‘The First Rule’ and other poems by Susan Millar DuMars

Reclamation

 
The blood has stopped
and with it the need
to suckle lesser creatures.
My breasts are pale, cool
proud
and mine.
 
The blood has stopped
and with it the need
to shield smaller souls
inside me.
My womb calm.
Not weeping.
And it’s my womb.
 
I’m learning the pleasure
of empty.
The weight of one.
Nothing on my back
but a breeze
getting colder.
 
The blood has stopped
and with it the need
to grow anything
but older.
 

The First Rule

 
Will I show you what to do
with a naked woman?
 
You can
lie on top of her
feel her yield
taste her salt
ride her undulations
know her to be ocean
almost drown
 
leave her
the wind again her breath
the tide again her muscles
the rocks again her bones.
 
This is a naked woman.
Rain fed
pulsing soft.
 
Respect, sailor,
is the first rule of the sea.
 

Baby Makes Me Watch

 
His features a pattern of cracks in a mirror.
My eyes give up my own reflection
to trace, retrace the hairline breaks.
 
I’m on my back and the door is a cloud.
I try but I can’t reach it.
 
Baby says I’m his shining comet
and I have all his faith.
Baby says I force him
to tell secrets he’d rather forget.
Baby makes me watch.
The door’s a cloud – I’m cold.
Baby makes sure I know
this is all my fault.
 
Baby, you have to let me go.
 
Baby makes me watch.
 

Night Woods

after Ted Hughes
 
My path was direct
through the bones of the murdered,
the maimed; I nest among remains.
 
Meditation, prayer are no use here.
All my questions go unanswered
except by the blip of blood-fear, the scream
 
of collared kill, carried above trees
by the hawk. And it laughs as it dives,
laughs, for the pleasure of swooping,
 
the pleasure of choosing,
the heat that escapes as it pierces the creature.
For the meat. This is its nature.
 
I, the hawk’s witness. This is my nature.
 
The First Rule & other poems are © Susan Millar DuMars

Susan Millar DuMars has published four poetry collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, Bone Fire, appeared in April, 2016. She also published a book of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010. Her work has appeared in publications in the US and Europe and in several anthologies, including The Best of Irish Poetry 2010. She has read from her work in the US, Europe and Australia. Born in Philadelphia, Susan lives in Galway, Ireland, where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the Over the Edge readings series since 2003. She is the editor of the 2013 anthology Over the Edge: The First Ten Years.

Ism Writers
Madame Matisse is shown her portrait, 1913 and other poems
Sunflower

Four Poems by Rus Khomutoff

I wear you under my skin.
Your hydra cadence sweet spot
Sanity assassin of the nothing agency
With words as instruments of rapture
Mediation prompt
 
Constellation of intentions,
a gradient of realness in contaminated tones
Jilted designations and counterpoetics
Stabs of conscience off the easel
Absorbent minds…the dark enlightment’s lamentable tragedy
Certainty is now my watchword
 
Mystagoguery, a bleeding edge of obsolescence
A face of genius in full measure of the spectacular now
Catharsis daily-mother tongue of method and black squares
Words vetted out of nowhere
Deadbeat doth
The new cult of consensus
 
The famous devil of a perfect vanguard.
Fascinated by the river that is knowledge.
Circumstances that come in to stay-miles from our
mephitic place.
High and low extensions on the threshold of meaning-
sonic intimacies
 

Read a sample from Immaculate Days by Rus Khomutoff here.

My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am a neo surrealist poet in Brooklyn, NY. My poetry has appeared in Erbacce, Uut Poetry and Burning House Press.Last year I published an ebook called Immaculate Days. I am also on twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/@rusdaboss
Immaculate Days

“Pink is a Sister Sick” and other poems by Seanín Hughes

Pink Is A Sister Sick

with sweetness. Bright;
blinds beautiful men, robs
them of their enamel, but

they never protest.

Fat lashes fan those
flushed cheeks, like

blood blushing milk,

bones so high and hollow
beneath. Pink licks the dark,
but refuses to wear it.
I went panning for
black diamonds in her hair
in our girlhood, and found

nothing but dirty pebbles

and rust for treasure; I
couldn’t love her. She’s
a predator with doll parts,
a perfect Pinocchio gone
rogue and hungry

for boyprey.

I’ve got a perverted
prayer that in time, she’ll
dissolve into herself;
melt at midday,
nothing more
than a

discarded boiled sweet.

Equilibrium

I’m strutting stratospheric,
embellished and splendid
in my NHS wedding dress.

My mother was here before me,
her father before her, his uncle
before that — lucky, lucky me

— our platinum gilted heirloom hops generations and genders,
our gene pool a puddle of madness

thickened with blood and tear-streaked shrieking saliva.
I’m in my unsilent season,

souped up and bursting,
far too sexy
to sedate. This is my circus

and I am the airborne acrobat
defying my earthly anchors
until they come for me,

saturnine.

Anthem

New York’s summer breath
climbs heavy through the window
and the restless worm wrestles
through apple rot.

Narcissus’ trumpets
wither in astonished atrophy,
recoiling into the earth
as the amnion ruptures,

a parting of seas in the
holiest of churches –

between
the wide open legs
of an obedient woman
,

held to ransom by
blanched agony, lips
anaemic, lily white.

Skull shards shift tectonic
and give passage
to the crowning;

the searing stretch of emergence,
the ripping of the mantle,
the sting of the slap –

and it breathes.

The bed sheets are soiled
with immigrant blood
the colour of November poppies,

and writhing in it,
the jaundiced newborn skin
of an epoch in waiting:

a God complex
with baby sized fists
clutching nuclear warheads.

Going Dutch

I cut my teeth on you;
let enamel tear
through the warm pink tissue
of adolescence.

I bared my legs, but
bent them inward,
dressed them in angles
in case you found them
too soft, too fleshy.
You didn’t (they weren’t).

I kept my hair down
so subtle shadows fell
where cheekbones might be,
stolen symmetry, in case
you realised I wasn’t
pretty enough. You didn’t (I was).

We’d play pool –
I never won (I never cared) –
and eat chips on the way home;
you paid your way and
I paid mine, and I never needed
to wear my coat (I did), until

that one night when
you didn’t walk me home,
the night I fell asleep and
you cut your teeth on me,
the ones you lied through (you did),
and I paid in full.

I’d Be Queen of Myself (if I weren’t anti-monarchy)

She said
I seemed brighter and
I was that day,
that week,
but my brightness
had a lid on it
because I couldn’t let it
spill –
unless I was alone

and then

I could sing
and sing
and grin
at the windows
and the cutlery
and laugh at the shape
of the front door
all angular and rigid
and trapped by lines
– not like me –

I was bright that day,
that week,
in cahoots with the sun
(she told me so
and she’s a puppeteer) and I’m
dancing jigs
in the frozen aisle and
I’d be the Queen
of myself (if I wasn’t
anti-monarchy).

But I’ll settle
for this power,
this rising gift,
this momentary lapse
when the numbing fog
clears and life is
so vivid,
and it’s right
under my nose,
the promise of it,
and I forget

that it can’t last

– it won’t last –

until it slips
through the membrane
of my skin and I watch
it leave, I watch

the lights dim, I watch
the numbing fog
and the way it trundles
in again, bearing
the weight
of things
I
can’t
carry.

Pink is a Sister Sick & other poems are © Seanín Hughes

Nebulae & Salt at Dodging The Rain

Diphylleia

Daughter, please       hold my hand. There is rain coming; look — a congregation of heavy promise
waits above our heads
to bathe us.                     It gives God
to our ordinary air. Aren’t you
beautiful? I have a gift for you. Please,
hold my hand; k ep me in your tender palm. Parts of me are fading — your name, your sister flowers.
Did        have sons? Oh. Why must
I be                                dismantled
s slowly? I’m afraid. Please                          hold my hand.     I’m s rry.
Aren’t you         beautiful?
I have a gift for you; diphylleia — the rain makes a s-skeleton             most gentle from its petals, translucent when touched by falling skies in Japan. See how its colours                   weep
— see that crown of clarity, the petals
in                                  their party dress, clear as
Cind rella’s glass slipper. Ar n’t you
b autiful?
Pl ase, dau ter,
hold my hand. Parts of me            fading. A ‘t you beautiful?  There’ll b         ain
for flow rs today. I named you
after a
fl wer,       crowned you        mine. Please
I m
be utif l.

hold my hand?

Seanín Hughes is an emerging poet and writer from Cookstown, Northern Ireland, where she lives with her partner and four children.
Despite writing for most of her life, Seanín only began to share her work in late 2016 after penning a number of poems for her children. Prior to this, she hadn’t written in a number of years following the diagnosis of her daughter Aoife with a rare disease in 2010.
Early 2017 brought a return to writing in Seanín’s spare time and since then, she has completed an ever-increasing volume of new poetry. Drawing from her varied life experiences, Seanín is attracted to challenging themes and seeks to explore issues including mental health, trauma, death and the sense of feeling at odds with oneself and the world.
.

“The Devil, Oblique Angles and Polka Dots” by Sue Cosgrave

The Devil, Oblique Angles and Polka Dots

For Grandmother

Your host shimmers
beyond the margin of this page
as my fingers tap-tap you from the dead.
 
It takes you a while to snap into focus.
 
You remind me
of a day when I was eight,
                      or ten, at most,
 
the day I got lost in the woods.
How I blubbered and wailed for you!
 
When you finally found me—
a snot and hiccup spewing fountain
– not pretty.
 
“What took you so long?”
 
It was strange how you appeared, seemingly out of nowhere;
haloed in spring beyond the green fog of young birches,
your sudden presence, not reassuring – not at first –
“why did you leave me?” I cried
 
all the while, you, unruffled, reproached me: “Shame on you. A big girl crying
like a baby. And for no reason at all. Don’t you know that God
is watching over you, Detushka?’
 
Aha! This is where I should invoke the DEVIL.
Yet, there is no need,
for he’s here, already, lurking.
in the detail, wearing

your best navy polka dot dress – what else –
the one you were buried in.
The one you had kept shrouded, when alive,
in a film of translucent tissue.
 
How well I recall the day:
me, six years old and agog
 
for the morbid. For hadn’t you whispered to me:
“I’ll tell you a secret – something you should know
for when I’m dead.”
Of course I was disappointed! A DRESS? IS THAT ALL? Polka dots!
What the devil! I should have / could have exclaimed, but sure,
at that age I didn’t know any better.
 
But no, it is you, not the devil I see hovering just there,
where my eye does not dare
appearing to me as you did that day in the woods:
light streaming over your left shoulder, oblique, aimless—
the light, of course,
not the shoulder, for the shoulder, even lopsided,
 
knew where it was heading.
 
Heaven was always your destination,
              as I knew only too well.
And I knew, equally well, there was no place for me
 
astride a puffy cloud my nose buried in your soft breast
gleaning comfort from your old woman smell.
 
No.
 
My place was in the woods. Kneeling on a bed
of prickly pine needles.
 
Of course I hated that icon of yours;
that dead-eyed, flat-faced Madonna
and her miniature child simpering at me in his nakedness
when all I wanted to do was sleep
while you, awake at the crack of dawn, genuflecting
 
to them,
praying all the while:
 
I hasten to Thee,
O Master, Lover of mankind, and by Thy loving-kindness I strive
to do Thy work

 
… and oh, how you worked!
digging the permafrost. Building His canal,
the one that went nowhere.
 

GLORY, GLORY THE REVOLUTION!

 
and I pray to Thee: Help me, O God, at all times
 
Did he ever!
But, perhaps He did, at that.
What is it they say about God and burdens? He did help,
after a fashion:
by the time I was born, your once dainty feet,
He had magic-ed to the size of a man’s,
and your delicate hands to that of shovels.
 
and deliver me, O God, from every worldly evil thing
and every impulse of the Devil       OHO, HERE WE COME

TO THE CRUX OF IT:
WE CAN NEVER ESCAPE THE DEVIL.
 
Yes, I fed him tasty morsels to do my bidding – unknowingly –
I believe.
 
I made him promises,
offered him rewards,
without knowing I was doing any such thing. Like the time I cut
my Barbie’s hair for him
(he liked her shorn of course, her eyes, hence, more visibly dead).
 
You see; the Devil was honest that way. And a good teacher too:
no more worship for me at the altar of Barbie! That’s why
when your icon fell off its perch
 
I knew IT WAS HIS DOING!
 
So what if it was my rubber ball that hit the shelf where the icon rested,
Madonna and Child no longer serene above the ever-burning flame?
 
Sure,
even the Devil needs a helping hand.

The Devil, Oblique Angles and Polka Dots is © Sue Cosgrave
Sue Cosgrave was born in Russia and spent her formative years in the United States, in Iraq and in Finland. After travelling extensively in Asia and the Americas, she worked in various parts of Africa before settling in Ireland. Her work, drawing on many cultural traditions, appeared in the Cork Literary Review, The Five Word Anthology, Can Can, Abridged, The Bone Orchard and The Irish Examiner among others. She featured as a guest reader at various events both in Ireland and the UK. Sue has a Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is currently working on a trilogy set in Iraq as well as a poetry and a short story collection. In 2016 she was finalist for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award

“Magic Bullet” and other poems by Rus Khomutoff

 

Untitled

for Andre Breton
 
Nostalgic sentiments and new wave nocturnes
intersecting in a normal chaos of life
an hourglass of neglected affinities
idols of saturated phenomena
night of filth, night of flowers
the aporia of revelation
 

Magic Bullet

(for Tristan Tzara)
 
 Smell of death
smell of life of embrace
a medicine of moments
semiquavers and sundial conductors
of the postspectacle
deposits of legitimacy left behind
sortilege of the divine decree
words in blood like flowers
 

Grand Hotel Abyss

 
 Selenophilia of our being
the obscuring of the queen
vexed in your hollow divine
incipience of the notable nonesuch
like fragrant paperwhites in the
corner of the transcendental frame
pleasure ground of annulled pretext
in hysterically real daymares
everyday extraordinary
grand hotel abyss
 

Masque of the minutes

for Adam Lovasz
 
 Masque of the minutes
like a red psychotonic cry
agnosia of the just interloper
scarlet bellowing of the deep end
excisions on vacuous origins
temporal flight of the elemental route
 

Hygge

 
 A sense of timelessness surrounds her
mistress of malfunction
platinum god afterbirth
countdown to zero
inferior rhyme over the threshold
redux and progression
 
Magic Bullet and other poems are © Rus Khomutoff.

dsc07827My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am a neo surrealist poet in Brooklyn, NY. My poetry has appeared in Erbacce, Uut Poetry and Burning House Press.Last year I published an ebook called Immaculate Days. I am also on twitter: