Poem

featured in the poetry forum November 23, 2022  :: 0 comments

You’ll want to think the poem comes from somewhere else, but it doesn’t.
You will write about a Poplar tree and cherry blossoms,
and the sun sinking like hearts sank on the day that Betty White died.
It’ll all be beautiful and moving
There’s no poetry in that,
you can always walk away from something pretty.
It doesn’t hold you captive.

For instance, you are standing at Niagara Falls
You’re in love, but you won’t say;
not with them standing there.
Not with palms that get sweaty in stressful situations.
You’ll just blush and scribble something.
The sun continues to sink in your poem,
It’s all very romantic
it’s all supper clubs and Liberace.
There is nothing daunting there.
You can walk away from that,
and you’ll want to think about it later.

Somewhere, in another town, someone regrets nothing, but it isn’t here.
That is not a place where poetry comes from
or any other type of art, but maybe you’re just being supercilious.
Well, who isn’t?
You’re only human and you are aging
Maybe that’s the problem
Maybe you’re just bitter
Good, that’s how poetry breathes

It is dark outside, and you are crying
There’s no hope in Texas,
there’s too much hope in California
And anyway, you’re used to Texas, so you stay.
You manage
You cry
You write
You can’t walk away
That’s where poetry lives, I think.
In hopelessness
and questions like,
what are you supposed to do about yourself?

– Anthony Ripp

editors note:

Ask and you shall… – mh clay

THE HOME WHERE I COME FROM

featured in the poetry forum November 21, 2022  :: 0 comments

In the home where I come from
Children dance to the grumbling of an empty stomach
we steal smile’s skin
our parents become oceans at the sight of the lakes that journey down our faces.

In the home where I come from
We bath our fufu(s) with the flying aromas from our neighbor’s Kitchen
And let them journey to the land of longing intestines.

In the home where I come from
our clothes are different — they are baskets with myriad holes.
the color of the sky is the length of a standing rain, so
We reflect droplets of mud.

In the home where I come from
our bowl is the size of the earth’s heart
together, our hands are falling graces.

In the home where I come from
our eyelashes are separated by the hymning of the birds, the crowing of the cocks, and the confectionary taste of dongoyaro
our teeth tell our history.

In the home where I come from
girls kiss the soil and wake up firewood with their voices
their waist beads dance to the view of blazing fire
their curves twirl – at the sound of a steaming Gbegiri soup.

In the home where I come from
men are hunted by hungry animals
and their lips flute songs of victory
or is it sorrow?

– Agboola Abidemi Kaothar

editors note:

Consider a home where wide-open spaces are within. – mh clay

Ode to lives lost in Peshawar attack

featured in the poetry forum November 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

Ketchup on my plate, clotted blood
On my thighs, notepad

In my bag, bullet
In my friend’s eye, a knot

Building in my stomach, whispers
Frazzling across the classroom amid sighs, loud steps

Approaching through the corridor, my mother’s face
Flashing in my mind, my father’s voice

Echoing in my ears, death
Coercing through tears.

– Ekta Singh Chandel

editors note:

Tragedy as trigger to suffer again and again. – mh clay

PROPAGANDA 45

featured in the poetry forum November 18, 2022  :: 0 comments

Payoff filch – tea.
Rash to overlook cup-and-lip.
It was meanly shivery.
Ghoulish jesting,
Whispers beyond nappers.

*

tea

Rash

shivery

jesting

nappers

*

Patrollers gulped tea.
Rash, we overran.
Damocles had ’em shivery.
Jesting, unsettled.
Nappers feebly budged.

– Christopher Barnes

editors note:

Much ado over tea for… – mh clay

Madness as a genre.

featured in the poetry forum November 17, 2022  :: 0 comments

I watch your body break into another gourd of palm wine, saying the mouth of a great man is the mouth of god taking his first step into unconsciousness.

Your mother sobs silently in a distance where her body is a load in the mouth of a graveyard, a broken wine bottle & a pothole honored with the leftover of the rain thickened into mud, a bird born into darkness, born to see things the world hides of the dead, tweeters on a cherry tree.

But on days like this, you are fire, you are a man seeking a way out of himself like cities where boys trespass borders for gin sachets.

You have heard her cry before, the day your village became Gomorrah & spat fire & the sacrifice it wanted was little boys whose guards were lost to sand song, fire dancing behind you in a mud-sucked T-shirt, she sobbed, before your body found the sea & ran into luck.

But today, she wishes to grab you again from the fire swimming close to your head, the way light comes for the sons of darkness but you are miles away from clothes, your naked body dancing Kathakali in the eyes of market women, & your mother, is just a sack of rotten bones in the mouth of a graveyard, she is calling through the breeze, she is crying in your head, but it’s nothing, you have heard her cry like that.

– Fatihah Quadri Eniola

editors note:

Misery memory, mad indeed. – mh clay

no compassion

featured in the poetry forum November 15, 2022  :: 0 comments

we tramp around
parking lots,
our mawing mouths
chewing in the thick
hot air.

clouds take congress
overhead but nothing comes.

our clenched fists
wave up in anger
at an insulant sky,
but a deluge
never comes.

other clouds gather
and we eye them with suspicion.
the noise of thunder
begins to call out.
four riders appear
just before the storm.

sharpen your sabers,
brothers and sisters,
sharpen them now.

November’s coming.

– Jack Henry

editors note:

Gods help us; November is here! – mh clay

2 Haiku: smoke rings & saline

featured in the poetry forum November 13, 2022  :: 0 comments

1.
the fallacy of
only hurting myself
secondhand smoke rings

2.
the saline droops out
of her eyes in two
straight lines like paint drips

– Jerome Berglund

editors note:

More so, when one causes the other. – mh clay

The Back of my Father, Maheshwar Padhan

featured in the poetry forum November 10, 2022  :: 0 comments

Some uncommon burden diminishes every time
on his return, his back is like
that of a refuge for the entire family.

There’s acute water scarcity, no rainfall
but heavy low pressure during the harvest
how cold-blooded is God’s look, if

the loan is not repaid, there’d be a disdainful
look from many to devour our rice vessel.

His back is actually like a sturdy banyan tree
that can suppress all the hits of the axes
his back is like an indefatigable chest

which can ignore the killing thrash
of the sun, rain and winter.

Life isn’t measured by years, months and days
we measure his life by the bruises he bears
and he measures our happiness at the
depth, length and width of his scars.

– Pitambar Naik
Translated from the Odia by Pitambar Naik

editors note:

We face forward from the strength of his back. – mh clay

Mantis

featured in the poetry forum November 9, 2022  :: 0 comments

There are ghost mantises, orchid mantises, dead leaf mantises,
Violin mantises, spotted eye mantises, mantises with name or no name.
He’s amazed at how adroitly they appear
the same as the things around them
But sad for their sense of ease
To become something they are not

Just for survival

– Tony Huang

editors note:

A bit of entomology in human sociology. Lovers beware! – mh clay

Artichoke Moses

featured in the poetry forum October 31, 2022  :: 0 comments

This evening I surrender my teeth
to the promise of a petaled globe,
under-appreciated vegetable meat
with its treasured vegetarian heart
like a bearded frisbee, this green baby in a basket,
this herbaceous creamy mystery. That is to say,
glory of roundness in a chariot, resonance
of ingenuity, nights on a riverbank, nights of escape
near the seaside, foggy olive oil washes
with salt and butter. Spiked produce wearing
a headdress of hail. Split in two, roasted.
Bowler hat with horseradish sauce.
Green skulled pyramid.

Getting down to the heart of it,
freeing the choke from its vulnerability,
tied up in its barbs. Thou shalt be gentle,
but I’m in the desert of hunger,
a thirsty hound on a chase. Don’t we all
lust for our prophets? Like this one, verdant heart
without beats, this innocent essence, folate-filled
provision of goodness, this deliverer of sustenance,
visionary, this selfless thistle, this parter of lips.

– Phyllis Klein

editors note:

Dietary diviner gets to the heart of it. – mh clay