Guest-Editorial: Scott Thomas Outlar

Scott Thomas Outlar
Seven Koi in Pisces


I’d been living 
out of a suitcase
deep and wide
until the apples
from the shared dream
she masterfully weaves 
daily in our hearts
found shape 
with new eyes

Holds me steady
in spaces
unfamiliar 
at first
but becoming
more well-groked
with every spiral
around the city
we spin through
together


Freedom will prevail. The bell tower rang out with three manic signs of harmonized sound, promising with a sacred vow that all was taking place right on time. Despite our inclinations to try and control life, it’s undeniably true that intuitively aligning with its inherent creative desires and synching up in perfect tune to its divine connection with the holy flow’s vibration will allow your collective experience of consciousness to feel more rewarding than any individual psychic achievement ever could.

Sacred Frequency of (Happy) Unification

Within two miles of my new home in Frederick, Maryland, I am in walking distance of a creek, waterfalls, two parks, a library, a downtown scene (as yet unwitnessed), a police station, an amphitheater, an outdoor pavilion, an art center, a prayer house, restaurants aplenty, several cemeteries (including Francis Scott Key Memorial), and a more than ample amount of park benches providing comfortable spaces that help the soul mellow out in such a way that’ll be ideally conducive to hammering a few thousand poems into notebooks (though a couple more tables scattered here and there out in public could prove useful). This spot on the globe pulses with an excitedly interesting energy that has me lit up with infinite possibilities and a fiery phoenix fit of inspiration that I have never felt at this specifically honed and disciplined degree. 

At the moment, I'm in the living room, steadily approaching the noon hour on February 21st, 2023, classical music playing on Spotify, patchouli incense burning, looking out full glass windows that display a slice of the city from the third floor of our apartment, sipping on orange, pineapple, ginger juice laced with probiotics, sitting at an antique table from my Dad's side of the family tree that was recently moved here from my birthplace of Georgia, typing on a laptop that was gifted from an angel. Assorted notebooks are spread out beside me along with a sheet of loose white paper I wrote upon earlier this morning at the park as ideas for an essay to properly introduce the Setu Mag Western Voices edition were pouring through my head near the flower garden and under an awesome sun that belched light upon my shoulders. 

I am at peace, and I am in love.


Time and space
between each note

melodies that hum
despite winter’s static

I’ve heard a thousand cliches
about how the suffering of this world
is supposed to press you down
through all its days of gravity
and how even the roses
will pluck and peck your eyes out
along with murderous crows
who care only about their treasures

Though that might just be 
the buzzing of fog through life’s filter

the splash of a windfall
creates rapid and furious currencies

There are always mountains in the distance
but be rest assured by fate
that whatever ground you’re standing upon
during any given moment of this dance
has been leveled off and balanced 
in perfect design for your next step


And in one age
we might appear
as a sniveling worm
without a single tool
in the shed of life
with which to work

And in another
we might reign
with a crown of stars
during one turn of the precession 
as a season of sorrow
blinks out of fashion

It’s roundabout 9 AM on Saturday, February 25th, 2023…

and I have tasted the sun in such splendor
and I have bathed in your fire of lessons
and I have marveled as the sky sings with snow

All to reach this exact compass point. Forty-two and a half years spent drifting at sea to now land here (whole and healed) on this bench beside the bell tower as the water from the flowing creek glistens with fractal rays of sunlight dancing upon every ripple. Each ring in the trunk of my soul tells a story from the beginning. Of ancient calls to order and archetypes of branded chaos. Of hubris-induced falls, scrapped knees, snarling tears, and the deep recesses of sheer will and determination that demand the spirit perpetually stand back up and continue pushing along the pattern of life. 

Now and always. Grace and Beauty. My one and only.


Thank you to Sunil Sharma and Anurag Sharma for allowing me the opportunity to edit this 5th annual edition of Western Voices for Setu Mag. Each year of being associated with this venue that is dedicated to constructing bridges and connecting cultural ideas across continents leaves me feeling more humbled. I am grateful to the 33 skillfully polished poets who have shared their work with us. It has been a pleasure compiling the 2023 anthology. I hope you enjoy reading through the perception of each writers’ lens as much as I have. 

Selah,
Scott Thomas Outlar

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