Candyfloss tears

There were four lights I could make out
through the burn of night,
the neon letters smeared across the acrylic sky,
fatigued bulbs spelling out a name.

I watched a bike share our journey,
pn its wheel, reflector turned into
roman candle.
Then, it swerved;
            a crayon wedged in spokes
                        before a heat melted the wax
                                    into such a handsome, blushing cerise.
Then,
candyfloss tears jolted down the windscreen,
and moved on;
caressing the chassis,
kissing the gloss of petrol
lying, sentinel in the pothole.

Scott Lilley is an English, Creative Writing and Practice student at Lancaster University. Although his work is previously unpublished he was shortlisted for the Staffordshire Young Poet Laureate in 2015 and has performed his poetry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Wenlock Poetry Festival.

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Yours

You own a house, I rent a council flat.
Mostly we stay together round at yours,
Cos you have a dog to walk and I do not.
(That bloody dog once got me in its jaws:
If I’d jaws like a dog’s I’d have had its throat:
That would’ve been an end of scooping spoors.)

So mostly we’re at yours. I prefer mine.
What you call oppressive I find rinky-dink:
The lounge convivial enough with a glass of wine,
The walls warm gold, the light shade a soft pink,
And bed close by for easing out your spine
After a hard day, once you’ve tipped off your drink.

No back doors, kitchen doors, to lock; no dog
To navigate battening down each room;
No stairs, each thin step croaking like a frog
So that you fear McCartney’s in the gloom
Brandishing an album or a log
To bash you with, either being doom.

No garden, swaying nettles, braying bramble,
Tugging at your hipsters when you venture
Out to finally take it on. You gamble –
Since your neighbours both think you’re a spinster –
They’ll not be out there waiting, or back you scramble,
Their heads on fences scaring you like censure.

No, any day give me the rest a flat provides,
All compact, and nothing falling apart.
Spaciousness deludes: tables wide
As doorways, clocks, bookcases, soon thwart
The journeyer – the dining-room espied,
He can’t back out of it without a chart.

Because of a commitment I made gladly
Before I knew your house, that to hike through
Daily, tripping, tramping, turning, would badly
Affect me, I stay more often than I’d like to.
To you, it’s paradise. It addles me.
I tried, and failed, to stuff all this in a haiku.

David McLintock currently lives in the Northwest of England in the attic of a very old house from where he can stare out the skylight at the clouds and stars. He has been published in various online and print magazines over the years, but only now is he trying to be more serious about getting things done in a more disciplined manner. He is a sucker for buying musical instruments, from melodica to kalimba, glockenspiel to ukelele to shruti box. He believes one day he will be a maestro on them all.

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Leaving the Motorway

She asks one last question.
They walk up the stairs.

He finally stops near a
construction shed. Call me

if you need help. She had
not been ill, that much was

clear. Nor had she acted poli-
tically although a complaint

against her had once been
made. It was in the archives.

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland, Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over forty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent book is random salamanders, a Wanton Text Production.

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water weight…

water weight
how much you had to
lose

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California’s Central Valley and co-edits One Sentence Poems.

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Sleeptalker

By day it’s exercised to death; a tongue wagged
for all it’s worth like the tail of a restless dog.

By night it guards your side of the bed, chews
bones of your thoughts, barks staccato snores.

Through wafer-thin sheets of sleep come
threats that turn pitch-black bedroom air blue.

On nights like these I lie floored, victim
to volleys of punched words; that might be funny –
if they weren’t so near the knuckle.

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Clear Poetry, Prole, Eunoia Review, The Open Mouse, Amaryllis, The Lampeter Review, Scrittura Magazine, Anapest, Reach Poetry, Rat’s Ass Review, Foxglove Journal and many others. His blog is https://waringwords.wordpress.com.

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A Big Something and Nothing

Arms of grief took time
to let go, enough for her
to see clearly what remained:
accumulated dust of days;
dried, dead skin of the past.

That morning’s first glimpse;
awareness that dogs still
look at you with the same
eyes, birds sing and tides
breathe: it’s what they do.

Then, the realisation: nothing
waits while you stare
at walls, windows, await
the key in the door, footsteps,
the voice no longer there;

knowing, it’s just you –
and new skin, waiting
to close over death
and say goodbye to a big
something, and nothing.

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Clear Poetry, Prole, Eunoia Review, The Open Mouse, Amaryllis, The Lampeter Review, Scrittura Magazine, Anapest, Reach Poetry, Rat’s Ass Review, Foxglove Journal and many others. His blog is https://waringwords.wordpress.com.

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Ubermensch

Between shootings the self-selected small-s superman
taxies paying passengers, weapon cooling in the vehicle.
Fares make the small-talk with him. One hears “killer at large,”
on the radio, asks the driver, you the psycho terrorizing town?
The first rule of Senseless Killers Club: you don’t discuss it.
The small-s superman plucks riders from their doorsteps, drops them
where they’re going, as if it’s a normal afternoon then evening.
He breaks for supper with his wife and kids, before gunning down
more wives and kids of strangers at convenient area locations.
The ubermensch will pick one up or without hesitation pick one off
anywhere around Kalamazoo. This one in the wrong place erased,
that one conveyed to her destination safely. The random form of evil,
the worst to anticipate. It’s on shift until they catch him,
something that looks like a human being but isn’t human,
earning cash he won’t be free to spend,
playing God and paring down the herd.

Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Poetry Competition (2016), the National Writers Series Poetry Contest (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Contest (2015). His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in The Drabble, Peacock Journal, and Vending Machine Press. Mercer and his new bride Michaeleen Kelly recently made their motion picture acting debuts in Return of the Scarecrow.

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