Sunday, August 06, 2017

New Poetry by Christine Burrows










Autumn pivot

March is endings
small sacrifices
no lollies for lent

May shucks you down
slim as a rock limpet
resisting coldening wind

April finds its fools, caught short
at daylight savings end, raking up
summer dreams amongst sodden leaves


- Christine Burrows 2017



Christine is a Melbourne poet, originally from New Zealand. Recent work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including Audacious, Cordite, Landfall, Westerly and Australian Poetry Anthology (2016). Her work explores diverse aspects and levels of human experience - trauma, loss and dislocation being regular themes. Poetry keeps her going.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

The Wig

Not just with me but in general, she had never observed all the rules of social etiquette which I found myself unable to disobey. Sending a RSVP to anything to which I was invited, being on time for an appointment, acknowledging holidays and birthdays via cards.

As a sort of experiment, I gave in, or more accurately, I gave up on all sense of formality with her.  It did not seem to faze her although my methods were faulty and the accuracy of my experiment were in question as we had never actually been that close.

Where I grabbing a drink after finishing a piece, I would linger far longer than had I just popped out for a break. If we ran into each other on one of these occasions, then we would spend some time together. There was something mercenary in her look when aroused which both appealed and repulsed me. I think the last time I saw her it had been the latter and so with only a faint echo of a warning klaxon in the back of my mind, I lost track of how long it had been.

I had achieved all kinds of things but when home I went to the same places as they offered me what I needed. The inspiration which they still gave me after these years of walking my streets, I am a sort of Antaeus of Midtown.

I had just come back from once again having been on the road. Now here I was in my favorite seat at my usual bar when she came in. Two years had gone by since our last encounter.

She had moved to Seattle. Instinctually my mind went towards reprimands for not having told me beforehand nor having been dropped a note once she had settled in. I saw the futility of uttering anything along those lines as it would not stick and it would waste my brief downtime on something neither of us would care to be part of. Instead my mouth twisted into a sort of grin which was not one hundred percent about mirth nor pleasure.

“So, what are you doing back?”

Her aunt had died and she was supposed to go through her house and see if there was anything she wanted before the rest was thrown out. I vaguely recalled an older witchy looking woman who drove a rusted-out Volkswagen that I had briefly met once in passing at a farmer’s market.

 “You should come, there is an overgrown garden which I bet you could do some amazing sketches of.”

It sounded jerkier than I had intended when I said yes but that I did not have all day.


I was surprised I had not seen her aunt out and about more often as her place was a quick walk from all my usual haunts. I stopped to tie my shoe but she had kept walking although at a slower pace. Looking at her from behind as I sought to catch up. The same jacket as ever. She had put on a few pounds but wore it well. What would she look like in a decade?

We let ourselves in but I could tell by how tentatively she walked over the threshold it was strange for her too. The place was not dirty but very cluttered. Piles of paperbacks, mismatched furniture, most of which had afghans thrown over their backs and arranged so that to walk to certain parts of the room one had to squeeze between two pieces set at odd angles.

“Do not worry, we are not going to be here all day. I am just going to check her bedroom as that is where her photo albums and anything which may interest me might be. Why don’t you go out back and sketch? You must leave something to hold the door open or it will lock behind you. Just use one of the paperbacks, don’t worry about it.”

The backyard garden was gloriously savage. At one point, great care must have been put into it as even with it having grown wild there was still loose bordered order to the groupings of herbs and vegetables.

Of course, I recognized the oregano and rosemary. Some of the others I used to know but had grown rusty in my identification. Looking at one cluster I found interesting I eventually snapped my fingers and said “Hyssop!” after which I looked around to see if anyone had seen me do so.

I became absorbed in my drawing until having grown thirsty. An hour had passed. I decided to go in and check on her. Squeezing by the piles of books that lined the hallway wall, I head towards the bedroom. The sound of her breath coming in sharp rhythmic patterns. I had avoided the potential drama of a fight by not having scolded her but would now have the even worse scene of having to provide comfort to her in her grief, something which I was terrible at in general.

Standing in the doorway, I was surprised to not immediately see her as in my mind’s eye I had pictured her, sitting on the end of the bed, perhaps with some trinket in her hand sobbing. My eyes scanned the room.

Wearing only underwear and a bra, she was on the floor with her back against the closed bathroom door. The way her bottom jaw jutted forward then back and her nostrils slightly flared. She was not crying. Her body shook for a moment and in that moment, I forgot what jerks we both could be. She opened her eyes and looked at me. The sun caught the beads of perspiration on her forehead in jewel like shimmering.

“Where did you get the wig?”

“It was my aunt’s.”

Fini


Wayne H.W Wolfson 2017


www.waynewolfson.com




Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson










Dwelling

I live in one of the oldest, continuously
inhabited houses here, so walk carefully
in my gardens, delicate on flagstones
which might be brittling; sashay
kindly around my lawns, their intermittent
flowerings, probably better not to lean
on weak fence palings. I keep to that
old-fashioned way of open doors,
you can slip in without trespass,
if you’re lawful. In fact, if the windows
were cleaned well,
you’d see inside easily, all the rooms.
I occupy them all, simultaneously,
being shadowy and unlimited
in progression, doing kitchen things
in the lounge, carrying laundry
into the guest room, brewing a coffee
for you in the backyard shed,
grieving in hallway spaces,
decanting a red wherever.
I am as sharp as a spray of needle
grass, acute as that roofed angle of corrugation,
transparent as bricked-in walls hit by nuclear blast.
Be aware of history, my long trajectory
of residence and upkeep, my earnest
ownership, ancestral rights of home,
my sovereign right of welcoming.


- Linda Stevenson 2017



A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies. Chapbook “The Tipping Point” published in 2015, feature guest poet on Radio 3CR “Spoken Word”. Active as a poet within the online poetry sector, hosts regular Salons at her home in Frankston, Victoria.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki










Silence Land

I have doubts about my sanity:
not everyone can bear this much.
They stole all my feelings;
there’s no wisdom left in my mind.
I am just a walking dead man.
I am just a walking dead man.

I yelled for help so many times—
No one on this earth took my hand.
Now I see many mad things and imagine
how the world would look if it collapsed.

Perhaps it would be good for everything to return to the past;
for nothing to be seen on the earth or in the sky.
It would feel so good to be a child
again and go back to my mother’s womb.
For there to be no sign of me,
for me never to have gone crazy in this place.

What if the woolen jacket I am wearing unravels
and begins to fall apart?
Or the butterfly flies back to its cocoon,
or the autumn leaf grows green and returns
to its branch on that old tree?
What if the tree becomes a seed in the soil—
I sound crazy speaking this way!

It’s the outcome of being detained for four years
after seeking asylum on the sea.

What if that sea returned to its source
and flowed back to the river mouth?
If that river receded back up into its spring?
What if only the sun and the moon remained in the sky?
If I saw even the sun’s birth reversed,
watched it dissipate into space?
Witnessed the moon implode upon itself?

All things returning to their starting place…

How beautiful, to live in a colorless world,
everywhere silent and still.
The earth would be calm for a moment,
free of even one miscreant.

But what do you make of my vision—
am I sane or mad?


- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2017



Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for four years. His poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the first work published on Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, Mohammad’s writing has been published by Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review, and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice.  His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances.


Friday, July 21, 2017

New Poetry by Ben Hession










Summer: an ellipsis

The Armageddon weather,
                  pervasive, the hot winds,
thunderstorm clouds
                  perdurant in each octant,
the nights tease away sleep: dreamy

reconciliation fills a plastic,
                  disposable shopping bag
lifting over backyard fences;
                   grit lands in the eyes
of all sinner pedestrians.

                    I cannot see straight
and that angers me,
                    I only have eyes for my ego;
hope watches a car-crash,
                    it's a voyeur crossing police tape
wanting action, baby -
                   looks for a body, looks for blood
moans that it's hungry, thirsty;
                   comes too early, grunting, falls
away, the psychopath.



- Ben Hession 2017


Ben Hession is a Wollongong based writer. His poetry has been published by Eureka Street, the International Chinese Language Forum, the Cordite Poetry Review, Verity La and the Mascara Literary Review, as well as the Live Poets anthology Can I Tell You A Secret? Ben's poem, A Song of Numbers,  was shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Poetry Science Poetry award. Ben is also a music journalist and is involved with community broadcasting.

Friday, July 14, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George










The bone slums

    I think of the deepest tragedies
    that I have experienced. That

have made me become the woman
that I am today. I think of Antigone,

    Joan of Arc, the war of art, years
    gone by. I think of death and life.
    Instinct and emptiness. In the bone

slums. You will find the winter-themed of
the soul there. Stray cats. Kitchen tables that
have a rustic feel to them. Jam and bread.

    Forget this place of weeping.

The preparation for a daughter to become a mother.

    The yield and harvest of fathers.
    The yellow star on coats.

The strange pale fire in Anne Frank’s eyes.

    Jewish children in the fire of war.

In the fire of the concentration camps.
I weep for nightfall. All I can do now

Is look at it from a distance. Women
Covering themselves with the veil of

    justice. While men want freedom and I remember this.

That there is bitter relief to be
Found in the anguished wild.

When the final hour came, it
was a day of thunder, submission and falling.

That was the day the sun died.
That was the day the sun died.
That was the day the sun died.

And the bitter seed sung that all should
be free. That we should all be free and
hopeful. And forget the harvest of futility.


- Abigail George 2017



Abigail George is a South African writer and poet.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

New Poetry by Margaret Holley










Bob Boldman Does My Haiku

"Walking with the river, water does my thinking,"
birds my singing, wind my breath,
trees my patience.

While I gaze out the window, or when I fall 
asleep with a book in the afternoon,
sunlight does my dreaming.

Walking with the river, ripple does my dance,
my shining, stones my quiet,
trees my rooting,

roots my holding on.  When I grow afraid 
of my life, grasses do my greening, 
rain my grief.

Standing by the river, mute and empty,
all the waters singing to my thirst,
trees my leaf and fruiting.

When it is time to move out of my house 
of bones, river, do my flowing.  Wind, 
my rising.  Leaves, my letting go.


- Margaret Holley 2017


Margaret Holley’s fifth book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon, published by University of Arkansas Press.  Recent poems have appeared in Eclectica, Gnarled Oak, The Tower Journal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.  Former Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College, she currently lives with her husband in Wilmington, Delaware, where she volunteers as a gallery guide at Winterthur Museum.

Friday, June 23, 2017

New Poems by Allison Grayhurst










Another Station

I raced to the perimeter,
stopping at the dot and
found the sun half-gone
like a kiss that never was.
I touched the tree and the tree
did not know I was there.
I peeled the skin from my fingers
to feel a deeper sensation.
The line and the ledge and the no-space in-between.
The devil is bitter and hard. I spoke to the devil
and held time with his eyes. But breaking free,
leaping from the circle - these aspirations
are growing up, taking long and slow breaths,
all the while, becoming
more formidable.


- Allison Grayhurst 2017


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 1050 poems published in over 425 international journals. She has sixteen published books of poetry, seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com   

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Poetry by Richard Manly Heiman










Andromache at Pergamon

When you wake from a mid-day nap to bees droning through orchids and gerberas by the sluggish fountain, or you're cane-walking slow through ancient Bo─čazkere vines and cherry groves, raw as a

slashed throat clogged with gurgling clots it all comes raging back. The sudden fall, the tumbling high-pitched shriek cut off mid-flight by limestone ramparts. Florid smears in horse-shit dust, the phantom pain in your uterus. But such a tiny

sacrifice. No more night terrors to console, a baby's dreams of bronze-skulled monsters. Still you replay gallops round  and round, the bloody bare crown thumping along, splitting over and over again, sanity fracturing, oozing hope like yolk, gelatin eyes squeezed tight to block

absurdly calm extinction. Now each morning he stares back with mead-rimmed eyes. One who looks just like the one who murdered and then loved you. He stares, and death is trite, and no strong-built heart walls can keep the wailing in.


- Richard Manly Heiman 2017


Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines on the slope of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. He works as a substitute teacher and writes when the kids are at recess or playing on their cell phones. Richard's work has appeared or will in Rattle, Into the Void, Bop Dead City and elsewhere. He is a two time 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. His URL is poetrick.com.

Monday, June 19, 2017



Call for Submissions 

The June Open Reading Period 

Black Lawrence Press seeks innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go. During our June and November Open Reading Periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. 

 Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.