Home, As a Series of Outbreaks, by Sheikha A.

Home, As a Series of Outbreaks
by Sheikha A.

There are mountains rising from four-leaf clovers;
that was the dream of seeing my beheading

on a guillotine, and some ethereal proclamation
of having been purified spoke in the soft steps of a tornado

before full motion assault; it was the word shaheed
that was used in the same aghast timbre as one of

a woman prohibited from jihad. Someone
caught my armpits, then declared themselves

on a piece of paper. The only sensation
that prevailed after was a jabbing ache. Ironic how

a love for anywhere or anything begins from
secrets, and how the start of every journey

begins with dreams. I was told to follow the trail
of each outbreak at midnights, the waking in

cold sweat, and arm reaching outwards to
grab a closing door’s edge, before it slid into

the vacuum meant to cradle its frame. Home is
an elusive junction where an asylum awaits;

it will encounter you civilly, offer you a hope
as practical and documented as your time

of birth; and then, it will offer you a dream –
conditional, like the dreams of sleep,

anything from anywhere, anyone from any way
can walk over every astral limit in the universe

and enter your space. The stars will break
as all things nearing their end do. And the pull

that prevents all things floating from falling
will guide their descent into the eyes that sleep,

composing as homes – a series of nights on
the verge of a pinnacle – heightened to nowhere.

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. She has been published in various literary venues, both print and online. More can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com

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The Ears Gone Bye, by Gary Glauber

The Ears Gone Bye
by Gary Glauber

Even after our relationship fell to pieces,
we still shared an eclectic taste in music.
Still it had been years since last
we’d last been in touch.
So when your proposed playlist
for my upcoming wedding
arrived out of nowhere,
I didn’t know what to expect.
Who had told you? How did you find me?
Who even knew you anymore?
Yet I downloaded it immediately,
put headphones on & pressed play.

Nice to start it out with the techno vibe
of Epigraph’s “Parade of Colors,”
right into the sweet harmonies of
“One if By Sea” by The Polemics.
Who would ever imagine that kind of mix?
Only you. Who would even know
that Rhododendron Downer’s “Tree of Levers”
perfectly fades into the starting notes
of Sound of Cubists’ “Barely Mentioned?”
Genius. I was overcome by strange memories.

That summer in the desert attending Roasted Ear,
when I first spotted you, dancing atop some
bearded guy’s shoulders, when Gabriel & the Hellhounds
played their monster hit, “Dirty Whispers;”
it caught my attention. Your beautiful voice
stood out from the crowd, & when you sang along
to French Equation’s “Hybrid Mattress”
I couldn’t believe your lyrical prowess.
You didn’t miss a syllable of those
sixty-fourth note words. You were a marvel.
I vowed to get to know you better.

You told me about your stint as a backup singer
on The Blatant Lies’ phenomenal “Mexican Goddess.”
You knew every song by my favorite obscure bands:
“Garden of Rascals” by Cascading Marauders, “
“Whenever You Bait the Switch” by Psychotic Episode,
even knew that when you held the debut album cover
of “The Flimsy Assertions” up to a mirror, you could
find clues as to how Frankie Pixel drowned in the pool
of that famous billionaire’s Parisian palace.
When Luke & The Two Thieves announced their breakup,
we made sure to be there for their final appearance
at The Stereophonic Club, front row center.

That was at least a few lifetimes ago.
We were loud, brash, opinionated, & stubborn,
all traits not conducive to a healthy relationship.
We argued between the notes of musical agreement;
it got ugly fast & never recovered.

Now I am a changed man, sporting what might
be any mild enthusiast’s Spotify playlist.
Gone are the eclectic sounds of Pansy Principle,
One-Act Festival, & Long Throw from Third.
My fiancé wouldn’t know any of these bands,
but music isn’t her thing. To be honest,
it isn’t much my thing either anymore.
Those abstruse bands of yore no longer
form the soundtrack to my life. Now I collect
formulae & spreadsheets, listening to the
musical equivalent of white noise as I
study important trends & track necessary data.

When your last song started playing,
Hakuna Lambada’s “Centennial Exhibition,”
I admit it did touch me a bit, made me nostalgic
for those younger, crazier times.

Don’t think I don’t appreciate the effort you put
into meticulously crafting this musical collage
for me and my intended. I do.
But that list was for someone that you used to know,
whose song no longer remains the same.

Author’s note: None of the music mentioned in the poem exists.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press), are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers.

Individual Humor, by Marilyn Braendeholm

Individual Humor
by Marilyn Braendeholm

I heard your voice
deep in the swirl
of a nautilus shell,

heard you laughing
in a language I
didn’t understand,

as if humor
was breath and blood.
A priest’s liturgy.

I often wonder which words
leave you humorless.
Which mantra unwraps you
like God’s gift.

It should be a birthright,
humor, like ears. Toes.
Feet have such a sad
sense, don’t you think.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 412.

Marilyn (aka Misky) Braendeholm’s work is regularly published in monthly issues of Waterways Poetry in the Mainstream, and Ten Penny Players.

Climbers Homeward Bound, by Robert Walton

Climbers Homeward Bound
by Robert Walton

Like friends parting
For uncertain journeys,
Clouds clasp hands on
An autumn moon.

The lake below muses,
On snow’s return,
Its black waters
Deeper than space.

What games we play
With mute mountains,
With moonlit clouds,
With puckish stars.

Check the anchor,
Clip to the rope,
And step into
Night’s granite belly.

 

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Photo: Climbing partner Dave Gregory took it of me some years back.

Process notes: I’ve been caught by night up high a number of times. I try in this poem to convey the mixed feelings this predicament inspires.

Robert Walton is a retired teacher, a lifelong rock climber and mountaineer. His writing about climbing has appeared in the Sierra Club’s Ascent. His novel, Dawn Drums, won the 2014 Tony Hillerman prize. http://chaosgatebook.wordpress.com/

Alzheimer Dreams, by Debi Swim

Alzheimer Dreams
by Debi Swim

Her mind goes back
and further back
to days of long ago
to things of which
she is fond
June bugs, fireflies
pollywogs in the pond
grass tickling her toes
screen door slams
homemade jams
and wildflowers
picked for mom
climbing trees
summers free
her childhood
over and over again
This is where she lives
till her mind gives out
her body gives in
and existing is finally done

Process notes: Watching my mother-in-law wither away.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

Haiku, by Arthur Mitchell

 

Haiku
by Arthur Mitchell

 

In this wild alone
Watching blackbirds sail the wind–
Families flying home.

Arthur Lamar Mitchell’s poems have been set to music for voice, and by several composers, and performed by small groups to orchestra. He composed all lyrics for a environmental concept album – Garden of Eden. Recent poems have been published in Remembered Arts, Winterwolf, and Nature Writing.

Salvation, by Arthur Mitchell

Salvation
by Arthur Mitchell

A Spirit arose to heal the race
In spite the deep and fearful dark
In every heart light to trace

Anthems rise to each a story
Nature’s enormity from a spark
In the name of love, we glory

And if we fall broken, lost and alone
The Spirit shall redeem us
And guide our journey home.

Arthur Lamar Mitchell’s poems have been set to music for voice, and by several composers, and performed by small groups to orchestra. He composed all lyrics for a environmental concept album – Garden of Eden. Recent poems have been published in Remembered Arts, Winterwolf, and Nature Writing.

The Poet, by Holly Day

The Poet
by Holly Day

The ship crashes against the rocks and a poem
Forms in her head right as she flies over the railing
Something so perfect and beautiful it must be written down
Must be remembered. She invokes the first stanza

For the otters watching curiously from the rocks,
The seals lounging carelessly on the beach
The dolphins she knows must be lurking just past the shallows
Because there are always dolphins watching shipwrecks
And dolphins are smart and literate enough to understand.

She shouts the lines as clearly as she can
Despite the screaming of the other passengers
Despite the rending, grinding agony of the hull against the rocks
Despite the shrieks of the confused seagulls whirling overhead
Because she knows this is a poem that cannot be lost
And somebody has to be left behind to carry it on.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

Under the Lights, by Holly Day

Under the Lights
by Holly Day

I open my mouth and imagine birds are going to fly out
That inside me are flocks of birds that have struggled
With captivity for years. I will the birds to take form
Encourage them to force their way through my body, through my skin
Can almost feel their tiny claws struggling to find purchase
Along the slick, wet meat inside my chest.

Nothing comes out and I am empty, I don’t understand
I thought there was something better than me in here. The audience
Stares at me in impatient confusion from rows of folded metal chairs
they came here to see me do something special
they came to see something wonderful, or just something.
The bird song I thought I had dies in my throat, comes out finally

As only a croak, a whisper, a quiet and stuttering end.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

The Temporary Nature of Poetry, by Holly Day

The Temporary Nature of Poetry
by Holly Day

there’s no need to balance color
to be paced to a danceable beat

just turn the page
prepare the wooden frame
wrap the painting around your thoughts
pound the nails in one at a time

there’s no need to labor to match words
to music, to craft lyrics of need
just close your eyes
stop talking.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.