Prose & Form Poetry
In The Forest Clearing
Sunday morning. The small lake sits quietly at the centre of the clearing, flanked by eucalyptus trees and untamed ferns. At its mouth are a series of park benches covered in dirt; long neglected. To the sides of the lake the forest thickens. Dark undergrowth can be seen in the distance on the left where the canopy thickens, and to the right, a stairway signals the path ahead. The body of the lake opens to the sun. Birds can be heard chirping intermittently in the skies above.
Creatures of the earth rustle about in the grasses below. A gentle Autumn breeze flows through the clearing, cooling the sweat on my back.
Flies dance gracefully
above the sunlit water
—far from the office
Townhouse In The Mountains
The quaint cul-de-sac can be found in a small town high up in the mountains. We ascend a wooden staircase that opens to freshly mown grass. Across the green lawn stands a tall brunette woman with clipboard in hand; dressed in a figure-hugging business skirt, smart blazer, and shiny heels. With gleaming smiles and handshakes, she leads us inside.
A cool mountain breeze
sweeps through the vast blue skies
—thick brown ‘Welcome’ mat
A young woman stands in the living room cradling a newborn. Up and down she bobs the bub; her husband smiling and cooing. Her shoulder-length blonde hair masks an anxious frown. Her husband whispers to her and a decision is made. Thin blue t-shirt, casual jeans and fake Converses—with a smile and a nod, he leads his family out.
Back by the front door
Thin red wind chimes reverberate
—Feng Shui coins clatter
Our hostess leads us through the house in a whirlwind tour, gesturing with enthusiasm and finesse. For the finale, she ushers us into the quaint backyard. To the left are a pair of black fire pits adorned with blazing Chinese symbols; to the centre is a deep fish pond inhabited by a group of sluggish catfish. Buddha statues immerge from the clustered foliage behind the pond, glancing ahead with outstretched palms.
“It feels really . . . Zen”, I say, pointing to the foremost of the statues.
After six long weeks
Our first rental property
—old friends reunite
The narrow bush trail carves a steep path through the reserve to the mountain summit. Halfway up the trail, nestled upon a cluster of crispy leaves is a blue tongue lizard. An uninvited guest; I tread silently towards her, crouching down to examine this unexpected treasure. Tentatively, I hover my hand above her shiny abdomen and place my fingers and thumb on the cool earth around her. Gently, I scoop her up in the palm of my hand. She hisses ferociously as I lift her away from the forest floor; her bright blue tongue lashing about in anger. With deadly precision she darts her neck backwards—latching her iron jaw onto my finger. With crushing strength, she bites down furiously—only abating when I lower her once more to the forest floor. Beady eyes darting about suspiciously, she slithers away amongst the messy grasses.
Thick moss and mushrooms
spring forth from the dampened wood
of the trail signpost
Ben Taylor lives on the Central Coast, near Sydney, Australia. He enjoys writing, beach-going, being in nature, and laughing with friends.
Elephant in the room
I cleaned my room today, yet I didn’t have the heart to throw away the little toy elephant that you bought for me. The one with the label on it of the convenience store, right around the corner from the train station where you came to pick me up. This creature with its trunk that was somewhat too big and upright. How I joked that he had a dick on his face (mine was bigger) and how you laughed a bit too loud at that.
We named him Frank, a name you had forgotten when I mentioned him later on.
I cleaned out my room today but I held on to this little creature as a heartfelt token of your love, even though you bought it on a whim.
And maybe that’s why he remains the elephant in my room, an expression of the obvious yet unspoken notion that I persistently wanted to see more in us than you still could.
Ramon Martensen was born in 1983 in the Netherlands. He is currently living in Budapest, Hungary where he works as a translator, language coach and copy writer. He writes poetry, short stories and fairy tales for adults.
my forebears marched out
of homesteads to growing cities —
stayed generations deep —
I left to laugh up at stars
while stomping home through cowshit.
David McLintock lives in Liverpool. He believes you can make poetry out of the mundane trash of the city. He likes making words do things they weren’t invented for.
Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of dedicated editors is creating a monthly magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.
Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House), ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry), or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.
If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don’t think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible.
Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail . . . well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins