I – The Evening Dinner
An Australian ibis – sister to Thoth’s sacred ibis
(now extinct in Egypt) – is nesting near the dam
at the bottom of our land. She hatched three chicks
but only two survive. It’s swampy down there,
due to the summer of inundations – we imagine she
feeds her young on yabbies, frogs and large insects.
Maybe there are two birds – she seems larger in the
evenings. My son believes they change parental shifts
at dawn and dusk. I like to imagine they write in their
down-time: poems, plays, essays, novels … Their black
bills hint at great things: beyond wading the shallows,
feeding snails to their young and antiseptic preening.
II – Factoid
Ibises (scribes) are ‘pests’ in today’s new Australia
of fast money, climate change denial and government
sanctioned human rights abuses. In eastern seaboard
cities, colonies of birds – escapees from inland drought –
clamour for pastries and fish-food in parks beside
suburban lakes. They number in the thousands.
III – The Community of Scribes
At dusk last night I tried to observe the change
of shift – I crept slowly, noiselessly to a spot behind
a large gum-tree and waited. The ibis was undisturbed
– she/he waded in the shallows concentrating, no doubt,
on some doomed creature slithering about in the rich
spring mud. The chicks, hopefully, safe in their nest.
Time stood still – we could have been in ancient
Egypt, perhaps on a minor tributary of the Nile –
poised between night and day, sunset and moon-
glow … white-black bird with amazing concentration!
Such a domestic scene: a parent sourcing the evening
meal. And then I heard it: a disturbance in the air, a
communal flapping of wings, above me, above the tree-line –
how many birds? They circled in a gigantic V, necks out-
stretched, powerful unhurried wing flaps – lumbering
organic cargo planes – and the moon as their back-
drop. Until one of them descended, smoothly – the
predicted mate? – before executing a deft water landing.
As one bird arrived the other departed – they rubbed bills
in the handover. Soon enough she (or he) was soaring
beneath the papyrus heavens – in formation with cadres
from some secret avian writers’ group. Free, by night
to pursue the challenges of scribing (and interpreting)
the hieroglyphic enigmas of past, present and future.
Their young, with luck, will soon be airborne –
for a global winter approaches, and
the sons and daughters of Thoth and
Sesheta are all that stands between
humanity and brutal, self-created chaos.
Image: ‘Thoth as Ibis’, by the author, 2015.
About the Author
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine
Sometimes we all need a swift, sharp kick
to knock us from our pedestals –
I must admit that I am not the man
I once was a thief and now I am a murderer,
I quit smoking weed &
I quit smoking cigarettes &
I quit drinking beer &
I quit drinking caffeine &
I quit eating bread &
I quit eating cheese &
none of it made a blind bit of difference,
so now I’m eating and drinking what I like &
if I never smoke again then my lungs will thank me
even as my heart explodes.
Your life is your life &
my life is my life &
when the bastards try to tell you otherwise,
don’t let them get you down,
we’re all in this big, long find together &
casualties define a war, even if the
war is always pointless,
death is always around us on the roads &
in the graveyards we used to drink in &
at the front of our minds when we think about the future.
How can you bring a child in to this world
when the sun will swallow us all &
the expanding cosmos, unconscious, won’t stop to blink &
amitriptyline citalopram lithium &
valium take the edge off but do nothing
to alter the grim inevitability that surrounds us all?
That’s why I envy the men and women,
the sheep and the shepherds who watch TV &
who never even write their names &
who never see the wolf behind my eyelids.
Ladies & gentlemen,
when the atmosphere collapses
we are released from the clasp of gravity
all oxygen violently sucked from our lungs
as the seas boil & return to barren nothingness,
as our master race breathes one last sigh and expires,
I will remember you like this,
a calm, silent breeze on a cool spring day.
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com
Poetry Life & Times
The homeless poet
stood outside the bar
in the cold
talking to anyone
who would listen.
He held a stack of papers
in his hands
that he gave away
to anyone who showed
the slightest interest.
He said they were free,
but anyone with half a heart
would give him a buck or two,
or at least some coins,
just enough for a cup of coffee.
He was a guru
in his own peculiar way,
and his words
were laced with a type
of apocalyptic strangeness –
full of velvet angels
with dark chocolate wings
receding down from heaven
to punish the normal
and bring chaos to the meek.
He was all mixed up inside,
but that was his role to play,
and it was all perfect,
and it was all beautiful –
whether he found a bed,
or whether he died in the street,
it was all ok,
because the angels were coming either way.
Scott Thomas Outlar lives a simple life in the suburbs, spending the days flowing and fluxing with the tide of the Tao River, marveling at the intricacies of life’s existential nature, and writing prose-fusion poetry dedicated to the Phoenix Generation. His words have appeared recently in venues such as Siren, Section 8, Midnight Lane Boutique, Dead Snakes, Mad Swirl, and Dissident Voice. His debut chapbook “A Black Wave Cometh” is forthcoming from Dink Press. More of Scott’s writing can be found at 17numa.wordpress.com.
Poetry Life & Times
There is a grey area between
this world and the next.
People can be foolish; they dabble in ouija, in
dowsing, in automatic writing;
and – wittingly or unwittingly,
they may open a portal
to the other side.
That is how they enter.
Beware of inviting them in.
Shadow people are there
where needle pierces skin; where the junkie
sits, glassy-eyed, on the precipice of oblivion;
they lurk in unholy places where godless
politicians declare themselves to be
speaking for God;
they haunt the dreams of drunkards,
and the paranoid.
But they are not spun out of dreams,
they are real.
Shadow people were there
when the ancient pharaohs of Egypt
were interred, with all their gold;
they took them to Hades
for also burying their wives
and servants, alive.
They were there
in Nazi concentration camps,
sitting on the left shoulders
of those who blindly carried out
orders of death and torture.
They subsist in underworlds of catacombs,
they lurk in the spaces between
our conscious and unconscious minds;
In blackened mirrors they seek out a vortex,
My friends, be the light that
keeps out the darkness,
Do not seek to question the dear and foregone,
No matter how much they are missed;
for there are others lurking in the shadows.
Be not the portal inviting them in.
Did I see you in Bohemian Grove,
smiling at the Cremation of the Care?
Were you there,
and did you have more than one shadow?
Did I see you in that Great Hall
with chequered floors,
where the Eye of Horus
watched over a pyramid of gold?
Did you lift a cup of
the good red wine,
did blood brothers drink each other’s health,
gazing through a glass darkly?
Did we toast the Cremation of the Care,
and how many others were there?
Sometimes we visit Hell in our dreams,
though we may fervently pray before sleep.
There is no shame in sleeping with the light on.
Wear a cross, if you think that it will help.
Sometimes the citizens of Hell visit us,
in that stasis between sleep and wakefulnes;
they are only ever seen at the outer periphery of our vision.
It’s never a good idea to look at them directly.
Sometimes they venture a little closer than the rules allow.
Sometimes the line between their domain and ours is blurred.
Occasionally, the breeze seems to whisper your name –
only, it’s not the breeze.
Always try to see them first.
Video that inspired the poem: “Shadow People Jinn appear in Jim Jones Footage”
James Warren “Jim” Jones (May 13, 1931 – November 18, 1978) was an American religious leader and community organizer. Jones was the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, best known for the mass murder-suicide in November 1978 of 909 of its members in Jonestown, Guyana, the murder of five people at a nearby airstrip, including Congressman Leo Ryan, and the ordering of four additional Temple member deaths in Georgetown, the Guyanese capital. Nearly three-hundred children were murdered at Jonestown, almost all of them by cyanide poisoning.Jones died from a gunshot wound to the head; it is suspected his death was a suicide
Sara Louise Russell, aka PinkyAndrexa, is a UK poet and poetry ezine editor, specialising particularly in sonnets, lyric-style poetry and occasionally writing in more modern styles. She founded Poetry Life & Times and edited it from 1998 to 2006, when she handed it over to Robin Ouzman Hislop and Amparo Arrospide; Robin now runs it as Editor from Poetry Life & Times. She is currently founder and Editor of the daily paper.li journal, Poetry Lifetimes ; which is a sister publication to Poetry Life & Times. Her poems and sonnets have been published in many paper and online publications including Sonnetto Poesia, Mindful of Poetry and Autumn Leaves a monthly Poetry ezine from the late Sondra Ball. Her sonnets also currently appear in the recently published anthology of sonnets Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. She is also one of the first poets ever to be published on multimedia CD ROMs, published by Kedco Studios Inc.; the first one being “Pinky’s Little Book of Shadows”, which was featured by the UK’s national newspaper The Daily Mirror, in October 1999. (Picture link for Mirror article) Angel Fire
Poetry Life & Times
Without these things
of rainbow and insight
I stand, fragmented
by despair, fleeting as daylight,
composed of failed hopes
and held-back tears.
Young, like truth is
when first found,
are the swollen joys
of new understandings.
And secret still is
the unsculpted future
that rises unexpected without
The muses of this universe hold faith
and doubt equally
in their impregnated beams,
and me with my hideous cowardice
that grows stronger with age, hides
the things that challenge
and direct me to an edge, ignoring the
simple surrender needed
to grow and to deeply be
This city sobs
when hearing its own wind die,
takes in its industrious hands
the sluggish and the bitter.
And the few who rebuke
this smog-breathing serpent
lean depleted in each other’s arms,
hoping to embody something beyond
the world or melancholic pain.
And here, wanting, each slave is born, each
mistrust upheld like a perfected attitude.
People hold conviction without vision,
walking the subway floors, staring
out to empty highways.
Stale are the nutrients of each wished-on star.
Stale ambition bleating into
each small ear.
Lament now the corpses in caverns,
in parades and family restaurants.
Lament the eclipsed beauty of impulse,
the restraint of every compelling break-a-way.
For just one hope to tread behind
Jesus’ sandal, freeze,
then crack all chains.
I would delight
in the struggles of individuals
conquering the downcast clouds
that hinder and fill a soul
with stagnant woe.
But like I am, sick with human
needs, political and ungenerous, I face
the storms and hide my pleas inside the
Naked, lovers divulge
their infinite shades. Lovers
lean like dried up trees against
an autumn’s ground, lean
for mercy and for each
But love they do
in the wintry airs
trying to overcome
personality, embedded habits,
each other’s foreign sphere.
I am pale, forgetful,
I lie awake all night taken down,
breathing the vaporous stench of
decay, in nightmares,
while kneeling before
the brightest flower.
I watch you thinning,
my anguish private,
for none will accept my five open
senses, the reasons for my withered will.
I cannot embrace my interior
with humble affection, but must
know the labyrinth’s breathing tide;
mysteries renounced, complexities explained
by pensive reason.
Where I sit, seeking the inaccessible cure,
madness comes to kill through dissection,
definition and spiritual systems decreed.
In water I am numb,
drifting dazed through dark
I think of whispering to your waiting grave,
of netting grief and memory,
starving each of their sustenance
But then alone, in death, in life,
connection is our bread,
our higher air that beckons and repairs
the cracks that would kill on
How long to hold you in this sandpit sinking?
How long to watch your unwilling heart fade?
That I am through with annihilating snares
Through with the brutes of cold consuming despair
Through your life yielding to
sudden disease, through the closed door
that echoes strong sighs like screams
down corridors of love’s
last stroke . . .
Longing for nether fields,
I want to run
in these subterranean, primal places, want
limbs of fire, eternally
red and dancing over the waking darkness.
I want to seal you
into the living Divine.
I am suspended, believing
the horror will not come, believing
death will not make
a skeleton out of you.
- Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the
League of Canadian Poets. She has over 450 poems published in more than 225 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published eleven other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press in December 2012. More recently, her e-chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series in October 2014. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com
- Some of places my work has appeared in include
Parabola (summer 2012); Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine; The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.
”I am a man who loves beauty” but good design
knows no pluralities
that can’t be halved
and quartered. As if poetic diction,
as if that supremely
impersonal avant-garde could pave over, even express
our peasant sufferings
Eye ehma men of constant sorroh
aye seen trouble all meh days
The electric bill is a paper wing entering that familiar inferno, it’s December
ninth the economic life of the polis is slipping my father says this is the end
of the neoliberal myth the bits from which it’s woven: newsprint mylar
bendy straws falling away faster than anybody. The problem with Marxist-
Leninists is they ask you
to make films for the revolution.
Handbag vendors nested in a retrospective of Takashi Murakami
artisan-made flowers and smiley faces great streams of jism
from the cock of a cartoon
thousands of janus-faced spheres one side
is winsome the other is
MR. MURAKAMI, DEATH IS NO SHRINKY DINK. Let me warn you:
The mask of strangeness
always falls off the face of convention.
Plastic articulated as
Laura Jaramillo is a poet from Queens. She is a PhD candidate at Duke University where she is writing her dissertation on avant-garde Latin American and Spanish film. She also works as a film and book critic for Durham’s Indyweek.
Though born, raised, and most of her life planted firmly, until very recently, in the soil of Queens, New York, Laura Jaramillo considers herself at least partly Philadelphian because she came of age as a poet there, met the community of poets that continues to inspire and nurture her. As a child, she was allowed to speak only Spanish at home, because her parents feared she’d lose their native language in the new country. This prohibition started a secret love affair with English––its urgency, its directness, its beautiful iciness––in her first-generation immigrant soul.
She’s the author of two chapbooks: The Reactionary Poems (olywa press) and Civilian Nest (Love Among the Ruins Editions). Her poems have appeared in The Poker, Pocket Myths: The Odyssey, P-QUEUE, among other places. Her most recent publications include Material Girl and 29 Waters
I’d like to write really dangerous poetry, a poetry that tells the TRUTH, not truth in a journalistic sense, but in a personal sense, in a political sense, in a formal sense (and OK, so maybe in a journalistic sense sometimes too). In the wake of Sarah Palin, we poets and Americans have a renewed obligation to language and to meaning-making, to clarity, to communication. Gibberish obscures and distorts, in politics, and in poetry. The truth is an aesthetic in itself: weird and raw and funny and dark and raunchy and beautiful. The poets and poetries (and novels!) I love, which are folded intimately into who I am and what I write, all transmit their own versions of reality—not to be confused with realism— through writing. I humbly hope to do this: to write the messy collage of impressions, the tangle of stories, images, and words that are my consciousness, my reality.
Once upon a time
I was a fig.
(Yes, a fig)
Full of little flowers inside,
Plenty of endless dreams
I was born
In a casual tree
of those that nobody grooms,
of those that never gets rain,
of those that drain you to death.
punished by birds
who picked on my white sweaty sweetness
and left me scarred,
but made me stronger.
an arrogant orange,
of a garden nearby,
called for a meeting of peers
and suggested the idea
of forming a fruital system.
(Yes, a fruital system)
The rest of fruits agreed.
So, the orange stood in the centre,
cause she was too tangy to spin.
in a perfect queue
that started to curl
around the self-proclaimed star.
The apple, the peach, the pear,
the lemon and even the grape
found quickly a place
in a galaxy they called
“The Juicy Way”.
They all looked so lush,
as they floated
in their glorious ether
of mechanically smooth subjects.
I want a place in this system,
I want to be an aster too,
I deserve to be there,
The apple and some others
started to giggle
I am sorry my love,
said the eloquent
but this is a fruital system
where everything works
out of our own
The magnetic fields
of our respective masses
are already balanced.
that is why we levitate up here,
If we take you on,
we will have to open the floodgates
of the universe.
How many more fruits
could we feasibly accommodate?
So, after this rational rejection,
I had no choice,
but to become
a zero-hours planet,
also known as a comet.
(Yes, a comet)
I am a wrinkly wild comet
full of odd rugged cracks.
I am not round,
not even pear shaped,
I have no clouds,
no green bits,
no rings of dust,
no frozen lakes of gas…
but I don’t give a shit..
I am the cock of the universe,
planets fear my freedom,
no one knows my trajectory,
it is hard to land on my surface,
I come and go as I please.
If the calculating master of creation
messes about with my equations
I may just crash on him,
or in one of his gardenly planets.
If some shepherds see my tale,
flying in the night
in the skies in winter,
they may grant me godly status
an invent a religion
at my place of collision.
I have nothing to lose.
I am a wrinkly wild comet,
I am a pirate in an orderly show of stars
who learnt their moves
in the youtube version
of the Book of Genesis.
I am my own choreographer.
Only infinite heavens will tell you
what I am made of!
As I fly!
Tony Martin-Woods started to write poetry in 2012, at the age of 43, driven by his political indignation. That same year he also set in motion Poesía Indignada (Transforming with Poetry), an online publication of political poetry that he edits. Tony is a political and artistic activist who explores the digital component of our lives as a means to support critical human empowerment. He is also known in the UK for his work as an academic and educator under his non-literary name. He writes in English and Spanish and is due to publish his first book of poems in 2016.
I long to hold the Poetry Editor’s Penis in My Hand
We enjoyed the voice in your poems;
in particular we enjoyed:
HOW TO SURVIVE AS A POET,
however, they are not
what we are seeking for
inclusion in RECYCLE BIN.
Your submission was just
so close to acceptance.
We look forward
to reading more from you
in the future.
Please feel free to submit
again, we do ask that you
wait at least six months
Geosi Gyasi is a librarian, book blogger, reader, writer, and interviewer of many important writers including Nobel Prize Winner, Roald Hoffmann. His work has appeared or forthcoming in Visual Verse, Verse-Virtual, The New Black Magazine, Afrikana.ng, Misty Review, Nigerians Talk, African Writer, Kalahari Review, Silver Birch, Linden Avenue, Brittle Paper and elsewhere. He blogs at www.geosireads.wordpress.com“