As the Cold Winds Blow

A poem
by Ken Allan Dronsfield
Autumn’s Wake
Whilst sitting upon a snowflake I ponder
come this November to never forget
the summer wears are all stored within
the small log cabin by a big misty lake.
My arms and hands so worn and rough
filling and moving the barrels of cider
blustery cold winds makes my eyes tear
the old horse slows only to cross the river.
The walking stick deep within fresh snow
wood fire feels good, as flakes melt away
the feeling now returns to toes and fingers
winter shook us all upon a day this autumn
as democrats fight during the winter’s blast,
republican’s scheme in their coolish dream
those shadowed hands stuff ballot boxes full
and liars now show as the cold winds blow.
Whilst I sit upon a snowflake and ponder
a November’s cold and uncertain tomorrow
feeling contrite within this evenings twilight
during the coolish days of autumn’s wake.
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net for 2016. His book The Cellaring is available now from CTU Publishing.

Inescapable Eventualities

A poem
by Ryan Hardgrove
when you feel dead inside
you are sure the rest
of the world
feels it too
how could they not?
but they don’t feel it
they feel their own
individual inescapable existence
and nothing else
we all do
and we all
push on, ebb with the rotations
we roll over in bed
and scratch our balls
we catch the bus
and worry about things
that only our species can
all while avoiding
as much poison thought
as possible
looking for our next dose
of happiness
we all reach
for feelings
that aren’t always there
there’s an empty place holder
a mold resting in the plasma
but you are only fucked
if you allow the anger to grow
let the frustration build
inside of you
let it grow in secret
until the thought of it
is a waste of time
and it can be evacuated
but sometimes
I can barely breathe
caught underneath it all
all of it
all of this
it is so much
and we waste all of our golden minutes
on nothing
on uncontrollable eventualities
on the vain ponderings
of the human being
what a waste
I do it so much
I waste so much god damn time
worrying about the un-worriable
losing to my mind everyday
my soul has lost
to my mind everyday
for the last 30 years
with the occasional
beautiful moment
that I don’t write down
or tell someone about
or post online
for my other peers
to go, mmm, ohhh
thumbs up
my mind owns me
uses me
extracts what it wants
it’s easy to get swept out
by the collective tide
it pulls us away from
the center
away from the whole
it rips us apart
and we let it
Ryan Hardgrove is a human being, a father, a gardener, and a derelict. His writing is only a by-product of living. That is not to say living isn’t difficult. It is.

A Million to One

Three poems
by Glen Armstrong
Requiem for My Smoky Shell
A few figurative inches
of what I never wanted
to be tethers
my head to that agreed
upon meeting place
where seam meets seem.
It takes more
than a figurative leap
for me to love anyone
expecting me to make
that figurative leap
and maybe to stop
and maybe to fall
like a figurative coyote
with a clever little sign.
Surprises abound in my body.
I get myself all set
to sit at the table:
reading glasses, some light
research on metaphor
and a graphic novel where masked
wrestlers solve gritty crimes.
(I always strive to be
that dream-lover who reads
a great deal.)
The man I was a moment ago
hangs in the air like a smoky shell.
Hotel de Chirico
After 1,000,000 popular songs
after 1,000,000 dead bees
there can only be
a single popular song
a single dead bee
that has grown
big enough to be
part of the landscape
we live on the bellies
shoulders thighs eyelids
dimpled butt cheeks
of those who grew so famous
that their names
became a kind of poison gas
that takes hold
so slowly
that we develop
immunity to it
after 1,000,000 inflamed
bronchial passageways
after 1,000,000 days
of diminished expectations.
A Brief History of Bells
Even today, we cannot help but think of the cover that ringing supplies the recent dead, those rabbits scurrying to the afterlife. Audacious eddies of sound chase evil spirits. We ring in the new year at the old year’s expense. We think of our own minds as bell towers, ringing and collecting bats. Is it any wonder that the young sneak off to put rings through their flesh? The bells are part of that secret code that everyone keeps, that no one cracks.
Glen Armstrong edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin’ Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cream City Review.

Poet Interview #51: Glen Armstrong

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 was born to a working class family in Pontiac, Michigan. I remember my mother being kind enough and patient enough to “take dictation” when I had captions in mind for Crayola drawings, so the instinct must have been there at a pretty young age.

My grandfather was a musician. It surprised me, actually, to learn that most people didn’t make learning songs and then learning to create songs a priority.

I am consistently amazed by Dara Wier and Wallace Stevens. Sara Nicholson is a current favorite.

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?

Lately, I do my best to get out of bed, brew a cup of coffee and improvise something as the rational mind takes over. Revising and critical thinking comes later.

I think I’ve always wanted poetry to be this thing not of the writer but next to the writer, something one invites down to earth for a brief visit. I think my ability to attract a poem without gunking it up with my own ego has changed for the better. At least I hope it has.

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

I stay in touch with other writers and editors via Facebook. It’s a strange fit in that I’m friends with literary folk and folk who would no sooner write a poem than sprout wings and fly away. I sometimes get a message from my aunt after linking to a poem that’s been published, for example, that makes it clear that she’s proud of me but has no idea what I’m taking about in the poem.

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 lead a writing group at the Waterford Township Public Library. We read, write and talk about poetry once a month. Each spring the library mounts an extensive outdoor poetry exhibit called poetry leaves. Anyone reading this is invited and encouraged to submit a poem for inclusion. (It may be a few more weeks until the submittable portal is open, but here it is:)

I’ve been reading Bill Berkson’s Expect Delays.

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

Support small presses. There’s a fit for you out there.

Fading Fragments

Two poems
by Chrissie Morris Brady
A Summer
Fragments of memories at the cusp of recall.
Which language I used then, I cannot say.
At a rock pool, with my brother,
a holiday in childhood,
He was full of wonder at everything in the world,
his box of treasure overflowed, from dentist’
stickers to shells from the beach.
My companion in childhood.
How he died that long summer, I don’t recall.
If Dad wept, or if I cried, I cannot say.
At a rock pool with my brother,
a holiday in childhood.
Suicide Uncovers
They can’t be sure when it happened,
or rather, when he did it.
The whole neighbourhood shocked,
the gossip about why, speculating
about his marriage.
The car is still in the garage,
the hose removed. She’ll sell it?
His widow can’t speak of the shock.
He is dead, her love. The house
gambled from under her.
Chrissie Morris Brady now lives on the south coast of England after living in Los Angeles for some years. She writes poetry and essays and has been published by Scarlet Leaf Review, Novel Masters, Mad Swirl, Dissident Voice, Plum Tree Books, Open Democracy, Writing For Peace and other print anthologies.