The final nine miles into Aberystwyth were a soothing amble through dappled green light – the disused railway track partially shaded by the overhanging branches of limes and oaks, the gravelly river close enough to be an audible murmur through the trees. Continue reading “The Green, Green Grass of Ceredigion by Laurence Mitchell”
Henceforth, every line and every color of Picasso will exude the spirit of this rough land; will have the savor of dried figs or of cracked olives, the vigor of the olive shoot, the light of an almond tree in flower, the perfume of a sprig of lavender. And in St Petersburg and New York, in Barcelona, in Paris, in Berlin… they will collect and admire beautiful fragments of this enamored gaze. —Angel Querol, son of the mayor of Horta Sant Joan
Continue reading “By the Water’s Edge by Susanna Crossman”
Icy evening, drunk but not too drunk,
a blur of lights round Hollingworth, where blue
unhappy boats skim the winter lake.
Your breath gleams up the window of your
unkempt Volvo estate, the dark red hulk,
snug vessel which covered our childhood miles,
expanses doled out in weekend tropes:
car-boot sales, bacon-sausage-egg,
scalds of tea in Styrofoam and
fish fried in brown batter. Continue reading “Familiar Road by Daniel Fraser”
Walls gleaming stark with
fresh paint against dusty old tiger murals
while white hairs stroll the halls. Artificially
skin, some hospital pallid, all
sans melanin. The most distinguishing characteristic
we share. The pallor
of our segregated shame. Continue reading “Fifty Years Later by Kate Wooddell”
The air at 4:30 is cool and lightless, the Moon is waning gibbous, low in the south in Capricornus, and in the southwest, Jupiter is descending in Ophiuchus. And Mother came to see the tiger lilies yesterday, they are blooming beside the pond, marking the farm’s July. Continue reading “The farm will have us always by Richard Winters”
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.
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.
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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
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, Platform
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”
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”