Issue: Issue 6 17th July 2017


Poetry 1

A Letter to the Friend Living in Borderline Abuse

by Cathy Donelan

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You say we cannot be seen on your wedding day

for the charade, might crack

carefully labelled lies will crumble

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like shards of the mirror he put a fist through

while people sat downstairs,

that night you got on his nerves and I saw the flipside,

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instead of taking your daughter and walking,

told the sparkling social media illusion

what a doting father he is,

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knitting him tight to feigned delusion,

through the ornamental, lace thread-work

you’ll hang with your veil down your back.

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Cathy Donelan is a writer from the West of Ireland, she is currently studying for her degree in Arts with Creative Writing at NUI Galway. Her fiction has appeared in ROPES, Dodging the Rain, The Honest Ulsterman, Spontaneity and The Lamp Graduate Journal. Her Poetry has appeared in The Galway Review and A New Ulster. She has won the December 2015 Poetry Pulse Prize and been highly commended in The Fool For Poetry International Chapbook Competition. She is currently working on her first book.

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Barren

by Kirsty A Niven

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A blank darkness,

a portrait painted over
in smears of black –

covering up what used to be there
in a crude oil spill.

An ink stain spreading,
an endless horror.

Engulfed.
Drained of all light –

all meaning, all life.
A black hole within me.

A desolate place ruled by the night.
haunted by tiny skeletons.

Parasitic and dead –
a winter that won’t end.

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No News

by Kirsty A Niven

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It’s something you are supposed to want.
It’s something that is expected of you.
It’s the future that you assume is yours,
the next step you should take.

It’s the extra bedroom in the house,
laying empty and lifeless,
painted in neutral colours and waiting.
The door stays closed so no one knows.

It’s the news I was hoping to share.
It’s the news I was hoping to hide.
It’s the news I may never get,
the line that may never appear.
It’s the silence I can’t un-hear.

It’s something I’ve always wanted.
It’s something I desperately need.
It’s the future I assumed was mine,
the ache I did not foresee.

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For Rebecca, Remembered

by Kirsty A Niven

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One chance
to wipe the smile off an oil painting,
a Picasso piece designed to disturb.
Yet, she holds every eye –
leaving all else in shadow.

She smiles,
baring fanged teeth that she grinds,
knowing her power over them all.
I could do nothing,
except wait out the storm.

I await her grand exit
across the icy tormenting sea.
Let the chimera sink another’s boat;
let her drown another’s chances
of happiness and love.

Either way, she will always be the muse;
and I simply the air caught in her hurricane.

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Apothecary

by Kirsty A Niven

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A scene laced with chemistry,
covalent eyes bonded together.
Sending off sparks, ill fated stars,
a destiny written in poison.

Untold possibilities whispered in a vision,
a story spoken in distance.
A mistimed Romeo for the ages,
a potent memory forever brewing.

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The Oak Tree

by Kirsty A Niven

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The tree still stands, your very own monument.
A well intended memorial yet incomplete,
the absence of the tree house conspicuous.

Its clawed arms lie upwards and empty,
questioning a deaf and clouded sky
and cloaking itself in leaves to overcompensate.

A magpie nests where we used to clamber,
hoarding its glittering treasures,
attempting to fill the void within itself.

I swear for a moment, I can see you
hanging by the tips of your scraped fingers,
a budding smirk on your earthy face –

but it’s gone just as quick,
the magpie’s beady eye meeting my gaze as if to say,
there’s some things you can’t replace.

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Kirsty A. Niven lives in Dundee, Scotland with her husband and two cats. Her poetry has appeared in The Dawntreader, The Machinery, GFT Presents: One in Four, Sarasvati, A Prince Tribute, LOVE: A Collection of Poetry and Prose on Loving and Being in Love, Poetry Super Highway, Artificial Womb, the Ground Fresh Thursday series, Journeys Dundee and numerous other publications.  

 

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Poetry 2

WE ALL NEED TO FLY

by Edward Lee

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Be careful of that last will and testament,
keep it away from the candle;
it belongs to Icarus,
found in his father’s belongings,
or it is his father’s,
found in Icarus’ remains –
I don’t think it matters,
Not now.

 

It is extremely flammable,
just so you know.
If it goes up in flames
we’ll never discover who he left
the blueprints too,
and so many of us
want them,

despite what we know.

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THE UNPROVEN POSSIBILITIES OF SPACE

by Edward Lee

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This space above me,
endless, vast,
which I will only ever know
through books and T.V. programmes,
comics and cinema screens,
gives me more comfort
than this earth I lie upon,
this place that is my home
for no other reason than pure chance
and biological circumstance.

This goldilocks warm planet chills me,
while cold space
generates a warmth in me
as I pour all my sadness into it,
my eyes losing themselves
in its star-pierced darkness

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MEMORY IS MEMORY

by Edward Lee

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How big our fathers seem
when we are young,
and how small they become
as they melt into hospital beds,
their frail hands barely strong enough
to grip our adult hands with any force.

How much we are
willing to forget, forgive,
as their memory fails
and they no longer
recall the fear
they instilled
in our small hearts
and minds,
how they spoke with their fists
more than they ever did
with their mouths;

those wordless men then,
these wordless men now,
their harsh last breaths
filling our world
long after they’re gone,

forever after.

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BOTH SIDES DIFFERENT

by Edward Lee

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I do not fear
the man in the cage,
sitting on his cardboard bed,
hands clasped before him,
face facing the freshly swept floor.
No, I do not fear him.

The man outside the cage,
charging night-time admission,
his teeth showing,
his laugh cruel,
jangling keys loose in his dirty hands,
him I fear,
oh yes, him I truly fear;

I refuse to meet his eyes
when he drags his own
from his caged brother
(and they must be brothers,
their faces cracked reflections
of each other),
his tongue scrapping decayed meat
from between his dark teeth,
his laughter deepening
as my checks redden,
studying my freshly polished shoes.

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Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll. His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

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The Boats in Dingle Harbour

by Chris Brauer

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His bogman hands, leeched of youth,

search for cigarettes and, finding none,

dig deeper into empty pockets, stretching the wool

to find warmth against the cutting wind.

 

He is salt-crusted, like the boats

in Dingle Harbour, and he looks out towards

the thieving blue where the burning

of weathered ropes against young hands

reads like a dying language.

 

As the ocean breathes long and slow,

he too breathes long and slow,

closing his eyes against the brightness

of the sun, losing himself in memory.

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Chris Brauer is a Canadian writer and teacher, based in southeastern British Columbia.  He has recently completed a travel memoir about living and teaching in the Sultanate of Oman, and is currently working on a book about his travels in Ireland.  He is also working on his first collection of poetry. Visit www.ChrisBrauerWriter.com or www.Facebook.com/ChrisBrauerWriter for more information.

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Poetry 3

i live behind the glass, on the corner of framed and hung

by Bev Smith

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a one eyed glance of half lid
somedays all I can dare

for fear the cracking glass
will spill with secrets

my fearing most the ones i forgot

an out the door in passing look
making sure I’m right side up
from wrong

and this side of a backhanded
compliment
” i love when you wear
your hair up”

and you’ve revealed, against my back
it’s deep long flow of brown

but I do like the swishy sway;
my neck, sometimes the sun.
so I’m okay
with a disconcerting frown
and your motherly
outlook of work not done.

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those things we say

by Bev Smith

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we’re truly
an evolving
lot
of knuckle
draggers;

mental
lolly-gaggers
all
cauliflowered

-bent
at the ear.

 

though
never displaying
my church mouse
traits,
it became obvious –

we were
once
a great race.

branch benders
of the best
kind,

never falling
to hit
more of a jump
to jump
in our leaping.

i’m gathering,
more breeders
and fighters

than
philosophical.

cognitive thinking
skip-hopping
by generations.
we’d dare dangerous
peekaboo’d
betwixt it’s codes.

i know this
a given

that time
helping
my youngest little man
changing clothes
for bed.

i watched our generations
clash
mid-air
shield on shield

when reciting
a common phrase from my childhood;
assuming
as my mother’s before me.

pulling his tiny t-shirt
off,
arms up

stating-

“skin-a-kitty”

without so much as a thought.

until my clueless face
gazed
ashen white angelic authority

and

in his deepest

harshest

whisper

-says

” mama -why would you say that ?”

 

it was then i knew,

 

I knew
nothing;

 

as i’d only ever
raised both my arms.

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water bending secrets; if not taught swim, one best still kick

by Bev Smith

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who knew
once aboard,

your baby train
would not stop.

and each dream
unanswered
became a bassinet,
a new bed
then stroller.

hand me downs
only cool twice
because now,
someone’s
gotta replace
all that lead paint
of three kids ago.

crib slats
unmeasured,
started killing babies
who’s parents
couldn’t count.

you being educated
i got a new crib,
and lucky.

but before
the invention
of stranger danger
i knew
the locations
of far too many
cookie jars
on the block.

and every dog’s name,
by their backyard
and
where preferably
they wanted
not to be petted.

when somehow
now grown,

i taught mine

”not all dogs
are for us to know.”

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Our Papyrus Birth

by Bev Smith

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our papyrus birth
lays yellowing
before the ink blacks
of blotted footprints.

we -all arms and legs
growing off the pages
then in upright drift,
strode toward the sun.

a cloud
upon each shoulder
a shadows cast
‘tween rib tapping
in hollowed thump.

the deep auburns
that sliver,
blowing a torrents gust
though the seasons.

residing
beneath the brittle.
i’m drying,
an ache
along it’s branch.

trying to think back
to the last time
i felt -of green.

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that sweetest peach

by Bev Smith

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can we not
run naked in this light
eyes open
and sit cross legged exposing
our secrets as wanton gift.

touch skin smooth and newly kissed.
honeyed golden of warming sun.
course fingers through our veins
faster, farther
and in shy eyed hither merge as one.

and in our yonder days
when skin holds the desert as its arid own,
oasis scarce.
our gaze of afar, the distance of our farthest reach

i will remember you
as still that sweetest peach.

 

this thigh,
this thigh quivers ‘neath your touch
seeking strong, your grip

before more lines
forming new faces,
trace of age and much more wisdom.

in lace scantily clad
destined for your gaze.
intricately woven
needing one of youthful eyes by two
to measure it’s elegance
against my firm elastic flesh,
pliable and soft
bending sheer beneath
its lattice weave.

-to answer your query

” they are french
i believe ”

 

and we will lay to lavish
all our silver years
lost, lingering in and among the images

that none, if we so bold -told

could conceive.

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Bev Smith:

Sometimes we find ourselves in the damnedest places. Stumbling around in the dark,  poetry was the shade I needed before I could tolerate the sun again ~

Equine professional since high school. Horseman since birth. I train dressage horses and riders in Texas on our family farm with my husband and two sons.

 

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Poetry 4

Aneurysm

by Akshaya Pawaskar

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Thrum, a vessel in the brain
Fattened globe, thinned out

A worn ticking clock, about
to run out of time, gilt hands

In stupor, languorous eternal
Unbeknown a fountain exists.

Plasma, floating discs red and
White, hose pipe brittle, crack

Squirt blood in tissues, map
of vegetable life, homunculus.

Sleep as you listen to the blip

Of Ventilator, locked in, a log.

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Akshaya Pawaskar is a doctor practicing in India and poetry is
her passion. Her poems have been published in Tipton Poetry journal, Writer’s Ezine, Efiction India, Ink drift, The blue nib, Her heart poetry, Awake in the world anthology by Riverfeet press and few anthologies by lost tower publications. She had been chosen as ‘Poet of the week’ on Poetry superhighway and featured writer in Wordweavers poetry contest

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Stranger in a Small Town

by Ash Slade

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Midnight cloak walks in like an outsider
behind golden star and discus facade.
Bitter wind punishes this divider.
Branches swung windowpanes were crudely clawed
utility poles became lightning rods.
Folks came from miles ’round to lonely town
catching rare glimpses of rebel outlaws.
Writers found plenty of tales to jot down.

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Headlines plastering newspapers statewide.
spectators hooked on this mystery guy.
Cryptic background, aspirations held high
tattered knapsack dangles from his backside.
Actions were quick, precise, and improvised.
bemused glare at folks walking hurried streets.
Ragged, vagabond, man slept on curbside.
winding roads pages, footsteps crumbled “beats.”

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Autumn Nights Spent Gazing

by Ash Slade

On an autumn night, I gazed out my window,
fixing my sight on a star stenciled abyss-
wondering if prayers flew, how high they’d go
or if they could even reach loved ones I miss.

 

Fixing my sight on a star stenciled abyss-
Searching night’s stillness, seeking answers,
or even if they could reach loved ones I miss.
Lights sparkling, are twilight’s angel dancers.

 

Searching night’s stillness, seeking answers,
wondering if prayers flew, how high they’d go.
Lights sparkling, are twilight’s angel dancers.
On an autumn night, I gazed out my window

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Ash Slade considers himself to be a mysterious person. Poetry has been his passion since 12 years old in 7th grade. A poem can take minutes or days to write, each one is important. Ash lives in Connecticut in a small New England town. Hobbies included collecting notebooks and poetry books.

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By Mike McNamara

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Wide open spaces. Past, empty places;

plains and a distant star.

Vast and silent golden fields.

A forgotten toy car

caked in dust.

The melting tar

of one endless summer,

far, so very far.

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By Mike McNamara

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No one touches her breast

or brushes her lips with theirs.

She slips between the gaps

where backroads

intersect with mainstreets

lost between the hours

of longing and remembrance.

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Born in  Northern Ireland but living in S. Wales,  Mike McNamara has had a collection of poetry ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ published by Grevatt and Grevatt  in 1997. Mike is lead singer with Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band.  His poetry has been published in Envoi, Orbis, Tears in the Fence, New Welsh Review, The Dawntreader, etc. Mike also had a selection of poems published in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Poetry 5

In the Same Month

by Maureen Sutton

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It’s the hottest June day in forty years, a cloudless sky.
Canterbury bells are chiming, blue, pink, white.
The purple sage-bush is quivering with bees, foxgloves
And fuchsia are showing off, geraniums, marigolds, ablaze.
Tomatoes in flower, the earth warm in my hands.

We’re still in the same month and after the heat-wave
its fifteen degrees’ cooler. Low depression brings ghost-grey
clouds, torrential rain for days.  There’s a riot in the rose bush.
Canterbury bells are struck down, foxgloves are gloveless.
Grass needs scything.  Pitiful pigeons and a flock
of starlings quarrel over sodden mealworms.

The Trent valley remains hidden, condensation seeps
from every house in the lane, blocked drains overflow.
People are wearing November faces.

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Spring

by Maureen Sutton

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A glory of celandines reflects sunlight
polishing white war-graves, highlighting
names of the fallen.

Perched on branches of budding horse chestnut
a pitying of collared-doves suddenly takes flight,
feathers free-fall like parachutes over Candlemas bells.

Daffodils, grape-hyacinths and polyanthas bloom
bright as a bride’s bouquet on a spinster’s grave
whose sweetheart’s cross is out of reach.

(Candlemas bells is another name for snowdrops in Lincolnshire
They are also known as February Maids.
 Pitying is the collective noun for pigeons.)

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What are Poets For?

Maureen Sutton

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Early scribes took dye from the ink-cap,
put blade to quill and formed words on a
long-wool’s parchment, created poetry;
an echo of the cries of the lamb of God.

The psalmist whose words like music
from harp, woodwind, still resonate.
There is poetry in the Koran, the Old Testament
In every religion and language.

Birdsong, wind and storms write their own poetry.
Poets evoke memory, wheedle a way into your mind,
Challenge views, open eyes, educate.
Rhythm and rhyme snare like a man-trap.

Since creation of language bards and
poets have communicated to all who listen,
have travelled wide to share insight,
from Beowulf to the present day

Poets comfort the bereaved, those who
remember, survivors, less they forget,
give joy, laughter and anger;
that’s what poets are for.

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Maureen Sutton is a local Lincolnshire folklorist and poet, born in Grantham, now living in Waddington. Since the early 1960s she has been organising folk music and poetry events.  Two of her folklore books ‘We Didn’t Know Aught’ and A Lincolnshire Calendar’ were short listed for the Katherine Briggs annual memorial prize. She has had many poems published in Lincolnshire Life Magazine, The Poacher, in two Pimento Poets anthologies, ‘Inder-Ends’ a Lincolnshire dialect anthology.  She won the Lincolnshire Poet Laureate Competition in 1915. She has also had poems published in East Midlands poetry magazines.

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the beauty of cranes

by Dana St Mary

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their long necks arched or rigid
sometimes knee’d in waters frigid
or knuckled up to pounce
with angry muscle
ounce per ounce
earth or rock or muck gripped in their digits

swiftly grabbing at their prey
the feeding takes the meat of day
a gullet never filled
still eyeing what can
not be killed
scooping up their load
as if in play

tendons taut along the neck
attentive to the smallest speck
and naught can miss the gaze
staring steely straight
for days and days
striking with a splash
or tiny peck

i thrill to see the majesty of cranes
hunting on the skyline of the dawn
their neck lines can be easy drawn
rarely seen upon a lawn
here and then quite gone but,
magnificence remains

my heart sings out the beauty
and the worth,
of mighty cranes
alone (or not)
digging in a chosen spot
building every building
here on Earth.

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dana st. mary is a lifelong devourer of books and tall tales told by strangers, in odd places. he spent over fifteen years as an alaskan deckhand on halibut, black cod, and crab boats. he spent twenty plus years as a traveler and inveterate storyteller. north america is his particular bailiwick. he now sleeps in a bed, under a roof, with his wife (colleen) and two exceptionally handsome children (patrick and irene).

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Blue, I Think

by Mellisa Mullvihill

 

As if the house had stumbled long ago and never recovered it sloughed to the right

Gutters drooping windows yawning drainpipes brittle claimed by

spindly, crunchy, dead wood and an truck ancient in its green rust settled in for the last days

Shuffling, hunched skirts dragging hems frayed

she urged herself up the crumbling stoop pausing to flick rotten fruit from the landing with the tip of her cane

I glanced carefully side-long and secret like catching her front door mid slam long peels of paint falling loose dried out and wrinkled revealing what used to be underneath

Blue, I think

I crossed against the light at the desolate intersection

I didn’t look back.

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Melissa writes poetry and creative nonfiction and is a self-identified dystopian junkie. She was recently published in the June 2017 issue of Poet’s Haven’s, Strange Land. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two sons, and labradoodle, Luna(tic). She detests writing in the third person about herself more than having to eat beets AND really bad pizza.

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Escaping the dead hand of writer’s block 3 – More Writers’ Prompts

By Shirley Bell
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Revisiting Endings
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Last week I put  a piece from ‘Tom Thumb’ which appears in R. F Langley’s ‘Collected Poems’, published by CarcanetEach line ended with physics/ in/ it/ because/ are/ evening/and/fifty/any/end/shrieks/go/be/ beyond/left/galaxy – very challenging but I hope you got a poem out of this.
.But What about a formal poem?This time I have chosen rhyming poems for you to try to write your own poem with someone else’s rhymes as the end of each line.The first one is a chilling and mysterious piece, yet with lines 1, 2, 3 all aaa throughout the poem, and the b rhyme for every 3rd line, and the final 2 lines rhyming b then a it is also a tight and rhyming scheme..The Lie

BY DON PATERSON

As was my custom, I’d risen a full hour

before the house had woken to make sure

that everything was in order with The Lie,

his drip changed and his shackles all secure.

 

I was by then so practiced in this chore

I’d counted maybe thirteen years or more

since last I’d felt the urge to meet his eye.

Such, I liked to think, was our rapport.

 

I was at full stretch to test some ligature

when I must have caught a ragged thread, and tore

his gag away; though as he made no cry,

I kept on with my checking as before.

 

Why do you call me The Lie? he said. I swore:

it was a child’s voice. I looked up from the floor.

The dark had turned his eyes to milk and sky

and his arms and legs were all one scarlet sore.

 

He was a boy of maybe three or four.

His straps and chains were all the things he wore.

Knowing I could make him no reply

I took the gag before he could say more

 

and put it back as tight as it would tie

and locked the door and locked the door and locked the door

 

In “Timer”, the second one,  Tony Harrison has created a powerful 16 line sonnet which is completely modern and illustrates that though strict form can be a straitjacket, in this caseit  can also be an inspiration.

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Timer (1981)

Tony Harrison

Gold survives the fire that’s hot enough
to make you ashes in a standard urn.
An envelope of course official buff
contains your wedding ring that wouldn’t burn.

Dad told me I’d to tell them at St. James’s
the ring should go in the incinerator.
That “eternity” inscribed with both their names is
his surety that they’d be together, “later”.

I signed for the parcelled clothing as the son,
the cardy, apron, pants, bra, dress-
The clerk phoned down, 6- 8- 8- 3- 1?
Has she still her ring on? (Slight pause) Yes!

It’s on my warm palm now, your burnished ring!
I feel your ashes, head, arms, breasts, womb, legs,
sift through its circle slowly, like that thing
you used to let me watch to time the eggs.

(As I said last week , it would be really  interesting for you to submit the result of some Endings in The Blue Nib and we could maybe have a section for a selection of your poems – these are obviously not publishable in the normal sense because of the element of plagiarism).

 

One poem into another…

There was a very interesting competition which I missed, but I was very interested in the challenge.

“The Colour of Saying creative writing competition was created by Anne Pelleschi (Haden) with the aim of encouraging new work to emerge in response to Dylan Thomas’ poem ‘The Hunchback in the Park’. “

The Colour of Saying – Dylan Down the Ups Project www.dylandowntheups.org.uk/

It  resulted in a 2014 anthology “Original responses to Dylan Thomas’ “The Hunchback in the Park,” in poetry, prose-poem, prose, diary, and letter forms. Translations of Thomas’ “The Hunchback in the Park” into other languages, including: Bulgarian, Catalan, Castilian, German, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Serbian, Sicilian, Slovakian, and Spanish.”

>

The Hunchback In The Park – by Dylan Thomas

The hunchback in the park
A solitary mister
Propped between trees and water
From the opening of the garden lock
That lets the trees and water enter
Until the Sunday sombre bell at dark

Eating bread from a newspaper
Drinking water from the chained cup
That the children filled with gravel
In the fountain basin where I sailed my ship
Slept at night in a dog kennel
But nobody chained him up.

Like the park birds he came early
Like the water he sat down
And Mister they called Hey mister
The truant boys from the town
Running when he had heard them clearly
On out of sound

Past lake and rockery
Laughing when he shook his paper
Hunchbacked in mockery
Through the loud zoo of the willow groves
Dodging the park keeper
With his stick that picked up leaves.

And the old dog sleeper
Alone between nurses and swans
While the boys among willows
Made the tigers jump out of their eyes
To roar on the rockery stones
And the groves were blue with sailors

Made all day until bell time
A woman figure without fault
Straight as a young elm
Straight and tall from his crooked bones
That she might stand in the night
After the locks and chains

All night in the unmade park
After the railings and shrubberies
The birds the grass the trees the lake
And the wild boys innocent as strawberries
Had followed the hunchback
To his kennel in the dark.

 


And finally the power of images – ambiguous and unsettling. It’s worth stockpiling a collection of intriguing images for inspiration in lean times. You will know from The Blue Nib covers that I spend a lot of time on image sites, all free! Like The British Library and pxhere.com. 
>
..I am also a pushover for the Dolce and Gabbana ads, OK they are  highly stylised advertising shots but  I do love the improbably beautiful and long-legged people in odd situations..

 

 


 

Poetry 6

God was pop art 
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by Andrew Lawson 
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They all flirted with death
those eclectic dreamers
under a salmon painted sky
that bled music and poetry
God
was pop art
hung on a dime store rack
a frame of tin foil
emitting strange vibes
they spoke an underground language
nailed their frail ego’s
to a phantom cross
traded crayons for LSD
living in the perpetual present
born of atomic rage and sand
beholden to no one
for fifteen minutes
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Andrew Lawson hails from Connecticut USA he pens song lyrics,
poetry, children stories and ghost stories, an eclectic mishmash
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Wings of Life (for Peter)

by Calico Prince

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Great beauty holds

the capacity

for deep grief

 

It is the expanse

of a wing

between earth and sky

 

Bound by gravity

and yet transcends it

in a single breath

 

She deepens us

in the places

no-one sees

 

And she opens us

like a like a flower

to our death

 

and our petals fall.
What will you become?

by Calico Prince

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Calico Prince is a Doctoral Candidate and a practice led researcher and Community Arts and Cultural Development practitioner. Her body of work focuses on creativity and transformation. She has published in academic peer reviewed journals as well as practitioner focused platforms and publications. She is currently Artist In Residence at Blacktown Arts Centre in Western Sydney, Australia. As a mother of a young child, her creative writings often come in the silence that falls after midnight.

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A TITANIC AND ICEBERG MOMENT 

by R.J Williams.
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I am the iceberg your ships rammed against
as we exchanged our first “hello” in years.
Your navy had grown considerably,
managing to poke and steer
me where you wanted my eyes to go
with battalion force at your disposal.
Yet, the force was a balloon-filled compression
with an almost
dolphin nudging its baby gentle feel.
Your ships poked and prodded
until conversation, on my part,
was on auto-pilot. And, now,
I don’t remember a word of it.
Your F.F. Titan 1 and Titan 2 were things
to behold. Juggernauts
that no torpedo could possibly sink
but only wedge between.
The iceberg me did not crack, but
did start melting..
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RJ Williams: I am a writer and visual artist of more than twenty years. Currently, I reside
in a building called ARTSPACE in the west Texas city, El Paso. My art
hangs and sells in galleries here. I sell my poetry eBooks online
through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. I make small, self-published,
limited edition chapbooks of my poetry as well. I am active on
facebook and participate in several poetry and art groups there.
Life is good.
..
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A very neatly printed missive

by Alfred Booth

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Dear Sir,

As a fellow fan following, or creating, world folly, I would have been honored to meet you in Marrakech next week. That was your destination after the Bastille Day festivities, n’est-pas?  Yes, the postmark is Cape Horn. I’ve been waiting for this colossal, unprecedented iceberg to finally rip itself from the motherhood of its continental shelf. What worrisome majesty. My apologies for using that particular adjective. It was spellbinding. So reminiscent of the Titanic. Missing from incessant shutter snaps was the calm of a string quartet playing Debussy. Nothing impressionistic about the split.  More Neoclassic with a political twist worn thin. Or Greek tragedy, the blunting of Oedipus’ eye metaphoring climate change disaster. Waiting for such a denouement is what reality TV should have become. I personally thought of Pirandello’s “Six characters in search of an author.” Or the sense of endlessness in Proust’s dense prose. Worthy masterpieces commanding applause. I could never have envisioned that an iceberg could finally upstage the limelight of your public ridicule? Have you made a decision concerning your future exile?

Sincerely,

  1. Hawking

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Alfred Booth is an American professional pianist who lives in France, Alfred Booth folds origami; its patience often inspires poetry. When he not at the piano learning new arcane repertoire to stretch his horizons, he teaches would-be amateur musicians to put enough bread on the table. In the 90s he studied extensively the harpsichord and his millennial project had him able to play Bach on the cello; this latter duo waits for his retirement years. Currently he has an 82-poem volume journaling a recent dance with cancer and an 34-poem chapbook of ghazals looking for a homes in the professional world of rhyme. A large handful of his poetry can be found in the e-zines Dead Snakes, I am not a silent poet and Spring Fling. He keeps an online portfolio at: https://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/troubadour.

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You’re Not the Police

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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This scrawny kid in green track pants
makes this irritating siren noise
as his finger does a circle over his head
which I imagine to be intended as a flashing light.
He is not doing anything else.
Just walking.
His friend elbows him in the side
and says quite emphatically:
you’re not the police!
The kid immediately stops his siren noise
and spinning his finger above his head.
A few feet on he tries to kick an old pop can
down the sewer.

It gets caught in the overhang
and he gives it up.

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Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

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The Other Side of Writing

by Micheal A Griffith.

 

I belong to several groups devoted to writing on Facebook and very often I’ll read posts from fellow members stating they feel guilty that they did not write for a day or longer. As a matter of fact, yesterday I did very little writing or re-writing/editing myself and for a while I felt a bit guilty about it.  But I shouldn’t have, for I was still doing some work which is found on what I call the other side of writing.

Many writers feel that if we don’t have pen to paper or fingers to keyboard creating stanzas, writing dialogue, or expressing our thoughts, then we’re not being “writers.”

That’s just not true. Lawyers do not always appear in court. Actors are not always on stage or in front of cameras. Chefs do more than just cook. These people research, they take time to reflect, they rehearse and practice, they read, they organize their work spaces and do other “behind the scenes” things.

BEING something does not mean you are only one aspect of that thing; you are ALL aspects of it.

Do you feel that you just can’t write; are the words coming out too hard? Take a break and still BE a writer. Go out and observe people to catch snatches of dialogue or character ideas. Read articles on writing or read some fiction or poetry. Listen to music to inspire ideas. Read and perhaps do mild revision of your old writing, even rejected items. Watch a movie that reminds you of a time in your life you may be writing about. Take a walk and jot notes on things you see. Shop for groceries in the persona of a character. Talk to other writers about their experiences. Organize your files.

Do NOT do as I (and I bet many of us) sometimes do and play games on Facebook, get lost on You Tube or find some other activity to AVOID writing. Do SOMETHING that will help your writing, not just burn an hour or an evening away.

We sometimes put writing off for fear of not making progress. Well… when you see that written out, the contradiction in that way of thinking is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Do something productive, even if it doesn’t “feel” like writing on the surface. What did I do yesterday in my “non-writing” mode? I organized my submission files, I pressed virtual flesh on Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress and I read other writers’ poetry.

I did the other side of writing.

And today I woke up to write a poem and then write this essay.

Today is a writer’s writing day. And to get to it, I had to to visit the other side of writing.

 

Michael A. Griffith teaches courses and workshops in public speaking, communications, and creative writing at the college and adult continuing education levels. His essays have appeared in Teaching For Success, Ripen the Page (where this essay appeared in slightly different form in August 2016) and Lehigh Valley Woman’s Journal. His poetry has recently appeared online on sites such as The Blue Nib, Dual Coast Poetry, Stanzic Stylings, Poetry Quarterly, and Dissident Voices. He resides in Somerset County, NJ.