One Poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

Appointment

Who allocates out-patient rooms,
departments, as if body parts,
elementary, blocked canal?

Internal map, a circuit board,
old teaching aid, blood systems guide,
beside bare bones, skeleton hung.

Some bible tracts from chaplain’s rack,
Qur’anic, ecumenical,
to salve across the deeper wounds.

Why printed on a minor slip,
the major tear-off bit attached,
doctor’s scribble, notorious.

In crabby hand ‘oncology’,
as numbness wears, old feeling comes,
the anaesthetic, current shock.

 

Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church (following the onset of Parkinson’s Disease), has had pieces accepted by Nine Muses Poetry; Voices Poetry; Eunoia Review; Runcible Spoon; Ink Sweat and Tears; The Poetry Village; Amethyst Review; Softblow Literary Journal; From the Edge; Gold Dust; The Seventh Quarry & Allegro Poetry Magazines. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/

One Poem by Mathew Lyons

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Peripheral vision

Looking back I see spoilt orchards
and cattle in the lean fields,
blood on the anvil and wax upon wax
on the hearth. My grandparents
are worn to ghosts; uncle
sits by the fire hoarding
his brokenness, spitting out mercies,
the harvest of prayer.

Me I see a bare tree,
a river and its tributaries,
a map of the trade routes,
neural paths rising out
of the spine, the spread
of a disease, a fashion, a need.
I see a leaf dying but carried by air:
a thought on its raft ready for speaking.

 

Mathew Lyons is a writer and historian. His books include Impossible Journeys, a collection of travellers tales about journeys to places that did not exist, and There and Back Again, about JRR Tolkien and English landscape and mythology. He has contributed poems to Visual Verse and Dawn Treader.

Two Poems by James Feichthaler

Get busy living

I once saved a spider from a running sink,
Wrestled a napkin from the napkin-holder
And got him to climb on. I put him out
While summer was in bloom, the spring just over,
And nothing but a wash of green about
A pot of coleus – some sunset-pink,
And others sunrise-red, speckled with gold –
Was there to greet him, as he spiraled down
Into a landing sweet as honeycomb.
He touched down on a leaf; being left alone,
Seemed wondering what had happened to the cold
Unfeeling blasts that he was rescued from,
The tomb-like comfort of a freezing room,
Then crawled away: the last I’ve seen of him.


As the death-rate soars and Philly cheesesteaks sizzle…

I park my car and hustle up 13th street
To Market, where a crowd of businessmen
Throws ghastly shadows on the hot concrete;
Some checking cellphones, as they belch and grin
And hurry through conversation, on their way
To office jobs that pay them way too much
For juggling funds (in air-conditioned rooms)
And kissing ass. They’ve traded dreams for pay,
Their souls for fancy titles, 10th floor tombs
That keep their hopes on ice. Most out of touch;
The lot of them too old to find new jobs
And far too young to be considered ‘dead,’
And yet, they are. The flow of morning ebbs
And stagnates, pulses; yields to green, not red.

 

James Feichthaler’s work has most recently appeared in Toho Journal, E-Verse Radio, and Moonstone’s featured poets anthology. He is the host of an open mic poetry reading series in Manayunk, PA called The Dead Bards of Philadelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @forrealist_poet and keep up with The Dead Bards of Philadelphia on Facebook.

One Poem by Kathryn Sadakierski

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Coin Toss

Two faces,
Two ways of life,
Of Janus, poised between beginnings
And endings,
Sides
Of stories, new years
And old,
Past and future,
Two myths of who you are,
On a path to self-discovery
The present
Stationed neatly between,
Janus’ sides
Complete,
In the center
A heart that still beats,
Clock faces and calendars,
Pages torn
To accommodate a new month,
A new time,
Reckoning with the earthly and the sublime,
Frozen in this life
As youth and age compete,
Experience cuts its teeth
And wisdom reigns supreme,
A flower, still fresh with scent and petals unfallen,
Just a memory from a dream,
Leaves in the wind
The only remnant
Of before,
Pages unturned,
Before change wracks the earth,
And time moves forward,
Though Janus still remembers,
Never fully prepared
To go forth,
Looking both ways
To see your fate;
Heads or tails,
Whatever the halves of the coin
Should say.

 

Kathryn Sadakierski’s writing has appeared in The Bangor Literary JournalThe Ekphrastic Review, the 2019 Zimbell House anthology The Marshal, and elsewhere. She graduated summa cum laude from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts with her Bachelor of Arts degree, and is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree.

One Poem by Nigel Ferrier Collins

Abandoned Garden

One shrivelled apple clings to a scabby branch.
Nettles all but cover a perished hose coiled round the trunk.
Moor and orchard have merged to smother metal so rusted
That sword and harrow will soon be indistinguishable.

A young man swings, flamboyantly, from a rickety pergola.
A cramped girl watches a wolf spider sidle
Into the crack across a fractured stone trough.

For a moment,
In this place of lost paths and rotten fences,
All is still.
Then buzz and fluttering resumes as creatures fossick and flirt.

Vainly the youth flaunts his thews to titillate the girl
He sees as an extension of himself:
Whereas she, shunning his shadow,
Feels the chill of the haunted,
Weighs her choices,
Is daunted by possibilities.

Nearby a gate swings to
And fro
In the first hot breaths of a storm rolling slowly
Towards a garden devoid of shelter.

 

Nigel Ferrier Collins is a writer and visual artist. His poems have appeared in various magazines including Poetry Review and Dream Catcher. He has been a detached youthworker, actor, business consultant, Principal Education Adviser, and manager of a group of British international schools.

One Poem by Raquel Morris

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Reflections

He stares with two faces
looking out
one marked with beauty and youth
the other a face of wisdom and age.

Who have we been
who will we become
our present moment
is always fleeting
minute by miraculous minute
smashed between
the unrelenting past
and the unyielding future.

January is a time
we reflect on both
We’ve both been children
who have played
and dreamed
and wept.

Our past pains haunt us
through our lives
Some of us become
unafraid
we find those shadows
are our friends.

Burdens of who we were
melt away
to reveal our power
which will be used
in the battles ahead
we still fear
our unknown fate
as we hope for the best
and we bravely leap
into the present
moment.

 

Raquel Morris is a poet, writer, Master of Social Work (MSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Writing is her passion, she enjoys expressing her experience as a woman of color/mother/social worker and using it as a means of political activism.

One Poem by Fabrice Poussin

Ghost

It was the season for loving
winter yet aiming its huge arrows
at the heart of those in warm mittens.

Icy powder on the steps to the altar
one may slip on her way to intimate vows
entangled in the white fabric of her innocence.

Holding vigil, a corpse in his dark shroud
awaits, vulture on an abandoned carcass
his fortune to be made on the pain of the pillars.

Soon the gates will gape their arrogant throat
ready to regurgitate the dreams of an instant
onto the smoking pavement of a melting earth.

The ghost will not hesitate to pounce
for he knows the glee is about to uncover a cruel light
he too must make survive even if hearts must die.

 

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.

One Poem by Felix Purat

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Generational Divide Rumination

So much changes with
Each drifting leaf
Organic plant matter
A page of reassembled factoids
All it really takes to switch
              the power on
And electrify a generation

The old timers look away
Unbridgeable is their experience
The ultimate social divide is set in stone
Where otherwise organic matter rules
As we see with the leaf in the garden
So innocent and caught in the wind

 

Felix hails from Berkeley, CA but lives in the Czech Republic and travels frequently. 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 Alun Robert

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Last Day July in Summer Garden

sixth day July
strolling Panteleymonovsky
lanterns casting subtle shadows
Fontanka gurgling just below
with last shards of sun dipping
as we enter Summer Garden
leaving everything far behind
transitioning to tomorrow
for we shall re-bond together
forget what has happened
never ask awkward questions
ignore sweet stench of suspicion
to dwell close by Janus
looking backwards, looking forwards
for just minute or shorter
holding hands, caressing
while romancing eternal twilight
under cascading deciduous bows
creaking in gentle breeze
in crepuscular of our lives
like lovers we once were
like spirits we now are
whirling like dervish
our last day July

 

Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse. Of late, he has achieved success in poetry competitions and featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. He particularly enjoys ekphrastic challenges. In 2019, he was a Featured Writer of the Federation of Writers Scotland.

One Poem by MJ Iuppa

Morning, Listening to that Faint Thunder

This distance appears scripted. How terribly
strange, lying here, counting on what is
expected to echo resistance—wheeling
its weight against woods struck by a silver
light that glows within those ghostly ash.

Gone— as predicted, quick & insidious, like
the sudden blister of chanterelles begging
to be plucked from the base of forgotten oaks,
before something else steals them, without
realizing what delicacies they are.

A revelation, the master chef says, with her
eyes closed, and I believe her, sensing
the tug of hunger, or is it the rumble of
faint thunder, rising high in the clouds,
breaking open, over my head.

 

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 30 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.