Saturday 31 July 2010

Holding Hands as She Exhales by Paul Squires

just before she dies
after three days at the hands
of u.s. trained torturers acting
for u.s. backed dictators
in the utter darkness of
one of Pinochet’s prisons
and the child inside of her
dies too…

perhaps there is a moment
where she is still alive and
the pain has stopped
long enough for her
to draw one breath
and she will realise
that she is not alone
nor forgotten,

,of course, that happened long ago
in not your country
to someone not you
and you were not there

so you may remain calm
and unaffected and believe
that this is just a poem
and not a holding of hands.

Paul Squires, Australia

(I was shocked to hear that Paul died on 28 July after an accidental fall. He was 46. In memory of a talented poet and entertaining blogger I'm reposting this poem of his which I first published here on 18 October 2007. )

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Shine by M P Powers

poetry at its best
is music without instruments
the world

peace is death made wise

but poets
aren't borne of peace

they are borne

M P Powers, Florida, USA

Sunday 25 July 2010

In Beauty by David Chorlton

A scar runs along the high rocks where the wind
turned back toward the other time
when people who once lived here doused
their fires and swept into baskets
the last of the beans they had picked
from mesquite trees and ground to a floury sweetness
then set out for that world
of which they knew little beyond
its scent of rain which carried
on the air all the way across the valley
they could see from this mountain when they stood
near the top having climbed
for one final look and nobody knows
because nobody left word
whether they were glad to leave or whether
they didn’t care about the view
which may have meant nothing to them
for all we know as we stare
at the peak and call it beautiful as we do
when we want nothing from a thing
but the promise that we shall see it again.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Thursday 22 July 2010

Wormwood by Russell Streur

They killed the Tree of Knowledge
Poured a shire full of poison on its roots
Killed the ghost gum too
And I am walking on that street in Barcaldine
And the aspen stands are dying in the high country
And the hickory in the low
And I am walking in the forests of Quebec
Where sugar maples used to rise
And the elms are dying in the north
And the hemlock in the south
And I am walking in Croatia
Where the spruce are dying on the slopes
And the lodgepoles on the coast
And I am walking in the rust
In moth and bore and salt
Where graves replace the groves
And brittle bones of wilted dryads blow
Autumn leaves in spring
From withered copse to seedless curb
On the avenue of dead trees:

They nailed Pan last night
With seven stakes
Of birches through his heart
Raped Diana in the orchard Lass o' Gowrie
Hung up Hecate from a willow limb
Buried Odin with the oak
Blew the stump to Kingdom Come
With a Ryder full of acid rain
And poor man’s TNT
While scarlet priests in drive-by sheets
Whispered highland rosaries
Peddling holy hills and sacred roots
To grinning whores on grassy knolls
For Wal-Mart stores and interstates
Our fate to never see the gallows in this forestry
Crown triumphant
Concrete steel glass and noise
Our final kings—
Now is the hour
Wormwood sings.

Russell Streur, Georgia, USA

Monday 19 July 2010

the mysterious by Marcia Arrieta

eagles & einstein. the relation of light to the door. to the mind.
creations beyond. in sync/out of sync. the pencil is the forest.
the hand barely discernable. can you explain the candle?
rivers & labyrinths. the raindrops hit the snow.
faraway in the land of imaginary all is calm. we learn of symbols.
symbol the man. symbol the woman. all in the name of meaning.
all in the name of understanding. the mountain in the distance.

Marcia Arrieta, CA, USA

Friday 16 July 2010


Begin with first word and said word only;
uncover the second, third, fourth, etc.,
after thoroughly digesting one, two, and three’s relationship,
until you enter the naked shower
of language before you even know it.

The filthy pelican, for instance, forms multiple relationships
between filthy and pelican
long before the Falangist brain
insists upon conceptualizing everything
according to convenient myths seventeen words later.

You’re already inside the poem,
drifting or suffering through star-nosed tunnels
of the lexicon, anyway!

At least you’ve burrowed deep inside the poem
for one glorious moment, one subatomic breath,
one astrophysical strand
of String Theory left over
from yesterday’s visit to the local oncologist.

Alan Britt, Maryland, USA

Monday 12 July 2010

Story Book by J.S. Watts

I was trying to read a book
When you came along and insisted
That I read you instead.
You were forceful in your persuasions;
Insinuating yourself between me
And the page, like a fur clad bookmark.
Tail in my face and the buzz of your voice
Creeping through my head
As you crept across my pages,
Ruffling thoughts and paper alike
To the point of distraction.
How could I ignore you ?
Such a perfect edition and so responsive
Beneath my fingers. You are better
Than a story in braille.
Through you I can read of summer fields,
The smelled taste of daisies and buttercups,
Nose high grass and the heat of the sun
On day-warmed fur; the drowsiness
Of a warm room and a comfortable lap.
There is nothing better than
Curling up on a good book.

J S Watts, East Anglia, UK

Thursday 8 July 2010

Jaguar Truth by David Chorlton

In a gap between the wind and the light
on the grasslands a jaguar
appears with all his liquid muscles
flowing underneath a coat
of spotted fire.
He is a reflection

without water to carry it.
When he leaps he is so fast he passes
through the beholder’s eye
and lands in the mind
where his image claws a way
to a refuge. He is safe in a person’s memory,

wild among the rocks
and in the shadows there
where time and water run in the same
arroyos, and where walls sink
into the land as quickly as they are built
along borders intended

to keep people apart. A jaguar’s memory
is beyond the reach of anyone;
it is a wilderness
of scents only he can receive.
It is what we imagine when we imagine truth
and cannot find a human word for it.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Sunday 4 July 2010

Taken by Chris Crittenden

spider was wearing
the slate-butter-black of the spruce,
flecked and striped just so.
she could have been a perch
of small twigs,
or a lichen smudge,
or a cradled down tuft.
her halo was leaf light
filtered to dapple
in the way that tigers
marry with vines.

sun-rich as seraphim,
orbited with erratic grace,
seeming to teleport and tease.
he plucked her lair
as if tuning a harp, lured
by the promise
of its fluctuant jewels.
until one strum
rippled forth a harsh shimmer,
and added to the music
a broken whine.

Chris Crittenden, USA