Five Visual Poems by J.I. Kleinberg

America

america 1348

because

because 1422

How can we

how can we 1477

What is

what is 1649

wary

wary 1452

..

Artist, poet, and freelance writer, J.I. Kleinberg is a Pushcart nominee and winner of the 2016 Ken Warfel Fellowship. Her found poems have appeared in DiagramHeavy Feather ReviewRise Up ReviewThe Tishman Review, HedgerowOtoliths, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and blogs most days at: thepoetrydepartment.wordpress.com.

 

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The Theatre and its Double, by Paul Sutton

Outbreaks of cultural madness are not unusual.

Our elite encourages, and then participates.

Rumours of impending starvation and pustular diseases – kept hitherto at bay by our imperial overlords – are announced in all non-fake media outlets.

As in Cavafy – though internally – the barbarians are about to grab power, with a return to pre-Cambrian levels of public comfort and safety.

The artistic community – noted for its diversity and independence of thought – unanimously co-operates.

Screaming mobs and toddlers parade through the capital’s streets, dressed as enormous genitalia daubed gold on blue.

Older citizens are whipped with foreign meats and told to die.

Bankers throw gold from their windows, homeowners wrap houses in clingfilm, media courtesans harangue non-degree holders.

Salvation is only conceivable through “a deal”.

With bodily fluids preparing to erupt, gesticulating bubo cover the bodies of politicians.

Our Head of State leaps into the Thames and is flushed into the North Sea.

On a business park in Maidenhead, Berks, the exhausted dark warehouse workers queue for Cornish pasties.

Most are reduced to living as troglodytes, in the gardens of benign liberals sheltering us from the coming spring.

Insanity, by Jennifer Lagier

To satisfy his
illiterate, raving base,
toddler-in-chief throws a tantrum,
demands billions of taxpayer dollars
to build an expensive,
ineffective border wall
along our southern boundary.

His snit translates
into two painful weeks
of a government shutdown
enabled by spineless repugs
who continue slurping
at the public trough,
expect their own paychecks.

Federal employees
suffer without compensation,
worry about mortgages,
utility bills, feeding their families.
National Parks overflow
with uncollected feces and garbage.

The stench of incompetence
emanates from
a dysfunctional administration
installed by Russia,
headed by a doddering simpleton
illegitimately occupying the White House.

Dispossessed, by James Graham

They had good soil. The common Sun and rain
were generous, warmed their bright eyes and made
limbs strong and gentle. Their children
ran and climbed and tumbled. But good soil

is coveted. As if a thundering host had thrown
itself against them, fiery and murderous, their land
was taken by thieves: a cruel conquest
which in thieves’ language is called purchase.

They were put to flight. The city rained
no mercies on them. They rested where the Sun
baked the hard ground, beside a smouldering
garbage heap; they were cast away. Now they live

in a rain-fed country, but have little water.
Power flows through cables; they must steal it.
Their homes are rigged from boxes and old iron.
The land is fertile; they are often hungry.

No more than a mile from wealth, their home
is an exoplanet, harsh, too distant from its star.

James Graham.

..

James Graham was born in 1939 in Ayrshire, Scotland, in a rural cottage lit by oil lamps. He was a teacher for thirty years, but would rather have been a celebrated journalist and best-selling author. Most of his published work is poetry, which has appeared in numerous print and online magazines. His third collection, Becoming a Tree, published by Troubador Press, is currently available.

Five Poems by Akankshya Pradhan

THE VACUOUS REASON

The saccharine words of mine,
The curvy figure,
The waves on the waist as it swayed,
And the enchanting gesticulations,
All in vain;
No effect on the tenant,
No roof over the head,
Only the tears filled to the brinks,
Waiting to snake down the eyes
onto the painted cheeks;
Homeless were the days
and the ceaseless nights,
Umbrella was that isolated,
grubby tunnel, the
place I shaded myself,
Through out the monsoon
and the hailstorms;

Soon got one, the one I enmeshed
in the gossamer of my trap,
In the inebriation of my love,
Just only to gratify my needs;
But the play for own-self
mutated into a real story of
endearment,
Got myself enveloped in
the magical world of love and lust,
Hallucinating the distant future,
Into our tomorrow;

That tomorrow morning came,
The same, with the Sun,
With the breath of chill winds,
With the birds chirping on
the arms of a tree,
But no same was the man, I loved;
No rebuke,
No reproach,
No brawl,
With only treachery;
He used me for his delectation,
As I did, once for shelter,
He ditched me owing to the vacuous reason,
That is, I, a trans-person.

 

THE SOLITARY BOY

It’s been an aeon since
he roistered his natal day,
Sans his parents,
Sans any siblings,
Only a flock of hapless
cherubic companions, though oblivious
were some about the bliss
of celebrating the birthday;
The sun in the peep of the day,
He brushed his teeth,
Showered well and
soaped just his face,
Clothing self in a pair
of baggy pants and
a pale shirt with patches
darned, bestowed by charity,
However, a new one
for him;

Geared up was he,
as well as his pals, awaiting
for the couples,
Some with barren womb,
Some avarice for one more child;
He, grinning like a Cheshire cat,
His eyes twinkling,
The eyes which yelled,
“Adopt me, adopt me, please”,
However, they whizzed past
Him;
The dawn turned dusk,
He so solitary in his birthday,
And still bereft
of any new surname,
Bereft of any new parents,
But why?
For he already in his
stage of pubescence,
Or just because
he was too sombre.

 

THE RAY OF LIGHT

A fly buzzed its wings,
Then upon the sappy nose,
And no hand to drive it away,
Not that of his kiths,
Not even his own;
Inert was his bygone body,
Barren was his stagnant life,
Within the same hospice room,
With no ‘ray of hope’;

Stood firm a mammoth window,
In front of his eyes,
The only organ wigwagging;
The abundance of the green,
The chirping of warble birds,
The dawn with jogging couples
in the exquisite lap of the nature;
Grinned his heart
with the pulse of the cabaret
echoing in the late night,
Smiled his eyes
and bosom with pleasure,
with a playful grandfather and grandchild
duo glance, through it,
Through the window,
His ultimate ‘ray of gaiety’;

In the fullness of time, that
ray even choked,
Shut was his opening
to the ravishing world out over there;
Very distressed, glutted with despair,
Snuck a look at the ‘ray of light’,
An angel with a paper in his hand,
A will with the sigh of relief,
To alleviate him from the
sulky hopeless life.

 

THE UNRIPE BRIDE

The moment she menstruates,
The community discerns her,
No longer a little girl,
But a soon-to-be wife
Then an unripe mother;
Her parents alleviating and
relocating their burden,
On to the shoulders
of her husband,
Perceiving, one less to feed,
One less to clothe;

Society of patriarchy invokes,
In the median, to
leave her studies,
leave her merriment,
leave her childhood,
Into the swamp of
duties and responsibilities;

The utter pain of pregnancy,
The twinge of the
loss of her infant,
The lesion and gore
presented by her
abusive and angry husband,
Converts that swamp
into the inferno of
stress and depression;

A child in marriage,
Similitude to the
innocent soul capsized
in the uncanny woods
of grisly nightmares,
With her fate
engraved, to be exploited,
To be nagged,
May be sexually,
May be at the grey cells.

 

CHILD NEGLECT

Her lavish dress had torn, still unstitched,
Undone are her nursery home-works,
With her it was just her nanny during the maladies;
She had only her own finger to wipe
the incessant flow of her eyes,
And none to mop the flow of her nose,
Her food adorned on the magnificent table,
But no mature hands to feed it to her mouth;
The two who beget her hurled the lamp, dashed the portrait,
The mirror smashed to smithereens, the doors bolted,
And soon she out of the picture, into
the gloomy room of depression.

Of Trees in December, by Myron Scott

The cemetery in December, headstones draped
with garlands and ribbons, tinsel and wreaths,
stunning red flowers and miniature trees,
silver or green, heavy with bulbs. Some person
moves through it, squats, lifts a tree, carries it off:

To take it to his wife and children, put in her widowed
mother’s  room , display on his sales room desk,
sell with the others at swap meet, present
to the receptionist he hopes to fuck,
carry beneath the bridge where he sleeps.

..

Myron Scott lives in Arizona, where he practices law, defends immigrants and works with special needs children.

View from Home by David Chorlton

When light runs up the mountain
coyotes pass it coming down.
The last doves fly
and turn to stars; an eyelid closes
across the surface of the pond;
history has run its course
for the day.
…………………..Papers
that were signed are filed away
while those that weren’t
lie restless on a desk
awaiting further study
……………………………………….when clocks
display the time negotiations
resume over war,
displacement and pestilence,
when
………….a carp’s face
breaks still water, and a pen stroke
brings a nation to its knees.

Memo from customer relations, by Howard Timms

Our target market, by a tiny margin,
of one million out of thirty three
chose an outline Brexit plan
at the proof-of-concept stage.
Delivery date is looming
but management is undecided
which product to supply.
Market research in 2017
showed buyers changing preferences
on suppliers and their products.
We therefore must, before despatch,
avoid abuse of buyers’ trust
by letting them choose between:
delivered but unfinished goods;
uncertain goods at unknown cost;
or cancellation of their order.

..

Howard Timms is a playwright, actor, and non-fiction editor whose dramas have been produced in the U.S., where he had ten years of immigrant experience, and the U.K. Now back in his home town of Cheltenham, he has an MA in creative and critical writing from the University of Gloucestershire, which added poetry to his creative activities.

Gatwick Airport, by Ceinwen Elizabeth Cariad Haydon

Peeled eyes, scan cold, getaway, winter skies
Families pulled back home by love or hope or duty
Tired travellers search out airmiles’ rich rewards
Harsh terminal conditions for earth and her children

Families pulled back home by love or hope or duty
Right to roam versus communal responsibility
Harsh terminal conditions for earth and her children
Deathbed calls cross oceans, vital ice melts

Right to roam versus communal responsibility
You me him her us they we, now and still to come
Deathbed calls cross oceans, vital ice melts
Drones ground planes, curses vie with blessings

You me him her us they we, now and still to come
Tired travellers search out airmiles’ rich rewards
Drones ground planes, curses vie with blessings
Peeled eyes, scan the getaway winter skies          

The Funfair of the Damned, by Chris Mann

The flags of every land on earth
are fluttering on the poles
where Mephistopheles has come
to gamble for men’s souls.

He waves a wad of bills and smiles
and spins his ivory dice,
‘Roll up!’ he says, ‘I know each land,
each business has its price!’

The placards at the car park gate
are being pushed aside,
the premiers of the poorest lands
can’t wait to get inside.

So caucus in the conference halls,
vote for the Promised Land,
help MegaMammonWorld transform
the funfair of the damned.

The horses of Apocalypse
snort carbon in the sky,
a coal man on the golf-course says,
‘Tree-hugger talk’s a lie.’

Dead frogs and methane in the reeds
adorn the leisure lake
where front men for an oil cartel
sign up a smiling sheik.

But bank magicians by the pool
are tweeting on their phones,
repaying what’s owed Mother Earth
by funding loans with loans.

Be hip and hop with Nero’s band
that’s rocking on the stand,
help MegaMammonWorld transform
the funfair of the damned.

It’s poker, power and politics
inside the weapons tent,
each chip’s a billion dollar deal,
each war a cash event.

The game is Armaments for Peace,
the tactic’s keep things tense,
sell cheaper, deadlier nukes to thrill
Departments of Defence.

But you and me and everyone
and no one is to blame
when nothing’s sacred on the earth
except the money game.

So caucus now to make the earth
a green and sunny land,
help MegaMammonWorld transform
the funfair of the damned.

The air is hot and moist inside
the VIP’s marquee,
where banks and presidents cut deals
below the Judas tree.

The cash-flows shoot as fast as thoughts
around the global mall,
and boom and bust the businesses
inside the Banking Hall.

But marketing and hi-tech firms
are working double shifts,
to fix the heat-wave in the mall,
the air cons in the lifts.

So cash your carbon credits in
and buy a solar brand,
help MegaMammonWorld transform
the funfair of the damned.

When Mephistopheles has bought
the last soul in the bar,
when acid eats the funfair flags
and rain steams off the tar,

When Lazarus the janitor
has put away his broom
and limped off coughing to the hills
and climbed back in his tomb,

The prophets at the gate will wake
to septic lungs at dawn,
and lift their limp placards and say,
‘What could we do but warn?’

‘Cos no one stops the rock ‘n roll
when money owns the band
and Mephistopheles puts on
the funfair of the damned.

Oxford Circus, by Rachel Burns

A homeless man sits beneath hanging angels
stretching across the street
angels glittering in the dark inky twilight
angels glittering in the December rain.
He shivers under a blanket,
bare feet resting on the cold wet pavement
and his feet are dirty, the toenails blackened
from wear and lack of care. The shoppers
walk on by, happy, laughing,
last minute Christmas shopping
and I want to go up to him
and ask, ‘Where’d you put your shoes?’
I want to wash his feet with my god-damn hair.

..

Rachel Burns poems have appeared in magazines such as The Fenland Reed, Crannog and Poetry Salzburg Review. She was commended in The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize 2017 and shortlisted for Primers Volume Four. 

Killers in velvet – a lament for brexit, by Antony Owen

No Brit voted for Aylan to leave Syria
No Brit voted for Britain to leave Iraq
No Brit voted for Britain to leave Afghanistan
No Brit voted for Private Jones to not die in a shopwell

No Brit voted for Britian to leave Aden, Anguilla, Australia
Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Basutoland,Bechuanaland,
Bermuda, British East Africa, British Cameroons.

No Brit entered tarpaulin to see organs in bathtubs,
No Brit voted for the homosexual Nigerian hanging
No Brit voted for potatoes to exit Britain for Ireland
No Brit voted for the Private Smith to repair the war inside.

No Brit voted to turn the Atlas pink but rich conquistadors and
every ruling class Brit voted to rape the world with white monarchs,
No Brit voted for the culling and slaving and robbery of British Guiana
British Honduras,
British Somaliland
Brunei
Canada
Cayman Islands
Ceylon
Cook Islands
Cyprus
Falkland Islands
Fiji
Gambia
Gibraltar
Gold Coast
Grenada (Windward Islands)
Hong Kong
China
India
Jamaica
Kenya
Kuwait
Malaya
Maldive Islands
Malta
Mauritius
Montserrat
Newfoundland
New Zealand
Nigeria
North Borneo
Nyasaland
Papua New Guinea
Pitcairn Islands
Samoa
Rhodesia
Sarawak
St Helena, Ascension Isl. Tristan da Cunha
St Lucia
St Vincent
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
South Africa
South West Africa
Sudan
Tanganyika
Tonga
Trinidad
Trucial Oman
Turks and Caicos Islands
Uganda
Zanzibar.

Millions of Brits voted to leave Europe
Millions of Brits voted to stay in Europe
Millions of Europeans sail in my British Blood,
Normans, Vikings, Gauls, Barbarians, daughters of Boudicca.

Who will vote to stay human?

In my mother’s house, by Paul Sutton

The worst thing with her dementia
is all these emotions have gone;
no anger, nothing left of the fire.

I remember one winter in Welwyn
Garden City, somehow she got
involved in deliveries to families
where some father was in prison –
children in dirty vests at the door –
bread and jam on Christmas Eve.

Dickensian, I guess it sounds a cliché.
She was in tears and couldn’t explain.
Driving home in silence – no blame for
us, just mute. This was a Utopian new
town, not rich, the poorer parts were
shunned, lost fifties council houses by
factories where shredded wheat was
made – I imagined the people in them
eating cereal, and nothing else. Now
shredded wheat itself seems a horror,
like old hair or straw from a scarecrow.

She was from a bone-poor family of
Smyrna Greek refugees I didn’t
understand; she said she slept in
shipping boxes and had to buy
her own Christmas presents –
told to get herself something.

Death Comes as a Master from Academia, by Colin James

                              Surprisingly my nemesis
                              was substantially larger than me
                              and quite a bit younger.
                              I managed to distract him
                              with an ambiguous question.
                              Far be it me to throttle someone
                              when their back is turned.
                              I hit him straight on violently.
                              To divert blame I had designed a lettered
                              sweater always open at the neck,
                              compensating for a particularly thorough
                              good hiding at someone else’s convenience.

Freedom’s Breath, by Dave Rendle

There is urgency within it’s exhalation
In fields of wonder, on journeys frustrated,
Towns and cities, countless street corners
In places where we come together.

Weaving among our destinies
Feeding hungry voices of conscience,
Shouting, resisting, singing
Never stops to rest, keeps on calling.

Carrying people to safety
Across barricades and borders,
Upon the tides that overtake
Scattering hope on the lands.

Providing and protecting all
Weakening the shackles that bind
Sharing our fears, courage, fragility
The capacity for humanity to love.

Beyond prejudices and barbarism
Opening doors, a doyen against division,
Releasing souls, letting minds  break free
Bringing beauty to the waking eye.

Moving through unstilled clouds
Moonlight dapples, waves of thought
Turning things upside down, finds new horizon
Seductive reasoning in every waking season.

But still curtailed by hostile environments
Lost among tyranny, the walls we build,
Still too many who do not see its worth
But freedom’s gasping will not withdraw.

Give Us This Day, by Peter Roe

LondonBathChelsea or a Belgian bun
CinnamonHot CrossIced or a Sally Lunn
For some it is a Finger, a Nudger or a floury Bap
Bannock, a Baguette or plain Tortilla wrap
PretzelFlatbreadBloomer or a crunchy French Baton
Currant Bun, a Stottie, a Scone or should it be a Scon?
WaffleCroissantBrioche, the sweet and sticky roll
HoagieBarm and Bagel the roll with the middle hole
There is a multitude of ways to take your daily bread
For many they are thankful and eat once Grace is said
There are some who are struggling to meet their families need
And are going to the food bank to get their daily feed
Give up this day
your normal daily bread
Give one square meal
To those who need it more instead
Deliver up some victuals
For this is the wisdom
The power in your story
This is not for ever…

Amen…

Brexit, by Neil Fulwood

The guy behind the counter is loosing off smoke rings.
The vape shop is empty but for him
and those half dozen perfect, useless circles.
,,
On the street, the cold makes dragon’s breath
of my exhalations. Tomorrow’s ‘meaningful vote’
has been called off. I’ve pulled my neck into my collar,
..
found holes burying my hands in my pockets.
Five minutes’ walk to the pub and I’m wondering
if the mood will be muted or murderous
..
or if anyone still cares.

..

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham. His pamphlet ‘Numbers Stations’ is published by Black Light Engine Room Press, and his debut collection, ‘No Avoiding It’, by Shoestring Press.

On Soldiering, by John Lake

The barrack-room and battlefield mentality
Occluded an alternative reality –
The years you gave away that could’ve been
The other life your loved ones should’ve seen.

You sacrificed that story for your country, not for glory,
And for that we all respect what you have done.
But honour has no place inside the hearts or in the faces
Of the masters who equipped you with a gun.

..

John Lake is a novelist whose books include ‘The Leeds 6 Trilogy’ and Amy and the Fox. Sometimes he writes poetry too, some of which has appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post, First Time, Krax, Views from Our Windows and 100 Thousand Poets for Change: Leeds 2017. When he’s not writing he DJs as Bass BC.

Visit www.armleypress.com for more info.

Absolutely Nebulous (type 2), by Oonah V Joslin

In this polar stratospheric realm
cumulus of opinion formed
where fractus ruled and took the helm
wherein a lying contrail wormed.
..
Now, noctilucent as the day,
Mediocris stratus came.
Nimbus was she. They called her May
bot, strong and stable ‘not to remain’.
..
Castelanus Albion!
See, she cried, how we stand together
deploying funnel vision
against good old British weather!
..
But Ireland was torn and split by storm.
Scotland was still divisive
and Wales’s hills, mostly worn down,
could still loom dark, decisive.
..
You can’t be cirrus Europe cried.
You cannot simply wave goodbye.
what port? what wall? And trades aside,
A whale to catch a mackerel sky?
..
But Mediocris stood her ground,
alto from her flammagenic crest.
Brexit is Brexit! Square is round.
This is my only deal and best.
..
To humilis she’d never nod,
shaking her frail fists at the clouds.
So politicians meet their god
and rain on us their tattered shrouds.