Drinking With a Priest
Later the priest moots,
"Some dying men stares at me,
holds their gaze as if
by the power death has vested in them
they can see through me and my faith
and how I think about something else,
perchance about tomorrow's lunch.
In the life's Venn diagram death is ∩,
and at that point being and beyond intersects.
A man can see or accept the truth of his
The beers in front of us sucks the warmth
of the room. They taste acerbic.
Through the orange translucency
we can see eachother, a little distorted.
I wish I could see the words compadre
expects to hear, but this is not that day.
No trace of the magician,
a shot glass of jazz
left full on the table,
I decide to convey the bad news
to the organisers
and shake my head;
the rabbit maze-running inside
won't fall out.
I pick up the glass from the table.
Now I dance with the shadow,
a rabbit in me.
The grass of silence undulates.
The audience waiting out there
sounds like an orchestra of crickets
in the befouled greenroom.
3 new poems by Kushal Poddar : “Cabin Song” “Earlier””The O of the Sky”Poetry Showcase from Kushal PoddarA Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series”
Check out Kushal’s new book through IceFloe Press.
remember reading about L. Cohen discussion of discipline
in his family before (leaving) his shoes neatly beneath the bed,
lined in rows the Westmount childhood house of his
Blossoms on the Plateau
scatter towards St. Laurent.
At a café, grab a late coffee, Mile End.
– Elated. Artwork to hang at Gallery ___ of
new punk energy competing with empty lots.
A poet encountered Cohen right near here chaotically sprawled
on a bench, static hat, shins crossed,
My father knew clothing, my father knew hats.
In every secret life,
Danceclatter spirit memories,
Reanimated, the dead no longer leave
Gather under pelican shaped eaves
Refugees – taking leave, returning quickly as they arrive–
By harbour, ships, disembarking planes
At official hearings destinies decided by immigration board
on appeal. O, Canada — We who betray everything
Searching landscapes beyond mythic voice,
first languages, anthologized wards
of mothertongue, come alive
to holy gathering, catchments of double-rainbows
above camera shop,
on The Main, to St. Catherine’s Street,
gauntlet to throw down bargaining for life
the Ascending of the
at the gated freight elevators
in a cessation of rain, orchestral loft curtains
and a cacophony of rattling glass
in choreographic time,
threaded hum of industrial needles, machines,
for fancy fabric, the manufacture of
ghost suits in factories.
Did the street lineaments of longing shape
an arc to the sun in melodic time,
Word became difference
– without a promised pound of flesh —
each visioning, wisteria proposing
darker awakening. To bow and Curtsy. The
– Oars of the St. Lawrence remaining as if
Hallucinatory – at a farther reach –
persuasive designs for some new disguise.
In rupture rapture————
the needle in thread, the lacuna.
Stitches of erasure,
(by attendant lay kept at bay)
a homonym in nominal space
When You Carry the Flag of Surrender
We aim for song.
Tilt to embrace.
First embouchure, embrace of red, then blue,
a burning white beneath the stair corrodes coruscating struts.
You waited to come back too long,
already threat gave you a name.
Beneath eyelids, the mourning bruised fifth notes.
Minor armies, advancing packs of card sharks,
upon arrival, slight a flock of black birds, ravens,
and your sister’s husband’s brutal conundrum commences.
It’s a war against nature.
We guessed wrong.
Planning for a siege at a craps table
along the loneliest strip
where hummingbirds dance a devious fandango,
on with nightclub nightmares.
You lifted up with urgency,
the urge, to surrender,
to carry the flag of surrender.
(And safely, the albatross of snow
glides ascending beyond Blake,
rising to the Gate of Hell
Wings shorn with fire).
The yellowing book, it’s pages.
If you are tired enough, you will fall asleep,
fall into the arms of a boulder,
spreading the night moth’s wings around you.
On the ocean, the burning partisan’s ship
sinks behind another neon moon.
Between the odd and even
I shall be a tailor, sewing pockets
with a wretched hand.
A corruption, failure
of the terms of service.
I gave them nothing, willingly,
I gave them nothing, undue dress.
A shaky signature, handshake
under duress, erasing
The Committee of Horsemen
and their capital wives
Flying to a ceremonial, under
cloak, the war’s convoy’s coverings
Blanket the skies with parachutes.
I shall be the uninvited guest,
these twisted hands trembling,
winter branches at calico windows,
Obscene broncho –
of obstreperous lineage.
Startling twilight of starlings.
The plane goes down
It goes down
It makes the sun
turn a pale green
a pale green
Packages of jealous
That know no limits
know no limits
In the charnel house
in the charnel house
Confusion of smoke
by the fairgrounds
All the kisses you can
punch for a dollar twenty
five don’t be shy step
Bop bop bopping
for the wormy wordy words
worthy apple of the jaundice
eye another round
of Government Propaganda
For the Shiny Happy People
Free line dances
for the people
By the acid river backside
pouring out toxic sludge
Captains of Productive
on sacred ground whose
ground sacred check
the grainy almanac
in the gun-sites of the
Military Industrial complex
We capture captions
speak in thought balloons
The gentlest Master
slips outside benign
speaking behind a billboard
for mouth wash
cattle in the fields, lowing
“It will rain soon,”
Mommy says to
her six year old in Khakis
amidst the smoke beneath
the chocking ruins -- rains
down historical memory
Insects rub their tentacled principal
legs together make the beat
of some new music written
by the Karaoke Moon
We can count
all of the ways
that what was once here
no longer is.
Using an app with magic markers
we make asemic marks
on photographic paper.
Is there hope of change?
Are we impassioned?
Poisoned? What lies beyond
belief is belief in
our own ability to change
out of clothing
make the New Man
fallible as Merchandise.
1985 (A Drum)
A Leonard Cohen concert
New York, Carnegie Hall,
At performance end, more people
than one might imagine prepare for Rapture.
From handbags & from under
winter coats they rush towards the stage.
A price of admittance.
Recognizable is ritual.
My old friend, with whom I attend,
I shall never see again, while,
Field Commander Cohen,
Working for the Yankee Dollar,
catching in light and furious, bouquets
of cornflowers and roses. The clarion call,
in spot lit time trumpet flowers
opening up pollen in a thousand-handed balcony.
Twitter: @frede_kenter @icefloe_P
Poems 2, 3 & 4 are inspired by Cohen’s poetry book “The Energy of Slaves”
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Marcelle: I started recording the everyday, usually on my iphone, during maternity leave with my son. It was such an overwhelming time- the extreme sleep deprivation, as well as being new to parenting. I used the page (screen) as someone to share with. Looking back at those notes now the range of emotions is astonishing – some have turned into poems, some not.
In 2018 I attended poetry evening classes run by the generous Mab Jones, she was the one that really got me ‘started’, she is so passionate and enthusiastic. That lead to a weekly group run by Claire Syder, which I still attend now and wouldn’t be without.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Marcelle: I still attend lots of workshops (online in these covid times), which I find really inspiring – learning about different approaches to writing, the different personalities. I have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with the fabulous Elizabeth Horan and am now inseparable from the prose poem.
I live in South Wales and am surrounded by wonderful landscape and lyrical welsh poets – historic and living. These are a constant influence – to infuse the local into the universal.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?
Marcelle: Reading Tony Hoagland’s work, it is so affecting, I knew I wanted to learn to be able to connect like that. I adore the way he expresses the magicness of the everyday.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Marcelle: I regularly attend a workshopping group with Rhian Edwards, Tracey Rhys, Emily Cotterill, Susie Wildsmith and Emily Blewitt, who are all fantastic writers and thoughtful readers. The wonderful Christina Thatcher has been my mentor for almost 2 years now and her steady influence and insight I greatly value.
It is a privilege to be able to read hundreds of poetry submissions in my position as poetry editor for Nightingale and Sparrow, this has really informed my own writing persuasions. In 2020 I worked on a Pandemic Poetry anthology – the submissions were astounding in their breadth and intensity, it was a honour to read for. Editing has definitely helped my ability to objectively assess my own writing.
The twitter poetry community is always generous, I particularly enjoy the inclusive home that Matthew Smith has created around his Black Bough Poetry micro-poem world.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Marcelle: I grew up and went to school in Cardiff, capital of Wales, before moving on graduation, via London, to Portsmouth on the south coast of England. I have been very lucky always living close to the sea and hills. My parents love the sea and we would often daytrip to visit, in all its different forms, in all types of weather. I trained as an Architect and have been lucky enough to travel to Australia & New Zealand, North America & Canada, and Western Europe. I love well laid out European urban spaces and can recall routes and places easily, which I often dream about walking through, and they end up on the page.
Q6: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Marcelle: I enjoy writing about the everyday, highlighting the precious normal, which can easily be overlooked with our hectic lives.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Marcelle: I love making dresses for my young daughter from found materials (scarves from charity shops, my dad’s old shirts), wind bathing! and reading with continuous cups of tea.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Marcelle: From ‘Weeping willow’ my poem published in Indigo Dreams’ ‘Dear Dylan, an anthology after Dylan Thomas’: She knew: memory as a trick, there’s only now. So they bathe, drink, exert, worship – keep not to themselves and believe in divine cultivation.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Marcelle: Not really! Watch this space, first pamphlet coming soon (hopefully)!