Poetry Showcase from Gayle J. Greenlea

photos_frompasttofuture on unsplash

Homestead

There are ghosts here. They breathe
in unseen spaces behind walls,
under floorboards, in shafts of light
filtered through dust motes. At night
they drift into fields where once they
put shoulders to the plow and tended
cotton. Their shape, if you could see
them, is amorphous as cotton fruit,
diaphanous as gossamer with glints
of light like fireflies. They are more lonely
than scary, tethered to the windowless
homestead with wind-sanded fieldstone
and peeling paint. They wait for souls
long gone, beloveds who worked the land
side by side, peeled potatoes for supper,
sighed as they tucked children into bed
to cicada lullabies, rubbed salves
and embrocations into cuts from cotton
bracts and aching muscles, smiled
through wavering firelight before making
love under a diamond sky. Now fields
overgrown with weeds hide once furrowed
earth, sculpted by generations through life,
death and birth; a claim on humanity,
still longed for. Memory anchors them.

The Old Homestead by Mj Saucer

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

The Night Tree

The night tree with grizzled bark,
roots milked dry by suckling humans;
starved of dignity, the arc of history
bends toward justice, dimmed. Scars
limned in moonlight, memorialize
strange fruit, harvested from branches
weary from farewelling souls
of dark-skinned men, more worthy
than murderous landowners.

Cities and rain forests burn, oceans
rise. Will no one turn the toxic tides
of extremism? Roll back the currency
of white privilege to diminish and destroy
wealth that belongs equally to all?
Ignorance is a pall spread over creation,
blocking sun, forswearing Earth’s
creatures. The Night Tree foretells our
fate. These branches are connected.

Night Tree by Terry Chipp

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

Moveable Feast

My privilege is not wealth, social
standing or gender. My currency
is the color of my skin, the “lily
white” of southern women,
Nordic and Celtic genes overtaking Native
American. Whiteness has opened
doors closed to others, opportunities
denied sisters burnished by sun
and melanin. I took the heaping
servings I was offered from the table,
but they did not satisfy my hunger.
So I set places for the missing
and stepped back. I cannot atone
for my color, my straightness,
my ease of passage in the world;
but I can open my hands,
my ears,
my heart.
My voice is not my own, alone.
I am a side dish on a plate,
enhancing a meal called Justice.

Fragile

We collide in a tender fugue,
reeds with slender necks
jostled by wind
and circumstance.

Fragile beings,
we rush through time
as if it were of no consequence.
Bumps and bruises crush

red stains into our skin;
panes where air is thin
and the soul breathes
more visibly,

purpura witnessing
where words
will not. How we suffer
from small wounds

inflicted unconsciously,
intentional tramplings
in the fields. We wield
power carelessly

or not at all, watch silently
as another brother
goes down; a sister falls
in the moonlight.

Oh, the terrible ways we fail
each other, refusing to speak,
allowing wind to carry our pain
over the horizon in soundless

ripples until the ones with scythes
come to cut our necks
and leave us rootless
from the land.

Fragile was originally posted in Headline Poetry & Press

Reality Fascist

No one believed the dystopia you described
as you launched your inaugural obsession with crowd
size, though one distinguished guest called your spiel
“some weird shit”.

Who could know you hid avenging wings beneath
your coat? That your gloating brimstone utterances
were match-strike that would set the world
alight? Now, in these Days of the Dead, wisdom

arrives late. The ashes of innocence choke
breath from the lungs. Arms are drawn brother against
brother, mother against son; our daughters a broken
Eucharist on the altar of your ego. Your apparatchiks

screech over fields of warriors, Valkyrie come
not to save souls, but to desecrate heroes. Justice
seekers march as you part their waves with flash-bangs,
tear-gas children, train weapons of war on the peace-

full, their blood your red carpet. You, Reality Fascist,
riled by fearlessness, enraged by women who will
not bend, those who take pride in the color of their skin,
the old who’ve seen your kind before.

You’ve made believers of us all. The emperor stripped
bare, walls himself in the palace of the people. Benevolence
escapes him. He sells the furnishings to foreign kings,
betrays his allies, crushes the weak, tweets while Rome

burns. We are spurned, turned out of our own houses
while you pour gasoline on our wounds, rob us blind,
put a “for sale” sign on our honor. Narcissus with a sharpie
throwing tantrums, courting porn stars, stacking courts:

art of the steal. We see through your veil of lies the rifts
you sowed. Once you told the truth — the day we
sheathed you in power — you said you would destroy us.
Trickster in a cheap suit, you are no match for Lady

Liberty or our own rebellious bones. Unworthy apprentice,
today the people rise, armed with more than a hundred million
ballots. How’s that for crowd size? We are coming for you.
You’re fired.

Revolution

Hunger is a maddening mistress,
fatal attraction, grave tease, more
palatable than the gnawing loneliness
of isolation. Who would believe
a rival, small, invisible could rob
so many of health and dignity? I leave
my home one final time, one suitcase
with a change of clothes. My wife
pushes the stroller with our baby
and a box of kittens. The oligarchs
quarantine in castles, calculating profits
over cognac, while the rest of us count
costs, build tent cities, swarm streets
with protests. Revolution is coming.
History proves power belongs to the
people. Heads will roll.

Er gaan koppen rollen (Heads will Roll), by Marcel Herms

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”(revised)

Wolfpack Contributor: Gayle J Greenlea

Poem “Asking the Wind” by Gayle J Greenlea : influenced by Bob Dylan series

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anton Pooles

with Anton Pooles:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Anton:

I have always love fairy tales and fantasy, but I never planned on becoming a writer or more specifically a poet. I struggled with reading and writing as a child, and honestly still do, so I had
probably convinced myself I could never be a writer, but somehow, I fell into it. In my mid-twenties I re-discovered many of the Arthurian Romance poems that I had enjoyed reading when I was in
high school and I started writing poems in that style. Poems like “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott we defiantly my entry point for poetry. The plan
was to add these poems into the fairy stories I was writing at the time, but it opposite occurred and the fairy stories found their way into the poems.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Anton:

I’m often find I am more heavily influenced through visual mediums like film and art than I am with writing. I struggled with reading a great deal when I was a child and still do honestly, but I have
always been in love with film. Most of my greatest influencers have been filmmaker like Fritz Lang and Andrei Tarkovsky. One of the most important would have to be Guillermo Del Toro. He has
become a kind of spiritual mentor of mine.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Anton: I was raised in Toronto, but I’m not sure it has ever influenced my writing a great deal. However, there are two places I always seem to come back to. The first is a cottage in Brighton, Ontario that
my parents had when I was a child. I spent a good chuck of my childhood there and so it has become the location for a lot of my poems. The second is the city I was born in, which was
Novosibirsk, Siberia. I left when I was a baby, I have never been back and I have no memory of it, but it gnaws at me as a good ghost should.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your writing?

Anton: I have always been fascinated by Vincent Van Gogh and I have always wanted to write something about him. I got the chance to go to the South of France a few years ago and I was able to visit and stay in certain places that he had been. That got me working on a series of poems about him. So, I guess the answer is, yes.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Anton: I’m sure there was, but I can’t remember. Sorry.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Anton: As I said before I LOVE film. Last year I watched over two hundred films. I know that may seem
like a lot, but I need the images they supply, they feed the mind.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Anton: I am Editor-in-Chief of Cypress: Literary Journal where we publish poetry and flash fiction/non-fiction. We are always open for submission and publish writers worldwide. We have also published
our first print anthology not to long ago called “The Red House: An Anthology of Genre and Speculative Poetry” which is still available.
https://cypresspress.ca/

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Anton: “I keep the dead alive by walking on winter nights. My visible breath passes into their invisible lungs.” This is from a poem I’m working on called “Lamplight.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Anton: I took a poetry class at the University of Toronto and my instructor was Catherine Graham. She taught me how to bring the fantastical into the modern era without losing any whimsy in the
process. This is, of course, something I greatly admire in her own writing as well. Her collection “Winterkill” had a profound impact on me.

https://heavyfeatherreview.org/2021/05/19/pooles/

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/07/15/four-poems-visual-art-anton-pooles/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/07/15/four-poems-visual-art-anton-pooles/

https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic-journal/garden-of-death-by-anton-pooles

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Margaret Viboolsittiseri aka Maggs Vibo

Thanks to Maggs for designing our Q9 Logos

with Maggs Vibo

Q1: When did you start writing/art and first influences?

Maggs: My Grandma used to call me an old soul during our conversations. She said that adults enjoyed my stories and songs. For learning, she advised wandering outside and listening to the teachings of nature. My Mom advised burning sage and handed me a paintbrush to deal with problems. My Dad advised defying dogma and looking to the cosmos for purpose. My influencers were artists because my parents loved art. Music filled our home and pondered war, art, feminism, drugs, and the government. Artists provided lyrical inspiration for the big and small questions in life. My childhood was a time of exploration and imagination. I suppose nowadays society calls this a free-range childhood. A sense of freedom is my earliest recollection of poetry and art.

Dad playing fiddle

Q2: Who has inspired or helped you the most with writing?

Maggs: All the great crafters of lore… especially Niki de Saint Phalle. I’ve always admired the way she morphed storytelling her trauma into an art triumph.

Niki de Saint Phalle at Atlanta, GA (2006)

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Maggs: My family lived on farms in the Heartland of the United States. It was an excellent opportunity to observe the natural world. Folklore is embedded in art because of oral storytelling traditions. Today we use memes and other technologies, but it is just a continuation of ancient stories told in new ways with new methods. Everything I learned about animals and the countryside, along with old fables and tales, influences my art today.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Maggs: My first trip abroad was for a Nanny gig in Canberra, Australia. I’ve deployed as a GWOT soldier. Additionally, military assignments took my spouse (a soldier) and me (his spouse) to Europe, Asia and Hawaii. I feel privileged to write about these multicultural experiences. I never take for granted the circumstances (wars) which led to the opportunities.

Maggs Vibo and CW4 Wattana Viboolsittiseri aboard USS Missouri, 2017

Q5: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Maggs: My work in the military community over the past two decades is the most meaningful. It started with art I contributed to events commemorating the fallen. Later, I wrote an article about an Army staff sergeant named Daniel A. Bader. In 2004, a college literary journal published a poem I wrote about an experience during one of my convoys near what was known as Tallil Air Base (located in Nasiriyah, Iraq). I created pieces for the Veterans Writing Project (including a journal written by all women and an anthology covering 2012-2017). In 2018, I collaborated with Jerri Bell and Tracy Crow on women warrior history programs for the National Park Service. In 2020, Oxford Brookes University invited me to a poetry workshop facilitated by Niall Munro, Susie Campbell, and Jane Potter. It was an intimate gathering of women veterans from the US and UK which studied war and poetry. From this workshop, and other veterans’ poetry workshops, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre published ‘My teeth don’t chew on shrapnel’: an anthology of poetry by military veterans (a free pdf available for download at: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/veterans–poetry-workshops/). This meaningful work led to many collaborative projects outside the military community. Nowadays, I try to engage at least once a quarter in programs which help bridge the civilian and military divide.

Women’s History Program at Prince George County Regional Heritage Center, L to R: Jerri Bell, Reinetta VanEendenburg, Ranger Maggs Vibo and Tracy Crow, 2018.

Q6: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet?

Maggs: All throughout my childhood I was regarded as a nerdy thespian. I sang songs, danced poorly, walked around with paint under my fingernails and boasted my participation in art and drama club. The death of my grandpa had a big impact on my writing. I wrote a short story which discussed his leg amputation and mobility challenges. In the essay, I talked about his alcohol abuse, use of painkillers and how addiction led to his downward health spiral. My short story placed at state competition. I was invited to a soiree where my parents and friends watched me receive a plaque. This was my first recognition for writing. More than anything, I remember how telling my truth helped my family process our collective grief. The essay is stored inside a cedar chest Dad crafted for safekeeping all of my Mom’s favorite things.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Maggs: I like to cycle the Virginia Capital Trail to the marina to have a local brew, catch the sun on the water and cycle back home to spend time with my two dogs. If it involves being outside in nature (or staring lovingly at my dogs) I regard it as true bliss.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from your poem/song, or favorite piece of art of photograph.

Maggs: Favorite line from a poet is Walt Whitman’s “Do I contradict myself?” As a Park Ranger, I gave battlefield interpretive tours out at Petersburg National Battlefield. Each tour discussed the ways contradiction exists in telling the stories of the American Civil War… and all the other conflicts throughout history. Favorite singer: Neil Finn. Favorite book: Black Elk Speaks. Favorite art: ancient art. Favorite movie: Paprika (2006 film). Favorite photograph: NASA image of boot print on the lunar soil.

Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, Big Island, Hawaii, 2014

Q9 Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

I have a visual poetry piece on exhibition until the end of summer in Virginia. I also work forthcoming in 2 pubs from Paris and a journal from South Asia (all before the end of summer, 2021). I am thrilled to have 10 pieces in Experiment-0, Issue 14, Autumn 2021 Release. The rest is listed on Poemythology.com

Links:

Website: poemythology.com

Photography from Maggs Vibo : Lone Road on Island of Moloka’i I Don’t Need Anesthesia: Photo Art & Poetry by Maggs Vibo

Poem by Maggs Vibo : “Naked”

Fevers of the Mind Fog by Maggs Vibo (photography/art)

Juneteenth Morning by Maggs Vibo

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo : the Year of the Ox

New Collage Art by Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo: Drinking the Ash Pt 1 & 2

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/15/half-breed-drive-a-visual-poem-by-maggs-vibo-pt-1-of-a-maggs-vibo-feature/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2021/02/19/tpq5-maggs-vibo/

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/11/20/nema-a-poetry-film-by-maggs-vibo/

https://radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/items/dd9d92c2-a37c-4816-b409-5a911d2d88e1/1/

https://smallmachinetalks.com/index.php/tag/maggs-vibo/

https://tinyseedjournal.com/2020/11/03/eastern-tiger-swallowtail-caterpillar/

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