Pleas of a Victim, by Sunita Sahoo

“Why me?”

“Why not someone else?”

“Why was I deceived?”

“Why am I hated?”

Drowned in an unwelcoming pool of “Whys”

These are the troubling thoughts that haunt her every night

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

Those nasty bruises and tooth marks etched all over her body

Makes her lose the will to fight!

She shivers recollecting that dreadful day

Which stripped all her happiness away!

Her best friend turned into a ferocious beast one fine day

Who stripped off her dignity

Drooling all over her naked body

And devouring her with greatest pleasure bit by bit

Till she was exhausted, numb

Left with nothing but blood stains

And a despicable stench of rotten trust.

She wondered who was at fault

Was it her because she was a “girl”?

Or was it her unfaltering trust on someone she loved?

Mustering courage, she limps back home 

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

As soon as she steps inside

She is glared with curious and inquisitive eyes

The hatred

The sneers

The animosity

The contempt

She senses them all!

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

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

She rushes to her room, wailing hysterically

Undresses herself and stands in front of the mirror

Only to hear some voices from the other end

“You’ve become impure!”

“Your chastity’s gone!”

“You’ve committed a grave blunder!”

“You’ve ruined societal honor!”

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

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

Hating the body she lives in

Condemning the fact that she is a girl

A burden to this patriarchal world!

She wondered if this was the reason

Why parents prefer sons to daughters!

Why girls have to stay confined within four walls!

Why the freedom of girls is restricted!

Why the voices of girls seeking justice are silenced!

A vicious circle of whys!

Such wretched societal norms

Where a girl’s purity is defined by her chastity

Torments the soul, reeks so foul

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

Someday a bonfire of change will engulf the world

It’ll burn all these hatred and superfluous norms

A new dawn will unfurl

This world will be a safe place for a girl!



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

A Question One Might Ask, by Gil Hoy

My mother tells me,
Although I can’t remember
any of it

That when I was in the second grade
My best friend who lived
Down the street

Got to arguing with me,
A few weeks after Easter

About whether it was he or I
Who believed in Jesus Christ.

To resolve the matter,
My best friend thought he would
Check with the highest authority
Then available to a second grader:

“Mrs. Hoy, Mrs. Hoy,” he said.
“I believe in Jesus Christ—
not Gilbert—right?”

To which my mother
Paused for a bit

And then said to my best friend
Who lived down the street:
“Well, since you are Jewish,
Rodney, you don’t believe
That Jesus was the son of God.

But it is my understanding
That you believe that Jesus
Was a very fine prophet.”

My mother tells me,
Although I can’t remember
any of it

That my best friend
Who lived down the street
Then burst into tears.

My response, I am told,
Because I can’t remember
any of it

Was to say: “I’m really worried
Right now that my teacher is going
To smack my hand with a ruler–
In front of the whole class–

If I don’t get my homework done.
And what difference does
Any of this make anyway?”

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University 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, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, TheNewVerse.News, I am not a silent poet, The Potomac, Clark Street Review, the penmen review, and elsewhere.

Three poems by Jess White

I listened to Halsey

I listened to Halsey’s speech at the women’s march.
I’ve played it at least a dozen times.
Thinking how every woman has a story just like hers, just like mine.

How I cannot think of a single woman who has; never been catcalled, never been touched by grubby hands.
I’m the biggest believer in equality, a daily advocate for all rights not just women’s rights.

Yet when I wake up after my drink was spiked, when I hold my best friend after she was raped walking home, when I read yet another story about a woman being assaulted, if feels like women have no value and no voice.
Like it really is a man’s world.

Every night I walk home with my keys in my hand.
My mum gave me my first rape alarm when I was twelve.
When the #metoo campaign began, so many women spoke out.
I hope that maybe times were changing, yet all I see is people asking:
“what were you wearing”, “were you drunk”?, “take it as a compliment”

When can we reclaim our bodies?

When can we decide who enters them and who does not?


“I didn’t know you had a dad”

“I didn’t know she had a dad”
What should I have said at family gatherings?
While you talked about how your Dad woke you up with breakfast everyday, should I have told you how our Dad was passed out on the sofa every morning?
How we woke him wondering whether we’d be graced with Jekyll or Hyde that day?
You counted the slices of toast on your plate, I counted empty glass bottles on the floor.
In our house there were always three green bottles; Jacobs Creek, Yellowtail and Barefoot.

“You never talked about him”
Lets share our childhood memories, reminisce on our pasts.
When you were searching for your homework, football kit or school supplies every morning, we would search for twenty pence’s hidden behind the sofa
Praying there would be enough for twenty Superking and one box of red.
I don’t drink red wine, I can still taste his hangover on my lips
And I don’t eat baked beans but for years I spent my pocket money on them, so we could eat while he ate a liquid diet.

“You didn’t see him that much”
Did you see the decade of calls that rung endlessly?
The messages not always returned
All the “Sorry something came ups”at the last minute?
Did you see how I threw away all my moral stances?
How we switched from fleeting meetings in coffee shops to hours in the pub?
Just so we could talk?
How he never understood that I could only drink one pint to his three?
How he would text every other Sunday and I would ring every other week in the middle of the afternoon knowing there was a 50/50 chance he’d be sober?

“You weren’t that close”
When I was three he taught me French
When I was five he taught me to ride a bike
When I was seven he taught me that books are medicine for the soul
When I was nine we danced to Leonard Cohen in the kitchen

When I was eleven I asked “Daddy why do you drink”?
And Daddy told me he was sorry but it would always be his first love.
At seventeen I walked away, at nineteen I went back
At twenty-one I waked away, at twenty three I went back.
When I was twenty-one we held our own little graduation party, then it didn’t matter if he got drunk.

“Did he mean that much to you?”
The best night of my life was the night he spent four hours in Wetherspoons with me, asked my hopes and dreams.
He studied photos of my hobbies, travels and life.
My favourite part of adopting our cat was how his face lit up when he met her.
Every time we moved house I asked him round for dinner, but dinner never came.

When he died my phone flooded with messages of how his face beamed when he spoke of us
How he told everyone when we found a new job, new house, achievement and I hope every day I had made him proud.

I study the photos of the better years each day, pondering where it all went wrong.
I talk to him everyday because maybe now he’s watching.

“Your world hasn’t changed that much”
He died too young to ever hold a grandchild
Too young to drunkenly dance in the corner on my wedding day
His Sunday text no longer tells me he’s okay
Every time I pass a Wetherspoons I think how I would buy him all the damn red wine if it gave us one more day.
And I have learnt of the trauma that made him pour wine to his lips each night
The demons that he never shared, hidden in his drunken mind.
My heart hurts for the pain he never shared.

“I didn’t know you had a dad”
Tell me what should I have said?


Unlearning all those bad habits:

When we started dating, I asked him if I could wear my hair tied up, I asked him if I could pierce my nose, I asked him for a list of all the friends I’m allowed to see, the places I can go.

He stares at me, he tells me that I am person not a gadget to control.
You see before you, he told me that girls should always have long hair so even in the gym I’d never tie it up, clouding my vision the same way love clouded my mind.
He said pretty girls don’t wear piercings or tattoos, so when he finally left I got five piercings and three tattoos.
They still weren’t as painful as that year with you.
He told me that I was too close to my best friend, he told me he kissed someone else because I loved her too much.

I still ask him now, you see I am still struggling to learn how to be a person and not a possession.
He tells me that I should learn how to enter a room on my own, that I do not need to message him that I have rung the doctors, put the bins out or made myself some lunch.

I’m full of bad habits, I’m so used to being a puppet that I do not know how to hold the strings to my own life.

I know he hates that my wardrobe is a multitude of colours, and his closet is nothing but black.
He asked me once why I was wearing sportswear to a restaurant and wonders why there is a hundred bobbles around the house.
But slowly I’m learning that this is okay.

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

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.



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



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
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

  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
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
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

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
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


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
Fundamental rights
They want you
To give them


Traducción Mohamed Khattabi:

Han robado
Todos tus
Derechos básicos
y quieren
que les regales


ترجمة : عبدالإله صحافي

حقوقك الأساسية
أن تُقَدَّم لهم

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
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
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.


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 all throughout the day


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.


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,



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.



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.

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.