S.O.S. A Sparrow Falls. by Carol Argyris

Warm thoughts are necessary
to wrap a dressing over exposed nerves
protect them from the stinging air.
They are the opiates that bring sleep,
make waking possible.
It grows harder to conjure them,
easier to despair.
..
A million children starve
daily, bombs amputate limbs, 
decapitate, kill dreams,
destroy all peace
and rip through hope.
For heaven’s sake
cast spotlights on beauty,
..
on cathedrals, on churches,
make stained glass glow.
Not all we have created is ugly.
Illuminate ancient city walls
moss-covered, softened, 
no longer borders.
..
Shine light on statues of other gods
who promised nothing
were equally cruel
yet somehow more humane
understanding as they did 
the human condition, living it.
..
Make ruined abbeys beautiful,
halo them in luminescence,
let penumbral shadow 
soothe the sight
of cardboard city sleepers
drugged against the night.
..
Let light 
put aching hearts to rest
for a while
to Save Our Souls

Silhouettes in the garden of the east lawn by Rick Richardson

Who cares about the affairs
of poor women
who work their fingers
to the bone
just ask them
those who have been let down
and taken up
like the hem of a gown
rich ladies wear
at the country club
taking up a collection for the nun
who cares for the orphans
when there is golf
and invitations to dances
to attend in the evening
on the east lawn
by the garden
the master in his white gloves
brushes dirt
off of his evening jacket
and a flash of a silver flask
in the moonlight
like a dagger in the back
of ambassadors
while those authorities on gas
and all of their advisors
go over lists of the uninvited
keeping tabs on who has
and who hasn’t shown up yet
smoking cigarettes
and drinking cold duck
with their fish eggs
as the dark guests
who were never invited
dance alone in the garden
with their silhouettes.

My Ash-Sham by Sofia Kioroglou

Damascus, the city of Jasmine, my ash-Sham
now in throbbing pain, with intra-ocular pressure,
higher than normal, the omen is permanent vision loss
of a brighter future, our people are blind
 ..
Damascus, my Madīnat al-Yāsmīn
traumatized, yet squinting at a sliver of light
peeking through the door, a wished-for chimera
if wishes were horses, the future would be ours to create
 ..
Damascus, my homeland, the Barada river
a throbbing jugular, still alive
a knive in the heart, hot burning pain
peace floating driftwood on gory water

A Bridge by Paul Brookes

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,
you and your kids
a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

Grappa e Vino / Grappa and Wine by Terrence Sykes

Grappa
il colore d’acqua
senza colore
non può vederlo
ma molto forte
come Fe
e Dio  – senza finito

Vino
il colore del tramonto
sangue rosso colore
di Gesù’
dei mei paesani
come guerre
oh Dio – senza finito


Grappa
the color of water
without color
unable to see it
but very strong
like faith
and God – without end

Wine
the color of the sunset
blood red color
of Jesus
of my countrymen
like war
oh God – without end

My imagined community* by Jonathan Taylor

is an earworm,

a half-recalled fragment

of a ‘foreign’ folk-song.

 

Or it’s something glimpsed

by a lone cyclist

in Malvern mists

(or deserted carpark,

or derelict Satanic mill),

never in full daylight,

never in chanting crowds

 

because its language comes alive

only on the lips of others

who talk in foreign cafés

of an illusion that is most itself

when not itself.

 

It is never found in tabloids

except in their apologies,

tiny columns on page 17

saying sorry like war poetry

for the battlefield of the past.

 

It breathes only in recollection,

only in Wordsworthian hindsight,

a memory of something

that was always (being) lost.

 

 

 

*After Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Edward Elgar, Introduction and Allegro, and George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn.

 

 

Jonathan Taylor is an author, critic, editor and lecturer. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), and the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He directs the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.

Cancion del Abolengo / Song of Lineage by Terrence Sykes

soy mulato
de los colores
rojo blanco azul
de mi nuevo pais
maroon y verde
suelo y rocas
de mi pais natal
campos que atendia
sembrando nuevos suenos
negro y gris
mia alma magullada
rotos por otros porque
soy mulato

..
I am a mixture
of the colors
red white blue
of my new country
brown green
soil & rock
of my birth country
fields I tended
seeding my dreams
black gray
my bruised soul
broken by others because
I am a mixture

World View by Giselle Marks

It’s hard to gaze so far afield

hard to see more than just Mann

hard when distance has concealed

the world outside. I can only scan

from media within my home.

 

Filtered through another’s mind

aspects which with care are picked

the earth is more than humankind

love or hate choose to inflict

on nature wherever they roam.

 

Around me, beauty uncontrolled

the ocean, sky and ‘neath me land

life mighier than you’ve been told

marred only by what man has planned

made from concrete, plastic, chrome.

Children In Somalia Are Starving by Clara B. Jones

Your father was sadistic, but it hurt Him more than it hurt
you. He never spanked, and that wasn’t the best of it since
the Price Equation taught you everything you wanted to
know. You memorized a list of fatal illnesses before He
drove you to a hospital where nurses said children
sleep on linen sheets, and every room was designed by
Shara Hughes whose objects d’Art are sold by Tiffany®
as limited editions. Dying children prefer to wear Hilfiger®,
but He said they should wear Old Navy®—more practical
and stylish with bare feet. Last year He gave Christmas
gifts to the tallest children in wheelchairs and ordered them
lunch from Red Lobster® because Shrimp Scampi is His
favorite meal and a healthy option for hungry girls. You
waited for Him in the lobby where George Grosz drawings
hung on grey walls above serpentine sofas designed by
Vladimir Kagan before he moved to New York. The
hospital visit taught you how lucky you are so you begged
Him to buy you a pair of designer shoes.

..

Bio: Clara B. Jones practices poetry in Silver Spring, MD (USA). As a woman of color, she writes about the Arts, Sciences, Technology, and the Environment and conducts research on experimental poetry, as well as, radical publishing. Clara is author of three chapbooks, and her poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in various venues.

A Dark Moment by Douglas Hardy

Through valleys ever dark

Sleep poor lonely folk

Wake up to frosted leaves

The season of Christmas

Minus charity and goodwill

Down the misty lane

Where devils wood bines grew

Winds of empty thoughts blow

Shadows of stars the night gone glow

Where friends have gone once walked

The eternal truth beckons their minds

That once imagined gods now all gone

The Heartbreak of Judas by Douglas Hardy

Sunset bleeds the days end,
Loveless dusty roads cry Babylon.
Cold shivers awaken the eve,
this empty godless little planet,
Dancing mirages. Reality
Nothing but a hollow beauty.
Ashes of honey scented words.
As we pant after useless affects.
Loyalty and feelings gutted.
Promises dead, echoes of infernal hell.
Any god will do
in this eternal babble.
Emotions drowned by wanton’s laughter
Spirits flash to and fro.
Empty dreams, limbo and purgatory
Hypocrisy destroys loving feelings
Clambering words after words
Life after life, citadels of boredom…
Better the desert than cold marble palaces Night stars alive with hopes and no false prophets.
An occasional glimpse of nirvana and the woman of the night
with her stars singing and dancing.
Like the shadows in the wind
the words are in the storm.…..

.his model shop. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

with great love and care ( adverb) he made them. each one             by hand.

most were killed before breakfast. visitors asked to see the bodies,  having

none, he imported them from abroad.                                    more  killed than

the somme. thousands after dawn.                         he has models now of dead

soldiers, some with arrows in.

small scene          first world war,                            glow in the dark.    memorial.

having spent time among his battles,   i went and ate a donut.           lovingly.

model

The Alien by Kushal Poddar

While you close your door 

and open your window 

to keep an eye on me I shape-shift 

into a pair of pruning scissors 

or a tool to mend your broken outside. 

An outsider, I am. My stars witnessed 

a harsher landscape. 

Evening brings in them here again. 

I stare at them. Those windows of the Infinity. 

Doors are closed black. You sent 

your white spaceship to knock at those. 

I wonder if they will strip search 

the shaft for the bomb 

called humanity.

Lyric for Tuam by Sheila Jacob

Did anyone

sing lullabies, kiss you

a final time

before they closed

your small unseeing eyes?

 

They took you

when the curl of the tide

swirled dark around the bay;

when owls screeched

swoop-winged and you,

little-boned and blameless,

were dumped where the earth

would never tell,

could never tell

 

but told,

opened its muddy mouth

and rang out secrets

louder than chimes

of noon-day’s Angelus bell.

Mozart in Nairobi by Maria Stadnicka

The citizenship lesson, on Wednesdays afternoon,

ends at three o’clock

with a Mozart concerto, live broadcast

from our detention centre.

 

The outer heavy traffic,

the rain washing the roof tops across Nairobi

penetrate the walls –

a sharp, urgent, high-pitched cry.

 

The ants come to light, across the border,

through a crack in the wood.

Perfect day for unattended prayers.

mozart

Oil Spill by Michael Brautigan

I want there to be a merging
overlapping, superimposing
confusion
 
I want there to be as many
possibilities as possible
cumin together in unison
in outer space
 
the most beautiful thing
about a fist fight
is the sharing of blood
 
I want to infect you
with my incurable disease
I want to dump my junk
in your backyard
 
(and get the hell
away with it)
 
slippin through the alley
staying in shadows
wearing a mask
 
you never saw it comin
o ye authorized speculators
step into my garden
..
 
 Michael Brautigan is a poet, freelance writer, and activist who has published in the Milvia Street Journal, Unlikely Stories, Blink-Ink, Undergroundwriter, DM du Jour, Collective Exile, Carcinogenic Poetry, Red Fez, Return to Mago Way of the S/HE, Control Literary Magazine, Caesura Issue1 and Aubade, both edited by April Mae M. Berza.