The Collected Special Ekphrastic Challenge for May 2020. The First Sixteen Days. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham the inspiration for writers: Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Yvonne Marjot, and Paul Brookes

May Ekphrastic challenge white 2[78440]

Acknowledgements

Thankyou to Jane Cornwell for designing the front cover.

May 1May 1st sonja drawing

..looks like you are drowning..

part one

looks like you are drowning &
hope i am wrong. i can see the
struggle
the turn about in water.

i have done that too
pat says that i have paid the price
but i wonder

i hope
you survive
come clean
bare
your feathers.

fly high

if not
i will lay a petal
and think of you

as i think of the others
that drowned before you
that had no feathers

part two,

it looks like you are drowning
again
shall I jump in to save you and maybe
sink myself
or shall I wait to see
to lay a flower at our feet

part three

maybe you are not drowning really
that I made it up and you are dancing
like the others

while people die and we lay flowers
in memoriam
corona

part four

you are floating maybe; I did that for hours
went spongy, now face reality and
I still think that you are drowning
like the others.

-sonja benskin mesher

concrete reasoning

gray day: i am
out for a walk when
a sidewalk camellia
begs myriad questions:

runaway bride?

garden club mishap?
rejected proposal?
hothouse runaway?
centerpiece rebel?

confronted by the unexplained,
the human drive to make order from chaos
is relentless.

whatever the story,
the end is the same:
beauty appears and
we can only wonder …

with a schedule to keep
and no answers at hand
i press onward,
feeling the inner bloom
of nascent gratitude.

-Rich Follett

MF 1

*

Every time I find clay in the garden, beneath a rosebush, say,
I find slate too. This is just something I have noticed over the
course of a year. It is not necessary to mention these things,
especially now, I suppose. I am not happy unless I’m pouring
something – tomato feed. I am Philip Levine’s Burial Rights,
I recall Bei Dao. These days, I feel the trick to a good carpark,
to feel anything, is my proximity to this flower arrangement.

JK 1

*

A story of three fish might be
fish bones in a field for birds.
Koi feeding, koi feed in a
garden centre, at the next
junction. Fish bent back over
backwards, in blue paint.
Scattered to the water’s edge
a handful of dirt, to a handful
of colour, blue scales at the
centre of the field, a water
mark, a stone left unturned.

-Alex Mazey

The Life of Petals

We use flowers to mark occasions–
Weddings and funerals.
The petals linger only briefly,
But the sentiment still hangs
Heavy in the air, years after
Like pollen
That settled over and over again
On our patio table and chairs,
All those long Midwestern summers
When heat robbed our lungs of breath. And
Wildflowers, not cut-storebought ones, marked a different time,
Of an everyday type.
Now, cut flowers feel gluttonous to me.
And petals bless us with
The gentleness of how life ought to be.

-st

Utopia Burning

Warnings ignored from many a social
self appointed warlord
Echoes of dissident discord striking
a high-pitched off key note
As hungry flames lick and lash causing
an apocalyptic molten urban and
suburban foretold mess
Whispered by familiar oracles
their verbal miracles documenting their
fiery cautionary chronicles
Of systems slowly imploding temperaments
exploding fake veneers and smiles
exfoliating as ignorant masses squawk
for a helping hand from those
witnessing their demise and burning
squirming shedding acid tears for
Utopia burning…

© Don Beukes

Still Silent

No sound, water jelly flat,
so still it hurts my ears.
Even sun slides silently
into autumn’s metal light.

All jamboree, clang and din
now far away in time.
Even breath is offensive here,
in case of ripple and slapping rocks.

I cannot read or turn a page
lest a mumble or paper scrape,
escape and shatter the loch.
Like a breaking glass to
a rousing cheer,
as all that knowledge gets out.

So I stare at reflections
in late day waters
reliable quiet, but maybe
their heat is not that hot.

©️ Dai Fry 30th April 2020.

The sweet flower’s heart
Wilting on the cold, hard slab
My love’s final gift

-Carrie Ann Golden

Camellia

You lay beautiful and gasping
alone on Tithonian stone.
A sudden fall from grace,
petal broken angel:
forage for sweeper winds.

Transient as summer days.
Temperate these forevers soon
fade to winter grey.
Dog-day memories
cannot abide short-day cold.

What are you,
I wonder?
A love certified in
Bacchus’s dance
or a loved one
certified and boxed
in tears and brown ale.

©️ Dai Fry 30th March 2020.

The giant fish takes back the myth

The morning before she was to become a story
the sea was baited quiet, the kind that silks

all desire down to swish. To decide to leap
from one cool world to another just for breakfast

is to bare your colours to the scaling knife of the wind,
and she did – her fireback beacon launched

for the brief protein of flying legs. How often we fail
to see that dark hull waiting, we beasts so full up

with the rush of living for our risks.
And the shape of the poised hero held no meaning, to a fish

but oh the shimmerhook, like all the moons
her eye’s nightcoin had ever purchased

from deep beneath the water, and there is the lust, the swish-
-and want. The glowworm crescent to silver her belly.

We all want to shine in fullness.
Only heroes are given names in these stories.

For her need she was translated
into an island, and I am running the delicate gasp of her jaws

in the shape of this coast, forever straining for the hook
and still called only fish

even with all we have made of her. Every time I desire
to transcend my quiet water, I forget the heroes

and leap from her skin, and hope
that landing empty

but with one eye fixed on the moon
every night after this will be enough.

-Ankh Spice

Beheaded Camelia’s

delicate red petals last longer on the less travelled path.
Flash of disappearing red lace, paper thin survival.
Unbroken in bright sunlight, bright on grey stone.
Destruction stays at home to avoid destruction.

The red wing is allowed space to revolve reflect in water.
“Temporary” like the word “soon”, a duration undecided.

-Paul Brookes

 

May 2

May 2nd Sonia painting

..scratching..

quiet now

we can hear the birds no problem
one lorry on the road essential travel

then

we hear the scratching

when dark comes
comes the scuttlings

flutterings outside

bats fly round our houses

inside
others live and die

the fly

&

the moth comes lovely
soft and tasteful

nothing distasteful

we saves them
lifts them out the bath
a dry flannel as assistance

remember that fly in the room you wanted to swat
for
annoying. left alone it went quietly away

night came full of sounds

mice
scratching enough to leave

marks

enough to leave marks

the fly does

buzz when it flies
buzz as it dies

zzzzzt

-sonja benskin mesher

*

Inclined to mention the halo of a mountain, somewhere
I am fourteen years old. This is a mountain behind a house
where I still remain, in this thought-process, every child
chews spearmint gum. It is definitely spearmint gum, and
the mountain is only a halo, now, this time, elsewhere. Like,
I don’t know, like Mark Fisher says, this stasis has been
buried – ‘the inventor of the term, a frustrating thinker’.

*

In the summer’s
taped shut windows,
without seeing
flies in years.

Hit mosquitos
against the wall,
once observing
blood left behind.

-Alex Mazey

Geyser

Soul rumbles as grumble
dark bellows push
their boiling fist.
Hot drops, boiled rain.

Angry fats splatter
into faint signs, streaks of
early mournful light.

Fire waters bubble and churn
chained by conventions,
damned by convection.
In breaking songs of earth’s heat,
brash displays of prorogued grief.

Water crouches, fluid evasive.
As pain it cannot be broken.
Desire free to flow,
hurt a haunt of generations.

So strictures die
and violence will be
a multiple of passing times.

-©️ Dai Fry 1st May 2020.

In memory of those left behind : 9 December 2019

Sun’s first sleep-breath
sweets the dropped shoulder
of te puia whakaari, her bones

in early mistlight, are all grace
and delicate pickings, gulled
clavicles of a hard dancer, stilled. Coiled tension, resting.

It is hard to recognise a haunting, in the rose-gilt of sunrise.
Do you know her name? When you recognised it, did you forget
to exhale? Release your living now to cloud

the pane we do not see – watch deep scratches creep
across this vision. The guardians are always here, and the light
oh the light may change any moment.

-Ankh Spice

The Yellow Forest

Awakening – Dry mouth burning eyes skin burn, breathe.
Pin point vision echoing mission failed fission, inhale.
Heavy feet slow reaction no connection – A siren a siren!
Wake up stand up react retract, breathe.

Forest Walk – Dislodge move seek react engage stop!
Burning embers leaves glowing eagles falling feathers
floating, breathe. Listen observe – A lark hark the warning
A flash a flash, breathe. Eyes open sight broken, breathe.

Chokehold – Black river dead fish foul odour slow down,
Breathe. Soil on fire charcoal roots sprouting rotten fruit –
Stop smell retreat, breathe. Dead of night presence sucking
remaining air laboured breathing heartbeat slowing – Find
the opening, breathe. Look beware – Run!

The Gamdroela

Far beyond the Hottentotshuisie Mountains,
a mythical creature awaits to reward the chosen
one – Elected by the Bokmakierie Korrelkop,
a strange elusive soothsayer, traditionally
enshrined to make a wise choice – A new ruler
for the remote Belhar nation to once again wear
the sacred crown of Sekueb Nodmai, she whose
voice still echo from deep within the Bolemakiesie
marshlands –
A treacherous journey awaits the young Tandpyn,
Prince of the Bloekomboom tree nation, whose
Lands have nearly been scorched bare by the
Fiery blizzards of Macassar – Now charged
with the ultimate sacrifice, crossing the
Moddergat fynbos wetlands to eventually
reach the steep trail leading up to Fluweeltjie –
Lair of the ancient Gamdroela , a kleurvolle
Colourful but powerful oracle who will
Decide on the worthiness of the young Tandpyn…

-Don Beukes

The Dream

I had a dream last night
Of walking thru a forest-like place
Filled with earthy illuminances

I could barely make out the sharp
Round edges of branches and limbs
Bathed in a heavenly glow

These trees, so strange yet so familiar
These giants, so murky yet so real
Their aromatic odors filled my essence

And for the briefest of moments
I believed to be back home among these ancient pines
Until my eyes opened to the sterile white walls

-Carrie Ann Golden

Fly Away, Dream

When television broadcasting
Ended after late night news
And comedy shows, yellow, blue, magenta hues

On test patterns
Would send humanity
To bed, to fly away wistfully,

As on insect wings,
To a place of dreams
And endless possibilities.

-st

flaiku

what to us is dross
is a rainbow to the fly
perspective is key

-Rich Follett

Her Splash Of Veins

flutters, is still, proboscis twitch.
Flutters, is still, twitch.

Splash of wheat in fields,
Flutters as flywings.

Strands of wheat flywalk skin
as she passes she swats the touch away.

Till as she treads down more stalks
into the unmade bread of the field
bunches of wheat stroke her thighs
and she smiles at the bright sun of it all.

Snatches a stalk, lets it hang from her mouth
a proboscis tremble in the gust of her dreams
of flight above the ready to be harvested grain
rises toward sun blaze newly risen

warm bread a splash of veins in full colour,
breathes in her baked youth like goodness.

-Paul Brookes

3MF 3

Sue 1

May 3.

May 3 sonja

.severn bridge.

it was a long journey

well you do don’t you. you travel .

you do what you has to do with love

even if things are difficult.

I feel it was just before the bridge

later they changed the name of it

there was this tree in a garden and I guess still there

through april we saw it bud as we passed going down

bloomed as we returned

later petals fell

then the reason for the journey failed and

left

yet

when I see a magnolia tree I remember

I remember sultry days in the long grass dried over

by cuckoo woods over there

catching them, dry creatures singing

looking them over and gently placing them back

the woman on the corner watched, looking over

the back

one arm missing

I remember a lot of things

-sonja benskin mesher

*

To be as impressed with flowers, as other people, is to achieve
something worthwhile. Here, Pentti Linkola – deep ecology,
disappointment, hands, prying open a bird box. Dead mammals,
the small bones of a petal, inside, the entire remit of clichés
involving death. Yes, another listy death poem, another regression.
Another impressive notion of right and wrong. Cats underwater,
drowning, observing these flowers in my hands, the branches, etc.

*

To be as impressed with bugs, as other people, is to achieve
something worthwhile.

-Alex Mazey

Tears For Lichen

On the flat stone she
wept her thousand regrets.
Wax petals, a mother’s
confetti of pink tears.

This was a song a
descant to winter-tide.
Of lighter months,
not to the stone of
dark grey lands
carrying lichen kisses.

And as the lichen looks,
death’s breath rattles
and waxed tears wash
abandoned to stoney seas.

A flower’s shower
a softer form of rain.
As the tree reaches out,
tentative fingers touch
her children’s clothes.

Ancient fruits that grew
before first flight arced,
beetles climbed these trees:
ancient crawling bees.

Mitochondrial Eve,
as magnolia flowers breathed,
oxygen rich and rot
from the seas.

©️ Dai Fry 2nd May 2020.

Lullaby of the Cicadas

The Flood – Stuck in mourning darkness every
twilight sadness for loved ones lost, I weakly
attempt to bravely defend my inner
flood walls but then despair breaks through,
Threatening my brittle fading halo, so I let it seep
a little- Just to taste the pain once more but as
always like before, I allow a faint chorus to
penetrate through the dark cavities of my soul as
I listen to a lullaby of cicadas calming me healing
me comforting me shielding me – Saving me.

Chorus of the Nymphs – We come from dormant
Slumber to share our essence with you. Allow us
to numb the melancholic hum in your soul. Let us
gather notes of eons ago echoing from ancient
forest trees to deliver a new symphony – Hoping
to set your mind free from recurring soul-eating
melodies.

Emergence – The mornings seem to radiate brighter
into these faded streets of my mind, where dagger
smiles are replaced with hopeful eyes, willing me to
turn back into a brightening awakening aura,
beckoning my new tomorrow, so I willingly follow
the faint strange welcoming sounds of a new song –
Joining the throng of lost souls eager to emerge
Renewed, healed. Fading sadness penetrated by a
lullaby of cicadas…

© Don Beukes

We Are the Wildflowers

Wildflowers and weeds
Bear a striking resemblance
To one another,
Differentiated mostly
By the kindness of time and
Human trials. What one calls
A weed, another calls a perennial.
And, garden walls meant to
Contain them are
Only masquerading as effective barriers.
Aren’t we all held back by
Human hands that pull and grab, or
Allowed to thrive,
By the grace of the benevolent?

-st

Tanka for the last of the magnolias

Long smooth clouds bloom high
sugar-pink tower turrets
domes open to wind
fall reborn – coracles sail
lichen archipelago

-Ankh Spice

southern descent

sweet magnolia
summer storm
wind-strewn petals on
lichen and stone

feather-soft gentility
belies a core of tempered steel

southern by grace—
survivor by design
survivor by

-Rich Follett

A Locust

In our oral tales others
see us as plague.
Let us starve to feed
their children.

I don’t swarm.

I contemplate sat
on the viscous membrane
of this water.

Oppose my senses:

To avoid mirrors.
Fly around them
not into them
as death will be
your final image.

I only see
an image of myself.

-Paul Brookes

 

4

MF 4

May 4

.shrink.

the child psychiatrist and oh how we can spell that
lodged up the stone steps at the clinic
the air was nice that day and she was shown blobs
said they were butterflies
watched the dolls act and
said that was junk really

that father had just run off with another woman
that was how they talked then
he probably walked
maybe hurried to get away

declared sane at eleven
left at half past with the
gift of a bible kept for the ages

thought that was rubbish too

she was small in that place

shrink

-sonja benskin mesher

*

So many people give birth to nothing. This line is extremely
unimpressive, but knot ties, in some small way, to something
tangible, outside of the self, like this painting, like this person,
not waving nor drowning; Linkola’s cats, Murakami’s cats,
the cats in a Studio Ghibli animation, like the girl-witch from
Kiki’s Delivery Service, like the fading behind Mark Fisher,
a fisher man, a fisher man like Pentti Linkola, dying in 2020.

*

I am not all that impressed
with the technological ability
to view, with intricate detail,
the delicate impressions of a
wing. It seems eyes can form,
into the deoxyribonucleic acid,
into many things. Enthusiasm is
not located in a scientific word.
It is not so fascinating – really.

-Alex Mazey

Quiet Please

I take my bow,
it is really yours.
Proud bends the back
of the master.
Semaphored arms
embrace acoustic gold.

The tenants appraise,
heads in silenced rows.
Bodies rustle, anticipation is
subsumed into soft cough
and quiet creak.

All is submission
as a pin of fallen angels
sprawls across the floor.
Equations their silent recitals
while music sits patient
as an obedient hound.

So now…
To elevate a multitude
of trailing notes.
Spinning of helicopter leaves
in a brass breeze.
A syncing of vibration and desire
pitches each point perfect,
till buttercup soft
lit hard and sharp,
under home’s dull light.
Sour as summer lemon trees.
Then boom-dark crash,
as water calling dead souls
to the combe.

And all this while
in a discomfort of seats,
ears make ready to meet
the brightling core
that sits within.

-©. Dai Fry 3rd May 2020.

The Speech

Shadow Nation – We exist in cold shadows where
our fading echoes are drowned by your bulldozers
in the name of progress – Yet in the dead of night
you stalk us hunt us to delete us silence us mock us
bury us until we float away as ash a hush – Outcasts

We, the Mothers – We gave you life but your journey
crossed unknown paths, bowing down to greedy gods
sucking your soul dry but you welcomed promised riches
licked bitter molasses with gravy train false preachers,
Forgetting your inherent good essence resulting in your
Foretold death sentence. Our grief is no relief our warnings
Faded into nothing as you left us broken, eternally hurting…

Vision X – Your world is no more. You are here but
in another sphere another existence an alternative reality
because of your foolish insistence to enact nuclear
annihilation, depleting all nations. You stare at me but
your voice is muted as you attempt to explain your
existential burning pain still searing through your
perforated punctured soul – How you willingly
participated in a man-made selfish senseless
final war to claim the ultimate earthly prize – Ruling
the global village, oh how wrong you were! Thinking
you would last your nuclear winter but you melted
each other deleted each other destroyed your
earthly legacy by your insatiable hunger for power.

Well, here you are – Stuck on Planet X, destined
to find no eternal rest whilst dead stars of eons
ago further darken this existence and the light of
exploded suns now blind your new vision…

© Don Beukes

In This Place

Wings do not fly.
Mirrors do not reflect.
Arms raised ask for folk
to lie face down on the floor.

Decay is praised.
Illness is needed.
Death is requested.

Life is despised.
Nurses are criminals.
information is disinformation.

Paranoia is wanted.
Conspiracies are welcomed.
Demands are never met.

Government advice must be ignored.
All advice has a use by date.
Use by dates are decided by us all.

Control is freedom.
Take back control.

-Paul Brookes

inside my name

dream state, Monday, 2 AM
mothwing Navajo vagina;
Georgia O’Keeffe portal to an alternate universe;
Rohrschach montage of feminine puissance
with Bette Davis eyelashes and cheerleader breasts

transfixed, i plunge into its pulsing core
emerging in grade school
where I wrote my name in conté
on clean white paper
folded and then opened—
wrote so carefully, never crossing the midline—
then just as carefully
colored in the loops and angles,
folded the paper back again
(folded it like a prayer)
and rubbed it with a block of wood

we were told to expect other worlds
when we opened that fold again—
told that secrets would be revealed

i did not see other worlds
i saw only what seemed to be
sidewalk chalk art
marred by sudden summer rain

i have waited five decades
for this morphologic grace—
this mothwing Navajo vagina;
Georgia O’Keeffe portal to an alternate universe;
Rohrschach montage of feminine puissance
with Bette Davis eyelashes and cheerleader breasts

dream state, Monday, 3 AM
i wake with grateful tears,
having seen at last
inside my name …

-Rich Follett

Lockdown scored for one instrument

After noticing you have gritted your teeth
(these days contain all we cannot bite gone)
choose a tuning shape. Knot yourself closed,
or petal out your limbs
towards the constant poke of the world.
Either way you annotate a rest.
Either way you are not how you began,
and you may hear the breath
drawn at the beginning of the stave.
Music is always quivering somewhere
in the darkness of a body;
in a chamber of polished wood
in the auditorium of bone
(that same clench heavying shoulders).
Tune your knot. Turn your wood.
Poise the humming star of your frame
and play, unbowed or wound, just
play until your last string breaks.

-Ankh Spice

Entrapment

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” –Matt. 6:19

Trapped between
Window and pane,
Moth wings open and shut
Like pages of a book. Dust

Flutters forth
From the cover
Between which words, too,
Are trapped, unable to do

Their work, live and breathe,
Seek and find, call forth action,
Convey the power to believe.
I am a moth. Set me free.

-st

The Artist, for Day Four, Part One

An artist’s mind
Unlike the rest of the masses
Is a visionary kind
Reality to him
May be pretend to others
He bends on a whim

-Carrie Ann Golden

 

*

My goal in life is the destruction of 5G masts. I cut my sandwich
into triangles as a lower-middle class pretension. Back outside,
my window, one time, a cream room, a view of the street’s antenna.
The problem with David Lynch is how he makes too much sense.
Back in the simulacrum, a boy, my age, rangers in North America,
first as tragedy, then as… ironing out our balaclavas, filling out
our milk bottles; backpacks unattended on park benches, on the bus.

*

A page of Baudrillard, hides the truth
to view witnesses fraying little by little
into ruins, discernible ruined empire,
rotting carcass of the soil double ends
simulation, this fabled second-order
no longer that of a territory, no longer
saturated, a hyperreal map one must

return without origin, shreds unusable
a questionable sovereign difference –
the charm abstraction, the coextensivity
of poetry, the representation produced
no imaginary. Operational, in fact, no
longer memory radiating synthesis, no
space without atmosphere, no worse

curvature. Imitation, nor duplication;
leaving room for simulated liquidation.

-Alex Mazey

May 5th sonja

.the title changes.

there is too much interference
things could be left alone
things were alright anyway

the battery is low yet plugged
in the radio buzzes.

things are distorted

so i did what he says,
whilst running up
and down the stairs.

source to av,
only there aint no av,
not
on that one anyhow.

press my scart lead,
that is probably it.

press the sky button,
the sky does not respond.

we still has television snow.

mine are bifocal
and can distort gently
if i concentrate poorly
on the centre
i have had help a while
grateful at least that i can
see
unlike some of my family

yesterday I watched a documentary
about monkeys

-sonja benskin mesher

The new starboard

Our larvae split their skin
in the signal-fry, warmed over
by the wire-witched currents
of one filigree moon
in a hundredweight sky

and if we no longer see the stars
how do they counsel a chart for a new grub, or pull
a blood’s spirit-iron toward the dissolving north

and if we no longer feel these waves
how may we know our own water, what deeps us
for the giddy bubble of this sailing. And I know

there are rocks here still, they make chimneys of it
to vent everything we can’t burn
railing sparks against the sky-
silver that meshes none of our tides true

and it will rain hot tonight, the sizzle
pelting the new hatchlings

-Ankh Spice

Of Forest And Stick

Foe forest, faux forest
fee-fi-fo forest.
Where giants hurl
their broken stories
from broadcast heaven
to stone cast ground.
Real, this least of things.

Inarticulate metal arms
pluck down your dreams, to
place within the flakes
of soul slow dying desiccation.

Sick insects wave.
These metal poles sway
clamped to roof and breast.

All point as one, their
martyr fingers show.
As minds walk psychotic
in their circular days.

To stars and planets
that orbit our night
sleep late night
drunk deep on their
celestial milky ways.

Antennae wave hello.
Behind smudged glass walls
as we sit and stare
into this aquarium hell
of our own making.

As we spread across
our furniture of
forked cartons,
plastic and messy despair
We start to take on
our corrupt story.

© Dai Fry 4th May 2020.

Reception

Quiet the cluttered airways.
Listen.
Too many voices reaching skyward,
Clamoring for reception,
Propelling selfhood upward,

Destroys collaborative
Synergy.
And interference causes failure. After all,
Man-made towers were only
Ever meant to fall.

-st

Every Stem Is

an aerial, antennae whose signal
carries an image and a sound
of growth and bloom.

Leaves are directors,
flagellum, reach out,
test the air and vibrations.

Listen can your hear
the messages,
or is it distorted,

image overlaid on image,
sound overlaid on sound?

It processes fake news,
phishing and cyber attacks.
discerns real from false.
scents and trails.

A filter bubble,
an information sceptic
decides what diminishes it,
what makes it grow.

what makes it turn
towards warmth,
towards brightness.

More than a conduit.

-Paul Brookes

effluorescence

concrete flowerbed:
aluminium amaranths
dream of fecund earth

-Rich Follett

These gray structures loom
Like a dead alloy forest
A mill’s epitaph

-Carrie Ann Golden

The Arrival (EEN)

Blue eclipse sudden shudder silver vibrations
strange sensations mauve hues silent screams
shattered dreams rainbow screams black
void bleak skies pink cries identity hides no
way out seek beware who goes there wait stop
where no here why there marble hush turquoise
crush hide smile cry illusion confusion static
wailing connections failing conscience melting
blood moon a light alight powder dawn seek
destroy rebuild regenerate no rescue failed
sight emerald night pyramid flight incoming
yellow tongue purple feast horrible sightings
a drone atone leave us alone lavender glass
chards charge cut chaos comet rush – Reverse

The Arrival (TWEE)

Falling earth new birth cosmic boom
blast break away descend evacuate
take position brace brave pathetic beast
eject object reject investigate attack
no way back hold blinding strobe light
up get up move no room fire storm
go swerve dive testing resting make
haste chase erase record a face strange
days delete reboot reverse rethink incoming
homecoming survive surrender sharp solar
bursts the thirst implosion ration succession
orchestration new nation sinking earth
toxic rebirth black hole tar soul screeching
silence severed signals strange sour suns

-Don Beukes

.

MF 66

MF6

I run my hand over my past,

Where did the time go?

How trite to ask. How human.

I want to feel where a picture

Made by a child must’ve been

Until adolescence tore it up.

I want to see where a head

Chipped the paint.

Where did the time go?

#6

how I remember mama:

recumbent with cucumber slices

hot stuff on a blazing beach

between her lover,

her life, and others;

that would be her children,

playing ball discreetly

In the lathering surf

with a Portuguese Man of War

-Elizabeth Moura

Abstractions

Making sense of abstract pale green
The mind reads as moss
Which proliferates into vegetation.
Hen and chicks begin again
In repurposed terrariums
From some old Mother’s Day,
Signifying children and growth;
Elders and death;
Soil and air
Until abstract greys and greens
Are life force made concrete.

-st

Yellow Mars

Stretched beyond any story,
outside of organic memory.
Time lives without passing.
It’s life: a slow definition
of measure in stain.

When I was young
I saw a bright
yellow lichen near the sea.
I wanted to lick it
to sense and to taste it.
This bright, lives there still.

Yellow as gorse flower
orange as rust.
Lichen covers our world.

On the ISS they
breathed the vacuum
and survived.
One day they will
turn Mars yellow.

Then:
On a clear night
you may see
a lichen star.

©️ Dai Fry 5th May 2020.

Shift

When what was left of the mountain heaved
the men were stroking the ground with their tillers
and to the worried horses, whose ancestors
had been told for three hundred years
that men knew what they were doing
it seemed the infant was soothed, that the tired-out dirt
had simply sighed and turned over. And so they nodded
the great brushbrooms of their blinkered heads
and stepped forward onto the grey scree, between the lines
of unmade earth, and the unmountain wept
as she received them into her hot belly.
And swirling with their blades the motes of dust
that were only sadness, floating
the men said to each other ‘but why were the horses so stupid?’
and the trees, the only wild green left in miles
and miles and miles of neatly turned fields
shuffled close on the ridge, hiding completely
the great wave roaring in, that water
briefly the same shape as the mountain’s memory of herself

-Ankh Spice

sonja Day 6

..faceless ..

faceless

from nowhere, no name
nor eyes yet we saw the bloodied halo

angel
power and dominion

swept through silent almost biblical if you
#readthat
note how the layout is columns, numbered stanzas
unlike other books
tied away in cupboards

here
was black and smudges
then
carefully we drew her out
all tidy with reason, wearing
us down

wearing the kimono
corona
wearing the coat
corona
whatever you wear
corona

faced away

only stone
set before
set like fire in empty barns

#readthat

the social worker was a bitch back then

#didyoureadthat?

-sonja benskin mesher

gongbi guise

painted silk or weathered stone?
where vision ends
imagination begins

artist’s paean to nature or
nature’s paean to art?
perfection neither asks nor answers

-Rich Follett

Tenalp Htrae

Earth Whispers – Light years have passed since
leaving our blue planet, only white noise echoes
remain of a world imploded by human negligence
of a fragile natural existence meant to sustain
maintain billions of our former human species
but our ancient predecessors plundered misused
abused neglected and rejected what Earth had
to offer – Yet they were destined to suffer for
ignoring existential warnings of natural resources
depleted excavated extracted annihilated – To
the point of meltdown. Now all we see are the
historical images shown to new generations born
in a new world a new existence a new consciousness.

Bleeding Earth – Any hope of ever returning to our
ancestral home is slowly burning as eons of efforts
to detect new life has come to an abrupt end – New
footage reveal a dismal reality of a tired planet bleeding
it’s waters evaporated by swirling fire tornados rocks
melting fauna and flora now long gone fossils – The
life-giving atmosphere now a toxic choking layer,
So we still mourn our forced lonely new daily dismal
Dawn on planet Tenalp Htrae, light years away…

-Don Beukes

The Many

clocks of her face tick
as the world decays and rusts.

Some say to her
your clocks have no hands.
Some say to her
you’ve no idea of time.

Your timing is all over the place,
clock arms, clock lungs, clock legs,
clock heart but no clock face.

Knows her blood and breath tell the time,
beat precision and control
her faces watch the world’s decline.

Knows within her
time is a rhythm without clocks,
a body that tells
time every month,
her hidden scars and bruises
show time passes.

-Paul Brookes

*

The clause in a tenancy agreement states that party B must wipe
down the walls – otherwise they begin to resemble shoeboxes.
Faded, yellowing entropy. Decay reminds us of those things
liberated from the passage of time. Melancholic disposition
reminds us to be fun at parties. Back home, alone, right now,
wipe the walls, watch a Studio Ghibli animation, at least you
had Kiki in the other one. I have photoshopped her in – there.
*
If Baudrillard referred to a liquidation of all referentials –
then this must be a liquidation. I should rewrite all history
with my profound, transcendental sense of right and wrong.
=Alex Mazey

 

7MF 7

psychic caterwaul

one dimension away
Hieronymus Bosch’s housecats frolic
beneath a papier-mâché moon
howling and miaowing
in a demonic felid mardis gras

here on earth,
a fair trade toyshop window—
nothing to fear
and yet …

-Rich Follett

Act like you were never for sale

Those were the days in which we felt our flutter
hard and bright as a burning, painted thing, and
those were the days when we painted our feelings
on each others’ faces with pure sugar and unguent-of-anthers, and
those were the days when faces would touch cheeks
intimately, brief and baked electric with proper unsaids, and
those were the days when the electric that moved us
moved us in that little pond of footlights
like a swirl of young eels, so slender, such good teeth, and
those were the days when company meant
we played together well and no-one forgot their lines
or missed a step, or when they did the painted faces
laughed kindly, and not like they had smelled blood in the water
or finally seen the glass, the tags, and some of that last part
is a lie. But a pretty lie, sticky with fertile anthers, and
we bite into it again and again, this cake so sweet
we know it only makes us sick

-Ankh Spice

mouseisdancing sonja day seven

.mouse.

are you dancing there
you tiny creatures and
are you happy with this
music

should I cut it straight and hard
in layers or leave it to grow?

are you dancing there together
to your own tunes and remarkable
tangents

or
will you advise on the steps to take
while moving ahead

most people’s hair looks gentle natural

there is no need for masquerade
or pantomimes
we cannot have the gatherings these days

you know
he cut my hair for years and we became good
friends . visited charleston together the
farm house not the jig
though the style would have suited
the era
so the
mouse

keeps dancing jim

-sonja benskin mesher

*
A shop window like Hunter S. Thompson, at eleven o’clock,
on a week day. A medium to large dose of LSD that I have
never tried. In Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, Burial never went to a
rave in the 90s, which informs, the apparition, the residue
of what’s left. People have a perverse interest in windows,
shop windows, specifically, glass operating as both a means
of access and exclusion. This is the Baudrillardian analysis.
*
Impressed
with the circulation
of the body
my entire outlook
becomes the deconstruction
of the human being
into a clockwork machine.
-Alex Mazey

Little Gods

Artists and scientists are
Little gods who make the
World make sense, make
Things fit together, or do not–
At their discretion.
Chaos and order,
Macro and micro,
Beauty and disgust,
Must meet, hold hands
Like humans used to
Before we were all
Forced off the canvass,
Becoming scattered pieces instead.


-st

Pussy Cat Pussy Cat

Patient quiet shadowed, still.
Not blink, but glide wet eyes.
My whiskers sing electric song
and muscles ripple, as claws
give flex, in deep forever breath.

A present, payment for my board.
Fresh meat for the clumsy,
They that cannot hunt.
While I eat flies and wasps that sting.

Pain is fine its just a thing.
So busy grooming, hunting
and holding my lands.
I sleep where I want
and how I please.
I have no master.

Under sun, on soil
paper or wool,
its all the one to me.

And to those too big
to hunt and kill,
I spread my scent.
This meat is mine.

©️ Dai Fry May 6th 2020.

The Gamdroela

I roam this galaxy alone searching aimlessly
for signs of my origins with only infinity as my
reality but I yearn to touch a dead star maybe
even lick the frozen remains of an ancient comet
long gone – I sometimes hear the echoes of far
flung cosmic explosions and I can feel the empty
of nothing expanding yet I am not swallowed up
into black holes transporting me to other dimensions –

I once felt the touch of a solar flare kindling my
whole being as I absorbed its embracing aura, so
I kept it hugged it caressed it, if just to confirm I
am not really alone – You might look at me most
curiously even curse me with pursed ignorant lips
but allow me to gently kiss you and share my multi-
colored nature with you then maybe you can realise
who I really am but that is not meant to be as I am
not destined to be relevant in this reality – Not
even in your fantasy, so I roam this galaxy alone,

I came from nothing – Forever waiting…

Chorus of the Haters

Playground Show – Quick look have you seen what
she is wearing oh my – Wait, what? Never, no!
Surely not? Aw, hey look at that – You’re kidding me!
Is he really wearing trainers? Oh yeah, I heard his
mom had to sell his shoes so he could have something
to eat this morning, jeeze really now! Sorry what?
Who gave you permission to squeak? Let me go!
He asked for it. Let go of me!

Stranger Danger – Hey, you! Let go of his arm! Uh
who the hell are you? You what? Check this out
guys, I – What the… Ooh look at ow! I told you so!
Let’s get out of here. We’ll get her later, ok? You
gonna have your chance later. Why so gloomy?
I guess I’m okay but what do I say to my mom?
Just tell her the truth. Don’t worry, now hurry!
I cannot always save you. You can let go of my
hand now. Will I see you later? Got something to
say to you…

Backstreets of mind – I wish we could move again
but I felt something today. I hate it here though.
Those bastards never accept me. I need to be free,
To be me…This is not healthy for me. I am slipping
but I have finally connected to someone. A warrior
a friend – A saviour.

-Don Beukes

Petite

abandoned, lives in discarded boxes and bags,
bigger, savage males she seduces so they don’t
injure, don’t bite wounds, break her delicate bones,

washes and cleans herself, anoints herself
brings them live prey, breathing for play.
Lives on cold pizza, crisps, rainwater.

Never lost her lioness head, knows ancestors
bred for mummification, how worship becomes
mass slaughter. Small does not mean less wick.

Chooses who lives with her, whom she dances,
who wraps her fur around, curls up in a lawnmower
grass box, brings live gifts into her house as presents.

=Paul Brookes

.

8MF 8

fajar

silver yew bows to
war-torn stone and brick patchwork—
alhaya renews

-Rich Follett

*

Ash-coloured trees, a forest, a liquidated referential, perhaps
against the valley wall. There’s a thousand-year-old olive tree,
somewhere, in a mountain town, where a child serves coffee,
and burgers. Outside, grandmother’s goat stew – blow it first,
child, with a cold spoon, intricate handle, intricately handled.
There are some parts to this world we will never understand.
Ash-coloured trees in the night are like, I don’t want to say it.

*

A page of Baudrillard is a fatal strategy
avoid meaning indefinitely, bore them
with a senseless finality – reverse evil.
Poetry as ecstatic object, secret qualities,
sworn to extremes and quiet synthesis,
the visible to the hidden, more hidden
metamorphosis, (Kafka as a lonely man

laughing at the still living, the digitalised
still life – still born). Illusion plays speech
instantaneously – the nature of seduction,
nostalgic slowness as a merry-go-round.
Silenced once; the silent dialogue of signs.
Fashioned vapid character, aesthetic form,
immoral form, fragile, sentimental desire

shapes superlative power, the objective;
an achieved attraction, our only passion.

-Alex Mazey

..albert & Victoria..

how to tell a picture in words?
egfrasic & I cannot spell
it only in placid moments.

do we describe what we see or maybe
tell the tale inside

albert and victoria
a safe place now
yet round the corner on the wall
are the bullet holes while in dublin
the same on a statue

blood shed
they killed horses too when they
fired their guns, dropped the bombs
what then oh butterflies wing?

I can spell ekphrastic here
but not up there

today there is no image
nor a recording of the voice
just look at the holes in walls.

-sbm.

Life after all

This is where it happened.

You weren’t there,
not that you were ever there

whenever I needed you there.

I’ve often dipped my fingers
in the hollows grief makes.

Here is where it happened.

We climb, but our feet slip,
we don’t fall, but we dangle.

How I needed you there,
to save me from
being myself being there.

Whose life was it, after all?

-Elizabeth Moura

Walls Are

Bed bent wall bound,
less human now as
broken into this square.

Run five fingers
feather light, to
feel walls behind
these closed eyes.

A stony glance
holds a soul
eternal captive, hate
an emotional geometry.

Stone four squared.
Secrets whispered
ear to ear.
Shed tears, wet straw.
Awake, a greeting of
dawn light under the door.

Dream in winds
and creaking trees,
a soul free to run
and run,
until breath is not sufficient.

©️ Dai Fry 7th May 2020.

The Institute

White noise cracking in my headspace

Phantoms in their nightly forced circus

A horse dancing on a rainbow beckoning

Me to follow – I just want to lie my head

down and crawl through my safety tunnel

where I can hear myself think maybe whistle

my favourite tune – Where I choose the paths

in the backstreets of my mind, master of my

own symphony unlike the invasive unwelcome

poking into my private psyche room where

my mental defences are muted by unstable

needy self-elected pharaohs enacting random

healing punishments – I am so done with this!

Dear Self

I am slowly drowning in this mental haze choking

me repeatedly – I need to hear your voice

again even just a faint whisper to remind me

I am still here. Here comes that choking red

Mist again, darkening my vision – My existential

Failed mission no escape… Are you there?

The Trees are Dead

Sour earth neglected responsibilities

toxic oxygen the result of inaction by

Clueless wise men waving their untested

theories yet ignoring increasing revelatory

fatalities from untested remedies meant to

heal nations – Our mortality affected by

inept irrational policy makers hoping to

gain one more vote but we are all in the

same boat – Frantically trying to stay afloat

but worrying cracks are deepening our

livelihoods darkening, so we gather en masse

to finally protest along a charred boulevard

hoping in vain but it is of no use when the

guilty refuse to attempt to reverse recalculate

regenerate for future generations all nations

so we keep the faith even though the trees are dead.

-Don Beukes

Take Me Around Again

Carousel horses,
Are all your circles meant to comfort, or to mock?
And, where will you take me today?
To that bustling park
In West Endicott,
Near the house we almost bought?

Or maybe, all the way back to my childhood dinner time,
When everyone else had moved from home,
And you were three sad napkin rings,
Trotting repetitively around the lonely table. You know
Your steady pace marks time perfectly, while I’m distracted by the bright colors and scenery,
Until I’m caught between once, and today.

-st

For #1 of Day Eight:

The Shaft

Within the mine’s walls
I hear the dead’s calls
As my feet pound these halls
Blinded by charging fireballs

#2 of Day Eight:

I remember as a child an elder spoke
of a ghost town deep in the mountains
where a single wall’s all that remained
Its crumbling façade brimmed with untold stories
Of former residents trapped within the wailing barrier

-Carrie Ann Golden

My Olive

tree is a horse whose mane of leaves
shakes in a gust, whose bark whinnies
when she moves. When I press myself
into her flanks she is the oil
that brightens my meals.

I am calm under her canopy of mane.
Her favourite place is beside the pitted wall.
A Roman wall with close knit red bricks and stone.
The stone is sculpted by round ammunition holes,
but has not fallen. They did not break through here.

I look down at my horse, the olive tree beside the wall
from my balcony. History is always here.

-Paul Brookes

 

9MF 9

*

There’s an office, twelfth floor, in Shenzhen, I have stared,
many times, I think, looked as far as the South China Sea.
These are not the branches of a cathaya forest, three conifers,
from this window. I cannot order a happy lemon in the mall,
cannot recite Matthew 4:9 in the people’s square in Chengdu.
Some days, I read Leo Tolstoy at the back of the public library,
III times translated, first to English, then to Russian, and so on.

*

Two eyes appear
from a bug
detecting misanthropy

forming the same
colours as the
Khmer Rouge.

-Alex Macey

Mobius musing

those who inhabit cubicles
and those who dwell among trees
have little in common
but there can be no doubt
each is necessary
to reflect upon the other

-Rich Follett

Pantoum for an isolated princess

In her glass coffin, what had flowed in the bone set sail alone
Beyond the bright vault the tree-crowds nodded
And meshed their long toes around the bubble
That carried the fallen log on down the stream

Beyond the bright vault the tree-crowds nodded
The wind stirring branches and passing the message
That carried the fallen log on down the stream
From synapse to synapse until every leaf knew her

The wind stirring branches and passing the message
Threw leaves on the glass to crew up the ship
And synapse to synapse, every leaf knew her
So the sky caught her name, turned her glass to a star

And the leaves on the glass who had crewed up the ship
Of her glass coffin, where what flowed in the bone had set sail alone
Saw the sky catch her name, saw her glass as a star
And fell to the earth to drift deep in the wound

-Ankh Spice

Gamma-Alpha-Light

Under glass I stretch,
out life, not to
smell tree sap or leaf.
Or breezing wind.
Catch rain that drops
on tipped toe tongues.

No horizons
lead crystal walls.
And beyond,
tangled imaginations,
a hunger of beasts.

I see my knees and
look in vain,
for the grazing
of a life not lived.

Under glass, dry tears,
await night’s shadow
to take the trees away.
Now danger only song in
this apocalyptic dark.

Hunters eyes dwell
beyond the confines,
of my glass walls.
I read and watch,
food bottled and tinned.

I gather up fear,
a glowing landscape
into which
I can never venture.

Soft song, sang a requiem.
Last of my line.

-© Dai Fry 8th May 2020.

Objects of Reflection

Reflections in windows in our hearts
Bring us closer to the pain of
Mirror images in those panes
Until, noses pushed against glass,

Seeking so hard to see,
With the steam and the strain,
We lose the imagery
Altogether, viewing

Only what’s inside.
Of course, it’s not what we were looking for.
We’re forced
To turn around, and find

The truth
Was always
In the object,
Not its likeness.

-st

Hum of the Drones

Society now an alternative reality

long adapted to forced acceptance of

a new dimension a stoic domination

of a higher order with murderous

intentions controlling a lockdown human

nation – An evolved consciousness

advanced through carefully engineered

experiments so with the arrival of these

deadly drones spying listening all-seeing

recalculating scheming deleting controlling

a fading tired humanity.

It happened gradually, unseen unheard

Their walls came down surrounding

Major cities concealing a doomsday

Countdown with the intoxicating deadly

Hum of the Drones…

-Don Beukes

Day 9, sonja

parakeets in the park, wild now
holds up his hands and they fly
to take seed

clearly reflected while we stop
while we take coffee
while we breathe

deeply
thinking

of the things we have seen
whitworth

it came with fire with ferocity
depth that left me floating
isolating
isolation from the other
scheme of things. it was
red
very very red

he said it was his favourite colour
I have never seen him wear it

-sonja benskin mesher

Windows

are single eyed.
We move the back projection,
make clear the eyes corners.
What lies ahead, what lies in wait?

Enter house with hollow eyes
Inside its eyes fragrant as bad breath,
a dead leaf
delicate structure
crinkly soft, and wet
wallpaper peals like unheard bells.

Doors are mouths,
mothers polish,
lovers hump over,
by which decisions enter or leave,
from which dead leaves are brushed aside.

-Paul Brookes

 

10MF 10

Day 10 sonja

orange it came flaring
while I was
minding
my business as always
looking at to sea hoping
for a boat

on the horizon
I got this thing whizzing round my face
warm emulsifying, wreaking havoc with
the serenity
buzzed my ears and stayed there
until defeated I moved to the wall
and sat there a while

undeniably tracing honesty in air
with one finger
pointing

it came clear later

-sbm.

*

Most people have a penchant for rocks – dry stone walls
with spiders inside. I once shook the leaves by a wall
to see what fell out, and every night, when I came home,
picked handfuls on my way, breadcrumb leaves to tear,
carefully, like prayer beads once blessed by spit, by piss,
by rain fall. Nobody knows why they do these things,
least of all, tear leaves, and tear, and scatter leaves away.

*

I have always imagined / galaxies shaped like / the inside of a pomegranate fruit. /
Authenticity interspersed with a tragic sense of irony. / Why do we write / like this?

-Alex Mazey

The Dream

I plunge into the depths of

nowhere, of empty uninhabited

space glowing like s beacon almost

beckoning like an empty womb ready

to cocoon new life – Expectant

nourishing, life-giving.

I fall further reaching unexplored cavities

of my questioning mind, witnessing

memories not even born yet, of

revelations still to come – I hear

faint whispers of familiar voices guiding

me teaching me protecting me.

My vision now clearer as I enter the
domain of forever – My former melancholy
turning into a joyous cacophony of encompassing
love. I breathe again. I laugh again. I live again…

Memories of Us

I still sometimes hear the
echoes of our laugher as we
reminisce of our shared happiness –
Our joy of creating new planting borders
Of days languishing in the sun until
the moonrise beckoned daily
reflections of love in various sessions,
of togetherness of silliness of happiness.

I feel such a fool not having shared more
thoughts with you, or not having told you
I forgive you for misinterpreted heated
arguments, of hating my foolish pride
but I cannot linger on anything bitter
as I still feel you with me in poignant
memories of us…

-Don Beukes

Wild Imagination

Yesterday I walked down a path in the woods
And spied a crumbling cornerstone of a building
Lost to past floods
Hidden in its base was a hole
Nearly encased in the shadows of hardwoods
Unsure if it was created by some mole
I moved near the edge and spotted a thick coiled string
Most of it vanished in the dried mud
Vivid images of mystical places down below
Filled my mind to the point that was maddening
With a headache I reluctantly returned to my neighborhood

-Carrie Ann Golden

Shiva’s Dance

All stones, a conglomeration
of illusion and desire.
All dawns, pre-set to rise and fall
breathe and grow
and yet…
all are followed by a drowning sun.

Not a stone story or tellers myth.
For souls so bound in greed and gold.
My house is as opium dreams…
in these whispers of life.

No movement, in still darkling corners
where life and dust move so slowly that
luxing shadows, low and subdued, can
hold a spirit in sleeping deeps.

So dance the ring of fire
without question,
for being must flow
in these meriel seas
and shaded rivers.
Apocalypse and creation
my coin.
You my currency.

Your hair is made
of flowers and death,
your breath mud baked
yet star sparkle sweet.
Your compassion always
greater than your parts.

So dance your dance
on life’s highest mountain,
in low dead seas.
No choice no chance
All else illusion’s flattery.

©️ Dai Fry 9th May 2020.

colloquy

chestnut and stone wall
speaking of patience and time
passersby know naught

-Rich Follett

Interstellar Connections

You are a small planet,
Unique in every way.
I reach out the solid branch
Of my being, as far as I can
To see if I can touch your greatness,
Learn more about the mysterious

Known and unknown parts
And the pre-existing orbit
Of my earthbound heart,
Causing me to overcome all fears,
To cross the void of space and find
What happens when we collide.

-st

Ishigaki music (the ballad of Rat and Cat)

Each day of that hot summer
the stonemason let the river sing to him
as he ate his noon meal, the moonsweet rice
the pink auras of salmon and ginger
and from his front hedge of rushes
crept sleek black Rat with his shinobue tail
and from the temple’s gap-toothed wall
ambled marmalade Cat with her koto miaow
and for a few grains of lunar rice
Rat conjured a rill of silver notes from his flute
and for a sliver of translucent spirit-fish
Cat would wail her strange ghost’s vibrato
and the inkbrush river shushed its rhythm
onto the clean white page of each day.
For a whole season the stonemason laid every rock
with songs in his head and his hands and his heart
and should you visit the temple
you will see the black Rat and the ginger Cat
who live forever in his tendered wall
and should you put your ear to the sweet stones
all placed just so, the music there
in the neat grains of them
will build and build inside you
a thousand years of comfort.

-Ankh Spice

Stars

Stars, are they the lost group of family?
Mists as memories, I long to see their faces
The navy sky lit by a sparkle of joy
ancestors in their glowing blessings looking
down, as the perfumed night air wafts gently.
A rare manuscript, an album of belonging
Generations bound by dna blood sweat and tears
A remembrance this darkest day of November
I turn the pages of love and belonging
a feeling of euphoria before the melancholy
sets in clinging like the frost on a rose bud
remembering ancestors, the stars in my eyes.

-Leela Soma

My Night

is a bag of nerve dripped stars
under lit lamposts.

Silence is a window strummed
by shadows.

Stone is a cloud announced as married
to dizzy soil.

Walls are rainbowed unicorn skin and bone
petrified by virgins.

Sugar is a grumble made by galaxies seen
by cardboard homeless.

Darkness is the locked door of a whisper
you cannot fully hear.

-Paul Brookes

 

Leela Soma

was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications, including the National newspaper The Scotsman, The Grind, Visual Verses, New Voices, Gutter, Bangalore Review in India and Steel Bellows in the USA. ‘From Madras to Milngavie’ was her first poetry pamphlet. She has served on the committee for the Milngavie Books and Arts Festivals and on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee. Her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.
Author of ‘Twice Born’, ‘Bombay Baby’ and ‘Boxed In’
Available on Amazon and Kindle.
Her website is http://www.leelasoma.wordpress.com

Here is a link to my interview of her: https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2019/04/20/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-leela-soma/

.

11MF 11

Day 11 sonja

eleven is ten continued..

I sat on the wall a while
further up a guy was painting
a cat
I watched him
clever
I heard a small noise to the left
turned
found the bloody orange thing was back
fussing around colouring up the air
smelling slightly warm
and damp

mid sucking noises the face appeared
black and white

from the bloody orange thingy.

-sbm

Murakami is my favourite Japanese writer, I remember
vaguely, a time when he did not show his face in public.
Showed his face as a series of cats. Some days, it is like
cats are the loneliest animals on the planet. I think, again,
of a book, by an author I cannot remember. I think, again,
of a time beyond myself, of these dead things, side roads,
memorialised, beyond face value; it’s more than we know.

-Alex Mazey

Journey to Fluweeltjie

The secret Map – It has been passed on by generations of
Meesters, protectors of their families and heirs to the kingdom
of Tiervlei. An existential secret map showing the way to the
land of Fluweeltjie, where essence of an eternal life force
would only be accessible to a worthy young warrior,
who would survive the treacherous Kaapse Vlaktes –
an underworld marshland filled with exploding
vrekwarm flames from below the sunken city of
Fluweeltjie – There to collect essence of the revered
Bitterbessie, ensuring longevity for all who deserve it –

The honour of collecting the precious bitterbessie
was bestowed on Sekueb Nodmai, heir to the kingdom
of Tiervlei. He followed the ancient path shown on the map,
and made his way to the secret entrance only he knew –
In the distance he spotted a lonely figure hovering just
above the ground, guarding the entrance. Sekueb
noticed that he hovered just above the ground, waiting.

Battle of the Kaapse Vlaktes – As soon as he crossed over
he was confronted by a sonskyn soldaat, ordered to
prevent any attempt at entering the dreaded Kaapse Vlaktes.
As donderwolke clouds exploded in the skies above,
the soldaat suddenly hurled a tokkelos at Sekueb, a fierce
creature which could instantly melt him, however Sekueb
only had to throw dust of poeier into its eyes to avoid
certain death. That opened the path to the gateway to
to the borrelende land of Fluweeltjie – What he did not know
was that he had to swim through the lake of souls, they who
have suffered the curse of failed missions – Looking to welcome
one more, as the water started to boil and stir…

(to be continued)

-Don Beukes

Hunters

I savor the rainbows
on wet streets,
and the pigeons without sense
who peck at nothing.
The streets are empty,
dehumanized.
As it should be, as it is.
I feel the rumbling
not of wheels or thunder;
it is the precious honey bee,
another hunter
as effortless as myself.
It’s hunting in unkept lots
the modest dandelions.
My feet dance
over faded chalk;
I fear nothing.

Elizabeth Moura

Koi feeding

You save the stale crusts from the good brown loaf.
On your early walk through the city gardens, there is a round mirror

to crumble them into, and in it an unfamiliar creature,
folded and loose in his aspect. He watches you from the water.

You have never met his eyes, although you sense they are kind.
This morning autumn has nodded at the trees

and the ember of the squalling sun catches
a plume at his throat, and he blushes bright ¬— young

with newborn flame. The wind arrives
to spread the blaze outwards in ripples

from the man standing with his hands full
of burning bread, and when the fish surface

their mouths make round holes in his body.
In one tiny circle after another

the fire goes out. Cool water ¬— O O O ¬—
welling dark and smooth. It was always the truth.

What feeds on us that steals our fire.
What we feed to remember what we are.

-Ankh Spice

Identity Crisis

Colorful patterns
Etched into
Our lives,
Reveal truths
We often try to hide.

Denying reality
Doesn’t cease to
Make it so.
Call a cat a turtle.
It won’t hurt his ego.

But it does cause confusion.
Then, while we’re all mixed up
Arguing over semantics,
Inscriptions become clear –
Our identity betrays us.


-st

Stripe’s the given name
Latched on anything ‘till me
Now Clingon’s your name.

-Carrie Ann Golden

Practical Cats for Gen-Z

Sandburg’s cat did not have neon feet—
time passes; things change.

Kodachrome bas-relief kitty’s impress:

JPS –
just pussy-footing silently …
but

is neon ever silent?

as it is with humans, so with felines:
we always wish
against our nature.

Eliot’s three-name theory
would not seem to apply here
unless loud, louder, loudest
are on the list …

so, is kitty a success or a failure?

impossible to say
until we know his aim—
his ineffable, effable
(f***in’ ineffable)
deep and inscrutable singular

aim …

-Rich Follett

Of Cats And Gods

It is told in the oldest book that
all cats must have two dreams.
The second a tale
of the fertile crescent,
land of Nebuchadnezzar.
A place of long ago.

Only to leave,
for reasons of their own.
On a great adventure.
Maybe they first travelled
on Abraham’s road to Canaan.

Before they became gods,
and tellers of riddles,
on the banks of that north
flowing river.

“Where one gives birth to the other,
who in turn gives birth to the first”

©️ Dai Fry 10th May 2020.

Cat Called Nothing

JPS calls me Nothing.

Catness carries being at its heart.
I am condemned to be free.
If I tremble at the slightest noise,
if each creak announces me a look

This is because I am already in the state
of being-looked-at.

Catness haunts being. Hell is other people.
Catness lies coiled at the heart of being
like a worm.

Consciousness is a being,
the nature of which is to be conscious
of the catness of its being.

-Paul Brookes

.

13MF 13

Visions

A cataract blackens my right eye,
the one I used to look at the sun;
no one is left to ask why,
because you are lost in dust,
and our friends are lost with you
at that final beach-mob outpost.
Looking into the sun, then at you
spread out, lovely and moist,
all I could see were black dots
on your face as it smooched air,
and on your knees, now way too hot
raised up, like dream castles, there
were lines and arrows instead
of your smooth knobs, smoothly red.

-Elizabeth Moura

equanimity

on the cosmic timeline
humankind appeared minutes ago—
aeons later (by our reckoning),
like one primeval furrowed brow
or the disappointed jowls of
a disgruntled mage
with a bumbling apprentice,
earth sighed …

-Rich Follett

#2:

My heart

Is like a vast desert

Since you left this world

No amount of water

Can revive

My soul

Wanders an endless wasteland

Hopeless and lost

I don’t want to be found

I don’t need rescuing

I just want to sink in this endless abyss

Of your sweet embrace

-Carrie Ann Golden

Day 13 sonja

13. some folk are superstitious
some are not
some thought that tomorrow
would come different

did not look to see

so some may be disappointed
that the orange terror remains

like the alien in some 1950s film
or tv show
talking pictures

some listened to journey into space
on the radio, imagined such things
scared themselves silly
from behind cushions

this thing can suck the life even from
those hiding in soft furnishings

so they may go live underground
war of the worlds

I saw it live

-sbm

*

Out of this grey-peak mountainside, I did not always realise,
that animals, like dogs, might comprehend another language.
There are only so many times. Only, so many times, a boy
can talk in different languages, hoping to find the right one –
would you like a sandwich? St. Bernard, only here for the tuna.
So, what? – an owner appeared, as beautiful as I imagined any
person could be. Hallo, guten tag, blonde lady… gut, danke.

-Alex Mazey

A Desire

I walk your edgeland desire lines.
Your fingers daylight a xenotopia in me.
A riverwalk into your heart’s sussurus.

-Paul Brookes

Weeds

A plant’s wrong ways, take
shape on chancing breeze.
Anarchy rises to sap
at butchered lands.

Outsiders, friendless
purpose unknown.
Immigrants from the without.

We are frightened,
held rigid
by the different beauty
of their strange song.

These alien ways
like a wild yeast that
comes to a baker’s call.
Fresh, different
much raised in
our estimations.

Re-wilding gods,
stand to let
the ground grow
as it will.
A flower meadow
not a lawn.
Bees see it,
twice as sweet.

Flown, travelling seeds
on wind blown songs.
Till the loam of
a stranger’s town.
Taking the balance
of a natural palette.

And soon we will have a place
of rare delight.
Watered with joy and tears,
cooled by butterflies.

©️ Dai Fry 12th May 2020.

Hold the river

You told me you haven’t been outside in 57 days
and tonight the river is a dropped ribbon, limp and lost
and the sharp stones of the trail as I begin to run
become the sound of something chewing. The faster
we go, the faster we’re eaten. You are moving,
in the lines of your confinement, so slowly now
you have become a painting in my head – static –
existing not to be touched. And in the guilty, lucky air
down here we’re starting up the engines
and on my knees in the soft mud I can hear the first plane
for months, idling beyond the water. I’d wish you were here,
but the wind is whipping up cold, and the coming dark
is frantic with sudden birds, woken startled
from their neat new nests along the runway.

-Ankh Spice

Searching the Depths

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” -Matt. 4:19

Seven worms
Squiggle out from the depths
After rain
Seeking sunshine,
Not too much.
Unwittingly,
They crawl into
Small hands
Making ready
To make a meal
Not of them, but
Creatures from different depths.
Get to the truck, Daddy’s got the poles!”


-st

The Institute
(Part Two)

Dear Self – I am drowning in this blinding haze of red,
Locked in this current state, ‘ shut up! Leave my headspace
or I will end you! Are you still there? I cannot go on like this.
Last night another one made herself known to me taunting me,
mockingly. I can hear her in the walls of my deepest most
private secret space – ‘A voice, a voice! No, I refuse to submit
to you! Stop this ridiculous lie you knit every chance you get!’

Flashback – I am back in my childhood room, thirteen again.
I hear my parents bang the door down. I struggle to breathe.
I feel my dad forcing my fingers open as I clamp them
Tighter around my throat…
‘Good morning Mr and Mrs Sullivan. No need to look so
sullen. Rachel will be treated with the utmost respect and
care here at Clarence House. My name is Ms Marsh.
You have nothing to worry about. Are you ready Rachel?

The Confrontation – ‘Ow, You’re hurting me! Where are you
Taking me? Shut up you spoiled brat! You will soon find
out how we heal misfits like you. Let me go you old hag!
Now you listen to me you pathetic little creature. You better
get used to me. After all, you have been placed into my care,
so don’t you dare! You will soon realise you’re not that
special at all. The others will reveal themselves to you soon.
You better get some rest my dear. No need to fear, I promise.

Dear Self – I feel so lost. I heard it again last night – A faint
tapping deep inside my head. Someone also tried to reach me
but it was a faint whisper. What is wrong with me? What is
this place? I’ve got to get out of here. This spiral prison is
making my head burst. Please show me a way out! ‘Hello?’

-Don Beukes

 

14MF 14

Right before the fall

A heartbeat before the slide
you know you’re going down
A monkey brain knows
when the branch is about to crack
And a kid feels the birth
of the tiny split in the ice
spreading from his last footstep
We learn to fall before we know
the promise we make by beginning to walk
which is to keep on doing it, even knowing
the ground will fail beneath us some day
And they say you time-travel just a little
before the cold takes you, the years
all that good footwork stamped into you
go for a wander under your lids, maybe
just trying to escape the inevitable. Did you know
what takes us under is not spared? This pass
through the mountains where your car went over
once lingered her beat, slicking sediment-ghosts
just before the blast split her. And that glacier
down south, undermined by a warming sea
shimmered with Pleistocene spring
just as her heart went to holes. Oh but wait,
that one went alone. The bones she holds
too deep to see the sudden blossoms
spiriting the ice.

-Ankh Spice

yūjō

cherry trees blooming
in unexpected places
cheer world-weary hearts

-Rich Follett

*

I recall vending machines in a small side street, someplace
I’ve not yet been, maybe in a dreamscape, anyway. Someone
will take me to Mt. Fuji, one day. Someone will take my hand
through Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees, and we will buy iced tea
in a carpark vending machine. Have I told you the trick to a good
car park? They will say – yes – it’s in the flower arrangements,
the peeling memory of bright sakura trees. I will remember this.

-Alex Mazey

Day 14 sonja

..fourteen..

it starts at thirteen, moves forward

teenage years spinning

some,

a few stimming
later we watch the trees spinning
going about in a muddle
going down in trouble

those years

asked if there was a maypole
it was suggested to have a
roundabout

it is all a gift

-sbm

Blossoms

In my memory a
late snow had dried,
-leaving no trace-
though it still flaked
eggshell brittle from
the damp cellar walls.

I recall the deer park.
Richmond in early April,
probably a lifetime ago.

The pink and white a
growing bloom,
was joy within.

Did I dance the blossom
under ruck sacked back
and in leather shoes?

Dappled tree shadow,
as petalled canopies filled
the obscured skies.

A morning,
those trudging ways.
And everything was white
and pink. I loved
the pastel rain.
It made me cry.

©️ Dai Fry 13th May 2020.

The Institute
(Part Three)

The Revelation – Dear Self, I finally woke up to my reality,
As that wretched red mist cleared, my surroundings were
finally revealed. At first, I became aware of an annoying
hovering buzz – Invisible but audible. As my eyes adjusted
to where I was, I could swear I saw a cluster of microscopic
drones leave my body! ‘Oh, you are awake!’ I heard a
familiar voice say. I instinctively realised where the voices
in my head originated from and why I thought I was going
crazy. Next to me in similar pods wherein identical bodies
like mine were attached to, one of them spoke directly to
me! ‘I tried to warn you but you were too stubborn to
listen. We’ve got to get out of here before dear Marsh
returns to command more drones to replicate me’ –
But who are you? I don’t understand. ‘What do mean?’

‘It’s me, my name is Rachel.’

What? Impossible! I am Rachel!

‘Calm down dear – We are all Rachel…’

The Pink Forest

Cream screams ruby dreams
Strange happenings
White skies blood cries
Yellow wailing soul
Destroying – Hark the pink
Lark spreading false truths
Growing strange fruits
Falling on sour earth burning
Barren soil to reveal new growth
Where strange sounds can be
Heard – A fluttering of falling birds
A spluttering of green rain fauna
and flora in pain – Get out go back
retreat attack leave retrieve collect
reflect. You are not needed here –
This is our new sphere. No, go!
A broken nation shattered moral
Compass – You could have
prevented this…

-Don Beukes

Go

Heated chambers roil
with entrancing
little bugs, creeping out
the little ladies
who refuse to look
because their mascara
will collapse like tar.
Whipping off my myopia,
I alone am delighted.
If I could crawl through
to dance with the motley
harbingers of the abnormal,
I would squeeze myself
onto the slide, no regrets,
and wave to my companions,
who aren’t looking at me;
me, happy at last, fitting in,
dancing on a glass yacht.

-Elizabeth Moura

Finding Your Place

Paint peeling
From ancient walls
Reveals nothing of note.
But the preserved picture,
Of three parallel trees, once bespoke

By some
Now unknown admirer
Of the arts,
Leaves behind enough, perhaps,
To inspire a new start.

Finally,
The patron, artist and
Onlooker may know
The unparalleled merit of
Their respective roles.

-st

Frailty

is the strength to put one foot
in front of another against the gust.

is endurance of pain you inhale
and exhale as you catch your breath.

is a tree growing on ground known to dissolve
beneath the roots as a short life is lived.

is the sharp, severe loss of mam and dad
as your bones ask for a hug from the disappeared.

-Paul Brookes

 

15MF 15

Tanks

Lilies, petal wrapped,
their colour smiles
in water’s drift.

A summer’s dreamer,
her flowers are
purple rain catchers.

Tanks: ancient reservoirs,
lilies far as sight permits.

Under chlorophyll isles
drift tangled fronds
where swimmers weave
their cool green,
hydraulic dreams.

Elephants drink here
and stick legged
avians break journeys.
To stand pensive, in these
time worn water fields.

Marvel at floating leaves,
whose island dreams
and water songs,
play rippling gently.

In the distance
where lilies meet sky:
A white chalk bright
Stupa topped with
Buddha head spike,
pierces the unbroken blue.

Once neolithic mounds
to hold our dead,
now giants of brick
and stone…
who bow their heads
to passing flowers
and greenway archipelagos.

To drink a deep fill,
a quench of lake water.

©️ Dai Fry 14th May 2020.

Da doo Ra Ra ran

cowardly sun god sperm cell
suffers performance anxiety;
flees from opportunity —
future world goes dark

-Rich Follett

*

I will remember lily pads. Each floating universe resting on time,
itself, water like time, like the streams of an eternal reoccurrence.
Every poem is permitted one act of being unnecessarily outlandish,
every life is permitted one or two acts of being unnecessarily
outlandish. Outlandish is not the word I am looking for, here.
There are other words, of course, words like lily pad, to describe
what I am seeing. ( , .)

-Alex Mazey

Established

As children, weren’t we all beguiled by water lilies?
I was sure the little rafts were stepping stones for traipsing
Across,
Sufficient to
Support my weight.

Although they are well-established,
Rooted deep
Beneath water bodies, on the surface
They are delicate creatures,
It seems.

You once asked if
We wanted to keep trying
To put the tent pegs in,
Only to have them continue to
Slip out again.

I’m grateful I learned the difference between
Solid and superficial, and that we, too, can be fastened
Tight to the ground,
More securely established
Than I might’ve imagined.

-st

Day 15 sonja

the lily pond.

go down along the coast
through the village and up
the hill

find the lily pond
miles from anyone

you will find creatures among
the plants and reverie

some are tadpoles come recently

while others spawn later

this is the magic that
some have forgotten
with all their money
and sexual innuendos

the small plane still flies over
most days

-sbm

The first escape

We were lucky, when the fire came for us.
A murmur of orange, mumming
grey dust – in the night-ashes from the grate,
their bucket on the porch. The bloom
must have been beautiful, I thought,
a thing come to life
when our eyes were all closed.
In the morning, one wall of the house was croaking
with blisters, toadskin paint
still slick with the rain. With persuasion
from a disobedient finger, they popped,
and the stink of the fire was alive
inside each one. Even at five,
I set free a lot of near-death.
Tiny craters left behind,
none yet satisfied with a sacrifice.

-Ankh Spice

The Institute
(Part Four)

The Prequel – ‘ Welcome back Mr and Mrs Sullivan,
I finally have the news you’ve been waiting for. One of
our cloned samples has survived the delicate procedure.
However, it will have to grow here until its fifth birthday,
Just to ensure total success. After all, we owe it to you
to return a perfect specimen. Have you decided on a
name yet?’ Ah yes, her name will be Rachel. We trust
that you will do your best, doctor…

Dear Self – It’s me, Rachel. You don’t know me yet but
I somehow know who you are. I saw you in a memory
not even born yet but quite significant to my survival.
I finally left that strange place, after getting rid of my
overly attentive nurse – A bit too keen for my liking!
The more I insisted for her to leave me alone, the more
she repeated, ‘There, there my dear child, Nurse Marsh
will take very good care of you, after all we will be together
for five years!

Homecoming – Dear Self, I am in my new home. The
Sullivans are weird but I cannot complain. Five years is long to wait for a new home. I made sure my new mother understood when I jabbed my finger deep into one eye and just giggled about it – It felt good, even though father had to call for help. Are you still there, hello?

-Don Beukes

Of Man Of Dust

Buses are butterflies
all blue and gold
Blind Mary and I catch one
to the black glass wedding

young, dead Lozzy comes
walks on water down the canal bright and shiny
like a new kitchen surface

the man’s landrover is a poisonous
lily packed with dust of death
climbs out of the lily
dust flying like red flour

politest of men.
Pardon me, young Lady
to Blind Mary who coughs,
overcome by dust

lozzy, my poor dead son
a vacuum cleaner
with severe asthma
inhales the man of dust
and knows what it means.

man of dusts’ minder of water
floods the vacuum cleaner
lozzy coughs splutters.

Blind Mary’s wedding gift,
a carved coal elephant inhales.

sprays water over his back,
as if having a wash

black dust billows.
black mingles with red dust.

lozzy vacuums up
the man of dust
disposes of him
in the Place of No Breath

and if the dust meets breath,

life. dust waits.

-Paul Brookes

Cento

The small plane still flies over

tiny craters left behind
rooted deep
beneath water bodies.

A summer’s dreamer,
her flowers are
purple rain catchers.

walks on water
down the canal
bright and shiny
like a new kitchen surface/

16MF 16

heart of stone

all through the millenia
all egbert wanted was
to play with the other statues

-Rich Follett

Day 16 Sonja

.pensive.

a quizzical look
grey frowns the brow
wrinkles

did it do wrong
neutered into submission
wandering
lost the way

she said she will trap it send it away
her aggressive with the lockdown

envious of solitude
exploding with anger

red threads could bind us

-sbm

Who Are You

A life of consequences.
The whole thing
a slight of hand…
I cannot see me,
doubt anyone can.

Never to know my name,
or purpose hidden behind.
Mendacity my gift and
I my own victim.
My light is not
the illuminating kind.

A life spent
hide and seeking,
the deeper I look
the darker my lairs.

I nearly met
on one or two occasions,
not yet being
quite there.

©️ Dai Fry 15th May 2020.

*

I recall a dark room at English Heritage, a documentary showing
an eight-to-ten-minute introductory guide to big castle, wherever.
This is, perhaps, a simulated experience, curated with panoramic
cinematography – available in the gift shop for nine-ninety-five.
Every time, I find these dark rooms – showing a documentary,
I sit there for eight-to-ten-minutes, thoroughly enjoying the space,
imagining my life as an informative documentary; a screen wipe.

-Alex Mazey

The Walk

Few find the shrifted forest – a wanderer feels
their gait well weighed by trees and rock
to find how great the need for succour-paths.
If your feet, as heavy as they are, will carry you
for another week, a day, an hour
through the loosened sharps of the vale
some trivial thing will call you to your walking-on.
When the wet green hands of sentinels
wing a creature through this breach
its count of given steps was done and done.
And we could do much worse than to stop it here
we beasts who have been treading
so stilted since first we fell. Far worse than to drop
to our knees on this cushion of needles
beneath an unsuspected kindness of stones.
Sometimes you don’t see how much they love you
until their face is watching you leave.
The last walk done, and I’ll go laughing, all thin-
skin shiver in the warm wet breath of the rock
that has turned these bones, has spun us on
and on, every day since we arrived.
She gave us milk from the dirt
of her body. Every day opened the door
to the walk. You mourn your pets like family.

-Ankh Spice

The Spectre

You see me as a hideous invasive enemy oddity
but I see you as an existential anomaly hoping to remain free but it is not meant to be – Your
insatiable sensational lust for self-gratification
revealed your selfish nature neglecting your
intended function to willingly and selflessly
nurture but you have proven time and time again
your expected failure to prove your worth as a
temporary fleeting organism on a planet only meant
to temporarily tolerate your inherited generations –

Your neglect of each other and your dismissal of
of obvious signs and revelations in your darkest
dreams and ruby screams did not deter you from
darkening your absorbent soul as you hunted for
monetary riches, damning those who you deemed
unnecessary in an existence you craved to have
total dominance in unable to foresee you failed legacy.

This is your final hour as your essence will be ended –
You do not deserve to be awarded this precious
Earthly existence so forget your expected inheritance…

-Don Beukes

Release

Looking at the red sky All I see is you
The ground trembles as I try
To hug the earth like glue
Closing my eyes struggling not to cry
Your angelic face fills my view
As I let go, my body wants to fly
and search for you in the heavenly blue

-Carrie Ann Golden

#MF 16

The nightmares and dreams of children
are carved of the same stone;
they are massive. Even the friendliest
glower, because of their weight.
All through their lives, these stones
follow all the children who ever were.
As adults, the stones loom, smaller in size,
but heavier, pressing down on hearts
and minds which don’t believe in dreams
or nightmares, but are certain of death.

#16

American bullet, barreling out, like an asteroid
racing to a pre-mediated hit.
It is red hot. It knows its way.
A finger has shot out before it.
It points. Like a diseased god, it chooses.

-Elizabeth Moura

Draw me to the eye
Center us down together
Stillness in your storm

-st

The heart of a tree
is a crack
in time.

A glimpse across galaxies
linked by wormholes
in xylem.

This giant is fallen:
a window on eternity
exposed,

though the roots still live.
Here – delicate in rotten bark –
sapling.

Time
is the crack
in a tree’s heart.

-Yvonne Marjot

The Lion

I am Hunger and look for a prey.
No animal, big or small,
as far as I can see.

I find a big cave,
There must be some animal here.
If so, come evening it will return
I will hide myself in the cave
and when it returns,
pounce on it and have a good meal.

Sun begins to set,
I hear a voice
“Hello cave,
I am your friend here.”

I do not reply
“Hello cave,
don’t you remember
the arrangement we made?
I have to shout when I arrive
and you will ask me to come in.
Without your green signal
I do not enter the cave.
Since you are silent,
I will go to some other cave.”

Ah, there seems to be an arrangement
between the cave and this animal.
Let me get him into my trap.
I will shout back a welcome
to him and he will walk in happily.”

I roar, “Hi jackal,
come in.
You are welcome.”

Nothing happens.
Nothing happens

My stomach is an empty cave
full of echoes.

-Paul Brookes

Cento

You do not deserve to be awarded this precious
earthly existence so forget your expected inheritance…
Stillness in your storm

Bios and Links

-Alex Mazey

(b.1991) received his MA (distinction) from Keele University in 2017. He later won The Roy Fisher Prize for Poetry with his debut pamphlet, ‘Bread and Salt’ (Flarestack, TBA). He was also the recipient of a Creative Future Writers’ Award in 2019. His poetry has featured regularly in anthologies and literary press magazines, most notably in The London Magazine. His collection of essays, ‘Living in Disneyland’, will be available from Broken Sleep Books in October 2020. Alex spent 2018 as a resident of The People’s Republic of China, where he taught the English Language in a school run by the Ministry of Education. His writing has been described as ‘wry and knowing,’ with ‘an edge that tears rather than cuts or deals blows.’

Twitter: @AlexzanderMazey

Instagram: alexmazey

Here is my interview of Alex:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2018/12/18/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-alex-mazey/

-Rich Follett

is a High School English and Creative Writing teacher who has been writing poems and songs for more than forty years. His poems have been featured in numerous online and print journals, including BlazeVox, The Montucky Review, Paraphilia, Leaf Garden Press and the late Felino Soriano’s CounterExample Poetics, for which he was a featured artist. Three volumes of poetry, Responsorials (with Constance Stadler), Silence, Inhabited, and Human &c. are available through NeoPoiesis Press (www.neopoiesispress.com.)

As a singer-songwriter, Rich has released five albums of independent contemporary folk music. His latest. Somewhere in the Stars, is available at http://www.richfollett.com. He lives with his wife Mary Ruth Alred Follett in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he also pursues his interests as a professional actor, playwright, and director.

-Ankh Spice

is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (NZ). His poetry has appeared in a wide range of international publications and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He truly believes that words have the power to change the place we’re in, and you’ll find him doing his best to prove it on

Twitter: @SeaGoatScreams
or on Facebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry

-Carrie Ann Golden

is a deafblind writer from the mystical Adirondack Mountains now living on a farmstead in northeastern North Dakota. She writes dark fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in places like Piker Press, Edify Fiction, Doll Hospital Journal, The Hungry Chimera, GFT Press, Asylum Ink, and Visual Verse.

-sonja benskin mesher

born , Bournemouth.

now

lives and works in North Wales
as an independent artist

‘i am a multidisciplinary artist, crafting paint, charcoal, words and whatever comes to hand, to explain ideas and issues

words have not come easily. I draw on experience, remember and write. speak of a small life’.

Elected as a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and the United Artists Society
The work has been in solo exhibitions through Wales and England, and in selected and solo worldwide.
Much of the work is now in both private, and public collections, and has been featured in several television documentaries, radio programmes and magazines.

Here is my interview of sonja benskin mesher:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2018/10/16/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-sonja-benskin-mesher/

-Samantha Terrell

is an American poet whose work emphasizes emotional integrity and social justice. She is the author of several eBooks including, Learning from Pompeii, Coffee for Neanderthals, Disgracing Lady Justice and others, available on smashwords.com and its affiliates.Chapbook: Ebola (West Chester University Poetry Center, 2014)

Website: poetrybysamantha.weebly.com
Twitter: @honestypoetry

Here is my 2020 interview of her:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/04/08/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-samantha-terrell/

-Don Beukes

is a South African and British writer. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’ (CTU) and ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection. He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Afrikaans, Persian, French and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize (USA) in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (Libbo Publishers) and his second ‘Cape Sounds’ in 2019 (Gavin Joachims Publishing). He is also an amateur photographer and his debut Photographic publication appeared in Spirit Fire Review in June 2019. His new book, ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’/Thus Passes the Glory of this World’ is due to be published by Concrete Mist Press.

Here is my interview of Don Beukes:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2019/11/02/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-don-beukes/

-Dai Fry

is an old new poet. He worked in social care but now has no day job. A keen photographer and eater of literature and lurid covers. Fascinated by nature, physics, pagans, sea and storm. His poetry seeks to capture image and tell philosophical tales. Published in Black Bough Poetry, Re-Side, The Hellebore Press and the Pangolin Review. He can be seen reading on #InternationalPoetryCircle and regularly appears on #TopTweetTuesday.
Twitter. @thnargg
Web seekingthedarklight.co.uk

Audio/Visual. @IntPoetryCircle #InternationalPoetryCircle Twitter
#TopTweetTuesday

-Elizabeth Moura

lives in a converted factory and works with elders. She has had poetry, flash fiction or photographs published in online and print publications Human/Kind Journal, Rose Quartz Poetry Magazine, Hawk & Whippoorwill, The Cormorant, Radical: A Lit Zine, Chrysanthemum, Occulum, Flash, Paragraph Planet, and Flash Fiction Magazine. On Twitter @mourapoet, Instagram mourathepoet and mourastudio.wordpress.com.

-Yvonne Marjot

is a lost kiwi, now living on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She has published four novels and a book of short stories.
Twitter handle:
@alayanabeth

-Paul Brookes

is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

-Mary Frances

is an artist and writer based in the UK. She takes a few photos every day, for inspiration and to use in her work. The images for this project were all taken in the last two years on walks during in the month of May. Her words and images have been published by Penteract Press, Metambesen, Ice Floe Press, Burning House Press, Inside the Outside, Luvina Rivista Literaria, and Lone Women in Flashes of Wilderness.
Twitter:
@maryfrancesness

-James Knight

is an experimental poet and digital artist. His books include Void Voices (Hesterglock Press) and Self Portrait by Night (Sampson Low). His visual poems have been published in several places, including the Penteract Press anthology Reflections and Temporary Spaces (Pamenar Press). Chimera, a book of visual poems, is due from Penteract Press in July 2020.

Website: thebirdking.com.

Twitter: @badbadpoet

Here is my interview of James Knight:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2019/01/06/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-james-knight/

-Sue Harpham

is an admin worker, currently not in work Married, 2 sons. Loves poetry and words. She considers herself a writer of scribble rather than a poet. She has written a novel and is using her spare time to finally get it published (self-publishing) which has been an ambition of her for the last 10 years.

4 thoughts on “The Collected Special Ekphrastic Challenge for May 2020. The First Sixteen Days. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham the inspiration for writers: Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Yvonne Marjot, and Paul Brookes

  1. Thank you Paul for letting me be part of this project. It was such fun and well done to all the artists who created such wonderful imagery. Thanks too to the writers whose work equally painted such beauty to compliment the art

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