Brian Young – 5 poems



Four abreast the Harleys swarm,

buzzing into genteel Poole

alias Deadwood, South Dakota.

Latter-day cowboys ride into town

low in the saddle, gunfire crackling

from every exhaust.

They dismount outside J D Wetherspoon

(their Hickok Saloon)

and peel back bandannas to reveal

long, grey locks.

In the Seniors’ StayTrim Center

SupaSlim grannies with china-doll faces

pedal to heaven

on stationary steeds.

They’ll never embroider of an evening,

nor will the bikers build Fort Laramie

from toothpicks.

Old Sitting Bull was right:

you can hold back the cavalry.

They’ve knocked back the liquor of limitless youth,

traded the harmless for the audacious

and shot Old Age stone dead. 






A little poetry is a dangerous thing;

certain verses can race your pulse 

and worm into your mind, 

never to be prised out.

They suddenly twitch into consciousness

like the reminder of an old wound

and cause your lips to move,

to the consternation of others.

You can reveal your malady to close companions

knowing they may contract your fever,

but those verses will be part of you to the end,

truer than your epitaph. 






We’re flung forward by the brake.

                                     Another feral dog, heat-drowsed, slow,

missed by a whisker? No –

Snake! Six-foot snake!

Out of deference we let her pass,

powered by lightning, side-winding

over shimmering tarmac, gliding

like mercury over glass.

Earth-mother like Shakti the consort of Shiva, 

on her headlong errand she ignores

us totally; out of reverence we leave her

to reach her distant, ever-secret lair.

Our universe halts right there,

all movement, all progress paused.

We do not even think “We spared 

your life”.  Her fissured features, if aware

of such hubris, would spit back “I gave you yours!”

Four seconds, then men and women bearing burdens

among grinding trucks and cycles glittering in the heat

trudge again along the dust-blown street 

past walls enclosing watered hotel gardens.

We weave between them to the Holiday Inn,

where a motionless lizard, tail curled,

head tilted, curious, uncertain,

forms an intricate impression of another world.






The last time I was you

you worked at Primark

not Marks and Sparks

and the time before that 

you married our local copper

not me

so the kids were different.

You did knitting not speedway

but died impaled on your needles.

The last time you were me

you won’t remember but

I was born twice in one week

because of a snag in space-time.

Then we were my mother

you and me.

We’ve been hundreds of dentists 

and a Bengal tiger 

not yet born.






The Floyd-Marshall algorithm solves the all-pairs path problem

I love the way you say that

And Smith-Waterman’s process finds local sequence alignment

I’ve often thought that myself

Nonblocking minimal spanning switch!

Not many men say that to me

Merge, with elements on the output not repeated

Look… perhaps we should hold our horses

Tarjan’s components are strongly connected

I’ve missed you terribly

Dynamic time warping measures the similarity between two sequences

When you left, the bottom fell out of my world

Heap’s permutation interchanges elements

You mean the world fell out of your bottom?

Bloom filter!

Steady now. Look, you could stay the night…

Fuzziness determines if strings are approximately equal

I’ll put you a camp-bed in the front room

A beam-stack search integrates an initial node

We could talk long into the night, couldn’t we?

A Soundex refinement allows matching of Slavic and Germanic surnames

Or we could cuddle, couldn’t we?

Couldn’t we?


Power cut. 




Brian Young is a retired languages teacher living in Hertfordshire, England. He has a degree from London University in Spanish and French, and for many years taught languages in secondary schools and at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an active member of Ver Poets in St Albans, helps to run a University of the Third age poetry group, and regularly reads his work at the Poetry Society in London. He has won several prizes in national competitions, including second prize in the Southport Writers’ Circle open competition. He has gained certificates of merit from the Mere Literary Festival, Wiltshire and has had poems published in several anthologies. He enjoys writing slightly quirky poetry where he tries to emphasize the precise and heightened use of language.



Alex R. Encomienda – 2 poems 

This Dampness Smells of Nova

She liked to be called coy; careless even,
And in the way of her deepness was a simple
Atrocious one she referred to as papa,
And he was of carefulness… yes.

There was a time I held her palms against
The bed of broken windows and therein
She did give me her flesh and pinks;
They were her perks- below my waste with
A look of mischief; nakedness.

We made prudent efforts to love without
Touch but my hands were real and firm,
And when I promised to keep her safe
I was greeted with a pillar; resistance. 




Drifter’s Passage

I feel like I am
Existing and being with mortal hands,
And these words pronounce that indeed I am,
At glance of your face in haze,
A human in journey; hear my racing
Thoughts a’ drifting; lest my seeking be
For nothing,
The river of assumptions are ever a’ streaming
And an ale house… vain company keeping;
So I am crossing that imminent shrouding
All throughout the night and silent coursing
The bottomless pit of emptiness;
Lest I fall knee deep. 



 Alex R. Encomienda



Kathy Craig – 2 poems 

First Frost


I brought the fuchsia inside,

staving off  frost’s lethal touch.

The gardenias you planted,

green leaves poking out of pine straw,

can withstand the cold.

Pansies in clay pots will thrive.


You,  will spend another night

watching over your father – 

your presence more comforting

than all the flowers smiling by the bed.

While the temperature drops outside

you will catch a few hours sleep in a chair,

some part of you alert to approaching winter. 





After you left,


a thud interrupted my grief.

Outside my window

a bird lay motionless,

caught unaware by the glass ,

outstretched wings now folded shut.


Wrenched out of myself

I found a shoe box,

lined it with a kitchen towel,

and set the bird inside,

not knowing if I had made a place

for recovery or a box for death.


Back inside I watched, waited,

my pain suspended.

Like a child I thought

Please don’t die, little bird.

And it didn’t.




Kathy Craig


Abeha Usman – 1 poem 

Dear Parent Who Is Dying or Already Dead


I would tell you I’m picking this apple

for your health because you are sick and I am sick

of caring

without helping

without care


because what I mean: sometimes I wonder if

maybe I just enjoy

climbing trees,

latching to barked proof permanence, a distance far

enough to almost forget–


because these are the things I’m ashamed

of myself, like you would have chosen two-

thousand and I pick just one,

write instead


because I would tell you I’m sorry

except these words are words and all I’m saying are words


because what I mean: while I’m away showering trees

and carrying careless baskets of


 –you are dying


apples, I’m up in a tree

and if I could control worlds, not words


I would give up apple picking entirely,

plant orchards named after you, perimeter your place, ground

scented trails, nests brimming home, pine


to make easy for you.


If I could control worlds, not words

I would make tree hit ground, strike lightning

tangle strings like snakes like roots, bury my selfishness,


trade spots for you. 




Abeha Usman  


Tiana Lavrova – Fiction

Rolflandian Ideonomisis   

“It is a sign of exceptional Thanatopsis to choose exceptional experimentation in sniffing and snuffing more or less implicit psy-Dolan Cantorian dogma… however, be aware, that you will be implicitly hereticized — and metronomically diagonalized in snuffing out by a terra firma diaphragmitis Lichten-apos.”


“What is the universalizable — consider a Austro-Moldovian universalizable law, of the sum total of Maltesian “Functionality” — a biological, full-blooded, e.g., “Anglo-Saxon, and/or Germanic,” granted person — swiping-dry, any geo-political and/or botanical-pediatrism pre-packaged “mobiuses” within any n “personsified” conception? Independence, as more, antithetical — upper bound set(s) of what you might least value restrictively under the set V of “noetical diversion” objects?”


“Flexing (or not) “artificial lines” on continua encoded “mark-offs” for mental disorders: transfinite innatist genuses ― cathartic, neo-Plutonian, embryonic-Nebuchadnezzar token-type states. Describe the former and latter state’s continua similarities per flexing Cambrian poca-oscillating line on calculating these rationale (then, compose liberetti ― give Kyrgyzstan-kryptonian nodal, Brentwood transactions) innatist, tachycardic genuses. Then, hand-paint their mercenary in frozen fish marmalade.” 




Tiana Lavrova, better known as Timaeus Lavrov, is an avant-garde writer from British Columbia, Canada with an interest in digital parts-to-whole philosophical musical instruments; open-source philosophical treatments, and absolutist self-reliant living. Their interests also include unspeakable languages, ideonomical calculators, and Gaian thought-crime-free zones.