Monthly Archives: November 2013

JOHN SMALLSHAW

Belle.                                                                          

The church bell rings out,
clanging.
Sunday seems to bring out the best in folks,
she,
pokes me in the chest, says,
‘it might be for the best, if you tried to sleep’
I do,
but keep my ears peeled, eyes closed, lips sealed,
reach out to touch,
love her so much
and she,
responds dramatically, using words ungrammatically and then quite unilaterally decides to take the lead.
I feed her need as she feeds mine, unaware that each and every time the bonds become those hills and peaks we climb together.

Later when we’re drinking tea and thinking that the church bell rung for me,I ask her,
‘did it ring for you?’
she takes my hand again and shows me one more time just what to do,
Moaning quietly the words,
‘I so love you’
I love her too.
John Smallshaw
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John Smallshaw ,57 years old and now writing for fun.He works in the West End of London.He gets his inspiration from surfacing memories and sights of the city,there is something to inspire everyone who have eyes that will see.His education was mostly on the riverbanks and canal-ways of Lancashire as he really did not like going to school,His favorites poets are,T S Eliot,Shelley,Auden &Young. His website link  www.johnsmallshaw.com.

JOHN HENNESSY

HERO IN THE CHURCH OF UNREST

Revisiting the hero of this church
through Vailsburg all morning
and right across Newark, down neck

to the Passaic, the Ironbound’s listing
dark foundries—the cleft of my chin,
adventurous shaving, bumper-kissed

pate an eight-ball, I’m quick as spit
polishing black Frye boots, chains
on belt and ankles, jaw to fist

thinking of Yusef, left for dead,
the rest stop in Camden, his tables
covered with cloth from Cape Verde,

wine-simmered mussels, steam-cracked
longnecks, garlic soup from the Portuguese—
in catacombs full of candles, wax

effigies, beneath the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, I’m minking
my long leather jacket, packing

umbrella—I’m breaking the frame,
mixing it like Whitman—

Turnpike Peleus one minute, quick Thetis
the next—shifting through kills
and meadowlands—then both at once:

muscleman and creatrix
wrestling on the river beach—
become raven, cypress, spotted tigress,

I’ve prayed distillery fire, shunted offerings
through smokestack—hemped
and tied, extravagant knots—slipping

myself across, through, betwixt
myself, the Butch, the Femme, the Switch,
equally remixed,

a real marriage of mind and body,
I’m great with great Achilles,
my cave beneath the myrtle trees—

Or: just seeing clearly what’s
always been there, the world
a mirror I’m moving toward,

and it anticipates me,
my Caeserian changes in mood—

and from here on it’s buttered rolls
at breakfast, cream for my coffee, beans
and toast for my Vailsburg of the soul.

Come on, come to Newark with me.

Speak to me like Pushkin to his horse
and we’re catapulted, unsaddled, drinking
ourselves catalytic, ecstatic, more

Heroic, more filled with love
for the world, we love it so much
we won’t settle for it, the way

it’s been done. We’ll go birding
for Sweeney, le Cardinal
in the Church of Unrest—jumping

on tables, crunking in crosswalks,
incanting slowly down HOV fast-lanes—
get the mayor on the phone, the devil!

No, I won’t go back to Cryan’s alone,
where someone’s always falling off
the barstools, the hero’s pint

is just a spot of head
at the bottom of his glass, bartender
nowhere in sight—I’m hard

as sea urchin, wet as cave walls—
I’ll listen now, I’m listening now—

There you are, speak to me friends,
forget Achilles, never mind Thetis,
here’s my son, and look, he’s armed

with his brother—we’ll overthrow
the cranks on Olympus, Broad Street, or any
of the heavens, still moving

at the lyric’s zero Kelvin—reinvent me
(with a head full of fire) even after I’m gone—
call Pushkin’s blacksmiths, address me

as one of them and I’m as good as become,
stripped to the waist, torso darkened
by soot from the forge, Baltic sun—

listen, we’re digging a trench
through Newark and filling in a horse-path,
a sprint across the bridges—with a flask

and cold chicken in my saddlebags
I’ll leave us sheltered
under cranes, galloping up the docks.

John Hennessy
179978_10151722303143465_565576739_nJohn Hennessy is the author of two collections, Coney Island Pilgrims and Bridge and Tunnel, and his poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2013, The Believer, Poetry, Fulcrum, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and The Yale Review. Hennessy went to Princeton University on a Cane Scholarship, and he received graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arkansas. In 2007-2008 he held the Resident Fellowship in Poetry at the Amy Clampitt House. Hennessy is the poetry editor of The Common, a new print magazine based at Amherst College, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

FRANCESCA CASTANO

Daylight                                                                   1st vol.1st issue Dec’2013

I’m not easily charmed
by the whispering weep
of dreams becoming
adopted tongues, but today
something was flaming
behind your lips that dissolved
the mid-morning’s silence
as we caught our breath.
Francesca Castaño

13933_164001979689_6300091_nFrancesca Castaño lives and works in Barcelona. She is a Spaniard who writes in English. Her Master’s thesis was published by the University of Barcelona, in February 2010. Her poems have appeared in; Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts: Selected Poems by Francesca Castaño, December 2011. Unshod Quills Issue # 1. The Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, December 2011. Shot Glass Journal Issue #6. The Foliate Oak Literary Journal Annual Print Edition, 2012. Decades Review, July 2012. Mad Swirl, November 2012 and February 2013. The Odd Magazine # 6, January 2013. Edgar Allan Poet # 1, September 2013.

 

 

SUKRITA PAUL KUMAR

Himalayan Tsunami
The gaping holes in that old blanket
Spoke the language of deep sighs
Of hunger and deprivation

While the little head
Peeping out from one end
-The head of Socrates himself-
Fixes a question mark on
The norms of development
Lying across the gluey tar road
Running zigzag on the mountains
Through echoing ominous tunnels

To the town called Kedarnath
Where pilgrims turn ghosts
With holes in their eyes
Expressing their faith
Or the complete lack of it

  Sukrita Paul Kumar

295171_332732983479194_723542403_nA noted poet and critic, Sukrita Paul Kumar has published several collections of poems and many critical books. An invited poet at the prestigious International Writing programme, Iowa and a poet-in-residence in Hong Kong, China, she is a former Fellow of the IIAS, Shimla. At present, a Fellow and Programme Coordinator at Cluster Innovation Centre at the University of Delhi, she is also a translator and has held an exhibition of her paintings.

BRIAN WRIXON

In Dreams                                                                  

In dreams my life is altered
I awake and question reality
But there is no reality
There are only dreams
But how is non-reality born?

In dreams I speak great words
I awake and forget them
There are no words on paper
There are only dreams
But how are great words born?

In dreams I do great feats of courage
I awake and feel proud
There are no great deeds to glory in
There are only dreams
But how is such strength born?

In dreams I experience great love
I awake and know it is real
But there is indeed a reality
There are not just dreams
I know because there is you
Brian Wrixon
294686_218317434898196_2066083653_nPoet, Writer, Publisher. From Canada.

GARY ROBINSON

WOODPECKER                                                             

Hey, Woodpecker,
I circle until you appear
knocking at a big twist of silver maple.
Dreaming
a trail upwards, cold sky
dizzy with cloud.

Grown
from wind forests
where distance and branches bend
beneath claps of uncradled space.
Today
the blood’s applause with each note
of your performance.
Tiny player of heights.

If I could I’d follow Woodpecker up
to the deep face
that opens on everything,
where the universe began with a nod.

Up he went
luring out the yellow drum of sun
while the sky came together,
turned and sliced like a vast colour
I could almost touch.

When he climbed from sight
I fell back into the afternoon
surrounded by September
sent from
the top of the world.
Gary Robinson

1422377_10151968122216668_1289903004_nGary Robinson is a Canadian poet and short story writer. He has been published in several University journals. This year he wrote his first novella. Currently he is working on new Poems.

R.ZAMORA LINMARK

Ode to John Hughes                                                   1st vol.1st issue Dec’2013

(American filmmaker: Feb 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009)

“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and take a look once in awhile, you could miss it” – Ferris Bueller.
I wanted to save my dandruff for winter.
I wanted the school’s most-wanted truant to give me his stud earring then French kiss me in the library.
I wanted my heart to break out and lip-synch to Try A Little Tenderness.
I wanted Psychedelic Furs to accompany my pink, beat-up imaginary Karmann Ghia to the Senior Prom.
I drove a second-hand white Ford Escort.
I gave my date a Swatch watch in lieu of a corsage.
I was scared straight-acting at the time.
I wanted the auto mechanic to run after my tears.
I wanted him to kiss me on the wrong side of the tracks.
I twice made out on the right side of track and field.
“I am not a nymphomaniac, I am a compulsive liar.”
I reserved high-intensity feelings for dickheads in Izods and low ones for waistoids in Fred Perrys and Sperry Topsiders.
I was a dweeb with a staple gun to my heart.
I wanted to eat John Bender’s shorts.
I mohawked my mornings in the shower.
I once was mistaken for a lesbian drummer.
I wanted red for hair, stud my leather shoes, do society a favor.
I never had my hairy butt duct-taped by a wrestler.
And no way would I sacrifice a Saturday to tell you who you are.
I was poor, I was fashion conscious, I was Goodwill incarnate.
I wanted a rich, hypochondriac, son of a Ferrari-freak for a sidekick.
I wanted to be smitten by a bland guy named Blane, conquer the ballroom with his hand in mine.
I wanted to be Some Kind of Wonderful to my toupee-wearing Band teacher.
I wanted the principal to hound me like a second shadow.
I wanted Ben Stein to be my Economics teacher.
“Bueller… Bueller … Bueller.”
But my high school could only afford a part-time Social Studies teacher.
S.S. was Econ on welfare.
I wanted to pretend I’m Sausage King of Windy City.
I wanted to be geek, jock, basket case, prom queen, criminal.
I wanted all of the above.
Until I realized I was.
I wanted to get away with murder and with the murderer too, throw confetti on Chicago, sing Danke Schoen on a magnificent-mile-long float.

Danke schoen, John Hughes, danke schoen.

R. Zamora Linmark

 

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R. Zamora Linmark is the author of two novels, Rolling the R’s and Leche, and three collections of poetry — Prime Time Apparitions, The Evolution of a Sigh, and Drive-By Vigils. He is currently living in Miami, where he is Distinguished Visiting Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Miami.

 

AFSHAN SHAFI

Grandmother in the kitchen

I would watch
You
forging a
Question mask of air with spice,
And thinking, scullery, consort, vamp
Cincturing
three carmine
Rivers into a boiling pivot,
With the roof of the mixture hardening into
Something like clay,
And then in minutes
Present the tangibility
Of a rogue nation-state

The exquisite foaminess of your skin
Was Mongolian
The fell of irises under the pores
were a miniaturist’s caprice
Each fleck of violet moisture,
Moved to octave beyond
Assonance or jazz
and sometimes
Something under the weft,
Under the salt nails
And blue knees disrupted the
Regular guile of your body
An hallucination of
Fermenting selves
Tripling into a nearness, something elegiac
Before the grey tethers and bolts
Of the flesh
Flung out to describe a kind
Of oneness, and
Your arms entire ciphers,
The neck serene,
Whittled to its wax root
the body diffuse,
draining into
a final seamlessness
Afshan Shafi

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Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore, Pakistan and has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Regent’s collegeLondon. She has also worked previously at PEN Pakistan. Her poems have recently appeared in ditch, Inkwell and Quill, Full of Crow, The Toucan Magazine, Mad Swirl and Radical (India).

PHILIP O NEIL

CAVES IN THE WOOD                                                  1st vol.1st issue Dec’2013
Prague (Ruska) 1997
”Through a thick forest of stout beeches I climbed all the way to the mound at the old castle. Century old lindens with flowers rinsed clean, silent, not even bees. Up above in the transparent sky a swallow flies past. Some dark bird with a black beak, who funnily squats at little intervals, settles nearby on a stone.”
Leos Janacek in his diary commenting on his birthplace, Hukvaldy
*
A heron gyres above the pines, and in its screws
winds down a day that wraps the grey-stone woods;
mooning menhirs weathered to a watch as dusk lids down
on the crowning collapse of a fort,
the silent threads above the cloud of trees
throw cardinal robes across the slopes.
At lightfall we raced through lime and beech
to catch the gagging curtain – muting air and dumbing slopes,
rounding stones, shading in the valley,
and with the deft sleight of a practiced hand
the lighter veil is whisked away under the eye of the circling bird.
We spied the scene like decorations on a cake, siblings
in a teatime, two-timing cottage, gazing, glass eyed
at the fresh marbled cake in a muffled gloom
before the cere hand blinds the dark,
boxes the room with a light switch
and shadows retreat like wraiths
into far more acceptable shapes,
but then, for a moment, only then
light was no longer light but not quite dark,
the mirage of a hidden movement in the woods,
with the switch the heron turns again a routine spin.
Had we in a beat, beat time and light. Left it limping up the hill?
There, see,
down shoots the bird;
against self – like a hawk
harpooning into the strict timbering of the wood
diving through the green cloud into the map of trees
pillared trunks, docked below, that solitaire board in ranks
on a herringbone carpet of needles, divining with their brittle angles
the cat-cradled wood egg-sliced by the fingers of the sun’s last rays
and the heron’s eye shoots past with stroboscopic flash
flickers through the fence of trees, rattling like a stick
reflecting all in the yellow hemisphere of an eye –
the end of a silent film reel ticketing in the air,
warm fanned fingers chloroforming trees
the light smoothed into a blanket
and the nurse’s hands of dusk
bully thickets into shape
like pillows.
Quiet,
ssh
sh
the wood
is muted now
but for the one sound
from the brambles. No, there
from the ferns, a thrush or squirrel?
It’s the noise, you know the noise, that cocks ears
when you’re walking down a street or path, cocks your ear,
stops you as you twitch your wryneck head, you lose it as you listen:
again and again you try to trick the sound into appearing, define its direction,
nature, shape, but you move on, searching for a moon and track to home. Leave the sound to weave itself into the tapestry of the wood. A new colour needling
into the loom, and pulling back, you see it hanging on the sitting room wall
A woodland scene at end of day one – ‘Aurora’ of course, it’s called,
the colours fresh as if first viewed, colours still aware of their
surroundings, hanging between impressionism
and expressionism. Leapfrogging
their shades, and looking up,
closer you see by the castle
on the wave of a hill
two faces half-lit
peering at
a bird.
The tramp
travels on a cushion of needles
as the sound weaves into his footfall
recedes into the eye of the thrush, jumps
with pine cones, tap-dancing down branches;
in all sounds which are echoes here. It spreads
like moles in the ranges of roots and then springs up
through the sieve of the floor. Caught now.
frozen in sprays of spruce and fern
tonguing for the last rain of light,
the sound dampens the wood,
a muting pedal strangles
the bedding light,
gripping them
like vines
with its grasp
of hardening stems.
And the rays are like old folly columns
squeezed by ivy, spreading fast, dulling light
and painted on its smooth walls an Arcadian scene
a pan piping to a river where Bacchus, drunk,
laughs so much he’s unable to move
in the tricking light that sends
two figures to the scene,
paints them on a hill,
staring at a bird
but the virulent
Ivy sends them
Back to
Obsc
ur
it
y.
2
figures
seek refuge in the wood,
Venus light at the cave entrance,
herons stabbing nearby in nightponds
kindling crackling in the illustrated cave,
salamander lisp of flames flickering into view
symbols painted on the chipping rock
the glow burning another veil.
step inside and watch
the wreaths of flame
lick with serpents
heads,
tails.
And think with a fragile head, supported by a delicate scaffold of matches
within a workman’s platform precariously joined in the flame-lit cave
poring over the images daubed there by the speechless twins
their images of hunting, hunted, fear, joy, one another,
of two primitive artists finding fire in their cave
the same fire that will burn their supports.
The two cavemen who fight with their new brands
waving their fiery batons, conducting away natural light
the swish of the orange beat like sparklers burning the beams.
Beneath the Aurora tapestry in the sitting room of number thirty-three
where, in the late afternoon, a tired and bored Mrs Eliot turns on her new TV,
watching now the awe-filled voice, hushed so as not to scare away the paintings
in the fire damaged cave. “Here thirty thousand years hence, we can,
like detectives, decode the clues to discover that a fight took place,
and very probably a murder; the victor leaving behind, not only
the murder weapons but also a confession: here on the wall,
quite possibly the only one of its kind in the world.”
Mrs Eliot watches the screen as she irons,
the smell of linen and steam rising
as she watches the man tell the tale
of one man in a cave
who, then, realised
the need
to flee,
sickened
for the first time
by the routine spin,
as he span like a top
around himself, hopelessly
tied to his core. As outside grey faces
peer from the mooning stones, Easter Island
aasks hewed by wind and rain, nature back to nature
smiling humbly into the thick green of trees as in their eyes,
lie the caves where burned paintings were etched into a skull,
images grabbed from a life that had started its echo in a cave
in a nutshell, in an empty pool, like the first headache,
the inexplicable nails driven into an unseen space
knocked like chisels into the circling skull
into the matruska rocks. A vision.
The bird wheeling around
the two prisoners
in the cave
not knowing
they could leave
at any
time.
PHILIP O NEIL

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Philip O’Neil, born in the UK worked as a journalist and editor for a number of newspapers and magazines for 20 years. He has worked in the UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, The Balkans and the US and also has had his photographs published in over a dozen publications. Meanwhile he published two collections of poetry ‘Riera’ and French polishing (Alexander Press) He currently lives in Prague writing a follow up to his novel “Mental Shrapnel’.