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
Spring arrived with a thud at the window
and the loose neck of a sudden corpse.
I found it in the mad sunshine, with eyes
snapped shut and wings tucked in;
a feathered grub plucked belly side up.
Its static talons clung stiff
to the breeze as I held its tiny weight
on my palm. Digging through
severed roots, I shored an only grave,
fit for a runt
and placed the prim body
at its cold end. I spilled the mound
over, to clog the pit,
inviting blind slitherers back
to pick down the carcass -
its restless heart still wet.
Now the daffs bow their heads
and the robin waits
on the wall,
keen to beak the turnings.
Dan Stathers is from Kingsbridge in South Devon. After studying creative writing at the Open University, Dan was awarded the William Hunter Sharpe Memorial Scholarship by The University of Edinburgh (for poetry). He likes football and Border Terriers.
This poem was first published in Obsessed With Pipework, 2013Read More
for Ben Detenber
Somebody’s wrong on the Internet, and everyone else
is grabbing a mouse to be sure to get in on the clicks.
Some guy in Johannesburg already knocked down his Coke and destroyed
his keyboard, but luckily not his computer. He looks at
his screen, and all he can do is stare at untruth while the phone’s
ringing the tech-support number. And now he’s on hold:
music he’s always despised is worming its wily way
into his brain. Can you hear it? He doesn’t have
an icicle’s chance in a Richtersveld summer. He’s lost to the music
that somebody else in Geneva can hear and ignore.
Natalie’s reading the page, and she’s changing her mind even though
her English has never improved as much as she’d like.
Maybe she wouldn’t be falling for lies she was reading in French.
From her apartment, she has a good view of the lake
except that this morning the fog is so thick she can barely see
the building going up on the other side of the street.
Her coffee is ready; she carries her cup to the window to think,
watching the shivering people below as they wait
for buses to take them to work, where they’ll turn on their screens and discover
that somebody on the Internet is wrong.
Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His first full-length collection, Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong, is being published by Eyewear in June 2015. Twitter: @ShieldsAndrew Blog: http://andrewjshields.blogspot.comRead More
On the Train to Stafford (OMG)
While the Leicestershire countryside
ambled by the window
(Oh my god!)
its lush green hues and rolling hills
sparkling in the sun’s glow
(Oh my god – no!)
beneath old church spires reaching
up into an azure sky
(Oh. My. GO-OD! You’re kidding?)
that soared above thatched roofs of quaint
villages that passed on by
(OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!)
I thought about the peace and quiet
that made these journeys such
(No! No! No! OH-MY GO-OD!)
a pleasant memory of my youth
before the advent of touch
(EEIIUUW!!! Oh my-god)
screens and mobile phones on trains
to distract from scenic country lanes
Omigod! Omigod! Oh my god!
George Fripley writes poetry and fiction. He also blogs on whatever comes to mind. He has had a dozen poems published both in the UK and Australia and has also published a collection of poems entitled Silence… available though Amazon.co.uk. He blogs at www.anothergrumpycommuter.wordpress.comRead More