Amy Mares, winner of the Grady Prize for Poetry, Guest Poet




“ It’s what comes of looking way back on the upper right

   shelf of the lower left cupboard;” – Lorine Niedecker




Winnowing is not a

sure process.


Before the winnower,

memory is a mound.


Spin the wooden arm

and air begins to blow,

quickening  memory’s fragments,

be they grain or chaff.



Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Amy Mares, Winner of the Grady Poetry Prize, Guest Poet

What of the cog?



our machine of antecedents

the cog:

a series of projections,

invigorating minutia,

black winged lazuli,

woven tatami.

Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Amy Mares, Winner of the Grady Prize in Poetry, Guest Poet

Mrs. Zenobia Frome



Shut up—


under the grey hollow


of her perpendicular bonnet.



Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Amy Mares, Winner of the Grady Poetry Prize, Guest Poet

Zenobia Frome



my sickly reflection

in the medicine bottle.

Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pilgrimage of Salvation, Michelle Mutasa, Harrare, Zimbabwe

My birth was your biggest mistake
and i noticed how quickly parts
of my soul you take.
Ive watched you reap the harvest of my mind
and kill all thats good and kind,
you sow the seeds,.
That scatter and fall all over the soil you need
as i watch whispers of myself fade
and bring forth the darkness you have made.
I’d be lying if i said i was empty
shadows of memory walk past me and i cling onto my ideas
of perfection to hide these many fears ive gotten bored with no where to go.
And i hide my scars yet everyone knows and cant hold back the tears ive cried.
Dont say sorry when you even know its a lie,
im comfortable hiding behind my shell
i mark which souls of mine you can sell
the product of your love has cost me enough.
The produce of deceit cant be seen as love write my name on snow
so you know were to go,when things fall apart.
When you cant stop my breaking heart
is that God i see in the skies,everytime i look up
i wonder why.
The sun refuse to spread its warming glow,nothing special
about the one who lasts to know.
So where do i go to now
how do i smoke the path to hell now
your reality seems bleak and your society is weak.
Against the defences i build.
Shake my roots and brag of all you did,
so my flowers might show,past the weed you tend to grow,
that trap me here.
Somewhere i dont belong a place that knows fears.
The voice has stopped calling me and i wont die for vanity or regret,
take this and place a bet
on how fast i might break
when once again my soul you will take to share your sorrow,
spare me your words,
i might bear them tomorrow
no one really cares about anything anymore
so i close off yet another door
and my leaves begin to rot have you really forgot,
how it feels to be alive,
waiting for the minute for the being to revive
which switches will you press to change me
pluck my fruits so you might kill me
will i really die?
The body cannot live without the mind
you were wrong to think my world was placed on blame.
When from your cancerous womb
spore your shame.
Dont find me when i have lost so much of me,
i claim that you broke me and i shake so my pollen or poison might
make you bleed.
Yet desirably you still feel the need to ignore my hungry mouth,
sucking on your breast of doubt and these tiny hands that once had faith,
now strike at the stars hoping someone would save sanity,
the bars you have locked around me.
Little did you know that cant hold me so here i grow strong,
hoping one day you might ressurect me listen to the rain.
Its my way of saying im thristy
for something that might reboot me,
im the system you cant delete,
its not you that makes me complete,
ive survived maybe not without you and hurt the blessing
i have come too i kneel before your being
yet im not worth seeing,
my petals recoil when you pull at my sexuality
i am who i am and i will not change
and my strength withers when you look within.
And hpe fades when nothing is pleasing.
Ive seen tears well in your eyes
you cant even hug me mother why
Godly prayers never breech my exterior
yet you still feel the need to be superior
im a hard drive and hide too much of my guilty inside
i never voice enough for you to wonder
why i long to beg to die
ive dealt with it.
Were you choose denial
and fooled your peers with a smile
so rewire my thoughts so no one sees,
the daughter you have made of me

Published in: on December 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Words and Winds ~ Michelle Mutasa A voice from Zimbabwe

Autumn winds
leaves of silence
blow off silence
blow off trees.

Trees of reason
grow quietly
unspoken words

words spoken
lies on leaves
to harm indeed

the peace
behind the words
is where i dwell
in a readiness
to hearken
and never disturb

Published in: on December 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Shall it Ever Cease – Michelle Mutasa

When shall it cease
tortured minds with questions
and no answers,
dreams crumbling before my eyes,
nightmares all day long,
attempting to hold on to nothingness.

Courage and passion for life fading away.

I gaze at this stranger in the mirror,
that resembles I,
i search my soul to find myself,
i call out my name,
it echoes to infinity but yet no answer.

Who am i
where am i
troubled mind with questions but no answers.

I drag myself to bed,
in hope of resting my being
instead i become restless in my sleep,
enslaved by my mind,body and soul,
that is troubled with questions.

When shall it cease,
i miss myself
i miss my smile
i miss my joyful fire cracking laughter,
i miss my blissful company.

Why am i being tortured with lifes
unfairness treatment.
What have i to do to deserve such a pathetic life.
When shall it cease

Published in: on December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Guest Poet – A Young Voice from Zimbabwe – 5 poems

Young Voice from Zimbabwe – Michelle Mutasa

Michelle, who lives in Harrare, has been writing powerful poems from an early age. I will be posting a series of her poems over the next few weeks.


1. Being Part of this Generation

Being part of a lost generation,
and refusing to believe that
i can change the world
i realise maybe this may
be a shock but
happiness comes from within
is a lie and
money will make you happy
so in a couple of years
i will tell my children
they are not the most important
things in my life.
My employers will know that
i have priorities straight work
is more important
once upon a time
i tell you this
family stayed together
but this will not be true
in my era
this is a quick fix society
expects tell me
30ears from now,
i will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my divorce
i do not concede that
i will live in a country of my own making
in the future
environment destruction will be the norm
no longer can it be said
my peers and i care about this earth
it will be evident that
my generation is apathetic and
it is foolish to presume that
there is hope in humanity


2. Shadowed

granting the rust his gloomy halo
my lamb remains masked by clouds
darker than the skin of othello
dark he is, with only a name to serve
as his memento

kisses from the daughter of vanity
the sun rises with the son
as they temper with freud’s sanity
but no sun shines in debt to a milestone penalty
endowed with onlys wisdom oath
this only as ambiguous as voices in confession booths
receptive ears to the blackness of a furnished truth.

sacrifices hidden a great distance aloof
to an everlasting garden queue he’ll stand bemused
see celibacy couldn’t prevail such a disease
”oblivious chants, so calls out the deaf”
blind and dumb, deceived
thinking ignorance is likened to bliss
they couldn’t run and catch the impregnated thief.

tasteless desires devour his premises
his fingers are said to account for his blemishes
yet he maintains he will not be betrayed even by a kiss
he initiates the crawl
an infant of the light he opens his tears would call
obscurity though
may cause this soul to fall


3. Intelligence Tablet

There she goes radiance over her aura
the manner of her walk
as she turns the corner
sends it
promotes it
and clones it
owns it like darkness owns its mourner.

Water down the neck as indulges in
intelligent tablet
orchestrated in precision and the finger of god in her pocket
facet blinding like moses in a hopeless
wilderness playing these puppets
holy grails on the tails of rockets
mended by some trendy lockets
better watch out the ingredients of this
healing come upon the moppets.

”priceless intelligence tablets! We have no money
whimpering fools thinking God can be paid
material gravy”
the ties of their lies analytically unwrapped
like Eyptian mummies
are you gnostic or atheist? teacher or president
vegetarian or salami
food for thought
bitter concoctions make it
hotter than a pot of sunny


4. Show me the bearers of burdens and carry their burdens i will

Show me the bearers of problems,
so i carry their burdens i can.
Show me the hunger-stricken infants and feed them i will.
Show me the blind and i will show them the way,
show me the deaf, i’ll sign for them any day,
show me the burden ridden people,
and carry their burdens i will.

Show me the children with holes in their shoes,
so take theirs and i can give them mine,
show me the child with no school uniform, and live her life i will,
show me the women and child who sleep under the bridge and feed from the bins,
so i can express my selflessness,
i may be helpless but you just show me the bearers of problems,
and carry their burdens i will.

Show me the abandoned infants in orphanages,
so i can trade with them my privileges,
show me the men and women who invest their time and money in taverns
so i can donate them a piece of my mentality.

Show me the victims of rape, murder, abuse and xenophobia,
and let me carry their fear.
Show me the child who unexpectedly got in a gun shoot out quagmire
just outside the school premises,
so i can take back the hands of time,
and wear her shoes as i endure the pain for her,
show me the accident prone, so i can sit in their sits,
and carry their pain in my hands.
Just show me the bearers of problems and carry their burdens i will.

Does God see the hunger stricken kids,
when true history is kept from our children, when illusion reigns,
seeking council from lying leaders?,
and the lady whose homeless and pregnant,
the hopeless,
the helpless,
i have sympathy and empathy but no capability,
to express this excessively,
but if you and i could ask God personally,
he will grant me the opportunity to be the bearer of the entire worlds burden.
Just show me the bearers of burdens,
and carry their burdens i will


5. illiterate hearts

I have travelled around the world
and i got the opportunity to come
illiterate hearts.
They love with no condition
care with no doubt
and sympathise with no second thoughts.

Illiterate hearts are placed in the rib cages of people who have been hurt,
they are surrounded with so much love
that it is so ironic due to the bruises
of their soul,
they are carried around by people with hopes,
although they have passed through disappointments before.

Illiterate hearts will neither lead you astray nor throw

Published in: on December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm  Comments (6)  
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The Inaugural Address


He had yet to be sworn in as president but he already felt ‘presidential’.  He paused, while cleaning his teeth and quoted Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, “Let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for …”  “Honey?”  His wife, the first lady to be, called from the adjoining bedroom room, “Can you do that in the morning?  You need a good night’s sleep.”  In the mirror the incoming president looked at himself, at his dark furrowed brows,  his deep eyes,  and at the toothpaste around his mouth.  He spat, rinsed, turned and walked to the bedroom.  “Are you ready, girl?” He said,  “Tomorrow is going to be a big day.”

After holding each other a while the in-coming president lay on his back waiting for sleep.  It came, but it was fitful.  He drifted in and out of dreams in which he was visited by other presidents, sometimes individually and sometimes in groups, but none spoke to him.  He also had flash backs to  his months of campaigning and to the points in his career when he had realized that expediency was his driving principle, and not the purity of principle itself.  This bothered him greatly and in his sleep he tossed from side to side.  “Sleep,” his wife said and he tried to still himself.

Just before dawn as he lay, drifting in and out of sleep he became aware of the great Native American, Chief Seattle, sitting on the foot of his bed, whispering, “All things connect.  Man does not weave this web of life.  He is merely a strand of it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”  The president sat up slowly in his bed.  He didn’t know if he was asleep or awake but he knew he was looking at Chief Seattle.  “What does that mean?”  The president asked.  “It means,”  Chief Seattle said, softly, his eyes fixed on the president’s, “that you must do the right thing.”  The president looked back into Chief Seattle’s eyes, deep into a past he did not know.  “It means,”  Chief Seattle repeated, “that it is time for you to do what needs to be done and to say what needs to be said and to trust in yourself that it is the right thing to say and that when you say it people will listen and when you do it, people will begin to do as you do.  Trust me.  Your people will speak for you.”  The president swallowed while Chief Seattle rose to his feet, turned, and walked through the wall.

The next day, standing at the podium, his speech on the lectern, the president drew in a slight breath, straightened his suit, turned his speech over, looked away from the tele-prompters, and began.

Looking back, he couldn’t say if he remembered what he had said, but he did remember the roar of the crowd, the look of panic on his chief strategist’s face and the look on his wife’s face when it changed from shock to joy.

The thing that moved him most though was the eagle on the lawn outside, after his speech, the eagle that seemed to turn to him before spreading it’s wings and with slow, strong, pumping flaps, lift itself into the air and bank to the east to where the sun would rise the following morning to bring in the new beginning that the president had spoken when he had begun his speech, the one which would go down in history, with the words, “All things connect.”

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm  Comments (1)  

She Begins Not to Tell the Truth

not because she is a liar

It is just too much

It interrupts the flow

to answer, “How are you?”

Those who know her sometimes press


She is learning that not all questions

must be answered

A smile will do

thanks for asking

thanks for including me

in the ritual of community

I am smiling





Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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