“When all is said and done a poem is only another attempt to lay claim to the past, recall past care, beyond the careless present, secretly or otherwise, write time.”
Mark A. Murphy

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POETiCA REViEW

Issue 7 Autumn Edition

 

Now Available Little Known Aphorisms by Mark A. Murphy

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Showcase

This is a new space we’ve created on our Home page where we will showcase the best poems sent to us in any one quarter. The two poems featured below will be published in our Spring 2021 Edition (issue 9) and nominated for next year’s ‘Best of the Net.’

Zack Rogow

Running through History

 

3:37

3:52

I realise

the treadmill’s blinking

rectangles of light

counting minutes and seconds

could be years of history

 

4:10 I jog through the sack of Rome

6:18 the Tang Dynasty rises

The angel Gabriel whispers to Mohammed to write the Qu’ran

7:11 I turn up the pace as the Moors pour into Al-Andalus

Troubadour Arnaud Daniel rides toward a Provençal hill town playing air-lute

12:38 the Alhambra’s delicate fortress rises above Granada

A puzzled Geoffrey Chaucer glances up from his writing desk

I sprint right through the Great Vowel Shift

Into the greenery of Botticelli’s Primavera

Deftly I step over the Black Plague

14:53 Ottoman cannons breech Constantinople

Columbus sets sail I race him to Hispaniola

The French Revolution breaks out to my left

18:21 Bolívar wins the Battle of Carabobo the Spanish Empire cracks apart

19:19 My parents are born and plenipotentiaries sign the Treaty of Versailles

19:44 D-Day and then the year of my own birth almost before I see it

I slow dance to “Mister Moonlight”

My first kiss

Crowds unbuild the Berlin Wall as I become a father

South Africans wave hats and hankies for President Mandela

20:12 the Mars Rover cuts me off

The present-day rushes by

Then the years I hope I’ll live to count

My daughter stands beneath the chuppah

My unconceived grandchild laughs for the first time

 

I slow the treadmill

step off

and even though I’m not moving

I’m still running

Lauren Scharhag

 

The Real Meaning of Inferno

Four winters on the transplant list,

and you are always cold. We bundle you

in long johns and sweatshirts, blankets

and stocking caps, and park you next to

a space heater, and still, you shiver, while

I sweat. I sweat the medical bills and the

regular bills and whether you have a fever

again and if you are eating enough and how

we will ever pay for more medicine and

I’m going to have to get a second job. I burn

crimson like my grandmother’s red Depression

glass oil lamp. I burn blue-white like the

rings on a gas stove. I burn like the gold

and orange flames on the cast-iron furnace where

we used to heat our clothes on winter mornings,

and still got dressed under the quilt. Inferno

is a word that’s synonymous with hellfire,

but originally, it had nothing to do with heat. It

meant the lower regions. I think of this as I go

down into the basement of our sixty-year-old house,

past the cracked walls where slugs and spiders

and snakes slither in, past the exposed foundation

stones and the water stains where it’s flooded

each spring, past the shelf where we store

your dialysis supplies, to examine our own

beast of a unit. I’ve always thought it looked like

Doc Ock if Doc Ock had sprouted a few more arms,

if he’d grown feeble and rickety and might,

at any moment, give up the ghost. If it goes out on us,

no second or even a third job will be enough to help me

replace it. I come back upstairs and make us cups of cocoa.

You tell me how you dream of the sea, of sun-warmed

sand, of tropical paradises. I do not tell you that I dream,

too: nightmares of a furnace-less house in January

and frozen pipes bursting in the walls. Hell isn’t hot,

but it’s real, and it’s here. I crack open a window

away from you and try to breathe. I’m hotter than

particles smashing around the Large Hadron Collider.

I’m hotter than the torch Prometheus saw fit to pilfer.

I’m hotter than molting phoenix feathers, than

a morning-star supernova. If the furnace goes out,

split me like heartwood. I will be your hearth

and your kindling. Cook a meal over my radiance.

Bask in me. I will see you through to summer.

Welcome to POETiCA REVIEW

 

 

In November 2018, our Chief Editor participated in the Tupelo Press 30/30 poetry challenge, writing a poem a day for every day of the month. Here (to the right) is one of the poems from that challenge.

 

We will choose a different ekphrastic poem here every month to showcase the best of any ekphrastic submissions we receive. So, don’t delay. Submit to us today.

Poem of the Month

 

 

Hunters in the Snow

 

I am no human seeker trudging through the January snow,

no hunter’s fox slung casually over a shoulder,

no panicked rabbit running for its life, no singeing pig

 

to be turned on the fire, no exhausted dog

losing the scent, castigated by its master, no sainted stag,

no pious metaphor, no child’s plaything,

 

no trophy kill.

 

2

Soaring far and wide above the high horizon — we

corvid brothers live and die just as you

under the overcast sky, wintering in, shuttering down,

 

eyeing the heroic Alpine mountains, and the intimate play

of the earth-born young on the ice fields

of the Netherlandish lowlands

 

skating, curling, faltering, falling and ultimately failing,

mirroring all of creation’s creatures, capturing

the duality of our shared nature,

 

surviving the winter freeze —

honouring the hard-packed snow

as much as we loathe it.

Travail

What Adam learned in the garden
he had to live with all his life.
That it was she who brought ghosts
into the world through bloody thrall
while he plowed the thick turf
God had granted him — the ground
that gave nothing freely, though he bled
when the gritty wind pocked his face
and the soil itself bled waste against him.
How he howled to make God hear when
the cracked earth stung his buttocks,
but without words yet to reinvent himself
he lost many nights in trances.
The world was transparent to him,
sunlit and hard to withstand its pain,
yet he could see everything unfold as if
he saw it all through a glass clearly.
She will stay with him, lay down in travail
and call the ghosts that make her belly swell.

Will Reger.

Share your ekphrastic verse with us…

 

 

 

Due to popular demand, we couldn’t resist sharing one more of our editor’s poems from his 30/30 challenge with Tupelo Press…

 

 

Anxiety-

 

painting of woman enjoying painting by Edvard Munch

…Many critics believe it’s meant to show the emotions of heartbreak and sorrow. My figure is facing it head on. –

Gerard Boersma

 

i

 

Hypervigilance is no secret of the mad –

 

(the goatee beard

the bulging eyes

the pencil mustache)

 

No crowning fancy of the grieving mind,

but the application of grief/

free-floating doubt –

writ large in red and black acrylic

upon the Masonite panel,

wearing the bearer out more surely than loss itself.

 

ii

 

No inner stratagem or outward maneuver

to belay the intractable delusions

of the irrational thinker/

 

No beta blocker fix/No yogic flying/No sacred mantra/

 

No meticulous breathing

to stunt/frustrate

the onset of panic in head and heart/

 

No feel the fear and do it anyway/No inner-peace/NO WAY…

 

iii

 

How does one enjoy Munch’s ‘Anxiety’

as a work of art – might we not more properly say, ‘endure/

study,’ or ‘evaluate/appreciate,’ as we process

the motivations of Boersma’s subject ‘enjoying’ Munch?

 

iv

 

3 deaths, 3 funerals…

3 eulogies in just over 7 days, 100’s of mourners…

Assorted bowler’s, black ties, top hats…

1 woman in a green dress ‘facing it head on…’

 

Please watch Lefty Caligari’s trailor for his short art/poetry film box set. Each film is a finely crafted, EXISTENTIAL TIME BOMB waiting to explode! See our Archive page for more films from Lefty Caligari. Watch at your own risk!

Lefty’s Video Poem, ‘Still and Fractured States’ is a brilliant fantasia on the first flowering and then the inevitable floundering of all relationships. Lefty ‘crossed the bridge’ many times on his ‘journeys between still and fractured states’ before his premature passing at the age of 49. Over the next period, we hope to bring you all of his available Video Poems in the hope that you will join us in saluting his great skill as a writer and visionary ‘videographer.’

Mark A. Murphy – Available poetry collections

Night-Watch Man & Muse 
Salmon Poetry, 2013)
https://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=315&a=250

To Nora, 
Singer of Sad Songs
 
(Clare Song Birds pub
Pblishing House, 2019)
https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/featured-authors/mark-a-murphy/

Night Wanderer’s Plea
(Waterloo Press, 2019)
https://waterloopress.co.uk/books/night-wanderers-plea-2019-2/

 

POETiCA REViEW STAFF

Chief Editor: Mark A. Murphy
Asst. Editor: Kieran M. Conway
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kiekzz79@gmail.com

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