Literary as hell.

Tag: poems (Page 1 of 12)

Poetry by Gabriella Garofalo

Let’s call it a day, shall we, as we’ve been traipsing
From waves to clouds, from clouds to waves,
Among weeds, and a fire fearing the waves,
That heartless white all over-
But they’ll soon come back to clean

Her thirst, her hunger, not now,
As they’re not listening, too busy wondering
Whose son he is the mongrel-
So, don’t ask for angels, for comets, from births,
Or days from demise, my soul’s in rehab,
Soon to be dismissed, and no goddess shall reply
While running in red hot shoes-
And when you’ll fall down, my blessed fury,
My soul gasping among vertical words,
I’d have to tie you up, my soul so young and green,
Who confuses stars for shadows, when out of fear
Her light is throwing herself to trees and seasons,
When neither maps nor sextants light up ambos,
Alarms, dross, while you keep stroking rooms,
Streets, secluded spots-
So, moon, leave it alone, if they say blue takes care
Of everything, even keeps you safe
If by any chance you are cold-
No need to ask, ‘cause the blue of the sky
Looks so disheveled, and the trees of disappearance
Can’t give you their best fruits-
She’s here, the last light coming back in small bites
Ready to fight thorn bushes if you reject fear
Or ask too much-
That’s why you pay so dearly for the sound of cicadas,
An angry summer, my October sowing ghastly seeds,
When your hands awaken your breath,
And desertion turns up, but can’t grasp light-
Father, my father, use a different clay,
You see, other fathers break forth,
Shouting you betrayed our search of clouds,
Sheets in the wind, tense times-
Now listen, why did you ask for animals
To sit next to small creatures,
Why did you give them absolute freedom,
Ever the innocent visionary artist,
And look now, we both bound to stay
Outside the garden, I fed up and sick
With all the blue shapes you handed to water,
Skies, detachment, respite, you in such a fright
That they’ll report you for being a jackal,
Both our blue minds loaded with evil,
And a bloody world.

 

______________

Born in Italy some decades ago, Gabriella Garofalo fell in love with the English language at six, started writing poems (in Italian) at six and is the author of these books “Lo sguardo di Orfeo”; “L’inverno di vetro”; “Di altre stelle polari”; “Casa di erba”; “Blue Branches”; “A Blue Soul”. You can find her here.

Poems by Diane Webster

BATHROOM SPACES

He props the bathroom door open

maybe to allow odious odors

freedom to assault more noses than his,

maybe a latent move for voyeurism

as he stands in a stall hidden

only by waffled plastic

knowing it’s him by his shoes,

maybe afraid of closed-in spaces,

dreaming of peeing in snow

or a desert highway where

evaporation is almost quicker than he,

maybe the wind banged open

the outhouse door when he visited

grandpa, and he stained his best shoes

in a startled turn around move

exposed for a moment,

exposed for longer as he scuffed dirt

onto a wet shoe on long path back.

 

GOING

As a child, I got up from the couch

and said, “I have to go to the lavatory,”

until my aunt said, “You don’t have

to announce it.  Just go.”

 

What a concept?  That I could get up,

walk down the hall and go

without letting anyone know

where I was going.

 

How brave I became in going,

but everyone knew,

and it made me feel

like going even more.

Poetry by John Grey

YOU LEAVE IN WINTER

Those are your footprints
leading from my stoop
to the front gate.

The snow’s compacted,
preserved them,
even as it buries the path,
the garden.

Your departure
is trapped, slowed to a stillness.

Come spring,
the flowers will bloom.
Your leaving will thaw.

 

___

 

CHARACTER INSTRUCTIONS

Far from any highway,
or town for that matter,
follow the trail through thick woods,
narrow and sunless
but aided by occasional tree markings,
that leads to a cave,
a labyrinth really,
with tunnels branching off
in many directions,
but the one you want
drops down to the shore
of an underground river,
that you must wade across
to reach a passageway on the other side
where you should begin to see
strange markings on the walls,
silken threads dangling from the ceiling
that give the impression
of broken spider wings,
bones scattered here and there
on the muddy floor
and you’ll hear strange noises,
like a gorilla in great pain
though it’s coming from no great ape,
and much scurrying about,
lots of moving shapes,
shadows darting back and forth
across your flashlight ray,
before you finally enter this large chamber,
lit by glittering jewels,
with an altar on one end
and what appears to be a dark-robed man
conducting some kind of service
for twenty or so similarly-cloaked acolytes,
who bow their heads, hum softly,
with an occasional break
for an impassioned, “Yes master”,
before their leader suddenly
notices your presence, and all heads turn,
gleaming red eyes stare threateningly at you,
and then you’ll know you have arrived –
I can’t say whether you’ll live or die,
but you’re in chapter ten of my new novel.

_______________

John Grey is an Australian poet, and US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. His latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon.

Poetry by Holly Day

Nowhere ‘Til April 

In my desk is a picture  of a jungle from somewhere

warm and green that a friend once sent me, said I could go there

live in his family’s abandoned farm any time I’d like

there’s no plumbing or electricity there and sometimes snakes

make getting to the front door difficult, but here is a picture

and I  can stay there. 

 

I can feel the edges of the green photograph in my pocket

when I walk the dog in the winter, when I wait for her to take a crap

hovering in apparent agony over the ankle-deep snow. I can go there

any time I’d like, and there would be snakes but it would be warm.

 

The Thing That Blocks the Sun

How huge the world must seem to a tiny bug. How huge my hands must seem

When they reach down to cover the tiny bug, blot out the sun entirely

Wrench it from the pavement and lift it to the sky. 

 

Or perhaps the size difference is so great that it doesn’t even register

As something happening, much as the way I can’t feel the world turning beneath my feet

Or hurtling through space, or the heaving of coastal plates as they slowly crash

Against one another. Perhaps this little insect doesn’t notice me at all

 

Thinks that every time I cover it with my palms, it’s just the sun setting out of place

Some cosmic aberration beyond its control

Not worth worrying about. 

 

________________

Holly Day’s poetry has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her poetry collections include Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press).

Poetry by Abigail Dembo

It

I saw it on my way to work and it looked like a number. It was thin. It had smooth skin. It had a sharp nose and chin. It was a one or a zero. Static. It came in the mist. It left rings on the table and a black and white photograph. It sang, “So long Marianne, it’s time we began . . .” and cried to the seagulls, glowing like amber. It smelled like magnolia. It was some masquerade, but it opened its mouth and a voice embossed in silver rose out, “Do you want to go dancing? Or do you want to come home?”

 

Self-Portrait as Venus with Adonis in San Francisco

Into musty hotels

up back alley fire

escapes through windows.

The Emperor. The Lyric. 

A single bulb hanging. To be with him,

 

I am drawn 

down by his habits

in plumes of gray doves. 

Fixing the puddles of gutters 

I see I am thinned.

 

“No, I am waiting for someone,”

for hours, like a dog, 

down the street from the hustlers’ bar

with whistles

and slow-rolling cars

 

for him. A vision of fatality

leaking like a cracked 

cell-phone screen.

A man being led 

down a dark alleyway

 

returning, needful, 

black tar in hand.

The fumes 

of vinegar, the concrete, 

the syringe–

 

“No, you go first. You need to get off.” 

Oh, and so what? I say,

I am pained, lover, but I give it to you. 

Confederate, I would not 

have you be other.

 

Let’s get away. Let’s sleep 

near Mission Dolores 

tonight. Gold foil cherubs 

sit still

their form ending in curls.

 

Nothing has those classical adornments, no

muses anymore. 

 

______________

Abigail Dembo lives in Berkeley, California, and is currently a poetry editor for Southland Alibi. Her poetry has appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet, Ursa Minor, SlipStream Magazine, and other places.

Poems by Zebulon Huset

Transmogrifying Honey Battered

Muddily the morning crept.

Though rain often causes fowl lungs 

to top off with droplets, drowning so many 

of the raised-head dummies—

Chucky the chicken, rooster to some,

cocked his head, juked or jived

at a too-inopportune time

and startled a sting from the resting 

transmogrifying bee.

 

This was how Janet skipped 

into the scene upon waking:

the broken syringe, dangling

microscopic bits of bee belly-flesh, 

plugging the swell of purple—the sundered 

venom sac pulsing in toxins like an IV—

which caused Chucky’s clunky heart

too much issue with tissue constriction.

 

Janet wept for her perished pet,

mourned the morning, played 

devastated Dr. Frankenstein with two 9-volts

through lunchtime. Her cries even survived

as eggs and flour and honey and paprika

were whisked together for a batter

that could staunch any tears.

That would stop her tears.

 

No crying at dinner, Janet. Enough already.

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Poetry by David M. Harris

Rep. William J. Pascrell

 

Dear Mr. Pascrell:

 

Before you were the Honorable (D, NJ),

back when you taught history and psychology

at Paramus High, you were one of the foundrymen 

who melted down our formless minds and gave them

rough shape. Detail and polish were up to us.

You told a story, about leaving for the prom,

your father said, “Be careful.” Eventually,

I think, I got the point. Did any of us

understand? Later I decided we were not

meant to understand, not then, but to

ponder and find our own meanings. 

It was a rare peek into the personal.

one that other teachers never granted us.

And what was a social studies teacher doing

as one of the advisors to the high school

literary magazine? Something else to mull.

 

Changing the world, one student at a time,

must have seemed too slow. We needed

a good example, so you made yourself one.

But how different, really, is governing

from running a classroom? So much 

patient explanation, filing down rough edges

for the easier acceptance of complex machineries,

so much talking to people who won’t listen.

And the greatest failure is surrendering the effort.

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Poems by Kika Dorsey

Horizon

They say the closer you come to something, the further away it can seem. As if it’s all a horizon. As if the horizon could ever be your lasso, your tightrope spanning past and future, your thread to sew closed what tore. 

I’ve been so near to my father’s death that my eyes blurred with more than tears. I’ve been so far away from my children’s birth that they disappeared like March fog when the sun buckles down and does its work of rising from a line I called my life, a line I could never trace. I’ve traveled so far that nothing has looked familiar—not the white marble statues of gods, the banyan trees, the dancing Lipizzaner, the cobblestoned streets, the cock fights in jungles, the foreign seas. 

Now I am home and what is close to me presses against my legs, wraps its arms around my waist. I’ve learned that you can never know what lies behind its mystery—a day lost in the woods, a dream of galloping horses, a fire built with twigs, a funeral, a birth—everything so near it has become their flesh, their journey toward a horizon forever receding. 

 

Petroleum

1

When he was zooplankton, buried beneath sedimentary rock in Texas and Iraq, he slept like the poor merchant under threadbare sheets next to algae, on bales of straw. He awoke and woke up the bees while he took their honey. He pulled out his own rotten teeth. 

 

2

Rock has a way of condensing poverty, of solidifying the earth so that it is harder to dig our graves. Rock can press our sight with mountains against the sun, can flatten and skip on water, can crumble when the sea catches it with salt, can sail from the bully’s slingshot, can teach us to be still. 

 

3

We have always been restless. We’ve burned whale oil, then promised the whales as they sang that we’d take from stone instead. We’ve created drills that bob their heads to a ground where we have kneeled, always begging our gods for a second chance. We’ve knocked down flasks of oil from a shelf when we dreamed of wealth and cursed the son we have yet to have. We’ve awoken to spills that coated the wings of seagulls. 

 

4

When he was living with us, he promised us planes and cars and oil for our dry faces. He fueled the ships in the seas. The whales were confused about the sound of the motor. They didn’t know how to make it a percussion of their song. You see, here is the paradox of music: to write a symphony you need silence. 

 

5

There is a little girl. She has a nightlight. It’s a purple fairy with blue wings. Without it she opens her eyes to the dark and feels scared. She needs to see that the shirt draped over the chair is not a killer. She needs to see that the dark is not dark. Outside the motors of cars rumble. She wonders where they are going, why they, too, are not sleeping. She falls asleep and dreams of squirrels. She dreams of lakes. She dreams of ladders reaching so high into the sky even the birds cannot nest there. They are too busy singing.

__________

Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, and lives with her two children, husband, and pets.  Her books include the chapbook Beside Herself  (Flutter Press, 2010) and three full-length collections: Rust, Coming Up for Air (Word Tech Editions, 2016, 2018), and Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger (Pinyon Publishing, 2020), which won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Currently, she is an instructor of English at Front Range Community College and works as a writing coach and ghostwriter. In her free time she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.

Poetry by Colin Webb

Refractory
spastic filter of branches

catching dusk clouds 

 

side-swiping indiscriminate thru 

a line of others more distinct in their 

 

trajectory—

then the obstructed lengths 

 

unpossessing downhill too, or the 

bristly blind of snow up to Here

 

that’ll curb your cigarette break bound 

by slush overlooked too, and the dirty 

 

distillation of static that’ll obscure all 

the breakup songs to come 

 

straining from car’s radio 

for you to love thru

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