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).
Hymn of Silence
Partly drawn curtains
reveal sun and traffic
outside your room,
as the doctor explains
the spreading melanoma,
mouthing numbers fewer
than our months together.
The echoes of his steps
recede down the hall;
I watch from the doorway
your face soft, serene.
You sleep, my hand
hovers over your shoulder
in a quest to re-discover
the land your body forms,
to recapture the time
we re-defined refuge
within this rich expanse.
There is an opening
in what seems like mist
Ode to a Nurse's Touch
So, this is what it's come to?
into a passive state,
at the hands of a stranger
centering the x-ray apparatus
over my chest.
at the silken touch
of her fingers;
her generous smile
strains at the tension
fringe of streetlights shimmer;
she walks to her green Nova,
by her boyfriend.
I imagine her
venting an icy sigh
as she recalls me
"The moon lives
in the lining of your skin,"
while she helped me
back into the wheelchair.
Gypsies and Your Emergency
The gypsies, on the outskirts
of your beliefs,
hold flaming threads
You probe unordinary dawnings;
the ceremony of bright priestly steel
washes your veins.
Those who have come late
to your festival of sweet dying
search the traveled street;
the lights of a ghostly girl’s eyes
lead them through a snowstorm
of the future, as your memory-blinded love
sings with one too articulate angel
late of a shining town, who whispers
soon, yes, soon
perhaps with the gleaming liquid key
you’ll set loose in this long
street-stair darkness tides of joy
and sing dancing children
through expanded time.
But your cargo is unloaded
the wagon wheels are turning
and this unblessed home
now is a haven
for the emergency
you once worshipped,
and the sadness torn loose
from echoes of the moon.
(RC James lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Previously, he lived in South America for twenty years and has a bilingual volume of his poetry and photographs at the Biblioteque Nacional de Colombia. He has works at Sonic Boom, Thimble, Flashes of Brilliance, and Open Door Poetry Magazine.)
From Now And Here
This time next year
some of us will have surrendered
to the weakness of the flesh.
This time next year
you’ll feel twelve months heavier.
Your pockets, and head, lighter.
One of us will be missing a finger.
One will dare risk looking
into the smelted core of the divine.
Another will have forsaken emotion.
Three hundred and sixty odd
days and nights from now and here.
The X minutes and Y seconds.
An algebra of living mass.
A fatty math of bloodied tissues.
Which means this time next year
we’ll all be farther along the crooked path.
New scars will have formed.
Choices will have proved themselves
to be neither right nor wrong.
We’ll have made some big decisions,
the repercussions only then apparent.
Some will have had their molecules shattered,
their ashes scattered in a green river.
Some of us will carry a child
they’d never guessed would have existed.
Next year at this time –
the same stars in the same sky,
but everything will seem different.
I’ve heard how time changes everything.
I’m learning that change matters.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with poems published in hundreds of magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).
Styx & Stones
The heartbeat is an ashtray of blazes,
Kindling smoke and collecting dust on lips –
Blooming in the cold, forgotten places:
Smelling of city stench and old outstrips.
A failed rewrite of caskets and cases,
The heart is a sea-morgue of wayward ships.
Wrapped in cotton whites and ghostly laces:
Blackened out, a sun during the eclipse.
An immortal organ, rhythm of ages,
Human devotion seeps out red and drips:
The stain of dark mahogany angels,
Washed away down the long black river Styx.
(Angelina Chartrand is a student at Lindenwood University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Studies with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Having developed a passion for writing ever since she was very young, Angelina has found a love and admiration of short stories to convey her creative ideas.)
The Beautiful Space-