places where magic may die
by Alfred Booth
I know broken. I’m an expert with glue. Vases. Words re-
quiring separation. Love triangles and the triage after
friends betray trust. Who goes, who stays? Yet broken
souls, like the one mamma crushed with a hair brush, well
that’s another matter. There is no glue. Its magic doesn’t
work. Just words, words, and more words spoken, spit,
sworn as we lie on a shrink’s couch and pour tears into
our wounds hoping the salt will cauterize them one last
time. All I can tell you about the outpouring of tears is that
I welcome their sting, like a hornet’s, like a swig of vodka when
you’ve eaten too much lobster, caviar, or chocolate and your gut
cries “stop”. At holiday time, I totter on the high precipices
above the sea, thinking about that final crash. Its sweet
inebriation. I return every year with the same resolution.
To tie knots in loose threads
by Alfred Booth
Slightly loosened, not yet unraveling. Those thick red threads, an editor’s folly, binding Shakespeare’s Sonnets. I call them My Gutenberg Bible. Grandfather’s copy, to impress other eyes gazing on his bookshelf collection, caressed into life beneath my fingers. Fine linen pages tango with touch. Turn, turn back. Pivot, pirouette. Turn again. Leather. Its cover, crackled, smells new. Real typeset letters, fat and inky, declaim, weep and torment as they leap to grapple with imagination. How bright a sunlit morn through the haze of love. deep evergreen branches bend low a bench where I write wisdom for my son
Alfred Booth is an American professional pianist who lives in France, Alfred Booth folds origami; its patience often inspires poetry. When he not at the piano learning new arcane repertoire to stretch his horizons, he teaches would-be amateur musicians to put enough bread on the table. In the 90s he studied extensively the harpsichord and his millennial project had him able to play Bach on the cello; this latter duo waits for his retirement years. Currently he has an 82-poem volume journaling a recent dance with cancer and an 34-poem chapbook of ghazals looking for a homes in the professional world of rhyme. A large handful of his poetry can be found in the e-zines Dead Snakes, I am not a silent poet and Spring Fling. He keeps an online portfolio at: https://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/troubadour. .
By Mike McNamara
Drawn, moth to moon I fell, down to the fermenting Newfoundout,
that fabulous, infamous refuge, tugging in awe
at sodden sleeves of thieves and anthropomorphous mounds of drought.
Idealistically, in each ascetical, grim face I saw
non-attachment, secret masters, stoics bearing bravely existentialist distress
with humble, stumbling steps, routing worldly poverty through rank integrity.
All lost within the sawdust strewn cidered wilderness
where faeces, phlegm and violence were doled out uncharitably,
dispensed in that sanctuary where vomit flavoured lungs
cursed and vowed, dreaming aloud in raucous, rambling tongues.
In departmental stores, jaded housewives with highlighted hair sipped cappuccino
from china cups or scrutinized aisle and rail for colourful placebos,
aching with denied desire for self-forgetting liberty,
like playground children spinning to a pitch transcending egos.
While under a hazy, pomaceous glow aligned with drug tinged tolerance
two consumer subcultures combined
in perverse addictive drives to fill the empty distance.
In bright eyed naivety I dragged each guttered, burnt out mind
into the blinding light of shining Sunday streets I knew,
uncomprehending protests of so many at so few.
Fleeced and sheepish, shifting weight, legless drifters, lame
passed over lambs inpatient florin files,
before a no-change, two bob bottled Dionysus they came,
rancid shirts, odd, battered shoes and crooked smiles,
eschewing changing fashions, broken free from common thought.
Among this diaspora I would stage my misplaced quest
for an iconoclastic sage, a displaced Daedlus sought
by a tabid Icarus. Ask of cloth clad bones possessed
of two ounce tins and dead men’s coats for heresy and esoteric eloquence,
no lasting truths are learned to justify a man’s life long existence.
Mike McNamara was born in Northern Ireland but is lives in S. Wales. He has had a collection of poetry ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ published by Grevatt and Grevatt in 1997. Mike is lead singer with Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band. His poetry has been published in Envoi, Orbis, Tears in the Fence, New Welsh Review, The Dawntreader, etc. Mike also had a selection of poems published in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003 > > > >
Prayer for an amazing wretch
By Andrew Lawson <
I was going blind
by my hypocrisy
stumbling and tripping
over the fragments
of a guilty conscience
I could never become pure again
like a small child
bathed in white light
reciting bedtime prayers
I had witnessed too much
held a smoking gun
harbored bad thoughts
in the dark crawl space
of a red beating heart
when the smoke cleared
I found both churches
stain glass fragments
lay at my feet
both churches had failed me
in some way
Andrew Lawson hails from Connecticut USA
he pens song lyrics, poetry, children stories and ghost
and an eclectic mishmash