Balloons are red, a worldwide affirmation of caution. My eyes are dry though they appear to be running wild. Tears are the ocean bliss I long to float amongst. Turquoise hues of inner peace surround. I see in black and white but the colour of you blue. Limp limbs drift silently with the wind. Your cuddle isn’t temporary. Your warmth ties souls to your healing properties.
Push me away. Pull me back in. Dance beneath the luminosity of a millions stars. Make us sway without human interruption. Erase the land. Allow all irrationalities to dissipate. Capture joy with a bottle and cork. Travel with me through time and galaxy. Kiss me before I go to sleep and you may just become my reality.
Proceed with caution they said. Work twice as hard as your peers they said. Don’t be too different they said. Fit into the category of success they said.
Don’t wear short skirts they said. Don’t shave your head they said. Wear heels they said. Be classy they said. Respect your elders they said.
Always smile even when your hurting they said. Mental illness is all in your mind they said. Don’t get tattoos they said. Your too fat they said. Your too thin they said.
You look ill they said. Eat something they said. Your trying to hard they said. Be subtle they said.
Don’t cross social boundaries they said. Don’t break the rules they said. Don’t be too revealing they said. Be sexy they said.
Don’t talk to much they said. Don’t hold too many opinions they said. Be seen and not heard they said. Why can’t you be more like so and so they said.
You’ve had too much to drink they said. Go to your room they said. Don’t talk about racism they said. Deal with it they said.
Control yourself they said. Why are you crying they said? Pull yourself together they said. Your making a show of yourself they said.
Eclectic mind. Open to the very fibre of another’s truth. Sit with me for a while. Pour your dreams into my minds eye. Grant me the perspective of the creator. The symphony to your goals.
Untie your soul. I am not the prejudice to which you recoil. Allow the sweet birds to sing from the pits of your stomach. Draw a diagram expressing true desires. Be the kite above who has earnt true perspective. Flood the tree’s pages with inked ambition. Eclectic minds think alike. Authentic smiles perpetrate insight for the otherwise unkind.
Find the beauty in cultural difference. The history, the talent and cultural superstition. Personal projection leaves ears firmly shut. Open the mind and close your mouth. Digest the palette of another’s spoon.
Determine knowledge through personal experience. Interact soulfully removing convenience. Believe in what you know. Believe in ceaseless growth. Eclectic be the ear. Eclectic be the nose. Eclectic be words spoken. Free will. Free expression. Opening the eyelids to the beauty that surrounds. An eclectic world.
Cleo Howard is a mixed race woman of Jamaican/English descent, now living in West Yorkshire, prior to being a Cypriot resident for the past year. Cleo is a writer and artist full time, currently writing a first novel based on personal experiences in life thus far. Cleo considers writing as therapy, something of an antidepressant as Cleo is a self-professed mental health survivor, creatively showcasing the distinctive individual phases of recovery through chosen art forms. Cleo is also a tattoo artist.
memories hourly they spread across uneven eons within a second-hand tapestry of woes naked shame clothes his name and the daily joie de vie turns a sacred screw as viscous iron blood smelts an ancient block of fever’s night
between the eyes it climbs a fence like caged ivy down vena cava lane with Joey Gentile and her weekly digital pacifier
charged with apocryphal bible belt bullshit in the south
rumour consumer ads squirt like fish through an endless stream of consciousness
Heavenly sailorling spy out the wan light-sheen of star. Baffling unearthly time: weird having just thieved by elves. One of pale mornings longs for some meek fulfillment of night. Moony and nostalgic chums – comets are upon the skies.
Lonely dreamery – lying just blink-sea, weird above. Endless nostalgia is being of pang. Hades is fay. Heavenly moony lure, beings seem dark, Ethics fly off! Poignant decease has become drab black, comet has picked rain.
The glow, which is deathless, at length in the sadness full bane. Grim Reaper loves more than you dream – a bit lights on the worms. Marvel of starlit night: I have found a little of my name. Starry night – dreamy glow are only in the tender souls.
Sensing the moonlet, demise of cool-blue song will be free. Your worm bawls after all certainly. Death blubbing like me.
Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Poland (Siemiatycze). His English haikus and short poems are published by Ginyu (Tokyo), Atlas Poetica (USA), The Cherita (UK), Tajmahal Review (India) and Better Than Starbucks (USA).
You can find more of Paweł’s work here on Ink Pantry.
Begin with bent brow in hands and hands unfolding, hinged doors as wings of the suddenly happy bird, hopeful as Dickinson’s in that opening, in those feathers spreading, encompassing horizons, the visions wide & present, calling to & from the soul. Now even these fallow fields are less depressing, still being of earth, its potential, to just blend with rich compost, keep moist and wait with the clarity of deep breaths taken, released. Hands in rich silt are mere flesh made of water and air, the synthesis of elements, the celestial given physical form. Is this what real unidentified angels actually are everywhere, and the great patterns of their work evident in the ploughed furrows, those waves churned over & up? Humble and holy come other stored examples in the heart and the head. Sample now Grandma’s drawers of saved twisted bread ties, baggies, folded aluminum squares whose crinkles were cleansed, scents smoothed under water to dry amid dishes. The next space which opens fans with cards of gin rummy, fancy suits flat against cushioned table mats ringed with the blue of Grandpa’s cigars. The green glass corners of his ashtray forms a diamond of use graced by the tall frosted gold pillar of beer. A little salt gives the best head, froth whiskers tickling the tongue’s tip refreshed past that entrance of the old gas stove’s aroma amid the dust and lead paint of that sunny lead-in back porch. This is the covenant of how blessings open out from each other, snow-globe contained but macro from the micro producing vistas further and farther. What other extreme unction to ask for than that? What more really to want for ever?
Exacting Revenge (For Louis Enrique Mejia Godoy)
Will indeed be a pleasure, say
some acid burns on each still pus-running knee. (We agree. Can’t wait.) Add these lime-laden eyes remembering that sack & almost asphyxiation in lungs yet too raw for adding their two cents. (Sounds fine.) The will shall have to compensate, one spirit taking prayer
& honing its frantic edge toward the faith of some future soothing every scar which winces with salt. Also
there, in that sphere, distant as peace, the torturers, having lost ground & passed into freedom’s blow, will have no choice
but to live knowing that their vileness failed.
This is my dream anyway, the revenge of a good life handed to everyone descending from repression with hope savored because of all the vaccines poured orange as mercurochrome under the sun’s gold.
Bleeding For Jaco
Electricity gone awry… boundary lines blurring… the jarring of feedback, the blisters of static where, from amps, scabs bleed…
Jaco, who were you? The homeboy made good? The mutt derelict genius?
The usual labels as commentary, tragic speculations all… We cough up explanations to digest brutality & then remember…
Duality looks deeper. Gropes for control: Your callused fingers cut by bass strings, the palm ripped, a gash pouring jazz… Physically too: the bones of your face shattered, having been beaten outside some pub.
Blood is a poignant reference, a vivid metaphor for pain.
But what sabotaged you, Jaco? The ecstasy of an Icarus, with the eyes of the drowned?
The surplus of ground zero conveys abrupt shots: the numbing by lithium, the detox quarantine. Yet life you still attempted, blinking an eye, twitching a toe, & Jaco,
It wasn’t madness that drove you, but bloods’ pure notes. A virtuoso from day one, a whole improvised opus you became,
to rock out, rock out, as a solo
This one, ten foot slate, a girder unearthed & returning. These others are meniscuses too grey for reflecting the sky sliding on each curve…
Here the post cards are all black ‘n white. If any difference occurs shades blur it in a slap of repeated graceful savagery.
Why be a non-conformist when insanity is all the rage?
Instead, weather tongues, the multitude’s mouth, a basin with teeth gnashing to spit out…
Oh Deus, do you exist, & from such a tough rugged heartland must not wounds be genuinely felt, entered, before healing can spark mercy?
Mama, I’m going in, goat-shaped froth gnawing off despair’s crabgrass. Where are my bones?
Now the pleated sheets form leaves, an excess of light & the coast whitens. In excelsis, purity burns liquid brimstone, the amethyst face, hands, a spirit looks on in tenderness, dispossessing memories, a passage to float from & open upon Baltic cliffs, Gibraltar balustrades—–
The other world, the other world, this must be a birthing place.
The Photographer’s Pupil (For D. Arbus)
A heart on the wind, you’d been opened that exposed, waiting for initiative to take over, give way to instinct. Imperative is clarity utterly unmasked by the camera which hid you. Then the subject’s impact would hit the pit of the stomach. You were a portal from which the real sight blew through.
Vision extender, what you saw was recorded not so much as documentary, but an intuitive view. Does such gentle predatory perception replenish what feeds it? Dimensions transcend the image & shudder forth cut.
How can I tell you your existence did the same? Its traces wash fossil-like from the acid baths. As you develop I grow astonished, senses reeling with what yours’ encapsulated: the freaks & the street people, the transvestites and circus attractions, all horrific & mortal, remarkably so.
Shy nymph, you crept up to them, finally asking permission & then taking command. What a surprise! Their faces freed, all artifice stripped, a psychological truth, now emblem-poignant.
Here I see the proof, their lives passing alibis, affidavits without judgment. Yes, there’s no verdict in the flesh except that it gives. But how did you go with it at your own perilous risk: the last supper of Barbiturates the slit wrist tub?
Now deep & enlivened, I attempt wading through. I find you like a deer caught off guard, no empathy siphoned from your quite earnest pupils. Just so, I am not vacant. I walk from this crypt, its portfolio, & wander susceptibly. You did too, more real in the dark, exploring the dank subway tunnels, their wired tired tribes. The trains lurched & pulsed, such tireless fury ritualized by your gaze.
In those eyes, both of us have known death, have been there & come back. but who taught that, & how does one live with the tie?
Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum.
You can find more of Stephen’s work here on Ink Pantry.
There is nothing great about me. There is nothing I am like a prodigy. I can’t remember many important things, and I don’t know, if you need to help me.
I’ll think I am awesome, but isn’t that just me? I don’t know what I’m amazing at, but I’ll be happy if you approach me.
I’m not great at maths, I don’t have great mental abilities, I’m not that great at science, I’ll never be a prodigy.
I’m no good at singing, I’m not good at playing an instrument either, I’m not even good at walking, and I’ll never be a decent dancer.
My art is stupid, I can’t be great at anything, I can’t process a lot of information, so, I sit there staring at a pixelated screen.
I know that I’m no good at many other things I love, but these thoughts now won’t hurt me, as no one can be perfect and nothing really matters.
I think having higher expectations from anyone should rather not be expected, because having lower will never help you and you end up disappointed.
So, I’ll be me, in my own world, you don’t have anything to say. I have my own power and family to protect me, from you any day.
God in my Perspective
When I was small, I believed in God like everyone else did. I thought the pictures they drew, In real life existed.
And I grew up and learned more, And heard from dad about the world and God. And learned how those people wrote down their thinking, Which led to the people to believe in the lord.
So, I don’t believe in god, The way most people usually do. I don’t believe in ghosts and curses, That could have brought fear upon you.
I believe that the mantras work for some people, Because of their subconscious and placebo, It’s a thing that works when you really believe in something, That makes your wish come true.
Although it still is a mystery, How placebo actually works, to what you desire. Those mantras help you by increasing your knowledge, To get something you always wanted to acquire.
So, I never said I’m an atheist, This is just god in my perspective. Our consciousness and intelligence, To make sense out of almost nonsense, And how we find their reason of being connective.
(in just a small organ inside our skull!)
So, if you do something risky and dangerous, Worshiping god won’t make you protected. If you continue to do that and be stupid, You can’t blame god by being affected and neglected.
Krishti Khandelwal (aged 11) is brilliant in astronomy and astrophysics, you can discuss amazing concept of physics with her, however when at coffee table or with a glass of her favorite mocktail, she loves to pen down her thoughts into words…..Writing has always fascinated Krishti as it was something she always wanted to do. This season (Lockdown) Krishti had created and shared her writing with some of the prominent publishing houses, and with the grace of the God her writing was appreciated and encouraged, and she was honoured.
The universe is dissolving into silken skeins of fire dripping
glistening threads of protons and neutrons that dissipate into
an echo of atomic waste leaving behind a soft electron whisper
if there are survivors do they remember when the world was
tokenized do they recall the years of stripping meaning discarding
all we once had known in favour of the romance of our corporate dreaming
working men and working women gathered in a human river flooding
through the central demarcations as a wavelength of forgetting carrying
their hand-made flags that still proclaimed the truth of lies
true believers of the myths and legends that evaporated
in the cold hard morning of the end of time when the structures
we had long imagined were finally revealed as emptiness.
Bodies filled the undergrowth as religion swamped the land
your citizenship merely a pattern of crosses punched
into cards and misplaced in a cupboard at the Pentagon
your birth was accidental vomited out like volcano steam erupting as clouds of tear gas
the shelves of your market creaked under the weight of ammunition
I used carrots in my cabbage soup to add the extra sweetness
but damn and if it wasn’t time to start our engines.
The Meaning of Survival
Morning begins with carnage the heat-glaze of an exterminating sun exploding as gasoline
organic chemistry reaching its limit as the safety fails to trip the sky filling with a diamond glare
light tightening its grip from red to blue and finally to a blistering whiteness
the smell of meat and burning rubber as a necklace melts into the purity of flesh and thought leaving behind little except sharded bone
heat death of a city the broken facades of crumbling homes phased and zoned into map-written territories beneath the still white sky
smudged and cindered by smoldering remnants the air adrift with wave and particle fighting for survival
the shattering of so many lives as the future is destroyed by inarticulate sloganeering
every banner laid to waste the last survivors lingering by a river breathing in the beauty of the silence
We’re lacking something now that even the bad guys no longer smoke
where is the shadowed room the blatant chiaroscuro the curl of blue smoke the carefully illuminated profile
what we have gained in health and cleanliness we have lost in the purity of art
but where is the forgotten actor the one whose name we never knew cigarette clutched between brown-stained fingers
and in his throat or the deepness of his lungs the first tender stirrings of the tumour.
Paul Ilechko is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Pain Sections (Alien Buddha Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Rogue Agent, January Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Book of Matches and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.
With very slow frost-free words, he mimes to them that his heart. like day old sour dough toast has become a plopped rock settling slowly to the bottom.
They shake their heads almost birdlike and regard him in asphalt indifference.
His heart becomes the taste of someone chewing aluminum foil. He says nothing more. He begins walking with a cane while his heart becomes an autistic child.
It has served him well in love and now, on an afternoon in the park, it kills him.
They buried it with him as a minor tremor begins in each of them.
He moves with the instinctual wisdom of alley cat balance. His doctrine follows an iceberg principle. His eyes see more; his chapped lips say less.
Today, he takes his trawler deep into the ocean a simple apostle of the earth’s last frontier.
Our love- a white garbage bag fitted to the top of the garbage can. Inside – dead roses I bought as a surprise for no special occasion; the greasy pizza box we splurged on because the day was just too long; the blood stained bandage you used to cover my cut hand when the knife slipped; the tear stained tissues because you just needed to cry and the burnt omelette when your single kiss ignited so much more.
On Sunday, when I take the bag to the curb, you shake and replace it with another one to start all over again.
R. Gerry Fabian is a retired English instructor. He has been publishing poetry since 1972 in various poetry magazines. He is the editor of Raw Dog Press. He has published two poetry books, Parallels and Coming Out Of The Atlantic. His novels, Memphis Masquerade, Getting Lucky (The Story) and Seventh Sense are available from Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble. He is currently working on his fourth novel, Ghost Girl.
More of Gerry’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry & Twitter.
I wonder if they know – as much as chlorophyll can know anything other than the sweetness of the energy of sunlight and rain on its tongue — that as they perish into winter’s dead sleep, these inside, these rich relations, will live on, all wide awake and wide-eyed, glowing in the warm glow of their winter palace. I wonder if they knew, would they then demand their own entry there, or like a revolution’s mob, break every pane with bricks and cobblestones?
At a Reading
After the last poem, the poet, clearly drunk, answered questions. A student asked him how he made a poem. There was a wide smile and a long silence. Then, “Fuck the muse and wait nine hours.” There was laughter, some embarrassed, some self-consciously loud. Then the student said, “But Mr. C___________, according to that metaphor, isn’t it the muse who makes the poem and not the poet?” There was a narrow smile and a short silence. “True enough, but poetry has always been a messy business,” he said, a drop a spittle dangling from the corner of his mouth.
Should a seventeen year old be put to death for murder?
was the question under discussion. No, he argued, the psychologist,
because, he said, the limbic system, which, in a seventeen year old,
overpowers the neo-cortex, so it must be life in prison for such,
to be, without the possibility of parole, imprisoned with his
limbic system and his neo-cortex, to play, for life, the Play of Everyman,
to doubt, for life, between devil and angel, to live, for life, in the capital of punishment.
The phone at the ear listening to the recorded music to keep the temper assuaged and diverted while you wait for the customer service rep to help you with your problem to answer your simple question you decorate the number you jotted down on the pad with filigree and curlicue with alphabets in arabesque with gargoyles and this poem… … cut off.
J.R. Solonche has published poems in more than 400 magazines and journals since the early 70s. He is the author of 22 books of poetry and co-author of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.