Coming on December 15th


Poetry by Stephen Mead, Peycho Kanev, Darren C. Demaree and Alan Tolzis.

Submissions are open at North of Oxford: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

For reviewers- Recently received books https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/recently-received-books/



Under the El by Michele Belluomini

Under the El
there he is again
the diabetic saxophone player
leg in a cast   his foot cut off
playing jazz-blues at 11am
on a humid June morning
his music evokes the night:
blare of a neon sign stuttering
in darkness
a run of notes in the upper register recalls
voices riffing
from an open door —
men and women laughing     
   happy to be alive
a sudden descent into a minor key
low notes blister the air  — growl
of an argument whirls    reverberates
tension builds    music arching like a cat
ready to pounce:  hear the shouts
feel the shoves    a low snarl
music swirls     filled with disgust  
with a shake of the head   
shrug of a shoulder
friendship walks out the door
blue notes scrape air
lonely footsteps on rain-soaked pavement
oh how he plays
I miss the train   I miss two more
only when he stops
am I released from the spell

Michele Belluomin’s poetry has been published in American Poetry, Philadelphia Poets, Beltway, The Mad Poets Review, The Fox Chase Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Apiary Online, among others. Poems have also appeared in various Poetry Ink anthologies and the anthology, COMMONWEALTH: Poets on Pennsylvania.  Crazy Mary and Others, won the 2004 Plan B Press chapbook competition.  Her most recent volume of poetry is Signposts for Sleepwalkers, also published by Plan B Press (Alexandria, VA).  She works as Adjunct Library Faculty at Community College of Philadelphia.



2 Poems by Gareth Culshaw


His bag emptier with every street.
Socks sagged around his ankles.
The lever in, slip, release
over and over.
Odd numbers, even numbers, rusty
hinges. Wind battered gates that
knocked their whole lives. Seeing
the sun spread itself over his daily
plot. The snip of a latch, clock turn
handle, heave the hinge-less, walk
through the gate-less, unbolt
the formal. Listening to the barking
and cawing, the snap of car lock.
Taking it all in his stride, the passing
of the unknown. Wearing away
his years until he himself slips
and drops.
The perps were our line
the joint between bricks, that
buttering of two faces, softening
the wall. Making us believe
things were not as hard as they seemed.
Flemish Bond, English Bond, Stretcher
Bond, some bricks halved, others
in wait like a waiting foot. The weight
of it all, building before us.
Those years when time is of no height.
And walls had no theme, other than
something to clamber over.
We ignored the perps, seeing them
as a weakness. A scoop with a trowel,
tap with the butt end, dink with the edge,
not realising that for every brick we laid
corners came into our lives, and shadows
and shadows, and shadows.
Gareth Culshaw lives in Wales. He is an aspiring writer who has his first collection by futurecycle in 2018.

2 Poems by Annie Blake

taMe by arr hart

taMe by Arr Hart

This man says I feel warm and deep.
He tells me my body is soft. When we sleep he wants
the part that carried our children. I wish
I had pale turquoise eyes. I’ve always loved transparent
eyes the most. The thinnest—devoid
of all humanness and connection.
There is a way to empty corruption through your eyes. This world
stands upright like a giant machine that has special hands
that operate me. Eyes can at least shed delicate things like skin.
The rest stays in the pit which revolves
like the skinny whining of a child
who is begging for something different to the money you give.
The man doesn’t look at it that way. He doesn’t know
what passes through my mind and out of my eyes.
He doesn’t sink into another world
during incubation sleep. He sees fire in me sometimes.
He says the light in my eyes is the strongest
when I sit in his lap and smile. He sits down behind me and strokes
my hair. He doesn’t know
I’m thinking of something else.
Of which point exactly did I die. At which point did I realize
I wasn’t really here. He tells me
my hair is so long and glossy. He wants to brush it.
I don’t understand how a man can value my body.
I tell him to stop calling me Mom.
He says our kids call me Mom.
He doesn’t know we are both a product of our mothers’
renunciation of intimacy.
My olive skin tans so well. I think white skin; colorless—
like a double-bricked hospital wall, would suit me better.
for F.S.
I think of you. There are many people I am thinking
about. The world you die in is not the same one you are born in.
The gristles in the city are feeling like roads.
I was wrong about so many things. The dingy
terraces with their bikes with their baskets tied to the front—
the moon as wide and yellow as a sun-lit lake—
watch how I paste it to the skyline.
Lamps are shining over their doors.
I’m older than I thought I would be.
There is no physical space for anything. But the mind
is bigger than that. There is a lot we can carry—
even that we don’t see. Of what you did.
Of me. Our one body was an attempt.
When the last tide gives in,
watch how your matching accoutrements fall through
your hands. You still don’t know
I was thinking of you. You will never know
about these pieces, these vines that keep stretching
and arching their tongues back in the dark. Sometimes it is better not to know.
Whenever I walk without you, I feel
for your letter in my pocket. It is hardly discernible now.
What you have killed.
How much of your water I have drunk.
When I saw your cold face—your wrist bent the wrong way—
your fingers flicked back like arrows pointing to strange lands.
Death makes us see things. White thin sheets for skin—eyes
as wet as sinking boats. The flesh around them the color of cut meat.
Can you see me now under this blanket—this heavy sea,
this dark water? Did you know there is a new sun?
It is bigger than the one that shines here.
More people should look at dead bodies. It should be mandatory.
We both disbelieved in God. We agreed it was speculation. The sea is carrying us in.
Bodies are the softest when they lie whole in death’s light-filled mouth.
I will let no other color permeate your skin. My hand is visible
even under the water. More people should view this sweeping
of the earth—this rapid shifting of the grains.
annie blake photo headshot (2)
Annie Blake is an Australian writer who has work published or forthcoming in Mascara Literary Review, Red Savina Review, Antipodes, Uneven Floor, The Voices Project, Into the Void, Southerly, Hello Horror, Verity La, GFT Press, About Place Journal, Gravel, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and more. Her poem ‘These Grey Streets’ was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize by Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy and cosmogony. She holds a Bachelor of Teaching, a Graduate Diploma in Education and is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne. Annie Blake (The Gatherer)
Arr Hart is an artist and photographer. Her photographs can be found here: Arr Hart

New Poems by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Diane 20

Poet and Contributing Editor to North of Oxford, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri has recently had some poems published at Blue Heron Review and Jonah Magazine

You can read Let Memories Awaken here: Blue Heron Review Issue 8 Summer 2017

And at Jonah Magazine : Under the Eaves and Iris observes a sparrow at the apex and remembers

2 Poems by Tony Rickaby

Elephant & Castle Underground Station

Elephant & Castle Underground Station

A voice from somewhere
Accelerates away around
Chugging on
Circling overhead
Silence suddenly
Screeching at the crossing
Shouting running home
Siren round the corner
The Eastenders theme
This particular flightpath
Today’s rat run
A baby cries spasms
Buster barking
A conversation ends in laughter
In a deep voice
Door slams deeply
Hiss from somewhere
Not so loud reply
Shunt to a halt
Cheerful snatches
Something muffled dragged
Sort of rustling
A machine spins
Asking so quietly
Blares and booms
Continuous screaming
Coughing in a waistcoat
Red anorak revs
Repairs somewhere
Roof bangings
Sighing on a car bonnet
Splattering onto concrete
Throbbing in time
IMG_5131 copy (1) copy

photograph by Tony Rickaby

different dots – fixed directions
floating rubber – grey positions
lines at angle – random dark
row of arcs – see-through metal
some thin – some thick
striped horizontals – elastic brown
thicker emerging – woollen sphere
angled table – floating ochre
camouflage cover – concentric slots
cracked hill – edible stop
lost root – mirrored y
mystery box – resting bricks
splitting wall – yellow island
upturned purple – criss-crossed flaking
corrugated shop – leaning diamonds
mesh wall – hanging hedge
weeping slats – tangled brick
wooden rust – lonely white
Tony Ri
Tony Rickaby has produced hypertext animations for Drunken Boat, Locus Novus and Toad; visual poems for Altered Scale, Counterexample Poetics, Cricket, InStereo Press, 20×20, Otoliths and Suss; prose for Anderbo, Athregeum, Aspidistra, Dark Sky, Litro, The Whistling Fire, and Word Riot; poetry for Camel Saloon, Ditch, Message in a Bottle and Sugar Mule. He lives in London. Tony Rickaby

Phoenix by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

phoenix reborn by iron phoenix

Phoenix Reborn by Iron Phoenix

If I had to choose the circumstances of my birth,
the mother of all do-overs
it would be alone, slick and silent
and I would shine on an empty stage
numinous like livestock:
But of which variety?
Which animal is without sin?
Meat on the hoof
or at the breast,
horns as vestigial anatomy
like the human pineal gland
or an appendix.
Which species denies pleasure
to its executioners
before the profits come rolling in?
After the capillaries are broken,
the rest is choice
about sentience and organs.
I would like to be more than my body
more than the limitations of my skin ;
and certain angles, slopes, ratios
of costume medals: never the good stuff
the markets trade in.
They say touch is nothing to us,
nothing to me
and yet I rub my hide
along a fence collapsing
from a surfeit of rain
and too little maintenance
until the follicles are breached,
ripped free of their burden
and I am another layer,
fresh and naked.
In the moonlight I will bray
at other possibilities,
Other systems,
and wait as patiently as I might
for my next set of parents. 
Jane Rosenberg LaForge’s poetry collections are With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women (Aldrich Press 2012); the forthcoming Daphne and Her Discontents (Ravenna Press); and four chapbooks. Her forthcoming novel is The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing) and her memoir is An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy, A Fantastical Memoir (Jaded Ibis Press 2014).