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Old Folks at the Rec Center

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Old Folks at the Rec Center
At recreation time the seniors come

to do a two-step relic from the age

of Fred Astaire. The bare gymnasium

sways to Mary Ford and Patti Page;

the jukebox used to play them for a dime.

The couples shuffle through “How High the Moon.”

A girl from Parks and Rec counts out the time

and counts the minutes until she’s off at noon.

With moves as deeply grooved as a seventy-eight

one pair defies their aching knees to twirl

in cautious arabesques. They recreate

their courtship ritual as boy and girl,

swinging toward each other, then away,

as giddy as their reckless yesterday.

Richard Wakefield has taught college literature for thirty-eight years and since 1985 has been Professor of Humanities at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington. For twenty-nine years he was a literary critic for the Seattle Times. His first poetry collection "East of Early Winters" (University of Evansville Press), won the Richard Wilbur Award. His second collection, "A Vertical Mile" (Able Muse Press), was short-listed for the Poets Prize.
Busy Being Dan
I'm busy being Dan mom. There are ducks

parading in Dan's head, so Joshua

can be a line of ducklings. Joshua

is smaller, so he has to let Dan pick,

but Dan lets him pretend. And here's the fort

for ducks that Dan made. Josh said, “Can I see?”

“Good asking, Josh,” Dan said supportively

because big brothers say that – but he's short,

so no Josh couldn't. And when Josh climbed out

Dan said he was a duck, and ducks stay put.

Mom, there are cheetahs out there. This can't be

about what ducks want; not in cat country.

Josh makes a good duck; he goes everywhere.

But ducks aren't good at holding an idea –

Kathryn Jacobs is a poet, professor, and editor of The Road Not Taken. Her fifth book, Wedged Elephant, was published last year by Kelsay Press.

Late Bloomer
The bees won’t coin my pollen into gold.

The sun is gone? I’ll blossom for the moon,

whose light is just as beautiful, though cold.

The bees won’t coin my pollen into gold.

For moths or frost, the heedless buds unfold

their hidden hearts as if it still were June.

The bees won’t coin my pollen into gold.

The sun is gone. I’ll blossom for the moon.

Susan McLean is an English professor at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. Her poetry has appeared in two books, The Best Disguise and The Whetstone Misses the Knife, and one chapbook, Holding Patterns. Her translations of poems by the Latin poet Martial appeared in Selected Epigrams (U. of Wisconsin Press, 2014).

When I am Old
Hie me to the hill-ground,

the high hill ground of Scotland,

to battle bladed wind-blasts

my forebears fought before me,

to stagger stammer-footed,

across the ancient highlands,

across their schists and drifting bones

across their shifting ruin-stones,

where, witchily, the gray pine crones

still call me to my history.

Leave me there to wayfare

the curlew-plainted wild moor,

to smell the sweet bog-myrtle

beside the peaty burn;

to stumble crumbling scree slopes

that roll with rutting stag roars,

and rediscover drove roads

and moss embossing lost abodes

where blood-fed drovers rested loads

bound south and trudging their return.

Let me find a lone shore

where fishermen lie buried

in graves of wave-flung flotsam

with neither name nor past:

to stand there like a Culdee

as mist-trails move unhurried

on island hills and holms and voes

where headlands creaked with yells of crows

as birlinns swooned in hell-bent blows

that heaved the shore and cleaved the mast.

Bear me to the black shed

where the blacksmith shod the plough-horse

to plod long narrow furrows

that pleat the folding field,

and when my storm approaches,

I'll stand before its raw force

by furnace flames of bygone ways,

and anvils ringing down the days

that forged my soul and bent these bays;

I’m of this land—it’s here I’ll yield,

to the stubble and seed of the past.

John Beaton writes metrical poetry and his work has been widely published in media as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He writes a monthly poetry page for the magazine Eyes on BC and served for four years as moderator of one of the internet's most reputable poetry workshops. He is a spoken word performer and a poet member of the band Celtic Chaos. His poetry has won numerous awards, including the 2015 String Poet Prize and the 2012 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. He was raised in the Scottish Highlands and lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.


Glass towers, glossy-gray sky,

gray suits humming up the elevator shafts;

bankers all abuzz with business ties

and tasseled shoes—fancy handkerchiefs.
My corduroy jacket’s brown—

I get looks. I look a little lost I guess.

Where’s the guide who knows his way around

down here in the wild gray wilderness?

Black cherry—back in the Park—

six cedar waxwings lined on the lending branch,

passing a berry along…no joke…

sharing the fruit, enjoying their lunch.

My song’s all bark, lit lichen

after rain, dark green leaves—melody and words.

Gray suits, glass banks—I must have taken

a wrong turn. My pitch is for the birds.

John Perrault is the author of The Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall Publisher), Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press), and Jefferson's Dream (Hobblebush Books.) HIs poems have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Orbis, Blue Unicorn, and elsewhere. He was Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, NH, 2003-2005.
The Only Watchmaker

The only watchmaker is the blind forces of physics.”

― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
From quarks to cosmos, things join, then scatter.

Men probe, dissect, and then pontificate:

From dust to dust. So, what do we matter?
Is there extraterrestrial chatter?

SETI seeks signals to corroborate

Patterns, that cannot come from dark matter.
All life began from chemical batter.

But every human being has the same fate

Since, ultimately, all life is matter.
Forensics collects and tests blood splatter

From a dead man, sprayed on a basement gate.

From dust to dust. So, what does he matter?
Palliative care begins—last hope shatters.

The oncologist does not forecast dates.

Does it, or does it not, really matter?
The rain beats down in relentless patter,

However early in life or how late.

From dust to dust, so what does it matter

Since ultimately, all life is matter?

Peter C. Venable has written both free and metric verse for over fifty years. He has been published in Windhover, Third Wednesday, Time of Singing, The Merton Seasonal, forthcoming in The Anglican Theological Review, and others. His fascination with rhyme and meter began in college, absorbing Donne, Milton, Blake et al. In addition, he finds lyrics in anthems and especially hymns edifying. William Cowper and Emily Dickenson are favorites.

The hazy, smoke-filled skies of summer I remember well;

farewell was on my mind, and the thoughts that I can't tell

rang bells within (the din was in) my mind, and I can't say

if what we had was good or bad, or where it is today ...

The endless days of summer's haze I still recall today;

she spoke and smoky skies stood still as summer slipped away ...

Michael R. Burch’s poems have been translated into nine languages and set to music by the composers Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. Burch’s poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times around the globe in publications which include TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, The Hindu, Kritya, Gostinaya, Light, The Lyric, Measure, Angle, Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Poet Lore, The Chimaera, Poem Today, Verse Weekly, ByLine, Unlikely Stories and Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing. He also edits and publishes


One two three four

Is OK, but you need more:

Un deux trois quat’

If you want a welcome mat

En to tre fire

With the krone getting dearer,

Bir iki uç dirt

Selling off your jeans or shirt

Wahid zoozh teleta arba

In a cafe by the harbor

Üks kaks kolm neli

For some food to fill your belly;

Jeden dwa trzy cztery

Language may be shaky, very,

Uno dos tres cuatro

But they’ll love you if you’re up to

Eins zwei drei vier

Trying freely, laughing freer.

(previously published in Unsplendid)
Robin Helweg-Larsen is British-born but Bahamian-raised. His education came from good schools, hitchhiking on five continents and working all over the place. His poetry has mostly been published in the UK, but also in the US, Canada, Australia and India. He lives in his hometown of Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera.

Limericks & Lighthearted Verse

Curriculum Vitae

(On reading a newspaper description of a

man as 'poet, novelist, and wine-merchant'.)
A person of no little brain

Said, “I pen a most poignant quatrain,

And my novels excel

Those of Tartt and Mantel −

5% off this fine dry champagne?”


.. . . regrets he is unable to reply

personally owing to pressure of time.'

- Rejection slip
An editor, stiff and unmatey,

Who discovered that Time could be weighty

Felt its pressure increase

Till his recent decease

Squashed flat as a pancake at eighty,

Parallel Lives
The Life Of Riley
Eton, Oxford, then banking, where soon

Sub-prime profits began to balloon.

Though such business exploded

It still left me loaded −

I work twice a week until noon.
I can have a safe seat any day

(The party has bills it must pay.)

With my knowledge and nous

I shall rise in the House

And No. 10’s not far away.

The Life of Murphy
I survived in a slum and sink school,

Drank and loved like a fish and a fool.

My brain was for hire

Till I had to retire

Deep in debt, and beginning to drool.
This care home’s the absolute pits,

The inmates have all lost their wits.

My relations regret

I’ve not snuffed it yet

And the court keeps on issuing writs.

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and edits the quarterly Lighten Up Online. His verse has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Light, The Asses of Parnassus, The New Verse News, Parody, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial, and Snakeskin.

Poetry Translations with S. Ye Laird

2 poems by Victor Hugo translated by Paul T. M. Jackson

*The Damselfly* by Victor Hugo

When the golden damselfly,

Dashes away at winter’s touch,

So oft its vibrant attire

And wat’ry wings are ripped off by

The branches of some green bush.
So lively, fragile youth is.

Losing your way in life’s briars,

You dart wherever instinct bids.

And so oft your wings are ripped,

On the thorns of your desires.

*La demoiselle*

Quand la demoiselle dorée

S’envole au départ des hivers,

Souvent sa robe diaprée,

Souvent son aile est déchirée

Aux mille dards des buissons verts.
Ainsi, jeunesse vive et frêle.

Qui, t’égarant de tous côtés,

Voles où ton instinct t’appelle.

Souvent tu déchires ton aile

Aux épines des voluptés.
*The Morning* by Victor Hugo
Moriturus moriturae!
The morning mists gather on the mountainside.

Yet behold that old tower there basking in light,

And already, up there in the heavens, love unites,

The joyous and glorious astride,

The dawn chorus in the boughs and the dawning sun so bright.
So yes, smile when Heaven is devoured by light! -

For you shall see, when my coffin comes into sight,

A sun as beautiful lighting up the mountainside,

And the same birds singing, on a morn just as bright,

While in darkness, silent, I bide.
But o’er on the next horizon, I’ll be full of delight.

A future without end for a deathless soul.

The morn of forever unfolds,

And we wake once more from life,

As if from some dark night, or from sleep’s tight hold.
*Le Matin*
Moriturus moriturae!
Le voile du matin sur les monts se déploie.

Vois, un rayon naissant blanchit la vieille tour;

Et déjà dans les cieux s'unit avec amour,

Ainsi que la gloire à la joie,

Le premier chant des bois aux premiers feux du jour.
Oui, souris à l'éclat dont le ciel se décore! -

Tu verras, si demain le cercueil me dévore,

Un soleil aussi beau luire à ton désespoir,

Et les mêmes oiseaux chanter la même aurore,

Sur mon tombeau muet et noir!
Mais dans l'autre horizon l'âme alors est ravie.

L'avenir sans fin s'ouvre à l'être illimité.

Au matin de l'éternité

On se réveille de la vie,

Comme d'une nuit sombre ou d'un rêve agité.

poem by Arthur Rimbaud translated by Paul T. M. Jackson

*Sensation* by Arthur Rimbaud

On blue, summer evenings, along the lane I’ll go,

Pricked by the wheat, trampling over blades of grass:

Daydreaming, I feel the coolness underneath my soles,

And I bathe my bare head in the breeze as I pass.

I don’t say a word, I think of nothing other than,

That boundless passion welling up deep inside me,

So I go far, very far, a true bohemian,

Through the country, and, as when with a woman, happy.


Arthur Rimbaud

Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,

Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue:

Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.

Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien:

Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme,

Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,

Par la nature, heureux comme avec une femme.
The Girl From Lesbos

(from the Ancient Greek of Anacreon)

translated by Ranald Barnicot
Golden-haired love strikes me again

with its purple ball,

calls me out to play with a girl,

her sandals embroidered man-

y col-

-ours, who, in


of my white hair

for she’s from Lesbos,

isle fair

to dwell


gawps at another



-ct in gender

or just hair,

the Greek’s ambiguous.

We’ll leave it

Greek Text

Σφαίρηι δηὖτέ με πορφυρῆι

βάλλων χρυσοκόμης Ἔρως

νήνι ποικιλοσαμβάλωι

συμπαίζειν προκαλεῖται·

ἡ δ', ἐστὶν γὰρ ἀπ' εὐκτίτου

Λέσβου, τὴν μὲν ἐμὴν κόμην,

λευκὴ γάρ, καταμέμφεται,

πρὸς δ' ἄλλην τινὰ χάσκει.

Urn of Sorrow (from the French by Charles Baudelaire)

translated by Ranald Barnicot
I worship you as I worship vaulted night,

O urn of sorrow, great in silence. Your flight

only inflames my love, the more you seem

(gracing night's deprivation in my dream)

ironically to lengthen that small space

stretching up to the sky's vast blue embrace.

I advance to the attack, I climb to the assault,

like a choir of worms upon a corpse. Your fault

of coldness, O implacable cruel beast,

I cherish: it makes the beauty, where my eyes feast.

Je t’adore à l’égal de la voûte nocturne,

Ô vase de tristesse, ô grande taciturne,

Et t’aime d’autant plus, belle, que tu me fuis,

Et que tu me parais, ornement de mes nuits,

Plus ironiquement accumuler les lieues

Qui séparent mes bras des immensités bleues.

Je m’avance à l’attaque, et je grimpe aux assauts,

Comme après un cadavre un chœur de vermisseaux,

Et je chéris, ô bête implacable et cruelle,

Jusqu’à cette froideur par où tu m’es plus belle !

Ranald Barnicot has an MA in Classics from Balliol College, Oxford and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Birkbeck College, London. He has worked as a teacher of EFL/ESL in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK. He is now retired and has published or is due to publish many original poems and translations of Catullus, Horace, Verlaine, Mallarmé, Lorca, Vallejo and Violante do Céu and La Compiuta Donzella in Priapus, Acumen, Poetry Strasbourg Review, Transference, Brooklyn Rail In Translation, Ezra, The Rotary Dial, Sentinel, Poetry Salzburg Review, The French Literary Review, Orbis and Metamorphoses. And we look forward to his new collection of translations in a book form by Alba Press in early 2019.
Mr. Liang Zongdai /Liang Chung-Tai/ Liang Tsong-tai (梁宗岱,1903 - 1983),born in Baise, Guangxi, on July14 (lunar calendar ), 1903, was a famous Chinese poet and translator, the best Chinese poetry friend of Romain Rolland and Paul Valery. Liang Zongdai emerged as a well acknowledged poet during the “May 4th Movement” period, who had great achievements both in translation and in poetics. But for a long time after the 1949, he had almost been ignored by the literary world due to some historical reasons and it was not until the 1980s that his poems, his contribution to translation and his poetical theory and criticism were brought under the spotlight again.

Liang’s poem is a natural flow from his heart and blended well with his unique experiences, his sentiments, his philosophy, his ideology and his gift for poetic writing. As a Chinese famous poet, Liang Zongdai had two collections of poems as the representative works of his poetry: the Evening Prayer(written in the 1920s in modern free style with 20 poems) and the Reed Flute Breeze(written in the 1940s in traditional Chinese style with 50poems).

According to the nature and characteristics of poetry, based on the three principles of Three Beauties (beauty in sense; beauty in sound and beauty in form) in poetry translation advocated by Mr. Xu Yanchong (许渊冲), one of the most distinguished Chinese poetry translators, our translation has taken one more beauty in consideration, namely, the beauty in emotion, which is the top priority for our translation. Liang Zongdai believes that the translator must have emotional echoes with the original poem before applying language skills and artistic style in order to reproduce the original charm of the poem. Besides, two strategies are also applied in the translation: 1) replacing abstract meanings and interpreting profound philosophy or religious inspiration and morals with vivid images; 2) reasonable extending of imagination based on the original; 3) When it comes to the Chinese specific culture, we use foreignization as much as possible to preserve the characteristics, mystery and the power of discourse of the national culture.

Two poems from Liang's free verse collection:

'Evening Prayers' , translator Cheng Sheng
On a sunny morning,

When I blew my harmonica:

A canary heard it;

Mistaking it for the voice of his partner,

It flew to the shimmering bamboos by the window for a look,

But departed not in the mood.

A black butterfly heard it;

Mistaking it for the hum of bees over a flower,

It flew from the shady bamboo grove by the window,

But danced away in sorrow.

My disappointed friends!

Why am I not your partner then?

Nite Owl
“Woo woo, Woo woo,” the sound of a nite owl,

The sound of the curser of human life,

The mournful knells alike,

Awakens me from the nightmare

Of entangled vines with a start in fright.
“Woo woo, Woo woo,” the sound of a nite owl,

Sad and horrific.

Attempts to call back the sick souls of the dying?

To curse the dreams of all beings?

Or to make unreasonable groaning?
“Yi woo, Yi woo,” sounds sad and horrifying.

I am not dying,

How can you call back my soul wandering?

But my dreams inexhaustible,

The illusory dreams of the feeble,

Have all been cursed by you, a spirit of evil.

Take my wandering soul away.

How can I, too

Spare no effort to curse the human life

With “Woo woo, Woo woo”?

Translator, Cheng Sheng ( 程晟,1989— ) a Master of Translation and Interpretation (MTI) and once an English teacher in the Foreign Language College of Guangxi University of Nationalities, China.
Two from Liang's 'Reed Flute Breeze' collection,

in the Chinese classical verse, Jade Tower Love

translator: Chen Jiahui
First tryst in sweet scent of mum,

Your charming smiles ne’er would I forget.

So careless then to that encounter,

How painfully I’m now upset.

Our song of love forever is streaming!

By words for deeper love I’m beset.

Our eyes deploring the fleeting honey days

With grass-like sadness and regret.

Prof. Cheng Sheng(程晟,1989—) , an English Professor in the English Department in Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities(右江民族医学院) in Guangxi of China, and also an expert on the poet and translator of his fellow townsman, mainly finished Part One: the Reed Flute Breeze and Part Three: Chinese Sonnets
Jade Tower Love

Practicing soaring hard for a race,

I flied almost first to the holy place.

Madly distracted by your charming gaze

Like a tower teetering I almost fell in daze.

Charmed by lofty mountains with flowing water in haze,

Why I bother with worldly gossips spread apace?

Ruined halfway as I might be for you smile of grace,

I would rather sink with no empty fame and false face.

African Poetry with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

My eyes start to burn as I

Recount how many hours I’ve

Been sucked into this quicksand

Of comparison, advertising and

Collective loathing.
I thought I came to this place to

Be inspired by successes

To be motivated to be my best.

But all I found were masks,

Concealing people who were dying


Pride wouldn’t let them show it on the


Where people can see

That this solid mansion is only made of bricks

And on the inside hollow.

This beach is made of plastic refuse

And it’s not a place for souls to go.

Maybe it’s a sign I should get off my phone

And wash off the swamp’s grimy flow.

The one too young to know the conflict's cause,

They wage war and do as they're told.

In the West they play make-believe battle,

With toy guns and plastic soldiers,

Not knowing across the sea,

There lives those that have it as reality.

Africa loses her children to those who see her young as expendable figurines,

Straining underdeveloped muscles and silent conscience

To bear the weight of death in tiny hands

Too young to comprehend the value of the breath of man.


Like pre-programmed drones they march on.

They're in the battlefield,

Not for country,

Not for honor,

Not as heroes.

They die without monuments.

Even after losing their innocence

Khwela Nelisa Khethokuhle is a 21 year-old from a small town in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. She is an introvert and enjoys spending her time reading and reflecting. Her interests include languages, astronomy, literature, art and gothic calligraphy. Her poetry is inspired by poets such as Sara Teasdale and Emily Dickinson. She is studying for her first degree at University of Cape Town.

I love poetry

Metaphors paint portraits in our dull minds

Onomatopoeias plays DJ to interesting sounds

Similes photograph horrid or wonderful comparisons

Personification acts out human tragedies, comedies...

Rhyming couplets stick together as if they're slow dancing

Assonance's choir of vowels entertains listeners

that's why I love poetry

Eyethu Mfazwe is a spoken word artist from East London, South Africa. She is studying a BA degree at the University of the Free State. Eyethu is a member of and was the Secretary-General for Enactus UFS in 2017. She was also a member of Psychology Students Association.

The nature
Icy Icy heart?


Bad lucked dealing everywhere

Promise still

Who's the surgery for?

All need performance.

Lay mandates at your desk.

Sinister mission impossible.


Saying, "We are all the same.

Metronome and tempo measurements.


Hi! Anna!

Remember back the sober days.

Reminisce in november the october days.

Novice nobel intentions.

Rocky path sections.

Pad pals.


Deduce destructive notions to dates.

Cold feet, pulling her leg.

Break a leg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My love.
Love options.
Oh! We! My mister

Councilman minister!

Rose growing on concrete.

The on and on song.

Over and over.

Building up courage to exercise, No.

My name in that air. Aired out!

Forgive card. Will you play the forgive card?

But love. Ah! There we go.

We say it's skin deep momentarily.

On the call?

On the call?

She and I had few bible scriptures.

To share.

On the way...................
Maiketso Augustinus Ntsholi. I am Poet in South Africa. I am a 27 year old man in Business Management. I write poetry in both Sotho vernac and English.

Pitch him;

We want to hear.

Impeach him;

He has failed.

Ditch him;

He is dry,



Bury him;

He is a villain,





When I graduate;

I want to be capped by King Mswati,

Crowned by Queen of England,

Hand shook by Obama,

Smiled at by Khama,

Photographed by Obasanjo,

Congratulated by Putin Vladmir,

Videographed by Xin Ping;

If not, I don't want to be a graduate!

Send me to Oxford, I shall dropout,

Send me to Canada, I say "nada!" in Portuguese.

Send me to Los Angeles, I shall be a lost Angel.

May be try me Arabic language and Islamic teachings,

I shall call self learned.

I was a doctor of philosophy,

I was professor on my land;

But they said we graduated from outdated syllabus;

Teach me new curriculum;

I want to be a true graduate!

Mhondera Chenjerai is a Writer (novelist, author, poet, playwright, song-writer) an Actor and Performing Poet, published in Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology, Zimbolicious Poetry Anthology, and several online journals. He is a Patron and Founder of International Writers Association (IWA), formerly Young Writers Club. Helps to nurture talents and publishes upcoming writers through his literary Organisation. He is a Citizen of the World. His upcoming book of quotes entitled A Case of Love and Hate, will be published by Mwanaka Media and Publishing

Asian Poetry with Rameeza Nasim

*Heo Nanseolhean (1563-1589)

If women have han in their hearts—
To be born a woman

To be born in the Chosǒn Period

To be the wife of a husband
— frost will come in May.
Father let me study poetry with my brothers

until I married Kim Song Lip and I put it aside.

Waiting for my faithless husband, father said
Write a poem
ask yourself,
Who am I?
*Heo Nanseolhean (1563-1589), born Heo Chohui, was a prominent Korean Female poet of the mid Chosǒn dynasty.

first published Paris Press Spiraling Poetry, 2015
When you say ramen

then I am ramen.

When you say tea

I am tea.

When you take off your clothes

then I take off my clothes.

If I could leave my senses

I would be no trouble.

You don’t give food

to the fish you’ve caught.

You no longer need to hold me—

please drink your tea.

Yeobo: “darling” or “honey,” a Korean term of endearment

first published in Rattle, 2014
After fifty, I should want nothing

Your kiss, touch, embrace

not even the smile that says

I know you, Wife,

I should not want

to speak my mouth should be a stone

on this pillow beside you
my mouth is open

with longing hungry

to taste you

betraying my need.

Even stones yearn

flowers grow

between them

glowing the deep tree roots

break apart with life

sweetness pushing through like song.

Unmasked Anthology, 2017
Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, poet, translator and cultural curator, has been published in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Entropy, Cultural Weekly, Korea Times, Korea Central Daily News, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Mother to Myself, A collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015). Her poem, “Comfort Woman” got honorable mention in the 2015 Women’s National Book Association. Tanya is an ongoing advocate of bilingual poetry, promoting the work of immigrant poets. She lives Palos Verdes,

Walk around me and see

If you can find my scent

Hidden behind the layers

Scents of the world

And the men in it

Because last night in bed

I couldn’t smell myself

I couldn’t feel what my

Scent has become

It smelt of betrayal

And lust, of power, and

Of misery,

The long lost scent

Of innocence and me

Is lost, dead and gone

Love me savagely

Maybe then

I’ll smell of you

But still, not my own

Because last night in bed

I couldn’t sleep with myself

I smelt different everywhere

My hands

My neck

My heart

They all smelt different

And I couldn’t sleep

Love me savagely

See if you could

Wash them all away

So only I remain.

Irum Zahra

there is summer outside

casting its full glory

as the monsoon is about to be welcomed

but what about the snowfall

deep inside

the weather of my heart

is frozen...

frozen enough to not let the outer world get into it

I'm dying

dying inside...

let me borrow your sunshine

to survive

to revive

what I was...

Hira Naz

I am the Beauty
I am the beauty

I am the brain

There lurks a beast

And dragons I've slain

A princess, I may be

I warrior, I am

Fighting the world

And becoming my champ

There'll come a day

When the world will see

For women's forgiveness

They will all plea

Guiding Lights
Dreams are but guiding lights

On scapes of crossroads and more

To bring forth the deepness of plight

Rise to the occasion and go on to score

Keep dreaming wherever you are

Strive on the chosen path

Tis not impossible to reach the stars

This world, thus, becomes your strath

Hina Tabassum Khatri is a corporate banker by profession who loves playing around with words in form of poetry and prose.

Sentimental Poetry

A pair of fitted shoes,

a bucket of clean water,

a hot meal to fill your belly.
My baby cousin sits on

a throne of toys,

with her pack loyally

waiting to defend her.

Let me remind you of the women

whose wrists were fractured

and tongues severed by

the shadow of a man.

And their children who walk

five miles a day

for a drink of something

mistaken for water.

I would die for her,

the fragile beast

frolicking on the ground

at my feet.

Family: a group of people

with a web of love

that always seems to grow

like a field of dandelions.

They labour for love,

they sacrifice for family,

we all die for each other.

The Last Day

We walked down the street alone,

in a bubble with only each other.
Unaware of the nosy eyes

exploring our bodies from

the safety of a passing car.

Unaware of the sniper

shuffling behind us,

preparing to shoot us

as though we were celebrities.

He wanted to take the perfect,

fatal shot.

The bullets appeared on every

social media platform,

and they lodged

in both

of our hearts.

Our love was tainted with shame,

and that was the last day

I held her hand in public.
Her broken wing beat

against the rattling walls

of the confining cage.
She threw her body

against the door,

ripping herself to pieces.
She pecked at the lock

for months, until the

echos exploded.
She beat herself

with the hope for

until all she knew

was life as a helpless

When they came for her,

she was too far gone.

She couldn’t be saved:
her mind had wavered,

her spirit had withered,

her soul had crumpled.
She would remain in

her beloved cage,

forever a jailbird.

Mikaela Norkus, a high school student in Aurora, Ontario, her poetic ramblings can be found at She uses poetry as a way of documenting her own life, as well as the lives of people who are unable to do so for themselves. When not writing poems, she is snowboarding down steep slopes throughout the winter season, watching Netflix, or leaping into a good book.

Sonnet for Dean
Because our lives were blessed with tender grace

inspired by a father’s love that grew

to shine within his children’s happy face

each hour spent more beautiful and true

unbound by earthly promises to fly

beyond the breadth of stars and mortal things

Invincible as angels dance on high

and gallant as the glory heaven sings.

Because our hearts are burdened with a fate

too great for even one to understand.

We must remember destiny won’t wait

and know he walks beside us hand in hand

he’ll whisper through the verdant trees and streams

forever in our hearts and in our dreams

With a Broken Heart
I read his note that said “my brother’s death

is imminent,” advising every friend

and distant kin before the final breath.

I’m sorry for your loss, I wrote, hit send;

without a way make to amends. The hand

is quicker than the eye and second thoughts

proved axioms don’t lie. An ampersand

could follow with some blue forget-me-nots−

or prayers of sorrow offered, if unread;

I’m sorry for your loss?! What’s left to say

when something so definitive is said?

There’s nothing more pathetic or cliché,

excuse me for my premature goodbye

I’m sorry for your loss, needs no reply.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and a four-time Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of 5 collections of poetry, along with several chapbooks, and the winning chapbook in The Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, “Before I Go to Sleep”, Her latest collections slated for publication this year with Main Street Rag are “An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium” and “ In the Making of Goodbyes”, Clare Songbird Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print magazines and anthologies. She is the Assistant Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

They say I sow unruly seeds,

talk gibberish to trees,

I give their children gifts of weeds.
They see me circling ‘round the cabbages,

bowing to the Brussels sprouts,

poking with a stick, just like a kid,
and once, they swear,

I worked all night upon my knees,

pushing rocks around, digging deep.
They whisper, thinking I don’t hear.

They wink, and think that I don’t see.

They sleep, they do not know the dark.
I wander in my garden skeined with memories of green,

listening like an animal to winds begin and cease.

I feel my way along the roots and nubs of things.

My fingers cultivate a wilderness of need.

I’m using all the tools I own.

I’d build a wall to end their watch.

I would but time ticks down . . . .

Hands I cannot still, unearthing stone . . . .

Night birds tend me, I am not alone.

Berries ripen while I wait.

Leaves come early, fruit comes late.
I squandered winter, wanting spring.

What meaning should I give to crows on snow?

I only felt the weather turning cruel.

Naked branches pleading with an empty sky

I saw as metaphor

For cold so deep no words could say.

And when spring came

I raged against the rain:

“Don’t ruin my day!”

Might as well tell the sun

To shine on your parade.

And what about the sun ?

When river’s green turned gold

I feared its shadows, let the gold

Slip through my hands.
I envied birds their wings.

Their music filled the sky.

They could have taught me how to sing.
I dared the waves.

“Don’t take my castle in the sand!”

I didn’t hear their old refrain:

Next time build on higher ground.

Is where I’m standing safe?

I thought I felt it shake.

No consolation came.

We live in earthquake country.

There is no escape.
I tried to count the stars.

The stars just winked, as if to tease.

The lights I saw have ceased.
I argued with the sky.

”How far? How wide?

The sky went on and on . . . .

I tried again. “And then?”

The sky grew tired of me.

And I grew tired of listening in the dark.

As if the moon would always light my way . . .

The moon smiled down.

But when it’s hidden, or it’s new,

We’re on our own.

I begged for time.

It ran away from me.

This is all we get.

Don’t waste your days of grace.

Uneasy in my lethargy,

I’ll call in sick, a kid again,

This green and growy day.
Cat’s in the closet, popping her litter,

Fat poems ‘round the corner,

Ready to burst. Hurray!
I’ll dance in happy socks,

I’ll pogo –stick my way to the zoo!

Learn Italian, fly to Paris, or Brazil.
That boy with droopy pants

gets born again

and in the Dollar Store, there’s joy.
Spring! A bird pooped on my head!

Release the meter-maid!

Declare a holiday! Give the pigeons amnesty

Even though they foul the square

And yes they’re dirty but I love their birdiness.
Today I love everyone,

Even lady poets with three names

Even my neighbor’s dog sniffing at my crotch

Yes even that old guy counting out pennies in the express line.

Oh blowy day when anything might happen:

Maybe I’ll meet Mr. Right in Trader Joe’s . . . .

Find the winning ticket in a pocket at the Goodwill . . . .

Have an epiphany while eating a fish taco.

Oh I could live forever in this day!
Sun pokes its fingers in my face . . . .

Possibilities blossom, words bloom on trees,

trailing leaves in a filigree of light.
Beyond this neighborhood the distances are far.

I want to walk and walk and not turn back.

Miriam D. Aroner is a children’s writer, having published three children’s books. A number of her poems have been published, including her latest, online in the Boston Poetry Magazine.

“it will change you forever”

i hear for the millionth time

i smile politely, hand resting on my belly

eager to slip away, hide from the attention

people have babies every day

i think to myself

and i really don’t believe

every one of them has changed

all that much
six months later

i sit in front of the tv

the christmas tree to my left

illuminates my apartment in shades of

red, gold, green

the colors of holiday cheer, a beacon

of happiness for the dreary winter

she sits in my lap

completely fascinated by the lights

dancing and twirling on the walls

a tear runs down my cheek

as i smile at her

“you are my sunshine...”

i softly hum

to my tiny, living, breathing beacon

of happiness for this grey world

i never was one to cry very often

i think as i sit in my car at

noon, time for lunch

tears stream down my face

like silent echoes of emptiness

i wish she was here to enjoy

this first beautiful spring day with me

i call the babysitter to check in

“please tell her mommy loves her” i request

wiping the remnants of sadness from my face

as i walk back to my desk
she creeps into the room

wearing her mischievous smile,

peeking around corners

i am dumbfounded for a moment

how is it even possible that my baby

my tiny little baby

is walking

i feel the tears coming

burning in the corners of my

eyes at the thought that she is

no longer a baby

but my nostalgia is interrupted suddenly

when he jumps out

“ahhhhhh i gotcha!”

he says as he grabs her by the waist

and she erupts into a fit of giggles

“da!” and she points to be set down

so she can turn around while he hides again

i once thought it would be impossible for me to

love him any more than i already did

until she came

and i watched him fall

in love with her
sweet Madelyn

my beautiful daughter

you have changed me

but not in a

hey did you do something different

with your hair

kind of way, like i had thought

all those months ago

more of a

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