Poetry #125

Gloom Cupboard Poetry #125 delivers a range of voice and style from the experimental to the boldly formal. Featuring works by Jeffrey S. Callico, Edward O’Dwyer, John Swain, Marit Ericson, John Tustin, Emmanuel Jakpa, Daniel Wilcox, Daniel Davis, and Sophia Argyris, we present you with a diverse and talented collection of writers to enjoy.

This Old Pain
by Edward O’Dwyer

This old pain, it really ain’t so painful these days,
though back then I’d have sworn it’d tear me apart.
But then I guess that’s just another of life’s funny ways

and, just maybe, time is a healer of wounds like the proverb says,
for these are times I feel I could make a brand new start.
This old pain, it really ain’t so painful these days

as, it seems, the end of the world was, after all, just a phase –
same way sometimes what seems a big shit turns out to be just a fart,
but then I guess that’s just another of life’s funny ways.

Lately, my mind don’t spend so much time trotting out the malaise
and, lately, ain’t so much hurt romancing anger in my heart.
This old pain, it really ain’t so painful these days

and, so, maybe peace can be bought with torment, clarity with haze.
All that remains of that anguish is a fraction now, just a tiny part,
but then I guess that’s just another of life’s funny ways

and, as for that little leftover piece, I hope it always stays –
a keepsake of a feeling I perfected to a fine art;
this old pain, it really ain’t so painful these days,
but then I guess that’s just another of life’s funny ways.

A Corpse in Snow
by Edward O’Dwyer

Her parents gave her the name Summer
remembering at the hospital

the kind nurse with round glasses and big smile
calling her Sunshine,

(a full maternity ward,
she probably called all the babies this)

but at just seventeen years now
she is this corpse found in the snow,

naked flesh turned powder-blue

and blue eyes dilated, stricken,
her meaningless struggle stark

in the pink rawness of her slender wrists
and in the pale, purple contusion

of her jaw; below her chin,
the gaping wound:

a clean slice
of some Winter’s frozen blade.

Bio: Edward O’Dwyer, 26, is from Limerick and is a graduate of the University of Limerick and University College Cork.  His poems have been published throughout Ireland, the UK, the USA, and Australia, in such periodicals as Poetry Ireland Review, THE SHOp, Agenda, Scottish Poetry Review, A Hudson View Poetry Digest and Danse Macabre.  A sequence of twelve poems, Oboe, was also published in chapbook format by Revival Press, 2007.  He was selected by Poetry Ireland for their Introductions Series, 2010, and a selection of his poems has recently been translated in to Slovene.

by John Swain

Captured by accident of birth
and his ability to read symbols
etched on the stone floor
and the pools of living water.
We used to wash white grapes
with a freshness like the day.
Now I search the dream silt
of these wastes for my brother
divining falsely in chains of ritual
and pay the ransom demanded
by the earth itself
with a beautiful hunting falcon.

Bio: John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. His fourth chapbook, Burnt Palmistry, is forthcoming from Full of Crow.

Poem In Eight Parts
by Jeffrey S. Callico


the downward
slide & here
you are sliding


four henchman
stomach acid
like lava


kills even
the sexiest


tell the
butcher his
is prudish
do you
even know
her name
if you did


in your palm you
use it
as makeup
then get a date
in bed


I did it
the secretary
tells the clerk
I did it too
says the clerk


brain shit
flush it
the funnel
spin round


empty is
what every
thing is
don’t you
look at
my ribs
just eat them

Bio: Jeffrey S. Callico hails from Atlanta. Someday he plans to live somewhere in Maine but until then keeps driving around town looking for a place to park. His most recent poetry chapbook, Rough Travel, was published by Graffiti Kolkata Press.


The sequel will feature the you no one talks about
by Marit Ericson

Car rides home are a song of
the eighties, screenprinted on
the wilderness of third world

Nebraska: tho you’re always free
to wear out another band’s shirt,
cruising past the bus depot with

its glossed fleer and dull placarding:
endless vending machines & milk
coffee cups: everything a witness: ping

our wars are all under control, honey. Go on,
take on a walk without the slightest expectation
of a parade, much  less   the     distant        hum

of grenades… The bedless street sounds ’ll pile
up like cardboard cutouts of the unchanging
human elements in the system: the thyroid

tenses: please gd, change: end thought

by John Tustin

No, I’m not a man.
I’m just an old boy.

It rained so long and so hard
That half of the flowers
In my garden drowned
Because God doesn’t give a shit.

Angels don’t exist.

My mother died of cancer
And the world went on
Like she never happened.
That is fact.

My father’s father was murdered.
A bullet to the heart
Before I was even born.
The world went on, indifferent.
That is truth.

These are the things
That would keep me up at night
If I was that type.

Bio: John Tustin’s poetry is forthcoming in tinfoildresses, The Battered Suitcase, and Litsnack. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry is a link to his work online.

by Emmanuel Jakpa

Looking over the window
into the cliché night,
as I form my fingers

crooked round the squat pen
resting on the white page
on the marple desk,

I wish I did not have to write
a poem on an orange.
But rather go and lie down

under the sycamore shade
of the obscure stream
in front of Glencar waterfall.

It’s hard to stretch words
as tight as guitar strings
relive the thickening of thoughts.

Bio: Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa was born in Warri, Nigeria, and currently lives in Ireland.  His poetry has been published widely, including The DIAGRAM, Echoing Years, Barnwood, and Edison Literary Review. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes three times,  and  he  received  the 2008 W. B. Yeat’s  Pierce  Loughran Award.

All ‘Hail’
by Daniel Wilcox

Ave Maria, all blessed,
Don’t look down
At the hour of our endless death,
We still clone
General Ramon Maria Narvaez,* who
When asked on grave’s bed to forgive
His foes, said, “I don’t have to because
I shot them all.” All holy the bledded blast.
Hell, Mary, that’s the awful fact.

*Spanish soldier and politician 1800-1868

Bio: Daniel Wilcox earned his degree in Creative Writing from Cal State, Long Beach, taught American literature, and wandered the worldwide. Now he casts his lines out in The Medulla Review, Recusant, Moria Poetry, Leaf Garden, Structo, The Bicycle Review, Full of Crow, Centrifugal Eye, Counterexample Poetics, etc. “The Faces of Rock,” based on his time in the Middle East, appeared in The Danforth Review and Danse Macabre. A book of his poetry, Dark Energy, was published by Diminuendo Press. Daniel lives with a second volume, Psalms, Yawps, and Howls, a speculative novel, and his wife on the coast of California.

by Sophia Argyris

Some things float downriver-
a pool queue, crisp packets, half a tray

in a kitchen argument
its edges razored where
the anger passed)

photographs flung
in some symbolic attitude of open handed
drama onto water (then regretted)

He told her he had definite direction
a path clearly marked. Ambition

She had none

She said
she’d like
nothing better than to float downriver
see where it might take her

(the sea
a drowning
the city of Atlantis)

He said
‘it’s just the cold of water
it would only make you shiver’

She knew better.

Bio: Sophia Argyris was born in Belgium, spent much of her childhood in the north of Scotland and currently lives  in London. Her poetry has been published in many print and online magazines, including Decanto, Debris, Pyramid Magazine, Up the Staircase, Silenced Press, Red Pulp Underground, Volume Magazine, WestBank, Scruffy Dog Review , A Poets Call, Purple Alchemy, Argotist, Inclement Magazine and Calliope Nerve.

Yesterday’s Banana Peels Rotting in the Garbage Can
by Daniel Davis

It stinks
Like the corpse of a skunk along Interstate-57
Like theoretical literary criticism
Like the bombing of Dresden
Like a traffic jam
Like Ben Affleck
Like raw meat left out in the sun on a humid August afternoon
Like the fact that I cannot think of an ending to this poem
that adequately expresses that awful, God-awful smell.

Bio: Daniel W. Davis is a graduate student born and raised in Central Illinois.  His work has appeared in various online and print journals. You can follow his work and musings at: www.dumpsterchickenmusic.blogspot.com.

Published by Joseph M. Gant

Writer and Open Source enthusiast.

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