il me semble que je mange des souvenirs
as a boy, my head under
the fingers of the barber,
brilliantined, maroon jacketed,
clipping around my ears
with an accent undimmed
my mother’s hands, the nip
of scissors at my neck
sit still, sit still
a haircut i will hide
under a hat - how i miss
those silent shears
eyelids sagging beneath
her touch the finnish girl
shaves my head into a skull,
music pulses, young men
cluster in packs,
i emerge blunt as a fist
retreating to my sister,
she swaddles me in towels,
bleaches out another end,
colouring me into another man,
blondes she says
will have more fun
and then a frost, grey tinged
into my mother’s face
i must be getting old
i joke, looking into the mirror,
surprised, as if i expected
i’d last forever
who then this old man
you carry on your back
as if on a pilgrimage,
or treading a coffin road
that red face, weathered
like an old sea god, scowls
at the path travelled,
throws down sour prayers
the roadside drunks, who
know you well, tell you
it is your father, say it
is your self unmasked
what is a road, they ask,
that has only ending,
upon which the only
step is the next
you do not listen,
you bend under
your weight, walk
on, call it progress
Morgan Downie is an unreliable narrator with a deep mistrust of artist’s statements. he believes in the notion that at least one out of every six statements should be wilfully untrue. his is a chequered past involving poetry, short story writing, visual, installation and textile art, book making, sculpture and all points inbetween.
Read more about Morgan and his work here: https://morgandownie.com/
As if she was made of porcelain
the Virgin Mary
on the mantle
looking down upon us
with love and faith
pure who died of breast cancer.
Cup of Tea
As the photograph on the wall
love is what binds
perhaps I am the child
holding a silver pot
and pouring a cup of tea
for my mother
and she has been the same
and us in-between
as with a spoon along the
from the rim of life until the
the last drop.
Danny P. Barbare resides in the Upstate of the Carolinas. His poetry has appeared locally and abroad.
He attended Greenville Technical College. His poetry has won The Jim Gitting's Award and has been nominated for Best of the Net. While not writing poetry he works menial jobs here and there.
Letter in the Time of the Spanish Flu Pandemic
Greenleaf, Idaho, 1918
Dear Sister Mary,
We all are well except Neva and she is well as
could be expected under the circumstances.
The weather here of late has been rather squally.
a beautiful day today, however.
I hope you are well and happy.
I will be 36 years old my next birthday.
Our lives are slipping away. Do you
Remember when I boarded with you and Jim?
And you put up such nice lunches for me?
If I have a little girl I want her to be just like her
Aunt Mary. Do you remember the time I
kicked your kettle of pears all over the floor?
Now Mary let’s go up and see Ella and stay to supper
and have cake and tea and then after dark climb up
the old creaky stairs and look out of the little window
at the great big moon shining down thru the silver maples
and about then have to go home down the road along the trees
always afraid to look behind and yet afraid not to.
Say it feels like there is a ball of hot woolen yarn
sticking right in my throat. I believe I am more afraid
to look behind now Mary. So I try to look ahead to
something better and I do believe we can find it.
How does Jim like Idaho spuds?
Or did you get any yet?
Your loving brother,
Ward D. McArthur
For a New Grandson
Walking home from the hospital
I see a late-summer green-grass lawn
filled with rows of ornamental stones
displaying names—James, Martha, Annie.
To my new grandson Riley
born only a few hours ago
his first breath stunning me
I say—as surely as life comes
little one—I give you my love
a prism of flame bursting free.
Cemetery sprinklers shoot streams of
rainbows in red yellow green blue violet
dazzling the lazuli sky and promising
seasons as fleet as autumn in passing;
winter deaths no more than preludes
to spring’s melting snow, its rivulets
soon to sparkle down thawing foothills.
So Riley, far away in future days
when you walk along and see
such a grave as one of these
jeweled by a brilliant rainbow
listen for an echo of my love.
Be stunned with an ache of desire
to love your child with this same
fever of earthly passion flowing
as now when I shiver in sunlight
wrapped in a shroud of longing.