Bring the Boy Back Home

Image: © Eloïse Wenger

Author: Eloïse Wenger

I.

It’s on the bench seat of a coach that I emerge
Panting and looking around a green and red train
When suddenly I hear the grim sound of a dirge.

I raise my eyes and meet the shape of Kurt Cobain
He turns his head and from my mouth escapes a scream
For a huge hole over his ear displays his brain.

Shocked, he stares at me with his eyes blue as a stream.
Then jokingly he shrugs saying: ʻCome as you are!ʼ
Horror! It can’t be true! It can’t be but a dream!

ʻWell look at you!ʼ He tells me, taking his guitar.
At this moment, I witness the blood on my chest,
That vanishes ‘til there remains only a scar.

At this sight I cannot help but to feel oppressed.
I try to ask my fellow what all this meant,
But he doesn’t answer, seemingly not impressed.

On this pause the train leaves and we start our descent.

II.

It’s difficult to say how long we’ve been travelling.
The sky’s neither any colour nor truly dark
And he refuses to say where we are going.

But before losing any hope for a landmark,
The quiet wagon slows down and halts at a station
On a sign is written Crystal Palace Park.

Through my window I spot with mortification
On the platform half lying down on the cold ground
An old woman in a state of desperation.

She doesn’t move for it looks like her legs are bound
And as she keeps weeping like a beast you slaughter,
I see iron devouring her legs like a hound.

But now I recognize the face of the monster.
At least my father used to call this witch like this.
Next to me Kurt shouts with a smile: ʻHi, Mrs. Thatcher!ʼ

The train starts up, leaving her shade to the abyss.

III.

ʻIt’s strange to see we can pity someone like herʼ
I stay silent but he keeps talking to me:
ʻAre you afraid of the meaning of “forever”?ʼ

Existential questions are not my cup of tea.
But I can’t think about it for too long
As we stop again at a station called Horley.

After a while, I hear the echo of a song
I turn my head and notice on a bench a dude,
Whose success was a long time ago seen as strong.

But who has now for only listener solitude.
From his mouth I hear: ʻImagine there’s no heaven..ʼ
He is whispering it with such an attitude.

This man who was the voice of peace is now broken.
With his tired hands he cries covering his head
And from his nose his pair of glasses have fallen.

Why is this man there? This question fills me with dread.
I want to ask him so many things. I speak: ʻHey, sir..ʼ
But I feel the wheels beneath me moving ahead.

My wound starts bleeding again as my senses blur.

IV.

When I wake up again, my eyes are still bright red.
My fellow musician is looking for my gaze.
However, I prefer to ignore him instead.

The tears inside my mad being continue to raise
When suddenly I notice we have stopped again
Like petrified, I can’t pronounce a single phrase.

I choose to look after having counted to ten.
Haywards Heath… I think I know where we are going.
My thoughts are broken by the vision of two men.

One is holding a skull to which he is talking.
The other one, louder, is praying for mercy
His eyes are filled with terror as he is crying.

He yells: ʻMy God, my God, look not so fierce on me!ʼ
But it’s only when he shouts ʻCome not, Lucifer!ʼ
That the entire atmosphere becomes gloomy.

A second, maybe a year, then a great clamour.

V.

The noise is followed by the grinding of some gears.
Too late to fly, the train turns into a rocket.
Landscapes are running, whistles are drilling my ears.

If it goes on like that, I will need a bucket
Though my companion is not suffering like me,
Dreaming at the window, one hand in his pocket.

But the train eventually stops, setting me free.
The doors open and I violently rush outside
Where I now contemplate the beauty of a sea.

Appeased by the slow movement of the rising tide,
Small tears of joy drop and turn my vision to a blur.
After a while I notice Kurt has reached my side.

We stay still until I’ve wiped away the last tear.
ʻAre you happy with our final destination?ʼ
I nod seeing standing before us my dear Pier.

ʻBrighton..ʼ this word flies from my mouth like salvation.
ʻThe place I was born inʼ, ʻAnd where peace will find you.ʼ
His sentence is followed by new agitation.

ʻThere is so much my friend you still need to go throughʼ
Whistles fill my head again; the ground starts shaking.
ʻSee you Daniel!ʼ… ʻDaniel! Doctor! He made it through!ʼ

I feel the hand of my mum and hear her crying.


Tribute to Daniel McLean

“Grasp” & “Lost”

Author: M.W.

Grasp

please hold me,
i feel like moonlight, streaming through the gaps in your fingers,
light and glorious and not there at all.
like a figment of a stranger’s imagination,
i cannot grasp at myself.

Lost

She is lost
Out there in the fields
That go on forever never yielding
To the forests that used to cover everything.

She starts, she stops,
She walks without knowing
Why her eyes fill with tears
When she hears the larks sing.

About her pretty hair,
About her pretty eyes,
Crowned with thistles
She sings too
Sometimes.

London Life

Author: Anonymous

Piccadilly Pink

Let’s seek joy in the greyness
The pink flowers in the city
The touch of life in melancholy

Let’s change history
White men and their smugness
Their busts and what they express

Let’s find fiction
About balloons and butterflies
To alleviate our lives

Let’s dream till sunrise
Lulled by love and wine addiction
Forget about the restriction

Jail Tower

Jail Tower
Deep blue sky walls
But I can’t see the sky
Neither a single flower
Welcome to one of London’s students’ halls
Don’t be shy, come by!

Explore this amazing place
Which is my space
Meet the grey squirrels and black cats
Which wander around the flats
And dive into the bins
Roaming little dark djinns

Let’s go now to my cell
Where floats a musty smell
I open the window to get fresh air
A scent of smoke or weed climbs to me
Thanks to the lower smoker or junky

Alone in my costly 11 square metres
Trying to find light in this darkness
To push those frail heaters
To overcome my loneliness
I hear noises at night
Phone calls, hair dryer, but no one in sight

I feel like I live with ghosts
Dirty and noisy hosts
Don’t know what “to clean” means
Those porcine teens

When I can I escape
Go to nicer landscapes
Take the old Tube lines
Far away from these swines

I flee to the city
Where I enjoy university
Museums, restaurants and shows
And inside my heart, joy flows

But at night I need to come back
To my dear bivouac
In the last minutes of the Tube I get ready
Warm my ankles up
Hide my bosom under my shawl
Hope to not see a soul
And I get up
Breathe deep and exit through the night
Since then, I always made it without a fight

I’ll soon be home
In my beautiful Swiss dome
I’ll miss the musicals, cream teas, salsa, and my girls,
I really found some pearls
But I’ll smile at the airport
Cause I’ll be out of S****** Court!

Patience

Image: © “File:Chest.png” by No machine-readable author provided. Chikumaya assumed (based on copyright claims). is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, Source

Author: Sabine Weyermann

Autumn is installed,
I feel it in my lungs,
burning bronchi.
You don’t talk.

I’m heavily “dysregulated”, as they say,
stomach in knots, no more of this sweet,
fuzzy sensation of
honeyed warm milk I have
fostered in my belly, precious secret.

Your name, two comforting syllables,
or three, or four,
that I’ve known all my life,
slapping in the wind like
a mighty Greek standard, in several languages.

I repeat it like I could summon you,
and then whisper “Fuck you!”, of course meaning
something else, as if you were the culprit,
and not the innocent target of a disaster
that is mine, and mine only,
bursting, all guns blazing,
from my Amygdala.

Or is it?

Am I a burden?
sheltering your feelings, trying
to beat mine back into myself,
so tired of being the freakin’
cool girl, faking it.

As if I wasn’t fucking triggered.

When in fact I’m here, and all over your silence,
wide open to you, but biting my lips,
because your words
could rip my body apart,
not knowing if I have to let you go,
for my bloody own sake,
or to wait, wait, ignoring the urgency
to deliver that,

“I have so much of you in my heart”.

The Town And The Lake Prologue

Image: © Annegret Kammer, “Misty mornings at the lake”, Unsplash Licence, Source

Author: H.S


the town
the year Camille died

had the worst flood of the decade for the third year in a row
there was a black out for three days
I was in Uni at the time
and saw my childhood parks drown away
on the internet.

she was the same age as me
we used to tell each-other our dreams
one day she told me:

“The Lake,
I went thinking I saw someone drown,
but at the bottom I was knocked prone
and crushed by pressure.”

the day she died
she bolted upright in her bed
looked at the lake through the window
wide-eyed

“I swam out”
she said
and died.

Autumn

Author: Anonymous

Everything’s dying
And seems to mingle with the melancholy of my sweet soul.
In the depth of despair,
That the scenery captures –
I feel comforted by the found friend.
I am a character
In the Autumn performance.

Ode to Peeing Girls*

Image: © tedeytan, “Gender Neutral Bathroom Sign Baby Wale Restaurant DC”, CC BY-SA 2.0, source.

Author: Anonymous

Having a vulva is no easy thing.

Your urethra is close, 

No direction to bring,

Too skinny are the clothes,

It’s not easy to wing.

*For the purpose of this poem, this term describes people with a vulva. The author sends love and appreciation to all people with a vulva who aren’t girls and all people who are girls and don’t have a vulva. The author hopes to see more gender-neutral bathrooms in the future.

from The Truth

Image: © by Andres Stadelmann

Author: Andres Stadelmann

VI.
It was late August when I realized my Nonno was going to die
He had relapsed heavily
Never left unattended
And although we had not seen him for weeks
It was there, at the beach, that I crawled into my parents’ bed and cried with them
I was 11.
A week later we were back home with him
He barely inched out of his room
Limping towards the bathroom
And I, stuck, watching from the hallway
An image framed from a movie
(I’m still stuck there to this day)
The day he felt better we were told it was time to say goodbye
And we did
But the next day
Standing up on the toilet bowl
(My father had lifted me up
To hug me while he cried)
I started to imagine something special had happened during that last farewell
A final stroke on the cheek
A soft smile

It was only years later
When I saw him holding his own father’s hand
while we each took our turns in that room
He looked at me knowingly while I sobbed
And held the old man while he died
(He didn’t cry at the funeral)
It was there that I realized that it wasn’t a physical sign,
something we could hold on to
But that the dead always call out for us before they’ve died
They know nothing will fill that void
So they just tell us
Gently
Lovingly
Goodbye

XVI.
Every day that passes I look more like my father
This thing, I have struggled against it a lot
I’ve wanted to tear it away from me
Yet it’s always there
It comes out in spurts
Fierce and without warning
And then it stays
It marks me forever
And this thing consumes me
It erases years
Or rather it adds them
I think of that middle-aged man
Of all that he lived through
Of the sweat he shed
The blood
The semen
But for what?
And for whom?
I feel like I’ve already lived enough to be able to understand it
But not even cigarettes
Or fucking beer
Don’t change the facts
We have the same body
Made to renounce everything
To vent without regard
An anger that makes you sweat
Curse
Hate
Kill
And that child
Collateral
I erased his name

But it’s always children who know how to speak the truth
Like those clouds suspended in bursts in the blue sky
While the lightning behind thunders in silence

Société Anonyme

Author: Andres Stadelmann

There are many bridges in Paris
Rive gauche
Rive droite
But once you’re on them
On which side do you fall?
Towards the muck and towards the grass
Where they write out your name
Or perhaps to the decks
Where they punch the ground below
And to all those sleepers
Without pillows
Without dreams
Did you spill your old bottle caps
Did you use them as your dirt?

On the river two boats joust
While in the capital their anthem is screamed
And we looked as they streamed
Sometimes blue
Only green
But the little girl watched
As I took down their flag
And her uncles waddled away with their teeth all in flaps
Those old men know not to trust shady cameras
Yet for fame
Yet for glory
We could not keep our coats
But for love

The bridges in Paris cradle cars and lights
From the cold
From the rain
And in a small pint bar
We sit and rehearse
How to stumble and be still
But never to cry

I’m sad again
But that’s ok

The Lines

Author: RKC

Tomorrow I will write the lines
Write the lines that are perfect like a bullet in the afternoon
Lines to feed the air and keep me sane
To burn like a cigarette at the end of the day


Old lines have lost their taste
Been lost in my longings along with my memories


It’s only normal then,
That I should save myself
and pour me whole,
In empty scotch bottles and blank sheets of paper


Read my soul in these old lines
As I find my enemies
In these old bones

Legs

Author: RKC

The legs of a woman shouldn’t be pretty
How could they?
With all the burden of immoral and evil acts they have encountered and suffered?
With what they’ve seen and lived?
They shouldn’t have to carry all the weight they do
Their smiles shouldn’t still burn white
They have seen the worst of us and still take us to their heavens
They still believe in us
They shouldn’t make us better
They shouldn’t have to
They shouldn’t


And yet they do,
Effortlessly

Roxane’s Poems

Image: ©️ beauty_of_nature – Image modified by Roxane Kokka – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Roxane Kokka

Amores
An eruptive feeling invades my chest
As my head grows feverish
And my cheeks warmer than the sun’s kiss.
My pale skin turns into a scarlet shade
And I can feel the blood pumping twice as fast into my veins
All the way to my fingertips.
My jaws are sore from laughing
And my cheeks from smiling
My eyes are on the brink of tears
And each breath struggles to escape my lips.
How funny this feeling is,
This strange feeling of falling in love.

Woodpecker kisses
It all still feels surreal to me, like a dream
With your face bathing in the dim light’s gleam
And your eyes shimmering between your curls
While all of my senses rejoiced in twirls.
My entire body reminisces
All your electric woodpecker kisses,
While the lasting fragrance of your perfume
Makes my chest and memory feel in bloom.
And I can still taste your lips on my own,
As I can still hear the sound of your moan.
My skin keeps record of every inch
Your fingertips touched; not once did I flinch
For your presence restored much peace in me,
Erased feelings of fear from my memory,
And brought back to me a sense of harmony.

Kiss me
Kiss me ’til I can feel my lips no longer
Kiss me like you’ve kissed none other
Kiss me ’til my whole body is shaking
Kiss me ’til my lips are aching
Kiss me ’til the sun rises
Kiss me in all your disguises
Kiss me as though it were the last time you could
Kiss me the way you would in the deepest, darkest wood
Kiss me ’til my mouth bruises
Kiss me as though you were pulling ruses
Kiss me ’til my southern lips are wet
Kiss me ’til our souls have met.

Worms

Rainy Road

Image: © “Rainy Road” by Aelle (CC BY-NC 2.0.)

Author: Katharina Schwarck

“Worms” is a response to Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie’s ecopoetry that I wrote for a class on ecopoetics in Spring 2020. It is mostly inspired by her poem “The Spider” which struck me because it renders its true value to a spider, a generally strongly disliked being. It addresses the spider’s importance in the animal kingdom and humans’ unjust aversion against the arachnid (Jamie, 175). “Worms” follows the same dynamic of calling out wrongful antipathy and disgust. The piece deals with a young girl who, as opposed to her peers, is not repulsed by the worms but rather considers them her friends, more so than her fellow humans. I chose to play with pronouns; I employ several occurrences of “they” and “she”. On one hand, this opposes the young girl and her peers, from whom she feels distant. On the other hand, “they” is used for both worms and humans, eliminating their difference and bringing them onto the same level. The girl picks up the worms and tries to protect them, while the other children cry of disgust. She is angry. They step on the worms for the sole reason of being greater in size. She calls them out. The fifth stanza of the first visual shape is a reference to WB Yeats’ Chambermaid songs, the first one of which compares a human being to a worm

God’s love has hidden him
Out of all harm,
Pleasure has made him
Weak as a worm. (Yeats, 307)

I have reversed the simile in the last line and made mankind itself the vehicle of the trope. Humans do not become as weak as worms: for their contempt, they become as weak as themselves. The sixth stanza alludes to Goethe’s “Heidenröslein”, a metaphor for rejected love. A young boy espies a red rose on a heath and finds her so beautiful as to break her. The rose stings him in return, in vain, because she remains, however, broken (Goethe, 307). I find this image oh so representative of many plant and animal deaths, be it roses or bees or ants. The defence mechanism does not suffice against humans who are much more sizable than their fellow species. Consequently, humans need to take even more precautions to recognise and sustain other beings. I have juxtaposed the worms and the heathrose by making my poem “shud” the flower’s pain, giving the worms strength and protecting them from heathrose’s fate. The second visual worm takes the poem back from Goethe’s time to modern day. The worms still come out in rain, expecting no harm. In this stanza, a car kills the annelids, which echoes with Jamie’s “Frogs” (Jamie, 133). I have inserted internal rhymes in these lines; “flood”, “up”, “guts”. They contain plosive sounds which highlight the violence of the content dealt with in the stanza. This intention of drawing in one’s mind mirrors human blindness towards ecological or ethical issues. They are unmistakable, and yet, humanity often fails to pay attention to them. In the last stanza of the poem, the young girl is grown up. To mark this change, I have changed the preposition preceding the pronoun “as she” into “when she”. She still sees the worms, her old friends, and when her eyes meet their suffering, she still cries out.


Works cited:
– Goethe, Johann W. v. “Heidenröslein”. Goethe’s Schriften: Achter Band, Georg Johann Göschen, 1789, pp.105-106
– Jamie, Kathleen. Selected Poems, Picador, 2018
– Yeats, William B. “The Chambermaid’s First Song”. The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats: Volume I: The Poems, 2nd Edition, Simon and Schuster, 1997, p.307

Star-crossed Flowers

daffodil muse

Image: © ELLE

Author: ELLE

Oh, to be born a daffodil,
An emerging seed of sundust
Waking from a numbing sleep
Reaching, slowly, the promises of the surface
Gently crackling the thin iced reminiscence of a silent winter.

The silky honey-coloured petals
Gracefully introducing the son of Céphise
To the distant sound of foreseen decay
For Narcissus’ reflection can only last for so long
Under the sky of spring.

*

Oh, to grow under the name of a rose,
Cursed symbol of serendipity;
Bound to hear the countless selfish soliloquies
Premises to dissatisfied infatuation.
Forced to see the solitude glowing in eyes that once knew love.

Does dusk know that dawn exists?
For the rose surely is unaware of the adversity of winter
And the daffodil is ignorant of the pain of thorns
And yet, –

Instructions on how to forget me

Author: Mel A. Riverwood

Some people never hear the silence talk.

But to me, it screams, with every tick of the clock,

It says I will die, though I already know,

And tells me someday I won’t feel anymore;

What could that feel like, to not feel?

Do the dead still live?

I know I am young, I should not have such thoughts,

‘Forget, forget,’ they say, ‘forget time and laugh!’

But I feel death, and her hands are so cold;

They freeze all my dreams and everything I long for

And hold in their palms all the fear that I hold.

I wish to see spring and hear birdsong forevermore;

But the taste of the end is ever so near,

So I beg of you, blue and green mother, don’t let me disappear.

How I wish the whole world sang my humble refrain;

I knew not that hope came with such shattering pain.

I would give it all, but my words, just for a little more

Time and to live and live and live and live,

And encore;

Forevermore.

I am selfish and lonely, I am childish and afraid;

I would watch the world fade if it meant that I stayed.

Please, someone tell me, just tell me, where do we go?

Where do we go?

Where do we go?

WHERE DO WE GO?

Where do we go once we feel no more?

What are we then? How do we exist?

Please, someone tell me we have much more than this.

I will always know this fear that steals my thin breath,

But begging time for mercy will not work on death.

So please, remember me, for as long as you can,

But if the world is to forget, then let me fade as I am:

When my ink-stained fingers will be writing no more,

Bury me in a forest and bury me on the shore;

For I cannot die where I cannot hear the sea,

And I cannot live where the blackbirds don’t sing.

But when you inearth me, please keep my hair

And burn it, then scatter it in the air.

So with my body to soil and water, and my locks through fire to wind,

I may finally be everything.

‘What of thy mind?’ you may ask;

‘For her,’ say I, ‘you have no task.

Wake up with the sun and listen to the birds,

Sing with the rivers and read all my words.

Then you will know her, remember her,

And that is all that I long for.’

I still wish I could stay just a little bit longer.

But I feel that my death has started to saunter;

She will take her time, as I will take mine,

As two sides of a coin that will be paid to time.

And when we will meet, I know my fear won’t have faded,

But I’ll kiss my death with all the love I’ll have created.

This is my wish. Farewell, my friend;

I may be years in advance, or this may be the end.

And when you, too, will be stepping in the darkest light,

Come find me “where the dreamers dream and the others go to die.” 1


from the song Bye Bye by Low Roar, which has helped a lot in the writing of this poem.