Borderless February 2022

Winter in Africa. Painting by Sybil Pretious.


What’s Love Got to Do with it’ … Click here to read.


Sriniketan: Tagore’s “Life Work”: In Conversation with Professor Uma Das Gupta, Tagore scholar, author of A History of Sriniketan, where can be glimpsed what Tagore considered his ‘life’s work’ as an NGO smoothening divides between villagers and the educated. Click here to read.

Akbar: The Man who was King: In conversation with eminent journalist and author, Shazi Zaman, author of Akbar, A Novel of History. Click here to read.


One Day in the Fog, written by Jibananda Das and translated from Bengali by Professor Fakrul Alam. Click here to read.

Mahnu, a poem by Atta Shad, translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

A Superpower in the Pandemic, written and translated from Korean by Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read.

Eyes of the Python, a short story by S.Ramakrishnan, translated from Tamil by Dr.B.Chandramouli. Click here to read.

Raatri Eshe Jethay Meshe by Tagore has been translated from Bengali as Where the Night comes to Mingle by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Pandies’ Corner

These stories are written by youngsters from the Nithari village who transcended childhood trauma and deprivation. The column starts with a story, Stranger than Fiction from Sharad Kumar in Hindustani, translated to English by Grace M Sukanya. Click here to read.


Click on the names to read

Rhys Hughes, A Jessie Michael, Jay Nicholls, Moonmoon Chowdhury, Mike Smith, David Francis, Ananya Sarkar, Matthew James Friday, Ashok Suri, John Grey, Saptarshi Bhattacharya, Candice Louisa Daquin, Emalisa Rose, Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Nature’s Musings

Penny Wilkes explores dewdrops and sunrise in A Dewdrop World. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

Rhys Hughes explores the paranormal with his usual wit in Three Ghosts in a Boat. Promise not to laugh or smile as you shiver… Click here to read.

Musings/ Slices from Life

Requiem for the Melody Queen

Ratnottama Sengupta sings her own paean in which a chorus of voices across the world join her to pay a tribute to a legend called Lata Mangeshkar. Click here to read.

Forsaking Distant Hemispheres for the Immediate Locale

Meredith Stephens introduces us to the varied fauna found in South Australia with vivid photographs clicked by her. Click here to read.

Breaking the fast

P Ravi Shankar takes us through a breakfast feast around the world. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Life without a Pet, Devraj Singh Kalsi gives a humorous take on why he does not keep a pet. Click here to read.

Notes from Japan

In Bridging Cultures through Music, author Suzanne Kamata introduces us to Masaki Nakagawa, a YouTuber who loves Lativia and has made it big, playing for the President of Lativia at the Japanese coronation. Click here to read.


Farewell Keri Hulme

A tribute by Keith Lyons to the first New Zealand Booker Prize winner, Keri Hulme, recalling his non-literary encounters with the sequestered author. Click here to read.

Satyajit Ray’s Cinematic Universe: Can Isolation Lead to a New World?

Rebanta Gupta explores two films of Satyajit Ray, Kanchenjunga & Charulata to see what a sense of isolation can do for humans? Click here to read.

‘What remains is darkness and facing me – Banalata Sen!’

Rakibul Hasan Khan explores death and darkness in Fakrul Alam’s translation of Jibanananda Das’s poetry. Click here to read.

Dhaka Book Fair: A Mansion and a Movement

Ratnottama Sengupta writes of a time a palace called Bardhaman House became the centre of a unique tryst against cultural hegemony. The Language Movement of 1952 that started in Dhaka led to the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. In 1999, UNESCO recognised February 21 as the Mother Language Day. Click here to read.

The Observant Immigrant

 In To Be or Not to Be, Candice Louisa Daquin takes a close look at death and suicide. Click here to read.


Navigational Error

Luke P.G. Draper explores the impact of pollution with a short compelling narrative. Click here to read.

The Art of Sleeping

Atreyo Chowdhury spins an absurd tale or could it be true? Click here to read.

Dear Dr Chilli…

Maliha Iqbal writes of life as a young girl in a competitive world. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In MissingSunil Sharma gives us a long literary yarn. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

Two Banalata Sen poems excerpted from Jibanananda Das: Selected Poems with an Introduction, Chronology and Glossary, translated from Bengali by Fakrul Alam. Click here to read.

An excerpt from Mahasweta Devi, Our Santiniketan. Translated from the Bengali by Radha Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Indrashish Banerjee reviews The Best of Travel Writing of Dom Moraes: Under Something of a Cloud. Click here to read.

Gracy Samjetsabam reviews Masala and Murder by Patrick Lyons. Click here to read.

Rakhi Dalal reviews Kavery Nambisan’s A Luxury called Health. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Growing up Jewish in India: Synagogues, Customs, and Communities from the Bene Israel to the Art of Siona Benjamin, edited by Ori Z. Soltes. Click here to read.

Special Issues

Cry, Our Beloved… Click here to read (For Peace)

Born to be Wild …Click here to read (World Wild Life Day)


Sprinkling of Words & Trouts

By Matthew James Friday

Trouts. Courtesy: Creative Commons

I see you sliding 
over the muddy gold
bed of the shallow river
as it slips into Lake Lugano.

You follow a flittering 
shoal of hope, gliding 
the thin layers between
the different forms of air.

I’m surprised by your size 
as you snuggle into the sheets
of river and light. Lord 
of the muddier moments,

king-sized in a peasant course,
you draw me down the line
of the green-grey water
until merging with the unseen.


"How far is between the stars, how much farther 
is what’s right here..."
 -- Rilke 

Late August evening,
light pollution a pastel scum
fronging the pre-Alps around Lugano.

I watch stars spell themselves.
The Big Dipper points its paw to Polaris.
Under Cassiopeia, the tail end

of the Perseid meteor show,
the dusty trail of the Swift-Tuttle comet
on its 34-year love loop of the sun.

I see only the last sparks,
as small as grains of sand, spluttering 
kisses of the final flares.

I’m not putting words in a god’s
gaping mouth; no sprung
mechanisms in mysterious workings.

I only have, as Einstein said, a
vague idea about that highest truth,
the radiant beauty of the unsearchable

and a sudden awareness 
at how fantastically minuscule
my part is. 
A few sprinkled words.


Drifting at the promenade of Desenzano Del Garda,
admiring freshly fallen snow on the mountains
that crown the pointed head of the Alpine lake.
A building north wind promises in waves.
Here is October tightening its chilling dress. 

We look down at the orange rock under our feet. 
Spun in the dark matter web of irregular lines 
a curling ammonite galaxy with ghostly white 
shell, a reminder of time flattened in plain sight.
The shell spins and I hear the clocks ticking 

trillions of divisions, turning rocks into sand,
caterpillars into butterflies, the hydrogen 
atoms into atomic bombs, my young parents 
into elderly people remembering their own
parents this age, and me a once immortal boy 

now a middle-aged facsimile, puzzled at how 
quickly the sand runs. Now back on the promenade, 
marvelling at the fossil, pointing it out to friends
who want to hurry on - aperitivo calling, snow 
falling, wine to be drunk, the absolute-zero of it all.

Matthew James Friday is a British born writer and teacher. He has been published in numerous international journals, including, recently: Dawntreader (UK), The Dillydoun Review (USA), Verbal Art (India), and Lunch Ticket  (USA). The micro-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, The Residents, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA). 




Festival of Lights

After welcoming the dark half of the year with Halloween, we light lamps to observe yet one more homecoming festival — that of the legendary Rama. Though Diwali or Deepavali is interpreted variously in different parts of India, in the North, Rama’s homecoming after fourteen years of exile and victory over various demons is celebrated with the lighting of lamps and fireworks. Simultaneously, in Eastern India, they celebrate the victory of good over evil with the worship of Goddess Kali. In the Southern part, the victory of Krishna over a demon or asura known as Narakasura is jubilated. This festival is observed as a national holiday across a dozen countries now. There are a dozen different rituals, Gods and Goddesses correlated with the festivities. But victory of good over evil is a concurrent narrative along with prayers for prosperity and well being of the world. Both of these themes are a felt need in the present times.

In keeping with the theme of light, at Borderless, we celebrate this season with stories and poems connected with lights or lamps along with narratives around the festivals themselves… all from within our treasury.


Light a Candle by Ameenath Neena. Click here to read.

One Star by Ihlwha Choi. Click here to read.

The Candle by Matthew James Friday. Click here to read.

The Starry Night by Sunil Sharma. Click here to read.


What Ramayan taught me about my parents: Smitha R gives a humorous recap of how the legendary epic brought the family together. Click here to read.

How a dark Goddess lights up a Fallen World: Meenakshi Malhotra talks of Kali and the narrative of the festival that lights up during this festive season. Click here to read.

The Dark House: A Balochi folk tale translated by Fazal Baloch that reflects on the crucial role of light in a young girl’s life. Click here to read.


Borderless, May 2021


And this too shall pass… Click here to read


Songs of Seasons: Translated by Fakrul Alam

Bangla Academy literary award winning translator, Dr Fakrul Alam, translates six seasonal songs of Tagore. Click here to read.

Temples and Mosques

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s fiery essay translated by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.

Purify My Life

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s poem, Purify my Life, translated by Shahriyer Hossain Shetu. Click here to read.

Waiting for Godot by Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai’s poem translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.


Aditya Shankar translates a poem by Sujith Kumar. Click here to read.

The Last Boat

Tagore’s Diner Sheshe Ghoomer Deshe translated by Mitali Chakravarty with an interpretation in pastels by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.


Anasuya Bhar, Scott Thomas Outlar, Saranyan BV, Matthew James Friday, Nitya Mariam John, RJ Kaimal, Jay Nicholls, Tasneem Hossain, Rhys Hughes, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Ihlwha Choi, Himadri Lahiri, Sunil Sharma, Mike Smith, Jared Carter

Nature’s Musings

Photo-Poetry by Penny & Michael Wilkes. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

Lear and Far

As a tribute to the 209th anniversary of Edward Lear, Rhys Hughes writes of his famous poem, ‘Owl and the Pussycat’, and writes a funny ending for it rooted in the modern day. Click here to read.


If at all

Shobha Nandavar, a physician in Bangalore, depicts the trauma of Covid 19 in India with compassion. Click here to read.

First Lady

Rituparna Khan gives us a brief vignette from the life of one of the first women doctors in India, Dr Kadambari Ganguly. Click here to read.

Mr Dutta’s Dream

Atreyo Chowdhury takes us into the world of unquenchable wanderlust. Click here to read.

Neemboo Ka Achaar or Maa’s Lemon Pickle

A compelling flash fiction by Suyasha Singh hovering around food and a mother’s love. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In A Lunch Hour Crisis, Sunil Sharma raises humanitarian concerns that though raised in a pandemic-free world, have become more relevant and concerning given our current predicament. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Serve the People

Danielle Legault Kurihara, a Quebecker in Japan, writes of differences in rituals. Click here to read.

Why I write?
Basudhara Roy tells us how writing lingers longer than oral communications. Click here to read more.

The Quiet Governance of Instinct

Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist, talks of the importance of trusting our instincts. Click here to read more.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Nations without NobelDevraj Singh Kalsi takes a fresh look at national pride with a soupçon of sarcasm and humour. Click here to read.

Adventures of the Backpacking Granny

In Visit to Rural BaoyingSybil Pretious travels to spend a night with a local family in rural China in a ‘hundred-year-old home’.Click here to read.


Four Seasons and an Indian Summer

Keith Lyons talks of his experiences of seasons in different places, including Antarctica. Click here to read.

Rabindranath and the Etchings of His Mind

Anasuya Bhar explores the various lives given to a publication through the different edited versions, translations and films, using Tagore as a case study and the work done to provide these online. Click here to read.

My Experiments with Identity

Tejas Yadav explores identity from the context Heraclitus, Rumi down to his own. Click here to read.

Can Songs be the Musical Conscience of a Film?

Prithvijeet Sinha uses Gaman (Departure), a Hindi movie around the pain of migrant workers, as a case study to highlight his contention that lyrics and songs convey much in Indian films. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Manoj Das – The Master Storyteller, Bhaskar Parichha pays a tribute to one of the greatest storytellers from the state of Odisha, India, Manoj Das( 1934-2021). Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from A Bengali Lady in England (1885): Annotated Translation with Critical Introduction to Krishnabhabini Das’ Englandey Bangamahila by Nabanita Sengupta. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

A review of Feisal Alkazi‘s memoir, Enter Stage Right: The Alkazi Padamsee Family Memoir by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read.

A review of Shakti Ghosal‘s The Chronicler of the Hooghly and Other Stories by Gracy Samjetsabam. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Raising a Humanist by Manisha Pathak-Shelat‘s and Kiran Vinod Bhatia. Click here to read.


Communication scholars and authors, Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, discuss how to bring up children in these troubled times, based on their book, Raising a Humanist, which has just been released. Click here to read.

Sonya J Nair of Samyukta Poetry talks about the Samyukta Research Foundation and its affiliates and its festival, Anantha. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections, May 2021

A selection of young person’s writings from Bookosmia. Click here to read.


Summer Travels

By Mathew James Friday

The Cherry Tree

We pick cherries from a tree in Unterback*.
A silent local watches us, arms on hips,
but there’s no fence, just wild grass.

We pluck the cherries in bloody handfuls,
warning each other about staining juice,
giddy with the Biblical bounty. So many

clusters of fruit when you look up at the sky,
red-shifting to purple stars. We only take
a tiny portion of what the tree tempts.

The rest if left to hang too high, rot,
or be gathered by the lucky locals,
if they can take their hands off their hips.

*Unterback is in Switzerland 

The Cuckoo Stopped Singing

Early July and I am stunned 
by the emptiness of the air. 

I suddenly miss his bell ringing, 
reminder that nature persists 

despite our best efforts. He started 
in early May, that unmistakable 

nursery rhyme song postering
in the tree-dressed stage of our 

Montagnola apartment block.
He sang me back to boyhood,

to Epsom Common woods,
where cuckoos were a distant 

promise of fleeting residency, 
the temporary in the seasons,

calling a partner in crime to lay
an egg patterned with our nature,

displacing the righteous, leaving
open mouths, always hungry.

Rightly secretive these tricksters,
afraid to be uncloaked, the confidence 

scam revealed.  I caught a glimpse
in late May as he bolted past, fleeing

to other haunts where I hear him: 
the High Alps, the lips of Italian lakes,

the confusions of teenage heat.
He seems loudest in lazy mid-

summer evenings of exposed moons,
nostalgic pangs even before leaving. 

Later in summer, I am saddened by
the need to wait until another April.

Dreams of Lake Como

I dream of your ripples on the lakeshore, 
ripples of golden waves over golden rocks. 
Like an Arthurian knight, I am drawn 
to your waters and hear the Lady chanting
in Italian, grail promises of healing, cleansing 
siren drawing me into your turquoise depths. 
Fish flit at your hem, some big and unhurried.

In some dreams the lake hazes with mist.
Your mountains become rumours, your far 
shore a blur and your ballad takes me back 
to childhood: playing in moorland rivers 
and coastal rock pools. Time is upturned 
in your glacial heart. The waves giggle over
rocks and sadness in the polished stones.

In other dreams you dress in your jewels:
orange and cream roofed villages piercing
tiny ears of land, the isthmus hand of Bellagio 
dressed in lace strips, steep pearl-topped 
mountain crows. This is something beyond art,
rounder than tabled intentions, deeper 
than stone worship. What do you think of me?

Lucky atoms as near to nothing as can be,
an organic moment of punctuation in time’s 
long sentences. Your eroded indifference is all 
the more beautiful. My prayers are answered 
in reflection. Long after I am gone, you will still 
be Lake Como, but for these dreamy moments, 
we drink wine from the same earthen Grail

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).




Borderless, April, 2021

Greetings from Borderless Journal for all Asian New Years! Click here to read our message along with the video and a translation of a Tagore song written to greet the new year, with lyrics that not only inspire but ask the fledgling to heal mankind from deadly diseases.


New Beginnings

A walk through our content and our plans for the future. Click here to read.


In Conversation with Arundhathi Subramaniam: An online interview with this year’s Sahitya Akademi winner, Arundhathi Subramaniam. Click here to read.

Sumana Roy & Trees: An online interview with Sumana Roy, a writer and academic. Click here to read.


(Click on the names to read)

Arundhathi Subramaniam, Jared Carter, Matthew James Friday, Michael R Burch, Aparna Ajith, Jenny Middleton, Rhys Hughes, Jay Nicholls, Achingliu Kamei, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Ihlwha Choi, Smitha Vishwanath, Sekhar Banerjee, Sumana Roy

Photo-poetry by Penny Wilkes

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

With an introduction to Blood and Water by Rebecca Lowe, Rhys Hughes debuts with his column on poets and poetry. Click here to read.


The Word by Akbar Barakzai

Fazal Baloch translates the eminent Balochi poet, Akbar Barakzai. Click here to read.

Malayalam poetry in Translation

Aditya Shankar translates a poem by Shylan from Malayalam to English. Click here to read.

Tagore Songs in Translation

To commemorate Tagore’s birth anniversary, we translated five of his songs from Bengali to English. Click here to read, listen and savour.

Tagore Translations: One Small Ancient Tale

Rabindranath Tagore’s Ekti Khudro Puraton Golpo (One Small Ancient Tale) from his collection Golpo Guchcho ( literally, a bunch of stories) has been translated by Nishat Atiya. Click here to read.

Musings/Slice of Life

Pohela Boisakh: A Cultural Fiesta

Sohana Manzoor shares the Bengali New Year celebrations in Bangladesh with colourful photographs and interesting history and traditions that mingle beyond the borders. Click here to read.

Gliding along the Silk Route

Ratnottama Sengupta, a well-known senior journalist and film critic lives through her past to make an interesting discovery at the end of recapping about the silk route. Click here to read and find out more.

The Source

Mike Smith drifts into nostalgia about mid-twentieth century while exploring a box of old postcards. What are the stories they tell? Click here to read.

Lost in the Forest

John Drew, a retired professor, cogitates over a tapestry of the Ras lila. Click here to read.

Tied to Technology

Naomi Nair reflects on life infiltrated by technology, by Siri and Alexa with a tinge of humour. Click here to read.

Adventures of a Backpacking Granny

In Inspiriting SiberiaSybil Pretious takes us with her to Lake Baikal and further. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Tributes & AttributesDevraj Singh Kalsi pays tribute to his late mother. Click here to read.


Reflecting the Madness and Chaos Within

Over 150 Authors and Artists from five continents have written on mental illness in an anthology called Through the Looking Glass. Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist and writer and editor, tells us why this is important for healing. Click here to read.

At Home in the World: Tagore, Gandhi and the Quest for Alternative Masculinities

Meenakshi Malhotra explores the role of masculinity in Nationalism prescribed by Tagore, his niece Sarala Debi, Gandhi and Colonials. Click here to read.

A Tale of Devotion and Sacrifice as Opposed to Jealousy and Tyranny

Sohana Manzoor explores the social relevance of a dance drama by Tagore, Natir puja. We carry this to commemorate Tagore’s birth anniversary. Click here to read

Photo Essay: In the Midst of Colours

Nishi Pulugurtha explores the campus of a famed university with her camera and words and shares with us her experiences. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

Oh, That lovely Title: Politics

A short piece by Bhaskar Parichha that makes for a witty comment on the forthcoming Indian elections. Click here to read.



Rakhi Pande gives us a story about a woman and her inner journey embroiled in the vines of money plant. Click here to read.


A sensitive short story by Sohana Manzoor that makes one wonder if neglect and lack of love can be termed as an abuse? Click here to read

Ghumi Stories: Grandfather & the Rickshaw

Nabanita Sengupta takes us on an adventure on the rickshaw with Raya’s grandfather. Click here to read

Flash Fiction: The Husband on the Roof

Carl Scharwath gives us a story with a strange twist. Click here to read

Flash Fiction: Flight of the Falcon

Livneet Shergill gives us a story in empathy with man and nature. Click here to read

The Literary Fictionist

A playlet by Sunil Sharma set in Badaun, The Dryad and I: A Confession and a Forecast, is a short fiction about trees and humans. Click here to read.

Book reviews

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Reconciling Differences by Rudolf C Heredia, a book that explores hate and violence. Click here to read.

Nivedita Sen reviews Nomad’s Land by Paro Anand, a fiction set among migrant children of a culture borne of displaced Rohingyas, Syrian refugees, Tibetans and more. Click here to read

Candice Louisa Daquin reviews The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the last by Azra Raza. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from Raising a Humanist: Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World by Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, the focus is on media and its impact. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selection, April 2021

A selection of young person’s writings from Bookosmia. Click here to read.


Spring Poems

By Matthew James Friday

William Blake at Felpham, West Sussex

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

From ‘Auguries of Innocence’, 1803

An unfurled question mark 
answers the point where infinity begins.  
Standing on the beach at Felpham, 
studying the way the sea scars the horizon,
clouds pouring out in smoky angles,
cracks creating all kinds of illuminations; 
shafting bolts of light and gloom. 

No wonder Blake stood here 
and thought the sea was talking to him,
tongues of sunlight and wind and cloud 
fluttering through his mind. Here 
at this unremarkable, passable place
where Human and Nature face each other, 
taking turns to question and yawn,

the world turning under you, tides tugging 
at that grander part that belongs
to something renewed every day, before
being, waves pounding, reeling 
back again, a swell and releasing gift
unknown in its giving. Gulls cry you 
back to when you saw worlds in the sand,

an eternity of assembling castles by hand,
then the cheering grief of waves taking
away your creation. Here is the heavenly 
line drawn between times, stretched beyond, 
suggested in the shallowest of curves. 
The future remains uncertain, questionable  
For now the horizon is enough.

When The Flowers Return

Those first snowdrops spearing coyly,
the speckled smiles of daisies, winks 
of colour on leaf-laden forest floors.

Seeing them you are suddenly relieved
of your guilt: the thought that empty
fields will harden, deadened skies

be your last mirror, the spindly creak
of declining conversation, no summer
to talk of. You can be rejuvenated again

and pretend Nature does this for you,
that your witness is what gives worth,
that a poem is what spring needs.

Universal Knots

This is a struggle worthy of any split atom.

You’ve probably forgotten
how many fingers you needed,
how many hours of quantum patience
lost looping those string universes
around each other 
only to end up entangled.

It’s a bit tricky, says a Kindergarten girl
and then she almost gives up.
Luckily, Mom is there to keep
the orbs moving: nearly there!

For what galactically important purpose?
So you could wear tied shoes?
You never asked your gods for that.
So Mom or Dad would stop stooping down
to your level, enter your orbit.
Who wants to grow up?

A Kindergarten boy starts with one shoe
and starts to bow the skill
around the black holes of immature
fingers. Getting there, says Mom.

Einstein had to learn.
Here is E=MC2 perseverance.

Both Moms ask their stars
how is it going?
Thumbs up, Milky Way grins.
Optimism, the gravity of learning. 

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).




Three Poems

By Matthew Friday

 A White Feather
 A white feather fell slowly
 as light as a tear.
 It brushed up against the window
 and for a second was held there
 by an invisible thermal, a tiny
 hand that rocked it back and forth,
 speaking of miracles:
 invisible air resisting,
 the illusion of gravity that shocks
 every child, then questions 
 about the bird it fell from, 
 carbon atoms boiled up and spewed 
 out in an ancient supernova
 long before there were birds
 or human observers, the trick
 of flight we have all envied,
 asking what happens 
 to all the feathers in the world?
 Then it continued to fall
 softly, so very softly,
 like we all fall - at different rates
 but we all fall.
 I Feel, Jazz
 Second lockdown looming.
 A cocktail of anxiety and wine
 swirling in my soul. No one knows.
 The future is just scat.
 I turn to jazz again. 
 you’re there for me
 mimicking the universe
 with the chaos that can
 coalesce into occasional
 meaning and melody
        Then leap 
        apart again.
 When I listen to you,
 I am altered, reassured, at peace.
 I dance around the empty apartment,
 spilling myself in arms and heart,
 accepting what chaos creates.
 The Candle
 Start with the flame,
 that beautiful spark
 of entropy proving itself,
 compounds combusting,
 changing solid wax to molten
 rivers that mourn, cool and harden, 
 heaping new 
            forms on old, 
 re-creating but 
 all the while less and less,
 structured energy to heat loss.
 As your candle burns up, 
 taking years, if you are lucky
 enough to deny the 2nd Law, 
 the lengthening yellow hand waves shadows
 on a white wall, while shadows that grow confident
 as the night darkens, softly dim.
 All that fading, dissembling
 can be cheated 
 a while, 
 the brief

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).



Nostalgia Poetry

Four Poems

By Matthew James Friday

Her Prize

Our Nan Connie had inexplicable luck,

she could win a prize in any raffle. A randomly

plucked ticket always struck silver or bronze.


My mother had no such luck. We laughed

at her leaden tokens, while Nan piled up

perfumes, food baskets, ribboned condiments.


One fabled day at the seaside arcades Mum’s luck

finally cashed-in. A year’s bottled tuppences fed

into the game that tongued them over lips,


some back, most gulped down. It was the taste

of luck we slobbered over. 20p for three goes

on the hand-grabber game, the slippery claw


that always let slip. Mum’s last attempt: clunk!

The claw suddenly snaps off its arm and crashes

to the base, flailing fingers in the collection tray.


Giggling, Mum handed the limp claw to a teenage

manager, his eyes widening with wonderment.

Mum claimed her prize: a lasting family myth.

Winning Hands

Sometimes the most fun we had at Christmas

was when every tipsy adult could be coerced

into a seat at the table for card games. Nan

and Mum presented their collections of two

pences, gestated by months of quiet collecting.

Nan shuffled the cards, revealing hidden talents.

Grandad prepared his pint and promised not

to cheat, which he did, outrageously. So funny

to my brother and me, but less as we grew up

and he played less despite our begging. Back

to the card games. Pontoon was the favourite

and could last hours, bronze coins shuffling back

and forth, cards hiding under the table, a break

for cake. For a few priceless years, we prayed

for 21, always laughing – that was the best hand. 

Years on we continued to play but the table

featured fewer players as life’s random gambles

took its toll: ageing adults and evening fatigue,

sudden cruel illnesses, empty chairs. No chance

now we can ever be reunited for another game

though my childhood was dealt a winning hand.

Blue Curacao

For Glynn

‘Go on boy! Go on!’ cries the butcher

waiting nervously at the winning post,

punching the air as his greyhound,

Blue Curacao, streaks along the arterial

track. ‘Go on! For me, boy, for me.’


All week he’s up to his elbows in joints,

loins, portions, quick cuts, friendly manner;

as tender to customers as he is to meat.

The betting slip in his bony hands drips

with sweat. ‘Come on! For your old man!’


Suddenly the crowd cries. ‘Come on boy!’

The butcher’s heart thumps hard.

Here come the hounds. ‘Come on boy!’

Voice hoarse, lungs straining for air.

Here they are. Blue Curacao’s in the lead!


Like a flash of steel, the sliver of meat

and hard muscle pumps past Glyn.

‘Come on boy! For your old man! For me!’

Blue Curacao slices through the finish line.

The butcher chops the air triumphantly.


School assembly we flocked

to the fanfare of a rare treat:

Birdman. Superhero simplicity.


Perched on stage in armoured

overalls, behind a line of cages,

beaks poking out. No memory


of the actual man – a beard,

perhaps. It was all about birds

of prey: the hawk on his arm


with its hungry globes, slowly

creaking beak, tensing claws.

Volunteers called up. No way.


Most impressive were the owls.

We learned of how stories misled

us to believe in too-wit-too-woo.


We oohed at the snowy owl

as she arced her white head

all the way around childhood.


When her white wings opened

and she flew across the hall,

everyone ducked like mice, cries


of glaciated fear. Mrs Hanlon,

shaking her sensible headmistress

head, but the damage was done.


I would always love owls now.

Birdman packed up the birds,

squawking protests from us all as.


We flapped out to the playground,

waved Birdman away and became

the hawks and owls of stories. 


Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).





The Birds in These Strange Times and more…

By Matthew James Friday

The Birds in These Strange Times
A pair of kites have come for the lake
now the airport is closed, buoyed by empty 
skies, rustling wooded hills, lacey waters.

My wife shows me trees on the lake’s
whispering edge where cormorants gather,
roosting in the trees like paused pterodactyls. 

An adult swallow giddy with its suddenes,
rolling in the early April air, the very first
migrant recoiled by a changed climate.

Back to Blue
Imprisoned in caution,
the cases rising, fear abundant,
school closed, classes cancelled.
All online now. I watch
a documentary about Miles Davis.

I have always struggled with Jazz,
berated the lack of melody,
felt lost amongst the jostling notes.
But following his story, the craft
from the chaos, the passion in tone

I choose to try again. Back to Blue
starts, and notes sound as alarming
as the online coverage but the jingling 
chords, the blasts of trumpet suddenly 
sounds peace while the world tears. 


From the balcony I watch a cat
watching a squirrel leaping
from one tree to another, change
its mind, return and scuttle
up and down branches, a slither
of fast fur perfectly balanced,
death either side of sure claws.
The squatting cat tilts its head
as the squirrel becomes branch,
then pads off to draw its own line.

In Rooms, Therefore We Are

The rooms we build define us, shape us, create and consume us.

To function as a modern human is to be in a room: offices, classrooms, waiting rooms, shops, bedrooms, gardens, cafés, libraries, trains, airplanes, theatres, cinemas and stadiums.

Alone or confessing, on holiday, marrying, working or transgressing. Watching or waiting, dancing, defecating or contemplating.

Our own heads are a skeletal room we stare out of; thoughts, ideas and words bouncing around the bony walls. Billions pray to be safely ushered into the everlasting room beyond these rooms, to be reunited with those who were once in our rooms.

The number of rooms make all the difference between a slum resident and a billionaire, freedom and imprisonment; rooms that can be built from waste material or secreted into yachts; rooms that only the most valiant warriors can ascend to while others descend to the deepest unreachable rooms.

To feel free, we leap over the walls to the open, roomless countryside, though we return to rooms at night or make them using tents. We stare deeply and longingly into the blinking night sky, wondering if there are rooms on other planets like our planet, which is one giant, spinning room, moving through an ever-expanding room.

Even the atom itself is a kind of theoretical room, built mainly of nothing, of potentially something through which hums the moments of energy that we use to build up all the matter around us.

         Perhaps we love rooms because that is where we began, in our mother’s warm interior room; safe from everything outside and other. Perhaps it is the safety of this dark, nourishing room that is the shadow between every room thereafter.

As children we build pretend rooms, hide in them from the monsters that sneak into our rooms, that lurk in their own dark spaces in the corners.

As adults we spend days rushing in and out rooms. Now, confined to our rooms in fear of that which knows no walls, we are more thankful than ever for the walls. We stare at each other from balconies and buildings, all afraid in our rooms and wondering when the doors will open again.

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).