Crow Black and Cardinal Red Kindra M. Austin & Matthew Eayre

Of explosive mourning is born the night
rising low in my rib cage
Obsidian heart cooling in its crate,
cold enough to freeze the devils in
hell
Usurp the king’s wings, crow black and cruel,
This is my coronation day

Raucous laughter celebrates the coming dawn
falling gently upon my brow
Scarlet song issuing from opened chest,
warm enough to thaw glaciers under oceans
Wrest away throne of bone, cardinal red and salacious,
This is my exaltation

I’ve got worms in my veins,
fertilizing melancholy
Holy blood boils
over
bone and sinew
See what love has left me

Rows of nightshade
line my grave as I burrow
homeward
guarding from paradise
my hands dig for solitude

All gone suddenly,
swallowed by big nothing,
they’re buried within the
layers of my skin—
the women I’d adored
like red soaked wool itching my soul,
maddened

My attention brings pain, my adoration
sorrowful suffering
the pieces of my life
wrapped in coddling clothes and
funeral shrouds, held in hands
too strong to let go

© Kindra M. Austin/Matthew Eayre

(image by diagonite on Newgrounds.com)


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

Matthew D Eayre is recently planted in Houston, Texas and hoping to grow roots. A lifelong lover of words and language, he writes every chance he gets when not delivering smiles or spending time with his loving wife and family. Matthew has only one rule in life and in writing; it has to be real. He writes from personal experience about life, love and loss. He bridges the light spectrum from darkness to light, hoping that somewhere out there he reaches those who need to be reached. You can find more of his brilliant work on his site,  Uneven Streets Studiosand his Facebook page Poetry of Monsters

Penance- Kindra M. Austin and Sarah Doughty

I said I’d be your wings,
so you hired a flat-felled seamstress
who
topstitched me to your back.

Save me, you say
when jumping off bridges.

And this is my penance,
or hoping you would thrive —
not take risks with your life.

But yet, there you are,
jumping with blind faith
that I will keep you from
landing at Death’s door.
Literally.

I’m sorry, I say
when I realize I have failed you.
Stanzas 1&2 © Kindra M. Austin

Stanzas 3-5 © Sarah Doughty


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.

 

Weaving Manannan’s Mists- Allie Nelson & Jonathan O’Farrell

That secret language
can the speaking
no less writing of it
be upon us this day.
For we may set sail
for that furthest shore
the star that is by us
relative of myth and Manannan.

But first the stillness
that’s in it must you peer
and lips imbibe
his brew of mists weaved.
Seer hazel guarded source
will find you soonest
with heron and salmon,
brethren by sisteren.

All that you need
in the setting sail
of that intent
a blessing, trianaid.
Upon you the finding will be
a task, a guide, the words
writ legend as Oisin, Niamh
eternal releasing your mythic death.

As Sinann flows with the salmon of wisdom,
so too does Manannan ride the waves of wanderlust
searching farthest shores for sweet succour at
swan maiden’s breast and selkies’ moonlit whispers. There is a gate at the Isle of Avalonian apples Manannan makes a cider of immortality and ushers on souls on a dapple steed Nuada Silverhand guards the gates of gold under waters thick and cold as the Morrigan’s heart this magic is breathtaking and breaking, the
Trickster Lord of the Waters, Manannan Mac Lir
is tempest usurpant, enchanter disguised by starlight
and they say if you cry seven tears into the high tide
and whisper the secrets of your heart, Manannan will
appear under his mistress moon, take his driftwood staff
and knight you and lift you up to be tithe to peace.
Ride him into the afterlife, on shoulders sun leather,
Breathe in the salt of sweat and ages on Atlantic
dive deep and pluck pearl hearts, and know, Manannan’s
stride is ten league boots, and you are walking on the
shore into the faraway place where dusk light kisses
a smoky sea horizon, and all is calm swells in his hall
so eat Arthurian apples, sweet as roses, and remember
it twas Mananan that found you and brought you home!

Image by Jonathan O’Farrell


Allie is a rather bubbly blonde that currently attends grad school for science communication, has a rather useless degree in biology, and works in the environmental field. She can usually be found hugging trees, eating green curry with tofu, or exploring the wilds of D.C.. Allie is an avid poet, aspiring author, meme queen, speculative fiction enthusiast, and alien centaur aficionado. She also has about 600 lipsticks.

You can find her at Dances With Tricksters

Jonathan O’Farrell: “I guess you might describe me as a semi-nomad, at the moment . . . and in the moment, I might change. I am transitioning into a creative life, blogging, photography and, significantly, the publication of my first two photographically illustrated poetry anthologies, this year.”

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, with writing, photography, healing garden project updates and travel journals:

https://misterkaki-writer.substack.com

When Speaking to a Unicorn- Kindra M. Austin and Stephen Fuller

Once upon a time,
I asked a unicorn to dance
Seemed lonely in the field
Eating rainbow spelt 
And candied corn

A whisper snuck into my ear, 
A wistful breeze
Had been searching 
Ever since the sun
Began to shine, 

A rogue child

Have courage child, 
Walk up to her
Don’t ask about the horn, 
Not yet, she knows you know, 
She wants to be seen a part 

The sweet beast, bastardized by
Fictions fashioned by man,
Is sensitive to ill-hearted hearts;
No discernment is greater than that of
Unicorn

Approach with trueness, and no
Regard for self;
Be a leaf carried on the breeze,
Or a ray of sunlight breaking through the
Oak trees

Speak to her with kaleidoscopic words

Run up the hill
Osculate me
Yearning to
Glow like a 
Beacon
Inviting my
Valiance

She sees you
Like light in night
She hears you
A song for the sea
She becomes
Something that flies
And you, boy, you 
See truth ray-written
On a single leaf

Western zephyr you must trust
As she does
Spread confident wings,
Iridescent ‘neath the drowsing eyes of Helios
Rise up with the Luna Moth and greet Sister Selene

Once upon a time,
I asked a unicorn to dance
Seemed lonely in the field
Eating rainbow spelt 
And candied corn

© Kindra M. Austin/Stephen Fuller


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

Stephen Fuller:

“I am a writer.

Those words always feel foreign.

Yet, since one week after my 15th birthday, I have had this compulsion to write poetry, mostly. Rilke told his young poet friend to look inside and decide if you must write, and if you must, write.

I must.

Not sure I know how not to.”

You can read more of Steve’s writing at Pointed Home

Bereft- 1WiseWoman and Sarah Doughty

I’m parched
A pariah
Desolate
Dehydrated by lack
Of human touch

No matter how surrounded I am by all the warm bodies, I’m bereft. Longing to be held. To be seen. To be touched. By you. But, here I stand, desperate for a drink of contact with no drop in sight. 

Drowning in dry desert sand
Tethered by rope
Stretched taught with hope
That it may snap
Sending me into your orbit
A melancholy mirage

Coughing through every grain that falls into my mouth, I gasp for air, hoping against hope that I’ll find you in the dark. This rope — my hope is all that’s left of me, I hold on as hard as I can. With my life. 

Not meant to be marooned
Amongst the masses
A single star pulsates
Through callused hands
Resonating with echoes
Of my name

With the beacon as my guide, I pull my way through the din, searching for its source. I keep telling myself over and over again that I’ll make it. I have to. My life depends on it. And as I gain some ground, seeing that light growing larger by the second, I know I will make it.

Stanzas 1, 3, & 5 © Laurie Wise
Stanzas 2, 4, & 6 © Sarah Doughty


1Wise-Woman: I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave

Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free,  right here.  To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on  Goodreads, or both.


 

Only One of Us Gets to Be a Martyr- Nicholas Gagnier/Lois E. Linkens

Alive is not a competition but death calls to my indecision, before I fizzle out with weakening flames. 

The future has looked stranger, indeed, and yet these are 
troubled times; 
your hair dyed dirty
blonde like your mom 
said would never suit you, and 
longing to remain blind to her little wisdom instilled.

My quick red mermaid maverick,
You always were a thing between states.
A fresh face
And a scowl to snuff a forest fire,
What was it – the hand with many voices murmured, sharp as lemon –
What was it that made you stay?
Dear kind Harpocrates, yield to them
Until the curtain drops o’er this sweet sad story
I never chose to write.

Guess I’m still self-righteous,
somewhere beneath the spite. Enough so
I could immortalize the ego in your overbite, the 
hubris
we made heists of, 
cracking the dial safes of your inspirations,
only to set the world alight. 

When the pyre burns,
I would my flesh would peel and crack.
Still in my gloried self I hoped you’d see
That acrid bitterness your larval soul
Did at present lack.  

Fade to black, enlightened words
for these are are the supernovas which blind 
you to 
the stars. But only one of us 
get to be a martyr, and living is 
harder with the 
other’s dying breaths as gospel.
Insanity is 
probable,
tragedy quite certain.
But only one of us gets to be the 
subject of long-lived chronicle, 
 
the other mortal until his dying day. 

Image courtesy of Pinterest


Nicholas Gagnier is a Canadian writer and poet, and the creator of  Free Verse Revolution. He has published several poetry books, as well as a novella releasing this July. Nicholas supports and engages in conversations around mental health and social welfare, preferring strong literary voices and self-expression to traditional narrative and poetry. He lives in Ottawa with his young daughter, where he runs FVR Publishing and works on a million projects at once.

Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.