May 2017 Vol. II No. V
Not your ordinary poetry magazine!
If good coffee (or just the concept of coffee), great books, sharp wit, and great authors excite you, we are for you!
Formal & Rhyming Poetry
with Vera Ignatowitsch
Love Has a Southern Flavor
Love has a Southern flavor: honeydew,
ripe cantaloupe, the honeysuckle’s spout
we tilt to basking faces to breathe out
the ordinary, and inhale perfume ...
Love’s Dixieland-rambunctious: tangled vines,
wild clematis, the gold-brocaded leaves
that will not keep their order in the trees,
unmentionables that peek from dancing lines ...
Love cannot be contained, like Southern nights:
the constellations’ dying mysteries,
the fireflies that hum to light, each tree’s
resplendent autumn cape, a genteel sight ...
Love also is as wild, as sprawling-sweet,
as decadent as the wet leaves at our feet.
first published in The Lyric
Michael R. Burch’s poems have been translated into nine languages and set to music by the composers Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. Burch’s poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times around the globe in publications which include TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, The Hindu, Kritya, Gostinaya, Light, The Lyric, Measure, Angle, Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Poet Lore, The Chimaera, Poem Today, Verse Weekly, ByLine, Unlikely Stories and Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing. He also edits and publishes www.thehypertexts.com.
Accipiter gentilis: the goshawk (goosehawk)
Extinct early 19th century, through predation, esp. by ‘keepers, there are about 250 pairs in Britain: a.k.a. goosehawk or cook’s hawk, as of a size to take down pheasant and wildfowl for the table.
I watch you, youngsters weaning, August, round
your tattered pile, star kissed, pale wings as sheer
as butterflies. In early spring, old hands,
the climbing air your mixing bowl, toss hay
beyond the forest canopy, free dive,
to rise like bullets, rocket high, pole dance,
trace undulating pattern on the sky.
The phantom of this forest’s deep, cool shade,
past living pillars, emigre themselves,
who watch dumbstruck, you conjure stillness in
your wake, wings magic carpet, dancing shroud.
Fast forwarding before I blink, I strive
to process what I think I’ve seen, create
my perfect movie from this fleeting dream.
Your wits map four dimensions, scan for what’s
concealed, sort wood from trees, compelling gaze
and ravenous, space-time your thrall. You crave
the stir of pounding heart, convulsion gripped
through living flesh beneath your sabre feet,
that razor beak engorged. Wilderness-bound,
word-shy, nigh on impossible to reach,
when yeoman austringers fly you at geese,
you fight above your weight, wild eyes ablaze.
Where this is primal, home to lynx and bear,
or royal hunting ground for boar and stag,
or coppice (turner, hurdle-maker, sense
of charcoal on the breeze), you take the crown.
When outraged pheasant keepers render you
extinct, it’s Peter and the wolf, cue Jack
the Ripper, Hindley-primed Red Riding Hood.
Magnificent, old world, your piercing, blood-
crazed stare as chilling as a winter gale,
those who try hard enough, know how to look,
will find you here. No shooting syndicates
about, unheralded, you breed and thrive
when unperturbed. Your flying crucifix,
the under-part a vellum script of psalms,
Apollo’s wake up call, our smoking gun,
records your blanket, gibbet sacrifice
for Adams dazzled by their fallen state.
Peter Branson, a native of N. Staffordshire, has lived in a village in Cheshire, UK, for the last twenty-six years. A former teacher and lecturer in English Literature and creative writing and poetry tutor, he is now a full time poet, songwriter and traditional-style singer whose poetry has been published by journals in Britain, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australasia and South Africa, including Acumen, Ambit, Agenda, Envoi, The London Magazine, The North, Prole, The Warwick Review, Iota, The Butcher’s Dog, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, SOUTH, Crannog, THE SHOp, Causeway, Main Street Rag, The Columbia Review and Other Poetry. He has won prizes and been placed in a number of poetry competitions over recent years, including a ‘highly commended’ in the ‘Petra Kenny International’, first prizes in the ‘Grace Dieu’ and the ‘Envoi International’, a special commendation in the Wigtown and the silver medal award in the last Dermot Healy Int Poetry Competition. His selected poems, ‘Red Hill, came out in 2013. His latest collection, ‘Hawk Rising’, from ‘Lapwing’, Belfast, was published in April 2016.
Letter To The Occupant
Not long ago I was a house
but now am property,
a listing in the classifieds:
three BRs, two Bs.
You crossed my threshold man and wife
then brought your newborns home to me.
How far they’ve come since they first crossed
my hardwood floors on hands and knees.
You framed their pictures, K through 12,
to lavish love upon.
I lived to be the wall
you hung their pictures on.
I lay awake with you one night
the moon upon my window sills
your hand upon your spouse’s side
your children sleeping steps away.
While I was less and less their home
they’d visit for the holidays.
Arriving late, too late you hoped
to plan an evening out,
they kept you company
then off to bed to settle in
to my familiarity.
I listened as you kept your watch
your loved ones safe, secure and near
then took your place so you might sleep
beyond the reach of woe or fear.
Think not you kept me from my rest.
Your vigil honored me.
My joists and rafters settled in
and creaked contentedly.
Then came the sign I’d seen before
in front of former neighbors’ yards
as if to say our neighborhood
were solid as a house of cards.
I never thought you would impale
the lawn you tended lovingly
and hang me up for rent or sale
on a post for all to see.
Then I watched you pack your things
and check for items left behind.
The etching on my sidewalk stays
to mark the place your children signed
their monograms on wet concrete.
I won’t forget how proud I stood
with their initials at my feet.
I understand your kids are grown,
my stairs are tough on aging knees.
After all that we’ve been through
you have my sympathies.
Eventually I’ll dwell in peace
but not today, I can’t.
As you give my keys away
indulge me in a farewell rant
and promise me you’ll file these words
with your closing documents
to be retained for future use
by the current occupant.
Kevin Shyne is a life long writer, whose work once appeared frequently in corporate annual reports and employee newsletters. Turning to poetry in his retirement, Kevin has had poems published in The Lyric, Poetry Breakfast, Poetry Porch and The Avocet. Kevin lives in a small town in the corn-and-soybean heart of the Midwest, where, along with a group of fellow poets, he helped organize the first-ever poetry event for the Prairie Arts Council in Princeton, Illinois.
Lighthearted Verse & Limericks...
ODE TO A COMMA
O Worthy Little Punctuation Mark!
Wee Dynamo for Recommending Pause!
What scandal would my diatribe impart
Without your intervention in my clause?
With nothing but the flicking of my pen
Do I enlist your diplomatic skill
To summon from syntactic disarray
Coherence of authorial intent;
Yet in this age of solecistic ill
Too often are you victim of foul play!!
Elizabeth Faris is educated in English Language/Literature and Literacy Instruction. For the past twenty years, she has enjoyed teaching English and ESL to students of all ages and ethnic origin. Her passion for writing extends to poetry, formal and informal, based either on a spectrum of original themes or the plots of literary classics and traditional tales.
To Marguerite de Roberval
When your young cavalier was a crew volunteer
you were swept into shipboard romance;
like a buoy with a bell that will clang in a swell,
your boy gave his belle quite a dance.
But your uncle, a viceroy, considered this nice boy
unworthy of his wedding toast
and, abandoning chivalry, dallied with devilry
calved from the Newfoundland coast.
He put you ashore like a stowaway whore,
on an isle with a nurse for assistance;
as the vessel set sail, your amour leapt the rail
and swam, his arms plunging like pistons.
He made it to land. As he lay on the sand
a sail-less sea compassed your bounds.
And you tried to stay brave when you lay in a cave
as the nights made their demon-like sounds.
For this Island was named for what sailors proclaimed
were the terrors of visiting seamen’s
worst nightmares; they vaunted that they had been haunted
by ghosts on this Island of Demons.
Were you scared or relieved when you found you’d conceived?
Did he hug you, or grimace with worry,
or imagine a boy that you both might employ
to manure future crops with your slurry?
Your womb waters rivered; you somehow delivered
a baby by whom you were milked.
But its sucking mouth yearned when you’d no milk enchurned
in two bosoms that hunger had bilked.
You’d been trained in the use of an old arquebuse
and you hunted and butchered wild beasts
and replenished your breasts with your venison-fests.
How rare was the meat of those feasts?
You were frightful and feral and almost chimeral
in your rags and your animal skins
but, barely alive, you fought to survive
then the demons’ dance went widdershins.
In a crude semaphore you lit fires on the shore
to attract passing ships to your plight,
but the days passed away till your lover wouldn't pray
and relinquished the willpower to fight.
With a shovel of wood, you did what you could
to dig him a hole for his grave.
And the baby’s was worse. When you'd dug for the nurse
there was you, only you, left to save.
For a year and a half you lived on the chaff
of the wild, on what nature afforded
till one day a barque manifested, an Ark,
and it sighted your fire and you boarded.
You came home, Marguerite. Did you feel incomplete
when you stepped on that jetty in France?
Were your demons so black that you couldn’t look back
or did they demand a last glance?
John Beaton writes metrical poetry and his work has been widely published in media as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He writes a monthly poetry page for the magazine Eyes on BC and served for four years as moderator of one of the internet's most reputable poetry workshops. He is a spoken word performer and a poet member of the band Celtic Chaos. His poetry has won numerous awards, including the 2015 String Poet Prize and the 2012 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. He was raised in the Scottish Highlands and lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
I trend—to like Goth poems,
black and white with all the piercings;
but the runway Paris poems'
hats and scarves can be endearing;
and heroic flowing poems,
the Athenian dresses I see,
are better than the Chiton poems
which all seem Greek to me;
however, there remains a place
for the raw street-poem thing
with clash of sport and formal wear
and all topped off with bling;
the sexy poems of legs and boots
I just normally wouldn't book,
but they compel me still to drop
my shades and take a look;
high heel stiletto poems
seem to always impress me,
whenever I'm out trendspotting
the feet of poetry;
and I would be remiss to skip
formal poems of renown,
such classic form and intrigue
as the flowing evening gown;
which leads me to imagine
modern minimalist wear,
Victoria's Secret poetry
with almost nothing there;
but I digress and must admit
the preferred style for me,
is the casual relaxing stuff
of loungewear poetry.
DE Navarro is the Founder of NavWorks Press. He is an author, poet, editor, publisher, speaker, and life coach. He is the originator and owner of the We Write PoetryTM forums and the Pride in Poetry PrizeTM and Publication. He is a husband, father, mentor and friend and Banking Sr Analyst, Tech Editor/Writer. Visit DE's beautiful Website at http://www.de-navarro.com for peace and to learn more about his work. He lives in Greater Los Angeles where he writes and publishes.
SESTINA (GOING GREEN)
There's something to be said for taking stairs
instead of an elevator. Sometimes
life is seen from the bottom of a well;
for example, my blood pressure was high,
again, at the doctor's this afternoon.
And I wasn't even one bit nervous;
At least, consciously. What makes me nervous
is the thought that if I don't take the stairs
I may not live to see the afternoon
of my life. One has to take stock sometimes.
I need to stop seeking the sugar high,
cut the caffeine, and eat vegetables. Well,
I'll try harder (I want to be well);
It's time to go green, which makes me nervous.
And it's not just because the stakes are high,
or the taste is plain rotten; like the stairs
I just gotta do it. There are some times
when confidence comes, like this afternoon:
It was like any other afternoon
except "green lunch" didn't go down too well.
I try to branch out (going green sometimes),
but can feel the stomach getting nervous
outside my comfort zone; feel it downstairs
in the gut (pain tolerance is not high
here). And nothing compares, so far, to the high
sugar brings. Vegetables in the afternoon
can bring you down; and I mean down the stairs
to desolation's despair. To feel well
I drove to McDonald's (and a nervous
drive it was getting there, too). Though sometimes
habits are hard to break (there are some times
when I ask: What's the point? Then take the high
road), the alternative makes me nervous.
So it's salad, again, by this afternoon
for me (I know I'll get used to it. Well,
"bear's" a better word here). As for the stairs,
getting high (up stairs) ain't easy sometimes,
but you get there. Well, by this afternoon.
Michael C. Seeger is a poet and educator residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Prior to his life as a middle school English instructor, he worked as a technical writer for a baseball card company and served as a Marine infantry officer during Desert Storm. He considers poetry a passion and writing generally a way of life. Michael’s poems have only recently been published, though he’s written many and stands ready to embrace the opportunity of being so honored.
On this page we publish monthly selections of metrical poetry from our contributors. Submit your blank verse, metrical rhyming poems, villanelles, sonnets, sestinas and other formal poetry to betterthanstarbucks2@gmail. We love both traditional and experimental forms and subjects, and do submit your limericks and lighthearted verse as well! Vera Ignatowitsch