Aleppo by Phil Cosker

In my comfortable room

I fume

Aleppo

 

Putin

Obama

May

Games to play

In

Aleppo

 

What do I know of this?

Shit all

Of the reality

In

Aleppo

 

Concrete splits

In

Aleppo

 

Lungs implode

In

Aleppo

 

Skin

Gently

Searing

Burning

Flaking

Falling

Shrivelled

Blown away

Wasted

Dust

Dead

In

Aleppo

 

What is this to do with me?

In my comfortable room

Far from me

In

Aleppo

 

Bones shatter

In

Aleppo

 

Blood flows

In

Aleppo

 

Worse than pictures

In my head

Sound

The sound

The sound

The sound

Bang

Boom

Bang

Roar

Rip

Tear

Flesh rips

That’s a sound

In

Aleppo

 

Children scream

Burning

Dying

In

Aleppo

 

Limbs lost

In

Aleppo

 

This not abstract

This is war

In

Aleppo

 

On the ground

Guts

Spill out

In

Aleppo

 

Eunuched

I wail

For

Aleppo

 

Assad’s

Holocaust

Cleansing

In

Aleppo

 

For what

In

Aleppo?

 

Bashar al-Assad

Is not

In

Aleppo

 

Assad sips

Full lipped

At

Putin’s goblet

Silky power

Corrupt corruption

In

But not

In

Aleppo

 

Hair

Bone

Fingernail

Bone

Blood

Femur

Breast

Bone

Follicle

Hair

Follicle

Nipple

Heart

Bone

Lung

Bone

Bone

Ventricle

Bone

Hair

Tooth

Larynx

Tongue

Bone

Gone

Dead

Hair

Skin

Eyelid

Iris

Gone

In

Aleppo

 

A child

In pieces

In

Aleppo

 

Assad

Not in pieces

Not in

Aleppo

 

A mother

Bereft

In

Aleppo

 

What’s that smell?

A child burning

In

Aleppo

 

A father

Weeps

In

Aleppo

 

Assad

Kleenex wipes a crocodile tear

But not

In

Aleppo

 

So what?

So fucking what?

What do I do about

Aleppo?

 

I don’t know

 

And the clock

Ticks

As the barrel bombs

Tock

Crock

Block

Blast

Blind

Kill

Not just

In

Aleppo

Is that not enough?

 

Tick …

Tock …

Tick …

Tock …

As the bones break

Crick

Crack

Crock

Broken

Crick

Crack

Shatter

In

Aleppo

 

We excuse ourselves

For the bravery of those

in

Aleppo

Who are

Not us

In

Aleppo

 

Enough!

It’s our world

Stop the murder

of

Aleppo

 

I don’t know how to end this

In

Aleppo

 

I apologise.

The Kindness by Cath Campbell

What if your last moment on earth
is a dismal corner in Birmingham
on the coldest night of the year?

What if you feel nothing as strangers
rifle through your pockets for the last
of your cash and stash as you fall?

What if the cold offers a rare kindness,
a lullaby, as your misery slips away
on the relieving receding relentless tide?

What if dying is better than living?

Dancing with Europe by Alison Lock

Let’s go to the Latin Quarter,

listen to jazz, read poems, cross the border,

in resistance we’ll slip through

as they shut the door, in no order.

 

We’ll schoozy a little, talk idle,

consider the blues, the ache of folly,

the impossible adieus as we sip

from our chalice of melancholy.

 

When it’s late we’ll play music, dress up:

fedora, feather, fandango

– flicker in the streetlight,

silhouettes of defiance in a tango.

 

If the stylus should slip from the groove

we’ll click our heels, not rise

with the vinyl. We’ll abide, hip by hip,

swinging our great continental thighs.

State secularism a notion of yore by Sofia Kioroglou

With my husband engaged in fighting,
I must perforce cover my face
a sort of repression seeping into my life
contaminating my existence, a vicious putrefaction

State secularism a notion of yore
our Syria under the rule of extremists
without a male relative I must endure
a future so bleak under house arrest ad infinitum

In today’s world of putative justice,
females always remain shortchanged
where rape and sexual abuse will always thrive
the crowning with thorns I strongly endure and suffer

Defend The Sacred ( A Poem for Standing Rock) by Dave Rendle

Water if life, oil is poison
one is a creator, one is a destroyer,
under angry sky proud people stand
defending ancestral burial ground,
in a battle for survival  treated so shamefully
pleading for sanity in a state of distress,
daily faced with disrespect and intimidation
rubber bullets, intruders threatening,
invaders returning, stealing and encroaching
in a thirst for profit, means of fairness hidden

Let us  pray for all the tribes of Standing Rock
deprived of joy and laughter, a means of survival,
grant safe keeping, peace, love and many blessings
respect the water protectors for courage and brave heart,
release them from oppression, free from corruption
offer peace, love and many blessings,
worldwide unity as they battle to save our planet
people before needless, senseless profit,
souls drenched, not from water, but tears
grant power to the people, united so strong.

Those at Standing Rock remain steadfast and free
peacefully trying to erase enormous pain,
armed with the truth, waiting for justice to call
sorrow and sadness to dissipate, healing to return,
to escape the bonds, flee the enemy
to be at one with mother earth,
indigenous resistance we must celebrate
honor and protect their sacred fight,
let our warmth melt their fears
allow their magic to forever flow.

..

On the heels of increasingly severe human rights violations against the water protectors of Standing Rock, the Army Corps of Engineers released a statement that on Dec. 5 that they plan to shut down the Oceti Sakowin camp — the primary camp where water protectors and allies have been resisting the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline for months now.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota has stood in agreement with the plan by ordering the water protectors to evacuate the camp.The water protectors have been standing strong in the face of police assaultswith  rubber bulets, concussion grenades, tear gas, and water cannons in freezing temperatures, and the risks are threatening to become worse.
As a result, the camp has issued an emergency call for others to stand in solidarity on Dec 4. 

Working Class Manifestos 2021 by Antony Owen

Walk with me my love through the Trump funded Oaks daubed red to be cut down and I shall hold your face like a tragic promise in the sold-out wind there. Did you know trees are betrothed to sky in rings that form an atlas into bark made from oceans that fell on their knees praying from East to West. It’s the way she said “I love you, always have, always will” and these working-class manifestos are forged from all the suns we lived through that lifted and fell like veils of queuing Brides dressed in spindle silk for one day in Pakistani meadows. Yes, Pakistan has meadows, it is so much more than just war.

Walk with me my love where our friends with wrong tongues shouted hopeless rebellions at a country that cut them down like oaks. Look at the streets where Hombres photographed a moving flag of Britain where saltires of market stalls criss-crossed through Small Heath in Braeburn pinks like the colour of his cheeks, yes, the colour of his non-white cheeks. Look at the empty shop wells where that woman who God forgot wore a scarf over her face so believers would feed her, oh man I believed in God that day when she left fatter. Yes, women who cover their faces there are people like me who really saw you.

Walk with me my love through miasma of pepper sprayed streets and hold your head up high to keep your nose from bleeding. Walk with me to the pin striped man who popped the world like a blue and green balloon and ask him to excuse us. Run with me past Trump and Murdoch Boulevard where birds sing past the curfew and after our sixty-hour working week we’ll catch the privatised rain in jam-jars and hope no one reports us for stealing the sky. Sleep by me my love and I’ll send a contraband text to our friends who now live in enemy states. Dream with me, my love.

Treading On Dreams by Ananya S Guha

I tread on stones
breaking into ice
I tread on stones
changing to water
fossil not stones
changing into ringing
gun shots
bullets not water
are they illusions
guns into bodies
bodies into death
rivers  into blood
I tread on them
my eyes cannot
hold,which is what.
At night I dream
peacefully of animals
skinned,and bodies
men, women and children
swathed in all white.
Sleeping peacefully.
I do not tread.
Somehow sleep must
not be disturbed.
Now,I am going to tread
on their dreams.

Look Ahead by Dave Rendle

Look ahead,beyond the chaos
our only hope is the children,.
make them see, make them care
show them a brighter vision,
where people no longer bludgeon each other
for a slice of bread or less.
Destroy apathy that does not give a toss
just keeps the status quo running at
…………………………huge human cost,
a case of hope deferred, energy lost
when we should be keeping spirits high
by fighting for a nobler cause.
Try not to become defeated or foiled
reach out for freedom, peace,equality
keep looking for another way of possibility
or be doomed forever as prisoners of time.
Teach the children to listen
offer them the gift of understanding,
if fear is the only way
frighten them into caring.
When this task is undertaken
beyond the walls of illusion,
we can all become one
society re-moulded, re-cast,
for future generations to come.

For the children of Syria by Colm Scully

Syria sits in darkness,
our children locked in their living rooms.
Women make their way to the market
or wait at the food station.
The doctors have left for Europe,
the young men have joined the resistance.
Our Alawite friends have fled to Damascus.

A breeze rolls down the street by the kid’s playground.
A barrel bomb sits in the sandpit unexploded.
Two French nurses walk by carrying a coffin.
The words of peace at prayer time seem empty.
The children of Syria are starved of the joy of being children.
How many have died in this war I’m afraid to ask.
When the war ends who will be in charge?
They will tell us we need to rebuild, to work together for Syria.

When my husband comes home this evening
from the university,
I will say, ‘Tonight there will be no prayers.’
I am sick of praying and dying.
What can we do to help end the war?

Bio:
Colm Scully is a poet from Cork, Ireland. He had his first collection published by New Binary Press in 2014. He has been published in many Irish magazines and has recently been published in Mexico’s Ofi Press and  Cork anthology ‘On the Banks’. He makes Poetry Films which have  been shortlisted in competition in Ireland and America, and shown at festivals in Kiev.  Some of his poetry films can be seen on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/colm.scully.12

Refugees by Bill Lythgoe

Number 3:
Someone’s mum,
everybody’s auntie.
Her round black face
beams in greeting
then fades, frowns.
We have no papers,
no passports, no ID.
When you see
your husband slaughtered,
meat on a slab,
you don’t grab your documents and run.
You grab your children.

Number 7:
Uprooted from his mountain village,
transplanted to a bare bedsit,
softly speaking foreign English.
When they hanged Saddam Hussein
they did right,
he was – what do you say? –
one of the mafia. Yeah,
a gangster.
You’ve  heard of Halabja,
you say Saddam killed
a lot of Kurdish people. Yeah,
he killed my dad.

Number 12:
A pretty face,
short black hair, tight curls,
a tear in her right eye.
An ugly bruise
on the left side of her neck,
parallel to her jaw.
Do you know about Islam?
You have friends who are Muslims,
you’ll understand
I’ve left him.
Last night he hit me.
Then he divorced me.

..

Bill Lythgoe has been writing poetry seriously for about six years. He has won four prizes in Writing Magazine. He won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly competition and was published in their Oct-Dec 2013 magazine. He has also won prizes awarded by the Wakefield Red Shed and Nottingham Poetry Society and been published by Earlyworks Press, Strong Verse and Southport Fringe Poetry. If you Google Bill Lythgoe poems you can read some of his work.

No Blame to You by Susan Jordan

You didn’t bother to wait till night;
you knew nobody would stop you,
not with all the English neighbours.

Easy to pretend the stone
the stone flew through the window by accident,
claim you couldn’t stop the dog
shitting on the doorstep

say you dropped your lighter and
what a pity the spark should happen
to catch the Polish house.

It wasn’t your fault: it can’t be
if you belong here. And how were you to know
they were still inside? You’d gone home

before the smoke-shocked faces, the arms
stripped to glistening flesh,
the child they kept on trying to wake.

..

Susan Jordan has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes both poetry and prose. She has had poems published in a number of print and online magazines. Her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, will be published in 2017.

Lost Cities of Syria by Anita Nabonne

The land is in mourning,

pewter and cold rains

drench flowers

belonging to a summertime

long gone;

a time shudders back there

quietly awaiting an end.

Life after life falls

away from abandonment,

and hope, perhaps

absolving those that could

end or ease their suffering.

Tiny fingers release,

with last gasps, a clasp

and bitter struggle with white lights

and dreams in an idyllic garden

once tended for a burgeoning future,

both of which are smoking

and can survive no longer.

Slowly they close their eyes.

O lost and tranquil peace,

how weary they must be

and wonder –

is this perhaps death?

 

Anita Kulkarni Nabonne writes poetry, stories and verses for children and has had articles published for Conservation. She has appeared in anthologies by Forward Press and Dogma. Six poems were published in  Winamop magazine and a short story published by Fiction magazines. Three poems appear in Praxis magazine (Poets for Peace collaboration) and soon a poem will be included in an anthology to be released.

From the North East of the UK, she lives with her American husband.  Her blog is https://writingasitcomes.wordpress.com/

Percentage by JD Grant

I don’t float in any particular direction.

I live in the space between,

separated by the same exact distance.

Both bring pain and frustration,

both bring happiness and joy.

I don’t feel trapped

or influenced in any way.

The direction I go in

can and will change constantly

throughout my existence on this earth.

I have long made peace with this.

Fidel Castro by Ananya S Guha

Fidel Castro
is dead
I remember college
Neruda and his poems
I suddenly remember
words such as communism
and  revolutionary
I remember the seventies
eighties. nineties
and the two hundreds
three hundreds I keep
looking at spaces and strands
of time, future in looking glass
Alice and her memories
Long live him
because he is dead
and he gave finally
that golden handshake
to immeasurable time.
In 2016 I read that he was dead
I actually forgot that he was alive
Now I will forget that
he is dead.

Deserve to exist by Jodie Mcloughlin

Born in the red
Deficient of virtue
merely as a result of where (and to whom) you were born
When we open our mouths
they know we are nothing
Undeserving of their welfare
yet deserving of perpetual scorn

She tried so hard
to ‘drag herself up by her bootstraps’
Taught by society that hard-work and brains are enough to get by
Oh but what happens when illness and discrimination rear their ugly heads?
Like a snarling dog who carries on attacking you however hard you cry!

“There’s no shame in being born in the gutter
but staying there by choice is truly a sin”
Covered in the dirt from their disposable society
Only black and white thinking,
no empathy within

You – yearning nostalgically for
Gloriana Victoriana!
As you blame and shame,
calling the most vulnerable crooks
The the Ladies, Sirs, M’lords, Mr CEO, media
escape from your net,
you choose to let them go –
off your radar and off the hook!

Morally repugnant are the homeless
Devoid of charm are the sick ones you abhor
Deserving of pity are the hard done by workers
unless they fall into the category of ‘the undeserving poor’.

Temperance
Prudence
Abstinence
Charity
Right and wrong with no disparity
between those with no opportunities and those who ‘choose’ to be this way

No workhouses only jobcentre schemes
No poor houses only hostels and temporary B’n’B’s
Only policies made by the shortsighted elite
who can’t see the forest for the bloody trees

I hear your excuses
The parroted propaganda and shrieks of “dirty communist'”, “Such a bad man”!
I was born in the red,
screaming for change and equality
and some of you will never understand

I hear you furiously trying to justify
but you don’t feel my insides twisting,
every time you imply with a superior tone,
that we’re morally bankrupt for merely existing

Assumption “The Begging Child” by Sanju Clement

She is a light in this eyeless world,
A garment on this torn civilization,
A fallen leaf from that human right,
A broken reality under that bridge,
Or, a profitless story you avoid, or, find
On every sunken sideway.

To download her own little smile,
Or, to publish an aromatic season
On the petals of life and honey,
She is pale and fail from every dawn,
Baked by every shouting society.

Always sobbing with her sibling sorrow,
Always begging to battle for her bale belly.

When she was a baby,
Life turned off her joy.
Trapped between life’s minus and minus,
Finally, she stood on roads, yes,
Hunger-on-her-palms stretched.

And, she begged for a “ Bread ” or a “ Tea. ”
Your natural ” GET LOST ” ripples
In the illiterate-innocence of her capital heart,
When it is full of air, long explosions and drops
Of hurt.

Sunshine and Moon are always same for her,
They always come and go without investigating.
Still, she wakes up for a green day, a bonsai day,
To transform her infinite-hunger, living-form,
And her ancient-gloom into blossoming smiles . . .

Oh, smiles may visit her once in a year,
Haves have those hundreds a day.
But not the case with chained-misery,
Because, they are born together,
From the same unlucky and poor womb.

How many faces has she won ? Or recorded her ?
Or how many coins has she earned ?
Or minted for her and the have-nots and the vulnerable ?

“ Very sorry,
I am politically too busy to tour the world,
(To get political, economic
And warring orange-monkeys’ support)
And to post modish selfies with other suit-wearing-
Terrorists like me, fascist-leeches,
Federal-foxholes, uniformed-hyenas
(T)ruthless-venoms, blindest-weapons, empty-publicity etc . . .
I really don’t have time and tune to domesticate
The opposition and minorities
And this and that and the subcontinent.
My people are born to suffer, burn, forget and die ” :
The Prime-(Tea)-Minister declares like a tyrant
Of a nuclear-tea-shop called India
And prepares another strong night-tea
For the white days of the withering people !

In sooth, nothing left to lift the child,
At least to a 5 kgs of sustainable long laughter,
From a weary loss and file of every intolerant day.

When she fruitfully interpreted that lesson,
“ Pauper, the poverty people,
Can’t choose cash, cakes,
Meadowlands, fearless-rest, technology and PPP,
Then, she was already the remote control
Of political-poverty.

Yet, hope knows that she too has dreams . . .
And in her dreams like a Disney princess she is.
But while she watches her on the mirror of Life,
Ah, that always implodes like a Touch-me-not

And

She

Explodes

And

Explodes

Like a universally neglected (t)ear !

..

Sanju Clement is a Promethean—poet—painter who hails from Kerala (India), land of gods, devils and monsoon too . . His poetic and artistic invention is that he starts from the zonal heights of the light of Metaphorical Surrealism but he will land on the realistic feet of Metaphorical Realism, which truthfully mirror in almost all of his poems and paintings . . He is compiling his books of poesy on Love (“2020 Drizzling Green Poems & A Melody of Melancholy”) and Ultra-Hyper Political/Protest Poems (“101 Promethean Assumptions”) themes.

Extrapolation by Angi Holden

I was in the chandler’s the first time it happened.
I’d gone in to buy a cleat, so while the staff were busy
I cruised round the aisles. The lad with the ginger hair,
the one who knows the tide tables and the weather forecast,
was helping a father and daughter choose a life-preserver.
The ones they’d already tried lay scattered round their feet,
discarded, like those abandoned across Greek beaches.
And as the child bounced between the shelves,
the orange jacket tied snugly around her small body,
I saw her bobbing away from the boat, her mother
calling her name, weeping into the salt water.
Now it happens all the time: in the street,
in the supermarket, in the school playground.
I see children, even the lucky ones in life-jackets,
drifting just out of reach, swallowed up by the sea,
bone-chilled, to be washed up on some distant shore.
Every one a neighbour, every one a neighbour’s child.

We, The People by Nalini Priyadarshni

We, who sit straddle, must move

Shake off complacency

And take sides

by either  queuing outside defunct ATMs

with moaning mob gather to collect

Their pittance outside cashless banks

Or pooh, pooh their growling stomachs

Pinched faces, sore legs and broken spirits

 

Selfish beasts! Why can’t they

Just die in national interest

Collateral damage for greater good

Soldiers do it all the time

Why can’t women and children too?

Ungrateful, unpatriotic nincompoops

 

No bridging this ever widening chasm

between plastic money, cashless transactions

and obsolete cash with no respite in sight

so dissent and speak up even if it’s the last thing you do

For when we do not speak up for the oppressed

We side up with the tyrant

..

Nalini Priyadarshni is the author of Doppelganger in My House (2016) and co author of Lines Across Oceans (2015).  Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review and The Yellow Chair. Her forthcoming publications include Sacred Women in the Anti-violence movement: Anthology and Your One Phone Call.