Poetry from Allison Grayhurst


It Takes You

Allison Grayhurst

Through the asylum streets

where the rain butters my hands

and mowed weeds scatter in piles on the curbs,

I look for your familiar figure

rushing between rush-hour strangers.


My bed is stale

with you wandering

from donut shop to open stages

silent and bewitched

by the lunar



I reach my hand to cup

an autumn leaf descending

and feel


feather blown.


Whenever I touch him



Heavy shackle

around my shell.

He says no, no,

to the great descent


to hands locked in the wind,

on pillow or sheets.


October sun beating on my covered spine

So many walls erected in the name of home


He talks of black birds glowing

or running into webs as wide

as a tree’s open arms.


The Ground We Touch


No lust to sing of or heartbreak

to bury. Circling the golden fields

of yesterdays gone,

coiling the hooded tomorrows


and all the white folds

of sky. Under

the driftwood stars,

a thousand sleepers drain the

waters from zenith high.


They crash down, sinking into

bedrock, stumbling below where

no bird could breathe.

And above where the oceans

burn and roll, fish take flight

like a million moons.


I tilt back and see above



a tiered canopy

that rises great heights, separating pockets of sky

– some blue, some with clouds –

layers, textures swaying in gentle phrases,

opening the hilltop-cap of grief

more like pouring in

the truth of helplessness,

setting free depths unspoken,

domed in such beauty.

Perfection that cannot be matched

or misplaced as mediocre or somewhat flawed,

but is flawed, not one straight line

or obedience to symmetry,

all space taken up with its fecund flesh.


No cell or stem rotted without reason, rotted

because of regret or the weight of culture

or the ridged mind-set of past tradition, but all the past

contained within it.


The ancient trunk expanded equally in the roots

and the leaf currents, intertwined with other currents

to build a blanket, thick enough to feel protected,

mesmerized by the soft motion overgrowth bloom,

a place to anchor a home, release all weapons, comforted.





I dreamt again

of the past encroaching

like a wet towel, tight

around my clothed body.

I dreamt I felt alone, doomed to dance

on a suspended scaffold’s floor.


Among the bitter people I walked,

near their self-pity and inconsolable isolation.

I tried to separate myself, split the heavy air

with my fingers. I tried

to wave their fear into the mouth

of everlasting light.

But love was bitten at the stem,

and the hideous thirst within

grew again like a snake its second, tougher skin.


I dreamt I wandered half-made buildings,

where squatters lived, sheltered

in the dank concrete ruins.

I travelled through without shoes, dreaming

of sand-soft ground.


After the Day


Love is in my belly like evening tea,

comforting after the day’s rush.

Love is there like a discipline

I used to own, exciting

because of its blind determination.


The old man walks the alleyway

with his cane and curious eyes.

He waves to me from the window, then

stretches him arms to cup the wind.

Somewhere the stray has been saved

from the freezing-frost. Somewhere

a woman has conceived, and a dog

has found his favourite toy.


Love is a monk’s old robe

tainted a rich bluish green.

Like twilight blankets the day

it sits on my lap covering –

cherished, unclaimed.


We Rode



We rode our wounded dream

to a place drawn out like Prairie

ground. A washcloth was all we needed,

a scared rock or stepping stone.


Lingering there with useless hands,

many times ready for the culling field,

holding elephant bones under

condemning light.


We swept the dead-end from our horizon.

We lived looking within, seeking out some mercy

behind our bondage.


This land knew our pacing,

our ineffectual pilgrimage.

It was fire and still burns like war or

a fallen constellation.


We spun our wishes in mid-air,

tilled the lifeless soil


mourning the hot metal

that poured between good fortune

and the bloodstains of destiny.


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1200 poems published in more than 475 international journals and anthologies. In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”.

Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published sixteen other books of poetry and six collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash has transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album. “River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst” released October 2017.

Poetry from Edward Lee



It unnerves me to know

that every time I remember

our first night together

I am actually remembering

my last remembrance

of that night,

and not the night itself –

or so men more intelligent than I

would have me believe;

and I fear I believe.


How far from reality

has my renewing memory taken that night?

How many changes has a precious moment

morphed  through;

a Chinese whisper of the mind?


How diluted has it become?

Have diminished have you become,

seeing as no single night passes

without my mind embracing you

and all the possibilities

that never were?


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Poetry from Joan Beebe

Joan Beebe (left) and fellow contributor Michael Robinson

Slowly at the first hint of morning,
We can perceive a small streak  of red
Beautifully stretched over the sky.
The sun is starting to make a  panorama
Of color with pinks and gold blending
Across the sky.
When the sun has fully risen,
Our eyes behold the beauty
And majesty of a sun that gives us
Healing, warmth and nourishment
For our fragile nature.

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

and before the final thought was done

J.J. Campbell

to the sweet lips
i know i will never
get the chance to
taste again
to the lonely nights
on the phone until
three in the morning
to the hushed moans
and muffled screams
of just the right words
and just the right
amount of kink
to those dark eyes
to the hips of the
on a bended knee
i offer you the
please kill either
me or my shadow
i will consider it
an act of mercy
the final act of a
saint that has put
up with this shit
for oh so many
years now
allow me to
close my…
with a happy ending
i do my best to swallow
my jealousy
knowing the woman i
love is on the other side
of the country
hanging out with another
man that paid for everything
for her to come out there
i’m not sure how much
longer i can play it cool
play like it doesn’t matter
that she’ll see how much
i love her and that will
win her over
like life is some fucking
romantic comedy with
a happy ending
maybe the lesson is
the poor are only
allowed to love
other poor people
you’re simply not
allowed to jump up
the line without paying
a cost
soul, life, whatever
love up here isn’t free
your beauty deserves so much more
i could probably think of
a thousand different ways
to say i’m sorry
maybe a million if i wanted
to drag my body through
hot coals and accept the
your beauty deserves
so much more
i have told you so many times
you are the love of my life
maybe i should say i’m sorry
for taking so fucking long
to realize it
sorry for being an asshole
that isn’t confident enough
to believe in himself and
take a fucking chance
sorry for the actions
not coming close to
the eloquent words
i’m just an awkward poet
that fumbles his thoughts
and words and god knows
what else when he’s in front
of a breathtaking woman
that actually acknowledges
he exists
i can apologize to the end
of time and i probably should
i just hope a day comes where
you accept it and decide i am
worthy of your love
just five minutes of your time
where have all the years gone
from a chat room to late night
phone calls
to hushed moans on busy highways
to the lonely dreams of creative juices
being swapped across the country
i’m at the point now where i’d kill
for just a taste
just five minutes of your time
just the casual crossing in your mind
there are some days where your hello
takes away all the clouds
and i know you don’t see it or want
it to ever get past where we are now
that’s where the pain comes in
knowing just how deep my love
for you has poisoned my body
and knowing we’ll probably never
meet, never hold each other and
fall asleep in the rain
it’s heartbreaking
it takes all i have to continue
this life while holding that
as your beautiful face rests in
someone else’s dream
the size of a small island
i had a dream about you
last night
i showed up in your city,
you ignored me
a day later, you saw
me eating in a restaurant
i had lost weight and
most of the facial hair
but i was older, walking
with a cane and dying
you walked up to my table
looking fine as hell
i noticed a rock on your
finger the size of a small
you showed me the ring
and said you waited too
fucking long
you walked away slowly
so your ass would bounce
and i would miss it even
i woke up defeated
knowing my inner child
had finally turned its back
on me
i called you up so we could
share a laugh, but you never
picked up the phone
J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is old enough to know better. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently in The Dope Fiend Daily, Horror Sleaze Trash, Dodging The Rain, Fourth & Sycamore and Under the Bleachers. His most recent chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Short story from Mike Zone

A strong wind was blowing, meaning a storm was coming, only it wasn’t outside… something wicked was brewing inside Silas Jones, the young man with the old man’s name, facing down the gun barrel of aging. Lightning crashed into his eardrums as SHE brushed up, ever so slightly against him with a semblance of thunder rumbling in the cavity where he thought his heart had gone missing.

Was this just going to be another missed opportunity, he would allow to slip through his aching fingers or just another cruel joke by the universe rendering his existence the ultimate punchline?

Her tigress eyes were golden flecked burning brightly, the curl of her lips with a malicious or inviting smile (it was hard to tell these days- dazed).

“Sy, how about a couple of rails in stock-room nine and you eat my pussy out like a mad man?”

Followed by the barely audible giggle through the nose and slight presence of hips against pelvis.

She smelled like peaches packed tightly in imitation Chinese manufactured velvet or was it, wet rodent bound with dead butterflies (butterflies feast on corpses)?

He turned around, tinnitus like broken cathedral bells in his left ear in almost utter disbelief but an aside glance delivered by Nancy (being the” SHE” in question) veering on bashful with sinful eyes of malice said otherwise. This was not like when the old lady had asked “Could you, blow me where the hampers are?”

THIS WAS REAL. This could be his feast. His shot at the very least of a sliver at a chance of redemption. An unwholesome deed without consequence.

Then came the squeak, the scuffs and the clicking of sneakers as if they were combat boots. Aqua shoes to be exact, yellow fake space-age soled with purple laces. The enemy with black framed glasses and weasel eyes had arrived.

“Sup, girl, thinking of buying this dress for youngest girl’s first communion.”

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Jaylan Salah, Egyptian writer, on Satish and Santosh Babusenan, Indian film directors

Satish and Santosh Babusenan
A Journey through Bodies, Souls and Time

(Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan)

(Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan) 

During the 38th edition of Cairo International Film Festival in 2016, I had the pleasure of watching an unconventional Indian film. Prejudices aside, for me Indian cinema represented Bollywood, which is an overabundance of melodrama, dancing and dreamy looking Indians who –I am sure- had nothing to do with how real life Indians looked like. It came as a surprise for me to discover brother directing duo Satish and Santosh Babusenan’s film “The Narrow Path – Ottayaal Patha” which was a sensual masterpiece, with minimal lighting and a camera that keeps rolling to allow the characters to evolve in front of the audiences’ mesmerized eyes. A meditative look on life, death, desire and familial conflicts; “The Narrow Path” was a testosterone-infused film oozing with the sensationalism that only sensitive artists could capture.

Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan; who are they?

Two Indian dreamers who abandoned the materialistic, commercial, fast-paced world of MTV India where they worked as music video directors and returned to Kerala; their hometown where they explored their artistic ventures through their movies. Since then they have mutually agreed not to promote their works unless a curious 30-year-old feminist critic decided to do that on their behalf.

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