Beach Town Burning
(Inspired by Kerfe Roig’s 30th Collage – The Star)
In sincere silence a star rises;
we are near a beach town;
a waiter wearing chlorine water
places Malibu on a blue plastic table;
we cheer to the health of the star,
a bairn, every night it is so, naked,
Venus, neonate and at the height
of its glorious youth at the same moment.
The world caves in, swirls,
when you mix jetlag and jeopardy
of realizing a birth of innocence so bright
even from this distance
it questions the weakness of life.
My fragile tongue bootlegs pineapple
from the clear rum. Our conscience
bears the burn of alcohol,
the essence of molasses and the fruits,
pure and bare without the flesh.
Star Prayer – A Sonnet
Goddess of water and star filled heaven
Nurturer of the awakening soul
Guide me in my journey through the seven
Lead me towards wisdom to make me whole
Shower me in the water from your bowl
Cleanse me with every colour of starlight
Show me how to define a new life role
Grant me creative visions that shines bright
Let my passions soar the heavens in flight
Ignite and burn this nest of abuse thorns
Teach me to understand mystical sight
Help me to in hope and faith be reborn
Bless me as my inner fire flame and glow
As stars above reflects soul sparks below
What you put in
Always feed the birds, and put nothing in the ground
that doesn’t feed it too. This was the first half
of your wisdom, and so we bought millet, passed on
by the rows of weedkillers, the ant bait.
I bought you a new pair of gardening gloves
you’d never use, for myself a seed-pack of fireworks
in potentia – explosions of wildflowers fused
to celebrate the green sky of the berm, come spring.
You pinched your lip like you didn’t approve,
but you did that to hide your teeth
when you smiled, too. Any ration of sentiment
you saved like a coupon, clipped only for green things,
for superstitions, for the dead. You’d known
the furrow was laid for months, nodded a greeting
at the piwakawaka who swooped into the greenhouse,
out again, a circle drawn around you and the cinch
no-one saw, tightening in the chest. We thinned
carrots, dibbed out garlic, dead-
headed roses, and I’d tell you everything I knew
about the birds until you’d hide your teeth, your lip
pulled out like a beak. The last thing I told you
was that vultures don’t circle waiting for the final gasp.
How unfair we are, always making it all about us –
what they’re doing is riding on the song
of the sun herself, on the sweet, warm breath
of a basking earth. All she exhales, it carries them up
with no effort. In the glassy thermals they can glide
almost forever without landing.
The second half of your wisdom was this:
If what you put in feeds her well enough,
with a little sun, a little rain, a little air,
she’ll always have your back.
The Death of Dignity
The birds came to this morbid place
because they always did.
Bringing flowers to weave a wreath
to mourn the recent dead.
They crowded round the fresh dug grave
and ruffled weary wings
with no intent to swoop or dive
and silent was their song.
The flowers from impassive beaks
all withered when they fell
upon the earth so dry and cracked
on this sad, blighted, hill.
For here, within this lonely plot,
old Dignity lay dead.
It starved as Avarice grew fat
and Falsehood stalked the land.
Compassion too, had left this life,
replaced by Fear and Hate.
Anger swamped our shores in waves
and Day was quashed by Night.
It was no plague that brought these birds
to Dignity’s sad end.
Just Humanity’s brutal deeds
that put it in the ground.
Don’t weep for Dignity, don’t cry,
for everything we’ve lost.
The birds have flown, our words are clay,
the time for Hope has passed.
Inspired by all three images
Legacy of the Stars
stars burst from before time,
blooming fire-flowers from incandescent seeds
germinating, spawning life
in scallop-shelled births on foam-flecked waves,
there is beauty, truth, in the shimmering blue sea,
and in the reflected light, an endless story
From shadowed depths, fronds and fish, the slithery, slow-crawl–
scale to feather to skin, uncovered to epochs of the sun’s ground-warming,
the little mouse hides,
emerging to gaze at the stars as she gathers red berries–
all around her, winged predators
and two-legged destroyers
who forget ancestry and legacy—
that they were born from fiery blooms,
the winging, swinging, swirls of singing light,
and the expansive, cerulean sea,
where submerged memories rise, sparkling diamonds
to fly on the spindrift of eons–
catch them–if you can.
-Merril D Smith
Emerging naked and perfect I stand before
the unknown, unheard, unopened door.
Soon I reach for the heavens, feet secure on the floor
flying and floating, I swim, build, run and soar.
Imposed limitations of form I simply abhor
don’t tell me I can’t, I’ll simply ignore
your rules and your laws are not without flaw.
As we build and destroy still nature endures
we achieve, learn and evolve to the futures allure.
(inspired by JC30)
We fled from a country
stuck under the thumb of a madman,
sullied by the hateful and the mindless.
Waiting for the nightmare to end
we curled into our cocoon,
as the roots of compassion
were ripped from the earth,
covered in the sludge of self -interest.
We mourned the loss of dignity,
saw it buried
deep under the detritus of greed,
spent weeks in the apartment
watching the world crumble
in the grip of a pandemic,
as America raged against itself
putting human kindness on a back burner,
We held our breath until we could run,
feel clean air in our lungs,
see only green for miles.
We have come home.
Watching from a distance now,
we marvel at the restoration of hope,
new leaders at the helm,
men and women
to resurrect the heart of America.
Earth creeps with tiny things
Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s Legacy, John Law’s Woodmouse , and Kerfe Roig’s The Star.
We tread tiny things unthinking,
our eyes on some unattainable glitter,
or some attainable trash.
Rarely the stars.
Aloof, they won’t be unstuck,
fall into our grasp,
and what cannot be had, counted, traded,
I look at the tiny trembling things
that can’t be grasped and see
a scrap of the universal matter,
a fragment of a star,
light still falling,
millions of years
after its darkening.
End as began – in arcana
Fool – me Star – I look up to
Artemis’ owl wings past
Huītzilōpōchtli’s hummingbird picks
Riches from earth above – so we must be
Somewhere over the rainbow
Zeus’ daughter emerges, ocean and earth proclaim
She brings precious offerings to both domains
Starry hope, liquid dream
Beckon us down shaded porticos
Starbeam and lifedream
A place on the threshold
Ripple and reflection
Star – bringer of illumination
The wisdom to hope
Teach us not to give up
Show us how to flit, to fly,
And make gravity dance us
To wonder’s bidding
End as began – in arcana
Star – guides – me – Fool – so wise.
what do you expect me to say when you suddenly walk into the room looking like
waterfalls split rainbows
the sound of the sea in Aphrodite’s seashell
the rushing of blood in my ears
(inspired by KR30)
Wood Mouse, Or
Long tailed field mouse dignity as it leaps
towards the stars, ears open for silent
wings and sharp claws of owl, fox and cat, keeps
all never in one place at one time, all giant.
Survival a main aim doesn’t have time
to stop and stare, but one sharp star glints more
than its companions, transfixes with shine.
hears brightness speak inside, makes head sore.
The message smells like the freshest spring buds
The message tastes like the juiciest fruit pip.
Not a meal to store in hollowed out wood.
Another star opens, mouse is catnip.
Senses may say it’s too good to be true.
Trust your senses as the best kind of clue
Bios and Links
“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”
likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.
She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.
Her website is: https://www.janecornwell.co.uk/
A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Her poetry and art have been featured online by Right Hand Pointing, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, The song is…, Pure Haiku, Visual Verse, The Light Ekphrastic, Scribe Base, The Zen Space, and The Wild Word, and published in Ella@100, Incandescent Mind, Pea River Journal, Fiction International: Fool, Noctua Review, The Raw Art Review, and several Nature Inspired anthologies. Follow her explorations on her blogs, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/, and see more of her work on her website http://kerferoig.com/
is a poet and writer from Chesterfield whose poetry is heavily influenced by his background in the Derbyshire coalfields – family, mining, politics, and that mix of industry and countryside that so many mining areas had. People can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the pamphlet or visit http://timfellows13.blogspot.com for recent poems
is a writer based in Bangalore, India. His books include the novella Strength Of Water (2019) and the poetry collection Broken Cup (2020). He used to write horror, but now it’s anyone’s guess.
-Anjum Wasim Dar
Born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir,Migrant Pakistani.Educated at St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. MA in English MA in History ( Ancient Indo-Pak Elective) CPE Cert.of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK. -Dip.TEFL AIOU Open Uni. Islamabad Pakistan.Writing poems articles and stories since 1980.Published Poet.Awarded Poet of Merit Bronze Medal 2000 USA .Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant by Profession.Published http://Poet.Author of 3 Adventure Novels (Series) 7 Times Winner NANOWRIMO 2011- 2019.
writes novels, short stories and lots of poems. Among her publications is her first chapbook of poetry, thicker than water. She is also a regular contributor to Visual Verse and the Ekphrastic Review. You can find her on twitter @MJDougherty33 and on her blog https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
RedCat’s love for music and dance sings clearly in The Poet’s Symphony (Raw Earth Ink, 2020). Passion for rhythms and rhymes, syllabic feets and metres. All born out of childhood and adolescence spent reading, singing, dancing and acting.
Her writing spans love, life, mythology, environment, depression and surviving trauma.
Originally from the deep woods, this fiery redhead now makes home in Stockholm, Sweden, where you might normally run into her dancing the night away in one of the city’s techno clubs.
Read more at redcat.wordpress.com
-Merril D Smith
is a historian and poet. She lives in southern New Jersey, where she is inspired by her walks along the Delaware River. She’s the author of several books on history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fevers of the Mind.
By day Tony climbs the greasy pole of clinical hierarchy. Not yet at the top but high enough to feel the pole sway and have his grip challenged by the envious wind of achievement. Looking down on the pates and gazes of his own history, at times he feels dizzy with lonely pride. By night he takes solace, swapping scalpel for scripts and begins his training and climbing again, in the creative world of writing. His writing is an attempt to unify the twenty-four hours. @surgicalscribe seeks to connect the clinical and creative arts of surgery, science and writing. Hoping to do for medicine and surgery through creative writing what Prof Cox has done for physics with television.
So, he practices his art.
is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa. His work has been widely published internationally, in print and online, and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine. You’ll find him and a lot of sea photography on Twitter @SeaGoatScreams or on Facebook @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry.
lives and works in Edinburgh, where running clears his head and creates space for ideas. He publishes short stories and poems on www.simonsalento.com
Paul is a shop assistant, who lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His first play was performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions and his family history articles have appeared in The Liverpool Family History magazine.