Yet Another

by Ruth Elwood

Another naggin consumed

Another outfit that can’t be worn again

Another prinks in that apartment

Another sing-song

Another walk to town

Another stumble in heels

Another counselling session in the toilet

Another guy offering to sell me weed

Another girl looking for a lighter

Another mission to find my friends

Another lad groping my ass

Another minute wasted hoping you’ll be out

Another panic attack in the bathroom

Another shot to be instantly regretted

Another pill popper terrifying me

Another girl spilling her drink all over me

Another guilty cigarette

Another search for chewing gum

Another lost jacket

Another snackbox ordered

Another sob in the taxi

 
Another step closer.

The Honey Locust

Next to the ever-travelling stream, she
stands stiff and solitary
unapproachable
both soldier and queen.

Her brittle branches extend, dominating
over wild strawberries and violet clumps.
Emerald leaves emanate a
verdant glow in the afternoon light;
decorated with a halo of cream blossoms, she is
aloof and regal,
goddess of spring,
a deciduous deity.
Beautiful to behold but dangerous to touch:
her forbidden torso, a barbed wire trunk covered with
titian-coloured thorns
longer than a man’s hands. The
wooden daggers are
her tiara and her armour, sharp
edges and pointed
lines ready for battle
against invasive thieves hoping
for her fruit – honey
sweet but
perilous to procure.

Next to the ever-travelling stream, she
stands proud and alone –
a soldier and a queen
unapproachable.
Still,
waiting to be touched.

Katherine Caswell Hughbanks’s poetry and narrative writing have appeared in Trajectory, CalliopeKentucky Monthly’s Penned Literary Edition, Kudzu Literary Magazine, and the Louisville Eccentric Observer’Literary LEO. She currently teaches creative writing in Louisville, Kentucky

Birds of London

Sitting in a Japanese garden of
West London where
On a sunny Sunday
Crowds of people stare

At a shiny peacock
Indigo and emerald green
Making a spectacle
Stealing the scene

In the same Kyoto Garden
A lone blackbird sings
But not one soul notices
Its dull ebony wings

Still it calls and trills
For all the park to hear
Oh how blest is its voice
Constant and beautifully clear.

Katherine Caswell Hughbanks’s poetry and narrative writing have appeared in Trajectory, CalliopeKentucky Monthly’s Penned Literary Edition, Kudzu Literary Magazine, and the Louisville Eccentric Observer’Literary LEO. She currently teaches creative writing in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sex

with you was

not sex it

was prayer

I prayed

to live though.

 

Deborah Daniel Shea in summer lives on a boat in Galway, and in winter lives in Boston, where she teaches school. Her poems have appeared in Slipstream, Poem, Nebo, Southern Humanities Review, Kalliope, and Three Monkeys Online (as Shea O’Shea).  

Costa Villain

by Gráinne Daly

Glides around Puerto Banus
in his Porsche,
likes to be seen and heard,
keeps it in third
cruising up and down the marina
looking for birds.

No flash-in-the pan crim
this twenty two year old’s earned
his right to flash his toys,
been working the Costa since
he got of out the Joy.

Gets higher on the oohs and aahs of
honeys chasing money
down the port,
off his head on white and wealth
he flashes his wheels
and a blonde walks over –
a few words,
jumps in,

the irresistible lure of the Costa Villain.

Gráinne Daly is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and most recently University College Dublin where she completed an MA in Creative Writing. She was shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize, Maeve Binchy UCD Travel Award and Robert Monteith Poetry Prize. Gráinne is currently working on her debut novel.

Phobia

by Jac Shortland

I never said it to her
that I was afraid of it,
afraid of him and his relics
and his stigmata mittens
and his eyes on us all,
from the side altars.

I never said it to her
how he goaded me through
the garden gnome Padrés,
placed by the bereaved,
ironically, to ward off devils
and guard the gravesides.

I never divulged to her
that the symbol of her early
death, impending in my mind,
was that relic, whatever it was,
in a mousy pouch under the pillow,
on the far side of her sick bed?

We joked and I tried not to show
that I had hoped the pouch
had held a harmless bit of weed,
and not a piece of his Pio heaven,
that I half prayed wasn’t waiting
for us all on the other side.

Jac Shortland is a Cork woman. She has been long listed for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2017 and for North West Words Poetry 2016 and commended for Westport Arts Festival Poetry 2017. Her poems reflect the mind of a woman, who hasn’t made her mind up about any of life’s mysteries and most likely never will.

Taken

by Aideen Henry

In 1978,
Mary said,
“They took my baby.
They took him
from my warm and sweaty crook.

They took his downy head,
Still red and toasted with the smell
of me.”

In a dark room
full of shadows and empty of air,
she sits beneath the crying Jesus
above the bed.

His outstretched hands
frame her hanging head
that sags, swollen in tears
and blood and a stolen love.

She picks up pieces with broken hands,
that cut on the sharp edges
of a life ended and a life begun.
Her great pain
Is her great strength.

***

I was pregnant
before I was married.
I turned my diamond
backways on my finger,
when I went to greet
the parents at the school gate.

In 2014.
My shame is that
I let them take
my joy.
They didn’t get
my baby.

***

They have taken our babies.

From haysheds and roadsides,
The false safety of a hospital bed,
and the hot damp laundries
where we washed away our sins.

We gave up our sighs,
we mourned and wept,
but no one dried our tears.

We gave up our babies,
and hung our heads
to hide from whispers,
floating down from high horses.

Swollen bellies hold our shame,
Full breasts lie and leak
and seek,
a mouth that is gone from us.

Aideen Henry is a mother of 2 from Cavan, writing poems and stories in her spare time since she was 14 years of age.

I poured my blood and guts

by Aideen Henry

I poured my blood and guts,
into this vessel
that lit this love,
and turned me inside out.

Beyond compare,
your smile lights
a thousand, no uncountable
candles in my heart.

I see them shining in your eyes
reflecting all the love and joy you bring
a balm, I bask in it like a cat in the sun.

My beautiful girl
my immeasurable joy
a dream I never knew I dreamt.

Aideen Henry is a mother of 2 from Cavan, writing poems and stories in her spare time since she was 14 years of age.

A Theory of a Greek

by Samantha Gallaher

Oh, how I wish to be the air
Inconspicuous and unaware,
Unhindered by atmospheric weight,
Free from feelings of fear and hate,
Oh, how I wish to be the air

Oh, how I wish to be a wave
In sync with the moon I’ll behave,
A moving current I’ll rise and fall
Without knowledge of it all,
Oh, how I wish to be a wave

Oh, how I wish to be the earth
A cradle for life and creature’s birth,
Through famine and flood I’ll hold my ground
I will not bleed nor bear a wound,
Oh, how I wish to be the earth

Oh, how I wish to be heat
But not a flame which one could meet,
And extreme of comfort I could not be
For that is what I wish to flee,
Oh, how I wish to be heat.