Poetry #114

New poetry by Alan Catlin, Walter Conley, Joseph M. Gant, Colin Gilbert, Ananya S. Guha, Michael McAloran, and Ag Synclair


Ag Synclair
Fort Edward

an old pulp mill
wrapped in the arms of sugar maples
sweet gum
hart’s-tongue, and roseroot

white-tailed deer

the manascus
churning dark and violent
under a low, seasick sky

Michael McAloran
wordless our ways-

wordless our ways
to sink in the death of breath

the chalice burning in the distance
will usurp the breathing wind

the collapsed bones of the night will
shell the flesh and strip nude our laughter

our tears will flee the earth
the vacant sky will remain standing

Joseph M. Gant
Day of Dreaming

Stone by the water—
and so the blood left
hot to dry.
Tinker Bell perilous,
knit, misunderstood
in tapestry of
day where hollows
cry,
and cold, pale dancers
go to die
with all the ways
of make believing.
The stone, wet and
shamed in lye.

Harder Than Time

The softening of the heart
is halted sure by rigor mortis.
The rules of decay
are non-negotiable;
Flies with angel wings
deliver eyes unto
the glory in the circus
of the ticket redeemer.

Ink pours hard onto
my page, broken into
shards of what
the stitch-lipped cannot say
to me in words, forever
buried in the wasteland of
the hour-glass tipping.

I lift the grain container
and I lay it on its side
to pause at least this
process moving
forward. All I want
is peace but silly minds
believe in peace
without
death’s hard negotiations.

Ananya S. Guha
Winter Poem

unleafing a page
from a book
is an arduous task;
as winter sheathes
into hyacinths of past
with age old greys
whimpering cascade
of scarred impressions,
only the fortuitous survive
and nature impels wrath
unleashes fury, of
sun tanned faces;
looking for things
beyond these hills of
oblivion, crusted into
the crescent moon,
they are impressionistic
these hills, they
narrate importunate
saga of myths,
compose into more
stolid forms, eye
askance memories
retold, and augur
a time, when the
future will open itself
like the yawning giant
shaking itself into
maelstrom of desires.

Colin Gilbert
smear

the moon stopped burning.
for a fifth of Evan Williams.

promised free booze and fifty dollars,
“Stumbling Joe” traded fists

with three fraternity pledges.
trophies of teeth and fear
were flaunted – smiles,
dusted free of innocence. death
fit its jagged tongue inside
the faltering laughter of witness

Walter Conley
Mountain
(for Ari Collins)

they say that
mountains have spines

but the spine of a mountain
won’t bend, only break

well i won’t break for you
and i won’t be your mountain

Alan Catlin
“It’s bad policy to kill a man in a bar”
–Derek Raymond

Their auras don’t fade the way
most dead men’s do, lingering after
them as if there was something in the air
that wouldn’t let them go, as if there
were a chance for one more for the ditch
they wouldn’t be able to crawl out of.
Late at night, well after last call, you
can sense them getting restless,
all the ones who passed away and those
who keep trying to come back,
edging their way through the shadows
toward their favorite spot at the bar,
eyes tense with expectation, hands
shaking as they inch closer, exuding
an odor as rank as the place they were
entombed in, transparent as the dreams
they escaped from, each one nurturing
a false hope that they too could be like
Lazarus and once more rejoin the living.



“Looking out a dirty window at nothing at all”

the way my mother did
those twenty-four hour long
nights on fifth floor of a Midtown
Manhattan apartment for the dead,
writing chapters and verses
for Songs of Solomon, for high riders
of a D train to nowhere,
all the tunnels of the streets
emitting smog so thick it could be
blood rising as steam from manhole
covers sealing in all the heat dreams bring
after black out curtains have been drawn
over what the dead have left behind:
these empty shell people, their bodies
like the shed skins of snakes that
do not regenerate but continue moving
long after life has deserted them,
the way life has deserted her,
sealing her in this tomb for a thousand
years the air so foul and stale
lit matches refuse to burn.

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