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).

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

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;

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!
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

Three Poems by Richard-Yves Sitoski

Letter from a Detention Centre Along the Mexican Border

take the thing which disturbs you most
& show it some sympathy
the monster under your bed
needs to eat too

show us some sympathy
you take us for criminals
but we need to eat too
so get over ancestral hatreds

you take us for criminals
we are the thing which disturbs you most
but ancestral hatreds
are the monster in your bed

& you’re not disturbed in the least
that it needs to eat too
this monster in your bed
which knows no sympathy

for it will eat you too
till there’s bones on your mattress
& if we show you sympathy
maybe that’s what disturbs you most


The Problem of Free Will in a Town Beset by White Supremacist Propaganda

Does sky rest on Earth or is Earth tacked to sky?
How long is a morning, a morning like this as pale as
unripened raspberries? Can birds make fools
of themselves unless they sing like nobody’s listening?
There’s nothing good on Netflix these days and
you can’t find a decent cup of joe in this town
for less than three bucks. Why? I have more questions
about the sky but I’ll keep them to myself because
that’s cosmology. I have more questions about coffee
and TV but I know the answers. But my questions
about people are something else. We’re not birds to do things
because they’re natural, singing songs we haven’t learned
but are in us. Are we? If we taste a raspberry, can we not
say to ourselves it isn’t ripe and decide based on that
if we want to keep eating? We have some choice
in the matter, do we not? Otherwise it’s all just atoms ‘n’ shit
or some such Lucretian mumbo-jumbo. (I remember a time
when my mom wouldn’t leave my dad because
she was afraid of him, but that’s different – all she had
was a diet of unripened raspberries and you can’t live
without food.) But what about those who sing off-key
because everyone is listening, knowing we won’t
like the melody? What does Lucretius say about them?
Buddha? Kant? It’s all a mess when neo-Nazis
lay wreaths at memorials honouring men who died
fighting Nazis. You get the picture. How can you
not be pessimistic about the random bouncing of atoms
in a world that knows no logic? Is hatred deliberate
or do you just pick it up? And if hate is your default
can you be taught to love? Can any of this be done
consciously? I know little of the matter, aspiring as I do
to be a bird, to move as a bird does through a sky not tacked
to Earth. Birds don’t care about the price of coffee
or what’s on Netflix. Birds fly through the pale morning
not knowing confusion or despair. But they are not
ignorant. They are in fact perfect. Perfect in knowing
precisely how to pick ripened raspberries, and that this is good.

Undocumented Arrivals

purple loosestrife grows in ditches, irrigation canals and standing water,

dominating wetlands and choking out native species.

it is as run-of-the-mill as divorce.

zebra mussels filter out phytoplankton, destroying the food chain

and leaving water clear and sterile as alcohol.

they are as ubiquitous as deathbed regrets.

since the introduction of emerald ash borers,

every single tree of the 22 species of ash is at risk.

the borers are as widespread as hubris.

phragmites are as everyday as bad things justified by anger.

sea lampreys are as tedious as capitalism.

gypsy moths are as inevitable as grief.

and if you think of all this when you read that a ghanaian

has lost every finger to frostbite on an all-night trudge

in running shoes through kilometers of waist-deep snow

your opinion is more destructive and common

than any of these.


Richard-Yves Sitoski is a spoken word artist, poet and songwriter from the sleepy burg of Owen Sound, Ontario, with numerous journal publications, two books (brownfields and Downmarket Oldies FM Station Blues), and a CD (Word Salad) to his credit. When not writing, he makes disturbing sounds with guitars and is a committee member of the Words Aloud Festival of Spoken Word and Storytelling, one of Ontario’s premier literary festivals. You can find him at or on Facebook.

Changed Climate, England, Summer 2019 by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Dust settles on summer windowsills,
on sideboards TVs shimmer Churchill’s ghost
onto modern screens   conjured plasma
realised through BJ’s studied bull-dog slump.

Right-wing masterminds, harness nostalgia,
declare war on liberty, compassion, freedom
with crazy, clownish grins and promised tax cuts.

In extreme heat, blood runs cold. Benighted
whispers escape Mogg’s elocution: the old/young/
frail/different/un-monied/finally everyone
beyond white rank and privilege will fail.
Terror unopposed, trashes lives beyond redemption –

yet in suffocated daylight, foul with fumes,
angry men mop their bows and mutter,
Give the BJ man a chance. Who knows?
Cometh the hour, cometh the man?
Beguiled by his brass-faced badness,
shameless mis-speech, they cling to bleached
colonial dreams, forget collateral nightmares.
Historians are hated, placed under house-arrest
banned from shedding quenching beams of light
into hell, onto our underworld’s smoking coals.

Young people with fresh eyes, call out BJ
and his crew, their coruscated sunshone lies.
Older adults, stupefied, relinquish resistance
to wilful ignorance and time’s scalding, stinking dustbin.

Five poems by Bob MacKenzie


You look at me and see
a girl becoming a woman
and I suppose I am that

yet you do not see
me below the water
hid from the terrors

I have known as a child
evil’s gentle touching
hands finding me at night

waking me with a whisper
it will be alright dear
though I know it will not

I have heard the threat
the secret of that touch
sunk in despair’s depths

I sink and become water
hid within my own self
deep and untouchable

yet you can look and see
a girl becoming a woman
and I suppose I am that


The Waning of the Moon

The full moon bleeds into the night
soaking the clouds and trees and Earth
with its essence until the pain
has leeched into the morning light.

Somewhere in darkness you stand still
bleeding your soul into the night
against the fear you hold within,
out of time and against your will.

You shine against the blackest fears
as darkness falls away from you
and you fall away from memory
to find brief peace as morning nears.

There is no feeling here but calm
that seeks the gentle blade’s caress
draining the darkness from your soul
as softly as a soothing balm.

And then you wash and go to bed,
now at peace, if not forever,
with yourself and all memory
shrouded now in a cloak of red.

The full moon bleeds into the night
but morning wipes its death from sight,
and you live on with all your past
come back to you with morning’s light.


Saint Joan

In the beginning, you seem void and without form;
you only slowly grow clear and material
against the brilliant light behind you, not sun
but floodlamp of Lucifer that shows you your way.

You become a world of contradictions made flesh
to creep slowly over your prey and to take it,
betrayed by your venom, deep into the darkness
where darkly you pick it apart at your leisure.

You are small in your body and small in your mind,
with a sweet middle aged smile and honey voice;
you cut your hair short or it would be in a bun,
and you wear drab fashions that imitate a nun.

You know you are the saviour of little children,
absolved in whatever you do by your own faith;
you know you are the saviour of little children;
you know you must destroy all who stand in your way.

From your father onward, you know the way men are;
from your childhood onward, you know the violence
family life does to any child, did to you;
you know you are the saviour of little children.

To save the children you must crush the families,
you must take the children to your bile filled bosom,
where they may suckle of hate and fear and see life
in the light of your knowledge, in Lucifer’s light.

Yours is the greatest agency under Heaven,
transporting children to its bowels forever;
the Devil in this world controls what you do, as
you save the children and Lucifer lights your way.

You do not see the small spot appear on your heart,
do not see it grow larger, void and without form,
do not see yourself falling deep into that pit,
do not see the light of Lucifer falling dark.


don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you

don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you

there’s a lot of anger in this world
and a lot of hurt and a lot of hate

and it’s there in the air
you can feel it everywhere
like the oxygen you breathe
like the rain that falls on you

there are bullies and persecutions
there’s abuse and worse all around
and you see it everywhere
and you hear about it non-stop
and you feel helpless to stop

feel helpless to stop the anger
stop the hurt, stop the hate
most often just feel helpless
and lost, just lost

What can you do?
What can anyone do?

It’s them
you know it’s them
the vast everyone
the normal people out there
who hate everyone who’s different
who hate you
who hate me

But what can you do?
they are the many
we are the few

we are powerless
there are too many of them
the power is theirs
to change things
to just hate the other
the different
to hate us
to hurt us
to persecute and abuse us
just because

they can
and they do
they can
and they do
and what can you do?
what can I do?
what can anyone do?
yes it’s there in the air
you can feel it everywhere
like the oxygen you breathe
and the anger
the anger falls on you

there’s a lot of anger in this world
and a lot of hurt and a lot of hate

you’re it:
the fag
the dyke
the kike
the muslim
hell, even the Christian
in the wrong church

you’re it:
the dummy
the nut case
the crip
you’re not normal

they hate the other
the one
who is different
who acts different
who talks different
who’s not normal

the foreigner
the spick
the wop
the jap and
the chink
the nigger
the native Indian
the white man
woman too

the uke
the kraut
the brit
the mick and
the paddy
even the yank

the hate, the hate, the hate
the anger seeths beneath every surface
the anger reaches out

where is the focus?


you say it’s about you
it’s them against you
the world against you
you are hurt
you are angry
you are angry

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

can’t you see?
there is no them
except me and you
and you

I have met the enemy
he is us
she is us

I have met the enemy
deep within myself

if I have been hated
I have also hated
I have also been angry

How about you?

take a moment
stop looking for some
to hate
turn around and look inside
deep into yourself

meet the enemy
see where the enemy lives
deep within each of us
just forgive
and love
let love and forgiveness
replace the hate
replace the anger
in you

this one choice
this one small change
can change your world
may begin to change
to change all the world

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you


The New Police

You start a war nobody wants or thinks is just,
then you send young men and women overseas to fight that war;
you indoctrinate them to believe everyone is the enemy
and even apparent civilians are just enemies in disguise,
then you put them in the field for five years or more
killing civilian adults and children because they may be
After a while these young men and women come home;
you give them jobs in local and state law enforcement;
you rationalize that they have the training after all,
then you give them military weapons and vehicles
just like the ones they used in war to kill civilians.
What did you think would happen?


Four of these poems have been previously published as attributed below.
don’t be mad at me, Saint Joan, The New Police, and The Waning of the Moon have all been published in the selected works “Agapé: Heaven & Earth” (Dark Matter Press, 2015).
Saint Joan and The Waning of the Moon have also been published in “On Edge” (Dark Matter Press, 2012).
The New Police has also been published in “somewhere still in wind the tree is bending” (Silver Bow Publishing, 2018).


Bob MacKenzie’s published almost 400 poems in journals around the world, including Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, and Windsor Review and in numerous anthologies. Bob’s published sixteen volumes of poetry and prose-fiction.  With the group Poem de Terre, Bob has released six albums of his poetry spoken and sung with original music.  His numerous literary awards include Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council grants and Fellowship to attend the Summer Literary Seminars in Georgia.

my body politic, by Mark Young

The white-wing com-
mentators cackle like
geese as the king of the
barnyard distributes
purported pearls of
wisdom which they
gobble down with un-
bridled joy. Blinded by

being accorded audience,
they do not recognize
that what is being doled
out to them is nothing
more than blanched
pellets of horse shit.

Two poems by Kushal Poddar

Cats Don’t Love Guns

The cat waited for her house owner
in the evening after the mass shooting in a mall,
an usual gloaming midst all the palaver
about the climate change, dictators, stalls
of sugar inaugurating besides the sugar stalls.

The old man returned not; the cat did
on the following day and night,
ate from another resource, moaned
at those swaying summer leaves
casting susurrus shadows on the stairs.

The house owner waned away from the cat’s
immediate mind.
People listening to the news heard



Basil recalibrates the summer.
The aliment consists salad and breeze.
We lift forkfuls of good heat
and before we digest the mass shootings
life nourishes life. Because I feel the sting
I am alive having a summer dish in your company.
We both know moon rises somewhere
behind those acropoles; life may end life;
gun may reproduce sons of a gun;
basil for us, blessings for the demised;
because we discuss we live to discuss some more.

Kushal Poddar

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)


Author Page –


Prisoner 1858, by Steven Croft

My feet sore, broken, face
pressed against cinder blocks,
cooler than our unwashed world
of bodies in the small jail cell.
Dragged back to interrogation,
hung by ankles from a dark ceiling,
leg irons are tentacles of pain
the guard strums with a stick,
Then beats me.  The outskirts
of the city are broken shells
of buildings.  I am told I am
responsible.  My companion,
Fear, a vertigo that leaves and
comes back until I can’t hear
the questions or count the strikes —
it is now that I dream an other
Self.  Asked to give the names
of others, I think human existence
is full of such traps, that this
is why I’m here, my name spoken
By another, hanging here, as
I lose sense of time and believe
I am him, but, instead, I say
the names of my family silently
To myself, careful never to release
this precious treasure to brutes
though pain boils in my brain while
tears fall from my eyes unbidden.
Instead, I go home and sit beside
them, share the morning meal,
reach for my wife, my daughter,
gently, unbidden.
Steven Croft is the author of two chapbooks, Coastal Scenes and Moment and Time.  He has recent poems in Politics/ Letters LiveSky Island Journal, and As It Ought to Be Magazine.

Five poems by Chad Norman


One day how
the future may sound
could be echoes
of children’s footsteps
overtaking the ears
on my oversized head–
remember, it is actually spring
when the ditches begin to sing.

Isn’t it timely how
the sun lights up
all the white hairs
on a black sweater.

One day the
sidewalk looks wounded
all the leaves
dead in pools of rain
fallen weeks back
without a season I crave,
my feet need, covered up by
perhaps, the numerous injuries
left unseen like Nature’s worries?

A cover up
maybe, but doubtful
as I am growing certain the “we”
has grown more
aware for some reason–
I guess I just want
to believe in you,
all of those who are children.

I have decided to
not peel it back–
already knowing
the wounds of the world.

Strangely the students
play recorders outside,
songs drift through
then I can’t decide
when such sounds
become reminders:
I don’t know at the moment
but quickly I hear
voices asking
to peel off the bandaid,
peel it off,
dares posed by
those who’ll take over,

those who can never hear what I do,
voices saying we will help others
coming to Canada for safer lives,
but we placed that bandaid there
on purpose, to help our future, to
find those who know about Inclusion.

I want to peel it off the sidewalk.
I want to take it off the world.
I won’t be the one man scared of wounds.

When will we evolve?
To be, simply, loving?
Who gives their essence to skin?
Are we so limited when colour must be sullied?

Remember, children have put a bandaid
on the sidewalk where I was stopped,
where I’d never believe hatred
is, could, or will ever be a fashion.



May they come,
come in numbers.
May they be safe
no matter the plight,
no matter the chosen route.

Our economy needs them.
Our hospitals need them.
Our schools need them.
Our cities need them.
Our towns need them.
Our children need them.
Our fears need them.

I have no problem
with anyone
from any other country
coming to Canada
to exhibit the cost of
wanting to remain
a human being,
a human
being allowed a
new chance to be alive.

There, I said it.



Even though you may be like me
I speak against you,
you who speak against them
saying they are taking “our” jobs,
saying they are stealing gov’t funds,
saying what I hear as exclusion.

Even though you are not like me
I speak against you,
you who speak from what I hear
as ignorance, as intolerance, as
what sounds as if you’re a racist,
but I don’t believe all that
feeling strongly you are better
than all that–after all I am sure
you live a life open to helping others.

Yes, helping, not adding to their
plight almost hard to understand.

Yes, being available, feeling something
about the humanity in yourself.

I expect better from the Canadian
you expect others to admire.

Even though you maybe like me
you are not in any way that,
you are like those I watch close
and listen to the reluctance
coming out from your mouth,
words, even though they hurt
and exclude, are of the lost,
are hardly what this country needs.

Change is a word too.
One which hasn’t been
sucked dry, hasn’t been
taken off somewhere, far away
from its unchangeable definition.



Never mind the nightly or morning news
it isn’t worth watching, or wasting
the time you call your life, to be
in front of the screen you pay too much for,
and finally say, “I have had enough of
Eden being a garden I am to tend,
Adam being some guy I must admire,
Eve being a leader of women somewhere,
and that poor innocent tree
with one branch some serpent chose.”

I’ll say it again, ” I have had enough of
being called a sinner for the Cross,
for a Christ they have all wrong,
not a man I choose to see their way,
and all the Commandments used to
hold us back, keeping our humanness
from a fuller evolvement, letting minds
get beyond a book God had to self-publish,
had to rely on us to try to get through
without going to the mirror for a search,
a search of a face ready for some love.

Perhaps, I’ll say it again, “I’ve had enough
of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and
the lot of you, saying this is a freedom,
what some of you may want to say
and may believe to say it is going
to provide a free pass to that place
supposedly under us known as Hell,
but, please, say it anyway, “I’ve had
enough of…”, finally knowing to follow
all of those misadventures is a rip-off
devised and sent to leave you one thing,
the inability to hold out both hands
and help them from the many vessels
they had to board in order to sit
for the hours hope held them within,
hours either upon a sea, or looking
at clouds constantly forming shapes
pointing at this country, our country,
and what you know to be a safe landing.

Regardless of all the heaven stuff
my worries have nothing to do with it,
as a member of the broken garden
if I ever go anywhere after my flesh is done
I ask it is a real place, one where
we all sit and hold hands screaming
a prayer to explode the War Machine.


for Lainee

To be on one side of the window
is my gift at the moment
you see I paid for this
days away from the grind,
and by grind I mean
one thing for now, one thing
I know better than many,
one thing able to make me
feel the coolness of a wall
against my more-than-able back.

I have a job, too many don’t.
I have an income, too many don’t.
I have a home, too many don’t.
I have a full fridge, too many don’t.
I have a warm bed, too many don’t.

To be able to open a cupboard door
and stand stopped by indecision,
to be able to sit & hear the cat purr
and enjoy a doc on Bobby Kennedy,
and finally know it takes Time
to present it, the gift called Duration,
the gift given to History, and it is
then Time’s duration finally becomes
History, how the waves of People roll in,
and roll on back out, to only roll
on back in, the waves of People
I am watching, riding the waves they
find their lives atop, their lives somehow
riding a lack of food, riding a
lack of a job, riding a lack of an income,
riding a lack of a full fridge,
riding a lack of a warm bed,
to open the cupboard and find
themselves stopped by indecision.

And now, right now, this very moment,
to be on the other side of the window
and have that my gift
what I also paid for, to be
part of another form of grind,
one which leaves a man standing
outside a liquor store,
dressed head-to-toe in camo
unable to shake with what was
his good hand, a hand
I sadly, yet gladly, place a fiver in.


Chad Norman, Truro, NS, Canada

His poems have appeared for the past 35 years in literary publications across Canada, as well as a number of other countries around the world.

He hosts and organizes RiverWords: Poetry & Music Festival each year in Truro, NS., held at Riverfront Park, the 2nd Saturday of each July.

In October 2016 he was invited by the Nordic Assn. for Canadian Studies to give talks on Canadian Poetry and read from his books at Borupgaard Gym in Copenhagen, and Risskov Gym in Aarhus, as well as other readings in both cities and Malmo, Sweden. Because of that tour Norman has started the manuscript, Counting Coins In Denmark And Sweden.

His most recent books are Selected & New Poems, from Mosaic Press, and Waking Up On The Wrong Side of The Sky, from Grant Block Press, and a new book, Squall: Poems In The Voice Of Mary Shelley, is due out Spring 2020, from Guernica Editions. Recently, he completed the manuscript, The Black Rum Poems, and presently works on a new manuscript, A Small Matter of Inclusion.

In October of 2017 he read at various Eastern Canada venues in Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal. And in the Fall of 2018 Norman gave a speaking/reading tour of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, as a celebration of literacy and Canadian Poetry.

He is currently a member of the Federation of NS Writers and The League Of Canadian Poets.

His love of walks is endless.


Two poems by Punam Sharma

God (Senryu)

When a man decides
to play god to his brethren
humanity dies


The bed is unmade, has been unmade for weeks
though I do change the sheets, I like the look of disarray
it makes the room look lived in
I also like leaving empty coffee cups on the side table
when I come back from work
I can feel the presence of the other self
my soul floats back and forth
between me and the other self I oft see in the mirror
we do have conversations too,
I mean a girl has to talk!
I am glad I have company
for I am tired of answering
probing questions about this and that
how I manage alone and all that blah
then, when she peers at me from the mirror
I breathe easy and we giggle together
for loneliness has no room in this room for two.


Punam is a stay at home wife and mom, who writes for textbooks. Her poems have been published by Tuck Magazine, Spillwords and Indian Periodical. She blogs as paeansunplugged on WordPress.