J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, Tuck Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Synchronized Chaos, and Haikuniverse. Jerry D.
Birthdays changed the year my mother
Sent a card, then called
A month too soon.
She sounded betrayed, somehow,
When I finally said,
But mom, it's in August.
After a pause she said,
What are you saying?
I, if anyone, should know
When my children were born.
A fear, new to her, a fear
We'd all get to know so well,
Had settled to the bottom of her voice.
Out here they wait for Godot,
Pass time as best they can,
Blend to this background of gray
The full array of gray --
Weather off the North Atlantic,
Limestone melting down into itself.
A limestone so porous even
Rain passes through,
Stays slippery underfoot
But never holds long enough
To puddle or encourage growth.
A few wildflowers cling to life
In the crevices, out of this wind.
Their purple and yellows fail
To soften the moment.
This is the twilit surface
Of the moon, the wasteland,
The aftermath, Purgatory,
What we escaped from, what
We know we are coming to.
Folks around here like to tell
How Cromwell's armies mourned
This absence of trees, trees to hang
The nearest papists from, nor water
To drown them in, no ground
For graves, nor dirt for the living
To cover up their dead.
Weather weighs too much around here
affects more than just mood and travel
plans. It clings to us like someone else’s
clothes we took by accident from a dryer
at a laundromat we no longer can find.
Why, today is too small, a very tight fit,
restrictive, ready to rip open anytime;
this tear in the seam seems to get wider
each time I stand or walk around a bit.
Of course, you know I’d never wear this
color, and these boyish stripes make me
look older than I really am and fatter.
No need to mention fatter for that matter;
the day puts pounds on everyone here – it
weighs, it stays, like uninvited guests, like
unfinished business, like the flu, like bad
politics, bad plums, and, of course, bad verse.
Gerard Sarnat is the author of four critically-acclaimed collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). Work from Ice King was accepted by over seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle, and featured in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan. For Huffington Post and other reviews, reading dates, publications, interviews and more, visit GerardSarnat.com. Go to Amazon to find Gerry’s books plus Editorial and Customer Reviews.
Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s spent time in jails as a physician and protestor, built and staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Sarnat's spent decades working for Middle East peace, including being a member of the US’s longest-running Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group and serving on the New Israel Fund international board. Married since 1969, he has three children and four grandkids.
Men’s Group Prison Process
primary gang colors
into a quilt of intimacy.
Being gay is passé.
TG spectrum’s trendy.
Let's be on our way.
Post Hoosegow Haiku
Surfing the Pacific
after 60 years --a kid’s
zest again – plop.
Bijay Kumar Show from Durgapur, India has been teaching in National Institute of Technology, Durgapur for about 08 years. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Engineering in 2014. He enjoys teaching and research and likes to spend quality time with family. To him, poetry is the painting of one’s inner self with colours of eclectic feelings. Poetry is also a source of contentment and peace for him. His poetry has recently been published in Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice and Ashvamegh Journal (where he was selected as Featured Poet in its August 2016 issue).
I asked the rising sun in despair,
Why don’t you freeze?
On the wake of global warming;
I asked the glorious full moon in disgrace,
Why don’t you hide and become ‘no moon’?
Having witnessed the violence on femininity;
I asked the stars in anguish,
Why don’t you stop twinkling?
While seeing terror attacks on humanity;
I asked the vast blue sky in grief,
Why don’t you cover yourself with cloud’s blanket?
On the crisis of global intolerance;
Then reply came from………
The Sun and the Moon,
The blue sky and the little Stars;
Why don’t you wake up and turn inwards?
To witness all the chaos inside;
Outer world is just a reflection,
Of everybody’s inner hate and violence;
Thus the only solution for all these is,
LOVE and ONLY LOVE.
The brook emanated from
The fountain of my heart,
In your search, has now
Become turbulent and intolerant;
The ray of light radiated from
The heart’s fire of longing,
In your hunt, has now
Converted into gigantic volcano;
The cold breeze escaped from
My restless and swaying heart,
In your quest, has now
Transformed into ruthless storm;
The tiny cloud of hope formed
In my heart’s empty sky,
For seeking your company, has now
Consumed my heart’s whole sky;
The tree of optimism sprouted
From my heart’s bare land,
In your search, has now been
Standing with fallen leaves;
Seeking you, in sheer madness;
Rebellious thus became, my
Five elements of existence;
But I know…….
Brook will merge into sea;
Suppressed fire will erupt;
Storm will calm down;
Clouds disappear on raining;
Spring will come again;
I will find you one day, thus.
Ignore not, please!
Run away, instead,
If, want not my company;
Ignore not, please!
React strongly, instead,
If, want not listen to me;
Ignore not, please!
Express aggression, instead,
If, want not eye-contact;
Ignore not, please!
Reject me, instead,
If, want not to like me;
Your mere rejection
Is as good as your love;
Stronger the disapproval
Deeper will be your love;
As waves emerge,
From deep serene sea;
So, rejection surfaces,
From deep attraction;
Born in Italy some decades ago, Gabriella Garofalo fell in love with the English language at six, started writing poems (in Italian) at six and is the author of “Lo sguardo di Orfeo”; “L’inverno di vetro”; “Di altre stelle polari”; “Blue branches”.
Dunno why she never learnt
To gracefully ease through cobalt rules
And whirling whispers in the sky:
How to cope they didn’t know,
So they handed her over to nights
Too busy with meeting friends, errands to run,
They couldn’t foster my soul, maybe that’s why -
Schtum now and let in skews of light,
No more captives of grim quasars
My comets skip, jump, leap,
Survivors from spent days -
Him, you mean? Oh, drop his bloody bragging,
There, I’ve turned the sun off,
Yet I can see you, Father, you are drawing
Clouds, all of them a jerky fad, a delusion,
Yet I can hear the light’s voice,
Your silent yes to first creation,
To boundless art, you are my mother -
It all capsized.
Enough enough then
With fresh pomegranate juice,
We’ve been drinking death for ages -
Have a look, c’mon,
Blue blankets in the back yard
Dancing on the washing line,
And you, time, go, go I say, run like hell,
Forget blue girls or breeding mums:
Fed up with diving your sirens lust for sky -
Listen, keep it sharp keep it short
Lest women smear our sight at the art den -
Just spot three, the dazed lady
Holding hands with a sturdy guy,
The artsy girlie clad in blue lace trousers,
I kid you not, all curls à la Dionysus,
The cougar glowing with name-dropping, silicone,
Man o man, aren’t naked verbs, clothed limbs,
Hidden love affairs a tricky scrape
‘Get out into summer’ they belt out
And wink cheeky from afar -
Dead air outside, love, I’m afraid:
Not my fault, of course, but oh so sorry -
Please meet him and his endless names -
Green everywhere -
Tradition says Eve’s daughters
Smell strange, is that right?
Well, just now there is this subtle
Or not so subtle scent:
Spike heels, miniskirts,
Tattooed legs, skin-tight tees,
Then God’s creativity shows up:
Demise, cold stones meddling
If women shunt or trees move on,
Soul where seed disperses
When candles raise exhausted glow
When angels shred rooms,
Of course with light -
Drop dead twice, noise, she’s going
Back to the stars that fix what went awry,
You know how first creation fouls it up:
Foliage, vault of the sky, ditching white -
No myth hold you safe, no prophet
House you desert -
Questions maybe, scant words of light
As candles hiss your name she can’t feel mother -
Yet you inside.
‘T was the best part of our childhood,
We played, free and flowing like clouds -
We were clouds -
But the angels fired off without warning,
Wild shot discharge, we both jammed up with light -
Listen now, there’s a good girl:
I’ve just run short of questions and time,
Workshops, book fairs, the fairy tales of raped souls,
Resentful lines simmering with grudge or grinding -
Sorry? Oh, you don’t need names or queries, do you?
Sure as hell, as you smite all names, all queries,
Even the mad thinker says you rose higher much higher
Than names queries daft words,
Well, so he says -
When and only when stillness was the stuff of another life,
Maybe the stuff fairy tales are made of,
Meantime health and sleep go awol
and my sister’s words are beating like traffic lights,
Green red green red -
Or is it a heart’s lights just a sec before riots strike?
Poet FETHI SASSI was born on the 1st of June 1962 in Nabeul Tunisia . A writer of prose poetry and short poems. He participated in several national literary meetings. A member in the Tunisian Writers' Union. And member in the Literature Club at the cultural center of Sousse. His first book of poetry entitled "A Seed of Love" was published in the year 2010. The second entitled “ I dream …. And “I sign on birds the last words " in 2013. The third book of poetry " a sky for a strange bird “ in Egypt. And a short poem book entitled “All the universe is only the face of my beloved”.
I do not remember well ... It was something
resembling her face
Poem in arabic fethi sassi
TRASLATED BY MONIA ZGUIDI
She was drinking the rainbow …
Hiding behind the bottle of absence
I do not remember well ... It was something resembling her face
I was with her drinking my retreat
Upon the arm of an apologizing flute ...
But the night revealed to her its fragrance
And invited her to sleep on the note of love ...
Her face blazed with poetry ; she melted as a poem
She is still , as usual , looking from the window of time
Like a butterfly bearing in the fingertips a sob that engraves
Thus names dangled for her like desperate bunches on the ramparts of a poem ....
I do not leave her dream early until choose to the wind the stones of oblivion
I sleep with her and on the hand of the evening a kiss hangs like
dreams of a kitten ...
A lip that sheds clouds on the groves of amazement
Me ... I will steal a star and hide in the mist of words
So, alone ,the night ascends the ladder of time , chatting with a butterfly of amazement.
At the window of my heart I weave climates to the forthcoming seasons
So, spread to me a wish in the emptiness ...
Kiss me! your spittle is enough for me to drown ….
You , a face absent from my poems
Open to me the sun gate to drink my storm ,
for I see behind the absence a raining cloud upon her obstinate cup
Like the sore sunset smile
Like the evening tale
So be lenient waves !!
My fingertips care about her absence.
Her kiss is a hole poem .....
Let's enter together the dungeons of her body
There we shall knead the clay of the story ; and venture in the folds of its charm
We never care about the alchemy of kisses ...
But I do not remember well...It was something resembling her face...
Colin Dodds is the author of Another Broken Wizard, WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” His writing has appeared in more than two hundred publications, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology. Poet and songwriter David Berman (Silver Jews, Actual Air) said of Dodds’ work: “These are very good poems. For moments I could even feel the old feelings when I read them.” Colin’s book-length poem That Happy Captive was a finalist for the Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award as well as the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award in 2015. And his screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter. See more of his work at thecolindodds.com.
Just breathing is a hanging offense
But reprieves are all around
Bad baptisms glow and shift
from digital jukebox coin changer
scratch-off-ticket vending machine trivia screen
devices to keep the people out of the people
The dead forgive your desires
The ones wise enough not to love you will answer your questions
Every man a justifiable homicide
though we’ve been advised not to think on that
Every man a justifiable homicide
and that includes you
So pause, if you must,
only to rinse
in songs and cheap light
the heart beats and the eyes see
My Bother’s Keeper
with perverse and gorgeous bother
Fountains gasp and babble in dead-end streets
and open-ended piazzas
A family pulls creatures from the deep
interrogates and torments them
The fountain freezes the creatures in their agony
as they confess what, to them, is everything
To me, it’s water
Insignias on garbage trucks and manhole covers
display infants suckling a she-wolf
Such a calamity of maternity to found a city upon!
But why the wolf and the infants? Why a fountain at all?
Why reality at all? Why the bother? Why bother?
Am I my bother’s keeper?
The bother, above all, persists
It separates earth from dark water
in a haphazard outburst
then flees responsibility, only to turn up late
waking me from a good sleep
to help rehearse its alibi
Angels of Philadelphia
Skyscrapers secreted from a mechanical heaven
where the army committed miracles
prophesied commemorated or both
by the twenty-foot train-station angel hauling a corpse
the demolished stadium the marble placards in gutted banks
and William Penn’s benediction to where
his treaty partners roam no more
Bounded by established spirits
its angels cost more to rip out
than the square footage is worth
Amtrak beers cut sleeplack
from an early wakeup for menial labor
and from the outcome of a sporting event on TV
Don’t laugh, shortfalls in perspective
are all that distinguish us
Hurtling past lots of chewed-up cars
across from a man who’s so late he’s nearly nothing else
though it’s only 45 minutes
Up the line the somewhat woods
of truck docks and radio towers
house angels too I guess
poor relations with incomprehensible traditions
rumored in worm tracks under tree bark
angels who’d chew your ear off
about the morning’s cloud banks
The buildings beside the river abandoned
not by people but by every custom of ownership
Old friends sit on shores half-shored with broken aluminum
quietly enraged as water and time pass without regard
chuckling that every dignity left
is outsized and doomed
Who was the one who
memorized the pavement?
Who explained the buildings railroads canals?
Who crusted over of the fountain of reality?
Who dries the radiating deserts and waters the hanging gardens
of cascading consequence?
Patron of money sickness boredom
Humility’s inventor, imagination’s comeuppance
Landlord’s friend, flatfooted lucklack, hammerhead demiurge
You may not recognize him
But he recognizes you
He takes your complaints in stride
knowing better than any
how what passes for freedom
Who divulges the curbs lanterns doorjambs
drones the don’ts and incants the can’ts?
and mumbles the caveats of graveyards and liquor stores?
Who says horizon horizon horizon
and what does he say it to ward off?
A Thousand-Year Lullaby
Above the asphalt and trash
snarl at their benefactors
Perturbation of nations and the spinning heavens alike
is a mere toy
by which an idiosyncratic Infinite Infant
His wails wrest us from our greatest loves
and hardest-bought triumphs
so desperate they make us for sleep
Between tides of reunion and decay
amid siren chant and diesel dirge
a slovenly man murmurs a lullaby
to keep The Kid asleep
The conscientious dress in prayers:
That He may grow up
That He will not outgrow us
The world, for Him,
may be a toy
But it is almost all we have
Frank Diamond’s poem, “Labor Day,” has recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize Award. His short stories have appeared in Innisfree, Kola: A Black Literary Magazine, Dialogual, the Madras Mag, Reverential Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, the Zodiac Review and the Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review. He has had poetry published in Philadelphia Stories, Fox Chase Review, Deltona Howl, Artifact Nouveau, Black Bottom Review, and Feile-Festa. He lives in Langhorne, Pa.
One Night in Harpoon Henry’s
When my first wife died I withered and withdrew
And lonely did I scale the couloir of grief
Curling about myself like that indolent snake
Confronting that first wife with cancer’s last claim
Just an overgrown garden snake parked upon our drive
A brown arm’s-spread length of languid reptilian still
A critter I’d never seen before or since that meeting
Curled into a taunt that he hurled at my own girl
Coiling tighter in delight: “The hour’s come for you!”
She died soon after when the siege broke through
And I never really heard the music until its absence
Of delight in all creation—that’s how her voice fulfilled
So what torched despair’s fingers until the grip gave out?
One night in Harpoon Henry’s I kissed a pretty woman
A nice, friendly girl I’d been working with for years
Mouth-to-soul resuscitation seasoning bloodless sleep
That kiss—alone, apart, about. A prelude to nothing
Except the entirety of life. A kiss. That’s it.
Interceding like prayer to caulk my brokenness
Did I ever tell that girl what that kiss delivered?
I now forget (surprise!) how she wriggled off the hook
Can’t even recall the name, just drops of smiling eyes
I am deaf, now. Blind. Can’t bend to tie my shoe
A salty wind-whipped spray gentles this old wheeze
Lets me taste that kiss once more and that is what I’ll ride
You may release your servant, Lord. It is time for me to die.
Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch poetess Inge Wesdijk.
She started to write English poetry four years ago and posted some of her poems on her Facebook page and on her website .
She likes hardrock music, photography and fantasy books.
Daginne is a vegetarian and spends a lot of time with her animals.
Your mind is an ardent poison
Blazing your thoughts into black ashes
Your mental state is a delusion
When pureness and insanity crashes
Do you believe in your guileful lies
A spirits desolation where no one wins
Look into my compassionate eyes
I shall be the redemption of your sins
A lost well of golden wishes
A tendril from the wood of forgotten trees
A sparkle of healed broken promises
That's how you broke my boundaries
I've read your book
It's closed now
The beginning excited me
But I lost that feeling
Just needed to be free
Spread my wings again
Travelling through my mind
Fighting against my rage
And I know that I will find
My own unwritten page
© Daginne Aignend
Olatunde Temitayo is a Nigerian poet, playwright, short story writer and a critic. He is currently the Vice president of Association Of Nigerian Authors, Osun State University branch, Nigeria. He won the award of best writer in 2016 and also in the same year, he was honoured with another award of Writer of the year. His works have been published in different publications.
The truth I have known
Freed me from shackle of love
I've once been a traitor
Who betrayed my reasoning
The time to depart is here
Time to unite might be there
The days are now mocking me
Weeks are whining me
Let I love you be a tale
As I said to you under Odan tree
When the darkness around us whispered
And smiles powdered your face
Eyes; deceived by darkness
Blindfolded to see the ugliness in your beauty
Ants are my witness
I thought Sarah you were
Or a reincarnation of Mary
The ants on that tree witnessed the scene
Though in room we met
Magnetting two hot bodies
Discovering the ugliness in your beauty
Trying to open the doors
With my key that has two holders
Your men I gave yams in buried months
Cum kolanut that was assassinated by their mouths
With gallons of palm oil in one side
Gazing a tied hopeless goat
My kinsmen' bodies that hugged the ground
All were meant to fufill righteousness
And a betrayal of reasoning
Let's depart now and might unite there
Deliver my lines to papa
Whose greediness is of Jacob
Tell him; my yams I need
And the kolas I want
For your doors keys have opened
And many passerbies have passed there
Since I can now see the ugliness in your beauty
Let us depart now and might unite in another world
I hoped to see your doors stained with blood
As my key opened it with harshness
But your door was too wide
That no key could fill
Let's depart now and unite there
In my left hand I have pure handkerchief
And the right one houses an empty matches
All are embryos of the ugliness in your beauty
Then; I wondered why the trees withered
As we traded words under Odan's tree
The green on that tree became yellowish
But since love has curtained my reasoning
I did not know; your ugliness withered the tree
Let's depart now and might unite in another world.
ABIJAH IS IN LOVE
You are the love of my life
The eyeballs I can't live without
I love you like ant loves sugar
You spring happiness in my life
The whole world I think I have
As my eyes eye your eyes
Tell me you love me
Tell me I am the alveolar in your mouth
For alveolar, you will do without
Look unto my eyes and say I love you
Don't make me the nails in your fingers
Nail me In your heart
Like the nailing of Messiah in buried centuries
Let your heart be the cross and I, Jesus
Because Abijah is in love
Honey tries to be sweeter than you
Salt sees you as its rival in my life
Joy sees you as the road to get to my life
Even the happiness in my life, without you it can't do
For you are a sea that happiness sails to my life
Let my heart magnet yours
Like iron that magnet magnet
Let me be the iron and you, magnet
Because Abijah is in love
If mountain I should climb
And Valley should I visit
Even if I have no legs, I shall crawl
Only to declare my love at the peak
If roaring sea should I swim in
Only to declare my love at the bottom
I am ready to take the risk of the roars
Because Abijah is in love
My love! The day I met you
My heart became frozen without refrigerator
Was it because of your beauty?
Or your smiles that can defeat Jericho
I mean your smiles is hallelujah that demolish my wall of sadness
You are the hallelujah and my sadness, Jericho
I am dying everyday hoping you have me in your heart
I do not want you in my life
But I need you in my life
Though you are already an estate in my life
But tell me you are happy to be in my heart
You are the estate in my life constructed by love
My love, Abijah is in love
Tell me how I can sneak into your life
Tell me how you can love me
Tell me how I can be the beat at the back of your heartbeat
I am ready to wait for thousand years
Even if I have withered before thousand years
I will still be in heaven waiting for an answer
Because Abijah is in love
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Guwahatian Magazine (India), The Galway Review (Ireland), Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Osprey Review (Wales), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey) and other magazines. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs
(Photo: Carol Bales)
Cold Water Raining between Them
Annie has a nice washing machine now
but she remembers the one her
mother had with the wringer,
the old-fashioned kind.
Her mother took in washing and when
the washing machine would break
Annie would become half the wringer.
Mother would hold the waist of wet pants
and Annie would grip the cuffs and
they’d twist in opposite directions,
the cold water raining between them.
Each pair of farmer’s pants
put food on the table. With six kids
food was important. To this day Annie
smiles when she remembers her
Mother never had to use a pants
stretcher in winter to make
her ironing a little bit easier.
She’d hang the pants out in the yard
and they’d freeze straight on the line.
An Act of the Will
If love’s real, not
the puppy kind, it’s
not just a feeling
but an act of the will
a constant giving
feels like it or not.
After many years
you don’t know why
you’re doing it
or why It must be done.
Two begin as grapes
purple with passion
unaware you'll be
at the end.
A Husband Falters
Better take his wife to lunch
after what he said yesterday.
A slip of the tongue.
But where to take her?
The Chinese buffet?
The Indian buffet?
Maybe the Japanese place.
She likes sushi and tempura.
But when he asks about lunch
she says not a chance.
She has to clean the house.
Cleaning lady comes today.
At Midnight in New York
It’s midnight in New York
and in this tall building
Herb and Molly are
in bed making love.
Molly is a virgin
and it hurts.
in bed with cancer
terminal and it hurts.
in bed snoring.
Nothing hurts because
he doesn’t know yet
he has multiple sclerosis.
In the hallway a thief
goes floor to floor
trying door knobs
hoping one will open.
All the doors are locked,
chained and bolted.
Everyone is safe.
No one can get in.
A Sisyphus Moment
There’s a force that makes
a boulder hard to push up a hill.
And there’s always a boulder
and always a hill when it comes to
helping the poor find something
to eat, somewhere to live, a job
they can go to every day.
Sometimes the boulder slips
and rolls back downhill
and Sisyphus jumps aside.
But sometimes the one
who owns that hill says no
and blows his trumpet and gives
the boulder a mighty shove
and Sisyphus gets run over.
Then the poor must wait
a century longer
for another Sisyphus
to volunteer and get
behind the boulder.
No wonder the poor
are getting together
and grumbling louder.
They know Sisyphus isn't
the answer to the problem.
They must push the boulder.