By Mirabel Lavelle
Welcome to my third Showcase. I have a variety of poems by Maltese, Welsh and English poets and a fantasy story by a talented Peruvian writer.
In the first three, Nicole Piscopo’s magical writing links our senses to nature’s powerful elements.
I like watching lightning in a storm
Because a part of me believes in magic –
A part of me believes that I can get through anything
Like a dance exam
Like a psychology textbook.
My body is comprised of lungs and pirouettes
Maybe other things too
Like ice cubes, last minute plans and shooting stars.
Some people tell me that if I were a planet
I would have rings around my waist
Because I keep my feelings at a distance
But I am a force of gravity
I pull others closer, so they don’t pull themselves apart
I pull myself together even when it is easier to explode.
(c) Nicole Piscopo, 2022
Sometimes I feel like the space between two brackets that people often skim over
Other times I feel like the colour blue
And so, I paint it into my hair.
I am quietly electric –
A shockwave of determined uncertainty.
My eyes capture sparks of the world others fail to see
And my tongue is always hiding a little more words than I actually say.
I inhabit the corners of picture frames
And snap photos of my memories
And on days I cut the blue from my hair
I use the fragments to create a trail
So that I’m never that far off from where I truly belong.
(c) Nicole Piscopo, 2022
I often wonder what I am made of –
Whether it is stardust or fire
And whether it matters.
Some days I burn so bright
I leave holes through my clothes
And realise I still haven’t found where I keep the fire extinguisher.
Some days I wish I were a cloud
Just so I could look on the earth and truly believe
That life is more than a textbook and some scribbled notes.
But maybe what I’m really looking for isn’t
An aerial view
But a telescope to talk to the universe
And for the moon to tell me
That I am actually doing all right.
(c) Nicole Piscopo, 2022
Connect with Nicole on Instagram: @maybe_its_fate_poetry
Next, a poem about what really matters in life.
Live For The Now
Live for the now
Not for tomorrow
As Time is something you can’t buy or borrow
Life’s clock is ticking, each breath taken already in the past
Each moment so precious, and long may they last.
Just like that, in a blink of an eye,
Life can be taken with no reason why
Some lives are long
Whilst others cut short
Age, colour, creed, or gender not given a thought
When tragedy strikes
It rocks our very soul
We re-evaluate our own lives
And reassess our goals
What then was important,
But not so much now
Fades into the shade, forgotten somehow.
Life is a gift, for however long it lasts
So, live for the moment, as time’s ticking fast
Walk in the meadows with the grass on your feet
Listen to the songbirds singing a treat
Take walks along the seashore, breath-in the sea breeze
Memories are captured, but time does not freeze
You see, life is a gift, bestowed upon us all
So, enjoy each moment and make memories to recall
Live your life with passion and grace
Live each day with a smile on your face
Let your inner light shine
And call unto others
Everyone here are your sisters and brothers
Let love light your path and show you the way
Let love be the wonder that fills your day
(c) Tammy Griffiths-Palmer, 2022
You can connect with Tammy on her Facebook page, Beautiful Spirit: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063849343720
Here’s a fantasy story with a poignant lesson.
Life Of Augustus
Augusto was not a man like the one Da Vinci drew. He was not a coded citizen. Even his appearance was not usual.
His feet were as firm as the armour of an Icarus. His fingers were so long, they connected between deep earthly roots. His eyes were painted in oil by the sky itself, so he became a true work of art in the chaotic exhibition of life. He came to earth wrapped in autumn leaves. The rain coloured his first steps, and the mischievous hummingbird fed his heart with an appetising pollen. He was getting closer to Lord Heaven.
When he was two decades old, something around him changed. The world was beginning to scare haggard people. His homeland was beginning to crumble. The ladies stopped sweeping their triumphal entrances, the children were almost as distraught as their parents and the cats begged the mice for cheese. They cremated the fairy tales and replaced them with guides designed to generate hundreds of dollars in a single day. Those who walked, began to run. And those who ran, moved off the planet. Bitter chaos broke out.
Augusto had a morning job for profit. However, corruption swept through the laundry company he worked for and he was kicked out penniless, carrying a pile of stinky socks. He decided to wash each sock, to sew them together, forming a tent, like the one his great-great-grandparents lived in. Around it, he planted green apple seeds, but immensely tall daisies grew.
Faced with the economic disaster that plagued his homeland, he was dedicated to peeling sweet tangerines.
His neighbours repeated, terrified, “But what is this man?” “How is it, there are no signs of frustration in his person?” “Has he stopped caring about his country?”
Some children were whispering around and hiding from the apparent stranger with the unfortunate smile.
One day in November, the sky was angry. Augusto came out of his tent, and began to recite love poems to him, to brighten his day. The sky gave him a look of compassion, as sorrow fluttered through his clouds.
A wise man and his golden horse were passing by. They leaned out to look closely at Augusto. They examined from corner to corner, that wide smile the man possessed. When they saw it was true, they were even more scared. They took a few steps back, covering their terrified eyes. Augusto was saddened, realising his role in similar scenes from time immemorial. Well-drawn tears fell on his angelic face.
An idea rose in his pictorial mind. He needed a mask. A special mask, with fantastic properties. One that, instead of scaring, enchanted. That, instead of moving away, drew closer. So, with the full supervision of heaven, Augusto began the process of manufacturing a unique element in nature. He passionately wove fruit shells, sock threads, straw hair and rainbow-colored tear cloths. His face was the basis for him to work, and he could not find better ground.
When finished, he felt like the most handsome prince of a terrifying homeland. His mask was so well made, not a single millimetre of his face was visible. He had accomplished his goal. He was entirely covered, on all four sides. The little man was excited, knowing he could now walk humming songs, dancing with the children, and feeding the blue pigeons. He’d not realised he would never see his blue eyes again, nor his pink lips reflected in the water with which he rinsed his face every noon. In reality, the main detail he’d missed was the fact he could now no longer see.
But he seemed not to recognise his blindness. Now named Augustus, he set out to become the most handsome hunk. Wearing a turquoise shirt and flowered underpants, his next request of Heaven was that, this time, his scary little homeland would love him very much: invited him to dance, to hold his hand as he ran and to serve him at the coffee with milk stalls.
So, Augustus left his tent. Around him, the general managers strolled, bored. They approached, looking closely at his mask. When they saw it was true, they were shocked. Their faces were shocked. The children searched for burrows as emergency shelters, while the adults climbed the fire escapes of the most modern skyscrapers. Everyone was looking for a way to escape him. He could not clearly witness the spectacle that was happening around him; his mask did not allow him to see. By not observing faces of anger and spasm, he believed in his only alternative: that people were marvelling at his mask. He felt powerful, like a prince. He came to imagine himself on the covers of artisan newspapers. Those that bore the name of each attack, in his imagination, would bear his name. With great strides and leaps through the clouds, he returned to his tent pleased, believing himself to be the luckiest.
The sky sighed, voicing relief and dismay at the same time, letting cotton candy out of his dilated pupils. For the rest of the day, that magical nebula was dedicated to spying on Augustus , without ceasing to take care of him. There was the sky inventing earplugs made of fog, so that Augustus would not hear the screams of the fearful. There was the sky, turning into a gale, to stop Augustus every time he encountered a hole in the track, a trap in the road, or a puddle of stinking mud.
When the impact of Augustus’s mask subsided, they met to decide democratically what they would do with that savvy man.
This is how the country ruled to knock down Augustus’ tent. They accused him of instilling terror in society, distressing thoughts and nightmares night and day. Augustus was a dangerous clown, with no human features.
Augustus was surprised with the seriousness of the accusations, but his mask did not reveal the breadth of his open mouth. He begged his friend Lord Sky that it was a silly bureaucratic mistake.
The citizens of terror ordered their children to cut the socks that made up the tent. The children ordered their dogs to destroy the old fabric of the socks. The dogs ordered the wasps to carry the remains of the cloth to the sea. They approached Augustus and surrounding him demanded a valid answer. They expected him to lie down and cry and apologise, begging for a couple of pills for depression.
He just answered: “What do you want me to do? My reaction will not cultivate a catastrophe, like the one in which you remain.” Augustus smiled, drawing pictures in his mind. The sky was so pleasing that he dropped paint of all colours, so that the view was always a palette of oils, different from the eyes of a single country.
© Jimena Yengle, 2022
You can connect with Jimena on Twitter: @JimenaRamosY1
Do you wonder what ‘the homeless’ think, when they try to sleep?
Before my eyes they are dragged down,
dissolving into the earth; down into the elemental
particles from which we all come.
Like some grey creatures, inhuman and barely alive,
existing in a twilight world.
They are there but not there,
invisible and ethereal, like ghosts.
They are ghosts of our past, our country’s past,
and maybe even our futures.
Perhaps that is why we ignore them:
we are looking at our own nemesis.
But remember this: even they once gazed
into their mothers’ adoration.
(c) Allan G Lochhead, 2022
These two pieces are by a teacher who loves writing poetry. Home is a watery world up north!
Mermaid Of The Tyne
Veiled in glistening wavelets,
Seaweed curls rearing up
Behind a heaving boat.
Unseen by blind sailors
As she hitches her ride,
Gripping with salty fingers
The trailing ropes
Of a thousand vessels.
Silent, sinuous as the restless river
She breaches the surface
Teasing the seagulls
Dipping and diving
As they sense her presence.
She inhabits this watery world
The endless sifting tides.
Its depths, its shallows
Melt around her fluid form.
Flicking her tail to mount the surface,
An illusion, half-concealed,
She plunges below,
Her body in rhythm,
Singing to the advancing tide.
(c) June Gowland, 2022
The Coral Mother
Perching squatly on her stool
An overstuffed flowery cushion
Skin humming in the early heat
She folds her fat ebony arms
And waits, dreamy and still
In the shade, thinking
Of her children.
The bucket is full, a silent companion
The branches of coral fit
Like jigsaw pieces inside the cheap tin pail.
Sharp and jagged, souvenirs of the deep
Where her children search in the watery shadows
To win the sea’s rewards.
Only Coral Mother knows the secret
But will not tell.
Instead, she smiles at the coral skinned tourists
As they warily approach.
They are the blessings she will count tonight.
(c) June Gowland, 2022
If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to: pentoprint.org/get-involved/submit-to-write-on/
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