Poetry Drawer: The Machine: Yarbles: Missa Solemnis by Neil Fulwood

The Machine

(after R.S. Thomas)

I doubt science fiction
had much of a place
on bookshelves reserved
for the philosophical,
the theological, the poetic.
Austere works, works
for the mind and soul
to wrestle with, not always
in support of each other.

And yet you saw it,
brutal and destructive
as any tripod, any
fighting machine, any
alien force, striding
across valley and hillside
like a pylon latched
to the service of the Other:

the machine – inhuman,
unstoppable, the very
non-soul of technology,
stamping over farmstead
and chapel and centuries
of things done in a quieter
more Godly manner.

The machine, cables
like tendrils, its brain
subdividing thought
through venomous strings
of code that know nothing
of mystery.

Yarbles

But what if I put it this way:
you listen carefully
to what the Minotaur has to say
about benefits, holiday

entitlements, index-linked
pension, reward scheme,
every word falling to the clink
of chains, the screams

of untold millions before you
who believed the spin.
Seeing through it, would you
sign on the dotted line,

go all in and learn to love
the labyrinth, embrace
its endless switchbacks? Of
course not! You’d place

your kneecap where it hurts,
leave the Minotaur
to his just (and crushed) deserts,
blow the joint for

anywhere without an HR team,
one to ones, peer reviews.
Resign, walk out, live the dream.
Nothing’s stopping you.

Missa Solemnis

Interior lights extinguished, signboard
bullishly insisting ‘NOT IN SERVICE’,
you’re tearing this single-decker
through the midnight streets, discharged
of passengers and running light.

All that’s left of your shift is the small ritual
of rolling into the depot; leaving
the vehicle on the pump. The small ritual
of walking across the yard, hi-viz on,
rucksack slung over one shoulder, dodging

rainbow flecked spills of fuel or detergent;
the small ritual of filing the running card
in the appropriate slot, of dropping
any lost property in the overnight safe.
And that’s you done. Trudge back

to the car park, drive the fifteen minutes home,
fall into a made or unmade bed. Lie awake
for a while, mind ticking over. The yard hands
are still at it, putting the last few buses –
the night owl shuttles – through the wash bay,

lining them up in place for their few-hours’-time
run out. The cleaners are scooping up
the litter, the scrunched tickets. The yard
is a counterpoint of light and shadow.
Silence threads the streets surrounding the depot.

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, England, where he still lives and works. He has published two collections, No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. His third collection, Service Cancelled, is due for publication later this year. 

Poetry Drawer: Bottle: Crack: Back Pew: Dithyrambs by AE Reiff

Bottle

I poured out my tongue, undid the cork,
my lungs blew breath, words formed a froth
bouqueted a cup in what I meant,
like oil dripped, I drank them up,
I gave my cheeks to them.

That did inspire wine, a prayer was sung.
Give the prayer I pray my tongue
In all books end to end.
The prayer like blood on ground,
Give me to understand.

To forgive and be forgiven
was the yeast the words give up.
Give me to sup and pour out peace
World without end without end.

Crack

The communion cup cracked
I didn’t spill it.
It got on the book at the end of the pew.
When they sang a hymn
It pooled in the rug.

Down at my feet
on my clothes, on my hands,
it was wet on the Bibles in the pews,
in the song I couldn’t sing,
I couldn’t see the screen.

Others may bleed, the flood has been great,
the blood now stains those who remain,
When I put it to my lips none was left.
I don’t wipe it off.
The drops are everywhere.

Back Pew

Everything I say is true.
I sit in the front or back pew
among heavy smokers and their beer carts.
My feet hurt but it all happens as said,
where the back of the hair is parted,
and locks change colour in the forgiveness.
Large people, aspirins with headaches,
for a rough week of Hopkins, speak
there will be light, there will be light.

Passion stands up for thanksgiving,
its name notwithstanding well known.
but it’s not my name I came to sing.
Trees grow in the window glass.
Silence grows too. Collections are quiet.
Nobody wears a coat.
I get in trouble sitting at the back with the smokers
living happily after nosebleeds
where people hold hands.

Dithyrambs

When your father grows up
and your mother grows up
and the world grows up,
and you grow up,

when you help your neighbour grow up,
and when you love the world,

when you love the life of the world
of blossoms and waves
and the nectar waves
grow way up high
and we see you fly,

do be kind to yourself and neighbour,
do be kind to myself and me,
do be kind to the blooms in blooming
so everybody sees

that when you love the world
you’re loving the life of the world
and then you love the world.

AE Reiff has two chapbooks of poems, The True Light That Lights at Parousia Reads and Recon at Trainwreck Press.

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

Poetry Drawer: The Spring Awakening Sonnet by Paweł Markiewicz

The springtide wakes up not only in dreams.
The snowdrops blooming in the moony garths.
One listens to propitious paradise.
The dearest graylag geese coming in flocks.

I think of genus Primula from afar.
The wild boar piglets were born in a grove.
I feel springwards the warmness of a soul.
Native dreameries are fulfilled galore.

Springtide be primeval home of Naiads!
I taste the verdure of some climes.
You are dreamy like fairy-like bouts.
The friends of springy morn – are tender owls.

I can praise, bewitch Ovidianly.
Thus, I am able to enchant peaceably.

Naiad – definition through the haiku:

The tender Naiad
a merest-guardian from the
Dreamiest Greek stories

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

Poetry Drawer: It’s Just Business by Layota Kidd

What you want from me is something that I can’t
Give you
You want us to be together as one
But that is something that I don’t want
I just want to keep the sex and that is it
You want to treat me like a lady but I like
My life the way it is having indifferent men in my bedroom
I am all about spreading the love
I don’t want to give my love to just one man
I want to give it to every man in Detroit
I like to be wild and free between my sheets
I told you when you came on
I love convicts busting down my door
I got a client tonight, he is a big shot lawyer, I am booked tonight so I ought to move some appointments around
You want a woman that is only going to be with you only
I told you when I met you at the club
That my business and my clients come first
I tried the romance and the faithful thing for years
And I either got abused mentally and physically
You say it will be different with you
But I have heard that line before from different men
Sorry I just can’t take that chance
You’re a great guy but not for me
I love my love in the microwave, not cooked from scratch

Latoya Kidd has been writing stories since she was in high school. She met a student who inspired her to become a writer and he is her inspiration. When Latoya graduated from Central High school in 2000, she enrolled in Prince George’s Community College. She met a man who was also her instructor, Barry McCalla. He helped shape her writing and the result is that Latoya got her first fiction story published called ‘Waiting for my African Prince to Return’. Latoya has published other fiction stories like ‘Backdoor Woman’. All of these fiction stories were published in Reflection magazine at Prince George’s Community college. Latoya has also published fictions, non-fictions and poems in the Amulet magazine, Conceit magazine, Ultimate Writer magazine, and the Spiritual Magazine.

Poetry Drawer: The Other Part of Me: Trees and Rain by Padmini Krishnan

The Other Part of Me

Part of me stays
in the damp office
that smells of keyboards,
printers and an admin
who smells like the machines.

Another part of me
wanders with the last
autumn raindrop and
slides to the earth,
relishing the mud,
grazing the worms
and inhaling their earthy scent.

This vagabond further wanders
and breathes with
the tiny heart of a
red Lacewing
pauses by the burning redwood,
shelters in a shaking palm leaf
before turning back to the office,
awaiting the return
of my lifeless part.

Trees and Rain

The clouds pucker and upon meeting
no resistance, pour down.
The ridges in the pine loosen,
listening to the thunder.
The maple displays its rich red skin,
glistening with water.
A winged Samara detaches itself
from the maple,
teases the closest leaf,
spreads its papery wings and
lands on me, as I huddle
in a corner near my window.
My eyes are glued to the red delicate bark
and I inhale the mild odour
of the misty pines, finding
my paradise at last.

Padmini Krishnan was raised in India and now resides in Singapore. She writes free verse poetry, haiku, and short stories. Her recent works have appeared in the Ariel Chart, Mad Swirl, Page&Spine, The Literary Yard, Spillwords, and World of Myth.

Poetry Drawer: Loners by Liang Zhiqiang

Winter approaching, the elk will retreat.
The flames are burning in luxury.
Embrace virtual warmth,
It is a designated action for those who lack love.

Drink this unforgettable ice spring.
Practicing giving up is more dangerous than rock climbing.
Forget the monopolized narrative,
No matter how many devices are installed in the world.

The shadows overlap, and the dream is on the verge of fragmentation,
Broke into the heart of the planet.
Why treat snowflakes as imaginary enemies, loners?

Liang Zhiqiang is a poet from China.

Poetry Drawer: Mid Terms: Lauren: On the Fifth Day: A Little Drunk: Euclid by Terry Brinkman

Mid-Terms

Such is life in the voter’s booth
Hurry up, there is a line
NO! The time is mine
Prop. Three is uncouth
I need to move to Duluth
No more TAX! Underline
Don’t forget to sign
Truth is not Truth
I am headed to the door
Three hours grave yard dead
No to, Pollsters ambassadors
Going home for beer and bread
Vote here nevermore
Shave shower and bed

Lauren

Washington the place of her hart
Heavenly beauty happy hunger
Running for Utah
Bar’s gossoon out cast man
Deep velvet Azure of the sky
Zig Zag maze of dark
Clambering for help
White Ivory crucified in a car
Death Pew for the guilty
Brief gestures haunting remorse

On the Fifth Day

Blessed are Dogs that smile and wag their tail.
Blessed are Cats that climb trees to the top.
Blessed are Birds that sing at dawn and dusk
Blessed are Turtles that never stop walking.
Blessed are Squirrels that gather nuts.
Blessed are Gold Fish that swim, swim, and swim.
Blessed are Horses that let you ride them.

A Little Drunk

I am always a little drunk
I feel too much
Even as a child
Perhaps the opposite
I remember how at Eighteen
The price fell to the floor
At afternoon coffee I eat Easter eggs
Perhaps the opposite
Healthy robust and subtle
I feel too much

Euclid

I wake at Cockcrow
Burning still is Venus
Gait to antecedent Java
Precipitating Euclid Ave.
Gamble a crosswalk traverse
Initial stride ceased
Snot-green conveyance Truck
Malaise my Death Bed
Scrotumtening the Cross walk
Florin Ghost Candle Light

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: Crew and the Blue Umbrella: The letter of the sea: Princess lycho by Masudul Hoq

Crew and the Blue Umbrella

Crossing out from the obstacles of life,
I return with the sea-lesson.

Here around the womb of grass
I hear the roar of mosses.

There is no sky over the locality
Only there is that left shadow.

There is sea roaring inside me,
Even though to the world,
the sun is mostly regarded as a small lamp.

The river is similar
As basic necessities.

The sky is not vast,
Only the blue umbrella!

The letter of the sea

Often I remember old crew Santiago,
While returning young Manoline,
Santiago got a big fish in the sea.

But failing to save the fish from shark,
returned home with it’s skeleton.
Again he was not fade up.

I haven’t been too old
Passing the half of life
Staying home reserving water
I have not yet seen the sea

I’m alive with the dream of a fish
Less water, less salt
Young Manoline will be back
Carrying the letter of the sea.

Princess lycho

Moving from Andaman Trank road
Seeing the sun being grey.

Breathing from the shadow of cloud
King Zyrak’s daughter Lycho felt pain.

Passing fifty years in a straw house,
Keeping the words alive,
At last princess Lycho lost in the deep virus sleep.

Keeping in mind that she will never rise
Sare words hide themselves
In the voice of Andamanian tiger
So that they never met with humans.

Now it’s kojagori full moon,
Sitting beside the sea, the tigers
Count the age of moon with Sare language.

Some butterfly comes
With jeru and pujukkor words.

Masudul Hoq (1968) has a PhD in Aesthetics under Professor Hayat Mamud at Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a contemporary Bengali poet, short story writer, translator and researcher. His previous published work includes short stories Tamakbari (1999), poems Dhonimoy Palok (2000), Dhadhashil Chaya, translated version is Shadow of Illusion (2005) and Jonmandher Swapna, translated version is Blind Man’s Dream (2010), translated by Kelly J. Copeland. Masudul Hoq also translated T.S. Eliot’s poem, Four Quartets (2012), Allen Ginsburg’s poem, Howl (2018), from English to Bengali. In the late 1990’s for 3 years he worked under a research fellowship at The Bangla Academy. Bangla Academy has published his two research books. At present he is a Professor of Philosophy in a government college, Bangladesh.

Poetry Drawer: Natural Tonic by Perry McDaid

In my back garden, admiring the trees,
I chilled for a while, considering decking
positioned to take advantage of breeze
in my back garden.

Cypress shared tang as birds, order-pecking,
chattered and quarrelled in various keys:
determining rank … then double-checking.

Yet this ruckus part of natural frieze,
excited squawks augmenting, not wrecking
the mood of plateau: peace which heart pleased
in my back garden.

Irish poet and writer, Perry McDaid, lives in Derry. His diverse creative writing – including more than 1000 poems and 300 short stories appears internationally in the like of Anak Sastra; Amsterdam Quarterly; Aurora Wolf Literary Magazine; Red Fez; Brilliant Flash Fiction, Alfie Dog and Bookends Review and his latest novel Pixels, The Cause and the Cloud Cuckoo is available for order online.

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

Poetry Drawer: Against the Grain: Breathing: The MRI: Light: Simplicity by Michael Estabrook

Against the Grain

When you feel you need to make a change
a big change in your life
when you want to make a change
but you don’t know what or how
what do you do?
Just pick something and do it, the Devil laughs.
Doesn’t matter what?
Change is change. He stops pacing.
Let me help you out.
Do something big! For example,
become celibate or gay or a political activist
or a dog breeder or a gun lover or –
and this is an interesting idea –
stop writing poetry it sucks anyway,
take up another hobby instead:
golf, gardening, stamp collecting,
raise ferrets, play the tuba, anything
just do something please!
For the love God (and the Devil)
and he stomps out of the room
shaking his head just like always.
Him and his dramatic exits, so predictable.

Breathing

Cold November night
I breathe in the chilled air feel it
filling my lungs
life is a good thing.

Stare up at the moon full and bright
throwing shadows from
the trees across our front lawn.
Stars are out too, Orion the Hunter,
Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins,
behind them the vast
infinite darkness of the universe
and its timelessness.

But not for me.
Part of the human condition is living
knowing you’ll be dying
and you don’t know when
and there’s nothing you can do about it
except seize the day.

Time is all we have. And strangely,
even though I didn’t love it,
I’m reminiscing about my life
in business, as a “businessman”
feeling sad
that I’ll never be in business again:
imposing in my three-piece suit,
my company car,
making another sale,
closer to hitting my target
for the quarter, my bonus for the year.

I take another deep breath
the cold air reminding me I’m alive
and for some reason the infinity
that is the universe
is sending me back to when I was
a young man, my future timeless
and mysterious as the universe itself.

The MRI

giant machine, cold and throbbing
peers deep
into you through skin muscle bone and sinew
perhaps all the way to your soul
“next test lasts four minutes”
don’t move remain still
as a rusted car
as images flood by
as you try to focus on something other than
the heavy stillness drag of time:
sex and vacations, dreams, work
childhood memories chores to be done
books to read
humans (you can sense them)
are in the background servicing
the machine
but you can’t hear them or see them
for you are within the machine
captive helpless
a visitor just like outside in reality
all the while the machine
pulses and throbs
trying to peer deeper and deeper
to dig out all your secrets
and you want to tell it
there really isn’t that much to find

Light

So what’s wrong with all these
shadows in the hallway
splinters of light sneaking
under the doors?
Do you have to watch TV all damn night
haven’t you got more important things to do
something, anything
learn something earn something
a university degree perhaps
or some money
paint the garage
clean the gutters, repair the shutters
pull some weeds, call your mother
anything.

Do you even know
what’s behind those doors
in the hallway
have you tried to figure it out?
Why not grab a flashlight
take a look?
No, of course not, you’re too busy
slumped on the sofa
watching TV
crime mysteries for Christ’s sake.

What would Dad say about you
wasting your time?
or Grandma Sadie.
What would Thomas More do if he knew
or FDR or Caesar,
Dante, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Mozart,
Ernest Hemingway or Jesus. . .
What?

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Brunette
Everything’s so complicated
when in the beginning
all that mattered was this sweet
brunette in Language Arts class
the most beautiful creature
he’d ever seen

Stop
I must heed Thoreau
simplify my life:
stop buying useless crap
avoid social media
stop controlling everything
and make something with my hands

Judge Judy
I have a simple life: no drinking, gambling, guns, golf
or girlfriends. Only me and the Mrs. of 50 years gardening,
shopping, reading, and watching Judge Judy on TV.

The News
Nonchalant in reporting horrible things but I can feel
how frightening and painful being stabbed or shot must be,
reminding me how lucky I am living a simple life

Antidote to Reality
I am constructing
a chronicle of beauty
about my woman
in her innocence, her purity
her tender simplicities
that would dwarf
even Juliet’s charms

Micheal Eastbrook and his Muse have this to say…

Part of me wants to leave behind thousands of poems in countless
little chapbooks and magazines,
infesting every nook and cranny of the Internet,
quantity over quality and all that. Another part wants to write only, say,
100 poems, each a masterpiece like Dylan Thomas.
And a third part wants to leave nothing behind,
except for the smoke lingering in my wake after burning them all
leaving people to wonder about the genius they missed, forever searching
for any poetic gems that may have survived.
But seriously, do I have to write a poem every damn time
there’s a space in my day: at the doctor’s office, the airport, the DMV,
during the kids’ basketball practice, soccer and softball.
Pull out my notebook, push on my glasses, click my pen into action.
(I’m old-fashioned, no electronic recording gadgetry for me.)
No doubt the literary world will be fine
if I simply sit and do nothing other than stare into the space around me.
But the Muse, it’s her fault I tell you, she’s always crowding me
sticking her nose in my business. For example,
the last thing I wanted to do last night was wake up at 3 a.m.
turn on the light fumble for my pad and pen
but She was there nudging me hissing in my ear
”Come on man move it I got things to say”