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  General Poetry Page     with Suzanne Robinson 

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Sunday Roasts

 

I remember sitting with you

not too long ago

London Fields, Summer,

everyone was hurrying out of the rain

while we sat still under your umbrella

taking turns as shelter delegate

after the roast

 

it wasn't long ago

I was talking about something, anything

we perused the book shop

you picked out Leonard Cohen

we made a concrete plan about

moving to Paris

then fell apart with laughter

you brought the Autumn

just by smiling

your iris, an auburn cochleate

under the alphabet of lightning

Richard Weston

Venice in Your Eyes

(for Franca)

the way they´re lowering his coffin

looks so careful, far from final,

as if he was just testing

the old wooden boards leading down-

stairs to the gondolas

 

selling ice-cream to cool-looking Germans

giving his soul to this strange wailing sect

made him look like a fish

out of the waters of the old Italian town

down by the lagoon

while they´re chanting on about

the protection of angels, the kingdom

being as imminent as

‘this poor sinner´s death’

I´m discovering new depths of emotions

behind your black widow´s veil

 

deeper than the shallow surface

of public mourning

deeper than the memories of

your shared exiled life

deep-sea blue in your beautiful sadness

transcending the masquerades and the masks of death

 

which you know well enough,

those Venetian blinds for the soul,

the Masque of the Red Death,

the Mask of the Black or White Death,

all changing into

the Masque of Sudden Death

 

hiding, all of them, the despair

of the heart

and the beauty of the soul

till we have briskly crossed the water,

walked across the dove-littered square

and are standing at the altar

to discover the true gold

behind the cross.

Acknowledgement: first published in Big Pond Rumours (Canada), editor: Sharon Berg.

Frank Joussen is a German teacher and writer. His publications include two selections of his poetry, one of them being a bilingual collaboration with Romanian poet Ana Cicio. He has edited two international anthologies of poetry/fiction in India. His poems and short stories have also been published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies in G.B., Ireland, Germany, Romania, Malta, the U.S.A., Canada, India, Thailand, China and have been translated into German, Romanian, Hindi and Chinese.

Solon's Drone
    
Call no man happy until he is dead —Solon  


Rather than try to join the diligent honeybees
who toiled away on the pink tipped flowers
to store grains into the pollen baskets on their hind legs
while thrusting their shimmering reddish brown proboscises
and sucking the golden liquid from the innards of the blooms
the idle drone bee was glad to feast on their royal jelly
before he lifted up to fertilize a virgin queen on the wing.  

 

And though he did succeed in mating with a monarch
the other bees still resented him for having emptied their honeycombs
and before he could gorge more on their precious bee bread
the whole swarm of bees came streaming into the straw skep  
to condemn the parasitic bee by stinging him without pity.         

Previously published in the Deltona Howl Magazine.

Anum Sattar studies English at Ohio's College of Wooster. Her poems have been  widely published. A Vonna Hicks Award winner, she frequently reads out her work at Brooklyn Poets in New York City.  

 

SITTING FOR RAOUL 

Amid dangerous clutter, a scatter of wet tarps,

glass bottles and bent frames, I sit on a rickety throne

in black leather jacket, left hand clamped

on an ancient armrest, the other welded to a daybook

bought in Venice—Moses posed by Michelangelo—

until my legs locked under go numb as marble.

Raoul dances before me, sways with the weight

of a large wooden palette built by a shipwright,

its iron disc countering his wrist strain.

Not allowed to turn, smile or open my mouth,

let alone twitch a look at the northern facing window

or up at the half-occluded skylight, by which

a noon-day winter gray looks through dirt,

I return his piercing gaze. Often he ignores me.

In the first stage, he under-paints a ghost’s drawing

of my face, burnt umber, sallow orange and ochre scrawled

on an easel where my nose melts like tallow.

We pause for pizza and Cokes, then my Rembrandt does

as his idol did four centuries ago—

smears fresh medium mixed that very morning

to cover my shadow, slurries varnish and linseed oil

thinned by eggs into which he works the colors.

 

At the finish my arms deliquesce like beached combers,

my legs are stumps. Below the hairline lightning flashes

blue and green, my forehead a scarp in the Flemish muck,

a darkling cliff shining in the sun. He kept it a few months

then used the canvas for someone else. So much for fame.

MICHAEL SALCMAN's poems have appearred in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hopkins Review, Hudson Review, New Letters and Poet Lore. Books include The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises, 2007), nominated for The Poets' Prize, The Enemy of Good is Better (Orchises, 2011), Poetry in Medicine, (Persea Books, 2015), and A Prague Spring, Before & After, winner of the 2015 Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press (2016). His web site is www.salcman.com or Necessary Speech.

Spilled Ink

 

We are spilled ink, a sentence hand-

written and hidden on some page in

some closed notebook.  They are together,

complete, and I am the parenthetical

thought which divides their sentence; their

sentence enigmatic and ended somewhat

with a question mark.

Ashes on the Ganges

 

Sometimes the phoenix rises

slowly.  And the ashes, left

behind, float like leaves down the

tributaries of the Ganges river. 

 

This is the second

coming of Icarus; the meta-

morphosis of the wingless insect

and its emergence from

the cocoon.

Lou Graves is a writer, poet, polemicist, and music and literary critic.  Published in over forty magazines and journals, Graves is a monthly contributing author to Narrow Magazine.

 

Scripting (2003)

She penned the life that was to be;

naivety and bliss of youth

furnished its tone and hue.

Then life, the chameleon, reared its head,

smudging the masterpiece.

A good educator but

an ethereal marriage but

a beautiful baby but

the marauding twins—

pain and abuse invaded her lair,

eventuating the destruction

of almost everything

classically holy,

issuing forth from this paramour

her lone Romeo

throwing her empire into chaos.

The action never follows

the script the author pens.

 

 

The Dwarf (2003)

I fear the power in your eyes.

At the moment of your wrath,

the woman in me shrinks

to be the child you demand I be.

I fear the death in your eyes,

but this dwarf must hero be,

cowering, placating, martyring her soul

so her kids won’t have your eyes.

I fear the power in your eyes

and your machismo ministry.

I swear I’ll cease to be the other

who threatens your fragility.

I fear the death in your eyes,

so I’ll pay tribute to you,

O mighty one, plunderer of youth

murderer of dreams on a platform of rebirth

Ingrid Rizzolo is an educator and an emerging writer of lyrical verses. She is also a wife and mother of two young adults. Rizzolo as one of the millions of women who have been victims of domestic violence opens her heart and her life in her poetry to honestly and authentically reveal the pain, fear, and confusion born out of such abuse.

WOULD THAT

 

Would that my father was a carpenter
growing up with the smell of wood
watching shavings curl and fall
feeling the lumber’s smooth core

 

his rough hands no less gentle on me
than upon the spindles he carved
sawing sounds celebrating
the gift of the nearby trees

would that he carved chairs
where I could sit and watch
as trunk became plank became table
learning the secrets of transformation

My father had nothing to teach
save the cutting away of joy
a world where love starved
thin bones reflect  a death by neglect
 
I wished for magic   to be amazed
but was overwhelmed by comedy


For The Ordinary Man

the face in the mirror
does not belong
unknown, foreign
this invading stranger

have we met?
from the benign
indifferent universe
there is no answer.

is he the one risen
from  ashes
of spent passion
of  misspent  youth

where once he dreamed
of standing above the field
claiming victory over enemies
hearing cheers from admiring troops

good at many things
great at none
wishing once to feel
worthy of applause

an ordinary man dares
to wake each day
battle shadows of foes
invisible but for the light they bend

the only accolades awarded
the chance to rise again tomorrow 

Allen Plone lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Carol & his dog Rufus. He draws inspiration from both. Professionally, a screenwriter, he's published several poems and short stories. Creely, Yates, Plath and Wallace Stevens are his favorite poets as well as the Tang Dynasty Chinese poets.