On this page: poems by Gregory Gunn, Emery L. Campbell, David Golledge, Edilson Afonso Ferreira, Roy Runds, Yakov Azriel, Elhanan ben-Avraham, Ruth Fogelman, Bonnie Rechter, Immanuel Suttner, Aviva Shavit, Sonnet Mondal
The following works are copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the authors.
Gregory Wm. Gunn was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1960, grew up in four small towns throughout Ontario before moving to London in 1970. A graduate of Fanshawe College in 1982 as an electronics technician, he has worked in that field ever since. Writing for nearly thirty years, he is most passionate about poetry. Other interests include music, astronomy, philosophy, photography, ancient civilisations, foreign languages, and gardening.
It is an opulent fog that encompasses me:
a miniature ship bottled up oblivious
as to just how I got to be here; passed
through this narrow neck.
The glass is prismatic, outside the light
distorts, streams silvery blue.
A filmy sun streaks through
rolling clouds in mystic haloes
tumbling true like untampered dice.
Somebody’s grandfather owns me;
I am a prized possession placed
upon a bookcase shelf.
Nubile fingers of magenta
circumnavigate my enclosure
forecasting shifts in climate.
Today the grandchild fumbles me;
my rigging furls like accordion bellows.
An inquisitive nose presses
closely against the glass.
Presently I see nothing but fog,
the youngster unstops me,
his singular eye gazing curiously
within. I tremble & quiver yet
he attempts to restore me with
hot glue & popsicle sticks.
Now, he circumspects my frame
daily but he’ll relegate me to his
collection of G.I. Joes, Legos,
Hot Wheels and model trains;
dust magnets to be castoff
at the first sign of a new development.
You frame a considerable amount
of physical aspects of her. Incognito
the tenuous convexity
of a treble clef, she’s turned out
to be another object altogether.
Untainted from the womb, she
was once all light & animated;
unlike the peonies she didn’t remain
motionless until the proper shadows
had taken their place. Now she permits
you to prop her up in an archway.
The final pose has the shutter opening
to make possible her present profile.
What on earth caused that exposure?
Her jowls are a wasteland. It will
survive all your still life snapshots.
The temperate is stifling, the archway
has rotted, the black accoutrements
you don are restricting, you’ve never held
affection for anybody near enough.
Bedridden in the infirmary,
my feet dream of traversing
forest paths in October, snow-
laden trails in January.
Before windows, my feet dream
about the sun in summer.
In their mind they travel avenues
of abrupt resolve wearing
comfortable track shoes.
Elevated, my legs forget troubling
thrombosis, envision dance floors.
They plié and aren’t afraid to jump.
Confined to Gortex, my legs
foresee a future enwrapped in yours.
Heavy as lead, lower
extremities become pensive.
Nearly lifeless, complaining
of pain, longing for liberty,
wide open spaces. Jubilant
in take-for granted things.
Like a toddler learning to walk,
I am those legs and these legs
are me. I am taking small steps,
dreaming of mountains almost
touching the clouds, seeking
serenity. Emboldened, standing
more erect with each passing day.
Emery L. Campbell
Emery L. Campbell is an award-winning writer of poetry and short works of fiction and nonfiction. A selection of his poems and translations from classical French poets This Gardener’s Impossible Dream: A Not So Green Thumb (or Why I Took Up Poetry Instead), Multicultural Books, was nominated for the 2006 Georgia Author of the Year Award and a poem chosen from it received a nomination for a Pushcart prize. Campbell’s second book of translations Selected Fables and Poems in Translation was published in late December 2010 by Print1 Direct of Marietta, GA
His writings have appeared in Atlanta Review, Light, Midwest Poetry Review, Writers’ International Forum, Poets’ Forum, Parnassus Literary Journal, Spellbinder, Romantics Quarterly, and in anthologies including Reach of Song, Golden Words, Encore, Where Sunbeams Dance and others. His work has won awards from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Georgia Writers Association, the Georgia Poetry Society, and numerous other state poetry organizations.
Campbell and his wife, Hettie, a native of the Netherlands, live in Lawrenceville, GA.
A Family Matter
I’m out one night and meet an older gal
of sixty. She is very well preserved.
In fact she really isn’t bad at all,
with shapely legs and body nicely curved.
I’ll bet she’s got a daughter, young and hot,
I think. We have some drinks and she says, “Hon,
you turn me on.” She snuggles up. “I thought,”
she adds, “you’d like a two-on-one.”
“What’s that?” I ask. “A mother-daughter thing,”
she says. “You’d love it. One more drink and then
we’ll go. I’ve got a king-size inner-spring.
My place is not so far away, and when
we get there you will have a ball. You’ll see.”
The taxi ride is short. It doesn’t take
much time. We’re at her door. She turns the key.
We’re in. She shouts, “Hey Mom, you still awake?”
A Pome for Ms. Anna Graham Crackers
Clint Eastwood/Old West Action
Anagrams are oh! such fun,
the funnest fun for everyone.
They hardly hurt at all to make;
in fact, they’re like a piece of delicious traditional home-made light and moist
wunderbar-ish German Black Forest double chocolate cake.
At Mardi Gras keen costumed guests, their arms
loose-linked, most hang-ups freed by helpful gin,
stand grouped in jostling droves with all our kin,
while rowdy teens are scoping Babe’s young charms.
Gruyère, there’s lots in stock; what fun! Schoolmarm’s
coleslaw delights. Corn bread invites, dig in!
We’ve copious booze: here’s how, drink up, chin-chin.
Next, take clear aim at roasts from turkey farms;
thick slice, then chew. Oh woe! Unwanted pounds.
Rich pies (ignore for now dread ticker plaque).
Eggnog with rum, champagne and beer deploy.
But hark! I hear yon courthouse clock that sounds.
It’s time to doff our masks; dawn soon will crack.
Just one last canapé…Oh frabjous joy!
Oh, what was I to do? Zut! Sacré bleu!
Désir had tensed to tautened, tumid heights,
but Mimi had a mal de tête. Mon dieu!
L’époux was not allowed to claim his rights
I offered pilules from la pharmacie
in high espoirs the tactic would prevail.
At this she simply turned her dos on me
and left me sans moyens to tip the scale.
At last I gave it up and found sommeil,
though fitful and replete with ardent rêves;
resentment grew and wouldn’t go away.
I woke with firm resolve to go en grève.
Une loi is what we need for fixing this
to guarantee le droit to wedded bliss.
David Golledge lives in London with his wife and three children though he was born in Sunderland. His interests include running, scuba diving, cycling, karate, music, cinema and literature.
We flew so far.
Evading gravity, these magnetic spells.
Seraphs of the moment
touching the heights.
And the lows
when they came,
felt like private hells.
They are wrong.
Goodbyes never offer sweet sorrow.
Malevolent this moment
filled with rain.
And the daybreak
when it comes
does not bring tomorrow.
We are the fallen.
Raptures touched but feelings swing.
Wandering the moments,
And we the loveless
absent of dream or wing.
She thinks her words are weightless
as her silence. Assuming they
escape her mouth like feathers
to be caught on updrafts light as the air,
their worth lost to the clouds.
Preferring to rely on the act,
she is indifferent to the things
she says or does not say, considering
them devoid of meaning or impact.
But her words and their lack
fall on me like bricks.
Declaration as deed
tearing bone and skin,
cutting the man within
and I bleed.
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Edilson Afonso Ferrreira is a retired bank manager from Brazil, now trying to write poetry, having some poems published in British Anthologies, others on Canadian Literary Sites and some short-listed in three American Poetry Contests. His poems always refer to his inner thoughts or memories of the past. He prefers to write in English instead of in Portuguese in order to reach more people.
The writing of our book.
Who knows how fate works in our lives?
Fate – eternal tyrant – rules over all of us.
Since we were unborn and not conceived
And our parents unknown one to the other.
Paths to walk by, persons to love and to hate.
Arrivals and departures, praises and failures.
Faith and despair; rejoicing; tears and fears.
Every time, every day or hour, week by week,
From dawn to evening and noon to moon,
Conscious or unconscious of its guidance,
We go pursuing threads around the labyrinth.
Would be a warlock by early times in old caves
Who spelt the words that compose our book?
Or a saint who threw the letters from the stars?
Roy Runds was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1944; came to Israel in 1972. He has been writing poetry steadily since 1983 and is the author of two books of poetry. His poems have been published in Israel, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. He works as a free-lance editor and proofreader. Recently Roy had a third book of his poetry published (Soot And Sapaphires, Tel Aviv, 2010).
A Black Day
Where is the storm to clear so foul a sky?
Where is the raging torrent
pounding and pulverising
black rocks and rotting driftwood?
Where is the captain who with mighty foghorn
blasts trepidation into menacing forms?
Who are those pygmies
paddling their toy boats
across a battleship’s bows,
their blood turned to piss,
their waxed ears blotting out the serpent’s hiss,
soot in their bellies,
rust in their balls?
O heavens, drown the enemy’s proud towers
with your deluge of tears!
Send a fearsome flood
to flush the foaming cesspool!
By the waters of Babylon
let us weep no more.
Great galleon of grace
Holds the tides
Latitudes and longitudes
O gentle face
When you hurtle
Into the endless void
All will topple into
Entombed a thousand years in jungle gloom,
Slumbering in an endless shroud of shade,
A citadel in its brocaded bloom
Is disinterred by an intruder’s spade.
Strutting in searing sun of yesteryears,
The tribe of wizards, warriors and lords
Erected towers, sacrificial biers
Or struggled for great or gruesome rewards.
Beneath the pounding of the rain god’s wrath,
That washed away uncounted victims’ blood,
Did men rejoice or drink a deadly broth
Or perchance rise from their primeval mud?
Their gold model of a fighter airplane
Illuminates the twilight of their reign.
Yakov Azriel was born in New York City and came to live in Israel at the age of 21. He has published three books of poetry in the USA: Threads From A Coat Of Many Colors (2005), In The Shadow Of A Burning Bush (2008) and Beads for the Messiah's Bride (2009), all published by Time Being Books. Over 160 of his poems have been published in journals in the USA, the UK and Israel, and his poems have won twelve awards in international poetry competitions, as well as two fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
“don’t you love me?” she
asks he averts his eyes, he coughs, he turns his head
in other words, no
not even for the sake of the children
not even for the sake of ‘what will the neighbors say’
the moon left its orbit,
an asteroid crashed into the earth,
the dinosaurs are now extinct
“is there someone else?”
only the glacier
in their marital bed,
between their bed-sheets,
the avalanche of ice
as they lie and pretend they sleep
the white kippah she had knit him,
a present for their first anniversary,
unravels and unwinds
leaving a small pile
of dirty gray threads
the cat plays with
in the snow
Behind this door —
A secret room
With file-cabinets painted cobalt blue —
One of them, mine too —
That low one, behind my brother’s,
Sandwiched between my sister’s and my cousin’s.
My cabinet is always locked — as is theirs —
Our keys keep us prisoners.
When the thick syrup of night
Coats everyone’s sleep,
I enter the secret room — stealthily —
And open my cabinet with my key.
I take out my files —
Printed on each in bold: TOP SECRET —
Opening them quietly like a government clerk,
I read them — in the dark.
Blackness is best for reading —
I know what’s written by heart —
Each page, inscribed with the ink of shame —
Each page, signed and sealed in my name.
When does my brother open his cabinet?
When does my sister take out her files?
In the sticky black molasses of night
Separately we enter — to read without light.
Only I have the key to my cabinet —
No one else can peruse through my files —
How fortunate! — The true story of our lives
Are guarded in these archives.
How fortunate! — One second
Before the heavy sauce of death envelops me,
I will swallow the key
That guarded my files — faithfully.
The Defiant Son
Is that all that’s left between us,
grunts of Morse code?
no word longer than a syllable,
(“I need money.”
“How much do you — ?”
When you were small,
I used to read you stories,
you used to tell me secrets.
only staccato phrases,
from an almost empty plate.
(“Bye. I’ll be home late.”
“Wait. Where are you go—?”
“To a friend.”
“A friend. Bye.”)
We’re two strangers
riding trains going in opposite directions
that stop from time to time at the same station.
We look at each other
from train windows
of thick, opaque glass.
(“Come to eat.”
“Don’t know. Not now.”)
If I stretch out a hand,
you pull away.
When is the last time you called me ‘Dad’?
When is the last time I called you ‘Son’?
(“I’ve got to go.”
“Wait. I want to tell you some—”
“Not now. Bye.”)
Is all that remains
a distress call?
Save Our Son.
Elhanan ben-Avraham is a professional painter, muralist, illustrator and poet living in a quiet village outside of Jerusalem.
The River Scribe
Words course the struggling stream
frozen like dormant trout awaiting the spring,
hardly a sensible sentence forms in the cold current
until the spring sun heats molecules to thaw
and the first mayfly stirs, swims, hatches
and dances with eggs fluttering over the flow
and words bond and flow like a scroll
unrolling downstream over rock and fall
shaping deep mystery pools and bubbling rapids
where awakening trout cleave the surface
to seize the mayfly adrift
and the two become one flesh
and write their verse in harmony,
singing the ancient song
and publishing the poem far and wide.
Ruth Fogelman, a long-time resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, is the winner of the Reuben Rose Poetry Competition, 2006. Her poetry received an honorable mention in the Lindberg Peace Foundation Poetry Contest 2010 Ruth’s first full poetry collection, Cradled in God’s Arms, was released in 2009, and her chapbook, Jerusalem Awaking, was recently released.
Ruth is author of Within the Walls of Jerusalem - A Personal Perspective. Her poems, articles, short stories and photography have appeared in anthologies and various publications in Israel, and the USA, with recent poems in The Deronda Review and the e-zine, International Literary Quarterly.
Ruth leads the Pri Hadash Women’s Writing Workshop in Jerusalem and holds a Masters Degree from the Creative Writing Program of Bar Ilan University.
What? You Don’t Have a Mobile Phone?
Do you secretly own a mobile phone?
Is the number unknown
to your boss or your spouse,
the phone turned off at home,
buried deep in your pack?
Is it turned off as you daydream
down the street, or sit
alone with your thoughts, on the bus?
Do you relish
no-one to tab you, distract you
from your newspaper puzzle
or your book?
Do you only use it when stuck in a jam
on the way to a date
with your sister
or your son?
Do you dial your daughter-in-law
while waiting at a light
with an hour free
to see the grandchildren?
Your Body, Your Soul
Though flesh has shrunken
from your arms, wrists, hands,
your smile sparkles, your eyes dance,
and your poetry flows.
Though your eyes are on the world beyond,
your mind on the legacy you will leave behind,
your spirit, alive, warm,
with vibrant color, creates.
And though your body, a coat
you will take off when you are home,
Bonnie Rechter was born in NYC and grew up in L.A., She has been a member of Kibbutz Gaaton for 20 years, a resident of the seaside town of Nahariya for just as many. English teacher, mother of three, grandmother of two. MA in English Literature (Reading a Self: Storytelling and Survival.)
wanders through the high grass
softshoes over the rising surf
teases its way into my bones
take my offfering
of sweet lullabies
and scented vines
to ward off
the distant thunder
Squandered like shiny pennies
In a seaside arcade
No match for the silver constellations
Etched into the canvas
Of a midnight sky
Immanuel Suttner was born in South Africa, lived in Israel from 1981-91 and now lives in Sydney Australia. He has written a large non-fiction book Cutting Through The Mountain (1997, Penguin), a collection of verse called Hidden and Revealed (Snail Press & Quartz Press 2007), and a children’s book called The African Animal Football Cup (Quartz Press 2010).
When I was 19
I sat in a yeshiva in Yerushalayim
at the time of the third meal
when the day was darkening
with another hundred young men
and together we sang:
mizmor ledavid Adon-i Roh'ee
"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want"
and yedid beloved nefesh of my soul
A hundred voices in a darkening room
becoming the song as we sang it
and over again
'til each note, each bend
hung before us in the air
and we saw the sound
of King David’s harp.
But that was then
and the storied thread
of dusky blue-purple
that held us together
no longer binds, long since
I have ripened
into something else
but the song still lingers
like the faint scent of incense
in every room
of my life
On Shabat – the Sabbath – a third meal is traditionally eaten at dusk, accompanied by the chanting of liturgical poems and psalms.
Yeshiva is a place where orthodox Jewish men study religious texts
Yerushalayim – Jerusalem
And we saw the sounds – Exodus 20:15
If I am the gardener of a garden
where suffering sprouts with the morning dew
then as a compassionate gardener
tell me what should I do?
should I practice self-enquiry
to see if I am the source of this flaw
or should I rush about with a scythe
til I can weed no more?
For the mistake of not acknowledging others
for the mistake of not acknowledging myself
for the mistake of self condemnation
for the mistake of rigidity and fear of loss
for the mistake of counting my mistakes
Vidui = confession in Hebrew, recited on Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (day of at-one-ment), this poem subverts the original text
This poem has been written
by a human being
trying to write
like a computer algorithm reads
when establishing your value in the cyber uni-
so it is poetry, a poem, ode, elegy, compressed
love sex death regret longing
rejection, rhyme and belonging
also things such as alliteration, metonymy and enjambment
are very important when writing 300 words
for 5 dollars and must contain the following:
sensitive, green hills of Viagra, pay per ad, water in a plastic bottle
you’re worth it
some things are sacred
holy, holiness optimized
for best results, first love
visit our poetry, how do I pervert thee
let me declare the ways
with the judicious insertion of keywords and meta tags
to drive traffic to our net
where some customers may stick
like flies to a trap or
their minds into
the moloch machine
Aviva Shavit made aliyah in 1965 from the US at the age of 18. She has been a kibbutz member for 33 years. Professionally, she has been an English teacher for over 40 years. In the last 10 years she has become a psychodrama therapist, group facilitator and playback improvisation theatre group leader. She began writing 12 years ago. Most of her poetry is in English, some is in Hebrew and some she translates into the other language depending on the language the poem is “born in”. She sings and many of her poems have a strong alliteration when read aloud.
This piece of toast is raised in
honor of the fabric of things feeding
my body, the carrier of what is me;
browned, semi-crusty, it absorbs the butter and salt,
exudes a satisfying smell,
warm and textured to the touch,
Sonnet Mondal has authored six books of poetry and has been widely published in several literary magazines and journals of the world. He was bestowed Poet Laureate from Bombadil Publishing Sweden in 2009, honoured with the appointment of Sub Secretary General of Asia from Poetas Del Mundo, Chile in 2009, Doctor of Literature from United Writers' Association in 2010 and he became the first Indian to win the Azsacra International Poetry award in 2011. He has been a featured poet at Asian American Poetry project, U.S.A. and at World Poetry Reading Series, Canada in 2011. He is the pioneer of the 21 Line Fusion Sonnet form of poetry.
Swaying Bridge Of Senescence
Why do my heart-beats
To place scissors, knives
Upon my naked neck;
The clotting of blood
Or a flow through capillaries;
Silent in fear of
The cold metallic touch.
Boiling fluids turn icy
The joining bridge of
Life and death
Sways in senescence.
The world can’t speak
With its million dumb elements.
We favour to stay dumb too.
Sloppy to things
That should nod us.
We are dolls.
The plastic and silk
Spring at the vault,
Bring us back
To be a statue, even if
We try to nod.
We avoid slavery;
Still swing in the spring
Fitted to our back
By those for whom
We raise both hands.