Soul – Synapses – Source

Two Poems
by Stuart Buck
there are times when i can taste my heartbeat
i can feel
my blood slipping through my ecstatic veins as it
rushes from my brain to my bones to the
beautiful stars
and it is cold out tonight but i feel like the eyes
of god are
burning burning
a hole into my needs and desires and
he sees what it is that my soul thirsts for
and it is to walk backwards into the sweet
blue ocean.
We are only alive for a cosmic second
and each gluon and quark and photon
and electron individually is like a nebulae
if you look at it hard enough and each
millimetre of our bodies contains
atoms and quantum theory tells us that
the universe is made up of the reaction
that takes place when a blanket of things
that are everywhere and nowhere at the
same time interact and we can see and we
can breathe and everything that can happen
will happen but it only happened because of
an infinitesimal bit of luck but you know what
that is ok because the universe is so enormous
that infinitesimal luck occurs all the fucking time
and because of that we are probably surrounded
(in as much as we can be)
by civilized life and beautiful trees and seahorses
that shoot babies from their stomachs and even though
I can comprehend all of this I still can’t understand
why you died.
Stuart Buck is a poet living in North Wales. He writes freeform poetry based on life, dreams and why everything isn’t much good anymore.

Poet Interview #16 – Stuart Buck

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

I live in a tiny village in North Wales called Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. It is situated in the Ceiriog Valley, named after John Ceiriog Hughes, the famous Welsh poet so it a very beautiful, inspiring place to live. I have a wife and two children. I have been writing for a while now, but really only started seriously in January 2015 when, because of health problems, I had to give up working as a chef, a job I’d done for years. Now I focus fully on my writing, without the stresses of 90 hour weeks!

My writing is very cathartic, so I suppose I needed to write rather than was inspired. It gradually took over my life, like anything you love, and is now as much a part of me as my flesh and blood.

My favourite poets are a varied bunch. I’d say the first poet I fell for truly was Bukowski. His ability to just lay down beautiful words, so effortlessly and so approachably was mind-blowing. He may not have been the best role-model for a human being but as a poet I think he took a lot of beating. I also love Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman and a guy named Steve Roggenbuck, who is more of a visual artist than a poet, performing most of his stuff on YouTube. But really, I consume so much poetry that I stumble across things every day that I fall in love with.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?

I wait for it to come to me. No set time, but when I think of a line or a phrase or just see something I feel I could write about I stop whatever I’m doing (unless I’m using heavy machinery!), put my headphones on, play some Arvo Part or Brian Eno and just write. It comes out as one, long line which I then edit down later once I’ve had the chance to look at it properly. Poems can take me five minutes or five hours, but it’s usually the former. I write very quickly and just try to imbue everything with passion, love and emotion.

My earlier poetry was very heavily Bukowski-esque. It was almost all monologues and pumped up versions of things that have happened to me. I have traveled quite a bit and had a fairly unusual life, so I had material! But once it started drying up, I adapted. I now write sparser, more spiritual poems with a smattering of Quantum Mechanics thrown in for good measure.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

I tried, I really did, to love Facebook. But I can’t bring myself to be that interested in other people’s breakfasts. I am on Twitter but mainly to keep posting my work via the website Write Out Loud. WOL is my main source of getting my work out there; it’s a wonderful site full of good poets and people who actually read your work.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

I perform every now and then but my poetry never really comes out that well on stage. I am getting better but nerves and a lack of practice cursed me up until now. So no real network other than the one online at WOL.

I am currently reading ‘Island’ by Aldous Huxley and ‘The Quantum Universe’ by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw alongside endless streams of poetry from magazines, books and online. Aldous Huxley is a wonderful author and his book ‘The Doors of Perception’ is the reason I am married with kids! I met my wife online via a philosophy blog I was writing and recommended the book to her. Eight years later here we are!

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

I have found poetry is 50% writing and 50% submitting. There are pages dedicated to calls for submissions where lists of people who want work advertise. Get your work out on sites where people can comment. Poets are like sponges, we exist on praise. It will give you confidence to keep writing. Always have a notebook with you. My favourite poem I ever wrote came from one word I wrote down in my notebook at 3 am in the morning. Don’t give up and read, read, read. You have to read.

Harvesting the Hierarchy

Some Are More Equal than Others

by Troy Cabida


Through a fear of neglect

to ourselves we turn in reflection

and inside we see a tunnel, dark and deep,

and for light we toil through deeper

but we mustn’t complain:

the CEOS work six days a week.

So hard we work our joints numb,

that eventually our thoughts dwindle from the ground

and our brains slowly follow, practically ignoring

the big bosses’ gently exempting us

from luxuries that equate to our hardened spines and

aching muscles, wilted wheat given in exchange for missing greens

within increased/increasing slavery hours

they keep the milk and apples;

our epiphanies and rebellions are silent and premature

forget society’s age old silencing

so-called manners

and rebel revolt be sarcastic sardonic

use your voice you have a voice use your soul you have a soul

throw away the love songs

and smash the guitars

at their mouths uttering extraneous utterly superfluous nonsense


we deserve all of the fruits



Troy Cabida is a Filipino writer from London. His recent work has appeared on Thought Collection Publishing, WORK and Pinched. He is a columnist for Miracle, Time to Gander and has edited for Siblíní Journal and Thought Notebook. Troy’s blog can be reached via this link.

Poet Interview #15 -Troy Cabida

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

I started writing poetry when I was fifteen years old and was going through what might be the first time I’ve ever felt heartbroken. My entire life was going through such a transitional phase that I needed to find something to help vent in a way that’s harmless and progressive for the healing process. I ended up writing a lot of sad and emotional poetry that I’m glad I didn’t send out to magazines. And as I grew older and saw and learnt more about the world my poetry became more positive, more balanced and something that’s become a huge part of my identity.

Music has actually become more of an inspiration to me than poetry when I started. I wanted to find stories that I could relate to and learn from styles that attracted me, and I found them through pop and underground Filipino music from musicians like June Marieezy, Karylle, Curtismith and Bamboo. Only a couple of years later I found poets that I could connect with.

My favourite poems come from Anthony Anaxagorou, Juan Miguel Severo and Marilyn Monroe. There’s a wonderful poet out there named Robert Eric Shoemaker whose debut collection I had the honour of editing and his style is very, very fluid and colourful. I’m a huge fan of poets that write in a more conversational style and can manipulate wordplay.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?

I wish I had a writing schedule to follow because a lot of articles online say that it’s really important for writers and it, at least in my opinion, gives you a better chance of getting more work done, but writing a poem is quite a random process for me.

Either I think of a line or think of an interesting wordplay and then I keep that on my phone for a while or I sit down, open a blank screen and just write whatever it is I’m feeling. When a song or a show hits a nerve in me that I never knew I had, I end up writing something about that or when I want to preserve a personal memory, I work around it and it ends up a poem that I get to keep forever.

Poetry used to be difficult for me to understand and I thought you need to have a degree to sink into it properly but while growing up I realised that it’s just as rough and dirty and rewarding as any other craft out there. You can get really brutal and honest with it and usually that’s where the best ones come out. Now there’s so much diversity in poetry today as well that makes me want to become a part of it even more.

I realised that in order to write a stable of varied poems that people will also connect with I need to live life and to always be in the moment because essentially you’re capturing life through words, something that I thank the craft for every single day.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

I have Twitter and a profile page on Facebook just to keep my personal stuff and my writing separate. Being on social media also helps me find journals and websites that have current calls for submissions and some looking for writers and editors so I think social media’s really helpful in that way.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

I’m currently going through a lot of writer groups or classes available around my area because I’d really like to have some feedback from fellow writers. I used to be in a writer’s group when I was back in sixth form but it was short-lived and since then I’ve always wanted to be a part of a community like that.

I’m currently reading Mia Alvar’s In The Country, a collection of short stories about Filipino Overseas Workers all around the world and how being abroad has changed their lives and relationships with people both with them and back in their motherland.

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

It’s always an enriching experience to volunteer editing for a magazine or something like that because you get to look at a poem from a different angle and you end up learning more about your own and how you can improve by reading many different kinds of poems.

When submitting work, always find the literary magazine that is a match for your poem; don’t do it the other way around. Follow lots of journals and websites on their social media platforms and subscribe to their mailing list to always be updated with what’s going on with them and if there’s anything that you might be interested in.

And lastly, write about what you feel needs to come out from your system and write what YOU want to write and not what you feel the world wants out there. Remember to not be afraid of getting honest and brutal when you find bits of yourself between the lines; usually your best work lies in poems that you weren’t comfortable writing.

A Precarious Tilt

Smoke & Mirrors
by Rehan Qayoom


            So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

            So long lives this, and this gives life to thee,


                                William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare’s Sonnets. (Thomas Thorpe, 1609).


Sans toi, les émotions d’aujourd’hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d’auterfois.




Can we only love

Something created in our own imagination?

Are we all in fact unloving and unlovable?

Then one is alone, and if one is alone

Then lover and beloved are equally unreal

And the dreamer is no more real than his dreams.


T. S. Eliot.  The Cocktail Party.  (1949).




Tonight the moon reminds me so much of you

It is as lonely as the night is making me

Penetrating the mind with its black fantasia

Learning me how Mir was moonstruck for Mah

So there are no words but the memory surviving yet as in a chrysalis:

You dancing widdershins naked in the snow, prancing

Jigging on a wibbly wobbly bridge

Swinging and unafraid to risk a fall


They laugh at me that sometime did me seek,

But once at a party I overheard 2 fictionary beaux mondes

“Ought you to wear a skirt with legs like that?”

I laughed like there’s no tomorrow

And in short, I was afraid.


Woman creates so that she may destroy

Beauty’s arch-rival: time – Subdued into a diorama of death

The drowned belle de la Seine humming

(Unknown who saw or met her, saw her weep)

To have but not to keep


The mouth in the mouth

Under the mouth

Is the round tuffet that becomes us

Because it doesn’t have to, because

It can because it is

The unreal and the real


So these are the roots that grasp at the fly in aspic

Clutch at the crystalline moon in a spray of sea-mist




So you were your own Church

Your religion was Love.

Its sacrificial murder –

That killing in heaven –

Was flow of passion here on earth

Where your kiss, your real lips,

And your words

Were the blessing.


Ted Hughes.  ‘Religion’.  Collected Poems. Edited by Paul Keegan. (Faber & Faber, 2003).


… Tu se’ ombra vedi.

… Puoi, la quantitate

Comprenderde l’amor chi temi scalda,

Quando dismento nostra vanitate

Trattando l’ombre come cosa salda


[… “For shade thou art and look’st upon a shade”

“… Now thou’lt know

How large and warm my love about thee clings

When I forget our nothingness, and go

Treating these shadows like material things.”]


                                Dante Alighieri. Divina Commedia: Purgatorio.  Translated by Dorothy L. Sayers.  Dante – The Divine Comedy ii: Purgatory. (Penguin                         Classics, 1955).


Love answers all the ogress’ grave questions

Offering even as counter-question (a salve), itself in a frisson

Saying “Silence and I speak the same language, share one quiddity

I, knowing my incapability

Interlock fingers on Imagination Road

But if holiness is a mystery

Corruption is a mystery

Sin is a mystery

You and I are history”
Love does not question

Love does not reason

It survives

The headaches, the worries, the vague, the vogue

It is all there is or ever was or will be

It is everything I know

It is what remains of us

It is God

Behind a caboose

It is death, haunted by hostile shadows

(And death is not the enemy

Time is the enemy)

Lives, the Life-in-Death, an antevasin

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

The fire and the rose are in symbiosis as one


Sometimes love is unable to share

Is delicate and vulnerable

Cannot show wishes, tell desires, touch

Nor share a joy to the senses

Far greater than makeshift individual pleasure to the spirit

Though living with oneself does not make one less human


So you are a gazelle of light all by itself

Your own muse

Your most beautiful poem

Yesterday’s dream

Was love

Too much love

In every sacred place

Of your ‘Jour-Nuit


I am not going anywhere

Because I am already there.


            Love is you

            You and me


Love is what we cannot be

‘I am you,

you are me.

I am a tree.

We …’

Love you love me

Love is lonely

Love me and give me

Life – Its poison – Love me or kill me


Only love

Can justify the art in verse

The just and the unjust

The intended and the intent

Jackknife at the diabolical form

Of the devil’s opus in Pandemonium

I know what it is

Did nobody tell you?

This is what it’s all about, what were you expecting?

It is the only way to go, you know

Echoic: the music playing

The screen flickering

And our first meeting.
Awaits (from profundity) with baited breath

Its turbulent exertion welcome

To the garden

In the garden

Under the rose-garden

As the Earth’s axis tilts towards the sun, tilts away




Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work internationally. He has published 2 books of poetry and several works of prose.