Ghosts of the Past

Three poems
by Gary Beck
 
Blue Jays III
 
For a brief moment
I thought I saw a Jay
sitting on the trellis
where they perched for years,
before coming closer for food.
Then a moment later
he was gone.
An illusion?
A ghost?
Wishful thinking?
 
I do not know
where they have gone.
I think of the pleasure they gave us
and hope they’re still alive
and moved somewhere
to a nicer nest.
 
Homeless IV
 
I stand forlornly
at the entrance to the park
rattling my paper cup
in the hope that passersby
will help me out
with some spare change.
I don’t threaten anyone
and wait there patiently
expecting nothing,
most people in a hurry,
looking through me,
making me wonder
if I still exist.
 
The Lessons of Empire
 
The Roman Senate
didn’t have qualms
sending the legions
to conquer new lands,
crush rebellions
against their authority,
the only concern
domestic security.
 
The British empire
cruised the world
subduing unruly nations,
but cautious about
European competition,
yet never hesitated
to send the troops
to acquire new territory,
always with a moral pretext.
 
The American empire
started a little too late
to grab much more
then in its expanding neighborhood,
killing or robbing Indians,
Mexicans, French, Russians, Spanish,
and brought forth a great nation.
 
By the time we got to Europe
in World War I
the older dogs
had staked their claims
to Africa and Asia.
So after sour grapes
we chose self-righteousness
and became big brothers
to our underprivileged little brothers,
rather then land grabbers
and just ruled them
economically.
 
—————–
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions & Fault Lines (Winter Goose Publishing). Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Between the Folds

Three poems
by Sneha Subramanian Kanta
 
Politic
 
The globe is compressed
like a bunch of unwanted pamphlets
crumpled together and sellotaped.
We are running, everywhere
to sounds of missed buses,
panting of trains,
and a forlorn landscape.
The harvest of rage
round the clock
from an unfertile womb
of earth broadcasted
on television, prints of newspapers,
the blur of radios,
the hurried frenzy of
the world wide web.
 
You cannot move beyond
the distance your eye takes you
it aims to watch a road full with fog.
The yellow sunbeam pinches
before it splits the story ahead of you
into disjointed columns.
The arms, legs and limbs of
countries are amputed
while their eyes remain static and watchful.
 
Faith
 
When it thundered
over the hilly expanse
 
nani told me
it was Vishnu.
 
Her hands cupped
in prayer
 
a lyric of Indra
playing upon her lips.
 
I stepped in
between the folds
 
of evening, as she
with open palms
 
raised her hands
toward the sky.
 
Dissection
 
Everything is not algebra.
Make it known to the painters —
 
their wistful porches
lurking with scents
 
of women, seated in an armchair.
The anatomy of veins
 
crushed with language
and skin scars from childbirth
 
carried in the temples
on their head.
 
No body sees the matchstick
that has lit the corner bonfire
 
slowly charcoaling
heaps of wood.
 
—————–
Sneha Subramanian Kanta finds credence in non-linear forms of looking. Avant-garde art, untold stories and tales of refugees are matters close to her heart. Her work is forthcoming in Fallujah Magazine, ZOOPOETICS, Serendipity, Erstwhile Magazine and the first print anthology of Peacock Journal and elsewhere. She is a GREAT scholarship awardee, pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature in the UK. She believes in forms of dissents and uprisings, renaissance, letters and the word et cetera.

A Muting of Drums

Two poems
by Levi J. Mericle
 
The Coffin House
 
Your years were a kind blemish.
A velvet lined box with a stucco exterior.
 
Your cigarette smile tinted the perfection of your happiness.
And every time I gave you my heart,
you would exhale inside my passion
with the chemicals of your regret.
 
When songs were sung like smokers cough to desperate lungs,
I figured the tone would escape from your eyes—
and blossom like a lotus tomb. To where,
 
recovering from recovery would be something like an empty table.
You sit every meal,
hungering for a new start—
for something that is palatable.
 
I can’t remove the sin from your skin,
the ambush of your character and your mind,
is something you’ll have to retrieve yourself.
 
I know the cost of existing is almost too unbearable for you.
 
But when the climb of day doesn’t hurt you anymore—
You will rise from your coffin, close the lid
 
and bury your pain.
 
Keep the ashes of your thoughts in an urn on your mantle
 
and remember your resurrection.
 
 
Frozenly Collected
 
I remember you
as the face without a face.
 
No features, no qualities.
No peace.
 
Nothing to make me think you were a sane being.
 
Ghosts in your eye sockets haunt your character of mind
and I long to know-
what made you forget how to be human?
What changed your mind?
 
Like a celifane sack draped over the breath of consciousness
I remembered how to live.
 
But there was no reason, no purpose.
No calm or collected.
 
Just the fidgeting sweat pockets trapped in my palms.
This common cold of my heartbeat
will never unfreeze.
 
And the drums in my chest are forever mute.
 
—————–
Levi J. Mericle is a poet/spoken-word artist, lyricist and fiction writer from Tucumcari, N.M. His work has appeared in multiple anthologies and can be seen in many lit magazines and journals such as, Black Heart Magazine, Apricity Magazine, Mused, Flash Fiction Magazine, eFiction India, Awakenings Review, University of Madrid’s literary journal and more.
 
Facebook Page:

Poet Interview #66: Levi J. Mericle

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Who/what first inspired you to begin? Who are some your favorite writers and artists (past and/or contemporary)?

I was born Levi Joel Mericle on April 24, 1987, in Ottumwa, Iowa. I have lived in Tucumcari, New Mexico, since I was two years old. I grew up in the church, as both my parents were pastors. I have two older brothers (Christian, 41, and Luke, 32) and two younger sisters (Hannah, 24, and Rebekah, 22). Growing up with rapid mixed-cycling Bipolar Disorder was difficult. I was diagnosed at age thirteen, but have been able to pull through the hard times with my family’s encouragement and my ability to write.

I started writing small amounts of poetry at age sixteen and the passion soon followed. I was taking GED classes at our local community college and was inspired to pursue writing by my teacher Karen Jaramillo, who encouraged me to focus on poetry. She had an in-class assignment requiring all the students to write a poem. She was impressed by my piece and had me read it over our local radio station. This is what bolstered my confidence and drew me to pursue my writing career. I am deeply inspired by and echo the styles of poets such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, Gary Sotto, Mark Dotty, Gwendolyn Brooks, and many others. I especially enjoy the metered form but have been writing free formed poetry more often as of late.

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 … flow?

There is no absolute routine I practice when writing my poetry. I usually have to get inspired to write a poem or song. That inspiration can come from any task I’m doing, from listening to music or reading a book to making my bed or cleaning the house. I find I write my best poems when they are not forced but flow naturally.

What does poetry mean to you, and has your idea of what it represents changed over the course of time? Where do you see it going in the future?

To me, poetry is not just a hobby but is my way of life. When I’m cooking or taking a shower, I’m thinking of writing. If I’m depressed, I find I write some of my best poems. And, when I’m feeling happy and full of life, I seem to write the perfect love poem or song. Poetry makes me believe in tomorrow and rejuvenates my expectations for the future. When I was younger, my idea of being a professional writer was kind of a longshot, but now that I’m thirty and have been steadily getting published and receiving recognition for the past three years, I’m realizing it’s becoming a reality. I’m hoping I keep improving my writing skills and steadily gaining more recognition and credibility as time goes on.

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

I am on both Facebook and Twitter as well as Instagram. I do have quite a few contacts as I try to maintain a connection between the social media sites and my contacts.

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 mostly share my writings with my writing class at our local college. We usually do in-class writing assignments and then we’re able to share our new or past works. I try not to share very much of my writings on social media, such as Facebook, unless they’ve been previously published. I found most literary magazines or journals don’t accept previously published material, even if it’s on Facebook or other social media.

As 2017 continues rolling along, what are your expectations for the year ahead? Do you have any new projects in the works that you’re particularly excited about?

All I really want is to is keep getting acceptances to further fill my resumé. I have several illnesses which restrain me from doing many live performances. Although my passion is to perform in front of crowds, I’ve learned to embrace my disabilities and found that I can still do amazing things via my laptop.

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

Never give up. I probably receive 50 rejection letters for every 10 acceptances I get. It took a long time (probably two or three years) to receive my first acceptance letter. You need to have tough skin if you want to persevere in the literary world. Don’t get discouraged, keep doing what you love, and let that show through your writing. Be strong and let your writing be powerful!

Begotten

A poem
by Mikel K
 
We Are The Children
 
We are the children of the sun and the stars.
 
We are the children of the hippies,
who were strung out on peace and love,
and heroin when they conceived us.
 
We are the children of alcoholics,
conceived in blackouts.
 
We are the children of the punk rockers,
screwed into this world on beer and anger.
 
We are the children of the poor,
raised on welfare and food stamps,
and government housing.
 
We are the children of the middle class,
borrowing from the government,
to get an education, to get a job with a pension
from Corporate America who has already fired
our fathers and mothers, before they could retire.
 
We are the children of the rich,
who like our fathers and mothers , before us,
care only about obtaining more wealth.
 
We are the children of the doctors, dentists,
and lawyers who care more about their Porsches,
and their Mercedes than they do their patients.
 
We are the children of the American dream,
roaming the streets with a blanket,
and a garbage bag full of aluminum cans.
 
We are the children, who now have the children,
and we hope they won’t learn racism from us
like we learned it from our moms and dads.
 
We are the children, who can change the inevitable,
alter our destiny, change the future from futile to fruitful.
 
Amen.
 
—————–
Mikel K was recently voted Best Poet in the city of Atlanta three years in a row by the Atlanta weekly, Creative Loafing. His new book of poems, “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself,” is availabe at Pski’s Porch Publishing. K has also written a stunning memoir called, “The Delivery Guy,” available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mikelkpoet