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.

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: 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.

Poetry Drawer: Always Almost You: Before I Knew Love: Gentle and Fierce: I Might As Well: My Poems Arrive by John Tustin

Always Almost You

It was always you,
It was almost you,
In all ways you,
Always almost you.

Your sex-scent on the breeze
That comes in through the window and mingles with the perspiration
Of my lonely sheets.
Your image just out of focus in my bedroom mirror.
Every slamming door is you leaving.
Every key jingling in a lock
Is you arriving.
Every car splashing along the wet road outside as I try to sleep
Is you moving past me unaware.

Lying in torpor, staring at the cracks,
Knowing you would heal them
With the wild branches of your hair
And the dark frigid oceans of your eyes,
Holding me in the shiver
Of beyond the second half of previously disused
Lives.
Contented in mirrors at last.

It will always be you,
Almost you,
In all ways you,
Almost always you.

Before I Knew Love

I loved you before I knew you,
Before I knew love,
Before I breathed my first breath
In this life.
I loved you before my first concept of love
And yet, here you are,
Telling me love is something
Reserved for those who pretend
But I tell you this –
Nothing I am and nothing I own
And nothing I was matters to me
Compared to your love
Because before you
Was before I could imagine,
Reason or pretend.
There was just me floating there,
Yearning for your arms around me,
Not knowing who you were
But knowing I would know you
When our paths finally crossed.

Now we are at a physical and emotional distance,
Your body breathing without mine,
Your heart beating without mine.
Music plays here as I sit alone,
Music I can no longer share with you
The way we shared so much,
But clearly not everything.
I listen to this song and all I can think
Is how much you would probably like it.
Searching for you all those years, finding you,
I imagined I would breathe my last breath
Loving you as I did before my first
And I will indeed love you when I shed this mortal coil
And after
But not the same.
Not the same but I will.

As I am about to live again after this body dies
I will likely love you again
Before I breathe my first breath
Just like I did before
And before that.
There is no choice.
There is just what is.

Gentle and Fierce

She took my words close to her heart

And laughingly told me
“You’re so gentle and fierce”

And then I pulled her close
And gave her a kiss so savage and so tender
She lost her breath

And she trembled all over, wet and melting like hot wax
Against the force of my eyes and my body
And my words and my lips and my loudly beating heart.

I Might As Well

I might as well shave my head.
I might as well wear a necktie.
I might as well turn off the music and get some sleep.
I might as well stop writing about her.
I might as well stop calling them on the phone.
It’s a new day! A new me!
A new day all about me!
I might as well get laid.
I might as well smoke cigars.
I might as well not love. Loving is hard.
Life is hard enough.
I might as well tell you all that it’s time to be about me.
I might as well shave my face clean,
Buy a new suit and lose some weight,
Waiting for the inevitable promotion or firing
That will only lead to more opportunities
In this wonderful America.
I might as well stop crying.
Tears have no worth.
I’ll turn off the music now
And turn in.
I might as well get a good night’s sleep.
I’ll shave my head tomorrow.

My Poems Arrive

My poems arrive
At your doorstep,
Sometimes one by one,
Sometimes in a bundle.
There can be weeks of silence
And then they arrive, these paper boats with paper sails,
One by one by one
Onto your shore
Under a dusky moonlight
And a light steady rain.

You hear the knock on your door at 6 a.m.
To find a poem questioning your love
Or comparing your eyes to the moon reflecting off of
The bottom of the sea.
It must be disconcerting
To potentially find undying love or petulant rage
At your door at any given time.
Often both.

My poems arrive
Singly or by the dozen
When you are making dinner
Or taking a shower
Or sleeping in your bed without me.
Some come wrapped in ribbon,
Some in undescriptive cardboard boxes,
Some in plain brown wrappers

But they keep coming
As relentlessly as the tide
And, like the tide,
There is no point in swimming
Against them.

John Tustin started to write again in 2008 after a ten year hiatus and his published poetry can be found here

Poetry Drawer: Peaceful Dreams by Janine Crawford

Dreams of white sand,
And golden stars,
And silver bells,
Wrapped round the moon…
The moon whispered across the lands,
Peaceful dreams,
Sleep soundly,
For I will protect you throughout the night.

The Moon beams,
Down lights of silver rays,
As the silver dust sprinkles on the land,
And spreads throughout the night,
Giving sleepers of slumber,
Their peaceful dreams.

Poetry Drawer: Storeys: Dad Says: Shards by Sam Rose

Storeys

I wish for brother to be not
such an unfamiliar word to me
lighting candles and minds with
stories, climbing mountains made
out of the storeys of the house
we almost grew up in together –
backpacks on, climbing shoes, ropes
made out of bedsheets, tiny
mountaineers opining on everything,
opening gifts at Christmas, now pining
for rewinding – if we could, I wish
we could do it together

Dad Says

Dad says “Fluids!”, when we complain we are hot.
“You’re dehydrated,” he says, even if we think we’re not.

“You need fluids!” Dad says, when we’re playing in the garden.
“Fluids!” he says, when we pound the streets of London.

“Fluids!” he says in Paris as we watch Mickey’s parade.
“Fluids!” he says, as we retreat into the shade.

“Fluids!” Dad says, in Portsmouth and in Yarmouth.
“Fluids!” Dad says, and every time we laugh.

“Fluids!” Dad says, as we walk on Jersey’s shores
“Fluids!” he says, in every place that we explore.

“Fluids!” he says, putting a drink in front of us.
“Looking forward to some fluids”, as we ride the airport bus.

“Fluids! Get it down yer”, when we’re in town, shopping.
“Fluids!” in Orlando, when we’re Disney park-hopping.

“Fluids!” is his mantra up in the Scottish Highlands.
“Fluids!” as we float towards Gothenburg’s islands.

“Fluids!” he says in Miami, Wales and Spain
And on the beach in the Bahamas he repeats himself again.

“Fluids!” Dad says, in Nottingham and Birmingham.
“Fluids!” Dad says, by the canals of Amsterdam.

“Fluids!” Dad says, as we push through Times Square.
“Fluids!” he barks and wags his finger in the air.

“Fluids!” he will say when we hunt for the Northern Lights,
“Fluids!” he will say when we sample Stockholm’s delights.

“Fluids!” He grins and stretches out the word.
“Fluids!” we all chant, as we explore the world.

Shards

I have been sheltering people subconsciously and still
when I send them the miniscule
the threads
the summary
the dregs
they do not respond
why do they not respond?
it has been too hard to give them anything so far
and now I have given something they do not take it
take it
take my ovaries
take my diseased womb
take everything that has to come with it
take my tears
take my worst fears
my operations
take everything I am showing you because it is nothing
compared to the rest of the things I have
I have so much stock in the back room
take this
and then if you run out I will give you some more
see how you get on with this first I say
and they don’t take it
I can’t say anything more to convince them because
my voice box is shattered and speaking is too hard
it is shattered as in tired
shattered as in destroyed
shattered as in shards sticking in my throat
and what am I supposed to do with this?
what am I supposed to do with these fragments
of words they won’t take?
I cannot pull them out of my own throat
and put them inside someone else’s
there are other people who would happily take these shards
and eat them like sword swallowers
like fire eaters if it would spare me
there are people who would do anything to spare me
and other people who will not take my spare words
who will not spare me their words
any words would do
just to say message received
a delivery report
a read receipt signed in their handwriting
fucking anything
what am I supposed to do with this silence?
I can’t replace the shards in my throat with silence
I could soothe them with something soft
I could soothe myself with something soft
I can’t reach out
I can’t reach out
there is no future I can see
I am too afraid to look
cover my eyes
this isn’t me
I have shelved myself temporarily
maybe forever
and I need people to tell me that they still see me
to tell me I exist
to remove these shards
to tell me shards are not the only thing left in my world
replace the shards with real words
walk to me
reach out to me
touch me without expecting me to reach back
sometimes I can’t reach back so quickly
it’s the shards you see
those damn shards
every time I move
every time I try to speak they stick
I need everyone else to stick
softly
take a shard and sand it down
sand me down
make me see me
make me see them and in seeing them see me
make me see them and in seeing they will see me
make me see them and in seeing them I will see me
remove the future from my sight where it can’t hurt me
remove the shards from my throat where they can’t bite me
fight for my sanity
make me
make me see only the soft
make me see softly
speak to me softly
say anything softly
fucking anything softly

Sam Rose is a writer from England and the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine. Her work has appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Haiku Journal, and others. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to rock music and eating too much chocolate. Find her at her website and on Twitter.

Poetry Drawer: Leafy Acrobats: Tracker: Winter Chill: Party Pooper: Moss Covered Shoes by Mary Bone

Leafy Acrobats

My thoughts came together
While strolling in the fall,
As the leaves were tumbling.
Acrobats soared through
The sky with
A coloured silhouette.
Glorious colours were scattered
At my feet.

Tracker

I saw footprints
In the snow today.
I could be part Indian.
The tracks were on a road
To another woman’s house.
I should have seen it a long time ago.
All the signs were there.

Winter Chill

The soup told us winter was coming.
The beef bones had stewed all morning
Until the vegetables and spices were added.
I dipped my cornbread
Into the stew,
Getting ready for the upcoming chill.

Party Pooper

Here comes my regular customer.
I’m getting the peanuts out.
She’s not a good tipper
And she is so messy.
We won’t make a profit today.
She’s such a party pooper.

Moss Covered Shoes

Moss covered shoes were found
In the forest.
Had someone walked a mile in them?
There is probably a story here.
Perhaps the moss felt like carpet beneath someone’s toes,
And they left the shoes there to collect dust.

Mary Bone has been published at Literary Librarian, Spillwords, Vita Brevis Literature, Halcyon Days, Best Poetry Website, and Family Friend Poems

Poetry Drawer: Pearls-Dreams by Paweł Markiewicz

the morning red sky
the pearl diver on board ship
ferrymen’s ayres
seaweed under sea
with the most propitious pearls
hidden by seaman
matutinal sun
keel swimming to new island
laden with the pearls
when the tide is out
pearl diver is fetching pearls
from sunken vessel
weird of afterglow
pearler singing song of moon
breaks sea-solitude
under summer moon
a pearl in dreamy gull’s beak
marine wizardry

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.