Outside Opels Chip Shop by Paul Tristram

Boot tread pressed into cold rissole & chips
on the pavement of a December morning
is really not a pleasant sight at all.
The streaks & splashes of coagulated blood,
stomach bile & fear excrement
obviously made ‘Stan The Mop-Up Man’s’ job
all the more disturbing & disgusting.
A frenzied knife attack,
followed by a rose quartz doorstop
face & head cave-in,
is really not the best way to go.
Those 96 seconds are going to drag a little
before your terrified, fleeing soul
finally escapes, first backwards,
then upwards into explosive freedom at last.
‘Restraining Orders’ don’t work on Maniacs,
same as ‘Goodbyes’ & ‘See You Around’s’.
The dogs discovered him hiding naked
in the bushes at the back of Victoria Gardens.
Sat in a 2ft hole he’d dug with his very own hands.
Gently humming nursery rhymes to himself
whilst massaging a puddle of his own urine
into his ‘This Little Piggy Went To Broadmoor’ feet.

Scribblings Of A Madman
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/
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Just Before Enlisting by John D Robinson

She had more spots than
a pack of Dalmatians
and the white-headed
ones sparkled in
sunlight;
she was Mary
and we met in a
confectionary factory
and we dated
became romantic
and we were teenage
virgins
and we didn’t want
to be teenage
virgins
and we were working
at it, getting close
and I fucked up
making a wild scene
at her family home
and a few days later
she phoned and
told me she’d met
someone else and he
was a man and
he could take his drink,
I wished her well
knowing that I’d
be an enlisted
virgin-soldier
in a few weeks time
and that I’d
probably have to do
a great deal of
bullshitting
about my virginity
and a lot of other
things
and
I feel as though I’ve
been doing exactly
just that
ever since.

John D Robinson
John D Robinson is a published poet; ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide’ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016) Cowboy Hats & Railways’ (Scars Publications 2016); a contributor to the 2016 48th Street Press Broadside Series; his work appears widely in the small press and online literary online journals including Rusty Truck; Red Fez; Outlaw Poetry; Degenerate Literature; Haggard & Halloo; Beatnik Cowboy; Boyslut; Anti Heroin Chic; In Between Hangovers; Your One Phone Call; he is married and lives in the UK with his wife, a dog 3 cats and swallows copious amounts of wine.

No Heart by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Animals don’t have heart attacks, he said,
I don’t think they have hearts, not like we
have hearts.
Perhaps they don’t brush their teeth with sticks of butter,
I suggested.
Think about it, he said.
I don’t have to, I answered.
All those animals and not one heart attack.
They must not have hearts, that’s the only explanation.
I asked him what they had then
if they didn’t have hearts
and he said he didn’t know.
Then we continued breaking up skids
with rubber mallets.
On a slant
on the back loading dock
beside a dumpster the local gangs
had tagged as one of
their own.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a happily unmarried proud father of none. His work can be found both in print and online in such joints as Your One Phone Call, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Dead Snakes. He has an affinity for dragonflies, discount tequila, and all things sarcastic.

Dreaming Of A City Of Angels Reunion by Bradford Middleton

Autumn veers into the horizon and oddly enough all I can think of
Is the City of Angels, a place on the other side of the world to where
I now sit

This past week has been one of strange bizarre events, firstly
A chance to get out of town and go visit somewhere else that
I hadn’t been to since I was a young child

Then the unexpected reunion which wouldn’t have happened if
I’d got the train I was intending to so for once grateful to be late
As I hear that mid-Atlantic drawl

Is that you? Came the voice from out of the blue as our gaggle
Smoked roll-ups whilst waiting for the train and as I turned I
Couldn’t quite believe my eyes

Before us stood a couple, one of whom was Vera
A dear old friend who we meet on holiday many years ago
I was fifteen and we were in the old Soviet bloc

At first Mum told me to avoid the noisy Americans
And by the end of the first week we were inseparable
As friendship bloomed and we ain’t looked back since

Then a few weeks ago I dreamt of them over there
And by some bizarre twist of fate the following day
I got a call telling me that her husband had died but

That Vera was coming to Europe and would be spending
A few days here in sunny Brighton but technology
Messed up our meet until that fateful moment outside the train station

She stayed and we chatted, my young friends dazzled by her presence
As she started telling tales of old San Franciscan poets who she’d known
Back in the day and how her life was now

All seemed well and she suggested a meet-up the following morning
For a drink and chat and all I could bring myself to think about
Was that city on the other side of the world as pictures of Santa Monica

Were shared and times caught up on as it had been a long
Old while since we’d last seen each other, back in London
Another life, almost a decade before

Bradford Middleton was born in London in the summer of 1971 but didn’t begin writing poetry until he was 36 when he landed in Brighton.  He has a couple of chapbooks available, Drink Drank Drunk from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and A Life Like This Ain’t For the Faint-Hearted from Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK) as well as lots of material available online and in print.  Some of the places that have published his work include Zygote in my Coffee, Five Poetry, Ppigpenn, Rapoetics, Chicago Record, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, Section 8 Magazine, Mad Swirl, Your One Phone Call, Dead Snakes and Empty Mirror.  He tweets occasionally @beatnikbraduk. 

Irish Theme Bar, South Boston, St. Patrick’s Day by Simon Cockle

A shamrock sinks
through the albumen
head on a Bean Town

theme bar Guinness,
this St. Patrick’s day.
A flat-screen TV feeds

the Red Sox game,
six blocks from Fenway.
It’s the top of the ninth

and the short stop purrs
in the Catbird Seat; the bases
are loaded, it’s the 2-1 pitch…

a home run explodes
in a starless night
like a Zen firework. Then

in walks St.Patrick,
pockets full of snakes,
glad-handing the lawyers,

their coke-stained sleeves
sparkling like diamond
dust in the ultra-violet,

but he’s not here
for the craic. The crowd
go wild; there’s a verse

of Danny Boy but the Saint
just stands there, downs
that Guinness in one

and points his staff
at the TV; its screen shows
an altar with a neon cross,

an organ churns low
and the word ‘solemnity
appears for a second. Everything

goes green.  Then the game
returns. Patrick’s vanished;
a snake coils round a barstool

and sleeps.

simon-cockle
Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal and Pantheon Magazine, amongst others. He was invited to read at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems.

Tour Bus by Sally Evans

It is there for three minutes, a tour bus.
The plump pastel passengers
shake rain from their umbrellas,
and make their shrill cries
as the driver counts them in,
half-flirting, half-bored with them.
Harpies, Sirens or Pawns –
enclosed, they pull away.
They didn’t have decent weather
and they left the place as they found it,
unaffected by their ingress.
The bus is gone from the pavement,
the leaves and slates of the street
spread in their cool clean wetness.

smaller-sally
Sally Evans lives in Scotland and has Welsh connections. She has had several books of poems published including Poetic Adventures in Scotland (2014) and the Bees (2008).

Death & Other Resurrections by Stephen Mead

Nerve ending in a deadened limb,
whatever enlivens can be nothing but sustenance.

What grafts back interiors?
an underlining of skin?

Your flesh takes in everything, translates
& gives it back.

Can you feel me?
Then make my shape.
Once I was an instrument.  Then corrosion came.

If you breathe upon me
off the rust will peel.  Layer by layer, I’ll strip,
all old masks & worn skin.

There’s susceptibility here.
There’s a resurrection.

Filaments extend tendrils, every sensitive head
fed through the rudiments.

Just so, I surge forth, hook, sinker & line,
reaping what is Earth-less.  It is the heart of the breeze.

Is there a delectable disturbance alive in this garden?

The mirrors are becoming windows.
In you, I look out, entwining invisibly to your infinite dusk.

It shimmers, soothing blue.  I rock here, a tide,
to your spasmodic summer coming.

Stephen Mead
A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested and get the time, Google Stephen Mead and the genres of either writing, art, or both, for links to his multi-media work.