Say prayer is sex with God – a poem by Matthew E. Henry (MEH)

Say prayer is sex with God

Say prayer is sex with God, biblically
knowing the divine in bedrooms, mid-sized
cars, with backs arched over kitchen tables—
knees bent, eyes closed, fingers entwined or clasped—
often without saying, needing, a word.
with a sweet release of oxytocin
and essence, desires meld like bodies,
two wills become lost in One. a little
death sought in the asking and receiving.
morning, noon, and night, the flesh is willing—
the Holy Spirit craves without ceasing—
the soul-shaking, toe-curling pleasure; this
blessed communion which leaves us gasping
“Amen” again and again and again.

 

MEH is Matthew E. Henry, a Pushcart nominated poet with works appearing or forthcoming in various publications including The Anglican Theological Review, The Other Journal, Poetry East, Relief Journal, Rock and Sling, andThe Windhover. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have pursuing a MA in theology and a PhD in education.

Violence and Dawn – a poem by Steven Lebow

Violence and Dawn

For T.O., 16, killed in a motorcycle accident.

Christ, who was our savior, did you kill
me with your words that fell
like leaves?
I was cast towards death, not ill
but still I plummeted towards hell
and grief.

By day I saw the face
of my own hand
within a pond.
Now I run a different race
across a different land
of violence and dawn.

You who sunk as deep as I,
must know my plight
and fate-
The tears of my dead age run dry
and cancel out my flight
of love and hate.

My hill was no different
than yours of clay
and dirt.
I understood the message sent.
What could I say
to you of any worth?

You, who stood above me,
now below me in my grave,
are judged as I was, too.
My dull eyes have failed to see
the meaning of dark waves.
On that day, I will be you.

 

Steven Lebow has published in print and online fiction in Aphelion, Infernal Ink, The Airgonaut, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Literally Stories, Flash Fiction Online, Literary Heist, Penny Shorts, Down in The Dirt, The Scarlet Leaf, and Danse Macabre. His poetry has appeared in The Pangolin Review, Literary Yard, Adelaide, and  Ariel Chart.

Credence – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi

Credence

Each is bounden within the environs
of his or her aureole. Your godhead
defines you. Be leery. Cernuous stalks
mark the mood. I am held by cads of
another cut.In the smog of theistic
moorings: what we can’t explain we
must admit. This is the spread.

 

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His poems are in venues around the world:   A Restricted View From Under The Hedge, Pantry Ink, Bonnie’s Crew, Morphrog16, Mad Swirl, The Penwood Review, Faith Hope & Fiction, Communion Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

All Ways – a poem by Diana Durham

All Ways

the black hatchback blinked
a red triangle as it tipped
over the brink out of sight
down the dim tunnel of the road

side glimpse over a cornered gate
of the valley narrowing still far
below—on the broad back above us now
of the chalk upland we had walked

with cloud banks serried silver, white,
dark where the wind drove a grey
smoke of rain before them over
the flat. Slowly, the words are coming

back: green, light, the clack of crows,
phrases rustle their pathways
through the woods. Slowly, the mounded
plain spreads out south, red firing

flags stiff in the breeze, on its sheer
grass canvas, a giant close-up
of the concrete Horse, scrubbed White
again in June by abseilers.

Bumping along the track to leave,
a cow by fraying hedgerow
in the field suckles her calf.
With hawthorn, clambered blackberry

and next spring’s promise of primrose
in the shaded damp, wherever
I stand or look the land is shaped
by distance and perspective,

re-shaping in turn my thought,
linking memory of joy
to joy: a bridge over loss.
Sunken bridleway down past

the badger haunt, satin grass-
way uphill in the sun, all ways
growing the secret fractal
of language again in me.

 

Diana Durham is the author of three poetry collections: Sea of Glass (Diamond Press); To the End of the Night (Northwoods Press) Between Two Worlds (Chrysalis Poetry); the nonfiction The Return of King Arthur (Tarcher/Penguin); a debut novel
The Curve of the Land (Skylight Press); and a dramatic retelling of grail myth Perceval & the Grail: Perceval & the Grail Part 1 Morgana’s Retelling – YouTube

 

‘HOW TO HANDLE THE MYSTICS’ – a poem by Rupert Loydell

‘HOW TO HANDLE THE MYSTICS’

Reduce the images to art.
Let there be nothing inspiring
or powerful about them.

No one should sing or dance.
Encourage them to be silent.

Rationalise everything. It is
the effect of architecture or colour,
an early example of surrealism,
myth, magic or dream.

I am walking through Google maps
and visiting churches in advance,
looking at annunciations and icons,
saints and miracles everywhere.

I do my best not to believe
but the churches are dark and cool.

You are in the shadow and the light,
the paint, the dust and air.
I wonder at what got left behind.

© Rupert M Loydell

(The title is from Thomas Merton)

 

Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything (Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010).

On being asked if I share the gospel with my students – a poem by Jen Stewart Fueston

On being asked if I share the gospel with my students

I know I’m not getting any of this guy’s money.
Because this is the missionary equation —
I with my presentation and my worn out
shoes, a life honed to a single point.

He with the presumption that he’s sending me,
like a spy or a timebomb, into the forsaken
darkness, like a single ember bright-lit
in a censer swung across the map.

His is a gospel of nets. Of capture. His is the gospel
that asks, If you died tonight, do you know for sure
you’d go to heaven? A gospel of the escape
route, the secret doorway, the cheat.

I can speak his language like a native, but can’t
quite find a way to tell him, I am no ember.
That mine is a gospel of tanks
rusting in the snow, a gospel of grass

growing over the place they massacred
their neighbors. A gospel of guard shacks peeling
off their paint. A gospel of old songs being sung
in the tavern, of year by year clear water filling up

the empty missile silo, of new bricks
making straight the rough streets.

 

Jen Stewart Fueston lives in Longmont, Colorado. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, most recently Ruminate, Rock & Sling, and The St. Katherine Review. Her poems have twice been finalists for the McCabe poetry prize, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, “Visitations,” was published in 2015, and her second, “Latch,” will be released in early 2019. She has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as internationally in Hungary, Turkey, and Lithuania.

ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE SACRED AND POETRY – by Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE SACRED AND POETRY

I have always questioned why all religions of the world have spiritual books that form the tenets of their respective faiths. And I think that as I continue to write poetry, I get clearer in my understanding of the interconnectivity of the divine and the art of writing.

“In the beginning, God spoke a word…”

One of the very first introductions to God in the Christian Bible is that He is pro-speech, which will mean He is pro-words, which will mean He is pro-writing, which will also mean He is pro-poetry. I think this is the source of that now hackneyed maxim: “God is a poet”. And however over-used that maxim may be, it will always hold water.

I believe writing can be a pathway into the divine. I define “divine” here within the context of my own Christian faith; and I say this without casting aspersion on others. For I can not speak of what I do not know— whether they be gods or thrones or dominions or voices upon the earth. I can only truly speak of that which I know.

I do not know if I have been able to communicate some sense hitherto, but I will like to conclude on this note: writing is as physical as is spiritual. I have had a number of epiphanies while writing, where my soul was suspended in a world not terrestrial. I do think it’s a journey of a lifetime to fully understand this connection between art and sacredness. There is a sacredness of art, and as long as we keep writing, we are journeying into the full knowledge of this.

 

Kolawole Samuel Adebayo is an old soul in a young Nigerian body whose poems seek to awaken the human consciousness. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Glass Poetry, Button Poetry, Burning House Press, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Eunoia Review, PRAXIS Magazine, Mojave Heart Review, Tuck Magazine, WRR, BPPC anthology, and elsewhere. He likes to connect with his friends via his Twitter handle, @samofthevoice.

Soliloquy – a poem by Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

Soliloquy

At the river,
God is the face
Looking back at me
From the water.
And God cries if I cry,
And God smiles if I smile,
And what I do is what God would do.
And God will do nothing if I do nothing.

 

Kolawole Samuel Adebayo is an old soul in a young Nigerian body whose poems seek to awaken the human consciousness. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Glass Poetry, Button Poetry, Burning House Press, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Eunoia Review, PRAXIS Magazine, Mojave Heart Review, Tuck Magazine, WRR, BPPC anthology, and elsewhere. He likes to connect with his friends via his Twitter handle, @samofthevoice.

Vapor – a poem by Rickey Rivers Jr

Vapor

I inhale vapor, straight into the ears. The tunes make me tingle. I wonder if this moment in time will be remembered fondly, if time travelers might find the reality somewhat meaningful. I wonder a lot with tunes in my ears. I wonder the future. Does such a word exist for me and those who look like me? I wonder these thoughts among permitted tunes. Sometimes I cannot decipher tune from thought and in those times I wish to be sleeping. Yet I always find myself existing. In which my dreams and tunes are closely intertwined like a helix, wrapping so fluidly, intangible suit. My DNA is almost completely vapor now, vaporized. I know that one day I will evaporate. I hope I sound quite beautiful in the air.

 

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. His stories and poems have appeared in various publications and are forthcoming in Picaroon Poetry, Dodging the Rain, Neon Mariposa (among other publications). Twitter.com/storiesyoumight / https://storiesyoumightlike.wordpress.com/

Unfinished Aquarelle – a poem by Jane Angué

Unfinished Aquarelle

Clouds roll, flow, curl and unfurl in volutes,
lazy smoke escaping speechless lips.
A gentle puff presses the dawdling buzzard.
Essence of rain, diffuse in chalky blue,
soaks into stretched canvas, as light as gauze.
Ash trees, forgotten paintbrushes of dark days
splay stiff bristles into the winter sky;
cold decants by soft degrees in the combe.

The breeze runs waves over grey needled grass;
the last late-hanging leaves rustle and turn.
Wind, like a breaker, falls; the shudder of its surge
transfixes the pale sun and lifts the buzzard up
into the haze. Tints shift: fugitive liquid gaze,
unfathomable iris, flyleaf of the soul.

 

After studying French, Jane Angué now lives and works in France, teaching English Language and Literature. She enjoys introducing her students to poetry.  She writes in French and English, was longlisted for the Erbacce Prize 2018 and her work has recently appeared in incertain regard, Le Capital des Mots and Dawntreader.