Poetry Drawer: Foreshadows by Ian C Smith

Sounds, ship and sea-formed, rigging’s creaks and groans, the rush of bow-split water a hiss of displeasure, they pursue fate, jettisoned provisions a sore loss.  After Tenerife, starless but dry, no rainfall since approaching the equator when the cursed pumpkins began to spoil, a threat lurks, something in the air other than ozone.  Churchill, always seeking eminence, nurses a scalded hand, the cook, broken ribs.  James Morrison’s arm is infected.

A Scot, an educated man good at judging heights and distances at sea, Morrison runs his mind over how these tars have been spoiling in the wake of the aforesaid pumpkins amid the galley’s enveloping smoke because of Bligh’s schemes.  Surely their vituperative profiteering captain won’t be taken for a god à la Cook?  Constant gales prevent their navigation of Cape Horn.

On midnight watch, Morrison discerns the sails’ dim outlines.  Cocooned by night’s cloak he can’t stop thinking about the bird, eight-foot span wingtips stretched, killed and eaten earlier that day.  Sailing the panic of wind off Patagonia’s coast riding tunnels of air like a heavenly messenger, its grace, soaring freedom, aroused optimism.  He knows they rest at Tristan da Cunha, endure long arduous journeys.

Young James Ballantyne misses historical drama’s denouement, no crowd scene role treading the boards of that deck in the future’s final act.  His corpse sinks, slowly rotating, free-falling in a chance choreography through the ever-darkening ocean, fish twitching away from his shroud, ropes holding firm so far.  Solemn shipmates wrench their thoughts from this, the first death, strain towards their sweet theatre of dreams, the idea of Otaheite’s sun-blazed volcanic mountains illustrating an otherwise monotony of horizon.

Bligh’s frustration washes over pustular Surgeon Huggan.  Still abed, obese, pickled, his foetid days now acutely numbered, Bounty’s doctor, cabin a congeries of spillage, wine and sweat, drools vomit to his rattling chest.  Several ships have been sighted but they have spoken to none.  The boy sailor’s remains borne by gravity away from shillings of light dappling the sea’s surface, grief hovering in abeyance for his people in Blighty, the wind has freshened since Van Diemen’s Land, its airy questing urging them each to his particular end.

Ian C Smith’s work has been published in BBC Radio 4 Sounds,The Dalhousie Review, Gargoyle, Ginosko Literary Journal, Griffith Review, Southword, The Stony Thursday Book, & Two Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island.

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

Poetry Drawer: I Age: Crypt in the Sky: Priscilla, Let’s Dance: Willow Tree Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

I Age

Arthritis and aging make it hard,
I walk gingerly, with a cane, and walk
slow, bent forward, fear threats,
falls, fear denouement-
I turn pages, my family albums
become a task.
But I can still bake and shake,
sugar cookies, sweet potato,
lemon meringue pies.
Alone, most of my time,
but never on Sundays,
friends and communion,
United Church of Canada.
I chug a few down,
love my Blonde Canadian Pale Ale,
Copenhagen long cut a pinch of snuff.
I can still dance the Boogie-woogie,
Lindy Hop in my living room,
with my nursing care home partner.
Aging has left me with youthful dimples,
but few long-term promises.

Crypt in the Sky

Order me up,
no one knows
where this crypt in the sky
like a condo on the 5th floor
suite don’t sell me out
over the years;
please don’t bury me beneath
this ground, don’t let me decay
inside my time pine casket.
Don’t let me burn to cremate
skull last to turn to ashes.
Treasure me high where no one goes,
no arms reach, stretch.
Building for the Centuries
then just let it fall.
These few precious dry bones
preserved for you, sealed in the cloud
no relocation is necessary,
no flowers need to be planted,
no dusting off that dust each year,
no sinners can reach this high.
Jesus’ heaven, Jesus’ sky.

Note: Dedicated to the passing of beloved Katie Balaskas.

Priscilla, Let’s Dance

Priscilla, Puerto Rican songbird,
an island jungle dancer, Cuban heritage,
rare parrot, a singer survivor near extinction.
She sounds off on notes, music her
vocals hearing background bongos,
piano keys, Cuban horns.
Quote the verse patterns,
quilt the pieces skirt bleeds,
then blend colours to light a tropical prism.
Steamy Salsa, a little twist, cha-cha-cha
dancing rhythms of passions, sacred these islands.
Everything she has is movement
tucked nice and tight but explosive.
She mimics these ancient sounds
showing her ribs, her naked body.
Her ex-lovers remain nightmares
pointed daggers, so criminal, so stereotyped.
Priscilla purifies her dreams with repentance.
She pours her heart out, everything
condensed to the bone, petite boobies,
cheap bras, flamboyant Gi strings.
Her vocabulary is that of sin and Catholicism.
Island hurricanes form her own Jesus
slants of hail, detonate thunder,
the collapse of hell in her hands after midnight.
Priscilla remains a background rabble-rouser,
almost remorseful, no apologies
to the counsel of Judas
wherever he hangs.

Willow Tree Poem

Wind dancers
dancing to the
willow wind,
lance-shaped leaves
swaying right to left
all day long.
I’m depressed.
Birds hanging on-
bleaching feathers
out into
the sun.

Michael Lee Johnson
lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 275 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook poetry groups and member of the Illinois State Poetry Society

Poetry Drawer: In the Storm: Revolt: Baffled: Playhouse by Aneek Chatterjee

In the Storm

When the storms came,
father tied a rope through the whole
of each iron frame, supposed to hold
glass panes of the windows tight.
Latches of the window frames were long
broken, like our families, known and unknown.
There were glasses everywhere,
between you and me,
transparent, yet invisible;
we can see, but we’re unable to.

Ropes were ephemeral, unlike the storms.
They were blown away quickly.
And the glass panes were shivering in fear,
like me and father, everyone knew iron frame.

In the storm, I failed to realize
which was more vulnerable; —
glass or the iron frame.


On a dangerous turn of the mountain,
I saw someone trying to cut winds
through his hands.

I felt shaky, yet curious.
And tried to replicate.
But my hands revolted.

Informed, they were tired
with socially warm


Initial interactions whispered,
you were a poem without

Finally discovered
myriad notes of interrogation,
without any comma.

I felt like a semicolon,
unable to guess, whether
I should move a full stop.


We have created this playhouse
& named it undecipherable.
Here, our daily sojourn runs smooth as if
on rail tracks; where our sons and daughters
take a ride, which we tend to think
as merry ride.
When the train gets a jolt, we try to
change the track, not the coach.
In this coach, several games are played,
some tough, some easy. In this coach,
we stage multiple dramas, some straight,
some imagined, some undecipherable.

We have created this playhouse, to remain
happy, or to believe happy, satiated.
This playhouse devours us, until we leave …
& we do not know the ultimate
fate of our coach, which for some years
remained our playhouse

Aneek Chatterjee is from Kolkata, India. He has been published in poetry magazines and anthologies across the globe. He authored 16 books including four poetry collections, namely, “Seaside Myopia” (Cyberwit, 2018); “Unborn Poems and Yellow Prison” (Cyberwit, 2019); “Of Ashes and Persiflage” (Hawakal, 2020) and “Archive Avenue” (Cyberwit, 2022). He was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia, USA and a recipient of the ICCR Chair (Govt. of India) to teach abroad. 

Poetry Drawer: I Used To Dislike Eventide: Gone River: A Tale From My Memory: On A Seismic Scale: Narrative by Kushal Poddar

I Used To Dislike Eventide

Sun sets the honey hive on fire.
This is still earth, here,
a little more ornate, a shade of bride-fresh.

I cover my mother’s hand with mine,
hers ever tinier, shrinking further,
becoming those of my daughter’s,
still large enough to drown the sky
if held before my eyes.

Gone River

Along a long gone river
rove my memories.

The rhyme of ducks, ashes, ashes,
and the old stone bridge that stays

loyal to those who dare to cross,
say, “You may stand on the devil’s arc

but there will be no shadow
to forge the hole, not in whole.”

Who am I who tour the echo?
Why a revisiting hollows out
spaces hallowed?

A Tale From My Memory

We play memory-game today,
pretend we do not know this place
and form O with our mouths
when we find all the hidden keys and knives.

On A Seismic Scale

I sewed my lids tight against
my rapids of eyes. Earth quivers,
people already pouring into the thoroughfares,
avenues, roads, streets, lanes, alleys behind
your moss and mess. The couch canoes in a vortex.
A falling jar of silence crashes even before
hitting the floor. What are we now? Where are you
when the earth shakes? My friend calls me
to say his mistress doesn’t know what to do with
his body. Bury in a debris? I whisper.


He can see her, his wife,
singing in their son’s wedding
and drowning in the pallor of cancer,
him singing to her. The song he
cannot recall is a milestone.
One can move either way.

He can see her, the song.
A woman blinds it with her hands,
soft, whiting away hands.
She says, “Guess the lyrics, dear tune.”

An author, journalist, and father, Kushal Poddar, editor of ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight books, the latest being ‘Postmarked Quarantine’. His works have been translated into eleven languages. 

Poetry Drawer: Brit-ish by John Lindley

I’ve been seeking something in Cornwall
I’ve been searching for it in Wales
I’ve been studying the latest guide books
And listening to the Ancient Tales
I look deep into the eyes of the people I pass
But none of this gets me too far
I’m in a battered place called Britain
And I’m looking for who we are.

We’re the bastard sons and daughters
Of the Romans and the Celts
Our potential’s the tip of the iceberg
But it’s one that slowly melts
If all that was then and this is now
I gotta work it out if I can
’cause I’m bruised and I’m bloody and British
And I wanna know who I am

You won’t find answers in our hearts anymore
They’re as con-fused as our heads
You won’t find nothing out from the words we say
’cause they aren’t quite what we said
You won’t find it in Jubilee, authority
Or in shared conscience anymore
We’re nasty, brutish and short of ideas
And can’t remember what we’re here for

Identity is what you want it to be
You can make it whatever it fits
Call us English, Northern Irish, Scots and Welsh
Call us Limeys, Poms or Brits
If you think that will help explain to yourself
Who we are beneath these scars
Then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din
In working out who we are

Good people are all around us
I keep telling that to one and all
But The Moral Majority gets bigger
And they haven’t any morals at all
Too many turn into dyslexics by choice
To read the Letter of the Law
We’re a busted flush called Britain
And we don’t know what we’re standing for

Let’s talk about the Union Jack, Jack
Talk about St. George’s Cross
If it wasn’t such a drag we’d rally round the flag
And show everybody who’s boss
Boss of quite what, we’re not sure anymore
There’s been a change to our regime
But we’re British right through to our misplaced hearts
Trying to figure out what that means

©John Lindley 2022

Born in Stockport and now living in Congleton, Cheshire, John Lindley’s poetry has appeared widely in magazines as well as being broadcast on radio. John was Cheshire Poet Laureate in 2004 and Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year 2010.

John’s website.

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

Poetry Drawer: Beyond by Sayani Mukherjee

Jewels of unhappening
My solemn thoughts to unbind me
What is timeless may stand still
Creation’s bemused space
The nightspring of desire
May collide in one union platform
May lyricism found peace in
The softness in the unchanging innocence
May the lamp burn forever
Furthermore pain more destruction
I have come in full circle
What lies beyond thoughts
Mundane responsibilities everyday living
Little wonders joy sorrows
My aching cup of imagination
It’s half brimmed in full measure
In places my eyes seek
What comes in surface stays for two
Three days
But ideas are my life force
It pours in rain soaked abundance
The cup is endless

Poetry Drawer: Harvesting Your Soul: Light: Sorrows Inside by Mohammed Omer Shabbir

Harvesting Your Soul

To win the greatest prize, one must first find,
The light in life, near streams where meadows grow,
And where the trees rise above the clouds,
Towards paradise for renewed life.

Stay away from those who speak with thorns,
The spikes of hate, always shed innocent blood.
Becoming the enemy of companions of faith,
Those who cherish bonds are the advocates of joy.

Open your mind and reveal your heart,
Within your soul lies the seeds for growth,
Nurture and encourage your fruit to bloom,
When harvested the doors of paradise unfold.


Is light a blinding sight?
Should all run and hide,
Staring into the light,
As the light stares back,
Deeply into one’s soul.

I hope one can find hope,
Surrounded by rich rays,
A safe embrace of faith,
Relieving the sombre torments,
That life always forms.

Sorrows Inside

The sorrows of this world disappear,
As the clouds in the sky fade away,
Releasing the weight inside,
A burden that sustains all of life.

Behind the veil, there is light,
Sorrows to never again cause harm,
Never to materialise and acquire time,
Beyond this world awaits infinite life.

Mohammed is a writer from Manchester. He explores a wide range of topics in his poetry, expressing and experimenting with different styles. He endeavours to raise awareness for important issues in society and wildlife awareness. By using his unique perception to share different perspectives. His work can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram

Poetry Drawer: Always There: A Sense Of Rank: Dimensions: Family Album: Gasping for Air: Hard Time For The Circus Clown by Joe Farley

Always There

Love is a lasting word
even when it is temporary.
Oh, that feeling. What was it?
A spring fever?
A sweet delusion?
Yes, we both enjoyed
the rubbing of parts,
a blessed friction,
and all the skin
we touched,
and the flowers
given and received.

It was all so nice,
even the agony
and the lies.
I’ll never forget you.
Maybe you will never
forget me.
Old faces worn
like thumbtacks
pressed into our eyes.

A Sense Of Rank

My ancient peasant blood
trembles at the thought
of greatness,
so I avoid it
in others
and in my self.

Who needs a halo
and epaulets?
I am general of the armies
of dust balls
racing across the floor.


The multiverse I heard
will be going out of fashion.
Unfortunate. It explains
so much,
such as why it seems
we are together
and so far apart,
and why the wind
blows so hard,
but cannot turn
a pinwheel
held in your hand.

Family Album

All the lies and all the dead
now forgotten
along with their crimes.
Oh ho, you there.
Step this way please.
By order of so and so
you are cut out
of the picture.

Gasping for Air

I don’t know
the colour of my lungs,
and do not want you
to check.

Peace be with you brother.
Let me breathe as I am,
one quarter lung or less
of freedom and forgiveness.

Hard Time For The Circus Clown

I have run out of paint
to cover my face.
No powder, No nose
round and red enough.

I shall sit here
in puffy clothes
smiling at the strangers
who look my way
and pass by

in search of
a more entertaining
along death row.

Joseph Farley is former editor of Axe Factory, Poetry Chain Letter, Implosion, Paper Airplane and other zines.  He has had over 1300 poems and 130 short stories published so far during his 40 plus year writing career. His fiction books include two story collections  Farts and Daydreams (Dumpster Fire) and For the Birds (Cynic), and a novel Labor Day (Peasantry Press). He has also penned nine chapbooks and books of poetry. His work has appeared recently in Schlock, Horror Sleaze Trash,  Home Planet News Online. Corvus Review, Ygdrasil, Eunoia Review, US 1 Worksheets, Oddball, Alien Buddha Zine and other places.

Poetry Drawer: Grey and green: Dripping emotions: Broken blanket by Raghda Mouazen

Grey and green

Pure grey, impure white
Paleness is everywhere
Towers with considerable height
Blocking the view
Of the ancient black and blue.

The murmur of the crowd
Busy narrow road
But the sight, the hearing craves for
The swish, the tweets, the rainbow.

Fresh soothing stream
The crystal glowing current
Can never be like
The hurrid rushing flow
Of shineless fluid
From a metal pipe.

Infinite majestic waters
Waves hitting shores
The calming whoosh
A gentle breeze
Cannot be found in a tub
Full of stillness and soap.

Fields of colour
Green, red, blue
Dance on the gentle melody
Of the breeze that blew
Need to be seen
By the eyes that had only in memory
Plastic, paper, artificial beam.

The horizon is near
The white walls embrace me here
Where’s the far line
The mesmerising colours, the twilight.

I long for the alteration
The variety of scene
Of one horizon
Day and night, seen.

What has been forever in sight
We thrive to see on websites
Go and feed the soul, the hearing, the seeing
For in nature all to the soul is healing.

Dripping emotions

It is not as easy as it seems
To pour the heart
On a white sheet,
To select the proper amount
Of something inconcrete,
Of drops, of adequate sense
To bleed ink and make them see
What resides behind these beats.

Broken blanket

Gentle steps indoors,
Heartwarming voice echoes,
In memory.
Frozen under this cold blanket
I remember that cozy one
Broken blanket?
How to get that heavy one I had?
About thousands of kilometres back?
It held your worries, your heart
On me you laid a blanket
You laid a palm
So cozy, so warm
So so far.

Raghda Mouazen is an English literature graduate from Tishreen University in Syria. She works as an English teacher and enjoys painting, writing, and language learning. She speaks Arabic, English, German, Turkish, French, and a little Japanese. Her poetry appeared on various websites online including Synchronized Chaos Magazine, and Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine. 

Poetry Drawer: Stick Figures Increase Cautious Limbs: Vague Threatening Ideologies: Made to Fail: warbly ounce of rosary: circumstantial assertions avoid by Joshua Martin

Stick Figures Increase Cautious Limbs

Debate a rag
into a frayed jacket,
            boundless shade
            structured around a colleague.
                     Yet grin.

Misses function until a baron avoids
bleeding that bestows a process beneath a pulp,
                             shoes CRATER earth
                             ,     from chaos Meek neck.

Pedaling mysterious takedowns in a pot
delivered as a battered orange motion
processing an ignored hive:
                          Pockets Swell,
                          express floundering
                          rough draft translation.

     chemical leather strap. Last bit
                                             of a crumb,
                                forthwith blemish
                                of limitations – – –
                menacing forlorn vistas, vibes,
                                                      instantaneous verge.

Tug & tackle & twilight
                             white noise.

Vague Threatening Ideologies

not a tongue animating stick
but the present tense sneezing
of a formaldehyde trapdoor
cinching ventriloquist dummy
less than
          OR equal TO
a fetus protected
                      more than
                      an idea
     , as if communion wafers
       were nourishment, tho
the insteps perform
matter of fact hexes
               all abandoned possibilities
               become the summation
               of     a

 Made to Fail

faster strutting

     eagle birthing

a murder of crows.

               all worth
of a liver,

       symbolic genealogy.

regulatory effects,
           this last
           of luxurious empires:

all that crumbles
and fades and
        from resisted

warbly ounce of rosary

portray miniscule trouser snippets
cough   cough   cough   cough   cough
        machine          HITS     sound    FiLe
    ‘harder than a neon empire sweatsuit’
& cylinder EXITS bellow cruising chop
                                               , whoosh
                                                      WHOOSH ,,
                         whiffing weapons of
           MaSs        discontent     – – –   ‘shower & join us
                                                            on the boot farm’ – – –
bona fide fourth trench of the industrial circus
window shipping vampiric snapping flask
                   ]whosoever blanched meeting martini shades[ ,,,
    AdDeD       bUrSt     of    yearly    stipend.

circumstantial assertions avoid

heretics assent outlining caricatures
lack distinguished section V further addressed
disease of profound anemic limping
all due wounded apprehension species

                     glow certain forms
                     common integral list
                     proper pooling arguments

of each
     of giving
          of ultimatum lungs

                               provided oxygen hampers
                               an end a functional virtue
                               wither substance however
                               such skills lacking weapon
                               existence assigned wholly

            destroy communal controversy
            the hollowed void of partial citations
            resisting the logic of common sense

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is member of C22, an experimental writing collective. He is the author of the books automatic message (Free Lines Press), combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, Version (9), Don’t Submit!, BlazeVOX, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and experiential-experimental-literature. You can find links to his published work here.

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