Rose Mary Boehm

Under cover of night

The fiddler in blue gave the slip

to a toad of African proportions.

Toad wanted the fiddle.

The big silver whale

walked out of the water

took over the bandstand


and the angel folded his heavy

wings. In the soft light of

loving consequences the dragonflies

sat quietly on shimmer and

sparkle. Brook burbled and wouldn’t

change its tune.


Marigold floated on blackbird’s

melody, holding on to spiderwebs

during intervals. When manta ray

flew silently overhead all notes

burst with an audible sigh.


The Collector

finds them in bars,

parks, buses, the underground

or coffee shops;


he frequents downtown

pole-dance joints, picks up

blondes, brunettes or curly blacks.


Long legs, ample behinds,

he’s not choosey. All have one

thing in common: they talk.

Too much.


Somewhere in Soho they stagger

down those stairs

on dizzying heels,

click-clacking their way

into his basement. Call him

affectionately ‘Nutter’,


make themselves comfortable.

He smiles, puts his finger

to his lips and readies

the little machine. Pushes

the button and records

ten minutes of their silent breathing.



How much time is left?

In the whispers and hissings

are hidden words.

Mum and Dad disappear

after they kiss me good night.

They don’t know that I’ll soon be taken.

Something strokes me with cold feathers –

I wish I could tell.


Another ordinary story

Spring, it seemed, had changed

its mind. Like a disenchanted lover.

Pink, white, purple and tender greens

encased in winter-hardened water

topped with powdered sugar.

Fulgent in that white winter sun.


One harsh spring morning you

turned. No last glistening glory,

no last display of what

could have been.


A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm now lives with her second husband in Lima, Peru. When not writing poetry she wonders who to kill in her third novel, or goes off on a travel photo shoot. Her poetry collection TANGENTS has been published in the UK, and her latest poems have been/are about to being published in US poetry reviews.

Carla Ingram


The fifth of November, I remember dark nights

Of frost, bitter cold, biting winds, clad in

Winter’s warm woolens with fur-booted feet.

Into pitch blackness, a wide gulp of my heaven,

The aroma so sweetly inhaled as we stride

With the moon as our constant companion.


Rockets and wheels spinning and whizzing, while

Heaped pyramid fires rise higher, great pyres

Of wood and Guys we all made, with faces

And arms and legs, so real, sat atop the tip

Stuffed with straw and old papers, last week’s news

Up in flames, and we stare as we bite


Into our blood-red toffee apples clutched tightly

In mitten-less hands, and with quivering fingers

We sip on steamy, hot, oxtail soup. Excellent!

Smoke-filled Bonfire Night with its snapping

And crackling and “Oohs” and “Aahs” that expel mists,

Floating mists, of icy cold air into night’s lighted sky.


Night’s Truth

Staring into pure night’s nothingness

I am the only attendant in this static world

Even as a weighty arm bears down clumsily

Claiming its place across my stiffened torso


In the stillness the restless wind rattles and stirs

Accompanying the hollow, soundless space

With its sporadic howls and whistles

Unnerving the shaken, flimsy window screens


And drumming rhythms on fragile panes

Into a tempo of mesmerizing melody

Immersing me in a yawning, restful slumber

While enticing the hidden, hushed, neglected


Thoughts once entombed in the brazen light

Let loose to conviction under hypnotizing darkness

And clandestine revelations are finally at liberty

To throw off the white veil of day’s deceiving hours


Sincerity surfaces exposed to torment and candor

Fabrications find no welcome in night’s shadowy murk

The wail of the wind laments sadness and sorrows

Laid bare in the dark shroud is my solemn truth.


Top Deck, Friday Nights

Seizing the cold, metal pole flanked by folding doors

That snap back fast and beckon us as he brakes

We leap up the single steep step in our high-heeled stilettos

Out of breath, giggly, and silly and showy

Dropping our loud, clanking silver in the waiting slot

And snatching tickets as they churn out the noisy, red box.


The good-looking driver throws a wink and a grin

Unlike the few straitlaced, po-faced passengers below

Teetotalers, night-shifters, glaring in unanimous annoyance

So we make a swift, mad dash up the winding, narrow staircase

Holding fast as the double-decker picks up speed

And finally falling hard on the seat in an ungainly heap.


Laughing and panting, resembling a tossed pile of laundry

Bearing floundering legs, we sit barely upright

Becoming part of the upstairs crowd, rowdy and wild

As they chant and they cheer and they hoot and they holler

And in silence at the back some exhale sailing smoky circles

Which we deeply and delightfully and dizzily inhale.


Like clockwork, the same swarm piles on Friday’s last bus

Done with dancing and drinking until dark’s early hours

So young and adrift in this English inner-city

Where up top we belong at the unruly after-party

Among drunkards and cursing and fighting and spewing

Rebellious and clueless, we make our way home.


Sarah Lucille Marchant


plastic necklaces strung pretty
dusty in his eyes
(luminosity dulled by dime-store display)

you skip around
crinkle leaf sidewalk play
you roll your eyes
green to yellow to orange
ink scratch-out paper
hiding behind your grin

what was there before?
what did you never allow?

sodden ground
thoughts & secrets threaded
dead grass tangled
thriving weeds

and I’m drowning beside you


Sarah Lucille Marchant is a Missouri resident and university student, studying literature and journalism. Her work has appeared in publications such as Straylight, A Cappella Zoo, and Line Zero.


I’d Rather Die

Enrique Ponce had been hit by the first bull, a blood-stained, white bandage wrapped tight around his right thigh, his awkward short steps placing despairing lights in his eyes.  There was a white tear in his pants over his left hip and red patches smeared over his legs.  “I’m going back out there,” he had told them in the infirmary.  “Are you sure about this?” he was asked.  “Of course!”  So he was limping towards his second bull, each step like being barefoot on boiling sand, the crowd roaring with admiration.  You’re mine, bull, Ponce thought.  One horn can’t stop me.  I’d rather die than be stopped by one horn.  And the ring blurred, the sharpening bull now exquisitely in focus, man and bull uniting, the sword protruding out of the bull’s back, its legs folding, bucket-load spurts of stringy red shooting from its mouth, Ponce collapsing, the crowd roaring, men running to pick Ponce up, carrying him to the infirmary, Ponce wincing: “Now you can plug up the holes.”


when I say something witty –


out, because your insides can’t bear

to be in. Whatever you pulled inside

I deflated. I didn’t even need a pin.


I saw you. When you were under the fig tree

I saw you.


While you loaf,

I’ll be under lamplight

tracing the shadow of my hand

on the table.


All I am, the pitcher of thought

without the thought

of preservation.


Unlike you,

unlike salmon,

my back will break


the surface. You are the ahhh

of eternal dimension. I am the oh

of a punched stomach.


Call to Outlaws

I.      The Garage

Knelt beneath the staircase

my skin hummed against the threat

of discovery, the shock of her

blonde hair, the string of his guitar,

the damp silhouette beneath my thin

cotton dress. Clouds of laughter

and smoke swung between us, a circuit

of pungent electricity rocked

with soft delirium. She kissed

my lips with curling halos

of marijuana and strawberry, blew

dandelion-seed wishes for a boy.


II.     The Carnival

The arc of the Ferris Wheel winked

above crowns of swaying pine,

causing us to drift off track.

It was an asylum from the empty road ahead of us,

a catalyst for the drug, so we shoved

crumpled dollars into fat hands

of grey-haired ticket vendors, stumbled

arm-in-arm across straw-thatched grounds,

red-eyed, howling, lost in ourselves,

rapturous, discomposed–limitless.


III.    The Launch

We crawled inside the bench seat,

a metal bar strapped across our laps,

pinned to sweat-stained vinyl and faith in numbers.

The engine lurched and the machine gyrated

satellite shuttles into streams of brilliant

red and canary shrieks. Our bodies were fused

together in pools of marrow and spun-sugar.

My brother and sister, we were reborn

in mongrel gravity, the vicinity of three,

rendered invincible

by bastard youth.


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