New Histories by Serena Mayer

….open the world and what
weakens and sickens
……money at the expense of
to say that is the ability

rough the devious
ordinary life.
…….flat where he was attacked.
..narrators who were decent

…..of threshold space
rough gold and bone
…..the city is as magical..of a ritual killing

..building design or corporate
….operate, beyond
places built out of difference
………to describe this.

….break that pattern,
include temporary spaces
……slightly the ordinary spatial
..shaping how

………outside the circle
…….indicting anyone
familiar about the street
part of the story of being

..

Serena Mayer studied anthropology and social geography. She is interested in hidden texts and forgotten or discarded language. Her writing has previously appeared in NutshellElectric Zone and X-Peri.

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Backtalk by Ingrid Bruck

Besotted love birds, they entered,
arms wrapped around each other.
He kept his hands on her in the library, 
her body molded to his. 
They cruised up and down aisles
clasped like tandem trailers, stitched together,
he could have been her shadow. 
..
It was Darlin’ this, Honey that, and Sweetheart,
I wondered if the man knew her name.
She pulled away, he resisted. 
His hand slid quick as a snake to her shoulder, 
clutched her neck, compliance assured
with the steel of possession. 
I did a double take, watched more closely.
..
“Let’s check out a movie,” the man announced.
They spoke in silent gazes. 
He gave her a wordless look, frozen, she stared back. 
“Were they lovers so immersed in each other
they couldn’t bear to be parted a moment?
Or was he an alpha claiming domination?
Or worse, a woman abuser. 
..
I approached them, trying to read body language,
“Is there anything I can help you find?” I asked
and heard a mumbled, “Interferin’ Bitch.” 
He turned his back abruptly,
just as quickly, she slid out of his reach.
..
She whispered, “Gotta’ use the restroom.” 
Too late he ricocheted back, pursued his lady love 
who reached the door first, closed it.
He, a guard dog, stood outside the bathroom,
I wondered if she’d ever come out when she did.
..
He yanked her by the arm, pulled her hard,
no whispered sweet nothings in her ear,
and escorted her outside 
to the parking lot located in a field.
No place to run, she didn’t try. 
..
Ingrid Bruck lives in Amish country in Pennsylvania, a landscape that inhabits her poetry.  She’s a feminist who champions a woman’s right to live peaceably and in equality with men.  Her poetry appears at www.ingridbruck.com 

A Familiar Truth by Gil Hoy

For so long as the NRA
controls Congress

With its pumping

Mutant
Pecuniary
Poison
Lifeblood

Corrupting souls
Buying silence

Innocents will
continue to die

From high-powered
Weapons of War

Bought in America
like a bag of groceries
from a grocery store

While Wayne LaPierre
Scribbles his want list
for Republican

Bought and sold
baby-kissers counting
their bankroll gore.

If Congress had lead balls
in its hearts, brains
pelvis

If images of dead
school children grew
so palpable, so intimate

That their fever
opened a passageway

To eternity and back
Would the madness
Stop then?

Would lone wolves
Still sing their rancid
Noteless songs

A Witch’s Brew of shrill
staccato tempo

Tentwentythirtyfortyfifty
Pigeons  intheblinkofaneye

That numbed ears
don’t see anymore

That tastes forgotten
and too familiar
anyway.

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program.  Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.  He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared (or will be appearing) most recently in Chiron ReviewAriel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The Penmen Review, I am not a silent poet, Clark Street Review and The New Verse News.

Ping Pong by Dominic Albanese

today
as
everything just plops on
the floor with
out go over the net
then
that term…..*the net*
staring at some
selfie or meme or posted set
of utter bullshit
sold as
better sex
bigger guns
more miles per gallon
or
any thing else but
care for each other
…….absorb in self detachment
or fear anger disgusted busted not to be
trusted
to
be alone….argue with some one you don’t even know
bout
some nonsense that
will not feed kiss or nurture you
I might just have to
do to my computer
what I did to my
TV……and re-cycle my note books
and scribble quiet love poems
with no one
to whisper them to

Prayersmoke by David Chorlton

The marshal stood facing
his adversary, feet set firm
in the main street’s dust
as the two men dared
each other to draw first,

at which moment
several children ran, oblivious
to the standoff,
laughing between them

and suddenly a shot
was fired, then another
in response
until the guns were empty
and some of the children

lay on the ground. This
prompted both
shooters to bow
their heads a moment,
joining briefly

in prayer, then
reloading, determined
never to back down.

Against Gun Violence by Dave Rendle

Sometimes it seems that hope runs out

There seems no end, to waves of violence.

No prayers or thoughts can break the cycle

This endless primal, destructive spiral,

Innocent lives getting lost everyday

Can we not simply destroy the ammunition,

Instead of trigger happiness, stop the madness

So that darkness no longer releases its deadly load,

Is it too late to halt the hate, lament all who’ve been lost

On blood stained streets, where flowers wither,

Tell the NRA no one has right to bare arms

The second amendment has no moral purpose,

Stop the bullets flying, shots from killing

With Gun control heal a wounded nation.

Guns in the Jungle by Jane Fuller

It’s jungli in the school yard
jungli on the streets
jungli in the sportshall
jungli where they meet
  ..
Jungli as the ammo
leaves the magazine
jungli when a profile
stays unseen

Jungli through the hallways
behind the classroom doors
a practised jungli marksman
begging your applause
  ..
Jungli when the schoolkids
line up dead
Jungli
is a word
ricocheting round my head.

The painting over of Guildhall by Antony Owen

Council officers have claimed whitening the panels between the vaulting ribs in the undercroft ceiling would have been part of the original medieval building, to maximise the restricted natural light.

Coventry Observer

 

In battle,
Boudicca painted her ribs
her eyes orange by burning garrisons.

In defeat,
Queen of Scots died a rose
wearing all red she painted the cobbles.

In Coventry’s Guildhall
Queen of Scots dreamt on silvered hay,
moonlight broke through bars freeing her.

I picture her laying there,
ribs like painted beams, tusks of stolen ivory,
the council of the day offended by her pungent fumes.

In battle,
Godiva floated on Pegasus naked as zodiacs
the council of the day jeered by lowly wing-less Saxons.

I picture the painting over of Guildhall –
a man’s arse crescent hanging out as he Duluxes the beams,
Moonwhite the vulgar shade oh yay the centuries reduced to this.

In the city of culture
a Guildhall welcomes Volgograd,
the sign that twinned us, covered in phoenix feathers and shit.

In the city of culture,
a poet like me will not be thanked
for telling you of the very foundations of culture.

#Psalm 17 by Antony Owen

1

Birth is violent
we arrive bloody
primal and pure.
Mothership
Sever rope
Mayday
Help
Lost

2

Found
Jesus
Hanging
In America
Motherland
Sever children
Filicide and milk
They depart bloody
American death is violent

3

Lost
America.
Motherships
Sinking slowly
The seventeen atolls
Once upon a time in America
Pilgrims arrived in wooden cribs
Rising slowly they made children in salem

17

Pray
Shoot sky
Seventeen times
God will not return fire
the mothership burns in the black sea
seventeen gun salutes blow gods head off.

job killer – or notes on our CEO after laying off 2 more men by Martin Hayes

cement-hearted destroyer, gambolling around the office like a killer in a tie. your interactions smell, they even feel fake. false laughter stuck in a throat pulled out from a crack momentarily ajar, that craggy-walled bottomless pit of you, the bones and torn flesh of our previous brothers now made into ladders by the newly despatched, nailed to the insides of your throat, with their teeth, their toes, driven in with a splintered shin-bone, trying
to ascend back up into the light.
but there is no returning after being swallowed by you.
cement-hearted destroyer, counter of souls, you lick smiles clean away, idling
as you dangle out of your wife, thinking of money, thinking of death – death-money! – killing for money gets you horny like a rapist with his hands around a young woman’s throat –
you do it so often you think you can’t be caught, netted-up, in a market square, a great beast brought back from Africa, for us all to gawk at, prod, illicit revenge.
unfortunately
not.
not in this coliseum of yours, where the rules weight the fixture, sprain the ankles and wrists of challengers with no choice but to duel your champion in HR, your bitches in bear-skins and beards, ready to chuck mother off a cliff for you, as long as they remain untouched, by your breath, your death-rattle, your appetite for carrion and a green-back!
inevitably
I will end up in your pit of bones too, under the feathers and filth of your sequencing:
life-life death, life-life death, life-life death, your uneven heartbeat echoes in the ears, a countdown towards something exciting you. you know…? another one laying in their bed
unsuspecting your black-clot drop of poison, a bud of oil squeezed out of the anus of a rotten heart,
let free into your system,
sparking lust and a dry mouth.
it never ends, this longing, the system you are a filament of, it demands constant attribution,
of new flesh, more money, the two linked to drive home the root-red-stopper of your lust, caught glimpses of your come-face, satisfying silently your inner lack, licking paws and wiping your mouth of all the blood you have tipped out onto the streets, the only impulse you suckle.

one block of council flats left by Martin Hayes

just one block of council flats remains in this area
where we work our magic
allocating out jobs to couriers
so that multinationals and £500 an hour law firms
and hedge fund managers who look after billions of pounds
can remain healthy and strong
making more money in one hour
than all the tenants of this last block of council flats left
will make in their lifetimes
put together

just one ugly block of brick and red cladding council flats still stands
amongst all of the million-pound lofts and chrome and smoked-glass luxury flats
that have sprung up in this area over the last 8 years just one
block with 42 flats
where couriers and mechanics and schoolteachers and bus drivers
and nurses and firemen and waitresses can still safely keep
a roof over their families’ heads where they can
still wash and cook and put their children into a bed
and get them up to go into a school this one block of flats left
sat there like a rotten tooth in a row of perfect molars
housing these workers
enabling them to keep their dignity and love as millionaire footballers
move in next door as seven-figure-waged bankers buy whole floors      
just so they can have somewhere to stay while in London
as people in the media hire cranes
to lift £30,000 pieces of furniture into their lofts as
politicians and councillors plot
how best they can make this last ugly block of council flats
disappear
along with its infections

Gun by Cath Campbell

The first thing you need to do is pray
for all those who lost a child.
The next thing you should remember
is ‘guns make us safer from the bad guy.’
The last thing you need to know
is privilege has blood on its hands.
Fuck the right to bear arms.

The first thing you should do is pray
that it never happens to your child.
The next thing you should remember
is ‘guns aren’t to blame, it’s people, stupid!’
The last thing you need to know
is the gun lobby is rich and powerful.
Fuck the gun lobby.

The only thing we should remember
is that guns kill.

Notes on Another School in America by Jay S Zimmerman

February 15, 2018

 

“The shooter went on a rampage’
“Students lie dead and bleeding in the halls”
“He had endless magazines,” the reporter said
“The kids were freaking out”
“He always had guns on him,” said a friend
“You could have predicted this”
Guns don’t kill people, people do, the NRA was heard to say
and spent their day
Writing checks
To crocodile  teared congressman
Whose words tried to comfort another city
As parents cried over their children
And their friends who died
“This is a tragic day” we heard a newscaster say
A father embraced his daughter, a mother her son
They’d won this lottery of death
On this awful day
In a school northwest of Miami

Where have all the children gone?
Gone to flowers everyone
When will they ever care?
When will they ever dare?

Tomorrow again
The same despair
In a city or country
school somewhere
In bloody America
Land of the AK
Don’t take those guns away
Even as bullets rip the bodies of
daughters and sons
In cities and towns
Only in America

This poem, just another
piece of the literature of death
we poets will write till our dying breath
And the world will gasp with grief
Another wreath upon another child’s grave
Are we really the home of the brave?

..

Jay S Zimmerman is a writer, community and social justice advocate and an artist. He came to poetry from his life as a visual artist, composing poems to go with his art, finding as much joy in painting with words. Recently, he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Some of his work can be found in Matryoshka PoetryThree Line Poetry, I am not a silent poet, Curly Mind and Flying Island as well as New Verse NewsQuatrain, Fish and Rats Ass Review’s Love and Ensuing Madness.

It’s Art by Oonah V Joslin

The Angel of the North shall stand
one hundred years on the high land
between Gateshead and Durham where
its wings, stretched open to the air
like an aeroplane, no feathers bright,
its rust reflects a duller, lesser light.
Above the motorway it towers.
Gormlessly this giant glowers
down as the cars and lorries pass.
It’s art, they say. It’s art my ass!

Repeat by Cath Campbell

But they should have known
it was only a matter of time 
before the idea bloomed again,

this last disturbance of bullets
hitting the cool school corridors, 
killing the heat of the day.

They should have known a gun 
is an unwanted gift from the dead
to urge a cracked heart to act –

and if prayer is the only answer,
they need to know which rough god 
it is to whom they kneel and pray.

St George is Cross by P.A.Levy

in olden days every hamlet
had its village idiot
harmless childlike even amusing

modern times make way for the boozer
bigot washing down a tandoori chicken
or hot vindaloo probably with
a danish lager or a pilsner
starting all his sweaty sentences with
i’ll tell yer this for nothing
as if his philosophies are worth
a million

the latest fashion in racism
with asylum seekers and pakis an ever
popular target
only now asian means arabs
and arabs mean muslim extremists
with blacks and jews and pikeys finding
themselves temporarily relegated to division two
fists thump tables to emphasise
come over here take all our jobs and jump
the housing queue use our NHS and schools

however as i try to enjoy a quiet pint
he tries to engage me in his rants
for he is certain there exists
some kind of anglo-saxon lost link directly
to my heritage
which is not to be confused with the missing link
‘cos it’s not missing
i know exactly where it is
so give the link another drink and a bag
of agincourt flavoured crisps
until he spews up land of hope and glory
jerusalem and god save the queen

Party ’till We Drop by P.A.Levy

what
a jack –
frost
star-crossed
party
we had
with that
dumb –
waiter
falling
over the
sleeping –
policeman
lazy –
susan
doing nuffin’
spinning –
jenny
right round
baby
right round
catherine –
wheel
doing
wheelies
drunk on bottle
rockets
such
an ordeal
shelia –
maid
it all happen
the end
of the world
party
with the dancing
poles
in
the
repossed
wendy –
house
frequented by
uncle
tom
cobley
and
all and all and all and all

Next by P.A.Levy

The dog-eared hospital waiting
area, patiently, slowly
filled up with suspicions of not knowing
whittled out of the very fibres and cells
of appointment cards.

So we wait.  On fractured chairs
in a disinfected air, an illness-
green colour scheme reflects
the pallor of our despondency in
solicitude.  Nurses hastily propel
themselves on clockwork adrenaline.
The friction of their uniforms
a shuffling deck of cards to be dealt.

Still we wait.  Poker faced, wondering
if the chips are down.
Drowning in an ultrasound hubbub
of conversations, not thinking of oxygen
but breathing.  One eye on the wall clock,
the other scanning the receptionist.
Time taking the pulse of the N.H.S.,
waiting for a name to be pronounced.

Advance on the Side of Right by P. A. Levy

the collective guilt
sanctioned
by the study of maps
buries under brushes over
follows orders
to trample
children of the rubble
into dust
to dust
say amen to a victory

..

Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and stations in-between.  He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at www.cluelesscollective.co.uk