One Poem by Dawid Juraszek

Polyphemus

It might have been a faint distant echo
of worlds
lost
or saved
on islands adrift amid the wine-dark sea

So they came
with their new words
different views and scents
looking back toward foreign lands
on their ships like nothing ever seen before

With the strength young muscles muster
and the cunning of new ideas
they snuck in
they asked and answered
and burned old eyes out for their stories

Being the shape
of all things to come
they were well within their rights
the ways of the ones before had to yield
redeemed by their sacrifice to the dead-end new

 

Dawid Juraszek is a bilingual author and educator based in China. His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Remembered Arts Journal, Amaryllis, The Esthetic Apostle, Amethyst Review, The Font, and elsewhere. Website: https://amazon.com/author/dawidjuraszek

One Poem by Judith Steele

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

A Room Remembered

What parties we had in this room, how sparkling the nights
with wine and laughter, both at the pub and after,
when the musos and their fans came back to this house.

Our music and laughter went up in the smoke
we breathed between dances and drinks.
Now there’s no smoke and no fire.

Rucked-up rugs crowd around the feet
of your armchair, my dear, as if waiting
for your jokes. Wine stains on the cushions,

cigarette burns on the curved wooden arms
of the chair. Art deco and graffiti on the wall,
the gifts of recent squatters.

Once a gracious house in rambling gardens,
now feral roses climb its crumbling walls
waiting for the bulldozers, and the multitude

of concrete boxes that will hold no memory
of our love and laughter, nor our fights and tears.
We are old. Life moves on. Bless the young.

 

Judith Steele is Australian. Her poetry or prose has appeared in journals in Darwin and Adelaide, and on several websites including The Animist, The Merida Review, and Nine Muses; and with translations in past and recent issues of the print journal Gobshite Quarterly (Portland, OR).  http://www.gobshitequarterly.com/

Two Poems by Angela Porter

Knit by Knit 

Large wool ball starts to crawl. Needles draw waterfall,
Seaside knots, driftwood rot, sheep and croft; dreamer’s lot.
All is fine, she unwinds. Garden time, laying twine,
Modest fitting sock – it keeps her knit by knit.


Little Bird 

Spotting us, curious, hope with trust. Where’s the crust?
Why the wait, there’s no bait. Where’s her mate, picnic plate?
Simple life, quiet flight, shade riots, summer light,
Blossom’s dropped, water plops, seems time stops. As she hops.

 

Working with traditional verse structures Angela writes poems about her life as she finds it today. She defends the use of traditional forms as these are the legends behind the poems, and relate to an ongoing past.

One Poem by Marguerite Maria Rivas

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Behind the Chain-Link Fence

Goddess of the night-time grime,
she eschews the shelter—

men with bandaged feet and bad
hygiene sprinkle foot powder all over.
She gags from clouds of the stuff,
has nowhere to hide.

But here at night, she can rest despite
the rust, broken bottles, lurching heart
at the rustling of rats
whose company she’d take
to have a space for a night
not desolate, but desired,
alone, free.

 

Marguerite Maria Rivas’s work has been published in numerous journals including The Americas Review, Waterways, The Mas Tequila Review, and Quarterday Review. The author of two books of poetry, Rivas is an Associate Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College and is at work on a new volume of poetry.

One Poem by Lynn McGee

Trees Along the Sawmill Parkway

In the city, we live separated
from each other, without canopy,
or the cooling balm of fungi. Our roots
are blocked by basements’ concrete walls.
Our leaves are dirty as a smoker’s lungs
and our trunks burn with the urine
of pent-up pets. We rise from the boxes
to which we have been assigned and strain
toward light—but there is no surviving
the tangled threat outside your city’s limits.
Vines surge over us with impunity.
Honeysuckle, bittersweet and wisteria
spread the sweet reek of death. We kneel
under their weight. They bend the hickories,
choke the oaks and sugar maples crouched
along the Sawmill Parkway. Ravenous,
they erase our god and spread their kingdom
on our corpses. We are suffocating, as you
would be, tied with rope and thrown into
a pond. It is in your best interest,
to hear us out.

 

Lynn McGee is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Tracks (Broadstone Books, 2019), Sober Cooking (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), and two award-winning chapbooks: Heirloom Bulldog (Bright Hill Press, 2015) and Bonanza (SlaperingHol Press, 1997). For more information, visit http://www.lynnmcgee.com.

One Poem by Felix Purat

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Detritus of Time

A room effigy lies wasted by time
Crumbs of asphalt lie strewn all around
As Eris the painter crafts linoleum collages;
But nobody wants to sit in the chair

Undeciphered graffiti bids no welcome
This empty territory is all staked out
The heart of the door has been dissected;
Still nobody comes to sit in the chair

Manufacturer forgotten, time filters
The facts from expanded flesh
The germophobes run from time’s fungal fingers;
Now nobody will want to sit in the chair.

 

Felix hails from Berkeley, CA but lives and travels abroad wherever possible. In addition to three micro-chapbooks (all published by the Origami Poems Project), Felix has been published in numerous outlets and magazines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His webpage is: beyondnorcal.wordpress.com

One Poem by Edward Alport

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The worms are waiting

The worms are waiting
For that elegant decay,
The clouding varnish,
The crumbling cushion.
Who will take the chair indoors
In Pripyat, today?

 

Edward is a lecturer and writer, mostly on business and politics. He often posts twittaku (double haiku in 140 characters) on Twitter, plus the occasional political limerick.

Two Poems by Godwin Tan

Encounter with Skyscrapers

Before long, I found myself staring
at the skyscrapers I visit, wondering
if their roofs were erected with bamboos,
if their ceilings were made of glass.

Outside, their glossy bodies
battle my shadow, their windowpanes
distort my features, as though
they were puzzled by my presence
or perturbed by my stay.

Inside, I would imagine myself, giant-like,
squatting along their stairways,
dismantling their structures – frame
to shell, shell to membrane –
entangling my face in the meshes
of their grids and cables,
spitting wires
into their boardrooms.

Standing on stilts, I would blow into
their woody sills and their shiny lifts
and watch reams of papers take flight,
like a sword dance infusing spirit
into the homogenous stillness
of their walls.

Finally, I would lift the crowns
of these towers, and see little inhabitants
gathered for dinner – now interrupted.
There, I would watch
bodies freeze, eyes widen,
an angle-sliced rib-eye quake on a fork.


Room 1218: Resurrection 

Again, I woke up to the sunset,
that familiar crimson deadbeat
lies aimlessly as if in mimicry;
my head buried in a stubborn
fortress of pillows and blankets,
shielded from the cacophony
of an English winter. Outside,
neighbours quarrel in accents
I cannot yet comprehend, but
frustration is universal. Perhaps,
they meant to say it is a luxury
to fight. That I let myself concede.
In my room, there is no fight:
the heater is a silent slab of white
icy marble, an old creaky chair
burdened by towels and sheets
groans on my behalf. That day,
the postman delivered a letter
scribbled with strokes that slide
and dance in my mother’s voice;
I kept it unopened on a top shelf,
saving warmth for a rainier day.
On the third day, feverish buzzes
from my phone will split the sky
and bring everything back to life.

 

Godwin Tan read Law at the University of Cambridge and University College London. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Eye Flash Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, The Cambridge Pamphlet, Kitaab, The Asian Writer, and elsewhere.

One Poem by Irene Cunningham

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Living in an Artefact

Sinking into a canvas, holding on
for ever to the writing on the wall;
speed-crafted letters outlined in black jab
at the world’s scathing eyes that don’t bother
to read. This is me, the remnant at home
with her walls, growing in a chair, a weed,
unkempt, unwanted and pestilential.
I know where everything is, extending
grabber supports my freedom to just sit
through action – exorcising exercise.
I’m in training for the long death, losing
mindfulness; living statues in tourist
season perfect this view of life, pull in
coin…live to pay the piper and the bills.

 

Irene Cunningham’s recent publications: Picaroon, South Bank Poetry, I am not a Silent Poet, Riggwelter, The Lake, Multiverse, Blue Nib, Visual Verse, Strix. She thinks about the outside world but isn’t often there. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2019.  http://ireneintheworld.wixsite.com/writer

One Poem by Derek Brown

Deborah Kerr

One more age of possibility,
the undying hour of never.
The lost man awaits his bus,
mutters to himself “Oh Mother”.

I’m in love with Deborah Kerr,
she’s been dead for years.
The priest beside his church
recounts a row of tears.

I lose my memory of forgetting,
the starlings rise once more,
to their own solidity,
above the discount store

and the dormant Christmas lights
and the automatic trees.
A strange determination
sails the late November breeze.

In the tearoom’s frozen window
David Niven holds his watch,
his eyes say time is dead,
in a way it always was.

Interminable announcements,
declarations in reverse,
I stand beside those things
I sense cannot disperse.

And piercing through them all;
the vulgarity of grace,
the coarseness of beauty,
salvation’s painted face.

 

Derek Brown was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He has previously been published in various New Voices Press anthologies, Omphalos Issue 12, Amethyst Review and Nine Muses Poetry.