Sunday 31 July 2022

Five Poems by Chris Courtney Martin

 


CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

 

Call me broke

Because

Something essential has shattered

All things human in tatters

Suckled on the

Grey of the matter

 

Pluck up the fat o' the land

Leave the bones bare

Sell it back to me

For four hundred

In a cardboard box marked

'Graze'

 

Vagrant cravings leave me

Hateful hungry for

The fruit hanging over

The Fence-line

 

If it serves lemon

Even better

For

The bitter acid

Multiplies its

Soursweet vitriol

When laced through

With the bile in the

Pit of my echoing bowels

 

May the spray blind you

When I cough up a lung

Macerated by the

Venomous

Atmosphere

Of your shame

 

Call me broken

On the Wheel

Of your Fortune


 

THE LAND, LORD, IS SCUM

 

God says I must write

To occupy fingertips which

Itch for the knife

Reach for the bleach

Loose for the noose

 

God says

Blessed are the poor

God says

The meek shall inherit

God did not

Factor in an estate tax.

 

God has no belly to fill.

God has no need for utilities.

And all Her children are

Emancipated.

 

God says

'This, too, shall pass'

And it makes me wonder

Why I will never disassociate

The phrase

'Pass away'

 

There is no rent to pay

In Heaven.

 

Do we earn our deed

By living thru Hell?

 


(OB) NOXIOUS MUSINGS

 

You owe them not a thing..

Not form, nor structure, nor tone, nor homage.

Nor sense, nor reverence, nor critical delights.

Give them your ugly, because it is yours.

If we could learn a thing from scrunch-faced dogs,

It is that for every aesthetic disharmonious,

There is a heart that pines to melt in its presence.

 

Leak these inelegant thoughts into the air,

Like the noxious gas that becomes one

With the very atmosphere

And produces phenomena just a touch

More fascinating than deadly.

 


THE WORDS

 

I have not yet found the words

For Buffalo.

As I could not find the words

For Charleston.

The stanzas, verses, lines

For Mike and Trayvon

And Sandra and Korryn

And Breonna and Phillando and and and

And and and

And and

And

All of them

Are lost upon the drifting breeze.

Flakes of ash melting into pain-parched tongue.

 

I do not have the words

For my cousins.

Nieces.

Nephews.

Niblings.

Offsprings.

 

The tears have already

Dried into salt streaks.

The aches and pains

Already

Dull and numb.

 

But what I have left

In spades

Is the spring-loaded momentum

Of my swinging fists.

What I do possess is

A belly full of bile.

 

I know that I can eke out

A void supermassive

To consume ALL of the forgiveness

We are

Continually implored

To give.

 

I Will Gladly

Trade Them

The Words

For Our

Right

To Live.


 

ROVER

 

Little Ryan passed away

Highest time to bash The Gays

All the things you dare not say

(How’d she find out?)

(Who up and told her?)

Better when I scream and shout

No better way to work it out

And if you hold a seed of doubt

Best plant it ‘fore the ground gets colder

 

They say that Everything, it happens

For a truly good reason

More of an open season

 

And when the model breaks the mould

The wisdom wasted on the old

Silver tongue patinaed gold

(Life’s just begun)

(Alas, it’s over)

Never thought we’d have the nerve

Strength of vision nor the verve

Needed to hold it on reserve

In case we don’t

Get through October

 

You say that Everything that happened

It only made you better

Ruby Slippers pair with Scarlet Letter

 

At the waist, I lean to bow

In gratitude to see the Now

How far a stretch, we do avow

Since Joanie sang

Crimson & Clover 

And when the moon has set on us

We say a prayer for the dusk

The way it fades echoes the trust

Of those who live

To bend us over

 

You know, I know It had to happen

Without a rhyme or a reason

A boarded door to slip limp keys in

 

Love a wheel that likes to squeak

Like a girl who loves the heat

On every word you choose to speak

Just dangling from the Cliffs of Dover

When I begin to need a hand

Slip me a little contraband

Hoping for a heart to brand

 

Come over…

Come over, Rover.


Chris Courtney Martin is a Black Non-Binary/Queer writer-producer-psychic medium originally from Philadelphia, PA. In 2014, they graduated cum laude from Drexel University with a degree in Screenwriting & Playwriting and dual Minors in Film & Video and Art History-- among the first class to receive the school’s prestigious Liberty Scholarship. In 2019, Martin co-hosted Best Sellers Production’s AFRO HORROR podcast in its inaugural season alongside creator Sade Sellers. Martin's screenwriting credits include "PALE HORSE"-- the upcoming feature directorial debut of Gabourey Sidibe, produced by Gamechanger Films and Wellington Love. Martin’s short Horror work has also appeared on the animated YouTube series “SOMETHING SCARY” created by Sapphire Sandalo and hosted by Markeia McCarty. Their unproduced screenplays boast a laundry-list of accolades such as Grand Prize at Urbanworld, 5th Prize at Emerging Screenwriters, spots on the Young & Hungry and Bitch Lists, plus ISA’s Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019 and Development Slate.  Martin sees a return to poetry and other literature to be the next test of their writing prowess. Their collection THE BOOK OF I.P. (Idle Poems) is available on Amazon via Alien Buddha Press.


Five Poems by David L O'Nan

 


A Quicksilver Trilling

 

Once upon a time we met the platinum blonde with a letter in hand and a Loro Piana Handbag.

She was quiet and frantic at the same time, the obstacles of running from beautiful to damnit!

You popped bubbles in the hot flames, in flamenco streets with bleeding trains that lead you

from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.

Now, she’s as quiet as a storm swept flower.

Now, she’s an atomic bomb in my heart of desire.

She’s as damaged as the ignorant meal to the fiery belly of a carnivore.

Meeting the vagrants are as easy as meeting you she’d laugh to herself.

Maybe she’s just a little deaf when this city shakes in a quicksilver trilling.

A little blind when the joy with from a celebration to a thronging.

 

So you missed the thrills of the small crowd now.  That city took your bravery and your crown.

It’s hard to be superficial in your walk.  The thrills of a million helicopters circling down.

your heartbeats a quilted bundle of wires. In the Hollywood hideaways the public does watch.

Hurry up to snap a picture of her durable nucleus falling apart. Behind the bars, to the many

alcohols and elixirs falling straight down the cold rocks.  Her beautiful monuments show some cracks

and the drinking of the sweet fruit tree has become a little thick in the dust cloud social ball.

Maybe she’s just a little deaf when this city shakes in a quicksilver trilling.

Maybe she’s a little thirsty when the water is sealed from the dams to a willing thirst.

This blessing is just a disguised curse when she’s dressed up for another Judy Garland downward spiral.

 

I’m starting to rethink this shadow looking at his shoes, playing little Mr. Socialite wearing a poor

man’s Bruno Maglis.   I’m standing here holding your golden cup.  The feathers of your golden goose,

and a shrivelled-up ticket to the sacrifices you make at Tiffanys.  My culture lies behind the ropes

holding the inside of my head.   To play lover and not to play dead.  So you can play elegant and hip

for the artsy coffeeshops.   They can spell your name in the drink and your heart melts, and you finally

feel like a somebody.   So you tip those baristas and joke about the rats.   They don’t know art, don’t

have MFA’s and haven’t been bought their gardens to thrive.    I just watch the fakeness leave your

timid hazel eyes. And you try to just to the restroom and cry, I hear you in their weeping like a saturnine

coyote.

 

There are a couple of genuine fools, walking around pretending to be the rules of cool

They folded under the pressures of rebellion, but they are beginning to wonder my darling.

They are wondering exactly how many canvases you have put your brush to.   Since you tell them all

you’re so smart and like a branch I’m just this poetic clown stuck with oversized t-shirts and the smile of

a stripped screw.  Don’t worry he’ll pay for this free meal at this simpering Italian Restaurant.  Then he’ll

be on his way back to the job of being a wonderful muse when the art professors aren’t calling you.

Never to share a true linen of a sunrise together. Tell me exactly what art is when you don’t know the

art that is natural weather.

 

Oh, maybe she’s a little deaf when the city shakes and is shrilling.  A little quicksilver trilling.

The sunrise is a little overbearing.  Can’t see the canvas from the golden glare that I’m wearing.

 

Operation, a colourful tornado on a disco floor.   Weak legs are dancing.

Drunk and the quick pills are mixing.  And you’re a drunk and grinding against pistons of strangers

trying to keep from pissing.  They want to call you up for a night of glistening, and introduce you

to a hypodermic waterbed.   You forgot me behind the trees. A little dirty when you have to sit and

plead.  You have nothing you really need, but everything you want is in the halos of that river.

Well, the birds wake up a little earlier than you. And they seem sick without the worms to chew.

There isn’t a masterpiece for them to view.  You went right into the darkness with your colors and your

strength.  Frail bones fail frail forests.  Simple supernatural spells bring crumbles to a magic mountain,

the journeys are hard to walk when the valleys and the lakes are droughts and scrawny to swim in.

Oh, maybe she’s a little deaf when the animals stopped howling.

The wind is full of heat and rain is even melting. Around the curves the body is sealing.

The city is shaking to a quicksilver trilling.

 

From the windows, we used to see the clarity of the glass.   Now it’s a little oily and overcast.

It’s a holocaust, razor sharp raindrops with teeth that bite, just like a brand-new disease.

The queen must hide from the flee. Our humanity isn’t built anymore on heartbeats.  Sometimes

humanity is built from cardboard signs.   Hold a little higher and ask for a prayer.  Ask for a shave of cool air to save you from a Tinseltown cataclysm.

So what does the wonder girl do, when she goes from the pretender to blue to the shrew

Does she realize her hair wasn’t always so cute? Does she realize the geniuses are all crooks?

Does she feel the jazzy palm trees have always been a little plastic and fake?

Much like the hypnotized starlets in the platinum blonde deconstruction game.

Oh, maybe she’s a little deaf from the chess game that keeps yelling checkmate!

Maybe she’s been blinded by the hysterical cut-throat authority waifs. Maybe she’s just part

of this jealousy, vanish haze they thrown on you to make you a product.

A little pill sick when the city keeps shaking tiny slits of cracks in this quicksilver trilling.

 

Now, she’s as naked as a blurry mirror.  Now she’s feeling as pitiful as a stuttering preacher.

Now her art is less of a picture that hangs above bountiful nouveau vanity mirrors.

Her art is the magnetism that pulls the moon through her evening’s veins.  

Her art is when the clouds move in and pulls the curtains of stars over her delicate frame.

Maybe she grew tired of her ears constantly ringing.  Loud masochisms and feminine leeches

luring and lingering.  A city shook to pieces in a quicksilver trilling.



Callie’s Dad : Obituary

 

I found myself an ill mess

sweating all over my bed

switching alarm clocks on and off.

I could swear my heart was

pounding nails in my head

I was all engaged in the world of me.

 

Well I read somewhere that

Callie’s dad died about 3

Summer’s ago.

4 Summers since I knew her.

And we had visions of a

wedding, but July dresses are

much to sticky and itchy.

 

So I think I remember the man

vaguely, Callie’s Dad.

Met him at a family barbecue.

He seemed drunk and rude. But he shook

my hand and informed me there was still some catfish bites on the grill.

 

So I remembered your mom,

always answering the door, a

little teary, a little dreary. A

dirty rooster t-shirt and makeup

many hours worn and hair she

combed flimsy.

 

I once gave Callie a school ring

and said with this we’ll forever be.

And like a dumb young boy I skipped

home or drove in some out of date car

with neurotic loud voices and

shredding guitars. Callie ignored me and kissed

my cheek. And she said

“goodbye” as I was still developing a personality designed for her.

 

Now, with cloudy coffee, a

wasp in the room. I am

thinking of our drive-in movie

date, and her daddy threatens

her with the tricks that a full

moon will bring. All the men

are searching and hunting and

the women are the prey he says.

 

He wanted her to always stay.

But she strayed to another.

A blonde combover 27 year old, Miller Light addict

A town boy with no city, no artistic aspirations.

He could read the hell out of a TV guide.

 

In her father’s obituary I find

out he left this Earth with 5

different wives. I am sure the bills

will never end. And Callie surely doesn’t remember me

more than a 2 week boyfriend.  Her and blonde Dennis

have 6 mouths to feed and I’ve got a closet full of magazines

with cracks in my seams.


 

CORPSE FLOWERS

 

Oh my honey is blown out like a cyclone, the air smells like corpse flowers

The storm must have been a bad one.  Unruliness was the only rule.

The town deputy is speechless.  And his racism is lost in translation.

There are sips on Jameson.   There are muttering hippies looking for a blanket.

There are men with straw hats spray painting signs about torture.

There are no abortion signs falling down like dominoes.

 

What I hate to say is, maybe our town needing a tornado.

Maybe every girl and every boy needed to rummage through this junk.

To find what is authentic and what is damaged.

Where are the friends that said they’d warn us?   Where are the protectors?

Fragmented gentlemen.   Exploited women.   The foes meet the flock.

The blisters are popping from every hitting rock.

 

An old man’s last breath, quell his appetite to be released

from the worries of glory and the worries of having to live in a battle

day in, day out, naked, bruised up, bravado doctrines, and hungry skeletal stomach.

His lady, tired of his whiplash and persisting witchery

decided to empty her lips of it’s dry intimacy, take the dolls and the talisman

and drop a little iodine in the jar, make a bottle of poisonous wine.

 

The sky has cracked now, raining down a hailing of tiny eyes

we are invaded in waves to the crutches of a slanted hallway

We love how to shadows look in the hidden arms of new divinity.

They lead the dragon to the bait.   The flames now icy.  Our bodies impressing gods

to a new spiritual colour.   Excavated a million miles of corpse flowers.

A little wind just blew in.



Fishkill, NY

 

It was a lame morning, another

picayune argument amongst

the early risers and the late-night ravers.

I was tender in my muscles

I was craving the sugar I once found in Fishkill, New York.

 

We had many moments together in a late Spring Week and a half.

From a Friday the 13th (another speeding ticket)

until Memorial Day (another Uncle buried)

That man fell over dead in a redundant consignment shop.

Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Dale Earnhardt, and a collection of racist dolls.

He had a woman he was seeing there, while his wife was working hard

making money at the bank.

He was pretty much a rain drenched jerk. No umbrella while chasing lace.

 

While in Fishkill I took Sugar off the hitching thrills

A free spirit, with the Lord dancing in her bellbottoms.

Let me in to your flaky rides to the city my darling.

She failed to tell me she was twice married.

Once at 16 again at late 17.

Divorced when the babies never came.

 

I said well I’m just a 19 year old bad writer.

Not ready for a family or to exchange rings just yet.

Let’s just walk around the river and kiss by the trees.

She said “well I guess that is fine with me, I’ve only known  you since

the birds began singing daily.”

“Just drive me in your yellow car and away from my mama’s watermelon seed porch”

 

So she thought everyone was out to abandon her.

She began to mature more and more on the next lonely night.

I pretended I could stay forever, then like a punk I’d escape when feelings felt to real.

Escaped to a drunken night on my cousin’s boat dock.

 

She said “I am glad that maybe my instincts are fully developed”

“And maybe you are just another boner in Fishkill’s Friday trash pick up”

 

Away for another 6 months

the yellow car now with a broken door handle.

I got a job as a butcher cutting meat in a neighbouring town.

Did a little grilling too. Did some cheap stealing and felt cool.

I always thought about quitting every day.

 

Then I saw through a blurry eyed morning.

She was there in the store with a man twice her age.

Moustached and muscles, tattoos of fast cars and demons.

I said hello, and she faked a smile.

To detract from her new green apple, I was showing too much red,

blushing because I was realizing that hidden love in my  heart never left.

 

She whispered to me when he went to get some fresh cold cuts

I’m in the tiger’s cage now, I could feel her loneliness and rage.

She left me a letter that read “maybe someday”

sitting on a tomato paste can. I slipped it behind a cobwebbed an of beans when mustache

began looking.

Maybe maturity comes from a narcissistic smoke as it fades.

Your “ideal women” and you’re a scared boy battling urges to leave.

I couldn’t find her again and the good-bye left me pining for years.

I always wondered as I quit that job.

Dressed in jeans, a dirty hat and paint smeared jacket.

Began to head away from I-84. 

I bought some shoes and exchanged payments with some villagers for some basic goods.

I found my love throughout years on the road.

 

Learning to swim as a man

Once I got cleared out of Fishkill’s throat.



THE LUKEWARM TRAIN

 

There are days you remember the rambles of Chattanooga Misty.

Not quite bright, not quite dumb.

She was a lost Girvin girl living in the Kentucky woods.

She maybe was just born into ignorance,

perfume all the smoke from her cigarettes before she comes back.

Didn’t know that her ass tore through the seam of her jeans.

 

She was looking to scoot away from the rabbitholes to the rabbitcage.

And so she learned to be a smooth talker, hide that shy, act that brave.

She was not too fond of all those presents.  You’d just to present to her to win her heart.

She’d rather be glum, take in the latest drug, and drink until heart cannot beat.

Well that’s a wild one for you, feeding the bikers their barbecue and their beers.

 

Sets you up for a ponzi scheme, and then disappears into the arms of a deadbeat.

His politics have become something of a joke.  His hair that was precious and begins to croak.

And now she’s wondering why her tan is no longer a cloak to hide her real self.

She thinks you can’t read her,  everyone who sees her becomes a mystic and can see

the flowing ego that won’t let her doves free.  She’d rather spend time as a thrush digging up worms.

 

Well when she’s going insane, I won’t be anywhere near.  I’ll be riding high in musical notes.

I’ll be chattering with the jealousies she hid in her bones.  I’ll be the water, the nature, the trees

where her nest fell from long ago.   When they ask, oh, where is she at?   Maybe, I’ll be truthful or state

a fact.  She’s been running away for about a thousand days from herself, her mind, and her beauty.

She’s been a little glum,  brainwashed, trilling in the mud, and unaware of the twilight sorrow.

Well the crows all ask, for a quick boarding pass to see if she’d like to bring her fruits and berries into

their decoy jungled home.

 

I’m sure she’ll just pretend to be a new disguise, as always. Maybe from brown to blonde today.

Maybe I’ll go from celebrations to breaking in the snake.  Maybe I will be the one that’ll finally break

break him and just leave him a nervous rattling drum.  Rippled streams, leave him hanging and never to

call him back when he needed you most.   So who is really the lost one here?   The stones throw will just

shatter those crows.  Because he just sits there year after year refusing the find new homes.

 

When he’s going insane,  just sitting in pity and haggard,  stuck in his eternal humdrum woes.

She’ll be stepping aboard, from East to West, seeing the world in an everchanging brain.

She’ll go from palm trees to mapleleafs, and drink the margaritas and drink in a Summer rain.

She’ll be the one, living on stepping stones and hitching into the soundwaves of a lukewarm train.

 

David L O'Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana.  He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies "Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen and Hard Rain Poetry inspired by Bob Dylan. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press "The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers" "The Cartoon Diaries" & "New Disease Streets" (2020). A compilation of 4 books "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" (look under books tab in Amazon) under Cajun Mutt Press & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022)  David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire.

Twitter @DavidLONan1 @feversof  and www.feversofthemind.com Poetry & Art Group on Facebook.

Website is www.feversofthemind.com for many interviews, book reviews, short stories & poetry from many.

 

 

Friday 29 July 2022

Five Poems by Matthew Freeman


 

What We Are 

 

I was drinking next to a depressed professor

at Dressel’s, the lit hub of the STL,

and no one knew me and this was when you could still smoke

so we were chain smoking accordingly with our pints—

I’d come back from New York and suddenly

everybody was drinking pints—and the professor

also had a very low self-esteem and I myself

was scarred and defeated and he then started talking

about how he hated his car and it was like

his car was out to get him and the chairperson

of his department had given him a class in the honors

program but he was pretty sure it was an act of irony

and he talked about how he’d messed up and ruined his life

but he didn’t really get too specific about that

and I just didn’t have the energy to ask

and then he said incredibly that his blood had stopped flowing

and that’s when I really

wanted to say something

because I used to think that as well

and then he was talking about some off-campus

meeting or party or something but how he couldn’t go

because it was at a bar he’d recently go thrown out of

and I’m sitting there politely listening and thinking

damn if my drive

comes back perhaps I could be a professor too

and pretty soon I got compliant with the big

paternal metaphor of St Louis, BJC,

and I never drank again but started to hang out

with poets and professors and got my MFA

and I never again

saw the lonesome professor depressed with low self-esteem

and sadly I went my own course and never became a professor after all.

 

 

Numb All Day 

 

Heaven is you just finally met

a cute OB/GYN at Starbucks

who smokes Marlboro Lights and

 

hell is when you passed by the trash chute

you heard the loud accusatory

sound of heavy heavy objects

dropping down

in a menacing manner

 

and purgatory must be shell shock

and the murky intuition

that something happened

a very very long time ago

and it’s messing with your experience.

 

 

More Charity Needed 

 

I’m trying to listen to the early Beatles

on my old sad iPod

but drunken Lou insists on

mumbling something about all of the

various cars his relatives have owned—

and I am terribly sorry.

 

When Red came back from the hospital

the first thing he did—after bumming

out the requisite cigarettes—was to

inquire about Diana. None of us

knew where she was and on top of that

the patio was trashed and littered

and no one was at the security desk

and four or five more residents

had made their escape.

The most wretched thing I’ll confess

is that while I’ve never really known

what Red has

I am a bit sceptical about the whole thing.

 

My own whole stupid thing has been

I’m supposed to be thinking and feeling

something else, and I’m supposed to be

somewhere else.

But—I’m not supposed to be someone else.

That I got right.

 

 

Who Cares

 

Everything’s perfect but

the lapsus in a conversation gone awry,

the repeated trips to lockdown,

the inability

 

to make amends to a city, to an Ideal,

as an infinitely gentle cloud of smoke

wafts toward you

from the expensive-looking pipe

of the young homeless wiseman.

 

Some people do get better

and some of them seem to know so much

and once that might have freaked you out

but not now that you know nothing

and can perceive very little

 

and hey, I’m just happy to still be here.

I haven’t ever been able to develop a doctrine

and I’m filled with ineffable sympathy.

Yeah, right.

But if I got arrogant again

I’d wake up at the front desk

without a shirt,

without my keys, without tobacco.

I’ve yet got stuff to regret.

 

I’ve had my last cavity! My teeth are really classy now.

My analyst hinted that I might pass for a hipster.

I run into stuff in my sleep still and bruise my legs.

I can’t remember anything!

But there was a punk rock guy at MoKaBe’s

who said I had a really dope look

and when I expressed

my fear that it might have been ironic to my analyst,

she was like, “Who cares?”

 

 

 Heartways 

 

I can see now

that I’ve been less than charitable

to all the derelicts

who live around me.

 

It’s true that I’ve been gifted so much

and I’ve tried to give some of it away:

Clothes, cigarettes, a little money, a little food.

But I’ve been condescending. I recognize

it probably has something to do with

my being sober for so long.

 

I did know a couple of dudes

at Forest Park Hospital who were faking

heroin addiction so they could

get a check. One of them told me all about it.

But, you know, I can see

That some people are sad and afraid

and just trying to remain strong, and some are filled

with crippling interminable anger,

and I know that malingering itself

must be some kind of symptom.

 

We’re all of us

getting checks of some sort,

and we’re all paying for them

in a variety of ways.

One might proceed

with this in the heart.


Matthew Freeman's new book, I Think I'd Rather Roar, is soon to be released by Cerasus Poetry. He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St Louis.

 

Five Poems by Maria Downs

  A WHISTLE UPON THE AIR So to hear the soft – throated,   bird sing, from its note form those words,   like flowers of spring flowing...