Thursday, June 07, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George










If you want to write, then write

(for the Kenyan philosopher Nyambura Kiarie)

   You can see it if you look closely enough. Even
    the comets step out in faith. The meteors. People.
    Volcanoes. Even the patterns on your flesh have
    a complex. Prayer to me is like air. My reading
    hands are greedy for the sunlight. The palace of
    the sun. The sun, well, she’s moving. Revelatory.
    Even the holy is visible here. I can see it. I can see
    it. I’m full of laughter and tears. My heart is open.
    Willing to share the inheritance of futility and loss
    found there in the silence and the empty rooms
    of my childhood house. I think of how I know the
    tastes of childhood trauma, like I know the smell
    of spaghetti. It’s an ancient landscape. Seldom
    glorious unless it is overcome. I think of the
    therapists I’ve been to, how many of them have
    been Indian women, and beautiful. I think of class
    and speaking English proper all my life. I think
    of my sadness, and then I think of you. Now let
    me talk about broken families. Your wit is warm-
    hearted but your heart is condescending and cold.
    You call me up when you’re lonely. You’re digging,
digging, digging into me, and I’m branching out
    into particles. We have to tell our stories. The
    leaves here are holy. Sister has a voice of longing.
    Brother’s clothes are on the bedroom floor. I
    live in mother’s house. She wants me gone like
    yesterday. I think that the gifts of humanity are

    like the ocean. That same ocean also belongs to
    my mother. The sadness that was there before is
    gone now. I am caught up in a dream. I have yet

    to find a being to be with, live a lifetime with,
    settle down, marry, and have those children with
    the angelic shine on their faces. Thank you for

    not calling. Thank you for not texting me. Thank
    you for this long silence. For this pain. I think of
the fact that I am no longer afraid to close my eyes.

    You were something beautiful. An altar. I think of
    the retreat of solitude and futility. Their exposure.
Lava. The anointed. Wherever the soul comes from.


- Abigail George 2018


Abigail George is the author of Africa Where Art Thou, Feeding the Beasts, All About My Mother, Winter in Johannesburg, Brother Wolf and Sister Wren, Sleeping Under the Kitchen Tables in Helenvale, and the novella The Scholarship Girl. She is a South African blogger, essayist, poet, short story writer, and has just completed her first novel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Poetry by MTC Cronin










My Soul

is a tapestry where the moths
go to eat.

It is a tree
filled with wounded birds.

My soul is not a phrase
but its intonation,

belonging to the voice
and not to the family of words.

When I speak of it
it laughs like a holiday.

My soul is mother-of-pearl.
My mouth a travesty.


Goat-like

Goat-like, I hang around
what binds me.

I can’t get away,
pick everything clean.

I have no idea
what’s around my neck.

Who tied me up here
to my life.


Here is Thunder (The Harvest)

Here is thunder –
Here is barking dogs –
Here is the heaviest salt and the coldest stone.
Here is an actual man and an actual woman
who have lost their north and south.
Their hearts flicker like shadows on a wall.
The star that left the firmament
has entered their loving and their killing.
Unembraceable and unadmittable
they move empty-handed
through the harvest.
The sun does not heed them.
Even gathered they are not together.
The storm passes
and forgets them.


Before It

‘The cormorant is precisely.’
‘Its wings scrape the shore.’

Before it
meaning goes down on one knee
and proposes to the broken and harnessed.


It Wasn't the Stars

It wasn’t the stars
that surrounded them
but they pretended
not to be afraid of the stars.

With eyes full of light
they’re suddenly beached
right here where the universe
washed up beauty.

Vulgar, their herding.


Teaspoon

Today I almost slipped entirely
out of the ego.
Only a slight poignant sucking remained.

That ocean of trolls
lapping at God’s medicinal teaspoon.


See the Path

See the path become dark.

Where the light travels to obscure everything
in the precise appearance of itself
see the path become dark.


- MTC Cronin 2018


MTC Cronin is the author of twenty books of poetry and winner of numerous awards and international plaudits. She currently lives in south-east Queensland where she grows a very hot pepper, one of which may or may not have inspired the bluepepper.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Poetry by Vivienne Mohan










Twenty years or more it'll take

There’s a pen, a book, an apple, a
paperclip, a notepad, on my desk.
There is a tree, a water-pipe,
outside my window.
There is a small cut,
on my right temple on my face.
There is a small temple built
on my palm. Blood,
on a tissue in the bin
by my desk.
There is maths in my bed
under the covers,
taking the physical form
of a curled snake. There
is physics hurting my childhood.
Advanced formulas for motion
leaning on new bricks,
that I have sculpted.
Little x’s and flight
cover the floorboards
like thorns.
There is a larger me
in the doorway, approving
that I have my lamp on,
waiting to guide me back,
in miscellaneous memory,
so that I can work
harder this time.
I don’t want to go
to the classroom again.
Literature is somehow mixed up,
with a plot against forgetting.


- Vivienne Mohan 2018


Minibar

I complain about ridiculous things so
I can be shot down. The hotel room, I say,
is not enough like home. And home,
does not have enough open roads.

They say I’m ungrateful. With this in mind
I close my eyes and picture the breeze.
Ah yes, I say, I can feel it now. Thank-you.


- Vivienne Mohan 2018



Vivienne Mohan is a nineteen-year-old Queensland poet. She began writing in 2016 and in that same year was the runner-up of the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Competition for an unpublished first manuscript. A septet of poems by her mother, MTC Cronin, will appear in Bluepepper shortly.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Poetry by Rob Walker










not hearing myself on the radio

Ockham’s Razor, ABC, May 10, 2015

after a restless night i halfwake 
hear a man’s voice 

another second or two 
recognize words i once wrote 

realize with the concluding sentence 
the voice is mine

delivering the talk i’d recorded 
a year ago 

and now 
just missed…


- Rob Walker 2018


Rob Walker is a South Australian writer of poetry, memoir and short fiction. He is currently putting the final touches to a mixed-genre collection dedicated to misfits entitled Square Pegs.





Friday, May 18, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson










Biographical Hands

I visited the great tombs of Switzerland.
No, it was Egypt.
No, it was Rome.
They swirl the same, embarrassing
my intelligence,
memory.
They were catacombs, pale pyramids
of controversial stone;
the Alps.

The snow was pernicious, or was it sand?
obstructionist;
it took no sides, melted to grime,
or ground away to glass.

I am fastidious, I wash my hands
on Easter, and every other death day,
rinsing perpetually. They say Auden
seldom washed, so I’ll not
favour that path...maybe the worst
of Englishness;
I’m happy to dabble with clean, clear
poets I know, in spite of old talent,
despite
lean, old-world archaeologies.

This is the wrong key, it sticks
and doesn’t turn. Damn, I can’t keep
repeating this dream/non-action,
dying disproportionately; my given hours
run out, basalt
blocks my way. Where are the literal keys,
lifting heavy in my hands, yet
smooth and crafted well
for opening?

They have made CERN, the abyss,
constructed it from what they know,
and the rest. That
is my Switzerland...

and my outrageously cool, paralysed boy
looks at me and says
It’s only a body anyway, isn’t it, Mum?
pointedly challenging
all
my powdering snow,
and icicles;
free-heeling it down,
roughcast, offering
a demo of slalom for sarcophaga,

unshod, sounder of mind
than any genius,
conflating history
with pure will, waving,
with no hands,
to travellers.


- Linda Stevenson 2018


A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies, recently published in various literary magazines. Chapbook "The Tipping Point" published in 2015, active as a poet within the online poetry sector.





Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Poetry by Lesley Synge










Captain Garibaldi of the Trader Carmen in 1852

‘Yes men. Here on the Pacific we are becalmed. But our luck
will change, our sails will fill. Sailors – pluck!
we are no hermaphrodites, we’re men
and we’ll see a port and women again.
We’ll soon be drinking in a Chilean bar
while the hold is emptied of silk and items chinois
and then we’ll sail on with copper for Lima. 
A man must have faith, be a dreamer!’

On the infinite ocean there’s scope to curse – 
or wank, or pray. Me? I’d rather write verse.
I’ve a new subject – the stone cottage we saw
that day in Bass Strait when we put ashore.
I remember the notice on the door: Leaving
this island. Such loneliness – nevermore.
For me though, solitude is what a zealot needs between fights.
But somewhere warm. Mar Tirreno by Christ?
Off Sardinia perhaps? Goats instead of police spies?
Unpopulated; not even a church and a priest with his lies.
I swear by the Laterna of Genoa, my beacon
that my religion is humanity! And freedom!
Popes, dukes, kings, republicans – hear me bellow –
call your exile home, I spit on embroglio.

‘Alora lads, don’t despair. Our water’s gone but don’t get shirty.
Rain will fall. We won’t perish. I’m too young – barely thirty.
Rally lads. Viva Italia Una!
Instead of ship rats, we’ll soon eat tuna.’

(Note: Garibaldi called into Three Hummock Island off northwest Tasmania in 1852.)

- Lesley Synge 2018


Lesley Synge is an Australian writer. Her poetry collections are Organic Sister and Mountains Belong to the People Who Love Them. The film, Slow Days on Old Pathways is on YouTube and novel, Cry Ma Ma to the Moon (about poets in a love triangle), is on Amazon Kindle. 





Thursday, May 10, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George










Your grandfather and winter trees in London

(For the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

    My dearest boy. My sweet child. There’s a
    Long road to spirituality. A quartet, a feast.

A moveable feast, an ex-President Thabo Mbeki, John Nash,
Jerome David Salinger. You’re fed stories
About ghosts and zombie princesses by me.
Nothing but rusk and rooibos tea with milk.
Angel face I don’t want you to end up a broken
Man. I want you to hold a map in your hands
For all your life. Black is the water. Black is
Winter. The suffering. Poverty. I think of the
Depths of the ocean with fifty different kinds
Of vision. You’re the sea. You’re the sea. To me
Though you’re dry grass. You’re dry grass.
It’s lovely to dream. To know that you’re mine.
Part of me. Even my anguish and loneliness.
Even my powers of what I find relevant, and yes,
Even my pain. I am all-powerful. As powerful
As any single and intelligent woman nearing
Her forties can be. It’s a gift. It’s a gift. Born
Knowing. Acknowledging freedom. The heat
Of regret can damage. You looked at me through
Another man’s eyes and said what a waste of
A human life if you do not live, laugh, love,
Socialize, but I could not, will not yield to that.
It will destroy me if I did any of that but you
Don’t understand. I do know joy but only in writing
About life and the last person I have ever truly

Loved. I think of Grahamstown, Swaziland,
Montagu and Sedgefield and what the future holds
For me. Weeping passes through me. Sobs. It’s
Not as if I show regret on my face the morning
After anymore. I still know your name. That you’re
Great at what you do. All I want to do is catch
Up to the winter sun. All I want is to know you again.
But you’re not my man. You’re not my boy. You’re
Not mine but now I must speak in a language
Every mother understands. You’re Truman Capote’s
Music. You’re climate and mockingbird. You’re
Humming my kind of blues. Yes, I’ll remember
You in the same way I’ve loved every man who has
Entered my life. Take a bow. I think of the light
That swimmers’ must have in their eyes at the local
Swimming pool and I begin to write poetry.
Words come. They come and I write. Words come and
I write. I think of when I started to write this
Book. It would be so wrong to write only about
Love, or only about despair, and then I think
Back to what inspired me in the first place.
The tiny well that we dug up in the grass at the
Back of the house where I buried the limp body
Of your kitten and how it was mostly your grandfather
Who wanted to keep it a secret from you.


- Abigail George 2018



Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet, short story writer and has just completed her first novel. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies, and she was educated in Port Elizabeth, Swaziland, and Johannesburg.



Friday, May 04, 2018

New Poetry by Peter Venables










Cruzen Rum Shack 

Sunday. Well before Happy Hour.
Palm trees sway like masts where
a blackbird rides against cloudy crests.
A windswept man strums his acoustic,
rasps It’s better than drinking alone

Pop tops percuss across the pool,
wafting memories of the Wit’s End
eons ago, when smoke blunted floodlights. 

They bask, oil simmering on bronze skin. 
1 = 10 . . . behind shades my eyes 
sculpt her supple shape. 

A few distant embers glow, fade.
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight

Last chorus.


- Peter Venables 2018


Peter Venable has written poems for over 50 years and attends Winston Salem Writers’ poetry critique group.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Poetry by Robert Verdon










hummingbird

glib 
sun
hummingbird,
if you vanish into a vortex 
wherein the dibbler dines 
on petals of dissolved earth,
grounded beneath childhood pines
and a navy blue neckerchief of sky …

o nimble membrane,
will not the waiter leave you jostling
with grains of sugar on an 
inland sea of chilly plastic,
sticky on the damp octagonal table,
till he has his own restaurant?


- Robert Verdon 2018


Robert Verdon came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. His books include The Well-Scrubbed Desert (1994), Her Brilliant Career (1998), & Before we Knew this Century (2010).

He is currently finishing off a PhD at the University of Canberra.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Poetry by JD DeHart










Encroachment

On the window to the left,
the neighbor closing in.  Large
vans, gas grills, overtaking
with suburban life.

To the right, it was a vacant
lot, now overrun with chickens,
rabbits, a teeming zoo of human
and animal life.

Then there are the fast-moving cars,
children dressed as superheroes,
frequent deliveries, all of which
brings to mind:

What used to be life in the country.
The slow rumble of gravel once
or twice a day signaled a passerby.
Enough silence to dwell on.


- JD DeHart 2018


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He blogs about books and authors at readingandlitresources.blogspot.com.