that forgotten place. a poem by Josephine LoRe

Josephine LoRe

that forgotten place  

Where the grey light meets the green air
The hermit's chapel, the pilgrim's prayer
		- T.S. Eliot, Landscapes  III

There’s a place that time’s forgotten 
beyond the hermit’s chapel
   beyond the pilgrim’s prayer
Brooks burble with words of wonder 
and chirrups fill the air

There among larkspur and bluebell
a bed of softest moss
   a symphony of sweet sad strains
Desires dance in Celtic knots
creatures graze without a care

When the woes become too dark
and burdens bear you down
   seek the grey light, the green air
The stillness of the earth, my child
may the pathways lead you there

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Josephine LoRe’s words have been put to music, danced, and integrated into visual art.  Her poetry has been published in ten countries including FreeFall and Vallum in Canada, Tiny Seed journal and the Fixed & Free anthology in the United States, England’s Constellate magazine, and Ireland’s The Same Page anthology. She has two collections of poetry and photography, Unity and The Cowichan Series

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The Scream. a poem by John Eliot

John Elliot picture

The Scream

You know
I could have chuckled into my tea 
Morning time six thirty-three
With a promise of blue sky
But rain again
Against library skylight.
Will it ever stop raining this summer in France?
email box gave me a message.
Drama queen at best, manic depressive at worst.
Never hear. Don’t hold the purse strings.
Already I’m thinking, Is it worth writing this? You can’t publish. Too personal.
Read it properly and all poetry is too personal. The poet’s soul.
Read the message. Says,
Be on mute for now
Nothing different there.
Six months ago, I was grateful him
sending a messenger thumbs up.
Now 600 words plus. Amongst all these words,
This round robin, what am I told?
Few words of love for family and friends.
That’s to be expected, I guess.
Why am I telling you this?
Reader, not for you.
Is it my essay on their Wasteland?
Their words become my words
My words become yours.
I hear in their words the cry.
I’m stopping, they say,
You won’t hear from me anymore. I can do it alone.
Alone. Solitary bike ride. Alone 
Poking amongst the frozen foods. Seeing
What I can eat in front of the screen.
Is there any one there to watch
Me. As I drown.

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John Eliot As well as reviewing for Welsh Connections, John Eliot has published four collections of poetry with Mosaïque press : Ssh!, Don’t Go, Turn on the Dark, and Canzoni del Venerdì Sera, a translation of his work into Italian. John is now poetry editor for Mosaique Press and with Italian and Romanian universities is editing translation anthologies.

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Dark armies and other poems by Fabrice Poussin

Fabrice B. Poussin

Dark armies

They have arrived
monsters under cover of three pieces
including tie and a good old book. 

A great star of light and life still shines
far above the darkening land
perhaps it waits to pounce at last. 

They are closing on to the innocent
faces of grins and mocking smiles
as they take another step too close. 

Skins ooze with a stranger perfume
bellies swollen by decades of self-satisfaction
legs wobble under the ignorant mass. 

Fist of fat fingers in the air almost unable to close
they protest and scream at the living
who still believe in loving a neighbor. 

Speaking mighty words twisted into lies
of course, only they know the truth
that it is others who hide their ugly souls. 

Under semi human features scarred by their blindness
they point accusing cannons and semi-automatics
at those in sterilized outfits. 

Since when must the good die 
at the hands of such evil, attempting
to take over a world surrendered to unavoidable death. 

Monsters on two varicose infested legs
speaking the tongue of tyrants
their pleasure in the demise of the gentle multitude. 

They are here with their vociferous blaspheme
speaking in the name of a god they ignore
until he too will perish in the realm.



 
One Thousand Feet below
 
One hundred years since they last saw sunlight
squatting in the last car of the E train
a home made into the castle of meek desires.

On an adventure the little ones in their embalmed suits
scavenge for a daily pittance a resurrected treasure
they will return later if they can recall the signs. 

Reclined on the stretcher of faded orange hues
spotted with what may be crimson polka dots
a matriarch holds hands with gasping breaths.

Keeping watch for the sake of a past when
they could provide for the sustenance of a tribe
shadows of lost generations motion in silence.

Driven by the language of grunts and groans
disheveled into some inorganic mush
the mirrors reveal the deep void of empty faces.

Perhaps they recollect a humanity deep within
as they escaped the apocalypse of a stilled planet
there they will stay without hope and only an everlasting death. 


 


The last gamble

The realm has become a casino it seems
a place to play Russian roulette around the buffet
of luxury foods and rusty slot machines. 

High rises everywhere have filled with infinite greed
neon lights flicker as if they knew something
they too, hesitant to blare even a whisper of joy. 

Marching into the green deserts of lush meadows
they shed armors to omniscient perils
to claim with folly unbound an unlikely victory. 

The house always wins, gun loaded 
with a weapon certain to reach a soul
a senseless gamble indeed to live. 

Their skins will fall into rotting rags
the flesh will follow into a pool of decay
stench contagious to the core of these dying hearts. 

Little did they want to hear that they were sure to lose
crushed under the crumbling illusion
that they could gamble with the universe and win.

Return to Journal

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review, as well as other publications.   

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House of Glass and other poems by Ioana Cosma

Ioana Cosma

House of Glass

what in the name
of a rose
requires a respite
from awesomeness
and youth

is the thing
that nags like a
disk on replay
now and then
the daylight
of my skin.

the first creases,
almost invisible.
then it gets thicker
and deeper like
killing ivy.

the other day,
I saw this teenager
with long black hair.
Looked like me
twenty years ago
from the back.

I behold my mini-mane
blond now, supposed
to mollify ageing features, etc.
but now it's a house at least,
it used to be a fisherman's tent.

strange how we become more devoted
to these crumbling temples
as time goes by. how, in the
rashness of youth, death seemed
like a joke and now it puts to shame
King Lear.

stay on, this flesh is permanent
these gone-by locks of curly hair
that I imagined turned me into
a haiduk, riding, riding, riding
so what, even death is supposed
to be riding, the scarecrow from hell.

it is the mind that becomes more
beautiful, more sophisticated
as bones dry and eyes drown
this embellished mind has a sense
of beauty yet it never sees
what needs to be seen:
the ki, the life, the awaiting womb.




Red Rhythming

she: shoulders shrouded in red shawls
harrowing tune in her ears, till dawn,
rhyming, rhythming, she paces.

red violin, aghast on faraway seashores,
the beat of beasts, the sound of sandstorms,
rhyming, rhythming, in a trance.

upbeat, keep up that record,
a Baron de Lestac for the Lady in Red!
rhyming, rhythming, the flow of willowy words.

can take it no more, the tides are advancing,
the red sea the thick reddening smile.
rhyming, rhythming, she blows.




Nineteenth Century Man

Keep a little to yourself - that's what her mother told her
so she blew up most of her heart instead day after day
until she found the tiny corner where he'd hidden for ages:
reserved and awesome like an eye that opens inside out.

the lust had vanished, the tears had the consistency of clear sky
she'd been a cinnamon peeler's wife for too long, the skin
of things was moving upon grazing on miraculous sands
there was no evidence, no sign to read, no tarot deck of cards.

or maybe the subtle gaze behind soft eyelids that never learnt
to shoot, the rounded angle between his elbow and thighs,
the polo shirt laid like white linen on pure hearts, the words that
flowed as if he was the first man to ever speak.

He wore no bow or tie, he didn't even play piano
yet there was all the Chopin it took to steal Georges Sand's heart
all the Rilke in the Duino and all the Lou Andreas
the spleen, the ache, the melodramatic she'd found inside.

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Ioana Cosma is a writer and lecturer at The University of Pitești in Romania. She has published four volumes of poetry: By the Book in Romania, In Aevo and The Psychogeography of Love  with Silver Bow Publishing, and With the Vagabonds with New Meridian Arts. Her chapbook, The Book of Stephen, is forthcoming with Dancing Girl Press in Chicago and her first novel, The Ones from Afar, will be published by Institutul European Press in Romania.

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Homecoming. a poem by Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe'st

Homecoming

And the lost crows return home:
No more dead nights but dawn
Of new old days brooding crows
On spun arms of baobab brows
Preaching spiced phrases of days bygone.

And they’ve changed shapes:

They have undergone plastic surgery
And have become sane again
For new tricks in the book of pain
Yet haven’t left their banging crockery.

And they still sing their sweet slogans:

No old face is new in a mask
Though they croak like night owls
Whistling strange tunes for idiot fowls
Locked inside a vacuum flask.

And shock shall slay some again:

And some shall fall upside down
From the red slippery anthills
Of Savannah, we’ll enjoy peals
Of sniffling shrieks downtown.

And these crows roost again:

Haven’t they yet run out of mud
And returned in life’s mockery
That they bang poetic crockery
Till we’re disquieted by bodyguards?

Tomorrow, they’ll all return:

If they get this finishing mud
And they’ll perch and balance again
Till we begin to feel their wings gain
Sudden heights, their claws begin to thud.

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Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st is an internationally acclaimed published multi-talented Ugandan poet, visual and aural artist, editor, amateur actor, literary and cultural activist, featured in numerous both national and international online and print magazines, newspapers, and anthologies; born in Kitgum, northern Uganda.

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Calendar Cubes. a poem by Joan Mazza

JoanMazza 10April2010

Calendar Cubes

We sat together, two numbers
facing out, changed each day
on that doctor’s desk for years.
Remove us from our slanted seat,
note we were one of many freebies
by a company who manufactures
Norpramin® so doctors might
write more prescriptions.

We, like our siblings, remained
on desks and bookshelves,
listened to distraught patients
of psychiatrists, who begged
for relief and had emotions blunted,
neutered instead. We heard you
when you cried, saw the doctor
take notes, scowl, and roll his eyes

behind your back while you lay
on his leather couch. When he spoke
to you of his other patients, did you
not think he spoke about you
too? When he tired of turning
our numbered cubes, he gave us
to you, remembering you said
you’d stayed awake all night

to figure out what digits had to be
on each of our six faces. Now
we sit above your head, grateful
that you turn us every day, and often
look our way to check the date
without the year. These decades
later, we’re still here. The doctor’s
dead, but we’re still listening.

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Joan Mazza worked as a microbiologist and psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Adanna Literary Journal, Poet Lore, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia. www.JoanMazza.com

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Inheritance and other poems by Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Garciapic1

Inheritance

Age four    maybe five    she opens her mother’s    jewelry box 
    to star-fire    dispersion, the strange     mechanics of lobster claws,    chain clasps
bracelets    broken-jawed, ropes    of amber and jade,    heavy fruit of gems, 
    of grandmothers    she never knew,    bulky shanks of pewter, of silver  pinked like the sky at dusk—all the ways    light can be caught    and kept—finds
    a pouch   black velvet, finger-sized,  opens it 	 	 (don’t), 	
inside it a star, a crumb of light, the lowest common denominator between 
you and the universe, you are less small, less lost in a house of voices large 
as brass bedrails, as broken pianos, you forget it might slip
through your fingers to the rug, colored old boxes, 
dusty attic, she finds you, drags the shag, rasps her palms
combing for that stone, sobbing, her emblem 
of infinity lost to infinity, pulls you both 
into a denser, blacker place where 
she is no longer your mother
just a woman 
wrecked
 
									

sometimes I am surprised by my own placidity

my girl comes to me, cowed, wide
eyed with memory—a shoestorm,
sudden hot squall, sky-blackened

winds and debris, one purple tent 
forever wrecked—pulls me to her room 
mommy don’t be mad  to confess: 

thick slick of ointment caked 
on her dress, on all four walls,
the sheen of grease making 

a maze of mirror mirrors—tell me, 
who will be the victim 
of this small crime?		

		Look— a grazing cow, her jaw pondering 
		mysteries—nothing keeps the grass
		from worshipping the wind 

		hold you, it was never about you
		let us lie down in this new pasture, sprawl
		in the soft grasses of some bigger love than us

		lose ourselves in their shush and sway, let cloud shadows
		wash over us, bless us with flickering light
		with miles and orchards of light

 
		

Neighbor Lady Suffers Stroke 

like paddles 		licking		
	like	sculling boats,
some law 	propels

on a current   	raisin
scree swirls on 	waterskin
	congresses in 	mangroves, 

argues tampon taxes, electoral 	
	school	 	litanies of rights 
and lefts	quilt patterns 

	she floats on 	autumn 
lacquered to light
	gathering	quivers		

arrows whisper
	branches painted black--
River! 	rushes out of her, warm, 

	she 		her arms moving it,
hair growing long and 	a color
	with plankton, 	she listens 		

how she made it here
	it’s night, 	the 	light pricks 
flash in bright rings, 

	the 		Andy Gibb 	trills
like a siren, 	go towards
	the glittering necklace

the black bead, 	she is pulled into
	another 	big bang place	 
her other self	and she

	will smell each other’s hair, 
will say 	again
	to her children		Eat

every 		last 	bean!
	and	to each other
not enough

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Elizabeth Cranford Garcia’s work has or will soon appear in publications such as Boxcar Poetry Review, SoFloPoJo, Mom Egg Review, Psaltery & Lyre, Dialogist, several anthologies, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her first chapbook, Stunt Double, was published in 2016 through Finishing Line Press. She is the current Poetry Editor for Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought and a SAHM of three in Acworth, Georgia. Read more of her work at  elizabethcgarcia.wordpress.com

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Lost Stranger and other poems by Colin Dardis

Colin Dardis

Lost Stranger

Headphones and earring:
a model of youth on one
pushing into his fourth decade.

Prides his hair, all teased spikes
and shave grades, with extensive
sideburns that defy his jawline.

Perhaps that high-pitched giggle
from down the alley is at his expense.
He’ll never know, beer and ignorance.

Muscle tone, I will give him that.
His frame gets away with shirt tucked
into tight fit jeans. Now, his foot on the bench,

with his groin at head level to his mate;
I will never know if this is unintentional
or some kind of desperate suggestion.

They drink up and disappear,
and I have no desire to round the corner,
to run and see what might happen next.



 
Consensual

You found me bleeding,
a wound of childlike wonder
cut against the world.

	I mistook your laceration
	for a smile, the smoke
	and mirror of childhood games.

Who could imagine
a sad child? I dry my tears
on your hair and nestle there.

	Am I to play hide-and-seek
	with you? Tell me a truth.
	Shock me. I won’t give in.



 
A Purpose for Ice
after Giorgio Morandi's Still Life (1955)


Funnels and tunnels robbed of steam,
networking into solid block:
contention found in uniformity,
uniqueness blanketed by fellowship.

Vessels landlocked, iced over,
time seeing fit to pin their wings
down into this grey light of shadows

as one might stare at their own mirrored sculpture
and witness disbelief in the skull's
ageing process.

There, you question your own notion of breath,
lean helplessly towards an ending.

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Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, and sound artist. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA, and shortlisted for the Erbacce Prize, Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, and Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award, amongst others. Previous collections include Endless Flower (Rancid Idols Productions, 2021) The Dogs of Humanity (Fly on the Wall Press, 2019, shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet, Saboteur Awards 2020), the x of y (Eyewear, 2018), Post-Truth Blues (Locofo Chaps, 2017) and Dōji: A Blunder (Lapwing, 2013). Twitter: @purelypoetry

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Eros. a poem by Olga Stein

OLGA STEIN89

EROS
Angels and demons aren’t mere folklore and myth;
Freud said they are signs of our unfulfilled yearnings.
Stories of gods who are wanton or wrathful
Recreate our frustrations and deep-seated longings—
Discontents that puncture civilizational veneers, 
Shake the so-called foundations of millennial faiths,
And rattle the shackles of psychic wraiths 
Who pattern and shape our subliminal fears.

Either praised or reviled Eros has been
Since Helen’s amour was decried as obscene
By those dreading excess—theologians, logicians,
And, oddly, some addled metaphysicians.

Eros, munificent spirit or godhead,
Let your turbulence keep me aloft for a spell.
Let me be carried on unrepressed ardor
And let my pen venture, indifferent to censure.

Eros is linked to ungovernable emotions,
Which arise from below the transverse plane,
A line that separates body and spirit,
faculties rendering one sane or insane.
Our inferior parts — not the ego, but id
Is humanity’s bane, Freud famously claimed.
When you’re witness to chaos and ruination,
Both Eros and id are sure to be blamed.

Puckish Eros, my friend, help me fly without scruple,
Oblivious of divisions betwixt the sacred and profane.
Let others decide — the distinction is subtle, and
I’ve always found them to be one and the same.

Eros, quickening, lightening-strike passion,
Let me mount and ride you through blistering fire,
Harness the power that’ll compel me to fashion
Stanzas that scorch with unbridled desire.


Uncommon texts tap transcendent emotions
Of terror and awe, and of love unrestrained.
Sublime depictions are true evocations 
Of spirits immortal and forces untamed.
Amor begets madness, most will object;
It dazes, shakes, then emboldens its subject
To do, say, or write words that others abjure.
Yet Eros rewards those eschewing a cure.
		    
Those resolved not to spurn her will ride without fear,
Over sky-piercing summits, across surging oceans,
Toward the sun’s searing brightness, and on —
To gaze on aeonian motions of celestial spheres.

Eros, my wild one, let the world spin past.
Let me mount you and ride
Without saddle or rein. 
Only let me hold fast to your rough heady mane.

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Olga Stein holds a PhD in English, and is a university and college instructor. She has taught writing, communications, modern and contemporary Canadian and American literature. Her research focuses on the sociology of literary prizes. A manuscript of her book, The Scotiabank Giller Prize: How Canadian is now with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Stein is working on her next book, tentatively titled, Wordly Fiction: Literary Transnationalism in Canada. Before embarking on a PhD, Stein served as the chief editor of the literary review magazine, Books in Canada, and from 2001 to 2008 managed the amazon.com-Books in Canada First Novel Award (now administered by Walrus magazine). Stein herself contributed some 150 reviews, 60 editorials, and numerous author interviews to Books in Canada (the online version is available at http://www.booksincanada.com). A literary editor and academic, Stein has relationships with writers and scholars from diverse communities across Canada, as well as in the US. Stein is interested in World Literature, and authors who address the concerns that are now central to this literary category: the plight of migrants, exiles, and the displaced, and the ‘unbelonging’ of Indigenous peoples and immigrants. More specifically, Stein is interested in literary dissidents, and the voices of dissent, those who challenge the current political, social, and economic status quo. Stein is the editor of the memoir, Playing Under The Gun: An Athlete’s Tale of Survival in 1970s Chile by Hernán E. Humaña.

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My Heart. a poem by Nightingale Jennings

Venus

My Heart 

Hard heart, let me in, please don’t shut me out,
I have no home, no family, no love, just you.

What will become of me without your pulse?
How can I sleep without the embers of your warmth.

It is not I you seek to punish, dear heart,
I have not betrayed or hurt you.

If I have, I was not aware; forgive me, 
Accept my foolishness and helplessness, 
I vow to hold and love you, with respect and kindness,
Open up my heart, what shall become of us without each other?

Thank you, kind heart, you have opened and taken me in,
Now I can see, I was the hard one, turned cruel and hurtful.

Let us embrace our co-existence, let us be strong for we are one,
How it hurts to remember separateness, oh how we both have suffered.

Kind heart, see the tears that flow down my face?
I have to stop them now so you and I can end the competitive race.

Blessed heart, you squeeze my chest when you cry,
My cheeks are wet so you can see I’m in this too,
Here I am holding you, oh how you tremble,
Let’s get over this now, my heart, let’s get over this now.
Hold me heart, as I hold you and find relationship also with other.

Quiet heart, why do you sleep in the middle of the day?
Now it’s time for you and me to be active, to work and play.
No more competition, we cannot go against one another,

Don’t mind the mindless things that people say, 
Let’s not forget every day is a new day.

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Nightingale was nicknamed Chuchu at birth. Her parents named her Venus after outer space became a significant world event in the late 1960s. She was admitted to an English nursery school in Addis Ababa, started keeping a diary in primary school, wrote English and Amharic short stories and poetry in high school, but destroyed them unsure of how they would be received in an uncertain and complex society. She worked for several charities, studied mass communications research, took up a career in international relations, and is now a freelance technical writer and translator. She loves writing fiction and poetry.

Thank you for reading, appreciating and sharing the stories, poems, interviews and podcasts brought to you each month by the editors of WordCity Literary Journal.
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