheels after that ancient oaten aphrodisiac.<br />

For a halo, Jesus emulated his daily grain's holiness.<br />

Ptolemy over his breakfast bowl conceived the universe<br />

as a set of nested spheres. People of the Dark Ages<br />

found the bright yellow box a handy lantern.<br />

Petrarch's sonnets to Cheerios remain lost to this day.<br />

Christopher Columbus forded the “Ocean Sea”<br />

to trade the bead-like O's for New World gold.<br />

Minus its buoyant payload, his Santa Maria wrecked.<br />

Later in America, colonists protesting British taxes<br />

dumped a boatload of Cheerios into Newport Harbor.<br />

As the 20th century turned, 63-year-old Annie Taylor<br />

successfully traversed Niagara Falls in a barrel<br />

packed with Cheerios. And is there one student<br />

of history who does not know why Molly Brown<br />

proved unsinkable when the Titanic went down?<br />

For soldiers worldwide during the contentious 1900s,<br />

Cheerios fun packs became the field ration of choice.<br />

The commoner Princess Di wanted Cheerios<br />

strewn at her wedding, but Charles held out for rice.<br />

Sales of Cheerios spiked substantially circa<br />

2YK festivities: a readily accessible, edible confetti.<br />

A similar spike in consumption occurred in 2012<br />

when Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana.<br />

Pollsters suggest Hillary Clinton would have been elected<br />

had she run a “No Bowl Unfilled” campaign.<br />

Videos from the International Space Station reveal<br />

Cheerios floating in the cabin. And fortunately, Elon Musk's<br />

O-shaped Elysium shuttle nears readiness, anticipating<br />

Earth's end of days when, the Cheerios website states,<br />

we can cash in our boxtops and claim our just reward:<br />

a bottomless bowl of eternal goodness and angels crooning<br />

“Cheerios is heaven for you, and me.”<br />


David Linklater<br />

Renaissance Shake<br />

I went to bed after a night doing the Renaissance shake.<br />

I dreamt rattlesnakes, a storage unit, Saudi Arabia.<br />

I woke around 5 with a bladder full as a pool<br />

and hot as a burning dockyard. I emptied,<br />

a dump truck sweating gold. I slept through<br />

the rest on a marble quilt and picked bluebirds<br />

from my ice cream. On a beach of rope swings<br />

head spinning like a drunk, the helicopters rowed<br />

to the long sleep of stars and the silhouettes on<br />

the sphere danced slow and easy, gorgeous ghosts.<br />

I yawned a blue glass apple, the magpie on the sill<br />

yawned a barbed wire fence, the squirrel a pair of boots.<br />

I got dressed and poured tiger and the milk<br />

was the Kelvin river. I smoked a cigarette that whispered<br />

passwords and smelled like a rainforest. I walked<br />

to the shop with a headache that was a derelict building.<br />

I bought food for dinner inside a whale and delivered<br />

Jerry Garcia scratch cards on his birthday. I found that<br />

mountains were songs and water was silk. And then<br />

of course jets diving into the sand, the waves folding over,<br />

the old man leaning on his pale cane, rings around him.<br />

Of course I was naked for the most part but didn’t care,<br />

it was obvious none of us would be there again.<br />

Of course these things actually happenend.<br />

Of course, no word of a lie.<br />


Douglas Cole<br />

The Doghouse<br />

You’ve got no image,<br />

but you’ve got the gray<br />

rain against the windows;<br />

you’ve got the old crowd<br />

with absinthe laughter<br />

and good old fashioned<br />

whiskey stares,<br />

and you’ve got the woman<br />

climbing into bed who says,<br />

please, no more nightmares.<br />


Kasey Shelley<br />

Hard Work<br />

When the boy texts you to cancel your date, saying you’re hard work, say<br />

“OK”. Say “Thank you”. This will confuse him, obviously. He will expected to<br />

respond with “How?!” “Why?!”, starting an argument, thus proving, you are<br />

hard work.<br />

When he writes back “what for?” you do not respond. When he texts you the<br />

next day saying “ah hun, babe” you still do not respond. He has already given<br />

up on something that did not have the chance to begin.<br />

Besides, you like men. Men who know what they want and go for it. Men who<br />

do not masquerade their own insecurities in yours.<br />

So your hard work because your walls are higher now than they were at what,<br />

sixteen? Well he should now be taller, than he was at sixteen. When you threw<br />

over a rope and he still refuses to climb. He is not worth it, not worth your time.<br />

You are not hard work. You are hardworking. You survive every day in this<br />

world. Through work, home, love, loss. Through your own mind.<br />

“You are hard work” Four words that will spur you on and give you more<br />

energy than Honey Boo Boo’s go go juice. So write the poem. Sing the song.<br />

Get the fucking promotion. Work hard and become a better you. For you.<br />

One day someone will come to the wall. And before you even offer to throw<br />

the rope they will be scaling. Scaling brick by brick to get to know you better.<br />

Because you are worth that.<br />

So when the boy says you are hard work, say “Thank you. Thank you very<br />

much.”<br />


Pru Bankes Price<br />

Almost a Love Letter<br />

Memory is the proud treasure of wounded hearts<br />

- Marcel Proust<br />

Dear Joe<br />

Do you remember?<br />

I gave you a porcelain eye,<br />

smooth-shaped, with milky gaze<br />

it stared from your palm<br />

reflected itself in your eyes.<br />

You closed your fingers<br />

around its sleekness<br />

closed your mind against<br />

questions strung between us.<br />

Today technology winks from my desk<br />

reminds me of that long-ago gift<br />

and landscapes plotted<br />

by a deserted petrol station<br />

your desperate bluegrass banjo strum<br />

night time murk of Boulters Lock.<br />

I remember you well<br />

but don’t think of you that often.<br />


Cara L McKee<br />

Your <strong>Poetry</strong><br />

(Inspired by a 'secret postcard' from the same art project, reading 'I never liked your<br />

poetry'.)<br />

You write.<br />

You write and write and<br />

out it comes<br />

tumbling line on line<br />

in flowering, leafy,<br />

intricate, detailed poetry.<br />

And it sells.<br />

People buy your<br />

little books of<br />

pretty poems<br />

in scented gift shops,<br />

wrapped with leafy soaps<br />

and wooden hearts.<br />

And I,<br />

your favoured audience<br />

get to hear your poems first.<br />

Every single one<br />

of the hundreds<br />

of plump poetical petals<br />

passes my ears<br />

before landing<br />

gently<br />

in your pastel-shaded books.<br />

And,<br />

do you know?<br />

I never liked your poetry.<br />


Tobi Alfier<br />

Out of My League in Honfleur<br />

Try as I might, I’m tainted,<br />

shamefaced and lowbrow,<br />

a face at the window<br />

that leans into absence.<br />

I contemplate the blue/gray<br />

of enamel sky, compare<br />

it to the bleu-noir of the rented<br />

room, I turn numb,<br />

follow a trail made of instinct.<br />

Lacking in grace. I’ve drifted<br />

far out of my league,<br />

I am the late snow’s thickening<br />

silence, the tick of a metronome<br />

behind walls crackled with time.<br />

I need a belt of something<br />

ill-advised, and a man to drink with me.<br />

Dump those dying wildflowers out<br />

of the jar and pour. Don’t claim<br />

my icy words are foreign, warm my<br />

non-drinking wrist with your breath.<br />


Bekah Steimel<br />

Separation<br />

Years, Geography and Lovers between us<br />

our other selves traveled by osmosis and muscle memory<br />

Monogamous only to desire, to recollection<br />

Yes, faithful only to the blue flag of love<br />

we planted in quicksand<br />

But, what a difference<br />

Years<br />

Geography<br />

Lovers<br />

make.<br />


Michelle Hartman<br />

Ode to October<br />

a breath drawn<br />

without labor<br />

sky without<br />

suns death threat<br />

brilliant leaf piles<br />

hint at snakes<br />

packing to leave<br />

breezy portent<br />

of pleasant mums<br />

grackles swarm auditioning<br />

for Hitchcock<br />

their calls<br />

shatter<br />

last, lonely plans<br />

of summer<br />


For writer biographies / web links, please see the<br />

‘Contributors’ page on our website.<br />

Thank you for reading!<br />


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