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3 Poems by Byron Beynon

table
.
Corner of a Room
.
Can a room
preserve a memory?
The key is hidden,
but the curtain is drawn
back to allow the eyes
to settle on other lights.
Chairs, a table simply laid,
canvases at rest,
quietly the corner emerges
from darkness.
Summoned by the act of patience,
it is there in the mind’s uncharted
corridors where life goes on.
.
The Bead Chain
.
A barefooted adult and child
linked together in life.
They stare at each other.
Do they read
each others thoughts?
Are they the same?
They stand in a rich space,
but the silent guitar
has been banished
to a corner.
There is no music here,
only two apprehensive minds
contemplating the translation of their lives.
.
An Open Collar
.
I think of Keats wearing an open collar
fashionably turned down,
the black ribbon
round a bare neck,
his fresh, shy nerves
tapping against a window-pane
in a room of quiet intensity
and free movement.
In the early hours of an October morning
he sealed a letter,
dispatched a sonnet
to a breakfast table,
the anticipation conceived.
Seeing the compass of words
he gathered from experience,
moods captured from natural objects,
the heavily marked book
an exorcism for disappointments,
the murmurs rightly used.
.
Byron Beynon 2014
Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including North of Oxford, London Magazine, Chiron Review, The Lampeter Review, Poetry Wales, Poetry Salzburg and human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets).  Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and the Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions)
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2 poems by Elizabeth Jane Timms

cemetery
.
New Year 1800 (on reading George Eliot)
.
New Year’s Eve came to the churchyard, opened the little wooden gate.
Not a single name could be read here – only the old stone path bore
The faint traces of faithful boots, hymns bearing the drops of candle wax.
The graves were covered in deep snow, lives fast asleep in the last century.
Only the black of the church tower stood against the sky,
But in the tower burned a little light,
The drunken bell ringers were ringing in the New Year by the light
Of a dying lantern. Pulling the old threadbare ropes in their silken breeches
And black shoes in which they had danced a quadrille only an hour earlier.
The silent landscape sparkled with snow and the New Year
Staggered in the church door, its coat dripping in the doorway.
Having made its way struggling over the fields,
Hobbling up the old stone path.
And the bell ringers carried on ringing, with their tankards of ale and port
Before falling asleep into deep slumber,
The robes still in their hands,
The empty tankards at their side.
And in the distant night, came the strains of a violin.
.
On the Book
.
The heavy lid of the book opened, the leather cover
Like a great mahogany door – and I went inside.
Into the book’s vellum world,
Amidst yellowed pages, to find characters asleep
Within their folds, to rub their eyes at my approach.
But in the dark of the oak paneled library, one lamp
Burned low upon a single desk.
The key had been turned in the great lock,
And the books were alone with themselves.
Then all the covers of the books opened like leather doors,
The characters rushed out from the paper –
Glad to leave the prisons of their old pages.
Emerged from the streets of written words,
And dangled their legs over the edge of the shelves.
Nodding ladies, children playing with hoops,
Old sailors, gentlemen in hackney caps with gold topped canes.
The bride on the top shelf waiting for her bridegroom,
But she had to await her fate until the bookmark moved.
One widow sobbed on a book rest and remembered those she had loved.
The world of characters had come alive until the key turned,
And they had to rush back into the books.
.
elizabeth 2
Elizabeth Jane Timms is a historian, freelance writer and poet, based in Oxford. She writes for an academic journal on royalty as well as for magazines, journals and the web.
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2 Poems by Patrick Theron Erickson

snail
.
A Late Dinner
.
In a calculated
late-night imitation of a snail
in a slow crawl across pavement
.
a smile smears
across your face
smears your pancake makeup
.
or is it a sneer
your mouth
a snarl of flesh
.
your tongue
trailing behind after
 .
licking the mucous
from your lips
.
the butter
the parsley
the garlic
last night’s escargot
.
your demented dinner guest’s
aftertaste
.
sucking out
the convoluted snail shells
with your convex tongue
one by one?
.
Tax Season
.
Ensconced
at the dining room table
.
my spreadsheets
before me
.
like the sliding glass doors
I’m easily sidetracked
.
I’ve slipped
into a rut
.
The trees from which
the spreadsheets come
are substantive
with their profusion of leaves
.
their sea of leaves
like any sea
stirred by the wind
wave upon wave
.
I must confess
I’m at sea myself
.
in a small craft
with no small craft warning
 .
And more than my taxes
are in arrears.
.
pat
Patrick Theron Erickson, a resident of Garland, Texas, a Tree City, just south of Duck Creek, is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself. His work has appeared in Grey Sparrow Journal, Cobalt Review, and Burningword Literary Journal, among other publications, and more recently in Ginosko Literary Journal, Former People, The Main Street Rag, and Tipton Poetry Journal.

Uncle by Michael A. Griffith

metal
.
Uncle 
.
Arms tired, hands
like useless crane shovels
legs strong but stiff as
tree trunks. Your shoulders

.

have held others up, as
the cane you’d just as soon leave
at the Elks’ hall after bingo
supports you now.

.

Now you sit fiddling with
glasses three years too old,
eyes awash, blinking, reading about a man
who you voted for but wouldn’t now.

.

Now a car passes, its music thump-
ing like the metal press at the foundry where
you gave your best years,
your best blood.

.

Blood in your hanky, your
coughing, your dreams. You
tell no one. It is your job now to hide
such things, to protect

.

your family, your friends, the
few who are still here, who
still might worry, might wonder.
Tired, how tired too soon.

.

Too soon to go to bed, Jeopardy
isn’t half-over yet, and your son might
yet call. But you start to doze after the first
lightning round, the first can, the first

.

star appears low on the horizon.
Cloudy later on, a drizzle falls,
your son doesn’t call. You wake, neck
sore, chest heavy. Sluggish, down

.

the hall you get into bed, then lie
there, staring into the dark, sounds
of the bingo games and metal press
ringing through your head.
.
New
Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry as he recovered from a disability-causing injury. His poems, essays, and articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ.
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Open Call For Submissions

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https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

Logos by Gil Fagiani

gil-fagianis-logos-book
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By Lynette G. Esposito
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In the 161 page soft cover poetry book, Logos by Gil Fagiani, the reader learns from Fagiani himself in an author’s note that his poetry is of the people.
.
                          This poetry of the people, this song of the streets, has been
                           the most influential element in my literary pursuits, and why
                           my first impulse has been to write about the world with addiction
                           and treatment by means of poetry rather than prose.
.
This book fulfills Fagiani’s literary pursuit..  For example, his poem Believer on page 15 is only one stanza but powerful in both image and storyline.
.
                          On a muggy
                          fly-filled day
                          inside a courtyard
                          reeking of diapers,
                          mice-filled glue traps,
                          take-out tins of rice and beans,
                          he stands behind a long line
                          of sick junkies
                          until it’s his turn
                          to push his last ten-dollar bill
                          through a hole in the wall,
                          convinced
                          a dynamite sack of dope
                          is going to be pushed back.
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The title suggests faith but takes an ironic tact on the “belief” of an addict with a questionable outcome for the deliverance of a product that would allegedly lift his spirits. The language used is clear and common in a setting that speaks of squalor and desperation.

Fagiani divides the tome into sections Shooting Dope with Trotsky, White Uncle Tom, Siding with the Enemy, and A Single Spark.  These titles also represent Fagiani’s approach to heal the reader with street song and poetry. Jose’ B. Gonzales, Ph.D., editor of Latinostories.com, says: This collection is full of lyrical grit. In the first section, Shooting Dope with Trotsky, Fagiani uses images in the poems talking about the black section of town, anti-poverty volunteerism in Harlem and skin popping until he almost ODs. In the section, White Uncle Tom, Fagiani tells the stories of an interview in the South Bronx, the feds busting Mikie for a pound of pure in his trunk, and teaming up with a girlfriend to scam guys.  The gritty storylines represent imperfect lives in imperfect and desperate situations.

In Siding with the Enemy, Fagiani shows a party group made up of Black, White,  and Puerto Rican men walking arm in am down a street in an Italian neighborhood singing at the top of their lungs until the narrator realizes they could get hurt and they need to leave the neighborhood when bottles start flying and exploding. A Single Spark shows situations in the subway, in the bedroom and behind the Paradise Theater with the play on words successfully executed.  The subjects, the storylines and the images use their figurative eyes to look directly into the face of reality.

The book is a  pleasurable read especially if you like looking at images that aren’t afraid to roll in the dirt and stand up to shake it off.

Gil Fagiani has many poetry collections to his credit including A Blanquito in El Barrio, Chianti in Connecticut, and Stone Walls.  He was a social worker and worked in a Psychiatric hospital and a drug rehab program in downtown Brooklyn.

The book is available from www.guernicaeditions.com

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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.

 

Sideways Blues – Irish Mountain & Beyond by Carl Kaucher

carl

By g emil reuter

Carl Kaucher is not a poet who walks. Kaucher is a wanderer. Often from the foot of Irish Mountain in Temple, Pennsylvania to the sometimes familiar, often forgotten urban landscapes of southeastern Pennsylvania. From city to dusty borough, to boroughs on the rebound. Kaucher wanders the main streets, back streets and alleyways, ever the observer, ever the recorder.

This collection of 32 poems bring the reader into the geography and characters who inhabit these places, many on the margins of life. A realist, Kaucher writes in the second stanza of the first poem:

.
My altar is alternative form
meditated since before I was born.
Sometimes I dream of silence
and pray for it’s return
Life is far simpler than I know
when I let go of my self.
Drifting on an empty street
I am hoping to be filled with lost.
In giving away, I am not taking.
In living my way, I am not faking.
.
He writes of the intercity bus station, of the dirty socks of damnation, of life along the railroad tracks, of street preachers and when he wanders into a neighborhood where his appearance is different than those who occupy the corner, they look upon each other suspiciously in the mirror of distrust.
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Kaucher tells of his love of nature while on a park bench in the opening stanza of 16:
.
Far side of nowhere
under cool shade of pin oak
singing the park bench blues
to the cello sounds
of cicada whorls
that mesmerize me deep
to the sonic rhythm
sonata of August.
.
This well-crafted collection pulsates with the rhythm of the hard side of life as in the 2nd and 3rd stanza of 4:
.
Hard stepping down streets
rhythmic to a four count beat.
Passing through pools of dark
Carrion shadow- into my self
into meditation – emptiness.
.
Thoughts come to pass as memory
Then fall into the gutter
to someday be washed away
down sewers into streams
and into the seas of dream.
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