It’s Getting Darker (c) John W Leys from Avalanches in Poetry writings and art inspired by Leonard Cohen

I searched for salvation
I yearned for the light,
Looking for the stars
In the cloud covered night.
I fold my prayer like origami
And stuff it in the crack,
A missive to the almighty
Asking if the Flame is ever coming back.
I close my eyes, reaching out
Caressing the cold aging stone,
Trying to touch the ancient past
My soul has come to call home.
The Temple is in shambles
The Mercy Seat is lost,
2,000 years of homelessness
Trying to tally up the cost.
Looking past Mt. Moriah
To the light of the rising sun,
Warming windblown faces,
Dreams of a suffering undone.
The Messiah isn’t coming,
To save this damsel in distress,
It’s an uncomfortable truth to which
We cannot fail to acquiesce.
The clouds are growing darker,
But the deluge will never come,
The promise made on rainbow light
Will never be undone.
I yearned for salvation,
Searching for the light,
Is there nothing here to greet me –
Save the unending darkness of the night?

 

John W. Leys has been writing poetry since he was 14 years old, inspired by the lyrics of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. In addition to posting poetry on his own blog, he is a frequent guest contributor to poetry-blogs such as Blood Into Ink, Free Verse Revolution, and The GoDogGo Cafe. His first poetry collection The Darkness of His Dreams: Poetry was published in July 2019. He currently lives in Redmond, Oregon with his wife, son, three dogs, and two cats.
Links:
Darkness of His Dreams (Blog) darknessofhisdreams.wordpress.com/ Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eliyahu5733 FB: facebook.com/darknessofhisdreams/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/johnleys/ GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/jwleys Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/johnwleys

I currently have one book published that is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733364501

Poetry: Footprints by Matthew M C Smith

(for my father)

Our footprints, the tracks of our play,

going all ways, ran deep along the shore.

All our lives we laughed along that stretch,

we laughed at simple games, splashing

through pools of silver, across sands of

burnished gold. We laughed against the sky

and you listened to young voices,

spellbound, time out of mind.

That day, the wind whipped the waves,

the swell surged, we were beaten

by torrents, caught in the rising storm,

the crash, deafening.

We floundered, soaked to the bone.

The light was cold, so very cold

and we shouted as we saw you,

separate, tides encircling,

gazing out in silence.

We saw your still, bowed head,

as if in prayer. The rip took your feet,

and you were taken, consumed,

the falling man.

We took your arms, hands,

searched in eyes of ages blue,

taking that curve of jaw, seeing your soul

as a burning ship and still your head was bowed.

As the tide slipped, you were white, so white,

kissed by time’s silent lips.

No cry, nor whisper, a cross shape near

crested roar and the people you love

carry you from the shore

BIO: Matthew M C Smith is a Welsh poet from Swansea. He has been published in Poetry Northern Ireland’s Panning for Poems and The Seventh Quarry and won the RS Thomas Prize for Poetry at the Gwyl Cybi festival in 2018. He particularly enjoys writing nature, cosmic and mythic poetry and has written much of it in the wake of his father’s death. Matthew is the editor for  Black Bough Poetry. He tweets at @MatthewMCSmith and @blackboughpoems The Black Bough website is at www.blackboughpoetry.com

Photo of Michael CAF Smith (Matthew’s father) 1948-2012

Skeleton Tree by Kaitlyn Luckow

It’s not like she didn’t plan on coming here. In fact, if she was brave enough to be honest, a part
of her yearned to be here. It all led up to this: home.

The forest, with its skeleton trees that still produced impenetrable shadows, made her feel as if
this was where she belonged.

She looked down at her t-shirt that used to hug her chest, but she didn’t need to be hugged
anymore. This was no place for that. This was a place where all around you moved in. The trees
enveloped you in their arms and held you as close to their ragged trunks and fallen leaves as
they could.

She had been here before; the trees creaked to her and sang her a song that hallowed out her
soul so that she could make it whole again.

****
“You feel like you deserve this?”

“Yes.”

“And why is that?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think you do know. Can you tell me?”

“I’m nothing.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because it’s true. It doesn’t matter. I don’t matter.”

“Why do you think you tell yourself this?”

“It’s all I’ve ever been told.”

“By others or yourself?”

“By everything.”

“So, is that why you do this to yourself?”

“If I’m nothing, then I should be nothing.”
***

The roots of the trees, the ribs of the trees, jut out of the earth, but she didn’t try to avoid them.
She liked the twinge of the sharp points, liked the way the rough edges took her breath away so
she could try to breathe again.

She looked around, desperately hoping to see her again. Last time, she had disappeared into
the roses before she had a chance to finish. Not this time. This time would be different. This
time, maybe the thorns would keep her.

***
“You mentioned once that you feel better. Is that true?”

“I feel more…right.”

“Describe right.”

“I don’t know. Like, this is me. This is who I am.”

“But it wasn’t always.”

“That’s because I didn’t know.”

“What made you know?”

“She did.”

***
The shadows of the skeletons wilted away to make room for the stars that never came. But she
was still able to see. The only thing she needed to see was the dark.

A gust of wind overtook her entire body and she felt emptily whole as she smiled.

She was here.

She filled her lungs with the wind and breathed out ash. It danced in front of her like blood in
water until the ash started to come together to create her pointed face of razor cheeks and
jutted lips. Her black wings were her cloak that she bathed in and sparse feathers dotted her
skull as the remaining ashes blew away.

Her black wings folded down over arms and she held out her hand.

“Give me your hand, Lily,” the woman said.

Lily held out her hand and touched her finger to the woman’s. Black ink started to fill up her
hand with cold and the black danced around her wrist and rooted itself through her elbow.

The woman smiled down at her when it was filled.

“Welcome home.”

***

“And what has she told you?”

“That I needed to be better. That I wasn’t good enough.”

“Why weren’t you good enough.”

“I was too much.”

…..
….

“And do you feel better?”
***
The woman floated across the fallen leaves and wrapped her wings around Lily.

“My dear, I can finally wrap my wings all the way around you.” The woman kissed her on her
cheek. “And I can finally feel your bones.”

Despite the wings, despite the kiss, Lily was cold.

“Don’t be afraid, darling. It’s okay to be cold.”

She could always read her mind. That was Lily’s favorite part. Someone understood. Someone
made her not feel like, as her mother would say, “crazy”.

“Being cold only means that you can feel.” The woman smiled.

***
“Yes, I am better.”

“Your mother brought you here because you keep fainting. Do you think that’s really better?”

“Sort of.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It’s worth it.”
***
The woman lifted her wings and held Lily away so she could look at her.

Lily stared back. Hoping she wouldn’t see. Hoping she wouldn’t notice–

But the woman lifted her eyebrows knowingly. “Lily.”

“I know,” Lily whispered. “I’m sorry.” She dropped her head to look at her thigh peeking out
underneath her shirt. The skin bulged up, the lines a gross reminder of all of her mistakes.

The woman put her hand on Lily’s thigh. “Let me help you.”

The black ink flowed from her wings, through Lily’s thigh. As the ink dripped from her body, so
did the fat, so did the lines.

Lily felt relief.

***
“It’s worth it? Is it worth it if this kills you?”

“Do you want it to kill you?”
***
“Thank you,” Lily whispered to the woman.

But the woman didn’t smile back, she didn’t take away her hand. She only furrowed her brow. “It
is not enough,” she said in a flat voice.

Lily’s eyes widened as she looked down at her legs to see them dripping, dripping, dripping with
ink. A black pool filled the forest floor. But it just kept dripping. Her legs kept dripping.
Disappearing. Lily looked back at the woman, panic filling her lungs.

“Please,” Lily said.

“Not enough,” the woman said flatly, not looking at her, but smirking at the pool of black she was
creating.

Lily tried to move, but she was trapped. She couldn’t lift her feet. And it kept dripping.

But then, she spotted it, a flash of red. A flash of thorns behind the woman who wouldn’t stop.

***
“I’m so afraid.”

“You don’t have to live like this. You don’t have to be afraid.”

“Help me.”
***
The roses reached up like flames behind the woman and swiftly grabbed her by the by the
wings. The force tore away her hands. The ink started to dry up.

“But, dear. We’re not done yet. We’re so close,” the woman said calmly as the rose branches
started to lift her up. Her eyes told of panic.

Lily didn’t say anything, frozen to the forest floor amongst the ink.

The roses lifted up its branches and dug it’s thorns into the woman’s skull. The woman
screeched as her feathers started to give way to ashes.

“Lily, you don’t want this. You need to–”

The largest and brightest rose lifted its bulb over the woman face. It opened up its petals and
collapsed over her screams. The thorns disintegrated the darkness into mere ash and all was
silent.

Lily felt something warm slide down her hollow cheek. She lifted up her finger and wiped the
tear across her face.

Maybe she didn’t have to be hollow.

This forest never had to be her home.

Twitter: @kaitlynluckow  Instagram: kaitlyn.luckow

Website: Kaitlynluckow.com

“Skeleton Trees” is a short story that follows a main character as she deals with her anorexia through conversations with her therapists and a magical realism world that she creates to justify her actions against herself.

Kaitlyn is a writer based in Portland, OR. Her roots are in education and she was a high-school English teacher for five years before taking the leap to follow her passion for increasing compassion and understanding through storytelling in writing.

She believes in the ability of writing as a vehicle for empathy. In order to tell stories that unite, she believes in the power of well-crafted writing, honest storytelling, and creating stories that connect.

Her creative writing has been previously published at Wide Eyes Publishing, Barren Magazine, and The Crybaby Club.

 

 

 

Poetry by K Weber : Untitled, Freelance Patient, Support System, Observation

Untitled

nearing the sallow
fen, the natural

eye spots
a cardinal, up-

tick deer.
golden

ragwort creeps
the footpath.

sun escapes
behind a yawn

of trees stretching
limbs to form

an awning. rock
and dust

sleep here
every night

without objection.

This untitled piece is from my 2018 online chapbook/audiobook “cling as ink.”

Freelance, patient

I am terrified
of whatever’s going wrong
with me but I am old
enough to know that
when it feels like a heart
attack, a broken
bone, diabetes,
typhoid, it’s not. It’s all
in my head like the pointy
fingers laughing at me
while I break in half
and halves again.

Support system
There are bones
relying on other
bones. Right knee-
cap is wrong.
Hip pops and thigh
crackles hot. Discs
light up with sparks
on tender meat.
Spinal fluid may
contain a patient
silt. It waits for any
color; determines
today as a mood ring.

Observation
The maple leaves
are little paws
stretching
in reflection. They
want to tap into
the river to reach
past stone and into
each fish.
My back
on the grass,
I eyeball clouds
through oak
and acorn. The roots
grow into me
and I await
dragonflies.

K Weber lives and writes in southwestern Ohio. THIS ASSEMBLY is her 5th self-published online chapbook and audiobook project. Her writing has been included in issues of Memoir Mixtapes, Detritus Online, Black Bough Poetry, Writer’s Digest, Moonchild Magazine, Theta Wave and more! Her photography has appeared in such literary magazines as Barren Magazine and Nightingale & Sparrow. K earned her BA in Creative Writing from Miami University in 1999. More publishing credits and access to all of her online book projects at: http://kweberandherwords.wordpress.com

Poetry by Peach Delphine : Weight and Shadow

After Granny passed
they divided her possessions,
an aunt took her best cast iron
painted them with country themes
for kitchen decorations.
The three legged camp oven
I dug out of the trash,
her favorite gumbo spoon,
the iron pot,
potato masher,
her old knives,
black handled from fat,
and the old chipped serving bowl
she taught me to hone them with,
on its unglazed foot.
Pawpaw would say, “if you need a blade sharpened, take it to Mama”
then I came along,
flesh made whetstone,
and taught the knives to sing,
so many tongues sprouting verdure,
so much cutting in those pots,
so much emptiness filled,
ciphers of transformation incised.
An unnatural relationship
is what she called it
before dragging me in front of Pawpaw,
“look at the child’s arm,
look at the child’s leg”
and they both wept,
“Why?”
left unanswered on the linoleum.
Echoing hollowness,
how to say broken,
how to say, “this cut is smoke, this cut is flame, these cuts are sea, this the language of
laceration”
wind of emptiness swimming in the grove,
staring out the screen door
oranges in bloom, bee heavy,
sink dripping, mockingbird
rendering some other bird’s song.
Time does not dissipate
the weight of their fear
still heavy in my hands,
their grief still a shadow

in every reflection.
The iron pot still on my stove,
the spoon in its rest
and every blade in its place,
honed effortless,
glittering book of psalms

Twitter @PeachDelphine