The Italian Renaissance Rooms Were Always Her Favourite

By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Courtesy: Creative Commons
Wednesdays at the art gallery are free
and this muted street girl in rags files in 
just after open, the old docent with veins like curdled milk 
sees her there all the time, standing with a smile,
truly admiring the art, these sores all over her face,
not at all like the many oil models in the pictures,
but she seems happy, almost delighted!
The old docent starts bring coffee they can share,
then homemade sandwiches for the girl.  She says 
her name is Ashley and that the Italian Renaissance rooms
are her favourite.  The old docent not wanting to spook her,
so she never tries to pry.  Under that sprawling Diego Rivera 
mural in the atrium with so many 
busy bronzed men at work.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Borderless Journal, GloMag, Red Fez, and Lothlorien Poetry Journal



Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

Click here to access Monalisa No Longer Smiles on Kindle Amazon International


Performance Poetry by Dee Allen

Dee Allen

On and off 
Erratic activity
Storm cloud convergence
Climate's hostility

This year's winter rain
Shown up full force
Descending upon us
Impaling pitchforks

Landslides, mudslides,
Service roads gone concave
Car sinks into gaping sinkhole
Stormwater comes in a wave

Flooded main streets
Arrive with merciless wind
Staccato rhythm of raindrops
The house roof might cave in

Leave town for higher ground
California's battered—disturbed climate's powers
Hot months—Cold months
Season of fires—Vicious showers

Outflow intense from the immense
River from the sky—
Continued use of coal and oil
Brought this on—some still deny.


Canyons have splendid broad-gauge views.
Beaches offered the same treasures, too,
As had forests where pine trees grew,
But see me in the desert? Not likely.

Sunny plains are pleasant—Not!
Treeless, unbearable, exceedingly hot.
Lack of lakes—what that terrain's got.
Will I visit the desert again? Not likely.

From longest road to highest bluff,
Every mile's similar—dry and rough.
Death Valley in Nevada—that was enough.
My chances of waltzing through desert again? Least likely.


What makes this
New Mexico sunrise
So different
From others?

The bats
Are returning
En masse, animated
Cloud of leathery wings drift

To Carlsbad Caverns'
Caves from a long
Night's flight
Of freedom.

Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California USA, with 7 books and 67 anthology appearances, currently seeking a new publisher.



Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles


The Sky

The sky is, was and will be.

It stretches without borders, without interruptions, without contentions, unifying all under its life-giving ambience. We live nurtured by the sky, the water and the Earth. If we think back to times before humans made constructs and built walls to guard their own, to times when their ancestors roamed the Earth and moved to meet their needs, the population was not huge, and resources were abundant. Our species lived in consonance with nature. People revered natural forces and found trends that evolved into traditions and constructs which eventually made their progeny forget that the sky, water and Earth did not belong to them. These belong or perhaps exist for some reason that we do not comprehend despite the explanations given by science and religions. Being merely transient passers-by through these, humanity, unlike dinosaurs, has an urge to survive and be like the sky — with a past, present and future and a sense of the eternal. Though we all have short lives compared to the sky, Earth or universe, we continue to find ourselves in a homo centric world that considers all else to be made to meet their aspirations. But there was a time, when humans lacked this arrogance. They just tried to survive. And move with shifting rivers in an unbordered world.

Exploring such times, is Anthony Sattin’s profound book, Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped our World. He converses to reinforce reviving the concept of asabiyya or bonding between humans so that they find it in their hearts to move forward with necessary changes to avoid following in the footsteps of mammoths. A change maker who redefined constructs for humankind, a devdasi’s[1] daughter who rose to become a pioneering doctor and activist a hundred years ago, is Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy. We have an interview with her recent biographer, R Devika, who authored Muthulakshmi Reddy: A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights.

The books reviewed this time include one featuring the writings by the greatest change maker in cinema — Satyajit Ray. Bhaskar Parichha has reviewed Satyajit Ray Miscellany: On Life, Cinema, People & Much More while Professor Somdatta Mandal has given us a candid opinion on BM Zuhara’s The Dreams of a Mappila Girl: A Memoir, translated from Malayalam by Fehmida Zakir. Taranath Tantrik and Other Tales from the  Supernatural by Bibhutibhushan, translated from Bengali by Devalina Mookerjee brings unexplored dark mysterious forces into play and has been reviewed by Basudhara Roy. We have an excerpt from the titular stories of Tarantath Tantrik. Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay(1894-1950) was a legendary writer from Bengal. He wrote stories and novels, some of which were immortalised in cinema, such as the Apu triology by Satyajit Ray. The other book excerpt is from a translation from Kannada by an upcoming voice that needs to be heard, Maithreyi Karnoor. She has brought to the anglophone world Shrinivas Vaidya’s Handful of Sesame.

In our section on translations, we are privileged to carry voices that remain relevant to date, Tagore and Nazrul. Nazrul’s poem on poverty, Daridro, has been translated by Professor Fakrul Alam and we have a transcreation of Tagore’s inspiring lyrics (Aalo Amar Aalo) to energise one’s life with the refulgence of light. Rosy Gallace’s poetry has been translated from Italian by Albanian writer, Irma Kurti. Korean poet, Ihlwha Choi, has translated his own poem on peace for us. And a Tamil short story by S Ramakrishnan, has been rendered into English by B Chandramouli. It is an interesting potpourri as is our poetry section, which even features poetry from Iraq by Ahmad Al-Khatat. We also feature poems by Michael Burch, Kirpal Singh, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Jonathan Chan, Ron Pickett, George Freek, Gayatri Majumdar, Vandana Kumar, Mike Smith and many more along with the inimitable witty ditties of Rhys Hughes which not only make us laugh but also wonder…

Evoking humour is not easy, but we do have a few such writers who manage it very well. Hughes has given us a tongue-in-cheek piece on the dateline, which has more than humour. And Devraj Singh Kalsi has shared his discovery that laughter is the best medicine to shrug off a dentist’s drill. He has also visited the colours of Durga Puja which, with its spirit of inclusivity, transported visitors in one marquee near Kolkata to the iconic Malaysian Twin Towers. Thus, bringing festivals in October into our purview. Candice Lousia Daquin has actually explored why we celebrate festivals and the God gene… Did you know we have a biological need for spirituality?

Suzanne Kamata has introduced us to Mount Bizan, which houses a writer by the surname of Moraes – Wenceslau José de Souza de Moraes, an expat writer who lived in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. Wonder if he could have been related to the Anglo Indian writer, Dom Moraes? Aditi Yadav has also given us an essay on the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi with its world view centred on imperfections and transience. Ravi Shankar has suggested walks for all of us, sharing his experiences in the Himalayas, the Caribbean island of Aruba and in many more places. Meredith Stephens has written of sailing to Tasmania.

The essay that brought back a flavour of home for me is one by Asad Latif, now a journalist in Singapore but long ago, he was an icon in India. We are very privileged to have his writing on what borders do for us… a piece exploring the idea on which we base our journal, also perhaps with a touch of Anthony Sattin’ s asabiyya. ‘Pandies’ Corner‘ starts another run, showcasing women’s tryst for freedom. Amreen’s ‘Moh-Reen’, her own story, translated from Hindustani by Janees, is a brave start to the series. The voices ring out asking for a change, to heal social norms to accommodate love and kindness with the backing of Shaktishalini and Pandies as does the unsupported solo voice of an older woman from Balochistan, Ganji Baloch, brought to our notice by Ali Jaan Maqsood.

We have fiction from Sohana Manzoor – again bringing to fore strange stories of women rebelling against social norms. Paul Mirabile explores death and the sea in a horrific story. Sunil Sharma’s fiction explores madness and ideators, making a social comment on recent happenings. As the sky stretches out to accommodate all kinds of writings, all creatures great and small, we try our best to give voice to a fair cross section from around the world as we have done this time too.

There are as usual pieces that we have not mentioned in this note but they are all worth a read. Do drop in to check out our contents in this October issue. We are truly grateful to our contributors who continue to connect with words and thoughts that waft along with clouds. We would like to thank Sohana Manzoor especially for her wonderful artwork. The journal would not be a possibility without the support of the whole team and our valuable readers who make writing worth the effort. It is lovely to be read and remembered for the words we write.

Wish you all a wonderful October.

Mitali Chakravarty

[1] A woman ‘married’ to Gods and forced to live as a mistress to mortal men.


Three poems by Irma Kurti


Can the tears be wiped off in a day
like this, or hidden behind my dark 
glasses, when the sun doesn’t shine, 
when the dark gray clouds invade
the sky, brewing the storm within?

Can the tears be wiped off on a day
like this, or can they be disguised?
The rain descends from the heavy 
clouds, hitting my hair and glasses;
hard to distinguish rain from tears. 


When you smile amid the pains, 
Father, it is not like a ray of sun 
in a cloudy sky, nor a rainbow in 
the tempest, nor a happiness or a
joy that enlightens my heart.

When you smile amid the pains
that don’t leave your weak body,
I see the portrait of this life filled
with beauty and pain, light and 
shade, joy and despair, and then,
my fragility turns into strength.


Don’t shed tears in front of people
who consider them raindrops that 
flood their road—people that can’t
feel your sorrow, the ones that go
away not to sadden themselves.
Tears now roll down your cheeks,
and slowly, they reach your neck, 
form the most beautiful necklace,
so clear, limpid, and transparent.

Irma Kurti is an Albanian poetess, writer, lyricist, journalist, and translator. She is a naturalised Italian. She has won numerous literary prizes and awards in Italy and Italian Switzerland. Irma Kurti has published 26 books in Albanian, 17 in Italian, 8 in English and two in French. She is also the translator of 11 books of different authors and of all her books in Italian and English.