Bang Bang There Goes Your Heart by Marissa Glover

After we post Instagram pics:                       ample booty

red lips                       round faces     these happy pouts

out with our besties—


after we subtweet lyrics to our ex: #badforwomen

so everyone knows the song is about him,


we wish now for one more night,

for someone new to take the stage, someone

to sing the world’s broken hallelujah whole again.

White Noise By David Ralph Lewis

When my head is full and overflowing

with endless online arguments where

everyone is an instant expert;

with ceaseless competing clickbait,

and a plague of media bristling

to shout so many unproven headlines;

with wails and screams that rise and fall

mixing with the all-pervasive sirens;

When the world seems distant and immediate

I listen to the wise words of the wind

and allow it to rinse me clean.



David Ralph Lewis is a writer and poet living in Surrey. When not writing, he takes photos occasionally and dances badly at gigs. His website is

Light Rises Up by Dave Rendle

When  blinded by our differences
Life often makes no sense at all,
It’s enough to darken the soul
The world  falling  apart at the seams
Nothing left but blood and bodies
Images that haunt our compassion
Some people will shout for vengeange
Others  will sing songs of peace and love
Finding  time to  ease the pain
candles among the darkness.

Mourning the loss of innocents
That fall on this twisted earth
United in grief and solidarity
We stand together and cry
Carrying the weight of heartache
The need for blind retribution must die.
Step by step we can run from  fear
try to reconcile ourselves with one another.

Clinging on to healing overtones
Find the strength and courage to move on
To a place where hate refuses to grow
Too much pain keeps us suffocating
Not sure we can withstand much more.
Lets spread  tender inclinations
Build bridges out of  destruction
In moments of despair cling on.

There is much in life worth saving
But we have to keep working together
Otherwise the same old divisions take hold
And the second we close our eyes
Every advance we’ve ever made
Drowns in  pools of  impossibility
Hold hands now with your neighbour
Share what you have in common
Beyond different sadnesses, light rises up.

Alone, not alone by Bethany Rivers

What is this lonely life where

things come at you from all sides?

Children killed in a bomber’s wake

families keen & weep,

homes full of heartbreak.


Only the night before, I was standing

on a bridge over the canal, just another

one of nature’s daughters; streetlamps

reflected in long halos in the dark night

held in the dark water.


An alone moment after social nibbles

in a local pub, after a celebration of words,

poetry, humanity.  This morning, I’m alone

and I hear all the news all over the net:


ice cracks a lake open, winds

creak in the star reaching pines,

a deep silence of solidarity.


Bethany Rivers (M.A.)
Debut pamphlet due out 22nd July, OFF THE WALL from Indigo Dreams Publishing

( ……….. ) by David R Mellor

It comes home

When it comes home

When he comes home

And she didn’t


It bites hard

When we don’t



to start

when he walked in

and she was carried



of the auditorium

the encores still trickling





when he comes home  

and  she didn’t   

Birdsong by Barry Fentiman Hall

There is only one way
To get through this
Forest of bombs
And official disbelief
We must be like the
Birdsong unceasing
That scores the new day
Because sparrows
Do not understand
How much this hurts
Their day goes on
As must people
With heavy tread
Beating with lead
Glass crunching
With every step
We put one foot
In front of the other
Until we reach
The other side
Warmly embracing
The new day dawned
And joined we shall
Do it again tomorrow

Dark Tide Rising by Sophia Argyris

We didn’t see the World War,

our parents born as its hand lost grip

temporarily exhausted by so many salutes.

It’s easy to forget.


But we can see the evidence

across Europe, her cities still scarred

her walls still marked by bullets.

It’s easy to imagine.


Now war lifts its hand again

a shadow above us gaining strength,

growing in people’s anger and fear,

their desire for stronger borders.


It breathes rhetoric and propaganda

swells with nationalistic cries,

the voices of the tabloids.

Is it so easy to ignore?


We forgot, and now

we are the dark tide.


Sophia Argyris is a poet and yoga teacher. Born in Belgium, she has lived Brussels and the North of Scotland, and is currently based in Oxford. Her collectionHow Do the Parakeets Stay Green?’ was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2014.

Tenderfoot by Debra Webb Roberts

This is the ‘WHY’ in my road,
the intersection where I i meet myself,
dissect intentions of a journey to stand
firm or run, again
Reason is a farce,
the make believe that grownups spewed,
telling me everything would make sense

Family magicians sprinkle fairy dust
Historians bury truth like stolen treasure

…said that everything comes full circle,
even as whirling recollections drove me to distraction;
bad tales and numbered days of generations
bound to recalcitrant

(none of it adding up to grand or finale;
blue-blood & ribbons so far back
on the trail of genealogy
that destinations require my own charting

the obvious subtraction in gaining traction,
additional footage of necessary elements ~ plus side ~
still, leaves me outnumbered and hollow
trailing behind the pack of normal and successful;
negatives outweigh positives, I am saddled with a burden
i cannot toss even as miles stretch far into unpredictable futures

zero is a multiplier of empty
of broken promises and dishonest intentions
I jockey for better position, break out
of the pack too crowded, for fear of being trampled)

…said that all things end tidy even as i watched them unravel;
end runs and end pieces spliced, tied in naughts
feeling the bundle of snakes twisting in my stomach,
binding courage to the apple in my throat, threatening to strangle
Splitting hairs required a good eye,
and steady hand, a sharp knife ~
mine dulled by years of use, tongue
lashings and barbed accusations ~ diced hurts
and skin carving ~ faults and folly cut bite-sized pieces
~ easier to choke down

Crow pie is nothing to crow about
foul tasting road kill and sticking points, bony;
family matters picked at like the carcass of a chicken at the dinner table

everyone out of the closet about something; skeletons packed
on pounds, pricking points stuck in my craw ~ still, i choked it down
Stuck at a fork,
already, I pick my own side!

To deviate to Left (behind) or Right (minded)
doesn’t matter; I made up my mind
and said my peace, found that choice
is nothing less than Discipline

Slowly I remove the heels
firmly set my tender feet on solid earth;
for what it’s worth it matters not which road i take

~ every road out of hell and hurt is paved
with burning conviction

. evil it was, evil it is . by Sonja Benskin Mesher

did you dream of evil last night, for evil it was.


pocked, bleeding and dead.           back broken.


this morning the garden is damp, a mole  died



plans for a new path are growing, yet there was





last night.



The Blast by Des Mannay

(written on the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings)


If you hadn’t made me late that morning

I would have caught the train on time

But you were just a small child in need of comfort

And I, just a parent who couldn’t resist a hug

So anyway, I caught the later train.

To get to the conference – 5 days of hard politics and soft hearts

And that journey known to all –

Bristol Parkway, Swindon, Didcot, Reading and London Paddington

From there I would travel onto Kings Cross or Euston

It wasn’t until way past Swindon, we knew something was wrong

The first one to crack was the driver

In a garbled message he said he couldn’t go on

Journey would end at the next station

And we heard him sob like a small child over the Tannoy

The news spread along each carriage – there’s something wrong in London

What – a crash? But then a ‘Mexican wave’ of terror

Was spread by mobile phone

We scramble for news second hand from relatives

And piece together a picture of Kings Cross afire

And rumours of bombs elsewhere – everywhere!

And the driver gets bullied by the fat controller

He’ll now drive on to Reading – there’s a fresh driver there

And we can all start making plans.

Someone’s phone goes off – the ringtone is “should I Stay Or Should I Go”

I remember 9/11 – and rush to the toilets for privacy

To record a defiant goodbye message on my wife’s landline

But my voice breaks towards the end, and I wonder

How come the Americans are better at doing this stuff?

Is it because of all the John Wayne movies that they watch?

Sod it – next time I’ll just send a text

And my wife will wonder why Stephen Hawking is pledging her undying love

Finally onto Paddington – conference cancelled today

And I phone people to keep them away

But then my pregnant wife phones and we argue

She wants me to come home but I utter the fatal words,

“But we can’t give in to terror – if I come home they’ve won”

Yeah sure – like they won’t plant bombs coz I’m here.

That’ll scare ’em

Perhaps I’ve watched too many John Wayne movies

Paddington begins to stifle, so I go for a walk

And a bus goes “bang!”, and elsewhere a worried wife has a miscarriage

Blood red dead – and the smell of the blood! mixing with the cordite

Awakening your ‘fight or flight’ mechanism –

Where your head says “run” and your heart says “stay”

And as days go by new rituals are created

Like the lamp post posters of the missing and the dead

Left by relatives seeking closure – they look like posters for missing pets

And the peace and unity vigils

Where we learnt that terror was indiscriminate – it kills all faiths

Just like the bombs on Baghdad – war is terror

I was lucky – I didn’t die….

But I carry the dead with me

They haunt me every night – I see their blackened disfigured faces

Crowding out my mind, and they sound like

Something out of ‘James and the Giant Peach’

When they say, “Where were you  – we were waiting for you?”

And the menacing Blood Red Dead drops into my head

And says, “I took your place – so why weren’t you there on time?

This should have been you not me…”

And I can’t take this anymore….

And I just….can’t….take….this….anymore……

And I am the resurrection…..

May 2017 by Sarah L Dixon

After the Tory Manifesto

there seems to be

a shift to hope.


After the gutter fall

from a fragile, but human hope

on the last two votes.


Belief in people and democracy

was broken into so many pieces

some gave up on rebuilding it.


Many are still staring

at the pieces

unsure where to begin.


This time,

we need a more cautious hope

of reaching for the top of walls.


And a shift from despair to lift us

on theatre wires to fly

when these results come in.


Sarah L Dixon is based in Chorlton, Manchester and tours as The Quiet Compere.  She has been published in The Interpreter’s House, The Lake, Obsessed With Pipework, Domestic Cherry and on a beer-mat and in Half Moon OWF Press anthology in 2016 among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her six-year-old, Frank.  She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!

Most of Us by Miki Byrne

Most of us live in boxes, in a line.

Horizontal, vertical.

Shared walls bleed noise,

won’t hold a screw for the mirror

that shows a million tired faces.

There’s a cream-cracker yard

or a plastic pot for colour.

Meagre grass grows sour.

Or graffiti’d walkways skein

between flats where old folk

stay indoors after dark

and mothers cry

at their children’s choices.

Wring their hands at bad company and fear.

There’s a shabby row of maudlin shops

a cut-price supermarket and an offie.

A bus stops nearby, for a trip to the town

that frowns over its barnacle estates.


Most of us work at what we can.

In the black and the red.

Casual and quiet-

or through job-centre hoops,

that pin dignity to our sides with rules,

prising questions.

Most of us would love a little bit more.

For the girls wedding, school uniforms.

A night out with mates,

who play the same game.

While the twist in our gut, grows every day

of doing without and the only chance

is a lottery ticket that never comes up

but we hope. Always hope.

Most of us know wrong from right.

Can respect, respect.

Though we might blur the edges

but don’t big ourselves into crime

for  a sharp reputation.

We mind our own business.

Persevere day after day

and we’ll stay right here. Forever.

Speech Impediment by Miki Byrne

It sticks in your throat.

A lump too big

to be chewed down.

No spit mustered

for this unpalatable gulp.

I see it occasionally,

flitting through your head.

Banging at the back of your eyes

when you think of what you did.

You got close once,

began a short hiss.

Snake like,

sharp in its nipped-off syllable.

Then the word died.

Couldn’t be forced

from the airless cavern

of your mouth

into the atmosphere that hovered,

like a glass wall.

Impenetrable from your side,

open from mine.

You never tried again.

Never wanted the forgiveness

I would have wrapped you in.

If only you had said ‘sorry’.

Waiting for a DWP Disability Assessment by Miki Byrne

The night before,

I imagine their questions.

Expect interrogation.

Picture the suit, laptop,

eyes full of speculation.

He or she will not be a friend

and inside my stomach

a few hornets buzz

and will swarm  tomorrow.

I wonder how the state

expects me to prove a disability.

Their eyes cannot lie.

Nor medical evidence,

yet I must parade myself.

Become an exhibit,

fit under their  microscope.

I won’t sleep.

Can’t pre-guess them,

know their findings.

A sense of outrage simmers.

Who are they to doubt my word,

integrity, breach my privacy,

enter my home?

They call it convenience,


I feel assumptions,

unsaid accusations,

coming toward me like trains.

Worry about income cuts,

poverty, cold winters.

Hate their power

to change everything:

My future, my health and sanity,

my whole, fucking, life.

Strong and Unstable by David R Mellor

Strong and unstable

Get down on your knees

You have nothing between your ears

Love me… love me, please

Don’t have a conscious

We can do without that

We’ve capped your ability to think clear

Vote for me…

I have lovely beads


I’m a strong bitch

I’ll kick your street lights out

I’ll make the north a level playing field

A car park with zero hours contractors at night


I have your best interests at heart…

You secretly don’t want to live that long

At the foodbank you can queue with your sort

And we can rest on our offshore banking, for sure


You can vote for a strong and stable death

I will put the nails in myself

Rape by Arbi Mchiche

Oh, how green
How beautiful
Was the grass!
I was then a little lass
Playing around in the grass

Suddenly, some brutes came!
Brutes with a large frame!
None of them said “hi” or his name
First I thought their aim
Was to play with me some game
I was wrong
The brutes had a scheme
A scheme so base and extreme
That buried all my dreams
The brutes had a bloody aim
They didn’t want to play any game
Their aim was to turn me into their game
They smiled at me!
They walked towards me!
They walked over me!
They tore the clothes over me!
They invaded me!
No one heard me grunt!
No one heard my ribs squeak!
The brutes broke my cunt!!!
And of that I can’t speak!
I just to myself silently shriek!!!!
And of that I can’’t complain
Cos I know you’d think I’m to blame!!!!

Short bio:
Arbi Mchiche is an EFL teacher from Morocco. Among his major interests are reading poetry and rhyming. He has already co-authored three books of poetry with Lynn Rosen. Hunger Rhymers, Children of a Secondhand God, and Peace, Rest in Peace are all available on Amazon

Whistleblower by Pauline Sewards

(in celebration of Chelsea Manning)


Because you were pulled like a snail from a shell

and your name was kicked around like a football

and you were raised on sour milk and diesel air

spawned from sun and swimming pools

transposed to coal and  valleys poverty

you learned  the art of being bullied.


The mask was around your eyes and your limbs were bound

you woke from delirium to a blood haze called reality

you woke and saw your body lying far below

and felt the tender pull of nostalgia.


Code was a thrill

when you unleashed your message in a bottle

into an optic fibre sea

tough skin grew over the raw pink scars of your redacted name

as you entered the nihilism of spilling secrets

where each secret had other secrets bound to it

like ears on a fungi of ears on a fungi of ears


Your courage was visceral

survived dehumanisation    When they couldn’t silence your tongue

they cut your hair


Your name was in neon and it was the name you always wanted

when the light departed first turning a key at the flick of a pen

And freedom will walk you through a tunnel of cherry blossom

to swim in cool waters unobserved


Some traditions live through centuries so we will salute you

with honest cake and paper cup bubbles


When you spoke  a chime struck on the side of a ringing bowl.

and that clear note is still vibrating.

For Immediate Release by Colin Dardis

For immediate release

(blackout poem based on


Colin Dardis is a poet, editor and freelance arts facilitator from Northern Ireland.  He co-runs Poetry NI, and is editor for Lagan Online. One of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, a collection with Eyewear, ‘the x of y’, is forthcoming in 2018. His work has been widely published throughout Ireland, UK and USA.