Thanks to Krishna Prasad for taking these 5, which, I don't think are very easy poems & particularly the last poem, which is about the Seorak War Memorial in which the poet imagines histories superimposed in real time. I went through a stage of submitting poems without titles, simply using the lemniscate & this has [...]
Pleased to have Underfoot on Ion’s long list of publications.
If you’d like us to publish your poems, you know the drill. We’d be happy to read you in all your best threads.
In this still bay, limestone blue,
the fall of mountain steep with scree.
Clumps of hard grass grip the slope, shorn
like valleys I have seen in eastern Turkey.
Don’t tell the Greeks, don’t tell the Turks;
some of them at least. The far mountains,
covered in a haze of sun and clouds,
look like the Anatolia I have seen.
In this still bay, mountains rise,
while men sit around, drink coffee, complain;
until one day the earth trembles,
rips the land apart, and the mountains
sink into the sea.
Birds roost in caves, menace to keep their space,
until they too move on, or are banished.
We talk about this place, but we talk too much.
This place is about mountains, born from the sea,
from Venetians, Ottomans, Turks, Greeks;
everything that belongs to yesterday.
Everything that belongs to today.
One day a volcano exploded under the…
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Pleased to have Michael Vecchio’s poems up at Underfoot this week. Fluid poems packed with natural imagery, inquisitive & with a sense of attachment to place.
If you’d like to be published by us, please see our submissions & read a few of the poets here to get a sense of what we want.
A Mythical Bird
A mythical bird
said to breed
In a nest floating
on the sea
is more actual than sand
builds a canopy
because belief removes
any doubt that wings
will be feathered full
and the glass they cover
From ‘An Allegiance to Some’, Selected Poems, 2010-2013
Somnambulistic Tendencies Near to the Hudson
1. The Adirondacks in the absence of chlorophyll
reveal a hidden visual fire
beneath which run
the origin waters of the Hudson.
2. The middle opens
like a flower desire
into fingered reaches.
3. As can be imagined
reveal many greenish-grays
leaving the impression of shoulders
leaning through collars of vegetation.
4. Waiting for the deer to spring
blindly from the dark
into the hidden mire
my metallic carriage hurls forward.
5. Once the way…
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Pleased to finally have Stephanie on board, with her characteristic syntactic deftness on display in verses fat with complex scansion, thick with the sodden energies of so many images, these poems saturate you in words & meaning.
& as if that weren’t treat enough, there are 2 poems collaborated on with Bob Okaji from the blog O at the Edges, which really just makes this a special day. Get reading, get face to face with a couple of corking poets.
To the Dead White-Throated Sparrow
in my driveway: Would you at least do me the courtesy of an explanation?
What’s with your belly-mound-cenotaph arisen from the stony gloom spiel? And why
this exquisite bundle of yours, with its still-tender russets folded in the unbounded repose
of a napping cherub, as if you didn’t believe you were still reaching for the clouds?
I mean, was your plump little belly’s sky tribute supposed to un-stone the gloom
underfoot (as if your heavenward-splayed finger-knobs, all ruddy-bottomed
like a napping cherub, never knew their very purpose was reaching for the clouds)?
The spectacle of your tiny black lids pressed shut in sudden, brutal resignation to croaking
underfoot (even consecrated by such skyward-clasping, ruddy-bottomed branchlessness)
hardly passes for transubstantiation… Why package a fully-intact cadaver’s senselessness in
the spectacle of black-faced brutality’s sudden, penitent resignation to permanent blindness
for stealing a glimpse of the sun?…
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Earnest & revealing poems by Hannah Rousselot at Underfoot this week.
There is tension in these poems exploring contemporary issues with piercing directness: the problems of indulgence, queer identity, social etiquette, body image & religion are all treated with a confident voice.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Glasses clink and
mouths smile and
jewelry sparkles and
eyes are hungry hawks.
This dress is too tight.
My smile is too tight.
My stomach is too tight.
I wish I could peel off my skin
to stretch it out over the curve of the Earth.
Maybe I would finally be skinny enough.
I wish I could give away pieces of my brain
until the light that shines behind my eyes
no longer reflects me, standing alone in the mirror.
The voices of the choir echo eerily
around the hollow chamber.
I feel surrounded here. The windows
are stained with stories I don’t know.
There is a hidden script in this place.
The Priest speaks to the crowd,
and they all know what to say back.
I scramble to keep up.
I decide to just mouth “watermelon”
like my theater director taught me.
In the middle of the…
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I decided that seeing as I am not particularly precious about the music I write, meaning I'll probably never pay someone money to record it, or again, buy recording equipment to do it myself (well maybe, but no time soon) I thought I'd be raw & uncompromising & record songs on my phone. I recommend [...]
These poems by Richard Weaver create an atmosphere I haven’t felt for a while in poems. Weaver’s intimacy of his subject & his sense of Walter Anderson’s inner motions & how this co-operates with the environments in the poems, is astonishingly handled. Richard sent me 10 & I couldn’t not take all 10 as the thread of the theme & the tone of them just demanded it.
Was really pleased to receive these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
The subject of these poems, Walter Anderson, a Mississippi Gulf Coast artist who died in 1965, spent most of his time on the Barrier Islands off the coast of Mississippi. The first 6 poems are reflections of that. The final four are set in China during the Cultural revolution. Anderson attempted to walk across China in order to reach Tibet.
I know weather by the osprey.
When a change is coming they take to the air
riding the upward currents before a storm,
lighter than wind. They roll and loop,
dive then soar again, disappearing
into the black edge of the nor’easter
as the water turns to green fire around them.
The horizon is lost then found again
between earth and sky. One image
succeeds another. Like the Moor hens
giving chase in the surf. Or the young
pelicans standing in the palmettos
who flap their wings with the…
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- Thrilled that I was able to encourage Irena to submit to us, she is a poet with a rare insight on her lived perspective as a woman, wife, mother, migrant & humanitarian.
Please, please, please encourage Irena to write more, she’s really very good at it & needs people to tell her, to give her the confidence to do it as much as possible, for my sake, think about me dear readers, I want more to read from Irena.
Thanks for reading & see our submissions page if you are interested in submitting, we are always open to submissions from emerging writers, hidden, shy writers & the cream of the crop. We don’t care where you are in your career, we want the best, we want poems that reveal, expand, incise with insight, boldly baffle, poems impossible to predict but speak to our deeper senses of understanding, the poems from everyone to everything, the poems of our climate, clippered with lillies & speak out the kindling as they rage on the pyre.
Nothing of Me on the Moon
The moon where I live
sucks up all darkness,
it’s a pond upside down.
The moon that I know
casts a circle of brightness,
a Chinese lantern in the sky.
Like a pot of honey never falling,
she just sits there, waiting for my glance.
I no longer ask such questions as
what’s the air like, is there noise?
I am happy sitting near the window
resting my eyes on the distant ball of stone.
I narrow my view—does she ever wonder,
am I a blot of blood, a stubborn stain
or just a fleeting interest
with a shimmering spotlight,
a random puppet
positioned in a frame…?
In the blink of an eye, everything’s forgotten,
there is nothing of my presence imprinted on the Moon.
An ocean that no one sees,
drops of rain falling on its surface at night…
I mean the sea…
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I am a huge fan of Barton, which is odd for me as I don’t usually like skinny poems or prose poems, which are Barton’s usual go-to form.
However, Barton is just so damn inventive & consistently surprises me, he is impossible to anticipate. He’s insightful, mysterious, full of humour & humanity.
As he he says above “I keep detailed notes on avoidance” & I believe he does.
He sent me a couple of his books instead of payment for my Isacoustic publication & I read them often & I find myself laughing joyously & his inventiveness & cannot put the book down.
Find him, learn him & become addicted to him.
as some things incorrectly have wings, we stamp a chicken into the hood of a cop car. the groundskeeper on break inside the church wonders aloud how much is left of the lord. a boy not part of our boyhood bikes over to us with his feet he’s named individually show and tell. the cop chuckles but straightens out when he sees what I’ve made of my hand. the boy says careful it might stay that way for good.
beauty is the beginning of beauty. a man and a woman wait together for a stripper. you know the man like an intimate thought. like a toddler covered head-to-toe in blue body paint stepping in front of a blue door. the woman is an unfinished stranger whose son comes home to be with war and whose husband rests until laziness subsides. the man is aware he’s the…
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Pleased to have Pablo Cuzco’s prose poems featured at Underfoot this week. Please show your support for Pablo as this is his first (& deserved) publication.
We are always looking for talented, unpublished writers to feature on Underfoot. Sometimes it takes a little push of encouragement to help a poet emerge & I hope Underfoot can toggle between the emerging & emerged.
Flowers of Dawn
A yellow moon over the rooftops—striking in silence—blue sky, dark and twinkling—stars meld into street light—alleyways cluttered with bottles clink | a cat howls in summer heat— water washes away the smear | bleary-eyed and broken, I stumble among dust bins and sediment of the living—crowned with a halo—spirits | God and Whisky—the One and the Same. Showers of dusty moonbeam create a fedora of night—a cap of dawn—a screw.
The sun rises— wrinkled | bloody sky | the whirr of a circular saw grinds its path on wood—plank | Bang! Bang! nuclear splashes ripple alcohol headache |—air full of harps, angelic choirs—Ave, Maria! | choking, dumb rattle of death wakes me.
A rooster | strangled by the roar of automobiles | a cop drags cars through the crossroads—my mind | the Altiplano—the drifter’s horse and the gunslinger on L-dopa | brought to…
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