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Rubber Lemon 4 6 August 2011

Editorial Ed Cooke I’ve aended a lot of open mic events in recent months. I am especially glad to have met Rose Drew and Alan Gillo of Stairwell Books, stalwarts of the poetry scene in York, UK. I asked Alan to summarise what’s good about poetry and he said, ‘You say things you wouldn’t otherwise say. And you can say them without the discipline of prose.’ By ‘discipline’ Alan is thinking of the tenacity verging on insanity you need to set down enough words for a novel or even a shorter prose work. It’s heavy going. Yet submissions to Rubber Lemon have been geing longer. is has presented me with a problem, because huge chunks of prose don’t play nicely with haiku. e magazine feels out of whack. So, if you have any prose works that haven’t found a home on account of their length, please send them in and we’ll see about a special edition. is issue concentrates on shorter poems, all of which go to show you can make meaning out of relatively few words. I prefer to think of them as ‘spontaneous’ than ‘undisciplined’ though!


Yesterday’s Manna Carolyn Agee Stale. Old. Turn to maggots. Unsustaining feast.


A Writer’s Parable Laurel Garver Surely the ground cries out with the pulpy blood of penned protagonists buried below. Does my master reckon the score of years I have chipped corners off the gold talent He gave me watchcare o? Sharing sparingly of the sublime shine? Piling higher the stench of sloth, my piss-poor pretensions and sly pride? Nay, he weeps and creeps into my muddy-fingered midnights, whispering benedictions and stirring the earth to quake and heave those aggrieved beauties into the slanting sun where worth isn’t weighed in the eyes and ayes of other holediggers.


Method Kenneth Gurney As I watched the television news cover the ground zero mosque, I spoed, in the background, someone spiing in the face of an opposing protester and I reminded myself that most Americans have college degrees of one sort or another and these folks used some problem solving method that may have included a process that bears Socrates’s name to arrive at their determined actions, but with a visceral result that caused me to doubt the crosses hung about their necks.


e Voice Margaret Phillips ‘When the Voice speaks to you,’ said the minister, voice reeking of snake oil, ‘you will know. In the silence of the early morning hours, when all is still, you will hear it soly whispering its truths to you and you will tremble where you lie.’ I trembled where I sat, my eight-year-old mind fearful of missing the call lest the noise around me made me deaf to the words of my Maker. I closed my eyes to silence my brain, straining to hear angelic uerance, but words, sounds, music got in the way. ‘I’m listening, my Lord,’ I cried over and over, not yet grown into my soul, ‘but can’t hear you. At night I’m asleep next to my sister and my grandmother snores in the next room. Do you sound like my father coming home from the bar laughing and singing because his favorite team won?’ Perhaps it was the sounds of the city blocking the voice, I thought as I got older. Backfiring cars and screeching subways. Fire trucks and ambulances wailing as they raced. Hot and soulful music rising up on long summer evenings while people sat in yards and stairwells waiting for the heat to ease. I searched in vain, stumbling over gospel and broadway and found nothing. I sought out the silence in hopes my quest for the Voice would be rewarded but my Maker did not speak. e ocean lapped cheerfully on the beach as I passed by but said nothing more. And only the sound of bleating gloats filled my ears as I travelled through miles of parched desert. A mournful wind chilled my soul as I sat on snow capped mountains. In dense forests, birds in tall pines warbled from their nests and on dusty country roads, dogs howled with trains that passed. And still the Voice remained silent. Weary from my searching, I sat on the ground and wept. ‘You do not exist,’ I cried. ‘You never spoke to me during all my travels. I watched a thousand suns go down and a thousand moons come up, awaiting a word from on high. I listened to the laughter of children in broken-down villages while they played with sticks and cans. And heard wild horses whinny as they ran freely through the red canyons of their birth. In every corner of the earth I danced with revellers honouring their saints and wise men and still you would not speak.’


My tears owed like a river and when they were spent, I closed my eyes and was silent. And the Voice spoke.


e Gate Called Beautiful Lanee Kissel e disciples stood beyond the gate called Beautiful to proclaim the wonder of the Messiah’s word, in order to redeem a hopeless, desperate world with the greatest news ever heard. He was found siing by the gate called Beautiful, a poor beggar who was also lame. He was healed by the loving act of a disciple, and his life would never be the same. When our journey upon this earth has ended, we will triumph over this earthly strife. We will pass through a gate called Beautiful into the everlasting light of eternal life. ―Acts 3:1–10


Mr. Xerxes the Stress Chien Shea Van Rhoads Mr. Xerxes, the stress chicken, struts across my tense shoulders, pecking at my temples and eyelids, gobbling the lice in my brain, burping with anxiety, extruding the guano of over-processed thought— a strange and needy pet; yet, how would he survive if I didn’t feed him? Yoke of Christ or yolk of Mr. Xerxes, which burden is lighter to bear? One tethered to the neurotic, splintered Church, the ever broken Body, feathery words of strife-ridden compromise, the cacophony of saints. e other, angst-ridden bag of feathery allergens, scratching at my head. At the back of beyond, near the precipice, Mr. Xerxes’ coop awaits him. I dislodged him once, inadvertently, while searching for an inner child. Eventually, I will find the elusive kid, follow her to God’s kingdom, exchange eggs for pearls, recuperate Xerxes, and enjoy my salvation. Until then, reconciling what is sought and lost with what is found— neural stress fractures, a male fowl laying eggs, redemptive crucifixion— I oen ask Mr. Xerxes, which came first, the question or the answer? No wonder, on my spiritual journey, I’m eating so many omelees. -9-

Transition Marie J.L. Sco Trees burn with evening rays, Speak to me of yet to be; Gone soon are the some-days. Petals fall through crisp air, Whisper this of future bliss: Taste the fruit if you dare. Toes in sand, one foot high, Move from box to beauty new— Grand ocean beckons nigh. Growing life squirms inside, Pushes boundaries made of flesh, Makes heart soar with pride! Salty waters glisten down, Unleash joy, and then fear Of adventures unknown.

- 10 -

Sing Again Mark Laperle I wish I could take away the pain A broken heart can bring; it changes everything. I’d gladly give you sunshine for the rain, en by the grace of God, your heart would sing again. I can’t know the burden that you bear, Winter snows and then weeping willows bend. But I know your sorrow is meant to share, And by the grace of God, your heart will sing again. In the darkest hour of your deepest, darkest night, Know the dawn is coming and it's gonna be alright! When the sunlight paints the morning sky, And you remember when, hope’s eternal Friend, Will kiss away each teardrop from your eyes. en by the grace of God, your heart will sing again. By the grace of God, your heart will sing again.

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Just Who You Are Marie J.L. Sco Sometimes I forget. Days go by. Tasks pile high. Worry strikes. Anxiety bites and chews. Needs arise. Sorrows surprise. Fear and doubt bring ruin on the inside. Control tempts my pride. I fall down. Down. Down. Despair opens my eyes. I remember. Creator. Redeemer. Strong. Capable. Healer. Liberator. Kind. Gentle. King. Father. Wise. Wonderful. Powerful. Mighty. Purposeful. Able. Merciful. Patient. Glorious. Forever.

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It’s What We’ll Die For Frank Terry

We are doomed to enjoy the touch of another And hope it is loving. We will walk out at night, smiling, Knowing this body will be their body. Anybody who smiles may get a taste of us. On a Sunday, I woke up, Walked down the street and knelt Saying, ‘You have found me!’ On a Tuesday night I drank of Your wine, And the Fire mixed with words coming out, ‘Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be y Name.’ at morning, and for every morning aer, His Love sparked through my eyes. ere were phone calls, Invitations to lie with those Who were not Him. We are doomed to enjoy another's touch, To walk the streets at night, asking ‘Will you make me whole?’ Lights are bright when you're huddled under a rail, Being beaten with I-love-yous, Wondering who really means it. I will come back to the sparks He le in my eyes, To the grip He grasps my heart with. We are doomed to enjoy the touch of someone else, So I will be touched by fire And let Him do what He wants.

- 13 -

e Cliff and the Sea Sharyl Collin Solid and unbending, the cliff appears eternal, rising out of the depths, in stark contrast to the diffuse spray of foam and light dancing out of the sea that surrounds it. But it is a façade, bluster which will pass the test of a passing eye but through the scope of time compressed the picture is quite different. For the sea is alive, with a spirit like God above. Some days calm with a gentle embrace, on other days, its power more clear, waves roil forceful to embrace with passion drawing in any obstacle, whole or bit by tiny bit. Let my heart run deep like the chasms of the sea, Giving refuge to those not yet ready to dance in the light. Let me be strong and nurturing. Fill me with the wisdom to nourish, like the bountiful harvest of the sea. Let me dilute poisons that seek to destroy, thoughtlessly dumped by those content to use without gratitude. Let my faith make waters buoyant to help them rise when their eyes are ready to see. Let my surface reflect light from above to magnify the heavens until my work on earth is done.

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Rubber Lemon 4  

Christian poetry and prose—devotional, inspirational, challenging

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