Ginsberg’s Omelet, by Ron. Lavalette

Ginsberg’s Omelet
by Ron. Lavalette

This is the egg of the Void, ovoid, egg I have come to know these 20 years on frozen
  flats, in dreams of egg gone mad, unreachable egg, egg unbeaten by Time,
  unmapped in the flat gray clouded frypan of Imagination, egg unreal, uneaten
  eggshell egg—
This is the fork I choose to torture the egg, fork of my mother’s choosing, passing
  through generations, immigrant fork that travels from Prussia, come to rest on
  American Formica, Breakfast In America fork, Fork of Manhattan 2019, come to beat
  the egg for real, to make the mad yellow omelet of Century XXI, feed the starving
  mass of men standing and waiting to dig the secret bop-cabala of omelette breakfast
  staring up from the ooky yolky plate with sizzled bacon beside—
This is the milk of lost aspiration, squeezed from the unwilling tit, small milk, spilled,
  useless milk propped up by demonic farm subsidies devised by Washington to keep
  the dirty farmer poor, Milk of the Mother, pilfered mechanically, milk I remember
  from sour nights on the Plains, drifting toward unrequited Denver, lights whiter
  than mercury vapor under the odd sad laughing western omelet moon—
O Omelet of my soul, sweet yellow comrade omelet, come to me now, I am starved for
  your Grace, I await you now in early morning America

Inspiration Source: Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL (and other poems)

Ron. Lavalette is a very widely-published poet living on the Canadian border in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. His first chapbook, Fallen Away, is now available from Finishing Line Press and at all other standard outlets. His poetry and short prose has appeared extensively in journals, reviews, and anthologies ranging alphabetically from Able Muse and the Anthology of New England Poets through the World Haiku Review and Your One Phone Call. A reasonable sample of his published work can be viewed at EGGS OVER TOKYO: http://eggsovertokyo.blogspot.com

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Alien Hand Syndrome, by Jo Angela Edwins

Alien Hand Syndrome
by Jo Angela Edwins

“Alien Hand Syndrome sees woman attacked by her own hand.”—headline to story on BBC News Health website

We may laugh at first,
and as usual, our laughter
disguises our horror.
There is nothing funny about
the woman’s bruised face,
her mouth gaping in fatigue
and confusion. This is
both less and more than metaphor
for the ways we damage ourselves, the ways
we never learn our own minds.

The brain, that mad hermit
hidden in his house of bone,
is no more than twins attached
at the middle. They think alike, until
some skillful surgeon cleaves them
to remedy electric flares, until
a stroke builds walls between them.
Then the figurative turns literal:
the left hand doesn’t know
what the right one is doing,
and worse yet, doesn’t care,
might drop your credit card
in the mailbox, might unbutton
your blouse in the crowded lobby,
might blindly slide itself across
the blade of a butcher knife.

Who can help but wonder why
the wild one chooses cruelty
over kindness, chooses chaos
over calm? Or is it that
bad hands get all the press?
Perhaps somewhere, a quiet woman
finds her left hand picking flowers
for her table, sorting laundry,
gently stroking a sleeping cat.
Her right hand, stunned at first
to stillness, cannot help
but be changed by the stranger hand’s
example. Soon enough,
its own intentions may improve.
It may learn to help the other
in its tender, errant ways.

All this is silly fantasy.
There is true illness here.
There is true suffering.
Nonetheless, fantasy—
like laughter—is a thing
we turn to when reality
is too horrible to watch,
hard slaps to battered cheeks,
a grainy image gone permanent,
too seared to us to be erased
by the swipe of anyone’s hand.

“Alien Hand Syndrome” was inspired by a story and headline appearing on BBC.com. Here is the link to the story: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-12225163.

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues including Calyx, New South, Naugatuck River Review, Zone 3, and other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook, Play, was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press. She has received poetry awards from the SC Academy of Authors and Poetry Super Highway and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives and teaches in Florence, SC.

Small Love, by Jo Angela Edwins

Small Love
by Jo Angela Edwins

Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.

                                                  –Anne Sexton, “Small Wire”

A small cough is easy enough
to imagine, although even the very
smallest is often voluntary,
the sort people make in assembly halls,
school-desk rows, or church pews, to catch
a friend’s attention, or hide a rumbling
belly. A small love
is another thing entirely,
less explicable, less exact.
What makes love small?
The size of the thing loved?
You love your Cadillac
more than your cup of tea. Maybe,
but do you love your St. Bernard
more than your newborn baby?
Or is it the size of what does the loving?
Do elephants love more intently than field mice,
whales than goldfish,
linebackers than jockeys?
When gnats mate, do they create
the smallest love of all?
And what of love unprofessed?
The timid lover, unsuspected, uncaressed,
held hostage to his fevered dreams
cannot rightly be called small.
In fact, his love looms giant,
cast like a shadow on a celestial screen
of what could be, or what might have been
had fate been more compliant.
Still, there lies something almost holy
in the thought of a small love
when love by nature seems immense,
essentially intense,
in no way quiet or reserved.
If love can be small, it becomes
something everyone can aspire to,
the sort of thing the humblest among us
can somehow claim at some time to deserve.
If it’s never too small to hear or see,
it cannot be asking too much
to taste, or touch,
or hold lightly in our hands this fragrant seed.
Feed it. It can do no less than grow.

“Small Love” was inspired by Anne Sexton’s poem “Small Wire.” The version I read was included in Anne Sexton: The Complete Poems.

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues including Calyx, New South, Naugatuck River Review, Zone 3, and other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook, Play, was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press. She has received poetry awards from the SC Academy of Authors and Poetry Super Highway and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives and teaches in Florence, SC.

After The Man With The Blue Guitar, by Jonathan Beale

After The Man With The Blue Guitar
by Jonathan Beale

What enters in, still enters in
The superfluous guitar of things exactly as they aren’t.

The mind, the eye, the psyche, the…
If we’re not author, then subject?

Sat there in blind reflection. The beginning
As Nebulous as the clouds, and as free

As you nail your thought across the door
As I learnt , briefly to touch once more

The mood – green?
Music exceeds – surpassed

Why everything is as it could
Under the spell of a serenade

The masses, the senses; the mass senses
As all those whose DNA this has permeated

Rebirth. New life. Another being
Yet plays things as me must.

Moments past in this eloquent game
Everything different, everything the same.

Just the last line remains the same
The thread is picked.

Leading on to green days
Where we and them – play the same tune.

Jonathan Beale has had his work published in over sixty journals including Danse Macabre, Bluepepper, Mad Swirl, Ygdrasil, Red Wolf Editions, Sheepshead Review, Poetry 24 et al. He is also published in two anthologies, Drowning and The Poet as Sociopath (Scar publications). And one to be published, Do not be afraid, a small anthology dedicated to Seamus Heaney. His first book of poetry The Destinations of Raxiera (Hammer and Anvil) in November 2015.

He lives in Surrey U.K.

After Nobody’s wife Chris Gollon, by Jonathan Beale

After Nobody’s wife Chris Gollon
by Jonathan Beale

There is a golden allure
gold allures all men of all creeds
Somehow passed her by.

There is glow of hope anticipation,
In her face – she is what she is
And still wants to be that half of something else.

In love with love?
Or just requiring the status? The role?
As she looks back at you.

Are you interested? Would you? Would you?
as she is seeking something.
Allow the window watchers in.

The people watchers – to muse for a moment
And find a seam of their desire
This is neither right nor wrong.

They lend, as do we, without reason
Without consent. The allure draws us
Still onward; still inward.

Peeling back the layers –
What is beneath? and who even cares,
Unraveling the destination.

I see her, on my wall, in a café;
Every time a different bell is rung
A different song is sung.

Optimized-Nobodys_Wife-1

Jonathan Beale has had his work published in over sixty journals including Danse Macabre, Bluepepper, Mad Swirl, Ygdrasil, Red Wolf Editions, Sheepshead Review, Poetry 24 et al. He is also published in two anthologies, Drowning and The Poet as Sociopath (Scar publications). And one to be published, Do not be afraid, a small anthology dedicated to Seamus Heaney. His first book of poetry The Destinations of Raxiera (Hammer and Anvil) in November 2015.

He lives in Surrey U.K.

The Electric Grandmother, by Debi Swim

The Electric Grandmother
by Debi Swim

She should have green eyes. No, blue. Why not brown?
And her nose a button nose. No, Greek. No, aquiline.
White hair caught in a bun. Salt and pepper! Mousy brown.
Grandmothers come in varieties
pick the one you want
and so we did
but eventually outgrew her
and her usefulness.
Then she sat alone with
other grandmothers
telling each other
about their grandkids.

Seems a bit of a waste
of grandmothers though
the real ones end up in a cemetery
and ours, oh, ours, came back
when we were old
and combed our hair
calmed our fusses
and took care of us until
we ended up in the cemetery.

Oh, I wish I could have
a forever grandmother, too.

Process notes: My favorite movie of all time is a sweet, nostalgic one called The Electric Grandmother, TV movie, 1982, based on Ray Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric”. A trio of children and their father, get a very special robot grandmother to assist them.

Written in response to red wolf prompt 433.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts.

Blue Sleeved Time, by Debi Swim

Blue Sleeved Time
by Debi Swim

Later I caught him, Time hurrying by, by
the blue sleeve, and I harangued him
For his impertinence of rushing me along
For letting me think there was a measure ahead
not noticing the bulk was behind

I berated his poor proffered gift
that he shoved in my face on a golden
platter. Memories of tender moments…
and what good are they? I ranted

Where is the touch, scent, substance?
Nothing to grasp, to cling to, dust,
it is all just fairy dust, all sparkle
no heft. I scolded his second rate
offering as cheap. A trinket. Carny trick.

Time jerked the blue sleeve from my grip
and whispered, what more do I owe you?
You took every second I gave and if you
didn’t understand the repercussions…
He smoothed his cuff, smirked and said,
well, do you want your money back?

Source Note:

Rhapsody, Mary Oliver
“Later I caught him, Time hurrying by, by
the blue sleeve, and I harangued him’

Written in response to prompt 426.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts.

Mourning Song, by Martin Willitts Jr

Mourning Song
by Martin Willitts Jr
           An aubade is a song from a door or window to a sleeping woman

The night has such a sleepless longing.
The heart-shaped moon peers through your window
as tree branches tap on your window
with nervous fingers. I cannot get enough of you
and your dreams, the finality of church hour bells.

Wake. Come to me like ecstatic music.
My arms of absence need filling
with the shape of morning doves murmuring
their immense sadness,
endless ocean waves drowning me in loss.

Some say, the day is over,
but not when two lovers embrace and cannot let go.
Window shades should be opening.
Traffic should be stopping and beeping
as trumpets scattering the night
into a thousand awakening eyes of love.

But sleep has you calming lover,
cooing doves in your ear, hushing you
into a softness of music of silence.

All I can do is stand out here,
the wretchedness of stars exploding.

Here is a process note:

I am trying to capture the regretful language of Neruda and Lora. That overwhelming unfulfilled desire or extreme loss associated with seeing the end results of war. I am also thinking of Romeo and Juliet. An unrequited love staring at a window, A troubadour ready to sing to a woman in a room. To me, the best line of lamentation is from Lora’s play, Blood Wedding: “Ah! What glass splinters are on my tongue!”

Written in response to prompt 429.

Martin Willitts Jr has 24 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Coming Home Celebration (FutureCycle Press, 2019).

April Fool, by Debi Swim

April Fool
by Debi Swim

I have a vivid recollection of it
the night was comfortably cool
the exhibitionist moon a jewel,
the perfect setting, I admit.

The night was comfortably cool
as I recall, hand on fevered brow
spring breeze tickling a bough
and I, as I think of it, an April fool.

The exhibitionist moon, a jewel
mounted like a diamond solitaire
seemed to be offered to me, I swear
I never knew he could be that cruel.

The perfect setting, I admit
but I was just a naïve girl
my head in a love sick whirl
I couldn’t recognize counterfeit.

I have a vivid recollection of it
the night was comfortably cool
the exhibitionist moon a jewel,
the perfect setting, I admit.

Process notes:
Poem form: catena rondo
First line from “I Have A Vivid Recollection of It” by Jimmy Roberts found in the poetry anthology, The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, edited by Helen Klein Ross.

Written in response to prompt 432.

Debi Swim poems in West Virginia mostly to prompts from around the net. She blogs at https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

Arrakis, by Christopher Hileman

Arrakis
by Christopher Hileman

My worm exhales spice
In a tumble of gold sand
And leaves me behind.
I slide down the slope
To the fold at the bottom,
The crease of two dunes.

I shall wait near here
For you to come and lift me
Off this hellish land,
Hoping my water
Recycles without hitches

And that my brothers
Will still lift my soul.

Arrakis is the planet also known as Dune and is the creation of Frank Herbert, a first-rate science fiction novelist. Dune is the first in a sequence of novels and stories that takes place primarily on Arrakis but also on several other planets in the universe of the Dune stories. Other authors took over the production of the series as time went by.

Dune was a work in a sociological vein, telling the story of a planet in jihad, or holy war, similar to the breakout of Islam after the rise of Mohammad in the middle of the first millennium AD. Other science fiction works created after the mid-nineteen sixties explored other religious traditions, such as the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist traditions but Dune and Islam was first and in the opinion of many, including me, the best of them. As Wikipedia notes: “1965’s Dune, is popularly considered one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time, and it is sometimes cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history.”

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired for some years and lives on the north bank of the McKenzie River in Vida, Oregon. He moved recently from his basement digs in Oregon City, emerging into the riverine sunshine on the eastbound highway out of the Eugene/Springfield area of Oregon.