Salt by Ethan McGuire poetry entry for Avalanches in Poetry 2 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

A rock pillar of salt awaits those looking backward. 
As a staunch evangelical American, 
once I epitomized a top-rung Christian. 
You have asked me to discuss the future, 
yet we cannot discuss what has not been. 
Leonard saw the future, called it murder, 
the same as our own present and our past. 
My upward way is at once my downward. 
The downward path, it rises up likewise. 
God sees all time present for forever. 
I am not God; the night still spreads outside. 
I struggled long in lost worldview warfare. 
My weary back I never once unbent. 
Then one night, along the troubled pathway, 
a stranger told me he could build those walls: 
The walls between my culture and comfort, 
walls between the foreign and family. 
I sold my soul, crossroads, to the Stranger, 
though, true, he did not ask explicitly, 
only asked for proof of my loyalty, 
and my tired soul I volunteered in pledge. 
My upward way is at once my downward. 
The downward path, it rises up likewise. 
God sees all time present for forever. 
I am not God; the night still spreads outside. 
Once you sell your soul, lightning seals the deal. 
Even when the pendulum oscillates, 
your soul is sold. You cannot buy it back. 
I offer passers futures and my life. 
As I lie in the mud of dirty roads, 
even the Stranger mourns my fate in time. 
I lie trampled underfoot, Stranger of Gold. 
I gave myself to you, oh my paper stranger. 
I become a statue of salt as I stare backward.

Twitter @AHeavyMetalPen

By day, Ethan McGuire is a healthcare information technology professional. By night, he is a writer, whose work has been published by Better than Starbucks Poetry MagazineFlashes of BrillianceFoundling House JournalThe Dark Sire Literary MagazineVita Brevis Press, and the West Florida Literary Federation’s project Life in the Time of Corona, among others. Ethan currently lives in the Florida Panhandle near the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico with his wife and their dog and cat, and he is a proud member of the Panhandle’s writing community.

unsplash photo by Brandon Green

Poetry by David L O’Nan : 9 poems from Avalanches in Poetry 1 November 2019 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Shenandoah Tramps

You walk the streets like you are still in Tabriz
You miss the Iranian Summers
While fumbling full of wine
Feel the prickly goosebumps from the breeze

And we walk in a squint
As the sun masks the city
Eyelids bouncing,
And quivering drunk lips

You desire the kiss when the night stirs
Dressed in scarlet red
Looking for that efficacious effect
We are like the stars in the sky
Celebrities in meteoric flash

We are just lost
From the waste to the lakes
Trying to unlock the code
To flee us from the beams of Heaven’s Gate

We can wish on these wine bottles
Throw in the pennies for the luck
We can invent beauty
From the contagious Shenandoah muck

Our city is just a bullet town
Our love will fall like tramps in the rain
With our hands for umbrellas
Protect us from the downpour
Awake our celestial shine with this oncoming train

And here come the dollies
And all of the sheep men
Who gathers our fossils
And uses them for swanky chaotic sin
Our rose is a misery
Burn the shell right off this redolent city

The streetlamps are as dim
As a yellow puddle
With hints of chickweeds growing around –
The blacktop tumors
And we can talk about all of the music
Hum until poetry rifles through our brains
Study the fallen art stuck to the limbs of trees
On the edge of what was Calliope

When all was tame and flowery
The strong was not frail
Our frames were not broken skeletal grey
And we would dine on evening air
And dance to the melody of church bells

Drinking Blue Moons

I was burning poker chips
Looking eye to the cavernous eye of some demon
I see all misleading in your passions
In all your passions are the flaming dollars
And all shoes dancing for triumphs

You have a Malibu boy doll home
With wives that sashay in the golden
Beautiful gardens and thrusting seeds
Water this burning just a little

And we all want your suits and all the glory
The perfect hair and the white teeth
Maybe the jealousy lives in all of us
But we know you’re as fragile as a toothpick
When your way begins receding

Drinking Blue Moons when the Red Wine runs low
You begin pacing like a war of pistols
When the bombs begin flashing your photos
To the World,
We know there are truth whisperers

Your flavor of the month decisions
Begin to disease with constant new kisses
After dark in powder kegs
Hearts dancing around the bones
To erode them
Three sheets to the wind
And your toy world is for sale and crumbling

Love, Love, Love
Is in the twist of a bottlecap
Love, Love, Love
Is putting your head to the ammunition
The boattail bullets dip you to the round ripples
Love, Love, Love
Your blonde in black crying

As she reads your messages
To a Lucy, an Alexis, and Leilani
In bedrooms with White curtains
And all the money was never his to begin with
Rest in peace in your suitcase graveyard

An Autumn Scarecrow

If my song for you is Autumn
From the roof I will sing to a soft chill
My voice is an earthquake quivering
Little sonnets and trails of letters
Coming down faster than the snow

Soon, an early season blizzard –
Will blade through all the farmland
The prairies ruined, and guillotined scarecrows
Bleed straw like a hydrant
And should I beautify this for you
Will you say I love you, from this Midwestern view?

And we can warm each other in praises
In the hills of sleet, we share our first kiss
Your cap keeps falling like all the stars tonight
And I keep magnetizing our hearts together in our newly found love

Let us birth the Winter Solstice in the death of leaves
I really never cared much for all the scarecrows
They were nothing but a lie
To keep the dying birds on the street

I know, I know I Can love you
At least in this arctic shift
Well, do we escape together?
Before all the tornadoes of Spring
Begin hunting for our shelters

looking for fresh meat

All of the Miles Between Us

Many miles between ideals
And indecisions
Between the women
Riding on wheels

Do I feel artistic,
Or just swing around to a psychopath’s touch
How can I be me?
When I am constantly feeling stalked

By shadows or sheriff badges
Or broken wheels rolling down the road

Play the actress
Play with the best of them
I can’t see myself in these mirrors
Is it the lipstick or the lie?

Just cradle me
You are a melting candle
Like a mind without sympathy
These are wails in the air that would’ve crawled for you
But you felt more secure by naked irises

On Dalrymple and Possibly Dying

Awoke or maybe I’m a splattered angel to the road
In feathers like a cardinal in hot August breath
Burned down to the move of a wicked gravitational spin

I’m laying on Dalrymple Street
Watching abandoned Subway trains
Moving once again
Like a 1940’s traveling preacher on the corner

The cigarette smoke wrestles the air to the gray we all see
From this industrial sewage drains to the tobacco fields
With death stares of scarecrows just
Funneling energy from the clouds

On Dalrymple
And I think I’m lifeless
Although all the colorful shoes
Race by you
Do they see a man, a skeleton, or invisibility?

Leonard Cohen’s Ghost

And all the gods, the ghosts, and deities

Parading orbs in my bedroom

On the walls that they call home

In their wooden eyes and popcorn ceiling shedding

I feel a leaking roof’s carcass form an IV drip of falling rain

Onto bedsheets, on my cold Manhattan muscles

And all the holiness, the prophets, and the seers

Drink the electricity from my blood

In my slumbers I see the hereafter

In windows bonded by straps

Paralyze my brain to a schizophrenic trap

I wonder if traffic is subsiding

In my room lives the melancholia

Reflections of Orion

And all my visions, Judases, and disease

My bones,

They crack and break

Til I cease

To being an old man

Although I dress in fashion

I sleep in my suit, with another suit for pillows to cushion

My opium days make for a possessive night

You may try to steal my soul

Reaching up from the floors and pretending you are Christmas Day

I have your stains in my DNA

And your perversions scarred in my brain

I looked you during griefs and hungers

And you, the angel, the woman, the saint

Gives me a drink from my flask on the worst of Winter days

In New York the rats know you by your name

And you gamble with them in Central Park

Drink your coffee with the visions of Virgin Mary

The herald angels we Hark!

We began to dream of waterfalls and

Mountains on my deathbed calls

How did all my children grow to moral adults?

I have grown skinny, skinnier every day

With a beard always itching

The room feels like it’s a melting paste

And I sketch all the martyrs, my family, and the founding fathers

And pray to a wisp of light that shatters against the lamp post

In all of its fury, I meditate on the path

And see the jetlines of Leonard Cohen’s ghost.

Smoke Halos in Endless Winters

The infatuation with you was immediate
You complimented me on my shirt
Then the clouds of April and the sun of May
Began to burn me in the cracks of dirt
I infected myself into your routine
Day after day
The ring on your finger seemed to be a display
And not the deepest feeling

In coffeehouses we roamed
The same crowds we knew
I wanted to draw you closer
But your heart was frozen to a soldier’s march in a sick hue of blue
Even when he screams
You come sit on his shelf
And observers said you were his trophy wife

Many admirers were left blushing
At the parties and in the silence
And in the New Year’s trips
I was hanging on to my sanity
From the tip of your lips

And I cried for your nomadic footprints
That I lost and battled myself to find
And everytime I thought you had found
The green pebble in the seas of red
You became a borderline aurora
I saw my body thrown in the piles of dead
And audited for the cemetery

You would come home in tears
After months of smoke halos in Alaska
Beating hearts revived
And trails of broken ones in all your shoes

I would ask for a smile
And you would hide behind a mask of newspaper
I would write you poetry, as I bled out my blues

I would ask for a dance
Even if my legs were broken
I would have treated you as an ultimate prize
I would dance my tears to a drought
I would’ve lifted you up above the clouds
And pull down an Angel’s wings
But I was stuck in the Earth’s shutting crust
And the younger years became dust
And full of those whom are paralyzed

Here I am an older forehead
A husband and a father
And I know you are around
Still fighting off ghosts
But I think your nomadic days are over
And the footprints are now buried in the mud

And my love now lays in a resurrected heart

The Shrinks and Street Heroin

From the morgue you seem restful, finally
Your blonde hair, blue eyed German swirls intoxicating
From the battles of Berlin and Cologne
You walk like the death of magic

The rain dissolves in your palms and falls
In the puddles were you always envisioned Hitler

Needles come from everywhere
And you collect them as if they had value
And all your shrinks push you closer to the brink
And the fashion becomes flooded
Like the blood in the plunger

They inject the dye and the lies
And you swim in a coma through the streets
And all the boys watch you like a sunset
As the opium drips from the tap

Soon you know the devil
And you say you hugged Jesus
You’ve bought flowers for the battles
And you dreamt up an artistic sewer

There are weird, wicked, and wonderful snails
That lay on the concrete in your heart
And they just want you to feed them the freedom
From the points of lust in needles
And all the injections and ejections

So, let us travel to your voyage
Withdrawals and we surround you like all the pneumonia
Pounds, pounds your lungs
Pounds, pounds your breath
Baby, baby, baby
The palpitations, the scarring, the stench
Living life like the jagged nails on a bench

Not bathing in oils anymore
Sleeping naked on the bathroom floor
Your shrink now has an unlisted number
Winter smacks you to a freeze
And you are no longer the fresh breeze
It smells more and more
Like decay of all personality and poetry
Mortality surrendered
Like the knife to the back
We are left numb
And permanently in that doorway is your dark shadow

An Ode to Tessa While in New York

The juveniles gathered around your blinds
They studied to memory your silhouette
Dancing like Ann-Margret around the room
They would watch all your waterbed games,
On New York City nights
I was one of those college boys in the alley.
Looking for a clue and a view.
Out you’d walk, slightly drunk
Smiling at the crowds of boys
And there you are riding a green bicycle
To the Jackson Hole
Your scent of sweet cigarette smoke and perfume,
Lead to a perfect follow
Maybe I will have a drink
While you chat about the news to some hipster folks
You will flirt with them all,
Laugh until we all bruise
My heart just flips around like a petrified fish.
I have to walk by, say hello
Even though there were more handsome faces in the shadows,
In the stained spoons in this diner
However, you say “I am Tessa”
“But I believe you already know that”
I introduced myself, she said “I’ve always liked your artsy hat”
We drank coffee ‘til our stomachs bled
And I was as shy as a detached bubble
You carried the conversations, lead my hand
Picking flowers out of the cracked sidewalks near Brooklyn
Lead my hand, as we joined silhouettes
And other jealous hustlers sat in the rains.
Lead my hand, through others diners that smelled like bladders
Drinking our time away
Both being catty, flirty, bitchy
Tessa, you really forced my greed
Nights I swayed with you
Nights we cried into each other’s chest
Nights we drugged ourselves to nightmares
Nights we laughed until the extra strangers left
Now, in New York here I am
Long distances between the walks in all the burroughs
All the pigeons, drink at spilled chilis
The statue of Liberty looks plagued

You lead my hand, to the bars
You lead my hand, to Harlem diamondbacks
You lead my hand, to you breathing your last breath on the back of my neck
You lived your life for many,
But to yourself you hid away all your suicides.

Poetry by David L O’Nan : Oslo in the Heart from Avalanches in Poetry 1 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

It was 4 seasons in Oslo

Where they greased the wheels for our eyes

When they bleached the brides

My skin turned to purple veins

Locked my mind inside the chains

And all the Norwegian women bled like rubies

Over a beach of shells

Candlelight on the bones in the moon

Cooked peasants in a Witch’s ritual

Oslo was in my heart

When we wed

Winter crosses full of lead

Turned my mind to paint

And rippling vapors whipped at every corner

Oslo was in my heart that day

We danced a fandango

Through the avalanches of sleighs

The mountains broke for all old anger

Oslo nights in wonderfalls

Heartbroken men, and the shallow women call

For the moneymen from the big U.S. city

The commercial life

The vacations and all the models

Bankruptcies in graveyards of drifting winds

Featured photo from the book by Geoffrey Wren

Ripped Off my Jean Jacket by David L O’Nan from the 1st Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art inspired by Leonard Cohen

As the symptomatic leaves begin to fall

I watched noiseless waterfalls

Drink the deranged and lame

Our bodies are blush

Decorated into these parks

By the stabbing strokes of a paintbrush

Brush away these harsh devils

Wiped away all of my tattoos

My head is clammy and sweating

As I watch the stars penetrate the heart

From the moon

I have become the decorous

The ultimate gentleman

To all that is blind

Whip in the inhales

And shoot the arrows to the waves

If I am uncovered,

If truths are found to be false

I will carry myself like a casket

And image myself as the lifeless wooden doll

I collapse

To the thundering faint to the floor

I ripped off my jean jacket

The wild, the seeds plucked to be reborn

Long nights listening to this same rain falling

The owls are silent in their hoots

The traces, our footprints

Are known to be crazy

Picking the serpents from our boots

So, is this white noise?

I live in either gray or electric shock

An impulse is easier to swallow

But sin takes time to regurgitate

Avalanches in Poetry Entry by Samantha Merz : Varied Thrush

Champagne diamond pendants

First driving lesson at the age of twenty-seven
You’re gambling with your life by not creeping in

It’s your responsibility
Scolded over a parcel
Emerald girl style to your golden boy

It’s her time
Lady Pity
Her twisted mind
She’s so odd
Mixed up and conflicted
She’s a straw

Sucking the life out of a couple of those who used to be around

Making some low whistle notes
Won’t defend you
Won’t vouch for you
Different perceptions at play
Hibiscus heaven

You told me not to walk so far away from you

Poems by Samantha Merz have been published by Polar Expressions Publishing, Grey Thoughts,
Reality Break Press, Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest, Nymphs, Malarkey Books, Poetry
Festival, Dreams Walking and Resurrection Mag. In 2019, Samantha self-published a collection
of poetry called Kazoo. Samantha is working on another poetry collection while composing
drafts. Samantha enjoys connecting with other poets and writers on Twitter. Her blog is Her Instagram handle is @marblemessages and Twitter
handle is @sambcmerz

feature photo from unsplash by Lucas George Wendt