Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. Representative works include Platinum City, Gold City, Golden Paradise , Gold Sun and Golden Giant. For Hongri,Immortal 、Buddha 、 God and the Gods all is the respected name of the soul .
I seek the soul of words
That marks the beginning of words
That the gods of the eyes
Watch me from the depths
Makes me tremble and rejoice
As to savor the honey of paradise.
Oh! The light of light, the soul-star
Let the future be a platinum ballad
Take the dream ship, for,in no time
It shall arrive at the city of the giant
Outside the Universe of Sapphire
Don’t you think the key is sweet
If it condenses into a diamond in solitude
And its song unlocks the portals to unseen gold?
You have discovered a new paradise!
Have the eyes of the juvenile once again
You have boarded the platinum ship
And the giants welcome you.
Set off! Outside the universe of sapphire
Explore the Kingdom of the Souls!!
Words Such as God
Winter comes and winter goes
Until boots back the golden spring.
My soul has boarded the dragon car of Gods
And has just called on the kingdom of 72 planets.
Words such as God, where everyone is king
When their sun blossoms to you, forever
You will forget the world and forget the years.
Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... and a professor of English at Montgomery College. Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press. Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including Silver Birch Press, Cactifur, Of/with, bird's thumb, Truck, The Blue Mountain Review, and Yellow Chair Review. Two poems have received nominations for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize respectively. Her first chapbook is available for free through Kind of a Hurricane Press at http://barometricpressures.blogspot.com/2014/10/listening-to-electric-cambodia-looking.html . She hopes that you will consider sending work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: http://thesongis.blogspot.com/
August in Aspen Hill
Despite the coming storm, butterflies
flutter over the crape myrtle.
They touch on its flowers,
scarlet clusters, heavy in no wind
under the puffy, steel-gray sky.
The temperature drops, the last hour’s
stifling, sweating heat becoming
cool and chill. Yellow butterflies
hover like the last glint
of sunlight on dark leaves.
Walking after dinner, she shivers.
The wind is ruffling the trees.
It ought to be warmer
beneath this sky with only
scuffs of white clouds. She
shivers, drawing her sweater closer.
Spring is almost over. Solstice
approaches. She passes by
the catalpa, popcorn flowers tiny
next to giant leaves. White
dogwoods linger over red roses.
In the park, young cattails
and milkweed overwhelm the pond.
She cannot see beneath the surface.
Northern mockingbirds prepare for tonight.
They will make her believe
that two am is almost dawn.
Referring to food or cooking that incorporates elements
of diverse cultures. Standing at the fusion restaurant’s
window open to the rain pitting the broken sidewalk
on Florida Avenue, I think
about the meatballs my Irish-American grandmother
made. She placed a tiny bit of garlic on each globe,
then pushed it down to the center with her thumb,
then reshaped the globe. I wonder what
she would cook now in these evenings
of tofu tacos with peanut sauce,
of sweet potatoes and collard greens dotted
with sriracha and yogurt. I remember
Grandma’s lime jello mold salad
with pineapples, coconuts, mandarins, and
celery that she served at Thanksgiving
with turkey, sausage stuffing, and apple pies.
Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. He has had two collections published, 'November Wedding', and 'Beverly Downs'.
A member of the judging panel for Clones Film Festival, he has written a number of short film scripts and is currently working on a full-length script.
His work can be found on www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com
After the ward grows hushed,
broken vaguely by the creak of wheels,
whispers at the desk, a distant flush,
or the half-footfall
of a dragging leg, I sit and think
of you before your mind assumed its dark.
That flat bush by the gate
you leapt with barely a run-up, is a tree
so densely packed and twisted it must die
under its own weight.
Remembering how we bent its limbs like bows,
it's hard to grudge it that grotesque repose
except I find its calm
a kind of mockery of your hollowed state,
it leans aside and waits a final storm
while your forever night
remains undrawn, unmeasured. That a mind
should simply vanish, is beyond unkind
but what are we to do?
Say plainly this is how it was and is,
that whether we know or not, the same day passes,
but pay what reverence is due
to memory broken like a stepped-on shoot,
the dark-green tracery of withered roots.
A RUN OF DISTANT NOTES
Through corridors just wide enough for one,
walls cool and smooth, we file into a room
that once was two nuns' cells.
I look out at a February lawn,
grass roots split as if by an act of will
by snowdrops almost too frail to bloom.
Sick too long, the aunt who hasn't been
herself for thirty years, the aunt we knew;
swaddled in starch and drips,
her breath so shallow it may well have stopped,
her eyes dilate in light but give no clue
of what goes on within;
who long ago became a memory
even as she lost hers. This is the end,
this time, and no conjecture
on mental emptiness, that dried-up river,
gives any comfort; nor infinity:
the sun sets never to rise again.
But when thin morning breaks, she will at last
become complete and human as the dead,
more than she is at present, giving
us leave to remember how at first
she filled her years with music, slowly moving
toward the silence in her head,
and how, when all else failed, a run of distant
notes could stir something more - or less -
than memory; and how like smoke
it vanished. But that phrase, never forgotten
by those who heard it, lingers somewhere, like
a promise or a hope of bliss.
Now that the long forgetting is over,
let thoughtless earth receive you, as is proper,
but know that you have become entire
again, at last like every other.
Hands flow through gestures -
then the body dog-folds
and the back like Atlas holds
the world in posture.
Noon in the studio.
The floor is warm
to the toes and palms
of those who wish to go
into the East, or into a self
that will endure, as if
their own world, cleft
from shoulder to heel,
could be made whole
by the crane, the flower,
and a stretched, held hour
would heal that rift.
In a momentary light where every wall
is white, and day waits to sink,
this time in empty silence,
a drunk weaving home, his t-shirt
blue as a boy’s, carries in his head
a clutch of speckled eggs
lifted from a hedge on a morning
that never was, clotheslines riotously bright,
aerials gleaming like rocket-silver.
Against the gathering hill, he threads
between pavement cracks, avoiding flowers
whose names he doesn’t know.
Natalie Crick, an English Literature graduate (Newcastle University) has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is melancholic confessional writing influenced by poets such as Sylvia Plath and Sharon Olds. Her writing has appeared in various journals and magazines including 'Carillon', 'Cyphers' and 'Interpreters House'. Natalie is hoping to commence an MA in Poetry in the near future.
This month her depression began.
He obsessed her.
She tied her heart with ribbon like a present,
Licking his fingers and kissing his feet.
Words failed her.
She breathed him in like a terrible secret,
A childless woman beneath the ivory moon.
But what about his eyes, his eyes, his eyes.
Walking in the Winter trees
Were his shadows in the fog.
He was innocent as a lamb.
Sleep, my Angel,
Deaf and dumb
As the drugged summer sun.
I want you.
Chalk and cheese, gelled with want.
The shy one with silver sticks
That clunked on wooden boards
Skipped to a secret song.
And him, a gauzy giant,
The bitter scat his excuse.
It shines for special occasions,
Shouting about life of biting tongues:
I am history reinvented.
Blink twice. I am not out of the ordinary.
He tells me how I have a nervous laugh
And how nice
The mice looked, strung up in grey wire.
An easy spear through each socket.
Would I like to walk with them?
It would be like kissing the flute
With my eyes smoking and hissing,
Ash sinking in each pit.
Let me roll in icy pools.
The Other does that,
Hair wet and black,
Do you ever sleep?
He wants to be loved.
I do not react.
The sun lets them in,
The moon breaks in two.
One is finished.
It is Winter here.
Snow has fallen.
“I am afraid”, said the moon.
She is beautiful tonight.
Now it is darker than December.
What is dead is a different colour.
My dead sister is neither a man nor a woman.
She is a ghost.
We do not speak of her
I turn away from mirrors
When I see her reflection.
The dead can no longer see
I no longer care.
O Lord of darkness,
I want my innocence.
Snow had fallen, I remember,
At the night’s end.
Do you hear his voice?
I am never alone.
And at the end?
I do not live.
It is forbidden to die.
The winds are changing.
Our dead brother waited
But very dark, very hidden,
As the earth became black.
The field was parched and dry,
Filled with death already.
You walk through it.
You see nothing.
Madeline loves it
And sits as Mother would.
The priest is like her Father
Dressed all in grey,
Palms fluttering with
Legs and arms spinning anti-clockwise
Like the priest's eyes slide
From side to side.
We are his for an hour
But he cannot touch us,
For we are jewels to be watched,
And, one day taken.
Nobody has ever held his hand
But Grandmother, with rings like
Little girl's warnings.
This is my house of God,
Rain thundering as
Their faces are taught and chilled with frost.
He is the bee of androgyny
Thrusting candelabras as tusks.
This drone of activity,
It is all too much for me.
Faces dumb as naked dolls.
He strips them, licking them with stars
Like potential girlfriends
Or meats to be weighed.
When you were five
And I was six,
We would hold hands
Just like this.
When you were nine
And I was ten,
We made a pact
To never tell, and then:
You began to tell me every word
That escaped from your lips, with cold secret stares.
A look or a glance through long
Fingertips. Your beautiful face.
I see you sitting by the stair, your body
Tight in hot sun, a sad lamb
On stage. And when I have passed you
Flushed red raw, I want to remember
How young we were.
Splayed out across the pitch
Like baby starfish, pink and pinched
As tongue's blood.
Our father and mother are in silent reverie,
With knotted wrists and electric hair,
Nodding and clapping, as dumb waiters do
To our games. When we are together we are together.
Today we are family as the ill
Walk in lines, with shaken smiles that marry us.
Mother, to me you are a figure of fun.
Father, you are a child when you wake up each morning.
She Chose Red
It is Winter.
He dragged her through the snow,
Her heart in her hand.
She was trying to be special.
In her room
Is a barbed cage.
She made it herself.
She waits inside with a needle in the dark.
Chewing her own hair.
They don't talk to her.
Her mouth is full of hair.
She chose red.
Dreamer, how did you get so low?
Anywhere you go,
She will follow.
She is a slut called Jezabel.
There is sunshine in an empty place.
Her birthday: a black death.
The rush she gets. Machina.
Her cousin is a spider.
Now give her an inch, a mile.
She is a beautiful liar.
She crawled out from the sea.
A horse drinks from the dark water
On rainy days
I give myself permission
To touch the glass
And see your remains:
All that is left
Dancing with ghosts
Over dark hills.
Skylarks, old dear.
When I stand in your old room
I feel so sad that I masturbate myself.
Bees feast in tartan plumes,
Birds hanging on threads.
An old donkey hobbled
Into the mists.
A pocket full of posies.
Your tiny hands tremble away
From my throat. Jack-daw.
My face is changing
And no one else can see it.
I am in an asylum for weeks.
And no one else can see it.
My face changes
Like a rainbow or a storm cloud.
I am a snake now
In the mirror.
We photograph what I can see
And talk about it.
My eyes are shrinking.
My hair is shrinking,
Growing longer today.
I don't know where it goes.
I think it shrinks away
Into my skull
Choking all of my thoughts
Until I have nothing left.
God, He Is In The Air
God, he is in the air,
Rushing through the wind and
Over the hills.
Coming at her in waves at the seashore.
Colour her cheeks crimson
As a bandstand balloon.
She doesn't know why.
Polka dot flags
Hang in the air
For Madeline to stuff into her pinafore
Secret Life of Life
I am a child
Thrust open and disregarded,
Trashing through corridors unchained.
The sound poured into me then,
Sweet and softly tapping
At my heels.
Are attached to this threshold.
I wandered out, caught
Between the lines of cars.
Such activity frightened me
So I died with leaves.
The words fell from her mouth
Like black snakes.
She has lost them all.
A promise she could not keep.
He lies in bed, the room growing dark.
It is the last night of their lives.
Take me there
To the beautiful people
Who run in the garden in long coats
My name is Moses Chukwuemeka Daniel, I am from Nigeria, Africa. I'm a teenage poet, I love writing and I sing too. My poems have been published in some online journals and magazines.
'you cry you die'
All my life defeat has been a friend,
in class i sat at a failing end,
where i had some friends,
and failure was the closest,
i had to fight on my own,
it gave me help by giving me no goal,
all my plans ended in one hole,
i cried and cried, i tried and tried,
i failed i cried,
i got back and tried,
i smiled and tried,
i failed i cried,
i got furious ones more and tried,
again i failed and again i cried,
there was no hope,
i had to look beyond the clouds,
to find solace in the sky,
sometimes i felt to be happy,
The ambiance of my street,
Was like a curse to my feet,
i had to look within myself,
i saw someone else,
and he said,
'you have to be enthusiastical inquisitive,
do not sit nonchalant and lackadaisical and watch defeat win ,
your journey is just like a two sided coin,
you have success and failure ,
Let your imperfect self strive for perfection,
Fight yourself from within,
be true to yourself like the wind ,
make it work without tears,
be indomitably strong,
Fight like you want it best not wrong,
Do what you love,
Let your zeal be driven by passion,
Don't you ever give up,
And if they say you aren't good,
Do not sob,
Because if you cry you die.
'Listen to these words instead '
Have you being cheated by the world?
They made you cry without remorse?
They laughed at your every fall?
Please listen to these words.
They came as friends,
Brought your happiness to its end,
Lies and lies they possess,
Oh to these words listen to them.
Their words made you wither, from the steel you once wore,
If those words could make you bitter,
Embrace these words it is a stronger wall.
They proclaim peace and love,
They showcase hatred and war,
Lie still on this words,
Beyond your view they carry lot more.
I will love you they pledged,
But like locusts they fled,
Remember tomorrow is a friend,
Now listen to these words that care.
Let the words that i share,
Wipe the tears that you bare,
Let those pains of yesterday,
Be witnesses to the beauty of today.
Listen to these words instead,
They were blessed by mother's love,
And cuddled by father's strength,
Just to let you know how much poetry cares.
'A LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR (EBONYI STATE)'
my heart gladdens at your good works,
Conspicuously they spill good good luck,
I saw how you polished our enthusiastic legs,
Now we walk on marbles and gems,
Your efforts are heart warming,
Unlike how yesterday got us diminishing,
I solemnly stand behind your good will,
Because i know on good path we find good dreams.
The future is never a friend,
As we find change right now an enemy,
But let your good works find no end,
In your endeavour for a new beginning,
Change and restructure the rice mill,
Give aid and recuperate the cement industries,
Resuscitate the health care of the EBONYI infants,
Retaliate the strength of our agricultural endowment in rural communities,
Reduce the amount spent on superfluous parties,
And invest in the education of our children,
Create job opportunities for our graduates to own offices ,
Renumerate the effort of our civil service,
Harness our talent in every tenacity,
And then sit back and watch us thrive.
This is no business as usual,
Work ,work and work,
In no circumstance should you ever stop,
We must make our land like what we see in London,
So lead the way for us to follow,
Lead us to adequate growth,
we will fight by your side,
So you must teach us how to fish,
Lest ours hands be stuck to your dish,
And remember it won't be easy,
But let God tell your story.
'Africa oh Africa'
Our sacrosanct land of old,
Born of black unique and bold,
With Your endless struggles to grow,
You once wore grasses as clothes,
Just to hide shame not guts.
Today your voice is heard,
But your value is ensnared,
By your children's children,
Who does nothing but glare.
You once bathe with the wind,
There was no stereo music,
But the birds you watched sing in the morning,
And crickets in the evening.
The day gave you vision,
And the night got you wisdom,
You were a stranger to love,
And an adept to tilling soils.
Africa oh Africa,
Today your voice is clear,
Africa my Africa,
But why leave in fear?
Your grand children are wise,
Yes they are,
But they know not your struggles,
They have no clue.
Remember oh those days,
Of white invasion,
Remember oh those years,
Of bewitching exaggeration.
Oh your foods,
They are now buried in ignorance,
Oh how sweet and beautiful,
But they died to the new world without cognizance .
Your men and women,
Though naked but loved relentless,
Even in darkness,
Africa oh, Africa
Kristyl is from the island of Malta. Her work has been published in several poetry anthologies by Lost Tower Publications and has appeared in the The Literary Hatchet, Haiku Journal and Down in the Dirt magazine.
Puppets on a string
A sea of dust surrounds us
And the sun scorches our skin
As our feelings start to die within
Like puppets on a string we move
What are we trying to prove?
As we walk on eggshells
And in the sea of dust we cry
And in the same dust we will die
Will our names be remembered
For all the services we rendered?
In the sea of dust we remain
Till our bodies they come to claim
And if not, our lives will never be the same
Us the puppets moving with a string
What will the future for us bring?
A Wiseman once said to me
That if a man goes out to sea
So very careful he must be
For if the sirens he will see
Never again will he be free
Their song replays in his head
Each night as he lays into bed
A sweet song, yet almost sad
It is enough to drive him mad
So all sailors and men beware
For if to sail out to sea you dare
Make sure that you will not hear
The song of sirens lurking there
I wish to dream of you once again
for when I met you my life began
and though I’ve never seen your face
and know not what is your race
I long to be with you every night
for you fill my heart with delight
Pamela is the author of three collections of poetry: “Something from Nothing,” (Writing Knights Press) “Woodwinds” (Lipstick Press) and “Matrimonial Cake” (Red Dashboard). Her next book of poetry debuts in spring 2017 with Oolichan Books. When Pamela is not writing, she's sleeping. She believes sleep is death without the commitment.
There’s a terrorist perched in the pine tree
in the backyard. He’s frozen as ice is,
legs coiled around the tippy top branches,
AK-47 slung to his side.
The birds bludgeon the morning with whooping
war cries and my body hits the floor, takes
cover beneath the bed. There is no God
here to help me. Clumps of snow fall and limbs
crack. Earthworms churn their bodies through dark soil.
It won’t be long now and his polished boots
will appear at my bed. He will kneel down,
lift my bed skirt, and peer into the cross-
hairs of the veiled darkness in which I lie
in. I pray Allah’s bounty of virgins
is enough to go around and wonder
if God knows the women are being screwed?
Kurd from Baghdad wins Oregon Lottery
The story does not end here but triggers
a full blown, Facebook feeding frenzy
with people going ballistic, blowing
up their walls in shell-shocked statuses
and point blank posts about this little known
man of international mystery:
The money belongs here in Oregon!
There needs to be rules. This is messed up.
Not to be racist, but this is so wrong.
We can’t give money to a foreigner.
Isn’t gambling illegal for Muslims?
This is not what our soldiers died for.
Way to bring the terror home, America!
God bestows millions on a Muslim.
Lord, help us all if they give it to him.
This should buy a few air missiles, virgins,
guns and goats. In a related story…
Iraqi Kurd becomes warlord overnight.
This guy will use our money to kill us.
You dum (sic) asses. You’ve funded ISIS.
What would Donald Trump say? When you’re sliding
into third and you feel a squishy Kurd…
A man from Iraq wins the lottery.
They withhold his name with good reason.
They live in enclosures behind sun bleached
walls facing a courtyard sandbox, littered
in beer bottles, butts and dirty diapers.
Lawns are postage stamps clipped out like coupons.
Grandpa sits captive in his den, confined
to his chair rolling loose leaf tobacco,
sipping stale coffee. He tells me Birdie
is sleeping with Leo, Tabby's a bitch
and Rex is a snake. Robin’s a pussy
cat in her tiger tank top, black panther
boots and leopard leggings. Ava's the doe-
eyed one who drives Buck, ape-shit crazy
and even though Jonah thinks he's a catch,
he's really just a jackass. Grandpa's sick
of the shrieking, snot nosed kids running wild
while parents take time to procreate less
time. He roars at them to keep off the grass,
keep their hands to themselves and quit feeding
the beast. They're all a bunch of animals!
Fingers coil around fence posts and eyes glow
yellow through the keyholes as doors slam shut.
He's the zoo keeper, minding his business
while cages moan under the moonlit filth
and children curse inconceivable beds.
Haven’t got a Prayer
How do prayers reach Heaven? Do they hitch
a ride on the cosmos in the backpacks
of angels, go air mail on the wings of doves
or do they drift on a slow spaceship to Zion?
Is there a place in Las Angel Bliss where God’s
messengers sort requests between the seven
deadly bins before sending them Heavenward
with their seal of approval? Do they measure
and weigh each one, filter out what gets tossed,
returned to sender and dispatched to the dead
letter office seven stories below?
I’m sure they wire the flyers and The Daily Bread.
Does all Hell break loose when God receives junk mail
and do the angels go Ghostal? Maybe God
is fed up with our lack of creativity,
our inability to grasp his word.
Maybe he’s golfing all over God’s green
acres and is on a million par hole.
They say God answers in his time, not ours
but time doesn’t exist in eternity,
so forever and a day takes no time
at all. Perhaps prayers are left unanswered
because God in his infinite wisdom knows
we just haven’t got the damn message yet.
It’s all about the Yoga
A forest of women spread leafy green limbs
to the matted-mossy floor. They are ferns
unfurling branches, bending and arching
their newfangled bodies with open minds.
I'm the camel plodding along, sweating
it out in the dry hump of midday.
I don't belong here in this dense grove
of women, this cathedral of ever-
green composure. I don't wear a red
cape, drive a blue mini-van or drink.
I am a trinity of all three
melting into a twisted rendition
of Edvard's Scream in an ugly frame
of mind. I am not sitting Lotus
or posing as the Fallen Angel.
I'm the woman in the yoga pants,
downward dogging it to pick up toys,
soldiering on till I undertake the corpse
position. I lie there, a spineless
cactus without a stiff prick of rain
to inspire me to get off my stump.
Kim Bailey Deal writes Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She's been published in Firefly Magazine, A Journal of Luminous Writing. Kim has also been a guest blogger for Robert Lee Brewer’s blog at www.writersdigest.com. She authors a weekly column and is Social Media Manager for www.five2onemagazine.com. Kim also has a creative nonfiction piece published in Pilcrow & DaggerAugust/September Issue http://pilcrowdagger.com/issues/, and three poems, two short stories, and a creative non-fiction piece to published in September and October 2016. Kim is mom to three sons and one daughter, Nim to her grandchildren and step-daughter. She lives with her husband, John, near Chattanooga, TN. To connect with Kim, follow at www.kimbaileydeal.net.
The Reluctant Warrior
guarded my spirit
pierced hearts with the truth
cut through their falseness
deflected the collateral damage
I am a warrior, life made me this way.
Ever since you took my outstretched hand
and we danced, I thought I no longer needed
I set them aside, collecting dust
in the remnants of fights and fear
Until the day the wolves materialized
while you stood idly by
they took pieces of my flesh
a morsel at a time,
of my ecstasies
to their single-minded scourge
Until a jagged coat of rotting muscle
skin over splintered bones
were all I had left to protect my spirit
You, then, began to feed off my remains
rejoining your clan and forsaking me
Forced to come back, the warrior me,
I knocked off the dust and limped into the fray,
my lance and sword of truth raised,
War paint smeared across my face,
each howl and scream returning
fierce flesh to my bones.
Donned with armor
Backing down was not an option
reciprocity was unexpected from you.
This I realized as worms
ate the rotten flesh of the person
I had sloughed off,
the person I now despised,
the carcass of a woman who
was nothing but a shell.
The wolves fed on the last of the meat
what once was
gorging on their victory.
Reclaiming myself, speaking my truth
filling myself with love and respect
honor and boundaries and authenticity
no room for doubt
no second-guessing who I am
or who we were supposed to be.
With shield and sword, lance and armor
I began to relentlessly fight
I have hell on my side
They kept coming,
cutting me with their insults
slashing at my words
seeking to shame me into submission,
demanding my Silence.
Turning to you in the melee I howled,
“I have been fighting for you! Will you fight for me?”
You simply turned away,
as my war cry echoed in your ears.
I was a flower
reaching for the sun, my petals barely open
my green arms small, yet strong
alone on the sidewalk
nestled in the cracked concrete
where you walked
laughing with roses and orchids
clutched in your hand as you
passed me by.
I was a diamond
glittering among shards of glass, gathered at the side
of the road, ruined
resting in the shade of trees
under which you drove, tires screaming
rattling the remains, remnants
roaring past me with gold and silver
bound fingers tapping
to a different tune.
I was a bird
broken-winged, banished, pushed
from the nest too soon
flapping in circles
calling out to you, singing
my broken song, shrill and scared
as you strolled past in silence, smiling
whistling with the whole ones
their melodies unmarred.
I was a flame
dim, in darkness flickering surround by walls
barely drawing on oxygen wafting
through the cracks of my fortress
glowing and dimming
fiery and faint
fierce and forlorn
refusing to die.
I am the fire
burning blistering bright, a bloody
red rose, thorny
a blue diamond, blinding
a mended bird, soaring
singing my songs, scorching the lies, searing
the walls, watch them crumble
a forged sword slicing
to the bone of truth.
Revolution and Evolution
Open your hearts
Expand your minds
The time has come
For a revolution
From which you can
No longer hide,
Made to be your companion
My sweet fruit always at your fingertips
You took without asking
Plucked me before I was ripe
Stunted my growth and left
Me to wither and rot
In my shame and grief.
Without giving in return
Is this pleasure?
What a joke.
Your lips never tasted my lips
Your hands clumsy and quick
Your dead heart pressed against mine so fierce
Your eyes closed to the beauty inside my soul
Your shadow darker in my light.
Not only my young body
You took my tender heart
You tried to take my soul
And my mind,
you considered so feeble
When my thoughts did not align
When my words did not echo
who sprang from my womb
Suckled at my breast
Who heard my heartbeat long
Before they heard your lies
You had the nerve
The audacity to believe that
THIS had no meaning.
When I had nothing left to give
Worn out parts and broken
Dreams placed in boxes beneath
When all I asked
All I needed in return
Was the comfort of your hand
A heart to beat in sync with mine
Respect for me, a woman
With thoughts and feelings and dreams
And you took
And you took
And you took
And when you were finished
When you had your fill
When my sweetness turned
To ashes in your mouth
You threw me aside
Like a worn and broken part
Like yesterday’s garbage
No use to anyone
or you anymore.
There will be no more taking.
Grows more glorious on the vine
Spreads its seed beyond your reach
Speaks truth into darkness
Moves mountains with a roar.
Is inaccessible to you
As you have been to me
Will never taste
The exquisite delight
Of my mouth
Will never trace the sacred
dark places for which you hunger
Your eyes do not see me
Your heart is cold to the fire of knowing me
Or knowing yourself
Your hands that took
Became weapons against me
When you did not like what I gave back
Your arms stayed empty
For they now hold only a dream
A memory of who you wanted me to be
Who I never could have been.
Your mind is closed
To my imagination
Your heart is hardened
To the beat of my spirit
Your tongue is thick
With pride and rage
Your eyes grow so dim
The brighter I shine
Your ears hear
But they do not listen
Your lips move
But they do not speak.
Your foggy promise fades
In the hazy morning light
Burning off as the sun rises
warming my face
as I give its glow the one thing
I refused to let you take from me
To you I give my back
And walk away.
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Guwahatian Magazine (India), The Galway Review (Ireland), Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Osprey Review (Wales), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey) and other magazines. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs
(Photo: Carol Bales)
It’s a small backyard
I’ve watched for years
from an upstairs window
while chained to a computer.
Whatever the weather
the old widow was always
planting in spring
watering in summer
raking in fall
shoveling in winter
but the yard’s quiet now
the only traffic
a resident squirrel
heading for the oak
over the tall grass
the widow’s heir
has stopped mowing.
She told her son
you don’t have to garden
but please mow the grass
rake the leaves and
shovel the snow
or I’ll shake you
the rest of your life.
A Third World Life
When he was just a boy,
they took him to the dump
to scavenge, bits of metal,
any food that might be eaten.
When he became a man,
young and handsome,
every day he would go
to the dump and scavenge.
When he was middle-aged,
other men followed him
after he discovered a bigger,
better dump to scavenge.
Now old and blind, he sits
in his hut while seven
children and their children
go to the dump and scavenge.
She speaks the truth
as she always has
in 40 years of marriage
especially when she’s
lost in making dinner
this time though
she has to wash
blood from the paring knife
before she peels
the last of the potatoes.
Until the knife went in
he didn’t think in 40 years
she had noticed that
for a man his size he
has small shoulders.
Reprobate in Recovery
If you’re a reprobate in recovery
you have to be careful what you do.
You’re no different than an alcoholic,
always in danger of falling again.
At least an alcoholic has a disease
but not every reprobate is sick.
Some are genetically louses.
They love what they do.
If you’re a reprobate in recovery
it’s understandable to think
you might be safe in church.
Lots of good people go to church.
But reprobates go there too.
Some may be worse than you.
The next time you go to church,
even if it’s your first time, remember
this old saying, recently refreshed:
A church is a hospital for sinners
not a resort for saints.
When you go to church,
a reprobate might
hand you a bulletin,
pass the basket, nod off
in the pew next to you or
bellow from the pulpit.
So watch for a reprobate
to join the mix after
a Sunday service
during fellowship with
coffee and donuts.
If you can't spot one,
a selfie may do.
Odd and Strange
The day Paul got married,
his old girlfriend called his house
just before he and his bride Anne
caught the plane for their honeymoon.
Paul was outside packing the car
and Anne answered the phone.
His old girlfriend was angry because
Paul had married somebody else so she
told Anne strange things Paul liked to do,
strange things Anne had never heard of,
stuff that didn’t sound like Paul at all,
but Anne said nothing about the call
and they flew off to a nice honeymoon,
diving off cliffs and swimming in the sea,
seeing rare birds and tropical flowers,
eating native foods Anne hadn't heard of.
Years later, they went back to Oahu
for their 40th anniversary, and Anne
told Paul about the call but didn’t say
anything about what the girl had said
although she remembered every word.
They were sipping drinks at a cafe
when Paul admitted he remembered
the girl because she would ask him to do
things he thought odd and strange.
He was open-minded but there’s a limit.
Anne said she understood because after
40 years with Paul, she now liked to do
things she thought odd and strange when
she left the Amish for something new.
I, Renee’ B. Drummond-Brown, am the wife of Cardell Nino Brown Sr. and from our union came Cardell Jr., Renee and Raven Brown. I am the offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Drummond of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My siblings are Delbert D. Drummond and the late Pastor Shawn C. Drummond. I was born in North Carolina, at Camp Lejeune US Naval Hospital. I am a graduate of Geneva College of Pennsylvania, and my love for creative writing is undoubtedly displayed through my very unique style of poetry, which is viewed globally. My poetry is inspired by God and Dr. Maya Angelou. Because of them I pledge this: “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”
“Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight” is flown across the seas by God’s raven. There are several Scriptures that I love; however, this one speaks volumes during this ‘season’: “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” (Genesis 8:7 KJV)
Still I Write
(The Answer to: Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”)
Of course they wrote you down in history,
You proved them wrong in truth,
But you planted for me calligraphy,
So I’m heard on paper all the way to God’s celestial roof!
My passion for writing does upset them,
But I can’t be concerned,
Cause you left for me a gift from God,
And it’ll be
forever writing that I yearn.
Just like God’s Raven leaving the Ark,
‘She’ flew to and fro,
Until the waters were dried up from off the earth,
Because of you,
I’ll forever write in the skies,
seas and dirt;
this I do know.
I was that broken soul,
And bowed so low to Satan’s pit,
With nowhere to get;
I allowed my pen to place me within God’s Script (ure).
I know my writings excite you,
And with God for you,
who can be against us,
in giving me that nod,
I finally hear your words loud and clear,
The poems you left behind are messages of truths,
minus the facades.
Some have shot my writings to pieces,
While others have damaged me over time,
sends a ram in a bush,
and wrote for me Ecclesiastes 3
He Author’s the time and place with limited ‘seasons’
for their hurtful rhymes.
From the shame you told me to write,
From the pain you told me to write,
I am that Raven Blackbird with a large wingspan,
“Renee’s Poems With Wings Are Words In Flight”;
flying all over God’s land,
I too want to leave behind my unhealthy fears,
So in the dark,
But in the light,
I see the imagery our ancestors gave to you;
which you passed onto me,
Maya you are the dream,
Barack Obama was the hope,
and I am the slave set free (to write).
Still I write,
Dedicated To: A Tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou
black as ‘da’ night
negro’s colour of the day
ol’ as dirt
mosquito ‘an’ bees
to rhythm ‘n’ rhyme
feel ‘da’ beat ‘n’ tune
‘keepin’ ‘dem’ swampy puddles alive
mississippi’s definitely on my mind
ray sang georgia
‘i’z’ feels like ‘goin’ home
chess’ cat knows ‘da’ deal
Be ‘fo’ real
‘cuz’ back in ‘da’ day
‘i’z’ where you got played
dedicated to: wade
I (still) Do
On the street
After dropping them keys
I picked up
Refusing to drop
‘Luv’ at ‘MY’ first sight
‘Daze’ went by,
‘Dem’ semi-precious nights
fussed and literally
Fought a good fight
I did my best
To select a white dress
While you didn’t know it
Mr. Right’s test
Even saw the ring
Meant the world to me
You never stayed
I never met family
Something just ‘wazant’ right
Shattered all dreams
As she walked down the isle
To my man
‘Wit’ a smile
My dress and ring
And I still wanted to say
Ever so badly
To the unknown man
I met on ‘dem’ streets
That would be you
I still do
Dedicated To: Drifting on a memory
Who Are We?
I don’t know us anymore
Has time re-written our lies
Do we not speak
Rely on blind guides
The poetic scribes
For all time
Don’t know us anymore
No heart beat
Just texting’s left
Zombies silently cry
Who are we?
I don’t know anymore.
Dedicated To: The Unknown
No one seems to care.
When you rise
They ‘ALL’ WATCH ‘an’ glare
They love, love, love
‘dat’ black skin
house, car, clothes
‘dat’ nappy bald hair!
But when you drop,
Not…family, foe, nor friend
Will be left standing there
I know ‘dat’ I know
YOU’LL BE THERE!!!
dedicated to: Standing above ground and I’m on top of the world mom!