Three Poems by Sheikha A.


Metallic Cyclone


The bed sheets have slow melted

into plasmic pandemonium, eyes

syrupy, arteries trimmed, desires

axed; yester night’s breaths hang

by a rope from a mansion’s high

banister, thunder pecks on wood,

rainfall soporific, leaden carts

crush into marmalade, street signs

gnash tempered panes; here I am,

holding tongue in hand, mind split

like fragmented fire, teeth biting

shadows; scabs and stones –


© Sheikha A.


The heel that breaks away from its sole


I step out of invisibility, the podium

four steps to liberty, a decided norm

whereby quirks abide, mutes rebuke

in their voiceless throats, the wide hall

echoes off of its own silence, the tables

don’t move, the bird at the window cares

less about its birth right as it pecks away

sun-caked grits from whitewashed sills;

the blinds have me covered with sleek

slats of glistening verticality, my story

horizontal between, the east to west end

of a quiet audience, the seminal nods,

Cinderella’s sandal on the foot for luck,

a clock ticking to a mounted mic,

saliva on the tongue like the cracked

earth of a waterless Nile; satin floor

and pumpkin lights; the mouth that opens

like a door to a ball, the kiss of a frog,

lyrical suspension, the heal that breaks

away from its soul.


© Sheikha A.





It has rained on brown leaves;

inside the length of their spines


glistening like polished marbles

was an intimacy too real


to show its face, because the water

fell too sweet and the soil had

prepared no reservoir.


The flight of dry winds must end,

their wings must stop being stormless;


spells of paper boats set loose

in ponds must wash away;


their ink seeming wise; within many

lengths of many things


the intimacy is too real to be told.


© Sheikha A.

Two Poems by James Otter




Under appreciated

A piece of your soul

Deeply personal gifts

home made from time

effort and whatever money was left over

after the food stamps disappeared


A painting on the floor

hand written books

alone on a shelf

a present that feels like a mighty gesture

left alone

one thank you

not even a glance

at the intricate details


Two sentences

one card

three minute walk to the gas station


you care

thats wonderful


In order to be an artist

you must face rejection


In order to be a writer

you must face over anylizing critics

people who can’t read or choose not to


In order to be a professional musician

you must first play your heart out to an empty room


In order to make movies

you must spend years of your life

dealing with big talkers and name droppers

flakes and phonies

and years without progress


In order to succeed at creativity

you must face rejection

you must face disappointment

and you must face yourself and all your fowl judgments


In order to be an actor

you must be willing to play a tree

or a servant

or a nothing


Talent comes raw

and over time it becomes polished

In order to be a free thinker

you must be comfortable being alone

because people will reject you and your views
In order to maintain your identity

you must be willing to laugh at yourself

to tell yourself you’re a bad ass


Going out and performing

is not an easy task
it takes courage

and fear

motivators both


Creative freedom

means you get to make the rules

you get to play along


You are going to get put in a corner

you’re going to go on time out

your story might not be as tragic as the other cool kids

its still valid
You are not required by law to fit in

you don’t have to go against the grain
Life is filled with choices

forks and roads

you can turn around

walk the other way

try it years later

go back


Don’t let people try to cage you

they are gonna reject you sometimes

they might kiss ass and compliment

they might also betray you

and it gets real uncomfortable sometimes


You’re gonna feel like a nobody

and not all of that rage is going to be put on paper

some of it will go towards yourself

or others

You get to fuck up

cause your going to

we all are
Mistakes will be made

and its alright to break string

mispel a word

and even forget a line

roll with it

play off the failure

add to the scene

keep the show going


You are free to contradict yourself

it’ll happen eventually anyway

its like stepping in shit

it might not happen everyday

but it does happen


You are not bound to one way

its not a pepsi or coke world

those are brands

right now you can make anything

all it takes is a little bit of time

and the right material


You get to mess up

you can find a way to improvise

its a matter of seeing the room

the box is contained with in


You are free to change your mind

the rules

can be broken

they can be expanded upon

They can morph

just like you


Nobody is only one thing

we play many parts in our life

it just takes some searching

© James Otter



America is a Shithole


This is a shit hole country

I’m not going to list the reasons why

because thats too easy

I will say it

from a less popular perspective


Trump’s words

get more notation than his actions

He said Haiti is a shit hole

everybody should know thats fucked up to say

its racist

its classist

and its obviously offensive


calling Haiti a shit hole

is a trump strategy

he plays the fool

peoples attention is averted from

everything else
Trump can do this with his smartphone

he doesn’t even need to speak

to get everyone talking about him

and not what he is doing

Trump is a frightening man

he instigates violence through social media

its brilliant in the worst ways


———————Poem Start


His personality is a cult in itself

This is an era of distraction

and as such there will be attacks

coming from all fronts


If you are triggered

take as much time as you need

and breath

don’t let anybody tell you otherwise


The internet

has been reduced to two primary functions


and society


yep we have gone digital

because those two things have merged

Doomsayers have the microphone

and they are not afraid

to yell into it

even if the damn things not plugged in


The high privilaged simulate oppression

calculating feeling and reactions

all in the name of domination


Controversial currency abounds

to kill a meme you ignore it

those bad boys never go away

they sleep until the anual rewind

of big media visiting the little world

for a show of true colors


Nothing is free

nobody is self made

everything costs money

especially peoples time


Do you want to know how to become

a self made messiah


Pick up what the real lord leaves in the trash

and wear it

like a cape

follow along with whats popular

stay in tune with the current rage

pick the side with less push

push them into your trash


This is the modern era

civil rights activist weary

after decades

deaf against the blind


Trump in all his disgusting costumes

he wants more than just money

he wants our love

and our fear


He has it all

we have no choice

we leave raw meat for the sharks


I’m concerned for the safety of every person

or country

Trump deam shitty or irredeemable

The world as we know it is in perill

we can focus all in on every dirty word

that spills out of the cloyster of total power

take this as warning though

that is not enough anymore


Outrage isn’t enough

and when we make light

of serious matters

they go unsolved

our actions are wasted

© James Otter

5 Poems by Darrell Herbert

As I pray into the unknown
Depression is a disease
Not a choice
We love, we hate
We die far too late
Anxious, no anxiety
Smoking loud as my moves move silently
Insecurities hang with the birds in the trees
But, this is a reflection of me, me
But, this is a reflection of grief
Going through things no one sees, sees
Lord forgive
If something happened to me
God forbid
I’ll die alone with everything you said
Cigarette burns, cigarette chock
All of a sudden your water broke
You ask why, why do I continue to pretend?
That’s because it always seems to end

I Am Asking You A Question
The United States of America taxpayers send Israel around eleven million dollars a day, yes I said a day
We don’t want more wars, we want schools and hospitals
If the rich want war go pay for it, and even more importantly, go fight it
Don’t send young people to new wars just for profit, life is priceless…you fucking idiots
Let’s raise the issue of how inmates are able to become college educated while they are in prison
I was appalled that Leslie Vanhouten, one of the members of Charles Manson’s gang, had earned a Master’s degree in prison with taxpayers money
This is a woman who stabbed a person fourteen times and stuck a barbecue fork in a man’s stomach because it was “fun.” There are educators, veterans, and people who work for the state who are struggling to pay back loans or postponing further education because of the high cost
There should be some sort of incentives or programs for teachers and state employees, especially if cold blooded killers can earn Ivy League educations in jail
We have free education now in the way of compulsory education up to the secondary level
Our society cares little about our schools and the educational culture as a whole, I have mixed feelings
I didn’t realize he was part of the 0.01%
For God knows how long we are outsourcing jobs by the thousands because our education system is fucking trash compared to the rest of the world
It’s funny how we can’t provide free education in the United States of America
Land of the free, right?
And the home of the brave, right?
We took religion out of schools, but every jail cell in America comes with a bible
Be mindful of where the real lesson is taught
Right now we are paying taxes for building more prisons and fighting in wars and there is no problem
We have all of these prisons, good, you did good research, good
What, what, what, what, how do you know that?
I completely disagree, you’re pointing to Greece because it fits your argument
We have Finland, we have Brazil, we have numerous countries that offer free college education
Germany has free college education and free health care
The United States can not provide free education to its citizens, is that what you are telling me now?
I, I, I am asking you a question
Help me understand, help me understand
I don’t want to talk about Germany, we’re talking about the United States, who are about to spend a trillion dollars on nuclear weapons
You’re refusing to answer my question, you’re refusing to answer my question
That is the reality, is that what you are telling me?
Do you not agree Neil?
There is money, there is money
When you say raising taxes you want your viewers who are crunched financially to feel like taxes are going to be raised on them
When I say raising takes I’m talking about the Walton’s, I’m talking about the Cox’s
I’m talking about the 0.1%, the roster

Are You Insane Like Me?
By the way
Only ten percent of heroin users become addicts
The people who become that way almost always have preexisting issues
It’s not cool to glamorize opiates

The Perfectionist
The perfectionist is imperfect
She looked in the mirror yesterday,
Hatred! Mirror breakage.
Silent being—
A screamer in silence
Outside her bedroom.
During the morning phase
Her insecurities are awakened –
She dies inside.

You Are At An Disadvantage  
It’s sad how we don’t push harder for positive change in this country
We probably love pain like if it was candy, a sweet he’ll that troubles us all
So many people in our community are dealing with so much trouble like not being able to go to school to progress
Not being able to have a better standard of life due to political greed, and many of us ignore the signs very melancholically
We ignore a homeless person on a train
We are the people who have the biggest count in this country, yet we are nothing but walking corpses, or like the object in grammar, those who receive the actions by the subject
Elites of this country, we are the reason why they are even at the social statuses that they are, yet we do not realize the power we have in our hands to break away from such a corrupted system
In today’s society, social networks have been the case for us not testing all our limits for relevant issues, yet we do not limit ourselves for cyberbullying
Will we realize that past revolution gradually as we move into a modern world like ours today, were actually effective?
I am extremely disappointed to say that we are disjointed and unmotivated for things that really matter; we are just putting enough effort here and consequences always rise from decisions like this ones
Is America going to help us ever?
We need to make sure that he doesn’t get into the White house, that’s the other solution
Picking cotton in the fucking corn fields

Poem by Virginia R Macy

Be Careful
by Virginia R Macy

NM posted
Can you write a poem on me?
To which I replied:

I could write poetry on you
But it would be as fleeting as your next bath
My arthritis rendering my handwriting
Illegible to myself let alone to you

I would write passion on you
But the flames in me leave me drawn on
Over and onto your body pressing violently deeply
Into your skin rendering my intent poisoned

I tried writing hurtful poetry on you
But my lack of grace, empathy, and love
Raped your skin with my misplaced jealous words
Into your skin, my skin drinks your blood and soul

I have raped you, forced my poetry on you
I move to leave as my leaving rips off your skin
Swiftly as your screaming death sates my hunger
Without caring I write my poem on your face

“Be careful what you ask of strangers
You meet in such electric dark spaces
Welcome to Facebook’s poetry pages”

© Virginia R. Macy

Heed Not to What Comes Glittering – Emmanuel Joseph

Heed Not To What Comes Glittering

Heed not to what comes glittering
Keep an eye peeled of yourselves,
if comes its embrace
upon your souls,
in its alms, where lovers meet.
Let go, not wholly of your hearts,
if comes walking its lips
from the heart’s basement to its peak,
unleashing your desires
flaming in you like stars.
Stay awake in your dreams,
if seems glittering into reality
that which methinks are nothing,
when borrowed the stories of mine.
Be not easily drawn
in your youthful ages,
so readily with widely-opened hands,
into its domain,
for its smile ends in a void
where bygone lovers have ebbed
to the tides of time.
Love, is not as defined,
so heed not to what comes glittering.

© Emmanuel Joseph


Emmanuel Joseph was born in the eastern part of Sierra Leone, in the bread basket called Kono District, and schooled at Koidu District Educational Center where he sat to the National Primary School Examination. He is reading Politics Science and History at the Athens of West Africa, Fourah Bay College, University Of Sierra Leone.

Since he became a poet, he has been part of the race of contemporary poets of contemporary issues affecting humanity. His poetry ranges from all corners where the surge of pang seems to live, ranging from love, humanity, abandonment, loneliness, and hopelessness.

Belonging in more than hundred writing forums, his writings capture societal issues left to die in the spine of human memories. He has published many poems and has been translated in many publication sites, literary magazines, blog, and journals at home and abroad

8 Poems by Zeki Gumus – Translated from Turkish




I didn’t steal the spring flowers

which fill in my heart from you

I wanted to protect your love

by the natal love


No word has remained to write

if you want to know my love

take a glass of red wine

look for me at each taste remaining on your lip


Don’t be afraid

If you say “I haven’t experienced the love”

extend your hand into my cellar with hope

I will suffer for your sin



©  Zeki Gumus






Yüreğime dolan bahar
çiçeklerini çalmadım senden
doğuştan gelen sevgiyle
korumak istedim aşkını

Yazılacak sözler kalmadı
aşkımı tanımak istersen
bir kadeh kırmızı şarap al
dudağında kalan her tatta beni ara

Korkma karanlığı sunmam sana
sevgiyi tatmadım diyorsan
mahzenime umutla uzat elini
günahlarını ben alırım


©  Zeki Gümüş




Nobody opened his door

didn’t lay a bed and a quilt

near his hot stove

didn’t give a glass of tea

the fears which we raise by our own hands

the hopes at a side of our hearts

were waiting for friend voices to wrap

the clouds were crying while we were going away

empty streets when we looked back

loneliness filling in our eyes in darkness


©  Zeki Gumus






Kimse kapısını açmadı

sıcak sobasının yanına

yatak yorgan sermedi

bir bardak çay vermedi

ellerimizde büyüttüğümüz korkular

kalbimizin bir köşesinde umutlar

saracağı dost sesleri beklerdi

biz giderken bulutlar ağlardı

dönüp baktığımızda boş sokaklar

karanlıkta gözlerimize dolan yalnızlıklar



©  Zeki Gümüş



A contratrian flower was blossoming there

blossoming on the mountains which I haven’t seen

it was warm as a galanthus


A flower had been blossoming there

I felt neither its odour

Nor its warmness on your skin


©  Zeki Gumus






Orda aykırı bir çiçek açardı
görmediğim dağlarda açan
kardelen kadar sıcaktı

Orada bir çiçek açarmış
ne kokusunu hissettim
ne de tenindeki sıcaklığı


©  Zeki Gümüş



If the life which you had lost doesn’t come back

By the raising of the primitive screams

Don’t cry by turning in upon yourself

With the reflection of the light impinging of your face


While the bygone contrarian feelings

Are transitivizing, don’t stay silent

You can’t any friend to you except yourself

Come on, get up from the mud, don’t cry


©  Zeki Gumus






İlkel çığlıkların yükselmesiyle

Kaybettiğin yaşam geri gelmezse

Yüzene vuran ışık yansımasıyla

İçine kapanıp gizlice ağlama


Geçmişte kalan aykırı duygular

Şekil değiştirirken sessiz durma

Sana senden başka dost olmaz ki

Haydi kalk çamurdan ağlama


©  Zeki Gümüş



I have wanted freedom for years

I have raised longings up to the sky

I have scattered hopes to the stars


Now, I see that those fed feelings

The resistances which I had lived are at the past

The freedom had remained far away


©  Zeki Gumus






Özgürlük istedim yıllarca

Özlemler büyüttüm gökyüzüne

Umutlar saçtım yıldızlara


Görüyorum ki beslenen duygular

Yaşadığım dirençlerden geride

Çok uzaklarda kalmış özgürlük


©  Zeki Gümüş



One night

in a rainy weather

I had been enlaced to the quilt

the sky had been a line for my eye

by a black dream


One moment

who knows on which roof

who knows on which chimney

I had remembered the sparrows

which had hidden between the cold walls


A few hours later

the clouds had stopped crying

with the first warmness of the sun

at that moment, three sparrows

carried the hopes to the blueness, freely


©  Zeki Gumus






Bir gece

yağmurlu havada

sarılmıştım yorgana

gökyüzü çizgi olmuştu

siyah düşle gözüme


Bir an

kim bilir hangi çatıda

kim bilir hangi bacada

soğuk duvara gizlenmiş

serçeler gelmişti aklıma


Saatler sonra

güneşin ilk sıcaklığıyla

ağlamayı kesmişti bulutlar

o anda maviliğe üç serçe

umutları taşıdılar özgürce


 ©  Zeki Gümüş



This time, the hope has blossomed

inside me with the spring

spot by spot


My eyes have carried life

to the roses which were

bursting into bud  in the dreams

every daybreak


Daffodil, carnation

there are how many flowers

which of names I don’t know

shoot up to my longings


I have written the poems last night

have lighted up a cigarette

have hurled the verses to the stars


©   Zeki Gumus







Umut  bu kez içimde

baharla çiçek açtı

benek benek


Gözlerim düşlerde

tomurcuklaşan güllere

her seher can taşıdı

damla damla


Nergis karanfil

adını bilmediğim

nice çiçekler var ki

boy veriyor özlemlerime


Geceden yazdım şiirleri

yaktım bir sigara

savurdum dizeleri yıldızlara


©  Zeki Gümüş



This time, the hope has blossomed

inside me with the spring

spot by spot


My eyes have carried life

to the roses which were

bursting into bud  in the dreams

every daybreak


Daffodil, carnation

there are how many flowers

which of names I don’t know

shoot up to my longings


I have written the poems last night

have lighted up a cigarette

have hurled the verses to the stars


©  Zeki Gumus







Umut  bu kez içimde

baharla çiçek açtı

benek benek


Gözlerim düşlerde

tomurcuklaşan güllere

her seher can taşıdı

damla damla


Nergis karanfil

adını bilmediğim

nice çiçekler var ki

boy veriyor özlemlerime


Geceden yazdım şiirleri

yaktım bir sigara

savurdum dizeleri yıldızlara


©  Zeki Gümüş


Zeki Gumas is a socialist and poet from Turkey. He has been published in publications such as The Wagon Magazine, Typoetic, Poesia, and Belleville Park Pages. 



“Hour of the Wolf” by John Sullivan 

Hour of the Wolf

by John Sullivan


triage in Seattle at Broadway & Pine,

 2nd night of the WTO (1999)


at 3 AM – a dying time for the people   so a lot do die    this hour

like a custom      so it’s said: like hard time in the cry room   for little baby Who’s

like a hot wire    buried in the wound     of all them little Who’s


(and so, the Why-so Big Who crawls into bed

with dying creatures:  sin-eater  raven  empty

eyeless   Big Who says “I’ll see you later,”

Big Who says, “look backward, look ahead, look

away,”  Big Who also says, “your ghost is only

yours, so what’s the rub-a-dub, and why

you all so goddamn guileless?”)


old man, dark-skin     cold-cold rain falls down

on an old man     face-down     in the street

shock grenades     dumpster barricades full of flame

tear gas drift   into neighborhoods     tight around

the little Who’s throat   coughs hard    deep   choking on it


(policia = heroina    sprayed onto a stucco

wall in Barcelona   back-a-days, the Big Who

sprayed me, shot me up with: What?  With What?

“And so we all evolve alone,” or so says the

Big Bad Who)


dark-skin old man    drops like a rock   like a rubber

bullet hits him    whoosh of gas   final-flat-wallop

sharp ooof!   of breath    hits an old man   right above

his right   eye     throbs it   does    (probably)

a deep gash above his right eye, throbs    (probably)

drops him down, prone    (probably)    crawls, he   sure, he tries   (probably)

toward sanctuary    at the bus stop


(The Big Who says “my art infects your life,

so suck it up” – that voice of The Big Who,

all up in my head   your head

our head(s), together    when

the Big Who says move it, you gotta’ go

do it, Big Who says “Move!”  or Big Who’s

gonna’ hurt you bad     hurt you bad

lay a long-time hurt-you-bad on you)




two girls     one dark-skin, too      one less-so, maybe white

maybe not    drag the old man    dark-skin gash   above his right eye

throbs (probably)    flat knocked-out (maybe)    drag the old man onto

a bus stop bench   to sanctuary   (at Broadway & Pine)


one girl pulls off her sweater     props    his head on her sweater    for sanctuary

from the cold-cold rain     the other girl     covers him up   with her coat, covers him

up     in the cold-cold rain    with her coat    for sanctuary    and turn, they do

together    jump back    into Broadway    into  flash gust     deep slash    of grief

this anger night      to fight The Cops    again


(“Now I see you, again,“ says the Big Who

to me, says the Big Who, to you.

“Now, I see,” says the Big Bad Who,

“but I lie a lot, too.  It’s what I do.

I’ll see you later on, again,”

says the Big Who to me,

says the Big Bad Who to you.)


The Cops!  The Cops!   squads    of feet, flying    of boots     shouting, battle-bats

gizmos of pure pain    and Big Creature will to use them     right!      in Houston

New York City    Jakarta      Moscow     Beijing     Minsk     L.A.   Seattle    D.C.

in Barcelona, Spain


so what little Who would not run when The Cops say: Stop?


or what little Who, instead, juts her jaw      stares straight ahead       straight at The Cops,

says: Bring It!


(“ain’t no cold-cold grave

gonna’ hold my body down,”

“in your dreams,” says the Big Who,

again, straight up, to the little)


or what little Who else says    no mas     says    scare me   you may –    you do

in fact  –  but another little Who is here   to freeze   to shiver     to wait

for the big hit    in fear?    in mad resistance?    to wait for what the little Who

never wants to get     it ain’t no    gift at all     to wrangle    inside and out

little Who with little Who   with other little Who’s


and yet, another little Who says, yet again: “O-please don’t let my ghost survive me,

do            not”


(so pray, now, maybe so

so pray, now, for sure-O

so pray, now: to some kinda’ Who-so-ever?

and ever, for little Who?  all the little

Who’s?   and Why-so?)


Listen!  Listen up!     The Po-Lice make a great roar    square jaw

heavy brutal teeth     a hell-gate unto     Po-Lice beat their bats

on their shields      make a roar      no words: just big thick hard sound

like sharp rock    cracks against     no relief     against your head     big fear?

big resistance?    up in your head      club you back – club you down   The Cops

unleash a great   tribal   roar: their boom-boom-boom cuts open

night    and grief


(Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

when Big Who says move it,

you best go do it:

“I’ll see you later,

I’ll see ya’all, once

again,” so says the Big Bad Who)


    © John Sullivan