Albert Rejouis is a 19 year old Haitian-American sophomore at The University of South Florida. He majors in Cell and Molecular Biology and has begun to detail the black experience through poetry.
The Black Man’s Plight
Sibanda is the author of Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded:The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers Of Child Marriages:Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections and Poetry Pharmacy. Sibanda's work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Some of his work has been translated into Serbian and German.
Little Hills Of Esigodini
landforms snake up and down
in extraordinary humps
of Nature’s poise and pride,
breasts of land projecting
into charged saddles-
midwifed to gush out milk
of purity and tranquility;
the hills- though
small in size,
short in height-
lug and beam
a beauty that towers
the sky of my sensuousness;
their warmth appendages
the body with a nobility priceless,
like a cup of undiluted water,
they stand out undisturbed,
unchallenged by the ever-jerky
wheels of seasons and weather;
during gusty days their music
makes love to my ears with
a rare calmness-
l feel altogether like
abandoning my journey for them,
crowning them my beautiful infinity,
during sun-drenched days-
their seemingly little panorama,
drowns and dazzles my eyes into captivity;
an image of snug oases-
unparalleled greening of my soul,
they snuggle me all the way to the apex
of amity and stimulation…
they vacillate between ideal and real,
l relish to no end
their serrated depressions and passages
that feel me with a passion
beyond mere touch and tour,
they captivate my touch at will
l cannot give them a cursory look-
the harder l try to scuttle away
the further and so further
l gravitate into their cuddling glare;
they confer upon me the throne
of Nature’s dutiful and indebted admirer
of the stupendous dexterity of our Creator;
the little hills that dominate my dreams-
those that epitomise a hustle-free haven
for the breezy incubation and birth
of a romance and a love of a lifetime;
those are my little hills heal that my soul,
they will define and refine my life
so that l get to appreciate the meaning
of dreams and days-
l am not surprised to hear that the
these hills are lovers’ haven,
the scenery is just compelling,
the shrubs and trees ooze a lively life;
the serenity is so delightful that
it promotes a refreshing union of hearts;
they are like alternative therapies-
the remedies of matters of the heart,
the birds` chirping –mellow
mends troubled souls-
melts bitterness and rancour-
nurses and mesmerises the ears
beyond any measurable fears!
the shrubs and trees beget an aroma
that makes a mockery of artificial perfumes,
those hills heal my soul in a high manner!
brook, then she is the one
she is a brook whose waters
are destined to deal once
and for all with Bulawayo`s
perennial droughts & dupes
our royal city has a capacity
to produce game-changers
and Busisiwe is one of them
Busisiwe is Bulawayo`s pride
a philanthropist whose work
speaks a lot about her love
for humanity and the city
what lurks within her soul
is not a malady but a melody
exemplary is her track record:
orphanages, scholarships, jobs
a sleaze-buster, a bold builder
of homes ,hopes and horizons
her song is a doer and a dancer
her is a song that plays & floats
within the depth of her heart
it inspires, stirs, and galvanizes
hearers to become nothing
else but heirs and heiresses,
humble heroes and heroines
what dances within her heart
are the metaphors and mirrors
of souls whose lives & dreams
and destinies have been touched
& transformed & blessed for posterity
her name solely means The Blessed One
a selfless beauty, she is a blessing to the city
a superwoman, she is human ,solid & afloat
for Bulawayo`s blues to be overcome, ownership
has to be reclaimed, concerted efforts applied
as far as Busisiwe is concerned, sleaze has no home
in the city if residents want it to be magnificent again
A Short-lived Incursion Into A Cave
in line with the orders and directions
of one local lady prophet and herbalist.
In one of her burping trances, she stated,
“Listen, I unlock the secrets of the universe,
the mysteries that defy logic and science”.
The seer advised him to tread into a nearby cave
and tug any creature he finds by the tail before
sprinting out whilst touching his troubled body part.
He wondered what cave dwelling animals he would find,
as he entered he discovered that humidity was high due
to low evaporation rates, oxygen levels were low as well.
During the day the entrance zone usually receives sunlight
but it was already shrouded in complete darkness as if he
had reached the deep cave zone—which is the deepest part.
The true cave dwelling animals, the troglobits live in the deep zone.
In the dark he drifted and strained his eyes and guess what—came
across an accidental, a visitor or an animal that seeks a brief shelter.
Was it a real person? If so, was the person running away from a predator?
Was he or she a speleologist? Was he looking at a wandering ghost?
When the shadowy thing edged toward him, he shrieked and sped away!
A Headlined That Converted Her
To become a feminist and a spinster,
She pulled out a front-page with pride,
They concluded her decision wasn’t sinister
A sense of justice said to them: lend an ear
By the way, the caption cried like this:
WIFE TRADED FOR BEER
Surely, for beer, wife, goodbye you kiss?
Behind Peterson`s Case Was Sentimentality
Please beautiful bottom: he pleaded for mercy
The stunned magistrate said: I crave your pardon?
Behind her big beautiful behind is me: was his submission
The divorcing man pleaded with the official to grant him
Custody of her backside, saying he would give up any claim
The divorcing wife would have none of it: to hell with his claims!
She added that probably the sentimental man had weaning problems!
You Are On Your Own
motherhood was mutely motioning
she mumbled, moaned and moaned
about how she would put up with it.
The young man who was responsible
for her condition was irresponsible.
Hadn’t he told her again and again
to be an impermeable goalkeeper?
“You had better be a good goalie,
if you grant me-- a great goal-getter--
a free kick or worse, a penalty kick,
you`re on your own after a score!”
Her friend told her of a procedure,
it was not only an excruciating one
but the physical and mental damage
led to lifelong health complications.
She wouldn’t go down that painful path.
How would she ever live with herself
after committing such a chilling eyesore?
Perhaps parenthood is pretty, she decided.
A Delicate Delivery
delicate, feathery, they swelled
up in the sky, dark clouds spread
out their legs, hidden was a seed,
little whispers about their abdomens
were that they were hasty distensions
but the pregnant clouds were heedless
heavy with rain, they were ready & reckless
maybe there was love, they went into labor
there were prayers for a delivery that was sober
telling her parents
of the nights after dinner when she's
plunged two fingers down her throat
she swallows the words and sits silently
in her place at the table
we rode it out, monastery silent,
with three tail-tucked pets orbiting our feet.
Beyond our shelter, the storm,
smote treetops, disfigured neighborhoods
and pilfered fields.
When the chaos was over we ascended,
shouldering the burdensome steel door ajar
to peer into the darkness for signs of damage;
my wife's face as pallid as the gibbous moon
beginning to peek like a bashful child
through the rolling eastbound clouds.
Dad didn't say he blamed me
and meandered into the road at the moment
a seventeen-year-old boy topped the hill,
going too fast in his dark blue Mustang
on his way to school.
Dad didn't mention the sounds
of bumper crunching bone, of the abbreviated bellow,
of seven hundred pounds hurtling over a hood
then barreling through a windshield
hind feet first.
Later, after the ambulance had sped away,
and the calf had been buried, dad uttered
no words of rebuke as he grabbed
his tools and a roll of wire from the barn
then headed for the section of sagging fence
he told me to mend three days before.
He simply said,
glaring back from the gate,
"I don't need your help."
Anandi Kar is pursuing English Honours in St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, India. As a young poet, she has already drawn significant attention of readers and critics. Some of her poems have already been published and some more have been selected for publication in some prestigious journals. She is also a content writer and has written a short story which has been turned into a play. She is the head writer of the popular page, "Feminists of Calcutta". She loves to sing, act and sleep. Kar was born on 19 May, 2001.
We Raise Our Voice To God
our voice in the choirs
ring out like untamed beasts.
Surpassing softness of chiming bells
like dirty horses in a race.
We don't lower our voice.
It rises and rises like a stony mountain
till it can reach to the place
where God lives.
The pain in our high pitches
through any known nicotine patch.
Our wounds are raw cancer.
Our churches might be white and pretty.
The ivy hangs like light from off their walls.
Our tambourine is soulful and all.
Yet, our God does not live here in America.
stands there like my saviour.
In the setting sun of the last autumn,
I misread the vultures for white clouds.
My jaws reek of blood.
Before the snow could fall
like pellets from the grey sky,
beat the soft, weak ground,
I walk in.
By and by,
I also walk out.
I don't dial 911.
I walk out and
whisper desperate, indistinct prayers
Dedicated to the stone statues.
They don't know
that my flat nose can detect smells.
Don't you get fooled by this metal pin
that shines sometimes like a sharp knife.
They call me a primate
and through this flat nose
I can squarely smell their dead meat.
They remind me of violence.
I feel like puking
revulsed by the weight of
their bamboozling evolution,
their lowly sophistication.
Thank God, for I am a primate.
A Job That Is Not a Part of the Job
that dares to cross your path.
You take it as a part of your job and
you do it
with every inch of your might.
Grind it like the
peanuts in a blender.
The flower does not yell with pain.
Its voice had already been aphonic
with all these years of despotism.
It wriggles like a worm
in polished apple.
You feel uncomfortable.
A hollow lump forms in your throat.
Yet, it is not enough to
arrest your beefy muscles.
After seven minutes,
seven steady minutes,
all wriggling would stop.
Its the end of your job for the day and
you go home.
Act as if nothing happened.
Make love with your wife,
laugh with your kids before bedtime.
But at midnight,
in your sleep, you can hear
the dead flower shriek
in the highest pitch on earth.
You wake up with a start.
The bedsheets get wet
with your sweat .
A strange thought crosses your mind:
sometimes when a man becomes flower,
or sweet rivers that you know
don't remain breathtaking anymore.
piercing, poising the poison in my bloodstream.
I was taught that the Sun rises in the east and falls in the west,
become a force of nature,
Become a storm of hail and wind and scorch mountains a beautiful red.
is what I try to say,
but my lips are slack with defeat.
What will you be?
the pencil eroded away into uselessness?
the pen, a plastic husk of lifelessness?
history is written by the champions
and let it be known
that I will have pencils and pens in my hand until the end of time.
miles through the fog and rain and nuclear haze,
over desolate fields of dry earth sown by flames alone,
past the toppled corpses of ancient trees,
along paths of cracked asphalt connecting crumbling homes,
within a crater of dust and rock,
there lies love.
spinning and twirling and swaying and humming,
holding close and letting go.
once, in their empty house, they sang the blues.
once, sitting six feet apart, they rested on the sand and watched the ocean.
once, excited, they ran together to a place of hope.
once, quiet and tired, they drove back and cried.
now, they dance.
loving and wishing and holding and hoping;
if not forever,
then for a very long time.
miyeok and water, no condiments needed.
Its broth, one that men enjoyed, enough
to fulfill minds for weeks. It travelled
households during the time, leaked
between mines and the river of Han,
a prophet uniting all flavors. Some prophets
unite countries, perhaps this could hang
in between. The texture may change,
but the taste snares on the tongue, and for a moment
you will forget about the line dividing your nation.
Copy appa to your right, sitting cross-legged
in place of a throne, like a king
conducting the order of succession.
Eomma’s hands caress your hips, the way
a person holds onto fireworks before Saehae.
When rings are placed through your fingers,
a red hue seeping past the hallmark caked skin,
remind yourself that a ring means innocence
and wealth, a journey without pain.
Pick from the cornucopia of objects atop a table:
Perhaps the stethoscope, one that appa wore
in his office, or the abacus, a beginning
of mother’s childhood adventures. Silently
question if they comment on your choice,
hoping you would become a writer
with the pencil you’ve picked.
He is unsure what comes after 3,
四 or perhaps 死, are they not
shaped identical when spoken?
One recounts the number of men
he saw through mother’s eyes,
wearing a fedora, standing atop
the landscape of gardenias.
Another describes the chrysanthemum,
mother’s only flower in her garden,
I wish to bloom like it, she says,
死 caked in her thoughts.
He imagines mother’s sky,
slowly pulling her eyelids upwards.
Anum Sattar is a recent graduate from College of Wooster in Ohio, USA.
Her poems have been published in the American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Deep Overstock, Daily Haiga, Under the Basho, Indicia: a journal curating literary arts, Calliope by Writers’ Special Interest Group (SIG) of American Mensa Ltd, Modern Haiku, Blazevox, Harbinger Asylum, Visitant, Social Alternatives Journal, Foxtrot Uniform, Voice of Eve, Notre Dame Review, GUSTS, Porter Gulch Review, Midway Journal, Willard & Maple, Meniscus Journal by Australian Association of Writing Programs, Indianapolis Review, Lullwater Review, Rat’s Ass Review, North Dakota Quarterly, IDK Magazine, Door is a Jar, Ribbons, South Florida Poetry Journal, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Charles Cater: a working anthology, 50 Haikus, Stuck in the Library, Broadkill Review, Poetry Life and Times, Triggerfish Critical Review, Packingtown Review, Blithe Spirit, Mythic Circle, HOBART, SurVision Magazine, Literary Juice, Coal City Review, Crack the Spine, Lowestoft Chronicle, Taj Mahal Review, FIVE 2 ONE: An Art and Literary Journal, Linnet's Wings, Ragazine, Better than Starbucks, Florida Review, Snow Jewel Journal by Grey Sparrow Press, Oddball Magazine, Artifact Nouveau, Off the Coast, Strange POEtry, Between These Shores Literary & Arts Annual, Conceit Magazine, A New Ulster, Cannon's Mouth, Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry, Wilderness House Literary Review, Poydras Review, Cadaverine, Verbalart: A Global Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry, Wayne Literary Journal, Ibis Head Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, Poets Bridge, Deltona Howl and Tipton Poetry Journal.
She won the first Grace Prize and third Vonna Hicks poetry awards at the college.
She read out her work at Brooklyn Poets, Spoonbill and Sugartown Bookstore, Forest Hills Library in New York City, Cuyahoga Valley Art Center at Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Bridgewater College in Shenandoah Valley, VA, Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA, Barnes & Noble, Webster, Texas, (sponsored by Cosmic Poets Society) and Cholla Needles’ Shelter-In-Place Open Readings.
She was recently interviewed at 17 Numa, Houston Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM KPFT and Radio Free Brooklyn.
So then, wannabe Harvey Weinstein blew his overtime pay:
To host a gullible woman like me at his rundown apartment...
Set me up as a featured reader at Barnes & Noble...
Cover his share of a fancy dinner at Spindle Top in Houston, TX...
and more to achieve a childhood goal.
All the while a current love interest was imprisoned for driving under the influence of alcohol.
When I scoffed at his stubby penis, he accused me for leading him on to write a haibun.
he pulls out a strapless bra
from the New Yorker bag
when I ask for sneakers
to change out of heels
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN DEEP OVERSTOCK
to a low ranking general
that your fingers tremble
while undoing my sash?
silly foot soldier
I would scream in delight
being taken from behind
were your overweight wife
not peeping through the blinds!
It was common in the Edo period for Oirans or Japanese courtesans to have professional names inspired by scenes from nature: “young willow,” “budding willow,” “bright rock,” “spring rain,” “morning chrysanthemum,” etc.
The shogun affectionately called his mistress a “weeping willow” mistakenly believing that she was uncomfortable in his presence.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN DEEP OVERSTOCK
As the nightly air patrols round,
The once lovely countryside all in a haze
So deathly a silence, my heartbeats resound.
The moon appears to heal my wounded soul,
Emerging as a ray of hope through a gaping hole,
Sending a subtle hint straight into my heart,
If darkness comes, light is not far apart.
The Cuckoo's calling
was made endearing my a Cuckoo's call on the porch.
A single note that rang out pure and clear,
Enchantingly beckoning its near and dear.
Come on comrades! Let us rejoice,
Sans pollution, nature has regained her poise,
For, the heartless humans are still behind bars,
Just this once, we can truly see the stars.
A single voice with so much hope,
Of expressing it no music has scope,
All the guilt the humans are stalling,
Has been brought forth by the Cuckoo's calling.
Ahming Zee (pen name) lives in Boston as a naturalized Chinese immigrant. He works as an IT professional during the day, and writes at night. His work has appeared in Ariel Chart, Literary Yard, Door Is A Jar, among others; his translation work has appeared in Culture Monthly, China. Ahming holds an English degree and dual Master’s in Liberal Arts, and has served as Lecturer of English in Beijing, Poetry Editor of Hawaii Review, and Staff Writer for Ka Leo O’ Hawaii. You can find him on Twitter @ahmingzee.
takes you away into the vista of west mountains
there gray clouds collide
each wrapped with a tranquil dream
moonlights are dimmed
just for you
to cast your eyes on the flowing rivers
brimmed with an endless poem
scattered into each second in time
along with the wind
under the faint lamplight
you open the babyish eyes
drop with wet orbit
with no lines
tomorrow is dying
only the violets bloom in its prime
in a season you turn and find
engraved flowers like thorns along
blooming but in the heart
showers are our appointments
showers our farewells
showers our best wishes
showers our regrets
showers our lives
showers our deaths
those rain showers!
white showers are innocence
green showers infatuation
golden showers love
blue showers nostalgia
all the yin and yang
all the sorrows and joys
all the yesterdays and tomorrows
fall and torrent and hail
into the wellspring of our souls
that rise and flood and beam
the rain showers tonight
bathed in a single but endless dream
TO THE GHOST I SPEAK
please allow me to say to you
that you may occupy my whole body –
my head, arms, legs, internal organs
but leave my heart with me
a worthless object in a deal
and you wouldn’t even feign its value
such as you please
leave my heart with me
and I will carry it with soul
towards the ocean
the breath of which, the prelude to our humanity
to any beings
her veins filled with blood
that keeps bursting out as torrents
the ocean blood
the ever-rhythmic surging and receding
that breathes a world of blue
a cradle of humans
let me return to the ocean
with my heart
as for my body
Ghost please take it
all money I have owned
and all about me
a durable net
a closed riddle
an eternal image
sharing the deepest tender feelings
LOIS GREENE STONE
USHA AMULYA NAREM