I’m in Dunedin, Florida. No credentials or credits to speak of beyond a lifelong love of language and earliest memories of writing verse. I don’t say ‘just’ a father and husband, because nothing is more important to me. Middle-aged wage slave? Check. White, male? Check and check. So clearly, I should be too happy and privileged to feel the urge to write. Disturbed by much of what I see in the world around me? Okay, I’ll climb into that box.
What it isn’t, and is
I could listen, rapt,
without moving a muscle
for hours…..days, the voice
textured, enveloping, avuncular, warm.
It could be grocery lists: the biblical begats, a catalog
of oceanic invertebrate taxonomy;
graduate-level papers trying to complicate
our understanding of gender pronouns
in Faulkner, Joyce, and Woolf; the entire body
of academic texts on interdisciplinarity.
I could listen, unflinching, unsleeping:
the words could be Western Civilization’s
greatest contribution to soul-crushing ennui;
a litany of dinosaur scientific binomials;
fossilized thesaurus bones; hackneyed, trite, banal,
clichéd, platitudinous, conventional,
overused, stale, tired, unimaginative, dull.
I could listen for weeks to the published poet
intone his professional monotone words (that should,
by all rights, cut like paper’s edge), hypnotic,
a rapper’s wit wrapped and tied neatly in brown paper;
painting rainbows in gray tones and hiding the walnut
grain of great-grandmother’s chest-of-drawers
under thick, brushed-on enamel. Lusterless
patina of deliberate enunciation.
I could listen for moments
where the magic floats off the page,
where the words break loose, delivery be damned,
and raise the fine hairs along my arms.
Listen, I want to slap the poet: the words are not yet dead,
they can be resuscitated. Just press here,
and put your mouth there, and pray like it’s your own
child whose eyes are rolling back, looking for the light.
Sravani singampalli is a published writer and poet from India. Her poems have appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Criterion journal, Setu bilingual journal, Labyrinthine Passages journal, Spillwords press, The Poet Community and many others.
Everything is haunted here
In this place called as
The ‘town of the dead’.
That man in grey shirt
Says that even Paracetamol and Aspirin
Tablets are no longer used here
Because people believe that ghosts
Are hidden in them.
Hearing all this I remember
How my mother used to warn me
Not to eat the papaya seeds
How she used to say
They’ll grow into papaya trees
Inside my stomach.
Even today I say the same thing
To the little children
In my street.
I enjoy the queer notions
Things which take me to another world
Things which make me believe in aliens
Things which take away my breath
When I know
They are nothing
But just empty sceneries.
Darrell Lindsey is the author of Edge of the Pond ( Popcorn Press, 2012), and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award.His haiku and tanka have garnered numerous international awards. His work has appeared in more than 70 journals and anthologies.
She ran the railroad tracks
on winding summer days
that bit like snakes,
then would wander the woods
until her eyes were heavy stones
beside a midnight stream.
She was the defiant rag doll
lashed by branches & fate,
& looked to fast forward
through the arms
of anyone out to find her.
She was the runaway
that police wept over
even when her mother could be found,
the one train conductors
would be on the tracks
long past the whistle.
She was the raw storm
always stepping on shadows
right behind her.