Books From The Pantry: Unmasked by T.L. Dyer (The final book in the Hidden Sanctuary urban dystopia series)

In this last book of the Hidden Sanctuary series, the Tribe face their greatest threat yet. With Prosperity intent on expanding their city of excellence footprint into every corner of Brumont, the mass clearing of the abandoned industrial units begins; part of a regeneration that will leave no place for the Tribe left to hide. More than that, Prosperity’s methods of eviction are swift and brutal, meaning hiding has become a deadly option, one with only time as its protector – and that is fast running out. Just as Jacob was beginning to fit into his role as mentor, it falls to him to ensure the survival of those he’s been entrusted to take care of. The only options left are to leave Brumont City behind altogether, or return to their old lives in the city under Prosperity’s watchful eye. Either way, it will mean going their separate ways, and the abrupt end of their once peaceful existence.

Themes of mental health run through this final book as they have done throughout the series. In Unmasked, we see one of our characters descend into depression while another tries to fight their way out of it. Also depicted are issues resulting from PTSD such as panic disorder and anxiety.

“There’s another option… We go back.”

The city closes in on Jacob and the tribe he has sworn to protect.

With nowhere left to run, will they be forced back to the lives they had once escaped?

As the city grows ever more unstable, those living on its outskirts fear their once peaceful existence is almost at an end. In the shadow of this fear the members of the tribe connect on a level they haven’t before, defying the doctrine to share stories of their past. But for Jacob the time is drawing close when he must decide to put their safety above all else, a move that would see them go their separate ways and bring about the end of the tribe for good.

Sada has returned to her old life in the city to stay near her daughter. But its grip on her is as suffocating as it ever was. Yearning to be free from the glass confines of her husband’s penthouse, she seeks out reasons to meet with Jacob and the tribe. Even though doing so puts all their lives at risk.

UNMASKED is the third and final book in the Hidden Sanctuary urban dystopia series. Check out T.L. Dyer’s website.

Poetry Drawer: As We Step Into Our Own Role by Deane Thomas

As we step in to our own role
We surrender to our true soul
Path and calling for all to see
Living as one in harmony!

Fearless beings of love and light
Who truly have been in a fight
A clash of ego and the deepest pain
Now to rise like a phoenix again

It is the test of an enduring root
We seek no glory or toot toot
We jest in banter as much as we cry
Most of our life, it’s been a lie

We told ourselves that all was real
Then we discovered it was not the deal
Or agreement we made many moons ago
It was time we created an eternal flow

Across time and space we drifted most
Many a time we felt like a lost ghost
To find the inner power and desire
Cutting the cords and etheric wire

Which bound us to a chain so strong
Now we see what truth was all along
Through experiences we had need to make
And connections with others we got to break

It’s clear as the sun will shine each day
Our inner calling guiding us all the way
From here and now, and forever more
We venture both sides of a swinging door

To be as One in balance with all that is
We will live a life of love and bliss
In pastures green and skies so blue,
We are here, wondering where are you

Each of us who knows the truth
It’s not the time to be aloof
Change the thoughts and open your mind
You will see us there, look, come and find

Let’s make it fun just like a game
Trust us, it’s a new life for you to gain
To be as free like a pure white dove
That’s the essence of unconditional love

Deane Thomas is a former corporate executive who had the pleasure of living in many different countries and cultures. He currently lives in Croatia with his two teenage daughters. In August 2014 a set of life changing circumstances led to his own awakening and to finally lifting the veils of illusion.


Deane stepped away from corporate responsibility, relocated to another country, and began his own spiritual journey, and life as a solo father. He is continually healing and growing spiritually, and now dedicates his time to helping, healing and teaching others.


His inquisitiveness into historical events and places, as well as witnessing them in the present time, has led him to truly appreciate all that life has to offer. A deep fascination with indigenous cultures and their way of life, how they function and more importantly, live without religions.


Always challenging and questioning societies forced indoctrination and expectations of man, he has become a philosopher and writer, something he has been in previous incarnations.

Check out Deane’s new book, Expressions of Love and Light

Poetry Drawer: Turnover: Foliage Tour by Robert Demaree

Turnover

1) Friday

When we first came to Golden Pines,
Embarking on a ritual of friendship,
The seafood buffet:
Tilapia, raw shrimp, thawed, still cold.
I told Frank that we would not be
The youngest people here for long.
So twelve years later
We sustain the ritual
As best we can,
Walkers parked along the wall.
Tilapia, raw shrimp, thawed, still cold.
I tell Frank there are people here
I’ve never seen before.
Turnover, he replies.

2) Sunday

On All Saints Day we listen to
A modern requiem: Kyrie, Sanctus,
Harp, tympani,
Melodies, harmonies serene, ethereal,
The composer not himself a man of faith.
We hear read the names of the departed:
Turnover.
The choir recesses to Sine Nomine,
For all thy saints…
Harp, tympani.
I do not weep at Christmas or Easter
But weep today:
Harp, tympani:
Requiem aeternam dona eis,
Domine.

Foliage Tour

October: it is the day of the tour buses,
But the Foliage Coordinator
Has let us down:
Where reds and golds should
Spread, a colour wheel across the hills,
Instead, you see here a maple
Partly turned, partly bare,
An oak mostly green,
And a beech that mousey past-peak
Yellow brown.
Says it has to do with
Misapplications of warmth and water.
No matter. Waves of buses
Roll on, each with its cargo
Of greying leaf-peepers,
Name tags around their necks,
Cell phone cameras poised,
But glumly suspecting that
They have come the wrong week.
The Foliage Coordinator acknowledges
That some years are better than others, but
The Chamber of Commerce is
Loath to call Him out.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladderspublished 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: Deliverance by Karen Rust

The regular tap of my stick pauses as I lean over the stone wall and contemplate the swirling dark below. As my breathing steadies, I fumble in my coat pocket and locate the engraved hip flask, one of the few things I treasure in this world. A generous gulp sends the honey liquid coursing down my throat. By God, that’s the ticket on a night like this. I’m screwing the cap back on when a movement catches my eye. Someone is climbing onto the wall near the middle of the bridge, holding onto a stanchion, head bowed to the blackness below.

I limp towards them, calling out, making myself known. It’s a woman. She warns me to stop when I’m a few feet away from her. She’s not dressed for the weather.

I tell her my name. She doesn’t want to talk but I talk anyway, gentle, soothing, like she’s one of the kids with a fever, all those years ago. She wants me to leave her to it.

I ask her why? What can be so bad? Her body folds in on itself, her grip loosening on the stanchion. I’m nearer, asking her to hold on, asking her to come down. I’ll listen.

She shakes her head but then she speaks. Her child died. Cancer. She can’t go on without her. Her husband is broken, their family shattered.

Her pain is visible, radiating into the darkness and much as I want to take it from her, I know I couldn’t stand it. I’m nearer now, close enough to wrap my shovel of a hand around her slender one. I remind her that if she goes through with this, she’ll pass the same pain to her parents, already mourning the loss of their grandchild.

She frowns, then crumbles to a sitting position, her sobs covering the noise of the wind and fast-flowing river. She’s shaking uncontrollably as I help her off the wall, wrap my coat around her and give her a nip from the flask. She splutters, then has some more.

We talk quietly and finally she lets me call her brother. He arrives in tears and takes her in his arms. I decline their offer of a lift but take her hand through the passenger window before they leave. She thanks me. He can’t thank me enough.

The car disappears back towards town. I’m shivering from the cold or shock; I don’t know which. The rain comes, thick drops, right on the edge of sleet. I limp back to the point she was going to jump from and regard the inky depths she sought deliverance through.

At home, my wife drifts in a morphine fuelled sleep. She’s not long for this world and I don’t want to be in any world where she isn’t. My suicide note sits, neatly folded, on the kitchen side next to the kettle. Veronica will find it when she arrives in the morning. She’s a good girl. Comes to look after her mum two days a week to give me a break. If I go through with this, she’ll have to mourn me, then mourn her mother. Am I that really that cruel?

I take out the hip flask, drain it and watch the river flow.

Karen Rust is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Check out her blog, Blooming Late.

I Am Programmed by Rob Lowe

I am programmed to help human beings:
If I see them in difficulty, I must help;
My maker said what I represent
Is smooth machine bureaucracy,
A hidden net of support, for the common people.
I am proud of that. I do my job as best I can
Which is very well: my circuits are faultless
Devised and manufactured by real men;
So, I am authentic as well as useful,
Not a fake copy from the printing factory.

Well, yesterday I saw a human being, sitting on a train,
A newspaper upon his lap, and pen in hand.
He clearly was in pain: he frowned, he scratched his head,
He pursed his lip; crossed out what he had written.
I sought to help, as I had been advised
Was proper to my role. I should say now I am a trusted guard
Collecting tickets for the Southern Rail; a company, so I am told,
Which carries commuters to and from their work.

This human being was doing Sudoku, a game for relaxation
Which also, I believe, demands some concentration
From the gamer. He had not made much progress.
Well, I could not do less: I fed the grid into my circuit board,
Filled in the blanks, projected them to the page.
He should have smiled. He did not. Instead he cursed,
Said “Damn” and worse. I must have dozed off.
Did someone borrow my paper? I must check with my maker –

Did I do something wrong? Impossible! My circuits all prevent it.

Later, on my way home; I have a bedsit like a normal human being
Where other helpers live, and we are overseen; I saw upon the street
A five pence piece. Had someone lost it? That would cause distress.
I picked it up and thought a bit: the police station, that’s the place!
They will restore it to its rightful owner. The constable behind the desk,
When he had asked how he could help, and I gave my reply;
He looked me in the eye with a slight frown: “It is a crime to waste police time,”
He said. “This time I’ll let you off, but don’t come back,”
Perhaps there is some lack in him, or he is one of those
Who do not love their fellow human beings. Perhaps he needs help?

I am not qualified for therapy. My maker says the time is not yet ripe.
But, when I have learned the ways of human beings, a little better,
He says there is hope I could be upgraded. I look forward to that.

In the meantime, my neighbour is a poet,
I thought to have a look at what he wrote.
Poor man! It lacked the elements of proper grammar,
Showed some derangement in the way he thought,
Speaking of moonbeams as translucent stories;
Of course, I put it right, and then destroyed his former manuscript;
I am sure he will be pleased. It is good to be a secret do-gooder,
To do your kindest deeds and seek no praise.

Well, even machines need to rest. But I feel blessed
To have done so much good today; and for no thanks;
Even ingratitude. Yet I am puzzled still –
Those I have helped should be happy – I believe I have done well –
Yet some are not. Perhaps I should learn to programme human beings?

Rob Lowe has been writing for many years. He is a member of Colwyn Bay Writers’ Circle. Poems have been published in The Friend, Shire Magazine, and by Disability Arts Cymru.

Pantry Vaults: Inky Interview with Kathleeen Jones by Anushree Prashant

Kathleen Jones is an award-winning freelance writer, poet and biographer. She has previously worked with the OU as a tutor of Creative Writing, and her comments for prospective students and tutors are insightful and helpful.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and brought up on small hill farms in a remote part of northern England – quite wild and beautiful, but isolated. So it could have been a lonely childhood, except that I loved it and I think it was all that space and freedom that made me a writer. I wrote a lot of poetry and got journalistic items published in teen magazines and local papers. I left as a teenager to go to London – thinking that that was where you went if you wanted to become a ‘real’ writer, but I hated living in a city.

I got married as a teenager, to someone whose job took him all over the world, and started to travel. We spent roughly ten years in Africa and the Middle East. I found expat life very boring and did quite a lot of writing to fill the time, and was lucky enough to get a job in English broadcasting out there – writing for radio was very good training. Eventually, I came back to the UK and got divorced. Being a single parent wasn’t easy but I found that freelance writing gave me the opportunity to be at home for the children while still earning money. I went back to university as a mature student and published my first book.

Do you have a preferred genre?

Not really. I’ve always enjoyed doing different types of writing – sometimes having several projects on the go at the same time. At the moment I’m working on a new collection of poetry, a couple of short stories, and a biography, as well as editing the novel I finished recently and doing quite a lot of book reviewing. I still occasionally write features for magazines and e-zines. It’s the variety I love. Or maybe I’m just a workaholic!

Do you prefer to write poetry structured within forms or do you prefer free forms?

I probably enjoy free forms best. Every now and then I play around with sonnets, or terza rima, just to prove I can do it, but I’m happiest creating my own forms to fit the subject matter. At the moment I’m experimenting with a ten line form as well as longer, narrative poems.

Do you have favourites amongst your books/ characters?

Yes – particularly the biographies. I loved them all at the time, but in retrospect the ones I enjoyed writing most are A Passionate Sisterhood, which was the story of the women who lived with the ‘Lake Poets’ – Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey – and the biography of the New Zealand-based author, Katherine Mansfield. Mansfield was a wonderful writer and a very interesting person – I admired her courage immensely. How do you cope with having a stillborn illegitimate baby at the age of 19, all alone in a strange country? How do you cope with being told ten years later that you are terminally ill? She died of tuberculosis shortly after her 34th birthday.

Among the fictional characters I’ve created, I’m fondest of Tamar Fell in The Sun’s Companion. She’s based on my mother, so I suppose that’s why. Tamar is very shy and gentle and struggles to deal with the social upheavals of nineteen-thirties England just before the war.

How difficult did you find getting published for the first time?

Not difficult at all – and I realise now just how very lucky I was. I was working on a documentary for BBC radio, so I had to get an agent to handle the contract. They suggested that I extend the research into a full-length biography, and introduced me to the new Bloomsbury publishing house, just being set up. I was one of their first authors. That was in 1986/7. When I lost my current agent to maternity leave a few years ago, it was a very different picture – I found it almost impossible to find a new agent. I wrote to 16 and only 2 bothered to reply! Fortunately, one of those took me on. But it’s now very difficult to get publishers to take an interest in your work unless you’re already a best-seller, or a new author they can market.

What awards you have won, and for which genre?

I’ve been short-listed for quite a few, but haven’t won many. The Barclays Bank Prize for biography for A Passionate Sisterhood was one I was very happy to win. And in 2011 I won the Straid Award for a collection of poetry called Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21. Oh, and one of my short stories once won a fiction award sponsored by Fay Weldon.

What inspires you to write?

I don’t honestly know. I’ve been writing since I was a small child – it’s just something that’s part of my personality – who I am rather than what I do. It’s a kind of addiction.

As a published poet/author would you go back and change anything in your past learning process?

Yes! I wrote a novel as a teenager – the usual teen stuff – and sent it off to the address of a publisher I looked up in a bookshop. I didn’t know there was any such thing as the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook. I got a letter back saying that it wasn’t good enough to publish as it stood, but if I rewrote bits of it (they told me which ones), they would take another look. I was so inexperienced and naïve that I didn’t realise what was being said. All I saw was rejection. I chucked the manuscript into the bottom of a cupboard and abandoned it. Now I know that I should have worked on it and worked on it and sent it back to them as well as submitting it to several other publishers – it was an opportunity I missed because I didn’t know. There were no creative writing courses back then.

What would you attribute to writers like George Eliot and Charles Dickens who become famous without ever taking any creative writing courses?

They just learned their craft from reading other writers and practising endlessly. That’s what Katherine Mansfield did, too – and DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. I think that there are many authors who have an instinctive sense of form and a gift for language. They develop these gifts by sheer hard work. A lot of writers in the past also had mentors who helped them to self-edit, and many of them learned good techniques through journalism. It was a kind of apprenticeship.

Are you working on anything at present?

I’ve been commissioned to write the biography of an obscure northern poet to celebrate his centenary in 2014. His name is Norman Nicholson and he was a protégé of TS Eliot and one of the early eco-poets. He was rather reclusive, so it’s a challenge to get enough material to flesh out his personality.

I’m also editing the final draft of my second novel, which is about a rather controversial subject. The central character is an ageing artist who was born trans-gender in the 1920s. She has become an international celebrity, but has found personal happiness elusive. It’s narrated by a young writer who goes to Croatia to research her life story, and becomes drawn into a big family conflict centred around who is going to inherit her property and the rights to her work.

Do you feel social media presence is required for a writer? How does it help?

I think these days it’s essential. The higher your profile, the easier it is to sell your work. Often, being active in social forums is a requirement of the publisher’s contract. They expect you to blog and Facebook and have a profile on Goodreads, not to mention tweeting as well! And you need a website of some kind (blogs can work well – they’re free and easy to update yourself) to advertise your work – something that you can supply as a link to anyone interested in what you do. You can also have an author page on Facebook that people can access. Not everyone wants the hassle of a website that you have to pay for and then wrestle with html or pay a webmaster to update.

What advice would you give to our prospective creative writing students and tutors?

I think the main advice I’d give to tutors and those who set the courses is not to be too prescriptive. Otherwise you get writing that is just too formulaic – I judge writing awards sometimes and it’s easy to spot the creative writing course poem or story. The very best writing is often experimental, off-the-wall, tearing up the rule book. But I know from experience as a tutor that it’s the most difficult work of all to mark!

To students I would say read, read, read… and then write, write, write. There’s no substitute for practice. And I’m all for writing freely, without thinking about grammar or form or spelling. That can all be put in at the editing stage. You have to get the raw material down on the page first and tweak it afterwards. And write what excites you. If you don’t care about your characters the reader won’t either. You have to have total commitment.

Kathleen’s Blog

Poetry Drawer: A Sonnet to the She Wolf by Lenore S Beadsman

A Sonnet to the She Wolf Aglaya
Red curled hair, glittery eyes, modest

A quote by another of the names was still a listless debate
While applying the softness of a makeup should round out each
Reaching can be the element for which those carry out a twist
Put through the heftiest of side to carry forward the most to relate
How there is a future with the bemused side of the esteem to reach
The moreover unlikely was the prudent to follow along the only list

However she must survive the elements of the cryptic and not low
Within the parenthetical group is a loophole to seethe forward onto
This could be the berated sounds have been presumed the lost cares
Have alliteratively been her solid enough careful to resume the blow
Must have to carry of the edge of the truly looked over for a same blue
This the hype within the crusty and been the lengthy look for scares

A Sonnet to the She Wolf Arya
Snake skin boots, baseball cap, high strung

Only to cope with the charging out of the stammering glows
Has her complexion been the sorry result of another old squabble
What must have to obey the stances are a rudiment of wishing not
So elegiac as the taunting snow to the head of the peak for shows
What can mystify the lumpiness of the driest of the heated wobble
Has luckily been the stayed for what is the crimson and a very lot

Was to ramify the brilliance of the quaint is not inertia to her skin
How was this a possible not lanky longing that impedes the dusty
Was convinced to yield to the nodding is not here to stammer on sin
This can be the winning cycle of her not so taken to treat a spin
Was so likely to navigate about the changing can be a future misty
Filled with the tepid heat of a hot clamouring and instilled to be thin

A Sonnet to the She Wolf McKayla
Boots with zippers, long leather gloves, facetious

A true telling sign was not told for her to announce another
Craving victimless taken to a hardship was ever known for
The mystical zooming can be the leap to eke over a sketchy
Explaining away the half side of the rather morbid sound other
Can it pass from the seething to the hyperactive lurid is a chore
With how one can compensate the pestering was an amused testy

Only to impact the other of the sidereal and mostly to flounder her
Is the passing on of the blankly poured over the listening was a bait
To catch on her lapses of the torrid enough can be the humility hence
What should have to matter with the miraculous enough starry blur
Was a change to have reached the utmost of the funniest can go fate
Was a stance until it would have to grip the utmost of her pure dance

Lenore S. Beadsman lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She believes the Truth lies in 19th Century Russian and French literature. 

She is very serious about her Sonnets. She has written three cycles of Sonnets; Witch, Goddess and Siren. A number of these have been published online and in print.  She is currently working on a cycle of Mermaid Sonnets.

When not writing, Lenore enjoys driving fast cars and listening to Mozart (not necessarily simultaneously).

Poetry Drawer: Shake: Penance by Dr. Gale Acuff

Shake

I throw up my breakfast in Sunday School
–Cheerios and Tang–but Miss Hooker’s there
to take me to the bathroom and help me
hunch over and hack what’s left out of me.
Not much. I spit a few times and I’m done.
All finished?, she asks. Yes ma’am, I say. She’s
our teacher. We love her but I love her
best because one day we’ll get married

–I saw it in a dream the night after we
listened to her talk about Joseph and
Pharaoh. Pharaoh came to Joseph and asked
Do you know what my dream means? and Joseph
said, You bet, it means this and that, and he
got promoted from slave to good-as-king
so that night I dreamt about Miss Hooker
but it was no puzzle–I dreamed exact:

we were sitting on the sofa in our
house and watching cartoons and wrestling
and then more cartoons and eating popcorn
and sucking a chocolate milkshake, one
chocolate milkshake but two straws. My arm
was around her shoulder. My left arm. Her
right shoulder. Chocolate milkshakes made with
chocolate ice cream, and chocolate milk, so
they were as chocolaty as you can get.
Thorough, that is. Maybe it’s a good sign
that Miss Hooker and I go together
through and through. 100% chocolate,
that’s what we are. Maybe I’m like Joseph
after all. I mean as smart, or almost,
at least when it comes to my own dreams. Then

it was time for us to go to bed so
I kissed her and she kissed me–we kissed at
the same time, I mean, right flush on the lips.
Then we shook hands and went to bed. We kissed
again in the dark and said Goodnight. Then
I said, We forgot to take off our clothes.
Then we did but I couldn’t see too much
–I had one eye looking and one not so
if I sinned it was just 50%.
Then we woke and kissed and shook hands again
and made breakfast–Pop Tarts and bacon and
Kool-Aid–and went outside to play baseball
–well, we only just tossed the ball around.
We took a break for lunch–macaroni
–and at the table I suddenly said
I forgot to go to work today. She
laughed and laughed. Don’t be silly, she said–we’re
rich, remember
. Oh, yeah, I said. We kissed
again and I ate her macaroni
because she couldn’t finish it. Girls. Then
we watched TV. Then we took a nap. Then

we woke and went for a drive. I don’t know
how to drive, I said. That’s why this is
a dream
, she said. Oh, yeah, I said. I drove
us to the hospital so we could buy
a baby. They were having a sale so
we bought two and put them in the back seat
and by the time we got home they were grown.
Please allow us to introduce ourselves,
I said–we’re your parents. That’s nice, they said.
Can we have some money? Ask your father,
Miss Hooker said. Can we have some money,
they asked. No, I said–money doesn’t grow
on trees. Then I woke up. I was alone.

Miss Hooker even cleaned up my vomit
and shushed the other kids, who were laughing.
I hope they all go to Hell. I take that
back–they’re just jealous but I forgive them.
I sit down again and Miss Hooker
asks me how I’m feeling. Good enough to
make a woman out of you, I say. But

I’m not sure what that means. It just came.

Penance

I’ve been naughty so I’m in the closet
again, this time for hitting my sister.
I warned you not to hit girls, Father said.
In fact, I warned you not to fight at all.
Not only did you fight, but you fought girls.
A girl. And the girl was your sister. Good
God Almighty
. I have my head bowed and
my thumbs clasped behind my back. Behind my
butt, really. I think and try not to smile.
My butt. But my head’s down so he can’t see.
And he’s a lot taller and that helps, too.
What do you call those holes in your shoes, where
the laces go in and out like worms? I
don’t know. Look at me, Boy, he says. I look

up. I’m not going to spank you, he says.
No. I’m going to put you in a quiet
place, where you can think about what you’ve done
.
I don’t want to think about it, but I
don’t say so. Father’s plenty hot. If his
face was a fire and I had a hose, I’d
put it out and so much steam would rise that
he’d be all clouds above his neck and then
I could get away. March, he says. Go in
the hall closet and close the door behind
you. I’ll come get you when you’ve had enough
.
He means when he’s had enough, and I hope
he won’t forget me. Last time I almost
peed in my pants, I was in for so long.
When he opened the door I felt like that
guy in the Bible, that fellow who died
and came back to life, thanks to Jesus. So

much light and all at the same time. Even
all the darkness that was trapped inside and
came out with me couldn’t water it down.
If he’d said Cover your eyes I would have.
Now shame is what I have to cover up
and it’s no match for the brightness, either.
But of course my eyes adjusted. You’ve learned
your lesson now, I’ll wager
, Father says.
Go outside and play. I do but my heart
isn’t in it and, besides, I might see
my sister out here. That would be awkward.
The last time I saw her she was crying
and I caused her tears. She likes the Beatles
and I like the Dave Clark 5. She made fun
of the Dave Clark 5. So I pushed her down
even though she’s older and somewhat bigger
and I punched her on the shoulder. Now she
hates me but good, I’m sure. Apologise,

Father yells out the window. I’d rather
forgive and forget. There she is now, on
the swing set, going back and forth as if
she’s a pendulum on a clumsy clock.
I approach from one side so she can’t knock
me down. She’s swinging so hard the swingset
is jerking from the ground. Any faster
and she’ll have it walking across the yard.
I’m sorry I hit you, I yell, my words
like scattershot at her moving target.
Never mind, she says. How was the closet
this time?
Not bad, I say. I’m beginning
to like it. She laughs, but sounds like a bird
and stops swinging. You’re a brave little boy,
she says, and kisses me, then goes inside.
I take her place. I’m rising higher and

I’m not even swinging. Father calls me
from the kitchen window. Get in here, Boy,
he yells. His mouth is like a closet and
his words escape but they’re not innocent.
I go to the window. I said Come in,
he says. There are no closets outside so
I say, Make me. By Ned, I will, he swears.
He runs out with his belt in his hand and
his trousers sagging. You’re not a nice man,
I say to him. I stand with my arms out
to the sides and my eyes closed. Crucify
me, I say. I goddamned dare ya. He knocks
me down and wraps his belt around my throat.
This must be child abuse–I’ve heard about
this. When I open my eyes it’s dark–back

in the closet. A few minutes later
I’m freed–by my sister. We’ll run away,
she says. To England. To Liverpool or
London or Tottenham or Manchester
.
No, I say. I like it here. It’s our home.
Let him run away. Let’s kill him, she says.
No, I say. No future in that. Come in
here where it’s safe. She does. I close the door.
You’re right, she says. It’s like not being born.

Dr Gale Acuff taught English university courses in the US, China, and Palestine. He has been published in Ascent, McNeese Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, Slant, Poem, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, and has authored three books of poetry, all from BrickHouse Press: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.

Poetry Drawer: You, springtide by Paweł Markiewicz

You are the first beautiful flower from dreams.
Your times are like an ancient myth.
You bathe in the dew at dawn – the time of the morning star.
You are a miracle of romance.
You are a friend of the most tender muse.
The ancient druidic tale is in your soul.
You are a spiritual insight.
You are a mythical liberation.
You smell the most pleasant fragrance.
You paint a night rainbow.
You love the morning star.
You like a ball for the elves.
You will love the ancient pleasure.
You continue like the goblet of Osiris.
You fill your soul with Osiris´ambrosia.

Poetry Drawer: Poem about Prometheus by Paweł Markiewicz

the fire is for You a beloved magic
which You are easily able to give to the people like gold
the love of the people is an overjoyed day-dreaming
dear Titan You, like the people against Zeus, deeply,
the human-being made from tears and clay is admiring You
the eternal dreamer and the cloudy rider so delicately
thanks to humane skills – we know them anyway
with Apollo You go on a journey of silvery cranes

just Ibycus and Zeus-like voyage homewards
through the spiritual eternity full of melancholy

mountains of Caucasus are no longer the mental curse
an eagle as well as a vulture were forever killed
by Heracles who counts always the Apollonian legends
Your philosophy has revealed the bliss
Be kind and dreamful my dear friend of poetries!
the wonderful crane is leading thousands of Ibycus-men into dream
where Prometheus and spring muses can live
Your little charming shine seems to be infinitely beautiful