Two poems by Miranda Lynn Barnes

He showed me the film

of a woman whose tongue had been cut out,
so she could never tell, and whose hands
had been cut off and replaced with branches,
and he told me how I should be thankful
for what happened to me, the experience of it,
like his friend, the tiny blonde ecstatic
in her swings, who once, saturate in mania
had said that she was blessed.

He said, it was “beautiful, so beautiful,”

and it was beautiful, the cinematography
a panning sweep into the swamp
where she motioned with the antlers
she had for wrists, her face the agony
of hopelessness, the deep red wound
of her mouth, round in its lack
of voice, while they gleefully took
everything from her mute and mutilated
body;

oh, but beautiful, beautiful—
the cream-coloured dress, the layers of fabric
trailing in dirt as they perched her
atop the stump, like a veil, like some pedestal,
as if all this larceny, the very last thrash
as the sun made her wince, along with
the song of their manic mockery,
were some kind of savage worship;

beautiful, oh, beautiful!—
Lavinia as she tried to cover her breasts,
ill-fated, with her amputated arms and
kindling fingers, red-stained—
how vulnerable! her flushed cheeks!
her delicate young face! and the circling
jackals cackle away to leave her bound
and propped up like a doll;

oh, beautiful. An insipid spit of a word.
The sunset discovery of her swaying body,
the figure arriving through draping leaves—
a stand of birch trees recording in their scrolls
the names she cannot write or speak—
to behold her thick with clotted silence
and trapped above the festering slough,
her eloquent scream a ribbon of blood.

..

Suffering

Seated on a ledge
above the burning city,
watching fires put out
by a coming tidal wave.
You’re untouched.
You’re fed a lavish
spread, a meal fine as
a white linen tablecloth.
Water solves the problem
of fire, does it not? A hot
ash blots the top
of your meringue.

How you must suffer.

..

Miranda Lynn Barnes is a poet from the US, now resident in the UK. Her poems appear in Under the Radar, The Compass, The Interpreter’s House, Confingo, NOON: a journal of the short poem, and One, as well as several anthologies. Miranda taught Poetry and other genres for five years at Bath Spa University, where she completed her PhD in Creative Writing, but now serves as Research Publications Librarian. She lives in Bristol with her ginger cat and ginger-bearded husband. 
@LuminousJune (Twitter)

Out of Choice, by Jennifer Lagier

Republican comes in the dictionary just after reptile and just above repugnant.” – Julia Roberts

Margaret Atwood announces
she is creating a sequel
to The Handmaid’s Tale,
says under current conditions,
the text writes itself.

Daily, I grind my teeth
as the orange cretin
who squats in the White House
boasts of grabbing pussies,
how he’d love dating his daughter,
judges women leaders
solely on the basis of looks.

Within every branch of government,
smug old white men
suck at the public teat
while interfering with
a woman’s right
to control her own body.

Each outrageous last straw
gives way to fresh undermining,
emotional, physical assaults.
Indictment, incarceration
of corrupt administration criminals
can’t come soon enough.

Eight poems, by Megha Sood

1.Unappreciated

 

How can you live a life when the moments are
as long as the shrug of your shoulder
or waiting on the careless fingers resting on a trigger
marked and unappreciated

How can you live life
when you are judged by your
cast/creed/skin color
or how your tongue moves inside you when you speak of love
those scriptures,
the world has forgotten
while your knees are scraped and blue
kneeling  for praying to gods in heaven

How can you live life like this
when your desire and the rage of hormones
or the sex resting between your supple thighs
marks and etches you
and you can only rest in the binary form
any other is a direct violation of the life
soon to be dissolved,
should cease to exist

How can you live life
like a broken spine of a book
still holding the old rotten pages together with
the essence,
soaked in between
the tattered pages
but too old to be lifted off the shelves
thrown and resting on an old broken armchair

How can you live life like this?
Tell me, Can you?

 

  1. An exercise in futility

 

Be a ladylike,
eye pleasing appearance
enough to gulp down the lies
down your swan bottled neck
oh! only to be bejeweled by the pearl necklace
and the bright possessions
he dons you with

Don’t bother to breathe
when it’s not ladylike
that your chest heaves violently
to the truth you fail to contain in
It’s not social to use expletives in your
aristocratic language
you will be burned at the stake
for speaking your truth
your scraps will be fed to wolves

Don’t wear your truth on your sleeves
which is naked and bold
it can’t hold a gaze
with their shameful eyes
too hard to please;
too simple to ignore

Sit with your legs crossed
my mom used to say.
don’t let that pointy opinions of your
evade your crisscrossed arms
to become an easy prey

Don’t give them enough reasons
your piercing opinions
to point at your ribcage
they will choke you with
their blatant lies
will tear your heart apart
with their hungry eyes

Oh! look at him
he is remorseful
with his flagrant lies
he goes to church on Sundays
lives with his two daughters and his wife
that is enough for him to
seek the blessings of the male privilege
those damn vultures in disguise

Where the validity of your truth never mattered
it would never be
your reality will always be a grain of sand in
their eyes of ignorance
too hard to ignore
too painful to acknowledge.
an exercise in futility.

 

  1. Saintly (Social Inequality)

Failed virtues of the people today
nothing can be fixed
going to church every day
You’re Catholic
and I’m pious
and we still have our fingers
dipped in the blood
of our desires
What makes you more saintly than me I ask
Oh! I pray and confess twice in the last pass
I repent my sins
and donate to charity
to evade taxes
cause I can’t stand in the stinky lines
of the soup kitchen
to feel those empty glances
I’m looking at the God
and still stripping you with my eyes
they say I’m a man of cloth
who has burned every desire
Lighting up candles
kneeling to make my wishes come true
I can kill a person’s desire to live
but I can make a saint out of you.
Reading the holy scriptures
and accepting the truth in the gospel

we are camouflaging so beautifully
hiding the devil so well.
So what makes you feel
so saintly and
makes me a devil
please, pray tell.

 

  1. Broken ( Domestic violence)

You are broken and torn apart
at multiple places
not an inch has been left on your soul
which has not been
branded by his violent displays

You weep and yelp
at the slightest of his touch
bleeding like a soulless animal
you are dragged everywhere

Your heart wrenching
and blood-curdling screams
are falling on the
deaf ears
He is driven by his fear and anger
to brandish your body and soul
to trademark every tear

You wake up next day
salvaging your last dregs of sanity
gather yourself again
to  relive again the hellish reality

You cover and hide your bruises
under your makeup
when the scars are tattooed on your soul
they don’t need  a shakeup

You try to justify his every act
to balance with lost love
once you had
how he must be having a hard day
before he devoured you
with all the anger he had

You are masking your emotions
with that fake smile
and empty heart
living fearfully
not knowing
when it will start again.
Every pore in your body
begets the revenge
till you are knocked down
again
by his strong hand

You wish his existence to be
a glitch in nature
a ripple in time
which can take him back again
So you don’t have to face the mirror
to see his broken love
written on your face
all over again.

 

  1. Lucky ( Rape)

You are broken and
crumbled in thousand pieces
You try to lift with
your tiny finger
the shreds cutting
and piercing
your deep
yellow heart
devoid of any pain
as the eyes gazes
from emptiness to nothing
As you pick up the pieces
And suck the pain
With blood dripping from your soul
your body turned inside out
shamelessly they took
the white soul
and stained it with
their tainted emotions
you let them have you
your eyes pried open
A witness to the living death
and the gore
they had you
they devoured
every shred of your living life
With blood dripping
going down the drain
you are lucky to have
the last gasp of breath
left inside you
you were lucky
they left the last
fragment of soul in you
you were lucky
you were pardoned
after being raped
Mercilessly.

  1. A cry for Life ( Female Infanticide)

I was conceived as a hope
tethered to the
strings of life
gave my mother,
two heartbeats
a moment so precious
so divine.

An unbridled joy
roaming around as a stardust
handpicked you from million
was excited to the core
about the new home
I was getting in.

A mixture of anxiety and happiness
crept in
the moment you
saw me
a speck of life
You fed me and took care of me
while my body
took form and felt alive

I waited those nine months
to be in the arms of
my creator, my father
carried in the womb
and floating in the love
of my mother

As the days grew near
the time flew by
the day finally came
the moment
so serene
so sublime

My arms stretched and ached
to be held by you
in your deep embrace
your face turned yellow
and full of disgust
when you saw my face

You were ashamed
of my existence
my few minutes of feeble breath
brought you disgrace

The softness on
your soul
felt bereft
of peace and warmth
Clouded by the patriarchy
rules of the society
you just wanted me gone

I was snatched from the womb
the cord of life snipped
born as a gender
not chosen as a boon
My cries and screams
were stifled
I was numbed to the core
too early, too soon

Those fingers I longed to clutch
by my little bony self
those fleshy fingers
were busy scraping
the earth in the backyard
getting ready
for my burial.

 

  1. Living nightmare ( Child Sex trafficking)

She was snatched from the
warm embrace of her mother
joy rides from her father
from her cradle of innocence
naked
she stands now
stripped of her emotions

Baring her
broken and shattered soul
at every lecherous eye
and fornicated look
she is a grown up
woman
too early too soon

Her pretty little dolls have
scratches on her face
and stained  with the
memories of the
dark moon

Her pure soul
is still denying  the
blisters on her body
she still can’t believe her ears
when people call her whore

Licking her wounds every day
and dolled up for the night
she has got pretty good
at hiding her sores

The dream of that
fairytale prince and
the first time
rapturous kiss
has been shattered
so many times
more

She still has faint memories
of the sun
drenching her face
jumps in the puddle
to scare away those frogs

But no matter how much she
screams and screeches
her reality is slowly
turning into the
a living nightmare
she abhors.

 

  1. Immigrant

I’m an immigrant
a person whose
roots are dangling between
continents and spanning cultures
trying to get the footing
to maintain the balance
dangling between the void and the fullness
My mouth speaks two language
where my heart bears one
I’m training my tongue to
get used to the new taste of everything
while remembering my mother’s recipe
to celebrate my festivals
clutching to the old traditions
living in the constant
fear of being called a misfit
learning new slangs and clichés
I’m still trying to find a balance in my life
when
my roots are spanning the continents
and my heart is buried in one.
I’m an immigrant
I’ll be always be called one.

..
Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is also a contributing author at GoDogGO Cafe, Candles Online, FVR Publishing, Whisper, and the Roar and Poets Corner. 
Her works have been featured in GoDogGoCafe, Whisper and the Roar, Duane Poetree, Visual Verse, Vita Brevis, KOAN(Paragon Press),521 Magazine,Fourth and Sycamore,Poets Corner, Modern poetry, Spill words Press, Indian periodicals, Literary heist, Little Rose Magazine, The Quiet Corner, Writer’s Cafe Magazine, and coming up in Modern Literature,Dime Show review and many more. 

She recently won the 1st prize in NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Mental Health Poetry contest. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/

 

What is a “homeboy” to do? (Sonnet), by Clara B. Jones

for Antwon Rose (d. 19 June 2018, 17 y.o., Allegheny County, PA)

  1. You can buy a house in Collegeville and paint it Federal Blue.
  2. You can join B.L. Matter and wear designer clothes.
  3. You can move to France and make Pinot Noir.
  4. You can pair caviar and collards.
  5. You can shave truffles on your mac’ & cheese.
  6. You can trade your I-Phone® for a bag of chips.
  7. Poetry disrupts the way we see the world, but you can vote Republican and save negroes.
  8. Pittsburgh is a modern ecosystem where you can buy Abstract Art.
  9. More people with depression are living full lives so you can weigh the benefits of therapy.
  10. The barrel is either half empty or half full (rat-a-tat-tat), but look on the bright side, cigarettes could cost more.
  11. Surrounded by violence, you can go anywhere.
  12. They may want to hurt you, but they don’t mean to kill you.
    ..
  13. Henredon® built teak vitrines for Kanye.
  14. Afrobots love the U.S.A.
    ..
    ..
    ..Clara B. Jones practices poetry in Silver Spring, MD (USA). She, also, conducts research on experimental poetry and radical publishing. Clara is author of four chapbooks and one volume (/feminine nature/, 2017, Gauss PDF), and her poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews have appeared, or are forthcoming, in various venues.

Stolen, by Mohamed Sahafi

They had stolen
All
Your
Fundamental rights
And
They want you
To give them
Flowers.

..

Traducción Mohamed Khattabi:

Han robado
Todos tus
Derechos básicos
y quieren
que les regales
Flores

..

ترجمة : عبدالإله صحافي

سرقوا
كل
حقوقك الأساسية
و
يريدونك
أن تُقَدَّم لهم
الأزهار.

Fighting Times, by Dave Rendle

People in society currently pecked into pieces

Politicians creating wastelands for generations,

Taking from the poor and giving it all to the rich

Division not progress their ultimate pitch,

Poisoning minds, creating wars of attrition

Continuing to blind us with fear and confusion,

With twisted morality, sullied emotion

Forces of capitalism, driving us in one direction,

Planned poverty,leaving victims in its wake

Homelessness growing that the government make,

Food banks growing in this age of austerity

People daily waking up to distorted reality,

In Grenfell tower people died, government indignation negligible

No deaths in a Salisbury cafe, government reaction incredible,

Their systematically treating us with derision

With conscious games that simply imprison,

Daily now the balancing acts of life hard to handle

People broken, beaten, continue to be strangled,

Held captive by forces of misery and mockery

Time, to take a stand, make demands that set us free;

Break the bonds that bind us, the walls that hide us

Plant seeds of rebellion, rise back in disgust,

Growing stronger lifting, voices high

So loud they will be unable to drown our cry.

Together we are capable of inducing chain reactions

Generating effects that take away maddening distractions,

Leaving the present behind, that is ever so profound

Keep fighting for our lives, until the next round.

Poetry Waking, by David Chorlton

Its early: four o’clock. Too dark
for logic. The alphabet is scattered
across the floor
and the day’s arguments
have yet to begin, but the mind
is already sorting what matters
from what does not.
……………………………Loose ends
are connecting. A train
arrives from a long ago year;
a bird seen far from its range
becomes a portent of extinction;
Russia has returned to its iron
roots; all the teacups
in the kitchen fill
…………………………..with storms
and every toy gun
kills in dreams. Soon, the televisions
will wake up and start to shout
but this is poetry’s time
to purr in a world of lions.

..

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. Meanwhile, he retains an appetite for reading Eugenio Montale, W. S. Merwin, Tomas Tranströmer and many other, often less celebrated, poets.

Yemen Open House, by Jude Cowan Montague

Bakeel heard the rocket inside the house,
last night.

Today is the day of carnage.

Houses have been opened by bombs
A blasted tree leans on the edge of the house
sprouting branches, steel rods,
the reinforcing concrete prods the azure sky, aimless.

Poor old walls, proud of your white diamonds.
Even now they look good. For now,
everyone’s moving, carrying mattresses,
but this is only temporary.

There were no Houthis here.
Just women, just children. Bakeel will tell you.

We will be back because otherwise
others take what’s ours from under this beautiful blue,
our land, we have to return,
we will rebuild our own house right here
or they’ll make us pay.
They always make you pay.
You have to fight to keep land.
The preciousness of soil.
Even this rubble is full of our souls.
This is our home, know
the fattest bombs won’t take it.

Ha! Giving cheeky grin to the camera,
I saw a cute boy behind the spokesman

BOONDOGGLE by Dominic Albanese

caps can’t even
yell it
loud enough
darkest comedy show ever
but
in real life
it is not so funny
one side screams bout
greedy billionaires
other side screams bout
lazy poor people
caught some where
in between
wondering
bout
tomorrow
Corruption…..incompetence….or just plain old
jelly bean bullshit
have you hugged your
portfolio today?

After the Nobel Peace Prize Announcement 2017 by Stefanie Bennett

(for all Nuclear Scientists; the killing & the telling)
 ..
 ..
Last night ‘Terror’ died.
It died, not as it had lived
In its own black death
… But with the soft glow
Of a green light about it.
 ..
I was cruel. I was kind…
I took from it the aches
And anguish of a life spent
Battling the human elements.
I spelt trust as a 4 letter word.
 ..
Last night ‘Terror’ spoke. It spoke
In syllables as wide as the sky.
When faced with its own
Ghosted-in image
The din cannot be described:
 ..
And I – perhaps with a little
Too much of the Don Quixote
In me, wielding a rusty pen
Instead of a sword
Made the decision that
 ..
We kill for all reasons.
Some bad. Some good.
And some out of pity.
 ..
I erased ‘Terror’ from the vocabulary
As if time’s compass had not ever
Met this wretched one.
I do not know if the killing
 ..
Will, in turn, inturn me. There
Was a green light
Blazing about it.
Possibly that indicated
A pardon.

National Poetry Day Freedom poems part 2: Freedom March to Liberty by Francess ( Fran Smith on Facebook)

Take one step of kindness with one step of trust
step right and left step right too
right step  halal
next left step right too;

No wrong steps
No steps of haram
No steps of betrayel;

Feel like you will step off the planet into the
void of the universe,
into a black hole of nothingness
into oblivion
step into your deepest darkest fears with
steps of trust and  faith;
Step out of the  fear behind the fists and black eyes;
the fear behind the bullets and grenades
and production of chemical weapons;
that fear beyond hunger,
behind the holes in skin and empty eye sockets
that fear behind the nuclear missiles,
behind the threatened sperm.

Take steps of trust and march for righteousness and  the parachute will come with endorphin stars  for freedom:

Freedom from fear.

It only takes one step of trust with one step of kindness, two steps of righteousness
sidestepping conflict and crossed into a kiss
(X) as a dance.

To dance is to be brave and noble
joyous, peaceful, attractive, fun and free
let us all March to dance
for liberty and freedom for all
left step right, right step right
March on.

IMG_1150

Freedom – National Poetry Day

For National Poetry Day, Myriam San Marco and the Word Makers collective want to see as many poems on Freedom published. Reuben Woolley has graciously agreed to this crazy scheme. You can find all the poems, some as far as India, on the I am not a silent poet zine and Facebook group.

People can carry on on sending poems to myriamwordmaker@gmail.com all throughout the day

IMG_1150

There Is No Plan B by Bill Lythgoe

Exploit the world’s resources – yes you can.

Accumulate the wealth that sets you free

and help us implement the master plan.

 

A healthy profit’s more important than

a giant panda or a chimpanzee.

Exploit the world’s resources – yes you can.

 

Nuke North Korea, isolate Iran,

ignore fake news, bad deals, see what I see

and help us implement the master plan.

 

Forget man’s inhumanity to man –

that’s how it is; how it will always be.

Exploit the world’s resources – yes you can.

 

The shit will never really hit the fan.

We know the score, accept our guarantee

and help us implement the master plan.

 

There is no global warming frying pan.

No fire will burn the likes of you and me.

Exploit the world’s resources – yes you can

and help us implement the master plan.

donald-trump

The Emmys by Eliza Mimski

Isn’t it funny how Sean Spicer showed up at the Emmys last night? I mean,

I’m always up for a good joke and it was a big surprise. I’ll have to give it that.

Did you see Melissa McCarthy’s face? Did you see the faces of the people in the audience?

So nice that someone can make fun of themselves. I guess I’ll have to forget that

he was the mouthpiece for Donald J.Trump. That’s all in the past. Now we can feel sorry

for Sean Spicer. After all, he was discarded like so many others. And you know what?

Even George W is looking good these days. Well, maybe not really.

 

I think if we’re going to be fair we need to give equal time to Steve Bannon. Why wasn’t

he featured at the Emmys? Maybe because no Melissa McCarthy played him, but I still

think it was a good opportunity. It could have gotten a lot of laughs. He could have – let’s

see, what could he have done? Tap danced? Sang a song? Blackface?

 

What I’m getting at here is that sometimes it’s good to laugh and sometimes it’s good not to.

You have to choose when something is funny and when it isn’t. Is Sean Spicer endearing

now? Is he relatable because he’s been ousted and is now seen as a quasi-victim? Or, the

bigger question: can we forgive? Maybe we should forgive everyone who has hurt us.

Or maybe we shouldn’t. I think it’s important to remember that we have choices. We can

laugh at something for its shock and surprise. That doesn’t mean we condone that person’s

past actions. Or we can sit staunchly and not forgive. And not forget. It’s all about

where our heart is at on that particular day.

.stop sign. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

the lady with the blue umbrella

is merely a road sign, remember.

 

until we walk over and find there

is not one.

 

had difficulty sleeping, thinking.

of you all.

the hurricanes.

 

thinking of you all.

 

the genocide.

spelled carefully

 

you all

at war.

 

all who are ill,

unease.

 

i went on the bus, saw the mud

from the festival. talked   to you

who got lost and fed the homeless.

 

read some road signs elsewhere.

stop

 

Broken Atoms by Howie Good

To make something that will rot is a statement. I visited places to ask their help. Several people just didn’t even want to talk. I thought, ‘Whoa. What are they doing? Why are they doing that?’ You could leave fake voice messages posing as someone’s mom. Or defame someone and post the audio samples online. I put a stick in the ground, and ugly stuff bubbled up from it. People realized that grandma’s jam wasn’t so bad after all.

 

*

 

A person just jumped in front of the train. He looked like what everyone thinks the typical American guy should look like, but maybe not actually is. It started as a kind of tongue-in-cheek thing. He kept saying he was going to kill someone. Yeah, well, we haven’t had a wedding or a baptism for quite some time. We mostly have funerals. No one is outside the system. Even when you ride the train, all you see is this black forest with nothing in it.

 

*

 

People were screaming; people were throwing up because the smoke was so thick. I guess I’m very confused about why this scene. Imagine getting fired. Or you got dumped, or you didn’t get into the college you wanted, or imagine whatever it is that makes you feel weak. It sucks. It’s defeating. The memory stayed with me and that’s what made me think about breaking things. Everyone thought that I was crazy. They weren’t wrong. I partied too much. And I was always begging the eagle to help me to get home safe. All I can say is, if the phone rings, please answer.

Why da Poi Stay Stale by Joe Balaz

Wun speaker at da rally

can give you some reasons
as to why da poi stay stale

if you just listen.

 

He going start wit boots on da ground

 

and wun warship
wit its guns aimed at Iolani Palace

Manifest destiny
works really well

wen you got da military might
to simply take wat you like.

 

Uncle Sammy
going crush you undah his feet

if you try resist.
Tecumseh, Crazy Horse,
and Geronimo,

can tell you all about dat.

Scars and slights forevah
is da unfortunate result.
Nowadays

da island natives in da streets                                                                                                            continue to protest foa dere rights.

Adah people look at dem
and tink dey all stay disillusioned.

 

Dats wat happens
wen da blanket of assimilation

settles in ovah time.
Da guy blowing wun couch shell
in front of wun defiant crowd

not going agree wit dat.
As long as da faithful
know dere history

you kannot kill da truth
of wat is wrong and wat is right.

 

 

Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) and in American-English.
He edited Ho’omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature.  Some of his
recent Pidgin writing has appeared in Rattle, JukedOtoliths, and Hawai’i Review, among others.
Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of
World Literature.  He presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Supply Lines by Cath Campbell

Red skies crush rock and land,
crush this mineral rich community,
this scandale geologique,
crush this thin boy of six.
Santu’s feet slap grinding hours in early light,
hums his childing voice in western tunes.
He won’t reach nine without strong bones.
Devils drill his marrow, worm young lungs
until he cannot breathe. Cannot work
to dig the minerals from the dirt.
Can no longer carry sorrow on his back,
which hurts protesting heavy sacks.
I composed this poem on electronics
powered by ion battery boost with cobalt.
Samsung, Huayou and Microsoft.
I write about his death before its time
with the instrument of his demise.
I am sorry, Child. I am sorry …
Sorry you were born into this state.
It is not only bombs that decimate.

The Congo is the White man’s grave?
I find it not so true, after all,
for the graves here are very small.