Categories
Poetry

Dreams of Children

By Michael R Burch

Unknown place near Sderot, last swing before Gaza Strip (in the background)
Courtesy: Wiki

I, too, have a dream

I, too, have a dream …

that one day Jews and Christians

will see me as I am:

a small child, lonely and afraid,

staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,

knowing I did nothing

to deserve their enmity.

―The Child Poets of Gaza

Published by Toronto for Kashmir, Poems for Gaza, Promosaik (Germany), Irish BlogFans of Justice, Zeteo Journal and Kenyatta University (Kenya)


My nightmare …


I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing “You’re nothing!,” so blind.
―The Child Poets of Gaza

Published by The HyperTexts, Poems for Gaza, Ishmael Gaza, Promosaik (Germany) and Tanzania German Youth

Something

for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba 

Something inescapable is lost—

lost like a pale vapour curling up into shafts of moonlight,

vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars

immeasurable and void.

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Something uncapturable is gone—

gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,

scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass

and remembrance.

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Something unforgettable is past—

blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,

which finality swept into a corner … where it lies

in dust and cobwebs and silence.

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Published by There is Something in the Autumn (anthology), The Eclectic Muse (Canada), Setu (India), FreeXpression(Australia), Life and LegendsPoetry Super Highway, Poet’s Corner, Promosaik (Germany), Better Than Starbucks, The Chained Muse; also used in numerous Holocaust projects; translated into Romanian by Petru Dimofte; translated into Turkish by Nurgül Yayman; turned into a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong; and used by Windsor Jewish Community Centre during a candle-lighting ceremony.

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Michael R. Burch has over 6,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems have been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by eleven composers. He also edits The HyperTexts (online at www.thehypertexts.com).

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Categories
Poetry

Human Immortality Project

By Aditya Shankar

Human Immortality Project (HIP)

Never pictured itself

beneath the dark skin of a Dalit,

sipping tea from a stained glass

that hung outside the restaurant.

As a microcosm of the conventional eye,

he stood there, alone, ignored,

separated from the gala inside.

The stray cat that dashed over the wall

won the loving glance of the lady.

Through the tube,

the world poured into that room

with news of war and blood.

A brand-new car on the street

kept the young man hooked.

A bagatelle heightened the

emptiness of paper light happiness.

Yet the rejoicing world

failed to notice that deserted man

like the far side of the moon.

The rope to which

his mug was tethered

felt like the chains of a slave.

His, a sip of survival, a sip bereft of taste.

The techno futurism of HIP saw

only those in the gala: maybe,

shame wasn’t worth prolonging.

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Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction author, and translator. His work has appeared in international journals and anthologies of repute and translated into Malayalam and Arabic. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.

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Categories
Poetry

A Burden of Beasts

By Maithreyi Karnoor

The climb is steep and the water deputed to cool

The heaving body orgasming to the cold outside.

Ration your tears for the out-of-breath

Achievement of each breath-taking summit.

The Himalaya is a rock and a hard place

Treacherously beautiful like unrequited love.

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The mountains that do not care for your burdens — personal, political—

And are unmoved by the selfie-flashes stacked as high as the peaks

Offer lessons in humility in a thousand shades

Peeking out of cracks and crevices — sometimes entire valleys —

Only to be refused with loud whoops for group poses.

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The gush of the muddy glacial melt hurrying on purposefully to Pakistan

Since long before it was tickety boo*,

The unamused tinkle of the bells on the necks of mules

Carrying civilization on their backs — toilet bowls, gas cylinders,

Celebratory beverages, wet-wipes, instant noodles

And hand sanitizers — for the connoisseurs of the wilderness,

The dry coldness of Spiti’s winds like the gaze of outlived love,

The amusement in the muted breath of the accompanying porters

At your victory signs, do not outdo the racket of bollywood

Ricocheting off the rocks with Himalayan dignity.

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The Beas in not wanting to be the same river twice

Flows on as an aphorism.

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*tickety boo:  Term used by British colonials  to convey all is fine.

Maithreyi Karnoor is the winner of the Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati prize for translation. She was shortlisted for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and twice for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. Her novel Sylvia: Distant Avuncular Ends will be published in early 2021.  

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Categories
Humour Poetry

Songs of a Sloth & Dragon King

By Vatsala Radhakeesoon

 
 
 Queenie the Sloth
 
 Queenie the sloth
 lives in the labyrinth 
 of the Olive Green Pen
 and toils daily to trace
 straight lines on pink A4 sheets
 
 Her behaviour often confuses me
 and when I ask her,
 “Do sloths work so hard?”
 She laughs then sings,
 “Banished was I ten years back
 from Yellow Land of Lazy Hands
 for building a bridge  from Ant-land
 to River of  Silvery Friends
 O sloths!
 O sloths!
 Laze around, laze around 
 and let the Earth rock
 on its own beats!
 That’s what most sloths do, don’t they?
 But I’m Queenie
 and I’ve chosen my way
 Yes I’ve dared, I did, I did it
 and I’m happier with my purposeful life”
 
 “But don’t you miss your family?
 Don’t you ever feel sad  on New Year?”
 I asked
 
 “Oh no, no my friend!
 In life, Never regret!
 Have a cookie 
 Enjoy a chocolate drink
 Laugh, pray
 and let your mission shine
 all day!" 
 
 
 King Snaky-Dragon
 When King Snaky-Dragon
 loses a battle
 he often wears  
 his huge fan-brush hat
 and orders the largest canvas
 
 As he paints
 a leafy green Pringles can
 and writes with the finest brush,
 “Drum it’’.
 Mischievous Raccoon whispers, 
 “ Flip the fan, flip the fan!”
 
 The king frowns 
 and shouts,
 “Don’t you ever dare to challenge my wise fan!” 

Vatsala Radhakeesoon is an author/poet and artist from Mauritius. She has had numerous poetry books published and she is currently working on her flash fiction/short stories book. She considers poetry as her first love and visual art as a healer in all circumstances. Vatsala Radhakeesoon currently lives at Rose-Hill, Mauritius, and is a freelance literary translator and an interview editor of Asian Signature journal.

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Categories
Humour Poetry

Sticky Myths

Rhys Hughes takes us through Greek mythology with his own brand of humour blending the past and the present

  
         1
 When Bellerophon
      saw a unicorn
 upon his lawn
 he was somewhat
      disappointed.
 “I have no wish
 to make a fuss,”
 is what he said, “but this
 is the day appointed
     for me to receive
       a visit from
 Pegasus instead.”
  
         2
 Hydras are bad
 in Hyderabad
      or so
 Hercules has heard.
    Needless to say
 he therefore
       plans
       to go there
              gladly
 on Pegasus Airlines
       but not before
 he goes to Goa
 because he badly
     needs a holiday.
 What a legendary chap!
  
        3
 In order to earn
 money as well as learn
 something, while
 writing her thesis on Theseus,
 Ariadne works  
     as a guide
     to sightseers
     and gives them
 a Minotaur of the famous
      labyrinth.
  
         4
 Sovereign of dolphins,
 king of the waves,
 the god of the sea
       makes bubbles
 without any trouble
 when he plays the flute
       as he bathes.
 And jazz in the oceanic
 jacuzzi is cosy
      and groovy
      but the melody
 is unfamiliar to you.
 Yet I can name
     Neptune in one.
  
        5
 There’s a Zeus
 loose about this house,
 his thunderbolts
 will cook your goose,
 assuming that
     you are unlucky
 enough to have one.
 But even if you don’t,
 when you hear
    him stir,
    it’s better to duck!
  
         6
 Simple arithmetic
 ought to be taught
     in the schools
 that heroes go to,
 so they will know,
 without any doubt,
 that one minus one
      equals nought.
 The stealing of
 the Golden Fleece
    celebrated with
     a premature feast
 in the near vicinity
 of the daring theft
 adds up only to trouble.
      Sail away first
 before slaking your thirst,
 sail far from the
      hostile nation.
 But enraptured by wine
 and more potent brews
 Jason plus crew
      (that fiery few)
 are captured and thrown
      into jail. 
 While serving time,
 forget the blue sea,
 remember instead
 all that you learned
 about subtraction
 and count down the years,
       one minus one
 equals nought, a free
       Argonaut…
 and that is the sum
      of this tale.
  
          7
 Atlas, holding up the sky,
 looks and sees
 aeroplanes flying by
 around his head
 and through his legs,
 the passengers
 respectful to his
 massive thighs
 but oblivious
 of his giant sighs.
  
          8
 Pan in the kitchen
 clattering pots
 and chopping boards.
 What’s the god
 of nature doing
 indoors? He’s frying
 so hard to be
 a domesticated chap,
 that’s what!
 A non-stick goatish
 do gooder with
 a skillet skill set.
  
         9
 Prometheus on
     the promenade
 walking in
     the shade of trees
 no longer gives
     away anything
 to humanity
    for free, not even
 lemonade: those
     days are over.
 Now he hopes
     to make money
 and only offers
    his fire for hire.
  
          10
 Socrates was such a tease
 in the market square.
    He doubted this
 and questioned that
     until some people
 had had enough.
 They felt he mocked
     their authority
     and in a cup
 of hemlock they turned
 a key, the skeleton
      key of his mortality.
  
         11
 While the rock
 goes up his socks
 fall down. Poor
    Sisyphus!
 When the rock
 rolls down his socks
 are quite forgot.
 Mighty but mild
    Sisyphus!
 As the moon goes up
 his efforts are
 with moonlight
 flooded thus. Don’t
 make a fuss, old
     Sisyphus!
  
        12
 A cyclops is like
 a bicycle headlamp
 coming the other
 way. We meet them
 on country roads
 at night when we
 are cycling far away.
 “How do you do?”
 we always ask
 as we zoom past
 very fast, but they
 never deign to reply.
 They just hiss
 and wink darkness
 back to life and
 softened by gloom
 or the glow of
 the moon they
 become rather more
 beautiful. Now
 there’s a cyclops for
     sore eyes!
  
          13
 Icarus upstairs
 on the omnibus.
      His wings
      were things
 that fell apart.
 Some people fly
 for business,
 others for sport:
 But since his
 accident Icarus finds
 that he prefers
      public transport.
  

  
   

Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.

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Categories
Poetry

The Plough is Beaten

By Sabreen Ahmed

The Plough is beaten

They till the barren Earth.

They sow the seeds of green.

They reap the fruit of gold.

Yet all they hold is

 a meagre gain—

Undaunted they

move on even if

the plough is beaten or

the soil is smitten

with their blood and sweat.

Others nonchalantly devour

their harvest.

We stand hands tied

with not enough solidarity

with not enough gratitude

with not enough empathy

for the cause they fight

in cold, dust and hunger

with solid acumen of faith

for rightful justice.

Across Bhupen Hazarika Setu at Dhola

The long bridge on

the luminous waters

of the ancient river

erected between

the hills of

 heart and home

is the distance of a hidden

thousand leagues both seen

and unseen in the

car’s speedometer

with race, brakes and starts

like the speed of

many marathons across

the lovers heartbeats.

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 Sabreen Ahmed has received her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in Feb 2013. She writes for various webzines and newspapers and has published an anthology of poems entitled Soliloquies(2016). Currently she teaches in the Dept of English, Nowgong College, Nagaon, Assam as an Assistant Professor.

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Categories
Humour Poetry

Let Old Acquaintance Not be Forgot

By Tom Merrill

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I remember Vergaza and Diddlyweed,

who drove me to Tina and then Flambé;

there were numerous others along the way:

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Mere Ois and Reptile, Genghis and Pogo,

Martha and Mother Superior,

Majestique, Weenciepoo, Skew the hobo.

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Pinocchio’s gone, like RH and Daisy;

Leena is driving old Boblett crazy;

Twinkle and Juliet got the heave-ho.

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Troisieme’s zoo lacked the esoteric:

just whoozit, what’s-his-face, so-and-so.

Mine tends to be more nongeneric.

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Poems by Tom Merrill have recently appeared in two novels as epigraphs.He is Poet in Residuum at The Hypertexts and Advisory Editor at Better Than Starbucks.

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Categories
Poetry

Twenty-One Days Later

By Sanket Mhatre

At the airport 

The ban has been lifted

Doors open. The first travellers are ushered 

The click of check-ins. 

Trolleys scramble, without any distance.  

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I am waiting for you.

There’s one voice. Then another. Followed by many. Till there’s cacophony. 

Sign: The world has returned to normal. 

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Counters fly open. Smiles flutter. Scarves swing into action. 

Luggage belts start with a thud. Leather rubs against leather. 

Gucci against Desi* against plastic without the fear of isolating. 

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I am waiting for you. 

Food stalls open. There are complimentary desserts for the first travellers.

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Air is sprayed with lavender fresheners. I think of you. Lavender is closer to mauve. Mauve is you. 

Outside, a plane takes off.   

I think of your eyes. What will your eyes think of this? 

Would they search and find me? Would I have to find them?   

Another thought surfaces: where are we flying? Where? 

I am still waiting for you.  

I have kept my face unshaven. Messy hair.  

I have removed the extra grey. Just because it’s grey. 

The world has passed through enough grey. No more grey now. 

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You arrive at a distance. And stop. 

 Our eyes don’t have to search for too long. We placed ourselves well within our sight. 

 Your bags drop. A corner of your lip quivers with truth and remembrance. 

 You are wearing mauve. 

  I greet you as several planes take off in the distance. 

 “Where to?” I ask.

 “To each other,” You say. 

  Twenty One Days dissolve in an embrace. 

  And countless poems. 

  .

Here, I am still waiting for you.  

It’s Day One. 

At the airport.

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*Desi — of Indian origin

Sanket Mhatre is a well-known bilingual poet writing in English & Marathi. He has curated Crossover Poems. Apart from this, Sanket Mhatre has been invited to read at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Poets Translating Poets, Goa Arts & Literature Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival and Vagdevi Litfest. 

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Categories
Poetry

Hope in Nostalgia

By Gauri Mishra

Childhood memories of many hues

Playing in groups of threes and twos…

The spacious house, the beautiful well

Which world we lived in, no one could tell.

      The dark inner room with all its mysteries —

      Mud jars and pots had their own histories.

      Our abode of two summer months

      It is hard to erase the fun-filled remembrances.

The outside world with all its novelties,

The narrow river, the vast fields and the family deities.

        The jamun tree with its low swinging perch,

         Tastes and smells, flavours and hues —

         What brought this abundance, no one had a clue

The refinement of the baithaka*, had us in awe —

The only sign of grandeur without a flaw.

       The incessant card-games, sultry summer,

       The Awadhi dialect which had its own candour.

Our Grandmother’s small frame had amazing strength,

Her frail body belied its own health.

      Her education, her words of wisdom, and her affection

      Mingled with her devotion.

The village was her whole sphere —

Never did she wish to be elsewhere.

         We fought and we cried: we roamed, we lied.

          We led a life of abundance and freedom.

It has all seeped somewhere.

 Today while checking my email,

The memories gushed out…

So much has changed.

The abundance has given way to depravity.

The house looks desolate and not what it used to be.

Even the faces in the photographs seem remote

      It is best to cherish the memories.

      That world was my childhood… I must hold it tight

       Lest it slip away.

* baithaka — A formal drawing room

Dr Gauri Mishra is teaching as Associate Professor in the department of English at College of Vocational Studies, University of Delhi. She likes to dabble in poetry and short fiction from time to time. She is very passionate about teaching and also heads the placement cell of her college.

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Categories
Poetry

God is dangerous

 Poetry from Korea by Ihlwha Choi

God is dangerous.


The man committing theft,
The man committing adultery,
The man committing murder,
Each keeps his secret.


Man takes His name in vain.
God is tired and worn out.

Distinguishing the crimes one by one,
Forgiving, consoling and loving again,
He is in pain — sorrowful and lonely.

He is not joyful at the sound of the psalms —

Plumbing the dark sides of people’s minds, 
Looking into their enmities, hatred and greed. 

God is rather intolerant
When people try to execute you.


God is very dangerous.

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Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time When Our Love will Flourish, The Color of Time, His Song and The Last Rehearsal. 

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