Paul Sladky

The Day John Lennon Died

We spent the afternoon making love
on Flannery O’Connor’s bed,
ambling through the spring-fed pond
in the upstairs history of the world,
the crutches leaning on the bookcase
in the shadows of the green and purple hat,
and both of us wearing all our clothes

Somehow we managed to steer clear
of that forbidden providence,
except the brief moment I passed my shoe 
to you across the table 
and our thumbs paused, 
as if to understand the thirty years
we would not let ourselves transcend

John Lennon might have written in a song,
had he lived,
for Flannery, 
had she,
that speed can trip a cautious pony,
that water feels fast but rises slow,
that the gatekeeper, even if you lose the key,
will still grant entry to the willing

And Flannery, for John, might have written 
a cathedral for squandered love 
where on your knees 
you can lose yourself on the river
in order to find yourself,
no matter how fast the water’s rising,
in the mystery of another mind

John and Flannery,
not Yoko, 
standing naked on that cover 
holding hands, 
as our uncloaked bodies
rise from the shadows of 
the green and purple hat 
to converge


I have graduate degrees in linguistics and creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin and have been a Working Scholar at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. I published one story in Beloit Fiction Journal, and, after life’s uncooperative interventions, am now just setting out to publish my work.

Ada Pelonia


you ask,
why can’t people love me,
like me for who i am,
understand me the way
i do to others,
listen to what i say,
support me for the very least,
see my relevance,
& appreciate me?

someone says,
i’m here,
i’ll listen to what you have
buried in your heart /or
in your mind/
i’ll embrace you,
see past your flaws or
the names they’ve plastered
on your body,
just go near &
feel my warmth

despite the need,
regardless of how much
you want it,
“no, not you”


Ada Pelonia is a writer from the Philippines. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Royal Rose Magazine, The Brown Orient, Pulp Poets Press, and elsewhere. You may check some of her works on or her Twitter @_adawrites.  

Beth McCallum


you slice onions in the kitchen

shoulder up against another girl’s

you laugh through wet eyes

when i enter the room, you turn

and fill me in.

the knife glides through the papery shell

claps off the cutting board

lifts, squirts down again, breaks apart the vegetable.

my eyes are dry

my laugh contained

my shoulders lonely

i watch her watch you and i watch you watch me

“pass me the potatoes”

“sure,” i say. when i turn to get them

she slips a word into your ear

a word i’ll never hear

but you bite your lip and bow your

crazy little brown-haired head

your ears flare red.

i tumble the potatoes across the cutting board

say something i think sounds funny

she doesn’t crack a smile

you fake a laugh

when i sigh and leave the room

hoping you’ll watch me go, like always

you don’t.

your eyes are on her hands

your knife cuts again

your shoulders graze hers


Beth McCallum is a Scottish writer, book blogger and candle maker. She is currently seeking representation for her debut novel, a sci-fi dystopian thriller. In her free time, she drinks tea, walks her dog and competitively plays board games.

James Croal Jackson

Airport Protest in a Crumbling America

We march through the airport in cold winds chanting
aluminum fists in the air and when we come home

the Fireball bottle is empty. The chimney is covered
in dust and Johnny has pneumonia for the second time

this year, lungs filled with water but no one else
breathes easily, just tuning into television fills a room

with coughs and silence. We had wings for a minute
but the planes have resumed their spots in the air far

away from the things that hurt. Just gazing down on
wide landscapes of gray plains and small churches

crumbling from the steeples.


cartoons were a kind of Bible
inside the music a gala
of fleeting buzzing bells

I’m distracted
in my present

looking at the world
from the periphery of wine
glasses stashes of

gutted fabrics worn
I swore I said

I’d wait for you
I’m sorry I’m

ten years too late
for the wedding
I euthanized

lips I sipped
from goblets
the weight

on the tray
I could not


James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Jenny, *82 Review, and Reservoir. He edits The Mantle ( Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (

James Roberts


Lift leaf
with fingertip.
Fill, roll, lick.

Then flick, click
teeth and flint

Flame bobs, quivers

Both held, one desires
the other
touch it.

So in turn, paper singes
For a second first.
Then burns.

Spark, crackle
paper crisped.

Purse lips
pull deep
and the long exhale.

You’re held,
For that moment.

Bus Ride in December

Red dot needles.
of masts
on moortops.

Rolls of orange
pinprick glints
that stop
and leave clear space.

Before the barren rise
night’s dark
devours the hill line,
the details.

Aside of streetlamps
and the blinked
warning lights,
only the horizon

above urban glow,
which tricks life aviary
into belief that it is day,
offers navigation.

I don’t need it, though.
as the bus coasts.
I’m not knee deep in mud
compass handed

but sat silently
relaxed, nib scratching.
The driver knows
where to go.


James Roberts is a poet from Bradford. He’s spent the last two years working on longer writing projects about Catalonia and events in the Calais border zone, but also enjoys writing short, simple pieces. As well as Peeking Cat he has previously been published in Anti Heroin Chic and Route 57.

Foy Timms

The Indoor Winter

He disappears behind the unspent rubble of the day
and a dimmed window.
Fits his neck along a wooden panel
and waits without waiting.
He leans forward with his green eyes,
swerving past morningrise and the slow wolf patterns of his thoughts.
An indoor winter collects faces at the bar,
ignoring his soon-to-be father eyes.
The long brides take shape at the bottom of the glass,
across the aisles of his years.
The long brides linger and then retreat.
He stares like a stabbed man
at the casualties which falter against the loneliness of the snow.


Foy Timms is a poet and writer based in Reading, Berkshire. She also works as a Fundraiser in the Third Sector.

Christopher John Eggett


Christopher John Eggett is a writer from Cambridgeshire trying to live close to water. His work has appeared in Bone & InkVisual Verse and Burning House Press. He writes a literary newsletter, Etch To Their Own, every Friday and he’d love you to sign up to it. He tweets as @CJEggett – mostly about nice books he has bumped into on his doorstep.

Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah

At Heaven’s Gate: This is The Story We Harvest.

my mother’s eyes are not hers
i’m told they belong to babel
she’s holding her tears in an hour glass
she is wondering if this was the hour
the lord said he was going to come

a man set before the fusillade
a man brought before the law court
he says his palms are clean
if they cannot see through his heart
he says his eyes are watery
if they cannot read its blissfield

/& many of these stories
/wrestle their tears out
/as headlines to the guilt
/we harvest in our homelands

This Was How Your Mother too Traveled.

This was how we made it to the
moon. Bearing a dead rose
In our shivering palms// holding
Another body in the sheen of tears

We do not ask for mundane
inscriptions on muted walls;
A cluster of God’s benediction
In a Crimsoned Rosary . . .

My mother would die soon
/& how soon her name too shall depart
From these lips troubles my soul

A prayer said at sunset
in an olive garden,
A wild whisper left roaming at twilight —
/& Yet, this body too aches . . .


Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah is a Ghanaian Smartphone Enthusiast //& Content Critic. He’s the Poetry Editor at Lunaris Review (a Journal of Arts & the Literary, Nigeria) & the Creative Director at The Village Thinkers (a Creative Writing & Performing Arts Society, Ghana). The 2018 Shortlisted Poet for African Writers Awards has had his works anthologized/&[or] publicized in reputed literary volumes: EXPOUND, Whispers, NovelMasters, Kreative Diadem, Anansekrom, Gnosis Magazine, Tuck Magazine, The Liberian Literary Magazine, et cetera. 

Ray Miller


I’m at my daughter’s university
in the crime capital of the country,
dressed like Jimmy Cagney
in a brown pin-striped suit
and black trilby hat, sitting
on top of the world.

Vertiginously, I seek her out
amongst the assembled subjects.
I’m in the gods, she’s with the insects
beetling with self-interest,
blazoned epaulettes and edges –
at £45 for afternoon hire
my uneducated guess is.

Shoulders rub, antennae touch,
the curtain slowly struggles up.
Here comes The Sheriff of Nottingham
preceding Michael Parkinson
drawling their way to the podium
to joke of football and cricket.
Wielding a spade which is wholly symbolic,
Parkinson quotes an obscure poet.

We paid £30 each a ticket.
There’s over-representation
of the Chinese population
in the Business and Management section.
A homily of ho- hum names –
someday we’ll all look and sound the same.
A posthumous award dispels the monotony.
Nobody else is wearing a hat like me.

Hands are raised to the sound of shots,
caps rise into the air then drop:
insignia seem to mean a lot.
She’ll be stabled in bright livery
with her Masters in Psychology.
I only ever got the third degree
from the local constabulary.
I wore two-tone and danced to Al Capone.
I’m still living in gangster time.


Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.