The Woes of Gulbárdier. An Audio Video Poem by Marion Grace Woolly.

Marion 5 L
Marion Grace Woolley studied at the British Record Industry Trust
(BRIT) School of Performing Arts, Croydon. After obtaining an MA in
Language & Communication Research from the University of Cardiff, she
declared that she’d had enough of academia and decided to run away to
Balancing her creative impulses with a career in International
Development, she worked and travelled across Africa, Australia,
Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’. In 2009, Marion
helped to oversee the publication of the first Dictionary of Amarenga
y’Ikinyarwanda (Sign Language) in Rwanda, where she currently lives.
The same year, Marion was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for
New Writers. She is an associate member of the Society of Authors. Her
latest release, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, is due out with
Ghostwoods Books in February 2015.
Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !


Roses for The Ferryman. A Poem by Joseph Armstead.


The crystal lamp burns lazy and dim,
And the mastiff hounds howl ‘pon the moor,
Heralding a prophesy of a return of him
Who once with strength and anger did deplore
The unjust decrees of a distant heaven
That had robbed him of his life’s single joy,
Leaving him empty, bitter and deadened
Little more than uncaring Destiny’s broken toy.
The Children of Lost Hope anxiously do wait,
As across the vast moat of blackest dreaming,
Old Charon does ferry a Herald of direst human traits,
An unmade priest, lead voice of a choir for screaming.
Crossing the Styx, the waters of night filled with souls,
The Ferryman brings ‘cross the Traveler, solemn and dread,
Unconcerned with Justice or for whom Truth’s bell tolls,
Only knowing his duty, to carry the lost shades of the dead,
Journeying ‘twixt the worlds of the Light and the Dark,
Asking no questions and hearing no tales,
Seeing only the movement of Fate, cruel and stark,
And hearing the songs of torment the unholy wail.
Without shame and in regal distress he would return
This princely cleric of tattered soured belief,
And words of his cold gospel would again burn,
In hearts and minds of those for whom Faith is not relief.
Light turns to shadow and the echoes of howling fade,
As from the dreaded ferry he does finally stride,
Bringing a legacy of broken promises to trade,
And the highways of nightmare he is anxious to ride.
Pensive at the castle’s gates she stands,
Wrapped warm ‘gainst the wintry night,
The dry remnants of a waxen rose in hand,
Memento to lost bittersweet delight.
On the hill, the moon behind the oak is dull,
The trip was long and the night chilled,
The Lady holds her secrets close, memory full,
And she waits entry to a home of mysteries filled.
Dreamt she on her journey of her strong beloved,
A knight, a knave, a paradox of moods,
And her sadness grew, fitting soul like a glove,
‘cause on his untimely demise she did brood.
The Dark Lady of the Midwinter’s Night,
A cheerless child her father named Angelique,
Waited in tearful solemnity, to the Devil’s delight,
To go home one last time, her tragedy unique,
As alone and bathed in starlight cold,
She tried to quiet the voices in her head,
Some just brittle whispers, most angry and bold,
For it was because of her that her Knight is dead.
An empress is she, royal and majestic and grand,
A queen of the evermore fallen eve,
Her cold fragile heart clasped in a pale undead hand,
Her life the dire web of a spider’s weave.
The Ferryman unsmiling did bring her across,
She followed a Pale Priest of Dead Hopes,
And into Charon’s hands two coins she did toss,
Taken off sightless eyes at the end of Life’s rope.
The Ferryman is tired, yet his labors never cease,
Rich and poor, weak and strong, all he does carry,
While the Clock of Life shreds Time piece by piece,
The line of travelers is endless and he cannot tarry.
So a Saint of Flesh and Shadow, he returned to the living,
And a gentle Lady of secrets and red despair,
Today second chances at redemption he is giving,
A hollow hope Love and Memory can be unburden’d,
Yet well he knows that of this Life all is prior written,
And though triumphantly from darkness have ye returned,
By poison fangs of Destiny, All has already been bitten.
When at last he returns to his nightmare shore,
Endless eternal day’s task momentarily ended,
He spies a thing of beauty, naught could shock him more,
A bouquet of black roses, left alone and untended,
A gift of Grace from some fractured unyielding soul,
Knowing that they yet reside in Hell,
But daring to set forth an honorable goal,
Of thanks to a ferryman for a job done well.


Joseph Armstead is a suspense-thriller and horror author living in the United States’ San Francisco Bay Area. Author of a dozen short stories and ten novels, his poetry has been published in a wide range of online journals, webzines and print magazines. A mathematician, Futurist and computer technologist, Mr. Armstead’s poetry often defies easy description, but frequently includes neo-classical imagery, surrealist viewpoints and post-modern themes.
Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !


Rainbow-Song: The Angel of Tao. A Graphic Poem by Aberjhani

Rainbow Song for the Angel of Tao poem and typographic art copyright by Aberjhani 8L

Rainbow Song for the Angel of Tao verse 2 poem and typographic art copyright by Aberjhani 1L

Rainbow Song Verse 3 poem and art graphic copyright by Aberjhani 1L

Rainbow-Song for the Angel of Tao

A rainbow in one sense
is woven…
from a beautiful tear-stained reconciliation

between light chasing its need…
to at all costs avoid…
death by ignoble stagnation

and waterdrops’ thirsty desire
to discover themselves anew…
through a passion-driven dream of fire.

That forest path known as Tzu’s way
is not so very different…
first a butterfly kiss that glows…

the color of dawn’s golden eyes…
then another, wet and hungry,
painted like midnight’s indigo skies.

The beauty of the one echoes
the secret joy of the other…
cradling harmony inside a tattered soul.

Form and substance and mystery…
silence the war-drums of chaos…swirl
and give shape to a chromatic revelation…

Clouds rumble rhythms of peace
and hum an ancient oath…
swollen with history’s blood-hot creations.

From opposite ends of time and space
a dream and a song quietly embrace…like
the sun’s murmuring lips upon the moon’s blue face.

Aberjhani ©1Jan2015


The American-born author Aberjhani is a widely-published historian, poet, essayist, fiction writer, journalist, and editor. He is a member of PEN International’s PEN American Center and the Academy of American Poets as well as the founder of Creative Thinkers International. He launched the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance Initiative in 2011 and during the same period introduced netizens to concept of guerrilla decontextualization via a series of essays and website of the same name.

He has authored a dozen books in diverse genres and edited (or sometimes co-edited) the same number. His published works include the Choice Academic Title Award-winning Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, the social media-inspired Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, the modern classic ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love (a collection of ekphrastic verse featuring art by Luther E. Vann), and the frequently-quoted poetry collection, The River of Winged Dreams.

Among his works as an editor are the Savannah Literary Journal (1994-2001), plus the Civil War Savannah Book Series titles: “Savannah: Immortal City” (2011), and “Savannah: Brokers, Bankers, and Bay Lane-Inside the Slave Trade” (2012). In 2014, Aberjhani was among a limited number of authors invited to publish blogs on LinkedIn. You can learn more about the author at Creative Thinkers International, on Facebook, Twitter, or his personal author website at
Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !


The Artist. A Poem by Douglas Polk

Douglas Polk

through his eyes,
the uncertainty real,
yet daring and confident,
the journey painful,
but beautiful,
upon the canvas,
intense and electric,
an image of what life should be,
could be,
but is not,
for the safe and the secure.
Bio: Douglas Polk is a poet living in the wilds of central Nebraska with his wife and two boys, two dogs and four cats. Polk has had over 600 poems published in over 100 publications within the last five years.
Poetry Life & Times


Share and Enjoy !


The Hidden Drop. A Poem by Benedict Downing.

Ants may bite, they climb and fill
rooms, the walls may have the stains of the flood,
the mattress naked without sheets,
hatchet hacked our phones,
the leftovers sit there on the plate,
choices on the straight dead end road,
cinders sit on our head , paint your mind
on the arrow to follow, juggle and balance,
meet their small hands, the red dresses,
we sit on a bench, not facing each other,
put on the shoes, walk on water,
fix her hair in a braid,
the handstand to wear as a pendant,
our masks to fix on our heads,
her dress wears the image, the salt shaker
rusty with use, the diffused memories
erase in the background.

CAM00174 b
Author bio:
Benedict Downing has written fiction, poetry since his adolescence. He joined local community reading circles, workshops, college literary groups, and ventured into his own. Has published fiction and poetry in literary magazines and journals. He is currently working in his second novel.
There are two published books written by Mr Downing. A poetry book “Sidereal Reflux” (2011) and a novel “Epicrisis” (2014).

ISBN-13: 978-1499783056 Sidereal Reflux (Poetry)
ISBN-13: 978-1499774993 Epicrisis (Novel)
Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !


Poetry Life & Times – An Interview With Author-Poet Aberjhani


by Sara L Russell and Robin Ouzman Hislop for Poetry Lifetimes & Poetry Life & Times


The American-born author Aberjhani is a widely-published historian, poet, essayist, fiction writer, journalist, and editor. He is a member of PEN International’s PEN American Center and the Academy of American Poets as well as the founder of Creative Thinkers International. He launched the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance Initiative in 2011 and during the same period introduced netizens to concept of guerrilla decontextualization via a series of essays and website of the same name.

He has authored a dozen books in diverse genres and edited (or sometimes co-edited) the same number. His published works include the Choice Academic Title Award-winning Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, the social media-inspired Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, the modern classic ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love (a collection of ekphrastic verse featuring art by Luther E. Vann), and the frequently-quoted poetry collection, The River of Winged Dreams.

Among his works as an editor are the Savannah Literary Journal (1994-2001), plus the Civil War Savannah Book Series titles: “Savannah: Immortal City” (2011), and “Savannah: Brokers, Bankers, and Bay Lane-Inside the Slave Trade” (2012). In 2014, Aberjhani was among a limited number of authors invited to publish blogs on LinkedIn. You can learn more about the author at Creative Thinkers International, on Facebook, Twitter, or his personal author website at

The Interview

Sara: Firstly Aberjhani, what first inspired you to write poetry?

Aberjhani: What first inspired me to write poetry as a teenager were the power and the magic that I experienced through the works of the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, the Beats, and the Black Arts Movement. As I read and understood them, their voices dared to challenge power and rearrange worlds. I needed to discover that possibility because my own world was one ruled by poverty and racism, and it was very much in need of rearranging. Or remaking. But I have to say also that the notebooks of Albert Camus, the diaries of Anais Nin, and the essays of James Baldwin inspired me to write poetry as well because poetry was what I usually heard when I read their prose.

Sara: You have in the past stated that your network Creative Thinkers International is a reaction against what happened on 9/11; to embrace the world with positive creativity. Your poem “The History Lesson” (from “ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love”) seems to bear this out. It speaks eloquently of unshakeable faith in times of conflict. I would like to know more about the ELEMENTAL book and some of the particular world events that inspired you to write it.

Aberjhani: ELEMENTAL is collection of ekphrastic poetry and essays based on the painted metaphysical meditations of Luther E. Vann and my own creative spiritual journey. It’s unique within the body of my works for that reason but also because Luther and I are connected to the Harlem Renaissance in some unique ways. He was taught by artists of the Harlem Renaissance and I had the honor of co-authoring the first Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. At this point he is one of America’s foremost visual artists so it is a true honor to co-create a book like this with him.

ELEMENTAL was written from 1991- 2008. That stretch of 17 years was filled with many powerful life-changing and world-traumatizing events. You mentioned the poem “The History Lesson.” In it, the late Michael Jackson is referred to as “a feather-throated songboy” who “screamed madness from atop his platinum-plated cross.” This was the decade of Bosnian genocide, race riots in Los Angeles after the beating of Rodney King, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York the first time around, and when India and Pakistan decided they needed nuclear bombs in their diplomatic pockets like everybody else. But it was also the decade that Nelson Mandela was finally freed––after what, 27 years?–– to later become South Africa’s first black president, and when the internet started taking off like crazy. Those events and subsequent game-changing headlines like 9/11, for us, put the significance of art and poetry to the test in a big way. What was its relevance then and what is it now? We hoped and hope that ELEMENTAL demonstrates creative alternatives, which is why the subtitle is The Power of Illuminated Love. Love in the form of painted beauty, sculpted language, dreamed wisdom, chromatic prayers, and tear-varnished stanzas. The pages don’t deny the existence of brutality and chaos in the world but they don’t dilute the real potential of commanding grace in our lives either.

Sara: In your poem “Angel of Healing: for the Living, the Dying, and the Praying” the second stanza has four lines which are twice as long as stanzas 1 and 3. It occurred to me that this might be to represent the shape of outstretched wings. Am I right?

Aberjhani: They certainly look that way when you place the entire poem on a single page and view it horizontally. I often felt like I was taking dictation when writing the poems in the Songs of the Angelic Gaze series and Angel of Healing originally consisted of two sets of four haiku-influenced units that arrived over the course of a week. I thought it was complete when the attendant angel of those particular syllables insisted on adding the middle four lines of aphorisms, which some refer to as proverbs. Every time I took them out to make the poem more consistent they would come back. Consequently, along with that addition came the visual effect you’re describing. I’ve always taken it as an indication, or maybe an affirmation, that as painful as life can be at times for people all over the world there is some component of existence, or nonexistence perhaps, operating to implement a balance and give us an opportunity to turn the horrors we’ve forced upon each other into something more conducive to sustaining at least minimal degrees of sanity and love.

Sara: I really enjoyed reading “A Poet’s Birthday Dance Through Fire and Rain”. Gramdma Elsie appears very vividly in my mind’s eye from the way you describe her and her “gin-and-coffee” voice. I would like to know more about her; since she has some influence in your life and your writing.

Aberjhani: I don’t mean to sound evasive at all but the best way for me to respond to that is probably with this poem about her from The River of Winged Dreams:

Photographed Light of My Grandmother’s Soul

The black and white photo shows you seated 
in a wooden chair on the porch of a cabin

built likely by slaves, later inhabited by you:

Black American Woman Elsie Mary Bell Griffin.

One side of the image is shadowed

like the memories, the love, and perseverance

that shape your face into a hymn of quiet dignity.

The planks of the cabin’s wall are straight.

Like the rows of crops you used to hoe.

The window a rectangle of inked mysteries.

From a western corner of the late summer sky

light streams brilliant wonder into the picture,

rushing through leaves to kiss your head and arms.

Thus your eternal spirit confirms your weary blue bones.

Nowhere in the photo do we see the chopped-off heads

of snakes you later fed to the hogs. Their writhing corpses
would help explain the heavy boots that shelter your feet.

The news this year is a black man in the white house.
Perhaps when alive you shook his hand in a prophetic dream…

Your tears bled yesterday sealed the victory claimed today.

The light somehow is like a gentle jealous god

come to claim you solely for its own. The strength
of your calm gives you the power to surrender everything.

Bright rapture flows and you whisper, “Blessed be my Lord.”

Radiance splits your heart and your soul explodes three new stars.

Death rattles the tin roof and you command, “Peace, be still.”

© by Aberjhani

Sara: What is the main concept, or inspiration, behind your book “The River of Winged Dreams”?

Aberjhani: The River of Winged Dreams is about the journeys we undertake and the metamorphoses we experience when shifting back and forth between sacred impulses and profane indulgences as individuals and as a species. Instead of sacred and profane some might prefer the terms higher self and lower self, or enlightened mind and shadow mind. Most of us know that we can be better than what we are and do better than what we do, and a lot of us live in ways that oblige us to at least periodically make an effort. But the work required to move up from point C to point A, or to survive the drop from A down to C and begin all over again is rarely easy. So The River of Winged Dreams is about the mercies, hells, and revelations encountered in the midst of engaged passionate struggle sometimes relieved by moments of ecstatic tranquility. These might be the kind of poems and stories Sisyphus would tell himself while rolling his boulder up and down the hill of his determined resolve.

In a more concrete sense, the book is divided between very earth-bound poems like the one just shared, “Photographed Light of My Grandmother’s Soul,” and the Songs of the Angelic Gaze series that I mentioned earlier. The original series was written during what I call the Summer of the Angels following my mother’s death in 2006. I believe it’s in the gift edition of the book that my summer of the angels is humbly compared to Rainer Maria Rilke’s time in the Duino Castle (which was someplace between Italy and Austria) where he began writing his classic Duino Elegies during the winter of 1912-1913. Some might describe experiences of that kind as wrestling with angels of poetry and for me it very often felt that way. Once all the dust and feathers settled I found myself holding this somewhat unusual book.

Sara: Your poem / video “And Then The Rain God Screamed for Love” gets a lot of views on Poetry Life & Times, and is one of my favourite poems of yours. The collaboration with Nordette Adams works very well; her voice brings out the rich sensuality of the poem. Would you like to do more such collaborations in video / audio poems?

Aberjhani: Thank you, I didn’t know it had become that popular. “And Then the Rain God Screamed for Love” is from the book Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black. It was a favorite performance piece when I did open mic readings some years back in downtown Savannah, Georgia. Nordette Adams and I both recorded spoken-word versions of it for the Goddess and the Skylark: Dancing through the Word Labyrinth CD produced by our fellow AuthorsDen alumnus Mark Rockeymoore in 2006. Hard to believe it’s been that long but it has. The video was a product of Nordette’s independent creative genius. She also took it upon herself to turn my recording of “An Angel for New Orleans,” which is another track from the CD, into a gift video for the city on the ninth anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

At some point I do hope to record again and make videos, or hopefully write a full-length movie for that matter, but my primary focus right now is on completing some research and a couple of book projects. However, having said all of that, I should point out that the Goddess and the Skylark CD never did receive the kind of distribution or polished re-mastering that we intended so it is currently not available. I invite anyone with the professional know-how and resources for working with the files and helping us put a new edition out there to contact one of us. Since next year marks the 10th anniversary of the CD it would be nice to introduce it to a new audience.

Sara: Robin Ouzman has two questions to ask you…

Aberjhani: Hey Robin.

Robin: What do you think of the correct use of forms in Poetics & individual innovations from those forms that no longer correspond to their various criterion (& therefore arguably are not acceptable)?

Aberjhani: There have always been those poets who adhere to what is recognized as formal mathematical-based syllable counts, scansion, and classic themes, but at the same time innovators have made important contributions to poetry with their own reinventions and evolution of the craft. Poet John Ashbery once said he wasn’t sure that what he had written in his book Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror was poetry but then he won not one or two major awards for it but three– the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Walt Whitman’s self-styled cadences and certainly the poems of E.E. Cummings map out their own literary territory and establish their own laws of poetics, yet their impact continues to endure and inspire. I believe the key for giving effective meaning to the distinction you make Robin lies within the individual poet’s relationship with language. Poets who endeavor to actually develop one–through reading, writing, listening, dreaming, crying a lot and laughing a little more—can break rules with some boldness while still conveying significance with clarity. And yet, going back to Ashbery, W.H. Auden selected his first book for the Yale Younger Series of Poets Award and then said later he didn’t have a clue what it was about. Above all else there has to be, I think, a sincere confession of individual intent to honor a purpose worthy of the deeper passion, beauty, and spiritual intensity which so many associate with poetry.

Robin: Have you ever or do you ever experience “Writer’s Block”; I mean in Poetics especially. Let me extend on that percept, do you find it easier or more difficult to write with age and do you think that Poetry improves with age in the Writer/Poet or that it somehow, I mean in Poetics, loses its initial flair?

Aberjhani: As a military journalist in my previous professional lifetime I was trained to produce stories whether I felt inspired or not. That initial training later combined with inspiration from my spiritual explorations to create a tendency to think in patterns like literary templates for stories as well as Poetics and other genres. I sometimes dream certain poems that I never write down because I believe they belong where they found me. I have also spoken poems over waves rolling in off the ocean and then watched their translucent lines float off without writing or recording them either.

Some form of creative composition is always taking place on some level of my consciousness so I cannot say that I have ever known what it means to have writer’s block. Having enough money in the bank to take the time to write as much as I would like is another matter altogether.

So far as what poets possibly gain from age is concerned, I would hope that it is a more refined informed perspective combined with a flexible use of form and a gentle radiant certainty about how and why poetry has become a permanent component, if not the definitive core, of what you come to know as your truest Self. Rumi spoke in poems right up until his physical death. What that means to me is that he won the ultimate prize bestowed by poetry, which I believe is the ability to consciously live one’s soul while still in the world. When that happens, the flair of poetics and poetry grows increasingly brighter throughout your life. The forms might alternate but the meanings grow deeper and the certainty, whether or not everyone agrees with it, maybe shines a little more brilliantly.

Sara: Are you working on any new books or multimedia projects at the moment?

Aberjhani: Being the literary workaholic that I have been most of my adult life, I’m currently working on two nonfiction books, a volume of continuous narrative poems, a play, and a magazine project. The nonfiction books are The Boy with the Guerrilla Decontextualized Face, for which there is a corresponding website ( ), and Greeting Flannery O’Connor at the Back Door of My Mind, which is on the history and culture of my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. Two poems from the forthcoming collection were recently published in Black Gold: an Anthology of Black Poetry edited by Ja A. Jahannes. The play has been a work in progress for a couple of years and that’s probably the most I should say about it for the time being. I’m also working on a follow-up to my last book, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow with an illustrated edition called Tao of the Rainbow ( ).

The magazine project is really the brainchild of light photographer Aurora Crowley. He’s working with the online Glassbook magazine to produce an art and poetry feature that combines my words with his light photography. I’ve seen some of the extraordinary things he can do with his subjects so I’m looking forward to seeing how the project develops.

Sara: Finally Aberjhani, what are your future plans for Creative Thinkers International?

Aberjhani: That is such a good question. When CTI was founded in 2007, above all else it was to affirm that members of the global community could somehow heal the extreme divisiveness caused by the intense fear, anger, distrust, and despair that followed 9/11. I hoped that those who joined could help show that exchanges of gunfire and bombs were not our only alternatives from that point on. We had not lost the totality of our humanity to a nightmare that came crashing out of the sky. The need to strengthen and sustain cross-cultural exchanges based on cooperation and expanded awareness of each other’s values and needs is still very real. The abduction of school children in Nigeria and the “Je Suis Charlie” massacre in Paris, plus the current racial tension in the United States, are just a few heartbreaking examples of that fact. We can see that almost every day from the failure of terrorists and diplomats to resolve conflicts in more humane nonviolent ways.

I believe CTI still plays a small role in fostering the will and ability to communicate past the blinding rage because we often share far more common ground in our cultural connections than we do in our political disconnections. I began partnering last year with Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion organization, which was founded in 2008, in large part because it has many of the same goals as Creative Thinkers International.

My preference is to see the community continue to grow and evolve, which we have in fact been doing over the past year despite the inevitable technological glitches that come with upgrades. If, however, we reach a point where it becomes apparent that CTI has contributed all it can to our stated mission, and we need to leave whatever remains to be done up to everybody else, then we will close shop and invest our creative energies in other mindful pursuits. But for now we’re still doing what we can to help make a positive creative difference in a world that keeps getting hammered with negative actions and consequences.

Sara: Thank you very much for the interview, Aberjhani.

Aberjhani: Thank you Sara. From one 21st century creative artist to another, it’s been a pleasure and an honor.

Angel of Healing: for the Living, the Dying, and the Praying


As you bury flesh––
honor spirit, savor hope,
cherish memory.

Consider heaven

as a world-weary stranger asleep
in your heart.

Quote words that affirm
all men and women
are your brothers and sisters.

Pull the child away

from feeding at the mule’s tail.
Give the baby food.


Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.
Hearts rebuilt from hope resurrect dreams killed by hate.
Souls reconstructed with faith transform agony into peace.
Wisdom applied internally corrects ignorance lived externally.


Dare to love yourself
as if you were a rainbow
with gold at both ends.

Write a soft poem

to one you called bitch, shit head,
nigger, fag, white trash.

Live certain days dressed
in your lover’s smiling soul
while she, he, wears yours.

Imagine your mind
wings intent on expanding
and watch your joy fly.

© Aberjhani (from The River of Winged Dreams)


A Poet’s Birthday Dance through Fire and Rain

Lighting her pipe and puffing her years,
Grandma Elsie said, “When I was a girl
God showed me my whole life. Scared me.
Didn’t know what I was seein’ ‘til
all that time filled up like a fat man’s belly.
Now I know. Breaks my heart. Makes me so happy.”

Her gin-and-coffee voice wraps around me
like a cashmere scarf of spring and autumn.
I recall four innocent eggs from a pigeon’s nest
crashing at my guilty feet. Grandma was that
God revealing the fate of the two sons
and twin daughters I would never know?

Childhood was a slippery diving board
on which often my heart cracked, bouncing,
splashing, into piranha-hosted orgies.
Thrill of being noticed so intoxicating
that I didn’t mind being eaten alive.
The more my life bled, the louder it laughed.

At night words sneaked into my bed––
triple-sexed pronouns slurped my virginity.
My gypsy dreams spurted liquid ballads and
perfumed sonnets. A lexicon of hunger stained
fevered sheets with sticky genius and marijuana tears.

In daylight I tended carefully my garden of
darkness singing secret terrors to the earth.
Thus did language authorize my fear
to dismiss itself––and knowledge empower
my body to act with passionate wisdom.
Out of muddy turds flew freedomsongs of mystic blue.

Slouching towards manhood I dragged with me
a world as well as my dick but mostly––
a heart addicted to the scent of dreams,
arms libertarian in their will to embrace,
a soul eager to bear the sins of Love,
a mind unafraid to waltz naked in fire or rain.

© Aberjhani (from The River of Winged Dreams)


The History Lesson

This morning bombs ruined

the back yard. Prophecies and

rumors of prophecies all came true.

A despot bound for hell

took the long way to a very bad day.

A feather-throated songboy screamed
madness from atop his platinum-plated cross.

But the temple of your presence?
It never shook once.

Biblical atrocities stormed chaos

from New York to Bagdad to Freetown.

The sun and moon of your face refused

to hide behind Armageddon.

Wisdom gushed like diamonds from your brow:

“Knowledge planted in truth grows in truth.
Strength born of peace loses nothing to hate.”

How many fears came between us?
Earthquakes, diseases, wars where hell
rained smoldering pus

from skies made of winged death.

Horror tore this world asunder.

While inside the bleeding smoke

and beyond the shredded weeping flesh
we memorized tales of infinite good.

© Aberjhani (from ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love)

Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !


Slick. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to
, in a maze of crazy mirrors, where love
Has blown away leaving only pain. I leave
You now – a stranger to the night
– to play your part.
The role that you’re bred for, a fit nice and slick,
Like a clean cut brick into the social pyramid.
We’ve left evolution long ago to do its thing,
We’re on a make or break scene, son of man, son
Of a gun and the planet bleeds and the planet
Breathes and the planet dies, just like you do.
In the flow, flow of water, flow of time, flow
Of your dreams, or so it seems, until you wake
To find how few the grains of golden sand slip
Through your hand to the deep
, where there is no flow
Of water and time, only money and the clock.
The controlled tick tock in your rat race of time;
And your gun crying like a fire in the sun,
Where are you going to run to, when all is
Said and done, all on that day. And you tell me
Of your prayer, through your whispering stare.
We who have been closed to life since we began.
Our heritage like a runaway hearse – O human,
You will rise to touch the skies but you will leave
All other creatures behind. You will become blind
To your own mind in the infinite setting sun,
Where you were always at war between the thought
Of night and day. For you homo homunculus
Are not an exceptional monster, but you do not
Live with your own limitations, because you do not
Understand them, as what you are are. And so,
We chase our lust amidst the stars, an existence
In an empty mirror and fear in a handful of dust.

Bobby McGee. Janice Joplin
Phantom of the Opera
Dream within a Dream. Edgar Allen Poe
Baby Blue. Bob Dylan
Sinner Man. Sonny & Cher
Homo Homunculus. Aldous Huxley
Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction. Wallace Stevens.
Wasteland. TS Eliot
Robin Ouzman Hislop Editor of the 12 year running on line monthly poetry journal Poetry Life and Times.He has made many appearances over the last years in the quarterly journals Canadian Zen Haiku, including In the Spotlight Winter 2010 & Sonnetto Poesia. Previously published in international magazines, his recent publications include Voices without Borders Volume 1 (USA), Cold Mountain Review, Appalachian University N Carolina, The Poetic Bond Series, available at The Poetic Bond and a recently published Anthology of Sonnets: Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. He has recently completed a volume of poetry, All the Babble of the Souk available at Lulu & Amazon. He is currently resident in Spain engaged in poetry translation projects.
 All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop the Babble of the Souk

Share and Enjoy !


I SHALL FIND YOU TO TELL YOU. A Poem by AMALIA IGLESIAS. Translated from Spanish by Robin Ouzman Hislop & Amparo Arrospide.

This work comprises in an excerpt from the anthology on contemporary Spanish female poets entitled Las Diosas Blancas. Madrid, 1985. Copyright Ed. Ramon Buenaventura. Hiperion. This is an original and unpublished English version of the original poem written in Spanish. Translators Robin Ouzman Hislop and Amparo Arrospide would like to thank Casa del Traductor, in Tarazona and the British Literary Translation Association, East Anglia University Campus.
From this Spanish anthology –compiled by the well-known scholar and translator Mr. Ramón Buenaventura, whom we contacted earlier– a few selected authors were chosen for our joint translation work: Amalia Iglesias: Te buscare para decirte (I Will Find You To Tell You), Ana Rossetti: Triunfo de Artemis sobre Volupta (Triumph Of Artemis Over Volupta) and Isolda (Isolda) , Blanca Andreu: Para Olga (For Olga) , Isla Correyero: Los Pajaros (Small Birds), Amparo Amoros: Midas (Midas) and Criaturas del gozo (Creatures Of Joy), Rosalia Vallejo: Horno en llamarada (A Furnace In Flames) , Maria del Carmen Pallares: Sisargas (Sisargas), Margarita Arroyo: Era el mar lejos del mar ( It Was Sea Away From Sea).
We would like to thank Mr. Ramón Buenaventura and the above name poets, in advance, and let them rest assured that their work is protected by a legal Creative Commons Licence, by virtue of which the above named translators are willing to provide excerpts from their original translation work, provided that readers agree to use it under the terms of such licence. We strongly recommend reading the entire work and the poets’, who have continued evolving during these decades.

I will find you to tell you
that I am in love with life,
that I love in the agony
its lip that ignores me,
aimlessly I seek its sweet guillotine,
its blade of a thousand edges cutting my surf.
I love life
which grieves, keeps me late
in the night with bitter waking liquor
like a thread of morning fog amidst willows,
that I love its torn cyst of mandragora,
the glass lagoon which wrecks the years,
I love the uncertainty of moss and autumn,
the tenderness and sourness which flow.
In spite of this blinded fear of slopes
where I seek you
because I too evade death
and dawn.
All the fowls of the air drink glycine in your eyes,
all the fowls of the air love your body unsheltered,
all the fowls of the air inhabit your organs of alcohol without aqueducts,
all the wings burn in your combustible mind…
All the fowls of the air
leave the ruins
to search weeping that lives North of your breast,
to search the scorching fire that inhabits it,
now that they know you as a first person singular,
verb to be, time present , mode indicative.
In another violet sky, I show
that pleated girl, her bags
blue and empty.
UNTIL the sea you are the condition of the geyser
and the flaming arpeggio.
Here awaits you the subjective couch of memory which oscillates.
It now pronounces the malediction,
reconstructs that psalm
I write in beacons.
Decode the fire:
lie down on water,
whisper to the breeze your memorable eyes,
tell it that tenderness is a fleeting blow in each wave,
tell it that the undercurrent
only reaches the waistline.
why the wind remains in its penultimate looks.
WHEN this song
is no more a sign in the imagination of an ambiguous wind.
When the streets play with a seditious jungle
with you your legs in mist
in the tortured embrace of an estuary.
Or when on another day you gaze at the Mediterranean
wishing no longer to return and begin
no longer to be a wave,
nor a propitious coast,
nor a sailor’s orphanage without a dawn.
The wind, only the wind
sheltering the madness of birds,
those, others,
which die from the light beneath the willows,
those that lived because of you under a Romanesque sky,
those that pass by now
and die in the sea,
in the water fermenting an abundance of names.
When this song is only
spectre and mirage,
searched unremembered,
my heart
as a bridge between times
resting on the twilight will await you.
MY steps search lethal passports,
white lethargies for the flame which comes
and without pity burns my pupils out.
I write letters and split moons
believing in Hadrian’s serenity to await death.
I have seen how the night opens an abyss curtain
and returns me to the blows of space.
I appear at the profound birth
that intoxicates the bonfire’s sensitive latitudes
— grass playing fatuous fire
the glass lip eclipsed towards the Orient.
I have seen the tenderness inside Aries
fulfil the equinox,
border madness tracing a periphrasis, crossing the flank
when the moon lies in wait
and the north wind tames bridges’ eyes.
I have left myself, naked, to the rain
to the algid gleam of glass streets.
Through the candle you burn in the retina of the night,
in the hidden abodes
where on another day we stole with open hands.
Behind the empty volume and the vulnerable hollow
inhabited by frost trembling among nettles
another multiple bird
turns into unlikely alchemy.
SINCE never I love you and always,
from everything, perhaps, forever,
from the emphatic lightning which climbs hours’ ditch
towards the rising whip in my setting pupils,
my prompt voice, my wind:
a final vertigo —
and the most ungrateful delta to finish the journey.
Until nothingness I wait,
until remoteness of useless memory and crater without a sunset,
until doubt intoxicated by heavenly signs,
in fever and an August magnetized moon.
Te buscaré para decirte
que estoy enamorada de la vida,
que amo en la angustia
su labio que me ignora,
busco sin cauce su dulce guillotina,
su espada de mil filos tajando mi oleaje.
Amo la vida
que me pesa y me trasnocha,
con el licor amargo que despierta
como un hilo de bruma entre los sauces,
que amo su quiste roto de mandrágora,
la laguna de vidrio que naufraga los años,
amo la incertidumbre del musgo y del otoño,
la ternura y el ácido que fluyen.
Que amo la vida,
a pesar de ese miedo cegado de vertientes
donde te busco,
porque aún esquivo la muerte
y amanece.
TODAS las aves beben glicinas en tus ojos,
todas las aves aman tu cuerpo a la intemperie,
todas las aves habitan tus órganos de alcohol sin acueducto,
todas las alas incendian tu mente combustible.
Todas las aves
salen de las ruinas
para buscar el llanto al norte de tu pecho,
para buscar el fuego caliente que lo habita,
ahora que te saben primera persona singular,
verbo ser y presente indicativo.
Aquella niña plegada a otro cielo violeta
me enseña sus bolsillos
azules y vacíos.
HASTA el mar tu condición de géyser
y de arpegio incendiado.
Aquí te espera el lecho subjetivo de memoria que oscila.
Pronuncia ahora la maldición,
reconstruye el salmo aquel
escrito en las antorchas.
Descodifica el fuego:
acuéstate en el agua,
susúrrale a la brisa sus ojos memorables,
dile que la ternura es un golpe fugaz en cada ola,
dile por qué la marejada
sólo sabe trepar a su cintura,
por qué se queda el viento en sus penúltimas miradas.
CUANDO esta canción
ya no sea un signo en la imaginación ambigua del viento.
Cuando las calles jueguen a selvas sediciosas
y tú te pierdas en la niebla,
en los tortuosos brazos de la ría.
O cuando otro día mires el Mediterráneo
y ya no quieras volver a empezar
y ya no quieras ser ola
ni costa propicia
ni asilo marítimo de niños sin aurora.
El viento, sólo el viento
acogiendo la locura de los pájaros,
aquellos, otros,
que morían por la luz bajo los sauces
aquellos que vivían por ti en la frente románica del cielo,
los que ahora pasan
y mueren en el mar,
en el agua donde fermenta la espesura de los nombres.
Cuando esta canción ya sólo sea
espectro y espejismo,
buscado desrecuerdo,
mi corazón,
como un puente entre los tiempos,
te esperará sentado en el crepúsculo.
MIS pasos buscan pasaportes letales,
letargos blancos para la llama que viene
y sin piedad me abrasa las pupilas.
Escribo cartas y lunas demediadas
mientras creo en la serenidad de Adriano para esperar a la muerte.
He visto cómo la noche abre una cortina de abismo
y me regresa de golpe a los espacios.
Me he asomado a la eclosión profunda
que embriaga las latitudes sensibles de la hoguera
y al pairo el césped jugando a fuego fatuo,
el labio de vidrio eclipsado hacia Oriente.
He visto entrar la ternura en Aries,
cumplirse el equinoccio,
bordear la locura trazando una perífrasis, cruzando de costado
cuando la luna acecha
y la tramontana domestica los ojos de los puentes.
Me he dejado a la lluvia desnuda y permeable,
al álgido destello de las calles en vidrio.
A través de la vela que tú enciendes en la retina de la noche,
en los ocultos ámbitos
en que otro día robamos con las manos abiertas.
Detrás del volumen vacío y el hueco vulnerable
donde habita la escarcha tiritando entre ortigas
y otro pájaro múltiple
se hace alquimia improbable.
DESDE nunca te quiero y para siempre,
desde todo y quizá y para siempre,
desde el rotundo rayo que sube por la acequia de las horas
al látigo crecido en mis pupilas ponientes
veloz mi voz, mi viento:
vértigo de desembocadura –
y el más ingrato delta para acabar el viaje.
Hasta la nada espero,
hasta lo lejos de la memoria inútil y el cráter sin crepúsculo,
hasta la duda embriagada de rótulos celestes,
en la fiebre y la luna imantada de agosto.

Amalia Iglesias was born in Menaza, in the province of Palencia, in 1962. She won the prestigious Adonais prize in 1985 for Un lugar para el fuego and has published several other books of poetry. She lives in Madrid, where she edits Revista de Libros and La Alegría de los Naufragios. Her work has been widely anthologized
Poeta española nacida en Menaza, Palencia, en 1962.Desde 1970 se trasladó con su familia a Bilbao donde se licenció en Filología Hispánica por la Universidad de Deusto.Actualmente vive en Madrid donde ha sido coordinadora del suplemento Culturas de «Diario 16». Dirige desde su creación,en 1996, de Revista de Libros, de la Fundación «Caja Madrid» y además colabora en la revista de poesía La alegría de los naufragios y en la sección Contemporáneos del suplemento cultural del periódico «ABC». Su obra poética está compuesta por «Un lugar para el fuego» 1984, «Memorial de Amauta» 1988, «Mar en sombra» 1989,«Dados y dudas» 1996, «Tótem espantapájaros», «La sed del río» y «Lázaro se sacude las ortigas» 2006. Ha sido galardonada con los premios de poesía Adonáis en 1984, Alonso de Ercilla del gobierno Vasco 1995, con el accésit del Jaime Gil de Biedma en 1996 y el Premio Francisco Quevedo de poesía 2006.

Robin Ouzman Hislop Editor of the 12 year running on line monthly poetry journal Poetry Life and Times. (See its Wikipedia entry at Poetry Life and Times). He has made many appearances over the last years in the quarterly journals Canadian Zen Haiku, including In the Spotlight Winter 2010 & Sonnetto Poesia. Previously published in international magazines, his recent publications include Voices without Borders Volume 1 (USA), Cold Mountain Review, Appalachian University N Carolina, Post Hoc installed at Bank Street Arts Centre, Sheffield (UK), Uroborus Journal, 2011-2012 (Sheffield, UK), The Poetic Bond II & 111, available at The Poetic Bond and Phoenix Rising from the Ashes a recently published Anthology of Sonnets: Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. He has recently completed a volume of poetry, The World at Large, for future publication. He is currently resident in Spain engaged in poetry translation projects.

Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published four poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and Presencia en el Misterio as well as poems, short stories and articles on literary and film criticism in anthologies and both national and foreign magazines. She has received numerous awards. Together with Robin Ouzman Hislop, she worked as co-editor of Poetry Life and Times, an E-zine from 2008-2012
Poetry Life & Times

Share and Enjoy !