Three Poems by Jonathan Butcher

Spare Time

We walk over the pavements that display
a crude mosaic of chewing gum, needles
and half dead pigeons.

I know that mountains reside here, that
fields now entombed with concrete offer
a catacomb only visible through aged eyes.

As our coats hang loose, the change in
our pockets jangle, just enough ammo to
pass this free time, that we never hold
sacred enough.

It now frees us momentarily from the iron traps
that have become far more comfortable than
we ever anticipated.

No need now for those once consistent
breakouts, as the waters now run at our pace,
not theirs.

Morning Rush

That afternoon pacing towards work, in
frantic lateness I saw the gathered crowds.

He was spread across the curb; ironed
polo shirt, clean shaved, gelled hair,
knife wound in his left side.

The red river at his feet seemed to glisten,
reflecting the torrid tale of the hour previous,
as the air thickened within the crowd, like
a fog with the power to deafen as well as blind.

The crowd then dispersed, no two eyes meeting,
chatter suddenly erupted, as the help arrived
neither asking for or gaining assistance.

Within time's jaws we left him, in that waiting
room of ours, our responsibilities waving their
flags at yet another parade of delays.


You hang oblivious, dust encrusted, a foul design
job, left over by previous irresponsible occupiers.

Hanging limp, like flaked skin, your rail fractured
like a soot covered broken spine.

When appropriate wipe away tears on your ends,
that are soaked into your fabric, and drank with gusto.

The cracked windows know you all to well, know
your almost smug like presence is really just
a cover for the secrets you hold.

And for all your time there, tying up the room,
you still don't fit the windows.

Two Poems by Jay Passer


In the shuttered darkness
Of a kitchenette
I’m nodding in the morning
And the world resistant to
My leap out the window
Into emptied lake of street
Into welcome menace of mortuary stillness
Adrift and misanthropic
When the blam-blam alarm
And landing splat in a pratfall
Shattering café idleness
Of urban mamas yapping Chihuahuas
And babies with pinched pink faces
Fate of the free world bundled into strollers
Screaming WA-WA! cuddly soldiers-to-be
In training from the potty seat to guzzle the dream
At a ratio of tit versus
Miles per gallon


Uranium to critical mass
That’s all you need to remember

No doubt about it, the world is nearing its finale
I hear trees whispering about it in foreign languages

Here I sit with dice and cup
I can’t afford insurance.

This, This is an African Moment by Amit Parmessur

Lighting a crooked cigarette in a bus overfed

with bushed Sunday people. The young conductor

too effeminate to bring back order, with the smoke

stirring silent angry looks.

Sipping some stale

Coca-Cola while being already drunk, with the

body swaying to every whim of a hungry bus driver.

Watching then the tragic landscape

for a bit of elusive escapism.

Feeling too hot, and a bit frustrated

with someone’s beautiful wife sitting just in front.

Trying to swear in a language not resembling the

mother tongue but that of a faraway father’s habit.

Falling asleep after a few drags on the cigarette

that rebels and falls down

after being left alone between stinking fingers

as good as dry ladyfingers without balls.

Being laughed at by neighbors,

by well-dressed and perfumed neighbors

with intentions darker than lethal black ants.

Waking up to have a second drag on a cigarette

that is missing. Starting to

swear heroically, searching for the cigarette that

has rolled into someone else’s temporary territory.

Aggravating the situation by releasing

from the pocket a handful of stolen,

old and bent coins onto the ground, with them rolling

everywhere like the rapid shells of paralyzed tortoises.

After Pancakes (Cause and Effect) by Rebeca Linney


During the car ride uninterrupted by
cell phone-talkers, my father's
pinky snare and index crash tapped
loudly on the steering wheel.
I played air-piano.
He silenced his other children in the back seat
so he could hear me sing loudly, in perfect-pitch,
gesturing during the chorus.
My sisters sat with their arms crossed, rolling their eyes.
My brother scowled and leaned his freckled forehead
against the vibrating window.


"Get over here, Fat Bitch!"
My brother, standing at the top of the stairs
psoriasis-covered arms
embracing a blue sleeping bag.
I ran up the stairs to the back of our makeshift line
behind my laughing sisters.
James began his face-first slide
onto the downstairs landing.

Three Poems by James D Quinton

hell is other people

I find that nothing
ever gets beyond

missing the freedom
of childhood,
the relinquishment
of responsibility

honesty dissolves
into telephone lies
nodding and smiling
nothing to say
blank blue eyes

three chord songs
blisters on my fingertips
hibernating in summer
fear of traffic jams
and exchanges

hopes and dreams of a young girl lost

daddy and mummy
must be proud,
twenty-something year old
daughter on late night telly
humping and grinding
in bra and panties
fake tanned flesh exposed
thrusting wildly at the camera

beauty lost
enhanced, airbrushed
disfigured with products and surgery
on explicit pictures
that can be sent to my phone
selling herself
it’s all in an evening’s work

I’m fascinated, not titillated
she gyrates, gestures
sound off, she talks
she shakes,
pulls at her body,
contorts her face
pretends she’s being…

trying to make herself alluring
waving a nokia
trying to get me to phone
£2 a minute and
£1.50 connection fee
and I want to call
and tell her about
Jesus, Gandhi
about another way, the light
about recapturing innocence

when the mike comes on
I’m surprised
her voice eloquent
she tells me what’s on offer
what the other girls are up to
signing off with
‘naughty kisses’

I look into her eyes,
I think I see sadness

I wonder what her
seven year old self
would say
if she where to see
her hopes
and dreams

when love turns pornographic

rare, banished in the literati
the simplest language communicates
the most complicated feelings

slogans, red paint, brick walls

blood stains white cloth

Two Poems by John Tustin


The review are pouring

halfway through the season

of “John’s Life,”:

an unmitigated disaster!

A situation comedy more sad

than funny.

Poorly acted, sparsely staged,

the villain too evil to be believed,

the hero unlovable.

Like watching a car wreck

in slow motion.

The only bright spot

those two up-and-comers,

ages five and two.

Maybe they can spin off successfully,

giving viewers something beyond

a numb ass

and a bad memory.


Horses are beautiful,

contentedly snorting, coats glimmering

as they eat their hay.

Cicadas are beautiful,

making chittering calls in the sycamores,

flicking lizard-like wings

for eagerly waiting lovers.

Sparrows are beautiful,

battling pigeons for crusts and turf,

losing and trying,

frenetically grabbing.

Pigs are beautiful.

Geckos are beautiful.

Suckerfish are beautiful.

People are not beautiful.


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