Friendship Gate

Why’d you shut the gate that you’ve left open

For us; for weeks, so that we might, with luck,

Obtain a plot where we’ll tend the broken,

Crushed, once thriving in your Garden of Trust?

 

Iridescent, precious, it might have been,

Plied with ebullient sapphire tulips;

The trees we planted would be evergreen,

Would not drop their disguises with vile quips.

 

Though the front gate is locked, the back may yield

With time and tact and rich internal tears;

Perhaps you’ll nurture, yourself, the razed field

Then welcome us inside with absent fears.

 

 

A.N. I was thinking about how, after around a month at university, people have begun to shut the gates to friendship. Suddenly strangers don’t meet you with smiles and greetings but blankness and silence. I wondered if, for some, there might be a deeper reason for this.

 

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Plane Mirror

I ask myself why I

Search and besmirch with my finger

The unreal glass of a

Plane, inane, inhumane

Mirror. Was this my idea?

For you’re the critic of

The intangible surface of a

Virtual (Impermeable)

Image with its emotions that scrimmage

Across the toss of

Features of an imperfect creature that

Form the Impressionist storm of my

Face. A disgrace to symmetry; the

Reflection that needs your protection

From other imaginary wrongs

Which you and they and I bitch about

When we see them

Through the rough-hewed retinas that

Conceive a perceived facet of a

Being that has, in truly seeing,

Yet to be set

‘Right’ by an equally trite

Visual cortex. A self-induced hex to

Enable philautia to stay stable

Beyond infancy.

 

A.N. This piece is meant to reflect on the scrutiny that so many of us put ourselves under when we look in the mirror. We want what we see to be pleasing to others or even just ourselves but we are already tainted by society expectations of what ‘pleasing is’.

 

Night Light

There is a

light bulb inside

my head that stubbornly flickers

on and off; on and off; on and

off,

creating an unsatisfying half-sleep

– a no-man’s land –

some way between consciousness and unconsciousness.

All of my worries and wants for the future reside there,

crackling electrical currents that conjure both

a beacon of hope

and a garish

warning

signal.

 

A.N. I wrote this poem at about 2AM on a Tuesday morning. I couldn’t sleep and thought writing might be a solution to that, seeing as it would help to empty the contents of my buzzing brain. As it so happens, writing this poem didn’t solve my sleep issue, though I did get a decent piece out of the situation.

Aside

Body Hair: An Endangered Species

Sharp blades of silky obsidian grass

Poking up from pinches of ochre soil;

Luxuriant undergrowth – twisting coils

That of undesirables block. The. Path.

 

Wispy, transparent dandelion seeds

Strewn across a rough and earthy terrain;

Dark mossy barks that grow slick in the rain

And glint like stars in the sun’s lucent beam.

 

Tell me. Why would you ever desire to

Burn or scythe or mow or pluck out any

Of the shrubs that bore this charming garden?

 

Perhaps it had never occurred to you

That it was not there to please the many;

Only those who can fathom its allure.

 

A.N. This Petrarchan sonnet was inspired by Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey as well as my own experiences of the way in which body hair, especially female body hair, is perceived by society. I can’t help but notice that, despite the increasing acceptance of things that were previously considered disgusting and abnormal like being a member of the LGBT+ community or someone who is larger than usual, hirsutism and even common patterns of body hair remain neglected by the liberal-minded. As part of my own journey to self-love, I believe that it is important to accept my body in its natural state, and realising the beauty of that which society deems unbeautiful is one change of mind-set that will help me on my way.

Feminine Markings

Rose, chestnut, peach, plum,

Smearing the spongy whiteness

Like paint a fresh page.

 

A.N. I wasn’t sure if this would be too controversial to post, but I decided that part of its excitement is that the aspect of womanhood that it depicts is one not (certainly by myself) come across too often in literature; I really enjoyed writing it because of this uniqueness and the dynamic perspective that it gave me on quite a mundane event. Haikus are amongst my favourite poetic forms because they have such simple rules, yet these same rules embellish what may be, like Feminine Markings, a single sentence.

Image

The Phoenix

A scarlet bird frolics across the sky,

Its clouds of breath filling the atmosphere.

Twigs of an adjacent tree weave into

And out of each other as if to form

A gigantic, haphazard nest.

We hear a song of woodwind and join in,

Feeling its wings whipping up a gay breeze;

Watching feathers of flame transcend the earth.

 

Please don’t let the friendly gale run colder;

The faint tune roar; the white billows spit ice;

The radiant plumage disintegrate,

And our magnificent phoenix fall

Dead.

 

A.N. I was stressed. And I hadn’t written in ages. So I decided to look to nature, and the autumn afternoon brought me this poem. As the heartbeat rhythm of iambic pentameter suggests, the natural world really does keep us alive, whether it be physically or mentally. I noticed how the fallen leaves looked like the feathers of a phoenix, like Fawkes of the beloved Harry Potter novels; I recognised that my part of the world was in a transitional period from the warmth and light of summer to the cold and dark of winter. And, as a thankless human being, I lamented it.