Poetry Drawer: HOTEL ETERNITY by Rus Khomutoff

TO EXIST BETWEEN ETERNITIES WILD NOTHING LIKE THE EYES OF
THE SKY AXIS INFINITY DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE BLISS /COME
FORWARD WITH YOUR VISCERA AND VIOLENCE AND SHARE MY
WINGS/UNLEASH YOUR SPIRIT BENEATH THE RAMJET ALLEGRO
TEMPLE OF THE NIGHT SKY A NEED FOR MIRRORS AND
COUNTLESS SKIES/SHAKE YOUR INFINESSENCE SLOT CANYON
HIGHBREATH NARCOTIC ERUPTIONS CLOUD NOTHINGS EXOTIC
PULSE A NAME BEYOND DESIRE SEMAPHORE SIN PLAY AT YOUR
OWN RISK TALKING TWILIGHT/ INTO A SPHERE OF YOUTHFUL
SYMPATHY RIDES THE THIEF OF YOUTH THIN AIR ADDICTIONS
MELANCHOLY BODY SACRILEGE TATTOO HIGHWAY INSOMNIA
PUNK/ TEENAGE BLOOD REPETITION OF A THOUSAND HUNGRY
EYES/SOMETIMES WE ARE ALL ETERNAL IN THE CONSTELLATION
OF MIDNIGHT MOSAIC FACTION/ MY GREEN UNQUEEN GALLERY
CRUSH HYPERRITUAL AUTUMN CRY OPULENCE LIKE A TRIANGLE
AND A DUEL/SOME TALK TO MEN WHILE OTHERS TALK TO GODS
DANCE IT VISCIOUS RIDDLE OF THE SANDS CHAMELEON
CHARADE STAR CODE CHALICE/ASK THE DESERT ORACLE THESE
POISON DECLARATIONS THE REAL UNREAL CONVERSATIONS
WITH A NEW REALITY/DISSOLVE THE ILLUSION IN A
SPIRITDANCE/NATURE’S SYMPHONY DRAFT INTOXICATION

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

Poetry Drawer: October by Robert Demaree

1.

To our cottage on the pond,
I ascribe human attributes,
And why not:
Four generations of
Idiosyncratic postures,
Favourite chairs,
The smiles of grandsons
Around each corner,
In every splash off the dock,
Scent of decades of pine rooms,
My father’s shaving brush,
Memories in other artifacts
We did not buy.

So when we leave,
Packing up board games
Along with Beth’s shy grin,
We ease out onto the lane,
Regret visceral
Until about the Massachusetts line.
The cottage, at first forlorn,
Has figured out what’s going on,
Recognizes the red kayak,
An intruder in the guest room,
But, relaxing under its cover of
Newspaper, moth balls,
Frayed bedspreads,
Like an old bear we know,
Dozes off for the winter.

2.

Cold October rain
Scatters unwilling leaves,
Crimson, orange-gold,
Before the holiday,
Slick paste on asphalt.
I pack my painting tools
Under the house:
The can of grey stain
Will not survive the winter.
In the tight wood
On a hill back from the pond
Green clings to green,
A few leaves fall unturned.

3.

Late October: SUV’s headed out, mostly
Pickup trucks on the lane.
They are the surrogate residents
On the pond in the off season,
The people who shut off the water,
Drain the pipes,
Winch up docks up onto land,
Check in winter for snow on the roof.
We have a common concern
For a tight seal around the chimney,
The grey birch by the Turtle Rock
That needs to come down.
We discuss
The judgment of the selectmen,
The Red Sox’ chances for next year,
The merits of metal roofing.
We entrust them with precious things,
Sacred ground, these folk
With whom we share a love of place
Until we come back again
In June.

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 Robert’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: The swimming pool: One shouldn’t fit: The overly personal poems: Fear of losing: The train goes thwacking by DS Maolalai

The swimming pool

I aim a spray
of bleach. the bathroom
smells strongly
of swimming pools.

expecting visitors,
I touch my mask,
and scrub the toilet
spotless.

an attendant,
tired and early
morning, long
on a hot
summer’s day.

One shouldn’t fit

on a bus, and seeing
the mind inside each
of these people.
a lady who smells.
a man with a book.
a kid looking somewhat
uncomfortable. the cone
of thought backward,
expanding all colours
and size – infinite large
in shape and not knowing
collision. thought in there.
there’s so much person
in everyone’s head
that one shouldn’t fit
on a bus. like going to a tent
in wexford, in growing season.
seeing how sunlight
makes strawberries.

The overly personal poems

flying our interest
like flags at a football match.

animals hidden
amongst other animals;

robins
in gardens
fighting christmas
decorations.

camouflage –
the rage
and futility
of display.

Fear of losing

what you’ve managed to get.
or reducing your income.
or only maintaining it.

fear that the job
will be different
next year. fear
that it won’t be.

that my girl-
friend won’t marry me.
that she will.
that she will

sometimes.
all these thoughts driving
nails in the soles
of my feet. I sit at a table

outside a cafe
eating a fried breakfast
sandwich. traffic honks,

snarls and sends smoke
through my mouth
and they finger my collar.

it’s saturday. the weekend
a scramble. the weekdays
some eggshell which got
in the pan. a truck

could be sideswiped, could come
off the road.

I wouldn’t get out

of the way.

The train goes thwacking

grown tired of my novel,
I stretch,
scratch my legs.
everyone here is sat down;
sleeping or freezing
in snowdrifts
of quiet conversation.

it’s late. outside
the train goes
thwacking
like a galloping animal
over countryside.

in here
we’re all sealed in.

it’s very quiet.
steel
tore the ground like a tight pair of shoes
and left it red
and wounded
and we run across it
together
in silence
ignoring each other.

DS Maolalai is a graduate of English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin and recently returned there after four years abroad in the UK and Canada. He has been writing poetry and short fiction for the past five or six years with some success. His writing has appeared in 4’33’, Strange Bounce and Bong is Bard, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Out of Ours, The Eunoia Review, Kerouac’s Dog, More Said Than Done, Star Tips, Myths Magazine, Ariadne’s Thread, The Belleville Park Pages, Killing the Angel and Unrorean Broadsheet, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work is published in two collections; Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden ((Encircle Press, 2016)) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019).

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

Poetry Drawer: The Art of Seeing: Memory of Hope: Eyes of the Painter by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

The Art of Seeing

In the aroma of Madeira in
a glass and the incense of
tallow she finds her muse
in the day’s snug sunshine,
painting the birth of a wren
by hand, her heart trembling,
coming alive, she’s not too far
away from the white blossoms
of dogwood trees, and she calls
her craft the art of seeing,
examining the world around
her like an artist with a keen
eye capturing animal life like
she did the blackbird in flight,
wings all aflutter eclipsing
the sun, the oak and eagle as
her witness. Everyday her life
is opened up and with the fine
strokes of her paintbrush she
sparks a red flower to dance
brightly, illumines the tiny
movements of a butterfly
climbing the window glass,
sunlight glowing in its wings

Memory of Hope

Raindrops danced on the red
brick terrace and rippled
the surface of the cerulean
birdbath, my world never
silent as I listen to the rhythmic
tap of rain on my window, on
the patio table; the memory of
hope I thought I may never know
again, a soft-born light I wished
would revise itself inside of me,
nudge its synergy with the god
in heaven to make me want to
live again, a potent reminder that
without hope it’s too easy to give
up and die. My spirit shyly opened
when autumn’s shower outside
slowly came to an end, leaving
behind a luminous rainbow aura
on my bedroom wall.

Eyes of the Painter

Elation swirls inside his heart
come the half rising dawn
when he undoes his tangled
layers of thought and lets
the life all around him spill
from the tip of his paintbrush
onto the canvas, a garden
brimful of visual delights
living inside him in the rains
of November, driven by his
visions and the taste of tea
leaves on his tongue; every
arc of colour, every exquisite
detail pure as the beauty of
an early snow. In his eyes he
steals from a childhood memory,
the plumb feathers of a peacock;
and a quiet healing in the inner
layers of his heart calm him while
he is alone for hours, the sound
of a symphony on his stereo
drifting in from the music room.
One day he finds himself growing
blind and when his eyesight is
gone he longs to paint what he
sees in his dreams.

Bobbi Sinha-Morey‘s poetry has appeared in a wide variety of places such as Plainsongs, Pirene’s Fountain, The Wayfarer, Helix Magazine, Miller’s Pond, The Tau, Vita Brevis, Cascadia Rising Review, Old Red Kimono, and Woods Reader. Her books of poetry are available at Amazon and her work has been nominated for Best of the Net Anthology in 2015, 2018, and 2020, as well as having been nominated for The Pushcart Prize in 2020. 

Poetry Drawer: Luck: Ode to the Gun: The True Nature of a Healthy Stroll: Eyeballing the New Estate by John Grey

Luck

I remain ever hopeful.
Just looking for a sign that’s all.
Doesn’t have to be a booming voice.
Or a bright light through the window.
It’s not as if disappointment
overdoes the atmosphere.
No deep bass notes on the piano,
no owls at the window
or grim reaper at the door.
The failures happen at such ordinary times
in such ordinary ways.
The flat beer. The lousy gift.
The smile that drifts over my right shoulder
to the guy behind.
So let the better times begin
in as commonplace a way
as a pool ball sunk off a carom,
getting the last outside table
at a restaurant on a beautiful summer’s day.
The rain’s been used so many times
as cliché for the down times,
I’d even hoist my sail to its sudden stopping.
Like I said before, I don’t need a miracle
The keys just need to be where I left them.
And maybe the copy machine doesn’t break down.
Such are the vagaries of the common man.
The horror story that’s really a fairy tale.
The wish list that makes its excuses.

Ode to the Gun

The gun sits
on the dressing table
beside the unmade bed
in a ramshackle motel room
off the interstate.

It’s cold as death,
glints away whatever
sunshine dares to
come its way.

Without a shot fired,
it toughens one guy
and trembles another enough
to make his knees knock together.

On a dressing table,
cold as death,
without a shot fired,
try telling that gun,
it doesn’t kill people.

The True Nature of a Healthy Stroll

A hill shaped like a skull,
a lopsided house
for a family tilted the other way,
a waddling woman
with cavernous eye sockets…
and that’s just the first block.

A faceless man,
an Indian fakir,
a klezmer band
playing “My Way” in Yiddish…
it’s not easy to cross a road around here.

How can I get where I’m going
when an albino armadillo crosses my path,
it’s raining Rolexes
and the fire station’s aflame?

Meanwhile,
the pavement’s as green as my stomach,
my umbrella won’t open,
the zipper of my pants
cuts like razor blades
and I still have another
hundred yards or so to go.

I never make it.
The odds are not in my favour.
Across the grocery store parking lot,
a plastic bag rolls like tumbleweed.
A grosbeak alights
on a grey wire fence.

Eyeballing the New Estate

Trees line just about everything.
Even the trees are lined with trees.
This is not foliage left unharmed by the bulldozers.
The greenery is imported.

The houses have names like Gardenview or Hilltop.
They’re places in a dream town.
A windless sunny parody of the way we live.
They front a lake studded with swans.

We’re driving on just-paved roads
in a new estate that used to be forest.
Those with money can’t wait to put down a deposit,
to get away from the likes of us.

Once this neighbourhood’s
fully occupied we will not be invited back.
My mother sighs. But without malice.
She’s long since learned to accept her own highway exit.

Goodnight Dear

Typical night
of sleeping by subtraction,
because the people running
are not us,
and nor are we the chasers.

Same with the gunshots.
We didn’t fire the revolvers.
And they weren’t aimed
in our direction.

So our neighbours scream.
We don’t.
They even thump each other
from time to time.
But only noise spills over
into our sanctuary.
Not fists.

Those growling dogs
can’t bite us.
The yowling black cat
may upturn a trash can lid
but not our good fortune
by strolling across our path.

We’re free and clear of our surrounds.
The huddled homeless woman
doesn’t share our bed.
Nor does the sex offender
in the room above.

Bad things happen to other people.
That’s why we have it so good.

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.

Poetry Drawer: Back Roads: Diorama: Invisible Man: Scout and Jem: Give or Take by Michael Estabrook

Back Roads

Longing for the good
old days even knowing
you can never go back.

As the months and years have rolled by since I’ve retired
I’ve lost touch with most of my old coworkers.
It’s the nature of the beast I tell myself
the natural order of things
as you have less and less to do with someone
less and less in common, you lose touch
it’s simply the way it is, it’s normal.
Lisa’s wealthy now, goes biking through the back roads
of Tuscany and Scotland, what
would I have to say to her, or to Craig
who is younger than me, visiting colleges with his son?

Diorama

But I’m not done living!
he shouted at the gods
shaking his fist.

Strange to think that I’ve lived twice as long
as my father lived.
He died as a young man.
But as my father
no matter how much older than him I live to be
he’ll always be older than me
because time itself at his death
is forever frozen unable to move forward.
So he’s 36 and I’m stuck at 15
in this timeless diorama forever.

Invisible Man

Don’t take your yourself
too seriously. Without humour
you’re dead in the water.

Rick was a good guy
the handsomest guy I ever knew.
We worked together sometimes stopping
at a bar at the end of the day.
Fascinating watching the ladies buzzing around him
winking and waving
or coming right over to say hi
ignoring me completely
even though I was sitting next to him.
It was like I was the Invisible Man.
“That happen often?” I asked him
as a stunning young woman handed him
her business card, touched him
on the shoulder saying call me.
He shrugged and smiled, such a modest guy.
Yep. Rick was a good guy
the handsomest guy I ever knew.
Fun to be around unless of course
you were hoping to find a date for yourself.

Scout and Jem

Memory’s the second
thing to go you know
she said with a giggle.

I remind myself that doing really well
at Trivial Pursuit is not
I repeat NOT proof that you are smart. But I suppose
recalling so many facts pertaining to history,
literature, science, sports, even entertainment is cause
for feeling pride particularly when
you’re a Septuagenarian supposed to have a fading memory.
“But before getting too inflated and self-satisfied,”
spouts the damn Devil floating in the corner,
“I’d be remiss in not reminding you that you did think
Victoria Falls was the tallest waterfall in the world
and you did forget the nicknames
of Atticus’s children in
To Kill a Mockingbird, you moron.”

Give or Take

Don’t waste time worrying
about what you can’t change
or fix, she tells me all the time.

The fancy-pants astrophysicist
with the big glasses and crazy hair explains
in logical scientific detail
that in 5 billion years (give or take)
our Milky Way Galaxy will collide
with our neighbour
the so much larger Andromeda Galaxy
and be torn apart.
Oh no! I think and begin to worry
but abruptly realize – 5 billion years, seriously!
Even I can’t be that stupid to worry
about something 5 billion years down the road
I tell myself as I see the Devil in his corner
shaking his head not having to say anything
this time for a change.

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

Poetry Drawer: A Fluffy Cat by Monobina Nath

A fluffy cat standing at the top
of the wooden stairs
Grey hair, black- headed sphere,
Five claws on each front paws,
eight on rear.
Relishing the evening sea
With white, long moustaches, rolling glee.
She lifts her pink yogurt ears
To hear-
Her unblinking yellow, black- stripes,
Smoky eyes, that reply
To the wise, to rise, to say goodbyes.

Monobina Nath is a poetess living in Kolkata, India, and also a third year student of English honours in Brahmananda Keshab Chandra College. Poems published in the anthology Chrysanthemum, newspaper International Times, Meghalaya Times, Indian Periodical. Magazines- Evepoetry, Setu Bilingual, TechTouch Talk, Spillwords Press, Ode to a Poetess and various e-magazines. Monobina’s work was selected in the National Bilingual Poetry Competition in 2021. 

Poetry Drawer: Sway and Sway: Another Dream, Another Chance: Slant Rhyme With Me by Joe Albanese

Sway and Sway

Sway and sway the birds away

the vine, it grows like autumn slumber,
heroes died along the way

weakness is my fallen glowing,
just like villains kept at bay

trick-or-treat the youthful sending,
Pleiades owes the warmth come May

velvet houses are my queue unknowing,
sway and sway the birds away

Another Dream, Another Chance

An angel fare, my modern scream—a day
within a day
I lost myself and found you there—within
the wild fray

Hope! The return of desperate prayer—luck,
anointment, haze
Another dream, another chance—one more
along the way

Slant Rhyme With Me

Won’t you stay and slant-
        rhyme with me?
Sometimes—lost in omni-pain—I
bleed right
        up the wall, then
get doused in stain.
        Call it what you will, it’s all
the same—at times I need
what’s in the mud, and all you
        seized.
What’s left in me?
Maybe I just need a moment
tomorrow to breathe, but not
        today—
        today is for slant rhyme.
Won’t you stay and
        slant-rhyme with me?

Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in 12 countries. Joe is the author of Benevolent KingCainaCandy Apple RedFor the Blood is the LifeSmash and Grab, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man.

Poetry Drawer: Mavericks: The Blood That Makes Us Black: In Maid’s Water: The Head in his Fedora Hat by Strider Marcus Jones

Mavericks

you taste of cinnamon and fish
when you wish
to be romantic-
and the ciphers of our thoughts
make ringlets with their noughts
immersed in magic-
like mithril mail around me
stove dark forest, pink flesh sea
touchings tantric-
make reality and myths
converge in elven riffs
of music, so we dance it-
symbols to the scenes
of conflict, mavericks in dreams
that now sit-
listening to these pots and kettles
blackening on the fire
of rhetoric and murderous mettles-
before we both retire
to our own script.

The Blood That Makes Us Black

imagine yourself,
in a photo-fit picture
with every nothing that’s new-
minus in health,
quoting icons and scripture
under the whole black and blue.

optimum dreams
turn out fake in the mirror
facing what’s been like fallen heroes-
in so many scenes
like a ghost who is giver
passing on wisdom, who knows-

the blood that makes us black
of two from one,
is schooled by fungus fortunes
and faiths old hat
to be sold on-
like tamed-trained gangs, making golden dunes.

In Maid’s Water

we’ve left the well-footed
road,
the rutted
and rebutted
road
of shadows cast
by towered glass.

opened closed curtains
for fusty moths,
chanted white spells with Wiccan’s
goths;
left pictured
rooms and halls-
become un-scriptured
hills and squalls-

in maid’s water
pouring down her
erect chalk man,
like a wild gypsy,
love tipsy
partisan,
smelling of cinnabar
and his cigar,
swirling
like whirling
clouds
while the changed wind howls.

Minds and Musk

so now
we both came
to this same
branch and bough-
no one else commutes
from different roots.

me carrying Celtic stones
with runes on skin over bones-
and you, in streams
on evicted land
trashed ancients panned-
our truth dreams
under star light crossing beams.

in here, there is no mask
of present building out the past
with gilded Shard’s of steel and glass
shutting out who shall not pass.
the tree of life breathes
a rebel destiny believes-
we are minds and musk
no more husks and dust.

The Head in his Fedora Hat

a lonely man,
cigarette,
rain
and music
is a poem
moving,
not knowing-
a caravan,
whose journey does not expect
to go back
and explain
how everyone’s ruts
have the same
blood and vein.

the head in his fedora hat
bows to no one’s grip,
brim tilted into the borderless
plain
so his outlaw wit
can confess
and remain
a storyteller,
that hobo fella
listening like a barfly
for a while
and slow-winged butterfly
whose smile
they can’t close the shutters on
or stop talking about
when he walks out
and is gone.

whisky and tequila
and a woman, who loves to feel ya
inside
and outside
her

when ya move
and live as one,
brings you closer
in simplistic
unmaterialistic
grooved
muse Babylon.

this is so,
when he stands with hopes head,
arms and legs
all a flow
in her Galadriel glow
with mithril breath kisses
condensing sensed wishes
of reality and dream
felt and seen
under that
fedora hat
inhaling smoke
as he sang and spoke
stranger fella
storyteller.

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.

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