6 Short Poems from David L O’Nan in the Cartoon Diaries

COUNTRY LIVING BACK WHEN

We came from fields of rotten smells.
Dreamt up the 1950’s ideal man.
Then he threw us around.
Hid in his hideaway smirks.
Drank by the pond
and sung Hank Williams to the catfish.
We called him grandpa
as he called us losers and tramps.
He was built by the machines.
We must live our lives
like a cartoon idea
from the daily paper.

We are neglected,
accomplishing only how to grease our hair
and become misogynists.
You know what the devils would see,
and report to the newsies.
How you are not truly ideal at all
when you sit there
on a hill of sunsets
…peeling the flesh off the rose petals.

A TICKET TO THE RODEO

Eyes across the blind rodeo
Red handkerchief bandanas
Clash into a pastel fade of dirty air
Wrestling this old dream
Bull ropes suffocating clarity
Whipping me with consistency
Lashes to my skin
Burns in sips of breath
Take my hand, from this grave
Now silent and indolent

A SCANDAL FOR VULTURES

Combing through the dirt for the symbols we lost
Meet me in the middle
At the Equatorial line
It is midnight with wheels flying
With the spreading of chaotic stars
Busting windows with their falling bodies of light

SUPERMOON

A bowing to my cello
On a night of the Supermoon
A dream escaped
And infected the stars
A galaxy dripping the melt of night
Onto the mellow moon
The creating of purging tides
Rupture to the staring eyes of the elliptic orbit
The cello strings wither
The bridge shatters

ON THE RUN FROM THE DELUGE

After thousands of jailbreaks
Masking all those millions of mental suicides
Quickly young gamblers
Collect your winnings
The chips spill to the oily cement floor
Blanketing a scrambled moonlight
Wherever you run
Act as though your body has disappeared
Whistle a schemer’s tune
A pretender
An atheist living in Art Deco stained glass window

BURNING MAZES

Again tonight
Slumping against the tub
Tears mingling to the floor
Thinking about the old home
The family I knew from long ago
Everything had to change so suddenly
When my father left this plane
Leave in the clogging of internal pain
I won’t find my way home
These burning mazes won’t lead me there

photo feature by Jesse Gardner (unsplash)

Avalanches in Poetry 2 Entry: Peter and the Sea of G by Carrie Sword

Peter and the Sea of G


He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.

[from Suzanne by Leonard Cohen]

A sparkling crown arcs our horizon at night. By day, we skim the ripples and swells of a liquid desert. We sail
back and forth across the Sea of G all the time. We risk being swallowed by it every day, and I usually love that.


Eashoa said he’d meet us on the far shore after he’d calmed the crowd and had some time alone. But on the
boat, none of us slept and the ocean roiled more than usual. It was like how I felt earlier that day.


We’d led hundreds of beginners into the desert to hear him. They sat rapt until dusk. Then they were thirsty,
feint, and I felt their eyes on us like we’d know what to do. He prayed, and I found that frustrating considering
the danger of being mobbed. Then it turned out there were people with food in the crowd. Actually, a lot of
food. Everyone ate and felt abuzz about the future. So the trouble in my mind was no trouble at all.


And then we sailed out ahead of him with the sea like a cat taking our boat in her cold teeth like a mouse;
shaking it; then spitting it out to watch it spin. I felt the thrill. But then things got serious, and I figured we’d die
this time. So then he walked right out to us as a ghost and said, “What’s the problem?” He said, “It’s me. Let’s
talk about the day. Come on out.” Then the sea went friendly. He stood there waiting, sure I could walk on
water. I felt like I should.


So next thing I knew I was near the exit door to this life and felt like I was ten mountains above the Earth in my
mind’s eye. I saw myself below, flailing in the water and gulping for breath. I saw my life with clarity I’ve
never had, my decisions winding and curving through years like a signature I’d been signing all my life. I
leaned toward the possibility of continued time. I grasped at it, and the water slipped through my hands. I
thought, ‘This is what it’s like to be dying – to be out here alone.’ But then I saw his hand reaching out. I took it
and he walked me back to the boat like I just needed a little support.


So far my initiation has gone like this: I went looking for my soul in the countryside one afternoon and
stumbled into a sinkhole. The cave had its way with me. It synced my inner clock with the slow drip of
evolution. After ten years I recognized myself as the apparition of a human, but in more ways like a cockroach.
That was how I found the heart of hearts below my feet, laying down like Shiva while I stood on top with my
mouth open.


Once I recognized I’d never find my way out of the cavern, Suzanne brought the crystal and led me up inside
the mountain into the tower overlooking the coast. She said the sea aches to be walked on. We prayed, and she
left me to my work.


So then I was thinking, my subtle-body has already been taken apart in the cave. The quartz has been inserted in
my belly. The Earth lights up my insides. I must be able to walk on the sea. I must be able to break out in
miracles like a Magnolia tree, and leave the ground covered in magenta.


My wisdom is water. His body the wiser sinks in abandon.

At the start of my career I earned a B.A. in English and worked as a journalist, freelancer and public relations writer. I studied French literature and traveled in France. Later my personal experience with dreams led me to pursue an M.A. in counseling psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I’m currently a Jungian psychotherapist with a specialization in dreams and a private practice in Minneapolis. I write fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. I hold an award for excellence in writing from the Associated Press, and my writing has appeared in Sky Island Journal and Ink Drinkers Poetry: A Quarterly Chronicle. My blog can be accessed at https://dancingonmoonlight.com. I can be found on Twitter at @DrCarrieSword.

photo by Nathan Dumlao (Unsplash)

3 poems by Dunstan Carter inspired by Syd Barrett, Iggy Pop & Tom Waits

Another Life, Another Man

Lost in a doppelganger’s daze,


Painting yourself into the corner
Of another empty room,
The fumes nuzzle your sweat,


Confused nursery rhymes sing
Through the bristles as night falls
And bubbles pop on the ceiling,

A back splash of petrified joy
Dancing like sparks through the dark.


Flashbacks scuttle like rats,
Rust creeps into happiness,
Wearing away your ambition
And all the sweet things that glistened
As your reveries unravelled,

The magic garden and the innocence,
The twisted fairy tales and feedback
Melting in the psychotropic lights,
Detuning till your strings became slack,
Freezing as the TV cameras rolled;


And it’s all too much and ‘very noisy’,
Another life, another man.

You were the colours of an orchard
As the sun cuts through a storm,
A magnificent Icarus dandy dressed,
A handsome charm all glints and sparkle,
Tumbling words and jumbling laughs;


A fame lopped short and left to walk home,
A mind filled with dust and fading guitars,


A sun flicked off with a switch.

Contorted

Piss wet and wild
In a heavy liquid
Called ‘Kill Yourself’,

Writhing in shiny silver briefs,

He arches his back
And contorts his body,

Sweat and blood shimmering
On his sinewy torso,

Wounds sealed with gaffer tape,

Crazy eyes framed
In smudged raccoon eyeliner,

A robotic wig of foil strips
Refracting the light.

The band heave out
Heavy drones behind him,
A rhythm that taunts,

Amps pipe the din
Of hurled beer bottles
Breaking against guitar strings,

Violence fingers glory
As mayhem daubs its tag

And spit flies;

They can hear this
All the way downtown,

He’s no longer a man,
He’s a chorus.

West Hollywood, Late 1972

His hair’s thick
Like the flap
Of corduroy flares,

The back of
A black llama’s neck,

A horse’s whipped tail
Or an old velvet drape.

His smile is an ache,

A chiselled curl,

The light patch
On a leather couch,

And the warm spot
In an old saloon
Slicing dusty sun.

His voice is an interruption,
A ramble torn wild,

Cogs twisted
And splintered,

Rattling rocks and rust,
Lubricated by
Whisky and rain,

Then fermented

Dunstan Carter is a poet and artist based in Manchester, England. His poetry has appeared in Vita Brevis, Remington Review, Penumbra magazine and Buzzin Bards. He’s currently finishing work on a debut collection of poems.

Twitter: @dunstancarter Instagram: @dunstandoodles

Poetry Showcase from Kushal Poddar

Braids of The Short Dreams

Mamma braids her daughter’s thoughts.
The cuckoo cooing in the back of the brain
sounds shallow and floating between
the weathered Coca-Cola sign and the dog barking.

And the dog barks for hours in this short dream
the way the watchmaker grandpa winds
a long spiral ribbon into a tiny coiled spring.

During the noontime the houses, lanes, half naked
men working on a cancelled project and the trees, all
become the Sun. Mamma has a small and big hand
that screens the eyes of her daughter, and they’re
the Sun; ropes of their entwined hair bounds toward
the hole of the burning maws of awakening.

Flesh of the Republic

Body and flesh float away.
Rivulets. Entire sky
seeks an address, finds
my vein instead.
Where will you lose
the threads that sew a quilt,
patchwork, tales?

Winter comes and goes;
frost never melts;
you know what I mean.
Body and flesh float into
my vein, and I ask them for their permits;
they can inside, but can not permeate;
I won’t let them be the citizens
of this rotten republic.

SERIAL

He records his chitchats

with the cab drivers, not all,

those with the ones

he kills.

There exist avenues

and lanes of cabs taxiing

driverless,

and recordings replayed

over and again in his id,

and then

he finds his son working

for an app-cab using

a forged license.

He records his son, as if

his ears metamorphose themselves

into two answering machines,

defunct.

These annals are better

than any psychiatrist’s,

the father of everything

listening to his killer instinct.

BITCHING ANAMNESIS

Deluge, the bitching mistress on our backs,

bites our earlobes as

I sent your claim – I can

efface life memorized.

I can. Only mine. The process

involves adding more, not less,

the same way you do most of the days,

except those when it rains

in the excuse of this balcony or

when it shines and you stare downwards,

see the hissing serpent of the traffic

looking up at you, out of reach.

I do not rerun the tapes, listen

to the protest pops from the Nam times.

Rain writhes to arrest my mind,

albeit an antiquated man has his disinterests.

I say, “Just forget.”

I Was as Cold as a Razorblade

In the late autumn winter

whimpers in her oxygen tent,

and we nurse this premature child,

see her wither, bloom, sear, brown, exsiccate.

Hence December surprises us

when she arrives for a date

wearing white sleeveless

and drinks from someone else’s chalet.

The potion was red. The poison bears no effect.

We toss our fedoras, shuffle to dance,

tire out and stroll outside,

our feet disappearing inside

the heart of crushed water.

Our hands in the pockets of warmth

seeks for a tinge of Yes

and finds some forlorn gums

we keep for protection’s sake.

*The title is wordplay on Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne

Milestones

We sit there, oracling,

drinking for ages; we

chat about different drinking-ages

and different countries;

sun sets in liver tinge;

pigment of the stream cooling,

fibers of our thoughts unreeling,

we sit there, eyes on nil.

We sit there, nothing,

and water pegs down our shadows

as if those will be its

Maypoles and wheel – time will swing by.

Raising The Time

The torn dress from

the fundraising dance

taps some memory cells;

half of you desire to

make a mop out of its residue,

but since you cannot wipe

enough memories

your hands force it down

against your thighs.

I suggest –

“Let’s raise the time again.

Time and again.”

A GLACIER FOR THOUGHTS

The eye in the pink sky
denies any foresight.
“We have a glacier melting
in
Himalaya.” Says pop folding his freewill.

This means it will be
the rush-hour of depression
in his ecosystem,
and the day remains naïve native
accepting gifts from our invasions.

A coin decides
whether my sister
will enter in her classroom
and
shoot everyone or waive this.

“Don’t!” I whisper.
“Yes.” Pop says
on a topic irrelevant.

A crow on the ceiling fan
caws a dream
melting as my pop’s coral reef
corrodes away within.

Love Thy Father

You still love your father,
and do the one thing
that destroys him every day

and rebuild him again
as if he is naphtha or plastic.
His quick silver hand quavers with

the weight of your
nocturnal telephone calls-
“Hello! How are you?”

You always say,
“Talking to you dad,
is a remembrance of my mom’s winter.”

The State of Being During An Autumn Day

Autumnal gloaming, chill-filtered,
retains most of the darkness.
I stare at the pecans a hit-and-run
windy incident has crashed into the yard
I can always trespass leaving no evidence.

The rolled newspaper, asleep, on my table
wets its staple. A shiver walks my spine as if
my backbone recovers from a wheelchair
worthy trauma. Ticks, the Casio clock.

All these state the state of being.
Sometimes, since the outbreak, I hallucinate
my being shrugging off my body and staring,
first, at the mass of flesh, and then, at distance
ever vague and ever everything.

Death And Desire

That night you towel wrapped
the thirst of your partner.
You both died. The butterflies
in a painting behind your head
tried to escape, but the flight was cancelled.

The panes paved a shortcut to winter.
You picked up the towel dropped
around the ankles still wearing black
metal anklets you bought for her,
and wrapped her flesh. You both grieved
the death in the family. One craved for
flesh and the otherness in you sought for
the space where darkness garden blue agave.


An October Murder

“Did you see who shot you?”
“It was October. I opened a door
the size of a bullet hole.”
I whisper from a distance a whisper
can cross in its lifetime
to reach you almost dead. You hear,
and it withers. Withering seems
a garden, silent, and I on my bare feet,
grass appeasing one sensation
to swell me up with another.
“It was October. I opened the door.
It was a muzzle and a flash.”


Intimate, Unknown

The way one cleanses his October refrigerator,
without any provocation, without his partner’s hints,
almost as if that moment has been scheduled
or seen in the past, as if his muscle reaction
picks up the bottles and vegetables, packets and tubs,
casseroles and bowls full of forgotten experiments
with vegetables, and the contents of those packets and tubs
and a dram from the bottles’ nozzles, places them on the floor,
dismantles the shelves, sponges them gently and puts all together
I find me in intimacy with you, unknown.
Your hair unlocked by my hands, whisked back by my reflexive fingers
reveals the unknown in the unknown. I disassemble
your chrome and beige dress and unlock the sweat beads.
We could have been talking about the pestilence
or war or patience or the dire dearth of the same.
We could have been pondering over a jigsaw puzzle.
It does not matter. We are intimately unfamiliar.
Famously alone. The quagmire of cold water on the floor,
or our bodily fluids puddled around us evaporate. October.
The mellow songs are served at room temperature.


An Interview with Kushal Poddar

  1. Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood?

Kushal – This Christmas, my book ‘Postmarked – Quarantined’ shall be published by IceFloe Press, Canada. The highlight of the book is the plague, human reaction, my daughter’s birth, and how a person, vulnerable the way I am, may interact with the rules of the universe he must abide.

  1. What frame of mind & ideas lead to you writing your current book?

Kushal – As I said, the book encases my own vulnerability, albeit I always endeavor to scriven in a universal tongue. The idea is – write from personal experience, blend with news, and then read and rewrite the poem from a neutral perspective.

  1. How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting
    Kushal – I was fifteen, and although I imitated writing rhymes since I was a six years old child, it was during a summer holyday of my sixteenth year in this world I began to adopt my only identity as a writer.
  2. What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
    Kushal – The list may lengthen itself but the salient influence, I must say, oozes from Wilfred Owen, Frank O’Hara, Charles Simic, Franz Wright, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Graham Greene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Borges, Milan Kundera, Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Philip Roth, John le Carré, and Neil Gaiman and the music of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, Billi Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone (as of tryst, and the list drifts).
  3. What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
    Kushal – Sketching and painting often clear the cobweb of my mind. I used to take photographs. I often write whisky criticism. These activities add curves to the flesh of my writing (writing includes, poetry, short stories, and now a fragmentary novel).
  4. Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous/ freewriting style?
    Kushal – Writing is a continuous process. I write in my mind when I am not on paper or computer. I mumble an entire poem or short fiction sometimes to my daughter or to my wife, and then when time permits scribe it down. Is it free-writing? Not actually. The process is curated by years of reading and syllable counting presently made into a reflex.
  5. Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that have helped influence your writing?
    Kushal – There are all my fellow poets I met online and offline. There are my wife, daughter and a difficult relationship with my parents. There is political news and the news of sports. I deliberately created a fictional hometown for my poems or other kinds of writings. This town consists of elements of East and West, and can be felt as the reader’s own one.
  6. What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
    Kushal – The rewarding part is mental peace attained after writing it down as if I have cleansed a part of my memory, and also whenever a piece is published I receive the thrill of a junkie. The frustrating part is not having enough time to write everything I desire to write.
  7. How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
    Kushal – I had many premonitions about this past year. I was living a tale written by Stephen King or Camus. The part that took me by surprise and that made me defenseless was the news of my wife’s pregnancy during this pestilence. I was deeply worried about the safety of my wife and my daughter. I began to write a poetry-journal about the day-to-day emotion that surged inside out.
    Author Page Amazon – amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
    Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/
    Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe
    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’.
    Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/
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