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I, Reprised

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My own words marred by perilous thoughts of a more sensible journey, purple sun, you’re color blind. The words of a stranger tear apart two more. I bear witness to my own departure; the only one left sitting in the pew – service ending abruptly, four years and four months ago if the date matters more to you now than it did then.

I, brittle, my words a reflection, cannot fill a page. When I do the verses flicker in and out of sight, thinner than the paper I press the ink into, bleeding into my skin more than it should.

I, tired, my thoughts a reflection, cannot starve these hands any further for fear of lack of grip. When I tie my shoes it takes longer than my excuses can bear, shaky fingers threading silk into an apology.

Lately I’ve been spending my days learning to unlearn the thoughts I accepted as a gift, wrapped tightly in your arms, if I run my feet follow ten steps behind, I love you like a run-on sentence. 

- Cassandra Dana

in the distance

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Preamble: This reverie manifested from an experience of going to the countryside after months of living in the city. It is an attempt to express the perceptual encounter with the surrounding rural landscape and the horizon line.

In the distance

the snow lifting in pieces cutting your view into arrangements

in the rear view

the faint country house slides off

 

Behind the fence and down the faded tire tracked residue of a laneway

you notice the long-passed obstacle of something undone

 

The snowcapped trees

perpendicular, horizontal, curvature

 

In that faint house

out in the middle of somewhere

the centerpiece with smoke rising melts the top of a snow stacked roof

while warm bodies hide in the womb

 

Underneath the bent pine

in the middle of somewhere

almost nowhere

 

And every passed snow trekked trail, rusted down car, dilapidated barn

every animal track and barred up window and door

an imprint

 

She won’t give it up though

her mystery

not today, not any night

her “children” watch you trying to watch them

you are just too fixed on this being somewhere and not just anywhere

 

The taillights winding down, fading with your imagination

you wander down the snow road wondering

who else would wake to this?

 

In the distance

you fade out with it.

Photo by @inthedistance

parc butte chaumont

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I asked if I could take one more ride on his moto,

But he is wiser than me,

He said it’d make things harder,

And politely said “non”.

 

I arrived in Paris a week ago,

A year since my last stay,

I tried to hide my presence,

It proved too difficult,

Especially at Parc Butte Chaumont.

 

I saw the bench and paths we shared,

Then I laid down to enjoy the sun,

I gently cried despite weather,

This time and place last year,

It was our first afternoon together.

 

My tears signalled that I must disclose,

I kept looking for Geoffrey in the flows,

And at night – in the Parisian clubs,

I searched for his eyes on my tiptoes.

 

I hoped to accidentally see him on the road,

Like the day I saw him near Arpège,

I worried of rejection if I called,

But I grew impatient on May 28th,

At 10:00pm I left a message at the tone.

 

 

He responded promptly,

He was in Normandy,

And would arrive in Paris late at night,

At 3:00am I’d be at rue de Panama,

By 6:00am he’d be holding me tight.

 

We shared our news and laughed lightly,

He’s been working the gardens,

But like a seesaw,

Simple news turned into emotion,

And longing forced laughs to withdraw.

 

The mood becomes sombre,

Our tea turned into something stronger,

We sipped gin and our eyes began to wander,

I asked him not to disappear,

Time could not stop my heart from growing fonder.

 

The windows in Geoffrey’s flat began to brighten,

He asked to hold me before I go,

My heart raced like engine of his moto,

I knew it’s best not to kiss him,

But I felt weak like a shadow.

 

I tried once and he said it’d make things harder,

Still I felt his hands on my legs and face,

Within minutes it was over,

I shed my final tears on his shoulder,

It was time for me to go.

- Natasha Bazilev

Photo by Nick Norstrom

gifts

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I don't want roses

I don't want your department-store affections

your sickly-sweet scent

I don't want to stab the pads of my fingers

on the thorns you forgot to remove

I don't want roses

you've cut from their sister-blooms

and left for dead in shallow water

 

I want you

to give me wisterias vines

that I may brush aside their pastel-soft tales

from the windows of your inherited home

and peek inside

 

I want you

to plant a dream-big seed

dig your fingers into damp earth

sift through the stones and the worms

I want to see your nails trimmed black

as you tease hair-soft roots loose

into a cradle of earth

 

I want you

to tend to a spear-tall ash

we can shelter  

then be sheltered under

where we can sacrifice our fears,

our blind eyes for wisdom

 

I want you

to make mulch from eggshells

to grind bones into bread for a cypress

that will grow however it wants

over the names we leave fading

on our graves

 

I don't want roses

wrapped in ink-fresh paper

please anything but them

 

I want you

to give me something new

in wrinkle-crinkle pages

from your diary

 

I don't want roses

I want you

- chris DINGLEY

fold

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We hide rebels under wood, and beware

of tales, watermelon trees rooted in bile.

Who can tell if we’re crying or praying.

We turn our faces into the sun. There's nothing

left to look at, so I recreate a face print in the mud,

clear crumbs from my bed sheets,

and never buy crackers again.


It’s ineffective. The glare

makes it obvious. Fold your hands.

Swallow the seeds. Feel death,

but in this way: poured

over firmly potted orchids.

- Conyer Clayton

Photo by Izzy BG

an evening at manor farm

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I yearn for the days when we fought the wrong

Our words remained unsaid instead of remaining our fear

Everything we say can be used against us

Yet, nobody stands up, even though we're not sitting down

 

The lights are fading on the brightest lamp

Back in the day we fought

Stone walls built, we have no ammo

Our artillery invisible, we make it okay

 

Take a picture they say, when the moment's memorable

Take a selfie they say, when they're trying to be like the kids

The soccer moms join and jump at the trend

The death of the meme was a prolonging success

Big brother is watching them all

 

Yet people we've never met know our secrets

Our fears, our hopes

The terrible truth becomes ignored


- K.P. Duke

 

Photo by: Patrick Kidney

sternum

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i have a chest full of ashes and starlight

i keep corners of it full

so i might have to spare some

when my mother tries to clean me out

i like to ache, thick in the center of my backbone

maybe masochism is the only cure for chronic pain

somewhere lost in chaffed flesh

i used to have a heart

 

-Sun Rey

Breath

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The breath will swallow you,

surround you in a misty cloak.

 

Your vision will blur like a kaleidoscope

with colours frantically changing.

The red will emerge into water,

like smoke dancing in air.

Silence will shower the atmosphere while time ceases,

all while the world takes a ride on a carousel.

And a silent scream will seep

from a face as straight as black.

 

 

- Cosette Vandenberg

When you ask me where i’m from

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i know nothing of a state

i know only of my roots

i know nothing of nationalism

i know only of family

 

so when you ask me where i’m from

i will say

my parents

their bodies are where i was created 

 

where i first lived

and where my heart lives

- Claudia Vergara

Kerosene Lake

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We stood on the banks of a kerosene lake, and both harboured the feeling to fly

You said, "I don't know how, I'm rooted tight to the ground; but I'll follow if you touch the sky"

Using the feathers you gave me I soared through the Light, only to see that my wings were in patches

As I was dashed on the waves, I reverted my gaze, to see you trembling on the shore lighting matches...

But I do not blame you, for I've been on that shore, and I've been so terrified I wanted to burn

Though the flames are enticing, this body's meant to be gliding and I wonder when it comes to my turn

 

Underneath

 

How good it feels

To breathe new air

Underneath

This widening sky

- Jonathan Marshall

Rwanda

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I’m from the land where dreams

Never go to die

The land where folks never give up

 

Rwanda is a history of trial and tribulation

 

When we talk about our families

We talk about warriors, mothers and neighbours

Who sacrificed their lives

 

So no weapon formed against me shall prosper

For my mother is my keeper

My sisters are my armour

And I will feed the hands of your father

If the devil comes knocking at our door

- Stephane Mukunzi 

Tilt

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Bells clashing in unison

bid the ships to sail

free to dance on the surface

of waves pumping like blood

through veins

bound like tight ropes

high

with hopes

of the ladies in red

who possess but one wish:

to remain true

to their promise

 

never to sink.

- Cosette Vandenberg

 

(June 16 2015)

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