Flux Lines by John C. Mannone (Latest Pub.)

There are two constants in the poetry of John Mannone: love and science… And they are intertwined--his poems flow effortlessly between poles of desire and precious, precise knowledge. In the world of poetry there is no one who can mine science for metaphor the way Mannone does. Nor move to love so naturally.
--Roald Hoffmann, chemist and writer, professor emeritus at Cornell University and co-recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

John Mannone’s Flux Lines offers a lyrical melding of worlds: love, science, sensuality, geography, heart, astronomy, and wit. The poet knows his science, and knows how to cut a line in a heartbreaking rhythm. Love is the unifying force here, dynamic movement is a constant. The poet is equally at home in mystery and in certainty, in wonder and in the swing of late fall vines or his lover’s hair. A magical volume, this is one that readers will return to for song and hope, for sustenance.
--Marilyn Kallet, author of How Our Bodies Learned, Black Widow Press and the 2018 Knoxville Poet Laureate

“We make our own galaxy," John C. Mannone says, and at the center of Flux Lines, his big and rueful heart “supernovas" in its attempts to reveal moons, stardust, magnetic fields, dunes, the irises of eyes, eclipses, and all the ways in which our lives--if not our words--"orbit" one another. Mannone brings a science-minded curiosity and exuberance to his poems, a gravitational pull toward love, a “swirl of intoxication," if not a profound desire to peer down into the “core/structure" of words, thoughts, and emotions. “Who can tell/one sparrow from another/when they fall?" he asks, yet he, too, is falling-through space, through time, through the intricate and multiple universes which love has formed of his heart.
--Jeff Hardin, author of 5 full collections, including Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Poetry Prize) and No Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize)

Poet-physicist John Mannone expands the vocabulary of love to include science--and both love and science are better for it. Look at how he captures sights and happenings. From "When the Comet Dust Settles": “ . . . each time a meteor firefly'd the night. From “Tramontane,": “Your thunderous voice, wet with rain, monsoons me . . ." In "The Weatherman Said It Might Rain," as human relations and the sky point toward a tornado, he writes: "I can hear distant rumblings of a locomotive wind." In "Thermodynamics," in describing the end of a relationship, he says: "Refrigerators don't make the cold, they remove the heat." Read these lines, read these poems aloud. They are accurately said. They are differently said. Best of all in poetry, they are well said.
--Mark Littmann, Professor, Hill Chair of Excellence in Science Writing at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and author of Totality: The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024 and 5 other astronomy books and 36 planetarium shows

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The Shape of War

The moon slipped through the air. in the bay it lit clouds that sank an opaque presence to touch the life that swished through the depths; its beams outlined underwater turreted princess tower constructions of cottages and multi-storied apartments, of magical caves and black holes and grass camps that waved in tides that were like breezes that enfolded spots of greenery into the scene.
Small, coloured fish flitted in and out of weeds, moving in shoals, staying ahead of the heftier plumper shapes by swimming over and under the silhouettes though they occasionally blundered into their space to feed.
Big sleek monsters made for longevity, mostly scaleless and smooth-skinned were happy to lurk in the shadow, unaffected by the shape of light and when the clock and earth linked the world shifted to the powerful rhythm of tones as shadows and black holes seesawed on spring's axial tilt. A call to war ...

The Sorrow on Amazon

The Sorrow (War Issue)

International Day of Dance, 29/04/2022

"The demands to do something
About this outrageous man
Became louder and louder"

The Spite Apple by Harry Stone

350 earth time years after the act was perpetrated ,/150 years after the publication of the story,/The means of the criminal execution:/The poisoned apple was found

The 'For-Sale’ sign was posted in the garden of the 'Snow White’ cottage on a Monday morning. That evening, the estate agent was approached with an offer of the asking price. He phoned Mac, the owner’s nephew, who accepted the offer. When he asked the estate agent who bought it he was told that it was two sisters who wanted to be close to City College. They were moving up from Carmen, which was a small hamlet in the Southlands.

The Spite Apple: Read Here

John Steinbeck and the Romance of Tortilla Flat

by Stephen Zelnick

In our time of troubles, the comic works of John Steinbeck lifted my spirits. Steinbeck (1902-1968) is remembered for Grapes of Wrath (1939), Of Mice and Men (1937), and East of Eden (1952); but Steinbeck’s comic novels lifted me from the Trump gloom and COVID plague. Sometimes we need to be somber; and sometimes to laugh at our confused existence. Steinbeck’s first triumph was not a organ-toned piece on Depression suffering but Tortilla Flat (1935), a comic novel set in Monterey California just after WWI. Steinbeck wrote Tortilla Flat while sunk in misery; his mother dying and his father drifting towards death. It was, of course, the depths of the Depression, with the fertile valleys surrounding Salinas torn by strikes and reprisals. Portrayals of suffering and struggle made perfect sense; but times of trouble need the comic spirit, a way of looking that eases troubled hearts.

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New Art Wall

Oscars 2022 is comprised of a selection of photos from an Linnet's Wings inhouse art project, the portraits are all oil on board, and were completed in Feb/Mar 2022, it was a fun project that was worked on to celebrate voice and some of the best actor/actress nominees for this year's Oscars, the guys who kept working during the COVID CRISES and kept us going with new online shows. They ALL deserve a shout out ...

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An Afternoon Muse

Once upon a time the world was made square. But it was lunchtime before anyone noticed, well it was a dot-off midday. 11.59 AM to be exact. It was 11.59 AM when the clocks appeared to trip and a loud click was heard by all, and on that sound life switched, too. And all the clock and compass settings were redrawn to reflect the new world form.

Each corner held a major quarter setting with the minute marks falling on silver tines ...

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Pink Steel by Noel King

I’m out. Leaving the high pressure of running my father’s family pub at night while being a teacher by day. My son, Jeaic, has given me a list of seventeen milestones in his life I’ve already missed: his sixth birthday, his eighth birthday, the piano exams (Grade I) recital, the Kerins O’Rahilly under 10s county final and so many more. My son is only eleven-and-a-half years old.
A year ago his mother and I split. That’s another reason. She doesn’t have a new man in her life yet, that I know of...

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Cloud News

"... the air is personalized with extravagant perfume"
A fantastic bit of light popped like a camera flash and a mess of smoky silver streaming cloud lit-up with roaring coloured blobs of colour; spots ran down buildings, rainbowed land and shadowed waterways.
A silent signal for the pollinators to find their way along the path of the twisting scribbles: Each one a tailored creation scented from sweet, light, musty trails that filled the air with o’s of delight, to tease, fall, lift, coast, spiral, to draw the bee, butterfly, beetle and bat back to work to trigger a time of gorgeousness.

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May Project

Sonnet 3

I see my mother's face in mine, a much loved view
that mines the kindness from her store, she knew
just good and grace and all that made them shine
and shared their shape and soul with her own kind.
And I being eldest got to know the breath;
the style that young woman wore in her prime.
Those days were good, the seasons fit in place:
chapel, school and work dictated pace.
Routines that drove the wearing of the green
supported life like nothing lately seen.
O! if I could go back just once and touch again
the loving kindness that she wore to the end.
Ingrained and nurtured where grace is born
where peace is made, where home's adorned.

Mari 2022

Art: Still Life with Guitar by Juan Gris, Date: 1920

Pillows of Sound by by Alisa Velaj

What more do you seek from sunsets, man?
A bunch of copper leaves
Fell on the strings of the guitar leaning against the tree trunk
And slept the most anxious sleep
Using sounds as pillows
The solitude of seas persecutes the leaves in dreams
Like the shadows of seasons do to man
What more do you seek from sunsets
You being that keep travelling on the shores of oblivion?
The guitar will always succeed
In weaving serenades
An inexistent bridge can connect no river banks
Be a sunrise if you want to understand the sunsets, man
Someone called the Caspian Lake a 'Sea'
And to this day they write it so on every world map…

Translated from Albanian by Uke Zenel Buçpapaj

Armstrong by Martin Heavisides

"I was tellin’ about the time when I was a little bitty boy in my mother’s hometown of Boutte, Louisiana. I was about five years old, cute little ol’ thing, too. Mayann, my mother you know, she said to me one morning, “Son, run down to the pond and get a bucket of water for your mama. And I cut out for that water, and Mayann dug me when I come back without the water and poooh, boy! She said, “Boy, where is that water?" I said, “Well, mama, there’s a big old rusty alligator in that pond and I didn’t get that water." She said, “Oh, boy, go get that water. Don’t you know that alligator is scared of you as you are of him?" I told her, “Mama, if he’s scared of me as I am of him, that water ain’t fit to drink."
As quoted in Gary Giddins, Satchmo

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Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books.
Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.

Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose"

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Blackbird Dock

Work of Ages, Work of Comets by Tom Sheehan

“Dream all you want, son, dream like you might be king, which you won’t be, but they can’t take it away from you; just don’t do it crossing the street or walking down the railroad tracks. Pay all your dues as they come up, crow a little bit when in luck, shut up when you lose, but dream all you want. It might just become the biggest pleasure of your life. There are worse things to hold onto."

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Meditations on dear Petrov by Susan Tepper

Set in 19th Century Russia during a time of war


You instruct me to go to the church. Defy the innocents. Rub holy water on my breasts. Put my lips to the lips of God. I stand before you staring at your mouth. Unable to speak. This journey, dear Petrov, will not be my saving grace. Salvation coming from the rocks and streams. The white birch forest. The mountain always in view. Protective. Its great shadow veils the house and what I most fear. Over top the guns fire. I try enduring that sound. Will I outlive the guns and cannon fire. soldier you have no answer. A soldier coated in the stench of war. Though I brushed your coat and scrubbed your boots 'til my hands ached. My sink a font. I bow to what my sink must endure. The birds come back each spring with a troubling regularity. They have the freedom to choose while I do not. I have few freedoms. Which hat to wear. Whether to darn my cloak or go ragged. The saints went ragged I say. Causing you to laugh considerably. Loud and bellowing. Crashing. Knocking your whisky over. I cover my ears and move toward the kitchen.Looking out its one smudged window. Singing a soft prayer: O black birds of Russia I know it isn’t true, the rage still burns bright in you.

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Mozart Appeared on the Stage by Alisa Velaj

They all said that
There was the place where acacia flowers take their rest
They all said that
And a child pointed to Salieri’s grave
Lying a little further ahead
At dusk when oblivion invades the rivers
Mozart appeared on stage holding acacia flowers in his hands
And wept…

Translated from Albanian by Uke Zenel Buçpapaj

Photo: Mozart Appeared on a Stage
Mari, Seville, 2022

The Linnet's Wings is an Irish Bases Literature and Art Magazine