Categories
Poetry

The Light, the Sun, the Stars…

Poetry & Photographs by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

THE LIGHT

Who has seen the light?
Who has been blinded by the light?
The stars at night, the sun setting,
do you know it is not to be taken lightly?
Have you felt its significance?
Is the woman you love your light?
How much do you believe that?
You are surrounded by light.
Your head is filled with it.
There is a flash of light that shines on you
as your life is in danger.
You feel it on your skin.
It blinds your eyes, touches your heart.
If it ever goes away,
you will go away.
You must not take the light for granted.



MY LIKENESS

Dear, who are you?
My likeness and enemy.
Weaving false stories.
Who may you be?
Am I to blame?
Soft are your punches.
Almost like words.
You want to kill me.
I love you still.

Born in Mexico, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His poetry has been published by Blue Collar Review, Borderless Journal, Escape Into Life, KendraSteiner Editions, Mad Swirl, SETU, and Unlikely Stories.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

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

Categories
Poetry

Poems on Clouds & Seas

By Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

CLOUD MONSTERS

Moon tussles with cloud monsters.
Its shine is halfway showing.
Work traffic is like those cloud monsters.
A half hour drive turns into an hour.

I find an exit and use the streets.
The red lights are not the best
of colours when you are in a hurry.
Green lights are your best friend
when you are running late, tell that
to the cloud monster traffic.

I see green lights for blocks and
no one is moving. I should have
stayed home and declared this a
vacation day and just slept in.

That half-moon light is something
to behold still. It is getting clear
with the sun coming up as well
and the traffic dies down enough
that you just might not be late
to work or a dollar short this time.
The cloud monsters disappear like
a puff of smoke into the abyss.

SHIFT SHAPE CLOUDS

There goes the lasso 
and there goes the headless
horse and the rider is hanging
on for dear life as the clouds
shift their shapes in the sky.

There goes the seahorse
out of its element unless
its sea is the blue horizon
and its white puffiness
will brace its shape shift fall.

There goes the head of the
headless horse and its rider
with its cowboy hat not far
behind, the rest of the horse
is just a round shaped cloud now.

Down below I lift my arms
to the sky and shuffle my feet.
I do a little rain dance but
I just do not have the magic
or power to make it happen.

OPEN THE SEA

Open the sea,
there is agony deep below,
the essence of a shipwreck
that has lost its very soul.

Open the sky,
there is a mourner in space
with a powerful sob
dropping waves of cold rain.

When the warm light
withdraws from the sky, the sun sleeps,
as the night lights appear
for the lost to find their way.

Ready to die,
life’s infirm angels and devils
give time one last breath, and
admonish it for how it betrays.

Born in Mexico, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His poetry has been published by Blue Collar Review, Borderless Journal, Escape Into Life, KendraSteiner Editions, Mad Swirl, SETU, and Unlikely Stories.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Poetry

Poetry by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

By Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

GIVE NIGHT

Give night
my purest blessings 

and sky

my deepest thanks,
a solemn sigh,
the lost words
of a child that has
grown too fast.

It is not easy
to watch morning fade.
My eyes fixate on the sun
and the sound of nature
when I close my eyes.
The smell of your
absent scent 

is a smell I miss.
Between you and I,
I dread summer
and its heat
which finds joy

in my suffering. A
day does not go by
where sleeping soothes
these tears.
Suddenly,
the fiery sun
and the smell of you

not being here
reminds me how far
away you are. Funeral 
processions
fill my thoughts. The dead
go to the light.

In this state of being
it is hard to think.

The cool breeze fills the room
as I shake the sheets.
My soft pillow awaits
to take me to a new land.
I open my mind
and give in to sleep.

Give night
my dark blessings
and let the sleeping begin.

TAKEN DOWN

Taken down
by the huge
security guards
at the break
of dawn. This
village is
not for all
of us. I 
feel like First
Blood Rambo.
I just want
a place where
I could sleep
till five in
the a.m.
I will get
off the floor 
at five or
four forty-
five. No one 
is working
here until
six or so.
I was slammed
on my face.
I am not
so pretty.
I look worse
now than I 
did last night.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal is a Mexican-born author, who resides in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, and Unlikely Stories.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Editorial

Towards a Brave New World

Painting by Sohana Manzoor

With Christmas at our heels and the world waking up slowly from a pandemic that will hopefully become an endemic as the Omicron seems to fizzle towards a common cold, we look forward to a new year and a new world. Perhaps, our society will evolve to become one where differences are accepted as variety just as we are fine with the fact that December can be warm or cold depending on the geography of the place. People will be welcomed even if of different colours and creed. The commonality of belonging to the same species will override all other disparities…

While we have had exciting developments this year and civilians have moved beyond the Earth — we do have a piece on that by Candice Louisa Daquin — within the planet, we have become more aware of the inequalities that exist. We are aware of the politics that seems to surround even a simple thing like a vaccine for the pandemic. However, these two years dominated by the virus has shown us one thing — if we do not rise above petty greed and create a world where healthcare and basic needs are met for all, we will suffer. As my nearly eighty-year-old aunt confided, even if one person has Covid in a remote corner of the world, it will spread to all of us. The virus sees no boundaries. This pandemic was just a start. There might be more outbreaks like this in the future as the rapacious continue to exploit deeper into the wilderness to accommodate our growing greed, not need. With the onset of warmer climates — global warming and climate change are realities — what can we look forward to as our future?

Que sera sera — what will be, will be. Though a bit of that attitude is necessary, we have become more aware and connected. We can at least visualise changes towards a more egalitarian and just world, to prevent what happened in the past. It would be wonderful if we could act based on the truth learnt from history rather than to overlook or rewrite it from the perspective of the victor and use that experience to benefit our homes, planet and all living things, great and small.  In tune with our quest towards a better world, we have an interview with an academic, Sanjay Kumar, founder of a group called Pandies, who use theatre to connect the world of haves with have-nots. What impressed me most was that they have actually put refugees and migrant workers on stage with their stories. They even managed to land in Kashmir and work with children from war-torn zones. They have travelled and travelled into different dimensions in quest of a better world. Travelling is what our other interviewee did too — with a cat who holds three passports. CJ Fentiman, author of The Cat with Three Passports, has been interviewed by Keith Lyons, who has reviewed her book too.

This time we have the eminent Aruna Chakravarti review Devika Khanna Narula’s Beyond the Veils, a retelling of the author’s family history. Perhaps, history has been the common thread in our reviews this time. Rakhi Dalal has reviewed Anirudh Kala’s Two and a Half Rivers, a fiction that focusses on the Sikh issues in 1980s India from a Dalit perspective. It brought to my mind a family saga I had been recently re-reading, Alex Haley’s Roots, which showcased the whole American Revolution from the perspective of slaves brought over from Africa. Did the new laws change the fates of the slaves or Dalits? To an extent, it did but the rest as fact and fiction showcase were in the hands that belonged to the newly freed people. To enable people to step out of the cycle of poverty, the right attitudes towards growth and the ability to accept the subsequent changes is a felt need. That is perhaps where organisations like Pandies step in.  Another non-fiction which highlights history around the same period and place as Kala’s novel is BP Pande’s In the Service of Free India –Memoirs of a Civil Servant. Reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha, the book explores the darker nuances of human history filled with violence and intolerance.

That violence is intricately linked to power politics has been showcased often. But, what would be really amazing to see would be how we could get out of the cycle as a society. With gun violence being an accepted norm in one of the largest democracies of the world, perhaps we need to listen to the voice of wisdom found in the fiction by Steve Davidson who meets perhaps a ghost in Hong Kong. Musing over the ghost’s words, the past catches up in Sunil Sharma’s story, ‘Walls’. Sharma has also given us a slice from his life in Canada with its colours, vibrancy and photographs of the fall. As he emigrated to Canada, we read of immigrants in Marzia Rahman’s touching narrative. She has opted to go with the less privileged just as Lakshmi Kannan has opted to go with the privileged in her story.

Sharma observes, while we find the opulence of nature thrive in places people inhabit in  Canada, it is not so in Asia. I wonder why? Why are Asian cities crowded and polluted? There was a time when Los Angeles and London suffered smogs. Has that shifted now as factories relocated to Asia, generating wealth in currency but taking away from nature’s opulence of fresh, clean air as more flock into crowded cities looking for sustenance?

Humour is introduced into the short story section with Sohana Manzoor’s hilarious rendering of her driving lessons in America, lessons given to foreigners by migrants. Rhys Hughes makes for  more humour with a really hilarious rendition of men in tea cosies missing their…I  think ‘Trouser Hermit’ will tell you the rest. He has perhaps more sober poetry which though imaginative does not make you laugh as much as his prose. Michael Burch has shared some beautiful poetry perpetuating the calmer nuances of a deeply felt love and affection. George Freek, Anasuya Bhar, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Dibyajyoti Sarma have all given us wonderful poetry along with many others. One could write an essay on each poem – but as we are short shrift for time, we move on to travel sagas from hiking in Australia and hobnobbing with kangaroos to renovated palaces in Bengal.

We have also travelled with our book excerpts this time. Suzanne Kamata’s The Baseball Widow shuttles between US and Japan and Somdatta Mandal’s translation of  A Bengali lady in England by Krishnabhabi Das, actually has the lady relocate to nineteenth century England and assume the dress and mannerisms of the West to write an eye-opener for her compatriots about the customs of the colonials in their own country.

While mostly we hear of sad stories related to marriages, we have a sunny one in which Alpana finds much in a marriage that runs well with wisdom learnt from Kung Fu Panda.  Devraj Singh Kalsi has given us a philosophical piece with his characteristic touch of irony laced with humour on statues. If you are wondering what he could have to say, have a read.

In Nature’s Musings, Penny Wilkes has offered us prose and wonderful photographs of the last vestiges of autumn. As the season hovers between summer and winter, geographical boundaries too can get blurred at times. A nostalgic recap given by Ratnottama Sengupta along the borders of Bengal, which though still crossed by elephants freely in jungles (wild elephants do not need visas, I guess), gained an independence from the harshness of cultural hegemony on December 16th, 1971. Candice Louisa Daquin has also looked at grey zones that lie between sanity and insanity in her column. An essay which links East and West has been given to us by Rakibul Hasan about a poet who mingles the two in his poetry. A Bengali song by Tagore, Purano shei diner kotha,  that is almost a perfect trans creation of Robert Burn’s Scottish Auld Lang Syne in the spirit of welcoming the New Year, has been transcreated to English. The similarity in the content of the two greats’ lyrics showcase the commonalities of love, friendship and warmth that unite all cultures into one humanity.

Our first translation from Uzbekistan – a story by Sherzod Artikov, translated from Uzbeki by Nigora Mukhammad — gives a glimpse of a culture that might be new to many of us. Akbar Barakzai’s shorter poems, translated by Fazal Baloch from Balochi and Ratnottama Sengupta’s transcreation of a Tagore song, Rangiye Die Jao, have added richness to our oeuvre along with  one from Korean by Ihlwha Choi. Professor Fakrul Alam, who is well-known for his translation of poetry by Jibonanda Das, has started sharing his work on the Bengali poet with us. Pause by and take a look.

There is much more than what I can put down here as we have a bumper end of the year issue this December. There is a bit of something for all times, tastes and seasons.

I would like to thank my wonderful team for helping put together this issue. Sohana Manzoor and Sybil Pretious need double thanks for their lovely artwork that is showcased in our magazine. We are privileged to have committed readers, some of who have started contributing to our content too. A huge thanks to all our contributors and readers for being with us through our journey.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful transition into the New Year! May we open up to a fantastic brave, new world!

Mitali Chakravarty

Borderless Journal

Categories
Poetry

Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

A Moment of Rest

I feel for those
who do not get
a moment of
rest. I have been
in that place so
often I do
not know if rest
will only come
when I am dead.
Those you love who
do not love you
back will put you
deep in your grave
while they keep up
their bad habits.


Rainfall

I take refuge in the falling rain.
It falls only for me.
The raindrops fall on my head.
I find comfort in rainfall.

In the absence of rain, I take joy
in solitude.  I walk
softly and quietly like the dead.
I find comfort in anonymity.

I rely on luck and decent health to 
keep me carrying on.
I hope to remain standing.
I can’t stand for falling.

I find power in the word or words
that save me from a life
I do not intend to live.
I go back to the rain.
 

Do You Really Want to Talk to Me?

Before we get to conversing
and you begin sermonising
you need to know that I have
died for your sins and that
I am followed by the sun.

That means the sun is always
the shadow behind my back.
Do not look into my eyes
because I have the devil in
my eyes and I can take your soul.

Before you begin to speak
take all my words under deep
contemplation and ask yourself
do you really want to talk to me?

I can do anything I want is all
you need to know. I do not want
to see you or to go to court to
talk to some judge about my mind.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal is a Mexican-born author, who resides in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, and Unlikely Stories.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Poetry

Quest to Relive

Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Off the I:10

Off the I-10 I am guided
by memory in my quest
to relive the past. The
ghost of my father’s shop
remains. The name has
changed. I hear the sound
of sewing machines, of
scissors cutting fabric, and
the hammer and staple gun
of the carpenter. In his 70’s
in the 80’s, I am certain he
is dead and buried like my
father. The past has come
and gone and all I have is
a memory of ancient days.
It is getting too late to stay
around. It makes me sad
being in these streets.
I drive back to the house
that my father and mother
bought, where I feel the
sadness come and go as
well until I drift off to sleep.


Waiting Around

Waiting around
like always,
the story of
my life: whether
it is for food,
love, or a
better job,
the wait is
always a part
of it. It is the hardest
part if you
listen to Tom
Petty.  Sometimes
It is worth it
and sometimes
it is not. It is
best to walk
away sometimes
and leave
the waiting for
someone else.


The Last Cold

Here it is, the last cold
of all the colds I have
had in the whole of this
life. Soon I will have a
last sneeze once and for all.
I might not blow my nose.
My head will ache worse than
ever and this so-called
condition will be an
afterthought. This poet
has seen much better days.

This is the last goodbye.
I cannot face the sun
lying on this bed. I
will turn all the lights down.

Here it is, the last cold.
It is a physical
thing. Keep the aspirin.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal is a Mexican-born author, who resides in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, and Unlikely Stories.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL