Four poems by Peter Wyton

ANGER MANAGEMENT

The thing about anger management is
that the angry manage it very well.
It’s about them getting what they want now
and the rest of us all can go to hell.
I’m sorry. I’m being over-simplistic.
There’s much more to it than that, I see,
as I run like hell from the righteous wrath
of the anger management industry.

ATTENTION SPAN

…………………Missed infancy.
Leastways, I don’t remember it.
No power of recall from the womb,
pram flashbacks, nipples full of nectar.

……………………………Missed nursery school.
Too poor and lived too rural.
No building blocks or kindergarten games.
I had free with bog-roll inserts.                              

……………………………………….Missed puberty.
Me knackers dropped. I never noticed.
All of a sudden, little wiry hairs
came hurtling out all round me plonker.

…………………………………………….Missed kissing.
Zoe Grimes from Home Farm said
she’d teach me if I gave her ten pence.
Chewed me lips. They bled for ages.
……………………………………………………..Missed sex. Too busy
having kids. The wife enjoyed it,
well she said she did, but I got headaches
every time we switched the bedroom light off.
………………………………………………………………………..Missed middle age.
Went straight into senility. Some days
I nearly can’t remember where the pub is.
It’s been a funny life, or so they tell me.

 

BIG GAME HUNTER

Pictured in a Sunday Times magazine double page spread

He is everybody’s archetypal he-man
from his muscled torso and grizzled chin,
mandatory cigarette clenched in pursed lips,
to the tips of workmanlike fingers cradling
a state-of-the-art, high-powered rifle which
he has just used to such devastating effect.
What unbelievably ferocious, ravening beast
has this latter-day Herne, this Nimrod,
Orion, Davy Crockett or Buffalo Bill Cody
stalked through the African bush, utilising
every inch of cover the terrain affords,
each leaf of foliage offered by conniving nature?
A giraffe. Consider the near lunatic courage
of this California-based trauma surgeon,
defiantly facing the tallest thing on earth,
which seeks to lure him into a false sense
of security by nibbling treetops, prior to
lowering its hideously long neck, and charging.
He could have set his sights on easier prey,
a koala bear, for instance, a three toed sloth,
a marmoset, a pygmy jerboa, a dugong,
but no, an alpha male has to do what
an alpha male has to do, so he thought,
“The hell with it,” and went straight for that giraffe.

EASY PICKINGS

If shits who shoot beasts just for fun were shot back at,
The heavy weapon wielders might at least think twice.
It’s sad that our few remaining wild animals
Are hunted down, by these tosspot thrill seekers, nice
And protected, surrounded by guides or keepers,
Secure in their hides with a bottle of whiskey,
Camouflaged and cossetted by their underlings,
Carefully protected from anything risky,
All leading up to the shot at a point-blank range,
Followed by the joyful dash to be photographed,
One foot on the carcass, exhilarated grin
On fatuous features, the mandatory daft
Rush to get it worldwide across the internet,
The stupid brute skinned to take home, placed
Prominently on the living room wall, beside
More representations of Braveheart, the two-faced
Mummy’s boy, in his defining moment of glory,
The evidence on permanent exhibition,
The species one further step along the road to
Inevitable, irresponsible extinction.
Let’s outlaw the world-wide safari racket.

Stab, by Math Jones

like i’m angry
but it fits in my pocket
can’t have the disrespect
got the mind got the man
enough to mean it
don’t have the discipline
not to use it though

carry it like i mean it
wear it inside, like a sabre
bring it out, let it flash
light will make them run
step back step up like
i’m showing them something to run onto
like they’re going to get their’s out anyway

’cause of fear of a flash of silver
it’s a spill and you can’t catch it
in your hands can’t control it
in their hand can’t dodge it
too quick can’t feel it
like spit but sharp
reflex stab

and now i’m open
and my hands can’t catch me
my clothes are soaking me up
and cold blows in
floor falling
all the screams
mum

Flat-Pack Fascists, by Robert Cunliffe

Who are these flat-pack fascists?
From where did they appear?
Did no one see them coming?
Have they always been here?

What brought them to the surface?
Where did they all spring from?
What happened to the warning signs
Before it all went wrong?

How come they just took over
In the vacuum that arose?
How come there was no uproar?
How come we simply froze?

This wasn’t in the almanac.
This wasn’t in the stars.
This wasn’t in the game plan
Fleshed out in flashy bars.

This is raw repugnance.
This is whipped-up hate.
This is demon screaming
And now it’s far too late.

The reckoning is over.
We failed to heed the call.
The whole world is in turmoil
And going to the wall.

They’ll soon be euthanasing
The disabled and the poor,
The Muslims and the migrants,
Knocking door to door.

They’ll have their New World Order.
Their “will” will be their way.
They’ll have their monoculture
And build it in a day.

***************

These flat-pack fascists,
This proto-Nazi scum,
Who only think in binaries
And they are Number 1.

They need to learn a lesson.
They need to be told
That, if they carry on like this,
They won’t be growing old.

These crepuscular cretins,
These dancers in the dark,
These shamen of the craven
Who went out with the ark.

When you knife someone to death, by Antony Owen

There are only two blood types –
one a midwife wipes from you at birth
secondly the one a paramedic uses to stem the knife wound.

There are only two types of lives –
the one two people make through an act of love
and the one a pack takes through an act of hating everything.

When you knife someone to death
a gaping hole appears in the mouth of a victim’s Mother
she will want to save her child like the first time he or she fell over.

He, or she will not be getting up from this one and neither shall you.

There are several types of love –
the one given to the lucky and the one denied
if you decide to stab someone you are denying what is denied to you.

There is only one bad decision
the one where you plunge into blood and the abyss
the one where you send the victims family to a jail of incarcerating grief.

When you knife someone to death
a mother will pray to the shunning gods in desperation
her heart will sink into her gut and so my fiend will your mothers.

You and they will not be getting out of this one, it is a sentence of hell.

These are the Madnesses, by Barry Patterson

These are the Madnesses:

The blast furnace, the foundry
An industrial city on the iridescent bank of a brown river
Smoking air; the robot hammers & anvils of
Automatic forges supervised by children.

The suit that cost an arm & a leg
His shiny shoes
His tie, the papers that he reads; his house, his car
His entitlements, his freedoms.

Their lungs, their hands, their faces
Their rights, their fears
Families queueing in the mall; someone, somewhere
Got a taste of power.

The spreadsheet, the spreadsheet
Profit & loss
The trade tariff, the pay off; a gross net of shipping lanes from Asia
Carried containers stuffed with death.

The docket signed off
The docks departed
The box ticked; duty of duties paid
The lorry, the sliproad, the crawler lane, a pallet.

The shouting, the shouting
The self hatred & hopelessness
The imagined sneer, Dad’s temper, Gran’s cancer; getting out of it
But not getting away from it or from anything.

Running into a wall of fear & rage
The intensity of the moment
That demands more pain: the demented currency transaction
Of abuse.

The hardware shop
That stinks
Of garish Chinese plastics: toys & tools
& knock-offs.

It was shining like a trinket
A talisman
Like a consecrated thing; it felt good in your hand
Now you feel like a man.

That night you were burning
That night you were raging
That night that you chased them; that night that you finally
Got it out & waved it about.

The flashing shiny dick
With which you thrust
Which you pushed into his face was a curse
Upon you, upon everyone.

These are the madnesses:

The making of it
The shipping of it
The selling of it
The buying of it
The holding of it
The use of it.

Whitewashed, by Kimberly Peterson

Mrs. Sechrist, wife of Jacob Sechrist, a farmer living a few miles north of this city, fell from a box upon which she was standing while engaged in white-washing the ceiling of a room, broke her neck and died. (Weekly Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Saturday, December 1, 1888)

 

She said:

Jacob, can you bring in a box from the barn,:
I need to whitewash the ceiling.

He said:

I only kicked the box.
Clearly, she decided to fall.

She said:

He was constantly hugging me, telling
me to wear tighter tops “to show off my
tits”. He reached his arm around me to stroked
my breast with his fingertips. When I recoiled,
he laughed. “Lighten up, its just a friendly hug.”

The CEO came into my office to introduce
a new Board member. That member grabbed
my shoulders and kissed me roughly. My boss
just laughed. I went to HR but they said,
“Not much we can do.”

We were on a business trip. I asked why meet
in his room. “To be more comfortable.” He came
out of the bathroom wearing only his robe, asked
for a massage. I tried to get out but he blocked
the door, said “Shut up cunt, watch me jerk-off.”

At his party, he kept pouring me drinks. He
took me on a tour. I remember taking
a book off the shelf. He turned me around,
slammed into me, shoved his hand
up my skirt, pulled my panties aside,
stuck two fingers into my vagina. I
froze. His zipper was undone. He grabbed
my wrist and used my hand to masturbate.
He pushed me onto the bed, tugged at my
clothing, grinded against me. When I tried
to yell, he covered my mouth, smothering
He pushed me onto the bed, tugged at my
clothing, grinded against me. When I tried
to yell, he covered my mouth, smothering
me. I thought he might accidentally
kill me. I was underneath one of them
while the two of them laughed.

He said:

I’m shocked by allegations that,
to my recollection, did not occurred.
Everyone knows I like to hug.

If the alleged assault did occur,
why did she stay in my employ?
Anything that did occur, was
clearly consensual.

I addressed workplace issues quickly
solely to keep the peace. The non-disclosure
clause was included to protect her privacy.

Her timelines do not hold up to scrutiny.
If she stands by her allegations, she should
contact the police.

This is a circus and a national disgrace. It’s a grotesque
and coordinated character assassination.

Whitewashed.

..

Kimberly Peterson writes both poetry and creative nonfiction that explores surviving challenging experiences. Visit www.kimberlypeterson.ca to see more of her work.

 

 

Childhood Parties, by Liz Mills

I remember a party when I lived in Scarborough.
It stopped for the Shipping Forecast.
We all sat reverently, children of fishermen or lifeboatmen.
I knew this mattered.

Another in Liverpool came to a halt
to watch Bill Shankly on TV,
knowing that football was more important
than a party, life or death.

But I’ve never been to a cutting party,
where little girls in new clothes
wait excitedly for their turn
to go into the next room and become a woman.

Three poems by Rupert M Loydell

IN NO POSITION TO TALK

We are a biological computer
drawing lines, connecting dots,
processing glyphs and contours.
Big photos on the wall make us feel
like we are going to the moon.

Anybody can make a narrative,
everybody does. We grid the page,
restrain the words, and everything
falls into place once mapped.
It’s like a battlefield, you have to

think your own way through. I want
a definitive world view; perception
has changed because of technology
but is always open to recall. We occupy
a different space in another room.

..

SILENCES

When I came to write this, I had lost the first sheet of paper written in the night as the poem nudged at me, escaping from the book I’d finally managed to read after three attempts.

The story is told to the narrator by his friend (‘I remember he said that she said’), slowly recounted by the author. It is a book about the recent past, history and how people escaped it, ran away or hid, allowed others a place on the train or a plane. It continues until we get to facts about extermination, concentration camps, memory and loss.

Between the words, the silence, says Dan Beachy-Quick, each silence as nuanced and potent as the rest. Untold stories need telling, but we need room for the unsaid too, space to write and think.

Death happens all too soon.

..

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Resources for addressing the needs
Last year I was homesick
……………We need to take control
Education, materialism and hard work
……………Making immigration work for all
I am a child – we either flourish or flag
……………Urgent needs and key recommendations
You can see my beliefs by what I do
……………Refugees are living in perpetual fear
I have been growing up here
……………Sponsor a child
We have a really good life
……………Maximizing the potential
Next year I am homesick
……………Find us a new home 

……………I see people in a different way
Remember that the dying character still has a personality
……………It’s not a fear as such
The dying process is often referred to as the terminal phase
……………It’s like you are tumbling down
This definition will guide validation of after-death reports
……………I don’t have to feel this way
Life is a survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world
…………..It feels even worse
This has been created to help you to answer some difficult questions
…………..I am so sick and tired of listening

…………..I was hoping I can stay
The right to travel has never been absolute
…………..We were very sorry to leave
Free movement rights may differ somewhat
…………..We had very little to lose
The country needs a new migration system
……………Everyone seemed so frightening
A world where boundaries are becoming less meaningful
……………I felt very lonely most of the time
A narrative about the rights of individuals
……………Find us a new home

The Lake Isle of Innisfree Reversed, by Sally Evans

(with thanks to W.B. Yeats)

I will repair the boat and go now, and go to Westminster.
A pavement shack will I build there, of cardboard and plastic made,
Nine alibis will I have there, and fears for my sanity,
and live in crowds in the traffic fumes and crackdown on undesirables and the over-reaction police security raid.

And I shall find some greed there, and lies from the BBC,
dripping from the Cabinet Office to where the media cringe,
where midnight’s broken promises, and noon a legal travesty,
and evening full of the consequences of all these irresponsible things.

I will repaint the boat and go for Rudd, Corbyn, Bercow, Johnson, May and Gove,
for always night and day
I hear protesters clashing in anger and despair,
while I am on the shoreline, or in the heather mauve,
I hear it in the shallow heart of Westminster.

Russian Trilogy – three poems by Terrence Sykes

READING AKHMATOVA

obsidian clouds
,,,,cloak starless sky

seeking my muse
sitting on my
darkened patio
she’ll probably speak
some obscure dialect
from an isolated
steppe landscaped
russian village

CHERNOBYL

Your name noble city
…translates as mugwort
dried & dispelling moths
from home & garden
where once corn pollen
scattered & danced
into Ukrainian winds
haunting my name
radiated blood of
your ancestors surge
through my veins
in vain clouds
drizzle upon
forsaken earth
but will the mugwort
rise again amongst the ruins

WANDERING STEPPES

When I die
When they sort
Through my possessions
Through my poems
Tossed into recycle bins
Tossed into Siberian soil
Will my soul
Will itself
To come forth
To round again

,,

Terrence Sykes is a cook, gardener, forager & heirloom vegetable researcher  … Remembrance whether real or imagined is a reoccurring theme is his wordings … his poetry, flash fiction & photographs have appeared in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India, Mauritius, Scotland, Spain and the USA

Confirmation, by Benjamin D. Carson

“I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer,” he says, sloshing down
a glass of water. I wanted to say, ok! ok! You like beer! But I could
not get my eyes off of his tongue, tucked like a gopher in his cheek,
his wife’s droopy eyes hanging off of his right ear, listening, leaning
into his denial. She’s heard it before. It’s how she’s mastered this look,
head down and to the left, as if taking in the news that her puppy is dead
and she’d killed it. “Dogs. All of them,” I imagine her thinking, as she
stares at the back of his pasty Georgetown neck and round little head,
a mushroom, one as indistinguishable from the next, Squee’s or Judge’s,
or even the Commander in Chief’s, a man who, through the fog of a sober
mendacity, managed to utter, finally, what surely must be the unimpeach-
able truth—not a cock tale. He doesn’t drink, has never drank. Not one
glass. But, he asks, “Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be? I’d be
the world’s worst.” And somewhere, in the West Wing, maybe the East Room,
or the Rose Garden, a woman waits, silent, alone. “Here he’ll come soon,” I
can hear her say, and she begins to pray: “No, no, no, no, no, no,” but she
knows no one is listening. No one ever does.

Confirmation was first published in Poetry 24 on 17th February, 2019

..

Benjamin D. Carson lives with his dog Dora on the South Shore of Massachusetts. His creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cactus Heart, Red Fez, The Ampersand Review, The Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene blog, The Somerville Times, Free Inquiry, Oddball Magazine, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Poetry Leaves, Poetry24, Not Your Mother’s Breast Milk, The Poetry Porch, Gyroscope, and The Charles River Review 

where once there was grass, by Martin Hayes

the yellow and green of the ambulance
used to be all white
with just one single blue light
on the top of it

the boys used to swedge a little in the parks
fisticuffs and a boot in the guts
nay saying that’s right
but at least they used to go to bed of a night
and were just about able
to rise up again next day
drink R Whites
and pull on a pair of Fila’s

the bobbies uniforms
used to be a slightly lighter
shade of blue
but they never used to wear
the armour
the Magnum side-zipped Panther boots
the steel extendable baton
the breast camera and pepper spray
the stab vests and Batman belts

the blue and white cordoning off tape
used to be yellow and black
and when you saw it
it was like this great thing had happened
that drew you in like a magnet
but now
when you see the blue and white tape
being hung around our children’s necks
again
and again
and again
you just swerve it
cross to the other side of the road
avoiding it like an annoying neighbour
so your heart doesn’t have to drop
and splinter
a little bit more

things change
progress deems it so
a plastic society fed plastic dreams
gets dislocated
and dislocated
……..dislocated
until it hangs like a useless leg
that no one can feel
or wants to be a part of

until a girl can’t even sit in a park
without fear of getting stabbed
until lives
keep disappearing
up into the air like smoke
and you can’t stop asking yourself
who can put these vicious fires out
now
where once there was grass?

Knife Crime, by Nick Lumb

Knife crime
is a plague that stalks this land
while politicians wring their hands
and bleat like sheep and mothers weep
in dark and lonely bedrooms keep
alive a memory that can never fade
Different mothers not far away
hold their young ones close and pray
to God that their child will not grow
to be yet another headline
in a year or so

And on, and on, and on, it goes…

..

Nick Lumb divides his time between North Lincolnshire and Whitby, and has a love of storytelling and folk tales.  A musician, former bricklayer, and former teacher, Nicks Masters dissertation was on the use of storytelling to help people overcome personal challenges. He has had two short stories published and is currently working on a collection of tall tales from the northern shires.

Smoke Knife, by Andrea Mbarushimana

Shaun says it’s the dope
it’s so strong, these days
when you’ve had a few tokes
you can’t let things go
you can’t walk away,
you feel the smoke knife
itching your palm
it punctures through pain
it punctures through pride
and there ends the high
the high ends in blood
pooling in the street
it sticks to your steps
it follows you home
and how do you cope?
you turn to the smoke
try pretending
that none of it’s real

Gangster Reality, by Rang-Zeb Rango Hussain

In the end,
After the cars and girls,
and the bling-a-bling bling,
..
Alone,
You gangsters always die alone,
Knifed or shot, souls draining into gutters,
..
Kingpin of nothing,
An empire of blood and bones,
A wasted life and dead dreams,
..
Knives and guns, sharps words too,
The tools of cheap cowards,
No honour, no dignity,
..
You worship a false crown,
The reality is you are a slave,
A slave of death,
..
In the end,
Death will tear apart your kingdom,
Make your choice before the hour grows cold.

Gangster Reality

War and Pieces, by Kushal Poddar

A thousand bombs away
two empty cabs cross each other
on the rebuilt bridge bathing in
cones of orange light.
..
It didn’t rain, and yet my feet
sinks in shallowness of my shoes.
The place between my ring and little finger
moists the coldness it holds.
..
I stoop to pick up a coin
slipped through the hole in someone’s pocket.
It cry a moon.

..
Kushal Poddar authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’ (Spare Change Press, Ohio), “A Place For Your Ghost Animals” (Ripple Effect Publishing, Colorado Springs), “Understanding The Neighborhood” (BRP, Australia), “Scratches Within (Florida, USA)”, “Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems(BRP, Australia)” and “Eternity Restoration Project, New and Selected Works”(Hawakal, India).

The Stabbing, by Antony Owen

“He was a difficult birth but his death, the nature of it kills me each day, over and over”
Anon

Over possessed houses where chairs lay in ghost sheets
a platoon of geese flew in a broken V
there is beauty in the Badlands,
there is an outline of John
stab-red and rain pink.

Over council-grey favelas a helicopter looks for three boys
they are found in the glue woods hiding in infra-reds.
There is an outline of John’s murderers
all of them are zombies and zombies
do not run they are dead and alive.

Back to John, last night he watched night make the reservoir grey –
a man made this he thought, but not the sun, not the bloody sky.

Setting Fire to the Train Tracks to Get the Snow to Melt, by Rupert M Loydell

It’s not unexpected, it’s not a surprise,
it’s not even a snowstorm, 20cm of the stuff
on a main road and the county grinds to a halt.
There’s only one gritter for us all, we’ve run out
of salt, and some stupid driver had an accident
the moment the first snowflake fell. Elsewhere,
people have left their cars and walked away,
and a school are bedding down for the night.
You couldn’t make it up. I haven’t. It might be
cold, it might be icy, we will have to stay home.
Funny, I had a coat, a scraper and simply drove
slow. I think it has happened here before
but you wouldn’t know it. We are busy stockpiling
food and buckets of water in the cupboard
in case Europe turns the supply off. We grew
our own veg and won the war and we don’t want
foreigners here. We’d rather starve, maybe we will.
Look out, here comes another inch of snow,
a rainbow, and a weather warning. Turn the TV up
and put on another jumper. The world will have
to listen now. Let’s set fire to the rails.

Ode to greeds rump

yes I know you
you walked in the shadow
of Hitler’s wing
bent to kiss Mussolini’s ring
powerful words your voice
did sing
words of protecting
the homeland
echoes from the bunker
of Adolf’s last stand
mob stereotypes
your weak mind had at hand
you never missed a meal
your father trained you well
to know how to legally steal
how not to allow your eyes
to fall
upon those who have nothing at all
while you and your friends
drink at a masquerade ball
laughing deliriously
at those who huddle hopeless
in the dark of the cities
concrete halls