ESP (Esprambles): The Story of Life

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The story of life

The story begins
not in the present,
not with any intent,
but in the mind of the writer,
lost, perusing his tomes,
as he creates a new history
with words filtered through
experiences and such
prismatic domes.

The story may
as well be about another,
or you,
or the men who are forgotten,
like our whims,
and our sins,
whose existence we deny
even in our most
unsettling dreams.

It’s a persistent search,
deep in the circular ruins
of unfinished books
and untrimmed wishes,
and he knows,
he has to take the turn,
that the maze ends
at the simple door,
but the platitudes
and attitudes keep him
away from the ending
and a closure.

The aura of latent
promises in him,
and possibilities
lying under the cove,
illuminates the city
of the writer’s trope.
It draws the
mermaids in plenty,
with its brilliant
nautical lights,
and they come singing songs
made of his thoughts
in those lonesome,
dark and dismal nights.

Harvesting each tune,
each note down to the last fin,
he writes the endings
that he always craved.
But with the songs gone,
a silence prevails,
attracting the hungry sea ghouls
who forage for emptiness
within all his finished scrolls.

Gnawing regrets
about the missed plots,
slowly devours every twist
and turn of the story told.
So when he believed he knew
where he was going,
with a purpose, a sense of direction
and that everything was fine,
it was nothing
but the arc of his story
succumbing to an
insipid straight line.

The silence of the lone ego
now echoes in the empty heart,
filling it with deafening screams
as he fills the pages with questions,
taking refuge in the scribblings,
complaining and complacent
the writer goes on to announce
that it makes absolutely no sense.

Stories don’t however end,
all it takes is another
turn in the maze,
or of releasing the mermaids
from their cage.
The story of life
is all about filling the void,
and letting the songs
fill the empty gaze
till another writer comes along
and flips your scribbled page.

[ESP’s writing can be found on Esprambles.]

Dustin Pickering “You Have Left the World”

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I quake, grief clasping my eyes shut
with the pride of a lion,
my chest sinks into confused silence,
and I can only look at your cold body
before me. You were hidden in tears
and years of golden simplicity
kept you from speaking.
Your heart was the needle you drove
into your flesh, and time was a warrior
who battened her eyes. Strange days
have brought a lifeless faith.
I look for the song of my angel:
she is broken, her harp unstrung.

Now, my tenderness is the queerest lie
and my poem only speaks to one heart:
the heart of decadence.
You witnessed my silence from a dark reserve
in the trilogies of time.
I ache, cold river of splendor,
and am enchanted by grief and rage.
You have left the world
with me in it.

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Introducing Megha Sood “My horror movie”

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My horror movie

That nihilistic pain
simmering in the back
of my eyelids,
or sometimes lodged
like a toothpick in my throat

grabbing my head
like an incessant headache,
numbing my senses
rocking me to the core

that pain is the reminder of your memories
the miasma of incessant pain
as it dug it’s knuckling deeply into
my and kneads me violently
shaking me to the core

giving me the creeps
forever and more
before I give in
always and again
this unbirthing of childhood fears
and the panics which kicks in

oh! my relentless heart
looks for the company
which is soothing
your old gelid fingers
that gut-wrenching
and soul-numbing pain
leaves me in the fetal position

that numbing pain
I feverishly want to get rid of
this whole hamster on the wheel routine
has left me aghast
like a horror movie stuck
on the reels.

[Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is a contributing member at GoDogGO Cafe, Candles Online, Free Verse Revolution, Whisper and the Roar and contributing poetry editor at Ariel Chart. Her 290+ works have been featured in 521 Magazine, Statorec, Fourth and Sycamore, KOAN, Visitant Lit, Quail Bell, Dime show review, Nightingale and Sparrow, etc. Works featured/upcoming in 15 other anthologies by the US, Australian and Canadian Press. Two-time State level winner of the NAMI NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019.National level poetry finalist in Poetry Matters Prize 2019. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/]

Twitter: @meghasood16

Instagram: @meghasworld16

Aakriti Kuntal “A Conversation with Death”

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A Conversation with Death

What has skipped
this levitating chest?

The bone hangs like a mantle in midair

You come and collect
the smell of sleep from my mouth,
my anesthetized mouth

You come
over and over

You come,
rowing across white seas

You come and rest in my mouth
The lovely sound of crows conversing

Nobody understands this,
Nobody understands this love,
this endless devotion of yours

But you come,
you come anyway,
You come and lick the whiff of my floating mouth
You eat and glow inside it

You glow, you glow
Together we hook the sky
and play with it in our laps

Together, we make the earth
swim between our lazy feet

Together, we growl
and pounce

Nobody understands this,
this affection of yours

for me
You, from beyond life,
from the rim of death

You, that only travel in lightyears,
Come for me

I,
feeble bone resting on time’s ailing forehead

Bio: Aakriti Kuntal, aged 26, is a poet and writer from Gurugram, India. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread, The Hindu, Madras Courier, Blue Nib, and Visual Verse among others. She was awarded the Reuel International Prize 2017 for poetry and was a finalist for the RL Poetry Award 2018.

Guest Writer: Lea Lumi’ere “How many fingers are lost in bravery”

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How many fingers are lost in bravery
(in memorial of Lori Gilbert Kaye killed in the Poway Synagogue Shooting)

After the sermon, people navigated south
of the cherry oak synagogue, California sun
Blistering through the sky windows,
the rabbi sang the verse in a tempo
of an old trumpet in the back of a jazz club,
rusty, but on cue, full or air and emotion

one woman carried her prayer book to the hallway,
she was asking when it would be time for the
mourner’s prayers, said on the holiday,
“In five minutes,” she was answered

a blaze of fire shot out through the building,
the rabbi holds up his hands, blocking
the instigator, carrying the brunt of the bullet,
Losing fingers, then ushering out the children
while people run, run, run
To the south side of the synagogue,
Out the glass doors of the cherry oak building

the gun jams, the shooter is held down by a congregant,
then flees.
maybe the shooter was wearing a blue shirt,
the supposed color of peace, maybe he was all of 18,
barely having lived a quarter of a century—
enough about the shooter!
enough about the hate—

I see a brave rabbi, a man of guts and faith,
his shirt was white, the color of fresh sand
on a California coast, His eyes were blue,
open and embracing,
his fingers that remain—
they are red,
like the sound of life in a miracle.

Lea Lumi’ere is a visual artist and writer from New Jersey. She is the author of “Olive Rain” poetry collection. Her work has been published in Unvael Journal, and various other journals. You can find more of her poetry on Instagram @lealumiere.

Her book Olive Rain Collection is available through Amazon.

Interzone

by Jimmi Campkin

I remember she once told me; the funny thing about endings is that they never happen.  By the time you reach it, you’re already past it. Likewise we can never experience tomorrow, it is always just out of arms reach.  She was always saying stuff like this; it sounded profound but then she once told me that only men die, women just sleep until it is time to wake up.  I was having a panic attack at the time and this apocalyptic vision of women emerging out of a cemetery did nothing to help.  

I hurl another rock into a jet black ocean.  She’s running late but I have a comfortable spot, several small stones and pebbles, three pathetic little flowers clinging onto the pier and a few thousand miles of uninterrupted empty horizon to stare into.  

I dangle my feet over the edge and feel a vertiginous swelling in the pit of my stomach, up my esophagus.  I feel top-heavy as though I might topple forwards, and I’m aware of my shoes being loose on my feet. The stones of the pier sink into the silt below and I think I am sliding forwards so I grab hold of the ground either side of me and cling on.  Below me the water laps, disinterested in one more fragile little soul. No birds in the sky today, just heavy bloated clouds fighting through a film of brown pollution.

When I stare at the sea for too long I see faces in the waves.  Often they protest or cry out, so many drowned sailors and regretful suicides, but sometimes I see a beatific face beaming out, inflected by the rays of an underwater sun, a soul at peace with itself and its journey.  When the wind whips across from the frozen North the faces sink away for the white horses to gallop and crash, falling over each other and throwing their jockeys into the ether.

She tells me often that my eyes are like the sea; still and grey or furious and white.  She cups my hands, blows warm air into my palms and kisses my forehead. In those moments I forget that I have ever felt cold in my life.  When they arrive I run to the storms to watch the sea clawing at the land, allowing huge waves to crash over the defenses soaking me, and I feel the warm furnace beating inside my ribs evaporating the water from my body and leaving a film of salt.  In those moments I am untouchable, unsinkable, invincible.

I throw another rock and I see faces scrambling to devour it like so many hungry fish.  The ground feels steady now and I am brave enough to rest my hands in my lap, to kick my legs freely knowing that I won’t lose my shoes.  To my left I can hear the crunch of a pair of sneakers approaching. A pair of legs appears in my peripheral vision and a familiar hand tousles my hair and strokes the back of my neck.  

Crouching onto her haunches she asks me; what are you thinking about?  

Nothing, I lie.  


Writer, photographer and creator of SANCTUARY. https://jimmicampkin.com/

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process” – Vincent van Gogh

Jimmi Campkin

Lost and Found

by David Lohrey

I am not interested in any poem that begins,

“I found myself.”

I found myself in a den of thieves.

I found myself a Hershey bar.

I found myself some leftover apple pie.

I found a dead mouse in the kitchen.

I found myself in bed with my mother.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Forget it. I am not about finding myself.

I’m lost.

I am lost to this world.

I am lost to myself.

I am lost somewhere between 5th and York.

I am lost in my sorrows.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

I hate all lies and the liars who tell them.

I am a self-hating Jew.

I hate what we’ve become.

I hate my neighbors for coming and going.

I hate my wife for leaving.

I hate the Department of Energy.

I hate my Adam’s Apple.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

You can say that again.

You can put that down to luck.

You can go to hell.

You can give me $3 worth on Pump #6.

You can put that where the sun don’t shine.

You can shut your mouth.

You can give me a kiss.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Won’t I ever see you again?

Won’t you please be quiet?

Won’t you be applying to Princeton?

Won’t your parents find out?

Won’t you live to regret it?

Won’t you please get down from there?

Why?

Why not?

Because all my cares be taken away.



David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals located in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo. You can read more of his writing at Writing, Musing, Poetry

The noise of this brain

By Devika Mathur

And so I crumble in my own jaw line

Leaking from the iris,

A stoned mahogany stuck

Beneath the frivolous sky,

I lie like a pond, open and scarred,

Rummaging through your eyes,

To seek something that belongs to my lip.

I fail.

I fail the second day as well.

My mind talks pills and potions

A volatile adamant touch of burps.

A ripple lost and secured.

My mind is insane, forever.



Devika Mathur, a poetess from India is a published poetess and is a lover of everything dark and surreal. Her work has been previously published in Sudden Denouement, Visual Verse, Dying dahlia review, two drops of ink, Madswirl, The rye whiskey review among various others. Find more of her musings at https://myvaliantsoulsblog.wordpress.com