Reyna Elenita by Karlo Sevilla

Our little Maleeha raises both arms,
pirouettes and a bejeweled crown
springs up from the orbit outlined by her fingers,
which rises and shrinks until it settles upon her tiny head.
She slows to a standstill,
then extends her arms overhead, palms together.
She parts and gently lowers her straightened arms
and a halo of iridescent hues cascades.


For our quarantined Flores de Mayo, our little queen is crowned
and aureoled by a rainbow for her unmanned arch
right in our living room.

Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry collection
“Metro Manila Mammal” (Some Publishing, 2018). Twice nominated for the Best of the Net,
Karlo’s poems appear in Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, Black Bough Poetry, Eclectica,
Matter, and others

photo by Ethan Schut

2 Social Justice poems by David L O’Nan (Archaic Motorcycle Breath and Like Bullets From the Cowboys)

Archaic Motorcycle Breath
The whistles of brakes
Now here comes the burning oil
The grinding petals to the street
Polluted with archaic motorcycle breath.
Across the bridges
They spread disease in the ripples of the river
The script flips
Over that mountaintop
When freedom is disrobed of crimson dress.
Let’s believe in the burning of the privileges
To the disease of a racism mentality
Blowing up the baby boomer birthday party
Around the curve,
The flames eat through the winds of malice.
How to become one? When?
When reduced to living behind the fence
Cannot see, cannot breathe
In the flesh that should feel free
But the enemies are loud
And they assassinate without hesitation
Living in fears –
That feeds the dictator’s stomach.
No one is here for your entertainment purposes only
And no one under this sky
Was put here to feel less than human
So hard to fly within the radar

When the sunlight dies –
You cannot tame the bird to go hide in the nest.
Never a prisoner
Never a suit
Never a believer (in the power of the badge)
Mixed in the blood of your boots (in your fairytale dream)
The skeletons show from the closets –
When you think all your bones are hidden.
Will it all come out in the wash?
With help from black robes on blue-lit streets
The skyline begins to burn like paper
A new revolution bubbles out from the crisping seas.
The chariot to heaven –
Doesn’t include stops to hide in the tunnels.
When your name is called
Remember those whom you’ve made suffer
When your name is called
Your lips won’t rest in the quakes and quiver.
But love will come from the ashes
But equality will come from the ashes
But the truth will come from the ashes
Honor will be
Humanity will be
And the American eagle coins meltdown like rain
And monetary status becomes irrelevant

Like Bullets From the Cowboys
I’m burning inside
I’m caving in
The laughter heard as they stole my mind
You want the skin to be the demons
I can’t escape the hills of your bones
I’ve lain in the flood, in all of the blood
Like bullets from the cowboys.
The angels want more resistance
The breath they want,
And the breath they will take.
That speed through the body faster than the viruses.
Hidden in the badges, the hood, or the graveyards
Like bullets from the cowboys.
In the rapture, they trap in and capture – the Christ
In cave walls or tiny mansions
They white-out biblical passages
Replaced with Americana ink
The idolatry gospel spouts –
From the mouths of the wicked
And they still like to play cowboys.
The outlaws in Mercedes
Papas in rough trucks
Mamas painting hate over the tracks
Loose trails that lead to the next shell casing
Bullets from the cowboys
Or infantile swimmers stuck in the mind of a Civil War Newspaper.

The Plague never left.

Photo by BP Miller (unsplash)

3 poems by Lawrence Moore

Battle-Hardened
Cold and battle-hardened,
cast the drawbridge from my heart,
may the waters never part.
The border spare and sterile,
let no creeper bear its fruit,
make me barren at the root.
A world within my chamber
painted vivid and opaque.
Soak in dreams, all else forsake.
The bold knight probes the fortress,
courts a torrent of abuse,
keep it in but what’s the use
when the music he belongs to
is a song from whence they came?
Same fresh face, a different name.
Hurt but not defeated,
he retreats beyond the moat,
picking daisies, writing notes.
Alone and battle-hardened,
past the point of nothing lost,
how I long for peacetime-soft.

I Am a Tightrope Walker
alone in a crowd,
balancing on a thread so thin,
sometimes I forget it’s there.
I try my best,
two half shoes on either side,
s t e a d y a n d s a f e
u n t i l
the lurch
when the crowd snaps to attention,
baying for blood,
yet afraid to bleed,
four laser beams of unspoken will
imploring me to make their world
my final destination,
but I am a tightrope walker,
stalwart of obstinacy,
comfortable in solitude
and try as they might,
it’s hard to break the constancy
of a man with his head in the clouds.

Ghost #2
The gentle hum of distant traffic curls
the dormancy within him, till it swirls
and blends into the background, loses hold.
He peers into the restaurant from the cold.
His jealousy no good to man or beast,
he leaves the happy couple at the feast,
heads early for the theatre’s gaping doors –
romantic fiction Saturday’s reward.
The teenage boy who works behind the till
distracted, doesn’t notice (no one will).
Two hours pass before him in a blur.
The critics weren’t impressed, he might concur
if only he could hide his joyful grin.
The night-time crowd are slowly traipsing in
and he should limber up and head for home
to work upon a fiction of his own.

Lawrence Moore has been writing poems – some silly, some serious – since childhood. He lives in Portsmouth, England with his husband Matt and nine mostly well behaved cats. He has poetry published at, among others, Dreich, Pink Plastic House, Fevers of the Mind, Quince Magazine and Green Ink Poetry. @LawrenceMooreUK

photo by Sean Benesh

2 new poems by Michael Igoe

           

Inborn

Underneath a chassis,
a white glove touches
greasy stacks of boxes.
The bullets inside them
spill out on cold ground.
A file of sultry generals
assembles in a building.
In the shape of a Basilica.
Scarved girls
at work within
are busy washing
their china dishes.
To find themselves
not quite so lonely
when dishwashing.

 

Funeral Lilies

Necessary arrangements
are taking up more time.
Following rigid orders ,
we pick those flowers that bloom in skeletons.
Straightening creases,
ones real or imagined.
We read the rumors,
in the gossip column
we put them all down
to a misunderstanding.
Thanks to St. Jude,
for favors granted.
He’s close to the kin,
who perish among us.
But ones assembled,
give him due respect.
It seemed odd,
to think it’s sad,
achieving a thrill.
Using only one word
that soothes our soul.
At a hot dog pit
south of 95th
we will arrive
at his funeral.
We meet brazen kings making no mistakes
about power wielded
A Kansas City woman
calls a broom a rocket.
To match things up
she took a chance
to stand in line
so she can shake
the mayor’s hand.
She sure hoped he’d die
when he stole the election.
They both sit in the grandstands,
between the one eyed vagabonds.

Michael igoe, city boy, neurodiverse, Chicago now Boston.Numerous works appear in journals online and in print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), flyovercountryliterarymagazine.com, linktre.e/derailleurpress. Anthologies:The Poets of 2020, Avalanches In Poetry(Fevers of the Mind Press).National Library of Poetry Editor’s Choice Award 1997, Feather Pen Blog Best Poem of 2020. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.

photo by Teleflora

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The Helix Nebula by David L O’Nan (from New Disease Streets)

The Helix Nebula
We were magnetized to the Helix Nebula,
As the sadness drank us in the waves
On our endless walk down Mulberry Street
Where I’d learned of your stoning,
Where I trusted you with your magic
Under the poetry of the slick moon –
Washed over the river
For a moment it was beautiful again
Ridden itself of overheated catfish vapors,
And you were beautiful,
Although destroyed
All that I could help you with was blind ignorance –
Of what love was.
And I can bash away at the lullabies that would haunt us –
And crawl through our skin.
Tripping over the biting mosquitoes,
As I learned you would depart back
And new suicides would breathe in each of my heartbeats.
The tears of all the galaxies bled out majestically with colours –
I never imagined before
I traced the lines of my own hand
Hoping to find the constellation in
Which the lines of your hands lay

Photo by Bryan Goff (unpslash)