Counter-factual History Poetry by Christopher Barnes

See-Saw Then Reel
A fault-line deforms the lark’s sunrise.
Frisco unpents itself, shop-soiling a minute.
Gloating flames cackle for days.
Survivor tents fidget on city-plan lawns.
In a leap-the-queue food line
Kermit the frog recovered his whereabouts
At the brink of intact terrain.
Flash Gear
Foot-long tresses, plum and tangerine blouse,
Ink-smudge breeks – Admiral Horatio Nelson struts.
Carnaby St. is a kinetic three blocks.
In Lord John’s portal he rib-digs Joe,
Land-pirate to a clutter of pharmacies,
Shopping list: four honeypots – French Blues.
Currency for peacocks is revels or frills.
Hereafter Chimneys
Reactors superheat uranium,
Hatching plutonium – a fume,
Radioactive cast-off.
Julius Caesar grits teeth,
Ashens at Windscale’s pockmarks
On a thickset graphite shell.
Blue-bag flames peck
At a moody critical mass.
Blood-Stained Pillow
Anne Boleyn disentangles prompts
On the Washeteria’s speech bubbles.
Self-run gearing is eco-affirmative.
Her duvet and pillows outline jauntiness
Quickened by a hyperallergic gargle,
Phosphate deficient.
The dizzy-bouquet whiff
Spins and hour into memory.
Lour In Popping Eyes
Dressed-to-the-nines rose-fresh theatre.
Jedward cradle themselves
In a pomp-splash box.
The snorty edge flurries this raised curtain.
‘Rites Of Spring,’ blurts gabbley lips.
The twins dislocate nerves.
Bob-up canes, set-against fans in an uproar.
christopher barnes photo 3
Some bio details…
In 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology ‘Titles Are Bitches’. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle’s famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partook in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
On Saturday 16Th August 2003 I read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St.
I also have a BBC web-page and (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site.
Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group. October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty’s Newcastle. This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne. I made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old Heave-Ho. I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, including a film piece by the artist Predrag Pajdic in which I read my poem On Brenkley St. The event was funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bio-science Centre at Newcastle’s Centre for Life. I was involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children’s literature building. In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre why not take a look at their website
The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem “The Holiday I Never Had”; I can be heard reading it on
REVIEWS: I have written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called ‘A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot’ for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem…see On September 4 2010, I read at the Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Poetry Scotland. I have also written Art Criticism for Peel and Combustus Magazines. I was involved in The Creative Engagement In Research Programme Research Constellation exhibitions of writing and photography which showed in London (march 13 2012) and Edinburgh (July 4 2013) see . I co-edit the poetry magazine Interpoetry Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Now, Don’t Tell. A Poem by JD DeHart

Our voice, the party line,
the wrinkled cord
of what telephones used to be,
whispered, hush-hushed voices
spilling bits of story,
lead poisoning, an explosion,
an “I have it on good authority,”
and even a “I can’t believe that,”
all followed by
“Now, don’t tell anyone
I told you.”

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available from RedDashboard. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Rising. Poem by David Chorlton.

Dear Robin,
I hope you’re well and enjoying springtime. We have old friends here in Arizona, one of whom is a well known sculptor whose work is in several public locations. He is John Henry Waddell, now in his nineties. He has recently finished a large scale work, Rising, which we got see on a recent visit. I wrote this poem about Rising, and think it works best with the picture of the sculpture, so I thought of your format. The figures are in relief and in an ideal setting would be set on the side of a tall building.


    for John Henry Waddell


So many windy spirits here
leaving their routines behind
at the kitchen stove, the desk,
the production line at which
they work a living from monotony
and after years with gravity in charge
they suddenly believe in birds
more than in following instructions.
The first ones up
reach for those who follow,
while some look around
from above the traffic and the building sites
and wonder why it took so long
for this to happen. As it tilts away
the ground now seems
unlikely as a base
of operations, marked as it is
with boundaries and borders
and pocked with the craters
from conflicts that continue
without ever having begun.
It’s like forgetting what happened
today, this release, and remembering
all the days before it
back through time. It’s like
swimming out of water,
like turning into music.

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications on- and off-line, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His most recent book, A Field Guide to Fire, was his contribution to the Fires of Change exhibition shown in Flagstaff and Tucson in Arizona. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

The Real Friendships. Poem by Richard Lloyd Cederberg.

THE REAL FRIENDSHIPS Dedicated to a friend and a cancer survivor

It was all too much (for me)
To bear, staring out across the valley
At you supplicating earnestly for more
Of life to share, for more time to
Live, to express freely…
And in your
Own quirky way
Owning another season
Guaranteed free from defects
Was what I hoped for fervently
Another chance
(Perhaps) for you
To make some sense
Of all that would be pulled,
Eventually, from the wreckage
Of what had forced you down along the
Edges of life’s fragile looking glass
Being thankful for
The real friendships;
Those few you cuddled in your
Heart when living got serious, or when
You’d reached wits end alone again, somehow
Confiding in the trustable, and now accepting that what
You’d always struggled to believe was all that made sense
And all you purposed
To hear was [a wise voice]
Encouraging you to walk this way,
Or that way, telling you to listen only to
Those elect who drank from the purest streams, and
Reminding you to give thanks for having NOT been born in the
Days of antiquity when people suffering (with the invisible)
Were often left to perish on windswept crags



August 2007 Richard was nominated for a 2008 PUSHCART PRIZE. Richard was awarded 2007 BEST NEW FICTION at CST for his first three novels and also 2006 WRITER OF THE YEAR … Richard has been a featured Poet on Poetry Life and Times Aug/Sept 2008, Jan 2013, Aug 2013, and Oct 2013 and has been published in varied anthologies, compendiums, and e-zines. Richard’s literary work is currently in over 35,000 data bases and outlets. Richard’s novels include: A Monumental Journey… In Search of the First Tribe… The Underground River… Beyond Understanding. A new novel, Between the Cracks, was completed March 2014 and will be available summer 2014.
Richard has been privileged to travel extensively throughout the USA, the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan in Canada, the Yukon Territories, Kodiak Island, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Petersburg, Glacier Bay, in Alaska, the Azorean Archipelagoes, and throughout Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Holland… Richard and his wife, Michele, have been avid adventurers and, when time permits, still enjoy exploring the Laguna Mountains, the Cuyamaca Mountains, the High Deserts in Southern California, the Eastern Sierra’s, the Dixie National Forest, the Northern California and Southern Oregon coastlines, and the “Four Corners” region of the United States.
Richard designed, constructed, and operated a MIDI Digital Recording Studio – TAYLOR and GRACE – from 1995 – 2002. For seven years he diligently fulfilled his own musical visions and those of others. Richard personally composed, and multi-track recorded, over 500 compositions during this time and has two completed CD’s to his personal credit: WHAT LOVE HAS DONE and THE PATH. Both albums were mixed and mastered by Steve Wetherbee, founder of Golden Track Studios in San Diego, California.
Richard retired from music after performing professionally for fifteen years and seven years of recording studio explorations. He works, now, at one of San Diego’s premier historical sites, as a Superintendent. Richard is also a carpenter and a collector of classic books, and books long out of print. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

A Convoluted Nightmare. Poem by Christie-Luke Jones

Outside; friendly voices float atop the yawn of falling beams. A distance stretches out between us, a steel door 3000 decibels thick.
Blackened corridors are softly inhaled by a downy quilt of smoke and ash. Grotesque lions tear at my silhouette until a red-faced, podgy little boy is all that remains. Death longs to pick my soul from between hideous tombstone molars. One final attempt at escape, one last glimpse into the frightful false mirror.
A young woman showers next to me. Her limitless eyes scan my thoughts with clarity of intent, enough to melt the mask right off my face. The way the shampoo glides over her hips will haunt me on some far-off day, when everything else becomes unrecognisable. She turns, smiles her bludgeoning smile and motions for me to touch her. Naked and terrifying. And she wants me inside her. But I’m only ten years old; my fragile head spools anxiously at the thought. And I look awful, although clearly she doesn’t think so. But I do, I always do, then all at once I vanish down the plug hole.
Florida. I’ve never been, but here I am. A space shuttle is parked by a palm-lined boulevard, behind are vast hotels with M.C. Escher-like staircases. I stand accused, of adultery no less. I rush around covering my tracks, erasing evidence and conjuring up alibis. My decade-old clothes are wet through with panic. I climb aboard an aeroplane like no other, a retro-futuristic Concorde of unfathomable origin. My loved ones occupy the seats around me, all share the same painfully disappointed countenance. We depart, with dreams of one day waking up.
Bio Photo
Christie-Luke Jones is a poet, fiction writer and actor from Oxfordshire, England. Christie-Luke’s writing is strongly influenced by the Gallic blood that courses through his veins, as well as his interest in the more macabre aspects of the human condition. To see more of his work, visit Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Secret Blaspheme. Poem by Monsoor Ali


Her words are frantic and free

wrapping around my mind like a rollercoaster of warm refreshing air

a whirlwind of excitement and love

a swirling living thing

That penetrates my senses

Like a blade through soft flesh

Yet painless and intoxicating

She feeds my imagination with bold expressions of lust and bravery

And stories of passion and pain

And I become hypnotized by her

sweet sounds and girlish gestures

Such a heavy magic this is

This perfect seduction

This ancient power she wields over me

As I become a slave to her will

A fiend

A hopeless addict

Overwhelmed by desire till it hurts

Longing for a touch, a taste

A moment

I am lost in a labyrinth of emotion

Like a child

A lame without her near

Crushed by her absence

Drowning in her presence

Overwhelmed by just her

I forget God
Monsoor Ali, born and raised Washingtonian, is a multi media artist specializing in literature, graphic design, and music and film production. Born in 1977, he has been writing poetry and songs for nearly 25 years. He is an advocate and activist for homeless peoples, victims of child and domestic abuse, and civil rights. M. Ali is a father of 4 and has lived on both the East and West coast as well as the Midwest, having produced music and indie films for hundreds of artists around the country. He currently resides in Washington DC and is working on his 1st book of poetry. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Ghost Orchid. Poem by George Moore

My world is overly large,
while among the southern vines
lies a universe within an ear.
River stamen with carpel rafts
on white waterfall tongues
drifting toward the sea
of the pollinareum.
The year punctuates beauty
as a single wave, carrying no
human meaning. Even its name,
Polyradicion, belongs to another time.
I lift a leaf to see into its secret
and disappear into the
stillness of its jungle.
A giant Sphinx moth orbits
this solar system, praying
to its nightly gods. Its rings,
like Saturn’s, are fixed
against a blackgreen eternity.
Its ovaries, seed-thick with time,
fall soundless into the void.
Out of which flourishes
a walking petal, a child suspended
on a swing, a center that cannot
be known. The flower may
long for speech, a visual radicalism,
its slender arms reach around
the world it does not greet.
Its longing separates us
forever, for we are different creatures
of a single species. It’s loneliness
is never held up against a day
where night does not cover it.
Its longing is annual, endless
but brief.
San Gimignano 5
I’ve published poems in the Atlantic, Poetry, Colorado Review, and recently, or forthcoming, in Stand, Arc, and Antigonish Review. My most recent collections are Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016), Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015), and The Hermits of Dingle (FutureCycle 2013). After many years of teaching with the University of Colorado, Boulder, I am presently living on the south shore of Nova Scotia in a small lobster fishing village. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Tangerine Ecstasy.Poem by Ken Allan Dronsfield

A reddish Sun rises
another day dawns
destiny rides beyond
winged dreams smile.
Whispers of promises
eyes covered in gold
feasting candied souls
a twilight now foreseen.
The harbingers of doom
strolling through time.
Exhaling a dark mist
losing it all to rhyme.
Iced Appletine drinks
an alcohol laden smile;
licking sour lemon drops
or sweet cherry limes.
Blissfully waking yawn
in the castle of fantasy
Patterns of blazing sky
sweet Tangerine Ecstasy.

Ken Allan Dronsfield, Bio Picture

Bio: Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet and Author originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He enjoys thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, playing guitar and time with his cats Merlin and Willa. Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk