Ian C Smith – 3 poems

Germaine Greer at Heathrow

 

 

Imagine a painting in the style of Jeffrey Smart,

a bare airport terminal, a well-known woman.

Compositionally, the woman stands near the edge

as do Smart’s figures/friends in some pictures.

Space, stillness, surrounds her in a banal setting,

a desolate reminder of de Chirico, Hopper,

stark emptiness, their echoic sense of regret.

 

Barely the breakfast hour, the jetlagged scarpered,

I watch bags, my partner changing money,

lean against a pillar, focus on a lone woman

who looks sad across all that emptied space

as though disappointed a dear face hadn’t shown.

She smokes, or she doesn’t, looks straight at me.

 

I once read The Female Eunuch among books forgotten,

the only bloke taking a course on feminism,

admired Greer’s chutzpah, knew she lived in England

where I came to dwell on the edge of belonging.

I mourn unplanned lives, mine, others’, back stories,

each of us carrying private clouds of sadness.

What happened next, that distant dawn?

 

Photoshop the picture.  Now see two figures.

A man with luggage, that woman.

So much space, possibility.  Time stilled.

He tells her, imagine, about a book he liked. 

 

🍃

Helplessness

 

 

I avoid questions, paths to thickets of speculation.

Edgy at a book launch I talk to a couple I know,

showing off a bit about my grown sons.

The sons’ mother and her mate wrote the book.

Ever the jolly jester I repeat myself telling tales

including one about our third son’s success

buying aviator sunnies for a song online

then selling them for a clever profit at school.

 

Driving home I think of our frailty here on Earth,

wonder why I play-act boasting of shallow deeds.

Later, the boys’ mother calls in with dilatory news,

an accident involving our drunken sons.

Our ex-sunglasses salesboy totalled his car,

wrapping a tree, his brother in hospital.

Police woke their mother hours before her launch.

She recently endured surgery, her mate is dying.

 

I know she shields us, me from their excesses,

them from her sense of my disapproval,

but exclusion unmoors me, my vista uncertain.

A relic of survival, I reprise the larrikin joker,

recall days drunk, the carnival ride of youth,

for her sake, to patch cracks become chasms. 

 

 🍃

The Shock of the News

 

 

Visiting a married pal who spoke like a movie gangster,

the old neighbourhood, a skull on a chain round my neck,

toddlers in pyjamas, his teenage sister also visiting,

the semiotics of domestic warmth that stave off emptiness.

Something strange about the sister, manic, flirting,

with me awkward in front of her brother, my girlfriend.

 

We moved, lost touch in the battering buzz of life.

Married to my girlfriend I made my own toddlers.

Like that friendship our union didn’t last forever.

Wails of distress.  Wild creatures. Outrageous drama.

I had found someone.  Looking back, shame lingered.

We survived but some are crushed, hounded by sadness.

 

That visit slipping towards the abyss of forgetting,

I read of a killing, a hullabaloo at a party.

Shock.  Also a prescient feeling, but mostly shock.

Outraged, a man I once knew aimed a .22 rifle at his sister.

She had been flirting wildly – no surprise there.

He threatened.  She taunted him to go ahead.

 

Pleading posturing gone awry he got off lightly.

Was it unintentional in the end?  Who knows?

His finger only had to crook a little more.

Thinking back on this, how unreal it all seems.

Yet, the shock then, reading of one insane moment.

His claw on the trigger, trembling.  Echoes. 

 

🍃

 

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Journal,  Critical Survey,  Poetry Salzburg Review,  The Stony Thursday Book, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.

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Robin Wright – 1 poem

Little Girl Looking Through a Peephole

 

She grabs the chair

with the caned seat,

scoots it to the door,

climbs up, presses

her face against wood,

stares into the hallway

outside this room

at New Harmony Inn.

The room is small.

But the world beyond,

one with cats and cars,

milkshakes and money.

One she only glimpses

through that small hole.

 

🍃

 

Robin Wright lives in Southern Indiana. Her work has appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Indiana Voice JournalStreet Light Press,Eunoia ReviewUnbroken Journal,(b)OINK zine, Foliate Oak Literary MagazinePeacock JournalUnbroken Journal(b)OINK zine, Rat’s Ass Review,and othersTwo of her poems were published in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology,Time Present, Time Past. She has also co-written two novels with Maryanne Burkhard under the name B. W. Wrighthard, Ghost Orchid and A Needle and a Haystack.

Peter Wyton – 4 poems

RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE BABY BALLADEER

 

We, as poetic pensioners,

Wish it to be known

That we’re not stepping aside for youth

Now that we’re fully grown.

 

What about prizes for wrinklies,

Awards for the long in the tooth,

A Gregory for geriatrics

As opposed to callow youth?

A pox on the pink-cheeked. Give us

Poets stricken in years.

We want a laid-back laureate

Without fluff between its ears.

 

Away with the purveyors

Of newfangled nursery rhymes.

Bring us a bard who has seen some life

And remembers the good old times.

 

🍃

 

AFTER WE’RE GONE

 

Someone is going to kill me. I don’t know who.

I see this in the eyes of those who pity me,

yet there is nothing either they or I can do.

Those who might help are frightened that complicity

in an escape will see them charged with treachery

by the usurpers who are poised to drag me down,

wipe me from the face of the earth and claim my crown.

 

Someone, but who? The range of possibilities

is vast. Uncle Richard, my supposed protector.

The Earl of Richmond, now in exile overseas.

Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Many more,

ambitious for a throne. One thing’s for sure.

Nobles will always dodge dirty work, if they can.

They’ll send a common soldier, or some serving man.

 

My brother thinks that being in the Tower’s a game.

He’s only nine. I’m twelve, and yet I do not dare

to tell the poor boy that his fate will be the same

as mine.  I hope our bodies aren’t dumped anywhere,

down in the dungeons, or beneath a stair.

I pray to God to guide my killers. There is room

to bury us at Windsor, in my father’s tomb.

 

🍃

 

 

AN OLFACTORY SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE

 

A silent recital of scents

extrudes from the perfumer’s organ,

slow-sinking to stipple

the nebulous forms of the faithful

at prayer in a temple to fragrance,

furnished in sandalwood, lit by white dittany.

 

A phantasmal fellowship,

chemists from China, Assyrian kings,

courtesans from a century of centuries,

myrrh tinted cheek by rose watered jowl

next to Charles of the Ritz and the founders

of Fragonard, Coty, Elizabeth Arden.

 

Incense alone is inadequate

for such adherents, led by the nose, willingly,

through long hallowed rites, age old attraction

of oakmoss, angelica, love-in-a-mist

luring the wraiths of the beau and the belle from their tombs,

nostrils a-flare like ethereal wine tasters.

 

🍃

 

ILLYRIA

 

Illyria. The very utterance

evokes a misty, half-forgotten past

of effervescent Balkans brilliance,

another mini-realm doomed not to last

amidst the perpetual rise and fall

of localised kingdoms, down centuries.

William Shakespeare rediscovered the small

relic, borrowed its royalty to please

demanding theatre audiences,

but that’s not necessarily the thing

which quickens the auditory senses.

Pronunciation gifts the word its ring.

Listen. ILLYRIA. The long lost sound

chorused by forebears from beneath the ground.

 

🍃

 

Peter Wyton is a page and performance poet who has presented his work at Festivals, Arts Centres and countless smaller venues from Penzance to the Kingdom of Fife and from Aldeburgh to the Glens of Antrim. He has eight published collections to his name, two of which are still in print. The most recent ‘Not All Men Are From Mars’, has raised over £2000 for the charity ‘Womens Aid.’

Anthologies in which he has featured are numerous, the pick of them being the 1997 Forward Book Of Poetry, in which he has the back page all to himself. Presumably Benjamin Zephaniah must have been having an off year that year!  Also the New Oxford Book Of War Poetry in which the editor, John Stallworthy, paid tribute to his poem in the Introduction.

He has so far won 28 1st Prizes in written competition and 20 in performance poem Slams. He was Gloucestershire Millennium Poet in the year 2000 and is currently Poet Laureate to the Towton Battlefield Association in Yorkshire. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. He broadcasts regularly on B.B.C. Radio Gloucestershire, as Breakfast Bard on the Mark Cummings Show and his work has also featured on B.B.C. Radio 2 ‘s ‘Poetry Please’ and ‘Something Understood.’

He regularly addresses branches of the W.I., Probus and similar organisations at their monthly meetings He can be contacted at peterwyton@hotmail.com or on 01452-532081

Brian Burmeister – 3 poems

CURRENCY

 

As children we’re taught to love

our neighbors as ourselves.

 

But as our bones grow we learn

to replace faith in love with fences—

our definitions shrink with age

until brotherhood is bound by borders.

 

The cries of Hutu and Fur sleep

in the dark blood of earth

 

we pump in our cars.

 

Their silence confirms

life is worth more in some places.

 

🍃

 

CONFIRMING THE CRIME

 

Friday morning, March,

Six years in,

The floor of the U.N. assembly

Fills with alliteration:

 

Callous and calculated…

Significant signs…

Facing fear…

And Confirming the crime…

 

The careful selection of syllables

Hopes to impress

Like a sixteen-year-old

On a date, or in class.

 

But both date and teacher

See through the sounds,

Know that beneath them

Is something short of real.

 

In response, tragically true words come:

 

The decision of the government

Of Sudan is a legitimate

Sovereign decision

Which we will never reverse,

 

And this should not be an issue for discussion.

 

🍃

 

CAPTURING WHAT IT CAN

 

The baggy green uniform,

The blanket,

            Wrapped, tucked, twisted

            About face and neck

Protecting from bugs, heat, sun.

 

This is the first photo she takes.

 

A gun strap hangs over his right shoulder.

A red baseball caps sits loosely

Atop the blanket on his head.

 

After the photo,

He says to the woman, white,

            Surrounded by U.N. soldiers, local officials,

 

The camera capturing what it can of his face:

 

Here you have educated men,

            Men who have gone to University,

Construction workers, carpenters,

            Men who could make a living

                        If there was not a war.

 

The woman asks of him what they do to the women,

Why they do what they do to the women—

Her interpreter speaks for some time.

 

The soldier shakes his head, laughs,

Pushes the question away with his hands,

We have an antidote,

            Roots we can take from the bush.

 

We take those roots,

            We cannot get AIDS.

 

🍃

 

NOTES

“Confirming the Crime” contains some words from and inspired by the Reutersarticle “Sudan Says to Never Reverse Decision to Expel NGOs” by Louis Charbonneau.

 

“Capturing What It Can” contains some words from and inspired by the documentary film The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo directed by Lisa F. Jackson.

 

🍃

 

Brian Burmeister teaches communication at Iowa State University. He is a regular contributor at Cleaver Magazine, and his writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He can be followed on Twitter: @bdburmeister.

 

Samuel Rye – 1 poem

In Two Minds, Faced With One Outcome

 

Darling, usurper of my council,

Wayward is the incline you wander,

You’re bound to stumble on the arsenal

I stocked when your figure was spotted yonder

 

Over by the gatepost, with a leg up,

And your hand-me-down flounce hem dress

That stirs men’s diffidence, but leaves corrupt

The want that burrows through his breast.

 

With your lips that siphon the lifeblood

From their willing hearts wherein

A gathering of staunch beings worship,

Blind with selfsame zeal of the Seraphim.

 

Still I beg the question must be asked –

To ignore the mind’s overturning rule?

See, I’m starting to think this be mine to fulfil;

Through farces I do play the fool.

 

🍃

 

Samuel Rye is a 22-year old poet/writer from the North East of England, now residing and studying in the North West.