Two Poems by Frank C Modica

Existential

Believing in an afterlife
but sometimes living
like it wasn’t happening today,
like it doesn’t matter tomorrow.

Does it change
the way I treat
my friends and family,
the people I say I love?

What about the hundreds
of strangers passing
in and out of my gravitational orbit,
as we ripple through each other’s lives–

Do we fluctuate ever so slightly
as we swing around each other?


Crossing 

My bicycle races down endless highways,
rain showers burst through the humidity.

Two wheels dance with rising mist,
fading sunbeams, flashing fireflies.

10,000 farms fade into the dusk
while distant cities pine for enlightenment.

The rustle of winter wheat; and iris, peonies,
bluebells anticipate onrushing summer.

 

Frank C Modica is a retired teacher who taught children with special needs for over 34 years. Frank’s writing is animated by interests in history, geography, and sociology. His work has appeared in Slab, Heyday, Cacti Fur, Black Heart Magazine, The Tishman Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and FewerThan500.

One Poem by Andy Eycott

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Reign of night

As you slumber on
our cumulus bed,
I hold your innocence,
flying in the breathless air
where mountains peak.

My sleeping sun
I shine on you,
a shower of Moon kisses.
My inhibited heart
open wide now it is safe.

I map your face by the stars,
whisper sweet love songs
that falter in my throat
when you smile at me.
I am humbled by your gaze.

You throw me, I am shadow
cast in your light.
To your day I feel small,
yet as you sleep
my shadow reigns all.

 

Since being diagnosed with dyslexia at 48, Andy has had poems published in print and online. Publications include: Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, The Dawntreader, Poems in the Waiting Room, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and a number of anthologies. Andy lives in South East London and recently qualified as a counsellor.

One Poem by David Hay

Walt Whitman and the Sea

I see you Walt Whitman with your freckles and bustling beard full of stars
on one of your full-bodied marches into nature’s naked self.

Free from the bondage of calculations
and ascribed value of holy texts proclaiming the spirit unshackled
from bodily concerns.

Let the tree and the body meet without reflection
and live breathless and panting in a kinship unalterable.

To be devout without restrictions or punishments following.
Only the heavy heart made light by an easeful companionship
of a limitless self that succumbs to no end,
that heeds no boundary of mind or wall facing,
that speaks with multitudinous tongues that owe no debt to artifice.

Only the sincerity of blood matters,
it courses elemental along rock and bone
and unties in common experience all
who rest beneath this sun and this moon.

How liberating it is to read your words now centuries past and passing still
as I sit here topless but in shorts,
neurotic about the curvature of my body
and the hair that springs forth around my nipples resembling spiders.

I watch each wave return to your voluminous body.
What I wouldn’t do to be undressed and earnest before you,
my vigour matching the overbearing weight of your presence.
Each wave an invitation to an amorous union,
without reserve or the intellectualising of fundamentals.

On this day with the sun causing an emptiness in my mind,
I will leave behind social discomforts and with emboldened strides
enter in harmony with the darkening blue mass before me,
which neither condemns nor forgives.

 

David Hay is an English Teacher in the Northwest of England. He has written poetry and prose since the age of 18 when he discovered Virginia Woolf’s The Waves and the poetry of John Keats. These and other artists encouraged him to seek his own poetic voice. He has recently found the confidence to submit his poetry and prose for publication and has currently had two poems published by Acumen and another published in The Dawntreader.

One Poem by Daphne Milne

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

After Love

You are tired my love
Look I have my moonbeam helmet on
Let me shield you from its light

This is no time for sleeping
See I am clothed in silver
like the moon

You wear drab brown wool
colour of shadows
and forgetting

 

Daphne Milne now lives in Australia. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams Press: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/daphne-milne/4594486684

One Poem by Rob Lowe

An Elegy for Bargoed

These streets have a sheen of poverty: they are too quiet.
But what is seen in these slate and stone
Rows of houses is much more
An absence –
A lack of imagination, and no expectation, and
No vigour. And… the people here are made no more,
And no less, and this is a great redemption,
Than foundation; judgements set in random rubble,
Contour-hugging terraces outflanked by offices,
Musical valley voices smoothed by redevelopments.
Do you remember the hillsides, slagheap capped?
Do you remember when men worked and drank?

Wooden steps descend to cellars. The old
Unconscious minds in basements hold
The world that they believed in, things kept spare,
By those now forced behind and lacking choices –
The Bargoed Interchange and its new links
Pushed them aside and left them spare of hope.

Spare as the words they use of bare necessity,
And bare as their affection worn through time
Down to the simplest greeting. Their words now less
Than what they are. But what they are is less again
Than the world that they live in, and in despair.

Once there were mines here. Now, just a bypass road
Encourages the old to stop and think and speak,
And sometimes stare. Hold their dog’s lead,
And let it pull them to the wayside with the sheep.
John Tripp, the poet, was born here in Bargoed;
What would he think of the place he had to leave?

He would want to know why. He would want to know why.

 

Rob Lowe is English, but has lived in Tylorstown, Rhondda Fach; Harlech, Gwynedd; and now in Colwyn Bay, Gogledd Cymru. He writes a lot about Wales.

One Poem by Kate Young

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Luna Lullaby

I bring gifts, oceans of aquamarine
Engulfing your face as star-waves combine
To sing a Luna-Lullaby, as if this shrine
Could grant eternal youth. Your figurine

Skin-soft as petals, precious as opaline
Blinks in sleep, half-moons in a sky
Where dreams dune-drift and lovers entwine,
Safely cocooned in delusions unseen.

Your beauty torments, my celestial deity,
Smile strewn across a spangled dawn.
If I could bottle your soul for eternity
Would you scatter like dust and withdraw

Into silence? In time I have stolen all possibility,
My gaze is returned with impassive fragility.

 

Kate Young lives in Kent with her husband and has been passionate about poetry and literature since childhood. Over the last few years she has returned to writing and has had success with poems published in webzines in Britain and internationally. She particularly enjoys responding to ekphrastic challenges. Kate is presently editing her work and setting up her website. Find her on Twitter @Kateyoung12poet.

Two Poems by Richard Jones

Feeling

I carry my blighted rosemary bush outside
to rinse and bathe her with a mixture
of milk and water before I cut her long stems.

In the big yard next door, three gardeners
plant annuals—a big bed of red impatiens.
I know these men, have sought their counsel,

and set aside my dripping rosemary to call out,
“Bendices el jardín con significadoe spiritual.”
You bless the garden with spiritual meaning.

The wise gardeners nod. They also believe
life is about la musica, lagrimas, y alegria.
They say, “Hoy es un buen dia.” I salute them,

then lift my face to the sun to feel its heat,
strong and absolute. Hand on my chest,
I take a moment to feel my heart beating.


17 Lines

In Chicago for five hundred dollars
you can buy 17 lines in the Tribune
to publish your child’s obituary,
but most families of dead boys
haven’t got that kind of money
or the cash they will need to buy
a suit for the son in the casket,
or the money it takes to buy lunch
after the service for the mourners
so all may sit at a table for an hour
and remember, weep, and celebrate
the joy the child gave his bereaved
mother, who bends over the casket
to straighten the blue tie, his mother
who held him in her arms the night
before he stepped out of the house
into the street to be shot in the chest.

 

Richard Jones is a poet whose most recent book is Stranger on Earth (Copper Canyon Press). Editor since 1980 of the literary journal Poetry East, he curates its many anthologies, such as Paris, The Last Believer in Words, and Bliss. In 2020 he will publish his 100th issue. A new volume of his poems, Avalon, is forthcoming from Green Linden Press.

One Poem by Felix Purat

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Υπνωτικός (or Lunar Halo)

Caressing the domes of Thira churches
Selene’s wispy curls omitted by Solomon

A lunar halo lullabies the traveler to sleep
He has gone long and far, stopping halfway in Chánia

Where Psarantonis sings and shadowed deities dwell,
Watching neo-pagans scream and strum from afar

The traveler, weary, sleeps before his death
Ancient mountains fence off the horizon

Selene revels in one-upping her hasty, glimmering sister
But her needs will always remain unrequited

Her lunar halo drags down the traveler in tow
And eventually it’s not only our bodies gone to sleep

Only this time, Selene’s sister weeps o’er her cicada;
What falls into ύπνωση’s zone should not expect to see the dawn.

 

Felix hails from Berkeley, CA but lives in the Czech Republic and travels frequently. In addition to four 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 poems have also been translated into Slovak. His webpage is: beyondnorcal.wordpress.com

One Poem by Alun Robert

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Night of March 31

she was gone
expired
hoped she would last until daybreak
for just another day
into another month
another waxing crescent
but passed in her sleep

was there alongside
put an arm around her
heard her last incoherent ramblings
her final wretched wheeze
watched her eyes close
sensed the pain dissipate
felt her spirit float
departing in her prime

too young to be taken
smelled the stench of injustice
held back the tears
until morning at least
then cry along with the fools
to mourn her last moments
to lament a brief life
to wonder why her

 

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 Gwil James Thomas

Guests Like Fish…  

Shortly after
their departure
the dust
starts to settle
and the familiar
stillness that’s
hidden itself
in the nooks
and crannies
over
the last week
finally reappears.

Their whistles,
bad jokes,
politics
and farts
finally follow them
all the way back
to their home –
as a silence
fills the room
again
like
beautiful
music.

 

Gwil James Thomas is a Best of The Net and Pushcart nominee originally from Bristol, England. His two most recent poetry chapbooks are – In The Barrel of a Beautiful Wave (Holy&Intoxicated Publications) and Writing Beer, Drinking Poetry (Concrete Meat Press). He is currently laying low somewhere in Northern Spain.