The Golden Eagle is a joint effort by Steve and John Mara. Steve lived the story of the poem, having flown from the nest to California to spread his wings and finally see where he can fly. John wrote the story down. John has published more than a dozen short stories in many venues, including Scarlet Leaf Review.
The Golden Eagle
When the eaglets leave their nest
To see where they might fly
One must always stay behind
And the One never chirps ‘Why?’
The nest it still needs fixing!
A hand the grey birds need!
In wind, in rain, or through the snow
The One always flew the lead
Each eagle forms by how it lives
The way it works, it loves and plays
This One’s wings grew strong and wide
It too would fly away … someday
A door cracked open in the clouds
The sun shone brightly through
To lead the One right toward it
To see what it might do
When that Eagle left the cairn
The others waved goodbye
So glad to finally see it go
To get its chance to fly
And when that Eagle pierced the clouds
The others did behold
The One’s head had grown the whitest!
And see its plumage? Why, it’s tinted gold!
‘Cause that nest had steeled the Eagle
In silent ways we never knew
The Golden Eagle soared the highest
Once at last it got its due
Jacquelyn Tuck is a student at Downingtown West high school . She has been writing since her parents divorce witch inspired her to express emotion through poetry. Her favorite poet is Courtney PepperNell.
She knew how to treat people. She truly did understand life. How to see past the mud covered bodies in her school who fake the walk... fake the talk. She knew how to wash them down. Frowns were an invitation to go listen. Mistakes were opportunities to grow, and ever so beautifully did she. Awareness of flaws. A relationship with god is a working progress. Understandment of pain, sins, acceptance, imperfections. Pure gold was her soul. Judgment wasn't ever taught to her maybe. Or maybe she was hurt when she was younger. Patience was given to all. Acceptance to all. She thrived to be kind. Humble . loyal. There's a deeper meaning behind everything she would say. Everything happens for a reason. And she was born. Some say sweet i say emotionally intelligent ..
Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India. He has been writing and publishing his poetry for the last thirty five years and his poems have been published widely both in India and abroad. He holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.
Stop Quietly- Life In Times of Corona
Stop quietly by these hills
don’t talk, they are sleeping
where are the streams
which gurgled when the hills
wept at man’s madness
or when blood smeared streets?
And we were at home quietly
weeping for these hills as those
steadfast rocks stood guard
as heavy sentinels
now we are at home once again
as the virus touches these timeless hills
their virulence might touch us
And babbling streams will be quiet.
time is endearingly near
in those spaces where
these hills live, even
breathe within tiny
holes, which smudge them
eternity climbs on these hills
and green blue hues
childhood was these hills
And, manhood looks within
as they, searing watch, wait
have the hills changed?
in a mindscape which never changes.
Or, see their changes
I’m old Indian chief story
plastered on white scattered sheets,
Caucasian paper blowing in yesterday’s winds.
I feel white man’s presence
in my blindness-
cross over my ego my borders
urinates over my pride, my boundaries-
I cooperated with him until
death, my blindness.
I’m Blackfoot proud, mountain Chief.
I roam southern Alberta,
toenails stretch to Montana,
born on Old Man River−
prairie horse’s leftover
buffalo meat in my dreams.
Eighty-seven I lived in a cardboard shack.
My native dress lost, autistic babbling.
I pile up worthless treaties, paper burn white man.
Now 94, I prepare myself an ancient pilgrimage,
back to papoose, landscapes turned over.
I walk through this death baby steps,
no rush, no fire, nor wind, hair tangled−
earth possessions strapped to my back rawhide−
sun going down, moon going up,
witch hour moonlight.
I’m old man slow dying, Chief nobody.
An empty bottle of fire-water whiskey
lies on homespun rug,
cut excess from life,
partially smoked homemade cigar-
that dance of tears.
*Music Video Credit: Native American Indian Music - Sunset Ceremony- Earth Drums 02
Missing Feeding of the Birds (V3)
Keeping my daily journal diary short
these sweet bird sounds lost-
reviews January through March.
Joy a dig deep snow on top of my sorrows.
Skinny naked bones sparrows these doves
beneath my balcony window,
lie lifeless without tweet
no melody lost their sounds.
These few survivors huddle in scruffy bushes.
Gone that plastic outdoor kitchen bowl that held the seeds.
I drink dated milk, distraught rehearse nightmares of childhood.
Sip Mogen David Concord Wine with diet 7Up.
Down sweet molasses and pancake butter.
I miss the feeding of the birds, these condominiums regulations,
callous neighbors below me, Polish complaints.
Their parties, foul language, Polish songs late at night,
these Vodka mornings-no one likes my feeding of birds.
I feel weak and Jesus poor, starving, I can’t feed the birds.
I dry thoughts merge day with night, ZzzQuil, seldom sleep.
Guilt I cover my thoughts of empty shell spotted snow
these fragments, bone parts and my prayers-
Jesus dwelling in my brain cells, dead birds outside.
I miss feeding of the birds.
Open Eyes Laid Back
Open eyes, black-eyed peas,
laid back busy lives,
consuming our hours,
“which can Jolly Green Giant peas,
darling, to bring home tonight-
these aisles of decisions.”
“Before long apps
will be wiping our butts
and we, others, our children
will not notice.”
No worries, outer space,
an app for horoscope, astrology
a co-pilot to keep our cold feet
Single life is Tequila with a slice of lime,
Shots offered my traveling strangers.
Play them all deal them jacks, some diamonds
then spades, hold back aces play hardball,
mock the jokers.
Paraplegic aging tumblers toss rocks,
Their dice go for the one-night stand.
Poltergeist fluid define another frame.
Female dancers in the corner
Crooked smiles in shadows.
Single ladies don’t eat that tequila worm
dangle down the real story beneath their belts.
Men bashful, yet loud on sounds, but right times soft spoken.
Ladies men lack caring verbs, traitors to your skin.
Ladies if you really want the worm, Mescal,
don’t be confused after midnight.
The writer from anywhere and everywhere is interested in social problems, civil liberties and political rights.
Some works appeared in countercurrents, counterview, scarlet leaf review, leaves of ink and poemhunter and dissident voice
I started walking
Enjoying fresh dawn air
And emerging sunlight everywhere....
After a few lazy strides,
Browsing on all sides,
I noticed chirping of birds
As sheep, goats and cows
Passed cutting into my lazy footsteps
And awakening my subconscious thoughts
The shepherds, milk-maidens, vendors
Hawkers and peddlers and factory workers
Running hither and thither
Indifferent to fresh morn weather
Concentrating on their sole aim
Of reaching their destination in time,
All my thoughts of ecstatic morning freshness
Turned towards these workers and their alertness
And I thought 'beauty is not just in nature:
It's imbibed in every worker's work-culture
In the evening when I strolled again
To enjoy sunset and few droplets of rain,
These tired proletarians were on their way back
After spilling sweat and blood to serve their masters and save from whack
I thought again, 'beauty is not just in nature
It's imbibed in every worker and work culture
My thoughts of ecstasy drowned
As the reality of night started to spread
Engulfing all parts of sky and earth
With darkness and stars without dearth
Leaving old parents
In remote areas,
They came to colleges
To learn purposeful messages ....
They understood literature is fiction
More complex is daily life friction ;
The bookish knowledge of economics
Is different from normal day 'antics'!
All the theories of politics
Rarely explain rulers' tricks
Algebra, Mathematics or statistics
In real world are just 'cover-up' matrix ....
They found actual learning is outside classes
Integrating with large masses
Aligning with people's essential issues
Protesting against brute power misuse ...
They learned the true meaning of 'student' -
An amalgamation of studies and dissent -
And marched forward with renewed zeal
To achieve their long-cherished Utopian goal
Lies are like :'Coronavirus'
They spread within no time
Give them just a little space
They occupy anytime ...
Like corona, cure is very difficult
Lies are a persisting insult
Which always try to cover-up Truth
Dominating the minds of old or youth
The only way to curb lies
Is promoting truth always
Irrespective of loud shrill cries
Keep on repeating truth in many ways
They aren't just drops !
Slowly water drops trickled
From skies .....
You didn't care!
The drops began to collect
And form a pond ....
You ignored them!
The drops increased
And number of ponds rose ....
You felt uneasy!
Torrents of water drops
Engulfed the land
Forming ponds everywhere ....
You were shaken!
The water activated barren lands
Dried rotten leaves
Refreshed with new 'lease 'of life
And greenery sprouted everywhere .....
Now, the talk of water is everywhere
Innumerable drops stood in unison
You are affected with 'hydrophobia';
Rejection of your draconian mindset
At every step....!!
(In solidarity with Shaheen Bagh
New Delhi, india women protesters who are still leading the way for others to follow their model of non-violent protests and waking up college, university and learning institutes students against the draconian laws specially CAA and NRC .)
You and I
We were brought up on the same soil
By our parents hard toil
You lived in a cozy house
I didn't even have a hut to choose
You had education in reputed institutions
I roamed with my parents facing threats and detentions
Now, you speak of Nationality , identity
Bereft of basic compassion and humanity
I emphasize freedom to live
On the very land you thrive
You push me and throw me out
Shouting 'refugee' without a shred of doubt
I have the same right to earn respect
I am not inferior to you in any aspect
You may dominate with brute power
But I can struggle with grit and 'Will Power' !!!
I walked out the gym late
the woman at reception gave me a wry smile as I walked out with a towel on my head,
We went to screwfix to pick up the toilet.
I walked in towel still on my head she and all the butch men started to look at me staring at the towel.
I walked to the counter.
"What is the matter nobody ever seen a man with a towel on their head before."
They all looked away and we left with our brand new toilet.
I met the woman again last night
mostly I have avoided her over the years
the way I avoid everybody.
She told me I looked like a skier
I told her I had been known to ski in my past
but everything was in my past now.
She said she liked my short stories from all those years ago
something that was powerful that lingered around the coffee table for days.
I told her she was kind but of course she wasn't.
She was in old people's care homes with a music group
breathing new life into the old
keeping them alive just that little bit longer.
She didn't mention why we had not talked in years.
She had that sense about me that something bad was going to happen the way a lot of people know even if I didn't know myself.
When she said goodbye she did it with that air that the conversation was not important to her at all and off she went.
I wonder if I will talk to her next time if there is a next time
What do you do when you are alone
that is the real question.
I don't know what others do.
I can sit in silence writing and there is nothing else in the world
but more times than not I do other things.
Things so I don't have to write
but why I don't know.
Things so I don't have to be alone even though
I run from people
I walk the other way when I see them.
I avoid them
but that makes me lonelier
so lonely I can't even write.
So what do I do
run to people
pester them into talking to me.
It is not that I am uninteresting
I can laugh and be agreeable
yeah I can be a good guy
but in the end I have to lose
I have to lose
TELL ME A STORY
i want people to tell me about their lives
in that way I want to be a stenographer of other people's lives a chronicler.
My life is not important at all only to tell theirs
but the sick part of it all is I am shy, I can't talk to people only when I am thrown into life but life has not done that lately
all it does is keep me here
hiding from everybody.
Sleeping and waiting
if separation of factual knowledge from imagined construction
through false analytical reflection for power plus control gain
achieves realisation of possibility and rheostat assurance
towards foresight of obtainable winning then onslaught
of gathered falsely identified and named as proof is a sham
for if unstructured unfolding created due to accumulation
of manipulated behavioural historical narrative on opposition
as a result of researched grouping of information derived at
by fear of defeat is conditioned only by blemished circumstances
then nil benefit towards foreseeable society gain will arrive
as jolting lies in direction of ambition for authority alone
by planned covering of emotional and physical requirement
through need of want by blinding citizens with stagnating
approach to addressing situational importance towards survival
political and organizational rubbish spout will reach saturation
but confronting concoction of dishonesty and rights degraded
by those self-indoctrinated in equality war zone will erode
devious sliding further into operational game play tactics
and ignoring manipulators devious propaganda rambling
escapism and self-governing will bring light to distorted reality
so can be viewed as power-seeking only inward in unethical
devised selective process of fakery utilising community apathy
combined with trust built from offering false promises barrage
used by those desperate to lead and deliver volley of contrived
excuses bound together and named as positive direction forward
and so we constituents receptive in what is dished sit stacked woven
in their heated destruction of truth consumed greed and annihilation
of planet from finance grab by governing privileged living off
self-managed experiment with disadvantaged suffering from parody
of persistent lies as trickery overlays manufactured flawed foundations
George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and resides in Athens, Greece, doing freelance work whenever he can while searching for a new place to go. His novella, Letters to S., was published in Storylandia Issue 30 and his short stories and poems have appeared in literary magazines, such as Adelaide Literary Magazine and Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Breathing in the Fire
contemplate, like so many times in the past,
the longed for end;
sending stories around,
for the needed breakthrough;
no chance in hell,
says the muse from afar,
for in junk stories
and bleak poems
there’s no future.
I can’t write something else
(aside from sex stories written under
says the muse,
suffer for you deserve it.
long gone are the nights
of meth and junk;
the bourbon river has been drained,
turned into a highway for the desolate souls of tomorrow.
swimming in the sewer,
alongside rats and mutated ducks of a nuclear future;
singing praises to the overlord,
dancing our way towards annihilation.
smiles from above,
I hear the crackling of a glass-pipe;
strolling through the dark alleys,
looking for what once was home and
finding nothing but the destruction of minds and dreams.
I’m right at home,
among the hopeless.
A Walk by the Beach
(hadn’t seen her for a while);
had nearly forgotten her,
her eyes that reminded me of others.
I wasn’t drinking; I was near the bender,
still staying clean for reasons unknown.
knock on the door,
there she stood.
she had broken up--
because she couldn’t stop
thinking of me.
we took a walk to the nearby beach,
strolled along the water
despite the cold breeze.
sat on a park-bench,
in my mind, I saw a family playing on the sand,
a small child running around (a story I once wrote,
born while she was talking
and I didn’t listen).
it was the family I never had (though I could have had,
had it not been for the spike).
death is all around us;
the same beach we were at,
I had been with Emily (the one taken away).
she was talking, and
I heard Emily in my head;
could it have ever been otherwise?
the one great love,
the true one,
gone too soon,
before I could even utter “I love you”.
she wanted me to stay clean,
off the booze (and the drugs,
had she known about them).
Emily never pressured me to get sober;
au contraire, she indulged in the same vices--
we were together at the lake house
battling ghoul whales in the water.
the beach remains untouched,
I live far away now,
in a different country altogether;
I still remember the nights and afternoons
there with Emily,
drinking cold beer on the moist sand,
kissing and fucking next to
smoking hash under the pale moonlight,
talking about the day we’d sail around
I can also remember the early afternoon of long after
(yet, long ago too), when she talked and I didn’t listen.
we went back to my apartment,
sat on the blue couch (whereupon Emily
had slept for 9 months,
and also exhaled for the very last time).
she told me she broke up;
told me she missed me,
couldn’t stop thinking of me.
and her lips tasted nothing like Emily’s.
I wished out, I couldn’t leave.
I was looking for something,
something she didn’t possess.
I was so desperate I created it in my head.
then, she was gone;
to Germany to find herself.
she did. she went back to her boyfriend
(after 3 pointless weeks of us sleeping together,
going out, trying to make something meaningless
I returned to the bottle; never again
betrayed my faithful friend;
even now, where I can’t drink all the time,
I drink half the time.
the bars are getting to know me,
bartenders greet me heartily
for they know with me there,
the cash will flow in their pockets.
I have no job, no future,
only the nightmares from the night
and the page that still haunts me like
that lived inside the walls
of my former home.
the bourbon bottles empty,
a sea I must cross every morning.
I stare into the sun,
trying to catch a glimpse of the ghosts
of all the great minds that once (2400 years ago)
walked the streets I’m now walking.
I breathe in the same air,
just like those who drink in the same bars
Bukowksi and Thomas did,
I can’t find the light.
The Same Barroom
you could smell the urine from across the street.
people flocked it, sometimes, because it was cheap.
good for a quick buzz for broke college students.
and the drunkards. the music was more than decent,
and whenever they saw me “Purple Rain” would come up.
just as soon as I was halfway into my first beer—and the song
got me through another bottle, perhaps two.
it was the song under which I met her; the music and rhythm
under which we danced and smiled to one another for
the very first time. we were still not too far gone,
just becoming believers of love at first sight. I guess,
despite my cruel pessimism, I once was
a romantic like Byron and Shelley; not melancholy seeker like Keats,
not suicidal like Chatterton. not down to the gnarly reality
like Buk and Hem. just a drinker, sometimes opium user like Poe
and Coleridge. and she knew all these names too.
we were young, foolish, dreamers. and one meeting of glances
in that dirty barroom was more than enough to commence
a fairytale with no happy ending. after the spike
took her away
I returned to the barroom—after a long period of solemn drinking
in the darkness—seeking for a pair of eyes even faintly
resembling the bright green eyes that used to stare at me
through the darkness of permanent midnight.
still no luck; I’m still drinking bars dry, refusing to stop
Long Nights of Nothingness
the junk nights
and booze mornings
to be the permanent midnight;
after a (temporary and horrid) break
I realize, in great horror,
that they were the true
nights of living.
chasing dragons in meadows--
as bad as it sometimes was
and the consequences it had--
made me feel more alive than
visiting fancy lounges and night clubs
with childhood friends.
going to dance clubs does nothing for me,
nor spending a night playing board games
and downing green beer from lukewarm bottles.
I still drink,
not in the same pace.
I’ve retired the needle (gone cold turkey twice,
still alive—someone down there
must really not want me),
and the glass-pipe was hidden in the attic
of an apartment someone else now calls
same apartment wherein Emily died,
wherein I died, and countless of nameless faces
slept during seven long, cold years.
thousands of empty bottles furnished the wooden floor
and millions of words were typed on that desk
under the window overlooking a dull office complex.
someone else lives there now,
oblivious to the ghosts still residing
within the four deaf walls.
I’m here, recalling;
getting ready to visit
yet another fancy bar
where gin and tonics are overpriced and weak
and the beer is green.
I stare outside my window at the
trying to understand why
I said yes to this outing.
perhaps, out of
duty toward friends. who the fuck knows.
I don’t, so… probably no one knows
I’ll have a few drinks,
they’ll call me a heavy drinker--
because they haven’t seen a real heavyweight
(or me in my heyday)--
and come morning
I’ll wake up with a “longing hangover”
desperately searching for beer and wine
in the fridge, craving
to get drunk and see my soul liberated.
next day will come, and another shall dawn;
it always does, always will
until the sun explodes in a couple billion years from now
and none of us will be there to witness the fireworks.
the blue plume smoke thins out and disappears,
and so does Emily’s glance that briefly emerged from within the cloud
looking at me with contemptuous love; contempt for
what I’ve become, love for who I was.
the moment’s gone,
Emily’s dust in the wind,
and all I know is I have to shower
and make myself presentable
for the “good” people of whichever bar
and I hope there’s a barfly somewhere in the world
drinking a drink for me,
the lost brother from another corner stool.
PXO (PEDESTRIAN CROSSOVER)
protected, you hope,
by X signs and flashing ambers,
the instructions advise you to
click the button and
“Look” and “Point.”
Point? At what?
Modestly, at yourself?
Yes, sorry, I’m the clicker.
Boldly, at the park?
That’s where I’m going.
Accusingly, at the approaching car?
I’m walking here!
Sorrowfully, at the ragged canopy of trees?
Ashes, doomed by the emerald borer.
Disgustedly, at the sparrows and pigeons?
Reverently, at the sky?
Blue, mostly, for the moment.
Amazedly, at the walked dogs?
So many, so many . . .
Vaguely, toward the obscured lake?
Under the train tracks, across Lakeshore, under the expressway, down there somewhere.
Gratefully, in acknowledgement that you stand on the traditional territory of many nations?
The Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa,
the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples . . .
Tentatively, into the future?
Tremblingly, toward what might lie beyond the veil?
A shame to point merely at
the white stripes on the street,
as if to say, “How handy.”
Signs and Wonders
Proceed with caution.
Trip hazard. Buckle up.
Read instructions carefully. Safety rules.
Keep right. Keep calm. Keep clean.
Mind the gap. Mind your head.
No smoking. No food or drink.
No shirt, no shoes, no service.
No texting. No talking. No stopping. No reversing.
No cameras. No sparks. No sharps. No jake brake.
No strollers. No flyers. No exceptions.
Be alert. Xing. Deer. Bear. Moose. Turtle.
Children. Elderly. Blind. Deaf. Ped.
Warning. Night danger.
Adders. Armadillos. Tsunamis. Golf. Coconuts.
Hot surface. Low beams. High voltage. Thin ice.
Open pit. Closed circuit. Strong currents. Weak bridge.
Quick sand. Slow school. Falling rocks. Rising bollards.
Yield. Give way. Stay back.
Do not enter.
Know before you go.
that I would die some day of lung disease,
inspired, I guess, by all my time in bed
with what Gramps called brownchitis. Now, as morbid
urban adult, I have the premonition
that I will die under the wheels of something.
I’ve never been close to psychic. I know odds are
I won’t end up run down on public pavements.
A list of my somatic defects shows
more likely threats to my longevity:
my heart skips beats, my gut should be replaced,
blood pressure, LDL, they both read iffy.
My body gives me nothing to brag about,
except for brain acuity (for now).
Yet at some level, maybe I prefer
that death from outside wreck this shabby temple
rather than the structure rot from inwards.
To give the premonition its due credit,
downtown Toronto’s full of wheeled dangers:
the twenty-four hour madness of expressways,
cars hustling late through ambers or right on reds,
wheelchairs with joysticks at hard forward,
bikes switching from vehicle to pedestrian
as whim or occasion suit, self-absorbed skateboards,
roller derbies way off track. My vision
of demise, in fact, came just today, mid-street,
with a skater flashing past before I knew.
(Thanks for the fright – and for the inspiration.)
And of course, the worst worst-case scenario,
the sudden shove across the yellow line
and off the subway platform.
Though I sound paranoid, I really don’t
fear every set of city wheels: the folks
on Segways, mostly, roll with some discretion,
and streetcars never scare me, I love streetcars
and like to believe the feeling’s mutual.
Oh, I just now thought: what if,
in my premonitory anxieties,
I’ve missed some Delphic ambiguity?
What if I’ve worried overliterally?
What if the wheels are not vehicular
but sections of the nested spheres of sky
(see Ptolemaic diagram), and death
by wheels is merely life ground down to dust
in crystal millstones of the remote First Cause.
Too antiquarian? Too esoteric?
Well, then, an oracle more suited to our times:
earthly eco-wheels of the Great Cycles –
water, carbon, nitrogen – disperse
my molecules into the rounds of seasons.
Okay by me. I feel much better now.
Either wheel will do, to do me in.
Not individually targeted
by cold machines or human carelessness,
I’d share the common mortal lot.
I’m not Saint Catherine nor was meant to be.
Yet in my chair, relaxed, assured that I
am no more victim than the average Jim,
I can’t help thinking: what about the wheels
I’m riding now, the busy circuits, charged
electrochemically, in the brain I count on?
Those wheels keep turning, even in my sleep.
They spin ideas, unspool dreams, click out
poetic rhythms, speed through time and space,
entangle playful work with solemn jokes.
Often they can’t gain traction, and they twirl
like fidget toys or wobble as if their lug
nuts have come loose. Sometimes they bind or jam
or toss out skeins of nonsense. Then – surprise! –
from secret depths they reel in strange treasures.
I’m spying in a mobile funhouse that
both seems and doesn’t seem a part of me.
It fascinates, exhilarates, exhausts.
I hope that my incessant inner wheels
are strong enough to outlast the rest of me,
that all their exercise will keep them fit
and lubricated; why, though, would they be
much different from a cartilaginous joint
wearing smooth, then down and out? After all,
more clever metaphors than this careen
out of control, get overplayed, and crash.
Too many wheels on mental wheels at double-
time, on overtime, turning against themselves.
If my brain is a computer, I don’t see
a slim, efficient laptop; my model,
left over from the 1950s, clatters
in – no, it is – a cluttered lab with reels
of frayed magnetic tape and discs that jerk
and judder and spit out strips of paper to
whitecoated analysts who never rest,
whose whiskers once belonged to Matthew Arnold,
who scratch their whirling heads and note
in spiral books, with wonder, scorn, and pity,
my mono-, dia-, multilogue of mind.
I do not remember the last things you said
Except that they were not directed at me
And the room was so cold and the sun
Was absent for your final breath
I remember driving home with tired eyes
I do not remember what was on the radio
Took a long shower and almost fell asleep
Then I went out into the woods quite far
and decided I would chop down a tree
I remember dragging it back to the yard
I do not remember, though, just how far
I turned that beautiful tree into firewood
And I spent the morning and afternoon
Sitting quietly and watching it burn
I remember that you did not want to be buried
I do not remember who should perform the ceremony
Wrote down my will that night and realized how
Little I had and these thoughts continued as I stared
At the ceiling neither trying to fall asleep nor stay awake
I remember almost nothing about that day
I do not remember how I got home
Since I had too much to drink
But I stare at your ashes on the mantel
As I throw more wood into the fireplace
Into this window for hours
And now I can finally
See through it
Wondering if one of
Those bricks in that building
Were replaced if the structure
Would look any different
Or if it would look just
The same as it does now
Wondering what all these small
Pieces mean and if they even matter.
I have unwrapped
I have repackaged
What these words
Will sound like
To your ears
Like all my
Conversations in life
The ones that
I can recite
All the time
With an audience
And without rehearsal
Read like a
Script with not
One word omitted.
And the phone call conversation from
Years ago haunts your ears and all that
Triggered this episode was a single line
From a single song with a single beat
The rhythm, the timing all was just enough
To grab you by the throat and by the balls
And plunge you under water and deep into
Darkness and the rush of adrenaline like cocaine
Has kick-started your mind and your thoughts run
Faster than your emotions but your emotions try to
Keep up but all of this because of one bad decision
And one simple song where environment meets memory
And then some poisonous concoction which gives birth
To something which should never have been conceived
Something never meant to see light or be visible to the world
But now it is completely exposed and you try and re-bottle it and
Try your best, try your absolute damnedest to cover it up but it looks
As bad on paper as it did in your mind and you begin to fear what others
Will think when this is something not for the masses not even for your family
So you have two options: trudge along and refuse to let this speak your true
Intentions or accept it and accept simultaneously that time will never fully
Change what surely will be on constant replay and your eyes are half-closed
But your brain stays wide-awake and sharp just when you want it to shut down
For one minute, for one goddamned minute, one goddamned second but it won’t
Because of one song, and one conversation and one memory long ago now relevant
Again erasure not possible with burning skin and ringing ears and piercing pains like death
or being born or something in-between and all the follies and all the goading all of what is where
it is and all where it was dreaded and the car engine is quiet and the screaming unbearable leads you to believe you need to accept the fact you have been captured, you’ve been had, it’s just this.
I hoped summer would pass
I wish it now to return
Hot days, muggy nights
And even the dreaded sunburn,
The crickets and the frogs
The eventless days all marking
Time passing as we maneuver,
Thrust unfazed into a new season
With older bodies now
Newer memories and much more
Regret realizing not the new
We have discovered but all
That we have somehow left
And in the hurricane of the mind
Where time manifests as an infinite
Storm we call on past events
Remembering we have wished time away
All since we were born
And today and tomorrow and the next
One, too we will eat, we will sleep
And complain we have too much to do
But here is the moment you
Put the book down and lie in the bed
Closing your eyes practicing being dead
Let’s stand in the shape of a cross
And tell each other the worst we know
ANANYA S GUHA
GEORGE GAD ECONOMOU
KATHRYN STEWART MCDONALD
K SHESHU BABU
LOIS GREENE STONE
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON
NGOZI OLIVIA OSUOHA
ROBIN WYATT DUNN
STEVE & JOHN MARA