A Beautiful Resistance by Dave Rendle

Among tides of wild currents

Freedom spreads beautiful resistance

flying strong on winds of existence,

some will try to steal our thunder

tempt us into  places of fear and hate

but like the breezes that blow with persistence

mighty are minds that follow this source,

with compassion will help deliver tyranny’s end

for the lives of the many, not the hands of a few

beyond the darkness of our current days

there is strength in a crowd of solidarity,

with people’s power, the future looks bold

we can create and build a fairer world,.

following  paths of love and equality

our desires can continue to be shared,

carrying rainbow flags of diversity

refusing to be silenced or usurped

each night and day dreams will live

sowing hope in  hearts, seeds of change

onwards we rise,never to  disappear.

..

 Poem inspired by attending rally in Haverfordwest 13/10/17.

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Anxiety by JoyAnne O’Donnell

Some bridges are falling
Dangling with a fast pulse
From a hell that is invisible
A dying in your head
from a piercing hearts stress
Waiting for the ocean
To come and knock on my
tear dripping door
So I can feel the sand
Again on the land
Inside my hand
Of a relaxing stand.

..

JoyAnne is the author of a chapbook Sun and Rain by Scars Publication. 

Author of “Winds of Time” 2017.

Text Messages from the Underworld by Jim Feeney

He can’t quite remember when they started –

the text messages direct to his head,

actual text messages

appearing on the screen of his brain

preceded by a ping;

they were innocuous at first

quasi-inspirational stuff like:

ping! write like no one is reading;

ping! own the day, it cost you nothing.

Then they became fragmented

as if someone was trigger happy

on the ‘send’ button:

ping! America, the country

ping! that God is asked to bless

ping! is hurtling down

ping! a golden garbage chute

ping! that goes all the way

ping! to hell!

Then, nothing for a while.

Then, one message repeating

its sneer implicit in its abbreviation

its adopted argot,

over and over again

a textual assault:

ping! Dems got no game

ping! Dems got no game

ping! Dems got no game….

Sheer Bravado by Rupert M Loydell

Sometimes, of course, it is sheer bravado,
wishful thinking about what could have been.
times it is because I do not remember,
retold the story so many times
it has become fiction, a truth gleaned
from photos, memoirs, friends’ anecdotes,
overlaid with a veneer of middle age.

It probably wasn’t like that
but I remember it as better then.
Gigs were cheap and plentiful,
London was a great place to live,
and the world just was, a place
of potential and possibility, not one
devoid of promise and spare cash.

I worked shifts at the hospital,
spent a summer mixing chemicals
in a factory, another teaching sailing
to kids in the USA. New York
was simply wonderful, hot and
cheap to live in; a year in Coventry
brought me down to earth, taught me

things I didn’t want to know:
how people were different and lived
as they chose, how people were poor
and couldn’t live as they wished.
Forty years later, we’re all the same:
broke and trapped in a consumer dream
we can’t afford and wouldn’t wish

on anyone. Hidden away in our village,
we’ve escaped the worst, but friends
are back on the dole, on the streets,
worn out from corporate bullshit
and the forms they always need to fill in.
Sometimes the future seems sheer bravado:
we need to stand together, not give in.

Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.

Me too by Sue Kindon

I can honestly say
no man has ever physically got the better
of me

but there was an old guy on the Caterham train
beckoned us over
(we were in Brownie uniform)

and I thought at first he held a sparrow
in his naked hand. We called Brown Owl
and he zipped it

out of sight,
or that time hitching
when we cadged a lift

from those French blokes
and their Gitane smoke,
who didn’t try anything

but dumped us
in the middle of a Breton forest
when they didn’t fancy us

or coming home with Jen
from The Last Night of The Proms,
all patriotic in a corridorless train

and having to get out and move compartments
at East Croydon because a spotty youth
was edging ever closer and there was no one else

and again at Purley Oaks
when he decided to follow us
to the very same compartment

and we knew the penalty
for pulling the communication cord

or the old friend of the Viennese family
where I stayed on an exchange visit
who couldn’t understand

why a fifteen year-old girl
didn’t want to go out with him
in a horse-drawn fiacre

to hear his war stories.

Make America Great Again by Susan Castillo

We must come together now.
Grab ‘em by the pussy.
Build that wall.
It can’t happen here.

Grab ‘em by the pussy
Lock her up
It can’t happen here.
Swastikas painted on a wall.

Lock her up.
We won.  Get over it.
Swastikas painted on a wall.
You’d be in jail.

We won. Get over it.
Nasty woman.
You’d be in jail.

If you’re a star you can do anything.

Scavenger by Natalia Spencer

Sun cracks sky above roof tops
& Japanese Maple is a blood orange clot

There was a time someone might have loved me
a man who stepped on sand happy

if you watch slow fall of gold leaves
this country can be really beautiful

providing you have the view
a man can look past gnarled roots

erupting through concrete
like wrinkled eels

They plague hours of air, grime
& gold humps limbless like me

And I do not ask pity from a boy who shouts
Get back to Africa

I try to speak as a Marine should
Sand fills my mouth

Coronation Day 2nd June 1953 by Rob Cullen

From the bench on the street corner one legged Jack sits watching the scene
pennants and bunting draped ready for celebrations the throning of a queen.

Jailed for killing a sheep to feed half-starved kids in the far away depression days
Jack remembered the struggle to survive and the children dying in those ways.

On the tree lined flowering street the white haired boy tried and failed always
when the showering confetti of petals eventually made it their time to fall too.

Red white and pink spring colours in a time of khaki, navy blue, and greys
the white haired boy walked kicking along the stony road a blue tin zinc ball

Battered and dented dull on each of its three sides from so many tries
to make it fly it was in those days with long hours they called peace.

Thundering and lightning crackled without warning in clear blue skies
the silenced old gods and wise men left only indentations, remembrances

Of psalms and words in the places they’d once stood in so many guises.
In the tall aspen trees above the school yard Jackdaws turned into blackness

No longer offering advice to the boy standing in silence on a stone edged street.
He wandered listening to hammering hard voices in those endless days of friction.

It was a time of remembrances of yearning for memories, idylls and those years
before the great fracturing, when men stared too long into the crematoria’s fire.

Of the man-made hell when God looked away from supplications, turned deaf ears
to the prayers of beseechment from the lost, the implorations for intervention

For salvation. And only silence reigned. The old Kings head stared one eyed
on silver sixpences and farthings but he was dead and the Christmas tree lights

Fixed to the windows and doorways ready for the street party rationing allowed.
And all those old songs knees up mother brown, oh knees up mother brown,

They pushed the damper in and they pulled the damper out and the smoke went up
She’ll be coming round the mountain will be sung again and sung again and echoing.

It was a time of remembering past times, it was a time for forgetting times too,
there was hope for the future, for a better life so many had fought and died for.

But spin the gaudy worn tin carousel sixty four years or more forward and see
a future of food banks feeding working poor kids in the mean high streets of ghost towns

Where charity shops fill every other door and the worn out junkies haunt the parade
and we turn our backs too as so many lives are stolen away before our very eyes.

So our class celebrates the crowning of a queen and our impoverishment
relinquishing without understanding what life and poverty was like in those days.

These days.

My names Jack. What’s yours?

The terrorist who works at Toys R Us by Paul Sutton

This man is planning nail or acid attacks –
remember, for children there is joy.
His friend in PC World does logistics.
..
I hear his sister is our pharmacist.
The dear old ladies love her.
I worry about the water supply.
..
A section of his book on how to contaminate.
Oh, my feelings are complex.
He helped me with batteries, theology at checkout.
..
Certain London colleges – coffee, safe zones, empathy –
sourdough bread a barrier to metal on bone.
Deserts are better, clear light, padparadscha sunset.

as the poets write about the smell of their dead fathers’ tweed jackets by Martin Hayes

a crust of dry bread has become the dream of millions
running water and one bar of electric heat
amenities out of reach for a quarter of the globe
as CEOs stand in their kitchens
warming their feet on underground heated slate tiles while peeling an avocado
slate
ripped from the earth by people whose hands have to squeeze the last drop of milk from a dead breast
wring a sleeping bag dry
so they can sleep at night without freezing their guts
people who have jobs but still have to queue in food banks just to feed their families
as their Prime Ministers and Presidents talk about nuclear wars
destroy
whole communities with an idea they had while playing a round of golf
people who once worked on a farm or in a call center or under the ground
who now have no jobs because of an agreement signed on a jet
30,000 feet above the clouds
people who are moved on from country to country
unwanted
who have to live in makeshift camps for years
just because their God lost an election
and had His fingertips replaced on the trigger of a gun
people who can’t clothe or take their children on a holiday anymore
because the price of oil drained from the ground 5000 miles away shot up into the sky
and closed all of their factories
people who once worked in industries long ago shut by progress
who once used their hands to rivet together ships haul a piece of steel out of a blast furnace replace
the heart of a 12 year old girl hand over a cup of tea to a miner squeeze
tomato ketchup into a factory worker’s bacon sandwich
who now sit at home with nothing to do
using those same hands to put together 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles
or knit hats for their grandchildren who will grow up to be a number
on a list of numbers who don’t have any jobs

as the poets write about the smell of their dead fathers’ tweed jackets
are Forwarded £5,000 for a poem about the opening of a wardrobe
have enough time on their hands
to stand in front of mirrors
contemplating whether they exist or not
and books about wizards and bondage
sell millions

That’s Life by Joseph K. Wells

Alone in a movie theater,
the past reels by the projector
devoid of light.

On a crowded street,
the relentless march of heads forces
a matching stride.

With the destination preset,
the heart beats merely to time
an unknown journey.

In search of a calling,
a lifetime is spent to find
a circle’s side.

 

Joseph K. Wells began publishing his poems in 2016. Since then his poems have found a home in over a dozen journals and lit mags. A selection of his published works is available from https://paperonweb.wordpress.com/ .

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier, reviewed by Clara B. Jones

WHEREAS
Layli Long Soldier
2017
Graywolf Press
120 pages
$16.00

Reviewed by Clara B. Jones

 

WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native America peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators.” Publisher’s release

“I am a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” Layli Long Soldier

Minority poets have found their voices, writing a variety of forms and themes from the conventional to the boldly experimental. Shortlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Poetry, Layli Long Soldier’s reputation has catapulted into the limelight with the publication of her debut book, WHEREAS. With an impressive grasp on storytelling, common in indigenous and minority traditions, Long Soldier introduces readers to her personal and tribal histories—emphasizing acts of cruelty and dismissal relieved, emotionally and thematically, by her experiences as a daughter, a partner, and a parent (“Father’s Day comma I am not with you. I stare at a black-and-white photo of you comma my/husband in a velvet shirt comma your hair tied back and your eyes on the face of our sleep-/ing daughter.”). In order to decode many of the poet’s references, it is important to know certain aspects of Sioux history. The book’s epigraph, “Now/make room in the mouth/for grassesgrassesgrasses.”, refers to a tragic event whereby a trader, Andrew Myrick, refused food to a hungry group of Lakota Sioux, telling them to eat their own dung mixed with grass. Sometime later, Myrick’s body was found with grass stuffed in his mouth. Throughout WHEREAS, “grass,” and, to a lesser degree, “green,” appear (“…I grass/nothing/here I meta-/grass I sleep-/walk grasses….”; “…split/grass wires/little bulbs/silver/green/drop/lets….”), forcing the reader to share Long Soldier’s trauma and, possibly, rage. Indeed, many of the poems address identity, dreams, myth, and the unconscious, and it might be interesting for an analytical scholar to interpret the poems from a Freudian perspective (“…a symbol for/electric/current/something/having the shape/of i/ego…”). The poet does not stray far from politics (“…who what when where why/at behest of the local leadership/e.g. Officer, my name is __________/from Standing Rock….”). Long Soldier’s use of white spaces, erasures, and a variety of forms shows that she is intentionally disrupting formalist rules, though the poems retain musicality and are not didactic or literal for the most part. Part 2 of the book, WHEREAS, refers to a proclamation written by Barak Obama apologizing to Indigenous Americans for their treatment during the colonial period (and beyond?). According to Long Soldier, no Indigenous Americans were invited to the ceremony and, as I recall, the event was not widely reported in the media. In my opinion, Part 2 is the most moving section of the book, and a strong case might be made that it should be placed before Part 1, THESE BEING THE CONCERNS, in order to provide context and currency for the Myrick incident. WHEREAS, is written as a Proclamation in its own right, rendering a powerful response to Obama’s oversights (“I recognize/the special legal and/political relationship/Indian tribes have with/the United States and/the solemn/covenant with the land/we share.”). While Long Soldier’s stories are sometimes heartbreaking, her writing does not take the reader to the edge of despair. This young poet’s work is highly recommended, and I hope that, in future, the poetry community will embrace many more Indigenous American poets.

AAA_Soldier

Bio: Clara B. Jones practices poetry in Silver Spring, MD (USA). As a woman of color, she writes about identity, culture, & society and conducts research on experimental poetry, as well as, radical publishing. She is author of three chapbooks, and her poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in various venues.

Final Scenes by David Chorlton

The way the villain spins,

one boot heel spitting dust and the other

already on a trajectory

toward the afterlife, as he drinks

a final gulp of sky

and pays for his transgressions is

delightful entertainment, as surely

as the speed impresses

of the draw and shot that brings him down.

Even the blast

that takes a staggering ne’er-do-well

when he’s three-quarters dead

with one bullet left

is a pleasant distraction. And the body

falling from a horse in a splash of blood

cannot fail to please

when the rider deserved all he got and more.

It’s as much a pleasure

to see the ice across a man’s eyes

as he spreads his fingers in anticipation

with his palm an inch

from his holster as it is to watch the long

black coat another wears

billow in the silent breeze that portends

his demise. There goes

the survivor, walking down Main Street on the day’s

final sunbeam, and there

lie the bodies, and here comes the music

to accompany the credits,

and we’re back

in the world where gunshots

never come with reassurance

and the script doesn’t say who to aim for.

house wins on red by Jonathan Jones

There are times
listening for

a cold nerve’s,
capillary action

when I don’t know if I’m planning
a reunion, or

maybe my second
marathon in as many days.  The other

happening while the oven fan hums
in my hallway

offering the last kiss of life
to a painted out window.

The page that comes fully automated
inactive, reloaded in seconds.

44 inches on mute
to remember or forget.

Slow motion hand shaking in high definition;
outside, the other happening,

and I really wouldn’t know if I’m
buying for fun or rehearsing

a romantic proposal.
Not counting my losses.

Hurricanes by Marc Woodward

A hurricane hammers down the houses
while the silly Trumpeter blows his horn.

His people fret about phantom Muslims
and the Mexicans hired to cut their lawns

– for they’ve been told by the Trumpeter’s Fox
that the sick are just work-shy or shirking

and it’s all the hateful foreigners’ fault
that no one now in Detroit is working.

He wants his people all living in fear
– fear of an enemy over the sea

and buying guns to kill one another:
see the blood flow in the land of the free!

And what kind of Stupid thinks it’s ok
a weekend gambler can arm to the teeth

with military guns designed for a war
then, from a hotel, strafe the people beneath?

Oh, don’t worry – I’ll tell you the answer:
a man who’s afraid of the NRA,

a tweeting fool so weak and unrooted
a hurricane soon will blow him away.

Gun Controlled by David R Mellor

“Gun control ?”

“I controlled it.”

Bought the legal rounds

Bought the bullets screaming loud

The voice of NRA screaming

“That’s what makes America proud”

 

“Gun controlled

I used it.”

The second amendment

The senators on the hill

The guy who shot to miss and killed

The domestic settled on a hand gun

A boy caught between the cross fire

 

And now the highest figure

Written in the clouds

Burning at hell’s door

Take away these fire arms

No more.

 

The Guns Controlled

         YOU controlled it

..

Born 1964, (Liverpool, England) difficult birth, didn’t find my voice until my youth. Years of thinking I was nobody and treated as such. However, hit the paper papering over the scars. Found understanding and belief through words. I have been published and performed widely from the BBC, The Tate, galleries and pubs and everything in between.

My poems are autobiographical, others topical and several my take on life. Hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing. Please feel free to share your thoughts on links below.

Contact: David R Mellor 

                   (Facebook)  The Poetry of David R. Mellor

                   (Twitter) “olunikat” The Poetry of David R. Mellor

                   (YouTube) MellorDR   

The People Have Spoken by Stella Wulf

so we must accept the wind of change,
but this wind is carrying a knife,
sharp as a tabloid hack,
cutting the back out of Spring,
shredding the spin of yesterday’s news
to a pap of filth and litter. 

Who can tolerate its sleazy gust,
whipping up grist for trope and troll.
Get them out! Take back control!
We hoped for a fresh breeze
to broadcast seeds, uphold
the wings of passerines,
fan small sparks into glowing flames.

Who can accept a wind that slams
doors, rips up roots, huffs
on everything that stands in its way?
This is more than bluff Boreas,
ruffling hair and feathers,
more than hot air,
and buffeting buffoonery,

this wind is an enemy,
a stranger that knocks you down,
kicks dirt in a face that doesn’t fit,
whistles as it rips through
arcades, arches, tearing up
parcels of flesh and bone,
the undelivered, address unknown. 

This wind stalks hospital corridors,
breaths down the necks of the infirm,
rages through empty factories,
foundry chimneys, boarded-up shops. 

Do we lock ourselves in,
crouch with our backs to the wall,
stick our heads in the telly?
Or do we look at ourselves,
listen to the wind that howls,
‘you asked for this.’