Tae A Fermer by Jen Hughes

Jen Hughes is a writer from Ayrshire, Scotland. She has been writing from an early age, but began to write more poetry in her late teens. She’s been published in various online magazines, such as the Oletangy Review, the McStorytellers, Paragraph Planet and Pulp Metal Magazine. After taking two years to gain valuable work and life experience, Jen is preparing to study English Literature and Film & TV Studies at Glasgow University this year.

Tae A Fermer is a parody to Robert Burns’ poem Tae A Mouse, and is told from the perspective of the mouse whose house was struck down.

 


 

Tae A Fermer

 

Great, lumberin’ stupit eejit,
Almost killed me an’ the missus
Course a’d start awa sae hasty
Don’t think that a forgot
That all ye thought of were yer tatties
Carrots an’ shallots.

Ye rammed ma hoose doon wae yer tractor
Sae don’t gee me that righteous patter
O’ mice an’ men suffrin’ life together
Best laid schemes
Gang aft agley especially fur the
Dunderheids!

Am a hell blessed compared to thee
This Christmas a’m gonnae freeze!
The missus is less than pleased
She’d just redecorated
Forward though a cannae see
She’ll have me mollicated!


If you liked this poem, you can find Jen’s up-to- date portfolio of poetry and short fiction on dearoctopuswriting.wordpress.com, follow her on Twitter, give her a like on Facebook, or follow her Tumblr blog.

House. by Nigel Best

Nigel Best has been writing poetry for over four decades. His poetry has been greatly influenced by life experiences, as well as by his love of language. He has read at several Scottish book festivals and enjoys experimenting with different styles and subject matters.

 


 

House.

 

a wonderful house
with trees and yes flowers in the garden
the driveway lined with poplars
twelve-tonal doorbell
a fitted carpet lying unfitted
and dejected
dust climbing the stairs
cobweb wallpaper in every corner
slow motion pictures reaching for the floor
striving for hidden foundations
bare brick
unwilling wood
the doors are hinge-stuck
the ungrateful owner took away the roof
the postman delivers silence
and you sit in the kitchen
playing the atmosphere
a wonderful
mighty house


Nigel can be reached via email.

1969 by Darrel Fickbohm

Darrel Fickbohm is originally from Sioux City, Iowa. He studied theater, English literature, and philosophy in the American Midwest and the Dakotas and is committed to exploring their dramatic themes through acting, writing, and directing.

 


 

1969

 

When I was five I
Wore that yellow raincoat walking
Above the planet crawling
With questing worms
Under the rainfall–silvery drops
Making wires of continuous
Lines,
Startled by thunder
In red boots.

 

Five boys
Drowned before the rain, all
Playing on the reservoir bank.
The whole town in desperation
Searched the water,
Looked along the pitiless shoreline.

 

And they found them there
Almost together like white,
Swollen oysters.
Mothers tearfully gave the rest
Of us cookies for our living throats.
Then the sky opened up like outrage.

 

Clouds salted with the
Souls of children, blasting
With thunder the bigness of it,
Driving the searchers home.
It didn’t have to do with
Them anymore.

 

Under the pitching breeze
Of a summer storm
Coming close after the tragic heat
I peered
From below the low-brow
Slicker hat brim in a town
Gone silent
At the figure of my sister’s
Hand, puffy and pink
Between the gray mouth of
Screen door and house.

 

Water, she said,
Over and over until
It stained me forever
Drops falling from her
Splayed fingers.


Darrel can be reached via email.

 

 

For Kristiina by James Machell

James Machell is an Edinburgh-based science fiction writer who dabbles in romantic poetry. Aside from numerous SF publications, he has performed one of his poems for the inaugural edition of Underpass magazine and has had poetry published by Concrete.

 


 

For Kristiina

 

1
Kristiina, Kristiina,
Hardly is your name spoken
Without regret,
For if only to have met you sooner,
Would have spared
My mortal ribs
From breaking as they hold you now.

2
I, like some old age peasant,
Am made delirious by the sun,
And nursed by her second face,
Will hold the hand of Kristiina,
Forever, in my second place.

3
I burn at the memory of your hand,
Which from first touch,
Measured larger than mine,
And your eyes in bed,
Sprawl, marking my dreams
Like the fly, mercifully crushed
Against my open page.


James can be contacted via his Twitter, @JamesRJMachell.

Hebron by Yael Veitz

Yael Veitz is a New York-based poet and editor of Clio: The Journal of the Brooklyn College Historical Society. Both her historical interests and her poetry reflect a geographically diverse background, an insatiable wanderlust, and, occasionally, her love for her cats.

 


 

Hebron

 

City of earth, of sleeping souls
Holding our shared ancestors as if in a cradle, under the mountain steps.
Do not inter the living.
Do not crush your inhabitants under broken cobblestones, blanketing them with thin,
White dust as they sleep.

You bury. It is your calling. You deaden their hearts, let them cast stones at each other
At the bus stop.
The flimsy fence between them, strewn with garbage, becomes another monument
To the dead.

You are all gravestones. You are cracked walls, broken pavement, warning signs and
Scarlet declarations gashed into centuries-old walls.
I slog up your steps,
Sneak into both halves of your great tomb, and feel the great sleep coming over me.
Eyelids heavy with weeping,
I almost curl up on the carpet at the mothers’ feet.

If the city has ears, they must be here, in the women who carried me.
So I murmur to them.
They incline their heads to me–Sarah, Rivkah–toss their soft braids over my shoulder,
Their ears a great desert expanse,
Their wombs puckered, leathern.

I try to tell them.
I try to tell them about the stones, the swastikas;
About the thick glass between our two halves, and the bullets that put it there;
About the girl who slashed her wrists to ribbons, wound those around her throat.

I try to tell them–Sarah, Rivkah–
Beg them to shake the earth,
To level the trenches,
To forget old jealousies.

But my words come out in squeaks–only one word, many times:
Just please, and please, and please–


Yael can be found via Facebook.

Moody Coconut Girl by Linda M Crate

Linda M Crate is a Pennsylvanian native whose poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She’s authored three chapbooks (A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn, Less Than A Man, and If Tomorrow Never Comes) as well as four fantasy novels (Blood & Magic, Dragons & Magic, Centaurs & Magic, and Corvids & Magic). Her newest novel, Phoenix Tears, is forthcoming.


 

Moody Coconut Girl

 

I forgot that,
Because I’m a woman
With doe eyes,
I’m supposed to be an innocent,
Fragile thing,
Ready to fall open before any man,
Like a flower,
Without talking back
Or answering with a quip
Or fantasizing about breaking
His jaw.
But I’m not the girl society wants me to be.
I’m rough around the edges,
Can be as savage as I’m beautiful.
I don’t really care what you think—
If you don’t like me then you can leave;
There’s no law saying that you must be in my life.
I’m an acquired taste,
Coconut
For the refined palette.
My songs are my own and they are mine,
Because I won’t be a slave
To anyone.


Linda can be contacted via Twitter.

Caustics by Cinzia DuBois

Cinzia DuBois is an Edinburgh-based poet whose writing is intrinsically influenced by philosophy and classicism. She performed some of her poetry for the first time at A New World!?, an event co-hosted by The Ogilvie and Interrobang?!, in April of this year; though new to the poetry scene, she hopes she will have the opportunity to publish and perform her work in the future.


 

Caustics

 

Where did you find her?
For a moment I felt rare. Diamond in the rough.
Enchanting,
A golden tree root protruding from the earth,
Bodying a phloem of sapphire drunk on liquid silver
Melted by rhythm.
Somehow I was noticed
In the depths of this dark harpsichord echo chamber
Where minds met lines
met tongues
met hearts.
All feet were paddling together in a concrete pool,
Observing lost lines of poetry
Floating upon the surface of regis rugs.
Until this moment I had been drugged by my invisibility.
Addicted
To the security of being
nobody.
Vacant-body.
Just another space-taking body.
Where did she find me?
Ambling apathy at the base of a pearl coastline,
Shifting broken glass beneath her feet, their polychromic splinters scratching at her skin.
I owe my survival of these decades
To the art of submersion.
Refined drowning. Close enough to the surface to still be present
So no one notices how deep you are.
Close enough
To catch drowning sailors,
guide them back to shore,
but never let them take you.

I have found more certainty in catching caustics
Than sincere sentences.
There are no falsities in the kisses which seal envelopes of light.
Diamonds of fluorescent turquoise tattoo themselves upon my sunken skin;
I am made mystic.
My thighs, wrapped in a faux sailor’s silk,
Feel uncomfortably thick. Painfully closed.

No man would risk his life drowning for this.


Cinzia can be contacted via @Cinzia_DuBois on Twitter and C. A. DuBois on YouTube.

Procrastination by Eilidh G Clark

Eilidh G Clark is currently working towards her Creative Writing MLitt at the University of Stirling. In her spare time, she writes book reviews under a pen name for a national newspaper and works part-time for The Red Cross.


 

Procrastination

 

Cardboard daylight
Prods me through vertical blinds.
I am slumped on an un-reclining recliner with
Warm-breath-blowback burning my cheeks.

My toes curl like a fist on the carpet, as cold as the kitchen tiles.
I cannot move.
There is a pork and apple loaf
Baking in the oven
Two hours too soon
And a laptop on standby.

I am waiting,
I have been waiting for years,
For that phone call, that chance,
But it will not come
Not in this bitter, cold, dark afternoon,
Not in this room.

I need to put the light on
But I won’t;
The dogs will think they
Can go out to play and I can’t bare the dampness, the half night day,
That is turning all the orange brick brown.

I am writing, or at least I am typing, anything except
What I ought to write. But I will wait a wee bit longer. Until I am
Kicked up the arse by the artificial light of night, when the start of time begins to run out.
It’s going to be a late one,
Writing by light-bulb and shaded by undusted cobwebs.


You can find Eilidh on Facebook here; more of her writing is available on her blog.

With a Different Stroke by Nandini Sen

Nandini Sen is an anthropologist who runs the virtual book club ReadinGLa(d)sses. She was one of the storytellers for Edinburgh City of Literature’s Story Shop 2016 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and had an article published in the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures in November 2016.


 

With a Different Stroke

 

1

We smelled the forest under the bare sky,
Weighed the warm wooden furniture at the coffee shop,
Stood in the road and walked away.
I knew that if we met again
In an unknown twilight zone we would begin
And end whatever we were whispering,
Talks of castles, cathedrals, hills and glens.
I felt numb as I watched your cold, wavering car
Fading away at the turn of the road.

2

Reality and dreams mixed;
We cycled down mystical paths
And got off at the foothills.
You invited me to your home against the smooth, green terrain.
We entered the quietness without knocking on the door.
Once again we met
When evening set in Edinburgh;
We were ready with our intimate talk of the town,
Awaiting your entry.
The clock chimed five,
And we began our journey over the deep River Forth.

3

We sat and played bridge around the old oak table.
Hamish and Heather were absurdly quick and clever;
My partner and I could hardly twist the cards.
I never regretted those wonders emerging from their wins.
Sometimes we listened to Tagore’s solemn songs;
They mingled with Robert Burns’ poetry, while
The middle ground Beatles and Floyd
Hammered a rhythm in our brains
To the beat of the TomTom.

4

The everyday monotone engulfs us;
We go to Scott’s monument and catch the fresh air,
Enjoy our usual trance out of single malts,
Return home by ten.
We sit down for a couple of hours watching Trainspotting,
And shudder from a feeling of ennui.
Let us once again go
Smell the fresh, green forest.


Nandini can be reached via Facebook through ReadinGLa(d)sses.

20 Lambert & Butler by Gary McKenzie

Gary McKenzie is currently studying English literature at Stirling University. Gary has performed at various events in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has also set up spoken word evenings in his hometown of Alloa. His work been published in Poetry Scotland, AfterNyne MagazineThe Grind, and South Bank Poetry.


 

20 Lambert & Butler

 

The 6 AM darkness is painful
An unrelenting reminder that you should be somewhere else
Somewhere warm and safe. Not here and not alone.
Your morning cough now takes longer to shift. It belonged
To a winter cold two years ago and has since taken up
Permanent residence. The rattle and wheeze takes hours instead of minutes
To prepare you for the rest of the day, it is only when dusk falls do you feel anything close
To yourself, or at least the memory of.

The clock on the wall marches routine into a calendar, pages that have been silently torn
Without your permission now lie muddied across the damp pavements.
Will it ever stop raining?
Up and out onto the streets, the lights give the town a fake tan.
Still, it is your favourite time of the day, quiet.
Hopeful.

You cough, light a fag, cough, blow out the smoke
With less and less conviction.
It is quiet.

Every morning during the week, you open the door
Hear the shop bell, now buzzer,
Announce your presence.
You wipe your feet on the cardboard box that is used as a doormat
And a sigh involuntary escapes, it echoes round the shop.
A sigh heavy with anger about where life has refused to put you.
The counter was once wood, it is now cheap and throwaway plastic.
Fake.
That would not have happened when you were a boy
The old man kept the place immaculate, and now look
Look around at today.

The new owner behind the counter seems to have grown old without you noticing
He knows what you want, but you still say it anyway
20 Lambert & Butler, a bottle of ginger, and some chewing gum to help
With the dryness that arrives before lunch.
You used to get change from a fiver, now you add coins to the ten pound note.
Look around at today.

The morning exchange, the usual reply
‘Aye im daeing fine’ is disavowed by your own breath.
That heavy sigh is still heard, it has seeped into the walls
Screaming with all the rest. You both face each other
Like guard and jailer, never saying what is raging inside.
The weather, you talk about the weather
And how this damp chills you to the bone.


Gary can be reached via his email address, garymckenziepoetry@outlook.com.