Reyna Elenita by Karlo Sevilla (poetry)

Reyna Elenita

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.

Bio: Karlo Sevilla from Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Soma Publishing, 2018), and two chapbooks. Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and nominated twice for the Best of the Net, his poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Revolt Magazine, DIAGRAM, Eclectica, Better Than Starbucks, Radius, Matter, Small Orange, and elsewhere.

photo by Ethan Schut

3 poems by Lawrence Moore : “Battle-Hardened” “Ghost #2”, “I am a Tightrope Walker”

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.

Bio: 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

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featured photo by Sean Benesh

The Helix Nebula by David L O’Nan (poetry)

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

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios: David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

Photo by Bryan Goff (unpslash)

3 poems by Keely O’Shaughnessy “The Collector” “And You Thought Me Empty” & “Something Like Mount Rushmore”

The Collector

As a baby you are down covered like goosegrass,
Rooted to your incubator with a thicket tubes and wires.
There are two holes in the plastic lid
Where tiny nappies can be changed.
You are a patch of wild strawberries,
Whose creeper stems are too fine and fragile to support their weight.

Age five and seven, you’re Gypsophila Spray. Limbs spread wide and chaotic.
Age nine, you’re green, soft sapling bamboo striving to develop your tough, woody skin.

You see specialists, who ask if you can write your name.
You are weighted and measured,
And sent out into the world,
Where other children fail to understand
Your balance is a delicate dandelion clock.
They sing and huff
Each breath sending you spiralling.

You write in notebooks with crayon.
Sketch out the flowers you think the prettiest.
Sweet Pea,
Daffodil,
Cherry blossoms,

Alongside each you keep a list of every time someone says, you can’t.

At eleven, a girl pulls your hair as you try to explain involuntary muscle spam.
You run a nettle the length of her exposed flesh.
Her ponytail gripped tight by a purple scrunchie,
She slaps your thighs.
You bite at loose skin that trails your bottom lip.

Hauled into the Headmaster’s office,
Shame-faced and sore,
It is the girl who cries.
Beneath your skirt,
The Hawthorne grows thick and fast
As your toes begin to cramp in loops and pulses.

The heel of her delicate Mary Jane pumps,
A series of dots and dashes on the muted grey carpet,
The girl stamps out her message.

Your twisted legs, hippy parents,
Your clothes that smell of patchouli oil and incense
Your knees like knots in soft wood
You are bindweed with your creeper vine arms pulled taut.
We wish to rip you from the earth.

The roots run deep, yet your list of cannots grows longer.

Soon you will learn to collect them
Your vines, thorns and blossoms,
Train them to wind round a cane.
Tame them.
Like feeding a monster,
Like precious marbles in a jar,
Like a seedling pushing upward.

And You Thought Me Empty

Wednesday night’s chow mein congealed in the sink,
I open my throat to you.
The noise comes out a gurgle,
That last swig from a bottle left in the sun
Blackout blinds still fully extended at noon,
The lyrics to a Bowie song are blood and spittle on your cheek.
Wiping your skin, you tell me I’m sick.
Yet, in my marrow, I know
You can’t understand the pain and strength
That it takes to feel the smallest bit alive.

Something Like Mount Rushmore

His skin protrudes at odd angles.
His bones crack and grind.
I can almost see them break,
Crumble and reform.

He doesn’t appear to be in any pain,
But he looks at me all the while.
His new form being fashioned:
Chiselled from the marble
Of our kitchen countertop.
Fortified and unyielding,
He is strong.

Keely O’Shaughnessy is a writer with Cerebral Palsy. She has an MA from the University of Gloucestershire. She is Managing Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine. She has words in magazines and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee. When not writing, she spends time discussing David Bowie with her cat.

Photo by Alejandro Pinero Amerio (unsplash)

New Poetry by Annest Gwilym : “Insomniac” & “The Word Collector”

Insomniac

dawn coughs light

  streaks the headache skies

         too early

  back to sleep

today    the milk-sour mother

        of tomorrow

          illuminates curtain edges

        with dust flowers

     too bright

    too early

blackbird alarm-calls        fracture silence

    turn over

      back to sleep

in the young day    light grows dense

          arthritic clock hands

        march on

                     come back night

      back to sleep

the moon has lost its drapery

    ghosted by brightness

          white din

              too early

hands that twist the bedsheets

                      check the clock

    tick tock

           turn over

light coughs    sifts

    through curtains

   takes root

              too bright

      come back night

  cars growl past 

  like the ebb and flow

        of thoughts

                wind-washed rain spatters

            drums on glass

                            too much noise 

           too early 

come back night

The Word Collector

Almost invisible ghost,
she hunts the early morning air
for a sliver of dream
floating down from
a just open bedroom window,
a catch of words in her throat,
wild and untamed.

Moon-eyed tempest-chaser,
deep as midnight,
as you pass in the street
she’ll sieve your thoughts
before they settle in your head
like river mud.

The soft murmuration of leaves
in glassy, backlit light
gathers in her mind
like the phantom faces
of the children she never had.

She scours the beach
for its salty trawl
of sea pottery and glass,
filleting words and histories,
panning for gold.

Words unfurl and are caught
in the curve of a shell,
the wind’s semaphore
in pollen-rich grass,
the moon tangled in trees.

Magpie-hearted collector,
words can never capture
the surging gold of sunrise,
or twilight’s indigo fall.

Bio: Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published in various literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print. She has been placed in writing competitions, winning one. She lives on the coast of north west Wales with her rescue dog.

Photo by Quin Stevenson (unsplash)