I remember who I was

March 30, 2020

I remember who I was
Before the world told me who I ought to be
A bright eyed, cunning risk taker
With forbidden knowledge dripping inside my head – and a soul made of pencil lead – 
So that I may write, until the day that I’m dead.
Cottage home, hanging bed;
Hundreds of books on the wall, all read.

I remember who I was
Before my voice was taken, and crumpled up like a piece of paper.
Before my zest for life, and vivacious personality was labeled as failure.

I remember who I was – before I spent my nights and days – waiting for a role model to praise.
I remember who I was before my essence was filled up with silence, and my heart filled to the brim with loneliness.
As a kid, I could make new friends so easily, floated around enthusiastically, spreading happiness around.
In adulthood I lost, what in childhood I had found.

Carly Larkin


March 29, 2020

Tempted by the fruit of another
Tempted but the truth is discovered
What’s been going on
Now that you have gone
There’s no other
Tempted by the fruit of another
Tempted but the truth is discovered…

Christopher Difford / Glenn Tilbrook



March 29, 2020

Just as you enter, over the door
There’s a sign that you can see
Though it’s written in German
It means ‘Work Makes You Free’
When we were small kids
We were told all about hell
But the inmates of this place
Knew it only too well
The starvation and torture
That was carried on here
The hangings and shootings
And the beatings so severe
When you had to strip naked
There was absolutely no hope
Your hands tied behind your back
As you faced the hanging rope
After hanging for a while
You were then taken down
Hosed with freezing water
Till you thought you would drown
While you were still alive
You were put up against the wall
The Gestapo called the order
‘Shoot them dead, one and all’
After more than one and a half years
They couldn’t kill them fast enough
So they built some gas chambers
With the Zyklon B deadly stuff
No matter how hard they worked
Or how hard they tried
Only about four or five hundred!
Poor innocent people, everyday died
So they built more gas chambers
About six kilometers away
And then they were killing
Four to five thousand every day
The commander in charge
Was a man named Rudolf Hoss
When he finally got hanged
Himself, he was a small loss

Kommadant Rudolf Hoss (sometimes spelt Hoess) was a mild-mannered family man, married with 5 children (2 sons & 3 daughters). He lived with his wife and children within the confines of Auschwitz where he could see the crematoria chimney stacks from his bedroom window.
He was the greatest mass-murderer in human history, by his own irrefutable admissions, during his trial in April 1947.

He denied murdering 3 million people, but admitted killing only 2.5 million! and said the rest died of starvation.

Under his command Auschwitz had the capacity to exterminate 10,000 people each 24 hours!
He was hanged in Auschwitz on 16th April 1947 only a few short metres from where he lived with his family, while he was the architect of evil and madness all around, the likes of which mankind had never seen before.

Up to 12 people used to be hanged naked simultaneously on each iron gallows (like the goalposts in a soccer field) close to the entrance gates. The adjoining forest at the edge of Birkenau or Auschwitz 2, which is a much larger camp than Auschwitz 1 is inhabited by snakes but no birds are to be seen here, over this vast area, where millions died.

Daniel Sammon

The unanswered

March 28, 2020

The answer
was scratched on a
crumpled leaf caught
in a mid-march draft,

read once by a woman who
barely whispered its terms,
by a man with a

mouth full of
marbles. It was
etched on the driftwood

that slipped out to sea;
crammed in a rusted tin
box then mislaid

below floorboards.
It was stashed in a closet,
concealed with

and spackle,
splashed on the
walls and repainted

an oil-based white.
You can search
the negative space

around and between
for weeks without end
and still
never see it.

The rising moon
won’t toss you
a clue,

and for better or worse,
the headstones aren’t

Claudine Nash

Lady Lazarus

March 28, 2020

She rearranges his voice into chords,
into a strange jazz she is willing to hear,
a form of organization that takes courage
and leaves her with what is only musical
for a time. The room builds up an energy,
not from the sound of him but from the
collapsing space, the walls pushing in
and her hoarse voice falling, clunking
onto the ground without her, her lips
chapping and the glue wearing thin;
he zigzags into her again but she isn’t
listening. She adores the black song
on her radio instead, the saxophone hip-
dancing onto the counter between them,
the babble of nuance moving through pipes
and valves, the rhythm of lopsided feeling.
She is listening to that, and to the halves
of herself binding together into the noise
of the room, and yes, she is willing to
hear his faraway words with her warrior
heart, willing to let him choose her
for his fantasy, to be his bottle of song,
his break from the bruised sunset he sees
from his window. She understands that
what has happened inside her is not
bitter or broken, but that the elastic
of her longing has grown dry and
there is music enough without him.

Lauren Camp


March 25, 2020

Will swords rise up
from the mists of time?
Swords, knives, helms
tossed into
watery depths —
at the end of the world
will they be reforged?

Mist rising in wisps, forming
hilt and blade
Swords of fire and earth
rusted away, ages ago
in lakes long vanished,
pools of myth.

Forged anew of
water and air,
on the last day
will weed-draped
ladies of the lake
rise to hand them forth,
girding the worthy?

J.R. Sparlin

The Three Little Pigs

March 25, 2020

The little pig began to pray
But Wolfie blew his house away.
He shouted, “Bacon, Pork, and Ham!
Oh what a lucky wolf I am!”
And though he ate the pig quite fast,
He carefully kept the tail till last.

Roald Dahl
Revolting Rhymes

Worm in the Bookshop

March 24, 2020

(after “Witch in the Supermarket” by Angela Topping)

There’s a worm in the bookshop over there.
She is creeping up the books searching for a lair.
She likes to hide because she doesn’t like to be used as a bait.
She is always hiding. That’s her inevitable fate.

There’s a worm in the bookshop down the street.
She is very cautious not to be trodden by the clients’ feet.
She is climbing the bookshelves searching for a refuge.
She is very astounded with all those books – tiny or huge.

There’s a worm in the bookshop next to the pub.
She is searching in the books for some hearty grub.
She is searching for nectar to quench her thirst
because for her knowledge always comes first.

Narratives will go with the wind and perish,
if writers don’t write and publishers don’t publish.
Books combat the oblivion of time’s rust;
either alive in a reader’s hand(s) or buried in a shelf’s dust.

There’s a worm in the bookshop in the city centre.
She is hiding from the public glare— the eyes of the hunter.
There’s a worm in the bookshop. See! She’s devouring a book
because she likes to be considered as an intellectual (angry) kook.

Ali Znaidi

If I were tickled by the rub of love,
A rooking girl who stole me for her side,
Broke through her straws, breaking my bandaged string,
If the red tickle as the cattle calve
Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung,
I would not fear the apple nor the flood
Nor the bad blood of spring.

Shall it be male or female? say the cells,
And drop the plum like fire from the flesh.
If I were tickled by the hatching hair,
The winging bone that sprouted in the heels,
The itch of man upon the baby’s thigh,
I would not fear the gallows nor the axe
Nor the crossed sticks of war.

Shall it be male or female? say the fingers
That chalk the walls with green girls and their men.
I would not fear the muscling-in of love
If I were tickled by the urchin hungers
Rehearsing heat upon a raw-edged nerve.
I would not fear the devil in the loin
Nor the outspoken grave.

If I were tickled by the lovers’ rub
That wipes away not crow’s-foot nor the lock
Of sick old manhood on the fallen jaws,
Time and the crabs and the sweethearting crib
Would leave me cold as butter for the flies
The sea of scums could drown me as it broke
Dead on the sweethearts’ toes.

This world is half the devil’s and my own,
Daft with the drug that’s smoking in a girl
And curling round the bud that forks her eye.
An old man’s shank one-marrowed with my bone,
And all the herrings smelling in the sea,
I sit and watch the worm beneath my nail
Wearing the quick away.

And that’s the rub, the only rub that tickles.
The knobbly ape that swings along his sex
From damp love-darkness and the nurse’s twist
Can never raise the midnight of a chuckle,
Nor when he finds a beauty in the breast
Of lover, mother, lovers, or his six
Feet in the rubbing dust.

And what’s the rub? Death’s feather on the nerve?
Your mouth, my love, the thistle in the kiss?
My Jack of Christ born thorny on the tree?
The words of death are dryer than his stiff,
My wordy wounds are printed with your hair.
I would be tickled by the rub that is:
Man be my metaphor.

Dylan Thomas