Chris Veasy, The Father

 
7/13
I looked at my friend holding his new daughter in the crook of his arm and told myself again what I was. Four days old, her thin brown hair sparse, almost countable. He held her like a man who had become accustomed to, but not jaded by, handling the world’s largest diamond. His girlfriend, the mother, in utter serenity, looked on as he placed her down in the little seat in front of the couch. The two looked at the girl. We all looked at the girl. My girlfriend said:
‘She’s so beautiful. She’s perfect’.
Minutes earlier she’d had her in her arms, staring at the baby’s closed eyes as the new parents told us about how it had been in the hospital. My girlfriend had looked up as my friend described the delivery room, the fear, the midwife’s manner. She looked at him in awe. I sipped my drink, looking at the floor in front of me, forcing a smile when the story demanded one. The mother looked at me, I saw her from the corner of my eye.
‘Do you want a hold?’
‘No, I don’t want to wake her up.’
‘Don’t be stupid, here, come on.’
My friend put his new life in my hands. I slowly got myself into some sort of comfortable position with the baby. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect. I looked at her eyelids hoping she would wake up so her mother or father would take her off me, but she didn’t. She was so light, practically nothing, but so much. Eventually my friend must have seen how uncomfortable I looked and took her off me. The real man scooped up his child and took care of the situation. When she was in her seat she woke up. My girlfriend leaned over and said:
‘Oh, look at her eyes! Beautiful blue eyes!’
Her parents beamed at her. She had beautiful blue eyes. She stretched both her arms out into the air, one tiny hand in a tight fist, the other’s fingers outstretched. Her mother looked at us, at me, I saw her out of the corner of my eye. My girlfriend looked at them, at the baby. She was so excited. We sat for a long time and the mother and my girlfriend talked as my friend shook the baby’s hands while she looked up at him, her mouth and eyes wide. The mother had acquired some sort of power and my girlfriend knew it and revered her. I sat, sickened, and drank my drink. Eventually my friend invited me to go and have a look at the room he’d painted for the baby. I stood after him and followed him out and upstairs like a dog. In the room everything was as it should have been. The walls were a calm pink and all the gifts they’d received, some still wrapped, covered every surface.
‘What do you think?’
‘Very nice.’
‘Have you spoken to her recently?’
‘Have you?’
Acting big in the pink room. Back downstairs I had another drink and my girlfriend had the baby again. The mother looked at me, I saw her from the corner of my eye. I realised that, in fact, she was sitting stiffly, uncomfortably, in pain. My friend sat back on his couch, in his home, in sweatpants and socks as we watched the television. I looked as my girlfriend cradled his new daughter in her arms and told myself again what we were.
I climbed the stairs again, this time alone, and thought about defining moments, and how they can go either way; and how a single failed test can cause more damage than all the passed examinations in a lifetime can repair. I looked in the bathroom mirror and thought that moments of self-realisation can be moments of death. I looked down at the washing basket by the sink. On top of the basket was a box of Natracare New Mother Maternity Pads. I looked down and realised I had pissed on my jeans. Fastening the buttons I pulled a towel from the rail on the wall and dabbed at the denim. The jeans were quite dark, so the damage wasn’t too noticeable.
Back downstairs the baby was in her seat and the room had a new atmosphere. The mother watched me as I entered the room, followed me to my seat and didn’t look away as I sat down. I looked at her and she looked back, malignant. My girlfriend looked at the floor in front of her. Our visit was obviously over.
*
©Chris Veasy
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, «Self Portrait», 2009
 
*

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Archibald MacLeish, Hypocrite Auteur


mon semblable, mon frère

(1)

Our epoch takes a voluptuous satisfaction
In that perspective of the action
Which pictures us inhabiting the end
Of everything with death for only friend.

Not that we love death,
Not truly, not the fluttering breath,
The obscene shudder of the finished act—
What the doe feels when the ultimate fact
Tears at her bowels with its jaws.

Our taste is for the opulent pause
Before the end comes. If the end is certain
All of us are players at the final curtain:
All of us, silence for a time deferred,
Find time before us for one sad last word.
Victim, rebel, convert, stoic—
Every role but the heroic—
We turn our tragic faces to the stalls
To wince our moment till the curtain falls.

(2)

A world ends when its metaphor has died.

An age becomes an age, all else beside,
When sensuous poets in their pride invent
Emblems for the soul’s consent
That speak the meanings men will never know
But man-imagined images can show:
It perishes when those images, though seen,
No longer mean.

(3)

A world was ended when the womb
Where girl held God became the tomb
Where God lies buried in a man:
Botticelli’s image neither speaks nor can
To our kind. His star-guided stranger
Teaches no longer, by the child, the manger,
The meaning of the beckoning skies.

Sophocles, when his reverent actors rise
To play the king with bleeding eyes,
No longer shows us on the stage advance
God’s purpose in the terrible fatality of chance.

No woman living, when the girl and swan
Embrace in verses, feels upon
Her breast the awful thunder of that breast
Where God, made beast, is by the blood confessed.

Empty as conch shell by the waters cast
The metaphor still sounds but cannot tell,
And we, like parasite crabs, put on the shell
And drag it at the sea’s edge up and down.

This is the destiny we say we own.

(4)

But are we sure
The age that dies upon its metaphor
Among these Roman heads, these mediaeval towers,
Is ours?—
Or ours the ending of that story?
The meanings in a man that quarry
Images from blinded eyes
And white birds and the turning skies
To make a world of were not spent with these
Abandoned presences.

The journey of our history has not ceased:
Earth turns us still toward the rising east,
The metaphor still struggles in the stone,
The allegory of the flesh and bone
Still stares into the summer grass
That is its glass,
The ignorant blood
Still knocks at silence to be understood.

Poets, deserted by the world before,
Turn round into the actual air:
Invent the age! Invent the metaphor!

***

Archibald MacLeish, 1892–1982 an American poet, writer, associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work. More on WikiPedia

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Scott Devon, ‘forge immiscible faiths so none may burn?’ -four poems

richard II

My crown is a half-tamed Python,
a sometimes friend,
which sacrifices skin to hide the scars.
My ermine robes are stunted waxen wings,
and my royal ring a white banded worm
that feeds on me until I am no more.

Alas, I am consumed by ruling, crushed
by the compass of my crown, true north is south
and so I drown.
But what if I, in this confusion, should walk
upon the surface of my sorrows, and watch
all rebels rust away. For are these not men
who would hold up a torch and say look it is
the sun, tis just as just. And all shivering
the subjects would agree
it seems that even truth must bend its knee.

***

ambivalence

“to save our people we must sacrifice our people”
——————————————-G’Kar

I saw him today down in Circle Nine
found only decay in his hate he said
forgiveness is the highest form of faith

our souls unborn buddhas wanting freedom
from the dark he said so all life must die
I saw him today down in Circle Nine

yet I fear the matin light which you have
stoned blue with bruises he said hear my prayer
forgiveness is the highest form of faith

ascending a blind guide led me beyond
the dark asked me if the sun was rotten
I saw him today down in Circle Nine

and so the sun bled out and lost the sky
orphaned all to ineffectual fire
forgiveness is the highest form of faith

in the morning the sunrise smells of wings
and whip marks and blood and ambivalence
I saw him today down in Circle Nine
forgiveness is the highest form of faith

***

longinus

Go, bury the day, bless this blessed earth
with a sunken son, he like love itself,
undone. Then flood his sky with blood, give berth
to whip marks and marble and holy wealth.
All double night now for two suns are downed,
gone the one that burns and the one that’s prey,
a double dark’s where single lights are drowned,
and so I wish myself beside the day.
I gave him a coffin for his kingdom
and choirs of angel white worshipful worms .
But could I carve new, fish mistakes undone,
forge immiscible faiths so none may burn?
Dead men stay dead but stolen stories rise,
I saw him too late, his blood in my eyes.

***

sheol

When I died it was the opposite of drowning,
I poured fearful into some other bourn, il percorso 
inizia nel paradiso all’inferno, and felt my ending die.

I awoke upon the shores of Sheol, where the waiting
dream of what, Cielo? seconda morte? and I saw there Lilacs
out of the dead land, and Lotus flowers crowning the dead.

A land of outré hope, and pregnant pauses so ancient the
unborn have crows’ feet upon their faces. I saw
there a lapis path, by the leman, and upon the path a

man of clearest cyan waiting, his bones unpicked by
whispers, his mind a shantih shrine, and there on his
varada palm no lifeline scarred the skin.

On an eternal instinct I followed with gay
abandon, ogni speranza, voi che entrate.

***

the path

The T-Cell snow’s falling upon the path,
upon the pilgrims buried down inside their Cistercian
robes spread, as broken wings, around them.

They have seen, with one eye closed,
as if taking aim or fearful of seeing too deeply,
this land wet with drought, this land of ros crux,

this land of Ptolemaic love,
where the Satrap-Soter breeds scythes
for mobled souls. ‘O quam cito transit gloria mundi’,

quotes the last pilgrim in selfish prayer, but thinks,
or maybe hears, this land, this snow is Jolie Laide,
and begins to feel the father inside the cold,
inside the pain,
inside the grave.

*
©Scott Devon
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, 2008

j tyler blue, fucking alice

I got a gun. It ain’ t real but that don’t matter. Nobody really knows the difference anyways when I stick it up in their face. Like I did to this girl last night. All she did is scream. And yell and flop around and all this other crazy shit. She kept on saying her damn name to me like that would not make me want to fuck her. Or maybe she was trying to get me to fuck her. I ain’t never fucked no Alice before. But really all’s I wanted was some damn money.
See people like me we need what people like her got. Money. And nice shoes. And good clothes. And watches. Yeah, we need watches so we know what time these fools be getting off ov work so we can go rob they asses. I treat ’em like customers really. I say «Hey, welcome to my street. Now give me yur money bitch-ass!» And then I show ’em the gun. It’s a damn good gun. Until Alice, that crazed bitch, broke that shit.
I went up to her all gentlemen like ’cause I know how these bitches are. All playa hatin’ on anybody from the streets at first but after you gets to know ’em all they want is a little thug in ’em. So I goes up to her and say «Scuse me lady, you got a light?» Then I stood there all Clark Gable like but more modern, more P Diddy but a little more rugged. I had that smooth but hard look going. I had that shit down. I had it good cause as soon as I said it she damn near broke her leg trying to stop. She’s all «Oh, I don’t smoke.» and all that shit but I wasn’t gonna let this shit get away, you know what I’m sayin’?
So I start kicking my game and she was all eatin’ it up like she was starving. She was straight up starving for some gangsta shit up in her. Man she was straight diggin’ my shit. I was ’bout to just straight kick it with her, maybe go back to her place and hit it some but I had other shit to do that night. So I start walking her down this alley where I do my business you know. Not out where the po po can come and snatch me or some other damn fool and come try to be Superdude or whatever. I ain’t no fighter. I ain’t trying to get all up and sweaty and breakin’ bones and that shit. Man I could prolly kill somebody if I throw a punch with all my might. I seriously hurt ’em. Damn fools, running up on me.
Anyway, I took her back in that alley, gave her my line. My line that I done put a patent on it. «Hey, welcome to my street. Now give me yur money bitch-ass!» It’s all about delivery. It’s all about timing and shit. Right when I say money that’s when I break out the gun and I kind ov really give it to ’em on ‘bitch-ass’ for that added extra dimension ov effect. You know.
So I said that shit and she went up and started actin’ a fool. Screaming her name «Oh I’m Alice, I’m Alice, Oh, Oh my god.» And all that shit. Looking damn stupid. I was ’bout to shoot her ass but my gun didn’t have any bullets in it. It was fake. So I just yelled at her. «Shut the fuck up Alice! Before I shoot yur ass!»
She did. Then I thought damn. I got mad game. I could probably make her suck my dick right now. She probably wanted to. The way she was eyeing me up and shit. She probably wanted to lick my asshole or some other kind ov freaky shit. Fucking freak. I was about to let her go right then because I was just like «Damn, why don’t I just do what she wants me to do and then rob her ass.» But then she just went off again. She looked like Jackie Chan but like a more bitch version ov it. All this monkey jumping and shit acting all crazed. I was like damn these rich girls got crazy ways ov wanting to sex people up! But she kicked the shit out ov my hand and broke my damn gun.
«My name is Alice!»
That scared the shit out ov me. Who the fuck got to be yellin’ yur own name? I picked up the piece ov my gun and ran. I ain’t scared to tell you that. This bitch is crazed. I ain’t never fucking with no Alice again. Never.
Broke my damn gun. I really should ov punched her. But that ain’t my style.
But damn.
Fucking Alice broke my damn gun.

*
j. tyler blue ©2003 
Photo: Beercha – file licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Janet Lees, Hot air -poetry


Hot air

There are more dry mouths this month.
——–More lips licked nervously in the corridors of power.
—————There are protests over brown lawns and red-handed
——–banks – people are heard to say It’s like the third world.
In the third world people save their breath
——–for the six-mile walk to get water.

Sometimes we talk about these dirty tricks.
——-Sometimes we talk clean tech, green fixes, silver bullets.
————–But we can’t seem to talk our way out of this.
——-So we chat of the new black as scorched clouds bloom;
edgy reapers of an early harvest. Laying waste,
——-in our various ways, to our shortening days.
————–Waiting for rain.

*
©Janet Lees
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, «Antwerp wall» 2009

Belica Kubareli, Do dogs commit suicide?

Mrs Donna had never left her dog, Bubu, alone. Kept in her handbag they’d go to relatives, the cinema, the theatre, cafeterias, everywhere. They even travelled together every summer to the remotest places of the globe. Once they’d arrived, Bubu would sniff and roam around, moving her curly bum and wagging her tail. When Bubu showed her teeth, Mrs Donna knew something wrong was going on and took care for both of them. When Bubu was playful, Mrs Donna felt relaxed. Bubu was her radar for everything, from the moment she lost her husband.

The old lady and the dog lived together for eight years. Bubu never had a collar because Mrs Donna wanted her to be free to stay or go. From the moment she set eyes on this five inch of puppy curled inside a glass tank, she fell in love with her, the same as she had fallen in love with her late husband because he reminded her of a lonely gigantic shar-pei, that strange bulldog with the deep wrinkles and the blue tongue – only her husband’s was pink. The bell jar brought me a companion, instead of madness, thought Mrs Donna and went into the shop and bought Bubu.

At the beginning she had her on her late husband’s pillow at nights, to keep an eye on her, as she used to do with him during his sickness. Now she could see the whole of this tiny creature; with her husband she could see either his face or the back of his neck curious of the way the roots of his hair sprouted from the skin.

During the next six months Mrs Donna trained Bubu. She could walk or run, smell and do whatever she wanted on the pavements but she had to be safely tucked in the old woman’s palm to cross the road.

People were amazed with this miniature and she looked back with her twinkling button sized eyes. She wasn’t one of those dogs that lick and kiss and bark hysterically. No. Bubu was a lady. She stayed cool, gentle and a little detached from people’s affection, as if she kept all her tenderness for Mrs Donna.

  At home things were different. Apart from the fact that she had to pee in a tray in the corner of their bathroom, Bubu shared everything with Mrs Donna: food, sleep, reading, knitting, eating, T.V. Her owner had sewed straps of cloth with a pocket where she had Bubu, like a mother kangaroo, for the baby to listen to her heart-beat.
  Mrs Donna was not the talkative type so she didn’t say much to Bubu. They were two quiet creatures enjoying each other’s company in silence. Bubu’s way of showing her love was to hide her head under Mrs Donna’s armpit and emerge from there with a sigh, as if telling her, ‘I love your perfume,’ to which Mrs Donna replied with a kiss on her black wet nose.
  At times they simply gazed into each other’s eyes. Mrs Donna felt the dog’s eyes carried the world’s wisdom. Then Mrs Donna would say: “Either I will bark, or you will talk,” and she could swear to God that the dog nodded.
  She often wondered what and if Bubu was thinking and asked the vet who insisted that “the only thing we can say about our animals is whether they have a good life, judging from their health and behaviour and I swear, Mrs Donna, this is a very happy baby”. This was enough for her.
  Eight years passed smoothly between the two. Bubu was the first to notice something strange was happening to Mrs Donna and barked in a lamenting way to alert her. Mrs Donna took her to the vet. He declared there was nothing wrong with the dog.
  Then Mrs Donna’s sister had her yearly check-up. The two women went to the clinic together, with Bubu in her owner’s handbag. One of the doctors was a dog-lover and was very intrigued by her lamenting barks. He asked Mrs Donna to have a check-up too. The results showed a serious heart disease in urgent need of operation.
  Mrs Donna entered the clinic and stayed there for almost a month. Bubu stayed with her sister who adored her. Mrs Donna complained because doctors wouldn’t allow her to see the dog. She was sure she’d have a faster recovery if she could be with Bubu. She claimed that when she dreamed of Bubu, she felt no pain. “My dog saved me, why I can’t see her?” she’d beg the dog loving doctor but he said: “even a hair could kill you now”.
  After the clinic, Mrs Donna moved into her sister’s flat. The moment she set foot inside she knew Bubu had changed. The dog didn’t react to seeing her. She just stayed put and stared, like a statue they had both seen (In which country? Mrs Donna wondered but couldn’t remember) an iron statue of a sad dog, which seemed as if he was trying to hold his tears back while waiting for his master to come back from the seas. Mrs Donna bent over Bubu, took her in her palm, murmured sweet words, caressed her, and kissed her. Nothing.
  “She is punishing you”, said her laughing sister.
  Mrs Donna couldn’t believe that; she thought Bubu had understood the reason for her absence. She kept on cuddling the dog, speaking softly into her ear, a secret habit which made Bubu sneeze and open her mouth as if laughing. Nothing. She put her under her armpit to smell her perfume. Nothing. She put her inside her favourite pouch and tied it on her heart. Nothing.
  They slept together in a single bed, on the same pillow. Woman and dog stayed up until dawn, gazing at each other. Mrs Donna’s tears were soaking the pillow, like the first years together when she was mourning her husband and Bubu licked her wet face. But now Bubu remained distant.
  Night after night Mrs Donna tried to persuade Bubu that she still loved her, that the clinic didn’t allow dogs. Night after night Bubu listened to the same whispers and accepted hugs in a distant manner.
  The time to return home had come and although Mrs Donna had seen the care her sister offered to Bubu, she took her to the vet.
  “She is depressed,” said the vet.
  “What can I do?” asked the old lady.
  “Nothing. As long as she eats, we are ok.”
  Soon Bubu stopped eating and Mrs Donna panicked.
  “Mrs Donna, you have to be brave,” said the vet as soon as he got her tests results. “You just had a heart operation. Bubu has cancer in the mouth. When you are ready we shall have to put her down.”
  Bubu was on the vet’s metal bed, moving her head from him to her owner and nodded. Mrs Donna was shattered. She left the vet with Bubu tucked in the curve of her neck, an old game of theirs where the dog was the parrot and she the pirate with the limping leg. In this game Bubu never fell off her shoulder no matter how awkward the limp. This time she did fall and Mrs Donna grabbed her in her palms, feeling shame for pressing her to perform a trick that needed a fitness Bubu didn’t possess anymore.
  She started feeding Bubu by injecting into her mouth milk mixed with egg yolk. Both woman and dog were emaciated in ten days. At nights they went to bed together but hardly slept. Mrs Donna started talking. She narrated to Bubu all she could remember from her childhood, her youth, her marriage, her good and bad times. Every night she ended her talk by telling the dog how happy she had made her.
  When she had no words left, they gazed at each other and Bubu at last showed her love. Only it was a tired, sorrowful love with the slightest of tail wags and the faintest of kisses. “I didn’t betray you,” Mrs Donna kept explaining and Bubu hid under her armpit emerging with a weak smile and a lick which made her owner smile too, despite the decaying smell of the dog’s saliva. “We have a good time together, why do you want to leave me?” asked Mrs Donna as if she was talking to her husband. Bubu didn’t answer. Her husband didn’t answer either.
  One day Bubu didn’t wake up. Mrs Donna and her sister buried her at the neighbour’s orchard where she loved to play with his Alsatian. The animal kept howling long after the people were gone.
  A tearless desiccated Mrs Donna asked her sister the question that had been eating her up from the moment she returned from the clinic.
*

© Belica Kubareli
Photo©Pinkshippo 

Mabh Savage, When the Wind Stole my Homework -poetry

I’m sure it was ecology
Something alive and organic
That led me to be out in the trees
And laughing madly
Into the wind.
Books forgotten; no, a lie.
Books are the seeds in the core of this fruit
Books written just around the corner
By women as curious as I
Less fortunate though

Cursed to live in disease and sexism.
Both killers of body and spirit;
How lucky am I.
But the books I scrawl my facts
And figures
And answers
And notes
Are forgotten scraps of yesterday:
He asked (my angel)
‘What do you like best and why?’
I sat on the edge of the desk,
Eyes shining and soul
On my shirt sleeve
And said one thing, then another
Mind skipping like stones
Across a lake.
Worried at first that he will read
Far too much into my final answer
Then (crazy hormonal child)
Eventually not caring if he does.
Because the answer is true.
And it’s not conventional.
It’s not everyone else’s favourite.
It’s mine because it speaks
To something within
Bypassing ears and mind and launching
Arrow like at the heart of the matter.
He is pleased, so I am;
The measure of a great mentor.
And as I leave,
I think of all the things ‘I like best’
And realise none of them
Are for anyone
But me.
So here I am, running deer like
Through woods and over stones
Praising those words that found
The key to introverted me
And turned, and listen;
The grinding of gears
As the lock opened,
And me me me poured out through
That portal like sunshine.
Throw those papers to the wind;
Let devils grasp and play
What do I like best?
I’ve only just begun to say.

© Mabh Savage 
Photo©By designer Paul Cocksedge “Bourrasque” -collection of papers blowing away in the wind. Made for France’s City of Lyon’s annual Festival of Lights 2011

*

Mabh Savage’s book “A Modern Celt» is available to order at Amazon 

Daniel de Cullá, Haikus

HAIKUS BY THE SEA

In the dry on sea
A new wave for lifelong
The great white shark.

Te sum of laughter:
Kids splashing in the pool
On the lounge chair.

To salvage Life:
A visible catheter
On the Earth’s bend.

Taking you food
With you saves quite a lot:
Money for one.

When fear, terror
When pain, loss and worst, love.
You can’t feel alone.

Up the spirit of
A worthwhile wo/man being:
The girl’s white dog.

AFTER SAILOR’S FUNERAL

Small leaves
Like the palm of a hand
Tremble on its own.

Pollen-yellow horns
Examine swallows
At our touches.

Early May not long
Garden littered with shells
Thinnest tissue.

After funeral
Families retract at touch
It hugs the steam.

It’s easy to say
“The word love fucks in yr bed”
Always your own¡

HAIKUS OF THE GREEN OLIVE

Subverted Life:
Religions have perverted
The Free Spirit.

The Sacred Chao
Is for these screwed-up times.
Speak for Yourself¡

Deities change.
Gospel according to Freud
From de Dog Star¡

Erotic Poetry
Is a telegram for us?
Book of Uterus¡

Face to face with You¡
The Epistle to Paranoids
Is for Polites.

Each of these yarns
And my past to spread them:
Whole thing myself.

I got the Record
About you will learn more
And understand less.

Everything knowing
With Principia Discordia
About Nothing.

Knowledge of a sage
Put twinkles in Your Eyes.
Wisdom of a Child¡

EVIL’S HAIKUS

How I found a God
A few moments of a Shit
And what I did It.

I feel that the Book
Is a classic for a Dog
Hah¡ Delusions.

Clasic Discordia
Of guerrilla ontology
Deadpan put on¡

A Love Story
I don’t know You Wo/Man
Five tons of Winds¡

A Discordian Chao
There’s no God but Goddess
And my prettiest One¡

HAIKUS ANDALUS

The bud uncurls like
ruber tube protruding
Viatical settles.

Curtains open
You can’t live on love
gardenias on deck

Granada on the paint
behind the blond armoire.
You, Don the Garden

Big wave averted
as Sea walks away sea falls
waves behind Me.

An opening hand
on the Andalus patio
geranium to bloom.

*

©Daniel de Cullá
photo©Stratos Fountoulis «Paros 2008»

bio
Daniel de Cullá *1955, Poet & Writer. Painter & Photographer. Member of the Spanish Writers Association. Founder and Editor of the reviews of BodyArt, Art Culture, GALLO TRICOLOR, and ROBESPIERRE. He participates in Cultural Acts of Theatre and Performance. He’s living between Burgos, Madrid and North Hollywood.