Poetry Showcase June 2022 for John Chinaka Onyeche “Rememberajc”

Let Your Kingdom Come

With her voice, she whispered behind. // Let’s make our kingdom come tonight, // And let’s dwell in its home of ecstasy. // For kingdoms are not wild and woolly, // They are a garden well tended to by all, // The kings, subjects, and all care for its peace. // Tonight, let’s have a stroll down the seaside; // And be welcomed by a myriad of flowers, // Ones bearing our choices roses of many colours, // For all these twilight long, I have mended our cruise ship, // The captain and divers are ready to roll our ship, // Into the sparkling waters of devotion unreserved, // Where we will forever inhabit in peace of sanity, //Joy and tranquil, away from our noisy earth, // We will daily build and rebuilding our stories of love, // With the waters of the blue ocean as holy water, //From here we had set out our journey into eternity.

Tongue of an Orphan

This is another poem from where I am breaking my silence, and musing in the tongues of an orphan child of the world, and this is to sing how we have cried as an orphan and never been heard from every thick wall that muffled our voices off the street of mercy and remembrance.

For it is a new poem that tells from where we have learned too quickly to shelter our desires with garments of voiceless wishes in the night, and how we are chased each day, by the breaking of the new day with the realities of the day, and who we are amongst the world today.

In this poem entitled tongue of an orphan, where we have muffled our desires with tears, and clothed our realities with coats of many colours we wore, from this refuge of the land we are born to; as to the sunrise, we arose to embrace life, with life’s cracked-body too rough to be held with bare hands, but with wills, we embrace it with our eyes closed in rivers, as life has vowed to be life in all its forms;

For as an orphan child, we have learned to embrace embers of live coals with our bare hands, and as with thoughts and wills not to be burnt, we have thrown our fears overboard our ship to our dreamland, and are inventing the man next to us in the mirror of life’s grief, and of one who has overcome the tsunamis of life’s winds, and standing at the tip-top of the highest mountains; as we run this race in anticipation for a crown at last, though many are the life’s blows and not like man’s hits of fists against his fellow man, but, we have kept the dreams alive along the way to the crest, and for this is what life as an orphan child has been with us in the tongue of an orphan child.

And as we have been driven and drawn from life’s springs, to water the land from where we are its survival of the fittest, for many are the dreams of our unquenchable desires, in this land of our journey to the promised land of all men, we have become of many troubles with good hopes, in the tongue of an orphan child dwells our tales of victory at last.

(A poem I wrote after William Shakespeare's)
"Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day"

Shall I not liken your beauty as a day in paradise?
You are more lovely and more gentle as a dove:
Though rough winds of life had shaken your wings, 
And the summer's rain-drenched your feathers;
Sometimes you are too cold of our love because of fear, 
And often, you choose to dim the light of our love;
And every dark from the dark side of our love, you declines,
By chance or out of the unknown you feel untrimmed; 
But I assure you, our home is eternal and shall not fade, 
Nor shall there be any dispossession of our dearer; 
Nor should death brag and shades our love to eternity, 
When in eternal lines to life we shall grow:
So long as the River Niger never runs dry or eyes can see,
So long as this love gives our lives a meaning to live.


"The Chinaman meets you with the stolid morality of his Confucianism; the Hindoo with astute logic for his patheism... When I carry my touch into the caves of Africa, I meet only filthy birds of darkness."  Returned Missionary 1873. 

Africa, Seen As A Cave of Darkness

History is biased to my continent, 
and only the few of us would tell; 
how it is in every race stood culture, 
some to the human detrimental; 
and others to their development. 

But why is my Africa is likened to men in caves, 
while her development and culture; 
with men across the sea is seen as evil, 
even that which happens in their lands. 

History is prejudice to the black man, 
it tells of my origin in another's tongue; 
wrecking me my pride and sense of belonging; 
to the human families to which I belongs. 

Histories of the blacks are told with one-sidedness; 
with the mindset of dehumanising his race, 
this is another way history prejudices, 
of the people of our African descent. 

Caves of darkness; where raw materials; 
they sourced from; in their quest to rule, 
a land where their gods has kept their golds; 
maybe for their invasion and conquest. 

Within their mouths, the streets of Bini is never mentioned, 
where the inhabitants of the great city lights; 
up their city entrance to the kingdom with palm-oil, 
because it is not in their language to write; 
of our mind bewildering craftmanship. 

In their quest to write about us the men's of Africa, 
they were so - occupied by negative notions of race,
as my Africa is seen as a cave of darkness and not 
as a continent.

Freedom At Last

We have broken off from the nutshell of pains,
with our sledgehammers of will, and determine.
Against that which encloses our rays of shining.
It was not the sweetest portion of our lives  but, 
It was the necessary path to thread in time.
The ones that ushers us into the purified soul,
where nothing is again hidden within a man.
It is at this threshold that knelt those great, 
to receive their golden crowns, for they've won; - 
the battles of life and its happenings in time.
Those whose names are written in time. 
Those names in a golden pen that arises; 
from afar off they shone their glittering!-
For time heals our wounds of visits to the house, 
those moments of pains and catastrophe; 
They are the only thing that matters to us, 
For it usher us into that needed truths.

Bio:

John Chinaka Onyeche “Rememberajc” (he/his) is an author of three poetry collections “Echoes Across The Atlantic”, a husband, father and poet from Nigeria. He writes from the city of Port Harcourt Rivers State, Nigeria. He is currently a student of History and Diplomatic Studies at Ignatius Ajuru University Of Education Port Harcourt Rivers State.

John Chinaka can be reached through the following means:

Rememberajc.wordpress.com

Facebook.com/jehovahisgood 

Twitter.com/apostlejohnchin

Apostlejohnchinaka@gmail.com

https://linktr.ee/Rememberajc

A Poetry Showcase from Robert Pegel

The Enemy Within

Paralyzed with frustration.
This is not how
it’s supposed to be.
This wasn’t the plan.
Everything is overwhelming now.
Can’t turn to anyone
but myself.
Have to pay someone
to listen to my problems.

Needing a friend
but why pretend
when there are no 
answers in the end?
No one will ever
make sense of this madness
and believe me 
I give it my all.
Born into a family 
who was born to
suffer and die young.
To know death 
and its aftermath
a little too well.
Still want to be me.
A changed version of me.
A blend of the new
 and the old.
A different person
when we hear the call
and are summoned 
to rise above it all.                                                                                                                      

Saul become Paul
in the Bible.
It’s never too late.
Put on the armor and
draw your sword.
Fight the enemy within.    

Always hovering around 
and causing problems.                                                                                                               
Living inside you.
Draining your energy and                                                                       
turning you inside out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Steady as you go
this better world 
is awaiting you.
Greeting your arrival.
Waiting on a soft landing
in the end.
A rain drop kiss
on a flower.



Turbulent Times

I’m at war with myself,
tired of being me.
Be easy with yourself they say,
don’t be your own worst enemy.
But I’ve got to live in this tortured
mind.
It’s exhausting.
Wish we lived in a world
where we could swap out
our minds for a few days
or weeks.
See how someone else likes
rattling around in this labyrinth.
Seeing too many points of view.
And insomnia days on end.
Feel like a caged animal,
begging to be set free.
A mind shouldn’t be a weapon,
and mine’s turned against me.

Rude Awakening

It’s a life no one quite grasps completely.
We stumble from day to day.
Revel in small victories.
Keep silent in our defeats.
Sidestepping the spiritual matters
until one day the heaviness falls 
on top of us out of nowhere.
Then the laughter goes away
and the tears fall like burning rain.
We are so alone, aimlessly pursuing 
what we no longer care about.
Left feeling not even a part of this world.
Defenseless against the merciless pain.
Someone sip from my cup,
let me know you care.
Don’t believe in bad circumstances.
Hope life means more than
dumb luck.
Brace yourself.
You’re on the ride of your life.
Some day there may be
time to reflect.
Until then prepare for the undertow
and the pull of a presence
bigger than yourself.

Reluctant Visitor

Moments of clarity
are few and far between.
The sunshine sometimes helps
clear the fog in my mind.
Coupled with the cold
on my face I somehow feel more alive.
Less wanting to curl up
and hide.
So I continue walking aimlessly
down the treacherous road
of a life not chosen.
My son was my world.
I’m supposed to live without him now.
Just like that.
What kind of horror did I agree to
when I signed on coming into
this world?


Bio: Robert Pegel is a husband and father whose only child, his son Calvin, died in his sleep at age 16.  Robert writes to try and transform his grief by creating.
Robert holds a BA in English from Columbia University.
He has been published in Backchannels, Resurrection Magazine, Goat’s Milk, ZiN Daily, Fahmidan Journal, The Madrigal and others.  He has work forthcoming in Door is a Jar 
and North Dakota Quarterly.

June Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon (MA, Creative Writing, Newcastle University, 2017)
Ceinwen lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in online magazines and in print anthologies. Her first chapbook is ‘Cerddi Bach’ [Little Poems], Hedgehog Press, July 2019. Post-retirement from social work, she is developing practice as participatory arts facilitator. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

On Different Pages

She took hours, no days,
searching for the perfect
tome, for him. Her gift 
to her love, for Christmas. 

After Bucks Fizz, croissants
and coffee, they exchange
their presents. He whoops
with delight. She tears

the cheap wrapping paper
to reveal a hairdryer,
(she already has two).
I thought you might,

he says, smarten up.
Now I’ve got promotion.
She excuses herself, leaves
him deep in his book.

The End.

Going Back

Exhausted, she lies down on the forest floor
careless of pricks from pine needles.
Her laboured breathing calms. In sleep
she smiles, restored into her lover’s arms.
Her dreams carry them both through stratospheres,
mercifully freed from her flawed mistake, 
melded back and unified. Here, her betrayal 
is forgiven, laid to rest, at last. Trust’s fed, 
and step by step regrown. Nestled 

on winter’s iron ground, grass-frost 
freezes her from head to toe. Rime 
glazes her clothes. Hypothermic, 
she cannot move, cannot hear 
her darling’s calls to her
as they ricochet around 
the steep valley walls.


After the Storm

Downcast eyes track trudged-up mud paths,
precipitation’s aftermath. Gaze up, 
sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Dreary vistas, dun and mizzled, are bathed 
in crystal light, reborn and dazzling.
Sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Downpours soak those who brave outdoors,
winds blow clouds apart in circles. Rainbows arc,
sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Empty Kennel

Lone Ranger, a proud Alsatian,
we got him as pup. He was always
yours, even though I fed him,
bagged up his shit on long walks.
If I shut my eyes, I hear your voice,
Rangie, Rangie, here boy. Usually
he came back quickly, thankfully.
He wasn’t chipped like dogs today.
When you left me, I lost him too. 

I still dreamt of Ranger, not so much
of you. Tonight, your number flashed
up on my mobile phone, I prepared 
to hear his friendly growl. He’s dead,
you said, a growth. She doesn’t get it,
I know you will. Can you forgive me?

Shifting Sands

On soft sands, footprints soon fill with salt water,

clear marks soon squidge and disappear.
Sundown’s light plays across the beach, 
torches memories, renewed into brief flares.
Clear marks soon squidge and disappear.
Faint eyes shine smiles then trail into mists,
warm memories renew in brief, bright flares.

On soft sands, footprints soon fill with salt water.

Brain Gym Workout in Old Age

I only do hard sudokus,
run by Guardian-Observer newspapers
Thursday through to Sundays.
Monday to Wednesday’s easier grids leave me cold,
so I welcome every Thursday, eager 
to be challenged, once again. Then, gravely
I remember I’m another week
nearer to death 
and I’m wishing my days away.

choices

sculling with both oars
relentless activity
on work’s rough-watered river

or skiving inert through lockdown days
perchance to dream 
and find another way to be

unprecedented times
I never thought I’d have this option
space to write 
break free

can I land my battered craft   
by a sloping bank
lie back and muse

find words to hymn the sky 

Longing for Ross Sands, Northumberland

Landlocked by another lockdown,
I fret for sand between my toes.
Landlocked by another lockdown.

In dreams, waves billow, spray and blow
saltwater on my wrinkled skin.
I fret for sand between my toes.

Sanderlings paddle, lure me in
to freeze my feet in North Sea joy,
saltwater on my wrinkled skin.

Seaside ramblings will never cloy,
I’ll wade and dance in rippling surf,
to freeze my feet in North Sea joy.

I pray before I leave this earth,
landlocked by another lockdown,
I’ll wade and dance in rippling surf,
freed up from my final lockdown.
        
                                                        [terzanelle]










Poetry Showcase for Owen Bullock

Bio: Owen Bullock’s most recent publications are Impression (Beir Bua Press, 2022), and Uma rocha enorme que anda à roda (A big rock that turns around), translations of his tanka into Portuguese by Francisco Carvalho (Temas Originais, 2021). His other titles include, Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019), Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017), and Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. His other interests include juggling, music and chess. https://poetry-in-process.com/ @OwenTrail @ProcessPoetry 

Latest found

drink a tankard of sweet Williams

spin-passing a rolled-up blanket

hide –

a common bird

lands miraculously

waterboatmen

skim dark water –

set resin

he’s caught a tree

will sending flowers to myself boost my serotonin?

no more crossing the suburbs

except for old pebbles

and lines the birds brought

cloud on cloud

I dream I’m dreaming

you might not have any eyes

a bouquet of orange

You hold out your hands & take it. It collapses, spreads, your feet soaked with the colour, you start running, running over day, you lose weight, you feel great, you’re young again. Some of it splashes off on your friend Serafim & she’s climbing, climbing the ladder to put the finishing touches to her sculpture, a thousand pom-poms made of wool, one bounces down & bobbles to the feet of a child, who picks it up & gazes, suddenly her hand is sore with hope, her eyes gleam seablue, seablue rides a sleek canoe in no time over rapids, lands at the base of the mountain, meets a boy in a barrel, gives him a bouquet of pink.

ghost bears

dressed to the teeth

guilt mechanics

the consequences are not immediate

it’s a work on

the hardest step is over the threshold

squeezing the stone

asemic

online psychic’s side-kicks

the orthopaedic surgeons are more like carpenters

spray-painted

on the power box

open your 3rd eye

the architect thought of the building as a sculpture

the sculpture thought of the architect as a building

the building thought of the sculpture as an architect

the thought of architect as a building, the sculpture

of the thought as the architect building a sculpture,

the sculpture building a thought as of the architect

of the building, as a sculpture the architect thought,

the thought building as a sculpture of the architect,

the sculpture of, as building the architect a thought

a conversation with the garden

what do they do when they’re a fuckwit?

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

(Fornication Under Consent of the King)

or Old High German: to strike

(tips, golf and posh also aren’t acronyms)

I’ll just give you the wave tops

skype call unanswered –

not one of Philip Glass’

best

somebody came into my house and used my deodorant

I linger

For a word. For eye contact. For the assurance I’m not crazy. For the knowledge that you had something like this with your mother, with your father. Mother comes first, always. Mother. I linger in the hope you’ll need a hug of comfort. I linger so you know I’m here, listening, even to the trailing off sentence. I linger because you were kind to me once.

Sweating in the sun of summer.

Noticing the age of autumn.

Accepting long nights of winter.

Walking in the meadow of spring.

Poems are easier than small talk.

KING – MAN + WOMAN = QUEEN

did you ring the hospital?
did you phone the dentist?
did you book for Monday night?

I dare do all that may become a man

you could pull the curtains . . .

Love

YOUR

SELF

this morning’s

graffiti wisdom

Feelings of power deactivate parts of the brain responsible for ‘mirroring’, which underscores empathy.

I like to autumn through my schedule

my other life as a teacher

kiss the grim reaper

a new comprehension

poorly equipped poem

on a bus with nine other poems

making unreasonable demands on the commuter

collected in lever arch files

linger   long after day

   evening moon

admin –

you gotta go through us

to get a patch

Undercover

at the Buddhist Training Centre

everything is offensive to someone

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are old and . . .

de-emphasising the ego

preparing for death

I’m the one who goes around

turning the lights off

take the frustration out

make notes for the anthropologist

I let my music take me

where my heart wants to go

They say losing love

is like a window in your heart

Men wanted

for the Alpaca a cappella group

To save a day

the deejay said Karm
I say ‘deejay’, it was
the graffiti artist
MC of the street

The phone rang. It was a diptych. I eyed it with both eyes. The phone rang again. A triptych. I got confused (though dramatically satisfied by the hint of three-act structure). I went to the window, one scene: trees, mountains, grass. I took several paces back, a run up, crashed through the glass. Out. 

I get in step with the water dragon . . . twitch my tail like it . . . tilt my head . . . scamper forward a few centimetres . . . I am old    I watch the water   I turn my head   I watch the water   skittle forward & when the crow comes I run a while and hey a cormorant pops up and I watch and scoot on the red gravel     people talk in the park, the cormorant dives   ripples spread till you can’t see anything   except the ripples that were already there     a pukeko struts, coots bob     the water dragon comes back     I’ll have to go soon     the water dragon edges close   waddle-walking    green bobbles   its jagged crown

I fantasise telling them the only way to make amends for this latest round of time-draining admin cock-ups is for the boss himself to come over with a handmade fruit cake. When I come back from lunch there’s a cake sitting in the kitchen. I missed the boss, it’s a bought cake and it’s not fruit, but . . .

it helps to know
that in some parallel world, 
some memory or Youtube clip
Roger Daltry is still running on the spot
Pete Townsend swinging that arm
for the power chords
and the crowd taking up the chant
of teenage wasteland

be careful crossing the road, she says
forgetting I usually pole-vault over

so much to be
anxious about
the floodlights
reflect in the lake
like magic wands

New Poems from Donna Dallas

Half a Hole

Turned out
when the din
the twisted neon lights
the swaying bodies
all evaporated into
green sulphury ghosts
into boredom
into heavy - meaning the fatness
of calling it quits

Turned out
that when you turned up
I threw in the towel
it was wet and matted
stank like mildew
squishy under my feet
I, just as squishy
trampled it good though

I became the harpsichord
played to broken
dilapidated elephant in the room
withered and rusty brain
tilting to one side
a good lean into a hole
but just
half a hole

Deadlock

Everyday day at 1:45pm
we kick off
another round of silence
I head out the door
drive to the bay
watch the waves cut into each other
all the seagulls in swift play
lurk for lunch

Avoidance and I - we get along quite well
I’ve stuffed my pockets with hurt
they bulge in distress
try to conjure up a way
to transfer this awful distress
pass it onto these ravenous gulls in waiting hunger
but to no avail
I find myself back home gorged with sadness
only to run the gamut again
it’s this ritual - this addiction 
that keeps me going

Ride or Die

In between your legs
sits the red eye of a loon

hungry and wanting
behind your eyes

dwells the mind of a bat shit waif
ablaze with envy over the filthy loon

hobbling alone along the edge 
of the storm ridden shore

pecking and sifting
ready to launch at any movement

even a sand worm
you’ve seen the shift from glazed purple skies

all through speckled stars
along the skyline and think

the loon has it better
in between your loathing and longing

lives the ever-slightest seedling of good
some little pocket of hope

that pulls you along
day after scarce day

as if you didn’t long so loosely
for the loon to be yours

for the moon to be yours
for the hole in your tainted head 

to close in the palm 
of your sweaty hand

The Residuals

Feel the cold against my skin
sharp
icy slaps
could have driven
walked instead
to Maritza’s salon
can’t do my own hair
this is a necessity
every four days

Today the child is there
in the chair
agonizing screams
while I sit and watch in horror
I know something is wrong with her
realize she is not a child at all
but a little adult

I’m late now
stare at a roach creeping its way
up the wall
screams turn to howls
the poor creature struggles 
to twist out of the grasp
of her nurse
she growls low and long
Maritza picks up her left foot 
crushes the roach
with her bright yellow 
patent pump

I walk outside
the growling rises 
into a high-pitched laugh 
a row of pigeons perch on the phone wire
ascend in unison from the vibrations
of this cackling 
pigeon shit on my windshield
a ripe smelling homeless person 
walks by rolling four connected carts 
each filled to the brim with plastic bottles

I just want my hair done
I don’t want this cross
nor to think of these horrors
that are as real as these fierce gusts of wind
real as those haunting bellows
and my roots that also need a touch up
I wish I was next in line for Maritza
that nice nurse - taking the poor creature to the salon to get her hair done
holding and stroking her bony hands
cradling her fragile body
Maritza trying so hard to apply the color in quick strokes

Sky dark and deadly to a grey black
if this were the end of the world
who or what
besides
roaches
plastic
homeless people
and pigeons
would replace these screams
and where would I go
for a blow-out?

Chagrin

You’re going to hate him again
and again
his calloused hands
initialed shirts
perfectly shined shoes
Saturday stubble
morning erection
the way the dog cuddles into him

His muscular legs
that long winded conversation 
he took over at that godawful dinner party
to save you from stumbling into yourself
his deep voice
you know where this is going

When Catullus said odi et amo
(I hate and love)
thousands of years ago
you think Catullus didn’t know what he was talking about
back then?
before chivalry
before sexting

It’s as obvious as which cup you know 
your lover will choose in the morning
glimpse his deep blue eyes
as you pour his coffee
this is a tragedy of torment
that you love 
to play over 
and over


Bio: Donna Dallas studied creative writing and philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to write under William Packard, founder of the New York Quarterly.  She has appeared in a plethora of journals, most recently The Opiate, Beatnik Cowboy, SpillWords and Phantom Kangaroo.  Donna serves on the editorial team of Red Fez and New York Quarterly.

@DonnaDallas15

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