Balsamic Moon: Last Quarter before New
I took my aching heart for a walk above the river
seeking solace of rocks, and wind to clear me.
Balsamic moon, time of rest, of healing.
Blackbirds swooped tree to tree, to horizon.
Lilacs hanging heavy, bowed by fragrance and futility,
I took my aching heart for a walk above the river.
Balsam flower roots, the size of a hand, boil
into medicine. Leaf, flower, seed: all good
like the Balsamic moon, time of rest, of healing.
I lie down in arrow leaves, last shower of yellow
petals, cool and fragrant their little shade. The weight
of unshed tears in my aching heart, a river.
There’s a time to be lost in yourself, unknown as foreign land,
to listen for wisdom in your darkened quarters like this
Balsamic moon, last sliver of light, time of rest, of healing.
Silence holds the answer to the questions you don’t ask, like blackbirds
feeding on Balsam seeds. If you listen, you will hear them
in your aching heart’s lost river under Balsamic moon,
last quarter before new, time of rest, of healing.
Another sleepless night, pull of the moon
or some internal weather moved by time’s
changing rhythms. I walk, somnambulist,
in the new morning, west where the sun goes
each lengthening day to rest. I sit on the waking
earth. Last year’s grasses bleached platinum
on this south facing slope. River runs. Sky
unmarred by cloud thins along the sun-bright
ridge. I can see through each shadow of tree
the snow-dusted cheeks of hill and the age lines
left by deer. The dog paces in rustling steps
to check if I’m still here. I’m still, here.
(Subhaga Crystal Bacon the author of two volumes of poetry, Blue Hunger, 2020 from Methow Press, and Elegy with a Glass of Whisky, BOA Editions, 2004. A cis-gender, Queer identified woman, she lives, writes, and teaches on the east slope of the North Cascade Mountains, in Twisp, WA.)
It Had That Swing
My mother spent evenings listening to records.
Years of evenings.
78’s and 33’s, and only big band swing.
All named after the band leader.
The bands are largely forgotten now,
but there were Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey,
Woody Herman and Harry James,
Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
My mother, widowed and jobless,
Played the music of her courtship,
Of a yet unburdened future,
At least twice a week.
I never liked the music,
But had nowhere else to go,
And absorbed it despite myself,
Melodies lingering decades later.
In cleaning out her house
I couldn’t throw away the records
And suitcased them back home.
Never played, almost forgotten.
They’re serious collectibles now,
Worthwhile selling off,
But I can’t discard the future
She almost had.
(Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.)
Alone Again As Before
I stare at nightscapes
stars flicker a little too bright
over nearby rooftops
where Lady Gaga and House of Pain regale partygoers
I imagine bodies bouncing in basements
speakers thumping, dim lights glowing
like last week
I speak to the night
trying to find words
to describe vastness
sterility of rooms without pictures
inbox without emails
without the simple words. we’d love to invite you.
I try to speak
talk to me. get together for a quick drink.
please. may I join?
I’d like to join
I’d really like to
pronounce the words, but awkward
hands reach into the air
and I feel a thousand scenarios
mockery, apathy, ignorance marching
thumping. voice pulls back into sterility
like last week
and many last weeks
why can’t I just speak?
at least the wounded words would be spoken
(Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.)
I forgive you
To the thug, the creep, the criminal
You who has to sneak in the shadows of night,
Your life of deceit is subliminal, yet you’re the only one who cannot see it.
Even when your lies are cast into the light, still you fight.
Manipulation and coercion without shame, to achieve your own personal gain,
This became my harrowing pain, melancholic misery, your actions were to blame.
The issue of consent is clear, no means no, but somehow you chose not to hear.
Your need to satisfy yourself has cost me my dignity, my job and my spiritual health.
Created emotional wounds visible for the world to see, gaping and raw, swallowed by a whirlwind of anxiety.
I am grateful you were not violent, if not only because the sheer shock caused my silent compliance.
Initially overcome with confusion, an unsettling feeling pushed aside as I fall victim to insidious manipulation.
Sadly I was blinded by delusion, a deceptive illusion of who I hoped you’d be,
The hideous man you are wasn’t evident to me, distracted by my own helplessness,
It’s clear now why I wasn’t able to see.
But slowly you revealed yourself to me, a monster, challenged mentally, a liar lacking empathy.
The police confirmed your multiple criminal convictions, they already have you marked as high risk on their systems.
Flooded with anger and insomnia, engulfed by mountainous waves of horror, I submerged in self pity.
I did request however, for the police not to make an arrest.
I’m still not so sure this was best, But my heart needed to rest,
Involving the police certainly wouldn’t increase my sense internal peace, their endless questions followed by your relentless lies.
Justice or peace, my heart had to decide.
Then it was your mum whom I wished I could tell, perhaps your ex wife even more so,
The man you truly are they deserved to know, desperately seeking a way to let this pain go.
But thankfully the pain is no more, my heart returned to peace, the wound no longer sore.
Now I am able to forgive you and wish you well, for you are just mentally unwell,
I extend compassion and loving kindness in hope that one day you will see through your nastiness and surrender your ego based righteousness.
I however, have survived this dark phase and have nothing other than gratitude and praise
For endless value arises from that brief encounter, an unexpected elevation in spiritual power.
I embrace my suffering, knowing that flowers don’t grow without rain.
Self-reflection inspired by my pain, pain which drove me insane, yet showed me that something needed to change.
Paradoxically my loss of dignity has lead to greater clarity.
Paradoxically I chose to be powerful, not pitiful, creating victory out of tragedy,
Paradoxically your trickery helped me to look inside, to where my own deceptions hide.
Internal fears, tainted values and silly ideas. I have let go of all of this.
I no longer need a man’s flattery, no longer burdened by this type of insecurity.
No longer do I fear rejection, that was nothing but a mere projection
I no longer need male validation, no longer time wasting seeking and chasing
I have stopped running and hiding, it’s myself I have started facing.
I am able to transcend my story. My past, my pain no longer has power over me. I am free.
God sent you to me to help me see, that all I need is within me.
I just need to love me to be free.
This anxiety inside of me, really ought to be set free,
Just let it go, it’s driving me crazy.
Spinning my head around and around, this mental block,
Sometimes leaves me bed bound.
Hours, days, years. Confusion transported through my tears.
Like a heavy river, fears and frustrations once again flood the banks of self composure
A single thought can cause a thousand heart beats.
That’s too much weight to carry man, I’ve only got size 7 feet.
Am I creating thoughts or are my thoughts creating me?
Sometimes it can be hard to see. Is this really reality or just my perception?
Endless day dreams, sometimes even night mares.
Exhausting my sense of positivity, diminishing my creative flare.
My thoughts seem so unclear, this internal chaos.
It can be like a whirlwind in here.
Worry, worry, worry. I’m so bored of this.
If there’s anything I’ve excelled at in life, it certainly is this.
Can people see that sometimes I’m a helpless mess?
Does my face show signs of stress, hiding eyes, tainted smiles?
Or have I convinced everyone that I’m powerful and strong,
That I can handle it, even when things go wrong?
I guess I can
Now listen miss, sit in your seat of self-respect, take a moment to reflect.
Your childhood spent in foster care, various places, so many faces,
often left you wondering if anybody really cares.
A life without parents has been hard and yeah, it’s definitely left some scars.
But from the way that I have grown, to hold my own, yet never really been shown.
I’m more than blessed.
I have risen against all adversity, damn I even made it university
And I’m not just an average pass, girl you got yourself a first class
So next time you’re about to break a sweat, just remember there is no real threat.
You’re on the right path, you’ve got a great life, wonderful friends and an amazing job.
None of this is pretend, this really is reality
(Cemile Kabadayi based in South London, is very excited about having her original poetry reviewed for publishing in The Beautiful Space Journal. Much of Cemile’s Poetry is authentically themed around mental health and surviving challenging circumstances. Cemile is comforted by the idea of others reading her poems and finding solace through identification.)
The Beautiful Space-