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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Reiffhas two chapbooks of poems, The True Light That Lights at Parousia Reads and Recon at Trainwreck Press.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”