Cocoon – a poem by Sam Rose

Cocoon

 
I wish I could have taken a picture of the way you looked at me right then.
Your gaze cocooned me, cast a warm glow that darkened the rest of the room.

I try to recapture it when I close my eyes because it reminds me that there
are better things in the world than what I can see right now, that there
are wonderful things in my world, despite everything.

You wanted my words but I didn’t know what to say because
…….everything had fallen out of my chest days before.

Since then, empty, I had wanted to return to you and listen to your fullness –
eager to know the colours of your world,
to see that in the stained glass windows of the chapel where you sat,
there was a rainbow mosaic brightened by the sun
and that, though in a dark place and far away, I was still one of those colours.

In terms of words, I can only give you my worst right now,
but inexplicably, you still want them.

I have very little to give but you take it and reassure me
with your cocooning gaze, with your cocooning arms,

that it is enough.

Sam Rose is a writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. She is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth. Her work has appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Poetry Pacific, Haiku Journal, In Between Hangovers, and others. Sam is a cancer survivor and primarily uses her experiences with this to write poetry and memoir.

Retreat – a poem by Tony Lucas

Retreat

turn from the freeway
high walls shut out
the grimy thunder of the street

closing the outer gate
a cloistered garden
where all paths converge

this dangerous space
dark woodwork with six candles
and a hanging pyx

worn seats
against the wall
a flickering light

about the rose bowl
emptiness extends
to pregnancy

words crumble
consume to flame
rise as the incense

stillness concentrates
wait
here is a cup

a vacancy
wait now
for honey to secrete

 

Tony Lucas lives in London, south of the river. His most recent collection, Unsettled Accounts, was published by Stairwell Books.   Now retired from the Anglican ministry, his poetry has appeared on both sides of the Atlantic.   He is currently working on a sequence of poems about being in the ‘here and now’, which may appear toward the end of the year.

Someday Sunday – a poem by Lee Triplett

Someday Sunday

I stand in a church a world
apart from myself.  The familiar
service fills me with sighs and
am surrounded by people in pews.

Was it only yesterday
I asked the quiet cashier questions,
waited while a car forced its way
ahead of me, smiled at hardworking
lawn cutters leaving a wake of pollen?

How to find these people in the pews
the same as my encounter in the world?
Are they wanting in their deserving
an acceptance of their brokenness?

They and they again materialize
as my flagrant bias lifts.
I am one of the many,
yet few so hungry so thirsty.

Was it only Tuesday I sat
at the Local Dish eating the
pork belly of a poor dead pig now
digesting until we are part of each other?

Was it a week ago in church, take
eat chew taste suck swallow, take
drink smell savor drain digest
partaking of Another?

Of all the billions on the earth
of all the moments of geological time
are we with each other,
are we all about each other?

Our glasses are too thick,
somehow never focusing on
the here and now in the midst
of centuries of dusty history.

The centuries become generations,
the generations a family,
the family a person,
lonely and blindly privileged.

Splash us with cold water,
Krishna.  Pray us out of these
premature graves, devi.  Wake
up, wake up!  Dusk approaches.

 

Lee Triplett is a retired software programmer in South Carolina, US.  She studied poetry, piano and computer science in college.  She lives her life as a poet, voracious reader, mystic, bipolar depressive, pianist, queer and South Carolinian.  She immerses herself in poets that attract her and enjoys writing poetry frequently.

Life Unbending – a poem by Constantine

Life Unbending

When the winter wind comes blasting earth from the Charnwood rocks,
Sapping the will of all who pass that way,
Upon the tors the rowans shall remain.

When springtime rain in riotous rivers pours down upon the heights,
When buds are full and every field is bursting with new life.
Upon the tors the rowans little change.

The summer sun beats on the stones and heats them to the core,
Drying up the highlands and turning grass to straw.
Upon the tors the rowans need no shade.

And in the autumn, when nights draw in,
When food grows scarce upon the hills

Upon the tors are rowan berries bright,
Reminding us all of what hope looks like.

Constantine is a 45 year old autistic writer and father of two. https://m.facebook.com/nobodyrtrue/

My Grandparents’ Garden – a memoir by Maria Kenny

My Grandparents’ Garden

Until I was seven my parents, four siblings and I lived with my grandparents. They had a diminutive front garden which was awash with flowers and resplendent rockeries as if it was parkland they lived in rather than a small house in a nondescript housing estate. The garden had a beautiful neglected feel to it as if it had been let run wild, but in truth was tended meticulously to seem that way. My grandmother was ahead of her time and ignored the bemused looks of her neighbours and instead focused on the admiring glances bestowed on her beloved flowers. Blossoms and hedges mingled with abandonment, creating vivid colours doused in balmy aromas. Stems of varying lengths rose to greet visitors, extending velvety petals, challenging any passer-by not to reach out and caress.

As a child I’d explore each crevice of the garden, my imagination constantly creating wonderlands for me to go to. Each bush was a place in a far off country I had only ever seen in my sister’s geography book; new places never before found till I Christopher Columbus discovered them. Hidden in each flower was a fairy who only spoke to me, who regaled me with tales of a wonderful kingdom below the garden which I was allowed to visit. I was wonder woman, I was the bionic woman, I was a fairy queen, and I was Ireland’s greatest explorer. I was anything I wanted to be when I entered the garden.

A small wall ran from the gate to the front door. It was on this wall I danced, imagining myself that Russian gymnast Nina that I had seen on our black and white television. The rough stone was coarse under my soft bare feet, toes curled in to maintain balance.
To fall was to bear the wrath of the multifarious rose bushes which were always forgiven as they constantly and ceremoniously released their mesmerising perfume into the air. To walk that wall was to achieve a small miracle, the scars of the triumph blazing on soft legs later that night.

In the centre of the garden stood a smaller circular flower bed, again surrounded by a small wall. This flowerbed held shrubs which never thrived due to the riot of roses blocking any chance of sun or rain. My grandmother refused to give up hope and when one managed to flower her faith rest would be restored resulting in a period of passionate dead-heading.

Up against the railing which restrained the wonderful wildness, was a row of wallflowers in an array of colours. In my memory bees forever seemed to be droning lazily around them, their buzzing hypnotic.

The rose petals were gently picked by my sisters and I in an attempt to capture their sweet-smelling scent in a bottle. They would linger lovingly in the bathroom sink steeping in tepid water until my father would demand their removal so he could shave. They would then be lost to the wilderness of our bedroom, found months later crisp and tarnished. We never achieved our goal.

As I grew bigger the garden seemed to decrease, but even in adulthood I could never walk up the path to the front door, instead always choosing the wall from my childhood fantasies. I would stand tall amongst the plants that had overpowered me years before, nostalgia and melancholy making me yearn for an innocence long gone. I would catch that same look on the face of my siblings. We never discussed our forays into the garden each hanging onto our own escapades and memories, knowing the time had passed for such conversations. It would seem silly and superfluous now.

By the time my grandparents died I had my own house and garden. Cuttings from their garden were well established in mine. It is said that smell evokes the strongest memories. The heady fragrance of roses and my grandparent’s garden is forever interwoven in my memory, transporting me back to the six-year-old adventurer I once was, safe and secure in my world, surrounded by love.

Their roses continued their encroachment of the garden in wonderful abandonment until the house was sold. The new owners had the garden cobble locked.

Maria Kenny has lived in Dublin all her life. She works with children with special needs in a primary school. Her short stories and flash fiction have appeared in journals in Ireland, the UK and Mexico. She was longlisted for the WoW award 2016 and was highly rated in the Maria Edgeworth Short Story competition in 2018. She is currently in the throes of editing her second novel.

 

Ascension – a poem by Ann Wehrman

Ascension

“Can you see the birds?”
I asked, speaking
timidly to strangers
“Up there, really,
so small now, I can’t see them myself…”

at first, clean, fluid formation
of gulls or white ducks,
over twenty in close unison
the birds startled me, flying so
high, almost out of sight, then seemed to
disappear, leaving only sunflick spots of white
to tantalize, torture my aging eyes

the couple in the pool
giant African-American man
giant white woman
cradled their tiny, delicate blossom of a daughter
on a tube, languid in the warm
pool, empty but for them and me
by some miraculous fortune
in 100-degree heat

cool and relaxed
I’d swum my obligatory laps
in company so unlike the usual
screaming horde of kids
that I wanted to spend the entire afternoon
at least do another 20 laps
just to stay, feeling
as cared for as their baby girl

looking up, floating on my back
I saw twenty or thirty specks, in formation
white as bones, as porcelain, as edelweiss
folding in on each other
as one stirs a chocolate mousse
trails a beaded, fringed scarf
wraps a child in cashmere or hand weave
pleats a loaf before kneading it more—

they flew in high azure
in and out of sight
until I wondered if I’d seen them at all
or only hallucinated
their pure dance under the scorching sun

the man says,
“I see them, look there,” points
and she echoes, “Yes, up there,”
but by then, I no longer see them

Ann Wehrman teaches English composition and related courses online for University of Phoenix and Ashford University.  She has published individual poems, literary reviews, and short fiction in college journals and small presses.  She can also be found cooking, teaching yoga, or playing her flute.

Before the Beginning – a poem by Carolyn Martin

Before the Beginning

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Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, OR, where she gardens, writes, and plays with creative friends. Her poems appear in publications throughout North America and the UK and her fourth poetry collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, will be released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She serves as poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly.

unknown – a poem by Rupert Loydell

Unknown

‘Life is not what science tells us’
– Bill Viola, Bill Viola. Reflections

Things we do not know,
things we cannot say;
but the water in the sink
drains away just the same.

© Rupert M Loydell

 

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).

At the Edge of Land and Sea – a poem by Jay Ramsay

At the Edge of Land and Sea

…where the concrete promontory stretches
out beyond the hotel’s civility
marked (still wet) with the imprint of seagulls’ feet

and in the heat-haze, the acrid smell of smoke
where something like the world is burning
but the waves are breaking, slapping, gurgling
as they have for millennia

…and this is the place we want to be
‘Come to the edge’ they said, toujours
not to fly now, but to breathe
into the greater mind that sees
infinitely more than we can imagine

A giant yacht parked by monastery island
including both, capital and spiritual
beyond our understanding
…………………………………………..only

that the world is burning
and millennia have past
and the sun is still with us

…here so briefly
we’ve been here so briefly
the final millimetre of a mile long story
from milky fog and electric storms
hammering meteor showers falling,
shifting continents, as Earth cooled
what do we know ?

As God asked Job,
where were you ?

And what we do, what we choose
minutely mattering, alone as we are
in human form among the stars
beyond all our conceiving

A dream leads us on, then a dream fades
the blessing of the day remains
beyond the night walk’s drunken pain,
beyond the streets
where hell on earth remains

There must be a dawn
to a new time of caring
where we are the heart
we’ve been broken in:
our eyes awake.

A little half sunken slab reaches into the sea,
constantly washed by waves
enough for a man to stand;
enough to be here, to say I am.

 

                                                Paxos Beach Hotel

31.5.18

Jay Ramsay, who co-founded Angels of Fire in London in 1983 with its Festivals of New Poetry, is the author of 30 + books of poetry, non-fiction, and classic Chinese translation (with Martin Palmer) including Psychic Poetry—a manifesto, The White PoemAlchemy, Crucible of Love–the alchemy of passionate relationships, Tao Te Ching, I Ching—the shamanic oracle of change, Shu Jing—the Book of History, The Poet in You (his correspondence course, since 1990), Kingdom of the Edge—Selected Poems 1980-1998, Out of Time—1998-2008, Places of Truth, Monuments, and Agistri Notebook (both 2014). In 2012 he recorded his poetry-music album, Strange Sun. In addition, he’s edited 6 anthologies of New Poetry—most recently Diamond Cutters—Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania (with Andrew Harvey: www.tayenlane.com), as well as many collections for other poets, also under his own pamphlet imprint Chrysalis Poetry. He’s also poetry editor of Caduceus magazine, working in private practice as a UKCP accredited psychotherapist and healer, and running workshops worldwide (www.jayramsay.co.uk).

Blue Waters the Sky – a poem by Dah

Blue Waters The Sky

The oceans remember
us, moving
to the shore
waves and more waves
remembering

The sand is silent
like a still-breath
holding the ribs
a body of saline
and footprints

There are waves
that do not survive
their shallow ending
exiled
in a stitch of sand and salt

against the shore
I step
into the sea
and I am
everywhere

a light wind, light touch
blue waters the sky
We come from this
and still
we are nothing

but this feeling
this moment
the end that begins

Dah’s seventh poetry collection is Something Else’s Thoughts (Transcendent Zero Press)
and his poems have been published by editors from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada,
Australia, Africa, Singapore, Spain, Poland, Philippines and India. Dah lives in Berkeley,
California and is working on the manuscript for his ninth poetry book. He is a Pushcart
Prize nominee and the lead editor of the poetry critique group, The Lounge. His eighth
book is forthcoming in October 2018 from Flutter Press.