poetry

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.
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The Bead Chain
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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.
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An Open Collar
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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.
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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)
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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.
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On the Book
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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.
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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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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.
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                          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.
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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.
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                          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.

 

Temple of Jupiter by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

sibyl 2
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Hello, Sybil. Old fortune teller.
Dusk in its blue taxi
weeps at your endless agony.
Poetry should be grief, not grievances.
I come to hear your prophecy—
how the world is shrinking
like your cage of immortality.
.
Show me how to convert the useless.
The graceless and wasteful.
The northern half of a southern laugh.
Reveal to us how to yearn so purely
we turn into hollow light.
“Please ask for assistance.”
Let me chew on your fat dreams.
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jcwportrait_May_13+
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, and artist.He is best known as a poet and the author of 15 books of verse, including most recently Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press. He has an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College where he studied with Allen Ginsberg and also taught. Recent poetry is included in New American Writing, 2017. For many years, Wright ran Cover Magazine, The Underground National. Currently, Wright stages events showcasing artists and writers at KGB Lit Bar and La MaMa ETC in NYC, in conjunction with his art and poetry journal, Live Mag! He regularly contributes to American Book Review. Wright is a Kathy Acker Award recipient for 2018.
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2 Poems by Louis Gallo

elpenor1

Marc Chagall The Soul of Elpenor (L’ame d’Elpenor)

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Getting Wasted With Elpenor
.
Pretty bored last night so I decided
to descend to the underworld
hoping to meet the great Achilles
or Agamemnon or, you know, one
of them, even that mad Ajax would do.
Instead I ran into Elpenor sulking
on a lonely, miasmal crossroad.
Seems no one had buried him yet—
remember he’s the dopey kid
who got drunk atop Circe’s roof
and fell off and broke his neck
(one or two lines in The Odyssey).
He’d talk to anybody who drank
the blood, begging, pleading for burial
so his soul could cease its wandering.
Well, I wasn’t much help
so back up on a roof (Circe’s again?),
we wound up getting cheap drunk
on Gallo wine–
and once more Elpenor slid off
to still another death, another
broken neck.  He looked so sad
as he peered at me from the ground
though I had already explained
that I lacked the power to salvage
either his body or soul.  I sang
from my vantage–Ray Charles’
rendition of “Born to Lose,”
never quite deciding who ranks
as the greater losers:
hopeless, broken blokes like Elpenor
or those of us who can’t restore them.
.

Dream

I tried to tell her she did not smell
like mosquito repellant
but I could tell by her frown
and the way she flicked her hair
that she didn’t believe me.
She kept sniffing at her arms
in a kind of minor horror.
I took her hand and tried to
pull her into the house
but she resisted:  “How can I
come in when I smell like poison?”
she whimpered.
“Smell me,” she demanded,
“all over,” as she proceeded
to remove her clothing.
What a dilemma.
If I told her she smelled
like champagne or the attar
of roses, she would accuse
me of lying;
if I told her she did indeed
smell like mosquito repellant
she would go berserk–
for this was one clean woman.
In the end I offered to rub her down
with denatured alcohol
(which smells horrible)
to remove every trace of repellant.
She liked the idea
and followed me into the house,
the screen door banging behind us.
I smeared the wretched alcohol
all over her flesh and rubbed it in.
Then I carried her to the tub
and washed it off with Ivory.
Now I’m boiling water for
sassafras tea as she lies back
on the sofa, smiling, purified,
ablated, redeemed.
And I tell you, I’m smiling too.
.
Louis Gallo
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
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