Spiral

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Artist: Robyn Hancock

Spiral

Revisiting

Revision

Repetition

Twisting

Turning

Navigating

Learning

Spiral

Which direction

Do you choose?

Win or lose?

Inward or outward?

You decide,

Which way to

Live your life.

Spiral

Forward

Onward

Growth

Change

Evolution

Creation

Resolution

Spiral

© Copyright 2016, Robyn Hancock. All Rights Reserved

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
I decided, given the new year that I would create new poems for this publication, thus giving me a creative challenge.

Casuality

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Photographer: Dario Torres

There is a moment immediately after an action

When silence is deaf to itself:

There is only the smell of discharged weapons,

And smoke. Fractured air reverberating

From concussion; the hammering of fire.

 

Hands slowly disconnect their grasp

From stock and pistol grip.

Sometimes at the second of release

The shaking starts, butterfly wings

In the wind.

 

But within a minute, perhaps less, quiet rushes

Like a wave to engulf ears, cheeks, lips, the dirt

That is dressed with cartridge cases, belt-link and

– pray God not me – scarlet flowers that resolve

Into dressing pads.

 

Until like the release of a dam, from trickle to flood,

Come the screaming assault, a drenching in oily whimpering

Signaling men trapped in agony with no merciful release.

 

And so it goes even after the years have drawn tight

And the memories have been ingested.

 

One day a man meets a woman. They duel consensually

Drawing blood lightly with humour and intrigue.

But both are wary, carrying lessons from earlier actions

 

With dressing held ready to staunch the flow.

Copyright © 1994 – Jerry Beale

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
I wanted to describe how difficult it had been for me to allow anyone close to me after my experiences as a soldier. I felt dirty and damaged, and certain that anybody who looked into my soul would somehow be harmed.

Long Lines of Lies

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Photographer: Unknown

I don’t know what to do

when they look into my eyes

expecting

the drawing they made of me

they rewrite me,

insert the cliche that hangs like a slave in the square

I feel their lies

tickle,

nuanced and lovely to the touch,

and me gracefully bludgeoned

eventually they find the door

and drag away their sharpened tongues

and behind

a mind reawakened –

coloured by Matisse

with words sprinkled in the lush greens of grass

Copyright © 2016 (Keith Nunes)

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
This poem makes sense of what I feel going on around me or at least what I perceive is going on.

Bird

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Artist: Hua Tunan
Image used with permission

Morning time. So I leave my door, descending the four steps

Precariously

 

My feet are bare upon the grass. Its wetness is almost sexual

If not for the cold.

 

A spider’s web catches the silver promise of light within a single drop

Of moiisture. Such a perfect fragile jewel;

 

It’s the sound I catch first. An impatient fluttering, daubed with

High-pitched peeps of distress.

 

Step over the log, my feet finding primordial satisfaction in its

Careless roughness.

 

The chicken wire lies in a tired bundle, threaded through with grass

And a single impatient thistle.

 

There. In the middle of the roll. A tiny brown speckled form. A thrush

Trapped within the deaf wire.

 

Exhausted.

 

My feet stop. With each step closer, the bird becomes more animated

Beating its tiny form against the wire.

 

How can I say ‘I mean to help you, to tear back the walls that encircle you,

To give you back your universe?  For we are so deeply

 

Alien to each other.

 

I am torn. I cannot leave this other life. Yet I cannot help. Energy drains

From me. I am now unnecessary.

 

A watcher only.

 

The bird is still. Its chest heaves once. A wing slips and hangs loose,

Askew.

 

It’s quiet.

 

I begin to hate the wire.

Copyright © 2002 – Jerry Beale

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
This poem describes an actual event which had a profound effect on me. It emphasised how separate we have become from the simplicity of nature.

Forgotten Skin

 
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Artist: Nod Ghosh
Image used with permission

He carries acres of skin,

a decadent petticoat, wrapped

around his identity.

 

He finds a portion

untouched since

the beginning of memories.

 

A foreign pellicle,

symbiotic lesion,

that forges a crossing through

Lethean shorelines.

 

He travels to unknown

territory, unravels keratin spirals

bounded by

an integumental sea.

 

He feels its smoothness,

unremarkable

in doughy caress.

 

He enters the fourth room

of a three roomed house,

licks himself clean,

like an atheist in heaven.

 

Copyright © 2015 (Nod Ghosh)

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
When the meat and veg of life are difficult to chew, Nod Ghosh finds sanctuary in a gravy of words. Forgotten Skin examines the urge to self-mutilate, while Sailfins relates to when a person chooses death over life.

Sailfins

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Artist: Nod Ghosh
Image used with permission
 

She wades

through salt soaked shallows,

searches for pipi,

hopes for kina, with

a bucket on her arm.    

                                                                                                                                                She cries an echo

from sand bars clean,

untroubled

by the task of harvesting

abundant molluscs.

 

Elusive echinoderms

charm live victims

to shallow depths,

against the cry of bitterns.

 

She treads with finite steps,

where sailfins fly

and mermaids die.

 

She wades between

riptides of fate,

hopes Tangaroa

will find her body.

 

Copyright © 2015, Nod Ghosh

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
When the meat and veg of life are difficult to chew, Nod Ghosh finds sanctuary in a gravy of words. Forgotten Skin examines the urge to self-mutilate, while Sailfins relates to when a person chooses death over life.

Songs from Pollen Island

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‘King Tide’ by Dean Buchanan

The Tranz New Zealand panzers lay waste to the mangroves 

In an already throttled harbour

In the mangled remains

A heron two pukeko wander through their decimated village

Two crew from the tiger 

Clang and probe at their muddied tracks for jammed rocks 

With long metal bars

The roar of the machines

The violet haze 

The scent of diesel 

The shout of orders

Goodbye Pollen Island.

© Copyright 2015, Dean Buchanan.

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
Dean gave up alcohol. He painted. He cycled, he walked the bush trails of the Waitakeres, he climbed mountains. He painted. The same punishing regime of work and exercise is maintained today, up well before dawn, painting in his studio down the bush path from his house, cycling, climbing, and always more painting. Dean has found his unique voice, his unique vision of the world around him and now as ever he seeks only to paint it.    
    

Lilith & the Incubus

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Photographer: Ange Harper
Photo used with permission

Here we go again
for those of you sick
of this shit – Karma

Happiness, eludes me
over-analyzing everything
searching for that choice to make

Looking to purpose choose life
simplicity a complex solution
blind, numb, lost & forgotten

My brain hard-wired my eyes shut
Persistent Depressive Disorder
convincingly sees only what was

Nothing gets any better
I’ve never known anything different
happiness is Far Far Away, folklore

Farther apart I age, no wiser
life flashes before my eyes, wasted
it’s a miracle I have survived thus far

I may as well be dead
it’s like I’m dead
I feel dead

Burdons not just my own; contagion
leaching into every soul I touch,
Incubus fornicate in my sleeplessness

Pervasive nightmares & thoughts
leave little light – my aura
hedonism postulating pleasure

Shit shows on at 4am

Doom & disaster, spiritituality
leper colonies shun; shamed
beyond toxicity

I am cursed
so is everyone in it
locked up for my own safety

Unlike Lilith

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
I wrote this recently because I feel like crap. Another bout of reactive depression has made its presence felt. I am doing everything I can to work it through. It’s hard but achievable, as I have proven to myself over and over. The last time, ten years ago. So, I am writing to heal again. This too shall pass. Jx

Rib Raft

 
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In a way the nothing is worse than the thing,

the lack more frightening than the event.

Float like a boat, my son said.

He knew about the raft before the quakes,

learned the knack in China

making Disneyland,

creating concrete mountains beside real trees

and concrete trees outside real buildings.

Float like a boat, he said,

and it does.

In the old, the end he built was the safe place

while the elderly front rocked and buckled;

rising, falling, tilting till it broke

like a boat.

Not afloat but beached

on a reef

broken in the middle.

Every quake another moment of terror,

the noise heralding the movement,

warning,

sending Nigel Latta’s monkeys up the tree,

pails ready.

Anxiety levels rising,

breath held till it’s over.

But the new is different,

A new house,

rib raft foundation.

Floats like a boat, they said,

and it does.

But not a boat on the high seas,

more a punt on a gentle pond.

Still the noise

wakes the monkeys,

pails ready.

But nothing.

No shake, no movement.

The house is still

and, in that stillness,

not reassuring,

not safe,

but somehow more frightening

as the inevitable

is not.

 
Copyright © 2014 J.L. O’Rourke

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
This poem is my response to my on-going post-quake anxiety attacks. Every aftershock created for many an instant panic attack, which Nigel Latta explained beautifully as monkeys running up a tree, so every time the house shook, even from buses driving past, the panic would be instant but followed by a let-down as the shaking stopped. But when our house was rebuilt on its special ribraft foundations, I discovered that the anxiety was strangely heightened as the noise of the aftershock came but the shaking didn’t happen – so there was no way to end the experience – the waiting for the final bit remained unresolved.

A Quiet Reality

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Photographer: Diamond Luisant

In neither giant nor elf’s disguise,
the man in the mirror hopes to be,
humble as his prize being free,

From all those destructive
stigmatic psychiatric patient lies,

Standing firmly on each feet,
as free as the birds in the tree.

What more can a man hope for,
coping with
fetters of mental illness,
stress and anxiety;

Except peace,
calm and stillness,
          a quiet reality.

Copyright © 2015, Steve.Brother-Majik

 
CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
Steve.Brother-Majik suffers from schizotypal personality disorder and is a self employed signwriter with a low power fm radio station ‘Radio Wild-Card’ and owns his own home in Wanganui East, Whanganui