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Aquillrelle Original title

Aquillrelle’s Anthologies, Selecting the Best Cover design

Sonja Smolec Layout

Yossi Faybish Sonja Smolec Published by

Aquillrelle

© Copyright collection: Aquillrelle, 2018. © Copyright poems: individual poets, 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author and publisher. Quotes of brief passages may be reproduced in a newspaper, magazine or journal for reviews only. Printed in the United States of America, First Printing. ISBN 978-1-387-95969-3

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Table of Contents Foreword Robert Vanleeuwen Bo Sweets Purvi Petal Anne Wilkerson Allen Diane Simkin Reena Prasad Hamdi Meça JBMulligan Shanton Dutta Nilachal R Jayachandran Ampat Koshy Binod Bastola Geoffrey Greer Xin Liu Megan Lloyd James Collins Jose Pinto Shabir Ahmad Eunice Barbara C. Novio PJ Poesy Chantel Fortier Rich Kurtz Marcy Van Lente Branka V.-J. & Slobodan M. Rinzu Susan Rajan Robin Ouzman Hislop Fred McIlmoyle Elvira Lobo Michael Lee Johnson Animesh Chaudhary Dolly Singh

15 Remember Soak N’ Wet One morning just like that Meanderings Come into the Garden The Wetness Of Sand On Soil Tests coins spin in the air My Uncle Optimism I did what you said you dreamt Day or night both are bright . . . Fathers’ Day a cup of chai and two sips of seasons Dreamboat The Cure and A Remedy I'm the Top Mir Me and my words In My Heart, I Remember Love, Larvae, And Other Squishy . . . snow angel The Resurrection She's full of tattoos Between Despair and Hope The Greatest Fear Accident Wordprints Summer Rain Alexandra David-Neel Hue Soul Revived - Haiku

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 35 36 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 5


John Patrick Boutilier Adrian 'Aj' Allen Raj Shekhar Sen Marianne Yenouskas Ian Hall Baljeet Singh Randhawa Charles Banks Jr. Kaushal Gupta George Amabile David Clarke Hugh Wyles Suzanne White Patricia Carragon Linda Moon Amber Brodie Neelamani Sutar Abhishek Dua Sapote Bird Mary Zayas Surazeus Simon Seamount Michael C Sullivan Dewey Dirks Anindya Sundar Roy Kiren Babal Daniel de Cullá Munia Khan Margo Peterson Sagorika Chakraborty Vito Tribuzio Sadiqullah Khan Mang’eni Wycliffe Obwoya Satyender P. Nanda "Aas" Michael Shrob Joe Opeyemi Bolko Rawicz 6

Black Widow Tree leaves Treasure Cravings Rain Mon Oncle d’Amerique You And Me Inheritance Dark Eyes at Streets... A Disappearance The worst woman in London November 2011 a small niche Resurrection Lucid Kisses The One Whose Name Was Writ . . . Jesus Of The Street I want to live again Because tonight death... Revealed Dancing On Parnassus Forgotten Chords Melody Virginity A tiny star Concrete Tense Distant Beholder Windfall Bag of Cosmetics When Grandpa Was my Age How Tired True Love ....We are Cosmetologist.......?? Tunes for Bears to Dance to Cassava we hail thee! This rain will end

53 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90


Dr. Santosh Bakaya Emalia (Melissa Medina) Anca Mihaela Cynthia Baculi-Condez Sharonrose Charmz Gary Winters Anne Craig Dr. Vijay Nair Chinedu Jonathan Ichu Bernard Shaw Michelle D’costa Holly Spencer Nishta Kumar H D Moore Mary Kellis Bel Hill Louis Marvin Wanda Lea Brayton Andrew Campbell-Kearsey Poppy Ruth Silver Gabriele U Stauf Alonzo Nunez Constancio S. Asumen, Jr. James A. Coghlan Leland James Jaye Tomas Ezeiyoke P. Chukwunonso Shane Wilson Rachel Yu Michael Enevoldsen Tate Morgan Vincent Berquez Ryfkah Amy Standring Alberto Quero

The Bliss of Solitude The Reason Composers of the Wind Love Gone Dry Being flamenco Daughter Dear Skin widows mite: Dear Mother Marine Drive (Mumbai) Conquering hate A memoir Pause. . . Mother Egypt Calligraphy Desert Edge Detour Should I Perish Before Magnum Opus Orgasmic Shapeshift Changshu Speculations Watts Living Sonnet 116 VodkaMartini Ashita Now Once Again My Dreams Are Tame This Morning Writers’ Pride Hieroglyphs To My Mother Memories of Green End of Days Dancing into the cream of the night G-dtime Madonna of Bruges Prayer of the anxious one

91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 107 108 109 110 112 113 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 7


Tyler Drescher Masiela Lusha Marsha Berry Robert Anderson Alan I Reed Tapan Kalita Eileen Elkinson Vinay Kuchhal Hannah Erwin Radostina A. Angelova Neelamani Sutar Myra Lochner Jack Horne Brandy Chandler Odunayo Ajani Oluwatoba Stuart Higginson Samantha Walt Brian Stark Lynn White Joseph Adkins Emilie Vince Patrick Connors Meg Eden Jean-Michel Hatton Samantha Sloan Keely Tharp Dragana Zeljko Shashwat Bhushan Gupta Sunayna Pal Colin Marschall Wendy Chin-Tanner Desmond K. Z.-Mingdé Chaz Gee Erin Elizabeth Smith Moria Jackson 8

Freedom As Poets White Bird Free falling in frayed plume Shillong Soft Sensual Mountains Pearls! Dragonfly Pulse Salt in the Mirror Jesus Of the Street Of Beginning and of End Shakespeare’s House on Henley . . . Traveler The Funeral Cry Obsession for an Orator Press Play Life is not a game Crossing Over Jackie Norwich Spring Become ars poetica (archaeology) unfurl Passions Explode Night Sea Dreams In a swamp of desire Behind the Clouds Old Thoughts You and I Whitsunday Island Eve’s Tale Each Spring Again Thought

130 131 132 133 134 136 137 138 139 140 142 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167


Karen A. Powell Kay Salady Fahredin Shehu Brynn Copeland Diana Cosma Jacqueline Dick Corz Wong Canda Ampat Koshy Joy Leftow Nivedita aka Divenita Er Pasha Alden Cheryl Pillsbury Zoe I. Levornik Sally Odgers Phoebe Gazi Anastasia Nikolis Marieta Maglas Satya Srinivas Borce Panov Earl LeClaire Matlyn Peracca Rajib Ghosal Gustavius Dyer Aiton Gail Willems Vojislav Durmanović Jennifer Hodgens Connie Rich-Simeone Janice M Pickett Anna Rindfleisch Sarah Silence William Fraker Joie Schmidt Anil Kumar Panda J. Todd Underhill William Ryan Hilary

On Poem Writing The Dance The loom All Those Years Off with her head Pieces of Me tanka for the times I did what you said you dreamt Breaking Up Is Hard To Do Bunch of Haikus: Fragment Infinity with Shining Stars Follow Déjà Vu I Am Holding My Pen Instances when telephones give . . . Summertime Whirl Letter of Fortune I Have Charted Now Impart The Creation Hymn The Only Art is Love Summer Encounter Catherine I Will Love You Whisper A poem for you my friend Sore Wrists Bleed Her Beginning You sit on the bed all night Moving Later This Year Iridescent Sunrise Departed Friend Tombstone Burn the Museum

168 169 170 171 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 9


Vibha Babbar Evelyn McAmis Bales Anna Maria Mickiewicz Philippe Shils Eric VanEpps Norton Lakora Emery Anne Allen Sharon Ansay Villaverde Tom Botkin Gitana Deneff Sunaina Jain Abhimanyu Kumar S John Lambremont Peggy Ann Tartt Darren Scanlon Daniel Dean Young Beth Winter Cookie Monstah Fatima Afshan Tristan Welch Abhipsa Gaur A. Hansley Jr. Dania Aldeek Liz Hufford Parminder Singh Parul Garg Tom Berman Sowmya Aaryanmenon Sudeep Singh Rawat Jeet Oberoi Pauline Suwanban Marck Riggins Smrithi Prabhat Aamod Jha Leah Miranda Hughes 10

Far away a melody plays Regret A grey coat broken appliances Whither You Go Wish List Crane Dance Ice Fortress I Will Never Forget That Night Puppets I have seen an angel I Hate You and Love Myself Pyrites My Mother’s Father A Lonely Lament Making Ends Meet Caught in a Dragonfly’s Eye The Wildest Heart Humanity on its deathbed This Plant Grows In The Dark Chère Mellow The clock so bold on the stand Border Battle Our World Unmapped Dark matter, dark energy I am A Mute Visitor to His Eyes Meanings Wheat Even Roses Laud Longing Just there, but never really there Escape Route

204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 217 218 219 220 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240


Perveiz Ali April Mae Berza Stefy Janeva Anurag Shourie Ray Ndebi Laura Lamarca Tim Williams S.E. McDermott Lisa Nicole Stewart Abhinav Bhagwan Mishra Candice James Marc Creamore Chez Harvey LaGrif Vicky Resting Jackie Chou Cindi Silva Bernard Cadillon Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA Susan Martin Alex O. Edevwie Sonnet Mondal Suvojit Banerjee Nicolette van der Walt Nancy Rakoczy Michaela Sefler Mélisande Fitzsimons Baishali Bhaumik Mitra Fairy Dharawat Matthew Shane Yodhes Dubblex Alleyne Ujjol Kamal Gloria MacKay M. K. Sukach Jessica Livermore

Love Sailors Canvas Poisonous Touch Pluck Me To My Mother… Africa Sheets sob against cat-and-dog curves moisture = life The Four Horsemen Soul Walkers Do You Remember Me? Sandman Miniature Poem Of Sentiency A Time Forged in Ash Polka Dots The Night, waiting to drizzle . . . Swords Nine Lives Shadows Shout at the Wind The Matter of My Book My First Kiss The Solitary Bench Der auslander when all our doves leave us Your Face Is a Cathedral Remembering A Suffragette Poems Every breath in your life The Great Death Love Junkies Rosy Table Talk Atlas of True Names Figured Bass

242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 254 255 256 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 11


Twill Ken Eaton-Dykes LaVonne Taylor Billy Whitehorn Priti Dabral Prritiy Evelyn Asher Anna Clay Nishant Shah Ken Allan Dronsfield Yeşim Ağaoğlu Ellenelizabeth Cernek Kashk Jack Trammell Subhra Mahapatra Robert Gibbons Irsa Ruçi Ray Liversidge Erwin Kroon Rishaw Gupta Elijah Guo Šuvak Nataša Peter Goulding W. Jude Aher Sunil Sharma Ljiljana Milosavljević Iman Ksingh Laura Jorden Katherine K. Walker Kristina Monroe Kiarra Lynn Smith Ceri Naz Richard Doiron Anatoly Molotkov Tonny K. Brown Shruti Goswami Zo-Alonzo Gross 12

Let Go The Passing Of Mona Mc. Claine Butterfly Kisses Certain People The bliss Jesse Jewel Reflection Aum The Flavored Sky night’s dress

280 281 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290

Whisper Subway Poem when wait defeats time it has been more than two hours The paradox of nowadays... The Lawn A poem about change Slow Poison Restraint Lost Dream Little thoughts evening streets Showers of gold Soul’s mirror The Whimsical Female Egg! Tied Together Life Takes (on life) Navigation The Seminary Indispensable Genesis Living Her Passion Say Me With A Dry Leaf Grown Thoughts PhD....

291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315


John Mc Guckin Tatjana Debeljacki Doug Groberg Slañana Lazić Peter Sutton Sunila Khemchandani DeBorah Le Raconteur Maureen A. Duffy-Boose Patricia Ash Christena AV Williams Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick Rohith Da Parul Begum Ludmila Antonoff Àlláñ Harold Rex Bengt O Björklund Tapeshwar Prasad Dianne Tchir Romi Jain Frieda Groffy Prem Anand R Maya Dev Gurpreet K Bhogal Vaishalee Namdev Kanchan Chatterjee Sheikha A. Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo Louise Hastings H.D. Abby Tiel Aisha Ansari Daniela Voicu Geraldine-Dray Fernandez Mohan Sanjeevan Diane Sismour Maxwell Ryder

We’re ya going Aquarius The Path to Hades A Sleeping Poet They say the weather’s wrong . . . The Link Ebony Dark Chocolate Dreams Dark As Lightning Spring Comes Anyway Poetry is my Herb Flickers of consummation Fire Friends without Faces exhale on a day like this Insidiously Swept By Silent Tides Fit of Spell Three haikus In Praise of his Allure Autumn in the Park Words are mere words II Uncertainty! Returning... When she chooses to happen I’m walking Show me Written in the Stars Fragile Thoughts of a Handicapped Man Lorca Ghosts of existence Slaves Never Knew Magic Awaited Me endless road War

316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 336 337 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 13


Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler Ndongolera C. Mwangupili Tessa Micaela Katarina Cacanović Vishal Ajmera Teresa E. Gallion Inna Dulchevsky Chris Wood Rosa Bizzintino Joseph Hesch Ibrahim Honjo Souradeep Roy Frank Steenson Angela.F20cc James Dooney Amar Archana Jayaseelan Erin Gregory M. Lee Alexander Nadeem Jahangir Bhat John Anstie Sandeep Kumar Mishra Eftichia Kapardeli Nishant Yadla Blanca Alicia Garza Poets in ABC order

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On the Way to Getting There My Love, My Woman Devout City Under a Bridge Unadorned Twinkling Eyes Recipe for Enlightenment Here-Now-You Everyday Excitement The first ray of sunshine After the rain Chaos Death Daylight brings emptiness The Great Pretender Cold dark tears The Day Vision A Stolen Page from her Dearest . . . Moldy Minutes Snow cave Pale hands and dim eyes The Tool Belt There are two ways to live a life At flapping wings Bare Lies and Solemn Promises Soul Serenade

353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 379


Foreword Truth is – we did not know what we were getting into. Only that we wanted to create a common stage for everyone who ever entered one of our anthologies, thus giving a feeling of belonging to that special tribe, the Aquillrelle poets tribe that we represent. Yeah, kind of megalomaniacal when you come to think of it. So? So what? What we did not expect was the incredible difficulty of carrying this project through, for a variety of factors which here is not the place to list. But we DID promise, thus we DO deliver, as simple as that. You hold the result in your hands, a very... thick result. We have to apologize for a few aspects: a) we did our best to take the shortest poems of all relevant poets, due to number of pages constraint; b) we have some lengthy poems, only because we did not have access to shorter ones for some of the poets included; c) there is a mix of quality, as always when one deals with quantity, that ranges from beginner to expert; d)...and some more apologies which you are kindly requested to imagine yourselves and, hopefully, accept. We do not have to apologize for one aspect, though. We love you all. We know you put your heart and soul in the words entrusted to the safe-keep of this special volume and as such, your words conquered our hearts. Thank you all, poets. Aquillrelle

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Aquillrelle’s Anthologies Selecting the Best 17


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Robert Vanleeuwen Remember The decades will turn to centuries, The years passing all too quick. The memories fading softly, Wow, life’s an effin trick Yet we live on, we stay strong Together we must hope to grow Love in your heart? Now that’s a start Make a difference in your row Remember the smiles, Remember the laughs Even the roadblocks of your windy past Remember the times that you whined And the moments you made things last Remember all the hugs, the tears of joy And apply it to where you stand For what defines you is how you’ve been bruised Life’s nothing you can plan The trick is here, the trick is now Within each other our hearts be bound The future unwritten, the writer renowned... Just look in the mirror and realize you’re found

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Bo Sweets Soak N’ Wet Gasping in my ear, The very first thrust Heats my body, Gives me such a rush! Let this moment not slip away Without making you sweat, Because every time you put it right there, You make it soak and wet... That’s right push it’n backways!. Pull my hair. Breathe hot air on my back Sucking my neck! Tonight, there’ll be no rain check!! Pass my inhaler, Don’t say a word. Not even an acknowledgement To let me know ya’ heard!!! Perhaps I’ll catch you At a later date, But right now I need you to make a mad escape!

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Purvi Petal One morning just like that As the snow melts on the hills and the sun shines soft on my mind the shoots burst like green swords and the wind goes on and the grass becomes visibly clear on the otherwise bare ground... I gather the roses to fill my cellar to capture the fragrance all around. I collect with me the way he looks, the agile squirrel that stops to stare for long to converse a silent song... Or is it you? The morning, once again, looks beautiful. Though I have learnt to laugh out loud, today, the perfumed grace of the silent smile returns to me as I watch the Magpies walk together, the two for joy. And just today, now, I understand why I or you would not walk back to those pictures we admire with pain seeped love sighs. Read, do you, the verbs that hide in my smile that write themselves in my unsaid words for You cannot see me or my eyes...?

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Anne Anne Wilkerson Allen Meanderings A thousand threads have woven wings of love, mounting us on the wind. Images of ancients have caressed our eyes, revealing new shapes and colors. Drums of women have kindled memories forgotten, thrumming the cadence of our hearts. Poets and musicians have sailed us on rivers of passion, touching empty spaces with fever. Waves, like dervishes, have swept us from the abyss, spinning us into ecstasy. Wisdom, in full raiment, has sent her shafts of light, illuminating our truths. Is it any wonder that we choose to sail these seas with fellow travelers?

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Diane Simkin Come into the Garden Come into the garden, child, where pretty flowers grew. I remember all their colours, child, I saw them and it’s true - scarlet, pink and purple, yellow, white and gentian blue – their petals glowed in subtle shades and I remember too seeing my face reflected in a captured drop of dew. Come with me and I’ll tell you of a world you never knew. Come into the garden, child, where trees stood tall and strong. I played beneath their leafy shade before it all went wrong - great oaks and prickly holly, silver birch and down along the river weeping willows; every twig alive with song of birds that flew on feathered wings and made their nests among the branches. Come, I’ll tell you how it was when I was young. Come into the garden, child, I see you don’t believe, for the things I’ve tried to tell you are beyond you to conceive - how Earth was green and beautiful, and like you I was small and powerless to put things right or make sense of it all. I tremble, child, for what we’ve lost, for what you’ll never know, for when I’m dead and buried who will take your hand and go into the garden with you? Who’ll be able to recall the place we called a garden in the time before the fall?

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Reena Prasad The Wetness Of Sand On Soil We walk over the smooth surface The wetness cools my vehemence Since you have wandered on, I find a black twig to etch the cosmic coconut sliver the black bird wings, the serrated palm fronds and before long, the horizon seems to be laid on the shore Back from your walk you point out a crab in its hole and I realize my creation is just as invisible as me The dampness sticks making me gruff To keep the feel, I will wash only the folded frayed ends of my jeans and walk away from this moment filling it up with other wet things so that you won’t feel the need to know where the vacant imprint really is

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Hamdi Meรงa Tests By loving each other more and more, all the tissues bond, they become like metal, like every type of metal from the universe of love, the steepest grasshopper that the female seduces - symbol of metals. In a linear line this wire is extending, life on this side holds it by its strong hook, death on the other side pulls, stretches with a grapple, pulling and pushing, interdependent this wire of cells is. Failing to endure these tests, not the lengthiness of bone but the shortness of flesh it snaps. translated from Albanian by Erdi Ibro

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JBMulligan coins spin in the air Crickets are tearing up the night into jagged pieces. All the contracts with the Devil flutter among the trees, bats emitting tiny cries, hunger we cannot hear. Slowly, morning builds a sky, scrap by jagged scrap. Light pulls open all its petals, moist and new and bright. Flame by flame the dawn erupts, ringing golden bells.

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Shanton Dutta Nilachal My Uncle He stares at the sky for hours, silently From one corner of the verandahNursing with his other arm, strong Veins out, the empty stump that Grows out of his left shoulder. And sometimes hums music of the old days. He was muscular, not an ounce of fat He was in the Army, Father told me Not of his own choice, he wanted To be a violinist. The house Used to fill with melancholyWhen he played it. When he did not. Till one day, Grandmother tells me It was mid-spring, they had the news That he was alive, and safe - she had Made Kheer for her son's arrival, and She had dusted the trunk that contained All the girls' photographs she wanted him to see. Young man, straight from war - this was the time. And he entered, swinging violently All but one arm, went straight in his room And his beloved violin, he shattered At his Father's feet. He wept.

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R Jayachandran Optimism Why this darkness within the soul? Mind’s pendulum swings aimless as in a clock without hands, ticking away count down to doom? Darkness has acquired its deepest hue. In the abyss of despair nothing stirs, not even a leaf in the tree of hope. Yet in that shadowless world, reason murmurs, gently to fallen dreams... There lurks hope beyond eclipsed moons!

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Ampat Koshy I did what you said you dreamt I did what you said you dreamt Wept for you when you died Burial or cremation does not take much time Less than a day Once dear face, melting away so fast into nothing what will you do now with all those bank notes meant for bangles you dreamt I sent you No use for the dead So I have buried or burnt them with you today That too took only a little time Then the sky was blue and clear again

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Binod Bastola Day or night both are bright in our life Day’s dusk. Birds ready to retreat to their nests, the sun slowly saying goodbye and let in the night with its stars and moon ready to groom our night into brightness. Life on Earth never darkness from dusk to dawn from dawn to twilight, the bright ball of life we live in... Only visions of transformation... from dusk to dawn from dawn to twilight our light’s brightness and the absence of our darkness...

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Geoffrey Greer Fathers’ Day I must have looked at him with my baby black eyes, and he at me with his baby blues. His dad had already passed at the time— had no more advice on what he should do. So we built models and hung them all over my room, and we went to Star Trek movies on opening day. And he read me stories; he pronounced it, “la-BORE-a-tory.” He explained that it’s scarier that way. Later, I heard new stories of infidelity and abuse. We lived on opposite coasts. He couldn’t be there when my own son was born. He looked at me with his baby black eyes, and I at him with my baby blues. My dad’s text message arrived at that time, reading simply, “Now you know.” I think of all the stories I don’t want my kids to know about me. Now I know they will. Now I know.

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Xin Liu a cup of chai and two sips of seasons this is summer, melted on the yellow road; a familiar sunrise in romance in the curves of moon-penciled eyes late hours shadow these minute hands and the sky is a washboard; last scrub, mother hangs the clothes in a childhood tree, there are raindrops hiding in the hollow of trunk; you straighten ivy, my morning hair here is March, a shelter for storm clouds; the concavity of umbrellas and an abrupt end for father’s heart this is winter, holding its breath at a bayou; the dock where we parted knows the sadness of slow water

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Megan Lloyd Dreamboat Currents are courageously carrying me away as thoughts of you blanket the skins of my mind, like your favorite sweater may. Shivering I’m consuming a rhythm, reminding me you are real and drifting. Grey delirium drapes me in a canopy of erogenous shadows wistfully as I draft through my desires, down the seasoned river as it flows. Storming, fierce raindrops embrace my set of cracked lips and splitting. A deafening calling out from sea, bliss beckons in the waves in the estuary. Glistening, eloquent, bright eyes encompass such details of God’s creation formed, and dissolving. Fear faintly blossoms in this low-lit rain, yet my cheekbones, hot crimson with infatuation, my slandered soul now gross with gray pain. Sailing in the unforgiving wind I’m roused and rocking. A hot mouth dancing about warms my seductively inviting skin, enveloped and steeping with insatiable doubt. Lingering soft impressions of lusty leisure remain indented, painted onto a permanent canvas and haunting. 33


Broken daylight gleams as the heat quivers on said horizon, sedating my feverish heart— that ever deserts me amidst the coming sun. Revealing a shipwrecked sinful delight, of a night washed ashore my so called Earth, always round, and spinning.

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James Collins The Cure and A Remedy Searching for the one, beautiful thing God put me here to find, I wander through a haunted house or petty soap operas. Because I walk between what is being born and what is dying within me, I’m used to feeling lost and broken. I face traumas handed to me with gratitude because they become my awakening. On these surreal streets of life, most people live in a dream or a nightmare. I awake to find the only cure for wanting true love is to become a true lover. With a search as gentle as the night, I never quite find my wildness. Yet, I quietly sing the song I carry within. To hold peace - that life changing secret requires me to surrender my opinions. I still resist, but my ability to hold opposing energies helps me to embrace a paradox where all things co-exist. Within the alchemy of serenity life’s chaos speaks like a wise elder who whispers, wisdom is the only remedy for bitterness.

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Jose Pinto I'm the Top (A Home-Brewed, Porter-Styled Canto) Please allow me to introduce myself I'm the undertaker of the family institution I'm the oldest generation's baddest news Usually loud and obnoxious I rather stir up trouble than keep quiet Cole Albert Porter might have put it this way: I'm facetious, I'm post-modernist, I'm misplaced novation, In Dante's Hell, I'm a crater In politics, I dissent, and gladly submit to pressure In philosophy, I'm truth mitigated In physics, I'm definitely a black hole In fashion, I'm a commie red beret In chemistry, I'm any cheap poison spray (e.g. salsoda & lime) I'm the ashes from an Havana smoked by El Coma Andante I'm a fake Basho haiku I'm the National Gallery without Pei's aluminum tubes I'm an intolerable rap out of M V Bill' lousiest hit on a DJ mix At the ballroom, I'm the funk-loving punk, not the blind woman-scenting tango dancer In a pasta parlor, I'm sour dough used for pizza base In France, I'm rather a mere Douvre cliff than the Louvre In the Third World, I'm a ruler who perpetrates horrendous abuses I'm impunity, contempt, and disrespect for common sense In penal law, I restrict ample rights, and spare juvenile offenders In morals, I touch misanthropy In ethics, I'm foul-smelling businesses, and dirty tricks In didactics, I'm definitely neglected apprenticeship In a turmoiled globe, I'm aptitude mocked and belittled I ride blitzkriegs, and gleefully watch stinking bodies I encourage anti-citizenship plots I represent the false merit of the abhorred I justify unpunished loot, and the omnipotent state I fight the very notion of property I indulge in influence trafficking I base my decisions on hearsay opportunism and biased councils I'm definitely not the bane of anyone's existence I've swept many a bribe and a payroll kickback underneath my carpet I've stolen many a lad's faith I've absolutely denied meritocracy 36


In short, I'm simply everybody's longest-standing bĂŞte noire, The one who brought dejection to subservient mankind And, by the way, I favor thongs over wooden clogs So, when you meet me ('cause I'm in need of no restraint) Please concur with gentle politesse And tell me where's civilization heading towards The bottom line, baby, is aren't we all equal after all? (Some more equal than others!)

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Shabir Ahmad Mir Me and my words I fail my words, my words fail me. Between us there is no understanding. We struggle against our inadequacy. My passion is lost in their apathy And their meaning in my squandering I fail my words, my words fail me. I roam for hours my vocabulary Where words wonder at my wandering We struggle against our inadequacy Often my words and I disagree We accuse each other of mishandling I fail my words, my words fail me. I dwell in the land of fantasy But my words are stuck in rambling We struggle against our inadequacy. Yet bound together we forever be. Locked in an endless wrangling I fail my words, my words fail me We struggle against our inadequacy.

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Eunice Barbara C. Novio In My Heart, I Remember Please hug me tight for tomorrow I may forget the smell of your sweet body. Please tell me your name again, I once knew its sweet sound Whenever I called you home. Whisper your love, I wish to have it heard And keep in my heart. Please call my name, Like when you were a child Always needing me. Hold my hand today, For soon I will let you go And may not remember the warmth. Time will soon erase what I once knew and loved except what's left in my heart. When the clouds cover my mind, Be a ray of sunshine to give a glimmer of light. And when the darkness comes Remember, I once was Also your guiding light.

39


PJ Poesy Love, Larvae, And Other Squishy Things You have yet to fabulously flutter My pupae of frozen adores Stricken are you to utter How from larvae to insect, one matures Pain of stages you must endure For as you were once caterpillar Such simplicity of infancy Mother butterfly placed near daffodil a Miraculous plan of decency Life arranged in such complexities Little do you know, surprising? Welcoming event so explicable How wondrous wings of this uprising Nature joyful and formidable Your glory so perfectly permissible Truly a divine intervention From chrysalis a manifesting These plans have set emotion How Mother Nature has been testing Longevity of sexual investing She flutters on and you have come Launching momentous occasion Your time is near, you have become An allure of life's suasion Flutter on, flutter on, all love's persuasion

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Chantel Fortier snow angel The death of sunlight arrived The advent of snow promised in the belly of a pregnant sky – Tracing frost over the window with my fingertips I sigh Inside, I am cooling, freezing, frozen With my last ice-choked train of thought Carefully chosen Passion seems to be the only thing That lifts the thick and wintry veil Passion of flesh – but a brief flame Exposed to the air, it will swiftly fail Plunging me into shadow Cold and icy shadow Sweet darkness, disarray Hiding secrets ‘neath your midnight breast Cold fingers running down my back but Soothing nonetheless Capture me in numbing feathers Feed me novocaine Dry the tears upon my cheeks Muffle labored pain While needle push by needle pull you stitch me back again.

41


Rich Kurtz The Resurrection My father’s faith he saved for flannel skirts and a ‘58 Dodge Sierra on a side trip to a mount with a borrowed name. He said she needed a break from a heart buried in dark concerns along the edge of roads she’d left behind. So we found one in line on our trip: Just a gravel road crunching its way under dusty tires to the top. "Pike’s Peak! Pike’s Peak!" he kept repeating, his inside joke just a lie, just an elbow bending up high from the lake. But in our eyes a boot heel less than Everest. Our wagon hung its belly to the road loaded like a Conestoga— pregnant suitcases and as much mint three boys could stuff into it. And dressed in Easter, all along the way she plucked ripe Bing cherries from a basket in her lap and twisting around popped them 1-2-3 into our gaping mouths like communion wafers. We begged sweet ruby hearts from her fingers to the top, spitting pits into blood-stained palms until we poured ourselves out scattered seeds to the ground and swam our eyes eastward over the unbound blue called Michigan. The wind blew cold off the lake that late, so I leaned into a flannel skirt looking for those fingers satisfied in sharing my father’s faith in resurrecting our mother’s ruby red heart. 42


Marcy Van Lente She's full of tattoos She's full of tattoos has no kids thin Motorcycle Mama I guess you win So light up your smoke Your celebratory candles but hold on tight 'til you know how it handles He'll take you on the ride of your life It cuts like a knife, Motorcycle Mama A ring in your nose no pantyhose full of tattoos no kids thin Motorcycle Mama, I guess you win

43


Branka VojinovićVojinovi -Jegdić Jegdi & Slobodan Mrkojević Mrkojevi Between Despair and Hope If the Apocalypse ever happens it will miss me. For I was given a mark of survival at birth, wandering over the roads of weeping the cracked soles of my feet leaving bloody tracks over the paths of pain and the sunrise catching me like a wounded beast in the cage of unrest. The blossoming cherries give me no longer consolation. And to you? To me, winters still die, cherries still blossom, those black horses are still playful in their gallop over Bukovac and that mulberry tree is still there, a blanket, a blue sky, the white clouds, a black coffee and her smile. In her arms she held a rabbit with a wounded leg so funny, talking restlessly and I was listening I love listening to her I love her voice, I even loved that rabbit and how I wanted to be him so she would hold me in her arms looking at me with so much love. White clouds above us in a rush, is it possible that all of that will disappear? The birds whisper while flying, the time is close enough. It is good for you, my friend, cherry blossoms still waking you up with their sweet smell, your dreams fallen asleep. I stopped warming up at cinders, long ago, I do not clean a wound of defeat any more 44


I do not recognize myself in the shade the mirrors have been broken. I gave up yesterday, let the memories heal, I gave up hope waiting readily without any luggage. I would take that rabbit with me and her smile and a touch of her palm. I do not wish to accept the end even if it is a new beginning even if it promises infinity, I do not wish the world to disappear for I love, I want it to last as long as there is love ripe mulberries are falling and a white rabbit is at play. . .

translated by Đurña Vukelić Rožić (Croatia)

45


Rinzu Susan Rajan The Greatest Fear Of all the agitation that has abolished my apprehensions this one has been a concrete component of distressing disquietude and without a deliberate debate I dread its arrival and appearance into the radius of my reason. I feared snakes but they squirmed and shivered into the silence failing to soak my skin in contagious cyanide I feared the elephants but they hobbled near my hemisphere treading on the tethers of the trash never bothering to step their foot on me. I feared the darkness but as it scratched my scroll It failed to strain my syllables and suffix its shudder against my swan song. But when love arrived I applauded it with adulation welcoming it with open arms as opposed to my confident conviction It smuggled into my soil the seed of scare and strained my spine to straddle the shelter of my soul since then it has remained one of my greatest fears the only fear that has filched my feathers, poaching on the poetry that formed the myrrh of my meaning.

46


Robin Ouzman Hislop Accident It was a moment ago since as if, eternity now a dark shallow place lurking fears, to return to not what’s now this new world view not so much, considering or what caused it an accident like a bad habit that for a moment slips out of gear all the information there before transforms abandoned, left forever. You can review it look back at it objectively graph it, map it out subjectively, but never return it’s a haunted house a place where you shudder you were there at all, like that... so it goes on until the next accident of chance falls to tell you where you are now that before though an inevitable instant has spiralled into now & is now, nevermore.

47


Fred McIlmoyle Wordprints Waves gently swirl amongst white shells Then ebb back out where mermaids dwell Leaving shifting, whispering foam Quivering on the beach alone. Weaving fronds like sea-nymphs sway In tranquil waltz deep in the bay Where Neptune’s symphonies sublime Have charmed them from the dawn of time. Crimped yellow moss clings to rocks Binding the crumbling, weathered schist While out from the dark clouds dreary lows The floating spindrift shoreward blows And sinks to the sand in shivering drifts To disappear through the damp sea mist These ageless rocks – eternal pools Pose questions best ignored by fools. Only those who seek their source Should come to ride the white sea horse My footsteps printed in the sand, Lapped by waves, whipped by the wind Will last as long as my memories.

48


Elvira Lobo Summer Rain He ate the leftover loaf of bread Almost swallowing it. He cried summer rain tears Quenching his thirst. Alas, His deserted stomach Got a life to live a bit longer!

49


Michael Lee Johnson Alexandra David-Neel She edits her life from a room made dark against a desert dropping summer sun. A daring travelling Parisian adventurer ultimate princess turning toad with agesnow drops of white in her hair, tiny fingers thumb joints osteoarthritis corrects proofs at 100, pours whiskey, pours over what she wrote scribbles notes directed to the future, applies for a new passport. With the mount of macular degeneration, near, monster of writers’ approach. She wears no spectacles. Her mind teeters between Himalayas, distant Gobi Desert, but subjectively warm. Running reason through her head for living, yet dancing with the youthful word of Cinderella, she plunges deeper near death into Tibetan mysticism, trekking across snow covered mountains to Lhasa, Tibet. Nighttime rest, sleepy face, peeking out that window crack into the nest, those quiet villages below tasting that reality beyond all her years’ vastness of dreams welcomes death.

50


Animesh Chaudhary Hue Carbon was cooling its heels on water's presence. As questions were asked of the yesterdays that rained. Rain that rains everyday that is not today. So, they were caught chasing the rain in the tomorrows too. To clean the yesterdays they'd go back to. And she'd dance often till she fell in a twirling mist collapsing in my heart like a forgotten tryst Her stories held promise of returning wonder. Of compulsions and freedom, around and asunder and she danced till the marks of her feet lay wet patches on my yesterday. The music never played. So silence held company with our reticent cacophony. And blue was the taste of melting purple in my mouth where her kiss was sealed in a tomorrow I'd never see. Wasps and coldness are my gifting beds you and she my distant ends frivolous the sign of moon fickle, the end of June. When fog and memory override to find me beside my side. We'll grow colored moons with smiles. Unhinged for a while.

51


Dolly Singh Soul Revived - Haiku Placid lake stirs now, Kissed by flirtatious breeze Ripples of desire. Silent, lonesome heart Lying dormant for long, wakes, A song echoes far. Dry, weathered leaves fall, New greens sprout another life, Life sings merrily. Time to find reasons new, Shedding all memories old. Soul revived once again.

52


John Patrick Boutilier Black Widow The fly was weary from the start Of the spider's web I know what you're doing Don't think I'm unaware I've known you many times before Though many faces you may wear You change your shape and size often But you, I still can recognize There's that little thing you cannot hide The emptiness in your eyes Here, there, everywhere Wherever I go I seem to find you As hard as I try, I can't find escape What am I left to do Use me, abuse me I don't care But realize I see it in your eyes Don't think I'm unaware I've fallen for you many times I'm a sucker for your beauty and tears You'd think I'd have learned my lesson But I've learned nothing all these years The fly was weary from the start Of the spider's web Yet he willingly Went to her unprepared

53


Adrian 'Aj' Allen Tree leaves he was cultured by the river hands by the plow by the soap an’ pan hands in a house on a road where the braided rope woke five thirty every morning to tug-an-tie cloven hooves from backyard to a bush in a precipice at the belly of Hines townthough the hills compelled Cassava-Piece boys to ground gun powder with their lips, to stone street lamps so the dark danced off the trigger end of thumb-tossed spliffsJoona was a boy churched; four and a half days a week so poverty knew him not poor so lust was never velvet on his tongue and river hands gushed streams of praise; ‘look!, look at the boy, he is different, he shall be great!’ but when, that Thursday- hidden from the plow a woman unwound her wedding band with his cupped lips, smoothened the doubt-dripped stalagmites on his chesther metallic red tips clawed his shirt undone anchored his crotch firmly against the raw flesh of her bottom an’ Joona, teeth clenched, graceless and guilt-ridden camea cassava boy, a liar knowing all he had learned, and all he had lived was meaningless.

54


Raj Shekhar Sen Treasure Cravings Within your chasms I look for the light that shall sail my boat to wilderness. In my body you look for the night To let you sleep intoxicated in peace. And we make love to each others vulnerabilities. Left with the smells of an early morning December rain and a few hair strands. You take away, wounds inflicted on your body to get you through And your body leaves a trace of mine In between us we live clichĂŠs And survive in pauses. We shall seduce Our failures tonight For moments we shall be in love

55


Marianne Yenouskas Rain rain trickles down its sound comes inside me filling the empty gray corridors the bloodless chambers of my heart where your name is a faint wind blowing its distant skin warm breath through narrow passages its wet embrace seeping into my foundation and I am soaking an acid pool burns away each cell my humanity my soul a charred corpse bones stripped bare white and bird scavenged in a desert beneath the stark moonless sky

56


Ian Hall Mon Oncle d’Amerique My uncle Harold Said you could tell The calibre of a man by the shine of his Mine are worn out He had a wife Who threw herself Off Sydney harbour Bridge He lived long Travelled widely Was a naturalized yank Son flew B 52's Harold Once threatened me With a thrashing I was most put out He wrote The most beautiful Condolence card I ever read Upon the death Of my father Harold came by today Though long dead We took a stroll Down a country lane He wasn't too Impressed With my shoes

57


Baljeet Singh Randhawa You And Me PART 1: Me, The curtailed current of emotions, The fallacies sprouting devotion. And you, The stimuli to my devotion, The fallacies sprouting emotions. Me, The still character behind the virgin maroon curtain, Least prepared to face your reply. And you, The curious admirer over the maroon cushion, Contented with best dialogue delivery. . . Me, the premise and you, the epilogue, Piece of the same story, yet we never met. PART 2: That ruptured ecstasy, Certain immature fallacies, Turned nebulous last night... The premise stepped ahead, And the epilogue stepped back, All of a sudden, last night... You, Still the stimuli to my devotion. And Me, The curtailed current of emotions. The flow to cadence sustained, Nexus to anecdotes retained, So was the beauty of words last night... 58


The caresses of the breeze, The glow of besotted moon, Abridged the volatile distance last night... You, the ground for penning each of my writes. And Me, the credulous listener for each of your words. . . You, the nature, and Me, the admirer, Expressing love just through their sight... “You” made “Me”, and “Me” made” You”, Complete and lovable last night.

59


Charles Banks Jr. Inheritance I originate from the land where everything goes wrong. Devious children amputate the wings of butterflies and trap them in glass jars with no airway channels. Aunts with displaced emotions proceed with no warning to strike nephews with closed palms. There is no hope in my hometown. Streetlights fade out and shadows dominate. Zombies run amuck, paying homage to defeat. I am the only one who reeks of empathy. I originate from the land of the abandoners. Selfish fathers ignore paternal duties and go on long prison stints. Ambitious brothers leave behind siblings to give chase to the honey jar. There is no hope in my hometown. Streetlights fade out and shadows suffocate. Zombies run amuck, paying homage to retreat. I am the only one who reeks of empathy.

60


Kaushal Gupta Dark Eyes at Streets... Dark eyes, bare feet walking on the street selling their dreams. At the age of playing at the age of schooling selling newspapers on the street reading this bitter chapter of life no one is here to help indeed. Writing destiny with their sweat after toiling hard, never complained the other world is also here in the darkness of the big lights world is not only in buildings’ insides. Growing on the streets observing this cruel world where demons live sometime in suits and cars they failed to identify. They have nothing but have everything our happiness and smile satisfaction in life.

61


George Amabile A Disappearance The peacocks have all died. No one knows why. I imagine their raucous cries growing more and more muted as the light goes out of their shimmering feathers, their costumes from a summer pageant, a festive touch along the walks and over the lawns of the Zoological Gardens where they have been allowed to roam freely parading their arrogant plumage and jeweled eyes past the torpor of caged animals, until, like a race of trans-dimensional beings, they all dissolve at once. I’ve always thought them exorbitant creatures, grotesque illustrations of natural extravagance, but there are those who say what little magic the post-modern world still holds has begun to desert us. Others hope this erasure augurs a more equitable distribution of glory throughout the lower realms. We look for signs: curtailed flamboyance among the flamingos, toucans, macaws, or streaks of increased vividness in the subdued, the endangered, but nothing seems to have changed. Perhaps the peacocks were intrinsically transitory, like the leaves that turn crimson, saffron, old gold, and fly off in the wind. When they’re gone, the sky fills the trees with uncluttered light. Still, we’re not entirely cheered by their evanescence, or by the news that they’ll be replaced come Spring.

62


David Clarke The worst woman in London The worst woman in London They named her She was daring and bold And her fame was for The Northumberland Avenue Gang And the American Express Office in Paris Her reign of terror began In a head-spinning twist She tried to kill Eddie Betrayed him with a kiss She got done for that one The worst woman in London Then the Boers fought in 1899 It was no end of a lesson The Chinese suffered And Sir Alfred Milner fell Then the Liberals got in as well That was 1906 The ancient druids Had their garlic Sunday It was the ancient feast of Lugh-nasadh The sun God It was a gloomy day for druids The people worshipped Paddy on the mountains of the west But it was just the sun God’s angry mist Blocked the sun on gloomy Sunday He should have stayed on Ireland’s eye Only for the pagans ran out of water That gloomy saint could have stayed in Wales And then they’d be miserable And we’d beat them at rugby

63


Hugh Wyles November 2011 I’m about to set out on my exercise walk where I’ll visit my ducks at the Beckenham Park. Since the June 13 earthquakes, I haven’t been going so, if they’ve both survived, I have no way of knowing. But now it’s November and high time for me to get cracking again and get A into G ‘coz my Aussie friend Bea will be waiting to hear whether Darby and Joan are OK and still there. Well, I’m greatly relieved, as I see, on their pond, the white head of Joan with black Darby’s beyond and ten fluffy ducklings all well and alive which are tricky to count as they scatter and dive. In spite of the earthquakes, the floods and the snow, my paradise ducks have been still on the go!

64


Suzanne White a small niche Sometimes, the poetry of it is that I've no idea what's in me until I write it down. The fact of the matter is that I am not proud of myself until I can be proud of a poem, much like a small niche, a diamond in the magma. Who would venture to save it? Me, I guess, because it's the fire that burns through the halls of egos like clowns polishing their shoes sitting on boxes. Can clichĂŠ be beautiful when it touches God's fingers and you get a shock?

65


Patricia Carragon Resurrection Embers cloud my vision, as smoky seraphs fly over the city. I lie on sacred ground, flattened and twisted, ironically alive. Without warning, life aborted my future. An arrow pierced the hour, threw the clock off its pedestal and pinned me to the ground. Reminiscence stretches inside shriveled skin. Like a zigzagging snake, I crawl out and listen to silent cries. My eyes see more than tears and debris. My burnt wings leave the fire’s lair and light the sky for a city to rise again.

66


Linda Moon Lucid Kisses Born from a soft whisper Carried in a breeze of hope Floating in simple pleasures. A kaleidoscope of colors Of blue, yellow, purple and gold Swirling around in circles In rich fluidity. Translucent kisses Gently land upon your skin And melt inside your heart.

67


Amber Brodie The One Whose Name Was Writ in Water I like to picture Keats on days like this. Strolling though a teeming wood, with a simple book, eyes upon the boughs. A single raindrop falls on his buckle as he breathes in the plump odor of Autumn. At night, dark candles flicker upon his quill as he composes with words that taunt him. I’d love to show him what it’s like now. I imagine him coming through my back door, opening my fridge, tasting the Cool Whip, contemplating the tune of my laptop, the constant vibrations of my cell, lightly licking an orange pill. He starts as the mail falls through the door, burns himself on a forgotten hair straightener, trips over misplaced wires, balled like a tumor. He’d write a poem on my dry erase board and stare at my bookshelf – thousands of titles jeering down at him: There’s nothing left! “Oh” is too romantic, “epic” is cliché. Nice try, dipshit! He’d drive himself past the sanity of his pen, longing for those tacit nights when the mist twinkled over frosty streams, lightning tapped against the window, and sighs cooed around every peeling corner.

68


Neelamani Sutar Jesus Of The Street There was no red light yet suddenly it all came to a dead stop, the city moving at thundering speed stood still like photographs caged in a camera; the spillover uncontrollable hazardous traffic, government buses, private lorries, locomotives and tiger-powered vehicles! screaming ‘go, go,’ lives full of worries and cases, street vendors, hawkers and crazy customers. Now they are all stationary figures on a painter’s canvas; amazed, spellbound suffocating they watch himwalking the street with his tiny feet and his gentle stroke, the naked kid! A shower of stray clouds drenched the black road a few minutes before, now the scorching sun tears apart the heart of the cloud with spear-sharp edges of its rays and the city is floating in the illusion of a thousand lights. With anxiety in eyes and heart, through the glass window of my government bus I blinked once at the copper red sky and once at you, the heavenly kid of a beggar mother; you are Jesus of this City! 69


I believe you have stopped the wild traffic the wiggly lives and time with your black magic. The roar of the crowds the teeth grinding of impatient drivers the heart beatings of you mother, you have taunted everyone’s emotions! Death keeps creeping from all corners with thirsty bullets injected from pistols! And disregarding it you walk along the road with your unsteady feet as if you were an immortal soul!

70


Abhishek Dua I want to live again I want to live again, The way I did. Carefree, boisterous and glad, In love with life and all the things I did, Sensible or mad I want to paint the colour grey, The present dye of my life, To the colours of the rainbow, Those exude joy and shun strife. I want to live again, And I shall live it now.

71


Sapote Bird Because tonight death... Because tonight death Holds no meaning. Our shadows Will never be marked, No matter what hour Or angle of sun‌ We declared homage In the air Above our heads And strode streets With feet Untouching the ground.

72


Mary Zayas Revealed At The End life has many stages a book of worn pages I read it again and again. The cover is worn Its pages are torn While reading, quite often I grin. So like many rhymes quite often at times, my fingers will wipe away tears.

73


Surazeus Simon Seamount Dancing On Parnassus Though they speak a thousand languages, poets all say the same things about love and death. Poets will disguise the beauty of our souls behind mirror mask of obscure word spells. From every nation of our spinning world poets gather in London on shore of Thames, dancing on Parnassus, and sharing songs that might unite us all in harmony. Even when they are blinded and mute, poets sing against oppression, for human rights. Poets float over us on angel wings, holding light to guide us from the money maze. From every tribe scattered on the spinning globe poets gather in London by the falling bridge, dancing on Parnassus, and scratching words on brick walls to paint our forgotten hopes. Although we race wild highways of fear, poets chant rebirth spells on misty mountain slopes. Poets run through castles of steel and glass rewriting maps for labyrinths of dreams. From every prison and temple of Earth poets gather in London in the hall of songs, dancing on Parnassus, and coding thoughts so we see stars through the telescope of poetry.

74


Michael C Sullivan Forgotten Chords And grey and grey sets the livelong careworn day; In words of half forgotten bawdy songs and snatches of bare remembered bars in less recalled choruses. Half hearted in their mumbled raising and dulled and dimmed by disinterested and world weary memory; Fluttering and dipping each dry autumn leaf of each note, scattered and rustling, faint and faint and fainter still upon the winter come breaths of man’s short span. Unfinished, tho’ long toiled symphonies and sonatas, scrawled each in hopeful but sickly and unrealised phrases and scales between unfamiliar and unconcerned clefs; Crotchet on nondescript quaver adorning the fluttering, fragile and wind worried score sheets of yet another monotonous, unheard and unremarkable composition; Faint amongst the pomp and circumstance and cannon shot and furore of great works; Lain fallow and unknown. While, celestial and unseen, batons dip and sweep and thrust in their dance; Commanding and majestic; Singling a fiddle here, a trumpet there, demanding great and thunderous applause from the kettles and timpani; As some piccolo soft simpers and whistles in the frayed and limp foam cheap seats, among the second winds and the sawing thirds and the fourths, and the carpings and scrapings of the second rate string sections... Arbitrary and callous in their indifference they jab their sharp and stinging wands into the manuscript of man’s life; Gouging out, all bloodied, the eye of ambition in one savage stroke and hurling, with a wanton flourish, some third violin into the Messianic limelight of a solo crescendo; That hangs, taught and melodic, amongst the singing heartstrings of a fickle and reckless history forever. Immortal and eternal: Senseless of all the millennia of unremarkable manuscripts... Such is the lot of man. Doomed ever to ply ill tuned instruments in the dark and desperate orchestral pits of their futile existences. Twitching marionettes; Petty and puerile amusements all - at the whims and caprices of a host of jaded and juvenile self made deities... 75


Dewey Dirks Melody Rock & roll lady, rock & roll classy rock & roll ride She's a little too pretty a little too sassy a little too easy with her time Got a blond haired boy in her pocket two boys in her purse and another on the telephone line She's always been part of the music her soul, pieces of a dozen songs looking down the years swaying to the rhythm of the lines she's said 'I love you' to thirty steely eyes embraced passion and saw it in the melody every time She tells little white lies just to keep the world alive and she hides like a child sometimes but the song forever rolls with a beat strong, insistent & true where guitars rebel like a sharp edged tool while bass notes weave smoky blue doubts and the music makes strong men fools Each night I move over her body and do what I want with my time I can touch the music, caress a lullaby but lyrics are fleeting shadows the song, a secret question hidden in the sparkle of turquoise eyes

76


Anindya Sundar Roy Virginity She asked me if I was a virgin or not. God! What’s the glory in being a virgin? Did it matter to a brave fighter how many heads he cut off with his sword? It is a grave where I’m living. People laugh aside to the person who is still a virgin at and after twenty and writing about love and sex. What I need is a person to talk to. Or maybe not. Let her tell some stories. Let her read my new poems and ask whether she needs a dictionary. I’ll highlight ‘no’ and ‘yes’ with a marker. It is easier to tell the page numbers than to tell these confusing words directly.

77


Kiren Babal A tiny star I have stumbled against a wall, probably very very tall; grappling,fighting, tooth and nail. To make a dent, crack break; Even try to cross over, that hurdle of a tower... The black hole, it's vast expanse engulfs me, with its inky wrap... I cannot see feel or touch it. Its fungal spread has left me crabby and abject. Yet somewhere Hope thrives to espy A tiny star somewhere yonder. Spirited I trudge along 78


with slow measured definite steps. In pursuit of that Tiny Speck of a star.

79


Daniel de Cullá Concrete Tense “I nominate angel. Always angel” – Luisa Pasamanik’s The Exiled Angel Receiving letters like receiving books As Hans Christian Andersen’s “The little mermaid” Or Giambattista Basile’s “Sleeping Beauty” Without a hand or eyes That cannot see the blood of the seaboard towns In one’s life about the tale When one re-encounters one’s self alone With a gentle wind in a boat of sunshine to sail Into our welcoming heart Opened by itself and having died abruptly. It is steel as the Sea Witch’ knife To kill the prince and letting his blood drip On the mermaid’ feet The “Daughter of the air” committing suicide As a passing accident Which is at the same time The crux of a destiny Delineating the future concrete tense.

80


Munia Khan Distant Beholder When the horizon averts the fusion of emptiness and absence I start counting the last clouds –all ungathered as those mass of frozen aches my blue sky longs to heal; it sends them away to something that awaits in the westerly direction only to paint the colour of billowing bonfires across the existing cleavage And this sky - merely a distant beholder The holder of my universe!

81


Margo Peterson Windfall He called himself the luckiest man in four counties when the oak fell on his house as he sat inside, chihuahua in his lap. Out his window the sky turned olive and purple and red― Both ears popped as a black-green cloud rolled and spilled over houses beyond. Giant fireballs twirled down the street: cartwheeling clowns in an Endtime parade. Holed up in a closet, blanket over his head, he heard an eerie bit of calm become a roar like a whirring jet engine splintering wood and shattering glass, Felt his house rise, knew he’d meet his maker, his little dog quivering like a heart in his hands― Then crash, more splinters and he felt the house land. Light peeked through a crack, a steady rain began to fall. He opened the narrow door, not to Oz But to air thick with smells of gas, wet wood, wet leaves, broken branches. Fingers of the oak that once stood in his yard reached through gaping holes in his roof: The hand that had held his home to earth While he huddled in the dark not knowing he’d be the luckiest man in four counties.

82


Sagorika Chakraborty Bag of Cosmetics An eyeliner to outline Rather to conceal a swelling Left behind by a night of tears Eye shadow to color For the dark circles never cease to darken Courtesy the sleepless nights Mascara upon the lashes Contemptuously falling with each blink Conspiring darkness Foundation for an even-tone Wrinkles of existence peeling off Some plaster to keep it intact Lip color to paint the lips A shade the lips would never be Owing to the endless nicotine Lip liner to draw boundaries Boundaries never observed And yet upon the lips drawn A comb for disheveled hair Hair that flows precariously Sans life At last the mirror To make believe A mirage turned inside out...

83


Vito Tribuzio When Grandpa Was my Age He said, “Many of us dreamed about going to America someday, ‘the land of the free,’ but we were sent to Russia instead… lovers, peacemakers, intellectuals, idiots, we all marched with cardboard shoes, plodding through the Eastern snow, each leaving innocence behind, somewhere, everywhere, often in the trails we made with our own flesh and blood.” He said, “Some of us prayed until our toes got as brittle as icicles… the younger boys chanted war hymns until icicle tusks formed under their noses, sealing their mouths, killing their spirit… many fell before reaching the front… some turned back and were shot as deserters, but we marched on, though we never made it to Stalingrad…. We saw something beautiful in white cloth: peace, truce, surrender, even death was appealing. At the camp, we were given something to eat, though supper was unlike the Wedding at Cana, for there were many of us, and the water was spiritless, and the sawdust bread devoid of life.” He said, “You are lucky, my son, lucky American.” I am lucky, else I wouldn’t be here today honoring all those who served, fellow patriots, former foes, allies, former champions of peace, now veterans of war.

84


Sadiqullah Khan How Tired Behind the cover of tottering guns, arched bows, Shields and fire emitting eyes, and wishing to see light Through the dust, begging on the ground and throwing stones On the road. How tired, how tired. And under a tree on a dried stream of spring water. Turbans and white caps. And as if a love spreading legs, so like the village of Shalman. And as if wide spread arms, and a scarf black in color, And as if such a smile on her face. As if those flames so furious from the well of oil, Suckling drops for tomorrow, and as if the bodies of two, Dead, a man and a woman. And as if those flames have burned, All. Everyone was crying mother and some higher deity. Everyone was so tired. How tired, how tired. And as if under the cool tree or a soft empty room, Bread with onions and skimmed milk, And a sleep and some prayers and some talk, And some shadows of big walls and a cow eating grass and A child playing in the mud, and some memories, and red lips, Smiles and some tears. And a knock on the door and some greetings in sunlight, And lost dreams under the stars in the dark night.

85


Mang’eni Wycliffe Obwoya True Love A perennial river that never dries Soldiering on with the same sameness, When times are bad, it flies, And in good times with the same joyfulness, It jaywalks, its flow, its sagacity never fading, Never receding, Hard times cement its very existence, Every heartbeat a wild call for persistence, Overflowing when in rain But never deviating from its ever changing course, Though - in pain. Oh True Love! A perennial river that never dries, Flushing the heart with excitement, And eyes misty enshrouded with tears, Like a butterfly with its multi-colored wings, Is the feeling that brews within one’s core, Every time s/he’s closer to that special one’s fore.

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Satyender P. Nanda "Aas" ....We are Cosmetologist.......?? are all experts in cosmetics And their productions and uses We love beautifying substances To add in our natural beauty and To cover up all bodily defects Instead of our inner beauty of Mind, heart, head and soul.... Cosmetic that is applied to the Face or the body to make more Sensuous, attractive, glowing more Intended to improve our physical Visual appearance, superficially The malls, big bazaars, shoping streets Are full of decorative and care cosmetics, Cosmetology more impressive, alluring all. The idealism, humanism, spiritualism all Fading in its physical appearance hauls, Dying miserably our virtuous, eternal goals, Skin, face, eyes, eyelashes, body all Busy in cleaning, beautifying, sensuality Promoting attractiveness, alternating Unliked outer appearance and affecting The inner beautiful soul's structure Which also needs virtuous, empathetic growth. The soul's lips much eager to whisper.. . Beautify them with lipsticks, lip gloss, Lip plumper, lip balm, lip conditioners Lip primer, lip boosters and listen The inner tunes of real beauty's realms. Natural skin beauty is the rarest gift It needs not primers, lip care, concealer Foundation, rouge, blusher, contour Highlight, bronzer, mascara at all. Enjoy blissful natural beauty cosmic Of the body, heart, mind, head and soul.

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Michael Shro Shrob rob Tunes for Bears to Dance to I took the cracked kettle Flaubert offered me, took it and found two shinbones, two sprouts from the flank of a redwood tree, began tapping out tunes for bears to dance to. The tunes traveled miles drifting through trackless forests like smoke, penetrating cave and progenitor, come out, I sang claim love as you enter the world, bring your sturdy paws and your need to dance, we’ll dig up the dented horn and the old violin someone buried by the river, we’ll find a meadow bathed in moonlight and darting with fireflies, there with each lurching step we can begin the world again.

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Joe Opeyemi Cassava we hail thee! In your earthy exterior you look very inferior but the magic of your pulp the most skeptic would not scorn unless he wishes to count the rafters, all through the long night. Cassava, your pulp white is like wintry Alps, you are a delight! And the universe of our diets is founded in your vastness. The french's flour gives them bread our dear cassava treats us best for from her pulp mercurial courses spread: eba, amala, fufu first, then the boundless grace of its sour flakes, is of course, great! Cassava, we hail thee for it is you, who stills the storms in our belly, boisterous as they be you ensure in this forever famine that we're well fed. Cassava, we hail thee it is you that heals our diseases a morsel of one of your offsprings injure mortally, our weaknesses. Cassava, we love thee you're god to our belly but we are worried wary of this new cassava-bread policy aren't they trying to take you away and beyond our poor reach?

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Bolko Rawicz This rain will end The future a mist that surrounds you in its blinding depths, the vivid colours of life, things fascinating only yesterday that you keep forgetting, now faded like an old photograph, thoughts a scratched vinyl repeating the same tired self-pitying track, turning to mental cruelty toward your self, imagine nails on a chalkboard, the decisions of the past a night sky with a few dim stars offering little light, low on energy, exhausted by this heavy cloud, yet much of the night you dream of sleep, with the mind you fight, boxing with your shadow to keep the hope alive that this rain will soon end, your memory awakened to previous times it has.

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Dr. Santosh Bakaya The Bliss of Solitude Solitude talks to me in myriad tongues Spellbinding its gift of the gab All out to stab Me by its verbosity. In a buoyant motion Deep as an ocean It admonishes and scolds In a voice bold Belligerent like a bully Often this songster versatile, sings soulfully. Its lyrics flowing with a ringing clarity Startling in their intensity Outrageous and delicate This loving playmate Often tickles me with its sense of rumour. Its vastness enfolds Me in endless folds Pulling me from the brink of a precipice Towards bliss Ineffable. Happily we sit together in silence Companionable. Its musical chime uplifts And me to myself gifts.

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Emalia (Melissa Medina) The Reason Your eyes are like newly coaled ambers Glistening off the morning rays Streaming red glows and like the morning tide, You ebb and flow in and out of me Crushing my jagged edges with your pounding crash Eroding my layers into fine wet particles, Right down to its molecular origin Exposing me beneath moonlight and craving An internal aching You’re changing before my eyes Intentions contorted My universe opens In twilight High above the last night You watched it open and slide down my thighs Like cream spread on top of untold scenes Between you and me I’m feeling raw shy and unsure… I’m feeling sore from the pain And driving deep into your one way lane As you cast a shade within each peak and valley You wish to savor and ponder on Assessing your admission into my overflowing well, With juicy kisses that linger on the back of my mind When the nights find me alone and missing those crimson lips You barely speak, but your body always listens Always knows what this temple needs And what this soul is missing Penetrating past my hidden treasures I’m losing myself in your touch And descending into mental places That on a regular basis should be banned from my thoughts But your hands are all over my body And I can’t get enough Fingertips blessing my curves Initiating me into your trinity Unwrapping my present And thrusting my future deeper and deeper into me Assessing your admission into my overflowing well, With juicy kisses that linger on the back of my mind When the nights find me alone and missing those crimson lips You barely speak, but your body always listens... 92


Anca Mihaela Composers of the Wind I changed from G to E minor, to remember the person I used to be... writing stories within valleys of my Heart... so... it may rhyme with your ballad... I played the piano notes of my Life, pianissimo to crescendo, an allegro of two hearts, a pitched melody of electric kisses... I built secret bridges between our eyesights, like a clandestine translation of our kingdoms, a cadence of our silences... We are composers of the Wind, playing ultra-violet sounds... still counting for a lost star, singing the unspoken Time!...

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Cynthia BaculiBaculi-Condez Love Gone Dry it was all a fleeting dream you and i, together... a drop of dew that vanished in the sun’s embrace a spark of feeble light engulfed by midnight’s darkness a cobbled path that led to nowhere a mirage, a vision in the desert the vanity of a thirsty heart love gone dry, like a stream in the land’s burning heat after the storm had passed so had the illusion of love faded

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Sharonrose Charmz Being do i float absently buoying on misconception drowning in confusion succumbing to failure bad luck no such thing only you only your choices only your life cannot blame anyone else for being blind maimed heart more than once i had the choice to stop i had the choice to start now storing absently, feelings and emotions letting go holding on a spark latches my behaviour it screams indifferently and as negativity burns away I finally, have hope.

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Gary Winters flamenco the fog rolled in off the rugged coast high summer fog call it overcast it wasn’t even real foghorn fog like London town or San Francisco it was sheet-metal dungeon gray-white from dawn to dusk it never lifted fog that was going nowhere like me stuck to the sky the roof of my mouth I didn’t help the girl pack her things she and her boyfriend cleaned our home out then she was gone the house sat silent like a cold north wind blowing no good all summer I stared looking for breaks but the blank nothingness wouldn’t budge I sold the empty humorless house took off for Spanish Costa del Sol in a little town called Marbella Maria del Carmen sang country songs of sorrow and songs of triumph melodies from her soul and her blood Mediterranean sun and sea la música Andalucía erased a duplicitous affair with songs to bury a love at sea

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Anne Craig Daughter Dear I left this world today, my dear And so, gone is my pain, confusion and fear I saw in your eyes tears and sorrow But no more time could I borrow There are some things I need to say To help make your tomorrow a happier day For all your care, your kindness and your love I truly thank you from Heaven above Without you dear, where would I have been Your good, pure heart the Angels have seen I await the time we meet as intended With my body healed and my mind mended I'll go with God for now, you see And prepare a place for the family So think of me fondly, Daughter Dear But please, for me, not one more tear Love, From Mother

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Dr. Vijay Nair Skin In the house of trust built somewhere In the middle of nowhere A woman with a taxidermist’s mind you met Stuffs you with rumours and dyes As you lie like a silent, willing pet Preserved by words and sighs. And when you wake up you realize However much you may pretend You feel the sweaty skin of truth Only at the faithful end For what you thought you always knew You never really did, and what you Thought you did not know Mounted and lifelike But hidden in plain sight You vaguely did Blinking into A voiceless, skinless light

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Chinedu Jonathan Ichu widows mite: i had meticulously saved some you will dress up in for this anniversary each golden tinsel reminds us all the years you chose to forget i will float gently beside you my hand tucked firmly between yours an iota of pain, screwed tightly inside the balls of my rib cage hope you won't clench your fist if i wave at all the newly born who definitely will walk past us i don't expect them to return the gesture their palms are full of sweetness.

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Bernard Shaw Dear Mother Dear Mother please make my bed, Know that I have this pain in my head. I have had it now for a number of days, When moving around I am in a daze. Dear Mother make me a soothing brew, Of one of your teas that you do stew. Perhaps it will settle the pain in my head, And stop my vision from being blood red. Dear Mother hold my hand tight, See me through another long night. In the morning gently awaken me, With another cup of your freshly brewed tea. Dear Mother lay me to rest, In my suit that is of the best. For the tea that you lovingly brew, Has not helped me see the night through. Dear Mother place flowers on my grave, Do not sorrow that you could me not save. Know that I am in a better place, Since my tea you did with arsenic lace.

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Michelle D’costa Marine Drive (Mumbai) Elevator doors shut the chaos away Not from my mind Honks, cusses, dead perspiring traffic My paradise approaches Serene drive Ears ache I eavesdrop Lovers’ borrowed words Whispers of wind and waves Cleanse my thoughts Two crabs Lonely without each other Wonder if they too Are escaping life The sun saying good-bye Reaching out to my feet To douse all regrets of today With a better tomorrow The city reflects in the water Light and dark The naked truth I give thanks For these serene moments I avoid looking at the tip of the drive I look, instead, At the curve cradling families Like a mother’s arm

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Holly Spencer Conquering hate In the obscurity of life I cover my ears While society tries to brainwash me always such apocalyptic thoughts. I am tired of the fire and ashes Crushed to the ground Persistent destruction Dragged… through the mud Washed off in the rain A constant tug… of the sleeve So much… Dissension in the human race. static dirty. clean alliance No. tolerance. How do we continue to survive in a contrary world. The ephemeral life of words …and promises Are not sustainable in the spirit. wherein hate dissolves a nation bear witness to love… and perpetual evolution of spirit. Perhaps there is a chance We won't self-destruct.

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Nishta Kumar A memoir She was a destroyed piece of art And he was her creator. He just crafted her and forgot And she, now lying under the debris, Wishes that he recalls her someday And saves her from the ruins. But fate, Her heart died a death nobody would remember.

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H D Moore Pause. . . in dark hours of morning whiskey and wishing for a smoke don’t quite fill the time; I listen to the singer. A song older than this night but not as deep, not as convincing yet I listen. She is a ghost of herself; she does not exist; yes, she lives on in reality but prospers in this myth when her beauty was its own bright star. This night has a recipe I savor quiet and a pause from the racing dash of life. Oh, the clock flows on, a deep wide river but for now, I cling to the bank let the flow go by, a pause to consider a song in the still night. A purple haze in the corner of my eye that might be stray light or yet another spirit I close eyes, open my heart to hearth silence echoes where once anger rose like a flood now the still peace of calm. I caress and hold the notes, each lyrical instance they are bridges to my own ghosted self for nowhere can I be and yet see where I am. I cannot rest life-- no one can, but in the moment, the slowing, simply consider an aspect of life inside my mind, that binds to all of the hearts I have touched; and once again, in the pause... they come and touch me.

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Mary Kellis Mother Egypt I feel the wind as it blows in my face, the hot desert air, here on the plateau Driving a chariot, right beside my husband, this is the way we rule this land, together, side by side We are equal, my husband, Akhenaten and I, ruling the greatest empire on Earth, together, a new religion, we would eventually reap what we sowed Akhenaten, the love of my life, in my mind I would always be supreme, being his number one royal bride. Forever in the Egyptian way, there seemed to be a different God, for each and everything My husband and I introduced just one God, Aten, God of the sun disk We dedicate our lives and that of our children to this God, our hearts are happy as of this God, they sing We rule equally, hand in hand, like a breath of fresh air, we worship a different God, and it is worth taking the risk. Unlike other pharaohs, using their wife, kind of like a trophy, we rule equally, I am my Pharaoh's co-regent Yes, I am female, but I have as much power as my husband, Akhenaten, my husband, my friend, my equal I gave my husband, six children, all daughters, no son, no heir, but Akhenaten loved them so, they were all special, and from the God they were sent All our children, the heart of Akhenaten they did steal. So on this plateau that the ancient royals walked, Akhenaten and I race chariots, something unheard of from ancient Egyptian queens from the past We bring new hope to an ancient land, at the time the most powerful country on Earth We so love Mother Egypt, but what we tried to bring to her unfortunately wouldn't last Our religion would eventually die, we really tried to introduce it to an ancient land, something new, something we tried to give birth to. Our family, the royal family of the God, Aten, we would always have love, each of us special in our own way Our family life, the love we felt for each other, would forever be depicted in stone I would always be there for my husband, Akhenaten right beside him each and every day One day my Pharaoh would cross over into the land of the dead, leaving me to rule all alone.

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I can feel the sun on my face, as I drive my chariot across the ancient Egyptian sand Driving, I feel so free, feeling as if nothing can hold me back, feeling this is the way it was meant to be I love Mother Egypt, everything here in this powerful ancient land Remember me, as the wind blows over this land that I loved so, or see I am Queen Nefertiti.

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Bel Hill Calligraphy In silence two souls speak in foreign tongues wrapped around syllables; as lips grow with intoxication of rhyme sipped. Eyes swell, gazing at golden verbiage transformed; mind falls victim to breath thieving images. Twinned hearts collide in poetic euphoria, as you, calligrapher, etch your scriptures within my sighing breast.

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Louis Marvin Desert Edge Detour excited to be going to a newly built school in the Tucson area I listen to the radio on the way to work driving in the desert suddenly, they were flustered in their “special report” reports why? they couldn’t fucking believe they were crashing planes all around our ears, they were crashing planes “ladies and gentlemen, it looks like they have just had another plane crash into the pentagon” “another plane has hit the second tower” “there has been a plane downed in a field in Pennsylvania?” It was all too much, and I am 10 years later, having tears and losing my breath just like the morning I was driving to the school in the desert outside of Tucson

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Wanda Lea Brayton Should I Perish Before Should I perish before the final desires of my heart be formed, shaped and offered unto the ether, be not afraid - it will rise from the soil after I am gone, the boldest, brightest flower emanating from the wild; you will recognize its color, its fragrance, its song as being from my eyes, my mouth, my toiling fingers' grasp. Should I cease to breathe before my last words can be uttered, know this well - I struggled fiercely to provide you with solace, with a sense of comfort at the fading of my light from this world into the next, where I shall keep watch over your shaking shoulders; you will feel a gentle touch from beyond bracing your back with strength and purpose for the coming of days. Should I suddenly become absent before the sun has cleft the sky, perhaps locked within the embrace of sleep, believe this, if you will - my last dream was of you, of your hands grasping mine with tenderness, with infinite seeds falling beneath the furrowed edges of our sacred garden's loamy scent, the sanctuary where various swirled horizons dwell, even now, in sublime, serene quietude this can never be lost, no matter how deep and dull the grave. inspired by Carol Desjarlais' "if I die with a poem in my mouth"

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Andrew CampbellCampbell-Kearsey Magnum Opus This is the song that will never be sung. I thought we harmonised beautifully. I heard haunting melodies and stirring anthems. You thought I was tone deaf. I didn’t even know how to spell cacophony. I thought our relationship had endearing leitmotifs. You thought it was repetitious and dull. This is the screenplay that will never be filmed. I deleted the scenes where you told me you loved somebody else. I changed the script slightly. My version was superior. You were kind and thoughtful, not indifferent or spiteful. You ironed my shirts and waited up for me when I had a late night meeting. Instead of bolting the front door. This is the album that nobody will ever hear. My mood music was sunny and uplifting. You said that Leonard Cohen wrote the soundtrack to our time together. This is the story of our love that will never be read. I can select what happens this time. I just miss out the things that went wrong. I include the parts at the beginning where you listened to my stories and showed interest in my past. Or were you just pretending? The encyclopaedia of our love won’t have ugly words or phrases. Restraining order, Solicitor’s letter and You sicken me! will be banned. Who wants to read words like that? This is the memory of our love that nobody else will share. You looked back and saw wasted years and regret. I saw hope and endless possibilities. You’ve always been a ‘glass half-empty’ sort of person. You were the necessary downbeat yin to my optimistic yang. Perhaps you should have tried some of my medication. I had plenty. 110


You said it clouded my judgment. I think it made me see things clearly. It might have done you some good. These are the photographs that nobody will ever see. They’re in a box under my bed, that only I open. I’m smiling in every snap. You look as if somebody’s just died. The world will never see my painting of you. I’d have placed a smile on your lips for a change. I’d have made you even more beautiful. When I close my eyes I can picture you, but a better you. They run art classes here. A break from my cell. There’s no time left now. This is the rope I’ve made The fibres scratch my neck.

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Poppy Ruth Silver Orgasmic Shapeshift I can still feel the primal sting of claws Penetration of raw freedom That devoured vulnerability With predatory notion Warm and wiry Between open legs Hard and fearful Sinful Mutation Scintillation Snarled and vivid In a catatonic Animalistic Release

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Gabriele U Stauf Changshu Speculations I. Preliminaries “They stood in awe at the foot Of the green mountain. Pleasure Seemed to grow from fear for Gilgamesh. As when one comes upon a path in woods Unvisited by men, one is drawn near The lost and undiscovered in himself; He was revitalized by danger.” (35) Gilgamesh, Herbert Mason I am briefed by concise histories of China – summaries of dynasties and revolutions, economy and political overviews. The atlas imparts parallels and meridians, relief features, rivers. Essays and movies serve as a cultural primer. This assemblage is tucked into my satchel like the prospectus of a book that’s received an advance. I am equipped with a guidebook overview: “Changshu is one of China’s most affluent, prosperous, and modern cities.” From letters of introduction, I learn of its designation as an international Garden City, its UMP paper mill, its plentiful harvest and status as market center and inland port of the Yangtze. I come with reverence for philosophies but reservations about politics. If I am a scholar it follows that I must sort out my idealism, curb clannishness, study my prejudices, admit my contradictions, face aversions, accept assaulted sensibilities and despite them apprize myself of the essence of China’s folk. I am driven with the fervor of a missionary, with a teacher’s dedication to transmit the impact of the epic, to lift the curtain on ancient Troy, reveal the prehistory of Sumer paralleling Hwang Ho civilization, to extol the restless hero who challenges boundaries set by the gods. An Endowment supports my off-shore speculations where I may discover virtues, potential; as the advance guard, I set the path for others who will follow to assess for themselves what China holds; but for the moment they rely on me to relate what I experience. I am, as it were, reconnoitering the Promised Land.

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II. Aperçus “Call the nerve back; dismiss the fear, the sadness. Some day, perhaps, remembering even this will be a pleasure.” Aeneid Book 1 Not quite the pace of Sol’s progress across the Pacific, Delta’s pursuit from the headwaters of the Flint, to the mouth of the Yangtze takes three additional hours. I deplane in Shanghai, a sapped passenger, unlike the undaunted twelve-year old émigré who five decades past gloried in New York. My visa grants concession neither to marvel nor zeal much less the Kahn’s golden paiza assuring preferential status. But yet, someone among the legionnaires of safe-conduct flashes my name, greets me, takes command of my bags as he relates that he’s a Leo and my English-speaking escort to my destination still two hours away. The car maneuvers along congested roads, rejoins din of horns: my backseat prospect offers colliding smells, parkways of leafless trees though it is June, sluggish canals, gray-glutted tabby skies, thick air. The agitated firmament sounds lofty and low buildings: a drab shoal often rising from piles of rubble, an unassailable uniformity save for laundry draped from every window. Tower cranes hurdle mounting concrete reefs in which a populous of millions is fused like honeycomb barnacles who, dependent on the tidal surge of commerce, heave toward light, toward open sky. My own flat’s lake panorama elicits passing pangs of privilege; then, soot smutting my feet, grimy windows, a robust cigarette aroma arouse disparaging conclusions. To my host’s listing of amenities, I attempt an inscrutable countenance. “I have left bread and bottled water in the refrigerator,” she lavishes, innocent of the irony a Westerner would read into such a “ration.” The door closes. I breathe my first solitude and crumple on the bed, travel-worn and melodramatic, too spent even to broach self-doubt. III. On Location “I leave to the various futures . . . my garden of forking paths.” Ts’ui Pên I have traveled leagues, the thrum of engines auguring through the stratosphere is still roiling in my ears; 114


shimmering cosmic wind baggage bites like static, and western presumptions -- tenacious seed burrs – made it through customs My travel is not transience; even a short visit becomes a lifetime. The gate to Borges’ “Garden of Forking Paths” has opened; possibilities geminate & unfurl & blossom – an opulent peony that warrants pausing and appreciating. I desire connections, bridges. China celebrates bridges. Even its modern expressions hint at the arch that balances and amplifies the landscape. I want that savoir-faire to establish harmony in my visit. Despite these intentions, there is my irrepressible wont of comparisons; seeking correspondence is a self-defense mechanism that anchors me; I crave assurance that exploration will not precipitate transmigration. Yet, slithering under that self-preservation is also a roguish propensity for immediately envisioning a counterpart that is bigger and better at home – ah, culture trumping is so easy! If I am going to see China on its own terms, I’d best surrender to the way things are. Wryly I recall the immigrant’s thrall of NY neon lights as Chinese characters scroll in red & green & blue up the side of the centerpiece of the technology garden its light beams slicing the night.

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Alonzo Nunez Watts Living Grinding hard setting the hood on fire From the era of the diskette and cassette players Before the URL dreams I used to wear brown and blue Trembling as I walked by two killers with nines Ready for whatever, no tolerance. Bulletproof diaries Anti-flag conscious rhymes through my radio deck Ideas for future plans dealing with notepads and pens Yelling at the mirror asking “what next?” Peace didn’t interest me; I want to see the yellow tape I’m not a killer, never murdered a soul, the good kid Selling stones to the avenues all day and night Fifteen hour shifts dreaming of corporate money Got robbed twice, good thing they didn’t pop clips Keeping a low profile until the sun put on shades Anti-Satan since a young age, God’s slave Scandalous without an automatic, when will my script end? I speak for criminals without any true friends Never respected anyone in love with the chalk Everyday Watts living is a scene gone too far

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Constancio S. Asumen, Jr. Sonnet 116 VodkaMartini Two in a row it hit below zero Days when the breeze caresses the leafless trees Bathe in frigid sunshine sans hint of snow, Waxing nostalgic of summer’s caprice Somnambulant taste of once purloined kiss: “Shaken not stirred” resounds the trite punchline As thought uncouth, as memoir most condign! Dry winds of winter stir wild mutiny Send chills tingling down the length of the spine Smooth, cold and dry, like a James Bond martini As behooves the season to wine and dine Probe appetites most acolytes malign: Yuletide sanctions embracing family Free from the brunt of threadbare homily! Personally, I’m partial to Beefeater martini. Alas there is no lore associated therewith. Besides, Christmas lends no license to trespass the Ian Fleming super spy character. This is just my round-about way of saying I miss the feel of snow at Yuletide and am not yet prepared to concede it to the lunacy of the Global Warming/Climate Change narrative.

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James A. Coghlan Ashita In the oceans, hidden kingdoms Les Admirables Secrets, Locked beneath the seductive glass surface of the sea Like Lorca’s cabinet filled with liquid jewellery. And the genesis of Whales Or the pantomime in the transparent nursery, With mackerel who parade gleams For light winged feeders, Courageous enough to dive down by hungry mouths And taste the delights of fresh flesh, As plankton loiter, in order to be eaten By the slow gentle giant pushing South. Where is the pantheon beneath the waves? The hidden city to be found, far from land Of lost generations, Ashita calls from the depths, From the secret place and the currents wave in reply. No land from east to west, and a dry mouth Something invisible beneath the blistering sun Whispers into my withered ear, “Tomorrow, we die!”

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Leland James Now Once Again How many years ago, I’ve lost the count, We lay beneath these trees at summer’s end; The orchard left to tend itself for then The children came and seasons tumbled all Together, mad delightful swirling years. The days, like fallen leaves, soon swept away To leave us here like these forgotten trees. Now once again We lie beneath the trees Remembering fair seasons gone before. The winsome smell, an apple blossom wine, And time, the careful gardener, cast their spell: Might apples once again grace these old trees? It happens now and then in orchards old And left to tend themselves by nature’s hand. Now once again … I whisper not a word Of this, of springtime’s brush upon the trees —seal not with dulcet praise those quondam days nor point to cirrus clouds as they float by— But contemplate the lines upon a leaf Of grass, and tossing it away, I say, “Old girl, there might be apples again this year.”

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Jaye Tomas My Dreams Are Tame This Morning My dreams are tame this morning as the light grows the blackbird takes center stage the poetry spoken sung by him I can never remember it's too melodic too complex for my pen but to listen is enough my dreams are tame this morning and the day seems inviting not encroaching is kind not littered with night debris I have to clamber over I can listen to blackbird poetry and softly applaud and move mellowly like a river my dreams make no objection as they bask in the young sun all sleek and smoothly purring tamed for now

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Ezeiyoke Peter Peter Chukwunonso Writers’ Pride Seized by our demon in a violet force in this disordered disorganized spited and ugly universe we made it whole organized and beautiful. What a unique experience. The impossible universe is made possible under our imagination. The jealousy of the scientists the jealousy of intellectuals the glory of the artists.

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Shane Wilson Hieroglyphs From the Greek, glyph for carving and hieros for holy or sacred—ancient peoples took to cave walls to inscribe their stories. History inherited through images—red bulls and yellow deer dance across caves in Spain while engraved walls crawl beneath the sands of African deserts. Hieroglyphic pictographs—the owl is an owl, waves, a river—images are what they are and profoundly something more, like this image on my memory’s wall of clothes thrown into shapes on the floor of Room 736— ideograms representing warm redemption. The evolution of written language in bed—your back’s braille still ingrained in my fingertips, in my eyes the cursive lines of your silhouette in soft darkness. Ancient Greeks recorded holy texts in hieroglyphs— stories from the gods—creations, destructions, second chances. In the cold nights of early March, we dress the walls of each other’s bodies—texts scribbled with brushes of skin on a canvas of flesh— communing in the writing of sacred scripture: the story of weekends, looks, an embrace, a kiss and another, then rapture, with still stories to draw, and wall on which to chisel.

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Rachel Yu To My Mother To the world, I’m just a number: the fourth customer in line for bubble tea, fidgeting with the leaves on the fake plant, or the hastily scrawled eight-two on a math quiz, and the blunt edge of a sticker, awarded for the passing grade. To you, I am the number you ask for in your scratch lottery card, as you count the tickets on display. The cashier gluing together your broken English: thirteen is no good, you don’t want, he gestures towards the shattered glass cabinet with its unhinged doors. But you slide your finger across the counter to tap at the thirteenth ticket. My daughter, you nod wisely, my daughter born on thirteen. You etch away the gilded doors of your scratch card with a quarter, the state quarter of Oklahoma, a coin you’d been saving because the scissortail tilts its head like I do, when I want a later curfew. And the unveiled numbers on your ticket don’t agree with each other, and the cashier shakes his head ruefully, tapping the glass cabinet. But you pocket the used lottery card, and when I come home two hours past midnight, with the sand of half deserted streets lining my boots, you say to me, see, I always knew you were one of a kind.

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Michael Enevoldsen Memories of Green Once I felt this fleeting glimpse of green. So fleeting that it became lost by the attraction of a sight of a sound of a thought. What was once joyful of children’s play became empty waves of air. Being only memories of a playful moment in the sun. Memories of green lingering inside a hopeless place in my heart.

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Tate Morgan End of Days Both the tears that live in sorrows along with tears born from pain Echo through the lost tomorrows that will never come again For I had closed my heart away as to hide behind a door So the longing I'd kept at bay would trouble my soul no more With the storms brought by the spring came the April winds sublime The children's happy feet now sing pitter-patter keeping time I kept the promise to my heart burning love has kept me warm I'll ready for the end in part with my back turned toward the storm The sun did set upon my chest as lost, love cried out in me "Give me life or give me rest" was the sound of my heart's plea

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Vincent Berquez Dancing into the cream of the night You said take me dancing in the cream of the night like we did that time when the music was jasper Spanish. The seated flamenco women clapped out the velocity of chattering rhythms pushing the black and scarlet music to the edge of our half-conscious world, exciting the bloody pump with the drum of temptation that agitated our lustiness. The partnership of limbs tangled loquacious, heady, demanding. We took to the slippery dance floor where I held the spine of your wet skin in the stretch of my flexed palm – you said your heart needed to dance with me until the silver slit cracked into the shock of the smoky grey marbled morning. In charged anarchy we succumbed to fog drunkenly and lost ourselves till then.

126


Ryfkah G-dtime I lick scarlet tips of ladyfinger morsels And ladysmith .38 burn powder A passive aggressive sentinel On the middle of the road not Necessarily less or more traveled Not necessarily so So As sacred prostitute I ogle pyrotecnics Flaring against moonight and starlight Nebulae in jazz funk flight I dally My legs cross each other A tabu tatoo peeks behind translucency Simply the mind being transparent A comet curves above numinous temple Handwriting symbols on walls Sharing stories told and untold Judah eyes my thighs I lift a flask to arid lips Offering this man divine destiny

127


Amy Standring Madonna of Bruges The Church of Our Lady in Bruges feels like the womb of BelgiĂŤ thick-walled and hollow with me moving around inside like a wriggling foetus. I seem to be hearing with ears of a bat, I seem to be hearing ultrasounds as if I am in a funny sonogram. I am here alone in my own purring silence, the once beaten bells no longer chime and my wind-up watch stopped so no longer comfortingly ticktocks. I can hear Michelangelo back in 1504 coughing marble-dust as he chisels and sculpts the Madonna and Child which now sits behind a riot-shield up there on the altar. The first few pews arthritically creak dry wooden bones stretching, itching to shade themselves as the splintering sun dripdrop leaks through gothic-glass windows. My feet slap old floor as I shuffle and drop, whack my body into the front focal-point viewing pew. Achoo, achoo. My sneeze scares the surroundings another German bomb pingpongs off crucifixed-walls and Panzerfausts up the spire, boomerangs back down. A tiny swallow loops and looms out of an organ pipe smacks into an array of unlit candles then thuds down out of life. 128


Alberto Quero Prayer of the anxious one Grant me, O Lord, the gift of forgetfulness, of renunciation and remoteness. Bless me with the amplest transparency, the most ubiquitous, with what postpones and substitutes, with all that flows in silence and is remote as a sundown. Allow me to go back, as in my dreams, to those temples, transparent and aerial, full of indecipherable codices before the eyes of the profane, so that I can be anointed as a knight and a hermit. For thine is the kingdom, and the stairs that ascend towards the night, towards the star that seals my real entrails, thine is the amethyst which I have built my secret talisman with and the triangle I draw with a shaky and expectant hand. Give me, O Lord the eternal rest in this life and the next, world without end.

129


Tyler Drescher Freedom The insecticide of fear has infected mewoven its web around words said and things already dead or dying. The echo is trapped in a squirming repetition, fighting to leave. I am claustrophobic in my own head with a million spiders crawling inside my stomach; if no one has any other pesticide, then Xanax works.

130


Masiela Lusha As Poets We stalk the truth as poets Sensualists-- a duality-Limited by our sanity. We labor in our muse. Engraving the alphabet of experiences Onto our hearts. Deep inside our primal longings We pine to be understood by ourselves. As poets, Our lamentations are glorious filled with the virtues angels would learn to envy. We fall in love forever Many times, and many times we die.

131


Marsha Berry White Bird Free She sits by a misted window pane, outside clouds rush across the face of the sun, light and shade tango. She looks into the room knowing it is safe, she watches shadows and whiteouts play upon the walls, she peers through the foggy glass, outside lurks uncertainty… She polishes her silver, dusts the walnut dresser till it gleams, a dark mirror for her face, she peeks outside, enticed by snowdrops waving, birds singing of the spring about to come… She pries the window lock, and lifts the sash; it screeches open, cold air slides up her nostrils, cheeks tingling, she takes a shallow breath… Memories of buttercups lining river banks where pussy willows bloom, a wild apple tree in a field of cows, calm her tearful mind, she takes a deeper breath, sees a white bird fly free…

132


Robert Anderson falling in i fall into the fragile moment i met you while sitting alone in this cradling solace drifting in and out of its calming echo and loving the way you've always made me feel remember, love? oh, how someone like you can be so infrequent in life yet in dreams you're far more existent than eternity

133


Alan I Reed frayed plume she got on about three stops after I did I was sure she was conversant in ballet by the way she danced up the steps and delicately deposited her passage into the device next to the driver her fingers were disproportionately long and far too elegant for such tiny hands her nails were ornately painted with purple flowers on a white back lay she must have been very ambidextrous as each tiny fingernail looked exactly alike it was winter and there was about 18 inches of snow in the lanes she wore white rubber boots the bus wore its annual tire chains. I was dressed in my traditional white tennis shoes, weathered blue jeans a white Eddie Bauer T and my socks were soaking wet from trying to dodge the slush near the bus stops she was enveloped in a long camel-hair pea coat and, crazy as it sounds a feather hat much like Robin Hood used to wear I thought I would depart before her as she asked for a transfer like a novice-carom-billiard player I almost fell flat on my backside when the bus shot off before I could grab the overhead rail as I lent her my seat 134


the bus was lousy with swing shift laborers headed to the fish packing plants I one of them pangs of passion swelled deep in my heart and seeped through every pore I wanted to hold her in my arms and love her, nothing more. then she left, brushed close by me and the driver sweetly shut the door pain exhaled softly silencing a lion’s roar with mangled mane (and vanquished pride) I knew not what to infer through toothless jaws silently cried my heart alone for her the seat where she once sat remained unoccupied save for her plumed hat that I stared at ‘til the end of my ride

135


Tapan Kalita Shillong In the markets of laid back evenings A soft breeze laden with carol, Feeble copper strings moaning in between The fingers of young boys, She came draping me under a red scarf, And perfumed nostrils smelt untouched cauliflower Across bougainvillea walls. Hence where the bricks don't suffocate wishes And rivers are emerald chiffon Laid upon naked forests, From their coniferous frames of unbent virtues Where Cycas and Acacia grew, Had I popped my head out through the red scarf And fell asleep where virgin orchids bloomed? As I drove past the meadows and pampered lawns She said she may not be around anymore Her lips smeared with betel nut juice and her kiss was raw On umpteen times that her breasts heaved slow A hollow gulp locked my jaw Will she still be in love with me? Will she be still alive? As the threads of the red scarf grow old with me, Abandoned and lost!

136


Eileen Elkinson Soft Sensual Mountains Soft Sensual Mountains surround Us this rainy Snug afternoon A small white tailed Rabbit tweaked its Curious nose Showing No Fear What I would give To freeze this brief Moment in a Showcase of time The director Yells cut and print That’s what I mean Suspend the scene.

137


Vinay Kuchhal Pearls! like pearls of wisdom slushed into air my bike and the new year eve sown into atmosphere glitter and glamour on roads and the trodden sought lore feelings so tender seen scattered like never before we welcomed the new year with you on the fore. false champagne opened and we drank to the core young and familiar faces danced in chores the voices in my ears tried to fade but i was up awake again to hum the un-understood as i stood upright and tapped on someone else’s car hood poetry by the river side on a camp fire night and you in my sight some moments to rejoice bidding adieu the winter night.

138


Hannah Erwin Dragonfly Pulse I can float, exempt from gravity Out of the bed. The sheets follow, Trailing beneath me as my back touches the ceiling, Shoulder-blades to frescoes, The window lighting my ascent. I point out my finger, Like God to Adam, Ceiling kissed-Michelangelo’s twists Aligning with my tumbling hair Teardrops, Like so many music notes, Fall with a sound less than a tiptoe On hardwood Small white mints Tumble from my pocket And scatter to the floor Becoming dust Like the heart I once owned The asylum of bruises, a Kind of mirror In which the menagerie keeps Its claws reflected. My soft counting Is drowned out by red flowers Strelitzia reginae; my absences coating Everlasting mountaintops with White, bitter clouds.

139


Radostina A. Angelova Salt in the Mirror he breathes in my face caresses me with wet fingers hits and caresses drowns and caresses tries to reach my bottom with his splashes turns me on my back on my stomach he is not fed up breathes in my face hurls me down when I feel I am a goner he raises me up starts again the play with fingers and splashes he breathes I don’t breathe I breathe he doesn’t breathe my body is in him his body is in me I repeat exhaustedly stop stop sto... even then he doesn’t stop I have to leave alone with my cut feet with salt in the wounds and to watch him slowly dying on my skin with thousands of little suns breathing exhaling breathing with thousands of little suns slowly dying on my skin and to watch him with salt in the wounds 140


with my cut feet I have to leave alone even then he doesn’t stop sto... stop stop I repeat exhaustedly his body is in me my body is in him he doesn’t breathe I breathe I don’t breathe he breathes the play with fingers and splashes starts again he raises me up when I feel I am a goner hurls me down breathes in my face he is not fed up on my stomach turns me on my back his splashes tries to reach my bottom with drowns and caresses hits and caresses caresses me with wet fingers he breathes in my face wet and blue green and blue foreign and mine the sea

141


Neelamani Sutar Jesus Of the Street There was no red light yet suddenly it all came to a dead stop, the city moving at thundering speed stood still like photographs caged in a camera; the spillover uncontrollable hazardous traffic, government buses, private lorries, locomotives and tiger-powered vehicles! screaming ‘go, go,’ lives full of worries and cases, street vendors, hawkers and crazy customers. Now they are all stationary figures on a painter’s canvas; amazed, spellbound suffocating they watch himwalking the street with his tiny feet and his gentle stroke, the naked kid! A shower of stray clouds drenched the black road a few minutes before, now the scorching sun tears apart the heart of the cloud with spear-sharp edges of its rays and the city is floating in the illusion of a thousand lights. With anxiety in eyes and heart, through the glass window of my government bus I blinked once at the copper red sky and once at you, the heavenly kid of a beggar mother; you are Jesus of this City! 142


I believe you have stopped the wild traffic the wiggly lives and time with your black magic. The roar of the crowds the teeth grinding of impatient drivers the heart beatings of you mother, you have taunted everyone’s emotions! Death keeps creeping from all corners with thirsty bullets injected from pistols! And disregarding it you walk along the road with your unsteady feet as if you were an immortal soul!

143


Myra Lochner Of Beginning and of End {we all have those memories of arriving in a broken world with a song to sooth not knowing how to sing yet we do} the violin was placed in her hand long before she had known the sound of strings or stroke or technique synchronized with the black piano it held the light of its shadow alone she stood playing sunlight within the dark of night to vacant seats and the violin cried for her soul mourning the soot of silence eternity at her fingertips and the bleeding blooms of whispering camellia in the suffering eden that awaited her tablature none saw the gentle effort to open the gate to those shut out of the concerto none seemed to know that the broken song was whole within the adagio of soft sighs on golden locks moonlight was playing its own melody soft strokes of arrangement in filigree of sight the hush of his embrace and still the song goes on

144


Jack Horne Shakespeare’s House on Henley Street I closed my eyes and wished him there. My fingers traced the bricks and slate, Exploring textures rough and smooth: The wooden beams; the open grate. I stepped on creaking floors he’d walked, And climbed the narrow flight of stairs. I stopped by windows where he’d stood, And patted tables, beds and chairs. The building held his tears and joys; He seemed so close I hoped we’d meet; I felt him etched upon the place: He’d loved the house on Henley Street.

145


Brandy Chandler Traveler In the era of hearsay and words of literacy, this mind spoke up for the first time in what seemed- deemed a millennium; trespassed on verbs never homonyms and yet the sands of reverberations etched themselves into another worn torn set of sandals only to travel home once more.

146


Odunayo Ajani Oluwatoba The Funeral Cry My mind caught lately The glimpse of the past Those moments you told me to be strong Your word was good to me Today and even yesterday I hung It is never true you breathe your last Those moments you held my hands And gave me a critique of my life That which the one lying in my bossom never did You gave it all to me, and all I did yield Ma’am I love you with all my heart Prove them wrong Tell them it’s a lie Shout it loud that you’re alive Get up mamma, I’ve got your favourite spice Well Since you ceased hearing I wish you well But here to tell you all has ever been well with me since then You’re great mamma, I’ll never forget you

147


Stuart Higginson Obsession for an Orator I love the way your lips lay words like feathers on the edge of air. Such eloquence enchants my ear. With every breath your sound becomes my song. I sing along, following the conversation’s curve long miles to your mouth, faltering on the foothills of a kiss, when this obsession for an orator names the night as narrator in a tale of two whose hearts are one, lying naked together, undone in a void vernacular vacates and enunciation emigrates, certifying space for tongues to taste the silent grace of starlight on silk skin.

148


Samantha Walt Press Play been on pause stuck in a lacuna a debris space while Zimbabwean man is flung from Xenophobic train Ego matters of slow magnitude midst a world bleeding Time to smile outward lock fingers with others

149


Brian Stark Life is not a game Life is not a game--so I take it seriously--yet I laugh my days away--and pray all can do the same--I write of corruption--for this is what plagues us---I speak of those not free---for I think this makes GOD disgusted--child sex slavery, child sex slavery, child sex slavery--I said it three... just so maybe... unequal education---unequal education--I’ll say it twice... so you won’t forget... O! nothing to drink and nothing to eat--I’ll only exclaim once because this is enough!

150


Lynn White Crossing Over Running downhill, on and on and on, the orange sun bearing down on me. Scorching me, burning me up until I come to a river cold with ice. Icy water flowing too fast for me. Too fast. Faster than I can run. Flaming under that bridge. A bridge to somewhere from here, from where I am. But where is here or there? And is the bridge real or a bridge of dreams. Or perhaps, a bridge for my dreams leading nowhere. If I cross over will I plummet deeper into the nowhere on the other side? Shall I try? Or shall I stay here running looking for the light until I find it?

151


Joseph Adkins Jackie Jackie I guess you packed your bags left on some midnight redeye to the moon or some other bright light boulevard with neon god flashing confetti Your ashtray half empty or full I see your liptstick stain on each end I used to have the same imprint in various other parts of myself as well you left high heal marks in your fast paced get the hell out of here way I saw the dear fuck you note, "infinite love no more" I fed your cat named cleo all that hissing jazz bullshit Jackie I guess you finally have what you always dreamed of I laid in our bed never made the sheets of one last goodbye wrapped so tightly buried in you the pillow perfume still lingered Jackie somewhere in the valley I know my drug phase will fade but you will still be gone

152


Emilie Vince Vince Norwich Spring the pinks and whites i bless them; they bless us, strolling hand in hand between cherry trees with the scent of cream emulsion thick in the air, and japanned pink. the flower and the leaf, we wander delicately in a new dawn led by april’s yellow hectares, the world a gorgeous mote floating in my eye’s lazy afternoon, opened on the day before may hangs its linens out for the breeze to rinse blue and back to white, with the world losing its wits to be drinking up new greens. the strip of moon lying across our bed reminds me of snow in the orchard in may. my thoughts are wafting across the foolscap page that i’ll tear off, biroed and full with deep pressed marks, to place on the rustling heap beside the bed. i saw a fox cross a strip of moonlight once, tracing the dark city as it left the cemetery or returned to the cemetery, knowing its own roads on which it travelled. this sure-footed moon lights up the tangle of telephone wires outside the window, and makes silhouettes out of rooflines and chimney pots, negatives of the city communicating themselves to my mind’s eye. i should be sleeping wrapped in quilts, but for the moon’s skyhooks urging this city up, away from late afternoon’s curls and the early evening’s cool, the turn of blue-silver dark nudging our hands to each other’s mouths, to each other’s sleeping cheeks and eyelids, surprising us into one graceful leaping self. you partner my darkness. you take the pull of me and lift it, and i lie awake writing beside your calmed, hollowed and mountained form. the moon snatched me awake, stole away the covers from my mind, and reached its fingers into our bed. with audacity it has marched me through orchards, lawns, frothy springtime, the fox slipping through unmanned streets. with simplicity it removed the props. now i lie unadorned in my bed, giving up my secrets to the old-fashioned page. i give, caused by the moon to spill; by the moon and you, sleeping placeholder, holding my mind’s eye and blinking it open. from the depths of dreams you cajole my moonwoken mind. you catch and note the swing, the lilt, the years spent cataloguing labyrinths and depths. you catch my spill, and i hold out these pages to you.

153


Patrick Connors Become Become the fulfillment of your dream Endure the sacrifice which you need For your dream to become pure Appreciate who you are, what you have Be ready to change and grow from there Learn what it takes to overcome your fear Sometimes it doesn’t seem to happen at the speed Or in the way you would like, but make no mistake It is becoming, all you could imagine and more Every one of us has a path to take Which leads on a journey beyond the realm of goals; Become and keep becoming the best you can be

154


Meg Eden ars poetica (archaeology) inspired by defunct amusement park Enchanted Forest, MD (1955-1995) her memory is the vinyl that plays non-stop from the kitchen remodeling, halting rhythm, off key, and I try to sing along, but can never keep up— this morning, she told me that rapunzel stood in the looking glass and this afternoon, that the woman in the glass was sleeping beauty, or one of those blondes. but this is enough. sometimes, I am the archaeologist, taking these gaps, recalling what we must recall, even if this remnant is buried, half but never fully dead—only waiting for the resurrection, to be embraced, selected. for this is all relevant to my history. I tell you, this is your past as well. it is all of our pasts. these were the stories your mother told you, did you write them down? did you bind them with craft store ribbons, laminate the pages to protect them from the elements? in our house, there are seven Bibles, and all I can think of people in holes, hovering over a single loose page. do we remember the rhymes, the sermons, the blessings, or did we fall into a deep sleep of our own selection? oh mother, I pray I never do this to you.

155


JeanJean-Michel Hatton unfurl Not too long ago, facing a tree that looked like a song, I put my ears on the trigger, lowered down my eyelids like the dawn over last night, and pulled. Not too long ago, facing a tree that looked like a song, I heard the flowers unfold, disperse into the fields all the longings of my stare, & rush me through the air, not too long ago.

156


Samantha Sloan Passions Explode Let your fingertip trace my essence, simultaneously stimulating, as your eyes embrace my voluptuousness. Full, eager, breasts impatiently await the warmth of your mouth. Growing your anticipation, determination presses against me filling my valley with dew, pleasantly tasty. Ecstasy, electrically charged, cascades my porcelain skin, alive, vivacious, hungrily searching your manhood. The collapse of silk onto the bedding of enchantment, you tame my sexual impatience by meeting my lips, honey drenched, savoring my bare canvas, meeting my intimate desire we melt together as one as your firm warmth invades mine. Spiritually enjoined, physically rapturous. Climbing peaks & valleys of the most euphoric high, our predestined arrival consumes, a flame burning brightly with explosive passion.

157


Keely Tharp Night Sea dreams fly into rough silk canvas of blue-black where city meets mystery.

158


Dragana Zeljko Dreams Wish for something impossible and imagine it comes true, Wish for and dream because dreams are beautiful because dreams are serene, magnificent and secret like a verse. Create and wait, write and love, Don’t think that the entire world hurts don’t let it drag you into despair, hope, faith will make up for needless repentance. Stop and think magnificence, Unexplained, unexpressed and hidden in wilted flowers and upright trees and nature, the mother of the world. The planet is in an eternal hurry, Time waits for no one, And while people rush through unknown paths and rivers change their course you turn around and watch, Who rests there to wait for you, Who is kissing you in your dream?

159


Shashwat Bhushan Gupta In a swamp of desire I stroll randomly lost in the dark Direction makes way and path follows Along each turn I feed a new start Then trade my joy for a poor lass’s sorrow. Where is that paradise she asks If regret is treasure and happiness hollow. Her beauty I tell her beats my heart And her smile would dawn a better tomorrow The morrow is bright and sunny Flowers blooming and the weather all right Right then what happens is strange yet funny Venus appears in a starry night I let Venus know that she’s on the money But love must bring eternal delight From the moon steps down an old woman To her a simple act is complicatedly woven She tells me to live my dreams and get higher And says it’s the difference between a thread and a wire The scent from her skin lights up my fire I’ve landed myself in a swamp of desire.

160


Sunayna Sunayna Pal Behind the Clouds You hide behind the clouds but I feel that you exist. Why don’t you come to us My husband says that you will and you must I would like to trust him but I am not very patient Why don’t you come to us now and make us content My life is good, It would be better after your arrival and I wish you be here sooner if you could I know that I have not done everything I can I have tried a little Maybe you will come when we have other plans

161


Colin Marschall Old Thoughts Watching as the delta eroded further. Are they water stains upon my refraction, or aged reflections becoming clarity? As those ribbons unfurled into cracks of memories crashing forward towards another birth, time that was a feather now hangs like lead across my brow dragging me closer to sleep, and all I can do is wait.

162


Wendy ChinChin-Tanner You and I You have let me be the hero. I have cried in anger when you would not. I have let you save my face. You have wept for me when I could not. You have breathed the warm air from the cleft of my spine. I have cupped the rise of your smooth, fine breast. I know the shadowed tang of your upper lip. You know the precise pitch of my quickened breath. We are like sea glass In the urgent rhythm of our wanting, Tumbling over and over Through the rolling years, We smooth our jagged edges Against each other’s skins.

163


Desmond Kon ZhichengZhicheng-Mingdé Whitsunday Island Tell me about the stone bench in the crab apple orchard. Tell me you arrived through that door like fresh air this morning. Tell me about desire, the longing for colour that never dies out. Like a clasped flame – even in the worst of times. Roulin and Salles are here with me. Rey has made another dinner of boiled vegetables, again with too little salt. He refuses to let me have coffee. They’re good to have around, comforting enough a presence. But you sit there, quiet on the patio, in your simple dress. Like our thoughts about us – a first kiss, autumnal – the wind that has stopped moving for the fire to steady itself. Tell me the dogwood trees have begun flowering. Tell me about permanence, its promise. Tell me the size of my heart from its shivery murmur. I’ll imagine the stone bench from here. I like the vines that have grown to fill the space, like the inner lining of a giant coat. Maybe the birdcage is still there. Maybe it has rolled into the puddle beside it, its broken swing now floating on water. The engraving on the bottom plate – it must still be there. Tell me about the nervous, shy beating. Of wings. Maybe the little bird lives in the myrtle tree by the pond. How it looks at the cage from where it now sits, that small door still ajar.

164


Chaz Gee Eve’s Tale it tells us in the bible that woman was created from Adam’s rib what it doesn’t say what wasn’t known until now is that he imbued her soaked her through and through with a portion of his beauty his mystery, his unknowable nature that is why to this day no man has truly looked into or known deeply what lies within a woman’s heart she was born with a receptivity a proclivity toward creation she carries life within her that alone makes her sacred there’s a reason God created her last she is the crown of his creation what could follow that?

165


Erin Elizabeth Smith Each Spring Again You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. -Neruda This year, again, the azaleas came with no trowel work, and the seeded mint hurdled up like tiny trees. There will be blackberries in April and that closing shot of Orion’s winter hunt will mark the end of my astronomy. Once it wasn’t so predictable – one flashing gull on a boardwalk, a slammed shot glass, the dark lip of my stocking puckering off. I will stay calm though, cross-legged on a bed reading. I will make a face and hold it until the wet clay sets, readies to burn brittle. Spring no longer surprises me to gardens or basil pastas. Just stillness, return, some absent promise of sleepy afternoon heat, the same fragile birth of again.

166


Moria Jackson Thought Hundreds of pages Just to get a single thought— I must be crazy!

167


Karen A. Powell On Poem Writing Some words jingle, foam and pop; sweet dainties of the mind-delight. Like twangle, dangle, smoof and pling; words that make my heart-song sing. There are those words that ‘ping’ the night, they sneak up fast behind with fright. Like hooga, dooga, swarf and blight; they grab your ankle--snarl and bite. Like mit, and split, and stagger-twain; they haunt like spirits... and remain. Words like soldiers flood my cortex, piling high; a thought-filled vortex. A small battalion; they hold me fast, accusing voice: “You battle-ax! Just let us loose... to fly away or we’ll take you to court today!” Terse and mean-they oft’ dispute; “Let us out... avoid ‘bad’ lawsuit!” They shake their finger, they rock the boat and when they’re out, they sometimes gloat. But after all is said and done, words like friends are lots of fun. They link arms and settle down, to bring joy and blessing all around. Like “joie de vivre” or “jolly elf,” just stash these words upon your shelf. And if a rainy day consumes, or black pitch-filled night--it finds you just take words out and shine them up to grace your head, revive you. They lead you on; they save the day, words can take your breath away. So don’t delay, put your pen down and satisfaction in words, be found.

168


Kay Salady The Dance A dance of silhouettes Ebb and flow as with the tide A surge of breath and then I feel him move so deep inside The lover seems convinced I cannot see his eyes on me Discerning my expressions With each move I rise to greet His touch a soothing balm That I would pay for with my soul His smile sends my heart soaring Making me feel so beautiful I cradle his fine head Against my heart and smell his hair Wondering all the while If he could know how much I care Lost within this moment That is his and mine alone I rewind each thrilling movement Of the dance and softly moan In the velvet of the night That I wish would never end With the rising of the sun Or the soft goodbye we’ll send

169


Fahredin Shehu The loom The Loom Yet you are my dew in the petal of eternity You’ve got few strings of mine With their painted threads You’ve set up the net In your loom For the tapestry of your last gammon You are happy in this delusion You enjoy your pace of life While you believe Others are blind I’m not that bad to salute your illusion Even in the moments when you think You are the Queen of the city That cocked the last blood supper For the Peninsula of hatred. Wake up three times I evoke Don’t let the abyss swallows All your dreams and hopes So the Divine may abandon you.

170


Brynn Copeland All Those Years All those years of knocking On doors made of tin, My knuckles bloody from the effort Of looking. All those years of twisting Myself into pretzel forms, Perhaps if I look right You will come. All those years of stubborn Determination My heart hammering In expectation Sobbing then Praying then Rising up then Falling face down in the mud All those years Then decades whirl past, Ceaseless knocking No response No beloved whose arms reach out to hold me sooth me kiss me until I am no more I stop knocking. And the empty space I had saved for you Fills itself with the Bittersweet joy of falling leaves sounds of twilight the soft kiss of the breeze on my skin I should have known that You were stubborn too And would come in your own sweet time. Which you did I watch you sleep, Touch my lips to your brow, 171


Slip my arms around you inhale your sweet smell let my breath move in time with yours and know that All those years conspired To bring me home To you.

172


Diana Cosma Off with her head Rumor has it there is breathable atmosphere outside this board but the king only knows these white and red squares: yin and yang, a matter of checkmate. So much free space left, not an inch am I allowed to roam he likes to play it real and forget it is just a game with more than one answer.

173


Jacqueline Dick Pieces of Me loves forgotten, loves remembered pieces of me milkweed blown to the wind the ones forgotten silk scars sadly watching my heartbeats the ones remembered coral blooms dancing through crimson rivulets loves forgotten, loves remembered silent teachers quiet companions pieces of me‌.

174


Corz Wong Canda tanka for the times flowers in bright bloom birds chirping up in trees leaves swaying in the wind plum petals falling quietly... a dreamy day and you senryu from my soul a day filled with love puts both smiles upon my face and songs in my heart . senryu from my soul (II) moved by the same wind the banners of all nations regardless of race

175


Ampat Koshy I did what you said you dreamt I did what you said you dreamt Wept for you when you died Burial or cremation does not take much time Less than a day Once dear face, melting away so fast into nothing what will you do now with all those bank notes meant for bangles you dreamt I sent you No use for the dead So I have buried or burnt them with you today That too took only a little time Then the sky was blue and clear again

176


Joy Leftow Breaking Up Is Hard To Do She wished she knew But she hasn’t got a clue What she did When all is said and done She didn’t even have fun She’d fooled herself Believed sex made them closer He complained continuously They’d had sex too soon Like there was a rulebook to follow On time limits before sex Plenty of time had passed In her eyes Three times a week for four weeks Six hours each time Hold hands, tell stories at French Roast, Walk empty city streets at 3 a.m. Sometimes, she’d drive him home He’d hug her tightly, chastely kiss her forehead Press his groin to hers Truly she had no clue as to what set him off Clearly sex made him vulnerable Afterwards he pushed her away Picked arguments and Communication went astray He proceeded to insult, belittle and ridicule her Like her ex-husband used to do She wrote him a note, “I wish you well,” He wrote back he wished her the same “Fundamentally,” he explained, “I wanted us to get along. We’re both highly sensitive creatures And without meaning to We push each other’s buttons.” She decided He was hazardous to her health Sex for him creates distance, not intimacy She’d label him Toxic after sex If she knew before What she knows now 177


Nivedita aka Divenita Er Bunch of Haikus: 5-years-old: Jumped in the puddle Splash on your face, embarrassed! Earned your angry gaze 17-years-old: Your nascent bosom, And the captivating looks Took my breath away 22-years-old: Who was it, with you? Looked like, was deeply in love My heart burned 35-years-old: Your eyes moist, I cried I cursed him every minute And prayed for your life 35.3 years-old: Prayers were answered You earned a beautiful life It cost me my life

178


Pasha Alden Fragment Like a beloved friend, A tiny fragment recalls and casts its vivid image of colours of confidence and inner quietude; bright red, crisp white. Big bicycle, white seat, red light, tiny child with auburn curls. Climb on, carefully: first one foot, Balance, and then... the other After all Daddy did think that she would muster such a “steed� of speed? And yet, today like a shard of exquisitely colourful crystal, A sacred souvenir The fragment travels with her With every action, every step She realizes what it taught: Show the world you can Master and muster All things taller than yourself! Adroitly balanced she continues To paddle up the uneven path of life And master all things taller than herself.

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Cheryl Pillsbury Infinity with Shining Stars I have been given much accepting Love of a family true friends Path shown chosen for I to follow Willingly going forth with forever love and light One gift so meaningful no words can ever express Realizing how precious a treasure they are A never ending love a bond unbreakable my guides We have grown so close as one body one spirit Whenever I feel lost alone or hunger for love Each appear arms opened to embrace me tight I am for them full heartedly without question I express my gratitude for them to always stay Each unique in their own way yet they are the same Giving love by heart or physically sharing never ending Smiles without words the beauty glowing from inside We shall always honor by love and be free spirits Tom warm caring enhancing his gift to the unknown Nicolas familiar but a gentle spirit of soft words Taylor unique nature boy cuddling spirit longing to be TNT to spell separately but always a dynamite circle bonded for eternity

180


Zoe I. Levornik Follow Follow me My word, my tone Leading into insignificance I follow the curves in your life The turmoil in your days I own your reply My sentences stitch an image of you Intoxication follows You follow the lines in the road And pull me into near distance With cries of battle and foolish jest You bring me under your fellowship Where the trail of the illusion Invades our senseless hopes I fall exhausted on your tracks A part of the crawling crowd Rushing in a circle of adoration Rising after you In search of the next sun I follow you Your prayers, your sounds In my reach and out of depth Fragments of a quest Of you and I without recognition

181


Sally Odgers Déjà Vu Déjà vu, beloved, We have been here before, The day we rode the time machine We breasted the temporal stream To touch upon the shoreAh, we’ve been here before. Remember when, beloved, We sought the Age d’or? We travelled skewed infinity, With faith in our divinity To find the days of yoreSo we’ve been here before. And here we stand, beloved, Beyond the twisted door, We sailed the route of Möbius The tides of time did flow for us, Alternatives galoreFor we’ve been here before. And yet, my own beloved, Remember Chronos’ lore, The time we took was borrowed, then And we recall tomorrows whenAh, twisted thought restoreWe have been here before. Pray, walk the line, beloved, Regretful, I implore, You never sail the tides of time, To find the days when you were mine, For heartbeats keep the scoreAnd we were here before.

182


Phoebe Gazi I Am Holding My Pen I want to say something But I am not sure how to say those words correctly and to whom... Someone else? No, I do not think so... While I say these words, between the lines, I need to see my face one more time Most of it is known to me... And some is yet unknown I will know I am still searching... while I am holding my pen.

183


Anastasia Nikolis Instances when telephones give way to telegrams In 1844 Samuel Morse sent the first telegram with the message “what hath God wrought.” Drips from the overflowing bathtub race a moth meeting the glass of the back porch light, Plink plink plink which I left on again last night in case you tried to find your way back. Sometimes I leave the light on, or a lighthouse flashing through the foils of the once upon a time windmill that I told you I would live in when I grew old (with you). I’m telegraphing starts of missing Stop. Wastepaper baskets filled with balls of college-ruled sobs, lines of Stop. I’ve been trading hellos and how-are-yous for hours of shoulders bent over Messages where each word tapped equals all of the maybes of a gumball machine with only one more cherry and every diner’s chance of having fresh coffee. You have gone the way of telegrams, kid. There are boxes of bodies of moments swathed in sheets of yellowed paper, kept in the walls of a windmill on a hill powered by voices and more convoluted dash-dot-dash-dashes. Long distance telephone call winds whine What hath God wrought through my ears still ringing. In the quiet after so many words, my pulse taps slow messages only to me now, Breathe. Stop. Go.

184


Marieta Maglas Summertime It’s summertime. The saxophone jazz sounds are pirouetting the waves to find their own balance. It’s a mauve inner dance in almost everything around. More exactly, the melodious movable sounds become soundable movement needing a reverberation time to dissipate the energy. The movement releases its own purity to become simple fecundity. The pulsed sound waves are also old memories lost in the natural green. The saxophone looks much more like a Tahitian prince dancing his love on the sand. The singing mauve sea waves have a sadness taste at sunset. The last one is a watery mermaid and he embraces her while searching the high. The sounds need touch and life. They need to dematerialize and to disappear into the universe. The saxophone remains a solitaire keeping safe his evanescent hermetic equilibrium.

185


Satya Srinivas Whirl Mid afternoon heat Frenzy red flowers A mild breeze sprays Tender colors On the naked earth Like leftover water drops on her body After the bath The floor beneath my lone thoughts Expands and compresses Painting orange color in the sky Slowly I enter the abode A night borne in ecstasy Silence of the dawn dispels With song of the bird My sight branches out With dew drops on red flowers Spread across between us

186


Borce Panov Letter Of Fortune Since long ago I’m patiently lurking for the shadows At the end, I’m closing them in white envelopes always again asking myself is this writing poetry too One day I received a letter which said that I was fortunate to be chosen and that I will, If I don’t disrupt the circle, experience great happiness Then I remembered again that each day I’m opening letters and persistently reading their whiteness That’s why I ask, please, Do not interrupt the circle when you’ll get this letter with no address

187


Earl LeClaire I Have Charted Now I have charted, now The coast of your body And the depth of your grace Made passage through your reef Of bone and honey. I have been becalmed In the perfume of you In the taste of you In the stillness of you. I woke to you and built a nest On the island of your heart Where I live, now And drink from the spring Of your eyes. You, to whom I revealed The harsh tract of my past That burned blue-flame In my bush of ghosts That mad life of rage and sorrow Left behind, now In the ash of my ascension Which was buoyed by your strength And the fierceness of your kisses. And here I give to you And here I hold, for as long as you allow, In the vault of your beauty, In the open, white rose of your love.

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Matlyn Peracca Impart When poetry stirs inside, I shout and labor, I deliver rounded heaps of flesh and rock them tenderly, each of my words, a coral infant. You have been absent from every birth, and still I cannot find you, cloaked in parchment around our bedroom or the library. Shrieking thrives now, and my temples no longer house their echos; a meager ghost emerges beneath gathered sheets and dissects, molds my language into another clay cupid. Habibiyou are ever within me, without me, unsung children before me; at expression’s command, I conceive a new verse, one who will soon learn to appropriate the entirety of your eyes.

189


Rajib Ghosal The Creation Hymn Stormy passions racing through space and time to embrace countless dimensions Primitive urges shattering millions of moons to pieces of sparkling silver beauties Enormous surges of desire drowning in a whirlpool of fresh spring water Burning lust rising from desert sands cooled by drops of angelic love Echoes of insane fantasies heard from within dense chambers of the third eye Skinless bodies emerging from wombs of pregnant volcanoes Eternal memories seeking roots in form Intoxicating curiosities thirsting for the ultimate fantasy Wild imagination erupting from our conscience to give meaning to a phenomenon called life

190


Gustavius Dyer Aiton The Only Art is Love I build a campfire in my chest Tell myself stories As the surrounding darkness dances I re-enter the poetic like falling (Love Is another story). After rainbows chased me in my rearview mirror I left you in my car On the floor Advertising your art In two dimensions Pictures prior the need to cover up (Even after sex). We detached before departure As I took a walk with my fear (We tend to talk a lot without speaking). Now I'm sad and I don't know why. I clutch my phone in anticipation of vibration and illumination. I dread the days between us. And want only to sleep until I wake up next to you.

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Gail Willems Summer Encounter Dust motes quiver on wings of honeyed light edge a photograph no reflection a shape without shadow but lush with memory Here in the garden graceful branches embrace jasmine drenched air shadows and shrubs plait different darknesses in a shifting tapestry I walk barefoot through drifts of counterfeit stars My afternoons were yours woven in the sun time a never ending path we feasted on the past two bodies linked each part to the rest Wind blows into my face a tune slow white sound of rain small spiders weave themselves spellbound into buttered limestone walls catch my eyes in the crevices of your face I read you in silent syllables in pencilled lines to the last crinkled edge this manuscript blooms the inextricable solitude of a garden

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Vojislav Durmanović Durmanovi Catherine Catherine is cursed, and her eyes host a court of gods sitting and sipping nectar and ambrosia while Zeus and Hera argue with lightning about the opinion of one boy... Catherine is cursed, and her hair is laced with breeze and golden strings glittering like banners of light, why do poets need rhymes and ink to paint her beauty?... Catherine is cursed, and her smile has escaped from painter’s canvas and her word escaped from a poetry book and her voice escaped through the open window of an orchestra hall of Viennese violins... Catherine is cursed, entirely cursed and the reason that I am alive and for Catherine I would cut my ribs just to free the breath of love and allow my heart’s beat follow the rhythm of her steps.

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Jennifer Hodgens I Will Love You I will love you in the morning, hushed dew covering Grass under a tree where you made love to me. A storm still brewing - where is it More perfect and still ensuing, you and I Here simply waiting for wet showers this love brings. I will love you in the afternoon, as silky rays hold A spider web of light, each thread twisted With the next forever entangled. Few words left portray what you mean to me Found only here in my heart, wrapped now never cold. I will love you in the evening, naked before this fire As we sit and listen, soft - play, music The sweetest sound, blistering cold outside yet Goes unnoticed, so warm inside our home with You, my soul mate, my only lasting and true desire.

194


Connie RichRich-Simeone Whisper I breathe your name it exits my heart in a whisper My skin glistens my body warm from thoughts of your touch My visions are a tumble of emotions and static blur My skin is electric and hot yet I shiver What you do to me for me amazes me I come full circle back to the basic core of existence Living for the moment loving for the sole purpose of pleasure I yearn for you I dream to satisfy the hunger that you cause inside of me I envision you in my glorious and wild imagination being everything I need I whisper your name.

195


Janice M Pickett A poem for you my friend As the evening shadows cross my heart The night sky smiles down For in this evening of magic dreams I wear my sleepy frown It’s not that I am negative Or sinking into gloom It’s knowing you are so very close Asleep in another room When did our love desert us? When did we lose our souls? At night in beds so empty now No more our happy goals These words I hear from many Friends who cry in pain Lost in empty memories With nothing more to gain But I tell you friends in honesty That you can change it all When you start thinking positively And stand up straight and tall For within us is a power A passion we all have to survive And when we find that positive self We find joy in being alive

196


Anna Rindfleisch Sore Wrists Bleed Her Beginning A half empty bottle Un-submissive tears shed Salty, thick They caress my skin Applaud the man Who has thwarted the grand divine Give him a medal Surely he’s earned his keep An orange toppled Table, legs unsteady Alit candles burning bright Clattered–Heartedly–to the Tiled mosaic floor Flames lick, like Ice upon the sheered lace She cowers in her Corner, saving face Calm, reluctance to Move from such a seen “Collect my bearings.” She speaks–Transfixed– “Get to my feet.” Her wrists weigh like–Anchors–guiding her Soundlessly, thoroughly To the resting sea floor She is being lifted Her weight supported effortlessly by her brother Choking back ash and embers, he drives steadily To a hospital with an E.R.

197


Sarah Silence You sit on the bed all night You sit on the bed all night, I wait for the sun to shine. Slips in your hand again the thin clumsy glass of wine . I told you , told you many times, she was never good at sway, Look now, look at her on the floor, broken and wasted away. Someone fell and something broke (I in love , your heart) at last. Can you still sing that song? promises that we will last...? Maybe I shouldn't have left and maybe you should want me back Unfold my poems tonight, come on, read, help me unpack We'll jump on the bed, we'll laugh, we'll touch, touch the cloud nine. For me it takes 1000 years to forget you were once mine.

198


William Fraker Moving Later This Year The house’s first owner suffered from allergies, grew roses without aroma. I trim wild strawberries, clinging to the porch’s first step. They do not get to flower or bear berries, unlike irises thriving beside the house. The flowing creek behind the house attracts rodents, barred owls, deer, raccoon, and ‘possum. Sun streams through sky lights in the living room. Upstairs balconies, where a couple of adult children smoked years ago, hang over a forest. The family laughed, slept, and ate in this house. We lighted fires in winter, kept company, celebrated holidays and birthdays. Walls hold tears and laughter. Stairs know the footfalls of each of us. Bathrooms reflect individual images. Family pictures in the hallway, like furniture, wait for re-location. How will three cats and our dog adapt? What parts of us will get broken, no longer carried with us?

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Joie Schmidt Iridescent Sunrise Throw open wide your baskets Laden with iridescent sunrise Kneel beneath chapel doors And, steeples that weep In vulnerable eyes Caress the brisk of misty moonlight As lovers embrace in fiery delight Turn away from the shadows That grasp, the scraps of yesterday Traverse passages Of wisdom and merriment Soak in kaleidoscope leaves And the refreshing cool breeze Let sorrows be cleansed In the moving tide Let salted spray rejuvenate Fair gentle skin, as joy softly washes The spirit from within

200


Anil Kumar Panda Departed Friend I can feel your pain Here in this distant land And think how would be Your life without any friend I can imagine the loss You bear in your heart Fun we are having here In which you can’t take part We don’t know why So soon you had to go We are left to rue and weep Being unable to bear the blow It is just that you made It early to live with Him We are left to finish our job To meet you soon is our dream Your unfinished wishes We promise to take care Life we are having here now I will recount when we meet there.

201


J. Todd Underhill Tombstone A Wednesday in a dusty western town, October twenty sixth eighteen eighty one. Events that will forever be renown, As tempers flared in the afternoon sun. More than a war between families or crews, About this city’s future direction. Their side irons drawn with differing views, Thirty shots ring out as perfect inflection. Truly being the day the west was won, It is as they say, dead men tell no tales. Law is established in the cool autumn sun Black powder burns and the hot lead sails. Three were men injured in the autumn chill, And yet three more were buried at Boot Hill.

202


William Ryan Hilary Burn the Museum When I was a child I concerned myself with the colors of the forest: maple, goldenbrown and nightshade blue. I covered my skin in the silken, down-dragon feathers of dandelion clocks. I sold my promise to buy ‘forever pleasures,’ subconsciously investing potential in each action so that it might excite and enthrall. Now, looking back on those childhood hours, I use these syllables to claim my stock in short measures of time, in moments of play with my friends, performed gladly in the ancient park that slept nearby our houses—television screens and toys. My soul: quantified and contained. I was a youngster. My father took photographs. My mother kept a diary of motions and events. We collected objects and crafted our lives around them. Even after they had outlived their use, these toys remained in drawers and cupboards, gathering dust and braiding the musty threads of Mneme’s hair. My youth was interested only in being and had no time for meaning. Perfection. A friend’s sister’s leafy dress and the way the carpet smelled in his living room, on the Mondays I stayed with him until my mother got out of work. These things simply were, and that was enough. To be is no longer enough. Back then it was about the solidity of the arrangement. Now it is about the act of arranging. If a fixed pattern holds no joy—such as the white outline of a ship on a lost lover’s dress—it is because joy lives not in the dusty crevices of relics stored in a meticulously curated museum, but in the possibility of another Monday—folded, torn, scrambled fabric lifted over that same lover’s hips and hair, all the separate threads like the kaleidoscope of a collapsing nebula, splayed out starfish on a white pillow in the guest bedroom of her grandparent’s house when we were supposed to be sleeping in separate rooms. That too was another childhood and that too becomes a silent diorama, its principal characters figures in a doll’s house. Burn the doll’s house. Set fire to the museum. Take time to breathe. Try to learn to be again.

203


Vibha Babbar Far away a melody plays Far away a melody plays, far away, I hear it singing, like the drone of rain, falling like regrets. Like the tiptoe of your abrupt going that chiselled a long dark night that has forgotten to sleep. It plays and reverberates like moon offering its bountiful nimbus, like an acoustic piano playing legato, like a waterfall falling off the mountains, like a refrain sung all over again until the warbles fade. Far away a melody was playing, Far away, I could hear it singing.

204


Evelyn McAmis Bales Regret I saw you first among the greening corn, your eyes full of summer’s promise, forgetful of the winter’s cold. Long we tended vegetable and herb, their fragrance and succulence promising full winter’s store. I left you there in the garden among the dried rose mallow stalks, your eyes still questioning mine. The leaves then were burnished autumn-gold, and hope was but a whispered memory on the corn’s riffling blade.

205


Anna Maria Mickiewicz A grey coat In a grey coat, leaning on a bench, collecting dispersed thoughts, Nietzsche was terrifying once, with remote grandeur. Power overcomes weakness. Now it is just a Dionysian fairy tale on the glowing screen. A silhouette darkened by fog will leave a mark in the flame of memory. Power overcome by weakness.

206


Philippe Shils broken appliances the fridge repairman had to come to the house today. everything was packed into coolers full of ice. he stood at the door looking out towards the street until I let him in. he stood politely in the hall until I said the fridge is this way. ah he said in black leather dress shoes, navy pants and a light blue shirt. he had a small black bag with him like the one a neurologist carries. I peered over his shoulder as he unscrewed four screws and slid out something I had no idea moved. interesting he said how things don’t work until I touch them and then they work again. I have a guess I suppose you would call it a diagnosis he said. a hypothesis I countered. no a guess but an educated guess he said. it needs a part but in the meantime tap here occasionally but be careful of the hot light in the hopefully cold refrigerator. he then spoke of relays and pulled out the fridge and I said oh god I’m sorry for what’s under there I guess you must see some bad stuff. this is the worst I’ve ever seen he said deadpan could use a broom there. there was dog food a bottlecap a pen and a fork and he pushed the fridge back and as we walked to the front door something crunched underfoot and he said remember where to tap? I shook his hand and said thank you thank you so much

207


Eric VanEpps Norton Whither You Go She rode, left cheek pressed to the withers. Horse mane blends into her flowing hair. Where was her journey taking her to? And why was it taking her from me? Canter, and I will catch her in stride. She races hoof no longer touches ground. The beat fades to just a memory. Mimicked by the rhythm of my heart. Farewell you have gone before me, on this ride we planned to end together. Gallop, and I will catch her at last. Just where our footfalls have always been. In step With the other, riding on. Meet me at our journey’s end, my love.

208


Lakora Emery Wish List I wish I didn’t have to Explain where I have been I wish I didn’t have to ask you Have you been seeing? Someone else I wish I didn’t have to kiss That scented smell on your Neck or pretend you skin is the Same color of that hicky on Your neck I wish I didn’t catch those Phone calls after hours or Even notice there’s Something floating at the Bottom of the shower I wish I didn’t have to Listen to the prank calls Over and over again I wish I didn’t have someone Else’s significant other Calling ringing my bell Late at night or the Phone numbers I take Out before I wash your clothes I wish I had noticed those bumps Down there weren’t just acne I wish it didn’t burn when I peed I wish you never slept With someone who had H.I.V. Those wishes are gone and Now it’s up to me to call Everyone on your list that You slept with besides me 209


Meetu Nadir The Child Widow Yesterday I saw her crying, Shedding silent tears of pain Or, was that remorse perhaps, Trying best to hide her moan Venting out her agony alone. She was sitting in the darkness Careful not to disturb anyone, Worried that she might be heard, Sobbing silently into her hands Snuffling cries in her throat Frozen in place, I watched her ache, Too shaken to offer her any hope Nothing I said would ever suffice To help her bear the terrible loss Of love and life that was yet to start. What a terrible twist of fate it was. The happy bride was forever gone Replaced by a sobbing widow now, Left behind to lead a colorless life From which there would be no respite Caged in her body was a lively soul, It would now be silenced forever, Her life no better than death For who would dare to set her free And bear the wrath of society? So I just moved on and let her cry. I, like others, was not brave enough To save this bride child from her fate Or rather from the barbaric rules that Snatched her life and turned her a living dead!

210


Sharon Ansay Villaverde Ice Fortress You were once my paramount chief A checker that has been crowned One that held a preeminent position Upon the battleground I fought on but hadn’t won. You were my czar, hiding in king lions’ lair And built a monarchy Like a sham travesty Antithesis of paradoxical fantasy Delusive appearance of affinity Phantasm of memory A trance, ecstasy or revelation, Breaking one’s heart was the only option. In silence I hide violence A narcissistic lover berates my existence I seek refuge in melancholy and sing often of lamentations I feel the need to be carefree Not living in a nightmare. In the darkness of my soul In a bride well-caged and vituperated The chamber is intensely cold Lacking warmth, apathy, impassive and frigid Feeling numb and insensible I can’t freeze time but I can feel the moment Letting go, breaking me free Unto the bastion of an ice fortress.

211


Tom Botkin I Will Never Forget That Night I will never forget that night when you came to me lying on the couch out of the darkness. On my parents’ couch by the window with the stars you don’t recall? There’s so much, volumes I want to ask you, Do you remember the way we would lie in the sweetest of animation, Suspended, Resting where even time itself could not touch us Even for a moment, How we seemed to pour into each other, Filling each other to the brim With excitement, passion, and love, Do you remember? On my parents’ couch, that window with a million stars, Hearing the odd sleepless cow, Hearing you, It was like a million candles lit your way down the hall to me, Waiting for our romantic subterfuge I lay awake preparing a masterpiece of cushions and covers, Everyone in the house slept soundly While your hand gracefully covered your mouth, You, gasping, Trying so hard Not to scream; The soft gentle touch of my hands rubbing you, I miss you so I can hardly breathe... That was by far the most passionate night of my free young life, The way our milky bodies intertwined, Flowed rhythmically together with the tide of the night, Crests rising and falling to the pace of our breathing, A nightingale’s midnight melody fills my ear, and I fill you up all the way past the brim with my unbridled passion.

212


Gitana Deneff Puppets Tired Oh so very tired. Parents planning the lives of their kin Send sickening shock waves Through my soul. Too young to think for themselves These children are propelled through life on strings By their grinning Puppeteer parents. Lift a finger... That child is catapulted down the assembly line To be a prosperous lawyer. Twitch another spindly finger... That robotic child Is thrown on the back of a truck Down another crowded road To be a Hippocratic doctor Pushing pills To patients who don’t deserve them And adding to the stock pile of “professionals” Learning just enough to pass the tests Never really learning to think on their feet While the puppeteers crumble away. When the puppets have no webs of strings On their bodies, Are no longer suspended over their obstacles They will plummet And land Flat on their wooden Hollow heads.

213


Sunaina Jain I have seen an angel I have seen an angel Not a white-robed winged figure but in flesh and blood Driving out the demons walled inside my quirky heart The unrequited emotions, the unreciprocated feelings clumped together losing their independent entity Warmth cringing to the dictates of indifference All and more such demonic trinkets snatching my deserved peace Ah! A whiff of fresh air as you entered the arena as a peacenik Soothing and settling down the ever-warring demons dragging them down to their feet With all of them dashed to the ground Now I stand with you Upright and content The angel in you has unleashed his purifying puissance Purgating my soul You are still humble and loving Taking me in your warm embrace what was always my rightful place!

214


Abhimanyu Kumar S I Hate You and Love Myself Am an untold person, Am an unread poet. Read me, ask me, help me, Understand or be away from me. Be away, away from earth. I hate you and love myself. Hell with your jealousy, Heaven in my silence. I have lots to express, About my love, my role. Hold your words behind me. I have a heart, fools. I mean human heart, got it? Do you have a heart? Do you know what a heart means? Nay, you don’t and don’t need. You say I am broken, Broken in love, in life. But I say am alive, Alive with memories, by blessings. Very alive in my actions Madam. Never I thought, never I noticed, As hurt or failed in love. Am victorious ever since, I have won, in love too, For still we are together Sir. She is my strength, life Today, tomorrow and everyday. You may think am mad, Ya, am mad for her, her love. Feel it please, She is my breath. I have plenty to say, Plenteous to scold you people. Judge me well, criticize, 215


But find justice to me. Because am not a sinner. You say I am changed, Changed in words, attitude. Changed in living itself, Only answer to you is, Sun has not changed, even me. My words list everything, Your lines spell something. Something which is everything, Everything to me, Nothing for you. What you know and will know ah! My nights pass in thunder silence, I live in loneliness, loveless. Am dead, but like to live Value me, believe me, for We are living in one world.

216


John Lambremont Pyrites Batten down loose loopholes lingering, and draw tight the dotted line. Enough tacking and yawing. We contract compactly, the wind taken out our sails. We strike our respective flags. Tie up the loose ends, hold the rope and drop anchor; may there be surety in our bond. Break out fine rum and cigars; together we carve seals in wax. We have made ourselves an island, one conjoined body incorporate without corporeality. May nothing cause us to drift apart, not even the currents of currency.

217


Peggy Ann Tartt My Mother’s Father Sometimes when I cannot sleep, I thumb through mother’s old bible, fat with a miscellany of items that were important to her. On those nights, when I can stand it, I run my fingers over the faded sepia photo that lies between the pages of St. Luke and has “Daddy” scrawled on the back of it, and looking into his face, I see her face, an ideology of simplicity. But his lips are held tight, as if still refusing to explain why he had stayed away from me all those years ago when I was a child, although he spoke to her often in letters that always began “Dear Baby.” On those nights, I simmer, imagining how different my life might have been, had he helped me become what I still struggle to be. Even so, resentment weakens with time and by dawn I have let myself love him a little. My mother’s father—a face; a brittle, hard-worked man who did the best he could, I guess; whose letters to her were paper gems that she bequeathed to me; whose voice resounds in the room each time I read one aloud, even now, and for those few alphabetic moments we share the same space, despite his eternal distance.

218


Darren Scanlon A Lonely Lament The flickering flame in the dream of your eyes, is a glimmer of life in a darkening sky. But little heat remains to warm the weary hearts of those so slowly left bereft and torn apart A chill wind blows a tear across the cooling fires, a rain of lasting love falling softly through life’s briars A trickle of silent sorrow leaving trails on shallow cheeks, as if from deep within, a life force slowly leaks. And there in the darkening distance atop a cold and misty hill, a solemn shadow now stands watch, it’s scythe held high and still. A long and lonely vigil through a hazy starless night, awaiting the final moment when a fresh soul takes its flight.

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Daniel Dean Young Making Ends Meet by Making ends meet, Oh my aching feet, Making ends meet, a hard goal to reach, A hard workin’ man, I’ve Earned what I have, with these two tired hands, Part of America’s backbone, Thats what I am, Blue collar or redneck, A working class man, Paying my taxes, To ol’ Uncle Sam, People like me, Are why This country still stands, People like me, With two tired hands, Harder and harder, making ends meet, Nothin’ to show, Just two aching feet, Pulling your weight, or earning your keep, are lost in the shuffle, of all the ill gotten gain, being reaped, I’m usually not negative, I’m a very simple man, Ends just aren’t lining up, With these two tired hands, Perhaps I should join the crowd, On a corner I could stand, Perhaps I could hold a sign, With these two tired hands, 220


No, I couldn’t handle that, Won’t be part of the load, That middle class Americans Already must hold, Now I have said my piece, Still have ends to make meet, In morn I’ll get on these aching feet, keep making ends to meet, With these two tired hands.

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Beth Winter Caught in a Dragonfly’s Eye I watched dragonflies dart over the stream, pulling my equally erratic thoughts into line, position question reorder repeat like solving a puzzle without the box to find cryptic answers to questions posed unasked and as eroded edges found their place, I knew that the center would own disappointment because in the rush, I expected perfection and ignored the blatant ugliness of littered banks.

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Cookie Monstah The Wildest Heart The wildest heart could come to rest Wandering in from the swirls Of the deepest ocean The farthest reach Simply walk into your embrace And realize That this was where It was meant to be All along, searching endlessly For that one shelter, That one place to rest All it had to do, really, Was walk blindly Through the mists Through the searing heat and fire Walking on live coals On the surface of the sun All the wildest heart had to do Was walk into your arms And its restless, peaceless days Were finally done And now the raging tempest in a teacup Still bubbles and froths With the roiling anger of the sea But even the storms are lit By a heavenly light The wildest heart is finally Where it was meant to be

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Fatima Afshan Humanity on its deathbed Physically bared Stone Age man died, but the mentally naked modern man is alive, being stripped of compassion, love and righteousness. Dirty hair of early man fused into the dust of time, but the modern man’s dirty thoughts emerged. Uncultured, illiterate tribes vanished, and the educated ones felt proud on being unrefined. Evolution of man happened but humanity still suffers in its cocoon as if crucified each moment, with each of its breath. Guns replaced the stones, and the transformed evils still survive. Man looking for man’s flesh wars, murders, rapes, suicides, deaths of refugees, burglary, exploitation, partiality and pollution‌. greed trickling down from the tongues of men like jackals. They say they are not wild and rape women, even men wearing modern clothes, possessing gadgets and think they have evolved and developed they turn a deaf ear to the sighs of mother Earth whenever any Aylan dies, humanity weeps a sea of tears beside him and mother Earth covers him with her dust and sings a lullaby while caressing him in her lap. Do we ourselves kill the angels pleasing the horrific devils of society? Only we have to find the answer.

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Tristan Welch This Plant Grows In The Dark She waters it with her spit. She waters it with her piss, but she loves it. She feeds it with her distant stares. She feeds it with her mumbling under her breath, but she loves it. She loves it in the soil she sleeps in. She loves it through the gravel weeds. She loves it in the prison she beholds. She loves it through the change she never feels. Statues became friends nothing she couldn’t understand. The cracks between the sidewalks became her garden everywhere she went. She could never see the sun but she could feel it. She never said thank you for life but gave it away. Listening only as the dying can listen. Still life reflections... of each other.

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Abhipsa Gaur Chère I live in the corner of your eyes, The crinkle on your face, when you smile I travel in raindrops on your cheeks The seven of an arc that you define I tinkle in the sounds of your voice Sonorous melodies and rhapsodic rhymes I pose in the frames of your thoughts In tints and hues and shades sublime I ride through the forests of your dreams Through willows and woods to lands unseen I blush at your touch, of silken hands With curves smoother than velvety sands I lie on the course, in meadows you tread In journeys you trace with measured steps I sigh in your pain, when you stumble and trip A balm for your wounds, a prayer on your lips I gleam in the darkness that you dread, Beaming the moon for your blanket’s spread I shine in your light, luminescent, bright, For you I perish, with you I survive.

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A. Hansley Jr. Mellow Mellow is the summer breeze with thoughts Of you, the times you please A hope that comes in seas of blue And tints the sand with thoughts of you Color the wind and read your name In fields of grass we drown the rain The rainbow of you a song to sing Sometimes a whore, more often a queen Color her now and forever Marlene Rolling through clouds caressing your breast The moon and her tides lay me down to rest And wake to feel the glory of things Whether a whore or a queen, a crown for the king Now till forever and more often Marlene In times of darkness she brings me light Marlene of my days, moon of my nights And who can claim the time of day Or know the drops of rain in May Catch the slightest hint of pain Absorb the shock and still remain Inside the house, outside my door Of what my heart is longing for Color us mellow with songs to sing Sometimes a whore, more often a queen Whisper the wind words of Marlene Strange is the shade of the hopes we share The high tides, the low tide, the moon she cares To grace my nights with colorful dreams My prayers, my hopes, my thoughts of Marlene In time of darkness she brings me light Marlene of my days, moon of my nights

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Dania Aldeek The clock so bold on the stand The clock so bold on the stand, always dressed so superior. Every celebration, every tragedy is his finest moment. I remember time's glow in the afternoon, golden hour after hour. What curiosity, uncertainty flickered with each second. All bowed to the fall of his hand; those inescapable confines. A funny smile playing on my face, I wonder what the day gives. Shadows swaying, lying in the wake of days given.

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Liz Hufford Border Battle They tagged the neighborhood last night. Over locked gates, under surveillance still they marked territory— swastikas and F.U.s and banger graphs. At least two, he thinks. The one who can’t spell pussy did not author senile sodomite. The HOA prez photographs the scene before the painters brush off the warning, mute by noon, whited out. His two-story sits atop a hill too steep, too long for today’s hooligans. But later he paces from his back balcony To the front bay. He opens door and window And tests the winds. When they come by day, When they come in number, When symbolism does not suffice, I can pick them off, he thinks I can Bang!

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Parminder Singh Our World Ours is a small world. No lavish vacations, no elaborate dinners, not a sumptuous castle, nothing that comes in the scope of luxury. We have never been to the destinations frequented and rated the best by those who discuss the lushness of the resorts during rounds of whisky, sans a thought about the company. But what is the secret of this charm haloing around us even while having together sips of tea roadside?

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Parul Garg Unmapped From a distance, The trees look all gauze wrapped Stained with purple here and there. God bless those white flowers And wild berries and their acidic flavors So come with me if you love the plums Those little sugar balls, wild fruit Those strange variants of pears and apples. Come with me to the wild-thorn thickets, To the meadows where blooms share scents Come, don’t sleep, let’s collect acorns and resins And I will gift you my kiss marked hammock In the most fragrant and densest of arbors. Yes, ultimately I want to go there, That lies beyond all this jungle, To that ancient and deserted monastery And I want you, only you, to be with me. * Come to the grandeur that lies within those walls Where Echoes of the centuries cross each other Come, sanctify me, here are some pinches of cinnamon Anoint me, love me, now, no hatred can choke my soul. Finally, the garden of love has taken deep roots Thank you, my dear, thank you for coming with me And letting me into your heart, in my long lost sanctuary.

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Tom Berman Dark matter, dark energy How many ways to count the stars in their galaxies flung across eighteen billion light-years since it all began? Just when were the Laws of Physics first posted? who read them then to stir the brew primordial? O grant us a sable understanding the missing nine tenths of what we were given when all was energy before the comets spun off their silken trails and suns swept up their planets and the green grass grew not anywhere in a billion galaxies1

Scientists have posited recently that dark energy makes up about 75% of the Universe, dark matter about 21%, and visible matter only about 4%.

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Sowmya Aaryanmenon I am I am like that old tree now parched and shedding the layers of your love that once rooted my name, and my existence. There is no longer the wait, or the shame of naĂŻve breasts seeking womanhood, or the disappointments of a timid body. I have forgotten my religion and with it, my God. I am a woman, who knows anger and tenderness in proportions. I am as hard as the sea in which I have drowned my sins. I am a woman, coarse, and as brown as the sand Brown eyes, brown tears and no name. I am a common woman. One day I shall fall. And with me shall fall my legend, my lust, my anger and my shame. But the shreds of my being will remain in the children I bore with you. And through them, we shall fall in love again.

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Sudeep Singh Rawat A Mute Visitor to His Eyes A mute visitor to his eyes, in thoughtful glimpses she says nothing.

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Jeet Oberoi Meanings While looking over my ill kept table my hands vaguely wander all around searching for nothing, expecting nothing. Suddenly, they catch hold of this little book from the junk filled in the rough edged drawer. What is this? My oldest, my first dictionary with meanings that I learnt over two decades. It has lasted for so long, strangely! My black and white, pocket dictionary so small, so inappropriate today for the bigger pockets of world’s colourful, branded jackets. I start flipping over its pages in sheer nostalgia queerly searching for some word. Ah! its not there. The page is torn from the corner that once bore the word ‘everlast’. Here peeps out another word from the visible portion of next page ‘experience’. What a tragically funny word!

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Pauline Suwanban Wheat commended, Foyles Young Poets 2009 You know it’s summer when the cars on the driveway start to glitter, as if your eyes are water, and that smell of crushed grassheat, infuses your nostrils. I felt that immediately, as we sat in silence. I looked past his cotton shoulder. From my slab of vision I saw tall wheat pricks, beating nervously with the wind. The taller ones curved and stared at me, they warned me with their gentle tickle. I stared back, reassuring with a cautious poke. I studied their pinky starches, plucked one as it wriggled frantically and circled it on his back. We were smouldering in a blade of heat, the Sun cutting a motion that seeps into skins. I glared at the horizon, the broad oak was singing brass notes, and trees were making jaggers to the light hearted sky. They covered us well, those wheat pricks, as our eyes lit up.

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Marck Riggins Even Roses Laud Orchids Loud hues rise up Lithe laced petal faces smile; Ten thousand gardens reigned by queen's Paradoxical fragrant strong beauty Witness a court's noble chorus Whose Rose-crowds bow duly In applaud to Orchids

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Smrith Smrithi Prabhat Longing Some dry branches that are my fingers, stretching towards a void - the sky; and in my wooden heart lies you, still breathing and setting it aflame. The moss and lichen live upon me, small rocks gild my once glorious mane; And on my roots is tied your scarf, with your name that’s more alive than me.

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Aamod Jha Just there, but never really there Like an anonymous hand amongst known faces; outstretched at the periphery a quirk of the photographer, or the sabotage at the hands of luck?

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Leah Miranda Hughes Escape Route The myrtles collapsed under the fall’s late-afternoon thundershowers, slightly shorter days of languid heat that urged the blossoms out toward blue, like haze rising off the city concrete separating lines of crepe myrtles on one street and a crop of maples on the next until the haze burned away to amber. And toward this dying, she eyed creamy frills and pinks so deep, dreamed of cutting armfuls and imagined draping them from over her shoulder into her backseat, a bouquet of a barefoot beauty queen whose prize would fill the vases in the rooms of her house: she dreamed and drove by. So she could see how it might be heat waves in her peripheral vision that shivered into the tall box shrubs close to the roadside on Windsor Parkway, until she remembered the red stilettos that disappeared into the bushes. If she were passing down some Asian side street, manicured hedges making high walls enclosing a garden rendezvous the elusive woman rushed to . . . still, the shoes did not fit. The weeks fell along chronologically toward apple trees and she drove the opposite direction on Windsor the afternoon that she swore she saw a hooded man walk straight through a fence; just a second after he straddled the curb and the dirt path, he was nowhere to be seen.

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And she swiped her chin from shoulder blade to shoulder blade and back to the fence. The brown slats reached as tall as an Asian gate where all the herbs and roots grew knee-high for the household, kimchee planted in rows. But no latch closed, no crown topped the gate -open only to warm the hooded man, to save him from traffic and exhaust and his own weariness. That night with the windows open to the harvest moon, in her dream she saw buds on cherry trees, pink against white skies with mountains capped in snow pasted behind the street that was lined in winding rows of falling blossoms. All that paleness cooled her eyelids, and her lashes brushed the face of the hooded man who bent to kiss her, her on her tiptoes in red stiletto heels. The next afternoon on Windsor Parkway the last sudden summer shower broke. She could not make out the fading crepe myrtle flowers for the windshield wipers, or her tears. Her cool dream breezed over her, brushing her hair from her eyes. And she drove by.

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Perveiz Ali Love Sailors Strange feelings surfaced, now on deck, In a stormy voyage on love’s high seas. Smooth sailing gives us a false sense of security, That we can transverse the ocean unscathed. Eligible then to become licensed love pilots, Free to exercise unflinchingly emotions in any seaport. In this midst unfurls the sail of uncertainty, Compelled to south instead of north. A fluctuating compass sends fearful tremors, Down the spine the shivers travel freely. Trust the only medicine to cool down nerves, In times of tempest it keeps the ship afloat. This ship on a mission armed with only love That storms and fate conspire to debilitate. Faithful and dedicated they man their posts, Withstanding the worst of tempests. Is it possible to intimidate the love sailors Whose bread and butter is love? They weather the storms with strength, Love surfaced proves battle tested and sure.

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April Mae Berza Canvas your back is a blank canvas where my skillful hands paint with desire bathing the nude canvas with oil as my hands feel the smoothness of your back like a night-sky with a constellation of moles. I inhale the scent of grief as I color the canvas with the tint of tears. painting your back follows a pattern, burying the alphabet is an art lost until love found reason. pressing, pressing my fingers against the virgin canvas, I stroke with my gentle hand brushing it back and forth, I mix my salty tears with oil as I imprint my signature on your back.

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Stefy Janeva Poisonous Touch "I wake up without you this morning I remember you've had a stain of snake on your left hand which touched me so scary... I was fallen in love... you never saw it I miss you desperately... Damn!!! This bloody sunrise lasted longer..."

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Anurag Shourie Pluck Me To bloom is my nature To wither, my fate The splendor of my body The fragrance of my soul The nectar on my lips Belong to you, my mate The spring is all but gone I can feel the chills approach Pluck me before the autumn draught Let our love consummate... To bloom is my nature To wither, my fate Pluck me before the autumn draught Let our love consummate...

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Ray Ndebi To My Mother… Africa I am sad, please let me cry, let me go Don’t keep me waiting for more sorrow All the silver linings have gone to graves Better means bitter, even to the brave Doves are crawling and roses are biting Perfumes are poisons, lambs fiercely lurking The future is no more, for our children are being schooled by the burners of heaven And they passionately sit and listen And they savor those meals from their kitchen How many nights have I spent on my knees for you to unlock the stage to the bees and gain true forces to labor your wombs and get back more, enough bread from the crumbs How many days, hearing your promises have I spent in your frightful premises I’m begging you please, to let me walk out and listen to a throat that doesn’t shout I am not sick and I am not tired I’m healthy, strong with one honest desire Let me not stay and contemplate my death Kindly let me go where to be myself breeds more joy though less money and power Where greatness doesn’t dwell in a tower Where eagles know how worthy their trees are Where a tree for its roots is not a liar Please let me taste the freedom of blue skies And ride back with them for your next sunrise Before all your children cherish cinders I am sad because I miss your wonders.

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Laura Lamarca Sheets sob against cat-and-dog curves You are the nucleus of my nature, the nub of my name and I will never find fame without you but yet you voice yourself vascular to rally only in responses without reason and commit treason against an aching of awe-one that shakes and surges within a merging of meaning. Reluctancy ripples itself within a dirge of undying undulations... it deliberately thumps, lashes, slaps and swings on whims that cannot walk away and so I stay and sit, to store it as onus until the next deluge of heavy dew washes clouds as pain.

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Tim Williams moisture = life A drop of warm moisture runs down Between two pebbles, Pebbles covered in damp moss Warmed by sun’s rays on their birthplace, The beginning, the start of life, The very source of all things born. A drop of warm moisture runs down My cheek and drips onto her cleavage Glistening there in the sunlight, A warm tear, a tear of hope and joy, A singular tear, drying, now evaporating like the obstacle that caused it to be shed. A drop of warm moisture runs down The umbrella and is caught in her hand, Held there, warm summer rain held in her palm, Laughing she flicks it into my smiling face We run for the taxi I have hailed and Clamber in calling a destination to its driver. A drop of warm moisture runs down My back, a drip from the shower head Suspended above my naked body, Now accompanied by thousands upon thousands Of other drops as she reaches in and turns up The shower, I realise, she is the moisture that waters me. She gives me life itself, as moisture = life.

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S.E. McDermott The Four Horsemen The hour is upon us, it’s time that we ride Will you prepare for attack or attempt to hide? There is nowhere to run, and there isn’t time left Now you discover, this is where you face death Look in our eyes just gleaming with tears We’ve waited with patience, for this moment for years Your heart is blackened, your soul is gone How sharp you’ve become, yet still you are wrong Gallop beside them and rip out their hearts Heed cries for compassion, as you tear them apart Bleed for me, human; yes, bleed for your sins Pray for forgiveness as our affliction begins Be seated, be still, are you ready for trial? The truth is acknowledged, no use for denial Surely you predicted an ending like this Do not speak; simply listen, as I run down the list You lie and you cheat, you steal and you kill But never opposed to your own free will You selfishly swindled, seizing all that you could And swore all the while your intentions were good You tore apart lives, and you shattered the dreams Clamped their mouths tightly throughout all their screams You’ve competed and set rank in all that you do Passed judgment on others and labeled them, too You’ve tried to preserve this fraud civilization Defended your weakness, falling prey to temptation Accepted this lifestyle, forced your ways on the streets Why? You’re nothing but foolish, vile filth at my feet No forgiveness I’ll grant for the sins you’ve committed This life, it has ended and the power has shifted I condemn you to suffer the dregs of your mind To recall and repent for infinite time 249


Lisa Nicole Stewart Soul Walkers So still, so quiet, standing astute like stoned sculptures frozen in time each branch represents a moment in time... Like David, standing strong an determined. Sets the picture, sets the tone, grave yet peaceful, disciplined yet playful, old yet young at heart observing and taking it all in... Guiders, understanding your thoughts, want to help, supportive, compassionate, loving, perservering towards the Heavens, willing to help us get closer to God, will always be there for us, will always be our friends, our soul-walkers...

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Abhinav Bhagwan Mishra Do You Remember Me? Do you remember Your class 8’s roll number? Search for your old copies. You might discover. I don’t need to. I remember. Do you remember those sacred days when you would smile at me? The smile which exalted me, comforted and enlightened me. The smile which I pine for so badly now, like children search for their lost toys. Do you remember Our school prayer? Aah! How crowishly you would sing it! And yet it would be more harmonious to me, than Keats’ nightingale. Do you remember those short, extremely short, Antaakshari rounds? How curiously we would wait for our favourite ’letters’ to come! Do you remember the way you would shake hands with me? For days I wouldn’t let anyone touch my hands. Aah, Pious, Pious hands! Do you remember how you would pretend to be angry 251


when they would tease you by my name? And how your anger would scare me to death? Do you remember how Fate snatched you from me? And how we tried clinging on to each other? In vain. I remember all of it. From the texture of your hair, the sharpness of your nose, to the smell of your sweat and your intoxicating nasal voice. I remember your haughtiness. I remember how you shunned me. I remember your negation. But ’bubli’ I also remember, how you would speak your heart out to me through those expressive eyes of yours. How you would wait for me to walk with you after our tuition hours. And I remember how much you would want to hear my voice in those March nights. Aah, Crazy, Crazy nights! You know darling I remember you, more than I remember my anything. For I have nothing better to remember.

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And after being poisoned by the injections of Time, do you ’heart’, do you remember that little, dark, shabby clothed guy of your class who had loved you a lifetime and would love you many many more?

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Candice James Sandman In the misty dusk, Lilacs and roses Cascade down; Fragments of a broken rainbow, Drop from the pocket Of a star dusted sandman, Riding a silver moonbeam At the edge of the twilight sky. He slips into the dark And sews the sun’s ocean Into a black pearly blanket. In a frenzied madness Chasing a racing dawn. He kisses the nape of night With his fluttering eyelids; In slow motion butterfly effect, He pierces the eye of midnight With his hypnotic song. In the shimmering garden of dreams, He plucks a pale blue orchid To commemorate The death of this dream He’s been chasing down to its death Through a whispering valley of voices And broken ebony secrets. The dawn slowly hatches, Cracks open Like a luminous egg; Breaks into a million bright yellow sun splinters Assaulting the fleeing darkness. The weary sandman yawns, Slowly closes his eyes To sleep, perchance to dream Of another misty dusk.

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Marc Creamore Miniature Poem Of Sentiency I do not attempt to be a lover of madly dancing feet, but rather seek the quietude of my wife’s sleeping face as she gathers the subtle kiss of moonlight upon her sitar singing cheeks. Oh the angle of her hair, the yin yang simplicity of aging skin, the flower of her dreams, yawning with a fluted voice from the chamber of her breath, asking me to rest awhile with no concern for the disorderly din outside the window. I bow my head to the Winter fast approaching and as the leaves of Autumn continue to fall I touch her idle hand with a whisper that emanates from the essence of being alive.

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Chez Harvey A Time Forged in Ash “if not winter, when?� they are not words i wrote i have borrowed their beauty from sadness the poetess gave them entwined in my own subtle twists to tales an ebb and flow that makes women sigh and men raise arms to fight a past season when snow gave landscape depth no horizon an unclear path hidden until spring i may have heard the song listened to words you wrote wandered beside a river while you told me every dream you held and like a little boy your face flushed speech tripped over syllables as water over rocks i knew fall and turning of leaves red and gold a gentle rain and your hand held softly to my mouth hushing regret formed as those words came by if not winter, when? i would love you thus when silent streams replaced the rapid rush i would close my eyes and bring you to life among the mountain ash its boughs breaking with weight from deepest drifts 256


and you would love me until all night had passed in shadows ‘til daylight beckoned we danced past consequence until conscience called if not winter. when? the thing about lifetimes so many choices are waylaid no altar holds prayers for love when a goddess deemed it a season yet to come if not winter, when?

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LaGrif Polka Dots I sat outside sipping summer from a carafe of rich Chianti wine, the sun upon my skin, a tingling warmth, caressing me in a tease. With lazy ease I glanced down the street and saw a vision divine with her polka dot dress fluttering gently in the wispy lazy breeze. She sailed into view, with the graceful ease of a swan’s watery glide, her lithe tanned body wrapped in polka dots of dark blue and white. Her shiny black hair danced to the tune of her long legged stride, coming near her brown eyes looked into mine, a captivating sight. I wanted to run to her open arms and passionately claim her heart, but how could I a simple plain dullard possess something so perfect? So transfixed, wine glass in my trembling hand, I watched her depart, regretting my timidity I continued drinking Chianti wine, sadly abject.

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Vicky Resting The Night, waiting to drizzle, searches The Night, waiting to drizzle, searches Lonely despite a million clouds Every empty alley and blind passageway it scrolls But not a dark creature strolls Silent boulevards and deserted city plazas glow Futile signs of human endeavors do they show Silence prevails, Every howling snout mellowed And in sedation, the tranquil wind blows, Obscured or obscuring, The placid stillness difficult to tell But secure, the world sleeps Just a door ajar, Despaired yet in hope, is awake What the eyes don’t see, and the ears don’t hear, It awaits....

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Jackie Chou Swords In this pink skied wide mouthed dawn I read my messages The literality of your words evaporates the moment they pass my mind turning into little swords Their edges—lines, circles, and curves jump out of the screen like jagged toothed monsters mocking my sorrow I sit there and stare they are your usual, superficial greetings yet like Justin Bieber I ask “What do you mean?� examining every letter What could have gone wrong? Ah, it is my heart finally broken and your words stab it some more leaving behind the fallen pieces never to be picked up and glued together

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Cindi Silva Nine Lives I have nine lives I purr like a pussy cat Don’t think I need you I knead with my feet When I land as I always will Watch out for my claws I’ll retract as I want to Don’t underestimate me I will always surprise you I’m stealthy, I’m regal, I’m sleek Working with Batman Catwoman Queen of the street I get what I need

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Bernard Cadillon Shadows Swinging sixties, swinging London Where have they been Where have they gone Those that were seen As your icons In this decade? All fallen in cascade. Assassinated John Lennon Dead George Harrison And Brian Jones Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Deceased Nina Simone. Where have you been Where have you gone Little baby dolls On the big screen Of the life tolls? You paid the price For the bill and the spice. In your teenage You had the rage Getting older You got wiser.

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Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA Shout at the Wind can you clamber through the rocks slipping into water oily boots leaking? can you stride out over dewy moors peat bogged with no direction? will you come with me to these places my spaces and make history? will you sit a while amid the berried hedges, sheltering, remembering? will we shout at the wind, running, laughing knowing that this is ours for the taking or will you stay home, stay safe and bleed?

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Susan Martin The Matter of My Book Some people say you are what you eat but me, I am what I read. As a child I was every beautiful princess, every damsel in distress invented by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. I was always rescued by the handsome prince, we always lived happily ever after. I was as feisty as Gretel, brave as Little Red Riding Hood, positive as Pollyanna. I was Nancy Drew, girl detective, never left a case unsolved. I was Nurse Nancy, never lost a patient. I grew to be, and so I am the strength of Scarlet O’Hara, never let defeat defeat me. I am Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre, able to gain acceptance, only on my own terms. I am the loyalty of Antigone, the passion of Molly Brown. I am Emily Gibbs’ realization of the value of life. I am Virginia Woolf, longing for a room of my own. I am the universality of a Frost poem, the humanity of a Shakespearean character, the truth in humor of Mark Twain, the beauty in simplicity of the Romantics. I am the creation and embodiment of every poet, playwright and author on my bookshelf. I am myself the matter of my book, I am what I read. I am myself the matter of my book. ~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, from his essay To the Reader 264


Alex O. Edevwie My First Kiss I have had countless kisses in life but there is one kiss whose sweetness my lips refuse to forget. Ola is her name Yes, her name is Ola! Her eyes enchant Her smiles invite Her lips are red roses. It is not advisable to look long at her yet when she walks, all eyes walk with her. It was this sweet sixteen that planted the kiss which raptured me. And ten years later I am yet to recover from the strong spell of my first kiss.

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Sonnet Mondal The Solitary Bench A forlorn bench, putrid with age sits amongst vibrant foliage like a school boy waiting for his first love. The coarse rustle of ruling ‘Gulmohar’ flowers tries to sway him in congenial talks. His silence forces the air to rub them off his body; let him remain lonely for the guest deserves to stick to his mad wishes. The figure that he is longing for runs away from him with each days dying in the ever flowing tide of time. Still, hope says no, wishes say yes and the everyday falling flowers quarrel with the dry leaves riding upon withered braches, to impress his soul and the day ends with the bench shaking them off with the passing air. He sits for one and will not break till she comes running and sits on him just like the day decades ago, when these woods used to a park and the bench was the friend of her everyday indolence.

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Suvojit Banerjee Der auslander I became an outsider in my own body and the day passed on in the city like it was nothing. My cadaverous existence was replaced with something that didn’t smell remotely of me. Not earthen, not arrogant, not lost-as-fuck, hapless. Not even the dog I once was, going back to the same woman, knowing I’d get beaten black and blue. Burning my own hand again and again. Everything was missing. Someone else was in my shell. Imitating me, making love to unknown women, writing poetry and drinking cheap booze. I was thrown away. I searched in the autumn trees and scorching summertime pitch roads, and monsoons and winters didn’t remember me. Someone made me a stranger. Was it me?

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Nicolette van der Walt when all our doves leave us meet me with the face you had before you were born, for I’ll recognize even the shadow of your name on a plain of mist. I, again, will break the bread of light in your eyes, and simply be chalice and wine. in your throat, softly, a dove will groan - you whose hands have tasted little of the good earth of a woman. between us a flower will open, and you’ll understand how many amaranthine moons a single arum unfolds

268


Nancy Rakoczy Your Face Is a Cathedral Your face is a cathedral of light flowing golden from creases at your smile your eyes your chin your jaw as more light flows and shines from chinks here and there in Your face is a cathedral of rock chiseled not by accident or whim, but a slow deliberation carves stone into intricate patterns of grace, where nature’s acid lashings cannot alter stones deeply embedded with kindness. Your face is a cathedral of hidden soaring arches and distant vaulted chambers: side altars full of forgotten prayer; pillars that hold and hold and hold, whose organ muffles growls and trembles stones, where stairways twist into solitary darkness. Are great moans hidden in your walls? Do tears course slowly within? Do the walls weep? Your face is a cathedral where the lame rest, the blind stretch their hands and steady themselves against you, ready to walk through your threshold. My ears hear distant music. The holy of holies beckons. Let me rest more deeply in you. 269


Michaela Sefler Remembering Remembering you, as an image in time is memory, on a continuum are whole entities. a beam of illumination, within each. One life chosen, at a given point in time, a segment of a circle of light, in time existing efficiently, many parts making a whole, each unique, containing. Remembering you, as ideals proceed, images perfected, of what can be. In line, as memory allows, images of a life, as photo slides, before my eyes alternating, making a perfect whole, a picture in time. As making up for loss, are connections old, relations still, in the distant light, reminding, as expectations hold.

270


MĂŠlisande Fitzsimons A Suffragette I have lost, she said, two stone. How? I clean the house every day, for five hours. These two stone are now lying on the coffee table; The glass was spider webbed on impact. A trail of broken glass by the window gives the carpet a distinct diamantĂŠ effect. There is a bit of moss still attached to the stone: I like that rustic touch.

271


Baishali Bhaumik Mitra Poems ...And April is no more the cruellest month, for it breeds lilacs mixing memory and desire, resisting irresistibly everything sterile and barren, nurturing my tryst with poesy with a soothing rainfall. The gap between my pen and paper has diminished now; my poems are restless these days. They waft in my breath and float in my stream waiting to be poured like a melodious drizzle. I have covered the distance between my wounds and my words; my entourage has conquered the space in between; a space that has throbbed like an uncut vein for so long, has now reached an oneness with the silhouette of rhymes and assonance. April isn’t the cruellest month anymore... Now, my poems are home where we stay together. I can feel the creases and imprints of you among my lines and around the curl of my words; I listen to your whispers along my imageries; you dwell in my lyrics and in my odes; you caress the crevices in between my prosody, and I embellish my verse with your smile. ...And April is no more the cruellest month, for it breeds lilacs mixing memory and desire, resisting irresistibly everything that is sterile and barren, nurturing my tryst with poesy with a soothing rainfall. Now I am alive again.

272


Fairy Dharawat Every breath in your life Every breath in your life is the story to share around kids grandkids nephews and recount the number of failures and the sweet success as all it matters is to leave tough things at rest to ponder over useless things is easy what it matters is how many smiles you cherish while creating new joyful memories before you perish so hop on the bus to the land of the spring as you gawk to the nature’s new paintings with many different colours and texture reflecting creators’ fun with some master strokes as some are sad some filled with sorrow with the outline of the painting having a sneak peek at the soul’s window.

273


Matthew Shane Yodhes The Great Death Eyes wide, blue lotus flowers stare up. Bright rays break the silent dark of the depths. Tiny dots of pure white at the edge of your sight. Black green, the water twirls round, She spins, she twirls, she thrusts; Every nerve on her naked body tingles A gentle caress, a lover’s touch. Light nibbles from the water’s waves Tease the nipples, hard as frozen rock, Tight brown peaks amongst wheat-lined hills. Breath escape, a powerful moan, Bubbles of pleasure; her body is thrown Every muscle tightens in ecstatic despair Her chest buzzes, and stings, so close, for air. Up she swings, up, up, and up. Rhythmic body motions, the barbaric dance The white dots shine brighter, her dark pupils expand Black orbs absorbing, filling with glow at hand. Faster and faster. Up through the depths. Rhythm, a torrent Charybdis, Numbing feeling, close to breath. Light takes over vision, a heavenly scene Head, penetrates water, a sharp gasp, so serene Fists clench uncontrollably, a spasm of feeling Heart pounds so quick like wings of a sweet hummingbird. Every touch intoxicated, leads her to reeling. Covered and wet, all feeling now swept. An orgasm of soul, waters now left dull.

274


Dubblex Alleyne Love Junkies She tells me you are my addiction My junky affliction You are my crack cocaine and heroin All rolled up into one potent love blunt Every hit I take of you keeps me coming back for another taste I never get my fill of you Your love keeps me high You are my methadone, my crystal meth Inhale deeply your potent smoky love breath People don’t understand why I am with you I tell them she is my opium my speed my valium She is a drug whose potency no other seller can match My lover is my addiction She is a drug and rehab all in one I want more of her and double the quantity She is my peaceful sex addiction I chase after her like a junky craving a fix She is my addiction and I am hers Together we stay on this fix People keep trying to tell us to stop She is exotic medical pot I say please please listen we are each others addiction

275


Ujjol Kamal Rosy Rose O rose O rose What secret lies in thy inner whorl What mystery thou conceal with thy concentric fold What despair What delight thus thou hide Beneath thy soft subtle crimson smile The dreamy moon kisses you too soon The winged fairies sport in thy honey-sweet-suite Lovers young and old All congegate to bathe in thy magical mould Bards ancient and wise Poets, playwrights dead, dying, undying keep writing night after night the sacred beauty of thee sublime Rose O rose O rose Embrace me Enthrall me Enchant me manyfold Fold me to unfold deep in thy cave of maya-mingled-mystique gold Your love petals protect your shrine bold The faiths of the lost souls doing time in thy holy hallowed hole Rose O rose O rose Why thou appeareth so pale forlorn Let me calm thy passionate thorns Throwing me in Bleeding me thin You made me What I'm Rose rose Sky froze I stood still As you broke the bonds of orgasms gushing out in the starry womb

276


Gloria MacKay Table Talk I was a quiet child. Not being seen and not being heard was not a rule I was raised by but a condition I needed to thrive. On special occasions I sat alone under grandma’s round oak table, tucked among black oxfords and squeaky silk stockings, while poker chips dropped above me in muffled thuds, like big, wet snowflakes– not totally alone. More like a house cat in a basket or a footnote, squeezed under the important stuff not yearning to be read–just content to be there. Every now and then an upside-down talking face dropped in. How ya doin’, kiddo? Don’t look at me. Are you asleep? Don’t look at me. I muttered the same four words every time, no matter the question, no matter the face. So I was told. They were probably right. Once, I remember a hand crept in with a cookie. I took it.

277


M. K. Sukach Atlas of True Names Call it an enchantment in this turquoise atlas of true nomina under a grove of Narrow Leaf Cottonwood; we don’t have to decide right away and nothing we say or praise, under the longest narrows of Summer sky, may suffice, anyway; as they say, it’s hard to say when you talk one word at a time, better, perhaps, an egregious embrace on this storm drenched pubis grass where we swell under nebulae if you’d like, in a while, should, say, that cloud pass, a little kiss just beneath your ear while the New Navel of the Moon glimmers over Aztec, blushes to Mexico, alights the darkening errata of this terrain, the Shallow Water; yes, the alluvium does feel good between your toes, there’s plenty to drink just by lifting your mouth as if to a falls, and all these little leafy etymologies are good after a rain in our Reddish Land burned wild and risen mountain upon mountain; night is beginning to bewilder the orchards in the South Wind; I like the small corner of your mouth rising, the thrilling, sudden ascent of birds startled from a field, how the heart torrents even in a lull; just lie with me on these furtive plains; it’s late, and I don’t think I care how to get back.

278


Jessica Livermore Figured Bass I. I hover at your shoulder, your fingers slipping across the keys In the comfort of Handel and B minor. As I lean in to observe the sheet, my leg slides beneath the chair. My foot comes to roost below your shoe, And I observe that you grow old. Under every other note, the figures nudge bleak numbers Into completed chords of brown and gold. II. Tonight you will cradle a compact fruit, One you can prise apart gently into component pieces. She will be perfect in her orderly obedience. You would not dare to put a peach to mouth, Too overwhelming once the teeth have touched. The juices would flow unhindered over your lips, And cream skin stretch freely under surging white hairs. III. Perhaps tomorrow the thirst will overcome you, That for a body of water crashing into a rising red star. I will come to rest beneath your breath, Observing the numbers hinted at by neck’s graying nape. I measure out the bleakness, my body a tenor to your chants. And I do not care, as long as your fingers outfold like tentacles, Accepting the touch and slip of our interlacing.

279


Twill Let Go The fire bleeds The memories overflow Cutting me with their pain Charring me with their flames Beneath the burning clouds Above the piercing grass The rain thirsts for my last breath The wind longs for my impending death But, death seems so far Like an unseen door kept ajar This agony So beautifully ruthless So wholly consuming Lures me into its cocoon Making my soul immune To every acid burn And, every rotten scar Making every falling leaf come undone Mourned by the setting sun Spreading my broken wings I wait... For the love that sets my soul on fire For the sigh that mingles with my breath and skin Hold me as I burn Kiss me as I learn To let go Of the past, the present, and the future.

280


Ken EatonEaton-Dykes The Passing Of Mona Mc. Claine Born in the year after nineteen nought eight The beginning of a period not so great, for her generation A World torn with war and economic depression Jobs were few unemployment rife No good future prospects For a brand new life Started during the reign of Edward the Seventh through the first great war with George the fifth Giggled at Edward the eighth and Mrs Simpson’s antics Laughed at Fuhrer Hitler with his little moustache and wily tricks As they crowned her latest King George the reluctant, stuttering, sixth. As the Eulogist rambles on Raking over events long gone My mind drifts back to her final year A dull uninspiring period in full time care Watching residents come and go The odd one rocking to and fro Passing patiently through endless monotony After “Doctor Times” merciful lobotomy Left her short term memory just a glimmer And a fulfilled long ambition in not to cook Ever, One more Sunday dinner. And so it goes every day A repetitive procession into the lounge To watch T.V. with it’s boring repeats And innumerable ads. A captive audience marinating on incontinence pads I look into to her eyes set in that benign face And wonder what she thinks of this dreadful place While one of her fellow companions is gently carried out Through an atmosphere of air freshener, Piss, and brussel sprout 281


As the days turned to weeks, weeks into months Long months into years After completing a life of hardship, laughter, and tears Under a burden of ninety eight years Mona drew her last breath when the almighty beckoned A loyal subject to Elizabeth the Second Then to eternal rest was carried out Through that atmosphere of air freshener, piss, and brussel sprout. To Blackly cemetery, on a sunny day, so fine Think it’s the only destination She’s ever been on time Ceremony over, The Humanist paid his fee We spill on to the car park Ears ringing to a thirties Nat Gonnella melody O Mona you shall be free, oh lordy lordy O Mona you shall be free, When the good Lord sets you free. Now here we are at the Old Boars head Drinking beer and breaking bread Toasting the past long life of our recent dead Mona, the matriarch, family head Recalling distant memories, of herself and past contemporaries Bingo nights with Aunty Amy, Summer walks with brother Andrew Trips to Blackpool on the coach Could we have made the last years happier Feel a touch of guilt, and self reproach. Aching limbs, delicate bones, balding head, kidney stones Fluttering heart, dodgy prostate Takes forever to urinate Suddenly realise that “I’m” a knocked about victim of Father Time With only a short time left for him to ravage Before going to rest, In a shroud, in a box, on the Undertakers carriage leaving a long boring life, but fruitful marriage faintly smelling Of air freshener piss and boiling cabbage.

282


LaVonne Taylor Butterfly Kisses Butterfly kisses on my toes In the morning, wake me from My delightful dreamy fog. Those liquid, chocolate eyes Adore me without reservation. Butterfly kisses on my nose In the afternoon, tell me how Much she loves me, and How true to me she will Forever always be, no duplicity. Butterfly kisses on my ear Whisper devotion true and kind. She depends on me for loving care And in return, protects me fiercely, Stiff-necked ferocity in her stare. Butterfly kisses on my cheeks From a soft, pink puppy tongue, Reassure me I am the only one To ever be so revered and held Aloft with such humbling devotion. Butterfly kisses on my hand Melt my heart, and reinforce the bond Between my little dog and me. Her loving spirit will be engraved Upon my soul throughout eternity.

283


Billy Whitehorn Certain People Certain people wonder why I get so passionate about things like the homeless, the poor, the disadvantaged. Yet those same people want to call certain American programs akin to communism, don't they know the difference between communism and socialism? didn't Jesus go out of his way to help the poor, the sick, the handicapped? didn't Jesus say help your brother as if he were your own family? where's the compassion in this world today? where's the kindness that's needed? where's the love that's wanted? where's the wisdom that Jesus taught? and where's the common sense that we need within our lives? Does someone need to show that reflection of what we are instead of what we pretend to be? or does the truth need to slap us in the face to make us realize that we're only wearing masks within the real world? Ask yourself and think about what's really needed to survive.

284


Priti Dabral Prritiy The bliss Ah the bliss The rain brings To parched earth Same is life Your love brings To my lifeless heart The fresh look The trees adorn Drenched by drops Your warm smile Does my heart adorn Whenever our love drops The flowers dance Quivering with joy As cool breeze blows along My being radiates Spreading out joy For, to each other, we belong

285


Evelyn Asher Jesse Jewel The birds are fed, I am fed But the youth, about grade five, I spotted through my windshield earlier today? The new backpack with chartreuse glow-in-the dark stripes caught my eye When the Latino alighted from the school bus The sign above his house read $50 a night, $200 a week, “under new management”. How many schools will this young man attend this year? What are his dreams – where are they born? In a motel room shared with siblings, Through encouraging words of his teacher, a mentor, at church, At the Boys and Girls Club, when transportation possible? Where did this young man whose parents must labor live before? Are his grandparents and other relatives still trying to cross the border? What do his writings at school reflect? Is he brave to speak in class, join a club -- or is he bullied? Can he go on a field trip that costs a week’s groceries, for four or eight? Today, young man, one more person cares about you. A stranger admires you from afar. You are an extraordinary young man Overcoming extraordinary obstacles. Stand tall in the face of adversity that may seem commonplace.

286


Anna Clay Reflection The moon rose in beauty, as round and full as a pregnant belly. And the sight of her almost made me drop my dishtowel and run outside, awoke in me a primal urge to chant and dance in a circle, arms up in wild abandon, lost to the mysteries of her gentle light. But I did none of these things, turning on the harsh electric bulb instead, I continued on with my mundane chores. Seeing now only my own reflection in the window, I shut the blinds tight against the night.

287


Nishant Shah Aum Om... Om... Om... Each twilight, syllable defining death and life, resonates the pristine air around me. I hear the silent whispers of myriad souls, many of them are paupers and the few revered ones, purging their souls, some on the banks of the holy river, while many on the other side of the horizon, enthralling my mind and body. Every day, many reason the existence of their lives, erstwhile, for years even I marvelled on my being. But somewhere now I have realize this void of continuity, and like the humble stream of perennial rivulet begetting the incessant civilization around it, I embrace the elements of eternal reality. Some ruminate on the desire of liberation, while many stroll the distances in search of rhapsodic tale. Even I am a reflection of such vagabonds, but with the only treasure I inherit from ages I repose my callow soul with the eternal bliss, while I embark on the new journey in tranquility.

288


Ken Allan Dronsfield The Flavored Sky The sands of time slowly drained down. Each grain measured a life, once so fine. The Raven soared on without making a sound. In the distant twilight, the church bell chimed, a haunting melody which echoed throughout the valley. As the flavored sky danced... my breath’s no longer mine.

289


Yeşim Ye im Ağao A aoğlu ao lu night’s dress the night says, i’m coming, before it comes comes quietly dresses in black clothes christ, what an awesome attire the night comes mostly to his house to his terrible garden where once laughter dripped from the leaves of the ivy then the games of candles with the moon and those lamps rainbow hued the liquer spilling out of lions’ maws crystal cups a thousand pieces at the end of the night mistaken for stars by those who see them the night comes mostly to his pool where once there was stark naked dancing its water tainted now with blood spurt by a bullet from the mouth of a gun when night comes, a shade secretly slips down to the garden one by one it pulls in the sculptures heavy like dead bodies and the door closes christ how terrible that closing sound the water in the pool still red thin wailings dripping from the ivy leaves the candles playful in the moonlight like shadows of a murder if you watch when night comes the sculptures are all inside may be it’s a sphinx in his bosom now so weirdly wailing the night says i’m coming before it comes christ how dark is the dress it wears

290


Ellenelizabeth Cernek Kashk Whisper Above the knowledge shelf Your eyes penetrate I feel them surround And drink me in. I hear my own heart beat Drumming through echoes Of lost time. Years have passed, yet you Have never left me. Through the dark nights Your voice calls out my name, Awakens me from An almost sleep As if you had whispered It directly to my heart. Yet all I awaken to is A dark, cold damp life Entangled with circumstances Like a noose on my neck And a lead shroud upon my shoulders Feeling the weight of my family On my chest, suffocating me. And all I wish for Is to hear You whisper That everything will be all right Yet, all I hear Is the dark and cold of silence.

291


Jack Trammell Subway Poem Rattles, weaves, Sometimes consumed with noise Sometimes indifferent to every sense Shakes, creaks, Sometimes locked in darkness Sometimes crackling with light The driver‌ Someone Somewhere controls this thing, right? Accelerates, brakes, Sometimes industrial triumph Sometimes postmodern horror Thumps, jumps Sometimes red lights flash by Somnolent they only pose questions The stop‌ Somewhere near 116th Street Sometime in brownstone twilight shade

292


Subhra Mahapatra when wait defeats time whiffs of sour mango boughs quickened our steps through the dusty path you walked in the sun ahead of me calling me a snail (your shadow was my parasol) you made every branch a perfect step, every step a perfect climb and shot out into the sky now, every summer i stand by the tree hoping you'd emerge through the leaves but even the ripe mangoes don't lure you back anymore

293


Robert Gibbons it has been more than two hours although it was raining outside I went to see if she was walking up the street like the rain drop maybe in some secret place I want to try it maybe I want to open her open her pocketbook even my mother warned me against a woman’s purse maybe if I finally bare it all spew this energy then I can get pass this mystery if I am man enough to cross the Caribbean maybe it will be so good I will see the gods Shango and Zumbi maybe after I am done I speak Portuguese maybe I will quote the verse of Lorca and Neruda maybe it is really the longitude she wants

294


Irsa Ruçi The paradox of nowadays... Man understands what he has lost only when he finds himself lonely in his failed dreams! The world is a naughty mess that drinks the pride till satiety with empty spoons fed by envy, beyond time everything is left in the middle: A poet left without a subject a being left without a motive a name left without a memory a lie left to be an orphan... The man thinks he owns everything till the moment he loses himself too ...It gets late when he tries to win back what he could have had but is now denied! The fire can be extinguished even by tears beause a warm teardrop dropping on the ember can cool even the ash… Man understands what he loses when he doesn’t understand even himself!

295


Ray Liversidge The Lawn Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems. -Rainer Maria Rilke He is mowing the lawn, again. Again it is unnecessary. Like pulling grey hairs from A greying head. On another warm November evening I put down the newspaper with The interminable stories on emissions trading, The growing number of climate change sceptics, To watch him do what he does Every other Sunday: Go at it like there’s no tomorrow. I want him to stop Mowing the parched lawn, But his body moves with such speed and purpose That I fear he is afraid Of grass and its slow and chthonic growth. I want him to take The lawn clippings collected (Like analects) in the grass catcher, And spread them at the foot of the tree Leaning into the corner of his garden. I want to shake him Like the wind shakes his cottage garden When it blows hot and hard From the north. I want him to enter His house when he has finished Using the edge trimmer And pick up a dictionary And look up the word concinnity‌ I need him to listen to the earth, Know poems.

296


Erwin Kroon A poem about change Bitterly blooming dust, peeled Winter-kiss in crystallic nights, what kind of country have you become? To grind the darkness and catching pieces of your sky, multiplying in distilled might: (muscular language incarnates into a new panorama of ambivalent horizons) I translate the wilderness, the jungle in streets, to blow feathers of phrases into faces, like a curse, to undo myself. On a surface of a star I wrap my intentions into cocoons of dreams, my inner bridges of faith.

297


Rishaw Gupta Slow Poison Time goes on as it never stops But it does not go alone Along with it it takes all the fragrance from the flowers and all the shine from the dying stars that once so strongly shone It’s a slow poison that intoxicates everything Like it is killing her Bereaving her of everything she has Her spark in her eyes her charismatic voice her strength her life But I can’t see this slow assassination She’s growing old Her skin is wrinkling Her knees are aching I can just watch her getting more and more helpless more and more dependent Though she hides her pain very well with a smile Even I get hallucinated for a while But she can’t betray her child for long I know she’s weakening though she’s showing strong I know her pain I feel her strain I see time eating her she’s fading she’s ending she’s degrading and I never felt this helpless before time and neither I can see it anymore Wish I could just stop it before... Before it gets too late Too late for her to hold back her pain and fall to pieces and time still goes on as it is never going to stop 298


Elijah Guo Restraint She discoursed to him in neon drinks, crossed thighs shifting back and forth like inconsistencies on a scale of justice. Lips on salt, eyes blink to rid a rogue piece of mascara Why must we always sexualize women? he thought As he felt an unmistakable hardening beneath his jeans Auras, the psuedoscientists said, can be seen Emanating from the bodies of any human being In the colors of one’s personality Warm yellow, rotting pink, white fuzz hinting, like a peach He could have sworn her face was warmer than the Tropic of Cancer except there was no way he could do anything about it (unlike the farmers who harvest the areca nut enjoying the consummation of their efforts under the unforgiving Burmese sun) He wanted to say: “You are my new frontier. Your breasts are the peaks of Mt. Everest, and your parted teeth contain the Red Sea. I’d like to journey into the deepest lakes of your sparkling caverns and microcosmic steaming pools of creation.” Instead, he sat there with his sexist but unabashed hard-on When will the morning light? Nothing to do but strive, strive – He was like Aristotle’s sun, making steady progress around the globe but never landing for fear that he would crash into the sea and emblazon the ships in a fury of bright red lust.

299


Šuvak Nataťa Lost Dream Forgotten and lost shadows in the night searching for a dream distant from the dream, of the Lost Grail untouched the hands of foreigners spaces in garden’s mortal body... As the wafer is broken I leave the soul at the scene frozen beds such as votive gifts weak masters strong words... All the joys of the world included in my sorrow, long ago learned the lesson to run the rescue, in that one not spoken-bye such as a promise still standing between my reality and dream... And this spring comes with rain...

300


Peter Goulding Little thoughts Propped up in my make-shift bed on this fine autumnal evening, I watch the squabbling sparrows, feathers ruffling in the slight breeze, suddenly scatter from the bird table like little thoughts. Over the fence they arrow, up to the safety of eaves, into the straggling viburnum that I should have pruned in Spring, over the back wall to the lane beyond. My breath comes with difficulty. A large black crow swoops down, its shadow completing a two-pronged attack over the leaf-strewn lawn. Its merciless eye fixes me for a second, sensing my helplessness and then its strong beak starts to peck at the hard crusts at its feet. The sun is low in the sky now. Soon the clothes of day will be folded and stacked neatly on my bedside chair. Maybe the sparrows will return tomorrow but the table will be bare.

301


W. Jude Aher evening streets inside where water dreams the echoes of concrete evening streets chance a young girl walks her beauty in dance, and all the young men were lost‌ time is a circle where in moonlight shadows walk free. a beautiful woman holds her youth, in the fingers of her dreams where still all the young men go missing. inside where water dreams

302


Sunil Sharma Showers of gold The clusters of the yellow flowers Tucked on the Gulmohar trees Now in full summer bloom, spreading an umbrella Behind the shacks of sheets and cardboards Along the serpentine highway in the Suburban Mumbai; The tall trees, slim and smiling Rain down the tender showers of gold, Thus turning the asbestos sheets of the Illegal hovels into shining canvases of pure Colours of dull brown, white and bright yellow Branches green kissing the airless tiny boxes Providing the forgotten citizens cool shade And succor in the hot winds.

303


Ljiljana Milosavljevi Milosavljević avljevi Soul’s mirror It’s smiling The glowing eye of the sky Time is ticking away The pigeons took away Your glance to the heights I’m watching for their return God is silent within us I don’t ask What you are doing The noon has elapsed I’m waiting for a sign And nightfall And the autumn is golden You are silent So am I

304


Iman Ksingh The Whimsical Female Egg! A world where I can take birth And I will not be killed in the womb Or dumped into a dumpster Or just thrown like that on the pile of waste on the road Where my limbs will be pulled by street dogs Or I would be given salt to burn my intestines Or buried alive Or put on a shelf to roll and die Give me a house, where I can also eat what my brother eats and not his leftovers Where I can also play and go to school and not forced into labor when I should study Where I can also drink milk and become strong like my brother Where I can also play cricket and football Where I can also play with cars and dolls and guns Where I am not forced to hide under walls and clothes and traditions Where I can ride the big cycle and feel the sun and dance in the rain Where I can dream to be an astronaut a pilot an engineer Where I can play as long as I want And go as far as I can And swim in as many ponds as there are Where I am not kidnapped and abused and raped and killed and burnt Where my father and brother are not my destroyers who do not fight me but with me Where I can dream, I fly and I wonder To such a place, such a home, such a world I wish to be born Otherwise mother I refuse to be born I am happy the way I am I just may remain an egg And one day I will be flushed out of your body as blood But till then at least I will have my dream, my hope, my fantasy Of such a world where I wish to be born!

305


Laura Jorden Tied Together Blown from a neck, flying free The blue scarf wrapped around a little tree, Tied together as the seasons changed Until the day fingers came and uncoupled the friendship that had for so long remained. The blue scarf was taken to a fate we can not see Leaving a lonely, wondering little tree.

306


Katherine K. Walker Life Takes (on life) Life is a fountain spilling over the clefts of the mountain in rainbow colored hues Sometimes it spirals out of control, and we seem to lose our way. Life is a basket filled with daisies. Why daisies? (I like daisies) You keep the roses for you. Life is a frame with a picture of you and me together joined at the hip in uproarious laughter (for that’s what friends are for) but sometimes we cry just the same Life is a school where the two of us and more of us learn to walk this sacred, hallowed ground together and maybe one day we’ll learn the true meaning of “love one another” and Eden will be reborn

307


Kristina Monroe Navigation Let Charon guide me through Lethe And Morpheus draw a form I may enter Alight on the shadow of darkness My soul stretches forth To test un-wet waters Will my guide lead me like Tiresias Riddled with faithless prophecies Skewing my direction? Ahh, but the river through which the Ferryman navigates Blessedly renders silence Voices without chords Forgetfulness subdues The ebb and flow Of souls slowly drowning A sound escapes: It is Cerebus His tail slaps reverence From solemnity and greedily Laps up the last drop of soul-life My guide, Charon, leads me To, then beyond The multi-headed watch dog As he whips his tail in protest.

308


Kiarra Lynn Smith The Seminary The disciples wear glasses And in their rooms The faint flipping of sacred texts My presence is too loud And will not shush Not even while devouring Cheerios As I watch them nibble Hungarian dishes My voice Is a canary to their monotone lips Which smile politely So I only swear in my room, but quietly As not to interrupt fingers Traveling beneath verses

309


Ceri Naz Indispensable Genesis The eyelets of quintessence Spot the caves of allegories Grains and kernels of acumens Revealing the measurable And immeasurable swan songs. As I step on the tiles Of masquerading ivory towers I play, play, restart and replay I walk through the routes Of meltdowns, pitfalls and Goodwin sands. Cyclones whisk wavelets of carry-on Inside my knapsack I unhook the velcro straps of recycling dawns Of the wild blue yonder And the atomic exodus Then, I lick one-by-one The most unwanted patches Marking the mirrors of my bare skin The faรงade of colorless, priceless inner child. My plain Arcadia knows no faces Knows no deities, royalties and upper class hands Come into my resilient love-webs The fountain of a special one The compass of an empowered woman.

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Richard Doiron Living Her Passion She comes to him at night in the secret world of dreaming and she comes, also, when reverie descends, like so much summer rain, to occupy the day itself. She comes, unfettered, unmasked, a deluge, disarming. In the earliest of hours, she is the promise of the sun. At noon, she describes the night, replete with wine and roses. She cares not a whit for the whimsies of deniers, decriers, the deities of decorum. She comes not to advance, to enhance, to embellish the shores of sanctimony. She comes to uphold the virtues of love, the verities of which are more than mirrors affixed to their walls, the same reflecting but the rigid rule of their perfidious page. She comes to alert, to assert, to avow. Here to deter the dagger and the dart, fulfilling the heart, engaging the soul, she courts her cause, on a bed that’s ablaze, burning, a blaze, burning, burning, burning!

311


Anatoly Molotkov Say Me With A Dry Leaf if the moment opens up and sings with joy and sadness a flow of intuition runs from our hearts our minds embracing histories of others stories told and untold both in jest and essence out my window the street is the same as last night but different more leaves have fallen though I can't see them in the darkness and if the need to keep on guard is disregarded in favor of shared music if smiles replace detachment both in jest and essence I am welcome in the moment call me as a smile call me as I am in a gesture call me as a story call me say me with a dry leaf say yourself to me breathe my name

312


Tonny K. Brown Grown There was once a time when men of all nations and tongues were willed by good conscience to follow the law; now they are willed by immoral greed and power to just follow the leader and damn be the law. Oh' how we have grown.

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Shruti Goswami Thoughts No longer do my thoughts take a dip in the raw ether of emotions But float like they never ever belonged to me And I did never try to hold on to them desperately Like one keeps priceless treasures under the safety Of thousand locks and keys. I sit and ponder of what became Of the numerous thoughts that once possessed The very essence of my living and breathing I spread out like a sea beach Where the thoughts strike and recede And I lie there, silent, with equanimity. Like a lover's song that fades away slowly but surely As time flows like an undercurrent of emotions Taking with it those thoughts that once drowned heart and soul And all that remains is the dry sand of the beach When the tides recede. The red and purple hue of the sunset Had often coloured those very thoughts And like the dark night those colours have faded Slowly from the overburdened mind. I wait and watch while the thoughts come and go Expectations fall behind like a train Leaving behind the platform for its journey For another thought to occupy the mind For another unknown destination.

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ZoZo-Alonzo Gross PhD.... I'm a “Darkskinned brotha”, but I always sleep ”Light”, got alot on my “plate”, sometimeZ I “lose my appetite”. Been “knocked down” by life, but like Rocky, I still get up & “Fight”, it's a “cold world”, but still I ain't the “Pack the heat type”. I judge nobody, cuz I used ta share Charlie Sheen's plight, “Actin a fool”, but “just couldn't seem ta get the scenes right”, “Racing Thoughts”, my “Cerebellum tends ta see just green light”. But “misfortune”, has a way of making u “Rich with Wisdom”, & understanding is the “Key”, that “Unlocks ur mental Prison”, so when u finally find Clarity, Rejoice when u r Free, “Learn from ur mistakes”,... Earn ur “PhD”.

315


John Mc Guckin We’re ya going Don’t know where I’ll end up going ain’t got any answers just drifting along Lets see where the road takes us, but ain’t got no answers, so don’t ask, cause I don’t know. Road keeps on twisting right on along and know what, nope, what, I’m following it wherever it goes. You’re welcome to tag along, just so long as you know at some stage along the road, I’ll tell you to go. That’s when I need to be drifting along not caring nor sharing anything I got, get tired of being questioned. I’ll share any food any water, but not the most important thing I got, that’s my thoughts, are you willing to come along We’re strangers and I ain’t got any answers to your questions, so don’t ask me anything, if you want to tag on do so, But I don’t know were I’m going, and most important of all, I couldn’t care less, this is my road of life and I’ll live the hand I’m dealt.

316


Tatjana Debeljacki Aquarius It might have been a prejudice, today nobody knows it any more. The truth is in the fantasy of lies. A lucky successor of sadness in the chambers of misery. A shadow of the night, a memory of a poet. How hard is the unknown tear? A record of memory, picture, colour, scent... Passers-by, strangers, young and tall, some were with greyish hair... Always passing by. Recognizing a gentle voice among thousands in a big city... A conquest is the same as heroism. Nothing happens in dreams. The oblivion of dreaming doesn’t need experience. Repeating one and the same theme is belief. An Aquarius sometimes blunders. The impossible becomes possible. Conclusions impose themselves relieved with the choice of solutions. A new love shines like crescent moon, just awoken. The air we dream about dances in the dark. A meaning sent to the skies.

317


Doug Groberg The Path to Hades One slight fib how far could it go? A small white lie, no one would know I've been good, I deserve a break It's okay to make a mistake There now, it wasn't all that bad No one got hurt, no one got mad I'm the same as I've always been I think I will do it again It's not really wrong anyway That's just what other people say I know the truth, I know what's right Why should I continue to fight? They're wrong about all sorts of things I won't let them pull on my strings From now on I do as I want Those old ideals no longer daunt Regardless how I used to feel Former standards are no big deal My behavior is no longer tied Cause I'm perfectly justified

318


Slađana Sla ana Lazić Lazi A Sleeping Poet On an old desk, right in front of me is a little pencil whose death my eyes are quietly witnessing. And together with it all my playful ideas vanish, depart. How can I bring back their bright colors? Why is everything falling into a deep, unfamiliar sea? Why does everything fade away, disappear? How can a brown eye not inspire me, not even a hair lock blonde, black? Not even a moon, a shining star? Why is everything fallen asleep in my head, will that poet in me give up, for real? I try to write, but in vain. I crumple the paper, there is a constriction in my chest, every idea runs insanely away, a tear dances in my eye and follows down its painful path followed by a muffled scream... it stops somewhere between reality and dream, there, where wishes come true, where everything turns the way you wish it to. A wish to wake up a sleeping poet, playful and silly me.

319


Peter Sutton They say the weather’s wrong nowadays Summer sun in November A magician’s bait and switch Confusing Thermoperiodic natives As Photoperiodic cousins shrug and shed, Thomas Hood would be bemused. A blink of the week And Fireworks Boom and splash Against the incontinent clouds. As a child I wrapped up warm Coat and hat, scarves and gloves Baked potatoes; a silver treasure BBQ bangers and carefully held sparklers Biting winds, freezing fogs, frozen noses. Today the walk to the shops Accompanied by banging lights No coat, no hat, bare neck, nude hands. The coldest winter in 100 years Is coming The headline yells And yet today it’s beggar’s belief Like trying to remember feeling pain. Rain on Christmas Day Offends the memory Of uncounted childhood snows. A flap of the winding sheet The year turns nasty Atmospheric aneurysms birth epileptic clouds Mestasizing oil black, sulphurous sleet In the mild, mild West They say the weather’s wrong An apocalyptic harbinger It will only get worse. 320


Sunila Khemchandani The Link The whiff of incense is still fragrant Sweet sandalwood tickling my sinus The chair missing its inmate stands still Some shy stars blink on gossamer purple You had told me at that crepuscle hour After the sun spilled mango in azure That you would wait at the horizon The clouds cried the rain my nerves calmed In hope open windows will not shrink As I believe in perpetual links I knew you watched from behind cloud’s veil They say truth has four legs, lie has none So I’ll keep those words encrypted in mind Till the winds take a contrary trend Seas become calm as hardly happens I keep fingers crossed for truth to dawn

321


DeBorah Le Raconteur Ebony Dark Chocolate Dreams His touch is Midnight seeping into my pores, saturating my veins and arteries, enveloping my very being. New galaxies are born when I am in his arms. His voice is Throbbing Black Strap Molasses, Obsidian Opal honey dripped scented pleasure and I am a sponge absorbing every drop of honey syrup anointing. His pulsations become part of my being and we are in rhythmic unison. Images of him undulate over a winding path from brain to heart. Match ignites flame causing trails of hot candle wax to slip into my peaks and valleys. We are a perfect coupling Symbiosis. We dissolve into the misty morning dawn, daybreak quenched fires, smoldering dreamily fantasy future liaisons.

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Maureen Aisling DuffyDuffy-Boose Dark As Lightning It shatters, Enveloping the darkness In momentary light. The bolt brilliant, Electric Across the swathe of sky Far darker than the land below It stutters, hesitates, Then rips a wall Of electric astonishment From horizon to horizon Across the sea. The camera lens, Poor, paltry thing, Too slow, too late, Too feeble. Nowhere near enough juice To record the impetuous exclamation Of the mother of all juice‌ I find myself wondering How often Light, thrown in suddenness Over the bleeding darkness Of long-entrenched ideas May serve only To leave its dazzled spectators More in the dark than before.

323


Patricia Ash Spring Comes Anyway Though there are six minutes to live, Spring comes anyway. The bright daffodils are no less cheerful. The sun that melts the soft snow No less welcome, No less warm. The blood in our veins Still sings Still dances Still embraces life With its taut excitement Even as life ebbs.

324


Christena AV Williams Poetry is my Herb Call it Kush I smoke fifty bags in lines Even a hundred Poetry is my herb My ital remedy Ignite Burning Smoke me up Let the herb fumigate Let its aroma fill the air Poetry is my herb.

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Béatrice BoufoyBoufoy-Bastick Flickers of consummation I’m summer’s child once again Running along that beach One with everything and everything’s in reach In sun warmed water I am here In summer air I am there They feel the same I am everywhere I am the sea I am the sand I want to be the sky the land. Lapping waves The waving corn By being theirs That moment’s born A flickering flame and you are there In an endless moment that will not last. Nothing can also take you there Nothing also is so quickly passed Now I’m there. Take a look around. I’m the sun on the hillside shadows on the ground. I’m the whisper in wind Silence behind sound, I’m the dust in the doorway Light of the moon a sparkle of god dust and it’s gone... too soon.

326


Rohith Da Fire i marched forthiris dilated, an army of ants crept grievance beneath skin. a stream of sparks, the kins of her came floating and whirled around playfully. persuading with my emotion burning high, now and then she offered me her hand. more i moved the more i felt her. blood vaporized flesh thawed to liquid her masses leaped onto me, tore me to ashes vigorously as lion hungry for ages.

327


Parul Begum Friends without Faces We sit and type every day and night Without thinking whether it's wrong or right. With our smart phone we roam through the internet and get lost in a maze Looking for someone or something for days. We desperately chat with others hoping that some friends we can make We meet Superman, Blade, Cinderella, and Tiana but it didn't occur to us that their profiles can be fake. We're very happy and excited to have Blade as a new friend But we didn't know there will be a sad story at the end. We continue chatting and start sharing our thoughts with a foe Soon or later he or she will shatter our hearts with a bow and arrow. Now we are sad and depressed and there is no one to tell If we are mature enough we can tolerate the sorrow or else we will deteriorate within the hidden shell. We should vow ourselves that we won't believe the strangers Even if they act like power rangers. Online predators come in various ranges After all they're all Friends without Faces.

328


Ludmila Antonoff exhale deep breath ... exhaled allowing the past to leave had the world darkened long enough? to coat my skies gray and graying for the rain to pour my wealth of tears for the hurts to bear their will, intentions without deliberate strikes, a time clasped without knowing... so the skies can once more be clear exhale slowly releasing had my travels anguised its own cuts? deep enough for the wounds to bleed, clearly for eyes to see

329


Ă€llĂĄĂą Harold Rex on a day like this on noons like this, i used to sleep. then she would roll the blinds, and we were two caged animals. our burned paws resting after worlds. on rains like this, i too used to drip. a runnel through the condense. dripping and forming on her puddles. a leaving effervescence in her heat. on dusks like this, we used to plant, plant other on other. laying bare, eating earth. our love soiled in the wettest earth on nights like this, i used to write. write into her, cuddling with words. weaving with the night, a poem i hung them on her shoulders. on dawns like this, i used to be awake. awake as a silent drizzle on the stillness of her morning. a soul raining out of the love clad, clouded night she veiled. now on noons like this weaned off her, i have the sea. it is then the crow casts a shadow. the burned eyelashes of a lover the sun plucked.

330


Bengt O Bjรถrklund Insidiously Swept By Silent Tides insidiously swept by silent tides tomorrow rolls with broken bells tolling no more one dark night seriously bound and gagged a wound a knot to be swallowed with rain and guiltless carnage by the knife there is an epitaph no diploma weariness will corrode in time told there will be many ceremonies take good care of the children burning the war of the anonymous hands that will not do what we predict no more zebra crossing winking lost stale memory warfare is dust is not like I you in a universal flash gone *** There is a murderous theocracy in a pompous petri dish vengeance in a gutter mad calling pity pity soldier boy dying the crowd that stood and stared it will pass no pain no hills no sea just a studio ale on the rocks of the imaginary a blanket a veil a whisper not

331


Tapeshwar Prasad Fit of Spell I have but one way To abut the sky Wing my freedom Soaring high This embodied form In body and mine Craze in frenzy, to Burn my passion wild Long thread of faith From me to you Rosary bound Vanishes at thy end Heart's little corner Intertwines thy braid Conjoining my form In love and tears Night and day I wick thy oil For it flickers for you In my breath Silence and I wait To disembody my gross And dissolve my wish

332


Dianne Tchir Three haikus fresh pulled grass fresh pulled grass drips from animal's mouth spring's healthy juices cat on roof top cat on roof top twitching tail, creeping paws night's loud footsteps night creeps in night creeps in on cat paws eyelids close light

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Romi Jain In Praise of his Allure Source: Voices of Rocks in the Dusk, Allahabad: Cyberwit.net, 2012 I need to imagine analogies discarding the trite images used for lovely ladies. I won’t bother my mind, thinking you deserve it or not for creativity and affection defy logic. ……… ………. ……… ………. The tip of your nose, the periphery of your lips the curve of your chin, pregnant with subtle excitement, befitting your reaction to viewing me become vivid! Which plane of creative talent should I lift them to? How should they be labeled? A puzzle for loving eyes, not shared by the eyes that view parts as parts. Magnetic charm? Ah! Perpetuity is not its domain. Flowers’ fragrance? But with endurance it’s not blessed. The Sun’s power over me? Its brightness is glaring – uncomfortably! Powerful wind? Doesn’t it subside? Lord of male charm? Ah! Your allure defies categories, and synthesis would be a simple word– regardless of the trace of virility and delicacy: this challenges the most fertile of imaginations to conceive an image with the depth of the blue tempting one to plumb, the magnificence of the heaven sparking a yearning for exploration, sprinkled by Amor with the dust of dazzle. So if the ingenuity of the human mind invents something of ineffaceable charm; if the shine and softness characterize the single sun as it rises and sets; 334


if the flower with fragrance pulling us into the whorl, is discovered in our realm; if the wind in its eternal journey whirls us across the infinite cosmos—and we don’t feel the need for a rest; and if my imagination does construct the visage blessed by Amor, the eulogy to you would progress… But don’t ask me to guess the final verse for it will never be written! My verses are not the ocean whose waves are circumscribed by the shore (and in crossing which they commit adultery for sure). Nor do they identify with life in any mission: drawn by my obsession, they are the untiring chariot, and my obsession is blind with no end in sight.

335


Frieda Groffy Autumn in the Park Sitting on a bench in the park autumn leaves falling in colorful abundance creating a crispy carpet under my feet delivering myself to the winds cold raindrops cleaning my face watching dark capricious clouds drift by in swift moves in a flash I see your face reflected smiling at me in a sensual way giving me a naughty look feeling in balance and warm again blues gone out of my soul love and all that jazz taking over in a merry-go-round tune whirling inside my heart! out of ‘The Universal Woman’ by Frieda Groffy

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Prem Anand R Words are mere words II Words are mere words on bills of barter traded by its masters slaves to be bought or sold in life or death in worlds made of material gain where it makes sense to seek its power that controls the words that determines who lives and who shall die where the tongues are silenced prisons are made for voices that freedom cannot free its quiet screams cannot be heard within the walls sealed forever in the end, words are mere words for the evil in the hearts of men for the greed or command it brings time to its end for the dead sink to their graves for in life we are measured by deed and karma comes full circle are inscribed upon tombs and obits here lies a life born, lived and died a father, a mother, a child rest in peace forever where the words cost more than the two silver coins to seal the windows of each soul to journey where words don’t exist the dead speaks, the living shuns the darkness comes, the light hides and the words fade to non existence a void of silent whispers 337


a eternal dream slumbers where they forever scream the living heed not this lesson until we too seek the wisdom of words in pages of heart and soul written in the memories of others gone

338


Maya Dev Uncertainty! Certain is thy uncertainty! Backyard of life, mystery disguised, You stand vulnerable like a clandestine haze Masked beneath the veil of life, Like a nocturnal being, a hooded serpent ready to strike anytime from the wilderness. You ruffle the rhythm grappling the grope. A Mysterious fortress witnesses helpless pangs, the grip on nerve firm and transparent, in the lee of uncertainty suspense unfolds. Beehives are shelved, bees are freed like fears. Shadow follows and burns like confusion. Swines are roaming like midnight in the valley. The moon is eclipsed, silence is haunted, secrets are concealed like bouquets collected in the wild. Yet once in a while flowers bloom in the desert with perfumed certainty to bask upon hope like a faith of lilies. Certain is thy uncertainty and uncertainty thou speak the certainty of Heisenberg!

339


Gurpreet K Bhogal Returning... Let me return like a rain making dry lands wet...... dancing as myself in the little yes's of pitter-patters on life's stage all set...... Let me return like a rain scribbling myself all around...... mixing with the unspeaking mud of lost ways to be as its fragrance everywhere found...... Let me return like a rain a calm foray after a loud thunderous cry...... let me first learn to first have the courage to fall as myself before to rise as myself I try...... Let me return like a rain mollifying all heat...... creating cool weathers of love where we can again as ourselves meet...... Let me return like a rain wiping ages of still dust...... invoking fragrance of life in this new blossom of trust...... Let me return like a rain from the heightless nowhere of the sky...... and be embraced by the earth without even a lingering vapor of a why......!!!

340


Vaishalee Namdev When she chooses to happen A thousand words in her voice haunting the damp Celtic quarters, her peaceful sighs punctuating my sleeps, and the perennial mist that infests the bay windows, she’d be as imaginary as evolution itself. At the least, to the world she’s still surreal in the mute portraits adorning their walls. There she stands, or lies rather, as a silent sentinel of the floodgates, guarding the guarded, snatched away from me everyday just because some other man ‘feels’ he could relate to her mute predicament. My nonexistent muse, my Ariadne of the labyrinthine subconscious that I nurse. Gracing me albeit , of her presence a few auspices more than the vernal equinox. She of the pristine blithe flesh and raw gaping wounds she of long calloused fingers entwined in my hair. and a proven necessity, if you ask me to sit before an easel by the break of dawn. My sparkling aquamarine in the deep recesses of dreams, my ecstatic sighs spread on the canvas. one night too many obscured in psychedelia, my precious, of the trembling hands, and bruised lips. A stolen figment of my broken world, of corpses in the armchairs, and military tanks on streets. A distinct rumble of agitation, all stoic silences drawn over windows, and yet dreams woven on threads of tears everynight. She resurrects herself within me now and then, only to adorn the naked walls of history. And bleed, in silence. 341


Kanchan Chatterjee I’m walking I’m walking down the dusty lane it’s hot but I’ll not stop I’m walking and now I crossed that house where you stayed in ‘93 see I still remember and I’m walking you were so afraid when I’d asked you to meet me ah, my feet are aching but I’m walking down the sad lane it’s almost the same and you’d said ‘okay’ and I took you to my place it was 14th Feb I guess been a massive power cut and the night had melted away in the candlelight I’m walking... 342


Sheikha A. Show me You may perceive me obsessed with the net of stars in crisscross shawling the otherwise dull sky; what may they be saying; divulge a letter, word or sentence uttered to the moon plopped upon heaven’s eye? Send me a bolt of Zeus; crack a lightning belligerent. Show me the roots from which you pour; I, ever curious, of the life you hide. What of your sanctum; or cinders in which we be cast? Show me fecundity, your gardens doth boast; or the netherworld you mask.

343


Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo Written in the Stars Inspired by the movie "Winter’s Tale" They say for each person There is a certain Miracle from within And you are meant to be just for one person As time draws to a close to meeting the One, The Universe and your Spirit Guides are on your side To help you fulfill your One True Destiny. It’s written in the stars And before you know it, I am coming to hold your hand You may not know now but soon you’ll get it somehow I may have bumped into you along life’s journey, But you were too preoccupied with your own story That you didn’t notice me passing you by. If in this life, we have to say goodbye As my soul reincarnates, I’ll meet you again in the next, When our eyes lock as we cross our paths once more You will know in your heart that it was me – your Destiny, Just look at the stars on a beautiful night such as this And know that the time is near to feel eternal bliss. It’s written in the stars For even when True Love is lost, Your soul will bleed for a meaning in your life But though the inevitable happens, searching for your One True Destiny remains If we are yet to discover our One True Miracle, Even time may defeat itself in order for you to see me in another lifetime.

344


Louise Hastings Fragile Who is she this woman of silk outlined among the rocks? She sits perched like a muffled silhouette some distance off in this silent, deserted spot where the sun throws its fire on the water and copper licks at the shore. The tide will stir and rise in endless ebbs and flows, the azure of the sky the roof of her world when she dreams, absorbed, fragile as china cups.

345


H.D. Abby Thoughts of a Handicapped Man I sit in my chair day after day. Just sitting and watching with no words to say. I see you go by in your fast-paced trend, Wanting to stop you and say “Be my friend”. You do things for me that I can not do myself, It’s plain to see, I’m in need of your help. No words can I speak to make you see, How very important you are to me. Some days go by when you speak not a word, Moving so fast, like the wings of a bird. Too busy to stop and even say “hi”, For you, time moves fast, for me, it drags by. Sometimes you’ll stop and touch my hand, Never knowing its warmth, to me is so grand. A few kind words and the smile that you share, Are enormous signs that show me you care. At times, to you, I am stupid or slow, But my thoughts and feelings you’ll never know. I can not speak the words that express how I feel, But just like you, my feelings are real.

346


Tiel Aisha Ansari Lorca On my back the heat of pockmarked adobe. Before me, rifles stare with black pupilless eyes. At my feet the trench exhales dirt smell. Beyond are scarlet anemones. In six minutes they will fire and we will fall like blossoms before scythes at harvest. In five minutes they will fire and we will fall forward into darkness. The thirsty earth will crimson with blood. You will never find my bones. By spring I will have risen like a whirlwind of dust. By spring I will have risen like a field of anemones. You will not find me in this mass grave. In four minutes they will fire and set me free. Three minutes more of Lorca, then an eternity of anemones.

347


Daniela Voicu Ghosts of existence From dark waters, a red sound is born spreading death into the light, the old fog comes home, a shadowy spirit sings a dream to escape death. With a new metallic life, the soul fights until the last sword for Peace, shadows scream inside the bodies of the floating trees: Who will remain in our blurry world, hungry for essence? We are the ghost of this era no one sees us we can be what we want, just closing the eyes in remembrance of happiness… (in every mother exists an unborn hero) “They” killed the last Eucharist with stones in the middle of the big plaza, rewriting history from the blood of each saint.

348


GeraldineGeraldine-Dray Fernandez Slaves Our love is birthed between scarlet letters and yellow stars. They stone bodies that share unconsecrated skin and gas breaths chased by demons of after-sin. We are illicit as opium in the east, we spark war where sound minds easily come off as unbuckled pants. Desert-dry, we are each other’s promised land and manna is nothing more than a shower from your manhood. While people play pharaohs, my Moses stretch forth your rod and burn, burn for these legs that part like valleys, red as an Egyptian sea.

349


Mohan Sanjeevan Never Knew Magic Awaited Me Never knew magic awaited me dressed in love a love dressed in love itself afraid to touch lest it melts yet desires mount to touch, feel, caress and be lost in the folds of love Never knew passion awaited me so beautiful yet a fire stoking the embers that lie within a fire so inviting so powerful yet so pleasant like the warmth in winter melting hearts uniting souls a fire everlasting till millennium’s end till universe’s edge to stay in bliss, entwined heaven unrivalled, a new found love unleashing the juices glowing, flowing, never slowing blossoming blooming filling the hearts one millions nights would not seem enough to enact this love wild, blissful climbing the peaks scaling the summits making the love flow ever demanding, ever yieding, ever receiving 350


Diane Sismour endless road our passion tempts untapped emotions to open beyond my limits. your whispers entangle thoughts with promises enriching my soul. you alone follow an endless road where no other dares to find me.

351


Maxwell Ryder War I went to war with a platoon of men. When bullets started flying, they became frightened in the trench, cried, then suddenly wilted, open-eyed. Their remains were left in place under white crosses, in rows, neatly arranged. Women made pilgrimages, told their husbands died heroes so the nation could survive. History today asks for more of them to placate its empty pages in the ink of their blood stains.

352


Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler On the Way to Getting There Speak first from fact—from what you in your field should know. Always be on-the-learn there and beyond. Speak for the nation, not just the party. Know the factions and the simply different. Always address them (and honestly). Don’t speak merely to please but forthrightly, not pompously, not looking down your nose. Never sneer—by mouth or body language. Go into your closet to pray. Braggadocio is never in vogue; humor, kindness always are. Listen; partner patience and due diligence. Think about our country, then move on to the world. In both, even in competition, be dignified, cooperate. If you don’t know Keats’s “Negative Capability,” Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief,” the Metaphysical poets’ combining of disparates, Einstein’s acknowledging the pricking of his thumbs, Bill Russell’s levitating, learn about them until the nape of your neck quivers momentarily when your world is right. Move on immediately to The-Beyond-Your-World.

353


Ndongolera C. Mwangupili My Love, My Woman It is the blackmail of your beauty And your arrow-like gaze, as you stand In the warmth of my arms, That vanquish my manliness. African woman, I sing Of your indigenous ornateness, The African symmetry of your figure And the fragile tenderness That envelops you. I do not need a horn or a drum To sing a song. You are my song: Those shimmering eyes And your breath are my music, Your heartbeat is the drum And your mouth is the horn. You are a light That stands out in light, Music in every song And a moon in all seasons.

354


Tessa Micaela Devout City A poem is a city on fire. -Charles Bukowski Undressed, the scaffolding and metal pullout couch springs are night cries, are the comparison hated things and flame. A city is not enough to call itself, and a man's voice saying nation, saying this is the world. Phones light up on the round table. A woman says poetry is the documentation of powerful feeling. Not trash pickup, or toy boxes, or double knotted laces, or the morning throb of too many cigarettes behind the eyes. Imagine the poem of no police and no lovers walking the streets, barricaded by sidewalks with stripes, no public restrooms, no customers to turn their keys to the locked doors. Under the cement pouring of basement after basement, batteries ooze white blood, coagulate on asphalt, radiators are heaved down stone steps. A city is not a poem until is has burned. A poem is not a city until it has burned and still repeats, line by line the falling debris, voices etched on dust clouds, laughter, as if it drunken vision, as if rusted scissors, bottles

355


Katarina Cacanović Cacanovi Under a Bridge Under a bridge, hiding all the secrets all the love stories meetings youth coming, farewells, hidden. Under a bridge, hiding, laughter and sin and kindness and beauty even a lie told, all this under a bridge. Under a bridge some are laughing and some are crying some are hiding and some sing, some show-off their grafitti skills, all this under a bridge.

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Vishal Ajmera Unadorned Twinkling Eyes Her twinkling eyes shining as the stars so bright. Room all dark her eyes, the only spark. A novel but endless tale those lids without words so majestically explain. Chanting a hymn as though with all grandeur; her eyelids so sensual kissed my soul so pure. Never uttered a word did she never passed a thought; Her sight, her only sense organ mystic though but envy not. The night passed by only stares. No touch, no seduction who cares? Now, bounded by emotional attraction Single still but now thinking in pair. Emotions flowing sensed the moist fragrant air. Blessings from heaven, the night sky flared.

357


Teresa E. Gallion Recipe for Enlightenment Look into your third eye. Tell me what you see. If you feel loss, you do not know me. Walk away quietly. Come back when you are ready to see with your heart. You will know who I am. There is no timeframe on readiness. My door is always open. I am the love that follows you lifetime after lifetime. I have no beginning and no end. I am the circle of infinite love. I have no words to give. When your heart feels that wordless love, you will fold clothes in your laundry as if there is no tomorrow. The moment radiates your light circle. I say again, look into your third eye. Embrace the silent wave that rolls over you. Wash your face in the light stream. Feel the illusions dissolve. Soar in the light of spirit.

358


Inna Dulchevsky Here-Now-You Do you feel like coming back? There is no "back" Never will be Light cannot travel into yesterday’s morning and shine on what was left Nothing is left Tears of the past are nothing but salt Confessions of a soul Dried by a yellow sun Crystals Taken by the air Somewhere where there is no one But you

359


Chris Wood Everyday Excitement It's an everyday attraction that will never be denied, an emotional attachment that made our hearts collide. There's a secret admiration that only we can understand. Yes, we share the same obsessions, yet nothing much is planned. It's an everyday occurrence, and we always meet on time. Even though there's not a schedule, it happens by design. This meeting of the minds requires no formal action, just conversant lips absorbed in soft and warm distraction. It's an everyday adventure that exhilarates our way, with eager anticipation we keep our hearts at play. Excitement every day that heightens every sense, it's no secret every moment is amazing and intense. It's an everyday connection that exceeds all expectations, and every day confirms some most intriguing speculations. That our love for one another in this perfect time and place, assures everyday excitement and guarantees our next embrace.

360


Rosa Bizzintino The first ray of sunshine Pleasant is the hearing, the voices in the streets of children running happily playing the first ray of sunshine Spring. The old smiling sit before the doors to enjoy the warmth and balconies overlook young women to brown, while the wind plows the poor houses and the sun peeps behind a cloud of cotton.

361


Joseph Hesch After the rain After the rain, shoulders hunched and face clenched into a fist, you punch your way through the west wind. It undresses you with your clothes still on, stabbing and chilling your skin like you're bare-ass in the twilight. Your eyes open wider after you splash through a puddle that'll pickle your feet in their leather jars unless you find a warm shelf to rest them on. Red-shouldered black birds spin their motorboat wings, tailfeather rudders yawing this way and that, nattering above the whole fuss of clothes and shoes and the cars that spit in your face as they pass. The same face Mother Sun wraps in a smile, your sweet companion in this westward walk to tomorrow.

362


Ibrahim Honjo Chaos That murmur that murmurs in me the echoes that in me resound like bells ringing in me that crack in me bursting that shake in me shivers disturb me into restlessness The pains that tear me off to tear you, torment me, to murmur, resound, to echo, ringing, to ring, sputter, to crack, shivering, to join the riots, it is not Christmas’ sounds but my laughter, how to overcome this laughter how to untie knots in the heart how to navigate when you do not know what resounds in me? What rings which is bursting? What shivers, insanity, or a blank ego, or a hero’s story not fully told to me or a wild past pulling me into the abyss?

363


Souradeep Roy Death When the scorching yellow sun fell on your body I imagined moonlight on your naked brown skin; your nipples like eyes, looking at me yearnfully, asking my mouth to devour them. I did. You pulled my hair. Then you breathed in a long gasp of air. And we both died there, instantly.

364


Frank Steenson Daylight brings emptiness I awoke to the scent of you It lingered on the bed sheets Intoxicating The pillow though warm Bore no imprint In this semi darkness I clutch at a shadow Were you here? Just another dream With daylight comes the emptiness The memories of you Remain through each timeless day I long for sleep again For the warmth of your embrace

365


Angela.F20 Angela.F20cc 20cc The Great Pretender I’ve been petrifying and feeding the voices in my head With violent emotions to preserve all the unwanted things they’ve said And now I’m saying this to let them go away from me And to let you know that maybe they’ll haunt you too by toromorrow Who knows? As I speak by now there’s only one thing they keep saying To stop my tongue from exposing and disposing all their tunes Though dying still praying from shade of red ’cos I refused And I know after this I’ll be free From the fiction that hides all my tragedies The truth will expose my skin And drop the walls on my mind to let go of my grimm To live for another day without regrets of who I’ve been. I’m free.

366


James Dooney Cold dark tears Cold dark tears release from my eyes and drip a frozen trail down the contours of my face. where at the end they sharpen and birth sharp blades of ice... that leave the runway of my cheeks and sound a most terrible screech as they violently pierce the air a screech only matched by the symphonic crash surely heard as those sharp bladed tears mercilessly shatter into the ground below. ..

367


Amar The Day Vision I am up before the dawn breaks I run as the dark fades I sleep a little allowing my body and senses to unwind I eat a little nourishing my soul, body and mind Laziness knocked, I left it unheard Energy is my name, Vibrant is my word I love my past, everything has had a reason The lessons have made me what I have become Spring is my favourite and I love every season Future will be as I see it or better still I am sure

368


Archana Jayaseelan A Stolen Page from her Dearest Dreams ‘twas a tranquil scene, that was seen With the waters reflecting the green And busy whispers between the trees Of tales from the past and all that’s been... A mild fragrance carried in the breeze. And there was this boat, inviting her eye To kiss those waters, thus sail and fly; She stepped in slow, to have her ride And immerse in the bliss of tranquil’s sky... On royal waters, would her boat just glide. As she turned back, she felt, she saw his face, A drop of tear from her eyelids’ gaze, His voice was music, ‘neath the clouds so frail, Those beats from her heart, in a faster pace... ~ a distant memory from somewhere did trail... And then came pleasure to sweetly fill, Ripples on lakes, the dew from leaves would spill, His smile was magic, enchanted with gleams And the kiss on her cheek, lingered still... ~ it was a stolen page, from her dearest dreams...

369


Erin Gregory Moldy Minutes That first day, we bought a giant box of clementines and sat on the Red of your car to eat them. You pulled the skins off in insistence of getting to the goodness (I felt offended and sad for your peel) Even so, our skins laced the sidewalk that day, quite indifferent, for what else can one be when loss overwhelms? We pranced the same cement as everyone else did when they were youngsters, but now they’re old and grey, and we are too, oh darling. and your honey voice tells me many things, like it used to, (punctured with quivers and medication). But I prod you to hobble back, In your rumbly red car Years grown tight under your waistband. We drag vivacity into our feet as they grace the path where they first met and skins dropped. where they pushed the dirt in further down, and cracked the cement

370


M. Lee Alexander Snow cave When hikers lost in mountains wander aimless through the forest dark and search teams find their clothing scattered gaily cross the ice-worn paths: jacket hanging from a bush, scarf twisted round a frozen tree shirts and slacks and argyle socks abandoned at the snow-cave’s mouth the word goes forth that they’re trapped in the desperate illusion known as paradoxical undressing— feeling warmth when in fact freezing fooled by the fatal warming of the dangerous exposure into thinking though they’re dying that they’re safe and finding shelter That’s why I perform for you my paradoxical undressing stripping down the layers bare when most I should be bundling up against the fatal warming of your infinite persuasion, that warms my heart and fools my soul when most you’re wandering cold into the wild

371


Nadeem Jahangir Bhat Pale hands and dim eyes Pale hands and dim eyes, I loved dearly besides you. The galaxy of pains and pangs, I hugged carelessly besides you. Who sings in the asylum of broken hearts? I sobbed quietly besides you. I saw Zainab wailing over Hussain, I mourned falsely besides you. Tonight God abandoned me, I laughed bitterly besides you. They say everything seized on doomsday, I existed silently besides you.

372


John Anstie The Tool Belt My mind is working overtime the thought of it is too sublime for simple words. Am I overawed by thought of leather belt that’s way too taut; for hip it girds! ’Midst all her black, a little red? perhaps some satin on the bed and bluebirds sing with rhythm that defines the thrust; repeating melody of lust; love with a sting. Her nourishment’s not on a plate; it is another kind of bait that is her meat. The fuel that fills her life is love; a petal kissed, and heavens above… no time to eat?

373


Sandeep Kumar Mishra There are two ways to live a life My mental wire renders Images of worn out routes, After a short circuit happened In the pathways of daily burdens. My diseased body quivers with its weight The hard stitch rubbles skin snatchers, Leeched of life force I have little energy to breath. The voice I hear is not my own, They dictate notes in familiar tone But full of foreign phrases, Which they disguise as invitation. I wish I could dissolve from memory Or hide in my skull cave, But it is not wise to stifle. Then an unlearned laughter comes A spring emerges into sun rays A river emerges from the seas, There are two ways to live a life I can pursue the difficult one.

374


Eftichia Kapardeli At flapping wings Three angels with excess peacefulness on one virgin dome a simplistic church hanging Flowers measure forces on stone slits The people grow in loneliness hungry for love The deserted streets Hold the calcined sun of summer birds waiting

375


Nishant Yadla Bare Lies and Solemn Promises Woke up on the wrong side of life, I hear its silence. Always took the path less trodden, only to find blisters on my soles. Closer I come to my shimmering hope, the farther it moves, we stand apart by poles. Try running past your shadows, they come back chasing you down. Ever tried walking with your head held up high?, soon all the burden will push it down. Bare lies and solemn promises, our lives are all the same. Even worst for some of us, life as they sum it up, is nothing but a bane. Why do we build our castles in thin air? when the winds one day will bring them down with utter disdain. Why do we still fight ourselves? when we all know that is how ends are made. How does it feel when you trust someone? only for the trust to fade. Now I wake up somewhere beyond all, beyond the barbed reality. The path I take, streams of cool, comforting stream caress my soles. My abandoned hope is now pulling me towards it, I call feel it plug the holes. Nothing chasing me as I rush past myself. Head held high above the heavens, bare lies and solemn promises, they won't again push my head down.

376


Blanca Alicia Garza Soul Serenade Bare my soul but not my skin; touch my heart, but not my body. Talk to me in the most sweet and beautiful way, run your fingers through my skin and write me a love poem. But never shall you feel the music and wonders of my body until you finally learn the song of my soul. I will touch your body like a fine guitar, leaving heartprints all over you. My soft and delicate caress will serenade your heart and I’ll find the path to your soul and make you forever mine through eternity.

377


378


Poets in ABC order Poet

Page

A. Hansley Jr. Aamod Jha

227

Abhimanyu Kumar S Abhinav Bhagwan Mishra Abhipsa Gaur

215

Abhishek Dua Adrian 'Aj' Allen Alan I Reed Alberto Quero Alex O. Edevwie Àlláñ Harold Rex Alonzo Nunez Amar Amber Brodie Ampat Koshy Ampat Koshy Amy Standring Anastasia Nikolis Anatoly Molotkov Anca Mihaela Andrew Campbell-Kearsey Angela.F20cc Anil Kumar Panda Animesh Chaudhary Anindya Sundar Roy Anna Clay Anna Maria Mickiewicz

71

239 251 226 54 134 129 265 330 116 368 68 29 176 128 184 312 93 110 366 201 51 77 287 206 379


Anna Rindfleisch Anne Craig Anne Wilkerson Allen Anurag Shourie April Mae Berza Archana Jayaseelan Baishali Bhaumik Mitra Baljeet Singh Randhawa Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick Bel Hill Bengt O Björklund Bernard Cadillon Bernard Shaw Beth Winter Billy Whitehorn Binod Bastola Blanca Alicia Garza Bo Sweets Bolko Rawicz Borce Panov Brandy Chandler Branka Vojinović-Jegdić Brian Stark Brynn Copeland Candice James Ceri Naz Chantel Fortier Charles Banks Jr. Chaz Gee Cheryl Pillsbury Chez Harvey Chinedu Jonathan Ichu Chris Wood Christena AV Williams Cindi Silva 380

197 97 22 245 243 369 272 58 326 107 331 262 100 222 284 30 377 20 90 187 146 44 150 171 254 310 41 60 165 180 256 99 360 325 261


Colin Marschall Connie Rich-Simeone Constancio S. Asumen, Jr. Cookie Monstah Corz Wong Canda Cynthia Baculi-Condez Dania Aldeek Daniel de CullĂĄ Daniel Dean Young Daniela Voicu Darren Scanlon David Clarke DeBorah Le Raconteur Desmond Kon Zhicheng-MingdĂŠ Dewey Dirks Diana Cosma Diane Simkin Diane Sismour Dianne Tchir Dolly Singh Doug Groberg Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler Dr. Santosh Bakaya Dr. Vijay Nair Dragana Zeljko Dubblex Alleyne Earl LeClaire Eftichia Kapardeli Eileen Elkinson Elijah Guo Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo Ellenelizabeth Cernek Kashk Elvira Lobo Emalia (Melissa Medina) Emilie Vince

162 195 117 223 175 94 228 80 220 348 219 63 322 164 76 173 23 351 333 52 318 353 91 98 159 275 188 375 137 299 344 291 49 92 153 381


Eric VanEpps Norton Erin Elizabeth Smith Erin Gregory Erwin Kroon Eunice Barbara C. Novio Evelyn Asher Evelyn McAmis Bales Ezeiyoke Peter Chukwunonso Fahredin Shehu Fairy Dharawat Fatima Afshan Frank Steenson Fred McIlmoyle Frieda Groffy Gabriele U Stauf Gail Willems Gary Winters Geoffrey Greer George Amabile Geraldine-Dray Fernandez Gitana Deneff Gloria MacKay Gurpreet K Bhogal Gustavius Dyer Aiton H D Moore H.D. Abby Hamdi Meรงa Hannah Erwin Holly Spencer Hugh Wyles Ian Hall Ibrahim Honjo Iman Ksingh Inna Dulchevsky Irsa Ruรงi 382

208 166 370 297 39 286 205 121 170 273 224 365 48 336 113 192 96 31 62 349 213 277 340 191 104 346 25 139 102 64 57 363 305 359 295


J. Todd Underhill Jack Horne Jack Trammell Jackie Chou Jacqueline Dick James A. Coghlan James Collins James Dooney Janice M Pickett Jaye Tomas JBMulligan Jean-Michel Hatton Jeet Oberoi Jennifer Hodgens Jessica Livermore Joe Opeyemi John Anstie John Lambremont John Mc Guckin John Patrick Boutilier Joie Schmidt Jose Pinto Joseph Adkins Joseph Hesch Joy Leftow Kanchan Chatterjee Karen A. Powell Katarina Cacanović Katherine K. Walker Kaushal Gupta Kay Salady Keely Tharp Ken Allan Dronsfield Ken Eaton-Dykes Kiarra Lynn Smith

202 145 292 260 174 118 35 367 196 120 26 156 235 194 279 89 373 217 316 53 200 36 152 362 177 342 168 356 307 61 169 158 289 281 309 383


Kiren Babal Kristina Monroe LaGrif Lakora Emery Laura Jorden Laura Lamarca LaVonne Taylor Leah Miranda Hughes Leland James Linda Moon Lisa Nicole Stewart Liz Hufford Ljiljana Milosavljević Louis Marvin Louise Hastings Ludmila Antonoff Lynn White M. K. Sukach M. Lee Alexander Mang’eni Wycliffe Obwoya Marc Creamore Marck Riggins Marcy Van Lente Margo Peterson Marianne Yenouskas Marieta Maglas Marsha Berry Mary Kellis Mary Zayas Masiela Lusha Matlyn Peracca Matthew Shane Yodhes Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose Maxwell Ryder Maya Dev 384

78 308 258 209 306 247 283 240 119 67 250 229 304 108 345 329 151 278 371 86 255 237 43 82 56 185 132 105 73 131 189 274 323 352 339


Meetu Nadir Meg Eden Megan Lloyd MÊlisande Fitzsimons Michael C Sullivan Michael Enevoldsen Michael Lee Johnson Michael Shrob Michaela Sefler Michelle D’costa Mohan Sanjeevan Moria Jackson Munia Khan Myra Lochner Nadeem Jahangir Bhat Nancy Rakoczy Ndongolera C. Mwangupili Neelamani Sutar Neelamani Sutar Nicolette van der Walt Nishant Shah Nishant Yadla Nishta Kumar Nivedita aka Divenita Er Odunayo Ajani Oluwatoba Parminder Singh Parul Begum Parul Garg Pasha Alden Patricia Ash Patricia Carragon Patrick Connors Pauline Suwanban Peggy Ann Tartt Perveiz Ali

210 155 33 271 75 124 50 88 270 101 350 167 81 144 372 269 354 69 142 268 288 376 103 178 147 230 328 231 179 324 66 154 236 218 242 385


Peter Goulding Peter Sutton Philippe Shils Phoebe Gazi PJ Poesy Poppy Ruth Silver Prem Anand R Priti Dabral Prritiy Purvi Petal R Jayachandran Rachel Yu Radostina A. Angelova Raj Shekhar Sen Rajib Ghosal Ray Liversidge Ray Ndebi Reena Prasad Rich Kurtz Richard Doiron Rinzu Susan Rajan Rishaw Gupta Robert Anderson Robert Gibbons Robert Vanleeuwen Robin Ouzman Hislop Rohith Da Romi Jain Rosa Bizzintino Ryfkah S.E. McDermott Sadiqullah Khan Sagorika Chakraborty Sally Odgers Samantha Sloan Samantha Walt 386

301 320 207 183 40 112 337 285 21 28 123 140 55 190 296 246 24 42 311 46 298 133 294 19 47 327 334 361 127 249 85 83 182 157 149


Sandeep Kumar Mishra Sapote Bird Sarah Silence Satya Srinivas Satyender P. Nanda "Aas" Shabir Ahmad Shane Wilson Shanton Dutta Nilachal Sharon Ansay Villaverde Sharonrose Charmz Shashwat Bhushan Gupta Sheikha A. Shruti Goswami Slañana Lazić Slobodan Mrkojević Smrithi Prabhat Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA Sonnet Mondal Souradeep Roy Sowmya Aaryanmenon Stefy Janeva Stuart Higginson Subhra Mahapatra Sudeep Singh Rawat Sunaina Jain Sunayna Pal Sunil Sharma Sunila Khemchandani Surazeus Simon Seamount Susan Martin Šuvak Nataša Suvojit Banerjee Suzanne White Tapan Kalita Tapeshwar Prasad

374 72 198 186 87 38 122 27 211 95 160 343 314 319 44 238 263 266 364 233 244 148 293 234 214 161 303 321 74 264 300 267 65 136 332 387


Tate Morgan Tatjana Debeljacki Teresa E. Gallion Tessa Micaela Tiel Aisha Ansari Tim Williams Tom Berman Tom Botkin Tonny K. Brown Tristan Welch Twill Tyler Drescher Ujjol Kamal Vaishalee Namdev Vibha Babbar Vicky Resting Vinay Kuchhal Vincent Berquez Vishal Ajmera Vito Tribuzio Vojislav Durmanović W. Jude Aher Wanda Lea Brayton Wendy Chin-Tanner William Fraker William Ryan Hilary Xin Liu Yeşim Ağaoğlu Zo-Alonzo Gross Zoe I. Levornik

388

125 317 358 355 347 248 232 212 313 225 280 130 276 341 204 259 138 126 357 84 193 302 109 163 199 203 32 290 315 181


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