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


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

2 Tanka: Crow & Moon

featured in the poetry forum October 30, 2022  :: 0 comments


the huntsmen’s
hasty retreat

cry of the crow
with funeral eyes
unto dust we shall return


midnight moon
shivers of her labor
water breaking

the cry of a newborn
in the bush

— Christina Chin (in italics) &
— Uchechukwu Onyedikam

editors note:

From dust we come, to dust we go. (This is a collaborative work between 2 poets; one from Malaysia, the other from Nigeria. It’s a mad world, indeed.) – mh clay

Becoming A Wild Bird

featured in the poetry forum October 27, 2022  :: 0 comments

because days roll
off the sleeves of your shirt
and turn you into a cloudy night,
you learnt not to forget the sun
that burn your skin in a hot desert,
where your legs
touch the dark memories buried
beneath them.

you don’t tell a storm how to
break a home, you wait at midnight
to see how its light cuts
into your mother’s body,
teaching you how to gather the pieces
of her flesh.

and still, you don’t know how to
peel the yellow juice out of mango fruit.
only that you know
how to cut the language on your tongue
into different layers of sorrow.

here, you are
becoming a wild bird, flying in-between
the cluster of black trees.

– Yahuza Abdulkadir

editors note:

Avian survival skills in the mad metropolis. – mh clay

Trying to Fill That Hole

featured in the poetry forum October 26, 2022  :: 0 comments

Nostalgia influences dumb choices
A familiarity that may as well be red glass
You ain’t seeing those flags, sugar

It’s a momentary bandage
For the gaping wound that is loneliness
Afterward, that hole is a little bigger

We tap the glass, on the chance of distraction
Where instant gratification can be had at any moment
For the price of your dignity

When there’s no reason to think tomorrow might be better
Right now’s bad choice looks pretty good
Packaged as a tall, dark, and handsome mistake

– Skaja Evens

editors note:

Bigger hole, bigger shovel. It’s still dirt. – mh clay

Holy Holy Holy

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

Agony hidden
beneath the beauty
any other notions
absolute in its
an invisible quote
“            “
to believe
that urgency you
feel in the room
in the air you’ll
i’ll pause to listen
to your voice
one last time
preserved in the
left behind

– John Duarte

editors note:

Magic when heard, but not seen. – mh clay

Histrionics (Why I Hate Selfies Pt. 2)

featured in the poetry forum October 19, 2022  :: 0 comments

Suicidal cheerleaders
walk their daddies home from jail
shoot rabbits
but don’t boil them.

All the world’s a stage
but most scroll in the audience
and only the scariest smiles

Emotion is the soundtrack
to existence.
Take care you’ll still look
when the music stops.

– C E Hoffman

editors note:

Terrorized by Tik Tok? Turn away. (This poem comes from C E Hoffman’s recently released collection, GHOSTS, TROLLS, AND OTHER THINGS ON THE INTERNET, from Bottlecap Press. You can get your copy here.) – mh clay

Start Knowing Joy

featured in the poetry forum October 18, 2022  :: 1 comment

Start now knowing joy,
that’s an order,
overcome a deepening solitude.

Like a bee at a bugle
or me at the deli
on Third Avenue.

I said to Joe when do you think this weather will break?
He jokes, April.
That’s no joke. Weak creatures die and the strong barely survive.

Half a year goes by
another cancer checkup.
Cheer up. Any weather’s

better than no weather at all
and there’s always governance
even when there is no government.

My candidate drops out
after Iowa. Why do I always lose
at politics and poker?

Peace at last!
No lawnmowers, no leafblowers.
Big comfy couch.

Meditate on this: Do what has to be done.
Find your lover gazing at the moon
and take your garbage to the dump.

Your website evaporates
and your possessions are thrown in the dumpster
except your trumpet which finds its way to a future trumpeter.

– Robert Ronnow

editors note:

Joy in providing another man’s treasure. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum October 17, 2022  :: 1 comment

The azure waters
Lured me to the shores
The vivacious waves
Washed me to lands unknown
And the men on the shore,
Filled my plate every evening.

Like a magician playing
With the pigeons hidden
Under his elbows,
The rolling seas cooing
hand me the corals and atolls
Shells and dreams of mermaids too.

What do i gift to you, in return
Oh, folks on the shore?
I snatched your fishing nets,
I stole your golden shores
I erase the sand on my heels
On the wall of boulders

The blue walls of your tiny houses
Crumble, and i crowd you
In dark rooms, of no relief.
I huddle you away
From the waves and my heart.
In your sleep, your heart sings
The songs of the seas.

The fury of the storms and
the saint on the shore lament,
“You are the man who gives stones,
to your children
when they ask for a loaf”
Nature still laughs the last laugh,
For sure, it is as hard as the shore-lashing waves.

– Dr. Jaya Anitha Abraham

editors note:

They take your all and call it a favor. The curse of colonialism. – mh clay