Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch poetess Inge Wesdijk.
She likes hard rock music, photography and fantasy books. She is a vegetarian and spends a lot of time with her animals.
Daginne started to write English poetry five years ago and posted some of her poems on her Facebook page and on her fun project website www.daginne.com, she's also the co-editor of Degenerate Literature, a poetry, flash fiction, and arts E-zine
She has been published in several Poetry Review Magazines, in the bilingual anthology (English/Farsi), 'Where Are You From?' and in the Contemporary Poet's Group anthology 'Dandelion in a Vase of Roses'.
Zachary Dilks is a poet and writer living outside of Austin, TX. He works full time to support his wife and daughter and uses his writing to combat the feelings from the loss of his first daughter. His love of nature and the contradictions of life are prevalent in his works.
Taste of ever bittersweet
Like littered streets from celebrations
Dare I change with every season
Fare I north instead of south
Do I wander incomplete
And squander all my contemplations
Like I've massed a herd of reasons
But it's all just word of mouth
Ridiculous musings murmurs
A serpent's hiss
slithers across my mind
Why should I care about
floods into my thoughts
A stimulating brainwash
Have I gone and flown the nest
To only land among the beasts
Has my song been sung with vigor
But I tuned in just too late
Did I journey to the fest
To only find myself the feast
As if I had made the trigger
That, come soon, would seal my fate
Grabbed by claws of desperation
My quest should be a search for freedom
Not to be devoured by hungry jaws,
torn apart by ravenous greed
In frantic agony, I flee
to the tranquil borders of solace
Where the crossroad's signpost
Born in 1983, Amit Parmessur is a poet and teacher. He has been published in several print and online journals. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web nominee, he lives on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Mauritius.
I wonder if, in the dark night of the sea,
the octopus dreams of me. — N. SCOTT MOMADAY
When she swirled and settled on the bench, it took
her yellow dress less than eight seconds
to spread on the grass, as if she wished
to spread a new culture.
In the next eight seconds, her smile spread its
tentacles with strong suckers;
she soon seemed poised
to give a painless bite to the whole planet,
with her eyes sitting behind her large sunglasses,
like something preparing to escape
behind clouds of fleecy ink.
Even if you had three hearts, she
would rub the brininess of her beauty on them and
you might not last more than a few seconds.
Even the nearby tree that had lived
its life like an upturned octopus understood that
it was nothing compared to her. There was no place
for mimicry or rivalry.
She knows a healthy ego is unhealthy.
She doesn’t have a namesake just for the sake
of a game. She stands tall and isn’t among those
to duck so that her man can see other women.
Her dusky skin had squeezed itself through
the meanest moments only to emerge in her own garden
with more shine and generosity.
A little water, she clears us all.
THE WEEPING ROCK
Tears are best dried
with your own hand. — AFRICAN PROVERB
Off we go again, hand in hand all the way, away
from our own waves and stranding. Time to harvest
the mildness and fatalism of that place without reefs.
I’ve heard too much of La Roche Qui Pleure.
I’ve heard too much of the nun atop that cliff,
and of her impossible love. Has that large basaltic rock
really taken her shape to keep weeping for lost love?
We’ve not heard why she ended her life there. We’ve
not heard why she threw herself into the furious waters.
Time to hear the Souillac sea crash and rush
into the gaps of the cliff to lick some truth
or deny some falsehood.
Or might the waves whisper a new melody? I hope we’ll
not see a man crying instead of an imploring Madonna.
I hope you’ll not stand on the golden sand there,
puzzling it out, while I end up poetically transfixed.
We might return home and forget how to stay
gloomy and moody for the rest of our marriage.
You might become the beloved partner
of the kindest cartographer ever, not the witch punished
for having eaten one of her own.
We might return home and have more moments of
fatal mildness, like you chopping a mushroom
and the earthy flavored water jetting into my nose.
For there to be betrayal, there
would have to have been trust first. — SUZANNE COLLINS
We wobbled confidently down the street on
our rusty bike like three apolitical musketeers.
We sang until we reached the dirty village canal,
with our ambition of a thousand wild guppies
with colorful tails bulging.
Once there, the sunlight through the tall weeds
blinded our bravest attempts. We attracted the
malicious scrutiny of the people around, with their
clean curtains fluttering in the cold breeze that bit
our backs like darts hitting a large bull’s-eye.
Blocking the canal at two different places, without
skill or bait, we extinguished the fire of those fins that
threatened to fly away. We tossed the jewels into
our leaky bucket. This time, we didn’t catch any
holed and mossy underwear.
With the waters still making a muddy fuss over
our invasion, we sang and sang until we reached
home for some politics. Our drunk uncle passed
by, slurring beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.
I told him to mind his constipation and eat two
soaked dried raisins daily.
A beautiful fish with a red tail for you, cousin!
A beautiful fish with a yellow tail for you, brother!
A beautiful fish with a blue tail for me!
Dear gap-toothed cousin, don’t protest like that.
Chasing lost causes causes endless chases; there’s
nothing fishy going on. Two brothers are one, yes,
but we commit fratricide when it comes to fish.
How your eyes shine whenever I drop a fish you
wish for into my little pail. Don’t be jealous cousin!
You won’t ever know how the brothers become one
when you leave. We’ve only one fish tank – what to do?
But imagine our discolored faces when many of
our fish are upside down the next morning, while
yours are in the pink and filled with fire.
Nsah Mala is the pen name for Kenneth Toah Nsah, a Cameroon-born poet, author of three poetry collection: Chaining Freedom (Miraclaire Publishing LLC, 2012), Bites of Insanity (Langaa RPCIG, 2015) and If You Must Fall Bush (Langaa RPCIG, 2016). His short story “Christmas Disappointment” was among ten winners in a short story competition organized by Cameroon’s Ministry of Arts and Culture in June 2016. In December of the same year, his short story “Fanta from America” received a Special Mention in a short story competition held by BAKWA Magazine. His poems and other writings have featured (or are forthcoming) in anthologies and magazines in Cameroon, Canada, India, Nigeria, and South Africa. He holds two degrees in (Teaching of) English and French and is currently studying for the Erasmus Mundus Masters Crossways in Cultural Narratives in France, UK and Spain.
I was born in fertile forests
where we toyed with reindeers,
but our leaders have smeared the forests
with sterility and intoxicated us with beers.
I was born in productive plains
where webcams are dreaded like terrorists,
but our leaders take delight in buying planes
and take those levelling fields for anarchists.
I was born in an aping community
where statistics are cooked like cow meat
since our leaders hide skeletons from society
and peel off enemies’ skins when they meet.
I was born in rubber and banana plantations
where my people toil and wave oil-loaded lorries
driving across River M**** to fuel vain ambitions,
and swell pockets for our immortal King’s glories.
(Perpignan, 12 November 2016)
I JOGGED INTO MOTHER NATURE.
(After my first jogging sport in St Andrews)
I’m afraid to feel like a rapist;
having raped Nature this morning,
but I was not first jogger on this path.
Once off from the tarred winding track,
I landed on an untamed pathway
that weaves along scanty bushes--
sometimes looking healthy,
sometimes looking like starving kids--
enlivened by rabbits skipping from place
to place along beautiful trails wrapped
across and between shrubs and grasses.
Oh! What a charming muddy-dusty footpath
that transported me, through the airports
in my mind, to Ijim on the Mbesa-Belo road!
You think I could overcome the temptation
to chase the rabbits for fun and for food?
(But I didn’t catch even one of their tails!)
You think I could overcome the temptation
to watch my past streaming on flat-screens
anchored within me? Sweating now in sports,
sweated then under heavy bags of crops for sale!
Each slippery spot reminded me how many times
I glided and fell under corn or beans or oranges:
the crops that have propelled me into now.
The three golfing men who greeted me
brought memories of Yaoundé Golf Club,
except that those in Yaoundé never greeted us!
Then I descended downhill and crossed a fence
like those we crossed at Ibal-Adamu or Ijim
on our way to Fundong; a signpost announced
that cattle is grazed there in winter, but I wasn’t
afraid as we used to fear cattle back home.
To the ocean shores I headed in boundless joy,
halted for selfies on ageless rocks and pebbles;
as I bent to taste the salty waters beneath,
I saw smiling waves rushing to splash and clean
the rocks, bringing along snail-shells and cowries.
Oh! How guilty I felt in Man’s place, like a rapist,
to notice waves enraged by our infinite stomachs
seize nets from greedy fishermen, bundle and hurl
them onto seashores for hygiene and sustainability.
When there is no human in sight to learn these,
the baby stream nearby continues to chuckle
down into the ocean as witness that if Man
handles Nature like an egg, all hopes will flourish
like dry-season tomatoes farmed on a swamp!
(St Andrews, 18 March 2017)
I'm against all lives in extremes.
This only puts us on one another's
throat, obscuring our reality as brothers,
bursting the sweet bubbles of our dreams.
Can't we learn from Mother Nature?
Even oceans that stretch to extremes extend
back to the land where they kiss and bend
to dance to musical notes from bands of Nature.
We need ourselves, we need one another like
dung beetles need cows to chew their food,
not as cruel cats need mice for their food.
Both cats and mice have a right to this life.
We need ourselves, we need one another to live
like plants need bees to help impregnate them,
not as wicked wolves need sheep to feed them.
Wolves and sheep all have a right to live.
Why then slash her through for religion's sake?
It's a shame to kill life to please a lifeless ideology!
Why carry explosives to burst yourself and kill others
like a fowl's egg exploding in wild fires?
Why then hate them, Muslim or Christian or Buddhist,
because of their multi-named invisible sculptor?
Brother, I invite you to peel off your religious mask
like a snake and walk forth to the aisle of humanity.
Sister, I invite you to strip off your populist mask
and rub your body against mine in a human embrace.
Syrian is just a tag, black is just a tag.
American is just a tag, white is just a tag.
Christian is just a tag, nation is just a tag.
Muslim is just a tag, refugee is just a tag.
The only real thing is you and me.
The same red blood is busy in the veins
beneath our multi-coloured skins.
The same heart drones like a car engine
behind our black or white or coloured chests.
The same air rushes in and out of our lungs.
You were born, I was born.
You will die, I will die.
This is our shared humanity.
Remove your goggles of materialism,
drop your loaded guns and reciprocate
my love held out in my open arms.
Let's intone a new human song today.
(St Andrews, 13 April 2017)
Max Orr is an English teacher living in Columbus, Ohio. He spends his time on his bike, climbing rocks in Kentucky, and trying to get the right texts into the hands of his students.
of her boot sinking in mud
of the sunlight crashing
through water in a thin column
of the old piece of rope
tied to a tree by strangers
that we might keep our balance
she says this is Real Life
we talk of mortgages and the office
the glow of a spreadsheet disturbs
the quiet air around it
the dizzying spiral of a fern
there are bluebells to admire here
salamanders warm themselves on rocks
and the skin on our backs burns
above the thick shade of trees
the soul knows this is important
but cannot say why
we stitch together words
in an attempt to clothe the naked
feel of the forest
they fit poorly
she insists that fairies live here
maybe we will never go back
maybe all those numbers
will sort themselves out
Reflection on a Polar Plunge
Let us rise from this lake
with glass on our skin.
Let the cold stiffen
our shoulders, slow them
like freezing ice.
Let us add our mud
to the water.
Take the edge
of this rock. Run
it along my foot
until red gathers
where we split,
the gleaming mirror.
Pass the thermos
from the backseat
of the car.
across the cuts:
a broken baptism
I don’t believe
but it feels fresh,
this ritual of heat
and frost, of blood
of your skin,
firm and freckled
with a year’s
conviction. We laugh
under January sun.
A Good Shirt to Sleep in
She asked if I wanted
my T shirt back
It sits in her
she rubs it
It is soft
and the texture
of the stuffed
clown she carried
she was a kid
the one whose
her mother needled
on a loose mouth
with black thread
I told her
to keep it
that I want
to remind her
that a crooked smile
speaks more than
I told her to bury
in the black
we all need
something to touch
and empty cloth
she tossed back the rest
of the sake and said
I’m not good at giving
half of myself
we sat with the remnants
of our meal between us
rolling sushi isn’t as easy
as it looks
and neither is pinning
a new end to a familiar ritual
old habits die hard
and we are better at sinking
with ship after ship
arms locked and laughing
than we are at learning
so we eat seafood and drink
until we can’t see
the ice bergs
we pretend we don’t
know what happens
after she finishes
watching me do the dishes
it is so easy to ignore
the scent of ocean
it easy to decide
that we are so thirsty
even saltwater will do
Samuel W. James is a new writer from Yorkshire, UK, and his poems have been accepted by Allegro, London Grip, Peeking Cat, Clockwise Cat, Elsewhere Journal, Adelaide Magazine and Ink, Sweat and Tears.
On the wall by the bus stop
the tapestry depicts
the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Opposite is a row of local shops;
the butchers, where a goose once chased me,
the pottery shop, where they held an afterschool club,
the village store, where I never got ID’d.
And now the Christian kid is popular,
the poor kid sells weed,
the sad kid had his dad arrested for being a paedophile.
Those hymns and prayers are swinging back;
the year before they built the flood defences,
battles over planning permission,
brown water shooting out the drains,
the village filling.
Police ferried the children to school
in motorised dinghies, over water
through fog, I remember
waving at all the parents
as I sailed with kids from different classes,
the policeman smelling like aftershave.
I felt like DiCaprio.
Then arrival, and singing and chanting,
they stand, we kneel and mumble along,
thanks for everything.
The music teacher looked like Jacob Reece-Mogg,
he had a lot of power in this school.
The headmaster, an eggy, bullish man,
seemed to look up to him.
His piano stool was especially tall.
The headmaster’s eyes went wild when all the children
were made to sing, All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Maybe all things were
never quite flies up to its name.
when seen close up,
struggles to negotiate
the crags of its home.
is famous and typically shy,
seems uncomfortable sitting too long
in the sky.
maintains a steady, if ungraceful, cruise
towards some far off
The Landlord is deceased
and this modern art of mould and peeling,
I consider it a legacy.
Hard winter wore down the fences
letting me be, here, shivering, free
to find whatever entertainment there is.
I look down and wait for movement.
Trees of smoke grow from the chimneys
up to my floor, and between them pieces of glass appear
to me like a stream.
A shadow comes outside dropping its shopping
and picking it up, and apologising with its no-body
to emptiness itself.
I can imagine the skin around the mouth,
the thin cigarette, the way it looks back forward;
make a fortress work and defend it, the look might say.
The shadow is perhaps an old friend of the landlord.
This place will be knocked over soon.
It’s no problem, there’s as many other places
as winds or bulldozers, but I’m frozen for now
and fading, a crowded body, a legacy of a legacy.
Between a Stream and a River
The stream stores tones and listens to the great river
branching like a road, the leaves occasionally chancing it.
Laughter crawls like a brown spider on thin silver
as the willowy day eats its wasps, and ropes loop morning.
A few nights rolled in the river’s wake, soon gone,
remembering daisy clouds, clutches of song.
With a breaking blush, town delivers it’s boats,
thinks of the forests, thundering down their throat.
Mooring up the last of their weekends, they tie knots
as the bridge riddles the shivers of frogs and toads
and I taste the liquor of her wonder, drunk as harvest
or early mud, the dew’s rain, touches of wind
swept back like reeds at the bottoms of groves.
A light rain muddles like breathes of butterflies
the corn loads and worker’s ears, the sun’s verses sung
or hummed over fields, as they wipe away the prickles
of early tears. Alongside, the stream looks half begun.
mat byerly graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelors of Arts in Applied Mathematics, and he is a M.F.A. (in Creative Writing Fiction) dropout. He has a short story published in Adelaide Magazine’s Spring 2017 Edition called “Boys”. He is currently working on his second novel as he seeks for a publisher for his first novel.
I’m afraid of nothing:
Not afraid of your fists,
Not afraid of your gun,
Not afraid of your car,
Not afraid of your collective,
Not afraid to talk,
Not afraid to fight,
Not afraid of death,
Not afraid of you.
I’m afraid of everything:
Afraid of your thoughts,
Afraid of your words,
Afraid of your opinions,
Afraid of your hypocrisy,
Afraid to talk,
Afraid to express,
Afraid of life,
Afraid of you (mainly what you’re thinking).
Relapsing but don’t need your therapy,
I’m a thief; I need to steal your heart,
Heroine, please can you save me.
Sun hits the tar, I can’t see.
Smack me a kick start,
Relapsing but don’t need your therapy.
A myth trying to find sobriety.
My arm’s looking like Pollock’s art,
Heroine, please can you calm me.
Could be a hero but do you wanna be?
I just need this blood sucking dart,
Relapsing but don’t need your therapy.
Brown sugar, my secret recipe;
This junkie’s never felt so smart.
Heroine, please can you tame me.
Heaven needs to hear my plea,
Feeling so high, but falling apart.
Relapsing but don’t need your therapy,
Heroine, please can you kill me.
Day – Mare
I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking,
Doing things that I can’t remember.
Feeling moments that morph so real,
It’s a foggy haze, waking with a black eye.
That’s what makeup’s for anyways.
I feel like I’ve been out of body;
The body of Christ can’t help me now.
So I play the hand I was dealt,
Waking up from the coma called yesterday
as I connect the dots to the function.
I feel like I’ve been on hiatus;
The shows still run, living their normal days.
We’ll laugh; we’ll cry; we’ll move with the motion
of futile emotion to cause a daily commotion,
But I feel like being drowned in the ocean.
I feel like I’ve been lost in the haziness
of my mind that I cannot break and every
single moment seems gone as if I’ve never
lived a moment of my life, just a daydream
that seems so tragic; we’ll call it a day (night)mare.
I am the Machine
Convoluted in nature
Overrun the overture
I am minicure
With these hands like giants
Around my neck
But I’m not like that
I am a prisoner
Suit and tied, lied
Now I’m in defensible
Walking like a corpse
Like I never dreamt it would be
My hands are tied
I can’t cry
I am the Human
Leaving me emotionless
It’s timeless relentless
Cowering me, the shame
A game marginalized
But it’s not worth being played
I am a sphinx
Staring at the pyramid
Then they spin
And I lose control
I bleed gasoline
I bleed gasoline
I bleed gasoline
Sibanda is the author of Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing and Football of Fools.
Ndaba Sibanda`s work is featured in The New Shoots Anthology, The Van Gogh Anthology edited by Catfish McDaris and Dr. Marc Pietrzykowski, Eternal Snow, A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma scheduled for publication in Spring/Summer 2017 by Nirala Press and Seeing Beyond the Surface Volume II.
A Loud and Long Lecture On The Art of It
There was a waiting line of 12 persons
in the clean but bustling public amenity,
that public facility found in the city of Joburg.
There I was at the Johannesburg Park Station,
marveling at the largest railway station in Africa.
I had just alighted from the bus with my brother.
I kept on rubbing my palms, rubbing my palms
as if I were excited or making a cultural gesture
yet in essence I was trying to generate some heat
as the chilly morning air sought to imprison my hands.
The drama that had us startled, began when a short man
with a heavy West African accent wired himself to the queue.
Whether it was a case of being too pressed or too boisterous
or restless by nature, the queue seemed to be too motionless for him.
The moment he entered the restroom, he started yelling at the people
who were already in the toilet cubicles, responding to the call of nature.
He did not only tell them that they were not the only souls who wanted to shit
but he lectured everyone on how to do that business with speed, precision and ease.
“Hey hey you little snails in there, I don’t care who you`re, just sit and shit.Whooo!
That`s all about shitting! Fools! There’s no much business! Me, I know how to shit fast”.
A Big Brotherly Handshake
Amazed, maybe is not the apt term
to describe how I felt that morning.
I was not well-oiled, but my head staggered,
no, it could not have been happening to me!
I was travelling home en route Johannesburg
when a young cop ordered me to stop right there!
Well, that was not a surprise by any measure,
I knew it was bound to happen one way or the other.
I obeyed and stopped forthwith and the officer woofed,
“Identification please! Produce your Identification card”.
I fished out my passport and he leafed through and invited others,
“Come over here, pals. This one’s big! He’s been to blah and blah.”
His colleagues came over, and shook hands with me, patting me on the back!
They wished me well with the rest of my journey, even calling me a good brother.
The level of admiration, amity and humility was simply too disarming to imagine.
Could those men be the same cops who used to demand a bribe after seeing me?
I was thunderstruck. There was no mention of money then, not that I had lots of it.
I reflected on the scene and saw well-fought battles and a humble victory over history.
A Reign Of Horror and Hysteria
Down memory lane, a few years back,
he used to dread the idea of going there;
if he had a way he would eschew visiting
or hanging around the Johannesburg Park Station area,
but then as an immigrant—Kithikule—had very little choice.
He neither had a car nor taxi fares to take him there safely--
not because chiefly he feared being pounced upon by robbers--
but he dreaded being ambushed and ‘ransacked’ by the police,
they were known to love the immigrants, especially the illegal ones--
not for a good reason---but to get them to grease their itchy palms.
It was in and around the Park Station area that Kithikule found himself
dragging his weary feet to—come weekend or month end or an emergency,
vehicles plying routes to his home country were found in great numbers there,
there too Kithikule had to play crazy hide- and--seek games with some cops;
there also robbers and thieves unleashed a real reign of terror and treachery.
Divya Manikandan is a resident of Bangalore, India, who is currently building her own poetic arsenal, painting as a form of meditation and creating short films as a form of expression.
Literature is her means of escape from reality, however her reality has always been to become a surgeon.
Her work has been accepted for publishing by Plum Tree Tavern, EskimoPie and Red Eft review.
Broken barcodes everywhere,
we’re swung in the frenzy of our own consumerism.
We shun human trafficking, labelling acts
against moral principles
and yet we wake up every day
selling our souls to notions of capitalism.
It’s a dog eat dog world and
we’re drowned in the playback sound of
clashing titles, and haunted opinions.
Idealists and their tunnel vision,
socialists and their wide frame panoramas.
It’s optimistic how we think we live in
a functional utopia.
It’s but a social construct that we built
to hydraulically (re)press intuition and individuality.
This life is a two way street of thought and
counterclaim, but we march down one way
and leave behind the ones that try to break the flow.
We follow those disillusioned with the petty
grievances, caught in their own web of lies
and all that’s left is to wait for our death and voices to crystallize.
IN THE TIME AFTER
You can tell that this ground has seen wars.
When your feet press against the dark crevices
you can sense the songs of the soldiers that once bled.
When your eyes glance across the fields to the
Dahlias that grow around the fence, you can almost
see the trenches of darkness that once existed in the
When a distant crow flies above you
the world beneath your feet projects the shadow
of large fighter planes that once ripped
through the skies.
Listen to the walls that now border this place,
you can hear the wailing of the women
and hungry children that tried to escape.
Ghosts of wronged innocents, spirits of
lost patriots, and souls of entire nations
meander hopelessly on this land.
And if perhaps you happen to meet one someday,
be sure to tell them that they lost in vain-
because the dusty books of history have long forgotten
their holy names.
The nights that we saw the wolves
give birth to their cubs,
the days we saw the flames make love
to the air of the earth.
The mystical mornings and walks
down fog saturated beach shores,
the cool evenings of watching our
shadows dance on ceilings overhead.
The afternoons we jumped heavy
compound walls and ran with the wind,
the dusks that we sat on the grass
and watched the sky’s iridescence in a time lapse.
The sunsets that turned into sunrises
the hours that turned into minutes
the wrinkles that turned into acne:
hit the rewind button and take me
back to the life of innocence and surprises.
Anoucheka Gangabissoon is a Primary School Educator in Mauritius. She writes poetry and short stories as hobby. She considers writing to be the meaning of her life as she has always been influenced by all the great writers and wishes to be, like them, immortalized in her words. Her works can be read on poetrysoup.com and she had also appeared in various literary magazines like SETU, Different Truths, Dissident Voice. She has also been published in Duane’s Poetree and also in an anthology for the Immagine and Poesia group. Her poems are often placed in free online contests.
The blood drizzled down my lips
And caused me to have a sudden intake of breath
I even wiped my eyes with the back of my hand
My aching heart
To calm down
And surrender to the joys of lightness!
With a frown furrowed on my forehead
I began to wonder
At the essence of that which
I considered as being pain!
Pray, if I do have a sound health
If I do have functioning limbs
If I do have all the time I need
If I do have the means to live decently
Why should I even dare to consider myself
As being someone in pain?
The shadows that life bestow upon us
Are merely the reactions of our bad actions
We are meant to suffer the consequences of our fall
Like the rabbit we shall be feel preyed all the time
Like the lion we shall be hungry all the time
Like the horse we shall have to toil all the time
Pray, should we aspire higher positions
And a fair existence
We are to abide to everything
Yes, we are to accept pain
Merge with it
And make it a part of ourselves!
So, I chose to clean my face
And, wearing a smile
I bid Life
To show me how to be less selfish
And how to help her instead!
The knaves of Death
If I had to watch Death in the face
As It would snatch a loved one from me
I am sure
I would have felt helpless
Faced with Death
We become mere knaves
Knaves of life
Knaves of existence
Knaves, believing ourselves
So mighty and bold
Being, in the end
Chained to a miserable plane!
Why, life has been given to us
As said by some
As a gift
Why do we be if only we are
Meant to face Death?
Pray, of my aim have I made
To conquer Death
Be it through my poetry
Or be it through spirituality
I shall conquer it
I shall have the whole of humanity
Safe, in a haven
Which shall be kept protected
Weakened, maybe Death itself
Would want to form part of my community
As a neutral member of course!
In my Imagination
There is, in my imagination
A scenery filled with mystery
Relying on my sacred faith
I let it fill my every breath
Being a mere mortal soul
With no more than a cruel call
I rest on patience
While enjoying a lonely dance
And though my faith spells my fortune
I live my present in scary moody mixture
Somewhere in this world
Is hidden the essence of the Great Lord
And I did make of my aim
The quest of searching for His name
Though he is very much in fame
To wars and selfishness his followers came
And what if I let go of my scenery
Would that not lead me to my death
Would that not make of my stand
One worthy as that of a blinded hand!
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.
I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME
When she opens the door,
my first impression is how much
I tower over her.
Cool and niceties, strategies and smiles -
those are the ingredients
I am trying to pass off as myself.
And that difference in height
is the perfect proxy
for who's in charge.
But then there's emotions, try to hide them
from the woman holding me,
from soft couch, warm fire, rain on rooftop,
and fuchsia - God, if I knew there
was going to he fuchsia. I never would have come.
And what about all this candlelight.
Their flame takes four walls
and turns them into dance floors.
As well they buff up eyes and lips,
turn ordinary faces into portraits.
As for the music -
I truly believe that a stereo
is as conniving as a wolf –
and wasn’t “wolf”
a role I cast myself as.
But that soft jazz-
how it imitates my undercurrents -
by the third song.
I can't tell my nerves from Wynton Marsalis.
By the time the evening draws to a close,
I can feel myself starting to get serious.
I am still 5 foot 11 and a half
but I am no longer the only tall one.
A cute and cocky face,
a renowned low-ball specialist -
in fact highly proficient
in a number of areas
like being sneaky and tough
but with finesse of course,
even beyond the foul-lines -
curt when needed.
classic by arrangement,
some say empty and cruel
but I prefer the word, accurate -
no wonder I'm falling like this,
a tumble of words gives me away,
I yearn for the warm,
we can discuss the blunt edge later -
I never planned this.
I could never have imagined
we would be together -
I tried my immune tactics,
but she had my core in her clutch,
letting in light and air
only when necessary -
tracing a map of my hand.
smoothing over the restrictions
in my delivery,
defining my position.
warning me against
sitting and thinking like this,
my breath on the ropes,
her ass on the throne,
dwelling in the gray,
of her beauty's free enterprise
that can pick my pockets at will -
you say I'm soft to be in love,
that her kisses are strikes.
her hugs, a sword plunged
in my back.
that she'll peck my seams apart.
keep what she wants,
toss the rest,
but I can't be ice,
so if relinquishing power is required,
I'm willing to be with her
all the way to my vanishing point.
Stella was a good cook.
And an excellent lover.
But a dog?
A cute little bounding
bundle of fluff
that leapt into bed,
warmed and licked
on a frosty winter's morning?
Frost was killing the outside.
At times, it took its toll
within the rooms.
Almost to the point of us calling it quits.
But then the flapping red tongue came into it.
And that merciless unconditional love.
Wind was blowing outside
skewing the snow sideways.
And yet this creature
still wanted to be a part of all this.
Even when divorce was mentioned,
it didn't faze him.
He wasn't even a purebred.
But, by then,
we were kind of mutts
and mongrels ourselves.
But a dog?
A dog to the rescue
like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin.
A dog who could see
the good in meat on the bone.
Not just food scraps
but the people kind.
With the bad weather blowing
and the dog inside,
parting never came up again.
From the time Stella brought him home,
we wore his leash proudly.
HOLLY GIVES ME MY NOTICE
The door closed behind me
with a report louder than a bullet.
I climbed on ten ton legs
into my ear.
Before I started the motor,
I listened to my stuttering heartbeat
like another car
whining up the grade
from somewhere deep below.
A wisp of rain
face-clothed my cheeks
just so tears wouldn't have to.
I finally turned the key.
It’s a good feeling
when the machinery obeys.
But it's not a great one.
GROWING UP WITH THE STARVING
On the news, she saw film from Africa,
saved pennies for the starving babies.
Her father said there was kids starving
in the inner city.
Her mother's response was that
some women just shouldn't be
allowed to have babies.
She stopped saving once she heard that.
At school, there was a boy who had
no lunch money.
Some teachers smuggled spare change to him.
He got by on charity
and the compulsory pint of milk
delivered every morning.
She wondered if he lived in the inner city.
And was his mother one of those people
her mother was talking about.
By high school, she had her own problems to deal with.
Not poverty, just first bra, first period.
first just about everything.
African children with protruding ribs and bloated bellies
were part of the scenery.
The boy with no lunch money
left school in the middle of the sixth grade.
She saved her pennies for eye-liner and lipstick.
And never once did she think that selfish or cruel.
For all she knew, there were already other seven year olds
who were doing what she did when she was that age.
The starving kids were accounted for no matter what.