A Ghost Revisited: The Nurse With the Dirty Knees – by John Dorroh

She appeared as an anemic ghost,

tapered A-frame dress with horizontal

black-and-white stripes, which threw off her frame

quite a bit. It was an appropriate fit

for her.

 

The neighborhood boys waited at the curb

in an old gray Chevy, hungry for details with what I’d do

with her

once I fumbled

with my right hand to stick the key in the lock.

Little did they know that what mattered was what she planned

to do to me, stooping down into the dirt,

lifting her dress

so that the horizontal stripes turned themselves up

toward the sky.

 

She mumbled the entire time, biting her bottom lip

every tenth word or so and pointed to a gift

that she’d left on the patio table.

I was afraid to touch it.

 

The plastic bag of groceries in my left hand needed a bit

of attention but no one offered

to help. They never do.

 

The house had been shut up

for three weeks and needed open windows.

That’s one of the things ghosts can do – suck

out the air in a room, leaving it empty

like an old nun’s womb.

It was fit for prayer

and pondering.

johndorroh

John Dorroh (JD) attempted to teach high school science for more years than he cares to admit, and maybe some of the lab chemicals affected his brain? He likes to travel, cook, bike, write, and play yard games. To his credit there is a book of micro-fiction (“99 Words”), about 30 science diddies (who reads those, right?), and a sprinkling of poems in Dime Show Review, Walk Write-Up, Haiku Journal, and Poetry Breakfast.

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A poetry collection by Lise Colas

Loose Horse

Ahead of the field,

running wild but still with the pack,

little does she know she will not win

anything–her rider is way back,

unseated at the canal turn,

still kicking his tiny legs in the air.

She stretches out her neck,

and gallops on–a defiant hazard,

as clods of mud fly around,

no cutting whip or heel to scar her flanks,

striking out at her own pace,

into freedom’s strait.

 

Something to Mend

I have corralled your maverick threads and tucked the unsightly ends beneath your skin. They are all none the wiser about your unravelled condition, thanks to me. Your ripped limb, soft as a lamb’s, reinstated as if it had never been parted from your body. What a curious body it is, half artisan half clumsy homemade-flumpy. Anna fancied you and tried you on her arm and nearly put you in her swag bag, the covetous bitch–oh you certainly have charm. I sponged away a small stain on your side. You are worth rescuing in a world where damaged things are often discarded, not given a second chance at life. Now I’ve saved you from the scrabbling hands of the Rag Man, I hope someone buys you.

Hard to Please

She took her first love on a trip to an island paradise, but something wasn’t up to scratch,

their sarongs didn’t match and their suitcases got lost, so they parted company after that.

She sent swain number two to a pebble beach in the west country, to comb for a lump of whale shit/ambergris, but all he came back with were hands that smelt funny.

Another contender was dispatched to buy quail eggs from the corner shop to hatch, but forgot to grow a beard for the baby bird to nestle in–so he was fired.

And the final one–a lovely lad with a winning smile, together they scaled Mt Everest, holding hands as they clambered over corpses in bright anoraks and bobble hats–

until they reached the very top, but before he had time to plant the flag, she told him,

‘wedding’s off’.

lisecolas

Lise Colas lives on the south coast of England and writes short fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Black Poppy Review, Slink Chunk Press, The Literary Hatchet, Gone Lawn and Cease, Cows. She also has a poetry blog at lisecolas.wordpress.com

A poetry collection by Renee Drummond-Brown

Black Bodies ‘Swangin’

Abel Meeropol

proclaims

strange fruit’s

common

in

the South.

But Father,

on this

very day

the

North,

East

and

West

practices

‘summadat’

same ole

same ole

mess.

Yeah,

I’d say

on

any given

“Holiday”

Billie

that ‘iz’;

them

black holes

been

‘sportin’

‘SUM’

strange fruit

at

its best

these days.

The more colored ‘thangs’

change;

the more

strange fruit

‘wit’

black bodies

begin

to ‘swang’.

 

 

The NO Sense

I see

dumb people

and

they don’t know

they’re dumb.

Pants

‘sagin’ down;

‘slangin’

‘dat’

dope,

‘takin’

their own

 communities

for

broke!

I see

dumb people

and

they don’t know

they’re dumb.

‘Walkin’

round

like

‘ev’ry’body else

‘CEPT’

jobless

‘havin’

big fun.

Stupid ‘iz’ ‘az’ stupid ‘doez’

too dumb

to learn

how to spell;

let alone,

want

a job;

on their way

straight to hell.

I see

dumb people

and

they don’t know

they’re dumb.

‘Makin’

‘kidz’

‘wit’

‘ev’ry’

Tom, Dick,

and

Harry’s son,

sayin

“I do”

an’

he’s already married too;

let me guess?

Hmm

NOT TO YOU.

I see

dumb people

and

they don’t know

they’re dumb.

60 years

old

still

‘livin’

at home

with mom,

no job

no future

an’

no plans

to EVER go.

 I see

dumb people,

too stupid

to want

to grow.

I see

dumb people

and

they don’t know

they’re dumb.

They walk amongst

us

everyday

Is it you?

Hmm;

just sayin,

just sayin.

NEWS FLASH!!!

The only dumb question

‘IZ’

THE ONE THAT THEY ASK!!!

 

Boy

Oxygen

cut off

as he ‘swangs’

10 yrs. ol’

but

considered

a man.

Eyes bulging

from his head

sweat pouring

from his glands.

Breath slipping fast.

Numbness

in both hands;

Mob ‘yellin’

“Swing low

sweet chariot

no-ones

‘fennin’

to carry you home”.

Boy’s

minds’

the last to leave

as he

FORCED

to

swing

and become

a man

from

a

 poplar tree.

 

Go To Hell!

Restore

that blind mans’

sight.

Give

that murderer

a second chance

at life.

Take away

those drugs.

Mature

that hooligan thug.

Feed

that crack baby.

Addiction

to bondage

minus

the subjugation

of slavery.

Black lives matter?

Yeah right!

If not here;

then where?

Definitely,

 in the

hereafter.

Bang; bang

shoot ‘em’ dead

an’ let

that piece of steel

be still;

and/or

“Go to Hell”

die ‘tryin’

if

you will.

reneedrummondbrown

Renee’ B. Drummond is a renown poetria and artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of: The Power of the Pen, SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight-I’ll Write Our Wrongs, and Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight. Her work is viewed on a global scale and solidifies her as a force to be reckoned with in the literary world of poetry. Renee’ is inspired by non-other than Dr. Maya Angelou, because of her, Renee’ posits “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”

 

The Resident Poet – by Tony Milligan

(An everyday tale of biker folk.)

Big bad Bob sashayed into the Biker bar ‘Evenin’ y’all’ he said to no one in particular then he burped, farted and weaved his way to the bar.

‘Hey, let’s have a goddamn beer over here’ he bawled. A beer appeared served by a nervous bar keep.

Bob looked around the bar room everyone was talking easy, laughing and enjoying their beer. This offended Bob. Hell, this was a biker bar wasn’t it? There should be trouble shouldn’t there? Then Bob noticed something that really boiled his piss. A skinny old guy sitting alone at the end of the bar quietly sucking on a Budweiser bottle.

‘Who the hell let you in here old fart?’ Bob yelled.

There old man glanced up then went back to his drink.

A guy at a nearby table volunteered ‘That thar is ‘ole Motor Mouth Mason our resident poet.’

‘Resident fuckin’ whut?’ asked Bob incredulous ‘This a biker bar or a fuckin’ milk bar?’

Bob felt his bile rising these guys looked like real deal bikers but, shit, poetry fer chrissakes? ‘Whut y’all got goin’ on next week needle point? he asked unable to contain his contempt.

He ambled over to the poet. ‘Hey ya old asshole let’s hear some goddamned poetry huh.’

‘Ole Motor Mouth simply took another sip from his beer.

Bob spun the old guy round on his stool. He saw the poet’s craggy face full on. It was ravaged by scars, one eye socket was empty and half an ear was gone.

‘Say ya ole turd how the fuck you git so goddamn ugly anyways?’

‘A-fightin.’

You could have heard a pin drop. All attention was now riveted on the pair then the guy at the table who’d spoke first said quietly ‘I’d leave that old boy alone if’n I was you mistah.’

‘Well yah ain’t me asshole so just shut the fuck up.’

The guy just smiled and raised his beer in salute.
‘So, gimme some of yer shit-fer-brains po’try yah ole bastard.’

‘Don’ think ah will ‘til ‘yuh ‘pologise,
An’ say purty-please, is what I’d advise’

This unexpected response stopped Bob for a second ‘You sassin’ me ole man?’

‘Yes, son, guessin’ ah am’ the old man poked his tongue out.

Bob felt as happy as a vulture with fresh road kill. He smirked at the barkeep then slowly and deliberately gripped Motor Mouth by his shirt front. The old guy’s free hand shot out, splayed fingers rigid as he flew them into Bob’s eyes with the speed of a striking rattler. Bob screamed in agony his hands flying to his face, his beer fell shattering, splattering foam on the floor. As he fell back a pace Motor Mouth’s silver tipped biker boot flew up and out catching Bob squarely in the balls. Down he went like a sack of soggy shit screaming and puking.
When Bob’s screams subsided to low moans Motor Mouth turned and addressed the saloon:

‘The reason I’m a-wearin’ all these scars
Ain’t frum fightin’ in brothels and bars
But takin’ on the enemies of our land
That still abound on every hand
To earn the right fer Bob an’ y’all
Nasty names fer me t’call
In peace an’ freedom like you’d expect
So just show us old guys some respect
Cos if’n I got t’ git offa this stool
Well, folks, I might jus’ lose mah cool
Then boys y’all can bet yer shirt
Some bastard here’s gonna git bad hurt
So git this sorry ass outta here
Oh an’ before ya do he owes me a beer.

The Bar exploded in wild applause and old Motor Mouth Mason (‘Nam vet, Silver Star and resident poet) didn’t buy another beer for a month.

Don’ y’all jus’ love a happy ending?

***

johnanthonymilligan

Born in Preston England Feb 1942 Tony’s father went to prison when he was 11 and didn’t come home until Tony was 16. They fought each other regularly until he joined the  British army in 1960. He served 12 years all around the world mainly where there was trouble. Brunei, Borneo, Guyana and Libya in the 60’s. He doesn’t say much about those times but odd snatches appear now and then in his writing.He denies ever working in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ but reading his soon-to-be-published thriller “When Terror Strikes” it makes me wonder if he’s telling the truth about that.
Married to Jean his second wife he is now a private landlord and retired from work. He swims, scuba dives and writes punchy short stories with a sting in the tail.He wrote poetry for his school magazine and for an Army magazine. He’s been published in national newspapers and magazines. He is a master of the short story always with an unexpected twist in the tail. He’s published a book of comic verse on Amazon titled “Milligan‘s Mirth.” Quirky, odd-ball and very funny.

He’s self educated with a keen sense of humour and an insatiable appetite for learning.

Perfection / Parasites / A Drowning – by KELLY COODY

180690_10100451583260400_4756941_n

PERFECTION

 Drink your feelings

eat your fears

Swallow a pill of depression

soak up the darkness

Of your own mess

it’s not easy

Being perfect,

you see

I have dead bodies

hiding in the basement

Ghosts who haunt me

while I wake

They’re not demons, you see–

they’re you;

And they’re me.

and supposedly we’re free–

Except for these

chains

That weigh me down

and make me

Perfect

10391022_10105929673204240_7061239979901654450_n

PARASITES / A DROWNING

We dream a dream of darkness

where sadness turns to light

It eats up all the parasites

And makes the wrong all right


But when I wake,

the bugs–

they’re all still there

walking, crawling, feeding–

digging through my hair


you whisper things that

I can’t comprehend

Don’t you see that all of

my bones

Are still on the mend?


Why can’t I move?

Where are my lungs?

You’ve tied my shoelaces

to these…ladder rungs?


I can’t see through

this underwater

air

wait…wait–

why are you

pinning down my hair?


It’s so hard

to breathe now

Every time I try to move

the laces on my shoes only

tangle up into more intricate knots

and my hair is wrapped around

your fingertips

so I writhe and struggle

before I just sit

and let the water envelope me

and enter my lungs.


1013274_10103489700204690_1130091467_n

INSECURITIES 

Looking through blind goggles

Speaking out of turn

Writing all in hieroglyphs

Smiling all the while

Your teeth are falling out, Miss

Don’t forget to

Take your amphetamines

With your coffee

My teeth are falling out, Miss

there’s too much for me to hold

the boat is leaving me behind

You look

Nice

Will you be

My hand

to hold?


DSC01055

***Kelly Coody is the Editor-in-Chief and journalist for SickLitMagazine (known more affectionately as SLM). She decided on a whim that she’d contribute some dark poetry to end POETRY WEEK on a somber note. You can definitely find her on Twitter either @kellycoody or @sicklitmag (PS: she loves Twitter. Tweet or DM her and you can be published, too!)

She’s been writing for as long as she can remember; fiction, poems, journalism, etc, etc… But the most fulfilling and exciting venture she’s tried yet has been creating SICK LIT MAGAZINE. She loves her contributors and her husband wants her to SHUT UP already about it!****

Crucifix/The Energy of Exchange/Fall – poems by JOHN KAULDREN

Crucifix

Jesus,
Let the graphics on the screen blink at me,
wink at me,
leave me high and meek.
Let the trolls tip the tongue
with bloody cheeks
and rats that live on beds
that steal our sofas like mangy dogs.

Shit, the legs are crossed,
fucking legs are crossed,
arms are crossed, and
eyes are crossed.

Jesus be proud,
because I have denied myself
happiness and pleasure.
The slave morality,
as Nietzsche would say:
Give way to the flowering tundra
of insubordinate meaning
and let the eyes drive shut
Oh! let the eyes drive through me
like stakes through the hands and feet,
and cross my soul Jesus, cross my soul please,
Jesus Christ

The Energy of Exchange

crisscross across my cube,
the wheels rumble and squeal beneath my feet.
this chair it moves with incredible speed
when my boss demands there is a need
to record the trade of a service for money.
nothing excites me like exchange,
it creates such energy and force.
i tremble at these dealings, shaking violently
like an atom that is part of this heat.
it is out of my hands, i am only
a small part of the whole.
i have no control

Fall

rusted leaves fall to the ground.

i step on each and every one of them.

death makes things crunchy and brittle,

turns life into dust.

i call my friend on the cellphone.

he supports me.

i’ll break up with her once she gets home.

i crush more leaves under my feet,

awaiting her arrival.

that was the evening,

it is night now.

i see her car through the window.

she is beautiful and clumsy,

her feet point inward like duck feet,

but my mind is frozen.

she enters the room—i shut the door.

her parents aren’t home yet.

I’m leaving you. I can’t be here anymore.

no sound, only tears fall from her face.

she sits on her bed—i sit on the chair.

she looks at the ground—i look out the window.

hours pass. three sneaking hours, until

her parents arrive.

they have dinner ready for us,

but the door is shut

and she is silently crying

and my eyes water up

and regret washes out of them

but I hold firm.

I unhook my computer, take my desk—

carry my wares through the kitchen, across her family—

and stuff it all into my car.

this is all I own.

i start the engine and drive away,

the last time i saw her.

*******

***The moment John Kauldren slithered out of his mom (nearly killing her), he knew he was a man of words. Through the years he honed his craft by belittling all his friends and enemies with clever and intricate noises. He has been published nowhere, because the delicate rhythms and nuanced meanings of his words make anyone reading feel stupid by comparison—and editors hate feeling stupid.

He tweets at: https://twitter.com/JohnKauldren  ***

A note from SLM: You’ve been published somewhere now, Mr. Kauldren!

London Lovin’ & more… – poetry by GEORGINA MIDDLETON (GEE CHARLIE MIDDLETON)

beautiful and raw poetry from the brilliant Georgina Middleton

london love

london town

London Lovin’.

Your things look so fine

taking up the space next to mine.

In this purgatory we’ve made ours we co-habit quite contently.


Mostly.


We line the shelves with our possessions;

photo frames gathering lived-in apathy and dust,

the box sets of classic hardback books that we’ll never have time to read,

a city-scape of empty wine bottles on the windowsill

with the pitiful sunlight glinting through

washing our room shades of green;

our Atlantis

(lost to the world, and even to us)


We thought once that it might be romantic.

Our little slice of limbo.

Tiny,

transient;

London,

lonely.

Now the romance is dead and we still live on,

no blinds on the windows or sheets on the bed,

doors held open with yellowed copies of books left unread too many times.

We learn and re-learn the topography of each other,

trying to rediscover our wanderlust, to no avail. Now, we’d rather find ourselves

in the bottom of vodka bottles

than in each other.

And yet, I wouldn’t want to drink myself into oblivion with anyone but you,

or anywhere but here.


 sunrise

Human.

You and I have been apart so long that it feels strange to once again be in your company.

You stare,

and it feels like a strangers gaze.

The arpeggios of your voice seem unfamiliar,

the dimple on one side of your cheek stolen from some other life.

Your hand brushes mine over the table top and we blush,

laugh,

fumble around the contact with sticky palms

until you grip my fingertips firmly,

smiling as your words

trip

past your tongue and through your chapped lips.

I think I glossed over your imperfections in the time you were away chasing your dreams.

I forgot the little chip in your front tooth

and that your eyes sit just a little too close together. In my head I pictured you differently

without the gap in your eyelashes

and the crack in your voice when you talk about home.

I omitted the things I loved the most like the freckles that go all the way down your neck and across your collarbone

and your laugh which changes every time.

I forgot that I loved you for just how human you were.

 seascape

Pebble Kisses.

You took me to the pebble beach three times.

First, to see the sunrise through to the sunset.

The sunrise was pretty, the sunset was average.

We laughed as the colours ran into one another

the red and yellow smearing the orange,

and the deep blue stealing the sky so very fast.


Second, for fish and chips with mushy peas on the promenade.

They were the best i’ve ever tasted

but i think it helps that i ate your chips

and you ate mine.

“Sharing is caring,” you whispered into my neck

as a smile took over my face.


The third time,

that last time,

was to gaze at the stars and the pebbles.

I asked you why, and you told me that there was no time but now to appreciate both the greatest and the smallest.

The stars were breath-taking;

“The celestial dance troupe presents the stars of the heavens.”

They took centre stage, and it felt as though they danced for us.

But the pebbles were my favourite, because they were so simple,

starting from huge mountains as old as time

or grains of sand that had found their way

all over the earth

to be this pebble,

in this moment.

And what a beautiful moment it was,

as the sea breeze fizzed over our skin,

stealing our breath,

and you kissed me.


 candle light

“Dear world, you look tired today.”

No one knows the danger of you,

the enticing glow of your excited eyes and solemn lips

as we struggle for sleep on the cold sheets of lonely beds.

Eye contact is

awkwardly always avoided,

in favour of staring into coffee or bright laptop screens.

Talk about nothing is everywhere;

we feel we must make noise, or be forgotten.

Bed beckons,

over and over again I wish to be tangled in sheets

where I once tangled with you,

a sorry sack of feelings with beautiful eyes.


I have a million words, but your name is my favourite.


Life is something happening

outside the doors and curtained windows.

The world passes us by,

out of reach of the realms of our candlelit castle.

You liked to pull me out of bed to the window

on starry nights

and point out the constellations:

darling, I miss your conversation.

You are the rhythm and rhyme to every day.


Pride painted across pained faces;

you are not whole as you once were.

Your apathy will be the end of me.

I say nothing if not invited;

My thoughts aren’t as wonderful as yours.

You lean close.

Whisper: Are the moon and the sun friends or do they fight for the sky?

I keep your words like candied sweets in my glove compartment,

for a slow, rainy day.

“One day,

let’s just buy train tickets and hope they take us to the end of the world.”

A silence.

“I hope it’s warm there.”

sunsetcityscape

 **********

Headshot

Gee Charlie Middleton is a twenty year old poet currently studying for her BA in English with Creative Writing at Falmouth University. She is interested in satsumas, good people, beaches, comic books and things that go bump in the night. Born into a busy academic family, she has always found writing to be her way of processing the world around her, and will try forever to capture within her words how deeply she loves the universe. Her ambition is to become a successful poet and to make everyone she meets smile. In lieu of this, she’ll probably just open a book shop.

You can find her writing here: https://seekingeveryadventure.wordpress.com/

And stay up to date with her twitter (https://twitter.com/geewrites) and her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Gee-Middleton-PoetWriter-752738578078944/)