Maire Fisher

Let her be lettered

She letters her days with layers of sincerity and deep feeling, but that’s all it is – a lettering of emotion. Pretty words lettered with pretty letters, with curly loops and Is (me me meeeeees) littered with hearts. I letter have it. I let loose with a blowtorch. I letter her surface with heat, branding her pampered skin. She lets her fingers loose through her alphabet and r+u+n+s out of the room, literally trailing a mess of  oos and aas and ees  and How could  U U Us  behind her. I let her out. As she lets open the door she lights upon a letter on the mat and lets herself down to pick it up.

Poor girl – letterbombed to smithereens.

She flies apart at her conjunctions, into a smattering of  petites belles lettres, her epsilons and upsilons, alphas and omegas all afloat in a gloop of alphabet soup. I’ll beta hasty retreat now.  Before she rewrites herself into a froth of scatology.

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Ilze Olckers

Mountain Ghazal

In my chest there is a mauve poem
I can find in me many earth-coloured poems

Canyons are the colours of clay ochre red sand
Mountains are blue purple and from above grey-black poems

The only green on the slopes are the stone pines standing
slightly awry with their crowns dignified against the wind poems

or the emerald vein right at the very vortex of the fissure
throbbing silently once every million years a poem

I am this vein keeping the earth alive,  I am those crowns
sheltering sacred circles of petrified life poems

I am the koan of the canyon – all the tears and struggle
of those unanswerable story poems

I, Ilze, am all the poems written about all the mountains
And all the joy and inner knowing of all those wonder poems

Linda Price

A writer begins

Patterns, motives, notions and potions
I sit, steaming and queer

Clutching and clawing pen to finger-nail
I curl coccyx into chair

Mighty moment and crumbling control
I pant, stamp and sweat,

reaching for mind afloat and surrender
I wade wide on teetering toes

Spreading scourge of ideas and identities
I pump and burst my heart

Flailing in rubbery red rhubarb
I feel my flesh fade fast

Balmy breeze brings shy kisses
I sink and bathe burnt breath

Opening eyes over pallid paper
I read remnant of kind calamity

A wave of wiggling words

Carmel Rickard

Free fall

I cannot. I will not. I refuse.
I JUMP

I am dying. I am falling
through my dreams every night

I think I am dying
I AM DYING

I am alone in this fear.
The mountains stand apart.

I am so afraid
Terrifying – and wonderful.

I am flying!

like a thermalling bird
buoyed on a rising wind

like a level road through the poort,
supported.

I begin to understand
flying

Isobel Terry

The fountain

I am shooting into the air
curving back with gravity

into the large pool
from which I came.

I recede in curved lines
into the distance

holding sounds of words
in exhilarating breath.

And are your ears listening
I wonder ? You do not care

your ears have closed over
and can not hear.

I see you on a seat
by the border.

The gardeners are here,
you lift your head

your eyes rest on the curves
of their shoulders.

I am waves of pain
you stand

walk towards me
and with your finger cut

across my line
of flow.

Suddenly I am shooting
everywhere;

a gush of fluids
across cellular membranes

an opening
into which I pour

words of sorrow
you write on a page.

An iris in full purple bloom
stands guard.

Mish Damstra

Shining wetness pulses and throbs
throttling all spaces between

Slit eyes and forked tongues
slither seductively

Push me atop the snake sea
onto mating balls of silk

Rocked on scales of smoothness
I sip the forbidden milk

Spill earth colours on my skin
Slide over my belly and hiss

Polished in rippling softness
see tension slip into kiss

Ease my passage, you squeezing coils
into serpents who massage

Without oils

Ruth Carneson

Ghosts

In a house of ghosts and shadows
a tunnel opens up into an endless space

I find a platform in the dark
among the ghostly images

I grab hold of a shadow to anchor myself
As I slip and fall I shout

and fall into formlessness
swirling colours and unknown gasses

A table is laid with a feast
It disappears and reshapes

I glimpse familiar faces
Before I have time to remember the image changes

The face changes into a bird
but the bird does not fly away as I expected

Joelle Chesselet

There is no fear
here on the edge
it is dammed
it is dead

thorns thread the putrified flesh
stiff on the ledge

Always nearly never actually
a party
lives on the edge of me

Peri ferally

at last my heart unzips
Pomegranate pips scatter
raining

Like flying frogs on fire
the fearful fragments die

I breathe underwater
Geological
now

Cathy Stagg

Partnership

The untamed child plays with danger
Confident, sure footed, that’s her

She knows the tigress
Won’t settle for less

She can ruffle up that coarse fur
Silver claws, black paws, don’t scare her

She writes on and on, without a pause
While Tiger lies back, examines her claws

Sometimes she gets scared, thinking of what she’s done
On other days she knows: the child and the tiger ­ they’re one.

Varsha Patel

Poison’s Antidote

Ash black thoughts choke me
in the harsh fiery mountainous ruins of my mind.

Jagged menacing rocks of my yesteryear quake me.
Mercilessly, they split in two, and deliver me crying,

my blood and spongy vestiges spilling. My mother’s cord threadbare,
my hands grab hold at barren air. I freefall.

The dregs of me surrender. Thy will be done.
I fall free

into cool indigo waters, a treasure of inky words I discover
that ebb my spillages and balm my burns,

surge through me and expunge me
of my ash black thoughts.

A picture of a mountain ruins
strewn with green I hold.

Susan

Sentry

She is something particular. Not any other thing.
There in sharp relief. Relief. Yes.

And her edges. Ah! Her edges –
distinct in inky silhouette –

they stamp themselves on that space,
shape the abyss and make it plain.

Her hair pours off her head.
Her eyes blaze out.

She moves like black mercury.
Swift, graceful, agile,

she is inescapable
and menacing. Stamping,

waving, seeing and blazing,
she is a fearless presence. Yes. Fearless.

Cynthia Mac Pherson

Among the shades

Cold air dank on my cheeks
the smell of fungus, of damp moss

I dare not walk through this
fearful forest of rotting holes

ghosts loom, known yet unknown
I dare not leap into the mist

where shapes appear – your face,
and my children’s, between the trees,

father who doesn’t see
or hear me. ‘Come back’ I call out

but my voice is muffled
so I enter the pale silence

of that drifting forest
without direction or compass

through trunks festooned with moss
‘I have killed you; Please forgive me’

but cloud envelops you
shrouding you – floating elusive

your eyes enter my dreams
in my paintings your white wisp glides

and you haunt my poems
so I brave the rotten places

I dare to follow you
pouring into holes between trees

with fog settling, oozing
I have joined you among the shades

you look into my eyes
and morning sun warms us golden

Penelope van Maasdyk

reflections in the Dark

karmic chanting in time with my mind’s breathing … in, 2, 3, 4
I sit on the edge of my emotions … hold, 2, 3, 4

in lotus pose, holding up the sky… out, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
forget the cat, the child and superman

breathing to the beat of my mind, I cannot stop
… hold 2 … relax

terror, agitation, anger
fermenting, festering, feverish

I am soda water
bottled under pressure

bubbling emotions force their way
up my throat, my neck, my consciousness

my mind wide open
my top is snapped off, it bleeds

down shaky knees
and the mountain loses its pose

I fall through mind’s eye
down into the abyss, my demons’ lair

of fudge-sweet smells and burning incense
I explode on impact, and then expand

filling every gap, crack and cave
I gaze, I see, I am the eyes of my fear

I shift and move, melt and meld … in, 2, 3, 4
dissolve in fear of god … hold, 2, 3, 4

I am everywhere
I am everything

it is gone, it is over, I have found
inner pieces of the mirror … out, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

when I look closer at the depth of my fear, I see
there are no demons in here

… hold 2 …
there is just Me

relax.

Maya Naumann

Moving on

I cling to what I’ve got,
fearing my quota has been dealt.

What if it’s true
that morning gold belongs to the young?

The firm fleshed, fresh faced,
forever behind me now.

Have I no duty to keep it with me?
Sparkles for today from yesterday.

Gold shimmers in every year –
it has been sprinkled generously.

But what if there will be no more,
the storeroom closed?

I will only know if I go forward.
Un-dig my dragging heels,

and be lifted out of the sand
allowing distance between then and now.

Susan Ziehl

Standing on the Edge of Creativity

Inspirational waters
call me to immerse.

But wagging fingers warn,
‘don’t make things up’.

And fear of retribution
freezes my bones.

I close my eyes
and conjure courage

Here I go,
Woo peeee

I make him up,
I make her up.

Green-eyed slob
Grey-eyed go-getter.

I christen him Bruce
her, Clarisse.

I make them live
in bumpy harmony

I make her leave
I make him weep

I make her blossom
I make him regret.

I’m telling a story
I’m telling lies.

Yippieeeeee !!!!

Jaine Hannath

I am standing alone – all one
The words are mine
but they are cold

If I step back
a watery existence awaits
a mirage
on a hot desolate road

I realize that I have resisted
for a long time
The cusp of the abyss –
your warm embrace

I could lose my mind
to the sheer terror of the fall

Muscles release
My body relaxes
I swallow fortifying words
on the way down

The words are mine
No more obligation, of sorts, to commit
Intimacy is the abyss
I commit

Lesley Cox

My writer’s block monster

Slime dripping from jagged teeth
staring eyes glow red, watchful

Skeletal jaws jut from bony cranium
working in a slow, snapping motion

Scrawny neck stretches out of bony body
skinny, emaciated, with pot round belly

From hunched back sprout leathery bat wings
thinly covered by grey, taut skin

Knobbled joints and big webbed feet,
toes spiked with lethal talons

Dangerous in flight,
this creature is revolting.

Janine Goullée

The Unexpected

I’m standing at the edge of the abyss
the air whispers past

Cool tendrils lick my face
my cheeks and limbs

My imagination conjures fears
worse than reality could ever be

Loss – of choice, will and delight
being trapped, enslaved

I’m standing at the edge of the abyss
and fear itself is a loss of freedom

The unexpected frightens me
at every turn, too many possibilities

I try to move, to step back
all is mist, a blur as

standing at the edge of the abyss
I plunge over, let go

and confront the unexpected
by not plummeting

All words pulled from my grasp
I lie suspended –

continue in slow motion
Wings surround me

Kindred souls await my discovery
and touch me, gently

All is clear and bright
washed clean by the rains

Christina Coates

Journey

Standing on a ledge of shale,
a peeling shelf of red,

the edge of the world;
I am here.

Below me are
folded belts of mountains.

I’m a statue of silent trembling,
frozen from fear.

I crawl
backwards at first.

I let go,
dust covers me

and little stones
pierce my knees.

Down the valley
eagles soar below,

plants grow in cracks;
a tiny yellow daisy smiles.

A trusty ficus and
bushes in crevices;

they balance me
on my hands and knees.

I want to survive, to find
a level. Then I see

the rocks have formed steps.
they lead me down,

to black ironwood and tamboti;
an umbrella space.

I am here on earth;
a heavenly place.

Charlene Yared

Reincarnation

On the edge of my soaring spirit,
I look down to a field.

Over there, I am a mother with four sons.
Over there, I am a son to an Indian tribesman.

Over there, I am a murderer in a cold cell.
Over there, I am an old woman, crystals in my hands.

I slip down the slope towards them.
They do not speak, but their eyes are knowing.

All encircle me, I know them,
I recognise their faces.

The ground beneath us begins to swirl.
Slowly, our bodies meld

Where have they gone?
Inside you, a voice says.

I stand, arms wide open,
I hear a beautiful name,

I cannot see my face.