Poetry/Haikus from Anthologies by John Everex

Work in Progress

it became an entity
a life
my book
dog-eared and tired
of itself

a slab of onion-skin wood
peeling tears
pulped and pressed
marked and stained

symbolic scratching
exquisitely precise
my yarn escapes
at the surface
but it goes deeper
and I can't see
the end

Honey Lines

Your verdict remains,
a guarded honeyed refrain,
or perhaps a sweetened lie?
The taste strips me bare,
steals my uncommon sense,
brushes the tips of my hopes
with rose tints,
magenta and madder lake.
A painted subterfuge.

Perhaps?
But there's more.
So...

Pass

twilight's
orange aurora
burns the horizon
in solitary awe

his trainers slink past
and stop
incidental
his voice softens
demands
and desires
of cold hands
warming

I recover slow
my ebbing fever pulls
a gradual rising of the tide

as he passes
alone

Echoes of Suzanne (from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen)

That summer I passed her walking, pacing through the gloaming,
And sitting on park benches, she spurned all of our conventions.
Preferring her own company, and for weeks she didn't see me.
But after glancing, we began, sharing fresh rolled cigarettes.
And reciting words in monotone, that fell out flat, yet moved in me.
She played old Cohen records, as we looked across the water.
We walked among stony angels, with their mossy fallen halos.
Stepping over fallen headstones, with the names of fallen heroes.
And we made love our worn obsession, holding on to our forgiveness
Yet she had no love to give to me,
And she let the records tell me,
And at the end of summer fading,
She left across the water, waning with the tide.

Small Town Love Lines 

i.
An omen:
his mind was line-cracked,
hair-thin, twisting underneath
doubt.
His psyche leaking
stories of a pale man,
masked and seven feet tall, watching,
talking and rhyming with
ancient lines.
Telling him
thoughts that moved and flowed,
pulsing with a rhythm,
palpitating slow.
He hated their touch, somehow oily and clammy
But he always listened.

ii.
The father:
what does the world owe me?
Nothing
I expect nothing.
I've earned everything I have.
I deserve it, everything I have.
I know what it took to get here.
I know what I took to get here.
I know what I gave to get here.
I know what I lost to get here.
I know what I'll do to keep it too.
And I'll sleep easy after.
I tell myself.

iii.
The teenagers:
they are seen by the dark spume of the town;
the last lines of their childhood.
He loves her, flat out arms and legs and feet, tangle tired.
She knows.
Her father knows.
seven pale feet tall.
but unlike her father, he loves her.

iv.
The boy:
fingertips caress his inner palm, fake nails pink like seashells.
She whispers to him, her breath, cherry and sherbert,
"Run away with me."
The words hang in stillness,
hoping for a home,
yearning to be held,
to be owned.
He takes the words in his hands later;
he examines them in his small room.
Tries to understand their significance.

v.
The message:
a redemption.
Seven pale feet tall and masked.
And now?
Soaking the dirt dust
with his future,
she knows.

Dwell

spin in wild extremes
reversing pathetic cures
remembering youth

but our uncommon sense
in an aging monolith
a rusted anchor

so we learn to dwell
in a perfect fallacy
a chintz fantasy

Ash

pressing my shoulder
her hands cover my eyes
words hushed by my ear

yet this blind embrace
binds me, turning sour and curdles
bile and salt-sweat skin

white flecks of ash catch
the soot from a thousand fires
smoke hiding my tears

Near Dawn

a phone is ringing
chirping in the empty rooms
nobody can hear

streetlight slices rust
cutting shadows from the air
picking motes and smoke

until headlights switch
spotlighting the moving shades
and waking the dawn

The Ride

They look like my sons, but they’re not. I pretend they’re driving me to town as usual, but the

radio news verifies my suspicion: there’s no way Carl would listen to that man and not shout

obscenities. At eighty-two, I’m old enough to know leukemia ain’t gonna’ kill me, despite it

running wild through my withered body. No, it’ll be my heart, as it was for my pa and his before

him. I’ve done well getting this far – it’s further than they did. The engine shifts as we drop a

gear, approaching the turnpike, the freeway continuing on toward the southern cities. We’re

headed toward the open space of the mountains as I thought. I try to examine the boys in the

front, but my eyes haven’t worked in years. They’re soft focus, which is romantic and cosy they

say, but I can’t see shit.

I left my glasses at my place.

Utopia Mansions it’s called – my place – a bit like a cheap motel, but full of old shufflers

and nosers. I’d wanted a beachside residence with a view of the sea, but I got rooms smelling of

old man’s piss and cleaning chemicals. My home isn’t much different from the hospital mom

pushed me out into. Liz is laughing at me, wherever she is – she died ten years ago of lung

cancer, a lifetime of smoking and a slow death being strangled by the shit inside her lungs – but

at least she doesn’t have to live at Utopia Mansions.

The car slows further, the mountains still a purple bruise. We pass a rest area, a camper

van spilling people from inside. Kids. A dog. We used to do that as a family. “We used to do

that,” I say, my voice croaking. They ignore me and I feel like shouting. But I remind myself,

they are not my sons and I’m not going to give them any satisfaction. I stare out of the window

as mute as the dead, trying to get my brain in gear. I used to be top notch, to matter, until the

agency made cuts and our department was no longer needed. Severance they called it, a pension

and a long slide into retirement.

I look for indications of who they are – the similarities with Carl and John are uncanny –

they dress the same. Similar haircuts. Of an age. New clothes. Both of them. That’s the thing, my

sons never went for fashion; thrift store or second-hand was their style. These two are dressed

up to look like my sons, but wearing new clothes, judging by the creases in the never-worn-

before shirt. The way fake Carl holds the wheel too; his hands are uptight and professional, not

the slouch that Carl takes, one hand always itching to hold a cigarette like his mum.

And he’s not smoking.

And they still say nothing.

As we pull into a petrol station, I see the restrooms,

knowing this might be my only chance.

Bio: I started inventing stories and playing with language as a child and haven’t stopped. Finding combinations of words which beguile and bewitch me before pulling me head and heart into their world is what I look for as a reader. Trying to create this experience is what I aspire to as a writer. I was shortlisted for the 2019 Grindstone Flash Fiction Award and have work published in several journals and anthologies. Apart from writing, I have a family, a greyhound and a full-time day job, which means I’m pretty busy. If you like my writing, I am on Twitter (@EverexJohn), Wattpad (https://www.wattpad.com/user/Johneverex) and publish work regularly on my blog (http://johneverex.blog ). I’d love to hear from you!

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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