Ian Mullins – 2 poems 



You haven’t been yourself,

she says. So who have I been?

Perhaps the creature who hides

behind my back and turns

when I turn, so I never

glimpse him but know he’s 

always there. You, of course,

neither know nor care

for this wild screaming boy, 

who would shoot out the moon 

and blind the sun’s eye 

for a bet. No wonder then, 

that when my wild shadow 

shows himself you find him 

mute and strange, beating odd tattoos 

with his claws on cold, 

broken earth. And if he could speak

what would he say but

 I haven’t  been myself  

for some time?





Time Out 


It’s hard work

being out of your mind:

all those words

tugging on your tongue

as though all your past lives have

re-incarnated into your skull,

and all of them have

too much to say

in too many languages

no-one speaks anymore.

Better here, drugged out

on the bench watching a game

that’s nothing more than

grown-ups playing at

being kids again; remembering

a time when everything mattered

but none of it was your fault,

when you could walk home

swinging your bat, telling yourself

you’ll laugh at this when 

you’re sad and old, when dreaming 

is just another way 

of kidding yourself that you’re 

really quite sane; it’s just 

the world that’s mad as a mouse 

chasing a cat to steal 

back cheese. Don’t they 

set traps for that?





Ian Mullins


Flora-Belle Smith – 1 poem

Don’t Be Afraid of Daddy 



Midnight, A cold night in November. 

Mama braiding my hair with her hands so tender. 

Hearing moans of fright in the air, she said, 

That’s just your daddy and he’s having nightmares again. 

Mama why you puttin’ up all them knives? 

I need to protect you, your brother and I. 

Then she cries, he wants to take us with him when he pulls the trigger. 

I won’t allow a murder-suicide. 

When I sleep and hear a creek I open my eyes. 

‘Cuz he just ain’t in his right mind. 

But mama told me, mama told me, 

Don’t be afraid of daddy, he’s a good man. 

He’s seen a lot of things that others couldn’t withstand. 

He loves you more than you’ll ever know, 

But he’s falling prey to his demons, 

So who knows how long till he goes.





Flora Belle Smith 


Patricia Walsh – 1 poem 

Hugging the Corpse


Heaving against type, breathing with noise

 Just anarchy is loosed across the room,

Not going to the moon as yet, a borrowed chance

Rings slightly false, another statistic to burn.


Flat 7Up is all that can save you,

The joke is over now, unconsciousness permitting

Celebrated life is all that lies ahead

A cancer resurfacing, a different story.


Saying it with disallowed flowers

A shamed birthday hacks at it, consummate fear

What to do without you, long term

Applied religion makes the exit quick.


Lost against will, coring for an animal surety

The lost garden flourishes the wrong plants

Lowering blood pressure on entry to the kitchen

Pressing offsprings’ buttons with general ease.


On the cusp of salvation, rosary or otherwise

Blaming it on nature, eventual stoppage.

Praying in unison over a heaving mess

A husk of existence, breathing against eventuality.


Grieving over you eventually

Monstrous sorrow hits rather soon

Recording paraphernalia, embracing the remains

Of a job well done, an eternal rest from magic





Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland, and was educated in University College Cork, being shortlisted for inclusion for publication in the 2017 edition of the The Quarryman.  Previously she has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010, and has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  She has also published a novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and performed in the ‘closed mic’ section of the Ó Bhéal Winter Warmer Festival in 2016. 


Michael Lee Johnson – 2 poems 



Next life I will be a little higher on the pecking order.

No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes,

or Ricky’s All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.

I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs, crickets don’t bother,

swamp flies don’t bother me-I eat them. Alligators I avoid.

I urinate on lily pads mate across borders, continents at will.

Someone else from India can wash my dishes locally for me.

Forward all complaints to that religious office of Indian affairs.



Children in the Sky 


There is a full moon,

distant in this sky tonight,


Gray planets planted

on an aging white, face.


Children, living and dead,

love the moon with small hearts.


Those in heaven already take gold thread,

drop the moon down for us all to see.


Those alive with us, look out their

bedroom windows tonight,

we smile, then prayers, then sleep.



Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, nominated Best of the Net 2016.  Poetry published in 33 countries, 133 YouTube poetry videos:  Michael Lee Johnson has several books, and chapbooks published and is Editor-in-chief of 2 poetry anthologies,Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, andDandelion in a Vase of Roses.  He is administrator of a Facebook poetry group over 12, members:  He is editor of 10 poetry sites.


Peter Branson – 2 poems 

The Modern Poet



feels obligated to

be brushed,

jumps bail,

takes mental residence


an isolated shack

deep down

some cold

autistic Trail. 


With unctuousness

reserved for those

with cash or clout,

conceit’s inbred,

a shaman-like


Mutt ‘n’ Jeff,


the thread.



The Wild Boar Inn


Long holiday, late afternoon,

down sunken country lanes, three lads

aged nine a good two miles from home,

you dump your bikes beside the pool,

explore the feeder dammed to fuel

three mills below, one modernised,

two ruins, check out behind the inn,

a cobbled yard, old outbuilding,

crates, barrels, stairs, dust everywhere,

a yawning trapdoor’s grainy dark,

rats conjured, slightest stir beyond.

The landlord hangs himself here years

ago, high crime, a mortal sin,

wife gone for good. A creaking from

above, the gently-swaying rope’s

dead weight slow twists inside your head

this way and that. You spook for fun,

retrieve your wheels, don’t dare look back.




 Peter Branson