Cowardly Soul

featured in the poetry forum February 20, 2017  :: 0 comments

Five years’ plans are a lot to take in
A chunk from one’s life irreplaceable
Nationalising train wrecks from another’s sin
A question of language eating home.

Down to the bones of me bum, laughing at poverty
I take on many tasks to see me right
Voluntarily working, suiting the nighttime
Where the moon is cried for all the time.

Slipping in and out of windows, a famously high drop
Underscores a necessity of holding the fort
With a sword in the thatch, fighting whoever
An enemy only bearing factual news.

Nothing to descend. Swearing not to have children
Close ranks with progress, sleeping in time
Wiping hands on the tablecloth in front of spies.

Not wearing a hat to keep secrets in
The dark-furnished bedroom keeps the time
Looking out for favours detached from kind
Not sullying the gait of your colleagues.

– Patricia Walsh

editors note:

Sometimes, there’s courage in keeping out of the way. – mh clay

Keep Your Mouths Shut

featured in the poetry forum February 17, 2017  :: 0 comments

babbling. chains have crushed your arm, rabid lemmings carry you along. how your many abortions felt, on both sides. last request. cholera is your best friend and scurvy visits you every day, bringing presents and wild boars. another sun sets, planets course over your eyes. operation on the terrier a complete success. off the cliff, do come again.

– Robert Beveridge

editors note:

Can’t be sure who’s listening, anyway. – mh clay

I Exploded

featured in the poetry forum February 14, 2017  :: 0 comments

for your love.
When you held me
I burst in thousands
of directions.

Now you’ve gone
and I find myself
visiting all those places
and gathering back
all those fragments
of who I am.

Retrieving them is painful
but getting them
in working order
seems damn
near impossible –
at least right now.

– R. Gerry Fabian

editors note:

One piece at a time, one piece… – mh clay

Porch swing

featured in the poetry forum February 12, 2017  :: 0 comments

innocence rests in your eyes
I see my grandpa sitting on that porch swing
with a cup of coffee and a cigarette
smoke puffs like clouds above my head
a miniature universe and he is god
he tells me tales of time gone by
about flying kites and falling in love
he says that hope is like a bubble
mirroring the passion in the sky
he says it reminds him of my life
how I never quite touch the sunshine
but I also see my grandmother
standing by the kitchen counter
making peanut butter cookies
and telling me about growing up hard
she said her daddy never loved her
he never told her she was beautiful
he drank his life away
and she hated him until the day he died
and that hatred has eaten her alive, she says
I hear my mother
crying all alone in the bathroom the day her father died
I hear her whimpers pierce the hallway
through her fake smiles
barely reaching my ears before I fall asleep to dream
of my father’s hands
working hard but hating life
struggling just to put me through school
and give me the life he drank away when he was younger
I see a man
who can’t quite mutter the words “I love you”
a man
who was never told how beautiful his insides were
a man
who is struggling just to be accepted
the innocent blueness of your eyes is captivating
but it kills me more than you know
because I see a childhood
that never manifested
and a man with festering wounds in his heart
I see a soul ripping at the seams
but he seems okay
and you act alright
but I know that you are praying to a god you don’t believe in
and hoping in a light you’ve never seen
a light you never hope to see
like my grandfather
sitting on that swing
talking about the good ole days
the ones he can’t get back

– Alexandra Payne

editors note:

We get angst with anticipation, but catharsis with recall. – mh clay

Snow

featured in the poetry forum February 3, 2017  :: 0 comments

Fashionable ladies tripping along white streets
past tall buildings, their long skirts and boots
in one of the many prints of Utrillo’s snow scenes,
remind me of the bare beauty in a world quieted,
whitened streets, leafless trees eerily lit, a wonder
of muffled sound walking to the bus with my mother.

I feel the icy sting, smell the sharp memory,
my hand snow-ploughing a fence, a cheap brooch
I gave her for Christmas glittering on her lapel.
I jog-trot to keep up, listening to the sound of tyres
yowling along Staines Road to my school, the town,
the shock of a dog dead under the viaduct.

She queues; I watch snowflakes duel with gravity
before a sawdust smell, the pet shop, a puppy
that will die of distemper trembling near the stove
in our cold house of post-war rationing
after we carry her home in a box through
a frosted realm illuminated by daytime headlights.

When Utrillo saw his 1934 scene in winter light
he could be excused for believing trouble was over
but the next war changed so much between then
and those dying days of dogs before our emigration.
His picture in my beach shack speaks
of long gone snow, shadows that still come and go.

– Ian Smith

editors note:

A whole story in snowfall… – mh clay

The Perfect Gentleman (3 0z/ 90 mL)

featured in the poetry forum February 1, 2017  :: 0 comments

If sugary dollops of what feels like
the rainbow hits you too hard, then
wait for the maraschino cherry bit that
will come to your rescue and settle
on your tongue; you will let it,
until the insides of the glass tumbler
begin to tremor in sync with the live
scat jazz.

You look around the snug little
place they call the ‘The Great Unwind’
and smile to yourself about how silly
it’d have been of you to have not come
here; the warm gin will eagerly walk
you to silent comfort – like a possum’s back.

The mint sprig scent will come back
to you in a couple of tiny delicate
burps – three if you’re wild, to keep you
from hitting the floor with your head.
And if you’re still feeling oozy and like
less of a person, wait for the trusty
salted lime wedge to tend to your
adamant pout like your grandma would.

– Megha Saha

editors note:

With an alcohol escort, attitude adjusted. – mh clay

Virginia’s Liminality and Mine

featured in the poetry forum January 31, 2017  :: 0 comments

We call this liminality,
this space that it is possible to stay in too long
this space that it is possible to never come out of.
But there was a before and there will be an after
Now the clamped hold, the compression, middle
pressure
we call this transition, in transition
we change
holding until/holding on
until the time when we run out of breath
until we turn blue
until we rise to the surface or sink down
like a drowning
fear can be a good motivator
be it of life or of death
Liminality is
Blue
I have decided to leave (live)
to go but not to let go.
I hold on, waiting for the next thing
hoping it will come and when it does
I fool myself into thinking I knew it would all the time,
when the truth is,
I had no idea
After all, it doesn’t always come for everyone,
isn’t that right Virginia?

– Kimberly Madura

editors note:

Those in-between blues; best sung when the “next thing” comes along. – mh clay

By All Counts

featured in the poetry forum January 30, 2017  :: 0 comments

Proper and improper fractions
have distinctive differences.

Proper fractions study at
prestigious universities. They
attend cultural events and play
at least one musical instrument.
Proper fractions step aside
for ladies patronizing
haute couture shops.

Improper fractions are hooligans.
Each one guzzles cheap beer,
crunching potato chips while
screaming at wrestling matches.
Improper fractions knock over
seniors to reach clearance racks.

Beware of mixed figures. These
hybrids can not decide what they are.
Medication might help them plus
talking therapy so popular today. Never
allow children to associate with them.

Negative numerals should be avoided.
Those will only subtract from your life
flinging freezing rain in your face.
Conversely, positive numerals are
delightful, handing us glowing statistics
and bright bouquets of fragrant daisies.

Never take integers for granted. Do not
allow yourself to be divided but let
all quotients be fruitful and multiply
until that day when your number is up.

– Joan McNerney

editors note:

Guidelines for a whole life; equal to the sum of its parts. – mh clay

REQUIEM AETERNAM

featured in the poetry forum January 26, 2017  :: 0 comments

– Never-ending, eternally relentless

Cis privilege and the Patriarchy
are on the march again. Tweets
from the designated Frontline
Safe-spaces document daily
man-terrupting man-spreading
man-splaining micromanaggressing men.
We’re told clapping can trigger PTSD.
To help combat this, please click. Still
too emotionally jarring for you? Non-binary
genderless jazz hands are perfectly fluid.

Then you get all pissy when people
reasonably inquire if you’re one of them
Tumblr-fur-fag-Otherkin-dragons-queers
with equally pedantic preferred furnouns.
My how Brangelina entertained us for a while
until the next episode where a porn star was robbed.
She honeymooned in Cork with her husband:
who, I’ll have you know, invented music.
I hope they didn’t have to touch her?
#armedrobberslivesmatter.

If that’s not your cup of tea, then fuck off
to the other channel where we Je, Je
Je Suis all over Islam but don’t you dare
make a rape joke and hands off the Holocaust.
Hey! I hear there’s a Trump tape; I guarantee it,
for every race, creed and colour. Every #,
demograph and profitable pool of people.
One for everyone in the audience. And you
get offended. And you get offended.
And you get offended.

Meanwhile, we desperately scramble
to Brexit-proof the budget
as we like and share stock footage
of trite atrocities of dead babies in Aleppo.
And that is the question.
Has Poe’s Law become self-aware?
A troll; an elaborate practical joke.
Right? Allah, Buddha, Satan, Cthulhu.
Jesus Christ on a bike…
Please.

– Miceál Kearney

editors note:

PC for pedants. #whenisenoughenough? – mh clay

Payday

featured in the poetry forum January 23, 2017  :: 0 comments

After his dad paid him in cash,
Joe let me tag along to the seven-eleven
Where he blew all five dollars
For a sack of candy. It was a stash
Like I had never seen or bagged.

He didn’t share any of the loot,
Which was ok; I was amazed knowing
A boy could meddle like a man
In a capital world, calling on commodities,
Letting his bank roll do the talking.

The longer we played the more risks,
Greater ventures we pursued, yet
Always we hearkened for that Friday
To steady us, to allow us to continue.

– Jared Pearce

editors note:

Invest all your earnings in the commodity of your choice and reap high returns (belly-ache or benevolence?). – mh clay