What should I ask for, when my birthday is knocking on the door? I’ll get lots of love and blessings, and tonnes of gifts for sure!
A new dress will be ready for me, which I’ll wear happily I’ll paint the town red with my friends and family
No, I’ll not be an ordinary girl, though just for twenty four hours, I’ll turn into a fairy, with my hands full of stars
All these dreams still keep me awake when my birthday is knocking on the door But THEY say I am no more a kid, celebrating birthdays are childish ideas, which THEY don’t like anymore
I am growing up at the speed of light, and this is my nineteenth birthday, here the problem lies Now I can’t show my excitement, just for an ordinary day, when I first opened my eyes!
Navratra is an emerging poetess (writer), public speaker and artist from Jaipur, India. Her poems have been published in various national and international journals like Sahitya Kunj, Indian Periodical, Ode to a poetess, Spillwords, Setu Magazine, The Criterion and elsewhere. part from this, she is very interested in the thrilling trips of the country and the world and likes to write spontaneously on various subjects according to her observation.
Jordan saw her early that morning in the car park outside the local convenience store he passed as he walked to work. She was sitting in her car, maybe waiting for someone, and he wouldn’t have noticed her were it not for the rain making her move her head closer to the windscreen to peer through the droplets. He recognised her straight away. It was Pamela. He knew her from work, but she didn’t know him.
Her bobbed dark hair, smooth skin and prominent cheekbones dominated the twenty-three-year-old Jordan’s thoughts since he first saw her a year ago at the factory where they both worked. But Pamela was out of his league. For one thing, she was ten years older. Then there was the status thing. She was on a higher salary, he earned the basic. She drove a car, he didn’t even have one. Did celebrities date “normal” people? Mum earned more than Dad. Dad wished he had a better paid job. All relationships were dictated by status.
As he passed her car, his gaze fixed on her for a few seconds and the look was returned. It was brief, but nonetheless, a perfect start to his day.
In the factory later that morning, time was ticking away quicker than usual. Jordan had suggested an idea for improvements in the department which could result in smoother operation and higher quality output. His supervisor recognised the potential and encouraged Jordan’s initiative. A meeting was quickly arranged for that afternoon so he could outline his plan to the person at the top – the managing director. A one-on-one meeting with the managing director was big news. Jordan’s throat was drying up as meeting time drew nearer.
He nearly didn’t knock on the office door. His inner voice said to just do it. You’re here now, why not? Lay out your plan and then get out. You don’t need this pressure. He knocked and her voice called to him to come in. Pamela, the managing director, sat at her desk, conservative, striking, with that her business-like, yet warm smile.
“Hi Jordan.” She used his name. Female husky, professional; it made him feel sick, but a good sick. “Come on in, have a seat.”
His shy eyes avoided hers at first.
“How are you today?” I recognise him.
“Not bad,” he stammered. Standard answer – doing fine so far.
“Your supervisor told me you’ve got an idea for some improvements?” I’m sure that’s that guy I saw this morning, the one me and Audrey think is hot. I can’t believe he works here.
“Yeah, it’s nothing great.” Don’t say that – too negative.
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll listen to any ideas. It’s good to know that staff are work-conscious.”
Jordan quickly outlined his proposal, the odd word losing its way before finding the road out, blue-collar dampening as he spoke.
“That’s a really good suggestion, and it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about too.” Good looking and on my wavelength.
“I think it would definitely increase production,” he added. We’re thinking the same. This is good. Now leave the room.
“Absolutely, I totally agree.”
Pamela thanked him promising she’d get back to him whether or not his suggestion was to be taken further. He returned the thanks and stood up to leave when she spoke again, taking him by surprise.
“Jordan, do you happen to live on Westwood Street?” I need to know if it was him.
“Yeah I do,” he replied. She saw you. Big deal. Don’t look too much into it, but out of curiosity… “ Was that you this morning in the car park?”
“Yeah it was,” she smiled. “I was picking up a friend who works here. That’s weird.”
“Yeah that is really weird.” It should have been just a smirk, but he inadvertently flashed a full beam grin her way. She was picking up a friend. That means she could be single. So what? Why are you even thinking that?
“So what’s your plans for tonight Jordan?” Keep it formal but find out if he’s got a girlfriend.
“Not much. Quiet one.” Standard answer again. What ARE you doing anyway? I don’t think you’re doing anything.
“Well enjoy, whatever you’re up to.”
Ask her the same thing. It’s only manners. “Up to much yourself?”
“Tonight’s TV night. Catch up on Game of Thrones. Do you ever watch it?” I’d watch it with him.
“Yeah I like it.” I’d watch it with her.
They exchanged pleasantry goodbyes and he left.
For the remainder of the shift, Jordan’s workstation was cloud nine. Now that she was out of his sight, that distance brought a new, restrained bravado. His relationship with Pamela could metaphorically move up a notch. She had spoken to him, referred to him by name. They had even talked about what they were doing that night, the female husky, professional voice maybe not so intimidating now. He could talk to her again, find out if she’s seeing anybody, ask her out.
That evening at home in his room, Jordan kicked himself back to reality. He could never seriously contemplate a relationship with Pamela, and surely she could never reciprocate. The woman he wanted would remain a dream until he found love in second best. It all came back to the status thing.
The same evening, Pamela logged onto Facebook. Let’s seeif he’s on here.
Andrew Newall lives near Falkirk in Scotland. His short fiction has been published online and in print. His work has most recently appeared in the pages of Flash Fiction North, Razur Cuts and Dark Dossier.
How odd the imagination. It often takes you close To where the flowers grow, Splendid and perfumed and failing On their dehydrated stalks. Then gives you an ashtray full of dogends.
‘Colitas’ by Elisabeth Sennit Clough
It’s fair to say that the talented poet Elisabeth Sennitt Clough has a passion for the easterly portion of England, known as ‘The Fens’ – or ‘Fenland’ – covering much of the county of Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, alongside parts of Suffolk and Huntingdonshire. Indeed, her 2019 publication, At, Or Above Sea Level, focused strongly upon this region of marshland, and former marshland, much of which originally consisted of fresh, or salt-water, wetlands. Now, in her recent book, The Cold Store, Elisabeth returns to this area with a collection of imaginative and personal poetry.
The title of the collection – a real place called The Cold Store; an automated warehouse located at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire; once the largest frozen food warehouse in the UK, until superseded by another in 2018 – is used throughout the poetry as a metaphoric, shapeshifting presence. Elisabeth morphs The Cold Store into different forms across The Fens, allowing her to address memories from her youth, as well as buildings of importance, specific characters and various objects.
In some ways, the poems remind the reader of the Fens’ landscape; as they can be edgy, dark and mysterious. Yet, the poetry also contains consummate measures of light, with abundant detail and creative imagination, played out via Elisabeth’s choice, adept vocabulary to immortalise the flat landscape and unhindered skies that hold so much personal meaning for her.
Here, beyond the old toll gate Where the edge-of-town factories And car showrooms have long faded, Agriculture becomes the only industry. Each square of land carries me into the next And a pink horizon emerges from dark Earth.
The poems are varied and eclectic. While some focus upon descriptive elements to create powerful visual descriptions, others are clearly more personal, focusing upon an individualistic glimpse into the past, such as the poem, ‘Widowed Single Mother, 1970s’,that I could strongly relate to.
After she drops me off at the school gates, I try to mimic the villagers, call my mother By the names they give her.
Elisabeth’s mastery of words plays through this entire collection and produces strong, creative visuals within the reader’s mind.
You can find more of Elisabeth’s work here on Ink Pantry.
Getting up in the morning I’d rather be canoodling with a stranger in my dreams But work isn’t going to wait for me As I push the duck feather pillows away My bones ache with the strain of age I would rather spend the day Numbing my mind with soap operas And stuffing my face with chocolate Instead of going to meetings Filling the bath with soap and water I am exhausted As lavender and vanilla permeate my senses The urge to call in sick increases But the hot water does little to ease my woes Because the routine itself drains my energy Work, home, friends, and so on The same pattern, the same people, I’m tired of this routine, I’m tired of my life, I’m sick of these walls. I’d rather be somewhere else. These thoughts fill my mind As I sink further into the bubbles Trying to escape from another round Of self-loathing and regret.
Charcoal sands is my only company As I stare down the icy blue ocean
Flowing as the wind skinny dips in it Whilst my thoughts are elsewhere
Wondering how many people have stood In this sand admiring nature’s landscape
How many breaths have been inhaled here? Questions without any answers
As I pick up a pebble and throw it I wonder if my lover is across these tides
This beach is my anchor In the chaos of my pursuit to find love
An action some people spend a lifetime on But I know regardless of the outcome
I can always walk on this sandy panacea Without sadness and without judgement.
K.G. Munro is an author and poet. Here are a few of her writing credits: Oddball Magazine, Poetry Potion, Scarlet Dragonfly Journal, Splendeur Magazine, Green Ink Magazine, Feversofthemind and so on.
Let me think One word To talk about the day. Let me feel One feeling To talk about the night. Let me draw One drawing To colour life. I dwell in my garden I attain The university of imagination. Let me be one lesson That rethinks the ambition Of escaping time Running away With the modern cobweb. Being me Is the true Unselfish desire. It does not create misfortune On the less fortunate ones and Every possible door greets Everyone.
Sushant Thapa is from Biratnagar, Nepal. His fourth book of English poems is going to be published by World Inkers Printing and Publishing, Senegal, Africa and New York, USA. Sushant has an M.A. degree in English literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Griffith Park in the early morning. Mateo cycles past joggers and dog walkers. A group of elderly Koreans in wide brimmed hats doing Tai chi. Off to the west peacocks in full voice at the zoo. He enjoys this start to the day, cutting through the park down into Franklin Hills and then across to Sunset, which he rides all the way to downtown. At Angelino Heights he stops at a coffee shop and checks the app for the day’s first pick up.
Mateo can make his own hours, but the best times to ride are from around eight to three. With UCLA out for the summer he can make good money on his bike for a couple months, and then go meet up with his mom and all her spirited siblings down in Guadalajara. The first package is at a realtor on Wilshire. Mateo drains his second cup, adjusts his helmet, and pushes off into traffic.
Noon. It’s hot, July letting LA simmer. Mateo has been staying hydrated, avoiding hills. He’s in line at a Jamba Juice, taking a breather. Ordinarily, he’d go another hour or two but he’s baked and wants to head down to the ocean. He takes out his phone to shut off the app but another job lights up the screen. A lawyer’s office just a couple blocks away, a package going to the Federal Courthouse over by the Civic Center. Just one more job. Mateo hits the accept button.
The package is bulky and digs into him through his backpack as he navigates standstill traffic. He lifts the bike up steps and walks it across the wide plaza to the courthouse. Two uniformed officers check his progress at the entrance. They are surly, uncomfortable in the heat. Mateo hands one of them the package, has him sign for it on the app.
He is a block away when the blast sends him sprawling, hauling all the breath out of him. His ears are muffled as if underwater. Blood trickles from his nose. The bike is on its side, wheels spinning. Car alarms, dozens of them. Then sirens. So many sirens. Another sound, harsher, urgent. Officers are barking at him to remain on the ground. He feels a sharp pain in his arms as his wrists are cuffed. A realization comes to Mateo, his brain joining the dots. The package.
Its journey complete, the Norwegian tanker anchored out in the gulf near the entrance to the Mexican port town of Tampico. The January day was blustery, the water choppy. Huddled on the dock, the welcoming party: police officers, government officials, Frida Kahlo. A sturdy boat brings Trotsky and his wife ashore, their final stop after a decade of restless exile. Kahlo greets them as if they were old friends, ushers them onto the president’s personal train for the half day trip to the capital where her expectant husband, Diego, waits.
Like a Jackson Pollock, Kahlo and Rivera’s relationship was messy, colourful, complicated. A pairing of leftist artists, the boundaries of expression and convention purposely blurred. Marxists both, a celebrity of the revolution now in their midst whom they could offer safe harbor at their iconic casa azul, the blue house.
Cobalt inside and out, the house occupied a corner hidden among palms and tropical plants. The tranquility enhanced with birdsong and the rhythm of water fountains. Leon and Natasha explored the cool interior filled with the artists’ work and indigenous collections. They hugged, feeling a world away from Europe’s new turmoil and Stalin’s malevolence.
A summer downpour leaves its humidity to linger. Birds emerge from shelter, making announcements. A young man arrives at the house carrying documents. He is known, trusted, having spent a full year selling the deception. He enters Trotsky’s study with deference. Leon takes the documents to the window for better light. The young man reaches into his jacket and grips the cold iron of the ice pick.
It takes a moment for the brain to properly process that it’s hearing gunfire. But the repeated sharp cracks and urgent shouts in Hebrew confirmed there was a situation. Connor and Craig were waiting by the main entrance for a ride to the local store. An Israeli, middle-aged with greying hair ran into view. He knelt and fired off his Uzi in the direction he’d come. The settlement came alive with the sounds of combat, Israelis responding to unseen assailants. Craig took off running through the main gate. Momentarily rooted, Connor followed.
Some fifty yards up ahead Craig hurdled a low fence topped with barbed wire. No time for prudence. Connor followed suit, the wire slashing at his ankles. The gunfire behind them was intensifying. Then an angry flash and a loud, abrupt explosion. Clumps of earth falling around Connor. Craig’s heaped body, unmoving. A landmine. A voice. Connor turned toward it. The Israeli with the grey hair was standing the other side of the fence, weapon held across his body. Come back, he said, but slow. Go slow. Shaking, Connor locked him with his eyes and took the first step.
Daybreak, water the colour of slate. A lone figure stands in contemplation, close enough to the river that its current splashes over her boots. This stretch of the Niagara resides in the commonplace, revealing nothing of the chaos up ahead. Annie steps back up onto the grass, the October dew staining the hem of her dress and petticoats. She adjusts her matching bonnet which, like her dress, was once the tone of ripe plums, the garments now faded and frayed.
Farther down river the water quickens, a menace in its energy. Annie observes it coursing over rocks, dragging reluctant branches. Then rapids, the river shapeshifting, relentless. The air resounds, vibrates. Ahead, the torrent launches itself into the void. Annie is still, awed by the force of nature, her clothes absorbing the clouds of spray thrown high by the Horseshoe Falls. Tomorrow, her birthday, she will plunge over the brink in a barrel.
A small crowd has gathered at the launch point, the interest mostly morbid, as few expect Annie to survive. But this stoic woman in her sixties, widowed since the Civil War, remains confident that prosperity will follow. She engages with a reporter, offers a brief smile to the photographer. The large, oak barrel has been lined with thick blankets. Annie climbs through the opening and settles, cushioned. Resigned to being accomplices to such imprudence, two men in buttoned vests and rolled shirtsleeves toss their cigarettes to the ground and step into a rowboat.
Untethered, the barrel rolls in the calm stretch of the river. It appears inert, laden, until the current imposes its will. Annie’s breaths are shallow, fast, as she braces for the rapids. They receive her with disdain, muscles of water pounding the sodden oak. A thunder fills the barrel, invincible. The energy fractures. Freefall. Annie is relaxed, expectant.
The foul weather provided Joan with a temporary stay of execution. Although on the cusp of summer, Northwestern France was awash from relentless rain. The pyre, assiduously constructed, now lay sodden and deserted in the center of the walled city of Rouen. There were those who believed the intemperate conditions to be a divine rebuke.
The late spring regained control; renewal and growth continued, belying the solemn event at hand. The pyre stood centerpiece, timbers slowly shedding their moisture. Commerce, music, livestock all returned to the market square. Below ground a teenaged Joan remained chained to the stone wall of her cell. Once a conduit for the unlikely French victory at Orleans and the inspiration for a resurgent army, she was now a pawn in political maneuvering and betrayal. Baseless whisperings of heresy and witchcraft grew into formal accusations, sealing Joan’s fate.
Mercifully, the thick smoke took Joan before the serpent of flames claimed the wooden cross in her clasp. Her prayers had fallen upon the onlookers, the crowd having to retreat from the blaze. On an adjacent rooftop a black cat narrowed its eyes from wayward embers. It groomed lazily and settled on a ledge as the flames absorbed the martyr.
David Patten is an educator living in Colorado. He was raised in London, England, but has spent half of his life in the U.S. He loves reading and creating short fiction. He is hoping to increase the audience for his work.
You can find more of David’s work here on Ink Pantry.
The myth has happened in darkness of forest, near the old druidic altar with the stone. It was foggy then, shrouded in last summer. Here a fawn was born at dawn and morn – no woe!
Near the spring that belonged to the moony grove, naiad Arethusa is sitting on grass. Artemis – the soft goddess without trouble. It is the dreamy time for the Blue Hours.
The Utopian time is coming with charm. The naiad is musing about nightingales. They were known and famous in the whole land. Their song – for the sake of dazzling paradise.
Arethusa was not a mortal being. Artemis is resting now, only dreaming.
Arethusa and Alpheus I
In the grove where the druid’s fire sparkled at last evening, the Naiad dreams of the righteous, dear, beauteous time. The glade should be cleaned up after the amazing meeting of the Olympic gods and goddesses last pretty night.
The logic of Arethusa dreams of deductive wings. At the edge of forest the God Alpheus is waiting for the Naiad and apollonianly propitious mind. Having stroked the forest-like fawn, she is to him – coming.
He has hunted for wildcats at midnight with fancy – here. The love for her is such fabulous, gorgeous musing about the ontologically perfect Golden Fleece. The love is lost delight and only stardust of feelings.
She should become his amaranthine wife – the virgin. for life in depths of unending artemislike timbers!
Arethusa and Alpheus II
If dear Arethusa miswedded, she would sully tender crystal soul. She is going home quickly – away, dreaming of scintilla of the morns.
Don’t pick musing flowers of my hope! Leave me alone and my wizardries! Moony paradise seems to be lost. The naiad escapes soon from the forest.
On ship towards Ortygia-island, she meets the captain, former pirate and three divers with pearls in their hands. They want to dream and sleep, it is late.
The captain remembers the midnight storm. Naiad’s homeland becomes indeed lost.
At the sea II
She must find motherland in exile. Legendary seagulls are flying. The country of sailors is the sea. The waves of Poseidon are dreaming.
She can praise the morns – the charming dawns, full of celestial spirits of spell. The dreameries rest in new homeland, which shimmers over the meek vessel.
Despite this Artemis´ forest lives, where stags and does dance, muse forever. She thinks about the ambrosial tears. She listens to choir of pearl divers.
Naiad begins praying to Artemis just in the most Apollonian ways.
The prayer senso stricto
Owl from the grove listens to prayer. The most propitious and gorgeous words. Let moony star-like memories fly! Goddess sleeps in alluring forest!
Your roe is so appealing and grand! Your hedgehog is handsome, good-looking! Your bear is so cute and delicate! Your squirrel is so fascinating!
Enrapture the beauteous diamond! Beguile the splendid – classy agate! Enthrall the angelic emerald! Allure the bright – divine sapphire!
The wings of birds need to enchant world. Star of philosophers – next to owl.
Arethusa embellishes a dawn, bewitches the fantasy of the moon with ravishing, resplendent stars, becomes bucolic dreams of the gods.
She is such a good, cute Eden. or an apollonian Arcadia land that was eternally Promised, as the mirth of Eudemonia.
Be charm fulfilled such epiphany! It is from an ontology – child. I wish you were from eternity. She would be the perpetual stream.
Sempiternity is immortal. Her stream-becoming is eternal.
At the oracle
God Alpheus was at the Pythia. He needed a plethora of feelings. She looked at the ancient amphora. Eudemonia would be clear in dreams.
The oracle wanted to help them yet Pythia, having drunk, told the pure truth. She told: The Naiad was on the isle. She is spring – such a heaven, so blue.
Pythia wrote for Apollo poetry about dreamiest mysterious from wind, as well as of stolen Golden Fleece about apollonianly soft mirth.
Long live an eternal oracle! May poems be the most delicate!
The poem is an obol. The nightingale is singing. The naiad needs from live more. The lover is new dreaming.
Styx – river of destiny. The God would be the river, through the dreamed eternity. They become philosophers.
I love the stoic sparklets of Arethusa – naiad, and of the brave Alpheus, so beautiful is the time.
I want to finish sonnets, in dreams of the Grecian myths.
Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as long poems. Paweł has published his poetries in many magazines. He writes in English and German.
You can find more of Paweł’s work here on Ink Pantry.
Wine country returning to Napa and Sonoma too Camping to teach kids about safety in their rooms Smart Home new service for the groom Southern Oregon’s leaf strewed Kazoo California’s wine country is bouncing back to-do Larger than life instaurations of the sun at noon Super powers of skin multi-sensory to bloom Three generations sail through the Greek taboo Camouflage armour identity of course Be good win big in Alaska even drunk Suppose now it did happen would he bleed remorse? The Hearse on the Cross-Gun Bridge with a sleeping Monk Haulage rope mud choked bottled Carron Horse Only circumstantial odour from a Skunk
Unshed tears were not dropping in her Gin Sad plight Golden Rule Cajole Philosophical assertion control Faint sent of urine on her skin Butterflies don’t play Violin Hand-Maids of the Moon patrol Bristles shining wirily around the May-Pole Seated crossed-legged smoking a Coiled Pipe in Berlin Reign of uncouth stars plot Shadows lay over her Blindfold Corps rising salt white from under a Robot Loom of the Moon’s old Stench of his Green-Grave Gut Augur’s rod of ash Centerfold
Little pool by the rock’s music Bold as brass delicate high jump Soft clinging white aristocrat slump Her very heart in a limerick Gnawing sorrow now she is sick Cry nicely before the Stump Stole an arm around her rump Impetuous fellow strength of a hick Spit fire blue in the face clever She tickles tint tots’ Brains Saying an un-lady like thing to the server Long slow kiss after the Champagne Wisk well like white of eggs forever She wanted his ball having won again
Sleepy Whale 485
Relinquished his post arch wine Ten Seconds surface of her land Contemplate suppressed grand King Street smells of pine Frequentative erroneously swine Pleasures derived with literature at hand Drank jossers silence contraband Supervision pantomime sign
Sleepy Whale 491
Her neonist wears an Opal Ball-dress to write Improper overtures from men Writing on Tortoiseshells with Pens Lines between shutters light Frost- bound coachman arrives to night Drawn the limit of ten Her caves in silk hose with them Insulting any lady’s double-envelops white
Terry Brinkman has been painting for over forty five years. Poems in Rue Scribe, Tiny Seed. Winamop, Snapdragon Journal, Poets Choice, Adelaide Magazine, Variant, the Writing Disorder, Ink Pantry, In Parentheses, Ariel Chat, New Ulster, Glove, and in Pamp-le-mousse, North Dakota Quarterly, Barzakh, Urban Arts, Wingless Dreamer, LKMNDS and Elavation.
You can find more of Terry’s work here on Ink Pantry.
You are an enjoyable juniper! You are a pleasurable bush! You are an agreeable poplar! You are a delightful spruce! You are a gratifying cedar! You are an amusing birch! You are a diverting corn! You are a bonny pine! You are a lovely palm!
Your sepal be alluring! Your petals be delightful! Your stamens be appealing! Your carpel be graceful! Your corolla be good-looking! Your filament be pretty! Your ovary be stunning! Your ovule be foxy! Your anther be ravishing!
You honour starlet-like dreamland. You admire moonlet-like mirror. You exalt moony fairyland. You deify moonlit enchanted rose. You praise starry gingerbread house. You glorify starlit forest. You apotheosize comet-like spell book. You magnify spherical tower. You gratify sunny Ovidian sword.
Pawel and the Neoceltism. This poem is a dreamy manifesto of the Neoceltism, the spirit in which Paweł has created his English poesy.
You can find more of Paweł’s work here on Ink Pantry.