Blank Verse – David Lohrey

th (1)

Blank Verse – David Lohrey

I’m asked to ignore too much…look the other way.
In fact, I should call my poems empty poems.
“Never-mind poetry,” that’d be a better name.
I’ll write poems about nothing. Poems that say
absolutely nothing but say it well. I’ll write poetry
that resemble Rothko’s paintings of voids, great hollow,
pulsating works of art, undulating existential blobs
from the bottom of the heart, written down but just
as easily forgotten.

Poems celebrating everything that’s good and wholesome,
that’ll be my racket. Easter eggs before they’re broken,
poems about Elvis as a matador printed on black velvet, with
HOME SWEET HOME embroidered in sequins and little
plastic pearls, with hymns to the Almighty. They’ll be called blank
verse and can be served with dessert toppings like apple sauce,
chocolate or maple syrup. Those would be apt subjects for a howdy-doody
poet like me. We’ll call them frozen yoghurt poems and serve them on a stick.

Today’s editors dictate the content of poetry. They remind poets
that anything found to be inappropriate will not be tolerated.
They are little Ivy League Gorkys. I’d be happy to write what
they want but only in exchange for a dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

These sensitive souls demand a poetry that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
These self-satisfied prudes are backed by their attorneys. “Mustn’t give offense.”
Poetry is to be edited like church letters in the 1940s. They’d change the title
of Ginsberg’s “Howl” to something like, “Help Me!” Hallmark America.

By the time I’m finished editing out everything offensive, I’ll be left with
4 or 5 safe words: the, yet, then, too, and but. All the rest relegates me
to Facebook. Everyone is offended by my rubbish as every decent
human being in 1957 would have reviled Charles Bukowski’s poetry,
or T. S. Eliot’s, Henry Miller’s and surely Jack Kerouac’s, too.
The New Yorker did so and refused to publish them.

The internet editors now take it upon themselves to enforce common decency.
So off we go, back to the genteel tradition, back to placing covers on piano legs,
back to saying nothing that gives offence, back to the times when dreams
meant nothing, back before Freud, when a pickle was just a cucumber in brine.
And for what? The defense of Christendom? Not at all. No! So we can be nice.
And all this on the advice of corporate lawyers and the guys who make cereal.

The purpose of poetry after all is to make others feel good. This was cooked up
by some madman, a recent graduate of the school of insanity. Be sure that the fat
feel good about being fat, that blacks have black power, and the disabled are made
to feel they can do whatever the next man can even if they live in an iron lung.

I’d prefer to go back to the mimeograph machine, or back as far as the quill.
Forget internet courtesy and creative writing school notions of politeness.
Twenty more years of this and we’ll be back to where we were in the 1900s
when Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein left the country. Back then the boobs in charge
were mainly little old ladies holding a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Now the magistrates of decency have MFAs from graduate
writing programs with certificates in censorship signed by the Governor.
They can have it.

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

A Convenient Marriage – Lois E. Linkins

we sleep in separate beds,
to clear our clouded heads.
we keep our secrets wrapped
in gaudy signatures and glasses cracked
over organ flourishes.
we have rooms upon rooms,
some shortage of love
made up in statement wallpaper and bespoke furniture.

the sweeping staircase
holds centre place,
a marble decoy
feels as cold as the flesh
behind the welcome and the wine;
we keep our hands apart,
modern art
stands for wedding photos developed unseen,
money sadly spent
on a white pretence
that fill so many baby dreams;
tradition screams.

mais oui,
it seems that playground jests
have found their poorest manifest
in our little life of theatre.

mama, he thinks our homespun play
is swallowed like tequila,
he believes the empty nursery unnoticed,
sitting in his claw-foot bathtub
with a beard of bubbles,
oblivious to the pool of mockery
in which he is submerged;
mama, it would not take much!
oh, for some sweet humour with the help…
yes, i could be content.

 


 

[ Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkins.]

Daffodils

By Oldepunk

Daffodil

The smell of rotting agendas always waft in your wake.  I’ve grown accustomed to your sand storm daffodils.  It’s not what you once were, but what you could be that still intrigues me.  Potential, potentially terminal, with velocity.  Sniper taking aim, the looks you throw with abandon.  I lie still sometimes and pretend I can hear the screaming in your eyes.  I would have given it all for you, you know.  I do not think it would have mattered to you.  You are the song Reptile by The Church.  I can see you sauntering and stalking in the sun by the beach every time I hear that song.  Which is often, ’cause I like to pick at open wounds.  The bloody mouth of puckering pink skin attempting to heal is such a turn on and a visceral reminder of your violence, my violet-skinned lecher.  Your Krispy Kreme coochy-coos hardening my arteries.  And then, slow syrupy suicidal sex. Something in me went dormant when you left.  I vaguely remember why, but it’s fuzzy like flash backs from a blackout or a bad trip.  Which I only had once or twice, but that was more than enough to keep from doing it again.  I would for you though, if you wanted to.  Crashing around in the forest at dusk under deep November skies and yelling fuck-all to the universe.  You were always the spark that started Devil’s Night.  A goddess of Bacchus’ loins.  There was nothing I would not have done for you.  I died when you left.  The husk remains, with the frozen portraits of your jack o’lantern smile burned into my retinas.  My skin still shudders with the traces of your touch.  My gypsy witch, evil love cursing the hearts around you like a speedball on fentanyl on meth that is the last run of the roller coaster and heart is pounding and I will be with you soon and my veins are flame and my heart is a jackhammer and I will be in you soon and I will kill you soon and soon I am coming for you my beautiful malady with the melody of death on my lips… and a fistful of sand storm daffodils.

 

image courtesy of Pinterest and Awkward Family Photos

Introducing Aurora Phoenix – ‘The Uprising’

there is a primal roar

building within her

founded on the

atoms of dirt

scrounged by grappling-hooked toes

scavenging salvation

from precipice’s

teetering edge

as they curled

in orgasmic throes

of borrowed ecstasy

 

the rumble surges

up exasperated tendons

above scabbed knees

upon which they forced her

failed to keep her

despite repeated bloody

bludgeonings

 

the portending implosion

reverberates cataclysmic

through hallowed

and maligned walls

of her invaded

as yet unvanquished

vagina

 

the latent blast

rises roiling

beyond belly churning

beset with tormented butterflies

swallowed under duress

with teaspoonfuls of shame

taking her medicine

 

the gathering blast

trembles with the

accumulated heartaches

of feminine generations

spasms aortically

spurting crimson

crushed inequities

 

the impending cosmic levitation

upends flustered follicles

as lightening

bolts of righteous rage

flash incendiary shafts

from eyes and lips and tongue

 

the lacerating howl

tears her asunder

unleashes her tether

to a byzantine past

shreds constraints

denudes her quivering

purest soul

 

 


[Aurora Phoenix: I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, prior to the decimation of my world when I was suddenly incarcerated 2 and a half years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity.  I write as Aurora Phoenix at Insights from “Inside”]

Gear – Rana Kelly

I wipe the blood

From my nose

And massage

The sore needle holes

Dive back in

To overdose.

There are no more faces

Like yours.

So I try to smear your photo

From my mind.

So that even while

You dig into my head

When I’m lying in bed,

I’ll be able to forget you

And sleep for a week.

Maybe.

You’ll be a secret I keep.

Pushing away.


 

[Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, ]

As We Are – Max Meunier

max

As We Are – Max Meunier

the consequence
your kiss requites
e’er moors my heart’s
intrinsic orbit

gravity
of your exert
affords each breath
its fate anewed

the magnitude
felt by your presence
stays the precipice of earth

your words avow validity
to voices once devoid
of venue

emptiness was heretofore
now understated
understood

stoic walls
electric impulse
chemicals, reactive substrates

ushered by the impetus
of oscillating frequencies
athwart velocities in flux

a symphonic polarity
imploding spectrums infinite
through spectred trials
of flesh profound

resounding far beyond
the vacuous expanse of space
in timeless incarnations
as we are

Max states: “I write about the things going on in my life. I am a feminist, humanist, cat loving musician bound by whimsy and the incessant analysis of hyper-vigilant observations.  I am obsessed with words and rhythmically woven wordplay.” We are honored to have him as a member of our tribe.  He writes at Max Meunier Dissocative Void.

 

‘ This mess we’re in ‘ – Collaborative – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

 

   the lights are always on now, no one ever sleeps.

   i am one of those dreamless alien lights; one of those nobody’s cradled in the teeth of a high-rise window. my building’s a fang that pierces an eye of god. i loved you more because you turned away from me.

   i stare at my reflection until i become the memory of you; until i am become death and stones in pockets, and the formless outside in the velvet dark. you, the ghost that rushes in the corner of my eye, the reason i wear lace when it rains. i’m trying to read your mind, wherever it’s gone, but i can’t. i try to unearth the sandalwood smear of you on my walls and in between my fingers, but you’re not there. i’m not there either, not anymore.

   and so i’ll go to the hudson where they sell fire for your throat when you can’t weep or scream, where there’s bad news in the laughter and they find you floating the morning after.

   this mess we’re in will be over before it can begin.

   With a rock in my hand, I lay you down and taste the sweetness of your lips. I make you pretty and breathe in a scent that tickles me just right. With my fingers around your throat, I squeeze them tight and tell you that I want so much to believe. Among a bed of roses in a part of town others have no need to tread, I watch over you as the sun is replaced by the milk-white moon that makes you look like a porcelain doll my sister used to own. You, my beautiful secret. You, my only regret. You, the only one who knows me for how I am. Sit with me a while and hear my reasons. Give me a little time to tell you how this came to be. Speak some truth to heal these sins. Say something that will ease our passage to a place we were never meant to resist.

   With a rock in my hand, you move with such speed. Like a cat, you twist and turn as I stumble trying so hard to make it known that despite my deeds, I am indeed a good man. But the more you fight against it, the harder it is. The more you move away the closer I come until the only way I can make you understand is for you to see a part of me I try so hard to hide. Hitching up your skirt and sliding down those tights, I smear your lipstick and kiss your throat. Touching you where I feel God the most, I whisper to you knowing there will be no answer. Pulling your hair and sinking my fingers into the ground beneath your head, I hear no birds. I sense no movement at all as the world we used to know turns without us.

   This mess we’re in will be over before we know it.

   i could be the smooth arms of angrboda.

   i could hunt the heat lost in you somewhere like a tremble of life, find the skeleton key that unlocks all locked doors. i could keep one dying secret down in flames. i could birth in kerosene the chained wolf-child, your half-dead maid, an immense snake that cradles the sea. we could be the myth. we could be the end, for fragments like us to fit in life’s hands, full of dirt.

   i’m spit miscarried on grass, i’m all the things i thought, except the thing i could’ve been. i’m lost in my head, and you want me here. swallowing all six red seeds, I still starve in spring. i like it in the dark, with you believing, and you want me to believe in good men, when they would bury vestals alone with a lamp. leave me on a road that i can hitch hike to hell on and think, think… !

   think about a time in red converse. stepping on your toes just to get a close up, listen low so no one else can hear, fuck them, late night in a leather jacket and a pin with a gold tooth and vampire fangs. warning label. 2 packs of american spirits until we’re dry, and anne boelyn’s ghost in the tower of london. a grin of blood they never found on the wall. hell can be real. it’s here; but your face in my hands, watching me cry, that’s worth it.

   “time is a flat circle.”

   if we have one moment that matters,

   this mess we’re in can happen over and over again.

   With a rock in my hand, I use the other to cradle the base of your skull. You used to be my woman. You used to be my girl, but you just wouldn’t be tamed. I never wanted to clip your wings. No, I never wished to see you like that at all, but you never gave me a choice. I could’ve been your man, could’ve been that someone to watch over you when you needed a friend. I was here to give you all of this, yet you went a different way. You gave yourself to those who know only how to betray. It should never have come to this, but what was I supposed to do? Just allow it? Just let you fall further from grace? I’m not a monster, I’m a poet, and all I ever wanted was for you to know it. It was your choice to make.

   With a rock in my hand, I dig the soil with the other. You speak to me but it’s too late. I’ve made up my mind. And yet this isn’t the end. You are the seed that shall be planted. You are the nucleus of what I shall become. You will be mother and lover, and as I lay you down and watch you grow, the past and the future are already dancing on the same page. You have this voice but it needs to be silenced so I can hear what you have to say. You have this beauty but I need to cover it because others will surely come and attempt to sniff you out yet again. Y’know, I’ve never been this open with anyone but you. Never had the chance to be so close. It’s not how you wanted it, I’m sure, but with time you will understand, I can feel it in my bones.

   This mess we’re in gives birth to everything.


S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]