Poem of the Week: ‘Ain’t That Sweet’ by Scott Thomas Outlar
This week saw a record number of budding writers enter out poetry contest and the competition has never been tighter. After plenty of debate, the panel managed to choose our three favourites and the overall Poem of the Week.
‘The Idealist’ by Jita Susan Jacob
The idealist set out
on unexplored waters
Yes, the idealist set out
treading the unbeaten path,
the end nowhere in sight.
The idealist will persist,
seemingly never to glance back,
sketchy assurances, unchased dreams
tossing caution to the winds.
Did the heart miss a beat?
Did time stand still
in a moment of uncertainty
when the decision was made?
Yet, the idealist will persist.
All doubts that lingered
in an indecisive turmoil
will be camouflaged by a
brave smile flared by
love of the unknown,
insistence of a mind
that couldn’t rest,
that slowly withered away
in familiar grounds.
The idealist will return home.
For there comes a time when
the unknown demands to be defined,
reason can no longer wait in the shadows,
Yes, the idealist will return
to the comfort of the harbour.
Will the idealist set sail again?
Won’t the ransom for freedom be paid?
‘On the Eve of Love’ by Brandon Marlon
Gloaming light finds me
weary, taken aback
by dubious symptoms.
Control, wily deserter,
forsakes me; within the haze
I find myself overrun
by invasive scintillas
saturating thews and veins,
seeping into fiber, pore, follicle.
I writhe and cringe at another’s whim,
quiver, gasp, tingle,
astonished to note everything grey
suffers abrupt rupture.
I recognize this for what it is.
Curious occurrence, dreadful ordeal,
a refined, sinister sugar
coating tomorrow’s gall.
You again! Nostrum at worst,
at best rigmarole,
debonair yet feral,
a Bengal tiger in a tuxedo.
Sure, you’d think nothing
of toying with a singed vestige,
setting one adrift on honeyed creeks,
full sail down folly’s stream,
headlong toward ecstasy
or irreparable ruin.
Subdued as I may be,
let us come to reasoned terms;
survivor’s privilege requires as much.
No more placeholder flames
for me, if you please:
kindle me with only the scarcest fire.
‘Ain’t That Sweet’ by Scott Thomas Outlar
Exhaustion sets in,
testing the limits on my morality,
as I’d rather
suck out the soul of my sins
for an easy fix of energetic salvation
than put the steadfast work in
that could honestly get me back to God
where I’d sit pretty
on the right side of the ornamented throne.
Fuck no, not right now, not in this tired condition,
when I’d rather
stick the swine with a dagger to the side,
bleed the pig, rip the hog asunder,
on the flesh
of all the damned spirits
that were driven into the sea.
I’ll dive in after,
swallow the ocean whole, and
suffocate to the point of asphyxiation
just to get a little high
on the most rarefied form of alchemical combustion
that flows beneath the waves of the murky depths.
I’d suck dry the shadows
just to bleed the light to death.
I’d fill the needle with mercury and cancer
just to inoculate an entire generation into a coma.
I’d piss on the grave of the State
just so it’d drown and resurrect stronger
with a Nietzschean will to power
that slaughters the minds of all those
who are still innocent enough to care
about trying to fight the system.
I’d shove my tongue down the throat of the Beast
and lick clean the toxic kidneys, the bloated liver,
the calcified glands, and the ruptured spleen.
I’d sink my teeth into reason
and burst logic’s bubble
so that all hope for clarity and sense
scattered across the four winds of chaos.
I’d slit the wrist of faith
and fuck it down the drain
in a whiplash dive
to the undertow apocalypse.
I’d silence the sound of laughter
with a zero-point trigger finger
itchy with a patience that long ago
ran out of fuel for compromise.
of all the angst
until a glimmer of peace
pushed and pulsed
up through the muck and shit
to reveal a rose
budding on the far side,
springing into new life,
changing every dead vibe,
and bringing me back home…
to Source, to Truth, to God, to Light.