Thursday 30 November 2023

Five Poems by Chris Sahar

 



THE EVERGREENS 

(written while listening to J. Brahms' “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” from his German Requiem)

I stand in an open field.
Sorrow blows the tops of tallgrass,
Sun’s flickering rays sieved through
Evergreens’ blue at the apogee of summer,
Cradling newborns in their limbs and trunks.

I raise my open palms to block the wind.
Turn and narrow my eyes upon the evergreens
With promise to shelter these fragile newborns,
Protect against the inevitable winter’s blows.

I allow sorrow’s gales to buffet me,
Question how long I can stand
To marvel and imbibe summer’s fleeting fecundity,
The evergreens’ potent promises,
Before Fall flags the end of all of this
With its gaudy, tattered tartan of gold, rose, and nectarine.

 

SPEAK TO ME NOTHING

 
Speak to me nothing - idleness freezes my brain!
I ask: When will I see you?
Hear that laugh ridiculous and lovely,
Imbibe such heavenly scent, snatch your reflection
unobstructed from my bed?

I chase the drinking hours, travel
Glossy, steel-encased beds
Clutched to a stranger’s second-hand fantasies,
Grasping at past seasons of intimate ecstatic splendour
But Nothing speaks!

I blindly nod, tip my hat, count pittances,
Hedge frantic bets on another
Commercial soul selling
Cheap talk, unhappy convenience –
Something rings, I reply
But Nothing speaks!

So addled am I, I fear –
Gravely- to err, misplace
These costly amulets of
How much, how very much ...
Loved It is, to be
Loved by You.

 

ON BEING A COMPOSER


I write doting dots,
Wriggly Squiggles,
Codes alphanumeric
Inhaling, Exhaling,
Withholding, Manifesting
Squeaks, squalls,
Murmurs, sighs,
Caterwauling chimes,
Loping footfalls,
Shuffled cries,
Marauding epiphanies
Intelligible, Indelible
(Comprehensible?)
Possibly, Indefensible.

  

CHEETAH (stanzas 1 – 4)


The Cheetah is a blanket -
Polyester, furry, black spots
Spackled on a field of orange.
It kept my mother warm and swaddled
During spells of delirium as cancer
Tore through her bones.


The cheetah came from her bedroom
Which she visited aided by a holding hand
When the cancer retreated its decimation
And allowed her to climb our house's
Narrow wood stairway carpeted in burgundy
Fabric slabs my father laid with Fidel, his employee.


She thumbed her notebooks there -
All scribbled with short stories and poems
To share at the writers' group meetings
She could no longer attend, too weak
To compose, there seemed nothing to share.


Finished with her inspection, she sat slanted on her bed,
A floppy queen-sized one with her imprint still visible
From decades of sleep while that of her husband's
Long gone after ten years in the grave.
She would ask the aide to open a closet to choose
Outfits for the changing season to hang on the downstairs rack
Crammed to the side of her hospital bed beneath the chandelier
That had glittered for Christmas dinner and special guests and now
Illuminates medications, hearing aids, flowers, books, and distilled water.


Soon those visits stopped as the cancer pounced
From its lair to spread and bind her to the hospital bed
For many days into nights - the cheetah covering her from
Clavicle well past the phalanges of her feet
When air-conditioning froze or the thermostat failed
To abate the winter drafts’ creep through warped windows.


The cheetah warmed her until the day before she died,
And when she died it comforted me through the winter-tide
That followed her death. I dreamt of her home of fifty years
Often: strangers to evict or my mother answering the door
Confused, dislocated as if cognizant she was imprisoned
Temporarily in one of my dreams. But soon the house
Dreams were engulfed by my Present, the cheetah
Clutter.


Yesterday, the cheetah was bagged and unloaded.
A space is open in my linen chest, my dreams
Relieved of hauntings from a home no longer.
Now, unexpected tears spring from quiet dens.


 A MEMORY


I played the seashore
Revelled in castles built from
Silicate dripplings grown hard
By brilliantined canvas of assured
Mid-August’s azures, goldenrod,
Emerald that coloured our ice-cream coned
Sundays on barrier islands’ shores.

I wish I could erase today’s castles as easily as
When a child who divebombed into currents,
Eager for a six-footer to cusp and throttle me
Back to the glassy berth of clamshells, sand,
Suntan oil and toppled castles merged to sea
To form this berth that saves all from drowning,
Resuscitates moments of wreckful abandonment
From ocean floor’s amniotic warmth; for is there not
A superfluity of silicate, an audacious absence of shadow
To dribble grander edifices to refract my unkempt,
Unruly inner-self in these naïve fancies, dismembered
Fairy-tales, and benign wrecks of self-proclamation?

 



Chris Sahar is an organist at the historic St. James Church in Elmhurst, Queens and a substitute teacher for the New York City public schools.  He is also a music composer whose works have been performed in the US and Europe as well as a writer of poetry and libretti. He has had his music published by Editions Ferrum Music, and two of his poems, “Rainey Park 2018” and “33”, published in an online poetry journal in 2022.

Mr. Sahar holds a B.A in English literature from Oberlin College and a M.M. in music composition from Queens College/City University of New York.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Mr. Sahar has made Queens, New York his home since 1994.

One Poem by Pawel Markiewicz

 



The amaranthine fairy

 

Like sparkles of dreamery – fantasy,

born from hundreds of thoughts, from memories,

you compass the world of mythology.

Here and there plenty of effusions.

 

Fairy – she-paramour of druids, priests,

kiss a fairway of starlets and the moon!

In you a hope of dazzling, wistful bards.

Ancient is the myth like cave of Plato.

 

You go away and fly away such eagle.

The mirror of ontology shows time.

Your poetries so delicate such flax.

Eudemonia will live softly in us.

 

You are autumn fantasy, born from oak.

Like rain of demand you fill chivalry.

Stars of non-destruction need your verdict.

Thoughts with miracles - vast eternity.

 

The soft-mossy tombstones are only yours.

Such rook you sing song - bards-desperados.

I adore Kant’s heaven – it is my time.

The bards honor the autumnal fairies.  

 

Such refreshing yesterday-rain you are.

You are inspired like dreamy Erlkings.

You narrate myths, legends – having a glaive.

You gaze at a mirror of timelessness.

 

In clouds of homeland dreameries come true,

when your romantic tear – fay-like tear-gem,

becharms a world of the Morningstar –  whole.

Pixie, your canzone is crystal clear.

 

Midnight, the winglets of dreams carry you,

when the thousands of kings of oaks wake up.

Sparrows, magpies think of heaven – it’s blue,

filled with comet-dust and star-dust of mine.

 

Monuments of distant and drunk nature,

praise your meek, amaranthine liberty.

You are sprite – she-guide of Nature-mother

Through, like rainbow-shine, dreamed eternity.

 

glaive – archaic: sword


Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is a poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as long poems. Paweł has published his poetry in many magazines. He writes in English and German.


Five Poems by George Gad Economou

 



A Toast to Billion-Old Deaths

 

nebulas explode in

distant galaxies, by the time the

fireworks reach us we’ll

be long gone; it’s the consolation, things are

dying in the universe right fucking now and

we’re here, drinking, breathing, fucking, living, and they’re

dead.

dead. and we’re alive. we’ll be

dead, others will live, do the same

things we do now, it’s the circle of life, does it

matter? no. I drink now,

I toast the dead stars, the supernovas we won’t

see for a few thousand years. I toast the gods that

died two millennia ago. I am drunk. getting drunker.

feeling supernal. I’m a supernova ready to

happen, a god in the making. Dionysus stands

next to me, tells me “drink more wine.” I listen. I drink.

drunk, I tolerate you. I tolerate the world. I don’t feel like

committing genocide. drunk, I live. sober, I’m deader than

the stars that died ten billion years ago and their dying light just now

reaches our telescopes.


 

Battle Ready

 

after a couple of days of no drinking, I finally

sat down with two six-packs of beer, a bottle of

bourbon. even after a handful of ice-cold beers, I’m

reminded that there are good things in life. during the

couple of dry days, all I did was worry about

everything I can’t control, the things I must get around to

doing. too many thoughts whirled in my

head, rendering the nights sleepless, the mornings restless. with

some booze in my blood, and much more yet to be

consumed, I feel liberated. does it

matter that nothing has been

fixed? no; I’ll

just drink some more tomorrow, and the day after, and so on, until

I either crap my liver out or stumble upon a solution to

the world’s, and my, problems. the beer says

go for it; bourbon barks

fight. the mistresses of the night come

clawing, I put on my rum-laced condom and

get ready for another fight.


 

Yapping in the Wrong Places

 

“damn, man, my wife left me just this

morning, said she fell in love with her personal trainer. twenty-

seven years drained into the gutter,” my barstool

neighbor told me in a quivering voice. I was on

beer seven, and double Four Roses eight. “see the sign?” I

pointed at the large chalkboard next to the  liquor shelves.

SHUT UP AND DRINK. “how about you

do that? it’ll help with the pain. hey, Jim,” I called

the bartender, “three double Four Roses; no ice this time.”

“you know I don’t drink anything but shots while on duty,”

he said. “okay, okay, get your shot. still three

doubles.”

“it’s just the two of us, right?” the neighbor asked, peering

about trying to find our elusive, if not invisible, drinking compatriot.

“yeah. so, either I’m seeing double or I’m really thirsty.” I downed

the first double, chased it with some beer, then sipped on the other

glass. “just thirsty; there’s still only one of you.”

“so, my wife, I…”

“again,” I groaned, “read the sign. better yet, stare

at it while you’re in here.”


 

Drowning But Saved

 

long days of

no drinking, sipping coffee and inhaling stale tobacco,

trying to find meaning in the mess, desperate

attempts to change things that’ll forever

stay the same. embracing the

darkness, avoiding the sun like

a vampire; nothing good ever

comes from the world, stay inside in

the cool, avoid the heat, the scorching sun, the

army of ghouls flooding the sidewalks. coffee,

cigarettes, music, and the blank page. ten years

of changes that never came, ten years of

dissipating into the fantasies of a

better tomorrow.  it’s when the

first lowball of Four Roses is poured that

everything begins to

make some sense. everything’s still

the same but encapsulated by a refulgent

film of hope.


 

Envisioning the Bar

 

getting drunk and

rowdy, it’s how

every night must

be spent, otherwise why

are we alive? Dionysus preached

this two millennia ago, it still

rings true, despite the honest attempts of

many a teetotaler to convince us that

hooch is

evil. ancient

drunkards are still read, still influence

literature and philosophy, while the

dries vanish into the well of

history, footnotes of footnotes at best.

I raise my lowball of bourbon to

the skies, to the Bar, to all the patrons

that drank their visions into

reality and now drink eternity

away; I once stepped inside the

Bar when I OD’ed. now, I’m fighting

to make sure the claim on that corner barstool

doesn’t diminish.





George Gad EconomouCurrently residing in Greece, George Gad Economou has a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and is the author of Letters to S. (Storylandia), Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds (Adelaide Books), and Of the Riverside (Anxiety Press). His words have also appeared, amongst other places, in Spillwords Press, Ariel Chart, Cajun Mutt Press, Fixator Press, Outcast Press, The Piker Press, The Edge of Humanity Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Modern Drunkard Magazine.


One Poem by David Parsley

 



 

What the Future Dares

 

… till the Future dares / Forget the Past,… 
Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats,”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1821 

 

Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved
when the wind blew?
 

“The Last Leaf,” O. Henry 

 

It wasn’t about Behrman’s masterpiece 
or petals from the sick child’s flower, 
nor what the girl from Kansas found 
in the dusty back yard where real leaves 
darken and drop in packaged rainbows. 

Some few tout expired courtesies
 
shifting with Alvin and Whitey, the boy  
who could not run as fast as his fellow,  
porches posing bare ruined choirs 
where late the latch key hides  
unlooked-for tyrannies among the stuff. 

It preceded a resumed cowardice 
poising us high on boards of water 
to surrender the hard won liberties. 
Such betrayals have always chased us 
hand in hand from pluming towers 
on descents for later repudiation. 

When the planes returned still pregnant 
human cargo, attendant baggage, fire,  
did upper reaches of the self-made labyrinth 
sense fingers trace to world’s oblivious center 
trailing shadows in art colony, belfry, slum, 
entrance to subways’ prophetic walls? 

They who passed above our non-plus 
entered that oblivion a defining wave 
of prey to revealed contagion planted 
in common furrow to our sustaining 
works and charities, craft, invention, cures 
for cancers, tau-mediated degeneration. 

Clear forensic eludes.  At Krajina, 
Glasgow, Cairo, and Tashkent,  
the black sites render inventive wrongs: 
the forgetting in our darker dares coupled
 
with smoke bled orchestrated immolations 
to leave us rocking spectators agape 
never-agains that haunt but not compel. 

Absent depone, the immolators emerged 
striding mists prefiguring such plumes 
with diminutives banned the learning places  
offering throats to goalish stanchions,
stones drawn from a hundred hands
 
erupt of rain to wash our culpable extremes. 

Such excess tempts more forgiveness 
than found at Gettysburg and Shiloh 
reversing the rituals of desecration 
when dispatch to rightful station 
presaged approaching railway escort 
to gas chamber and killing field. 

It is here the daring flickers brightest 
through the discredited inmost veil 
threatening to torch creation’s face 
with Dream tales shaping civility 
through our disobedience. 

Then crowd shining eyes to memorial steps
as less tremulous word goes forth
 
finding time and place at Washington, 
Tiananmen, Sabarmati Ashram,
Cairo again
, now thawing in wind
 
arrived from lift of Tunisian night. 

Generations ascend from their knowing 
to relearn the debt ceiling of intolerance 
adjacent the other jostling blunders waiting 
to append fresh bubbles and crashes, 
pyramids and labor towns, catastrophic 
alliances with their ruined streets. 

Blameless we assure sidestep of specicide,
of killing fogs, mustard hued precipitation, 
fresh eboli sprung from canister or thicket, 
mushrooming gales on waves of light.
With dam and inoculation, popular fiat, web,
 
kinetic kills, daunting ducts and bridges, 
we thwart such contest to our sovereignty.

These number deeds like star voyages.
Though through genomic
probings  
man should breathe the breath of lion, 
take on knowledge of scorpion,
 
wisdom that is asp, we fear not 
advent of that strange and other soul. 

Then may human reach to dust 
and inscribe her perfected image, 
speaking her Watson, new Deep Mind.
Then could human breathe to Not
 
the currents that may or not be soul. 

In that ecumenical hour of awakening,
dull gaze lifted as from sickbed confusion,
what dread hand or eye will move 
through gusts and any height demanded,
 
with brush or finger settle leaf among 
brittle vinery, myrtle, or yew so fixed 
it should neither tremble nor fall? 

 

David Parsley is an engineer/manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he works during the day (okay, and some nights and weekends) on interplanetary probes and rovers. In addition to Lothlorien Poetry Journal, his poems appear in London Grip, Poetry LA, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Autumn Sky Poetry, Poetry Panorama, and other journals and anthologies.

Five Poems by Art Ó Súilleabháin

 



A Laburnum speaks to me

 

It came in a plastic pot full of dry soil

languishing on a black refuse sack.

 

A gift with a flourish of self-importance.

I would not have brought it into a garden

where native rowans struggle to survive.

But I planted it in a corner near the wall

tumbled the weak root from parched soil

into a pre-prepared well in the rocky earth

poured an overflowing bucket of rain-water

around, to ensure it sucked a chance at life.

 

Days later it spoke to me:

I have sealed the tap

poison beside the roses

despite the crawling briar

the tangled lines of horsetail

struggling weaves of bindweed

hairs of ‘Johnny-run-the-hedge’.

I have pursued the intensity

of living in muted solitude

found a personal niche

but beware my bark

the trifoliate leaves

a pendulous droop

of yellow flowers

swaying beauty.

May will glow

into toxic

buttery

blooms.



Clinker built

 

Waves lap the shore over-run each other

a constant drowning of the next swell.

 

Pine stems needle sky but snow slides down

overlapped branches, lightening the load.

 

Mountains on horizons compact and fore-shorten

ship-lap to a flat plane, misty grey, blue, black.

 

His nine-planked boat, with red deal gunnels

and steamed oak ribs, mirrors lake movements.

 

The hull he makes, moulded into a precision larch-clinker

water of a pressing wave works a gentle uplift on his craft.

 

Clinker – refers to a model of boat-building particular to small fresh-water craft in Ireland, where the outer boards are overlapped on each other, rather than the smooth butting of planks that are then caulked to seal the joints. Clinkering creates a hull that is lifted by the action of water on the over-lapped edges.



Building a workshop.

 

He built the long shed with lodge pole pines

laid carefully in a rectangle whose diagonals

were checked, measured twice and matched.

 

He thought those staves would last forever

a time for him that could never be counted.

We climbed his ladders to fix bark-slatted

 

boards outside, cut edges from Cong sawmill

nailed to creosoted four by two cross-beams

felt on the inside dimming seeping draughts.

 

There, he spent hours in his own kingdom

flattening pieces of copper into killer baits

repairing broken candlesticks, leather bags,

 

chairs, tables, clocks, fishing rods, anything

to be fixed lined up on a chisel-chip bench

central plank an inch lower to catch detritus.

 

Spun a rickety lathe, turning spalted beech

bowls, signed underneath, his simple vanity.

He built a long legacy in that small space.



The hill of the lights

 

Stephen was there nursing a glass of whiskey

warming himself in the winged chair

close to the Stanley, the tumbler

warming on the hot plate.

 

He terrified us with stories of Cnocán na Salts

knowing we would have to hurry by

on our way home, fearful of

what might lie in wait.

 

In a west wind, fairies sounded like spruce

branches rubbing off each other

unknown ghouls shook dead furze branches

goblins rattled solid alder cones.

 

It was Cnocán na Sí or Cnocán na Soilse

a name bastardised by English sappers

plotting landscape for strange tenure

measuring valleys with crows’ feet.

 

Salt, what you shook to keep fairies away

gatherings, where you tickled a crowd

whiskey, how you warmed stories.

warmth, why you nursed it on.



What Naoise, Daragh, Radha and the unborn must learn

(for all my Grandchildren)

 

You will never learn in school:

How to pick blackberries

knowing how to choose the good ones.

How to climb a tree

knowing how to gauge steps with your eyes.

How to plant potatoes

knowing how to mind them until they mature.

How to gather mayflies

without crushing their delicate green wings.

How to mind bees

without taking too much honey from them.

How to bung a brandy bottle

without drinking from the cork end.

 

How to walk by the lakeshore

negotiating slippery stones that would tumble

you into the dark water

How to catch grasshoppers.

negotiating clumps of scutch that would trip

you into hummocks of reindeer moss.

How to know a beard lichen from the hawthorn

is good for starting a fire

on a wet March day on the Rouillauns.

How rubbing myrtle on your skin

is good for keeping horseflies at bay

on balmy summer days when they bite hard.

 

Will you ever:

foot turf

bend ribs

steam larch

teem a boat

build a greeve

polish bog oak

dap daddy-long-legs

pluck woodcock

catch minnows

collect words

learn poems

tie a knot.

 

You may never learn freedom behind desks

but I hope that you can discover

how to love and be loved.





Art Ó Súilleabháin was born in Corr na Móna, Co. Galway and spent some years in Boston USA. He worked in Dublin and Mayo as a teacher, in Castlebar as Director of The Mayo Education Centre and lectured at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC (as a Fulbright scholar) before returning to Corr na Móna.

Art has published a number of collections of poetry as Gaeilge for children. He won North West Words Poetry Gaeilge in 2017 and he has been featured in Poetry Ireland Review, Writing Home (from Daedalus Press), Hold Open the Door (from The Ireland Chair of Poetry), Vox Galvia, Trees (from Cinnamon Press (UK)), The Mayo Anthologymand The Haibun Journal, to mention but a few.

His first collection of poetry in English (Mayflies in the Heather) was published 2021. Art has read for Sunday Miscellany. He won the Bally Bard Festival in 2022. Art was selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions in 2022 and read at the Dublin International Literary Festival.

Most recently he was the featured reader at The Heinrich Böll memorial weekend and has been granted two weeks at the Heinrich Böll artist’s retreat (sponsored by the Göethe Institute in association with Mayo County Council).

 

 




Tuesday 28 November 2023

Four Poems by R.S.

 



Echoes of Departure

 

The swallows fly South when harsh winds blow

But I stay here, with nowhere to go;

Wish I could be windborne and free,

Or float like driftwood out to sea.

 

The vacant boughs of willows mourn

Lamenting love's brief sojourn;

The sun leaps and drowns in the west

While this sorrow lingers in my chest.

 

Like wisps of smoke my days dissipate,

While winter's viols patiently wait

For spring to melt their frosted strings,

So the strains may soar upon love's wings.

 

As the lights flicker in the darkening sky,

I pine and ponder, heave a sigh;

Why is parting long yet love so brief,

Dwelling forever in towers of grief?



As Golden Tresses Feather Through

 

As golden tresses feather through

And gently with the wind they swerve,

They kiss the earth as they bid adieu,

To the boughs that held their joy and verve.

 

The mist that's hung low since morn,

Rises and to the boughs it clings,

Like clouds' head resting all forlorn,

On hilltops where birds rest their wings.

 

Why sombrely the eyes perceive

An auburn scene that autumn drew?

A beauty does the nature weave

As golden tresses feather through.



A Solitary Spring's Melody

 

The Tulip tree has grown new leaves,

Springtime has kissed its boughs;

Snow has forfeited the slumbering lakes

As a rift in clouds' golden ray allows.

 

The moon a pendant now resplendent,

The winds murmur and saunter by;

The misty nights hasten and flee

As tiny boats on the ocean ply.

 

All of nature sprightly and joyous,

Birdsongs reverb of the thrush and lark;

Spring has adorned each nook and crevice

Except my heart vacant and stark.



Stop all the Clocks (Title and poem inspired by W.H. Auden's poem)

 

Stop all the clocks, stop all humdrum,

Silence the warblers, their song and hum;

Bid the sun to just stand by

And the moon to remain in the starless sky.

 

He was my dusk, he was my dawn,

Stop all the clocks, now he is gone;

Quiet the hymns, the evensong,

I thought love would last, but I was wrong.

 

Stop the earth, its constant spin,

Wring the brooks, subdue the din;

Draw the blackest drapes in the sky,

Tell every star to shut its eye.

 

Cover the hills in blackest shrouds,

Unleash the rain from the darkening clouds,

Scrape the rainbow, call truth a lie;

Prepare the coffin, let me die.


R.S. resides in India and writes Poetry to find harmony in life. She graduated with Honours in English and loves to read and write poetry. She is greatly influenced and inspired by the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, W.H. Auden and William Butler Yeats to name a few. She loves nature walks and rises early to feel inspired with the morning star and create new rhymes. 


 


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...