By Richard Temple
PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...
Barricaded, entombed, watching hopes atrophy.
Plans aborted; torn like gazelles.
Born to leap, springs discharging,
to the razor maw of an unseen predator;
clawed down, dismembered, rendered, abandoned;
a lurid diorama of meat, skin and bone.
Elsewhere a Priest languishes, parched in a cage.
Nothing is moving, not even a thought.
Quivering silence, too tired to sleep.
Time is the enemy; drowning adversity.
Teeth clamped like a vice, frustration, restraint,
rot in this cell of self imposed bondage,
helpless to even cry out or explain
Elsewhere lovers mingle, conjoined in their lust.
divided, removed, severed and intimate,
grasping connections through digital bars.
Fear of the disconnect, mandated loneliness,
starving for touch but fed only words.
Reaching, and flailing, fingertips grazing,
just out of reach, embracing in dreams.
Elsewhere, a child dozes, nestled in flesh.
A glance at reflection embodies hostility.
Past mistakes surface foreboding an avalanche.
Worthiness judged by historical actions,
found wanting and damned to a derelict dream.
Splintering trust and respect like a charcoal stick,
crumbled away, nerves exposed to the fire.
Elsewhere a girl dances, channelling sex.
Freed from distractions, hopes solidify,
glimpsed in focus, ideas become action;
movement, strategy, conscripted momentum,
careening unbidden, from a step to stampede.
Tempestuous velocity, faster and faster,
bone-weary stumbles that threaten catastrophe.
Elsewhere a lost soldier fires a flare.
Panic is rising like volcanic magma;
trembling horror, demonic and wild.
Adrenaline incubates, saturates, inundates
raging, corrosive, his power unchained.
In rampaging fury, he shatters lucidity,
charging through hope, uncaring and vile.
Elsewhere a son chokes, gasping for air.
nestled in flesh,
conjoined in their lust,
he fires a flare,
parched in a cage,
gasping for air,
Nearly eight billion sides to this story
but we don't have time for that here.
Richard Temple is a performance poet and writer from Wales. His poem ‘Efficiency’ was included in the Bread and Roses Poetry Award Anthology 2021 and he has been published in Red Door literary magazine. A reading of his poem 'Atman' accompanied by music he composed, performed and recorded himself was included in the Poetic Phonotheque project permanent collection in Copenhagen. He has also contributed to the Poetry of Places online collection. Richard is a regular live performer at Cerddi yn Cwrw in Carmarthen, and Poets and Peasants in Lampeter, Wales. He was a semi-finalist at the 2021 Swansea Fringe Festival Poetry Slam.