Mr President, by Gil Hoy

There is many
a living thing 

That doesn’t love
a wall. 

Like hunters, rabbits
and yelping dogs 

Like the pine trees
and apple orchards 

Like human beings–
Who aren’t cows– 

And quirky elves don’t
like them much either. 

The frozen-ground-
swells beneath can crack 

Even the strongest stone.
And there are too many gaps 

Between the stones
nonetheless. You can  

Rub your fingers rough
and raw by placing
and replacing 

The fallen stones.
Mr. President: 

I see you walking in the darkness.

An old, rough savage-stone 

 Firmly grasped in each
armed hand.  

Like an old hypothermic man
who is lost 

and cannot find his way

Like your crotchety, stubborn
neighbor beyond the hill.

Mr. President:

 Spring is coming.
Let’s walk the lines, 

Remove the walls
separating pines
and trees bearing fruit.

Mr. President:
Forget your father

He was so very wrong. 

Good walls, like selfish men,
make bad neighbors.  

..

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University under Professors Costello and Pinsky through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared most recently in Chiron Review, The New Verse News, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, I am not a silent poet, The Potomac, Clark Street Review and the penmen review.

Brooklyn Smile, by Arlene Antoinette

You will see him at the corner, by the side of the fruit and vegetable stand most days. He remains silent as he holds a torn, dirty paper cup for passersby to put their change in. His face slick with dirt, makes it difficult to tell his age or his ethnicity. His coat and pants are filthy, it’s impossible to make out their original colors.

I don’t know what made that day different, but on that morning I walked over to him. I held a five-dollar bill between two fingertips, focused on not touching the cup as I made my donation. 

As I drew closer, I noticed his beautiful green eyes and could not help staring. I didn’t mean to smile at him, but I couldn’t help myself, those gorgeous green eyes seemed to twinkle in the sunlight. He stood up suddenly, surprising me for a moment.

It was too late for me to change my forward trajectory. My right hand connected with his left shoulder in not quite a punch, but more of a push. The five-dollar bill slipped from my fingers. I bent down to pick it up, not noticing he had also reached down. Our skulls collided with a startling clunk, causing both of us to stand straighten up and clutch the top of our heads. It was me who yelled ouch first, he joined in two seconds later as if we were a wailing duet.

We looked at each other a bit surprised, and laughed like two children who had just shared a silly joke. He smiled at me then, and through all the dirt and grime I saw him, a man who had done a lot of living and a lot of suffering.

I would like to tell you that the result of this encounter changed his circumstances. I would like to tell you that after our shared moment we became friends. I would like to, but I can’t because nothing changed. John still lives in the alley by the fruit and vegetable stand and continues to panhandle daily.

We exchange smiles on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when I take the time to place a bill or two into his cup. I then continue on to the subway pretending everything is okay as I wait for my day to start, and my petty worries to overshadow the thoughts of a man, living out his life in an alley on the busy streets of Brooklyn.

..

Arlene is a poet of West Indian birth. Additional poetry and flash fiction can be found at I am not a silent Poet and elsewhere on the web. Thank you for reading her work.

Tribute, by Michael Peck

Everything seemed to slow down, movement became almost imperceptible, the clocks hands seemed frozen in place – no one was speaking, a pregnant pause filled the room, they were waiting for the speaker to arrive – waiting to hear what they expected to hear – the curtain opened slowly to a bare stage – a small man walked to the microphone flattening out a small piece of paper – studying it closely as if the writing was illegible – he started slowly reading word by word ” I’m sorry but the president won’t be speaking tonight he’s been shot and is currently in the ICU at the hospital” – moans and frightened voices filled the audience – we ask you all to go home now, so  the theater can close early – no one moved, a few people shouted questions – the small man left the stage as the murmuring voices gained in volume – large ushers started moving row by row making sure the people left – they were bouncers from bars, large and unsmiling – the room emptied out and then the ushers gathered in the front of the stage filling their glasses with whiskey – laughing, toasting, here’s to our fearless leader found drunk and naked by his mistress’ husband who shot him in the ass with a pellet gun

recursive deaths, by Sudeep Adhikari

did you find the gold in sand
where the solar ores
mixes seamlessly
with the rivers
of your fragile bones?

as the bodybags
come home
through the doors,

in the shape of horizontal deaths,

the air is soiled by the salts
of screaming earths

it was already your ghost
that left; to keep dying in a cycle
of indefinite recursion.

..

[According to 2016 Aljazeera’s report: In total, more than 5,000 workers from Nepal have died working abroad (mostly Middle-East) since 2008 – more than the number of US troops killed in the Iraq War. The cause has been named as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome, a mysterious serial-killer which likes to haunt the poor in their sleep.]

..

Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer from Kathmandu, Nepal.  His recent publications were with Beatnik Cowboys, Chiron Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Midnight Lane Boutique, Occulum, Silver Birch Press and Eunoia Review. Also a Pushcart Prize nominee for the year 2018, Sudeep is currently working on his 4th poetry-book
“Hyper-Real Reboots”, which is scheduled for publication in September 2018 through Weasel Press, Texas, USA

we help these corporations exist as our 83-year-old mothers remain in pain by Martin Hayes

we help these corporations exist by making sure
that the documents of the various deals and contracts they have going on
arrive on time

we help these corporations exist
as we work through toothache
work through hangovers
pumping away at our keypads
so that the documents they send out
get there on time
and the contracts they need
can be proofread
before being sent back
to be signed

we are told by our supervisors
that these corporations spend enough money on couriers in one month
to make all of our jobs
safe

we help these corporations exist
as our 83-year-old mothers have to fill out 28-page forms
to see if they qualify for meals on wheels
as our 83-year-old mothers
who held down jobs for over 60 years
shit themselves on their own because the home help has been stopped
and they are too embarrassed to call a family member in to help
as our 83-year-old mothers sit in homes unable to move or pick up their grandchildren
because they have been refused an operation
to alleviate their chronic arthritis
by a government
who has received millions of pounds
from these same corporations
that we slog our guts out for each day
helping to get their documents and contracts delivered
so that they can remain healthy
and strong

The Truth about Syria by Charlie Hill

Assad, the Butcher.

In the latest horrors from Syria, United Nations monitors are investigating a massacre in the hamlet of Qubeir, where some 78 people reportedly were shot, garroted or burned alive. If formally confirmed, it would be the fourth massacre in two weeks. Activists said an assault on the town of Hiffeh that began on Monday included the first use of missiles fired from helicopter gunships since the anti-Assad protests began 16 months ago.

Despite his claims that the violence is the work of “terrorists,” President Bashar al-Assad has a lot to hide. On Thursday, Syrian troops and pro-government supporters barred the monitors from Qubeir, and the monitors were fired upon. The team was finally permitted to enter the hamlet on Friday, and journalists and a spokeswoman for the monitors reported chilling evidence of multiple killings, including congealed blood and scattered body parts. Villagers said militiamen had trucked bodies away.

 

Another bogeyman?

Having taken out Saddam in Iraq and Gaddafi in Libya, US/NATO/Israel moved onto the next bogeyman in the Middle East in 2011, Bashar Assad, president of Syria. However, Wikileaks documents reveal plans afoot to destabilise Syria as far back as 2006.The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), hatched by the Zionist neocon cabal in Washington, had Syria and the Middle East in its sights a decade before.

Assad has been falsely accused of attacking his own people with chemical weapons but like the stories of Kuwaiti babies being hurled from incubators by Iraqi forces or the Libyan army being given Viagra to facilitate rape as part of Gaddafi’s war on his own people, evidence indicates this is untrue. Bashar Assad is not the monster he’s made out to be.

 

One boy was filmed suffocating on the ground, his chest heaving and his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Photographs show dead children lined up in rows on the floor or piled in heaps in the back of a vehicle, their clothes ripped from them by rescuers who used hoses to try to wash the chemicals from their bodies. Other images show victims foaming from their mouths or writhing on the ground as they struggle for air. Hours after the attack began, witnesses say, regime warplanes circled back over the area and dropped bombs on a clinic treating survivors.

Kerry: Syria gas attack a moral obscenity

US Secretary of State John Kerry has signalled his country’s intention to act on Syria, describing the use of chemical weapons as a “moral obscenity” and pinning the blame on the Syrian government.

“Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable,” Kerry said.

“The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself. And that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilised world long ago decided must never be used at all, a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else,” Kerry added.

 

 

 

Syrian rebel groups backed by the U.S. and its allies “have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, including abductions, torture and summary killings,” according to Amnesty International.

A report by the leading human rights organization details how extremist rebel groups have taken over large parts of major Syrian cities, in which they have created repressive theocratic regimes where critics are violently silenced and where religious and ethnic minority groups fear for their lives.

 

 

THE CASE FOR HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION

The concept of humanitarian intervention is at its core about protecting people. It rests on the premise that when gross abuses of human rights are taking place, when innocent people are being maimed and killed, then the international community cannot and should not stand idly by. What precisely should be done and by whom is a topic of great importance and debate. But that something should be done to stop such abuses is unquestionable. As Kofi Annan has stated unequivocally “massive and systematic violations of human rights, wherever they take place, should never be allowed to stand.”

As Beate Jahn has put it, the debate around “humanitarian intervention” centres on whether we believe the world is becoming more moral and, therefore, a new kind of “humanitarian” intervention is possible, or whether we think morality is essentially unchanging, but that we need a term to justify intervention in support of a particular political project, in which case labelling it “humanitarian” is inappropriate. She argues that history reveals morality and politics to be mutually constitutive and that “the concept of humanitarian intervention therefore does not describe new policies; instead it serves to hide the political nature of these policies today.”

Has the world hit compassion fatigue for Syria’s refugees?

Empathy reserves on empty

An anti-refugee backlash seems to sweeping the globe, reflected in media coverage and government policy. Adam White asks what has happened to our collective sympathy and concern for the human rights of refugees?

We need new photographs of dead Syrian children. With politicians and sectors of the general public exhibiting a significant reduction in sympathy of late for the plight of incoming refugees, it might be necessary. The last time we all saw a dead Syrian child, in the form of Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, it spearheaded major questions about the UK’s relative lack of support for Syrian refugees. Charity drives were launched, Facebook campaigns were all the rage, and celebrities announced their intentions to open up their homes to those most in need. Then it all seemed to stop.

We need new photographs of dead Syrian children. But here’s a surprise. As it turns out, though you’d be forgiven for not being aware, we already have them. When a boat of refugees sunk off the Turkish coast on January 28, killing all 37 Syrians on board, photographers were able to snap nearly identical images to the ones that shocked the world into (short-lived) action last summer. Like the images of Alan, these were similarly tragic photographs of another young Syrian child, cradled in the arms of a member of the Turkish armed guard.

But unlike Alan, this dead child hasn’t been splashed across the mainstream press. Instead there has been a significant shift in refugee coverage. No longer are refugees being depicted as humans in desperate need of help, nor even as relentless blights on Europe… they’re not being reported on at all.

What is being covered in the British media of late are acts of degrading human indecency: identifying wristbands for refugees in Cardiff, coloured doors in Middlesbrough, neo-Nazi rallies in Dover. Following a week of high-profile stories, it’s easy to stop and ponder: has the absence of an emotional narrative contributed to the strange rise in anti-refugee sentiment in recent weeks? Or did we all just get a bit bored by it all?

 

 

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why [Updated]

shademw19 hours ago

this is proegada :O the norhe never forget . the USA is the eivel in the waord . may odini sloter you alle cristin skum

D Summerz2 days ago

This is like Metal Gear Solid, but in real life..

Vitamin C Kills Implanted Alien Hybrid Embryos1 day ago

this video is pure jewry

Reggie Lourm1 day ago

What the TRUTH and what is fake,?

 

Should you let your kids watch the news?

Child abuse, drownings, scary clowns. The kind of bad news stories that adults are exposed to every day but what about children and the way they process these stories? Sean O’Rourke asks if we should protect them from hearing bad news?

We have to offer some context. We have to explain as best we can what that’s about, why that’s happening because at some level we need to understand – What is it that they know? What sense are they already making about it? So you might ask them some follow up questions about what it is they’ve seen.”

After you’ve found out their thoughts and shared your own explanation of the facts. It can be helpful to offer some reassurance to your kids in a practical and honest way…Instead of denying the possibility of bad things happening it is better to assure your children that it’s very unlikely that anything will happen to them as the level of risk and danger is very low.

 

Footage shows injured children so traumatised they have stopped crying

 

According to the United Nations, at least 2,700 children were among 8,000 evacuees allowed to leave the war-torn Syrian city in recent days.

But many more remain trapped in the remaining rebel-held areas.

In video footage, aired by Channel 4 News, one toddler, called Aya, sits on a stretcher in Aleppo’s last hospital, her face covered in dust and dried blood.

As chaos engulfs the room around her, the toddler doesn’t cry.

Assad, the Butcher.

Journalists and a spokeswoman for the monitors reported chilling evidence of multiple killings, including congealed blood and scattered body parts. Villagers said militiamen had trucked bodies away.

 

 

Another bogeyman?

Like the stories of Kuwaiti babies being hurled from incubators by Iraqi forces, evidence indicates this is untrue. Bashar Assad is not the monster he’s made out to be.

 

 

One boy was filmed suffocating on the ground, his chest heaving and his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Other images show victims foaming from their mouths or writhing on the ground as they struggle for air.

 

 

Kerry: Syria gas attack a moral obscenity

“Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. This is about the large-scale indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilised world long ago decided must never be used at all, a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else,” Kerry added.

 

 

Syrian rebel groups backed by the U.S. and its allies “have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, including abductions, torture and summary killings,” according to Amnesty International.

 

 

THE CASE FOR HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION

The concept of humanitarian intervention is at its core about protecting people. As Kofi Annan has stated unequivocally “massive and systematic violations of human rights, wherever they take place, should never be allowed to stand.”

 

The debate around “humanitarian intervention” centres on whether we believe the world is becoming more moral and a new kind of “humanitarian” intervention is possible. She argues that history reveals morality and politics to be mutually constitutive and that “the concept of humanitarian intervention therefore does not describe new policies; instead it serves to hide the political nature of these policies today.”

 

Has the world hit compassion fatigue for Syria’s refugees?

Empathy reserves on empty

We need new photographs of dead Syrian children. The last time we all saw a dead Syrian child, in the form of Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, charity drives were launched, Facebook campaigns were all the rage, and celebrities announced their intentions to open up their homes to those most in need. Then it all seemed to stop.

When a boat of refugees sunk off the Turkish coast, there were similarly tragic photographs of another young Syrian child, cradled in the arms of a member of the Turkish armed guard.

But unlike Alan, this dead child hasn’t been splashed across the mainstream press. No longer are refugees being depicted as humans in desperate need of help, nor even as relentless blights on Europe… they’re not being reported on at all.

Did we all just get a bit bored by it all?

 

 

This is like Metal Gear Solid, but in real life.

This video is pure Jewry

What is the TRUTH and what is fake?

 

Should you let your kids watch the news?

Child abuse, drownings, scary clowns. Atrocities in Libya. What about children and the way they process these stories? What is it that they know? What sense are they already making about it? Instead of denying the possibility of bad things happening it is better to assure your children that it’s very unlikely that anything will happen to them, as the level of risk and danger is very low.

Footage shows injured children so traumatised they have stopped crying

 

In video footage, one toddler sits on a stretcher in Aleppo’s last hospital, her face covered in dust and dried blood.

As chaos engulfs the room around her, the toddler doesn’t even cry.

 

 

Assad, the Butcher.

 

Scattered body parts;

 

morally obscene; a boy

like a fish out of water.

 

(But is this TRUE or is it fake?

Is he instead a bogeyman? (pure Jewry; extremist rebels)

Not the monster he’s made out to be?)

 

 

We should intervene of course,

except interventions are Political

and our empathy reserves are empty

(Ha! Real life Action-Adventure Stealth);

 

Besides. What are we to think or do,

how can we make anything

of a toddler who doesn’t cry.

 

Charlie Hill is a critically acclaimed novelist and short story writer. He has published a handful of poems in Under the RadarProle, Ink, Sweat and Tears and I am not a silent poet.

Listening to Bach’s Passion at the Proms by Carolyn O’Connell

Sung in German, his language
one I slightly know
the anger of the mob, a people led
by men who feared loss of power
to reject an innocent man
who’d helped and taught love.

Knowledge of another’s language
culture and beliefs: brings understanding
no matter what his colour, status
or the culture, country where he flies from
or still strives to live.

If all men could learn from others
the stranger on your road
then no leader would have power
to bring men to hate or war.

There would be no enemy
no one to despise
we’d understand each other
no matter what the dress or voice
or where we live or worship
or even what we eat.

Then we’d be each other’s brothers
and sisters, forever joined in harmony.

Anti-gay pogrom in Chechnya by Stefanie Bennett

And I will love you because
the world never did.
And I will cloak you in syllables
to  keep inquiring eyes at bay.
And I will cover our footprints
so daringly
that no-one will ask,
ever again,
for a sequel to love and loveliness.
 .
And you will love me because
the world never did.
Because the gentleness of fortitude
is a hard act to follow.
And we will scrape up
our worldly ruins
to begin building this
hectare of the heart
cupped between the planet’s breast.
 .
Know that the quiet doctrines will be
as fragile
as your face.
The direction…
clear as a single birdcall
across the idioms
of free space.
In a land where
no wall stands we will
 .
meet and set our lives to the order
of metaphysical things.
We will love because
the world never did; and
give back
what was never taken
when the time comes.

white dog inaugural (himself canine after the rain) by Fred Mecklenburg

Fourth of July
fiery rain burns down through skin
it’s streamers come explosions on the night
melted dials a tortured horse last light bulb on
in limbo
 
do his hands shake
in terror or prayer or infirmity
or to his own dying music
heart attacked between the lesson and bad life
a fading glow
 
adolescence
self-crucifixion by gouging wire
electric lust of past for future
now a whitening dream among fate’s greater scars
poor tyro
 
let’s unwrap it
merciless bleeding edges of broken mirrors
invisibility becoming a multitude of cuts
hands heart mind stripped naked to autumn
and the crow
 
doesn’t matter
when your city burns your self becomes fire
and flesh shows only smoke and tinder
and the contemplation of its scattered ashes
year zero
 
blood red turns pinioned white to black
in the heart of the inferno
in the cut rose
shines a semi-fertile seed of night
 
sawdust pictures
manipulations done by way of air and straw
and that struck match ever hovers there
I hear him singing to complement the burning
movie show
 
it’s not Zontar
more alien yet still more hateful
oversprouted thin-skinned vegetable head
and a bitter legion walking dead
in its shadow
 
a ruined child
its golden treasury of obscene bedtime stories
personal theory of decline in the rank of prophets
rally calls for the tarring and feathering
of the superego
 
the pale shed tears
glimmering punk lights run off down bad alleys
the grinning cracked walls of debased chapels
rattling bones set dancing by water damage
so thorough
 
sliced elephants
cut rhino horn ground in occupied nations
animal torture and Aryan hair
blasted poles refrosted with artificial sugar
plastic snow
 
filthy river
it’s a winding chart of cash payments
and some blood caked favor each one bought
it’s a world within the world lurks
incognito
 
it cries time die
a drawn out torment is its ecstasy
extended limo leaves steel treads over Hammurabi
Nuremburg highs and subordinates trembling
like jello
 
firebrand fascist
burns up everything beyond a lash’s reach
hell hounds sprung from mothballs half asleep
relearning scents laid up in secret databases
long ago
 
the carnival color wheel of pain
forever grinding westerly
harvest of sunflowers
blue gun smoke around the moon
 
he dares the bugs
suck his arm infiltrating little love pumps
fit to burst upon a white sheet
all poetry to be interrupted
merely so
 
he hides in rooms
seeking anonymity in tangling sheets
until it dawns these blank hotels are teeth
around a mouth swallows earth
as they yellow
 
he dares the dogs
there’s an atlas of the stars in his room
impact holes in ancient plaster
and a wet scent by which he goads flecked dogs
to bellow
 
he tells their tale
but only because he may have lived too long
what’s gone is gone buried built over lied
a heart aches for a song and finds itself
a dead radio
 
this bone prickled creek bed’s called skeleton wash
rib cage freckling in the sand flow
sun soft hiss
 
in the center of his head
the curses flesh like bites of sunlight
from living water
 
he dares the dogs
to shake themselves the starry chains of heaven
long dead wells of abstraction
flailing dogs unleashed in the creation
run mad  below
 
he dares her now
she wants the head of John the Baptist again
flag wrapping illuminated
roman candles pilot fish and nukes
tight set to blow
 
thrift shop word play embedded with boozy prose
an old friend’s skull become my own
possession
 
the fossil mites and spiders
frolic bedrock of a dreary head
untimely laughter
 
he dares all cops
stand flat footed flea bit bleeding midnight
burning up pages from this morning’s papers
a mad dog stinking of last night’s rain fall
timed to go
 
he dares the state
his cross firmly planted in its landscape
off fields run red with its wolves
the semi-circles of his sweat shocked eyes
roll to follow
 
morning glory spit stalk nightmare
shirt knit of casual weeds
cut skin passed around
a chorus sounds high locust prayers
 
a thief’s red hand
a flickering torch lit vainly in pursuit again
recanted citizenship reclaimed
my lost homestead in the arc of his stuffed fist
lays me low
 
my shirts all smell
cigarettes body odor poverty and shame
bad eyes broken teeth impending lunacy
still laughing up a nasty sleeve
at the preacher’s echo
 
this empty cry
raining rabid sky spittle and hard dry ice
the man fell asleep across the heating grate won’t hear
but if my Antarctic would shake his Arctic hand
he would know
 
such a rare bird
its frayed and blood-gorged crimson feathers
with its still thirsty trim of this world’s spectrum flags
and its breathless map hugged hard by a python
tornado
 
brute servitude
laying out horizon lines in southern latitudes
swallowing ocean waves become law
generations sweating life against tyranny
ducks in a row
 
miss just one thing
ever so trivial it’s death destroyer of worlds
drifting smoke mistaken for your bones in moonlight
it’ll sell the Devil your soul for its one lost ticket
to El Dorado
 
molten gold rush
Wimoweh manifest pipelines Zantzinger rentals
colonization’s fattening on coke and a smile
Wisconsin Pennsylvania
Ohio
 
fifth sixth seventh
but the days of iniquity stand numbered
unrighteous towers eventually fall from within
like straw of prophecy in its crossed divinations
I say so
 
no diamond
birthed smooth in its venerable pit
be less regnant more fetid my line
more magnetic less bravura
more sonorous and deep embouchured
this white noise won’t do
 
not now no nor ever
 
no
 
no
 
no
 
no

Mime Lives by Scott Redmond

The year is 2163.

A home for lost mimes an hour outside of Paris is where you are located. There is an almost eerie silence around the building. This makes sense, they are mimes. It feels like something is about to go down, you don’t know what but something.

There has been an increasingly low tolerance for your people in the past few years, and things seemed close to boiling over. Hate crimes and violence against silent artists were at an all time high, and they couldn’t even cry for help. They tried to fight back with guns and bats but they were all imaginary, so had very little if any effect.

It all started when She was elected. She ran on a platform of zero tolerance for street performers, and narrowly won. Times were bleak. Face paint was quickly banned, with some claiming it was oppressive to mime women. It is always the mime-norities they target first. Then the killings began There would be no warning before the troops came by in the middle of the night No one was ever seen again.

First they came for the human statues and you did not speak out- because you were a mime. Then they came for the buskers and you did not speak out- because you were still a mime. Then they came for the street dancers and you still did not speak out- this mime thing makes the talking difficult. Finally they came for you and there was no-one left to speak out for you.

Thus, you had been driven to the outskirts of town, the only way to keep the young mimes safe. All day you spent, erecting your invisible walls, laying out hypothetical bear traps, just waiting for them to come. You knew it was just a matter of time.

It was the break of day when the first battalion was seen coming over the hill. The night watchman tried to warn everyone, but his pantomime yells fell on sleeping ears, sleeping ears that couldn’t see him overly gesticulate.

They walked through your traps and barricades as if they weren’t there, breaching the perimeter as quickly as they’d appeared. Some they killed, others they dragged away. The young were taken with the hope that they could be re-assimilated into society, that silence could be bred out within a couple of generations.

Less than twenty minutes it took, for them to sweep through the entire compound. Some tried fighting back, back the military strength and the strong winds they were imagining were too powerful to overcome. Le Pen may be mightier than the sword, but the mind it seems is not.

You were the only one left. Clever enough to hide under an actual real blanket, no one found you and that they have left, the silence has intensified. Some of your brethren have been taken, the rest lie dead around you. The tears smear your face paint as you consider what to do next.

You decide that you cannot stay as surely they will soon return looking for any latecomers, so you run off into the woods. Running for many hours, until you find yourself unable to run any more you trip over something which should not be there.

A book.

Looking at the cover, it is Her autobiography. With nothing else to do, and nowhere to go you sit down in the wet mud to read it, tears still streaking down your face and causing the white paint to stain the pages.

It seems that her hatred of street performers, of mimes in particular dates back to an incident in her childhood. She was standing on a streetcorner in Paris, watching a mime perform, on a particularly cold day. It seemed like it would be nicer when she left the house in the morning so she went out only in a t-shirt. As the show went on, she got colder and colder and ended up with a mild dose of hypothermia. Though easily treated, she held the grudge from that day on and never forgave the street performing community.

Finishing the book in little over half an hour, she was hardly a writer, you continue your travels through the woods and come across a small, rickety shack emanating a strange blue light.

Knocking nervously on the door, you meet a strange old man; crazy white hair and a long lab coat reveal him to be a scientist. Through mime, you explain to him your story and fortunately he is on the side of the resistance. He explains that he is in fact an inventor and his newest invention is an as of yet untested time machine.
He offers you food, a place to stay the night but warns that you should move on in the morning for fear of being tracked. However, as he shakes you awake you realise that it is too late, they have already found you.
You both run for the time machine, hoping to escape into the future. As you open the door to the strange, glowing box you hear the shouts  of the soldiers behind you. The whir of a bullet. The old man falls, and with his last breath tells you to take the machine.
The door closes behind you. You take a moment to breath in deeply, and press some buttons with no real knowledge of how to work the contraption. As a mime, you weren’t even allowed your driver’s license.

The sound of cogs turning combines with a bright, unnatural flash. Everything shakes, forcing you from side to side and then… nothing. The movement and the noise and the light stops. The cold, dark metallic hue of the machine surrounds you in the darkness.

Clambering for the door, you exit out onto the street and recognise it. It’s Paris, but not how it looks now. How it looked before the purges.

You pick up a newspaper and recognise the date from the book; today is the day She got the chill watching the performer.
You rush to the yarn store, pick up some needles and run across the city, knitting against time. If you can just make a sweater and get it to her before she gets too cold, then all the bloodshed could be saved.
Cars block the path ahead of you, a parade is in progress. It seems as if the world is out to stop you.

Finally, just in the nick of time you manage to get to ehr and slip the jumper over her shoulders. Instantly, you can see the colour return to her face and she goes back to watching the show, laughing and smiling.
Back in the time machine, you travel back to the present day and you see all of your friends back on street corners, doing what they love, untarnished by prejudice.

You have done it, thanks to your amazing knitting prowess you have saved your silent brethren.

I guess it’s true what they say; a stitch in time saves mimes.

from ‘Nowhere To Stand’ by Barbara Donne

Sebastien was killed on the first day of the First Battle of the Somme. So were 59,999 other sons, husbands, fathers. 60,000 butchers, bakers, blacksmiths, bank clerks, farmers and fishmongers, turned into dead soldiers in the space of one day. Lay them side by side. Look from an orbiting spacecraft and you wouldn’t even see a dark patch; but looking out of the window seat as your plane descended, I know your stomach would lurch, your heart turn over. If it were possible to recover all the bodies, parts of bodies and scattered remnants of parts of bodies; how many innocent green fields would be filled? Don’t ask me. I’m not a mathematician or a statistician.

..

An excerpt from the novel Nowhere To Stand, which Barbara published in 2013.

The Eyes of a Child by Paul Griffiths

Different childhoods from different times.
Holding tightly to my mother’s hand.
Crossing the road to the local sweetshop.
10p mixed bag of half penny sweets.

Blackjacks fruit salads mint mojo”s
White mice and chocolate logs.
Happiness in a little paper bag.
Contentment guaranteed.

Patch of grass in front of our house.
Tattered leather casey football
Broken sticks for goal posts.
This was our Wembley.

New craze painful phase.
Skateboarding without the pads.
Kiss the pavement, broken bones
At least the hospital was close to home.

Another world school disco.
A new thing called girls.
Chat up technique, hit and miss.
Still remember my first kiss.

Nothing but fond memories.
From a different time, a different age.
Seen through the eyes of a happy child.
Oblivious to how big a world is.

Oblivious to the war Cold war.
The looming threat of Nuclear annihilation.
The Vietnam war.
But then like now, I remember the boat people.

How history has come full circle.
Like hands on the clock.
Grasping for help in this desperate time.
The world seems to be in that small boat.

Syrian child has forgotten the taste of anything sweet.
Hold tight to his mother, as she tries to avoid the sniper.
Belly hungry, empty shelves in looted shops.
Begging for scraps, to get through the day.

Used artillery shell for a football.
Bomb craters for goal posts.
This is his war zone.
Yet still children play.

Bombed out tank is his den.
This is his skateboard, imaginary movement.
But a bonafide target.
To the incoming drone.

Peeled open like a can.
Deafened by the blast.
He kisses the pavement.
He sees but cannot hear his mother screaming.

She tries to comfort him.
Shock sets in, as the world turns red.
No ambulance no hospital no help.
Just his mother’s soft hand, on his brow.

His only comfort is her kisses of love.
He smiles to her, as her features fade.
Different childhoods different times.
Seen through the eyes of a Child.

Heaven Awaits by Jay Tana

Oh my dear Lord for I endure scorn for your sake , I’m flying like a bird in the Sky’s my flight unheard,  I’m a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother, I pray you answer my call help me get out of the mires, out of the deep waters, out of the goodness of your love, im all worn out sinking in miry depths, forced to restore enermies without cause surrounded by black ice, like a ship without a rudder  I must confess through out our diffluent disdain jewels of wisdom invoking notoreity runners consisted drug dealing,  a glitched to everything we attack conspicuously situated be throwing hearts to aside, how can we show how we feel inside i feel like a falling plane in distress granted ready to die, a custom to pain obident sustained blood spilling murder, death, kill , imposed with guns and Roses bin and out of wars, we don’t need where kids getting murdered, acclimatised tied to a thousand horses with caustic chemical burns on every child.

Into the Gates of Hell by Jay Tana

somewhere deep in the night my heart drops fast, fleeing out of evident error’ fearing the punishment of a dreadful blast, praying for those that sin,  those that have built, a root mountain down for which have falling himself a punishment,  opposed lost out of true directions,  ignored plunging into plotting against rate sin, ignoring messages, please god save us from  the trail of the grave, from the evil of its people and the evil it contains, ratified swarmed up to hilt,  causing division among others mankind, in mortal fear, in terror of death, descending the opposite of prosperity,  into giving glad tidings, but god us ever around the rejected of faith, in error of madness, on every degree of asscent, ordained dazed at a wonderstruck wondering like the blind ones, lounging for day and night to break, observing the hours in what seems to stand, a prior to its appearance, fighting against depride starvation,  with a slite bitter storm of defeat, I feel arranged outta place, curled in illusive content living, with shallow caves elated, restrained putting the whole world to sleep, in a life we don’t need with pronto killers giving over aggressions under hankers magnetics , and power build greed.

“Paris Night by Lindsey Talbott

The man on the crowded bus spat at us hand in hand on the bridge I said fuck you to the stranger who called you a black bastard he knocked me to the ground and would have done more but his friends told him are you a coward that you would hit a woman they did not help me up your mother said white girls are sluts and westerners make disloyal friends my mother said children of mixed marriages get teased at school

I mostly remember I wore a white dress with ribbons laced into the neck. We ate falafel from a street vendor, hot, crisp, softly spiced within, licking salt and oil from our fingers. We danced over the Seine through the summer air, coming to rest in the shadow of Hotel de Ville, adoration in your face as you looked into the mirror of mine, you and the fountains lit from some mysterious source within the water”

battle-lines by Jennifer Louise Croft

my words are put to shame, at times. grimace of a smile. but the nature, is to better, any other in this game. the aim is to topple all, puncture their ball and stand tall, on this pile of other artists.
prancers, in the midnight light, that think fickleness can impress. this should interest, those better then me. if true, state your name and prepare to be driven insane as I will wrap words round your membrane. only condolence is, your empty space will stay nice and warm, as my sentences swarm in your ear, and blow what little you know, clean out of the water.
I don’t want to put a dampener on your spirit. ill give it. im not that good, but under this hood is a mechanical wonderland, that spits vocab for breakfast and then snacks on your mushy gizzards.

through all this, arts the winner. we the writer, a major sinner, as we fumble for the next rhyme and or reason. we commit verb and noun treason, as we re-arrange the infrastructure that collaborates with our minds sound and so as we spin on this never ending, merry-go-round, ill pound you to the dirt, with my insightful lines. my tremendous, under-qualified mind and set fire to the pages, you haven’t even writ yet.

but if I did this, id pass on miraculous remedies, that’ll fix your shit and would lead me, to a big tumble and fall. and after all, why would I do that? a sardonic twist to my good nature, might cripple this fighter of words and grammar. its the only time I could possibly win as im rarely a fist swinger.
so ive pitched my weapon up against the pages margin, and into the bargain, a rubber. my mascot, as I write in pencil. but I could still stencil in your defeat, with our battle of words. the ergonomics of it all, would mean I miss out on profits of the pocket, but my morals will rocket up so fast, im clinching the edge of the space-craft, via my fingernails.
ive caught the breeze, without sails and my ship is going knots. so my friend, my literature enemy, take heed as we wage war on one another. my brother, lay down your pen, this is one battle you’ll never win. just accept your my squire and im the champion knight. exquisite at wordplay. my pencil’s my sword. my paper’s my shield and with this I will wield all the letters I can, to demoralize the hater’s and nay-sayers.
in principle, my fight for success is worth something. so I press you for your stance. will we make world war three or use our words to save the breath of humanity? or capitulate it into a debauchery of insanity?

art is still the winner, and we are still the sinner, as we act like congress. baboons, not the American government, with faces as red as our bums. the funs in the sharing and enlightenment of others, not the tragic solitude of wizened ideas, left unknown.

Los Desaparecidos (The Disappeared) by Michael Brockley

The ghost of the Sandy Hook teacher keens through the speakers of your Chevy Cruze, and the twelve-year old Christina-Taylor Green asks you if Harry Potter would marry a Muggle. Every night, you sleep beneath a quilt of music sewed by martyrs. On the night of Martin Luther King’s death, you bowed your head on the corner of 17th and Broadway while another doomed man hoisted a beacon of peace. Now the names of los desaparecidos are tattooed on your heart. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Ethel Lance. When did you read The Invisible Man? The Beatitudes? The roman à clef of the girls held captive in basement vaults in Cleveland? There is a word for the journey that changes a life. One for the place from where one’s strength is drawn. There is a word for the overwhelming desire to kiss another. A name for a person who finds peace within rain. How many times have you stopped your car in the middle of a road to carry a turtle to its mate on the other side? What if you planted a garden of milkweeds to nurture a thousand caterpillars before their metamorphosis into flight? What if you tended a hive of bees for every day of summer? The only voice you hear speaks in el lenguaje del silencio? History has become the love doll of pale men in gray suits. You carry a grief stone in your chest beside a morsel of rage. If you had to tell the truth, you don’t know which one weighs the most.

A Great Deal of Intelligence Can Be Invested in Ignorance When the Need for Illusion Is Deep by Michael Brockley

from To Jerusalem, and Back,

                                                                      Saul Bellow

You’ve spent the morning drawing Venn diagrams and tic-tac-toe grids while overhearing a kid tell her friend a strawberry is not a berry, but a banana is. You’re an apricot chai addict who eavesdrops on children who know too much about fruit. A pencil-wielding dropout from Mardi Gras College who sketches boxes on junk mail. The dumbest congressman still calls you even though he knows he’s dialing an unwelcome number. He claims to be an agent for impotent domains. Says he has dildomatic immunity. You entertain delusions about a sleepover invite from that actress on “Gilligan’s Island,” so you always answer the phone. Today, Congressman Dummkopf begs for donations to a museum where Adam and Eve joyride through Eden on matching Triceratops. A comfortable upgrade from the Stegosaur model with those pain-in-the-ass seats. You pledge a U. S. Grant. Then distract yourself by contemplating love apples and fruits covered with fur. You draw a  Sudoku board, filling the squares with clementines and kumquats. Savoring the way kumquat tastes in your mouth but never questioning why you keep a photograph of Dawn Wells in your wallet. On the news, a possum spent the night eating jelly donuts in an Australian cafe. When discovered by the morning crew, the sot sprawled across a bed of crullers and fritters, belching through its eyes. In Germany, Lügenpresse is proclaimed the Worst Word of the Year. The lying media. And Congressman Dimwit introduces a bill to classify cherries as berries. Another to monitor fertility by swallowing surveillance cameras. You draw a donut spoiled by a marsupial bite and a crossword puzzle impersonating a scavenger hunt. The first clue is a six-letter word for a berry that can be repealed.

Skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee with my dittoheads, by Michael Brockley

I wonder at the simplicity of solving unemployment by outlawing the minimum wage. My partners nod in agreement as all of us tread water. We left our wives in the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, plying a pair of assassins from Mossad with 007 cocktails. My colleague from Indiana practices Latin conjugations as he preps his lecture to the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on the vigor of Laffer curves and the polluting habits of trees. The Toddster chuckles as he rolls onto his back. We confab over legitimate rape and the danger of impregnating women with blow jobs. On nights like these, buck naked with my buds in holy water, I have troublesome visions of Ayn Rand in a love sandwich with Papa Smurf and the Teletubby I call Red Purse. These fantasies worry me, what with my junk hanging in the Galilee and the prodigious rut of blue puppets a perverse guardian angel on my shoulder. Tonight the Majority Leader wants to award “Catsup, the Next Vegetable” franchises to the dark side of the moon. As the Gipper said, “Facts are dumb.” He always pulls me from my funk. What I wouldn’t give for a Cuban to smoke while my posse awards lunar plots to Rupert and Rush. While four of us plan a campaign stop at the Creation Museum. Rand is swimming toward us, pushing her languid breasts through the waves. The next governor of Indiana boasts of the orphanages he intends to open, and Newt has all but patented his idea for having the sons of Ham clean school toilets during kindergarten recess. Rand climbs onto a sandbar to sing “Die Lorelie.” My wife and I have a carpe diem understanding.

Lonesome No More by Michael Brockley

“Man is the only being
Who knows he is alone.”

Octavio Paz

 

In childhood, we passed through the doorway behind our closet into the kingdom of lions. Now our belles wed beasts cursed without glamour or foma. Instead they kiss princes who will always remain bluebeards. We gather on the deck of cruise ships to purchase Siberian brides or Mandarin husbands as an Arctic bear guides her cubs through the polar seas toward a myth of ice floes. We gather with romance in our mouths to witness their drowning. None of us is the seventh son of a seventh son. Our hocus pocus reduced to farting and dancing in a monkey house. We must feed each other, each Deadeye Dick and Rosewater,  the breakfast of champions. And unravel the Gordian knot of the cat’s cradle. The threshold to the kingdom we seek opens into the Galápagos where the wild things thrive. Where every canary has escaped from a cathouse. Where every day is Easter. Let us meet in the forest of gingerbread houses and take up the passion of wolves. Let us swear blood oaths. Should our vessel strike an iceberg in the timequake, we must build enough life rafts for us all.