c estate of Reuben Woolley

Reuben’s motivation for founding I am not a silent poet: “I have seen such increased evidence of abuse recently that I felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms, colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of the NHS, the rape culture and, of course, war and its victims are just the examples that come to mind at the moment.”



Compromised

…….
It takes a moment’s reflection of pain
in near-death eyes of a sparrow escaped
the clutch of an eagle’s, lying still on
a broken leg, twisting its head at my frame
standing mighty and stoic at the door
of a sun-skimmed balcony; in that moment
is when a broken soul shows no gesture but of
repentance for the death she would see,
the death she’d allow over a life that met
a delayed leap of response. To, then, bring
a water container to the trembling beak
to sprinkle drops in a mouth that can see
the largesse before its eyes, but a body limp
to drag closer to the rim, is the way
of a broken soul to show care. Let the eyes
know of a clean water pond – is the only duty
towards a dissimilar being. To bring it the way
of tasting more than a sip is commitment
too deep and wide for retention in dissociated
wells growing salt reeds.
….8
© 2019, Sheikha A.


recusants you and i

night drive slow speed
body tired windows bleed
city light a million times
soul sucker dynamite
blare the sin out from below
steel cold brick you sunk me
my fingers crooked now
with the countdown of this town
but don’t underestimate
the heart mine least of all
look me in the silence of that eye
i dare you to deny
that after you’ve torn
us both down
spit on our ancient right
that a tree of force will not emerge
from where my human blood’s been shed
from where my love everlasting powerful
and pure will for all of time
triumph over you
and our perversions

© 2019, mm brazfield


protest tor

first protest was against confinement
and the mama-to-be felt and saw
the ridge of fetusfoot
bugsbunnying across her swollen kidslammer
soon after the child was released via scalpel and hoist
ave caesar
vivendi te salutamus

there were of course the infantile
screamings for food and attention
disqualified because ignominy
from true protest
which was to come
long before bar mitzvah:
a roughneck boy sat behind him
a kid with a reputation
that preveded this first day
of the seventh grade
and the teacher offered a word game:
“how many words can be formed
from the word RESOURCE? who’s got one?”
class members exclaimed
“our!” “sore!” “curse!”
then the bad-rep kid said “sour!” and the teacher…GLARED.
he lit into the kid,
though the kid had given
a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE ANSWER.
“i’m going to be watching you, Mister. i’ve HEARD about you.”
bad vibes filled the room,
but then
the kid sitting in front of him said,
distinctly and loudly,
“sir, there was nothing wrong with his answer! why
are you giving him a hard time?!”

and what do you think happened, Boys and Girls?
we can guess,
but we will never know, because
that stirring protest and defense above
was never delivered; the boy
thought it but did not say it.
and that cowardly failure
to stand up and be counted
has haunted his days for fifty-three years.

so this is a protest of Cowardice, which is rife nowadays.
the boy can be forgiven: he was twelve.
voting adults must be more courageous.

must face ugly truths.

must stand up to be counted.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers


I wish to honour Reuben by thanking him for all the poems he accepted that I submitted to I Am Not A Silent Poet.

World Is

always at war.
Every bulletin lists casualties,
devastated buildings, grief.

Bloodied, scarred, lost, missing,
found dead. What about the lost dead?

Forever wanting you to discover,
uncover their brief candle burn.

We Live

in a fake peace between world wars,
shop and shop to stay reasonable.

Families are killed elsewhere.
We see their relatives tears on plasma screens.

Sometimes tears drop closer to home,
and we are reminded of our fake comfort,

that is preferable, a faux fur covered blade
sometimes bleeds and we are keen.

Our Justification

for the gang rape
and killing
of your eight year old
Child
Is that, like you,
She was
Not human
And therefore
Not under
The rights
And privileges
Of humans.

You must
Be tolerant
Of our beliefs
If you wish
To stay
On our land.

Some Baked Bread

or the journey
to the hole in the ground

where they were asked to lay
on the still warm dead
neighbours and children
to be shot

As their ethnicity was cleansed.
the soldiers with guns
wrote home from the war.
It was such an event.

A Queued

Life. Born to this line
Of cotted bairns,

Crocodiled infants,
Slumped with others outside

A locked classrroom,
Marshalled exams desks,

Job interview staring at strangers,
Ranked at work,

Drs, dentists waiting rooms,
appointmented even my wedding.

Waiting list for a council house,
Parents evening lined up with others

Listed as deceased in papers, online.
Regimented plaque for my cremation.

As that world ends another begins.
Join another queue, another thought

of final judgement already delivered,
or forever pended.

Without Permission

he walked on her grass,
uprooted her wild flowers,

She says “Don’t touch
without asking. It’s abuse.

Stop it. No means no!”
Fantasies of ravagement

on both sides who know
these are merely fantasies

that should never be public
so a no becomes yes,

and abuse pleasurable. Always safe
words agreed beforehand.

Always taken too far, control
and power corrupt.

Slavery

is good for you. All folk
should be chained,

manacled to a mortgage,
to work, to an employer

a partner. Freedom denies
your human rights. Slavery

teaches you the meaning of life.
demands you act properly

constrains you to common sense,
sets out a wild world of imagination

creativity and invention. Freedom
is too wishy washy. Lock

and load your chains. Don’t let
loose and free your mind. Freedom

Is heavy, restricts, denies movement
of blood, bone and brain.

Become a slave and see our world
with new eyes, fresh perspectives.

Hopelessness Is Life

Only the hopeless live.
Only hopelessness makes you smile.

When all hopelessness is gone
then you will grieve at the loss.

There are three streets we can go down,
Faithlessness, Hopelessness and Selfishness

Without one of these the others cannot exist.
There must always be hopelessness

in the best of times. It reminds us of an edge
to life. Surrender to hopelessness

and all will be well. It is the force that drives
all that is worthwhile and good.

An Inappropriate Life

Born inappropriate to this inappropriate world
this inappropriate earth I learned how to be inappropriate

in school, met a lass
who said she was inappropriately ready

to be inappropriately wed, so we inappropriately married
after three months of inappropriate courting

she bore inappropriately our first kid
after six months whilst I worked inappropriately

in inappropriate employment
Promoted inappropriately to inappropriate manager

so we bought our first inappropriate home,
furnished inappropriately, after decorating inappropriately.

I had an inappropriate allotment where I grew inappropriate carrots
and potatoes and cabbages.

She died inappropriately after seven years inappropriate fighting
lung cancer. I never remarried inappropriately

Bring up our second child inappropriately
tell her inappropriate dream stories
of our inappropriate love inappropriate life.

Guns Are

good. Make you feel safe.
Make you more responsible,

like your own child. Nobody
hurts my child. I’ll shoot anyone

that does. My child needs
A decent education. Some shooter

Who wants to be famous kills
my little one in lessons.

I’m glad I’ve got my gun
So I can kill the shooter

And his family. Guns are good.
Make folk sit up and listen.

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,
you and your kids,
a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

Mobiles

are in the shape of small graves
for children who mine the precious
metal inside that make it work
and I look Into the screen
to stay connected but do not see
their gritted lives as they haul
the valuable out of the hole
and the world has never been
so connected by this small grave
I carry in my pocket.

Deliberate Death Of A Conformist

I insist I nod in agreement
at all they accuse me of.

I refuse to make a spectacle of myself.
I will not protest. I agree with all

the folk in power do. I always obey
the law. Drive correctly. I want

an easy life. No hassle. Why am I
guilty? Whatever it is I did it.

They tell me -That’s too easy.
You must have done something worse.

If we told you to jump out
of that window would you do it?

So I do. Now they arrest me again,
-You caused a public disturbance.

-I agree I say. – There must be something
you don’t agree with they say -No I reply.

– If we tell you you died in that fall,
and this police station is heaven – I agree.

Refugee

is good. To belong
is wrong. Be homeless.

Mortgages and rents are chains.
Tread the world without burden.

Find a banquet in a crumb.
A glassful in a droplet.

Warmth in a newspaper blanket.
Comfort is a concrete underpass.

Our Folk Burn

Management say “Lessons will be learnt”
Folk have already warned bosses.
Management say “Our sympathies are with the families”
Death toll expected to rise.
Management say “Lessons will be learnt.
Austerity costs must be met.”

Because

people killed further away
do not grieve any less.

a mother is a mother
even if her fashion is not ours.

a father is a father
even if we disagree with his beliefs.

an explosion is an explosion
even when on a flat screen.

Nothing (For Manchester)

is real.

My smile was a pink balloon
floated above me. I sang.

A big bang.
Blood on the balloon.

I find metal nuts and bolts.
I can’t sing. It isn’t real.

I’m Just About

managing between the barricades.
My kids play between sniper targets.

I fetch the shop through broken
buildings perforated by gunshot,

past cars jammed across streets.

I’m just about managing between regimes.

“Why Dad?”

It happens a lot.
I look up to see
a soldier
with the butt of his rifle
move Dad forward.

“Why, Dad?”

“They don’t know where
we belong.” He says.

© 2019, Paul Brookes


Poems I had written about child abuse – both my own experience and children and adults I worked with – was met with rejection and silence. I had the clear understanding that there was a taboo on the subject amongst Editors and Publishers – particualrly in terms of male abuse experience – Reuben saw things differently shared my view and was understanding and encouraging. At a time when I felt most despondent he published a poem of mine that had been difficult to write let alone send to a publisher. I will be forever grateful to Reuben.

The examination of time and its modes.

We are the explorers
of time
in which
our watchfulness
reveals
an awareness
of life’s turning wheel.
We the silent sentinels
examine time
embracing
the glue that alloys
that anneals and binds
the eternal tick
hum and thrum
of the Atomic
oblivious to the inhalation
and exhalation of breath
we breathe
a measurement of time.
And dream itself
three thirty
in the darkness
a stop time
in slow time
when nightmares wake
and temperatures drop
a degree or two
and old people’s
grip on time
is loosed,
loosened
they leave
and are left.
Goodbye.
Slow time.
Stop time.
Time to wake
time to go
slow time
stop time.
One day I found
myself wearing
two watches
I was unaware when
I’d strapped them on
there is a third
too delicate to be worn
the gold watch
given to an old man
on finishing.
Stop time.

The first watch
measures
now time
fast time.
The second
measures
get it got it
measures
slow time
stop time
looking at it
may make
you decide
it’s broken
stopped working
but it works
measuring
very slow time
stop time
another time
known only to us
known only to you
Postponed Time
Since the Disaster
slow time stop time
known to those
whose alarm
wakes them
stops them
from healing
stops our sleep
brings it to a grinding
Halt! Halt! Halt!
with a scream
a shout
a cry for help.
Let me go.
Let me go.
A cry. A cry
to start time.
and so the saying goes
there is a time
and place
for everything
But which time
is not specified.
Time heals.
Time will tell.
What goes around
comes around
and on and on it goes
the vagaries
of our understanding
of time abounds.
Times up!
There is no more time.
I have no time for you.
I have no more time for you.
I couldn’t give him
the time of day.
Did you keep time
for me?
Where did you keep it?
Was it on your
person?
On your body?
Pocket?
A locket perhaps?
Locked up
somewhere.
Time to get away.
How did it get away.
Did you lose it?
Did you give it away?
I have no time
for you.
Slow time.
Fast time
reaches
and seeps away
while we were
not looking
We, I didn’t look.
Carelessly
it seems
we
lose track
of time.
The sands
of time
are running out.
Running again
Sand.
Don’t get me
started.
Oh well.
Sand
running slow
sand running fast.
sand running
to a stop.
Sand stopped running.
Sand is running
out where.
Enough is enough.
Time to go.

Time redefined

And now?
Am I marooned here?
You told me to go
Go go go go go
when you decided
that it was done
that you were done
with me.
But I have been left here
somehow
then now
now then
time stands still
for some things.
Trapped in this silence
now and then
a fracturing of time.
Fractured?
Torn?
Shredded?
Ripped?
Sheered?
I struggle
for words.
It’s not true
that time heals
it simply
that pain lessens.
I am like a bell
that has not chimed true
for so long
but I am not silent
only in quietness
will you hear
the deep vibration
of my calm.
I can’t make
up for lost time
making up
for lost time
What time?
Who’s time?
A clock
Clocka
Clagan
Or Clocc.
A silent
instrument
missing a bell
is called
a Time piece.
I clock you
You you you you
You. And you!
I watch you you
you and you.
and you.
I was five
I didn’t know.
Hunt hunt hunt
Hunt the twat
Hunt hunt hunt
Hunt the cunt
Hunt hunt
Hunt hunt
Catch him
Tie the twat up
Tie the cunt up
Tie him hold him
Tie him hold him
Shut the cunt up.
I knew you
You you you
And you.
I didn’t know you.
I was five
I didn’t know
Hunt him
Catch him
Hunt hunt
Hunt hunt
Catch him
Tie the cunt up
Tie him him him
Shut the twat up
I see you now
I know you now
I do not name you
That decision
Is my domain
Talking talking
Suddenly aware
Of you you you
You. And You.
Standing there
Watching watching
How long had you
Been watching?
In silence.
Stalking me.
The snare
Tying my hands
With twine
It was a game
But the rope
Bit tight
Cut into my wrists
And you stopped
My crying
With your fists
You you you
You. And you.
Hitting my head
Hitting my arms
Hitting my legs
I was five
I didn’t know.
Strip him strip him
Spread his legs wide
Tie him down
Then came the knives.
Cut his dick off
Cut his dick off
Do you want
To know the rest.
Do you really need
To know
Every last
Detail of what
Was done
Done to me
When I was a child.
I was only five.
I didn’t know them
I don’t know you.
I refuse to be
Defined by you
By what you, you, you,
You. And you
Did to me.
I am the man
The man I am
But it doesn’t
Define me.
You will not
Define me.
My anger
About what you did
You you you
You. And you.
Does not define
Me and my life
It is you see
Only a small
Part of what I call me
A small part
Of who I am
Now.
This is my time
My space
And I decide.

Time

I hear your laughter still
I was five
I was a child
I knew you
I did not know you
I hear your laughter still
I was five
You will not go.
As incoherent
As the rattle
Of an empty plate
The image of a bell
Of an empty tea cup
Turned upside down
Chimes intertwine
Merging for reasons
That are maybe sublime
In their incoherence
A bell chimes
Making time
An upturned cup
Signs no more
I am empty
I am full.

© 2015, Rob Cullen


Behind Bolted Doors

Lift the latch and
you will find cracks
in the door, scarred
traces of hot tempered
rackets-
sad sorrowful echoes of
screams slaps and strikes
in the tender dwellings of
famished femininity-
whose chest is crammed
with refrains of ugly curses
profane, drafted with hatred
mundane-
beauty’s blend for care
created for eternal company
stays abused spared not
why?
who will cut the strings
of human bondage
lacerant tortured
Suffering Silent Cry!
What was ancient
ignorant and abolished
made eloquent and sacred
Open the door and you will find
famished femininity current
in countless fetters
slowly visibly tabescent-
Why-

© 2019, Anjum Wassim Dar


Reuben was unflinching in calling things by their true names. I appreciate the consciousness and compassion that was evident in his work and stalwart commitment to protest poetry and poets. I did not know him personally, but I feel a deep sense of loss.

The Crude Rude Red Rooster

The family patriarch was a big man
A big crude red-faced rooster of a man
With cock’s comb of jet that wilted
In the golden glow of an honest sun
He wrapped fear around himself in the way
Of a frail old woman with her shawl
His boom and blather made the girl shiver
Like the surface of a pond brushed by a dark wind

In a greedy closet big enough to live in
He gathered his indulgences and ego props
He grew fat and aggressive on flesh foods and alcohol
He drove a big car and in parking it made
Sure intrude on his neighbor’s grace

He thought himself a “man’s man”
He kept the women in their places, as defined by him
He whipped the elder son into nervous abandon
Tried to craft him into a clone and a validation
To keep the upper hand, he pitted brother against brother
He drove the wedge of his insecurities between his sons and their wives

In his service business, women were “broads,”
And there were codes for the others –
Seven was for “Spic”
Six was for “Nigger”
Five was for “Sand-Nigger,”  like the girl, or so he thought

Time passes, people decline, and the rooster lost his peck

His wife grew brittle
She came to rule the roost and the rooster –

a “broad” ran credibly to be her country’s president
a “seven” is an astronaut, a “six” is a U.S. President,
a “five” is a governor; she never dreamed she’d see the day

As for the crude rude rooster –
He just did what most of us mostly do
He did as he was taught …

What his father taught him
What his father taught him
What his father taught him

© 2008, Jamie Dedes


I’m so saddened to hear about Rueben’s passing. His site uplifted voices that needed to be heard. Here is my submission, hopefully it is on target to honor him.

Aftermath of Silence

I turned away, jaw clenched,
Breath held, yet still seeing
The crushed spirit within her
Earth brown eyes that had
Pleaded for me to do
The thing I feared the
Most – to speak up for her
And tell him to leave
Her the fuck alone

© 2019, Irma Do


It is almost two years to the day that Reuben posted Berlin 1933, my first published poem.
Yes, his website was a place for protest against injustices but protest is another way of expressing love and concern for fellow-citizens and to affirm “our better angels”.
And wouldn’t the world be a much better place if the great majority of on-line posts expressed love and tolerance, rather than their odious opposites.
Here in the UK we are in the middle of a general election and I fear that the party which has made so many more people poorer may be re-elected.
I attach a poem which tries to go the heart of that.

In the Gulag

A crippled man, eight floors up, the lift
broken again. A woman, bed-bound,
her harassed carers late once more while she
hazes in a dream of rotting fruit.

Homeless citizens fly-tipped
to alien towns or camped
beneath the underpass; others
filling night-time doorways.

Third child, non-child!
Third child, non-child!
Should have thought of that
before….!
Just join the food-bank queue.

Better like this, no need
for wire or watchtowers,
the rabid press as guard-dogs
of the dark and scattered places,
our gulag of wilful degradation.

© 2019, Frank McMahon


.head2head.

I hold you often, this time,
I cannot save you.

they come as stinking flies
and burn us.

we are as dust, you and i.

this time, I cannot save you.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Your Little Soldier

Even though you chose to let him back in
Remember
I’ll always be there
If just to stand in front of you
To block his hit
Just as I’d always do
Even though I get so upset
Over thinking
Trying to figure out why you accept him
Remember
I’ll always be there, if just to stand up for you
When he calls you ugly names
Even though I tell myself I told you so
Knowing
There’s no way he could ever change
Remember
I’ll always share your painful tears when I hear the tremble in your voice
Right before you begin to cry
Even though my pride tries to tell me I don’t care anymore
Constantly
And that it’s your problem, not mine, whatever he may say or do to you
Remember
I’ll always be there to allow the way I care to override my stubbornness
If just to try my very best to protect you when the situation becomes too violent
Dangerous
I’ll always be there, if just to help you pack your bags and run with you
Even though I know every time you’ll run backwards
Remember
I’ll always be there, if just to go back with you to make sure you’ll be ok
I’ll always be there for you
Why?
Because I love you with not only all my heart, but with all I am
Sincerely
If you’re happy, even under the most depressing circumstances
Remember
I’ll always be there, if just to imitate your forgiveness
Why?
Because I’m your little soldier
I always have been and always will be
I’ll always fight for you, because no one will take you away from me

©2014, Kelly Miller

She Died Of a Broken Heart

As her health began to fail
You didn’t notice, you didn’t care
Your sharp cruel words cut deep into her chest
Yet you said to lift her up, you did your best
Giving the wound no attention
You made it worse with jealousy’s incision
From her body the blood of hope drained
While you kept disappointing her, she strained in pain
While she lay helplessly on the ground
You failed to assist her, you weren’t around
Her life slipped away and you took no note
When all she needed was you, love’s antidote
As the rescuers rolled her away on a stretcher
The detective shook his head and said
“She died of a broken heart. God bless her.”

© 2019, Kelly Miller


Reflections on Government

From simple language much may be inferred;
America’s lust for pleasure and commotion
Like Britain’s anal culture, I’ve a notion,
Reveals itself within the very word
Used when our nations’ rulers have concurred.
Whilst here the House is said to “pass a motion”
The other side of the Atlantic Ocean
“An act of congress” is the term preferred.
But though such speculation may be fun
The world goes on as it has always done;
It’s true: “A rose by any other name
Would smell as sweet” and so we must conclude
That whether we get shat on or get screwed
The end result is pretty much the same.

© 2019, Ben Naga


Climate Change

you’ve stolen my dreams living without limits but I can
find solace gazing at clouds and

I can watch Half-Animal Half-Girl Set In A Japanese Restaurant
in which the camera follows the activities of a masked creature
half-girl half-animal in which the camera pans to a window
through which the sky is seen to be indigo in Fukushima, 2011.
I can watch Dog Barking in which a woman gets out of her car
and makes eye contact with a dog which barks. I can watch a woman
sitting on top of a hippo manically reading newspapers and occasionally
blowing a whistle. I can watch Men Hack Off Sharks’ Fins For Shark-Fin
Soup. I can watch Tigers Singing Plaintively About Colonialism
and I can watch Jungle Book where Baloo speaks Bengali and Mowgli
speaks Spanish. I can watch People Becoming Creatures which isn’t anything
like Kafka’s nightmare. I can watch Loverfinch in which a finch teaches
an ornithologist a beautiful song. I can watch Aquarium, swap lungs for gills
and enter another world. I can stand next to a beach tree and scratch
and make a work of art from the marks and call it Where a Brown Bear
Stood Recently Clawing a Tree. I can watch Polar Bears Stranded On
a Small Volume of Ice. I can travel back three million years into the past,
press my bare feet into the fossilised footprints of The Laetoli Bipeds
and walk along my ancestors’ path, 54 steps into the future.

you’ve stolen my dreams living without limits but I can
find solace gazing at clouds and I can

invite you to listen to the purr of a cheetah the song of a blue
whale the song of a nightingale the rustle of leaves starlings
imitating ring tones and the buzz of a million
honey bees

© 2019, Eric Nicholson


You might think
conversation is futile
that telling the truth
is stressful
so you choose
to remain mute
and everything
in your midst
and in your life
has fractured
silence is
after all
deafening
and isn’t
it interesting
that Jesus
came to
set the captives
free by making
the mute speak
the deaf hear
and the blind see.
See
How many people
In your midst
Have suffered abuse
You might be one of them
I might be one of them
Your mother, brother,
Sister, father, neighbor
Stranger, friend
When will the silence end?
Only then, will stress fractured
Relationships begin to mend.

© 2019, June G Paul


……..love
…………. care
……………….freedom
………………………justice
The crowd shout when it feels something like you and me.

© 2019, Pali Raj


Images

A photograph is all that remains
But my soul searches
For those rose coloured
Stills
images printed
In the heart.

© 2019, Leela Soma



 

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