New Poetry by Hema Saju :Alone on a Moonlit Night & Pandemic

Alone on a Moonlit Night

It rained memories that night
and he looked down from the clear moonlit sky
and smiled at her she felt.
That was where he wished to sit
with her head leaning on his broad shoulder
on all moonlit nights
and gently sway in the cold breeze
sitting on the wooden swing
they bought from the antique store.
They would then sip the love laced
red red wine they both brewed
in the silence of the nights.
In the silence of the night!
She gazed at him
from the swing with longing eyes
now dying and numb
as frozen tears search for
the star that once lit her entire life.

Pandemic

Eating through our entrails,
squeezing out the strength,
as the denizens of a darker world
clad in sordid shades of uncertainty
hang around with a cynical, sardonic smile
to uncouple this body from life,
there appear the perpetrators of a wilder farce
some marching in protest
taking to the streets,
some ignoring,
relegating and dismissing
the lurking danger
awaiting at every doorstep.

Hema resides in India. She is a Ph.D candidate and loves to read and write poems and short stories. She sees stories in every aspect of this beautiful world. Writing is always a pleasure and she weaves words when something touches her soul. Two of her poems have been selected for publication in a collection of Intercontinental Anthology.

photo by Anna Asryan on unsplash.com

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Lazarus (Cupid Couplets for A Home Town)

Vituperative voices, choral singing
can’t bring any of it back broken backs

What is a snow-blinded fact —
the river burns.

Sometimes I want to scream
sometimes I just want cash and carry (echoes) of the summer lawn

Carry buried tropes out in mail sacks on hardened backs
carry buried souls out, the souls of the buried, alive and dead

Carry the fine tuned tooth comb with drum brushes
covered in earth to brush myself off in the horizon of new rising

Wake up and scan the rippling fur the destitute
river with sores calling out casinos of the scalding numbers,

To dream those who fall asleep in parks of sleepers.
The night carries their fears, ferrying fallacies of insurance policies away.

Greyhound bus terminal locked tight with chain link fences and linens,
Mississippi duo with rucksacks roll out, the change in jean pockets frayed.

Bang my head against a wall mother’s ghost an upper cut & claw hammer
where arms and legs make way for scar memories of Nineveh at Aberdeen and Nineth.

Waiting for factories to re-open shimmying windows paint can lids pop open
mournful train whistles weep dioxide tears stymied under milk-curled silos, silence –

What does tar do – what smoke indices show
insect thorax catch choke wing in throat, thunk and hork.

Everyone’s eyes gone dry with blurring and tremolo tornadoes
roadside cameras slam-corral listeners to hiss of radio steam

It goes on forever, this surveillance radiant radiation on butterfly wing
it goes on, a Lazarus cinema, a shower show of a film,

Falling snow embers a marquee made by Last Words:
Blast Furnaces Will Live Forever.

The Relationship is Mystical 

Everywhere you live,
subject to military boots.
I hear soldiers
stomping through your things,
looking through cupboards
and opening drawers
with gun barrel,
opening boxes and
measuring with tape.

Taking you out back
with cutting shears.
Dug out stockades,
handcuffs made from
wire and plastics
placed in the garden,
hollowed with dirt
to grab you by your wrists,
to gas the wings of
the dove,
feathers spread open
in full wing-span
below your shoulder blades,
pinned back.

Changing the nature
of meaning.
To suit the purpose
of the wall,
saying the subject, dreary
readers, is
freedom is actually this:
An orchestrated psychosis,
measured, illustrated,
disappeared.

Confessions of a veiled Starvation 

welcome
to the hard sinewy understanding
you’ll only find in this hotel
is it truly closing time
a thin man asks
his body an encyclopedia of scars
is it really time to confess
to carry my tortured body one more block
to the house of neon lights
I’ll wrap my hands around your broken body
and feel you shake and tremble
there are no heroes left
even the police have itchy fingers
that come forward on the beat
to pulverize the blind
I’ll be your escort into this private nightmare
the groom to public discontent
truly wild, my eyes will devour the naked angel’s back
as I lift you up lick alcohol tears from my face

Two Seasons form a Single Year 

1. Fever

To look down on
one’s body
from a height above
Night’s ceiling
fissures
the industrial wallpaper’s
manufacture
of mute flowers
scentless two hands
form of a trellis
over the body
sceptre of incense and concealment
single bulb’s crackling jitter
the on and off filament
of consciousness
To rise from the pool of sheets
the terrible burning langour
To rise longing for first ice
of an idle night’s cold winter
The itch of the radio voice announcer’s
Imperial Marching Music
an imprint of noise
volume of porous static
pouring in the cavity
layers of skin usually cover
parched skin, dehydrated
and brittle-dry

2. Anhedonia

Fingertips ache
trace neuro-electricity
they took me off these drugs
there is an after-image
let’s call it
Rising from numb
to jolt
in toes, in spine
in the soles and heel
under foot
my body wants
nakedness
not clothing
no skin covering skin
the vertebrae’s own dendrite branches
no flowing signals from the brain stem
Some one
wants to cut me down
chop at my neck
Gouged,
but no break of skin
No blood
falls like rain
Standing next to the dead tree
rain does not revive
No buds
No blossoms

No new leaves

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

A Book Review of “Eden” by Robert Frede Kenter. A review by Ivor Daniel

Poetry by J.D. Nelson : A Weapon of the Sphinx Ant

sweet peep is a clear way to answer the phone
earth knows why we do this
the klee claw will surprise you!
a galactic unit of the fleeting scrub
now we may sense the beyond
a machine couldn’t have done anything
that machine knew the pattern by heart

featured photo by David Higgins on Unsplash.com

Bio: J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. His poetry has appeared in many small press publications, worldwide, since 2002. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). His poem, “to mask a little bird” was nominated for Best of the Net in 2021. Visit http://MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado.

An interview with Stu Buck of Bear Creek Gazette

1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood? Or If you have a blog or project please describe the concept
of your project, blog, website


Stu: My latest book is my third collection of poetry, titled Blue, the Green Sky. I would say the theme is similar to the rest of my work – things that aren’t there, things that you want to be there, the
way childhood affects your adult life in ways you never really understand, the vastness of space and the endless quest for an answer to the questions that matter the most. I have moved away
from confessional poetry in the last few years and this new book actually contains my most varied work. It has two much longer pieces which I would say are still poetic but constitute a
progression of the themes and ideas I always deal with, allowing them to flourish into different
styles and themes. Does that make sense? That seems very pretentious.
Stu


2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?


Stu: My mental health has got a lot better the last couple of years, which runs alongside the abandonment of confessional poetry. I have become much happier but also much more curious.
am obsessed with death – the ways we die, what lies beyond, whether we deserve to die. To me,
the idea of outer space and death have always been linked. When you read that stars are made up of the same basic thing as humans, you can’t help but be inspired. I want to believe that when we
die we go somewhere beautiful. I want to believe that I deserve to go somewhere beautiful, and in
the last few years I have begun to understand that if that place does exist, I need to work a lot
fucking harder at my life. I am not religious, just confused.


3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?


Stu: I started writing as a way to cope with things I didn’t feel I had a handle on. I am an ex-addict and
someone who has suffered greatly with mental illness. So my first attempts at writing were, I
think, the same as a lot of peoples. Catharsis disguised as verse. Something screamed inside me
and the only way I felt I could handle it was by writing. This was probably ten years ago now,
maybe a little more. So that was when I discovered what writing could be. In terms of
progression, I’d like to think I have got better. Beyond that, I think it is just wonderful that we can
write things down and people will read them.

4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?


Stu: Huge fan of Andrew McMillan. I have worked with him in the past and he is not only incredibly talented but extremely lovely. His first two books, Physical and Playtime, are classics and the two
best books I own. When I first read his work, I felt like he was writing specifically for me. About me. Poetry and art is subjective and I wouldn’t say there is a league table of poets. But if there
was, he’d have won the title by Christmas. Music wise, I love folk music, specifically 60s and 70s folk rock. I listen to almost anything, although I cant listen much to deep house anymore because it reminds me of the embarrassing
amount of drugs I used to do.

5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and
often become parts of a poem?


Stu: Jigsaw Puzzles are my latest obsession. I tend to become obsessed with things. I love reading of
course. At the moment I’m working through the Discworld series which is fun. I first read them
when I was too young to understand the satire, so reading them again has been great. I do watch
some television, but mainly nonsense programs like Battlebots or Bob’s Burgers. I used to watch
2 films a day but I live 10000ft up a mountain and we can’t stream anything. So it’s crap TV or
nothing. We have two dogs, one a puppy, so we walk a lot. Its a 35 minute round trip to the
mailbox here. Stupid really but once it snows its impossible to get up the drive.


6) What is your favorite or preferred style of writing?

Stu: I like free verse. I dislike rhyme or constraint. I started out writing haiku and tanka which was a
great way to learn about making the most of a few words etc. but now I just go for it. I dont often
edit. I am writing my second novel at the moment and I find a routine is useless for me. I just
sometimes feel like writing. I can write 4000 words in 2 hours or I can go a week without opening
the laptop. My life has got a lot less chaotic in recent years but I like to think I will never have a
writing routine. That is one step too far.


7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence
your writing?


Stu: I have traveled all over the world. So I write a lot about the places I have been. My current
writing project which I mentioned above is half travelogue, half gay love story. I guess both those
things are important to me. I’m not gay. Just confused. I also write about childhood a lot and how
we see things differently when we haven’t been exposed to the strains of adult life.


8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?


Stu: Someone messaged me on Twitter a while back telling me they read my work when they were sad
and it helped. So that is definitely rewarding. But I am human, so I also love when people retweet
my work or buy my books. My wife is an amazing writer so when they like something I have
wrote I know I am on the right track.
In terms of frustration, I don’t tend to get frustrated with my work too much. It comes or it
doesn’t. But again, I am human, so when I spend time writing something and I feel people have
not engaged with it to the degree that I feel it deserves, that is a negative. I don’t submit my work
much (2 or 3 times a year) so rejections aren’t something I have to deal with much. Not because I
am a good writer but because if you don’t submit you don’t get rejected.


9) How has the current times affected your work?

Stu: I feel like I was really well equipped for the pandemic. I don’t honestly miss anything except
maybe eating out. So my life hasn’t changed a great deal. I feel like I have been more productive
than some people during the lock-downs. I have written well over 100k words split between
projects. So I would say, weirdly, that I am thriving personally. I have also started a lit project,
Bear Creek Gazette, which is a fake newspaper set in a fake town. Its been brilliant to see the
responses and submissions for it. People have really got behind it. Its weird and sometimes
offensive. Which is what people crave when times are hard. Well, its what I crave anyway.

10) Please give us any links, social media info, upcoming events, etc for your work.


Stu: My book is out later this year, in one of the J months, on Broken Spine Arts.
You can follow me on Twitter, where I basically live, @stuartmbuck
Bear Creek Gazette has a website. Its welcometobearcreek.com and the Twitter is @bcgazette

A Series of Poems about Smoking by Tristan Moss

An interview with a Cigarette


How do you cope?

Sometimes, I watch old movies
where I am a symbol
of rebellion and bike-sheds
of good times had,
or a moment
of pensive freedom,
or a last request.

Or I recall when you would call me
Gauloises or Gitanes
and I was the height
of left-bank existential angst,
nearly everyone
wanting to be seen with me.


And I ask myself,
Could I really have changed so much?


Which of your smokers
do you like the most now?

Those who buy my tobacco in pouches,
like vagrants, revolutionaries
and young romantics.


I feel the roll
of their gentle fingers, thumbs,
the lick of their tongues
on my skin –
not just plucked from a pack
by a stranger.

I know I’m still a product
of their desire to have me,
but at least we share some history,
and however imperfect
my newly formed skin,
they always savour me.


What do you think caused
your fall from grace?

People like you
starting to believe
you’d found within me
an obsessive need to be liked.
How could this be
when the heavier your drag
the more quickly I turned
into ash.


But wasn’t burning bright a part
of that success you so enjoyed?


Perhaps.
But it’s strange,
because in my dreams,
I am not this searing cylinder,
cured and oversold.
I am a leaf.

Probation

Is there anything you miss 
about your previous life?


Sometimes, I miss the street corners,
the companiable shelter of trees
where I was cupped and offered up
so chivalrously.


It’s not the same 
lighting hobs or barbecues –
the dreary utility of it.

With what style my lid would flip
back and forth for no reason at all.
And where’s the rub 
of that thumb against my brass 
deep in denim or sheepskin?


No one carries me around anymore. 

I miss the leather of those desk tops, 
being made of onyx, jade
or as a spitfire.
Now I’m just a bit 
of disposable plastic.


Yes, I’m reformed;
reformed but just the same.
I’ve still got flint in me.

Ashtray 
All I wanted was a steady job, but I got tarred, forced out 
into the cold – consigned 
to cupboards, drawers 
and charity shops. Now, 
I often can’t 
even gather dust. 


But what,
did I do wrong?
Is it a crime, not to know?
If anything, 
I helped
to put an end to them.

Not to say, 
I’m callous though,
as some would claim.
I truly loved
those who rolled 
their tips on me, 
leaving gifts 
of finely formed
cones of ash.


So yes, I’ve had my moments.
Been marble, crystal, gold
and baser stuff, too:
gutters, cans, bottle tops 
and concrete 
beneath a boot.
But do not think 
I did not feel
that warmth 
of life
go out on me.

Forgiving Times
I used to hang about the bars and cafes,
where people had got used to me.

They only really noticed 
when a picture was removed
and a light-box bright patch
shone out at them; 
or on those mornings when 
I overstayed my welcome,
lingering in their scarves, coats 
and jumpers; or when I was gone
and had become nostalgia, 
masking sweat and halitosis, 
blurring baggy eyes
and lined-faces.

The Book of Backronyms
They do not mention me 
at first. And when they do
on the back of packs, I 

am mistaken for 
a thick black toxic liquid 
that nobody wants
on their lungs. So 
my name is put
in quotation marks 
to show that I am different. Then,
they say the letters of my name 
stand for: ‘total aerosol residue’,
and I wonder
that if the letters in these words, 
stood for other words, 
and the letters of those words 
stood for others, and so on,
would I eventually disappear.

Bio: Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two youngish children. He has been published in many online and paper poetry magazines over the past 14 years. Most recently, he has appeared in London Grip, Snakeskin and Fevers Of The Mind. He will also appear in Poems in the Waiting Room this summer. 

feature photo by Anastasia Vityukova

%d bloggers like this: