You were an only child, weren’t you? The look on the face, The tone of voice, Assumption, condescension, accusation: That you are wrapped up in yourself, That you lurk on the edges of greed: A minority group Without advocates to lobby For our interests. Don’t tell me what I missed Having no siblings, What I never learned to do. There were advantages: We never lacked for books to read, And when the time came To attend to the frail and failing, Lay them to rest, We did it by ourselves.
I spent the morning Trying to restore the Zoom icon To the home screen on my phone, Not an unlikely way For an 82-year-old to pass his time. The grandchildren are some help And know to resist eye-rolling. We got a Facebook account So we could watch the church service Online. We did not add pictures or information. We have not listed friends And do not know If anyone has listed us. Someone I think I might have known In Kiwanis Keeps wanting to add me to his LinkedIn list. We rely on Zoom in this strange time. People carry on about it But it suits me fine. I thought I had restored the icon To the home screen. That’s not quite true, But I can get to it now With only one extra click.
Favourite authors dropped off For the church book sale, The passing of a friend. Easier to part with: Those memos to the file, Notes on events Of interest to lawyers. We did not succeed: A storage shed, tight With boxes, whose labels Have lost meaning; Somewhere in there Green Depression Glass That did not sell on eBay, The Chelsea we bought for Caroline.
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 Bob’s poems here on Ink Pantry.
The van brakes, but at a less frantic pace. That’s what life is like in lockdown. Different uses though the same materials provided. Now we make single- serve liturgies of cryogenic ice cream; filled loosely, uncompacted.
She calmed down after he’d fini- shed talking. The photographer’s shadow & her breathless carols fell across everything like patented dentifrice. I’m in a groove where I’d rather not be. The perform- ance lasts roughly two hours.
“& see all these things”
Humour has to do with the fact that certain restrictions are often imposed upon people’s movements. That any major drive for banning
customized services will ex- plode due to excess demand & denial of service unless it’s sponsored by the Noh theaters of central Japan. That spring
protection entails sealing off a spring’s water source to all women & girls. (This last idea first floated in a memo attri- buted to the Pope’s equerry.)
The Pound Cantos: CENTO XXII
Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar. Hot wind came from the marshes. The reeds are heavy, bent. Next is a river wide, full of water. Small boat floats like a lanthorn. Drift of weed in the bay. She gave me a paper to write on, made like fish- net, of a strange quality that sets
sighs to move, to fascinate the eyes of the people. Light also proceeds from the eye. The echo turns back on my mind in a biological process that very few people will understand. Matter is the lightest of all things.
geographies: Mojave Desert
Somewhere here, among the rare earths, there’s an artificial Afghanistan, complete with working casinos & a replica of the Louvre. People go dancing in those areas especially critical for bird conservation & feel right at home. The few Devils Hole
pupfish left like to do a mean Lindy Hop which the planes in the bone yard manage to ignore. They remain in wallflower stasis, stirring only to watch the tourists when they sometimes fly overhead.
Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of over fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are a collection of visual pieces, The Comedians, from Stale Objects de Press; turning to drones, from Concrete Mist Press; & turpentine from Luna Bisonte Prods.
More of Mark’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry.
A pen pusher, the nib a shark’s tooth, words ripped with passion and fury, pages consumed and attacked with a soulful thoughtful ferocity, leaving behind a clean crime-scene.
The ink seems to be running low, the poems walk a high-wire, most fall but some fragments survive: I gather them like fire-wood and wait for the incineration, the cremation of the words to step forward and sacrifice themselves.
John D Robinson is a UK poet. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in print and online. He has published several chapbooks and four full collections. New & Selected Poems will be appearing later in the year. Red Dance was recently published by Uncollected Press.
The monuments to ignorance and to reason have been staring at each other’s recapitulation from time out of mind. Ignorance is measurable in monuments; reason, in moments.
Momus chooses a moment—and clay comes into play, so one can sculpt something meaningful (occasionally called Auris.) This is a susceptibility experiment. Some have called it palliation; some have called it abductive inference (Intel inside.) Watch possibilities caper beyond the buoy.
Monument huggers live bronze-coloured lives. They grow lemons of embarrassment; they lag musical flags. Note the smoke of their vigils, the mouthful of kisses. Some others travel, but they sprout where they’ve been planted. Only and only.
All questions bow before this: are we prepared to kill somebody to prove that our imaginary guru is better than theirs?
We hide from our naked past in our see-through garments. What can they reveal, anyway, if not what makes us all look like banana fingers?
Somebody shows off his big red zero. Somebody gets diagnosed with BDSM. Marine mud gets rather gummy on a muggy day. If the mud had a brain, would it be deep-brown or see-through? If a womb had a brain, would it nurture an Einstein or cheese crisps? And what if it suffers from misperceptions?
Wherever you are, the world sees your bare blossoms. Here’s a portrait of your confidence as a younger ape, the age of prunes before they wrinkle. Innocence is pleasurable, sex profitable, control very pleasurable, murder extremely profitable. Never bite the tomatoes of my lips.
This is libertinism, it withers and museifies. This is destiny, it excels in making evil from good and good from evil, especially where there’s nothing else to make them from.
How easily heads can be detached from a dragon! All those young men hypnotised by grimaces and tail movements… Don’t be so cheesecake! Do it! A simple chop-chop—and new borders get puffed out, already proof-tested for spelling and spillage.
Out there, watch out for ideology bonfires: you can end up in one if you don’t supply a flamethrower. And this is where dragons come in, short-fused but quick-blinking. What’s not to like about a bouncy walk along the border chalk?
As we powder our reflections’ twin noses in double-glazed mirrors, a brand new yesterday gets shoved into our windows. This is beyond comprehension, like thirsty shadows or torrential trees. Like an egg with a flag.
I like talking about salamanders and goblins. I feel a little like a toy; sometimes like Tolstoy. I’ve put my last 100 clams into betterment, but the upper-crest accent eludes me. You can’t change yourself on a budget; you need a shipment of paint and pain. Your time is a deadwatch time; your medical condition is fiddling. What are you going to do about it?
Look around: your city has always been a moveable beast. Yesterday it worshipped the Holy Randomer; today the Eiffel Tower grows atop some heads. Angels have invested in yellow vests; they are busy with portfolio rebalancing. Wherever you go, ethical judgments stare at you from the local cloaca. Jack Wolfskin appears from around the corner and says, Howdy doody.
By Way of Introduction
Meet the serial killer called progress. Read his book called Backward Induction for Dummies. Note his frozen eyes, his despair. Nothing dies on this planet; this muddles the streams of perfection. Survival is a black aroma; the puddle of choices never dries up. Passing caracaras wonder if they’re seeing an extra-long worm or history in the making. They are not sure, and neither are we. After all, there is something nematodic about thinking.
Somebody said life is an overture. To what? Universe opens little apertures – and here we are, transparent on every side. Happy motherless day! Still, some of us have a positive altitude, while some others conceal their thoughts in ten-foot-tall elephant grass.
Anatoly Kudryavitsky lives in Dublin, Ireland, and in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. His poems appear in Oxford Poetry, The Literary Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Prague Revue, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry, The Honest Ulsterman, The North, Ink Sweat and Tears, Cyphers, Stride, etc. His most recent poetry collections are The Two-Headed Man and the Paper Life (MadHat Press, USA, 2019) and Scultura Involontaria (Casa della poesia, Italy, 2020; a bilingual English/Italian edition). His latest novel, The Flying Dutchman, has been published by Glagoslav Publications, England, in 2018. In 2020, he won an English PEN Translate Award for his anthology of Russian dissident poetry 1960-1980 entitled Accursed Poets (Smokestack Books, 2020). He is the editor of SurVision poetry magazine.
毳：three pieces of hair put together indicates as much subtlety as sensitivity
贔：three mounts of money deposited together stands for hard work
鑫：three kinds of metals stuck together signifies prosperity
垚：three units of earth piled together represents a mountain towering against the sky
森：three trees standing together presents a whole forest
淼：three bodies of water flowing together describes a vast expanse of sea
焱：three fires burning together refers to an extremely bright flame
Yuan Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Jodi Stutz Award in Poetry & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,689 others worldwide.
After my father abandoned her Mother moved back to the country to live with her sister in the house in which they grew up
My aunt was feeble as she’d been in childhood but my mother was strong from all the farm labour she’d done and still resentful of her sister whom she considered a malingerer
Mother did some work for local farmers who felt sorry for her She put on overalls and pulled on high boots Behind her back they called her “Martha the Hired Man” She worked harder than any of the men though she could be mean to the animals if they gave her trouble
The plaster in the farmhouse was cracked and getting worse as the house, after a century continued to settle
Mother bought adjustable metal poles from Ace Hardware went into the leaky cellar did some wrenching propped up the first floor
All around her were cans with dribs and drabs of paint tools rusted on shelves old, decayed baskets
Mother looked over the baskets and remembered the Indians who had lived in rough houses at the border of the property where the lumber train used to run
Spiders made homes in canning jars The rusty cream separator looked arthritic and thirsty like Old Man Creighton down the road
The cellar clutter depressed her She carried the cream separator upstairs and flung it into the yard She put her arms around the gasoline-powered washing machine –it must have weighed two hundred pounds– carried it up the rickety stairs
fired up her dad’s ’55 Chevy pickup and backed it through the yard
She ran over some day lilies her mother had planted to the consternation of her weak sister who stood behind the screen door a handkerchief held to her mouth
Mother hefted the metal into the truck bed threw in some pipe and a well pump and drove to Padnos’s recycling yard where she sent it all crashing to the ground
Smoke drifted around her and a front loader shoved around mountains of junk Rain was starting to come down
She took the grubby bills the attendant gave her and drove back to the farmhouse the truck rattling over every rut
She went into her bedroom where she had a laptop hooked to a satellite
went back to what she’d been doing for most of the day every day since she’d returned
staring at photos of international orphans with cleft palates and abused dogs and cats
You can find more work from Mitch here on Ink Pantry.
I stumble in to the Royal My stool between dark woman and fair man Ghost-woman drink a beer from a coffee can Unreluctance mobility loyal Steaks on to broil Fair man’s name is Dan Fishing tomorrows plan He puts in hid beer fish oil Half mad deathless God Making friends without half trying Moon mid-watchers awed Gloaming gray sky Alabaster silence Izadi The dark woman is shy
Sleepy Whale 372
She only bikes to Bluebird Organic Vegan food and beer Everyone wearing biking gear Radio music’s Blackbird Alabaster Peanuts absurd Radio’s too loud so all can hear We’re saving the Earth and Deer Save all I herd Ghost Candle lights Neologisms scrutinize way Sun flung flint glass daylight Emmy and Tess Hopscotch play No sun’s solar-power making light Now snowing, where my sled
Sleepy Whale 373
She hitch to the Bear Pit Bar Don’t drink the Morning-Glory Bar-Maids from the Dormitory Suzie Gruff playing her guitar She’s like a poor tuned car Unshed tears sky, like an observatory Too much beer to tell a story See the shooting Star Smelling Geysers through a crack in the door Lost Yellowstone in glass Deck drinking on the second floor July’s Christmas Hiking days, now I’m sore Were at the bottom of the Hourglass
Sleepy Whale 374
Flying star ship to Dragonfly Where’s everyone’s Jetson’s shirt Maladroit silk skirt Atonic fast Barfly Ship to the moon glorify AREA 51, lost in the desert UFO’s alert Mars-Woman’s lullaby Catalectic tetrameter North-Star Mid-watcher moon, Rocket She’s playing atomic guitar Singing for Spacey Sprockets Her bars bizarre She put a Sprocket in my pocket
Sleepy Whale 375
It’s snowing I run to Way Side Inn Snows falling Christmas Eve Ghost Woman in the corner weaves Butt of cigar, Ashes on her Chin Rich silk stockings Feminine It’s Christmas, hard to believe Unshed tears, Crucified shirt’s sleeve Ashland’s forty year Gin Where’s the horse slay? Hearth sitting Sabastian’s glow In the light he’s Gloaming gray Snow falling, wind’s starting to blow Ghost woman begin to sway She’s wanting under the Mistletoe
Sleepy Whale 376
I woke up in a bar named Sue Sitting next to fair lady and dark man Drinking Fat-Tire a condensed milk can I roll over for a brew Pot smoking in the corners new Ghost woman’s sitting next to Ann Alabaster silk stocks wearing Ann’s plan West Wealthy the Well-To-Do Bluebird Oyster Soup Life from Outhouse Booze A game with a mini Basket-ball hoop Outcast woman came back to snooze She almost flew the Coop Closing time she sings the Blues
Sleepy Whale 377
We like drinking in Ogden, a Bar on Wall Old Farmer dropping money in the Jut-box Ghost woman’s alabaster skin and red hair Lox I grab a stool next to Paul He high talks on Jazz Basket-ball Green St. Patty’s foaming Ale paradox Crash?! Snot Green Mustang taking-out the mailbox She screams Last Call Ghost woman’s nobbling her beer Wall hanging my eagle Art Deathless Gods atmosphere She talks like she’s so smart Jut-box won’t stop so we can hear She turned out the lights, now time to depart
Sleepy Whale 378
Octoberfest for a month, Snowbird Waning for Beer at Barfly The tram fly’s the blue sky The Mug size not absurd Eating dropped pop-corn, Black-Birds Don’t let the birds drop in your eye She is she, and I am I She’s princes Lady-Bird Blowing the foam off, Foaming Ale Smoking butt of an old Cigar Sabastian’s alabaster black tail Only standing seats in the Bar Wearing her shocking Electric blue dress She began playing her guitar
Sleepy Whale 379
Doing a Jig to be at Piper Downs As I traverse the maze to my seat Slide past a Ghost woman In green silk Drinking a foaming ale in candle light Dark woman and fair man Hiding in the corner dancing Man with sea cold eyes Smoking gun powder cigarettes Brief gestures to sit Human shell bar maid Gerrymandering Poker playing Farmer’s won’t Stay Sat down
Sleepy Whale 380
Won’t find a key they’re always, open Bar Maid Butt of cigar ashes always on her breath Black Forest Clock-mocking twelve times Fashionable charming, Cotton-ball Barons Wearing rich silk alabaster stockings Such is life Outhouse sewage breath Weasel rats basement, swimming
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.
The tick-tock of horse hooves rouses me from sleep. I crawl from the bed to peer over the hotel balcony.
A man’s red hat bounces steadily below. Wooden wheels click against the dirt in this early hour before any cars pass this way.
The gypsy’s song interrupts the damp morning air. As he drives his cart to market, his voice swells with richness,
beauty from the Old World passed down through the years, now nestled near his heart, the story of his fathers.
It arrives along the same path every day down through the mountain pass, carried by wind and want over the ancient stone.
Scrambled Eggs and Ben Franklin
I remember Saturday mornings at Grandma’s house. I can almost still see her, looking outside of her kitchen window with its blue and white plaid curtains and saying, “Yes, siree, looks like it’s going to be a sunny side up kind of day!”
The air would smell like cinnamon strudel and everything good in the world. Grandma’s spoiled tabby cat, Ben Franklin, would wind around my legs as I sat at the kitchen table, meowing impatiently until I snuck him some of my scrambled eggs.
Grandma said she named him Ben Franklin because he had more common sense than most folks she knew.
In my eight-year old way, I thought life would always be that simple.
But now I’m grown. Ben Franklin’s gone. Grandma’s in a nursing home where some stranger fixes her eggs in the morning. She doesn’t remember us anymore, but every now and then, I see her moving her hands across her lap in a stroking motion.
I always wonder if where she is, she’s dreaming about scrambled eggs and Ben Franklin.
Amy L. George is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent one being The Stopping Places (Finishing Line Press). She holds a doctorate in Literature and Criticism and teaches at a private university in Texas.
Don’t quote what scientists had thought of the heart that lay unburned amongst a pyre’s ceremonious coal, a handful of gold, on the Tuscan shore.
Don Juan had drowned in an ugly storm whose wrath had claimed Percy and all on a voyage of doom, but Keats’s poems were bound to endure, enshrined in a pocket in Percy’s coat to identify his corpse.
In a shroud of silk his heart reposed, befriending Mary wherever she roamed, a grail for thoughts.
Her death bequeathed to us what she adored, wrapped in a poem in which he mourned the death of Adonais, Urania’s orb.
My totem is a rivulet
I make amulets of the relics of friends. a few hairs from a feline pet, the leash of my assassinated dog, my dad’s watch which malfunctioned shortly before he died.
My talisman is my second sight, a precognition of events to come: of seas trespassing over grounds, of birds remapping their ancient charts, of bullets rebounding to hunters’ chests, of Zest depleted of its zest.
Her smile, a charm around my wrist and words she whispered in my dreams, I wreathe with lilies to deflect my fears.
With silver blades, Edward sculptured art, the unique youth endowed with scissor hands, vying with masters whose fingers carved everlasting marks!
I grew to cherish every blade of grass that Grandma tended in her hospitable house. Emerald had coloured every childhood trance, bequeathing to me a fructuous cast of mind.
I view the dubbing of chivalrous knights with blades of glory from ancient times and wonder if a woman like myself can earn the title Knight with a blade of ink.
My flat mate had once informed me that she could only become expansive after a glass of intoxicating wine.
I told her I had the opposite problem for I readily wore an expansive smile which a friend used to discourage in our misapprehending times.
I’m aware of this trend for smile enhancements to which some actors and politicians resort, but my smile does not serve a purpose, it does not placate, appease or enthrall. It merely mirrors an inner comportment.
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.
You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.