Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Five Poems by Alan Britt

 


BEAUTIFUL BOY

 

(For the Gingerbread Boy) 

 

Beautiful gingerbread boy cracking

Oh, snap! causing the girls to rise

& sway as though dancing, only

not dancing but sociologically

invading my Kuiper Belt of flesh

that senses everything time has

to offer, time involving a stainless

steel oven & two sons on the run.

 

Don’t let me down—not this time

or forever—don’t let me down.

 

[first published in GloMag (India) 2019]



CHANGE

 

Kisses bruise the eyelid of a cataract moon.

 

Mango light blazes from the second-story

window of a whitewashed clapboard house.

 

Court jester in drawstrings croons

the cruelest month with his sideburns

gleaming like perfectly buffed

cherry 1967 Camaro fenders.

 

It could be a dog—yes, it is a dog,

hand-clapped & called by name,

a hound, terrier or herding mix

who curls beside us for comfort

in the dead of winter—if one were

to dissect its barks, one might discover

layer upon layer hickory, oak, maple,

& a touch of dogwood thrown in

for good measure.

 

Too often we observe a phenomenon

& call it magical, but it’s not;

sometimes it’s just what it is.

 

Change.



LAST CHANCE

 

Last chance to dream a wireless cactus

guarding the border between hope & despair.

 

Razor wire cactus.

 

Last chance to believe one is impervious

to common decency—it’s the static that

gets me—but conglomerate algorithmic

crude not so much.

 

I’ve withstood floods, shifting states of mind,

& expectations pinned like butterflies

against the lapels of Nobel Laureates.

 

I ate dinner with an extinct diminutive short

pronged mammal for millennia, along

with my Neanderthal cousins.

 

I soiled the onionskin pages of early,

modern & contemporary Christianity

& lived to talk about it.

 

But, today, I’m too exhausted to commence

with existence like a wasp in my doughboy

helmet, wasp that stung me with a garden

shed & kitchen drawer full of green trading

stamps that amounted to pretty much what

no one expected them to amount to.

 

Still, that’s not what I meant earlier; what

I meant earlier is that I’ve just spotted a

category five, & if I know what’s good for

me tonight, I’ll orbit the moonlit thermals

like crushed roach tablets sheltering our military

graveyards until someone flips me upside

down like an hourglass & dumps me

into William Blake’s heaven or Arthur

Rimbaud’s hell.

 

[first published in Big Windows Review 2019]



ODE TO AN INCENSE TILE 

 

The incense tile is blind

as she scooches beside me

during my dream.

 

I don’t know whether to fall

in love or to grow scales,

seeing as how it’s all

a fairytale, anyway.

 

It’s 2002, the season

for religious abuse,

so, I check my illusions at the altar

and stroll

the hollowed-out paradigms 

of one thousand generations,

past lichen-covered philosophies

in search of a sober existence.

 

And just about then a wooden match

flickering its ladybug wings

sizzles the tip of one patchouli stick

that flashes like a lighthouse

before coughing up a lazy lotus

of blue smoke.

 

[earlier version first published in New Gravity 2015]



THIS IS HOW TUESDAYS WERE MEANT TO BE

 

(Or enjoying the *Savoy Truffle)

 

 

I think I’m in estrous or something—

ice cubes slithering my shoulder blades and down my back

leaving a trail of leopard slugs to fend for themselves.

 

Warren Haynes’ Gibson Les Paul like heat lighting

flashing the palmettoes.

 

Meanwhile, the Savoy Truffle, white herons or heroin clinking false teeth

into the bathroom sink like a forgotten icon with skull encased in amber.

 

Well, the Savoy Truffle, years later a dentist

or psychiatrist lounging beneath the armpits

of banana palms lining the intimate cocktail

square of civilization left

after certain unmentionables

have fleeced the environment

with their pitch-black toxic plumes

of smoke rising from refinery stacks,

refinery stacks like Tinkertoys lining the horizon, or, heaven

forbid, that insidious battery balanced upon Robert Conrad’s shoulder

in one of those primitive, archetypal, Duracell commercials:

 Go ahead, knock that fucker off!

 

[Thank you, *George Harrison]

 





Alan Britt poems have appeared in Agni Review, American Poetry Review, The Bitter Oleander, Cottonwood, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Osiris, and Stand (UK). His latest book is Emergency Room, 2022, from Pony One Dog Press. He has published 21 books of poetry and served as Art Agent for Andy Warhol Superstar, the late great Ultra Violet, while often reading poetry at her Chelsea, New York studio. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

 

 

 

 

The Rice Cake Trilogy - Three Poems by Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia (Amita Paul)

 


The Rice Cake Trilogy 

 

1. OF GIFTS AND BLESSINGS 

 

Such a sober sari in blue and cream checks

Handwoven from Cooptex, my favourite kind

I want to gift it to you for Easter, my friend !

Will you wear it , or generous as always,

Gift it away ?

 

Such a beautiful sari , fawn, with maroon bootis,

And lavender stripes woven into the border

A pretty pallu, and matching blouse too !

I want to gift it to you for your birthday , dear friend !

Will you wear it , I wonder ? I won’t mind at all

Even if you regift it 

With love !

 

These tokens of love and respect 

This idea of keeping traditional handicrafts alive 

So deeply ingrained in us ! How they comfort us 

When the world seems to be falling apart !

 

Forget the heartache. I made you some idli rice cakes

With sambhar lentils, rasam soup and coconut chutney.

Let us continue to cook with love, share with joy,

Pray for peace, and take comfort in our friendship

And in faith, as long as these are granted to us ! 

 

Blessings upon our sad but beautiful world 

And blessings upon us!

 

 

2. TO A CONVALESCENT 

 

Your illness made me feel so helpless 

I know with greater surety how precious you are 

I have to find a pale green cotton sari 

With thin blue lines on its border 

And tiny sprigs of blossom here and there 

To give to you. A symbol of new life . 

Today when your return from the hospital 

And sit awhile among the mango trees 

And watch the thirsty birds around the tap

Sipping in puddles where the green mint grows 

Sweet scented damask roses will enchant you

And pearly jasmines nestled in thick leaves. 

Someone will cook you rice cakes ,I’ll send grapes. 

I wish you healing . I hope the Koel

Will sing a sweet melody at your window 

Lulling you to sleep. Rest, and find renewal. 

One day, we all must go , but here or there, 

Friends pray for friends , and loved ones for loved ones . We, you and I, and many like us everywhere,

Pray for all, and need all prayers.

 

 

3. ON SUCH A NIGHT 

 

Then it arose.

Cool, soft and round as a full summer moon

Light, white and bright in all its pristine beauty 

Emerging from the translucent bridal veil 

Of diaphanous mists of evening rising

From the muggy humid heat of a tropical afternoon

That kills the very desire for sustenance 

Thus did the weightless idli rice cake rise

From the steaming hot pot on a wood-fire 

Glowing gold -orange like a June sunset

Accompanied by fluffy clouds of coconut chutney

Ready to float upon the spicy liquid darkness 

Of a thin lentil , tomato and tamarind rasam 

Tempered with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon 

Curry leaves and star anise , coriander, cummin 

Appetite-whetting black pepper and chilies

Fragrant as the sea breezes from the coasts

Of Coromandel and lush Malabar 

Musky with scents of sandal and allspice

Ready to entrance the languid and the liverish

Uniquely poised to dent their turgid torpor

Singing its siren song to stomach’s stupor

Appealing to all six senses at once 

Ostensibly oozing onomatopoeia

Mixing masked hunger with stirring desire

Thus was the sluggish appetite awakened 

And tempted to the table to partake 

Of idli, rasam, and coconut chutney

On such a night as this rice cake gave ease

“ When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees”

Oh, the sheer pneumatic charm of it !

 

 



Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia is the pen name of Amita Paul, a retired civil servant who is at heart a poet and teacher. She writes , mostly poetry, in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. She was awarded the NISSIM International Poetry Award 2019 and then the Reuel international Award 2020 for Non- Fiction Prose, while Destiny International Community of Poets UK, declared her Poet of the Year 2020 as well as Critic of the Year 2020, and again in 2021. Women Empowered India have just declared her their WE Greenheart 2022 jointly with Bengal based poetess Rituparna Khan. Her work has been published in several international anthologies and also in many journals and online magazines such as Das Literarisch, Doaba, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Yugen Quest Review, Setu Bilingual Magazine, GloMag, Fasihi Magazine, and Spillwords, besides twice being among selected featured poems on the global NaPoWriMo Website, once in 2021 and then again recently in 2022.

 

Four Poems by Francisc Edmund Balogh


 

The echo story

 

       To the teacher

 

Listen to the deposition

of the bare mountains,

of the olive trees,              

of your own  hearts,

of the sunset,                            

of the wind.

 

The story can not end,

can not start either

without our roles

and the 30 pieces of silver.

 

The story flows

unstoppably like the river of Jordan,

over the feet of the tainted souls,

it cleaves perfectly

as a patch from inside..

to the blue sky.

 

This story

is the deposition

of the blood

that runs through

our veins.

 

 

Too late

 

It is too late

to blow the candle,

the dawn has already sensed

our split impressions

that are still looking for each other

sleep-walking,

broken

in the twists and turns

of the catacombs of the soul!!

The rain is tapping at the window

the dot of the last verse,

in the overloaded hourglass

of the memory

compressed poems.

 

 

Rooftop poem

 

This poem is a rooftop

with doves  on it,

a horizon line

in a horizonless dawn.

 

Your sigh

sneaks out like a cat

into the night

to bundle it’s lives

in mystery.

 

The flowers at  your window

are messengers of

the beauty of silence.

 

 

The crack

 

The birds have never returned,

they remained somewhere beyond

the barb wired mist of the winter,

time ran quickly through the corridor of the night

stepping mercilessly with his boots

on their somnolence,  on their nest

from our heart,

it has alerted the stars, the moon,

that howl of desire

preserved in the roots,

in the poems hidden under the wings

of the birds,

we have met once again,

here on the tightrope of words.

 

 



Francisc Edmund Balogh  is a Romanian poet, writer and musician. In his country he was published in various anthologies, literary e-magazines and magazines. He also received various prizes at different mostly national and couple international literary competitions. The most important prize he received was  1st place at L'Olimpiade Mondiaux de Poesie” 2020-2021 edition, organized by the World Poets Association.

Some of Francisc’s poems were translated and published in 2020 in Germany in  the "Vort Vergessen” anthology and some on the french litterary blog „ Lettres Capitales.”

Francisc also writes in English.   Francisc published in India on the  Litterateur Rw literary blog, Opa and Cultural Reverence.

In the UK, Francisc has been published in the Poet magazine, One Hand Clapping and Lothlorien Poetry Journal!

Two of Francisc’s works were published in the US - in Spillwords and OpenDoor magazines.

The last but not the least is Francisc’s participation in the World Poetry Tree anthology edited, published in Dubai, anthology which includes over 400 contemporary poets from 105 countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 16 May 2022

One Poem by Robert W. Stephens



One tree


There is a warmth

Sitting on an outcrop of a

Speckled granite slab

0verlooking a deep alpine valley

Cold glacial river meanders through

Though the glaciers are lost

To a changing climate that is

Heating up millenniums after

The age of the ice sheets

Encroached on

The mountains high and deep

The offspring of continental drift

 

A lone tree stands along the ridge

A burnt-out sentinel

It did not survive this fire

Nor did its hardier neighbours

But it stands deadly still with a ragged holey cloth

Of scorched bark and blackened trunk

Its roots decaying in cracked granite

There will be a time

When lightening will find it

And strike it down

Its demise finished

In an alpine wasteland

The mountains absorb it

To make a bed for a new forest

For generations to come.




R. W. Stephens is a native of California, born in San Francisco. There was an extended sojourn to Wisconsin for university, then a return home with a BS in English. He raised two special needs kids as part of an interesting life, from working in a nuclear power plant to making specialty gas permeable contact lenses with a week in a village in central China inbetween. He recently started writing again with a new perspective. He has been published in a Lotherien Poetry Journal anthology He is the organizer and coordinator for a small writing group based in Hayward, California.


One Poem by John Patrick Robbins

 


Snake Skin You

 

It took hitting rock bottom to view your truths that in love’s delusion,

I had allowed myself to ignore.

 

The snobbish glee from which you laughed at those you deemed at your feet, even myself.

 

We often discover pain is best wielded by those hiding under the title of lovers.

 

A mouse lives as an ever-waiting victim of the snake.

Cold in its nature, an exceptional killer by default.

 

I ran into my downfall with an open embrace.

Even the most elusive can fall victim.

 

You left behind articles of clothes, letters of no true meaning, a sick memento to inflict as much pain as possible.

 

It is your skin as a reptile must shed it often. Within its ever so empty existence.

 

I breathe, therefore I survived.

 

We both lost something equally the same in your childish ignorance you will never grasp.

 

But where my heart bleeds, your ego only expands.

 

Endless as that horizon.

Concrete in your ignorance that in this life,

Sweetheart nobody ever truly wins.

 

You are alone, as well you should be.




John Patrick Robbins, is the editor in chief of The Rye Whiskey Review and Black Shamrock Magazine .His work has appeared here in Lothlorien, Piker Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Dope Fiend Daily, Elephant , Punk Noir Magazine, Red Fez, San Pedro River Review, Fearless Poetry Zine.

He is also the author of Rave Reviews To Killer Feedback from Between Shadows Press  and Death Rattle & Roll from Whiskey City Press.

His work is always unfiltered.


Five Poems by Edward Lee

 


THE EDGE OF AN ENDING

 

A lifetime

of biting our tongues

has left half the world mute,

while the other half

says so little in so much

we stopped hearing

their words

a decade, or more, ago,

 

and then we wonder

why we are here

at the edge of an ending,

the glittered edges slowly

falling away.

 

 

IN BLOOD

 

There were those

who would die,

and did die,

just so we unborn

could be born

in as close to freedom

as we humans

can allow ourselves,

some of their names known,

some forgotten between the gaps

of what the memory of a country can hold.

 

Now there are those

that get fat off this country,

and stand themselves proud

in the blood of the past,

not realizing the blood was not shed

to stand in, it was shed

to build upon, just as peace

is always built upon war.

 

 

SENSELESS GRIEF

 

A love that hurts

is not love,

but a sadist's

dream of wet redness,

I tell myself, a failing attempt

at humour, though there is

some truth there too.

 

I love you,

without pain – a lie,

this time, flat out,

all pretense of humour

cast aside, for there is pain

in my love for you, a pain

I cannot explain except to say

that some hearts love easily

and some hearts love hard,

and my heart is very much the latter.

 

Of course, there too will be pain

at the end, when you go, when the love

in my heart has not your heart

to sing to at night, when sleep

is still some distance away

and I tell myself things

so I might survive the madness

of a grief that mourns for those still alive.

 

 

AM I FINALLY COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN SKIN?

 

The warmth I seek at night

no longer comes from you,

but now emanates

from within myself,

some newly discovered chamber

between my stomach

and heart, a place not there

the last time I had cause

to search myself.

 

You can almost hear

the hum of it, as wave

and wave of heat

ripples through me,

a liquid-less river

creating circles

beneath my skin,

that collide gently

with my bones, the marrow shook

and shook again.

 

Is this what peace is,

the calm of an untroubled heart?

Is this self-reliance,

the name I reach for

in the mornings now my own?

So many decades

on the planet, I finally

need no longer seek comfort

in the skins of others.

 

Am I finally comfortable

in my own skin?

 

 

NO FLAME LASTS

 

The house made

of holy candles

burns brightest,

but it still burns,

and then ceases to burn

when its fuel is gone,

when only ash

and non-flammable wreckage remain.

 

Remember that,

as you seek to light

the darkness

inside us all

with your words written

thousands of years ago.

Remember that when the heat

of the flame seeps from your bones

and the world continues to turn.


Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and Poetry Wales.  His play ‘Wall’ was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection "Playing Poohsticks On Ha'Penny Bridge" was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

 

Five Poems by Alan Britt

  BEAUTIFUL BOY   (For the Gingerbread Boy)     Beautiful gingerbread boy cracking Oh, snap! causing the girls to rise & sw...