Sunday, 28 December 2014

Cat Quartet


That tiger cat with
winking green eyes tossing 
up balls of red yarn.


the gingersnap cat stares as
I get undressed.


Black and white kitten
lying under clothesline in
soft circles of sleep.


Windy afternoon
my calico cat leans forward
against the cold.

Joan McNerney,
New York

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A New Yo-Yo on Christmas Day

I took grandson Jack
for a walk in the park
high noon on Christmas Day.
He wanted to see 
his yo-yo dance
but his parents said
no yo-yo tricks
in a crowded house
with a Christmas tree.

So after Mass
they wrapped Jack up 
in a snowsuit worn
by the Michelin Man
when he was a child.
And Jack and I 
strolled off, laughing 
through the snow.

The park was empty 
when I showed Jack 
yo-yo tricks I’d learned
many decades ago.
I told him he would
soon be tall enough 
to do these tricks
on his own.

Jack laughed and asked
if we could come back
to the park that night
and watch the comets.
I asked him why. 
That’s when I learned 
comets are yo-yos and 
God swings their strings
on the other side
of the moon.

Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, USA and has had poems published Ancient Heart Magazine and other publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

It Could Be Really Somehow Never

Never lumbers in his loft space
The could be world a distant tracing
isn’ts and aren’ts in hobbled whim
bubble offshore of germlike vision.
Blue rings ripple up, a plush rug’s twitch
Feather yellow rings of birdsong tickling.
An odd peckled speck of a moonbright slice.
Scuffling somethings picking at the ground.

But Somehow is stone still, plain so staring,
his eyes unearthing the world so really.
All horrored beaten grey waste grasses,
to the curd-like screech of circling scavengers.
Shot by the light of the moonlike scythe 
Ghosten people scrape nails through dirt.
They speak a chant of pale voiced fear
‘There must be some hope buried here’

Somehow and Never are something alike,
both eyes to see and ears to hear,


Thursday, 30 October 2014

By Hand

This is an experiment
to see if holding these words
and feeling my pen strokes
scratched into the paper
makes them more valuable.

I’ve made an old-fashioned effort
to find a pen (sorry, blue ink)
and some paper (apologies,
torn from a reporters’ notepad)
and felt that unfamiliar stretch
of tendons straining against plastic.

I grimaced at the taste
of glue as I sealed in my 
offering and then I queued
at the post office for a stamp.

I know your address by heart;
I should, I live there too.

Ben Banyard

Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, UK where he writes poetry and short fiction. His work has appeared in Shortlist Magazine, The Stare's Nest, Nutshells & Nuggets and a forthcoming issue of Sarasvati.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Great Migration

We all moved
switching our spots,
like leopards denying their
true identities.
We found our new home,
but it reminded us too
much of the old melancholy,
so our feet grew restless
once more moving.

JD DeHart
Tennessee, US

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


are times
of interest , for new
decisions , waking
to different views . I have
no rules & cannot fit
shall not sign
for safety & each birth
brings pain . there is danger
here & things don't measure
will try
to keep a door open
to suffer
not to slumber.

Reuben Woolley
Zaragoza, Spain 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Family Business

Weekends were maintenance and balancing the books.
Saturdays we got our hands dirty.
The cab tilted to check tappet clearances.
A crawlboard under the chassis, back aching.

Latching up wheelnuts, a length of steel tubing
slipped onto the torque-wrench
for leverage, knuckles white through the dirt
as it groaned then clicked in confirmation:

did six-hundred newton metres
mean they were good and tight? I don’t remember.
I didn’t have a head for the technical side.
Sundays were my forte: clean hands and sheets

of paper, the columns of figures easy enough
before spreadsheets and look-ups
and pull-throughs confused it.
Now in the office I’m almost innumerate

compared to the whiz-kids, all college-taught
theories and clever equations.
Back then I was fifteen and doing the invoicing
for a one-man-firm with a sixteen tonner,

tapping numbers into an old-school calculator
with a spool of paper chattering out
the profit and loss,a ticker-tape parade
if we weren’t in the red.

Neil Fulwood
Nottingham, England.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Twin Girls, 1948

Beth was always different
marching as she did
to an armless drummer.

Her sister Kate marched
to another drummer,
one with arms on certain days 

but never with a drum 
that caught the sticks Kate 
kept in the air flailing.

When the girls were young
their mom and dad took them out
for walks on Sunday

afternoons in summer.
The girls waved to butterflies
but never to anyone else.

It was hard for other kids
peering from porches
to understand the problem.

When the twins were small
they didn't call it autism. 
It had no name on my block.

Now the illness has a name
and different medications
that sometimes temper

but never cure.
The girls are women now
old and living in a big home

with others in a small band
some still playing instruments
no one else can see.

Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, USA and has had poems published Ancient Heart Magazine and other publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

I know the feeling...

As my compatriate and fellow poet Clive James, terminally ill, prepares for his final curtain call, in a recent interview he spoke with his trademark dry wit.

When asked if he regretted being better known for his work in TV than for his poetry he said "There is a long answer to this but the short one is that television paid for the groceries and as a poet I would have starved."

Japanese Maple

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must doIs live to see that.
That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.

Clive James
(First published in The New Yorker, September 15 2014 issue)