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)

Interview with musician Frank Watkinson

It was a couple of months ago that I was watching videos on youtube for Leonard Cohen, possibly Chelsea Hotel No. 2 and after the song played another version of the song began to play. It was by a man with an accoustic guitar putting his unique interpretation on the song. I dived deeper watching several of his cover songs while with my wife for a couple of hours. He wasn’t just covering folk songs. He had covers of Neutral Milk Hotel, even Slipknot, Death Cab For Cutie, Wilco, the Lumineers & more. I wondered why isn’t this guy more known. He had to have been in bands when he was younger. He has a youtube channel, just him, his guitar, his stories & the most dynamic find of all. He has wonderful original songs. He comes across very humble. He’s done hundreds of cover songs & originals for years & just loves playing music. He’s not looking for fame and money it seems. He’s doing this out of the love of making music.

https://www.youtube.com/user/LOLhi28/featured is Frank Watkinson’s youtube page. Please check his music out & his covers as well.

small interview with Frank Watkinson:

  1. First, I would like to ask how long you’ve been working on your own songs & how do you decide which songs to cover? Frank: I have been writing songs ever since I picked up a guitar, nothing any good, I still don’t think they are that great now but that’s just me , most of the covers I do are requests, I would try anything if asked ,i still do them now but the list exceeds 1500 , so the chances are getting slimmer for those that request them , I was told I should do a Patreon account and people pay for them ,but that would then seem too much like work and i also can’t cover everything ,I’d get stressed out too much ,it’s also not about the money for me I just like what I do right now.
  2. Do you enjoy writing songs more than covers?  What are some of the songs  you’re most proud of? Frank: I think i like writing my own songs because even if they are vague I know the reason I wrote it , I am not good enough a musician to play a cover exact that is why I simplify them , I have always said don’t let your inability stop you from what you enjoy ,you can only get better,
  3. Who have been your biggest influences, or musically who are some of your favorites? Frank: Basically all the older types like Dylan, James Taylor Ralph McTell , it goes on , I like almost anything acoustic ,but i also like a good song no matter what genre .
  4. Does it take you very long to write a song, and do you enjoy the process or feel hurried to get it done? Frank: Some songs take a few days on and off but they are mostly the ones where I came up with a melody first then try to put words to, others can take as little as 20 minutes for the lyrics as they seem to write themselves , then I just put a basic tune on them , it’s the ones that are started and finished in less than an hour that seem to go down the best.
  5.  I have only began listening to your stuff about a month ago, so I haven’t seen every video.  Whereabouts in the UK do  you live?  I have many great poet contributors to my poetry endeavors. It is refreshing to know it still seems relevant unlike in the U.S. as much the arts, the poetry, the music. Frank:  I live in a town called Huntingdon ,about 12 miles from Cambridge.
  6. Have you played in any bands while younger? Frank:  I have never played in a band and i haver never played live anywhere , I have no desire to either ,I’m not a stage performer I dread the thought , sitting at home with a cat and dog as my audience is one thing ,standing up in front of others is another ball game, I just mess around writing or covering a song post it on you tube and set it free , I also have no desire to record them in a studio despite the requests to, I think I’m a what you see is what you get person.
  7. Do you enjoy poetry or particular writers or authors?  I don’t mind listening to the occasional poem but I’m a terrible reader, I struggle to read a book because my mind wanders and before i know it I’ve forgotten what I’ve just read ,thank God for audio books , I can put on headphones and be in another world.
  8.  How were you encouraged to try out the youtube process, and did you use any other internet avenues prior to youtube? Frank: I put some very old songs on Soundcloud to begin with , then one day just to see how easy it was I posted a song on you tube ,easier than I thought so kept on posting , I certainly didn’t plan on the reaction i seem to be getting, I haven’t pushed myself in any way at all , it was supposed to be a bit of fun with one or two subscribers. 
  9. What have been some of your other hobbies growing up? Frank: I honestly don’t think i had any other hobbies ,I used to work almost every hour i could and the only thing I did in my spare time would have been play the guitar for an hour or two.
  10. Have you done much traveling and where are some of your favorite places you’ve visited? Frank: I have done very little travelling abroad ,a few times to Euro Disney with the family , and a visit to Cyprus to see my daughter ,but I do travel all over the UK I like to go to places then leave the main routes and discover places myself.

Just performing songs my way ,nothing too serious, we can’t all be polished professionals but that shouldn’t be a reason not to sing. if you really want to donate then here is a PayPal link ,i’m quite happy either way . https://paypal.me/pools/c/8uPISeE6aB

Poem re-post by Barney Ashton-Bullock : L’anti-arriviste est parti

L’anti-arriviste est parti


Even within the abhorrence of absence
is a marked aberrance of pulsing joy;
we are left conveyancing the wounds –


We are abeyant to their melodic seep;
your intuit repertoire of counter-hex,
your quasi-bittersweet loll of lyrical intrigue –

Here, a sallow heart inflates with hope,
there, a hollow mind tolls in outreach;
we are all but trough-laden, sod-bound arrivistes,


Cusping it, winging it, drowning in it someday,
therein be the tragedy, the mystery, the mirth;
the orientation is the destination –

For when, to a sailor, the sea is as mildew in motion,
its wonderment worn to slicken sick liqueform veldts ,
its waves puckering in indigest, vomiting for revolution –


For when, to that sailor, the ambics of trussing waves
testify in their throt of malaise; their unchewed tether
of gruelly variegations lap ‘round slung, trash-forms a-ripple –

Pollutant detritus, deleterious of such seafarers’ safety;
sizes serried from swirling particulate to the lumpen, sunken,
dumped ‘white goods’ sea-bed bedrocks of corrosive causticities –


We, shoreline blind to this immersed bind of junk cluster,
ever await for a hallowed sunset, imbuing it with miracle,
with the cure, the penance, the forgiveness; a prophecy –


Just as you soothsay sang it, mister;
residuous and resonant,
in shalom and amen.

Poem from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art inspired by Leonard Cohen (2019)by Barney Ashton-Bullock “Yet”

Bio: Barney Ashton-Bullock, is the poet/librettist in the ‘Andy Bell is Torsten’ music-theatre-poetry collective and he narrates his own verse on the Downes Braide Association albums. He is the founder of Soho Poetry Nights. He has poetry published, or pending publication, in a wide range of cult poetry journals**, in the ‘Avalanches In Poetry’ tribute anthology to Leonard Cohen, in the Dreich pamphlet ‘Famous’, in the Pilot Press ‘Queer Anthology Of Healing’ and in the ‘Soho Nights’ anthologies published by The Society Club Press who also published his first collection ‘Schema/Stasis’ in 2017. His latest poetry pamphlet ‘Café Kaput!’ was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2020.
(**the Wellington Street Review, the New River Press Yearbook, SPAMzine, Re-Side Magazine, -algia Press, Scab Mag, Pink Plastic House Journal, Lucky Pierre Zine, Poetry Bus, Neuro Logical Magazine and the Babel Tower Notice Board) 

Poetry Re-Post for Leonard Cohen Week: To the End of Love by Sadie Maskery

artwork by Geoffrey Wren (c)

to the end of love
music is the last memory 
                   perhaps a fragrance 

                   outlasts it      but          here

there is only 

                    ashes

                    my darling your hands

                                    seem

                                         so       cold in mine

do you remember 

dancing

                  in the small cafe

                       you were      awkward     you 

tried

so hard to please

              me but

my sweet heart                  you step

                   out of time        it is your

smile

        holding

the melody

             the love         in your eyes

                holding            the melody   melody

i remember your

                   love 

                        your eyes            closed

            your hands

hold me

i

     am so

                                 frightened

the music is

       fading

                        hold me

                 hold me

Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as “functioning adequately “.

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift

*From the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020*

All of the poems that follow first appeared in their original, unedited forms on the WombwellRainbow blog. Thank you to Paul Brookes for curating with such care, and the artists (Mary Frances Ness, James Knight, and Sue Harpham) who provided images for the month-long ekphrastic challenge which inspired them

That which can be made visible *

Sun’s first sleep-breath
sweets the dropped shoulder

of Te Puia o Whakaari, her bones
in early mistlight all grace

and delicate pickings, gulled
clavicles of a hard dancer, stilled

Coiled tension is resting. It is hard
to recognise a haunting

in the rose-gilt of a sunrise. Do you know
her name, when you recognised it

did you forget to exhale? Release
your living now to cloud

the pane we do not see – deep
scratches creep across this vision.

The guardians are always here to remind you –
this light, it may change any moment.

*(In memory of those lost in the eruption of Whakaari on 9 December 2019. One translation
of the te reo Māori name of this volcano forms the title of this poem)

Hold the river

You told me you haven’t been outside in 57 days
and tonight the river is a dropped ribbon, limp and lost
and the sharp stones of the trail as I begin to run
become the sound of something chewing. The faster
we go, the faster we’re eaten. You are moving,
in the lines of your confinement, so slowly now
you’ve become a painting in my head – static –
existing never to be touched. And in the guilty, lucky air
down here we’re starting up the engines
and on my knees in the soft mud I can hear the first plane
for months, idling beyond the water. I’d wish
you were here, but the wind is whipping up cold,
and the coming dark is frantic
with sudden birds, woken startled
from their neat new nests along the runway.

Feeding the koi

You save the crusts from the good brown loaf,
not truly stale, but tired. On your early walk

through the city gardens, there is a patient round mirror
to crumble them into, and in it an unfamiliar creature,

folded and loose in his aspect. He watches you from the water.
You have never met his eyes, although you sense they are kind.

This morning, autumn has nodded last orders at the trees
and the ember of the squalling sun catches

a plume at his throat, and his blur blushes bright — young
with reborn flame. In the dry world the wind arrives

to spread the blaze outwards in ripples
from the man standing, the man lying, with his hands full

of burning bread, and when the fish surface
their mouths make round holes in his body.

In one tiny circle after another the fire
goes out. Cool water — O O O —

welling dark and smooth
from the gut. It was always the truth.

What feeds on us that steals our fire.
What we feed to remember what we are.

Act like you were never for sale

On those days we were flutter and varnish. Time blown
on the tradewinds — toys for the updraft, downdraft, too hard

and brittle-bright for any landing but the spurt and gasp
of applause. And on those days we painted the unspeakable

feelings, the ones that never made it
into the script, on hot ripe faces with palmed-

palm-sugar and unguent-of-anthers, and on those days
those same faces slipslid their gaudied eyes and touched their cheeks

together intimately, brief and baked electric with proper unsaids, and on and on
arced those spat-out days when the electric that moved us

moved us wet with big colour in that little pond of footlights
all thrashing pick me from the swirl of young eels, him so slender, her good

bright needle-teeth, and on those days company meant
only that we played together well, that even the most badly bitten didn’t drop

a word or miss a step, or when they did the faces they’d loved-by-painting bled
laughter tainted kindly, and not yet like they smelled a life dripping away

into the water or as if they’d finally bumped against the glass, seen the strings
of our dangling tags, and some of that last part

is a lie. But who doesn’t want to lie just as pretty
as something made to end up in a prettier box, for now

sticky with the ghosts of fertile anthers, and so we bite
into recall again and again, this cake now invisible on the pink plastic

saucer so sweet, so sweet and fallen to bits
in the grass. And these days we know the magic

poured out of that flimsy doll’s teapot’s more real
than you’ve been in your life. Don’t ever act

like it didn’t — like it doesn’t —
make you sick.

Hathor’s gift

Last night you called me from the bottom of a well
and I pictured the signal between us as a rope ladder
woven from a bunch of old strings attached. A bit frayed,
this connection, and this wry analogy, but both holding together
just enough for you to see the ladder a little bit more clearly
than you were seeing the rope. And I don’t care if we’ve not spoken
since before the world cracked its lid, I’m just grateful
I still look like some kind of stick when the alligators
find the ass. Often it’s hard to respect the tree in someone who’s fallen
in an indifferent swamp, over and over, they think
that makes you soft wood. But it was you who told me Hathor
kicked out the crocodile god even though she was
at least partly a cow. I bet they underestimated just how fierce
a prey animal waxes when her herd is in the dark
and feeling the closing teeth. I bet they underestimated her
even after she teamed up with the sun itself
and gored the darkness threatening her loved ones on the tips
of her kind, soft horns. Stabbed it until it was striped
with secondhand light, then drowned it
in her milk of most inhuman kindness.

Ankh Spice is a queer-identified, sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Almost 100 of his
poems have been published internationally, online and in printed anthologies, over the last 18
months. He’s been incredibly grateful and a bit astounded to have four poems nominated for the
Pushcart Prize, and two for Best of the Net. His poem ‘New Cloth’ was selected as a winner of the
World View 2020 competition run by the Poetry Archive, and he’s really delighted that the video
recording of him reading this work now appears in the archive in perpetuity, along with readings
from other winners from all over the globe. He’s also very proud that audio recordings of his work
are held in the first wave of Iambapoet, an audio archive of poets reading their own work, created
and curated by Mark Antony Owen.
It’s been a very busy year — Ankh accepted roles as a Poetry Contributing Editor for Barren
Magazine, and as co-editor at Ice Floe Press. He was also a guest reader/editor on EIC Matthew M.C.
Smith’s team for Black Bough Poetry’s Amazon best-seller, ‘Deep Time’ — two volumes of poetry
from hundreds of poets inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Underland’, and was part of the early
editing team for ‘Black Dogs, Black Tales’, a horror anthology produced in Aotearoa by EIC T Wood,
to raise money for a local mental health charity. He’s also found time to edit innumerable stories for
popular dark-fantasy author C.M. Scandreth (aka his incredibly talented author spouse, Caitlin Spice)
for the NoSleep Podcast, and is grateful to have appeared (in virtual guise) as headline poet at two
sold-out sessions of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
At the time of writing this, Ankh is also working on several collections of his own poems. One of
these is a collection of his shorter ekphrastic and vividly imagistic work and photography — Ankh
calls these ‘gift poems’ as most of them are uploaded to social media rather than being held for
traditional publication — that’s been picked up by a small indie press as a two-volume deal for print.
Further details will be released in early 2021. He’s also working on a very short volume of poems for
Hedgehog Press’s ‘Stickleback’ series. His larger collection, which was picked up by an independent
press earlier in 2020, but which he withdrew when behaviour damaging to the poetry community by
person/s working for that press was uncovered, is being reworked for re-submission elsewhere. He
very much hopes that 2021 will be the year for this book to make its way into the world.
Ankh’s poetry explores a wide range of themes close to his heart – environmental/climate change,
mental health, identity, queerness, body politics, mythology, natural science, spirituality, ‘the
persistent briefness of being human’, the landscape and environs of Aotearoa and of course, the
ocean. His poetic lens, which often employs strong derealisation and very flexible language that
purposely opens up multiple interpretations, has been described as oracular, reverent, and
visionary, and his poetry has been most often compared to G.M Hopkins and Dylan Thomas. Ankh’s
favourite recent compliment about his work is that it feels like walking a tightrope over the abyss
between two worlds — being forced to look down into the dark but with an awareness that balance
is possible, and that there’s a new place on the other side, beckoning us on. Ankh’s favourite recent
compliment about himself is that he’s a walking Mary Ruefle poem. (With great thanks to Sarah-Jane
Crowson and Julia Beach).
If he’s not out running the coast of Te Whanganui-a-Tara sporting alarming neon and sparkly cat
ears, you’ll find him and his work at:
Twitter: @SeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Facebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/SeaGoatScreamsPoetry
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-448322296
Iambapoet: https://www.iambapoet.com/ankh-spice
Poetry Archive: https://poetryarchive.org/poem/wordview-2020-new-cloth/

Feature photo by Ankh Spice

Holiday Interlude by Ankh Spice from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

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