Radio Silence – Juliette Sebock

There aren’t any notes that have meant so much
as a letter of you. Alone in my room;
hyperventilating when the radio flared.

How could you mess up Italian food?

I went to the city to escape the beat
and saw you in the shadows.
You danced next to Gandhi and Church
and crept into my bed when I tried to sleep.

The first lady slept one head over,
struggling to comprehend my static.
Still, I never hoped for much.
Why would Kate want to be my friend?

You followed me in store windows,
a reflection in tinted glass.
You whispered in the roar of the train tracks,
growing louder, white noise forcing me to sleep.

 

JULIETTE SEBOCK is the author of Mistakes Were Made and has poems forthcoming or appearing in a variety of publications. She is the founding editor of Nightingale & Sparrow and runs a lifestyle blog, For the Sake of Good Taste.

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Menopausal Mother Earth – Karin Blak

You could be excused for thinking of Earth as a mother. The creativity of giving birth to life, producing something from nothing, adapting and adjusting to make space for just another one at the table, always inclusive rarely divisive. The perfect picture of traditional motherhood.

Like a mother, she manages many life forms, supports and nurtures the young and the small. She works hard, sometimes day and night, to pull it all together and create an equilibrium in our environment. Like many mothers, she carries on when she is too tired, not able to take time out to rest. Too much to do, too many needing her help.

At dawn she stretches in awe at another day that breaks, another opportunity to witness her work prosper, another day of providing for others, another day of carrying on regardless. One day may seem the same as the rest, but it is the little differences that excite her.

Because she is so capable, expectations increase and she proudly tries to adjust, happy to help, happy to be there, happy to be needed … or so she says.

And gradually, as the demands overwhelm, the hours in the day too few and tasks too many, the stress of the creativity, the pressure of capability, the persistence of carrying on regardless reaches its peak.

Early menopause induced by stress on every aspect of her ability and her energy, she burns, she freezes, she blows and she heaves. Reaching out for support that isn’t there, for understanding that barely exists, research that proves that this is too much, but action hardly enough to placate her needs, much less restoring her former glory …

… the pressures compact, the voices as the world around her darkens: “You used to be capable, you used to have the creativity, you used be ok. You can beat it, if we dig down deep you can carry on providing if you really want to.”

Mother Earth reaches for her last resources and lets them go, all at the same time … Mother of Earth splinters, all she wanted was a little of what she had so proudly gifted for so long, yet no one came forward. She burns, she freezes but no longer blows and heaves.

In her later years, which came too soon, she needed a little of the nurture and the care from the children she loved and contained in her years of creativity. It may be too late for the former glory, but a little contribution from everyone whose life she created, would put her in a place where she could sustain herself. A place where what she gives comes back again, plus a little more.

 

KARIN BLAK writes poetry, essays and fiction about relationships, emotions, society and other awkward situations. This writing draws on her experiences and training as a psychosexual, relationship and family therapist. Curiosity is a constant companion in her search for where the stories start. She maintains a regular blog at https://karinblakblog.wordpress.com/

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Sgraffito Skies – M S Clements 

Passion sharpened nails tear the evening sky,
Scraping at the waxy black of dusk.
And across sgraffito skies,
Comes a bitter juice of yellow grapefruits
And sour Seville oranges,
Weeping from those citrus cuts.

Fill my bowl and fill it again.
With tart crepuscular fruit,
All laced with acidic poison,
To feed my sorrow laden night.

Impatience breaks the hold of darkness.
Chased away by dawn’s own bullwhip.
It cracks and snaps at sullen gloom,
With vicious flicks to summon reluctant fortitude.
New scars will lie beside the old,
Those scarlet welts conspiring.
A host of grievous sores
Concealed by diurnal calling

This battlefield life,
Where I am never the victor.
Yet I persist, never defeated.
And forward I advance
My limbs all trembling.
Weighed down by campaign medals,
Pinned upon a fragile psyche,
All jingle-jangling and chiming out,
‘Come to me, Sirius,
Find me once again.’

And that snarling cur returns my call.

With diamond tipped claws,
He slices with savage precision.
Opening the soft skin of night,
Licking at the freshly made wounds
That cross my sgraffito life.

 

M S CLEMENTS is a former teacher of Anglo-Spanish heritage. She recently completed her debut novel, The Third Magpie and hopes to see it published later this year. As well as editing the speculative love story, M has also had a short story published in Cabinet of Heed and another printed in an anthology of women’s writing, Carrying Fire.
She continues to live on a building site in rural Buckinghamshire with her family, assorted builders and a visiting peacock called Darren.

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The Kiss – Ellie Rees

Rupert was sixty-four when he drowned, fifty years ago.
I wondered what such an old man was doing
swimming in the sea, off Exmouth.
He had taken his teeth out; put them in a pocket –
his clothes, neatly folded, were found on the beach.

I remember his eyes – blue, like the sea –
they stared at me, unseeing.
Entangled in his limp embrace,
I throttled him to keep his head above water,
I was saviour and attacker.

Something yellow bubbled from his mouth.

Let the others haul us both into the dingy,
let the swimmers push us back to the blood-red cliffs.
From out of the crowd, wearing a bikini,
a woman with a child perched upon her hip
said she was a doctor – told me I could stop.

Police Station, a statement, then deep shadowed lanes;
the radio was playing a whiter shade of pale.
We stopped in a village, ate scampi in a basket –
sunset blushed the pub a psychedelic pink.
Later, I was sick.

I walk on this shore with my fellow ‘rescuer’,
my husband of forty-seven years;
he takes my arm gently then leans in for a kiss.
You have no idea how difficult it is
to give the kiss of life – to a mouth with no teeth

once you’ve sucked all that yellow foam out.

 

ELLIE REES gained a Phd in Creative Writing from Swansea University this year. In an earlier incarnation she was a teacher of bright young things from all over the world. Now she is teaching herself to be a poet. One of four finalists in Cinnamon’s recent Debut Poetry Collection competition.

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Sevy – Sara Mullen

For Eden

Hazefallen evening,
the window wound down.

Beyond reeling hedgerows
the fields race

flyawayhome
skies

while darkening trees
wave lornful bye byes

and, little one,
you trail your song,

a cotton thread
on the breeze.

Bye bye –
dusk gorges gold,

the road rolls on
and you,

you trail your little ghost song
who knows where.

 

Image via Pixabay

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Orationis (Or a rosary of stars) – Tudor Licurici

Infinite, Eternal Cosmos, let not the fevered ardors of our passions by nihility’s oblivion be eaten and annulled, but keep them in your sacred reliquaries of twilight memory to be stored for all aeons that our souls may rejoice in them once more when the fragile recollection of past worlds befalls them. Let the aethers collect all dreams of prime youth gilded by maternal embraces that soothe the souls of infants. Let the nebulae consume all kisses and whispers of the ages’ lovers that they may resonate once more through the worlds’ sundowns. May they live on in the glimmers of nightskies and enrapture the lovers to be. Let not the tears of our departures dry utterly, but keep them humid in the sprays of spring rainfalls, that they may not have been a vain weeping but a communion with the sorrow of the stars. Let not the overflowing joy of our births and the immense grief of our deaths become extinct with the years, but hold them in the memory of stellar fires that they may glare atop the worlds forever. Let not the innocent joys of our childhood ever wither, but hold them in doting grip like you hold the dreams of angels.

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Creep – Gale Acuff

When Sunday School is over, Miss Hooker
slips her Bible and her teacher’s copy
of our workbook into her purple purse
and walks out to the parking lot with me

following–I always hang around so
I can open her car door for her
and she always says Such a gentleman
thank you. I try not to watch her legs
when she gets in. I don’t know why I don’t
–I look somewhere else for those few seconds,
at her front tire, maybe, or at the sky
unless the sun’s too bright and even then
I squint. That’s the way my eye makes a cloud.
I look at her again when I hear her
pull the door shut. Next she’s putting on her
seat belt and shoulder harness in case
she has a wreck, of course, driving home, God

forbid. If I were grown I’d carry her
there in my arms every step of the way
and I’d like to tell her so and one day
maybe I just will. I’ll pray about that
again tonight, right after I whisper
the Lord’s Prayer in the darkness, and beg
that God protect everyone I love
–it’s natural then to slide right into

praying for Miss Hooker and wondering
what it’s like in her bedroom at night, not
that I’d ever go there. She’s not married
so I guess she sleeps alone, except for
a cat or dog, or maybe both, maybe
one on either side of her. Her lamp is on
and she’s reading a magazine, something
about clothes or hair or shoes or makeup.
Sometimes I think I can even hear her
yawn. Then she says Good night to the cat or
dog, or maybe both, and turns out the light,
and sleeps and dreams, maybe of marriage
and babies. Or both. I’d like to creep in

without waking the cat and dog and her,
and sleep there at her feet and when she wakes
and yawns again and opens her eyes and
makes me out, I wonder what she’ll say and

what I’ll say back to her. Oh, I’m sorry,
I’ll try, but the front door wasn’t closed and
you should probably be more careful–begging
your pardon–and I was just passing by
and noticed and thought I’d come in to tell
you and not ring your doorbell instead in
case there was a burglar with a knife at
your throat. Or gun. And then I came back here
to check on you and suddenly I felt
very sleepy and here I am, and there
you are, ha ha. She’s so grateful that she
gets up (I’ve got my eyes closed and face buried

in the quilt) and makes us breakfast and then
it’s time for me to walk to school, so we
stand at her door and she gives me her hand
and I shake it and I’d like to kiss it
but I have manners and don’t pump too hard.

On my way home from school I stop back by
to check her again. She serves me a snack
and before I split I drop to one knee
which means she has to bend over to me
so maybe that isn’t gentlemanly
and propose. That’s when I wake on Monday

morning, cold and hungry and stupid but
loving Miss Hooker as much as ever,
praise the Lord. Next Sunday I’ll walk her to
her car again and open her door and
she’ll get in and this time I’ll look at her
legs as she gets in but look first to see
if she’s looking at me looking and if
she is I’ll die and if she’s not I’ll burn.

 

GALE ACUFF has had poetry published in many journals and has authored three books of poetry. He has taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

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The Gap – Gareth Writer-Davies 

the space in which the rat
moves
is the gap between floor and ceiling

the bounds
of the home
he is making

sensing
marking
alert to my scratchings

I know his purpose
what
I am to him

is something
moving
and breathing

waking
and sleeping
in the gap between floor and ceiling

 

GARETH WRITER-DAVIES: Shortlisted Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017), Erbacce Prize (2014), Commended Prole Laureate Competition (2015), Prole Laureate for 2017, Commended Welsh Poetry Competition (2015), Highly Commended in 2017. His pamphlet “Bodies” 2015 (Indigo Dreams) and “Cry Baby” 2017. His first collection “The Lover’s Pinch” (Arenig Press) was published June, 2018.

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Autobiographical – Mark J. Mitchell

My life lacks color.
I don’t affect trailing scarves
that flow in the wind and catch axles.
I never sleep in a coffin.
at demonstrations I obediently
hold up my sign and chant as I’m told.
I have no mysterious lovers.

I quietly construct marinades
out of herbs and leftover wine.
I read three or four books at a time.
I’ll be seized by the need
to find a poem that hasn’t been written.
I curl softly into my wife’s arms.

But sometimes, sometimes,
I dream in German
and other times
in French.

 

MARK J MITCHELL’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied  at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/

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