You've been laid up in hospital wards sickening for the wage-prompted smiles or genuine care of nurses, Nigerian or Filipino, you belong here sometimes. Sometimes you belong and the strip-lighting no longer reminds you of the naked skies, the sun. Sometimes you burn your skin knowing only barricades, no less a borderline between the space without, the space within. Sometimes the footsteps and the callings are monastic echoes, sometimes an aerial in a lightning storm might be liberating. Sometimes from the font of a bucket detergent is swept cursive on the floors; you can will its smell to lavender and the colour of the walls doesn't matter anymore for in the end everything is either white or invisible.
Roadrunner & Coyote
Then the day comes it no longer makes us sad looking back, remarking upon the covered ground, that we just ran, called ourselves cosmopolites ignorant of the terror of our tourisms the protean fantasy Alice and the Red Queen, perhaps, or Roadrunner and Coyote.
History in the Phosphors
You always wore black, I observed, four years of passing you in corridors on checkered floors, sometimes I'd want to say Hello, but I never knew you. You'd always fade.
Then I came to be with you
shivering by the Thames wanting bodies at room temperature listening to waves, calm echoes of the embryo, or sharing ice creams of cookie-dough and cinnamon - the obsidian beyond your innocence the horizontal cries for help faded now                  along your wrist.
Why are you scared? What do you fear? Why and from whom do you run in your dreams into the safety of the otaku world?
You couldn't answer. You spoke as a neonatal lamb would walk and not really needing to speak at all
for your dark clothes were language, whispers chosen from a wardrobe.
And by black light you radiated
history                          in the phosphors.
The Story So Far…
I've heard Spanish mumbles between motel walls, I've heard drains pretend to be Koi ponds, I've read the time from a Seiko diamond watch, and had a pony bite my hand. I've had the pleonasm of an A4 page and shrunk my feelings into SMS, I've felt lonely and I've felt fulfilled, felt naked and camouflaged. I've had the headache of halcyon streets, swam fully clothed in Kentish lakes, worshipped at the Other Temple, have witnessed my hairline recede like a religious faith, I have lived beyond my means, longed for meaning beyond this life, I've flashbacks to a strobelight flickering in binary of blue and black had the comedown of two a.m. ambient tunes feeling loved-up, befriended, and somehow lost. I've felt fear before a long haul flight; I've known what it's like to want to hold that person who will never requite. I've missed opportunities, kicked myself. I've tasted chicken Malaya, talked football, laughed, promised "we must do this again".
And never did.
James Garry: My name is James Garry, 25, from London. I am a psychology graduate and I currently work in a library. I especially admire the poetry of Derek Walcott and Hugo Williams.
Wish Fulfilment or Lament For The Rut In Male Fashion
In clock-back stardust                          they pant. A lion's share of peacocks?
Windscheffel And Stride's Day Out
Tender-conscienced ones from Graybine Hospital's storms bounce into Summerly's Snax.
There's rifts today. You have untingled the world through lithium, straggled, wished for filtered tea.
A moderato's timbrelling (or a pomegranate wriggling at the ear). Ah sound!
Windows In The Chelsea
a darker sun sets in the heart than any that lit The Chelsea Hotel
I'm crying for Mama I'm crying for Adonis
tears, alphabets of tears heavier than overdosing on kosmic H-bomb blues
where cheap blades hide under velvet undergrounds and sleep sharpens killer TVs slickered like electric Barbara Cartlands uncrownable Gorgons of the uncounted hour
someone cries for Mama someone cries for Adonis
drugstreams in blood dance bluesing through veins
islands of death, de-tox and shells corroding rocks, fragmenting lies and the S & M libido monkey out of its tree a brain with instincts juices and smells vomited out riding a shaking-bellied Horse smelling of southern race riots
no-one's idea of comfort cowering beneath the naked bulb
before he was her his wife was whale-buttocked sandwiched like a great Lynda-burger between settee and plasti-grass
mayonnaised in all the domesticity of a flannelette dressing-gown they used to even talk
over zoology and the diets of bats a cherry-menthol roll-up smouldered in between gulps of comfort and an off-white frown
sometimes she stood up zipped his sexuality up to the eye and hooked together their stays
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
The evening has a thousand pieces and we and the songs on the radio are just some of them. I unbutton his indulgent shirt, submit a hand, fasten on the left nipple. Hum the familiar refrain. We twist with the lingering purr of music.
An hour is a number of heartbeats, full motion from the car's heater, a number of glances. Being gay, he is tremulous to prove his devotion openly, the clatter of jackboots always expected…above the guitar.
Christopher Barnes: in 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
I have also got a BBC webpage http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay/2004/section28.shtml
You rest imprisoned above the Pacific's obeisance, green and white, frigid, slavering over the rocks at the tower's foot. You can see whales from here, says another patient. Your mother denounces this lie. You lie still in your cot, bag of books and clothes untouched, head and jaw aching from the twenty-fourth current to stream through your blackened brain.
Deaths and flawed resurrections mark off the days. Some darkness bars your way back, blotting out the memory of the night sky and the cold, salt-laden air. Your soul lingers in restraints. Trays pass; you choke over them. You trace patterns on the yellowed wall, cringe from the spitting scream of your inner Stalin.
You want to lead a normal life. People say, with a certain facile philosophy, "Well, what is normal, really?" Not this ache, these walls, the ocean with its harvested whales seen through shatterproof glass. You want to slip between flesh-and-bone bars. You want to hold a knife without longing to cut your throat; You want hunger, desire, to want at all.
Her mood swelters, oppresses but does not break. Hours ago she slung the worn bedclothes to the floor. His face is flushed. Sweat trickles between his shoulder blades gathers at the small of his back his briefs are unpleasantly damp there. The waistband strangles his bowels which clench a warning. She drifts from the bedroom but then just crouches actually crouches by the window not at all like a bird like a mad naked scrawny woman hair knotted with curses gaze fixed on the closed blinds. She rests her chin on her knees. He feels her hating the blinds. The walls themselves glow with rage disappointment. As the sun sets he watches thin bands of light slide across her cheek.
Three West: A Psalm
You forced the bud. Yellow stamen-dust gilds your fingers. I, decked in purple long to fall.
Your gifts and thefts alike are arbitrary. You have gathered to yourself all that is good fruit-heavy and sun-warm and I -
Steal my spirit, thief. My tears are warm on my warm cheeks as I pray to be taken here as I lie.
Jennifer Thompson: I received my Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Irvine, and am currently an assistant professor of humanities at Embry-Riddle University, where I teach creative writing, Holocaust studies, and world literature. I was diagnosed manic-depressive in 1997, and the attached poems represent some of my attempts to come to grips with the disease.
The sands of Mecca shape a rose. The horny unicorn climbs a tree. They drowned her and carried her away. But he clasped the rose tree in his right hand. The Caliph awaits his suitors. There is no such rank or title. The moon tips the cypress of proposal our way. Who calls himself a prince has hunted down The violinated commandments of the rose. Seek him our with scimitar-shaped thorns. A pearl to every guard who fishes on the air. Through a tigers' tunnel there's a key to seventh heaven. The rose persists. Turned lilly-white or carnation-red. Build me an army inside your walls by casting your clothes aside. At the Cavern of Enchanted Trees The Valley of Fire sends out smoke signals On the flying carpet of your tongue An old man of midnight sees. At the Abode of the Winged Horse You can dry off from your fight with that undersea dragon. If you feed a magic apple to a fisherman, he'll sprout roses. At the Citadel of the Moon, We all have but one moment to live. Out of the clouds comes the courier of the dawn.
-Written while watching The Thief of Bagdad, 1924. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
Woman Without Camelias Breathes
If your life is a circus When is the elephant ballet?
Don't write this line again. It's already in front of your eyes.
Stars eat their lights out For the night.
This poem doesn't end here Whether you like it or not.
The line endings are on strike. You'll have to invent your own Enjambments before arrival.
The poem is a young, male lover, Neither your mistress nor your wife.
This poem is obsessed. It's author has taken a vacation.
The poem wants you To make up it's mind.
This poem's double Refuses to be reborn.
The content insists on A divorce from its form. Can you oblige, quickly?
The ink and paper are here. Just sign them, please.
Tom Savage: I've had eight books published and appeared in many magazines. Ten years ago, while recovering from brain surgery, I committed myself briefly to a mental ward while suffering from involuntary hallucinations partly under the influence of a medication called serzone and partly due to the surgery aftereffects. My poetry has appeared in the New York Times, Hanging Loose, TheWorld, and many other places.
At times, I dream myself besieged. I rebel with the cunning of the weak. I walk the shortcuts. Tormentors clad in blood-soaked black, salute as I manipulate them into realizing their abyss. Some weep their sockets hollow, or waive their thorns. Much pain negotiated. A trading of the wounds. My chains carve metal and I am branded.
The Miracle of the Kisses
That night, the cock denied him thrice. His mother and the whore downloaded him, nails etched into his palms, his thorny forehead glistening, his body speared. He wanted to revive unto their moisture. But the nauseating scents of vinegar and Roman legionnaires, the dampness of the cave, and then that final stone... His brain wide open, supper digested that was to have been his last. He missed so his disciples, the miracle of their kisses. He was determined not to decompose.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101.
Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
Ignoring the calendar, spring floats into Virginia. Tiny fingers of chlorophyll tickle prehensile lips.
Dandelions wink back at the rising sun, and the first wisps of pollen float atop the pond before dithered shadows creep over the fields, and the first thunderclap of spring sets the horses loping across their field.
The tarnished sky begins to hammer, the raised seam roof of my barn. and the chartreuse branches of a weeping willow sway.
Pachelbel's Canon: the spirant sound of a return to Chickahominy.
Blasts from winter's fowling pieces still echo in my mind as March flies in on the backs of Great Blue herons. They scrutinize potential nesting spots.
On an unseen cue, they settle above the gargling streams where a whistle pig stands on a gnarled cypress knee blowing his frustration at an impenetrable 20-gauge field fence.
Dave Ruslander lives in rural Virginia where true to the quasi-accurate-sweeping-generalization that southerners are slow, he didn't get around to writing until he was fifty. Since then he's learned to mangle language through poetry, short stories, and one novel. His work has been published in: Poetry SZ, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Green Tricycle, Cenotaph Pocket Edition, Retrozine, Womensbeat, MiPo, Melic Review, and many other fine print and digital publications.
nothing but teeth                                  claws wolverine hunger everything sharp edges everything nails                                  broken glass spikesrazor cutsneedles knifes & daggersforks jagged rocks everybody gets                                  chewed or cut
S. Simpkins: I'm a 56 year old recovered drunk who writes poetry. I grew up in L.A. then lived (and sobered up) in Hollywood. I also suffer from depression for which I take Zoloft. While the Zoloft has helped, I still wind up visiting those bleak barren landscapes that constitute depression. My major influences have been Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski.
Sitting here at 4 o'clock in the morning under a mangrove tree hung with stars and insomniac birds, I surrender to light in spite of the early hour, bargained into shape again.
You are not here, you unnameable one, but it is not a loss - barbed-wire passions have never excited me too much.
But the pitted moon - what a beauty! I could fall in love with it like Li Po, hug it,
then feel the compelling kiss of the earth and discover the working of things, their dour splendour.
I could make earth my womb and untie poems like birthday presents.
You are not here. It's not a loss.
Maria Claudia Faverio: I am an Australian poet who lives 80 km south of Sydney. I have just published my second poetry book. I also publish in the journals of the societies I am a member of. Poetry for me is a means of_expression, it helps me to express what I feel inside. I also write fairy tales and puzzles, I paint, play and compose music.