You pull your hair hard, elbows like antlers.
You gasp through your teeth, chest stretching upward like a balloon being buried alive.
Your lungs are filling with hummingbirds and heat.
Your heart is a running boat propeller that has been pulled naked from the water.
You are on a carousel and can't stop.
You are suffocating on the air you’re drowning in.
Breathe in. Through your nose.
Let that chilly wisp crawl through and caress the back of your tongue.
Let your chest fill like a fire hose being woken up by water.
Breathe out. Through your mouth.
Drop your jaw like a drawbridge.
Release that train of fog through the tunnel of your lips.
Breathe in. This has happened before. You have done this before.
Breathe out. You will make it. You always do.
(David Icenogle is a writer and mental health advocate who is influenced by his personal experiences with mental illness.)
1. Personality Disorder
2. Freedom of speech
3. World is a beautiful place
(Dr Hena Jawaid is a psychiatrist, writer and an artist based in the Australia.)
To My Stream
Your water flows down the valley to the Tyne
different years, different
you weave through a wild land wooded
you irrigate grazed pastures and copses
fill kettles boiled on charcoal burnt
to fuel ranges in shacks clustered near the ferry
you drive through the mill race swift over stones
to grind wheat to flour
you pour over colliers’ skin in pithead baths
to wash way away the soot and grime
from labour underground
you meander and sparkle through conservation land
reclaimed by trees and birds
small mammals flowers and fresh air
unsullied run again
as when it all began
Invitation to Mine
You might miss the turning, so
take it slow around the bend, turn left
and leave the race behind. Meander
down in your own time. Freewheel
fingers tapping, steer along the spine road,
sink below the valley’s narrow peak,
neck to coccyx, as it were. Arrive, ready
to ring my doorbell. Listen to it chime
through my dark passage. If I do not
answer, use the key hidden in the plant pot
between fronds of bright green ferns
and wake me, drowsy, from my swollen dreams.
Accelerate my newly woken heartbeat,
with a kiss on each cheek and I will boil
water for steamy cups of China tea
to drink with tinned apricots, sleek in syrup
and condensed milk. We’ll have cream eclairs
to lick and eat for afters – if we’re not too full.
Your sightless eyes and wandering mind
show me what I might have missed,
walking quick-step in unsteady shoes.
Your thin skin, your fingers nestled,
and curled in my own unworn hand,
remind me that our shared days
will close, soon before I am full grown.
Down the garden path, you stop and lean
on my strong, young arm. Perfume
lifts, the last white rose of summer,
and woven together in the moment
I guide your hand, outstretched, to touch
velvet, held safe from the thorns.
( Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon- Prior to retirement, Ceinwen was a mental health social worker and practice educator; she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017 and her poems and short stories have been published online and in print anthologies.)
The Fragrant Face of the Rainbow
The prehistoric days I miss.
There is sweetness in my body.
The heaven and the earth are but shadows.
Nay! It isn’t the sun that illuminates things;
My soul has great many eyes
That make tomorrow as transparent as yesterday.
Above the vault of heaven there exist
Great many giant cities of joy,
And each giant seems like another one of my own,
Dissolving my loneliness and sadness.
However, every death is a sunrise
That makes the oblivion of night bloom the asagumoes,
The fragrant face of the golden rainbow
Which makes the heavens fully drunk.
(Translated by Manu Mangattu- Assistant Professor, Department of English, St George College Aruvithura, India)
The Big Pond
It was a stuffy afternoon
and I watched them from my classroom window,
their little feet slapping on the concrete
as they waddled back and forth across the playground.
Their progress was slow;
every so often one would falter and the whole group
would have to stop, turn, and waddle back
to help them pick up their PE kit
or gallop around, chasing stray sheets of homework in the wind.
The mallard walked on his own
a lone ranger, oblivious to the wide eyes
flickering in his direction.
Their judgements slid from his oily feathers in great drops.
They arrived in an inferno of quacking
each leaving a little trail of mulch and leaves
with every step.
Except for the mallard,
who kept a wary distance and a round black eye
on his surroundings.
They roosted at their tables,
setting out pencil cases, exercise books and bottles of water,
making their nest for the next hour
a comfortable one.
The mallard settled himself at the back
where he could watch them all from a safe distance.
I don’t like to like walking
I don’t enjoy the views,
or the wind flapping invisible ribbons
against my face
and swirling my hair into an enormous tumbleweed.
I don’t enjoy the silence
or the time it gives me to put my thoughts in order
as we walk, one foot in front of another, saying nothing
and that being sufficient.
I don’t enjoy the company
and the preciousness of a moment
stolen from the lives of some other people
who enjoy that sort of thing.
I don’t enjoy the words that can only be said here
and left in leafy thickets
trapped like flies on a web.
( Kristy Keller is a new writer from Cheltenham who has previously had work published in Balloons Literary Journal.)
broken words ,
lying empty ,
some of the words are... ,
parts of syntax...... missing ,
if simply misplaced ,
we can't find....... ,
what should...... be...... ,
familiar patterns have...... ,
grown....... fuzzy....... edges ,
around them........... ...... those ,
words....... broken...... ,
some of the........ are..... ,
broken.. broken............. broken ,
......... are ............ ......... words ,
words....... are......... lying.
( Louis Kasatkin is the Editorial Admin of www.destinypoets.co.uk )
She walked out on me two weeks ago, leaving me with a years’ worth of writing- a poem by David Elvis Gale
It influenced my confidence the whole time
Now occasionally have hopes and dreams
One minute I was high
Then felt always wrong
Thoughts become unnecessary until I’m further alone.
Alone in two places with higher expectations
The expectation to follow with unfair comparisons
Expectation to change
Of me and what I should have been
Inability and communication lost to fear, overreaction
Her plans never involved me.
Arguments often seem intentional
Providing the opportunity to continue to do what you like
I invested and the more difficult to become
No arrangement outside the relationship due causing a fuss.
I had to accept the rules unconditionally
Love was conditional
PUSHING AWAY THE HOURS
Countless years of drinking,
getting drunk and high and
I’ve enjoyed almost all of it
except the time I was
threatened with a razor
blade across my face in a
bus shelter following an
argument amongst the wino’s
over a fucking cigarette
paper, it was a scary time, it
happened so very quickly,
over within a few moments,
not really having time to
consider what the fuck was
happening: but I’ve enjoyed
it mostly, like that time I
had money in my pocket
and I bought food and wine
and took 2 or 3 bums back
to junky Annie and cooked
food and drank wine with
these brave, dirty and
useless souls, that dared go on:
pushing away the hours, the
years of hopelessness with
not a care or dream, but staying
with it, because there’s nothing
FLIES TO HUMANS
I will, at a push and under
protest, kill a fly or a bed-
bug or cockroach: I will not
kill anything else no matter
how creepy, crawly, hairy
and ugly but completely
innocent: I’ll catch it and
remove it safely from the
house and let it go upon
it’s way and warn the
fucker not to return:
but if it was an uninvited
human stranger then
things may be a little
different: I prefer insects,
spiders and even flies to
most human beings, so
I’d probably be more
defensive and aggressive
with intent, besides, my
wife would probably deal
with the asshole.
MY PARENTS WEREN’T MONSTERS
My parents weren’t monsters,
he was a son of an alcoholic
illiterate gypsy family and she
was a daughter of a simple
working-class family without
ambition except surviving
and gossip: mother was a
school chef and a silent and
talented artist: father was a
drunkard and a scoundrel
and a lovely fucking fool:
my parents weren’t monsters
but two young souls desperate
for something different
and daring, to push the walls
away, to create something
of their own through their
own kind of love for one
another and they didn’t
create monsters but shadows
of themselves unleashed
in a time of
(John D Robinson is a published poet from the UK)
From behind forehead you execute as grand conductor; the stardust of our selves reside in your neural correlates.
I find my limbs where they are, even with closed eyes, & then sense the world in multimodality: eyes open.
I come here to find hippocampal memories longing for me & receive expressions of love; call me by your name.
Ironic, you sit rearmost. What lies ahead is my ever-changing vision. Proust said: new eyes, not landscapes.
(Dr Jennifer Wolkin- is a health and neuropsychologist, and mindfulness-meditation practitioner. She started her MFA in creative writing and literary translation at Queens College)
I am made for Alzheimer’s
practicing forgetting since I was a child.
A pink thread of mist frays into light,
the sky sun ached blue-white
full of calories and miscellaneous detail
and then a great shiver of katydids
blows across a wind at the edge of the yard.
I have to explain everything in color,
the mood swings and the warmth of scars,
a strain above the eyes, a roll of breath
across a shape of lips I am not allowed
to wander across. This is the way to dementia,
the play of remembering
what needs to be forgotten,
what needs to never be remembered,
what needs to settle into the swamplands
near the lake gathering the love chatter
of tree toads and large mouthed frogs,
letting everything else dissolve
Into frames of a black and white
Humphrey Bogart right before
he walks out on Katherine Hepburn.
Michael H. Brownstein -has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013).
The Beautiful Space-