The Attendant Circumstances by Robert Farrell

I.

So spoke the Son. The paraclete
was author of his own conception,
and with his own hand
fashioned human attire
for the one who descended in secret
into a virgin’s womb
through closed gates; and went forth
from that virgin’s womb, again
through closed gates.
A marvelous thing every way:
the whole progress of his life.
In him the enemy found
nothing to claim as his own.
Yet he attacked
a being not his; condemning him;
condemned
by him, he condemned him
to the death
of the cross.

II.

Now, the method of procedure
is this: first, bring together in your mind
all the grammatical forms; next,
choose the most effective one – that case through which
meaning enters the ear
most delightfully.
A discerning judge
must be at work here; he must see
with discernment.
To be discerning, you need
both theory and practice. Precept
may be clarified here
by example;
take the following brief theme:
I  a m  g r i e v i n g  over this matter.
Now apply the principle just established:
From this fountain g r i e f  flows over me. Hence
the root (or the seed, or the fount, or the source)
o f  g r i e f rises within me. This affair
is matter and cause f o r  g r i e f. It sows
(or gives birth to, or piles up) g r i e f.
With cruel wounds, tormenting
g r i e f, you rage against me. My mind,
as it were, lies prostrate, injured and ill
wi t h  g r i e f.

Source text: “Part IV: Ornaments of Style” of the Poetria Nova of Geoffrey of Vinsauf translated by Margaret F. Nims (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies: 1967)

Robert Farrell lives and works. He was born and educated. His poems have appeared. More about him can be found.

Christmas Carol Haiku Triptych & one other by Kern Windraith

Christmas Carol Haiku Triptych

Snow deep, brightly moon,
Wind blows my heart, winter’s rage
Coldly possessing.

No crib, sweet head. Stars
On the hay. No crying, stay.
Love me, dear heaven.

Season, be jolly!
Blazing harp, merry treasure.
Old passes. Sing all.

Source texts: “Good King Wenceslas”, “Away in a Manger”, “Deck the Halls”.

 

Artificial Tree Assembly Instructions
or Insanity Ensued

Tips:

Assemble
Contents from box.
Choose bags of hinge pins
And washers. Inspect frayed wire,
Cracks in lightholders. Identify sections.
Specific instructions: consult pamphlet. Hangtag
letter or number. Additional Instructions: Flap free,
Legs X-shaped. Tighten eyebolt through the flange. Stand.
Continue from the ground up. Fall into place gently
Within the tree.

Source text: “Assembly, Use, and Care Instructions for your Balsam Hill™ Christmas Tree”, balsamhill.com

Kern Windwraith lives in the once rainy city of Vancouver, British Columbia, where she writes poetry and fiction and waits for the dust bunnies to become animate and start looking after the housework. Her poetry has been published in The Literary Hatchet.

Christmas Truce & one other by M. L. Brown

Christmas Truce

candles

on their trenches

small gifts        breathing

burial parties

both sides        dead together

both sides

gathered
call ed.
Source text: Wikipedia Entry for “Christmas Eve”, segment 5.1, Christmas Truce.

 

[Stille Nacht]

1914
candles on trenches    trees

two sides          shout Christmas
thereafter

war

 

Source text: Wikipedia Entry for “Christmas Eve”, segment 5.1, Christmas Truce.

M. L. Brown is the author of Drought, winner of the Claudia Emerson Poetry Chapbook Award, forthcoming from jmww in the fall of 2015. Her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies including Blackbird, PMS, and Not Somewhere Else, But Here: a Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place. Formerly a grass-roots organizer, M. L. Brown devotes her time, when not working on her poetry, to raising funds for a nonprofit health care clinic.

Yarn by Gareth Writer-Davies

our decorations were glass
but a wagging tail
shattered them

and brought down the tree

so with needles
you wove a Noble Fir

and with hooks
crocheted soft unbreaking baubles

a lovely tree
that may be bent
but never broken

Source text: www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Balls-Knit-Colourful-Ornaments/dp/1844487814

Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition. He was also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014. His pamphlet, “Bodies”, was published this year through Indigo Dreams.

This poem was previously published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Christmas 2014.

Cartoons by Bupinder Singh Fidoic

Cartoons are easy,
To mock
Create one yourself.
An activist in sex trafficking,
Or two countries at Odds
For your consideration,
A free tote bag.
In conversation with Trump
At the house of Nightmares.
To mock.
Cartoons are easy.

Source text: A combination of New Yorker webpage headlines.

Bupinder Singh Fidoic, a resident of North India, is a Teacher by profession. He writes short stories and poems when at leisure. His previous work has appeared in in The Week, Longreads, The Big Roundtable, and international journals and magazines.

The Most Atrocious Crimes by Kelly Dumar

A Black and White Erasure, for Paris

Kelly Dumar Erasure

The Most Atrocious Crimes
Prayer is
peace and truth
in my wonder.
The true soul
is a free and noble spirit
to rise into the mystery of life
and hold the source
of pure and enduring light.

Source text: J.L. Spalding, “Opportunity,” 1990

Kelly DuMar is a poet, playwright and workshop facilitator from the Boston area. Her poems are published in many literary magazines, including Lumina Online, Corium, and Cape Cod Review, and her award-winning poetry chapbook, “All These Cures,” was published by Lit House Press in 2014. Her award winning plays have been produced around the US and Canada, and are published by dramatic publishers. Kelly founded and produces the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its 10th year. She serves on the boards & faculties of The International Women’s Writing Guild, and the Transformative Language Arts Network.

Before the Invasion & one other by Shane Cashman

Before the Invasion

Welcome to 2014
sitting on YouTube all day
where you might explode

Before the invasion
I watched a few documentaries
I studied all religions

Before the invasion
I am an atheist
Knock on the roof
Give us money or die
Ruthless dogs

Before the invasion
Lift a hand to help them
Take them to your neighborhood

Before the invasion
the best joke I’ve heard all day
where a cannibal walks into a butchery looking for a human brain

Before the invasion
Throw yourself from a window
Swim like hell back to Germany
Go explode

Before the invasion
Cannibal parade
sadness for idiots
blood pouring right out into the huge city by the sea

Before the invasion
I studied all religions
I studied a cannibal in your neighborhood
Winning their hearts

Before the invasion
I would die for 10 gold chains
Give us money or die

Before the invasion
figure out how to rule a country
run by children plotting to kill each other
Why would god even create the universe?
Before the invasion

Before the invasion
long live a better world
long live that little cat sleeping in the miniature house garden
turned into a rollercoaster park or a parking lot or a nuclear weapons testing site

 

Before the invasion
I’d get beheaded
I wouldn’t last 15 minutes

Before the invasion
Good luck with all that shit

Source text: Youtube comments from Vice’s “Crime and Punishment in the Gaza Strip” uploaded 07/10/2012

Sadie Doesn’t Want Her Brother To Grow Up

I don’t wanna die wearing a princess dress
I don’t wanna die in the morning news
I don’t wanna die so grown up
I don’t wanna die hunting bears with my bare hand
I don’t wanna die a sweet little girl
I don’t wanna die in a boxing ring
I don’t wanna die with ur bullshit of blabla
I don’t wanna die a drama queen
I don’t wanna die with taxes
I don’t wanna die viral
I don’t wanna die a heartless moron
I don’t wanna die in line at the grocery store
I don’t wanna die when I’m a hundred
I don’t wanna die on Youtube

Nevermind
That’s normal

Source text: Youtube comments from “Sadie Doesn’t Want Her Brother To Grow Up (Original)” uploaded 07/28/2014

Shane Cashman‘s writing has appeared in the New York Observer, PEN Center USA, Word Riot, Neutrons Protons, and elsewhere. In 2015, he was the winner of the PEN Center USA 500-word short story contest judged by Amelia Gray.

An August Without Stars by Grace Black

Understand, I’ll slip
Till my thighs are steeped in
A single thought
For the lonesome

May I write words more naked than flesh
Between those black lines of print
Between Solstice and Equinox,
And now I live in a gallery of seduction

I am beating all my wings
To put off the well of darkness
We would enjoy each other, happiness and I, but
There is a space in this heart that will never be filled—

Source text: This Cento is built with with lines from: Rilke, Cummings, Keats, Sandburg, Sappho, Plath, Neurda, Jonny Ox, Sexton, Woolf, Mia Hollow, Bukowski, in order of appearance.

Grace Black is just another writer wearing down lead and running out of ink, one line at a time. Coffee refuels her when sleep has not been kind. Grace writes poetry and flash fiction and has been published in various journals online and in print. Her first collection of poetry Three Lines: All That’s Left is available on Amazon, at www.amazon.com/Three-Lines-All-Thats-Left/dp/1511560312/, and more of her writing can be found on her website: graceblackwrites.com

Loomings & one other by Nolan Liebert

loomings

I thought I would have circulation,
involuntarily, methodically knocking –
striving, pacing, bound,
all magnetic, in the great American desert,
wedded for ever to the landscape,
a hollow trunk, a crucifix within,
a vibration.

I say I am the sea,
I do not mean I have salt or glory.

For my part,
the archangel Gabriel is content
we consign ourselves to perdition:

I should now take it into my head
to go on a voyage,
part of the grand Providence
drawn up long ago –
wild and distant perils,
marvels, wonder,
like a hill in the air.

Source text: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick chapter 1.

cetology

Already we are boldly lost,
unshored, harbourless.

The Leviathan is appreciative
of exhibition, chaos.

“Utter confusion exists among the historians
of our research in unfathomable waters.”

“Impenetrable veil of incomplete indications
to torture us.”

Speak the great anatomy, real,
the science of whales and men –

what purpose have names
upon the throne!

I promise nothing
because to be complete must be a fault.

I am the architect,
not the builder.

It is a ponderous task
to grope down to the bottom of the sea,

to have one’s hands among the foundations,
ribs, and the very pelvis of the world.

I have swam with these visible hands,
and I will try.

I call upon holy Jonah to pretend
to see a difference between a monster and his name.

This uncertain fugitive, I know personally.
I shall be blessed –

full of Leviathanism,
but signifying nothing.

Finally:
I have kept my word.

I leave unfinished. God keep me
from ever completing anything.

Source text: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick chapter 32.

Nolan Liebert hails from the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he lives with his wife and children in a house, not a covered wagon. His literary experiments are scattered in places such as Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, freeze frame fiction, and Plasma Frequency, with work forthcoming in An Alphabet of Embers (Stone Bird Press) and My Cruel Invention (Meerkat Press). You can find him editing Pidgeonholes or on twitter @nliebert.

In Autumn & one other by Kate Garrett

In Autumn

trust descending, I wriggle
beneath the radiation

behind a star intersected
by the earth

truth will disfigure the walls,
wipe out dishonour

with atomic hypotheses
from their eyes

through the labyrinth
despair, sparkling pure,

clutches vapours
delights my blood

don’t name the day
of my anxiety

their pleasant world
remained unchanged

Source Texts:
Victory Unintentional by Isaac Asimov (in The Complete Robot)
Things Behind the Sun by Nick Drake (from the album Pink Moon)
The Burrow by Franz Kafka (in Metamorphosis and Other Stories)

Cacophony

The humble dreamer, wounded unto death
by elves of a malicious disposition, knew
there was wizardry in it, but did not fear.

She came in through a knot-hole in the wall
in the small village where I was born, sunbeams
bursting through the gloom of the forest

like the songs of Bohemia – I have heard
them singing their fairy songs. Go, and beware:
dance into the next country, the train will soon

be leaving. Memory-fragments cling to me
like a madman, this dizziness resulting in nausea,
thrown off the rails. Don’t try to understand.

Source Texts:
Modern Man in Search of a Soul (Chapter I: Dream-Analysis in its Practical Application) by CG Jung
The Forest in Folklore and Mythology (Chapter V: Mythical Denizens) by Alexander Porteous

Kate Garrett writes poetry and flash fiction, and edits other people’s poetry and flash fiction. In real life she lives in Sheffield, England, and lives here on the web: www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

Love’s Plagiarist: a found sonnet by Liùsaidh

Let not my love be called idolatry,
Love is my sin, that my dear virtue hates:
His eyes I love, yet they do pity me.
Should God forbid, that made me first his slave?

How careful was I when I took my way?
What potions hath he drunk of siren tears?
I ne’re survived that well-contented day,
When his soul check’d me, that I came so near!

Who will my verse believe in time to come?
For as this careful housewife runs to catch
Him, who hath the pow’r to hurt and will do none.
Lord of my love. I serve in vassalage!

Sweet love, renew thy force, be it not said
That spent with toil, I faltered in thy bed.
Source text: All lines in this sonnet have been adapted from the index of first lines of a volume Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Liùsaidh is a poet and author from the West of Scotland. Writing from a crack-ridden council estate, the poems are always strange. You can find them online and in print, most recently in Unlost Journal, and The Ghazal Page.

 

Quest by Anne Lawrence Bradshaw

Take the narrow road
to the deep North,
where Greenlanders guard
a magic mountain
in a thousand acres
of their lost world.
Dark places hide here,
memories
where things fall apart.
Never forget: you
are the outsider.
Set aside any great
expectations
of walking home
a hero, as if
Homer’s Odyssey
were some inherent vice
or true vocation
mapped out
like an alchemist’s spell
you must follow.
You are leaving
human traces
paring down
your earthly possessions
in pursuit of
all the powerful,
invisible things.
In the heart of darkness
you will find your awakening
and the red shift of dawn
will lift birdsong,
sudden and unexpected,
through the sky’s
painted veil.

Source text: A selection of titles from the author’s bookshelf.

Anne Lawrence Bradshaw graduated in English Literature in 2013, returning to study after a twenty year hiatus. Her work has been recently published in Orbis, Acumen and Artemis (UK literary magazines) and several ezines. She is Writer Liaison at Ember (emberjournal.org/) and lives in Northumbria with one husband and 2.4 children. Occasional tweets emerge from @shrewdbanana but she’s usually too busy watching the grass grow.

Without Roof (remix) & one other by H.G. Heath

Without Roof (remix) ft. Kinereth Gensler

Two white ducks at nightfall
She gets halfway across a bridge
and turns back.

What will be brought for you?
Eve’s fruit-guilt.
She is pushing off
to the playground with her feet,
swinging up on her bike.

So, imperceptibly, we come to the end of loving
the grape vines are bare,
no figs or date palms grow,
the world distorts
turns flat
upon reentry

Huddled on this far shore
we salute
your fortuitous drowning.

Source text: Kinereth Gensler, Without Roof (Cambridge: Alice James, 1981)

Out of the Rain (remix) ft. Glyn Maxwell

who waits in oaks
and ashes for that time when with my eyes
hurt on a text, I watch exactly what I want to watch
From by this swimming pool, the World
Unity Organisation

Workers squat and bandage, knot, explain,
or build, out of shot.

So just
guess what I saw: not the dust
or the wide jammed road, not that.

We are underwater here, the cold
Progressors from elsewhere,
with hurt mothers, the elderly and me here.
But hell, we have each other, and the beer.

Source text: Glyn Maxwell, Out of the Rain (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1992)

H.G. Heath is a remix poet from Pennsylvania. His work has been featured in several periodicals, and his debut collection of poetry “m o p e: a Remix of Frank O’Hara” will be released this fall from a…p press.

Heady Legends by Kayla Allen

The sun has begun its downward plunge
toward the bay’s far
shore, and golden twilight is unquestionably
for lovers—you with blackberry smoke
in immature lungs, me with frosted pink lipstick.
We’ll drink to that paradise blue, that moon for
the misbegotten. There are second acts;
wherever you go, my mythical
figure, don’t go too far off.

Source Text: Amtrack Arrive, July/August 2015

Kayla Allen is a senior at Northeastern University pursuing her BA and MA in English with minors in history and musical theatre. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of 308 Press.