The Other Side

featured in the poetry forum January 19, 2020  :: 0 comments

The sirens blast
We know that
Means. 15 seconds
To a minute to
Get to a bomb shelter.

We are always in
A state of alert.
Can you imagine
What that’s like?

Israel doesn’t
Retaliate until
Hundreds of bombs
Fall in a single day.

When that happens,
The world media
Reports it as if
Israel was the
Aggressor.

We, who live here,
Are demonized and
Accused of all kinds
Of ugliness.

While those who
Bomb us, kidnap us,
Stab us and launch
Colorful balloon bombs
To kill our children,
Are presented as victims.
Are praised by leaders
And former leaders
Of our allies, the U.S.

I wonder, how long
Would America or
Any other country
In the world,
Allow their people
To be bombed
Without firing back.

My guess is
One bomb would
Be enough.

Criticized because
More of our people
Don’t die, because
We invest in protecting
Our people. It’s not
Our fault the other
Side invests in
Terror tunnels instead.

We’ve offered peace
Many times and it
Has been rejected.

We handed over Gaza
Without pre-condition.

Yet we’re still the villains?

Israel has been
This world’s bitch
For way too long.

Unless you are willing
To be bombed without
Responding, unless you
Are willing to allow
Terrorists free rein
In your home,
You need to stop
The hate NOW.

Take a walk in
Our shoes before
Telling us how we
Should respond.

– Devorah Titunik

editors note:

There is always another side… – mh clay

Homecoming

featured in the poetry forum January 17, 2020  :: 0 comments

Tea stall hovels black and red
Ladybugs buzz in the street’s morning dream
The wings crack open in a haze of a million beats.
The quiet everyday sorrows acquiesce and give space,
Eyes averted feet cautious
In the rain through the mist
The firewood singes the chest
I step up and knock.

Bolts and chains, wooden door, rooms
To protect witnesses through the ages.
How many dissidents have sipped tea here?
I’ve returned home to find at last
The stories my folks left behind.
Generational conflicts resolve with time
Soft-bodied silverfish burrow through old stories,
The sores are familiar but in new places
Given enough time this whole place will be dust.

But I know this June the gulmohar will bloom again.
Sorrows may disappear like a wisp in this backyard
Patience will outlive condolences,
Then will come forgetting and excuses
To enjoy the remorseless monsoon.
What is this will that brings me back here?
Unfinished bedtime stories echo in my old room
The monsters have vacated my closet
Here I find the peace I was so used to before I was born.

– Amritendu Ghosal

editors note:

A return to review when new, to room as womb. – mh clay

Thoughts Matter

featured in the poetry forum January 16, 2020  :: 0 comments

i dreamt a baby’s head
wore a human bonnet
similar to dried rabbit skin
a reminder of the pointy knitted one
i wore to the first day of school
when mum sat next to me
waiting for the doors to open
while other children played

the soft plump head was birthed
from dark fertile soil
laying with other unattached limbs
on a cream cloth
i knew all would end well
it always did

usually i’d understand these messages
i’d say stop sending me this stuff
let me sleep
i already know that!

i didn’t this time
i woke trying to piece it together
as i lay in bed

it’s taken years to allow my hand
to venture over the sides of a mattress
i didn’t want that dead guy
seen walking through our house
or any spirit
touching me
in or out of bed
even, if it was my dear departed mother

as mum’s birthday poem said
jacqui girl only likes miro’s kisses
it was true
her embraces were smothering
i was repulsed envisaging her story
of breastfeeding me
as she repeated
once i was all hers

she said wait till it happens to
you when your children grow up

her words added to karma’s play
i always crave just that little more
from their hugs

– Jean Bohuslav

editors note:

Null nightmare, karma curbed to bring all full circle. So much from hugs. – mh clay

Remembering Toulouse

featured in the poetry forum January 10, 2020  :: 0 comments

It has been another night in the corner
watching upon a distant crowd inches away
deafened by the constant din of the darkness.

She cannot recall the stroll in the mist
against the blinding eyes of steel monsters
as again she sits alone nursing her priceless poison.

Dressed with the patches of her private treasures
she seems a stranger in a smoky cloud
surrounded by the thunderous clamors of the mob.

Statuesque in the pose of a scared child
a halo shapes her uncertain presence
she stares in search of another world.

She is the void left after the ghost has vanished
frigid within the fiery smog that was once her
everything which defines the essence of others.

– Fabrice B. Poussin

editors note:

A dancing sprite in hell, rendered in oil pastel. – mh clay

Take Me Too

featured in the poetry forum January 5, 2020  :: 1 comment

I speak her name.
She returns with a start
from where she’d been.

I clasp her hands,
find them cold,
hold until warm.

She turns her head,
gazes past my shoulder
at nothing I can see.

She’s going back
to where she’d been.
I want to come along.

– Carl Palmer

editors note:

With two as one; together is here or there. – mh clay

4 Packs of Cigarettes

featured in the poetry forum December 30, 2019  :: 1 comment

4 x 10 that’s forty!
death seeks asylum
one breath at a time

O! I’m meaning to go out
like a blazing old cannon
smirk on the face!
scoff on the lips!
And a whole rib cage full of
ashes for flesh!

I thought you’d ask me to stop
but you didn’t
Ruth! Let me vanish in the river in autumn!

– Hirak Dasgupta

editors note:

Oof! Or maybe we’ll resolve, once more. OK, Ruth? – mh clay

BOOMERS

featured in the poetry forum December 29, 2019  :: 0 comments

They braced for the age of turbulence,
felt betrayed by current extremes,
society changed too fast for them,
proud traditions were cast aside.
Feeling weak like vulnerable prey,
fearing their voices no longer heard,
soon to be victims of the deranged.

Angry, they pointed fingers of blame,
hopeless feelings numbed their senses.
Maddened by loutish talking heads,
touting pompous principles,
boomers have become strangled
by dubious run-on threads.

Eloquent ideas enlightened their views
as they fueled turmoil and unrest,
their voices shouted from Chicago to LA,
today, fiery debate is but a dim flame.

As flowers wilt, hair turns gray,
they want only one more chance,
to taste the truth, dismiss the lies
refute the lows and ride the highs,
realize starry dreams without remorse,
find sparkling sunshine in which to bask.

Cold, steel gray days of the millennium,
are a wasteland where clarity has to wait,
and a prophetic sign may come too late.
Peace love and protest of the sixties,
remain their monuments to the past.

– John L. Yelavich

editors note:

How it came to be. OK, or not! – mh clay

Paper Cut

featured in the poetry forum December 26, 2019  :: 0 comments

The best way to get her attention
would be to run my finger
across the edge of the paper

then I could tell her
all about her hermetically sealed heart

but that would be something
she wouldn’t understand

I could say it feels like
my life is stuck in a rainy car park
and that’s how it feels being with you

I would add that I have decided
I’m going to drive someplace else

but that would be something
she wouldn’t understand

So instead I ditched the metaphors
and walked away
but when I looked back

she still didn’t understand.

– Henry Bladon

editors note:

A poet’s plight, muddied by metaphor. – mh clay

Absconding

featured in the poetry forum December 17, 2019  :: 0 comments

We can only be what we give
ourselves the power to be.
Just being yourself in life
can be rebellion enough.
Surviving daily storms
we exist and thrive.
In the deep cave.
We abscond.

– Ken Allan Dronsfield

editors note:

Drop the self-suit they gave you upon entry. Make a clean getaway. – mh clay

In the long benchmark

featured in the poetry forum December 16, 2019  :: 0 comments

It’s very much a long, lavish bench one fine
Sunday in my mind, you sitting on it, reading a
newspaper striped in yellow crossing magenta,
the first page always me.
It is always an imagination being so kind,
making ruins separable,
making them connect the day you finally never find out.
As I imagine I’ve crossed those, day and night,
the heart says it is sheer a plank made for a deck-party,
the hollering constant upon it, but the strange
faces and disdainful miracles busy swimming below.
I know there’s another unknown day in a week,
and you lift your face from your paper, your face jittery,
like it reads why a love looks like a
subtle mammoth, it is always so much active and in flurry,
because it’s always so much brightened with helplessness.
One day the bench starts growing long,
unstopping, long enough to transcend globe-mapping,
me sitting beside you, jittery again like we’ve no hearts,
we’re only the seekers of this world with
an orphanage beating inside the ribcage in us

– Jayanta Bhaumik

editors note:

Even when benched, the play is prodigious. – mh clay