Three Poems by Gary Beck

Shattered Stillness

Shoppers crowd city streets

burdened with packages

jostling each other

on Fifth Avenue,

where they push and shove

to get a closer look

at the Christmas tree

in Rockefeller Center,

ornate symbol

of what we lack,

peace on earth,

good will to men.

 

©Gary Beck

 

 

Lunacy Quatrain

Children went to school one day

for the usual work and play

but a madman shattered their class,

with rampage, the American way.

©Gary Beck

 

 

 

Ritual Proceedings

Millions of voters

are given the choice

of who to vote for

on election day,

which makes Americans proud

of their democracy,

even though candidates

are selected and purchased

by special interests,

more concerned with profits

than the needs of the people.

©Gary Beck

5 Poems by Heath Brougher

The Fury of Night

 

The fist of the night smashes

the dusk into faded flamed-out pieces

that fall below the horizon.

The darkness is here with

a vengeance. The darkness

is prowling the newborn night

growing darker by the second.

 

The sky is black

as a hole.

 

The trembling moon hides itself

behind the clouds, not wanting

to feel the wrath of that furious fist.

These are the hours when the cold night wind

rips the leaves from the trees.

Bats asymmetrically fly as the raccoons

scamper and rummage through the garbage.

 

A revelry among the simultaneous cantankerousness

and sleepiness. Deeper and deeper into night it goes until…

the omnipresent shadow reaches its deepest

depth of darkness and dies off

so surprisingly sudden and powerless as the blades

of a newborn dawn begin to spread across the sky.

For the broken light has repaired itself

and has come back to show the night

that violence springs only from inferiority.

 


 

A Poem for Those Shipped in Boxes

 

I call this poem the unspeakable poem.

I think a big black X should be written over it.

I think it should be scalded, erased, burned at the stake

or maybe frozen in the quivering moments before it’s lit into flames.

I think it should be drowned, its breath taken away.

I think it should be erased so the page remains white and lifeless.

I think people should turn their heads, not read a word,

for an uncouth sentiment may run through the ideas herein contained.

I think it should be censored, prodded by evenists, automatons,

razed of all its meaning or theme to fit the standards of convention;

stripped of any straightforward truth and coated in cuddly falsehoods.

I think its content should be altered so as to not offend.

I think it should be a disgrace to poetry and to life itself.


 

Almost Curtains

 

I will take

whatever relief there is

from these

searing nerves caused by this overdose of reality;

endless miles and unending fields

of worry crawl out before me endlessly

endless; the heart raises, races;

 

there is no tunnel—

I see only darkness ahead;

 

this is just poetic lamenting;

this is just rotten verse;

these are just brain-cysted croonings—

I cannot fill a page anymore;

I cannot even move.


The Mechanics of Madness

 

Looking out the trapezium-shaped window

I notice the postman going from house to house,

so heavily steeped in the abstraction

of Humanity’s tar pit of false realities.

The predetermined societal trappings

have consumed him.

He knows nothing of actual Truth.

He is just another lost cause

among the masses massive disregard

of the omnipresent Universal Truth


Dwarfed

 

Once you reach the top of the world

that’s when you realize

 

just how big

this Universe really is

 

and how insignificant

you Truly are!

 

 

Two Poems by Margery Parsons

 

Ghazal, November, 2016

Fat flakes of obfuscating snow fall on the land,

disturbing everything, so hard to see or stand.

When I look out my window, trees, cars, doorways,

faces I knew yesterday, I don’t today, don’t understand.

 

Everything seems so shaky. When I water my plants

they are quaking, fragile stems can barely stand.

 

Boats in the harbor wait for things to blow over,

but how much furor could they withstand?

 

How can you know the best way forward when the wind

changes direction many times a day. To move or stand?

 

The rumble in the basement is insistent,

walls crumbling, the foundations of this building may not stand.

 

Near the lake I see geese gathering to go, in formation,

like a valiant team rising from the court, making a stand.

 

©Margery Parsons

 

Marching with Aylan

I carried a picture of you in a march today

to drive out the Trumpocracy.

I carried your small, drowned body

in my hands,

death-jacket, shorts and velcroed shoes

among the detritus on the beach,

your face and soft hair in the sand,

the waves gently washing over you

like a baby-blanket made of sea.

I can’t tell you what that picture did to me.

You could have been my child, my grandchild, anyone’s child.

I wanted to hold you,

comfort your father

tripled over with grief.

I want the insanity that killed you

to cease, and those responsible

driven from power.

So I marched today carrying your picture,

with your name, Aylan,

beautiful little boy.

And like the water

that washed you up on shore,

face-down, not breathing,

I hope it will carry you

to every corner of the world

where there are human hearts

still beating.

©Margery Parsons

 

Three Poems by K.S.Subramanian

Time makes a call                                    

Spring’s verdure slowly ebbed

before summer’s breath snuffed

It out;  Time’s footfall tip-toed

a message – “Life’s curves are

hazier than the lines in your palm;

Strain not the brow on what’s in store,

brace up to weather the storm;

Storms leave fading scars on plains;

The Banyan is ruddy on its shore,

knows not where it will spread.

Its bleached branches beyond the seed;

Hearts stagger on jagged strains,

a hopeless hunt for a green moor.

Then encased in thorny silence.”

 

© K.S.Subramanian

 

 

 

Superannuation

 

When the destined place of arrival closes in

a leaf of memory throbs with the long

memento of landmarks reached and missed.

Let missed calls die out in the log.

 

Regrets ever remain in unused folders,

pop up to be trashed into the bog;

Monsoon flies buzzing around the bulb.

 

Up on the winding path skirt the shrubs,

breathe the fragrance of fresh blossoms;

Things lost or denied count less than

trees flitting across the train’s window.

 

Spinning on its thumb the earth has seen

the revolving ends of despair and hope.

On the orb of this rolling circus?

 

© K.S.Subramanian

 

 

 

 The day is done

A vulture winging high in the sky

bristles at the faintest smell of rot,

swoops down in swift, hungry arc.

It lives by instinct, its catch of the day.

Then soars, unstrung by care or compunction.

 

Decibel levels rip open the roof

betraying more rant than reason

boxed into TV screens on fault lines

that had torn apart seven decades.

A sweeping grab of sound bites for the day,

then retire for the night with pockets lined.

They live by instinct, unstrung by none.   

 

A sudden diet of MSP for kharif

leaves voices irascible, the farmer stuck

where he started his journey.

Good or bad is a whistle blown in the wind.  

He too has been manacled in a blind alley.

A minor girl lies torn, eyes frozen in shock,

at the twilight blurred in perversity!

 

The vulture circles so high up in the sky,

trusts only its instincts to smell the rot.

 

© K.S.Subramanian

Three Poems by Joan McNerney

Retired

Gloria sat beside the kitchen window

watching snow fall over sycamores

What could she hope for,  

some good news brought by mail?  

An unexpected call?  

 

Her phone rang with reminders

of medical appointments.   

No mail ever came but bills

from doctors, clinics, hospitals,

ads, charity appeals.  

 

She had grown accustomed to suffering,

inured to the idea that her life was

without much happiness or success.

Accustomed to pain running along

her back, through her knees, her feet,

shortness of breath, cancers.

 

Now in retirement, what was really left?

Just bottles of pills to take every day.

Death used to be something Gloria could

brush off. It happened to someone else.  

Now it seemed so close, as if it might

come any day from some cold hand.

©Joan McNerney

Her

 

Did you see that woman falling

from the escalator at Grand Central

Terminal?  Lying in dark circles of

blood?  Begging the police not to

tell anyone?  She would be alright

when she got up.

 

What about her?

 

Did you see that woman screaming

in front of the newsstand? Hear

those screams of hatred spewing

from her face?  Notice her eyes….

burning slits of light?  Maybe

she can’t be tranquilized anymore?

 

What about her?

 

Did you see that woman walking

across the street?  Wearing those

special shoes?  All the toes

on her right foot cut off?  Isn’t

it awful?  Watch her getting on

the bus, all that pain on her face.

How much longer can she keep going?

 

What about her?

 

Did you see that woman?  Ashen

and still as a corpse.  Lying

by the side of the Palisades

Highway?  Her hair so grey,

her legs so straight. Lying

in the short grass.  She was

always running off schedule

Always trying to be on time.

 

What about her?

©Joan McNerney

 

Eve Speaks

 

Although just one snake is well known

in that so-called paradise,  actually

there were tons of them.

 

When we ran away, I was never so

happy.  My feet no longer touching

swarms of mushy poison.

Fruit smelled to high heaven in Eden but

berries tasted yum yum good as we filled

our faces hurrying happily to the east.

 

Adam replies

 

She’s so beautiful.  I would have

followed her to the ends of earth.

I am her captive then and now.

©Joan McNerney

Two Poems by Kabir Deb

IRIDESCENCE

I have known tragedies, I have seen sins
I forget them for the amnesia inside your packed fins
We have been twined from an age long decade
Kissing every new orbiting barricade

I love the way we share our galactic smile
Spraying our perfume on the old postmortem file
It’s not someone else’s! The file is ours
Where lies a living death over a fiery world of flowers

Death unknown to many, and even to us
Let it stay! Let our sweat and kisses be diverse
Silhouette of yours on the bed as you sew back your skin
Jared body after a night still weans for the queen

My dark circles pierce your Picasso eyes
Charcoals all around paint out a life which never dies
We list out the kisses we are meant to do in a tempest
And the books I have to read on your breast

We gather our belongings and scatter them again
Kissing every beautiful curve of a reshaping rain
Desperate, creepy, erotic, we are filled with all
Let us be with everything, even if we fall

Broken bodies over each other won’t be alone
Many would try to crack what lies beside my bone
Some would guess it as Coptic, some as Hebrew
Die safely as they won’t be able to catch the cue

We haven’t resisted the bed to approach
Neither a new manuscript to form a new “Soch”
Petals have felt the kiss, flower has felt the embrace
Now let’s rest! Let’s dance over our curated palace.

© Kabir Deb

THE ART OF LOVE

I want to see my scared thoughts burning
With carbonated fear shattering and mourning
Once closed mind rising from the imposed coffin
Dancing a pen over white flesh tasting caffeine

Resources feeding the deafening Mantra
To deepen the sword of the mythical Ayodhaya
Bodies swinging to slay the pious serendipity
Fertilising the demons to nibble on fertility

Fear of a so – called Lord hunting over love
Policing over a couple freeing the white dove
Queerabad isolating all the hate feeding fungus
With Frida painting the cupid art of cunnilingus

Once phobic world still stands on the same chapter
With each goon following the same ringmaster
Cross of Bible, Swastika of the Vedas, Moon of the Quran,
Break the code to get back phobia in return

What lies beyond the regularly visited massacre?
Pride of love and a wild hearted protest for hunger
Tea of a Jesus lover slurped by a Kali devotee
Finally to explore the love in homosexuality

Wine of Jesus touches that of feminine Kali
As Muhammad paints their unseen kiss freely
Mother Mary gifts them the most peaceful kiss
Paint cunnilingus, be the red farmer, restore the tulips

That’s all I want to do with my thirsty soul
For I have seen what fear does to empty the scroll
Let’s resist the sedimentary Cross Mooned Swastika
Sailing from the burning Sahara to freezing Alaska.

© Kabir Deb

Two poems by Megha Sood

Broken ( Poem based on Domestic Violence)

 

You are broken and torn apart

at multiple places

not an inch has been left on your soul

which has not been

branded by his violent displays

 

You weep and yelp

at the slightest of his touch

bleeding like a soulless animal

you are dragged everywhere

 

Your heart wrenching

and blood-curdling screams

are falling on the

deaf ears

He is driven by his fear and anger

to brandish your body and soul

to trademark every tear

 

You wake up next day

salvaging your last dregs of sanity

gather yourself again

to  relive again the hellish reality

 

You cover and hide your bruises

under your makeup

when the scars are tattooed on your soul

they don’t need  a shakeup

 

You try to justify his every act

to balance with lost love

once you had

how he must be having a hard day

before he devoured you

with all the anger he had

 

You are masking your emotions

with that fake smile

and empty heart

living fearfully

not knowing

when it will start again.

 

Every pore in your body

begets the revenge

till you are knocked down

again

by his strong hand

 

You wish his existence to be

a glitch in nature

a ripple in time

which can take him back again

So you don’t have to face the mirror

to see his broken love

written on your face

all over again.

 

© Megha Sood

 

Immigrant

 

I’m an immigrant

a person whose

roots are dangling between

continents and spanning cultures

trying to get the footing

to maintain the balance

dangling between the void and the fullness

My mouth speaks two language

where my heart bears one

I’m training my tongue to

get used to the new taste of everything

while remembering my mother’s recipe

to celebrate my festivals

clutching to the old traditions

living in the constant

fear of being called a misfit

learning new slangs and clichés

I’m still trying to find a balance in my life

when

my roots are spanning the continents

and my heart is buried in one.

I’m an immigrant

I’ll be always be called one.

 

© Megha Sood

Two Poems by Sunil Sharma

Annihilation

Death, ironically, is a presence of

an absence; a healed wound, yet green

void filled up, yet aching

soft pain returning

on solitary evenings, middle of

crowds, in alien cities.

 

A room lived-in

now vacant, despite furniture

arranged similarly

but

the place- spirit sorely lacking.

 

A vibrant space

once alive, throbbing,

now that self-same space

bereft of a being

and systematically

being stripped clean of earlier signs

by the superstitious living.

©Sunil Sharma

The metro dusk, lonely


It looks vacant

like the eyes of

a young war widow

or

the orphans

of an ethnic cleansing;

 

its colour and melancholia

affecting

the tired observer

waiting, yet not waiting!

©Sunil Sharma

Two Poems by Scott Thomas Outlar

Feigning Ignorance

Everyone likes to talk

about learning important lessons

from life’s hardships

 

but what we usually

keep a secret

are all the memories

that must stay hidden

 

because their weight

remains too much to bear

 

We try to live in ignorance

as a way to save our innocence

from the pain that never fades

 

©Scott Thomas Outlar

 

 

 

Cemetery Shakedown Hustle

We all take

our kicks to the ribs

like fists to the teeth

 

it’s nothing to get

too broken up about

 

unless you need to chatter

with the skeletons

 

that shatter

when their graves shake

 

loosen up smug lips

so the lies taste a bit sweeter

 

a little bit of poison

laced in lemon candy

helps the medicine burn deeper

 

all this writing on the walls

looks like scribbles marked by demons

 

haunt your eyes and bless your soul

it’s the promise of a tortured season

 

We all treat

our empty pocket blues

like aces up the sleeve

 

© Scott Thomas Outlar

 

 

 

Seven Short Poems by Margarita Serafimova

I

My eyes goldened.

You are mirrored in the surface

of my internal organs.

 

©Margarita Serafimova
II

It was night, and in a circle of light, I was nothing

except desire for you –

desire between my legs, desire between my arms, desire between my eyes.

Nothing else was there in the night.

It hurt as sunrise, it was as clear as dark.

It was our absolute, transient fate.

 

©Margarita Serafimova

 

III

My shoulder is muscular, bones like ones of a hero

bathing at Thermopylae.

The water is smoking,

ruin is fading away before my femininity.

 

©Margarita Serafimova

 

IV

Night fell in the port.

The ships were breathing not far from one another.

It was the great place of their coming together,

the great place of their going apart.

 

©Margarita Serafimova

 

V

I see you in the lucent hills,

in the motley goats on the road.

You are love, you I see.

 

©Margarita Serafimova

 

VI

In the beginning of the day, the Lord chose a colour for the sea,

and flew.

A seagull.

 

©Margarita Serafimova

 

VII

The high seas were sending golden waves,

and they were overturning their destiny

before my very eyes.

 

©Margarita Serafimova