CALENDAR OF MARBLE REINCARNATION METALLIC TASTE OF ASHES BURNING FEATHER THIS SECOND HE….THE UNMISTAKABLE EROTIC LANGUAGE MUST NOT DECEIVE US/AUTUMN CRY OPULENCE LIKE A TRIANGLE & A DUEL/NEW ARCADES BECAUSE OF BECAUSE WINDOWSPEAK PLUM NUDITY & NULLITY/STORYINSOIL EXPRESS OF SEMITONAL DOORS OPEN SOMEWHERE IN MY HEART/BEHOLD THE MATERIALITY OF THE CLOUD/CHAOS CROP BASS NECTAR SCARECROW NAMELESS DAY/PEAK RING PROXIMITY WHO WILL REMAIN/MELANCHOLY OF TRIBE SAD CAFE IMMORTAL PALOMA STEAM DEEPFEEL LAVENDER KITE SENSEFALL CAMARADERIE/SIMPLE MIND RELIIC MASS EPONYMOUS NIGHT DISCRETIONS/SERVANT OF THE SECRET FLAME CATHEDRAL LABYRINTH EXOTIC PULSE/SOUL OF SERENE PRAXIS UNDERNEATH MANIC SEAS/CANAL BREATH SUPERSCENE/CONTENT MERE OASIS SINISTER MYTH FOREKNOW/EXPERIENTIAL MODE MODERNE HOUNDS OF LOVE/SOLASTALGIA REMAIN/OCEAN MACHINE SCREAM OF SWIFTS/BY REWARD ACCENT ROAM TECHNICS & TIME THE FORCE OF THE INTOXIC/CYCLE AFTER CYCLE/YEAR AFTER YEAR/WORD AFTER WORD/CREAM TERMINAL SYSTEM OF SYSTEMS RHAPSODY PINPOINT/TIME’S FLOW STEMMED/TALISMANIC IDENTIFICATIONS & GHOSTLY DEMARCATIONS/VERMILLION DEEPCHORD GLOW THERE IS NO END
You can find more of Rus’ work here on Ink Pantry.
I have been extremely lucky In life Lucky in love Not so much in cards
Met the love of my life In a dream Then she became my wife
Over the years We have been extremely lucky As our investments grew and grew
Fuelled by the skill Of my financial advisor wife Born in the year of the Golden Pig
Making me wealthy In my old age
I often think meeting her Was like winning the lotto Or getting a jackpot
A jackpot of love That continues to pay me Dividends for life
Until the day I die With my lucky charm By my side
waiting for the day
I lay in bed Waiting for the sun to rise Next to my sleeping beauty Filled with her love
But with the dawning sun The nightmares come back
Filled with fearful thoughts Of what fresh insanity Will soon overwhelm me
I watch the daily news Absorbing the latest Scandal d’jour The latest fresh hell
As I watch with dismay America the land of my birth Tear itself apart
As politicians play games Thousands die Becoming Corona Ghosts
It is enough to make me Want to hideaway For the rest of my time On this earth
The Rising Storm of Sedition Overwhelms Us All
A rising storm of sedition and treason Threatens to overwhelm us all As the alt. right wing forces
Complicit in treason And committed sedition
A failure of law enforcement And politics as well
As the craven proud boys do not hide anymore
screaming fraud Trying to foment civil war
Storming the Capitol On instructions from their hero
The craven President Hides out
Watching the carnage That he unleashed Descend on the capitol
Tired and Burned Out – Let 2020 Go!!! January 15, 2021
It has been two weeks Since the beginning of the year It seems like it has been a Year Of horror condensed down
Into two-weeks Of daily chaos As the centre frays
We are so Tired and Burned Out yet we can’t Let 2020 Go!!!
Madness grows Can’t take it much more can’t shake off the 2020 hangover
2021 You are so old We are so done with you Just go away And never haunt us again
Toilet Gate Fit Metaphor for the End of the Trump Affair
News that the President’s son-in-law and daughter Refused to allow secret service agents To use any of their 6.5 toilets Is a fitting metaphor For the end of the Trump Era
The news captures the false sense Of royal privilege Among the Trump family And shows how shallow, cruel And inhuman the family really is
How did such a family of grifters Manage to take over the WH? And how can anyone still support Such despicable human beings?
They deny it of course But the Secret service Says it is true
And they had to pay 100,000 dollars 3,000 dollars per month To rent an apartment across the street So, agents could relieve themselves
What were they thinking? Perhaps they were thinking The agents could use the bushes Out back?
Or beg to use the neighbor’s facilities? Anyway, not their problem What the hired help does After all
So glad that this band Of grifters are on their way out And sanity will return To our nation
John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in over ten countries including Korea, Thailand, India, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain. He has travelled to over 50 countries, and 49 out of 50 states. He speaks Korean, Thai, Spanish and studied Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.
You can find more of Jake’s work here on Ink Pantry.
The most elegant inter- pretation of quantum mechanics states that macrophages are re- quired for a parallel reality to exist; & that can only happen if zebrafish are the sole
peer-reviewed species allowed to be taken out of captivity to become an accepted model for neuropsychiatric studies into tissue regeneration.
A spectrum is a collection of scalar values with its black curve being an analog of the momentum.
Which is why a fixed dimensional living space may wish to concede that abacus marble or rock counters
can take the place of trees when considering the cause for some cases of partially- working proteins.
Three French Horns
Winnebago shared a post on Instagram, a screenshot of some anthropologist’s tale of the deconstruction of the phrase a partridge in a pear tree by a group of pueblo dwellers. Some individual ideas were reported; but essentially the consensus rotated around two oft-repeated questions: where’s the buffalo? & why is Angela Merkel so often criticized on social media?
Another set of anterior appendages
Anchored to the hair by centipedes wearing elastic sombreros, even the most advanced anti- rain cycling accessories
cannot avoid bringing with them more than a hint of biting arthropod. It dis- plays as an inflammatory reaction similar to that
occurring when a library’s dustiest corner is disturb- ed. Only the addition of mirrored aviator goggles will work as a deterrent.
Recent poems by Mark Young 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.
More of Mark’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry.
Paulette was the most elegant person I had ever known, a ballet dancer, half-Swiss, half-Italian, with a British home. We walked into a cafe in Glasgow’s trendiest zone, the only friend I had made then during my studentship abroad.
It was an Italian restaurant with wooden seats and long queues, and after standing for half an hour we found a table next to the wall, not far from another where he instantly spotted me with the serenest of looks.
I always wondered what my presence in his arena provoked. His face was inscrutable and no muscles could be construed. I always said the wrong things and made the wrong moves, and I forgave him for whatever thoughts he brewed over my aloofness, my indifference, and ill-disguised fondness.
I failed to greet him and I knew he would not pardon me for being rude. How could I tell him that I always kept away from the people I valued most, for whoever I touched, I was bound to lose !
I associate the word with all that is odious and morbid, with the oppression of nations, the starvation of millions, with the Massacre of Glencoe, the Genocide of Armenians, with scepters that turn into pythons to devour an entire millennium, with sectarianism and schisms within familial unions, with blood-sheds at altars and contagious vermillion, with manipulative spouses and exploitative chameleons, with labyrinthine circumlocution and orchestrated rebellions.
Let me sing my ode for ingratitude. My palm is a cemetery of deep-dug holes, drilled by your claws in the wake of every gift and handshake I proposed.
My smiles enthuse a trickle of gall that ruffles the stillness of your stagnant soul that cannot be consoled by words or glows, devouring every ray that beams from my mouth, like an astral Black Hole.
I tread upon your discourse of thorns to partake of the pricks of a saga of wrongs, but you disdain my every groan that empathizes with your excruciating woes, spurning my solace with habitual scorn.
Pan [A Reading of Richard Le Gallienne‘s essay ‘The Spirit of the Open’]
Richard opted for a woodland, green office in the blue-eyed wilderness to conduct literary transactions, with expected diversions from celestial bodies such as the moon and morning stars, and the squirrel that haunts his wood-pile, with his thoughts often ferried by the river nearby to the sea, far-off.
He had been simply summoned by the god Pan whose death was mistakenly proclaimed by Plutarch as Christianity reigned, but Pan’s life is inextricably linked with that of the earth. There will always be little chapels to Pan on whose lintels Virgil’s words are inscribed: Blest too is he who knows the rural gods, Pan, old Silvanus, and the sister-nymphs!
There is only one creed that makes us both happy and good. It is that of the flourishing grass and the dogwood, of the cerulean sky and the brisk brook, of the blue heron and the redwing.
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.
You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.
swinging hard like a merk half slathered with glue and doom
there will be one minute of silence after the explosion
fingers on my feet cutting polaroids from a loaf
I hit 99 and the coffee was making me talk
the soap is a little rectangle how long until my hands are clean? smells like pea sprouts
in case of emergency contact the moon pirate when you were something like a robot with ears on the planet of earth
I have the keys to the kitchen sink IT STINKS
za tree fork P/ plus staunch reptile
and that was that until the doubts started creeping in high above the city the robotic vultures were circling
we took it to the wall every night and tried to see thru it your chains dragging should tell you that
look at me now with my gills and water pants and no ocean forest grockerly until notice of federal nachos
would you prevent a cavity like crest toothpaste for astronaut powers?
a new love of the cosmic goose what is the dream number of this toast?
the rook is now a diamond of the same eye in sheets the rain was a powerful ghost and goose
that hurts our chances of learning the moon numbers time to separate the numbers from the apples
to wonder aloud about the suns a new window of the rookie forces
the saint of the clock we get that hank of the heaven
the game of the wild face the shimmering face of christ
the sports tomorrow when I am that old drac get there with that morning hand
that long acre of the simian tree for butter do you need to climb a window for the grief?
we need the green tree to stop the meteor knows why I was the heart
why is the ark of the natural earth of the egg? would you like a lark of the pumpkin?
the heart of the bagel to start with that help is the halo
the muscle of the chart of detergents the tight window of the spinning eye
to win a window the natural useless face
would you like that head of the cheddar wheel to speak? we are the rose of the caramel jump
going back to see that friend of the fridge milk or mud?
J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. More than 1,500 of his poems have appeared in many small press publications, in print and online. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). Visit Madverse for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado.
More of J.D.’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry.
When we were dating, I used to come to the fast food restaurant where you worked and eat with you on your breaks. We’d order two large fries and you would dump out both cartons on the tray, teaching me to share while I dipped my fries in mayo and ketchup and you dipped yours in sweet and sour, not knowing the sour was yet to leak out of you.
Read My Lips
I. On our one-month anniversary I learned that you could read lips. I put your powers to the test. I mouthed my order for you to transcribe for the confused waitress. I spent the whole meal mouthing my thoughts and jokes and dreams. I gladly footed the bill because for the first time, I felt solid in the world, I felt present. Seen.
II. When we would wake up together, in the soft angelic glow of morning light, I used to run my tongue down your back, blowing chills into your spine, feeling like a god as I watched goosebumps and faint hairs rise. I would spell out I LOVE YOUs and I WANT YOUs and you could sense every letter. I felt your weight in my bed, your presence, you truly and totally tethered to me. For the first time in a long time, I felt acknowledged. Heard.
III. Sometimes I lie awake in the dark, worrying about work and money, dreading the approach of death, caught up in the cacophony of this harsh world and I wonder if you are able to read my mind, because as if on cue, you rub your foot against mine, nuzzle yourself into my arms as if you know I need something to hold on to, to keep myself from floating off into my own anxiety and I know that I am seen. I am heard. I am understood.
Shower Drain Lovers
Sometimes I leave you messages on the shower wall, stray hairs molded into an I ❤ U but they are never acknowledged, never appreciated, talked about, or replied to. They are only washed down the drain as if this effort from my morning brain was all in vain.
I hope somewhere out there, there is a shower drain you, made up of your stray hairs, that is reaching out for me. I hope he is moved by little gestures, tangled up in love with a shower drain me.
Maybe we aren’t meant to put all this pressure on each other, like we are the only ones for each other, like we have to serve and fulfill and be everything for one another, we could be open to lightening the load on this lonely, heavy heart.
I fill up the car and drive to your place. Everyone’s driving slow on the highway, there must be a cop or an accident nearby, some warning to slow down.
Laugh and make jokes, flirt and flutter. It usually doesn’t happen this quick, must be something in the water wetting appetites, something calling us to speed up.
Kiss kiss him, kiss me, kiss us, kiss kissing you Touch touch us, touch him, touch you, touch touching me You were speaking in tongues of ecstasy.
We had been searching for someone who could speak our language. Someone who could tap the source of passion burrowing deep in our bones.
Like a forgotten word in a forgotten tongue, you left me feeling hopelessly incomplete, exspes. Maybe?
You were sad and liked to lie there broken, to wallow in your sad boy, boy toy misery. I was sad and I liked to fix things to distract myself from my pain, to mend things made me feel less broken. I thought it would work out perfectly, like I could help piece you back together, sew up your seems, solder your hinges, fix your fissures, clean the rust from the gears around your heart, paint the sunshine back into your eyes, that I could fix you and then you would love me, that you would lay on my lap, find a fondness for me. But boys are not toys and I am not a toymaker.
Charles K. Carter is a queer poet and educator from Iowa. He shares his home with his artist husband and his spoiled pets. He enjoys film, yoga, and live music. Melissa Etheridge is his ultimate obsession. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. His poems have appeared in several literary journals. He is the author of Chasing Sunshine (Lazy Adventurer Publishing), Splinters (Kelsay Books), and Salem Revisited (WordTech Editions).
More of Charles’ work can be found here on Ink Pantry.
I didn’t know you but I’d seen the photos in Hello, believed in the bloom of your body next to your sons’ downy skin.
I breathed the fragrance of your motherhood as you exalted breast feeding on This Morning and silenced Katie Hopkins.
I loved the sassy, savvy, baby-toting grace of you though sleepless nights shadowed your cheekbones and I ached to hug you the way
I’d hugged my daughter five years earlier; wanted to walk your boys around the park while you chilled on the sofa with a tub of chocolate Haagen-Dazs.
I thought you’d make it despite the bitter-sweetness of your last Instagram post- you in your Mum’s arms when she was still golden.
I didn’t know you but I couldn’t believe you’d return to familiar ghosts, lift the lid to your heroin stash and reach inside.
Sheila Jacob was born and raised in Birmingham and lives with her husband in N.E.Wales. Since 2013 she’s had poems published in various U.K. magazines and webzines including One Hand Clapping and Atrium. In 2019 she self-published a small pamphlet of poems about her father’s short life and working-class upbringing.
When we would go home for Christmas, It was to my mother’s town, Where I was the cousin with the Yankee accent, Who didn’t like grits: A gentle, Southern place: Gracious lawns, winding drives In our grandfather’s Buick, past the golf course.
I see a dim American past, parts best forgotten: Cedar Christmas trees, trackless trolleys, Water fountains “For Coloured Only”, Maids summoned from the kitchen with a bell, Bearing trays of puffy rolls.
Christmas would be over and we’d go back north, New toys stored away, my mother crying.
A child’s Christmas in Metry We called it then, Until our girls, teachers’ kids, would catch on. A plumbing contractor Lavishes new wealth To display for children and parents Along the sidewalks of a subdivision The lights, the moving creatures of Christmas: In one room, Santa’s helpers, In another, an animated crêche: He watches, approving yet sullen, Dimly seen behind the picture window.
It does not matter that his home is darkened now, That other families Who did not live in Metairie then Now drive by another spectacle All the more preposterous Further up the same street: Thousands of lights blinking, Reindeer, elves, angels, God knows what, A parish policeman sourly chants: Keep moving, keep moving.
A downtown church on Christmas eve, Well loved, well cared for, Worshippers in fine clothes crowd together In the old walnut pews– it is too warm for furs: Married daughters, handsome nephews In from Houston, people we do not know: Of all the places one could be this night, As lonely as any bus station or manger. But there is this: The particular tears of Christmas, The precise fragrances, the harmonies That make it palpable, That release memory’s stubborn catch Differ for us each And for every home far from home. I hear the sound, thin and sweet, O Holy Night, Scored for the voices of teenaged girls, The white light of candles Dancing on their faces.
Christmas night: A potato-casserole weariness Settles in upon the land. We are ankle-deep in tissue, Love and Lego, Lists of who gave what to whom, And I am wondering what became Of those cedar trees We would cut and trim Christmases ago, Those trips to my mother’s home, The grits, the black-eyed peas, the puffy rolls. Cedars gave way to Scotch pines, then to Fraser firs that fill a room.
Years later two cedars grow Outside the door, wider and taller, With strings of white lights That do not reach as high As last year, Unmindful of the sacrifices Of their forebears.
The Day After Christmas
Tree smaller this year, Lights burned out, Not replaced. Garbage can only half full The day after Christmas: Children grown, gone.
Christmas Night 2007
There are twelve of us for Christmas, Three generations, ours the oldest. A benign weariness: Food and gifts, family jokes and tales, Small stresses let quietly pass. Cousins cavort, careen, compete. Our daughters, friends too, consider vegetables; Their husbands assemble a soccer goal While the gravy cools. As we are leaving, I think I see Traces of a tear on Julie’s cheek; Her smile lingers, quiet, faintly moist.
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.
You can find more of Bob’s poems here on Ink Pantry.
Angie Dribben’s poetry, essays, and reviews can be found or are forthcoming in Cave Wall, EcoTheo, Deep South, San Pedro River Review, Crab Creek Review, Crack the Spine, Cider Press, and others. A Bread Loaf alum, she is an MFA candidate at Randolph College. Everygirl, her first full-length collection, is due out 2021 from Main Street Rag.
Upon Waking by Angie Dribben
Once a wildebeest calf fell behind the herd fell prey to a spotted hyena who had fallen to instinct to survive or so we’re taught And it was hard to hear a mother’s child scream But I did not change the channel
And the mother stayed with her herd One glance back A single clockwise canter to witness her calf submit And then the mother walked away and it was hard to watch a mother walk away but I did not change the channel
and the hyena took the hindquarter, tore the calf at the hip leaving her untenable and the hyena drank from the wound of the calf and it was hard to watch one take what isn’t theirs
sometimes I dream I am wildebeest, when I wake, I am hyena and I cannot change the channel
Poet for Hire, Jena Kirkpatrick, is editor of the poetry anthology Writing for Positive Change for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas. Jena tours nationally as a member of the Trio of Poets. She writes poems for clients worldwide. Jena is an artist instructor for Badgerdog Literary Publishing. Her work in the classroom was featured in Teachers & Writers Magazine. Over the last three decades, she has self-published seven books, co-written, three multimedia performance art shows, competed in two National Poetry Slam competitions and released two poetry CDs.
I wish you love & happiness…I guess I wish you all the best by Jena Kirkpatrick
I wish you love & happiness…I guess I wish you all the best (John Prine)
who lost me first? was it God or Buddha or my ungrateful lack of worth –alone or together reflections on the past not sure how many tears I have left last night in a furious rage I actually said I was grateful you were already dead because that was one less person I love I’d have to worry about losing –who who lost me first? –you you lifted me up you always stuck around you never left my side –from the day I lost my child now we’ve got this virus screaming bloody fucking murder endless echoes of a tool pitting one against another over fences –on TV screens panic attacks forged by violent dreams spooning with a psychotic ventriloquist everyone is scared scribbling ridiculous lists who lost me first? was it Christ was it heaven or hell was it the ability to practice free will was it set forth as a precedent carved in stone by some ancient was is illicit drugs or sorcery some flaw in personality every precious moment is countered by adversity maybe there are answers in pollution or abuse or all the callous judgments we throw like seeds to sprout on this earth maybe we have babbled long enough repeated beatings for too long ignored are the hungry children the sick all too often pushed aside in favor of elitist when given the chance will we ever correct what’s wrong who lost me first? stay at home and sing on your marble terrace have your slaves bring you your breakfast revel in the thought that what you squander makes you
somehow eccentric your dirty money won’t save you you will die like the rest of us do who lost me first? I was lost to the trees to the wind to the stars on my knees praying for forgiveness since birth
yeah I knew love. love knew me. and when I walked love walked with me. but friends don’t know. they can only guess –how hard it is to wish you happiness
Michael Whalen has been a member of the Austin Poetry Slam Team, and coached two Austin Neo Soul Poetry Slam Teams and four Austin Youth Poetry Slam Teams. He’s edited numerous chapbooks by young poets, and released 1.5 of his own poetry chapbooks.
M L Woldman is a GED graduate with a heart full of fire. Founder of Austin Poets’ Union, poet and playwright. Author of three books and numerous publications. 5th generation Texas.
autumn by M L Woldman
the fire recedes from the sky and we know it’s autumn four months of autumn and eight months of summer that’s what we get now in texas i relish these months when dusty coats can find their place in circulation again and you can see your breath: making each exhalation a visual affirmation that you are alive i write this poem every year a love poem to autumn in the hopes that she might stick around a little longer this time it’s an exercise in diminishing returns because the sun won’t be happy until it swallows the world