Wednesday 12 June 2024

One Poem by John Yamrus

 



she


was not

your typical

girl next door.

to begin with,

she had a name

that sounded like

a bottle of cheap perfume.

but,

she did have

the knack of knowing things,

the most

important of which

is that nearly everything

in her life started with an ending.

just

not this.

she knew

this was a door

that would not stay open long.

it

was now,

or

never.





John Yamrus - In a career spanning more than 50 years as a working writer, John Yamrus has published 39 books. He has also had more than 3,500 poems published in magazines and anthologies around the world. A number of his books and poems are taught in college and university courses. He is widely considered to be a master of minimalism and the neo-noir in modern poetry.  His two most recent books are the memoir THE STREET and a volume of poetry called PEOPLE (AND OTHER BAD IDEAS). In addition, 3 of his books have been published in translation.




One Poem by Margaret Duda


 




Sundays with Kate Smith


I could hear Mama’s large knife slicing

the thick roll of thin soup noodle dough

long before I got out of bed. She cut

as she sang with the radio on a ledge above

the Formica table while chunks of chicken,

celery, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes

swam in the large pot on the stove.


When the slicing stopped, I pretended to sleep,

as Mama came into my bedroom, and whispered

“Wake up, angel, time to get ready for church.”

After helping me dress, we joined Papa for breakfast,

then turned off the stove, sprinkled flour on the noodles

to keep them from sticking together, and drove

to the Hungarian Mass at St. Stephen’s church.


Home again, the war child born in the year

of Pearl Harbour, helped Papa set the table in 1948

as Mama slipped her apron over her head and turned

on the radio to hear Kate Smith’s “Hello Everybody.”

Kate’s strong contralto was the final spice in the aromas

filling the kitchen as Mama gently stirred the soup

since Hungarians believed a woman’s cooking skill

could be judged by the clarity of her chicken broth.

After a few minutes, Mama turned off the stove

beneath the simmering noodles and drained them

as Papa and I danced to “When the Moon Comes

Over the Mountain” until he grabbed Mama, twirling

her around the room until she begged to finish cooking.


The “First Lady of Radio” who never had a music lesson

but recorded over 3,000 songs, six hundred of which

made the Hit Parade, sang on as Mama filled three bowls

with the clear soup and noodles as we took our places.

We said grace in Hungarian, after which Papa added

ketchup to his chicken soup, making it look like paprika.

As Mama cleared away the empty bowls, Papa and I

pretended to fight over the chicken neck we both loved

and finally shared with ketchup and the vegetables.


Fruit crepes topped with powdered sugar ended the meal

as we anxiously waited for the finale when Kate always sang

“God Bless America” written by Irving Berlin before the war.

As it neared, we stood, and Mama and Papa took their places

on either side of me. We put our hands over our hearts

as if the radio was the American flag and tears ran down

my parents’ cheeks as they sang in their Hungarian accents:

“God bless America, land that I love.

Stand beside her and guide her

Through the night with the light from above.”

Kate Smith always ended the hour-long show with

“Thanks for listening” but we were the grateful ones.





Margaret Duda - Pushcart Prize nominee poet, short story writer, non-fiction author of five books, playwright, and journalist, Margaret Duda's latest book is entitled "I Come from Immigrants" and was published in July of 2023 by Kelsay Books. The 122 page book includes 26 poems, some of her Hungarian immigrant parents, are over 100 years old. The cover is a mourning portrait of her paternal grandmother. Her fine art photographer son Paul designed the cover and prepared the photos for publication.

Two Poems by John Drudge

 



Ever Be


Feel your sadness

Feel your losses

There’s no good time

For anything

So you might as well be

Whatever

You can be

Let it drill down

Be messy

Be profound

And be as wrong

As you can possibly be

Fail hard

Crash

Boom

Bam

Be stronger

In the broken places

Be something

More than you thought

You could ever be



Shaking


Euclid’s fifth postulate

Hurts my brain

No parallels

No contradictions

2000 years of failure

Bottomless nights

Curved lines

Extinguishing

Along the shortest path

Pushing outward

Crumpling at the lip

Infinitely

But never reaching the edge

Arcs of circles

Hidden universes

Folding

Out of nothing

Paradoxical and absurd

Never exceeding

A definite limit

Infinitely long

Within a finite space

All angles eventually

Returning to zero

In a spherical geometry

Intersecting

Unbounded

Undefined

Necessarily relative

Like a broken off lid

Shaking in a tin can





John Drudge is a social worker working in the field of disability management and holds degrees in social work, rehabilitation services, and psychology.  He is the author of seven books of poetry: “March” (2019), “The Seasons of Us” (2019), New Days (2020), Fragments (2021), A Long Walk (2023), A Curious Art (2024) and Sojourns (2024) . His work has appeared widely in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies internationally. John is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.

Two Poems by Lynda Tavakoli

 



WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?


When you sleep, do you think of them in your dreams?

I do wonder about that. And I think it must be easier

to partner the devil than to sift through lies

that burn and scald and break the rest of us.


I pity you.


For while the rising souls of Gazan dead

find peace in martyrdom, you will face the sentence

of your own deliverer; past deeds forever rotting

in an unforgiving coffin of your inhumanity.



THIS DECENT LIFE


My pheasants have a life,

a decent life,

their thirsts satisfied

with a single swallow,

their hunger soothed

by offerings of easy kindliness.

Easy kindliness, and the knowing

that decency does not always afford

safe passage, even for a simple bird.


Her shredded body lay on the field,

a spill of fresh silage

sprinkled over her like buckshot -

a foot missing, innards laid bare

by the cut of the blades

and a freckling of feathers

peeled from their pink bones -

still warm as she was lifted.


I buried the pieces of her

in a place her friends might know,

her lost presence new to them

in the aftermath. A decent burial.

But what to say about so small a thing,

these words about a bird and not a bird

no solace to the left behind,

no succour to the suffering,

no answer to the never-ending pain of war.





Lynda Tavakoli lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where she facilitates an adult creative writing class and is a tutor for the Seamus Heaney Award for schools.

A poet, novelist and freelance journalist, Lynda’s writings have been published in the UK, Ireland, the US and the Middle East, with Farsi and Spanish translations. She has been winner of both poetry and short story prizes in Listowel, The Westival International Poetry Prize and runner- up in The Blackwater International Poetry Competition and Roscommon Poetry Competition.

Her poems have also appeared in The Irish Times, New Irish Writing. Lynda’s debut poetry collection, ‘The Boiling Point for Jam’ is published by Arlen House and includes these three poems about the different aspects of war.


Tuesday 11 June 2024

Ten Haiku Poems by David Hoppe

 




Ten Haiku Poems

 


Six-foot waves white caps


filling dreams with caresses


bird’s wing brushing cheek 


 


Alan Ladd stood 5’6”


Veronica Lake was 4’11”


Hollywood glamour 


 


Our bed all tangled


with humidity and dreams


a wet frog croaking 


 


Checking the weather


looking into the future


blue jay crying thief 


 


Hole torn in curtain


makes an image of landscape


as breeze blows through it 


 


We don’t know ourselves


staring back from the mirror


a tree without birds 


 


Sleeping with a gun


anything is possible


stubborn fear hoards night 


 


Children of empire


going wherever they like


handing stray dogs treats 


 


Under sedation


nurse assures me I earned this


empty space between 


 


Cutting cottonwoods


Great trees terrorized by men


pissing on their shoes





David Hoppe’s writing explores the intersection of politics, culture and community. His most recent book, Mondo POTUS: An American Love Story, is a satirical novel that writer Susan Neville has called a “smart and hilarious tour-de-force” with “humour reminiscent of Vonnegut.” Hoppe’s other books include Letters from Michiana, about life on Lake Michigan’s southern shore and Midcentury Boy, a memoir about growing up in a Chicago suburb during the 1950’s and early ‘60s. His work for the stage includes After Paul McCartney; Our Experiences During the First Days of Alligators and Sacred Sands: A Play for Voices, an audio version of which has been installed at the Indiana Dunes National Park. Hoppe graduated from Macalester College and holds graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Bennington College. He lives in Long Beach, IN.


 

Keith Richards and The Beer Bottle Fairy - Fiction Story By Angel Edwards

 




 

Keith Richards and The Beer Bottle Fairy

 

 

Fiction Story

 

By Angel Edwards 

 



One day somewhere in the middle of the late 90s Keith the Great was sitting in a sleazy neighbourhood, pub drinking much cheap beer. As he tilted a brown bottle to his lips, he heard a little voice cry out

“oh, please do not swallow, me …”

Keith stared at the beer bottle in surprise, and then once more brought the drink to his mouth.

“oh, save me, save me, save me and I will give you three wishes “cried the voice.

“Wishes, exclaimed Keith to the voice inside the bottle. I don’t need three wishes I have everything that anybody could possibly want!”

“No please listen to me listen to me save me don’t drink me.”

“I can’t even see you Why don’t you come out of the bottle? Let me take a look at who or what you are. Show yourself.” shouted Keith.

A few people in the bar turn to stare at the mighty guitar player, speaking to a bottle. But his friends shrugged and did not seem too concerned,

“I can’t get out of the bottle. “ said the voice glumly

“Why not?” asked Keith

I just can’t, that’s all. You must use one of your wishes to get me out wish me out.

“what “Keith exploded

Then I will only have two wishes left. You promised me three you rude cheap little rotten...” Keith raised the bottle for the third time.

“ Please!” screamed, the voice with all its tiny little might

“Help me! There must be two wishes that you could wish. There must be two things that you want (after you spend one wish getting me out of the bottle I mean) You can wish for anything, anything at all’

Keith signaled for another beer, and when the beer came, he also ordered three double shots of whiskey.

Now, after drowning all of this, Keith had to admit, he was becoming intrigued with the speaker in the bottle. His curiosity was getting the better of him.

A waiter came by to pick up the empty bottle, containing the invisible fairy, and Keith angrily snatched the bottle from the surprised waiter’s hand.

“So OK, you in there” said Keith peering inside the bottle. “Ready? I’m ready to make a deal with you. First wish is that you get out of the effing bottle!”

Poof

There appeared before Keith’s jaded eyes, a 4-inch fairy complete with gossamer wings and a little magic wand.

“You have two more wishes,” said the little fairy. (She was not bad, looking as far as fairies went, willowy dainty with a pretty face.)

Her voice was birdlike, twittery chirpy, and very trebly.

She fluttered up in front of Keith’s face to demand. “Let’s get on with it. OK you have two more wishes what will they be?” She tapped her foot impatiently. One really couldn’t blame her. She had been stuck in that smelly bottle for three decades. A spurned suitor had banished her into the bottle and she was so anxious to get back home to Fairyland.

“Ok I shall wish for 16 more wishes, ha!” said Keith triumphantly.

“Oh, that’s an old one. Nice try...” the fairy snickered yawned and produced a scroll, a long scroll out of thin air. “Here is the Official Wish Granting Rules Scroll document! ‘She told him.

“It states clearly on fold five: there is to be NO wishing for more wishes and furthermore…”

Mr. Richards had never liked rules. He grabbed at the piece of delicate parchment and tore it in two.

The fairy gasped, but then immediately produced another scroll, identical.

Keith set fire to this one.

The fairy screeched in frustration and disappeared for a little while.

She reappeared suddenly rather huffily said “you know there is a time limit on those wishes! Can we get on with it?”

Keith thought and thought, but nothing came to mind. “Maybe you could use a facelift?” suggested the fairy just trying to be helpful.

This infuriated Keith and he grabbed the little fairy around the middle and squeezed her hard.

“You let me go you bully “cried the fairy, gasping for air.” I will make you! I know magic! I will make you the same size as me!”

“I’ve had just about enough of you!” said Keith letting her go just the same. Some patrons in the bar turned curiously wondering if Keith was all right. His friends still didn’t seem too bothered.

Keith grabbed the fairy and stuffed her headfirst kicking and flailing into his leather pocket.

The poor creature lay there, clutching her magic wand with a breath, knocked out of her.

An enormous brown and bloodshot eye appeared looming down at her.

“I say are you all right in there? Sorry if I hurt you really, I just lost my temper.”

He picked up the fairy and placed her gently as he was able on the dirty red tablecloth.

She sat down in a heap, rubbing her eyes trying to regain her fairy dignity.

“Can we please get out of here? I need the correct setting to make those last two wishes so how much time do I have?” said Keith.

The fairy drew a clock with her wand on the dusty table she calculated the time remaining to be just under 46 minutes.

Keith left enough money on the table to cover his bill and asked very politely if she would care to ride in his pocket.

“No, thank you,” said the fairy decidedly, “your pocket is not comfortable and it’s rather smelly too. No offence I will fly beside you. Nobody here will see me I presume”

The pair left the smoky pub. He staggered into his Rolls-Royce, where the chauffeur awaited the master’s return.

The beer bottle fairy climbed up a thick strand of Keith’s unruly hair and began to whisper in his ear

“Make the wishes make the wishes”

“To The studio then?” asked the chauffeur

“Oh, hell yes!” Keith cried. He had forgotten about the studio session somehow.

Suddenly, he was completely sober. It was like a miniature miracle.

“So, what are your wishes?” Something to do with your music perhaps?”

“I do wish my music would live forever” exclaimed the guitarist.

The beer bottle fairy turned two happy summersaults into the air singing out in her chirpy voice.

“Wish granted, wish granted wish two granted!!”

“Now, only one more, one more wish left, make your wish. What’s your wish one more wish to grant you what’s your wish what...”

Keith held his temper, knowing that he only had one more wish. He was late arriving to the recording studio. All the other musicians in the band had been there for over an hour impatiently waiting for him.

Keith strapped on his marvelous guitar. The first two songs came off with perfection. Problems arose with the third tune. For some reason the rhythm section could not get the ending right. The band played the part again and again, but never to the satisfaction of the guitarist.

“For chrissake I wish you two could get the ending of that damn song right just once!” roared Lord Keith, in frustration.

Presto, the whole band played the tune correctly and then a chill ran up and down Keith spine

Right then, let’s record it now shall we?” said the engineer.

“Oh no,” cried Keith

And try as they may, try as they might the band never quite got the ending down again. Eventually they dropped it from the album, and the song was never released to the public.

But maybe just maybe they sing variations of the song in Fairyland.




 

Angel Edwards is a singer songwriter guitarist published writer published poet with 4 books from Vancouver BC Canada. Member of AFM local 145. BMI SOCAN

THE ANGEL EDWARDS MUSIC ®

http://www.angeledwards.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Five Poems by Stephen Philip Druce

 



PLANET ESTIPORD


On Planet Estipord,

the zig-zag hitcher

stutters in a cannibal

marinade of matador 

monasteries,


distorted disciples embroider

pollen priests in a semitone

barricade of goblin gristle,


as sheepish whisky lullabies

lather phoenix chapters

in a cartoon crescendo

of atomic sitars,


in a gossip pencil tempo,

octave orphans stomp

in alphabet ribbons,


as voodoo violins guffaw

like acrobatic asteroids

in tacky trapeze.



PLANET ARKALADA


On Planet Arkalada,

techno stampedes

of javelin broth, catapult

caramel scoundrels in

a cactus tirade of

striped assassins,


in buckled stupor,

treacle typhoons waltz

in a guttural essence 

of blizzard battalions -


opium cliff zombies

hijack cryptic continents,

as grotty sirens spiral

like capsized caterpillar

embryos in anchored inferno.



PLANET BUKADORA


Pouting buttercup hymns

guzzle uprooted stallions

in falsetto swamps,


ruptured chicanes pulverize

limousine tunnels with

confetti raccoons,


cryptic epitaphs criss-cross

odyssey flamingos in

pounce petulant,


wriggling scalps ransack

chapel lagoons in

twitching grenade swelter,


fornicating forests trickle

afterglow cavalries of

fiasco monsoons in

graffiti gallop, as


swaggering radar gurus

tussle in a pinball of

lacklustre lingo.



PLANET AXORAD


Pampered subway raisins

seesaw in a spluttering

rose hip massacre,


supple lashings of ivory

jackals grovel in

a snared cauldron 

of vampire nectar,


tulip misfits helter-skelter

in heckling pigtail temples,


soprano harvests baptise

evergreen mystics in

a rampant drizzle of

gospel splinters,


serenaded suburbs topple

like baritone lasers, as


nimble dish demons

parade palm tree puritans

in the murky shallows

of scalded saffron.



PLANET FIRRAZIM


Urchin pyramids scamper

scarlet in soliloquy stitch,


jigsaw sparrows tiptoe

tapestry in a rendezvous

of regatta resin,


shrapnel semitones mangle

in squalid scuffle,


polecat prophets varnish

rabble dragons in a fortress

of grubby mania,


stilted kestrel offshoots 

gargle prickly perch quintets,


as rhyming balcony pests

decay in hypersonic gluttony.


Stephen Philip Druce - Is a fifty eight year old poet from Shrewsbury in the UK. His poems are planet based. They describe the events that take place on the planets that exist in his imagination. His work has been published in the UK, India, Canada and the USA. He has written for London theatre plays and BBC Radio 4 Extra.



Five Poems by Ben Adams




the feline canon 

 

cat creeping  

footpath bitumen 

 

jumps the fence 

& rustles leaf 

 

as soft fur falls like a muffled 

gunshot into the garden 

 

& we stop our discussion 

—of King Lear 

 

& Fournier’s lost domain 

Bukowski’s detached self 

 

& how Carson McCullers  

really died 

 

—lean back & look over  

to see the disturbance 

 

gather itself 

lick their paws 

 

& trot off 

oblivious


 

 

fool me 

 

I come back that afternoon 

to her lounging 

in the backyard, smoking  

Kents in the sun 

 

since I left, she’s done  

and hung the washing out  

in tumble dry wind 

and been for a run along the river 

 

undoing all my hard work 

she says, inhaling slowly 

do you ever cycle? I ask 

no, she says 

 

bikes don’t work my arms 

and my legs  

are already too big  

for the rest of me 

 

I thinkglancing down  

at my hands against her thighs 

stretching their smooth  

weight across my lap 

 

could have fooled me



 

Galaxy brain 

 

Supermassive black holes and holiday income. 

You don’t get a lot of either at the edges  

of things: the gig economy, structures of star  

 

systems and societies spinning around absent  

centers that anchor, yes, but also refract.  

Gravitational lensing bends all light and energy  

 

into solitary inhuman singularities of attrition  

and then, a double feature, of capture and  

consumption: late capitalism. So, don’t miss  

 

the show, mate. It’s playing tonight. A retro vibe  

at the re-opened drive-in. The event horizon, fall  

into it. Loose facts and faculty and none of it  

 

matters anyway, all false flags and fake news  

narratives. So, queem up. Biden lost, bro  

do your own research: the vaccine’s shot  

 

and masks don’t work. Let ‘em echo  

edgy, from the center of your universe. 

That galactic, grinning self.


 

 

A synaesthetic history 

 

The colour of my condition  

is Crayola apricot. Paler than 

 

its namesake, the Armenian  

apple: familiar and ancient— 

 

hardier than some delicate peach  

yet also sickly, glazed-sweet 

 

poison stone with maudlin dreams  

of dried out flesh and desert winds 

 

—but representation never quite  

lived up to life now, did it? And 

  

perhaps it’s not a colour, but  

an inkblot that keeps us up 

  

these nights. Circling the Caucasus 

comparing notes—and searching 

  

for the centre of it. Looking  

for the meaning  

 

of hard 

bitter things.



 

rattle it 

 

when the bone orchestra decamped  

once more, marching off to sift through  

old rubble somewhere else, some  

players bedridden and carried on  

makeshift canvas stretchers, still  

clutching horns and percussion  

and stringed instruments into evening 

 

seeing the sky sink low into sunburnt  

ember, night’s half-dark reaching down  

to halt them they played on, a staccato  

symphony hurled against the grey 

enough to rattle it 

enough to keep its silence  

at bay








Ben Adams is an Adelaide, South Australia-based poet, academic researcher, arts reviewer, and part time servo clerk, currently finalising a PhD on Charles Bukowski and postmodern humanism. 

His poems have appeared in various print, online and other formats, including Australian Love Poems, The Grapple Annual, Gloom Cupboard, Clutching at Straws, Carcinogenic Poetry, Red Fez, Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Pyrokinection, Poetry Pacific, Tulpa Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Better Than Starbucks, Eunoia Review, Lite Lit One, Poet’s Corner at In Review, the ‘Raining Poetry’ street-art project, ‘Quart Short’ reading night and ‘Well Versed’ radio poetry series on PBA-FM. 

His first full collection, A Synonym for Sobriety, was published in 2019 after winning that year’s Friendly Street Single Poet Competition, while his personal essay “A Radical Liberalism” appeared the same year in Eclectica Magazine. More recently, he has been a regular arts reviewer for Solstice Media and co-authored several scholarly articles on subjects including ideology and radicalisation, securitised education, masculinities and the incel movement, along with a forthcoming study of vulnerability, extremism and schooling with Lexington Books. 

To find or contact Ben across social media and elsewhere, visit linktr.ee/bts.adams

  

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...