Poetry Drawer: Dancing a Whirlwind: Golfo de Morrosquillo: Magdalena Sunset: Enter Iris and Luna, Stage Front: La Boca Summer Day by Lorraine Caputo

Dancing a Whirlwind

A morning shower
            barely has left a
                        print on dry earth

& now a bright breeze
            dances joropo
                        around us, around

Mónico playing mandolin
            his aged-mahogany face
                        wrinkled in a tranquil smile
Around cuatro & guitar
            caja drum & maracas

A bottle of cocuy passes ’round
            an anciana sings, her
                        cinnamon hands clapping
Women chat, adjusting costumes
            a child cries
                        & is comforted

Rosa the singer & Luis
            the spoon-player
                        begin to dance amidst us
Fine soil billows ’round
            their steps & twirls

joropo – traditional music & dance of Venezuela, originating in the llanos region
cuatro – a four-string instrument like a small guitar
caja – box
cocuy – an alcoholic brew of a cactus plant
anciana – old woman

Golfo de Morrosquillo
            (Tolú)

Full moon rises above
            tejas & thatch roofs
The gulf rolls evenly
            around the breakwaters
                        onto the grey sand
A crab flees from
            the rising tide

Families take a dip
            in the night-darkened waters
                        stroll on the seawall, the beach
Three boys play kickball
            with a plastic bottle

Along the malecón
            scented by grilled foods
                        people eat & drink
Bicycle taxis pass &
            horse-drawn carriages, the
                        clop of hooves lost to
Music blaring from
            restaurants & discos
Vendors spread their cloths
            with jewellery, incense
                        under streetlamps
Women yet corn-row
            hair with quick molasses-
                        coloured fingers
Sunglass salesmen walk
            café to bar

& the musicians still wander
            accordion ’round neck, caja
                        drum, guarachaca stick in hand

Magdalena Sunset

(Mompox, Colombia)

Waterlilies float swiftly by on the river’s current.
Bells clang for mass at Santa Bárbara church.

In front of a colonial house on the river walk
speakers blare music, Inside, amidst balloons
& streamers children sing a birthday.

Dressed in vivid paisley, shoulders stooped with
passed generations, doña Julia sits on the steps
to the río, talking to herself.

Two Scottie dogs laze in a window niche of their
ochre home trimmed melon & jade. One rests
his muzzle on the wrought-iron grill.

With a splash of water, a man jumps from the jetty.
Dulled light of almost-evening sheens on his tanned skin.

The boats have abandoned this narrow channel
of the Magdalena & this terminal stained white
concrete & brick flaking, vacant windows staring.

In the cool evening sung by gecko, toad & cricket, a boy
sends his kite aloft. Families chat outside in caned chairs,
a foursome plays Parcheesi on an iglesia patio.

The disappeared sun paints loud indigo & purple
reflecting in the swift water. Shadow-treed banks
reflecting waterlilies still floating by.

& some other church clangs its bells for mass.

Enter Iris and Luna, Stage Front

In a momento
       the town is plunged
              in inky darkness.

Scattered whistles & cheers
       echo down the streets,
              echo the groans
       of men, their TV soccer
              game disappeared
       before their eyes.

These lanes fill with
       families & couples
              who watch the

Stars emerge, now freed
       from the glare
              of streetlamps,
       sparse clouds
              brightened by the
       full moon.

A chubby-cheeked boy
       points at her,
              Look, la Luna has an Arco Iris!

Surrounding her,
       a moonbow paints
              this chill night,
       auguring rains
              to come
       before the dawn.

La Boca Summer Day

I. On the Caminito

Corrugated tin of ex-convetillos
is painted in a circus of colors.

Artisan stalls umbrellaed beneath
the clouded sun.

Tourists sip wine at café tables.

A couple is packing their jambox & CDs.
Slight wind flutters high split skirt, caresses
her legs, fishnet stockings.

II. Behind the Façade

Along the cobbled streets the tin of shacks is anemic.
Crumbled balconies, rickety steps, eaten bannisters.
Doors with missing slats open to the breeze off the
rotted Riachuelo. Glimpses of cramped rooms
beyond curtains.

Upon littered walks sit families at card tables,
bottles of beer & mates at hand.

In an empty niche of the Bombonera, a man
sleeps on a broken vinyl couch, zipper open
below his bloated paunch.
A caked glass set on a crooked table.

Across a high-weed lot, boys kick a soccer ball
& there yonder a group plays volleyball
over a frayed net.

On this humid summer day in La Boca … 

La  Boca – a working-class neighborhood of Buenos Aires; birthplace of the tango 

Caminito – “the little street,” name bestowed by a tango song; now a tourist hub, frequently portrayed in photos of Buenos Aires 

conventillos –  tenements with small, cell-like rooms in which late-19th / early-20th century immigrants lived 

mates – a mate is the container (often made from a gourd) from which yerba mate (Paraguayan tea) is sipped through a bombilla (a metal straw with a strainer) 

Bombonera – “the candy box,” the nickname of the home stadium of Bocas Juniors, the world-renowned soccer team of LaBoca 

Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America with her faithful travel companion, Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.  

Poetry Drawer: baksheesh: magic by Stephen House

baksheesh

i wait on the stairs for the police to come
they arrive and take a statement from me

they don’t seem concerned or shocked
and say there is nothing suspicious about it

it happens daily with foreigners and locals
and at this guest house all the time

and that there is a batch of gear in Delhi
from Pakistan that is extra strong and cheap

two young guys died in the tunnel before
and last night a tourist in a five star hotel

i ask them if i can leave the city now
that i was heading off when i found him

the two cops look at each other and one says
it will be easier for me if i help them out a bit

he puts out his hand and i know what for
i pay the baksheesh with a fifty dollar note

they thank me genuinely and wish me luck
i pick up my bag and walk down the hall

the guy’s body is being taken out on a stretcher
Om Namah Shivaya i say and walk away

at the train station i wonder about the guy’s life
and if anyone will tell his family he’s dead

i reflect on the two times i smoked heroin
decades ago at the same Delhi guest house

i never touched it again as its power grabbed me
and i knew continuing it was wrought with risk

magic

he smiles

i smile
float my eyes into his

he walks to my table
amongst the people and booze clutter
doesn’t say anything when he gets to me
taps my shoulder
gestures me to stand
i do

and heart banging follow him
mesmerised
into a small room off the back of the bar
where an overhead fan clicks

we don’t speak
a magic sits in the silence between us
a mouse scampers behind the sideboard
he ignores it and turns the key
locks the door
stands still looking at me
steps into me
stares into my eyes

we are joined by an unseen force

his phone gives a church bell chime
he says a few words into it
in his language
clicks it off

touches me lightly on the shoulder
unlocks the door

we go back out to the bar

crowds separate us
in a flood of bodies and voices.

Stephen House is an award winning Australian playwright, poet and actor. He’s won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writer’s Guild) , Adelaide Fringe Award, Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award for Social Justice, Goolwa Poetry Cup, Feast Short Story Prize and more. He’s been shortlisted for Lane Cove Literary Award, Overland’s Fair Australia Fiction Prize, Patrick White Playwright and Queensland Premier Drama Awards, Greenroom best actor Award and more. He’s received Australia Council literature residencies to Ireland and Canada, and an India Asialink. His chapbook real and unreal was published by ICOE Press Australia. He is published often and performs his work widely.

Poetry Drawer: Tyre Swing Hung from Tree: Steps: What I Need: Acetylene Torch: Missive by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Tyre Swing Hung from Tree

Not a single child about,
just this single tyre swing hung from tree,
one of those thick ropes that you only see
in school gymnasiums that burn the palms
of those forced to climb them,
and the base of the tyre overflowing
with two days of fresh rain,
a couple old gutter leaves
and the word “Bridgestone” still legible
in smudged off white lettering,
the tread worn down,
but not as much as you would think,
a littering of fresh acorns and pine needles
I smell before I ever see.

Steps

One way up and one way down,
ants in the cracks like a brazen tactile army
forever on manoeuvres, a long railing in the middle
of the steps for faltering balance, fashion before walking shoes,
and at the top some say the best views
and at the bottom no one says anything,
elbowing past one another on the way to melting
ice creams and dirty fryer grease;
more steps, but not the ones everyone came
so far to climb this time.

What I Need

What I need is nothing from you,
what I want, more of the same,
to flounce the wooden hall out of its spine-creaked incipience
would be a non-starter, the way the man with the pistol
calls all the runners back to their blocks,
numbers pasted across sinewy thighs, a crowd for cheering’s sake;
you can always tell the pleasers, the panderers,
the one-night standers –
I enjoy the quiet and for that no one is required,
only their absence and maybe mine for short stretches,
one quite noticeable, the other a stalking jaguar
through meaty rubricate mangroves.

Acetylene Torch

The oxygen is important,
your tired lungs could have told you that,
but sometimes it takes an acetylene torch behind
heavy boxcar welder face to cut through the metal-precious
way a man can climb on a city bus and think himself
Tarzan of the Apes or your never best lover;
all those sparks that burn right through the pant leg
and cause journeymen Jim to jump right out of his grunts:
runaway unibrow, steel-toed clunkers,
a few pints on the weekend…
that numb is important,
the way we chase it like a man-eating tiger
just out of stripes –
fall into beds imagining jungle-thick waterfalls
that swallow down all the screams
you never once offered.

Missive

I did not write because I felt no importance in such grand gestures
that link a chain with lengthy missive, the ink still wet and already a reply,
harebrained in both posture and sentiment;
I wished upon silent anomalies, constructed a wall of figs for seed dispersal
although I failed to ever entertain such fruitful bounties
as my sense would not allow for such churlish diversions –
have you seen the way the elderly grow crippled well before their time,
housed and snowed and pampered into the afterlife?
I am alive as this gangly spider of a soup here
brought to mild simmer,
a dash of pepper to pry the door,
balls of tissue lying around like snotty little opium
addicts weaning off the big sleep,
at least that is what the scoop of scoops is told;
that thick oily newsprint man trying to keep up with the times
which I would hardly recommend, to you or anyone else.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, Impspired Magazine, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. 

Poetry Drawer: After the mistake: The carpenter and friend: A Bricklayer Retires by Phil Wood

After the mistake

Lying under the duvet
as cosy as a dormouse,
toes snug within
the solitude house.

Silence settles slowly
along the wishing line:
forgiveness needs to be
kind, is nestled blind.

The carpenter and friend

The oldish chap naps,
a gentle snore, no more
than that; his rocking chair
the other chap made.

When the oldish chap wakes,
they play a game of chess;
idle some chat, agree
a draw. The other chap naps.

A Bricklayer Retires

This wall has legs. The coffin tread
of bricks on grass is a stubborn stain.
But walls do stumble, grass does grow.
Your smile will trouble any wall.

I hear your dancing steps across
the landing floor. I grip my wall.
The humble grass is greening doors.
Your smile will crumble any wall.

Phil Wood was born in Wales. He has worked in statistics, education, shipping, and a biscuit factory. His writing can be found in various publications, including: Fevers of the Mind, London Grip, Snakeskin Poetry, Clementine Unbound, Miller’s Pond, Allegro.

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

Poetry Drawer: Summer Cottage 2020 by Robert Demaree

Summer Cottage 2020

  1. June

Our daughter and her husband
Came up this year
To help open the cottage
And by the time we arrived
Had done things we used to do:
Got the kayaks from the guest room
Down to the dock,
Swept up the thick yellow pollen
Left on the porch
By a New Hampshire spring,
Discarded the paper and mothballs
In which the furniture had slept.

We are older than my parents were
The last time they drove north.

We will pay to get some things done—
Pine straw off the roof;
Other things—the high windows
That face the water—may not get done.
I save for myself one task—I must:
Putting up our sign
At the head of the lane, our name,
The metal loon looking down
Toward the pond.

  1. September

Our daughter came back up
To help close the cottage.
We sat down and watched her
Wash the refrigerator.

82-year-old bones ache
From cleaning, packing, lifting,
From the subtle vibrations
Of two days on the road.

We stood one cold morning
By the side of
The Third Connecticut Lake
Wondering which would be
The penultimate trip north.

Back at Golden Pines
We are trying this morning
To remember how things work,
The TV, the toaster,
Computer, coffee maker.

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: Frog kiss, number 9: Betty’s dirty martini: The power of knitting: That super cone on the marquise: Letting go of the broom by Emalisa Rose

Frog kiss, number 9

Leaving Manhattan, we hopped
on the ‘7’ as the moon reappeared
through the autumn of branches.

Ensconced in the smoke and the
steam, your mid shelf cologne
and acoustics of wheel clanking

screeches through the twilight
of tunnels, we rode the downtown.

You got off on 3rd, leaving me hauling
this vintage of books and the harvest
of veggies we bought at that fair, plus
you took my umbrella.

Leaning in for a kiss, I brushed back
with a hand gesture, and knew the
first date, would not have a follow up.

Betty’s dirty martini

Her last months, plagued with pain,
tubes all in ties, and a myriad’s
maladies, Betty, next door, now in
hospice, whispers she’s ‘ready’.

Requesting a couple of beach days,
80 degrees, no wind, no clouds, sitting
on shoreline with a dirty martini.

“Please water the lilacs on our mutual
lawn, hon,”

“ and feed all the strays that frequent the
cul-de-sac.”

She says she will signal when she arrives
there, wherever ‘there’ is, with three
yellow leaves on my porch steps.

The power of knitting

“Knit one, pearl two,” she clicked
on the needles in repetitive rhythm
and rhapsody, making those sweaters,
afghans and baby booties.

When her hands grew arthritic and
eyes clouded over, she vowed to
to complete all her knitting, before
her condition would doom her.

You had your first child. He went
home in a blue and white cable stitch.
I watched as you wrapped him in
Grandma Kate’s blanket.

That super cone on the marquise

Pop says it’s the last time. It’s a three
hour drive and they don’t need the
aggravation. Mom says to ignore
Uncle Bob; she visits to see Aunt Lenora.

They’re fighting up front, while me
and the skinny sis are ignoring each
other, with not much in common, ’til
the big wheels roll by and we make

silly faces at them, unbeknown to her
in a couple of years, we’ll we winking
instead.

Dad pulls in for custard; a big super cone
on the marquise, shouting in silver
fluorescence.

Back in the car, the sis and I snicker,
knowing too well, we’ll all be right back
here again, in four or five Saturdays.

Letting go of the broom

It’s the third time it happened.

I spilled orange juice on her
cherrywood floor, and she said
not a word.

No sponge, no frenzied mop,
no berating me to be careful.

Before that, I left fingerprints
on her grandmother’s mirror.

I looked at my mom; she’s missing
some beats, for the last month or so.

Six months before, she’s be on her
knees, on the floor, scrubbing it silly
with her tonic of brillo, bonami and
bleach.

As it starts to sink in; she’s moving
away from herself, as the years stop
defying and become the conventional.

And maybe she is, but I’m not quite
ready, to let go of that image of her
and her pail full of prowess.

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and drawing. She volunteers in animal rescue, and tends to a cat colony in the neighborhood. She lives by a beach town, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Some of her poems have appeared in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Spillwords, Origami Poem Project, and other special places. Her latest collection is On the whims of the crosscurrents, published by Red Wolf Editions.

Poetry Drawer: the pillow star is a cardboard missile: the sound of the furniture of the brook (wear a new cape): the grass in the gandalf rays by J. D. Nelson

the pillow star is a cardboard missile

your circle is a triangle
this is my pile of moons

the unified heaven
the name of the silence

the machine is boiling the numbers
this old owl is the lantern

in the marigold half-pipe
on the morning of the crying

the sound of the furniture of the brook (wear a new cape)

the slipping book of vowels is not moving thru the window
the letter of the moon when I am the calm apple

a new apple for the paris & the london & that old world of the channel
I become the clever alien when I see the street level world of the pines

I was the laughing huck of the old island
we are here in the sweet dust of the something

another time is the layer of salt to feel a hundred more
the french bread is the weather of the cardboard name

the grass in the gandalf rays

in the pines I saw a meteor
shaking a glass I won a news trumpet

is that the worm of the winter dust?
is that the paper of the doll?

to see a measurable nothing
the breakfast of the cloud

why my copper is in the doritos
that nectar could slow the earth

              why it
              hums

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. His poetry has appeared in many small press publications, worldwide, since 2002. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). His first full-length collection, entitled In Ghostly Onehead, is slated for a 2021 release by mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press. His work has recently appeared in E·ratio, Otoliths, and Word For/Word. Visit Madverse for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado, USA.

Poetry Drawer: Passage Rites: Toss My Pics Like I Don’t Exist by Catherine Zickgraf

Passage Rites

I’m ten, trying to sit still
but my blinks grow long.
I’m following crumbs from pew
to balcony, dropping bulletins
to watch them spin.
The exhale of noise
and rituals of hymnals begin.

I’d rather be zip-tied
to the ladies room sink pipe.
My Sunday nylons with toe seams
make my feet squirm in my flats.
I’m thirteen, hung over,
my eyes too full of sun.
There’s smoke in my hair like a stale hat.

Is God out the window in the parking lot?
His voice in the foyer in the missionary map,
on the lobby wall lined with colourful tracts?
Sometimes God lives in my head,
there last night when I snuck out
and boys surrounded me,
when I threw up in my sister’s bed.

Toss My Pics Like I Don’t Exist

Father,
these years of silence I prefer
to your vaults of verses and violence,
words from your rotted tongue
rip me for my faults off the family tree.

You scissored my form from the Xmas portrait,
I took husband and sons with me.

Edges of my baby album are wavy with age.
The cover’s mother duck pulls a train of chicks.
I’m the one she dumped out and ditched.

Two lifetimes ago, Catherine Zickgraf performed her poetry in Madrid. Now her main jobs are to write and hang out with her family. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationPankVictorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries. Her chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. 

Poetry Drawer: Mist by Jan de Rhe-Philipe

The mist hangs heavy on the sodden fields,
A shroud cloaking the world in soft grey muslin.
Charcoal trees hold their bare branches up in supplication
And each blade of chilled grass drips diamonds.
A far off river of cold traffic is muffled thunder
But all else is silence under the dead white mist;
Only the sound of wetness seeping out and
Stillness loitering under the trees, wrapped in cloud.
Underfoot the mud is black and stiffly oozes,
Half released from its armour of hard frost.
Beneath the sharpness of jagged blackthorn twigs
The green of returning spring flowers has faded grey
And the grass shrinks back from the dark nakedness
Of the tyre-ravished path and hoof-trodden mire.
Only the tips of bluebell leaves and of arum lilies
Stand green below the weeping hedgerow.
A solitary robin hops from the blackthorn
Picking its breakfast from the livid green moss
And a chaffinch shouts his warning call from the ash tree.
Piercing the misty shroud with the sound of light.

Sadly, Jan de Rhe-Philipe passed away recently. As a fellow student of the Open University, her poem was chosen for the first Ink Pantry anthology, back in 2012. We send our deepest condolences to Jan’s sister, Fleur.

Poetry Drawer: Crossing: Kolkata High Street: Tête-à-tête by Gopal Lahiri

Crossing

Somewhere there is laughter.

I roll out the mist and the moon
trickles down on my shoulder.

Each night I lose to another alphabet, another syllable,
The slapping of stars on the mirror
how all build this raga amidst chaos.

Your smile is like heart-shaped leaves
and the wetness is on my palm,
so many verses flower near bedside.

A solitary leaf waits with my words,
stream path
crossing is not as hard as you might think.

Kolkata High Street

Fine rain walks with the pedestrians,
mirror halls and amber rooms shine with the shadows
of back garden walls and noiseless leaves.

The flood of colours excavate the layers of the city,
the allure of words collecting, from inside out,
waits for a new language.

The footprints seek the light of a deeper place,
commoners talk about freedom without compromise
for good or evil- willing to be struck dumb.

Rumbles of cars on the street seek the meaning
of memories, each trope comes close to song,
the whispers write libretti,
the music embraces the alphabets of evening.

A solitary flower tumbles from the long arms of the branch
and then the ovation of the unknown birds
splits the rainbow of night.

Like the hum of a taut string in the dark
the city loves to sing his own words
taking us down numerous mystic lanes and bye lanes.

Tête-à-tête

Every time we speak of darkness
the metaphors are faced with the black and white lines
the syllables pass through the grills with ease.

The street identifies the follicle of shadows and then
becomes the domain of trivial,
the tiny rafts of refuge knock the door.

Rain-puddles chisel the grey clouds
the world dissects morning whispers
with the weight of gravity and gravitas.

The proverbial truth hangs in a frame
silent dawns rise above the bends of rivers,
the soft reel runs out in haste.

Images draw the sky-blue kingfisher
letting a little light in the dark chamber,
count minutes to converse in sunbeams.

Gopal Lahiri is an Indian based bilingual poet, editor, critic and translator, published in Bengali and English language. He has authored 23 books to his credit. His poetry is also published across various anthologies and in eminent journals of India and abroad. His poems are translated into 14 languages.