VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Maksym Beshlei

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Stephen Whitter

         Victoria Coach Station-Isle of Wight.

An inexplicable indoor wind whips litter around my feet and bags.
A newly docked Coach, it’s hot tyre smell reminds me of the roads back home in Summertime.
Though we are deep in November, nearly December.
Coaches smell of Summer, years of my childhood on a tourist island where Coaches abound, and their wheels are taller than a young lad till he’s Four or maybe Five. So Summer and Fifty Seaters, forever linked in my mind.
This coach ride to Portsmouth Quay side then a boat ride before home, any journey back home for an island dweller a little more of a chore.
I remember years ago, I was a little worse for wear.
An excited tourist said,
“It’s this boat journey that makes the trip to the island special for us”
I remember answering,
” It’s what makes it more of a pain in the arse for me”
I immediately felt terrible ,I had burst his holiday excitement bubble, but he was ok he laughed, even wished me a good day.
In my defense I worked in Portsmouth in those days and took the boat twice a day, by then familiarity and how it reduced my wages had bred contempt.
So, when I was taking any longer haul, bloody hell, that bloody boat was the last bloody straw.
Well, I say that but the if you didn’t have a car lived not near the bus then you had the opportunity to take the strain of the Train, the opposite of the then current advertising campaign.
The island had one Train, a 1950s ex London Tube.
It often won the Punctuality Prize, hardly surprising since it just went up and down one line.
But that Train was an experience, it lurched around like a Pit Pony let loose in the light, luggage and passengers thrown around it made women and children cry and on occasion grown men scream.
From the moment it was mobile it felt like it was coming off the line, but it hardly ever did, it was
merely ‘quirky’ the word the guard used to describe it.
I hear it’s been replaced now which seems a shame, because for islanders the expression on the faces of the tourists riding the train was often a joy to behold , especially if it was a group of ‘hard’ lads with their ‘birds’ that had swaggered on board.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Michael Lacy

Jesus Christ there’s no use for this

Judas there’s no choice but to do it

Predestined to see Mother Earth from fleshy knees tell us there’s no fucking need to do this watch me pray in the street

While the false Christians loot us

Let’s go after the misguided

Open fire on the looters

I got one by the Church’s Chicken

Meanwhile I’ve got my knife in supremacy they bleed out black, white and red, you see

Staple this to your page

Overnight, Attack me with a pen and I’ll show you how they torture men with pliers

Deep revelation in your eyes

Twisted knives leave the cracks in your hear

Deep paradise rips every fountain of youth that breaks you apart just sit back and watch the world cry

Beat me against everything

As long as it senses into me

But you could never see

So I’ll read this with everything

Except a care

Because this is a FUCK YOU

Goodbye, Lullaby

I’ve been on a ledge

I’ve slept on the bench

Been in on the debt

Forgiving their heads

On the emotional edge

Probably the only thing I’ll live to regret

Demand it

But don’t give enough of respect

I never hit my enemies with revenge because hate holds no spot within even a heart so cringed

pressure on my neck like guillotine

I pretend it’s barely effecting me

I promise I’m okay but it’s killing me

Rain and thunderstorms destroying

Because I don’t thread through the paper without scribbling ink on the floors

I am the six-foot-three gingerbread man swaying back and forth like a mic stand

But I look up to myself like a fucking headstand

This can really feel good but hurt

I know when I get burned it’s just a guided singe

So hear what I say when

I say

Read some words

On my page

If my mind is in the gutter where does yours stay?

Nowhere

But

the clutter

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Tiberius Galloway

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Ethan Goffman

I Am an Oracle

In 2025 the United States as we know it will cease to exist.

In 2042 I will die, alone and impoverished, in a shoddy facility set up, quickly and haphazardly, to house the elderly and terminally ill.

Between those two events, my wife will die of a medical emergency.

In 2070, or thereabouts, humanity as we know it, the world as we know it, will end.

All of us, in some way, know these things, know of our own deaths, the deaths of those we love, and the inevitable destruction of humanity. Yet we continue to live, rise, eat, work, watch television, follow politics, read novels, play at sports, enjoy music, love and laugh, hate and suffer, as though it really matters. Because, after all, the day-to-day is the only thing that really matters.

Although the day-to-day doesn’t matter in the least. Not in the cosmic infinity of the universe. Not in the cosmic infinity of time.

Cosmic infinity does not matter, does not actually exist. All that exists is the here and now, which, however, do not exist as they are over the instant they can be contemplated. I do not exist. These words, ghostly flickers on a page, do not exist.

I am the only thing that exists, along with my words. I write some kind of record, some kind of meaning, because I have no choice, even though it will all vanish by, or long before, 2070, or thereabouts.

My only potential children were miscarried away in the early aughts. I thought they ought to live. These writings are the closest I have to a child, or children, but will be quickly disappeared.

I cannot stand the thought of the end of humanity, although it is of less concern to me than the death of my wife. I cannot stand the thought of my wife’s death, although it is less final to me than my own death, which I cannot comprehend or actually believe.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Shane Allison

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Michael Lee Johnson

Waltz Footprints in Snow 

Care to dance a new waltz renew,

or drift back

to those old vintage footprints−

waltz with me

footprints in snow

fog covering over old snow.

Rose Petals in a Dark Room

I’m but a poet of this ministry,

rose petals in a dark room fall.

Everyone’s life is a conflict.

But mine is mastery of light and neon night

and I walk behind

these footsteps of no one.

Rain 

In the rain,

this thunder

on his way home

he rebelled.

He a disco dancer,

High school dropout.

Even Jesus

Even Jesus suffers from the poor,

feels lonely on winter moon distant planets,

don’t torture Him. Let me drive you home.

Old Mack dump truck,

hear these sounds,

new records on this old radio.

Poetry Man

Death still comes in the shadow of grief,

hides beneath this blanket of time,

in the heat, in the cold.

Hold my hand on this journey

you won’t be the first, but

you may be the last.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Paul Warren

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Cord Moreski

Notice 


The landlord is paying 

a visit this evening 

while I see him getting back 

into his shiny Ferrari 

playing with the dashboard 

outside my living room window

I got this notice between my fingers 

but don’t even have to open it 

to realize what this is again 

because if I listen carefully 

the other tenants give it away 

through the vents through the thin walls

with groans about less food 

on the dinner table

and sighs about hunting 

for yet another minimum wage job 

with wails about how to pay 

for cancer treatments now

and sobs about simply 

not wanting to live anymore

I stay silent 

crunch numbers upon numbers 

until my head swims in circles

while he finally speeds off  

down the street into the sunset 

the rooftop down 

blasting “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”