James Roberts

Cigarette

Lift leaf
with fingertip.
Fill, roll, lick.

Then flick, click
teeth and flint
grit.

Flame bobs, quivers
steadies
sits.

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,
grounded.
For that moment.


Bus Ride in December

Red dot needles.
Outlines
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.


Bio

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.


Bio

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

Christopher John Eggett

Bio

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 . . .


Bio

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

Homily

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.


Bio:

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

Rickey Rivers Jr

Old Hair

Have you ever seen what old hair looks like?
It looks…the same.

Your left behind hair reminds me.
It tortures me.
It is always around, even after I’ve cleaned everywhere.
Days later, I always rediscover.
I’m always finding follicles.
It is painful to discover them.

Might you be purposely committing crimes, breaking and re-entering my heart?
Oh, I do consider these thoughts.


Bio

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. His stories and poems have appeared in various publications and are forthcoming in Picaroon Poetry, Dodging the Rain, Elephants Never, Neon Mariposa (among other publications). Twitter.com/storiesyoumighthttps://storiesyoumightlike.wordpress.com/

John Son

The Tea House

Let’s take things lightly.
The lyric nailed to the door –
softly the crystals falling on seventeenth street
do their dance and die and are gone.
Why not.
Our days can be Broadway singalongs.

The airy snap of refrigerated chocolate,
the gossiping of earl grey.
Step outside for a minute, let’s not
leave the discussion open-ended.

“It all works itself out in the end, darling.”
Talks of dusty country roads and dead wives’ poetry.
Regard the petunias and lemongrass,
the sun’s reflection deep in the duck pond
and such else.
It’s all a matter of belonging.

The top shelf is strictly a weekend pursuit.
Little straight-legged jumps
to reach the sugar packet.
Self-preservation is a gift granted unto oneself
as soon as one walks in through the door.

The teacups are a metaphor.
“If only they were so lucky.”

By five we have slithered onto the carpet,
arms outstretched, glasses upright.
“There’s just no civility these days.”

A quiet hour.
Observe her taking a grape,
squashing it between her thumb and finger.
Watch the juice as it runs down her hand,
her wrist, her pudgy forearm.


Bio

John Son is a student from London, currently based in Winchester, Hampshire. He has almost finished studying his degree in Creative Writing, and worries greatly about what the future holds. His poetry has previously appeared in the online journal Snapdragon, as well as the Splendid Fred Lung Party series of podcasts.

James G. Piatt

Images on a Late Winter Afternoon

I imagine I hear people in picture frames
Whispering secrets across the room,

I watch Redheaded woodpeckers startling
Timid sparrows near the bird feeder,

I see shadows from sycamore trees casting odd
Visions of past winters on rooftops,

I observe pairs of Red Shouldered Hawks soaring
High in the heavens unrestricted by earthly wiles,

I close my eyes and see brief images of a spring day
As winter’s visions fade into eternity.

And my mind is forming new visions of red and
Yellow roses in the herb garden for spring.


Bio

James G. Piatt, a retired professor and octogenarian, has had three collections of poetry, The Silent Pond, Ancient Rhythms, and Light, over 1,155 poems, four novels, and 35 short stories published. His poems have been nominated multiple times for pushcart and best of web awards. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from BYU.

Kathryn Atwood

Wind sharp as a switchblade raged in from the north,
tried to loosen locks, break windows, and cut through coats.
But it found few victims among the wise and wary
(and was miffed by all the water pitched in its face)
So it left in a huff, smacking streets with a flood.


Bio

Kathryn Atwood is the author of multiple young adult nonfiction books and writes poetry when something inspires her.