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

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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.

Canal Straights by Michelle Crosbie

Bruised, battered not broken,
the hull in tact;
barge boards support my being.

A brittle bird frame being,
Yet coals are lit,
steam moves the valves of my heart.

I chug through,
choking brine tales,
into the marina of crying hearts.

Canal straights guide my rope,
traversing towpaths
new moorings.

Locks open,
sluice gates rush;
water reminds me to drink this life.

life in ashton by Tamra Smith

I sleep sometimes in a wet field of flowers

At one with the earth

muddy

damp

sludgy

slippy

fleshy

warm

I watch away time ticking by

Dreams

nightmares

some kind of reality that melts into itself

and fades away

like the burning embers of a firefly

Spilt salt

stings my wounds

I float upon a dead sea

I settle like dust floating in the vacuum of the universe

empty

cold

silent

still as death itself

Yet the twenty four hour muscle

still beats

Like the tick tick ticking of a clock

that never stops

like angry ants marching

beyond eternal bone

Ignorance is no excuse

trapped in this small town

Mentally baked on the inside

without decisive decisions made

insane

Rolling in a fishnet laughably feeling secure in knowledge

Not knowing when you’re gonna die

when the axe drops

when the heart stops

stopping at great speed

I stumble past the mortuary

Hail stoning

I hear the workers laughing as they

wheel round bodies

Silence fell upon them

As i peeked in

Do not feed the Trolls by Dave Rendle

( a poem written after  an encounter with an internet troll)

They simply do not give a damn
especially when on social media
where everything makes them angry
but without the gift of articulation
every time they open their mouths
release a torrent of abuse and profanity
do not try not to feed them
or massage their twisted egos
they will just carry on mocking
poking aggressively with idiocy
spreading messages of hate and prejudice
poisonous voices of this new world disorder
who will try to destroy your compassion
your sensitivity and reason 
leave them alone they have no allure
let them continue making fools of themselves
am sure one day soon they’ll get their due.

You’re no cunt, Trump by Jane Burn

It will only make you scorn us more, this use
of it as insult. I would not fit this word to you.
This power is ours to speak or not – too
easily flung, it belongs to us. Let it not be slung
around – the sound of it upon you demeans us.
………………………..Do not presume to touch us.
………………………..We shall never be under your thumb.

Let us not loose ourselves in mocking you,
for it is not the smallness of your paws
but the meanness in your heart that makes
us afraid. Let us not forget your mouth,
be it glossed, zipped, pursed as a dog’s arse
is yours to moue as you will. It’s not the shape
of it but what comes out.
………………………….Now that
……………………………………….is what concerns us.

If you wish to wear that flossed confection
upon your head that’s fine by me – it’s
your choice to look like that. But your brain and
the wit that sits beneath your much-mocked mess –
………………………………………that pit is a cesspool,
………………………………………it breeds a bigot’s storm.

Be orange – be a rainbow. Exercise
your right to wear the colour that you love.
Cheesy puffs are just a snack. To resemble one
should not make you a figure of fun.
The taste you put on our tongues
is not cheddar. Remember please,

a piss-stain tan
is of no matter to us.

But your travel ban
on the other hand

comes from a dead soul,
a worm hole

of hatred for your fellow man

The Last Tea by Terrence Sykes

Watch the door .. dear
you know it always slams
into my little room
I asked them to dress you
in your Sunday best
for our special tea today
yes we can dear.. extra sugar

I’ll make the tea dear
yes that is Tony Bennett on the record
remember when you first moved here
we cut the rug in the rec center every Saturday night
this time forgotten senior hell – I mean hall dear.. extra sugar

Time moves on doesn’t  it
Here dear.. it may be bitter
we swallowed enough bitter pills
husbands who passed scores ago
children who haven’t visited in almost a year
Oh we are not bitter are we dear.. extra sugar

My dear friend – I understand your babble
we have been friends that long
I forget too much these days
you have forgotten it all
you in your wheelchair
me with all these pains & aches that ..
oh dear … extra sugar

Are you comfy or cold dear
I’ll pull up the afghan we made together
I’ll turn over the album &play side two
why not just one more cup
more tea dear… extra sugar

Yes it is a very special type of tea
a very rare blend indeed
but it is for our very last tea
what kind of tea is it …
hemlock tea dear .. extra sugar

Kenyan Ladies’ Karate Club by Nick Cooke

So you prefer older gals?

That’s the tale we heard.

You think we’re ‘more safe’

than the fresher meat

because we won’t have

much in the way of

what’s called love life,

 

therefore we must be clean

and won’t kill you

after you’ve killed us.

Ingenious thinking.

You boys should be

in the cabinet

with stuff like that.

 

I suppose you’d turn

me round to face the wall

before lifting my blood-red skirt…

what’s that old saying

about mantelpiece and fire?

To you boys I guess

the lot of us are much the same

down where it counts,

 

but get this, kiddies:

we’re all in training,

spend our days like boxers

in the gym, belting

sweet hell out of leather

and now we’re ready to

kick for Kenya

 

and yes that includes

anyone making so bold

as to try & knock us over

like Mau Mau days,

and only fair to warn,

under the pillow

I keep my best panga.

Declaration of Independence II by Andrea Heiberg

Who’s the lady with the torch
Boko Haram hates to see?
Who’d bid me welcome
if it should be?

She’s my independent friend who
voices freedom
loving
care.

She’s still standing
sending out hope
to me
and
my sisters in
Afghanistan,
Nepal,
Nigeria,
Syria
everywhere
when not grabbed by her pussy.

So go
Pearl,
go.

.inauguration. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

sbm2aesthetic, showing the words for anaesthetic, little creatures placed

to sleep a while. on waking find that spelling is not so awkward now.

..

checked without books.           cover the title with rages and     kisses.

..

i see they use different gases all with difficult arrangements of letters;

there are crumbs under the keyboard. he did warn me. the w crunches,

it may be toast. while all around is                          aesthetically pleasing

clouds gather, we await the friday.

..

nothing matched #asemic

Arrivals by Brian Reid

Eyes once dark and sparkling

Now dull, opaque, unseeing

Mouths bleakly eloquent

In crushing silence

Bodies tossed on elemental tides

Settle, face down in surf

Mother and small sons locked together

In fraternal farewell

Fallen at the final gateway

To the bosom of western democracy

Families fractured

By men without pity

Pushed from a homeland

Drowning in jihad

Prey to bottom feeders

Grown fat on miserable migration

The images shock the senses

We stop to contemplate the abyss

24 hour news waits for no one and moves on

What is the collective noun for Refugees?

A swarm? A herd ? An exodus?

An ocean maybe,

Everything ends here

Aleppo by Amit Shankar Saha

I do not love you birch

and I have learnt to lie.

Your yellowed leaves I keep

in pages of poetry.

Between my pretensions

I ecocriticize.

 

And if I cry I say

I cry for Syria.

Aleppo’s children are

all dearer to me.

Their blasted past mirrors

denial of history.

 

On the blackboard of life

so much chalk dust we wipe.

But in the palimpsest

everything is inside.

(Hidden) In the layers

live all those who have died.

 

So, the fall in autumn

and the death in December,

all, all I will deny.

I will seal the ceilings,

the floorboards too and hope

there remains a crack or two.

 

Remember Bamian,

we were the Buddhas there,

now there the desert dwells.

Look birch, how the dust flies

in Aleppo and dies

all intertextual.

Bio: Dr. Amit Shankar Saha is a faculty member in the Department of English at Seacom Skills University. He is also a researcher, a short story writer and a poet. His research articles have appeared in journals and anthologies nationally and internationally such as Research and Criticism (BHU, India), Families (Kolkata, India), Pegasus (Kolkata, India), Decoding the Silence (Delhi, India), Comparative Literature and Culture (Purdue University, USA), Cerebration (Drew University, USA), DESI: La Revue (Bordeaux University, France), Diasporic Consciousness (Germany), Humanicus (Czech Republic), and others. His essays and reviews have appeared in Desijournal, Desilit Magazine, Muse India, Boloji, Rupkatha, Langlit, Diplomatist, Asian Signature, Vanya’s Notebook, Bonobology, etc. His short stories and poems have been published in periodicals and books both in India and abroad such as Estrade Magazine, Muse India, Journal of Bengali Studies, The Four Quarters Magazine, Kritya, Indiaree, Writing Raw, Palki, Learning and Creativity, Hall of Poets, Asia Writes, The Dawn beyond Waste, The Red Balloons, Telling a Yarn, Blessings, and others. He has won prizes at a number of creative writing competitions which include Poiesis Award for Excellence in Literature (Short story-2015), Wordweavers Prize (Poetry-2011, Short story-2014), The Leaky Pot – Stranger than Fiction Prize (2014), Asian Cha – Void Poetry Prize (2014), International Reuel Prize for Poetry (Shortlisted-2016). He has also written for the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series books. Dr. Amit Shankar Saha is the co-founder and coordinator of Rhythm Divine Poets, a Kolkata-based poets group dedicated to the promotion of poetry. His website is http://sites.google.com/site/amitshankarsaha and he blogs at http://amitss6.blogspot.com

Lament by Rona Fitzgerald

The boy was tortured, mutilated

sent home, his childhood,

manhood and his life, taken.

 

In the luxury London apartments

they offer a snow room

so people can experience cold.

 

In Aleppo, families know cold

a savage winter chill.

They also know ice, the kind

 

that enters your heart, like poison

never yields to love

or warmth again.

Law and Order by Ed Stone

Justice is a young girl

locked in a cell

torch without light

a green-tongued judge

is her torturer.

The keepers of justice

extract the girl’s heart

feed it their blue

god the war machine

black people die.

In the reddened streets

split black skulls

plant roaring seeds

a different garden

of law and order.