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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.