Susan Evans

 

 

 

Silly Shoes

I rushed home from work for him
I went totally berserk for him
I wore silly shoes for him
I sat and had the blues for him
I laughed at all his jokes for him
I ignored all other blokes for him
I went with the flow for him
I stopped saying no to him
I opened my heart for him
I wrote a special part for him
I stopped being late for him
I laid awake for him
I went the extra mile for him
I wore special smiles for him
I stopped seeing my mates for him
I started baking cakes for him
I cleaned out my flat for him
I totally lost track for him
I danced drunk in the street for him
I threw up and I reached for him
I gave thanks and praise for him
I thought I’d end my days with him
But it wasn’t really happening
It was just a fling to him.

Susan Evans is a Brighton-based Arts Therapist, Lecturer and Performance Poet, from East London, of Anglo Indian/Irish parentage. Susan is currently developing her solo `scratch’ show, A bit of Oral. Silly Shoes is published in Brighton Stanza Poets Anthology, 2013. Find her here: www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Evans-Performance-poet

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Allison Grayhurst

 

 
Walk Low

Walk low in case I forget
the roots of my deliverance.
Walk low so my head knows it is human,
and my heart touches daily the earth I will
return to.
Walk low in days of joy, in hours toil.
Walk low when leaping over burning fields,
into a relentless hunger.
Walk low on the land and café corners,
kindled by the sun’s yellow grain.
Walk low, remembering how I turned from
another’s need, held a dead starling
with eyes unable to weep, and thought
myself good for getting through.
Red wagon on its side. Red dream filling my
mouth like fire. I love the water that you pour on
me, the water that you are.
Walk low for whatever in me
that is true, was given by and belongs
to you.

 

 

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 390 poems published in international journals and anthologies. She has eleven published books of poetry and four collections, as well as six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

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Gale Acuff

 

 

 

Blush

I love everybody but most of all
it’s Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher,
we’re going to get married one day, don’t
ask me how I know, I guess God told me
somehow, whispered in my ear when I was
asleep, which was good of Him because I
love Miss Hooker more than I love
Him or Jesus or the Holy Ghost, which
I think is what they call blasphemy, she’s
something like the Golden Calf but let me
explain in case God’s listening or reading
over my shoulder, if He can read, I
think He can write anyway, didn’t He
write the Ten Commandments, at least in that
movie and I think in Technicolor
but anyway I was going to say
before God catches onto me and damns
me to Hell that I love Miss Hooker
more because somehow together we can
have babies but come to think of it she
and God could, too, it’s called the virgin birth
and it happened to Mary and lo and
behold she had Jesus. What’s a virgin?
I’m not really sure but then I’m only
ten years old to Miss Hooker’s 25
and after class today I asked her if
she is one, a virgin I mean, and she
went all red in the face, it’s called blushing,
it’s as close as you get to blood without
the bleeding and that should tell me something
but it didn’t. She said a gentleman
doesn’t ask a lady such a question,
not if he wants her to respect him. So
I said Yes ma’am and when I got home from
Sunday School, I felt like I was baptized
again, I asked Mother the same thing and
she chuckled and said, Yes, and Father burst
out laughing, so I joined them. There you go.

 

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).   He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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John Hawkhead

 

 

 

Haiku

gravel in my knees
from the pilgrimage to you
your gentle tweezers
*
gradual rain
pattering the willow leaves
her hand slips from mine
*
purple night clouds
buffeting under moonlight
her lingering scent
*
under winter clouds
the old rook pecks at bent straw
through the scarecrow’s hat
*
an acorn
split from cup to tip
the newborn’s hare lip

 

 

John Hawkhead is a writer of haiku and other short poetry forms. His work has been published all over the world in small press magazines and the Internet. His book of poetry and haiku Witness is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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Ira Lightman reviews ‘The Pustoy’ by Philippe Blenkiron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a book someone could turn into a Hollywood movie.

Written in a genuinely 60s poetry style, with blocks of indented prosaic lines broken at unusual places and sudden Grand Guignol turns of phrase and compression of language (dropping out definite and indefinite articles), its affectations feel unaffected, of a piece, 60s. As such, it is a triumph of risk, a voice attempted and achieved. One can imagine the 21st century poet Blenkiron, graduate of creative writing, blenching sometimes at his own poetic voice and wondering if he should add in notes, more narrative, more conversational English. One can be grateful he choose not to, and went with the voice.

This is sci-fi poetry, and with voices in it. Sometimes it has the grand phrasing around a simple stark idea of an Arthur C Clarke. Sometimes it feels like a new kind of Crow, with a Hughesian intensity of amoral villainy that also speaks to our selfish inner brat. The world is too crowded, the problems seem immense, the money not there. One sees around one all the short-cuts of road rage, whipped up hysteria against the Scrounger and Immigrant, and the fact that we have a government that is openly attacking and impoverishing sections of the community while semi-passively and even sadistically the majority sits back and does little. As Clarke would do, Blenkiron recasts our present-day world as a dystopia in which the attacking and impoverishing is taken a stage further, in front of citizens’ eyes and still they do nothing to help fellow humans.

Because the fellow humans on the margins are now called, by an incoming demagogue of a Prime Minister, the “Pustoy” (the empty, the soulless). And the Pustoy are being hunted down, murdered in the pages of the poems like the victims of Crow. A dark state, similar to that in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, with, again, a Crow-like villain in active madness personally leading the violence with his own self-righteousness, is at work. And people look on, passively, almost enjoying the despair.

 

And I would pay

through the eyes

if there were a tax on a sleepless night.

I’d have paid with my eyes

not to have seen you taken;

collected like some precious stone from a cave wall,

axed and bagged.

(“PETER MASON”)

 

The language is rhetorical, and rather like a screenwriter’s in a schlock B movie. One can imagine a hundred creative writing lecturers descending to ask for the language to be made more like everyone else’s poems. But there is something marvellous in the overall project, something Clarkean in the push to tell the narrative, and the lines are more like the metaphor-making of actual people; mixed and gawky. They are therefore much more moving, and the sense is made of a whole culture facing the new government, and everyone reacted pole-axed and a bit dumb-ass.

Phrases pop up throughout the book that bring a John Berryman, almost Olson, clump of descriptive intensity, coming close to exaggeration and dissonance, an overplus of possible ideas and puns just plonked there.

 

I wonder, unwound toy,

if they buried your turn-key

somewhere near you.

(“UNWOUND”)

 

dense rock pours

moonlight

clam spit and grit

turn pearl

(“STILL THURSDAY”)

 

 

And sometimes this rises to a more controlled Peter Reading like, and less flailing, cold savagery:

And eager to please their masters,

eager to learn, bull-headed beasties trot beside them.

Their hearts of gold, tarnished, only slightly,

by the throats they carry in their mouths.

(“OPERATION STAFFHOUND”)

 

But, note, this is the end of a poem in which actual people have become like dogs, and then the people-dogs have actual-dogs to accompany them; and this is told in a prosaic lollopping style “only slightly” rather than as Reading would have done all in fragments, all milled and jagged. “Throats they carry in their mouths” is the single great poetic line I’ll take from reading this book.

It’s a very unusual book, and it feels as if it pushes stylistically against the accepted styles of our age. It doesn’t do this by backward-looking retreat into the marbled style of any one of this generation’s forebears. Instead, it pushes forward with a story to tell, a cast of characters (often caricatures, but in the sense of Punch and Judy not of ineptitude). Its images last with one, and its world, and I could see it taken forward for screenplay adaptation, whole lines of dialogue and the overall set-up and the movement from poem to poem seamlessly transferring over. I wouldn’t especially want to go back and read the whole book again, nor would I signal out one poem to show to a student. I would say, read the book, get challenged about what style you’re using, and challenged about the casual violence of the modern clean-up squads of modern governments. As an outcome of reading a book, that’s not a bad result.

 

 

Order your copy of The Pustoy by Philippe Blenkiron, published by Dagda Publishing here

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