Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, November 28, 2013

      Happy Thanksgiving


by Marc Carver

Whoever comes through your door
you may as well accept them
they will keep coming.

Prayer of a confused life

by Pijush Kanti Deb

Look, a life walks on carrying God and Devil
on its either shoulder,
remains ever-confused and hesitated
as the inspiration and the temptation
both flow into the cavities of its sensation.

Feel the thrill of a tag-of-war
played between God and Devil
making a life as a rope round the clock
and pulling it towards them to own it.

But a sacred life is blissful and fearless
to show its back to Devil in bowing down to God
and pray generously from the depth of heart,
‘’Let our smile be bloomed on others lips
a hut be built in others heart
comfort be felt by the plaster on others wound
and a life be lived with all sacrifices
to compel God to smile on our lips’’.

It looks at the Devil and continues its prayer
‘’Let our selfishness be handicapped
in sharing the causes of smiles and enjoyments,
the flames of anger be extinguished
Before humiliating the respectful and useful,
Lustful passion be arrested with in a moment
Before biting the soft skin of honour
And a life be lived with all cleanliness
To compel Devil to maintain
A million mile distance from a sacred life.’’


by Richard Schnap

The yellowed leaves pile up
Pages from an out-of-print novel
A scrapbook of faded photos

Lifted by the wind’s breath
A story to be continued
Memories refusing to die

As the grey sky darkens
Rumors of a new version
The next generation waiting

And the season of dreams begins
The promise of a grand sequel
Faces more lovely than before

Big Thanksgiving Snow

by Donal Mahoney

"Sometimes Jesus walked around with a big staff, just like me," Mrs. Day says to herself as she looks at the frayed picture on her kitchen wall just above the little kitchen table. She cut that picture out of a magazine 50 years ago when she subscribed to Life and Look and Colliers magazines.

"Jesus doesn't need that staff," Mrs. Day tells herself. "It was a sunny day in Jericho, the article said. I'll bet He used that staff to go up in the hills to pray. The Bible says He often left the apostles behind to go away and pray. I'd have kept an eye on Him if I was there."

At 80 Mrs. Day is legally blind with one good leg. She has a staff of her own to help her walk to stores and then back to her little house. The staff is at least a foot taller than she is. It was a gift from a dead neighbor who was handy with tools and liked to carve and whittle. Mrs. Day needs that staff this Thanksgiving Day as she makes her way through drifts of snow, an unusual amount for this first big winter holiday.

With nothing in the fridge except old bread and prunes, Mrs. Day hopes to find a diner open. Even Jack in the Box is closed for Thanksgiving so there will be no coffee with a Breakfast Jack to go but Mrs. Day has time today to find a place that is open. And she knows that place will probably be Vijay's Diner, where she's a customer on days when every other place is closed.

Vijay came to the United States long ago when Mumbai was still Bombay. He cooks for everyone every day of the year, whatever God they worship or ignore. He makes fine Indian dishes for customers who emigrated from India as he did. And he makes fine American cuisine for people from the neighborhood, most of whom have yet to adjust to Indian dishes and their redolent spices.

"I have a nice turkey leg, Mrs. Day, if you'd like that," he says, but all she wants is coffee, two sugars and a muffin to go.

"I'm on a diet," she tells him.

Vijay puts her items in a small brown bag and adds a free candy bar, a Baby Ruth bar, a big one, for later tonight. Mrs. Day will be angry when she gets home and finds it but that's okay. She can't come out at night to look for something to eat. It's tough enough for her to get around in sunlight.

Vijay waits for Mrs. Day to dig in her big purse and put all of her change on the counter. Then they count aloud together each coin that he picks up one at a time. Finally they agree he has the right amount even though Mrs. Day has trouble seeing the coins. Usually she can tell which are which by the feel of them. Now Vijay smiles at Mrs. Day, his customer on the holidays only.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Mrs. Day," he says. "I hope you'll come again. We'll have leg of lamb on Christmas. And ham and yams on New Year's Eve. I'll make you a nice big sandwich. I know you'll like it. You can skip the diet for one day."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


by Will Monigold

We have come here
To love
And be loved.
We pretend to have
Custody of the night.
The smell of fish
From the street
Cheap perfume
Fried treats.
The invasion
Is complete.
According to the women
Five dollars
Will dispel the dreadful
Efforts of a rifle
The careless teeth
Of a grenade
A calamity
In a hut with mud walls.
The days are
Hard and hot
And we will not cry
For many years.

Black Widow

by Melissa Dickson

That summer I counted eight, nine, ten.
Under upturned flower pots,
behind the gutter spout, in the drink cup
of an outgrown stroller. The children
had never seen anything so black.
Black as funeral boots, I said; black
as an ebonized chest; black
as my skillet, oil-rubbed, glistening;

black as Vulcan’s ass. We sprayed
them with bleach, poured gasoline
in their nests, thrust sticks in the breaches
of mortar—dying to call out
that enchanted globe of belly,
infinity mirror. Her hourglass,
aflame, hidden even in the pleats
of jade rising inside my den.

I Am Anxiety

by A.J. Huffman

walking, a wavering well of conflicting
thoughts.  Possibilities cling to me
like string.  I cannot cut myself free.  I am
confusion, perplexity, and disorder, tied
to an over-sized chunk of indecision.
I am barely treading water.  I am trying
to swim in a pool of blood that holds
a shark made of my own vacillating skin.

Earthquake After Shocks--- The New Nuclear Family July 30, 2008

by Michael Cluff

"I bet it was
ths sky kissing
the earth," said Trudy
giggling just a little too much
for someone her age.

it was
the devil farting
really loud," added Hector
grossing the rest out
as was his wont.

"Or  a signal
of the impending
end of an evil universal", dolefully declared Krystal
the good minister's step-daughter
that she was.

"I don't care
what is was," added Ron
"it was way too scary for me."
His grandfather had just died
a minute beforehand

cancer caused
by fallout
in Utah
around 1956

Sunday, November 24, 2013

if peter wasn't a welch, paul wouldn't have hired those goons

by Leeroy Berlin

strange that they still build these out of wood,
with all the candles i would have thought the fire marshall would object.

forgive me father for i have sinned.
it has been ten years since my last confession.

i've fornicated in unspeakable ways with an indeterminate number of women,
it's hard to keep count on those nights fueled by—
oh yeah, the drugs—a few joints, a few downers, a few opiates.

there's the petty theft,
nothing serious: candy bars off seven-eleven shelves, the occasional dine-and-dash,
pills from parties in strangers’ bathrooms—the pills not the party—
a weekly bottle of liquor from the store around the corner. you know,
the one that sells fetish porn out of the back room.

i've seen your eyes on Sunday morning and
i know it's not just the altar boys that keep you up.

you should get comfortable in that position.
this is going to take a while.
that was only the last six months.

let's get back to the lies: every christmas, every easter i lie to my dear mother
god bless her soul in nomine patri et filii et spiritu sancti.

i make an excuse and keep myself from blaspheming the mass,
you've got to give me credit for that,
it's the one thing i've got over you.

five years ago my girlfriend got an abortion—
how many excommunications is that?
she's not a Catholic.
she didn't tell me about it until months later.
how many?
how many if i say i'm glad she didn't tell me?

there's the lying again—
i wear apostasy to keep people from knowing that
i believe what i'm saying to you now—
how many is that?
how many our fathers for denying my communion with you?

and about the theft—
the duct tape, the matches, the gasoline.
I didn't buy them.
Paper trails.

how many indulgences will ransom my soul?
how many pieces of silver will pull me from purgatory?

let me take that tape off.
don't mind the smell, you'll get used to the fires too.

And John Would Weep

 by Richard Hartwell 

No longer the laughing cantina whore
servicing Salinas and north to San Jose,
the Monterey Peninsula’s loss is acute;
gone are groves of oak, firs, and ferns,
as the soul of Steinbeck country has left.

Ravaging now are contesting diseases of
pimps and pros occupying millionaire’s
mansions, players on glitterati golf courses,
and lovers of works by arrogant artistes.

No longer are fish and agriculture the sole
core of the central coast and I sorely miss
the razed groves of oak, firs and ferns, and
the embrace of the laughing cantina whore;
as the soul of Steinbeck country is departed.

The old in and out

by Marc Carver

In and out
so many good things in life go in and out.
We eat and out it comes
we sleep and out of sleep we come.
We fall in love and we fall out of love.
We become friends then we fall out.
We come into the world and we fall out of it
like a falling tree.
We think we are in
but really we are out.
We want to be in
then we know we are better being out.
We want to be inside then we want to  be out.
In out
shake it all about
neither matters too much
so don't forget to
start with the in
then worry about the out

2 Hours before Dawn

by Carol Shillibeer

the blade of the milky way
sky's skin seeping darkness
and raw, the coming
sun cut-lemon
against stripped
mountain fingers, tottering
stars, fall
head first into the rocky horizon
and all this, all that we share
just a momentary unhappiness

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smartest Kid in the Room

by Donal Mahoney

Tim Ryan was the smartest kid in the room--in his classroom, that is--in 8th grade back in 1952. And that was no small feat because that classroom was full of girls who studied hard all the time. The boys were less diligent and didn't normally score as high as the girls on tests. But Tim Ryan usually scored 100% on tests. He had already won an academic scholarship to one of the finest private high schools in Chicago. His only flaw was poor handwriting. 

The nuns who taught at St. Nicholas were hard on students with poor penmanship. It was invariably the boys who had this problem. And the remedy, which seldom worked, was to have those with poor handwriting sIt for an hour after school and practice an approach called the Palmer Method. 

But there was a much bigger problem in 1952 than poor penmanship. It was a near epidemic of polio and tuberculosis that hit more than a few children in Chicago. St. Nicholas School was no exception. Out of roughly 500 students, at least one child ended up in an iron lung for life and others had a chronic limp or a withered arm as a result of polio. 

Tim Ryan didn't get polio but he did get tuberculosis. In 1952 there was no cure or vaccination for polio, and treatment for tuberculosis wasn't always effective.

Kids who had polio shuffled back and forth from doctor's offices to hospitals. That was not the case with tuberculosis. Kids who caught TB were sent immediately to a large public sanitarium to be treated with others who had the same disease. It was a mandatory quarantine. That's what happened to Tim Ryan, the smartest kid in his 8th grade.

"I don't know what we'll do without Timmy," Mrs. Ryan said. "We can't even visit him." 

Tim Ryan had no visitors for the months he was in the infectious stage. Eventually his quarantine was lifted and his family went to see him. His brother came to school the next day and said Tim was okay but very thin. The doctors had no idea how long he would be in the sanitarium but his classmates could now visit him without risk of contracting the disease.

The sanitarium was many miles away--at least two long bus rides lasting more than an hour and a half. Back then, most fathers worked all day and usually took the family car to work, provided the family could afford a car. 

Not too many mothers drove cars back then, at least not in that lower-middle-class blue collar neighborhood of mostly immigrant families. Buses were the transportation of choice if you had to go out of the neighborhood.

One kid in the class had traveled often on the buses that went past Tim's sanitarium. Billy Gallagher had to go see his orthodontist once a month to make certain the braces on his teeth were intact and were doing some good. 

Billy's teeth stuck out so far that one of the nuns got tired of looking at him and made arrangements for him to get care. It was a large expense for Billy's family but the care was a relief to his mother who figured no one would marry him unless something was done about his teeth. But as far as his little sister was concerned, Billy's teeth were a big help to him when the family had corn on the cob for supper.

It fell to Billy Gallagher to organize a group of classmates to take the bus trip to see Tim. The group, all boys, went on All Saints Day, when the public schools had classes but Catholic schools did not.

"Billy, what are we going to say to Tim after we ask how he's doing," said Larry Moore. 

Larry spoke for all the boys in the sense that Tim was not one of the regulars, so to speak. Tim studied all the time while the other boys were out playing sports and engaging in simple mischief on occasion.

"Well, we can tell him how things are going at school," Billy said. "He wouldn't be surprised to learn that a girl has won all the Friday spelling bees since he got sick. And we can ask him to name the capitals of all the states in America. That will take him a few minutes at least. And then maybe we can ask him to name the capital of Bulgaria. Stuff like that. He'll probably have all the answers but it will give him a chance to talk. Make him feel better."

Although Tim was quick with an answer to almost anything, his specialty was to ask esoteric questions that sometimes would stump the nuns and give his classmates a quiet chuckle. 

Tim liked to examine the quirks of life and try to figure them out. Once he was sent home from school for submitting a question in writing that he didn't think his classmates were old enough to hear.

"That's a disgusting question, Timothy," Sister Mary William said. "Take your books and go home for the day. We'll see you again tomorrow, young man, and there better be no more foolishness or I'll call your parents." 

It was a sunny morning when the 12 boys paid their 25 cent bus fare and got on the 59th Street bus and rode it for half an hour. Then they transferred to the Pulaski Street bus and rode that for another hour till they got off at Belmont Avenue on the far north side. They could see the huge sanitarium but it took them at least five minutes to walk to the building.

The nuns had insisted they wear their blue shirts and school ties so they would look presentable. The receptionist was surprised to see them since no one had called to say they were coming. But in light of their long trip, she got permission for the boys to see Tim even though he supposed to be taking his afternoon nap. 

"How you guys doin'," Tim shouted from his bed as soon as he saw his classmates. He felt a far greater affinity for them than they did for him since he knew he was the odd boy out in that he preferred books to sports and movies. 

It wasn't easy being the smartest kid in the room and maybe only Tim knew that. He tried his best to interact with the others but it only seemed to work when he'd ask one of the nuns an odd question during class.  

Billy Gallagher told Tim the boys had a bet as to whether he could name the capitals of all the states. Tim rattled them off in about a minute. He also named the capitals of several European countries before the kids could think of no more countries to ask him about.

"C'mon, you have to have more questions than that. I've been out of school for two months and I'm a little rusty. If you can't think of anything else to quiz me on, I'll quiz you guys. I been saving a question till I got home to look it up in the encyclopedia because Sister Mary William got so mad about it she made me leave school early the day I asked it. I even put it in writing in a sealed envelope. Maybe one of you guys will know the answer."

There wasn't a boy in the group who thought any of them could answer a question Tim couldn't answer. But he was clearly in charge of the visit now and it was too early to leave and go home. So one of them said, "Go ahead, Tim. What's the question. Maybe one of us will know the answer."

Tim asked them to gather in a circle around his bed because he didn't want the nurses to hear him. This was not a question you would ask a nurse any more than a nun. Tim said that he couldn't even ask his parents. 

When all the boys had gathered around, Tim took a final look around the room and saw no nurses in sight. So he let the question fly.

"Fellas, why is it every time you take a crap you also pee but every time you pee you don't always take a crap. Answer me that, will you? I've been trying to figure that out for years. I thought Sister would know the answer. Instead she threw me out of class."

The boys were puzzled by the question but had to admit Tim had made a valid point. This had been their experience as well in life although they had never analyzed the phenomenon the way Tim had. He was a deep thinker. 

None of them had an answer but Ralphie promised to let Tim know if he ever crapped without peeing at the same time. Then the other boys chimed in and said they would keep an eye out for any exception to the rule as well, although they didn't use those words exactly.

That was pretty much how the visit ended. The boys shook hands with Tim and said they hoped he would come back to school soon. 

Tim did, in fact, return to school two months later and even graduated on time. But he wasn't able to start high school the following September. Eventually he did go to high school and graduate. But he was too weak, his parents said a few years later at his wake, to go to college despite full scholarships awarded by two universities. 

Along with polio, tuberculosis took a terrible toll on a number of students in the class of 1952 at St. Nicholas School. Today doctors have a solid medical response to both diseases. But in some parts of the world both diseases are prominent again and for one reason or another, effective medications and treatment are not made available to those in need. 

If he were still alive, Tim Ryan might have a question or two about that. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On the Wings of a Shadowed Dove

by A.J. Huffman

I cut through mountains made of paper,
lined and unlined.  Neither can hold
my rage.  I am rock,
resistant to your wind.  I hold blue
flame, symbol of persistence, continuance,
beacon of the broken.  I gather
the pieces that remain around me
like a fort.  They agree to become
kindling for the cause.  I reduce them
to ash, spread them as spackle to fill cracks
in the vision I hold of tomorrow.

Extra Extra

by Amy Soricelli

Newspaper trembling black and white into the breezy afternoon-
flapping its paper wings into the stale subway air.
Shouts across the headlines, sits undisturbed half-open in an empty seat
fluttering its pages like a banner.
Old man with old dog - slide in unison to the single seat in the corner;
they fit together like a puzzle/rounded corners neat against the edge.
Shuffling sideways, tired homeward-bound faces move aside the newspaper -
push with quick glances the metered unremarkable happenings of someone else's life.
Someones misery/loss - battered faces turned-up noses; the perfect bodies of everyone else.
Shattered moments splattered like red paint.
Along the pole in the middle of the car hands on tight; swaying feet balancing the length of their bodies
not to touch one another/Not to blend.
The newspaper sliding slowly off the remaining empty seat; making way for the teen boy wired
deep from his ears -
songs competing out of tune with the hum and purr of the engine.
He glances to the floor where the news has landed -feet pressing their weary toes into yesterdays pages.
Under his feet now he turns trying to read them from upside down.

Film Over Our Eyes

by Daniel Wilcox

We ‘dry’ Baptists
Got guts and minds
Immersed in
The ocean of no-nothing,
New ‘cawled’
Wet with innocence
In the dawn of don’t;
Y’u no know do knows
Of both spellings
Including no film
Except (“see no…”)

Over our youthful eyes
Not only did we no fast
Moving… but picture this:
No poesy, no do-si-do,
No rolling rockabilly,
Only Billy the Graham, “Just
As I Am” that is,
Not the Graham of Fillmore’s
“White Rabbit”;
No Slick, but grace, yes.

Oh, the film over our eyes


My first date
Wanted to see Hailey Mills. Wheeling,
Dizzy (not Walt or Dean) with worry
I walked her down
With trepidation
Under the glaring marque
Into that pit wallow of wrong

(“Abandon hope, all who enter here…”)

Only to find the Disney film
Summer Magic,
Rather moving, a picture
Of overly decent fun,
Not dangerous at all, not like
The images in my own mind
Mined deep into surging lava;

Oh, the film over our eyes

Fast frame a few
Years into our Medusa’d future,
And projectors gone wild,
R-shuttering eyes strange
Wide into
The restricted blazoned
Display, Beyond PG
(Pretty Gross), so graphic;

And many a theater
Became an ‘easy ride’
For this Bible belt boy
Into carnal knowledge,

Graphic blood-letting,
Words never Scriptur’d,
Negative nude scenes
Razing our senses,
And vicarious mayhem;

Oh, the film over our eyes

Gazing (“see no, know…”);
I been through the mills
Thrown too many times down
Into the sea,
Those millstones around our necks;
Next stop,

(Not Hailey’s picture show,
Or that last one down
Texas-mixed way,
Nor Cecil’s 'B' Mills),

But the brain(swine)wash
Of a ‘Last Tango’d’ mind--
Been ‘Brando’d’, thanks Simon,
(Not Simple, but the Paul’d one)
Down the starred Walk of Fame,

Oh, the film over our eyes

Glazed, cataract-vague vision
Unholywood’d, Ash-shamed
Y’u know,

Orphans Lie in Blue Beds

by Bobbie Troy

orphans lie
in blue beds
as if the blue
can calm their loneliness
and turn the twilight
into happiness

with stiff and still little bodies
except for trembling lips
they quietly accept their fate

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fire, Fire

by Brittany Zedalis

Flames lick
my skin-
a storm.

I choke-
taken down
in rain.

my arms-
cool reality.

The heat-
still burning
my mind.

advice given to baby

by Carol Shillibeer

Oh love, sing the wide sky.
Curl back and arch, press
your ribcage into clouds.
Leave a dent in the deep
white. Pinch the green
world between elbows;
click your shoulder blades;
tick, tick, tick, bone time
and snap throat cords, and belt.
Do not live silently

Unexpected Surprise
Bay St. Louis June 1991

by Michael Cluff

 "Salt water and hemorrhoids
 do not go gentle together,"
 Uncle Tim declared
 from the couch
 in his old man Bermuda shorts
 and brown loafers
 while Auntie Mary tsked tsked
 that the current beach wear
 made the girls look too tender and easy.
 Cousin Clarence agreed intensely
 from behind the fish tank
 containing guppies, mollies
 and tetras of a neon sort.

 Sister Teri and Stepbrother Dennis and I
 would not listen at all
 but returned too sunburned
 later that coiled early vacation day
 to tell about the baby
 about  an eighth or so our ages
 found slightly mildewed
 on the midway
 towards the east long side
 of the bay.


by Marc Carver

A song wanders around my mind
like a lost man looking for his hotel room
all he wants to do \
is find a place to rest his head
and sleep.

It promises
a time
a day to come
a park and a movie
and some sangria.too
It is sang gently by many
and sometimes by one.

It comes after death
as so many things do
Good to leave something behind
even if
 it is not quite perfect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Under Summer's Spell

by Michael Cluff       

The dryness ends patience
quixotically and the queerness
of the air entitles the id
to run abrupt and avariciously
afoul of serene bicameral  souls
waiting in quivers
a drop of precipitation
of any sort
coming  down or even up
from all types of clouds.

Amazon Order

by Michael Albright

Dublin crystal
bedside night
with tumbler

Distant Stars

by Denny E. Marshall

Looking deep into space
Up at the distant stars
Telescope in my face
Looking deep into space
Observe beauty and grace
Of clusters and quasars
Looking deep into space
Up at the distant stars


by Bradford Middleton

I woke up this morning and I felt like death
My ribs were aching and sore and my head
Just drowning in the remnants of last nights
Courageous drinking session

We’d drank loads that much I can remember
Six bottles of wine I can just about remember
But the nightcap at the end sent me over the edge
Still today it don’t make me feel any better

Cos I got the hangover blues
The hangover blues are here to stay

I woke up that afternoon and my head
And ribs still ached like fuck
But at least I wasn’t still drunk
That was a blessing as it signalled the end

The end of the hangover blues
Which just leaves with the unfortunate blues

Friday, November 15, 2013

Paddy Tells His Barber Why He Can't Kill Rosie

by Donal Mahoney

Barney, I'm pro-life so I can't kill Rosie, no matter that I caught her in bed with Wilbur. I'm a Catholic so if I were to kill her, I'd go straight to Hell if I were to die before going to confession. 

And even if I go to confession, and Jesus Christ forgives my sin, imagine how long I'd be in Purgatory. It would take years to strip away the stain--not the guilt--of that sin from my soul. Christ's death on the cross took care of the guilt but I'd still have the stain. 

I know you Baptists don't believe in Purgatory but I'm reserving seats for both us in advance. 

You see, killing Rosie would be a little like setting my neighbor's house on fire and it burns to the ground. My neighbor might forgive me in time but I'd still have to pay for the damages. Worse, I'd spend years in jail. Sins can be forgiven but they leave a stain. And no stained soul is suitable for heaven. Purgatory purifies a stained soul. That's how us mackerel snappers see it.

Some folks think Catholics think they can commit any sin at all, go to confession, receive absolution, die and go straight to Heaven. Even the dumbest Catholics don't believe that--and let me tell you we're not all Rhodes Scholars.

You and I argue about this stuff every time I get a haircut. For 30 odd years, you've been telling me I'm one of the few Catholics you know who's saved--that I'll go straight to heaven because I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Rumors to the contrary, Barney, every Catholic accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior. There is no one else. We just say it in a different way. 

At the same time, Catholics don't believe they're going straight to heaven simply because they believe in Jesus. They believe Jesus expects us to behave as though we believe. We're not talking about good works here. We're talking about the Ten Commandments--not the ten suggestions. 

So, Barney, it boils down to this: Even if I'm saved as you maintain, I can't kill Rosie because that would make Jesus unhappy. And you and I agree, we don't want to make Jesus unhappy. Besides, He'd probably tell me to find a decent girl, marry her, settle down and raise a nice family. 

What's almost as bad, Barney, is my faith says I have to forgive Rosie. That's almost as tough as not killing her since I know she'll do it again. She'll cheat on some other guy who has yet to catch on to her.  

Barney, ol' buddy, take it from me. It's inconvenient at times being a pro-life Catholic, saved or otherwise.

I'll see you in three weeks when I need another haircut. And stop eating those stuffed pork chops. Too much cholesterol. Purgatory will be there soon enough when we need it.  

The Whisky Voyages

by Ian C. Smith

He sails back through spent tears
Relentless in pursuit of clues
Consulting memory’s charts
To decipher the grief of years
Comparing his father’s life, his sons’
Across erratic seas, measuring
Passages between reefs
Waves smashed on deceptive coasts
From times then, echoes of ghosts.

Sometimes he yearns to go ashore
Trace his sins in greater detail
Pierce the shadows of crumbling villas
Glimpse pained faces, utter a prayer
As if they’d still be there.

He tacks past harbours quiet as lakes
Credits lucky navigation
Looks back even as the current pulls
Ever analysing mistakes
Hoping for what; redemption?
A kind of readiness at the wheel
Before plunging into the last gale
The accelerating descent
Future’s upended  keel
When survival, the pain & the scars
Are swept away below distant stars.


by Jeffrey Park

Refined processed denatured
enriched fortified
filtered and deoxygenated
multicolored multivitamins
antiperspirants anti-aging creams
joint replacement
retro-gene therapies
weekly Botox injections –
out with the old
and organic
in with the new improved
modern up-dated/graded/scaled
sinfully synthetic.

Bleed me freeze me
re-imagine/design/engineer me
render my flesh down
to its component molecules
reconstruct me
make me make me make
me better.
Release me.
Hold, behold me, Homo Artificialis.
And here’s the joke:
if and when the machines do rise
won’t they be be surprised
to find
we’re already here.


by Richard Schnap

The black-walled dive
With the beer-stained rug
Is now a restaurant
Serving overpriced meals

And the famous club
Run by an ex-con
Is now a faceless bar
Like a hundred others

And the one with the bleachers
Overlooking the stage
Is now a dealership
Selling foreign cars

And my leather jacket
Is itself now a relic
Along with the noise
That became music.

A Drab Looking Female (A Fox & A Weasel Conversation)

by Paul Tristram

The Fox sidled up to the Weasel
who was casually smoking a Woodbine
whilst leaning back coolly upon a fence.
Nodded at a brown and black speckled
female Pheasant scraping coyly at the grass
of the field not 10ft away and inquired
“Is that the only action about this evening?
I remember when this place used to be banging,
Chicks and Bunnies packed hedgerow to hedgerow
and only a short few seasons back too!”
“Aye!” Replied the Weasel, re-adjusting his flat cap
“I remember and miss those days gone well enough,
This place has gone to the Dogs, I tell thee, to the Dogs!”
“Well, I shall leave this one to you, first come and all that!”
Exclaimed the Fox replacing his hip flask
back inside his tweed hunting coat.
Then tapping his walking cane thrice
along the third rung of the wooden fence
He sprang left on down the hillside
towards the Barn Owl’s ‘Midnight Moonshine Tavern.’

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Fraction Of Forever 3

by Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper

Knee deep in wet leaves
the rake gets heavier,
uncovered grass - flat
and choked for oxygen.

Curtains of rain leave
gay puddles in sunshine
and the remainder of leaves
on the trees flaunt their color,
rinsed and shiny.
Wind mutters in agitation
and stings me
straight in the eye
letting me know
I trespass in its threads of air.

November dons a severe sky
and this season
is only a fraction of forever.


by Holly Day

close your eyes and
concentrate. swing with your arms and
not with your hands. imagine the ball without actually seeing it.
hit the ball only

when you know it’s actually
there. why would these words follow me all the way
out here, so far from any green field or
first base, in the desert in a tank with only
the sounds of frightened panic, chaos
in my ears? why would the voice of a coach
I had only in second
grade be in my head now, repeating the same old shit
against a backdrop of bombs and fire and death?

keep your eyes closed and don’t think about
anything else. follow the orders
in your head. If we get out of
this alive, I’ll buy you an ice cream cone. don’t
think, just
move. keep moving.

The Meaning of Blue
we’ll get there by and by
-- Joni Michell

by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Why are fires yellow?

Their glow to embers,
their death, is a finest
sun.  A line crossed fades.

Oh, contemplation; sail
a shadow: the stories
grab and hammer, grab
sweetly, tiredly; so we
tack against the sun;
each dawn a watchful
fascination.  The sun on grass.

Travelling Backwards

by Brian Wake

At thirteen forty five our train begins to move, and, late
to board, what seats remain face not toward but from.
I fold my overcoat and sit, do battle with a newspaper
to find a decent page and settle down to read.

Behind me, music hisses from a faulty earphone. A child
describes the passing fields; a city child surprised by space
and countryside, surprised by, look mum, cows and sheep.
Across the aisle a blue-haired lady with an open book
is fast asleep.

From where I sit, my awkward view is of the places
we have travelled through. What views await us are, as yet,
unknown, the present blurred, the past quite clear. I travel
backwards in a crowded train.

I sit with some who seem to travel backwards all their lives;
they sit asleep or read with children counting sheep and cows.
For them and me, perhaps

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


by Séamas Carraher

There's a knife
sharpens on me shadows
cold as an orphan's photograph,
sharpens words that know no mouth
(cruel as a parent in the ignorant
dark, all dirty with dictators!)
- like killing, and, my love.
And i eat and eat with
no swallowing
me head in bits for boxes,
O this world of loss, all lovely in soviets,
them square things and hard things
(i called them love in this dirty dark
and shout and shout
the likes of me!)
That sharpens on a shadow
calls that waster names
who eats in bites that cannibal his heart,
my world of loss, for this world all lies
and love on strings, both guillotine and hangman.
My calling but no answer
(and the day breeds their dark
all its beginning and end of time,
my waving, and loving, so stabbed!)
And sisters my sun in sponges
and mother and father who wanted me dead,
this brother in my arming
whose night like a knife
saying words like
"no" and "not" and "don't".
Who it's down here?  But not alone
(that other kid boxed into bits!
And the one done thundered!
And the one too hanging,
O all my sickness, weak without weeping!).
That shadow must be sharp as a spike
with crust hidden in front of suns,
(crazy for their mothering, them
murderers and thieves
rolling in their headless ways
all east in our falling like
leaves over Russia).
O sun and saintness in this war, wording,
like mine and yours
with no one home.
O love, in littling, and kept our
who buried and were battered
in towns much like another,
and you and me, (alone in blows
and knowing its scream
roots like clay
in all our homeless.)
But nowhere and never.
My house and yours now falling down.
My house in our never, still erect in rottenness.
So i call the sharpening silence
(and root on root my unbending mind.)
And the silence calls me knife
though their eating must all grey,
though they call you darkness
who are sinking (in your rising)
and them drowning in you, my light.
O shadow, (as i wave farewell)
if i had a sister, a small pretty
Jewish girl
and she called me home, helloing
them words and this eager mouth,
(that lovely love who sits
and must sighing)
all flying, brother, and unfurling in certainly.
O all, my life (not yet!)
O all my working class and soviet, still,
O all our ever. And up.
The brightness!

Chiselling Away The Countryside

by Paul Tristram

To save another 5 minutes
on your journey home from work
they build bigger and faster roads.
Black tar highways of hell
zigzagging Great Britain’s
‘Green And Pleasant Land.’
Where I live they cleared a 3 mile circle
of a pathway 40ft wide
through a beautiful ancient woodland.
Destroying badger sets, families of jays,
tawny owl nests and many other
precious wildlife habitats.
For the purpose of giving people
the opportunity to enjoy the countryside
whilst riding their bicycles
they chopped a vast amount of it down?
Once this countryside vanishes, it’s gone!
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors
do us all a really big favour, please
pack some sandwiches and go walk in it.

economics lesson

by John Grochalski

leon got drunk in the corner of the bar
where he sat after serving pints all day
to republicans and racists

he was often with a broken arm
or a black eye
from getting beaten on or thrown off the bus

he said to me, tonight is our tete-e-tete
and then he had me put gershwin on the jukebox
to drown out the mets game

leon took out a piece of paper and started drawing
some complex economic design upon it

layers upon layers of circles
with numbers and figures scrawled in drunken chicken scratch

i didn’t know what to make of it
except that i’d never understand economics
beyond my frayed wallet

i just wanted to drink beer and listen to gershwin
forget the job that i’d come from
and had to go back to the next day

i wanted the mets to win
but they were down again
and some of the guys in the joint
were starting to get restless about it

the seat next to leon was the only one
available in that joint

because they’d all been through this economics lesson before

some of them men had threatened to kill leon
if he ever brought up economics again

so he stayed mute on the subject with them
and just served them their beer
as they yelled about hispanics and blacks

but i was still new to the joint and still docile
and wasn’t of their rowdy ilk

so they threw me to the wolf with his scratch pad and pen
his laptop and pint of bud

and they laughed at me as i sat there
the lone soul in barroom economics 101

with professor leon
getting more and more soused by the minute

scrawling like he was mozart on an alcoholic kick

the gershwin reaching a crescendo of horns and piano

lines and line of economic nonsense
that held no matter for me
being splattered upon the paper in mad pollock dabbles of ink

me thinking that because of leon
i’d been nursing the same beer for over an hour

telling myself that if he kept it up
that i was going home to drink

this bar be damned for once and for all

which made the best economic sense for me
that strange and fiscal night.

Wintertime and Barroom Affairs

by Michael Lee Johnson

I head South side to the bar
115 Bourbon Street
to think the gospel
and find the Lord-
I had some time on my hands
and an affair to find.

Broken in my sentence structure
and simple minded with my words
I need help to find the men’s bathroom.

Back to the neon lights, streamers, to the
dance floor I found dark places with humming

Women of all colors, shapes, designs and dresses
were giving it away, names, addresses, bra sizes.

This night was crawling with flesh-
flesh escaping, vaporizing into the willing arms
of meat grinders and street strangers:
candles wicking of many sizes,
many colors, dripping down like desert.

I’m the prophet of sinner street,
spending nickels and dimes, tossing
the occasional dollar to someone somewhere.

Dancers of the midnight mirror floor swinging lights.

My thump, rhythm, is off, my shoes under a stray table

Tireless dancers so tired.

At home my wife weeps willow tree tear,
she sleeps short of breath, facing revival,
finishing off a fantasy dream climax oriented
with a total stranger or was it the lead singer
of the Buckingham’s?

It’s a Chicago night you know,
chill and wind tossed around on
Michigan Avenue shoulders.

I’m ending this poem in reality now,
and elsewhere heaven and hell descends-
I’m shut out of a box of love and a dozen roses
clipped like a flowers eye when the touch
of first snow falls.

Winter of love, walls of clear cold.

I head home from
South side 115 Bourbon Street
to think the gospel ,
to wonder about Luke.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


by Will Monigold

God’s eye
Has traced these lines
When they were made
Men were young
Gifted, perhaps
Certainly lucky
It was not prayer
It was trinkets
Blankets of
Victims of greed
Say you now
God’s eye
The page shifts
The needle turns
The stars didn’t teach us
How to lie
God did
Speak to me
Tell me what gifts
Have you stolen

Hair Poem #1

by Holly Day

After the surgery, my sister came to visit
brought me a box full of wigs. We tried them on
together: the red curly one, the short blond one, the long one
black as coal, looked at our reflections in the mirror
at how different we looked with our new hair.

My husband took me home that night, joked
about all the different women I could be
with my boxful of glamorous wigs, how he
would have to get used to the idea that there
were so many new me’s. I laughed for him

could see some of the tension lift
from the corners of his eyes, told him I was just happy
to be going home.

The Meeting

by Peter Franklin

Larry’s phone rings
Three times, and he
Answers it twice. The Usual
Arrive late, mumbling excuses that
We’ve all heard before.
Mindy keeps asking questions,
And I’ve broken a nail.
Why do we need to meet
When a simple email will do?
Time is dripping down the walls,
Egg yolk in slow, tired
Rivulets onto the floor.
But that is not what time is supposed to do!
Fly away!
Soar up into the heavens,
Wrap your seconds and minutes around
The stars…make me believe in grander things.
Let me dream!
Don’t tie me down to droning
Earthly pursuits…because my feet
Now feel heavy, and my mind is oozing
Into gravy nothingness.
I can’t even look at you now,
All out of focus.

Nightmares of the Young

by Michael Cluff                  

Mom keeps showing up
in a fifties hair bob
and cigarette-clenching
Marilyn Monroed-lips
serving Swiss steak, pineapple upside
down cake and tomatoed-okra.
The movie progresses from bad
to worse when the wind
blows her back to Kansas
in a balloon from a state fair
carrying "Omaha" on its side
and our terrier
protects her in toto
and sepias then overwhelm
mauves and puses
and carnations are only found
in abandoned milk cans
sporting smiling cows
in pearls and longrettes.

I know

by Keith Landrum

I've wasted
most of my life
liver and lovers
with jobs like suicide
and drinking poison
from beer cans

and if I know
it's that we all make
the same mistakes

and I know
I've done better
than expected
so no hard feelings

and I know
what god and the devil
both want

and I have a beer
in my hand
and another
in the fridge
to prove it

Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings

by Donal Mahoney

Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney and had a large, profitable practice.

There was a heavy snowfall that evening and it made the trip for Wendy, looking out the window of the car, all the more beautiful. They arrived at the garret around midnight and walked up three flights of stairs in the dark. It was good that Henry had brought his flashlight. He used three keys on a long silver chain to open three locks on the steel door. Once inside the garret, Henry turned on the light with triumph.

"Voila!" he said as he turned slowly in a circle with arms outstretched. 

Wendy was certainly surprised. There were paintings all over the walls. Other paintings, half completed, sat on their easels waiting for Henry. He explained to Wendy that she was the first person to see his work--his work of a lifetime. He had never shown his work to anyone before but now that they were married, he felt she had a right to see it.

"Wendy, you are the one person I know who is qualified to see my work and I am very happy about that."

Wendy had been curator of several art collections at prestigious museums in a number of cities. As soon as she was settled in her new home, she planned to seek similar employment in Chicago, perhaps at a small private gallery so she would have less pressure and more time to make a nice home for Henry who had been a bachelor for a long time. 

Wendy was an expert in watercolors, Henry's medium of choice. With his encouragement, she walked around the garret slowly, looking at every painting on the walls and even those on the easels before she said anything.

Finally, choosing her words carefully, she told Henry his work was "interesting." She did not praise or condemn any particular painting. She spoke quietly, trying her best to say something nice when her professional assessment told her just the opposite--the work was mediocre, mundane at best. Later on, Henry thought to himself that Wendy had looked bemused after reviewing his life's work. 

Henry Throckmorton earned his living as an attorney but that was simply to buy the time necessary to paint. Before marrying Wendy he had spent weekends, holidays and vacations at his garret, painting night and day for many years. He had done well as an attorney but painting was his passion. He knew now, however, that the canvases he thought so highly of had failed to impress his young wife. 

Henry drove home alone that night and told everyone at work the next day that Wendy had left him without notice. He called her parents and cried on the telephone about her sudden departure. He begged them to ask Wendy to call him if they heard from her and he said he would call them if she called him. He asked her mother if Wendy had ever gone off on her own before and she assured him that Wendy had not. 

No one ever saw Wendy Throckmorton again. Over the years, her parents had died, still worried about Wendy. Since she had been an only child, there were no siblings to ask about her. It was obvious to the staff in Henry's office that he was in no mood to discuss her. They felt the man was brokenhearted. 

Once again, Henry was spending weekends, holidays and vacations at his garret painting in watercolors. No one since Wendy had seen his work nor had anyone else visited his garret. Paintings were still everywhere, their number increasing as a result of Henry's ever-increasing frenzy for painting. 

A wonderful cook, Henry still stored a few steaks in a small refrigerator in the kitchen but he no longer hung big cuts of beef from hooks in the walk-in freezer at the back of the garret. That freezer had been a selling point when Henry bought the place from a retired butcher many years ago. But now Henry never went into the freezer. In fact, he didn't know where he had put the keys to the locks he himself had installed on the freezer door after Wendy had disappeared. 

In addition to being good at the law and enjoying painting, Henry Throckmorton had always been handy with tools. He had hoped some day to try his hand at ice sculpture but he would have to do that outside now and not in the freezer as he had once planned. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dry Conditions

by Martha Landman

Drought reigned high when Mr Cohen
swayed into the saloon
eight minutes before closing time
crooked nose
chiseled face
laughter lines rising from the back

the counter already wiped
corkscrews out of sight
sweatshirt stained underneath his jacket,
the barkeep had his hands full
without his Marianne
who was drying out in a Buddhist camp.

Barmaids on night-tired
creamy legs in skinny tops
filed out to home duties.

The head barmaid
keen to take Mr Cohen home,
directions scribbled on her right thigh,
signaled her patrons with
perfectly rounded lips
it’s closing time

and Mr Cohen chuckled at the
old men hanging off young girls,
declared their half empty glasses
a romantic façade
his Ouzo eyes sculpting
the Peruvian girl who wailed
her singleness in a mysterious lilt
in the smokers’ corner,

sealing his charisma
with a lipstick tattoo
from shoulder to shoulder
as the drunken mob toasted

love-promises frazzled
out onto the empty street.

Another Added Touch

by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Your cleavage, love, in my pocket.
Your sighs, love, on your back

while the sixteen black fingers
cut me

rent me

made me
into a higher form—

the train to Manhattan.  Equally,
before our sight, we struggle with
a pinkness of apocalypse,
a tweaked crimson
that becomes our windows,
blows us to silence.


by John Grochalski

we were all eighteen years-old
just out of high school

we were going to the beach in delaware
to drink beer and fuck eighteen year-old girls
right out of their bikini bottoms

calvin was going to have his sister
buy us a case of guinness

so that we could celebrate being eighteen
by drinking good beer in delaware
and fucking eighteen year-old girls
in colby’s uncle’s trailer

when we left for the beach
calvin snuck the case of guinness in a gym bag
and slid it into colby’s trunk

while his mother lectured us boys about
drinking beer at the beach
and tried to warn us off of eighteen year-old girls

because calvin’s mother didn’t want a drunk for a son
or a grandkid before her fiftieth birthday

but none of us listened to her

we were too excited to get out of high school
too excited to get out of pittsburgh for the week
anxious for the beach and beer
and the firm bodies of eighteen year-old girls

when we got to the beach
colby flipped open his trunk and slid out the gym bag

we crowded around a table
and opened it like we were unveiling a treasure

it wasn’t a case of guinness
it was a case of genesee cream ale in dented cans

calvin, said his sister must’ve misheard him
still, we had a couple cans anyway
and celebrated being eighteen

it didn’t get any better for us at the beach
because most of the eighteen year-old girls were still in school

the beach was littered with older, sagging couples
college women who were out of our league

so we drove around delaware

we bought a used television set
and sat at colby’s uncle’s trailer drinking the genesee
and watching tv

that night i got a horrible pain in my testicles
it kept me up all night and into the morning

i laid on the couch watching tv
and thinking that i was going to die

when colby woke up he joked that maybe it was the shitty beer
that caused my pains

still, my old man had to drive five hours
from pittsburgh to delaware to pick me up

we hid the genesee back in calvin’s gym bag
which was a shame because the first thing my old man said
when he got to delaware was
i could sure use a beer

and he couldn’t even have one at home
because the pain in my testicles got so bad
we had to go straight to the emergency room

the doctor said that it could be a twisted vein
or a venereal disease

which made me think about
all of those eighteen year-old girls
i wouldn’t be fucking in colby’s uncle’s trailer

the beer i wouldn’t be drinking because i needed surgery

i was less picky about genesee versus guinness
while in a hospital gown
when i woke up from the surgery
my parents and the doctor told me
that the vein had been twisted
and that i’d lost a testicle

i’d still be able to have kids, the doctor said

while i wondered how’d explain having one nut
to an eighteen year-old girl
or one that was older

when calvin and colby came back from the beach
they visited me

colby said the week was pretty much a drag
calvin said they still had a few can of guinness left

genesee, colby reminded him

it was still good, calvin said

i told them that i’d had a hernia operation
instead of losing a testicle

because i didn’t know how to explain that shit
to two eighteen year-old guys

then we all talked about being out of high school
and being eighteen years-old
and how many eighteen year-old girls there were in pittsburgh
for us to try and fuck all summer

before colby went away to college

and calvin went and got a full-time job
for some trucking company located down
by a make-shift beach on the allegheny river

Chicago Street Preacher (V2)

by Michael Lee Johnson

Street preacher
server of Word,
pamphlet whore, hand out boy,
fanatic of sidewalk vocals,
strummer seeker
between your cracks of notes,
salvation for living,
damnation, prayers dead−
47th from Ashland to California-
promoting his penniless
life, gospel forever,
Kingdom here come,
later this evening−
wearing same hunter
camouflage colors
yellow, gold, sorts of green,
a J. C. Penney outfit outlet,
underwear he wore a week ago
color dyed piss yellow.
Everything is singular.
He is homeless, spiritual
sexual dream, bed mate,
Jesus, comes out spirit.
At times Danny sorts feelings
like a dangling modifier,
or an alleyway schizophrenic
with his cause.
He sorts feelings in mystifying end points.
Danny darts off behind
and old oak tree, nearest bathroom
to take a leek,
here he images Krishna
blowing wild on a golden
geese flute.
Beneath a spare Stradivarius
tingles his rib cage.
Back into the bungalow
night street Danny has thoughts
of quarters, Salvation Army, silver dimes,
the Beast, gospel songs, local hookers,
green bills, and wino wine.
Vulnerability knits midnight sky,
rejected sew fry early July morning sun.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not
in the lone Silk Road
I go and go
from west to east

I go and go
from east to west
bury me not
in the lone Silk Road


by Amy Soricelli

I count on my red worry beads how many ways you can leave me.
How many flights in the sky with your globe eyes up and down through
the small airplane window.
I count the stones on those Italian streets - the rugged, lonely strips of life
poking through the spaces -
if they are pulled and tightened deep into a memory book -
would that not keep you here?
I see the mountains in some picture you took - sent with four single stamps across
the lines of a place once filled so completely by your presence.
The shallow puffs of your breath.  Your heartbeat like a clock.
Along your wall the photographs - a park with steep steps of rock
another with random locals waving along some train tracks hopeful hands
bouncing up like stones.
I can count the times you've waved goodbye in hurried steps in backwards waves;
I have set my hand in the air long after you've turned.
I can count the ways that love leaves footprints.
The tracks in the snow- the breadcrumb lies.
See its traces run through my fingers like water...
see them wave goodbye.


by Richard Schnap

She was tall and statuesque
With pale, perfect skin
A mannequin come to life

But burdened with the weight
Of raising two sons alone
After her husband’s sudden death

As she collected magazines
About the British royalty
And sought a new prince

Who never arrived
To fill the empty throne
In the lonely palace of her heart

Landscape with Miracles
(after the painting by Andre Masson)

by Neil Ellman

Miracles take root in virgin soil
forest the land, make mountains
out of want
the mind creates its own
a landscape of birth, rebirth
from visions of an after-life
as if the stars and planets died
and were reborn again
as green light upon a hill
and blue upon a lake—
here poplars, there the sun
here rivers and rocky shores
the frozen wastes of ice and time
here the wish, the will, the wait
and then the miracle of mind
that makes them real.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Floor

by Bhargab Chatterjee

When the evening
crosses the twilight zone,
when the murmur of a river
hits me back
at the centre of my torso,
thoughts come.

In the vase on my table
the morning flower
grows redder
on its green calyx.

Perfume makes the floor.          

Day 1

by Michael Cluff

Guilt cascades out in dreams
where the castrations of
day and work and need and hope
snip at one another---
shears pruning thought into
amplified and unfiltered reactions.

Sleep scares and supports me,
the unloosed conscience
reconglomerates the
drone of routine---
new patterns and paradoxes
worked out by dawn.

Slumber, a friend
lures me away
from the light lately:
I do not mind---
I will find
soon enough again.

good girl

by Linda M. Crate

i'm a good girl, shy girl
just want a man
that can appreciate my love
and devotion
who loves me despite my quirks and
someone that understands
my need to get all the words
locked up inside me out,
and treats me with
wouldn't hurt if he were good
on the eyes, either,
but maybe mother's right —
my standards are high,
but are they really
too elevated
like mountains pressing through
the mist;
are they really so deep a chasm
that no one would dare
swim the ocean of me?
i simply want someone in my hues
share a life with another
that connects his heart to
my soul without jerking away.

Sculpting a Day from Yesterday

by Tom Hatch

Given a chisel and
A dark morning carve out
A day not a tomorrow
Stone chips and dust
From yesterday's mistakes
And misfortune on the floor my
Beret tilted optimism
Tasseled green looking
Over the carved shoulder of white
Alabaster, Thassos crystals in the air
The curved nap of neck dawn
A torso morning mounting light
Refinement on a polished
Thigh from knee the chisel
Kissed a navel weeks ago
Enjoying again today
Trying to carve a sigh before noon
Ignoring other white cubics of the same for
Future tomorrows
Concentrating with eyes and hands
The breath of every moment
Carving a nose for evening
Finishing with the mouth
To sniff the wine and sip the days nectar

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Slap----The Slavery System

Pijush Kanti Deb
On 18th October, 2013---
the tears of the headlines of news-papers
submerged the hearts of the sensitive readers
and they were ashamed of the news ---
‘’The existence of 36 million slaves in the world’’
who earn and feed the shameless resourceful.
It was a slap on the pride of the babbling world-
claiming as modern, scientific and up-to-date,
climbing up almost near to heaven-
leaving behind the barbaric stains of centuries.
‘’Hunt or be hunted’’ was immersed
in the deep of dark history,
‘’Live and let live’’ is chorused to worship humanity,
blissful  we are to live a life and save a life,
moderate too to apply the virtues simultaneously
to the botanical and zoological welfare
and sincere to the messages of the divine messengers.

Nevertheless, something wrong in the air,
a sympathetic heart can realise the hidden weeping
that reverberates in the air and the sky
in the gap of tumultuous enjoyments.
Self-criticisers came forward and excavated
the universal body of mankind
and uncovered millions of hidden weeping faces,
empty hands and bare bodies full of black spots and stains,
recognised they were as slaves.

A heart-quake is felt by the humanitarians
and demolition of skyscrapers of civilisation is witnessed,
caused by greed and cruelty to obtain something more-
a common ornament of uncivilised society of black history,
still embellishes some blood- sucking demons and Draculas.

Hark, the humanitarians!
 Let our invidiousness be elapsed
in recognising the bloodsuckers,
our honesty, sympathy, kindness and benevolence
be stood against them with a collaboration of God’s grace,
 a new sunshine of freedom be illuminated
the future of the captive slaves forever,
and our civilisation  be decorated with the glittering
smiles of the slaves -rescued and rehabilitated .