Thursday, December 18, 2014

Submissions - Apologies

My apologies to those of you who have submitted work to the Red Ceilings and haven't yet heard from me. Life's events have been keeping me busy - but I promise to read you all over the holiday period and get back to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unfound ~ Joey Frances

The last Great Auk in Britain
(Welsh pen gwyn, white head,
White Chief) now dead,
St Kilda eighteenforty
Three men caught a great garefowl
For its pretty little wings and bound it
Three days, then for nothing
Beat it to death – being a
Witch – with sticks
Because it had brought a storm.

Third of July eighteenfortyfour
Fled from the Geirfuglasker
Their Atlantis volcano sunk
Great Auk Rock, to Eldey, jut
Cut block up straight from sea,
Just off the Icelandic coast:
The very last Geirfugle
Laying one egg on bare rock
Ambushed as a collector’s specimen
To be quietly stuffed and stored,
But first erupts a comic violent chase
Her and mate strangled on a cliff edge
Their egg shattered by a seaman’s boot.

Extinct the name casually transmigrated
No bother no loss

(Which is why, if we are to save a species
We must abandon our superstitions
And our meat, be gentle, and eat cabbage
In the dark and die the empty deaths
We’ll die anyway,
No gods no witches)

Joey Frances has studied, written and read poetry in Cambridge and now Manchester, where he has just completed a modern literature MA. His poetry has previously appeared in the Generic Greeting Collective Zone #1, and Manchester No Spy Zone anthology. He is a member of the Generic Greeting Collective.

Midnight Conversation in a Bar ~ Donal Mahoney

The dapper young man tells
the homeless man one stool over,
After I get my law degree,
I’ll get an MBA and go to Wall Street
and make a million before I’m thirty.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
sipping the longneck
the young man has bought him.

I’ll start a business,
says the young man,
and make another million
by the time I’m forty,
buy a nice house in the country,
then franchise the business
so my kids can earn
as much money as I will.
You want your kids to do well.
Otherwise, why have them?
They cost money.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
almost finished with his beer.

I’ll retire and buy condos
in Paris and London,
go on safari to Africa,
buy gold against inflation.
Once I retire I want to have fun.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
lighting another cigarette
the young man has given him.

I’ll die when I get old
unless they invent something
that stops death, maybe a drug.
I’ll arrange my funeral
in advance, some big church,
don’t care which one
as long as they have a choir
to keep the wife happy.
And I’ll hire a good lawyer
to handle the estate.
Don’t want Uncle Sam
getting rich off me.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
looking for another drink.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This is What We Wonder ~ Seth Jani

When the moon raises its mast
Amongst the trees
They glow like bone-bright cages
In the night
And you stumble through the wood
Trying to pull one over
On the arresting wind.

The world is a prison perhaps,
Or maybe a pitying shelter
Built up to blind us
From the darkness overhead.

Either way we push the borders daily.
Always wondering if on the other side
We will uncover
Some marvelous secret
Or just the shambles after the show:
The goddess who revokes all I Love Yous,
The scenery dragged out
To a dumpster in the rain.

Seth Jani is the founder and editor of Seven CirclePress ( and his own work has been published widely in such journals as The Hobo Camp Review, Foundling Review, Eunoia Review, Phantom Kangaroo, The Buddhist Poetry Review and Gutter Eloquence. He currently resides in Seattle, WA.
More about him and his work can be found at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

City of Ideas ~ Peter Taylor

You must be in your own right
a member of the city of ideas
                             C. P. Cavafy

Habits line a path where bonecage
drags idea to his death,
raw metaphor locked
in the mind's erratic crucible.

My selves enact a war:
the one animal, needing
restraint; the other escaping
the skin's excursion

into raw zones, suburbs
of a universal sanctuary,
the conscious hologram
of thought's flawless crystal.

The Glass Flowers at Harvard ~ Peter Taylor

Engorged with blood, the ravenous Eden

bends unabashed in timeless copulation,

seducing generations of dazed onlookers

smeared across the glass.

Pistil and stamen, the glazed gynoecia,

lie sheathed in a whorl of calyx

and corolla, their ecstasy exposed

in perfect Engler-Gilg classification.

Unsated, these, too, mock nature’s cathedral.

Fixed in the intimacy of exquisite,

breathless as to fool butterflies,

they are almost the illusion of touch itself.

First published by Pirene's Fountain

Chicago Picasso ~ Peter Taylor

The two wing-like shapes that are her hair suggest with equal truth

the fragile wings of a butterfly or the powerful flight of an eagle,

while at the same time the rods that connect them to the profile

seem to contain the music of a guitar.                                    Sir Roland Penrose

One hundred and eight floors up

in the Sears Tower

you can see it all:                               

vertebrae of a city

hugging the lake front

like an exhausted animal,

steel wheat

rising from the plains of Illinois.

I think of Lincoln and fires.  

After two hours in the Loop,

the mind still wanders 

with the despair of a commuter,


coming down Dearborn there it is—

50 feet high, unreal at first,

icon, grotesque butterfly,

the bird in the horse in the woman,

162 ton offspring

of Picasso and US Steel,

weathering graffiti

with the patience of a saint

in the Richard J. Daley Plaza.

Across the street

a 39 foot MirĂ³ looks on,

its sensuous ceramic

nestled between

the First United Methodist Temple

and the Chicago-Tokyo Bank.

First published in StepAway Magazine

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Grand ~ Steven Waling


bust      we have the truth            gull sentinels
on every lamppost            we keep it in a bag

everyone needs to be touched            donkeys
with card readers on Blackpool                     by

morning                        grey sky settles blue            keep
calm and have a milkshake            walks

the inevitable hills            whenever you
walk through the door     a reservoir drowns

creamy stone and stream thru            the dead
arranged on comfortable sofas    village hall

the middle of life                    the message
is simple            I came upon a dark

why go on a cruise   just to play bingo
signs    CLEAN & TIDY              horse blankets

half my e-mails              ask me to sign petitions
worthy causes            a speciality            sometimes

I’m a sore thumb            wherever I go
and a somnolent line            of mobility scooters

CASH MACHINE INSIDE out            lettered rock
bedded down for the night            on ancient cabaret

some of my finest works


faded glamour edge of the cliff             he says
arrives from a feeling of profound            tumulus

whetting the appetite                        weather
does not come into it    eating sandwiches skeleton

of a man in his sixties   on the path      more
like it    a thermos of tea               strong and big

his worldly goods his             sadness of a moment
dagger his gravegoods his            passing

remarks                        global warming and the air
voice emergent with song            fresh orange juice

from the musicals            I’m always touched
hotel opened 1867 and was            by your presence

light      iron age                  steps everywhere
in our eyes obscurities                    holding hands

down to the sea                        on the walk or following
behind              twist            look up at the

cornices            well I suppose            herring gulls
lodged on their ledges            inventing something

that doesn’t exist     frontage shabby genteel
as the sea takes a bite                   climb the steps the

rules of abstraction


Spicer Flarf ~ Steven Waling

evil boy genius

my vocabulary

slowly become

a towering only

getter of Collected

Poetry of Jack

comments the older

of two sons listen

to the complete

perhaps object-

ionable now I

take pictures and

have opinions on

composition by

“dictation” most

of my friends like

words too well and

if you had a chance

to eliminate diff-

errant goals the

world’s largest

business notebook

in a list of his poems

I should credit the

same kind of hook

introducing his diiffi-

cult friend the night

custom reserves

from the spirit world

Bullet Point ~ Steven Waling

He used to work on the railways                       goods yard

Fascinated by language shape sound               heft

If you could have your life over                         no use

Crying over spilt bullet in the arm                     blood

Don’t know why he came to me                        tenor

After all this how one thought leads                 sax

To another in unstraight lines                            house junk

Everyone has to make a living                            alone

War he said was always a crime                        useless

Could have played in a dance band but             left arm

But you can’t go dwelling on fought                  jazz

I think he once said in the desert                      music

Nothing else he wanted but to play                  no wife

His long life’s improvised broken                      solo

Steven Waling is the author of several books, including Travelator (Salt), Captured Yes (KFS Press) and most recently, his book of internet updates, Hello GCHQ (Dept) which is being launched in November of this year.
He lives in Manchester.