Riggwelter #2

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RIGGWELTER #2 OCTOBER 2017 ed. Amy Kinsman

The following works are copyrighted to their listed authors Š2017. Riggwelter Press is copyrighted to Amy Kinsman Š2017.

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Foreword In Winter, Twenty Years Later Jonathan

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Wild Fireweed Sundown Plato Corrupting Youth

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Ride Of The Insomniacs The Velvet Jacket Problem Figures on the façade of the Appellate Division Court House, Manhattan House Viewing

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Cobra de Capello Aquafit Operation Mexican Pink

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On Independence Day Out To Lunch Miranda 5 Ways Host

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A Testament Nothing Left But Faith Encounter With Truth Via Czesław Miłosz Nowhere Fast

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12th September 2016 The Waller Butterfly There Will Be Tides

35 36 37 38

Apogee Earth Grazers Sunsparkles and Wild Dasies Riggwelter

39 42 43 44

Contributors Acknowledgements

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Difficult second album, eh? Well, no. Precisely the opposite in fact. Editing for me is a lot like assembling an album: picture the editor as the producer at the mixing desk, isolating the vocals, matching each instrument for timing. It’s not their music, of course not. Each song here has its own composer and performer and I am here for technical purposes. If this is Riggwelter’s second album, putting it together has been licking powdered sugar off your lips; mouthing along to your favourite film of your childhood; falling in love again and again and again. There’s a reckless abandon to my editing; a pure delight in the pling of an e-mail notification. I have been constantly at the inbox, itching to keep working and you, dear submitters, have never ceased to fill me with wonderment and joy. These are the pieces that melted into me, just as September melts into October, which will drip like sticky-toffee into November. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. I hope they leave you with something to ponder upon for the next month. Some thankyous before we commence: Thank you to Kate Garrett for her Jedimasterly advise and companionship. Thank you to Brett Evans for having my back. Thank you to my father, Phil Kinsman, for knowing a thing or two about art and photography. Thank you to everyone who has supported Riggwelter online or offline. Thank you to all the returning submitters for making Riggwelter feel like a collective and a home, and to those beginning afresh, may we be a home to you. And thank you to you, our growing readership, without whom this would be a bizarre, fruitless endeavour. This is for all of you.

Amy Kinsman (Founding Editor)


In Winter, Twenty Years Later I can’t recall the sound of your voice, or any words that might have passed between us at the end of that summer. But there was an apple tree along the dirt road made silver with its dust, sun-drunk bees circling its ripening fruit. The air shimmered with the noise of crickets, and you came to me, cradling the first red leaf of autumn in the pink dish of your young hand. Kevin Casey



When you were smaller, you must have assumed that I was omniscient, and yet only this morning I thought of how I don’t hear from you for weeks and then, out of the blue, a text or a five a.m. phone call, warning me that you’re in danger, in hospital in Canberra about to be anaesthetised so they can stop your heart and restart it, or, last week, in a wooden chalet on the shore of Lake Taupo about to be hit by Cyclone Cook and I wanted to write a poem about how I put you at risk the day I didn’t tell the dentist I might be pregnant till after the x ray and the time I should have withdrawn you from the trip to Keswick but I didn’t, just lay, picturing the fallout from Chernobyl travelling on a strong wind towards you. Carole Bromley



It took seconds to make the leap that the naked girl crawling out of the jungle, snarling at the villagers, was raised by monkeys. But when truth flickered they found that her parents, unable or unwilling to care for their child, had abandoned her. And although she was just as aggressive to the monkeys, small wonder that she only bared her teeth at people who got too close. Ben Banyard


Fireweed Grown wild, unclaimed and loose in lanes, he peed higher, spat further, swore louder than any other latchkey street weed. Green acolytes, summoned with strangled banshee howls, drawn to worship as he spoke to us in bloodied tongues for a dare. Envied for knowledge of hidden pathways by the railway, and his dead bat in a matchbox, which some could see for tuppence. Solemnly, we’d gift him our bruised fruit, liberated from the floor of the Saturday market. And though at twelve, his spark burned fierce, it burned short from dying embers; snuffed out in a consumptive breeze, warranting five perfunctory lines of local news and a cheap cremation urn. Jonathan Humble


Sundown Susannah Jordan


Plato Corrupting Youth

While you complain about Plato corrupting youth and blaming it on Socrates, his alter ego, I’m crushing a tiny spider I can’t swear isn’t a tick. Like you I hate to kill things, even the smallest parasite, which I sometimes confuse with the ego you crushed underfoot that evening in the rose garden when the wet petals whispered in tones we’d never heard before and the Sussex fields unrolled acres of impending harvest. Too ripe for us, so we fought in colors that stained so deeply my skin still bears the violet blush. We had fed on each other till sated, but now you deplored my presence, which anchored you to feelings you wished to denounce. Plato would have understood, would have gladly expelled me from his Republic, erasing my spoor by scraping twigs across the sunbaked Attic soil. Yet you worry about his taste in young men, his fear of women, his cross-questioning approach to issues you would illustrate


in watercolor, tempera, oil. You fear he’d expel amateur painters like you, along with the mediocre poets, and replace us with comely boys hardly old enough to stay out after dark, the moon and starlight enflaming the whitest marble to honor dishonorable gods. William Doreski


Ride Of The Insomniacs

The mists hung noiselessly over the expansive grounds of Horse Ridings on this tranquil morn, clearing only about a quarter of a mile from the Great House (Threadbare Hall) itself. All manner of generations of the Hawke family had hung their hat here, some instantly forgettable, some instantly dislikeable, some just gone in an instant like a thief in the night, without so much as a passing goodbye, a fond farewell, or a note of thanks. Most left behind a legacy of ineptitude so ingrained that the ending of the family line after the incumbent Lord Hawke no doubt seemed appropriate. For this Lord Hawke was one of the worst in an unenviable line of clueless rascals. His peccadillos were legendary, his behaviour an embarrassment and his dereliction of any duties woefully masterful. How much longer would the authorities cover for him? Well, until the end, I shouldn’t wonder. Until the end. Lord Hawke had been out for his usual early morning walk around the grounds. His wife had thrown him out of their bedroom last year and he now found he wasn’t sleeping as well as he used to. He had a malicious streak. He liked to know that by sleeping well, his snoring would keep his wife awake. Now their rooms were too far away from each other for his snoring to disturb her. Despite still living under the same, imposing roof, Lord and Lady Hawke were mostly an estranged couple, also, mostly a strange couple. It would have been about 10 a.m. by the time Lord Hawke reached the breakfast room. He looked out of the vast window at nothing in particular and then re-focussed and looked around the room.


“Butler,” he shouted, just as the butler came into the room. “Who are you? Where’s Butler?” Lord Hawke sounded very aggrieved. The butler sighed. “Butler the butler died in 1924, your Lordship.” “What? How?” demanded a confused Lord Hawke. “You shot him.” A light dawned in his Lordships eye. “Right, ah yes, the unfortunate accident. The grouse shooting weekend here. He seemed to walk right out in front of us.” “As I believe the police report confirmed at the time, your Lordship,” the butler smiled grimly. “Ruined the bloody weekend, I can tell you. We had a Cabinet Minister down here that weekend, too. He was not impressed, I can tell you. Remind me of your name, will you.” The Lord said, staring at his butler. “Mulhearn, your Lordship. I’ve been your butler here at Threadbare Hall for 9 years now, since the unfortunate incident with…” “Yes, yes, yes, you don’t have to go on about it, man. Now tell me, how long until her Ladyship will be ready to go into the village? I need to be at The Haunted Poacher before noon.” Lord Hawke was gruff and agitated. “I am reliably informed that her Ladyship has thrown a sickie. She has a migraine and will be remaining in her bed all day.” “Not again, Mulhearn. This is nonsense. What is the matter with the woman? Tell me the–” Mulhearn interrupted. “OK, well you forced it out of me. I didn’t want to say anything but it’s about the dress and undergarments she was going to wear…” Lord Hawke exploded “Yes, yes, what of it, man?”


“You’re wearing them.” There is a pause as Lord Hawke looks down at the female attire he is wearing. “What? Are you trying to tell me in that stumbling way of yours that she doesn’t have another outfit?” Mulhearn bowed slightly. “Apparently, she may have mentioned something about this being the last straw and if she stayed in bed all day, she wouldn’t have to see that ghastly old man.” Lord Hawke stroked his imaginary beard. “Hm, I wonder who she means?” Mulhearn shook his head “Well, on that difficult, not to mention impossible, question, and as you can see from my suitcase here, I feel I should remind you that today is the day I leave your employ in, oh let’s see,” he looks down at his watch, “10 minutes or so. My brother and I have passage on the SS Cheesespreader out of Liverpool and bound for the New World. Our bus leaves Partington Common in half an hour. Look out of the window, your Lordship, you can see my brother on the drive waiting for me with his case there.” “Yes, I had seen him but I thought it was Gardner, the gardener.” Mulhearn’s eyes looked up slightly toward the ceiling. “I believe,” he said through gritted teeth. “That Gardner the gardener left your employ many years ago.” “Oh right, yes.” Lord Hawke mumbled, “Seem to remember the body was never found…” Mulhearn gave a small grin. “Luckily nobody suggested checking the lake in the south field, eh, your Lordship.”


Lord Hawke didn’t seem to be listening but carried on. “…. but I’m sure he was sleeping with her Ladyship. It wasn’t just flowers from the garden he was giving her every morning…” Mulhearn bent down to pick up his suitcase at the exact same time as Lord Hawke asked him, “What’s for breakfast?” “Muesli, your Lordship.” “Don’t be stupid, man. Where is Mrs Cook anyway?” “Mrs Cook, the cook, your Lordship? I seem to remember you telling me she died in the well in the lower field.” “Oh, that’s right,” Lord Hawke suddenly had a recollection of the incident. “You know, it’s funny, but when the police managed to get her body up out of the well, she’d been in there about 5 or 6 weeks and yet she still smelt slightly less disgusting than some of the meals she used to prepare. Especially her pies. I said as much to Inspector Illingworth at the time. Oh, look, your brother is waving at me.” Lord Hawke was by then talking to himself as Mulhearn had left the room and was heading out of Threadbare Hall for the last time, with only the briefest of backward glances, a smile up at his Lordship, and also one for her Ladyship, who was waving and blowing kisses at him from a window further along the top floor of the Hall, towards the east wing. “Let’s get out of here, Tommy,” he said to his brother. “Right you are,” Tommy responded. “Did you bring all the silverware?” “I did indeed. Sure, they’ll miss them soon enough. I suspect the paintings may be missed sooner as the frames left rather obvious marks on the wallpaper. I left the frames in the garage and the paintings are in my case. Out of deference to her


Ladyship, who treated me very well, I left her favourite, “Treasure Bay At Midnight” by Cliff Hanger. It seemed the right thing to do,” Mulhearn expanded wistfully. His brother wasn’t listening. He’d broken into a run and shouted “Bus! Come on.”

Steve Lodge


The Velvet Jacket Problem He tugs it down to hang straight over his white shirt. He smiles. He wants to reach out and help people. He gathers a group of trustees, fundraisers and a hierarchical structure of volunteers to work with people who need help. He sits in his office, watches numbers appear on clean, white paper: larger donations will help more people. He stretches a finger to straighten a curled edge. Then notices the trustees, all in velvet jackets. A photo of the volunteers, all in velvet jackets. Another photo of volunteers with people being helped: all in velvet jackets. Different skin tones, different shirts, some in skirts, but all in an outer layer of velvet jacket. He pats his pockets flat. Shoots his cuffs. Opens a file and scans all the photographs the charity has. It takes all day. He calls a meeting, shares the photos and asks how the velvet jacket problem can be fixed. Everyone shrugs. One picks up a report, indicates the graphs, the upward trends: they are there to help people. They are helping people. They are helping more people year on year so is the velvet jacket problem is actually a problem? Emma Lee


Figures on the faรงade of the Appellate Division Court House, Manhattan Howard Skrill


House Viewing

Slick fellow the agent, like a well-fed rat. Squeaking on about ‘features’, original this, improved that, blah-blah-blah. Couldn’t see anything we owned fitting in here. Too cramped, ceilings too low. Windows too small. Then I remember it’s only I who need a place to live. While this thought is sinking through my mind – my rat unlocks the “glazed doors leading to the garden”. And there are autumn daisies purpling the borders, a pond, a swing, apples reddening the trees “I’ll take it,” I say, before I’ve had a chance to think. Gill McEvoy


Cobra de Capello

On the mullion window sill is a blue glass cobra that gazes on a small world. He hisses each time a car hurtles down Roughtown road, his pose of serenity shaken, his molecules of fine quartz crystals flummoxed as his silent brain becomes chaotic in a bigger world. The blue glass snake listens to a day that wakes again to a blackbird`s gossip, to a jackdaw`s parlay with its very own chimney pot. The snake rustles his coils of translucent art as just for one moment silence calms the bedroom. In the distance over the Tame valley and Carrbrook hills he hears the faint rhythmic whistle of some way-out charmer from another world. Penny Sharman



Today, arthritic hands grip neoprene woggles in rainbow colours to make a splash in pairs. Two men coupled, tease,

I’ve never done it better, with a man. And we’re all kinder to each other, revealed and wrinkled than we ever were before. Ceinwen Haydon



“Welcome to Incisions 4 Less,” the poofy-haired receptionist said. “How can I help you?” “Dan Hooligan. I have a hip replacement with Dr. Dux.” “Very good.” Her gum snapped like a backfiring Fiat, while a strand of hair poledanced around a tooth-ravaged ballpoint pen. “And what will he be replacing it with?” Dan’s forehead terraformed from steppe to hills and valleys. He clutched the lapels of his bathrobe. “We never discussed that. I assumed it would be something artificial.” “I always ask. Some of our patients have odd requests.” “Is this bathrobe okay? The instructions said to bring my own hospital gown, and this is the closest thing I have.” The receptionist extracted a wad of gum from her mouth and stuck it under the desk. “It’s fine. We’ll slice open the back while you’re knocked out, for maximum embarrassment. Have a seat. The anesthesiologist will be with you shortly.” Dan picked a seat as far as possible from the other occupant of the waiting room: a man with a lumberjack beard, who busied himself launching cannonades of snoring and smelling like the men’s room at a distillery. As an added bonus, the plume of stuffing mushrooming through the vinyl upholstery had the fewest stains of all the stuffing plumes in the waiting room. The chair groaned, as though emitting a warning to anyone foolish enough to test its sturdiness. “Larry, wake up!” the receptionist yelled. “You’ve got a patient.” The passed-out gentleman rolled over to reveal a flannel shirt which appeared to have lost a fight with a hacksaw. Full tattoo sleeves covered both arms from wrist to


shoulder. He squeezed Dan in a bear hug with bar-bouncer arms, and lifted him six inches off the ground. “How much you weigh?” “This is a doctor’s office. Don’t you have a scale?” Dan wheezed to get the words out. The gentleman grunted. “Fine. Hundred ninety pounds.”. A liter of bargain-bin Scotch crawled from the gentleman’s waistband. He filled five shot glasses, and lined them up like ducklings waddling behind their mama. “Drink up.” “You’re an anesthesiologist?” “Something like that. Drink up or surgery’s gonna hurt like hell.” Dan sent five slugs down his throat. Gags and dry heaves pitched in as chasers. His head swooped while his legs swooned. The floor rushed to embrace him. Dan awoke to hands slapping him across the face. Tattoo-sleeved arms hoisted him into a chair. “The patient is ready for post-op, Doctor.” “Brilliant.” Dr. Dux sat on Dan’s lap and caressed a mirror. “You’re going to love what I’ve done. You look like the love-child of Mick Jagger and Angelina Jolie.” The mirror flashed in Dan’s face. A squirrel saving hot dogs for the winter looked back. “Hip replacement. Not lip replacement.”

Caleb Echterling


Mexican Pink (Cover image) Stephen Muret


On Independence Day

I wrote a poem called 'Just Like You And Me' behind the abandoned dry-ice factory and it set the world on fire. Every occurrence of your name was another bad neighbourhood up in flames with Korean shopkeepers brought to their knees, mad and weeping. Downtown, rows of burning buildings became spontaneous beacons of your beauty, blazing in the dark, and broken windows dazzled like your eyes on the Fourth of July when we torched the cornfields and laughed so hard we almost cried. The horizon was a delicate ribbon of red-hot magnesium. A permanent sunset. Looking out across the old gasworks I dreamt of your face glowing like a vault of freshly-minted dimes; how a single ember of eyelash was enough to blister my fingertips forever. Siegfried Baber


Out To Lunch Wayne Russell


Miranda 5 Ways

This temporal taster menu is fusion cooking at its finest. We take Miranda Messing and present her on 1 plate as she is in 5 different ways, across time and parallel universes. Miranda aged for 25 years results in a luscious figure and is presented in a nest of blonde hair. With a university education, she can proudly face the world and try to rule it. Soon to complete an M.Sc. in Economics, this Miranda is business-minded, independent and sinewy; she is smoked, at 30 a day, and promises to stay lean without producing children. This is the richest option. Aged 5 years, this Miranda has been marinated for most of her short life in a dysfunctional household, hand-reared by her alcoholic mother. This Miranda was wholly caged and fed a sugar-rich, high fat, diet so she promises to be fleshy. If left to mature, she will become more tender as a string of men batter her and leave her pregnant. This is the fattiest option. Miranda aged for 40 years may sound like a tough cut, but this Miranda has gone through extensive processes of preservation; she is regularly pickled and has been stripped of fat on certain joints via liposuction. Her body has borne no young and she takes yoga classes regularly, making this the leanest option of Miranda 5 Ways. This next Miranda is aged for 35 years and is the traditional Miranda. She did what was expected of her, went to university, got a job as a civil servant and married a plumber called Bob. After 3 years, the pair got a mortgage and pumped out some babies. This Miranda may not be exciting, but she certainly is traditional. Served stuffed with anti-depressants and a belief system that tells her that she has achieved something, this is our most in-denial Miranda.


Our last Miranda is like foie gras or Kobe beef; she is only aged for 8 years and is hand-reared in the lap of luxury. She eats only the finest foods, attends the ballet and plays violin. Here, she is sent to board with bourgeoisie children and is entirely unspoilt by mixing with the proletariat. Her parents let her watch lots of television and spend time on Facebook as they can afford to pay her way through the private education system. This is the laziest and stupidest Miranda on our menu. This plate comes with a side serving of plump babies, or crushed lovers.

Bon appĂŠtite!

Darcy Lin Wood



Two hearts now beat inside you, one-fist sized, tough, from thirty years of growing, the other a fairy thing, as small as a blueberry. You carry two brains in you. One thinks in words and houses memories, anticipations. The other's languages are movement, touch, impulses leaping, goatlike, over gaps. Your food becomes its food, your air its air. Across your bodies' thresholds, you exchange good things for bad: it seeps its toxins back. Its limbs swim, weightless, at your turning centre as your limbs thicken, heavy with its burden. Soon it will learn to dream and you will dream, sleeping and waking, of its unknown face, its hands reaching for yours, its vehement grip. Kitty Coles


A Testament Jays braided the trees after I wed the devil. Sickness came to sit upon my head full of pus. Illness filled my ears and the construction trucks backed from one patch of carbuncles into another. I tire easily—what ring can make me into a different Gollum? Is there a human woman in the alphabet of myths? If so, is she different from Medusa? Does one hair plucked from her head want to straighten in your hand? The sun stares down. A breeze teaches kitsch to chimes. I have to tell you now I see behind my closed lids the shape of a door in totality. If the corona blazes around its frame still there is no diamond ring. Judith Skillman


Nothing Left But Faith

The guy at the Kinko’s takes one look at my flyer and shakes his head. “If you’re asking people to join your ‘religion’, it shouldn’t look like a ransom note.” I nod, instead of arguing how the cut-out magazine letters that make up the call to come meet at the abandoned building I’ve claimed, if people want to get to heaven (or else), makes the message stand out. It’s what someone who talks to God would do, instead of punching him the guy in the mouth, which is what I used to do. He hands me back a stack of flyers and I hand him a $20. I wait until the city’s sleeping to post up my flyers. I’m afraid of staples crucifying me so I use tape instead. I put the flyers up and down on Orange Ave, the best place for someone who’s hungover or hates his job to stumble onto the flyer and decide heaven is a better place to be than a bedroom or a bus bench or a cubicle. I head back as the sun comes up over the skyline, looking over my shoulder to see if the cops are following me. I want them to find me eventually, but not yet. I lay out the rope I got from Ace Hardware on the floor. It’s bright orange, something easy to see when the sun goes down and if enough people show up with flashlights or lanterns. I rehearse in my head the inevitable speech that will come when the cops threaten to knock down our door: those who want to go to heaven will cross this line. I start getting anxious and unfold the original flyer from my pocket. I forgot to ask people to bring flashlights or lanterns. It’ll take another day or two of collecting cans to scrape enough money for a revision and more copies. I take a deep breath, remember how struggle is a part of being able to talk to God. I’ve tried getting to heaven a few times and I stopped once I finally realized I wouldn’t be allowed in the way I was doing it; it’s why I can’t wear short sleeve shirts


anymore. When I saw what the FBI did to David Koresh and his followers on TV at my mom’s place, I knew that would have to be the way to do it, a bullet, or a fire as my key, but I can’t do it alone. It’s not enough to claim that you can talk to God. You need other people who will listen to you, who want a better life as much as you do, who won’t mind becoming the ladder you need.

J. Bradley


Encounter With Truth Via Czesław Miłosz

He delivered the keynote address at an all-day program devoted to poetry of the Holocaust. It was four years and four months before he died. In an interview after the speech he said the only credible poetic response is in writing about anything and everything else. His audience listened, rapt knowing he was sending them on a mission of witness as bearers of truth like water carriers along a riverbank shouldering buckets full of the precious elixir some harried squandering its merit others slogging along determined not to spill a drop— He said “What is poetry which does not save nations or people?” He said “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” Howard Richard Debs


Nowhere Fast Peter Gutierrez


12th September 2016

I take up the knitting I put down months ago and am surprised my hands remember the action unfaltering my eyes return to the film without looking at them the simple way I spool out the black yarn like a good writing day when I wake and can find the words in bed without my stopping them it will be a headband the hair shorn by myself needs it always a late decision to take up the scissors in the bathroom in the moon mirror I can’t see the moon from there the door is open as I live there is only a street lamp visible in the window I am taking up knitting a small project to be finished quickly a sense of accomplishment as it gives my hands something to do other than chew them worried at by my lack of employment and deadlines if I had forgotten how to hold the yarn create the tension it could be unpicked mistakes can be undone by my own hands unlike outside and regrets like poetry it can be picked up at any time I think of the roads outside their potholes that are never fixed and the drivers who are all haste and no mind when I am on my bike this city is anxious making the road is often all I can focus on shards of glass and laughing gas canisters are puncture fears I get agitated by the selfishness of those drunk on the obvious and summer who fling these items on tarmac and forget what heavier vehicles and sunlight will do I want to ride on smooth roads and look up at the changing tree canopies like spooling wool into scarves like writing on a good day. Anna Percy


The Waller

I almost hit him. Hidden there, crouched on the blind bend. No warning sign, no hi-vis vest. Dark earth scars on the verge, wall-stones scattered on the turf. Wearing dark-green pants a brown coat, a tweed cap. His clothes the colours of stone. As though the shattered wall had risen to repair itself. His chin stubble, lichen-grey, his hands grimed black. He barely spared a glance as my van sped past. Stoic as the stone he placed with geological patience. Tom Moody



for Kathryn At Severn Tunnel Junction, you glance beneath the seats and notice a butterfly that has flown into your carriage; is now trapped a flipbook hysteria. You point it out to Kathryn who, swiftly ducking, decides to capture him in the concave of her palms. Fingers steepled into churches. She waits like that, hands in cupped prayer for the ten minutes it takes us to reach Newport where she jumps out before the waiting passengers have a chance to dismount and releases him like a magician freeing a dove. You watch him fly off together as Kathryn’s foot perches on the platform, for one moment tethering the train to the station edge. Rebecca Roy


There Will Be Tides

Then, in September, she was gone. Her going was absolute. She spoke of how the weight of her spirit would be carried by tides. She would be propelled hither and yon, pitching up on the shore of some other person’s life. She would float away from them too, become a drifting presence for many: an itch on the scalp, a tickle on the neck. With the phases of the moon she would be displaced, fall to the mercy of its pulls, experience arrivals as a consequence of the weather. With the hunter’s moon she would find a new path and walk it for some little distance, only to become lost again, all the while falling away from me. Only on the equinox would she rise again, to come as close as the prison of her state would allow. I would feel her then, for a moment, on that fulcrum of the year. All in all, though, she would still not be here. We, as much at the mercy of the tides as she, would have to carry on.

Peter Haynes



for Michael Collins When the man who went to the moon went to the moon he took a lap – stood in the full stop of our universe. 250,000 miles. The farthest any human has ever been from Earth. Where there was no knowledge of green or blue he watched an eclipse from the wrong end of a telescope. Turned around and found himself on the brink, looking down gone deep sea diving. He was plunged. In existence in a bell where he heard the clear black silence perfectly, beneath the twitching in its sleep of Columbia as she gambolled over.


He never surfaced. Spent the rest of his life starry-eyed, drawing the same images; Japanese koi fish, Florida everglades, over and over.


Sometimes ink. Sometimes watercolour. Sometimes the muted murmur of his lips, moving mid-a-conversation he took no part in eyes in orbit elsewhere. People pitied him the man who went to the moon and did not touch it. Comparing him to Armstrong, to Aldrin. He was the name they could not remember – a trivia question:

Who was the third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission? Others thought he might have caught an infection in space. Some drifting cosmic insanity. Ocean madness from those 48 minutes of radio silence. They expected him to return a sea-wrecked man. Instead – it was Aldrin who drowned himself in the bottle. Armstrong who divorced from his wife, from his public. People could not see how he had seen infinity was swimming in it still.


He knew they did not know this because when he showed them his collection they all asked why he had not drawn space, why he had drawn the same images of fish over and over. They did not see how he water.

had learnt to breathe

Rebecca Roy


Earth Grazers

Over blue woods soaked in night-juices They nose low from star fields and ice caps, move true To earth’s curve, surprised perhaps to have strayed so far, So close that hair on the watchers’ skins electrify, Burn cold. The artist works fast as if from memory, The poet plots his Year of Meteors, of miracles But the beings are gone so soon: having seen lit windows, Shining water-meadows, they’d thought to rest a moment On our world’s mattress, and been startled by such attention. Their luminous after-image hangs above the artist’s marriage bed Through the deaths of two children in a single week. Their mother thinks the smoulder and smoke-trails A secret foreboding of battlefields, the falling down of angels. The poet muses on wanderings in heaven, immeasurable And random, so far beyond our reach we give them names, Animal words in order to call them back, Those glimmering familiars who almost touched us. Pippa Little

*Frederic Church’s painting ‘The Meteor of 1860’ and Walt Whitman’s ‘Year of Meteors’ in Leaves of Grass were the result of each man having stood at the same time but several miles apart along the Hudson River and witnessing a very rare meteorprocession so close to earth the phenomenon are called ‘earth grazers’.


Sunsparkles and Wild Daisies Lorraine Carey



I’ve stopped thinking about the falling; how it happened before I understood the sound like a hill imploding was me, hitting grass. I’ve given up on the struggle-jolting. I’m past caring about the frowns of the upright, staring, chewing. Grateful for my fleece in clammy dew, in this new upside-down life, I see beyond my waggling hooves to the sky. Today the wind scuffles through the grass at my ears. Tonight there will be stars. Louisa Campbell



Siegfried Baber was born in Barnstaple, Devon in 1989 and his poetry has featured in a variety of publications including Under The Radar, The Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s

Dog Magazine, Prole, The Poets Republic; online with The Compass Magazine, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetry Spotlight, And Other Poems, Poems In Which, Clear Poetry ; and as part of the 2013 Templar Poetry Anthology and the Bath Literature Festival. Siegfried's debut pamphlet When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid is published by Telltale Press , with its title poem nominated for the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Follow Siegfried on Twitter: @SiegfriedBaber Ben Banyard lives and writes in Portishead, near Bristol. His debut pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in February 2016, and a full collection,

We Are All Lucky , is due out from the same press in 2018. Ben blogs at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com. J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming flash fiction collection Neil & Other

Stories (Whiskey Tit Books, 2018). He lives at jbradleywrites.com. Carole Bromley is a teacher, Arvon tutor and mentor for the Poetry Society. She has won a number of first prizes and has three collections with Smith/Doorstop, her most recent being Blast Off!, a collection for children. Louisa Campbell’s poetry has been published in journals including Three Drops From a Cauldron, Acumen, The Interpreter’s House and Prole. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, commended in the South Downs Poetry Festival and her first pamphlet, The Happy Bus , is out this year with Picaroon . She lives in Kent with her husband, daughter and two rescued street dogs. Lorraine Carey is an Irish poet and artist, originally from Donegal now living in Kerry. Her poetry has been widely published in the following: Picaroon, Atrium, The Honest

Ulsterman, The Galway Review, Proletarian, Olentangy Review, Sixteen, Quail Bell, Live Encounters, ROPES and Poethead among others. Her artwork has also featured in Three Drops From A Cauldron and Dodging the Rain . Her debut collection, From Doll House Windows is published by Revival Press . Kevin Casey is the author of And Waking... (Bottom Dog Press, 2016), and American

Lotus (Glass Lyre Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press , Pretty Owl Poetry , and Ted Kooser's syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com.


Kitty Coles is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in September 2017. Howard Richard Debs is a finalist and recipient of the 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards; his work appears internationally in numerous publications such as Yellow Chair Review, Silver Birch Press, The Galway Review, New Verse News,

Cleaver Magazine, among others, his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness” in On Being - On The Blog, and his photography in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor; his full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is forthcoming in latter-2017. He is listed in the Directory of American Poets & Writers: https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire (USA), in a small house in the woods. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals and several small-press books. His forthcoming book is The Last Concert (Salmon Poetry ). Caleb Echterling got peanut butter in your chocolate. He tweets funny fiction using the not so clever handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his work at www.calebechterling.com. When he is not traveling, Peter Gutierrez lives and works in Essex County, New Jersey, where his photographs have appeared in the Gannett newspapers. Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon worked as a Probation Officer, a Mental Health Social Worker and a Practice Educator in the NHS. She now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published on curated internet sites and in print anthologies. She is due to complete her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in Autumn 2017. Peter Haynes lives and writes in Birmingham, UK. His work has appeared in Unsung Stories, Reliquiae Journal, Spelk Fiction , and elsewhere. In 2016 he was nominated for BSFA award in short fiction. Jonathan Humble’s poetry has appeared in The Big Issue In The North, Poems For

Freedom, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Teacher, Obsessed With Pipework, Clear Poetry, Atrium and on BBC Radio. His short stories and poems for children have been published in The Caterpillar, Amazing Magazine, The Looking Glass Magazine and Stew Magazine.


Susannah Jordan earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Her flash fiction and poetry have appeared in Daphne Magazine, 50-

Word Stories, Tiny Text, and Apocrypha and Abstractions. Her artwork and photography have appeared in Gravel, The Tishman Review, Oxford Magazine, Figroot Press, and Calamus Journal. Emma Lee's most recent collection is Ghosts in the Desert (IDP, 2015) and she co-edited

Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge (Five Leaves, 2015). She reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com Pippa Little is Scots but lives in Northumberland where she is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. She has two full collections, Overwintering (2012) from Carcanet and Twist, out this year from Arc. In between have been 3 pamphlets, The Spar Box, Snowglobe and Our Lady of Iguanas. Steve Lodge is a wandering minstrel from London now based in Singapore. He is responsible for a number of published short stories, plays and skits, poems/lyrics and has co-written a film screenplay. Steve has acted on TV, in the theatre and in films. He enjoys comedy improv. Gill McEvoy has two full collections from Cinnamon Press: The Plucking Shed (2010) and Rise (2013), as well as three pamphlets from Happenstance Press: Uncertain Days (2006), A Sampler (2008) and The First Telling (2014), which won the 2015 Michael Marks award. Tom Moody is a former nurse who lives in Northumberland. He has an MA in creative writing from Newcastle University. Published work includes: articles, short stories and a prize-winning script for local radio. His poetry has appeared in Orbis, Prole, Algebra of Owls, Ink Sweat and Tears and Three Drops from the Cauldron . When not writing he plays saxophone, cycles, walks and cooks curries (not simultaneously). Stephenson Muret lives and writes in southern California. His plays, stories, essays and poems have appeared in scores of publications, touching virtually all genres. Anna Percy is a poet, events host and workshop facilitator based in Manchester. She has an MA in Creative Writing from University of Manchester. Her two collections are available from Flapjack Press and Follow the Stag, a pamphlet, is available from Three Drops Press. She is a co-founder of Stirred Poetry, a Feminist Collective. Her work explores love, loss, losing your mind and the environment.


Rebecca Roy studied English Literature and Creative Writing in Cardiff and now lives and writes in Manchester. A poet who has performed her own work widely, Rebecca has also facilitated creative writing and zine-making workshops, hosted open mics and participated in arts festivals across the country. Rebecca writes largely from personal experience to explore themes of family, identity and (a)sexuality, honing in on the unfamiliar and under-represented aspects of these themes. Wayne Russell is a creative writer and amateur photographer that was born and raised in Florida, in March 2016 he founded the online underground lit zine called Degenerate Literature. DL can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and at their website http://degenerateliterature.weebly.com/ Penny Sharman has been writing poetry for over 15 years and has just completed an MA in Creative Writing from Edge Hill University. Her poetry is influenced greatly by natural landscapes, seen and un-seen. She has a surreal approach within her expression and at times can be abstract, although her imagery is very grounded and expansive at the same time. She has had poems published in magazines such as

Picaroon, Obsessed With Pipework, Interpreters House, Poetry Quarterly, Beautiful Dragons, Outburst Magazine. Penny is an artist, photographer and therapist and is definitely entering her third age! Penny is working towards her first pamphlet. Judith Skillman’s recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions. Her work has appeared in LitMag, Shenandoah, Zyzzyva, FIELD, and elsewhere. Awards include an Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. She is a faculty member at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Washington. Visit www.judithskillman.com Howard Skrill is an artist and art professor in the NYC area and lives with his wife and one of his two adult sons in Brooklyn. His work has been exhibited at various NY area galleries and universities nationwide. His pictorial essays and other works have appeared in Newfound: Art and Place, Red Savina Review, Assisi, the Columbia Journal, Average Art [UK), Streetlight and pending publication in War, Literature and the Arts

and Districtlit. Darcy Lin Wood resides in Oxfordshire, but has Russian-British blood. With a degree in journalism, Darcy started writing fiction full-time six years ago and has since had work published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Bunbury Magazine, The Dawntreader , and Sarasvati. You can find her lurking around Wattpad or procrastinating on Twitter @DarcyLinWood.



`Encounter With Truth Via Czesław Miłosz’ by Howard Richard Debs contains lines from `Dedication’ by Czesław Miłosz and also from his Nobel speech of December 8th 1980.