lawrence_ferlinghetti_the_mirabeau_bridge_350_1100-1
RIGHT ANGLES TO REALITY
by Magdalena Ball

On the bridge of time
I waited in a dream
toes curled, lips pulled back.

It could have been anywhere
scanning radio frequencies
cold and bright
as if this alien moon were the moon.

Enceladus spouting water
against a frozen heart
in need of heat.

Open strings ultrasound
pressure waves infrasound
an unheard symphony played
in the vacuum of space while I wait
at right angles to the brane
in the middle of nowhere
alone, nothing picking up the signal.

In place of mourning, I found myself
laughing silently, hysterically
a synecdoche
for all those things we pretended were real.

That big open mouth
the echoing void
your waving hand.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Waiting is such a charged verb – conjuring hope and anticipation, along with the notion of a lack – whatever you might be waiting for you don’t have. A new kind of meaning is created in the permanent waiting space — you neither despair nor are you satisfied that things are as they should be. Following from Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” I attempted to capture that sense of longing, and its accompanying mingling of sorrow that comes with knowing that what you’re waiting for cannot happen (lovers will never kiss on the urn, aliens won’t contact us, and ghosts don’t exist) with a forced optimism (“renaissance of wonder”).

IMAGE: “Under the Mirabeau Bridge” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti—a painting that features lines from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire. Learn more about the painting and artist at georgekrevskygallery.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs compulsivereader.com and a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at magdalenaball.com.

joyce_dublin
WAITING FOR MY BUS
by Stephen McGuinness

The Christmas lights
are up in the city
and the pavement is glittering.
All seems well in that world.
I am waiting for my bus
at the edge of the river
not staring in
but shivering
for the want of warmth.
On evenings like this
when the wind
cuts up the Liffey channel
the rain, piercing cold
forces us to fold
in upon ourselves.
With hats, scarves and hoods
pulled tight
only our eyes exposed
to the world outside.
The thin seasonal songs
carry over the rooftops
from full florescent shops
and drop lightly
like chimes
over this darkened quay.
To avoid the pokes
from the spokes
of umbrellas
I bat them away
as I begin to jockey
for position
in the queue.
My bus arrives.
We file quietly on
struggle to loosen
and shed our outer clothes
then sink into our seats.
I lean my forehead
against the window
and watch through
twinkling raindrops
as the city fades
into the suburbs.
Now dry, warm
and on my way home
a Christmas song
with all its bells
turns circles
and repeats
inside my head.

IMAGE: James Joyce statue, Dublin, Ireland, by Ireland Image Collection. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen McGuinness is 46 years old, a chef from Dublin, Ireland. He has been writing poetry for the last six months. This is his first published poem.

nocturne-in-blue-and-silver-the-lagoon-venice-1880
VENETIAN WONDER
by Massimo Soranzio

Standing here by the Canal,
Dull and greyish, more than grand,
I am waiting for winter
To come on the vaporìn,
But I know well it won’t come,
Nor will it come tomorrow,
To purge this long summer’s sins.

I am waiting for Venice
To be the new Atlantis,
As for the Tower of Pisa
To give in, at last, and fall.

I am waiting to see who
Will win the race to submerge
The glorious stones of Venice:
This ever changing climate,
Or corrupt men and their greed?
I am waiting to see if
Venice can resist once more.

But in the meantime, my dear,
I am waiting for you here,
Waiting for you to appear:
Let’s meet at Santa Lucia.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Coming from a family that, through centuries of alternate fortunes and even modifications in its name, has retained a certain pride in its ancient Venetian origins, I have always followed Venice’s glorious decline, caused by nature following its course, as well as by an inadequate class of politicians, with a certain interest and apprehension. “Vaporìn” is what Venetians call the steamboats serving as city buses. Santa Lucia is both the name of Venice’s railway station, and the day of St. Lucy, December 12, popularly (though not astronomically) known as the shortest day of the year, and “the beginning of the end” of winter, a season that seems to be quite late this year in this part of the world.

IMAGE: “Nocturne in Blue and Silver, The Lagoon, Venice” by James McNeill Whistler (1879).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He posts some of his found and constraint-based poetry on his blog, massimosoranzio.tumblr.com.

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EXODUS
by Sheikha A.

I have been walking a long bare path of stones,
the heat such that could burn a hole through
my blisters, yet these walls stay cold

bulging to the candle’s flame,
the hour grows robust and time lean;

I am waiting for the walls to seizure
even if for a brief moment
just so something moves

I wait for the whispering that comes every night
just so the silence breaks,

I have perfected banalities
from where they set in
and taught them to swallow giants

those that have been called hope
in some distant watery sphere of time;
I am waiting for home

in the walls of which is buried the key.
The many daggers of modern sorcery,
each weighing like an artefact rich
thick with darkness like the hour right now

skilled at social warfare

survival

dissipation

…exodus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. currently lives in Karachi, Pakistan, after moving there from the United Arab Emirates, and believes the transition has definitely stimulated a different tunnel of thought. With publication credits in magazines such as Red Fez, American Diversity Report, Open Road Review, Mad Swirl, Danse Macabre du Jour, Rose Red Review, and The Penmen Review among many others, and several anthologies, she has also authored a poetry collection entitled Spaced, published by Hammer and Anvil Books, available on Kindle. She also edits poetry for eFiction India. Visit her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com.

IMAGE: “Path in the Garden” by David Burliuk (1912).

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LIMBO
by Tim Gardiner

I sit in the promenade shelter
rain drumming on the roof.
Raging seahorses skirt
the blackened horizon.
I’m waiting for cormorants
to return in fading light.
I’m waiting for her shadow
to appear in the distance.
I’m waiting for limbo days
to end sometime soon.
My turn must come
once more before I die.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Gardiner is an ecologist and poet. His haiku have been published in literary magazines including Blithe Spirit, Frogpond, and Presence while longer poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly and Salopeot. His first collection of poetry Wilderness will be published by Brambleby Books. He has published many scientific papers on natural history and several books, including one about glow-worms.

IMAGE: “Cormorants” by Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1891).

koson
WAITING ON MY KITE TO FALL
by Catfish McDaris

Waiting on the first and last leaves
Waiting for the snow to come and go
Waiting for the yes or no

Waiting for John Prine to sing about a half
an enchilada and Jesus and the missing years
Waiting for my daughter to speak to me
again after ten long years of silence

Waiting on my wife to laugh so hard she cries
Waiting to see and hear the chevrons of geese
and the hopping robins and parrot tulips

Waiting for the tears to dry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catfish McDaris served in the Army artillery for three years shooting 155 MM Howitzers. He appeared in The Lowdown 2013 edited by Robert M. Zoschke dedicated to Lawrence Ferlinghetti with his art on the front cover and his work and photo included.

IMAGE: “Geese in Flight” by Ohara Koson (1877-1945).

stanhope
I am waiting for the bagpipes…
by Sonja Johanson

… to have them played just for me
on a rainy rooftop, for the wind to flip
around, messing with the music, for it
to grab the bleating notes, to turn them
inside out and break them like a black
umbrella, to lift them up and lose them
against the flat, grey clockwork
of the waves below.
I am waiting for the piper, his fingers
on the chanter and lips pursed above
the blowpipe, drone cords stretched
across the shoulder, second-hand
sporran curling from the moisture;
who carries on with shuffling even
when the bass drone brays like
a pack-mule objecting to the work.

And I am waiting for the ferry,
all dressed in Christmas lights,
and for the captain who will ask
how many for the last boat to
the Faroe Islands, extreme north
Hebrides, and will we be wanting

a ride back in the spring? Or maybe
he will tell us to settle our affairs,
because we ought to know this is like
signing on to join the Martian colonists,
and when you board his vessel you
are saying that you only plan
to make this trip one way.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: If you are going to wait for something, for heaven’s sake, make certain it is something fabulous.

IMAGE: “Angel with Bagpipes” by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Johanson attended College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine, and currently serves as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She has recent work appearing in The Albatross, Off the Coast, and Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, and was a participating writer in FPR’s 2014 Oulipost Project. Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.

angel_stanhope
when they found me dead while waiting for the angels of heaven and hell on Duke Ellington Boulevard
by Gabor G. Gyukics

when they found me dead
I was waiting for the angels of heaven and hell
to take my soul to
wherever they wished to store it
they didn’t come
only an nypd cop and a coroner came
leaning casually above me
I grabbed the two men and freed their souls
their limp bodies calmly fell upon me

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gabor G. Gyukics is a Hungarian-American poet and literary translator. He lived in Holland for two years before moving to the United States, where he lived from 1988-2002. At present, he resides in the Isle of Csepel in Budapest, Hungary. He is the author of five books of original poetry, one book of prose, and 10 books of poetry translations.

IMAGE: “Angel with Pipes” by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908).

woman-before-a-fish-bowl-1922
THE WEIGHT OF WAITING
by Michael Baldwin

I wrote this poem as usual,
at the last minute,
waiting for inspiration, waiting,
unamused, to be mused, to be
infused with winged fire.
But, of course, I had to hobble instead of fly.
Such is the pattern of my existence:
always waiting for a sign that I should
do some wondrous, some worthy thing,
waiting for a more appropriate time,
a more propitious occasion,
yet, somehow, never recognizing it,
until far too late.
Never sure what diem to carpe.
Always waiting for the deus ex machina
to appear and rescue me
from life’s wretched ambiguity.
So it seems my moments
have merely dripped away
rather than riding me high
on a tide of momentousness.
And my story comes down to
an extended series of ellipsis,
a neat, bleak row of ink dots leading
nowhere, and only there to indicate
the absence of what might have happened
if only I hadn’t waited for…

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Baldwin is a native Texan who resides in Benbrook, Texas, where he recently retired from a career as a library administrator and teacher of American Government. His book, Scapes, won the 2011 Eakin Poetry Book award, and his chapbook, Counting Backward From Infinity, won the Morris Memorial Chapbook Award for 2012. His first novel, Murder Music, was recently published by Inner Eye Books. Baldwin is an ex-would-be astronaut and a jazz clarinetist manqué. He also claims to be the great, great grandson of Chief Crazy Horse, and will be glad to explain over a couple of beers.

IMAGE: “Woman Before a Fishbowl” by Henri Matisse (1922).

ferlinghetti-02-door
CUT UP WAITING
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

wait
wonder
someone real
cover symbols
and wait

eric wins straight up
and I wait
for anxiety to drop

for the war to
make safe anarchy
with governments
perpetually

wait for
Arizona

wait
for wrath, wait
to see God
piped onto altars
find the right tune

wait
for supper, strange
and perpetual
rebirth

wait for my number
to take over
to be blessed
and inherit without taxes

wait for the earth to kill
for lines to fall
love to lie secret
to be an obscure general

and I wait
for storms to sail
for a flower
each story sold
and I wait
for the Continent
in new wonder

I wait for
waiting for America
Tom Sawyer and I wait
in Wonderland innocence
to come to the tower
wait for rodite
to grow at a conference
of wonder

I wait to get
immortal childhood
to come again
again
for art to write a poem
for rapture perpetually
fleeing love
to catch at last embrace
and I wait
perpetual and forever
a wonder

SOURCE: “Cut Up Waiting” is a found poem based on Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After gaining her Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia Community College in 2009, Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online, in print and in her books Food 4 Thought, Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Ono, Looking for Kerouac, Tasseography, and Bravo Charlie Foxtrot. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand, with her galah Matilda. Vist her at www.benchpress.co.nz.

IMAGE: “Door to the Sea” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1997). Lawrence Ferlinghetti is represented by George Krevsky Fine Art. 

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