Category Archives: Poetry

Poetry

Rufo Quintavalle ~ Three Poems

A week, a year, whateverrufoQ

i.

So many
 	   have 
started

out from silence		   
but I will start
		from
something else

		like

maybe the sprawl
of this afternoon.


ii.

After all
	     it really
has everything 
		in it:

a tree, some noise
of cars
	
and not
	so long ago
lunch.


iii.

For the longest time

I worried
	      people
would come
	         up over

the wall
	    and
get me
	but I don’t

worry about that

anymore

even as I speak

a column of silica
is blowing over
Europe
	and all that
seems to matter
		  are
the cancelled flights


I’m not even sure 
this goal
	     getting
the point
	    of view

which would be
truly
	detached
from
	our own

self-interest
	          is
desirable
	    but still
from time
	    to time

I wish we’d try


always to deny

the angelic
	        in
our nature
	     seems
to be
         the only role

someone decided
to leave the poets

well
	whoever they
were
	I never met
them
         and their dicta

carry small weight
with me

no, I think
	     the wall
will hold
	    just fine
and if
	it doesn’t

let them
	     come.



iv.

In the street
	        it is

time for
	  the children

to be picked up
from school
	         they
will all go
	     home
or more
	    likely

(it is sunny
 	       today 

like it hasn’t
	         been
in weeks)

	    to a park

but one of the
	           boys
is crying.


v.

This funny thing

happened
	    then
I went 
	up
	     on 
the roof
	  and a
strong wind 
picked up
	    just as

the restaurant

switched off
	        their
extractor fan

so one sound
stopped
	when
the other
	   began

and the wind

carried off
the cooking smells

and

       tossed them
with
        the cumulus.


vi.

So you see, there really is everything.

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Poetry

Todd Swift ~ Five Poems

MYSTERY GIRL DELUXEtoddswift1

It was never quite the kiss or weather.
We fell down after reading together
Simply since love is a matter of fact
At Easter; it often follows the act

Of indiscipline, the shifting feathers
That transform a swan; bars of leather
Were not our scene, but we attacked
Ideas of unison with underage tact.

We ached to wake up as F. Kafka;
Cherry-balmed lips the morning after.
It was sub-zero that April in Montreal;
The metro was blue; the turnstile

Saw us part, Walkman’s synchronised
To Orbison’s dream tears in our eyes.

Half A Cup Is Better Than One

The sun of course and being guided by Amazon
Into Tweens in Music, not Books. Flannery
O’Connor wrote to Alfred about unbelief.
I aim for chastity, spill my seed at HDLove.
How was it once we met and courted
Before the zip of the instant cock
Arriving in the palm like Christ?
I ride to my end on an ass
And wave at each frond
Fondly, like a friend
To man and beast.
Go slow, go on.
Lift me, Lord.
I pray up.
I am in
The way
Of need.
Bring a chalice
To my sensuous
Lips. Bill me monthly
For my insatiable greed.
The flies raft on my semen
Like a damned umbrella drink
Was in the making. I swizzle in
So many ways, my soul is slickness
Itself. I have arm-wrestled unarmed
Men and downed scorpions in one, like
Bond when he was at his very lowest ebb.
Satan gave me the part of my life in his web.
I play myself but this time famous on NYC smack

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Poetry

J. Kirk Maynard ~ Three Poems

Fourth & FoundJMaynard

somewhere where in the universe between an adverb &
a preposition there I came to some conclusions let me
explain it was spring and I attended a poetry lecture at
the armory in central park that is to say in central park
my self sat in the armory while my mind as it willed
it whorled between the now & then & to-be
a ponderosa climbing toward the canyon’s blue roof and
I heard a poet say out into the garden to stepping out & into
perhaps because we sat inside perhaps perhaps because we sat
in chairs & fashionable feather-light scarves curved round
our necks for gravitas & vestem populi and she
spoke and we listened the windows were closed I stood
at the farthest edge of field looking over looking toward as she spoke
out into the exiting & introduction of space my conclusions were

heel clap on concrete an eruption an interruption takes place
on boulevards door-stops sewer grates I say I know the signs
of space signified by place but what I mean I mean is
hinges on a door to where a cornerstone’s weight unfolds
from the crate it arrived in from the mountain it was quarried in
to sit still and mean seat, center, or home but where was the bedrock
heaved? who dug the hole? and how I’ve stood up now there’s
hollow silence where my voice had been the poet says well, ah
but what did I mean I meant a door to a wilderness opens
and a city steps out steps out into the fields the groves the marshes
are drained where we sit in our chairs and murmur a plank in Reason
broke I see the barn’s grey & rotted wood topple o’er and write it
we the wrong angels dress the emperor we from an O
make the covenant but what I mean will be my covenant

out of the atmosphere of the smog the helix of the skyline
& partially the sunlight & partially my brain at its periphery
the sky at Classon Ave. as I crossed the line of midtown Manhattan
took the clouds to form the purple-blue mountain pinnacles
the Mission mountains across the continent formed from the corner
because a certain slanting light in the middle of Classon because
I wandered lonely drop-kicked & strained out and I
from my eye turned to it the trick & slant & vision burst
but the peaks remain through the clouds across the country
and the traffic skids past blares avoid or what happens next
you lunatic blind & visited in this noise by ghosts
turnkeys who lift the window let the light trick in & close the blinds
in every room hall elevator avenue staircase sewer the doors
open & close the brick & stone processions the tug the fume the steam

I stand at the farthest edge of field and watch the doors open & close
& open to a greater stillness still surrounded & pecked at by sounds
of sucking mud chatter of crow the lilting whir of chickadee in flight
toward a mournful higher Silence when sky is clear & free who hasn’t
lost their self to that sky’s undying consummation? my purpose is
to feel a field’s expanse & be enlightened by its reel of blue
morning fog rolling from marsh to roadside ditch before the sun
before the first rise & shine up & at’em before the first bell told
the counting hour and household gods stopped visiting the gourds
& banquet platters that is when the city’s angular storm broke
& rose the concrete through the earth I’ll stay where the roots
can worm & cling and this is mine this mossy rock & spring
without signpost signature or preposition I am an endless rest

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Poetry

Robin Archbold ~ Three Poems

robinarchboldIn 2009, I saw A film titled No One Knows About Persian Cats. It was about the underground music scene in Iran, and the persecution of its practitioners. It inspired a story, and the poem Abid’s Playing Air Guitar. In July 2014, the Revolutionary Court of Iran sentenced writer and poet Arzhang Davoodi to death on the charge of Mohharabeh, ‘enmity against God.’ He was co-founder of the Confederation of Iranian Sudents, which has been a major organisation in the resistance to the Iranian regime, campaigns against theocracy, and in favor of a democratic transition. He is one of many writers, musicians and artists killed and persecuted by the regime, and to whom this work is dedicated.

Abid’s Playing Air Guitar

Abid’s playing air guitar
sitting in a cellar bar in downtown Tehran
shades on a disfigured face
blind eyes focussed on some faraway place
where he’s hearing the music
got stumps for arms
hands are gone
but he’s fully groovin
body movin
got some serious internal dialogue going on
if some nosy mullah looks in
looking for sin
he’ll just see some mutilated blind kid waving his stumps in the air
having a fit on speed or crack or despair he’s supposing
but in fact Abid’s composing a song
he’s composing a song to God

He was a trainee suicide bomber
had a little wardrobe malfunction
lucky fella got a death injunction from Allah
got extreme unction but didn’t die
shrapnel in his eye
shrapnel in his head
hands blown off but he ain’t dead
woke up blind in a hospital bed
with a ringing in his ears
then the ringing got a rhythm
he heard singing through his tears
heard angels singing with him
heard angels singing with him

Two nurses in the room
Gita and Mahsheed
their names mean song and moon
two angels singing with joy
in a ward full of broken boys
a vengeful god’s toys
poisoned inside
damaged or died
flung aside
martyrs for a holy cause
just sign the registration papers
and the glory will be yours
noble story will be yours
while the laws that allow this
ban a public kiss and western music and women from singing
but there’s a song in every human heart and how do you stop the moon?

These girls don’t see anything wrong with a song
these girls don’t follow orders
call themselves the Olive Daughters
after the female suicide bomber squad
they’re listening to their own god
and they’re singing the music
they’re bringing the music
at raves in the forests below the ancient ruins of Persopolis
and sound-proofed underground bars in the metropolis
cranking out reggae, rap, jazz, electronica, the Veronicas,
trance dance seventeenth century Iranian poetry set to modern Persian Rock

hip hop, indy pop, be-bop, it’s all over the shop and the shop’s on fire
a magical musical Muslim jihad waiting for a messiah
waiting for a messiah

Now he’s a few years older
sitting in a packed cellar bar in downtown Tehran
Olive Daughter at each shoulder
shades on a disfigured face
blind eyes focussed on some faraway place
where he’s hearing the music
got stumps for arms
hands are gone
but he’s fully groovin
the whole room is movin
they got some serious musical dialogue going on
and the pilgrims they come from near and far
by foot and bike and bus and plane and train and car
to see Abid and the Olive Daughters rapping out a song to God
and Abid playing air guitar
Abid’s playing air guitar
and rapping out a song to God

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Poetry

Joanna C. Valente ~ Four Poems

My Vagina Will Be the Death of MeJoanna-c-Valente

In the morning a storm like breath
dimming in dread, twists like silver
around fingers, a bit too tight
so it leaves a mark, almost stops
blood but faintly quivers back–

larger like smoke from a house
fire–blacker–heavier like
colonial brick. Part of surviving
is to keep moving, grow up
& ignore the distance where

dogs sometimes bark–most
people will try to write a novel
without using their hands, praying
to a sack of human bones dug up
in the sand, asks WebMD if

we’re hypochondriacs, if a man’s
hand at the base of a woman’s
vulva is haunted with alien symbols,
is a weapon salting infertility,
is an abandoned Victorian decomposing

in Louisiana heat, his hand over
her mouth stales her desire for
anything, her mind sets an ultimatum:
Heaven or Brooklyn? When she
gets home she tweets #StruggleCity

& cuts an apple like sun lighting
the holes between maple branches,
a voice wafting a million years homeless
like burning garbage the shape of
woman’s first body, a hole drilled down

the middle of a long damaged earth.

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Poetry

Jennifer McBain-Stephens ~ Three Poems

Field and Stream:Jennifer-McBain-Stephens
Joan’s Mise-en-scene

She was remembering that she was remembering…

Stallions writhed in the
Sully-sur-Loire muck
Manes tangled up amongst
legs and soap opera sighs
Sunken curvatures, broken
backs backed into themselves

Joan pulls an arrow
out of her own neck
ties bloodlines
eats grub infested porridge
covers her face in mud
Hundreds of years later

The overly footnoted painting
By Ingres
Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII
revered by thousands
Hangs in the Louvre
Glows in red and silver

Commissions made:
Give her long hair
Put her in a dress

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Poetry

Ali Znaidi ~ Six Poems

The StatutesAli-Znaidi

Enfolding you in the mysticism of ancient epochs
& current times, they talk vibrant history, either
beautifully sculptured or amputated— [a good
exercise in the historiography of resistance]. Don’t
forget they tend to liken themselves to pieces
of literature, too[eloquence w/out words]. They
stretch out in museums’ halls [hallmark of pride].
I can hear them telling their stories of resistance,
reminding people of resisting howling winds,
heavy rain, & wars. Though fragile statutes lost
a hand or a leg, they [oftentimes] keep the head
because their heads are stuffed w/ the dream
of eternity— a resistance against decay, &
a refusal to look back in grief.

Adventure

Scattered foam, a paroxysm of floating
bubbles. From forgotten surfaces the sea
spits sapphire blaze. The seagulls contour
the sea’s waves like Gothic arches—a shield
against the tyrannical wind/ a C-clamp
holding waves together. & the lumbering
birds cut the sky’s timber, lubricating
an artist’s mind.||Wandering boats, errant
rants, sowing your oats.||
& adventure is not but a boat named courage,
sharing the sea with the Gothic
seagulls.

Eye

The eye is not just an apparatus through
which you can see your world.
The eye is something more dangerous
than that because it has a cheetah inside.
The eye is a cougar chasing preys &
always keeps chasing more.
& the more it preys, the more the limitation
thread unravels.
Eye only connotes a power lust—
a cougar w/ paws always sharp.
& the history of eye is the geography of
its stretching gaze.

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Poetry

Lisa Marie Basile ~ A Poem

nycterinelisa-marie-basile

I confess dissociative,
swing a heavy summer down on me.            I will not falter
but I am fall.

 

If it seems I have flowered,    you are mistaken.
Our night attracts
simpler things.         Other things we don’t see.
That I might be bright white,
a visible thing.          I am not a visible thing.

 

I am steeple, pure, filled of daydead.           I am its pupil.
Not dull, or charred,
or fragment.      Not piled.                 I am
the holder of small things      and the other body
of my body.

 

I read all the books. I opened them
one by one.        I startled it,             night,               and said sorry.
As if the shapes were not mine,         but a star deflated.
I wished for it to be like this:
The small round table: forlorn as children, me standing
with finger on splinter,           on edge. The table collects us
when we come near it.

 

We gather around it               and make of
the shapes.

The fountain: I came to it, to throw coins in.
The water was cool
and sullied.                 I saw it and felt it did not see me.
And I see, I saw. I saw, I’ve seen
what the sounds of space have made: a basin of body, a swell, a ravine
where water is water and water is me.

 

The white plate,         I broke it.
I mean, I dropped it,
and it broke.      One piece is here,
the other buried                      as a sick lover
in the meadow.                       It is meaning, the meaning of something
that kills me: this porcelain thing.                 That it is,
and is not,         that it lives and does not.

 

A little blood in the cracks,
a spoil of self,    all made to say hello
I am here.                   

© Lisa Marie Basile

Lisa Marie Basile is the author of APOCRYPHAL. Her poetry and other work can be seen in the Best American Poetry, PANK Magazine, Tin House, The Nervous Breakdown, Johns Hopkin’s The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Huffington Post and Prick of the Spindle, among others. She is the editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine and a co-curator for Diorama, a NYC-based collaborative poetry/music salon. Stay Thirsty Media recently featured her as an emerging poet worth reading. She is a graduate of the New School’s MFA in Writing program, and works as an editor.  

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