Poetry from Kevin Griffin, Byron Beynon, Rie Sheridan Rose, David Ratcliffe and Michael H. Brownstein

Byron Beynon’s poems and essays have appeared in several publications including London Magazine, Chiron Review, Crannog, Southlight, Cyphers and Poetry Wales. He co-ordinated the Wales section of the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

 

HÔTEL DIEU, ARLES

At noon I entered
the old hospital,
a restored building
transformed into a centre for learning.
A hush of garden,
the cool balconies,
people sitting at tables
enjoying the shade and rest,
flowers ablaze
in the Arlésian heat.
Here I think of you
who could not cry,
brought to this place
by the thunder of ill-health,
the bad diet,
overwork and absinthe.
A human form hiding
under the bedclothes,
the forbidden books, paints and pipe.

 

Kevin Griffin is from Caragh Lake, Kerry and has had poems in many magazines including The SHOp, A New Ulster, North West Words, Orbis, Riposte, Star*line (USA), Pennine Ink, Salzburg Review, Labor of Love (Toronto), and others, He is a regular read at poetry reading in Kerry, Cork, Limerick etc, and has taken part in a poetry program on radio Kerry. He was shortlisted for the Fish Prize in 2011 and is working towards his first collection.

Rereading Prufrock

The rain is slight now,
it drummed on the roof windows all day
and the fog is cloaking all sense of sense.

Beside me, my wife is curled and warm in sleep.
Of her I will say no more.
If she hears of this and doesn’t like it,
I can say the sensuality of the women
brought her to mind
and that I lost a certain cool after that.

What have I to measure out a life,
coffee spoons, smiles, the scuttling of crabs,
useless works and days, the fullness of times.
Would it be worthwhile even to begin.
What may I presume, be formulated, no thank you.
Nor am I Hamlet, nor am I a prince or a prophet.
The rain has gone, another moon.

Did Michelangelo want David to look east or west,
does it matter, Mr Eliot doesn’t say or seem to care,
he throws him into a mere ditty.
Is it worth a debate,
an annex to a symposium.

Now Mr Eliot, the mermaids.
(Should I be allowed to address you as T.S,
Tom would be undignified and too familiar, for both of us).
I saw a mermaid once, it was no fun at all, let me tell you.
She didn’t sing, not even once, at least not to me.

I am old, old and more than slightly bald,
not interested in parting my hair,
would like a ponytail, even a little one, just the once.
No trouble to eat a peach, most likely from a tin.
I will continue to wear brown shorts on the beach.

Only a few pipe-smokers left,
the many are vaping, humanoids in great grey clouds
looking wasted. ( you know that word, do you not, T.S,
maybe not this usage.)
I have seen a few Prufrock actalikes out there
at the moment of being formulated.
Look at what you presume to have begun.
Now they will be with us always.

And the rain has returned,
insistent this time, between you and me.

 

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. Her poetry has appeared in Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen, and Penumbra, as well as numerous anthologies. She has authored ten novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. More info on www.riewriter.com. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.

 

How Can I Say “I Love You”?

In this world where
the scaffolding of my life
has been torn away,
and I have no squiggly lines
to say what is in my heart…

where you cannot hear
the words spilling from my lips—
cruel joke of genetics
that the one I love
in a wordless world is deaf.

No sign language to speak,
no magazines to cut and paste,
no falling back to sappy love songs.
Your world is silent,
and mine is symbol-less.

The sign-man on the corner
tells me the way to the nearest cafe,
pointing for your benefit,
but has no advice for matters
he has no knowledge of.

And so we walk in silence,
the poet with no poems
and the woman with no words,
and all I can do to say “I love you”
is take your hand and squeeze.

 

David Ratcliffe hails from the north of England though now living in the south. he write’s poetry, short stories, song lyrics (Two of his songs have been recorded by Leeds band Backyard Burners) & Stage plays (one of which is with a theatre company in London). He is also a keen painter in both watercolour and oils. In 2016 poem ‘Home Straight’ was shortlisted in the Fermoy International Poetry Festival Completion. This poem was featured at the festival, displayed in the widow of the local butchers shop… https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=808552105913300&set=p.808552105913300&type=3&theater His poetry has been published on-line in the following publications…THE BeZINE https://thebezine.com/ Poetry Pacific Magazine TRR Poetry Sixteen Magazine Mad Swirl Tulip Tree Review (Print Version) Poem Hunter     David Poetry Website https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=808552105913300&set=p.808552105913300&type=3&theater You tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhEUr-Fik3Q https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHFHWam_tsg   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6J3YKR3ElA  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNbbnCDKgXo

 

I chose to write in Lancastrian dialect for International Mother Language Day.

This poem features a typical day in my childhood, playing cricket with my big Brother…

Swagger spit un chomp

The rod behint ewer heause
led reet tord Australia,
ant SCG.

Inth cowd neet air
oi med a mark int flags
under’t yellow glowt oft lamppost

Our kid, wus owder
n bett-thur thun me,
alays England,
alays-Fiery Fred,

Me, awlus Australia,
alays Ian Redpath.

Oi loiked way ‘Redders’ baggy green
sat on is ed, n how e
cudn’t stop a pig in a ginnel,
but oi dint curr ,cos oi cud
swagger spit un chomp
ant communtaters luved it.

Bein un assuie Oi cud propper bugger abeawt anal,
stoppin ewer kids lang run up, ratchin mi rig n
doin is shed in,
adbi agate ‘owdonabit, am not reddy’
an he’d chuck a reet benny.

Although I lost mi wicket loads,
oi remember cleautin wun six streght int
Don Bradman Stand;
crowd goin crackers,
me doing sum gardnin,
an our kid ad to fotch it.

Inthend I awlas lost
but it was me who got to
swagger spit an chomp
alt way f ’tae.

Translation…

Swagger Spit and Chew

The road behind our house
led straight to faraway Australia
and the SCG.

In the cold night air
I’d make a mark in the flagstones
under the yellow glow of the lamppost.

My brother, being older
was a better player than me,

he was always England,
always-Freddie Truman,

Me? always Australia,
always Ian Redpath.

I liked the way ‘Redders’ baggy green
sat on is head, and his bandy walk,
so I didn’t mind for I could
swagger spit and chew
and the commentators loved it.

Being Australian I would really
mess around as well,
shaking my shoulders,
stopping my brothers long run up,
all to annoy him.
I would say, “Hold on a minute I’m not ready”
and he’d get propper miffed.

Although he got me out a lot,
I remember clouting one big six
over the Don Bradman Stand;
the crowd cheering madly,
me patting imaginary cracks in the pitch,
and my brother having to go felt it.

In the end, I always lost
but it was me that got to
swagger, spit and chew,
past the cheering crowd
all the way in for tea.

-Baggy Greens, are the caps worn by the Australian Cricket Team.
-Freddie Truman was a legendry English Bowler in the sixties.
-Ian Redpath was a decent batsman for Australia at that time.
-SCG stands for Sydney Cricket Ground.

 

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Blue Nib, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

 

DEATH ARRIVES SUDDENLY NEAR THE BED IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM

My father was born without an expiration date.
Nor was he offered an explicit warranty against defect.
One evening he arrived home to discover
free choice was no longer an option, passion a myth,
red food coloring an agent of kidney disease.

They say when you hear thunder,
someone passed successfully to the other side.
They say when you hear the glimmer of a bell,
someone transformed into an angel.
They say bury him with a gold coin tight within his fist,
the river’s swift and dangerous,
here there are too many monsters craving flesh.

My father did not outlive his usefulness.
He discovered, instead,
the burden of truth is too often a lie.

 

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