TWO POEMS by Andrew Davis

EVE

I stole some fruit
that wasn’t mine to take.
Nobody actually knows
what fruit it was,
but let’s say it was an apple
so we have a picture for our scene.

I stole it because,
yet to taste knowledge,
I didn’t know any better.
It was bitter, not yet ripe.
The skin stuck
between the spaces in my teeth.

Voices shouted inside me,
screamed rebellion
against my God, my husband.
Knowledge is dangerous.
Not to those who learn,
but to those who hoard its fruits.


THEFT

Happiness doesn’t always come easily
But sometimes, I’ll steal its clothes
Try them on for size
Wonder why they don’t quite fit


Andrew Davis is a writer based in Cardiff. He writes a mix of prose and poetry, which has been published in anthologies and online journals by independent publishers including Black Pear Press, Fictive Dream and Abergavenny Small Press.

THREE POEMS by Helen Bowie

Content warning: Some poems in this feature are not safe for work (NSFW).

BOUDOIR BLOODHOUND

An undergarment
A frisson trinket
Boudoir bloodhound
Pillarbox red
Viewed through the lens
Of dead cellos, splurged ends
A costume in decay


A WOMAN’S WORK

Have you ever had a day so bad you get in from work and you say

Darling
I hate my job
so much
that we should have a baby

But you realise

your baby will grow

and one day

they too will need a job

and you cannot do that

to another soul

so you say

Darling
I hate my job
so much
that we must never have a baby


CRUMBLED

You said
After last night
My dick
Is a crumbled ruin
Like a tourist
To the ruins
Of the ancients
I am haunted
A beautiful memory
That cannot be reclaimed
Destroyed
By visitors
From another time

Helen Bowie is a London based performer, podcaster and poet. Helen has a day job at a charity, and no formal artistic training. She forever feels like a charlatan and an interloper. Find her on Twitter @helensulis.

TWO POEMS by Emma Bider

BACK FROM THE FIELD

When he returns to the party
the dim, silken air sounds new.

Whispers in the ear
imperceptibly altered,

vividly assembling
an original offering.

This loss of familiarity
chained him a moment.

Time out of step,
he tunes his thoughts

to the swollen tide of people,
thirsts for a distinct foundation,

a tether the habitual alone
can bestow,

he shivers with an alien pleasure.


WHAT WE DID NOT HEAR

The static coming from the walls
a sheet of sound,

and those subtle changes in it,
like the background noise of public fountains

the sounds of coins,
pigeons roosting, the aspirational splashing
of commuters on a hot day.

If I listen close enough to my office
I hear snow or some form of snow,

or fall leaves in a gust of wind,
leaving stamps on pathways,
after heavy rain.

When I see the hazy yellow fields of heat
I hear air being pushed through vents,

asking if I might be persuaded
to breathe a little louder.


Emma Bider is a writer and PhD student living in Ottawa. She is currently fixated on identifying plants in her neighbourhood. Emma’s collection of short stories We Animals comes out in December 2020. You can follow her on Twitter at @ebider. 

FIVE IN THE MORNING by Aqueb Safwan Jaser

You tell yourself a lot of tales.
When it’s five in the morning.
Sometimes a mosquito buzzes.
But you mistake it with someone’s calling.

In the flashlight, you make pigeons fly.
Your shadow friends are here for a while.
But you’re surprised.
‘Cause you’re only used to goodbyes.

But that’s alright.
Even goodbyes slip the eyes.

The sun is nearly waking.
Your tales will be left unheard.
Probably, because, that’s what you preferred?


Aqueb Safwan Jaser is a Bangladeshi creative writer who appeared in an anthology titled ‘Ten Square:Hundred Word Stories From Bangladesh’, The Elixir Magazine, Revolt Magazine, and The River Bird Magazine. Being a cinephile he also writes for High on Films. Currently, he is pursuing a degree in Marketing while working as a Content Writer. 

THREE POEMS by Willow Feyth

EVERY STORM ENDS

On the gloom soaked days of October, i’ll smell like rain and cigarettes. I’ll light my own, then offer one to the stranger next to me, as we sit just out of the rain’s reach.
I will brush the hand of the starry eyed girl next to me. She will smile politely, and she’ll tell me smoking’s gonna kill me. Her teeth will be white enough for me to see through the mist. But I will still offer to share my umbrella as we walk, and I’ll stand on the outside to shield her from the speeding cars.
We’ll watch the lightning for hours, and I’ll light another cigarette. She will refuse to hold my hand until I put it out, she’ll tell me i’m throwing it all away.
I’ll tell her then, that the storm makes me feel too clean. That the smoke is the only thing to remind me that even the darkest of storms will pass. She’ll roll her eyes, first. But she’ll see the severity behind my eyes when I tell her again. when i tell her i do not feel worthy of the clean slate the storms bring.
I will take her inside as the storm gives up, cover us both in layers of fleece and wool as we steep our tea and light some candles. And i will look directly into those starry eyes, and realize i am still outside, standing in the middle of the storm as the lightning dances to the rhythm of the thunder. The type of disaster that knocks the power out for miles, with a wind so angry it sets the street alive with screaming car alarms.
Only I will be completely out of smokes. There is nothing to hold onto, to wake me from the delight I could never fully feel.
And it will pass, like every storm does. The sun will steal the evidence it ever happened, and the birds will wade in whatever is left.


STORROW DRIVE

I used to be a cautious driver,
Always defensive, prepared for anything.
But lately, people have told me
my driving scares them,
that I go too fast, brake too hard.
“You drive like you’re ready to die.”
I am starting to see the truth in that.

It started when I met her,
I was able to loosen my grip on the wheel,
let up on my brake,
drive a little faster, with a lot less intent
to keep myself safe.
Because she made me feel safe, regardless.

I was on my way to see her,
We had plans to get tattooed,
And spend the day together
After an exhausting time apart.

I drove into the city,
Felt my pedal hit the floor for the first time.
But I got distracted,
Or the city got too loud,
And I popped my tire in the middle of Storrow Drive.

Sometimes I keep myself up at night,
Wondering what would have happened if
I’d made it to her, if
Maybe we’d still be able to look
Each other in the eye without flinching.

I called her from the curb,
Told her we’d reschedule between the cries of stress.
She just said she was on her way.

And I thought she was joking,
That she thought I’d chuckle through the pain,
Until I watched her scale the chainlink,
And dance her way to my side,
Placing herself gently next to my empty body,
And my shell of a vehicle.
And she held my hand
while we waited for rescue
Shielding each other from the bitter wind,
And the passing cars on the side of Storrow Drive.

Before that day,
I had told myself I was not ready
To fall in love with someone
I felt as though I could not have.
Until that day, I wanted to be cold,
To trace the constellations of my goosebumps,
And laugh at those in love.

Maybe it was her southern sunshine,
The smile she wore when she looked at me,
But I was ready to get behind the wheel,
To floor it and keep going,
Because I knew she’d keep me safe.

But I am still a bad driver,
My techniques tend to scare people,
And it was never her fault when I lost control,
Sending us both into wreckage,
Totaling whatever we had left of us.

This time, I watched her walk away from the car,
The car I crashed,
Still on fire,
While I waited for rescue, alone,
Stuck on the side of the road,
Remembering the night on Storrow Drive.


HOUSEFIRE

My mother is Christine Alicia Medeiros, a name given to her when she was rescued from a home that had no love in their living room. Whether it was swept under the rug, or buried underneath the foundation is unclear, but she was able to scrape enough love together to take with her.


As someone who has been raised in a single parent household, I have a tendency to want to protect my mother. All I wanted was to be the electric fence, a warning for anyone trying to break in.


My mother is 4’11 on a good day, though she swears she’s five feet. And she swears she could beat you up, if she had to. It is difficult to take her seriously when you have to look down to see her, but she is so much more than her height. She has a heart so big, she might as well be ten stories tall.
My mother built me a house from her love, gave me all of her warmth to compensate for the draft from my father. She’d sit with me for hours, answering every question I had for her. Questions like, “Mama, why is the sky blue?” “Mama, why are you so sad?” “Mom, why is there so much wrong with me?” “Mom, why can’t I love myself as much as you love me?”


We thought things would get easier as I got older. But instead of moving out, our rooms got smaller, like the love i had for myself.


And that love turned into:
Concern my mother had for me; therapy sessions; a diagnosis; broken windows; power outages: and eventually my mother’s broken heart.
To my mother, my illness was house fire, and she couldn’t find the carbon monoxide on time. all she could do was watch me burn. She did not take cover. She sat, right with me, trying to hold my walls together, trying to keep the flames from taking me down, but she only burned her hands in the process.


My mother tells me she’s sorry she couldn’t stop the roof from caving in. That she couldn’t make her steel beam arms stretch tall enough to hold me up. and the feeling is the same one I get on a rollercoaster, right before the big drop. My stomach rises into my chest, and just sits there. Like I can feel my own demolition in slow motion. To hear her tell me she does not see everything she’s done for me as more than enough, feels more like crumbling than a diagnosis does.


My mother reminds me that my illness does not correlate to the amount of love she has for me. She loves me because she does not want me having to dig for it, the same way she had to. Does not want me to feel like a condemned building. She did not bury her love under an unstable foundation, did not sweep it under a fraying rug. Instead it sits, already opened, on my porch steps.


My mother is Christine Alicia Medeiros. She is 4’11, and she will beat you up if she has to. But she will love you until your ribs hurt, until your heart swells, even if you have to tell her you cannot love yourself. Even if the roof has fallen in, and your floors have splintered. My mother will be your construction crew. No one deserves to be condemned. You do not have to rebuild yourself alone.


Willow Feyth has a spoken word album, Brain Sick, that can be found on Spotify. They also have a podcast, Title Pending Podcast, that can be found on Spotify.

TWO POEMS by Olivia Davis

CHAI

You would make me chai
In the mornings
Mixing whatever spice you felt like
To reflect the complexity
Yet the beauty
Of you
While the sun is rising
As the birds chirp a beautiful symphony

Maybe,
You will make pancakes
They were never your favourite
But you’d make them for me
If you felt like it
Then you would lie with me for a little
Longer

Just to forget
That this was just a dream
or
That we were slowly dying
With time
And this was the only way
You could make up for it


MY HAPPY ENDING

You live your life by morales
What’s wrong or right
In your brain
Yet I am a prisoner trapped in this box called your home

I blast music in my ears
In hope for the ringing to overpower the empty sounds of this box I am in
Perhaps I wouldn’t have to hear all this noise

The voices
Telling me I can’t do anything
I am wrong because I am a woman
I’m just a girl screaming for nothing
I won’t amount to the talent you so desperately envy
I contradict your every move
And yet you worry that I’ll hurt your feelings

Darling
I was not born to bow down to your feet
I was born out of the many fires
My mother,
Girlfriend,
Ancestors.

I was born to destroy your every being
You are not afraid of me
You are afraid of the ego
I was destined to destroy


Olivia started to write poetry in middle school and prides herself on growing, her poems reflect heartbreak, love, stories, memories that we either want or would rather not remember. She views her poems as movies in her head, carefully crafted pieces to push boundaries of thinking and thoughtfulness. Each piece is intentional towards a story and everything holds a sense of purpose. They are meant to find pieces of yourself to make readers try and see the bigger picture. As of now she is in high school and continues to find loving experiences to hold onto and to cherish.

TOUCHÉ by Kath G

When my teacher

pointed out how the dot 

drawn on the board was not

just about the blot of ink but also

the whiteness of its background,  

I learned how emptiness also fills in

spaces, like how a can is not empty

but filled with air. Forgetting is not

a vanishing. So how could you

just have left, thinking that

you wouldn’t be missed


Kath is an emerging Filipina writer. She dreads and cherishes the ephemeral through writing. You can follow her on twitter: @KathG_writes.

TODAY, TONIGHT, NOW by Rida Akhtar Ghumman

Today, tonight, now

I have realized-

While it’s still hurting

With these dexterously morbid August rains

And no electricity

But the thunder and fright –

That I have grown beyond you

Our love is of the past now

Lost tenses of the Campus rains

Lost sips of the forgotten teas

Loss, utter nonsense and loss of it all.

Swiftly outgrown ideas

Of fiscally urgent romance and glances of gloom

The love of doom,

Doomed love,

You and I,

We are a past sense not important for the books

A tense never reverberated

In nothing at all

Just pain, at ease,

From times gone.


Rida Akhtar Ghumman is a post-grad student of English Literature. She can be reached on Twitter and Instagram at @RidaAkhtar_

FOUR POEMS by Kevin Bonfield

WEAR RED AND RISE AGAIN

drop that now

who is really our friend?

why not cheer? 

and chant? and thump our chests?

to the rhythm of

the change that never happened?



and if change is 

going to happen

let’s grab our comfort

jackets and head for 

the door, out into something

better than this



gather pencils and 

ring topped notelets

drink. If you must.

but mean every word

just as it is written

it could be the time



the spirit of nineteen ninety

seven but without

turning. without that tearful

hangover. with truth.

and take down the

tricksters of this cult



thump our chests once

more and sit or stand

but be you for you, for them 

for us. we’ll pull off

the veil. who is right?

who is wrong? tell them.

tell them that this is wrong.

wear red and rise again.


FUEL FOR HIS FURY

it goes like this

you peddle the fuel 

for his fury, his two faced liquid line

the courage that

now is his time

to question his reasons

for staying the distance

he earns in the dirt and 

you take his dirty money

to keep yourself from hunger

and nurse him through 

the warning bell

you’ve stoked and 

created these spats and accusations

hoping the target doesn’t bite



it goes like this 

you take both sides

or Three or more

as his wife begs you

to save their youngest

pair from the circling

vultures who see the

broken doors, the black

eyes and swollen knees

the shoes too tight and

lunches missing

holes where there

used to be elbows

all because he 

was lured in by the

seduction of distraction

and the distraction 

of seduction



and you



yes you 

  peddled the fuel for his fury


10

update

like a life unbound to time

climbing

numbers don’t mean a thing

wrongs made wrong by price



liars

and quiet. yet loud believers

daily

numbers and divisive crying

black words inside the machine



if your loved 

one becomes one of the 10

it’s not alright

they’ll tell you

it was pre existing 


A THOUSAND TACKS

red like Liverpool 

not red top like (the) sun

not read – like not

enough of my words

are



strong like fingers

slowly dragged through

hair too short to notice

strong like the laces

of my boots



alive like tiny green

shoots, delaying their

assault on timber.

baby snakes plotting

their escape



grains and knots

of logs in season

soft baskets keep 

them snug and pretty

as a winter like

no other taps the window



pain. Not like nails in 

timber, but constant

like 

thousand 

tacks


Kevin is a rather private writer. Inspired by a rather disjointed past, a beautiful present and a hopeful future. His writing has appeared in Neuro Logical as well as his own occasional blog kevinrunsblog.com

Tweets https://twitter.com/bonfield_kevin

A POEM BY BETH M.

You act like I’ll burn you as soon as you touch me
But babe, I haven’t set myself on fire in years.
I’m cold and hard and would most likely melt
If you’d let your skin meet mine.

Never thought I’d be in this place again.
Never thought I’d be this girl again.
But I like it.
But I want it.

You keep saying you’re dangerous,
So dangerous,
Forgetting that we’re both standing on the same ledge.
I may not have handed out very many scars
But darling, I’m dangerous too.

There’s something between us
And we’re both revved up like race cars
Waiting for the light to turn green.
There’s something between us
And we both sit alone
Each on the wrong side of the confessional screen.


From Virginia, Beth has been writing as long as she has known how to read. She enjoys poetry of all sorts, but her own writings focus mainly on love and loss. You can find her on Twitter @hiverhuit