Dancing on Waves
My soul is dancing on waves
I weep in waters deep
My body dilutes the source
of my words
Looming over the precipice
I retract the verse
but not the poem
As goes the battle of the seas
I envisage a great God
My soul weeps winds
My body immersed in the
merciful ship that passes by
(Karim Harvey as a poet fundamentally transcends perceptions).
Behind The Wheel
It was down pouring like a bastard !
I knew I had to drive and laid in bed till time to get behind the wheel.
Driving took a great ability to ignore the madness around you.
If you paid attention to the insanity of others, You would go insane yourself .
Let alone trying to maintain a conversation hoping your next fare wouldn't be your last.
That this prick behind you wouldn't pull a gun on you .
Or then again maybe you hoped he would.
Ending this hamster wheel existence .
Between the couples always either making out or fighting.
It was seldom a dull night.
Then there was the sitting around waiting in empty parking lots .
Fighting off the boredom and the desire to sleep.
You are a prisoner in a mobile cage nothing more.
I laid in bed watching the time count down.
Fuck I didn't want to drive in this shit!
Course I didn't ever want to drive to begin with.
But being Hollywood wasn't beating down my door .
Looks like I was stuck behind the wheel again.
(John Patrick Robbins is a barroom poet who's work has appeared in Red Fez, Ramingos Porch ,Spill The Words , Blue Pepper , Inbetween Hangovers , Your One Phone Call, The Outlaw Poetry Network . His work and words are always unfiltered).
Do I worry?
I know I do
I feel so much inside
But I want to be like you
Do I worry?
I feel it every day
I wish I could forget it
And let it just lay
Do I worry?
That is am sure
It’s hard to ignore though
Is there really no cure?
Do I worry?
I need to get past it
To be strong and happy
Not be in the pit
Do I worry?
A little bit less now
Stop analysing everything
It would be just wow
Do I worry?
Always, I know
Just keep on trying
And feel a bit less low
Do I worry?
Yes that is right
But not always a bad thing
Means you care, and have insight.
The pictures on the wall
Bringing back the past
Good times and bad
But will the memories last
So many years have gone
My mind isn’t what it was
Looking back now
Filled with joy as well as loss
Was hard to see the change
So sad to see them leave
Did I say goodbye?
And did I even grieve?
Love is in my heart
That will never disappear
Must hold onto those moments
But I’m pushing back a tear
Looking back I wish for more
But it was just enough
Farewells are always hard
That, you know was tough.
( Laura Slack lives in Nottingham, UK and has submitted 2 poems inspired by her experiences with mental health)
Perhaps the whole world doesn’t revolve around me, me, me. Confessional or ego-centric poetry is much in vogue. Granted we filter our experiences through our own lenses. Yet sometimes, we can sublimate that experience and see it reflected in someone else’s experience.
Though isolation is growing exponentially in our society, but isn’t that our fault? Aren’t we letting the corporate culture dictate our humanity? We’re encouraged to remain aloof, or at least project a disinterested image in public, wrapped up in our newspapers, or apps. For fear of being rejected if we were to reach out to any random stranger. At work we’re like pegs in isolated cubicles, at the bottom of the pyramid. Blue or white collar slaves, chipping away to build the blue chip piles of those at the top. Content to remain in our fridge-like boxes.
Afraid to reach out, to smile, strike up a conversation, to seem needy. Better not destroy the mystery of who you are, or how much power you have. Image is everything.
Yet in the pre-industrialized world, the word ‘community’ actually means something. Now it’s all about the individual. Whatever happened to united we’re strong, divided we fall? Now we’re increasingly being divided like so many pie-charts. And we’re happy to be coincé, or stuck in our own little boxes. Interestingly enough, the work-place or the office is called boîte or box in French Is it any wonder we’re isolated? We’ve been led to believe through countless ads that materialism is the key to success. We’re constantly bombarded with images of objects that we’re almost dictated to accumulate. That will give us satisfaction.
However, there’s a flaw in that argument. If we were somehow to be satisfied with Object X, then why would we constantly need more of it? But this is never discussed in the mainstream media. Regardless, we’re happy to hang onto whatever material possessions we’ve managed to accumulate, and don’t see the need to share anything. Perhaps rightfully so, as we’d first have to find others who’d share material or immaterial goods to the same extent.
So if we’re too scared to share, can we complain about being isolated? Of course, what we’re really whining about is not the lack of human companionship, but perhaps something that would satisfy the soul. However, that is a very old-fashioned concept. It’s not something that can be sold, or controlled, or even quantified. So the soul is not supposed to exist according to ‘scientists.’ But what are scientists? Human beings who measure everything according to their ordinary human senses. With the aid of instruments built by said humans. So it’s supposed that nothing exists in this vast universe, except what can be measured in human terms. At our frequency of perception. Even though x-rays and micro-waves have existed since the beginning of the universe. But guess what, we puny humans invented it. Even if we discovered it, we’re great, cause now we’ve found a new way to harm the human body.
Strangely enough, in pre-industrialized or societies with a lower degree of industrialization, social conviviality is higher. Regarded as the ‘Third World’ by those living in Europe or America, we’re told that life is very hard there. While this is true in the material sense of the word, even those living below the poverty lines (as defined in those countries) have richer social connections than in the Occident. While the State doesn’t do much to help those under the poverty line in ‘Third World’ countries, there’s almost a moral and ethical obligation for those better off to help the under-privileged in their community. Everybody chips in to help out the destitute in times of need. Hundreds of people are invited to marriages, and funerals, even if budgets are limited, as the whole community pools together to pay for meals etc.
Whereas in the Occident, the numbers tend to be a lot fewer, as having a high class event seems to be more important, than inviting all the people one knows, specially people of low financial or social worth to these events. The social selection is far more rigorous than in the Orient, or in indigenous societies. For example, unlike in cooler lands, in warmer countries it’s unheard of that someone would lie dead in their flat for days before anyone would notice their absence. And that too, only because of the smell. Even strangers on trains and buses in the East are more helpful than neighbours in some ‘colder’ countries.
In the Occident, being serviceable to others denotes that the person offering their services is lower in the social ladder than the one benefiting by said help. However, due to a different philosophy, coming to the aid of others is seen as good ‘karma,’ and is in the social fabric of certain cultures. This means that help is often reciprocated, and the tissue of society as a whole is stronger. However, with increasing ‘progress’ and industrializations of these ‘Third World’ countries, workers at the middle and higher management levels are already emulating their superiors in the sense that they’re limiting human contact to just the minimum, with emotions rarely being displayed in public.
People are encouraged to be neutral, like machines, and not to even hint at the fact that they have feelings at the work-place. While professionalism is to be encouraged, what about the human aspect of the workers? Suppressed emotions can play havoc with the psyche of the person in question. Hence the billions of dollars spent on anti-depressants, counselling, etc.
Though many sophisticated ways have been found to measure ‘value’ in the work-place, what about the worth given to the whole individual, and not just to their performative abilities? On the one hand, employees see a lot of papers and e-mails on ‘work/life balance,’ yet in practice they often have to pull more than 40 hours a week, without pay if they want a promotion, or simple brownie points with their demanding bosses. The relentless pressure to keep excelling at selling comes from the top. While corporations go on at length about customer satisfaction, what about the mental, emotional and psychological satisfaction linked to their jobs of their own employees? Don’t these factors count?
But since we can’t sell the soul, let’s kick it in a hidden drawer. If we can ever ‘measure’ it, and then hawk something related to it, then we’ll deal with it. In the meantime, millions don’t quite know why they’re suffering. They call it loneliness. They create songs, and films, and stories about it. That helps for a while, but then the emptiness comes flowing back in. Of course, many just fill up all their time listening to music, or radio chatter. They eat, drink, splurge. Play games furiously. Watch games being played furiously. Anything to fill up the time. Anything to stave off that emptiness.
Yet, perhaps all they have to do, is to switch off all that white noise. Cut down on the consumption bit. Go down in the cellar of their psyche, and start cleaning it with the help of a therapist. And start connecting with their inner core. With their own wishes. Not with the values and expectations imposed on them by the rat race society. With nature, with real people, who actually say what they mean. And that is the scariest journey of them all.
For the sensitive person, a few minutes a day communing with oneself, or with nature can hold untold benefits. Deep breathing, mindfulness, meditative exercises, rhythmic movement, indulging in creative ventures can help one connect to one’s inner core. Where peace is always to be found, if one can reach that point of stillness within.
(Sultana Raza’s 100+ articles have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, and her poems in 25+ journals, and some can be read at https://www.facebook.com/sultana.raza.7)
Grandpa, cried the little boy,
That kid looks just like you!
That's cause he has Progeria
which came and stole his youth.
Endows old people ailments
that overshadow young minds,
internal and external clocks
are never synced in time.
Loss of hair and fragile bones,
plus muscle mass so low,
old age problems come on so fast
the body’s just not toned.
The boy could see deep, dark veins
through thin and wrinkled skin,
saw teeth not straight and hearing poor,
Sam’s blood flow blocked within.
Yet there was a heart inside,
as big as all outdoors,
a soul that cried, just let me once
join friends on that dance floor.
Sam and Hayley shared this pain,
(Yes, girls can get this too,)
but now both dance beyond the stars,
angels dance with these two.
( Linda Imbler is the Kansas based author of “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” )
‘My heart leaps up’, beats fast and I feel a rush.
I don’t rush it though, I know: ‘Haste makes waste’
I’ve learnt to wait patiently, against hope, sometimes.
‘The first time is always the hardest’,
yet, I don’t rush it. I know: ‘Haste makes waste’
‘Time and tide wait for none’, so I must take my chance.
‘The first time is always the hardest’, I know that .
‘practice makes a man perfect’.
‘Time and tide wait for none’, so I take my chance.
My gaze is sharp, straight and clear. I’m in my prime.
I know, ‘practice makes a man perfect’.
Tonight, there’s no light. It’s still and no wind blows but
my gaze is sharp, straight and clear. I’m in my prime.
I have waited long in the shadows of darkness and
tonight, there’s no light. It’s still and no wind blows.
It’ll be over in an instant: the chase, the catch and the kill.
I have waited long in the shadows of darkness
I’ve learnt to wait patiently, against hope, sometimes.
It’ll all be over, the chase, the catch and the kill, in an instant
and ‘my heart leaps up’, beats fast and I feel a rush.
Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator, blogger and the editor of PPP Ezine, a poetry ezine.
It’s raining, and due to some confusion
with the letting agents
we’ve been unsure for the past few weeks
if we can stay here.
Today, we found out we can stay. The confusion’s over.
And it’s raining,
and it’s summer, and by chance we saw a peregrine falcon
the other week.
With the sound of the rain always drumming, always there,
we can’t hear engines
or people’s voices outside. But the worry about the letting agents
won’t clear up completely.
This is supposed to be summer, and the heating’s on. Also,
I can’t find a job
and it seems like it’ll take a while and it seems like
when I do find one
it isn’t going to be doing something I particularly enjoy,
as was advised.
Last year had a fair amount of rain, as I recall, but there were weeks
where you could go out
without a jacket. I remember, because while everyone else
I was at university; better, I was on study leave, so I spent my time
in the garden, reading.
But I will get some kind of job, and I will get used to the fact
that the confusion
with the letting agents has been sorted out. And it can’t rain
the whole summer.
Frog in the Rain
The entropy in the breaking drops’ brief mist
is the leap, and recoil, and leap, through haulms
and leaves, as I lean in to look, of a frog
with a dissatisfied un-smile; it wears the expression
of a security guard, or a wine taster, an MP,
the only ungrateful presence in drinking woods,
the vines are almost growing visibly, trees on tiptoes;
it flings itself on, into the hachure of inanition,
the scene, the green/brown, the bio-matter,
and I make do with the smiling curves of the oak-hollows;
I make out eyes in woodpecker’s wells, arms bending
like mind maps; the water falling is like cheering
that goes on too long for a passable intermezzo,
like the clapping of Christian hands, together, endlessly
cheerful, so I search again for the slippery amphibian,
the croaker, the life-cycler, the freed bird on the wet land.
Rain beat the hill
and the water, streaming through the grass, diverted itself
through the tent’s gaps
where my father, my brother and I sat around a stove, cooking
chilli from a tin.
My father cursed,
spoon in hand, at the conditions, while under the windup lamp
my brother read at Kerouac,
immersed in the true fiction of his life. And I sat on the airbed
waiting for an age
when I would face
the conditions of a storm myself, cursing, reading, even resting,
but not waiting,
when I would choose the books and read and the roads I took
and the tinned dinner.
( Samuel W. James is a new writer from Yorkshire, and he's been published in the following magazines: Allegro, London Grip, Peeking Cat, Clockwise Cat, Scarlet Leaf, Door is a Jar, Adelaide Magazine, Elsewhere Journal and Ink, Sweat and Tears.)
What was once ignorance=s illusory bliss
has given way, through the surgeon=s
knife and needle, to a series of certainties
no longer avoidable ‑ the knowledge and
understanding I thought I had before, now
revealed as the shallow deceptions necessary
to sustain the mundane activities on which
I=ve wasted my life for too long ‑
adventure again ‑
I want endless roads and
seemingly unreachable peaks
at the end
of steep winding wilderness trails,
I want the feeling of moving toward the unknown
and beyond ‑
I want to feel alive and free and, yes, young ‑
to live out of my backpack again,
travel on my thumb,
sleep where ever I find myself ‑
never sure what the next day may bring ‑
but now there is health insurance to consider,
the next surgery,
the constant medications,
the groaning joints and gaseous gut
and this house full of shit I can=t cut loose ‑
there is the reality of 60 years of living,
some of them as hard as I could make them,
and whether life is sweeter now than it was
before is too difficult a question to answer ‑
the unknown has occupied the mundane
and things can never be the same ‑
Sucks the marrow out of life
Leaving only this hollow bone
From which the dry wind
Entices a dull and tearless cry
The tediousness of each day
perpetuated and punctuated by
the same manufactured diversions
as the day before and the day after.
Mood flat, ambition dead or dormant,
nothing seems worth saying anymore.
Yesterdays of action grow more
distant and vague, details need
to be created to flesh out
memories - what did happen?
What really did happen?
Did any of it really happen?
Or have I always been floating,
suspended in an aspic of uncertainty,
indifference, and boredom?
Able to see out but not get out
until getting out is no longer a
option and memory dissipates
along with everything else.
(M. J. Arcangelini has published 2 books of poetry and lives on borrowed time in Northern California USA)
How did I get here again, I mused,
as some of the other patients exchanged
parts of their lives with each other,
I watched and waited for Jesus Christ to
walk through the security door and bless everyone,
I don't know which is more numbing,
the depression, or the meds,
Laughing outside, a tempest inside,
Listening to the rustle of the nurses' uniforms
as they half-whisper, "Lights out",
Hoping I'll sleep peaceful tonight
and don't see the ghosts of my past
with their hollow eyes,
The older woman two rooms down from me
yells in the late night hours in despair.
The young psychiatrist is handsome,
which is more awkward for me
with my social anxiety,
I promise him I won't jump off the roof,
and kiddingly ask for a beer
with no alcohol in it,
Remembering too much a photo in
the extended family album of my mother
in disheveled drunkeness,
holding her Camel cigarette with mascara
smeared under her eyes and sitting with
just her bra and slacks on,
Geez, what a legacy,
Woman never took much pride in herself,
I wait in line for the balm of the psych meds.
(Regina Elliott is a poetess and Navy veteran who resides in Swannanoa, NC, USA with her husband Mike.)
She lost her friend of over thirty years
because of my madness,
and did not tell me.
Should her desire to spare me pain
spare me guilt?
I should be doing more
when all I do is hear her,
a saint with diabetes,
cooking and cleaning,
healing with artichokes and bleach.
Only blinks interrupt
wrinkled eyes reflecting my awe.
(Caroline Am Bergris is from London and uses her experiences with both physical and mental disabilities when writing.)
The Beautiful Space-