Poetry: Wolf-Lieberman by Stuart Buck


as the news anchor tells us it is time, we can think of nothing better to do than to watch deep impact

the sky drops to an awful stillborn pink          tia leone refuses a seat on the last helicopter
a man burns alive in front of his daughter    elijah woods winds through traffic on his bike
we are thrown across the living room

morgan freeman asks us to remember the fallen

there is a redness. aching. birth.                                 endcredits.

i am turning to you as the softer parts of me blend with the wallpaper
i am turning to you as we clot in each other’s throats

Stuart Buck is a BOTN/BIFFY50/Pushcart Prize nominated poet and artist living in North Wales. His second book ‘Become Something Frail’ was released to critical acclaim on Selcouth Station Press in 2019. When he is not writing or reading poetry, he likes to cook, juggle and listen to music. He suffers terribly from tsundoku – the art of buying copious amounts of books that he will never read.

Twitter: @stuartmbuck

silhouette of wolf standing on ground

photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

3 Poems by Paul Brookes in FOTM Poetry Digest Issue 2 Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead


You would have been

fifty this mayday, sis

five in the car, you drive.

nail in the tyre, too much

wine last night you celebrate

a workmate’s birthday

drive down the motorway

to pick up your son from school

a bottle of wine a night

amasses fat in your face

a business built from zilch

debts you hide from view

grieving for a mother

dead three years

bumps in the road

nails in your tire

car leaps over reservation

somersaults onto bank

and back again

the other four crawl out

sit on the bank

watch firemen cut you out

your excess weight

squashed against steering column

the only one to die

only thirty five

finally, with mum

I celebrate your fiftieth

my dear, dear love.

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright

Piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table

And varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later

chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses

and piano sold as her hands come to rest.

A Black Bead

I was given in Fifties by an Indian guru

in Madras with advice “Keep this

and you’ll be alright.” Correctly guessed

I had two girlfriends.

Eighty one now with asbestosis

a cough that hacks​

at his body more each time we meet.

-You’re so thin dad?

-He said I’d be dead at eighty two.

-Where is it?

-I can’t find it.

-I’d best start preparing now.

-It’s a joke,

he says and spits

into his half full spitbag.

I find the blue paper

he wrote the prophecy on

dated 1962

the year I was conceived,

and take a photo of it with my mobile.

I give it to him

in the hope he’ll notice

it says he’ll die at 84.

He died at 83.

BIO: Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018),Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018)

Forthcoming Stubborn Sod, (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

greyscale photo of grand piano

2 Poems by Peach Delphine: Coyote Song & 84 (any scar)

Coyote Song

Not yet dead already ash,

Already invisible, unknowable,

Smell the sea just beyond the pines,

Hear the wind combing out salt Marsh,

Osprey call, mullet get eaten,

Gather up what you can

We will flee with falling light, with coyote song,

Emptiness of waves welcome us, mangrove

Conceal our passing,

Not yet dead, already gone,

Sleep with one foot against the door,

It’s your neighbors that will come for you,

After coffee, eggs and bacon,

What my father never knew,

The sharpest blade

Is for cutting sorrow.

84 (Any Scar)

Cutting was the secret language

of moon and moss

textured layers of shadow

without day or spark

oaks hold themselves penultimate

ancient in a landscape of erosion

cabbage palms shaggy

with my supplications

sheaves of paperwork

endless recitations of symptoms

a midden of discarded words

what we cast off

wave tumbled round

sea is my only certainty

liquid incandescence

saltier than blood

smoother than any scar

The Ride by John Everex

They look like my sons, but they’re not. I pretend they’re driving me to town as usual, but the

radio news verifies my suspicion: there’s no way Carl would listen to that man and not shout

obscenities. At eighty-two, I’m old enough to know leukemia ain’t gonna’ kill me, despite it

running wild through my withered body. No, it’ll be my heart, as it was for my pa and his before

him. I’ve done well getting this far – it’s further than they did. The engine shifts as we drop a

gear, approaching the turnpike, the freeway continuing on toward the southern cities. We’re

headed toward the open space of the mountains as I thought. I try to examine the boys in the

front, but my eyes haven’t worked in years. They’re soft focus, which is romantic and cosy they

say, but I can’t see shit.

I left my glasses at my place.

Utopia Mansions it’s called – my place – a bit like a cheap motel, but full of old shufflers

and nosers. I’d wanted a beachside residence with a view of the sea, but I got rooms smelling of

old man’s piss and cleaning chemicals. My home isn’t much different from the hospital mom

pushed me out into. Liz is laughing at me, wherever she is – she died ten years ago of lung

cancer, a lifetime of smoking and a slow death being strangled by the shit inside her lungs – but

at least she doesn’t have to live at Utopia Mansions.

The car slows further, the mountains still a purple bruise. We pass a rest area, a camper

van spilling people from inside. Kids. A dog. We used to do that as a family. “We used to do

that,” I say, my voice croaking. They ignore me and I feel like shouting. But I remind myself,

they are not my sons and I’m not going to give them any satisfaction. I stare out of the window

as mute as the dead, trying to get my brain in gear. I used to be top notch, to matter, until the

agency made cuts and our department was no longer needed. Severance they called it, a pension

and a long slide into retirement.

I look for indications of who they are – the similarities with Carl and John are uncanny –

they dress the same. Similar haircuts. Of an age. New clothes. Both of them. That’s the thing, my

sons never went for fashion; thrift store or second-hand was their style. These two are dressed

up to look like my sons, but wearing new clothes, judging by the creases in the never-worn-

before shirt. The way fake Carl holds the wheel too; his hands are uptight and professional, not

the slouch that Carl takes, one hand always itching to hold a cigarette like his mum.

And he’s not smoking.

And they still say nothing.

As we pull into a petrol station, I see the restrooms,

knowing this might be my only chance.

John started inventing stories as a child and haven’t stopped. John writes on Twitter (@EverexJohn) and publish work regularly on his blog (http://johneverex.blog ) as well as through chanillo.com His writing comes in various forms and lengths, including microfiction, flash fiction and short stories. John also write poetry, being especially fond of haiku. Currently, he is working on a new novel, which will be published in 2020. In addition to writing, I am a father, husband and teacher and currently live in the south of England

Poetry: No and No by Norb Aikin

This is the noise that keeps me awake,
the tie-dyed sentiments flung
from dirt that can’t be un-dug,
and this is me saying no
to a wish that “no” isn’t an answer to.
The curl, pulled straight.
The antidote, failed.

Nothing good can come of this
and that’s why I’m here.

This is the lookalike and this is the duplicate
and I am the difference
that goes unnoticed
until it’s too late.
There’s something, and nothing,
and something from nothing,
but I walk on the outline of the void-
I won’t fall in from the push;
my recoil does all the work for me.

Let’s not and say we did
before we have to pretend,
or at least until we get caught.

This is the noise that keeps me awake
and this is the escape I can’t seem to make
when I least expect it
but that’s what I’m doing now
and no one’s gonna tell me otherwise
even if they wanted to.
Like a joke not worth explaining
to people who don’t understand laughter,
I can’t help myself from myself.

Norb Aikin has been published by Eliezer Tristan Publishing and uses his time wisely on Twitter (@Fivesixer). His first poetry collection, 100, has been positively reviewed widely and his second, Mutants, recently was released for Kindles with a paperback coming. It’s a slim follow-up to 100 and features some older material along with his current WIP. Look for the full release of Also Mutants in the Spring of 2020.