Issue 1: The Beginning

Page 1

Riveting Rants ree, fly hi f k n gh i h -t

Issue 1: The Beginning

JULY 2021

From the Editor's Desk 'Think free, fly high' - these words represent the raison d'etre of Riveting Rants, a space where we explore the beauty of the literary arts. Riveting Rants aims to be the horizon between your inner voice and the words that sing its song. To see our brainchild blossom in this community is an exhilarating journey, an experience that transcends words. With this, our first, tottering step, we embark on the beginning of this incredible journey. We present to you, the fruit of our vision and labour - our magazine, Riveting Rants.

- Sahitra Bhat (Founder, Editor-in-Chief), Vaidehi Sistla (Co-Founder, Editor)


Table of Contents Poetry

This is my last letter to you - Yuu Ikeda Hope - Vedant Panamgipalli Three Pictures - Ben Horrobin Art Crtitcism 1 - Ben Horrobin A (Late) Eulogy To The Stars - Sahitra Bhat A Soul Thinned To Nothingness - Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya The Final Straw - Alex Phuong Shrill Music at a CD Signing (with the cast of a popular musical) - Frank de Canio to my younger self - Ceinwen E Cariad Hayden We don’t fall - Strider Marcus Jones A Childhood Tattoo - Amit Parmessur The Last Supper before the Diet - Adrian Slonaker a haiku to all the Johns - Dane Lyn I do not understand - A.N. A Brief Reflection of the November Morning you Left - J.P. Legarte


Enter or Egress - Edward Lee

Acknowledgements ii

poetry /ˈpəʊɪtri/ noun 1. literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature. 2. "he felt a desire to investigate through poetry the subjects of pain and death"


This is my last letter to you -Yuu IkedaThis is my last letter to you. You are always curled up in my crumbled heart. Like a mystic moon, like a wingless angel, you are always wailing with my scattered ashes. This is my last letter to you. Am I always crouching in your crushed soul? Am I always grieving with your vulnerable shadow?

Yuu Ikeda is a Japan based poet. She loves writing, reading mystery novels, and drinking sugary coffee. She writes poetry on her website Her published poems are “On the Bed” in <Nymphs>, “Seeds” in <Tealight Press>, “Dawn” in <Poetry and Covid>, and more. Her Twitter and Instagram: @yuunnnn77


Hope -Vedant PanamgipalliDoes hope now remain in the air between trees? When the world only cares about that which it sees. As our skies Slowly die Do the rich not see all the harm that they cause? Do money - made men even care for the laws? Do they feel? Do they bleed? Does pain run away whenever we call? Or does money’s voice speak louder than us all For what fee, Can one flee? Are the strongest blades forged in the hottest flame? Or do the hottest red coals put metal to shame? Is the fire, Just our ire? Are the nobles the first among us to care? Do rich and poor even breathe the same air? If we speak, They’ll just stare. The rich man’s loss reduces him to tears While the poor man walks every cracked street in fear As we speak, They grow weak Their foot soldiers march and crush all defiance While the poor man’s beaten into compliance As they die, Who can cry?

Vedant Panamgipalli is an aspiring poet, debater and overall nerd


Three Pictures -Ben HorrobinHalf frame disposable, colour A deer Center frame Blue ink on the back reading New Hampshire 92’ Poorly compressed .JPG He wears a business suit Looks as young as he is Montrachet glass in hand Toronto skyline in the background .JPG retrieved from cellphone found in ditch Standing on forested shoulder Lean, a body which appears casually competent Medium pack a few steps below ultralight Well worn The confidence of knowing more lies ahead than behind


Art Criticism 1 -Ben HorrobinEight inch statue in a plexiglass case Set in a recess near the elevators of what could be a bank or oil and gas building A pig painted to look like a cow Flesh painfully distended from years of apparent excess Corpulent and smirking Teeth like a condemned cemetery A physical manifestation of all our worst urges No plaque Unnecessary if there had been Who bought this? Why? Is there a catalogue of corporate art Where I can send away for my own pestilent effigy?

Ben Horrobin was born at the tender age of zero in Vancouver, BC. He can be found on Instagram @Kudzureclaimsthesouth.


A (Late) Eulogy To The Stars -Sahitra BhatIt is difficult to believe that there was a time when people saw constellations in the sky. Our feeble attempts to replicate the glory of a sky studded with stars has led to its demise. The more we set our lands on fire, the sky’s shimmer wore away. The switch to turn our lightbulbs on was the same that turned the stars off.

Odes were sung in your honour, your patterns worshipped fervently. You went from guiding sailors to barely existing through no fault of your own. Poets and astronomers mourn your loss. They say, “Better late than never.” So here is a late eulogy to the stars.

Sahitra (she/her) is a teenager in India who enjoys spreading chaos and writing poetry. You’ll usually find her listening to music or obsessing over murder mysteries and conspiracy theories!


A Soul Thinned To Nothingness -Najeeb Yusuf UbandiyaIf you look to your left, there’s a soul Huddling under the blanket of its Civil WarAbandoned cramps of silence rolling Side to side against the enemy’s floor.

But she swallows me- instead. (I guess she likes me a lot to do so) O’ silver of the sea! O’ agent of the sea! She spat me out like debris in her throat.

If you look to your right, there’s a body Shrinking in a dark-framed mirror with Its virgin breath conjuring tricks- toothless; Grinning, tripping over shells and the sea-bed.

If you look closely, there is everything- the stamped soul, the drowned bodyThinning to nothingness and the pulse of the sea rising To the explosion of fury, glowing, though Soundless but cold Whispers at the end… Out of blackness It’s just stunning

The sea from afar is so inviting, with Her unbearable radiance Spreading like Death- everywhere. I rush To gurgle her tides in my mouth,

Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya is a young poet from Nigeria. He is a loner who writes to find out what he thinks and feels—about himself and the world around him—and to keep his purpose awake and breathing. His works have appeared in: Ngiga Review, Blue Marble Review and forthcoming in other literary magazines. You could find him tweeting @najeeb___X


The Final Straw -Alex PhuongThe final straw Before an outburst Of emotion. A cathartic Moment in time. Environmental protectionAn urgent issue That citizens and denizens Must address, Especially since Earth is the only home For biological beings, And try not to choke While sipping from straws, And contribute towards A noble cause Without expecting applause.

Alex Andy Phuong (He/Him/His) earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles. Emma Stone inspired Alex to write passionately after watching her Oscar-winning performance in La La Land. He now writes hoping to inspire the ones who dream


Shrill Music at a CD Signing (with the cast of a popular musical) -Frank de CanioI went to see Der Rosenkavalier’s soprano sitting with the other cast for whom I would never withhold due cheers. But my enthusiasm wouldn’t last. If I’d assumed admonitory sneers while all the audience stood with applause, I’d socially be standing in arrears for showing acrimony without cause. Yet, when two singers from the Broadway stage resented me for getting in the fun of giving those two gals their proper wage, I had to wonder. What could I have done in liberal New York, where sympathies for those deemed dispossessed are de rigueur, and we applaud idiosyncrasies? Perhaps, I look like a provocateur which, inexplicably did not extend to rushing past them at the signing booth to get the contralto poised to pen the only autograph I sought, in truth.

Alas, with the respect for them that they did not give me, I went through the routine allowing them to slight their castaway again, till I gleaned solace from my queen. Their autographs, assessed disdainfully in my home’s smallest room, are behind me.

Frank De Canio was born & bred in New Jersey and worked in New York for many years. He loves theater, and music from Bach to Amy Winehouse. and world music. He hosts a philosophy café in lower Manhattan. every other week and attends a poetry workshop in midtown. Both of those are now on Zoom.


to my younger self -Ceinwen E Cariad Haydenlove your smooth skin, your rounded belly, wonky smile and crazy curls. you’ll never be as beautiful again although you do not know it now. stride on your long legs, climb your mountains, chart new paths, and do not doubt it when others praise you. accept your faults, laugh when you stumble. fall softly on grassy mounds when your ascent stalls, take rest drink in fluorescent sunsets. sleep deep rise the next day, find friendship’s hand to hold let differences lift you, fold you into your madcap perfect imperfection.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon, [MA Creative Writing, Newcastle 2017] Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She is a Pushcart (2019 & 2020) and Forward Prize (2019) nominee. She believes everyone’s voice counts.


We don’t fall -Strider Marcus Jones-

We don’t fall, we learn and grow: there is beauty in mistakes we make and light in sadness. We build a wall around our glow, and sleep to break the cruelty of madness. only for a while. That’s all the sun stays low, to come awake like fate with love, rises early and finds us.

Strider Marcus Jones – is a poet, law graduate and former civil servant from Salford, England with proud Celtic roots in Ireland and Wales. A member of The Poetry Society, his five published books of poetry reveal a maverick, moving between cities, playing his saxophone in smoky rooms. He is also the founder, editor and publisher of Lothlorien Poetry Journal.


A Childhood Tattoo -Amit ParmessurNo. No. Why are you talking like that? My childhood wasn’t a boring one. It had animals, still alive in my memories, in perfect order. Not like a pile of groceries fallen from a torn bag. Upper left, there are feisty, fiery scorpions moving their large pincers and long tails in the kitchen that smelled of burnt wood, oil and fear. They say you have to kill to protect who you love.

Neatly pepper the image with birds and butterflies, the red of blood. Chasing and catching them to smell freedom made me more alive than remorseful. You hear me; my childhood wasn’t that flat. Everything overlaps a peacock spreading its patterned plumage under a mawkish, dripping rainbow. It’s the creature I value the least. I hate vanity, especially yours. Your money talks too much, way too much.

Just below them is a huge frog sitting on another, the beast with two backs, in blue grass. There my childhood still sprouts and shouts and swims in a way I often envy. My childhood wasn’t bland. You hear me. Upper right, there’s the cute koi I stole from my neighbour’s pond and ran away within my pocket on hearing him open his gate. It says you have to reclaim what’s yours. Just below it is a chubby white-bellied cat with a peculiar penchant for slouching against steps, like Istanbul’s Tombili. She spent more than seven lives with me. She could mimic my drunk grandfather.

Amit Parmessur, poet and tutor, spent his early adolescence hating poetry. Now, he loves to pick off past experiences, turn them over in the light and write about them. His poetry has appeared in over 165 magazines, namely WINK, The Rye Whiskey Review, Night Garden Journal, Hobo Camp Review, Ann Arbor Review and Ethos Literary Journal. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Web nominee.


The Last Supper before the Diet -Adrian SlonakerI tap my patella and scratch the embryo of a hole in the right knee of faded grey jeans, the way I'd gingerly rip my skin off if it guaranteed a glimmering slimmer figure, while Bob Dylan warbles “How does it feeeeeeeeeeeeel?” over a taxicab radio crackling as Main Street stalks the chocolate dregs of the Petitcodiac River at low tide before shape-shifting into Rue Champlain en route to Deluxe Fries (and fish and clams and scallops and poutine), where I'm baffled by the battlefield of barricades and one-way entrances intended to trap any tiresome virus particles that sneaked past the provincial peace officers. If a sympathetic curmudgeon hadn't commiserated and assisted, I'd have growled past my purplish raindrop-patterned face mask aping the foggy drizzle draped over Westmorland County.

Fond of catchy rock 'n roll records, rain and cobblestone streets, language professional Adrian Slonaker (they/their/them) lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Adrian's work, which has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, has appeared in WINK: Writers in the Know, Cajun Mutt Press, The Pangolin Review and others.


a haiku to all the Johns -Dane Lyn-

grave dirt eyes awake ichor lips stealing breath from the mouth of a skull

Dane Lyn (they/them) is an educator, poet, and glitter enthusiast with an MFA from Lindenwood University. Find them in Southern California ridding their shoes of sand, loving their partner, playing music too loud, constructing blanket forts, and caring for their menagerie of teens, snakes, lizards, dogs, rabbits, and cats. Dane’s work can be seen in Gnashing Teeth, Closed Eye Open, Anti-Heroin Chic and Nymph Publication, links to which are all at, they tweet from @PunkHippyPoet.


I do not understand -A.N.I don't understand Why little children cry at playgrounds Why their small fists, the size of small rocks clench in childish frustration. I don't understand why they let out cries of anger with a tinge of sadness All because the swings are occupied

I don't understand Why some people think highly of me. Why the same people ignore me and only ask for me when they need help I don't understand why they bully people who are fundamentally the same as them All because they don't like minute differences I do not understand

I don't understand Why war happens. Why the nice girl is silently despaired Why people take weapons in their arms to fight. Why she, bright and sociable to an envious point I don't understand why people want tragedy. Must suffer, because of a father with anger issues. Why they use bullets instead of words I don't understand why she hides her pain. Letting the gunshots speak for them All because they wouldn't listen, All because of other people. and because nobody understood.

A.N. is a musician, stage actor, artist and poet who is currently a high school student. His writing tends to tackle philosophical questions, and he typically uses his poetry to question the reasons for human nature, as well as an outlet for his thoughts. His musical compositions, as well as his artworks showcase the same ideas in a more abstract manner.


A Brief Reflection of the November Morning you Left -J.P. LegarteStained breaths punctuated the ends of our sentences while echoed teardrops dripped down our mirror bodies. I opened the kitchen window to appease the darkened, reflected silence stagnant between us, but even the crashing breezes mocked us through the way they whispered with each other so naturally. You enkindled the scrambled eggs you so desperately tried to prepare for the both of us, the aroma alluding to the ashes of our fallen-sky dreams. When they finally dissipated, the soft-glow sunrise bled into scarlet rivers as you hurled your apron onto the fractured tiles below. I stared into the shell of your detached shadow, and it returned my gaze graciously, as if it knew its silhouette would imprint my last memory of that November morning.

JP Legarte is a Filipino-American and rising junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and a minor in English. The main reason as to why he writes is he desires to provide spaces through his poetry where others can process their own emotions, ponderings, and anything else within life itself. His poems have been previously published in Poetry Undressed, an online publishing company. You can find him on Instagram at @jpl091 and @unspokenentropy.


prose //prəʊz noun 1. written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure. 2. "a short story in prose"


Enter or Egress -Edward LeeI wake up in a room full of doors, floor to ceiling, wall to wall, nothing but doors, and no handle on a single one of them. This isn’t the room I fell asleep in, that room had only one door, two windows, a desk against one wall where I spend all the hours I own pigeon-tapping on an old typewriter all the things I wish would happen to me, words I would speak, decisions I would make, lives I would live if I were only given the chance. Waking in a room made of doors was not anything I had pressed faded keys for, not a potential future I had shaped out of nothing but wishes; at that thought, at the very arrival of that thought, before it has even finished, I realise that all the doors, though they have no handles, have keyholes just below the space where a handle would be. But, I have no key. I know this without having to search my pockets; I have not needed a key in years, my two-windowed room my world, the other world outside not one I have ventured into since I began shaping my future from nothing but wishes. No, I have no key. There comes a knock at one of the doors, gentle, almost silent. I feel it more than I hear it, a vibration begins at one door and passes through every other door, finding its way to the soles of my bare feet. It comes again, the knock, but I still do not know from which door it comes. I still do not know when the third knock comes, louder, persistent, endless.

Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales. He is currently working on a novel. He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy. Find his blog/website here.



Founder, Editor-in-chief: Sahitra Bhat Co-founder, Editor: Vaidehi Sistla Designer: A.N. Writer: Vedant