Archive | Poetry

The Final Test of Canonisation by Robert Beveridge

“When did I become such an undesirable blanket?” –Mary Biddinger, “Beatitudes”

Warnings, even the outdated ones,
are forever spoken in hushed tones.
You walk up the ramp and the man
with the sparse combover and the appropriate
relaxed-bowel sportcoat: “to the right,
please,” he murmurs, just above silent.
“The casket shall remain closed for the duration
of the viewing.” I bite back the obvious.

The room is full, and yet I can see nothing
(what flowers for saints and stuff?) but that
closed box, a refrigerator door meant to preserve—
what?—the nutrients that should return
to the soil, allow us to give back something
so small for all we have taken?

The viewing is what it is, what they all are. Family
members catch up on gossip from pruned branches.
Dinner plans are made, forgotten in trips
to the restroom. The children, unaware
of the purpose of this family reunion, play
in the basement until mischievous, touched
Uncle Michael takes them on a tour
of the morgue. The sandwiches in the back
room have less appeal now then the Hanobska
Chateau Marionette ’95 in the coffee dispenser.

One to four, then six to nine, and the two-
hour interim in which the family flee,
some to a light dinner, some to the local
paid-by-the-hour motel, most to the Linen Lounge,
where the lingerie dancers dress in funeral weeds
and the most popular drink is the zombie.
The director, sportcoat over his shoulder,
steps out for a two-hour chainsmoke and finally,
finally our time is here. We slip the catches
on the drawers, roll ourselves out. This is
our viewing, our private time, and we approach

the casket with reverence, trepidation.
Lift the lid on three, and what we could
not bear to believe lies before us—your body
pristine, untouched by disease, by accident,
by trochar. We slipped our arms beneath you,
where blood would pool, decay begin, and found
what we expected, yet not dared to hope—
the only mark an outrageous hickey, just above
(what is that called?), I put there three
days ago, when you were still alive,
still capable of touching pen to paper.
We had heard Mother Church requires
first photographic evidence, then physical
proof.

We did the only thing we could,
the one most right thing: six pallbearers
lined up, lifted the casket from among
its forest, marched in languorous step
toward the open door of the crematorium.
The fire rumbled, a gut promised
a singular, delectable meal.

About the Author: Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Borrowed Solace, Dodging the Rain, and Twyckenham Notes, among others.

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The Finale of December Fourteenth, Twenty-Sixteen by Æverett

Photo Credit: Caleb George via Unsplash

after a time had passed, he lay there breathing.

the stillness around him echoed, the night air cool on his skin.

the touches still lingered, tingling vibrations – whispers on hips, on thighs, on wrists.

it ached.

he ached, everywhere.

the violence was immense – torrid air in ragged lungs. the echoes of screams. the echoes of whispers.

finally, he lifted his aching arms, pushed the hair from his sticking face – drying sweat and sorrow.

from the next room, a gun shot from the tv, sirens, “Freeze! Get on the ground!” Lenny Brisco shouts. he wonders, “are there sirens coming for me?”

after a time had passed, he felt the bruises, the truth came flooding in. the cuts drove deeper. and he couldn’t breathe.

it ate at him, raw.

his skin caught fire in a rage and ran out the door into the falling snow.

his body remained caught in the rotation of the humming ceiling fan. in the silk of the cotton cocoon. in the dark of the deserted room.

the scraped bruises on his knees no longer bled.

the voice no longer made cruel demands of him.

but here he lay, trapped. his own skin a prison of pain. his whole body ablaze.

in the stink of drying sweat and sorrow.

About the Author: Æverett Æverett

Æverett lives in the northern hemisphere and enjoys Rammstein and Star Trek. He writes both poetry and fiction and dabbles in gardening and soap making. She has two wonderfully old cats, and a dearly beloved dog. He also plays in linguistics, studying German, Norwegian, Russian, Arabic, a bit of Elvish, and developing Cardassian. Language is fascinating, enlightening, and inspirational. She’s happily married to her work with which she shares delusions of demon hunters, detectives, starships, androids, and a home on the outskirts of a small northern town. He’s enjoyed writing since childhood and the process can be downright therapeutic when it’s not making him pull his hair out. It’s really about the work and words and seeing without preconceptions.

 

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Nocturne With Bonfires and Volcanoes by Pat West

We celebrate our twenty-year class reunion,
notes vibrate through the atmosphere

full of frenzy like Debussy’s two movements:
Festivals and Sirens. Whirling around the bonfire

raising dust in the clearing behind the Grange Hall.
The band, a standup rock-and-crazy-roll group

with legs skinny as bed slats,
wail their tune of love lost and found and lost again.

The same story we heard back in high school
when we swayed to “Only the Lonely”

in the basement. Roy Orbison,
master of the romantic apocalypse

everyone dreaded.

A supersonic boom rattles windows

as Mount St. Helens blows out sideways.
The forest flattened

by a force equivalent to five hundred
Hiroshimas.

Ash billows from the new crater,
climbing miles into the sky. Blue lightning

flashes in the cloud. Downwind, for hundreds of miles,
day turns to night. Roads and airports close.

Ash falls like heavy snow. Downstream, rivers choke
with mud, trees and ice blocks.

Harry Truman, David Johnston and fifty-five others
lost under smoldering rubble.

About the Author: Pat West

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

Reeling by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Reeling
behind a mother’s eyes
I watched you
learn on one day
you had cancer
and exactly four weeks later
breathe your last.
I only let those eyes
weep on you, my child,
twice in this brief time.
The tears will reside
always
in my heart.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Blue Heron’s Dance by Julie Terrill

I carry your ashes
to the banks of the river
this warm, windless Southern evening.
Eyes closed, arms and heart wide open,
we dance and spin below the full moon
as we did the night we wed
a mere thirty-six moons before.
Tonight it is the heavy, humid air
that clings to me in tight embrace.
Blue Heron joins our dance,
wing tips nearly skimming
the water’s surface
and pulls me from my reverie.
There is peaceful, haunting beauty
to be found within
the circling steps of grief’s dance.

About the Author: Julie Terrill

julieterrill_bio

Julie Terrill is a photographer and writer with a passion for travel. For ten years, she’s told stories of empowerment through the lens of her camera in an array of unique landscapes, environments, and projects – from a shelter for children rescued from trafficking in Thailand to Faces of Courage, complimentary portrait sessions she offers to cancer patients in her community. She is a photographer and facilitator at Beautiful You and Soul Restoration retreats.

Connect with her at: JMTerrillImages.com

A Portrait of a Writer’s Studio by Diana Raab

Empty coffee-imbued mugs,
remnants of tea leaves
in blue Chinese tea pots,

a dimly lit purple lamp,
stacks of crinkled purple file folders
busting with shreds of wisdom,

dusty antique typewriters interspersed
with writing manuals and memoirs
once alphabetical, photos of my loved ones,

both here and gone, faded artistry of daughters
now on their own, a reading chair
beside a purple orchid crowded by

a crooked pile of books laden with stickers
on their best pages, purple pens
and yellow highlighters

clinging as bookmarks, pads of notes,
boxes of dated journals,
tins of obsolete manuscripts

flipped open for ideas,
scented creativity candles,
a sunburst mirror with an image

the computer’s back screen
paned doors facing the outside
water fountain shared with hummingbirds

and rabbits nibbling at fallen rose petals.
An Oriental end table harbors
a pen collection beside a floor heater

to dry the tears which pour from me
as my gel pen negotiates its flow.

About the Author: Diana Raab

Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning author, poet, blogger and speaker and author of eight books. She speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, is due out in September 2017 by Loving Healing Press and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. More at dianaraab.com.

Matted People by Richard King Perkins II

The indiscernible language
of plants

settles into mist and shadow
near a spread of matted people.

Grass and sadder grains
have induced

a sort of physical anarchy
for reasons

spelled out
across the sunset sky.

The complexity of flora
is intentional

suspending us in moments
just like this

offering a green nest,
the music of petals and leaves

a unity of vision
at the moment of conception.

The trees applaud in crescendo
without a hint of wind.

About the Author: Richard King Perkins II

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

Summer at Mt. Tamalpais by Pat West

The redwoods whoosh
whispering secrets
of the ancients.
The giant sequoias hoot
and grunt like the deep bass

of a tuba. Sunflowers
and dahlias, framed by my window,
topple under the weight
of giant blooms.

Yellow-striped beefstake tomatoes split
with ripeness. Green zucchini, sweet corn
and poblano peppers demand,
Pick me, pick me.
August sun scorches, the earth cracks,
there is no choice
but to endure. Life’s been this way
since dogs could talk.
And everything is thirsty.

Deer come close in the early hours
and coyotes yap at sunset.
Cobwebs shimmer between branches.
Honey bees gossip
with fairies in the garden.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBio

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

Dance by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Dance? Too many images
flash before my eyes
to capture just one in any detail.
Bent over backwards in a promenade
at a Boy Scout-Girl Scout square dance.
Poodle skirts on New Year’s Eve
as our saddle shoes jitterbugged.
High school prom in tulle and corsage
with the brother of the boy I’d just necked with.
Watching the short boy’s eyes track the ascent
as I rose to my almost six feet tall.
Stepping out of a failed crinoline
at the medical school’s Winter Formal.
After a full shift at the hospital
tangoing all night with my Peruvian.
Dripping sweat and fake diamonds on silk
at a friend’s wedding-dance reception.
After surgery learning to line dance
in an effort to regain balance.
So many years, so many dances.
Why, even last week I shimmied and shook
to the music wrapping up a senior exercise class.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

A Small Matter Gone Swimming by John Grey

I tried to drown my anger in the Pacific Ocean,
in the shadow of my favorite sweeping dunes.
I figured that, waist deep in water, my irritation would feel misplaced.
Or replaced. Like my footprints, now foaming white.

My anger was knocked down by waves.
Its nose flooded with salt.
A jellyfish, proponent of that most alien of stings.
stole its virulent thunder.

Digging in sand, I startled a tiny crab.
Fuming as I was, I didn’t crush it.
It zigzagged away from me and anger doesn’t do that.
Rage is so linear. It spreads wider but it doesn’t turn corners.

Finally, the sun took aim and blow-torched whatever remained.
At dusk, I strolled the beach, a movement anathema to anger.
Ocean and horizon, long shoreline, pale sky:
It’s the job of abundance to make a man’s fury small.

About the Author: John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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