Archive for February 2013

Are Horoscopes Real?

Our planets spin in revolutions only

science can explain;
like how meteorologists are magicians
when it comes to describing the rain,
or the way conductors know at which
platform, and at what time, your train will arrive,
or how doctors can look you up and down
and pin point, with accuracy, where you’re in pain,
like a miller creating silk wholemeal flour
from coarse capsules of beige and brown grain,
or like experienced pilots landing again
in LAX after 7 hours in the same seat in the same plane,
or how writers can sit down at keys
and make them dance into Steinbeck, Hemingway or the holy Mark Twain.

Last night you escaped early because the girl

you wanted to leave with left moments
before you did; and now you’ll be back
in bed checking if your horoscopes match
and if your love compatibility is worthy of a
‘I’m in love’ badge.

Dulcimer - Rick Richardson

Play me a song
'bout all the wrongs that I have done.
Sweet Dulcimer...
In your strings and swirly grains
lie my life's story
and the way my river runs.
Ol' Lucifer...
Leave me alone
for its a long, hard road
that I have gone.
My darlin' fair...
In your sweet and lovely face
I see longin' and despair
I see sorrow and despair.
in the misty moonlight
I hear her call my name.
Sweet Dulcimer...
Take me home
Sweet Dulcimer...
She'll bring me home.

- - -

Rick Richardson is a professional archaeologist and a one time published (thanks to Tim Knight and Coffee Shop Poems) porch dogging poet. Rick grew up in the mountains of Tennessee and currently resides in a small fishing village in coastal North Carolina, USA. He loves the water, but misses the mountains and snow. His favourite past time is sitting on the porch with his sweet mutt Daisy, reading something new while listening to and breaking down his favourite musicians

Finding A Home

No one feels more alone when feeling alone in another darkened hometown.

He went and wandered,
kerb crawled and begged,
asked for four quid
then left when he got it, though
two pounds less than he wanted;
away, away, away, away, away,
away he’ll go again,
vagabond turned drifter,
God talking, kneel praying, church attending, Amen.

When the already sirens
start up, wind up,
swing around merrily in their
egg shell cups upon and above
the panda-car-cop,
he’ll wake to wander again
until the day his body flails
and gives in, drops to the floor
in a melodramatic stop.

For this forever New York,
with its high rise chimney tops
and siren's scare,
is no place to sleep without
a home to go home too.

For Everyone's Inner Primary-School-Self

You don't know what you want
nor know what you'll become;
but in the years that'll drum on
you won't know what you'll have
before it's upped and gone.

Let palms and backs of hands
burn with pain, the wound of the twine.
Keep your kite from landing within the lambs,
break you back, but not your spine.

For your ambition is an anchor
in the deepest of seas;
it'll reel on down through the
breeze, past the knees,
collecting and acclimatising,
running towards your needs.

But only are they realised
when you're down on your luck
struggling to breathe.
No longer are you dynamic and living,
but a soul sat down
quietly remembering.

So keep your kite close
to your heart
and that anchor in the sea,
for no one knows what you'll become,
nor where you'll end up and leave.

Morning of a Young Man - Jared A. Carnie

The alarm goes.
The playlist plays.
A memory reel of the last year or two.
She rests her head on your chest.
You curl up while she showers.
She comes back cold.
You watch the towel drop.
The underwear slide on.
You get up, go to the kitchen.
Put the kettle on. Toast her toast.
Have some orange juice.
You present her tea and breakfast.
You kiss her goodbye
And climb back in bed,
Put on Big Time or something like that.
You sit up, wind awake
And do some writing.
You put your head back down
Unable to go to sleep.
You get up again.




- - -

Jared A. Carnie is a writer in his twenties who recently escaped Essex for the freedom of the Outer Hebrides.

The Physicality of Wishing - Anne Monk

We breathe yes
into every no
because it’s easier that way.
That whispered affirmation
That sighing hope
is the pebble that shakes
from the cuff
of your pants and rolls
to the pond
where its invisibility is compromised.

It becomes something beating
What erupts from it
is no natural event
but the effect
of that tiny breath
of yes.
- - -
Anne Monk is an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina and enjoys writing poetry in her spare time.

Close Contact Enemy

She denied the note
with a wave of her hand,
a harsh slice of the independent woman,
right there next to the bookshop stand.

I could tell, you could tell,
the whole fucking shop could tell
that this couple was very much in love.
It was the constant kisses on cheeks and
that rubbing of the palms with thumbs,
that gave their game away.

Tucked beneath wet raincoat pit,
a brochure protruded and hit
every close contact enemy.
It was a bible of new houses;
psalms of yet-to-be-wet-feet-on-new-lino-floors,
prayers of neutral-coloured-baby-room walls,
proverbs of shall-we-frame-this-poster-or-just-BluTac-it-up-and-hope-for-the-best?.

They left the shop back into the rain
to the sound of several sighs,
thank goodness for the gray
dangerous clouds of the sky.

Snow and Sun - Julia Hones

Vying to survive,

at odds with each other,
feelings and thoughts,
like the sun and the snow,
glisten and embellish each other,
they silently
wile us and entice us
with their shimmering charm.

Snow thrives on the freezing temperatures
that make our skin ache,
whereas the sun can dazzle us,
make us frown,
masquerading dull spots
of an exhilarating landscape.

The dance of snow and sun,
a perplexing ambiguity
of thoughts and feelings
that deranges our lives.

- - -

Julia Hones' literary work has been published (or is forthcoming) in Skive magazine, the Greensilk journal, the Southern Pacific Review, Epiphany magazine and the "You, Me & a Bit of We anthology". She recently became the poetry editor of the Southern Pacific Review and Julia also runs a literary blog:

How To Write A Letter To A Friend

Dear warmth,

May you rub your back against my shoulder
‘til the windows mist with condensation,
and we fall back into youth, hiding
away from the older.

May your temperature, rising to the point
of red cheek puncture, provide an oasis
under the sand of duvet’s cover.

May your hair whip around like every
flame I’ve ever seen, no agenda or judgement,
just sheer ecstasy and  excitement.

May you conjure up that lone shower feeling,
that one where for a brief slot in time everything
you know and have become floats away through
that extractor fan, out into the air- climbing higher.

May you provide that gasp of heat that
hits the cook in the face, after opening the oven’s
gate in hunger and haste.

May you be that holiday sun I always seek.

May you be the metal womb of  a car when
outside in the myriad hospital world
where it’s cold.

May you be humorous and humid and
totally lovely to be with.

May you be a heated conversation and argument
and disagreement, that torment of words
I need to hear.

May you be my laugh that bubbles up
from the volcano underneath.

May you be the heat caused by key
and lock, that one that stops
others from coming in and making
for ruin.

May you be that first sip of  ‘the
most civilised thing in the world’, as
Hemmingway put it, and let it ignite
a dance below.

May you not judge the mixture
of my grape and grain, and my love
for walking in the rain and my waiting for 
ex-girlfriends every time they call.

May you always let me bed down
in that manger in the snug, though
Steve doesn’t know I borrowed his
blanket rug.

May you forever toast that bread
at midnight, just before bed.

Yours faithfully,
The Cold. 

Dancing Girls & Blind Boys

Raincoat wrapped children

follow double denim dad;

sleeves down for the count,
jeans rolled up to show charity shop, discount socks.

The smallest, a girl, dances

in front of double denim dad creating
a wake of raincoat twirls, sewed in mittens
come loose and join her in her orbit. Her heels 
spin and twist and bend and coil, skating
across the pavement rink throwing up shards of soil
that coat her wet red raincoat.

The brother walks behind, slightly,

grasping on to double denim dad’s hand.
He is blind, using hand as stick
and sound as sight. He hears
the rain and smells the rain and feels
the rain, but never can he see
its beauty, its ripples in ephemeral 
puddles, its cause of numerous traffic troubles,
its heavenly sight after many hours of sunlight.

The trio walk on down the street,

perpetual in length to the boy,
a 90 minute performance to the girl,
the way home to house for the dad.

Fictional Valentines Day Breakup #1

Scribbled in a pre-sex haste
of hormones and awful
music taste,
your name on the back of a receipt
is no way to treat
a one night stand
that you met at the bar;
held hands with in the street;
and subsequently left when
the night became light and neat,
tidied up in a 10am alarm clock

Could’ve waited until
we were both awake,
that way the alcohol would’ve warn off
and we could take this major issue
for what it was-
and much anticipation; and placing into
action every lesson learnt from Nick Hornby books,
or pieces of information tucked
deep within our internet bookmark lists.

At least stay until after
Desert Island Discs
next time,
because then buses shall be running
on time, and you won’t have to risk
the public transport roulette table
that spins around this town,
this great noun in the Anglia east.

Now it's the news, and the news
is you've gone.  For a moment
I slipped back into a sleepy cement,
making for rough fingers-
that last night made the ascent
up to warmer climates.

And now back to lonelier nights
and Nick Hornby books,
afternoon wake-up calls
from Mum, back home,
asking how to download
the latest Google Chrome.

'Sorry, I Left It In A Barcelona Café'

Over staffed and under fed

Spanish waiters
rush around with
waistcoats of wisdom
wearing black shoes
of sordid shift-work soles.

They greet and speak to every new
tourist, and regular, as if a
brother, sister, mother, second-cousin-twice-removed
stepmother, yet really they are:

the ephemeral fodder of the
cheap, low-cost-airline,

the flash and it’s gone spine of most cities
on the map,

the ‘Sorry, I left it in a Barcelona Café, could I get it back on insurance?’
baseball cap, that most sightseer marionettes wear, back to front,

the standing in line, waiting to complain,
tourists that know nothing of decorum.

So the Spanish waiter served me my coffee
and whispered in my ear,
Disfrutar de su día senor’,
that was,
'Enjoy your day Sir’.

Conversing with a Fox on a November Evening - Chandni Singh

The lonely walk with an ache in their step.
They walk soundlessly. Fearful
of having their nightmares retold to them.
November’s fingers edge up my neck as I pad along noiselessly –
a solitary shadow against the ebony sky.

Suddenly I stop. You stand transfixed in your tracks –
a fox as lonely as me.
Your orange fur bleeds colour into the night. Your ears twitch –
friend or foe? They seem to question.
Your nose, pointed and whiskered, is moist with anticipation.
I smile at your black feet – black –
the colour of stealth.   

We stand awhile, watching our loneliness
mirrored in each other’s stance. We linger
in the uncertain warmth of our unexpected rendezvous
And for a moment,
 we, strangers on this solitary night,
are not so lonely.

The moment swells and bursts.
I watch as you slip away quietly into your darkness
And I into mine. 

- - -

Chandni Singh is an environmentalist. She is currently doing her PhD in rural livelihoods in the UK. She likes taking long walks and writing in her journal and has published her work in Reading Hour, The Rusty Nail, Red River Review, The Taj Mahal Review, Coldnoon and others. She writes regularly for Helter Skelter and on her personal blog

Architect’s Floor Plan: A Visit To The Deceased

It’s been 5 months
since I walked his grid, they're
precise measurements now
polished, so not to skid.

Past the shop selling grapes
in bags, bunches split apart
for profits sake, when
really it's all a mistake-
as the person they’re intended for
will slowly slip away for sure.

Gangplank corridor, a bridge
across the restaurant. Through
double door vending machine island,
cups of tea- only a fiver.

Haematology is down there
in that extension,
but first the window walk-
double glazing, heat protection

The architect’s rounded bays to
either side bubble up and out
from the courtyards below. Death
waves from every window, but
curtains drawn so not to show
why, what, who or how.

We wait to be let in the ward;
treading ground so not to drown,
nervous carol singers waiting
to see what audience shall applaud,
airport carousel baggage claim for
luggage from abroad-

“Room 4 on the left” nurse
1 admits, like a lie held
between pale, rose lips.
“Room 4 is open to visitors” both
nurse 2 and 3 say,
but I’m family, I’m here to stay.

Motherly Costume

She was a dancer,

caught off beat
by a neat little stranger lurking
in the body of the womb,
where once she strayed from danger,
within a motherly costume.

After show drinks, stage
& waits in the green room,
were pipe dreams for this
Mum without a groom.
Yet still, and continuing so,
she provides for two girls,
her blonde Monroe's; be that lifts
to school or another
big shop so the nonstop
keeps from turning blue.

But how up North can you keep from the cold,
when constant frost creates the vignette
to the serviette snow out there?
Cheap beans and even cheaper bread
won't make that meal you read and said to be good,
any better than it is.
But a text, fax, pigeon post fast, to your Mum back home
wipes clean these thoughts of being alone
and underfed,
and instead; restores your faith in everything
and anything you may do in the future,
and what you said-

to me once on that walk;
will stick with me until we next talk
or, maybe quite possibly, drink
until glasses are empty and
the wine bottles clink.

for the Carters 

When Self Harm Becomes That Train Back Home

You had tracks on your arms
that led to stations
that didn't exist.

Just a list of lines
falling off and around
your wrists.

Open all hour wounds
on forearm forecourt,
that your parents won’t find out about.

Happy faces never hide
humble beginnings
in a house like that.

Who They Were

Tried to decipher
what this couple was
and who they were.

Husband and wife
on an anniversary night?

Girlfriend, boyfriend,
on a first date trend?

Paid woman of the evening,
drinking his cocktails, ignoring his ring?

Well here are the facts,
the things that matter:
she had red hair to match her skirt,
skin coloured boots
(the height of the lights)
that blended in, 
smudged in with
her thin skin-tight tights.

Warmth of A Halogen Bulb

We could tuck ourselves in a crevice,
between a wall
and view the stones
for what they really are.

Let the light loom over us,
shade us from the heat;
The warmth of a halogen bulb
highlighting the street.

And it’s there we’d kiss,
and spark cigarettes,
and forget why we came here,
and let no one in, let alone near,
and we’d have a private joke,
like small font liner notes,
and for that two minutes,
(more work for the coffee mule)
we would overlook the important
stuff, for
that’s what it is,
another 70, at best, years
of toil and fluff.

This tableaux love affair
will be omitted in years to come,
filed under the ‘lusts that resulted in
no fun, that night’ folder
in the great green cabinet of bills,
bills, bills again invoices.         

Small Brunette Proportions

A leer leapt across his face,
it was not a surf smirk
that rolls up from coral cheeks,
but a snide smile that
surprised everyone there.

Coffee shop stopped and halted,
for this man fell to his knees
and asked to wed,
a girlfriend of small brunette proportions,
whom sat next to him
basking in good fortune.

Golden orbit
of metal bound
and knit,
graced her finger, slipped
down the knuckle,
fused to the skin
as every buckle ever worn.

For these two would make it,
sworn to mourn when the other fell.   

Street-Alley December

“I wish that I could see the light,
before you put the blinds down
on the edge of night”

She packed an overnight bag
for her next day flight
back home to somewhere
where climate exists,
another girl from the Tennessee state, kissed.

Appalachian Mountain eyes
with summit mist
smokers eyes,
deep brown pupils
drowning among the whites of her eyes:

it’s the eyes that I remember, as well as our last encounter in street-alley December.

Deep in the Pines and Too Long Till April - Rick Richardson

Down by the creek I walk
solemn feelings of winter’s despair
I long for sunshine and spring's promise
but that will be sometime

No sense in crying as no one is at home
Off to the woods where the body will find peace
If only I could hold on for just a bit more
The feelings come over me again

I go to a place where my thoughts will lie still
No hard questions until they find
My feelings drained like blood on the snow
No one will ever begin to know

Deep in the pines I am oh so close
Decisions made and so that's done
No regrets to speak of now or back then
Well maybe then but....well

The question is what will they say
No matter what it is my fault
If only April was within my reach
No matter now I'm on my way

Come two days or maybe three
They'll know the answer to all that's been
I never claimed to have been fair
I know it's all been in vain......

- - -

Rick Richardson is a professional archaeologist and an unpublished porch dogging poet. Rick grew up in the mountains of Tennessee and currently resides in a small fishing village in coastal North Carolina, USA.  He loves the water, but misses the mountains and snow.  His favorite past time is sitting on the porch with his sweet mutt Daisy, reading something new while listening to and breaking down his favorite musicians.