Poetry from Salim Yakubu Akko

Grief as My Uncle

I've learnt how to speak in my motherland
as how a toddler learns how to walk
the language of grief

I was taught how to count
as how young poets reckon poetry lines
the colours of grief

grief is my mother tongue
the language I learnt from my childhood days
the best food I eat

and still, here I am
like a wingless bird
listening to its melodious songs

dear uncle grief
I've heard, learnt, ate &
felt you enough

remember, you once promised to me
if I write to you a poem
you'll leave my motherland & let us have another beginning

dear uncle grief
it's now a new year
& still, we're enjoying your sweet breakfast

for the promise you made to me
I wrote this poem for you
I beg you leave my motherland

dear uncle grief, remember
I am the shattered son
who worships for you

Another Beginning

Is when the scorching sun
Smiles at our broken hearts

It is the beginning that terrifies 
The tales that break our hopes

Like the drops of the drizzle
It comes with peace

Another beginning is when we open our teary eyes
Beholding a peaceful land


Bio: Salim Yakubu Akko is a Nigerian writer and poet. He has his works published/forthcoming in Applied Worldwide, World Voices Magazine, Trouvaille Review, Ice Lolly Review, ILA Magazine, Scratch Poetry Magazine, Upwrite Magazine and elsewhere. He has also been shortlisted for the 2021 Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers. 


Poetry Showcase for Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Fevers of the Mind, Monterey Poetry Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review

Cornice

Who knew things could get so elaborate
under the ceiling, not my seeing-eye goblet Falstaff,
that’s who, and this cornice just sat there like 
a coat of arms around some clannish dust bunny family 
handing out old mix tapes when old man sentimental
comes back around; fleeing the law on his bad leg,
the Adam’s apple split right down the middle
with a worm for an axe which lead me to stamp
down on those hardwood floors, believing myself 
some 18th century printing press pumping out 
all those delectably pernicious ideas.

Buried with the Treasure

This will not become another sombre poem
about the dead buried with the treasure,
those winning Spanish bullion legs your grandmother
had during the war, drove the enemy to bedroom
armistice if you are to believe the family lore,
old pictures shared as evidence;
we will assume the priest has said his peace,
that the many smelly freedom fighters 
will never declare theirs and that this poem 
is about something else entirely:
rolled up bus pass, dragon fruit in season,
this scratchy razor wire voice.

Sand Dollar

I knew this woman who collected them 
like her husband collected ex-wives – 
now, years later, holding this fruitless sand dollar in hand, 
I can't even remember her face as he can likely  
not either which is the problem with collecting anything: 
things add up, clutter the mind with shadows,  
while desperate grasshoppers jump out of their own legs  
trying to escape a young child's curious clutch 
and the light from a thoughtless sun makes cover 
my eyes and wince in absent pain.

Night Cap

The salutations sent like bent wedding invitations  
that never make it, 
hare-brained analytics telling fish to fry themselves  
before some stick-figured Darwin upstart  
begins drawing on legs long as runway models; 
it's all about the raging bad breath percentages these days, 
humanzees in a spotty veggie patch tearing body lice  
straight from the sagging beer belly land – 
race records that scratch themselves, 
this indeterminant clawing through all the walls;  
I'm holding nothing like some spit-warm idiot 
in the faded tight-jeans street, art for art's sake, 
what a bet on the blind, what a spanner with the works... 
enough stickers on the fridge, laptop, car  
to distract from the biological imperative for  
a couple hours while our man in Europe crosses the  
Danube with a backpack full of gumption 
and that bricklayer-thick accent that has always toppled women 
instead of buildings.


Catch and Release

No one wants this poem to be about baseball
and yet here we are sorting career slugging averages 
from the crackerjack, watching a classic sac fly,
wild swinging third base arms waving the runner home
as our boy in outfield runs under a classic catch and release,
stepping into every inch of the moment;
the catcher in a contract year blocking home plate,
expecting a throw for the ages.	

Deranged Flowers

Who plays with deranged flowers? 
Surely not the dirty mud-child lost to early miseries. 
Not accordion doors, nor some polished winsome thing. 
Petals torn from stalk like losing all the green. 
Degenerate gamblers in empty car parks, head in hands. 
Walking from here on out. 
And those flowers of crazed colour jumping out of bushes 
with a midnight mugger's resolve. 
An overturned scratch post for a back.


 




3 Poems from Vyarka Kozareva

photography of sand inside the house
photo by Jean Wimmerlin (unsplash)

Incoherence

In a tapestried matchbox
I keep an old story 
About two colliding hummingbirds.
The feathers left behind
Say nothing tangible about the vanity
Predominant 
In the always-and-everywhere dimension.
Throb after thrill
And throe after throb.
My sentiment- intoxicated bloodstream
Imagines itself significant
To obfuscate the cynicism.

Anatomical

Can you discern 
The avid caterpillar in the orange heart 
Of the moon?
Its bile can scald arterial paths between poles
Leaving the juice to transpire
While the flesh’s still fresh
And the sickness transpiercing 
In its discordance.
I’m afraid
The wolves under my tongue will wail 
Stable in their indelicacy
To devour themselves.
Somewhere else, in lost saddlebags, 
Time, broody,
Is pining for stoicism. 
Please, from your tower of ossicles,
Show me the right orbit
For which to define 
The line of apsides.

Heady

Every night I visit different places,
Observe behavioral oddity,
Sleep in different crania,
Obsess foreigners
Who eat grapes 
But don’t share any with me.
Some of them laugh uncontrollably
Neglecting the risk of choking.
The new day insists on dexterity
To remove fermented beans
From the husky throats
And feed the vultures.
The sense of direction detects that
Once syruped,
The air’s already acquired a ropy aftertaste.


Bio: Vyarka Kozareva lives in Bulgaria. Her work has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Ariel Chart, Poetry Pacific, Basset Hound Press, Bosphorus Review of Books, Mad Swirl, Ann Arbor Review, and is forthcoming in Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Juste Milieu Lit, Sampsonia Way Magazine, and Triggerfish.



“Poetry” Breakers by Fiona Perry

Breakers

Before they are born
breakers swell and loom
in rolls of blown glass
I would like to step inside,
to be statue-caught
in their crystal corridor
like an ancient body 
preserved in a glacier. 
Then –-
I can cut the white
noise. Reboot. Prepare
for my second coming,
as foaming diamonds
released from saltwater
ectoplasm thrown on
to warm, restorative
sand. Equipped for terra
firma dwelling. 



This poem by Fiona Perry was previously published in her first collection, Alchemy (Turas Press, 2021) 

Wolfpack Contributor: Fiona Perry 

A Fevers of the Mind Poetry Showcase for Duane L. Herrmann

Gasping For Air

Dark hole sucks
me in suddenly,
no warning
and I'm lost
falling, falling, falling.
No bottom, no end,
until time passes
while others stand
condemning
they know not what.
Private agendas
pursued regardless
of consequences
to the future.
The one in pain
gasps, seeing
destruction looming
restrained from stopping.

Automatic "ON"

There is a switch
I cannot find
somewhere
inside of me.

PANIC! PANIC!! PANIC!!!

It sounds alarms
instantly, before
I know it's happened.
Train thunders by
pulling me along.
Far down the way
steam has decreased
and my brain
can think again.
Others say: “Insane,
unreasonable, bizarre,
not fit...” No.
Just mental wiring.

Jumbled Together

Reading, I come
to jumbled letters
on the page.
A word, I think,
but what?
Makes no sense.
I close my eyes,
stop thinking,
let the letters sort
themselves right.
Open my eyes:
there is now a word
and I continue
reading.
Less, this happens
as age becomes
my pain, yet
I remember still


Letters Stand

A mind contesting
with its brain
over what the body
will do – 
or won't.
The daily, hourly,
struggle of one
so graced with dys-
lexia. Letters
on the page don't
stand still, or
stay in order.
Others have no clue.
Child doesn't know
all others aren't the same – 
this, the normal
he only knows.
I know.

Unfoldment

When your grip is slipping
off the rope
and there is no length left
for another knot
to hang on to....
What do you do?
What do you hold on to?
What can you do?
What will hold you up?

Wings

WINGS
will set you free!
WINGS
you didn't know you had.
WINGS
of unknown power.
WINGS
beyond belief.
WINGS to fly!



Bio: Duane L. Herrmann, an internationally published, award-winning poet and historian, has work featured in print and on-line publications as Midwest Quarterly, Little Balkans Review, Flint Hills Review, Manifest West, Inscape, Orison, Gonzo Press, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, and more, in  fifty-plus anthologies, over one hundred other publications, plus a sci fi novel. A fifth generation Kansan, with branches of his family here before the revolution, and a Native branch even longer, he writes from, these perspectives. His full-length collections of poetry include: Prairies of Possibilities, Ichnographical, Praise the King of Glory, No Known Address, Remnants of a Life, and Family Plowing. His poetry has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, inclusion in American Poets of the 1990s, Map of Kansas Literature, Kansas Poets Trail, and others.  This, despite an abusive childhood embellished by dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder and now, PTSD.  The father of four and grandfather of seven, he was surprised to find himself on a farm in Kansas and is still trying to make sense of that, but has grown fond of grass waving under wind, trees, and the enchantment of moonlight.
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