Colin James

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

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

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

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

Ali Znaidi

Five Cyberpoems

Typing Something Luminous

Between light and darkness
a door of fathomless possibilities opens onto the ether.

Between light and darkness
a cosmos of limitations is exploded,
while limitless aspirations are being downloaded.

Between darkness and light
the butterflies’ wings are (still) static.
No movements;
only my errant fingers wandering in the keyboard’s  wilderness
trying to type something luminous in the dark.

Digital Dilemmas

I am Googleable.
I am Twitterable.
But why am I still unFacebookable?

I am Twitterable.
I am Facebookable.
But why am I still unGoogleable?

I am Facebookable.
I am Googleable.
But why am I still unTwitterable?

I am real. So why have I to be virtual?
I am virtual. So why have I to be real?

Am I online or off-line?
Am infected or protected?

Am a human being or a machine?

—The only thing
I am certain about is that at the end
we are (all) blog posts
and our ultimate goal is to be reblogged.

imagistic tweets that don’t require any Photoshop

{dregs}: follow the final lights of the twilight!
{rites of passage}: intrude in the hidden passageways!
{invisible comets}: don’t care about particles of dust!

***

We live by cacophonies (by the ether).
There are stars that resemble snowflakes.
Birds & fantasies.—Philosophy
& the silver (virtual) spaces.

Virtual Diaspora

The sky is not stagnant at all
because every bit of it is a map.
My poetical mind can’t measure the distance
between my shadow and the sun.
I used to envy the birds because they can assume many identities.
They always discover new moons and new stars.
They can (even) measure the distance between their shadows
and invisible entities.
Today there are screens everywhere.—
Complex maps. Provocative poetics.
I no longer envy the birds
as I can sink {tectonically} in the abyss of the web.

A Cybernetic Sonnet    

Twitter for breakfast. Facebook for lunch.
YouTube & Facebook for dinner.
This is not the whole story. This is just the gist.
Dawn begins to emit the first lights:
(BlurRED) eyes are still wide open.
Nerves are still bound to a vicious circle:
—A labyrinth of (free) fettered movements.
—A fake flood of encrypted happiness is inun[dating] the soul.
Everything becomes a code;
a sphere where liberty becomes a jail,
the human voice  becomes a replica of a hollow echo,
& humanity becomes a faint tincture. {Don’t forget Dada is a code!},

& persons become mere Dadaist entities encoded in a techno-sutra,
waiting for that technocratic saviour to have a happy-ending coda.

Tegan Jane Schetrumpf

Lit-Mag #46 – Madrigalesque

How can you?

With the pop, pop, of apoptosis in your ear

weave and dodge words

you’d rather not hear?

There’s a pulse.  Diastolic da-dum.

The beat of a drum.
Empty skin.

And the dong.
The dignified chime
of some grandfather clock
measuring time with his hickory switch.
You bare two timid cheeks
and receive the cuts.

Shaping lies
with your lips
carving soap with your tongue
in playing card housing
for that’s how it’s done.

Do you know?

Each day that you swallow
dab with your napkin
you waste
hasten

your final thought.
You’ll be angry then.
You’ll

wish for the Orphic voice to call another lifetime.
(The one underneath that you should have been living)

regret

(each mistake)

(those times you left the ache to burn inside instead of howling)

But you danced, didn’t you?  Danced – cha cha cha.

One, two, cha cha cha.

Your moves,
but learned steps.

When you cut out your tongue
thicken ear drums
blind eyes

You make it dark.
Silent.
Mute.

One more to sing rhymes
of ‘The Way Things Are.’

One less to imagine
the best of our times,

to outlast the whisk
the tsk tsk of fear.

Can you hear? It approaches.

Pop, pop. It approaches.

Nova Longhurst

Lit-Mag #46 – Madrigalesque

Three Poems

Her

Lips burning of subdued embers,
Her words brand you, inescapable.

Eyes as old as amber,
Her gaze tells your story, unwritten.

Masked by the mud of her mother,
Her power precedes her, enthralling.

Rokkr Náttar, shadow of the oncoming night,
She destroys me, inescapable love.

 

Purified Asphyxiation

Cast me down in the cleansing blue.
Breathing frozen soliloquies of you.

Fractals ossifying mangled fetters,
Seeking freedom in profligate letters.

Clutching at greener pastures,
Fertilized by the efferent heartless.

Cast me down in to the cleansing blue,
To extirpate afflictions of you.

 

Taste Buds

Bulbous buds of brilliant senses
Taste your breath, your life, your soul’s existence

Wine glasses shattered on your lips
The life blood of which bitters your kiss, your caress

The perfume of carbonated city streets
Nestled against cement bridges, your nervous-systems.

Leaving dust upon Zemí’s ancient tongue.
Your breath, your life, your soul’s existence, you are mine.

Jordie Albiston

Lit-Mag #46 – Madrigalesque

The plane angle poems

5/52

five years old with the smile & the special
fifty-two years with the miracle grin
& the little & the place & the warm
& everything is fine ticketty-boo
when someday soon is huger than never
when someday never came a day too soon
time in an egg-cup funny runny time
time to crack those tiny heavens open
September is a long way you can’t wait
September gets here quicker every year
shake the blossom you-are-now-in-Snow-Land
shake yourself to make yourself believe it
all the toys are happy in the cupboard
all the clouds are murmuring in Latin
a cicada is as big! as your hand
a night is not as loud as your alarm
you talk to it softly the cicada
you talk through it talk until dawn arrives
—        peace a kind of gravity & private

 

infinite/finite

I remember I wrote in my notebook
I remember it was November’s end
how somehow the future might be revived
how somehow the moon & I bumbled on
the watch pretending to tick on your wrist
the kitsch of December somewhere in there
time a dim idiot’s legerdemain
time swimming upstream to spawn in the past
my sickness this a counterfeit of days
my mind too skimpy to quite apprehend
you amaranthine in my weightless arms
you can’t stay put inside one deathless month
nothing a clock or calendar could stop
nothing outwits the horologist’s trick
despite them carefully clanging away
despite how mighty how merciless love
life spiralling spiralling just for us
life clicks its punch-card straight into the sun
—        a forever an ecstasy error

 

line/curve

we are straight lines aiming for redemption
I tread the edge between skyline & sky
remember the dictum don’t quit the path
remember the horizon is rounded
there are gazillions for heaven to fix
there is proof peering back down from spaceships
if we all were to go where would we fit
if what the astronaut says is the truth
it is jotted all over our school-books
it is drawn in diffused spirals at dawn
the rule states clearly onwards & upwards
the trick is to dislocate every joint
one takes two points & joins them together
one finds a spider-web stuck to the air
call all the digits click-click into file
call it a thing of immeasurable grace
this is the world we’re leaving our children
this is the imperfect circle I love
—        pi makes sure you always fall short of God

 

mind/mind

you have no idea the mind you’re in
I have seen this mind through an unclear world
that is a black ecumenical cube
that machines my vertices lovingly
a spear in each of its triple six sides
a leaf in the garden of memory
each face a geometric corruption
each piece fits inside another like this
a space perfection will never survive
a tesseract dear one! a Chinese box
which cannot contain a cosine of truth
which equals a relative endlessness
to enter the error is recklessness
to feel it deeply austere absolute
it is sent to murder us in our sleep
it is a bitmap of all that I am
what can be learned from the rickety mind
what can be learned from a glittering shape
—        children & gods beseech our instruction

 

walk/walk

you begin your random walk from the land
I begin my random walk from the sea
where an ill-defined hill subsumes the heat
where surfaces reel above sunless space
& your feet purchase distance step by step
& my feet feel toward each future blind
between troubled trees & the beasts beneath
between choppy fears of fangteeth & such
with their orange thirst exist/unexist
with their weird deep lives extinct/unextinct
turn left next volcano fire-in-the-world
turn right treading water as I was taught
circumvent jungle both green & concrete
circumvent/navigate all seven seas
then loud as America quiet as ice
then shout out Ahoy in earthliest voice
incline to horizon eyes full alert
incline to arrival therefore until
—        smash-smash softly o astonishing shore

Charles F. Thielman

Four Poems

Dark Boa

My lover will soon rise out
of her novel and help me

walk back inside,

injury sitting me at this balcony table
night after July night.

Solitaire by streetlight mixed
with moonlight tonight,

the 7 of clubs finding a home,
the jack of diamonds kneeling

on the robe of a black queen.

Down on the corner, several boys
are practicing their smoking,

kissing blue streams gone
from their streetlight pool,

laughing, test-driving faith
over angers past midnight,

my avenue long and sinuous,
dark boa full of gray dawn.

The Glimmer Robes

She sees vaccines and illusions
riding downtown curbs,
city night balanced
along the edge of a duotone slant,
moon pulling shadows across current,
spotlights revolving below a dome
capped with silvered contrails. Loss
tattooed on the wing of a dream
let to fly. She walks beside a river wall
to the peace garden, haiku in stone
rooted in nuclear war.

A tug boat plies upriver, lone deckhand
near the bow, incurable eyes sweeping
a rectangle of sky as trucks throttle
down bridge slopes.
Bridge legs collecting shadows
as she traces carved letters a mile
beyond the work-week’s spinal taps.

Tough to be solo amid these weekend couples.
Flaring colors across fresh canvas after
a wreck in the same town is hard work,
the promises given in that dream
echo inside memory.
She pivots away from laughter,
dank cloth of hot summer on her arms
and legs, gaze snagged
on an initialed bench.

After Rain, Portland

Tonight’s street theater in rehearsal
around bridge legs, street urchins

encircle a fire barrel while pigeons arc
iridescent, unloading over happy hour.

I take in the view at mid-bridge.
Glass towers blued as the blue thighs

of clouds roll across the burlaps of sky.
River hauling debris around green hills

to the Pacific. Lines of brake-lights strobe
down bridge slopes, commuters fleeing

cubicles, becoming consumers on
that freeway’s exit ramp to the mall.

Swing shift break over, I approach
my factory’s riverside door as another truck

backs into the shipping dock, dark cave
needing a refill. I flick my break smoke

onto a puddle of diesel, half
wanting to ignite a distraction.

Refugee

She huddles into a seat
on a Portland bus, fire
scars on her Mayan face,
her neck, she clasps
her hands
in her lap,
the brown hands that wove
sandals for children’s feet?

I don’t know,
I close the doors
and check my mirrors
for in-coming traffic.

I do know.

I pull at the wheel
with tanned brown hands
and dust rises in the hot yellow
light of July.

Above mountains far south of here,
an army helicopter searches
for caves to rocket.

Wilda Morris

Parkinson’s Poems

Dinner with Dad

I pull my hands
off the table,
lay them
in my lap.

They want to reach out,
take the bread
and table knife
from Dad’s grizzled hands.

It hurts to watch
his painstaking moves,
the way the glob of jelly
slides without spreading,
threatens to fall
in his lap.

My head says
he needs to do what he can.
My hands say,
please, let me help.

Rubin Sandwich

At a sidewalk table
at the Artists’ Café
in Chicago, the city
where Mother & Dad
honeymooned,
I think of them
as I study the menu,
remember Mother’s love
of salads but today
in honor of Dad
I order a Rubin.

Corned beef reminds me
of corny TV—
Three Stooges
made Dad laugh;
rye bread for his
wry sense of humor;
sauerkraut for the tart
tender memories
of his last years,
the long slow decline
of Parkinson’s,
the way he retained
a cheerful demeanor
and always, to the end,
concern for others.

Christmas Pageant
for Florrie

Joseph sat in silence by the manger
where baby Jesus lay
wrapped in white bands.
Mary showed all the excitement
of young motherhood,
kicked her fragile, palsied legs,
waved stiff arms.
Joy rose from deep within her—
eyes sparkling, smile broadening,
she giggled,
waved and kicked strongly,
then laughed aloud
and in that family called church,
joy spread. It was said,
never has there been a happier Mary.

“Christmas Pageant” was first published in A Quilt of Holidays (Abeline TX: Silver Boomer Books, 2012).

Crayling Creek

The old creek bed is almost dry,
just puddles among brown leaves,
piles of twigs and rocks,

like Dad, once a nurturing stream,
now a small pool of memory
in the detritus of Parkinson’s disease,
feet like dead leaves,
his fingers, twisted twigs.

Sometimes he rises from his chair
and walks. Sometimes his laugh
reflects joy in the pool of his eyes.

Like robins at the creek bed,
I stop and drink.