Archives for posts with tag: UK

Masked - March 2020

That Masked Man
by Clive Collins

1955. I pester my mother, successfully this year, for a Guy Fawkes mask and in it haunt the streets. Half-blind, lucky, probably, to survive the traffic, yet transformed also: conspirator, would-be-blower-up of kings!

1959. A printers’ strike in Britain banishes Beanos, Dandys, Toppers, Beezers. Instead, American comics fill the newsagents’ shelves with masked men (and the occasional woman). Our new second-hand TV shows, The Lone Ranger; Saturday afternoon pictures, Captain Africa. Fighters for justice all, and exciting enough, though I retain my affection for the poor sod burned in effigy each November and, down our street, wearing my mask.

1960. I pass the selection exam for grammar school and am sent to one where, for the first two years at least, and faces, stature, girths apart, we all look just the same: gray flannels, green blazers, green caps. Masked.

1962. Slowly, some affect changes: drainpipe trousers, Cliff-Richard quiffs, winkle-pickers, chisel toes. Teds, then Rockers.

1966. My mask is slipping: blazer shrunken, “drainies” patched, chisel toes kicked in. A Saturday job buys me a suit (a quid a week), a haircut (five bob a time). Again am I not me. A Mod I am. Or just about, and only for a while.

1968. University. Suit off; jeans on – patched with velvet natch; haircuts postponed (indefinitely?). What was a Mod? Oh, yeah . . .

1974. I need a job having not become a paperback writer. Back in a suit and off to Africa. Masked again to a country of masks – Poro, Bundu. Not easy to see through those. Not hard to see through mine.

1983. Tokyo. Here everybody wears a mask – of one sort or another: sararīman, ofisuredī, wamono, loligoth. Here I find, at last, I’d no need to bring my own. It’s been assigned: foreigner.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The late Frank Zappa is on record (literally!) as telling the audience at one of his UK performances, “Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, and don’t kid yourself.”  Substitute the word mask for uniform, and you have my thoughts when writing this piece, more or less.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clive Collins is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding (Marion Boyars/ Penguin Books). Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. He was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.  Carried Away and Other Stories is available from Red Bird Chapbooks.

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THE MOORS
by Julie Rose Clark

I couldn’t say
I love the moors
nor could I say
I moved here for them –
when you could with ease,
all of you.
I could say
I love the canyons
even though I have never been;
the red rock
of memories,
the stories,
the paths they contain –
yes I could say
I love them.

I couldn’t say
I love the teasels,
the wire grass,
the sheep bones,
nor could I
say I walk here through choice
it’s simply
where I find myself;
here among the wonky walls,
the half stiles,
the rake roads,
the black-faced running sheep,
the bent gates,
the rocky straight,
the treeless horizon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem makes me think of the wind high on the tops of the moors which I have lived around now for about 12 years. It makes me think of the many days I have spent walking these moorland paths whatever the weather and the sights I have seen. The moors give me poetry if nothing else.

PHOTOGRAPHY: “The Moors” (West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) by Steve Watson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Rose Clark has self-published one volume of poetry, has been published in various magazines and anthologies, and has won a couple of competitions. She has read her words out loud at open mic events and has participated in several exhibitions. Her website can be found at www.julieroseclark.co.uk.

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We learned yesterday that the Silver Birch Press SILVER ANTHOLOGY  (released in November 2012) has been nominated for the Best Mixed Anthology by readers of the UK site Sabotage: Reviews of the Ephemeral. If you would like to vote, you can find the link on this page (When you get to the survey, the Mixed Anthology category is #3 on the list). You can vote until May 1, 2013.

Congratulations to everyone whose poetry and prose appeared in the SILVER ANTHOLOGY — including many authors from the UK! Best wishes to: BARBARA ALFARO, JENA ARDELL, MELISSA BERRY, JANE BUEL BRADLEY, JOHN BRANTINGHAM, RACHEL CAREY, CHIWAN CHOI, BILLY COOK, BARBARA DAHL, WALTER DE LA MARE, COLLEEN DELEGAN, GILLIAN EATON, BARBARA EKNOIAN, MERRILL FARNSWORTH, SYED AFZAL HAIDER, JOE HAKIM, ANDREW HILBERT, DONNA HILBERT, GAIA HOLMES, ZACK HUNTER, DIANE EAGLE KATAOKA, RUTH MOON KEMPHER, LINDA KING, THOMAS KUDLA, MORIAH LACHAPELL, LEEANNE MCILROY LANGTON, VICKIE LESTER, ELLARAINE LOCKIE, GERALD LOCKLIN, AMY LOWELL, SANDYLEE MACCOBY, TAMARA MADISON, CLINT MARGRAVE, DANIEL MCGINN, MARCIA MEARA, ANN MENEBROKER, JACK MICHELINE, BEN MYERS, JAX NTP, HANK PERRITT, MEGHAN PINSON, JACKIE PLEDGER-SKWERSKI, KATHY DAHMS ROGERS, CONRAD ROMO, LUKE SALAZAR, JOAN JOBE SMITH, CLIFTON SNIDER, DALE SPROWL, KENDALL STEINLE, ADELLE STRIPE, PAUL KAREEM TAYYAR, KATI THOMSON, JERI THOMPSON, WINSTON TONG, MARGARET TOWNER, MARY UMANS, DIRK VELVET, MELANIE VILLINES, FRED VOSS, MARK WEBER, TIM WELLS, STEVE WILLIAMS, and PAMELA MILLER WOOD.

Special thanks to SILVER ANTHOLOGY co-editor Joan Jobe Smith for inviting so many of the authors she’s met during her UK visits to participate in the Silver Birch Press anthologies.