Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why Me ~ Howie Good



Why Me



Clouds of Zyklon B, guaranteed to kill 99.9 percent of human bacteria in 20 minutes, roll in at dusk. I wish now that I had finished college. It’s a wish without any discernible purpose as events gain momentum. The county poorhouse begins to rock wildly from side to side. What would Jesus do? Kiss his ass goodbye is what. Every day 2,400 Americans – give or take – go missing, hiding out under assumed names, abducted off the street by strangers, or, as in this case, burned up like fuel in a rocket streaking from the tomb.


The Air is on Fire ~ Howie Good




The Air Is on Fire



A military band strikes up a rousing tune. The age of criminal responsibility – that is, eligibility for the death penalty – must have just been lowered again, this time to twelve. Even the innocent have begun to speak in code. “Rain” means that a neighbor has been arrested, “snow” that a curious bystander is missing. Easily, almost absent-mindedly, a shadow on the scale of a metropolis has evolved. You’re not familiar with the science of it or, for that matter, with what happens to those who believe their own computers spy on them while they sleep. This is ironic, as when a book that took years to write takes you only a couple of days to read.


Insomnia ~ Lara Popovic





Lara Popovic is a Serbo-Dutch writer based between London and her imagination. Her work is published in magazines across the U.K and U.S. including Black and Blue, Electric Cereal, and Obsessed With Pipework.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Submissions - Apologies

My apologies to those of you who have submitted work to the Red Ceilings and haven't yet heard from me. Life's events have been keeping me busy - but I promise to read you all over the holiday period and get back to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unfound ~ Joey Frances



The last Great Auk in Britain
(Welsh pen gwyn, white head,
White Chief) now dead,
St Kilda eighteenforty
Three men caught a great garefowl
For its pretty little wings and bound it
Three days, then for nothing
Beat it to death – being a
Witch – with sticks
Because it had brought a storm.

Third of July eighteenfortyfour
Fled from the Geirfuglasker
Their Atlantis volcano sunk
Great Auk Rock, to Eldey, jut
Cut block up straight from sea,
Just off the Icelandic coast:
The very last Geirfugle
Laying one egg on bare rock
Ambushed as a collector’s specimen
To be quietly stuffed and stored,
But first erupts a comic violent chase
Her and mate strangled on a cliff edge
Their egg shattered by a seaman’s boot.

Extinct the name casually transmigrated
No bother no loss

(Which is why, if we are to save a species
We must abandon our superstitions
And our meat, be gentle, and eat cabbage
In the dark and die the empty deaths
We’ll die anyway,
No gods no witches)



Joey Frances has studied, written and read poetry in Cambridge and now Manchester, where he has just completed a modern literature MA. His poetry has previously appeared in the Generic Greeting Collective Zone #1, and Manchester No Spy Zone anthology. He is a member of the Generic Greeting Collective.

Midnight Conversation in a Bar ~ Donal Mahoney



The dapper young man tells
the homeless man one stool over,
After I get my law degree,
I’ll get an MBA and go to Wall Street
and make a million before I’m thirty.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
sipping the longneck
the young man has bought him.

I’ll start a business,
says the young man,
and make another million
by the time I’m forty,
buy a nice house in the country,
then franchise the business
so my kids can earn
as much money as I will.
You want your kids to do well.
Otherwise, why have them?
They cost money.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
almost finished with his beer.

I’ll retire and buy condos
in Paris and London,
go on safari to Africa,
buy gold against inflation.
Once I retire I want to have fun.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
lighting another cigarette
the young man has given him.

I’ll die when I get old
unless they invent something
that stops death, maybe a drug.
I’ll arrange my funeral
in advance, some big church,
don’t care which one
as long as they have a choir
to keep the wife happy.
And I’ll hire a good lawyer
to handle the estate.
Don’t want Uncle Sam
getting rich off me.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
looking for another drink.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This is What We Wonder ~ Seth Jani


When the moon raises its mast
Amongst the trees
They glow like bone-bright cages
In the night
And you stumble through the wood
Trying to pull one over
On the arresting wind.

The world is a prison perhaps,
Or maybe a pitying shelter
Built up to blind us
From the darkness overhead.

Either way we push the borders daily.
Always wondering if on the other side
We will uncover
Some marvelous secret
Or just the shambles after the show:
The goddess who revokes all I Love Yous,
The scenery dragged out
To a dumpster in the rain.






Seth Jani is the founder and editor of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com) and his own work has been published widely in such journals as The Hobo Camp Review, Foundling Review, Eunoia Review, Phantom Kangaroo, The Buddhist Poetry Review and Gutter Eloquence. He currently resides in Seattle, WA.
More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

City of Ideas ~ Peter Taylor



You must be in your own right
a member of the city of ideas
                             C. P. Cavafy

Habits line a path where bonecage
drags idea to his death,
raw metaphor locked
in the mind's erratic crucible.

My selves enact a war:
the one animal, needing
restraint; the other escaping
the skin's excursion

into raw zones, suburbs
of a universal sanctuary,
the conscious hologram
of thought's flawless crystal.


The Glass Flowers at Harvard ~ Peter Taylor




Engorged with blood, the ravenous Eden

bends unabashed in timeless copulation,

seducing generations of dazed onlookers

smeared across the glass.



Pistil and stamen, the glazed gynoecia,

lie sheathed in a whorl of calyx

and corolla, their ecstasy exposed

in perfect Engler-Gilg classification.



Unsated, these, too, mock nature’s cathedral.

Fixed in the intimacy of exquisite,

breathless as to fool butterflies,

they are almost the illusion of touch itself.


First published by Pirene's Fountain 


Chicago Picasso ~ Peter Taylor






The two wing-like shapes that are her hair suggest with equal truth

the fragile wings of a butterfly or the powerful flight of an eagle,

while at the same time the rods that connect them to the profile

seem to contain the music of a guitar.                                    Sir Roland Penrose




One hundred and eight floors up

in the Sears Tower

you can see it all:                               

vertebrae of a city

hugging the lake front

like an exhausted animal,

steel wheat

rising from the plains of Illinois.



I think of Lincoln and fires.  



After two hours in the Loop,

the mind still wanders 

with the despair of a commuter,

until

coming down Dearborn there it is—



50 feet high, unreal at first,

icon, grotesque butterfly,

the bird in the horse in the woman,

162 ton offspring

of Picasso and US Steel,

weathering graffiti

with the patience of a saint

in the Richard J. Daley Plaza.



Across the street

a 39 foot MirĂ³ looks on,

its sensuous ceramic

nestled between

the First United Methodist Temple

and the Chicago-Tokyo Bank.


First published in StepAway Magazine