Journey to the Depth of the Deep-freeze
You’re on the driver’s seat.
I’m only your passenger.
On either side of us fields
of sunflowers caress in a breeze.
You’re wearing your purple shirt
with jeans and jagged eyebrows.
It is quarter to three in the afternoon
on an autumn Sunday; we’re returning
from lunch, wine and chat with friends.
The break in our silence comes
to tell me you want to call it a day.
I watched the sunflowers caress,
mute and childless.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three Days Before the Train
A doll stares at 80s artex.
Her eyes fixed wide open
like she is looking at
a winning lottery ticket
or she has just been told
her mother is cured of cancer.
She is waiting for you to enter her
bed and wrap your arms around her.
* When we first encountered Will Collins, he was reading creative writing at Winchester Uni. He's now graduated and become a lecturer at the Basingstoke College of Technology but plans to take a Masters in the near future.
I Can’t Sing but That Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You
I’m driving down the road, on my way to the market to get something for dinner, singing along with a love song on the radio, even though I know I can’t sing, still that doesn’t stop me from singing. I want to sing in the worst way, always have. Fortunately for the guy in the next lane, my windows are up.
“Life isn’t fair,” my mother always said. She was so right! My sisters sing beautifully. “Angels”, she called them.
They sound like Leona Lewis, with such incredible range. And they know to dance like her too, as if they’re making love with the wall. Another thing I’d really like to do well, but I’m the queen of klutz. That saying about walking and chewing gum fits me to a T and just forget doing it in stilettos, like Leona. An untied sneaker is my equivalent to running with scissors.
It’s incredible when someone opens their mouth and sound so spectacular comes out, especially if she has less than mediocre speaking voice. Looks become unimportant as well, a person can forget all about the face when the singer’s languishing between the music and lyrics, fully entrenched in its meaning, but oh my, if they are pretty. The combination is breath-taking, a sure fire hit.
Tone deaf and un-coordinated, I can’t do anything of the things I want to do. Somehow I missed out on the dancing and singing genes and now that’s all I want to do, sing. Love songs, hate songs, rock and roll, folk ballets, any song, just as long as I can sing it. I’ll do anything that proves I have some special talent.
Then you touch my arm and laugh, “You can really belt it out.”
“It’s for you,” I say, “sorry it’s not very good.”
Then I realize I don’t have to be good and just because I can’t sing doesn’t mean I can’t get what I want. You’re still sitting next to me, besides singing is fun.
“That doesn’t matter, you’re still my angel,” you tell me and kiss my hand as if I’m royalty.
With my best flirty eyes, I ask, “So what do you want for dinner?”
* Terry McKee lives in southern Florida, with her husband, three dogs, two horses, numerous lizards and six dragon flies.
In the morning
In the morning,
i taste your funeral.
Even the radiators' anthem
(Theirs the only music
until the first psalm).
the compartments of breakfast cutlery;
we fall between the forks.
In the moments prior to your departure
the dark coats fold on us;
a clouded navy blue,
a sentried black.
And all the dawns
through the milk spout
on the cereal.
* Helen Pletts is a regular IS&T contributor and has a new collection coming out in 2009.
Ink Sweat & Tears has launched a chapbook publishing venture. We were going to call it El Cheapo Chapbooks however somebody has already nabbed that name – but the sentiment remains the same: to publish low cost chapbooks with a minimalist production process that should appeal to the pockets of audiences AND still generate a royalty for the authors.
Yes, we did say royalties. This is not a vanity publishing operation nor one of those hocus-pocus pamphlet competitions, where the entry fees of canon fodder competitors subsidise the producing of the winning pamphlet. Instead, we are operating on a commercial basis, evaluating the content of submissions, publishing chapbooks, selling them online – and paying their authors a royalty. Typically, a 40-page chapbook will sell for £3.50 – which equates to a royalty of 20% (or 70p) for every copy sold. Authors will automatically receive 4 free copies of their chapbook however (because the reality of poetry publishing is most copies are shifted at readings and performances) authors will also be able to buy bulk copies of their chapbooks at a cost price of £2.00 + p&p. This, incidentally, is not a pre-requisite – and in fact there are no fees, hidden costs or charges that we will suddenly spring upon an author. (We will also automatically produce a digital version of the chapbook, which authors can publish on their own websites.)
Currently we have an e-commerce facility linked to this site (see the Chap Book Shop graphic & link in the right-hand column) which lets you buy online via PayPal (and credit card) however from New Year we will also have titles listed on Amazon.
And, as with all Ink Sweat & Tears ventures, we are doing this without any public funding or subsidies.
John Irvine says “This isn't exactly a haiga but rather a limerick set into a photo I took not far from where I live…”
I do not see the ancient men
I feel their eyes upon me in the undergrowth
where foxes bark at night
behind the trunks of trees
half blackened by the rain.
The birds are silent here but
hidden in the canopy they watch
the fusion of the present and the past.
Sensing movement I turn round to see
the tangled ropes which gently swing
in glutinous, grey light
where bodies thin as air and dry as dust
have nudged them passing through
and I would like to know
if they see flesh and bone
and footprints on the muddy track
and in another thousand years from now,
if I, as thin as air and dry as dust,
will peer from undergrowth
where foxes bark at night,
and watch the flesh and bone and footprints
on the ancient, muddy track.
* Kate Pottinger is one of the co-founders of an arts cafe set up by one of IS&T's regular contributors Mandy Pannett and says this poem “rather came out of nowhere one damp afternoon in November when I was walking my dog in the woods.” She adds “I have been working on a novel for the last ten plus years and finished the final draft earlier this year amidst great celebrations and sighs of relief from those who had seen me through the very lengthy labour to the birth! Now the question is, what do I do with it?”