Categories
Poetry

Korean Blast


By Wansoo Kim

Korean Blast


Old Japanese women,
Crossing the East Sea* at a breath
To have the blood of youth transfused
Through their throbbing drama stars,
Burst cheers and tears
As teenage girls.
.
Young people with yellow hair
Jump up tearing their vocal cords
To the song whose meaning they don’t know at all
Because K-pop gale blusters
In Europe and the American Continent
Where the hot blast of pop songs
Shook the young hearts of the Korean Peninsula
In my childhood.
.
The Korean hot blast
Crosses even the barbed-wire fence
Of the inter-Korean border
And melts even the hostility like stone
Surrounded like Fort Knox
In the hearts of the soldiers taking a gun.
.
The Korean Peninsula now
Is not ‘the land of the morning calm’
Or the land sobbing with grudges and sorrows any more
But the dreamland
With the living volcano of dramas and K-pops blazing
For the people of the world to wish to visit surely once.

*East Sea – Japanese Sea

Wansoo Kim is a Ph. D. in English Literature from the graduate school of Hanguk University of Foreign Studies. He was a lecturer at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies and an adjunct professor at Incheon Junior College for about 20 years. He has published 5 poetry books, one novel, and one book of essays. One poetry book, “Duel among a middle-aged fox, a wild dog and a deer” was a bestseller in 2012, one page from the book of Letters for Teenagers was put in textbooks of middle school (2011) and high school (2014) in South Korea, and four books (Easy-to-read English Bible stories, Old Testament(2017), New Testament(2018) and Teenagers, I Support your Dream”) were bestsellers. He was granted a Rookie award for poetry at the magazine of Monthly Literature Space in South Korea, and the World Peace Literature Prize for Poetry Research and Recitation, presented in New York City at the 5th World Congress of Poets(2004). He published poetry books, “Prescription of Civilization” and “Flowers of Thankfulness“ in America.(2019), received Geum-Chan Hwang Poetry Literature Prize in Korea(2019)and International Indian Award(literature) from WEWU(World English Writer’s Union)(2019).

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Categories
Excerpt Poetry

Poems from Notes of Silent Times

Poetry from Nepal by Mahesh Paudyal

Workers’ Poem

In a small gathering on the lawn

The poet was reciting his verses.

A little away, some masons and labours were busy

Hammering nails.

The poet stopped, looked at them, and yelled—

“Stop your pranks! Can’t you see I am reading a poem?”

The workers were silent. The poet recited his verses.

Much later, when everyone was gone

The workers resumed their life-song.

I don’t know if the poet heard it.

***

Emperor and the Kids

“Emperor, we are hungry!”

This sounded like a shooting lullaby;

The Emperor slept for one more century.

“Emperor, please lend us your crown for a while;

We will play the king-queen game and return.”

The Emperor ordered:

“Officer! Send these children out of the four passes!

They are here to spread measles.”

***

Firefly

Firefly,

Perhaps it’s time that writes our existence.

No matter how much you try

To glow in broad daylight

You need to wait for the night

To make yourself visible

***

Storm!

Blow on, storm!

Blow with all your might!

Unless there is wind

And unless a few homes and roofs are betumbled

No one writes

An epic on air, the puny thing!

***

The Sky

All smoke rising from the earth

Goes skyward

But the sky is never called the country of smoke

It is always called

The land of the stars and moons

***

These poems are excerpted from his latest collection, Notes of Silent Times

Mahesh Paudyal is a Nepali poet, storywriter, critic and translator. A lecturer of English at Tribhuvan University, Mr. Paudyal has written extensively for children and adult readers, and has translated more than 2 dozen books from Nepali into English. His major works include Tadi Kinarko Geet (novel), Tyaspachhi Phulena Godavari (stories), Of Walls and Pigeons (stories),  Sunya Praharko Sakshi (poems) and Notes of Silent Times (poems). Among his seminal translations are Dancing Soul of Mount Everest (representative modern Nepali poems), Radha (an award-winning novel by Krishna Dharabasi), Unfinished Memoirs and Prison Notes by Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman and Silver Cascades (representative Nepali short stories.) A recipient of Nepal Bidhyabhushan, Narendramani Dixit Gold Medal, Bimal Gurung Memorial Award, Sudish Niraula Memorial and Prasiddha Kandel Memorial Award, he has also represented Nepal in many international literary seminars.]

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Categories
Humour Poetry

How to Kill a Poem

By Sambhu R.

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It takes much time to kill a tree,

Not a simple jab of the knife- On Killing a Tree, Gieve Patel

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It’s easy to kill a poem.

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If it’s the flying kind,

rip off its wings already slick

with the oil spill of words

and slit its throat

with the blade of your pen

run like a bow across the jugular.

The frantic flapping you hear

is the nerves straining for a final burst of music.

Plug your ears with indifference,

pluck the feathers, and clean up the blood.

.

If the poem is Black in its epidermal garb,

you may choke it with your knee

pressed ruthlessly to the back of the neck*.

It takes some time for the oxygen

to be shut out of the door of the lungs.

Be patient. Wait for the last leap of breath,

roll the corpse onto a gurney,

and smile at the spectators sliding mobile phones

out of the scabbard of their pockets.

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If the poem talks too much,

incarcerate it behind thick bars of sense.

Try every trick from bastinado

to waterboarding and force a confession

of its all-the-perfumes-of-Arabia-will-not-sweeten guilt.

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And if the poem is too popular,

chances are that it is adulterous;

then it merits no ordinary death.

Stone it with words

stone it

stone it

stone it

till all its charms are ripped out of its flesh.

.

To let a poem live, you need eyes

that can see the space between the lines

as the poem’s right to breathe,

and not as Nazi death trains

into which words are squeezed.

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Killing it is a lot easier, takes no particular skill.

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*Reference to George Floyd’s killing which took place in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020.

Sambhu R. is a bilingual poet from Kerala. He is Assistant Professor of English at N.S.S. College, Pandalam and is also a doctoral candidate. He has published an anthology of poems in Malayalam titled “Vavval Manushyanum Komaliyum.”

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Categories
Poetry

A Parliament of Owls

By King Komrabai Dumbuya

A Parliament of Owls

With that flamboyance,

murmured by onlookers,

a parliament of owls set in.

Swinging electioneering pendulums,

clouded with deceptive crowns,

and holding large thesauruses

to splutter barren promises.

.

Thence suddenly,

an easy prey appears

amongst the crowd of predators.

The innocuous eighteen-year-old

Piercing eyes through the apparel

of this treacherous nature.

Yearning to fit in the heart

of a sugarcoated world.

Without the thinking cap of his own.

 .

Blind and not knowing

that deep inside,

behind the mask is a beast

armed and stalking to clog thy mind

with an indisputable aim

to clock thy own will.

Yes, though well packaged

as illiterate, poor, and hungry,

but not too poor

to read the truest lips of a parrot

cartooned to catapult self-interest.

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In this endless quinquennial loop,

we’re guzzled by this bunch of racketeers.

Stain corrupted by borrowed systems.

Painted with faded strings of equity.

Leaving souls lagging in their very own eyes.

.

Alas, a system perceived

as a measure of intelligence,

and a wheel of equanimity,

flagged with free, fair and quality pendulums,

has now become the scourge of the world.

And its disciples are teasing us,

with ironies of unattended manifestos

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Through it caps, war zones brew.

Prerogatives are despotic.

Spirited mouths of truth are imprisoned.

Justice has been bought by the rich,

shipwrecking the generations to come.

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King Komrabai Dumbuya is an poet from Sierra Leone, a coastal country in West Africa. A self-confessed lover of words, he makes his thoughts bleed through his pen. His poems revolve around complex themes like trauma, gender, societal issues, war, and injustice. He cherishes a dream to publish his poetry collections soon.

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Categories
Nostalgia Poetry

Re-collection & More

By Melissa A. Chappell

Something Right and Lovely

In the mornings I grind my own coffee,

which comes to me from ridges stranger still.

I watch the panes of light break on the wooden floor.

Shadows of you linger and pass through me,

your face fluid in Richard’s lion-hearted kindness and

the terrible courage of the tree swallow.

Like flowing water, the questions

shall not allow an escape,

but they penetrate every hesitation,

every “no,” every passive voice.

Am I guilty?

Yes. Yes. I am guilty on many counts.

I did not do well enough.

Yet I will say this.

Our loving was honest

and good

and pure.

In the mornings I grind my own coffee.

I listen to the news, the news that is

stranger still,

and I know that

though I am

alone, I will do better.

Yet I know that together,

after so many white lilies

have fallen from the stem,

we did

something right

and lovely

in this world,

and for this,

perhaps a wayward blessing

may sail to you upon

some following breeze.

And justice and passion shall lie in the unharrowed field, 

at rest upon the breast of the Lord.

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Melissa A. Chappell is a native of South Carolina living on land passed down through her family for over 120 years. She is greatly inspired by the land and music. She plays several instruments, among them an 8 course Renaissance lute. She shares her life with her family and two miniature schnauzers. She recently published Dreams in Isolation: The World in Shadow: Poems of Reconciliation and Hope with Alien Buddha Press.

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Categories
Poetry

A Charitable Destitute & Capitalist Love

By Roopam Mishra

A Charitable Destitute

For decades,

Her house lay empty

So did her life, vacant.

Running like roots

There were cracks on the floor,

A cloud of cobweb above.

There were cracks on her skin too

And, a million fragments of her hopes.

The window panes were broken, and so were her teeth.

There were serpents beneath the banyans, outside,

But of those, her heart bore none.

Life deceived her, she had lost love.

People deceived her, a failed career.

Dementia found her

In whose arms she stayed always.

Clothed? Scarcely ever.

Well fed? She didn’t know hunger.

Sheltering birds, rodents, and beasts,

Living in penury she was the most charitable of all.

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Capitalist love

Your love,
Feels like over-priced gulab-jamuns*.
As much I strive to save,
And seem equipped to savour
The dessert,
Your capitalist heart hikes the price,
And I return dejected,
Yearning,
Saving up again,
Dreaming to gorge on
The delicious, syrupy dumplings,
Tomorrow, when I have better means!

*gulab jamuns – A fried Indian sweetmeat

Ms. Roopam Mishra lives in Lucknow, India. She is a Research Scholar at the Department of English, and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow. Her area of interest, and enquiry is theatre, performance arts, and aesthetics in the new millennium. She writes bilingually, both in Hindi and English, from the age of thirteen.

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Categories
Poetry

Final Call…Sold!

By Anjali V Raj

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I am to be traded shortly…

To the best bidder at the auction

Wrapped up in shining foil

To hide my charred interior

My smile battling with disgust.

I am to be traded shortly…

Sold to the kingdom of matrimony

In exchange of earthly satisfaction

The reward for fulfilment of duty

Bestowed to them by the society

Oh… it’s far from what I gain.

My wings of thoughts will be seized

Leaving behind a mere piece of flesh

Confined within the walls darkness

Gasping dearly for a slant of light.

I will cherish the countable moments

When still having a little voice left

Until restrained with chains of duty

But what am I to do with the voice?

For they are bound to the many

Obligations and moral congregation.

My conscience and heart drifts apart

Swaying in two different direction

Both with no definite destination

Leaving me languid and senseless.

I cower at the glimpse of future

Like a child at the sight of shadows

Fiercely magnifying as I retreat away

Trying to save myself from humiliation.

Rescue me… my unknown lover

For I loathe every known mortal being

I will wait with utmost hope until

Last seconds between ‘final call’ and ‘sold’

For my redemption from this endless abyss

Or convince me… my beliefs are at wrong

Else I will be claimed by moral depravity.

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Anjali V Raj is a natural science researcher from Kerala, India. She currently works as a research assistant at ATREE, an Environmental think tank in Bangalore. She writes poems and short essays based on her thoughts cultivated from observations of nature, lifestyle and society. She started literary writing at the age of 16 and recently she has published few of her works in the Down to Earth, Café Dissensus Everyday and Times of India Reader’s Blog. Most of her poems are published in her personal blog in WordPress (Outburst of Thoughts).

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Categories
Poetry

Poems of Longing

   By A Jessie Michael

Be Longing

Like waves rolling to and fro

I land on distant shores,

Longing for better

Stretching for more.

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Bird and beast speak

But in one voice;

Longing to belong

I speak in alien noise

.

The soul I sold             

For freedom and fame

Roams longing in a limbo

That has no name

Now I look to

The abandoned shore,

The tongue longs to caress

 Forgotten lore

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My battered soul yearns

For the lost soulmate,

The waves of longing

Will not abate

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Will I,

Wanderer forever,

Forever be longing

For a belonging?

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Song of the Broken Migrant

I cross the ocean

Shimmering sea like shattered glass

The water fractures, breaks and blends

I see my contorted face.

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On land my self- mirror finally breaks

I see fractured reflections Pieces of myself.

I am broken and cannot stitch myself together.

I am forever changed into an unrecognizable me.

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A.Jessie Michael is a retired Associate Professor of English from Malaysia and a writer of short stories and poems. She has written winning short stories for local magazines and newspaper competitions and received honourable mentions in the AsiaWeek Short Story Competitions. She has worked with writers’ groups in Melbourne, Australia and Suzhou, China. Her stories have also appeared in The Gombak Review, 22 Asian  Short Stories (2015), Bitter Root Sweet Fruit  and recently three articles in Kitaab (2019)  and a poem and Short story in Borderless (2020) She has previously published an anthology of short stories Snapshots, with two other writers and most recently her own anthology The Madman and Other Stories (2016).

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Categories
Nostalgia Poetry

In Memory of Spring

By Nishi Pulugurtha

The Morning Glory

A green mossy wall

Broken glass pieces

Some thread, a used bottle, cut –

and the green

that flowers.

On some days

in the cloudy light it

smiles.

The small droplets cling

And shine bright.

The tiny yellow bud

That blooms this morning

just for a little while.

Fleeting . . .

Drops on a Periwinkle

Jutting through masonry

from small cracks and crevices

the small green plants crop up

breaking through.

In a few days the violet flowers

that dance in the wind

and shine in the sun, bring more colour.

The little drops of rain

beaded and full

cling onto the bright green leaves.

on the bent stem

that still holds on.

Burdened, yet strong –

The dim, dull light causes patterns

in the drops

that flash at times too.

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Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha is Associate Professor in the department of English, Brahmananda Keshab Chandra College and has taught postgraduate courses at West Bengal State University, Rabindra Bharati University and the University of Calcutta. She is the Secretary of the Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library, Kolkata (IPPL). She writes on travel, film, short stories, poetry and on Alzheimer’s Disease. Her work has been published in The Statesman, Kolkata, in Prosopisia, in the anthology Tranquil Muse and online – Kitaab, Café Dissensus, Coldnoon, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The World Literature Blog and Setu. She guest edited the June 2018 Issue of Café Dissensus on Travel. She has a monograph on Derozio (2010) and a collection of essays on travel, Out in the Open (2019). She is now working on her first volume of poems and is editing a collection of essays on travel.

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Categories
Humour Poetry

Thank God!

By Saranyan BV

Thank God!

The world record for long jump is long,
Quite long, thank God,
Mike Powell is holding that record,
It was in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.
That was way back in 1991,
30th August to be precise, the jump was not wind aided
It was told, please google and check for yourself.

Before that Bob Beamon from US held that claim,
Bob, good old Mike’s compatriot at Mexico in 1968,
I didn’t check the date, excuse me.

The former jumped 8.95 feet,
The latter had cleared 8.9,
We saw Bob do the jump in the news reels in 68
And wondered how the ligaments never tore,
Ligaments connecting the legs; it’s a cruel to think of it.

By the time Mike came with spikes on, TVs were on,
The telecasts kept showing Mike,
Thank God, we came to know these things do not happen,
The tearing of ligaments.

For your records no one jumped that long since,
8.95, thank God my friend,
Not even virus,
They say Covid can jump mere 6 feet. At most!
Stay apart, thank God, thank God!
Stay apart is a better way to say than the boorish phrase,
Social distancing, how drab!
Covid doesn’t have running track that long,
Like athletes have in the run up to jump pit-
But beware, lungs muster that kind of force,
No changes in measuring tape or measurement unit since
Thank God

Saranyan BV is poet and short-story writer, now based out of Bangalore. He came into the realm of literature by mistake, but he loves being there. His works have been published in many Indian and Asian journals. He loves works of Raymond Carver.

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