Welcome to Olive Skins.A literary platform for surreal and abstract poets and artists. You may find beautiful and brave writings here which shall stir your heart, will make you feel the pain, the words, the essence of poetry, prose. Olive skins indicate the underlying solid layers of things unspoken of, things that haunt you. So tell us in your words about pain, loss, life, in the most surrealistic way.
My thoughts are a drowning,
dead like a floating head in formaldehyde
I’ve not cried for him in an age,
but dreams plow where the beast leads them
On a pillow sewn with sorrow,
lunula-deep in matted soil, black and fertile
Harvesting dreams in Elysian fields,
plentiful and ripe in a reaper’s illusory garden
I’ve no need for rosy lenses,
when the truth lies shaded in my own remorse
Depressing years into a few moments,
one form of pain bruising into another
Contented to sleep within the nightmare,
rather than lie awake within another
Let me drown by the leaden images,
whilst wistly they weigh on my fragile brow
a.d.matthias is an unpolished, uneducated, poorly read writer, who has had pieces appear in Spillwords, Brave & Reckless, Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen, and Lucy’s Works: A Little Writing Workshop of Horrors, whilst enduring countless rejections.
You made a doll and projected your soul into it.
You named it after me.
Oh, your infantile state filled with rage and creativity.
In the end the earth devours us.
If you give me that doll, I promise, I will show you that we are the planetary twin-peaked
From black through red through gold we will ascend to the sky ending in the exact point where
the universe blessed our love.
Our cross will bear fruits.
Can you see the fruits?
Their skin is humid, and their virgin eyes are filled with desires.
Their colors are as vivid as the colors of your dreams.
I love you. Does it surprise you?
Now, please, give me that doll.
Gabriela M. is the author of three novels. Her poetry book, Passions: Love Poems and Other
Writings, was published by Vita Brevis Press (April, 2020) under the pen name Gabriela Marie
Milton. Gabriela was awarded 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press. Her poems were
published by Spillwords Press, Vita Brevis, Indian Periodical, Gioielli Rubati Poetry (translated in
Italian by Flavio Almerighi), Tuck Magazine, KashmirPen, “Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen,” Literary
Yard, Proletaria, Free Verse Revolution, and other venues. She was selected “Author of the Month”
at Spillwords (April 2019). Her poem “The Breath of Love and Death” was voted “Publication of the
Month” at Spillwords (November 2019). Gabriela’s work was included in the following anthologies:
America’s Emerging Poets Southeast Region (Z Publishing House, 2018); Florida’s Best Emerging
Poets (Z Publishing House, 2019); and Pain & Renewal (Vita Brevis Press, 2020). She blogs at
shortprose. Christina Schwarz, the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Drowning Ruth,” on
Gabriela’s poetry: “With lush language and lavish imagery, Gabriela M. evokes a fantastic world ripe
Earlier I wrote every day about almost everything
now I do not.
I wait for the paper to drain all the sorrow.
The filtered content then goes under the lens,
where I try to bake a muffin.
You do not write as long as you are happy.
I go to the well only when I am thirsty.
We read in the books about growth,
where cells occupy the space
left by separation of walls.
I search for a path within my blocked mind.
I do not write.
A day with an illness like this is negotiable,
I can bake a poem and write muffin on the walls,
without any hesitation.
Depression gives me the freedom to sleep in the daytime
unless anxiety snatches my pillow.
I still do not wish to write.
My lover quotes Ghalib to soothe my soul.
His poems echo in my room
like the chirping of the bird.
He tells me to hold on.
I do not write.
I am again into a therapy room,
where I do not speak.
Words do not escape my mouth,
I give the therapist a silent treatment.
We walk back,
this time in another room
with pills and doses.
I change into a blue fever.
Earlier I wrote about everything.
Now I do not.
Words do not escape my mouth
since it has been stuffed with pills.
: Grandmother’s quarantine
My tongue is learning to spell a new word.
floating like a small bubble.
across the streets
it echoes in children’s voice
it is stuck in my grandmother’s throat
a sharp cry leaves her lips
inside we know,
it’s the end
but somehow we pretend it isn’t.
The world stands still.
The streets are turning into a landscape
I would have loved to devour
but my eyes can only see fears
rising as giant monsters
over the clouds.
Our rooms turn black.
Lizards go back into the soil.
My grandmother only know a few phrases,
Like ‘come home’
‘it is okay’
‘I did not do this’
‘Can I do this?’
and a few words that she learned
when I could not control my anger.
throwing things on the ground
shouting ‘they displaced me’.
So now every time someone moves her,
she feels she is getting displaced,
she says she has been displaced always.
getting displaced is the new term for abuse.
Tonight on the phone call,
I ask her how is she.
it is okay.
We are in quarantine.
There is death outside taking away people,
like the old witch, you told me about.
I did not do this.
Of course, you did not.
Can I do this?
You mean Quarantine.
Can I displace death?
The silence travels with the light speed,
breaking into a soft whimper.
It rains outside,
we are still not home.
Bio: Sameera has no other way to embrace pain than to cradle it in her ink-soaked arms. Besides writing about pain, she talks of flowers and the sky. She blogs at sameera.art.blog
Morning sun is a subject of my dream
when I think of leaving home. I would paint walls
Look too often at my arrangements in a very tiny space
I haven’t thought of brown bees acting like sentinels on beehive.
I haven’t thought about the forest. Or about things of beauty.
I have been thinking of running
There’s so much to think of,
A very tiny space is left.
Before my face
is a radio that sings the song of a lovelorn poet.
Behind my back, are people talking.
I keep typing louder
and it hurts in throat.
Space for melody starts to disappear as I leave forest.
I think too much. I cannot think about writing
in this space.
The sky of night is more purple. I recognize the plain colors and call them names. I forget what comes in between.
I make it black or white.
A great music plays on the radio
and blows my mind.
The fingers of my feet
Mother chews tamarind.
I rub mandarin on my belly.
I put fingers on forehead
on both sides
and feel like the lady in a forest movie
I listened to an artist so much, two years ago.
And talked about her to a man I fell in love with.
I found new ways after he found new ways.
In me, the sorrow lived on a little longer
and then I was free.
I haven’t looked
at the artist
I listen to her, today.
I don’t think then,
She is on the radio.
People behind my back quietly do their work.
I stop typing.
Dream of Running
I thought that
I had forgotten how to bend words.
I lost sleep for 6 days. I slept in bits.
I have still been losing it. Alerted.
Coming home again is so much like pulling a sinking loon.
I have danced in the middle of an empty room.
Dreamt of creating. The loon grows heavier. And hands grow elapsed.
I want the systems and structures to lie in dust. The
methods to save it have been labelled on each glass bottle.
I go and pull out my peach sweater from
in a bag brought yesterday. I wear it
The night is like February.
Mother cries for the child to stay while he runs to the forest.
She cries oceans. More oceans when she knows that home is not home
but it is to be called sweet. And that the child knows that
forest is beautiful.
He talked to mother about the loss of sleep. The mother held him close.
He blows air through narrow tin pipes and
goes on with the music.
Kissing mother on her cheek, he flies.
He is going to fly. He sees the glass bottles in home, big and small.
In all, the money plants emerge hanging.
Large poems don’t happen anymore. I love oranges.
I didn’t like to eat them two years ago.
He fell in love with a friend. The friend’s smell reminds him of the word
He says he has never been to a marsh. But he knows
Mother cooks for him while he runs
to the forest.
She cries oceans.
when she knows
that home is not home
but it is to be called
We thought that we had forgotten how
to bend words.
She goes on to
cook. He’s been losing sleep,
Error in Melody
Man-made puddles and salt pans are drying.
This honeycomb is a devastated rhapsody created in desert.
Camels swallow sand now and drink clouds
There’s no salt to carry to another city.
Ant- homes are found on evenings I walk
to see the tint on one side of that laburnum tree.
A curled spine while I find centaur with bent head.
It is an error in melody. Knees do not bend.
‘A dwindling elephant’ is the song’s name
to which I don’t connect
I created this dwindling elephant two years ago.
Clear sneezes from the adjacent room. I hang in the air.
A detached spider and a flytrap.
I do not work
for poems. They come as they please.
In the bed of the sea. There are deep words.
I think I like to fall
in their hollows.
I boil a cup of water, everyday.
Two, on sundays.
I threw eighteen papers into the sea and found
them by the shore.
On all, I wrote soft words,
words like foliage, floral, bloom, sun and light.
There is nothing
Whatever lightness is held
they fill it enough.
Surface of my toenails are dunes in an old desert.
I never cared.
Ant-homes are lump.
They mix with soil
and a week old laburnums.
This is the disappearance.
Of salt from the salt pans.
Of marsh and puddles.
Of bed from the sea.
Of my connection with
my dwindling elephant.
Of the sound of sneeze
and of its clearance.
What stays is
the adjacent room.
Camels and soft words.
Camels swallow sand now
and drink clouds.
Curled spine is not an error.
Not bending of knees,
I do not work
for poems. They come as they please.
Priyanshi is an eighteen years old girl from Kashi. She likes to write and paint and photographs a bit. Hope you enjoy reading her works.
The last couple of days were a bit hectic and I am sorry for not keeping up with Olive Skins. But I am back and we are excited now to read some more good surreal or abstract poetries and prose work. The theme for our upcoming issue is ” Mental Health”. Write poetry, prose around the theme and wait to hear back from us.
Submit your best work, no rhyming poetry, please. We will not accept anything which doesn’t enthrall us at all.
Send your work in a word file only.
If you wish to be a contributing writer please mention the same in the subject of your mail.
The first time I met her,
I met her eyes instead of her
and the sweating palm
that didn’t go with her charm.
Oh, how she managed to remain calm.
But as I stood among the audience,
each trapped in their worlds
with stories and histories
and hysterics that filled the air
they kept breathing,
I listened to the million voices
raging in my ears, each demanding attention
each pushing me a little to the edge,
petrified, I stood in the crowd, misplaced.
…when you think you can’t take it anymore,
she was reciting,
as if saying what I dared not speak,
but beyond the strength and the zing
I could see in her eyes,
the makings of the same cliff.
This cliff that demands my fall,
enticing me with its heavenly call,
to take me to a place that will be mine,
without a soul to judge, without anything divine.
And I knew I could hold on to her and stayed,
but to succumb, to lose myself clinging to her,
meant both of us that I would have betrayed.
It has been years and many such recitals
till she gave up and started to fade away.
But I remember that first afternoon after the event,
when among the dust motes
the sun-kissed air smelling of spent love,
lying next to her, I didn’t take the offered hand,
thinking it was me who had to take the leap.
And every time the thought fills me with a pang,
a slap on my soul it strikes me with a bang,
if she was instead the one
who was stretching her hand for me to pull her back,
yearning for me,
in her poetic interludes,
maybe she wanted to hold on
and I let her slip away,
so that instead of us, our cliffs stood together,
but finally defeated as they faced
the union of our towering solitudes.
Dunking a cookie,
O, sweet Fika!
You happened to possess perfect timing.
You came at the right time
And vanished at the right time too.
I thank the gods we didn’t meet earlier,
The consequences would have been disastrous.
I simply wasn’t ready for someone like you,
Back in the days.
Dunking a second biscuit,
You left all of a sudden
We didn’t even argue.
I wish to thank you.
In ghosting me, you left me with my new best friend
Scilicet my loneliness.
The one I embrace
Who constantly reminds me that besides you,
The rest has always been a waste of time and energy.
I tend to cling to everything we talked about
Diving in a cathexis of you,
My main drive towards my goals…
I dunked the biscuit for too long,
Half of it sunk to the bottom of my cuppa
Let it be, it is still a Fika!
I’ll not wake up, no,
swimming here in this conch shell
of life, shadows tickling my ear,
playing house while the real
the world assumes it’s won.
I’ll not confront it, no,
kicking up the remains of reality
swept under expensive furniture
when we could afford the luxury
of not caring.
I’ll remain in my head,
enveloped by this conch shell,
closed to those sounds desperate
to encroach, honking displeasure
at deaf eyes shut.
Phillip Knight Scott is a native of Durham, North Carolina, where he lives and writes poetry. A husband and father, he finds happiness in family, friends, reading, and of course, writing. He enjoys creating expansive worlds in as few words as possible. His writings can be read at http://www.phillipkscott.com.