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.