THIS CALLS FOR ANGER
Anger is calling,
calling me to rise
from my slumbering stupor,
calling me to shake off
the shackles of indifference,
calling me to stir
the pot of injustice.
Come on woman
answer the call!
Harness the power
of red hot rage
to hurl away oppression
and obliterate abuse,
to pounce on prejudice
and kill discrimination,
to deal a deathly blow
and transform these iniquities
into human parity.
feels like a weighty cloak
heavy laden with privilege
and cross-stitched with unawareness.
I was swaddled in my whiteness
the moment I was born,
but oftentimes it felt
like I was wearing nothing
skinny dipping through life
oblivious to the blessings of birth.
I’ve been wrapped in security
and cradled in a culture
woven with threads
of blatant bigotry
and subtle oppression.
I can never remove my whiteness,
but the time has come
to completely refashion
the fabric of my inner world
and the pattern of our outer world.
THE COEXISTENCE OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT
A long, dark year
filled with distance and disease,
murder and marching,
prejudice and protest
causes me to lie
tossing and turning.
But the multitude of stars
outside my windowpane
are blind to my disquiet
for they glimmer and gleam
as they always have before.
I fall asleep
fearing the news
tomorrow might bring,
but the sun rises
spreading pastel promise
across the horizon
announcing the splendor
of another day.
Looking at the colored canvas
I beg to be delivered
from discomfort and distress
and showered with everlasting jubilation.
What a histrionic plea
that I know can never be.
When I take the Sunday paper
out onto the deck
and watch the leafy shadows
mingle with the headlines
I feel the ever-present coexistence
of darkness and light,
of suffering and joy,
of what has been for ages
and what is yet to come.
(Alice Smith lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband Alfred and their dog Leroy. Together they have four children and four grandchildren. Alice is a cancer survivor, an incurable introvert, and the author of five collections of poetry including That Little Girl.)
Bringing Jimmy Home
It’s what needs to be
so he can be in his own bed
see the faces he knows best
sit in his favorite chair
pet Max his dog
hold his wife’s hand
eat all the ice cream he wants
have people he loves
come to him
if he calls out in the night
This is right, bringing him here
so he can fondle his scrapbooks
watch sports at all hours
having Jimmy home
is what we all need
his wife won’t have to wait
to conjure up his smile
The clock ticks louder
not much time left
years and miles
have just flown by
no more races left to run
just all his loving fans here
as he breaks through the ribbon
at the finish line
(for Jimmy the Runner 2011)
is my shrink
my pen, medication
outbursts of words
my healing catharsis
nothing is sacred
nothing is held back
pain has no depth
anger is welcomed
what is not said
face to face
burns holes on the paper
bruises the ink
words stream out
on reams of tears
my painful necessity
a daily bodily function
it pushes me outside
away from open windows
yes, a great artist
would of loved
to have been able
to immortalize you
but it’s too late
the warm light
and vivid colors
can no longer
hold you within
a glowing silhouette
your portrait is gone
paint washed away
all that remains
are faded lines
on a forgotten face
you have vanished
all your energy
after so many years
just another exhausted
long suffering caretaker
of a wreck
(RM Yager is a nurse/teacher/photographer whose topics are marginalized, at risk populations, poetry is her vehicle to deliver words most people find unspeakable, hopes to offer inclusion, wants to stop you in your tracks with controversial humor/tragedy within family and relationships, but she also loves whimsy and humor).
BARE BONES REALITY
Hello. My name is ‘bare bones reality.’ You probably think of me as your worst enemy.
I travel the world and invade people's lives; sometimes when they least expect it.
My greatest enemies are happiness, comfort, and satisfaction. I have absolute power.
I can morph into various shapes and forms. I am like a chameleon on the prowl.
Most people see me as a ghastly ugly creature whose mission is to torture and destroy.
I can appear as death, illness, tragedy, and many other things...
Most people try to ignore that I even exist. They turn their heads and hope that I will not find them.
Yet, I am strong and relentless. I will eventually visit almost everyone in their life time.
Sometimes I will appear for only a brief visit and sometimes I will stay for a very long time.
I do not care if you are rich or poor, young or old, a sinner or a saint.
You are at my mercy. There is nothing you can do to evade me when I decide that you are my next prey.
However, despite being repugnant on the outside, I do have a mysterious inner beauty.
I will always dramatically change any life that I visit.
I will decimate all of your hope and comfort. I will strip away all of the armor that you have used to deal with life.
I will lay you as bare as a newborn baby. All of the power that you thought was yours will evaporate like water in the hot sun.
Yet, I will show you secrets beyond what you might have imagined.
The pain that I exact will both humble and resurrect you.
So, when I do come, please know that there is a meaning there that you must strive to see.
By so doing, you will be like a Phoenix arising from the ashes in a way that you never could have imagined.
(C. B. Buckner is a retired radiologist residing in Little Rock, Arkansas. Only recently has he begun to explore creative writing. He is currently working on a collection of poetry, prose, and short stories. He has two novels under development)
The night is full of terrors
faraway voices calling me to join them
in the lunatic dance of the ghosts
Thoughts of putting the blade to my wrist
Urges of immersing myself in the depths of narcotic trance and rough sex
I’m fighting them with all my power
But when the dawn comes I give in
The blade is cold against my skin
Shivers like maggots crawling down my spine
It will only take a moment
then it will be all over
I hear myself say
I’m lying there on the floor
no energy no smile no life inside
I cover my face with my hands
I don’t want anyone to see
dark thoughts drill through my mind
loneliness circles around me
I can hear the cruel laughter of my self-hatred
Suddenly the ray of light gets through
the haze of gloom
it’s so small almost invisible
but it’s there I know
I crawl on my knees to get closer to it
quietly so I wouldn’t scare it away
it’s bright and colorful
it warms up my cold bones
I look right through the light
it fills me with courage and strength
to fight against my demons
I’m not alone anymore
I slowly stand up
(Asper Blurry's stories and poems have been published in several Polish literary magazines including "Wyspa" and “Zupełnie inny świat”.)
The big mood
I wash the pots,
smiling my little head off
because my hearts being commanded
by the sky, so clean,
to sing like all the birds
it allows to soar across its body.
Is there anything more majestic
than the feeling of anxiety
exhaling out of yourself on a warm Spring day?
And don’t you feel wonderful about it,
until you wish you weren’t being happy
on your own?
It’s a reminder, isn’t it, that at some point
there’ll come a moment
where it’ll all crash into oblivion,
like a thousand clouds fallen to the earth,
and you inhale all of that anxiety back in,
look back up to the sky,
your cycle about to begin again.
All the doors are locked
You sit in a room dimly lit by a lamp on the table.
You decided an hour ago to just stay at home and chill tonight.
You've got a spliff going and are watching the TV after tea
when suddenly, out of some crevice of the mind,
there creeps an overwhelming sense of uneasiness,
and despite the drizzle dripping from a purple sky
you put out the spliff and put on a coat,
before going out to walk in the streets, no longer
with the fear of falling now that the snow has melted into the concrete.
So you see, everything is the same as it was before.
Snow is temporary, it all melts away in the end,
and as you walk through these nocturnal streets,
empty and silent, mysterious and keepers
of secrets from warm, well lit houses,
you feel reassured and reinvigorated by the
normality of rain fall, and your legs just keep going and going,
as if they alone are dictating your destination.
And before you know it, you're knocking on the door
of a mate at stupid o'clock in the morning,
curious to know how life is treating him these days,
and are welcomed with a laughter that echoes
long into a placid night, and all
of your troubles fade into a backdrop.
(Craig Snelgrove is a writer of poetry and short fiction from Manchester, UK. Craig has worked in mental health for over three years as a mental health support worker)
When gloves and masks
became our daily attires,
and aeroplanes were grounded
like birds with broken wings;
when love lost its sensuality,
and the frost of isolation
gnawed on our souls;
when no one prayed
in mosques and churches,
and no one attended
when death rode swiftly,
secretly, on the wings
of an invisible monster,
and danced in the crevices
of our, gasping, lungs;
when time, unlived, turned stale
like unused fruits in our fridges,
and no one noticed
a blooming spring;
when we spent our days
and nights, idling, talking
about angst and boredom,
about deaths and wills,
about the spread
of a contagion;
when we all clung to the straw of life
with hand washing,
and social distancing.
(Javed Alam is a physician and a poet based in the UK. His poems have been published (both print and online) in various literary journals and magazines as well as in anthologies in the U.K, the USA, India, Ireland and Canada. In poetry, He has found a medium to explore the philosophy of life, Kashmir, and three-pound universe called the brain. He writes in the language of common people, about their ordinary thoughts and about their ordinary insights. He is also a board member of a UK literary journal "The Beautiful Space-A Journal of Mind, Art and Poetry.")
When You Lose
It’s as if you know
You’re going to lose
As if you’re just going
And feel as if the machines
Know that you wanna win
That you’ll take another bet
Because you’re sad depressed
And you’ll just stay there and take the beating and watch
It feels like they know
Everyone knows while flashing all the lights.
All the stuff I know better
But I’m digitally addicted
What came right now
Was never before
I’m on this damn phone
And can’t pull myself away from it
I’m so curious about everything
Every damned thing
And you can’t know everything
Like all your thoughts from thirty years ago
they came from different place.
unlike ones you have now, based upon your
and be quiet and get to know myself
it’s hard to do that
i’ve sat on park benches and tried to understand others, by observing them,
movements, strides, clothing, shapes, skin color and all
but not myself, that’s a lot easier to do, and still impossible
to know myself, that takes time and silence
and I’m addicted to alllll this stuff,
sights, sound and noise coming at me
and work… those 40 hours…that paycheck
if I was brave I would quit it alllll
and go towards the isolation road
but I don’t
the world has me in her clutches
and rides me as she pleases
and I forget it all, like a lap dance
(Damion Hamilton is from St. Louis MO. His poems have appeared in Chiron Review, Poesy Magazine, Zygote In My Coffee, Red Fez, The Camel Saloon and many others. He writes poetry, stories and novels. He has written several books.)
When lightning touches the ground
Through heavy rain, drenched, I search
I look within, for the strength, but I have none
Its dark, grey, the mist thickens
where am I?
Which way? I turn, spinning around I hear unearthly sounds
beckoning me. I dare not go, I try to continue, I’m lost
the rain lashing against me, I can barely see.
Sounds follow me, torturing me, I try to escape
cold, alone and weak
trembling, the evil getting closer
I panic, I shake
I can't escape the noise, fear grips me,
the wind carrying me along in my footsteps
as if trying to rescue
I try to think, how to escape what is lurking behind me
I try to keep moving, the atmosphere thickening, so turbulent and fierce
I crawl forwards, almost choking, the sounds right behind me, I feel defeated.
Someone help me.
A gust of wind, like a prayer pushes me to go, run, just get out,
I open my eyes and decide, not today, not this time, I will fight.
The roll of thunder deafens, I stop running and turn around.
I stare back into the past, everything is quiet
the moment stretches through time, I stand still, suddenly unafraid
The rain washing over me, I gaze upward,
then lightning hits the ground! And that’s it,
My mind is clear,
the fear is gone,
there is quiet and clarity,
there is a freeness and simplicity.
I decide! I refuse to be taken down!
I turn my back on the past, on the sounds that follow me,
on the memories that held me prisoner,
(Michelle has been writing for many years, and has had her poetry published in several magazines. She is inspired by nature, the earth, people, experiences and her own struggles with mental health and chronic illness)
Finally having confidence
Sometimes I can be mentally ill
I am not always that sorry
Complex PTSD holds me in its tight cage
Sometimes I do things that to others might appear strange
I have endured both cruelty and stigma
I have been called a psycho, a sideshow freak and much worse
Deliberate, premeditated torture I have endured
Making me feel incomplete and cursed
But now a change within my view of myself has altered
For I rather love my brain despite this being so
It being incredible in its scope to produce
Creativity, empathy, intelligence and truth
I harbour now an alternate view
Some have tried in vain to destroy my mind, to eradicate
Any semblance of self worth
My whole self I now fully appreciate
Which is ironic in their cruel teaching of hate
Which is the lesson that i have learnt
They sought to tarnish, for me to get burnt
I am not complacent or saying i do not want to heal or completely alter
But I can accept what is now in the present and hereafter.
(Anna Johnson has always been fascinated by words, having a love for Literature; which she has studied to Degree level. She has worked in numerous Libraries and is currently studying with the Writers Bureau, Anna has two Chronic Illnesses and C-PTSD and finds writing therapeutic, especially when about those topics)
so all that’s left is the curve
of the wind up the swing
the horn section
the girl her first day on the ice
her red ear
the surgeon’s needle at rest
the bone after the lamb chop
after all that gnawing
in school, in jail, in cars, in bed
don’t recognize that sound
it ain’t rats for darn sure
the gnawing on bones
that'll never be straight
nothing is straight
big bangs measured by petty clerks
I want more.
Doubt and Guilt
Doubt and Guilt,
went out in the sunshine
to play a little catch
a little pepper
If I had none like some people have no headaches,
or even if it were surgically removed by well-intentioned
medics who hadn’t thought very far ahead,
I have none that the result would be the same:
to freely tease, wallop, bed & board, run
roughshod over like Banshees the wives
of all my friends, say, werewolf
in the outer-limits of 170 x 210 cm
a raft on the Mississippi of my libido, my God-given instinct
shooting up into space, to light the gray sky of France in November
easily ten to twenty if not more and
then and then the rot would set in
I'd be finished, consumed by sin
because there is no future
without my two friends.
(E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 35 years in eastern Sicily where he teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared most recently in Ginosko Literary Journal, Abstract Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Poesis, Thirteen Myna Birds. Martin is an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He blogs at: emartinpedersenwriter.blogspot.it)
The Beautiful Space-