-Anjum Wasim Dar – Drink
-Gaynor Kane – GK23 Mussenden Temple in photography crystal ball
-John Phandal Law
These dark days (AWD23)
These dark days
I see no beacon on the rocky shore
no light at tunnels’ end
beneath the fields
forced with crops
the soil is silent.
I see the glass half-empty
where the wind whistles no turnstones
the only flood is blood
and in this tormented sky
of cold cloud cross-hatched with rain
where are the swallows?
23. [Drink AWD23]
Ghost goblet somewhere out of sight floating like a thirst close my eyes to taste you don’t know might you kill me might you soothe this knap of velvet brushed against rasp of a serrated blade might you be here a ghost of all I drink upon and yet when I place you to the lips of my heart two becoming the the same thing they always were drink and spit drink
to AWD 23 Drink
She said No to an open marriage,
so he opened the bottle. Stopped talking
no matter how hard she tried to get
Hello! How was your day?
He started with coffee.
Lots of sugar and cream. Just sat
around all day. By the time she arrived home,
he’d had a few beers.
How’s everything? You OK? She’d ask.
One day, he replied. Called her outside.
Ordered her to move the air conditioner.
I can’t move that thing! She said.
Move it, dammit! Move it, you bitch!
Another time, his drunken bullying forced her
to turn onto an interstate no-exit ramp
into oncoming traffic.
He told the counselor
that the problem with the marriage
was that she talked
Yes, she did. Called her mom,
her sisters, anyone who’d listen
and just cry and cry –
until one day, she said, Leave!
Take your beers. Your cigarettes.
Your abuse. This is my house!
You can no longer harm me!
Let’s toast to that!
Wine transports you to places
seen and unseen. The castles
of the Rhine, the banks of the Loire,
the hills of Spain, the broad plains
Sun. Rain. Vine. Grape.
Fermenting and aging in cellars.
Waiting for the turn of cap or cork,
the sound of pouring liquid.
The swirl of the glass.
Memories and wishes.
The wreck of the Moskva becomes Kintsugi for a moment
when it is declared a UNESCO site of Cultural Heritage for Ukraine
Whenever we’d pass salvage yards, she’d
say: Who’s going to tidy this mess up? When
it’s done, and the thing-crushers, breakers
and compactors have shut down – mangled chunks
of this, shattered shards of that, splinters of lives
or treasures hoarded in hope – who will put
the fractured chunks together again, pick up
the last screw stuck in mud to make
things neat? Can you mend the disembodied
or is your best hope mosaic?
The sun hides its face
From the ruins on the cliff
No one cares
Carrie Ann Golden
Inspired by AWD23 and JPL23
Yes, existence may seem too complicated
Too multi-faceted – more ways of going wrong
But you wouldn’t want a two-dimensional life, let’s
Most knots can be unravelled given time and
So sit around a table with those you trust
What I can see, said the child (JPL 23)
I see stars, their eyes like triangles
the pillars of gondolas, herringbone
floors, nursery tiles, scraps of flags
spotty dogs, spiral shells, bridges
to heaven, honeycomb cells, flower
stamens, a rising sun, viking shields
yellow brick road, comet dust, roman
mosaics, arrows pointing both ways
After Mussenden Temple GK23
She shows me her a crystal ball
making upside-down images
of things right in front of it
and I feel so lost and confused I cant even…
She says ‘isn’t refraction amazing’
and I say I hate it.
She tries to explain how it works
and I just burn up
/ acid reflux / my primal reflex /
fight or flight / panic attack /
hammer / luddite / fight and flight /
no crystal ball / just broken glass /
She says ‘but I love it’
I tell her ‘it’s the ball or me’.
She shrugs indifferently and says ‘it’s ok’.
Turns out she didn’t see a future for us anyway.
Casandra (Inspired by all three artworks)
No one listens,
my auguries, the dreams
in crystal, upside-down
temples, cities, walls atilt,
a second away from tumbling
into the sea
as they toast from the precipice
at sunset, the sky blood-red
and the wine,
as I tremble, a cup plunges into the sea–
the fish swim on unconcerned–
I see their eyes, their eyes
eyes on eyes
as I fall
in a vision.
But I am a woman, chattel,
a prize of war.
No one listens
-Merril D Smith
Bios And Links
-John Phandal Law
is 68. Lives in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses‘ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids
Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she is a part-time creative, involved in the local arts scene. She writes poetry and is an amateur artist and photographer. In all her creative activities she is looking to capture moments that might otherwise be missed. Discover more at gaynorkane.com
-Anjum Wasim Dar
started drawing at St Anne’s Presentation Convent High School, Rawalpindi.
Drawing was taught as a Core subject from Kindergarten.
Anjum learnt the skill of Still Life, Sketching, Landscape Drawing, Coloring and Shading She recalled the scented wax crayons and black paper sketch books vividly.
Subject of Fine Arts at Intermediate level at Govt.College for Women Rawalpindi, was stopped by the Indo Pak War of 1965. Anjum continued her passion for art privately.
Her job as a Teacher Instructor allowed her to pursue Art work designing and preparing Thematic Bulletin Boards and Low cost teaching Aids with the Fauji Foundation Teacher’s Training Institute Rawalpindi. www.faujifoundation.org.
This won her the National Education Award 1998.
Completing a Course in Graphic Designing at NICON Academy Rawalpindi , Anjum began working as a Digital Artist, On Line, registered her Own Firm CER Creative Education Resources 2004 and is a Member of DRN Drawing Research Network UK and www.bigdraw.org.uk
With her artistic skills she plans and conducts “Environment Awareness Workshops for Children” and is a member of www.unep.org and www.earthday.org
CER Participated in World Environment Day and Earth Day Programs 2011-2013
“Face of Climate Change”
Anjum loves Nature, landscapes and abstract imagery. Works with pencils, crayons and the Software ArtRage 2.0 and MyPaint.
Anjum Wasim Dar’s Art Portfolio can be accessed here:
-Merril D. Smith
lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in several poetry journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow. Her first full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, is forthcoming from Nightingale & Sparrow Press. Twitter: @merril_mds Instagram: mdsmithnj Website/blog: merrildsmith.com
work appears in various online and print publications. She earned both third place and honorary mention for two poems in Well Versed 2021. She is currently writing her first poetry collection about her relationship with her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. From that memoir collection, her poem “Marie Kindo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks” was voted Spillwords Publication of the Month of January and February 2022. Barbara was also voted Spillwords Author of the Month of October 2021 and recognized as a Spillwords Socialite of the Year in 2021. You can follow her on WordPress at https://www.extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog.
is a teacher and writer. She was shortlisted for Love Reading UK’s 2022 Very Short Story Award. Featured flash can be found in The Broken Spine, FullHouseLitMag and RoiFaineant. Kathryn O’Driscoll selected her poem Empty for Full House’s 2021 mental health live reading and forthcoming podcast. Brian Moses, The Dirigible Balloon and Parakeet Magazine have published some of her writing for children.
-Lynne Jensen Lampe
has poems in or forthcoming from Figure 1, Olney Magazine, Yemassee, Moist Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Also to come is her chapbook Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) about mothers, daughters, and mental illness. She was a 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize finalist. Born in Newfoundland and raised in the Deep South, she lives in mid-Missouri where she edits academic books and journals. Visit her at https://lynnejensenlampe.com. Twitter: @LJensenLampe.
is London-born, but is now based in Oxford. He has two books published: Sabrina Bridge, a poetry collection, from Black Pear Press (2017), and The Knotsman, a collection of verse, rhyme, prose and poetic monologue, which tell of the life and times of a C17th cunning-man. Much of his verse comes out of mythology and folklore: encounters with the uncanny and unseen. Also, as words written for Pagan ritual or as praise poems for a multitude of goddesses and gods. He is a trained actor and performs his poems widely.
is an author and poet from Northern Ireland now living in Scotland. She has been published widely including Poetry Scotland, The Blue Nib and Marble Poetry. She loves spending time with her grandchildren, curling up with a good book and champagne or cocktails in no particular order.
is a poet and sailor living in Plymouth. She often writes about loss, rescues and the sea.
Her work has been published in anthologies from Arachne Press, Nine Pens, Quay Words, Slate, snakeskin, and soon by BrokenSpine and Broken Sleep.
Her poetic relationship with sound has been helped by her work as a BBC broadcaster, editing words on screen.
-Carrie Ann Golden
is from the mystical Adirondack Mountains now living on a farmstead in the Red River Valley of North Dakota (USA). She writes dark fiction and poetry. A Deafblind, her work has been published in places such as GFT Press, Doll Hospital Journal, The Hungry Chimera, Asylum Ink, Piker Press, Edify Fiction and others. You can find her on her writing blog as well as Medium and Twitter.
lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two small children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of publications including Ink Sweat & Tears, Chestnut Review, Atrium and The Madrigal. Her first collection, The Colour of Hope, was published in 2020 and she’s currently working on a chapbook of poems about early motherhood.
is a shop asst in a supermarket. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and challenges. 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. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: “Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing”, (JCStudio Press, 2021)