Friday, February 23, 2018

New Poetry by Rajnish Mishra


How can I ever return to my city now? I’ll need a time back,
and me back from that time. I’ll need them back too, men and 

children and plants, and a cow, yes the cow that would come
to the door for me to rub its back, then leave, every day.

That time and place, this time and place, complete my city of the
Too many deaths in twenty three days have hit me hard,

kept me shaken for minutes at length. Death
is not to be trifled with, and flash: images

of a street, they sell fish and vegetables for some length
on it and then there’s a bend, the end of the street,

and then I return. Early this morning an aunt passed away,
yes, that’s what we called her. We’d been neighbors

my whole life and that of our families for as long
as we have lived in our houses. I am far removed in place,

in grief too. Or else, how do I explain my not rushing
back where I’m needed? I have changed. I have come a long way

from my home, from myself. I think I understand
Tithonus’ wish* a little. It becomes difficult to live

once all have gone, and those around are not your people,
the time and place also not yours. Then a shadow walks,

a ghost in a shell, and waits for

- Rajnish Mishra 2018

* Tithonus, lover of Eos, Goddess of the Dawn, also the subject of a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson in which he despairs of his immortal state and expresses a longing to die.

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. His work has now started appearing in journals and websites.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Poetry by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Minotaur Snow

Gosh - 
the goring Minotaur snow has it in for me, falling thick and
plastered and sideways into my one good face, I turn away
but it finds me and gores again, I wince with aging matador’s knowing –
what the hell did Ovid know about the snow?  His Minotaur was probably
no more than a passing hangover at the foot of a creaky bed,
I really can’t stand another winter like this; Man Ray’s Minotaur
was just a bisected Elizabeth Short as the Black Dahlia, he even threw in
Les Amoureux for luck, but this winter, my Minotaur, keeps biting the face
with an unrelenting cold; slashing across borrowed keepsakes
I drop in a rush and leave to the dirty snow.

- Ryan Quinn Flanagan 2018

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Antigonish Review, Vallum, Existere, Red Fez, and The Dalhousie Review.

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Poetry by Chris Hopkins


Runestone’s colour has gone. 
Though the wild flowers are still in it’s mouth.
The dead still boast of themselves off the worked plane.

Translation, typed
on the small white card, tilted at it’s foot.
Corners as sharp as the cutting tool.

A dead thousand years pass for the stone
without its master
while the pinned winged bugs lament their century’s end.
An ex’s photograph in the land fill
my closest claim to being found in history
when all the zeros and ones of my foot prints 
are on the moon.

A silent cabaret of faces in a focus switch
through the viewing glass
to the ancient stone.

Wire songbirds wait for me
in the next cabinet along.

- Chris Hopkins 2018

Christopher Hopkins grew up in Neath, South Wales during the 1970’s surrounded by a landscape of machines and mountains.  Christopher currently resides in the Canterbury area with his wife and baby daughter. His debut chapbook ‘Take Your Journeys Home’ (Clare Songbirds Publishing House) has been nominated for the IPPY book award for poetry. He has also received two Pushcart Prize nominations for his poems ‘Sorrow on the Hill’ and ‘Smoke and Whiskey’. His second chapbook ‘The Last Time We Saw Strangers’ is due out in Spring 2018. His work has been published in multiple publications including The Morning Star,  Backlash Press and The Paragon Journal.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton

Shirt from a Parachute/ a Paratrooper declines

have you seen jelly fish falling from the sky
in a drumming to send the ocean up in the banging
of children turned to flour bags crashing
by a mess spilled off the back of an atlas
where families are scattered like blown out candles
of a roaring to broken ears as blindness seethes
tossed by fire left gas for oxygen
liberated now given the freedom to gasp

coming in behind all the suites of arguments
the remains of what used to be loudly persist
like stomped puff balls the houses below
spidery handwriting that became running people
in unnatural twilight this mushroom fantasy
blew where it could sometimes reddened
as the sunset of diving boots ricocheted
around the twirling batons of stationary lives

silk from a grandfather’s parachute
buttons made from the unforgetfulness of ivory
stains for the concerto’s keys opened in ribbing ornaments
gardener’s hands struggle on the release
of looped holes where eyelets string years to moments
blurs stepping stones flaps horizon wings
flattens the contours in the navigator’s handbook
laid out the terrain of death has no foreign descents

- James Walton 2018

James Walton is a Gippsland poet.

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

Genna Gardini * (an experimental poem in twelve haiku)

You’re brave mountain grass –
You have a future filled with instinct.
Your purpose sacred.

Rereading the-astonishing –
Sleep tight under London skies (words are supposed to be touching).
I peel your poems back.

Falling sun-flying-high. Thunder –
in my hands I hold the cold (and in yours)
there’s tapestry.

The aroma of rest (in your arms) –
The-life. Created holiness (of you found there)
in the self-defined skies.

When the night is ready-for-you –
in moonlight wails sacred bird (in another life)
perhaps you’re that bird.

You’re created in buzz-and-motion –
(Flicker) flying high in those self-defined skies.
I bow at your half-words.

My bleak truth for yours –
in this bold world you’re gold (forehead pale)
feet. Hands made from clay.

By the grace of God –
Instead-of-waiting for the end of the world (you’re)
song at summer’s end.

(You) conceive words in truth –
You’ve-left-behind-politics. Vicious days. Spiteful heat (now you’re)
one peaceful valley (in London).

Divided shadows –
This strange gladness. Tender. Wise (I forget the voices inside my head)
the apparition.

On the verge of cracking-up –
I don’t see you in the morning (I don’t get to cherish you).
I am not the one.

Your tongue is a flame –
Face-a-mask-of concentration. Focus. (accept this tribute)
I wrote this heartfelt.

- Abigail George 2018

* Genna Gardini is a Cape Town poet and writer.

Pushcart Prize nominee Abigail George is a South African-based blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School n Johannesburg followed by a stint at a production company. She has received two writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and another from ECPACC in East London.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Poetry by John Sweet

willingly into oblivion

was young and saw the
world as it was

laughed against the pale flesh of
yr stomach
and you asked me what was funny

asked if i’d
remember this moment in ten years
                                  or in twenty

asked like there were lives
depending on it and so i
said yes

traced the curve of yr breasts with
my free hand and
said yes

started waiting for
that day to arrive

- John Sweet 2018

John Sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living.  A believer in writing as catharsis.  an optimistic pessimist.  Opposed to all organized religion and political parties.  Avoids zealots and social media whenever possible.  His latest collections include  APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press) and BASTARD FAITH (2017 Scars Publications).  All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Poetry by Rob Walker

free in philadelphia

poignancy visiting a nation’s birthplace
while on cnn cops are shooting unarmed teens
as trump rises

the country’s first stockmarket, the bourse,
now symbolically a shopping mall
with philly cheese steaks

a rushed visit downstairs to the restroom,
a full-length mirror mistaken for a doorway
and my skull splits at the eyebrow

a crack in the liberty bell

- Rob Walker 2018

Rob Walker has produced six poetry collections, the most recent being tropeland (Five Islands Press, 2015), Original Clich├ęs (Ginninderra Press, 2016) and Policies & Procedures (Garron Publishing, 2016). His short fiction, memoir and essays have appeared in journals in the US and Australia and on ABC Radio National. He is one of a group of SA poets who will be reading their work at Adelaide Writers Week on March 6, 2018.

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

The child at fifty three

The drooling dog runs behind
This abstract bicycle reciting
Kant whist understanding none
Of the Categorical Imperative

“And Why…!”you may ask
Or so no dogs speak in
Nietzschian  aphorisms to
Passing cats and diplomats

Here am I at a place destined
By the number that Pascal
Designed as the shape of air
The child never grows too far from the tree

Standing down as the child
Where once poetic muses
Flittered and danced: as Rimbaud
Remains, in this beautiful stench

They Look up: They look along
Thinking that this carcass is too
Far devoid of youth as it
Crumbles in a sewer of mediocrity

Look back down the path
Blood falls from the bracken
Of not having: chanced an arm
As a bark is heard in the dark.
                              It goes on….

- Jonathan Beale 2018

Jonathan Beale is from Surrey England, his work is seen in over fifty journals, as Danse Macabre, Penwood Review, Sheepshead review et al  and has a volume called Destinations of Raxiera (2015) and currently working on another volume.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

New Poetry by Tug Dumbly

Holding Pattern

Certain days sanity is a smile
traced with a finger
in the condensed breath
on a window pane.
Resolution is WASH ME
fingered in dust
on the back of a car.

Love is fighting hard
and winning the battle
not to slam the cutlery draw.

Certain days Hell is in a sneeze
a wrong turn
a mis-shot word.

We are built upon faith
in limbs and eyes
in work, liquor, a lover
a yielding sky.

But conditions always apply.

Certain days that tiny asterisk*
will expand
like a sphincter
to swallow you whole.

The rich man
ignorant of his sudden poverty
is not unhappy
nor the woman laughing with friends
who is yet to hear
of her drowned child.

- Tug Dumbly 2018

Tug Dumbly has performed his poems, songs and monologues on radio (as a regular on both Triple J and ABC 702), in schools, venues and festivals, both in Australia and abroad. He has released two spoken word CDs through the ABC, once won the Spirit of Woodford storytelling award, at Woodford Folk Festival, twice won the Banjo Paterson Prize for comic verse, and three times won the Nimbin World Performance Poetry Cup, most recently in 2017. He was runner up in the 2015 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, and recently completed a project writing 12 Christmas-themed poems, based on historical documents, for Housing NSW, which were displayed in installations around Sydney’s Rocks area in the 2017 Christmas season.    

Monday, February 05, 2018

New Poetry by Devika Mathur

A Death Star

I feel a sudden twitch
between the penumbra
of sunsets and sunrise.
Equinoctial stardust
choking my cerebrum,
I hear a wave of denouement
clasping, plummeting.
I hear horrors, I see horrors.

I sink into the pool of deaths and lives
counting my fingers, I thrash my hair locks
spin, spin, spin.

My life is a death star
hanging loose in the sky
mocking my decorations, painted.

how many segments form on my elbow?
Detonating like a lizards tail, regeneration.
We often explode in the same process,
My mouth becomes a temple now,
Pollen grains, ashes, memories.

- Devika Mathur 2018

Devika Mathur, a published author and a poet from India is a big-time logophile and a lover of Oxymorons. Her work has been previously published and is upcoming in Visual Verse, Subterranean blue poetry,, Indian Periodicals, Sick Lit mag among various others.

Friday, February 02, 2018

New Poetry by Sharon Phillips

Winter solstice

On a low ridge of hills
wind turbines pause.

Both children have pelted
up the lane to splinter
ice between its ruts.

We follow the children 
and talk. Black soil is stippled
with pale straw. Sunlight
slants our shadows 
across the field:

two pairs of legs, thin 
as dividers in a geometry set,
measure its length; rooks
prod the soil beside our heads.

Beneath a hedge
green buds nudge
through rusty leaves.

Where the lane reaches
its vanishing point
our children wait.

- Sharon Phillips 2018

Sharon’s poems have most recently appeared on Amaryllis, The Poetry Shed and Ink Sweat and Tears, and in Picaroon and Sentinel Literary Quarterly. In 2017 she won the Borderlines Poetry Competition with her poem ‘Tales of Doggerland’ and was also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Poetry by Ashley Capes


we’re supposed to mark each other
you know
exactly how it goes, you know
it’s one of those rules
that govern Life,
the ones that offer a tarnished
kind of comfort
in their supposed iron-cladding
like the ones
that only get fulfilled
in the cosy narratives of midday movies
and Disney
or any given summer’s
and you know
all of this
the way you knew it before we met
but you’re still like me
and you know
it’s not like that on the other side of the screen
or at least it doesn’t
have to be
and so instead of marks
we have always tried to leave behind
the kind of thoughts
if we care to look up and see them
burn their
afterimage across
the entire sky.

- Ashley Capes 2018

Ashley is a poet, novelist and teacher from Australia. He loves haiku, Ghibli films and volleyball.

Friday, January 26, 2018

New Poetry by JD DeHart


Our stories are told through
dust, and the sound of wheels
traveling over coarse earth.

Our stories are told through
struggle, long treks up the river,
unknown forests.

Sometimes our stories are even
told in grand mysteries of the sky,
resurrection touching winter.

Marginal figures who went on
to become the hero of the narrative.

- JD DeHart 2018

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He blogs about books and authors at and publishes poems at

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New Poetry by Heather Browne


There was a break in the ocean
a split 
taking it down to the sand
exposing rock and shell 
hardening in the air 
dying if touched

The ocean wanted to feel the sun 
burning below
the pain sharp and pointed
instead of languid inebriation 
the incessant drunkenness of waves 
even a crash is softened
It wanted to be stripped 
down bare to the spine
where every rock tossed stays implanted
hearing the beat striking
the bottom 
taking hold and digging in 
leaving its mark

- Heather Browne 2018

Heather M. Browne is a faith-based psychotherapist, recently nominated for the Pushcart Award, published in the Orange Room, Boston Literary Review, Page & Spine, Eunoia Review, Poetry Quarterly, Red Fez, Electric Windmill, Apeiron, The Lake, Knot, mad swirl.  Red Dashboard  released her first collection, Directions of Folding.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Poetry by James Croal Jackson

Homesick (Dissociation)

Tulip tree in Alaska. Cold
and wild. Rembrandt blue

Christmas lights, shepherd
pie a warmth of familiar metal

stovetop. Doorstep. Gold
beneath nothing but rusted shovel

mnemonic arms repping
dumbbells. Must be strong

in clumps of conviction. The south
says the creator God’s a yes.

Freeform jazz. Bubbled
champagne. Festivals devoted

to home. Houston before me,
Texas a pink tie knotted.

- James Croal Jackson 2018

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at

Monday, January 22, 2018

New Poetry by Ed Wright

Screen of Death

When people die they go to television
and audition for their elevation.
Some are extra, others star
now it doesn’t matter. In my coffin
on the conveyor to the furnace
I dreamed that I might read the news or sing a song
on a talent show called What Went Wrong.
The flames forgot to touch me, but how to sing
one minute I was there, the next one gone –
a high note for when 
the clot exploded in my brain – sustained like a tragic diva
for the journey up the tunnel
of my last embodied thought:
pancakes hot and syrupy;
the sweet tart slightly gingerpop of blueberries with cream. 
I left my loved ones in the kitchen – now
they’re on the couch – large as life –
of the earth – intangible – 
channel surfing – for me? –
just outside the screen. 
Ghosts are prettier than people– making up for the past – or
just making it up – our blemishes 
are lessened by the lost dimension.
On the third week of my death
I rose again – from the casting couch –
and sang of tinned spaghetti –
May the sauce be with you! 
Sing it like you mean it – the director snarled, 
Then they showered me in the stuff. 
On a nearby set they were sequelling
The Sound of Music – perhaps
I could understudy the captain
and marry sweet Maria.A nice lady, 
who introduced herself
as the executive producer
came over with a towel
have faith, she said, have faith
and then I knew
as I dabbed the gunk from my eyes
that we would shoot the ad 
jingle all the way to hell 
and again 
and again …

- Ed Wright 2018

Ed Wright is the author of six non-fiction books including Lost Explorers (Pier 9) and Ghost Colonies (Pier 9). His first full-length collection of poetry, When Sky Becomes the Space Inside Your Head, was published by Puncher and Wattman in 2012. He currently writes the New Australian Fiction review column for the Australian and is Director of The Creative Word Shop. He lives in Newcastle with his wife and two children.

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Poetry by David Lander

KRIA (young Alpaca) 

For twenty minutes we watched him try to leave his mother. 
He hung like a rag, head down, looking at his new world, 
like a passenger on a cruise ship, curious, astonished 
at soil, smells, grass, but not able to go ashore. 

His skull was wet; white wool tousled like a child’s, towel-rubbed, from the bath. 
He hung upside down, a rabbit in the hand, fighting against the gripping flesh, 
the possessive darkness behind, reaching for this new light, the sweet grass.
He rolled his eyes. 

I gripped his skull, shaped like a cup, fingers round the rim where 
it met the neck and pulled. Nothing. His body was held tight by something 
formidable. His mother, standing still as if this were just another day. 
an occasional grunt suggesting he wasn’t trying hard enough. 

Then out he came, a spindly scaffold of legs and neck. He was active 
on the instant trying to stand, collapsing, wanting to go but remaining, 
desperate to walk, to be, to grow, to taste and see and hear and graze 
and run and rut and call and spit and fight and join.

But the universe crowded in on him. There was no space for him. 
No air moved aside for him, no room was made for him. 
Light bruised him. His mother moved away from him. 
He spoke. He knew. He was not welcome. He folded his knees and sat. 

We stood him up. He sat down. We stood him up. He sat down.
He knew the truth – this place was not for him. We fed him, touched him,
held him, told him he was bold, but truth had entered him. 
He was not wanted. So he folded his knees and sat and died. 

- David Lander 2018

David  has previously published in The Australian, The Age, Overland, Tirra Lirra and Australian Poetry. He has had careers in education and theater. He now lives with his partner in Hobart, Tasmania.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Words by Wayne H. W Wolfson

Along the Way

Having fallen for various reasons, there was to be seen a parade of animal corpses by the side of the road along the highway. This was in sharp contrast to the beautiful fauna, the incandescent fields of yellow flowers.
There was a lot of land, ramshackle outbuildings, many of which had holes in their walls doing slow hemorrhages of straw, twigs and other bird’s nest minutia.
With the timing of a musician, managing to make the car do a gradual slide into a stop upon the loose gravel that ended right before several cracked flagstones which led up to the bowed steps of the porch.
 She had been perspiring. So in my own head had I been, that I had not realized how moist I too had become.  Turning towards me, her chin touched her chest and her shoulders rose up to her ears.
“I am not here…alone. I mean usually I am by myself but it’s not my place. Hang out for a minute while I see if anyone is home.”
I watched her go up the steps, each of which gave off a sharp creak as soon as it felt her weight upon it. Once it became apparent that she would not be right back, I walked around the side of the house.
A little ways past the house I saw an enclosure and movement. There were four metal gates as would normally slide open to let cattle out of a pen. Instead of being attached to anything else though, each one leaned against the other, all keeping one another propped up in the manner of a house of cards.
In the middle of this makeshift coral which had no discernable entrance was an ostrich. I had read somewhere that they could be big but this one was far larger than I expected even a bigger one to be.
There was a chain around its neck, kept in place by a horseshoe shaped nut and bolt. It glared at me without having consciously made the decision to do so. I began to slowly back away. For some reason this upset it more than me just standing there.
It took a few steps, quickly finding its movements hindered by the chain. The ostrich opened its mouth wide. I do not know if it was anger or pain but it emitted a terrible noise.
Its mouth was now wide open, so wide that, it obscured the view of its head. Looking at it straight on, all that could be viewed was a gynecological, slightly curved pink diamond with deep grooves which sloped downwards towards a black center.
Bethany returned. She had not meant to startle me but as unpleasant as it was I had determined not to take my eyes off of the ostrich until I was in the clear and so had jumped at her touch. Her hair was pulled back and she had on a different shirt.
Despite having cleaned up, I could still smell the drink on her along with the scent of both her sweat and mine.
Right now she had absinthe eyes. Regardless of what actions occurred that she may forget tomorrow she would be rich when upon waking they turned to rubies.
Softly laughing, she told me that the coast was clear.
The house was in a state of disarray and so it was impossible to tell how many people she shared it with or that of her connection to them.
We made our way through the thrift store shambles to a tiny back room that had only one small ripped screened window that was partially blocked by a free standing mirror. The two of us rolled around on the already unmade bed, telling each other lies. Muscle contraction transmissions over, we both drowsed, her falling first.
Briefly, I awoke several hours later and thought that in the stillness of the late hour I had heard the soft slapping of the ostrich’s chain against the makeshift prison wall.
The next morning was not as awkward as it could have been. I brushed my teeth using my index finger while she selected a tee shirt for herself from among the pile on the floor.
There was the start of a headache crawling out from behind my eyes, which I stubbornly insisted to myself was on account of the heat and not the drinks.
Bethany said that she would drive me back. In the car I was quiet but not sullen. I had an attack of bashfulness which prevented me from asking to stop for some coffee. The ride back seemed hell of a lot quicker than the initial ride out for which I was grateful.
She pulled over by the curb. Surprisingly, she too got out of the car. 

“We had fun?”

I nodded.

“I like you, you’re a nice guy.”

“Really, I am not.”

She fell into my arms murmuring the name of a trumpet player and then something in Spanish.
Without first asking permission, she used the pen that my girlfriend had gotten me to list all the places that she would be putting in an appearance on Saturday night.
After she drove away I turned the piece of paper over. It was a receipt for suntan lotion and a box of peppermints.


- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2018

Monday, January 08, 2018

New Poetry by William G. Davies Jr.


The skin
of the river
pools pink
surging into
the stony penumbra
of the Rockville bridge,
its archways
of water
to a curvature
of the sun.


Cows lie idle
in the field,
their jaws a rhythmic
assembly-line sameness
and breath-exultant brumal
of cold, sweet cud.

- William G. Davies Jr. 2018

William had a small collection published, “Before There Were Bones”, by Prolific Press in 2015. He is currently studying to be a Deacon in the Catholic Church.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson


Our lemons were so prolific
we dragged them around
in sacks, I mean potato sacks,
the stitched up ones
with gaping wounds,
smelling of potato digs
and black earth.

Wondrously overstocked
with lemons, we gave them away
by the gross, piled them
out on the nature strip for any takers,
brewed gallons upon heat-wave gallons
of carb soda lemonade,
occasionally spiced with a lime.

I took to climbing, ladder
and branch, loved pulling against
the fruits’ resist, gathering, letting fall,
pitching some towards baskets;
on the ground they piled up,
a harvest, between the silver beet
and carrots.

Now, I own one small tree,
planted in half a barrel; it sits
on concrete in a space I’m pleased
to call “back garden”. It’s doing well,
bore sixteen juice-filled offerings
last season. I’m so proud
of its valiant flowering. 

- Linda Stevenson 2018

Linda is 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.

Friday, January 05, 2018

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki


First the wolves and jackals united
to rule and control us.
Then the vultures and rooks
wanted a share in our torture
and became guards.
The jungle trees joined in,
promising thick branches for axe-
handles to sever our roots and limbs;
pouring our blood on the ground
for the beasts to feast on.

Next the swamps and rivers united
to stop our water.
The wheat-farmers and millers
agreed to deny us bread.
The clouds colluded with the sky
to throw their rain on the desert
and leave us thirsty.
And the storms conjoined
with the winds to crush us
like autumn leaves under their boots.

All worked together to harvest
our humanity, manhood and bravery—
killing kindness and planting their curses instead.

- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2018

(translated by Mansour Shoshtari)

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for four years. His poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the first work published on Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, Mohammad’s writing has been published by Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review, and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice.  His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

The city lights of Port Elizabeth or take my hand if you’re afraid

(for Joop Bersee and in memory of Rainer Maria Rilke)

    All the bare necessities of writing

    are found at an empty table. Figs and tea.
    The flame of language is found there. Hot
    ink. Writing. Prayer. People are found
    milling in gardens in the summer heat drinking.
    Eating good cheese and bread because
    it is the season of eating good cheese
    and bread. The writer hovers. He belongs.
    She belongs but she is not part of the
    group. She’s just an observer. Writers
    watch through the window. Watching
    the voices until there’s nothing but the heat.
    Burning Midwest prairies. Cacti in desert-land.
    Thirsty for thin black veils to cover the ocean-wind and sea
    that aren’t found there. Only sky. Only
    sky. Creeping up like sunlight. Everything
    happened so fast. Oh, insane rapture’s
    shadowboxing game! This honey in the
blood. This evil-sound of weeping. This smoke
    kissing springtime courage and harsh
    anguish silent all these years. Now there’s

all this expectation. Rewrites of heart-

    ache on my body. Seduction theories.
    I had solitude. I wanted disasters to be
    kind to me. I was alive even in those
    empty moments. I brought submission to the kitchen table.

    The neon light is lovely here. The city
lights of Port Elizabeth a blessing. A man’s
    heart is gold. A woman’s heart sacred
    machine. Sad girl listen for the birdsong

    in Tokyo. All I want is a library to keep
    me warm on my voyage to China away
    from this country of tragedy. The wedding
    of leaf and darkness is closing in. You’ll

    find monsters at the deep end. They’re
    there at the edge of the city lights if you
    look hard enough. You’ll find the auras
    of soil and water. Dust and heat. The photograph of an artist in her hands.

    Remember the tranquil daylight. Then finally
death. Don’t be frightened to close your eyes to it.

- Abigail George 2018

Pushcart Prize nominee for her fiction "Wash Away My Sins", Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet, short story writer and aspirant novelist. She is the recipient of writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, the Centre for the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC in East London. She briefly studied film and television production at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her literary work has been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa and in e-zines based in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Finland, the UK, the United States, and across African in Nigeria and Istanbul, Turkey.