PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 4; Issue 11; November 2020

Alone Against the World by Wayne Russell

Thunderbolt and Lightning by Yash Seyedbagheri

Immodest by John Grey

Paradox by Mohammad Saif

Lullaby for a Politician by Jennifer Bradpiece

Asking for It by Patricia Walsh

Four Years of Service by Noelle Kukenas

Fall Thunder by Michael Lee Johnson

The Unreadable Dictionaries of Our Actions by Ndaba Sibanda

I Dream of My Hiking Boots by Milton P Ehrlich

Raw Realism, a Poetry Manifesto by Gary Beck

 

Alone Against the World by Wayne Russell

Out on his own,

ravaged like a

weathered ship

that washed ashore

a millennium ago.

Awoken one morning
by lone seagulls cry,
the world seems so
very cold now, not
knowing love.

It’s frightening growing
old, out on your own
listening to seagulls cry,
and shy away from looming
thunderstorm, that lashes out
for all the broken hearted 
down below.

 

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.   

 

Thunderbolt and Lightning by Yash Seyedbagheri

lightning jumps jagged

flickering fingers through a window

the thunder unleashes booming tongues

I sharpen tridents of verbs and adjectives

trek into booming tongues taunting

you’re weak, you’re sensitive, you’re not American enough,

make something great,

take something to make someone else great, preferably someone not swarthy

I raise verbs and invectives, trident falls

flailing in fleeting motherfuckers, cocksuckers, assholes, douchewaffles, fascists.

only in my room

do I weep

cue the white wine, a whispering Pinot

which waterboards my wailing

in a hangover

cue another thunderbolt and lightning

more jagged and more heightening

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others. 

 

 

Immodest by John Grey

Grass thrives after a week of rain.
Cormorants dry feathers.
Herons flaunt theirs.
I have nothing to parade before the sun.
A thought takes hold.
My body is a willing servant
to why not this or why not that.
It’s a volley fired against an army of instinct.

It’s July. Trees are flush.
They don’t celebrate their cycles,
merely occupy them.
I am linear so I need feelings.
That’s why I love and don’t just breed.
My heart pumps for a cause.
Yes, tears are tears but my blood is likewise.

Dead raccoon in the slow lane.
Crows can now be crows.
A school offish floats into a sperm whale’s maw.
No one writes their eulogy.
I suffer that human twinge on their behalf.
They may even haunt me.
For all its hoots, no owl has ever seen
a phantom mouse.

I have my own problems.
Birds may sing but not at my bequest.
My actual sphere is smaller
than even I imagine.
At the end, flora, fauna,
give up themselves, their atoms,
to make more of what they are,
and some of what they’re not.

I grab hold of this identity
and try to steer it through life
and then out the other side.
Everything else has this world.
But I’m all I got.
Sensitivity, bravado and brain –
I don’t want to hear
that they’d be better served elsewhere.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

Paradox by Mohammad Saif

Disbelief, is it or inability? 
A conundrum? 
Endeavours to resolve, 
with given complexity, 
the intricacy 
of this universe.
Is it then sardonic? 
These pursuits and
unevenly matched failures, 
to fathom 
the depths of, simple, 
docile emotions pressed 
against absolute perplexity. 

They wonder should they ever strive?

Mohammad Saif is currently working as a Visiting Faculty with Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University, and teaches English and Communication skills at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He earned Distinction in M.Phil. for his dissertation ‘A Study of Selected Narratives on the Tradition and Practice of Al-Hijama’. Driven by sheer alacrity and insatiable thirst for knowledge he seeks growth in the field of academia.

 

 

 

 

Lullaby for a Politician by Jennifer Bradpiece

 

for dad

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 RedactionsThe 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.

 

 Asking for It by Patricia Walsh

It’s my own fault for not laughing

Seeing the gibe through a pain darkly

Flavour of the month being an easy target

Asking for ridicule is my monumental sin.

It’s my own fault for not standing up

Standing ground where none is intended

Being stolen from, getting off my case

A small fee for leaving in peace.

It’s my own fault for stating hard facts

Nobody associates with me now

For fear of congregating with damaged goods

It’s my own fault, just keep quiet.

It’s my own fault, for not being cool enough

Clothes, hair, makeup, beloved to a tee

Sufficient to impress the boys down the road

Five minutes before the buses leave.

It’s my own fault, for being silent.

Bleeding alone through sorry eyes

Scrutinised through the weight of inaction

People knowing my sins before I do.

It’s my own fault, conversing with the unknown

Attempts at decipherment running dry

Fear at what’s not understood, laughed at

In time for me to join in the fun.

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.

 

 

Four Years of Service by Noelle Kukenas

Memories stretched across time and space

San Antonio, Denver, Anchorage, Mountain Home

Mountain Home??? Yes…..it isn’t hell but you can see hell from here

That’s what they said

Lackland AFB – San Antonio TX

Lining up for chow – breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Lining up to march – to class, to get fitted for uniforms, to be physically examined

Lining up for mail – precious connections to my former life and those who love me

Lining up to leave – goodbye basic training

Lowery AFB – Denver CO

Grabbing a bite in the cafeteria before rushing to class

Getting to know my roommate and dorm mates

Going out with new friends to explore a new city

Gosh, this feels just like college – except for the uniforms

Elmendorf AFB – Anchorage AK

Taking the time and effort to form friendships that will last a lifetime and span the globe

Tearfully meeting the President and remembering why I serve

Testing my boundaries with authority – I should know better

Training for Arctic warfare – is this why it’s called the Cold War

Mountain Home AFB – Mountain Home ID

Finally adapting to married life, pregnancy, and the desert

Figuring out how to be a mother while still serving as a soldier

Fighting discrimination from all directions

Finding support from my sisters in uniform – and some of the men

Four years, four bases, four promotions

Many challenges, many friendships, many rewards

Glorious scenery, glorious experiences, glorious personal triumphs

Sisterhood at its best

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!

 

Fall Thunder by Michael Lee Johnson

There is power in the thunder tonight, kettledrums.

There is thunder in this power,

the powder blends white lightening 

flour sifters in masks toss it around.

Rain plunges October night; dancers

crisscross night sky in white gowns.

Tumble, turning, swirl the night away, around,

leaves tape-record over, over, then, pound,

pound repeat falling to the ground.

Halloween falls to the children’s

knees and imaginations.

Kettledrums.

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.amazon.com/Michael-Lee-Johnson/e/B0055HTMBQ%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Michael+Lee+Johnson&type=  Member Illinois State Poetry Society:  http://www.illinoispoets.org/.

 

 

The Unreadable Dictionaries of Our Actions by Ndaba Sibanda

 

 

We are the idioms of our time, our sphere 

for we belong to the same era, ecosphere, 

yet, we are like measly words whose ovaries 

and gist no soul can establish from the glossaries 

of our shady actions. A life whose paths lead to ruin 

as the world struggles with floods or lack of rain. 

Our consumption patterns, our careless lifestyles,

our previous actions and decisions are our dirty files

that should be our proverbs for posterity and stability

yet we fail to infer from the lessons of our stupidity,

from wise sayings. A life whose paths lead to ruin 

as the world struggles with floods or lack of rain. 

 

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.

  

I Dream of My Hiking Boots by Milton P Ehrlich

                               

(I dream my paintings, and then I paint my dreams.)

                                                                                                    Vincent Van Gogh

I look down at my old hiking boots and see 

the Hogencamp Mountain trail that I hiked with my friend, Jack.

He loved to sing as we climbed to the pinnacle of this mountain.

He sang to the open valley bellow, belting out,

“Ol ’Man River,” in a deep bass voice

in memory of our fallen comrade, Al Schwartz.

It never failed to bring tears to our eyes. 

We roasted Shish-kebob in a red wine marinade, 

skewered with onions, peppers and cherry tomatoes. 

The spicy aroma is locked into my senses, 

as does the chocolate-covered halvah 

for dessert—always de-rigueur with a jigger of schnapps.

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.

Raw Realism, a Poetry Manifesto by Gary Beck

The nature of poetry has evolved since the innovation of free verse and now should allow vast latitude of expression. Too many self-appointed guardians of the realm of poetry presume to righteously define the boundaries valid for exploration, arbitrarily excluding what may not appeal to their particular sensibilities. When some of the French Symbolist poets, in particular Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Apollonaire and Valery, shattered the forms used for centuries and created free verse, resistance was automatic from the academics who scorned them. Those poets are venerated today as a vital part of literature.

The last major disturbance in the tranquility of poetry was caused by the Beats, who were dismissed as ill-disciplined, ill-mannered, disreputable advocates of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Now they occupy a respected niche in the cathedral of poetry, having survived alienation from the mainstream despite excursions in autonomous verse, or unrevised stream of consciousness ramblings. Their contribution exploded some of the restrictions on style and content, but their accomplishments have become stratified,  while their disruption of incipient ossification has been forgotten. They are now as tame as Byron, Keats and Shelly, other forbearers who lifted the torch of rebellion against arbitrary constrictions on subject matter.

Traditionally, the self-anointed custodians of verse attempt to regulate the form, style and content of poetry and deny the validity of differing efforts. Many of the janissaries of poetry, sheltered by universities, grants, or private support, reject the adventurous spirits who seek other directions. The issues of our times are at least as consequential as effusive celebrations of the seasons, laudatory odes on public occasions, or indulgence in self-absorbed introspection.

The ancient Greeks raised poetry to the acme of public attention, with presentations of poetic drama at annual major festivals that were socio-religious-political-artistic competitions, with a laurel wreath for the winner. Today the most energetic presentations are poetry “slams”, crude performances of diverse material in rapid transit deliveries that contradict the fundamental needs of poetry; careful attention, time to consider the meaning and an atmosphere conducive to understanding, rather than raucous burlesque.

The only way to sustain poetry in the Information Age and maintain its relevance is to make it meaningful to audiences conditioned to the internet, ipod, Blackberry and text messaging. The dictum: “Form follows function” is still pertinent. If the duties of the poet can be conceived to include chronicling our times, protesting the abuses of government, raising a voice against injustice, speaking out about the increasing dangers that threaten human existence, it is critical to allow substance not to be shackled by style, content not to be constricted by form.

Rhyme and meter were once the only practiced format of poetic expression. Now they are increasingly marginalized. Perhaps metaphor and simile are not more sacred. We must aspire to emotionally engage new audiences, involve them in the illumination that poetry can transmit, preserve the existence of a vital form of human expression that is being overwhelmed by a saturation of easily accessible, diverting entertainment. We must also develop new voices that may achieve a dynamic readership by offering an alternative to brilliant wordsmiths. We need poets who will offer meaningful and significant truths to a public saturated by confusing information and nearly jaded by ongoing visual assaults on their sensibilities.

 

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 28 poetry collections, 11 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 2 books of plays. Published poetry books include:  Dawn in CitiesAssault on NatureSongs of a ClerkCivilized WaysDisplaysPerceptionsFault LinesTremorsPerturbationsRude AwakeningsThe Remission of OrderContusions and Desperate Seeker (Winter Goose Publishing. Forthcoming: Learning Curve and Ignition Point). Earth Links, Too Harsh For PastelsSeveranceRedemption Value and Fractional Disorder (Cyberwit Publishing). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). and Wavelength (Cyberwit Publishing). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Three Comedies by Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). Gary lives in New York City.

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PPP Ezine Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine Volume 4; Issue 10; October 2020

Boredom by Donna Dallas

Oh Star, oh Star! by Nathan Anderson

apprehend by Jude VC

Misery by Mohammad Saif

Nineteen Minutes to Bedtime by Robert Ronnow

Cherished Daydreaming by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Serenity by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

July 4th, 2020 Itasca, Illinois by Michael Lee Johnson

Wave by Marianne Szlyk

A Winter Walk by John Anthony Fingleton

Dear Therapist by Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein

 

Boredom by Donna Dallas

I wash this face                        this soft peached skin

wash the day’s dirt       

soap my body / touch the softness / melt into myself / wash away sins

while a spider quietly weaves                           in and out

of a little web it formed in the corner         under the window

that hasn’t been opened in ages         I see my skin droops / slightly                   here and there

at the jaw line / the eye line / I see it / you don’t

the web is almost perfect             what will he eat

this spider       furry and brown with its little life pulp packed into an orb

how’d he find his way in here and

how’d we get to this place / this time / this year

the heart is strong             so strong       it knows no end only

a means to its own

I watch the spider             I have seen spiders in that very same spot before

some beckoning from one                     spider

to another              how long could they truly live      

how long could a little creature persevere

in a window frame

how very ancient it all seems           when the spider is part of this daily

ritual                  wash and weave                    in fact

if this spider disappears            I fear            I will ache to know

what fate has become of it

 

Donna Dallas studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to study under William Packard, founder and editor of the New York Quarterly.  Her poems can be read in Horror Sleaze Trash, Beatnik Cowboy and Zombie Logic among many other publications. She recently published her novel, Death Sisters, with Alien Buddha Press and currently serves on the editorial team for Red Fez.   

 

Oh Star, oh Star! by Nathan Anderson

 

 

The star of accusation writes kindly to me
as I sit in my Buddha repose
casting salt at chickens’ feet
                                       ‘Oh, Henry’

Tired of milk butter for blood
wishing with a tired suit
and a tired hand
and a tired longing for meat and pistachios and
paper
                                       ‘Again screaming’

Free me of your buckwheat canoe
your strange expanding lithographs
and ebullience
like a child
lacking…

                                       ‘Concord on third and fourth again’

Nathan Anderson is a writer from Canberra Australia. His work has previously appeared in Otoliths and Gone Lawn. You can find him at nathanandersonwriting.home.blog.

apprehend by Jude VC

don’t say conviction is what followed but rather understanding

in the face of some great question mark

or another we all have to face whatever it

is (the question, that is)

but of course in its face what can you really say but to face

another side of

being or something (else) it shows

It’s not agreeing to anything not 

even to disagree but to

know and get it for the first time ever

and if that causes certainty

then it is not in viewpoint but it

is in apprehension

so alright call it by certainty

call it by anything as long as it’s right.

Jude’s work has previously appeared in Soft Cartel and is forthcoming in Current Accounts.

 

 

 

Misery by Mohammad Saif

The sun departs assuring hope,

Knocking perpetual miseries.

People yearn for a fulfilling life,

Apprehensive of qualms and mysteries.

The thought of hope exits the minds,

Relentless damage done to world,

Takes hope away, and causes blind

The eyes of minds of all.

Promises broken soon than made,

Each day sun rises and shines bright.

The brightness- but devoid of light;

They wonder should they ever strive?

Mohammad Saif is currently working as a Visiting Faculty with Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University, and teaches English and Communication skills at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He earned Distinction in M.Phil. for his dissertation ‘A Study of Selected Narratives on the Tradition and Practice of Al-Hijama’. Driven by sheer alacrity and insatiable thirst for knowledge he seeks growth in the field of academia.

 

 

 

 

Nineteen Minutes to Bedtime by Robert Ronnow

Jack just had a big fight with his son Zach about it. He said
I’m tired of hearing how you’re too tired to do your homework. You’re
not too tired to play basketball or Xbox. That was that after Zach said
Whatever.
                    Visiting the nursing home you think Never
will I allow myself to live long enough to end like that, that’s
a fact. But promises are broken all the time, to others and the self,
and that one probably will be too unless your face is shattered
into shards of broken glass, by accident.
                                                                         Then it will be quiet, too quiet.
Day by day goes by until the day you receive news of your disease,
personal, unique, irrevocable, musical and factual, withal.
That’s that you think but in fact it’s not. You discover (circle with a dot) dying’s
much like living. That that’s true until the body just stops barking, breathing.
Whatever.
                    Salvation in the details (sub-atomic particles). Granite
or sandstone, ash or oak, Odysseus or King Lear. Get it? Not yet.
For someone who doesn’t want to be anonymous, Jack’s anonymity runs deep.
His work sunk in a tar pit or peat. The worthwhile effort is to meditate
on that, accept and repeat.
                                                  Like a flat spun nickel, shiny sunny side down,
shadowy silvery moon up.

  

Robert Ronnow’s most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

 

Cherished Daydreaming by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Sitting by the road’s edge, I watch life go by.

I see men, women, old and young people.

They carry on their faces their realities and, beyond,

I try to imagine what really lead them to move on, 

but cannot be seen: their well-kept secrets and desires,

their high esteem, their own motto, their ego.

They are striving to be individuals,

rather than simply one more.

Sometimes I see even myself,

mixed in the crowd, perhaps a little lost,

but firmly believing to be on the walk too.

I feel we are all connected in an invisible web

and hope that each of us will reach,

at its own time, the promised land,

that Canaan where milk and honey spill

and evil never finds shelter.

       

 

Edilson Afonso Ferreira , 76 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Widely published in selected international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67, after retiring as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London in November of 2018.  He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.

 

 

Serenity by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

 

I give myself a break.

I cannot give myself hope.

I look into the sun.

It shows me no pity.

I drown in sunlight.

The heavy leaves provide me

solace, but no pity.

The tree falls on me.

I let it crush me.

The shadows bury me.

I grow like a seed.

I fill the noise with silence.

I feel whole this way.

I am like the tree that fell on me.

The scattered leaves are my blood.

Under the earth the old me rests.

I feel no pain, only serenity.

There is a pulse in my trunk.

My fingers are the thin branches.

The leaves are my eyelashes.

I have no face.

I am like the tree that fell on me.

I sleep standing up.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal lives in California and works in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Crossroads Magazine, Kendra Steiner Editions, and Setu Magazine.

 

 

 

 

July 4th, 2020 Itasca, Illinois by Michael Lee Johnson

(At Hamilton Lakes)

Stone carved dreams for men

past and gone, freedom fighters

blow past wind and storms.

Patriotism scared, etched in the face of cave walls.

There are no cemeteries here for the old, 

vacancies for the new.

Americans incubate chunks

of patriotism over the few centuries,

a calling into the wild, a yellow fork stabs me.

Today happiness is a holiday.

Rest in peace warriors, freedom fighters, 

those who simply made a mistake.

I gaze out my window to Hamilton Lakes

half-drunk with sparkling wine,

seeing lightning strikes ends,

sparklers, buckets full of fire.

Light up the dark sky, firecrackers.

Filmmakers, old rock players, fume-filled skies,

butts of dragonflies.

Patriotism shakes, rocks, jerks

across my eye’s freedom locked

in chains, stone-carved dreams.

*This year, 2020, due to COVID-19 I watch fireworks off my condo balcony alone,

share darkness alone, share bangers in the open sky.

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.amazon.com/Michael-Lee-Johnson/e/B0055HTMBQ%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Michael+Lee+Johnson&type=  Member Illinois State Poetry Society:  http://www.illinoispoets.org/.

 

 

Wave by Marianne Szlyk

 

 

After Aquarela

Taking up the whole screen,

the wave turns to glass,

solid too slippery for

ship or whale or plastic

that clots stretches of sea.

The wave hides life

that scurries and clings

to ground miles below. 

Sole object of the lens,

the wave swells beyond

what this multiplex screen

grants.  We gaze

to find meaning

in this scene without

human or animal,

without ship or land.

We wait for a human voice

or violin or dog’s bark

to break the spell.  

We won’t hear the wave

break its heart on stone.

Marianne Szlyk’s poems have appeared in of/with, bird’s thumb, Cactifur, Mad Swirl, Setu, Solidago, Ramingo’s Porch, Bourgeon, Bradlaugh’s Finger, the Loch Raven Review, Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh’s art. Her full-length book, On the Other Side of the Window, is now available from Pski’s Porch and Amazon. She also edits the blog-zine The Song Is…, a summer-only publication: http://thesongis.blogspot.com

  

A Winter Walk by John Anthony Fingleton

In was a staggered wind that winter,

The kind that comes and goes with ease,

One minute it was a howling gale –

The next it was a breeze.

The beach was drawn and empty,

With debris from the sea,

And rolling waves that came and went,

As nature tends to be.

A desolated beauty,

Which only lost souls could employ,

A substituted happiness,

That only the insane would enjoy.

One gull drifting on the airwaves,

Gave out a primeval scream,

As if to remind a forgotten world,

This was once how it had been…

An Abandoned Lane

I walk along this abandoned lane,

Under a halo of tangled trees,

Lost and overgrown-

Now in the company of weeds.

I remember when it used to dance,

To the sound of children’s games,

Snowball fights in winter;

Or sheltering from the light summer rain.

I find the old scarred willow tree,

Where once we children carved our names,

And wonder, where they all are now?

All scattered to the winds.

The songbirds are still singing,

Undisturbed by my tracing feet;

Enhanced by the silence

As if nature found its peace.

I am the intruder-

So I steal silently away,

Before I break the magic spell,

Of those far off distant days.

Dear Rajnish,

The information you requested.

John Anthony Fingleton was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. Now living in Paraguay South America. Poems published in journals and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, India and France as well as three plays produced. Poet of the Year (2016) Destiny Poets International Community. Poems read on Irish and American radio as well in Spanish on South American broadcasts. Contributed to four books of poetry for children. Has poems published in Spillwords, Alien Budda, The Red Door, Piker Press,Super Poetry Highway, The Writers Magazine, Ariel Chart and numerous national and international journals, blogs, reviews, and anthologies. Poet of the Month (March 2019) Our Poetry Archive. Poet of the Month (April 2019) The League of Poets. First solo collection ´Poems from the Shadowlands´ was published in November 2017, ‘Words That Found Me’ December 2019, ‘Poems From The Banks’ January 2020, ‘Poems from a Restricted Place’ April 2020 and ‘Secret Fjords’ May 2020. All which are available on Amazon

Dear Therapist by Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein

I feel to stay in bed forever.

I look outside helplessly.

Birds chirping don’t interest me,

I am a night owl myself.

I don’t feel like talk to anyone.

The bed is more dear to me than anyone.

I watch TV endlessly.

I eat and eat.

I don’t look at mirror.

I don’t brush my teeth

or brush my hair.

How many days haven’t I washed my face?

It is easy to say

‘Go to a therapist ‘.

Can the therapist make me forget,

what I have gone through.

All years of pain,

from torture and abuse,

Finally, I gave up on life.

It is easy here.

No one to bother.

No sunlight,

no reality.

I don’t want to think what I was

 and What I am now.

I feel and see all signs of deterioration of body.

Dear Therapist,

Can you bring back what I have lost.?

Can you erase those haunting memories of pain?

Can you make the life  as it used to be?

You can listen only,

 and advise to seek my true self.

Your soothing words can’t bring back what I have lost.

Dear therapist,

 how would you know what it felt like

Because you weren’t there.

You may nod as if you understand,

But you weren’t there.

Dear therapist,

 I don’t need you.

The way I am going, the end seems near.

My deteriorating body will take me to my final sleep.

I need not to think about to put off  my misery by myself.

Soon, I will be out of my misery.

Is not all want ?

Soon, there will be No More Pain.

Only silence and solitude.

The moon and peeping stars depressed,

And weeping willow only to cry in my name.

And no one else.

 

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 tts.hussein@gmail.com.