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BURNING HOUSE PRESS

Not For Profit/For Prophecy

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One plus one is two point three by Caroline Stockford

 

for poem14

 

Continue reading “One plus one is two point three by Caroline Stockford”

Grief is a private island by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton

Grief is a private island. You can only wave to people from it. Even people who have lived on that island, who may understand where you are, can only wave back. And yet the island is invisible so unless someone knows you are on it, they talk to you as if life is normal, and sometimes you don’t have the energy to explain or try to that you can’t understand a damn word they are saying because of all the water and wind between you and them.

A very few can whisper from some place different and make you feel temporarily less lonely because they have had a similar enough experience and an ability to empathize in a certain way, but in the end, it’s you and your island. And there’s no shorting the loneliness and sheer pain of grief.

Continue reading “Grief is a private island by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton”

Three poems by Wanda Deglane

August
August is second-degree burns / from hands grazing against metal / it is waking from sweat-dripping nightmares / and no more room for intimacy / August is a silent scarring / a tension you can taste / stinking rotten in the air / it is a dozen new bruises / peppering my limbs every morning / how my mother wished she could see / a little more color in me / so I show her my arms / my legs / my neck / I beg her, make him leave / please / I won’t come home unless he’s gone / her smile is thin but gorilla glued / she says, I’m just so tired of fighting / can’t we pretend a little more instead? / I board myself up forty miles east / I eat this fake-happy like smoke-staining fruit / soft hair after downpour / and dreams of scissor-stabs tucked neat between my ribs / my brother no longer speaking to me / and forgetting to wake up tomorrow / it’s rush hour in hell / a car swerves to miss me / driver screaming, watch where you’re going / are you trying to die? / I look back at him, doe-like / his honks still blaring in my ears / I have nothing to say.

Continue reading “Three poems by Wanda Deglane”

Strangers in Strange Spaces by Mercy Ananeh-Frempong

I am a sample of millions, billions. I am this sample soaking in these vivid visions and complexities of minds lost at sea. These eyes gaze long and absent mindedly at nothing, and for moments on end, realize that everything is familiar and alien at once. These eyes, tormented by meaninglessness, seek that which they know not. What the hell are we doing here? Who are all these beings floating through these spaces? Once upon a hazy memory, home was a shape-shifting mask bent out of proportion. Once upon a memory blooming, home was the love of life, the love of this life. Continue reading “Strangers in Strange Spaces by Mercy Ananeh-Frempong”

Spanish Moss by Eric Edwards

Despite the distance we crash into each other repeatedly.

We spend a lot of our time typing messages. Talking over poor quality internet calls, across time zones that leave me exhausted, both of us wanting. A yearning that brings us closer but at a cost. Long nights of feeling alone while being together.

We hit and smash and spin out of control; never enough days and nights to find the balance that is there, tantalizingly out of reach, never out of sight. The wheels run straight for a while, but veer. We make it to the swamp. Though not the cemetery or the convent. Not this time. What we want is to run away into the woods. Continue reading “Spanish Moss by Eric Edwards”

Learning French in Paris by Damian Kelleher

We were in Paris, there was never enough money, and everything was expensive. I didn’t have much French then, but it was enough to get by, or I thought it was. Dorothy didn’t have any French at all, and from the outset she said that she wasn’t going to learn how to say anything beyond ​Oui.​ She was American, and I loved her, or I thought I did, then. Continue reading “Learning French in Paris by Damian Kelleher”

To Return by Fernando Sdrigotti

My clothes smelled of fried food — a stench without a clear origin. And the lights of the boulevard stabbed my eyes, bouncing off the glass in Pig’s taxi — the windows, the mirrors. Lights and the stench of fried food.

“I missed that…” I said.
“I asked if you tried virtual sex,” repeated Diego. Continue reading “To Return by Fernando Sdrigotti”

Bomb Nostalgic by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

The silence that covers the Nevada desert on this reddish afternoon in 1951 can only be classified as geologic. Layers of stillness have accumulated like mineral strata, forming a desolate mountain range that raises across the wasteland. Even the sky is somewhat mineral: the thin creases of clouds make one think of streaks at the bottom of a blue deposit, the kind that yield only to the sun’s radiant picks. The air possesses an earth-colored quality that stings the eye and obliges ceremonial blinking; a ceremony that Doug Ferguson has practiced since 1947, when he crossed the anonymous doors of Lookout Mountain Studios for the first time to sign a contract and exchange a good salary for absolute secrecy. Continue reading “Bomb Nostalgic by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras”

Disjecta – Caesura – Membra, from ‘& The Little Light That Escaped (Vedute)’, by Alexander Booth

Disjecta

A face glimpsed as if framed through a space between the lattice-work of a bench, a day-drinking bar on a shade-lined street of turn-of-the-century buildings, Mediterranean maybe, looking for what, lower lip pinned to upper, unsure, a question: a face glimpsed as if framed through a space between the lattice-work of a bench upon which one word was seen: nostalgie.

But back at the beginning: the station was blue. His face a ruin. Rain.

Someone had disappeared. Continue reading “Disjecta – Caesura – Membra, from ‘& The Little Light That Escaped (Vedute)’, by Alexander Booth”

Pretty Secret by Derick Dupré

Before I met Esther I lived only in rooms and rarely did I go outside them. Primarily I occupied one, the square room with the fermented red walls. The rough white windowsill failed to enliven the red-walled room, but with an ashtray, a flashlight, the white paint dabbed on glass like a lost animal’s track, the place approximated the idea of home.

I had a hot plate and would turn it on just to watch it glow. Continue reading “Pretty Secret by Derick Dupré”

Wisconsin by Sam Lou Talbot

Violet laughter shot into the room via the two-and-a-half-inch gap generously yielded by the suicide prevention windows in the award-winning, architect-designed, university halls I rather reluctantly found myself in. (I’ve always had a thing about Wisconsin.)

Hen nights, pissheads, ravers, and druggies ensconced outside the Co-Op. “Can you spare any change, love?” (How often you’d use the word transcend.)
Continue reading “Wisconsin by Sam Lou Talbot”

The Orange Line: Collages by Wullae Wright

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The Orange Line, Platform

Continue reading “The Orange Line: Collages by Wullae Wright”

Three poems by Jude Marr

Dispatch From an Altered State

this place is a contagion: I can’t
read here: only
despair: no time remains for new words: only old
obscenities: only enemies
are recognizable: their animus flares: their crabbed
hands pluck at my dis-ease: I lie
under heavy blankets, red raw railing—
Continue reading “Three poems by Jude Marr”

Memoriam by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton

When I first visited my father J in Berkeley in the 70s, Jerry Brown was governor, and he gave a state address, in which he said “I was thinking about the problems we are facing so I decided to listen to whale sounds, which I will play you now.” I laughed with J and his second wife, but was uneasy.  A Northeastern teenager surrounded by palm trees and a whale-sound-playing governor. Continue reading “Memoriam by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton”

The Angel to the Seabird Sings by Sarah Wallis

The Angel to the Seabird Sings

Continue reading “The Angel to the Seabird Sings by Sarah Wallis”

Shield by Matthew Jakubowski

Each eyelash severs me. One of them blinks and I am undone. I, whose mind leaps daily, o disciplined masochist, to the grief of parents who’ve lost children. I think of all those young eyes that will forever remain closed, never see their parents again, or be seen again, looked in the eye again by those who loved them. Continue reading “Shield by Matthew Jakubowski”

Charlotte Olayinka’s launch speech for Tony Messenger’s “Poems to be found in the desert”

I would like to acknowledge the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay respect to their Elders, past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people here today.

I acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded and send a plea to you to continue to work within your communities to decolonise our political and educational systems, the media, the arts and our society at large. I urge you to move together towards establishing recognition, treaty, self-determination and rightful representation in the governance of this land. Continue reading “Charlotte Olayinka’s launch speech for Tony Messenger’s “Poems to be found in the desert””

Berceuses by Petero Kalulé

Dementia

 

       come to mind cloud

come to cloud mind – Marie Ponsot

 

& every now

& then,

i sit by her feet, on her porch

never ever talking.

 

& together,

we watch the soughing

heavens  mutter, str-

etching their

cotton-silvers

 

in lulls  & retorts

of

nearly went  & nearly wait

– crossed & crossed all over.

Continue reading “Berceuses by Petero Kalulé”

Faulkner on the Balcony by Tristan Foster

I probably shouldn’t write this. 

Reading Faulkner on a balcony in Melbourne. A cold morning, as they usually are. Yesterday read Joyce by the bay, feet bare, the sand chilly and soft as snow, thinking that maybe we will have kidney. We? Who is we? You are not here and, last I heard, you are afraid I will find someone else in these small days.

I sit on the balcony with a hot coffee and a story about a funeral. Baudelaire in the suitcase. In pain and I can’t concentrate, let me tell you why. I am on street level, rocking back in a dirty weatherproof chair. Messy empty bed in the room behind me. A woman stands in the sun across the road, hoody on, smoking a cigarette fussily and checking her phone. I shouldn’t write this because these are secrets I wouldn’t tell anyone. Continue reading “Faulkner on the Balcony by Tristan Foster”

Street Goddesses by Mary Frances

There are familiar streets where I walk often. I know them as well as my home, yet every day I notice small differences – changes in the light or weather, a shift of angle, something dropped or spilled – and most days I take a few photos.

There are unfamiliar streets where I travel watchfully. I have a poor sense of direction and am easily lost. I look for small things – the colours of a poster, the shapes of a tree, a pattern of cracks in a wall – to mark my way. I take quick pictures to locate myself, as if leaving a trail of thread or a sprinkling of crumbs along the path.

Sometimes, from the corner of my eye, I see a shape or pattern and have a sense of how it might look reflected back on itself, as in a pool or mirror. When I get home I copy and flip the image and join the two together. The results are never quite what I expected – more strange and complex, they often have the look of characters from untold stories, misremembered folk tales, a lost tarot. Continue reading “Street Goddesses by Mary Frances”

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