A sparrow whistled a song into my ear last night.
Death is always a heartbeat away, life is an echo,
snuffed out all too soon.
The grass sings a serenade, soothing natures fleeting
While an ancient lullaby reaches its crescendo, she
dances upon this midnight dream cadence.
Peering through tear stained windows, outside where
innuendos swirl in vacant breeze.
We were here, do you remember?
Yes, it was we, when we were one and not two,
cascading and thus sealed over, simplified by
the finality, reaching its terminus point.
Life plays the sad song so out of tune, death stares
us down like a red-tailed hawk in the midday heat.
Wayne Russell is or has been many things in his 49 years on this planet, he has been a creative writer, world traveler, graphic designer, former soldier, and former sailor. Wayne has been widely published in both online and hard copy creative writing magazines. From 2016-17 he also founded and edited Degenerate Literature. In late 2018, the kind editors at Ariel Chart nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize for the poem Stranger in a Strange Town. “Where Angels Fear” was his debut e-book, but due to unforeseen circumstances, it was pulled from the publishers’ list of titles recently.
Translsted by Artur Komoter
I do not remember yesterday,
I do not know what will be tomorrow,
but I know
I’m only here
for a moment.
is a continuous moment.
The substitute of all
Eliza Segiet is Jagiellonian University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. She completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Penal Fiscal and Economic Law, and Creative Writing at Jagiellonian University, as well as Film and Television Production in Łódź. She has published three poetry collections and two monodramas.
When I say, “I knew this would happen,”
my mother looks like she wants to slap me.
And who could blame her.
I’m portending my father
landing in the emergency room
the very day the old dog passed
with the same certainty one might lament
a full glass toppling off a table’s edge.
Where were my minders?
I had nearly misplaced an entire continent.
I turn on the television to keep the younger dog company.
Ernest Cossart’s Irish brogue gently chastises,
“Ah, there’s a real piece of idiocy—woman’s instinct—
every slab-sided female in the world is a crystal gazer—
she’s magic. She can fore-tell the future—like a politician.”
Flustered, I grab my water bottle, recheck the emergency number.
As I wheel around before closing the door,
I see Ginger Rogers, black and white in soft focus.
She spins around at her door, facing me
and an off-camera Cossart.
All the way down the hall her plucky voice follows me,
“And don’t you worry about me pop, cause I can take care
of myself alright! Goodbye pop!”
Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She tries to remain active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene. Jennifer has interned at Beyond Baroque and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in various anthologies, journals, and online zines, including Redactions, The Common Ground Review, and The Bacopa Literary Review . She has poetry forthcoming in Breath & Shadows among others. Jennifer’s manuscript, Lullabies for End Times will be available in early 2020 by Moon Tide Press.
Grating at extremeties, like the sheer cold
Over winter blanketed, a part to play
Traitored, or otherwise, importance to call
The basic ingredient is the willing heart.
Life-partners to the fore, smugly congregating
In enclosed spaces not for the rest of us.
Brusquely rebuffing attempts at conversation
About their situation, intrusive, thanks.
I remain a stand-alone, despite predictions
Of a collective over summer, look out or not
Several broken hearts liter the roadway
To an earlier heaven, fitting in nicely.
No problem with insanity, broadcast over coffee
Not in any company should these jokes be shared
Strictly smoking in confined spaces, to mockery
Counting in times it hits you in the face.
Concerned, perhaps? Preserving acquaintance
For merriment alone, cussing the depressed.
Parallels with Ballymun hit the wrong spot
Reading comfort but kicked in the teeth.
Relaxing at its peak, reading the irrelevant
Taking notice of sorrow for once in a life
Conspicuous by absence, still overlooked
Gambolling from drink to drink a speciality.
Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.
Rushing up the escalator from the subway to the street
“Move to the right, people!”
Darting into the crosswalk while the ‘walk’ sign blinks yellow
Pushing the heavy glass door open and sprinting across the lobby
Catching my breath, impatiently shifting my weight from one foot to the other, waiting in line
Damn security protocol!
Speed walking to the elevators, ducking inside the closest one, willing the doors to close
Finally, the doors open! Making a mad dash out of the elevator and down the hall
Trying not to trip over myself
The guard nods and opens the door for me
I rapidly walk down the aisle to the table, thankful I made it on time
Moving slowly through the doorway and down the hall
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle
Nodding when I pass by the others as they call out encouragement
The line of passengers winds slowly out of the building to the bus
Carefully navigating each step onto the bus and finding my seat
Absorbing the scenery outside the window, grateful for the slow crawl of the morning commute
Descending the bus as carefully as I boarded it
Joining another slow but steady line to enter the building
Security check, escort to the elevator, escort off the elevator, down the narrow hall, no rush
Through the side door, past the bailiff, to the table
Wondering if my public defender is going to be late – agai.
Noelle Kukenas began writing around the age of nine and continues to this day. She enjoyed working in several career fields, many which allowed her to contribute as a technical writer in some capacity. Her published works include a short story in Scraps To Scribes and poetry in Sisterhood 4: We Are Women. Recently retired from the nonprofit sector, Noelle enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, creating havoc with her grandchildren, and enjoying the California sunshine!
That he was a towering figure was no debate
That he was a ‘giraffe’ was a rarity to celebrate
He called himself a giraffe, though some found it odd
He found it a tall order why they would fuss or be sad
Numerous souls on the streets raised eyebrows
Each time he appeared they gave him stares
Not that he was a superstar by any measure
Out of courtesy, they would say it was a pleasure
Oddly their gentility made him feel like an idol of sorts!
Behind his back they said he had a habit of saying truths
Which meant that possibly he was economical with the truth!
Maybe people didn’t understand his register, he was no youth
I`ll die if I don’t read a book week in week out, he would say
Liar or a bookworm? Did his hyperbole get other people astray?
In the face of other people`s incompetence, he said: great job!
Was that a lie or a piece irony? When they said liar he didn’t sob
One analyst said anyone who called himself a giraffe had an idiolect
Which could confuse people, and on how to say things he had to select
Ndaba Sibanda is the author of Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded:The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers Of Child Marriages:Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections and Poetry Pharmacy. Sibanda’s work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Some of his work has been translated into Serbian.
Are you awake
to what you
choose to do
with the rest
of your life?
Sit, stand, walk
or mark time.
Swim in an ocean,
hang from a tree,
or bury yourself
deep in the ground.
Cry about the past
or be a circus clown
without a frown
about the future.
can sometimes be
a necessary time out.
Try being present
for the present,
and, you can fly
with one wing.
Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87- year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.
Poems are hard to create
they live, then die, walk alone in tears,
resurrect in family mausoleums.
They walk with you alone in ghostly patterns,
memories they deliver feeling unexpectedly
through the open windows of strangers.
Silk roses lie in a potted bowl
memories seven days before Mother’s Day.
Soak those tears, patience is the poetry of love.
Plant your memories, your seeds, your passion,
once a year, maybe twice.
Jesus knows we all need more
then a vase filled with silk flowers,
poems on paper from a poet sacred,
the mystery, the love of a caretaker−
multicolored silk flowers in a basket
handed out by the flower girl.
Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1072 new publications, his poems have appeared in 39 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson, has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018. 210 poetry videos are now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089. Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings: The Best in Contemporary Poetry, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1722130717.
https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Michael+Lee+Johnson&type= Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/.
As if with GPS you don’t have to know
how to find your way down a mountain
after you’ve taken a wrong turn
after it’s too late to go back
when you’re losing light
and if you don’t get off the peak
you will spend the night with no blanket
hardly any food
the water mostly gone
and bears sighted on the slope.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). Ride the Pink Horse is forthcoming from Spartan Press. With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
I love you
More than I care to admit
It hurts sometimes
How much I love you
My love is jagged
It is fierce
It is loyal
But it is love
The truest form
Do not not quit on me
Because I will never quit you.
Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company. Look for Kelli’s first book of short stories and poems in 2019. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice among others. Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram@KelliJGavin Blog found at kellijgavin.blogspot.com
When you feel that you feel nothing,
When you feel nothing, when he loves the other one.
When you feel numb at his pain
When his joy doesn’t transpire into you,
You know then.
When you are insensitive to his other women,
When you stop to pretend to be happy,
When you stop posting pics in Facebook,
Trying to convince others all is well,
When you are not scared of people gossip,
Then ask yourself.
When you feel that relationship is just a contract
Merely debit and credit,
When you consider that relationship has become just a piece of paper,
Then ask yourself.
When you stop trying to win him back,
When you two are together for benefits,
When you know anger towards him has left you,
And the hatred and jealousy are gone,
Then you are just a room mate under the same roof.
And then, you know the love has ended,
And the relationship of convenience has began.
Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein is an aesthete from Dhaka, Bangladesh & MA holder in British&American Literature.Now a Free-lance writer. She writes weekly column for Different Truths Publications, India featuring humanitarian to diverse issues. She has contributed to other news portals. Her poems appeared in literary magazines. She has contributed to five Anthologies so far. She loves travelling and participates in recitals She seeks beauty from the blade of grass to twinkling stars. She Aestheticism and humanism are the essence of her existence.She is the International Fellow 2020 of International Human Rights Arts Festival. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singh, Laudeep. Death is my Only Beloved. Gurugram: Invincible, 2020. Print.
“Poetry”, one that has a long and hallowed tradition, is not everyone’s cup of tea anymore. It was that, in the beginning, even long after it was born, even in its Romatic youth and its later adult age. That was because it belonged to everyone, was written with Everman in mind by Everman’s pen. With increasing ratiocination and cerebralness entering it, it was divorced from Everyman’s life and its concerns. Laudeep Singh’s poems take you back to that long forgotten past when poetry did not belong to ivory towers. In his debut collection Death is my Only Beloved he succeeds in bringing together themes that rise from the soil of life and go back to it. In nearly a hundred poems Singh has touched life and death in so many ways and from so many angles that one finds something or other to connect with with every turn off page.
Although Singh declares “I do not know where to start”, he chooses the right piece to start his collection with. “Conked out” juxtaposes images with a shocking virtuosity. Bringing together broken dreams with malnourished babies is possible only in a consciousness that has place for both of them, probably having lived in a subjective reality shaped by them. It is this very beginning that unfurls the standard of death, the beloved that will be visible from nearly everywhere in the demesne of Singh’s mental landscape. It’s not that he writes only of death. He writes intimately of life too. What else could he do, having lived it at least once? In “Flux” he brings life and death, lie and truth together and melds them into one inseparable whole. Although not “born blind”, the poet worked towards acquiring that selective blindness to the binaries that he so well portrays in his poem “The seers of the world”. The choice of the term “seer”, the tone of the poem and its theme bind it to the age when poetry used to be in its Romantic youth.
Although it’s been declared fallacious, and has been cautioned against by all modern critics, let me bring in the personal-subjective here. Singh’s uncanny take on death and his close relationship with it may have something to do with how he has lived his life and how life has lived with and around him. When he writes of “the demise/ of a loved one” in “Purgatory”, his tone reflects on his personal quest for the discovery of the truth of life-death too. Death is his constant companion, the burning flame of his muse, and his metaphor-moths come flying to burn in it. How else can one explain the juxtaposition of a “stillborn baby”, a “destroyed nest” and a “plucked flower” at the end of his poem “Incarceration”?
“There is no art of living” takes a slanting and successful jibe at the eponymous multinational franchisee, although there’s no way it can be proven in a court of law. The pathological need of the popular brand to limit life only to “the so called ‘goodness’”, and to miss its “totality” binds it to failure. There are pieces like “I drink to exist” that project the poet’s persona, as mentioned in the preface, on to the poem. It is where these obvious shadows fall the most that the intensity of Singh’s poetry is sometimes less, for his muse is not Baudelairean, as he declares through his poem “Consciousness”.
Although the poet tries to negate the binaries in some of his poems, his poems tend to affirm them, the central binary being death-life. He adds to it me-you, sin-innocence, today-tomorrow, good-bad, intentionally-unintentionally etc. in his poem “We all die in sin”. Add those binaries to “Our sleeping bed is our grave” and what we get is that Singh writes invoking the memento mori tradition. There are shades of the themes of the Graveyard School in many of his poems, albeit the tone is unquestionably his own. The antepenultimate stanza even indulges in a playful sophistry with the sleep-rest-life-death axis upon which this poetic tradition revolves. The philosopher-poet goes against the spirit of Aristophanes’ comic creation myth in his own comic manner in the poem “Now I know”. In fact he affirms the very opposite of what Aristophanes claimed: “no two individuals in this world/ are made for each other”. He goes on to deliver a message that no ardent supporter of monogamy would like to be read and spread. The most natural question on the theme of death is “where do dead people go?” Myths were woven to answer that question. Religion and theology worked overtime to conceptualize heaven, hell, purgatory and limbo to give a theoretically sound reply to that question. Singh’s reply is simple. They go to the place “where all people meet/ after death”.
If pain can ever be clothed in indifference that is translucent at places, but never transparent, then Singh’s “Marriage” shows how to do that. The father-son binary is the most central binary of the collection, probably even more central than the life-death binary. It is definitely more potent and gives power to the lines it appears in. “Dirge” posits “the art of crying” as the one essential art to be learnt in this life. The poet’s strain of the postmodern relishing of deconstruction appears time and again in a line here or a poem there. “Freedom is bondage” takes the loose thread in the narrative of the desirability of concepts like freedom and choice, pulls at it line after line, and reveals the naked truth in all its simplicity at the end.