Each time the screen door closes, a mother rabbit sprints off
through seedlings I mowed slowly around twenty-three years ago.
John Hansen received a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MA in English Literature from Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Summerset Review, Spillwords Press, Trouvaille Review, 50-Word Stories, One Sentence Poems, The Dillydoun Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Eunoia Review, Sparks of Calliope, Amethyst Review, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. He is English Faculty at Mohave Community College in Arizona.
Eerie emotions stormed through my weary mind as dark visions screamed into my haunting memories streaming through the wind, and as the moon flowed into the darkness of the unforgiving horizon, my mind was forced to wade into the icy metaphoric ocean ebbing in the shallows of my sorrows. I strived to extinguish the absurdity of the sorrowful existence with cheerfulness, but pieces of metallic anxiety spewed from under the earth to a place near where my mind could not carry the heaviness of oxidized time, and while climbing inside rusting silence to escape, I failed to bury the demons of the night that called to me in the hundred stolen voices of a mocking bird. In the far-off distance, I heard the faint haunting sound of a ghost train’s whistle echoing in the space between life and death, a place where those in their fading years, like me, watched nervously as the spectre with a scythe searched for us to end our absurd existence. The decomposing hours of the night, continually held me captive in this nightmare of dread, left me with a sense of agonized wistfulness, as I anxiously waited, to no avail, for reality to smother the hauntings of unreality that had arrived in the strange emptiness of the night.
Long Forgotten Memories
In an old cardboard box in the attic, personal notes sent on cold mornings, bent nails, rusted paper clips, a high school ring, pencil stubs, a chipped red checker piece, but mostly just long lost memories. The old box sits beside an antique mirror, a single bed, a dented in trumpet from the 1930s, boxes of esoteric philosophy books, magazines, sacks of old games; monopoly, chess, clue, and an old picture album of unknown faces… unfinished; the forgotten memories attached, are covered with countless years of dust. The things glistened with newness a long time ago when those who lived in this old house still breathed, laughed and loved… now a dull silence. Life, so brief, so taken for granted, as precious moments fade, and then, what was can only be found in old picture albums, and in the memories of those very few of ebbing years, who are still alive to remember.
Strange Pulses in my Questing Mind
The quivering lobes in my questing brain, wait for soothing symbols from a remote entity, to tell me I should not be afraid. I know it may be true, but, I see the limits of reason when concerning the problems, and questions, concerning God’s existence. Even scientists claim that nothing can evolve from nothing, ergo something, God, must have created everything. But then what created God? Or does God have no beginning, and time does not really exist, except in our limited time controlled minds? My grandfather’s clock, peals the message that death is inevitable. However, my mind still refuses to accept the reality of the timing, for it is still playing with an unreality… that we do not really exist, and are only imaginary figments in the mind of a God.
The Goddess in my Mind Garden
Sekhmet the lioness, covered my withering mind garden with seven arrows and three tears, and I watched grief growing in my plastic garden soil of red crystals where shadows of sorrow lived. It was a dark metallic day, and the rusting sun hid in the lonely thoughts of tears, as she released an icy wind into my mind, so that I couldn’t remember the warm metaphors that would grow beautiful visions into memories.
James, a retired professor and octogenarian, Best of Web nominee and three time Pushcart nominee, has had four books of poetry; “Solace Between the Lines,” “Light,” “Ancient Rhythms,” and “The Silent Pond,” over 1530 poems, five novels and 35 short stories published worldwide. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, SLO, and his doctorate from BYU. His fifth book of poetry is set for release this year.
Mary’s without a second care Every animal’s fault The art of man Barring the Bees Ship of the streets Brutes of the field Ambulating, acquaintance, passionately Friendly fashion indubitable Making her look sideways at me Hankering new vistas Had her father’s gift Irish exquisite, variations
Sleepy Whale 248
What did you see on the range? In your father’s house Your dying sister in the kitchen Her point of junction Flow from Round wood Revivers Liner aqueduct yard exultance Did it flow, subterranean bounty Fallen below the sill Water works unshed tears Lay in the glen of the downs Prolong the summer’s doubt
Sleepy Whale 407
Granite rocky mountain’s Utah High Best Snow on Earth anywhere Gloved hand, Cast Iron pan to fry Message from Salvation Auctioneer Lime-Green-Jell-O Frog Prince lie She began to weep, wept an embrace Be-mused over his limp wet rag Shifty looking fellow playing the base Drinking beer in an Irish Pub we all brag Un-hasty friendliness to face She melt a hearts of stone, rich silk stockings nag
Sleepy Whale 427
Sleepwalk to the grave, buried last evening Wayne’s hand on his quest Brightness of the stained glass Haunting girlish shyness drinking beer Instantaneous smoking effigy Proceeding the sage sloops heard of Deer Dark woman and fair man seated at Mass Witchy bluest Irish blue eyed volunteer
Sleepy Whale 435
Shadows over her childhood’s crest Her eyes glistering with tears last evening Slightly flecked hair with gray, a long kissed guest Gazing out the window’s Azul Glass Have mercy, her end so near Holiday’s lattice window Mass Verge of tears, sighted eyes volunteer
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.
My grandmother was asked as a young woman by her young son:
What do you want for Christmas besides world peace?
The anecdote survived for decades in my family.
Tonight I realize it said more about her than I had seen:
she was born just after the First World War, her Cold War Catholic parenting
was unafraid of the Red menace—
she didn’t want to frighten her children about the Communists,
she had been able to vote, she had made something,
call it a difference.
Twilight— there are many brief hues to it—
My grandmother would carefully select Hallmark cards with the appropriate words for the recipient and occasion.
I defended Hallmark for this reason— without the detail that this was my grandmother, she was a possible person in my comment—
I defended Hallmark to my literature teacher in college and he said, with a laugh,
“If you have to rely on Hallmark, you’re in trouble.”
My son’s world history teacher showed his class a Hallmark movie today at the end of the semester,
and she told them all that she and her husband love to watch Hallmark movies together.
We laughed at them afterwards in my son’s room, gentle, brief, slightly sad laughter.
And I walked in the cold darkness of December tonight and prayer graced me
and language itself died like night at the dawn and was reborn in the unspeakable pain of the dying.
I am proud of the dark houses, their hopefulness—
Letter against Anger to the Daughters of George Hoshida
Begin with the beauty of smallness: on the evening of the convergence, on the longest night of the year, winter solstice, my children and wife looked for the bright planets coming together, joining, and they could not find them in the dark winter sky.
The vastness of the universe has for decades seemed to me annihilating, the dark everywhere around us— so that meaning would become as if it never was if I thought about that emptiness for too long.
But tonight I discovered how small I am, my loves and worries, and realized that it is, despite this, more than nothing, my life, my family and my home, my being, my human body and soul, truly small though I am in the winter solstice of space.
Your father had every reason to be enraged, imprisoned as he was simply for being Japanese in Hawaii— losing his oldest daughter from whom he was separated— and through it all he kept drawing,
mostly human figures, as he had been taught by correspondence school, often three of them sharing a loose-leaf page— maybe there was a rageful healing thoroughness there, assembling families of separate figures again and again, like laughter occupying each body until its independence was complete.
Brian Glaser has published three books of poems and many essays on poetry and poetics.
Parts of the morning collide with the eventual winner
of the home & away series. Not much is left. A few shards
cause craters in the eyes, a part- pennant does pennance as it
wraps around the nearest set of ankles. Then a dog sled ar-
rives, still moist with snow. We welcome it with closed arms.
elephant cup cakes
‘ Pachyderms and pastry! I love it.’ Tom Beckett
That a pachyderm is highly comp- etitive in the global pastry market does not adequately capture the true sense of how unlikely scenarios such as this are. Those Instagram influencers who talked this up were all probably tickled by the ivory. Money may have changed hands. But the natural attri- butes of the animal are ideal for the task — tusks, tail, trunk; all master mixers — why be surprised? & those feet! Pancakes galore. The perfect size for carving out cheesecake casings.
A line from Billie Jean King
An exciting update is coming. A chart’s been prepared to illustrate the main points. Small popups will appear that use
colour & typography to provoke a psychological reaction. There’s certainly a place for that, simple or complex, since we are both
made up of energy & used to the use of icons to represent emotions. It won’t be that long before you have command of
the update, can use all parts of it intuitively. Savour the small win — this victory is fleeting. Another update is now only days away.
The queue outside the sushi bar melts into one another as the bagpipes suddenly arrive. Raw fish & rice is no match for tartan, even one only rarely worn. That’s the
problem with living in a garrison city — too many con- tradictions, too much bias. Too few true conflicts. Which is why the military make what they can out of what’s available.
A Paumanok Picture
Later, when the road had opened,
Walt Whitman was allowed to pass.
Mark Young was born in New Zealand but now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia. He has been publishing poetry for over sixty years, & is the author of around sixty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, creative non-fiction, & art history. His most recent book is The Sasquatch Walks Among Us, from sandy press, available through Amazon.
You can find more of Marks’ work here on Ink Pantry.
the almost and the always and the never and then everything in between
close yr eyes
do you see now?
let the map take you from here to there
let the desert be your starting point and your destination
no walls and no water
no true purpose
you’ll live and you’ll die just like the rest of us
you’ll be forgotten
maybe you already are
pilate shot through the throat and then the crows at his heart
the dogs drinking his tears
grow up fast or not at all, right?
a lifetime of dying played out in the space of an hour and i forget if i ever told you i loved you that summer
i forget if you were the one who taught me how to bleed
was too busy making promises that turned without effort into such heartfelt lies
and then dali grows old and then dali dies and i am left in this room with your sister
says she’s cold, but she won’t get dressed
won’t get up off the floor
just tells me she hates me while i kneel down to kiss her feet
barefoot on broken glass at the end of november and maybe it feels as good as a bullet through god’s filthy heart
maybe only children will be killed in the war
each tiny death made into a movie and all of them playing in another room while we’re trying to sleep, and so how can you claim to be famous if no one wants to see you naked?
why would you keep on bleeding all over the carpet when it’s all you’ve been doing for the past 30 years?
there’s a got to be a better way for you to waste the rest of your life
first attempt at escape
late winter snow from dull pewter skies, driving west but never fast enough, laughs & tells me he’s the one who took the pennies from christ’s blind eyes
says he’s looking for a girl named jennifer to fall in love with then says the heater’s broke
tells me i look like shit
asks how long I’ve been bleeding to death
turns the radio up way too loud while i’m trying to think of an answer
and then you and i and the sleeping face of christ, all of us radiant and each of us alone here in the sudden warmth of november, in the flickering shadows of falling leaves, beneath the ominous web of powerlines, blue sky reduced to meaningless geometry, startled birds, endlessly crashing planes and the children laughing, screaming, running home across barren fields or down haphazard sidewalks, the memory of their motion, the way i tell myself over and over again not to forget this moment and then the ease with which i forget it
the reasons i write these meaningless poems
the idea that maybe even one of them might find you
John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications) and A DEAD MAN, EITHER WAY (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press).
You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.
We have taken to living life as if it were jazz rouging wan days with bright notes born from barren weeks
hollow as the tin-can lanterns recycled and strung up in the spindly birch trees by kids, next door. Each cylinder’s dark interior is pierced with geometric patterns so they gleam with empty space marking out the night with absence, as death is cut into our lives.
We philander from the garden and let it straggle, feeding on its own leaves, drunk with fermenting sugars set to sweeten autumn without us.
Grief’s time-signature surges days in eight bar riffs dubbing evenings to waves of past voices – ghosts we drink to extinction – and stand at last in the darkness of a new street awake and broken with dawn.
I lent Kundera’s novel, and then separately, a pair of daisy spotted culottes (smart enough for an interview) to friends light enough not to return, their words, ceiling trodden and walked to air.
I find I still wonder where the pages spore their print in absence from my shelf as if they were chilli pepper seeds – papery and disk like skimming ideas to flame even after they are eaten and gone.
And whether clothes absorb memories with their wear to larger shapes, stained and stretched to age.
The rails of thrift shops hung, heavy and spooling sky, touched, scraped with the beyond of these days.
The plough’s metal ribs are turned to the sky. Rust flakes in fingernails from the iron core of abandoned machinery amongst the unmown grass sprung with daisies and summery warmth. Flattened clouds rule the sky, pulled taut as clavichord strings that hum with a storm’s jigger at the afternoon and its wobble of espaliered peaches. We run barefoot with the children, laughing, circuiting the field, drunk with exertion, feeling the rub of damp roots fleck with the music of first rain.
weather charts blue sky to numbers rain blurs us
Billboards feather boa the street taxiing minds and high balling eyes to palm tree spas kissed with sangria and sunshine’s strut in snakeskin thigh highs.
The adverts promise the everything of lies to anoraked pavements apace with slow stepped lives loitered with the fur of Friday night zooms and the lurch between stops to and from home in buses pelted in more soft sell.
the earth a dream mumbled in pentameter curved, foetal and asleep beneath a tarred city’s rumble
Jenny Middleton is a working mum and writes whenever she can amid the fun and chaos of family life. She lives in London with her husband, two children, and two very lovely, crazy cats.
That line, that grey smudge, in the sky—like a shadow of something moving out beyond the world Was it a passing ship? A sail wide as limbo The mind reels at the distances, knowing they can only be fiction, that only the self is real
Lost now (because a petrified forest is really just a field of rocks) I sit down in the shadows of the palm fronds reaching over me with dagger fingers What am I—but a sinking wetlands, methane-rich refuse rotting into usefulness? Or really I think I am the output of some formula—a reductive algorithm Definitions slip through the cracks between their own words, eel-slick and mucosal It’s June now, and this too must pass, this uncertainty Things do, pass, always