Vainglorious Emblems. A Poem by Sterling Warner

 
Wheellock pistols and civil war sabers,
more than just a family’s coat-of-arms,
decorate knotty pine cabin walls
deep in the Everglades pestilent swamp
where alligators rest on banks covered
in muck, ready to strike out at inattentive
wildlife or rush back into the wetlands
hidden below the quagmire except for eyes
that poke above water like periscopes viewing all.
 
The cabin floor, unswept for a dozen years, sported
multicolored moss & mildew corner to corner;
rat turds crunch as feet walk across wooden floors,
figures appear outside through wax paper windows,
winds whisper between cracks & increase tonality
as wings rustle and mud-swallows flitter in & out
rafter holes safe from predators, build nests, tend chicks—
cultivate life amid passé remnants of fireplace heraldry
while crossed blades just rust & pirate pistols don’t fire.
 
 

 
 
Sterling Warner: An author, poet, educator, and Pushcart Award nominee, Sterling Warner’s poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Flatbush Review, Literary Yard, The Fib Review, “Sparks of Calliope: A Journal of Poetic Observations, “Scarlett Leaf Review,” “Poetry Life & Times,” and The Atherton Review. Warner has published six collections of poetry: Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Rags and Feathers, Edges, Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux, and Serpent’s Tooth: Poems (2021). Also, Warner’s first collection of fiction, Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories, launched in August 2020: https://www.amazon.com/Serpents-Tooth-Poems-Sterling-Warner
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Seagull. Poem by Annest Gwilym

 
Inspired by Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
 
I
The world was born
From the point of light
In a seagull’s pale eye
 
II
Beneath the sign
DON’T FEED THE SEAGULLS
The seagulls feed themselves
 
III
In the sea’s deep crypt
Two oysters and a mussel
Dream of seagulls
 
IV
In the woods of confusion
The way out is marked
By a trail of seagull droppings
 
V
The sun plays Midas on the water
While two seagulls play Mars
Over a limp sandwich
 
VI
A flock of seagulls
And a raven
Is still a flock of seagulls
 
VII
In a castle’s cobbled forecourt
A seagull and a collared dove
Hold court
 
VIII
When skies are violent
A seagull’s muscular wings
Hold up moisture-rich clouds
 
IX
Killers from the egg
Each seagull knows
How to catch a pike
 
X
In a manor’s formal gardens
Where a marble fountain tinkles
A seagull’s cries are informal
 
XI
From a train’s rectangular window
Seagulls chase after a plough
Like a sudden snow blizzard
 
XII
One of Braque’s birds
Dreamt that in another life
He was a seagull
 
XIII
Alone on a beach, a child watches
As a dead seagull’s wing flaps
Quietly in the breeze
 
‘Killers from the egg’ is from Ted Hughes’s poem Pike
 
 

 
 
Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published in many literary journals, both online and in print, and in anthologies. She has been placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She lives on the coast of north west Wales with her rescue dog. Twitter: @AnnestGwilym
 
 
 
 
 
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)

3 Poems by Frederick Pollack, Self-Starter, Gran Via & Something I Said

Self-Starter
 
(i.)
 
A superhero from a distant
franchise of the Marvel universe
finds himself in a labyrinth.
A few turns, retracings,
very human moments
of indecision confirm that’s what
it is. His great secret motivator,
contempt, rises (not breaking
the mild, righteous surface);
and with a combination
of fire from his eyes
and steely blows he breaks through
wall after ivy-covered wall.
(In a straight line. Diagonal to
the lie of the maze. It’s unclear why
he doesn’t fly. Contempt.)
Shells, fossils, bas-reliefs
dislodged by his violence fall among
the smoking bricks and vines. (The point
of a labyrinth is terror, despair;
why art? The superhero doesn’t stop
to ask. An irritant.)
A last kick and he’s out. Somewhere – he can
resume his universe-saving
from anywhere. But for a moment
he’s tired,
his mood less than triumphant.
This has happened before; he views it
as a tribute paid to everything mortal.
And wonders what his enemy placed
this time at the center
of the maze to consume him.
 
 
(ii.)
 
Gran Via
 
The famous sights must still
grace faded glossy calendars
on walls somewhere.
Another horse and king. Sword pointing
the dead behind him
towards death – there’s no point, otherwise.
It might be instructive
to remove the bronze kings, keep the horses.
 
Decide at any point
that the approaching pretty park
will be pretty, the stuff between
interesting, and turn back.
You will at once destroy
tourism and the basis
(Baudelaire, the flâneur, etc.)
of modern poetry.
 
Wherever you are, forgive the locals.
You remind them that time doesn’t have
a long grey beard but white stubble.
 
 
(iii.)
 
Something I Said
 
It’s worse
than remarks that ended
job interviews, dates, jobs, relationships.
(She sat there crying or enraged,
and since I’m nice I apologized
for months or the duration.)
I turn from whoever it is,
staring and pale, and myself. There are depths
of self and wit I’d rather weren’t.
But a waitress here with hors-d’oeuvres,
though impeccably trained, has dropped them,
the tray aghast in midair.
A general has almost spilled his drink.
A celebrity ages. Noted lobbyists
and cokeheads, always in motion, stop.
Hidden children whisper. From the terrace
a wolfhound enters, steals some human food,
and gazes up with doubtful sympathy.
(In the distance, workers
erecting a tent for the raffle grin,
but they’re from the past, some old novel.)
Across the salon our host and hostess
stand motionless, still gracious.
I should bottle it, I think,
by which I mean keep silent but connote
researching, mastering this skill,
inventing time travel and returning
to stymie history with well-placed words.
 
 

 
 
Author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Story Line Press, 1986; to be reissued by Red Hen Press) and Happiness (Story Line Press, 1998), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). In print, Pollack’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Manhattan Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Main Street Rag, Miramar, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Poetry Quarterly Review, Magma (UK), Neon (UK), Orbis (UK), Armarolla, December, and elsewhere. Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Big Pond Rumours (Canada), Misfit, OffCourse , Poetry Life and Times (2015) and elsewhere.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

Voyage. VideoPoem by Antonio Martínez Arboleda


 
Greetings,
Siblings of the World:
This is Tony,
your flight assistant and prophet for today
 
Welcome to the end of planet earth as we know it
 
The big mass of the rock with water
that we inhabited for thousands of years
is now about to be transferred to another Galaxy
 
Unfortunately,
This is a rather perilous voyage,
but those of you who have been Good
shall be spared from any damage
 
What are the flying conditions for this adventure
we are about to embark upon?
 
Well, according to Office of Cosmical Statistics
and the weather algorithmic authority
we shall have no trouble
 
Please ensure that you have located
all your molecules of H2o
in the designated compartment
Above you
Remember:
during this journey
You will remain seated
inside your containers
until full re-composition is successfully completed
in our lavish destination
 
And now
 
heads up!
the hologram of our savour and patron
is about to be projected
on your virtual reality glasses
 
Let us pray,
each of you,
whatever you want, really,
it doesn’t matter
 
Our Captain, is ready to take off
 
See you at the other end!
 
 

 
Antonio Martínez Arboleda:
Antonio (Tony Martin-Woods) started to write poetry for the public in 2012, at the age of 43, driven by his political indignation. That same year he also set in motion Poesía Indignada, an online publication of political poetry. He runs the poetry evening Transforming with Poetry at Inkwell, in Leeds, and collaborates with 100 Thousands Poets for Change 100tpc.org/. Tony is also known in the UK for his work as an academic and educator under his real-life name, Antonio Martínez Arboleda at the University of Leeds. His project of digitisation of poetry, Ártemis, compiles more than 100 high quality videos of Spanish poets and other Open Educational Resources. http://www.artemispoesia.com/ .

He is the delegate in the UK of Crátera Revista de Crítica y Poesía Contemporánea , where he also publishes his work as translator from English into Spanish. He published his first volume of poetry in Spanish, Los viajes de Diosa (The Travels of Goddess), in 2015, as a response to the Great Recession, particularly in Spain. His second book, Goddess Summons the Nation Paperback , Goddess Summons the Nation Kindle Edition , is a critique of the ideas of nation and capitalism, mainly in the British Brexit context. It incorporates voices of culprits, victims and heroes with mordacity and rhythm. It consists of 21 poems, 18 of which are originally written in English, available in print and kindle in Amazon and other platforms. Editor’s note: further information bio & academic activities can be found at this link: https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/languages/staff/91/antonio-martinez-arboleda

 
 
 
 
 
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)

Trying to Exist, Scarred Faces & Smell of Younger Days. 3 Poems by Fabrice B Poussin

(i.)
 
Trying to Exist
 
There was once a little universe
crowded with abandoned worlds
dimming planets and wandering sparks.
 
In the midst of this quiet chaos
particles swirled aimless in a dark substance
chasing lives dreamed up in an unknow realm.
 
Seeking a likeness in the mysterious substance
two would slow, pulled by an eternal force
that brought them close as to begin life.
 
Devoid of human features
they may have been giants or midgets
yet older than this odd mixture of all origins.
 
Their presence could be sensed
as if two lovers holding in a tight embrace
in the intimacy of their wedding dress.
 
 
(ii.)
 
Scarred faces
 
Faces float, menacing nearby;
they grin, they scream, they decay.
 
Loves, and friendships melted away,
only to return in Halloween masks.
 
Their appeal worn away, faded,
overtaken by the inner ugliness of souls.
 
Roses wilted, gentleness turned to ash,
of features stolen from forgotten corpses.
 
Little remains of those gleeful memories,
while a cruel stench hovers, relentless.
 
The joy twists in an agonizing query;
there is no return after death’s frigid kiss.
 
 
(iii.)
 
Smell of younger days
 
Flavor of absent memories
into one snapshot of forgone years
scent of mysterious objects
unattached.
 
Listening to the forest singing
brushes paint images of broad strokes
alive with energies of millennia
in unison.
 
His eyes closed onto a landscape
only he, can distinguish
overwhelmed by a past never really
forgotten.
 
Sensations are many beyond the self
merging within to another birth
where he can rest a weary soul
a little while longer.
 
 

 
 
Fabrice B. Poussin is the advisor for The Chimes, the Shorter University award winning poetry and arts publication. His writing and photography have been published in print in the United States and abroad. He teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, La Pensee Universelle, Paris, and other art and literature magazines, where he has also featured here at Poetry Life and Times & Artvilla.com. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.
 
 
 
 
 
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)

DARK CANZONE. A Poem by E M Schorb.

      Considerate la vostra semenza . . .
      —Dante

From when some wandering primate first discovered
that vocal cords had formed within its throat:
when thorax wind was blown, and it discovered
a modulation of its grunts, discovered
it had a tongue that could articulate
more subtly than it had presumed; discovered,
in fact, its ur-humanity; discovered
that it was different from monkeys, wiser,
and could communicate a plan; was wiser,
one than the other, in this gift; discovered,
in short, itself as special being, poet,
it sang in lamentation for the poet,
O felt itself the oddest ape, a poet,
and, with the weight of what it knew, discovered
the truest nature of itself as poet,
that it must bear the burden of the poet,
harsh bile of truth that rises in the throat
and burns the vocal cords of every poet.
For meaning murders innocence, the poet
learns, word by word; and to articulate
as in a grammar, to articulate
as words demand, and so to be a poet
is to be that most special being, stranger
than any other animal—but wiser?
It felt itself the strangest thing, much stranger
than any other animal—a poet—
for words had made it thuswise stranger.
But was it better being this much wiser?
What had this primate after all discovered?
Who really thinks it’s better to be wiser?
Who doesn’t know it’s sadder to be wiser?
Who envies words blown through a poet’s throat?
What poet hasn’t wished to cut its throat?
If grammar makes for meaning, is it wiser
to be a special being, to articulate
the truth words find—or not articulate?
It may be braver to articulate,
to be an animal, yet strangely wiser,
but is it wisdom to articulate
the grunts of animals, articulate
from them the existential life of poet
among the primates, to articulate—
syntactically commanded—articulate
the place in nature that we have discovered,
the death in nature that we have discovered?
Grunt one last grunt! Enough! Articulate
no more! Oh, envy nothing from the throat
of any poet! Let it cut its throat!
Oh, let the primate poet cut its throat
before it’s forced on to articulate,
by sending lamentations through its throat,
from its self-fabled heart and out its throat,
how truly sad it is to be a little wiser
than other animals that have a throat
but have no vocal cords within that throat
which they can use to make themselves a poet
who sings the lamentations of a poet,
a sadder wiser primate prophet poet,
whose ordered language has at last discovered
what happy animals have not discovered . . . .
What is it animals have not discovered,
which leaves them happier than any poet?
The ordered thought of death! It might be wiser
for nature never to articulate.

 
 

 
 

Schorb’s work has appeared in Agenda (UK), The American Scholar, The Carolina Quarterly, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Stand (UK), The Sewanee Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), The Yale Review, and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.
 
His collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Most recently, his novel R&R a Sex Comedy was awarded the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor.

 

 

 

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)

For Gregory Corso & poems by Joe Sonnenblick

(i)

For Gregory Corso

Dying in the town whorehouse in the old west would’ve been a dream,
No gunshots
No lawmen
Just natural causes.
I’d feel for my horse though
Hoping someone would’ve told her that it was quick,
Out of courtesy.

(ii)

Spitting into The Wind

There’s a door I know that remains jammed,
It is a pathway with blood spatters
A portal to felonious aggravation
To know this vestibule is to have lived years,
With wounds continually allowed momentary respite
Just to be operated on in jest..
You have no recourse but to build a house around the door
Adjacent to the house you’ll construct a forest,
You’ve survived all these years and have handpicked the one to see this door rejiggered,
Be made into something of value, import, and catharsis
Always getting to the future tense while sitting down and loaded,
Understanding full well that the door will never be open,

That there is no mystery
You’ve just run into another one of us.

Enjoy.

(iii)

Complete Terms And Conditions

I thought on the air I breathed in,
My lungs taking it, and expelling out
The variations of light in my iris, and the feeling of bereavement
Not on loss, but on my own vindictiveness
My own ledger full of the profit and leisure
Hand scribed so there are no tall tales.

The kitchen is cobalt blue
Sinking into the ochre chair
Believing in goldenrod traumas,

I will destroy every town
Every friendship
Every understanding,
Just to not let you know my side of the story
That is how you walk out of a place,
With vigor.
 
 

 
 
Joe Sonnenblick is a Native New Yorker who was a regular contributor to the now defunct Citizen Brooklyn magazine. Joe has been featured in publications such as In Parentheses for their 6th volume of poetry and The Academy Of The Heart And Mind, and Impspire Literary Review, The Bond Street Review Upcoming publications include: Aji for the Spring 2021 issue, and Ethel for the June/July 2021 issue. He can be at Instagram @JS_Livingpoetrymovement
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)

 

Hidden Pain & Before. 2 Poems by Laura Stamps

(i.)
 
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.
Anyone.
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,
reaching,
reaching,
as if they might drown. But only
one of them knows
she’s sinking.
 
(ii)
 
Before
 
1.
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.
Gone.
All that remained was a vast blank
space that used to be called FUTURE.
 
2.
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.
 
3.
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)