Archive for August, 2019

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Carrion Song for Major Tom by Bob Beagrie

“While men are gazing up to Heaven, imagining after a happiness, or fearing a Hell after they are dead, their eyes are put out, that they see not what is their birth right.”
(Gerrard Winstanley, The Law of Freedom in a Platform, 1652)

“Look out my window and what do I see?
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay.”

(David Bowie, Oh! You Pretty Things, 1971)

They took me in under the storm cloud’s wing
fed me on fire, bid me level these barren heaths
with spade, rake, hoe
with spade, rake and hoe
in joined desire, we remove rough stones,
our fathers’ scattered groans
layers of self we’ve sloughed off in growth,
dismembering ourselves, to stand alone
as Osiris or John Barleycorn
We turn, together, the soil of memory
compact years, smell ripe turf
Whatever shall we find as we finger the dirt?
spend hours sowing suns in common ground
to grow the pillars of Eden before sin,
as before my fall,
in rhymes of dipping scythes
sacks of sweat-won grain
and scarecrow grins wide as a rolling moor
Remember when, remember
when remembering

this remains an old battle scene,
a place for levelling men on points of swords,
over the fence we’ll forever tear down
undermine, come each month’s curdled cream,
through distances drawn up in murky pails
to our long-lost hanging grounds:
Avalon, Lyoness,

poaching trails and corpse ways
still lead stray quails toward a mythic
sleeper dreaming under the golden hill –
not our King, divine, with his head lopped off,

his blue-blood-spill soaked in strips of cloth
and sucked on to ease a blight or bitter ache
to bring prosperity
to reverse a curse

but some starveling sovereign, low itinerant,
peasant-born pilgrim with a leaking song,
ear clipped, pilloried, with branded cheek,
or a departed starman crowned on Mars
with nothing left to lose
So, halt one moment in manuring, hear
those mouldwarps scurry to their Lazarus Palace,
secreting treasures beneath the grasses
shadow-cast by our booted soles
by our spades, rakes and hoes.


Date: 2018

By: Bob Beagrie (19??- )

Friday, 30 August 2019

Stone by Nick Makoha

The best thing I did was
move my body from one side of the world
to the other. This required a visa
which required a bribe.

The bribe placed in the palm
of a man with a gun,
took my mother’s monthly wage packet.
The man with a gun

let you speak to a clerk.
He too wanted a wage
because it would be his job
to have words with a judge

for another month’s salary.
The official wanted his bribe
so listened to the clerk
escorted by the soldier as he held his gun.

As I sat with my mother
at the steps of the court
drinking soda waiting
for one man to say yes, my mother said

In Uganda a bribe stops men
doing nothing. It rolls away the stone.
Her sips were slower than mine,
each separated by this prayer.


Date: 2010

By: Nick Makoha (1974- )

Thursday, 29 August 2019

A Map of Migration Routes by Philip J. Metres III

Each line is arrowed red.
Inside, they tumble

across muscled continents
like erythrocytes, millions

of flesh-tucked skulls hauling
the heaviness of dreams. Red

for departure, blue for return.
Their lives shrunk to a cell

they palm to their chest
in bus depots and windowless tents

at night, seeking a signal,
a recognizable voice, someone

home, lithium ions draining.
When they sleep, they sleep

in clots of human waking.
When given paper and crayons,

their children draw weapons.
Red for departure, blue

for return. Like veins, the lines
draw back to the heart, the heart

where the rivers flooded,
or the fields baked in drought,

where the guns came out,
having traveled from somewhere far,

and guns made love to guns,
making more guns,

and the blood began to run.


Date: 2018

By: Philip J. Metres III (1970- )

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

To Poems by Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkosky

My poems: fledglings, heirs,
Plaintiffs and executors,
The silent ones, the loud,
The humble and the proud.

As soon as the shovel of time
Threw me onto the potter’s wheel—
Myself without kith or kin—
I grew beneath the hand, a miracle.

Something stretched out my long neck
And hollowed round my soul
And marked on my back
Legends of flowers and leaves.

I stoked the birch in the fire
As Daniel commanded
And blessed my red temper
Until I spoke as a prophet.

I had long been the earth—
Arid, ochre, forlorn since birth—
But you fell on my chest by chance
From beaks of birds, from eyes of grass.


Date: 1983 (original in Russian); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky (1907-1989)

Translated by: Philip J. Metres III (1970- )

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

For by Joseph Carthey

Shoved into a morning with the cold sigh
of someone rusted by responsibility
and its constraints,

There could be no way to silence
the spirited cluster of a station
angrily juvenile in its disquiet.

Cirrus hangs like salmon on a line,
flooded across the city and
half-sleeping, a landscape false

With no comparison to our
shitty bed east from here,
where nothing feels like work.


Date: 2018

By: Joseph Carthey (1996- )

Monday, 26 August 2019

Actus Secundus. Scæna 4: Chorus from “The Tragedie of Mariam” by Elizabeth Tanfield Cary

To heare a tale with eares prejudicate,
It spoiles the judgement, and corrupts the sence:
That humane error given to every state,
Is greater enemie to innocence.
It makes us foolish, heddy, rash, unjust,
It makes us never try before we trust.

It will confound the meaning, change the words,
For it our sence of hearing much deceives:
Besides no time to Judgement it affords,
To way the circumstance our eare receives.
The ground of accidents it never tries,
But makes us take for truth ten thousand lies.

Our eares and hearts are apt to hold for good,
That we our selves doe most desire to bee:
And then we drowne objections in the flood
Of partialitie, tis that we see
That makes false rumours long with credit past,
Though they like rumours must conclude at last.

The greatest part of us prejudicate,
With wishing Herods death do hold it true:
The being once deluded doth not bate,
The credit to a better likelihood due.
Those few that wish it not the multitude,
Doe carrie headlong, so they doubts conclude.

They not object the weake uncertaine ground,
Whereon they built this tale of Herods end:
Whereof the Author scarcely can be found,
And all because their wishes that way bend.
They thinke not of the perill that ensu’th,
If this should prove the contrary to truth.

On this same doubt, on this so light a breath,
They pawne their lives, and fortunes. For they all
Behave them as the newes of Herods death,
They did of most undoubted credit call:
But if their actions now doe rightly hit,
Let them commend their fortune, not their wit.

From: Cary, Elizabeth, The Tragedie of Mariam 1613, 1914, The Malone Society Reprints: Oxford, pp. 51-52.

Date: 1613

By: Elizabeth Tanfield Cary (1585-1639)

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Munchies by Alex Ewing

I want a Tom and Jerry tower sandwich
with the Works
Give me some of those
Fat-ass sausage links
Yeah, I want a fifty-link sausage
stuffed in my mouth link by link
I want to devour a
super-size drumstick in one bite
Give me one of those pink-frosted
Cakes to lick from my fingers
I‘ll picnic up high
on the roadrunner’s cliff
So high, I actually become the roadrunner
So lifted, I seduce the sexy Mulatto Cat
and it’s good; real good
Only thing is
He keeps hollering suffering succotash
As we fuck.


Date: 2018

By: Alex Ewing (19??- )

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Born, and Then Again by Mihku Paul

You dream of a wild bird
wheeling like a hurricane.
charmed from the warm, bristled sea.

The bird singing,
circling a sea-shell cradle
where you lie waiting for
peace on earth.
A banded sky, brown hawks
diving into mountains of stone.

Beneath you, it is deep as Hell.
Verses rise, ascending fire in
breath of bay, breath of balm.
You wait to be
lured back to life.

You, who boast Montezuma’s blood,
pure as priest and nun.
Pray for sufficient sun.
Sing like a charmed bird.
Do not die with curses
blistering your lips.
Take shelter in the warm sea,
luring you back
to life.


Date: 2013

By: Mihku Paul (1958- )

Friday, 23 August 2019

Sound Hunt by Jan Wiezorek

Birds call in the dark,
naming my shuffle steps back to bed,

when I imaged them as gulls
in the park, and I don’t know why.

Bird lovers hunt sound, but landscape eludes
my pillow nest activating a melting mind,

hearing what could not be described
as a crashing dumpster

or a glorious wind-battered sign
around saturated street corners.

Not a thunk on butcher’s moist tiling,
or car crashes trapping causation,

more than leaves settled upon woven mats,
or the dry snag of callused feet:

my doubts wrapped between
waxy, fogged layers. But echoes play out

and on in my mind and I hunt—
sensing unhearing along parkways

and greenways that mask collapsed
gull breath plummeting upward

toward predawn. Rattling first sparrow’s try
at prying open her beak

in memory of an unknown leap
from a high-rise roof.


Date: 2017

By: Jan Wiezorek (19??- )

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Summer in Another Town by Nabanita Kanungo

The boguri is a pickled memory
and drumsticks have lent spring its briefness.
Docile hamlets grow lazy in the heat like cows;
and thin naked children learn to grow
with the taste of dust in their mouth.

Each time a car diminishes at the bend,
we cover our eyes unable to stand the silence
that leaves the country’s bones rattled along the forgotten road
where a thousand potholes stare at the sky
like empty sockets of a skull cured dry of dreams.

Blazing rubber trees smirk over
endless plantations of corrupt earth;
only a cuckoo can draw a few drops of blood
from this heart that had once tasted love.

Who will moisten these fields
with blood and sperm?

When a sal leaf falls from the helm of March
into night’s abyssal throat,
we know why nothing is moved into song
in these clanging depths where empty pails
of legends have fallen never to be retrieved
in old women’s voices.

The hours have ceased searching the horizon
for an anxious swirl of storm,
and we give in to the dead stupor
of a summer that grows endless in front of us
in rising haze and dust growing thicker
on memory’s leaves, until no one can believe
that winter and rain had lived here too,
in this dream of forests where
signposts trick with a different name.


Date: 2017

By: Nabanita Kanungo (19??- )