Tag Archives: poets

Manizha Sepas' website

A Guest Post by Poet & Author Manizha Sepas

I first reached out to Manizha Sepas to invite her to share more of her writing here right after she submitted her captivating poem A DIME IS WHAT I NEED to the Relating to Humans Poetry feature under the nom de plume of tamednomad. Well, my patience – and persistence – has finally been rewarded as she has shared with us two wonderful pieces: a poem and a travel essay, which, itself, is as poetic as any poem could be. Needless to say, I strongly encourage you to visit Manizha’s site to enjoy more of her work.


Manizha Sepas

Poet & Author Manizha Sepas


Idle dreams

The pretty little house upon a hill
In flowers and myriad greens adorn
A symphony of bird songs
While muses dance above
A silent cat stretched out in the shade
Sun rays upon our faces as we laze
Radiating on sunny afternoons.

These are treasured times.
And of more we dream.
Alas! Few will be content
In this age of men of doings.
A sense of purpose of Gods we’ve made,
To be watched over and orders kept.
Of idleness we dream; In idleness condemned,
To slave away the youth.
At the nearness of death time abundant to be found
For nostalgic contemplations:
The rewards of the dogma of the era of the self.
Fear and ambition are our masters
And we the dancing fools –
Malcontent marionettes.
Dreams left in wastelands of our teens
Forgotten tomorrows and lost days,
“What is it you want to be?”
Cuts the knife of purpose.
Broken reveries; harsh realities.
To be! For existing is mere.
Childish. Primitive. Senseless.
It is the age of categorisation,
The hierarchy of ants,
Times past in wretched standardisation.
Thoughtlessly enslaved.
A need to be. To do. To better.
Insanely labelling the sane,
A return to what is true
The naked man is caged
For the good of man
Bodies enshrouded in shame and sin
Gloriously protected.
In gowns we tread along the aisle
Piously fearful facing beneath the ground
Wonderfully meaningless.

Manizha Sepas' website

Helios conquers Hermes

To love not bound but much to give. Like the faithful addict I am besotted. Excitedly impassioned and from withdrawals I suffer; yet no relapse. I am afflicted by this glorious disease. The tempestuous serpentine with smiles and gentle caresses like a breeze passes, communicating a love that is greedily and without prejudice struck. Among Olympians I have come to wander. By the window I sat gazing onto the hills. The nomadic mind for a body tormented by restlessness. A painful existence defined by rage it was; but itchy feet and the vagabond mind is here united. Ataraxis at long last. I sought meaning and found an occupation but I was discontent. It is a failure to be accepted and an acceptance to fail. What are wrongs when solipsistic truths subsist? I turn to look inside and you sit before me, the very embodiment of serenity. I am thirsting. To share in your calm. To feel your soft whispers in my ear and your lips against mine. Sweet intoxicant, I am drunk. A selfish desire you have inspired in me to make mine your every essence but for now, I am a novice. Gems along the road await me and with grateful curiosity I follow.

A brief moment spent in dreams and another reality. Under the cloak of the night we set upon the trail of effervescent chatter. Songs heard and laughter echoed. Drinks pass lips and the herb circulates. The cold is the cherub that draws us together. At the foot of the cross we sit sharing in the joys of your youth. The stage is set and another play ensues. Such are the highs of the opiate seeker. You lead the way to a rocky garden of unquestioned welcome. Upon uneven ground the bodies exchange secrets. Locks of onyx beau, new heights, new desires and the vagrant is once more intoxicated. Stories of troubles told, of loss, suffering and a futile search for happiness where none was to be found. Discourse of fears and pains, and praises made – smiles so readily present and a heart so big. Boundless is this heart and without limit it loves. What is the one when love is abundant and abundantly I love?

Restless days and long nights spent in waiting. The gem is here found distant from my touch. Your desire I have sensed but questionable is mine as I am in character. Perceptions can be deceptive and here, my dears, you have been deceived. The contemplative eye, for Nietzsche, is “like a smooth and irresponsive lake, which is no longer moved by rapture or sympathy;” for far too long I have been lost in the turbulent, perpetually dark world of the phantoms of my mind and at times these eyes betray a challenge to cope with reality. I lust for the chance to share in all the wanders of your dream-like existence here in the Middle Earth of our age. Had Tolkien experienced such a place himself to have imagined this meridian of magnificence? I digress. It is the thoughts that flutter like excited butterflies, offering only glimpses of its promised pleasures. You have been a recurrent attraction like a source of light. An aching lust. To be ventured dangerously close. It is the eyes that I could not look into. A journey’s beginning so abounding in passion but I am of the road. Love is a disease that is bewitching. I am once more consumed. My ailments are concerns of the self; yet despite knowing this I cannot be helped – I must see you again. It is the lips I did not kiss. I fear that the drumming of my heart might be echoed aloud. I am the excited adolescent.

On the move again and true as the addict idéal, the spark is once more set. Perfervid love in which I am immersed. All that happens, happens for a reason. The reason may be doubted but the passions are engulfing and I am the invariant, variedly loving and ardently loved.

I speak of my addiction to love and to lust – to dive into the glory of this most beautiful of human experiences. I love passionately, tenderly and erotically. Always my love is erotic but not necessarily sexual. All my relationships defined by intimacy but not necessarily of the body. I love honesty. I love the flawed and seek not the perfect. I love the best for the best are honest with themselves and thereby deserving of love. To accept one’s own mortality and stupidity is to be the best. To seek not to prove. The best loves as the self dwindles. She is her own subject and her own critic. The best is drunk on life for in sobriety she understands the joke played upon us.

I could not know. My position was one of perpetual torment. Life played its joke and I was the laughing matter. I could only lust passionately to bring to an end the tragicomedy of my pitiable existence. To close the curtains and to have the final laugh. In suicidal contemplations I passed my days not from a selfish desire but from a deep selflessness to free the world of my disease of the soul. It was on the brink of absolute loss that I made a final grasp at happiness only to be found among the children of the sun. Like Tolstoy, I too had a dream in which I saw our sun but I knew it could not be my sun which had begotten my earth full of terrors. Yet, somehow I recognised that it was the same sun, a “dear power of light,” which revived me and from the outstretched arms of death inspired me. Tolstoy dreamt but here I live.




A Guest Post by Author J Hardy Carroll

It is my pleasure, privilege, and honor to present to you a whirlwind of wisdom and intrigue from the author of HAWSER, our IABS&R Volume 3 selection.

Or So You Say
by J Hardy Carroll

Tell me the truth, now.

You always dreamed of being a writer. Doesn’t matter whether your dream took the shape of Erica Jong in a penthouse sipping Moet while talking into a Dictaphone or Hemingway slouched over a café crème wearing down a stub pencil in a composition notebook.

Your dream isn’t of fame, of wealth or even of the admiration of your fellows.

No. Your dream is much simpler.

Your dream is to be paid for your unadulterated idea.

It is a strong dream, a storyteller’s dream, but it is a dream fraught with questions.

Who are you to tell a story?

What makes your idea worth anyone’s time?

How in God’s name can you call yourself a writer?

You know the facts. Writing badly is easy. It just comes. You’re so pleased with it. You are proud. Until you forget.

You forget that writing well is ridiculously hard, a series of tasks, many unrewarding and some downright unpleasant. Self-delusion lurks in every dark corner and all your worst tendencies get laid out naked on the slab in public view. Your clever clichés and trite situations and penchant to lecture form a kind of cesspool though which you wade, dragging for a story as though it was the body of a murder victim.

J Hardy Carroll, Writer, Poet, & Cartoonist

My, how you do go on.

But tell me the truth.

Secretly, you think you’re great. Admit it.

Well, maybe not great. Not yet. But good. Good enough to get published, anyway. Except for the fact that there aren’t any publishers these days willing to take a chance on somebody without an MFA from Iowa or Emerson or Columbia.

Or maybe it’s this: maybe you’re not so great. Maybe you are only great at lying to yourself.

So start another story. Maybe this time it will turn out better. Maybe this one will actually be something you can open in six months and read with a degree of pleasure or even pride.

Did you read that piece on Andre Dubus, about how he would take a year to write a single story, how he would trim 150 pages down to twenty, how one perfect sentence followed another?

Did you read about how Jack London pawned his bicycle for postage to send out his manuscripts only to have them come back months later with form rejection notices tucked inside the self-addressed stamped envelope?

Did you read about Annie Proulx writing cookbooks?

By the way, who in hell do you think you are?

You didn’t finish college. Your father was a professor who taught Chaucer and Beowulf and who never wrote anything down. You dedicated your first novel to him but he died before he got a chance to read it. In his life he finished only one short story, the one about his father called My Father’s Dreams that you read when you were in high school, the one that made you cry and wonder why your dad didn’t write more.

Or at all. Your dad could talk an acorn into an oak, but he never could finish anything. How many stories did he start and never finish?

Is this about him? Is that all there is to the dream? No? What, then?

Don’t give me that shit about how when you first read Faulkner, hacked your way though the twisted vines of his prose only to find yourself lost in a thicket, befuddled and a little angry, how you went back and started again, trying hard to not be bored, trying hard to be smart, trying not to give up and re-read that Trevanian book instead.

Don’t give me that shit about Faulkner being hard because there was that afternoon when you realized what the story was about, when you saw that the pattern of random rocks in the road was a secret code of musical notes scoring a symphony that only grew in richness over the span of years.

Don’t give me that shit about Vonnegut, either, about how you read Breakfast of Champions at the age of sixteen when you were so depressed you wanted to kill yourself. Don’t tell me that reading that book made you decide to go to the hospital instead of jumping off the parking structure of the Pioneer Hotel. The part where you were going to be polite and wrap yourself in garbage bags so as not to make too much of a mess is pretty funny—irony—but I still don’t want to hear it.

You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care what makes you want to do this thing. I am not interested in your ambitions to have people read your work. People read your work all the time, read it and like it.

I’m not interested in your quest for a perfection you will never achieve, not interested in your heroes or even your opinions on truth, war, love, loss, fatherhood, death or any of it.

So what, then? What interests me?

I’ll tell you.

It’s the act of writing. Writing every day, writing something. Think of the hummingbird. Think of the shark. Think of the way your heart is beating away in your chest at this very moment. No rest. Ever onward.

Don’t give me your reasons. Don’t give me anything. Don’t think about it. Don’t think at all.

Empty yourself out and get to it. You can think about it later.

And by God, you probably will, too.



IABS&R Volume 3 Selection


Novelist, Poet, and now Playright: A Guest Post by Author Paul Xylinides

It’s hard to say where a poem and its ensuing conversation will lead. It’s even harder to say where it will eventually end. To understand how it is we are about to arrive at the fortunate post-poem, post-conversational point to which we are headed, I will simply refer you to here instead of wasting precious time and space with a reenactment in paraphrase.

With that out of the way, I can now get us to the point to where we wish to be by pleasurably presenting to you the publication of this humble site’s very first play, penned by our good friend and literary phenom Paul Xylinides, author of THE WILD HORSES OF HIROSHIMA.


Tweeting in the Immortal Nineteenth Century
A Play in One Act

by Paul Xylinides

(Dedicated to K. Brindley)

Dramatis Personae
William Wordsworth: Poet
Dorothy Wordsworth: Sister

The Wordsworth Lake District cottage

The Nineteenth Century


Sound effects: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Dorothy: Get out of bed, Will! You have poems to write and sheep to cuddle!

William: Groan. You are the only sheep/I wish to baa baa/But, listen, “Tweet, tweet/Tweet, tweet,” methinks it tells/Of a golden age to come again.

Dorothy: My Word, ’tis but a bird, dish up some rhyme with your porridge and share a bit with that dusty bird – look it shakes off the night it spent in our roof again. Time to put on a new shingle, Will.

William: Must get ready for Coleridge, sister mine. The Lake air does him much good. Mayhap he leaves his pipe in the city.

Dorothy: He smokes too much of that Chinese poison. I suspect there lies the reason for his not finishing his Kubla Khan.

William: Yes, he came up short somewhere, although it is his story that the mailman ringing on his door disturbed him. Hark! The bird tweets again!

Dorothy: And Byron, ought of him?

William: I fear they shot his pigeon. Perhaps the mail coach will have something.

Dorothy: Whatever it is, don’t light the fire with it, brother mine. We are short of paper, you know.

William: Ay, the back of it will serve for future eyes.

Dorothy: You think then it will be an improvement on our last Golden Age?

William: Without a doubt, sister mine. Give it a century or two.

Dorothy: They will be reading you beyond that, brother mine.

William: Baa!

Sound effects: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

(End of Play)



MAD ABOUT THE VERSE – A Guest Post by Poet Rose Red

This blog rewards me in so many wonderful ways. The most wonderful way is when, through it, I get to meet new and different and interesting and motivating authors and poets and artists of all sorts who inspire me through their artistry and temperament to want to not just continue on here, but to continue on here with bigger and better and more inclusive endeavors.

Through her kind and encouraging feedback to the work I’ve published here and in book format, and, more importantly, through her own poetic example, Rose Red of geletilari.wordpress.com has had such a powerful suasion on me, and I am happy to be able to thank her publicly for her support and her artistic example.

And I am just as happy, and honored, to be able to present to you Rose Red’s highly interesting and inspiring guest post. I ask that you please take the time to visit with her at her site and enjoy her artistry and insight as I have.

Mad about the Verse
by Rose Red

I am passionate about poetry. When did this begin? I wonder if it ever wasn’t. I think about the books I read when I first started reading at 4 years old. They were lyrical. There was rhyme. There was imagery. I recall great allegories, analogies, rhymes and fancies, with Dr. Seuss at the forefront. My mother would sign up for book promotions at the grocery store or through the mail. The first book was free, or inexpensive, then she would buy them one by one until we had the entire set. But, I was going to talk about being a poet, about writing poems. Yes, but reading is first, at the heart of it all. That is the passion we follow, reading and seeing words assembled in a way that makes us feel something. I have no words to express this as well as my old companion and favourite poet from my youth, Emily Dickinson. I was enamoured and mystified by her poetry. It broke every rule, and told so much.

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold
no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically
as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?

Emily Dickinson

This is what she said about poetry, that great love of my life. Good poems, right? No, she did not define in terms of good and bad. Her definition was at its heart. Feeling. When you have passion, the words delight. They incite action. They make you smile, laugh, grin, guffaw. Like being in love, you can also be in hate, you can be angry, disappointed, elated, surprised, engulfed. In Noël Coward’s play, “The Astonished Heart”, that subsequently became a film, Christian Faber, at a particularly low point, describes himself as being ‘submerged’. Have words ever made you feel submerged?

I have this overwhelming desire (need?) to figure out what I feel and put it out there. Some call it narcissism. Perhaps it is at its core. But, as time goes on, I find myself wanting to share it, just give it away. I want the kudos at times, yes. Let’s get that out of the way now. I don’t think about that while writing though. Like that lover we spoke of, I am true to her. I write what is inside, making that attempt to bring to the surface what is lurking beneath. If someone else can relate to it, the gratification is immense. I am not alone. If I was alone on that proverbial desert island, I still believe that I would tell my story. I would be sitting by a palm tree, telling it my life and loves.

So, is this passion no more than a great need to analyze myself on that great shrink couch of life, then unleash my psychoses on the world? Do I just want to hear others agree with me? My husband does not get a vote here. But I do think that at its center there is a desire to be heard and understood that is innate to all of us. Not everyone wants to pick it apart and describe it, comparing it to a fig leaf, a dog, or a cloudy day. So what makes me, and other poets different?

If you are passionate about these words, you scribble on anything that can be scribbled on. I heard that John Cougar Mellencamp wrote the first lyrics of “Hurts So Good” on the shower door with a bar of soap. I’ve written on envelopes, menus, pages of a crossword puzzle book, the margin of the crossword page in the newspaper, my hand, and a program from a music recital, among other things. Often the music will inspire words and I am afraid I will forget them.

I am yet to be paid for anything I have written. So what good is it? I will tell you what poetry has done for me. It has saved my life, more than once. It has allowed me to connect with strangers, more times than I can count. It has allowed me a new connection with my children, to tell them how I feel in a special way that is a gift only for them. It gives me a media to use in prayer to God, when I feel afraid and like I can’t pray, and words fail me aloud. I start writing and it just flows out of me, all the pain, the worry, the questions, and the doubts.

I started writing poetry at 9 years old. It is hard to say if it first came from a joyful place or a dark place. I was living in a dark place at home, but I think the poems were joyful because I loved school and Sunday School. There were teachers that were kind to me. I got a respect I did not get at home and I liked it. I have in my cedar chest the first poems I wrote, or at least the first ones preserved, from 4th grade. They are mostly about God or my dog. As time went on, they became clouded. I was confused about my folks taking me to church and then showing indifference, unkindness, and neglect at home. I couldn’t reconcile it all. I can’t say why I wrote them. Maybe they were for school at first? I have always written from that point on. In 5th grade I had a teacher that encouraged my creative side. She showed me poems of her own and gave me a part in the school play. In high school that darkness reached a dangerous place and nearly a deadly place. But I had a few adults in my life and a couple of friends moving in and out of my sphere that would help me not to give up. My senior year I wrote poems for the fledgling school paper and for the church bulletin. The little bits of praise I received were immeasurable in terms of self worth. But it was more. What touched me was when someone would say it made them feel something. Wow. What a rush.

About that time, my mother brought me a typewriter. I look back at that act of love in a time that we were very poor and I know it showed that she loved me. I wrote this in her memory last year.

Sometimes the words flow like water
From my finger tips and from my mind
I don’t even try because to try is to alter
Genuine heart-felt stone cold feelings.
But this morning at four a.m. my mind
Is on you Mom and I open up my typewriter
You bought for me 33 years ago at Sears
Because I need a little something to make me go.
I needed a boost, though you weren’t always so good at that-
But there was this time when you noticed me, my poetry
And that was what drove me on and you bought it for me
Said I’d need it, and it meant everything, you know.
Did you know that? Me, the beggar girl
And you gave it to me and I did not have to ask.
Mom our life memories are full of scars and I am
Starting to forgive you when I remember
We went through triage together.

As I have moved through various stages of adulthood and parenthood, I discovered that my words were something that could grow with me, and give me a voice. I often felt crossed off and invisible. I can live without fame or money. Just don’t take away my words. Don’t take the one thing intrinsically mine. It is a means of communication. When you are out of options, you are not out of options. Write. Talk about it. Show it to someone. Read their words. Listen. Share. It is something that will change your life.

I don’t get hung up on format as I think there are as many ways to express a thought as there are people. I enjoy paying attention to meter and form, and I like working over the words and making my thoughts fit into a frame without losing their meaning. But if by doing so I will lose the feeling and deeper meaning, I just keep the words flowing in free verse. I am allowed. I have a poetic license.



An Ode to a First True Love… Selection

The books I loved best as a child
I bet were loved also by many of you.
They told of tales sweet, silly, and wild,
As penned by the great Sendak, Suess, and Reys, two.

But as the years passed and I grew a bit older
I left such childish tales behind.
As I grew fonder of stories much bolder
That came in the comic book kind.

And then soon comics I also outgrew
As I zipped through my age of the teens.
Words read in leisure were then but few
For leisure was found in new and various means.

In my twenties my first Literary Love was found,
And it is to this Love I tribute this ode.
Its author to the Beats he is bound
And its story will forever be On The Road.

(What a day…apologies for the delay)

So, who could objectively choose between two such different yet poetically perfect submissions?

They both speak to my subjective heart equally.

So it is to the Coin of Arbitration I must go…

Heads be Dancing Echo as she has the first submission;

And Tails be Josh Wrenn as there be no other choices for him to be.

And the flip…

And the catch…

And, on behalf of the Coin of Arbitration, it is my pleasure to present to you today’s MEMOIR MONDAY selection…

by Josh Wrenn

I must confess
To everyone here
They weren’t the best
Or anywhere near

Jets and sex
And war and guns
One book to the next
A series of fun

But in my young mind
Great works of art
A hero I’d find
In a world torn apart

What got me hooked?
It ain’t no baloney
The Wingman books
By Mack Maloney


Once again, a very big thank you to two powerfully prolific and most perfect of poets…

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars



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The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor


Read the Reviews