Monday, October 3, 2016

High Tide ~ Steve Smythe

Draw a line in the sand:
one side scribe those things you
love about me, down the other
those you don’t.    

Take care the once-blank column,   
which now goes on and on,
is closest to the breaking waves,
and what remains from our heyday

is not washed away
after I have gone.

Steve Smythe started work as a reporter on local newspapers, before earning a living in local authority public relations and communications for twenty five years. He started writing poetry two years ago and is a founder member of the Manchester (City Centre) Stanza poetry group, as well as performing regularly on the burgeoning Manchester spoken word scene. Steve now works with young people who are in care, and is writing a novel. He lives in Stretford. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Noose ~ Amy Huffman

around my neck is feathered
white.  As night
descends, it hackles high,
glows.  This
                    nameless devil
in a church of despair  -- mine
signals its desire to the moon.
I am the loon who will pay
for a stray bullet’s
        King,           three,
                   ten,              all
spades.  I am playing
gin with the gods.  I know
I can’t win.
                    For starters they have
no [but all] hands and eyes
that see through stone.
            I intone a meditative
chant, an attempt to count
er this prolonged night.  Minutes
tick like years (or vice versa), as steel-
eyed still awake, the corner of dawn
a smile, offers
no hope

              of/or reprieve.

A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, fourteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses.  Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers.  She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.


I Am Blue ~ Amy Huffman

light, a special
kind of cold.
Numbing indifference
has turned my nerves
to veins.  They read
                 & uncharted.
I am a universe
of waves and wonder, full
of creatures.  (They bite.)
So do I.
              I take
strength and sense of direction.
To navigate means to give up
the ability to breathe.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

6 poems ~ Howie Good

Politics as Usual
An apparition of the Virgin Mary appears on the window of an otherwise ordinary house in Jersey City. Angry white men pretend that it’s only frost. Faceless angels dressed in tinsel wander through the neighborhood, a way for them to ensure that they don’t miss out on the war. Women begin to sob when the TV news comes on. “Donald Trump won’t leave us alone,” one says with a tearful shake of her head. Saints and martyrs ride a shaft of starlight down to ground zero. And those not burned up by death rays become their slaves.

 Life After 60
The black tulips were open for only a day when a big wind bowled most of them over.  I gathered up those with broken stems and put them in a clear glass vase and put the vase on the table. This is what life is like after 60, the wind, wet and moaning, sprouting strange new black feathers. None of us remember how, or there wouldn’t be an interrogator pushing the old man headfirst into the wall or a pool of blood on the floor moving as if it were alive. 

The Small Hours
This is what I saw when I got home, monstrous miserable flesh-tints. Anything can happen in the land of childhood obesity. Prostitutes and clowns insist that I pay attention to them, yapping and whining and pushing against my legs. The small hours of the night are the worst. It’s nearly impossible to silence them. I ignore all pleas to proclaim the necessity of burning the museums. For the time being, nothing somehow becomes something, the terrified faces of passengers on a hijacked flight.

Black Threads
It snowed up here today. Dogs became capable of filling their own bowls. You sprawled on a divan with your bare back to the viewer.  Every time you shook your hair more poems fell out. You don’t know who I am, but somehow you have been affected by things I did. Asked what the light was like, you describe a carnival of shadows broadcast in HD, just as I would. We invent the world in the instance of seeing it. The country where my family was changed into threads of black smoke doesn’t exist anymore. Bruno Schulz lived, there, too, trying to cross a crocodile-infested street with a loaf of bread under one arm.

The Theater of Eternal Music
Cigar-smoking angels who shoot pink waves of peace from their fingertips are full of complicated feelings. The grumpy cat has too much coffee, which has a psychedelic effect on its appearance. Some villagers worship a giant machine that dispenses eyeballs. Franz Kafka, struggling to write the first sentence of “The Metamorphosis,” finds himself constantly interrupted by loud neighbors and strange door-to-door salesmen. Flowers rise up against their oppressors. Beings made from string unravel in a railroad car. Kafka’s self-doubt pokes through his facade of positivity. A middle-aged man takes the fact that his son doesn’t want to play the flute surprisingly hard.

 A Cooking Show for Cannibals
A simple change of a light bulb has far-reaching effects. I don’t understand why this should be so. Murderous puppet typewriters misbehave with deadly results. A shirtless tomato farmer sings a hypnotic ode to his favorite crop. In a drab city, the sale and purchase of emotions are strictly regulated, but not everyone follows the rules and a gangster has himself gilded in gold. Fishing is a metaphor for Alzheimer’s disease. An elderly man thinks he’s related to a cow. As far as I can tell, there’s no reason to despise the monkey with a helium-filled balloon for a head or the preteen girl playing a sax solo in front of a deer carcass.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Funeral ~ Ibrahim Honjo

Before you die
Find the time
And do something about that

Consult a manual about execution of wills
Find out what obligations are entailed in the will
Don't die before that

You should choose someone
To represent you
Don't make a big mistake
To appoint somebody inexperienced

If you have somebody
Get in touch with him

If you have nobody
Don't die
Or choose someone who can carry out
Financial affairs
Leave time for consultations about responsibility

Being an executor of a will is not an easy job
But if he dies first you are in big trouble
If you have no money
You are in trouble
Without these two prerequisites
It's better that you never die
Never die

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Opening for submissions

Delighted to announce that from April 1 2016 we will once again be open for submissions to the Red Ceilings.

Lives of the Saints, Wayne Clements

Lives of the Saints, Wayne Clements

Now available from the Red Ceilings Press website

Wayne Clements, writer and artist, studied fine art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he researched machine methods of generating text. His artwork has been widely exhibited internationally. First published by Bob Cobbing’s Writers Forum Press in the 1990s, eight books of poetry and visual work have followed. Recent publications include: Clerical Work (2010, Veer), Western Philosophy (2011, Knives, Forks and Spoons), Archeus (2012, Depart), Variant Lines (2013, Red Ceilings), and Eutropius (2013, Hassle).
Kenya (with Johan de Wit and Antony John) is due from Veer in 2016. 

chapbook [rcp cb38]
A6 36pp 40 copies
£6.00 inc. p&p (UK)