Do they get wrinkles, strokes,
Do they spend their last days
in dingy nursing homes,
surrounded by paisley walls?
Where do they go when they die?
Are they cremated,
or neatly placed into a grave?
Do they rise up
shrunken and hunchbacked?
Maybe they're just like you and me,
waving their gnarled arms in the air
until the very end.
Bio: Jackie Chou writes poems about romantic love, friendship, coming of age, grief over losses, mental illness, the creative process, and more. Some of her works are published by Fevers of the Mind Press. Her new poetry collection, Finding My Heart in Love and Loss, published by cyberwit.net, is available on Amazon.
Review of Paul Brookes’s book “Othernesses” by Spriha Kant
“‘Othernesses’ is the beautifully unique work knitted by poet ‘Paul Brookes’ and this knitting pattern has an impactful impression.”— This statement is justified by the facts and citations in the following stanzas.
The poet has wonderfully used personification in some poetries. Quoting a few words from one such poetry “The Rockpool” below:
“One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight,
next I’m cold enough to ripple shivers.”
“In the wane I’ll have my own way, again.
Every to and fro never the same.”
Certain stanzas and/or words in some poetries recite the different aspects of life such as philosophy, experiences, etc, some recite through the garnish/garnishes of personifications and/or metaphors whereas some point out in a direct manner. Quoting such few words and stanzas below:
“I am a dying sea, a dried up thing.”
“Our specularities slide over surfaces,
change shape whenever the object, viewer
or environment moves.”
“We waymark each hour as it passes on.
All waymarks subject to going, gone.”
“World is Chrysanthemums in a picture.”
The poet’s empathy and keen observatory skill not overlooking the importance of insects in our lives show his considerate attitude towards insects that a negligible number of persons have. Quoting below a few words and stanzas proving this:
“We’d wallow in waste if there were no flies.
Praise them, their short lives, work and enterprise”
“You horrify me with your pure cleanliness.
Live in shittip, I’ll join you in the mess.”
“Scratch decayed wood until it splinters. Hunt
these spikes for soft white wood swallow inside.
Indigestible I make a hard front,
swallow soil ready to throw back up outside.”
The poetries woven by him as encomiums for his fellow artists by using insects as metaphors for them also contribute to proving his attitude as considerate towards insects as well as shows his greatness as an artist.
“Othernesses” by Paul Brookes is suitable for wise poetic minds, a spark that can light up the reader’s interest in entomology, and is fruitful to read.
Bios (Spriha Kant & Paul Brookes):Paul Brookes:
Paul Brookes is a writer, local historian, genealogist, photographer, shop assistant and grandfather. Paul has lived in Wombwell, South Yorkshire for over twenty years, in a cat house full of teddy bears. He adores the counter intuitive. His first play was performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018) As Folk Over Yonder (Afterworld Books, 2019). A poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing (JCStudio Press, 2021) with a foreword by Ian Mcmillan, a sonnet collection called As Folktaleteller (ImpSpired, 2022) with an introduction by Penelope Shuttle. Forthcoming is another sonnet collection: These Random Acts of Wildness (Glass Head Press, 2023). Paul is Editor of The Wombwell Rainbow interviews, book reviews and challenges. Paul has had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. For more: www.thewombwellrainbow.com.Spriha Kant:
Spriha Kant is an English poetess& literarybook reviewer.
Her first published poetry is “The Seashell” which was published in “Imaginary Land Stories.”
The poetries of Spriha have been published in the following anthologies:
Sing, Do The Birds of Spring
A Whisper Of Your Love
Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan
Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the mind
Hidden in Childhood
A Glitter of Miles
“Hidden in Childhood” became the #1 bestselling book on amazon. This book consists of poems from about 150 globally acclaimed poets and poetesses, out of which most have been featured on NPR (National Public Radio), BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation),andthe New York Times. The wonderful Japanese painter “Hikari” featured this book in her exhibition in Tokyo in Japan. All the proceeds of the anthology book “A Glitter of Miles” went to the “Senior Staffy Club” (UK), a charity that helps older Staffordshire Bull terriers
Book Reviews by Spriha that have been released so far are:
The Keeper of Aeons by Matthew MC Smith
Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow by Jeff Flesch
Washed Away: A Collection of Fragments by Shiksha Dheda
Spaces by Clive Gresswell
Silence From the Shadows by Stuart Matthews
Breathe by Helen Laycock
Woman: Splendor and Sorrow: Love Poems and Poetic Prose by Gabriela Marie Milton
These Random Acts of Wildness by Paul Brookes
Spriha has collaborated on the poetry“The Doorsteps Series” with thewell-known Southern Indiana poet “David L O’ Nan.”
Spriha has been a part of the two events celebrating the launches of the books:
Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow byJeff Flesch
As FolkTaleTeller by Paul Brookes
Words of Spriha Kant quoted on the first page of the book:
Her poetic quote “An orphic wind storm blew away a sand dune that heaped all our love memories upon one another.” has been published as the epigraph in the book Magkasintahan Volume VI By Poets and Writers from the Philippines under Ukiyoto Publishing in the year 2022.
Features of Spriha Kant (Interviews & Others):
Quick-9 Interview on feversofthemind.com (Interview Feature)
#BrokenAsides with Spriha Kant on the brokenspine.co.uk (Interview Feature)
Creative Achievements in 2022 on thewombwellrainbow.com
Invitation to Spriha Kant as a guest of honor:
Spriha graced the award-winningshow“Victoria in Verse” as a “guest of honor” in “Bloomsbury Radio, London,” hosted by Victoria Onofrei which broadcasted on January 29th, 2023 at 6 P.M. as per the time standard in London in which she recited her poetry “The Tale of a poltergeist”.
Boys on Bikes
of the boys on bikes
toy diaries with locks
& miniature keys
bound in leather
we hide in new places
like a game of Clue
for the boys on bikes
afterwards, an outbreak
of bark beetles
on Elm street
never as pretty
as we once thought
to our diaries
about the summer
of the boys on bikes
daddy said the sinkhole
will take everything one day
but he’s too busy chasing mermaids
at Weeki Wachee to do anything about it
the money daddy made wrestling gators
at roadside stands could buy something solid
but he bet it on Jai alai, lost, lost again
& again & again, hatched a hairbrainer
with his buddy Lou, Little Louie they call him
to pinch a Gold of Kinabalu from R.F. Orchids
the ground isn’t fit for anything, daddy said
this after a three year stint for B&E
after mom decamped to Cassadaga to realign
to scream, to collapse on a floor embedded
with rose-quartz crystals with other women
looking for vibrational energy
it was the weekend
Culta Fatima beat Subduing Mara
at the Unitarian Church’s
Battle of the Bands
earlier in the day, Shane
the older brother of Fatima’s lead guitarist
called in a bomb threat from his shitty job
at the Quick Mart
we spent the afternoon
sunbathing on the football bleachers, tops
cropped as police dogs sniffed our lockers.
Everybody knew what Shane was planning
he’d peaked in high school
& was as bored as we were —everything
& that night
Culta Fatima’s drummer
tied gym socks around his sticks
& set them on fire
the guitar was a white-clad woman
emitting burning rays
brighter than the sun
later, clustered in the back of a Camry
I hurled my virginity at you.
It was ticking, ready
Mall Directory, 84'
It’s a cruel summer.
You go to the mall
cry with Martha at Dippin’ Dots,
Racheal over slices at Sbarro.
I stay in and watch Miami Vice
try to figure out Jan Hammer’s
theme song on our son’s Casio.
It was a big year for cartels.
When Kmart purchased Waldenbooks
it stopped selling Fangoria.
Still can’t take a Tylenol
without fear of cyanide poisoning.
It was a big year for takeovers.
We married too young,
have known each other
since Elementary School.
Mall Directory says
the divorce attorney
leases space between
Spencer Gifts and Camelot Music
reliable, affordable, quick and easy.
The metalheads flash Devil’s Horns
as I go inside.
Bio: poet, writer. constant gardener. avid thursday tennis player. born upstate, lives in new england, raised on french symbolists. loves a good scone, pulpy paperbacks, synthesizers, architecture. poems featured in Book of Matches, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Otoliths, Roi Faineant Press, Sparks of Calliope, Datura, Cajun Mutt Press, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Beatnik Cowboy, and others. Take a look, or don’t: dmhubbs.blogspot.com
“Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field”
— Langston Hughes
Where are your devices
Were they lost
When the ships came in
The ships laden with
Come in, you said
Come down off the plank
(You cannot swim)
Welcome to hell’s kitchen
There’s a place for you
On this killing ground.
Who searched for lovers
In the night
Has gone the quiet way
Into the still,
Dark land of death
Beyond the rim of day.”
— Langston Hughes
The truly desperate
Have no boundaries
They cross every ocean
They unleash their ghosts
They have to be found
They break hearts
In chance encounters.
So, be gentle with them
First love will find them
Then seek to destroy them
In a thousand silent ways.
“Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?” — Langston Hughes
Soon I won’t know
If it’s dark or light
I’ll find a hotel
Then walk into town.
As the stars glisten
And love is for sale
A wolf’s on my trail
So, I run.
The street I am walking
Is empty and flat
My hands start to shake
So, I run.
I knock on death’s door
There is a church choir
They let me in
So, I sing.
“God slumbers in a back alley
With a gin bottle in His hand.
Come on, God, get up and fight
Like a man.” —Langston Hughes
This is the next ice age
And it is all happening again.
I hear you tapping
On a drum,
Your fife is long gone.
I hear you whisper
In my ear,
Is it really haunted here?
I think it is.
You tortured and torpedoed its heart.
My dear adder,
Whatever is the matter?
Is it too late
To sleep or to wake?
In the underground
The demons are screaming
And I am waiting
For your silent apology.
“The boss’s got all he needs, certainly,
Owns a lotta houses,
Runs politics, bribes police,
Pays off congress,
And struts all over the earth—”
I hear the lightning rod of distant magazines—
One more sister is lying in a camp,
On his knees, a son who created is put to death—
I am more than dead,
I am more than six feet under,
I have taken a deep dive into your underground,
And I find life here is far worse—
They crucify every Kurt Weil,
They silence every struggling voice,
And worst of all, the preachers
Are making manic calls,
Taking what they want
As their disciples face firing squads
Then roll over and play dead—
Oh, look what is happening,
The fascists are clapping,
They’re dancing on our graves—
With all the big money betting on borders,
Don’t let it distract
From your empty galleries
Up and down these fair streets—
They’ve bought up all your art
And hung it over their mantels.
Bio: Elizabeth Cusack is a recovering actress. Ever since playing Rhoda Penmark in “The Bad Seed” as a child, deservedly, she has endeavoured to keep up her end of the bargain. Elizabeth has been blessed with the best of teachers over the years, mostly from the school of hard knocks. She has championed and performed in fringe theatre in America. Elizabeth edits her favourite poet while not otherwise inspired by her muse to write.
Be social, don’t disassociate. Become known and know.
Your feet move forward. Your mind a cloud, left behind.
You carry the stench of a stranger.
“You’re in the wrong place. Try over there.”
“You don’t belong here. Hold while I transfer you”… on to someone else….not our problem...go away
Smile full of candy teeth, delicate glass, hold steady.
If they realize, candied powder, jagged glass…laughter and disdain
Leave the past behind. Speak in present tense.
“Hello. Can anyone hear me? Can anyone see me?”
Your broken voice is a whisper in a stadium of screams
Your voice is strange. Your face is dumb. Your mind is a balloon, helium up to the ceiling.
“I have to get out of here…suffocating, I feel toxic, lost. Where’s the fucking door?”
“WHERE’S THE FUCKING DOOR?”
Bio: Ethan O’Nan is a trans man living in North Carolina, he has a wife and 2 children. Ethan only dabbles in writing these days. His whole life has led to the last few years fully understanding what to do to make him feel on the outside like he has always been on the inside.
The older brother of EIC David L
O’Nan, Ethan is a business owner along with his wife Kristi. Ethan enjoys 80’s music, art, crafting, making soap, & comedy.