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New Poetry, Fiction, Essay

Favourite poems from the first 6 months of The Blue Nib….

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The Issue No. the poem was published in is in brackets after the title

FP indicates that the poem was by the featured poet in issue

 

Continuous fall of deep in(1)

Charles Carr

 

If I could
put it to words
it would be
the heavy breath
of light
that touches through
new leaves
on a row of trees
between where we sit
and the sun finally peaks
over a mountain
and speaks us
into a single shadow
of all the places
neither of us could reach
without the other

 

 

 

Turn off the lights on your way out (2)

Naomi Tate Maghen

 

my little sister never ages,
she’ll always be a scribble
of a square house,
two windows, a door
and a flowered garden path

 

i keep my distance
so that my thunderstorm
doesn’t rattle her windows

 

though she invites me in~
she didn’t study biology,
doesn’t understand how
her naive stems
depend on photosynthesis

 

how does one mother
birth a snake plant
and five years later
a patch of grass?

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you now (3)

D.L. Hume

,

I gaze up the hill,

across the river,

where a low sun

drapes the shore

in the final shroud of day.

And ask, where are you now?

I check my watch.

It ticks and turns.

A machine above your head

Shows no time remaining.

You are always late.

Where the fuck are you now?

I held your still warm hand,

stroked your mohawk arm,

anointed your forehead

and whispered in your ear,

I’ll catch you on the other side

So tell me where are you now?

I breathe the empty dark.

The glow of a late night joint.

An empty bottle.

Slainte mhath.

And I wonder

Where are you now?

I step out for a piss.

As you would have done.

A shooting star passes,

I tell no one.

There is no one to tell.

At least now old mate, dear friend,

I know where you are now.

 

 

 

 

Poetry’s Not Dead (3 FP)

Luiz Canha Machado

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass

In a winter’s dealer night,

Knifed by moribund moonbeams,

The spray on the fuliginous wall

Proclaiming poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

At the end of the inner tracks,

Where the heart synapses fade away,

At the bottom of the soul pit

Where the nameless feeling rests inert.

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on stone, wood and flesh;

I’ve seen it in a warrior’s glare,

I’ve seen it in a woman’s flare,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

For those hurt by the undoing of life,

For the failed strategies of heaven,

For the runaway lips on whoring street,

For the bruised knuckles of the spirit.

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on the roaring sky,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

To the moon’s desires as a whole,

To the wonders of humanity below,

To the smoke that rises unstructured,

To the shape of dreams floating above,

Feeding the common hope,

Untying the hanging rope.

 

 

 

End of Year (4FP)

Anne McMaster

 

From here, you can see the fabric of the year

scuffed raw and worn thin

around a grey horizon’s fine and unforgiving rim.

Today the sun is light and empty; nothing more.

Sudden gusts of desolate, bitter wind

busy themselves along the weakening edges of the moment

delving in – seeking to loosen – then to pry

all that holds them from the remnants of the day.

The desiccated husks of time

are borne up – gossamer-thin, translucent –

rising loose in tattered fragments

towards an abandoned sky.

 

 

The Winter Room (4)

By Mary Chydiriotis

.

Here we speak the same language

as marble ruins peer down at me

spying honeysuckle lazy in the captive sun

goats bleating under shady cypress

yiayia waits for me in the village Bytina

I’ve heard that name my whole life

Greek tourists escaping the relentless heat of their cities

spend summers there high amongst fir trees and pines

once a tightly wrapped baby in pink

now brazen with feminist zeal

I’m a stranger in this place

 

I’m a stranger in this place

she’s snappy that I’m late

‘argises’ she says in the winter room

snug with bedding and icons to keep us safe

fire burning and mulled wine

always hunched over            always in mourning black

homemade bread and fetta untouched on the table

We honour my mother            the missing link

 

We honour my mother            the missing link

meltemi winds have now long passed

yiayia prays daily for her daughter’s return

her own fading memories in frames

it’s my mother’s voice she waits for now

she asks ‘pote tha erthi’ when will she come?

soon I say unconvincingly

then wait for her phone call

 

We wait for her phone call

three women divided by place and time

yiayia speaks her prayers down the line

the same question over and over

pote tha erthis’ when will you come?

the same answer over and over

‘tha ertho tha ertho’ I’ll come I’ll come

later lying awake I smell wafting pine

hear the bell clang as the goat moves against the silence

We speak the same language still

I’m a stranger in this place

 

 

In the Psychiatrist’s Rooms waiting with my Son (5FP)

Therese Kieran

I think I might shrink, shrink to the size of a pea, roll off this chair
onto threadbare carpet where someone is bound to crush me to a pulp.
I’m halfway there – mashed, beaten, squeezed but wonder,
how does she do it?
How does she listen to swing and moody blues?
You’d feel like giving them a shake
but they’re already all shook up
and this isn’t rock ’n’ roll –
and now this too hot room is filling with a balloon,
swelling up, puffing out, pinning us to walls,
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….and its too thin skin is about to
burst.

 

Jacob Swam The River (5)

by Ken Dronsfield

.

Motley dressed

with holy socks

matching shoes

gray thinning hair

lives by the bridge

last ate on Sunday

fought in Vietnam

hides in plain sight

raucous lost dreams

fire and icy breath

in spite, death calls

peace finally found

a cold November day

socks, shoes unlaced

placed upon the bank

his war finally ends,

Jacob swam the river.

 

 

The Oak Tree

by Kirsty A Niven (6)

 

The tree still stands, your very own monument.
A well intended memorial yet incomplete,
the absence of the tree house conspicuous.

Its clawed arms lie upwards and empty,
questioning a deaf and clouded sky
and cloaking itself in leaves to overcompensate.

A magpie nests where we used to clamber,
hoarding its glittering treasures,
attempting to fill the void within itself.

I swear for a moment, I can see you
hanging by the tips of your scraped fingers,
a budding smirk on your earthy face –

but it’s gone just as quick,
the magpie’s beady eye meeting my gaze as if to say,
there’s some things you can’t replace.

 

 

the beauty of cranes (6)

by Dana St Mary

 

their long necks arched or rigid
sometimes knee’d in waters frigid
or knuckled up to pounce
with angry muscle
ounce per ounce
earth or rock or muck gripped in their digits

swiftly grabbing at their prey
the feeding takes the meat of day
a gullet never filled
still eyeing what can
not be killed
scooping up their load
as if in play

tendons taut along the neck
attentive to the smallest speck
and naught can miss the gaze
staring steely straight
for days and days
striking with a splash
or tiny peck

i thrill to see the majesty of cranes
hunting on the skyline of the dawn
their neck lines can be easy drawn
rarely seen upon a lawn
here and then quite gone but,
magnificence remains

my heart sings out the beauty
and the worth,
of mighty cranes
alone (or not)
digging in a chosen spot
building every building
here on Earth.

 

 

A Letter to the Friend Living in Borderline Abuse (6)

by Cathy Donelan

.

You say we cannot be seen on your wedding day

for the charade, might crack

carefully labelled lies will crumble

.

like shards of the mirror he put a fist through

while people sat downstairs,

that night you got on his nerves and I saw the flipside,

.

instead of taking your daughter and walking,

told the sparkling social media illusion

what a doting father he is,

.

knitting him tight to feigned delusion,

through the ornamental, lace thread-work

you’ll hang with your veil down your back.

 

 

 

Speckless (7FP)

Linda Mc Kenna

 

was what she aimed for. Speckless floors and
windows but especially sheets, plunged

again and again into water hot as she could
make it, soap and scrub, knuckles raw,

twisting out the dead watery weight of them,
stinging in arms and shoulders; then again

through the wringer. Then watched like a
hawk for the shadow, the sniff of rain.

The inelegant dash to rescue them from
the deluge. Then in off the line to dance

them into narrow folds. Edge to edge, face
to face, hands almost but not quite touching,

chaste  and white and clean smelling.
Something formal, a word you have read

but don’t quite understand,  gavotte or pavane.
Then the disinterring of the  ironing cloths,

grey blankets laid on the table, old linen
smooth and scorched. The good day’s work

of piles of speckless sheets growing and growing
at the uncovered end of the scrubbed table.

 

 

 

Fowl Play (7)

by Susan Wallace

It’s a far slog down the slow road
through the fen. White in the sun, around the wide horizon
the limestone towers of churches fasten earth to heaven.
I brake almost too late
and miss the swan by inches.

Stone still, neck arched, and burly back
so wide a crone could ride; in pose heraldic,
staring to the North, feathers unruffled by the slowing traffic,
it has alighted here as seal and sigil
to see our wishes granted.

And so, arriving at the creek,
we haul out such a catch of crabs, line
after line until our buckets seethe. The day stays fine.
Despite foretellings of wild weather, we see
no rain blow from the West, but wavering

flights of ducks crossing the sky –
arrowed like drunken sergeant’s stripes –
abandoning us to Winter. And, on the far side,
a cormorant drapes black wings to dry,
stately head turned imperious to the East.

How might we keep in mind –
heading for home, burdens rebooting –
this something rare that lies beyond our choosing,
appearing from otherwhere as poems do,
and startling us with signs and wonders?

  

 

Avowed (8)

by Bekah Steimel

 

Some promises are like beds
to be made and unmade in a single day
to climb in and out of
others are world records
just waiting to be broken
this is neither
this is a vow as honest as a mirror
as certain as death
I will love you imperfectly
I will love you and fail you
I will love you and fumble your heart
but I will never break it
or this promise
as certain as the only thing that will divide us.

 

 

 

 

TALKING WITH A RACIST ABOUT GARDENING (9)

Barry Fentiman Hall

I knew it was coming by
By the roll of the shoulders
The self righteous chest, puffed
Fat and sour as a bean
From his garden
He is spitting his truths
Like bad seeds
From rotten fruit
Suddenly I realise
I am shouting
A scarecrow
Waking the birds
From their blissfully ignorant
Perch on the fence
Only to settle
In the silence after
As though nothing had happened
The way that birds do
There’s still 8 hours to go
Changing the subject
I pour water on
Scorched summer earth
His apple red uncle’s face
Was still laughing
About the murder
When the talk turned
To the lettuces
That were coming up
In the planters I had made
Till we went about our duties
Filling the in trays
Of people who wish
Us good morning
And do not know
That behind their back
The jolly gardener they greet
Calls some of them nigger

.

 

 

Jazz (9)

Joan McNerney

 .

the kitchen sits

in fruit soup…

steamed apricot

mango shadow

 

down thru spinning

smoke into hot light

blink beat

 

body ends dangle

lead eye skin cement

high on tongue

 

night pasted among

buildings Styrofoam clouds

moon hung beneath billboard

 

rolling pass wet

rocked streets

soul tramp

diamond panhandlers watch

paper birds slices of

the daily news drift in air

 

comes cool ether

whispers up door

climbing dusty corridor

 

tree windows lapping lisp

door slams again noise again

then none void nothing syncopates

noise again door slams tree bare frozen

 

caught in the image of 7 candles

within 7 candles flames of air

7 light bulbs growing out of each other

7 silver circles coined from 7 silver rings

 

clear as blazing sheets

of glass yet

vague as dust

an ice cube on wood table

in front of crushed velvet

melt

poured

peeled

 

when this sky now boiling with

stars is strapped black

in pinched air thru sucked mind

swimming pass spaced time

will be one silent

note up.

 

don’t call me boy (10)

Tom Hade

 .

pretty boy girly boy

born in a pink blanket boy

face too round boy

never be a man boy

i’ll never look how i see

my skin is a prison

soft lips

perky tits

why can’t i breathe

when my chest is full

of slurred words

poison and spit and

grit

crunching of your jaw bones

learn to sleep alone

they can’t love you

can’t blame them

already a corpse in life

girl blood

and a bloated soul

old name

on a shiney new

gravestone

pretty boy girly boy

sugar sweet cunt boy

melt in your mouth candy boy

crush between your teeth boy

spit me out into the dirt

when im no longer of use

a quick fuck

ass up

face down eyes closed

don’t you fucking look at him

boy

see is

believing

and if you let the monsters in

they will chew at your heart

it’s easier

to forget

don’t let him touch you in your dreams

urgent tears silent screams

bury him

hands and sharp nails and drawn teeth

under lock and key they can’t hurt you

they can’t hurt

they can’t hurt me

what i don’t remember can’t hurt me

he

hurt

me

pretty boy girly boy

eyes wet with tears boy

weepy boy scaredy boy

don’t forget what mammy told you, boy

world’s too wide

to walk your own stride

please be simple

be standard

be safe

dry your eyes, boy

it’ll all be over soon

boy

 

 

 

Moon Mother (10FP)

Geraldine O’Kane

If they ask, “looking past you,
to the moon gearing itself for
the night ahead; showering in
the setting rays of the sun
just behind your head.”

Not looking at the vintage handbag
tethered to your neck by a friend
its handle short, leaving it to rest
on your full-bodied chest as a giant necklace.
Nor the blue blanket with the white stars
adorning your knee, already beaded with rain,
another kindness.

I am staring past the pink rain sheet
and the coffee-to-go mug in your good steering hand.
I am boring right into your centre,
to the place your courage lives,
cupping my hands for scraps, for I know You.

I have helped unstick your wheelchair
from disability unfriendly places.
Have listened to your creativity wiggle
its way beyond your paraphernalia.
I have witnessed you arriving and departing
in a flurry of unabashed inconvenience.

I have never asked your name
or anyone else’s, in case my enquiry
be misconstrued as a hand of friendship,
that is the length of my courage.
I will say, “I was looking at the grace of the moon.”

 

 

Advice 

Beth Kilkenny. (10)

 

People you don’t know will stop you in the street

and tell you things you didn’t ask to hear.

“Maybe he’s cold? He should be wearing a hat”

People you don’t know will look at you in the street

and give you sympathetic looks,

“Perhaps he’s hungry – I’d give him an extra bottle.”

and consoling smiles

“ Are you getting any sleep, love, you look tired.”

And you will look at them, (timidly,

through glassy eyes, made weak

through tears, and love, and uncertainty)

you will look at them, the people on the street,

that you don’t know, and wonder why,

they can’t keep

their goddam

opinions

to themselves.

 

 

Legs Eleven (10)

Lorraine Carey

She brought you to bingo
to slice through numbers
with a black marker
on Monday nights
to keep you sober
and from the vodka
slumber.

For company,
for your own safety,
to keep you out
of the kitchen drawer
and the cold, blue bathroom
that didn’t have a key.

You collected the bottles
maintained your nails and
highlights, everything else
on a landslide, slid away
and your only break
from those four yellow walls

was into a big book
and two fat ladies.
The wolf whistles pierced
pensioner concentration
in the musty parish hall.
Kelly’s Eye, key of the door,
and all the others.
The call lodged in throats
waited to rise and shout,
the black slashes
marked a full house.

A sneaky trip for mouthwash,
then back to front seat denial
and another bag search.
The yellow walls heard
the coughs to muffle the breaking seal,
the broken spiral of a new litre
to where it all went wrong.

.

Connemara (11)

Ezra Maloney 

 

There is something ancient in the air
this brutal landscape
flat as the back of your hand.
Your hair stands straight as beach grass
Standing in fields lousy with peat
as in the distance you can still hear
the beating of drums
The call to action of connaughtmen
Whose footsteps this ground remembers.

The wind rises and the sea spits
Over the beaches stiff with salt and history
From carraroe to clifden –
Connemara remembers her native tongue
A language that will not be vanquished.
(Beatha theanga i a labhairt.)

On a winter’s day you observe the land –
Where beauty meets terror along the edge of a coast
Where walls built by long-dead hands still stand
Where seaweed glistens on lonely beaches
You turn
facing this land
And know it as your own.

 

 

THIS HAPPENS WHEN THE EXPERIENCES ARE MISTAKEN FOR ONES TRUE DESTINATION

Vincent Zepp (11)

 

i was wearing my denim jacket
with a

reproduction of van goghs
self portrait

on the back

on my way to the library

i walked past this woman
who saw the portrait

i heard her say

thats incredible

so i paused to let her have a
further look

thats incredible
it

looks exactly like kirk douglas

honey all the gods drink

 

The Shoulder (12)

Derek Coyle

  

Let us think of Kafka

in the arms of Milena Jesenská.

He, who had already

coughed up blood while swimming

in the Civilian Swimming School

where he often chose to spend

his leisure hours. Anything to escape

the drudgery of the Asbestos Factory,

the tyranny of his father, the law,

and business, business, business.

He loved and feared

her living fire. He stands

and kisses her left shoulder

as she draws back her blouse.

Milena Jesenská, the firebrand,

who was to die years later, in Ravensbrück.

Let us picture them together,

the weight of her almost

uncovered breast upon him.

Since he has come to love her

he has discovered his love

for the world, a world in which

he has lately come across her left shoulder.

He kisses it,

the way a man

might kiss the head of his new-born child.

 

 

French trees by the roundabout (13)

 Bridget Khursheed

 

 the wind outside is like the sound

of a small town where the planted

pavement hornbeams are kicked and scuffed

and gulls far from the harbour

 

cry at cars just passing lit with the last sun

beyond the supermarket, a field of cabbages

smells out the bright hoardings advertising

somewhere else

 

in the glass no plastic bags on

the figure disappearing through the televisions

reflected vehicles yielding amiably

headlights all blown like water

 

those trees that are always somewhere else

that’s the wind tonight

a very slight pollarded suggestion

of a fertile place to end

 

 

 

Enduring Utopia (13 FP)

Attracta Fahy

 

They have usurped my womb,

my sun, ravaged my mind

with privation –

 

now they want my body.

I am slave, at the mercy

of food, a weapon, it rapes

 

me with their need.

They think I am frail, bring plates

with teeth, wild animals attack me.

 

I cannot tell you, as you come

towards me with your large

platter of nourishment, I am

 

terrified it will eat me,

that blood in its contents

will soak my bones, trigger

 

primitive instinct. My stomach

refuses to digest your utopia,

where the witch’s light is quenched.

 

My gut has a voice too,

she becomes a wild animal, bloated

with feeling, fat with lies, seeks

 

revenge for the killing.

She eats not just your food, your

plate, your power, she swallows my smile.

 

I’ve built a wall of starvation.

No one enters, not even me.

 

 

Reasons for Admission 1889 (14)

Glen Wilson

 

You will find yourself stretched here,

we deal with all kinds, a cornucopia of humanity.

 

This first ward on your left houses some of our less

troublesome patients, Dissolute Habits,

 

Feebleness of IntellectBusiness Nerves.

Indeed John here used to quite a successful banker,

 

No John he hasn’t come to see you,

Harmless really though wouldn’t go to him for a loan eh!

 

These ladies are all in for time of Life, menstrual

deranged, the usual Hysteria and ‘Women Trouble.’

 

Here are a few of our more recent cases, that one

there fell from a horse in a war, very close to a medal I’m told.

 

Ah these chaps came to us because of acute political excitement,

You must remember they seem normal but underneath…

 

Well that’s a different matter, don’t be taken in.

No I think you’ll find its God Bless the Queen

 

I wish we could ship them back to Ireland,

Anyway , Oh I would keep a bit more distance

 

from this next lot, Excessive Sexual abuse

and Deranged Masturbation. Yes you learn

 

to block the sounds out, just don’t enter the cells

alone, we can ill afford another replacement.

 

What was your last post? Oh…well I see,

You’ll get used to this, I’ll show you to your quarters.

 

 

this sudden vista is a last sunset

Alfred Booth

 

a tin cup, silver-lined photographs
key rings young and old
which occasionally clank
along with a few wind chimes
a gold frame flirting within emptiness
postcards signed with love from here
and there, memorabilia, things lost
now found again, an alarm clock
here time is silent, woven bracelets
a cow bell, its silent prayer
a pair of wedding rings, a dog’s leash
and collar, a few weathered stuffed
animals, a carved wolf’s head
souvenirs, like the tomb
of the unknown soldier
nailed to a pine tree, sparse branches
looming over naked bark
this strange collection humbles its host
planted as a century’s solitary landmark
between unknowable compass points
where tears no longer fall, here
five thousand feet in the mountains
this inhospitable corner
the wind’s howl keeps these souvenirs
no one can explain why
and I, the latest wanderer
empty my own pockets
searching for a treasure
you left me nothing to share
but the loneliness of this place

 

 

Polly

Anne Walsh Donnelly (13)

 

Mam ran away

after Dad gave her two black eyes

and made her nose bleed.

She fell into the river.

 

Dad put Polly

into an empty coal bag

after the funeral.

Put it in his van.

 

Me and Mam

used to give Polly stale bread

soaked in warm milk

every morning.

 

Dad said,

he was going to throw Polly

into the river,

‘cos she had mange.

 

He scrunched his beer can,

threw it in the fire,

then fell like a sack of rotten apples

into his chair.

 

Snored so loudly, the glasses

on Mam’s dresser shook.

I snuck out the front door,

crawled into the back of his van.

 

It smelt of cigarettes

and green diesel.

Polly scratched

the inside of the coal bag.

 

I cut it open with Mam’s bread knife.

Out she jumped.

I gave her one last cuddle

and whispered, “run away.”

 

 

 

Watching You Dream (14)

Steve Klepetar

You’re asleep in the blue chair, and I
am watching you dream. Today your
hair is made of glass. It shines
in window light, splashing your shoulders,
streaming down your back.
You must be flying in humid air
as sun struggles through breaking clouds.
High up the world looks wet and green.
You sail the currents, rising with heat,
then dipping into cooler troughs.
Your eyes become mirrors, your hands
a fluttering pair of nets.
I watch your mouth as it seems to sing,
chewing the lyrics of an old tune
we crooned on a train
shooting out towards mountains in the west.
We were young and blessed with peace.
I watch you sleep, and my face
transforms to lead. I would follow if I could,
sailing my weight along the track.
Soft leaves had not yet turned,
or drifted toward earth. All night we rode.
In the morning our eyes were dazed and full of snow.

 

 

 

Within The Dance (14)

Polly Richardson (Munnelly)

 

Oh to have one more dance in autumn fields dripping gold,

spiraling letters pirouette over protruding spine

as if winters first snow blanketing

cardboard house covering fallen dreams.

 

I danced with the devil

only to hang in fields – slowly scorch;

surrounded by cawing crows and beady eyes

cocking heads pondering first murderous peck

within frenzied flocks.

 

And I calmly inhale – splutter, toeing damp soil,

twisting brown leather straps of this notebook, poised,

under whooshing starlings

as last swallow swoops farewell home silencing

distant prancing hooves,

Oh to dance amongst the fields.

 

 

 

It’s all Relative (15FP)

Kate Ennals

His hair is diarrhoea from the arse of a gull
That he blow dries into corn doll drills
In his hamster cheeks he stores cake
Dolly mixtures swimming in soft poached egg
He has the look of Abe, a whiff of Dave, the feel
Of Hades. He wanks with divine precision
In an obsequious manner

He wears Ralph Lauren in bed, Paul Smith in the kitchen

His aniseed eye reeks a lofty derision

“Of what rhyme you now?” he sits back with a sigh
“Of you, my dear,” I say in reply.

 

 

There Comes the Day (15)

Liz Balise

 

There comes the day

when the leaves plummet

at the slightest breeze

giving up of their own accord

 

bleeding victory of the trees

who lumber on

in winter’s eyes–

 

I now can see

where the robins built a nest

in last year’s spring

 

 

Sutra (15)

Miriam Sagan

I see the name of the boy who jumped

into Taos gorge

and did not float

on air

but fell

 

written in black on a slip

of white paper

folded on the altar

 

and a bowl of ash

to contain

incense stick burning

to ash

 

and also I saw

what I thought

about all this.

 

 

 

 

Two hats (16)

for Nora, my beloved daughter

Jeremy Nathan Marks

 

God, who walked the field’s edge
was mistaken by the people
for a troublemaker

He wore one red hat
and one black hat
that really were the same hat
but the workers to his right
and the workers to his left
didn’t know there was a difference

So the God laughed
and the workers argued
and my daughter asked daddy
why do they fight
when there are muddy puddles
as many as there are drops of rain in the sky

‘I have a good idea,’ she says
piling several hats onto her head

Leading me to the yard
I am made to stand and face her
‘See, you can see both hats’
so how could anyone fight?

Why(?) is a statement not a question
and answers are just further questions

Like that God in two hats
the God, a God or just God
a trickster leaving stories of teething,
first words, night terrors and potties
told in a tangled vernacular so mischievous
the storyteller is a face framed by
curling blond locks.

 

 

Rooms We Cannot Die In (16)

Jim Bourey

 

“We have all been in rooms

We cannot die in, and they are odd places, and sad.”

James Dickey

 

She didn’t want to reveal her secrets,

and they were many, but I wished them

out of her. Dark rooms (though some were light)

became brief stops on a frantic journey,

where time was a demon

 

as fierce as our need. And the shape

of my world was distorted,

bent at odd angles, as we tried

to make things mesh into normalcy.

 

Caustic lies

followed one upon

another easily.

I basked in their heat,

amazed at my creative

skills. It all fell

apart, as these things must.

It was a sad day

and joyous too.

 

 

 

Vocabulary (17)

Dr Sanjib Kumar Baishya

We live in an age
Imprisoned
Or liberated
By vocabulary.
Vocabulary defines us.

 

Destination (17)

Dr Sanjib Kumar Baishya

Lost in some unknown thought
I reached an unnamed spot.
The spot renamed me
And the thought
Abandoned my mind.

 

 

 

Gijón, Asturias, a haiku sequence (17)

 Maeve O’Sullivan

 

orientation stroll…

the first sound

a seagull’s cry

 

***

 

beneath the café’s din

of TV and chatter –

his song

 

***

 

the peacock shakes

his bridal feathers –

city park cage

 

***

 

hilly headland

its giant sculpture

amplifying the sea

 

***

 

artist’s former home      its triple-locked steel door

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

Colosseo (18 FP)

Graham Allen

“Rome is no more than Jerusalem.” P. B. Shelley (1819)

When I can I go to the Arch of Constantine,
where we spilled out on 9.11.,
and I think of what I could have said,
responsible there for saying something,
if I only knew what we all know now.
But the words of Shelley’s photocopied notes
stuck in my throat and I could not say,
repeating him, how civilization
and all created beauties rest, like foam,
on an ocean of horror and violence.

Outside the Coliseum on that day
we could feel the monster of history stirring,
though the rumoured word “collapsed” insured
they would level insult to the ground,
go on pretending their permanence
and re-born right to the power he so despised.

And I think now, as I did then,
of the absence of modern, Imperial ruins,
as I watch a tiny, metallic bird
fly through a window and cut across the moon.

 

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING (18)

Chris Hardy

I’d hear him before
he came round a corner,
hands in pockets.
On mountain paths
he called the dogs
with another note.

I learnt how
to use my lips,
and the thinner tone
made by making a reed
from the tongue’s tip
against the mouth’s roof.

Driving fast
so our dust
could not catch up
we piped show-tunes
to accompany the engine’s
drone and silence.

*

In the final place
he apologised,
said he wanted
to go back home.
The nurse wheeled him out,
washed and tidy,

told him he must try
to move and sip.
So with two of us
holding on
he leaned round the ward
once more

then lay back down,
eyes closed,
legs, hands
and lips together,
folding away,
clean as a whistle.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

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