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)
The Beautiful Space-