Exam Week. A Poem by Loukia Borrell

 
 
We were in the middle of finals
and needed a quick getaway, so
we dug out our bathing suits and
packed a cooler with beer and those
hard chocolate chip muffins we
brought back from the cafeteria.
 
I wore a black, polka dot swimsuit
that laced up the front. It was just a
little tight across my tits and, for once,
I had cleavage. My hair looked like
Madonna’s when she did “Like A Virgin,”
even though I wasn’t one. Neither was she.
 
All afternoon, I sunned my young body
on a floating dock and you swam in the lake.
We thought of nothing. Not school, not exams,
not the muffins, not the beer, not our families,
and not our friends who didn’t know where we were.
 
I think of that day when I feel like ending my life.
I have no idea whatever happened to you and don’t
even remember the last time we spoke or saw each other.
All I know is that day. It happened. I remember it.
All afternoon, life was lighter than it has ever been since.
 
I could float.
 
 
 


 
 

Loukia Borrell is the American-born daughter of Greek-Cypriot immigrants. She is a former newspaper journalist. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals in the United States and United Kingdom, including London Grip, Cerasus Magazine, and The Bangor Literary Journal. She tweets @LoukiaBorrell and has a website, loukialoukaborrell.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)

My Voice. A Poem & Artwork by Kelly Sargent.

I am Deaf.

My fingers speak.
 

A coiffed paintbrush in my grasp,

my voice streaks turquoise and magenta

across a parched canvas.

Vowels coo through thirsty linen.
 

Click-clacking keys with my mother tongue,

I chew hard consonants

and spit them out.

Sour, a scathing sonnet can be at dusk.
 

Fingertips pave slick exclamations,

punctuated by nails sinking low into clamminess.

I sculpt hyperboles.
 
 

 
 
Bio:
 
Kelly Sargent is an author and artist whose works, including a Best of the Net nominee, have appeared in more than forty literary publications. A poetry chapbook entitled Seeing Voices: Poetry in Motion is forthcoming (Kelsay Books, 2022). A book of modern haiku entitled Lilacs & Teacups is also forthcoming, and a haiku recently recognized in the international Golden Haiku contest is on display in Washington, D.C. She serves as the creative nonfiction and an assistant nonfiction editor for two literary journals. She also reviews for an organization whose mission is to make visible the artistic expression of sexual violence survivors.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

LIFE. A Poem by Amita Sanghavi

 
 
The tear,

The sigh,

The twinkle in the eye.

The whisper,

The wrinkle,

The silent, true story

You and I survive.
 
 
 

 
Amita Sanghavi teaches English in Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat Oman. She is MA from Lancaster University, UK. She is pronounced Ambassador of Poetry to Oman by World Poetry, Canada and Representative of Images & Poetry Art Movement, Italy and Affiliate Researcher at CELCE University of Leeds, UK.
Her poetry book “Lavender Memories” and two edited poetry anthologies were published in 2018, 2020 and 2021 respectively. Her latest book s ‘Astad Deboo: Poetry in Dance’
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

VERISIMILITUDE. 5 Poems by Askold Skalsky

(i.)
 
KEYS IN A ROW
 
Perhaps someone
will play a melancholy
keyboard piece as I am
leaving, and, stopping
to listen, I’ll have a vision
of what is to come if I
linger, if I walk up
to the player, wait,
then ask some pertinent
question with an eager
mien, the seconds gone
when I would have been
outdoors in the clear,
the moment interrupted
with a careless insufficiency,
the scattered patterns
of my life converging
into a broken string,
a clappered wheel
on which the hours
tick and dance to
their inoperable end
 
***
 
to be released from a long
slow slough, much of it
impenetrable like the circle
of a dream manifest as reality,
frightful and avoidable,
a bag in a corridor laced
with shadows and squalor,
which the mere eye of me
is afraid to undo
 
***
 
moving through
the veins, a fire-
ball with dim
obbligatos and
dark copper
bangs, like old
radiator pipes
when the steam
hammers at high
velocity into their
joints, warming
the room and
almost waking
the sleeper from
his sleep
 
***
 
here in this morning’s morning
self-forgotten sullen twang
comes a star gilded and silver,
climbing still like the pine
branches tipped with needle-
frantic green, yes, caught
like a tiny chip on the great
waist of some spectre surface
emerging into the dissolving dark.
 
 
(ii.)
 
LANDSCAPE IN FALLEN LIGHT, WITH CHILDREN
 
Just an unimportant place,
radiant and ordinary,
deserving the utmost scriptory,
with golden quags
up to the knees,
the sun blotting the lough
like streaks of silver haze
settling in a quay.
No need for a raveled sky
of quizzical significance,
the wrangling heads
foundering in the streets,
questing the unending sop
of memory and imprecation
to put life into the big words,
immiserating the ivory dungeon,
as one antinomian calls it,
reduced to bah, to babbling ooze,
slightly ecstatic now and then,
what is preserved
when meaning is deflated,
page after page, of invisibility,
of pity for hope lost
in hell’s sunken bolgias,
or the faces strapped
to the skullbones
of the starving young.
 
(iii.)
 
NOW THEN, THE OPEN EYE
 
August’s close
but I already feel
the solitary cold,
a sleepless place
and zero of the night,
like an infinitive
without an end
and half reluctant
to begin. But solitude
is just a postlude
to the now where all
the wrongs set in,
a moment’s atom
out of kilter,
out of being true,
where finally the heart
may intermit its beat
with careless equanimity
or grave abandonment
like a nimbus
with its watery crystals
of deep ice,
washing the sorrows
from your face,
from all the lineaments
of being you.
 
(iv.)
 
VERISIMILITUDE
 

    After a passage from a novel by Virginia Woolf

 
Somewhere in the middle
I recall a brewer’s cart
and the genial narrator
describing the gray horses
that had upright bristles
of straw stuck in their tails
like sprouting plumes
above the small brown daisies
peeping from their haunches’ clefts.
And a woman, seeing
this slipstream brook
of burblings through her mind,
immediately brightens,
and sorrow drops away
like a feathered colander
sifting the prismatic richness
of her life, kindling with equine
pleasure an infinite hubble-bubble
of mysterious commotion
out of the pernicious flurries
of gone time, a lollop on horsetail
streams with straw-thatched coronets,
whimsical and vagulous,
like sea-green sprites,
bedraggled by happiness
and blessed with silly dreams.
 
(v.)
 
PROBLEM, SOLUTION, ETC.
 
Her academic pedigree
was impressive–Swarthmore,
Columbia and the Sorbonne.
But toward her hundredth year
she confronted her biggest source
of perplexity and vexation,
the state of being weary
and restless through lack of interest,
and began her day
with crossword puzzles,
then the game shows on TV.
Did she return to these
as the day continued to impair
itself by attrition?
Ramakrishna used to rebuke
card-playing oldsters—
Had they nothing better to do
on the verge of their greatest change
of outward form or appearance?
Are crosswords any better?
Should Kurtz have done puzzles
in the dark, filling words into a pattern
of numbered squares in answer
to correspondingly numbered clues
to prevent facing the abyss
before him, the memories in him?
What is a six-letter word
for a painful emotion
compounded of loathing and fear?
 
 

 
 
Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky has published poems in over 300 online and print periodicals in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, mainland Europe, Turkey, Australia, and India. He is the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hedge Apple. A first book of poems, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City. He is currently at work on several poetry projects, including a poetry cycle based on Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. A book of poetry, Shapeless Works of Partial Contemplation, is due to be published by Ephemeral Arts Press in November.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

Wearable Art. Poem. Kate Meyer-Currey

I’m a talking point at work (according 
to my friends in the smoking shed) for 
my rogues’ gallery of eclectic leggings.
I work in forensics, jeans are banned 
and skirts are inappropriate. So, by 
accident, I became a connoisseur
and curator of (possibly) the largest 
private collection of these garments
in the country. I started small, with
some mild animal print and floral 
patterns, like tasteful watercolours 
by drawing-room ladies. These were
popular with audiences so I got bolder 
and trawled the internet in search of 
rare subjects by obscure artists. Next 
I ventured into Fauve and Abstract 
Expressionism: sugar skulls grinned 
from my thighs while Kahloesque 
tropical foliage twined up my legs 
like lianas. Parrots and tigers made
me the baddest cougar in the jungle. 
From landscape, I moved indoors and
had a phase of moody, contemplative
interiors, memento mori and still lives,
with death’s-heads, heavy tomes, 
drooping roses, and Mary Magdalen 
repenting her shady past by guttering 
candle-flame, my form obscured by
smoke and mirrors. This chiaroscuro 
intensity gave way to outdoor relief
as the Garden of Eden took root, in
the clear outlines and spare colours
of the Northern Renaissance. Adam 
and Eve were chastely nude and 
aroused no comment. However, the 
serpent’s location and destination 
caused ribald speculation amongst 
the ladies. My tour de force was 
Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’
and his psychedelic vision of the 
human condition seemed to strike 
a chord with my public’s internal 
world, of private delusion and its
face of routine pragmatism. They
sometimes joked there was a room
spare if I wanted to join them on the 
ward. While some of my more fragile 
canvases are being restored I’ve 
brought some museum pieces out 
of storage. So far it’s been alchemical
symbols, a Viking longship and Egyptian 
tomb-paintings. I, myself, may be the 
oldest living exhibit on record. Autumn 
is on us already, so the last gasp of 
summer means I’m planning ‘Sunflowers’ 
next before I hang ‘Hunters in the Snow’.
Unless Covid comes back and I have to 
close down the show under the Rothko-
blue pall of my strait-jacket scrubs. In 
that case, I’m breaking bad: I have a 
set in jumpsuit orange. No stripes or
arrows, though. Banksy’s definitely next. 
 
 

 
 
About Kate Meyer-Currey’s poems
 
Kate Meyer-Currey moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her first chapbook ‘County Lines’ (Dancing Girl Press) comes out this Autumn. Her second Cuckoo’s Nest’ (Contraband Books) is due in February 2022.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

Inventory Poems by John Okey

 
(i.)

Steps
 
These days,
sequential in their order,
random in their events.

Yet,
I am supposed to come through
	every 24 hours
With some sort of understanding,
a plan for the next day,
and the same every day after.

What am I supposed to do?
Control the guessing…
	Suppress the panic…
It’d be more human
	to be a lab rat
or a lamb
	in a Chicago slaughterhouse.

I am stupid with my intelligence.
I sequence,
Collate,
Numerate,
Alphabetize,
Chronicle,
Dewey Decimal, 
Periodic Table,
even square root…

All fucking useless.
More importantly,
it all misses the fucking point.

 
(ii.)
 

Inventory
 
I am the poet,
a disaster in stanza,
the upside-down verse,
enjoying one good mistake
	after the next.
Turn in each ugly line 
sloppier than the last.

The pen is a weak sword
	against suicidal woes.
I scribble nothings across
	scraps of paper.
Really anything I can get
	my hands on,
then lose before I get home.

My attempts at bringing
	the dark side to the outside.

 
(iii.)
 

Double-Checking the Inventory
 
No shine.
No polish.
No pretense.

I am dirty and unkempt.
I from when I should smile.
I am a disaster in every
	human way.

Lacking popular respectability,
I revel in my ill-repute.

My style is blue jeans and t-shirts.
My attitude is to smirk
	with a hint of alcohol.

I am the question mark
and the exclamation point.
The means without an end.

 
(iv.)
 

Final Inventory
 
As a sane man,
I am a catastrophe.
As an insane man,
I have it rather tied together.

 
 

 
Bio
Okey is a forty-four-year-old bakery employee. He has written poetry since he was a teenager. It was during the pandemic that he finally decided to publish his work. A novel, This Here Night Life…, and a poetry collection, Back to Masturbating Monkeys and God’s Plan, are available on Amazon. These poems are reprints from his poetry collection.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

-Dog has a pumpkin head- -Pithlachascotee River -Poems by Peach Delphine

(i.)
 
-Dog has a pumpkin head-
 
it was the season of rhymes,
pig killing, wood burning, whiskey,
you said your brother wouldn’t care
who I was, true enough as he only spoke
to the dog and the stove, his back porch
 
navel oranges, kumquats,
cabbage palms, a bougainvillea blood
dark flowering, eating canned peaches
fished from a cooler of tall boys,
 
you said I was good enough for your bed,
the back of your bike, biscuits at your kitchen
table, second drawer in your dresser, “Sit,
so listen, there’s no redemption,
just atonement, and there’s no end to that.”
 
Sour gum flowering gathered
up into honey, we chewed the comb
as if adopted by bears, living off
saw palmetto berries and grubs,
or the other flesh,
 
thorn of my tongue, word pierced,
we are without, not of, not
within time, hinged sky, a mollusk
drying out between tides, barnacled
wind bent, current woven, taste skin,
taste wind, taste salt, how blade manifests
a dream life, tongue balanced, taut with lace
of scars, a sargassum float of entanglement,
small crabs, sea turtles, it was the season
of arrivals, no hint yet of the horizon
closing upon us, the other fruit
ripening on the tree, absence
overtaking, hand
over fist.
 
(ii.)
 
-Pithlachascotee River –
 
Some Sunday she said from the kitchen to the breezeway,
“Suffer not a witch”, left before dinner,
walked to the landing, where possibilities
survive immersion, current relentlessly flowing,
took the skiff downriver, followed a creek
into the mangrove, abandoned habitation, learned
tide, names of wind, to thatch with palmetto
to polish the blade, circular motion of sharpening,
stone of susurration honing the heart, hatchet of tongue
riving chunks of fatwood to feed hands of flame, cupped
with each evening, there is a singing on the breeze,
a litany of pollination, a triumph of flowering,
night fills my ears as sparks of fireflies float
over the verdure of burning, praise laced
with woodsmoke, wave summoned tide
manifests this form, an expression of sea,
a liver of possibilities, a cloud filled lung,
breath of a thicker atmosphere, ponderous
flight as form reveals itself to sky.
 
Sun folded away in its blue coverlet, you cannot drink
from this broken cup of sky spilling moon, skillet on the fire, clouds stack on the horizon,
spoonbill stretching wing
into shade, egrets lifting over mangrove, we lived
for a while on black coffee and bacon, shouldering
a river door wind walks through, trailing night and a glory
of stars, we gathered the taste of names, memory is flesh,
trees speak of it, questioned which half holds the spoon,
which half lifts the bowl, which eye is on the horizon,
weather coiling beyond curve of sea.
 
As fireflies are shards of air cracked by lightning,
we name ourselves that sea may know us,
salt tasting salt, coiled into wave of remembrance,
the whistle and click each song must pass through
to reach open water where emerald shimmers
into cobalt, lifting such light as we can from all this
broken, edges balanced on fingertips, a divide between
what glitters and what sinks quietly, some days my dress
is burlap, sometimes a hank of sea borrowed
from wave, tide uncoiled from one hand the other dipped
into river, filtering a current of unintended sorrow,
where the gone has lifted onto breeze, silence feathers
its nest beneath tongue, magnolia opening slowly
with morning or question swallowing word, sometimes
I am spoonbill, head down wading, a roseate flowering
in an unnamed forest striding into darkness, sometimes
there is a face in the mirrored waters, sometimes
it is mine, sometimes a voice, wave lifted, sometimes
we speak but the voice is never mine, face of water,
voice of wind, a sound from the edge of all things.
 
 
 

 
Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Former cook infatuated with what remains
of the undeveloped Gulf coast and blackwater rivers. Can be found on Twitter @Peach Delphine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

Diaphanous, disingenuous 3 Poems from Prabhu Iyer

(i.)
 
Diaphanous, disingenuous
 
Parsed in the Planck intervals of me,
diaphanous, is it not you?
Yet impossible, disingenuous
this dichotomy: thirst
after the conjurings of sentience?
Parsed in the Planck intervals of me,
is it not you, ineffable ?
And yet the flood tides of rage
toss me over on the waters of life;
Gulf between eyes shut and open –
chasing after the web of thoughts;
Parsed in the Planck intervals of me,
is it not you, ineffable?
Who do I call, dear presence,
when called to act by the world,
true to my being and becoming?
Impossible this dichotomy:
diaphanous, disingenuous, ever
 
(ii)
 
A word called Mother
 
All earth sings forth in the hymn of the falling leaf –
bough to soil the journey, unending tides of life;
All of nature sprung forth drawing elements
veins dug into the soul a little cherub smile
the triumph of spring;
What is of earth goes back to earth, but for moments
the hymn of life, fleeting warmth of mid months –
now cast, falling twig, withering,
looping back to where it all begins;
hour of the silent prayer,
forest chants in a hundred shades of falling hymns;
it is the end that is certain, however high the bough
that held the bower, and the earth
never retires silent; yet, it is
the season of the Kash flower,
an act of compassion that brings our forlorn world
a tender word called Mother; and so sings
the dhak, the drum-bard of the earth in rut
with the owl, the swan and the lion
now come the colours alive;
 
(iii.)
 
Dear electricity, what are bulbs to you?
 

Dear bulb of light, 
what is electricity to you?
Do you like it in your corner
beaming in your shine, or
in a chandelier
adorning the nights?
         Dear chandelier,
what is electricity to you?
Do you like it in your throne,
brimming in your shine, or
in a celebration
of glory lights?
        O celebration,
what is electricity to you?
Do you like it in your vestal
ornamentation
of sundry occasions?
       Ever humble unknown
flowing through the veins
this elixir of life that lights up 
lamps, chandeliers -
one indivisible borderless,
yet bringing a hundred
filaments to celebration:
       Dear electricity,
what are bulbs to you,
chandeliers and celebrations?

 

 
Prabhu Iyer is an Indian poet writing primarily in English. A scientist by training and practice, Prabhu weaves his quest of truth, beauty and goodness into his verse. An avid student of poetry, he is inspired by the spirit of the romanticists and transcendentalists, while also being influenced deeply by figures of the avant-garde, drawing upon such movements as cubism, surrealism and magical realism in the sense of gesamtkunstwerk or ‘total art’. He is also an ardent fan of popular lyrical poetry as manifested in the variegated Indian devotional, musical and film traditions. Prabhu’s work has appeared in anthologies and poetry journals including the PLT and long-listed a couple of times for the prestigious Erbacce Prize for poetry. He has published two volumes of poetry, ‘Ten Years’ exploring the themes of love and loss, while ‘The Hermit’ is a surrealist collection of poems. He is also working on releasing a collection of Haikus collated over many years, especially during the COVID lockdown.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)