All posts filed under: Alphabets

“The Other Side of Things” and other poems by Robyn Rowland

I. The Other Side of Things. from the sequence Sky Gladiatorials Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown made the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic, Newfoundland to Ireland, 1919.Previous to that, they both flew for Britain in World War I. Alcock ‘was the first man to bomb Istanbul’; then, with plane trouble, crashed-landed near Suvla, 1917. He was imprisoned in Kedos, Turkey. Air is crisp in the cockpit and seeded with summer when he flies toward that once powerful city. Constantinople, desired, mysterious, Mimar Sinan’s mosques of exquisite geometry defining its shape. Libraries bulge with rare illuminated books. A city lovely in both poetry and Churchill’s dreams sits unaware of the bombs Alcock clutches under his plane The boy Irfan Orga is nine, father taken to the war, never to return, his small brother ill from hunger, grandmother sharing their two rooms, hampered by new poverty, their home burned out by fire, everything of beauty gone. In Mahmut Paşa Street, his mother struggles through the crowded market to forage, unused to being …

“Tarmac” and other poems by A.M. Cousins

REDRESS After Junichiro Tanizaki. Give us this day your problems. Allow us to torment ourselves about shadow and beauty and good taste and we’ll swap all that we’ve got for one hour in the life of a tortured artiste who wants to sit in a fancy lav and listen to a mosquito. We’d leave the shadows to the banshee and the pooka, and the nun who died young – she lurks and snaps bony fingers as your backside hangs through a hole in a bench. You tilt forward to tear a scrap of newspaper. All useless decoration stripped in Sunday’s Well where Little Nellie dances for Holy God, Artane boys march and Heaney’s henhouse child views the moon through a chink in a plank. Ancient Magdalenes and crones – sister-stitchers with blackened teeth and white, pinched faces glowing overmodest grey kimonos – enhance heaven’s cloth, embroider Limerick lace. Give us this day. (published in The Stinging Fly.)   BLESSED after Padraic H. Pearse. I grudge them – more than any of you will ever know …

“English Breakfast Love Song” and other poems by Rhiannon Grant

English Breakfast Love Song   I am longing to pour out my soul to you in words which show my creativity and let off my head of steam but my soul is not so liquid it comes out in funny lumps uneven like old-fashioned sugar ready to make sure your tea is always too sweet and never sweet enough. Unengaged Concepts   Your thin God – onmithis, omnithat— is nothing beside the wildness of Goddess.   Love and suffering may have reasons but are not rational.   You say we can know about ‘chastity’ without living it.   Really?   Outside a seminar in a thick press of people could you look the right way maintain your dress just so be chaste in soul in ways you cannot describe?   You can use the word ‘God’ in a sentence.   So far, so good.   Do not presume to know what my God is like: how flowers dance for Her how Thou is there in silence how His sentences would make no sense to you. …

‘Siegfried’s Homecoming’ and other poems by Suzanne Stapleton

Siegfried’s Homecoming You come home from the war at least a third emptier than you were, Like all the words were scooped from your head with the butt of a rifle that you constructed with your own hands and demolished too, leaving so much of yourself in the barrel. The teeth in your gums white crosses and country lines, none of them belonging to you anymore, rattle like augury bones in your sleep because in the night you are some twisted, ugly thing like a trout gasping for breath on the floor of a fishing boat, running from the yawning mouth at your heart to get away from what remains here : a battlefield. You come home from the war and leave your love behind in the hands of a poet, a soldier whose eyes stare out at you in each nightmare the claiming mark of his blood splattered across your face and emblazoned on your soul, his smile tinged mustard yellow in your memory but his hands so vivid; pencil, pages, and the pistol, …

“Backward Glancing on a Tehran Street” and other poems by Lynda Tavakoli

Game On In Syria the shooters choose themes for target practice, a living video game of entertainment for the week. On Saturday it’s chins – anything below the nose, above the neck, and rifle sights explore a quivered lip as points deduct for errors – cheeks and ears are left for Sunday’s sport. On Monday, it’s the old, their leech-peeled progress over desert skin the easier to track, points deducted for impairment but added for an outright kill. On Tuesday, pregnant women. Two for the price of one (but scarce) with double points for primary executions, only if you’re in the zone. On Wednesday, barrel metal rests on gaping sills, trigger fingers slack for mobiles phoning home while someone calculates the points but lets the stretcher bearers live upon a whim. Thursday’s dawn will drone unblinking and unlit, sheltering the snipers’ bull’s -eyed sleep from heavenly foe . Anonymous the joystick thumb that strokes its target from behind a foreign screen, one final arbitrary theme, the sum of all its parts, no worse, no better …