Carl Velasco Nov 2017

It’s always after a film when you say,
“Did you like it?” I think for a little while.
I think of the film as a whole, in chopped parts, and time
spent watching it that’s become time no longer.
It’s swimming now in a stream of phantom haze; less of a memory,
and more of the carbon imprint of an experience over.

We argue a lot if we liked it. I think I did, but over
the course of plenty moments, my mind goes restless: What if to say
I liked it somehow violates its completeness? I don’t trust memory
can tell me everything. A moment stretches, it happens a while;
then it's finished. Once immense now vapor; the thing no longer
the exact thing. And to access that again, to recall the past, plays with time.

After the film, you and I have a nice time.
I’d ask for this thousands of times over.
Running through street lights, shadows are cast: mine’s always longer.
You catch up, you giggle, there’s nothing to say.
We stay kinetic for a while.
The spools, the underpinnings, the machinations move, and create a memory.

The film was about a town that one day stopped speaking. One memory
of it astounds me most: The more time
passed, the clearer it became. It took a while,
but we finally knew why. But the credits rolled and it was over.
The audience vacated the room and it belonged to us. We didn’t say
anything. A respite emerged, and it grew longer.

You look at the shadow again, longer
than yours. I wish it was easy for me to access my memory,
and to access yours, too. I wish I could say,
“Did you like it?” and see you go back through time,
back before present turned into past, before it became over,
back when the vapor was the immense, and the blip the while.

While
longer,
still over.
Memory and
time.
“I liked it,” I say.

It took a while, but we have the memory.
We can access it longer than the merits of time.
And when it’s over, I’ll forever say.

I found it difficult to write a sestina, but felt immensely disciplined while doing it. This is rough, I gotta be honest. Hoping for better ones next time. William Miller's "The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina" inspired me to create this. Read that. It's so phenomenal.
Eliah SolRae Oct 2017

I remember that time,
Long long ago, I was a sea, overflowing with Love.
Our life was a fairytale out of a book,
But then it happened, it came down in a crash.
I could not bare to look.
They took you away, that terrible day.

I had an awful feeling that day, I really did that day.
They stole you, because of me. I think about it all the time.
I am old, sad, and broken. Everyday I look,
Sometimes I just try to forget our love.
I float up, but then it comes upon me, with a crash.
I’ve tried everything, even hiding my sorrows in a book.

I live still, I am as fragile as the pages of a very old manuscript, possibly a book.
I wander, searching for you, every day.
In town, on the rocky crags, I listen and hear the waves crash.
I stand there and think, a long, long time.
I have a shriveled heart, I have no love.
I gaze at the sea, it remind me of you and me, it hurts me, I can’t look.

But I do it again I look,
My thoughts change, it looks like a scene out of a book.
In this story, nothing hurts a man, here forever is love.
In this life everything is good Every night, every day,
I think about that one time.
I was free... I turned and walked home. You can hear the faintest sound of the waves crash.

In my dream that night, I twist and turn, bang and crash,
I wake up with a jolt, all around me I look.
I swore I could hear your voice, a scream of agony, a plea of help, Preserved by time.
I can’t sleep, I can’t get you off my mind. I turn on a light and read a book.
I read the rest of the night, until the break of day.
The book drowns my thought of our love.

I wander without thought, through the park. I see a young couple and I think young love…
I get dizzy, all my thoughts fall upon my head with an ear-splitting crash.
I mutter, walk and turn without thinking twice, the whole day,
Without knowing I walk, the sun is setting. I raise my sorry head and look,
It is the sunset over the sea, a picture of love, a story out of a book.
A weight lifts from my shoulders, I close my eyes, I won’t let it happen this time.

“Oh burning night sky, oh mother of love up I look
Let me escape, set me free from my prison of pages in a book,
The agony is too great, set me free, it is my time.”

Alec Boardman Mar 2017

Mother warned me not to be too absorbed
In the mirror. I need to instead pay attention
To the world around me. “To form an identity,
One needs not to worry about perfection.”
She said. But, mother, you are apathetic
If I am anything but. I calm my impulses.

I buy and obsess over material possessions by impulse.
Catch me with a teen magazine, completely absorbed
As I block out the real world with an apathetic
Attitude. As I sit and read, I pay attention
To the celebrities who demonstrate perfection.
I will copy their traits to form my identity.

Lost in this dreary world, searching for identity,
I collect people’s personalities, stealing them on impulse.
Searching for happiness coincides with the pursuit of perfection.
I laugh at those who say I am self absorbed,
That say I am only looking for attention,
When it comes to criticism, I am apathetic.

I don’t care that I come off as apathetic.
It just happens to be part of my identity.
I don’t do it for attention.
Or maybe I do? I’m too impulsive.
I’m only this way because I’m self absorbed.
Obsessed with the idea of perfection.

I look at myself and all I see is perfection.
Others may see me with nothing but apathetic
Stares, but they are simply too absorbed
With their own problems of their identities.
Not my fault that they don’t feel the impulse
To love me. I don’t need their petty attention.

That was a lie, I live for attention.
Can’t everyone see I am the human embodiment of perfection?
Without their validation, I may act on my impulses.
And then when they ask why I did it, I will be too apathetic
To care. Dangerous and beautiful is my identity.
It isn’t so bad to be self absorbed.

I am absorbed in myself, desperate for attention
My identity relies solely on the thought of perfection
I am only apathetic because I care too much about myself. Here they come again, the impulses

November 2016
Grace Victoria Oct 2016

Woken up to the sounds of his saw;
The jarring noise took me from a calm
Sleep. Only six hours ago had it been night
When I laid sleeping with my love.
For years I never had a dream
Until the first time he said my name. "Grace?"

He asked walking towards me. "Your name is Grace,
Right?" In front of me I saw
My future. When I slept that night I had a dream.
For all the times he spoke to me I felt calm
In who I was. He was the one who made me love
Myself once again: even in the darkest night.

I saw myself grow like a child with him. Night
Was no longer full of fear. Welcomed with grace,
I joined his life.  Enchanted whit how much one man could love
So many things. Passion in everything he did. He saw
Beauty in the bare trees. Remaining calm
When the world around me fell, he showed me to turn my dream

Into a literal vision. My dream
Was meant for the world; not to be hidden by the night.
He wanted to help create my dream, and when I lost my calm,
He was always behind me for backup. "Grace,
We're going to create the life you want." I saw
The light in his eyes. I fell in love.

The house we would build was full of love,
dedication to each other, respect for the dream.
The amazement in his expression when he saw
It come to life was worth the pains. At night
We stayed up, whispering until exhaustion. "Goodnight, Grace"
It wasn't until I heard those worlds I felt calm

With myself, with the world. Calm
That this was finally my life. The love
I had for him for filling my life with grace.
With him it came true. My dream
Became our reality. But night
Was still sad, for when I closed my eyes and my love I no longer saw.

When I woke up, I didn't mind the sound of the saw.
The sound was a reminder of his love,
And he only loved me: Grace.

lotus Oct 2016

There are instances that blur
And there are moments that pause,
Convicted from eyes of honey
And nocturnal puddles
That pull playful cheeks
To be gentle waters.

On high tide we resuscitate the waters,
When skin and land blur
We pretend sea lullabies will unstiffen our cheeks.
On low tide we cradle the flood to pause
Butterflying into puddles
That evolve birdsong from honey.

There are madmen created from syringes of honey
And there are Gods dispersed in overdue waters
Wading like mid-August puddles,
Waiting to unravel the blur
And bring the dizzying to a pause
By pouncing on pastel cheeks.

On blue bodies we find brick cheeks
That unthicken collarbones to honey
Without longing for pause.
On red bodies we trace bloodshot waters,
Hushing a hypoxic beast into a howling blur
Of one-week anniversary puddles.

There are rooms that hollow out puddles
And there are spaces that allow snowflakes to bloom on cheeks,
Where little sparks can cast daybreak blur
Into a braided sky of acid and honey.
Whiplashed waters
Bring us to pause.

Space and time pause.
You know you turn me to puddles.
These high waters
Reach peppered cheeks
When I slide under you honey,
It’s all a blur.

We let our bodies unwind and blur,
Tingling from venom honey
Over our cheeks.

Won't you please be my little honey slider?
Alijan Ozkiral Aug 2016

Side by side fighting in rounds,
etching drawings in our skin cut by cut.
Hoping and praying that the vitriol
of the infection’s symptoms are sporadic;
that the wave of pain comes only in bursts.
Infection acting as a hallucinogen creating visions.

Yet it is in these sought after visions
we see battles as if they’re in rounds.
And in these battles the bullets fly in bursts,
where we see lives all cut
short. The lives taken are random and sporadic,
despite the takers lack of vitriol.

Like the poison of hatred and vitriol,
seeping through the mind like mirages and visions,
after drought and famine and natural sporadic
disasters wrought on different rounds
of dystopia — some of the battles we fight are cut
short and experienced like explosions, in bursts.

Sometimes our fights are drowned in shots and bursts,
with alcohol or drugs or other vitriol.
Maybe the vitriol is the blood we drink from the cut
on our wrists bringing us to the brink, with a vision
of our lives flashing before our eyes in rounds
like candid imagery. They seem sporadic.

However, although the images seem sporadic,
whether it be soldiers fighting firing guns in bursts,
or two kids fighting trading rounds,
like a man finding his wife’s lover with vitriol
in his heart, they all connect with a vision
of something where hatred is simply cut.

Where we can find personal and general wars cut
from textbooks and any person’s sporadic
memory. Where men have “a vision”
to “improve” a utopia. When men questioned men’s bubbles bursts.
Then they seethe and fester and ferment their vitriol,
like alcohol until ultimately feeding into the cycle. Then they fire their rounds.

Either at people or their own heads, their rounds
are found on the floor next to the sporadic, fallen gore. Their vitriol
lying next to the deceased vision of perfect around lives cut short, taken in bursts.

Tried writing a sestina as an exercise, it's definitely very challenging
aj May 2016

Rain falls like a lead sheet beating
ages on my back. The water rises,
but through the muddiness of the dividing sea  
your light stands clear. You stand 
beyond my riverside,
the birth of Venus before my eyes.

Skin like seafoam and eyes
like amber coax my hands into fists, beating
ripples into your image that not even the riverside
rain and my own reflection could rise
over. As the waves ripple across your cheeks, I stand
to remember you are also across this sea.

Caught between this love like religion, the sea
breeze makes poetry of your hair in the wind, and my eyes
have never been drowned deeper. I have never had to stand
a love so murderous; even your mirror image gives my soul a beating.
All the while, the water rises,
crashing against the riverside.

Across the riverside,
your gaze is resolute and colder than the sea.
The sun rises,
to find her light breaking the horizon with her eyes
that held back whirlpools, beating
my soul with crashing waves of division, which I can no longer stand.

Too deep to stand,
dangers of the divide bound my desire. A prisoner to the riverside.
The chains of star-crossed lovers crash with the waves, beating
my sense into sea.
Pain is no stranger to your eyes.
The beauty of the sea would always rise.

Hurricanes beat you into perfection and you rise
and stand
above the ordinary eyes.
Storm-beaten and Tempest-tossed on this riverside,
A godly daughter of the ominous sea
has overcame a beating.

Beyond the riverside,
across the sea,
my heart is beating.

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