This issue of Elephant Mountain Online features Damian John, Daen Davidson-Couch, Mark mealing, Brad Bradley, Doug Wilton, Rachel McGown, Sage Wilton and Philip Sarsons. Three of these writers appeared in the recent trade paperback edition of Elephant Mountain, our annual selection from this online magazine. Now available in local bookstores: Lots of photos to remind you of winter’s hidden secret (Summer!)
JOIN THE CAVALCADE: Send your poetry, short fiction and art to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll publish it here (if it meets our lofty editorial standards) and if it makes the cut you will see it in our next fine paperback edition.
BOOKSMYTH OPEN MIC is a venue for both page and performance poets. Page poets can learn more about the value of sound/performance and anyone can use it as a stage to rehearse a piece for the next Slam. BOM is also a way to try out stuff you’re thinking of publishing. Elephant Mountain gives Slam and other writers a venue for pieces that work better on the page and enables them to get public print exposure.
The Booksmyth Open Mic usually occurs on the last Friday of the month so the next one will probably be on Friday Feb 28. Doors open: 7:30, Readings/Performances start at 8.
We welcome both new or experienced writers and spoken word poets.
Hashem Shaabani was executed in an unidentified prison in late January, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre writes.
He had been sentenced to death in July 2012 by the Ahvaz Islamic Revolutionary Court for muharibih (“waging war on God”), sowing corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security, it adds.
Shaabani, a member of the Arabic-speaking Ahvazis ethnic minority, was the founder of an organisation promoting Arabic culture and literature in Iran known as the Dialogue Institute and was popular for his Arabic and Persian poems, Al Jazeera reports.
It adds the 32-year-old often spoke out against the treatment of ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan.
Following is the translation of a poem that Shaabani smuggled out of prison.
SEVEN REASONS WHY I SHOULD DIE
For seven days they shouted at me: You are waging war on Allah!
Saturday: Because you are an Arab.
Sunday: Well, you are from Ahvaz.
Monday: Remember you are Iranian.
Tuesday: You mock the sacred Revolution.
Wednesday: Didn’t you raise your voice for others?
I just had an article come out in our Star -http://www.nelsonstar.com/community/241351941.html – so having a spot in the Elephant Mtn network is rather timely. If there were room for a preliminary blurb to the poem, perhaps something like:
Poetry brings closer the things which are challenging to express. Especially the esoteric which by its nature is inherently elusive. In sixty-four poems, ‘The Book of Gardens: A Lover’s Manual for Planet Earth,’ reveal the study of mindfulness meditation as given to us in the I-Ching, the Chinese classic ‘book of changes.’ These poems become the bridge, something ever-at-the-ready to cross, travelling into a landscape which otherwise remains foreign. Below is an excerpt from the long-poem at the back of the book “The Shorelines of Johnson’s Landing” which points toward that territory of a pure reverie, a common and unceasing longing, seemingly unique to each of us. Proceeds from this book will be donated to the Johnson’s Landing Community to aid in the recovery and transition from the largest landslide to hit the area in 12,000 years. Copies can be purchased at www.thebookofgardens.com at Otter Books, Shanti Yoga, and BookSymth. Best – Phil
held by rain and cloud upon this hill
the wind blows, the house creaks, the jays
descend, and the woodpecker and mice fall
into their slow invasion: the owl by night
hawks and eagles by day, even in this rain
the chipmunk keeping ridiculous company
up from the lakeside, the wish to be down
by the shore, rising so full. for there, returns
all dreams of Otherness: the secrets of a surface
the whole bird flocking, its song backward in its throat
its wishing guided no less by insane fancy; for the wish to be
beside the sea is far within, under the sediments of fear fusing
with the flux of fascination how the deciduous worry
of wind beside the conifers embrace of it
. there is a driftwood at the waters edge knowing of a slow river
a slow river which has made its nest inside a mountain
letting hard tides fall slowly, their bodies into footprints
and footfalls and fossils guiding them onward
and downward – though all be onward
down to where the lake slipped
and keeps falling upon itself
. and unto every day : the turn of zodiac
the impetus of Flood
each life by each life
this damning economy two lips of flame
cupping an always invincible shadow, moving
as a lake textured by but a patch of wind
yet let not these shadows rule
but simply be that a shadow be known
for the sweet do all too often conceal
their sweetness even from themselves
to pursue a malnourished light
deep unto some darkness
again and again – but not these trees :
blind and bright chorus
who knew of music before the clouds of early day
crawling up this mountain of late fall
operatic inevitable and loving it
for the tree itself is too but a shadow
and let not
the below waves down this hill
be of too great interest either : but after
where one can still hear in the wave
the vacationing stream the knowledge of mountainside
past the million temples – trees or stone – all of the single alter joyously
unignorant of sacrifice
: unto this beach the sunken and broken
are made whole in sand ; warmed and warming
the oceans anterior to these mountains
the Atlantis to the Atlanteans
Pangaea not sunk but risen aching erect, yet crippled, aging in the stretching sun crumbling . . .
so these ashes too will be of use
where every creek cuts itself into tributaries reaching until reached
for there is nothing unless for these trees forevergiving the breath of their
nothing except the longing of nothing
except night crammed with night
night sky in a prisoners robe
alternating lament with wonder
eroticized only by gods into day
and the certain beauty of the daisy feigning innocence
disguising the sorrow germinated – cultured – on the passions
I know it’s true, I can see it with my own eyes
you’re standing in the kitchen
you came it through the front door
your uniform is crisp and shines with medals
Proof of how heroic this whole tragedy was
So I see, that you’re home now But you’re looking around like you’ve never been here like you didn’t lay that floor with your bare hands like we weren’t married in this very room like you didn’t make love to me on that table right before you left me
You left me you left me and they tell me that you’re home now but all you see are dreams and all I see are ghosts
You left me And it’s taken years to figure out how to breath years to teach my heart to beat around he breaks years to learn my life without you in it to convince myself that I could
But you’re home now you came in through the front door wearing that same look the one you had every time I said
I love you
the one that’s waiting for me to take it back
You’re home now and I don’t know if I can back track over
the years I pretended I was fine more hours than I slept
the years I prayed almost as much as I cried
the years I told myself I didn’t need you
the years I almost believed it
take history for example: a silver hue, almost invisible; almost never. only when mentioned, as a matter of fact. “i am responsible,” i then admit, “for my vessel. there, i said it. are you happy now?” her quizzical look. “i’m just saying that i am way outta shape. my wings are like bricks.” she wedges antlers into the blowhole, keyhole, into the shifting window, hollers into the void, “bring me your love! bring me your best teeth!” antlers morph into a surgical straw and broken bendy neck. weather leaks out. w e a t h e r l e a k s . w e a t h e r . silver seepage. “i am thirstier than medical literature. i am danger in the language.” “c’mon! c’mon! push air! maintain density! yer not vapour yet! ah ha! a new silver lining. what’d i tell ya?” again she pushes her fingers through, “what’d i tell ya huh?” my heart elastic and smooth. now, take history for example, and evolve into additional fluids. “this means more than wetter, yes.”