Archive for June 2014

How To Build A Shoe Rack

Conference centre shined black brogues
line your top shelf, they've listened into
business banking presentations led
by the TED talk talker,
the public speaker who took more time
out of his day worrying about pronunciation
and getting the audience involved with jokes stolen from his father rather
than learning about the financial model moulds
that'll make up the quarter.

Next to them is a pair of two-step
Blackpool ballroom shoes worn by your grandfather
years ago, so long ago in fact that you can't remember
him in them or shining them, only the pictures in the albums above the fireplace
can remember them; plastic photos in plastic wallets
bound in faux leather and bought from Boots
when they had a spend-a-tenner-get-500-free-points offer on.

Broken-in winter plimsolls
for the garden and trips to Tesco
gather on the next shelf down. Originally white,
now a faded shade of green, grit and gravel
thrown on when the school run comes around all too early at 5-to-3,
sit tied up ready for their duties as
driver, carer,
councillor and parent.

Your weekend away slip-on shoes
that support the heels, not bruise them,
are waiting to worn again.
The last time they saw a city
was your honeymoon in Manchester;
a cheap weekend away because you're saving for a
deposit you'll never build, yet the amount of meals out
and cocktail bar receipts you were billed but never paid
say a different story: they say you enjoyed yourself.

Fourth shelf down and we're getting to The 
Road Not Taken shoes:
the walking boots wrapped in mud,
coated in silver Malham limestone
that have grown into crystals
and fists full of weight that's now weighing down
tired ankles and sore, shattered shins.

But the shoes you wear most don't
have an assigned shelf, instead just the floor
for them where they're in constant flux. They don’t look
bad but they don't look new,
the heel's worn down from
where you drag your feet through
and around the house and from
when the rain came late last summer and the sleet,
from when the sun came through and the clouds
ran through, from when the family came to visit and
then when the door got locked for a night under 
sweet blanket cover.

Moth Upside Down on the Ceiling - Donal Mahoney

Moth Upside Down on the Ceiling - Donal Mahoney

This black moth
flew in the front door
of the living room  
the other night 
and has been up 
on the ceiling
ever since.
It's hanging 
upside down
in the same spot
not moving

like a drone waiting 
for instructions.  
I'm in my recliner 
this morning
drinking coffee 
and watching him.
He's an immigrant 
from the light
that shines all night
on the front porch
letting burglars know

I have an AK-47  
should they decide
to drop in.
The last few nights
I've noticed other moths 
fluttering around the light 
perhaps wondering where 
this moth is. 
In his current fix, 
he too may be wondering
how they're doing.

When I was a boy,
there was a protocol
in my family when 
a moth commandeered  
the parlor ceiling.
My father would swing
the fly swatter
and flatten the intruder 
with one splat.

The last three mornings
I haven't seen this moth move.
I wouldn't kill him
even if I had a swatter. 
But if he were 
an inconvenience,  
like an unintended fetus
found in a womb, 
I still wouldn't do anything. 
We have people trained
to take care of that
and like my father 
they know what
they're doing.

- - -

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at

Post Match Report: England Vs. Uruguay

Post Match Report: England Vs. Uruguay

We're not on the terraces
nor in Rio de Janeiro seats,
but on the two-seater-sofa somewhere
in Yorkshire and Rooney equalisers
to draw
one - one.

The Uruguay guys are in blue
can’t believe it,
England and their supporters can’t believe it,
and Mum from Yorkshire is screaming blue
murder and she can’t believe it;
Townsend is safe with his job though,
the commentary to my right is less than
comprehensive, stock phrases
of kick it forward echo through the halls on repeat
as the ITV feet in the commentary box
stamp on concrete, the crowds
wave arms of Mexican proportions,
pint glasses are raised wanting more football
and Uruguay have
Suárez 'round the back in complete control.

Coyote In The Cold - Jim Cunningham

you did not skitter
onto the asphalt
what kept you at the fence,
what told you to turn around?

you scampered back
to the fallow fields
long before my killing machine rolled by,
but you kept an eye, on me,
ears perked up as well, listening
to the harried hum of my motor,
dulled white noise to me, yet a roaring
coded symphony to you, punctuated by birdsong,
ghostly voices in the gray wind, and perhaps
the languid liquid thump of your own heart   

what kept you from the road
what drove you back to your plaintive plains? 
things I will never see, nor hear 
even as my own heart beats wildly
at the sacred sight of you

- - -

Jim Cunningham is a Texan poet, stranded on the prairies of the USA. He lives in the wily world of words most days. I Kissed Vivien Leigh was a previous work posted at Coffee Shop Poems.

Equation - JD DeHart

We are, life is
not the simple equation
it used to be, even though
I am aware
that the pattern some people
show off is not the truth
(there are variables, orders
of operations – dare I say,
we only see a fraction)
but that does not end
the tabulations, or the love
of numbers.

- - -

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His work has appeared in Eye On Life Magazine, Eunoia Review, and The Commonline Journal, among other publications.

Malaise - Sreyash Sarkar

"Our indiscretion sometimes serve us well, when our dear plots do pall..."- Hamlet, 5.2.7, Shakespeare.

'The dawn has descended upon us', said the Elder ,
Let us hurry, or be hunted
Let us conjecture, or be battered
Let us herald, or be outwitted.."
The little girl, inebriated in the beauty of the words,
Is lost in an ineluctable void
Not a dream, not a nightmare..
The panoply of the setting sun
A Subliminal enticement
An Enervate mind
The poke, the stirring
The unavoidable voice from within..

The lost one is lost again
The discovered one is extinct
The unfathomable is ethereal
Out came the menorah
Of realization
Not a dream, not a nightmare..
The harlot smiled;
The moonstruck man laughed
The ineligible bride rejoiced
And the enlightened, jocund
Not a dream, not a nightmare..

The girl stood.
A jiffy, jeopardized with happiness..
Blossomed and faded
Blossomed and faded
Enshrined and faded
Captured and faded
Faded and faded..
Blasé. Blemished.
Not a dream, not a nightmare... 

- - -

Sreyash Sarkar is a poet and a practicing Hindustani Classical musician, an aspiring Electrical Engineer and has been a student correspondent at The Statesman, Kolkata from his school, South Point. His poems have been published in The Gooseberry Bushes, Muses, The Literary Jewels, Tagore for us, The Country Cake-Stall, The Orange Orchard, and as an interviewee in the The Arty Legume, where he was asked to speak on cubism, existentialism in art and intrusion in a painting. Besides, being a freelance writer for several magazines, he is the editor-in-chief of Kalomer Kalomishak, a bilingual magazine, which he founded in 2013.

At Last - Deborah Wong

Paper cut on a middle finger,
Licks it like hurricane Venus,
If this picture is so perfect,
then why did you say farewell?
Am I not the sole survivor?
Linger in between the throwing dices
Afraid that we may not pull over
the façade that mesmerises strumming
pain. Staring ahead for the tunnel
Filled with tomorrow at the end of
the line. Give me what’s meant to be
necessary, instead of fulfilling every
wish I’ve ever desired. Closing the
nearest oasis from supplying the pool
of my lasting pleasure.

I feel the ocean of embrace cascading
from one, that; whom hasn’t shown
along the skittish run. Deciphering each
breath you’re committing. I call no heaven
on earth when you’re creating hell – broke
loose – throwing me into stormy weather.
But I’m not made of cookie bricks. Wouldn’t
I stand before you not understanding who and
What I was motivated for. It’s hard to forgive,
Hence I wipe my tears, cultivating positivism –

at last.

- - -

Deborah Wong lives in Kuala Lumpur. Her poems have recently appeared in Eastlit, Vox Poetica and Banana Writers, and forthcoming by The Tower Journal. She often tweets at @PetiteDeborah.

bright spot of the Hibiscus flower - Michael Brown

Sinabung coughs sulphur
asthma lungs empty charcoal pits 
cracked coal clumps choke

this sudden red hand 
a delicate flower clings to colour
in a grey covered world 

your petals bleed aniseed 
like a bloody hand
in a dirty puddle 

tracing paper flower
crumbles in my hand
leaving bloody fingerprints

a bright red crimson kiss
floats above a sea of lava 
could fall into volcano mouth 

like a final heartbeat 
in a decaying grey body
a bright spot Hibiscus flower

- - -

Michael Brown was born in Manchester in 1983. These poems are from his second collection cutting butterflies with scissors (Wilkinson House) and The Exhibit (Silverwood books) his third collection which he will complete this summer at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. He was recently published in The best of Manchester poets Volume 3 (Puppy wolf) and is short-listed for the Barbara Bursford Award 2014. He currently lives in Cambridge and teaches English as a foreign language.

12:47 To Kings Cross

This is whilst the front four
carriages uncoupled from the back three.

She was French,
white blazer and jeans,
sensible footwear for this the first summer month.
Her makeup was made up of subtle tones of
and from her hold-all she hauled up a list of her connections:
a plotted grid of directions that were void of the platform numbers she needed:
Ely to Cambridge,
Cambridge to Kings Cross,
St Pancras to Paris,
her roof for the evening was in the 16th.
It’ll be a rush across town using her prepaid
metro ticket printed on borrowed white A4,
borders a UCLA blue with red embellishments,
and stapled to this mass of documentation?
a printed-off Google map with directions to an apartment block
with a streetview screengrab so she'd recognise it quickly
when the lingering Parisian night turned into a
lowlight streetlamp promenade for the tired
and far from real home.

She wanted to know if the 12:35 for Kings Lynn was her 12:47 to Kings Cross.
I was ready to reply with accurate grade C French,
telling her what was in my suitcase, pencil case,
what I wanted to be when I was older, and what the weather was going to be like tomorrow,
but there was no need,
I said she'd the wrong platform in perfect English,
pointed across the way to platform 8
and wished her a safe journey and a good day.
She said nothing,
just looked at me with French one shot
coffee eyes, her lipstick the faded
red you see on cigarette butts on nights out
and she smiled an au revoir.

If I didn't have work the next day
I would've asked her if I could join the journey,
talk nervous nonsense between stations,
talk nervous nonsense in our limited half cooked communications,
just talk nervous,
but Paris is only feasible after the night shifts have been
completed, maybe when I've done with work
and the pay is in then I'll traipse the 16th looking for
the lost Parisian woman who thought my 
12:35 to Kings Lynn was her 12:47 home.

Trumpington Park and Ride

Carbon date the bones.
Count the rings inside the trunk.
August abs are out and the summer sleeves are rolled up
and the woman in front of me is middle aged,
her forearm tattoo is a faded shade of blue;
the wolf’s head is a cast of Carolina,
its whiskers that stretch round and back around
are a UCLA shade that have caught the sun every time her forearms were out:
she's in the queue for the bus that'll take her to the park and ride and from there who knows where.

No Number or Address

She's dancing in the Paris subway system:
metro steps on third-rail lines with the
glint of blue exit signs raining in her
peripheries, puddling with the chipped sclera
whites that flood into lakes of mascara-black-
regrets made when boyfriends left with no
number or address to their name.

She's another single number in
a city of 20; golden ratio
arrondissements that spiral out
from tall city tourist traps into
commuter nightmare, 2 bedroom
apartments built into forever town houses
that stretch back into courtyard barbeques
that burn in Linklater films late into
the night.

An Empathetic Afternoon In The Ghetto - David Christopher Sequeira

Sublime strains of Bach
stir up the languorous ether.
Happy sounds of tinkering
in the kitchen,
and exotic aromas
of a simmering curry
waft down the gallery.
A distant guffaw of laughter
warms the frigid afternoon.
A lukewarm breeze
ruffles the martyred brown leaves
of the balding trees,
trying its best to thaw
the icy day.

An arrogant cat,
shag-pile of ginger-orange fur
soaks in the sun
ensconced on the bleached
skeleton of what was once a wall,
like a monstrous patch of
bristling mutant fungus.
The lemony tinkle of
an invisible bovine bell
rends the otherwise funerary
gloom of the afternoon.

In the rising grey-white
eddies of smoke
emanating from an incense-stick
lanced by the
lethargic sunlight,
I see The Universe at play.

A lazy eagle,
floating unsullied
miles above, sneers at
the raging rivers of
human triviality.

An infant babbles
quietly to himself,
rapt, as he constructs
cockeyed rainbow tenements
with an assortment
of building blocks.
His pudgy hands clumsily
laying the final touches
to his modernistic masterpiece.
He stares at it for a while
proudly, transfixed,
his eyes glinting
a cocktail of rapture, innocence
and rampant mischief,
before razing them
with his bright red fire truck.
Chuckling dementedly
the miniature demigod
turns his attention
to another corner
of his little kingdom.

His saggy hag of a grandmother,
lost somewhere in the
subterranean recesses
of her senile mind,
automaton swatting at
airborne critters
that dare violate her airspace,
watches the spectacle
with an air of resignation
and bored detachment.

Her drunk haggard husband
lying wasted on a
decrepit charpoy,
spills onto the earth below,
his snores reminiscent of
an asthmatic tractor in distant fields.
He is miraculously revived
as a nubile girl
flounces by,
the exaggerated gait
set his blood flowing.
He studies her
retreating rotund derriere,
bloodshot myopic jaundiced eyes
savouring the spectacle
with the air of a connoisseur,
slack-jawed, chewing a cud
that doesn't exist.

A forlorn beggar,
eyes vacant,
bedecked in sulfurous rags,
caked with excreta
pelts invisible phantoms
with imaginary pebbles
for a while,
before wearing down
his personal Goliath
with his dogged resilience
emasculating him
with the dagger he had
hidden somewhere up
his cloak.

A lame horse
stumbles past in a stupor
on his way to
nowhere in particular.
His eyes liquid orbs of
molten pain,
frothing at the mouth,
stoically praying for a
quick end to his misery.
His mind wanders to tales
that his mother narrated to him
eons ago,
tales of glittering
heavenly pastures,
crystal brooks of water
and a harem of lubricious mares
to pander to his needs.

A grove of Eucalyptus
shimmers sensuously
in the distance,
evoking a tidal wave of
bitter-sweet nostalgia.
The gong-bell of
a deja-vu
clamours silently
in my skull cavern.

- - -

A devout student of the Culinary Arts, David Christopher Sequeira has dabbled in Mathematics and Economics before identifying his culinary calling. He has been nurturing a gentle affair with his guitar for the last 4 years now. He currently resides in New Delhi and occupies a room on the roof overlooking a small overgrown jungle of sorts.