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


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.


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

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

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.

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


                        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

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

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

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

brace for impact

hello to
the most
you know
and brace
for impact

one of

she might
your existence

endless worries

the lucid skies
of neon dreams

polluted with the
endless worries
of a population
under attack


we have fallen

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

every lash

every harsh

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

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.


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


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


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

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
the trees
make us

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

Get your paperback copy of The Modern Game by Marius Fate.

Catch Marius Fate on Twitter, Facebook and Spotify.

Poetry Drawer: In The ICU: Lakefront Property: Prognosis by Robert Demaree

In The ICU

Before surgery
It had not occurred to me
To tell the church,
Have them put it in the bulletin,
Make an announcement
On Sunday morning.
But the day after,
On a brief, tentative
Supervised stroll around the ICU
I happened to see our pastor
There to visit a parishioner
Who would not be going home.
Don came to my room
And we visited a while,
And he offered to say a prayer
(Like a good lawyer, I thought,
Representing your interests in court).
And when he prayed,
He did not say
Be with Bob as he heals
But rather he spoke of the goodness
Of the world and life God has given us,
Which sounds like good theology to me,

But with the other family, though,
He may have used
A different text.

Lakefront Property

The forty-pound kayak
Slices across the pond
To inspect new construction
At Caleb’s old place.
A woman on a paddle board
Passes across my bow,
No lifejacket.
She could have had three kayaks
For what she paid,
Latest fad born of
That unholy marriage of
Marketing and design:
People will buy it
Because they can.

The framing is up.
Already there’s a Seadoo on the dock.
Caleb had hoped someone
Would restore his parents’ house.
Columns for a gated drive
Have replaced the old colonial
Where he grew up,
Facing South Main Street,
When this was another kind of town.


My friend, seventy-six,
Three years my junior,
Had been for his annual check-up.
The doctor asked if he had
A living will.
Did she mean anything by that,
I wondered. My friend,
Professor and poet,
Knows what John Donne knew,
And Shakespeare,
That we will encounter darkness like a bride
And hug it in our arms,
And, with Billy Collins, regards
Poetry as “a megaphone
Held up to the whispering lips of death.”

Try telling poets
No more poems about death
And they’re out of business.
I read the obit page,
I know the facts, see what happens,
But I’m not buying it.

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.