POETRY EDITOR ANANYA S GUHA’S NOTE:
Nathan Hassall’s poems are related to life and everyday living. He is confronted with questions of death, after life, and relationships. He has a candid way of presentation, directly asking questions, searching, pondering and even giving the answers. But the poems are at one level deeply meditative. Hassall has a no-nonsense style. As he gets, he gives back as well (tongue in cheek). Enjoy reading these poems.
Knives are blades of grass
plucked from the soil by spiders, who rest them on their webs
until Unfaithful returns to the Wake.
She comes home, intoxicated, and rests on silky texture,
until He begins to gorge on the delights of her dismay.
She struggles to scream.
Sound rises from the bars of terminal cage
to let all know the outside still exists
and that memory is a temporary haven from present threats.
Cars hit icebergs before they sink into the
ground – I kick up dust, to
discover myself hanging from a scaffold
with a glow. Street lamps and curbs
burst into laughter, I burst into
tears. I always liked to jump into
puddles, feet first.
I cut the rope and plunge
deep. I discover an ocean. I speak
to electric eels, octopi, squids and
sharks. The ocean is red. A volcano
erupts beneath me, so I end up back
on the street.
beneath my feet. I take
Fred’s dog out for a
walk. I’m a good neighbour, better than
Janet. Whore. Always looking out of her
telescope, into my eye-planets. My iris is
a star. I go into orbit like a tea spoon
stirs its morning tea: Paradoxically. After the
sugar dissolves, I delve into your cereal:
‘Notes of a Psychiatrist.’ Bitter, as
presumed. I sit on the moon, the duck from
my bathroom sails across the
distance, wearing a space
suit, out-of-this-world! Obviously,
I’m the only true victim of our delightful
solar system. Up there I learn that time travel
is commonsensical – as is telekinesis – and I propose a
thesis. I report back
Nothing new here, to millions
in an empty theatre. The theatre explodes, leaving
me and a new-born French business
man – Pierre – surrounded by whiteness. He propositions me.
Get fucked, I said.
Disorientated, he takes off his tie,
sticks forks into his eyes. What a wonderful piece of
art. I ask him what the piece is called, he
glares. I yank the forks and out come
his eyes. I kiss his forehead, wish him all
the best, and throw sight across the universe.
He bleeds, I spontaneously combust.
Death Through the Looking-Glass
Weeds grow in the glass of light bulbs,
unwanted nature viewed through the looking-glass
of mud-crafted beauty,
drowned by wooded howls.
One tree stands taller
perceives protection through the forest
allows fantasies to rise from soil,
for fog to break through its cracks,
lit by crescent silver and yellow tears of sap.
Thoughts swirl in tunnels from roots to tips,
needles against the heavens;
stars watch the graveyard closely
and grant light to the lifeless.
Sponge clouds of memory form above
swirl repression across the skyline,
evoke recesses of discarded nostalgia
and illuminate light from the forest bed.
Heads are called to avenge past regret.
The sponges are kneaded
by the Virgin – strained thoughts descend –
allow for the soil to soak them
(as they form new interpretations).
Branches stretch out in elitist pride
vultures perch upon them
to bear witness to the fall of minds on the bed below.
They patiently wait for the mind-forest-decay,
view death through the looking-glass
and blow purgatory away.
This night is so old,
the stars above are struggling.
Rows of bodies have broken-down beneath,
with thoughts gray as their stones.
Nothing really fulfills,
we are all immured by our mortal flesh
surgeons know blades
are unable to change this
and psychiatrists know
suicide cannot kill himself
and that ropes and guns and fire
do not hang, shoot, or burn themselves.
Even the darkest of days aren’t always spent alone;
the void forces our unity
the ambulance takes us away.
Ah, reckless death.
There once was a time
Where an entity existed
Between the realms
Of the living and the dead.
He was an artist
Who would carve skulls into gravestones,
Paint smiles on recently deceased faces
After he touched them with his finger.
Believers called him Rebirth.
Critics called him Death.
He called himself Grim.
Believers called it religion.
Critics called it science
He called it work.
Myths in Pictographs
The premonition came in pictographs
Of burials beneath desert sunlight.
Minds portrayed the art of sacrifice,
Mirroring the sinful songs of praise.
Ceremonies crashed down the edges of pyramids
And opened a myriad of archaeological myth.
Sand oozed over bodies,
Presented in bloody skin gifts.
A snake spoke in riddles,
Shredded scales atop Death’s bookshelf,
Persuaded Misery to tempt fate, encouraged,
Find the Mystery of Tonatiuh’s Hate.
There it lay – a virgin’s heart in a withered tomb
Pulled from its cage by savages
Etched a message into the muscular tissue,
Eagles circulated the red-mist of the sun
Swooped to their prey, stole mummified fruit,
Paraded it high to guarantee the new day.
A birthplace of new explorers
Grew akin to the diseased atmosphere,
Discovered Death’s secrets,
A virgin deceased,
Or a new day ceased
Explicit in pictographs.
Nathan Hassall received a BA Hons in History at the University of Kent in 2014, with a Year Abroad studying at the University of Massachusetts. He is the author of three poetry collections, Nascent Illusion (2009), A Conscious Void (2011), and Of Gods and Gallows (2015). His poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Yellow Chair Review and Episteme. Hassall is also an Editor for The Luxembourg Review and will be studying an MA in Creative Writing at The University of Kent in 2016. All work originally appeared in 2015’s Of Gods and Gallows. Copies are available worldwide via Amazon.