poetry issues #21

Friday, 25 January 2019 00:00

A very special labor, the January-February issue. I hope you enjoy stories of identity and struggle:

 

Scales

 

Better watch people

from afar, like big cities.

Admire their beauty

from a distance and avoid

touching their fences.

 

On Saturn I'd be

five kilos less and that's what

matters more in this

floating universe where not

a thing weighs more than I.

 

 

Family Gatherings

 

All children wanted to be men

and no one cared to pick

homegrown rosemary and dill

for the women in the kitchen.

 

The boys came in pairs to steal

little cheese pies, then went on

with their precious outdoor life

of playing football and riding bikes.

 

The girls feared nothing more

than becoming their mothers

with lives spent over lemons

and eggs in hot fish soups.

 

We didn’t know then that kitchens

held so many secrets, far more

steaming than backyard politics.

Women have been always winning.

 

 

Breathe

 

The crashing density  the stuffy thoughts

Of asthmatic lungs      gulping

The fake air               with greed

Everyone is trying

To grasp                   what they can

An old woman's         out of luck

Girlish games

Tired pigtails             unwashed

Nicotine and coffee    but

Without infatuation

The earth is flat         just

Give me oxygen

 

 

I'll Play it Cool

 

Every time

you want to hurt me

you twist your tongue

to warm it up

before it hits me

with whip-like speed.

 

I was never fast

with words and now

your gun of a finger

is pointing at me.

I will remain silent.

You cannot win.

 

The Duck Painting

 

It’s hard to tell if it is monochrome

or just faded into a pale delft blue

and why it's hanging in the living room

in this furnished simulation of some

home. I’ll change it – a lasting addition

in the long list of intentions. I start

counting the ducks but get distracted

by the frame. Gold and metallic and

more eighties than my mother. She

had one that looked the same. So,

there’s a faint reminder of who I am.

You find strange ways to connect

when life is condensed to a trolley bag.

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

Published in news

poetry issues #20

Wednesday, 07 November 2018 00:00

Enjoy the November-December issue!

 

 

Psychographics

 

Some days felt like prose

in a sloppy, ambitious mind,

striving to be written but

unable to attain

comprehensive form.

 

Trudging through the quagmire

of censorship the days dreamt

of the day they’d flow like verse

unconcerned with technique,

never intended to be performed.

 

But language and reason stood

as one immovable rock, blocking

intuition and broader definitions.

Those days became ink dissolved

in stale waters drunk by mosquitos.

 

 

The Feather

 

Not from a chaste, white dove

but factory born, with no potential

to reach the sky. Promiscuous and orange

descended from a flamboyant boa, full

of silky plastic charm. Forever reeking

of cigarillos and patchouli, unperfect

and only fit for falling, first right

then left and back in a slow diagonal

dance of false aerodynamics rectified

by gravity’s unfaltering axis.

 

 

Coming Home

 

Everything has to end

where it started from.

That’s why I always return

to the scene of our calm crimes

tracing back long lines of sin

filling out logs with updates

on the metastases and spread

of guilt. Everything has to end

where it started from and I’d sworn

there wouldn’t be a doorstep

I would stand on twice

when knocking would be dropping

my arms in unwise surrender.

But how tempting it feels to unburden!

 

 

Fake Fighters

 

We thought it would be the last fine day.

We stayed outside and took it all in.

The sun, the breeze, the smell of green.

 

When more gleaming mornings came

we stayed in, restricted by circumstance

or obligation. We let out sighs of relief  

 

when the land finally gave in to the cold.

Even happiness had gotten tiring.

 

 

Icarus in the Atlantic

                      *for Ger Lataster

 

The reverent viewers debated in whispers

whether light could be mastered

in dark times, obscenely reflected as it were

on a pearl earring, forcing them to admit

the relevance of beauty in the ugly,

cranky world. They went on from wall to wall

undeterred by the overload of masters

of the Golden Age, all of them demanding

a bow. A boy of five, with no taste for detail

and no appreciation at all for human effort

pointed at the ceiling and chose

the abstraction of the working man

and the strawberry jam before he ran

straight to the windows past the Rembrandts

and their servants, unabashedly showing

preference for the frames of moving life.

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

Published in news

poetry issues #19

Wednesday, 05 September 2018 19:05

The September-October issue should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Enjoy.

 

 

Cooking

 

Over a boiling pot

we wait for small epiphanies

bemused by the stillness

of the branches outside.

Do our black cats make us

witches? Shall we burn?

The Inquisition says we shall.




The Weather

 

Sure, let’s talk about the weather

like our lives depend upon it

like our crops will fail

and famine will hit

our fatty brains.

Relieved that it won’t rain

we’ll go for a walk

step on our horseshit

and still come home miserable.

Better stay inside, watch a movie.




110/116

 

Between birthday parties

and treasure hunts

I have to explain

why I made him and

affirm I’ll still love him

after I die.

 

I’d never thought

I'd give myself up

but here we are

swearing by Jedi honor,

shovelling sand in ecstasy.

 

Nothing much in it

but abundant poetry.




Seaside Resort

 

Don’t scorn the floral patterns

and the doughnut-shaped waists

nor the high-pitched laughter

and the fuzzy stares.

 

Footsteps echo louder

at the end of August

and pining mixes with the smell

of fresher fish and ice-cream cones.




Grandpa

 

Old bones assembled by magic.

Nothing else seems to hold.

We all scolded him for lying

but he was the conqueror

of the seven seas

in my five-year-old mind.

 

He instilled in me two shipwrecks

an abstract love for Argentina

and going rogue under fake names

in the US in the 50’s.

 

The giant is folding in his seat:

An overripe camellia flower

that forgot to fall apart.

 

 

 

[You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

Published in news

poetry issues #18

Saturday, 19 May 2018 17:49

 

The May - June issue is out! Here you go:

 

 

American Football

 

Back and forth.

Circles disguised

in straight go routes.

Until you get things

right

things get you.

Until routes go straight

in disguised circles,

forth and back.

 

 

 

In Red

 

Those toes in the shower

I’m looking down to

belong to a Lynchian heroine.

 

They say depersonalization

results from violence

and I ponder over the form.

 

Do not knock, just enter.

Privacy is a luxury

only spoiling a good plot.

 

 

 

Alekaki

 

My friend likes the number eight.

It completes her broken parts

and promises the unity of one.

 

You will find her crouching

among quitting and lighting it up

on a white pile of unironed roles.

 

She’s the colour blue, as found

in nature: A wondrous reflection

of elusive light. A life of words.

 

 

 

Ode to Nothing

 

As a child I thought

I controlled the wind. Perhaps

the wind controls me.

 

Before great sorrow

the air stands still. I know then

something is coming.

 

Dry petals falling

like snow. Who’d have thought death would

be so beautiful.

 

 

 

Unhealthy are

 

Your stress relief habits

and the junk you eat.

How the world treats you

and what you think of it.

The screens you watch

and the dust you breathe.

 

But tomatoes won’t

save you from cancer.

Treating the symptom is

not the answer.
Wars will not be prevented

by treaties. And nobody likes kiwis.

 

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

 

 

Published in news

poetry issues #17

Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:13

The 17th issue is out, comprising a mix of formal and free verse. Read it here, and/or request a hardcopy, if you can't find one near you (which is most probably the case, except if you're in one of the common distribution areas or extremely lucky).

 

 

Impossible Grammar

 

I strive to tear down

the importance of the object

to the subject.

 

To breach meaning

I need the connectors to quit

their chatter.

 

The gerund at the end

forces me to think of action

as consequence.

 

Go, went, gone.

Paper skin, I will write on you

your conjugation.

 

 

 

Undecided

 

I was so fond of leaving

but then the crocuses bloomed

so I decided upon staying.

 

We just keep on astraying

when our conditions are poor

and I was so fond of leaving.

 

Then I thought that trying

was the grown-up thing to do

so I decided upon staying.

 

Seduced by the bird-singing

I had no choice but to stay put.

And I was so fond of leaving.

 

But the seasons are turning

and winter has a point to prove

to the one so fond of leaving

who decided upon staying.

 

 

 

Maturity Reversed

 

You’ve seen it in old westerns

how men in pain grind their teeth

in urgent operations in the desert.

That’s what it takes to beat the need.

 

Like a magpie desiring what shines

I habitually take dives in greed.

Indulging in you, who make me smile

I forget what it takes to beat the need.

 

Although I’ve dealt with most temptation

and have dared to declare myself free

in your presence I lose my persuasion

and don’t know how to beat this need.

 

 

 

Parents

 

Logs drifting down the

river, pretending to be

rooted, green-leafed trees.

 

And I

confused

by the false paradigm

 

I’m swimming

against the current

of my own disposition

hoping that

one day it will turn.

 

Can the fish ever change

the course of the sea?

Can the log ever grow

new rhizome or fresh leaves?

 

 
 

Birth

 

It's remarkable how life keeps on

creating life with irrational optimism

feeding on the throw-up of emotion.

 

Even as mere victims of darwinism

we still bridge what we aspired to be

and reality. Survival lies in surrealism.

 

The cat is licking her newborn lightly.

Her tongue a cloud flirting with the surface

of a velvet mountain of oblivious joy.

 

At times a long caress will suffice.

First you feel. Then you open your eyes.

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

Published in news

poetry issues #1-12

Sunday, 28 January 2018 00:00

Poetry Issues #1-12 is a compilation of the issues #1-12 of the Poetry Issues project. You will find all available information about the project here

and you can download the e-book here: Poetry Issues 1-12.

Published in verse

Exhibition!

Monday, 15 January 2018 00:00

If you happen to be in Leiden from 15 January to 22 February and you are interested in poetry, drop by BplusC, Nieuwstraat 4. The library's theme this month is poetry and there's an exhibition running in its spaces.

I'm happy to report that Poetry Issues has a display case of its own, thanks to Alida van Leeuwen, who noticed and invited my work to the library.

 

Published in news

poetry issues #16

Sunday, 14 January 2018 13:12

Poetry Issues #16, out now!

 

In Rhythm

Unsalted roasted
almonds chewed in half the pace
I walk up and down
always rehearsing the who
told what with which intention.

No matter how much
love you invest in four walls
they always remain
the unmoved victims of their
objective definition.

Up and down on a
herringbone wood floor. Chewing
unsalted roasted
almonds on the double. Who
told what and for what reason.

 

 

Prosperity

In between abysmal hollows
her golden teeth would glow
competing with the hearth
that fought the winter.
 
The fat rooster on her lap
twitched and still bled
as if alive, at each plucking
of a feather.

She had no reason not to laugh
with two gold teeth, a crackling
hearth and a fat chicken
for blessed supper.

 

 

Supermarket Dystopia

I can't tell if it’s going to be in California
and I doubt it that it matters

but you will be walking alone
along the great aisles

with a blinking laser gun
scanning products and people alike.

It’s among the frozen peas and spinach
that you’ll find the best green.

 

On the Wall

They co-existed, the darkness and the light.
And a fine defining line set the question
of together or apart. Relationships
were never meant to be like that, devoid
of shades, trapped in awkward shapes
with twisting edges. Most legends adorn
the shadows with bright stars to be
followed and adored while treading in
the mud of an unforgiving world. Back on
my wall, a show of open ends, attempting
to quickly stitch the cracks while the lights
still burn outside, just before they leave us
in the dark, without shades or decisive lines
foreshadowing the rise of our regrets.

 

The World

I asked how come there were no windows
and the voice said there was no point.
Behind those walls there were more walls
and who would care about bricks on bricks.
I meant to ask about the light coming in.
 
The house felt decreasingly like home
and I sold pewter charms for charcoal
to keep my hopes comfortably warm
by drawing rough gardens with trees
and doors with locks that I could pick.

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

 

Published in news

poetry issues #15

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 19:08

 

Since the previous issue was all free verse, there's a fair share of formality in this one: "Retribution" is a pantoum (which happens to be one of my favorite forms), "Northern Beach in Bref Double" a bref double of course, and "Coming at the Florist" a golden shovel. Poetry Issues #15, out today:

 

Retribution

 

Memory should not be exercised.

Like a packet of quit smokes

it better remain undisturbed

in a locked box in the closet.

 

Like a packet of quit smokes

I hide your grayscale picture

in a locked box in the closet

in all-encompassing silence.

 

I hide your grayscale picture

mummified and fossilised

in all-encompassing silence

like an angry ancient god.

 

Mummified and fossilised

you better remain undisturbed

like an angry ancient god.

Memory should not be exercised.

 

 

 

Northern Beach in Bref Double

 

They arrived at the haven of bronze sun gods

and said: “We want five ships of fine sand.”

The pale seafarers got nasty sunburns but

were back home in time for the Indian summer.

 

They strewed it wavy, golden and silvery and

the children combed it by hand for better shells.

Even the fish came out of the sea to check it

when the workers headed home for hot supper.

 

Once, a lion’s mane jellyfish fell for a seagull

who was cruising the shore for leftovers at

a crowded spot. Before she died dehydrated

they both agreed the sea was their mother.

 

The children relished at the beast’s bad end

but a sudden limp burdened the seagull’s strut.



 

B Sides

 

Inside red apples fat worms inside the letterbox

a rageful cat inside dreams spiraling labyrinths

inside a struggling dignity marginalization inside

a deep-chest scream confinement inside unvarnished

sentences run-down desires inside the doll another

doll inside delusion the need to escape inside.

 

 

 

Sociology or That’s How You Rule the World

 

Your affordances will be reduced to one

as ecology will variate between

plastic A and concrete B.

 

As long as you let them engage with

stable fables peasants will trust

that one day they’ll be kings.

 

Turn sacred symbols into commodities

rob the fruits of their juicy essence

but give the natives beads.

 

 

 

Coming at the Florist

 

The iron door was left open by nobody

and the black cat assured me it had not

been her. Had I sniffed in the shop even

the slightest trace of evening rose, the

doubts would’ve dispersed. With such rain

it was hard to tell. But only my woman has

this sweet marmite blood that shoots such

piercing scents of love through the small

pores of her sweaty, rosy, cosy hands.

 

 

 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]

 

 

Published in news

poetry issues #12

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 12:15

This twelfth issue, whose distribution started today, completes the first cycle of Poetry Issues. It has been a full year of poetic expression and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did. From now on the publication will become bimonthly, in order to dedicate some time to other works.

You can read this issue below:

 

 

April’s Fool

 

It’s a joke, all this rain,

and I’m reminded

only by date that this

is the advent of spring.

And I envy the trees.

They seem to possess

the right time for everything:

Like clockwork they go

through winters and springs

accepting, always in majesty,

each turn of season that I

try, strong-headed and vain,

to manipulate and command.

You refused to hold my hand.




Life Without Temptation

 

I didn’t die nor resurrect

at the age of thirty three.

I’ve lost my chance.

And now I watch myself

mature to death –

an unappealing apple

without an Eve’s hand

to save me from counting

how many meters

before I hit the ground.




Afterwards

 

Pestered as they were by what happens next

they left their sentences undone, hanging

annoying as fruit flies, unsure of their direction

overwhelmed by the vast possibilities ahead.

But once, fueled by a whole night’s drinks

they raced into the pink-gold dawn that painted

all their hopes anew. That’s when they learned

that language is redundant when your soul

is smooth and it’s not only youth that burns with instinct.




Letter

 

I don’t have to tell you

that we are not what we seem.

You know it better than I do.

 

Your chatoyant eyes reflect some

passion you dismiss. I have proof

in the shivers I get when you come

 

to have a coffee under my roof

and rehearse your staged words.

Still, I hear nothing but the truth.

 

It must be an augmented chord,

what tunes us in each other.

Life before you was a chore.

 

I’m a moth heading to the lantern

for what is love but death, dear lover?




In Therapy

 

Most days I don’t remember my dreams.

It’s just that I often wake up with a sigh.

 

I’m quite hard and detest looking back.

Cicadas and lilac skies don’t amuse me.

 

In my youth I grieved imaginary deaths

far as I was from the need of an afterlife.

 

I found purpose in the half-time. I was

meant to be the eye of the universe.

 

 

 

[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

Published in news
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