From the archives – Age of Steam by Neil Flatman

Age of Steam

Fingers in the gaps
of the chain link fence, we pull back
the lips of the tunnel’s mouth, still believing

we see magic in the world
beyond. Down the embankment
the bramble

bracken sides a slide of thorns
our grazed legs go
unnoticed, in the way of boys.

On the bridge, a dull-blue Anglia
putters its way to school, or maybe
church, and a stiff-legged crow hops

on the stone arch, calling out
an unheard warning. We are Indians
without axes, our ears against the rail

the resistance, planting bombs
beneath the ties, astronauts measuring a journey
through space and time by echo’s reach.

And deep back, in the dark throat
the place we stand, pressed hard against the wall
against the unrelenting

brick, waiting for the steel horse
steaming hard, the iron gallop
imagining

we’re someone, in the days before
we became so much
less than imagined.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 16, 2016 — by Neil Flatman

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Idiot Hearts by Emily Laubham

Idiot Hearts

I rest on jagged pillows, rock beds by a dirty river.
I’m inclined to sleep through footsteps from the floor below.
A canary beats its wings bloody on a ribbed cage.
Still half awake, your fingers fall like crazy rain.
A telephone pole gets struck so hard it screams.
Light splits and crackles underneath my eyes.
Your spider-lashes crawl up my neck, catching freckle-flies.
A whisper climbs from your mouth and tiptoes in my ear
Latching to left and right hemispheres,
Laying eggs that won’t hatch for days.

I get caught in your undertow, a slave to the current.
I melt into the ocean and get thrashed against the shore,
somehow more solid than before.
You are sand in my teeth.
You are sand in my eyes.
But suddenly,
your face is tired and fair.
Out of your throat, a sigh.
I settle into your crooked stick of a body.
Like moss or mold, I grow there.
And they’re beautiful,
These idiot hearts.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 26, 2016 — by Emily Laubham

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Explain That Again by Neil Flatman

Explain That Again

The part where we run down Box Hill
hand in hand, lose control of our legs
until all we are are footprints in grass
rebounding ’til we can’t be traced.
And the weight of the colors, like opening
hall doors silently at night, not to wake
the dark. How that’s terrifying and beautiful.
How the roots of the tree by your window
worm their way through the earth
through brick, make supple your house.
Tell me how you dreamed this alone;
a half moon by daylight, only you can see.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 10, 2016 — by Neil Flatman

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

From the archives – Glaucoma by Neil Flatman

Glaucoma

My father worries the pressure’s gotten worse
that only touch will see him

through until the whorls of the world fade
away, the hand in front of his face.

He asks if I still see my mother
and if memories keep

the promises of dreams. I say he’ll be fine,
I say. Draw whirlpools behind your eyes.

Each tide must turn. He says these things
are hereditary. I take the path

of least resistance, speak in autumn:
burning leaves and the spice

port leaves on your tongue
when the sun has all but sunk

with the warmth of a cousin’s kiss. I describe
the light as watery, he says it’s mist.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 1, 2016 — by Neil Flatman

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Best of the Net Nominations – 2016

botncover

I am happy to announce the following poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net 2016:

The Year of the Dragon by Siham Karami
On Losing the Old Dog by Rae Spencer
Daffodils (Narcissus Jonquilla) by Kathryn Good-Schiff
Spiderwort by Marybeth Rua-Larsen
Age of Steam by Neil Flatman
No I in Team by Ed Shacklee

Congratulations!

From the archives – Walking Home by Neil Flatman

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Walking Home

Somehow I knew this would be how it began.
So easy to say, the coral fire of sunset;
the bright hand of a god at the end of the world. You

just have to be there. Try not to picture it.
A lens can’t capture a moment the way
the eye sees. Cliché

And that this stanza would consider
how you pass a finger through a candle’s flame
without burning, or, at most, with a little pain. Trial

and error. Some know better
than to linger long, others come to love
then need, the sting.

Now I can only tell you
how it is I love
the way she often laughs so hard her body heaves

loose the strings. Convulsions in the waves
that reach her feet and beat a jig
no mermaid could dance.

It’s like trying to stand
on the horizon, the corner of a canvass
but this is soon, I can’t see

more than shade at the periphery, how
gears change in the dark, turn
down the sun.

by Neil Flatman

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 27, 2015 — by Neil Flatman

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Age of Steam by Neil Flatman

Age of Steam

Fingers in the gaps
of the chain link fence, we pull back
the lips of the tunnel’s mouth, still believing

we see magic in the world
beyond. Down the embankment
the bramble

bracken sides a slide of thorns
our grazed legs go
unnoticed, in the way of boys.

On the bridge, a dull-blue Anglia
putters its way to school, or maybe
church, and a stiff-legged crow hops

on the stone arch, calling out
an unheard warning. We are Indians
without axes, our ears against the rail

the resistance, planting bombs
beneath the ties, astronauts measuring a journey
through space and time by echo’s reach.

And deep back, in the dark throat
the place we stand, pressed hard against the wall
against the unrelenting

brick, waiting for the steel horse
steaming hard, the iron gallop
imagining

we’re someone, in the days before
we became so much
less than imagined.

by Neil Flatman

Editor’s Note: Unexpected imagery draws the reader into the boys’ world, where a tunnel and train create a childhood from mythological history. The last three lines are a punch to the gut for every grownup.