The would-be sculptor of muses
Ether comes to be in the bright light
it makes auras like so many living hosts
to chase the others as if to mate.
In awe of the unknown phenomenon
the maker of miracles seeks a solution
to make a wonder from such soft chaos.
A silent symphony emerges in a waltz
particles of a curious matter embrace
swirling in a gentle cyclone.
Pondering the unexpected spectacle
magician in his dreams he is still
waiting for the only moment in time.
Perhaps then he will be the great master
holder of the secret he has been seeking
when at last the creation becomes his muse.
Fabrice B. Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. Most recently, his collection “In Absentia,” was published in August 2021 with Silver Bow Publishing.
LIKE THE BIRDS ON THE WIRES
As I walked I would occasionally
Look up, up at the sky, up where
The birds ruled, home there to the
Lucky, those who can move in the
Blink of one eye.
This time though the view was kind
Of different; the birds had all
Congregated, like musical notes on
A line, along the telephone wire that
Keeps us in touch with the outside world.
It was then I thought is that how
Leonard Cohen came up with the
Wonderful lyrics to 'Bird on a Wire'
By looking up, up at the sky, drawing
Inspiration from a natural phenomenon.
FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS
There were times when I would live
A life, a wild time, and would often
Find myself falling down those stairs
At the last resort out of my mind,
Always always out of my mind and
Late at night as that was when this
Beautiful gift always got me best
And sometimes it would be 3-15
In the morning and I’d be falling
Down those damn stairs out of
My damn mind feeling like a cat
At the end of his ninth life.
LIKE THOSE OLD DAYS (with my radio on)
I sit here tonight and it
Almost feels like the old-times as
My radio builds up to one of the games of the year
As old footballers talk of teenagers
Turning up to training in brand new
Shiny Mercedes-Benz as I sit here
Writing a life so far removed from
Their gilded existence it just goes to
Show you how capitalism has gone so
Bradford Middleton was born in south-east London during the summer of 1971 and won his first poetry prize at the age of nine. He then gave up writing poems for nearly twenty-five years and it wasn’t until he landed in Brighton, knowing no one and having no money, that he began again. Ten years later and he’s been lucky enough to have had a few chapbooks published including a new one from Analog Submission Press entitled ‘Flying through this Life like a Bottle Battling Gravity’, his debut from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and his second effort for Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK). He has read around the UK at various bars, venues and festivals and is always keen to get out and read to new crowds. His poetry has also been or will be published shortly in the Chiron Review, Zygote in my Coffee, Section 8, Razur Cuts, Paper & Ink, Grandma Moses ‘Poet to Notice’, Empty Mirror, Midnight Lane Gallery, Bareback Lit and is a Contributing Poet over at the wonderful Mad Swirl. If you like what you’ve read go send a friend request on facebook to bradfordmiddleton1.
I am Deaf.
My fingers speak.
A coiffed paintbrush in my grasp,
my voice streaks turquoise and magenta
across a parched canvas.
Vowels coo through thirsty linen.
Click-clacking keys with my mother tongue,
I chew hard consonants
and spit them out.
Sour, a scathing sonnet can be at dusk.
Fingertips pave slick exclamations,
punctuated by nails sinking low into clamminess.
I sculpt hyperboles.
Kelly Sargent is an author and artist whose works, including a Best of the Net nominee, have appeared in more than forty literary publications. A poetry chapbook entitled Seeing Voices: Poetry in Motion is forthcoming (Kelsay Books, 2022). A book of modern haiku entitled Lilacs & Teacups is also forthcoming, and a haiku recently recognized in the international Golden Haiku contest is on display in Washington, D.C. She serves as the creative nonfiction and an assistant nonfiction editor for two literary journals. She also reviews for an organization whose mission is to make visible the artistic expression of sexual violence survivors.
You can find her at https://www.kellysargent.com/
KEYS IN A ROW
will play a melancholy
keyboard piece as I am
leaving, and, stopping
to listen, I’ll have a vision
of what is to come if I
linger, if I walk up
to the player, wait,
then ask some pertinent
question with an eager
mien, the seconds gone
when I would have been
outdoors in the clear,
the moment interrupted
with a careless insufficiency,
the scattered patterns
of my life converging
into a broken string,
a clappered wheel
on which the hours
tick and dance to
their inoperable end
to be released from a long
slow slough, much of it
impenetrable like the circle
of a dream manifest as reality,
frightful and avoidable,
a bag in a corridor laced
with shadows and squalor,
which the mere eye of me
is afraid to undo
the veins, a fire-
ball with dim
bangs, like old
when the steam
hammers at high
velocity into their
the room and
the sleeper from
here in this morning’s morning
self-forgotten sullen twang
comes a star gilded and silver,
climbing still like the pine
branches tipped with needle-
frantic green, yes, caught
like a tiny chip on the great
waist of some spectre surface
emerging into the dissolving dark.
LANDSCAPE IN FALLEN LIGHT, WITH CHILDREN
Just an unimportant place,
radiant and ordinary,
deserving the utmost scriptory,
with golden quags
up to the knees,
the sun blotting the lough
like streaks of silver haze
settling in a quay.
No need for a raveled sky
of quizzical significance,
the wrangling heads
foundering in the streets,
questing the unending sop
of memory and imprecation
to put life into the big words,
immiserating the ivory dungeon,
as one antinomian calls it,
reduced to bah, to babbling ooze,
slightly ecstatic now and then,
what is preserved
when meaning is deflated,
page after page, of invisibility,
of pity for hope lost
in hell’s sunken bolgias,
or the faces strapped
to the skullbones
of the starving young.
NOW THEN, THE OPEN EYE
but I already feel
the solitary cold,
a sleepless place
and zero of the night,
like an infinitive
without an end
and half reluctant
to begin. But solitude
is just a postlude
to the now where all
the wrongs set in,
a moment’s atom
out of kilter,
out of being true,
where finally the heart
may intermit its beat
with careless equanimity
or grave abandonment
like a nimbus
with its watery crystals
of deep ice,
washing the sorrows
from your face,
from all the lineaments
of being you.
VERISIMILITUDE After a passage from a novel by Virginia Woolf
Somewhere in the middle
I recall a brewer’s cart
and the genial narrator
describing the gray horses
that had upright bristles
of straw stuck in their tails
like sprouting plumes
above the small brown daisies
peeping from their haunches’ clefts.
And a woman, seeing
this slipstream brook
of burblings through her mind,
and sorrow drops away
like a feathered colander
sifting the prismatic richness
of her life, kindling with equine
pleasure an infinite hubble-bubble
of mysterious commotion
out of the pernicious flurries
of gone time, a lollop on horsetail
streams with straw-thatched coronets,
whimsical and vagulous,
like sea-green sprites,
bedraggled by happiness
and blessed with silly dreams.
PROBLEM, SOLUTION, ETC.
Her academic pedigree
Columbia and the Sorbonne.
But toward her hundredth year
she confronted her biggest source
of perplexity and vexation,
the state of being weary
and restless through lack of interest,
and began her day
with crossword puzzles,
then the game shows on TV.
Did she return to these
as the day continued to impair
itself by attrition?
Ramakrishna used to rebuke
Had they nothing better to do
on the verge of their greatest change
of outward form or appearance?
Are crosswords any better?
Should Kurtz have done puzzles
in the dark, filling words into a pattern
of numbered squares in answer
to correspondingly numbered clues
to prevent facing the abyss
before him, the memories in him?
What is a six-letter word
for a painful emotion
compounded of loathing and fear?
Bio: Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky has published poems in over 300 online and print periodicals in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, mainland Europe, Turkey, Australia, and India. He is the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hedge Apple. A first book of poems, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City. He is currently at work on several poetry projects, including a poetry cycle based on Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. A book of poetry, Shapeless Works of Partial Contemplation, is due to be published by Ephemeral Arts Press in November.
it was not the arc of a star-
Boat tail grackles wove a river of possibilities
where each scar became eye, it was not a song
of our grandmothers from beyond pines,
buried in flesh, bone close, blade thin, what must be
carried, weight of singing, of the gone, an edge,
tasting of blood, navel oranges, pie lemons,
calamondin, an incandescence living
in my flesh, glyphs of their own light, their own
life, divination begins with my shoulder blade,
another bone tossed on the pile, a pyre
stacking itself into a ceremony of absences,
without moonlight desire floats with owls,
glide path of palms, asphalt, gravel, we are such,
an aggregate laid down for the passage of others,
so many carcasses trundled into pavement,
with the random divination of bird tracks,
as day burns, we burn, as ash reveals, stars
unfold, as stragglers croak their way out
to the rookery, we remain cindered, land bound,
a reliquary of unattained salvation, a singing
whittled down, stacked fatwood desiring flame,
all our dreams arrive here, shore of burning,
songs mangrove verdant, tangled in drifts of shell.
-Dog has a pumpkin head-
it was the season of rhymes,
pig killing, wood burning, whiskey,
you said your brother wouldn't care
who I was, true enough as he only spoke
to the dog and the stove, his back porch
navel oranges, kumquats,
cabbage palms, a bougainvillea blood
dark flowering, eating canned peaches
fished from a cooler of tall boys,
you said I was good enough for your bed,
the back of your bike, biscuits at your kitchen
table, second drawer in your dresser, ''Sit,
so listen, there's no redemption,
just atonement, and there's no end to that."
Sour gum flowering gathered
up into honey, we chewed the comb
as if adopted by bears, living off
saw palmetto berries and grubs,
or the other flesh,
thorn of my tongue, word pierced,
we are without, not of, not
within time, hinged sky, a mollusk
drying out between tides, barnacled
wind bent, current woven, taste skin,
taste wind, taste salt, how blade manifests
a dream life, tongue balanced, taut with lace
of scars, a sargassum float of entanglement,
small crabs, sea turtles, it was the season
of arrivals, no hint yet of the horizon
closing upon us, the other fruit
ripening on the tree, absence
-Pithlachascotee River -
Some Sunday she said from the kitchen to the breezeway,
"Suffer not a witch", left before dinner,
walked to the landing, where possibilities
survive immersion, current relentlessly flowing,
took the skiff downriver, followed a creek
into the mangrove, abandoned habitation, learned
tide, names of wind, to thatch with palmetto
to polish the blade, circular motion of sharpening,
stone of susurration honing the heart, hatchet of tongue
riving chunks of fatwood to feed hands of flame, cupped
with each evening, there is a singing on the breeze,
a litany of pollination, a triumph of flowering,
night fills my ears as sparks of fireflies float
over the verdure of burning, praise laced
with woodsmoke, wave summoned tide
manifests this form, an expression of sea,
a liver of possibilities, a cloud filled lung,
breath of a thicker atmosphere, ponderous
flight as form reveals itself to sky.
Sun folded away in its blue coverlet, you cannot drink
from this broken cup of sky spilling moon, skillet on the fire, clouds stack on the horizon,
spoonbill stretching wing
into shade, egrets lifting over mangrove, we lived
for a while on black coffee and bacon, shouldering
a river door wind walks through, trailing night and a glory
of stars, we gathered the taste of names, memory is flesh,
trees speak of it, questioned which half holds the spoon,
which half lifts the bowl, which eye is on the horizon,
weather coiling beyond curve of sea.
As fireflies are shards of air cracked by lightning,
we name ourselves that sea may know us,
salt tasting salt, coiled into wave of remembrance,
the whistle and click each song must pass through
to reach open water where emerald shimmers
into cobalt, lifting such light as we can from all this
broken, edges balanced on fingertips, a divide between
what glitters and what sinks quietly, some days my dress
is burlap, sometimes a hank of sea borrowed
from wave, tide uncoiled from one hand the other dipped
into river, filtering a current of unintended sorrow,
where the gone has lifted onto breeze, silence feathers
its nest beneath tongue, magnolia opening slowly
with morning or question swallowing word, sometimes
I am spoonbill, head down wading, a roseate flowering
in an unnamed forest striding into darkness, sometimes
there is a face in the mirrored waters, sometimes
it is mine, sometimes a voice, wave lifted, sometimes
we speak but the voice is never mine, face of water,
voice of wind, a sound from the edge of all things.
Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Former cook infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast and blackwater rivers.