the thirst of a perfect July
I have written books on regret
tattered pages of July thunderstorms
making umbrellas of our merriment
the rhyme to scatter crowds
is clouds, big thick dark ominous
those I prefer, like rain soft
often eclipsed as we search for falling stars
I have stopped wishing
and drink rarely from my wells of love
speak before they dry
the only wrong words are silent ones
The Day Mama Slapped Satan
Micheal A Griffith
Let me tell you,
it was August back before The War.
Mama and me sat on the porch
watching the day pass us by
like a wounded dog.
too hot to move much.
Flies buzzing around,
outhouse smelling real ripe.
Complaining did no good,
but we done it anyhow.
Day kept on limping by,
we kept on fanning ourselves,
sweating there, hoping
for a breeze what might never come.
What came was Satan.
Pulled up in a long red car.
A big city car.
Shiny, real shiny in the sun.
He waves, comes up to the porch
carrying a black suitcase bigger’n me.
Smiles so big,
white white teeth
mouth never touched chaw
or a cigarette.
But he was still a bad bad man.
Says he’s got all kinds of stuff for sale
in that big black case.
Jewelry, watches, toys,
perfumes, soaps and notions.
(Not sure what “notions” is,
but the way he looked up at my mama
when he said that word makes me think
they ain’t good things for her
or most any lady.)
Can he come on in and show her?
He comes up, hands me a tin car he has in his pocket.
“Free. Just for you.
Now, sonny, you take it and go play.”
Mama says my name like a angry pastor would
but I wasn’t really going to take it,
’cause I knew Satan when I seen him.
That white suit, black shoes what never touched mud
or never seen no dust on them. Never been in grass.
His hair so oiled, forehead wetter’n my armpits was.
Too slick, too white, too clean in the damn heat.
Man just had to be Satan.
Kept trying to get Mama
to take him inside,
to show her his stuff,
telling me to take the tin car –
red and shiny, just like his city car –
to go and play, he wants to talk with my mama
He leaned in close to her
and she never stopped fanning her face,
rocking in her chair.
He smiled real real big
whispered so quiet I could never hear.
Mama, she stopped her fanning, stopped her rocking,
looked Satan in his eyes
and slapped him so hard he went spinning.
Slap loud as a whip crack.
Satan’s cheek red as his city car.
Him so angry he shouted every bad word on Earth,
calling my Mama names no lady ever ought to hear.
He go storming back to his big car
thumping that black case of his,
threw that toy car off in the yard,
fast as lightning.
He drives away real loud
and there’s a big breeze.
Starts to cool off a minute later
and a nice soft rain comes,
makes Mama and me both smile and feel real good.
Day later I buried Satan’s toy car up at the church
where it ain’t done no harm
or no good ever since.
Micheal A Griffith
I do my praying
in a flat-pillowed bed (no nails, some coals),
in a speeding, careening, slick-road car,
or my porcelain throne
in my own ivory tower.
Why should our Father, who art in Heaven
Father Abba Ali Baba “OPEN!”, sez me
listen to sleepy, screechy, stinky me?
(Because I listened to my sleepy, screechy, stinky daughter when she was a baby, I suppose.)
a sharp crash of thunder
the sky is split in two
by a white hot bolt of lighting
mighty trees bow to the wind
awakening sleeping beasts
the hearts of men race
pounding in their ears
as all await the next imminent strike
Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies
a heated pressure front of air
the doppler sounds of an emergency siren
the vestibulum registers a vertical orientation change
I have been diagnosed with Cotard’s Syndrome,
I believe my bones are broken inside
me, I feel like paper mache
I walk only on tissues of air
I know my body’s internal organs
have died, atrophied and
cankers rotting suppurating
flesh. flesh-less I only stand
because I have forgotten how to
tell my wife I had loved her
tell the earth I am sorry for our race;
always treading on you, so badly.
When the Child Asked Me the Question.
up the sky, why do
grey clouds rain sometimes,
why do we walk upright, why do
girls not have things and what do girls
things look like, the earth is it like a ball
are we standing on it or in it, why must i stay
away from strangers, who will hurt me, do they know
when I’ve been bad and will they punish me, if there are
sat.. satellites spinning around us how come they know how to
make a circle why don’t they just crash, and why do i wear shorter
trousers and lizzie wears dresses, why is it daddy I feel alone and all
lonely and when I’m with mummy, lizzie or you daddy i don’t feel lonely why,
sky is light and floats like bubbles, clouds are grey because they are full of rain,
we walk upright because that’s how God made us, girls and boys are made to
fit eachother, that’s what being grown up is all about, we are standing
on top of it, strangers don’t know when you’re bad and you’re good
almost always, some strangers though are bad and that’s why
they might hurt you, satellites spin around the earth
because they are sought of held up by gravity,
and because they have rockets that keep
them spinning properly, you wear
shorts because you’re my boy
and lizzie wears dresses,
because that’s what
girls do, and,
…we feel lonely and we all do need,
and i feel trapped and i don’t love your mummy anymore
and i have never understood why people hurt eachother
and i was watching the news and i can’t make sense of it
and your mummy never touches me anymore and i feel so
alone and i don’t know what I’m going to do with you and
i never should have been a father and I’m so frightened of
letting you down and lizzie doesn’t hug me anymore i think
mummy doesn’t love me and she tells her not to and what
do you do when you’re forty and nothing is as it was going
to be and how do you start again with two children and a
broken marriage and I’m so frightened all the time all the
time and i don’t want to talk anymore not anymore, Talk.
I’m so tired i don’t want to talk.
and i said nothing and i stroked his hair
and his hair smelt like my life beneath my fingers
and we sat down and watched the news.
another Algerian massacre, an increase in the rape figures,
tundra drying to deserts, and oceans clogged with human waste
and at the end the inevitable cat saving a burning building
without need of any superhero’s mask or cape.
So. It was alright after all.
Except nothing really mattered
and there’s no point and there’s nothing to do
and there’s nothing to say and there’s no one
to answer all the questions I can’t even ask
and look:- at all the starving black children
with their swollen bellies and their mothers
with tits drained of all nourishment as they wait
for their time to die — before their child? —after?
A nature so harsh it even mocks hunger with gluttony.
And I know everything to tell my son,
and I know everything to tell my son:
everything is alright, every new day remakes
everything new, because every tear you’ve ever
cried has always dried and has never left a stain.
as everyone is raped in little ways
as everyone has their dreams broken
as everyone shuts their fucking eyes
so we can carry on and survive
But don’t worry, don’t worry I’ll protect you
with all my possessions,
with my hands, my body
with my fists my fists my fists [my fists]
so you can carry on and survive.
David Susswein is a writer from the South of England, right at the bottom. He has tried all his life to write well, to communicate, to talk to others; he cannot understand any other reason to write. Envoi, DreamCatcher, Picaroon Poetry, ShotGlass Journal, Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, an anthology in Farsi/English ‘Where Are You From?’ and others have heard his plea and answered.
They exterminate dreamers don’t they?
They took all the free spirits away
in steel modern boxcars
with a diamond window
with a view of the passing hills
they were that breed of mankind
artists and dreamers
filled with childlike optimism
that gave the working drones
a nagging emptiness
like a failed marriage
they would be unloaded
and put in two groups
the willing to adapt
or the hopeless dreamers
one group would survive
and be indoctrinated
taught to just accept
the gruel of conformity
Andrew Lawson hails from Connecticut USA. He pens song lyrics, poetry, children stories and ghost stories and an eclectic mishmash.
Continuous fall of deep in
If I could
put it to words
it would be
the heavy breath
that touches through
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
for the one whose final words left litter in my veins
i take the Midwest its storms upstaging every corner of the sky
too involved with open roads lazy lands i touch
with just a whisper and you’re there my undoing
practically grinning at the locusts not a single crop
it seems a worm has worked its way into love again
consuming every sweet intention i make Iowa by half a day
sooner than i expected what lives there i don’t know
i ease through dead crowds of corn one wheel is faint
the other three still screech your name so loud it leaves a mark
and i am stranded with green stop signs in my eyes hair yelling
at the wind what a wink couldn’t fix how gone i feel
from your flattery how flat i am when you don’t pursue