Poetry Drawer: The Blossom and the Withered One by Saikat Gupta Majumdar

The Blossom and the Withered One

In the corner of a street
A flower shop facing the road
Displays the lovely, charming ones
From the common roses to unknown
With variety of each kind
In bunches, single or garlands.

The people of the town
Step in out of urgency or eagerness
In their ups & downs during the day
From the children to couples
And aged old fellows
For passion, grim or gay.

One day, while a kid stood in
Before the sight of flowers
Exploring each one in wonder
Suddenly, noticed an old fellow
Thin and feeble with bearded cheeks
Stared at him from a distance.

Smiled slowly as he looked back
And then came in weak steps
‘You are loveliest of all indeed,’
‘And you,?’ the kid asked back
Smiling again the man fingering at a board
The flowers that have withered are in no need

Poetry Drawer: Five Poems by Joan McNerney

“A” train

brassy blue
electric

close eyes
watch points
like stars

think now
how insignificant
compared to train
speaking for itself

stars known
in no language
burn shoot
thru
tiger’s eyes

brain in
constant action
reaction

to what we do not know
plans of distant stars
galaxies floating as

“A” train
silver worm
slides under
big belly
of city

Fear

Sneaks under shadows lurking
in corners ready to rear its head
folded in neat lab reports charting
white blood cells over edge running wild.

Or hiding along icy roads when
day ends with sea gulls squalling
through steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart careening us
against the long cold night.

Official white envelopes stuffed with
subpoenas wait at the mailbox.
Memories of hot words burning
razor blades slash across our faces.

Fires leap from rooms where twisted
wires dance like miniature skeletons.
We stand apart inhaling this mean
air choking on our own breath.

Eleventh Hour

Wrapped in darkness we can
no longer deceive ourselves.
Our smiling masks float away.
We snake here, there
from one side to another.
How many times do we rip off
blankets only to claw more on?

Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,
mumble of freight trains, fog horns.
Listening to wheezing,
feeling muscles throb.
How can we find comfort?

Say same word over and over
again again falling falling to sleep.
I will stop measuring what was lost.
I will become brave.

Let slumber come covering me.
Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.
Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.
Now I will curl like a fetus
gathering into myself
hoping to awake new born.

Long Haul Driver

At first he was thrilled by the road
thinking it an adventure to roam
through states and cities. His truck
this massive 18 wheeler winding
through overpasses, snake like
gleaming in sunlight across
ten lane highways.

But then he had to drive
so many hours arriving
only to wait for the next
work order, inhaling fumes
in the cold and in the heat.

Later he felt a slave to the
never ending engine and ugly
concrete. The same signs
everywhere, big box stores,
eating holes and truck stops
with cheap souvenirs.

Weary of this relentless surge of
everything always going forward,
feeling left behind.

riding dark horse nightmare

to prison library
where sewer
backs up flooding
cages of books
my brains are washed
by a short scientist

detectives trail me
arrested by police
giving up to
handcuffs ether

now on train
calendars peel
off cars
1942   1962   1982
2198   1892   1294
passengers screaming
screaming off track
burning 3rd rail

in swamp struggling
to reach green reeds

i   am    a
fixed target
paper duck
*pull trigger*fire pin*thru barrel*into muzzle*
b u l l e t                      s h o t
paper duck
mowed down.

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

I had a friend who was a chunk of granite
from the Granite State
She was grey and speckled
and very heavy
She was deceptively strong

I loaded her into my trunk
with some of her brothers and sisters
and cousins
I was going to plant them in my garden
I thought it would make my garden unique
I lived many states away from the
Granite State
I didn’t know if and when I would ever get back there
so I loaded my trunk up

As I was leaving the quarry
my rear axle broke
I was wondering if something like that
might happen
I’d put my trust in God
but God was not worthy of my trust

It was an old car
It was an old God
This God had a lot of staying power
He was the foundation stone
for a world of stupidity
Obviously, my car didn’t have staying power
It was what used to be called a “jalopy”
It didn’t have any value
The Kelly Blue Book said it was worth 99 cents
the same value as the
autobiography I’d placed on Amazon.com

I abandoned my car at the quarry
Luckily I hadn’t filled the tank for my return trip
It maybe had 99 cents worth of gas in it

I abandoned my life at the quarry too
Altogether I was out three dollars
not enough to worry about

I took a worn sweater out of the back seat
and headed down the dirt road
which led away from
the quarry

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

National Poetry Day Special: Bleak Row, The Nightwatchmen, Photographs, Me and Mrs Fisher by Laura Potts

Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award and Lieder Poet at The University of Leeds, her work has appeared in Agenda, Prole and Poetry Salzburg Review. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was last year listed in The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also became one of The Poetry Business’ New Poets and a BBC New Voice for 2017. Laura’s first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.

Bleak Row

After the first, my star still north and rising,
they patched his purse of blood-burst skin,
my sleeping bud and starless. I remember him:
in all that dusk and darkness, my bygone boy
would never begin with spring-eternal grin
and years. In infant rain I brought him here.

Near to the starshook brooks, to the water’s call,
to the hill worn warm by the greening flocks
and the fox which chases night from the hills.
Remember, still, how I holy held and fell
like a last-prayer priest to my knees? These
in the sleeping snow, these in the damply death-

throe glow of Madonna’s weeping eye: these
are the lives in the seeds which cry to the gaping
mouth of night. Yes. These are all mine. I
and my yesterday’s children who never came by
and stamped their sparks on the pavement bright.
Theirs was the sleep when my eye-fire died,

when horizons never would rise in their stride
and my homehope lost in the land and gone.
Through gasping fog and winter on, I do not let
the sterile beds that hold their heads begin
to bow and hunchback-bend when village boys
and friends and all the wheeling, laughing ends

of summer spring that sleeping wall. Tonight,
cruciform, I lay another quiet life I never knew at all.

The Nightwatchmen

Forever as the shepherd’s hook pulled up the dusk and ever-dark,
when far-off foxes coughed the frost and laughed that more must be,
beneath the dropping eyes of stars that fought that winter to the last
was always you and me. The storm departed from the sea; the war from we

whenever through the cold-bone blue of mist came you, chin uplifted on
the winds in wedding lanes we never knew. Until in this the airfield age,
with planes that screamed the world awake, we felt again the fist of truth:
sleeping in that infant rain stood one more crooked tooth. These the graves

that ever grew to guard the isle at night, the bones beneath them ballroom-bright
that fight the thunder and the tide, and bend and beg surrender to decline
their ebbing heads. And with the herrings overhead, remember this instead:
that somewhere as the embers fled, a minister took to his bed and only ever dreamt

the dead. Oh never will the waiting world forget the winters, blue-of-birth, that
never wake the sleepers here: ever in their slumbers at the first snow of the year.

Photographs

Their eyes I remember globes glass
in a camera, their past like an estuary light
in the dark. Sparks from the stars
are chiming here, chandeliers
from streetlamps in the park
mapping their own boulevard,
the night hours long and in love,
their life in their arms. Nightjars
on the lid of the pool, still bright:
the ghosts of a past
where there is always a light.

Away from then they are thirty years,
motherwit a candle in her eyes. Here
for the sleeper with his old wise light
the sun kicks spangles, coins bright
as the yesterday full in his smile.
The past, meanwhile,
a lukewarm light on their lips
at the edge of their sleep, something lit
by a childhood ballroom. I remember the moon,
a candlesworth of film hung on its spool,
when we sat in that park, the garden asleep,

the stars that fizzed in the deep hot dark
still holding their breath for you.

Me and Mrs Fisher

The world lit its lights
and hung pearls in our eyes
like trembling moons
under darkling stars.

The night
saw the city asleep
and aslope
as the land fell away to the left and the right,
the sight of the globes in your eyes
nightjars in pale pools of light.

I remember you
walking the walls
the moon in your stride
the dizzy tomorrows
full in your smile,

a starlight for two,
the glowing darkness
and you,
all the days of my life.

After that,
the hills candled bright.

Fifty years away
and we are still in this place,
where a distant future, beautiful,
chimes.

The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network

Poetry Drawer: Merrie City by Laura Potts

Poetry Drawer: Love in the Time of Cold by Laura Potts

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

I once had a friend who was a microwave oven
She heated up quickly but had a cold heart
Nothing lasted with her. She never felt anything

I went to high school with her
We kept in touch over the years
She made bad decisions at critical moments
She sabotaged herself
It had something to do with being the child of alcoholics

She married a man
because she believed that as he aged
he would grow more and more to resemble his father
whom she greatly admired

But, as he aged, he became the antithesis of his father
It made her bitter
Her glass door became greasy
You couldn’t see what was in her

Whatever seeds of goodness her husband might have had
dried up
He didn’t water them
He watered his badness
He grew cruel
He verbally abused their children
I wanted to punch him
He always called me’Sir’-as if he were still in the Military

My friend was a microwave
As she aged, the hinges on her door weakened
and she began to release dangerous radiation
It dribbled out on the sides
like gravy dribbling out the sides of a sandwich

Her children-their children-grew to hate their father
They warped, similar to the way their father was warped
but there was still hope for them

I talked to her on the phone
I was thinking about all the appliances that I’ve owned
and that have broken down
and I’ve thrown away

I once had a friend who was a microwave oven
At night, I would imagine myself spinning on her carousel
and would get excited
and couldn’t sleep
I would get up and take a shot of Irish whiskey
but that only aggravated my insomnia

I had a friend who was a vacuum cleaner
I had a friend who was a dishwasher
I had a friend who was a ceiling fan

My wife tells me that all my friends are marginal
which is the way she tells me
how marginal I am

I would be even more marginal if I didn’t live with her
I would be a jumble of broken parts
that don’t add up
to make any one machine

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: An Idea Of Summer by Kevin Casey

The naked light bulb
hanging in the chicken coop
just beyond the reach

of their beaks–their sole
source of winter heat,
and a strained, brittle light

the small flock will ponder
throughout these bitter months,
like an idea of summer.

Inky Interview Special: Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Quotidian by Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Dinner at the Kitchen Island by Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Allowance by Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Merrie City by Laura Potts

Here in the home of smoke and smog, my hometown grey,
heirloom of mines, the steam and the fog, where evening plays
on the moorland spine to colliers’ paces
and the northern wind that weathered their faces

still gnarls in the teeth of the two a.m. frost;
here where tomorrow is always lost
in the death of the streetlamps hung in their hats,
their spluttering, fizzling, last-rite laughs

like the dark psalms stammered in the vestry’s dusk;
here where communion no longer tolls, where cathedral musk
is a godless ghost beneath ten dead bells,
and the cold throat belfry is an old-shack-shell

for the alleyway hobo in his passing breath,
and his cat which brims on the edge of death;
here where the fieldlamp’s first candled flame
is its last, and the quarry’s trace, a stain

over skin, casts the shadow of a grieving face,
(the memento mori of this town), this dead grey place
where the factory black is the cradle we sing to,
the sack where we sleep is the home that we cling to,

only here come here to the city’s dark heart,
only here come here to the tubes in its arms,
the industrial crack, these towers of ash,
where we think of the poverty coffins we’ll have.

Poetry Drawer: Love in the Time of Cold by Laura Potts

The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network

Poetry Drawer: Allowance by Kevin Casey

Grow what your garden will allow, my mémère
used to say, but another summer’s gone
and the chartreuse faces of tomatoes,

plump and unripe, line the kitchen windowsill,
frowning outside at the season’s first frost
like sulking children kept in from the cold.

August found the corn grown to half the size
of a chiding finger before the raccoons
came again for their yearly moonlight feast,

threading their way through naked stakes
to leave stalks splayed across the rows like the spokes
of a broken wheel revealed once the sun rose.

Soil sweetened, hoop houses and fences built,
I’ve grow weary of arguing with this plot,
of sowing far more than I’ve harvested.

And as I stand among the weeds grasping
scant handfuls of leeks and bitter greens,
I see her–Grow what your garden will allow–

the bottom corners of her plain-sewn apron
raised to hold more than her portion of what
the long decades were willing to provide.

Inky Interview Special: Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Quotidian by Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Dinner at the Kitchen Island by Kevin Casey

Poetry Drawer: Jagged Little World by Fabrice Poussin

Aloneness explores expanses of red silence
Taking a deep chance with every ventured step
Attacked by the threatening stillness of the rocks.

In the long coat of the forgotten cattle rancher
The apparition seeks an encounter with brethren
Gazing at the crest of a menacing granite sword.

He tastes the wind engulfing the numbed soul
Feet gliding on the sides of decaying mountains
Sole conqueror of land forgotten by adventure.

There is no need to see eyes shut to the common scene
Every atom penetrates through every pore
Giving life anew to the man as he crosses the bright realm.

His pockets are empty of any sustenance for
His entrails smile with the energy of the creation
On the deathly edges as on a tightrope he floats.

Slim upon the infinite abyss, the wanderer screams
With delight as he is captured by the storm of ages
He understands the amazing grace of his past sufferings.

Poetry Drawer: Holding Time In Their Arms by Fabrice Poussin

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

1.
Your face swirls
around the bright blue madness of your eyes

Your bottled-up rage explodes
and we are flung
as in an action movie

and land in the basket of a new rollercoaster
one that doesn’t rely on gravity
or other laws of physics

2.
Neurons fire and misfire
love and hate coexist
Your indifference
rolls in like a tide

and makes me feel like my heart
has been plucked out and
set in a gondola

The gondolier picks it up and
bounces it on the end of his paddle
He yodels like a cowboy

3.
You step off a vaporetto
onto a Venice dock
to meet me

but St. Mark’s Square is flooded again
I cannot leave the opera hall
The singers, feeling antsy
decide to repeat their performance
for free
for everyone trapped with them

They are terrible singers
They mutilate the score

Your blue eyes drift
over the water in St. Mark’s Square
You are as photogenic as the Hell
described by Dante
Your neurons are as striated
as the walls of the Grand Canyon

I feel hopeless
living with you
I feel damaged
without you
I feel deranged
in either case

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois