Poetry Drawer: In avian company: Frangipani and honey-eaters: A raven among the sulphur-crests by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

In avian company

In the eucalyptus grove
I munch on my sandwich
tossing some crumbs
at the two eager bush turkeys
romping around in the grass.

suddenly one of them
takes an explosive shit –
an ochre-white splatter
with a black jelly centre
which its companion
promptly begins to peck at
seeing which, the bird
who took the massive dump
heartily joins the other
in dining on its poop.

I throw up a little bit
in my mouth
my sudden retching
startling the feasters
who scoot off a distance
before coming back
with renewed appetite
to resume nibbling
on the glob of excrement.

I look away
and quickly swallow
the small well of puke
pooled in my mouth –
it somehow seems
like the logical thing to do
in this particular
avian company.

Frangipani and honey-eaters

those stories
that grandmother used to tell –
malevolent spirits roosting
in the branches
of frangipani trees at dusk
something sinister
about the otherworldly perfume
of flowers in bloom
that drew tortured souls
caught between worlds
to the ivory perch
of their shadowy branches.

at the far end of the backyard
the gardener has trimmed
the frangipani tree
to limbs so bare
they look like floating fingers
splayed anemone
in the sea of the night.

from the u-shaped curve
of a comfortable fork
the honeyeaters stare
bodies tucked in their new nest
eyes filled with dread
as they study me
floating back-lit
half-human, half-ghost –
and I wonder
if their grandmothers told them
stories about my kind
even as I imagine them
with beady eyes
smouldering in the dark
and fantasise about demons
that quickly morphed
in the time
my back was turned.

A raven among the sulphur-crests

it’s an autumn morning ritual
stalking the balcony
awash in black
gunmetal hair
swelling in the wind.

the sulphur-crests
await my appearance
an army of twelve
perched on the railings
diamond formation
attention rapt.

in black lingerie
and beguiling lace
I fancy myself
a millennial Grimhilde
hands aloft
spilling cake crumbs and bread.

I toss them in the mist
and the birds circle
squawking, snowing white
tame in the power
of my sorcery
the mysterious human-raven.

on the balcony below
the neighbour gawks in horror
this manic wheeling
of wild cockatoos
my frightening nudity
madness on show.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney based artist, poet, and pianist. She holds a Masters in English. Oormila is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in Eunoia Review, Poets Resist, Rue Scribe, The Ekphrastic Review, and several other literary journals in Australia, the US, and the United Kingdom.

Poetry Drawer: Survival: Rehearsal: Nan’s Funeral by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Survival

One day, I’ll be alive.
Not sad, afraid to stir my mother’s rage
over breakfast each morning.

One day I’ll smile
touch-papers of joy and ignite love,
this way and that, far into the future.

Rehearsal

It’s far away, the day
when I’ll be free to walk out
and make my way. Leave
my bedroom, quit my home
to make my own mistakes
and party. It’s far away
and secretly, I’m pleased.
More time to be a child,
loved to bits even though
I play my face, paint my nails,
line my eyes with kohl
and pick black Goth clothes
out of my old dressing-up box.

Nan’s Funeral

We crunch on frozen soil’s solid crust.
Skimmed sunshine ignites crystal sparks,
diamonds scatter on the ground.
My son asks, Mum, can I smile today?
I leak stray tears, laugh and squeeze
his hot hand: plump palm and curled fingers.
He’s too young and I’m too old to understand.

I see my Nan’s eyes gaze from his fresh face,
loss erased in currents of connection.

Ceinwen lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She has an MA in Creative Writing [Newcastle 2017]. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

Poetry Drawer: The Bartender’s Tale: Approaching 82 by Robert Demaree

The Bartender’s Tale

Part One: New Hampshire

We are having lunch with our poet artist friend,
Looking down toward the big lake,
Luminous glow of peak reds and golds
In an October mist.
The bar is crowded,
Favourite domestic brands on draft.
Why would you go to a bar at noon on Monday?
To watch replay of Sunday’s game,
To see if the Patriots win this time,
Or have a beer with your sandwich,
Which you could do by the window,
At the table next to ours,
And look out at the muted foliage.
Mainly, we conclude, for companionship,
The sense of being part of something,
Even—especially—in a resort town
In the off season.
We are ready to go.
We hug our friend and say
So long until June.
There’s an empty place at the bar now
I may come back in a while.

Part Two: North Carolina

At the supermarket where we shop
The marketing folk have sought to
Redefine the grocery experience,
So they’ve put up a sign out front
That says “Welcome to Our Farm”
And have installed a beer garden
In the beverage section,
Craft brews with exotic ingredients.
So at one pm on a Tuesday
There are people sitting at the bar
Enjoying a cool one.
Who drinks beer at a grocery store?
People who work for the distributor?
There is no TV, no football,
Sometimes no one to talk to.
They may be wishing for a companionship
Yet to emerge, a kindred spirit
To appear from down the produce aisle.

Part Three: Pennsylvania

I think of the bars on every corner
In the sad rust belt town
Where I grew up.
Priestly barkeeps move their towels
Back and forth with Rogerian attending.
Jesse and I walk by at dusk
Carrying our baseball gloves,
Close enough to hear those Pennsylvania voices,
The murmur of disappointment and companionship,
Esslinger, Schmidt’s of Philadelphia,
Old Reading Beer.

Approaching 82

1.
I have created templates
In my computer
Wishing speedy recovery,
Funny cartoon characters
Sending all good wishes,
Thinking of you.
I cannot yet bring myself
To send condolences
Online

2.
These things all happened the same day:
The phone rang at six a.m.
A stranger from Memphis
Sought our help
In contesting someone’s will.
Sarah fell putting out the bird feeders.
A raccoon had gotten into the garbage.
The cable was out for twelve hours.
Then, toward midnight that same day,
The faint dampness of soiling nightclothes
The aroma of being eighty-one,
A point in life when
You run into a friend
Long unseen
And are afraid to ask
How’s your wife.

3.
Retirement home dusk
A bicycle built for two
Rear seat riderless.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

Flash In The Pantry: : Last Call by Alison Ogilvie-Holme

Six feet tall and full figured, Lena is all stature and curves. Punctuated by stiletto heels. She sips her iced tea and sways to the music, watching lithe bodies aglow beneath spinning black lights.

Energy shifts in the club as the bartender announces last call; strangers begin the distilled process of coupling for the night. They suss out their options and then dangle the bait.

Can I buy you a drink?

Are you here on your own?

Do you need a ride home?

Lena turns around to settle her bill and discovers a torn slip of paper tucked between two twenties. A proposition, of sorts.

Thanks for the lovely view. Drinks on me. Meet you by the coat check in five?

She feels almost giddy – once again the bashful schoolgirl passing notes in math class, butterflies floating freeform in her stomach.

It occurs to Lena that she is playing a dangerous game, inviting disaster. What would people think if they could see her now? Clad in low cut halter and tight pleather pants, smoky cat eyes accentuated with red lips. Of course, she knows enough to be discreet, unlike some of her daft colleagues, posting pictures of themselves half naked and properly smashed.

A quick stop in the loo to refresh lipstick and plump cleavage, and she is ready to make her appearance.

Waiting beside the queue is a bookish fellow with light red hair and horn- rimmed glasses, more akin to giving advice at the pharmacy counter or approving loans at the bank; his distinguished appearance entirely out of context in these surroundings. She smiles in approval as he takes her hand and presses it to his lips.

“Hello there, gorgeous. I’ve never seen you here before. Do you live nearby?”

“I’m just passing through, actually. Only here for the night. You can call me,’ Lena pauses to select her handle ‘Veronica. Veronica Desmond.”

“Nice to meet you, Veronica. You remind me of a busty Cleopatra,’ he winks ‘I’m whoever you want me to be.”

Without further preamble, Lena follows him to his car in the parking lot and wordlessly begins to undress him. She attempts to manoeuvre within the confines of the backseat, feeling like an aging contortionist while still assuming the appropriate sounds and expressions of desire. How did she ever do this in high school? He continues to adjust positions, narrowly avoiding death by stiletto on more than one occasion. They make forced love in record time.

Afterwards, they both sit in silence and light up. Another dirty little secret. She hears a tropical ringtone and swipes to retrieve the text on her mobile.

“Well, pumpkin,’ Lena exhales ‘looks like we’d better head home now. The sitter expected us hours ago, and Max has soccer in the morning.”

“Yes, dear,’ agrees her husband, rubbing his aching back ‘and next time, let’s just book the hotel instead.”

Poetry Drawer: The Stone Elephant by Kristal Peace

I didn’t

Tell her about

       The gavel, chestnut and

        condemning in its conviction, about

                The sentence that was read

                while I studied

                                my shoes,

                      About the bars that lined my vision morning, evening, and

                                Night,

                        About the time

                        out of the sun,

                               The hours

                                away from the world, about

                                The room I was given

                                At the castle, about

                                        My only friend

                                        on the range, about

                                                The stain

                                                That limits my ambition. Now,

                                        How do I tell her?

I am in love with her.

Kristal Peace is a lover of words. She loves their puissance; their ability to charm, dazzle, puzzle, stun, comfort, help, heal, inform and transform. In her free time she indulges her love of words and uses those majestic creatures to write stories and poems.


Poetry Drawer: apocalypse now: i am the one: brace for impact: endless worries: the world he brought you into by J.J. Campbell

apocalypse now

sitting here drinking
watching apocalypse
now for maybe the
thousandth time

when i was younger

i was about the
napalm in the
morning

when i got older

i was martin sheen
face painted, coming
out of the water

now that i’m old

i’m fucking brando

isolated genius
spewing madness
into a microphone

waiting for someone
to release me from
the horror

the horror

so, if you ever come
over and hear the end
by the doors playing
a little too loud

do yourself a favor
and duck

i am the one

happiness is as
elusive as a woman
deciding i am the
one

plenty think that
at some point
then, reality
settles in

between the abuse,
the poverty,
the emptiness
and despair

it certainly doesn’t
look as rosy as
before

and no one likes
a dream that gets
muddled with
some real life
shit

brace for impact

say
hello to
the most
beautiful
woman
you know
and brace
for impact

one of
these
days

she might
actually
acknowledge
your existence

endless worries

the lucid skies
of neon dreams

polluted with the
endless worries
of a population
under attack

divided

we have fallen

this
is what happens
when you refuse
to learn from
our history

the world he brought you into

every scar
is a memory

engraved into
your brain for
posterity

every lash

every harsh
word

every single
time your father
threatened to
take you out
of this world
he brought
you into

there aren’t
enough drugs
in the world
that will allow
you to escape
the pain

but, there’s
always a
bullet

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is currently trapped in suburbia, plotting his revenge.  He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at Record Magazine, The Dope Fiend Daily, Horror Sleaze Trash, Synchronized Chaos, and Chiron Review. His most recent chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights & Goodreads.

Poetry Drawer: Another Me From Heavens: The Azure Sea: The Bath of The Cool Breeze by Yuan Hongri

Another Me From Heavens

If blue is namely white and black is namely red
and gold is transparent as crystal
and light makes the soul smile forgetting the sun moon and stars
and you were filled with wisdom, drunk for thousands of years
and back to the prehistoric giant city
and that giant is just like another me from the heavens
by the lotus throne in the golden palace.

天上的另一个自己
如若蓝即是白而黑即是红
而黄金透明若水晶而光芒令灵魂微笑忘了日月星辰
而汝醍醐灌顶一醉千年而回到了史前之巨城
而那金殿之莲花宝座上的巨人宛然天上的另一个自己

The Azure Sea

Tonight I thought of the platinum city above in distant space
Where there is no day and night and the giants are interstellar travellers by spaceship
Their words have the dignity of God and create the holy Kingdoms
So that the pictures of the soul in the maze of memory lasts a billion years
Standing by the azure sea near the great palace with swirling sweet music in the city of the gold

蔚蔚之海
今夜我想起那遥远太空之上的白金巨城
那儿没有昼夜巨人们乘坐飞船在星际航行
他们的词语拥有上帝的尊严而创造圣洁的王国
亿万年的时光是一幅幅灵魂的画卷在记忆的迷宫
黄金之城橚矗那飘洒蜜甜乐曲的巨人殿宇之蔚蔚之海

The Bath of The Cool Breeze

Prehistoric words of the gods are waking up in my body
The platinum city from a strange planet is as if in a fantasy on the blue coast
The giant men and women who walk by the light do not know trouble or sorrow
There where the temple of the gods is in their heads, whose light is like wine flowing in the blood
And the music of the stars sways gently around them, which is like the bath of the cool breeze on the earth
The huge ship of stars which they have ridden can arrive at the other side of time
To let you get a glimpse yourself yesterday in the future and in the divine light of fragrance

淸风之沐
史前的诸神之词语正在我体内醒来
那陌生星球上的白金之城在蓝色海岸上恍如梦境
那乘光而行的巨人男女不知道烦恼或忧伤
他们的头颅里有诸神的圣殿光芒如酒在血液里流淌
而星辰的乐曲在身边拂荡犹如地球之上的淸风之沐
他们乘坐的星际巨舰可以抵达时间的彼岸
让你一睹昨日未来之你神性之芬郁之光


Yuan Hongri, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. Representative works include Platinum City, Gold City, Golden Paradise, Gold Sun and Golden Giant. His poetry has been published in the UK, USA, India, New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria.

Poetry Drawer: Some Commandments for the Dreamy Erlking by Paweł Markiewicz

Become a superb troubadour who loves
an eaglet in the starry night full of autumn miracle fulfilled in
the meek ontology!

Taste a beverage of holt-like fairies from a stunning tumbler – to wit
the cranberry juice and some dew enchanted
in the metaphysics!

Sit down near a propitious tumulus – where the archpriest
of the ancient Druids was buried with first
summer starling of epistemology!

Hum a weird-ravishing tune – whose words
have been hidden in the oaken hole in medieval time
full of the aesthetics!

Bee a pleasing trustee-friend of the King of Pixies – your
magician of dawn bewitched by the Morning Star
in a logical dreamery!

Give as a present a smattering of grand tulips – flowers
consecrated for the Apollonianly miraculous dwarfs
loving tender Zeus-like aesthetics!

Find out a gorgeous twig of a willow that was
adored by the most romantic poet in his more tender
poesy of historic ethics!

Carry a divine tunic of ancient sibyl of Artemis
who liked the dreamy-meek butterfly of wood loving
the stoicism!

My dreamiest Erlking!!!
Tarry until the first moon-time
from Ionic philosophy of nature!
Enchant all morning starlings
and evening starlets – the beings
from dreamy muse’s hearts
Yes – no woe – they belong to Apollon

Pawel Markiewicz was born 1983 in Poland (Siemiatycze). His English haikus and short poems are published by Ginyu (Tokyo), Atlas Poetica (USA), The Cherita (UK), Tajmahal Review (India) and Better Than Starbucks (USA). More of Pawel’s work can be found on Blog Nostics.

Poetry Drawer: Never To Die by Saikat Gupta Majumdar

Men are praised for their doings
Long they are alive
But only a few deserves so
When they no longer glow
After they pass away, their deeds survive.

I want never to die
But my work will remain alive
In the memories
In the hearts of the crores.

To live long without achievement
Is basically no living
But to live long after death is fruitful surviving.

So keep doing such a way
That you may live in the hearts of the crores
And your glory does not fade away
But it spreads more and more.

Inkphrastica: The Trees and Beyond Mars by Marius Fate

The Trees

Here
in the trees
of people we
hide from the
sound of their
wooden bones
that crisp
and creak we hear
them whisper about
us their voices
control us
the voices
we speak to,
type to,
at night;
they are trees.
They are trees!

Their voices control
us they shout
as one they
shout the trees
shout the trees
of people.

The trees
of people
silence us
make us scream
inside
the trees
make us
scream.

The Trees on Spotify

Beyond Mars

It was cold as the Twitter-scape.
It was fake as electric vape.
There was only a sense that there could be more than this.

There was nothing about the place
but a sign called hope
close to the door,

and the sign said
watch me singing karaoke,
hear me playing my acoustic,
latest internet sensation due,

drug me, stop me feeling sad,
out here in deep space, far away,
on a planet beyond Mars.

Make a wish upon a planet.

We began to feel ill again.
It was time for a pill again.
They were given out for free so it was not hard to refuse.
To be honest they gave a certain sense of not caring at all,

makes it easier to
keep on singing karaoke,
keep on playing my acoustic,
keep on following the facebook feed,

helps me, stops me feeling sad,
out here in space, far away,
beyond Mars.

Beyond Mars on Spotify

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