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
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
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
He records his chitchats
with the cab drivers, not all,
those with the ones
There exist avenues
and lanes of cabs taxiing
and recordings replayed
over and again in his id,
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,
These annals are better
than any psychiatrist’s,
the father of everything
listening to his killer instinct.
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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/