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)

4 poems by Linda M. Crate : “The Choice is Yours” “So I Would Never Fail” “I Love Being a Woman” & “They’ll Hold Everything Against You”

the choice is yours
you want submissive wallflowers
seen but never heard,
but i’m not your arm candy;

i am a woman with a mind,
heart, and soul—

respect my magic or fall prey
to every monster of me
because i will surrender my power
to none,

and you are a jester without a court;

don’t think you’re welcome in my kingdom
should you find women lesser than
i cannot stand people who think they’re above me

or they’re better than me because i’m a woman—

i was given these words,
and this riot in my soul;
i can warm your house or burn it down
the choice is yours.
-linda m. crate

accept me as my dream
i have always been a wild woman
they told me as a child i should be more tame

i only grew more silent as my ferocity grew,
and i could bite my tongue so they never knew
just how sharp a sword it was;

they thought they could disrespect me and get
respect in return but it never happened that way—

all i ever wanted was to be appreciated for
who i was,
but they wanted to point out all my flaws
as if they didn’t have their own;

so i painted every sunset of my rage with their ruins—

because if you cannot accept me as dream
then all you will ever get of me is nightmares.

so i would never fail
i was taught
to be submissive,

but i was never
good at
listening;

always questioned everything—

the weight of the world
is sometimes too much,
and i have to remind myself
i am not atlas;
cannot carry it all by myself

still sometimes
i find myself trying—

every time i struggled and asked
for help i was told that i was smart
or that i would figure it out or that i was
strong,

and while all of these things are true;
i didn’t ask for help unless i needed it—

i have cried myself to sleep so many
times
wondering why i wasn’t good enough

i realize now that i always was,
but some people won’t appreciate you
no matter how much you love them
so i decided to love myself so i would never
fail.

i love being a woman
they thought they were so clever
with their insults
telling me that i was someone
who was disgusting,

but it was just their reflection
they spoke of;

beautiful people don’t need to put
everyone else down in order to elevate
themselves

only bullies do—

because i am a woman i have always been
questioned in everything i do,
and people talk over and under and around me
to avoid the gravity of my life and experiences;

i have been told i have lied about things
people told me by random men on the internet—

i love being a woman, but i wish it wasn’t in a man’s world.

they’ll hold everything against you
when you’re a woman
they will hold everything
against you

too much make-up
not enough

too fat or too skinny

not pretty enough no matter
how gorgeous you truly are

poking and prodding
until they get a reaction,
and you’re always the monster
even when you’re innocent;

if you’re assaulted or raped
somehow that’s your fault
what were you wearing?
did you drink anything?
learn how to protect yourselves.

almost as if men don’t
have any responsibility
to their wives, their daughters,
and their friends.

Bio: Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has seven published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017),  splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and the samurai (Yellow Arrowing Publishing, October 2020), and three micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). She also has three full-length poetry collections, the latest being You Will Not Control Me (Cyberwit, March 2021).

photo by Laura Chouette (unsplash)

3 poems by Tuur Verheyde : “April in Exile” “May Meandering” “March in Ending”

April in Exile 

The Morrigan soars across emerald skies.
Devilry will only join in doom.
Madness mixes as much it can.
Harpies hover above my barren mount,
They shit tar and turpentine.
Depression and Delirium struggle to reign supreme.
Sloth, my deadliest sin, blasts them both.
It owns me now.


My cloven tongue licks its bloodied lips
An unshaven cheek peels away,
Its barren rotting skin.
This face may show decay,
For none who care shall look upon it.
My sluggish hands slowly get to work,
The cogs cough and moan, as dust rises
And cobwebs are torn by movement;
Black smoke rises from my nose.

Exile tastes of mouldy bread.
Envy projects scenes of joy,
I miss the play, the party-lights.
My nights glitter with the spectre of artillery fire.
I anger and confuse my former friends.
Forgive me, Jocasta. I am blinded by bitterness.
I am hollow.
I cannot join your merry nights
Without defiling them.
Forgive me, Medea, I will bleed for your craft.
Forgive me, Flowers. I will not disturb your bloom.
Forgive me, classicists, for leaving your velvet fold.
I am weak, but will return.

I am woken by battle cries.
The homestead shivering once again;
The ravings of an old Ogre,
Whose self-righteous mania
Makes even the dogs cringe with shame.
How cruel, for Dementia to curse this hold a second time.

Academia appears to me,
Her patience is running out.
Mild, she once was.
A golden Minerva for whom I knelt.
Sloth now stays my hand,
And she grows darker every empty day.
She is Nemesis, fuelled by the furies’ zest.
She will have my blood before summer.

May now crawls upon the stage,
A month before the horrid trial.
Academia and Sloth fight without an end.
Depression is a man-eater with crimson manes.
He tears my flesh,
Bit by bit.
In exile, I cannot bring pestilence upon the blissful.
In exile, I can diminish in desolate dreams.
As a beast peels off my skin with the utmost patience,
I await my doom.
The way is shut,
All paths will unravel soon.

May Meandering

I
This is the prologue to my obituary,
I write it while lashes ring in my ears.
No more scribbled shit will further burden
Your tired eyes, reader.
I stroll betwixt sand and storms,
Waiting for Damocles’ blade to be released.
Don’t worry, it won’t be long.

Maggots hollow out the flesh,
Carving caverns into bones,
Carving homes for bugs and beetles,
Rotted beneath the sun,
Rotted beneath the rain,
I lie slain in meadowsweet.
Destined to be a den
For crawling creatures of the night.
I slew myself for the greater good,
For shame, for honour and such toss.
Ajax-like I plunged a blade into my chest,
Oedipus-evoking I gouged out my eyes.
A hollow husk to house the gnawing ones
Is what became of me.
Blood spilled in idle crying,
Flows deep into the chasms of the earth.
Gaps and fissures open up to swallow me.
The black soil shows its teeth,
Its vampire-like grin.
‘Desde abajo te devora
Desde abajo te devora.’

And none around to bury me,
None to cover my bloody tears with gold.
None to take a scalp or a bone,
A token of death.
None to sprinkle lilies, to sprinkle blooming death,
None to mourn the eternal dead.
And I awake from a maddening dream,
To see death without a grave.
The earth vomits me back out,
And I rise in the moonlit night.
Claws and spikes grow from me,

And I remember how I passed.
I see faces I once loved,
Through the midnight hour
They glare, now unloving.
I sow the seeds of absence,
To reap hatred in return.

II

The miasmic mist mingles with humidity.
Mingled is our mind, our sense.
We close the soil and salt the earth.

War is waged on cyber fronts,
Digital domains raided again.
Chechnya drips into the mind,
Love is being murdered there,
Another silent genocide.
Eurovision slouches on the screen,
Gasp, laugh, gloat and applaud.
Trump whines and weeps,
The pustule always keep erupting.

We are walled in with cardboard boxes.
Wotan’s host crossed the border,
This time passing past the hills.
They tamed the salient and brought us rain;
Hooved stampedes and hissing iron.
The hammer falls,
And zealous floods spice the panting air.

The triple-faced Diane rises from the rain,
Hounds howling as she ascends.
Youngling’s blood flows as her libation.
She slides across a sleepless eve,
To show me white cliffs,
The Demeter landing on ravaged shores.
A beast disembarks,
Lashed limbs left in its wake.
Vapour crawls beneath your doors,
Lidless eyes pierce the skies,
They watch us as we sleep.
The worlds were poured
Through my waking hours.
In the night,
I am poured through them.

I return on the snake of steel,
The land is not what it was.
Sociability, a maze,
Crooked walls, cloaked in black,
Curling on the horizon’s hills,
Plunging in the valley’s depths.
The sky wears a scarf with violet tones.
Sighing in silence, I retreat.
This is no place for a pariah.
Forgiveness is a godly gift.
Unworthy fools must make way.

Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned.
I pay in unshed tears,
In absence and in cold.
In silent faces frowning.
In powerlessly texting first,
Against an ocean of silence.

My soul shows me deserts,
Earth cracked by drought,
Citrine skies blazing
With whirling clouds.
I see rusted metal ridding.
Rotting citadels of steel
Tower above ashen lands.
The furies pave our barren roads.
Skies are burning above our graves.
The killing of the world,
No future for the wicked.
Morpheus tells me to prepare,
Forsaken, I stand before an envoy of divinity.
The gods of godlessness have abandoned us,
The old alliances are fucked to bits.

The blade sways above me,
To fall
On Ascension Day.

March in Ending
I

March, in ending
Becomes the gravedigger of last year’s ambitions.
Spring is the true season of death.
For as Autumn and Winter peel away
The life in nature,
They do so gently.
The slowly balding head
Of Gaia
Does not provoke
A tear in time.

Spring, however, disrespectfully
Blasts its way through the gloom
We had become so familiar with.
The beauty of the blossom
Caresses the eye,
The explosion of colour shakes
The jaded soul into summer sentiment.
But in the tremors of rebirth
Lies the realisation of death.
How long since we gazed upon
March’s caressing sun.
How many things have died since then.
But unlike the flora,
Many of these things were not made for rebirth.

Time has passed, alas.
The sweet warmth of the sun,
Leaves the bitterness of loss
Upon our merry minds.
Thus March,
In its final days, covers
The lost with fertile earth,
And allows for new life
To grow upon them.
They disappear beneath
The carpet of colour
And sink in the soil
Of faded Memory.

II

March in ending,
Summons the hounds of hell.
Demons take a hold of me.
Not the paralysing
Not the self-loathing
No, Anarchy now inhabits me.
I cover Time with a cloth,
I turn of the power to the social leash,
I knowingly abstain from Duty’s emotional blackmail.
I answer to no one.
I renounced fancy and its tricks,
I renounced the grey pantomime of sociability,
I renounced it all.
Lectures on Woodrow Wilson’s great aunt’s aching toenail,
On anecdotes concerning curry and self-indulgent wank.
Seminars on the structuring of souls harvested from
Their now dreamless livestock.
Drunk on our blood, we are judged by the ivory towers
Of sycophantic sociability in the name of scholarship.

Academia,
I am Judas to thy Christ.
I am Brutus to thy Caesar.
I am The Confederation to thy Union.
I must the betrayer to thy cause,
Serving a cause before which even you
Should kneel.

I lie,
Loveless,
Bleeding,
With my thirty pieces of silver:
Buying books I have not the courage to read
Writing poems that will not be read,
Wasting my time with self-indulgence
That that sustains and destroys me.
Occasionally, I leave my row house cave.
I look at the world through coloured glasses—
Literally, not metaphorically—
March frees Persephone from Hades’ clutch,
March heralds Ostara of the Dawn,
And all those who resurrected by her.
March must be the season of war,
As old grievances bloom accompanied by flora,
As old hellish creatures screech next to songbirds.
All beasts do the dance of death
On blossoming meadows filled with life.
I dig the grave of my academic future,
And the guilt wains, day by day.
Day by day, a few hours of work
Undermine my self-sabotaging whims.

Cut the flesh and heal the wound,
Cut the flesh and heal the wound,
Not for pain,
Not for guilt,
But because we must.
If Sisyphus was happy,
Why not Tantalus?
Why not us?

In the end, it matters not.
Fulfilling duty or opposing it.
All seems equal.
All echoes with the same resonance,
The same fickle tremors.
Anarchy is master
When no one else is.

III

March in ending
May end me,
May end the me that was.
It tells me nothing,
Shows me nothing.
But the fickleness of time,
The treacherous nature
Of Nature.
Thus we end,
Like March
On a pointless
Sour confusing note,
As my anticipation of serendipity
Resembles a less brilliant
Less existential
Less poetic
Less humorous
Waiting for Godot.


Find Tuur on twitter @TuurVerheyde

https://t.co/GVL1jgRKQE?amp=1 for his website.












Left for Nothingness: Poem by Kushal Poddar

Statics cackle. An orchestra of insects
plays a leathery elytra music,
and the riverboat leaves the jetty
as the city becomes another kind of insect,
the one whose belly bags the soft fire in protest
against the darkness of the late springtime.
Leaving? Where to? I hold a paper ticket
to ticking oblivion. The insects dissect silence
and murmuring of the commuters alike, and then
there hum the machine, water, shadows.
The other Bank is nowhere to be seen.

Bio: An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’. His works have been translated in ten languages. Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
AuthorFacebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe


photo by Dylan Nolte

Poem by David L O’Nan : “New Disease Streets”

New Disease Streets

I cut a record in the trance of snaps
On a new disease street.
Watching them worship the homeless man’s defeat
They stole our dancing jewels,
And from that fame
The sandwich bag Madonnas grew.
The appetite for the bleak and the new.


Music breathes out of dead-end windows
Cockroach apartments smell better than –
The flesh that is sticky from these sweat bleeding streets.
Oh, the wet blades shine more when they’re silver.
An appetite for the starved and the view.


The alcoholics are stretching for a new fight.
Those dirty pigeons that sleep in the grass instead of the trees.
I bravely found a quarter in the storm drain,
It appears the acid has eaten away at George Washington’s face.


Nevertheless, I can ride in the rusted pink taxis –
That drives faster than quicksand.
It is lonely then sickly.
Huffing in graffiti paint fumes through the holes of a brown sack.

I’ve surmised that I’ve digested the whole city, and my stomach is –
Starting to rumble and splash in its own rivers.
Now, my existence has been debated for years.
But for now, you can call me Galileo –
Because I’m punching down the stars to the land.


We are just trying to give the dying one last light show.
With all the roses’ souls, I’ve ripped from the soil.
Before we all slip back into a coma
And dress back down to our dusty selves.

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

photo by Denis Agati

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