Show Us Your True Face by David Spicer

Henry, our man, you’ve insulted
us with bullshit and slumber party
girlfriends, overcrowded this
football field with us, and posed
like a slobbering jackal who never
apologizes, a Sumo wrestler who
squats and sneers. We insist: don’t
torture us with empty promises.
First and foremost, you’re a salesman
of ugly brooches and lithium in humidors
we don’t need, and when ambulances arrive
from the hurricane’s red eye and screech
to a stop, you’ll command us to drink
hemlock sodas. You’re a predator,
Henry, a poisonous insect in a brown
shirt tormenting us, you’ve hotwired
our brains that melt quicker than snowmen
under an impatient sun. Henry, you’re not
the watchdog of vices you pretend to be,
so we defy you to reveal the man
behind those masks. Show us your
true face, or we’ll spit on your golden grave
after we slice your throat with machetes that
kill dangerous hogs we can no longer ignore.

David Spicer
David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Song for Buzz Aldrin and Bored Typewriters by John Doyle

The u after qwerty
must know how the second man on the moon feels,
Buzz Aldrin, hotch-potch of vowels, consonants,
and picket fence apple-pie,

chop off those sideburns kid, we’re going back in time,
to re-arrange letters on keypads and
play cunning linguisms with the essence of science,
and every typist called Miss Kramer from Ohio to Washington

will run out in the street to watch the staged moon landing,
their fingers doing something their horn-rimmed glasses just cannot understand,
as moonlight throws shapes from abandoned letters
across the faces of stiff-ass sideburn-free men

John Doyle
John Doyle Bio: The only good bio is a bio strung-up outside some gold-prospector’s wooden shack with his dog Jake sniffing at its last remaining remnants of sanguine flesh; So I will keep it simple, I’m from County Kildare, Ireland, and I love nothing more than stumbling across 3rd Division football games in Slovenia or Belgium on a Sunday morning as a welcome interlude while trying outsmart fellow bio hunters.

In Transit by PW Covington

Motion
Wheels and air brakes
Traffic lights and handshakes
Face down in Facebook
Cell phone, sideways looks
Baby strollers, hard hats
Transit station alley cats
Humid Wednesday, rolls like a river
Before my south-side eyes

  PW Covington’s work has been published by academic journals and underground ‘zines, and he has been featured as a reader by venues and festivals across the Western US, including at The Beat Museum in San Francisco. He was recently the recipient of the Literature and Latte Scrivener Award for poetry from Hourglass Journal (Bosnia and Herzegovina). His third book of poetry, titled “Sacred Wounds” was published by Slough Press in 2015.  Covington is a 100% service connected disabled veteran of peacekeeping duty in Somalia and a convicted felon.  More info can be found at www.PWCovington.com.

Her Apron Strings by Paul Crompton

With a finger I scooped
the chocolaty goop
from the whisking bowl
into my mouth.

The theft was sweetly swift
no time for a spoon,
like gull swooping to nick
your battered fish and chip.

The grainy mix a short-term fix
while waiting for
that cup cake treat,
but for a second

I return to my sepia youth
Stood beside apron strings
at grandma’s swollen knee
While mum went off and hid

Handed whisk, I’d hold it high,
A reward for culinary wit
And lick the twisty
Metal clean but for that bit
No tongue could reach.

Joys were simpler then
As I am simple now.

Paul has been published on various indie websites and produces a chapbook of Brighton based poets. He regularly performs at spoken word events. His poetry  flits between the subtle to the caustic, from inward mediations to wry observations.

Clusterfuck Islands by Paul Tristram

Aye, I know the latitude & longitude
of those Bastards well.
Been forced into a-visiting on and off
throughout my wretched life.
Was marooned there once
nigh on five long years.
Trust me, you learn your own soul,
inside and out, relationship-wrecked
upon those whore-shores of Hell.
There just ain’t no hiding from yourself…
except inside the 2nd or 3rd bottle…
and you can quote me on that, Boyo.
You can’t make sense where there ain’t any
and there ain’t no point explaining
to the filthy, rotten fuckers
set upon viewing you only in a bad light.
Purge & Untangle is the only way
off of those treacherous rocks.
Strip right back down to basics
and build up again nice & wisely
following the grain of common sense
and out of the clutches
of mean-spirited, snapping fuckwittery.
The Count Of Monte Cristo
is not just a novel… it’s a warning, sunshine,
start pruning your associates immediately.

arrogant bastard ale
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Border Country by Fran Lock

i walked a cold night through to thaw in seeking
out our shattered landmark. long before i saw i
smelled the mildew, ditches, burning rubber –
your own impoverished pheromone, love. i breathed
it in. i found a place to wash, watched over by old
men, slumped at their insolvent leisure. i watched
them, astute to dominoes, and full of bellyaching
acumen. they tot the score, and cheat with slurred
compunction. i breathe it in and go, out into the fly
tipped half-light; the rim of the world is glowing
like a muted television. i walk to the church, not
locked but hollowed out by wind, and dripping
like a limestone cave. it matters not, the village has
its envies and its petty worships still. narrow streets,
cottages encumbered by an unenticing quaintness.
dilapidated gingerbread, cobwebbed to gothic
nonplus. tourists will not come. or god, again.
women whisper like slow punctures, hiss with all
the nosey pageantries of powerlessness. they are
beige in the face and prematurely crone. they do not
know me now, they don’t remember you; their necks
stretch out like wheezing concertinas. their breath,
the very suck of mud. i walk on, with black alsatian
dogs racing my shadow along the chain-link fences.
the outskirts, cars scrapped up in a hospice of duff
hardware; dead things crumbled into rust. a boy, the spit
of you, grinning through a grim recidivist malaise. he
has terrible teeth, the snide panache of small town disgrace,
a tattoo of christ’s wounds with roses. i stop dead. i
remember the night we climbed the mountain, our eyes
flung up to the sky in its shrapnel surfeit of stars. he
whistles to me, and i long to dissolve the world in love’s
red lens. but he isn’t you. and I walk on, take the chalk
path to the tower and try to find our names among the other
names – precocious declarations from  hearts more stoned
than fond. blue stone, ours, but we are gone, snuffed
to indeciphered smoothness. this is right and good,
my love. i climb again the winding stair; spread
embittered finery against a pale and empty air.

franphoto
Fran Lock is a dog whisperer and author of two poetry collections, ‘Flatrock’ (Little Episodes, 2011) and ‘The Mystic and the Pig Thief’ (Salt, 2014). Her third collection, ‘Dogtooth’ will be published by Out-Spoken Press next year.

Merjaan by Sheikha A.

A red, flesh-eating centipede
darts through the air without wings –
dreams are defeated by many stones
without a cure. I was told merjaan is
the pearl that fell like a tear
and would have stayed white if not
for having encountered blood. All I see
are multiplying carnivores that can
shatter stones with their gaze;
homes aren’t hidden under the sea.

Sheikha A.
Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 200 of her poems appear in 90 literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India. More about her can be accessed on sheikha82.wordpress.com