‘Blackbird’ and other poems by Imogen Forster

Testudo

 
A bone-hard carapace,
a shell cast on a hot shore,
emptied by the labour
of leaving the nurturing
sea, scraping broad ribbons
up the sand’s glassy slope .
 
Gasping, digging a damp hole,
she lays round, sticky eggs,
a hundred leathery balls.
Then spent, noon-dried,
she dies, picked clean
by quick scavengers.
 
Her hatchlings flail
and scuttle towards
the sea, led by the
gazing moon, their plates
small patterned
purses, hardened
in the rich sea-soup
into a vaulted chamber
built to the blueprints
of this old architecture.
 
Published in Visual Verse
 

Blackbird

 
The blackbird sits, a smudge
in the prickly hedge, stooped,
wings and tail all downward.
 
I want to touch him, to feel
the quick, warm shape
in a cage of bare branches.
 
What does a bird fluffed
against the cold see
in his crouched stillness?
 
If I could grasp him by
his ashy back, hold his whole
breathing body in my hand
 
what would the soft bones
tell me, the barbed primaries
and the mite-infested down?
 
The bird stirs, and now
shows a bead, a pinhead eye,
a beak ripening to yellow.
 
Then the sudden thrust
out of the damp bush,
the perfect trajectory.
 
This was his first lesson,
the enactment of his ease.
 
Submitted to The Rialto Poetry competition, February 2015
 

Dancer, after Yinka Shonibare, ‘Girl Ballerina’

 
I am tailored, buttoned, piped,
the colonist’s clothes a tight fit
round my slim child’s waist.
Net and frills, my costume’s
a good girl’s best party dress.
But am I a welcome guest
or a blackface clown?
Headless, I say nothing.
I am a dancer’s body
in a pair of cotton shoes.
 
I am a sister to Marie, the wax
and bronze work of M Degas,
shiny, moulded on a frame
of pipes and paintbrushes.
Called monkey, Aztec,
a medical specimen,
the flower of depravity.
I am ten, to her fourteen, and so,
you could say, innocent.
 
My neat bodice of East India
Batiks is the bright stuff
of conquest, traded from
Batavia to Benin and now
spread across south London stalls.
My Brixton market wardrobe,
my new flags, my hopeful anthems.
 
Hands behind my back,
my finger resting on the trigger.
 
Submitted to Faber New Poets competition, January 2015

WP_20150116_19_52_26_ProImogen Forster is a freelance translator, mainly of art history, from French, Italian, Spanish and Catalan. She translated one of the French volumes for the new edition of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters published by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, in 2009. She has published poems on-line, and in a number of magazines.
‘Blackbird’ and other poems by Imogen Forster

‘modern art’ and other poems by Anamaría Crowe Serrano

the stress clinic

it’s ok	no one need know	only negligible
impending threat 	i’m going to leave you
   let healing happen
i’m turning left into the coffee shop	it’s easy 
	like this		one step	
                 one more
comforting to sit 
   even on seats slashed by spooks	

i can wait	learn patience is learnt on the edge
	other worlds where others wait
for the breath		something that “presents”
    a hiatus between one distress and 
the nest you’re reluctant to leave

it’s ok	the world is out there	still	the density
you love suspended in space	preparing 
the next problem for you to solve 	you’re good
at that		talented		
   are you ok?	me too 		it’s just 
the acid sprung on a tensile in my stomach

❧
at ulica Freta, 16 – before radium or polonium

the wood seeps into your bones
in a room that lives	as if its grain 
& whorls were part of your nervous
system – smooth	marrow – polished 

in your tea one lump, two	meticulous
the molecules contract till they disappear
  optical illusions have their own reality

billowing on the balcony	Poland
is diluted	Prussian Russian 
fission renames a people
  invents a purpose of its own

but you can shut it out	indomitable
in a room that soon is rubble while thunder
splits the summer	partitions your
future	gladioli everywhere 	alert
to your black dress	alive	your luggage
    waltzing in the street

(originally published in Can-Can #2)

❧



modern art

you’re slung 
   rigid
against the wall

boxed in the past

adroit
your mouth apes
bereft of tongue
hoping to emit
a word
a silence, even

something, anything
of the side-tracked route
you had to take
from primitive iron
lodged in some alpine nook
through ism, to prism
to plexiglass

you’re waiting - aren’t you
for me 
to gut you
get the warm feel
of your spasm
   when I tug
on the spinal cord

and watch you
crumple
to the ground
crimson
refusing to be pressed


❧

the stress clinic, at ulica Freta, 16 – before radium or polonium & modern art are © Anamaría Crowe Serrano. Read Jezebel & Taipei (PDF)

Anamaria Crowe Serrano-by RK at 7T

Anamaría Crowe Serrano is a poet and translator born in Ireland to an Irish father and a Spanish mother. She grew up bilingually, straddling cultures, rarely with her nose out of a book. Languages have always fascinated her to the extent that she has never stopped learning or improving her knowledge of them. She enjoys cross-cultural and cross-genre exchanges with artists and poets. Much of her work is the result of such collaborations. With a B.A. (Hons) in Spanish and French from Trinity College Dublin, Anamaría went on to do an M.A. in Translation Studies at Dublin City University. Since then, she has worked in localization (translating hardware and software from English to Spanish), has been a reader for the blind, and occasionally teaches Spanish. For over 15 years she has translated poetry from Spanish and Italian to English. Anamaría is the recipient of two awards from the Arts Council of Ireland to further her writing. Her translations have won many prizes abroad and her own poetry has been anthologised in Census (Seven Towers), Landing Places (Dedalus), Pomeriggio (Leconte) and other publicationsShe is currently Translations editor for Colony Journal: www.colony.ie.

‘modern art’ and other poems by Anamaría Crowe Serrano

‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree

 
1.
 
I didn’t see my grandmother’s tree in Chile,
araucaria araucana,
though they grow tall there and are many.
I must have walked under them every day, tripped
over their seeds, but I didn’t think of her, oceans away,
standing in a square of green, raking leaves
around her monkey puzzle tree.
 
2.
 
For over a hundred years, that tree stood between
pruned rosebush and clipped hedge, a long shadow
moving over wet fields and stone walls.
As a girl, I clung to the trunk when we played hide and seek,
rough bark printing maps on my palms.
 
3.
 
In April gales, the tree sways. From the window,
my grandmother watches a chainsaw blade
spin the tree into a flight of splinters,
until only logs and sawdust are left.
In each neat wheel of wood, an eye opens,
ringed by lines of the past. The logs are split,
stacked, the tree turned into armfuls of firewood
which will rise as smoke to the sky,
a puzzle unravelled.
 

Frozen Food

 
In the frozen foods aisle, I think of him
when I shiver among shelves of green flecked
garlic breads and chunks of frozen fish.
I touch the cold door until my thumbs numb.
 
Strangers unpacked his body in a lab
and thawed his hand, watched long-frozen fingers
unfurl one by one, until his fist finally opened,
let go, and from his grasp rolled
a single sloe,
ice-black with a purple-blue waxy bloom.
 

Inside the sloe,
a blackthorn stone.
Inside the stone,
a seed.

 
Standing in the supermarket aisle,
I watch my breath freeze.
 

Museum

 
I am custodian of this exhibition of erasures, curator of loss.
I watch over pages of scribbles, deletions, obliterations,
in a museum that preserves not what is left, but what is lost.
 
Where arteries are unblocked, I keep the missing clots.
I collect all the lasered tattoos that let skin start again.
In this exhibition of erasures, I am curator of loss.
 
See the unraveled wool that was once a soldier’s socks,
shredded documents, untied shoestring
knots — my museum protects not what is left, but what is lost.
 
I keep deleted jpegs of strangers with eyes crossed,
and the circle of pale skin where you removed your wedding ring.
I recall all the names you ever forgot. I am curator of loss.
 
Here, the forgotten need for the flint and steel of a tinderbox,
and there, a barber’s pile of scissored hair. I attend
not what is left, but what is lost.
 
I keep shrapnel pulled from wounds where children were shot,
confession sins, abortions, wildflowers lost in cement.
I am custodian of erasures. I am curator of loss
in this museum that protects not what is left, but what is lost.
 
‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’, ‘Museum’ and ‘Frozen Food’ are © Doireann Ní Ghríofa

DOIREANN b+wDoireann Ní Ghríofa is an award-winning bilingual poet, writing both in Irish and in English. Paula Meehan awarded her the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2014-2015. Her collections are Résheoid, Dúlasair (Coiscéim), A Hummingbird, your Heart (Smithereens Press) and Clasp (Dedalus Press). Her work is regularly broadcast on RTE Radio One. Doireann’s poems have previously appeared in literary journals in Ireland and internationally (in Canada, France, Mexico, USA, Scotland and England). Two of her poems are currently Pushcart Prize nominated.
.
www.doireannnighriofa.com & DoireannNiG
‘Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree’ and other poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

Christine Elizabeth Murray:

Thanks to Michael J Whelan for this post on ‘And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry’ 

Originally posted on Michael J. Whelan - Writer:

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry Edited by Peter O'Neill & Walter Ruhlmann And Agamemnon Dead
An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

Hi everyone, I’m really happy to announce that a brand new anthology of contemporary Irish poetry has been published today (St Patrick’s Day) in Paris and I am also delighted to say that I have five poems included in the collection alongside a number of exciting and interesting new voices coming out of Ireland in the these early years of the 21st Century.

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry, Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –

see https://www.facebook.com/mgversion2datura

and among its 187 pages you will find poetry from

Michael McAloran — Amos Greig — Dylan Brennan — Christine Murray — Arthur Broomfield — Peter O’ Neill — Rosita Sweetman — Michael J. Whelan — Anamaría Crowe Serrano —…

View original 227 more words

AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

‘Birth Partner’ and other poems by Lindsey Bellosa

Becoming a Woman

 
The first time: my underwear,
stained and crumpled, squashed
into our bathroom cupboard and I am paged
to the nurses’ office at school where the nurse
asks in hushed tone if something has happened—
we have watched the videos and been shown
the diagrams, and my mother has called the school,
having found my underwear, asked: voice
full of pride and worry…so I nod as though
I know something the other girls don’t,
that the boys snicker at: still small; squeaking—
and I am so tall and so soft : already in a bra,
sprouting hair; already not a child but still
wanting to be a child, and something so tender
is lost and bleeding in me. Now, there is a secret
I am keeping but I can’t tell what it is—
something to be careful of; something
to be concealed and I am given plastic razors
and perfumes and pads and I am afraid, afraid, afraid
like a child in the dark, not knowing of what.
 

Conception

 
First there is a lush, quiet sky: sea
filled with anticipation. Then something
is released, and time grows fingers.
 
The moon cycles, triggering our cycles
and the cycles of fish, feeding; turtles
emerging to shore
 
egg-laden; heavy as moonlight.
 
Life is mostly waiting: on possibilities,
on hope. There are chances—
shadows that never become.
 
But this is not hope; this is the one,
definite thing, the only thing
that reaches and it is inside of me—
 
sea hovering around the start
of unseen stirrings.
 

Birth Partner

 
I saw what was your world
spin away from you in moments.
It was replaced by a body.
 
The body was yours but also not yours.
It had its own limbs, its own cries
and also your limbs and cries.
 
I saw how the sea opened its mysteries—
slipped gleam of grey curve.
I saw your dreams emerge.
 
When you woke up, you were crying
and laughing. Death had tumbled you;
finally you knew pain.
 
You clasped your new life in your arms,
seeing love for the first time. You murmured:
It was you. It’s you.
 

Motherhood

 
The wild landscape of love,
moon-soaked and ragged plain.
All the edges too clear; animals
ruthless. The barren moon rules,
bald in its light, which illuminates
writhing Earth: swill of fertility,
pain and want. A squall, a mass
of tails: spinning and spinning. Now,
the heart fixes like a hook to a cry.
It is plaintive and true. Nothing
was ever so clear. Like stars
on a winter night, piercing
the uncovered universe black
and white. This is life.
This is how time keeps itself.
 

The Tree of Time

 
(based on Maria Rizzo’s painting of the same title)
 
Time grows in branches,
one moment very like the other:
 
Second son, I have been here before.
This is a dark time; your cries are waves
 
colliding with my dreams. Reality
is twisting into something new,
 
and my life is changing color….
The view of the night sky boxed,
 
like a window. But your eyes
are stars, constant—
 
shining, bright yellow,
at corners of my nights
 
as I wake to feed you:
obsessed with numbers—
 
the ounces you drink, weight.
My face is clouded moonlight:
 
less than slivering light. Little son,
shadows are waves on water.
 

This is a magical time.
We will put down new roots,
 
but not now. Not here. Now the sea
races like a heart, your hand
 
presses my face, in sleep.
Now nights are like days,
 
and every day is a ladder rung
reaching to a brand-new life.
 

Portrait

 
The eyes: hooded sky
the rest of the face hangs from—
little crescent moon.
 
Now you cast them to me:
ask your questions, make pleas,
defy with your white scowl.
 
Your lips are mine, drooping
roses; the pink shape of wonder
and the slope of your cheeks, mine,
 
but whitewashed of flaws; white
and pink, translucent as light
and thin-skinned as an egg.
 
Blue trails beneath the surface,
lines of a map, where eyelashes
linger: catching, giving depth.
 
Every day you grow arms and legs
and more looks, like light—
from me but not mine.
 
Like my mother in an old video—
I see me as I see you in me. She sees herself;
in the mirror, sees her mother.
 
The fourteen-year-old me in the video:
wiggling, excited for something I didn’t know
yet: bursting from my pink swimsuit—
 
My mother knew. Lips stitched into a line:
eyes on the horizon, as mine are now.
The past comes in like the tide—
 
and our faces swallow themselves.
We shrug in and out of them
like a borrowed sweater;
 
like the two imprints, potter’s
thumb slips just under your eyes:
up go the pupils,
 
up knit the eyebrows—
always up and away.
This is the way love travels.
 
© Lindsey Bellosa

 lindseyLindsey Bellosa lives in Syracuse, NY.  She has an MA in Writing from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has poems published in both Irish and American journals: most recently The Comstock Review, The Galway Review, IthacaLit, Crannog, Emerge Literary Journal and The Cortland Review.  Her first chapbook, The Hunger, was  published with Willet Press in 2014.

.

‘Birth Partner’ and other poems by Lindsey Bellosa