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“Birmingham, 1931” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“For the city, his city, stood unchanging on the edge of time: the same burning dry city of his nocturnal terrors and the solitary pleasures of puberty, where flowers rusted and salt corroded, where nothing had happened for four centuries except a slow aging among withered laurels and putrefying swamps. In winter sudden devastating downpours flooded the latrines and turned the streets into sickening bogs. In summer an invisible dust as harsh as red-hot chalk was blown into even the best-protected corners of the imagination by mad winds that took the roofs off the houses and carried away children through the air.” Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera



Cities certainly do stir the emotions as you’ll see from the passionate responses to the last prompt, Ciao Bella, Beloved, July 11, which was to write about the city in which you grew up or one that you grew to love.

Thanks and a warm welcome to newcomer Lexi Villa and thanks to stalwart regulars: Paul Brookes, Isabela DeLa Vega, Sheila Jacob, Frank McMahon, and Sonja Benskin Mesher.

Special acknowledgement to debasis mukhopadhyay, between ink & inkblot: Debasis’ latest collection is “kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context(2017, Finishing Line Press ). I am unable to include his poem today due to some technical issues, but I hope to bring you more from this acute and prescient poet soon. Meanwhile visit his site and …

… enjoy these offerings below.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome no matter the status of career: novice, emerging or pro. Responses to tomorrow’s prompt will be published here on Tuesday as is tradition and this week’s responses will also be considered for inclusion in the September issue of The BeZine, which is themed social justice.


Devastation to My Happy Place

I remember running across the street to the little old lady’s tiendita.
After a long day of exploring canals and giving in to vendors (who definitely overcharged me because of my pale skin), I was hungry.
Can you hear the rain tapping against my window?
Can you hear that old lady’s silence from across the street?
Can you hear my stomach growling?
It was cloudy & dark, but I wanted to continue my adventure.
I only had that interaction, or rather transaction, with the old lady.
But as I lay here in my home, I think about that sandwich I bought from her.
Ham, cheese, & jalapeños. No condiments.
I’m laying here now, where the worst I’ve experienced is 125 degree weather.
What happened to that city the day the earthquake hit?
What happened to the businesses run along the canals?
But above all, what happened to that little old lady?

© 2018, Lexi Villa

LEXI VILLA: “Hey! I’m Lexi, just turned eighteen and decided to participate. I only really dabble in poetry, I am not a professional. However, something I entered in a competition did get picked up for publishing. So I guess I must have a knack for it to catch the eyes of publishers right? I look forward to participating :)”


Even More Invisible Town

A paragraph/stanza difficult to read, then urge/ntly to know widens eyes, detail foregrounds, colour sharpens, shadows acute

No electric/gas light. Wood fires flicker at street ends, in single rooms shadow on walls, glorious stars and robbers abound

Every street must be a wasteland: broken bottles, discarded rubbish, rusty nails, decaying carpet. Belonging is discouraged.

Amount and weight not quality of jewellery you wear is sign of wealth/prestige. Piercings/tattoos admired/flaunted.

Violence is always acceptable. Non violence is cowardice, defeat admitted. Only big, strong survive. Bullying praised.

Freezing cold is welcomed. All animals slaughtered, every part used to build shelter, skins warmth, bone tools, percussion.

All surfaces are child friendly soft. All houses have slides, all workplaces ball pools. Play is work. Riotous creativity

dark corners are encouraged. It is an architectural trend to see how many can be made in one building. Cleaners despair.

where a buildings decay is encouraged as a haven for wildlife. People born/live/die in hides, record wildlife as heirlooms.

Nobody puts things back correctly. Compensation is unknown. Goods on wrong shelves. Kids to wrong houses. Fiction in non

.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

A City In His Pocket

Searched his donkey jacket,
business suit and blazer.

Nowhere. In his dreams hand
in pocket it felt smooth like wet cobbles

his hobnail boots slipped on and faltered,
clattered and echoed in a cave of streets,

crammed with bread on the bake,
spicy curry and sweet dark chocolate,

or the top of a Christmas dome
you upturned to see snow fall

on gothic spires and picket fences,
or hand in pocket spiky and harsh

like police speed traps or his wife’s voice.
Pick pocketed now empty pocket.

Gust blew across the abandoned threads.
Aha! He’d put it in his hi viz jacket.

Previously appeared in The Coffeelicious

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

More Impressions of Wombwell

Backyard, eye swag silver, two joy, pica pica purplish-blue iridescent sheen wing feather green gloss tail

on train squeal chatter, vivid, green, blue, beavers, cubs, scouts, ventures: anarchy in uniform

unshaven bald man, open green raincoat, brown leather shoes, hauls local paper packed lime green trolley

old folk bench gab, mothers stroll babies down funeral paths eye gambolling squirrels, cemetery a parkland

bright cemetery leaves behind dark, Bakers window 6 loaves, 1 burnt, nurse boards bus, ‘I was miles away’

sunstruck leaf bunch drips bright molten green glass, other leaves luminescent silver stars in green matter, shade cut

patient silver hubcap rests under stone cemetery wall behind blue bus stop halo, full moon fall: day waits

Shadows pass over bus as if it is stop motion animated. I get on the animation. Hand held camera glare work journey

Town a small canvas tent unzipped tied back crowcall, fragrant grass, earth close, sun blue. Is on holiday

light quality early noon than morning, 3 patient full brown potato bags by grocers, cloud dispersal pends

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

Invisible Town on the Cards

At bus stop 6 playing cards played 3 of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds face up. Empty coke can: a bus on the cards

Bus stop other side from morning Ace of Hearts 7 of Diamonds 5 of Spades 6 9 of Diamonds face up. Afternoons hand

Hill top Mrs Wood, grocers, coming down street cemeteries avenue hill bottom where pit used to be a lush forest.

In siling down bus is a big kid in wellies a splash laugh in every pothole puddle, hurriedly shops import goods

Slanted rain rolls down slanted roof slanted street each angle geometric downpour wet arithmetic blatant flashes

Estate Agents white box A4 copier paper door stop charity shop rush takes green leather sofa armchair out of rain

‘value’ ‘bonus’ ‘Low, Low Prices’ big on bright blue next to ‘On Offer’ ‘To Let” boarded, flagged market forces

Pale blue sweatered woman bent at right angles pushes her brown tartan square four wheel shopping trolley up hill

Greenery now over spoilheap less work less danger canal no longer used all leisure, industry moved into headsets

Young man in flak jacket grey snapback struggles to attach long fishing rod rest and shopping to bikes handlebars

Bright cool blue sky cafe puts out green plastic chairs stacked like plastic cups bakers window 4 loaves 2 burnt

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration. History. Imagination.)


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A tree grows in concrete

As such, a sight to see

I hadn’t given much thought

To how lonely it might be

One tree, weatherworn, twiggy bark

Hardly standing, day in and day out

Alone, trying to be burly strong

In need of care, no one did

City life, concrete at its’ feet

Rain, sleet and snow

No breaks, nothing but woe

Yet, there it stands for all to see

© 2018, Isadora DeLaVega (Inside the Mind of Isadora)


Birmingham 1931

I’ve come at this a bit slantwise. I see the city through my father’s eyes.

From the terraced
back-to-back
where he was born.
The poor end of town,
near Saltley gasworks
and sluggish canal
under the railway bridge.

Pigeon-roost on slate
roofs, sheen of starlings
in rain-puddles, hoot
and hiss of steam trains
spiralling smoke and grit,
roar of Saturday’s home
crowd at Villa Park.

Trams and buses trace
the city’s inner circle,
drop workers off
at Ansell’s Brewery,
Lucas’s,HP Sauce, streets
humming as he meanders
to school with his mates.

They’ll be fourteen, soon,
time for first suits
and steady jobs, they dream
football but know their
future’s in a car factory
needing ambitious lads
eager to learn a trade.

© 2018, Sheila Jacobs


QUIET CITY

Paris, Venice, Udaipur: noise, rainbow
glitter, sensory orgasmatrons yet
nothing called serenity or the bliss
of a child carefree on a swing.

Here is my city, patient work of seeds
and seasons, pink campion, knapweed
and hawkbit’s yellow, filling the meadows’
edge around the solitary ash. High

ridge on a clear day, chalk or clay
underfoot, silent, watch the hawk’s lift
and stoop to the clustered oaks, sheen
on clear spring water bubbling. Cross

an open field where the breeze lifts away
the dreck and bric-a-brac of cares and toils,
open and be filled with birdsong,
float in moments endless ethereal.

Here is my city.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


harrogate in the rain.

cheap umbrella broke,

a delightful shade of pink,

abandoned.

abandoned the street

for the parlour, the crown.

mourned my shoes, wet

and ripping.

dripping

white nubuck.

watched the trees,

falling leaves.

good coffee

opposite

the pumproom.

harrogate.

© 2018, poem and illustration (below), Sonja Benskin Mesher

20161016_115926

. oswald’s tree .

never fails to excite .with all the talk of leaves

here, falling, i am interested to see another breed

of folk that love and gather.

remind me of roseberry road, the younger days.

 

sat in the upper room, read a letter to his mum,

about the trenches, the first world war,  wished

to drown his sorrow in  that bloodied mud. the floor

tilted, a scrap lay crumpled.

 

each room has a different door.

we left, fell the last few steps.

© 2018, poem and illustration (below), Sonja Benskin Mesher

1002690_10152906887796177_5370599434980022329_n

# Oxford

lost in the ashmolean, lost
in antiquity.

i may have paid the price.

the museum is free.

accordingly.

as i spoke,
i could not help
but cry.

we do not often talk of it.

bound.

© 2018, poem and illustration (below), Sonja Benskin Mesher

shot_1410090348561[1]


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

“The Dream of a Poet” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It’s the crack cocaine of the literary world.” Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels



Where does your poetry come from? How do you receive it?  That was the essential prompt for last Wednesday, The Witching Hour, May 23, 2018. What a fun and fine response. Clearly almost all of us think there is something rather magical or mystical happening.  So here today, I’m delighted to share the work of old and new friends with their old and new poems, sometimes connected to the theme by a slight silken thread and that’s okay. All good. I know you’ll enjoy yourselves as much as I have.

Thanks to poets John Anstie, Paul Brookes, Marta Pombo Sallés,  Frank McMahan and Anjum Wasim Dar and a warm welcome to Neeldip. Be sure to visit these poets and get to know them. Links to their sites are included. If they have no blog or website, you might catch up with them on Facebook. Congrats to our prolific Paul who keeps those chapbooks and collections coming at a breathless rate. Bravo!

Please do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.



A Fairy in Disguise

Meadows turned to mist even the azure’s smiled,
lights were blinded till a distant mile,
when she walked down the morning aisle.

Fireflies were her companion when she sang along nightangles,
Moonlight was her curtain,
As she strolled through the shrouded forest,
Midst the starry fountain.

© 2018, Neeldip (Neeldip1998)

Neeldip

Neeldip has sent a bio yet, but when he does, I will post it.  Meanwhile he was invited in by Mart Pombo Salés. She said to him, “Beautifully written. Love how you recreate this mysterious atmosphere in the world of fairies and goblins. This is also the world of the Muse that whispers something in the poet’s ear. Is this why you say “A Fairy In Disguise”? Your poem carries something similar to a mystical experience. The ending is very powerful with the “starry fountain”. Isn’t that the fountain of life and inspiration? I think it would be perfect for the next Wednesday Prompt … ”


The Dream of a Poet

I woke up with a start some time ago;
A very familiar path;
from sleep infused, in semiconscious state,
with dreams of the unpleasant,
into a slow and rude awakening.

Was it a mystery magician or
con artist, the evil one,
who managed to deprive me of my freedom;
usurp my own free will;
transport me where I never want to go.

And then, somehow it dawned on me that I,
apropos my own illusion,
had written words that weren’t exactly true?
I’m not sure how this is…
But missive written. For poets. How to write!

Astonishing!

The anti-hero in my fated dream
insisted I capitulate
and turn my trade to more constructive end
by which it sought the truth
of why I wish to make my dreams come true.

It asked me who I thought I was and then,
without so much as by
your leave, it pulled me back into oblivion.
It also didn’t hear me
when my stentorian protest made no sound.

It was a vision; a reverie that spoke
of fantasies; woolgathering.
It is, in truth, as truth is meant to be
none other than my conscience,
speaking of the will to write and dream.

If answer there is one, I do not know;
so often out of our control.
The only thing I have to say is this:
it’s always up to you.
Only you can judge what’s best… for you.

By your own best devices, you don’t need
to take advice from where
there is no guidance better than your own
…save rules, and even they
can be ignored once you have mastered them.

© 2012, John Anstie (My Poetry Library)


Ash And Paper

summer mornings my fire snuffed.

No flaming voice.

Only a word in your head.

Dream of spelt and salt cake I fire for you, and before you can seek future from way I burn clean my fireplace, clear your head.

Old ash and cinders block gust makes for poor-burning, makes for poor-thinking prepare my gob for my tongues my gob packed with ash piled ash in my grate piled ash in my head crumbles like walls from incendiaried homes

stop wandering off when I’m talking to you!

ash up against my fire-bars makes them overheat makes you overthink
so they sag and “burn through” make me virginal something to focus on something for focus recall collecting ears of spelt in reaper’s baskets

I said stop wandering!

rake remains of my last fire the last fire between my temples so ash falls through my grate train steam in your nostrils pick-off the cinders for re-use.

My lightweight dark lumps, not my powdery un-burnable pieces of roasted shale my exhausted voice.

Clear my fire-bars of small cinders, clear all my ash, clear all the dead, dry bones out of my head recall the crush, grind
then roast the ears of spelt, yeasty like a pint of beer

Concentrate! You are lighting me fill my gob

with dry, unfinished paper cheap-newsprint not glossy magazine-print.
screw sheets into rough balls packed into this brain space not too tight, but not too loose.

Keep the paper open & crinkly don’t pack paper into hard nuggets, make them roughly spherical.

Should cover my grate with plenty of space to allow gust to blow away, focus these eyes, only one layer, as my tongues lick paper down everything on top will drop, roof falling in around my ears leave it at a couple of inches. Recall salt prepared pound crystals from brine
from a salt pan in a mortar, pack and inhale seafret. Cut lump with an iron saw.

I’ll not tell you again!

paper is to ignite the wood (next)

the next thought only enough, too much will clog fire-bars cause stack-collapse as your paper doesn’t burn well, stuff a loose sheet under my grate under my thoughts light it let my little tongues loose stuff sheets underneath burn them recall forbidden reading, books in flame, memories of things not spoken discarded ideas

I can be dangerous!

break up my ash with a poker. Recall stir of salt and spelt into carried spring water pure never touched the ground into meal that must be rested my pulped treeflesh.

I will lick away a support for my woodflesh. I lick away a flicker of an idea, a first layer
of contemplation.

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, (Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Wood

my thought needs substance crouched supplicant
to our hearthmind layer my gob can’t light my coal with paper my wood layer is for coal as my paper is for wood layer on my paper small pieces of wood (kindling) watch for splinters embed in your fingers for all day pain or a heated steel pin to remove. Carefully make a wooden pallet a raft of images on balled up paperwaves support my coal so imagination flares as I burn to speak.

Pray raft holds. Criss-cross wood, a cohesive structure.
You’re making my fireplace,
My head layered.

My gob layered.

Geology reversed.
Paper from trees. Dead trees made coal graduations of image, thought and idea.

When paper gone hold stays, mixture of thick and thin considerations.

Thin ideas burn easily, produce heat, thick sustains in depth delights my imaginations coal

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Coal

like wood is my imagination solidified sunblaze trapped voices, stories trapped build a pile of imagination on top of my wood-raft stuffed into my gob have a nice pile in middle.

Concentrate!

Choose pieces too small air-flow round my head restrict visuals. I cannot breathe. Choose pieces too big don’t get enough licking heat from the wood. Ignite my images , ensure fire-front removed for maximum air-flow, ignite the paper from underneath, ignite heads images underneath.

Focus!

in multiple places – get as much litlick quickly as possible, heat feeds between ignition points

if you will not put your mind on me I’ll burn your house down my water in the wood coal makes sulphuric acid lick surface off your brick funnel .
Images sear . Imagination needs time, fire blaze, cornfield stubble, while wood and paper left, this cellulosefuel heats imagination -fire to self-sustain your hard images buried deep, pressured become harder, blacker used in locomotives, steam ships, pitsweat, minehacked proppedimages your soft images nearer surface browner nostalgic soft focus biscuit tin tender.
Imagination produces smoke and tar when heated only,
when “dried out” get red-hot carbon fire makes imagination so hot. Recall tar melting on roads in sunblaze, sticks to soles coal tar soap photosynthesizes calls back its days as a plant.

I can be dangerous!

once my fire lit poke gently, release ash, break-up images stuck together by tar sticky mind coagulate.

Arrange cinders around the edge, add more images around fires periphery around

minds periphery. Don’t throw a bucket of imagination on my flametongue.

Always put a bit at edges or in middle. Images poked.
Poke my licking.
so ash falls through firebars so ash fall through the head.

Lift my burning images, ensure ash removed from under fire bars.

Imagination needs time to warm up.
Don’t smother with cold-images.
Kill lovely heat.
Longer to burn up. Pile it up around the edges, when it starts burning: poke and rake it into centre gradually.

When lit you give me a voice, a gob and tongues. Listen to my stories, record my voices, divine futures from decay of food thrown on me.

How virgin cakes of salt and spelt bake towards decay in heat tongueflicked wild jig of ideas before I ashreturn lose my tongues.

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


SEVEN SPRINGS

Who knows where they have come from? No
summer rains to fill the limestone
caverns, no spring time residue
and yet the tongues of water spread
in new directions,loosestrife by
the water’s edge; and willow herb.

Across a once-ploughed field,
mineral insinuation
feeding the tangled hedgerows and
forcing the flush of hawthorn’s white.

Folded in dew, summer might bring berries;
fieldfare and redwing on winter’s winds.

(Seven Springs is a real place just north of us which feeds the River Churn that runs past my allotment and through the middle of town. So…)

© 2018, Frank McMahan


Tree 1

I Just Met a Turtle

I just met a turtle in the park.

It was on the way

Not where its mates

Usually are,

Near the lake

Sunbathing.

It was solitary.

I figured out it spoke

To me.

Told me to slow down.

And so I sat

As words began to dance

In flight

Carrying a smell of pine trees,

Rosemary and lavender.

Like butterfly wings

Fluttering in the wind

They intertwined

And slowly began

To land on my paper

One by one.

I pulled my thread,

Took the needle

And began to sow

One after the other.

A word weaver

Just like my friend

Quim

And all the others.

I just met a turtle.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

Fog in San Francisco2

Plurilingual (English and Catalan versions)

ENGLISH:

You throw the words up into the sky,

words are Wörter in German

and the sky is called der Himmel,

while du wirfst means you throw.

So this line in German says:

Du wirfst die Wörter in den Himmel.

Your words float up in the sky

like dancing pearls in the horizon,

which in the Catalan language reads:

Perles dansants en l’horitzó.

Or if you prefer it in Spanish:

Perlas danzantes en el horizonte.

And as the pearls are dancing

there is a new dawn of creation:

Kreation, creació and creación,

in German, Catalan and Spanish.

A new dawn of creation

offers you its magic infinity:

Magische Unendlichkeit.

Màgica infinitud.

Mágica infinitud.

Amid the sea and the wind

you feel the cadence of their swing:

Die Kadenz, la cadència and la cadencia.

Words light the flaming eyes

of your most wanted dreams:

The flaming eyes.

Die flammenden Augen.

Els ulls flamejants.

Los ojos flameantes.

Words fall upon you slowly

like little frozen rain drops

that swirl up in the air:

Die Luft, l’aire and el aire.

With the palms of your hands

you pick as many as needed.

Each word is a most precious pearl:

Perle, perla and perla,

that you gather in silence:

Stille, silenci and silencio.

Like quiet roses they blossom

once all the pearls conform

the puzzle of your necklace:

Halskette, collaret and collar.

From the darkness and shadows

your new poem comes into existence:

Existenz, existència and existencia.

 

CATALÀ:

Llences les paraules vers el cel,

les paraules són Wörter en alemany

i el cel es diu Der Himmel.

mentre Du wirfst vol dir tu llences.

Així aquesta línia en alemany diu:

Du wirfst die Wörter in den Himmel.

Les teves paraules floten en el cel

com perles dansants en l’horitzó

o si ho prefereixes en castellà:

perlas danzantes en el horizonte.

I a mesura que les perles van dansant

apareix una nova albada de creació:

creation, Kreation i creación,

en anglès, alemany i castellà.

Una nova albada de creació

t’ofereix la seva màgica infinitud:

Magic infinity.

Magische Unendlichkeit.

Mágica infinitud.

Enmig del mar i del vent

sents la cadència del seu moviment:

The cadence, die Kadenz, i la cadencia.

Les paraules il.luminen els ulls flamejants

dels teus somnis més desitjats:

Els ulls flamejants.

The flaming eyes.

Die flammenden Augen.

Los ojos flameantes.

Les paraules cauen damunt teu lentament

com petites gotes de pluja congelades

que s’arremolinen en l’aire:

The air, die Luft i el aire.

Amb els palmells de les teves mans

n’agafes tantes com en necessites.

Cada paraula és una perla preciosa:

Pearl, Perle i perla,

que reculls en el silenci:

Silence, Stille i silencio.

Com quietes roses floreixen

una vegada que totes composen

el trencaclosques del teu collaret:

Necklace, Halskette i collar.

Des de la foscor i les ombres

el teu nou poema comença una existència:

Existence, Existenz i existencia.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


20180503_141308

It Comes from the Unseen Force

Words and thoughts  felt in transparency, unknown, unseen,
senses benumbed, as vision scans nature’s  changing vapors
against a canvas, bordered by shivering trembling green leaves
of stretching, bound, firmly rooted growth, shaping into one
strong trunk…strange is the form yet studded with beauty …

as feather like as water drops, soft, in feeling, a medium,
which passes through, touching the body soul and spirit
breaking the trance to discover, an idea ‘arranging deepening’
in the mind, revealing a song’ or a story’ or poetic drama’
so ‘poetry should be naturally expressed’ though along the way-

‘there are places that beckon us to stop or warn that these lines
are true,these thoughts good, let the words flow’, in early drafts
don’t try to control the poem’, feel free to alter the facts’,yes,it is
easy then, but it is work, hard work, the idea comes from the unseen
it is then from ‘me ‘ to something real outside ‘ in order, to craft’

IMG_20170314_180040_095-1
sometimes it is Light’ spreading gold in the sky on hills and land
cutting darkness to glory divine’ when green goes dark looks grand
mind stirs wonders eyes gather images and thoughts seek words
to amalgamate colors, beauty serene, majestic mystical  hills of sand
who made them? how much more beauty must be in His Domain !

2014-03-06 17.23.11
a poem can be, just be, it comes in moments, in time, at night
sometimes nothing descends for days, nothing inspires, a lone
still, lifeless object, may strike the soul, yet it all is formed only
when the mind in its richness of  language receives the ‘order’
‘a divine gift ‘it is as poets have revealed in the past across ‘border’

Mirza Ghalib wrote’

Aate HaiN Ghaib Se Yeh MazameeN Khayal MeiN
Ghalib Sarir-e Khamah Nava-e Sarosh Hai

 When mysteriously topics or subjects come in ones thoughts,
Then the sound made by the pen, resonates like the voice or sound of angles.

and so it is for me…

© 2018, poem and illustrations, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


ABOUT

“Child Rulebook” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
― Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire



The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, May 16, Baruch, The Baker, was about genocide, unfortunately as prevalent in these modern times as any other in history. The count is 24 currently, including – and ironically – Gaza. Here are the sometimes intuitive, sometimes angry, always well-considered works of poets with a strong sense of social justice and injustice. A collection for serious thought.

Thanks to intrepid and talented poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Frank McMahan, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Marta Pombo Sallés. Bravo! And thank you to Sonja and Marta for sharing their illustrative art.

Please join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged: beginner, emerging or pro. It’s about community, sharing, getting to know poets who may be new to you. Each poet’s site (if they have one) is linked below to facilitate visits.  If they don’t have a site, chances are you can connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.


child rulebook

all conquerors
learned all they needed
from the child rulebook.
of course, it being
a CHILD’s rulebook,
some rules contradict others.
“i was here first”
will fall before
“my army can beat up your army.”
“i’m gonna tell on you”
derives from
“you will get it if mom finds out”
but is so often outmatched
by “now look what you made me do”
which is a corollary of
“it’s all your fault.”

the Standard Oil Company,
a conqueror from its inception,
practiced
“kick their ass/get their gas”
long before those words
we’re found on t-shirts.

in 1979
after a puppet government
set up by the US
was deposed,
and hostages were taken
at the American embassy,
Mickey Mouse
appeared on a T-shirt
flipping a bird and saying,
“Hey, Iran!”

now our roost is presided over
seemingly by a turgid towhead
with the impulse control
of an otter
and a sense of entitlement
derived from a lifetime
of always getting
all the toys
he wants.

dark forces pull his strings.

the human population
of Citizens United
is zero,
as is
its regard
for humanity.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay, Image & Text)


Ethnic Cleanser

removes unsightly
grease and dirt of people
who spoil your landscape.

Cleans as it polishes, replaces
their awful smell with fresh fragrances.
their profane beliefs with fresh air.
their noisy children with heavenly quiet.
our history with revised pages.
Preserves our pure culture.

They are an infection to be eradicated.
Their unmarked graves forgotten.

Ethnic cleanser for a cleaner society.
Buy into this great product.
Popularly known as genocide.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

Inhumanity Is Good

Your inhumanity will prove
how human you are.

Neglect one another.
Abuse one another.

Seal each other in homes
until old and weak die.

Run pedestrians down.
Bomb hospitals.

Use the innocent as shields.
Use the knives you carry.

Kill babies, rape mothers.
Prove how human you are.

Defend your inhumanity.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)


BERLIN 1933

Find the glass window set in the cobbles
outside Humboldt’s University. You’ll
need to angle your view and wait until
the light reveals the whiteness of the empty
shelves,a void in Europe’s heart.
Judischen, entartate. This is where
they began the burning of the books,
flames and sparks, yellow like stars,lighting the way
to ghettos, wagons, lines of wire, ashes, bones.

Ghosts gather, tug at your sleeve politely,
plead that you read the Book of the Dead.
Its opening page lies at your feet. Descend
to lamentation’s rainbow.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

SHOES

Shoes, pointing in all directions
as if they could not decide which
way to go. Ahead the river,
wide and fast, its shore empty of
boats.And people.The shoes, fissured,
soiled, heels broken; children’s clogs.As

they stood in their final sunlight:
prayers? Huddles of comfort? Piss and
shit leaking onto ancient leather.
Hurled backwards, no funeral flowers
save the smoke curling from the guns,
downwards, where the Duna receives
them, cold, reddening as it flows,
mere dross and cargo. A flask of
spirits opened, a cigarette
lit, safety catches on, the world
more Judenfrei.
Shoes, now again
pointing in all directions.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


.the star. b/w.

did i sit quietly thinking,

then place a few

things together. yes.

 

 

that was exhausting.

the star.

© 2018, (poem and artwork below) Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

16217074699_82674046ab_oshot_1352812820993shot_1353420837463bcdfshot_1352812820993

 

work on paper

installations & photographs- sonja benskin mesher

52.59.  3.

two voices, softly said,
“yes” they cannot
understand the numbers
nor find their families.

© 2018, (poem and artwork below, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

shot_1353927324452

artwork, Sonja Benskin Mesher



banyoles-sunset

Ode to Trumps Vanity et al

Spring anticipation in the air
Orange reddened sun
Gets ready to hide its rays
Behind the lowest of all mountains
Mirroring itself on the lake.
Vanity at its highest level.
Yet the picture turns out different
In a mixture of yellow and blue
Of greed and sadness a faithful clue.

“You’re so vain,
You probably think
This march is about
You…”
Reads the banner
At the Women’s March
January 21, 2017.

Millions came together
Across the globe
To raise their voices
Against your choices
Mr. Trump.
Your misogyny,
Racism,
Xenophobia,
Your greed and your lies
Are most unwelcome
Because it is your vanity
That makes you lie.

Where’s the first media-built man
That promised jobs for the working-class
To make America First and great again
When all you bring is constant pain
Erasing truths and liberties from earth.

The second man’s now on the surface,
Two sides of the same coin,
And the reddened sun sets down
While Vanity School runs high
For Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders,
Frauke Petry, Beppe Grillo…
And the like.

Even Spain’s Rajoy’s a little Trump,
Profound ignorant and clown,
Who drains the fund backing pensions
With an air smell of corruption.

Won’t you grant us, Catalans,
Once for all that referendum
Any democratic state would offer
To a stateless people to decide:
The right to self-determination.

No, instead, you’re blurring powers
Just exactly as Donald Trump
Judicializing politics and sending
The very democrats to court
For organizing a participatory process
In Catalonia, November 9, 2014.

Vanity School expands its limits
And buys a handful Orwell’s 1984
While the sea has just began to weep:

Mare Nostrum, Mare Mortum,
In 2016 almost 5.000 people
Drowned and died
From 2000 till now 30.000 dead!

With Barcelona’s pro-refugee rally,
The largest in Europe and perhaps
In the entire world till now,
We will surely not have enough
To eradicate our human misery.

The red sun has just hidden
Behind the lowest mountain
And as darkness unfolds
The picture changes colors:
Grayish blues carrying their shadows
On a rippled lake obscured
Where birds and ducks move
Swiftly countercurrent.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

Nenufars copy

The Excess of Confidence

I was sitting on a meadow one day
A book in my hands, how long I can’t say.
Three hens came close to me and showed no fear
I was most surprised as they came so near.
Was it my presence, so benevolent,
What made them approach me so confident?
They just trusted me and I did the same,
Collective confidence was here the game.
Animals, humans, need it in our lives,
To trust others instead of carrying knives.

Another day, walking in the city
I sensed there was no aggressivity.
On a street, a gay couple holding hands
Perhaps Barcelona now understands.
One person was black and the other white,
They were no longer a most dreadful sight.
Collective confidence was there again
Let’s hope this new tolerance will remain.

In Germany the principle of trust
Seems to be essential, it is a must.
I walk along one of its widest streets
It’s a frequent place where everyone meets.
Then I see a bookcase on a corner
It is public and with books, I wonder.
Books placed in the middle of a street
How pleasant it is to read so sweet
No one thinks to set them on fire
People read for pure desire.
Books travel, they come and go
The shelves have something to show.
No shelf becomes ever empty
For books there are always plenty.
Again collective confidence
Makes possible such a tendence.

Yet confidence remains shadowed
Too much the Germans have swallowed.
As Martí Anglada (1) once said
Their excessive confidence led
To the horrors of the genocide
Did they all ignore what was inside?
Heidegger was controversial
Did he think it was so special?
The Nazi regime would be the best tool
To reform university, how fool!

Essen celebrated Love Parade
Look at all the mess some people made
Beer bottles rolling on the floor
Of that crowded train, I want no more.
On railtracks drunken people walking
The train driver gave us a warning.
Nothing happened, yet soon after
There was more than one disaster:
The Duisburg tunnel, the Germanwings flight
Excess of confidence, a loss of sight.

Then came the Volkswagen case, a new shame,
Where again just too much trust is to blame.
Which country in the world, never mind
Each place carries such cases behind.
If the excess of confidence is no good,
Will we ever learn to act the way we should?

Martí Anglada is a Catalan journalist and the author of the book La via alemanya (The German Way), Brau 2014.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)



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“Summer Storm” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

c Jamie Dedes


Here we are! Tuesday again and this is a fave day for many readers who so enjoy the variety of responses to each week’s prompt.  Today we welcome the poetry of Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Marta Pombo Sallés, Frank McMahan, and Sonja Benskin Mesher in response to the last writing writing prompt, May 9, Autumn Promises, which was to write about a favorite season. Why is it a fave?  How does it move your heart or inspire your thoughts?  So, enjoy these and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt – tomorrow.

You’ll notice that I always include a link to each poet’s blog or website to facilitate getting to know new to you poets. That’s what this exercise is primarily about. So do connect.  If there’s no site, you can probably link-up on Facebook.

All are welcome to join us for Wednesday Writing Prompts, no matter the status of career: novice, emerging or pro.  Come, be a part of our poetry community.

Please note: Folks have sent me emails for Wednesday Writing Prompt with their photo and bio, which I don’t post unless there is a reason to do so… That is, you won’t see your photo and bio go up unless you share a poem on Wednesday in response to the prompt … and it’s your first time participating. It’s by way of intro to everyone. Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your future a participation.

Thanks to those who contributed today’s delights and to all who take the time to read their work and travel on to visit their blogs or websites. Bravo!


the longhot

in 1990 the Valley
of the Sun served up
a 122 degree day
on the 26th of june

then
i was a long distance runner
of the mind
that i could not miss a day
i had to run
at least a mile
every
single
day and so
i ran in the predawn
and it was already pushing a hundred
and fifteen minutes was all i had
but it scratched the itch
but not enough
so after sundown a friend of mine and i
ran again
briefly
he was soon wiped
but i was full
of essence of beenthere
and extract of donethat
and was oddly energized
when he asked if we could stop
and when we drew in heated air
i felt like a furnace being stoked

years later i was on a golf course
in july
had the course practically to myself
but for one or two twosomes
riding in carts
while i walked and carried my bag
at the twelfth hole
on the fairway
a worried ranger told me
i didn’t “look so good, partner
why don’t you sit down for a while?”
“nah, i’m ok,” i replied
plastering on a grin
i didn’t feel
because my focus was derailed
“you shouldn’t do this by yourself”
“i’m drinkin a lotta water
i’m ok thanks”
and i touched that with asperity
and he left
more worried than ever

but he need not have been
this was my sweat lodge
this was my forge
this was the longhot and my home

it makes cold water taste sublime
it cleanses it cures
it defines

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)


A Heady Burnt

fragrance
means autumn’s
soft footfalls can be heard.

Sun’s blaze warms my back
as I cut dry grass, autumn
breaks out a rumble overhead

© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Sweetness So

late in the season,

I ask the tree,
“Please can I take some

of your fruit?”,
the easy pleasure

my hand reaches out,
amongst the almost naked,

gnarled limbs,
my fingers round

the full luscious belly
of a hard green pear,

and gently twist to snap
the umbilical cord,

and place it in the basket.
And say “Thankyou.”

On the ground gnawed
and sucked broken skins

rest on mown grass,
sweetness oozes into cold air.

Soon the aroma of apple
and pear crumble inhabits

the fresh rooms of our house,
the heat in the pastry,

the knife’s blade cuts
a portion.

“Blow on the spoon, love.
I need to know

if the pears are soft enough.”
says my wife as she ushers

bubbling fruit and crumble
to my quivering tongue.

© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Summer Storm

Gusted leaf shadow
your black dog lope.

Lightning your deadly smile,
what the thunder said your voice.

your hailstone land is popping popcorn.
skin a short, sharp shower.

left me to dry out in heat
of no goodbyes or see you laters

© Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


FEVER

When I am hot and fevered, bring
me from a cold, clear spring, water
in earthenware pitchers. Lave
my limbs indulgently. Let
the drops on my brow fall softly.
Carry me then on a litter,
in cotton covered, smooth and cool,
to the shingle shore where the
breeze, the merest breeze can glide,slow
across the contours of my skin,
sloughing away this burning. Let
the tide’s murmuring bring a slow
descent through slumber into sleep,
weightless, dream-less, floating.

I shall grow hot again.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


The Autumns of Our Lives

The autumns of our lives
Unfold in harsh winters
Still nature turns the page
In the book of seasons
That trembles now and then
With echoes of climate change.

A new spring reminds us
There’s hope to carry on.
Past glories and stories
Can never be erased.
Once the seeds are planted
Smiles begin to flourish.

One autumn father died,
Another we voted.
What seemed impossible
Under such repression
Became a hero’s act
For our democracy.

Wishes held in fingers
Jolly voices strangled
By repressive police.
Our hearts froze with fear.
Yet we’re no criminals,
We just wanted to vote.

That autumn was half-won
With promise unfulfilled.
All masks were now fallen
And everything had changed.
In most uncertainty
Untrodden way to go.

Monster decay with clay
Planted so many fears.
Imprisonments began
Freedom of speech attacked
Democracy at stake
Our claim remains awake.

That was just one more fall
In the book of seasons
Where revolutions find
Their own written pages.
Ours will have its place
Within nonviolent fight.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


on spring

who knows which hour it starts,
which minute, rhyme or reason.
breaking of rules,        our hearts
open.                         split a season.

on spring,                 slight chance,
light            or prayers can change.
sons      move in a prouder stance,
yet others rage.

black bird sings   early
the same bird calls late.
sense that nearby
one year came straight.
spring slides. the
moon draws tides.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

.after the brigands inn.

will you report the fire?
no i stopped to admire.

i had seen the stack before, the logs
laid neatly, all was ready then,

now your flames attract me, to
talk of lambs and springtimes.

it is from the storm , tinder dry,
too hot to stand by,
i can feel it from here.

on my return all was ash and steaming,

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)


Tiptoes of Spring ~

I have found flowers
I have found flowers,
And the cool winds feel softer
Dry leaves are lifted
Waves are visible in the grass
And I know
That Nature with her sensitive ear
Hears the tender touches of, the velvet
tiptoes of Spring-

Evergreens sway to welcome, in
Murmuring whispers of youthful sprouts
Rippling away invisible woes , and I find
More flowers as loneliness fades away-

Comfort engulfs the soul and spirit as
The mind drifts away to memories
When families were together to stay-

All seasons were loved December or May
And now I find flowers but not the family
All seasons seem the same ,as joyful memory
In summer heat cool raindrops or autumnal
Falls, touches my soul, inspires the spirit-

To create fresh flowers of poetry.

© 2018, poem and photographs, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


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