Two poems by Ken W Simpson

File numero 1X

 

Honesty

The truth
is invariably hidden
behind a lie.

..

God

An extensive probe
by NASA
has failed to discover
any sign
of heaven in our galaxy
or beyond
where it may have got
swallowed
by a black hole
or exploded
many light years ago
as a star
which is why nobody
is there
to hear your prayers.

..

Inquest

An autopsy showed
the bloated
corpse of capitalism
died of greed
corruption
and self-indulgence.

..

USA

A supturing
open wound
infested
with maggots.

Some lines on leaving, by Jonathan Jones

Strange how ‘The Smiths’ made sense only
after I had no more use to make
of melancholy.

Self-deprecation
self-hatred, teenage stereotype,
self-taught.

Johnny Marr’s insouciant cool,
and if I don’t fit in today
it’s not merely nostalgia talking.

Merely a band that I came to
too late, in order to sound
like a true outsider.

Now is principally
the struggle to identify.
Stream pain’s banal

commodity. One cannot
live outside a wail
or wall.

Someone asks
me whether I am English
like a stage sans

seven ages.

Democracy without a doubt
Armada-like.
No way with words.

Two poems by Wim Coleman

Gun Rights Medley

Remember six hundred
and nine thousand
six hundred and forty
Americans died of

cancer last year and
not one shot was fired
it isn’t a gun issue it’s
a mortality issue if

they take away every-
body’s AR-15s they’ll
kill even more people with
knives we disagree on

everything else but
don’t you feel safer
to know I’m carrying
a firearm I’m a

good guy with a
gun and you hate
America so don’t you
feel safer “assault

weapon” is a made-
up fear-mongering
liberal label for weapons
designed to kill as

many people as
possible typical liberal
hypocrisy demanding
tighter gun laws

while defending
women’s reproductive
rights what next
a ban on potatoes?

´´

Envoi

 

I have no more poems for you—

you who tuck children under Mylar blankets
and sing them lullabies of hate;
you who cram your belly with mendacity
and puke it back into the world;
you who listen to the fiend’s mad howling
and call it the voice of God;
you who foul the nest
and gloat and wallow in excrement;
you who build a wall of steel
to sever yourself from all that’s beautiful;
you who can’t imagine
why I weep for you and pity you.

Poems are no longer for your eyes and ears.
They belong to those who still know shame.

Find shame again;
join me here in shame’s arms of thorns;
find cleansing and rebirth in shame’s fountains
so I may lay poems before you once again.

..

Wim Coleman is a playwright, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His poetry has been published in SOL: English Writing in MexicoThe OpiateDissenting VoiceTuck MagazineVita BrevisThe Esthetic ApostleAdelaide Literary Magazine, and Dream Noir. His play The Shackles of Liberty was the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. Novels that he has co-authored with his wife, Pat Perrin, include Anna’s World, the Silver Medalist in the 2008 Moonbeam Awards, and The Jamais Vu Papers, a 2011 finalist for the Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal. Wim and Pat are members of PEN International. Blog: playsonideas.wordpress.com.

Kin, by Amy Louise Wyatt

Largely due to curiosity, and licking,
cattle are poisoned the most.

Lead paint; abandoned batteries
from tractors are salty, oily, palatable.

How’s a farmer to find a battery leaking
in the green blades of his field, when a cow,
head down tells no one of her find;

when her calf, rib high, first learns to lick
the red from a disused digger mouth?

Here’s a mother who does not know
she’s killed her young, had fed them lead
spiked milk.  Had head in crankcase oil,

stomach lined; days on, foams at mouth,
staggers in the paddock. All once pastoral

now black.  Surely, soon we’ll learn there’s
poison in everything, even our brightest finds

..

Amy Louise Wyatt is a poet, lecturer and artist from Bangor, N.I.  She has had work published in journals such as The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, FourxFour and Dodging the Rain. Amy has read her poetry on The BBC Arts Show, at University of Ulster’s Riverside Readings and at several festivals. She is the editor of The Bangor Literary Journal and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2018.

Fixations, by Mark Young

Because of insanity
the template collapsed
in its entirety. I couldn’t
continue my project.

Everyone has a different
take on the cause & how
to go about solving the
problem. All agree, how-

ever that with no fix
someone will soon start
transporting in guns in
the hope of achieving a

quick fix. No one knows
how to breathe anymore.

..

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of around fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata; taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods; & Residual sonnets from Ma Press of Finland.

Jacob Rees-Mogg retires for the evening, by Antony Owen

I think of all the people who slouched on something green –
two lovers high and naked on Woodstock grass
awaiting Armageddon, Simon & Garfunkel
arguing out of sight about bass
screeching “fuuuuccckkk you” to each other
then singing Bridges over troubled water
in perfect harmony like  those two lovers
making mothers of ill-fated millennials.
If only their bodies never burned like hashtag Amazon
but alas, they were in love like James Dean and death
in love with love like film stars and the parts that played them.

I think of other people who slouched on something green –
Lee Harvey-Oswald on the grassy knoll or person X.
a little girl dropping her slush puppy on tarmac
exploding like a Presidents head onto Versace,
a bullet screaming like Onassis in blood-smoke.
I think of Cuban cigars bluing Havana cafes
two strangers dancing bossa-nova
dancing like Kennedy was never USofA
no holding on to each other in bossa-nova,
like Onassis to long dead ideal
Like Eagles to mice
Sioux back to eagle
It is too late but
fuck you man.

I think of Jacob Rees-Mogg slouched on an olive bench,
smug as the hierarchical vulture first to the meat
and what is the meat it is real people at foodbanks
trying to be people and they are, people still, just.
I think of sitting next to Mogg clamping his nipples,
the nation’s poor feeds from the lycan, he pales.
He pales into insignificance and the sun makes dust.
He sways into diamonds, yes he would love that.
He would love to be something of jewels, of riches.
I think of his nipples feeding the poor and watch.
I sit upright and record the moment, never slouching, not once.

Eggs of Brexit, by Kushal Poddar

The hard side of this, and the one soft,
remains hoodwinked in the shell
as the things boil. 

“How will you prefer your eggs?”
I remember Gulliver
once stranded in an island
with a run of hard border,
say, “What if I am too full of eggs?” 

“The choice,” regrets the cook in portent voice,
“Doc, is limited.”
One may enter in the eatery
but leaving without a reverie of will disregarded
seems an antithesis.

..

Authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and now ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’ (Alien Buddha Press)

Author Page – amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet

Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe

Three poems by Miki Byrne

Joe Average.
..
There’s a need
for armour now.
To keep barriers high.
Slit fearful eyes at
inconsequential differences
as fear drapes like shrouds.
Holds in escaping smiles,
desire to do good.
Doors slam in the faces
of those less well off,
disabled, foreign, homeless
as Joe Average
hunkers down.
Carries a blade
of self preservation,
prepares to repel all borders.
Cannot see that they
are reflections of himself.
..
..
..
Those who are Wealthy.
..
The wealthy swim like sharks
through human shoals.
Brush away small fry,
who slip and slither through
societies net.
The rich perch like eagles
in mirrored palaces,
high above city centres.
See those below who drive them,
feed them, serve and supply them,
as inferior—mere ants who swarm
over pavements, sit  in buses,
or use cars that cannot pass
emission tests and carry no insignia
of high-end luxury.
The rich breathe rarefied air.
Do not venture into warrens
and ghettos.
Have access to private health care,
comfortable homes for their elderly.
The poor use the stumbling NHS.
Return to narrow streets, small homes,
illness, poverty, insecurity
and in these places, people die.
Day, after day, after day.
..
..
..
A Brief Note on Being Vegetarian.
..
No: To meat, fish, poultry.
face, feather, fleece, fur,
fin, limb or offal.
To: Crustacean, mollusc, shellfish,
scale or eel.
Eggs are acceptable-only if free range.
I am not Vegan, there is a difference.
Yes: To fruit, veg, root, nut, tuber,
legume, pulse, seed, dairy,
flower, herb, leaf and berry.
No, to assumptions of weirdness,
anaemia, communal living,
a tendency toward New Age dreads
and a longing for lentils.
Yes to the hope of your tolerance
as you will always receive  mine.

Two poems by Jennifer Lagier

Thoughts and Prayers

 ‘Really angry’ gunman who killed 3 at Gilroy Garlic Festival cut fence, shot randomly for less than a minute.” – USA Today

While I attend a Monterey poetry reading where
two Latino poets promote love and unity,
one more furious white man cuts through a fence,
with his automatic rifle, shoots down
fifteen festival attendees, killing three,
including a six-year-old boy,
thirteen-year old girl.

When will we, as a nation,
discontinue spewing useless aphorisms,
no longer facilitate poison
seeping into hearts and minds,
bind wounds, staunch hatred,
reject division, halt wanton bleeding?

When do we quit mouthing platitudes,
lance festering resentments,
drain away sickness, cauterize anger,
make America safe and sane again,
put rational adults
in charge of our healing?

Please, no more thoughts and prayers.
We need moral leadership, action.

..

What They Have Given Us

Conspiracy theories.
Gutted environmental protections.
Refusal to consider gun control
despite constituent pleas,
weekly mass murders.

Tariffs and trade wars.
Corruption, cruelty,
xenophobia, sex crimes.
Turning a blind eye
to more Russian hacking.

Nepotism, malfeasance.
Women and immigrant bashing.
Rising white supremacy.
Cavalier hate speech
dividing the nation.

Pay-offs to corporate funders.
Dismantling the social safety net.
Transforming ICE and the DOJ
into a third-world junta
composed of goon squads.

Appointment of the least competent
and most sadistic to positions of power.
Incentive for revolution.
Justification for impeachment,
indictments, violent upheaval.

..

Jennifer Lagier has published fifteen books, edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press), Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press), Camille Mobilizes (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming book: Trumped Up Election (Xi Draconis Books).  jlagier.net

Valley of The Lost Planes, by Kushal Poddar

Before the war and after
the paper planes nose dive
into the valley,
and history seems soporific;
 
almost never his begetter
reads the daily paper
to his mother kneading doughs;
no one cares, knows
where those paper planes go.
..
..
Authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost AnimalsUnderstanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and now ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’ (Alien Buddha Press)

The Damned, by Lukpata Lomba Joseph

(For the Chibok)

It was no strange taste, we were warmed
by rapture—the papers had been torn apiece.
Then we saw nature moving: cold breeze whistling
through the hallways, bemoaning the absence of spaces.
Then we saw the faces of our fathers growing beautiful
wrinkles of pride—we were making them proud.
Then the world got brittle and broke into pieces, the
milky way got crowded, stars fell off and darkness
gulped down the dreams meant for daylight.
They filtered in, those in the crafts of Pallas;
they came in, those who said they had come to ensure
our safety, but they were warriors in a hollow horse.
But we were separated by too many years
to know, how could we have known?
Then we had to journey; we had never
planned for a journey, such a strange journey.
Then we began a course in martyrdom, trampled on
the floor and stuffed like in a cage, so much tectonics,
bangs on the chassis as the van never stopped lurching
on bumpy tracks, it was (as we may say) our fate.
Then there was a pale horse rider, with arms stretched
out to take us; some got lucky, we were rejected,
this is our fate—to be snubbed by death.

And we got to the place of a skull; it has
a yellow sky, black dancing in the air, all
that the lips are too timid to tell.
Then we had to chafe as we paid for everything:
the grey light that stained white in Maiduguri,
the white dove that was caught and caged
in Borno; they said its bones were milled to dust.
There was no goblet for gall and vinegar,
no splinter to dip and taste, but there was
a feast, a feast and such a feast in
the heart of a forest. We drank salvation
and they drank from our skin, impatient thrusts
and whips and we knew that death had betrayed us.
And there was always a voice from the forest
saying, we were damned and we were the damned.
The damned are the sinners; we were sinners.
We knew this, but this was as we had
since seen god, we have seen god.
We had nudged six years to sin,
thinking we were making our fathers proud.
But now we have seen god, he is in
the hijab, the chador, the loud steel handle;
this is how to win a soul for your god:
take them out in the dark, only in the dark,
drink from their skin, sketch the shape of
a god in a whip when the eyes bleed to free fall.
And you would want a steel handle to send signals
to the air, a balaclava to look genuine;
then a book, a hijab or a chador
to cleanse them of their sins.
And now, we are back when some
of us have been snubbed by the sun and daylight,
we still hear a voice in our heads, saying
we are the damned.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem is written from the point of view of one the 276 Chibok school girls who were abducted by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram on the night of 14 April, 2014.

Lukpata Lomba Joseph lives in Nigeria. He is a contributing writer to an online weekly magazine, Joshua’s Truth. Many of his poems explore the concept of internal noise in diverse forms. His work has appeared in Poetry North Ireland’s FourXFour Journal, Caustic Frolic Literary Journal, Still Point Magazine, Vox Poetica and elsewhere. Recently, he has fallen in love with satirical writing with a deliberate focus on morality. He likes reading Aesop’s fables. You can find him on Facebook through   http://www.facebook.com/lukpata.joseph.9.

Pleas of a Victim, by Sunita Sahoo

“Why me?”

“Why not someone else?”

“Why was I deceived?”

“Why am I hated?”

Drowned in an unwelcoming pool of “Whys”

These are the troubling thoughts that haunt her every night

No matter how hard she tries to combat the demons in her head

Those nasty bruises and tooth marks etched all over her body

Makes her lose the will to fight!

She shivers recollecting that dreadful day

Which stripped all her happiness away!

Her best friend turned into a ferocious beast one fine day

Who stripped off her dignity

Drooling all over her naked body

And devouring her with greatest pleasure bit by bit

Till she was exhausted, numb

Left with nothing but blood stains

And a despicable stench of rotten trust.

She wondered who was at fault

Was it her because she was a “girl”?

Or was it her unfaltering trust on someone she loved?

Mustering courage, she limps back home 

Smeared with blood, dripping from her inner thighs and sliding down her calves

As soon as she steps inside

She is glared with curious and inquisitive eyes

The hatred

The sneers

The animosity

The contempt

She senses them all!

Was it her fault for hoping to find solace in the arms of her family she loved?

Or was it the societal norms which disowns the victims of rape and labels them as “sin-proved”?

She rushes to her room, wailing hysterically

Undresses herself and stands in front of the mirror

Only to hear some voices from the other end

“You’ve become impure!”

“Your chastity’s gone!”

“You’ve committed a grave blunder!”

“You’ve ruined societal honor!”

“You must bury this incident and never let it out!”

She falls down on the floor, burying her face in her hands

Hating the body she lives in

Condemning the fact that she is a girl

A burden to this patriarchal world!

She wondered if this was the reason

Why parents prefer sons to daughters!

Why girls have to stay confined within four walls!

Why the freedom of girls is restricted!

Why the voices of girls seeking justice are silenced!

A vicious circle of whys!

Such wretched societal norms

Where a girl’s purity is defined by her chastity

Torments the soul, reeks so foul

I’m tired of those slandering tongues that tend to howl!

Someday a bonfire of change will engulf the world

It’ll burn all these hatred and superfluous norms

A new dawn will unfurl

This world will be a safe place for a girl!

..

..

Sunita works as a Senior Software Engineer. She hails from India and loves writing poems of all genres. Her works have been published in Indian Periodical, Eleventh Transmission, Poets Choice Zine and Poesis Literary Magazine. Most of her poems are based on her real life experiences, profound reflections of human mind, dreams and burning social issues. She loves writing inspirational and motivational poems and tries to spread the optimism to the larger mass never to GIVE UP! Apart from the above, she also loves composing short fantasy themed ballads for children.

It’s a Wonderful World, by Dave Rendle

It’s another day in a fractious world
The Amazon burning, earths lungs aflame,
Everything else adding fuel to the fire
Seeds of destruction, all is very dire,
As the earth is murdered, breath suffocated
Hunger growing, rising tides of hate,
Feel the heat, the enormous pain
As people driven to edge, grow insane,
Meanwhile a vacuous politician claims
We’re ‘back on the road to a brighter future’,
Tell that to the citizens daily afflicted
By the flames of capitalism and greed,
In the uk one million using foodbanks
Rough sleeping doubled, children in poverty,
And in the drifting  summer afternoon
Following the hot sultry day of life,
A man is squinting his bloodshot eyes
Sees no beauty, only the world’s sorrows,
Watching the dreadful masquerade
Is left moribund, sucks his poison,
Relentlessly as despair keeps answering
Where prayers have failed, carries on drowning,
People  lost, giving up without a fight
The walking wounded not a pretty sight,
Beyond the sorrow, I try to illuminate darkness
Unable to hide the facts, keep on questioning,
In these emergency hours, cannot shut my eyes
Dream of revolution, people awakening,
With cauldrons of belief, keep revealing
Beyond the stench of chaos, restoration,
Witnessing the tragedy of our lifetime
We no longer need to live like this,
Blindly accepting this terrible fate
Join the resistance, before it’s far too late

Entitlement, by Rhiannon Ward

How is it fair
that people feel so entitled
to another body
to having sex
that now we do not feel safe
walking down the street
in our own neighbourhood
in case someone follows us
in case we are attacked
where did this entitlement
stem from in our society
now we feel unable to wear
what we want
in case something happens
and they blame us
for what we were wearing
entitlement has led to a fear
that victims will be blamed
they do not speak out
entitlement continues
to win the upper hand.

Rhiannon Ward is a recent graduate in Creative and Professional Writing and English Literature from the University of Worcester.  To read more poetry you can visit; https://daisysinsights.wordpress.com/

My Idealism, by Rick Davis

my idealism is like bare feet
in summer grass and blossoms
that drift like stars
resisting water-hazards of apathy.
..
my idealism is like city lights
that speckle wet streets with vibrant paint.
..
stuck in right-wing mud
my nights grow sleeplessly long,
but with loving-kindness
moonlight seeps through dancing clouds.

Two poems by Lucinda Marshall

I am not a silent poet-It Wasn't My Child, Conversation After The Fact_0

 

Lucinda Marshall is a writer, artist, and activist. Her poetry publications include Sediments, GFT, Tuck Magazine, Stepping Stones Magazine, Columbia Journal, Poetica, Haikuniverse,  and ISLE and her work appears in the anthologies  “Poems in the Aftermath” (Indolent Books), “You Can Hear The Ocean” (Brighten Press) and “We Will Not Be Silenced” (Indie Blu(e) Publishing). She has been a finalist in  Waterline Writers’ Artists as Visionaries Climate Crisis Solutions contest and Third Wednesday’s 2018 One Sentence Poem Contest. Lucinda  is also the founder and host of the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic.

Taking Back Control, by Marc Woodward

When the girls in the pharmacy shake their heads
to say there’s still no sign of your meds
and they’re frightened that old folk may soon be dead
ain’t it wonderful to know
we’ve taken back control?

When the lorries are stopped at the harbour gates
with the food onboard past its sell by date
for the paperwork’s wrong or duties are late
ain’t it heartening to know
we’ve taken back control?

When a man on the radio says apples and pears
will come much cheaper from the Southern Hemisphere
– and if he’s heard of ‘food miles’ he simply doesn’t care,
you’d really like to know
who’s taking back control?

When a visa must be bought for a holiday in Spain
and all the British pensioners are coming home again
while the young Polish grafters have left us to our rain
ain’t it wonderful to know
we’ve taken back control?

When US companies are eyeing up our health
trading cradle-to-the-grave for greater Yankee wealth,
breaking up the NHS through back-room deals and stealth
ain’t it a tonic just to know
we’ve taken back control?

And when, with conniving, cynical intent,
Boris and his boys suspended parliament
at last you realised what they really meant
when they grinned and said “there’s no impediment
to us taking back control,
we’ll be taking back control!”

Two poems by Elizabeth Robin

At Wounded Knee

i lie on my back, reading south dakota clouds
like the child i was. but i can’t summon fluffy
cartoon whales and elephants and teddy bears

here, i see jagged daggers in the sky
bayonets skewering babies, cannonballs

flying into chiefs and warriors just disarmed
at mothers and children scrambling into the gully
surrounded by hundreds of soldiers, firing at will

banish these images and trace the outline of a buffalo’s
fleecy hump, immense horned head bent, fleeing

until it dissolves into a husk of silver dollars
and rotting meat, legacy of a people who take
what pays ……..,,,….and take …………..and take

until it disappears. a treaty, when inconvenient
conjures the escape clause to justify the slaughter

and a trail of tearmakers who won’t believe
in dreamcatchers ……………………or ghost shirts

they just look at clouds
………………….and wonder how to turn a profit

 

at the Lakota Wounded Knee Memorial, South Dakota

 

The Wild West

my spirit whirls like a dust devil
a mystery energy that soars, vanishes

the fear: what goes on
whispered in grocery lines
sketchy corner liquor marts
a local pharmacy queue

people live behind gates in trailer parks
new riders of the purple sage
filling an abandoned hollywood set
……………..the shell of a church meeting house
……………..left, like most films, a facade
…………………………………………………………………empty inside

i read strip mall signs:
…………….Check Cashing!
…………………………….Massage!
………………………………………….Tattoo!
and question if i dare shop here

but we chat in line like old friends

what can survive here, but
rattlesnakes and reptiles?

home today, a hedge of honeysuckle
under a cottonwood tree
in the morning quiet
voices waft across the camp
…………..a motor starts
…………..a poem spills onto the page
…………..a calico cat slides by
………………………….sunshine warms my face
………………………….wind dries my hair
………………………….the breeze tickles
……………………………………………………flapping laundry
……………………………………………………yapping toy poodle
……………………………………………………twittering wrens
some days, this is enough

at Joshua Tree National Park, California