THE WONDER YEARS
limp-wristed boy your ear is in my mouth
I am telling you the secrets of life you are
shaping like my nose is a snout I am a pig
stuck in your business my tongue blurring your
apple-eyed sketch of the world cut lawns
hedgerows April daffodils washed sheets always
on time dinners who is looking out for you
you make your first inglorious pass at her in
the library demurs what are you doing?! cry
in the toilet mirror reeking baby’s bottom
sprinkled talcum powder sneezing how now
brown cow how now droopy-eyed droopy-
lipped limb-wristed boy my hand is on your
heartbeat feel me riding your waves the heat
your blood my eau de toilette listen to me
pimples listen to me blushing blood on
the road no operation can remake your biome
suck it up words in a stew you’re good at stewing
words on paper spilling through you like sand
through your hands wake up smell the cordite on
your sleepless breath only one way the wind blows
limp-wristed boy surprise me your prowess
on the football pitch where is it when you crave
it the real world? see her again smiles a primrose
on a grey market street blinds your eyes maybe
just maybe fledge from self-fallen leaf fallen angel
running to stand on tallest tree catch the rain
before she does let the lightning hit you first
let her stroll the limp-wristed ashes of your
remains limp-wristed boy your remains my
remains you are not worthy of her your shame
my name written in the rain my name I love you
no matter how long I love you the day I love you
limp-wristed boy keep us safe we burn through
atmospheres avalanching adolescence survive the crush
blush insatiate lust bum fluff Becker’s nevus trembling
lips walk the waters of the flood flood the waters
of the mind swelling out your eyes ears cock
mouth drowning as you breathe living as you
die you beautiful beautiful limp-wristed boy
The Wonder Years by Neil Flynn was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett.
I will wash up for you before I leave, but right now,
the morning can’t bear too much activity. Drinking
tea is the warmth of holding and I need this space
between us. Everything is almost on top of
something else and your birthday cake is not
the only thing that has lost its identity. A crisp packet
blossoms out of a wine glass. From here I can
almost see the whole of you. You are probably okay,
probably did not mind that I showed up late,
there were other people to make you feel special
and at least I was there for the dancing. A moth
flaps in and I can feel you watching her too.
She brings echoes of you – moths are a quirk of this flat,
and me – you should seal your woolens in plastic.
I stand, clap quick. She is dead in my palms.
I am elated like I’ve caught a ball impressively.
I know you will look away if I turn to you,
won’t want me to be hurt by your shocked eyes.
You know I know anyway and so you feel bad for hurting me.
I could say sorry. I go to the sink to wash her body away.
She was bigger and browner than most, she had moved
so slowly she’d made it look like flight
required all her concentration.
Between Us by Iona May was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett.
I sit in the shade
of a seventy-foot crown,
pondering branches, leaves and trunks,
wishing I knew
the names: an elm
from an ash, a beech from a birch, the gums,
the palms, the cedars
and figs—a poet’s orchard
ripe for the thief.
Lacking the words
for plants and birds,
instead I pluck from the family tree—
a book of pages
written in blood where anxious
kings dictate by might. My father,
afraid the names
of things might misplace
my awe of him
in favour of
more worldly gods,
drilled me in battles, American state capitals,
and chemical symbols;
in other words I learned to please,
but Boise and boron will not help me
thieve, nor teach me
to write the birds
and the trees.
Trees by Paul Fleckney was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition February 2019 judged by Mandy Pannett.