A Collection of Poems – by KATIE LEWINGTON

Pick and Mix

 

My poems  barely reach the end of the page

All my poems are on a word docx now

I hope I have backed them up and they are fully secured

It’s weird to suddenly have one less notebook to look through

When compiling or revising

My poems are different on a word docx

More like Allen less like

Whoever x

 

I find it difficult to not be envious

Envious of those who seem to know

Envious of them that win money prizes on a game show

Why am I watching this shit anyway

What else is on

 

You don’t need a clutch bag on your wedding day

You do not need a handbag to accessorise

All you will need is faith

Faith that your husband won’t cheat

Unless he has already of course

Yeah OK mum

I’m just telling ya

Alright mum you’ve told me

 

Cough cough germs germs from your bj mouth to your clenched up fist

I see that smile

You’re only pretending to be polite to cover your mouth

But polite you ain’t

You’re a germ carrier your mission is to spread and divide

 

 

I haven’t done anything but I still apologise

Jumping when that drain cover is trod on

It’s right outside my alley

I hear it I think it’s the police

I pee first and change my pad

Deleting old texts that might be found suspicious

OK I’m ready police man

 

I’m so sexy

I’m that chocolate dribble on your chin I’m that tight bulge as a man lowers himself to help his child put his or her shoe on I’m the wobble of the jelly I’m the thigh and knee I’m a note being played the drop noise of coins in an arcade machine I’m a gift I’m a silly text

I’m so sexy

 


 

 My man

 

You’re a player

You know what for

And appear like I am man

You are woman

Yet you see how she is besotted

Attached

Trapped now in your bell jar

You don’t like them like that but you make them so

I get you years after

The bargain bin blowout sale

You a ruin

Lacklustre

Still enough to send me head over

Lord knows how you were then

Hard to deny,  I imagine

Treasure.


 Beyond limits

 

Respect for your parents

And the teachers at school

For the cops that keep

Non respecting citizens in jail

And then you hatch

And you are old

You can think well perhaps

I can break one of those rules

I’m not at school anymore

And why do drugs – alcohol get sold

If people are that worried about their health, in losing control

Well, 3 lads died that day

In the stolen Ford

On the motorway

They had taken smack cocaine

And were doing shots

 

There’s people looking out for you for a reason, you know?

 


 

 More than that

 

Redbull will give me wings

The swing will give me lift off

And too much vodka will make me

Fly

Fly high

Higher

Dazzling greens blues

And a clear white bulb

 

An ambulance

You lay unconscious

Bloody

Broke.


 Private dancer

 

Strange shadows jut out across the wooden surface of the floor


The dresser creaks as I put down my palms on it


I watch my face in the mirror that confronts me


The glass is cracked


My face is fractured


You grab me by the waist and you spin me


The music starts and we dance


Throwing shapes with our bodies


Tapping rhythms and beats


Creating our own shadow’s onto the wooden surface of the floor.


***

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Katie Lewington loves her boyfriend, bacon sandwiches, poetry and reality TV. She is a published poet. She also writes book reviews and the odd (very odd) story, which she shares on her blog https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.comDon’t be shy and get in touch, she likes to hear what people think about her work. Or if you have a book you think she would be interested in.

https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.com

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The Pitch – by C. C. RUSSELL

THE PITCH

 

 

In the knee, bone scrapes against bone.  Quick zoom to close-up of man walking – x-ray vision of the leg.  We see impact.  His gait wobbles.  His face is a topography of pain not hidden well.  He is approaching the store while the morning sun burns off the clouds behind him, a slightly salty breeze coming in off of the ocean.

How to give the impression of this saltiness, stiltedness in the humid air?  Maybe mist his skin right before rolling.  Make him shine under the lights.  We’ll want droplets just below his hairline, rolling towards chin, lost in the cracks of his skin.

He fidgets with his keys.  Show the keys here, a great ring of them – his fingers sliding over and through them.  This is important.  We want it to show a responsibility, but make it a little sad as well.  Maybe a slow swell of timid music as he searches for the right key.

He unlocks the door, enters the store which is dark and quiet other than the tinny, repetitive sound of the motion detector alarm.  He walks to the keypad, fingers in a simple code.  Do we want meaning in the numbers?  Would the average viewer notice?

The next scene has to be slow, rhythmic.  Pull in close on his shaking fingers.  Make this scene count.  It has to be powerful – this is how we will know him before everything changes.  We have to learn him from these simple movements.  This is his ritual, his day.  We have to know this 100% before anyone realizes that today is different, that something is about to happen.

***

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C.C. Russell lives in Wyoming with his wife and daughter.  His writing has appeared in such places as the New York Quarterly, Pearl, and the Cimarron Review.  His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net.  He has held jobs in a wide range of vocations – everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to retail management with stops along the way as dive bar dj and swimming pool maintenance.  He has also lived in New York and Ohio.  He can be found on Twitter @ c_c_russell

Demon Inside – by ROB TRUE

Demon inside

 

 

Here I sit, sick again, looking down at my ravished flesh.

Bruised, bloody and swollen. Broken veins and scars of old

abscesses.

Trousers round my ankles, looking for a vein as I shiver and

cough. Claret all down me from failed attempts, my veins are all

fucked, useless.

I’ve been sitting here half an hour now, sweating, sneezing, the

bile rising in my throat, stomach cramped up and so fucking

cold, so hot, feverish.

A stinging tear rolls down my cheek (don’t get many of them). I

realize how fucking pathetic I am.

A man no more, never have been, I entered adulthood in this

god forsaken, yet heavenly trance.

Not even half a man. A ghost. A ghost of myself, haunting this

place.

A half arsed attempt at pretending some sort of normal. I’m

trying to live like a normal human since I pulled my self

together. Even though I use huge amounts of heroin and I am a

drug dealer, which between the two take up most of my day.

In between shooting up, laying barely conscious and dropping

off gear to other desperate cunts, I pretend to live some sort of normal, whatever that is. A normal drug addict? A normal criminal? A normal lunatic?

I am fucking ghost. Undead, a zombie with a demon inside.

Yes, a demon! And that is why I feel so pathetic. I just realized

I’m a fucking slave. A slave to this demon inside.

All my life I rebelled. Against parents, teachers, the law, all

those brainwashed, unquestioning, mindless pricks who lied so

much to me growing up.

I didn’t believe a word of it, still don’t. Fuck off and my middle

finger to every one of them.

What a rebel! What a wanker!

Look at me now, a slave to an invisible demon, a bit of brown

powder. I’m looking out these same eyes, but from a long way

back. I ain’t in charge. No, I’ve got to feed the demon and my body’s just the vehicle. That’s how I’m looking at my arms and legs right now. Just tools to feed this bastard demon.

My sole purpose, to acquire brown powder, melt it into water and inject it. To feed my demon.

The demon hands hold my heart in frozen time of no feelings,

no sadness, no joy. I am controlled by this entity. I have no

choices.

It’s funny though. I’ve loved this gear for years now, always

seen it as my savior from an unbearable madness, that consumed me before.

But in this moment I have realized. My heart is sunk, my illusion shattered and I’m in a dark hole.

But eventually, after I dig around a while in broken skin, I find that vein after clogging up the needle twice with congealed blood and having to put it in a new syringe.

And I shoot home to peace and comfort, ah that’s better.

It hits me in the back of my head, the warmth spreading, like

bliss.

A little dose of heaven, it feels like God is giving me a

cuddle. Nothing fucking matters. Free from pain, I smoke a cigarette and lie back.

Some time passes by and there’s a knock at the door.

Fucking hell, I just want peace. I just want to be left alone to float around

inside with my demon.

It’s an old friend. I let him in,

“Sit down, make yourself at home. I’m ganna lie down for an

hour and then we can talk.”

How fucking rude, but I don’t care. This quiet in my mind is

what it’s all about for me, nothing else matters.

This is the day I realize. The day that I know I’m going to stop.

I never really wanted to stop before. Tried to a few times, but

didn’t really want to. But now, now I know that I am a slave and

that just don’t seem right to me.

I’m not that weak. I remember my inner strength. I’ve survived

things that most people don’t, against all odds, mind over

matter.

In fact, I am powerful, in my own way.

More powerful than a bit of fuckin’ brown powder.

More powerful than this demon!

I’m in here somewhere. Somewhere deep inside this wrecked

body it’s still me.

I decide that I have had enough. I’m going to get clean, change

my life. But not yet.

I don’t know this now but it will be more than a year before I

rediscover my power and defeat this demon.

I’m not ready.

Not yet.

***

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***Rob True was born in London 1971. He left school with no qualifications, dyslexic and mad, in a world he didn’t fit into. He got lost in an abyss, was sectioned twice and spent the best part of a decade on another planet. He returned to earth just in time for the new millennium, found a way to get on in life, married a beautiful girl and lived happily ever after. She taught him how to use paragraphs and punctuation and his writing has been a bit better ever since. Find him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/robjtrue  ***

 

Poetry from – PRERNA BAKSHI

A Tale of Round Rotis

 

Ever Since I was growing up

I was told just how important it was

to cook round rotis.

Perfectly shaped

soft, round rotis.

 

I hated them

for their supposed

‘perfectness’, in a world

full of people

far from perfect

who would judge

a woman’s worth

by her ability to make ’round rotis‘.

 

I hated them

for what they put

countless women through

with women slogging in the kitchen

kneading, rolling dough

making, unmaking, remaking

to escape from being judged.

All for that ever desirable

perfectly shaped round rotis.

 

 

No I don’t like them ’round’.

I like them Tedhi-Medhi. Thank you!

Far from what’s regarded

‘perfect’, I know.

But at least, this way,

they resemble our lives.

The lives of women.

Lives which are

far from perfect.

These imperfect, unsuitable rotis, then

are much more realistic, after all,

don’t you think?

 

Author’s note:I dedicate this poem to the memory of Aniqa, a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan, who was recently killed by her father with the aid of her brother after she failed to make a round roti. http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/13-year-old-girl-killed-as-she-fails-to-make-round-roti/

 

(First appeared in Indiana Voice Journal and then reprinted in Kyoto Journal, Japan)


 

Childhood games

 

I used to like playing games

with little toy guns until

one day, while the elders talked

downstairs, he snuck me into

his room…

My interest in toys ended

that day and with it ended

my childhood, though not

my interest in guns. That grew.

 

(Originally published in Misfit Magazine)


 

Sometimes the simplest words are the hardest to say

 

Does language determine thought?

Or, does thought determine language?

This debate is still not settled.

Still it’s fascinating how quickly

does our language change,

how quickly does it accommodate reality,

as soon as someone dies.

Our tongue, suddenly,

rolls out verbs in past tense

before our mind

could even form thoughts.

It’s as if our tongues have a mind of their own.

 

Sometimes, in the race between

language and thought,

language finds a way

to get ahead.

But not always.

It’s been 11 years since I’ve lost

my sister to blood cancer, and

yet it’s one of the shortest words in

my language, I find

impossible to use.

I guess, I refuse to use.

ਸੀथीthi – Was

(Feminine, singular, past tense)

 

(Originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review)


***

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***Prerna Bakshi is a Sociolinguist, writer, translator and activist of Indian origin, presently based in Macao. Her work has previously been published in over three dozen literary journals and magazines, most recently in Red Wedge Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Kabul Press, Misfit Magazine, Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture and Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. Her full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, recently long-listed for the Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UKis forthcoming from Les Éditions du Zaporogue (Denmark) later this year. She tweets at @bprerna ***

 

Poetry by – DARYLL WILLIAMS

Knockturnal
I heard a tapping last night,
when the house was quiet,
was it,
a dripping faucet?
footsteps in the garden?
windblown branches upon my window?
No,
it was just the clock,
counting the hours,
that I have wasted.

Isixeko/idolobha/Stad/City
 
The city
is a drenching of honey
that seeps into nooks,
like melting bricks of butter.
Pungency twirls,
oversalted like it’s the spice of life,
zesting in galactic purples.
Between the buildings
You hear waves
Crashing of culture
tongues click
eleven ways
and skin swatches range from
blue-black to
pink-white.
The port to history
lies nestled here,
nudged in between the mountain
and metropolis.

RDD
he slurps
from the fountain of youth
and spills
as if it is ever-flowing
a hasty devouring
an inhuman consumption
of a water too heavy for the stomach to bear
which ultimately pours from his body in excruciation
the zenith of wastefulness
pinnacling gluttony
only a man
and his humanity

Diaphoresis
A courtship of stimulation
Garnishes the body
Healing in scrapes of terminal pleasure
Smothered skin washes in red
Convulsing from the sugar rush
A fever
Pools at the dip like a gutter
Sweating fixation

Gaze onto the cold deceitful morning
The blue garden
Dusters its skin
In a cushion of winter sheeting
And the terrarium – brewing syrup,
Sits bathed in sleepy morning light
The terrace doors
Droop from the early hour
Inviting mendacious whispers inside
Of sunrise soaks
Under the maple tree.

“Kanker”
He speaks
Of hurting skin,
And his head pounds
From realisation
The hot wind,
That twirls in from the window,
Sweats an obligation from his cold body
Like the lump they can’t cut
And as he walks ahead
The fluorescent reflects off his bald head,
That drifts down the hallway like a tiny moon.

The straying cat
The straying cat
Only calls for a home
When it rains

***
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Daryll Williams is a 21-year-old born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. He hopes his writing does not persist in distracting him as he enters the last leg of completing his communications degree.
You can find his tweets @Finitelyblogged (https://twitter.com/Finitelyblogged)

 

Synchronicity – by JEN ELLERSON

 

Synchronicity.

 

The suffering hot-end of July 1983. A beige house in a second-rate city was sweating from the inside. Breathing felt like smoking, without a reassuring death-kick. She was trapped inside. It’s like this every year on her birthday.

 

This was her seventh. Dawn sat alone, cross-legged in a sleeveless striped overall, for the obligatory dress-up. Its straps took turns falling down. The acrid carpet beneath her was a dirty green, or grey, or inexplicably both. Her fuzzy blonde curls were short, still Shirley Temple. The melting cake sat in the corner, and no one was there.

 

“It’s the summer. Everyone is away on vacation.”, said her mother, who probably didn’t bother to invite anyone.  When the doorbell finally rang, it was Larissa. Dragged by her own guilt-prodding mother, she was a popular girl at school, who lived around the corner. How inconvenient, for everyone. The girls sat there gazing at the walls and pretended to wait for others to arrive, confident none would.

 

Dawn’s godmother reported in, keeping the adult quota. She brought with her two gifts. Dawn looked at them, not recognising their shape. Their alien square form was not a toy, not a book, not a five dollar bill in a tacky envelope. She opened her first two vinyl LP’s with confused hesitation. These weren’t for her, were they? Records were for big people. As she peeled off the plastic wrapping, she could smell the ink on the fresh cardboard sleeves. Her little hands carefully held the fragile dark masses, each perfect black with mysterious incisions. They felt heavy, and masculine.

 

She used her still-forming phonics to spell out the printed liner notes and lyrics to Larissa, who now embedded herself to the palm under her chin, and didn’t move. She thought Dawn was odd, and was secretly hoping to be walked home as soon as possible. The new Education need not apply.

 

Things didn’t get better, but they had begun. There were to be a tidy sum of beds to lie down and die in. Each one will curve to Dawn’s back as she mouths the escape, song by song, year by year. So much to lonely-learn. A blend of noise warned that her love was an addiction, and the recovery even worse. That the fork in the road will turn into a knife. That nothing would ever cool her blood, or make her sober again. These two even shapes formed an audible window that she could crawl out of, with scraped knees, bruised hands, and a solid howl.

***

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***Jen Ellerson is a Berlin-based Creative Director, Designer, Promoter, DJ and Writer – and not necessarily in that order. Her 2012 publication, “Modern Movement”, is a document of Berlin subculture. She is currently working on a compendium of short stories. To this date, she maintains a perfect sense of trouble.www.jenellerson.com ***

The Value of Edges – by ANA PRUNDARU

 

Many generations attempted to leave the village. Sooner or later though, they returned to their mothers’ warm polenta and cheese dishes, stuffing their mouths to avoid exhaling broken delusions, the ambivalence of growing up to the promise of a promising future, a once potent potential undone. Alina used to curse them for abandoning their roots and now she clenched her fists and called it growing up when friends pointed out the hypocrisy.

Back in the days, Alina’s father used to warn her not to step foot past the edge of town, so naturally, she proceeded to do just that. Aged six, she crossed into the next village and then the next. She decided edges weren’t anymore real than spells and spirits.

That changed when Răzvan snuck Alina in his room ten years later. The Fray was playing on his grandfather’s car radio when their lips brushed in the dark. Răzvan said she smelled like daisies, which was funny because daisies were repulsive to her. She thought his hair smelled like death. A shudder traveled through her, when she found her own edge. On the way home, the stars opened up above, inviting her to spread herself bright and dark.

At the airport, Alina fingered for her plane tickets and passport. Watching the planes land and take off, the realization settled that the village was utterly unreachable. The entire village wanted Alina to make them proud. In a way, her story was the people’s hymn, a clocking battle song spreading hope on a capsizing boat. All she had achieved was earning a scholarship at a Swiss University.

 

 

 

 

She couldn’t decide whether Switzerland was seducing her, or if she was flirting with travel sickness, much less if her Romanian village was ever going to welcome her back. For all she knew, Switzerland was a place people went to retire and die.

Unfamiliar voices crowded around, drifting here and there. None seemed to be from anywhere. During boarding, The Fray’s Wherever this goes started to play and as she arrived at hear seat, Alina closed the window frame, realizing that Irrespective of where she was, she’d never edge out of herself. And just like that, something seduced her, beyond edges and borders.

 


 

***

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***Ana Prundaru is the author of two poetry chapbooks, 1L4S3T (Etched Press, 2015) and Unstable Constellations (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her work appears in SOFTBLOW, Kyoto Journal, CALYX, and 3:AM. She lives in a forest-side home near a zoo in Switzerland and will probably never get used to being awakened by lions’ roars. ***