A 74 year old granddad with a love for the simple life and the written word. Father of two kids and adoring husband to Jennifer.
Mary McDonald stands in her garden and stares at the stars in the sky’s
She thinks of her husband who’s serving in Flanders as teardrops well up in her eyes
She’s holding a rose that has started to whither remembering their wedding day
It’s only four weeks that they bequeathed their vows, now he’s fighting a war far away
Billy McDonald lays in the trenches and thinks of his beautiful bride
Then kisses her letter he reads every hour, imagining her there by his side
He can still smell her perfume and feel her embraces when he held her just one month ago
Recalling his promise that he’d always love her and forever be her lifelong beau
A shout from the Captain resounds through the trenches; the order is passed down the line
Heartbeats start racing as emotions unravel as fears of the moment untwine
This fresh faced young soldier that worked as a mill hand now waits with his pals by his side
In less than one hour he’d return from perdition where most of his buddies had died
The dark winter night air gives Mary a chill as she stands all alone in the cold
She has no way of knowing that Billy lies weeping as his thoughts of the battle unfold
He takes out the letter he’s writing to Mary and kisses the words that he’d penned
It was found in his pocket, still words left unwritten. A letter he never would send
There’s an unopened letter that stands on the sideboard with a solitary withering rose
The words it contains have never been read; its contents were never disclosed
Now Mary wears black as she stands in her garden and stares at the heavens above
And thinks of her Billy now sleeping forever, her one and her only true love
Mary McDonald stares in the mirror at a face that is ashen and gray
Her anguish reflecting the one she has lost in a land that seems so far away
She was just seventeen when she stood at the altar and married the love of her life
And now she’s his widow, no longer his bride, no longer his lover, and wife.
Billy McDonald was only eighteen when he left everything he held dear
He gave his own life that others might live in a world without trouble and fear
Mary remarried and had her own children, a boy and a girl she named Ruth
She called her son Billy, well that’s what I’ve heard and I’m sure they were telling the truth
THE LETTER MARY NEVER READ
It is my pitiful duty to inform you that Corporal William McDonald was killed in action on 24th December 1917 in France. He who this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives, that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after, see to it that his name be not forgotten No 190545 Lance Corporal William McDonald 10th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry killed in action, France, Flanders 24th December 1917.
THOUGHTS OF HOME
Come talk with me and walk with me through natures golden veil
Let’s stroll beside the silver stream and drink cold nature’s ale
We’ll smell the fallen autumn leaves beside the wooded glade
Forgetting ranks with bayonets drawn in battle-lines arrayed
Come listen to the meadow lark, rejoice its clarion call
I’ll disregard the cannon fire or watch while comrades fall
We’ll walk beneath a star lit sky, together hand in hand
Dismissive of machine gun fire that awaits in No Man’s Land
No more the deathly silence while waiting to advance
Only thoughts of joyous times when you taught me how to dance
I feel my arms around your waist as I waltzed you round the room
Now smells of cordite fill the air, replacing your perfume
Anguished thoughts flow back and forth, can nought erase my sorrow
To give this day without regret, so you may live tomorrow
Will heaven’s light shine down on me and spare me from my foe
Or will I walk in deaths dark veil, my halcyon days forgo
Far across the village green I hear the church bells toll
Rejoicing autumns bounteous fruits, replenished is my soul
Alas for me no glowing coals from hearth with comfy chair
Supplanted now with dreadfulness of horror and despair
The air is filled with putrid gas, no smell of summer here
Though memories of my English rose, I visualise so clear
Tonight, I sleep in netherworld amongst my comrades’ bones
Laid in the arms of Morpheus, I dream with ‘thoughts of home’
Uzomah Ugwu is a emerging poet and writer, that still hand writes everything including prose and essays. She is a political, social and cultural activist. Her core focus is on human rights, mental health, animal rights and rights of LBGTQ persons.Her work has been featured in Prelude Magazine and Tuck Magazine and Wild Word and is forthcoming in the Angel City review, Voice of Eve. She is the Contributing/Poetry Editor for A Tired Heroine magazine.
“late on arrival”
It felt like she was falling downstairs made of mountains
Unaware we had hung onto every cliff of her words
Her sentences blurred between spaces
Where delusion and reality
could never really meet and form into a complete thought
Out in the open with the doctors
hoping we could reach her where the medicines didn’t
We found that we came for her only to find
she had departed long before we arrived
and in a way, the doctors and nurses couldn’t describe
Now rocking in her chair the glare from her glossy eyes
appeared to make some type of contact
with a vision that had a mission that was only known to her
If only she could sit still long enough
maybe she would see it, for all of us to see
Chapped lips with a long distance droll
oozing out of them made her words slide
down sentences unsure as to where they went,
hair not even slightly brushed like her teeth
this sight of a woman once so well kept
made it even harder for us to keep our mind right
not knowing what to feel angry upset or just depressed
sitting still where time rushed by us
where we were tortured by life’s lie
that everything was going to be alright
Alerted that our time was up we left her in her chair
Grinning than sobbing, celebrating holidays
than even howling in her own world
that left us all out of it and nowhere near seeing her
other than what was just in front of us
which was an illness filled with blissful despair
Vitamins, freshness, health.
as red fruit
with potatoes, broccoli
and a couple of glasses
of wine. I boil them
until they are soft
and eat them
with my fingers,
taking them in,
whole mouthfuls at a time.
is a kitchen
with the roaring wok and oil -
and sweet potatoes
in buttery sauce
like a brass trumpet. I like it;
there's food sometimes
you want to eat,
I'm not interested
my meals are a tune
hummed by a man
with his mind on something - not caring much
for flavour, I aim at true simplicity;
vitamins, freshness, health,
all out of the earth.
and being able to leave the room
and not worry
as the pot
wine-drunk and excited,
and send them off
to magazines. I had
ones which liked me
and ones I liked
and I'd fire
like a shotgun
scaring birds. each one
to different places. then I'd wait
to come back.
it started with rejections;
someone would say
they didn't like a poem
so I'd open the laptop file
and straighten its teeth a little,
patch up wounds and blacken its hair
like a dealer with a tired racehorse.
and send it again, somewhere else. it was pleasing
to do this
with my evenings - this mild commission
of poetic adultery.
one would be accepted
sometimes, but since at any time
were floating, often
it wasn't the most recent. then they'd print it,
happy with the words I'd replaced
and I'd smile
and hope the other versions
were bad enough
that no-one else would want them.
a note for any editors
considering this poem:
the exceptions, of course,
were the ones
I sent to you.
for a certain kind of poetry.
and very walkable:
you can take stroll
if you want to
on the same streets as Joyce did
and see pretty much
the same thing;
beyond the addition
of a plastic line to the shopsigns
and electric wires
running to grumble. but there's this pressure here
a dusty grey of bookshops – the broken pottery
in your grandmothers house
almost impossible to endure.
Americans are lucky - when they walk around
the towns they have,
all they have to get them down
so close to downtown
but they didn't,
and I always paid my rent - a worthwhile
on their part. once
they sent me a message
to say the keys had been changed
and new ones
had been dropped under
my doorway. this guy
across the hall
had been evicted, apparently,
and they were worried
he'd try to get
back in. unfortunate - he was the only one who knew me
and when I knocked
on someone else's window
to ask if I could get upstairs
to my new keys
they thought I might
be him. I called the landlord
and waited in an alley - he was there too,
wanting to talk to her. we traded cigarettes
a half-bottle of wine
and he told me it was all
a misunderstanding. I was worried
he might confront her
and I'd have to step in -
but he didn't. just followed us up the stairs,
asking if he could collect his oranges
and some shirts
he'd left behind.
to the bathroom from my bed.
of getting up in the night
to piss - this new
most of my problems. it didn't though.
in every garden; you can hardly bar the wind
from handing over seeds.
I lie on my side
and slash into a cylinder, but then
I find I also want
a glass of water. also,
for someone who smells better
and I think
" Ami ek jajabor' ( I am a gypsy ...)
Some of the writings including poems appeared in dissidentvoice.org, Leaves of Ink, Tuck Magazine, Virasam, Velivada, countercurrents.org, counterview.org, counterview.net, sabrangindia.in , etc.
Flowers nipped in the bud
Some called it 'Kashmir'
Others ' Garden of Eden' !
Plenty of flowers flourished
The gardner carefully nourished
The place shone with beauty
Colors sparkled in the air aplenty
Visitors came and enjoyed
The flowers felt overjoyed
One day, two visitors from opposite sides
Entered to claim the land of ' mines' !
They clashed with each other
And trampled many a budding flower
While they surrendered the place
To their big corporates with grace
Flowers yelled ' we want freedom' !
But their voices choked and were left to serfdom
THE CAMERA’S SIDE OF THE STORY
their marriage was all
cruise ship railings,
cheap souvenirs from Caribbean ports,
the main grandstand at a NASCAR race,
an unknown beach,
some kind of fairground
where pigs were being judged.
Nothing here of the arguments,
the drifting apart, the divorce.
When the bad stuff happened,
they just weren’t posing.
a slinky black dress
with tight-fitting waist,
sequins that sparkle in
the department-store light.
My wife invests her paycheck
in something far plainer,
One shops for the wear and tear
of the office,
the other for a feline saunter
into a club or restaurant.
I want, so much, to see my wife
in an outfit that clinging,
that overtly sensual,
once in a while.
But she makes her purchase
and we leave together.
This is also what I want.
OBITS AND ME
and the dark swallowed Rachel.
Cam was found, discovered,
unearthed – take your pick of verbs –
but everyone knew it was Cam on that bed
Kate’s end was more romantic,
at least to some people.
She floated to the lake surface
like a painting by Millais –
the most precious Kate
in anyone’s memory
though Kate’s own memory
was absent Kate.
They were all people I knew
and who knew me.
And now I’m stuck
with all the knowing.
THE OLD BLUESMAN
The pissing dogs don’t care.
He likes his hootch.
And he’s a one for stepping out of line.
The women flirt with him.
They call it intrigue.
But they’d do better to serve him up
some of that crawfish bisque.
The bookies are into him.
Their ‘gimme gimme’ is like the breeze.
And he don’t sing so much
as flap like a farmhouse door.
His guitar is old
but the strings still come together
like old war buddies,
approximate a tune.
He sits on his veranda,
on some Carolina ridge,
in sunset the color of a pitcher of beer,
cracking open the blues
with his gargle of a throat.
Cypress wind don’t stop blowing.
The moon just can’t contain itself.
It wants to pick him up and carry him.
WOMAN ON THE BEACH
already falling through houses
painted different colors,
too weak to emphasize their sameness,
though you burst in periodic explosions
crouched on a yellow rind of beach,
shy like a filly when I sit beside you
and, without a sound, brush the
thoughts away from your brow,
let your teeth show bright in your
satin-tanned face, return to life
with face like just-finished sculpture,
a window left open at the whim of circumstance,
I can tell a blonde from a mirage,
you fear the frailty, a darkness
where only your eyes are visible,
those of a frightened adolescent,
trying to remember where you live.
woods, covered paths
and leaves lay still
asleep as I had
Bright beams scatter
blue across the
quiet, as I wished to
Strange noises from the
roots led me to
pieces of the
troubled remains, dead as I would
True soul gazed, lifeless
had met the rhythm
of none, to want a start
fresh as I too could
Words remained at the
mouths of two, both
wanted more of
the other, I had
Swalloed by soil, a
grave forgotten and
life remained the
same, as I, we
is to nurture
spirits of the alive.
We all seek life
and love; for death
the most peaceful.
I am not with hope.
Fix and hang,
how easy to let go.
Im going off
try and say
something to stay on my ledge.
Tears roll down.
A puddle I can,
swim about and drown
I want to say those aren’t for you,
but rather I wish they were.
I can’t see myself.
An image of me,
seems so bleak, I turn
I sigh and I cry
another down the eye.
I sigh, this is silicon
Almost stretch, my time.
I keep placing another finger,
unconsciously, I stay.
so does the way.
Do you still love me? Did you ever?
Why does it feel so easy to let go?
Why do I sit alone in the dark and feel nothing at all? all I do is feel the warmth leave, roll down my face.
Want a hopeful dream,
want one to seem
A change, can seek
in you, I see.
Lost in side
A heartbeat there is
So loud and profound
Will I be found?
I lay alone, the sound
Thoughts Can Consume.
at the dark.
With myself and
Nothing keeps me
company, not the cotton,
not the walls. Quiet
literally nothing at all.
Time is haunting,
words of which I
can’t quite make but it points.
no I’m just
To be so out of place,
do you feel lack?
Can you sit back
and just let go?
I want to, but
there is you.
I should, I will,
I might, a mind of
me in solitude of
Not dark, for
it seems so stark.
I’m going to
Maybe I am just an embroidered
mess of thread, dyed and knotted and tangled
into ever-spooling spirals.
must see a glimmer of art (haphazard
though it might be), a rushing of stoppered
brilliance ready to be gathered and combed.
Maybe we're tapestries in the making,
ragged, undone, sometimes coming apart,
yet still beautiful in our stark rawness,
suspended in crude state but still breathing,
still bold, still fighting, still worthy, still art---
Maybe I'm wicked.
Maybe the world is.
The Heart of You
not just the sun-spots scrawled across your back
and the stray hairs curling beneath your earlobes,
but also the emptiness you felt
when your grandmother died
and suddenly death became not just a syllable in the dictionary
but a yawning pool with no bottom.
Let me hold all of you,
stripped not just of the suit you wore to the office,
but also the father who told you to man up
when you cried after falling off your bike for the first time.
Don't just lean against me with stoic limbs
as the world crashes around your walls;
Let me hold your scars,
your anxious thoughts,
the terror that nothing will ever be enough,
the shadows that crawl into your dreams at night.
Let me love not just the man you think you should be,
impervious to emotion,
indestructible tower of unquivering strength,
Let me love the heart of you.
Meet me in the bitter limits
where love is on the brink of collapse
where our bodies are weary and our souls are weaker still
and the universe has fallen off its tracks.
Hold me as the world is dying
as we spin off our axis
as we ricochet between destiny and desire
shroud our final moments in a kiss.
Stefan Markovski is a contemporary Macedonian writer, poet, screenwriter and philosopher.
Born in the town of Gevgelija (01. 12. 1990), he’s completed primary and secondary education in his hometown, graduating on both the Department of Comparative Literature, Faculty of Philology and the Institute of Philosophy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius State University of Skopje.
He’s obtained a MA in Screenwriting at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU) in Skopje with a feature film script titled “My Name Is Freedom” and theoretical explication of the potentials of the hybrid crime-drama genre within the future of Macedonian cinematography.
Markovski’s writing career and contribution to modern Macedonian literature has granted him literary prizes and honors in Macedonia, including the “Macedonian Literary Avant-garde” for a book of short stories, “Petre M. Andreevski” Prize for novel, “Beli Mugri” for a poetry book, “Krste Chachanski” for a book of short stories, The “7-th November Award” of Gevgelija municipality, “Knjizevno pero” of Croatian Writers’ Association (HKD), prize of UNESCO for Macedonian writers up to 30 years of age etc.
Mentioned in anthologies of modern Macedonian literature, participating in festivals around the country and abroad, some of Markovski’s works have been published in over 20 languages.
He’s taken part in the Other Words literary residency in San Sebastian in 2018.
Markovski is a member of Macedonian Writers’ Association, the Macedonian center of the International Theatre Institute, the European poetry platform “Versopolis” and other international associations.
He’s the chief editor of the oldest Macedonian literary magazine – Sovremenost as well as the poetry collections of the project Metric caravan.
Following the white griffin’s trail
kingdoms united into the singularity of all beings
become golden ruins under steel-feathered wings
in an incense smoke sighs are clothed
through which gods send answers
when you pass through tunnels of glass hope
virgin blood supplies your cells.
A griffin pierces far into the heavens
in search for
a magnificent day for a perfect melancholy.
that the blank in each whiteness
holds the most colorful rainbow sewed up in a full stop
the well in which the souls drown
suggests an illusion of all destinies
buried into a tunnel with one exit
where the celestial blueness reflects off the lonely trains’ glass.
Asian winds blow statues of flesh
before showing you the way to the only truth - downward
all the definitions of joy and wisdom are carrying explosive
waiting for its moment
in front of faces yet to blush.
The rain is rage of myriad of mirrors and swords
they guard the innocence of the land pieces between us
and the magic of the air with taste of white birds
black hounds chase the moon at dusk
and, hiding behind the mountains,
bark with a lion’s roar
then the night sculpts new tunnels of hope from itself
hope undefiled as an intact wine bottle
pointing the way.
calmly, gently, powerfully
getting into time
when the only arabesques
are question marks inverted like golden sixes
drawn onto the glassy morning fog
which tells the eyes where crimson rivers flow
that each herb of the greenery
competes for a more dazzling view of the Sun
that’s a path through it
to the mountain from which white doves carry
a cry in unopened envelopes
which resemble a flat plate sealed
with a myrrh blossom and a scent of a dawnworld.
Metaphysics of Love
shipwrecking through the air
under the eaves of Andromeda
awaits a portal
whose path is through the flesh of
the newly arrived in the country
that no one tries to conquer.
The guards in the sky
agree that your angel
tastes like rose
someone’s falling wings
are sending their regards
to the planet that eats its
impatiently waiting her deathtouch
or your nose
and your fingers
pining for holy spices,
Get up again
collect the hate made out of lead and steel
and pour it into the stars;
before you lie down
drink the double blueness as if it’s a cure
yet it surrounds your island
when unextinguished specters dream of the Spark
when the sound is but a mere shadow of resting silences
get up again
and let the Thought of this
and every world run through your veins
a ragged tent made of stitched reveries
hides the warmth of the air
The holy mountain is a broken stalk of this planet
drowned in its oceans
the way up and the abyss down are the very same point
but you, try and find the spring in between
and get up again
breathe out the blue pain and name it healing
every tear that waters the fields
sowed with human dust
get up again, soar to the sky
clouds with different colors await new anthem
a golden dream shall rise
through the night’s precipice
the black shadows of the cosmos will shine out a flare
from the eyes of the radiant phoenix
pointed at an unknown hero
who’s just stepped out of the new bibles.
A short history of а fireproof purity
be patient and leave, it could be that
you’ll taste natural paradises again,
you extinguish by a prayer mortals, hasting
to become rivers,
your eyes, never touched
are enough to the fields,
with or without water
to hatch them and offer to the red-shining skies
O, flames, evaporating heretical thoughts
painted into a body,
only you, you give birth to purity
to that of a new flesh,
novum and spiritum novum tribuam in carnem
every birth is a new path to Thinking,
ora pro nobis,
every craftsman, saint and sage,
every bishop of exorcisms,
every celestial clown and every mage
builds white pain in Snow White’s snow,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
and the truths shall remain One.
This moment is but a dust
flew from history, launched towards the zenith,
your facial proportions have the entire Cosmos
as a companion choice,
a red night granule in the sand of the city
dives through the pupils to the mind, where you're wearing a star,
the bag is filled with freedom,
the wine and the lipstick are serene friends
of the dawn that’s smiling,
welcomed by embraced voices of bonfires,
with uncontrollable instinct
Deborah Setiyawati is an Indonesian writer. She has been published numerous times internationally and is currently working on her first collection of poetry. She is also a dress designer, singer and advocate for women and children rights.
Carl Scharwath has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography.Two poetry books 'Journey To Become Forgotten' (Kind of a Hurricane Press).and 'Abandoned' (ScarsTv) have been published. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a dedicated runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo.
He caught a glimpse of her
There was the river goddess
From her eyes
He saw the sol aloft the horizon
Full moon –
In her smile
Drove away the darkest eve
Verdant buds break through –
Amongst her legs
What like gazelle's
With her presence –
For now the winter is past
The rain is over and gone
Vernal equinox –
The beginning of spring
Symphony From The Splinter At The Bone (#6-10)
I search for a word to become a sun;
For a word to become a sun that lights
The path to tomorrow; chasing away
Blankets of darkness, peeling back
Layers of dust;
It is necessary, for life's time is short;
Why weary the heart in wasting it
Upon hearts who believe in the eternity of
Whatever their plight? Sooner give me
Your face and laughter,
We may call them a church and a bell,
A house of a thousand prayers;
It is necessary for laughter to endure;
For tomorrow to remain a winged thing
That will follow this moment;
That will ask the heart to take flight with it,
To move beyond the illusion of comfort,
Into comfort's true touch and embrace.
I search for a word to become a sun;
A burning prayer, or a star,
A single word that will light my path
Into tomorrow, and a deeper awakening;
Where my heart may also once more be
A bell and a church
Singing out one thousand prayers
That offer, like your laughter,
Comfort's true touch, and embrace.
Time grows fiercer, and we grow fiercer,
With the heat of a world burning
Back on our tongues;
We wait to eat through down to the marrow;
To release the words at our bones;
To free the body for a moment for the
Time grows fiercer, and memory seems
Only a weight, a chain of bones
Singing out while the wind blows
Through their entanglements;
Time grow fiercer, we grow fiercer,
With the heat a world burning;
Burning down to ashes,
So we have something
To rise from.
I cross boundaries, to shape a word against
My spine; to shape your hand back into being
A simple hand; absent of thought;
Like a leaf that drifts across the skin
To leave the nerve singing;
I want to feel the passage of your motion;
To rise deep from the well;
To call out like a star
Burning back into being.
I cross boundaries, because
Otherwise I would only be a brute
Shaping you out to meet
The past, the fallen days, I would
Be seeking to replace old seasons
With the fire burning in your eyes;
I would be stumbling toward my death;
Rather than burning away my life.
If my touch returns you to feeling
Deep and safe at your core; if
You can build a house from it; a place
To rest your heart and prayer;
If my touch awakens you
To bring the world back into your eyes,
To build a future with what I have spoken,
With what you have heard
Then yes, I cross boundaries;
If only to leave a momentary life for this thought
That you rise and grow deeper
Into your own rising spring;
That you grow beyond survival
Into the breath of your own life;
Even in my absence; that by singing a single
Spark back into the fire;
You sing the song of burning at your bones
Just to shine on.
At last, at times; there seems
There is no more change; all thoughts
Turn wooden as puppets
Left to dance on wires;
In the absence of transmission between
You and I, there is no you,
Nor an I;
We have become too often as
Only metaphors of memory;
Sooner I would wake up
Something new in myself, and see
A new feeling burning
Each day, brighter
In your eyes;
But you love the feel and weight,
The desire of the wooden world
Beneath your feet;
You chase change without changing;
You chase a reason only
To remain the same, creating what you
Cannot gather any longer;
The same faces as wounds,
There are no words between us,
I live and die as a metaphor of
Something dead upon your breath;
A fetid word or phrase,
Wooden, wooden world,
I leave you for the fire,
Brighten the center of the darkness;
Call it another invitation
For the sun.
At times, I wish no more
Than to be grow into a tree,
Sculpt out into a shape that feeds
At the roots, nourished by the best
That falls from your skies.
Place inside your chest;
The beating heart I have already seen
Pump furiously, with light,
Awakening eyes, like stars
To testify against
What I cup within my palms
For you to taste; is not something
I have etched out as creation,
But seeds I have gathered
From your own words; and kneeling,
To return to you.
At times, seeing your beauty; feeding
From the falling drops of rain;
I grow deeper at the root, and stretch
Toward the sky, hoping I can grow large enough
To return, to return
Your beauty to your beauty.
CHRISTINE LIWAG DIXON
DEBORAH SETIYAWATI & CARL SCHARWATH
ISRAEL FRANCISCO HAROS LOPEZ
JIMMIE R. PENNINGTON
JONATHAN DOUGLAS DOWDLE
KABEDOOPONG PIDDO DDIBE'ST
K SHESHU BABU
MICHAEL A. GRIFFITH
NGOZI OLIVIA OSUOHA
RENEE DRUMMOND - BROWN
TED MC CARTHY