Page 1

1


Contents

Letter From the Editor .......................................................................................................................... 3 PART I: POETRY. ................................................................................................................................ 4 Adam Binash .......................................................................................................................................... 5 My Day Off From Work .......................................................................................................................... 6 Must be Love ........................................................................................................................................... 9 Affordable Seclusion .............................................................................................................................. 12 A Wonderful Addiction .......................................................................................................................... 14 Cats Belong in Copenhagen .................................................................................................................... 16 Ndaba Sibanda ..................................................................................................................................... 18 The Magic of Snowlakes and Diamonds. ................................................................................................ 19 Placards .................................................................................................................................................. 23 Joan McNerny ...................................................................................................................................... 25 "A" Train................................................................................................................................................ 26 Riding Horse Nightmare......................................................................................................................... 30 Fear ........................................................................................................................................................ 32 I Planted My Garden .............................................................................................................................. 34 Patricia M. Osbourne .......................................................................................................................... 29 It ............................................................................................................................................................ 35 Uninvited ............................................................................................................................................... 39 Nowhere to Hide.................................................................................................................................... 41 Tunnel .................................................................................................................................................... 43 Eric Mwathi .......................................................................................................................................... 45 At Every Entrance .................................................................................................................................. 46 PART II: Prose Fiction........................................................................................................................ 48 Christoph Fleckl. .................................................................................................................................. 49 The Boy, Who died two years ago........................................................................................................... 50 Tonmoi Das Kashyap .......................................................................................................................... 53 Hydrophobia .......................................................................................................................................... 54 PART III: Non-Fiction.. .................................................................................................................... 58 Interview with Hisham M. Nazer ....................................................................................................... 59 Ndaba Sibanda ..................................................................................................................................... 84 The Power of the Word: Let us strive to make a positive ........................................... 85 Contributors ......................................................................................................................................... 92 ...................................................................................................................................................................

2


Letter from Editor Dear Readers, Thank you for accessing the fourth issue of anthology29. It is surprising that four months have already gone by, since this awfully strange literary magazine was first published. fear.

This issue will include prose and poetry on the theme of

Surely you all know what fear is. After all, the whole reason why Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought it is human behavior’s prime motivation, must come from the fact that this uncomfortable feeling, we normally get from a real or imagined danger, is so darn common. It causes us dread and discomfort and, at times, even courage to stand up to what we feel threatened by, just to get rid of this terrible thing called fear. Not all of us want this fear to go away. Some people want more of it and think it serves some higher purpose, beyond that of simply enabling us to notice a threat to our survival. It might make us feel in awe of God or a god or of many gods, that is necessary not only towards survival in this life, but in the life or lives after that, provided that such a thing exists. Hoping that you will enjoy this issue of anthology29, I also wish you all a happy New Year. Best Wishes, Eric Mwathi (Editor) 3


Part I: Poetry

4


.Adam “A.J.” Binash.

5


My Day Off From Work Singing Bob Dylan While showering. Pretending the shampoo bottle Is a microphone. Smiling at my reflection Inside the neighbor’s car window. Chasing after a dropped dime Rolling away in the super market’s Parking lot. Hearing Christmas music Everywhere. Staring at the store clerk’s forehead To avoid eye contact. Pretending that she’s being nice to me Because we’re friends. Allowing strangers to cross the street. While seeing a scowl in the rear-view mirror From the person in the car behind me. Holding my breath While talking to the homeless people At the library. Avoiding phone calls From debt collectors. Staring at pictures of my nephew. Admiring the innocence

6


In his chubby-cheeks. Reassuring my dog: “You’re the cutest thing ever! ” Yelling at my dog: “Shut up! Quit barking! ” Buying beer with change. Watching the movies I rented from the library. Passing out and waking up To the DVD’s menu screen. Writing a poem About my day off From work.

7


8


Must Be Love? She leaned her head back while laughing And placed eye-drops Over her irises. I pretended they were tears. One time I watched as she counted Her Toes And fingers. “It reminds me I am human.” She said. I have tasted death before. Her kiss Reminds me of dead things. Only plastic And Manufactured. While sneering She opened her plastic mouth And pushed air particles To inform me: “You’re going to die alone.” “Na-uh! ” I said. “I will have my memories for company! ” That night. We drank whiskey and took Valium. I woke up naked, Next to a bottle of eye-drops. My hangover 9


Killed my memories From the previous night. She walked out of the bathroom. Checking the messages on her phone. When I asked What happened, She smiled. And said: “I told you, you’re going to die alone.”

10


11


Affordable Seclusion Sad. Old. Man. With a scar Above his left eyebrow. It twitches. “Why are you alone for the holidays? ” The scar It twitches. His eyes squint. “My son is a heroin user. I gave him a black eye. Wife kicked me out.” He’s drinking coffee From a paper-cup. A thin dribble Of the liquid, Descends down The corner Of his mouth. Combines with dried spittle. Creating a stain. “He gave me this.” The scar. It twitches. “Two years ago. Wife let him back into the house.” The coffee is gone. He wipes the stain Onto his shirt sleeve. He won’t stop talking About the people He left behind. 12


And the scar Remains still.

13


A Wonderful Addiction Why do aged books Smell like opium?

A scent that is wafted Under nostrils, As pages (Frail as lint) Taste the imagery Of their rotting Complexion. Believing in words. Afraid of the consequences, When the words are applied. Away from Feet up, Leaned back in a chair Posture. A desire for blank air Blank like an infant notebook page. Across nothing. This rare beauty‌in death. When the pen Takes Its final breath.

14


15


Cats Belong in Copenhagen Innocence relinquished An Alley-Cat Of their burden To remain sober. During mid-day One heard them sing Newspaper headlines. Downtown. Near the yellow taxis And Post Office. The Alley-Cat Was paid a quarter For each note Sung on key. With the quarters They purchased whiskey. That dripped from their whiskers Into a pothole Next to a sewer grate. The Fat-Cats Walked past. Smiled. Whispered pity Under their breath. 16


But the Alley-Cat Continued. A drunken minstrel! High off their innocence. So the quarters kept coming Along with the pity.

17


.Ndaba Sibanda.

18


The Magic Of Snowflakes And Diamonds I take a rather slow

move

toward the magic of the snow

My fascination -

the frozen and crystalline state

of water that falls as precipitation

Having no clear idea of a crystal

or crystalline solid

or the process of 19


crystal growth

or crystallization

or solidification

However-

clearly craving for a sight

of crystal twins!

those that are often

symmetrically inter-grown

they just grow on me

20


I marvel at common crystals like

snowflakes

diamonds

and table salt It would be cool if l went more into a world inside the flake a new world a place that is essentially warmer than we imagine

Oh what magic!

21


22


Placards Placards! Placards! Placards! Go ye to monster-land, leave my motherland! Sellouts and tea-oldies, time up! Fossils are too fat to fit in with time. Companies have closed down, pls close shop! Castrate rapists, criminalize fat-cat activities. Save us from Savage Garbage of any age.

23


24


.Joan McNerney.

25


"A"

train

brassy blue electric close eyes watch points like stars think now how insignificant compared to train speaking for itself stars known in no language burn shoot thru tiger's eyes brain in constant action reaction to what we do not know plans of distant stars galaxies floating as "A" train silver worm slides under big belly of city 26


27


Beware If you touch Medusa her serpents will wrap themselves around you. She soars through water with giant wings gold fins. Hundreds of snakes crawling from her head. Some long to be near Medusa to hear her hissing lisping songs forgetful. She can suck blood from throats coiling minds past infinity before they breathe again.

28


29


riding dark horse nightmare to prison library where sewer backs up flooding cages of books my brains are washed by a short scientist detectives trail me arrested by police giving up to handcuffs ether now on train calendars peel off cars 1942 1962 1982 2198 1892 1294 passengers screaming screaming off track burning 3rd rail in swamp struggling to reach green reeds i am a fixed target paper duck *pull trigger*fire pin*thru barrel*into muzzle* bullet shot paper duck mowed down. 30


Fear 31


Sneaks under shadows lurking in corners ready to rear its head folded in neat lab reports charting white blood cells over edge running wild. Or hiding along icy roads when day ends with sea gulls squalling through steel grey skies. Brake belts wheeze and whine snapping apart careening us against the long cold night. Official white envelopes stuffed with subpoenas wait at the mailbox. Memories of hot words burning razor blades slash across our faces. Fires leap from rooms where twisted wires dance like miniature skeletons. We stand apart inhaling this mean air choking on our own breath.

32


33


I planted my garden on the wrong side of moon forgetting tides of ocean lunar wax wane only madness was cultivated there underground tubular roots corpulent veins flowers called despair gave off a single fruit... I ate it my laughter becoming harsh my eyes grew oblique.

34


35


.Patricia M. Osborne.

36


It My pulse races face and hands clammy. I know it’s there and look around up and down to the walls, on the ceiling until it’s found up there, above me in the air. It grins, mocks eyes glare. I scream, someone, anyone help, please. Footsteps on the stairs. I close my eyes then look up it’s gone. Relief as I see it’s no longer there.

37


38


Uninvited Wooden floorboards creak, bedroom door bangs closed as the wind blows. She buries her head under the pillow; heart ticks loud as panic grows

39


40


Nowhere to Hide It shimmered in the light, a sulphur stench erupted, her insides became tight, her stomach somersaulted. Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, he’s here. He’s here and inside.

41


42


Tunnel Slinky shadows fill the underpass, arches march, side by side, black blinkered lanterns hang in unison, whisper from up high.

He rubs his head, mops his eyes, twists and looks around. Where is he, what’s that smell, what’s that sound.

Satan’s scent permeates arctic air. cold and wind unite. Nowhere to hide, echoing footfalls on concrete ground. 43


44


.Eric Mwathi.

45


At Every Entrance At every entrance, when you’re walking by, The bullies giggle, seeing that you’re afraid. Bullies are everywhere, I don’t know why, They take such pride in problems that they made, People complain bullies were bullied too, They’re angry from the helplessness they felt, And bullied others, once those victims grew, To rid their anger, from the pain they felt, But I don’t agree with this wide spread claim. Many suffer, but still do what is right. You cannot go through life giving the blame, On others for your causing people plight; But shall all bullies be bullied as well, For making others’ lives a living hell?

46


47


.Part II: Prose Fiction.

48


.Christoph Fleckl.

49


The boy who died two years ago Some evening gone, a scar-faced man sat at a table in a crowded diner, a coffee in his hand, turning the pages of the newspaper in front of him without hurry or any particular interest, when suddenly he became aware of a pale small figure whose view burnt his eyes like sand, a young boy with swamp - plants in his hair and reddened eyes, witnesses to a lack of rest. It was none other than his last victim; he had but followed an inner voice forcing him to trust in the satisfying rush that accompanies an evil deed of rape, torture, blackmailing and murder, the parents’ money as an utmost seductive aim was soon forgotten, replaced by naked lust for flesh, a sweet drink of innocent blood, drowning in a fen stopped his going any further. The boy’s shape revealed the forms of chairs and people behind, foggy and luminescent, he seemed to scan the man’s guiltridden soul in joyful malice and no one else took notice of the tiny but cruel creature clothed in rags, with narrow lips casting a smile like crescent, his dead throat moving to and fro, emitting words: “Say, can you tell me where our boat is?” Suddenly the jukebox roared, the unbearable grin broadened as the air turned scarlet red, in his mind’s eye, he saw his sins starting to dance to the archaic rhythm of repentance while simultaneously maggots and worms bit their way through the soft eyes of the dead who had finally come, decayed and a meal to uncanny beings, to carry out the sentence. “Bad luck, chap,” The calm voice spoke. 50


“You knew for sure that my parents’ wealth is small. They’re little more than rag pickers whom you deprived of me, their most precious property!” And as the echo faded, an invisible chorus of demon spirits filled his ears with moaning call, purgatory opened its gates, lighted by the fire of hell, summoning visions of grief and poverty. The man let a scream tear its way through the room, jumped up and tried to poke out his eyes, eagerly pushing knife and fork to his forehead to make the blood-shaking pictures go away –so finally they got hold of him, scared of his demeanour on which their judgement now relies, a police-car took him with it on its way, from court into a cosy chamber where he had to stay. “Help!” he screamed all night and day, cuddled into a warm tight vest. “He knows what I did, won’t anyone listen? He recognised me as his murderer and has now come for hatred’s sake avenging his early death!” But they neither cared nor knew what in the looming shadows hid, a boy’s faint form announcing the approach of Satan because a sinner’s soul was at stake. When finally the messenger arrived, with fingers as strong as iron tools, he ripped the skin off the villain’s helpless body, threw it away and waited for the twitching flesh to die, which bled, roles of culprit and victim dramatically exchanged, its way towards death in sin, 51


until it had turned into a corpse and a black soul went to where agony and despair lie.

52


.Tonmoi Das Kashyap.

53


Hydrophobia I never felt fear as I felt this time. I never in my entire life ever thought or even imagined that I will see death so close to me. A joyful moment of an earlier evening would turn my life into a living hell for the next few days… It all started when I fell sick after a late night party. The hangover was not at all going in the morning. I tried some lemon juice to get out of my hangover. But it seemed as if the hangover increased. A terrible feeling came to my body and the pain that was already there in my head suddenly seemed to increase. I couldn’t control myself and went up to the bathroom and vomited. I relaxed a bit washed my face and drank some water. As the next drop of water went inside my throat I felt puked again. I immediately rushed back to the bathroom and vomited. I felt dehydrated. I wanted to gulp down all the water that I saw but I knew if I took a single drop of water I will feel puked again. An intimate sense of fear towards water began to capture the whole of my heart. I couldn’t stand up; I somehow walked to the bedroom and lay down on the bed. I started to take deep breaths by my mouth and thought death was near. I took my mobile that was lying on the table near the bed and went on to call my best friend Allan. After several rings Allan picked up the phone. I never hide anything from him nor did I hide that day. Initially he thought I was joking but somehow I was able to convince him about my situation. I lay on the bed waiting for my death to come and take me. My earlier memories started to roll like a film in front of my eyes. I was lost in my thoughts when the doorbell suddenly rang... 54


I somehow picked myself up and dragged to the door. It was Allan as I had hoped. I could see the shock on his face seeing my situation. He immediately lay me down on the nearby cuisine and rushed inside without saying anything. But the next time he came out, my fear came back but this time it had gone to such a level that I started to behave abnormally. Allan had brought a glass of water… I started to drag myself backwards and began to curse him. I shouted names at him. Allan appeared to be a vicious monster holding a large venomous snake in his one hand and a glass of poison extracted from that snake in the other hand. Suddenly the glass of poison dropped from that monster’s hands. And it appeared to me as if the monster had transformed back to Allan. He looked at me with eyes full of shock and horror. I called him to save me from the monster that I saw just now. He came to me hugged me and tried t console me patting at my back. Without waiting another second, he immediately called for an ambulance and we two sat down on the sofa. He asked me how I met with this fate. And as usual I didn’t hide anything from him and told him the truth. Meanwhile the ambulance arrived and the last thing I could remember was when I got unconscious in the ambulance… I opened my eyes after full eighteen hours as the doctor said. Allan was by the side of me holding my left hand. The doctor whispered something to the nurse and she went out of the room. The doctor asked me about my health and how I was feeling. Even though the sense of hangover was over I was feeling weak. I was about to respond to the doctor when the same nurse again 55


entered but this time with something for which I have developed some sort of fear… not only some but tremendous fear… She entered with a glass of water. I initially hesitated, with the fear still overpowering me. But I was so thirsty that I wanted water badly. I realized this time that the fear in the earlier form had not returned but only traces of it have remained. The nurse brought the glass nearer to me and then smiling at me made me drink the water. I felt as if I was in heaven. The water wetted up each cell of my mouth and I was happy when I didn’t puked. Taking a sigh of relief I asked for another glass to which the nurse smiled and immediately brought to me. The doctor then disclosed everything clearly to me. They initially thought I had rabies as I had symptoms of hydrophobia. But when my blood test was done, they found some sort of chemical which acts as a poison and made me hydrophobic. They confirmed that the poison started its action thirty six hours earlier so it must have gone inside me during the party night. Now the question arises, was all this an accident or did someone try to kill me by dehydration? I will find out one day or the other…

56


57


.Part III: NonFiction.

58


.Hisham M. Nazer.

59


Interview by Eric Mwathi with HishamNazar

60


General Information INTERVIEWER What is your age, Occupation and passions?

NAZER Age? Physically 26, medically 40 and mentally 100! Still occupied with literary studies, and my passions are art (includes all forms of art except martial), love and life. I like to inhale beauty and exhale poems. INTERVIEWER What country town or area are you from?

NAZER I’m from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Currently staying in Rajshahi for education purposes and I’m loving this place more. INTERVIEWER How was it growing up there?

NAZER Growing up in Dhaka was dull. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not a sports person. Life was confounded within walls and into not preparing my schools lessons. But I was lucky to discover Rajshahi. I found myself here and the road as well that I want to tread for the rest of my life.

INTERVIEWER 61


What languages do you speak?

NAZER Outside, with my friends and acquaintances, I speak Bangla and sometimes English. And inside, in my room, only English. I talk to myself literally a lot! INTERVIEWER What language was spoken at home? Bangla. INTERVIEWER What were your past publications?

NAZER Too many, especially in Bangla. As I was a co-editor of a Bangla literary journal, I got closer to Bangla magazines. Usually essays, literary and philosophical, and sometimes poetry. It’s much later that I entered into international publishing. This link will redirect you to the whole list of foreign publicationshttp://hishamianism.wordpress.com/category/publications/ What clothing do you like to wear and are there any specific labels you favour over others?

NAZER In summer T-shirts and three-quarter pants. In winter anything that keeps me warm. My favourite clothing is Panjabi, which is particularly popular in Asia. INTERVIEWER Do you keep pets and have favourite animals? 62


NAZER I had pets, some 10 years ago. A cat and her kittens. It needs a stronger word than love to describe my liking for cats. INTERVIEWER Would you see yourself as introverted extroverted, melancholy cheerful or otherwise?

NAZER Umm, right now I’m kind of in a middle position of being an introvert and an extrovert. Well, 4/5 years ago I was nothing but a city-sedated animal, but right now I am more inclined towards the roads, the alleys, and the river. I guess I’m a free human now, and that makes me cheerful. Rarely melancholic in actuality, although I feel darker things more strongly and hence a large portion of my poems and other write-ups are, if obliquely, melancholic. INTERVIEWER What food do you like to eat?

NAZER That’s the toughest question I have ever been asked. Yes, I’m a glutton, without any fear of the consequences and without any fear for Dante’s inferno as well hahaha. INTERVIEWER How do your friends and family see you?

63


NAZER Ah I wish I could know how my friends actually see me! I’ve attracted sometimes even veneration, sometimes extreme hatred; have attracted opportunists, liars, and even people who are so important in my life. Well, the love of my life was my friend first. That should give you some perspective! My family wasn’t at all proud of me when I was in school or in college, but as time passed, when I enrolled myself into a University, things changed. They now listen to me at least, although are seriously upset about my religious/spiritual standpoint. Family INTERVIEWER What profession were your parents?

NAZER My father was a businessman, now retired for his age. My mother has always been the “good” housewife. INTERVIEWER Do you have any siblings?

NAZER Yes I have, an elder sister. INTERVIEWER Were there writers or avid readers in your family?

64


NAZER Not at all. I both regret and enjoy this fact. Regret, because I could have access to more books. Enjoy, because the large collection of books now I have is solely my own contribution to the family. Specific Information

65


INTERVIEWER Why do you write fiction and philosophy?

NAZER I write fiction to discover and come closer to life through imagination. The bits are always realities I have experienced or I can conceive, and the story is simply the projection of how I have internalized those bits and how I see the world. About philosophy, I believe it cannot be anything worthwhile if it doesn’t lead to the understanding of life and its intricacies. Although I have the same intensity of love for almost all the schools of philosophy, yet I myself do not belong to one as I believe only a synthesis of them all can bring home some answers, and otherwise bewilderment. I don’t understand or write philosophy. I see it, and try to help others see it too. INTERVIEWER Do you write other things apart from those things mentioned?

NAZER Yes obviously. Poetry. I used to keep a diary where I recorded the things I saw from the window that was exactly in front of my reading desk. INTERVIEWER Are there local or international writers who have influenced you?

NAZER Yes, a lot of them have influenced me. T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Joseph Conrad and Hermann Hesse have influenced me most. From the contemporary giants Salman Rushdie has influenced 66


my language and the choice of imagery. Also a few writers with whom I’m actually and virtually related have influenced me toomy University pals Mojaffor Hossain and Ratul Pal. From abroad my Godmother Linda Francis, my Godfather Pranesh Nagri, friends Sultan Khilji, Liliana Alam, Sonal Sharma, excellent poets like Bina Biswas, Reenu Talwar, Taseer Gujral, Laura Tattoo, Preeti Dutta, Minakshi Watts and Naseer Ahmed Nasir, essayists like Alan Jacobs and Jeff Belyea, to name a few. Recently I have been fascinated by the works of Emilia Phillips. She knows how to write in style and strike. INTERVIEWER Are there any writers whose work you do not like?

NAZER Generally all those who think ‘unusual’ is the new poetic. A thing said strangely, with no depth inside it, is something I callbad art. Some poets are doing this these days. From classical canons I don’t like the works of Ben Jonson, G. B. Shaw, and please don’t kill me for saying this name- Jane Austen. INTERVIEWER What did you read as a child?

NAZER Mostly fairy tales, when I was a kid. Later I fell in love with the works of Enid Blyton. I can still remember the name of the first book by her that I read- The Rat-a-Tat Mystery. Also I was an avid reader of Tin Goyenda (Three Detectives) written by Raquib Hasan and Quazi Anwar Hossain. Jules Verne, like any other 67


child, was my favourite too. Information about your Creativity

68


INTERVIEWER In what kind of environment do you work best, with regard to a) The time of the days? b) Whether you prefer to work indoors or outdoors? c) Specific rooms? d) Are there specific stationary that you prefer over others (with regard to the kind of paper, notebooks, pens of pencils you like)?

NAZER

Night, obviously. It’s the time that sends ghosts to my room and we begin to talk. Also, for the blessings of new technology, Wordsworth’s ‘recollection in tranquillity’ isn’t needed today. I have written many poems, even essays in my mobile phone on my way to somewhere. Mostly poems, because the nature of Rajshahi is so poetic and it never fails to instigate the poetic passion inside me. INTERVIEWER What inspires your creativity? Life, reason, apparitions, shadows and death. But above them all, more intensely, love. INTERVIEWER What language do you write best in?

NAZER English, if you ask my opinion, but I’ve been highly commended for my Bangla language as well by other Bengali writers and University scholars. 69


INTERVIEWER What literary forms and genres did you experiment in?

NAZER I call it ‘Proesy’, something that I came up with a few years ago. It’s a combination of prose and poesy (older version of the word Poetry). There will be a moment, a situation in it, but never a conventional story-line. The language will be lofty and the intensity heightened. INTERVIEWER What is the source of your most of your novels?

NAZER I have not written one yet, but I know if sometimes I do, it will always be the reality I know best, otherwise it will simply be an exhibition of divine art painted by a devil. INTERVIEWER Why do you write political satire, do you have specific political views?

NAZER In the strictest sense, I haven’t actually written any full-length political satire, but yes, little anecdotes I have. I don’t have any political view, but if you ask me I would say- Plato’s idea of the Republic without the Utopian touch (it’s good as long as it limits its argument about how to perfect the vision), and Marx’s economical mathematics without the anti-religious austerity. I remember saying this a few years ago- I will involve myself in politics and religion only when the members of a party, besides 70


fruitful criticism, will learn to praise the achievements of the other parties, and when a religion will speak for peace, not for itself and will learn to tolerate the other sets of beliefs. INTERVIEWER Tell me about the magazines you co-edited?

NAZER The first one I co-edited (and co-founded as well) was a Bangla literary magazine named “Shashwatiki” (meaning Eternal). It was a joint venture, in the dream of making a platform for new writers and a stage for the established one. It showcases (yes it’s still running) poetry, fiction, drama, essay, translation and interview. It’s a print magazine. The second one I co-edited was an online journal. It was (still is) a dream child of Minakshi Watts. It showcases all the conventional genres, including paintings and photographs.

71


Religion

72


INTERVIEWER Tell me about your career as a spiritual writer and speaker, how it occurred, and how you would like to peruse it in future?

NAZER It all started from the second year of my University. As a freshman I was drawn towards philosophy and so read whichever philosophical books I could lay my hand on. Then I started teaching Western philosophy to my juniors, under the sky hahaha. The classroom was a spot in the library veranda, and the floor was our seat. Now whoever develops love for the Western ‘love of Knowledge’, he is bound to delve deeper into the vision and mystery of Eastern philosophy as well, into its ‘love of Divine’. The philosophies paved my way towards spirituality where West and East met, and when I approached ‘Divine’ with ‘Knowledge’, I found something deep, subtle yet vividly visible. I’m getting involved into this even more, and from that I can tell although I won’t ever take the guise of a Guru, but I definitely will keep writing and talking about what I think I have found. INTERVIEWER What religious views do you have?

NAZER Religion is almost all about rituals and spirituality is about the rituals of the spirit. To me religion has absolutely and essentially nothing to do with God. So instead of binding me within the circle of a single faith, I approach God/Divinity spiritually, and hence do not feel the necessity to belong to any particular religion. So my religious view is little complicated. I don’t have a religion. I do not promote one religion nor attack one. I learn the good from all those holy scriptures and unlearn (and often 73


criticize) the superficial ideas I find in them. I believe in God, but not entirely how orthodox religions have depicted it. INTERVIEWER How do those religious views differ from your parents and grandparents?

NAZER My parents are conservative Muslims, though not extremists. So the fundamental difference lies in this- the amount of devotion put in religion and the reason behind this devotion. For them it’s their faith, for me it’s only a means of spiritual growth, something from where I can learn. INTERVIEWER How do they differ from your siblings?

NAZER I have an elder sister, who before her marriage was pretty much like my parents, but somehow inside her, there was always this liberal/flexible spirit that wanted to accept more and entertain doubts to know the truth. After her marriage, with the aid of her husband, she has come out of the rigid structure of religion. INTERVIEWER How do they differ from your childhood?

NAZER As a child I was definitely religious. Though not much of a practising kind, but I used to write poems on Islamic icons and Allah, and also used to read religious texts attentively. I, like any other child under the influence of his parents, believed that a particular religion will bring me salvation. But as I grew up, as I 74


found that the declaration of supremacy only brings more chaos into the world, I changed, and learnt to see deep inside all the religions out there and also into things that go against them. Though I don’t prefer to consider myself an agnostic, yet my position is something like that. Lucky for me that before I drifted away, I had some knowledge on what I drifted away from. INTERVIEWER When die, is there an afterlife?

NAZER I am not dead yet. I don’t know. To be or not to be, that’s always the question, and will always be the question. I “believe” (only because I’m not certain) there’s a continuation, but maybe it won’t be a human one. I mean it won’t be like how we perceive the continuation of time. Philosophically speaking- it will be a continuous presence in eternity. Now, if you mean heaven or hell by afterlife, not I don’t believe in any, although I would like to enjoy what they say there are in heaven hahaha. The idea of heaven or hell was necessary to keep intellectually underdeveloped creatures (that is Human) into control. It is still necessary for those who haven’t developed at all. But for people who know right and wrong, can control themselves, I don’t see any reason why they still need to believe in the actual existence of these after-life territories. INTERVIEWER Do you think angels, demons and ghosts exist?

75


NAZER The way we conceive angels, demons and ghosts? May be not, but I feel a presence. It doesn’t necessarily be that of the names you are giving me. I can’t assure anyone about Angels, but demons and ghosts are our own making, they live inside us, they are our worst fears, and they are us in our worst senses. INTERVIEWER What was the experience with the supernatural you most remember?

NAZER It was frightening. It was 3 of the morning. It was dark, and then there was light the moment I was expecting it. I don’t want to go into details, because now when I think about it aloud in my mind, it sounds fantastical and unbelievable even to me. Questions about literature INTERVIEWER What are the top five books you would most recommend?

NAZER It’s difficult to recommend only 5 books! Well, for the question’s sake- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and naturally its sequel Ulysses) by James Joyce, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and Rumi’s Masnavi-i-ma’navi.

76


INTERVIEWER Name three or more books that disappointed you and tell me why they disappointed you.

NAZER Great Expectation by Charles Dickens maybe disappointed me the most, because I was enjoying the novel so much but before the end it got too much unnecessarily stretchy. I know it was a trend of that time, to make novels voluminous, but I think this stretch has made the novel lose its intensity. Then there’s this Pride and Prejudice. It disappointed me simply because some of my own theories and literary expectations. As one critic (I have 77


forgotten the name) aptly put it- Pride and Prejudice lacks spiritual profundity. NTERVIEWER What writers do you personally know, what do they write and how do they affect you?

NAZER I have talked with Hasan Azizul Haque (if talking means ‘knowing personally’), one of the most extraordinary writers of our country, once or twice, and I can without further ado admit that he is the master of story-telling in contemporary Bangla literature. As he himself once said- he doesn’t write anything that he hasn’t somehow experienced. The honesty with which he composes his stories is simply mesmerizing. I like his works because of their subtle and beautiful sketches. I believe a true story has this poetic quality that binds words and meanings together in a striking and rhythmic way. Mr. Haque does that masterfully. INTERVIEWER How is your upcoming book coming along?

NAZER Honestly not good and I might have to drop the contract. The philosophy about writing that I advocate is the reason. I can’t write unless I am triggered. And I can’t write when I have to. I need that passion that makes the moment, not myself, tell the tale. It’s getting rare these days now that I am in a transitional phase of my life. But that’s about the book of short-stories. 78


About the book of poetry, I will publish it soon, maybe in March. A collection of like 100 poems. INTERVIEWER Who will publish it?

NAZER I’m still searching for a foreign publisher. If I can’t find one in time, I will opt for self-publishing. INTERVIEWER What are some of the names you are thinking of calling it?

NAZER I have decided what will be its name. It’s Imaginarium (meaningthe museum of imagination) INTERVIEWER What is your view of contemporary poetry and poets?

NAZER Let me give you a picture first. I am a Bangladeshi, I write in English (the tongue of the West) but I am getting fonder of Indian poets writing in English hahaha. American and English poets have lost it (obviously except some few) in their pursuit of writing more and more in post-modern style. To my surprise I have even found that a few of them deliberately “try” to write in that style and hence end up into writing something tremendously disturbing. Odd images, with no coherence- that’s the ‘cool’ for 79


them. Many Indian poets too are doing the same, from their “Anglo-philia”. INTERVIEWER Name an example of good contemporary poets worth reading as well as ones you recommend us not to read?

NAZER Unfortunately the list isn’t too long. The one who recently died, Seamus Heaney, was a true poet, a passionate poet. Derek Walcott too is an extraordinary poet. Then there is Tomas Tranströmer, Ruskin Bond, Frederick Glaysher etc. who are writing poems in the style that I find appealing. Right now I can’t remember any name that I would ‘not-recommend’.

80


Philosophical Questions

81


INTERVIEWER Are there any Western, Far Eastern or other Philosophers you still read?

NAZER There’s no end to studying philosophy. For example I still read Aristotle, I still read Rumi, and if I can get some free time in future, I will again study Plato, because intellectually we grow every day, and with every reading we can find something new, something hinted at, from the books we read. INTERVIEWER How was it studying philosophy at school and University?

NAZER It was in true sense exciting! The exploration of ideas, the challenges that sometimes some philosophical ideas posed, the intoxication of thoughts, it was wine for me! And for my own inclination in finding life in philosophy and in consequence philosophy in life, the involvement was deeper and more mature. Above all, studying philosophy was like knowing myself (thanks to Socrates for his gnothi seauton!) INTERVIEWER Do you have any personal philosophies or mottos?

NAZER Simply I can’t explain that in this limited scope. Yes there is. A lot of them in fact. And I have recorded all of them, which covers some thousand pages. Someday, if I feel safer, I will publish them. But for now let me say it is ‘simplicity’, which can 82


only be attained through complexes, and everything is connected. I can show you how, but I’m afraid it’s an interview, not an essay hahaha.

INTERVIEWER What kind of work do you plan to release in the future?

NAZER Mostly literary and philosophical. But I have plans for history as well. Thank you so much for your time and your inspirational comments Mister M. Nazer!

83


84


.Ndaba Sibanda.

85


The Power of the Word: Let us Strive to Make a Positive Difference OR “It is right to write..." I Is writing not something of great magnificence? If so, why can we not make a difference? The world has never been static, so has writing. It is dynamic. It makes the world revel and reveal itself. Out went the traditional writing feather or pen, and in surged the typewriter, then the “wise” computer. Kudos, the world crooned in celebration of probably one of civilization`s amazing conquest and result. However, this does not mean that the pen is down and out. Not at all. Neither does it mean that the pen has ceased to be mightier than the sword. Writing is writing whether by virtue of the might of the pen or the wizardry of the computer. One well-known author, Maya Angelou says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” How many authors have burning stories to tell but yet they still owe the world a huge debt because they have not taken time to tell them, or have not figured how they could tell them in the most effective and efficient way possible? How many artists are “pregnant” with rare and exciting ideas and experiences but sadly have been in labour for too long without actually giving birth to those ideas and experiences which could feasibly stir, illuminate and inspire the world? It is a world so fast-paced that some “forward-looking people” believe that books -as we know them now-will be transformed into dinosaurs by the emergence of the e-books. What are the implications and complications for the writers and publishers? Does it mean that writers who stick to the old book idea will also perish or become dinosaurs? This discourse will not dwell

86


on those possible ramifications. Maybe another time and space will be explored and created. This essay seeks to motivate writers to write insightfully, passionately and selflessly for writing is a noble profession. Words are powerful weapons which can transform the world for the better. I believe each and every artist has a responsibility not only to excel and leave a good legacy but also to SELFLESSLY reach out to the artistic needs and aspirations of other people at a given time, especially the young and everyone else and make a positive difference wherever and whenever possible. Like other talents, writing is a privilege and platform we can use to reach out, and in the process find meaning in this seemingly meaningless world, find voice for a voiceless society and even find ourselves, discover who we really are in the thick bush of confusion and desperation we sometimes find ourselves in. Through writing we find courage, ammunition and inspiration to go on, in spite of all the odds, we find vision to define and refine our identities and destinies. Yes, through writing we find ourselves, our voice and verve. And through writing we get personal and meaningful solace, fulfilment and a true sense of belonging and of being blessed. Through writing, we have every right to thank God for His kindness in bestowing love and life upon us, life endowed with something special- writing abilities and possibilities.

87


After all, on a broader spectrum, writing is a form of communication, and we all know that without communication and interaction the world becomes hollow, chaotic and meaningless. II There is no gainsaying the fact a writer`s humble efforts have to be exposed to an appreciating or interested audience. This calls for patience, diligence and research. Many “aspiring writers “, if ever there was such a group, seek instant success. They become too obsessed with the end-result instead of patiently perfecting and nurturing their craft. More often than not, a wave of disappointment and disillusionment ambushes and hits them mercilessly when they do not find the expected success, fame and fortune. At best, they could fail to reach their potential, and at worst this could spell doom for them as they begin to resent writing as an exploitative and unaspiring abyss. Writing is a process, not an event. Waiting for success or recognition could seem like an eternity. It could seem like waiting in vain. On the contrary, like all good things, one has to scale up one`s efforts and wait. Complacency is a malady. Too much haste tends to bear frustration, half-baked products and still births. Start small, and grow. In today`s world, the platforms presented by publishers, print magazines, online publications, networks, writers` clubs, blogging and agents play a crucial role in a writer`s career. In this day`s digital age, one has to make or break it. Competition is stiff. This does not imply that the prospects are not rosy. Innovation is the buzzword. Writers should know their story otherwise they risk remaining in the dark like light covered by a cloud of darkness. In today`s world, the state of the arts presents a wide range of publishing opportunities and possibilities which one should not whine about, but take advantage of and shine. J.D. Salinger came up with an interesting observation. He said “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend

88


of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” Are you not ready to knock many a reader out? Are you not ready to unleash your greatness? How many writers are sitting on their works of art? III One never knows , possibly a script one has not been working on wholeheartedly, or one has even abandoned in fear of getting rejections from publishers could be a masterpiece to unlock the literary keys of success and not only propel one to dizzy heights but also endear one to the world. Different editors have different tastes, choices and policies. One editor`s immediate choice could be another`s instant rejection. Keep those rejection slips as inspirational reminders that one has to keep on writing, rewriting and rewriting until one`s writing shines like a piece of diamond. As readers, we all wish to read unputdowns. Similarly, a writer worth their salt wish they could write that text which will linger on the minds of their readers, long after the book has been put down. Cornelia Funke once said, “Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?”

89


IV Writers and words are good bedfellows. Pass that word. Maya Angelou, the famous author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings says “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” a word is a unit of expression which is intertwined with sight, sound, smell, touch, and body movement. I think it is memorable (and obviously powerful) because it appeals to our physical, emotional and intellectual processes. As language practitioners, this knowledge (of the mental schema) is crucial. What is in a word? I believe there is a statement. For me, words illuminate, revel and reveal the world. Literature is literature because of words that constitute it. Patrick Rothfuss says, “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” Yet, Rudyard Kipling claims, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” I think this is a very interesting observation. Writers` sites are important because they do not only help artists hone their skills through practice, some of them also give one information about expert writing tips, pitfalls to avoid, and about publication opportunities available here and there, including the literary achievements of other community members. In essence, all these elements serve to inspire people, and even attract them to the site. They make them better craftsmen and craftswomen, they bring authors together, and they market them and their craft. To this end, I urge fellow writers to meaningfully use writing as a platform to reach out and touch lives in a positive way. Solidarity is a rarity to be nurtured and encouraged. This could come as a congratulatory message to people who have done something special. Let us celebrate with those who have won writing awards, published books or even joined our sites. Words can change the world. Why? There a certain potency or power that is

90


wielded by words. Patrick Rothfuss illustrates this by declaring, “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” Writers have an assiduous duty to unravel the mystery of life. Writing presents a mirror through which one seeks to understand, analyse and cherish the complexity of human life and its dynamics. For where there is a breath of life there is a kind of theatre. This is the beauty of writing. I have my favourite phrase: “It is right to write..." Madeleine L'Engle once said “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” Have a great day, and continue to spread that great message of reaching out to the young, for the writing future belongs to them!

91


.Part IV: .Contributors.

92


.Christoph Fleckl. Born with the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius, on Nostradamus‘ 482nd birthday, in Vienna, Austria, I grew up in the countryside, by the Viennese woods, on the outskirts of the Austrian capital. Since then, I have developed a great interest in Christian spirituality, mythology and the paranormal, which, to my mind, is reflected in most of my poetic works. I started writing while still a premature child, further developing stories from a much-beloved novel, from my childhood, featuring a talking tomcat that has escaped an author’s vivid imagination. At the age of eighteen, quite at the end of my years at grammar school, I wrote my first serious attempts at poetry in German, mainly concerned with matters to do with puberty, such as the act of succeeding in school or in gaining the acceptance and sympathy of my fellow class mates. Later on, I discovered a certain talent for writing poems in foreign languages, such as in English and in French, both of which I took written examinations for my Matura in. I also found out that I really liked the classic ballad, telling a story in the form of rhymes and verses.

93


.Tonmoi Das Kashyap. Tonmoi Das Kashyap lives in Assam, India, and is currently pursuing his B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from ICFAI University, Tripura. He has published stories and poems in local newspaper The Assam Tribune and also has published articles in the college magazine Techno Times. He has also won 1. second prize in ‘N. J. Yasaswy Memorial Quiz Competition’. 2. first prize in ‘Bohagi Bidai Drawing Competition’. 3. second prize in ‘All Assam Drama Competition’. He has recently been shortlisted for Red Romance Short Story Contest and is eagerly waiting for the results of the winners.

94


.Adam “A.J.� Binash. A.j. Binash is a post-post-post-modernist poet from La Crosse, WI. He has released a book of poetry entitled Cautionary Tales of an American Boy Out Past Curfew (Rattlesnake Valley Publishing). He has also been featured in the W.F.O.P. (Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets) Muse- Letter and Murmurations Magazine, among others. Also a performer-Binash has shared the stage with Acker award winning poet William Taylor Jr. and Grammy award winning musician Bill Miller. He also is an active Board Member for the Wisconsin Writers Association. Currently working on a new manuscript, Binash will be releasing books for years to come. If time allows.

95


.Ndaba Sibanda.

Ndaba Sibanda grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He has contributed to poetry anthologies such as It`s Time, Poems For Haiti, and Snippets and Voices For Peace. In 2013, his hard-hitting poetry collection, The Dead Must Be Sobbing was published. His debut novel, Timebomb is set to be published in the.

96


.Joan McNerney’s. Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several kind of A Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.

97


.Eric Mwathi. Eric Mwathi’s fiction and poetry has been published under Shot Glass Journal, Tongue Mag Magworth's Literary Magazine, AllPoetry.com. Bard’s Magazine, Garbaj literary magazine, Stactes Greek literary Magazine, and The Supplement, was shortlisted and considered for the World City Stories Prize and contributed to Shannon Norman’s Natural Reflections (A Collection of Poems). Before editing this poetry journal he had also started the Everyman’s Poetry Journal, edited the Anthology of Contemporary Love Poetry, and the Anthology of Religious Prose & Poetry, The Rondeau Poetry Review’s Anthology on Nature and the Anthology of Prose and Poetry on Desire. See more of his work at his website : http://ericmwathispoetry.webs.com/.

98


.Patricia M Osborne. Patricia is mother to three children and grandmother to three. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and youngest son. She recently graduated from the Open University with a BA Honours after studying Humanities with Music and Creative Writing. Her hobbies include playing the piano, music theory, art and photography but writing is her favourite pastime. Patricia writes short stories and poetry. She is in the process of her first novel.

99


.Hisham M. Nazer. Hisham M Nazer is a trilingual poet from Bangladesh. A T. S. Eliot scholar, currently working on a dissertation on T. S. Eliot and Dante, supervised by the department of English, University of Rajshahi. A prolific writer, published in many national magazines and international anthologies. He is an essayist too, a spiritual speaker and a teacher of philosophy. Worked as a co-editor for two literary magazines- Shasshwatiki (Bengali, Bangladesh) and The Browsing Corner (Multi-lingual e-zine, India).

100


101

Anthology29 (fourthissue)  
Anthology29 (fourthissue)  

This is the fourth issue of anthology29's literary Magazine, and the first one of the New Year. Enjoy!

Advertisement