north of oxford poetry

Two Poems by Linda Lerner

brook
.
Thoughts of My Father at the Brooklyn Museum
.
stumbling onto a road war- prisoners walked
in 19th century Russia in my attempt to escape
from a nine-month imprisonment in 2020 led me
from dark clouded volcanic scenes erupting
to a snow blinding blizzard in my father’s birth place…
.
the cold seeped into me as I stood transfixed
before moving on to where
a group of prisoners huddled together
in a refuge of sorts, snow cascading down
from a broken skylight and
.
thought of my father at 17 forced
to join a group of youths marching
on a similar road a century later
to escape from Pogroms,
.
that universal cold I carried
home with me, passing blocks of people
shivering outside café’s & restaurants
leaving warm apartments to sit here
a safe distance apart in huddling
proximity of others, I now joined
.
That Plane I’m Not On
.
and sucked out of when a window
I’m leaning against gives, has me
frantically trying to grab hold
of what isn’t there, till spotting
a man in the distance, a woman who seems
to be with him, and curious about
who they are, hoping they might help me
gain my bearings, just as they vanish
and I’m back where I was;
things start to look up when I see
part of a street and try landing on it
but turns out to be someone’s
memory of one, don’t know who
that person is or how they got there
isn’t a real street anyway like
those ideas of things floating by
my mind’s reach isn’t fast enough
to catch and worn out from trying,
put down this novel I’ve been reading
to get off that plane I never got on
in the first place
.
.
linda
Linda Lerner, author of 17 collections. Her poems currently appeared in Maintenant, Patersson Literary Review, Gargoyle, Chiron Review, Free State Review and Rat’s Ass Review among others.
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Killing Time by Paul Lojeski

killing time
.
Killing Time
.
A single clock an enemy,
a hordes’ tick-tocks an evil
empire. Creeping forward in
.
night’s foul collaboration, each
blade a slow click towards oblivion.
The wise, old owl watching
.
sadly, this unstoppable onslaught,
hooting no warning, knowing
it a useless endeavor. Every clock
.
shakes with our doom. Hunt them
down, root them out. No mercy. To
make time disappear, kill the clocks.
.
paul lojo
Paul Lojeski was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. He attended Oberlin College. His poetry has appeared online and print. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.
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Two Poems by Fabrice Poussin.

trump

Orange Fantasy
.
Sitting upon a gaudy throne
sipping on a manufactured bubbly
he rested indulgent digits near a clownish chest.
.
Drooling with the greed of a cruel magnate
he envisioned the great West in a sea of oil
steel phalluses protuberances from starving soils
.
Ancient pyramids made of vinyl
a stucco Sphinx reclining across the deep ravine
the creature of play-do and oozing waste spewed a belch.
.
Children cried on the edge of the canyon
their eyes burning with the acidic promises
made to inhabitants of distant glass rises.
.
Watching from the failing seat he contemplated
joyful in an ocean of his innumerable crimes
while those who made him an idol decayed at his delighted fungus toes.
.
It has been what used to be called centuries
no one here can remember the end
at the hands of the illustrious monster.

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Hot air buffoon
.
They flew his effigy at the yearly parades
so many days without names
midweek late summer perhaps even Christmas.
.
High above in the poisonous clouds he exhaled
latex animal in an obese loin
never had such a hideous paradox been seen.
.
No one’s uncle for a gentle embrace
no bust to be found high in granite
just a mass of noxious gasses lost in dark space.
.
She wonders why the bed was so icy
when the soulless mass collapses for the night
fed with conspiracy his only sustenance.
.
A name remains carved in soft matter
temptation of another abandoned hyena
but she too trots away in disdain with a cry.
.
The mockery of all things created at last finished
pieces of the deflated ego in faded memories
barely subsist transported to the earth’s sewers on the bile of the masses.

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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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Two Poems by Mark Tulin

under bridge
.
A Crude Protest
.
There’s a ripe,
downtrodden shell
under the bridge,
belongings in a haphazard pile,
shopping carts from Ralph’s,
tents with no support,
sour smells of clothing
in a groundswell
of a shelterless hell
.
A bushy-haired man
proud and noble,
straight and tall,
sends out a stream of pee,
a crude protest
in a world speeding by,
in a moonless sky,
a forgotten life
with no stars to count.
.
A Seabird Memory
.
The seabird followed me
along the shoreline
Not just any bird, but an old friend
He limped with an injured leg
He scoured the beach for food
as he trailed my footsteps
He was a childhood buddy
from the old neighborhood
who shared common memories
He sat and watched me
as the tide rolled out and in
His life covered in feathers,
his skinny legs a shade of gray
He remembered me
when he walked on human legs
and covered in skin.
.

Mark Tulin is a former therapist from Philadelphia who now lives in California. He has two poetry books, Magical Yogis and Awkward Grace. His upcoming book, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Sto-ries available to pre-order. Mark has been featured in Amethyst Review, Strands Publishers, Fiction on the Web, Terror House Magazine, Trembling with Fear, Life In The Time, Still Point Journal, The Writing Disorder, New Readers Magazine, among others.  Mark’s website, Crow On The Wire.

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Two Poems by Byron Beynon

manet

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

after the painting by Edouard Manet
.
Her mind is elsewhere,
inhabiting a stillness within
as the drawn hours of servitude
gradually emerge on her face.
The empty noise of human life
fades as she gazes away
from the cabaret’s forged promise.
The expensive alcohol
about to escape
from the music of bottles,
a geometry of untouched
fruit by her left hand
as a customer waits
for his evening to begin.
Art’s flowers accompanied
by the atmosphere of a room’s address,
mirror’d figures caught
within an unbroken reflection.
.
Cherry Tree
.
The pink blossom I see
outside my window
has entered my head,
the bark of the tree
has touched my skin.
Outwards,
the roots are hereditary,
they are growing
with me.
Each tree sings,
each blossom screams
in a world where history
is madness.
.
bryon

 Byron Beynon lives in Wales.  His work has appeared in several publications including North of Oxford, The London Magazine, Cyphers (Dublin), San Pedro River Review, The Blue Nib and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). A former co-editor of Roundyhouse Poetry Magazine.  Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

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At Night by Lisa Mottolo

hummer_InTheLight
.
At Night
.

I had a round, wooden keepsake box in which I’d smudge

                                                                                             out my cigarettes

and if it they weren’t burned quite down to the filter

                                                               I’d retrieve them from the ash

and smoke them again

This way I’d have something left to calm me

                                                                     when there were men outside

my bedroom window like hummingbirds that think

                                                                      everything pretty is a flower

.

lisa

Lisa is a life-long writer and the Project Manager for Atmosphere Press. She studied copyediting at UC San Diego, and her writing has been published in Barren Magazine and Coffin Bell Journal. Lisa is from upstate New York and currently lives in Austin, Texas. She loves birds and has four adopted parrots at home.

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Funeral in the Rain by John Grey

rain
.
Funeral in the Rain
.
warm rain,
cold blood
.
the women have kissed
all the cheeks they’re ever
going to kiss
.
the men have waked
until they can barely wake
no more
.
funeral rolls by
sacred haunts –
sad faces press to glass
stare out at the living
as they pass on by
.
rosewood coffin
carries him off –
among the mourners,
fingers grip like
claws in flesh
.
preacher stands amid
the wildflowers,
tries to convince
those present
that the deceased
has never been so far
beyond darkness
trees shake,
leaves tremble,
all out of respect
for raindrops
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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River
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Sitting on the Porch With Mom by Catherine A. Coundjeris

goldfinch
Photograph by Diane Sahms
.
Sitting on the Porch with Mom
.
We sit in the sunroom,
admiring the green world
with song birds flitting by. . .
She is fair today.
.
Cooler weather comes
again, we sit in the sunroom.
Dark green changing to gold
maples red
green grass browning
autumnal skies
cat on the porch
making eyes at Mom.
Silent and still we sit some more.
.
She is not herself
and in a thoughtful fancy
 I can see us
changing space
years ahead I will be in her place
tied down to a chair
watching the mountain
.
But for now, she is
passing time with me
yet another day gone.
Winds stirring
hair raising
spirits flying…
.
Electricity in the air.
She speaks,
I love you
and then we sit still,
watching the mountain
change and yet remain the same.
.
Catherine has taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston.  Her poetry is published in literary magazines, including 34th Parallel Magazine Ariel Chart Magazine, The Drabble, Nightingale and Sparrow, Rune Bear, Backchannels, Inkling Magazine of the Storyteller’s Cottage, Finding the Birds, Yellow Arrow Journal, The Dawntreader, Visions with Voices, and Nine Cloud Journal.  Currently she is living with her family in Frederick and she is working on a YA novel. Catherine volunteers as an ESL Coordinator with the Literacy Council of Frederick County.

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Wild Onions by paul Bluestein

wild onions
.
Wild Onions
.
Spring came and, as they always do,
the wild onions
 poked their miserable shoelace shoots
up out of the ground.
Like rude subway riders,
they crowd in close
to my young, delicate flowers,
trying to push them aside
as if they owned the ground in which they grew.
They may not think of themselves as weeds,
but weeds is what they are.
Oh, some people would say
wild onions are vegetables,
like parsnips or beets,
but I say they are weeds
and they will find no comfort in my garden.
I will unsheathe my spade and stainless steel claw
and do battle with the April invaders;
root them out wherever I find them
and let them serve as a lesson
to mint that might be thinking of
becoming delinquent,
wild and uncontrollable.
.
Ireland
paul Bluestein is a  physician (no longer practicing) and a blues guitar player (still practicing). he was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, a short walk from the Oxford Circle. He currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and the two dogs who rescued him. His poetry has appeared in many online and print journals and his first book-length collection  – Time Passages – was published earlier this year by Silver Bow Publishing in Kindle and soft-cover formats.