osp3

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot

“I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still”
Sylvia Plath

From 1 January until 28 February 2022, we feature our third open submissions window. Submission is free, and selected poems are published as text, and as an audio recording if one is submitted.

Details of our third Open Submissions Window are here.

Thank you to all who have submitted so far.

Beau Beausoleil, Jonathan Chibuike Ukah, Marilyn Timms, Michelle Ellard, Mykyta Ryzhykh, Wendy Webbaudio symbol 2audio symbol 2

audio symbol 2 indicates one audio of a poem read by the poet.

Wendy Webb loves nature, wildlife, symmetry and form, light and dark, and the creative spark. Published in Reach, Sarasvati, Quantum Leap, Crystal (and many earlier magazines); recently in Littoral, Lothlorien, Autumn Voices, Wildfire Words. Landscapes (with David Norris-Kay) is on Amazon.
https://www.facebook.com/wmwordsworth/



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Choosing Resolution 2023

Chose a New Year poem
Before disillusionment
arrived like a Tsunami
for my vigorous youthful swim
not self- just, you know, a name,
same age, wrong sex,
more successful.

Chose TV viewing, food and treats,
before sleep-deprivation overwhelmed
like a solitary woman emerging from hell
coated in white dust
-self- an ocean away, while the rich,
the famous told their stories for years.

Chose clothes to wear,
so everyone would see a celebration
to a cacophony of light-sparking hope.
Flags in blue and yellow fade
in a garden expectant
with the joys of Spring,
while sunflowers bury their dead in shame.

Earth chose bright sunshine,
blue skies and wispy clouds of charity
in the West; in England; in blue Norfolk.
Self-counted the dead, the living,
the Covid-compromised,
the Thank You cards.
Opened the door wide, with Resolution,
counting bulbs/fiction/holiday plans/friends.

Swimming to Dye for

I would really like to dye our dying,
make it brighter (different shades of light),
so that it’s easier to consider, reflect, affirm
that I’m not dying anymore.

Because I’m living, and though I don’t want
to live forever… (Do you? Really? The same)
no-one can die their dying, make it vanish
like the Grim Reaper. Pretend. Distract.

Today I am living; who knows how long.
What traces are left behind, to declare life,
then face embarrassment if we’re gone before…
everyone else; or simply, publication?

So I will live my dying daily:
it’s not so morbid really. Are you sure?
I won’t make this dramatic; like a TV drama.
Nor lovable; like Vera.

Simply, my chronology expands to forgetfulness;
or silly numbers; or unverifiable memories.
Yours too? I hope your earliest years were happy;
the body ages, the mind gets youthful every day.

Awareness flushes slowly: remember when…
your first near-death experience (someone else’s).
Inviolable, your belief that you would live forever.
It was about somebody else; someone old.  Probably.

You would never grow old; inconsolable, beyond 30.
Then, you took a little knock. That scythe wavered
far too close for comfort. Devastating. Unlikely.
Perhaps this was life-in-death; and random?

One day you saw the light – that long tunnel –
and no-one around you agreed it could not happen
again. To someone just like you. You grieved,
TV soaps may have helped before. Not now.

You were mortal: because your friend/neighbour/
relative from childhood: had faced the unthinkable.
Empty tears and empty chew-balls.
This life (fighting) in death (theirs), changed you.

*****

Then one day – God forbid – the unthinkable
(like shite) happened. To you.
It was your death; though you were very much
alive. They weren’t. How could you go on?

How quickly everybody forgot:
or simply denied your chance to remember.
Memorialising every future moment, anniversary;
seeking feathers, or candles; or (hellish), music.

One day, someone close faced your mirror.
Really, the same? You learned death-in-death,
for no two grievings could reflect otherness.
Born in a crowd; dying alone.

A mirror-death; nothing they/you could share.
One day you said, ‘I’m too old for funerals.’
They’re the same? Can’t see the point?
Cannot hear the minister? Life is…

For the living. And the living are, always,
leaving their dying. (Theirs and everyone else’s).
Dyeing a shade of light… and a shade is?
Anyone who’s leafed their dying. Finis.

Marilyn Timms is co-editor at wildfire words. She is also a great believer in beginner’s luck. Her first entry to a poetry competition was Success Express and it won her a Caribbean holiday for two. More on Marilyn’s bio

“Chang’an Boulevard, 1986” gives a voice to the iconic photograph of an unknown youth, halting a line of tanks after the Tianenmen Square massacre. News reporter Kate Adie’s words are taken from the BBC archives.

Chang’an Boulevard, 1986

“This is Kate Adie, for BBC News, Tiananmen Square, Peking …”

Blossoms tangle your hair, Fei Yen.
I tease one free and put it in my wallet.
First contact, new beginnings
innocence of youth
spontaneous laughter.
Can you hear it, Miss Adie?

“… A pro-democracy peace protest in Tiananmen Square
drew 1.2 million supporters. With no real police presence
and an almost free press, the atmosphere was jubilant …”

I love you, Fei Yen, little-flying-swallow-bird
so aptly named, swooping into my life
little frightened thing
nesting in my arms, small and warm
dreaming of freedom.
Are you worried, Miss Adie?

“… The noise of gunfire rose from all over the centre of Peking …
 Troop lorries were moving down the road, firing indiscriminately
at an unarmed civilian population …”

Fei Yen, little-flying-swallow-bird
Li Peng and Deng Xiaoping
stopping you, mid-flight
tearing your feathers
gorging on the hope in your womb.
Can you forgive them, Miss Adie?

“… A huge volley of shots. The young man in front of me fell dead.
I fell over him. Two others were killed yards away … We picked up
a woman with a bullet in the head, took her to the hospital…”

I love you, Fei Yen
little-flying-swallow-bird
drooping in my arms, body cooling.
Where now our future?
Where now a son with your eyes?
Can you see them, Miss Adie?

… Tanks rumble through Peking’s streets, randomly firing
on unarmed protesters …”

Bullets shredding the cherry trees,
life-bright leaves untethered
little flying swallow birds
touching down gently
in a pool of her blood.
Can you free them, Miss Adie?

“… The People’s Army was in control … a line of tanks
was finally leaving Tiananmen Square. A lone man walked
in front of the tanks and halted them …”

Chang’an Boulevard.
The tanks are approaching, Fei Yen.
Approaching your blood.
I can’t let them do this.
I step into the road.
Are you crying, Miss Adie?

“…The Chinese Red Cross initially reported 2,600 deaths
but retracted under pressure. The official figure is 241 dead,
including soldiers, and 7,000 wounded … thousands are imprisoned
… many executed …”

Fei Yen, little swallow bird
wrap your ghost wings around Kate
smuggle her film far out of China.
The BBC’s waiting
all the free world is watching.
Are you ready, Miss Adie?

Michelle Ellard
The greatest channel of expression is Poetry. A glimpse into the deepest crevices of one’s soul, writing has given me an opportunity to share myself with the world. All of my poetry can be seen at https://allpoetry.com/Miyodo
https://www.facebook.com/
MICHELLEDOLPHINELLARD?mibextid=ZbWKwL

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Unvalidated

Do you know what it is to speak and be heard, so loudly there’d be no misgivings?
To be understood, to have no regrets, no guilt that deserved your forgivings?
A vocal respect that is often denied, resulting in growing frustration
How quickly a chat goes from 0-60, destroying all communication
Growing demise and an ego now spent, lashing out in a moment of rage
To silence my voice is to quiet my mind, what is spoken should never be caged.

She wasn’t born a masterpiece

A rainbow of colors spreads across the pages of her life, a complexity of hues and shades
Each tint and dye reminiscent of time and emotions, sacrifice and tragedy
In the infantry of her artwork, the depths cannot be seen yet
Though through the years and fine mistakes, one begins to visualize her convalescent
enrichment
Dark tones of deep and bleeding reds stain the page with her worries and rage
Complemented with a softness of tranquility and peace, bright yellows and faint blues that
overlap one another
Flecks of black and streaks of green showcase her jealous envy at times,
While violet wisps that flutter like butterfly wings bare the true desires of her heart
This colorful mural, landscape of her life
All that has broken her, all that has made her whole
This portrait is her, what makes her beautiful, a Remington of modern times

Mykyta Ryzhykh is a winner of the international competition «Art Against Drugs», bronze medallist of the festival Chestnut House, laureate of the literary competition named after Tyutyunnik. Nominated for Pushcart Prize.
Published in the journals Dzvin, Ring A, Polutona, Rechport, Topos, Articulation, Formaslov, Colon, Literature Factory, Literary Chernihiv, Tipton Poetry Journal , Stone Poetry Journal, Divot journal , dyst journal, Superpresent Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine,  Alternate Route , Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal, Littoral Press , Book of Matches , on the portals Literary Center and Soloneba, in the Ukrainian literary newspaper, and Ice Floe Press.

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(Untitled)

ruins speak the language of stones
we are all giant boulders
beside the eternal river of silence

*****

the temple stands opposite the garden
a hundred-hundred-meter garden opposite the temple
and above the heads of the domes
and above the heads there
is a free sky

*****

black eyes
we both have black eyes
four loving black eyes
my two eyes are born to live in the distance
your two eyes are born to live in the distance
our two pairs of eyes with you are born to live in the distance

Beau Beausoleil is a poet and activist (Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here) based in San Francisco, California. His most recent  book is, Another Way Home (Blue Light Press, 2022).

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In
Ukraine

i

If you find
a spoon
on your
walk
it means
that your
coming
child
will have
a good
appetite

If you
come home
one night
and find
three
bodies
in the
street  
and your
house
dark and
quiet

it means
the war
has found
you

and taken
everything
away

ii

Words
like
death
and
luck
are
written
in the
winter
months
without
hesitation

Words
like
love
are
written
slowly
painfully

The
school
notebook
that you
found
in the
mud 
had
drawings
of stick
figure
women
and
men
weeping
and
dozens
of small
red
broken
hearts

These days
are  still
made
of words
and images
that have
lately
left you 
and now
bleed over
into our
lives

iii

Death
falls
from
the
sky
landing
on
a
school
report
card
from
two
years
ago

“…she
is quiet
but a
good
reader
and colors
her life
with a
wonderful
imagination…”

Jonathan Chibuike Ukah is a graduate of English and Law living in the UK with his family. His poems have appeared in various publications and anthologies.

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Love Unconditional

To whisper in your heart at midnight,
squeeze the day into your arms,
to make dreams wear rainbow colours
like a jacket with a million pockets;
to make you the master and the mistress
of another life devoted to a purpose,
to laugh, cry, moan and mourn with you,
when mourners gather at your place
and the falcons decree a time,
when there will be nothing but pain
following every step that you will take;
to watch light fall on dying leaves,
to scrap my time, mummify my body,
so that I will hear no voice except yours,
love is the perfect condition.

There is no such love as unconditional,
when love is a perfect condition
for the troubled to have healing,
for the poor to attract compassion,
for the rich to be rendered needy
and the proud to be humbled;
for the lonely to have comfort
raising their declining heads to the sky.
To follow you home this night,
listening to the songs of the stars,
hiding under the light of the moon,
to brace ourselves for the evening wind
and let my arms wrap around you
like a wool duvet, a warm blanket,
love is the perfect condition.

Little Rain

Like the rain with more force than volume,
I have given it all in pursuit of my destiny;
when I lie like a stone on a field of cacti,
helpless and lonely, flat on the marshy ground,
the wind blows over me; the pebbles, harsh and gritty,
pin me to the ground with unrelenting force.
I can neither run away nor fight
the roving deluge of rain coming at me.
Sometimes I watch the cruel brush of water
rush along the naked ground, soft and open,
into my parent’s room with a loud gale
that ploughed into their souls and faith.
I watch in horror as my sisters scoop up buckets
to throw some balls of grey water into the drain
where there is nothing but a flood of cold water;
I watch again as broken glasses, banana peelings,
sail on top of the sea ravaging my parents’ home,
mocking pieces of paper, threads of silk clothing,
brutal dead insects and a lifetime of ugly memories
hit the floor of my broken house, stalking my peace.
I know I have been there before with hanging jaws,
haunted by my past, struck down to the floor,
every little rain attacks me like an Egyptian plague,
when helpless, I succumb to breathlessness and despair,
like my life sailing above this valley of little rain.

























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