Colin James

Two poems

AN ANTI THEIST’S SURRENDER

The lines of children were cognizant
of an uprising. This was evident in
their diffidence to the wind and the way
scars healed from the inside despite
a continuous onslaught of moral beatings,
the noble bullies barely having time to adjust.
Fatalistically, the swooning became the resolve.

CHOKING ON AFFLUENCE, THE COUGH SYMPTOMS

I watched some human like insects
scale my foot and drill into
the bone above the ankle.
I felt nothing.
Waist bent anomalously
ears, eyes closer.
They climbed higher
voices, not pronounced words.
They reached the top of my head
just as the sun was giving up.
I went cross eyed trying to explain,
this was not substantively organic.

 

Colin James has a book of poems Resisting Probability from Sagging Meniscus Press and a chapbook A THOROUGHNESS NOT DEPRIVED OF ABSURDITY. He lives in Massachusetts.

Walter Hoelbling

gone

where have conversations gone
long time passing
where have all our love words gone
long time ago
where have all our love words gone
mobiles took them, every one
when will we ever learn
I hope they will return

wiehere have all the mobiles gone
long time passing
where have all the notebooks gone
long time ago
where have all the kindles gone
turned to tablets, every one
when will we ever learn
there will be no return

where have all the tablets gone
long time passing
where have all the smart phones gone
long time ago
where have all these gadgets gone
been recycled every one
never they will return
never they will return

where have all the users gone
long time passing
where have all the texters gone
long time ago
there lie all the facebooks slain
people try to speak again
when will we ever learn
hope they again can learn

 

Obviously trying to do a half-serious, twitter-age version of Peter Seeger’s “Where have all the flowers gone?” (My favorite rendering is by Peter, Paul, and Mary)

Bill Cotter

Two Poems

COMING UPON

Incautious, still, and breaking the peace
Of the lake, I hear the swan’s unease
And sense, in its startled trumpetings,
Time is measured in the beating of wings.

Across the brown veined beds of reeds
Now rippling and dropping their silver beads,
There comes the sound of whisperings,
“Time is measured in the beating of wings.”

Coerced from shadows into light
And tense with the need to take to flight,
She knows, caught in the water’s transient rings,
Time is measured in the beating of wings

And, so, on the heard puffs of air,
She rises, high and higher, where,
Expanding and blue, the sky sings,
“Time is measured in the beating of wings.”

ECHO

from Bird Song

I cannot replicate the sweetness of those notes
I heard at dawn; the player’s joy
Is his alone. But, yet, in hearing, floats
A raft of memories to buoy,
Persist, but never cloy
And so, on the fading edge of dusk and thought
There remains an echo of a song and the joy it brought.

Ian C. Smith

Three Poems

Artifice

He photographs her on the Cobb at Lyme Regis,
a shadowy shot to be published in a journal
unimagined then like other scenarios
destiny stores between expectation and realisation.

They had read The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Wave-smash sprays her op-shop cape
as if a film is being enacted in a surf-hiss of grief,
a heartsore woman staring seaward from the revetment.

Absorbed, they learn of a town, its yeomanry, transformed,
chaos caused by the adaptation of a romance.
Karel Reisz repeatedly directed a scene set in 1867,
sheep driven over muddied cobbles past this teashop.

They lean in, picturing soldiers in scarlet tunics,
the cinema dormant in destiny’s plot development.
His staged photograph forms part of memory’s mirage,
a film location he would revisit if possible.

For many seasons he travels only in his thoughts,
acknowledges novels are devices, artificial,
as John Fowles didactically reminded readers,
so too, films with towns disguised as the past.

Another book, about tramping England’s eroding coast
below Lyme’s fossilized cliffs, carries him sweetly back.
He recalls her cape, touch, dark green velvet,
wonders what became of it, of the characters they were.

Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

Summer, 1819, Napoleon grounded, but not human spirit.
Those basket cases, balloonists, hang in clouds.

Paris by night, a sight to die for.
To reach for the sky is the French tradition,
so, too, looking down on people.
She looks good in that Regency style,
diminutive, décolletage cinched above a high waist,
dressed to kill, you could say, or to be killed.
She is the queen of fireworks, pity about hydrogen.

In the Tivoli Gardens the bandstand rocks,
warm air above lit by her Bengal lights.
A magical rain showers the sky silver and gold
from parachute bombs she lights with a long taper,
thrills revellers whose murmur drifts up to her
floating inadvertently close to a sparkling heaven,
a suitable distance from her terror of crowds.

Riding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself,
she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent,
feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance.
The house roof’s pitch steep, her rigging tangled,
fire almost out, burned, broken, she can’t hang on,
she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.
It’s me. Help! Sophie gasps, then the cobbles.

Not VCs, VD

They huddle sorry-arsed on the platform sharing Turf cigarettes,
faces above khaki greatcoats, demeanour, of older men,
any ideals of medals not what they imagined,
inventing tales, their ultimate destination vague,
a vanishing point joked about but yearned for.
They watched back yards passing by, recalled games,
kitbags in the rack, windows streaked, their gaze opaque,
no risk now of being blown up, yet their world askew.

Crown land, an exclusion zone, rude architecture,
kangaroos and copperheads patrolling the bluish bush,
army doctors’ blunt indifference unmitigated by nurses,
women soon to be only memories of mixed emotions;
porridge and penicillin, a muddle of menial tasks,
a caste quarantined from locals who believe propaganda;
troop movement, training exercises, returning heroes,
who remain ignorant of anything to do with this lot.

Look, there I am long after the war was over, a boy searching
for his lost dog he will never see again, walking
away from the murmur of his family’s regret, almost
stepping on a coiled snake under the cover of trees,
calling, whistling for things to be as they were.
He reaches the old army reserve where a breeze stirs,
nudges his cigarette smoke, a flap of cardboard on a shed,
sunlight on a soiled window as if trapped there long before.

 

Ian C Smith, P.O.Box 9262, Sale, 3950, Australia icsmithpoet@gmail.com