ubterranean Blue Poetry
Volume III Issue IV

The Cover Art/Photo:

"Cat in the Window"

by Rebecca Anne Banks

“stark butterflies

against a page


the winter nightsky ..”

the cat and spring wine

savoie love

after the rain

kiss it one for me

in the Kingdom Come store

and today

the only thing that moves is my horoscope

and the cat me mines

o’ Dashiel

the quiet

the quiet and all day sleep

by night,

by night

the pen falls”

Subterranean Blue Poetry
Volume III Issue IV
(April 2015)

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2015

The Bougainvillea

by Sudha Srivatsan

Iron gates painted white,

Rust hanging anent, four feet high,

Like coarse paint of brown,

A small arched hook at the top edge of one,

Latching onto its sister gate, tight

An open jawed letterbox dangling,

In red, pockmarked with mold staining,

Tethered to the gate with thin metal strings,

One side secretly sags,

Like a seesaw with a single child playing,

The bougainvillea vine stout

Either sides of the gate clutched taut

Reaching out gently to curl themselves

Thick around the arch over the gate, spiraling

Offering shade, the only one, on this road remote,

Their flowers, pink and white, a faint scent

Looking like made of kite paper,

A cow daily, at noon, would arrive trotting,

A chessboard painted hurriedly in thin watercolors,

To rest on the soil under the bougainvillea vine,

Every noon, dad would eagerly wait,

With a large bucket in his hand,

Of rice gruel in cool thin curds,

To quench its thirst, eternal,

To pacify its hunger, perennial

Salivating, a sign of its appreciation,

Smiling, a gesture of his reciprocation


by Sudha Srivatsan

The pearly moon spread her warmth

Through red gulmohars glowing amber

Windows French led in her rays

Ferrying their scent roasted grace

As I watched her speckle

Dotted white shades

Like polka and lace

Sound asleep

The face of my mate.

Shifting neatly on the crumpled right

I noticed her sway and winking away

Moved in quick, she had tonight

Suspect to catch a glimpse of my mate

Amidst slow stars, clouds cozied

For a bath communal in warm niveous greet

Quietly I stood up and drew close curtains

And pinned up the fray that tried in vain

To let her have her grand pompous way.

Cosmic Casino

by Sudha Srivatsan

The afternoon was cool,

My absorbent mind soaking in nature

Off-the-guard, at leisure.

The lake nearby twisted its ripples,

Folding them as it wished

Yonside, evergreen willows watched.

The grasslands culm, at times aeneous,

Orts of foliage, dry and wheaten,

Bentgrass lending puce and mauve.

A swarm of bees buzzed around,

Following them, a hum smooth

Gentle breeze bending through kex dowie

My debts soar in this cosmic casino,

But I shall levant shameless,

Draffish, unlike a seedling, I refuse to live on.

Featured Poet: Sylvia Plath

The Eye-Mote


Sylvia Plath

Blameless as daylight I stood looking

At a field of horses, necks bent, manes blown,

Tails streaming against the green

Backdrop of sycamores. Sun was striking

White chapel pinnacles over the roofs,

Holding the horses, the clouds, the leaves

Steadily rooted though they were all flowing

Away to the left like reeds in a sea

When the splinter flew in and stuck my eye,

Needling it dark. Then I was seeing

A melding of shapes in a hot rain:

Horses warped on the altering green,

Outlandish as double-humped camels or unicorns,

Grazing at the margins of a bad monochrome,

Beasts of oasis, a better time.

Abrading my lid, the small grain burns:

Red cinder around which I myself,

Horses, planets and spires revolve.

Neither tears nor the easing flush

Of eyebaths can unseat the speck:

It sticks, and it has stuck a week.

I wear the present itch for flesh,

Blind to what will be and what was.

I dream that I am Oedipus.

What I want back is what I was

Before the bed, before the knife,

Before the brooch-pin and the salve

Fixed me in this parenthesis;

Horses fluent in the wind,

A place, a time gone out of mind.

Missed Connections

Craigslist Montreal – Missed Connections – October 5th, 2014 – Anonymous

outside the Main, on St Laurent, at 4am - m4w

hair : blonde height : 6'5" (195cm)

You asked for a cigarette, we had none. I realized you looked like greta gerwig (frances ha) but more graceful, you took exception to it at first but then we got on to david bowie and the origin of the modern love scene in Leos Carax's "mauvais sang". you promptly went about reenacting the scene from frances ha where she runs through the streets to modern love. I, doubled over with laughter, didn't notice your friends general discomfort with my group of friends, and in the general joy of the moment didn't think to ask you for your number before you both abruptly left. You are absolutely adorable, and I deeply regret this.

(N.B.: “happy knees sing” – a note from the editor)

Book Reviews

Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems, the gift of Rosemary Tonks.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems

Author: Rosemary Tonks

Publisher: Bloodaxe Books

Date of Publication: 2014

Page Count: 154

“London calling . . .
I live by the river.“
- from London Calling by The Clash

Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems is the newly published collection of work by Modernist British Poet, Rosemary Tonks. She was a woman of letters, working for the BBC writing Book Reviews, a Nigerian father who died before she was born, and childhood years spent in Nigeria to come to London when she was 18 years old. She married Michael (Micky) Lightband, at 20 years only to have the marriage eventually break. Celebrated in London for her books of poetry written in the 1960’s, she developed health issues in the 1970's and turned her back on the literatti, living as a “recluse” in rural England until she died at the age of 85 in 2014.

Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems includes the 2 books of poetry Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms, Iliad of Broken Sentences and tucked in at the end are some prose pieces and an interview. The first book is a fantastical weave of dark and light, a story of demons, and love found yet lost. She paints the imagination, a very beautiful poet rolling around London streets at night, finding lovers in out of the way places, in the glow of the exotic hedonism of the 1960’s.

From Ace of Hooligans

“The blind rubbers of the mouth of love!

The awakening with citron store!

Morning: in a sty of tinted women.

She, on a quilt, bit roses; mammal pink.

He, a witch scab on his dream, left for infinity

While his soul peered out of his navel, hideous.”

The Poet seems to be engaging an interloculator in the background, as if someone or some conscript is possessed of great evil, as if there is a great struggle illuminated in the vagaries of love.

From, The Flanneur and the Apocalypse

“The Furies are modern, they don’t drive you they entice

With cafes, lovers, dusty streets . . . with the Apocalypse

‘Not this one – but the next,’ they hiss.”

And from, Gutter Lord

“My gutter – how you gleamed! Like dungeon floors which

Cobras have lubricated

Your time was kept in slimy yawns while you . . . “

and from Ace of Hooligans

“Beasts lit their eyes; the planet took in moth and dog.”

This Writer found captivating the pure light and beauty in imagery

From Rome

“It’s the jade-breath of the waterjar”

And from April and the Ideas – Merchant

“agate daylight”

that existed, breathed, entangled in darkness.

The exquisite and descriptive use of symbolism; imagery, the language and metaphor is magic. Flying with angels and grasping with demons, often in the same breath, the gritty dust of desert street heart falls and then flies up into the face of the sun. The poetry weaves trails of golden images of lost youth rolling around the streets of London by night. The Poet seems to borrow from Existentialism, the darkness, depression of Jean-Paul Sartre or the disease of Albert Camu’s, The Plague in the background juxtaposed with influences of the French Symbolist Poets of the 19th century.

From Bedouin of the London Morning

“We come into the café at dawn,

There are waterfogs, and civilization is white . . .

if you knew the exotic disgust that grips me

After another bestial night

As we come in, broken; dark with inks and dusts and gases

Like those whose private apartment is the street.”

and from, Poet as Gambler

“And all the ropes and fabrics of a boat!

Are heavy with cold nectars in the dawn,

Creation, glimmering and surly underfoot,

And Egypt drowsy on a cake of opium,

I went with nothing but the shirt upon my back

To cast lots with the Infinite,

And my bid was the blouse that rocks

On gamblers with a linen sail all night.”

Imagine the roar of the beast,

From On the advantage of being ill-treated by the World

“I have a quarrel with the world

Where my musician lodges

I need Adversity to break its claws!”

In the book of poetry Iliad of Broken Sentences, the poetry becomes a little more self-absorbed, as if she has written herself in the first person more into the poetry, a little more like narrative. There are allusions to Greek Mythology and some fantastical word juxtapositions, and the poetry has that kiss of promise. Sometimes it may be too wordy, but as in “Done for!” it presents itself well. This poem is a declaration, like the last scene of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with Rocky in the swimming pool recounting reconcilliation and universal truths, she reveals, from Done for!

“Take care whom you mix with in life, irresponsible one,

For if you mix with the wrong people

And you yourself may be one of the wrong people –

If you make love to the wrong person

In some old building with its fabric of dirt,

As clouds of witchcraft, nitro glycerine, and cake

Brush by (one autumn night) still green

From our green sunsets . . . and then let hundreds pass, unlit,

They will do you ferocious, indelible harm!

Far beyond anything you can imagine, jazzy sneering one,

And afterwards you’ll live in no man’s land,

You’ll lose your identity, and never get yourself back, diablotin,

It may have happened already and as you read this . . .

Ah, it has happened already. I remember, in an old building;

Clouds which had cut themselves on a sharp winter sunset

(With its smoking stove of frosts to keep it cold)

went by, bleeding.”

Such promise in 2 slim tomes of poetry, it leaves one to wonder how such the gift would have ripened. Rosemary Tonks stopped writing in the 1970’s, her mother died unexpectedly, she developed health issues, her marriage broke and she retired to a small English village, having cut herself off from family and friends. Always, the beautiful blistered images of London Streets, the magic of youth and golden promise, a work of Classic Literature, Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Works by Rosemary Tonks.

Available @ Amazon.ca.


Happens Is The Sun by Jamie Bradley and above/ground press.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Happens Is The Sun

Author: Jamie Bradley

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2015

Page Count: 14

“Who has the candy with the soft insides?”
- from Lie to Me by David Byrne

This exciting Chapbook, Happens Is The Sun is the work of Jamie Bradley. A noted Poet and Reviewer widely read in journals, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, Rattle, Descant amongst others, this is his 3rd published Chapbook. He is a Professor of English literature in Ottawa.

A New Age style, borrowing from the Symbolist and Imagist Schools, the images flow nonsensical, sometimes beautiful, often violent and enigmatic, as a long poem.

“I tried to make my love letters black
as dry salvia. No match.”


“Alice, this once, turns her teacup
over her head, cola eyed.”


“Dreams of rain devolve into pointillism,
the lie of precision location.”

Images of nature mix with images of sexuality and war in new word symbiosis, the flow of disconnected sentences, violent and reminiscent of the DaDa movement. After World War I, people were left babbling with remorse at the horrors of war, inventing a school of art, DaDa, where the work was nonsensical and without meaning.

“I love to watch the river-clad girls.
I keep my own blood.”


“Cum on your thigh, and now:
if it is final: a journey by land.”


“The perfume pools
at her breasts, evaporates.”

The mysterious lines of poetry, as if a protest against love lost, the oppression of the war horse economy. The enigmatic disconnected sentences/thoughts, haunting images, a glimpse behind a curtain, the anger and depression, the violence, something is wrong.

“As if something is leaving
and put to flame.”


“I dig a hole in the earth
to rival the sky; anti-grief.”


“In a Cuernavaca market, the flesh hangs
everywhere: pig flesh, wood flesh.”

As if a lament of time and circumstance, the Poet, expertly places 2 line sentences in an in order/out of order sequence that captivates with the juxtaposition of nature, love and violence images, a lullabye for those that sleepwalk through winter nights. “O to be in Palestine in the spring.” Gifts of poetry candy, “Happens Is The Sun” by Jamie Bradley.

Available @ above/ground press.

“She pressed her ear against the shell;
she wanted to hear everything
he never told her”

- from Tablets
by Dunya Mikhail

diamonds and pearls


Rebecca Anne Banks

“the winter sky heavy,

trees caught in blue

places without . . . “

so dark the sky

I could have imagined

black velvet

a diamond dinner ring

(how quick the flash of diamonds on a long day)

all on an overcast afternoon

the cast of a white rose

that haunts

prayers over flowers

skies over blue

a shadow in dreams

the gypsy girl sits under a tree

lays out the cards

divining fortunes, looks for love

but she is older

there is something missing …

this is something one did when young

not after the horse before the cart

not after the,

maybe the forests bleed

stopped by the colour blue

the white duke . . . by boy corps,

perhaps death in a foreign land

as his heart kisses the sky

pearls in season . . .

last season

the white rose, floated, bloomed in shadow

between us

caught in the quiet of the overcast sky

and silence

I watch the doorway for you

drink my coffee

the silence of the white stone god descends

in shadowland,

as some white/black iconoclast child plays the piano

the tin drum, watches

some snotnosed child

burning matches in winter

smelling only death

a dime shill

a story written by Dicken’s and a shotglass

a borrowed land that values only winning

“if we win we live”, while everyone has died,

the cult of ego values . . .

I looked for you after the gift of a thousand love songs

some cast off prisoner of war

surrounded by silence, a wire cage

a bird, that sings

after years of disallure,

his hat in hand,

smells death on the sidewalk

steps away into shadow,

some unwritten history

unwritten lifetime,

the silence

two people stare into a mirror

love of a thousand years

some giant wave of the sea

turns, on war and time again,

falls, as the snow of winter falls

cold, as she gathers the scarf around her,

wanders out

into the shadows of the street.


Rebecca Anne Banks lives in Montreal. She is the author of 24 books of poetry, a family cookbook, a book of children’s stories and a primer on marriage all available on (www.amazon.ca). She is also the CEO/Artist at Tea at Tympani Lane Records (www.tympanilanerecords.com) and The Book Reviewer at The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca).

Jamie Bradley is an English Professor at the University of Ottawa, a Poet and Book Reviewer. His work has appeared in Descant, Rattle, CV2, Arc Poetry Magazine, moriapoetry.com amongst others.

Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts. An American Poet and Author she is famous for writing stream of consciousness confessional poetry. She married British Poet and Children’s story writer Ted Hughes and had 2 children. In 1982 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize posthumously for The Collected Poems. She suffered from severe depression and committed suicide in 1963. She is most noted for The Colossus and Other Poems, Ariel, The Bell Jar, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Letters Home: Correspondance 1950 – 1963, amongst others.

Sudha Srivatsan. Sudha was born and raised in India. A daughter, wife and sister, she has worked in the Middle East and London. Sudha aspires to be known in the space of poetry as someone who weaves magic into language and combines unique design and strong color to her work of art. Her work is due to appear in Commonline Journal, the Indiana Voice Journal April 2015 issue, she has been a winner of poetry contests and was recently shortlisted for the Mary Charman Smith November 2014 Poetry Competition.

Rosemary Tonks was born in Gillingham, Kent, England. Her father, an engineer died in Africa before her birth. She worked for the BBC writing Book Reviews. The Poet married Michael Lightband, an engineer, they moved to India, where she suffered attacks of paratyphoid and polio. She returned to England after spending a year in Paris and resumed living with her husband. Her mother died unexpectedly and soon after she had a near permanent loss of vision and her marriage broke, leading to turning her back on her literary career and retiring to rural England. She is most noted for the books of poetry, Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms, Iliad of Broken Sentences and novels Opium Fogs and The Halt During the Chase.