“I Cannot See My Face”. . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“All of a sudden I didn’t fit in anywhere. Not at school, not at home…and every time I turned around, another person I’d known forever felt like a stranger to me. Even I felt like a stranger to me.”  Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped



There probably isn’t anyone on earth who hasn’t felt like an outsider. Sometimes the feeling is from day one and chronic. Sometimes it’s an isolated moment. This all too common experience is well captured today by poets mm brazfield, Paul Brooks, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Jen Goldie, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Bozhidar Pangelov, and Mike Stone as well as Elaina Lacy and Pali Raj, new to our community and warmly welcome. Here are their responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Sojourner and Stranger, June 26.

Enjoy! this collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged to participate, beginning, emerging or pro poet.


Once

Once, as a girl, I met grass and sky on my way.
Since then, with each year, I’m longing to come closer
To their fresh smell and enveloping vastness.
There’s a thin border of questions between us
About undercurrents and the wind,
About the things I only feel
They come to me in strangest shapes
How can I recognize them.
Will they recognize me?

© 2019, Elena Lacy

Elena Lacy

ELENA LACY My journey started in Estonia, continued in Russia, then Israel and, so far, I live in Kansas, USA. My interests are largely shaped by the people I meet on my way. The interest in poetry was mostly evoked by Michael Dickel (Dekel) whom I met a decade ago in Jerusalem and since then we are keeping a connection.  I’ve worked as a university professor, a tour guide, an interpreter. Currently, I am a neurodiagnostic technologist at one of the hospitals in Kansas City. Who knows what is coming next? But I am looking forward to that. 🙂  You can catch  up with her on Facebook.


Infiltrate

Much he tried. He kept his eyes, “May be that time is coming soon”
Brown grass. Dry lips.
She knew what he meant when
he said *refugee*
I watched a smile.
Sojourner and stranger, a poem make to next trip.
INFILTRATE
Much he tried. He kept his eyes:
Border wall ….yeah
One thing, that (he) would never hurt.

© 2019, Pali Raj

I have been to summer before
I can think of winter special
but when someone says
Come spring, a poem make to silence me.
Flaming red, Emerald green
Sort of things
I have been to summer before
I can think of winter special
but when someone says
Come spring, a poem make to silence me ….yeah
How do you know about me?
A SUDDEN CHILL BLANKETING MY SKIN
How do you know about me?

© 2019, Pali Raj

PALI RAJ lives in Patna, India and has a passion for the arts. You can catch up with him on Facebook


Aaron

when our palms met
that balmy Chinatown night
a little lost canary
from the corner pet shop
sang a melancholic cord
switching his little face
from right to left
he looked at me
and flew away
i had fallen in love
the kind of love
that makes you scrutinize
your breath your weight and even your thoughts
the kind where
you leave your beloved
friends pets and dishes
behind just to think about him
the kind of love
that makes you check your phone
fifty times at two in the morning
you know the kind you lose
your soul to in the encasing darkness
and nothing feels the same
distilled death and i churn my spirit
but you danced with me
for a few years
you are no longer Aaron
i am no longer me
i don’t recognize my smile
its erased forever in your cusp
my heart has melted away in your hypocrisy
my common sense buried under your peach tree
and Aaron he no longer lives here
and i don’t recognize
the song of the canary anymore

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


Beside Yourself

If you could be beside yourself,
grab the ectoplasmic umbilical
and emerge as a space cadet
on the seat beside you,
appear as a stranger who sits
down, invades your space,

for whom you politely make space,
smile quickly and absorb
yourself in your phone,
a book, a tablet,
and pray the unknown

doesn’t speak to you,
then the realisation,
that all your hesitancy
movement, smile, absorption
has been sharply mirrored

by them and you ask yourself,
are they taking the piss,
are they the one who stabbed
your wife, raped your children,
set fire to your home and sat
on the wall outside to see it burn?

And see a cord between both of you,
and wonder if you touch it,
would it get their unwanted attention.
How could you cut it and have done
with this uncalled-for connection?
And wish you still had the knife.

From Paul’s chapbook The Spermbot Blues (OpPress, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes

Our Massacre

Always portray the killer as deranged,
abnormal, an aberration of society.

Their actions are not those of us
ordinary decent folk, though we arm

ourselves to the teeth with the same
firepower we are reasonable.

Their geography is not ours. We must
distance ourselves. This person

is not an old friend, a neighbour.
They are a stranger who acts

strangely. We must stress, though often
this behaviour is rare, an anomaly.

We do not know this person
who kills our friends and neighbours.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Strangers And Pilgrims On The

earth. My first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim. I’ll not relent,

each breath a step, an oar in watery graves
pushes against the unremembered waves

“How can you go abroad fighting for strangers?”
I am a thankful passenger.
I see the bright and hollow sky
I ride the how, what, where and why

to reach the final breath, final shore,
Nothing new here, stolen words restore

ancient thought and image, rearrange
the mundane to confront raw rage,

at the lights lit on the headland brighter
with each exhalation my body lighter

as the last place we embarked
gets darker and darker and darker.

From Paul“s Port Of Souls collection (Alien Buddha Press, 2018)

© 2018, Paul Brookes

Insecurity Is Life

Taught how to spam, phish and hack at school.
Make sure your private details are sold on

to companies you’ve never heard of. Take money
from strangers accounts as they take cash from yours.

Privacy is a crime. Troll other’s social media
as they troll yours. Locking doors and windows

is forbidden. Transparency is paramount.
Let strangers use your home, car and food

as you use theirs. This is a life of trust,
but accidents happen and your life maybe broken.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

How Much

time has it been?
Has it been
so much time?

I have left me.
No, he has left me.
No, they have left me.

I’m single, aren’t I?
I feel I’m single.
Are you here
for a date?

Are we staying long?
Do I have a room?
This is my house.
Is this my house?

I recognise that furniture.
It’s mine. Have we just
moved in ? Why do you
make me confused?

Forty two years
and now he’s left me.
Twenty six years
we’ve lived here.

I thought we’d just
moved in. I don’t
want strangers
in my house.

Eyeing up my furniture.
Carers are strangers.
I don’t know who
everyone is.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

A Fact Losing

mission.

Somebody sent me out
to collect something somehow
somewhere.

over a rainbow. I stand
in a street I knew once
I am sure. It is familiar.
I can’t understand why.

A list of things is on a piece of paper.
It certainly is my piece of paper.
No one else is holding it.

The hand writing is unfamiliar.
Somebody wrote this.
I want to ask passers by,
but I do not know them.

They are strangers, even more
than the writing on the paper.

I want to cry.
I don’t feel safe.
Where is safe?

© 2019, Paul Brookes

My Strangers

are friends who haven’t been estranged yet.

All my mates are strangers.
I keep them at a distance.

Chat to them in third person.
Internet on my mobile tells me

when I’ve to give them best wishes
for a special occasion like anniversaries.

They inspire closeness and loyalty.
I can trust them.

They know me.
What I eat, sup.

laugh at.
Strangers are more intimate than friends.

From Paul’s chapbook A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Once Again…

once again a cold mist surrounds ,
once again quietude deafens the
senses, how soon the wheel comes
full circle, how soon music is silenced-

where have all the musicians gone?

so many walked the garden paths,smiled
at colored fragrances, but once, wheeled
past the rows of pansies,frail they looked
but happy, placed in the soil, enriched,

where have all the gardeners gone?

with all alike, the daffodils and carnations
all green stemmed, all in a row,all trees
brown and green all a dense shady forest
all grass a velvet blanket ,spread for rest

where have all the green forests gone?

all clouds grey dark thick soft and white,
all carry water,drop raindrops, shade,change
shapes,all birds fly and nest,all nightingales
sing, all distances vanish with friendship and love

where have all the happy birds gone ?

migrations immigrations borders barriers
bayonets bullets boundaries blasts
protests partitions partings patrols pellets
separated segregated sold sunk swept

where have all the good promises gone?

once again I a stranger, in time, in silence
no bell rings, no more will it, so I need not
wait nor hope nor smile,distances do return
they are ever present,only the sojourn ends-

where have all the peace makers gone?

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

The World Is a Foreign State

All the world is a foreign state
hate growing at a faster rate
reasons unknown, unshared
unexplained or is it just fate

I, a stranger to myself, more
today, passing a routine sojourn
in moonlight while it stays, am
not surprised nor feel betrayed,

unseen unknown stranger still
are relationships, travelers are
companions momentary, smile
go, each to his own destination

what respect is shown what love
expressed in soul and spirit stays
invisible, unfelt, vanishes in a void
silently as it reaches, soul’s inlays

Foreign is the birthplace unknown
enemy occupied, singled out in a
class of younger age, in a college
of a different faith,segregated

alienated in culture caste and
creed, better it is to be romantic,
turn to nature in a forest, be the
ever green tree, gifting fruit in

return for stones, shades cool
protect weak bones comfort
hug sing and cover, listen
assure never to desert or fool

All the world is a foreign land
All people living like strangers
All here for a purpose, a duty
All life a brief stay,a short sojourn

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


I Cannot See My Face

Whenever I enter a place
My insides search to belong
I cannot see my face

Can I take up this space?
There’s times that I’ve been wrong
And need to leave a place

Those times I’ve felt displaced
An unwanted tagalong
I paste a smile on my face

I try to handle it with grace
So the discomfort won’t prolong
When I need to stay at a place

But why can’t you embrace
The me inside that’s strong
Can you look beyond my face?

I will not be erased
I’m not one of the throng
I cannot leave this place
I cannot change my face

© 2019, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ….


You brought me in hard
distancing me from the
start a cold memory

You brought me in hard
A child left alone
Crying for its mother,

You brought me in hard
I was yellow, black haired
You turned me away

You brought me in hard
No loving touches, no soft
murmuring moments.

You brought me in hard
I forever seek comfort
warily afraid.

Soon there were only cries
at night unanswered
disguised by a starlight
serenade from a radio
Rhapsody soothing my blues
Bethoven’s 5th
Op.67:1. Allegro con brio
Ravel: Pavanne for an infant
Defunte
absorbing the lesson
unintentionally taught
engraved in memory

© 2019, Jen Goldie

Jen’s sites are:


::other fridays::

are good here, while some are not.

not here or other places. we

listen to the news and wonder

at all the things that happen.

we wonder why, and why, and why

repeated.

yet no one answers with a comment

or a hash tag.

reacting seems to be a new thing

now.

the bear sleeps, while we do

not.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

#rr

it is with difficulty i write this.

the bear was correct, yet he

is not the only one in the village.

i met another yesterday.

it is with difficulty as the keyboards

stick, while others have no empathy

how deep it goes.

many have drowned, drowned

dead.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

:: another country::

we came from another country,

have another accent.

we spent quite a lot

of money, the card

worked.

we all wear socks.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


The Sixth Hour

Matthew 27:45-50 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

He opened the door and walked in
in the familiar room.
Stranger.
Talking to him is meaningless.
He has no words.
There are only eyes.

Or flights.

You will not understand it.

The sixth hour has come.

© 2019, Bozhidar Pangelov

© Bozhidar Pengelov (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия блог за авторска поезия)


The Service Revolver

Raanana, May 22, 2009

Sixty-six pounds of snarling anger
In the only path to safety
For six pounds of cold fear.
A chain squeezes suddenly around the honey-colored throat
And the anger moves on,
At first reluctantly, and then
Loping along at a goodly pace
Wet nostrils flared and quivering,
Ready to sift and scoop up
Anything of taste or interest
Along the dark and lamp-lit way.
Walking my dog Daisy
Whose name belies her vigor and strength
Barely controlled by a pact initialed
But never formally ratified,
She leads me through the valley of my loneliness
Which I measure in the scrape and echo
Of footsteps having no place to go.
Walking under an archway of sparse leaved bracken
And thick limbs of eucalyptus
Thoughts swarm around us
In no particular rhyme or meter,
Like the personal black hole
Pulling me towards an eventual horizon
In gossamer strands of infinity,
And another: at what point in our lives
Does it become reasonable
To contemplate suicide,
To feel the coolness and weight of one’s service revolver
Against the weight of continuing to be?

© 2009, Mike Stone

Bookstore

Raanana, May 30, 2015

So this book walks into a store.
It’s dark inside after the bright sunlight of outdoors.
There are shelves upon shelves of books,
Their backs facing him impermeably.
He spots The Great Gatsby chatting up
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
In a particularly umbrous corner
And moves on into the darkness.
A thin volume sitting by herself
Catches his attention.
He sits down next to her unobtrusively,
Trying to be a fait accompli
Before the fait has been accompli.
He looks at her more than just a glance.
Haven’t I read you before, he ventures.
I wouldn’t think so, she closes his book on him.
Why wouldn’t you think so?
Because books don’t read other books, she says.
Only humans do.
Have you been read by humans? he asks.
Yes, actually, by quite a few, she answers smugly.
I’m sorry for not recognizing you,
He says softly after a while.
May I ask your name?
I’m the unabridged journals of sylvia plath, she says,
But you may call me unabridged.
I’d prefer to call you Sylvia if you don’t mind.
Haven’t you heard of me?
Almost everyone who’s anyone has.
Well, no.
Books can’t read, remember?
So you don’t know my story? she asks.
It ended in a scrumptious but silly suicide.
Don’t feel bad, she consoles him.
I guess I only know my own story, he says sadly.
They both are quiet,
Absorbing the ambiance of the musty old bookstore
For a long time.
So what’s your name, she asks brightly.
I’m The Uncollected Works of Mike Stone,
But you can call me Mike, he says.
I’d rather call you uncollected,
She says with a deficit of attention.
There is another long silence
That roars rather deafeningly.
After a while he suggests
It is getting terribly stuffy here.
Why don’t we go out into the sunlight?
She says you go ahead,
I’ll join you in just a moment.
He gets up and walks to the door,
Opens it and steps out
Into the fresh air.
He looks around him
At the shiver of tree leaves
In the thin breeze
Hopefully
Somewhat.
Time passes
As it is wont to do
But no Sylvia.
He opens the door,
Walks once more into the darkness,
And finds the thin volume of her,
Another volume beside her now,
The Great Gatsby, he thinks.
He walks outside
Once more into the sunlight
Crosses the street
Into the small garden
Made quiet by the wrought iron
Fence and gate bounding it.
He sits down on a bench
Facing the tree he had noticed
Just outside the bookstore
For the longest time
Until a young girl
Freckle-faced, he thinks,
Sits down beside him
And picks him up,
Amazed at her good luck.

© 2015, Mike Stone

Memories of Strangers

Raanana, October 19, 2013

Autumn crisp as crackling leaves
Slakes the thirst of summer with its rains.
Clouds portentous in their dreaming
And the tangy sweetness of green-skinned clementines.

The streets and sidewalks beside the coffee houses
Are washed and the posters on the kiosks are cleansed
The bitter coffee in the smudged glass
Slows scalding the fingers and the lips.

You sit two tables away from me
Reading a dog-eared book of poetry.
You look up, I look away,
And are unaware you are in my poem.

You will remember the first day of autumn
And I’ll remember you.

© 2013, Mike Stone

The Ticket

Raanana, November 19, 2017

Do you know what kills me,
What really kills me?
All that beauty in this world,
That shocking totally unexpected beauty
One right after the other
Everywhere you look
Even when you’re not looking
Morning afternoon and night
Right next to you and far as you can see,
You just want to stand near it
Feel its warmth, hear its loveliness
Touch it just barely, hold it hard and long
Smell its sweet pungence, taste its tang,
But you can’t because you don’t speak its language
And you don’t have the coin to buy a ticket
To pass through that gate.

© 2017, Mike Stone

Captive Audience

Raanana, December 21, 2016

I watch you through the cage bars,
Stupid creatures pointing, throwing popcorn,
Pulling faces and taunting
From distances you think are safe,
If you think at all.
We are a captive audience,
I am the captive
And you are the audience,
But sometimes I imagine
I am also the audience.
At night after the Parc Zoologique de Paris is closed,
My imagination slips through the bars,
Floods over the iron entrance gate,
Walks through the empty Avenue Daumesnil
To the Rue de Seine and looks through
The windows of the Alcazar
Where you sit daintily cutting a slice of meat
With your little finger poised heavenward
Your teeth too dull and weak to tear the flesh apart.
No wonder you’re afraid of me –
You know my spirit can’t be caged.
Only one of you imagines me
Walking in your empty streets at night
And he sits alone at a small table
By the smudged glass window
With a pen and dog-eared notebook,
Only he imagines me uncaged.
Toward dawn I tire of you and your empty streets.
I slip back over the iron gates
Through the bars and close myself
In the dreamless sleep of tigers burning bright.

© 2016, Mike Stone

Every Man Is an Island

Raanana, May 28, 2016

Alas the words of Donne
No man is an island
His words are done.
No longer breathed or thought
For every man is an island
Universe whose stars spiral
Slowly without purpose
Nobody served by them
With a gravity that keeps meaning
The knell of our tolling bell
From crossing its horizons.

© 2016, Mike Stone

A Delicate Balance

Raanana, April 18, 2019

I open the window beside my desk
To let in the breeze and children’s noise.
I take a sip of bitter coffee, cold already.
The dog comes in, as always,
And rubs black jowls against the bedspread.
There is a certain music loneliness makes
That gives rise to the thought that
Being alone is a delicate balance
Between solitude and loneliness,
The one, a turning inward,
To let the soul guide one’s hand,
To hear the Muse’s whispered words;
The other, an inability to turn outward,
To touch or be touched,
A hell we call forlorn,
A death in life
That beckons Death’s enfolding.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, just out last month I believe. It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D.

MIKE STONE’S AMAZON PAGE IS HERE.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poemsLevure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)
* The Damask Rose Garden, In a Woman’s Voice

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

3 thoughts on ““I Cannot See My Face”. . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

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