Poetry Talk

Poetry By Brian Sheffield

Pixabay

if you haven’t noticed

i’m plagiarizing

By Brian Sheffield

When the last poem is ever written

there will be a tempest of leaves falling

away from the giggling face of a

hoary ash tree in the front yard. The sun

will be angled in the sky like the lure

of a deep sea fish; and though there will be

no teeth, there will be lights, a crash, and then

a mother bending somewhere to pick up

broken shards with a torn rag she intended

to throw away three months ago. As a

given hand — shaking either in gawking

old age or in the misunderstandings

of nervous youth; or else calm and stilled in

experience or confident secrecy —

begins the first syllable of that last

poem ever written, a small dog will

fail to catch the mailman as a

black and white spotted cat loudly licks its

own asshole, openly, in that way that

animals do familiar things, which some

of us humans, sometimes absurdly, keep

held to our own privacy. The dog will

bark incessantly, and the cat will pause

to look up, make eye contact with some other

living beast, and then move its head to the

left, one leg lifted like a strange antenna,

as it slowly blinks, before it starts once

again on its immortal task of faux

cleanliness and the casual nature

of a publicized and personal pleasure.

Only the mother, rising from her work

to run the back of her hand across her

brow, will think of the last poem ever 

written. She will walk across the kitchen

to finally throw that damn rag away.

And she will turn her head slowly to the right

and look out the living room window, where

the mailman continues down the block

and turns left when there is nowhere else to go.

BIO: Brian Sheffield is a performance poet. He is co-founder of Mad Gleam Press and co-editor of POST(blank), a bilingual, French-American Word-Art publication. He has performed and been published internationally among predominantly independent circles.

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Poetry Talk

POETRY WINNERS: NOSTALGIA

Pixabay

The theme for the Fall 2021 edition of Eloquent Mag was NOSTALGIA. The winning poems will be posted on the website this month. They will also be published in the digital ISSUU copy of Eloquent Mag on September 15th.

Driver’s Ed

by R. Skye Lambert

My driver’s ed teacher used to prompt me all the time:

Accelerate at the apex of the curve.

Not before the curve.

Not after the curve.

At the apex.

I just couldn’t wrap my 15-year-old brain around the concept.

Why would I quicken my movement at a pivotal moment?

Shouldn’t that be the slowest?

Before the turn was never the question, at least not for me.

Maybe it was for the boy who sat in the backseat.

Too shy to say my name, but when he was behind the wheel he would go.

What I gathered from Ms. Carns’ description of him – potato sack foot.

I never got to see him drive

but I imagined the weight of his silence

would confront

a gas pedal

with force

wheels

with questions about how

they handle a curve with speed.

Questions I had no desire to search out answers for.

I wanted to learn the curve, feel the curve, breathe it

before deciding what to do with the wheel next.

I wanted to see the trees that swept over the road

straighten their gangly branches

to chase wild fields and poppies floating.

How could I possibly decide on an appropriate speed

without allowing the landscape ahead to unfold first?

And so, I guess, it makes sense that I still lilt

in learning, breathing, feeling moments

because there is all the time in the world

for cruising once the curve has straightened

and the stage opened.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. Skye Lambert holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in English. Skye is a social worker at a New England hospital, serving clientele with pervasive mental health diagnoses. Skye is also a musician and songwriter.

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Poetry Talk, Race + Culture

Poetry by Michael Grandsoult

Artwork for a track, “Turtle Island” by indigenous artist David Strickland


           

G.B.C.

By Michael Grandsoult

2 22,

born and raised in Scarborough Ontario.

Dual/duel,

2 nationalities I bear and hold

carried over the border

by my parents through customs

cultural baggage of a Guyanese substance,

bubbling in my body

tropical hot blood

like casareep in pepper pot.

Declared not native to this nation

foreign fruit that doesn’t take root,

“climatic unsuitability.”

Snowbound by cold racism, withholding growth.

Soils used to maple,

palm trees be gone please

rejecting me to go

back home.

But home is unknown.

Only folklore fork loads of food

musical milieu,

cultures much more.

My exotics whitewashed, lost

before I ever got it.

Foreigner here, there

searching for where?

I fit in the hyphen.

Division partitioning

Guyanese                    Canadian.

Imprisoned within limbo

or,

is it a bridge

connecting the 2

creating something new?

not Guyanese

not Canadian only,

GBC.

So I soar Kaiteur on my ladder Niagara

to reach full height.

Making bull’s-eye mark on maple leaf

with golden arrowhead darts.

Synthesis of existences

my identity’s recipe.

Guyanese Blooded Canadian,

GBC. 


Michael (MikeAll) Grandsoult is a Scarborough, Ontario native and hip hop educator. He began writing poems in the primary years of elementary school and started rapping in the junior grades. He has released three solo albums; “Mike Check” (2008), “Mike Support” (2015) and “Mike All” (2018).  MikeAll’s goal is to put the poet back into rhythm and poetry.                

CONNECT WITH MIKEALL: Instagram | Bandcamp

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Poetry Talk

Poetry Submissions Now Open

Submissions are now being accepted for the first Fall 2021 digital ISSUU of Eloquent Mag.

Theme: // N O S T A L G I A //

  • Each writer can submit up to three poems.
  • If we print your piece, you will receive an honorarium.
  • Submissions will be published in the first Fall 2021 ISSUU of Eloquent Mag.
  • The publication will cost $2 to download, but published writers will receive a free download.
  • Email your submission with a small bio and photo/headshot to editor@eloquent-magazine.com.
  • Google docs format is preferred, but we will also accept Word format.
  • Deadline: August 15th.
Photo: furbymama courtesy Pixabay

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Poetry Talk

Poetry by Leslie Cairns

Birthstone

A garland of mortician’s rubies hangs

Itself, drooping

Over now marred, once

Porcelain skin

Does anyone else hold themselves up like rubies?

Birth stone rare

Collecting each moment like it could gleam off the titrates of my once-too-there

Collarbones.

The collarbones drive you away,

The collarbones caved inwards until you, at last, completely

Stared there.

At least I have a garland of rare,

As I’m shouting at the black hole that is depression, or a set of dampened stairs.

Slicked shouting at the stars to marry me – stone cold soberly,

Notes tinged with once almost vertical sunsets,

The depths of whom eclipsed me.

At least I resemble a ruby

Born after a Hart concert on a humid, upstate, NY

Night, with so much ruby, spread around like overused tinsel:

Red on lipsticked, pock-marked mouths,

Red thin welts I give in the last days as my mother bloomed like a pumpkin or a peach.

Red is a ruby, the concert was Hart which would be remiss to not think of cutout hearts in elementary schools, littering the floor with promise.

Hart sang the song that would unearth me.

Mark me like a trail of blood cascading into the summer-heated grass completely…

Turning the wildflowers: gasping, ruby,

And red.

They Called You Waif: A Letter

Dear Former Self,

Just because you have no money and you brush your teeth with your fingertips, doesn’t mean that people with a house are right.

Dear Former Self,

I wonder if we’ll ever feel truly loved again.

Dear Former Self,

A controlling friendship, a controlling foster/host family, a controlling family who lets you stay is not a family at all.

Dear Former Self,

You should have known when they called you ‘waif’ over and over again, like pennies in a deserted lake.

Like the day you forgot to dust and went to sleep, and they texted you to do it at 8 at night, or how when you said you had an eating disorder, they said you were dishonest and

Dear Former Self,

It’s okay to be grateful for how these unhelpful houses led you to a better life, even though you defog your own mirror and still remember being in all of their bathrooms, keeping your toothbrush in your room, not in the holder with the others. You knew they didn’t want your stuff near theirs, you share a house but not places like that — it’s just too much.

Dear Former Self, Remember that you never entered houses to mystify them. You entered fearful and afraid from your mom telling you you were a barbarian and you had educational degrees to finish and were afraid and people loved you at first, then sometimes changed their minds. But that doesn’t mean a thing about you. The changing of the minds is independent of your unstable graphing of your line.

Dear Former Self,

It’s okay to remember things about each of the eight houses like looking at museums you still would visit if they were open. Tasting macaroons for the first time, or beef on weck, which you did not like but everyone else had seconds of, laden on paper plates you found for her in the basement while she baked. Or dogs that grew to love you or looking at lamb butter on Easter or Lamb Cakes in some families instead, where the Mom spent hours constructing a sheep out of white frosting and it’s okay to wish you could go back there. It’s okay to curl into a ball when you realize you no longer fit. That now you prefer to grab your ankles when you compress, instead of your bones.

Dear Former Self:

They loved you but they didn’t know how. The shadow repeats behind the wild blame: we loved you but you weren’t ours to fix, even though, even though, isn’t that the reason everyone took you in?

To get some praise for fixing. People love fixing broken people, as if they were bent moth wings, or a spade that needs polishing, or a table setting that’s almost right,

Except you need to find the extra leaf for the table to sit right.

You are not an extra leaf: you’re a fig tree. You are not meant to beg for scraps of acceptance from peoples’ sons and daughters, you are meant to be loved upon wiping your feet upon the mat that says ‘welcome home’ in frayed logic. When you think of her, you can still cry, forever, and that will still be okay.

My cat has three legs but her instinct is to knead the bed with both, you still see her stump move like it’s pressing down on my thighs to show she loves me. She will always be broken, but she continues to love. There’s nothing wrong with how she tries to fit in, whole, like all the others. Even with less weight, she fits perfectly between my feet, when she falls asleep at night., like she’s meant to belong there

Black Blouse

I went to a funeral of my friend

I had been fighting with, riding shotgun

with my abusive mother, finally.

She picked her neck and looked at me

To remind me that even with my pancake makeup

I still had stress acne. Her blue iris just quivered and stared

At the one on my chin, hidden yet blooming,

Then continued to drive.

I went to a funeral of my best friend and my abusive mother hung near the fake grapes hanging down in vines like vices over the

Light wood slatted awning

That seemed light but would not break.

Watching us friends slow dance to hip hop music,

Arms slowly draped across one another

Lightly crying, in pear shaped pools to songs my Mom didn’t even know I was listening to.

I went to my first funeral and my abusive mom veered through traffic.

Gracefully,

and , for once, I fell asleep

Dogged, humbled for her fool-

Proof navigation.

I wore a tight, pretty black blouse

Straightened my hair with a hissing iron that curled smoke like the ashes of Hope’s once warm body and

All I repeat in my head at my dead friend’s funeral is a mindnumbing I’m sorry,

Over and over again,

As my abusive mother hovers behind me

As I flutter my eyes closed

Saying my goodbyes

To her father.

Wondering if my Mom, behind me,

Is saying sorry to me

As I stand in front of you

Saying sorry

For what I did with you.

Bio: Leslie Cairns is an MA graduate from SUNY Fredonia and pursuing Sociology at CU Denver as a graduate student. She has published largely microfiction, as well as one act plays. She is currently a Denver Poetry Fellow at Denver Lighthouse Writers, under the mentorship program of Carolina Ebeid. You can find her work at Green Buffalo Productions (plays) and Flash Fiction Friday (microfiction). Her chapbook is coming out under Denver Lighthouse in July, 2021.

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