Back wheat and right feet
marking the revolutions of the traffic
the father holding his baby in the shade of the cheap apartment
the subdued anger in the intersection
I vow to make
We're working on the channel
scraping away at the rock
just a little rutway
to speed up the delivery of the net
the wires and the streams in silver
the waters of the night at surface
milky and clean
the world outside of the world
next to the world
the world before the world
after the world
the world inside of the world
talking to the neighbors:
I am practicing my voice, on how to get along
the near being hide and hook and hark and hayfield troubadour dominion
I hear there have been seen birds in the air
they nest in the trees
they are hanging many wires here
the mountains: how long have they been here?
have you seen them being built?
is your mother well?
sometimes I have heard her songs
the color of the street
I fear there may be a region of space closing in
like a fire hydrant lurks by the door
demanding entrance with its terrible waters
in my opinion we should be wary of the language that is used to describe appositions
the naked man emerging at inappropriate times
cloaked in the ordinary things erected along this road
tell me, will the year be good?
and are the waters arriving again?
I have seen it in my sleep.
Do you know what color it is?
Perhaps that is what I will paint my door
The children are afraid.
But still they are laughing.
So it cannot be so bad.
They look at me without the government insignia
I think they recognize the sound
Don't mind me, I am a singer in small compartments
They sell them at the bodega
Cheap tracks for long journeys
The Airship . . . well, but I am talking your ear off. Be well, be well.
We are still here.
In unseen dimensions
My role is hardly record keeper
I don't know how to count.
Not able to count men or women
Not able to count the doorways or clouds
I cannot even count children
More than three and I lose track.
I am not able to inform officials of duties
Nor am I certified to be made indignant by philosophies
Since I cannot understand them
Perhaps I am a cleaner
with a peculiar passion for dirt
moving it into shapes
and not throwing it out
Like the mediation of pine needles over concrete
blowing across the threshold of our cheap apartments
It may be I am a newsman
But I have not sold many papers
It is not that my articles are so outlandish
Or my headlines so quotidian
Likely you will know better than I what the problem is
"Mother Still Knows What She is About"
"Water is Likely to Form"
"God may have an appendix"
have been some of my headlines
I do not know the future and so cannot be a prophet
I have no idea what is coming
I could be a painter but I do not have any paint
Nor any canvas
Nor any brushes
I do have a pencil
and some old lined paper
But I have not been using them much
No, I vow to make this channel
I am a digger
And so I must apologize in the way of diggers
Informing you that it is going to be coming beneath you
Informing you that you may need to move your vehicle
Erecting barriers and new entrances
Covering our temporary pits
Moving the earth
Out of where it sits
And putting it somewhere else nearby
So that we can put in the way
The way from here to there
another place like here
but further down
just a little way out
where there are other people
and just a little different
sometimes they are interested in talking with us
they have some things that need to be said
or that they just want to say
about what they have been finding out
just have a chat
I am digging into the ground
here is where I am starting
the sound of the dirt
the sound of the metal
the depth of the hole
and then ten
a dozen inches
three feet in
half the length of a tall man
enough to see the color of the earth
a little further from the sky
a little dirtier
the smells rising from the unrooted greenery
the chapter heading
in nouminescent fragrance
the region of the air over the town
the region of space inside your head
the nightmare of the city
the colors of dreams
each one significant
the apartments inside the city of dreams
urgent and undying
inhabited by people from far away
so like us
and so far away
I am digging a channel through the city
Please get out of the way
we are communicating with intelligences that may be important
yes, men at work
men at work
the sky is a city outside
just like dreams are underground.
the children have been discovering this
Can I make it a headline?
Where is the channel going?
What kind of city is it we are building?
Why are the children afraid?
Tell me, I demand to know
What is it you have been doing.
Why was it I was made the digger?
Shouldn't you have done this already?
No, it is all right.
It needed to be done sometime.
So now I am doing it.
The color of the sky
The inhabitations of man
Over his face
You understand I am sure what I do not mean
What I cannot say
What are the figures who hover over the land
Over the mind
Shaking their lances
Like false ancestors
Or true ancestors
The word of the master and the words of slaves
The rectangles you have put into the buildings
The scars you have put on your body
it is not that I am demanding things
I have no force of any kind
I have no weapons
I have no authority
I am not even your friend
Hardly even your neighbor
Near being, near being
(that is what neighbor means)
Nigh being, Nigh being
Perhaps I am a priest
That is what it is
A mad priest
One of the elders
Permitted to wander insane and mutter things into the air
Fed like a beggar with my bowl
But I have no religion
And too many gods
They are not concerned with me.
Here, help me to dig.
We are getting closer to what it is I am looking for.
Just digging out a road, you see
To encourage commerce
To say that it is all right to visit
To say that we are here
And to say that we have not always been here
And to say that we are not sure actually how long we have been here, and not been here
And to say that we are curious about how it is has been for you
Are things okay?
Is the weather treating you all right?
Do ships appear in the sky at indifferent intervals?
And how does it feel?
And does my mother still remember my name?
What is it that has come over my mother?
And why has it come over all of you?
Is it that you want me to die?
I am unneeded and unwanted? Please tell me, I need to know if that is the case.
Let me know that you have decided. It is all right, people are permitted to decide such things.
No, it is not that, I'm sure. But it is like that.
Perhaps you do not like the holes I have been digging, is that it?
You no longer favor commerce? Towns die without it, you know.
We have to have roads to come in
And roads to go out
Surely you know that much
All the glory of the roads, you remember them
And the pictures they tell
Am I permitted to sketch the picture of a road?
It is not forbidden yet I know, so here it is
It stands five feet underground
But running for quite some distance
Perhaps a hundred miles
To another city
Much like our own
But dwelling on the north side
Its color is black like ink
stretched out against the brown land
stretched out against the grey mountains
it is beautiful at night and in the day
drenched in heat
like your face
we are erecting channels underneath it
and along it
we want to know
we want to see
what has been happening
if we are permitted to look
if we are permitted to speak
if the sound of the air
is like the sound of a child's voice
discovering the country
and the earth
EG Ted Davis is a poet living in Boise ID with work that has been published in various online and in print literary journals.
How can one supreme leader,
chosen by the people,
lead the masses through
deception into the nonreligious
bowels of the earth,
by the thousands,
and condemn those
who follow the Way.
A different history
if the King
had gone to
He was hers'
And she sees him
sitting twenty rows ahead of her-
within the auditorium-
and points him out,
that was my grandson
back upon the earth.
Saharsh Satheesh is a poet living in the state of Tennessee. He enjoys crafting poetry, especially that inspired by nature. Some of his poetry can also be found in Headline Poetry & Press; Undivided Magazine; Infection House; and others. When he is not writing, he loves to read and play chess.
Anannya Uberoi (she/her) is a full-time software engineer and part-time tea connoisseur based in Madrid. She previously won Ayaskala Literary Magazine’s National Poetry Writing Month challenge, and was nominated for Best of Net in 2020. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, The Loch Raven Review, Deep Wild Journal, Lapis Lazuli, and Tipton Poetry Journal. She spends her Sundays in tearooms working as a columnist for The Remnant Archive.
Credit photo: Tanya Shrivastava
A Homeward Letter
The city's gardens are a mild aphrodisiac
to grey winter mornings adding turmoil
in my tea pot, flower pot, storm stirring
in my backyard of things.
The evenings come with
secret hunts of flies; I often mull over events
on the headlines and hide tiny wasps in the slip
of my tongue, the earl grey dissolving
in the corners of my bones.
School is grandiose –
I still break into poetry in the first paragraph
of my essays; I think I'm growing to be
a fine lawyer. The snow does not taste soft
or delicious like back home; it is heavy
and jumps on my skin, reiterating secrets
of an urban sky.
of course, an antidote to my impending dip
into insanity. She and I are lonely, and more recently,
I observed her cheeks color up like petunias
in the vapid winter. Sometimes, I tell her
by parapraxis, of course, how the parsnips
of your farm simmered my solitude with sound,
how the beaming carpets
of your room colored my own.
It is sitting globe-like
on the corners of my lampshade,
and I feel no difference –
it could have been a small bulb,
for instance, or a soft fire glow
buzzing around the corners of my room.
It is nothing special, this cupped moon
on my side table, I am deriving
its soft light to my own quiet purposes
in this sense of oblique belonging
of the night to the night, everything
stretched back into a single thread
of light and longing, longer with
the distance between myself and the sky,
wrapped into a tiny concentrated box
within this room.
I pull out a sheet to draw,
the silence becomes an edge somewhere,
a distant barking dog a curve around it,
a solo traveler who flew to the moon
so often it became an object
of friendly coexistence.
The clock is going backward to contain
as much time it can before it is ten.
We are fighting for survival. The window
outside is switching seasons – flowers,
sun, snow; I suddenly lock my legs with
yours lest the Christmas wind blows
into my skirt. The white curtain is lined
golden in one moment, silver-grey
in another, in a floundering meditation
of the limpid light and color show outside
paces gently on your face, marking
creases on your cheek. Your room is a
throbbing territory of time, lasting
seven seasons and a month. The clock is
gracefully back at ten. You are perkily
considering not going at all, I, making
lemon juice to revive our parched lips.
in chocolate violas, releasing
flurries in the upward sky as you observe the stars,
your mouth breathing a crescent smile
into a puffed up, procellous twirl of clouds stretched
out in a corner. Your lips, a history of highlands
constructed with you, red hollyhocks
I wear in my hair so beamingly, feet on the grass
proud of foxtails in the summertime.
It is as if I plucked a pearl afloat on sea froth
to have learned your name, swam nine feet
hence to have said hello,
touched the sea bed with my bare toes
to have called you mine –
save it all happened fortuitously
and now I am missing a pearl I so miraculously
plucked out of nowhere
David McAlister is a retired graphic designer and software specialist. He was born in Ashland, Kentucky, and inherited a love of poetry from his mother and grandmother. Prior to his design career, he was an actor in radio and television commercials, and over a fifteen-year period, a rock ’n’ roll singer. Upon his retirement from the University Aviation Association, he was encouraged to publish his poetry and essays by his wife, Andrea Jackson.
The Gold of Morning
two strolling lovers blazed,
and wandered through the valley
where a sable stallion grazed.
And the stallion sent a greeting
that made the valley ring,
as from the weighted apple tree,
a mockingbird began to sing.
Songs from all its travels
flowed from its memory,
and the lovers listened, arms entwined,
as still as still could be.
And when it leapt into the sky,
the two resumed their walk,
dew, like diamonds on their feet,
peaceful hearts too full for talk.
Listening to the rain.
What does it say, she smiled impishly.
. . .
It says, The sky has carried me
in weariness and pain.
But all the burdens that we bear
we will lay down again.
Behold how I rush to the arms of the earth
and quench him, while life grows, wild.
My song is delirious whispers of love,
a love that is primal, and undefiled!
And my “friend” listened, quiet,
with growing unease,
shrinking so slightly within herself,
retreating by degrees.
For the cry of the wolf made her frightened,
the Shadow Wolf pacing within.
She wanted her easy companion,
not the famine beneath my skin.
I think I had better be going, she murmured.
I did not entreat her to stay.
We both knew that things would be easier
in the public light of day.
As her car pulled away in the gathering dusk,
she looked pale in the last of the light,
and I lay on my bed
beneath the night.
For Every Battered Boy
demanding, as he had before,
“Why is your nose always in those books?”
I mumbled, “I just like to read.”
My heart screamed, “This is what I need!
To be someplace that you cannot--
Oz. Olympus. Camelot.
“There no one will mock me
if I vow on bended knee.
There, to the sound of a hunting horn,
beyond the reach of your belt and scorn,
in Sherwood, I laugh, strong and free!”
Home in All But Heart
in the tones I remember,
this girl, now a woman
so long unseen.
Where does she wander
To Scotland, perhaps,
And a hilltop green?
Does spring run its fingers
through her long, red hair?
Yes, it would always be springtime
in the highlands, if she were there.
And where is she now,
behind her eyes?
A cafe, perhaps,
with music and wine
and friends whose names
are unknown to us,
beneath Parisian skies.
But she nods as though
she is listening
from the land behind her eyes.
She has come home to America
and is happy to see us, it seems.
Yet, even in bright Georgia daylight,
she stands enmisted in dreams.
Behind every word
is the lure of the world,
the song of the sirens
of Lisbon or Rome.
She loves us
but she has surpassed us,
and now all the world is her home.
Yes, we would keep you,
but how can we hold you?
Looking within you,
the truth that we see
is that all that we cherish
ONE SENSE AT A TIME
tiny white bells
of highbush blueberry
give way to
dusted whitish fruit
the elder is in bloom
clusters of tiny purplish blackness
painted turtles on stones
a skipper flutters
a mustard white
floating cress stems
in all directions
the eye’s taken care of
and that’s not even
taking into account
A truce, sun braiding mangrove and water,
matter composing, decomposing,
surely all was green once,
this festering, scummy scene
like a brown bedpan.
full of mystery that stands its shifting ground.
God knows what we’re doing here.
Frog-croak in our ears. Nerves slithering like copperheads.
Such a humorless place, trunks gray,
distances dead, flat and unmoving, no relief,
indifferent to what the blistering sun can do.
Here is a history of what is seemingly unchanged.
as if this is the way it has to be,
day after day, festering in the same steam,
only the vines with the appetite for strangling
the groins of stark cedars.
The blooms are falsehood. They stink like corpses.
Buzzards gather sticks for the only nest that matters.
We pass by ageless, mossy stumps.
This is not the eternity we covet.
We can see but we can’t know.
Not with so much going on beneath us,
schooled in grotesque life-cycles,
harsh spines, fetid flesh, impaling pikes, knots of reeds,
the bubble of a gator’s breath.
The landscape is the enemy filed under hard fear.
We finally emerge grisly and slimed,
dank and dreary on some floating island.
We haven't seen the rumored woodpecker we hoped to watch.
Instead we imagine zombies
except they're only wood
that dusk leaves hacked to pieces.
Nothing else to hope for.
Our rarity doesn’t show.
But we still can’t admit its blameless death.
We sit and sniff the rancid hours.
The faith we keep fools no one.
time to come in from the fields,
Anna grabs a few wildflowers,
a handful of reeds,
so the day won't be lost forever.
The prettiest, she'll wear in her hair.
The rest, a vase will placate
with a cupful of water.
Old women watch from their porches.
They spin, they knit, for practical purposes.
Not for them the mad-meadows,
the giddy warm,
that dandelion light.
They're as sensible
as the aches in bones.
Nature is not human nature, after all.
They prefer the darkness,
when faces disappear
and all are equal,
the young, the old,
the beautiful, the homely.
They don't take pleasure
in the lifting of a toe,
the waving of hands,
the spin of a torso,
the How of hair out from the throat.
A heart is not a thing
to toss up in the air,
catch before it hits the ground,
to be grasped to the chest,
blessed and breathed on.
If it's to be comforted at all,
it must be by the head.
And though there can be flowers,
they must be grown in their own garden,
not stolen from the garden of the Lord.
how they mock with their madness.
they have not the wisdom to grow old.
they are from a race of dreams
and it's not time to sleep yet.
THE TORNADO SPEAKS
And a stone bank building ripped from its foundations.
A cantilever bridge spun like a drunken ballerina.
There’s nothing modest about my ambitions.
How about flesh ripping from frame.
A large raspberry blown at the skeleton exposed.
A flying building the size of the Taj Mahal.
And all your wheat fields seeded in reverse.
I’m as angry as ten billion quarreling husbands and wives.
And I’ve got air inside me that could strangle you with oxygen.
You may think of me as no more than some Faultline in the weather.
But I am the real monster. Your fairytales lied.
TAKING BACK THE BRIDGE
One foot just beyond the safety of the bank,
onto the concrete walk-way.
The surface won’t crack.
The spans will hold firm
and the cables not snap.
You can walk across,
slow or quick,
thoughtful or free
of any thinking.
And you can stop in the middle,
look forward, look back,
even look down.
And you can stay there,
while other pedestrians pass
and the traffic does the same.
You can tell yourself,
“This is where he jumped.”
But there’s no reason
you should do the same.
I’d suggest going on then,
to the other side.
Catch your breath
or whatever else needs catching.
And then retrace your steps
all the way back to your starting point.
By the time, you’re done,
the bridge will be nothing
more than a bridge.
And you’ll be who you were
some time ago.
Marina Kazakova (b. Gorky, Russia, 1983) is a Russian-born Belgium-based poet. Her literature works deal to a large degree with confrontation with the past and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief. Published internationally in magazines and journals (Three Rooms Press "Maintenant", "Great Weather for Media...", "Crannog", "Duck Lake Books", "Writing in a Woman's Voice", "Modern Literature"), Marina is a frequent performer, she has been shortlisted at various international poetry festivals and art events: Brussels Poetry Festival 2017-2018, Maintenant's Dada London Invasion 2018, Nothing To Sell 2019 - Rome, European Poetry Festival 2020, Red Square Festival 2020, The 3rd International Literary Festival Words of Fire 2020 in Portugal, Gerard Manley Hopkins International Literary Festival 2020 in Ireland, etc.
Marina holds Master's degrees in Public Relations and Transmedia. Currently, she is Communications Officer at Victim Support Europe (Brussels) and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven).
Tower Bridge + Fish
of candied peanuts,
the Tower Bridge gets idle, shiftless,
it stretches gently
over the liquid
black ink of Thames.
Cacooned in knitted scarves
of ginger sunset,
the chef keeps talking
of his native Balkans,
the tired faces in red buses
sleep the afterwork dreams
missing the mise-en-scène.
Cacooned in mustard autumn
lights of London
the fish under the Tower waters
sing jazz, go sentimental,
write rhyme, free verse, love poems
in liquid black ink of Thames.
autoportrait + naked maple + lords and ladies
I troop away
from honeycomb of Camden way,
I suffocate, I almost faint.
lies through the silent landscape
uphill steep slopes of gracious Hampstead,
along the walls of Georgian mansions
towards l'heure bleue and Galsworthy’s sky,
backwards in time.
I stand and stand
in Oxfam’s backstage,
I am trying on
the famous autoportrait -
in a tie, suspenders and a beret,
the mirror suddenly turns into
a triple-tiered frame,
(the famous Gluck-frame,
invented by her in 30s),
which contents – my reflection-
slips off into the space
beyond the shop building,
seeps out onto the Windmill Hill.
I think and think,
I dream around the Bolton House,
touching its handmade red bricks,
oil lantern towers,
with moulded leaves
when Gluck appears
out of the thin air -
an all-embracing naked maple,
a perfect symmetry of «Lords and Ladies» -
the floral naturmort in front,
a thunderbolt into my heart.
I stop and listen:
angels – devils,
Come in! Come in!
It's time for tea!»
I stand stockstill,
I blink away
the Bolton House starts to shake,
I, you, we, Lords and Ladies, Oxfam, lanterns, Hampstead -
Portrait of Margaret Watts
the portrait of the princess Margaret
hung in the silence,
right before my eyes -
the secrets of desire came to light.
Felt passion placed itself
on most vivid display
the tale of confidence
was at its most dazzling .
As I got closer,
her smile, semi-transparent,
(inevitably invited the comparison
with Mona Lisa)
turned into the raw,
The face competed
with gorgeous Da Vinci hands:
long fingers, with music in between,
born for the pianos keys.
Not a trace of fear,
non-chalant, miss Margaret Watts!
Brian is a recent Towson University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in English and a new aspiring writer. During his time at Towson University he wrote for the Towson University newspaper The Towerlight. He never imaged he would have anything published but still wrote for the sake of writing and was once told by an inspiring professor that he has the heart of a poet, a voice that should be heard not because it has something important to say but because it desperately has to say something. That bit of encouragement, that small fragment of belief in him drove him throughout his creative journey. Writing has always been a part of him, a guiding hand, a reassuring smile to calm him in the darkest of times reminding him that though he may wander in the dark he is not a monster.
You Have No Power Here
there was laughter
the air felt joyous.
Anticipation churned from my creaking heart flooding my veins,
I’m surprised steam didn’t scream out my ears.
There weren’t many,
but the quality was choice
each one finely bred from different cuts life dealt.
There was safety here
in this cramped room
on this mediocre couch
watching a modest television
as dusty light peered in through the sheer shades.
The baggage carried was left waiting at the door
the shoes were left on the mat, for the muck from outside didn’t belong.
This is how healing starts
how the prickling on your nape dwindles
and your chest expands exuberantly.
Your ghost no longer clasps my throat
its anesthetizing presence hangs back,
for here it is outnumbered.
It will remain there waiting
a voracious hound, a seeking leech
for me to stuff my feet back into my feculent shoes
and strap my bags of dampened sand back on my shoulders.
I know it, you know it
but for now I’ll remain breathing again.
Relishing the pristine air from these vibrant humbled hearts.
I Wish It Wasn’t Love
Memories come flooding back to me
on lonely drives when the radio is low;
where is Moses so I can see the road?
Is it the smoking cherry bud that causes my eyes to tear or the thought of you?
My windshield is cracked beautifully down the middle
while fantasies of chance meetings flutter hopefully in my head
exactly like a fairytale.
Those don’t exist,
but I dream them anyway.
Can I say I’ve moved on if I still think of you fondly or do I have to hate you?
Your image is salt water
it only quenches my thirst for you at the moment.
I wish it was only lust,
the carnal desire to be between your thighs again
to caress your silhouette in the dark
with dim lights and heavy breath.
But it’s the in-betweens that I think about most,
laying under the blankets content with your presence.
I wish it was only fear,
fear of being alone
and dying that way.
But your smile makes me smile even if mines out of loss,
for I am Atlas to your happiness.
I wish it was only regret,
for the things said and the things not.
Words loaded and fired to hurt for the sake of hurting.
But each word was aimed with passion however misplaced.
I wish it were the demons in me,
that held my tongue hostage from my heart
never allowing it to speak from it.
If only I reached out sooner.
But my burden was not yours to bear,
I didn’t want to cage you with me.
I wish it wasn’t love,
for it makes the fairytale real
and all the more tragic.
But the love that you gave me I will hide it away
until my box is ready.
Breakfast In Bed With My Depression
I don’t want everyday greeted with despair;
breakfast in bed with my depression.
I disown my fracturing bladder for as long as I can
until it comes back,
a bastard demanding money.
If I could sew my eyes shut I would,
lay in purgatory, void of dreams.
A frightened greyhound
tail tucked trembling at the gate.
I become a fetus unwilling to breach the womb
curled in a cocoon of fabrics
do not cecect me.
The world will eat me as tribute,
I wouldn’t stand a chance.
A baby turtle scampering frantically towards an evaporated sea,
a carrion walking
target practice for the gulls.
I am all that is small, feeble, replaceable in the world
proof of Darwin’s theory.
Let me lie
let me stay
let the sun never kiss me again
I fear I will melt.
BAIDHA DOMINIQUE FERCOQ
BANQOBILE VIRGINIA DAKAMELA
DANIEL MARK PATTERSON
EG TED DAVIS
EMMANUEL JOSEPH OLUMAKISS
JABEZ ANDRE BARON RICHARD
JEFF WILLIAM ACOSTA
J. K. DURICK
J. N. LANG
KJ HANNAH GREENBERG
K SHESHU BABU
LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL
PETER W. YAREMKO
ROBIN WYATT DUNN
THOMAS E. SIMMONS