hedgehogs in the fog

blue sky, yellow grain
winter’s leaving ukraine again
a ploughman’s cycle without end
i say life for all & death to kings

god’s got his tombstones all in a row
dominoes waiting for the drop
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

here in the dark breath is adjourned
i’m checking notifications again
you were last seen five hours ago
does god really think no one’s looking

so i’m trying to remember instead
the shape of hope & all that’s to come
& the hedgehogs we saw in kyiv

the warm hearth of your mother’s kitchen
your father’s childhood in chechelovka
our river walks & your brother’s games
the shadow cat i left behind in dnipro

so i’m trying to remember instead
shared sun salutes in an upstairs room
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

do you remember the hedgehogs of kyiv
i wish them well in forever sleep
& stand with ukraine in the fog of war
i’m thinking of you & the shape of hope to come

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

the fallout

when finally the winter’s regime
hugged with a gentle vise
once the hectic mainstream
got locked in a stasis of ice

a roar swelled from slander
antheming to sacred shit
both turned into frozen meander
adorned with a bilious split

prickly slush wrapped up tighter
rhetoric and gagged criticism
like a pearl torn from the peak of a mitre
the globe rolled down a glaring schism

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2022

seeds for your pocket

o demon face
may you reach the end of yourself
so that you will know
you will know that no one had to die

your lies have led to a thousand blooms
set alight in the silence
your crimes have made them feel too much
everything and nothing

the bodies you’ve threshed underfoot
are the seeds you’ve sown of your destruction
their scarlet heads now reach and sway
freedom cries scattered to the wind

and the wind remove all trace of you
hie thee into damnable night
your brutal answers went unquestioned
now circling back to haunt you

o barrel chest
may you reach the end of your hollow self
you know that none had to die
you fucking know

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

let it rain

have you dared to declaim with your true face
have you seen how they inward flinch
have they made a monster of the hole in you

have you longed for truest validation
have their eyes doth pummelled your face to tears
have you hidden your tears under veil of rain

if only this was a happy song
if only we could fill our lungs again
if only for the air ‘tween the drops of rain

have you pulled truer weeds from the broken earth
have you doth counted and more so for praying
have you monstered after the four-leaf clover

have you truly known that you never belonged here
have you paid your respects to friend grief again
have you layed yourself down in the face of pain

if only this was a happy song
if only we could feel our lungs again
if only for the air ‘tween the drops of pain

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

chrysalis soul

how could one man
fill so much glorious space
with anything of consequence
i’m just a man

much rather be someone else
and somewhere i do not belong
than here like this
feeling my feet itching again

maybe someday this pain will be useful
maybe someday i’ll wish there was more
when i close my eyes for the last time
on the inhumanity of man

i live in a world of ghosts made of string
where capricious gods are the puppeteers
and i’ll hang myself from this vile paradigm
before it stiffs the ghost in me

i don’t need no special favour
just need to be anywhere but me
don’t need no whistling saviour
to save me from being a man
there’s no scribble to my quaver
just need to be anyone but here
don’t need no whistling saviour
i’m just one man

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022