Poetry Drawer: Mist by Jan de Rhe-Philipe

The mist hangs heavy on the sodden fields,
A shroud cloaking the world in soft grey muslin.
Charcoal trees hold their bare branches up in supplication
And each blade of chilled grass drips diamonds.
A far off river of cold traffic is muffled thunder
But all else is silence under the dead white mist;
Only the sound of wetness seeping out and
Stillness loitering under the trees, wrapped in cloud.
Underfoot the mud is black and stiffly oozes,
Half released from its armour of hard frost.
Beneath the sharpness of jagged blackthorn twigs
The green of returning spring flowers has faded grey
And the grass shrinks back from the dark nakedness
Of the tyre-ravished path and hoof-trodden mire.
Only the tips of bluebell leaves and of arum lilies
Stand green below the weeping hedgerow.
A solitary robin hops from the blackthorn
Picking its breakfast from the livid green moss
And a chaffinch shouts his warning call from the ash tree.
Piercing the misty shroud with the sound of light.

Sadly, Jan de Rhe-Philipe passed away recently. As a fellow student of the Open University, her poem was chosen for the first Ink Pantry anthology, back in 2012. We send our deepest condolences to Jan’s sister, Fleur.

Poetry Drawer: Crossing: Kolkata High Street: Tête-à-tête by Gopal Lahiri

Crossing

Somewhere there is laughter.

I roll out the mist and the moon
trickles down on my shoulder.

Each night I lose to another alphabet, another syllable,
The slapping of stars on the mirror
how all build this raga amidst chaos.

Your smile is like heart-shaped leaves
and the wetness is on my palm,
so many verses flower near bedside.

A solitary leaf waits with my words,
stream path
crossing is not as hard as you might think.

Kolkata High Street

Fine rain walks with the pedestrians,
mirror halls and amber rooms shine with the shadows
of back garden walls and noiseless leaves.

The flood of colours excavate the layers of the city,
the allure of words collecting, from inside out,
waits for a new language.

The footprints seek the light of a deeper place,
commoners talk about freedom without compromise
for good or evil- willing to be struck dumb.

Rumbles of cars on the street seek the meaning
of memories, each trope comes close to song,
the whispers write libretti,
the music embraces the alphabets of evening.

A solitary flower tumbles from the long arms of the branch
and then the ovation of the unknown birds
splits the rainbow of night.

Like the hum of a taut string in the dark
the city loves to sing his own words
taking us down numerous mystic lanes and bye lanes.

Tête-à-tête

Every time we speak of darkness
the metaphors are faced with the black and white lines
the syllables pass through the grills with ease.

The street identifies the follicle of shadows and then
becomes the domain of trivial,
the tiny rafts of refuge knock the door.

Rain-puddles chisel the grey clouds
the world dissects morning whispers
with the weight of gravity and gravitas.

The proverbial truth hangs in a frame
silent dawns rise above the bends of rivers,
the soft reel runs out in haste.

Images draw the sky-blue kingfisher
letting a little light in the dark chamber,
count minutes to converse in sunbeams.

Gopal Lahiri is an Indian based bilingual poet, editor, critic and translator, published in Bengali and English language. He has authored 23 books to his credit. His poetry is also published across various anthologies and in eminent journals of India and abroad. His poems are translated into 14 languages.

Poetry Drawer: Canary Island Singing: Desk Drawer Enterprise: Indifferent Lack of Initiative by Joshua Martin

Canary Island Singing

Thwack!
Performance piece disintegrates
toes pointing in stubborn candle wick
diary of a mad Madonna & child

Race to pomegranate shuffling
board games: whack a mole!

Zeroing in on skull fracture
summon enough airtight
desk lamps to strut
                         standing orange
                         grove grooving
                sounds of escape
                blaring bam!
                                 bam!

looming diaphanous
alabaster pole

Desk Drawer Enterprise

Carpenter bee dizzy
adolescent scrape scrape scraping
look at that woodwork!
whew!

                rope length hair
          lines         criss to the
                                 crossing
mannerisms spell
grief
       X Y Z

Indifferent Lack of Initiative

Yoyo diatribe
daughter of canned ham
never had it so good as
                           indifference

razor eyelash arm expanded
the quiet
            is the pulse
      shivering magnetic field

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the book Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had pieces previously published in E-ratio, Nauseated Drive, Fixator Press, The Vital Sparks, and Breakwater Review among others.

Poetry Drawer: She is a Suffragette: A Woman Does Not Have To Wait: The Two Saltimbanques: Hopper’s Ladies: Oviri by Strider Marcus Jones

She is a Suffragette

her hair tumbles
blowing like unfurled cotton
through unforgotten
fumbles
in vegetation
of our own
interpretation
of each other
in the dark.

my desk grown
out of a tree sown
from my lover
where i carved these words in the bark
sitting in her branches
knowing what life is
all about
as i look out
of wooded windows

and absorb it’s shows
as it goes
through each obscenity
of extreme supremacy-
a woman must not let
a man forget
she is a suffragette
in her soul and under his blanket
so never kept

or chatteled forever
to the custom weather
of his debt.

A Woman Does Not Have To Wait

under the old canal bridge you said
so i can hear the echoes
in your head
repeating mine
this time
when it throws
our voices from roof into water
where i caught her
reflection half in half out of sunshine.
that’s when i hear Gerschwin
playing his piano in you
working out the notes
to rhapsody in blue
that makes me float
light and thin
deep within
through the air
when you put your comforts there.
Waits was drinking whisky from his bottle
while i sat through old days with Aristotle
knowing i must come up to date
because a woman does not have to wait.

The Two Saltimbanques

when words don’t come easy
they make do with silence
and find something in nothing
to say to each other
when the absinthe runs out.

his glass and ego
are bigger than hers,
his elbows sharper,
stabbing into the table
and the chambers of her heart
cobalt clown
without a smile.

she looks away
with his misery behind her eyes
and sadness on her lips,
back into her curves
and the orange grove
summer of her dress
worn and blown by sepia time

where she painted
her cockus giganticus
lying down
naked
for her brush and skin,
mingling intimate scents
undoing and doing each other.

for some of us,
living back then
is more going forward
than living in now
and sitting here-

at this table,
with these glasses
standing empty of absinthe,
faces wanting hands
to be a bridge of words
and equal peace
as Guernica approaches.

Hopper’s Ladies

you stay and grow
more mysterioso
but familiar
in my interior-
with voices peeled
full of field
of fruiting orange trees
fertile to orchard breeze
soaked in summer rains
so each refrain all remains.

not afraid of contrast,
closed and opened in the past
and present, this isolation of Hopper’s ladies,
sat, thinking in and out of ifs and maybes
in a diner, reading on a chair or bed
knowing what wants to be said
to someone
who is coming or gone-

such subsidence
into silence
is a unilateral curve
of moments
and movements
that swerve
a straight lifetime
to independence
in dependence
touching sublime
rich roots
then ripe fruits.

we share their flesh and flutes
in ribosomes and delicious shoots
that release love-
no, not just the fingered glove
to wear
and curl up with in a chair,
but lovingkindness
cloaked in timeless
density and tone
in settled loam-
beyond lonely apartments in skyscrapers
and empty newspapers,
or small town life
gutting you with gossips knife.

Oviri (The Savage – Paul Gauguin in Tahiti)

woman,
wearing the conscience of the world-
you make me want
less civilisation
and more meaning.

drinking absinthe together,
hand rolling and smoking cigars-
being is, what it really is-
fucking on palm leaves
under tropical rain.

beauty and syphilis happily cohabit,
painting your colours
on a parallel canvas
to exhibit in Paris
the paradox of you.

somewhere in your arms-
i forget my savage self,
inseminating womb
selected by pheromones
at the pace of evolution.

later. I vomited arsenic on the mountain and returned
to sup morphine. spread ointments on the sores, and ask:
where do we come from.
what are we.
where are we going.

Strider Marcus Jones is a poet, law graduate and former civil servant from Salford, England with proud Celtic roots in Ireland and Wales. A member of The Poetry Society, his five published books of poetry reveal a maverick, moving between cities, playing his saxophone in smoky rooms. He is also the founder, editor and publisher of Lothlorien Poetry Journal.

His poetry has been published in the USA, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Spain, Germany; Serbia; India and Switzerland in numerous publications including: Dreich Magazine; The Racket Journal; Trouvaille Review; dyst Literary Journal; Impspired Magazine; Literary Yard Journal; Poppy Road Review; Cajun Mutt Press; Rusty Truck Magazine; Rye Whiskey Review; Deep Water Literary Journal; The Huffington Post USA; The Stray Branch Literary Magazine; Crack The Spine Literary Magazine; The Lampeter Review; Panoplyzine  Poetry Magazine; Dissident Voice.

Poetry Drawer: Eventually: The Councilman, in his tutu: The King James Version: Alpenstock by Mark Young

Eventually

Acrobats abound on the benches
of the transit lounge. Everyone
else is staying clear, washing their
hands in rosewater or anointing
their brows with the blood of
pygmy possums. Curtains are
drawn across the picture wind-
ows, dampening down the noise

of luggage trolleys, keeping out
the sun. It may be we are all
waiting for flights out; but since
there are no flights scheduled out
into the future, this may be where
we have decided to make a stand.

The Councilman, in his tutu

The tractors have all escaped
& run off into the forest, or
so the mayor tells me. They’re
John Deere, green, which makes
them hard to see though I do
hear them turning pirouettes
at night. The elephants are
annoyed, & jealous. Not be-

cause the tractors are destroying
most of the foliage available for
foraging. Turns out the
tractors can perform a plier-
retirer far better than even
the most delicate of pachyderms.

The King James Version

It becomes obvious
that saving your sex
life is more important
than saving your soul
when you see in a com-
posite advertisement of
available titles that the
price of a book on breast

augmentation is over six
times the cost of the Bible.
Mind you, those perky
nipples on the cover do
make it the more attract-
ive proposition of the two.

Alpenstock

Today the postwoman
brought me an elephant.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“Wondered if you were
interested in a pet,” she
replied. “It was thrown
out from a house earlier
on my round. A big guy

lives there, named Hanni-
bal. Apparently he’s down-
sizing after a trip across
the Alps, & there wasn’t
room in the room for
both him & the elephant.”

Mark Young’s The Toast will be published by Luna Bisonte Prods in a few months time. Recent poems have appeared, or are to appear, in Word For/Word, Die Leere Mitte, Home Planet News Online, experiential-experimental-literature, Utsanga.it, Hamilton Stone Review, & BlazeVOX, amongst other places.

You can find more of Mark’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Incendium: Vorpal Glades: Zeroes On The Right by Hibah Shabkhez

Incendium

Laughter sets aquiver
The cane, sends a shiver
     Of anger, pure

As melting gold, that cuts
Through eternal darkness
     But it stops. Shuts

Off, with gentling sadness
Into smiles laced with rain.
     Tell me again,

How did you learn to flee
Sorrow like a perched thing
     Cawing and free?

Vorpal Glades

They kept faith with memory, stayed the same;
     While I did change to forge ahead

Queenly Cathy of the bench-shack palace
     Where each day my toe I stubbed
Scarlett, proud victor of all the races
     In which I came a panting last;
Ellen, the laughing ghost of the graces
     To which custom nailed my life’s mast;
Marian who outside class-windows dwelt
     To save my aching head from sums;
Anne, who beside the best-lit window knelt
      Reading on through the P.T drums;
And Darrell, with her wild temper of flame
     That made her all my bullies’ dread

The hardest goodbyes are from friends more real
     Than those whose grins are flesh and blood.

Zeroes On The Right

Mellon, ride forth with us on our quest for
      True poems to drain the rot from our land.
Poems to treasure like elven-lights or
Zeroes on the right, like the smallest strand
      Of cellotape, that needed, heeded thing.

Poems awaited like tomorrow’s toothpaste
     To dissolve the debris-prison and free
Our teeth to smile. Poems sweet to the taste,
Fashioned from good words like a good fruit tree,
     With the promise of freshness and cleansing.

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Zin Daily, Litbreak, Broadkill, Rising Phoenix, Big City Lit, Constellate, Harpy Hybrid, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

Poetry Drawer: Sleepy Whale 385: Sleepy Whale 417: Bluest Irish Eyes: Portugal Red Brick by Terry Brinkman

Sleepy Whale 385

Alabaster rich silk crucified shirt
Fan shoals above oval face
Playing her acoustic Base
Ghost woman’s maladroit silk skirt
Sitting on treeless grave dirt
Tobacco shop-girl’s stocking’s lace
Blue Irish blue eyes embrace
Shattered window pane insert
Gyasi unshed tear drop, eyes
Twilight walking in her sleep
To find pouter perfect lies
Tide over sand sheeting sweep
Jess of sunshade, sunrise
Over her shoulder Bar Keep

Sleepy Whale 417

Her boat left stuck in the mud last fall
She allowed her bowels to ease without compromising
Smelling like fresh printed rag paper from Budapest
Darkness shining in the brightness from the touch of the nurse
Shadow lay over the rock hiding her Purse
Fly bristles shining wirily in the weak eyes light infest
Her hat left hanging on the floor of the Hearse

Bluest Irish Eyes

I met her at the Wayside Inn
Her Ilk Horns Parrot Zodiac tattoo
Was on her breast
Half-life awe whenever we met
Her Bluest Irish Blue eyes
She left my love Pollinate paraphernalia
Limp as a wet rag
Her alabaster white navel jests a totty grace.

Portugal Red Brick

For Sale Cotton-ball Barron’s Moccasin
Humours in the morning after being Catholic
All wind and piss in the air like Arsenic
Third race gloaming grey muddler did win
The sun rises in the west of Berlin
Timeless as Portugal Red Brick
Fashionable exquisite charmingly low music
Nobbling with her beer grin
Red Bank Oysters for the bride
Gullet and gob are still his
Largest trees found world wide
Where the booze is cheaper quiz
Beamed Mud Cabin between the divide
The beer that tastes like Bear Wiz

Terry Brinkman has been painting for over forty five years. He started creating poems. He has five Amazon E- Books, also poems in Rue Scribe, Tiny Seed, Jute Milieu Lit and Utah Life Magazine, Snapdragon Journal, Poets Choice, In Parentheses, Adelaide Magazine, UN/Tethered Anthology and the Writing Disorder.

You can find more of Terry’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Has the Train Arrived?: I Have Your Skin On My Mind: I Long To Be Loved: Our Hair Reposed: Quatrains by John Tustin

Has the Train Arrived?

I am sitting here alone, hair shower-wet,
Carefully digging the pebbles out
From the bottoms of my feet
(Where they’ve been embedded)
With the little sharp digging tool
Found folded in a cheap nail clipper.
I think about breakfast in the morning,
Wondering if I will wake up to make it,
Wondering if I will wake up to eat it.
Then,
Going to the window for the tenth
Time
With three questions in my mind –
Has the rain arrived?
How furiously will it fall?
How long will it linger?

I Have Your Skin On My Mind

I have your skin on my mind.
I have your sadness in my eyes.
I wear your apprehension, a pure white cloak
I work day by day to shed.
I hold you in my imagination.
I want you the way I have always wanted.
I long for you and the twisted smile
I see when I close my eyes.
I see it grinning over me as you ease me in.
I see you going slow on top of me.
I feel you dripping down each thigh,
My hands in your hair,
My mouth on yours.
I want to make you happy.
I want to see you smile just like that.
I know you know this wish to make you content is all about me.
I feel your hands going through the hair on my chest.
I shiver in compliance.

I would feel better with your body up against mine.
I have your skin on my mind.
I have your scent in my imagination.
You have me on a string.
Please pull me toward you.
I closed the door.
It’s just us.
You can still be invisible, just not to me.
I promise.

I Long To Be Loved

I long to be loved
And understood
And wanted

And that is why

The moon, the sun, the dirt beneath them

The wind and the clouds
And the depths of the ocean

The splashing on her rocks and sand
And the falling of the rain
Will always be more powerful

Than I

Our Hair Reposed

Our hair reposed on the same pillow,
You face away, I face toward,
My fingers clenched on your hip,
My body heaved to yours.
Smelling the evening in your hair
And on the back of your neck.
Just glorious.
No more worried lonesome blues.
You sigh and turn to me
And our mouths meet again,
Tasting hot and wet,
Just like the first time.
I grow hard against your leg
And your breasts strangle into my chest hair.
Now it’s hands and eyes locked
And tongues and lips,
Bodies moving as one.
The chains fall,
The music begins
And the room is burning
Like a star.
It’s time to show each other
What love feels like
Again.

Quatrains

In these poems I read
I see women compared to the moon, the sun,
A lovely spring morning
And even the ebb and flow of The Milky Way

But whenever I think of you
I just see a beautiful woman
Who is unaware of her power,
Uncertain of her beauty.

Not a force of nature,
Not a season or the impetus
For the growth of crops
Or the cycles of the ocean tide.

No, It’s just you –
A human woman so indescribably gorgeous
Whether waking from sleep or sitting alone
Or looking back at me with such kindness

And unfathomable love.
To me, that is more astounding
Than the movement of the tides
Or the aligning of the stars.

You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.

List of John’s work.

Poetry Drawer: Composting: Early November: An Aah Poem: Taxi: Lake Harmony, May 2020: Camping, the Safety in our Numbers by John Grey

Composting

Earth’s been composting for centuries.
Ted just hastens it a little.
That wire-mesh bin is at the heart of it,
five-sides and shiny wire,
cut and assembled it himself.
Twigs and roots, grass and rotting fruit –
he stirs it together like making broth.
Sure the smell is fierce
but he’s the kind of man who’s invigorated
by foul odours.
His nose connects them to plump red tomatoes,
golden turnips, melons fat as pregnant sows.
Indeed, the stench is a bridge
from his nostrils to the kitchen table,
from sweaty brow, strained hands,
to the McCreedys gathered together
for a delectable Sunday dinner.
So earnestly, he hurries nature along.
All for growing family in its own good time.

Early November

My breath-smoke greets yellow leaf
with silent echo, invisible ripple,
just this whisper made mist
in clusters of cold.

Keep moving through pallid light,
wild-honey froze tree trunks,
by cold metal fences,
blood and air, a crisp, wary mix.

There, in the distance,
the sniff of a chimney,
the pucker of faces
through window’s frail shine.

The onset of hearth,
the dusk hoops of flame,.
the flight of ash, the hug of fire,
and a house thawed of indifference.

An Aah Poem

Stream constant
in its flow,
its sounds,
no wonder I fall asleep
on the banks.

My nature incursion
pauses in a patch of soft grass.
And I don’t breathe as much
as swallow a long draught of air.

There’s a tear
in the clouds, the treetops.
Sun shines through inexorably.

Taxi

Taxis ignore me
on a dismal, rainy night.
No matter how far I stretch my arm,
the cabs speed by,
blurs of yellow indifference.
Snug in the back seat,
warmed by engine air,
that’s all I ask.
A short trip to my apartment.
five miles at most,
that’s all I need.
And I’m even willing to pay.
Look at my face,
dribbling with water.
my shirt, drenched
to the chilled skin.
Doesn’t that say big tip to you
in every language.
Finally, a taxi does stop,
a miracle.
but a woman appears out of nowhere.
pushes me aside
with a brusque “Excuse me. sir,
but I’m in a hurry.”
More rain, more soaking.
Patience will be lucky
if it doesn’t catch pneumonia.
Only a rush, a dash, keep dry.

Lake Harmony, May 2020

Daylight mops up after rain,
puddles ripple faces of drinking sparrows,
grass glitters, trees glow like glass,
new growth, flush with moisture,
welcomes sunshine into its fecund mixture,
the afternoon rolls out like a towel
drying its way into coming darkness,
where the moon waits behind Earth’s curve
ready to launch the night.

Camping, the Safety in our Numbers

They’re out there somewhere,
bears, wolves, maybe even a cougar.

The fire is dwindling down
so the cold also joins the pack.

But we have the tent, the bed rolls,
and the body heat that moves between us.

Protection comes down to your kiss,
my hug, your hair spilled on my shoulder.

A coyote howls. A great horned owl hoots.
You’d think they’d learn.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon.

You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Man Out Of Time by Ray Miller

Man Out Of Time

Here’s where I get it, stood in the playground
next to parents who attended school
with my eldest, or when the new teacher
enquires if I’m her granddad.

Here’s where I get it, taking the youngest
to the cinema, bumping into an ex- colleague
I’d not seen for ages, who assumes
I’ve embarked on a second marriage.

Here’s where I get it, at the G.P. practice,
explaining Foetal Alcohol Syndrome,
quickly adding, that of course, she’s adopted –
otherwise what would they think of my missus.

Here’s where I get it, on Christmas morning
when she stops me from unwrapping
the present with Daddy written upon it,
because it’s intended for her real father.

Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.