Hidden Pain & Before. 2 Poems by Laura Stamps

Hidden Pain
She sleeps in a tree, the tallest tree
she can find in this dark forest.
Here she feels safe, this place
where she no longer has to smile
and pretend the last three years never happened,
years of chronic trauma caused
by four men, narcissists, who abandoned her
as collateral damage.
How did it feel? Like terrorists
had blown up her life. No time
to grieve. No time to heal.
Too much to do. Too much to clean up.
Yet none of those men apologized.
And one had the nerve to say,
I’m sorry about what I did to you,
but you’re strong. I knew
you’d land on your feet.

Was that the best he could do?
Well, at least now she knew
narcissists are just terrorists in disguise.
I couldn’t tell anyone, she whispered
to the tree. There was no time.
I had to repair the damage. Be strong.
Be strong.
Be strong.
No one knew what had happened.
What it did to me. What they did to me.
No one knew. I should have told someone.
But I didn’t.

Now she spends her nights with a tree.
Two kindred spirits.
Its branches lifted high. Her arms raised.
Both of them reaching for the sky,
as if they might drown. But only
one of them knows
she’s sinking.
Before her life blew sky-high
she had goals, dreams, hope, and a future.
A bright one. Her future.
But that was before four men
entered her world with their drama, mistakes,
destruction, and left her behind
to fix the damage.
In the midst of this, her future vanished.
It’s not that the future looked bleak.
It just wasn’t there anymore.
She couldn’t see it. No dreams,
no goals, no hope. No future.
Her future.
All that remained was a vast blank
space that used to be called FUTURE.
Every day she felt herself slipping, sinking,
deeper into that void. Its emptiness plagued her.
Its hopelessness. It haunted her.
And it hurt.
More than she ever imagined.
Where is the woman who eagerly achieved
her goals, chased her dreams, hoped
in a sunny future?
She vanished, too. Gone.
Go back!
Go back to before.
Before those men. Before their damage.
Go back! Look at the future before.
What nourished her hope? Before, before.
Go back!
What were her goals? What were her dreams?
Pursue them again. Go back!
What were the things that gave her joy before?
Do them again. And again.
And again.
Go back! Go back to before. The future
waits. To begin, to begin.
Maybe then they can be friends again.

BIO: Laura Stamps is a poet and the author of several chapbooks, including IN THE GARDEN and TUNING OUT. Her poetry book THE YEAR OF THE CAT was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize (2005). She is also the recipient of seven Pushcart Prize nominations. Currently, Laura is working on a new chapbook of poems about PTSD and chronic trauma. You can find her www.laurastampspoetry.blogspot.com & on Twitter at @LauraStamps16.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)


Share and Enjoy !


Peter Mladinic’s Schaeffer Poems

Schaeffer Is Next
The next vape, the next corner
To turn, the next day, he drove
To Maidenrock. It was a Saturday.
Schaeffer thinks of the adjective,
Then, next, please, please added
To soften the blow that one is next,
Whether one likes it or not. Schaeffer
Thinks, I’m next. He thinks:
The next vampire film, the next
Trip to Walmart, the next bite
Of the apple, the next diver
To leap from the plane and pull
The parachute string to soften the fall.
Don’t sit under the apple tree
With anyone else but Kim Kardashian West
Don’t sit under the apple tree
With anyone but Derek Jeter
With anyone but Taylor Swift
With anyone but a descendent of Clyde
Barrow, with anyone whose surname
Is Lake
Don’t do it, don’t sit there with
Casey Anthony, Susan Smith
Or Charles Manson
The next vape, the next hero
The next vampire, the next banquet
The next moment, who knows
Anything might happen:
A river might flood,
A tree might catch on fire.
There’s the Rita H angle
How she was glamorous in her voice
Her eyes, her long wavy red hair
Her spangled dress that hugged her hips
Glamorous in her walk in how she moved
Back and forth on stage
Under the spotlight in Gilda.
Then, spin the wheel of time forward,
Say, twenty years and find her
Alone in a room. Dementia
Has taken over.
She is cared for, incontinent
Can’t wipe herself or wash her
Once lovely hair. Oh,
The waking nightmare bird
Perches on her shoulder
That was once bare and aflame
With lust, all of her.
Schaeffer’s Notion of Beauty
Bombs turn a building to rubble,
rescuers find
an arm, a leg.
In a mall a maniac fires a rifle,
leaving in his wake
dead children.
Hate manifestos
all over the Internet,
in the world there is danger:
a racist shoots Satyajit Chandra
at a bus stop
and nothing is done.
Still, even now, beauty
is with us.
Shaeffer Wonders
This accident from 1965 astonishes
Schaeffer. He writes: I was far away,
but I can see the broad boulevard,
the side streets of my hometown,
and can imagine the Davis car
blows thoughtless through the Stop
and slams the rear of the Edwards car
so that car spins a quick whirlwind
on this Sunday night of light traffic.
The lethal turbulence in this time
before seatbelts flings rag doll-like
Mr Edwards from behind the wheel
out to the street, his head dashes
the curb, instant dead. Mr Edwards’
going from his house to Lucille
Desaderio’s split-second stopped
on the boulevard, that two mile drive
disrupted with Lucille who sat close
between Mr Edwards and Chris
his son, both passengers still there
in the gold sedan’s front bench.
The sedan’s spinning stilled,
the turbulence quieted, still as death
that intersection. I can hear sirens,
see two patrol cars on the scene,
a yellow ambulance’s red top whirls
in the still night, a badge, his back
to the ambulance, jots with a pen
in a pad. The ambulance’s back door
open, the sheeted dead lifted in
and wonder if Lucille that night wore
shorts, sandals, a thin gold cross
on a chain and at what hour Lucille
unhooked that chain’s clasp and
wonder if a red white Marlboro box
fell from dash to floorboard, Chris’s
cigarettes. Did he reach for one
and with a Zippo light it? Its orange tip
in the dark glows as the badge jots
with a ballpoint and the ambulance
siren sounding leaves the boulevard
and Lucille and Chris leave, and John
Davis, the other driver. I remember
Mr Edwards dove perfectly off a high
board, arrow-straight down into a pool
of blue water rippled with sun rings.
Iron-gray hair, tall and straight, at 47
still athletic, he walks out a door
with car keys in hand, that night.

Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press. He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)


Share and Enjoy !


SHEOL, SHEOL… A Poem by Alisa Velaj Translated by Arben P. Latifi

[A gender-free lament in plural]

Songs sung to our lands. 
Songs of sorrow, screams, or sheer satisfaction, 
sung on our doorsteps.
Songs sung in foreign lands.
To those distant lands. 
Songs sung on doorsteps to those foreign lands, 
or songs of foreign lands on our doorsteps. 
(Everyone will, at some point, live a mental exile)
Songs, songs, songs—endlessly; 
after endlessness, yet another endlessness, 
with different songs, 
even though still with the same screams...
Nobody even thinks of migrating 
away from your catacombs, Sheol... 
Nor away from your songs, either!
*Sheol -the abode of the dead in early Hebrew thought.
Translated from Albanian by Arben P. Latifi

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in
June 2014. 

Her works have appeared in more than eighty print and online international magazines, including: 
FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), 
The Linnet's Wings (UK),The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK) etc., etc., 

Velaj's digital chapbook "The Wind Foundations" translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published 
by Zany Zygote Review (USA). 

Her poems are also translated in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French and Portuguese. 
Alisa Velaj’s poetry book "With No Sweat At All" (trans by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj) was published 
by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

Bio of translator

Arben P. Latifi ̶ born in 1961 in Kolonjë, Albania. A graduate of the History-Philology College, State University of Tirana [1985]; MA degree in English Language Arts & Teaching [Graduation thesis: “A Comparative Analysis of the Albanian Translations of “King Lear” and “Richard III” by Skënder Luarasi.”]Postgraduate studies in Diplomacy and International Trade [1987-88]. Teaching career comprises a wide range of locations [Albania, USA, Oman, China] and age groups [from young learners to adults]. Keen to the core principles of the art of translating and poetryspecifics, his distinct style reflects maximum-level accuracy and faithfulness to the original text message, while flexibly and reasonably going the extra mile to add to original merits via enhancement of cohesive interlingual flow, imagery, vocabulary, musicality…

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)


Share and Enjoy !


The Cold Sunset. A Prose Poem by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

It’s been two days that no bird
has been in the sky, the dooryard
so quiet except for the sound of an
acorn just fallen from the oak tree;
my neighbor so empty-headed she
doesn’t believe a word the scientists
say; this day in 2020 she’d rather
put her faith in what that louse has
to say. She sees him as an ornament,
something full and bright, she doesn’t
see under the surface like me and so
many other people do. I fear the worst,
smell the smoke rising of a growing
civil war or revolution having wound
their way around my head and squeezed
themselves inside. My oldest daughter
doesn’t like it either; this morning she
woke up with sleep marks creasing the
side of her face. And I hate what I just
learned on the radio; I bang my head
on a book trying to dislodge yesterday’s
memory. I stand there outside my home
all by myself staring at the cold sunset
above me with hardly a friend because
I like to speak my mind. No one wants
to listen to me except for my father,
the smartest person I know. I’m no
Nostradamus, but the predictions I’ve
made over the years have always rung

Bobbi Sinha-Morey’s poetry has appeared
in a wide variety of places such as Plainsongs, Pirene’s Fountain, The Wayfarer, Helix Magazine, Miller’s Pond, The Tau, Vita Brevis, Cascadia Rising Review, Old Red Kimono, and Woods Reader. Her books of poetry are available at Amazon.com and her work has been nominated for Best of the Net Anthology in 2015, 2018, and 2020 as well has having been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2020. Her website is located at http://bobbisinhamorey.wordpress.com.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)


Share and Enjoy !