our family closet
is full of cracked
going to be
sick again ---
see her steady hands"
cured 20 times
split level office
cruel irish grandfather
farming over teaching
plus patriot sister
with american eagle
in living room
& prison record
none of them will
ever speak of
exposed add a couple
virgins & go
clear off a shelf
for me too.
(Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations).
Sometimes there are
hushed whispers under the bated breath
sometimes there is a cacophony
drowning our minds
leaving us numb and frozen
sometimes the laughter gets lost
floating through the trees
frozen on the moss
on a cold misty morning
a frozen ghost
Sometimes a loud thud
when the old chestnut
breaks down and opens itself to the wild
love is always a sacred offering
sometimes the scars tell the whole story
untouched yet cutting through the bone
sometimes the silence seeps in the wrinkles
those folds on the skin
bereft of any emotion
Sometimes a pale face
holds the mystery for the closed palms
and sometimes the crows feet
carries the laughter for eons
a still face holds the mirror to life
look closely at the reflection
floating in the swirls
of the deep those obsidian eyes
sometimes silence screams the loudest
(Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is also a contributing author at GoDogGO Cafe, Candles Online, FVR Publishing, Whisper, and the Roar and Poets Corner. Her 200+ works have been featured in Whisper and the Roar, 521 Magazine, Oddball, Pangolin review, Fourth and Sycamore, KOAN ( Paragon press), Modern Literature, Writer's Cafe Magazine, and coming up in Dime Show review, Piker Press and many more. She recently won the 1st prize in NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Mental Health Poetry contest. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/. )
Anything, I’ll do anything
to keep you at bay.
of general relativity breakdown,
and the way
of how I think an antecedent of mine
might have been one of them
aboard the Rajah in 1841.
Let me tell you about
the murmuration of starlings.
Have you seen that the video
how they whirl and swoop and dive,
individuals becoming one stupendous
in a press of air and wings.
I’ll call you friend, mate, compatriot,
be your host, your guide, your patient,
your gift, your intimate.
I can do all this with my hands tied.
Do you notice how I look down, not
into your eyes so much.
Have you seen that...
like I am appearing on that video,
playing on auto,
playing the part,
whatever you need.
What would you like today... this me
or that or a muse, a chameleon, a genius,
an old lady... or I can dumb right down.
Anything. I’ll do anything
I didn’t want to get caught up
in the tweaked
the field of clouds
as nightshade and black cohosh.
I try to detach,
awaiting my rush,
my heart turning over,
my bill of rights,
I must encode new frequencies
and I want to tell you
I am not expendable.
I am not broken.
Drifting almost out
in heaviest dream
submits a morse
the character of fear
being radical before
and after dark
a subtle growth
bloats to the eaves
to a final (burst)
(Linda Stevenson is a Melbourne, Australia poet and artist. Her recent poetry has been published in local and international literary magazines and anthologies, including Bluepepper, North of Oxford, The Pink Cover Zine and Plumwood Mountain. A Chapbook “The Tipping Point” Blank Rune Press 2015 is a collection of her ecopoems.)
Life and death and in-between moments
When the distance between
living and non living shrinks dramatically
a series of zigzag lines on the bedside
monitor, hope sustains the
world of the living, although flickering
like a candle in the wind;
faith gets quickly mobilized by the
praying hearts for a miracle
in a prosaic universe; clammy hearts open up
and seek the divine intervention in the cases,
swinging between optimism and
pessimism with the ease of acrobats, the family believes
in a win against heavy
odds, wishing for some relief
some more extension;
the daily confusion
the continual stress
the hovering uncertainty
all writ large
on the withered faces
of the attendants, huddled
together on the small benches,
outside the wards and the ICUs---a rarefied region,
forbidden, forbidding, formidable---where a fairy-tale
romanticism tries to prevail over factual realism;
the entire public space marked by a heavy air
of despondency and pain, walking about gingerly,
eyes vacant, dragging feet, as if
drugged and benumbed by the possibility
of running into a spectral presence, in a nook,
any nano second.
At some point, in the narrow corridors that strongly smell
Of antiseptics and sterilized syringes,
some miracles do happen, while
others are expected to unfold soon, despite
by the god-like figures in white aprons.
(Sunil Sharma is a Mumbai-based writer, editor, academic with 19 books published---some solo, others joint.He edits Setu: http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html )
Let’s start with how it is.
The canal’s too still. You can’t describe the sky
because your eyes won’t lift.
By the air’s bitterness you guess
it’s clear with a sharpened moon.
Your eyes ache. You have no gentleness towards yourself.
You wander the cottage of ghosts and shadows
with a posthumous numbness.
The windchimes, hollow and restless,
catch the breeze and are shrill.
Neither whole nor young, this sickness
has broken your will.
This pain will be marked in the tissues:
a notch, a scar, a twist in the grain
the body remembers. Now rain’s fierce.
The cat’s howling: wet and pitiful.
You promise if you shift
your aching limbs to let him in – feed him, dry him –
you will put pen to page.
So here’s a note to be found in a box in years:
If only to do, to see, to say –
whatever joy I gathered from today
I weathered this night in November
and if you’re reading this, I found the courage.
I caught myself.
(Kitty Donnelly is a nurse and a poet. Her poems have been published in Acumen, The American Journal of Poetry, The Fenland Reed, The Dawntreader, Mslexia and has work due out in Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Granta amonst other publications. kittydonnellypoet.com )
The Thought not taken
Two thoughts emerged on a darkened place,
And sorry I could not think both,
For one was hidden by indecision,
The other, by lack of faith.
And as I stood stalled a while,
Wondering which best to please,
Forebode to bare, to choose I dare,
For this, I’m not at ease,
Then rapt the thought of less despair,
While staring up at vacant air,
Seeking out Divine direction,
Still silence protrudes without deflection.
The thought slipped and slid around my floor,
Teasing me to chase it more,
Laying low, like a prowling cat,
Shadowed, where he often sat.
But even thoughts on a darkened day,
Can glimpse the trodden light,
Brightened with a trim of hope,
A choice we can incite.
There are always two thoughts and often more-
Resting by a darkened door,
Some thumping in the dead of night,
Or early morning sunrise bright,
Offering you some seeds to sow,
Planting thoughts for you to grow,
For the thoughts you see or wish to keep,
Are the ones you grow for you to reap.
I met Despair on a darkened day
I met Despair; again, on a darkened day,
as I stood, irritating my curious thoughts,
alone, turning feelings, contemplating.
Deep thinking in the shallows,
digging up memories, suffocating.
I watched Despair, slinking into my sliding thoughts,
with practised ease,
half invited by circumstance half by opportunity,
and seeing me juggling my thoughts of anguish,
he carefully slinked some more, with ease,
cold, yet ever so welcoming, placing his shadow next to mine,
merging, sub-merging, with cautious courtesy, he waited,
as he waited before.
I felt Despair, calmly settling, comfortably resting,
and not wishing to provoke his calmness,
though disconcerted, I asked if I could perhaps,
pose a curious question for his contemplation?
Despair, giving a curious glance, though hesitant,
whispered to me an invitation to draw his views,
“Share with me your curious thoughts,
for I am curious of your question,
and will answer if I may, with inquisitive resolve.”
With rhetorical resignation, I asked;
“I am seeking release from pain and sorrow,
is death the escape from my tomorrow”?
I have answered that question, many times, before,
though never been asked, least, in an inquisitive way,
but I shall answer your question as you asked,
Death has many avenues, lined with pain filled sorrows,
it is not an escape, though, it will take away your tomorrow,
and all your tomorrows thereafter, it will not take you, just your breath,
For you will walk and laugh in harboured thoughts,
memories, carried heavy by those you loved,
and those who love you still,
you will breathe in the winters wind,
or gentle summers breeze,
you will be seen in the walk of others, like ghostly glimpses,
your last moments will forever haunt,
always carried, lived and relived,
and questions will keep dissolving into numbness,
disintegrating, echoing unanswered,
you will live in the tears of those carrying your pain,
and some may even contemplate their own curious thoughts.
Alas, death is a curious escape,
though not to freedom,
to be paid by many.
(Joe Lynch is poet hindered and enhanced by being Dyslexic. Joe lives and works in Belfast, N Ireland and started submitting his work summer 2018.)
There's No Place Like Home
Words buried in earth
as footings to support
those lost to the past.
I wince at the flat sound and
almost feel his slap myself.
Abandoning is what I do
feel, huddled alone. After.
The others involved refuse
to remember, so the incident
escapes a little more
with every turn around
the sun and if its reality fades
away then what can be
made of the pain
jagged edge a
in the abscence
(Mike L. Nichols is a graduate of Idaho State University and a recipient of the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. He lives and writes in Eastern Idaho. Look for his poetry in Scryptic Magazine, Ink&Nebula, Rat’s Ass Review, Plainsongs Magazine, and elsewhere. Find more at mikenicholsauthor.com)
Now, that I’ve seen eight,
nine, I’m sure, will not be as fine
as they write in those tales.
Tales are just tales, I know,
So, they talk to me, I listen,
and nod, then I do what I want.
I’ve seen when I wait long enough
their talks do end and they leave.
Sometimes I look at them, look not listen,
and think of all I’ll do after the talk ends.
Then I wait, and wait some more, and they leave.
I am made to sit in a corner, punished, grounded.
So I wait, and wait, and they leave.
Then I play, alone, in my corner, book in my hand.
I’m safe, punished, and alone, while
they think I’m reading as ordered.
It's difficult to be what you are destined to be,
more difficult to know what you are destined to be,
and then to live, not reaching there, ever.
Nothing comes for free.
The world takes the fee of life.
Sometimes it simply condemns you to live your death
as you know you live, but not your destiny.
No David for that Goliath, the world
not for long, not for ever.
You live compromises, one after the other.
You give some and then, some more.
My sons, they tell me
that a part of my destiny will be fulfilled through them.
I smile and mask my fear.
Just think of the day they know their father, the midget,
the coward, and then, hate him
for not being
what he was destined to be.
(Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. He edits PPP Ezine.)
The New Room.
One week on and my boxes
of belongings have been unpacked -
a midnight blue butterfly knife,
a stack of novels,
a handful of vinyls,
a cactus that waits
for water on the windowsill,
some clothes that already need washing
and a photo of my parents
on their wedding
wondrously staring towards the horizon -
yet to be ground down by life and me.
I’m not quite sure if it’s depressing
or invigorating that my life can
be packed away,
or emptied in under five minutes?
But knowing that I’m taking
the time to ponder it
means that one way or another
I must have settled into
this new room now.
(Gwil James Thomas is a novelist, poet and inept musician originally from Bristol, England. He is currently putting together a split poetry chapbook with the poet John D Robinson. He resides in Northern Spain and is part English, part Welsh and part wolf.)
There is bliss
There is bliss in beauty,
in observing the sublime;
bliss in conceding to
the ravages of time.
There is bliss in believing,
in being without doubt;
there is bliss in yielding to
life’s defeats and routs;
There is bliss in seeing
a grandchild smile,
bliss in being oblivious
to nastiness and bile.
There is bliss in repentance,
in penance and peace.
There is bliss in accepting
this is all there is.
(Jeremy Gadd has published over 250 poems in newspapers, periodicals and literary magazines in Australia, the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany and India.)
The Beautiful Space-