WALKING ON WATER: by Cynthia Jobin

the cold comes downward
clutching at zero and below
hardening the river’s edge
to shims and milky floe

carrying the omen of
the last loon’s tremolo

now the rapid river run
must deepen with the chill
grow slower downward
as the alewife also will

under her darkened ceiling
keeping vigilantly still

her ceiling has become
this shining gelid floor
where legged creatures may
step out to gingerly explore

shuffle foot by foot
toward the other shore

take my hand I hear
on a downfloating feather
and cross now safely
on my ethereal tether

should we slip-fall-drown
we will go down together.

©Cynthia Jobin, 2015

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More of Cynthia Jobin’s poetry can be enjoyed at her blog HERE.

Mulberry Juice: by anonymous 20th century poet

I stop by Gebos for a pail
full of memories
of purple-tart mulberries and of childhood gone. My keys plink
into the bucket
recalling one early morning mulberry picking with
Ingalls-inspired calico bonnet and battered tin pail. Pail empty. Urban,
pesticide-laced mulberries stain
my lips. You pass by. I acknowledge you
with a polite “hello” though
your weathered, unwashed, thread-worn countenance leaves me queasy
inside. Low hanging berries depleted, I make my way
down below the ravaged train trestle, singing, pail swinging
as I go. Thorned-vine creepers grab at my sleeves and brittle twigs snap
under my feet, as I skip between shadows
cast like a child’s broken xylophone. Violet light
penetrates under-path overgrown, and there
you are,
beneath the eye of God, blue-red
engorged and petting. Pail slips
from my mulberry-stained fingers, as I rise to raging ten-year-old
height, hands on hips. “You mother fucking bastard! You had better
get the hell out of here.” Bravado fails
me, and I run, eyes stunned- blind, bonnet flailing, braids flying, leaving battered pail behind.

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To hear more poems by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.
To read more poetry by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.

NETO: by Octavio Solis

I have a brother who died before he reached his first birthday. I think I ran into him at the airport. I’m waiting this one afternoon for a flight at DFW that keeps getting delayed every hour. I sit and put on my earbuds and listen to a random selection of Electronica, Jazz and shit. There’s a point where the tunes in your head synchronize with eye focus and everything drops into a general blur. I zone out like that for a minute when I see him sitting across from me. My brother. I know it’s him because he looks like me, only a year younger. Less grey in his hair, fewer wrinkles around the mouth. Sleepy self-assured eyes. A face that don’t give a shit. I never really liked the phrase “comfortable in his skin” because I’ve never been comfortable in mine. But he is, the way he sits, the way his work boots sprawl toward me. I have my sunglasses on, which is how I size him up without him knowing.

 

I notice a silver cross around his neck, the kind that is both tribal and religious. There are four or five tiny black tats on his hands, and though I can’t see it under his clothes, I suspect he wears the Guadalupe Virgin over his heart. I can tell by the gentle curl of his lips that they’re more accustomed to speaking Spanish than English. He has his own invisible music playing in his head and judging by the cadence in his nod, I guess it’s the boleros of my Mom’s old records. He is all the Mexican I have tried to be but can’t.

 

Then in that languorous haze I see into his heavy-lidded eyes and his essential nature lays itself bare. I’m a Sunday man, he says inside, I kneel when the Father says to. I love my women, I sin against them and never apologize for it, except by loving them more. I know all the ways of loneliness, and all the ways to avoid it. I’m a nightbird, my eyes attuned to the nuances of darkness, and it’s in that place I hide my saddest dreams, my delirious vices. Pain is grace. I don’t know how not to do something, only that not doing it brings more regret than I can bear. Trouble’s bitten me so many times, it’s left black marks on my hands, marks that commemorate loss and love and maybe an unborn child or two. I’ve seen death more than most, so count on me to be present at your last breath. That’s how our blood must have it. I am lived-in, a lived-in man. Your brother.

 

He cuts me a single glance that lasts as long as it takes to say his name, and his look says, ‘cause I’m dead, I got permission to fuck my life up and still outlive you. A woman’s voice says something over the intercom and he gets up and walks to his gate. And I get up and walk to mine.

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copyright 2015 Octavio Solis

to find more poetry by Octavio Solis, click HERE.

lifestyles of the impoverished and obscure: by chris fillebrown

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he pulled the bridge over his shoulder
like a blanket
and curled up against the wind

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copyright 2015
all rights reserved

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Find this poem along with fiction by Chris Fillebrown at his website, Frame of Reference 

Listen to readings of Chris Fillebrown’s poetry on this website HERE.

VUE D’UN PONT: by Gilles-Marie Chenot

VUE D’UN PONT

Pointée vers l’infini
Ouverte sur le néant
Tiens on dirait la Vie
Doit-on trouver cela surprenant

« la Vie est un pont soyez passants »
a dit un homme de l’ancien temps
rien n’est figé tout est mouvant
un seul point unique est permanent

dans les ténèbres et l’obscurité
le chemin est toujours balisé
nul moyen de s’en échapper
le plus tôt possible est recommandé

prendre la route ne demande rien
que de laisser tomber ces espoirs vains
on trouve le péage exorbitant
alors qu’il ne coûte pas un franc

dans le Népal on trouve aussi
d’autres cimes de cet acabit
elles sont néanmoins beaucoup plus abordables
et terriblement moins redoutables

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VIEW OF A BRIDGE

Pointing towards infinity
Open to oblivion
Holding to what seems like Life
Must one find it surprising

“Life is a bridge, be as those who pass by”
said a man from another time
nothing is fixed everything is shifting
only a single point is permanent

in the shadows and obscurity
the path is ever signed
no possible exit
as early as possible is recommended

taking the road asks nothing
other than letting fall vain hopes
one finds the tolls exorbitant
while it doesn’t cost a dime

in Nepal one also finds
other summits of this kind
nonetheless they’re far more accessible
and awefully less formidable

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To read more work by GMC, click HERE.
To find other poems by GMC on this blog click HERE.

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*Editor’s Note: I was looking forward to the exchange of ‘jeux des mots’ with Gilles-Marie that we’ve always had when I work with his poems. I was worried that he did not answer my mail though he had mentioned having trouble with his computer early this last summer. While searching for an alternative way to contact him I was heartbroken to find his obituary in La Voix du Nord. His pointed, poetic comments and his generous spirit will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him.

Au Cimetière du Père-Lachaise: by John Looker

It’s not for the grave of Oscar Wilde we’ve come,

nor Chopin or Marcel Proust, though many do –

as if a photo of oneself against the tomb,

grinning, would give their works the honour due.

Turning our backs on this we have a view

right across Paris from up here on this ridge:

morning shines on the Seine and on the roofs

and life rushes on, just water under a bridge.

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Enjoy more poetry by John Looker on his blog HERE

John has also recently published an excellent collection of poetry entitled: “The Human Hive” with Bennison Books

50 rue des Francs-Bourgeois: by Liliane Richman

Mr. Soulié made pommes frites twice a day

in a kitchen full of books that overtook his flat

gathered on tables shelves and dressers

on fine furniture with pearly inlay

My brother was friendly with the literary gentleman

who confided he’d written a famous book

for a well-known West African writer

Then adopted a son

Kelefa Keita who came from Conakry Guinea

with a whole collection of African art

masks and gourds and staffs and wooden sculptures

ornate with bone and shells

You need to clean these things they give you asthma

all that dust old books yellowed paper remonstrated

my unimpressed mother who rang his bell

for conversation on her way up to our flat

But Monsieur Soulié laughed wide mouthed and ah ah  ah

until he choked three full minutes and laboriously began

breathing again while my mother fretted – Didn’t I tell you? –

And then he  recovered and began ah ah ah again

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To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

Aleppo Galls or The Theater Way: by Bonnie McClellan

 

Some mornings when I go walking,
on my promenade sauvage,
you are my mind’s companion.
Not today, à cause de la pluie;
It was Monday that we walked together.
I said to you,
nothing of any real importance.

I pointed out a pleasing branch,
winter-bare, cracking the sky’s solid blue
into angular panes.
All the while, the curious eye of a downy woodpecker
peered at us across the top of a telephone pole.

(“Amazing that telephone poles still are,” I say.
you nod agreeably, watching the bird away.)

Houseman goes jogging by;
In my mind’s eye
he turns his head across his shoulder and
back to us in lovely iambs shouts:
“Loveliest of trees the cherry now…”

(steam rising from his mouth into the frigid air.)
I look down;

Lady Murasaki is at my elbow,
kimonos layered seventeen deep.
At her neck and sleeve
a pulsing chromatic order
from bamboo’s winter gold to white,
honors the season with
the echo of its colours.
She raises not her eyes to me.
I glimpse the iron black
of her eleventh century teeth
as she murmurs,
“Golden bamboo sighs
beneath winter’s white weight.”
Recalling to me Friday’s now absent snow.

(Matter never lost, transformed to water.)

She takes her cordial, silent leave
of me, still standing on the bridge.

I press deep-coated ribcage
against the galvanized steel
that keeps us seekers
on the middle path.
Now it holds me from falling to the street below,
leaning out to show you the galls
among my favorite live-oak’s leaves.

(you have turned from whatever personal curiosity held you back while Murasaki and I had our tête-à-tête.)

I tell you: in a housewife’s notebook
that comes to pieces in my hands, I have found
(along with a laudanum label from 1832,
instructions for concocting
A Paste for Cleaning Gloves,
Court Plaster, and
Essence for the Handkerchief,)
her recipe for SOLID INK.
It requires 42 parts Aleppo Galls to
3 parts Dutch Madder.

“Would this work,” I ask
“if we soaked live-oak galls in vinegar
and warm water?”

What could be drawn with such an ink,
bitter recriminations?
rancorous, impudent washes?
We laugh together at this unlikely experiment,
After all, the galls rest too far off the path to reach.

I leave you to work that out, bridge-bound.
Maybe you will have an answer for us tomorrow.

“A Demain.”
I smile to you and,
hands pocketed in the cold,
amble towards home.

THE ARKANSAS: by Lee Elsesser

The written poem has disappeared. To hear Lee’s reading of this poem, click the arrow on the player below:

To hear readings of more poetry by Lee Elsesser, click HERE.

Water Under the Bridge: IPM 2015 is open for Submissions

IPM 2015 - Water Under The Bridge

Jump right in, the water is full of poetry…

Splash! Throw the poems out with the bath water and see what you can fish up; IPM 2015 is open for submissions. I’m late with posting the call for submissions because I’ve been immersed in reading Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames a series of entrancing social and political observations of turn of the century Paris and the rise of the department store in the guise of a romance novel. His mesmerizing descriptions of the ‘new’ architecture captures the theme of this year’s IPM perfectly:

“The iron staircases developed bold curves, multiplying the landings; the iron bridges suspended in space, ran straight along, very high up; and all this iron formed, beneath the white light of the windows, an excessively light architecture, a complicated lace-work through which the daylight penetrated, the modern realisation of a dreamed-of palace, of a Babel-like heaping up of the storeys, enlarging the rooms, opening up glimpses on to other floors and into other rooms without end.”

It’s all water under the bridge

Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin.

Find the submission guidelines and info about IPM HERE.