Issue 23 December 2019


Editor’s comments

Home sweet home! There is something very satisfying about coming back home after an absence. So open the door, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy reading this selection of poems on a much loved theme.

Sally Long



The television hums with data, like insects,
The Weather Channel I think, a commercial
for Goodyear Tires.  I’m in another room.
The children come and go, yelping, cooing.
They draw pictures on their pad of paper
on the floor.  My screen saver flickers
with shooting stars, a sweet sitar
trickling from the CD.  A siren screams outside.
Our furnace clicks and roars through the ducts.
The house groans on its foundation.
My wife sits somewhere reading Lord of the Flies.
I forgot to turn off the air conditioner upstairs,
my mid-winter white noise.
A cricket has squeezed into the room
and buzzes softly in some secret corner.
I wait in this fulness for a sign.
Fused to my swivel chair, I chant oh-hum
with Ravi and the sacred singers. 
The girls giggle and chant as well,
then scamper away for some cartoons.
A ghost train wails in the distance.
Heraclitus was wrong.  The river has frozen solid.
My heavy heel can hardly crack its surface.
I remove my glasses to see flames
envelop the room, consume my flesh.
This fire smells like dove’s breath.
The moment dissolves, a mountain of silt.
I pick up the three-billion-year-old rock
on a shelf and touch it to my tongue.
A tiny white spider scurries up my arm,
stops, rears up on two almost invisible feet
as if to proclaim not only its own improbability
yet that of all things.  Yet here we are
safe, home, rooted in the universe like dreams.

Louis Gallo

East Preston beach

As I visit homes emptied long ago
I find no blistered anchors tethering me.
Only a tugging from my childhood hand,
as we walk across a chalk downland
scattering petals that leave no trace.

And on a beach of rounded flints
stained with ochres fading into grey sea
– a place so desolate to me
when I felt my life had died aged eight,
my sleeve and spit softly wipe the slate.

Hélène Demetriades

That Summer Light

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped…
—Joshua 10:13

Like Joshua, I would stall this falling sun,
call up more troops to seize the afternoon,
outflank the ranks of time to make it turn,
then overrun the surf, arrest the moon.
Suspended in my charge through this tableau,
I see all blades up sharply, in their prime,
and know I’ll have my officers laid low,
the stalwart roses all shot down by time.
But Joshua was in battle. I’m at home,
waving the tiny pistol of my hose.
I watch my ammo shatter in the breeze
as long platoons of shadows leave the trees,
so quietly advancing. What they know
is, I’ll retire soon—and I am calm.

Dan Overgaard


Badger arrives home from work,
fixes a drink, watches the news.
When his wife gets in, they eat,
swapping notes from their days.
“Did you see…” she says “… between
the wood and here, that human
by the verge? An awful mess,
poor thing, one arm outstretched,
its hand curled like a claw.”

“Fox told me yesterday…” he replies
“…that they run down the street
in front of him as he walks home.
They live along the railway tracks,
or on disused bits of land. Raid bins
and shout all through the night.
They’ll bite if you get too close,
but their young ones are so cute.”

“D’you remember…” she says with a smile,
“…the ‘Wild Man’ poem we did at school?
How the creature waited in the dark,
in the frost, then crept into the garden,
sniffing the air, staring round, unsure.
Almost as if the place was somewhere
it had known before, something it had lost?”

Craig Dobson

A Backward Look

Her name wasn’t important
to the story only that she was a wife

who disobeyed and looked back
at her home one last time

for it was a punishment story to keep
women in their place,

thwart curiosity, head off
disobedience.  Still it was home

to her and home is where
you will always look back at

in your mind.  Like the home
I’ve dreamed about every night

for over seventy years, the home
I was taken from at two.  Then

Too young to know enough
to take a backward glance

at whoever was there
hiding behind a window shade

Sarah Brown Weitzman


Most of the time we have no company
besides ourselves, and that is fine with us.
Now older, we are disinclined to fuss
about impressing anyone. We see
dust fall, wipe it away eventually.
It falls again, gives little stimulus
for ready action. Island life is thus
a long vacation from efficiency.

We let the nicer glassware get opaque,
the sterling silver tarnish. We permit
some sand inside, allow a residue
of salt or soap wherever. Still, I make
the bed each day for custom’s benefit.
You marvel at the ocean’s changing hue.

Jane Blanchard

My Scheme

I am looking
to invest
in real estate

if you are
willing to work

in your country
I wait
for a response

best regards
for more

Ben Nardolilli

Give Us This Day

My aunt kept prayers in glass jars by the sink.
She could be scrubbing a pan and reach into the space
by the window, and grab God right there from under
the neighbors nose.
She would put paper notes about Jesus into my lunch bag, 
rolled him up tight in cellophane with the tuna on rye.
My uncle kept all the disciples in his glove compartment.
I saw them when he pushed them around looking for something
when that cop stopped him near the Belt Parkway.
He was tossing them like confetti, 
muttering under his breath.
None of my cousins kept spirits in their rooms or wore 
crosses around their necks.
Maybe the giant portrait of the Holy Mother with the traveling eyes, 
was enough for all of them.
Was certainly enough for me.  

Amy Soricelli

This house is breathing
ribs push out; diaphragm contracts
flattens and presses down
abdomen expand, heart rate increases
cracks appear in  the  walls.
words   float out    poems   stories   bible readings   prayers
pound  signs curl out from the chimney
energy crackles        the walls break apart

lips and breasts are pressing the windows out

in the kitchen a woman filled with love and stories
spreads out a table covered in gorgeous cloth
she dresses her children
                                            in garments made from love and skill
she treadles out her discontent

three children all dedicated to God

                                    the eldest has almost broken free
                                    he makes no concessions to their care
                                    he’ll soon be gone.
he won’t  look back

                                   two little girls
                                   temporarily conjoined create imaginary worlds
                                   for now, they have each other, and are content

upstairs a man prays beside his bed
a Bible in one hand 
on the other a boxing glove.
‘Onto thee O Lord, I commend these little ones.
May he be like Samuel O lord.”
Tears roll down his face.

‘Never, never, never,’ reverberates

The breathing starts to slow
 for now the house is calm.

Judith Russell

The House that Moved

Told moving house a major stress,
but where the emphasis?
My relocation, focal site,
transferring home from house.
The change was of my fixed mind-set,
with salt drips reaching tongue,
half-empty cup now overflows,
I feel it in my bowels.

Never chessboard gambit, clever,
nor shift, a change of gear,
timely initiating - but
fresh rhyme, new paradigm.
Stone lintel long-divorced from wall,
each hang had its own song,
put-up-with hatch that I moaned, now
anointed without oil.

The tin bath is my jacuzzi,
gas ring my Aga range,
my outhouse mangle, laundromat,
sea shanties I sing there.
Before door shaped the bell lost flex - 
but like the clapper swing;
beneath, the scraper where I tread,
soiled boots swop for my soul.

Still sat, I stare through the pained glass,
cracked, garden, easy whin,
built on dolerite foundation,
now this my box on sill.
Kites pennant, hawks stoop, thermals swoop,
vigilante cloud patrol,
while even storm petrel coastguards
serve lookout for my byer.

Stephen Kingsnorth


Unable to sleep again, I stand
under our kitchen’s neon.  
The fridge at intervals rethinks its life.
I heat a pan, pour, sip a cup of milk and stare
into the window’s mirror; did you ever,

at three o’clock and four o’clock,
those dragon-angled stations in the night,  
while nursing something warm
to comfort what’s inside,
and only your war face grimacing back?

The cat pads in like rain at its business.
I didn’t change a thing, you know,
have kept this house as faithful as the toc
of a family clock.

Miles Larmour

Keeping House

Reduce it to the lowest common denominator and you’re left with food:  
boxes of cereal, bags of oatmeal, pasta, and bread in the pantry,
apples, oranges, pomegranates in the fruit basket,
lettuce, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes at hand,
cheese, ground turkey, steak in the meat drawer
leftovers piled in containers haphazardly beside the milk carton

And preparation, together-- cutting boards with diced tomatoes,
my mandolin slicing paper-thin onions, 
your paring knife taking on the mushrooms.
It’s pizza dough rising, muffins made from scratch
our coffee cups side by side in the morning
our wine glasses at dinner, our water glasses at bed.
It’s you and me and what we create and consume,
not so much the where of it.

William Lennertz


If you chance to try my door and it’s locked, a trellis of moonlight ghosting its panels, there isn’t a secret woman here, just a Barbie Doll, a blonde joke in a vase on my desk over which I could shed silent tears of loss, mind amok, lost faces hovering, trying to live on, an outcast marooned here listening to soft sounds of wind in the eaves; it doesn’t mean I don’t love you or want to talk anymore, I might be stuck in the flawed past, that bedsitter smell of sausages, loneliness, booze and betrayal, future unimagined; or reading Bukowski whose whimsy makes me laugh but my throat constricts with heartache the French call ‘tristesse’, a sensuous word sounding like lassies’ tresses I loved, me still not so bald as my car’s tyres, distant background hum of these fading, the hour late as you approach uncertain, light from a single lamp leaching through my door’s cracks, night’s near-silence a haven where so many fraught years are gradually forgotten.

Ian C Smith

Throwing Practice

The shot should rest on the base of the fingers never the palm
and then be placed in the hollow of the neck in front of the ear.
The first time, she threw a bottle of aspirin
Boots the Chemists dispensary, London Bridge Station 1953,
it missed his head by an inch.

A linear technique is best to start, remember to keep the elbow high,
eyes to the ceiling and punch the shot away from the neck.
The second time it was a frying pan in the kitchen,
the oil stains on his shirt never washed out,
he wore it for gardening.

The recovery phase is important, eyes should always follow the delivery
and you may not leave the throwing circle until the shot has landed.
He lost count in the end but every time
I stood by the kitchen door I could feel the knife marks
in the wood.

Ilse Pedler

Lost House

My house isn’t where
I left it.  At least

not the same house.
The attic’s been broken into

two rooms, a wall, and through that
one whole world is gone;

to them that wall was in the way,
small kids,

no money left to add on more.
I was grateful they let me look,

though it hurt to look,
to remember,

to not remember.  All of it
hurt, just about, the only thing

I danced over:  the fact that it was there
at all, the kindness of a woman

who didn’t know me, took my word
that she was living in my past,

and let me look back.
Some say it ruins you

to scout around like that, but still
I do my two-step with my now and then,

trying to be fair to both of them,
knowing one must disregard the hour

and stay awake,
watching the other make a big mistake.

Laynie Tzena

The Fog

You had the film on VHS and we watched it
More times than I can remember. Me, a kid,
Hiding underneath your coat as the undead
Broke into the lighthouse to catch the girl
And you groaning loudly from somewhere
At the back of the darkened living room
Pretending to be Captain Blake resurrected.   

                           That night when we walked
Over to the chip shop, across the rugby field,
And we found ourselves shrouded by rising mist
Was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss;
You, banging on the living room window
Scaring Vicky half to death, and me laughing
So hard that I cried.

                       I can’t tell you how many nights
I’ve stood since then, looking out into the fog,
Watching the shadows flit, deepen, disperse.
Hoping beyond hope that you would reform
Before me, to scare me out of these reveries.
To be something more substantial than a ghost.

Colin Bancroft


My mother always stood at the edges of rooms,  
buttoned into silence.  
We settled on not speaking.  

After I'd left home, it was easier to write.  
She seldom wrote back  
but once sent me her childhood book –  
The Months in Picture and Poem.  

I loved the tinted illustrations,  
deep yellow lines of worn Sellotape
and smooth pages smelling of age.  

Each season – pit-patted across  
lawny solitudes, now here, now there,
stars to rise, and set, and rise,
a thousand wishes passing.

Inside, all the words she'd denied me,
all the words.

Belinda Rimmer

The mangoes of my childhood fell from trees

At noon we stopped beside the river,
where forbidden water oozed
beneath the steel rainbow of the bridge.
Heat fractured the air, dissolved
the sandbanks, burned
the soles of our feet. Trees,
upended by the hyena’s rage,
groped for sustenance from the sky.
There were no ghosts yet; but carcases
of ants, discarded like old names,
marked rims of craters in the sand.

Beyond the bridge, the road bore north
and, suddenly, there were mangoes. 
They plopped to the ground, bursting
like Nyakuyimba’s head to form
rivulets of yellow in the dust.
We plundered the roadside, not heeding
the grey lourie’s call – go away,
go away
 – until time overtook us

and we drove on, to where the earth
leaks scalding water.  We floated
with our bounty in the pools
and ate exuberantly,
peeling the turpentine skins,
sucking flesh from fibrous pips
as juice ran down our chins.

That evening, we lit kerosene lamps
in imitation of the stars.
We talked about infinity
as moths bruised their wings 
against the glass, mosquitoes 
whined around our heads
and the night croaked.

Now I buy mangoes neatly packaged,
ripe and ready. I slice away
the skin to expose the flesh
beneath. No bird sings.

Marian Christie

The Monks

The river is high these early hours, 
a fine mist reminding us of the Ghost. 
Someone coughs inside a distant cell, 
someone chants matins, somewhere
a renegade brother brews beer.
Reports of plague illuminate our books,
while the sandstone walls weep 
like open wounds. Young friars 
play football amongst bean canes
and wild garlic, daydream of sun
on white fences, earthly mores.  
The kitchen holds the methane stink 
of saddled hare, of vinegar and onion 
from the evening's salmagundi. 
Letters offer greetings and sachets
containing a gift of tomato seeds,
though the vines struggle in cold air,
wither, and leave the green fruit sour. 
Too long occupied by a place 
and you lose yourself to the ideal, 
like a last kiss before you took orders, 
like God. Talk haunts our cloisters, 
the nuances of a line, a song, 
a pedantic point authored by some fool, 
drunk while writing it, long dead. 
Still, no one talks of Brother A., 
exiled for many years, or of the abbot 
who drank too much, and once 
aimed a jet of piss into his mouth, 
praising it as God's Draught. Mistakes 
like these, consign one to the scrappy life
of the poor souls beyond the walls.
They breed in ordure and cold rain, 
although their tongues are fertile 
and offer us more troubling surprises.

Daniel Bennett

Terrace, Manchester, 1989

Just simple geometry. Above the boarding
stand the slateless roof, smashed dormers
and upper storeys lit by winter overcast
slanting through fallen floors. You must peek
through gaps to see the downstairs casements
secured against intruders, rusting downpipes
embossed on inverted parabolas of green
and curve-worn sandstones leading down
from flaking doors. No heirs remain of those
whose carriages and pairs once clattered
over the cobbles of this gas-lit street – the last
impoverished tenants have been moved out. 
Wood and wire now guard this gutted row,
pending redevelopment. Hoardings nearby,
angled to stop the wheeling eye, display
the sleek box of a video game, and black
capital bold assuring a worthwhile R£TURN
on your investment. BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE
states an obverse that, heading eastward,
drivers have little chance to read.

Mantz Yorke

Overcooked Chicken

Sorry darling I overcooked the chicken again
you wouldn’t say anything but your eyes
betray disappointment.

We sit each evening to eat in spousal silence
punctuated only by the 6:45 from St. Croix flying

I’m at it now without you
awaiting the consolation of the 6:45
the chicken overcooked again.

Peter W. Yaremko

fragrant breeze
path lined with white jasmines -
bliss of walking home

Dinesh Shihantha De Silva


Colin Bancroft is currently studying for a PhD on the Eco-Poetics of Robert Frost under the supervision of poet Hugh Dunkerley.  He was the winner of the 2016 Poets and Players Prize and was the regional winner in the Picador ‘Shore to Shore’ competition.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including Blackbox ManifoldStructo and The Stinging Fly. His chapbook Arboreal Days was published by Red Ceilings Press, and his first collection West South North, North South East is now available from The High Window. 

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia.  Her poetry has appeared previously in Allegro and recently in Blue Unicorn, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and Two Thirds North.  Her third collection, After Before, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.

Sarah Brown Weitzman, a past National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and Pushcart Prize nominee, is widely published in hundreds of journals and anthologies including New Ohio Review, North American Review, Verse Daily, Rattle, Mid-American Review, Poet Lore, Miramar, Spillway and elsewhere.  Her books are available from Amazon and Main Street Rag Publishing Co.

Marian Christie, originally from Zimbabwe, now lives in Kent, where she is in the process of completing a Master’s degree in creative writing. When not writing or reading poetry she looks at the stars, puzzles over the laws of physics, listens to birdsong and crochets gifts for her grandchildren.

Hélène Demetriades is a practising transpersonal psychotherapist, and lives in South Devon with her family.  This year she is in the anthologies For the Silent, (League Against Cruel Sports), and  Play.  She has been published online and in print in a number of magazines, including Allegro, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Curlew, Anima, and Sarasvati.  One of her poems was recently highly commended in the international Marsden the Poetry Village competition, judged by poet Patience Agbabi.

Dinesh Shihantha De Silva is a published author (of creative books like The Big Grudge, Modern Day Fairytales and flash fiction (It's Coming Home) and also a published poet (haiku, senryu) from Sri Lanka. Other hobbies include chess, soccer and music. Full details about the published works at "See Your About Info" on:

Craig Dobson's been published in Acumen, Agenda, Allegro, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Crannóg, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The London Magazine, Magma, Neon, New Welsh Review, The North, Orbis, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prole, Stand, The Poetry Village, The Rialto, Under The Radar and Southword.

Louis Gallo
was born in New Orleans and now teaches at Radford University in Virginia.  His forthcoming volumes of poetry are Archaeology (Kelsay) and Crash and Clearing the Attic (Adelaide Books).

Stephen Kingsnorth, 67, is retired from ministry in the Methodist Church and living in north Wales.  He has had pieces accepted for publication by Nine Muses Poetry; Voices Poetry Blog; Eunoia Review; Runcible Spoon; Ink Sweat and Tears; The Poetry Village; Gold Dust Magazine and The Seventh Quarry.

Miles Larmour lives in Warwickshire. In the past, he has appeared in Envoi, Obsessed With Pipework, Orbis, Poetry Express and Poetry Wales. Most recently, he has appeared in The Cannon’s Mouth, Dream Catcher, and, again, in Orbis.

William Lennertz has many interests--painting, mountain biking, gardening, banjos, and ukuleles  He has a BA in English from California State University, Long Beach and an MFA from George Mason University.   His poems appeared in Allegro Issues 1 and 2. He lives a quiet life in California with his wife Randee. 

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Local Train Magazine, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is trying to publish a novel.

Dan Overgaard, a third culture kid, was born and raised in Thailand. He attended Westmont College, dropped out, moved to Seattle, became a transit operator, then managed transit technology projects and programs. He’s now retired and catching up on reading. His poems have appeared in Light and Third Wednesday.

Ilse Pedler’s pamphlet, The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels, won the 2015 Mslexia Pamphlet competition. She is the poet in residence at Sidmouth Folk Festival and works as a veterinary surgeon in Saffron Walden.

Belinda Rimmer's poems are widely published in print and on-line journals. In 2018, she came second in the Ambit Poetry Competition. Recently, she was joint runner-up in the Stanza Poetry Competition. She is also joint winner of the Indigo-First Pamphlet Competition, 2018, with her pamphlet, Touching Sharks in Monaco.

Judith Russell began writing poetry almost 2 years ago when she was seventy. She studied online at The National Writing Centre,Norwich with Liz Berry and Helen Ivory and is now working with Roselle Angouin ’s ‘Elements of Poetry.’ She has recently had one poem accepted for publication in Allegro Poetry online magazine. She lives between Leeds and York with her husband and dog. She teaches Pilates as a retirement career. Writing poetry feeds her life-long love of Literature. She taught English for 33 years. 

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Amy Soricelli
has been in the field of career education and staffing for over 30 years.  A lifelong Bronx resident, she has been  published in Grub Street, Camelsaloon, Versewrights, The Starving Artist, Picayune Press, Deadsnakes, Corvus review, Deadbeats, Cantos, Poetrybay, The Blue Hour Magazine, Empty Mirror, Turbulence magazine, Bloodsugar Poetry, Little Rose magazine, The Caper Journal, CrossBronx, Long Island Quarterly, Blind Vigil Review, Isacoustic, Poetry Pacific, Underfoot, Picaroon Poetry, Vita Brevis, Voice of Eve, Uppagus, The Long Islander, The Pangolin Review,  Plum Tree Tavern, Red Queen Literary Magazine, Terse Journal. Ethel5, Stirring Literary Collection, Thirty West, Remington Review, as well as several anthologies.

Laynie Tzena
is a writer, performer, and visual artist based in San Francisco.  Selected publications: Ascent, BayouEventMichigan Quarterly Review, Rabbit, Sonora ReviewZone 3.  She received an Avery Hopwood Award in Poetry.  Tzena has been featured at the Austin International Poetry Festival and on Michigan Public Radio.
Peter W. Yaremko has taught college and corporate writing classes and is author of three non-fiction books, A Light from Within, Saints and Poets, Maybe, and Fat Guy in a Fat Boat; and a novel, Billy of the Tulips. His poetry has appeared in Dual Coast Magazine and Poetry Quarterly.

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.