Alec Boardman Mar 25

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?
Mary Winslow Aug 2016

In November the rains begin again
flooded sidewalks, even Doug firs are drenched
I keep a row of dill and basil that grow
until October when there's frost on the ground
my tomatoes and squash have been tilled under
folded into darkness, held in silence

My garden dies with all the others in silence
and I'm glad for the fallow season again
except garlic and winter kale deep under
it's an empty garden even snails forget
branches mold black on this rain rotted ground
cover the graves where nothing can grow

Dawn arrives late since there's nothing to grow
why bother scattering warmth on rain and silence
slick ivy tangles, briars cover the ground
I light candles when the power's out again
because sometimes I don't pay the bills, forget
to pay the rent, feel like I'm going under

I don't know what rainbow the rich live under
I've heard people say, "Well what did you grow?"
I would often scatter seeds and forget
handfuls of moon flowers in the silence
Thus people say "If you could do it again....
nose to the grindstone, feet firmly on the ground."

But it's winter, barren covered-with-hay ground
and like the flowers whose roots live deep under
I've tunneled into dark living on scraps again
I'm just a fool who didn't know what to grow
I live in fewer rooms and sit in silence
wizening, shrinking and trying to forget

Really the key is knowing what to forget
sunlight and money, warmth, fragrant ground
appreciate the loneliness and silence
I have a small leaking roof to sit under
crouch down like the tulip bulbs I grow
spine curling a primordial fern again

In winter, silence falls soaked, slithers under
thus we forget all but barren stubbled ground
becoming small enough for the womb again

copyright Mary Winslow 2016 all rights reserved
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.

Austin Bauer May 2016

In a house
Near the loch
Awaits a bride
For her wedding day.
Soon her groom
Will take her hand.

Extending his hand,
At his father’s house,
Out reaches the groom
Toward the loch
Saying, “in a handful days
I will have my bride.”

Meanwhile the bride,
With her gentle hand,
Writes the day
On invitations in her house;
Sending thoughts across the loch
Toward her groom.

Simultaneously the groom
Thinks of his bride,
Receiving her thoughts from the loch.
His promise on her hand,
Hers is in his father’s house,
But he won't see it until the day.

In just a few short days
With his friends the groom
Will leave his father’s house
And await the bride
To take her hand
At the ceremony near the loch.

And in the city of the loch
Their lives most historic day
Will be when they take each other’s hands
And the groom
Will have his bride
And will make a home of their house.

But until then… Toward the loch the groom,
Awaiting the appointed day of his bride,
With lovesickness stretches his hand toward her house.

a sestina.
Steffi Mar 2016

The city is shut, sparing its prey until tomorrow. Night rules, dreams creep down the street, eyes dead
Her poised being is the center of universe, that girl
She is loath to beg yet for the twenty fourth time of the night she sings out, God?
It’s two in the morning and they are sitting at the balcony, God and her, both holding a cigarette
Mother and father are in screaming colors but she is, only, the darkest blue
Two of them are contradiction, a vexing rendezvous but they yearn for each other so once in a while they talk

People talk
A boy across the house is found dead
Parents roaring, raging, crashing the ground, he’s wearing a pair of new basketball shoes. Blue.
He is one of million, a delicate kind, very comely, a subtle presence. Neighbors murmur maybe God
fell in love, maybe God enraptured by the boy. But God is peeking behind the closed door with the girl
Between their fingers still a burning cigarette

Maybe it’s the taste of Marlboro Red, the girl
wishing an epiphany, a revelation, for its been too long, the girl and God
writing each other’s eulogy. The girl has been dead for God and God has been dead
for the girl, ruptured for a very long time, there’s no way back. No long talk
can fix the burn of cigarette,
the eternal crippling affliction taped up in every cavity inside the holy temple of their body

A lady in the house with doors and windows painted blue
is murdered. She was having a dalliance and neighbors talk
behind their open bible. God cringes, God recoils, her god is a beige-tied, cigarette
scented with hair slicked back. She was in his thrall, calls her name in a mesmerizingly fetching way making her girl
again, an ingénue with a pair of chatoyant eyes. Bodies clashing, her muse, they fuse, he choose to ruse, dead,
God is amused, time is lapsed, but perhaps she was not divine. A lady in someone’s car trunk, murdered, dear God!

Inhaling. Conflating. Cigarette
smoke all over the veins. A bright blue
car parked across the street. A week since the boy died. A week since the lady went missing. People talk
about somewhere this week another dead
body is going to be found. Maybe in the park under the slide or on a high school bleacher, like the girl found God
under her bed. The first encounter of God and the girl.

God
and the girl run out of cigarette
counting the days God and the girl
Next time won’t be cigarette and balcony. God and the girl next time at a bar with blue
sign where sinners and saints sipping absinthe because God won’t talk
to anyone but the girl. God and the girl sipping absinthe because the city is shut. Eyes dead.

it's really hard to see the sestina pattern, but the six words i use are dead, girl, god, cigarette, blue, and talk.
Nova Jan 2016

No father could ask for A son so bright
I can't promise you a perfect example
Afraid of what I may inspire
But with me here at least there is hope
A glimmer of light for the next generation
Starts with you wanting to learn

The best defense for life is to learn
Never be afraid to let your gift shine bright
Don't expect to fit in with your generation
But do expect to lead them by example
Understand that you are part of what is left of hope
You were born to inspire

Seek out how you will inspire
In the allotted time knowledge is yours to learn
Time alloted is prolonged we hope
Because your future is bright
Turn those that doubt you into examples
Let positive thoughts come into generation

Pray for your generation
Appreciate those you inspire
Dont let the system make you an example
Ignorance does not uphold in the court of law so you must learn
Jail is not for the bright and dims hope

No matter the situation never be deserted by hope
Always keep in mind A new generation
Never let skin complexion twist your judgment to whats wrong isn't bright
Burry your eyes in archives Black Egyptians will inspire
Our proper history you will learn
It is then you dont expect but begin to lead by example

Like Malcolm X or Dr. King for example
Someone has to rekindle the hope
History teaches but we didnt learn
As for your generation
Hopefully something will inspire
Something with a soul, something real, something bright...

Heres A sestina I wrote for my son three years ago. So thankful I found all of my old journals. Hope you enjoy the read like I enjoyed the write.
Next page