Poems from ‘Notes From a Bright Field’ by Rose Cook

The Wall

Everything I know

clamours inside,

shouts not to,

 

even so, here I am

leaning out a little

looking down.

 

Don’t look down

he says, look ahead.

So I do

 

seeing a black roof,

sloped tiles,

the wide gap.

 

My heart decides

before I do.

 

 

 Naming

 

Even now a wood has faint echoes.

The stars whistle words

that tell the trees their names.

 

So it is with a child. A life begins to form.

Everyone falls to listening. The mother tunes herself,

trying to hear a name.

 

When her baby is born, the stars call.

The stars do everything they can to be heard.

Some of us have corked ears,

 

we answer only to family voices.

Children struggle misnamed,

carry leaden coats for years.

 

Who has not sung in their bed at night,

found their true name, hugged its secret,

watched it flit away with the morning?

 

 

You Don’t Need to Wear a Fish Head to Feel Weird

 

Now my skin colours itself,

like that on rice pudding,

I get this nutmeg feeling,

turn my unnecessary attention

to a rust patch on the wall.

 

I stay up all night, drink

till I throw up. Whatever.

No one minds. At least my eyes

aren’t too small to see, at least

I know I’m not a swan.

 

I know what’s happening;

transversal disintegration. Yeah.

I’ve done this before, but then

it was cool. Just get in the swing.

Before you know it, you’re humming.

 

This time it’s like light chains

looped right round. No sweat.

Identities crack through

to other stuff always there.

You don’t have to see straight all the time.

 

No need to worry, honey.

What slips away was never meant

to stay. Honey.

Notice my eyelash still curves,

doing what it should.

 

 

A Close Call

 

The skinny, angelic girl told me

she saw a bear come out

of its cave in Bavaria

 

one frosty morning

when the sky was egg-blue,

but the air dazzled with white

 

and although she made the mistake

of introducing it to Damien Hirst,

who talked excitedly on his mobile,

 

it dealt with the matter quickly

by ripping his heart out

with a sharp pointed bear nail.

 

By Rose Cook

 

Rose Cook’s Notes From a Bright Field is ‘a single quiet path, in and out’, capturing the transitory beauties of the everyday: a mother’s ashes imagined as ‘Lux flakes’; the ‘fruit-gummed glass’ of a cathedral. Where the poems’ themes are of nature, loss and the spiritual, these are grounded in concrete imagery like ‘the clack-clack of the shell and the bones’.

‘In their transparency and deceptive simplicity Rose Cook’s poems reveal pure and hidden depths in nature, memory and loss, celebrating and questioning the fragility of everyday interactions. These are indeed poems for people ‘who juggle [their] lives’, insisting in their gratitude that we ‘be still sometimes’. To read Notes From a Bright Field is to be renewed in body, mind and spirit.’ – Anthony Wilson

‘Rose Cook’s poems are often poignant, reflecting the many variables of ordinary lives, but always with a lightness of touch, an acceptance of what it is to be human.A collection fluid and sincere, the poems are wide ranging, sometimes painterly, sometimes with a wonderful down-to-earth diction and a singular inwardness that delights.’ – Denise McSheehy

Notes from a Bright Field costs £8.00 plus £2.00 p&p, £16.00 for two copies (p&p free) available from Cultured Llama

 

Diana Y. Paul

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‘Summer Spooning’

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‘Bodhidharma’

 

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‘Four Brothers’

 

Diana Y. Paul is a former Stanford professor of Buddhist philosophy and cultures. She currently is a printmaker specializing in a Japanese aesthetic combined with a mixed media approach to the image, usually an organic one, with an element of surprise or the unexpected thrown in. Food and other organic themes are her favorites. She has combined the organic with a “magical realism” that merely suggests the original source.

Most of her art has been exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan as well as a national tour of “Art for Democracy” in 2009. She also writes a blog on art, fiction, food, wine, and movies called: “Unhealed Wound: Heroic Art—lights on the shadows of life’s unfinished business” (www.unhealeldwound.com) for lovers of beauty with an edge.

The Koi Pond by R. Joseph Capet

The Koi Pond

 

At the pond’s edge

the water flows

with symmetry of shoulder blades

on the back of a beautiful woman.

 

The koi knot like muscles

and release,

red as sinew—a sunken barque

in argyric mansions of the Moon.

 

From the waters God had birthed the world

—a crab ascending the primeval shore.

“From water all the world’s arisen,”

said Thales, reaching for a rope.

 

No light shed koi

but what is given

darting through the wet reflection

of Mare Insularum.

 

Is Chandra, too, Kumari Kandam—

a temple strewn with sunken shipping—

a Taos where only Neptune’s children

hear phantasmagoric bells?

 

Does all creation fit an order

known to Mohists in their sitting

’cause Aristotle’s vaunted ceilings

so high above are as below?

 

Koi ascend to crumbs of baking,

strewn like stars upon their heaven

—fire dunked into an ocean

extinguished in the gift of life.

 

Perhaps young Phaeton found his father

was Charon, seized the fateful oar,

and spilt the sun into the waters;

the saprophagous crab was born.

 

R. Joseph Capet

 

R. Joseph Capet (www.rjosephcapet.com) is a poet, playwright, and essayist whose work in English and Esperanto has appeared in magazines and journals as diverse as decomP, The Montreal Review, the American Journal of Biblical Theology, and Sennaciulo.

 

Three Poems by Bill Wolak

Roman Virgins

 

In Rome no virgins could ever be executed.

If a offender was discovered to be a virgin,

the executioner was required by law

to rape her first before killing her.

 

 

The Pathans Punish Adultery

 

The Pathans found adultery so intolerable

that they punished it with excruciating consequences.

The man convicted of that crime was staked to the ground

in the sweltering sun with chili peppers thrust up his anus

and sharp thorns stuffed into the urethra of his penis.

Then after sufficient shrieking, he was kicked in the testicles till he died.

The woman also was staked to the ground with her legs

wide apart.  Then a quickly growing vine was planted in the earth

between her legs and directed to grow into her vagina,

where it wound through her viscera.  After a week of agonizing suffering,

the plant would rip through her entrails as if they were topsoil,

and she would exsanguinate.

 

 

The Smile of a Stranger

 

While St. Brendan the Navigator waited in a carriage

for his mentor, Bishop Erc of Kerry, an attractive

young girl happened to smile at him.  St. Brendan,

outraged at this challenge to his celibacy in broad daylight

by a succubus in the form of an adorable young girl,

attacked her, beating her concupiscent flesh

with his walking stick until the crowd pulled him away.

 

Bill Wolak

 

Bill Wolak is a poet who has just published his fourth book of poetry entitled Warming the Mirror with The Feral Press. He is currently working on a translation of the Italian poet Annelisa Addolorato with Maria Bennett. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

 

Newborn Babies, Fading Roses by Frank Cavano

Newborn Babies, Fading Roses

 

Did she come here, can she stay here-

are there words to senseless songs?

Frightened rabbits, deadly weapons-

is it here that she belongs?

Newborn babies, fading roses-

can one catch and kiss the day?

Fleeting plaudits, fleeting treasures-

is there nothing here that stays?

 

Muscled shoulder, hard as boulder-

can you see her take his hand?

Estee Lauder after shower-

is her figure more than grand?

Do not answer, love’s a dancer

to a song without a tune.

And the winter wind a-blowing

must confuse the sun and moon.

 

Yellow crocus, now in focus-

save the ribbons from her hair.

Now all the world is fruitful but

her limb-bound nest is bare.

The nectarine is void of nectar-

summer snow the spring has chased.

Through a long and limping winter

falls the rain from her long face.

 

Shall we tell her, will it quell her

cloud of sadness, dance of fear?

Will a candle in the window

ever bring good fortune near?

Unmet wishes, dirty dishes-

is there nothing left to say?

Newborn babies, fading roses-

can one catch and kiss the day?

 

Frank Cavano

 

Frank Cavano is a retired physician who tries to say something about the ups and downs of being human in all my attempts.

Ira Joel Haber

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april 2 collage

 

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in USA and Europe and he has had nine one-man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art,  New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum & The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. His paintings, drawings and collages have been published in many online and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. Currently he teaches art at the United Federation of Teachers Retiree Program in Brooklyn.

Mum’s Christmas Pet by Ellena Deeley

Mum’s Christmas Pet

 

I had come home a Christmas refugee

Or lost mongrel that had done the rounds.

You didn’t know whether to pet me 

Or watch for lice

As you rolled the ladle hard,

Smiled like half-price tinsel.

Voices in the little room flared

Like the LEDs of wires 

You hung in perfect symmetry 

Above a window-paint blizzard backdrop

That would flake off 

To bare the mountains

Like a double exposure.

 

II 

You wanted to conjure The Spirit 

Of Christmas Past with a BBC recipe

For chocolate log –

A transubstantiation of oil and egg white 

And a 9 o clock showing of It’s a Wonderful Life

Into that fuzzy belly grin.

Wrapped in your pink plush holiday skin 

I spliced sticks of thin mint fondant 

Like a sweatshop elf,

Molded a dainty stag head 

From a palm full of Cadbury’s buttons.

I was pulling the brittle distance 

Between torso and hoofed limb,

Watching velvety eyes and horn’s spring

Up, one by one, from bog-like ooze 

Of thick ganache

Like the separate parts 

Of a mythic, chthonic, thing,

Surfacing from a primeval syrup-soup.

You said it was such a novelty

To have a sugary pet Rudolf

To prance on top of the desert.

 

III

Boxing day, the cake was chopped,

Bagged on the bottom shelf,

Next to the cheddar.

  

Ellena Deeley

 

I am a young working poet from Pontypridd South Wales and English Literature student at the University of Exeter. I have previously had my work published in the poetry webzine, Ink, Sweat & Tears and specially commended – coming in 11th place – in the 2012 Welsh Poetry Competition.

My Prison is Artificial and I Might Be Real by Nathan Kemp

My Prison is Artificial and I Might Be Real

When you first pressed my shape

into this molded Borosilicate glass,

I had a fever of 104 degrees. Burning

skin from bone doesn’t come naturally,

though I could tell you thought otherwise.

 

Release me from this prism! is something

I thought often, my captor, my friend.

Never kiss me again, I’m married

is something you told me after

I kissed you, two months in.

 

Your lips tasted like water stains

and rusty chrome and polyester.

 

I was exhausted from making rainbows and

making rainbows and making rainbows

while I hung from the window frame,

waiting for the sun to move along.

Every day, I thought it was over

 

but every day I’d shoot red, orange,

yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet

onto the scarred linoleum tile, enslaved.

I was waiting for you to slip, to kiss me back,

to ache for my ribs and retinas compressed inside.

 

Nathan Kemp

 

Nathan Kemp lives in Akron, Ohio where he is a first year graduate student in Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Moon in Well by George Held

Moon in Well

 

Moon in well,

illusion it fell

 

there. Still,

its image sits

 

there, in deep

silence, profound

 

stillness, silence.

Well, well . . .

 

George Held

 

George Held writes poems, stories, translations, and book reviews in his flat in Greenwich Village.

OLD ANEW by Lavinia Kumar

 OLD ANEW

 

Old elephants are found in Ballygeen

and make new friends, but some

never retire, they raise their trumpets,

curl with a neighbor, lean on a tree

and scratch until a need to roll in mud.

They listen to jazz piano, sail with birds

that migrate north then south

soaring against aurora lights

to a green land.

 

How well they rumble memories

of generations. They re-live the swims,

life in older colors, strolls on the grass.

And echo messages across seas,

including the wild Irish sea.

They wrestle with words and plays,

then poetry – always poetry –

and drink together, wrinkle stories,

walk on sand.

 

Lavinia Kumar

 

Lavinia Kumar’s chapbook, Rivers of Saris, will be published soon by Main Street Rag. Her poetry has appeared in Ascent Aspirations, Atlanta Review, Colere, Edison Literary Review, Exit 13, Flaneur, Kelsey Review, Mobius, Orbis, Pedestal, Pemmican, Poetry24, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), US1 Worksheets, the US1 newspaper, and Waterways.  She writes a weekly blog for seniorsmagazine.org.  She is an editor of children’s poetry at PoetryWITS.  Her website is at laviniakumar.org.

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