Six Minutes by Julian Isaacs

Due to the cold war
warming up once again,
The sun only shone in Moscow
for six minutes this month.
In the time it took to soft boil two eggs,
twenty-three people fell in love,
a silenced poet found the page,
And a lunatic rolled over
under ultraviolet rays,
refusing to die.

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A black man laid naked in the snow by Antony Owen

To me you were never the hate crime
you were darkness in the fracture of snowflakes,
a man who loved a man who was white as a slave ship mast.

To me you were always the love crime
who melted in his white frame like blood into pure snow.
I thought of you last night when a robin drank from a stone angel.

Five days from now I will be forty-five
you would be sixty one and in another place we would be us,
I would read you war poems and we’d leave our skins on our shadows.

Man I never knew, I loved your death,
the flowers of fibula that covered your bludgeoned face
your beautiful face which conquered twenty-two blows of two men.

To me you were never the hate crime,
You were the eye-white snow that saw you and closed your eyes.
Tonight I will kiss my brother on the lips and draw him closer than breath.

Shock and Awe by Mike Ferguson

Gunshots echo from the ridge, repetitions so fast
it could be the automatic fire of multiple killings;

at the same time, jets reverberate in the sky to
attack other hushed places of a Sunday morning.

Sitting here is safe, listening to this as intangibles
of what seems the gist from farmers and friends

slaughtering rabbits beyond the rim of that hill.
When the roar of aircraft fades and guns lull too

there is time to adjust to quieting clues –
one plane joins other vapour streaks across the sky,

a distant sound of tourists heading home or off
on holidays abroad where foreigners are tolerable.

When silent beyond the hill there’s little surprise
by what is heard in the taunting from further on.

Awry by Mike Ferguson

Clouds are drifting slowly eastwards,
but the snapshots of blue are briefer than before.

An owl screams from a branch under the moon,
but there is no echo across fields.

Rain lashes all night in this winter storm,
but damage is more of the same.

Bordering bushes drop falling leaves,
but birds have nowhere to fly for certainties.

Waves break along the seaside’s shore,
but pebbles are not dragged back in its ebb.

Pruned shrubs are stripped, and their sticks in piles,
but there’s no urge to weave the rustic fencing.

The sun shines on this table of Sunday papers,
but what we read makes no sense any more.

self harm by juli Jana

as the train rumbles on past platforms of small stations
trees   sunlit meadows    I note you sitting opposite
letting the sun burn on your arms
highlighting criss-cross scars
wearing them as a matter of fact
with no embarrassment or glory
each bloodied rut traced by frantic fingers

I open my bag for a tissue
ask like a fool if I can help
blow my nose as you mouth  no

in your glare I recall a snake
writhing in the bush hiding amongst thorns
he only wanted to sun himself when I disturbed him

..

juli Jana: poet & visual artist
live in London and abroad
did MRes at Roehampton university
active in poetry workshops and gatherings

I wonder by Michael Peck

at the microphone
using the words of men
a blowfish speaks
puffed up with spines
around its body
untouchable
simply compressed air within
bellowing the defensiveness,
fear, and isolation it feels inside
..
we watch and listen
wondering what has become
of our country
why are we allowing
of a self-possessed madman
to steer our ship of state
toward the rock-strewn shore
..
will we be brave
enough
to stand
to mutiny
takeover the ship
and save ourselves
or will we
wait for someone else
with more courage
to save us
I wonder

Sometimes it seems by Michael Peck

Sometimes it seems men
have only crept out of
the cave
brutality barely hid
fears shiny as an oil
on their skin
they have an uncanny
way of not recognizing
their reliance on one another
seeing things only
as needs, wants
even dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit
everything else is a threat
how long will it take
for us to see ourselves,
others and the world
we live on as necessary?
How long will hope and fear
hide inside our stony hearts?
Sometimes I wonder
if we will ever wake up
from the nightmare of self-protection
the hard road of solitary beings
to the prosperity and ease
of cooperation
with one another and our world

Voice the Forbidden by Ingrid Bruck

White entitlement hides behind its walled enclave,

strikes people of color with hate,

clobbers the others in the name of business interests.

These self interest promoters

confiscate money, education and property

with each seizure of state park land for development,

every new well drilled in the Arctic,

the lessening of medical care for the masses.

 

Men build a blockade around their fortress,

tout the trickle down of greater good,

grow personal wealth

though profits run dry at the top layer.

In the pursuit of business,

they reject evidence-based research

revealing harm to the planet.

In the pursuit of business,

they prohibit science-based research

exposing hurt to people.

 

Rich white men cringe at the word entitlement,

a slur, the word assaults their honor,

slaps them with contempt.

It’s the middle word on a list

of seven forbidden words

issued to CDC by the Trump Administration,

words government employees are forbidden to use

to mitigate collateral damage to our leaders.

 

People of color are the enemy,

this vulnerable majority

increases in number everyday.

White men fear becoming an endangered species,

outnumbered as they are by people of color,

intimidated by the diversity and vigor introduced.

Any one other is a threat to the white elite.

No one outside the inner circle is safe,

the diminished middle class gets sacrificed

to make the rich richer.

 

Whites, in fear of their shrinking numbers,

build a higher barricade and threaten,

“Keep out of Wall Street.”

Those inside the fortress want all the money.

The barrier wobbles,

the masses call for bread, medicine, clothes

a roof overhead.

Pity the transgender outside.

Pity the fetus born into this maelstrom.

A mob in the streets calls for heads.

..

I’m including a poetry site that took up the Seven Forbidden Words as an agenda. I admire them for doing this. I send it to you in case it is of interest:
The CDC Poetry Project
Poems using the 7 words forbidden in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents for 2018 – Sarah Freligh and Amy Lemmon, editors
Founded by Sarah Freligh and Amy Lemmon to give voice to the forbidden. A collection of poems written in response to the Trump Administration’s directive to the Centers for Disease Control on December 15, 2017, as reported in the Washington Post, that official documents being prepared for the 2018 budget were not to contain the following words:
vulnerable
entitlement
diversity
transgender
fetus
evidence-based
science-based
Starting on December 16, Sarah and Amy invited poets to submit poems in any form that included all seven of these words, preferably in repetition, to CDCpoetry@gmail.com, for publication on the blog

Dear Sir by Pat Ashinze

Dear Sir! Can you hear the sound of my silence?,
As it ricochets through my divided soul
Dear Sir! Can you feel the gravity of my anguish?
As it darkens the aura of my inner peace

Dear Sir! You lure me into your creepy chambers
Just to thrust your accursed self into my loins,
You take advantage of my young and naive brain
Just to force your way through an unready road

Dear Sir! You deprive me of my self-decisiveness
Knowing fully well that your act is wrong
You smile and chuckle as you relish in wry delight
Just to lick a fruit that is hard and unripe

“Shhh…It’s not going to hurt you! Don’t be scared!
I’ll buy you some sweets and ice-cream”
You say it as usual with coquetry and conviction
Who am I? a daft little girl, not to yield in.

Dear Sir! May your kind never taste God’s mercy
For you have peckered and raped my kind
At the expense of your fiery cravings and desires –
The boys are not even free from your urge

You may threaten and tell me not to tell anyone
You may browbeat me by denying in public eye
You may drown my pride in your hateful waters
But Sir! your waters can never put out God’s fire

Names by Ananya S Guha

In India it is
names that cloud
skies, open
them into wrath
blood trickles
in faces, nameless
names that pester
names that hector
names that carry
burden of centuries
love, jihad, Aurangzeb
Nehru, Bharat Mata
names that keep vigils
on holy land and cows
names that live in hollow
breath, footsteps, names
that blaspheme
names that murder.
..
What are in these
Names? Games?
lush of sunshine?
metamorphosis of rocks?
names of temples, names
of Gods, names that plunder
names that like leaves sunder
fall, smoldering into
ashen death.
..
Forgive, I do not know
all the names
but I will wrench them
from time’s clasped hands
and unearth mortal remains.
India.

President Turd by Jennifer Lagier

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” – Donald J. Trump

 

The statue of liberty weeps as
right-wing Panderer-in-Chief
disparages dark-skinned immigrants,
labels them undesirable, unwanted.

He prefers white folks, like Norwegians,
encourages their unfettered migration
into the cesspool of what once was
an egalitarian, welcoming land.

Republican enablers down pedal his racist vulgarity.
From the other side of the aisle, a handful
of outraged politicians take the xenophobic dotard
illegitimately inhabiting the White House to task.

.

Dr. Jennifer Lagier
http://jlagier.net

ars poetica in my paintbox slips through the shithole by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

i was not thinking of a lemon perhaps Lorca’s lemon endemic to our absinthe flesh / i was not thinking of that land where a white man walking a black dog has gotten to the bottom of a song / i was just greedily looking up at the sky turning my back on ars poetica / dreaming / the same dreams almost every day i live in /how i am naked / the weight of every dream above

The Latest Chattering Class Agenda by Peadar O’Donoghue

There, oh there,
dying a thousand mad deaths
decades after, centuries after,
they are all after,
John Clare.
Field hand,
workman,
mad man.

SonofaNietzsche,
the jargon’s wobble hints
like an atomic bomb
the certain lack of largesse n’oblige.

We, sisters, brothers,
mothers, fathers,
sweat-greased caps doffed,
of all shades,
black lungs
like forelocks tugged,
the mores they change
the mores they stay the same,
the middle classes fighting
for themselves,
the working classes,
defeated, conned,
subjugated, the best of us
fighting amongst ourselves.

the evil Cartographer’s hand by Martin Hayes

centuries old maps
rolling fields of red
hill ranges of bone
scale worked out
in sky sea star
the evil Cartographer’s hand
pulling nations
from rage to wall to war
trying to wipe out
all of the mistakes
he has made in his head
love empathy compassion
“any spare change, mister”
but he can’t do that
now,
too late,
they’re in these maps of ours
unrolled out through our limbs
fluttering like flags
on a toothpick stuck in our big toe
a breastplate for our torso
two fingers up
the Cartographer’s shit hole
..
you cannot change the soil
that grew us
despite these new maps
you try to unfurl
they lie this land
doesn’t exist
these hands
of ours
just hold older
than any plan
you have

Immigrant Salvation by Andy Brown

A chameleon walked into a bar
No-one saw him arrive
An immigrant walked into a bar
Everyone turned to stare
A chameleon walked into a bar
Felt at home immediately
An immigrant walked into a bar
Experienced feelings of alienation
A chameleon walked into a bar
Blended smoothly into the crowd
An immigrant walked into a bar
Could not confidently communicate
A chameleon walked into society
No-one noticed his contribution
An immigrant embraced opportunity
Ferociously fought initial fear
A chameleon faded within the crowd
Accepted anonymity without adversity
An immigrant studied and understood
Became a beacon for the community
A chameleon walked into a bar
Nobody showed the slightest interest
An immigrant walked into a bar
Everyone applauded and hoped.

As millions starve by John Collins

As millions starve,
many others lift crystal goblets
and sup in regal halls.
Royalty dine while
masses hunger and
search for a decent bowl of beans.
Steak, Kaviar, wine are served
on porcelain or china plates
while the garbage dump is being searched
for a scrap of mouldy bread
by unclad, cold and dirty children
seeking a cup of clean water.
A dynasty of the elite
making deals with their
manipulative language
and the elected discuss fraud
in a volcabulary of trickery.
But life goes on in the castle
or amid the smell of rot,
but rot is bilateral.

To whom much is given,
much is required.

War by John Collins

God has not signed off on war,
though each side assumes His approval
and proudly proclaim that God has chosen “My side.”
God must be thought of as a multiple choice God,
or maybe, He just can’t make up His mind,
or just maybe, He refuses to support either.
Is God on the sidelines like this is a sporting event?
Maybe like a parent, He leaves it to kids to settle.
No, God has abandoned the battlefield,
He has seen enough blood, He wants no more.
He has witnessed the pain, He has felt the hurt,
He has cried enough, and pleaded enough,
and now, after giving in a word the solution, love
He cries, shedding tears as men go on loading their guns,
and as they march away from any logic,
following the road labeled hate,
rejecting the fork labeled love.

Thaw by Peter A Kelly

Just as 
the season’s
snows threaten
sibling permafrost
Pyongyang crosses the
border into Panmunjom to
meet his brother Seoul in the
Peace Village showing strength
in handshakes gladly reciprocated.

Of PyeongChang County winter games
talk begins, of a break from war games talk
begins. If only in past times those men paused
in Christmas Truce for football and Silent Night
in no man’s land together had jaw-jawed longer
in the frost, exchange of words of similarities
reminded, would not further hostilities
have been prevented?

When brother and brother
disarm to walk towards each other
larger will the human loom, smaller the
difference seem. So be it now. So
sad when families do not talk.

Memoirs of a Selkie Child by Joanne Key

Windswept, Mam walked the shore

with her offerings: a chest full of gulls,

a numbness deeper than all sleep.

Wading into the roar

until she was up to her neck in it,

she’d slip off her feet,

shed her heavy sense of emptiness.

She’d wait forever for a glimpse of seal

despite the north wind slapping her backwards

and the fella who stole her skin

waiting up on the dunes.

Even moonlight died on him.

A man full to the brim with drink.

Most nights he’d beat the tides out of us

and threaten to carve his name on her,

button my lip with a fishhook.

After the storms,

we’d wander the beach or she’d reel me up

from sleep in the small hours to float me

in the gentle rise and fall of her grief.

Many a night I found her calling out

to the water in the same strange tongue

I’d heard so many times before: the language

of shipwrecks and sinking vessels,

the screech and moan

of a boat coming apart,

a figurehead being split wide open,

and in a heartbeat,

the seal would appear, his body polished

to a headstone.

Only then would she tell him our sorrows

and he’d lie back and listen with a patience

our menfolk could only dream of.

The great secret keeper of the deep.

Wise as he was, it was clear

he couldn’t make head nor tail of us:

the watchers on the rocks,

the dark moons of our bruises rising,

the black-eyed mother and child

 who followed his every move as he poured himself away

into the water, thinning to a dark ribbon

tied across the horizon. I wondered then

   if he missed her, as a loving husband

might mourn a dead wife,

     or if he ever wondered what would become of us.

If, on nights when he was drunk on depth

and pressure, sleeping soundly in the ancient

cradle of sea, if he ever dreamt of me:

a strange creature, drifting through the abyss

like a whale fall. The tattered white flags

of flesh. The years of being eaten away,

right down to the bone.