Category Archives: Images

“We Did Not Choose The Sea” and other poems by Philo Ikonya

Unrecorded

 
Stone music
When your music rises
from your grave in flower
and some stones quiver
and sing notes musical
I hear your voice
 
When music pricks the air
from a needle in friction
and touches the first traction
molecule of air kissing your ear
I have memories
 
When your words attach a molecule
of air to another and in you we
breathe, sing and live in hope
when we cannot forget we rise
I sing my soul your language
 
Our hair is proud and sings on air
When loving is truly spoken
It is in your ear in seconds
in your heart and mind and soul
 
Add warmth and fire to it
Your own interpretation original
Your body moves in dance
Still you rise, still you rise, dance
and fall and rise from grave in flower
 

Weave your joy

 
With the tips of your fingers
And all of you like the
Orchestra conductor knows that music
Know your body:
Its heart drum
Piano toes…
 
The epic of weavers undaunted
the road to the market is mine
my head is a carrier of universes
I know my step is in space
and those arrows you see on my cloth
have known many lights…
nights and colors
 
Recognition that ignites
when that face you see again out of nowhere comes
Suddenly feelings surge
blow and rage a real storm
inside
Heart shaken like a vessel love filled bubbles
Feel every nerve awake
Blood rush blush…
Something lost now
rare since a screen touch keeps
telling where and how you are
Soon surprise will be ancient human feeling…ouch!
 

trembling dreams

 
You wake me up each time
but I dream on with hope
You tell me children cannot
eat dreams in a poem
But when I look I see them
only clad in dreams
the only pants they wear
that you cannot tear
 
I have sat and mended endlessly
and washed with tears
things mention would tear this paper
things surfing in my soul
 
Come again, enlarge my spirit
into dreams and let me sleepwalk
and stalk in my talk so many ghosts
Until I ring my bell of peace
and you fall out of your fantasy
and see saints sainting without fainting
 

We did not choose the sea

philo 6.1.2014
 
When we found them washed ashore
they were barely alive but still breathing
We spoke for the voiceless they
said, many times, and now speak to us
and for us and with us share this breath
 
We shuddered at life’s turns and twists
when the madding crowd kicked them hard
They slave them again, they do, their voices
deadly drilling the stones so alone intone
 

Longing

 
Solitary times teach
so loudly that silence
grows so deep and speaks
a new language: And now
Let me see my love, let me
hear my hope, touch my faith
Let me taste our belonging in fragrance
It has been so long and I have
a new alphabet to share with life
 

Come

 
You come closest
to my chest and tell
me in my own tongue
that you are my latest thought
the fount sings unending
the ocean rises as the rivers dry
and we see the stones still
washing and washed
 
Humans never understood
color then, never not in
all those matches in design
Not in all those pastels in
cake and bathroom tiles
 
Not in all that whiteness
and darkness in the broods of life
We so challenged by the sun
without which we wither
think
color must be bright
and I know
that we have not understood color
Cold
We have not got it in color
We attach to it not the warm sound
that leave our mouths to cut the air
frightened of it we are when it rains
purple
and now we know that sign
like we have worshipped the rainbow
for years
 

Round the rock

 
Roots then finding
their way blindly down
trying you
to pass they go this way
and that
through soils find you
and hug you
 
You sing to them the
song of beginnings you
play for them the sound
of the music of their birth
the sign of life
Do not be sad you are
not in a foreign land you tell
them as they move
 
Rain
falling finds those still
thrusting roots
 
Yours of stone
you have them
and the roots of a tree
carrying generations into
this other freedom so hidden from
our eyes
that the place of gray we think
but we never understood
 
Here to go everyone has a visa
given by the first cry, you life and
friction before in your forbearers
Here to go everyone is in song
 
Hug us rock and break us
as we broke you, break our wood
and if we are ashes, kiss us rock
and let your hardness be the crook
of Our Mother’s arm, so soft
 
We Did Not Choose The Sea and other poems are © Philo Ikonya

downloadPhilo Ikonya is a writer, lecturer and human rights activist. She is the President of PEN Kenya. She taught semiotics at Tangaza College and Spanish at the United States International University in Nairobi. She graduated in Literature and Linguistics (The University of Nairobi) before reading philosophy in Spain and Italy. She worked as an editor for Oxford University Press (Eastern Africa). Born in Kenya, Philo speaks Kiswahili, Gikuyu, English, Spanish and some Norsk. She has a grasp of Italian and French. Philo is a mother of one. She is currently living in exile in Norway.
.
Her fiction includes two novels, Leading the Night and Kenya, will you marry me? She has published three poetry anthologies: This Bread of Peace, (Lapwing) Belfast, Ireland, and Out of Prison- Love Songs translated into German (Aus dem Gefangnis Liebesgesange). Philo is a Pan-Africanist.
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-from PEN: http://www.pen-international.org/who-we-are/board/philo-ikonya/#sthash.tasg0SKN.dpuf

“Imitation” and “Tattooed Girl” by Maggie Breen

Tattooed Girl

 
She had wings,
big and black,
tattooed on her back.
 
They reached up
above her flimsy top,
as if she might take off any second.
 
They looked strong, powerful;
I envied her conviction,
her dedication.
 
Did it hurt much?
Did she feel the blood bead on her young skin,
with every touch, every prick of the needle?
 
A modern Cleopatra clad in black
with dark, dark eyes, she intertwines
her silver-laden fingers with another, I presume her lover.
 
I never saw her leave but could have sworn
I felt cold on the back of my neck,
a shiver and then nothing.
 
(Tattooed Girl appeared in The Stony Thursday Book in 2015)
 

Imitation

 
I trudge through the winter sales
trying on one coat after another
but none look right on me.
 
In the mirror
I see myself,
younger,
flat-chested,
ugly,
in Mammy’s
good, wool coat,
too big for me,
the weight of it
and the smell
of her Tweed perfume,
familiar, reassuring.
 
I remember her
putting her coat on
over normal clothes,
on her way out the door
to a funeral,
brushing her short,
greying hair roughly
in the antique mirror
over the fire.
I imagine her
at the grave,
respectable,
her gold peacock brooch
pinned to the front,
shaking hands,
sorry for your troubles.
 
I soldier on,
determined
to look like
a proper woman
should.
 
(Imitation was published in The Stinging Fly in 2012)

Pic: John Walsh Maggie Breen, author of 'Other Things I Didn't Tell' pictured with her parents Rose and Paddy and her boyfriend Liam McMahon at the launch of her Poetry Collection in the National 1798 Centre.

Pic: John Walsh

Maggie Breen’s debut collection of poetry, Other Things I Didn’t Tell, was published in 2013. She was long-listed for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2015. Her poems have been published in The Stony Thursday Book, The Stinging Fly, Crannóg and Southword, among other publications. She was guest editor for The Scaldy Detail 2013. She has performed readings at the White House, Cáca Milis Cabaret, Kildare Readers’ Festival and Ó Bhéal, among others. Her short radio documentary Murt’s Eggs was broadcast on RTE Radio One in September 2014. She is currently working on a second collection of poetry, as well as other projects. Born in Wexford, Maggie lives in Dingle, Co. Kerry.
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Maggie Breen’s website

from “breath(en) flux ” by Michael McAloran

I

#

.…silence yes/ silenced yes/ as if to ever
having done with it/ stripped solace no/
 
vital lapse in all depth of becoming-un/ as if
because it were unto/ ash unto/
 
no/ pure as never was/ ever was/ given to
yet it cannot/ asks of dust what climb or
other than /
 
dry reach in catascopic/ hence shadow never
vital/
 
all traces then forgotten/ yet given to un-
forgot/ blind edge laughter/ afar/ no/

#

clamours afar/ yet nothing to it/ in banquet
of nothing no not a/

hence shadow’s dissolve in bit night balm/
well-spoken silenced/

of ghost-limbed rapture no/ call cards as if
to/ dissolve yet surface of what to it/

spit in eye of eye of it/ no/ traipse till yet
un-afar a-light unlit light of silhouette dark
what dark/

yet for as if to/ not a sense of all’s retrace/ of
fading nullity/ ever only of it/ spliced no
not ever…

#

…further echo further no/ as if to say that
no/ non further yes/ silenced in stripped
silence of/

rapture suffocate in which a-dream/ not a/
vibrates yes yet lack of sounding all colours
clear/

waste upon waste/ useless forage/ nothing
that ever was/ ever was or if/

what will in-speak derivative of what or
else/ blood can only ever be/ what can be/

unspoken detritus desire demarcate/ dim
light of eyes all dredged/

 

#

speaks yes or no no answer collapse of/

fallen flourish/ being in/ silence in/ yet not
a trace there is yet / silenced/ two three
what can be/

opens up in head of time spent forgotten/
fade of five steps/ back or forth no matter if/

dries eyes with waxen what bodily volatile/
reduction of all/ bind bite what what/

time rotting within skull of gild/ meat
locked to/ breath silencing allwhile…

II
#

…in breathless of/ all suffocate’s desire in
realm/ forgotten closure fissure fissure ice
until/

drag of tilt till shear of open spasm/ flail
naught un-sky/ dressage vortice no/

yet given of until/ reduct blind forage
empty emptily/ walls seep solace rupture
eye/

eclipt drags out all what once was once or
ever other than in if/ ashen dislocate/

resurgence/ resurgence no/ head drowns in
bloody latrine clear glass/

#

ruptures rails in absent sense derail/ cracks
blind all shadow deft until/ light snap
stone/

dirt in trace reduct/ fallen/ haven yes or no/
price of elective/

price of unsung what reach of purpose
strips death cloud from eye/ frozen breath
collapse/

juggernauts too/ two or four/ fore/ of a/ not
a/ resurgence nothing cracks here or ever
unto/ dead head disarm/ rolls dice around
on lacerate of tongue/ spits lest dawn…

#

…expels from out of which/ desire silence
breathless overtures/

oceanic collapse/ drags din wind collision
of/ sun forgotten/ worthless/

in click-clack steel bone drag hilt no/ rots
clap hands/ drained ever/

ever on yet what from purchase present
nothing was whatever was/

cold walls in which to/ collapse un-dread re-
dread/ head in vice of cold colours/
trick of light/

#

blood from out of forage ever-no/ steers eye
unto further no further distance/

screams out from it/ visage no/ warped
bones ever all/ all lies all present and
correct/

bitten white light silence breakage point
was once spoken or was not/ bites again/
rain rain in obsolete pulse bulb/

there is spit/ there is shadowing untold/
light’s corrode/ dead laughter realm/
bruised/ tacit/ stammers once more as if it/
silence silence/ rotting colours abound…

III
#

…in-dreamt capacity/ trades meat for
absent shores/ given less/ shadowed no/

nothing dreamt of furtherance become yet it
cannot/ furtherance of which in else of other
lessened/

meat trade in opulent unsound it trace
nothing/ unsound retrace un-meat of fallen
ash/

of prism pillage traces/ yet drains of/ there
or other/

collapsed purpose unfelt in an un-sky of
shatter-glass abattoir/

.

#

distances that never were unforgotten/ in
stench reek to abound one step shit flow in
veins/

it is cold it is not/ collected from/ wayward
sentence as flies gather in/ if said what once
was never once/

opulence/ circling skulled veins what
matter (the) vultured teeth of it/ scar tissue
un-livid/

naught a closed wound apathetic/ apathetic
stretches boundary tint/

collapse still yet nothing pressed to the
bone’s collision/ unspoken of…

#

…echo erased that never heard was not of a/
design utter violet sheer/ cold cast a bitter
a/
 
longing stretched/ meat solace of which of
eye in-dream/ else collision solace final/
 
redeem non-touch meat cold as ever was
before lapse eye a sleight of hand/
 
nothing to follow yet cannot/
 
etches from out of nothing furtherance
undone resolve forgotten/ rotted meat a
blister here/
 
#
 
solace fracture/ another’s density/tomes
cast dead no sentence in only of ever-like
fettered resound/
 
yet cannot sense/ un-sensed/ a locket/ in-
breath of sarcophagus eye given to fall/
 
long foreign hours never to be proven/ yet
what what longing/ else of none/
 
till dense approximate/ crumbling
measurements/ trace cold dead teeth a sneer
at the unutterable/
 
pressure point of long non-stir/ into utter/
cold meat as ever was before/
before having…

 
from breath(en) flux & © Michael McAloran

Michael Mc Aloran is Belfast born. He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, prose poetry, poetic aphorisms and prose, most notably Attributes (Desperanto, NY, 2011), The Non Herein & Of Dead Silences (Lapwing Publications, 2011/ 2013) Of the Nothing Of, The Zero Eye, The Bled Sun, In Damage Seasons (Oneiros Books (U.K)–2013/ 14); Code #4 Texts a collaboration with the Dutch poet, Aad de Gids, was also published in 2014 by Oneiros. He was also the editor/ creator of Bone Orchard Poetry, & edited for Oneiros Books (U.K 2013/ 2014). A further collection, Un-Sight/ Un-Sound (delirium X.) was published by gnOme books (U.S), and In Arena Night is forthcoming from Lapwing Publications. EchoNone & Of Dissipating Traces were also recently released by Oneiros Books. breath(en) flux, a chapbook, was recently released by Hesterglock Press.

An Excerpt from “Delicate” at MarsPoetica (HiRISE)

Click on this image to visit the HiRISE site.

Click on this image to visit the HiRISE site. The image is © HiRISE at Beautiful Mars (HiRISE)

Delicate

A sea snail, most precious egg, as if
It had touched the ruby feather of a
Bluebird. A most precious thing,
Bird-egg-shattered, dust in my pores.
 

This excerpt from “Delicate” is © Christine-Elizabeth Murray.

When we widen the lens, the bigger picture can be divorced from the reality that we think we may have momentarily grasped. The above poem is an excerpt from “Delicate” which is being submitted to an Irish Journal at the present time. I expect I will publish the poem in its entire at some later point. BUT here the poem is performing an imagistic collaborative function and I am very grateful to Ari who notified me of the #BeautifulMars and #MarsPoetica project via the Poethead Contact form. I hope to have more news on #MarsPoetica for readers and contributors to the blog soon !
About HiRISE (HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGING SCIENCE EXPERIMENT): The HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the most powerful one of its kind ever sent to another planet. Its high resolution allows us to see Mars like never before, and helps other missions choose a safe spot to land for future exploration.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and is operated by the University of Arizona.

Submit to MarsPoetica

“Mother’s Cradle” and other poems by Maria Wallace

On the Great Blasket

 
The wild rose briar scorns
the garden rose,
and jutted from the deep,
this island scorns, defies life
from sunrise to the midnight moon.
 
Certain of approaching
endings, in a lamp-lit room
bean a’ tí Peig voices island stories.
 
I sit alone
on a sun-warmed stone, hear,
entangled in the west wind,
the whirl of her spirit
hug this grassy hillside,
those bleached dwellings below,
 
and below that,
rock-battering ocean waves
ride off
with particles of that past.
 

Under the shadow of birds

 
Black birds,
she thinks they are ravens,
hover over her
for the past eighteen years.
Their coarse croaking cries
drown all other sounds;
dark plumage shines
as they circle around
ready to destroy
the little she still has:
a neat house for two. Neat.
For two. Even under attack.
Not a speck of dust –
the aroma of fresh baking
rejoicing through the house,
though, the birds’ shadows stab,
their long bills tear her innards.
 
One May afternoon in the cul-de-sac.
Her toddler son in a group
playing Simon Says,
and Hop, Skip and Jump
a few feet from them.
 
A screech of tyres always tells a story.
 
Her doctor said
another baby would help the healing.
The first flock of black birds swooped down
when her husband said:
Another baby?
No way! You couldn’t look after
the one you had
!

 

Morning sounds

 
My waking is not
to electric saw sounds,
hammering, voices and timber clatter.
 
In absence of the familiar,
I hear seagulls’ noisy squall
from opposite ridge-tiled terracotta roofs.
 
Sunlight chinks filter through
the window shutters’ wooden lattice.
I remember a shaft on mounds
of delicate wood shaving curls,
a man talking about grain, knots,
plywood, ash, pine, sawdust under
finger nails, caught in eyelashes.
 
I open the window.
Faint sobbing from room below tells
his tree of life has taken the final blow.
 
On wrought-iron rail
last night’s raindrops tremble,
begin to dry under sunlight.
 
The seagulls fly away.
I face the day,
reluctant.
 

No death in the afternoon

i.m E. Hemingway. Sunday, July the 2nd 1961
 
You woke before the sun
showed over the mountains
east of Ketchum, before it had time to touch
a greeting on your window.
 
With bathrobe and slippers, ghostly silent
walking by your wife’s bedroom door.
In the storeroom familiar gun oil and leather smells
reaffirming your decision.
 
Were you, that day, the old man of the sea trailing behind
nothing but fish bones, a defeated carcass unable to feel
the unloving contact of cold metal? Or, in that padlocked
plaza de toros, did you battle with,
run away from the beast? Heat like embers,
hot even the sand under your feet, faced
with a raging bull, black back glistening with blood
that would be repaid with blood. No spectators
to applaud last faena for bull and matador.
 
No death in the afternoon. Crisp dawn,
and the bells toll for you.
 

The Meenybradden Bog Woman

(from the late medieval period,
uncovered in 1978 in county Donegal)

 
Peat brown hours
turned to centuries,
toughened
your skin with the soft touch
of nature’s forgatherings.
A lullaby the drip and squelch
of wet leavings,
the gossip of grasses,
the winnowing wind
and occasional bird song
rippling over you
like the deepest, final note
of a cello.
And you listening
to all that muted music,
stilled in the hold of roots,
under the brown-veined roof
of your dark sky,
 
hating the silent tongue
of time.
 

Mother’s cradle

 
She gathered our days
in her strong apron
the way she gathered autumn
apples in it,
a scoop of maize to scatter
among clucking hens,
fresh mint in flower,
stolen from burbling bees,
her fragrance for days.
 
She would sit to pod
an apron full of peas, peel
a bowl of potatoes,
rest darning a pile of socks,
knitting to pale winter chills.
 
Her pockets always bulged
with mysteries.
The sound of a few coins
promised toffee sweets,
a strip of liquorice.
 
In her lap rainbows were held,
and moon slivers and stars.
Twice held a dead child.
 
Mother’s Cradle and other poems is © Maria Wallace.

Maria Wallace (Maria Teresa Mir Ros) was born in Catalonia, but lived her teenage years in Chile. She later came to Ireland where she has now settled. She has a BA in English and Spanish Literature, 2004, an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature, 2005. She won the Hennessy Literary Awards, Poetry Section, 2006. Her work has been published widely in Ireland, England, Italy, Australia and Catalonia. Winner of The Scottish International Poetry Competition, The Oliver Goldsmith Competition, Cecil Day Lewis Awards, Moore Literary Convention, Cavan Crystal Awards, William Allingham Festival. She participated in the ISLA Festival (Ireland, Spain and Latin America), 2015, and has published Second Shadow, 2010, and The blue of distance, 2014, two bilingual collections (English – Catalan), a third one to come out within the year. She has taught Spanish, French, Art and Creative Writing. She facilitates Virginia House Creative Writers, a group she founded in 1996, and has edited three volumes of their work.