Stacks of National Geographics
filled the wardrobe to my waist.
The dust inviting sneezes.
Misaligned yellow spines.
Careless visitors would toss
them back any old way.
My fingers would itch
to restore their rightful order.
Oh the itch, manifest many ways.
Persistent chafe of rashes,
result of childhood curiosities.
The itch where my wings should be.
Barbara O’Donnell was born in West Cork in 1975, and currently resides in London. She works at a major London teaching hospital and writes in her spare time. Her blog can be found here: barbaraodonnell.wordpress.comRead More
They’re like swallowing rust.
The tongue tries to be a shield,
but the bed explodes. The best
bet is avoiding the avalanche
of thought by forcing a monk
mind set or—what I do—just
jumping off the cliff so I fall
sixty stories into something
that never seems to kill me.
Thank God . . . and all else.
I go to great pains to mask the agony. But the struggle is there.
It’s the invisible enemy.
— Richard Diebenkorn
He made this image
(carved it and smoothed it over)
expressing it by marks
in his mind; wordly and unseen
as quickly written over, stretched into full words
and the marks only at first suggested
in his ear she’d whispered — “bird”
(but he wasn’t listening, did not hear)
and he flapped his wetted wings
The painted image is just that,
the thing painted, not some standing in.
An adequate description
would have to trace infinitesimal specifics
of length, width, and thickness,
pick a shade of color from the chart,
note granularity and sheen,
locate it with calipers on the canvas
alongside similar patterns not the same,
and on and on the never finished, never ending
and then to have just that repeated
because it’s nothing else.
When the painted image told a story
we could capture that
in words and sentences because
well, narrative is narrative;
but when the painted thing’s unrecognizable
what we call a splotch or blob,
oh, it’s tempting to define it
by his exertions painting it.
Charles Tarlton is retired from university teaching and has been writing tanka prose (and poetry more generally) full time since 2006. His wife, Ann Knickerbocker, (http://artistinanaframe.blogspot.com) is an abstract painter and they and work in Northampton, Mass.
Then, your quiet scrubbing shoulders
as bats fly past outside like broken plates.
I unpeel fish spines, scrape away the skin
and sticky flakes. Our lists are done,
the kitchen’s clean, but the cloying scent
of supper fills the air. Beneath the hiss
of steam, the kettle’s rattle, potatoes claw
inside the cupboards, cheese furs over
and lost scales still glint along the surfaces
in certain lights.
Charlotte Eichler lives in West Yorkshire and has been published in various magazines, including The Rialto, Agenda and The Interpreter’s House. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2014. Twitter: @CLEichler
All I Could Steal
I traced the line of you:
Said my goodbyes
despite the gale,
imagined your head, bobbing with
as my heart grabbed at imaginary
that trailed helplessly
through the moss-
felt the tome of the sea
as it lashed its pages
against my carbine.
I thought that I might cry then,
in the salt wind
and so broke the seal on a bottle of
to drown the lump
in my throat.
Drunk, I stumbled home through
and felt spite
stirring in the spine
of my tongue-
I taunted all the ghosts, and sang
‘When the big ship sails on the alley-
Nick Power has recently had perfect-bound book Small Town Chase published by erbacce-press, and is in the process of writing a new collection. He has had poems published at M58, erbacce-press, The Camel Saloon, Boscome Revolution and Jarg Magazine.
He has worked with actors such as Maxine Peake and John Simm, and recorded their readings of poems from Small Town Chase. They are available to listen to here: https://soundcloud.com/nickpowerpoetry