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


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




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


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


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


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


the orphans

of an ethnic cleansing;


its colour and melancholia


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


My eyes goldened.

You are mirrored in the surface

of my internal organs.


©Margarita Serafimova

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



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



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



I see you in the lucent hills,

in the motley goats on the road.

You are love, you I see.


©Margarita Serafimova



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

and flew.

A seagull.


©Margarita Serafimova



The high seas were sending golden waves,

and they were overturning their destiny

before my very eyes.


©Margarita Serafimova


Two Poems by Allison Grayhurst

Whenever I touch him


Heavy shackle

around my shell.

He says no, no,

to the great descent


to hands locked in the wind,

on pillow or sheets.


October sun beating on my covered spine

So many walls erected in the name of home


He talks of black birds glowing

or running into webs as wide

as a tree’s open arms.
©Allison Grayhurst





Even Though


Even attempting to climb the perilous cliff,

I am not afraid of falling.

The sensual rhythms of this lonely morning

devour me, reconciled

to my private chamber, suspended.


Far under the cliff, the gulls

are united with the ocean, as that

deep blue speckled-white

beckons me to its bed.


Wolves and warriors are rooted to the hunt.

I am rooted to this risk, edge-clinging,

fated to ultimately rest

in the body of a miracle.


There are miles below and miles above,

awakening sounds of insects burrowing,

of swallows nest-emerging –

a holy vapour all around that fills

the void with necessity.


©Allison Grayhurst

Five Poems by Shirley Jones-Luke

There’s No Luxury in Poverty


My family was poor   government cheese free box of food for Thanksgiving   sleeping on a cot until I was in my twenties couldn’t afford a bed    roaches & rats as roommates emergency room visits drained limited funds   doctor or medicine or rent or food going out was a treat movies or dinner   could only have one no pets barely could feed ourselves new clothes only on birthdays or back to school       don’t ask for too much mama didn’t have it like that don’t beg don’t envy what others had even if they rubbed it your face  mama was a proud woman a product of a different era she knew how to make do with what she had we learned from her how to make a dollar out of fifteen centers   even when we went to beg hungry tomorrow held the promise of something better we just had to hold on
© Shirley Jones-Luke

White Knives, Blue Tears & Red Whips


The whips fed on the blood of my forefather’s backs. Soaked it up like needed sustenance, leaving the drops for the soil


We cried into the sea, bodies floating there like black buoys bobbing atop the waves, the ships they leapt from sailing on


The moon revealed escape attempts. Brown bodies shining like dark stars in the light. Hounds at their heels.


Our people fought in wars & were used as shields for white bodies, sacrificing themselves in the hopes of helping their families back home


We have a history of sacrifice & of forgiving. It may gain us a special place in Heaven but for now, we suffer a Hell on Earth
© Shirley Jones-Luke

Urban Boys & The Blues


No, they are not all-American boys,

but black & brown shadows, shaping

their futures, wishing for magic


No, they are not powerless, not broken

by an unjust society, making them targets

because they are black diamonds


They are the descendants of Africa,

the un-American negro, nigger, nigga,

related to former slaves of lost origins


Yes, they walk across the brown soil,

of a never – forgotten people,

angry about what has been denied them


Yes, they are neon signs, bodies

like electric artists, illuminating

their canvases for all to see


These boys, these boys of the diaspora

know they carry more than struggle

in their DNA, they carry freedom
© Shirley Jones-Luke

They Won’t Harm You as Long As You Comply


Black man sits on the sidewalk

arms akimbo, head down

eyes stare straight ahead,

the dog attacks without hesitation

biting into the man’s right arm


Officers run up as the man tries

to fight off the dog, free arm flailing

officer grab the brotha by his throat,

starts a semi-choke hold, bending

his head back


They tell us not to resist, resisting

leads to more bodily harm – even death,

but our wind pipes are squeezed, our

backs kicked in, our legs bitten, our heads

slammed with the butts of guns


They tell us we won’t be harmed if

we comply, history has shown us

that our black bodies are forever in jeopardy,

their words are lies, resistance is all

we have left to save us
© Shirley Jones-Luke

Who Holds Up Black Women?


Black Women hold up the world.

Who holds up Black Women?


We are nurturers, holding babies

at our breasts. Who nurtures us?


We pass down the stories of us,

our forebearers, cherishing their knowledge.


Who will tell our stories?

Who will cherish us?


We are the color of the soil,

deep brown earth. Black midnight.


We are tar and coal, sienna & sepia

branches, growing from mahjong trees.


Who will water our roots? Who will help

us grow? We will wither & die?


We carry our culture on our backs. Our history

Is in our faces. Our voices are our songs.


We sisters of the soil, our blood are the rivers & oceans,

flowing through every country, every continent


We leave a mark on everything we touch

Our bodies are marked by everything that touches us.

©Shirley Jones-Luke

Two Poems by Sudeep Adhikari

Schrödinger wave equation of cancers and miracles


i thought i never wrote love poems,

or poems on wars, or

poems on how the few people

have destroyed the planet, while i see

the limited enlightened ones


posting memes on internet

about how things used to be , and

how things should have been. because  

bukowski. because plath. because rumi.


i thought i wrote about my dreams

of slashed out wounds, spurting blood

in tandem with technolicious beats

of my never-present hyper-reality,


or about the sewers, undergrounds,  

and the occult madalas, by the side

of a river , larger than the walls of our

self-created penitentiaries.


and then i realized, just like this one

every poem written so far


is always a love poem, a war poem

and a political poem at the same time;

and we all are in this together,


like a schrödinger wave equation; with the

coupled quantum state of cancers,

and occasional bleeps of unexplained miracles.


©Sudeep Adhikari

silent horror movie


a sort of stanford prison

experiment goes inside my head,

non-stop. my ghosts

imprison me,

and the unconscious bullies

of my moral mortuary,

keep electrocuting my decaying bones.


the shortest distance between

you and yourself


goes through all the hells

you have spawn in silence


mirror neurons misfire. i watch

myself, and all i see is the scariest

silent horror movie.

©Sudeep Adhikari


Interview with Gabriel Ricard

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I’ve been writing for most of my life. I know I’ve been trying to at least write down stories, comics, whatever since I was about five. When I was 12, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I don’t think I’ve ever really looked back from that. It’s just this constant in everything I do, think about, and process.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: For poetry, I like people like JP Garcia, Dorothy Parker, Anne Sexton, Ryder Collins, and Damian Rucci. With short fiction and novels, definitely folks like William S. Burroughs, Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, Dashiell Hammett, Larry Brown, Barry Gifford, Haruki Murakami, Carson McCullers.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Well, I also do freelance writing for money. So I usually start the whole damn show around 7:30, 8 AM. I work until 2:30. Then, because I’m secretly 85 years old, I take a nap after lunch. Get up, run around like a lunatic trying to get everything done around the house. I try to write for a couple more hours in that period, hoping to finish for the day around 8 PM, but that’s easier said than done these days.

Q:  Why do you write?

A: Mostly because I still genuinely enjoy it. Partially because I can’t really do anything else.

Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Bear with me, it’s a little long, but this one from Kurt Vonnegut always gets my heart out of the mud: (When Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope) Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Don’t stop. That doesn’t mean don’t take care of yourself, or neglect other things/people. All the same, keeping that in mind, just don’t stop. You’re doing great.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have a big bucket of links to answer that question!

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Chani Zwibel

An Interview with our Associate Editor. =)

The Wombwell Rainbow

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.


Chani Zwibel

Chani Zwibel is the author of Cave Dreams to Star Portals, published by Alien Buddha Press. She is an associate editor with Madness Muse Press. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and their dog. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming.

and a link to my…

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Two poems by Matthew Jose

The Poet

The poet must sing a thousand songs before dying a thousand deaths.

A thousand symphonies soft, the music must play on.

Long after a human will is broken beyond repair.

Long after the voices have all been tucked away.

Long after a ship is lost at sea.

The poet must sink to a thousand ocean bottoms.

When the voice in your head says the hell with it, fight.

When the marrow in your bones says the hell with it, fight.

When the depths of your soul screams the hell with it, fight.

For this is when it finally reveals.
©Matthew Jose

Sun Bleached

If I write a little each day I feel good amidst the turmoil.

If I drink a little each day I feel good amidst the turmoil.

When I don’t do these two things I become like a wheelbarrow gathering rain or a well past his prime soprano singing off key notes through chipped teeth.

You see, tangled souls can’t be straightened, but with time and wisdom gained they can become less marred by the bulge.

If you’ve ever seen a starfish washed ashore, sun bleached and abandoned, then you would know this already.

Time is the master.

Time cleanses us all.

©Matthew Jose