A Mile Past Despair
A lonely wanderer
retrieves the trampled newspapers from the street.
She gives free rein to her untethered thoughts
and conjures up meanings beyond the pages.
From these crumpled up pieces of trash,
she dares to create her secret world
In her faded shopping cart,
she scavenges grimy cans and bottles.
while she mumbles her magical prayers
and stares at numbers and signs.
She sojourns the streets cursing and blessing
depending on her encounters and moods.
At night, she crashes behind the rusted green dumpster till dawn.
Sometimes she gets captured and confined,
but she refuses the pills
that make her obese and withdrawn-
a mile past despair
and nobody cares
What can it be?
What can it be? Where can it be?
Who is this monster that still follows me?
Am I too trusting or am I a threat?
Is it some weakness or is it some test?
Maybe my feelings are too self-involved,
Or maybe I’m lazy or just getting old.
Can I escape from this prison of thought?
Can I break free from my backsliding God?
Perhaps all my questions are nothing but fear
That twists up my feelings
And makes me seem weird.
Perhaps in this moment, I can free myself
And find out some purpose
That helps me reach out.
But I know this monster
That comes every day,
So I will keep vigil and patiently wait.
I have nowhere to run and no place to hide.
I must face the creature before it’s too late.
(John Zurn has been faced with the challenges of bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder for his entire adult life. He gradually learned that: medication, exercise, meditation and creative writing were vital for his long term recovery. Despite this challenge, he still worked as a teacher and counselor for thirty-five years.)
It’s lonely here for my brain cells
they used to have some fun
but now they go for days on end
not seeing anyone
First they would sing and then they’d dance
with bubbles like champagne
electrically charged and bursting
now they're circling the drain
Creatives in the right brain
with their colors and their words
the logicals gathered on the left
what a boring bunch of nerds
But now the sounds of silence
are like echoes off a cliff
as an ancient hieroglyph
I'm not sure what could have happened
oh brain cells, where are you?
there must have been an exodus
not much that I can do
All that's left
is a sad refrain
it's lonely being
in my brain
(Siri Espy is retired from the corporate world, where her publications included two books, numerous articles, and innumerable reports and bullet points. She has been published in Global Poemic, Sparks of Calliope, Persephone’s Daughters, The Society of Classical Poets, and Lighten Up Online. She is delighted to rediscover her creativity.)
In praise of …..Mind – Less
The catch between the tick and tock
Where time lapses
The page reverses
Peace expands and illuminates
Opens the flow
Clamours are subdued
Soothe and restores
Unifies selves within
(The Philosophical Pigeon fell to grace into poetry as a way of healing from mental health issues. Fascinated by life and all that jazz poetry is a liberating tool of expression. Content and style are eclectic and mirrors the multidimensional beauty of humanity.)
As hearts go,
Mine is an easy one captured.
And indeed, it will always be captured,
By the uncertain hope of a one-way ticket.
I heard it this morning,
He manoeuvres heavy suitcases.
His exertion manifests,
In warm, sweaty breaths.
“One-way ticket to Dublin”, he gasps,
His breath fogs up the glass, misty eyes.
Perhaps his bags were too heavy,
That could be why.
Or perhaps he is going to leave and never come home
And to start a new life!
This bus stops at the airport,
And from there there’s the world,
There’s nowhere he couldn’t go,
An infinity of bus stops are there, right out there!
I’ve gotten a one-way ticket before,
I came back of course,
But when I decided to leave,
I didn’t know when my return trip would be.
I just went and then was,
How exciting was that?
And then I was stuck in an airless beige house,
for a year and a half,
(How exciting was that?)
So I went on a voyage,
And unearthed a new me,
Spent long days, restless nights,
Seeking, eking every bit of me out.
Gave unloved parts love and untended parts care,
Ugly parts too got compassion,
Then I pruned them away and replaced them with roses.
Slowly, slowly, but every day.
I was bone-tired sad once, hated every small bit of the world,
And especially me.
And now I’m writing a poem as I sit on the bus,
And I revel in peace,
How exciting is that?
I took a one-way trip,
I am whole now, complete,
I have reached Dublin Airport and here is the world,
And there’s nowhere I cannot go.
How exciting is that?
(Emily is a young scientist from Donegal, Ireland. Completing her final year of university during a national lockdown took a significant toll on her already ailing mental health. This prompted her to seek medical attention for her depression. Over the past months, joy and abundance have returned to her life).
The way we go
Were his eyes growing dim
or was he already shedding,
his once so solid mind crumbling
like a leaf in autumn?
I felt him reach and fumble,
not quite finding me, though
I myself hadn’t moved.
Each time he tried to connect
I got less of him until all that was left
was a heap of rust.
(Diana Devlin is a Scottish-Italian poet and fiction writer who formerly worked as a translator, lexicographer and teacher. Her work has been widely published and anthologised, for example in The Lake, The Blue Nib, The Poets' Republic, The Poet Magazine and Ink Sweat & Tears).
THIS POEM REPLACES ALL PREVIOUS POEMS
So we're born and the rotting process
can't wait to begin.
Could be leukemia at three,
car crash at eleven,
overdose at twenty-one,
AIDS at thirty,
suicide at forty,
heart attack at fifty...
the doctors tell you none of this.
Even if we stay clear of the big stuff,
there's little acts of random decay
happening all the time to our bodies.
What can heart and mind do?
Complaining gets them nowhere.
Yes the deciduous forest mimics the process
but it gets rebirth for all its troubles.
Once human spring is behind us,
there's no more spring.
I'm a gangrened branch of a family tree.
Arthritis is my joints' step-children.
Dementia carries on my mind's forgotten name.
Sure there's love
but have you checked its EKG lately.
I'm at another funeral.
"Dead before his time," they mutter.
But isn't death the only time?
"In life there is death," intones the priest.
Yes, and that's all there is.
Okay, so I'm a pessimist.
But I was born an optimist.
More proof as if it was needed.
(John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.)
Choosing What to Say
I must have fritted away a dozen chores today,
inattentive to their insistent need.
I watched a stunned fly waver and die.
Every word that needed to be said remains unsaid.
There is luxury in entering the Stillness,
quiet like the building of a bird’s nest.
That silence tells me what I need to know.
I’ve learned the value of completing tasks.
When I was sixteen, a friend had a cardiac arrest,
dying mid-sentence. At seventeen, I witnessed
thousands die in Vietnam. At each death,
a vacuum is created, and emptiness filled it.
Nighttime swirls above my house,
bringing every word that should have been said.
I need to construct words
like foundation stones,
to use words that strengthen and console.
(Martin Willitts Jr, edits the Comstock Review.. His 25 chapbooks include the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 21 full-length collections including Blue Light Award “The Temporary World”. His current book includes “Harvest Time” (Deerbrook Editions, 2021).
Deep in my couch
Deep in my couch
of magnetic dust,
I am a bearded old man.
I pull out my last bundle
of memories beneath
my pillow for review.
What is left, old man,
cry solo in the dark.
Here is a small treasure chest
of crude diamonds, a glimpse
of white gold, charcoal,
fingers dipped in black tar.
I am a temple of worship with trinket dreams,
a tea kettle whistling ex-lovers boiling inside.
At dawn, shove them under, let me work.
We are all passengers traveling
on that train of the past--
senses, sins, errors, or omissions
deep in that couch.
(Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson is published in more than 2033 new publications. His poems have appeared in 42 countries; he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. He is the administrator of six Facebook poetry groups; he has several new poetry chapbooks coming out soon. He has over 536 published poems to date. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 42 countries, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. 243 poetry videos are now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.)
1/ The end of a beginning
Given each organism as a biochemical algorithm
Your life is a programed process proving
Your consciousness is actually far less
Valuable than a fucking Frankenstein’s AI
2/ Avihs || Vishnu
Mornings || they disperse || beyond || the corn
Fields, || separately. ||Sunday
She || throws
Her partner’s computer || (midnight)
Into the garage.|| George ||who
In many || a city || upgraded || his software
Upgraded || hers.
They will || stop over || an island
Separately.|| Your son
Hated || all || mushrooms
George mentions – do you recall || yourself?
To a single mind,|| their spirits || evaporate
3/ The beginning of an end
Through human-computer interface
My mind has become part of a robot
While the robot part of me
As data exchanges with my consciousness
Or flow between each other on their own
Where can I find my true self?
(Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. Credits include Pushcart nominations besides appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others. Recently, Yuan published his eleventh chapbook Limerence, and served on the jury for Canada's 44th National Magazine Awards (poetry category).
The Beautiful Space-