The Last Tweet of the Real Donald Trump by Antony Owen

My scent once killed an outcast house-martin,

come Summer, Africa would have scented its plume.

I heard its last tweet from the vice of a factory cats mouth.

Since childhood I have learnt how migrant beings sing when free.

Sky is the skin of the universe and we are both the illness and the cure,

I used to whistle back to the crow incapable of joy because I saw myself in her.

 

Should the day ever come when I tweet my heart

I will not need one hundred and sixty characters to do so

I will hit the space bar one hundred and fifty nine times, then a comma –

and this will be my last tweet hoping that my song is all that is left and yet to come.

 

My Mothers scent once made three healthy boys,

she made a nest of working class heirlooms that stay with me,

her threadbare breath in winter, dead peoples ornaments, hand me down lullabies.

Hush now, we are ghosts of eggshells leaving the ectoplasm of our beautiful Mothers

Hush now, we are living our lives harder before those who steal the world keep us in cages.

Economy by Maria Stadnicka

(for Timothy Snyder)

 

At first, we reduced the water supply.

The poisoned city wells dried up.

The light burnt the crops.

 

At sunset, everything crumbled into a black peace.

 

Then somehow we got used to an economy of words.

We collected ideas and thoughts in one book.

We spent the days memorising chapters.

 

For those trapped in the outer world,

for the privilege of staying alive.

stadnika

Flashback by Abigail Hurst

I smelled you,
And I knew you were coming for me,
About to drag me under-
To that place where I can’t breathe
Stumbled out, away from the crowd
So that no one would see…
What you still do to me.

And you drug me back in time
Making me deaf, forcing me blind
Until the world of safety is gone
And I’m once again desire’s pawn
Filled with guilt, and grief, and shame,
And a pain that only knows one name-
You.

You.
Spreading my legs apart.

You.
Eyes gleaming, smile sliding on your face in the dark.

You.
Lowering your head.

You.
With your forehead on my stomach
As I claw the sheets on the bed

And fight back a scream
And you’re killing me.

You.
Biting where no one would think to look.

You.
Rifling through my pages like an open book.

You.
Trace your finger from my neck below
Like you’re slicing me open.

You.
Shattering me.
Till there’s nothing left to be broken.

And this waking nightmare
So much more vivid than any dream I’ve had.

Chocking on your poison
Till I gag, convulse, and rip this dream at it’s seams.

Shaking as I pick up this shovel,
To dig furiously as my panic doubles-
Slam the casket shut with a bang
And bury you back where you belong
Six feet under ground in your grave.

And I hold my breath and count.
Just like I always have,
Till the memory of you trickles out of me-
Down through the floor,
Dripping through cracks.

One.
Two.
Three.
Hold my breath.
Four.

I hear you slip back out my door.
And leave me to mend all that you’ve torn.

Sold by Abigail Hurst

I sold myself
I sold my body
I.
I sold my soul
Gave the keys to a stranger
Said, “make yourself at home”.

I sold myself
Into grasping hands
I sold my dignity
I sold my legs
Breasts
Feet
Lips
Virginity.
One at a time
I sold away what was mine.

I sold myself
I auctioned off what was left
And just gave away freely
All the rest

But truth be told
I was sold long ago
In what was called a holy home
Sold into hands of power and greed
Stripping away every hope
Every dream
So for a moment he could feel
Satisfied and whole
As he unclothed, exposed me
Right down to the bone.

Split in Two by Abigail Hurst

Don’t talk.
Let this slip through the cracks
And we’ll never look back

Keep it secret.
Every one’s okay
As long as you don’t say..

That you’re split in two
That you’re sick of being used
That you’re bloody and you’re bruised
Tired and abused..

That you’ve been ripped in half
That the mask’s about to crack
That the pressure’s more than you can cap
It’s something no one can take back…

Trap it inside
It’s the right thing to hide
Keep it locked up so no one can find..

And now grow cold
As it goes untold
And stays unseen
As he unravels your seams..
And you are split in two.

So now years pass and you have to choose sides
Live in the light or in darkness abide?
You’re buried deep but have to make a choice
Will you stay silent or finally raise your voice?
For nothing you’ve been sold
And without payment you will be made whole
But you have to lift your voice.

Attempt Breaking Silence by Abigail Hurst

“Can I tell it all to you?
Even just a part to let it out?”
My voice is tinged with hope
You slowly shake your head.
“No.”

I can see the regret in your eyes
As your try to back track
Try to hide

“Don’t worry about it,”
Put back on the mask
“I’m fine.”

I always have been fine…
Okay,
Doing great,
Nothing more to say,
With a smile on my face.

I’m fine
He crawls in bed with me.

I’m okay.
Cornered in the kitchen
Lust in his eyes, lunging toward me

I’m great.
He slides his hand down my thigh
A look I know so well
Silent danger in his eyes.

All of these things and more
Rushing through my mind
I smile and look up at you,
“No really, I’m fine.”

I’ve said it a thousand times before
Feeling the life drain from my eyes
What’s once more?

Master or Slave by Abigail Hurst

Take a deep breath
Just smile
No tears
Step into two roles
Puppet
And puppeteer.

Both master and slave
These parts I play
Pick up the controller
Attached to my strings
And put on a grand display.

I am a manipulator of myself
I separate and detached
Sit up in the rafters
With my heart down on the stage
And with aching arms keep moving
Make sure these strings behave

Arms up.
Arms down.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Smile.
Chit chat.
Side hug.
Wave.
These strings long to tangle,
Am I master or slave?

These cords that make me move
Feel more like a noose
They cut off circulation
And I feel the weight of deprivation

Can I cut these strings?
Slip off this stage?
And attend to this inner war
I wage?

Take a deep breath.

Longcase Clock by Abigail Hurst

Longcase Clock
Ticks-Tocks
One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
I hear you slip through my door.

Focus on Counting.
Seven.
Eight.
The darkness begs you,
“Seal her fate”

Breathing labors.
Twelve.
Thirteen.
Trapped under covers.
Strangled in sheets.

Fifty-eight.
Fifty-nine.
Begin to lose…
Track of time.

Sixty.
One minute down.
A tear struggles free.

One.
Two.
Hold my breath.
Three.
You rip into me.

Set Free by Abigail Hurst

I’ve tried to fly so many times
Shackled to the ground
Chains rattle as I pace
How I’ve learned to live is a disgrace

I get a running start to soar
And leap so high from the earth
Too quickly reminded of how I am tethered
And how my soul has become so weathered

These shackles that have no key
Attached to my wrists, to my neck and my feet
Spider away from my body
One lock linked to another chain
And each branded with a name

Abuse, self injury, nightmares, rape
Against my wrists the metal scrapes
Harlot, worthless, disappointment, regret
Four more names that you’ll never forget
Into my ankles the bonds dig deep
The lock around my neck
Bears one burden under which the others fall
The suffocating, all consuming, heavy weight
Of shame.

The sin of what you did,
Now my job to hide
To bottle it up, with a strong, tight lid
So no one will ever find,
Covering shackles and chains
With beautiful scarves and gloves
A little make-up for the face
Learn to sit pretty,
Draw no attention to what holds me still,
And meet weekly with my self blame committee…

But in the night, when no one can see
I gather my shackles and set my mind free,
To imagine a world that sees the pain,
And reverses the words that have been engraved.
To imagine an earth wear my chains are seen,
Where I am seen.
This disillusionment I crave,
And with anguish I pray,
That my voice will pierce through the noise,
And I will be heard.

.the war house. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

dug within for strength, without for vegetables.

 

tidy allotments  for food. primroses came by post; my father.

 

war was declared before me.

 

they said that some hid in outside toilets to avoid the bombs. there were hits in bournemouth.

 

some dads dug deep for shelter in the garden.  anderson, half buried.  flower beds planted with veg.

 

peace times, families stored their potatoes , rather than waste. rationing continued.

 

i remember the implications, was told the facts later.

 

much later.

 

the war house & after.

 

now

 

we dig within for solidity, solidarity, power to continue.  food is plenty.

 

in wales find they grew potatoes here. i have a          photograph.

 

I still hide under tables.

war house

Grenfell by Barbara Donne

Tell me how to impose
a structure
on
disaster

..
What nouns
verbs
rhythm, rhyme

..
I have no template
I start
and the line
breaks

..
Imagine shadows
trapped in windows
shapes
who were not cut out for this
every step of stair beneath them
falling

..
No-one expects to decline
‘We will burn…
have burnt…
are burning’

Twenty-four Floors by Pamela Ireland Duffy

The cladding melted

fell from our eyes

with the bodies of our children

the illusion of a caring society

gone up in smoke

we see with the eyes of the dead now

staring out from hollow windows

of black towering truth…

 

Prejudice fanned into flame with newspaper

smears soot-stained into walls

facts distorted into twisted metal

figures spun into smoke

humanity costed into ash

behind closed doors

twenty-four floors of hopes and dreams

incinerated like rubbish…

 

The anger of the poor

once lit

burns deep

and only justice

can extinguish it

we see with the eyes of the dead now

we know what the dead know

we are not to blame.

 

For the people of Grenfell Tower, living and dead.

Assam Tea Pickers by Vicky Hampton

There are no flames –

the man who swallows fire

chokes on a mist –

 

one arm pumps up down

up down, the other waves

left right, left right

 

one bellowing

one spraying –

it burns just the same.

 

He has no mask

and protective clothing

is not provided.

 

The bare midriff girl

sari on her bones

like rag on wire

 

will quietly ask

why can’t he feel his face

his hands, hungry?

 

In leaking homes

the new-born starve

Right up to the time to push

 

she’ll pick, he’ll spray

then

among pots

 

on a mud floor

she’ll birth and say,

oh, another grief.

..

I am a Writing for Wellbeing Facilitator and have been writing poetry seriously for about 4 years. I live in Gloucestershire, in the Forest of Dean where I run a peer-learning poetry group called Poets In Progress, or PIPs.  My work has won prizes in the Chipping Sodbury and Salopian poetry competitions and has been anthologised and published online and in small publications. I read at Monmouth Literary Festival last year, and Cheltenham Poetry Festival  and Coleford Festival of Words this year. I am currently working on a small collection for publication.

.white feathers. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

i dream i dream of porcupines.

 

white feathers dipped in blood.

 

bloody mess  wars,

bodies rotting  there.             there

are   thoughts while stitching that

this could save the world.

 

a quiet thing. no injuries, the blood

comes small in useful            drops.

drops down,      meditative sound.

 

white feathers fall.

 

porcupines.

white feathers

Our Platform by Paige Collins

I’d love nothing more but to go back a couple of steps in life to the days where our biggest concerns were waiting on the street lights turning on, or not allowing new shoes to get dirty. When you had a boyfriend or had a girlfriend they’d say goodbye on the Friday and you’d see them on the Monday.

Throughout time we’ve slowly yet surely transformed into robots, we’re all satirical yet the system’s tyrannical and we don’t even have our own thoughts. Ego’s are fed with a double tap and people only care for shaping their persona, which alone is fake with mistakes to make and likes only being the eudaemonia

I cannot determine what is true or false nor can I bare to witness it all. I see kids who are fifteen living as sweet dream on twitter but not in school halls. I’m massively concerned for the wellbeing of our society and the dependency we have for the net, which catches us by the ankle and drags us around til there’s nothing left.

I refuse to believe things will change, I know people are bored with their lives, skip the dating skip the build up, let’s go on tinder and look for our wives.

I’m sad for my brother who missed all the fun and didn’t worry about having a phone, the field was our platform the social was ourselves and what we could SEE was only our home.

.grubby cars. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

i did not know when you started.

 

talking.

 

about the socks,      how

they are not made to last.

 

about those you were wearing

for five years.    i did not wish

to see your leg    sir.

 

about the chamois leathers, how

we used to have more variety.

 

which brought him to talk

about hand car wash. by

foreigners. his words not

mine.

insisted that they deliberately

scratch the cars, then turn their guns,

these foreigners. his words not mine.

 

i left, i am not paid to listen to  your racist

remarks sir.

 

i am paid to weave and serve another day.

 

 

 

he left without buying.

grubby cars

I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing, by Antony Owen

When Grenfell windows exploded into miniature supernovas and firefighters froze in that world they will replay over and over, I shall always remember the autopsy of a well-meant poem by a bloke called Si who doesn’t write much and will never write again because a real poet told him at best it was doggerel. As the new world emerges unseen by the real poet who dissected Si’s well-meant poem I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing from the real poet who had so much to say and so little to write. Sometimes when I want to find answers to the hardships of modern life perhaps I’ll ring Si and say “Hey Si, I’ve a Haynes manual on the inner workings of a Ford Fiesta and it’s written perfectly so why not come over and we’ll discuss over hummus I bought from a hipster at a literary festival which is a place real poets unlike you go to, so, Si my pixelated pal do you wanna come round mine mate”? Alternatively I could pass on the technically perfect writings about non-subjects and read a really well intentioned and flawed poem by Si who knows he ain’t the best poet but he wanted to challenge himself on writing about something more important than the existential paradox of a thespian who lived in a disputed vineyard during the Napoleonic invasion of a place that people like Kev has never heard of because he’s only interested in stuff that is happening today. I have decided to write a poem for Si in the spirit of what he was saying but not in iambic pentameter just raw emotion in controlled couplets and it goes something like this….

 

I read a technically perfect poem about absolutely nothing
I felt a technically flawed poem about something important

The latter poem was poorly written it was not a poem like this
I’d like to go and get wasted with Kev and make alphabet spaghetti.

Seedling by Heath Brougher

So I’ve heard that you’ve
been unplugging various wires
integral to the function
of your brain
in the realm of Mainstream Thought.
 
Was I supposed to punish you for this?
 
I applaud you for it.
 
Just remember you’re still very young
and when you unplug
at such an early age
your “Being Misunderstood Ratio” goes up
quick as vertiginous spontaneous skyscrapers.
 
Just keep waiting for the inevitable
garden of Intellect to bloom
and keep sucking up the Truths
that you deem marrow-worthy. 

Evolution of the Word “Cartoon” by Heath Brougher

Up until recently
the word
“cartoon”
did not
carry with it
such a heavy overtone
of seriousness.
 
It was previously
a word
which evoked
a sense
of lightness,
of fluffiness,
of childishness,
of silliness,
of nonsense.
 
Well, I guess
it still conjures
an aura
of nonsense,
just in a much more
bloodstained context
than before.