Even For Winter

Strength and sadness and anger in Rajani Radhakrishnan‘s words.

THOTPURGE

they sat there in the evening light, cups of tea
and hot bhajiyas on the plastic table, people calling
out from the street as they passed, asking about their
children, their mothers, even as their wives waited
in their kitchens and bedrooms, they sat there and
thought about a pink cheeked girl, how they could
steal her, keep her, break her, destroy her, and they
smiled at the people passing and asked for more tea
and took calls from uncles and brothers and the birds
sang as they came back to their nests and they talked
of a child and how they would kidnap her and sedate
her and who would rape her and who would kill her
even as their wives waited in their kitchens and
bedrooms and their mothers prayed in temples so
their sons would live longer and they asked for more
tea and smoked cigarettes till…

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Bathsheba, Bathing

She doesn’t know King David watches,
doesn’t know his lust — blind
to her virtue, her marriage.

I serve this most beautiful of women,
make the water warm, the soap fragrant.
I pour sweet oil between her breasts,
watch it drip on thighs and belly.

She is wed to Uriah, away at war,
but she’s lonely for men’s praise,
looks often in the basin
to measure her own beauty.

I fear the king’s desire. Their eyes meet,
and I know his will is hers as well.
God will smite them in their coupling.

What will become of me who keeps
their secrets? Are my loyalties to king
or God or to my mistress whom I love
as David loves her, as Uriah loves her.
My secrets must remain more secret still.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Ekphrastic Review
Based on Bathsheba by Jean Leon Gerome, 1899
For dVerse and for Poets United

 

 

 

Stevieslaw: My poem “Breakdown” just appeared in Nixes Mate Review

This fine poem by my friend Steve Deutsch was published today by Nixes Mate Review.

Stevie's Law

New in Issue 7 of Nixes Mate http://nixesmate.pub/issue-7-spring-2018/Review

Breakdown

On that endless day in February –
when I found out
you wouldn’t be coming home,
I hitched a ride to Lewistown
in a car so beat up
it might have been lifted
from a junkyard on Route 220.
The delinquents that drove it
were thoroughly stoned
and moved in fractal time –
abruptly, like mechanical dolls
wound for infinity.
We took the grade
down Seven Mountains sideways
laughing at fuck knows what.

They tossed me out
at the train station
just over the river –
a place so desolate and cold
the vegetation that grew there
could not be found
anywhere else on earth
I sat on the icy asphalt
and cradled my backpack,
as if the contents –
some ludes and librium,
two nickel bags,
rolled sweat socks,
and a stuffed dog named Lucky,
could save me from the…

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Sin Collector

One of my favorite poets published this poem on Ekphrastic Review, one of my favorite sites. Can’t figure out how to reblog from ER, so I’ll reblog from Rajani’s site.

THOTPURGE

still-life-with-five-bottles-1884.jpg!Portrait

Still Life with Five Bottles: Vincent van Gogh

Collecting sins in old bottles, the days reach out and drop them
in like pebbles, still smelling of fond river beds. Yesterday, it was

the temptation of an improbable love, too big to fit into that
slim hipped flask, but sin is pliable, twists and changes as it is

gathered, as we change its name, change its colour, make it
bearable in the morning. When all those hours, all those words,

all that feel of skin on skin has been corked, when the bottles fill
the shelves and rooms and toss and turn on the breasts of the

tides, when everything has been cleansed and bathed and the rain
never stops falling, tell me then, when did love become a mistake.

Thank you Lorette C. Luzajic, for publishing my poem at The Ekphrastic Review.

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Cleats by Joseph Mills

What a great poem this morning on one of my favorite poetry blogs — Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. Editor Christine Klocek-Lim’s selections are always spot-on, and this one touches my memories of my own kids’ teenaged years.

Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

Cleats

After practice, my son kicks off his cleats
and leaves them under the front seat.
He treats the van like a storage locker,
draping his uniform and sweats around.
The daughter complains each morning
as I take her to school. The cleats smell.
They’re in her way. It’s not fair. I agree
with all of these points, and yet I don’t
tell the son to move them. For one,
it’s yet another argument I’m too tired
to have. There are already so many things
I’m prodding him about: homework,
showers, closing doors, drinking water …
and, to be honest, I kind of like them there,
this mark of the boy, these muddy talismans.
He used to hold my hand as he fell asleep,
and once he pulled his fingers away,
picked his nose, then slid them back in my palm.
Yes, this is love, I thought then, holding snot

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The Contents

This is perfection. Thank you, Ms. Bridgewater and Eunoia.

Eunoia Review

After the tremors and reverberations of the explosions have passed, Mr. Beauchamp emerges, brave on feeble legs, from the tiny flea circus of a studio overlooking Beirut. His grey beard is somber enough for the occasion, thick with saline as he views his smoking city through an afghan of debris. A woman wailing swallows her sobs long enough to watch familiar Mr. Beauchamp head toward the square. He scrapes his box along the ground, lifting it gently at every step and crevice, though it may weigh more than his fragile, tweed-clad body.

The black box looks funerary, ancient paint chipped to reveal splinters of the light wood from which it is constructed, the cold metal handle small enough to dig uncomfortably into any hand that might attempt to carry it. The box is unusually heavy; most people pick it up twice, attempting once and then re-thinking their technique. If they…

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Light from a Dead Star

Nikki Velletri is a young poet to watch. Another of her poems can be found here.

 

Eunoia Review

after Donna Tartt

If there was ever a night to forgive
clumsy feet and hands reaching for
the unutterable,

we had reached it. Before leaving,
you had kissed your mother, even
your father,

both of whom would outlive you. This
is not the way the world should end,
fifty miles from home, earth reaching
up to take back

what it created long ago. Try as we may
to avoid it, lives dwindle. Try as we may to
avoid it, we are left with

blood-stained clothes and love, so much
love and no containers to fill it with.
Your mother sentenced

to collect dead children like stamps or
dust in corners. Your mother fumbling
against the darkest edge

of the universe from which all light must
reflect again, which is to say there is
a version of this life

where everything we’ve lost has already
been returned to us. I loved…

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Stevieslaw: New York City, 1968

My friend Steve Deutsch’s tour de force “NYC, 1968” has just been published by Misfit Magazine. I’m linking to Steve’s blog, but be sure to visit Misfit’s current issue too — more great poems there! http://misfitmagazine.net/current.html

Stevie's Law

My poem, NYC-1968 just appeared in issue 23 of Misfit Magazine.  Here is the poem:

New York City, 1968

I
When last we met
we sat on a stone bench
in Central Park.
Frost had put paid to summer
and the big trees shivered
in the tepid sun.
We fed a squirrel
the remains of your lunch.
You said the draftees
had left
from Grand Central Station
that morning–
your fallen face
the color of the gunmetal sky.
That winter the water main
broke on the avenue
that ran along the park.
For months, we had to take
the long way home.

II
When last we met
we were in an apartment
in the East Village–
above the shop
that advertised “Fresh Produce.”
You said the Weathermen
had blown out all the windows.
We sat on the floor
in the hellish heat
and the stench of overripe melon.
A cloud…

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First Husband

“Poetry is . . . emotion recollected in tranquility.”
― William Wordsworth

I found his obit on Google,
hadn’t seen him, barely thought
of him in forty years
since the day he loaded his car
with half of everything – blankets, pillows,
dishes, albums (we fought over
who’d get “The Graduate” poster of Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft’s leg) – and drove off
to I-didn’t-care-where.

Once, 20 years later I learned where he was
from his buddy John and called.
He still taught drama and directed
summer stock in a small midwestern town.
We laughed together, comfortable,
finally, in our separate skins.

Now an obit with pictures and two columns
in the paper. A well-loved, prominent citizen,
it read, wife, three kids, grandkids. He wrote
a children’s book and “left the town
with memories of comedy and drama
that enriched our lives.”

Our marriage wasn’t mentioned. No need,
I suppose – a youthful take off
and crash landing best forgotten. But I wish
I had a chance to say goodbye.

– Sarah Russell
First published by Silver Birch
Photo Source
for dVerse Poetics