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Academici poetry anthology
 

World.s Strand

World.s Strand
An international anthology of poetry
edited by
Joneve McCormick
and
Shimanta Bhattacharyya
Mandelbachtal − Cambridge, 2006

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    Academici poetry anthology Academici poetry anthology Document Transcript

    • World’s StrandAn international anthology of poetry edited by Joneve McCormick and Shimanta Bhattacharyya Mandelbachtal − Cambridge 2006
    • World’s Strand. An international anthology of poetry.Edited by Joneve McCormick and Shimanta Bhattacharyya. —Mandelbachtal/Cambridge:edition cicero, 2006 (academici texts and studies, 1) ISBN 3-934285-55-4 © by edition cicero, Mandelbachtal/Cambridge Herstellung: Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt Printed in Germany ISBN 3-934285-55-4 The title is taken from “The Wreck of the Deutschland” (1918) by Gerard Manley Hopkins: “World’s strand, sway of the sea...”
    • Table of ContentsIntroduction ..............................................................xiAainaa-Ridtz A.R. Love Enraptured.............................................. 3 Words to Live By ............................................. 4Maolcolum Bascher A Public Reading, The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast............................................................. 9 Bonding ......................................................... 10 Memoriam ..................................................... 11 Thames.......................................................... 13 Olive Trees.................................................... 17 Ottolenghi, Islington ..................................... 18 Brother.......................................................... 19 On such a day as this... ................................ 20 Unfinished ..................................................... 21 Fumiko Abe ................................................... 22Shimanta Bhattacharyya The Poet in Exile........................................... 27 In The Dark.................................................... 28 Rain ............................................................... 29 To The Muse.................................................. 30 A Bunch Of Flowers....................................... 31 The Yellowing Green..................................... 32 The Unfinished Man ...................................... 33 And In The Human Heart............................... 35 Kali................................................................ 36 i
    • Kashmir ......................................................... 37 A Lament For Their Eyes............................... 38Michael H. Brill Tall Fires ....................................................... 43 Patently Obvious ........................................... 44 Last Blue Reflection 2002 ............................. 45 View From Afar ............................................. 46 Luminous Reflection ..................................... 47 Drama Review ............................................... 48 Green Shackles (escheating and other fine things) ........................................................... 49 Kicking the Ars Poetica ................................. 51 To Emancipated Dogs of The Future............. 52 No Bull .......................................................... 53 Driving North at Low Noon............................ 55Nigel Burwood Modern Moment ............................................ 59 Noir ............................................................... 60 Where is Fantomas? ...................................... 61 Wittgenstein’s Jukebox................................. 62 In fern ........................................................... 63 Never Said A Bad Word ................................. 64 Dark Car Theory ............................................ 65 A Lesson with Mr. Menticulture .................... 66 The Way of the Tourist ................................. 67 CEO ............................................................... 68 Blameless ...................................................... 69Üzeyir Çayci The Mauve Sea .............................................. 73 They Have Taken Their First Steps in My Heart........................................................ 74 ii
    • The Valley of the Culprits............................. 75 Friendship with Photos ................................. 77 The Hunter Has Become a Guide for the Birds........................................................ 78 The Children of Midnight .............................. 80 The Cul-de-Sac of the Rose........................... 81 Before the Eyes of All ................................... 82 Do not pass by the places which I frequented .................................................. 83Fide Erken flower language ............................................ 87 Autumn ......................................................... 88 Shadows ........................................................ 89 In your heart ................................................. 90 The Love Tree ............................................... 91 Music brings your love................................... 92 They Called Me To The Country Of Poetry ... 93Ananya S. Guha The Poet........................................................ 97 Poem ............................................................. 98 Poetry That Speaks ....................................... 99 Memory Takes Wings................................... 100 Forests ........................................................ 101 Tree ............................................................ 102 I See Poetry................................................. 103 Lost ............................................................. 104 When Do We Meet? ..................................... 105 Wound ......................................................... 106 Poem in Prose ............................................. 107 iii
    • Bob Hart Greening Down To Red Berries ................... 111 Floating Alone In Worldly Company ............ 112 Damp Similes and Mossy Messages .............. 113 Inspired By A Lord Byron Poem ................... 115 On Reading Harriet Brown’s “A Letter From The Country” ..................................... 116 Call Me Hypocrite and I Shall Answer ......... 117 Human in a Foreign Country ....................... 118Kostas Hrisos I See the Light............................................. 123 The dilapidated pot .................................... 124 My father..................................................... 125 Heron-on-a-paperweight............................. 126 A perfect moment....................................... 127 Hey Dad can I borrow the car?.................... 128 Post-Market................................................. 129 My grandmother’s advice............................ 130 Easter-Sunday Eve....................................... 131 Just like them ............................................. 132Roger Humes The kindness of once strangers................... 135 There is no room......................................... 136 I am not....................................................... 137 Who are you ................................................ 138 A Poet of Many Colours ............................... 139 Brutal honesty is the knife.......................... 140 I stand still by the window.......................... 141 Her body moves through the city ............... 142Aftab Hussain A Prayer ...................................................... 145 iv
    • Chiesa Irwin Restless Gecko ............................................ 149 Riroriro........................................................ 150 Early 1770’s, the Ocean First Seen by Kedi ........................................................ 151 Riding with the Hammerheads.................... 152 Candle Bark................................................. 153 The Unburdened Hand ................................ 154 Chambered Nautilus.................................... 155Laurynas Katkus The Young Address Their Fate .................... 159 Air ............................................................... 160 This morning you will wake ........................ 161 The Go-between ......................................... 162Patricia Kelly Blame It On The Moon................................. 165 Song for the Dance...................................... 166 A Lunatic Fire.............................................. 167 Autumn Haiku ............................................. 168 Winter Haiku ............................................... 169 Spring Haiku ................................................ 171 Summer Haiku............................................. 173 Morning Glory Haiku Series ......................... 175Monica Korycinska Words .......................................................... 179 Our Kind ...................................................... 180 Bleeding Hearts........................................... 182Erik Larson Living Room................................................. 185 Liking .......................................................... 186 v
    • The Proper Lawn......................................... 187 The Sound of Spring .................................... 188 Equinox to Divali ......................................... 189Joneve McCormick Chinese formula poems............................... 193 I Had............................................................ 194 It is inside................................................... 195 My friend tells me... ................................... 196 Gandhi......................................................... 197 The Saint..................................................... 198 Letting Go ................................................... 199 Aunt Heather .............................................. 201 Killing the Christ within .............................. 202 on the road ................................................. 203Nimah Ismail Nawwab Gentleness Stirred ...................................... 207 The Longing................................................. 209 The Hidden Layers ...................................... 210 Arabian Nights............................................. 211 Adored Essence ........................................... 213 The Ambush ................................................ 214Olutayo Osunsan Entebbe....................................................... 219 Her .............................................................. 221 The Meadow ................................................ 222 Loveliest of Summer Days ........................... 223 A BLESSED MAN ........................................... 224 Have you ever ............................................. 226 Lioness ........................................................ 227 A Soldier...................................................... 228 Good Morning .............................................. 229 vi
    • Laurence Overmire Beastly Ideas ............................................... 233 Wade in the Wave ....................................... 234 When Pilate Heard ...................................... 235 The Word .................................................... 236 Cold Driving Rain......................................... 237 Gathering .................................................... 238 Lineage ....................................................... 239 Alternate Universe ...................................... 240 Seascape ..................................................... 241Dimitris Palasis Don’t Cry..................................................... 245 So Little ...................................................... 246 Cloudy ......................................................... 247 The Return .................................................. 248 Memorial ..................................................... 249 The Life of The Wind .................................. 250 The Blue Winter .......................................... 251Wesley Patterson Shadow........................................................ 255 Phoebe ........................................................ 256 If only.......................................................... 257 A Whisper .................................................... 258 You .............................................................. 259 Tracks ......................................................... 260 My Finest and Best ...................................... 261 He................................................................ 262 New Millennium .......................................... 264 Vertex ......................................................... 265 Flux ............................................................. 266 vii
    • Michael Pokocky Untitled....................................................... 269 When Darkness Comes ................................ 270 Home........................................................... 271Rati Saxena My life in you .............................................. 275 The sea........................................................ 276 Among the earth-coloured trees................. 278 The Absence of Colours, in the World of Colours ........................................................ 281 Wild friendship............................................ 282 when he plays the drum ............................. 283 The hymn of slippers .................................. 284Laura Schuster Vision Encoded............................................ 289 Crime Scene ................................................ 290Elvira Selow greed and other beasts ............................... 293 hard beat in italy ........................................ 294 solar wind ................................................... 295 a dictionary’s flight .................................... 296 old couple ................................................... 297 Conquistador ............................................... 298 thoughts on linkings .................................... 299 renovation................................................... 300 roadwork ..................................................... 301 closing books............................................... 302Renée Sigel Impression 1................................................ 305 In a name .................................................... 306 viii
    • Damals ........................................................ 307 Loss ............................................................. 308 The Hunger ................................................. 309 Masquerade ................................................. 310 White Heat.................................................. 311 3 Sonnets: ................................................... 312 I. Brushed in splendour... ........................... 312 II. In spite of solace... ................................ 312 III. Insipid shadows..................................... 313 Voices of Silence......................................... 314Eddie Tay Jogging Before Dawn................................... 319 My Other ..................................................... 321 Willow ......................................................... 323 After a Class Reunion.................................. 324 Hokkien ....................................................... 325 Reading Wordsworth ................................... 326John Thomas To See the Earth in Vast Expanse ............... 329 Maybe It Needs a New Starter .................... 331 Will You Be At My Funeral? ......................... 333 Short Cut ..................................................... 335 Is a Dream?.................................................. 336 Camelot of the Mind ................................... 338 The Mysterious American “Continental” Breakfast..................................................... 339 Despair ........................................................ 340 Let the Rainbows In .................................... 341 Curse of the Jealous Warlock ..................... 342Markus Vinzent Forthcoming ................................................ 345 ix
    • Changming Yuan The Calm Clam............................................ 349 Withered Twig............................................. 349 Human Culture............................................ 351 Awakening................................................... 352 Subjunctive Mood........................................ 353 Name Changing ........................................... 354 The Savage Spot of Light ............................ 355 The Way Forward ........................................ 356 Allenian Dragonmania ................................. 357 The Vest Knitted for George....................... 358 Immigration................................................. 359Catherine Zoltan San Francisco .............................................. 363 Tribute To Cavalier ..................................... 364 Why This Poem............................................ 365 Parent Here................................................. 366 I Can Want .................................................. 367 Little Girls................................................... 369 The morning after....................................... 370Poets’ Bios............................................................. 373 x
    • Introduction“Poets are born, not made” − though clichéd − is amply borneout by the poets who feature in this anthology. When the ideafor the anthology was first presented by Professor MarkusVinzent, the spontaneity with which the poets responded to hiscall eminently put paid to all notions of the poet being a merecraftsman, seeking perfection. The heart of the matter is thatone cannot choose to be a Poet. It is Poetry that ultimatelymakes the choice. And once the Muse has intervened andexercised her right to choose, a Poet is born.We present you with a unique collection of poetry from all overthe world − an exotic bouquet, bound by a universal love of theliving word. Each of these poems is “alive” in the sense thateach seeks to communicate something that is otherwise in-communicable in ordinary language. A poet lives and observesthe world he lives in very intensely. His predilections of subjectmatter depend upon his interests. Hence, he may write on awide variety of themes: social, political, personal, religious etc.A poem may be biographical, humorous, patriotic, progressive,formal, satirical, pastoral or even didactic − though didacticismis no longer considered a virtue in a poet. Whatever the subjectmatter of his poetry, a poet writes in response to what societydeals out to him. And often, in his quest to arrive at the truth,he freely commutes both within his social milieu and without.The poets in this collection all have a common goal and pur-pose − to reveal the truth about the human situation shorn ofits upholstery. Regardless of the methods an individual poetadopts to divest Man of his manifold guises, it is the business ofpresenting a true picture of society − warts and all − that solelypreoccupies him. And this is true of all the poets in thisanthology. xi
    • To give the readers an insight into the poet’s working methods,here is how Ananya Guha tackles the “duality” of humanexistence in “Poem in Prose”: Once, as a child I wore masks… Today I still wear masks...But The masks of my childhood and the masks of today are no longer the same.One can sense a palpable note of despair in the lines: the poetdespairs of the loss of innocence but what irks him the most ishis inability to forestall man’s fall from grace!Bob Hart, in “Call Me Hypocrite and I Shall Answer” speaks ofthe importance of keeping the channels of communication openin a relationship: If I’m a glass and if your dying stains me don’t you see that you must live to make my colors shine?What the poet seeks is active participation in a relationshipwhich is at once spontaneous and unpretentious. A relationshipwherein two people may “live” as a perfect foil to one another,if only to bring out their true colours. Here, too, one candiscern the poet’s anguished plea to let the “Mask” drop.Eddie Tay, in “My Other” pulls the mask back to show two ofhim! His “other” does things that he, respectable citizen,would not do: He puts on my clothes, steals my money, and tells me I have measured out my life with coffee spoons...With both humour and despair, he observes his “other” to bethe hunter that goes into the darkness for poetry: When I go to bed hungry he leaves the house with my keys and prowls the night for poetry... xii
    • Rati Saxena pulls back the Mask in “The sea” to reveal theprimordial relationship between man and nature, and from aperspective both profound and majestic she shows the creativeforces reigning in harmony: I saw him and the sea that evening, he was lolling in the sea and the sea was overflowing in him...The metaphor evolves: ...the sun was sinking in the sea and I was sinking with him...There is no separation here; instead we find ecstatic union.The themes that the poets touch upon in this anthology arevarious and multilayered. Personal love is one such concernthat rears its head every now and then. Aainaa-Ridtz A.R,Renée Sigel, Maolcolum Bascher, Fide Erken, Michael Pokocky,Elvira Selow, Monica Korycinska, Catherine Zoltan and Chang-ming Yuan all dwell on the subject of love; but each individualpoet imparts his or her own distinctive treatment to thesubject. Whilst Renée Sigel reflects on another’s treachery andself-deception, and feels deeply aggrieved at the “demise” oflove in “Damals,” Maolcolum Bascher is fondly meditative in“Thames,” where love is depicted as a remembered experiencewhich is at once delightful and poignant. The poet straddlesthese antipodal aspects of love with delicate poise: When she lay sleeping Some spark between us in the heat In me it never truly dies. Now I cannot see the river All reflection is inside.Catherine Zoltan, on the other hand, does an admirable volte-face in that she speaks of a mother’s love for her children. Thepoet is acutely aware of the transient nature of life, whichreminds us of William Cowper’s splendid rendition of the same xiii
    • theme in “The Poplar Field.” In the poem, “Why This Poem”Zoltan very subtly persuades us to make the most of life andlove lest death strike the all-cleaving blow: …I may be gone before I know… … All that little children want is someone they can tell. All they want is for you to listen well.The notion that time is at a premium is hinted at ingeniously inthe poem. There is an inescapable note of urgency that exhortsthe readers to take control of life, and cherish each moment ofit to the fullest.Changming Yuan shows us with great humour the universal loveof fathers in the context of his own father’s intense desire toempower and protect him. In “Name Changing” the father willstop at nothing: confucius once said if the name is not right the speech will carry no might so my father created my name by rearranging the sun and moon vertically and horizontally to equip it with all the forces of yin and yang dispersed in the universe...One could say that the poems in this anthology are all aboutLove in its myriad forms.A poet employs a varied assortment of literary devices to suithis purposes. He makes use of metaphors, similes, euphe-misms, meters, bathos, alliterations, humour, etc., to drivehome his point. However, these “tools” do not necessarily makehim a good poet or guarantee good poetry. A carpenter mightwell be equipped with state of the art technology, but unlesshe has acquired the skill to use his tools effectively they will beof little use to him. The same holds true for the poet. The xiv
    • poets in this anthology use a variety of literary devices withgreat facility.Michael Brill, in his poem “Tall Fires” handles personificationwith considerable panache: My toaster died this evening, In flame and then in steam.The poet brilliantly invests a common household appliance withhuman qualities. Having thus gained our attention, he verycleverly leads us to the heart of the poem and by means ofartful imagery, laced with grotesque humour, succeeds in pre-senting a skilful juxtaposition between the sentient and theinsentient. The poem, towards the end, takes one final dig atMan and ends with a pithy saying: I pulled the plug—tall fires are bad, But SHORT fires are much worse!Which at one discharge exposes Man’s vulnerability and hisslavish dependence on modern gadgetry!Nigel Burwood, in his poem “In fern” informs us of the value ofbeing prepared when one needs to be saved; withcharacteristically stunning wit, sophistication and economy ofwords the poet tells the entire story in four short lines thatexpand far beyond themselves. We quote in full: In the middle course of my life Having strayed from the straight path I got lost in a dark wood. Luckily I was carrying a mobile phone.What else is there to say? Well, the editors would like to addsomething: Nigel suggested the title for this anthology, and wethank him very much.Poets like Roger Humes and Kostas Hrisos are at their best intheir short poems. Sample Humes’ poem “The Kindness Of OnceStrangers,” which we also quote in full: xv
    • When the final words are said and door is quietly closed do I hear you softly weeping or perhaps sharpening your vengeance or perhaps both.Observe how the poet tersely yet convincingly sums up adomestic situation. The singular thrust of the last line cutsthrough the tenuous bonds of a relationship with a finalflourish. Once the “final” words have been said, there is noroom for reconciliation.Hrisos’ poetry, unlike Humes’, is replete with robust optimism,coupled with a delicate sense of humour as the following poem,“I see the Light,” also quoted in full, clearly shows: I see the light Somewhere in the distance. I am not scared. Even if it’s only a candle And it goes out, by the time I reach it, I will light another.From a very different perspective, Dimitris Palasis presents adrama of life in death, death in life with accomplished subtle-ty. In “Memorial” life and death engage in a lively interplaybeyond strict boundaries: ...I drew you in front of me weaving dark and light with my figures... Deep in sleepy eye-holes your memory was not of existing thingsFor Nimah Nawwab, life and discernment go together, deathand mindless suppression; rebelling is an essential part of theprocess to claim one’s full humanity, reminding us of Gandhi’sstatement, “The only tyrant I bow to is the still voice within.”In “Gentleness Stirred”: xvi
    • ...“Stop, your scarf has slipped.” The tirade begins, gains momentum... The mind is strange, the spirit stranger yet, The rebellion begins.A poet may use length to achieve an effect, such as JohnThomas does in “Is a Dream?” when he builds up a hauntingpower through a refrain. Such a simple question the title asks …or is it? In fact, the whole poem is a question, of the mostprofound and many-layered sort. Starting from a dream as“random neurons on the go go go,” the poet creates a verbalsymphony that expands to encompass the whole universe: ...Somewhere across the galaxy a house stands High on a rocky crest above the blue-green sands And all the twists and turns of that strange place Are but reflections of the flickers on our lids and face...Suddenly we realize that the question itself has the power −even the moral power − and the true answer doesn’t matter.Alexander Pushkin once remarked: “A poet is a king and kingsmust live alone.” The act of writing poetry is doubtless a lonelyaffair. However, having said that, one must bear in mind that apoet cannot write in complete isolation. Poetry cannot becreated in a vacuum. The progenitor of poetry needs must bealive to the world outside. He must be alive to the ebb and flowof life as it were. And invariably, in his relentless search forinspiration, a poet may draw heavily upon external sources andinfluences. The poets in this anthology are no exceptions. Poetssuch as Patricia Kelly, Chiesa Irwin, Üzeyir Çayci, WesleyPatterson, Laurence Overmire, Olutayo Osunsan and Erik Larsonhave all richly benefited from venturing beyond their imme-diate spheres and the results are very much in evidence in theirworks. Patricia Kelly, for instance, has used the Haiku, aJapanese verse form, to great effect. In a group of poems underthe title “Autumn Haiku,” she adroitly captures the sombremood of the season: xvii
    • quilted autumn leaves, caught in mid-tumble by love, warm both wall and heart too lazy to close window: only nose above quiltOne has to read the poems in their entirety to fully appreciatetheir beauty.In conclusion, the editors of this anthology would like to saythat we are confident that this collection will bring a measureof good cheer to all lovers of poetry. What is most remarkableabout this anthology is the fact that the poems give littleindication of the diverse, cross-cultural identities of the poets.They speak in one voice here: a voice that is distinctly humanand universal. Thus we have a poet from Pakistan, who speakswith ease and spontaneity to people of all cultures, as do hisfellow poets in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany,France, Greece, India, Africa, Australia, China, Lithuania,Turkey and Malaysia. It is this multi-cultural mulligatawny,served up by the poets of this anthology that lends piquancy tothis unique collection of poems. The Editors xviii
    • Aainaa-Ridtz A.R 1
    • 2
    • Love EnrapturedWaters rise in humdrumEscalate crashing onto shoresTearing ages against the grainClawing, reeking into Love enrapturedLike bamboo, curve a danceStealing glances of silent awePearls drop from Eyes of ReflectionClawing, reeking into Love enrapturedWings drenched in tears uncurled, soreLifting its dreading flight, “FlyLittle one, Fly!” she criedVoices unheard in restless beatsClawing, reeking into Love enrapturedWhen oceans burn, when tears razeWhen hearts are devoid of honeyed embraceCold stenches the grounds of wretchednessClawing, reeking into Love enraptured 3
    • Words to Live ByThese words, they etch and grow within, striking each root, clawingdeeper and finally breaking the sheath that covers your heart, to let thelight pass through. Rejoice when love enters and light defines the spaceof living…These wordsthey etch their waysonto your heartscraping like thunderscraping like the edgesof a blunt linoleumtool etching, alwaystooling to make a denthoping to break thatdark dried bloodsmeared heart... these wordslike Izraeel they whispernothingness, yet theybeckon you to mopyour face smudge onthe barren earth kissingand embracing it, like atear from the eyefalling down thenforgotten...these wordsthey talk to you, they areyour breath, the blood yougave at a funeral of peersthe ones you killedthe lusts you buried...these words 4
    • they tempt not your soulfor the soul of the lifelesssees not the flameof lust that holds tightin the grip, fizzles in theessence like burntcoal and tearsbreathing lifeencircling mothsdrawn tothe sun..these wordsyou live withuttered in solitudeloving, hating fightingalways nudging, dentinghoping to breakthat dark dried bloodsmeared heartletting the Lightthrough 5
    • 6
    • Maolcolum Bascher 7
    • 8
    • A Public Reading, The Crescent Arts Centre, BelfastAmong a City’s coarse remains,Its closed rooms grieving,Beyond all paramilitary gainsA tranquil seat of learning.One buildingWrecked by time’s decay,The back roomA poor man’s theatre.We crowded out all divisionAnd dissent,Entered into an explosion of reading.She was centre stage, a PoetessStalking to and fro, head erectSlim hip throw-ingA tantalising attentive imageWith every explosive word.That nightShe was a Poet of stature,The soul of her was wingingAbove the fire, scorch and splinter.She was force and confidenceThe cells of her visions inherentIn the uncanny use of language,None had ever given her lesson.Heaney would have welcomed her,McQuickian would recognize her,There was no part of catalyst;When she left the stageIt was to deathly silence.ThenThe uproar of her well-deserved applauseDisturbed the dust high ceilings. 9
    • Bonding(for Geraldine, my long lost lover)She was quiet in the groupingLounge ofThe Ulster Peoples’ College.Nothing of divisionSimple bondingHead down into readingHardly heardHer faded green duffle coatSwamping her figureLike some frail eccentric old woman.ButWhen she looked upThe green of her eyesSea depthsEvaporating in Irish Sunlight.We hardly everSpoke a wordShe and I.Good EveningOr Goodnight.Light softening the outline CityShe was almost a mouseIn a dusty corner of poetryWith her dreaming quiet voicingBut her words demanded attention.We all listened and wanted moreAnd more she gave to us. 10
    • Memoriam(for Seamus Heaney)Break your gunsFor the cloth drum is silent.They have buried their deadWith all due pomp and circumstance.Who will heed the bugle call?The deaf have no hearingAnd the blind cannot see.Who are you?Is countless death such a magic thing,That it will give us unity − Never!And that which men call GodIs faced turned from us.No gun this penBetween the finger or thumbNor fork or spadeSeamusBut conscience!No more the strong arm liftInto love and rough tweed smell.Pipe racks will remainAnd the curl of leaf bone dry.Where Mothers in their weepingWatch their Daughters grieving.When bugles sound and drums retreatMarching men stamp their feet.The snowdrops have sprungAnd the grass is silent,The buds of winter are breakingAnd the spring enters the sea.Spring is on the borderAnd the Watcher, face stained, hides.The Hare begins its dancingAnd the squat black barrel is live. 11
    • Not a breath of ease,Or whispered Irish breezeDisturb the stillness.Listen!Hear the drum beat, snare tight warningThe Brits are coming.Parade grounds have emptiedAnd the Saracens whisper rain.They have their ordersAnd will come again and againUntil death is retrieved.Sleep thenIs that a Rat, tat, tat.Is it the wind?Or is itA butt knock thundering a door?No more the black capor hideous tones inscribedNo more the fall nooseNo sense in Law.Vigil candlelight and weepingHave been offered in recompense.I did not see their salt stainOr hear the low murmurings of shame.And beyond these defenceless deathsHeroine or HeroThey do not talk of heroism. 12
    • Thames(for Rosemary Agnew-McKinlay)Gulls on a mud bank, ducks in the glideAll ripples expanding, bank touchHulk on an island slipwayRot in the hullBranch in the overlap.It seems as thoughIsland and boat are one.Fabric in the wind and tideWhat waters runWill run on foreverIn the sea, cloud and rainSnowflake on a hillI will not see that hill again.But sometimesI may think of Ireland.Our memory, she and IGrey eyes clarity of her laughterWalking at the side, arm swingHer stride in tune with mine.I loved her easyWhen her hair, wind liftedThrew back the sunAnd her breastsPushed thumping into hugA Wife for any man.When I first met herShe was silence on a holdAn open gaze in her eyesA puzzlement in mine.The waters come as I look outDark is on the other sideWhere thoughts cave in.The length of waterman is lightedThe bar an island at the end.I watch!But she will never enter 13
    • Too much sea between usBetween her and the Brit!There was difference with usHer Tribe resolute in hatredFlags on the twelfth, ranting beneath.But disparity was strength in our lengthAll things common to a sea.In bed she was a LambA Tiger in the haunchEach thrust her riseCool sweat on her skinWhen she lay sleepingSome spark between us in the heatIn me it never truly dies.Now I cannot see the riverAll reflection is inside. 14
    • Books at the top of a stairs(for Geraldine Reid)All booksWords; lighted dreamingsThey rise from solitary imaginationsFor shoulder stoop revisionNight thoughts.I forget all daily habitSit in a straw weave kitchen chairPage into other wisdoms.My easy companion is smilingSome heart amusementErodes her serious concernAny moment now!Her laughter will bubble freeBreak the lip of studious intentAnd the woman at the counterWill lift her head for silence.Do not stop laughterSuch thingsLovers are made ofPrivate touchingWaking from close skin sleeping.There is her fine length of backLight trace miracle her spine.I know when I touch herShe will reprieve all patienceI the Lamb leaping springHer Tiger flaunting the jungleThe Lion of our union.She will findThe imprint skin of my creativity remainTrace the line placementOf all these human yearsAnd her exquisite sleeping 15
    • Will come to others as dreamingTribes will declare territorial divisionsStray Dogs will bark the Belfast moon.She has recaptured silenceBut there is still laughter within her green eyes. 16
    • Olive Trees(for My Arab Father)As if blood between usHis sense of humour − wicked.Not much of conversation betweenTwo quiet thoughtful men.Nothing of common languageSits uneasy between themA Look, a gesture of hand.A slight lift of eyebrowAnd all things are understood.Two potted Moroccan Olive treesAre a measure of this man.There is a sensed strength in them.Acclimatised to this english weather,They thrive; reach for the StarSome years before they fruitThe sweet of North African olives.But like My Father, I am patientAs much as his Son should be.And if there areBut four single years between us.My Father is still My Father! 17
    • Ottolenghi, IslingtonCakes, pastries.Such a vast colourfulAbsolutely delicious arrayOf flavoured tastesTongue tantalising adventure.Sitting,As I doAt a single round whiteMetal table,My posterior adheredTo a whiteMetal folding chair.Some spark of season acquiredWithin this quiet lounging.They come swinging pastHip throw, skirt whirling.Laughing, chatting.Fierce throw of stunning eyesAnd every one is beautiful.Whether fat or thin,Round or matchstick tall.And lovers obliviousOther than each to eachFloat along Upper Street.Some mayConsider nuts, cream,Custard and jam.A veritable joint indulgenceShared lovers’ experienceOf cakes, pastries,Walnut and marzipan.A mouth-watering full stop. 18
    • BrotherHere in CheswickIs whereYour good heart lived.Not farFrom a dancing tree.A rain soaked sunWashing the high street.I can almost hear youSee the laughter, prideOn your face, your Sons,Turned up towards love.Until death thundered your veinsCracking your heart still. 19
    • On such a day as this...On such a day as thisWhen skies are clearAnd all seems so perfectMelissa is dying.How hard she fought.Never for one momentForgetting others’ pain.She would make me laughWith her emailsHer lovely sense of humour.I will miss youMy American Warrior.(Melissa suffered ovarian cancer for some years. She was always positive and never gave up.) 20
    • UnfinishedDancing betwixt the ferventand the calm,the in between of constancyin her, here and now bewilderment.Where one is notthe solid ground, she capturedwith her indecent intentHell benton total inconsiderate destruction!Her success beyond all consequence.As he, within the gaseous multipletied well into his own mortality,aware of the increased pain of itand that Other?The weakening of forceagainst the roulette spin of fate. 21
    • Fumiko AbeQuiet in her polite approachInto bow of her greeting.In a normal Yokasuka barWhere polite Japanese gentlemenRelaxed after workMuch like in an English pub.It seemedI was being askedWhether I would like an orange?Strange offering, I accepted.She peeled the rich orange skinLaid it aside.ThenWith her manicured nailsRemoved each particle of white pithUntil the fruit was naked.Each segment separatedWas laid into a porcelain saucerA regular circle patternAnd sugar sprinkled to sweeten.She presented her offeringWe each ate a segmentUntil only one was left.After momentary deliberationI offered her the last segmentWhich she accepted.LaterShe came to meWaited as the bar owner translated.She was to finish work at 10 pmAnd wished to take me toAnother Japanese bar.Where we were made polite guestsAnd laterWe climbed a hill to her wooden houseAnd paper sliding walls.She laid a sand pillow for my head 22
    • Love between usWas a curious lack of language.Our fingertips and skinSpoke more than any wordsFor ten immense daysUntil the pacific claimed my leaving. 23
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    • Shimanta Bhattacharyya 25
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    • The Poet in Exile(Dedicated to artists who are persona non grata in theirown country and have had to go into a self-imposed exile!)Sagacious as the scarecrowHe leads a stilted lifeIn the sun’s hot gaze.His mouth, dryAnd stuffed with pebblesProduces no sound, no breath −Only the wind soughs hollowlyIn his shallow depths.The Sun, the Moon, the EarthThe season’s cosmic conspiracyVouchsafe nothingNot even a grain of thoughtIn the loamy compost of his brain.Sagacious as the scarecrowHe can only articulateThe raucous speech of pebblesWith a stony silence. 27
    • In The DarkSomewhere around a shadowy cornerOf a nameless streetIn somebody’s backyard - grown over with nettlesChildren play cricket.I can hear their shrill voicesWafting in the torpid, evening breezeThrowing a challengeTo the interminable gloom of approaching dusk.Not far away, a young motherRestrains a deprecating handIn a sudden flood of remembranceAs she watches her children playFrom behind curtains:She dare not disturb the placid watersThe river will flood its banks anyway -And the little childrenWill learn to be afraid of the dark! 28
    • RainIt’s pouring like never before.You are stranded in the pedestrianSubway. And as usualYou notice nothing exceptThe decrepit, old beggarHunched upon the splattered stepsBefore his decrepit bowlThat is quickly filling upWith soft, sudden silver.He regards you leerilyFace twisted in a wickedToothless grin. You shuffleIn your reeboks. Eyes averted.His gaze, sharp and lance-likeCuts through your shirtTo the stippled skin.There’s an edge of extra glintTo his eyes. Or is it only the rainDrawing everything into a sharper focus? 29
    • To The MuseOurs is a love-hate relationshipPivoting about dawn & dusk, hope & despair, life & deathThat we have got along with each other tolerably wellFor so long - through long spells of droughtBroken suddenly by a short-lived, but, torrential downpourProvokes a mild a wonder!Long hours have I spent with youIn the park, at the theatre, on the beachesOr in your arms lipping your warm breastsAfter a post-pandrial siestaEven in silence, (when we have quarrelled!)And yet I have failed to understand you -No matter how hard I tryI fail to convince you that I am a good lover -I promise you fidelity in the words you have given meBut you simply shrug me off with such indifferenceThat I almost cry out in despairLike a madman - froth in mouthAnd reel under the strainThat overcomes me in continual surges of pain:Like the eternal lash of waves on a moon-jinxed night! 30
    • A Bunch Of FlowersHustled, prodded and packedLike a flock of sheepInto the long, narrow aisle of a jetliner,They queue up to their assigned seatsFighting time, excess baggage and the grimeOf rootless years stamped on their faces.All sense of this mad rushWill soon be washed down with immodest sips of whisky,All explanations brushed aside -Like the smooth-scented paper napkinsDispensed to preserve what little there is leftOf human company.Suddenly in the midst of it all,Somebody soundlessly wafts into the pictureIn a rain of glances.Hugging a bunch of flowers to her bosom,She glides down the aisleCoolly conscious of the confusion around her.Sheltered in the eye of a storm,She slips in and out of the crowdExpertly shielding her prized possessionFrom the relentless onslaught of pressing bodies.Ah, somewhere somebody is waiting. Somebody beyondThe metallic banshee of jets. Somebody who cares. 31
    • The Yellowing Green(for Maolcolum)The sun peers through windowpanesShamefacedlyLike the household catWho lets himself in through magic portalsAfter a night’s murderous binge.The ceaseless ticking of the clockShatters the ethereal peaceOf delightful sleep -(After a spell of insomnious tumult -)With crass indifference.There were times when lengthening shadows spread gloom -Ah, how often we leapt out of bedJust to watch the glorious sunriseAnd the naughty gambols of playful lambsUpon lush green meadows.And now, twenty summers later,One hardly takes notice of the full-grown lambsGrazing upon the yellowing fields:Only the grassAt the foot of the telegraph pole is green. 32
    • The Unfinished ManHe dreams about a blue houseWith a red roofAnd mangoes that burnLike hundred watt bulbsIn his backyardHe has been dreaming about themEver since he banged his headAgainst a cross-beamIn his father’s garage(He had not reached puberty)He has had several accidents since:One very nearly claimed his left eyeHis dream has not changed thoughIt is always the blue house with the red roofAnd mangoes that glitter in the backyardHe dreams about a blue houseWhere the night disrobesIn a slow strip tease. Where dawnSlips silently under bolted doorsSpilling her load of gold-edged mailWhere fear does not coil, uncoilIn the bellyLike a thousand vipersWhere shadows do not castDark glances in doorways at duskWhere clocks do not echoThe heart’s silenceTicking away into oblivionWhere mangoes are in seasonAll the mellifluous year round 33
    • Ah sometimes his mind goes blankHe fights the dark in the darkHoping for something drasticA blow to the head perhapsTo jump-start his brainTonight he is fighting againAgainst the din of consciousnessThe dogs are stripping the nightTo the bone. The flower in his brainIs witheredThe mangoes are slowly becoming stone 34
    • And In The Human Heart(for George W. Bush)There is a certain emptinessIn the human heart I cannot fathom.Nothing grows there(Except the echoing beat of despairThrobbing to the rhythm of machine-guns!)There is no substance:Not even for a seed of hope.The great deserts that span the great continentsHave gushed forth either water or oil;Vast wastes of sandHave sustained many a civilisationAnd borne the toilOf a million shuffling feet -But, in the desert of the human heart,Where there is neither water nor oilOnly the hungry fires of destruction spring. 35
    • Kali(Hindu Goddess of Destruction to whom bloody sacrifices are made)A blood-burst of flaming gongsCleaves the black silenceLike a knifeBodiless voicesRev up relentlesslyIn a ceaseless dithyrambic clamour:As sphinx-shaped carousersWith billowing belliesBreak into a riotous dance -Around a towering figureOf a dumb-struck dark goddessWho only speaks the language of blood? 36
    • KashmirIridescent drops of bloodGleaming like scattered beadsUpon a desert of virgin snowBear a mute testimonyTo somebody’s twisted lust.The terrible hungersOf a famished landRecord in their throesThe birth of gun-toting messiahsAnd a feeble pulseOf a primeval storm that echoesGory tales of a divided hearth. 37
    • A Lament For Their Eyes(*For my ULFA brethren who are either dead, dying or will die)They want to shut their eyes, they cannotThe red, lidless eyes gape like festering woundsThey are struck with a strange sicknessThey are struck with the seeing sickness of the skyThe sky sees everything. The sky is one enormous eyeThe sky never stops seeing. Seeing everything all at onceThe eyes too can see everything. But only in patchesThe sky sometimes weepsThe eyes do not weep, they cannotThe eyes have become clogged with excess saltThey cannot wash themselves clean like the skyThe eyes do not have the luxury of tearsThe waters of the eyes have become locked in iceLike subterranean cataracts in winterThe waters of the eyes have withered into a lakeA lake of frozen tearsThe sun comes feeling for their eyes with pointed daggersThe moon comes feeling for their eyes with banderillasThe wind comes feeling for their eyes with grasping fingersThey cannot shut their eyes; they cannot shut their eyesLast night they fished out a corpse from a pondIts mouth was wide open. The eyes protruding like ping-pong ballsThey say he cried a lot. Others say he died of seeing too muchNow he tastes death in his mouth and death stares through his eyesThe rain claws at the green skulls of violent memoriesThe air is moist with blood spewing from ransacked townsA vulture slakes its thirst at fetid pools of submerged bonesIn the distance clouds gather like poisonous mushroomsThe rice withdraws into the earth. A swathe of smokeCovers the eyes of those who have comeTo cremate their dead. Somewhere a girl tries to singBut the song sticks in her throat like a knife 38
    • They want to shut their eyes, they cannotThey cannot shut their eyes in spite of the daggersThey cannot shut their eyes in spite of the knivesThey cannot shut their eyes in spite of the gunsThat seek out their pithless hearts with long fiery tonguesThey are the fallen angels with wings like shards of electricityThey cannot shut their eyes, their eyes with their pierced dreamsOh, if they shut their eyes the nightmares begin.*The United Liberation Front Of Assam, a secessionist militant organisation fighting for an independent statehood in Assam, India. 39
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    • Michael H. Brill 41
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    • Tall FiresMy toaster died this evening,In flame and then in steam.It choked on bloated, frosted things.Its wires did glow and gleam.A moment when my back was turned,The bloated things did spawnEach one a flame that spouted forthFrom toaster’s mouth a-yawn.I gaped as these two spouts of flameThe cupboards did assail,Each flame a roaring demonWith a multicolored tail.Through wreaths of smoke I jumped untilI reached the towering flames.Two tall and skinny fires these were,Two demons without names.Though they were tall and lean and fastI vowed they’d bow to me.A primal thought flashed through my mind.I turned as if to flee.And then I grabbed the carcassOf my ailing toaster friend,And tossed it in the sinkAnd brought it to its watery end.Oh, yes...Before I let it go(I guess I was too terse)I pulled the plug − tall fires are bad,But SHORT fires are much worse! 43
    • Patently ObviousPatent 6,980,xxxsays I can’t breathe in again:Not my idea to use...can’t point to prior art......saw it on the Internet......lawyer back at two......I’m on “hold”......[gasp]...Treble damages! 44
    • Last Blue Reflection 2002The photographer had one last task here.Alone, at nearly midnight,he shouldered fifty pounds,climbed fifty floors,assembled hefty tripod,mounted camera aimed at the blue phantom towers(searchlit gaps where the real towers fell last year),and waited − patient fisherman −for vagrant photons scatteringfrom chance dust and mist.Though cable-muscled legs ached,his grim eyes (much aged since fall)banished the pain,demanded this distant departing viewto warn, to contain the lethal avalanche.Could wraithlike bridge spans from the phantom towerscarry forth his faith in the futureand a thousand latent souls to their new beginnings?Just before dawn he sighed,closed the shutter,packed away the camera,trudged down the stairs.It was no good tonight:too much wind swaying this building,too little dust.Only a few more blue-lit nights.Luckily he would need just one more try.Then, on to his next work(born of his faith before the evil day)− protect and nurture his new baby at home. 45
    • View From AfarDots of light, electrons’ spoor,deftly, seamlessly woven on my screen −capturing early-spring mid-morning in your home;looking out through a mirrorat the ancient city across the bay,trees in the mid-ground not yet in bloomexcept the polka-dotted playful pinwheel.Your patio grows in full leaf.Small birds live in the foreground room,maybe parakeetson brief vacation or too fast for the camera,but fresh water awaitswhen they return or alight.Draped on the dresser, attached to a metal necklace,a diaphanous purple shawlwhose casual perfume could weaken a man.Behind the camera a bed,not with live-tree postsbut strong enough.Also the sun, and the returning traveler −now farther than Odysseus from Penelopein space, time, and probability. 46
    • Luminous ReflectionThat candle flame’s enough at nightto lose a key and find itbut casts a shadow in the sun −a greater light behind it.The shadow gutters lowand blocks the words I read and write,so better now I use the dayand snuff the lesser light. 47
    • Drama ReviewThe new production of “Death of Everyone Else But a Salesman”,a timely tribute by Ruth (R. A.) Rellim,would have been the bellwether of the decadebut the actors and stage crewwere absent on opening nightpursuing their new careersin telemarketing.I tried to clap with one handas the other plied cell-phone sales.No audience to be annoyed.No one alive to enact the present −only your ghostly wish-world of futures. 48
    • Green Shackles (escheating and other fine things)Hey! Don’t toss that note from the bank, orthe state will get your idle bank account!”How so?” you ask.First the bank freezes your money so it will hold still.Then the state grabs the frozen green.I call this harvester the Good King (G.K.)in deference to history...“What history?” Now you’re curious.Good King John threw up his hands,then threw his arms around the unclaimed land.What else is a good monarch to do with all that green?(Even so virtuous,those hands were forcedto sign the Magna Carta)Now, many Johns and Georges laterG.K.’s good work lives on in US (or is it WE the people?).The unstirred pot of green − a bank accountreverts to George du jour, through suited proxy.“What!” you say. “That pot’s not idle −I stir it every tax time.1099 makes it fine − right?” Wrong.You pay yearly the burden of Pharaoh and Caesar and Mad George combinedyet G.K. sees it not.Heshe grabs your green againfrom pots unstirred two years.(That’s when the money freezes, ready to steal!)The G.K. name “escheating” hides the cheat.Recall if you can the cheatwhen in your later yearsyour hands can’t stir the pots so briskly 49
    • “Don’t like it? Then leave!”I can’t. My dwindling green dribbleis still shackle enoughand holds my free inalienable body.G.K. won’t let me move it. 50
    • Kicking the Ars PoeticaHow came the poet to this state?Typical homeless manon a typical Christmas in Harvard Square,yet with a difference:a sign saying “Poetry” acrosssharing the “e” with “Readings” down.Word-processor calligraphy,held by filthy rag-wrapped hand.His receding mane does look a bit Shakespeareanbut his eyes scream in petulant pain:“They took my best stuff!”How came the poet to this state?Once perhaps he was a rainbowed splashin a magnificent cascade,Homer to Marlowe to Shakespeareto Asimov and beyond:“his verse has launched above a thousand more.”How came the poet to this state?Was his natural poet-poverty helped along by lawsuits?In his innocence, did he take in vain the name of some copyright or trademark?Loss of poetry and wealth, the sign (from Kinko’s),all the rest would follow.As I pass, I wipe moist eye with a Kleenexmindful of how I must honor his image. 51
    • To Emancipated Dogs of The FutureThe time has come to emancipate you,to let you run your own world.I know you’ve been waiting a while for this;we relinquish the keys gracefully.Once you licked our hands,slept on our floors,ate what we gave you,silently asked permission for calls of nature.Then came the rain of heavenly virus RNA,changing you forever.Now you think and talk and ask questionslike when will you be free of us?We ask nothing in return,yet I fear you will pay a grievous price.In the old state you died easily when the time came:An injection given to you, unawares.Now you inherit the mantle of the master.No one will ease your death,the slow, agonizing dissolution of the bodythat, as masters, we have had to bear.This is the price of emancipation,to be bound by the shackles of Hippocrates,and by an ageless ethic.Only your hardened criminals will be immune. 52
    • No BullWe both know it’s been a rough rideon this bucking bronco of a plane from Europe.Now you say you teach middle-school phys. ed.and what is lessyou just ran with the bulls at Pamplona.You prove it with your video,shot your second day of running.I met six bulls too, just yesterday −my shoe’s evidence not so graphic as your horn-torn sneakerbut more fragrant.English cow pastures have nature-walk easements −polite counterparts of Pamplona streets.This one spanned miles of eastern polders,a drainage ditch on each side,six herds of cows visible in the distanceeach one with a bull.An occasional snort in the sultry airmixed with the brush of our feet against grassas three of us trudged in.Academic Glenn had done this before −no need to worry.One half mile in, a trick of the eye:A huge bull, with his admirers,seemed to stand right in the path.It was impossible,but so.The bull stood with his front feet on the path,his herd behind him.Head held high, horns shining in the sun,tail swishing, he looked down at me.I remembered this gesture from middle-school −unmistakable. 53
    • “Let’s go back,” I said to Glenn,who drew out a map and unfolded it.I went on: “Glenn, I don’t think we need a mapto figure out what to do now.”Glenn turned with me, and his female student followed.As we walked, my backward glance saw the bull standing.He was unlikely to pursue, I reasoned:His absence would make his cows scatterperhaps to take up with other bulls.Maybe we understood each other.On the right was a more distant herd,a brown mountain hulking over it.“That’s a really big one” said Glenn,but I had closer worries.On the left, a herd that had been far awaynow stood a few feet from our retreat path.We affected nonchalance in our walkbut I skirted the right-hand drainage ditchand slipped and almost fell in recent leavings.Where was the bull?Suddenly emerged a gray flankrippling like a huge flag in the wind,rising from the herd in a mounting tension.Too short a moment, I thought,but we got by.Relieved, I recalled another thought from middle school.Nookie is good, even if it’s the other guy who gets it. 54
    • Driving North at Low NoonDriving north at low noonI feel not much day is left,But it is warm − no snow or rain’s in sight.Sun is behind me, dazzling(I dare not look in the rear-vew mirror).Ahead, bathed in warm colors,Trees rush by me, stark and wrinkled,Yet evoking summer eveningsAs the cold blue sky stands blamelessly apart.I shift to elude pain as I drive,Adjusting the burden of half a century.A religious meeting and my northward wayHave hidden the shadows that foretell the night.Soon darkness comes, and (in a while) I rest.The last ember of my wakefulnessHarbors yet one mote of New Year’s resolve:Though another year bears me inexorably northward,Though another winter meets meon its way from the Arctic Circle,I shall find low noon again. 55
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    • Nigel Burwood 57
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    • Modern MomentI was sitting in Peet’s cafe in Frisco(as they don’t like you to call it)talking online with a cloned geniusEinstein Turing Turbo 7,as he likes to be called.My virtual handmaiden Zelda Fitz 6,was, as always, at my side.Suddenly just as I was feeling peckish,my old pal Didier teleported himselfin from Paris − the Boul’ Mich(another no-no nomenclature)with a fabulously fresh baguettebaked just 15 minutes before inthe 23rd arondissement.Quite a modern moment. 59
    • NoirA war hero kills his roundheel bride,in ocean winds under glistening palms.Rain falls on her body,darkens her dark dress,draws blood along her black hair.Lightning reveals the stoic faceof a shamus sleuthing in a hotel garden,his scarred jaw, his laconic teeth.At a night club in the bay hills,singers wear slinky dresseswith sparkle and sheen and have long hairand dark glowing eyes like Veronica Lake.Lust and longing perfume the air,where the svelte girls torch-sing about lost loveand the utter impossibility of happiness.A lot depends on a heartsick gangsterdriving down a dark mountain roadin a long white Lincoln.Later all the good and bad peopleshoot one another in a dirty garage. 60
    • Where is Fantomas?At that time Fantomas hauntedthe places and passages of Paris,always disguised, always a man− sometimes two men.The hack author Igor Larsen,(“Two Eggs on my Plate,”)or the poet assassin Lassenaire,elegant criminal of the Seizieme.Untraceable, unseizable −sometimes a frail old man,the pedantic antiquarian Loupart,or Lord Mortimer −a tweedy English bounder,wiry, whiskered, springing from the dark.Everywhere and nowhere,untraceable, unseizable,but never for an instant himself,a feat beyond his incredible power. 61
    • Wittgenstein’s JukeboxI’m sitting in the House of PiesDrinking muddy coffeeWhile Ludwig talks at me.Always the foundations of reasoningAnd the limitations of knowledgeTo logic − and only logic.‘Put another record on the juke box’I shout after 2 hours (and no pie).‘But there is no juke box inThe House of Pies’ cries Ludwig,‘Can you prove that?’ I quip.He laughs out loud (a rare thing).‘Nigel − I like your cheery face.Let’s go camping in Norway!’ 62
    • In fernIn the middle course of my lifeHaving strayed from the straight pathI got lost in a dark wood.Luckily I was carrying a mobile phone. 63
    • Never Said A Bad WordAt the funerals of those who died too early,well before their time (a short innings)I usually hear the dead man described ashaving ‘never said a bad word about anyone’and sometimes it is true.I hear it so often thatit seems saying bad wordsabout people is the secret of a long life.Is it meekness or genuine nicenessthat holds our dead man back?Does he feel that if he put people downthey would do the same?And why does he spend his afternoons in drinking clubs? 64
    • Dark Car TheoryOnly a part of the secretis ever revealed.It happened on 85just past Cupertino.A dark car is closing in behind meat high speed on the crowded highwayin dying light.Pulling over to let it byI slow down and glimpsea secret running under the world,the dark car theory,the demon is multiplied,the meek are twice meek,the unlit car will weave fastthrough the shining safe cars.Take care, those who most needto take care cannot.The racer tears into the future,he had been usefulto demonstrate the theory. 65
    • A Lesson with Mr. MenticultureThe pupil says: −‘Please Mr. Menticulture,can you teach meto live without worryand fearand, like, fast?’Mr. Menticulture replies: −Yes. Consider, if it is possibleto, like, get rid of fear and worry,why is it necessaryto have them at all?The pupil says: −I get it.I, like, totally get it.(Leaves room.) 66
    • The Way of the TouristTake the funicular railway,kiss the Blarney Stonewalk the Boboli Gardens,ride the London Eye.This is what we dowhile we are alive.Up the Eiffel Tower,down the Blue Grottoround the Coliseum,onwards to Angkor Watback through Cumberland Gapalways best as a touristwith camera, phrase book, and map.Ignore experts,go where everyone goes,surrender willinglyto the way of the tourist.Swim in the Med,drink the local brew,visit Elvis’s grave.This is what we dowhile we are alive. 67
    • CEOSometimes hiking in obscure hills,I caught sight of my linemenAnd would climb up for a talk.When I told them I was the presidentOf Bell Telephone CompanyThey were, frankly, amazed.Walking to the operaOr just pacing the pavementI would disappear down a manholeTo check my workers were all right,And to show my appreciation.Such acts have made me inordinatelyWealthy. 68
    • BlamelessThere was a time that has run awayWhen dread and fear woke me each day.Streets leading down obliquely to rampartsNo longer confound,Pools and great subterranean reservoirsCause no disquiet.I am the master of fallen yearsBeyond laughter, beyond tears.Unmoved by failure or success,Indifferent to indifference,I lead a blameless life in Bournemouth. 69
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    • Üzeyir Çayci 71
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    • The Mauve SeaIn all your life you have never seenthe mauve sea...As though thirsty to dieon hera bird tramples fireI did not see eitherat the pointof resurgence of morningon the mauve seaAs though thousands of hopesvibrate on hermy eyes disappearinto the calls of the next dayA start shakes me in the morningwith tears, facing, oppositeIt restsand stretches with all my griefbefore my eyes...The mauve sea 73
    • They Have Taken Their First Steps in My HeartThe pain first took hold of my wristsIn the heart within my heartMy sweet childrenTook their first steps.Rain drips on the windowsThere is that which comesFrom far awayWith hands in handcuffsI do not know the day or year of humanity...Stars shineThanks to drops falling from treesThe moon springs tight a trap on my pessimismFor a night…The pain first took hold of my wristsIn the heart within my heartMy sweet childrenTook their first steps. 74
    • The Valley of the CulpritsIn the valley of the culpritsbe patient.Remain planted on your legsto be struckby the newcomers and, leaving them,never look behind you,so that each one can seethe hairstyle on the nape of your neck.In the valley of the culpritswhile insults fuse togetherdo not say anything, especiallymake like the nightingale which ate a blackberrywhile the human one is depreciating.The bump at the end of your nosemust not have an impact on your spirit.Know that your language burns if you eat while prickingand your backyard burns if you speak bitterly.Above allforget your mother, and your father.It is not necessary to worry about their fateor that they are weakened physicallyor drag themselves along.Do not say anything.Drop...Let your efforts break down.Let the mast be reversed... 75
    • Carry on your way simpering.If you see a fallen friendabove all have no feelingno pityand if you have envy, give him another kick.Do you know that nobody is thinking of you at this moment?If you come across a large turkeycut its throat without saying anything to anybodyand eat it!Have no panic, remain stillwhere you are well hidden!In any eventyou are in the valley of the culprits.You will be viewed badly if you work much.You will be driven out if you speak the truth.You will be crushedif you go the way of love.You will be beaten in various waysif you resist tyranny.You knowthat there are things not to be neglected.In any eventyou are in the valley of the culprits.Be pitiless!You know that integration is spoken about uniquely,that at least your identity card is like theirs.One demands it from you insistently.If in spite of all you do not likeall that I have just saidyou do what you want,act according to your desiresas well as your accomplishments,one never knows...Perhaps you will be accepted! 76
    • Friendship with PhotosMake drawingsof a frienda comradea neighbourand place them in a central corner...Do not count contours and lossesretiring from your memorywordslike interest, aggression, treason...Colour, decoratemanage them...Hang them in the nicest placeof your home...As long as they are theresleep without frightwithout fear...You will seethat your friendshipwith the festive coloursand the sincere lineswill not deceive you. 77
    • The Hunter Has Become a Guide for the BirdsThe hunter has become a guide for the birds,his two facesagainst two wings.He has chopped down treesto make a postwith small dried branchesfor the birds to roost.He has broken off flowersto decorate this small treeto cheer the birds.He has put small stonesand large grains of wheaton platesso that the birds can eat.He has constructedposts with pencilsand towers with postsfrom the ruins of the towersso that the birds can take cover.He has appended signatures,each one different,on dry leaveswith his two faces,no one noticing.After some time,chasing the birds one by one,he blows like a wind,saying that judges and prosecutorsare his friends. 78
    • The birds, like many others,quickly understandand when the time is ripethey emigrate,exchanging one thing for another,finding another country,agreeable people, trees,grains of wheat on platesand flowers of all colours...while living peacefully there,the hunter is of two facesagainst two wings. 79
    • The Children of MidnightMemory of war is silenced in themand there is a tiredness in their knees,the children of midnight kneel before the sun...this only oneof the many thousand sorrowscovering their eyesas if they were thirsty for a dropof the moon’s lightThe children of midnightwalk fallen in the dark,resembling the skyI cannot leave these sensitive, indifferent onesI still do not know...after how many years?I re-examine themand they still cry,these children of midnight 80
    • The Cul-de-Sac of the RoseGrief will invade your dreams.Listen to the oceanfor all that you would see.Remember blue fieldsfulfilled by sunwhile sorrow sleeps.Hand in handnights bring fish.Your eyes soak up the sky,you cannot endurethe murmur of things disappearingin the cul-de-sac of the Rose.There, poems will be silenced,songs will make you cry,glass will break in your hands.You cannot think,and then you knowyou are no longer able to see mein the cul-de-sac of the Rose. 81
    • Before the Eyes of AllA whistle has snared your longing,your pride has burnedinto a young man’s roots,deceiving your mutual hope;and your thoughts,like handkerchiefs of stone,have fallen from the bridges.In your own dazzled eyescolours are not repressible,but you have packed the suninto compartments.While the sword playsdarkly in the dazzle,your stories open the arms of slavery.A whistle has snared your longing,your pride has burnedinto a young man’s roots. 82
    • Do not pass by the places which I frequentedEspecially do not smell my flowersor tin my hopesAs a favourDo not stretch your frozen handstowards my fire...Do not finger my nights, full of nostalgia,with pity for my stars!Do not make my songs endureGo, before my eyesAs a favourdo not pass by the places which I frequented.Leave me to myselfDo not mingle in my thoughtsHold yourself distant from my feelingsAs a final favourleave my poemsDo not pass by the places which I frequented.(Üzeyir Çayci’s poetry has been translated from the French by Joneve McCormick) 83
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    • Fide Erken 85
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    • flower languageflowers have miraculous coloursthey send us love with their perfumes;flowers have a different languageeven if i learn all the languages in the worldit won’t be possible for me to tell about loveas well as fragrant flowersi smell love watching their coloursand want to say “i love you”in the flower-language to my lover 87
    • AutumnIt’s been raining continuously.Bright drops are seen.The streets have opened their wayTo the gloomy loneliness.It’s not possible to findThe brightness of daylight,Distinguishing the daytime from night.Darkness in the skyIs being felt like a saddening end.There is a silent wait among the trees −Oh, when will they be naked!Leaves have been falling so slowlyBecause they don’t want to be noticed.Trees are getting undressed.The weather is dark.Alone are the streets,The leaves are falling.Autumn has come crying. 88
    • ShadowsGrandma is sleeping in her bedone of her thin handslies on the quiltwith long, beautiful fingersHer bed is in an empty roomnobody thereexcept a young lady from the pastwith long, beautiful fingersGrandma can’t speak or singshe can’t even see a thingstill she has thin handswith long, beautiful fingersThe young lady used to singshe used to speak cheerfullycook delicious food for mealtimeswith her long, beautiful fingersGrandma is sleeping in her bedher long, beautiful fingers on the quiltout fly three white dovesnot true beauties, just shadows 89
    • In your heartsmall is happinessin green grassbut far is happinessin a bird’s flightas you want to get closerit goes far awaysmall is happinessin sky’s cloudshappiness is a liarsays you own itbut just leaves sadnessand goes farnot possible to knowwho owns itwe smile in sightbut in reality, crysmall is happinessin green grassbut far is happinessin a bird’s flightdon’t seek itin sky cloudsit’s in your heartnot so far 90
    • The Love TreeThere was an old treeat the corner of the streetso big and imposingthat everybody tried to climb itSome people weren’t strong enoughto grasp the branchesso they fellbefore reaching the peakSome were too heavywhen these tried toreside in the treethey broke the branchesThere was one persontall, thin and gentlehe reached the topafter struggling many yearsHe settled therehis beautiful wife asidebut the scenery was so attractivethat he started watching. 91
    • Music brings your loveeyes closedi open my heartfeelings pour and spreaddancingmusic is in my braini want to feel itso i stop my brainand let my heart workmind is farbut heart is nearheart feels the musicmusic brings your love 92
    • They Called Me To The Country Of PoetryLate,One eveningThey called meTo the Country of Poetry.They said,“Come quickly!If not,No tickets will remain.”The streets of the Country of PoetryHave flowers on the pavements.They smellSo distinctively.Travellers pass along the streets.They disappear,Leaving something scribbled on a scrap of paper...Some odd writings.Some people read themOthers throw them away.But they are inexhaustibleThose odd scribblings.Travellers comeTo the Country of Poetry.And sometimes are unable to procureA return ticket.They drift alongThe narrow streetsAnd pick up flowersWith unusual formations. 93
    • Tonight,There’s a freeTicket available.A one-way ticket.I salute the ones who stayIn the Country of Poetry,For it’s the country ofThe lonely, poor and peculiar.Unfortunately,It’s not possible for youTo enter −Unless you really are a poet. 94
    • Ananya S. Guha 95
    • 96
    • The Poetwas interviewedfor a jobhow will poetryhelp you in lifethundered oneof the memberslooking aroundtriumphantlyas if he hadasked thequestion of the decadehe wincedmuttered “poetry is life,symbols...”he did not get the jobbut went out into the worldarmed with more poemsto battle it out. 97
    • PoemCome speak to mein the language of the soulCome speak to mein the twitter of the birdsCome speak to me of a savage silencethat is holiness,and let me be a begging bowlfor alms. 98
    • Poetry That SpeaksPoetry that speaks isthe written word emergingout of the oral, in time’smythic shroud, in picturesof man in primal moorings.Who wrote poems then?Poetry that speaks is ancientlanguage of birds, of naturein whistling wind,God’s omnipresence.What are poems written for?In what archetypal silence?Poets are driven by mad lustin history’s corridors; in time’s constricted space.Poets are friends of rites, ceremoniesof voices marauding and dead.Poetry that speaks is man clawing;eating raw meat tangledin clannish, internecine wars.Poetry that speaks is time’s spate,rivers’ red.Let us write the poetry of originsof ancient gongs and wildfiresstampeding this mad hollownessand, hammer the heart with words. 99
    • Memory Takes WingsWhere did they come from, the poems?From the written word, tormentor of feelings,The spoken sometimes a defaulter?The weather, a beaten rose?In early morning’s awakened holocaustThe grey dusty Radiant ReaderPlugging its way to school with monotony?The school hall brooding over boysIn grey-green uniforms...Messiahs of sad spiritThey still brood, these poemsMusic of lives, my lifeAndMemory saunters...Takes wings. 100
    • ForestsOnce again these rains,gathering into bowls of dustgnawing memories; with cloned feetdrying up membranesMine is the staring gaze on yesteryearsas these hills hauntedlike passing shadowDoes anything bedevil them?Or is this antediluvian landreplete with myths and storiesreclusive, full throatedin its pleafor solitariness?These rains maketheir wraith like appearanceonce again, compelling me tohide within its thicket of dense forests. 101
    • TreeNow I am alonealone as the treewith its droopingdismembered selfplanted for nocturnal yearsnear the window ofa peregrinating houseThe tree is taciturnknows the sun, the hillsthe moon and speckled starsThe tree stands anonymouslyrefusing to mingle with habitateven when the stormy skythreatens to shake rampartsin the whirlwindViews landscapewith its gnarledspreading branches like tentacles,melting into fistful of waif like tearsWe are alone the two of usWaiting patiently for the hawk 102
    • I See PoetryI see poetry in all sorts of placesI see a word lying in the ambitof a leper or a beggarI pick up that lone pariah wordand write a poemPoetry in those huge blue archesswirling overhead;my kite flying daysIn the silence between infinitesimal spacesPoetry tooin the mad womanwith her ugly peering eyeswho came to my house, one summer’s afternoonmoved by monsoon’s furyonly to dieand to cause a death in me;SomewhereEvery nightthere is pulsating poetrywhether a dog howlsor the wind sends a piercing cry.Time ticks away ruthlessly...There is poetry there. 103
    • LostThe poemthat was foundamong garbageand heaps of rubbishstifled mewith a songa song of destinya song of the wayfarera song in the midst ofrevolutionit was lost, by pilfererswho killed peoplein the name of religionin the accusation of conversionthey blasphemed truththe killers of men, women and childrenthen came the cry of the songthe poem that was lostcupped palms into prayerand wept like never before. 104
    • When Do We Meet?Will it be in the twilighthour? With fate intercedingor will it be in the profusion of delightsome call it love, the sceptics: destinylet me inhale from the garden of rosesto be reminded that you were once minejust for those few palpitating moments asyou resonated with the world-around you:And I was born. 105
    • WoundIt has opened once againthe wound,it hurts no longer thoughbut when it opensit nurses all the old onesand I feel like a bandagedvictim, condemned to daysof hibernation in moth eatenasylums, where soulful livingis non-existent, where thewound comes backfull circle, to lash the bodywith tremor, with periodicinanity.Healing is out of the questionwhat can, and perhapswill happen is that like theyawning mouth of a riverthe wound will continueto stare me in the faceagape, aghast, that Iam still its wayfaring friend. 106
    • Poem in ProseOnce, as a child I wore masks. Colourful. Of different shades andhues. Wearing them during the festival season, they made faces.The mask and I were one. They were my glasses and through themI saw smiling faces, crying, angry, laughing faces. Today I still wearmasks. But where are those red, blue, yellow masks, those that Irevelled in, those that I wore as a child? The masks of my childhoodand the masks of today are no longer the same. 107
    • 108
    • Bob Hart 109
    • 110
    • Greening Down To Red BerriesAutumn is blood no matter what.Whatever blood is, in the vat, that’s Autumn!I mean, Spring is trying to leap upto and witha fire invisible;with summerthat fire jells into fleshwhose distances yawn into longing,abyss between the heartbeat al-ways frilling green.Autumn takes to the legs −the kid’s kick in all out racing −not to long for, but to go!So the long days curl,red edges closing together −fashion avenue is intense with dyesmore crimson than sunsetmore blue than sky,sky nor flesh is necessary to the distance,nor wind to the stirring,wine only wanted in the stainfor its intoxication!Autumn is blood no matter what.Whatever blood is, in the vat, that’s Autumn. 111
    • Floating Alone In Worldly CompanyPenthouse ledges are for the birdsa little lilt of upward notesstray help forbalancing on the edgesor a trapeze helloto float some silverpassing to wherethe yellow castles wentwith gardens purpledwhere the gold goesall the dayis glowing to go thereslowing to sleep todream it moredancing in slow motionmelody silking deep into evening 112
    • Damp Similes and Mossy MessagesLike someone diving into diverse riverssomehow always arrivingat the exact same shoreI return to the same metaphors, even findthe sandpiper printsof the same messagesin my different poetry.Gosh. Look at that. The same images.Like in this poem: river, shoreAlready second hand imagesvisited by Victorian families on weekends.I still wear them like a favorite old vestto solemn and light occasions.Pond river puddle lake − see? Sure.If you dip your handsinto many of my groups of wordsthey’ll always come out wet with water, andexamining your palms you’ll likely findsome shore. I am enamored of shoresalmost as much as faces.....almostas much as eyes.....almost as much as distancesand clouds (damply obscure in myunoriginality) I routinely describe as bright 113
    • punning on the genius ofa vapor thread that waved them,the story threads that brought them there,fingering the image lightly of thatsilver-irised multi-flowering of myth −am I bright? No! I’m flashy − I mean splashy −all wet, since it doesn’t makeme shine like a mirror tobe so slow to keep lightning outof the world of my words like sunrise-growing weedsits accumulated dew-globes such afertile glare of repetitionsit bursts the thermometer from whicha facet-minded god is proposed to leap.To leap and multiply.Beams on the waves. Sea what I mean.Pacific. Atlantic. Mythic.In theeyedrowned disorientationof the below-wave divefin-wave hope to come to illuminatea new ascension of an unfamiliar shore. 114
    • Inspired By A Lord Byron PoemPardon me a moment.Oh, I came back late?You’ve left two lifetimes behindsince I left you How is it I recognized you anyway?I think I spent the whole time dreaming.Except a second or so: you knowthat star we looked at? − I was on it.In it I should say.It was very hotat firstwhite brightness all around me, thenI dwindled till Igot all coldand its heat was far and distant stars itself.But that was justa second or so.Dreamingbrings you to strange people instrange places.You and I most often meet on ski slopes at full speedmaking whiteness rise behind us.Or one of us meets Mark.The strange people would findthose strange ski slopes I mean.In the dream? Something like it.A terrible lot of fun.Oh, they were fun! Like the ones a long long time ago.Do you trust me tohop off for just a moment? I’llbe right back. 115
    • On Reading Harriet Brown’s “A Letter From The Country”I am dressed in the feelof animals brushing by methe warm torso of deerthe brushlike soft raccoonthe featherwhip of wrens crows robins sparrows hawkshot wolf furthe trees are walking and I feel them toothe tuft of weeds and the wild turkeyI am dressed in family.Some places the brown earth is spotted with snow like a fawnwater the snowwill be cold on meyou will see my overcoat of snow.The lining will bethe hot smoke of black wood and red leavesthe leavesare chuckling cooing grumbling.My overcoat is manifold with mouths and eyesI am dressed in family. 116
    • Call Me Hypocrite and I Shall AnswerStanding on the stage anddying in my arms with allthe strength of beauty in your faceand what colors of Goyaam I wearing now?You cut the lines into yourself, say“these grooves are my life on this place!”And then you press yourself against the paper.And I say “pity is as horrible as suffering”soI hold only ink on my heartshaped stoneno blood.My blood in some distant placeI may have long forgotten. I mighthold you thereand cry your tears as warm not freezing salty sweetforgetful of how flesh so smooth a spreadis natively susceptible to rankness.The horrors of war. And where − if Icould mine it in me − would tenderness take me?We have the harmony of seasonsin atmosphere as thin as cellophaneand frail as tissue.Shall I come back (fresh from the dead)with your grandmother’s comforting lips ona childish smiling browwearing the blue of the homeland river anda russet in my storytelling gownweaved all of sunrise after purple nightflow?Shall we together seamaiden swimwhere age is no rotting but only a wineand kinder never totem only lieder −liebchen: shall we?My sleep is my drug and will you wake my grey nervesto the toothache of this world?If I’m a glass and if your dying stains medon’t you see that you mustlive to make my colors shine? 117
    • Human in a Foreign CountryAsk him what Hamlet place he was coming fromto look out at this peopled place and decideall the children are doomed.Was it that in his own self-detested lewdnesshe saw the world as onlythe great cradle of corruption?How vast to scanthrough freshforest odor andall paths and towns and elder growingand eyely multiply each coming seedof childly lookto unpassable grimfall future!Not to call it alien. Nature is in the nutshelland from in a shadowed rotting huska fertile visionary eye can turnip toan unusual shape of telescope −a viewer of vistas originalnot to call it wholely exile.He might have been a maker of symphonies:have left behindwhat voyages? − what nights? −to look so on the color of this daywhere he’d arrived befuddledson of a mothergroping for an all-circling truthto ever-begin-and-end inhis spirit he never knew was this darka marriage ring to makecompassion out of despair.Oh the journeys are interesting:dark nights and the weapons therethe sometime starsthe mirrors of black holescompanion walks; beds andsome of them left bloody 118
    • so many smells that mingledwith the pining under pines.But see how even a blade pierce of blackness can bea light of vision ifthe stroke is seen as one’s own.But those childrenstanding in his outer andhis inner eyesmall with their littlehands to grasp the to-comehe must meet them somedaysomewhere.Another momenthe must make another futureto meet himself and them intheir looksand all the looksarriving in a multiplicity of curious-to-find.The heart is a journey. Perhapswe choose andnot choose what it carries.Journeys themselvesarrive at placesmix visions theremake music asthe boat is overturned or rides the waves. 119
    • 120
    • Kostas Hrisos 121
    • 122
    • I See the LightI see the lightSomewhere in the distance.I am not scared.Even if it’s only a candleAnd it goes out, by the time I reach it,I will light another. 123
    • The dilapidated potI look OK, for my age.Without a head, justA big mouth that looks even bigger opened up.No legs, just one arm;But what do you expect?I’m not a Greek Urn. 124
    • My fatherMy father would not doany domestic chores;could not cookor do the dishes.We ran out of clean clothes;we went out & bought some new.We ran out of clean dishes;we went out & ate at restaurantsthat is until mother returned homefrom a short stay at the hospital.She wasn’t quite sureshe should be happywe could not copewithout her. 125
    • Heron-on-a-paperweightAt first, misreading your name as“Haron”, I thought you were named after“Haros”, the boatman who carries the souls to their placePainted on a stone thatWe throw behind our backs, meaning “never to return here again”You fit the name but look nothing like him. 126
    • A perfect momentEyes level to the seaRaindrops explodeWater-crowns splashFaces red as applesBobbing disappearInto the blueThe surface the skyThe sun water-paintWhich way isThe rain falling? 127
    • Hey Dad can I borrow the car?And so what if Phaethonstole his father’s flaming chariotand burned to the ground a few villages,and froze to death one or two towns?I would do the same given half the chanceto ride solo the chariot of the Sun,even at my age! 128
    • Post-MarketPomegranates explode.Figs flesh bursting.Grapes bleeding.Melons under the knife.Apples choppedand coconuts smashed.Bananas’ skin peeled.Garlic crushed.Olives stoned.Black-eyed beans.Tomatoes squashed,black and blue aubergines.Potatoes dust themselves and rubbruised courgetteswith dandelions.Ladyfingers strokeonions full of tears.Thyme scented honey,olive oil mixed with oregano:potions. 129
    • My grandmother’s adviceShe spits on her fingertipsthat pull the woolinto a fine thread.“Don’t fret”, she saysand spins the spindle with such a spinI forget to cry,“Just spit on it,it’s the best medicine for little scratches”. 130
    • Easter-Sunday EveEaster-Sunday Eve, in the old cemetery.It’s drizzling and a bit windy,the candles are flickering,the faithful are chanting quietly.Suddenly the gravestones take flight,they hover above our heads for awhile,not long enough to read the names,and then they disappeared into the ether,to the right.Leaving the smoke from the incenseto keep us dizzyand the dead in the damp earth. 131
    • Just like themCongregatedIn a Holy BibleAt the bottom of a drawerThe Holy Trinity,Angels, Demons,The Virgin Mary,Apostles, Devils,The Four Horsemen,Among so many others.Some move with such dexterityIn half-tone grey landscapes,Sleeves rolled up ceremoniously,Talking in hushed and weird tones,Deliberate their predicament,Yearning for attention.Others demonstrate discontent,Shouting out loudAs in a march, or at a football ground.Demanding my attention.I hear them all.I don’t answer. 132
    • Roger Humes 133
    • 134
    • The kindness of once strangersWhen the final words are saidand door is quietly closeddo I hear you softly weepingor perhaps sharpening your vengeanceor perhaps both. 135
    • There is no roomThere is no roomfor sweet wordswhen the sky is fullof gray tearsand the earth is sownwith the salt of remorse. 136
    • I am notI am not the poem− I am the bones ground to dustunder the heels of mad fairy tales;I am not the painting− I am the plague scathed across a savage landweeping desolate in the unlit alleyway;I am not the song− I am the wail of the last windlost beneath the sands of mislaid hope;I kissed you good-byebefore I let go,I kissed you good-byebefore the coffin closedI kissed you good-byediscovering death is so cold.I am not the story− I am Tamerlane’s ride across Asiaending civilization before it began;I am not the sculpture− I am the leper who arrived after Jesus leftwith only an empty wine flask left to comfort him.I am not the art− I am what remains when realityreminds us we die as alone as we are born. 137
    • Who are youWho are youwho comes to my doorstepoffering freedom from want,freedom from need, freedomfrom desire, and slaveryto devotion? 138
    • A Poet of Many ColoursCome now lay down on meWhile Egypt clothes you against my skinIn the chill hush of the nightWhere before the desert of your thoughtsYou wrap me warm around you,Heedless of the bloodstainsOf the Lamb on the coat and above the doorway,Laid as justification for exileWithin these legendary days of plagues and emancipation.No name dances for us nowAmong the tortured tongues of Babel,Save for the muse that strikes the rockTo spring forth the water of your soulWhere beside the burning bushYou turn back the knifeAs I lay upon the altar watching the seedsOf our thoughts populate the stars of a skyThat mocks the buried walls of JerichoStricken by the mute trumpets of my words.The music of your voiceBrings forth memories of that civilisationWhen before the Land of Milk and HoneyWe turn back to Egypt where I call you,Parting the Red Sea of my days,Before I journey lone through the desert,Crying out your name in a wildernessWhere little makes senseSave for the words you send meAs a gift enwrapped in a wisdomThat could rebuild the TempleBefore this lifetime of ours returnsTo the sand from whence we came. 139
    • Brutal honesty is the knifeBrutal honesty is the knifewe must wield:if our cut is deepthen others will recognizeour blood as their own. 140
    • I stand still by the windowI stand still by the window,although I know you will not come,with my mind far awayupon the Sea of Sorrowswhere the dreams of forever crumbleinto the dust of today.I draw then the curtainto block the sounds of the happy throngwho move now below,and I know that wherever I shall journeymy cut-heart will remember always your smilebefore we journeyed separatelyinto the Garden of the Lost Hearts… 141
    • Her body moves through the cityHer body moves through the city,the sleek legs inviting from underthe short skirt still turn the eyesof many men, with a brisk walkthat speaks of the understatementthat is the hallmark of her life.Her thoughts move towardthe desert evening and her heart longsfor the heat and the passionof those other days when she wasyoung and her skin burned and achedfor his touch just as now she yearnsfor the moment of those memoriesto race through them both again……her musing is interrupted by the thoughtof a voice so far away…but it is all so complicatedand what is, is all that shall ever be…some nights only fatalism and acceptancecan hold back the tears of such emotions… 142
    • Aftab Hussain 143
    • 144
    • A PrayerMy mother says May you live long with love for me each new dayMy sister says May you live long with pleasure for me on each birthdayMy brother says May you live long with hope for me on each day’s journeyMy friends say May you live long proud of my successesAnd I think every day:Is it a curse or a prayer? 145
    • 146
    • Chiesa Irwin 147
    • 148
    • Restless GeckoFlying on legs up wallsinvading housesjumping from fences in frightcalling like excited childrenfrozen in thoughtchasing butterflies. 149
    • Riroriro(Maori name for a Rain Bird)Soaring on silver tipped pinionsthe bird dark against cold nightbullets through nocturnal vaultshurls shadows across the lunar lightpinned upon stars like frozen airglowcalling the rain of tears. 150
    • Early 1770’s, the Ocean First Seen by KediThe desert man’s first glimpse of oceanshatters his brainstanding in silent terrorthen falling to his kneeshe tastes the sandholds itdrops it from his hands like dreamslacking a word it becomes a spiritmoving across the sandsin exile from his clanfor a crime done in a burning placewhere rock towers echothe shouts of a cast-off peopleto whom a handful of moistureis an oceanhere seeing the endless wasteof a mad brainhe falls again staring at the skyhis dark eyesreflecting the orb of the dying sun. 151
    • Riding with the HammerheadsWaves rolling in like lapping tonguesfoam around the surfercaught in timewatching the young tribewith shaven heads like polished sealssitting on small boardslolling among the waveswaiting on the glory rollto turn them into heroesthe taste of ocean on his tonguewhile his eyes fading to colour of light watersee not his grey hairbut a young man on a long boarda solitary figure surfing a vast rangethe waves were stillunder a cloudless canopyaround the boardthe hammerheads circledlike lazy torpedoesfiring pins for eyesthe swell picks upriding a mountain of wet glassescorted by zygaenaewho fly silent like mirrorsthrough the ocean’s musicbalanced like a shellhe crests and cutsfalling underhe brushes the skin of a godwhose eyes like malformed starswink in wonder. 152
    • Candle Bark*Exploding trees fragmentlike shrapnel in a battlecarried by the windto lodge in soft fleshyears afterthe soldier showing his scarsblue and colouredhard and lumpy bits of fleshcold to the touchdead to the warmth of bloodstill the body liveslike the severed treesthat send tiny green leavesthrough the scorched earthstruggling among the ashflattened under dead animalsa hand brushing the debris asidecreating a safe circle for the saplinghands a gun to a young soldierwho standing on the firing rangesees in the long distancethe candle barks dressed in greenat ease like forest sentinelsfor now keeping the peace.*Eucalyptus tree. In a bush fire, its bark and leaves explode with the oil and can racemiles through the atmosphere to start other fires. 153
    • The Unburdened HandCareless as a leafthe hand waves unfetteredburdened by no circlet of gold or entwined silver heartsthe unborn child floats like a feather from the hand that never held itweightless like coils of smoke rolling across cloudspatterned like scattered pearls across the breast of a forgotten deityfree to be unloved. 154
    • Chambered NautilusCoiled within the pearly shellthe chambered heart beating a soft songis brought up to the sunfrightened it seeks its deeper homewhere no light fallsand cresting waves lull its slow dancethe creature’s staring ancient eyelooks backward through timewhen all was newmelting crystals turned to dancing oceansunder birthed starsand supernovas were but a distant thoughtswaying fish tangoing within its reachlike transparent flecks of waterstonescatter when the diversunchamber the shy treasurehauling it into a new day’s lighton an old world. 155
    • 156
    • Laurynas Katkus 157
    • 158
    • The Young Address Their FateFate! We waver. Strong gusts of wind catch usand carry us to other quarters, painfullyknocking us into the cornices of roofs.Things and books avoid us, whileevery moment we are persecuted by three roadsand seven thoughts.Wearing a tie, tipsy, in bed, by the bell tower −we are always at loose ends.And the further it goes, the worse, Fate: peoplealready are walking through us.When we lock ourselves in the closet or bathroom,we nod off at once or lose consciousness.That’s why we ask you, many-winged Fortune,touch our faces with your flaming scale,give us some sickness, vice, at least a vestige of vanity,to make us heavier, to fill us to the brimwith beauty and purpose, honor and ruin. 159
    • AirI’ve finished my writing and cannotstop: on the edge of the tablethe shapes I invoked still dancethere’s too much oxygen, it makes me dizzyLike a nerve I snake throughmy beloved city and do not distinguish itfrom the photos; syllables leapas if spurting from the school’s drinking fountainIn my previous lifeI was a molecule ( I’m writing all twisted, puppet-like)I’m through with my youth and can’tfind myself: the pulse of the loudspeakersthrows me back to the school’s corridordown which went a hunched over manFrom his pocket, tears were pouringSister Poetry, who could have knownthat Time would bang so on the windowthat air 160
    • This morning you will wakeThis morning you will wakeand get out of bed, naked and younglike the snow which impatiently linesthe rooftops and asphalt;this morning you will slowly approachthe tarnished dresser mirrornot recognizing the gaze there,the hands and the knot of the navel.Once again you are slow to understandwhen the soul changes its styleof dress for the latest fashion,when eyes grow red from reading,and the old Prussian over whom you burnedthe midnight oil cries out to you that allefforts end in the coffin − the draftshudders, the veins throband the door opens to swallow the sky.I bet I can; I bet,that you too will believe it. Snowflakesgust from the ridge of a roof,the clearing catches fire, the thoughtthat this morning by laughing you’ll be ableto reverse the springmelt, shatter the mirror,hold onto the unclothed life. 161
    • The Go-betweenWe see each other at the bus-stop, the woods,the open-air café.Always the same time,the same clothes.When you come, the rain stops.Your narrow countenancein front of me, but I search my memoryin vain, looking for the face’s name.You give a speech − I’ll have todeclare it to others.You don’t raise your voice − even when I shakemy head, turn sad.At times, you open your eyes, turn the pages.Your words, ripe with a gentle violence, quicklymake themselves at home in me, demolish the idolswhich have sprung up since.Then you kiss my cheekand leave.As you go the cafes close, the bus-stopsmove to another place −But a fluttering joy remains,a vague smile:yesterday I had a date. 162
    • Patricia Kelly 163
    • 164
    • Blame It On The MoonShould I wax caustic,brandishing my penlike a sickle,blame it on the Moon.Should I wield my self-pitylike a bludgeon,blame it on the Moon as well.And should I howl with rageat the bite of love’s silver bullet,blame it also on the Moon,this gravid lightwhose subtle passagetugs at the ragged edgesof my reason.Later, later, will I cryover lost wildnessand disappear into violet dreams,sighing softly. 165
    • Song for the Dance(dream-based*)someonesomewherewill alwaysthink you wrongaccuse you of conceitor of murdering the momentbut do not stop dancingdo not ever stop dancingfor neap tides become highand new moons fullkeep on singing, singing, singingfrom the calm eye of joyas you spin through this lifeand emptinesswill be what fills you’till you ring, ring, ringlike a bell(*last stanza verbatim from a dream) 166
    • A Lunatic Fire(for Hecate, Goddess of the Witches)At Your sacred time of Moon DarkI stand awed before my altar to dedicate myself to You,Moon Goddess, Lady of Magic, who speaks of the futureand with the dead, who midwifes birth, death and rebirthwith sure hands and bright knife, Your healing snakewrapped around Your supple wrist.Maybe, in some modest way, I have always been Yours,being most at home on the dark side of the souland with sweetest night, attuned to the slightest rumblingsof birth pangs or inmost harrowing.However it may be, I come to You wonderingwhat it is You see in me that Youshould will my dedication.Perhaps the long scars and ruts left deepin my aching belly by life’s many passages,bear some small resemblance to Yourcrossroads shrines of ancient times, drawing You downto burn here in a lunatic fire. 167
    • Autumn Haikuquilted autumn leaves,caught in mid-tumble by love,warm both wall and hearttoo lazyto close window:only nose above quiltpuffs of autumn windon bare neck −morning prayerscurled leafclings to broom:last weedingleaves scuttlein chilly wind −sun-warmed cheekfall drizzlestrolling arm in armunopened umbrellamorning commutecolder weathersame station 168
    • Winter Haikuby the beachperched among Christmas lightsa white doverice paper shadetall potted plant leanstoward winter lightsame time, same cornerthe little tree now wearsChristmas lightssnowfallon top of ice stormno bank trip todaylong dark stairwell:waiting friendlimned by snow fallT.V. reflections:easy chair bastionagainst snow reportmorning challenge:frozen rivuletsdown slanted drivewayfrosty breath:two elders waltzin the streetlightshoveling soundsagain: pullup the covers! 169
    • weighted blooms −terrace blanketedin whitealmost spring −forgotten mufflerforgottenbig robinlittle snowbankharbingertransit workersshovel: giddysnowball fightmorning obeisance:hedges bentunder wet snowtrain delay, but oh,the ice revealingevery tree branchmemory of home:twin moons in icy branches,reverberating 170
    • Spring Haikua discarded booksquashes the flowersspring sadnessout of the tunnelout come the cell phones −first day of springnewspaper tangledin the toothy rose bush:March liona robin hoppingthrough grass bright with daffodils:when will my heart thawold lady’s treat:fresh from spring showerbuff repairmanrainy springsink clogs, faucet leaks,knees acheSt. Pat’s Day newsfaces painted green −jar heads in the desertgazing at brightspring morning:door bell startlesdaffodils bow −thoughts ofHiroshima 171
    • spring snow melt −young life goneto “friendly fire”surprised again!crocus shootspart the snowsunny spring day −squinting to read poemsin dark barbird song, CD,barking and traffic:spring lullaby 172
    • Summer Haikufrightened toddlerin rapt mother’s embracefireworks on the fourthheat wave forecast:planning and preparingno cook mealsmorning hassle:braiding long fine hairin humid weatherpounding from downstairsthe handsome handymanlikes to sweatfans droneand heat soars:drowsy afternoonshared laughter:purple candlebent low by heatsilhouette at sunset:droopy house plantdry already!sleepy until hittinghot sticky sheets:rude awakeningreading about Dune:hot breeze fingersbedroom blinds 173
    • fan on High:stuffed toy Pegasustrying to flyheat wave:hot sleepy roommiechugs a Pepsibrushing Mama’slong red hair:summer sunset 174
    • Morning Glory Haiku Seriesneighbors gossip −twined around each othermorning glory vinesyellowed vinesenjoying the memoryof gloriesblue trumpeton yellowed vinesurprise gloryglory vinesseed pods danglein chilly breezeseed pod harvestdrying glory vinescling to the gateplastic bag of dryvines and furled bloomsglorious memories 175
    • 176
    • Monica Korycinska 177
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    • WordsWordsBeautifully shaped little statues,WordsSculptures made of graphite, ink or printAre like a piano cascading notes.Letters come to life by your handMelt as soon as they are bornDie engraved onto white surfaces.WordsGracefully caresses your mind.WordsCan drive a dagger deep into your heart.LettersNeatly lined up in tiny rowsCan trap, seduce you,Entangle,Can be the crown’s thornsHurting and bruising you.WordsThere are millions of them,So tell me:Why do I always struggle to find the right…words? 179
    • Our KindI reach out my handsTo the faces,Empty and hard.These pictures of old fencesResting on the solid ground,Staring at the people aroundAre engraved in my mind.Silent witnesses to centuriesOvercrowded with our kind,Guards of their housesWith spirits rambling on their own,Celebrating carnivals of lost soulsIn someone else’s home.I reach out my handsTo the faces,Rigid and relentless,I wonder if they are a mirror of my own,Trying to find a piece of livelinessIn these faces of marble stone.I sought the rootsOn paths of trial and tribulation,Searched for the coresOf our mortal civilisation,Of our treacherous moralityAnd dark insanity. 180
    • Now I still don’t knowGhosts of my ilk,Mothers and fathersLiving centuries ago.But these pictures I foundOf witnesses to our kind 181
    • Bleeding HeartsWhile your heart lies bleeding in your hands,My day turns into nightIn between of the last rays of the aurora and the twilight,While the rolling of your wave never ends,You wave me a languishing farewell through your night,It reaches me by the break of day,Pours over me, while the moon slowly yields.While your wings lie resting in my arms,Folded and black, sleeping and dreaming here between my hands,I feel deserted and emptied by your love,Swept over and engulfed by the kiss of your craving that lies aboveThe sleeping moon of your night and the agonising touch of my sun,I feel you like the tearing cry of a dove.Every night when you sleep,I stay awake and bleedHere in my empty and solitary state of heartBecause I don’t know if I’m in your dreamsAnd I don’t know the taste of your tears,Salt water falling and blending into the dark blue.While my dreams go wandering through the vast valleys of your world,Glimpsing only the edges of what is your truth,They meet the black dolphin racing after his youth,They try to caress and soothe his aching soul, so bold.While my dreams go rushing after rainbows on your distant horizon,Chasing them nights on end,Your heart lies here in my bleeding hand. 182
    • Erik Larson 183
    • 184
    • Living RoomThe room is still,arranged, just so.Sofa, big easy chair, reclinereach one a nest of sanctuary.Other worlds, in frames, cover the walls:A field in winterMonarch butterfly alighting on pink zinniaautumn leaves on rocks in dry streambed.To gaze is to enter,to leave, and be elsewhere, soaringout of timeout of bodyout of the fabric of material constraints.Clocks busy like ants,curtain tassel oscillates gentlyin a radiator’s rising heat.Chairs unwavering, await to serveas cradles, nurturingas wombs, nourishingas thrones, navigatingthe journey to where our thoughts direct. 185
    • LikingFeet bottoms like the touch of a manicured lawnFingertips, the feel of new soft pineEyes, mottled sky through green leavesHeart, the love of understandingSoul, the reunion with Truth. 186
    • The Proper LawnWith setting sun warming my face,cool breeze rustling delicate poplar leaves,the individually insignificant, four-petalled blue flowersthroughout the green, mountaintop lawncreate a wonder of color and freedom.They remind me of weeds, so perceived,which are viewed on a city lawnas an imperfection.But the city lawn has never allowed them to mature or flourish.They don’t fit in with that ideal.A wonder and joy at one local,an aggravation at another.May we all find our place in the proper lawn. 187
    • The Sound of SpringThe woods are silent.Alone in the bare treeson four feet of hard packed snow,Still, white, winter, mountaintop.But the season is old and warmth from below encroaches.Snow laden branches, drippingdrops from dangling icicles punctuate the quiet.Gurgling baby,A field opens unexpectedlywith the beginning of a stream.Pure water flowing,invisible except for ripples from the wind.New is always pure, clean, fresh.New child,new season,new world.Spring’s arrival comes in many ways,melting snow crescendos to waterfall thunder,signaling the energy change from underground rootsto buds waiting for their time.Drop by drop, second by second,a season melts away. 188
    • Equinox to DivaliSunrise todaystraight eastclear blue,Ohio.Sun divided day to moon full in October,guidance from God:pure, 90 percenteyes, not criminalremain aware of self-soul,one hour.Conscious, experience, be.It is the time for the return of His love.Sunset Pennsylvaniaand not yet home.Hopeful, tiredlife out of time;wandering,buffeted by faces and lives at a crossroads.Knowing no-oneaccepting all, understanding −Still travelingbut closerto hometo darkto sleep.To lightto newto day. 189
    • 190
    • Joneve McCormick 191
    • 192
    • Chinese formula poemsA crane flaps its wings,sudden rain,out of blue ripples a fish rises, turns −September in Key West....Under dark sky,pink buildings glowing,man with umbrella looks up,takes deep breaths,forgets to hurry....A peach blossom fallsliltingly, smelling sweet.Swept into the bushesa love letter is lost.No one sees....I let poets guide me, and became one:if a fool persists in his follyhe will become wise. Yetafter truth and beautywhat is there to study? (2nd and 3rd lines are from William Blake) 193
    • I HadI had exotic plumage oncesoft, brilliant green, gold, redI turned into a swallowfrail and lice-riddenWhat was I thinking? 194
    • It is inside...The sun shines on allwithout judging,but it is insideI am happy, or not.Where are You, my God?Where am I?It is myself I must find again,as always,to feel Your warmth. 195
    • My friend tells me...my short poems are my best...I start out with the wind at my backand get scaredshut and bolt the doorand ramble onand on and onas though the windis still there. 196
    • Gandhi“The only tyrant I bow tois the still voice within.”Knowing the difference,he chose between dying and living. 197
    • The SaintLike a tree whipped by windsa saint leads a twisted life,turning time and againtowards light to straightenuntil, beyond the pull of opposites,she glows like a sun. 198
    • Letting GoOut of the cave I called reality,beyond the mere life of this bodythe universe is disrobed.There is no place to fall,no desire to shrink.All events are extraordinary,though not all are socialin the changing light.I see myself crawl out of mud,hover over the sunor walk down a street −I can see everything I’ve donepretending many roles.I see myselftransform into a living crossor a mummy wrapped in whitespiraling in spaceif I choose,as I’ve chosen before.Beyond this mere lifeI’ve travelled many roadsin the all-seeing eyecreating the world;I was with Homer and Aesop,in the water Christ walks on,in hurricanes and harvests.Don’t say it cannot be,that these and other thingsdon’t or didn’t happen;I know what I know. 199
    • And here is my test for truth −the exact consideration,and what works:beyond this body’s wallswhere I livethe machinery of bondagein heaven and on earthis vanishing. 200
    • Aunt HeatherA black and white snapshot showsaunt Heather, six years old, seated at a pianostaring hopefully at a page of music.Short sleeves puff near her pinafore straps,plaid ribbons tie back her braids.Her third, right finger is on a key,those on each side point upward like a spatula.Though Heather had a teacher,she learned to read numbers instead of notes −that seemed easier, she said, butonly notes were in the second book.(Her teacher said she lacked interest.)Heather made me promise, on principle,not to depend on teachersand to keep to difficult paths. 201
    • Killing the Christ within(written after reading comments of Benny Morris on ethnic cleansing)Ethnic cleansing is sometimes justifiedhe tells the crowdwhich roars approvalclaps and shoutsbelievingwhat goes arounddoesn’t come aroundwhen you’re armed to the teeth,and special.St. Peter isn’t there this time,just an old mansucking on an empty pipe.A cock crows twiceand keels over.He sees the cock dropand tells the crowd he’s had a sign− it’s up to them, self-chosen,to kill the Christ within− the Beast is still set to rise,pitiless as a second sun,at its appointed hour. 202
    • on the roadrocks turn to dust, seeds are barren,a tail of greed wags the dog(the one who killsthe goose with the golden eggs)half beasts slouchtoward succor and safety,fall into fireswith withering angelsnever say diewhose path is holy...not wanting to end up on his hornsshe refused his friendshipand ended on a swordsome approach suing for redressand soon find weaknesswith their arrowsin a world ruled by strugglethere are choosers and the chosen,each depending on the other...young girls, coatless in winter,pull in eyes;the big fish don’t alwayscatch the littlewolves dine on fresh lambsuntil the lambs turn into tigers(the tigers into saviours) 203
    • one with great love and knowledgewalked on water,beckoning others to follow,and they still believed in death 204
    • Nimah Ismail Nawwab 205
    • 206
    • Gentleness StirredStriding through the gates of learning,Wrapped warmly in her black abaya,Modestly cloaked head to toe,Not a hair astray, nor skin showing,Holding her head up high,Thinking of the future,Arms laden with books,Head in the clouds,Lunch, television, studies, friends,That is how her day will goNear future, far future,Blissful, brimming with expectations.“Hey, you there!” thunders across the parking lot“You with the black boots” the tone is raisedOh, oh, reluctantly she turns,Fear stirs,Flinching,Watches wrath unleashed.The self-righteous, bushy-bearded figure,Crashes through the crowds,Bestriding his narrow world like a Colossus,As his entourage hurries in his wake,A raging bull on the rampage,Seeing red as the girl flouts ‘convention.’Necks crane to watch,The crowds are in on the show.He thunders on,The police by his side“Stop, your scarf has slipped.”The tirade begins, gains momentum.Head cast down,Eyes to the ground,Shoulders droopingShe listens,Afraid, 207
    • Confused,Cringing,Burrowing into her deepest self.Has she missed a prayer?Has she been a disobedient daughter?Cheated, lied, stolen,Beaten a child, an animal, been cruel to another soul?What did she do?Her scarf slipped,An unforgivable transgression,In the eyes of the Controllers.Is that her sin,Her ever-lasting humiliation,Her major fall from grace,Her offense?The mind is strange, the spirit stranger yet,The rebellion begins.Abaya is the outer garment worn by women in Persian Gulf countries. 208
    • The LongingFreedom.How her spiritHaunts,Hooks,Entices us all!Freedom,Will the time comeFor my ideas to roamAcross this vast land’s deserts,Through the caverns of the Empty Quarter?For my voice to be sent forth,Crying out in the stillness of a quiet people,A voice among the voiceless?For my thoughts, that hurl aroundIn a never-ending spiral,To settleMature, grow and flourishIn a barren wasteland of shackled minds?Will my spirit be set free −To soar above the undulating palm fronds?Will my essence and heart be unfettered,ForeverFreed,Of man-made Thou Shall Nots? 209
    • The Hidden LayersSome think I am in hidingUnderneath my long black cloak,With little narrow slits for my eyes,Cloaked in mystery, medieval modesty,Wondering, what is going on behind the mask?Comfortable with their own tunnel vision,Construing their own scenarios,Little knowing that I am proud,Proud of my identity,Proud of my femininity,Proud of my spirit,My faith,My mind, not just my body,Proud of my heritage, culture, long-entrenched traditions.But modest in my dress,Modest in my demeanor,Modest in my expectations,Viewing the world with sharp eyes,Viewing all with curiosity and a thirst to learn.Does my cloak, my masked visage,Long viewed by outsiders with pity,Barricade me from the world?Or does it open up vistas of wonder,Open up doors for exploration into the unseen,Open up the world through a different hidden sharp lens?My world is my oyster, as it is for my unveiled sisters.Their choices are made as are mine.I remain cloaked, they remain uncloaked.All united by unbreakable bonds of sisterhood. 210
    • Arabian NightsWhen the call of the hudud,Echoes through the palm frondsCarrying in their mists,Visions, memories:Caravans of high spirited steeds,Crisscrossing the endless seas of sand,Rushing through the oasis,Free, yet under control.Of women washing in the hot springs,Sheltered in the evergreen palms,Weaving baskets,Cooking, sewing, scampering after the herds,Of days filled with toil.Visions, memories:Cascading starlight,Casting its mild light over campsites,The moonlight’s silver shadowIlluminating bearded faces,Young boys thumping their feetTo the wild desert drum beat‘Dana, ya dan dan’ Singing of the pearls in the far away gulf‘Dana, ya dan dan’The warm cardamom scented breezeCarrying the fresh coffee aroma,Warming, sizzling in the golden hooked potsTo the young giggling girlsShyly peeking from behind the partitioned tent walls.Flames flickering in the pitWood slowly consumed, sparks flying,Dancing to the strain: ‘dana, ya dan dan.’The cry of the hududSweeps through the quiet morning air,To the dawn of a new century. 211
    • Visions, memories,Blown away by the winds of change.Hudud hoopoeDana refers to a type of Gulf pearls, and the refrain ‘dana ya dan dan’ is a popular oneused in Gulf songs. 212
    • Adored EssenceThe Arabian jasmine’s soft petals call out,Sitti’s voice echoes through,The years trip past,To the past.Silvery braids brushing her waist,Soft coils swinging in the breeze,Crowned with the white stars of full,Glittering in the early morning light,Scooping the beloved blooms into water bowls,Threading them into strings, rings, necklaces.I reach up, running my hand,Through the shining strands,Brushing the flower coronet across her smooth templeLean in,Sniffing,Imbibing,Anbar and full,Filling my lungs with her unique fragrance.Smiling, she hands me her necklaces,Feather-light touch on my tiny neck,As the petals settle across my shoulders,Embraced by her scent with every move.Every bush I pass revives Sitti’s essence,The call of her favorite bud,Eternal.Sitti, Arabic word for grandmotherFull is Arabian JasmineAnbar a type of perfumed oil, used by men and women 213
    • The AmbushHe watched the old movie unfold,The head-covered man bashing his van into a building,Nodding his head: ‘Yes another one, they are terrorists,’ The calm way heuttered those wordsThe look in his young eyes,Made me ache.For they had won,Hands down they had won,Ultimately they had won,Their hollow victory turning the world upon itself.Those demented fanatics have implanted the bitter seeds,Our young believing that terror is here to stay,Questioning their identity constantly,Questioning elements of society, a factCould I really answer?Did I even want to answer?No justification, no excuse can wipe,Needless deaths, destruction of innocents,Not a single life lost could be justified.The land turned into a big gated occupied territoryThe once-peaceful kingdom rent with shootouts,As the tolerance of our spiritual beliefsIs hijacked, twisted, used.Power-hungry zealotsMisguided by the need for vengeance,Vengeance against perceived,Unacceptable ways of life,Those whose hearts have been wiped clean,Clean of the basic tolerance for fellow man,A tolerance making the religion thrive,A spirit attracting billions to the faith,All dashed on the rocksIn the surging ravaging river of loathing the other. 214
    • As the very essence of our faith now stands in dangerOf this ambush from within,Turning back upon them,Derailing their intentionsAs hate colors their vision of the truth,That we are all, all, allSons and daughters of AdamThat the three faiths,Our mainstay, our guideAre interlinked, bonded foreverSealed by The OneTo spread their message of peace for human kind. 215
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    • Olutayo Osunsan 217
    • 218
    • EntebbeAudacious lake flies rise in smoke columns, in the distance,Across the shimmering grey lake like a wall, at cock crow.On the shore, chilled waves step back and forth hesitantlyOn the soaked sand, with tattered algae spread in patches.Water hyacinths dance up and down on the deep waves;On pilgrims to the shore to cuddle the sleeping canoes.Bare footed fishermen inspect their mouldy nets calmly,With an eye on the oozing flies assaulting the lake.In worn-out colonial houses charcoal stoves come to life,Babies coo and the naked fragrance of the lake finds its way into town.Banana plants in the backyards are weighed down by heavy bunches;The damp grasses beneath tickle their stems to create reluctant sways.Off the narrow streets and the main road, rusty bicycles dragOn dusty roads and cough at the sight of potholes and bush paths.Primary school children cross the roads in rackety flocks,Some with leather shoes and white socks others bare footed.Late cars dart with loud hooting through the main road,Minds already in the airport to catch flights and welcome guests.At the horizon of Lake Victoria, the waking sun stretches out its raysIn a bright burst of light pretending to shyly deem it its duty.The volume is increased from notch to notch in the local market,Bargaining warms up socially before it peaks to hostility at noon.After silent intervals, white cars with yellow bases instantly usher visitorsOut of the airport and on their way to Kampala to experience Uganda. 219
    • 220
    • HerHer curly black hair does not glow like crystal brooks on the back of emeraldhillsNor does her face compare to the scent-burst tapestry of a flowery meadow,But her very presence regulates the beating of my melancholy heart.Her waist swings like the drumbeat to the melody of the songs of the savannah.Coffee brown is the colour of her lips and her tender feet massages the ground,When thoughts of her roam through my weary mind in the silence of the night.Her eyes tell the story of how truth found love in the most unlikely place:We ran away at daybreak into the fields to mediate on the budding of flowersUnder the chilling caress of the morning dew, there cupid found us.Her love came into my life on the wings of a dove, like a band of angelsWith divine grace and peace, I thank God that He sent her from heaven above.She stands by me though there are others who can build her castles.Her husky voice radiates every strand of gloom when times are trying.Her silent prayers find me where hope is lost and ushers back into faith.Her name is the woman, the queen of my heart, the mother of my children. 221
    • The MeadowUnwrapping my soul in the meadows,Stripping each ribbon as they fade into the lush green.I am running with the wind.The wind sweeps on the canopy of loveliness,Blowing dust away and refining the blinding shades the sunlight is painting.I thought I saw my spirit walk by in the fragrance of serenity,Yielding to the beauty of God’s creation.Each flower whispers its name in the native language of nectarsAnd bees translate them into jealously guarded sweetness.For a moment, I was the only one in the worldWho knew each blade of grass had sunrays attached to it.The sun is the puppet master, and I am one of the stage props.Shy butterflies duck and cover their magnificent wings of splendorTogether like geisha girls hiding their powdered faces.My eyes lust for the colors to spread out under the sunAnd burn eternal prints into my mind.The sound of growth and silence of birdsIs absorbed by the innocent blue sky gazing downAt the point where the ground leaps into the air and freezes.Before I knew it, I was naked and innocent againLike the day my mother gave me through the birth canal:Floating lightly as a feather heading for the light of life. 222
    • Loveliest of Summer DaysLike the loveliest of summer daysNothing is ever perfect enough.The romance and love ever after;Nothing is ever perfect enough.People get caught in the wrongs beds,Love birds divorce because of nothingAnd diseases tear ideal pictures.Living without you becomes living.Maybe what makes love perfect is the realisticExpectations it hides from the naked eyes.You never forgiving. I never forgetting.It could be that we both over looked ourFlaws and saw perfection at face value.Perfection has withered into arguments.We can always go back to where we first met;In the park under khaki leaves of maple treesOn the loveliest of summer days.The loveliest of summer days it was.Your smile painted by midsummer angels,My heart bleeding from cupid’s arrow.I knew that day I can stop loving you,But will never run out of falling in love with you.I will always come back to see the beautifulPictures your face paints and your scentLike new flowers fresh from the fields.Like the loveliest of summer days. 223
    • A BLESSED MANThe WifeMay the wife of your youthBe the wife of your old age;Her beauty like the morning sunShinning brighter as the days ageAnd gracefully setting at the end of days.May her voice be the sound of your conscience,Filled with grace, elegance and wisdom.The heart is its own person, but may yoursAlways yield to the call of her soothing spirit.May the two of you grow entwined to become proud parents,Honored grandparents and privileged great grandparents.May the Lord grant you long life and fill your days with happiness.The ChildrenMay your children grow like Olive shoots,Expanding in intricate wisdom and sturdy humility.Their leaps filled with joy that echoesThe hallways of your long and fruitful life.Their voices the songs of your satisfied soulAnd their smiles are tokens of your unconditional love.May they grow taller than average,Wiser than most and be nobles in their conducts.May their hearts always be close to homeEven when lands and oceans stand between you for years. 224
    • May your love for them bring memories of their youthIn their old age and even on their dying bed may they smile.Let all the nations call them royalty because of the name they bear.Your name.The ManMay you always be the head with the heart of a servant,The strength of a mighty warrior and the courage of a King,That righteousness may reign in your homeAnd your children will learn from your determined strides.May your wholeness be the making of the LordAnd not of wealth, authority, position or anything from man.May your face reflect the love of your wifeAnd your voice the gladness of all your children.May all that love you forgive you in your failingsLet them give you the strength to rise again, to move on.May you be the champion of your people, the voice of hope,The pillar of strength, an ordination of the Lord God of heaven.A blessing. 225
    • Have you everHave you ever felt this is not your life,Maybe someone snatched yours from youWhile you were still young and obnoxiousAnd you just made do with anyone you could find.Have you ever felt like you weigh more than you look,You used to float in the air gracefully like a ballerinaAnd now sandbags are tied to your exhausted ankles.Have you ever felt life and every single thing in it is empty,The hyperness is just void and all the eloquence is trash,The whole process is a big fat waste of your time and space.Have you ever caught a minute glimpse of your life,The way it could have been, not perfect, but yours at least.Have you ever felt the way I feel when I was writing this,Like I am from somewhere else and definitely not here. 226
    • LionessIt is always cold before the hunt,The piercing eyes of the beastLike a phantom under the tintedShade of a wide branched acacia.Her eyes emits fear and then terrorOn everything that moves on the ground,Like the constant nagging of convictionTelling its preys to run while they still can.Her heart pauses for a few secondsAnd she can smell the euphoria of blood.Her eyes shut to pity and her ears focusedOn the dying squeal of a weaker beast.The hunt is always over before it beginsAnd the prey for the hunter is marked;The vast Serengeti will know the queenHas made her presence felt for the day.The king, under the same acacia treeWith the cubs waiting for the kill,His eyes are fire; his roar is raging thunderSetting everything ablaze with paralyzing terror.His roar triggers her killer instincts into action.His roar rekindles the heat of the sun.His roar sets her entirely on fire. 227
    • A SoldierOn a lonely highway, countless miles away from home, it seems.A lonely soldier stares up into the sky to rememberWhat the sun looks like on Sunday mornings after church.He wonders what his children are doing now,Like another life or someone else’s blessings he admired.His wife’s voice calls him in his sleep, her eyes, divineAnd he fears if she would remember his embrace.He is a different man, from a whole new worldWhere blood flows on the ground and compassionIs too costly too afford. Unlike home where angels roam.Home where the sun shines sweetly at the ground,The birds sing brightly to the children playingAnd the world seems so perfect to be perfect.Here, a soldier lies with his back on the groundLooking up beyond the sky into heavenAs his blood soaks the ground of a foreign soil,The same spot that will forever remain his.His wife, his children and everything he knewWill never know his is going home at this moment.Home where his wife and the children will find him.Waiting. Waiting for them. 228
    • Good MorningIt starts one good morning with enthusiastic citizensGoing away into adulthood to fight in a movie;The same song young women in love heardBefore they became young widows was heard.Deceitful politicians said it and they believed it…For from home, it rains bullets on melancholy fieldsAnd blood floods a place their families will never locate.Alone in the melody of nostalgia, under the ringingOf endless rounds of ammunitions seeking their lives.They start to doubt which side are the good guys…It’s not for hate or pride, they fight, kill or die;It’s for God and country, and possibly a demanding fatherWho can only be made proud by family tradition of soldiers.Family pictures and love letters the enemies left behind…In another life they could be friends, classmates, brother in-laws;In this life they all want to go back home to admit their emptied zeal,To know what it’s like again to wake up and smile good morning.They shot a guy in the face and he squealed for his ebbing life…The war is over and battles where won, only ghosts return with medals,Their existence is confused with nightmares visiting in dayAnd good mornings will never be or sound as good again. 229
    • 230
    • Laurence Overmire 231
    • 232
    • Beastly IdeasWe humans like to think of ourselvesAs beingBetter than the animalsSmarter, and undoubtedly closerTo God.Yet animals are forever trueTo their God-given naturesCommunicating well-enoughWith canny precisionIn languages we are perhapsToo arrogantTo understand. 233
    • Wade in the WaveEvery stone I caston water ripplesto the edge of an unknownworldand when in timeanother stone skims pastthe hand I know notrippling whyremembersthe choosing of the rockits color and touchimmortal, divine. 234
    • When Pilate HeardThe WordWalked through the streets openlyWithout fearA threat to the rule and orderOf the timeBetter to eradicate it quicklyBefore it aroused the passions of thePopulaceStirred peasants to revoltUpset emperors in far-offDictates, wary of newsBrought by impertinent messengersSurely, this crucifixion would beA quick end to the nuisanceAnd the pressing business of theStateCould continue without the slightestInterruption. 235
    • The WordThere is a wordSomewhereHiddenIn the dark, back wayward recesses of my brainThe perfect wordThat fits the cadence and the rhymeThe wordThat makes sense of allThe confusionThe wordThat wonderful wordIs waitingAnd all that remainsIs for meTo find it. 236
    • Cold Driving RainIt’s rainingCold driving rainCommuters rushing home from workHome to hubby, wife and familySpot and CleoAnd a fire on the stoveAnother day of brutal businessAccounts are squaredAnd errands runNo more phone callsNo more hasslesWatch some boob tubeThink of sexSpare some change, sirSpare some change, ma’amI haven’t eaten for three daysYou haven’t washed for three days eitherGet a job, you dirty bumI wonder how my stocks are doingShelter some money in a tax-free fundSpare some change, sirSpare some change, ma’amWalk past quickly and ignore himHe just wants a shot of boozePlease sirSpare some change, sirAnd the rain keeps pouring down...All is quiet on the street nowTwo a.m. of a Tuesday nightAll is quiet, all is peacefulSave for the drizzling of the rainGently tappingThe lifeless bodyHuddled on the pavementSpare some change. 237
    • GatheringThe poet bears witness to the soul journeyThat’s why I’m hereThat’s why some may need to hear.WelcomeTo the pass of blood and boneIn the fire of the spirit. 238
    • LineageOne cannot thankthose who have gone beforewhat wordscan measurethe intangible breaththat passes from heart to heartbestowing lifein an hour of need?I only hopesomehowon some invisible planeour eyes will meetand you will knowwhat I can neversay. 239
    • Alternate UniverseI am haunted by the manI could have beenHe follows me down everyWrong turnThe blocked wall in a maze of illusionHis face indecipherable and yetNecessarily contentiousThe making of ourselvesHanging in the balanceThe choosing of each dayCriticalWith time running out. 240
    • SeascapeThe sea takes me back to that placeBefore I was bornThat primordial possibility thatRefused to yield an answerThe question itself was enoughThe breeze upon my faceThe dream of tomorrow awakening. 241
    • 242
    • Dimitris Palasis 243
    • 244
    • Don’t CryDon’t cry for mebecause Inever criedDon’t dream for mebecause Inever dreamedHonestlyI am punishedbecause your heartsorrows for meI raise my eyesto youwho calls to meMake the debt of teardropsmy heart requiresto come out of darknessdrunkand stretch your handsup to the endof dawn 245
    • So LittleDreams less than dreamsMen less than menWhy are all so littlein this land?Tell me, my dear, tell me!Lady with legs−reelswith parts spread in orderlike an experimentTell me, my dear, tell me!Use any word you likeI am here to listenthe murmur of your skinlike an iron sheet being tornTell me, my dear, tell me!Why is everything so littlein this land? 246
    • CloudySurrounded by the cloudsMy stomach swallows the thunderboltsThe clouds of hellmake me deafVeils of tearsturn aroundThe shape of painis your image,your sweet imageand I can’t seeIt’s my tears, my eyesand I can’t hearThe balloon beyond meflies me up,travels,and I kiss you from the heights,my eyes 247
    • The ReturnI return to your heartA long trip over the seaThe sea of your leapsA trip without returnA love without return 248
    • MemorialThe way sun recycleswet cottonin the sky’s bloodI drew you in front of meweaving dark and lightwith my figuresSwollen immortal pageblown into multicolored lines,thin body figuresquiet and nice, I feltyour thought that is sleepingthe body of the pastunder your dense hairDeep in sleepy eye-holesyour memorywas not of existing things 249
    • The Life of The WindWhite marble emergesover red roseslike a white beltsurrounding the garden’s musicIt sproutswhere people lived, sometimesemerging like a hymnin blue sky columnsPush the clouds inside methis day; full of heatis the religious life of the windthat has found meat the light,travellers dissolved,and red-rose collars.Tell me morethan I remember,life of the wind 250
    • The Blue WinterI fear the black dressIn the blue winterDiaphanous white hands,Invisible eyesCrystal touchOf evaporated sweatTo enter the chamberI feared with the varnish smellThe knocks of my heart boilingHands thin and frozen,Unfinished shakingThe stage invertedBut the black dressAnd the varnish smellHave slipped from the bright crackIn the blue winter 251
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    • Wesley Patterson 253
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    • ShadowBeyond the sunsetIs the shadowWe never findInstead of followingIt remainsOver the next hillNever to be seen 255
    • PhoebeWhy love PhoebeWhen there are othersWhy love othersWhen there are othersOthers others othersAlways others 256
    • If onlyIf onlyI had knownWhat the past wasBefore the future cameWhat the woman wasBefore the marriage cameWhat a family wasBefore the children cameWhat youth wasBefore old age cameWhat life wasBefore death came 257
    • A WhisperWhat is more powerfulThan a whisperThe silent lightningThat strikes withoutThunder 258
    • YouKnowing radianceThat melting gemsDo not possessFinding jewelsIn water fountainsWhat can you knowYou see the colorBut I just hearThe water flow 259
    • TracksDunes they were sandThey formed by wavesCame from the sea onEarth by the moonThat circle in the skyOn a star is fire butOn the wayside planetThere is myriad lifeWandering in the shadowPale in the death of the moonI revolve and am revolvedIn this world of worlds.The tracks are set for the stars.At night my tracks in snowAre filled. I can not return 260
    • My Finest and BestI shall lie in my underground cryptCool and serene, stiffly stretched outClothed in my finest suit of deathNo lover’s hand shall clasp my ownMy lips sealed with my last death thoughtNo sight shall peer through my closed eyesNor simplest thought arouse my brainBy day, the birds shall sing, the people walkBy night, the leaves shall rustle, the stars shineIn time, no feet above shall stumble alongNo mourners shall whisper, shall still the airGone, they join the same mute darkness 261
    • HeHeNegated the thoughtsOf all the firstAnd the secondAnd even the thirdOf all the even numbersAll the oddAnd all the fractionsIn betweenHeNegated all the namesBeginning with ABeginning with BOr ZAnd all the peopleIn betweenHeNegated the seasAll the oceansAnd the arcticThe desertsPlus the tropicsAnd allThe temperate zonesHeForeclosed uponHis mortgageTook a leaseUpon his lifeUpheld hisLife insurance 262
    • HeReviled his wifeAnd sued for crueltyLeft his babiesIn the rain(The sun came outand dried them up)HeFound himselfUnder some damp porchWith onlyA green lizardStaring in his eyeAnd there he stayedOne green lizardOne blue eyeWhile all the restOf time and spaceRumbled faintly by 263
    • New MillenniumI see the new MillenniumBringing a technologyExplosionTo the point whereHumans and machinesMelt togetherLeaving us unableTo distinguishBetweenWho is HumanAnd who isJust a clever robot. 264
    • VertexWhen the calm allays the tideI step forth without concernThe recess in the pocketHas left the pointDiagonalWhen the force of time obliqueLeads the white and vacant voidTo the vertex of the blackProject this pointTriagonalI know the speed of movementWithout the sense of axisIs alien within the selfWander from this pointDiagonalTick of time that can transfixLine from force to final spaceCan draw the rising tideTo the fatal pointTriagonal 265
    • FluxRelegate meTo the half senseSeenIn the half lightOf a morningWhen endless changeBecomes the constantNear the lightA fluted mothFalls into darknessAnd flutters roundIn smaller circlesTurning always closerTo kiss the lightThen falls againInto the darkness 266
    • Michael Pokocky 267
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    • UntitledI know deep down a stirringand know not what it isI can’t explain it to anyone elseI can’t even debate it with myselfI am not afraidfor I know it is good as opposed to evilI am patientfor I know it is comingI look at the world around meand my emotions move me in one way or anotherin response to what I seeone day I will know my wayand I’ll write about itand share it with my friendseven my enemies will learn to see the way I dosuch a price I will pay for this knowledgeand it is in the details you will come to know me. 269
    • When Darkness ComesI am shivering in the rainthe sounds of noiseall aroundand yet I feel connectedto something larger than myselfI reach into my pocketand write on a scrapthe essence of what I’m hearingdistilled and put on damp paperI am not thinkingI am not even awaremy fingers are numbIt’s coldand my scrap fills with wordsuntil the voice stopsLater after we’ve made loveI caress my loved oneand pull out my scrapand whisper to herHow do people find loveHow does a broken face find a fistHow does a lie find an earHow does innocence find fearShe turns to embrace meMy face finds a breastMy body finds a caressand my heart finds joyIt’s still rainingand everything seems differentI close my eyes on her shoulderHow does sleep find me when I’m all alonewhen the darkness comes? 270
    • HomeThe warrior laid down his sword upon the rockAnd the rock turned to marbleAnd he said, “This is my home.” 271
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    • Rati Saxena(A brief glossary follows Rati’s poems) 273
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    • My life in youWhenever minespass under my foot solesthey start explodingone by oneA beautiful dreamcomes and sits on your eyebrows;all my blaststake wing in the sky as cloudsWhenevermy grip with friendship loosens,you take a small path, walk smilingand the roots of my faithturn greenWhen all my efforts tountighten the knots of memoryget stuck somewhere,you start rolling on sandlike a lovely sparrow;my wings buzz in the vilambit talYou keep your footfrom where my world falls down,there alsoI see my life in you,my daughter − Shalbha 275
    • The sea1I sawhim and the seathat evening,he was lolling in the seaand the sea was overflowing in himHe sawme and the seatogether,the sun was sinking in the seaand I was sinking with himWe saw each otherand started sinking in each other2the sea is getting wetin the rain,laughinglike a desert childthe sea is getting wetwith her own tearssmilinglike a young womansitting on an islandthe sea is getting wetwith the shower of love,sobbing in painseparated from her loved one 276
    • the sea is getting wetin the first rainafter summer3the smell of the seais different fromthe soil wet in the rain,it has no relationto the smell of a flower,it doesn’t knowthe sharp taste of passionthe smell of the seadoesn’t enter into the nostrilsbut enters into every poreand gently touches,and hypnotisesthe smell of the seatells the oral storyof the sweat of fishermen,the play of sea animalsand the legends of ships 277
    • Among the earth-coloured trees1She is a divine maid,he is the ancient man;she is Nature,he is the lord of Nature.She is walking on the dry leavesunder the trees;he is holding her feeton his chest.Mahuas are fallingon the faces of both.He changed into a white flowerand stuck in her hair,she came downas the sweetness of mahua on lips,the dedication to lifein their embracing arms.The jungle became ghotul, and ghotul changedinto the ancient jungle.In the burning palashthe coolness of amaltasbreathes in grove after grove,yellow, brown and dusty.The earth removed her mantleand covered the trees with it.Thrilled was Prakriti,ecstatic was Purush.A resplendent visionof the ancient world! 278
    • 2What is this place?Who is this new Yaksha sitting with Yakshi,and talking to clouds?Is it heaven or earth?Is it colour or sheer loveliness?Unlimited is the sky,sourness dipped in salt.Silence is eloquent;trees have started,showing picture storieswith the help of wooden puppets.See there, a tired, pregnant motherholding her child on her knee,a yellow parrot,pecking at yellow leaves:this is the tree of companywith red, red flowers.There in the distance is a feastfor trees with yellow, brown and red leaves.Emotions are cooking in the pot of the valley.An invitation to death has been given, “Are you coming?”in a sweet voice.She started thinking,“Come, come, O come”and the string started breakingunto the last thread;but somebody is pulling back −there is the urge to return.There will be some Yaksha on the seashore.What a strange union of death and beauty,whether it is the Kerala seaor the Chhattisgarh valley. 279
    • 3Poetry is not iron,but cuts the iron.In iron there is no poetry,but the sharpness of iron.The heart is connectedwith the iron city,weaving the nest with poetry.Here are the trees,the birds also,chirping and fluttering.Here there are clouds,mango groves, neighboursand their secret talks.Sometimes the birdsbuild their nests on electric posts;by saying “no” to the inviting branchesand scolding the coolness of shadowsthey challenge the burning sun.There is poetry in iron,maybe something special. 280
    • The Absence of Colours, in the World of ColoursLong, long agoBefore the birth of the rainbowIn the city of coloursThere was only one colourNeither blue, nor yellowNot even red or brownOnly one colourRoaring like deathDeep like silenceTent of fireTightened from here to thereColourless colourEggs screeched into lifeLife gave birth to childrenColours entered into the earth by crawlingChanging rocks into the earthSome flew flutteringBecoming the umbrella of the skyColours strengthened the backboneLeaves sprouted on the backboneShadows took rest under treesDowsing with coloursDrops of light dripped downBlossomed into flowersFaces of colours started shiningBecoming colourfulThe city of colours arosePlaying holi with coloursForgetting the journey of crawling coloursFriends! In the story of coloursThose colours are not thereWhich are really colours. 281
    • Wild friendshipA beautiful dream blossomsin the wild black forest,a sweet sleep smileson that dreamand the smell of sleep isas wild as the jungle.I could not become a friendto this jungle until now. 282
    • when he plays the drumwhen he takes the drumthe sea waterstarts steamingwhen he beatson the druma big star falls downwhen the drumfinds its tunethe earth forgets its wayit seldom happenswhen his belovedspreads her hairin the sun light 283
    • The hymn of slippersThe taste is very bitter, from tongue to throatUp to the intestines, bitterness everywhereEverything is bitter,The toothpaste in the tube, the broken brush,Everything.Till nightfall everything was fine,A good sleep and endless dreams...Most of the dreams disappeared with night,But this came with me till morningStuck to my eyelids till the eyes opened.There were a number of slippers and I was searching for mine,A number of beautiful slippers but mine are missing.There my flight is ready, here I have lost my slipper.Why should I give up my journey because of slippers? I told myselfBut a journey without slippers, that too by air, is out of the question.How many steps can I climb?These slippers are my feet, my legs and my kneesAnd my legs? Oh, they are only walking sticksWhich cannot walk without slippers.Slippers are my identity, they are my personalityThey are my height, on which I can stand and touch the skyThey are my present and futureThey are the beauty of my dressIf a jewel is missing, no one will noticeIf the heel of a slipper is broken, the whole world will see.My journey is about to start and I am in search of slippers;My flight is ready; I am in search of slippers;My future is weeping but I am in search of slippers.Slippers are my Mantra, slippers are my Dharma.Are they missing, or am I? 284
    • O Indra, Varun, Agni Dev!All directions!Earth and Sky!I am searching for the slippersLosing my self.GLOSSARY:Vilambit tal: Slow rhythm. In Indian music there aretwo types of rhythms - drut (fast) and vilambit ( slow)Ghotul: In the tribal community of Baster (India) Gotul is morelike pubs where youngsters meet and choose their life partnersMahua: Is a sweet tiny flower turning into fruit which is usedfor making wine in the tribal communityPalash and Amaltas: Trees having beautiful flowersPrakriti and Purush: According to Indian philosophy Prakiti ( Nature)and Purush ( Supreme Power ) are the cause of this worldYaksha and Yakshi: Mythological correctorsHoli: A festival in India that is celebrated by playing with colors 285
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    • Laura Schuster 287
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    • Vision EncodedDuring many sleepless nightsI recreate my visionthe rain covering the windowand reflecting upon my facemay serve as my paper sheetfull of noises is the air and I amcatching them in tiny strains of colouran image of sounds evolvescarefully revealing secrets which seemtoo dreadful to be unveiledimaginary minds will understand the codeand see what I see, the vision, the sound,the unthinkable. 289
    • Crime SceneChaos, the beginning of all changeis again visible in this most dreadful murderthe fourth victim in the line of terrorwhich has drawn its path across the countryfor the past two weeksshe must have suffered most exquisite painsbefore she could finally stop breathinglook at the extravagant setting of the crime sceneit is meant to be a horror-like form of artconsequently there are traces of bloodwhich need to be followedprepare yourself for the next discovery 290
    • Elvira Selow 291
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    • greed and other beastsI know those moments whenI keep the sun from setting,gather stars to forma flower bed around my housewhen, like girls in fairytalesI open hidden doors and toucha light that blinds the mindwhen I try to pluck morecherries than a tree can givethose moments when I holda mirror at the crescent to producean earlier full moonif your boat knows these rivers tooit’s because you’re calleda human being 293
    • hard beat in italyto scent pine trees feels likecoming home. they have grown sincemom used to call us from that beachserve noodle soup, while dadsang “la paloma” in front of our tentas the sun dipped intoil mare. nowbreakers embrace me, rock mewith the power of an italian ragazzotake me from behind and I needno tools for the ride - legs upgiving head to the sea is all untilone wave thanks for my effortjets me to the shore, leaves foamon my breathless who-am-Ia breeze wraps scarves of silk aroundmy body, a baby’s siesta followsaccompanied by an opera of voicesforming words I don’t understandat night spaghetti alla puttanescawith a third class band singing hits to aperfect playback. the crowd applaudsknows all the steps of modern group dancespauses as the hard beat begins. two feetjump up, arms have a fling, a spine whipsuntil its head gallops, while brains restin a handbagpeople stop talking. one mantries to join, his breath touchesmy shoulder. for seven minutes the worldis mine. 294
    • solar wind(for gerd)late train to the airportcheck-in queues of four hundredmeters, flights delayed, my passportexpired, eight euros for substitutesecurity men detecta pocket-knife in my handbag(and keep it, of course)my colleague smiles, caressesmy arm: hey what’s up, a littlechaotic today? I blush andsay it’s the solar windas we fly over your town,sun in my face, I relaxdrop kisses through clouds(hope you don’t mind I’m drinkingtomato juice with lots of pepper)what a thrill whenlondon tube pushes into the station -I inhale its smell (you love it too)store a few moleculesso my breath cangive them to you when we meet 295
    • a dictionary’s flightthis morning as I thought ofyou lying in hospitalbetween sheets unstainedunlike those we once sharedI picked the dictionaryyou had recommended forour lettersponsmy hand trembledso the book slippedopening covers and pagesa giant bird as it flew a curvelike the setting sunbefore it crashed hard on the floorits spinetorn offPONS is the name of a dictionary. 296
    • old coupleI bet their children live inamericaor they have cats, european short-hairthe colour of their wigs, a mixture ofmortar, mustard, and clay,drawn down their foreheads −helmets againstthe final fallat the bus stop he whispersinto her ear, and her ashen cheeksblush 297
    • Conquistadorthat morning afterin your eight square meter roomwe stood besideyour elevated bedwhile you played Procol Harum’s‘Conquistador’and I looked in your eyesas the drums set in −stunned by our vertical take-offwe floated through unknown spacesa taste of last night’s dopestill on our tonguesits smoke blocked our nosesobstructed our kissI forgot if I rodeyour rocketyou failed in conqueringreached the South Polebut missed the earthand sometimes I’m sorryI had to let you freeze 298
    • thoughts on linkingsit begins with the fearyour mother might drop youor betterwith the experienceto find no room in her mindexcept a kitchen occupied byher own hungerand she knows, holds youas tight as she cangives every drop of her bloodsets her watch tochild time but still you getnothing excepther own hungeryears later you love orI climb a mountain, stare downwhere you might falland the view weakens kneesarms, heart, seems to proveyour next stepwill be the lastso you turn back, not knowingboth love and mountainwould have embraced youwhenever you wish, unlessyou tear off the rope yourselfor go hiking withtoo much hunger 299
    • renovationsince last week light reignsin my kitchen, apricot wallswithout former wounds scratchedby the cats. I’ve thrown awaythree cups, also the little bottlesand plates for our baby.outside clouds of pollen are blowing. 300
    • roadworkwhen we travelled by carme beside you in the middleof three on the backseat, you vibratinglike a pneumatic hammer, knocked cobblesof words into my brain, never enoughto fill those potholes on your roaduntil the small town in my skulllooked like a concrete jungleno garden left for a childto play 301
    • closing booksafter the last pagesome you want to re-readto avoid that final swatothers you stroke back onthe shelf, cannot imagine toever enjoy another work −then those which endbefore they begin, leavingyou nothing but ahangover 302
    • Renée Sigel 303
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    • Impression 1Fire kissed Passion on the lipswho sighed her Desireinto whispers of Wantwhich, with his embrace, hushed Needinto completeness.So God hung their union across the night skyand called it the moon. 305
    • In a nameBattleweary, he would shed his skin for freedom:an androgynous escape that is denied him; sheonce saw his soul shed ashen tears, naked and tornbetween the status quo and living.Exasperated, he would have her kiss dissolve his pain,yet, silently, temptations fall off the page and weep. 306
    • Damals(for David, 28/10/59 - 03/02/2005)Once upon a time,your breath ran widdershins down my longingmusically seducing my mind withsonatas. Weber, Weil and Mahlerspoke in my dreams once...Before I woke to your cold skin and tonguethat drank treacherously of myhope, scarring my marrow forall by which I loved...once upon a time, you discardedso spun by irrelevance, your disdaindrained all shelter and my soul burntacrisp in the sun.Scathing, fighting, we battledthis torturous warwith silent declensions and demonic vows:a pathology that staggered intoan excruciating demiseleaving behind the shadow of dullyellowed ether on a mortician’s steel bed.An empty deathfor what could have beenOnce Upon A Time....Your fingers fade into the ivory keysas you play “Damals” in the memory of our lives. 307
    • LossThere can be no decisive moment drawnby his fractured view of lovethrough a glass eye; for having caught coldand died.Seduction sets sail, a solitary stop-gapas the emptiness between bedrooms fillswith resentment − a gentle, bitter decantingof a sworn battle raging through the silence.Girdled by barbed wire, Intimacy is tackedto the edges of anger, cutting off warm affectionand desire. Cropped and bridledit loses colour to a sepia stainwhich veils each dawnemerging and reaching upward through the birches.But then what could she have told him? 308
    • The HungerI turn anti-clockwise around the commas,to read the markings of your heart.Your hunger would lie crumpled, its foilreflected blinding in the sunlight,but for the litter your lifehas scattered in its path.You search for a consuming passionand drink any linear kindnesswith the appetite of rain;but beneath that smouldering dust,beyond the footsteps marking trodden gravelof ordinariness− persistent, grating and undeniable,unfurls a portrait of your loneliness,an ancient fresco across my mind:reminding me of volcanic remains, of PompeiiFragile and eminently regrettable. 309
    • Masqueradeshe watches …swallowing her clown-faced pride intoher six year old shoessorrow reaches across the dinner table,for the body-textthe salt dances meanwhile, etching shadows of her lost heartinto the embossed linendescribing her quiet MASQUERADEas his gazepours over the sliced filet; likenedto champagne sincérité waiting patientlyto Tee-Offon some other Green. 310
    • White Heatsheer white heatfolding walls like memoirsinextracts of crystalsrecounting poignanttales ofhourglass chores;glass castled motherhoodlocked in the broomclosetby the tellingof the sunriseagainst the dustof abhorrence and routine.timed and chimely tick-tockedingenuity reachedout and hugged a painted palmagainst your forgotten childhoodleaving the imprint thumblessdropping memoriesto the sidewalk, candywrapperscrunched by haste and heeled indifferencewashed up as lint hung out to dryagainst the mirror of someone else’s death.Your laughter is too young to die… 311
    • 3 Sonnets:I. Brushed in splendour...Brushed in splendour of fearlessnessShe declines by chance of givingAnd much of grace and gracelessnessIs whispered of the living.For in this light she can but hearLife’s softened breath upon her skin,She turns to find his shadow nearAs soft and gentle as widdershin.So, where on her bed the moonlight fallsLast, like a candle’s charmTruth unveils love’s quiet chant and callsEternity to dance; Kept. And greying,Arm-in-arm,Until full voice they faded all-seeingAs colours washed silence into being.II. In spite of solace...In spite of solace unencumberedHe dare not wonder where or whyDesire flares in thoughts rememberedAcross the face of a careless lie.For love steps out in naked frailtyWhile ruthless tongues face to face confessA twilight sweetened with uncertainty,An ancient and bittersweet distress:That dares to tell of skyblue eyesPoised to haunt on any faceYet that promise sought of timely liesBeyond reproach and without trace,Takes refuge in a sovereign glanceThat thought he might have stood a chance. 312
    • III. Insipid shadows...Insipid shadows cannot bypassVirtues of an outcast brideBeneath the images of stained-glassWhere laughter breaks her pride.And when to touch, but none to seeThe grace of her fragile neck,Dreams die and assume they’re freeThough once and always held in check.Still to choose an elusive wishFrom where blessed and vacant steps a strangerTo taste the shape of at least one kiss.But Time is left to trace such curves of lustAs her book of splendour slowly falls to dust.(These sonnets are part of a longer sonnet series titled Of Love And Remembrance.) 313
    • Voices of Silence...of an absence in Jerusalem...The voices of silencesay it was an easy slaughter:not even the grapevinesturned their heads awayin quiet dismay...Skins, perturbed like sour creamline the edges of the mindaligned with lice-ridden beds asleepacross the horizon barren of shepherdsand their sheep...Young smiles run dryand pave your homecoming shunningthick embraces sodden in the sap of persuasionwhere fattened promises drop likebrittle on their tongues.There of a past we no longer occupywe stole the urgency in their eyesand from the hip faked such lovingbetween slack breaststhey could not see the hate for cominglike missiles from birthing crotchthat shook the desert into frozen heatturning anger into swarming plaguesand life into wet ash cursedly buried in bare feet.And we turn our backs in shameup against the executioner’s wallbut all tenderness hung out from the gallowsfall as dead snakes wrapped in bougainvilleafuchsia against the inevitable tongue in foreign drawl.And in the shadows of Jerusalemvoices of the slaughter 314
    • speak in the silence of tomorrowsteerless as gazes lost on a winter’s chilltugging up at a defunct sunand grapevines die for lack of love and innuendo. 315
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    • Jogging Before DawnTo my left, an old man practices tai-chi,feet apart, body bending backwards,wrinkled arms stretching slowlyto an arc, poised, cradling the air.Extending fingers for the tip of my shoes,I pull taut my calves, counting to ten.Blood rushes to my head as I gapeat the void deck. A marble table protrudesfrom the top, fluorescent lamps fixed below,framed upside-down between my knees.In the carpark, an engine shudders and coughs.Headlights flash in the dark, startling the old man.I run. Sole of my shoes pushing concrete,the world bounces: rain-trees are bobbingby the pavement, dropping dew. A breezenudges the leaves, hurtling and tumbling,edges scraping tar. Here, every day,by the bus-stop, schoolchildren yawnand wait. A brown rat emergesfrom the shrubbery, sniffs at the soundof my pacing, and dashes across my path.With every step the sky swells with light.On the ground a shadow lengthens,growing sharper, piercing my feetas each shoe touches ground. 319
    • More and more cars overtake me,people have risen, there is another dayat the office. Colleagues, bills,the mortgage on my home,they dawn upon me,and everyday I race the impending sunrise,my breath rejecting the morning,my legs pumping, pumping, pumping. 320
    • My OtherQuietly, quietly,it is the other onewho does not believe in work.When I wish my colleagues good morning,he sleeps soundlessly in my bed.When I talk to clients,he mumbles why bother in his dreams.Quietly, quietly,it is the other one,the one who shares my name,who does not belong.His room, dusty and littered with laundry,is not my room.My room is tidy and objective.I have tried many times to chase him out.When I come home with my packet of dinner,he wakes up, rubs his eyesand snatches it from me.He puts on my clothes, steals my money, and tells meI have measured out my life with coffee spoons.When I go to bed hungryhe leaves the house with my keysand prowls the night for poetry.His streets are not my streets.I am afraid to talk to him. 321
    • He pastes messages on my computer,messages I could not understand.Especially the one telling me to go with himwhen the evening is spread out against the skylike a patient etherised upon a table.Mornings, just as I am waking up,he opens the door and throws the keys at me.Quietly, quietly,when he tosses and turns in my bed,I leave the house and go about my business. 322
    • WillowAfter Li Shangyin (813 − 858)Leaves are awakened by spring,and countless branchesare shaking at dawn.Do we share our thoughtsthe way willows share the wind?I do not know if the willow loves,but when it dances,the brown fluff of its fingerscaresses the wings of butterflies,and I think of you.When it dances, the bough releasesgold-feathered birdsinto flight,and I think of you.This beauty shaking our kingdomrules the blood of our mortal body.At dawn, the branches of willowsdraw the soft brows of your eyesand that is why I am here. 323
    • After a Class ReunionIt is easy to be friends.Having walked out of every room,all rooms are full. What troubles meis neither his car nor his garden.Maybe it’s the wine, or that jolly uncle,the life of every party who laughs too loudlyat every joke. Maybe it’s the silencewe hear, having walked out of every roomalone, with pieces of memory lodgedin the mind like a puzzle. It is easyto be friends again after indulging in nostalgia,in our grandfather stories crafted to an art,to have said, we were classmates after all,we were friends for a decade, we kept in contactall these years by e-mail, after all.What troubles me is not the wine,not that uncle. It is easy to be friends;after that, it is easy to become strangers again. 324
    • HokkienMy tongue loses you, inch by inch,speaking another. Broken flower,you are not official, not foundin programmes, bookkeeping,blueprints, memorandums,though I hear you in wet marketshaggling over prices of vegetables.Ink of my pen does not contain you,but spill another learnt as a child,reading Wordsworth. Great-grandfatherfound solace in common speakerswhen he worked as a coolie,but they used you for secret rituals,kneeling, brewing loose incantationsbefore glowing altars in dark chambers.Relic, you are now an emblemof secret societies, a housebreeding cobwebs, where everyonepacks up and leaves. Your tilesare mouldy, discarded, broken,falling everyday in disuse,seldom taken seriously,unless someone wielding a parangdarts the vehement obscenity.I have no more use for you.Yet, I do not know what to sayto my grandparents. 325
    • Reading WordsworthI cannot wander lonely as a cloud;on weekends, shopping malls are crowded,and comfort cabs are throbbing in heat.Though schoolchildren revereyour sheep-folds, hills, summer air,there are no daffodils dancing here.Your nature does not pervade,shaping neither frangipaninor blood-heavy bougainvillaea.Rooted in pavement under a tropical sun,trees and lampposts stand in lineby the road. Your words are fictionglancing off my page. Consequently,my heart does not leap up when I beholda rainbow in the sky, but feel out of recessesbetween brick and mortar, awaiting fresh stringsof vowels, thread-ends of a new vision. 326
    • John Thomas 327
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    • To See the Earth in Vast ExpanseTo see the earth in vast expanse,That far forge of crimsom fire,Miles of cloudiflower faces, meow cats,Puppies, faces, witches of mysteryAnd waves of waffledills.Above the smoky wisps,The evening star.Then, she shyly draws her veilAnd still, still I see the endless sunset:Ruby opalescencesKnife-blade thin along the margin of the sea sky scape.Hawaii?This is no escape, but a plungeInto the very midst of it all.My eyes hurt, but I forget to blink.Alice, Alice, what you dreamed, I liveFor there below me lies the earth in vast expanse.Huge frogs, gigantic prawns,Rhinos chasing Tweedledum and Tweedledee.So much we take for granted.What would my grandfather’s grandfather have given forThis momentOr this, or this.Ever on it goes.Sailing on this sea of air toward vacation or catastrophe.That first, the evening starWinkling twinkling through her veil,Ogling me with lust;With cold appraising passionThrough the porthole of the 757. 329
    • On wings of steel,On wings of steel,I follow the sunset;I sing the body electric;May be that these are the worst of times,But it may be too that these are the best of times.What do you think, Merlin? 330
    • Maybe It Needs a New StarterMaybe it is the bulb itself that needs to be replaced.Or, maybe it needs a new starter.Whatever the cause,It is flickering again,That kitchen cylinder of Noble Gas.And, my wife -- she much prefersNot to have the light at all.The on-again, off-againBothers her that much.In truth, visitors are the same,Commenting with a wince:“Did you notice there’s something wrong with your light?”Well, I kind of like some variability in this indoor world,This universe of manufactured items,Rolled off the assembly lineSomewhere − I don’t know where,Bronxville, Brussels, or Bombay,Who can tell?Is something so wrong with a lightThat glows with a twilight dimnessHumming, droning, for lazy minutes,Then flashes white hot brilliance − andThen finds contentment yet again with a dull orange glow? 331
    • Yes, I suppose it shall have to be replaced.Ending its life in a landfill somewhere far from homeOr maybe in my own back yard.But meanwhile, I wonder why no-one but meEver seems to wonder why it brightens now?What causes it to flicker so?Cosmic rays? Voltage fluctuations?And, in either case, isn’t this sparkly tiny tubeQuite a rather remarkable little instrument indeed?Registering either:The Big Bang that began it allOrSummarizing the million little habits of my fellow citizensAs they turn on and off their electric shavers, hair dryers, and stovetops?It shall have to be replaced, of course, but meanwhile:One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. 332
    • Will You Be At My Funeral?Will you be at my funeral?I wonder, will you,David Thomas (of Wendy’s)Ray Kroc (of McDonald’s)?They seem to seem so eager to redeem meThey beguile me with the promise to ride the extra mileAnd yet,And yet….Despite the multi-million dollar advertising budgets,I wonder whether they may be secretly concerned more withTheir own profits than with my happiness.Now,Dad was a frequenter of such placesAs, indeed, when I was young.It seemed the only way to go.When Wendy and I visited both my parentsFor the last time…And put greens and alfalfa sprouts on our plates,Dad huffed and sighed and said,“Oh, my God, are you two eating rabbit food?”And, then, much to the surprise, not to mentionDisappointment, Shock, Anger, Grief, Grief, Grief…Of Mom and Brother and me,He dropped dead of a massive heart attack.I didn’t see Dave Thomas(despite the name)At Dad’s funeral….Nor Ray Kroc…So, I begin, in my paranoid way, to wonder whetherThere might be the most meager of chances thatAll this maximizing:Beef/fat/salt/calorie sort of stuff might be…More about their happiness than mine.Or, my Dad’s. 333
    • I know that sounds cynical…And, yet it has a ring of truth about it, now, doesn’t it?So now…When people play upon my long-evolved instinctsFor those precious little (or better BIG) pockets of fat and salt and sugarI ask myself: “Will you even be at my funeral?”And, if you show up,“Will you weep…Or laugh…Or, simply look to the profits,Calculate the Net, the ‘Bottom Line’?” 334
    • Short CutDear, I was reading in the paper just today,That they may have to put us all awayFor cancer, heart disease and suchBecause we all are smoking much too much.Please pass the sugar, Sugar, for my cup of tea.I think I’ll eat it with another cookie.I was hearing just the other night,How we may get blown clear out of sight;A slight miscalculation, so it seems,May end us all, and all our dreams.Please pass the gravy, Love, for my dressing.And let me see now, what’s the blessing?I was thinking just the other morningThat mankind’s death would pass sans mourningBy the other animals surviving yet − if any;I think in some vague way they may even think it funny.Ah, yes, I have another sock for you to mend,Before the ... 335
    • Is a Dream?Is a dreamIs a dreamMore than merely the sweet but senseless screamOf the heat-oppressed brainSoundlessGroundlessFrom the drip drop drainOf chemical overflow − I don’t know −Random neurons on the go go go?Is a dreamIs a dreamMaybe something moreSomething from the core’s coreThe inner inner being’s being’s storeThat is the outer out of all of it and allClosing the circleFrom the very very smallTo the universe’s universe and all?Is a dreamIs a dreamProgress Reports from worlds we somewhere createBuilding those great green meadowsThose roiling purple oceans and the wild fanged beastsOrgies and ogres and fencing and feastsShadow worlds where we fly and die and love and hate.Somewhere across the galaxy a house standsHigh on a rocky crest above the blue-green sandsAnd all the twists and turns of that strange placeAre but reflections of the flickers on our lids and faceIs a dreamIs a dreamA searching striving blindly groping for the One Great LightThe true Truth that will astound us; lay us flatKnockout punch us with the crystal clear of its utter it-nessSo we lie paralyzed, helpless, beached in awe 336
    • Our whole life strange, deranged, and rearrangedMaking sudden sense so simply putLike a wild child’s smileBut only flashing for awhile...On waking, the lamp extinguishes the LightAs artificial praise will do the wild child.Is a dreamIs a dreamJust the dumping of the shredder basket by the night crewOur mighty triumphs of the day and defeatsLittle more than last month’s memosNo-one any longer cares; yet no-one dares denyThe overwhelming importance of tomorrow’s reportDestined to be edited and commented upon and committedRe-issued, dated, filed, archived, and all copies shredded.So too, so too, the very paper fabric of our livesIs a dreamIs a dreamMaybe − Perhaps − could it be a trifle moreA beacon lighthouse glowing guide to misty shoreWhere you and I and all of us could bePut right our jade and sapphire spaceship earth at lastScoff the troubles of a silly selfish pastOur eyes wink open and awake we’d finally see:Shimmering, vibrant, the radiant rainbow of reality. 337
    • Camelot of the MindThe Knights are mostly scattered now;And Arthur Pendragon long since dead;A Kingdom ruled by shadows instead.The castle lies in broken rubble.The fields, fallow, untended and bare.Our Flag doesn’t ripple in cold blue air.The maimed, the stunned, stumble, grumbleOf what was once so full of grace,And now is gone without a trace.A grain of wheat is blown by wind,I seize and touch, and then I see,Those fields and fields wave goldenly.Upon the ground, a hunk of brick −Its one of hundreds, standing tallAnd thickly building castle wall.Beside the fallen orchard trunks −A rotten apple laced with bees;Inside that core are apple trees!Not in warfare, not in plans,Not in science, not in art,Not in numbers, not in chart,Camelot,My friends,Is in your heart. 338
    • The Mysterious American “Continental” BreakfastYou could call it “cheap.” Now, that’s okay by me.Just don’t call it “Continental.” Don’t call it “Breakfast.”No-one from Barents to Biscay breakfasts thus;No-one from Lisbon to Odessa eats like us.Meetings mainly manifest mush mundanities;Hard enough to keep sagging eyelids partedAmong the Poppy-seeds of Powerpoint and Platitude.Without a caffeine/cake sugar crash; how rude!I’ve been to Brussels and to gay Paris;I’ve been to Amsterdam and Zurich too;Flown to Vienna; seen Den Hague;Milano, Ivrea, Helsinki and Copenhag’Variations on a theme − there are many.On one thing they unanimously agree:A breakfast is not a breakfast worthy of youUnless there is food included on the menu too .Beans and greens and grains and eggs;Fruit and cheese and bread and tea;Meat and tomatoes as well as jams and jellies −These fill morning European bellies.So, please agenda setters, meeting planners,Hear my call to call a spade a spade, and callThose pathetic servings of coffee and sweetsJust what they truly are: “Cheap Eats.” 339
    • DespairBlack and grey, grey and black.Whack and wick, wick and whack.Life in a dungeon, full of crack.Spiders and rats and this and that.Dandy wonders spitting back.Over a well, despairing I sit alone,Cold, on the cold, cold grey stone.The cloudless night should cover allAnd leave me lonely on this old grey wall.No white is no moon; no yellow, no sun.No words, but “empty”; no numbers, but one.Silence of whispers, silence of wind,When will end this endless sin? 340
    • Let the Rainbows InSomething there is that doesn’t love a meeting.I could say “elves” but I think “selves” may beCloser to the mark. We might walk along the river.We could sit around my oaken kitchen table.We could gasp in cold and driving rain and laughBeneath the overhang as thunder rounded under.We might take the darkest corner of a happy pubSketch out worlds to conquer, castles to build;Order another pitcher of Guinness or Sam Adams.But the formal corporate tables − row on row −Are cookie-cuttered, soul-guttered, flat.Inside the gray walls, the gray points are made.One by one the problems raised, dissected,And out upon the table laid. That’s that.If the world outside is sun and rainbow rain,It’s all too Crayola for the corporate brain.Chart of Acronym, Chart of Org, Chart of Plan,Chart of Acronym, Chart of Org, Chart of Plan.And all the while, a child grows, a world flows,Vines laugh their magic miracle of transmutation:Water into wine. Sun shafts energy into raindrops:A spectrum of possibilities seen and unseenPainted for our pleasure and our insight fades.But someday soon, I may open up the windowsAnd let the rainbows in. Would it be a sin?Or, might the colors flash the numbers into life?Might the living flesh of nature helpDissolve the strife? Prevent the strike? May be.You like to think you know yourself all too well.But maybe just perhaps you really cannot tell.Spring might put a notion in your head too:A meeting out of doors where people talkedOf how things really are and dreamed a bitOf how things might really be. You, yourself,Might just open up the flat gray glass and −Let the Rainbows In! Let the Rainbows In! 341
    • Curse of the Jealous WarlockWanton wishful isn’t ever willing to be wasted out of handBut keeps on chugging, chugging to the slugging of the band.In what green pasture lies the summit of my sunken sun?Or, in what far city sinning and with what wet one?Green and fondle candle handle beyond the working of the woe.Who is in the green and yellow wrapper and who the foe?Topple all the tasteful towers in a shower on their heads!Make the massive mighty granite crush them in their beds!Her green eyes flashing and her flowing golden hair?What? Bring low this sunlight! Stifle the air!Cracking clacking melodies of insect parts − Beware!Jade-colored and metallic, they have biting parts and sucking parts;They can run and they can swim − and they can get you anywhere! 342
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    • Forthcominglast tattersof summerhidein the eyesgleams of sunshinemelton shivering skindays of pathseke outa livingin pangs of bleak 345
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    • The Calm Clamwith a bow-wow mouth as big as my bald bodyboth lips thin and hard carved in full eloquencewith my tongue grown right out of my heart and souli am surely meantto be a voice empowered for all around meeither silt or sediments shining dull and darkwith soiled secretsi often imagine myself like a free seagullsinging at the top tip of a huge coral treeas myriads of grains of yellowish sandare panned or sifted out from the huge wavessurging wildyet color-blind and tone-deaf i am deeply oppressedunder the heavy waterwhere sharks and squidskeep yelling loudly above my blue musingsas i withhold my tongue waiting for a sunny spell to become one and the samewith a muted pearlWithered Twig 349
    • definitely invisible to the human eyelooking casually afarhardly noticeable even by my neighbourat a close rangethe whole cypress tree crowded with green spirits except me, the only badgefaded, getting rusty yet refusing to fall onto the grassy groundmaybe it is a worm that has burrowedinto my flat body and bite by bitegnawing at my hearti am dying, anddead will i beplease do not say i am a martyr for i hate my embarrassing fatebut just break me off and see my withered soula hidden birthmark rather than an unfading scareof my evergreen mother 350
    • Human Culturewhen i wake upand open my eyesi see all my dreamsbounced back from the frameswhen i take a showerand start to singi taste my song tartbehind the blurring curtainwhen i strive to stepout of my humble housei feel fences quarrelling hardin the whole neighbourhoodwhen i visit around anddo some blind sightseeingi smell blood stainedalong the castle footfinally i flee from this worldand hide myself far awayi still seem to hearthe glaring cries from the great walldelicately hung is this eartha bluish cage in the universe 351
    • Awakeninglike a stony statuesitting still under a tremendous treemy surly soul fallen into a deep dozeas i travel around all the timetrying to find the right path through the thorny bushesto the mirage-like hilltopa large flock of unknown birds held in their unsinging mouthsa hundred rainbow flowers following men in the smiling skyas if to escort my journey home or ready to celebrate my birthdaythe moment i see my naked self all the birds and flowers are goneexcept the big shadowless treestanding against the serenity of skies 352
    • Subjunctive Moodhad eve and adam eaten a multi-masked onionrather than an apple of evil sweet and super juicythe youthful parentsof all our ancestors might never have been givenunder the shrinking tree shade such a strong sense of self-shamenor would we todayall need indeed to clothe our wholesouls and bodies (although born to be naked)with so many layers, layersand layers of language even during a shower 353
    • Name Changingconfucius once saidif the name is not rightthe speech will carry no mightso my father created my nameby rearranging the sun and moonvertically and horizontallyto equip it with allthe forces of yin and yangdispersed in the universesince i became subjectto a totally different grammarall people have complainedor made fun of my nameso harsh and awkwardthey conspire to seduce meto adopt a familiar namelike michael in the mighty dialectbut to retain the subtle balancesin the wild world i wanderto hold my father’s sunbeamwith my mother’s moonlighti fiercely refuse to change iteven though i often feel lostwhen the sounds i heardo not sound like my name at all 354
    • The Savage Spot of Lightlong after turning offyour monster tv setyou still seem to seeat the screen centera bright dot of lighta stubborn full stopforgotten to put at the endof a rambling run-on sentencemade all in a mazeabout love and/or hatredwith a wet mop of historyyou try to wipe it offyet it refuses to vanishlike a primordial black holesucking its own surface insideas it grows larger, rounderand blurred insteadtrying harder to stop it upyou squeeze in your coinsbooks, plantpots, photoframessofas, shoes, finally clothesand everything in handbut only to be thrown outright on the spotfrustrated and desperateyou jump your entire naked self inwith your heart and names alikeuntil you become one dimensionallosing both your mind and freedom senseless 355
    • The Way Forwardtick, ticktack, ticktock a cloudy sound persists aroundlooming lonely in the lightless parkwaiting, wandering, or hesitating so many of us have ceasedgroping our ways out of dark(hey, no more path appears ahead) someone kindly reminds the blind man(thanks, but your warning is really off the mark)tick, ticktack, ticktock his seeing rod rhyming with the unseen clockas a fresh path follows behind his footsteps 356
    • Allenian Dragonmaniamy younger son is the greatest funof dragons i’ve ever known as a chinamanhe could lecture hours nonstopon various dragons’ magic talentshe often insists that in his own roomeverything is transformed from a dragononce he asked me in loud resentmentwhy he was not born in the dragon-yearon a shiny night with his little mightallen shrieked all his way to my dreamconfused, confounded and horrifiedbefore he told me a fantastic tale:a real living dragon in its authentic formhad thrown a visit through his windowconfessing behind his mind’s curtainit had been deeply touchedby the tremendous tenders of affectionmy son had made to him in private 357
    • The Vest Knitted for Georgeson, this is not a fancy or fashionable garmentbut a deep rooted gift for your first departure from homefrom your foreign grandma quite alive beneath your feeton the other side of earth who you know neither speaksyour adopting language nor wants to write you anythingthat needs to be translatedbut she has hand-knittedneedle after needleneedle after needle with kindness-dyed woolall she means to say to you (at the kitchen table shiny with chitchat in the middle of the rice field on the bank of yangtse river or in front of foiled family photos)into this simple solid cloth which she tells me to retellwill support your bare back during your flight above the waves warm your homesick heartbetween cold sights of strangers and protect your young shouldersagainst the heavy daily loadsjust like the worn-out one i am still wearing even todayas her lttle boy getting newly oldwho has travelled so far 358
    • Immigrationto escape from the tyrannical logicof your mother tongueyou wandered, wanderingthrough earth’s length and breadthsubjecting your old self to another syntaxa whole set of grammatical rulesstrangely new to your lips and tipsto expand the map of your mindfar beyond your home and havenyet in the meantime it becomes colonizedby all the puzzling paradoxesof this chosen language, for example:quicksand can be very slowboxing rings are in fact squareand a guinea pig is neither a pignor is it from guinealike you or me 359
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    • San FranciscoMighty CityMighty Cityold, typicalyet so prettyNeglect cannot hidein front of sunyet you have a homefor everyoneAn orphanageso large and granda place to sleepbut never standYou could have beenon any planeta rooming homeof massive graniteEvery little thinga samplejust a tasteof Adam’s Apple 363
    • Tribute To CavalierThough you never reached to meI stepped over galaxiesto see your face againto breathe the windyou breathe,lie in surrender at your feet.You stayed in some surrender sleeplions purring at your feet.I’ve lost this one, I can’t compete...I go now, yetI can’t remember to forget −this is my upset.I can’t remember to forget. 364
    • Why This PoemWhy do I sit late into nightchanting words to anyonewho finds these lineswhile my children snugly sleep?I may be gone before I knowwho finds my words upon a snow.I don’t know who I’m talking toas I write these words to you.I don’t know who will read my mindput into words I drop behind.People have their own intentionsfor their wordy poem inventions.They write to cry, complain, invite,teach, warm, and yes, incite.I wonder, sitting here,why I’m doing this.It is my kiss.I hold my secrets very close,at times there is no one to tell.Poets sing into a well.Tonight I’m bothered witha discovery I must revealwith no listener upon the way.I rush to leave these words behind,you read them as they fell:All that little children wantis someone they can tell.All they wantis for you to listen well. 365
    • Parent HereAs parent hereI’m just a scoutwho leads my flockthrough ins and outsof danger here,survival there,a passing onof life to heir.My sons theyknow I step withheed, a careful scout,so deep my needso great my loveof little ones.I step with careI walk with dutythey follow metheir trust completestepping right behindmy feet. I feel them atmy back, impatientwith my lack of speeduntil freedom lures,the greed of self-determinedspeed they needto make them whole; Isee them grow, I knowthat need and theyare off as soon asthey disagree.Then they are freeof me.Milestone one complete. 366
    • I Can Want“What do you want”?“What do you want”? What did you ask? What did you say? Oh that was before the terrible winds the angry seas, the open doors. That was before my desperate needs. Long before, my braveries.“What do you want”?“What do you want”? Why can’t you look? But don’t tell me. That was before, a little girl. A woman trusting visitors. That was before... I’m on my knees. Don’t ask again, please. “What do you want”?“What do you want”? Why do you ask this complex task of simple honesty? Can’t you see I am busy now with great, important duty? 367
    • I’m sitting on the desert floorand I want rain. I want rain.I can very well endurethis wanting pain. 368
    • Little GirlsOh the happiness we can feel,little girls on scholastic wheelsmaking every sentence rhymetouching words, keeping time.Little girls, they do not mindthe debt they carry for our kind,a tu tu and some patent leather,a uniform for any weather.This is the power we possessfor tomorrow’s holiness.Yet, we guess and guess and guess− is she holy, or possessed?All the future we can knowlies beneath her dancing toes.Any man to cause us harmlies hidden in her tiny palm.Every wise man who ever livedcame from her want and whirl...If we care to heal the world...raise men to care for little girls. 369
    • The morning afterWhat a distance there can befrom reality to memory!The morning from the night beforecan hide the moonbehind a door. 370
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    • Poets’ BiosAainaa-Ridtz A.RAainaa-Ridtz, from Malaysia, has a background which includes design communi-cations, public relations, marketing, music, French studies, journalism andcreative writing. She won her first Grand Prix at the age of 11, and thereafterawards as a writer and photographer. She aspires to initiate a Foundation forChildren and travel the world, documenting her journey through her writingsand lenses.Maolcolum BascherBorn in Cornwall, England, Maolcolum is a poet, writer and creator of ideas invarious areas of endeavour. He has spent much of his life as a free spirit, andhas known many of the colourful and creative personalities of his time. Todayhe resides in London. Other interests include listening to classical music,reading, human support counselling and walking.Shimanta BhattacharyyaShimanta, from Shillong, India, has been writing poetry for fifteen years. Hispoems have appeared in journals in India and Europe, and in many onlinecollections. Formerly a lecturer at a local college, Shimanta now devotes mostof his time to writing. Some favourite poets are G.M. Hopkins, Sylvia Plath andDylan Thomas. 373
    • Michael BrillMichael lives in New Jersey, in the U.S., and is a scientist studying perceptionand especially colour vision. He received his BA from Case Western ReserveUniversity and his MS and PhD from Syracuse U. As an undergraduate he majoredin English and Physics and resumed writing poetry in 1997. His poetry has beenpublished online and in various periodicals.Nigel BurwoodNigel, British, lives in Santa Cruz, California and also in London and Norfolk partof the year. When he isn’t writing poetry, he sells books on the Internet,attends auctions and plays golf. An English major with a degree fromSouthampton, favourite poets and writers include Baudelaire, Eliot, Borges,Nabokov and Meades.Üzeyir ÇayciBorn in 1949 in Bor, Turkey, Üzeyir is a poet, artist, and writer with a degree inarchitecture and industrial design from The Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul. Hehas been drawing, painting and writing since childhood and has received manyawards for his work, most recently from Radio NPS of Holland and Les Amis deThalie in France. Both his poetry and art are featured on many elegant web-sites. Üzeyir lives and works in Paris.Fide ErkenFide is a Turkish poet, born in 1967 in Bursa, where she lives and works as anEnglish teacher. She has a degree from Uludag University in English, and writesin both English and Turkish. Writing poetry is “a big and a beautiful part of mylife, through which I try to send love from my heart to all the world’s people.”Her poems have been published on many websites and in magazines. 374
    • Ananya GuhaAnanya lives in Shillong, in the northeast part of India, where he serves asRegional Director of the Indira Gandhi National Open University. He has pub-lished four collections of poetry in English and his work has appeared in manyjournals in India and abroad. Ananya, who holds a PhD in modern literature, isalso a freelance prose and fiction writer, broadcaster, researcher and trans-lator.Bob HartBob, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, has been active as a performing poet onthe New York City circuit for a score of years and is widely-known for his work.He also writes poetry for dancers (which he sometimes performs) and does“dialogues” with other poets. For many years he has been a member of a poetryperformance group, the No Chance Ensemble.Kostas HrisosKostas was born in Thessalonica, in the north of Greece, and now lives inNewcastle, England, where he teaches Information Systems at North TynesideCollege. His award-winning poetry has been published in many Greek andinternational magazines and on many websites. A collection of poems, in otherwords, was published in August, 2000.Roger HumesRoger is a poet / computer graphic artist / musician from Claremont, California.He has been involved with various art forms over forty years, and his poetry,especially, is strongly influenced by modern Arabic and Iranian work. Rogermaintains websites which feature his poetry and graphics and he also playsguitar and writes songs, preferring the genre of world fusion techno. 375
    • Aftab HussainAftab is from Pakistan and works in the food and agricultural industries, wherehe deals in products such as spices, seeds, pastes, rice and flour. He also has abackground and continuing interest in computer technology. Other interestsinclude reading and writing poetry, travel, higher education, games and theinternet.Chiesa IrwinChiesa was born in Long Island, New York, and used to sing folk in GreenwichVillage. Her travels led her to Sydney, Australia and then to Northern Queens-land, where she now spends a lot of time writing poetry and working on a book.She says the only thing she has ever been accused of is being a “flamboyantsimpleton.” A collection of poems, Poles of Attraction, was published in 1994.Laurynas KatkusA native of Vilnius, Lithuania, Laurynas has also resided in Berlin and MexicoCity. He studied Lithuanian and general literature at Vilnius and LeipzigUniversities. Two books of poems have been published, Voices, Notes (1998) andDiving lessons (2003). Translations of his work have appeared in Latvian, Polish,Slovenian, German, and U.S. literary publications.Patricia KellyPatricia has been writing poetry since her teens and involved in the New YorkCity poetry community for over 20 years, publishing in small presses, perfor-ming, teaching, hosting readings and organizing poetry, dance and songshowcases. She also collects and improvises on unusual musical instruments andhas designed The Tactile Tarot Deck for the blind and visually impaired. 376
    • Monica KorycinskaBorn in Warsaw, Poland, in 1977, Monica moved with her family to Germanywhen she was 11 and earned her degree as translator in several languages fromthe University of the Saarland. As a poet she is inspired by “small, insignificantthings, like a reflection of raindrops in the light of a torch.” Monica’s dream isto travel the globe, writing poems and stories about countries she visits.Erik LarsonAmerican-born Erik Larson works in New York with various religious/interfaithorganizations, promoting the spiritual and personal truth each inspires. He hasbeen practicing Raja Yoga meditation for over 20 years. Erik writes poetry andarticles which have been published mainly in cyberspace, “finding the process ofwriting more rewarding than the product.” He is a graduate of the University ofNotre Dame.Joneve McCormickBorn in the Midwestern U.S., Joneve lives and works in Manhattan. She hastaught English, world literature and composition, worked in advertising andpublishing, and currently freelances as a writer and translator. Her poems, shortstories and articles have appeared in various publications and online. Somefavourite poets are Homer, Rumi, Tagore, Goethe, Hölderlin, Blake and Yeats.Nimah Ismail NawwabEducated in Saudi Arabia, Nimah has been dubbed a “voice for Arab women” inthe East and West for her work on behalf of women and youth. Her poetry hasbeen translated into numerous languages and taught in schools and collegesworldwide. Her collection, The Unfurling, deals with issues of freedom, women,family, culture, faith, tradition, tolerance and change. 377
    • Olutayo OsunsanOlutayo was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lives in Kampala, Uganda. His poetry hasbeen published in anthologies and magazines on four continents and somepoems have been translated into other languages. Olutayo is the author of twocollections, Strange Beauty (2004) and The Poet In May (2006). He enjoystravelling, listening to music, watching good movies and reading (especiallypoetry).Laurence OvermireLaurence is an American actor, director and widely-published writer who hasworked on stage, film and television on both coasts and in-between. He foundedand produced The Writer’s Lab in Los Angeles, a non-profit organization tofoster quality writing in the entertainment industry, and has also conducted artsprograms for schools and other organizations, including Lincoln Center Institutein New York City.Dimitris PalasisDimitris lives in Athens, Greece, where he serves as elected vice president ofthe Greek Federal Union of Poets and Writers. Dimitris writes poetry in Greek,which he then translates into English for publications such as World’s Strand.He has recently published a collection, Eftalia Island. Favourite poets includeT.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jacques Prévert and E.E.Cummings.Wesley PattersonBorn in New York City, Wes now lives in Florida and works as a psychologist-hypnotherapist by phone throughout the U.S. Wes has bred and cross-bred wildanimals and reptiles for pets as a business (ferrets being the most widely known)and has published his poetry widely in the U.S. and England, in translation inJapan and Russia. Wes is married to a Russian doctor of medicine and has oneson. 378
    • Michael PokockyCanadian entrepreneur Michael Pokocky is CEO and founder of Sophistica WorldThink Tank. An avid reader on many topics, he is especially interested in people,social change, writing, economics, biographies, challenges and new ideas. As acounsellor, he wants to help others find their calling, not just “a career.”Michael loves the outdoors − fishing, canoeing, hiking and exploring “the backcountry.”Rati SaxenaRati is a Hindi poet and Sanskrit scholar residing in Trivendrum, India. She haspublished three collections of poetry in Hindi, one book of criticism, and twocollections of poetry in other languages (English and Malayalam). Rati is alsowell-known as a translator. In 2000 she was awarded the Kendra SahityaAkademi Award for translation and is also a recipient of the Indira GandhiNational Culture and Arts Fellowship.Laura SchusterLaura, 20, born in Bingen, now lives in Mannheim, Germany, where she studiesengineering information technology. Laura has been writing poetry for six years,usually in German, but for the past three years also in English. Two of herpoems and one short story were included in a pocket diary for the year 2000,published by Brandes & Apsel. Future plans include having a family as well as asuccessful career,Elvira SelowBorn in Germany, Elvira lives in a small town near Frankfurt where she works asa psychoanalyst. Dealing with the human soul is her daily job and her passion.Poetry is “a sort of reverie which, like dreaming itself, seems to stabilizepsycho-physical health of both reader and author.” Elvira loves to read, dance,ski and climb mountains. 379
    • Renée SigelSouth African-born, Swiss poet Renée Sigel has been writing professionally forover 18 years and is a publisher of Literati Magazine. A début poetry collection,sexions: selections from life and love, has recently been published by BeWriteBooks. Renée lives in northern Italy with her husband and three daughters,where she enjoys entertaining, collecting wines, playing chess and reading.Eddie TayBorn in Singapore, Eddie Tay is currently based in Hong Kong. He has publishedtwo collections of his poetry, Remnants (renditions of mythic and colonialhistory of Malaya as well as a homage to the Tang Dynasty poets Li Po, Tu Fuand Li Ho) and A Lover’s Soliloquy (which extends his interests in Tang Dynastypoetry through renditions of the erotic poetry of Li Shang-yin).John ThomasJohn lives in Westchester, New York and works at IBM Research specializing inhuman-computer interaction. He is also a licensed psychologist. He has writtenextensively on problem solving and creativity, aging, speech synthesis, thesocial implications of technology, story-telling and e-learning; he has alsowritten plays which have been produced. A web search will bring readers tomore of his poems.Markus VinzentFounder of academici. Born in 1959, close to the border between France andGermany, today living and working in Birmingham, UK and in Cyberspace,Markus describes himself as having had a “no-man’s land in my maturing mind,moving between poetry, literature, drama, religions, cultures, technology andbusiness to live in a free land, somewhere in-between.” He dedicates hiswritings to his wife, Jutta, and to his two children -- Cyril, age 5½ andCharlotte, 3. 380
    • Changming YuanBorn into a Chinese peasant family, Changming didn’t read his first poem untilhe was 14. A graduate of Shanghai Jiaotong University, he has a PhD in Englishfrom the University of Saskatchewan and has published several books and manyarticles on translation and the English language. His poems appear in manyjournals across North America and the U.K. Currently Changming works as acollege English tutor in Vancouver.Catherine ZoltanOriginally from the eastern U.S., Catherine now lives in California’s San Jacintomountains. She is a full-time mother of six-year old twin boys, and is married toa software engineer. In addition to her “big job” as homemaker, she writespoetry and is currently working on a book on how to raise creative, discerningchildren. 381