Poem of the Week: ‘My Unforgettable Fire’ by Neil Slevin

CV Poem of the Week

3rd Place
‘Shell’ by Natalie Parsons

You walk out the door
closing it respectfully behind you
but you’ve forgotten –
my body thinks it’s yours.

First my intestine loops out of my stomach
and I give a last sigh as my lungs follow,
falling to the floor
and disappearing under the door.
My liver and kidneys go next,
trailing strings of veins and arteries
and muscle and tongue and teeth
until I’m a slumped shell
of skin and bones, a smile
and two hungry eyes
left to stare the door down.

I can’t think –
my mind’s gone.

BIO: “I’m Nat Parsons and although I’m a short story writer primarily, poetry is special. I graduated last year with a degree in creative writing, and currently I’m working on getting into the publishing industry. Somehow.” 

2nd Place
‘Thoughts a Rye’ by Kenneth Yeates

Can I have a whisky please?

Says to the barman.

A horse walks into a bar.

Why the long pause?

A bear walks up to the bar.

It’s not funny when you can’t get your thoughts in order.

And the bar man says.

A pint …………………of lager please.

We don’t serve spirits.

Why the long face?

A ghost goes up to the bar.

BIO: “I am a teacher who first set foot in a classroom in 1971. I now teach in south Essex and enjoy the classroom more than ever before. My family is essential for me. They keep me anchored and away from the feelings expressed in some of my poems. I began to write in an effort to clear out negativity. I recommend this to anyone feeling down; it worked for me.”

1st Place
‘My Unforgettable Fire’ by Neil Slevin

“Have you ever
tried to remember
that you’ve never remembered before?”

his face asked
curling into a mischievous grin,
like a magician’s goatee laughing
at its master’s double chin.

Incredulous I thought he was joking,
but soon realised he was not;
he wanted me to summon something I couldn’t remember –
something that I’d a long time ago forgot’…

So with my mind unleashed
(like the good Catholic boy that I am),
I looked away from him into the distance,
in hot pursuit of the bait thrown from his hand;

I wandered off, all alone in my dark,
scratching at the lower backdoors
of unvisited memoirs,
resisting the soul-consuming urge to bark.

Before pawing at the contents
of my mind’s toilet-bowl mixture,
as around they swirled,
all refusing to unfurl;

resorted to gnawing at my still-beating heart.

Up all night I played with the frayed edges
of images long before torn apart,
chasing the cars speeding away from me
with far too much of a head start.

All this before, finally,
I stopped,
and slowly made my way home:

no longer was I
a foolish dog of the night,
seeking the bitter reward
of a juicy bone.

Memory-chasing I remembered
that I accept what I can remember;
that I want to forget
what I’ve come to regret;

that my memory is a fire
full of burning embers,
some aflame, some smoking,
some dying:

it’s one I can’t relight or re-set…

So after a long pause I met his unsmiling eye,
his star-twinkle now buried deep and within,
“No”, I said, forgetting myself –
wishing I could forget him.

BIO: “Neil is an M.A. in Writing student at the National University of Ireland, Galway, who writes for The Sin (N.U.I.G’s student newspaper), and reports for ILAS (a campus centre providing community-based initiatives for the local area). He is sixwordmemoir.com’s Memoirist of the Month for October 2015.”

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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