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

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

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.

Pauline Rowe, whispering like a wound -poetry


Story of a Rented House

It was made of ice-cream, at a glance.
No house should be yellow. We knew it
and said nothing.

We were foolish to lie there,
to make love and think the walls
would keep our secrets.

The place made notes and sent
regular reports to his mother
who placed a curse on my foolish head.

The telephone wires took messages
from the snow queen, played the words
back in his dreams so he thought me a traitor.

He sat in the dark as I worked in the evenings
as the windows closed like the eyes of the dead.

I left early one night as
I heard him call my name. I swear.
But he was not there,

he was not outside,
he was not in any room,
he was not making music,

he was not waiting
for me

he was not waiting
he was not ever waiting
ever waiting
ever again.

*
Shirt

She can’t renounce the colour of his shirt,
its warp, its weft, the slightest scent of it
how, like a ghost, the movement in his hands
roots out, haunts her history in the dark.

His lips, the gentlest breath now finds her skin
draws a careful map; how transparent loss
can only be observed when certain light
catches it, the ink of night in traces

embroidered by creatures with slow purpose
as though the tiny light of centuries
were threaded microscopically in stone.

Norman tapestries offer up their hands
yet of this holy shirt that held his back
just shade remains, remembrance of pale green.

 
*
Demeter’s Dedication

I go out to shoot everything
ahead of the hunt; foxes, rabbits, otters,
peacocks, doves, parakeets, macaws.

Red’s in everything, the ecstasy of summer gone:
my breasts ache with the memory of milk.
My daughter, blind to winter, turns her back

I smell the anxious dead gathering
to witness her return, hear cold sunshine
whispering like a wound, singing songs, telling tales.

I can, at least, describe this waiting,
testify against the lowest of the low –
that rancid, hollow, stinking thing
who stole her from the day
and calls himself a god.

I will make the mountains cringe,
the rivers boil with human dead,
colour them full of poisons, break out
from their boundaries, invite the busy harbours
to collapse, call the seas into cities,
command volcano dust to choke
the Western hemisphere,
invite ice to claim dominion
where it can.

I walk always, I have no choice
while she’s imprisoned in her crimson bed,
her dungeon in the underworld.

I liquefy the silver of the moon with mercury,
pour it like a jug of cream over the ocean.

I heard you crying in the dark
my beloved child, my girl.
He took away the lanterns,
snuffed out all the stars.

Across the continent, my grief of grief
becomes a dance of death.

*
©Pauline Rowe
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, «Shopping Centre 2013»

*

Pauline Rowe lives in Liverpool and works as Poet-in-Residence at Liverpool Mental Heath Services (Mersey Care NHS Trust). She also works on writing and well-being projects for the charity North End Writers. Her collection Waiting for the Brown Trout God (2009) was published by Headland Publications.
She has an MA in Writing and Reading Poetry and is in the first year studying (part-time) for a PhD at Liverpool University from Oct 2013, researching the uses of poetry in mental health services.
She has worked with a range of organisations including FACT, Liverpool Poetry Cafe, Shrewsbury House, Liverpool Library services, the Greenbank project, Tenantspin, BBC Radio Merseyside and Project 51. Contact: northendwriters@gmail

Sotirios Pastakas, “a tongue-tied apology” -poetry


XANTHE*

to Daphne Georgiadou

A cockroach resting
between the washbowl 
and the mirror, motionless,
there, half-way up
the grey wall.
In the cobbled streets
the same old footsteps,
the feet going pit-a-pat
along the alleyways,
the trot

of a woman passing and gathering
pitter-patter men’s
glances, she gathers them 
pitter-patter and tucks them
into her midi skirt.
They climb up
her thighs,
they turn into a cockroach,
they halt on her hips.
Glances-cum-insects
glances slithering up
to her pliant waist,
her lush bust,
her protruding tits
that break first 
men’s hinting 
tape. Men
beckoning 
everywhere, 
tipping the wink 
men devising 
the same old 
tricks, ploys,
fallacies,
compliments.
The cafés
are full of men
sitting on chairs
in fours.
Men erect
standing 
on the pavement 
in a state of expectation,
leaning over to stamp out
their fag-end.
One is bending down
to do up his shoelaces,
another comes to a sudden stop
and bids you a simple “good morning”,
another turns round as you are passing
and whistles at you,
yet another is standing stunned
at the butcher’s entrance
and is slow getting out of the way
allowing you to pass, mumbling 
a tongue-tied apology.
The baker smiles at you.
The haberdasher tells you:
“You look lovely today,
Madam!”
The greengrocer offers you
a split pomegranate.
Someone else greets you
by ringing 
his bicycle bell,
rhythmic and melodious.
Same streets,
same men,
same distance
for twenty-seven long years,
the glances mercury
on you, and some others
red beads
round your neck.
The trip on your back
in a low-necked blouse 
since October’s 
voluptuous sunny days 
allow it.
The birds are singing,
the cars are speeding by,
the men pause and look around,
your buttocks are swaying
on high-heel boots,
the days are shortening.
In the streets and squares
your yesterday’s admirers
are aging adolescent
in the same cafés.
The province is an inexhaustible
supply of enthusiasm.
Transplanted vision
always leads us 
to the same streets,
and when we lose our way,
a couple of steps further on 
there’s a half-open 
window, jasmine 
in bloom, you arrange
your hair,
a slim-waisted, stylish 
figure
ducking 
at the War Memorial
to avoid the machine gun’s
barrel.
She dabs her lips with lipstick 
on the sly, on the quiet
she sends an SMS
on her mobile phone
under the table.
She ignores a call,
she is either not connected to this line
or has her phone deactivated
for one-third of the time.
She receives flowers from strangers,
red roses,
mouths half-open for a kiss,
red lips, 
greedy lips that know 
how to bite an apple,
to cut a thread
with their teeth, to sew up
silence and smile,
dyed conversations,
kisses on a bench,
a butterfly at rest
on the tip of a leaf,
your face once again
an outlet for pedlars
and beggars in the hum
of the streets.
Your face, 
an embroidery 
on a shop window,
in a shop window.
Behind a café’s 
glass windows dozens
of man’s faces.
Your face on
a glass window, you pause,
you straighten your eyelashes somewhat,
you try a smile,
you start walking again,
you rise, travel,
get lost, arrive,
your face deforms,
your figure is nondescript,
only your eyebrows 
and your eyes will be ours.
Your father’s nose is
that of our fellow-citizens,
the mass of hands
that have yet to touch you,
words have not wounded you,
hugs have not made you dizzy,
lovers’ shapeless profiles,
flat excitements,
inexplicable passions, stickabilities ,
unforeseen love affairs,
offhand flirting, 
rough and ready sex as usual,
unexpected love.
Start walking,
share out your body,
stop and listen
to the country’s music,
sense a musical phrase,
a note announcing
a Hadjidakis** instrumental piece.
Admire your lissome shadow
in men’s looks.
Hear the masculine confessions
from one who weans away
from the crowd and follows you
step by step, keeping a lover’s distance
as far as your house, 
because your house is built
of stone, lips and arms,
an untidy girlish 
bedroom, sheets in a mess.
She undresses 
in the steamy bathroom,
the cockroach having 
traced out its route,
the mirror naked,
my daughter bathes 
after her stroll
to the Xanthe 
Progressive Union. 

©Sotirios Pastakas
The town of Xanthe, vintage photo 1930 


*

*Xanthe: The capital of the province of Thrace.
**Manos Hadjidakis (1925-1994): Internationally famous Greek composer.

Translated from the Greek by Yannis Goumas

Ali Znaidi, “the cinders of an ongoing memory” -poetry

 
A Dejected Morceau

in this abattoir

of

symbolic

disintegration

the loud

clashing tone

of

dream fragments

started echoing,

& the tinkling

cymbals

began to clash

for a slaughtered bird

w/ its retinues

of gloom

Memory’s Cinders

all sprang from those endless
nights—

endless wild parties of the
bats playing havoc
w/ the frosty spiders’
cobwebs,

endless flashing lights of the
fireflies

& most and foremost from
the cinders of
an ongoing memory—

headaches, blazing

Self-explosive Sleaze

Sleaze is weaving sonnets
around its halo:

embellished sounds &
con[fluent] words,

& above all, a fascination w/
syntax—

an insatiable balloon feasting on
more air adorned w/
flowery language—
a basic sustenance
for self-
——–destruction.

*
©Ali Znaidi
photo©Stratos Fountoulis «Flamengo night in Barcelona, 2008»

bio
Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English. His work has appeared in The Rusty Nail, The Tower Journal, Mad Swirl, Red Fez, Unlikely Stories: Episode IV, BlazeVOX, Word Riot, & other ezines. His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada). From time to time he blogs at – aliznaidi.blogspot.com