Tony Iantosca

The Couch

The people I got
the couch from
live in a condominium,
drink cocktails
or something at the top
or on the balcony. The couch
was heavy and they didn’t
help carry it down
the stairs. It wasn’t
a problem, it makes
me better, the truck
was parked illegally.
Normally this is a
fact to be appreciated
and admired but in this
case it remained
boring. The flashing lights
off, I drove the truck
home. The couch then
revealed itself to be
stained and a bit faded
but quite comfortable
and most of all free
but for the ache
of my body for a few
days after. The condo
building is regrettably
still there, the couple
now married and maybe
with a newborn and probably
a newer and better couch,
but my new old couch
is still here and the aches
have migrated to other
bodies who move
things for other
reasons. The older I get,
the more reasons accumulate
to sit on a couch
and not work,
the older I get the more
couches pile up like
football players on the curb, taken
to a landfill by morning.

Seltzer Water

I have seltzer water
in the fridge. This
is a good thing: to
have seltzer in the
fridge. All are
dominated somehow
or another
to varying degrees
and it gets worse.
People get publicly
smashed but I have
seltzer water
in the fridge,
inside an apartment
where I live. The bubbles
help when I get sick
to my stomach.

tangential daylight

swell breeze
to its breaking
this is how fast
I lost a wire
pollen’s tangent
gathers a daylight
elegy and adds it
to the sad math
reducing movie hours
to a paycheck’s
daily salad green
where the air is
better than what
we get for poems
and intrigue
can I enjoy airline
inhale over espresso’s
polished lens
I brush failure’s
remaining hair
whisper of some
bullet nobody
likes to talk about

Not looking

I used to sleep
to fire’s special
purchase on whatever
commerce I thought
would stab the
world dead but then
the gates the fingers
did shatter
registered ancient
animal cries for
a responsible antonym
balancing the moon
so blindness could rent
some headspace
when we’re not looking
or looking something up
antagonistic to what
I really wanted
the electric sleep motel
stepped out
hosting the inner
tundra on this side
while the trains go
and the trains come
and the desires
rattle their own
hearts misspelling
my name on the way
to the bank

Tony Iantosca‘s poems have appeared in 6×6, a Perimeter, Lungfull!, and Third Factory, among other places. His first full-length collection, Shut Up, Leaves (United Artists Books) was published in 2015. His second book, To the Attic is forthcoming from Spuyten-Duyvil Publishing in fall 2020. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he also teaches writing at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY).

Zωή Σκλέπα . Zoe Sklepa

Κάτι παθαίνω όταν οι μέρες μακραίνουν

Ήξερα ένα παιδί που το έλεγαν «Κάκτο»
και δεν είχε ανάγκη κανέναν.
Ανήκουστο.
Ήταν ένα παιδί
που περνιόταν για τρελό.
Και δεν είπε ποτέ του τι θέλει.
Απίστευτο.
Ριζωμένο πότε εδώ
πότε εκεί
να τραβάει λίγο φως
και για λίγο να τεντώνει το αγκάθια του.
Μια ζωή χωρίς λόγο
χωρίς απορίες.
Μια ζωή να ζητάει πάντα.
Ανυπόμονο.
Δεν χάρισε πότε τον ίσκιο του.
Ανέγγιχτο και δύστροπο
δεν μπήκε ποτέ του στη θάλασσα.
Τη νύχτα κάρφωνε
το βλέμμα του στα σύννεφα.
Βλέμμα θριάμβου.
Ένα ψέμα. Συνήθεια.
Ήξερε τόσα λίγα.
Ήξερα ένα παιδί που το έλεγαν Κάκτο.
Δεν θα ζήσει πολύ
γιατί είναι ένας μαρκαδόρος της δεκάρας.

Something happens to me when the days get longer

I used to know a kid
whose name was Cactus and
never needed anyone.
Outrageous.
That kid
was thought to be crazy
and never said what he wants.
Unbelievable.
He was rooted here and there
to get some light
and stretch his thorns for a while.
A life with no purpose,
no questions.
He kept asking for something throughout his life.
Always impatient.
He never offered his shadow.
Untouchable and crabbed,
he never entered the sea.
At night he kept his gaze
fixed on the clouds.
A gaze of glory.
A lie, a habit.
He knew so little.
I used to know a kid
whose name was Cactus.
He won’t live long
because he is a marker that costs a penny.

 

 

Η Zωή Σκλέπα αποφοίτησε από το ΤΕΙ της Αθήνας (τμήμα Νοσηλευτικής) και από την Ανωτάτη Σχολή Καλών Τεχνών της Αθήνας. Έχει συμμετάσχει σε ομαδικές εκθέσεις στην Ελλάδα και στο εξωτερικό συμπεριλαμβανομένου του Ιδρύματος Β & Μ Θεοχαράκη για τις Καλές Τέχνες και τη Μουσική (7η Μπιενάλε των Σχολών Καλών Τεχνών της Ελλάδος), του Μακεδονικού Μουσείου Σύγχρονης Τέχνης για το Kodra Fresh Action Field Kodra ”Χρειαζόμαστε έναν ήρωα: πολύτιμα θέματα σε πολύτιμους καιρούς” , της Γκαλερί TAF Theartfoundation / ”STUDIOS 2017”, του Μουσείου Ελληνικής Ενδυμασίας ‘’Ταξιδιωτικά σχόλια / σύγχρονοι περιηγητές”, των «The symptom projects/ Symptom 10/ ”Poisons” στην Άμφισσα και της APT Gallery / «Comfort Blast» ομαδικής έκθεσης στο Λονδίνο .

Zoe Sklepa graduated from the TΕΙ of Athens (Nursing Department) and from the Athens School of Fine Arts .She has participated in many group exhibitions including the B & M Theocharakis Foundation for Fine Arts and Music (7th Biennale of the Schools of Fine Arts in Greece), the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art for the Kodra Fresh Action Field Kodra / “We Need a Hero: valuable themes in valuable times” exhibition , the Gallery TAF Theartfoundation / STUDIOS 2017 , the Museum of the History of Greek Costume/ ”Tavelogues” exhibition , The Symptom Projects/ Symptom 10 /”Poisons” exhibition in Amfissa and the APT Gallery/ ”Comfort Blast” / Group Exhibition in London

zoesklepa.blogspot.com

Tracy Gaughan

Incubation

When winter comes stalking
it clings to the rib of a tree.
An abandoned nest. A heart.
A rejection of myself by myself.
After the wind, I find it rolled up
in the sleeve of night, in the leaves.
A solid deep cup of lichen, spider-silk,
a length of blue yarn I pull like a worm
from the earth; trace back to the secrecy
of myself. I wait blind and helpless.
In a few hours, I will spread my wings.

Tracy Gaughan‘s poetry and short fiction have featured in The Blue Nib, The Bangor Literary Journal, Spillwords, Pendemic, and others. She recently completed an MA in International Literatures. She lives in Galway.

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

Cul-de-Sac

Blue cucumbers pause at turnpikes.
They can’t waltz any farther; they can only
yodel their discontent.
My financial advisor told me he grasped
a meaning to this. Like using the best lives
to create a proper life
(or shall we go primordial?)

Newspapers’ advice is vice.
Newspapers’ advice is, At any voltage,
be luminous.
Sounds bingo but newspapers
are not very luminous either.
Where can we hide our limitless thinking
if not behind a wall? And what do walls separate
if not different kinds of madness?

We flatten clay to make more clay.
Then we create an alloy of a hound and a mound,
a genius of grey (who is he allied to?)
The frankness of the fractional. One brain
that fits all…
Blue cucumbers pause at turnpikes.
And it all begins again…

 

Lockdown

A tapestry of your fingerprints on the dreampane…
Existence stems from its end.
It teas like coffee, a limited edition
of a wave-crimp, a patented crib taunt.
This sternum of yours, a roadblock
against obloquy.

Today I wear quarantine grey.
The sun whistles a star-college song,
somebody gets stapled to his CV.
This smily hotel, its gaping wi-fi hotspots.
Bring me the mothball necklace
of credulous warnings.

Crystals of vision promenade with masks on.
A cemetery tune: the earth is at its roundest
under the cross. Children’s Crusade ends
under the sands.
Would you prefer a wall of music
or the music of the walls?

 

A Hand-Shaped Reality

A part-time memory cell says yo
Enter the rambunctious ocean

I once was a knife making plans for human flesh
Now I am an agricultural romantic
See my garrison eyes?

You can discover a small approximation of the world
in every pigeon hole
Even in a cashmere goat, as no one
is too big for his corral
Hand-shaping a reality
is like driving through the Sonoran Desert
on banana tyres
and then burning them for the smell

A hand and a heart
pastures of electricity
Say a beam of light pursues me
say it with the moon

 

A Collage Has a Thousand Mouths

Yes, we knew that cats have a dozen eyes, but we
    never heard about matchstick horseracing.
We knew that politicians are cathedrals, but we’ve
    only just learned that mouths prefer solitary walks.
Go talk to the scissorman,
    to sperm flamingos.
Flap your headwings; tell this caterpillar dog
    all about leg space.
Hide your target face
    among spiderflowers.

Shadow, thy name is symmetry.
Gravity is overstretched.
You may think
a collage is an octogenarian,
but, in fact, it’s an octopus.
It hides its ink.

 

Ship of Fools

Find a storm in the tree
the devil in the ribbon
Check if the bottom
still keeps the abyss at bay

Remember: you’re not the captain
you are the captain’s captive
Your soul, rank grass
your day, eyeblend

The mad sail flaps
with a delayed collapse
Have a glass of ice peas
watch the bible boat downsize

These weak men of winter
their red-alarm noses

Anatoly Kudryavitsky lives in Dublin, Ireland, and in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Between 2006 and 2009 he worked as a creative writing tutor for the Irish Writers’ Centre. His poems appear in Oxford Poetry, The Literary Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Prague Revue, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry, The Honest Ulsterman, Ink Sweat and Tears, Cyphers, The SHOp, Stride, Otoliths, etc. His latest (fifth) poetry collection is The Two-Headed Man and the Paper Life (MadHat Press, USA, 2019). His latest novel, The Flying Dutchman, has been published by Glagoslav Publications, England, in 2018. He is the editor of SurVision poetry magazine.


Caterina Stamou

lockdown poems



Caterina Stamou studied Cultural Management and English & American literature. She mostly enjoys writing when she sees it as a process of radical self-honesty and self-acceptance. She lives in Athens, Greece.

Daniel Whelan

Fiber Optic

Salaud! This system of gay abandon,
A crosshatch of switchblades and branded skin.
The gorgon eye does not choose at random,
Her silent witness, her fresh bloodless kin.

A crosshatch of switchblades and branded skin
Philtre Primavera in knotted sun.
Her silent witness, her fresh bloodless kin,
Molest the bandwidth wherein she is spun.

Filtered praestate in knotted sun,
Fucks through fiber optic, inviting those
Who molest the bandwidth, dopamine overrun,
To this rite of spring in binary clothes.

Look through fiber optic. Lo! I say. Lo!
Useless hagioscope, a useless cup.
In this rite of spring, binarily clothe,
The dogman finds he’s just run out of luck.

Covid Spring

Hard to place ourselves
‘tween the toilet paper diagnostic
Of the elderly dead,
Their pus-filled alveolar sacs
And the fecund feed.

Where the code’s made flesh
And the flesh made code.
Are you short of breath?
For the dope bell tolls.

While, talon upon branch,
The cherry blossom’s blooming bird
Sings
At the turn of this Covid Spring.

Chaps

Cock young house sparrows incessant
Bookend poor mademoiselle
With gross dimorphism.
Golden tresses and a colour fair
Bless this Alpine lake.
Mec, gros, ferme ta gueule, frère.

Carrion

Carrion crow
My carrion carcass
Hooded crow
Secrets understood
Jackdaw
Happily ever after
Magpie
The morning of the flood

Phoenix Park
For the lark
‘spite malignant Tuam
Same river
Never twice
Memory lost upon the loom

Daniel Whelan grew and developed as a musician and poet in the rural idylls of Southern Carlow, Ireland. In the foothills of Mount Leinster, he learned finger style guitar and developed his literary taste using the early 20th century as his portal. His writing style developed out of a stiff Catholic upbringing and an inherent desperation to outgrow its fettered approach to love, human nature and emotion. Now at a point of departure, he attempts, in poetry and song, to find a place for true human experience as the waves of the digital age encroach.

John Morgan



I am here at home in Bow Street, a village two miles from the west coast of Wales. As a visual poet, the call for Nest came as rapidly as the collapse of my design programmes caused by updating computer operating systems to cope with the communication needs of lockdown. “here” visualises the surrounding landscape and sudden silence through a face to face encounter with a badger, whose eyes I’d like to think trace the events of centuries past; an experience I can never hope to share in a world we are struggling and failing to understand. You can find plenty of other visual poems on my website to keep you busy in lockdown: http://users.aber.ac.uk/jpm/visual/words.html

Clara Burghelea

Quarantine love

I hear time trickle alongside walls, ghost
fingers prying through the yawning door,
a splotch of red in the tall grass. Lichen
buds sprout inside the creases of the mind.

The thawing of your hunger fills the cheek
of the blue tit, my eyelids parched with light,
no tongue to smooth away the strips of silence.
Days in fossilized amber, lactic acid surplus

in the hissing of the rested limbs. Lopsided
want cradled in small places – a scab, white
of the eyes, lips of blueberry, map of the face.
This earth is quick with moist cartilages.

Έρωτας σε καραντίνα

Μετάφραση ΔΗΜΗΤΡΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ

Ακούω τις σταγόνες του χρόνου έξω από τους τοίχους, φαντασματικά
δάχτυλα να ψαχουλεύουν την ορθάνοιχτη πόρτα,
μια κόκκινη σταγόνα στο ψηλό γρασίδι. Ανθισμένες
λειχήνες ξεπετάγονται στις σχισμές του μυαλού.

Η πείνα σου λιώνει καλύπτοντας το μάγουλο της
γαλάζιας ρόγας, οι βλεφαρίδες μου ξηραίνονται στο φως,
δεν υπάρχει γλώσσα να λειάνει τις λωρίδες της σιωπής.
Οι μέρες απολιθωμένο κεχριμπάρι, γαλακτικό καυστικό πλεόνασμα

στον συριστικό ήχο των λυμένων μελών. Η επιθυμία γέρνει
και λικνίζεται σε επιμέρους τόπους – την κρούστα μιας πληγής, το λευκό
των ματιών, χείλη από blueberry, τον χάρτη του προσώπου.
Αυτή η γη δεν καθυστερεί στους νωπούς χόνδρους.

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet with an MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. Recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, her poems and translations appeared in Ambit, HeadStuff, Waxwing, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Her collection The Flavor of The Other is scheduled for publication in 2020 with Dos Madres Press. She is the Translation/International Poetry Editor of The Blue Nib.

This is a poem inspired by a current piece of news: https://abc7news.com/entertainment/love-is-quarantine-lets-users-date-online-without-seeing-each-other/6032819/ and informs on what love might feel like during confinement or when one of the partners is in quarantine.