Poem, Poetry

Tom Kelly


See me in ‘The Borough’ pub with me Granny,
something I never did. I was too young
at the time.
Granda buys her a whisky she throws back
far too quickly. I sit silent on a stool
not beside her but eyeing every move,
wanting and waiting for something
that never arrived.
Why am I heading to the bar?
It’s been demolished for years.
I know, not for the first time,
answers are never ready-made.

Tom Kelly’s ninth poetry collection This Small Patch has recently been published and re-printed by Red Squirrel Press who also published his short story collection Behind the Wall.  


Poem, Poetry

Martin Potter

Manchester Weather Watching

Coasting by roof reefs the rain
A storm at sail through habitation
Rough casts at your window pane

Clouds on the march though stone
Corners cut into their formation
Coasting by roof reefs the rain

Runs raids across an afternoon
Obscuring atmospheric motion
Rough casts at your window pane

Against your fragile visor screen
Its liquid grey ammunition
Coasting by roof reefs the rain

Reaches the demarcation line
Containing pent up insulation
Rough casts at your window pane

Sprawling the droplets slide down
Short of their irrigating mission
Coasting by roof reefs the rain
Rough casts at your window pane

Martin Potter (https://martinpotterpoet.home.blog)is a poet and academic, and his poems have appeared in AcumenThe French Literary ReviewEborakonScintillaInk Sweat & Tears, and other journals. His pamphlet In the Particular was published by Eyewear in December, 2017. 

Poem, Poetry

Zoe Parmenter

Snuffed out

Hey, let it go.
We’ve already reeled in that string
that had nothing
on the other end of it.
It won’t drag anymore.
Remember? We pulled it in for mum to see.
Don’t think about its soggy redness
where the wine flopped out of the glass,
like a minnow thrusting itself out of a bucket
to return to its river, to kiss the ivory carpet
and bleed into its cotton.

I swear I had seen that before.
But this is all so brief, I remind you:
a tour on a bullet train
coated in heavy, rooted wax
with flecks of wicks without flames
that refuse
to stay and burn
for long enough.

Zoe Parmenter is a student from the University of Winchester where she discovered her love for poetry under the tutelage of Julian Stannard. She is an emerging writer who was born in Poole, Dorset where the antics of her adolescence now bleed into her work. 

Poem, Poetry

J. S. Watts

City Lightscapes

My body is many cities
built up unconsciously as time travelled through,
arterial highways blaring along my veins,
each struggling rudely for its space in the light
that place where the street lamps shine
their, once dirty yellow, now cleanly focused white
to drive away darkly blurred memories
trying to impose their own no go,
road ahead closed,
on the complicated routes of the heart.
I cannot now say which one was home.
They all were. None.

I have traversed each one equally,
lived inside their laments,
hauling my legs across the heavy grey pavements
of every geographically separate construct,
feeling their individual aches
through the soles of my calloused feet.
Maybe that is why I now choose to walk
forward on greening, mud-squelched paths,
learning the dirt of this settlement
the sky widely illuminated by bird song.

J.S.Watts is a poet and novelist. Her books include: poetry – “Cats and Other Myths”, “Years Ago You Coloured Me”, “Songs of Steelyard Sue” and “The Submerged Sea”, and novels – “A Darker Moon” “Witchlight” and “Old Light”. See www.jswatts.co.uk 

Poem, Poetry

Ciarán O’Rourke

Shadow Play

Through solid weeks
of plague and rage, the earth

a drowning weather-dome,
my private liberty, at home,

has been to rest, mid-
morning, squinting,

as the swallows dance
above me, and beyond –

their shadow-play made whispery
by the bog-reflecting gelatin

of Shannon-water waves,
pushing, slow, and placid

as a dream. Far
from here, the fires scream

inside the mind of redwood trees,
an ashen sigh of sound.

I scan the skyline peaceably,
a grey-

winged, rainy-eyed
dishevelment of cloud,

and count the beeches jutting out
to snare the floating sun.

Stare too long, the colours run.
I lose the plot, and wallow

as loneliness begins –
my sin an outer circumstance

festering within.
O distant reader, skeptic,

take me intimately in:
my meagre, waifing wonder,

my belly-
aching thunder,

as if distilled
poetic anger

were another shade of hunger,
or remorse.

The voice I speak
was built on force.

But ghosting memories

with buried gentleness.
Before the nurses

flurried round, her fingers
fretted softly under sheets:

she fluttered on
in quietness and chitter-talk

to stem all worrying,
then slipped below

to sleep, and final things.
The stone of hers I keep

is lavender, and fleet,
the falling weight

(I adumbrate)
of a wren’s heartbeat

or breathing seed:
a whisper that takes flower

wherever there’s a need,
like the spring-

returning showers
as I stooped to kiss her cheek.

Ciarán O’Rourke lives in Leitrim, Ireland. He has won the Cúirt New Irish Writing Award, the Westport Poetry Prize, and the Fish Poetry Prize. His collection, The Buried Breath, was published by Irish Pages Press in 2018. (www.ragpickerpoetry.net