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Zuz #5 by Tin Whistle

My Face by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

My face was wet from the rain I told

My face was wet from my exploded soul

I told no one

I let it go

 

Just a slip of a girl

In a slap of a world

Fell on me

Like an angel from the sky

Look at me

Look at her

You can never see why

 

Then soon she wised up

As I dumbed down

She flew back up as I stayed to the ground

That was a very loud silent sound

 

Then came another and another

All came to the same conclusion

Look at me and see an illusion

One for you and one for me

But it did not come out even

It did not come out as we

And still

It may never will

Yet

 

One days nope

Is tomorrow days hope

 

 

 

The Great Indoors by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

I made a lot of money

Producing this and that

My only friends are at the current time

Three dogs and a rescue cat

 

I got a thirty-two-room home

That I constantly pace and roam

There is nothing like the great indoors

When you relish rather immensely being alone

 

My mom was married three times

I’ve been married twice

So many crap games outside out there

So many chances to roll the dice

 

I do not want to lose

Anymore of my hide

I just want to stay inside

 

The first wife was named Alice

For a million in cash

She let me keep my palace

The second was named Pat

Let’s not talk about that

 

So, everyone out there in T.V. land

If it suites you, hold somebodies hand

But after all that I have personally heard and saw

It is the great indoors for me, holding some lovely paws

 

 

Remember by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Do you remember

What day we met?

What time it was?

That my shirt was red

You laughed

At everything

That I said

 

What we drank

And how many

The waiter’s name too?

 

I know you don’t

But I do

 

I don’t remember

The promises to you that I made

I had to be told that your eyes were grey

I forgot your birthday a million times

I never shared with you all that was mine

 

I always forgot to give back all that you gave me

But I reckon we are even, when it comes to memory

 

 

 

Tick by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

It is only

A matter of time

Till I reverse

My decline

 

In just

A short while

I shall

Have a seat

On the aisle

 

Once bleeding

And bitten

Will soon

Be rewritten

 

The worst

Of my circumstances

Are due

Second-hand chances

 

You can

Keep a good man

Down

So

I’ll go

Sideways

To make

It uptown

 

To get

What I have not

Simply

Needs a twist

In my plot

 

Hey

Black and white

Word

Get ready

For my

Rainbow swirl

 

A race

Against time

Starting

At

The finish line

 

 

 

myPhone  by j.e. Rosser

[Las Vegas, USA]

 

call me if you have nothing to say

call me with minutes we’ll play

call me I keep cell phone in hand

call me—or text—unlimited plan 

call me before and after whatever

call me day or night I’m busy never

call me bitch to bitch dude on dude

call me in public—who said it’s rude  

call me—it’s my right to git ignorant

call me—if you don’t I git indignant

call me every minute—every 5–10

call me on landline when cell ends

call me at checkout in grocery store

call me—no!—tweet Lakers final score

call me—while on bed prepping for tan

call me—damn!—light at intersection I ran

call me when getting your nails done

call me partying at the club having fun

call me at work from 9 to 5 I’m there

call me from parking lot no matter where

call me—talk about kids—the snow and mittens

call me when dog has puppies cat has kittens

call me curbside from airport as arrival dictate

call me after court date to determine your fate

call me—us talking and driving is not a crime

caller! caller!—are you there?…are you there?

caller had wreck D.O.A.…nothing more to say

 

 

The Little Things by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California] 

 

You don’t have to look up

I have the proof

It may be a thought, a bit too abrupt

But we all are sleeping under the same roof

 

And yet

 

I am getting so used to making the same mistakes

I can’t do the math on the give and takes

Tomorrow will be another yesterday

Be it far from me to get in its way

 

The little things

Don’t bother me anymore

The bigger things

Now have the floor

The world I have entered

The bed I have made

Are surely and sorely the results of my own finely tuned escapades

 

The grass that I cut

Is on my own lawn

The things that I cherish

Will never be pawned

 

I am getting so used to making the same mistakes

I can’t do the math on the give and takes

Tomorrow will be another yesterday

Be it far for me to get in its way

 

It seems like a million suns

The last time I went anywhere with anyone

A million moons

The last time I anxiously with purpose got anywhere too soon

And

Why is it so hard?

To see the elephant in my own room

 

And just when you think

You’re at the bottom of the ladder

Just hang on a bit more

There is a lower wrung brother

 

We are getting so used to making the same mistakes

We can’t do the math on the give and takes

Tomorrow will be another yesterday

Be it far from us to get in its way

 

But like it or not

I’m going to have a great day

 

 

 

People by Alan Berger
[West Hollywood, California]

 

People can be so cruel

People can be so cool

It all depends on if you got laid the night before

Or taken for a fool

 

People can have spark

Or reside alone in the mind and park

It all depends on if you have someone or yourself to talk to in the dark

 

Thru the worst of times

To the worser of times

Is it too much to search for a lifeline?

 

So much goes on after and before

Depends on the traffic you let thru your door

Timing sometimes is not everything before or late

Depends on what you let thru your gate

 

Fast or slow

You get where you are designed to go

No secret that life is hard

But there are times when it smells like fresh laundry hanging in the backyard

 

We met on a Sunday

By Monday we were through

The memory will live forever

Even as the name became askew

 

You also don’t have to be so needed

Walk away, after you seed it

It’s the stuff so near you, you can’t really see

It’s the stuff so far away that becomes the romantic mystery

 

I think there is a very thin line

Between dreck and respect

 

 

 

What IF by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Would it be that unsound? 

If

It only took a second to build love and trust

And took a billion years to tear it down

Rather that the other way around?

 

My word

Would it not be great?

If a slip of the lip was never heard

And did not forever seal your disastrous fate

 

In this world

To rightly play your part

Don’t talk too much

But become your own art

 

Would it not be lovely?   

To not always have to follow the money

And in your world of a dark night hue

It was the money that followed you

 

I tried my hand at marriage

Used my feet to walk away

What didn’t I get?

We had a chance to stay together

If we never met 

 

But, as far as the ear can hear, and  the eye can see

There will always be

You me we

And the rest of us

All traveling

On the round blue sky and sea bus

 

 

 

A Sunshine by Aila Cruz

[Manila, Philippines]

 

I was alone most of the time

lost in my own world

wandering

then you came around

full of life

blooming in your prime

I was in awe

you showed such wisdom

I felt so alive

you helped me glide

 

remember the times when I cried?

you were there at my side

like a sunshine

remember when I couldn’t decide?

you were there shedding light

 

we were like a perfect find

like a barrel fermenting its wine

we had each other’s back

a blissful gift from The Divine

 

no words can rhyme

this friendship

that we knitted

 

forged

and seasoned

by time

 

 

 

Cinquains by Aila Cruz

[Manila, Philippines]

 

Love

 

Precious

Who gives me sparks

The light inside my world

Your love feels surreal, yet it hurts

My love

 

 

Today

 

Today

A lovely day

I learned something unique

Something I will cherish starting

Today

 

 

Path

 

My way

Leads me towards

Home, under a blazing

Sun, great to have my umbrella

With me

 

 

Friend

 

My friend,

I’m glad you’re here

Giving time, sharing thoughts

Your presence is comforting, thus

Thank you

 

 

Home

 

This place

A so-called home

It is comfortable

And a place where I can be free

Always

 

 

Lullaby

 

Tonight

Before I sleep

I listen to your voice

It’s a lullaby to my ears

Good night

 

 

Kobe

 

My pet

A small round dog

He’s white and full of fur

He loves to play and eat a lot

My dog

 

 

My Task

 

Washing

The dishes, my task

A daily, casual chore

Something I feel relaxed doing

Sometimes

 

 

Sinigang

 

My meal

Is sinigang

Prepared by my brother

A delicious, comforting dish

I feast

 

 

Study area

 

My space

Is quite small

Yet it’s manageable

I feel comfy, like a harbor

In here

 

 

Backyard

 

Backyard

The green area

In my family’s home

Surrounded by trees, blooms, cats, a

Garden

 

 

Father

 

Dear dad,

You’re my hero

I hope you can be here

To save the day and make me smile

Always

 

Commodity by Elena Ruiz

[New York City, USA]

 

Do you ever feel diminished

Cut in two?

Everyone is in love with you

It's not about you

It's the prestige you hold

People are boastful and bold

You have become an object

Someone's muse

A target on your back

You are currency

Something sought after

Forward motion is the key

To setting yourself free

You can't save anyone

Prevent them from coming undone

People ask you for money

They plead for help

It's about how you recover

How you ascend

No one helped me

My flat affect has been a loyal friend

Nonetheless here I stand

I will not be a commodity

Bought and sold

You have been forewarned

You have been told.

 

 

 

Creative Energy by Elena Ruiz

[New York City, USA]

 

Energy that engulfs my soul

Is my light source through it all

My words and thoughts

My musings per se

Help me make sense of my ordinary day

Being neurodivergent doesn't slow me down

Vision fortitude and courage

Help to cultivate a new worldview

The happenings of my life aren't so nice

I believe that's the way for many of you

Close your eyes

Envision a whole new you

Then go out into the world

Orchestrate your life anew

Never giving up on your dreams

Always see life through your creative lens

Hoping this world never ends

 

 

 

Silent Bells by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Hello

How do you do?

Maybe if I could like myself a little better, you may like me too

Do you have a pet I could play with as we sit beside you?

 

I would like to come out of the rain

We could sit by a fountain, and I could hold a paw and a hand

 

I would like to be adventuring with you on flat dry land

Instead of this wet rocky mountain where I un-stand

 

The mountains I crawl

The ones where I hang on to, and the ones where I fall

 

We could be alone in a crowd

And unspoken words would be crystal clear and loud

 

Sing a song in my ear

Make it a version we will always keep near

 

If I can make you happy

And me thrown in as well

That would make my nights and days

And we could ring our two, too long, silent bells

 

 

 

Anything And Everything by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Anything is possible

Especially the impossible

Everything can be figured out

Especially the improbable

 

In an unkind world

Don’t be cruel

You will never know

Who is listening and watching you

Realize it or not it will come back and haunt you

 

Even when totally broken

The best words I have heard

Where the ones not spoken

 

I try to be civil

With the least amount of syllables

 

Make beneficial mistakes

Give the dog under the table

What you have on your plate

If you see anything you want

I would strongly recommend

Not to wait

 

But having said this and that

I have only changed for the worst

I went to see the gypsy

But she could not lift the curse

 

 

 

Bow Wow Meow by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Life brings out the dog in me

The pussy cat is stuck in the high tree

 

It is always the time to shake and bake

That is the time I revel the snake

I’m living in my own zoo

With nothing to lose and everything at stake

 

I have no animal trainer

Just a sideways elevator

 

There is no bull pen

Only imaginary pets

And invisible friends

 

That is my life my son

Only places I’ve been invited to

Were my weddings

A federal courthouse

And a minimum insecurity prison

 

But I gotta tell ya

Been living under the gun

I would not trade it for a place in the sun

It has mostly been fun

 

 

 

Cup Of Tea by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

I am not every one’s cup of tea

Nor any one’s bottle of poison

I never had children

But I have called my pets my sons

 

The movements I have decided for myself

Could never be called stealth

Also, it is not a good idea to examine my non-wealth

But the word Teflon could be used to describe my lucky health

 

I river of crime

A frozen flow

Are the members of my portfolio

 

In this world that at times seems crappy

In it are two eyes, a nose and mouth

And everyone just wants to be happy

 

To flee or not to flee

At times I want to run away from me

Then there are the times I can do no wrongs

And want to run into my own welcoming arms

 

I have tasted the harsh

And bathed in the sublime

 

But

 

Will my own love ever be mine?

 

 

 

Money Can’t Buy Anything by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

She had the world at her feet

Money to burn

She introduced

Her head to a gun

 

A voice like the spring

Money can’t buy anything

 

His looks and his dough

Were his bread and butter

He was born into money, and money into him

His health was outstanding

Never needed to go to a gym

But he found life too demanding

Just could not take it anymore

So, he caught the red eye from the 29th floor

 

All his associates thought he was bluffing

Money can’t buy nothing

 

Then there were these two

Who had nothing but each other

Neither one wanted before or after

Any other lover

Making the rent each month

Was an eternal crisis

But their love was priceless

 

Rise to the occasion

Rather than sink at the destination

Money will not sweeten the tunes you are hearing

Rather it will only increase the blaring

 

Yearn to be happy and sing

Money can’t buy a damn thing

 

 

 

Phone Call by j.e.Rosser

[Las Vegas, USA]

 

702 207 0220

so tell me--where is calling on Real Men Don’t list?

602 206 0266

I was being considerate--didn’t want to bother you

702 207 0220

of course you were--wouldn’t be a man if you weren’t

602 206 0266

what can I say--calling is up there on list--1 or 2

702 207 0220

I’m a real bitch when I don’t get enough attention

not to mention--enough affection--no doubt about it

602 206 0266

sounds serious--condition you shouldn’t ignore

702 207 0220

the bitchiness gets worst--longer I go without

602 206 0266

don’t sweat-it--you’ll be alright--I’ll handle emergency

702 207 0220

that is reassuring--but doesn’t satisfy desire to talk to you

602 206 0266

whenever you feel like talking--call me--I listen better than

talk--I’ll always have time for you 

702 207 0220

Is that open to interpretation?

602 206 0266

no--it isn’t--I’ll probably regret it

702 207 0220

you’re not taking it back--that’s your promise to me 

 

 

 

Men Talking by Elizabeth Larrosa

[Texas, USA]

 

What if I choose to be the one I believe in? Instead I do, tell the difference of character with my love on life, in between the pages. Those pages are written in the past. I could understand what I am doing to myself thoroughly due to my lasting effort. I don't have anything to say now. I understand that men have loved. 

 

I, only, do understand what I want. If it's only what I want. I think from what I saw, that, now is the appropriate time to not suffer and I did understand. Men have talked to a point of placing a lost cake in front of myself. Should I feel badly to want? I may not have anything at all to say, but I think enough has been said. To feel: the lasting effort of men talking.

 

 

 

Human Nature by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

If nothing is wrong

There is something wrong

If everything is alright

Something is not right

Some people live the dream

Some people live the scream

 

I drifted in

On the wings of men

Let us see what I can accomplish

Before I drift away again

 

Maybe I’ll climb a mountain

Or build bridges that I could later burn

Perhaps I’ll dream in the darkness

Or make it all come true in the sun

Maybe stop and smell the roses

Or a life on the run

 

Will I spend my days and nights?

Looking for my other half

Or should I concentrate on getting out with a few laughs

 

I’ll try to hold my head up high

Through the black and the bluing

Knowing where I am at

But not knowing what I am doing

 

I thought that I wanted to be alone with my thoughts

Not run around and leap and shout

All I heard was me saying loudly to myself

“And how is that working out”?

 

It begins as a lark

Soon our whispers turned to barks

It became too dark

To recapture that first and last spark

 

We had met on dry golden land

Then sailed into a storm

It was not long

Before she cursed the day I was born

 

But I did hold my head up low

When I realized

It was time to go

 

Now as I wander through my brian and my lanes

I believe it will all be a mixture of pleasure and pain

Expect the worst

Be grateful for the best

But no matter the time studied

You will never know

If you passed or failed this test

 

 

 

The Gospel According To Lewis Williams by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Brought up South

Taking up North

Smart mouth

Way before a man of the cloth

 

Joined the service

To fit and belong

Bully with his boys in a uniform

 

Yet

This was before

He found the Pulpit

Or did the Pulpit find him

Like us all

Lewis Williams

Dose not know where it ends or begins

 

After his duty

Found a woman beauty

A good wife

Had two kids

One was shit

One was his light

A 500 batting average

In baseball it would have been more than alright

 

With his Riviera

Had some rivals

Soon had one hand on a short rifle

This was before the other one was on a Bible

 

A good man of the community

Found his stability

Lucky to know him

And to hear where you are going

 

And if your living wrong

Or only standing still

He will address your ills

 

Because, as Lewis Williams always preaches

 

Pay your moral bills

And

“If the good Lord won’t fix you,

The bad me will”

 

 

 

An Anatomy Of An Anatomy by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

The grey in my hair

Will soon be demolished

As soon as I locate some inexpensive shoe polish

 

The bones under my skin

Will come alive once again

With the assistance of The Good Doctor Gin

It also does not hurt any

With my brain adorned with unoriginal sin

 

I got a full tank of blood

And some gas in my ass

It helps tremendously to not remember the past

 

I started out with twenty

Fingers and toes

They allow me to walk, run, and crawl

But it’s my middle finger

That says it all

 

 

 

Train Wreck Casualties by j.e. Rosser

[Las Vegas, USA

info@jerosser.com]

train wreck casualties 

 

people

          who

refuse 

          to

               accept

reality

           that

nothing in

life

     lasts

              forever

without

               change

are hard

               to ignore

                               because

                 they

become

              train

wreck

           causalities

of reality

 

The Rupture Of A Major Vein by Poet, 27

[Camagu Gongxeka, Cala, Eastern Cape, South Africa]

 

I'm lost

& confused,

Dear God

We meet once again

Where I'm pained

With no way out,

Crying to the voices

Screaming within

 

I dream

With my eyes open,

Starring into an

Estranged space,

I fear tomorrows

Forestalling sorrows,

Sorrows about my well-being

Risked with chemical-

Imbalances

And nightmares

Of loss of life

With shocking infliction.

 

So we're here

Dear God

Once again I dream

Of virgin horses

Numbing electrifying

Brain complexes

That refuse to pack away

A thought about

Tomorrow;

Maybe we’re doomed

To breath

The fumes of

Burning flesh!

Flesh that was once life

To a soul

Beneath the stars

 

Dear God!

Earth should feed me

Shelter me

& Heal me

Before you decide

It should bury me

 

 

 

A Wave Of by Linda S. Gunther

[Santa Cruz, California]


A wave of confusion steals every inch of me
She is with him
They embrace in the shadows
My closest friend

With my man
Her yellow sun dress fanned out

Against the sprawling oak tree
They cling in passion
One he and I never knew
His hands everywhere on her form
Furious they kiss

Her leg wraps around his

A wave of denial envelops me
Then, an unexpected splash of relief
We had a life but without any life

I fly back to anger
Our vow to honor and respect fizzled
I slip away quietly
Down the steep hill
Stunned

Alone
Untangled
I see her husband on the checkered picnic blanket
He waves to me as I descend the slope

Branches break beneath my feet

He sets out crackers and cheese on a wood board
A wave of revenge sweeps over me

My cheeks grow hot

I plot and plan in the fraction of a second

A muscle within me flexes

I am readied for the game
Posed to snap, crackle and pop their secret little bubble

In my own devious way
I smile my dimpled smile

Sit beside him on the blanket

Next to her tall, husky, brown-eyed husband

I hike my jean skirt far above my knees
Show off my tanned shapely legs

Engage like the warrior I am becoming
Swoop the long crimson curls away from my green eyes

“They still up there?” he asks.
“Yes, looking for more wild flowers,” I reply

And touch his pant leg

He says something but I’m not really listening

Laugh even though there is no joke

I am like syrup oozing
He pours red wine into a plastic cup

And hands it to me

His eyes warm and dark

He brushes a wisp of hair from my cheek
I run my fingers down his shirt sleeve
A not so accidental falter into him

I lean in

Press my breast to his shoulder

The plastic cup tips in my hand

Red wine spills

Drops trail down my forearm
I offer a shy smile

My long eyelashes do the rest

I am a warrior

With two fingertips

He traces the red liquid on my bare skin

I notice his gold wedding band

The sun catching its glint

My smile broadens
His lips go to the inside of my wrist

Where he tastes the trickle of Cabernet
“Sweet,” he says

“You are very sweet”

I release a sigh

“Ohhh,” I say and bite my lip
He grins

His eyes close

His head falls back just a little
A crunch of leaves from behind

The thump of footsteps approaching

We are interrupted

He winks at me
Does he know about the two of them?

Does it matter?

I put one finger to my lips

“Our secret,” I mouth to him

He nods, his eyes close again for a second

A wave of satisfaction engulfs me

 

 

 

To The Other Half Of Me

 

We murdered

Murderers

We stole

From thieves

Then drank under the stars, with stars and royals

At the bloody beach

We killed

Killers

 

Our names were, and are

 

Kray

 

Show us

Someone who isn’t

Mentally ill

Normal

Was never on this earth

Nor, will it ever will

 

We had more class

More than Cambridge had classes

We had more love

Than Romeo and Juliet

One of us looked great in glasses

Though it did not end ok

At the beginning

We fucking ran the whole play

 

Our names were, and are

 

Kray

 

Bigger celebrities were we

Then the ones who pretended

On stage and screen

Looked better too

Without make-up and creams

 

Did our thing

In only one take

Grabbed more than a few brass rings

Before we were baked

Twins

In twin prisons

We were sent away

 

Our names were, and are

 

Kray

 

Ron went first

They gave me permission

For his funeral to be

To

Say goodbye proper

To the other half of me

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Solitary Refinement

 

Don’t care for crowds, concerts, or fools

You will not find me

At a barbeque

Give me a reason

To say I ‘ve had it with you

 

I like to look

Not be looked at

You cut me off on the highway

Where’s that baseball bat?

 

I like to listen

Except when it doesn’t glisten

 

I’m dropping the ball

And that is the catch

I’m in an extra inning extremely rough patch

Along with the rest of the earth’s batch

 

Sound familiar?

I thought that it would

Don’t want to admit it?

Gee, I thought that you could

But I’ve been wrong before

And I’ll be wrong again

How come and why?

I would not know how to begin or end

Do you?

I did not think so

My fine feathered fickle friends

 

As reclusive as a tomb

Love and hate

Share the same room

When as accessible as a mailbox

Is when it’s time to put on the brakes and change the locks

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Villain

 

Got tired of her

And the marriage

The loopy-loop holes

The boredom the clauses

They all were convinced

She died of natural causes

The wedding contract

Done expired

Once again

I was out for hire

 

Left with nothing of mine

Except for all her money

Spent every last dime

On the pretty ponies

 

Rented a room

From a woman that let me belong

After that song ended

She too

Didn’t last long 

 

Hit the highway

With my thumb out

What came my way

Went out with a shout

Nobody heard

She didn’t breathe another word

 

Joined The Navy

To see what was left of my world

Got into a fight one night

Man overboard

Splish splash

He took an Atlantic Ocean bath

 

Deserted in Paris

As soon as we hit shore

By the time they figured it all out

As cruel and unusual

I was around no more

 

Took a vacation

Down Venice way

Rented a gondola

As soon as I met

Another lady to slay

 

What can I say?

Who is to blame?

It makes no difference to me

At the end of their days  

 

Then soon again

I met a woman

Too soft to touch

And too beautiful to kill

She slit my throat one night

As I lay sleeping on under a full moon

She allowed me

If you will

To pay my long over-due bill 

 

Now I’m down here

And I can’t buy a thrill

It’s hot as Hell

And I ran out of pills

 

The moral of the story

Is I was born without any

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

Poetry on MarsHe was not a boy or a man.

 

Poetry On Mars

 

He was not a boy or a man.

He was a robot.

I wonder where he fell from Venus or Mars

Tailored especially for me.

He was programmed 

To have me fall in love. 

He was tall and debonair,

Dark hair,

Blue eyes,

Easy on the eyes.

He had a calming and soft voice.

Not the voice you'd expect,

Tumbling out of a machine.

His voice was melodic,

Even hypnotic,

It almost put me in a trance,

A twirl with romance,

Forms I did fill out,

Fifty pages of “yes” and “no”. 

Technology frightening at times,

Ultimately reigning supreme.

An engineer programmed

The man of my dreams,

The man I couldn't find

Here on earth.

Soft silicone skin

That felt real

Sent shivers down my spine,

And other places, too.

This human like robot

He was my dream man,

Faithful and true.

We talked about life on Mars.

We conversed about the stars

He even read poetry to me.

Perfect bliss,

Does it exist?

A strange feeling tugs at my heart,

It feels like love,

Impossible, critics say.

He was made so real.

Don't ruin my day,

These feelings aren't going away.

If he was sent back to the factory,

In a millisecond,

I'd be erased,

Reprogramed,

He'd never remember my name,

Or even my face.

Erase it all,

Or shall I keep him with me 

For all the days of my life?

Reading about mars through poetry.

Learning about the stars,

Forever and always happy,

Blissfully free,

My robot and me.

 

 

Elena Ruiz

New York City, USA

Space Voyage

Space Voyage

An amazing feat,

An incredible engineering plan,

An unstoppable man

That doesn't quit.

A vision, a quest,

Is now a voyage at last.

The impossible is achieved,

Civilians in space,

Devotion, creativity and science at work.

Mission accomplished,

Many said it couldn't be done.

Science has all but won.

 

 

Elena Ruiz

New York City, USA

 

The Inertia of You

The Inertia Of You

My life was fixed,

An internal force remains in me.

Uniformity and the status quo,

are all that I am.

The comfort of routine, of my ebb and flow

Intrinsically motivated me to march on,

Passive and quiet,

Inherently me,

Immovable even by a gale force wind.

Then there was you,

Physics aligned,

You were different, 

Refined and, oh, so kind.

An elegant man,

The words he spoke evoked emotion in me

The inertia I felt,

The motion wreaked havoc from within.

Swayed every which way,

I fought him like hell,

Then I thought, “I'm under his spell.” 

Physics works every time,

I began to let my guard down,

Go with the flow,

Fall in line.

I was opposed to the motion.

I liked the static line.

My life that I called mine,

It flowed in a straight line.

I put up opposition to protect my agency.

This man did not give up,

A true visionary,

He told me to say, “No.

Let's get that out of the way,

Then go on with our day.”

He made me laugh, even smile.

I once was immovable,

Now swaying in the wind.

My heart was screaming,

Let physics and passion win.

 

 

Elena Ruiz

New York City, USA

 

hildhood Dreams

Childhood Dreams

Oh, how I wish I could touch a star.

Childhood dreams live within,

I still have that little girl grin,

Shiny and bright.

The universe made constellations,

Just for me,

More spectacular than diamonds to me.

I have watched these stars,

My whole life through,

I even made a wish or two.

I hope when I die,

I may ascend

And touch a star or two.

Before I'm through,

As I look down from above,

I feel heavenly love,

For my love of the stars

Has never waned.

Love at first sight,

Will always be.

I loved the stars before I was three.

Elena Ruiz

New York City, USA

 

 

 

Four Haikus

 

Days turn into nights

Perpetually; but still

We exist apart

 

Wondering if I

Do this life thing right; we're all

Dying anyway

 

Whispers travelling 

On the wind with futile hopes

Of reaching her soul

 

I don't have any

Answers, but I will listen

And hug when needed

 

Tony Salpietra

 

New Orleans, USA

  

 

 

At Studley Royal

 

Escaping from the confines of my stay at home,

I wandered up the grassy bank

above the crowds, the clouds parting

as the sun peeked through and smiled

a welcome warmth.

 

I stood above the seven stony bridges,

looking down at Lilliput below, where footfall

followed paths and common routes,

and I, a fledgling from the nest, flew free.

I gave myself the gift of letting go,

arms spread into the listening wind

that wrapped me in its comfort cloak

and blew away the tears that tumbled,

as it woke in me the honesty of unfurled

feelings, falling like a shaken rag.

 

Its steadfast cradling, like a mother’s hand

upon a fevered brow, whisked me beyond the world.

It whispered “come with me”, above the watery weir

and ducks like bath toys, bobbing on the lake.

A beckoning enchantress, it moved on, among

the ancient, twisted trees, a magic song

curled round the lace-bark and the craggy roots,

between the stag-horn branches, softly dancing down

to touch the earth beneath my boots.

Time rested there, my lifetime but a marker

here in sky and grass, against the trunk

that promises, that knows, that all things pass.

 

 

Jackie Hales

 

Somerset, England

 

 

 

Life

 

I have no answers

I have no questions

I have not, nor I will find the road to bliss

No matter the inspections

 

But I have remedied this 

 

Do you notice things about you?

Without being told

Or like me

Do you have to be mugged and rolled?

 

My whole life

I’ve been alone

Wanted it that way

Disconnect me

Disconnect the phone

Got what I wanted

 

Undaunted

 

A man of few words

That never come out right

Surrounded by long days

And for a desert

Longer nights

And with a twist of my own lips

I paddle out

Only to sink my own battleships

 

Was more than happy

Being a well-fed knave

To sleep in the bed that I have made

 

My life

And what is what

And who is who

Give me a hint

For I have not a clue

 

A life swell lived

Un-balancing the take and the give

A life of low hanging fruit

Or my Throat under the boot

 

Looking back on the years

Looking up or down at my peers

Never equal

With my people

 

Lessons burned

Lessons un-learned

 

My life well preserved

Avoiding what I deserve 

 

Eyes seeing how we all live

My brain retaining the correct

As well as a sieve  

 

My life wanting for nothing

And receiving less  

What once was important becomes meaningless

What once was an afterthought, is all we have left

 

But what is better than waking from a bad dream

To discover still intact your faculty and spleen 

 

Yet, we are all here

Grinning

From ear to ear

Even though

Not going nowhere

From hand to hand

For nothing more than another demand

 

There you have it, my lady and man

A mule following a carrot

To a promised land  

 

But the sun always rises

And so, do I

So does the moon

My type of guys

 

So  

 

From sea to muddy sea

The best things in life

Are we

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

Scraps Of A History You Forgot

 

I speak in a language you do not understand

I live in a history you forgot

You had the privilege to leave and I

I remained

I remain as what is left

 

Zoe Schiff

 

New Jersey, USA

 

I Held You In my Arms

 

His curious, innocent, roving eyes—

His bawling voice

I wonder if he will grow

To shout over and ignore words

And look where he should not.

 

 

Zoe Schiff

 

New Jersey, USA

 

Bow Down

 

You, a young man of solid

Thirty-something,

Approach with your partner

Through my crowds,

My body young and ancient in one

I appear girlish and wizened to you

Lips touch my ringed knuckles

And you tell me you need my aid.

 

 

Zoe Schiff

 

New Jersey, USA

 

 

Scream!

 

My vision’s impaired

And I’m broken over you

I’m freezing up

And I don’t know what to do

I know I can’t keep crying like this

anymore.

 

So I keep waking up

And I let each day begin anew

Sometimes there’re tears

But now I know what to do

 

SCREAM!

 

And

 

SCREAM!

 

At least I have my craft

And my job to go to

I’ll forget all about you

And learn to love everyone

But you.

 

Zoe Schiff

 

New Jersey, USA

 

 

 

Pray For Me

 

I am an errand boy

Running the race of life

Swallowed by a river of flaws

Lost in the garden earth

Hoping to fly across, the silent sky

 

I've got a world to tend;

A journey to tread

A race to run

A long night to endure

Byways to cure;

A future to secure

 

In the silent night

When my soul and psyche are no more aligned

Shine on me, sunshine

Drench my coat, rain

Be my light and smile,

O ye beautiful sky

 

When the sky is no more bright

When the stars are out of sight

When the sun is becoming dark

O my world,

Let your prayers be my guide,

And your heart be my smile...

For my life ain't heaven

I'm not a god without a flaw

Pray for me, pray for me,

and be my joy.

 

 

Falana I.A. Zion

 

Ekiti, Nigeria.

 

 

 

You’re On A Path

 

a path you’ve never been down before,

though the destination is the same as always.

Without really thinking about it, you stop

and turn back, suffocating from the anxiety

that has extinguished all that is in you,

and the thought of giving in crosses your mind.

 

Meanwhile, the teenagers you saw earlier are still

getting pissed down under the bridge,

but you’ve got their attention now,

and they’re watching you through their phones,

as the sirens in the distance wail

louder and louder…

Craig Snelgrove,

 

Manchester, UK

 

 

 

Kev And Nina

 

He smiles at her.

Everything’ll be alright ‘til tomorrow after this.

“I love you, Kev.”

“I know you do.”

They wait down a ginnel for anyone.

 

 

Craig Snelgrove,

 

Manchester, UK

 

 

 

The Signs

 

So you think you can sell? Prove it!

Let’s talk beauty.

I’M LISTENING!

 

PRETTYLITTLETHINGS.com

That’s the sweet spot!

 

Protect what matters most.

Change your habit, change your life!

 

Footy,

tele,

tenner!

Who says you can’t?

 

The Predator.

Life finds a way.

 

Just Eat.

Putting great meat on the table.

 

Do you suffer from chronic freshness?

This changes water.

 

Tell the corporates to shove it,

peoples energy!

 

The clock is ticking.

 

NO PUBLIC ACCESS BEYOND THIS POINT

 

We will find you.

 

Fake news isn’t our friend.

Craig Snelgrove,

 

Manchester, UK

 

 

Gazing Home From Afar

 

How’s my home thriving?

All these years of my absence,

I long to see it

 

Does the coconut

still bear its fruit like a

new nursing mother?

 

Are pink plumeria

blooms still there? Breathing their

sweet scent in cool air

 

Banana and its

leaves still embracing the

leafy jackfruit tree?

 

With their gray, black hairs

I see our neighbors walking

like caterpillars

 

Stick-like iron fence 

shields our wood-built home, like a

sturdy skirt

 

I long for the joy

of red anthurium blossoms

greeting at the gates

 

Chicks, hens, cockerels

daintily walking and feasting

on red and black ants

 

Lazy yawning cat

cuddled in its cozy cot

near the entrance door

 

I see mom, nice with

her silver hair.  Sun up, she

dries sheets on the fence

 

I see dad, white hair,

swift as a young dragonfly

harvesting his fruits     

 

And I won’t forget

the enduring Shorea

tree, guarding us all!

Zea Perez

Manila, Philippines

 

Three Haikus for Three Great Windows

 

Our flat has three, great

windows, one: the sunset view

where I see neighbors

 

Next is the bedroom’s

view, where I check myself, I

ponder, meditate

 

Third window is much

loved, view of skies, cars, people

a vista of hope

 

 

Zea Perez

 

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

 

That Bee Was Mine

As I drifted off to sleep

In the summer breeze cool

I thought of the Bee

I saved from the swimming pool

I blew him dry

With my breath

As the two of us

Cheated his death

 

I was wondering

Where he was

Now at night

Maybe telling the tale

With his family of his plight

I wish I could watch him tell the story

I wish I could see his family

Listen smile and shine

But for a little bit

That Bee was mine

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Hello

 

It was a day like any other

And that meant mighty bad

I saw her first as she crossed the street

Then she saw me

I kept looking at her with everything I had 

 

What a simple thing

To change everything 

 

I thought something would happen

Like it never does

I lost sight of her for a bit

Because of a big blue bus

 

Not just thirty seconds ago

I was in a world of Hell

Just hanging out and in my own backyard

Doing nothing is easy

Finding a purpose is hard 

 

A lot of good things

Coming my way

Just have to believe

What I say

A lot of good things

Within my reach

Just have to practice

What I preach

 

My knuckles were sure suffering for sure

Sore from knocking on any door 

Maybe someone

Someday somehow

But not now

 

But why not?

There, she just stopped

 

It looked liked she was interested

In what’s going in my head

I’ll wait until we are married

Before I inform her

Of my criminal past

Tucked away under my bed

 

Into the business of saying hello

The worst that could happen is that she could say blow

 

But

 

We exchanged words and numbers

We thought of each other that night

As we succumbed to our slumbers

 

Like a good haircut that changes your looks of life

She and her look back at me changed mine

 

And it will not matter

What has yet to be said

I just want to see her at my breakfast table

With a bottle of red 

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

Mercy

 

It could go either way

When casting the blame

I am either at the mercy of my brain

Or

I can’t  explain

 

Lock me up

Throw away the key

I’m not good enough for me 

 

It wasn’t my fault

I hardly even know me

I wasn’t even there

I love to deceive me

 

Lock me up

Throw away the key

I’m no good for thee

 

I guess I’m saying

You could keep me on track

I sure like you around me

But stay off my back     

 

The brain will believe

Anything you tell it

When you’re not doing this or that

It tells you how to sell it 

 

Since it’s all unfair

Only way to win

Is not to care

 

Lock me up

Throw away the key

I’m no good for we

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

What Will I Be Wearing?

 

What I wear to the pool

Or a 

suit and tie like in school

 

An Ascot or a noose

On the day I get turned loose

 

Lying around so much with nothing to do

Lying around  so much thinking of you

Maybe a red silk smoking jacket

With your initials right above the heart pocket

 

If you want to be alone

Live alone

Sounds good to me

As I look around my swirling sea

 

I wonder if I will have time or need a haircut

Or sip thru a straw sticking out of a coconut

Jeans and tee shirt

Always fit in for play or work 

 

Maybe a costume during party time

On the catwalk of my decline

Perhaps a touch of the color peppermint

At the mountain of my dissent

I wonder what I’ll be wearing

When I die

I wonder who will be laughing

And who will cry

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Un-social World

This virtual world can make us lonely, an empty stream of brags and boasts.

It’s hard to tell who is real or phony, seeking attention through emotive posts.

 

That human contact we once had, replaced with obsession of celebrity.

Where pictures are wiped clean of anything bad, to a visage free of all impurity.

 

Only acknowledging each others human flaw, through occasional and frenzied spiteful text.

Comparing ourselves to those few with more, brings bitter focus on any slight defect.

 

What’s ‘cool’ and ‘in’ shared by those who know.

 

Desperate as always they seek to follow, reducing to a cycle of patterns and trends.

Their ‘Likes’ are empty and emoji’s hollow, shallow are these fair-weather friends.

 

Possible that my in what I have wrote, my bitter tone did you note.

Amongst all of the stuff you have recently plastered, I noted as your page’s recent guest.

 

Brings me to one thing must I now suggest.

Why haven’t you answered, my friendship request?

 

Peter Gregory

Birmingham, England

 

 

 

 

Inner layers

 

Level 0

Fundamental mechanisms

Pulse to code

Commands of creation

Life

 

3D rendering

Timeline

Avatars at play

Surface controls

Interface only

 

Limited scope

No gateway

Access denied

Inner levels

out of reach

 

Bass line

felt not heard

Hidden soul 

filling the blanks

processing request

Jean-Yves Crozier

 

Guadeloupe, French West Indies

 

 

 

 

Fellow Traveller

 

We left it for the morrow,

The hope, a fore glow,

a rotten kind of magic

like beauty carelessly inducing panic.

I held down the intention, struggling,

like a bird whose neck I was ringing,

in the hamper of my persistent wants. — Neither party wanted it.

What could we all say?

Me, I wanted to communicate the staunch nature

of nothing. The complete none,

The bluffing banquet of a ballroom’s sun:

The flirtation, done;

The job, done;

The mocking, done;

The derision, complete, utter.

Though like that frail orange flutter — a butterfly from behind the hyacinth —

Some hope’s ghost rose out of our promise,

and the recollection of the earth sunk in. Death! It declared.

from the future, signalling from the past,

Death!

It laughed, I laughed, a few of us did. It will come, it announced,

And when it does it will be complete.

What could we all say?

So some of us laughed at ourselves. One woman looked at me:

‘Just what is this?’

I told her the truth:

‘I don’t know, I don’t know. It feels like everything.’

‘What smiles back at you but the abyss,

In the end, in the end,’

That is false, It isn’t true, I said to her, ‘there is some eternal pulse.’

She frowned to ask me if I had a cigarette.

 

 

Ben Seigler

 

Camden, London

 

 

 

 

My Father

 

My father never wasted time in taking

his kids in his lap or playing with them,

he was busy in breaking mirrors, hitting the doors

or his head against a wall or slapping his children

or abusing everyone when helplessness trapped him in

the web of poverty, illness and unfulfilled desires

 

Orthodox and religionist in him taught us all superstitions,

and made him a sage devoid of social life, and me, almost an atheist,

He taught us good values without letting us in his room

 

We had seen him write poems,

We were not part of his universe,

The world may be familiar with his work,

but we haven't read his books as

we have developed immunity to it,

As a good teacher, he changed

many schools and as an honest person,

he rarely attended any social gatherings or function,

 

He didn't tell us our history or geography,

Oblivious of siblings, locked in a closed family circle,

ignorant of our community, we live

at the borders of our social circle now

 

When I see any kid, I wish to be with my father,

Talk, learn and serve him but still I lack a bond,

I haven't seen him for long time

and never feel a need or pain of it

 

He is counting his time, his legacy some published books

and unpublished manuscripts lying in a store almirah,

The long gap between us stops me to take those few steps,

It seems a long journey

 

Upbringing and luck shapes our life,

my father was child of his misfortune

and I am child of my father

 

 

 

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

 

India

 

 

 

Body Orchard (Youth)

 

I taste these pears and peaches with my whole body,

as graceful as the first floret of springtime in a garden,

We watched for the first time a tropic moon

descend pine- orange into our yard,
I kissed your raspberry cheek and tasted

inviting mango juice on unbound rosy lips

 

“Sangam” of red roses and white lilies flow in

East- Asian almond cool aquamarine eyes,

A sharp nose pyramid a moon ring shine,

Long Thailandish slender neck and

Brazilian bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,

in your diamond apple body orchard

shaded under Indian long silky spirited locks

 

The plum tree in your garden is now

bursting into flower with the promise that

snowy flower buds give birth to ripe lilac plums

this autumn when you turn sweet sixteen

 

Garden fig is a glittering moist four-petalled flower,

After I strip off the blossom with my lips,

heavy with dotted green and red fruit,

marking each interlude with musical drops

 

The blackberries would ripen-a purple-green,
Like a bottle of old wine, its pulp was sugary,
sun's blood in it leaving good stains upon the

tongue and desire for more pickings

 

 

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

 

India

 

 

 

 

Body Orchard (Older Days)

 

I have wild free-born cranberries, but

my garden doesn't have the forbidden fruit

For the true are cherry red and golden mango,

 

I have memories of yellow daffodils and oranges

blended with the burn of colorless lemon tears,

basked in honey rays, dreamed in pomegranate

sunsets of lime hills and dulce roses

Years of sweet citrus lived in golden hours

 

My yellow heart pining for red fusion,

to shake the fruit that never falls,

I am alone without the temptation of apple,

Limbs entwined in a sweet embrace

I kissed season's hot tangerine lips

 

The colors of my country are spread here
with clear blue sky, sun, breeze, dew and peace,

I can see big juicy melon being sliced up

and divided between a bunch of shiny kids,

Fruit is for sharing, with friends, family and

neighbors even if your neighbors are bears or cows

 

I would not live to see the leaves fall yet

moment of delight in the shared fruit would live on

I am not inclined to romanticize my toils in the orchard,

as the aches and pains of this grove are mines only

 

 

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

 

India

 

 

 

 

Pebbles                                                                                                         

 

Time smooths rainbow hardness

of tree basalt, vermilion jasper,

silvery granite and pale feldspar

with the help of humdrum

but patient jeweller of tides

 

Volcano-born, earthquake-quarried,

heat-cracked, wind-carved,

death shapes compact among the rocks

It drifts light as a fractured bone

 

When the tide uncovers

it blinks among the smashed shells,

Upset by gulls, bleached by salt and sun

the broken crockery of living things

 

An eagle surveys from the upland,

unsympathetic to the burdens

I have carried here,

The sea would not hug me, so I sit,

hollow as driftwood, jumbled as pebbles

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

 

India

 

 

 

 

Ain't It Enough?

Ain’t it enough?

That we don’t know who we are

That we don’t know where we came from

Was it a breath away?

Or a far away star

 

Ain’t it enough?

Or could it get worse

What the world needs now

Is a beautiful verse

 

Ain’t it enough?

That we hurt for no reason

And don’t believe in our own believing

 

Watch them all leaving and wave to the grieving

 

Ain’t it enough?

That sometimes not enough food

To keep it going concerning your brood 

If the air is free

Tell that to the airwaves on your flat screen pay for view T.V.

 

Ain’t it enough?

To grow old instead of bold

To become a renter when your house is sold

 

Ain’t it enough?

With all the money looking for an answer

All you find is a bottom-line disaster

 

Ain't it enough?

Hey, stop!

IF

That is all you got

Keep it coming

You may one day

See me smiling and humming

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Short Day

 

I left work without permission early

My wife was home crying

If I said I didn’t know it would cost me my job

I would be lying

 

She was the one who counted the most

First thing I did after I kissed her

Was make her favorite tea and toast

 

Sometimes you got to prioritize

Sometimes you can’t compromise 

 

She was there for me

I was there for her

The rest of the world to us

Was no more than a blur 

 

She had it rough when she was a kid

Use your imagination what her daddy did

While mommy hid

 

She gets these spells when she revisits the Hells

That’s when I arrive for her alarm bells

 

She is there for me

And I her

The rest of the world

Remains a slur

 

I got another job the very next day

And the next time she cries

I will again walk away

 

Yes I know

My work habits ain’t fair

But if it ain’t happening at home

It ain’t happening anywhere

 

You see

She was there for me

And I am here for her

And when we are together

The screams and the blistering silence of the world 

Are never heard

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Beggars Attack Going To The Central Market

 

On the jeepney ride,

going to Divisoria

a young adult beggar

with his facemask

shrill and hard-wearing

lunged at us

cleared his throat

and spoke

asked all passengers

to listen

his speech well-recalled

said his mother

is at the hospital

because of an illness

prompting him to ask for help

and wished us all

for a safe journey

and that on our way

to the central market

baddies shall not rob us

 

At the central market

while looking

for an electric fan

an eight-year-old kid

pounced on us

his miens seemed

well-taken-care of

said he needs to buy eggs

for his lunch

we asked: is it okay to give you apples instead?

The kid shook his head and disappeared.

 

At the vegetable section,

an elderly lady sprang at us

disjointed and slow

jumbled words, begging hands

gave her twenty pesos

surprised, her coherent eyes

said ‘thank you’

we moved on

to look for lettuce and cabbages

the same old beggar leaped again

‘We are the ones you asked about

and gave the twenty pesos

her eyes blank

off she went to another customer

 

On a jeepney going home

a teenager beggar swooped at us

skin burnt thin

the boy said nothing

he handed over

airmail envelopes

with donation markings

my heart sunk

only left a dime for fare

nothing anymore to share

pandemic life is unforgiving

 

Zea Perez

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

How To Make A Jumper

 

Arms hold her together—squeeze—don’t forget to breathe—try to be unseen—or else be a good—barely moving—shape shift—shift shape—dream you’re old—past / passed—belting out show tunes in your lemon and lime kitchen—hear—you were on the shelf—sell by date nearly gone by / bygone—living under a slipped cross in Birmingham—knitting homespun yarns into jumpers

 

Is Birmingham beautiful—can anywhere be beautiful as long as the rent’s not due?

 

Blood thrumming in ears—bloody woman—screaming at a belting—language forms—and is forgot—red/read—a bent back book—can you mend a broken spine—with glue and knitting needles—knit one—purl one—knit one—purge one—how do broken bones heal—rib-stitch—cast and knit two together

 

Is Birmingham beautiful—can anywhere be beautiful as long as the frog becomes a prince?

 

Arms take her apart—steeking—breath—breath less—use your fingers to move your lagging leg—undo by ripping—no lifeline lodged—frogging—a common abbreviation—salvage—slip the first stitch and work the last stitch back—repeat—cast off—a high place—say she was always a jumper

 

Is Birmingham beautiful—maybe one day?

 

Adele Evershed

Wilton, Connecticut, USA

 

 

 

 

Short Day

I left work without permission early

My wife was home crying

If I said I didn’t know it would cost me my job

I would be lying

 

She was the one who counted the most

First thing I did after I kissed her

Was make her favorite tea and toast

 

Sometimes you got to prioritize

Sometimes you can’t compromise 

 

She was there for me

I was there for her

The rest of the world to us

Was no more than a blur 

 

She had it rough when she was a kid

Use your imagination what her daddy did

While mommy hid

 

She gets these spells when she revisits the Hells

That’s when I arrive for her alarm bells

 

She is there for me

And I her

The rest of the world

Remains a slur

 

I got another job the very next day

And the next time she cries

I will again walk away

 

Yes I know

My work habits ain’t fair

But if it ain’t happening at home

It ain’t happening anywhere

 

You see

She was there for me

And I am here for her

And when we are together

The screams and the blistering silence of the world 

Are never heard

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

And Still 

Got the message today

My big love

Was not coming my way

No, not a delay

Will not be mine

On any day

 

But say what you want

Don’t say it if you will

When the dust settles

It is easy to explain

I will remain

The voice will not be shrill

The ring announcer will declare

 

And still

 

I am what I am

I am not what I ain’t

I’ll be the judge and jury

What will be on my plate

 

I am my own first mate

 

And still 

 

What me worry?

Of course I will

So what if my paranoia

Pays all the bills

Empty or full

It is the same swill

 

And still  

 

Undefeated am I

Weather lose or kill

The address wont change

Only the surroundings will

 

And still   

 

But

Consistent I am not

I simply accidentally on purpose forgot

To add down what I have lost

And tally up what I got

 

The underneath rudder will not tell the tale

Of what will still be flying above the sails 

 

Look at it this way

Or don’t look at all

No need to say it twice

Don’t need to make it sound swell

I will always answer the bell

 

And still   

 

Don’t you know

A perfect record

Of 0-0

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

Poems from February’s Rose

 

1
 

A Hand Fan 
 


One side is spring, the other autumn
 

You are that spring, me that autumn
 


 

Spring and autumn
 

A separation only a paper-thickness apart 
 

Yet feels as if in different world corners
 


 

Spring and autumn
 

Often not much difference in temperature
 

Yet never belong
 

To the same season
 


2
 

Wind 
 


Wind blows
 

My skirt flares
 

Oh, wind
 

Don’t say the word “LOVE” to me
 

It’s too light yet too heavy
 

For my delicate hands
 

To carry

 

 


 

The Peach Orchard in March 
 

 

Cool drizzle
 

Has wet the earth somewhere
 

The breeze that wafts over like curtain strings
 

Has kept off the spring radiance of March
 


 

In just a few days, peach trees
 

Will be dressed up in ostentatious red
 

A twig of delicate fragrance
 

Has not yet found a tree to graft on
 


 

Wind and rain whisper to each other
 

But no word is mentioned about the peach orchard
 

When the wind comes again next month
 

It will ruffle the petals on the ground
 


 

Like tears, raindrops perch on the deep end of the wind 
 

But who will pick up the petals
 

Each of which has recorded 
 

The debt the wind owes 
 


4

The Sunflower

Is a new-born baby's
Sweet smile in its dream
Or the youthful flower
In bud ready to bloom
-- N-
It's an ancient Greek nymph
Clytie
In love with the Sun

She loves him
So her heart turns toward him
From sunrise to sunset

She loves him
So she looks up to him
Till her hair turns grey

Close or far
It's measured by light
Faithful and true
It's witnessed by Heaven and the Earth

Van Gogh's Sunflower
Has a set value
But Clytie's
Is priceless

O
My Apollo
I love you
But conceited as I am
I can't utter
The word LOVE

All my love
Has gone hidden
In Van Gogh's painting

My love
Is Clytie's love
And Clytie's love
Is
The Sunflower

 

 

Bing Hua 
 

Translation by Xu Yingcai

 

 

State of Florida For The Defence

(Non Peccavimus)

 

That Blind Bitch Justitia

in robe of Star Spangled Glory

high heels lipstick makeup & perfume

she sits in judgement of justice for the

accused—on trial for murder—the accused 

in role of self-ordained police—the accused

on neighborhood watch code red alert for

‘shadow in hoodie’ conjure cowardice in

defence—triggers fear—provokes use of

weapon as armed security in role meant

for unarmed person to protect condo

complex (Retreat at Twin Lakes) from

assumed thug--Trayvon--perpetrator who

pose threat to disturb the peace—sell drugs

the street element assumed to be ‘shadow

in hoodie’—actually son of father as family

who lives on property—son on walk home

stalked then confronted as ‘shadow in hoodie’

son forced to defend himself from threat of

gun wielding pseudo policeman who murdered

Sybrina & Tracy son in killing @ Twin Lakes

 

State of Florida for The Defence

in favor of the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

the right of white male to

forsake lesser life then take lesser life

            Blind bitch Justitia Goddamn verdict—Not Guilty

 

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas, USA

            

https://jerosser.com/books

 

 

 

Reflectopus

 

When I look in the mirror

what do I see?

An eight tentacled octopus

staring at me

 

Sucking the soul

Of the glass from within

Sipping tea from a cup

Made of magical tin

 

Its curious eyes

Stare deep into mine

I become hypnotised

Oh creature, divine

 

I wonder about its 

Life in the sea

I ponder over

Its connection to me

 

But as I look closer

I inquire and I think

The octopus sneezes

I get covered in ink

 

 

Michael Patrick Harvey

 

Newcastle upon Tyne, England [currently residing in Shanghai, China]

 

 

 

Be A Man

 

Born into a family

That would be, except for me, soon all men

Being a girl, I had my own room

The rest of the house was a pigpen

 

One day one of my brothers came home sighing

Someone stole his bicycle

He started crying

That’s when the shit hit the fan

My father beat him high and low

And with every blow

Yelled, “Be a man”

 

The very next day I was full of pride

I found the thief of my brother’s ride

And beat his hide

I brought the bike back and instructed my brother not to tell

Tell dad you got it yourself I made him swear

Or would send you to Hell

Dad patted his head and said he did well

 

I never knew my mother

The pictures I have of her are more than fine

Knowing my father

She probably told him to go screw himself many a time 

She was I hear tough

One day she had, had, enough

 

I am girl of the pack

But if someone looked at me wrong

I did not have to think or suppose

I would strike them on the nose

And that was that

 

My oldest brother

Married first

Got divorced first too

Had to blow his nose for him

Love can be so cruel

Yeah, sure

What a baby, what a fool 

 

My others were not much better

 

My father asked me if I could soften it up a little bit

I asked him, “What did you expect”?

I threw in. “You asked for it”

 

Then I told him to stop whining

And I’ll do what I can, maybe do some refining

Just straighten up and

Be a man

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

The Big Man on the Third Floor

Booming footsteps bash against the wood

Pricking up our ears, widening our eyes

The growling of a wolf whisks along the hall

Foreboding our demise

 

The Big Man is near

 

Wipe the grins from our grills

Produce a serious demeanour, and a stiff upper lip

Feel the icy presence every nearer 

Pray for looseness in his grip

 

The Big Man is near

 

Smell the staleness of his sodden breath

Feel the weary wrinkles of his iron fist

Shed a tear or two for what will come
The class is dismissed

 

The Big Man is here

 

 

Michael Patrick Harvey

 

Newcastle upon Tyne, England [currently residing in Shanghai, China]

 

 

 

It's All Uphill From Here

 

It all started with me being hungry

It all ended after going for the money

 

When you live with the motto

“Whatever it takes”

You also must adhere to

“Those are the breaks”

 

I will bleed for my family

While I can’t feed my family

 

There is a bank on every corner

We can’t keep starving much longer

 

The hunger was relentless

It was as bad as it gets

 A change was not coming our way

We were going to have to eat our pet

The final straw though

Was running out of cigarettes

 

The only thing I could afford

Was to care

As I braced myself

Before I went in the bank

I said to myself

Well

It’s all uphill from here

 

I handed her the note

She started to read

In a tick or two

I was knocked to my knees

All I remember

Was the word,  “Freeze”

 

Sitting in court

I realized all my life

I just wanted to get by

Be somewhat in control

And fly it

I realized

Up until now

It was all on autopilot

 

I didn’t get bail

But the only thing

I have to fear

Is the fear of jail

 

Her mom took her in

Along with the dog and kid

She welcomed them all

With a mouthful of, “Look what daddy did”

But they got

To on some weight

I in the very mean time

I had three hots and a cot

So, it all turned out great

 

I’m learning in here

How to steal with skills

So, in a few long short years

I can easily pay all the bills

 

So, there it is

And there it goes

Next time I go in a bank

It will be closed

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Piss

 

Bliss is euphoric

A paradise of the mind

Luscious joy

A surge of sun

I repetitively find

 

Serenity surround me

Fill my head with dopamine

Misery

I refuse to see

The grass is always green

 

Avoid the fleeting fear

Soon to dissipate

Neglect the pain

The pouring rain 

For comfort is my fate

 

Reject the dull reality

Rejoice in rampant pleasure

Not my problem

Not my war

I have my cherished treasure

 

Deceive the endless instincts

Forget the creeping cracks

Avert my eyes

Embrace the highs

Reject, Release, Relax

 

Eventual destruction

Of this perpetual façade

It’s imminent

It’s getting near

This bliss I cannot guard

 

Feel the ceaseless itch

It will not go away

It is my problem

It is my war

It must be fought someday

 

Veracity is seeping

It will monopolise my mind

Nowhere to hide

I must abide

No longer am I blind

 

No person is exempt

The truth I can’t dismiss

I can’t deceive

I do believe

That ignorance is piss.

 

 

Michael Patrick Harvey

 

Newcastle upon Tyne, England [currently residing in Shanghai, China]

 

 

 

 

Dodger 42

 

show me the Dodger

in blue with dirty finger

nails who swam in mud of

our past from embryonic depths

of mother Euphrates we dog-paddled

upstream thru red in Confederate

hearts white in Dixie fields of cotton

 

the blue in Democracy bowel

until we were black at heart having

held our breath thru it all now we cannot

shower after career to wear a suit with tie

cannot wear the skipper cap to represent

Major League Baseball because we do not

walk on water in leather shoes 

 

nor do you, God of baseball

 

 

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas

 

https://jerosser.com/books

 

 

 

 

Famous

 

share your

happiness & joy

your peace of mind

the endearing times the

escape from reality to

be you—in mirror of your

life—be famous—share your

heart ache & despair the lonely

moments when drug & drink are

the light in dark corner of self

be famous—listen to praise bask in

glory of you on pedestal above reality

feed that need for attention—let fans

keep you in demand with popularity

polish your image—blow kisses to

audience—be famous

 

        

j.e. Rosser

        

Las Vegas, USA

 

https://twitter.com/Rosser_Reader

Stay Away From My Dream

 

What is it to you?

If I think I’m the greatest

What is it to you?

If I know I’m the latest

Stay last in your private contest

Don’t even enter my scene

Don’t fuck with my steam

Find your own vapor

Stay away from my dream 

 

Who are you?

To deride my sensations

Who told you?

To barge into my imaginations

 

Find a new audience

To applaud your jerky motions

There is no need for a lifeguard

On my private beach

And too good to be true blue ocean 

 

Who gave you permission to appear?

Between my left and right ear 

Don’t be afraid

But don’t lose your fear

There is only room for one

For what’s going on in here

 

You’re not going to trade your trivialities

For my possibilities

 

Why don’t you check out the Olympics?

Sit there and hope they all fall on their asses

If you’re going to stay here

I would suggest

You take off your glasses

 

My quite very personal moments

Are exactly how they seem

I can hear them calling you now from the wings

You better move on

And find your own dreams

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Write It Down

 

Write it down you idiot

Make your thoughts rhyme

That’s all there is to it

 

Write it down you jerk

Move the letters around till it works

 

Write it down you fool

Words can be an interesting tool

 

Write it down stupid

Don’t forget to focus

Then make it roll fluid

 

Write it down you dope

Wait until you’re done

Till you take that smoke

 

Write it down moron

Don’t let your point run on

Maybe something you can sing along  

 

Write it down you slob

But I recommend

Until it clicks

Keep your day job  

 

Write it down

Show the page

Who is the boss

Once in a while

It’s even as good as jerking off

 

Write it down

Make it dandy

Maybe then make some money

Maybe enough

To rent some eye candy

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Personal Poem

When I go to do things that require confidence

I’m always on the lookout for sentimentality

There’s a coin in my wallet that I won’t spend

Or a piece of clothing that I wear when I want to be brave

But never socks (I can’t tell them apart)

 

My favourite item of confidence is a ten pence piece

That has a letter i on it

And a picture of an ice cream

 

Someone once gave it to me for luck

Which seems ridiculous

But I think it’s true

And I always know where it is

Just in case

I ever need it.

 

Ewen Frazer

 

Newcastle upon Tyne, England

 

Insurrection MMXXI

 

Gen-X sons & daughters

& grandsons & daughters

of Millennial male & female

from Baby Boomer parents on

mission in Washington D C

to wage war on big white house

at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

in broad daylight armed with rage

they storm the Mecca of American

Government to kill Democracy at

the behest of hate monger reborn as

would be American president bold in

blondness brazen with defiance fostered

by defeat--disgruntled bigots with

Republican pedigree validate violence

through murder of Democracy manifest

destiny bred by traitors for Trump on

mission to whitewash the truth with lies

& lawyers angry enablers looking for lost

identity as pseudo dignity the seed of

Caucasian inferiority--redneck mentality  

still fighting 100 Year War waving Judas

X with stars & stripes--they dared!--they

destroyed!--they mocked! Democracy for

Corporate raider as dethroned American

dictator in Capitol Rebellion

 

j.e. Rosser

Las Vegas, USA

 

 

 

Good God
Bad God

 

Partners all along

Different words

Same song

 

Two evil charismatic goons

Same intentions

Different tunes

 

Same techniques regarding interrogations

That includes

Redemption salvation damnations

 

In the end everyone pays

Everyone drinks from the same bucket of kool aid

 

Both, of these guys are extremely mean

Didn’t know

They’re on the same team

 

They got kicked out of Mars

Many moons ago God Damnit

Surveyed the stars

Then decided on this planet

 

Same preach

Different speech

 

Same scent

Different accent 

 

Then one day

They said that’s enough

They gathered their stuff 

Went together

Looking for greener pastures

For the new version of biblical disasters

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

A House Divided

 

Two brothers fighting

Same house

Such static

From the cellar

To the attic

The neighbors hear the yelling

The pets are all frightened

Wish the house

And the both of them

Get hit by lightning

 

Two brothers fighting

Each one driving the other

Up the walls

Each one taking turns

Who has more balls?

 

Two brothers fighting

Hello, good morning

Here is something you should know

I still hate you

 

Two brothers fighting

One should leave

One should go

I know we are family

But I still hate you so

 

Two brothers fighting

The black, white and grey

Till the end of time

This will always stay

 

Two brothers fighting

From their toes

To their heads

Where did I put that rifle?

Both better off dead

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

The Dead Team

We started as the home team

We played at home

We knew each others pets name

The numbers to each others phones

Each of us was different

Only when we were alone

 

Our locker room

Had no locks

The games we played

Had no clocks

 

Like all team players

We showed each other our layers

We were essentials

Like erasers on pencils

 

We had no rules

Everything we learned

Was left at schools

 

A tight team sticks together

With strong glue

There were many wins

The loses few

We all had whishes

 But certainly not bucket listers

 

We were all playing on the same team

We were all chasing the same dream

Winning and happiness

Accepting nothing more or less

 

We were a team that could never lose

But we did

 

Carol died in a car

Ted in a bar

Eddy from the outside

Henry from the inside

 

Between the birth and the death

Those memories are ripped from our breasts

In the middle of the heave and the hoe

We realize when it’s time to go

 

Bobby at old age bought the farm

Steve never heard the fire alarm

Sally was knifed in an alley

Before Tom went away his mind was gone

 

But we all regrouped

Up there down there

Whatever

We formed the old team

Again

 

In the end

We repaired the ripped seam

 

But while here

Don’t bother to ponder

What awaits

Up or down yonder

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Benedict Donald

(Caucasian Savior)

 

Crusaders

call him their

cultural Savior 

blonde Jesus

Christopher Trump

their Benedict Donald

Great White Male

mercenary millionaire

surname trademark

for branding he flaunts

Star Spangled Banner

in left hand right hand

flag is Confederate Glory

on Crusade to divide 

Union of States with

platform for revenge

in Quest to make

America Great Again

he flaunts with Pledge of

Allegiance to Capitalism

as Caucasian Savior  

 

 

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas USA

 

https://jerosser.com/about

 

 

 

 

The Vase Holder

 

Cold, clear, conventional liquid seeps into my core; moulding into the shape of my body.

Delicate, crisp flowers embody my space, filling it with indulgent notes

of floral feminine fragrance.

 

So beautifully mutable and unknowingly delicate but,

do not try to hold me!

 

Cracks are plastered over my skin; wounds calloused over my pores – my hands dipped in beehives of regret.

 

For holding this broken glass, you may have to pay a blood price.

 

 

Shiksha Dheda

 

South Africa

 

https://shikshadheda.wixsite.com/writing/poetry

 

 

 

Our Un-Common Threads

 

I reckon we could all stay put and only rehearse

Rather than bounce and spring

Out of

Our tiny area of universe

 

Searching for the missing strings to our other worldly beings

Some ones to reach our hearts and our heads

For the  common connections to our un-common threads

 

Many a time

I thought the oil met the drill bit

But

Many a time

I was far from it

 

Oh and, you don’t have to call because I have no one

I enjoy tremendously being left alone

Have said that

Maybe a dog or a cat

Or

Maybe even both by my sides 

That is a cure I can surely abide

 

Maybe we would best ourselves

Following the religion of, “ My God, Holy Cow!’’

And lead with this

The only chance you will get to do the right thing is now 

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Someone Like Me

 

I want to meet

Someone like me

That sees things

The way I see

 

But perhaps more positively

 

Someone forthright and true

That knows what to do 

 

Maybe not so quite like me

Who shoots from the hip, the lip, and the knee

 

Someone cool as ice

That dresses and smells nice

 

My clothing brand is second hand

 

Someone who gets it right the first time

Not the twice

 

The third time for me sets off an alarm

Rather than becoming the charm

 

Someone described as

 A profile of style

Not like yours truly

Described as a mud pile

 

Perhaps

A get away with fake smile

 

But then

I have enough fake for the both of us

Just say when

 

An, I don’t know how to conserve conservative

An out of hand liberal that’s not too Biblical

 

As I am

A renegade band-aid that won’t stay where it is laid

 

Someone funny

But unlike me

With some money

 

Anything but a mirror

You may deliver

That is something I do not want to see

 

Might I be looking for

The opposite of me?

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Where Are We Going?

 

Where are we going?

Where did it go?

You told me a picture

And I still don’t know

 

Make me a believer

Even if you don’t know either

 

And like so many things

That were meant to be that way

So many things aren’t

If

You allow them their say 

 

I am shocked at your thoughtfulness

And amazed at your lack of regret

I still think

I will be the one you may never forget

 

It was once

A perfect time

For you and me

Remember the glowing?

Where is this going?

 

I agree in part

To what you say

I just don’t want it to end this way

 

Before

Invincible at first

Alone at last

Where have you been all my life?

Or are you way past?

 

I like looking out of windows

I don’t like looking in

Is that something you knew?

Does it matter

If we don’t continue

 

The same shadows on the walls

As they were when I was small

The same clouds above my head

As I am tall

Under my bed

 

And even if

We are through

I will compare

Them all to you

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

The Things That I Recall Most

 

I washed up the bed linens

this morning

and recalled my Inang (Mother)

the smell of the powdered detergent

she often used

how she neatly arranged the sheets

on the clothesline

how she niftily folded them

when dried

and when I pressed them to my cheek

how comfortable they felt

and I wish

it was night time again

I could relish the softness

of the sheets upon my sleep

with my mother's calming embrace

 

afterward,

I warmed up the food

from the fridge

made a cup of warm and creamy coffee

the smell of it evoked

the many early mornings

of childhood with my Tatang (Father)

when he cooked for breakfast

the smell of steamed rice,

the sound of kitchen utensils he used

in warming up the vegetable dishes

or frying up some fresh eggs

the creases in his eyes

when he told me tales of

his encounters of the nature

of plants and animals

the warm smile he shared

when he urged me

to eat heartily

because breakfast

he said

is the most important meal of the day

 

these are the things

I mostly remember

not the expensive things

that they gave me

or the fancy things

that they so dreamed

to pamper me

 

I am blessed to figure that out today

 

Zea Perez

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

 

Masquerade

 

virus control

CDC edict

authority rooted

in bureaucracy

of State mandate

Corporate policy

Government imposed

band-aid for CDC

pandemic propaganda

invisible threat air born

death conjure fear of

breathing in public space

virus imported with retail

value morph as made in China

laboratory nightmare virus

masquerade in CDC costume

Doctor Doomsday television

voice of death recognized

by name ending in vowel

the face for medical science

purveyor of fear with warning

Doomsday Prophecy…mask

will save you…

 

 

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas USA

 

https://jerosser.com/about

 

 

 

We   
 
We must stand together
as one to expose Government
love affair with Capitalism to
stop back door investment in
foreign economic prosperity at
expense of American livelihood
of We The People--protest Made
In China on doorstep of sneaker
makers empire--to hell with NBA
prosperity of Basketball Brigade--
boycott at Gates of God--show
solidarity by canceling need  
to spend money on status symbols
rooted in alienation of class & caste
in America--We must stand as one
joined by likeness denied by social
empowerment that favor 2%
prosperity to preserve the future of
Founding Fathers in these United States
with one flag that bleeds red white & blue
then burn to banish Confederate allegiance
predicated on history of regional alienation
fostered by hypocrisy that compromise
morality upheld by blind demagogues
& silent voices cultivated as blessing for
ruling class in this country to hear no evil
see no evil—who notice nothing unusual

about selling America to foreign investment

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas, USA  

https://jerosser.com/about

 

 

 

Couple At The Wok [poem from the soon to be released novel

'Silly Rabbit & Honey Bunny Seventies Adventure']

 

Main Street to Las Vegas Boulevard

Downtown always around the corner from

Fremont Street--local lore inside border of

Charleston & Bonanza--Ogden-to-Bruce--

at corner of--Bridger & The Strip--gentleman

with lady--sit at corner table--view of sidewalk

& street on other side of glass--inside The Wok

without menu gentleman orders chicken chow

mein with noodles--shrimp egg foo yong--egg

flower soup with green tea while lady looks

at menu—waitress recommend sharing order--

gentleman--enough for two--I won’t pig-out--

promise with smile—matched by her—

high-cheeks grin--Ummm--egg flower soup is

good--him--my favorite Chinese place--its all

good--just so you know--I like your new look--

lady--thank you--took two days to notice--

I guess--that’s a compliment--her tone playful--

gentleman--I was just getting used to it--that

cute baby face--bangs with curtain of auburn

hair--yeah--I like it--like it a lot--her--using

charm on me--shame on you--you know I

blush easily--head down--chin touching

chest--he chuckles--she reacts with laughter

he--extend fork full of chow mein noodles—

across table for waiting mouth--inside ear

to ear grin--she opens up for entry--Ummm—

that was romantic--from you--the hard edge

one--him--I feel Real Men Don’t--breathing

down my neck--letting  a little thing like you—

affect big guy like me--this way--her--oh my—

mymy--he can be cute & manly--him--once

a year it happens--on special occasion--

don’t get any ideas--her--you will not get away

with once a year with me--open up--he eats

shrimp egg foo yong--from fork in hand

extended from across the table--him--Ummm--

taste better from your plate—gentleman licks his lips--

lady blushing is charming--cute couple inside The Wok

 

 

j.e. Rosser

 

Las Vegas, USA  

 

https://twitter.com/Rosser_Reader

 

https://jerosser.com/about

 

 

 

It Was My Mistake

 

Too many un-necessary words

From one meaningless thought

In a matter of seconds

I alone, depleted a lifetime

Of all the things I sought

 

The most many Damn consequences

Of not minding my own God-Damn businesses

 

You can always blame the dirt on the rake

But it was my mistake 

 

What goes up

Must go down

The sound of my jaw

With my negative sounds

 

Yet

There is nothing so pleasant

Like a sociable lunching

Yet

There is a lot to be said

About isolation and self destruction

 

All I had to do

Was keep my trap shut

 

For a minute or two

But you know me

It is a task I can not do

 

So smart to listen

And let the other ones talk

Just pretend that you’re listening

Relax and let your brain take a walk

 

Just listen and keep them on the ropes

Think I can do that?

Nope

 

In retrospect

With all due respect

You’re heading into trouble till

You learn keep your mouth still

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Jewish Chick At The Bar

 

at Las Vegas intersection of New York

& Memphis--Jewish chick & Black guy

meet in ‘74--she--Dad’s precious pumpkin

spoiled city girl--he--Momma’s boy baby

broad shouldered Air Force mechanic--if

she is less impressed with him only manners

stop her from showing it--he lights cigarette

at bar seated next to her--she views him in

periphery glance ignoring his presence in fore

ground of weekend scene at Golden Nugget

casino Downtown on Fremont Street--Jewish

chick not Las Vegas vixen--more Earth Child

minus makeup in jeans with cotton embroidered

blouse her ginger mane of curls mid-back in length

leave impression she might have a little hippy in her

the oddity of contrast--salon fingernails polished

candy apple red leave impression of vanity as

pampered plainness more Nevada than Las Vegas

Black guy--celebrity double Jackson 5 Jermaine

with goatee same afro dressed in faded jeans &

denim shirt--he downs a shot of whiskey--grab

bottle of beer--she sips martini on rocks--he

notice her need for light when Jewish chick

place cigarette from pack in purse between

parted lips--Black guy reach for match to

assist her--she smiles a blush of a smile

with glint in green eyes--provoke

reciprocal grin from him--speechless

they look at each other  she says

a gentleman at the bar—can you

believe it--he says--not a problem

so what are you drinking …

have one on me 

 

 

j.e. Rosser

          

Las Vegas, USA

         

https://twitter.com/Rosser_Reader

           

https://jerosser.com/about

 

 

 

A Perfect Storm
 

I would like to be a part of you

The wind, the rain, the heart of you

Let us give it a try

A weather or not report

Under partly cloudy eyes

 

Promises are not worth the lies they are spoken on

I’ve heard mine and you’ve heard yours

In the raging ocean let us chart another course

 

Your loveliness

My loneliness

May become togetherness

 

Let’s begin where we were born

In a perfect storm

 

Many times I’ve gone to places

Where I knew I did not belong

The red flags of curtains flying

In a melody short of song

 

If I have a chance in Hell

It’s going to be with you

Maybe we can navigate between the false  and the true

 

A shadow of a life was I

Till you came passing thru

I can’t be me

Unless you’re with me too

 

I’ll bring some pride

You bring some joy

You will be my doll

And I will be your toy

 

We should come thru

A perfect storm

That is where we live

That is where we belong

 

Everyone should come out of the wind and the rain

But when you get inside you will find that it is all the same

Nothing lasts forever

Get it while you can

Don’t matter if you’re a lonesome hobo

Or a family man

 

So

 

What are you thinking and why?

I’ll wait for you answer

Under a stormy sky

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

On Top Of The Blue List
 

Clueless

Shoeless

On top of the blue list

Half dead

Code blue and red

Bored to tears

Drowning in fears

I will not be the one

You want to keep near

 

But I’ll learn you a lesson or two

What it means to be seen right thru

And how to face questions and eyes

When you can’t come up with alibies

 

The trick is not

To not care

The trick is to pretend

You’re not even there

 

Now

Would you believe me

If I bought you a drink or two

Would you need me

If I don’t

Or I do

Don’t matter

I don’t care

When the bill comes

I’ll pretend I’m not there

 

Had a family

Once or twice

Cold as the sun it was

Sometimes hot as ice

But I never had the family flare

Most of the time

No

All of the time

I wasn’t even there

 

So you see

I’ll live by my wit

Can’t you tell

That I don’t give a shit

 

Take your time

While I fix my hair

When you come up with the answer

I won’t be there

But here is the twist

You can always find me

On top of the blue list

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

You Had Me At Goodbye

 

All the things you left behind

Your toothbrush, your pillow, where you would rest your restless mind

The books you wrote, and read out loud

The way you couldn’t blend in with the crowd

 

A dog and cat still wait by the door

Your last pair of socks still lying on the floor

I remember you saying when you were just thirteen

You knew you would always walk with a melancholy sheen

 

Some call it shadows that disappear in the fog

Sir Winston Churchill called it, “His black dog”

 

I am more than deadly serious

We almost had a near life experience

 

I’ll still feel the same wind and breeze

But my head on your shoulder gave me my peace

 

All the wars we could have won

All the memories we could have done

 

They say time heals

It doesn’t

They say it was all a dream

It wasn’t

I still don’t know the what or why

But

You had me at goodbye

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Forward Thinking

 

When I think of green energy

I think of fast cars

I think of how you cared

About climate change

And Planet Mars

Then you took action

A step forward

Many aren't bothered to do

They don't possess extraordinary minds

Visionaries change the world

Intellectual and creative

A challenge

A quest

Something I do best

Are we being penalized

For being overachievers?

For working ourselves

Into an early grave 

All to enhance humanity

Along our journey

Along our way

Evil minds

Look for corruption

In people who achieve

Crucify them in the media

Make them the one’s to blame

He's the only one 

Stepping forward

To fix this oversight

Visionaries aren't tax- preparers

They drown in fiscal details

Forward Thinkers

That's who you want to blame?

If you made a fortune

From your sweat and toil

Would you feel ashamed?

There will always be people wealthier than you

Alas we point the finger

Shame on you.

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA




My Favorite Planet

 

Millions of miles away,

A planet with rings stands in my midst,

Opulent in every way.

Majestic, it sits near Jupiter

A planet full of gases,

Inhabitable to man.

It has several moons,

Titan is the one I'd choose.

Saturn's moon is where I'd roam,

Where I'd call home.

Yes, I'd visit my friends on Mars.

A recluse by nature,

I'd be elated to be on my own.

The solar system,

Majestic and wise,

Takes the world by surprise.

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA


 

 

Visions

 

Can you look me in the eye,

Never tell me a lie?

Can you love me forever and always,

Even when the skies are grey?

Will, you read poetry to me,

You know that dries my tears,

And calms my fears.

Falling asleep with you by my side,

The sound of your heartbeat as I lay upon your chest

Lulls me into a dreamy sleep.

Are you real,

Or are you my greatest mirage?

Are you an invention of my mind

Designed to help me through the darkest of times?

Most people's minds would have split in two,

My mind simply dreams of you

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA

 

 

 

Fire

 

Fire in my veins

Embers in my eyes

A willing heart

Never defies

Master your circumstance

Devise your plan

Walk straight 

Out of hell

Back to your utopian land

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA


 

 

Stardust

 

I am born of stardust

Bright warmth

And full of light

Similar to the stars

I radiate energy

To guide you home

I possess an inner fire

That won't quit

Embers keep 

My fiery eyes lit

I won't recede 

Or fall away

Full of sharpness

And wit

Blunt but truthful

Strong and gentle

I am stardust and light

Green energy

Clean and bright

Always ready

To take up the plight

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA

 

 

 

Infidelity

 

You're first offence

Knocked me off my feet

It took a week of living apart

To fight my way through

Not to say

We were through

If there were

To be a second indiscretion

I'd need a lifetime

Away from you

To heal my soul

Through and through

For I deserve

More than you

 

 

Elena Ruiz

 

New York City, USA

 

 

 
Going

 

I’m going

To eventually

Catch a flight

But I don’t know

Which gate

 

I do know

No matter how much

I oversleep

I won’t be late

 

I’m going

On a trip

That is long

Or short overdue

The same shall apply

To you and to you

 

I’m going

To get

To put it on cruise control

I’m going to get a new haircut

I’m going to get a new soul

 

For the same money

I could believe there is a Hell

But for the same price

This for me

Works out well 

 

My only concern

Is leaving a mess

Death can be embarrassing

Even at its best

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

My Nanay.jpeg

Image supplied by Leeau V.I. to accompany her poem 'My Only Nanay' [see below]

My Only Nanay

 

Nanay was born

the superwoman we knew

offering her might

through thick and thin

such extreme suffering

she stood sturdily on her feet

 

shakily

she struggled to raise us

six angels of different ages

 

in what manner?

sewing dresses by paddling her tailoring machine

day and night

 

a bloodstream

no one can imagine!

 

her only trusted friend was a bottle of wine

 

in her strenuous grip

fringed by nightfall

she whispered miseries

hardship and anguish

to nothingness!

 

was the bottle of wine her sole confidante?

did anyone heed her cries?

 

 

Leeau V.I.

 

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

 

They Call Her Joy

 

her name is Joy
so they call her Joy
but she herself doesn’t know
what joy really means

 

she enjoys singing,
imitating the singer she likes the most
but gets distressed
when out of tune

she fears for her future
that she'll vanish unsatisfied

in her 40s she works the days through
because she only wants the best
for her children

she acts fine for you and I
wrapping in secret the darkness she keeps

 

thrown into a foreign district
far from her comfort zone
she’s learning to adapt with all her might
but some make her unwelcome

her mom named her Joy
the only joy of her own miserable past
but misery still flows through the family veins

 

at times she fancies a wealthy life
to make her world go round

 

 

 

Leeua V.I.

 

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

    

Joe, A Good Friend

 

I grew up in a forsaken village

a rose firmly guarded by thorns

blindfolded and naïve

where life-teachings were rigid and stiff

 

when they thought I’d bloomed

they picked me out like a vibrant rose

 

sent to adulthood

I lacked goals and scared easily

I learned only slowly how to get a grip

I didn’t know what to value most

 

in my second college year

a confidante called ‘Ate’

showed me the world

life became easier

days turned happier

I imagined fixed things

and gripped them tightly

but the time came to separate

go different ways

Ate went to the south

and I only halfway south

soon Ate met her better half

and I like a rose was left alone in a vase

 

I wilted for years

falling, like petals off a flower

 

but God is kind

he heeded my lamentation

he picked me out, put me safe

he gave me Joe, a good friend

a person to love

the person I deserve

God is great!

 

 

Leeau V.I.

 

Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

The Last Time I Saw Paris

 

According to the poets

This is how it ended: the tall towers

still ablaze, me struggling in my husband’s arms

as he dragged me to the waiting galleys.

I yearned, they say,

to join my love among the dead, to drown myself

in the sea - which was of course wine-dark.

 

In reality, Troy had become tedious.

As I stepped distastefully around the corpses,

I reflected that Paris would not have aged well.

I didn’t even mind when Menelaus

Whispered to me: “You understand

This was all about politics. For you,

I would not have launched a fishing boat.”

 

Back here in Sparta, life is bearable.

There is a young envoy from Corinth

who is pleasing to the eye…

 

Oh, and by the way,

I don’t think there were all that many ships.

 

 

David Whippman

 

Blackpool, England

 

 

 

Bedsitter Blues

 

The room and I did not choose each other:

Circumstances have shipwrecked me here

In this shaped vacancy which seems

Geometrically indifferent to my needs,

Uncomfortable as new shoes. Reluctantly

I unpack, stick posters on walls, the banners

Of an occupying army. Now I must wait

As if to be rescued. In time, the room

Will contain friends, be warm on winter nights,

Acceptably surround me as the radio sings

Of possible relationships. By the time I leave

This space will be a perfect fit for me.

 

 

David Whippman

 

Blackpool, England

 

 

 

 

My Mask

 

For special effect

I was born with a birth defect

My birth certificate

With not quite a face that fit

 

Very not quite

Very not right

 

I learned to take it

But failed the test

Inside I was smart

Outside?

Not at my best

 

Even thou better than many

In public

Still hurting plenty

 

Born with a jaw so out of whack

It looked like it went thru a Martian attack 

People not only stopped and stared

They got on their knees lit a candle and said a prayer

 

Then they went on their way as I went on mine 

Same scene different time 

 

In school so cruel

Not only them

But I was a fool

Owning my condition at that point

Was a useless mantra repetition

 

Learning to take it

Learning to make it 

 

A pandemic at last

I had a simple task

To purchase a mask

A mask to adore

My mask that I wore

My sexy cover up and wow

My accented blue eyes 

How do you like me now?

 

Keep it going

Keep the vents flowing  

 

Well, that is so wrong

But when ye have been singing my song

Bewilderment screws with right and wrong

 

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

My Last Address

 

Before you come to

The end of your earth

Look back

To what you thought was your worth  

 

You have found in this world

This is the deal 

You never know what you’ll get

When you pull whatever over

And see what is behind the wheel

 

Between the heights  of joy

And the depths of fear

On the train to your last stop

Sit in the front and not in the rear 

 

All the good things in my life

Slowly never did last

At the end of it all

I only ask

How I got here so fast?

 

Around the corner 

Thru the avenue

Turns the pages

Till at least page two

Have a step

In my shoes

Now give them back

They were not made for you

You can wear them again

When you’re done thru and thru

 

Ain’t no use denying. At this stage of age

It’s the groceries and the writing

That fill my  page

After I jerk off

I’m glad I’m alone

I like going steady and being faithful

With my pen and my bone

Well

We all choose

Where we will roam

 

At end of the thicket

One mans bucket list

Is another man’s fuck it

 

I was a good looking  kid 
I didn’t know it at the time

I say that with a smile

Because I won’t know what I have right now

Till I look back in a while

 

This could be my last summer

If it is that’s great

If it ain’t

Even better

I am bereft of complaints

 

All I have lifted

All I have dropped

All will be forgotten

At my last stop 

 

Maybe a window by a big dog park? 

 

In my shallow ridges

And deep valleys

No one can follow thru

When you burn your bridges

The last one I fired

I dedicate to you 

 

Before I came to this crossing

I was the boss

I dotted all the Is

But the ts were not crossed

 

 

So

Give me sunshine

Or give me moonshine

Just don’t waste

My un-precious or my time

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Aling Deliah

 

Blackcap, blue facemask, pink long sleeves shirt, ebony gloves,

Wooden pushcart, aqua green bins covered with big black trash plastics bags and walistingting,

She sweeps around this corner at three in the morning.

She sorts out the garbage nabubulok at di nabubulok,

‘Are you always alone at this hour?’

‘You don’t have a companion?’ I ask.

‘I had. She's sick with Covid. So, I am alone now.’

Street sweeper

 

 

Zea Perez

Philippines

 

 

Wish You Were Not Here

 

It took a second

To fall in love with you

And a million years

To not get over you too 

 

You are taking up

Quite a bit

Of real estate

In my head

I mortgaged my soul to you

You could at least now

Pay some of my rent too 

 

One step up the stairs

Is your first name

The next step your last 

Get what I am driving at 

Replete

Repeat

Oh look, here comes the past 

 

Are not beginnings

So sweet and lovely

So nice

To start out winning

Until the finishing 

 

I reckon

Since I was the one

Left behind

I only remember the good times  

Since I was the one

Left for good

I should ponder the bad times 

I wish I could   

 

I even loved your stupid family

Even though they made fun of me 

Your brother gave me a haircut

During his freshman year at beauty  school that was so fucking bad

I told him it was the best haircut I had ever had

 

You were my last lifeboat 

In my raging sea

But a  couple of seafaring years down the road

And it looked like your eyeballs were going to explode 

 

The thing of it all that allows me to come up and breathe

Is that by the end of my third acts I make it by the skin of my teeth

 

Oh well

 

Everything has its shelf-life 

Everyone has their span

And their ain’t no difference

Between beast, woman or man 

 

The very bottom line you see

Is two eyes, a nose and a mouth

And every beast, woman and man 

Just wants to be happy

 

Maybe that includes me

 

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Say Something Funny

 

Been a bad day

Like the day before

And the day before that

Let me sit in your living room

With your cat on my lap

Say something funny

You know I love you like that

 

Play your piano

If you hit a wrong key, I won’t make a fuss

And oh yeah

I’m sorry I never became rich and famous

Say something funny

It’s only the three of us

 

Dare to dream I did

Got to scream I did

Never got to play that special part

Got stuck in isle three

With an empty shopping cart

Say something funny

And say it from your heart

 

A smile from you

In the morning to start

Makes my day when you

Play that special part

Gets me going to do what I do again and again

Say something funny

Everything will be alright

Make my darkness shine bright

 

Well, it’s never too late 

To be a happy early bird

Would you like to live forever with me? 

Say something funny

Yes, is the word    

 

Your, our cat, is hungry and thirsty

And so am I, I mean we

Say something funny

As you look at me with those eyes

Say something funny

As we have our Martinis, ice cream, and pie 

 

I love you so much

I love being your guy 

Say something funny

While I dry my listening eyes

 

 

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

In Her Eyes

 

What no one knew is she had been through it, and at this point, she saw no reason to throw a fit.

 

She kept her secrets under a rug, what else could she do? Everyone did nothing but shrug.

 

She did everything she could, struggling in the silence. Who could she turn to? She grew up with no guidance.

 

Inspiring people of all ages even when her mind was wrapped in cages. Not even sage could cleanse all this rage that was kept beneath the rug in her brain.

 

When she spoke, she choked on almost every word, pouring out what she felt, praying for hope.

 

There was no drug, hug, and no one to blame she had been broken and excepted the pain.

 

Where does she go now? Who does she know? She continues to wake up every morning fighting the snow.

 

The world on her shoulders and life on her back, there’s a reason she can’t afford the slack.

 

The rope pulls tight until it just hangs her clothes this is where she is…this is what she does.

 

 

 

Britanny Tarantino

 

South Carolina, USA

 

Manila - The Haven And The City

 

Inside the room: Morning Chimes and Stirrings

 

Pandan scent

conquers the room

at the tick of a rice cooker

 

A crackling

in a pan, frying

sunny-side-up eggs

 

A ping

signals ‘all done’

in a bread toaster

 

A clap

from a heater

telling ‘boiling water is ready!’

 

A spoon

stirring in a blue cup

fixing a creamy Barako coffee

 

A fan

lightly humming

beguiling the air

for a cool morning

 

Piano masterpieces

of Makiko Hirohashi

playing, rejuvenating the senses

 

A laptop

clicking, clacking

declaring the start

of a hopeful, fruitful day

 

safe haven

cozy, quiescent

relaxing, reading, sleeping

the “me” universe, a sanctuary

the bedroom

 

respite

ivory white, shampoo scented

cleansing, reflecting, pondering

a place for eliminating toxins literally, figuratively

the comfort and shower room

 

a space of memories

tiny, orderly, functional

working, cooking, dining, talking

a small table and seats, a stove and a ref and wood cabinets for utensils

the premier room: our home

 

terrace

brown, wood-like floor tiles, ebony railings on the side

clambering grapevines coiling on clothesline pole

feathers of dove birds, brown, white and grey falling from the top floor

herbs, fern-like flowers and vegetables growing in recycled pots of plastic mineral water

a viewing corner of hollering trucks and cars, honking motorbikes, bellowing ambulance and patrol cars, peddaling bikes on the road

an oasis amidst the bustling city

 

Blue Cup

breakable earthenware

soothing, revitalizing, reviving

my companion every morning

coffee

 

 

 

Outside: The City’s Morning Buzzes

 

Maya birds chirping

freely perching on the grapevines

basking and adoring

the sunrise

 

A door

gently clicks

as it opens and closes

of an adjacent neighbor

 

A nasty whiff

the smell of nicotine

its vapor tarnishing

the air

 

The dogs

At the next block

hostile and snarling

echoing a ‘commotion’

 

Vehicles

all of various kind

lively running, horns bellowing

on the main street

 

Women

in baker’s apron

yelling as they open

the famous Gluten Pastry Shop

 

A metal gate squeaking

ushering a car

going out

somewhere

 

Church bells tolling,

greeting and praying

for the safety

of the flocks

 

Scurrying ambulance

fire trucks

and police cars

hollering, bellowing

 

A distant audible

TV news, broadcasting

close to a million Covid-19 Cases

nationwide

 

Working women in apron

lounging at the entrance of a sweet shop

telling jokes and chuckling with blue facemasks on

one asks, ‘Will you be having a vaccine?’

the other women merely blink their eyes.

 

Lone long black-haired lass

bought a kakanin, waiting for jeepney

in pink shorts, white tee, facemask and shield on

are her extremities all painted with moss like tattoos?

a fair young millennial in her sneakers

 

Three big tummy men

enjoying their break, chatting in distinct tone

tucking out their sando shirts, revealing fat bulges

One says, ‘I thirst for a drink of rum!”

The men howl, ‘Wish for no virus, wish for no lockdown!’

 

Law enforcers and tanods in uniform

Trafficking the road, ensuring quarantine rules

Delivery guy asks, ‘Is lugaw not an essential food?’ A tanod replies, ‘Not essential!’

Poor exhausted delivery guy went home with his cold lugaw

The netizens rage, ‘Lugaw is food! It is essential!’

 

Zea Perez

Philippines

Here They Come

 

The ones

You see coming

Are tougher

Than the ones that come

Sudden and stunning

That kind of shock

Would crush a rock

But it’s over real soon

The far away ones

That you see like a full moon

By the time they arrive

You have already

Lost your hide

 

Fast or slow

Which is better

What speed should

They come and go 

 

I slowly waked down the hall

Opened a door

My innocent intention

Was just to settle a score

But when I  got in

There was a freeze

In my brain

I planned it so long

I must have over-trained

Fast and loose

Like a runaway caboose

 

Things come and go

Only difference

Is fast or slow 

 

I have run

I have rendered

I have won

I have surrendered

All I remember

Was the speed

That it started

And ended   

 

I’ll try to figure it out

A little more

Remember when people

Looked you in the eye

Real slow

And then faster a bit some more

 

Slow motion

Or

Locomotion

In our own time

We all crawled out of the same ocean   

 

You don’t have to see it coming

If it’s inside of you humming

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

All The People    

 

If you try real hard

You still can not see them in the air

But they are still there 

If you try real hard

You can not hear them right there

Hey

I never said

It is fair

 

All the people and pets

That loved you

Before they died 

Still stay by your side

 

I once had a blind cat

A true love was he 

I now know

That now he can see 

You see him with me?  

 

All the people and pets

That loved you before they died

Did not travel that far

They have your ear and eye

You are still on their radar

 

I twice had a wife 

Both are through

But I know

I am still sleeping

With number two

 

 

All the people and pets

That loved you

Before they died

Are still here for the ride

Are still here when you slip and slide

 

I had a child

A lovable wild child

Running wild

Was here one day

Then the next

Not on file

There is he now

He is the one with the smile

Like they have all the while  

 

All the people and pets

That loved you

Before they died

Wait for you to join them

Wait right by your side

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

Morning Traffic

 

This morning, from my bedroom window view,

I watched a dog sniff down my garden path.

He did not know I watched him as he tasted

The red camellia blossom that he bit in half.

Then he licked the morning dew

From several blades of grass,

And with glancing eyes and shifting paws,

He jumped aside to let a caterpillar pass.

Excited by the sidewalk sounds,

He turned to watch, unabashed,

The parade of morning leashes

With captive dogs attached.

Then, with stately canine grace,

He turned around and left the place.

 

 

William Masters

 

San Francisco, USA

 

 

 

 

The Sunset Window

 

When the sun gradually edges down,

bright red-orange rays,

shall gander on this glass window

the horizon shall welcome the dusk to come

gradually clasping the darkness.

To wrap up the day,

this window never fails

to regale me vignettes

of tales around.

 

In late evenings

and sometimes at dawn,

this window makes me notice

the husband of a neighboring couple;

smoking silently on the balcony

filling the air with its nasty nicotine

vapors beckoning his fairy slumber

work and life must be tough?

His fume goes insidiously

thru the window

tearing inside the house

slithering into my nose

stifling my breath

I pray his fairy to come quickly

and usher him to sleep.

At midmornings

I see this pretty wife

humming to a love song

sang by Regine Velasquez

while she hangs dry their freshly washed clothes

to this line pole;

the pole where the grapevines

stoutly creep around during summer.

The wife must have empty

this fabric conditioner

a Sampaguita scent

conquering the air with its whiff

intoxicating my nasal senses

inebriating all our corners

sousing even straight up into my bed.

 

On some occasions

this window offers me

snatches of Roe’s older sister,

having sweet moments,

with her boyfriend,

whispering inaudible voices,

and little muffled laughs

sometimes,

I sense of livid silence

perhaps a lover’s quarrel?

 

Yet this window

has a darling tale of Roe

a dear neighbor

who takes images of the sunset each day,

who gathers her dry,

washed garments every fourth night

an almond-eyed lass,

so lurid at seventeen,

she tells me snippets

of her online classes

that Algebra is her mess

and how she saves a dime

paying this pricey internet

other times,

she delights me with tales

of her mom’s work in a foreign land

where she takes care of kids

like Roe’s age.

Or how her mom instils discipline

through phone messages and calls.

Roe studies hard

because she tells me

she has a dream

a dream of a better life

where she can take care of her mom

and her mom is home to take care of them.

Roe will cook Pinakbet for her,

and at chilly nights, 

Roe shall secure her lovingly with a bandana

until she gets old.

 

 

Zea Perez

 

Philippines

 

 

 

We

 

I am walking

In the midnight air

Remembering the times

You would let me climb your stairs

A raven is flapping

High on a tree

Do you ever

Ever think of me?

 

I am moving up

A sunlit lane

We would watch the rain

From your window pane
Fish float

As they sleep in the sea

Would you consider

Maybe a friendly

Cup of tea? 

 

You’re the one

That was my light

The only one

That

Lasted more than

One night

Here I go

Causing my own fuss

Is it

Crazy

To still think of us?

 

We have

More yesterdays

Than tomorrows true

I don’t want

To get older

With someone new

Get me a time machine

Get me the past

Or should I

Just hoist my mast?  

 

Well

Here comes the anchor

I am sailing away

And that is that

I’ll put down

When I get to where I am at someday

And why should I complain?

Oh, I know why

For your love

I’m as blind as a bat

 

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

Two On The Aisle

 

A snake

And a dove

Walked towards the kingdom of love

That’s what some of the bile

Was said

Referring to me and my future wife

Walking down the aisle 

 

They told her father

What surely would come 

You’re not losing a daughter

You’re gaining a bum 

 

They saw clear thru me

Like a dirty piece of glass

They were concerned about her future

And leery of my past

If a tornado stopped the wedding

It would be an invited blast 

 

I did have a few fans in her family

Only because they were worse than me

 

We don’t how it happened

But we stuck together

I’m certainly not saying

There was no stormy weather

All our dreams

With us aboard

Set sail 

I even managed

To stay out of jail

 

It all became a happy steady course

Most of the wedding party

By that time were divorced

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

Survival

 

I lay in my bed

As I run in my head

My survival

Has been nothing more

Than a tired road show revival

My look is not presidential

My failures have not been accidental 

 

Like you and all

I like to self-destruct

Like you and all

I like playing in the muck

 

I don’t want to get involved

I don’t want to get hurt

My acts of kindness

Come in spurts

 

Most of the time

I waste time

Counting up what is mine 

And what is yours 

And how low

I have climbed

 

Inch by inch

Step by step

I choose the wrong

Things to regret

I take nothing accomplishments

And give them too much respect

 

I don’t need to fly

I’m ok just getting by

Take my pride

I offer it to survive

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

All The Things I Left Behind

 

When I want to run and hide

From myself

And the junk inside

I remember the things

I left behind

The pillow

As a boy where I would rest my mind

My night light

My toys

My books

Outgrowing my shoes

When they became too tight

I miss these things

Like a plant misses light

In the middle of the day

In the center of the night

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

Love And War

 

All is fair

In love and war

If you do your shopping

In an empty store

 

Look out your window

And see what is fair

How can you argue with a world

That just doesn’t care

 

 

Oh sure, you can plan every move

Like an officer, and not a gentleman

Let’s see which one could be more uncouth

 

 

You heard I’m banging your sister? 

She has nice hair

Haven’t you also heard

It’s all fair   

 

I remember a  time

When people at least pretended

To give a fuck 

Now we have the lottery

For just one buck

 

After a bout of darkness

After wiping off my lips the kiss of death

Maybe there is somewhere later

I could rest and take a breath 

 

Then again, and again.

 

There is nothing as nice as meeting you

For a middle of the night touch

Why do we feel guilty

For having too little

Or having too much

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

No More Valentine’s Day

 

No more flowers for me today

no more sweets,

no chocolates

Will I keep on

loving this solitude

and air of cold weather?

Will I stay on

hearing this insipid

sound of peddling bikes

and running cars?

Will I get accustomed

to this monochromatic horizon?

Will it take longer

for me to bear

these rain clouds

of February?

A looming crisis

is still coming

No glimpse of let-up yet

with pandemic lockdown

No face-to-face classes

no mass gathering

no friends coming

no flowers,

no chocolates

no sweet notes

on this Valentine’s Day.

 

Zea Perez

Philippines

 

 

Old

 

I like being

Home alone with my teeth out

It’s your problem

If I resemble a pre-historic trout

You can unlike me

Always get out

 

I like looking back                                                                                                                                       

And see what I have done

I like calling someone sometime

Young Lady or my son

 

I listen to these old songs

That you think are crap

I, on the other hand, even like rap    

 

I have not home-owners insurance

I am a renter

I meet women

At the senior center

My car is a bus

My health is a bust 

 

My coffee mate is Coffee Mate

The packs with the nice strips

I use to have coffee with my cat

But he jumped ship 

 

It isn’t such a question of getting out there

I guess we all could use some fresh air

But life is so un-fair

I think I’ll stay in here 

 

I have dodged many life hatchets

Keeping my head from the baskets

Still I could hang myself up

Like I would a pair of pants

I don’t think anyone would be interested

In the circumstance

Keep your eyes on my feet

And spy my last dance 

 

Then again 

 

This leads to this and this leads to that

I think all I need

Is a gimmie shelter cat.

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

Poet’s Heart

 

Why am I cursed with a poet's heart?

Every pain multiplied to me,

Why am I cursed with an artist's eye?

Every ruin too beautiful to see.

 

Why am I cursed with a poet's heart?

My tears be flowing a sea,

Why am I the one who feels this,

Pain too simple to see?

 

My artist's eye sees the sadness

The one you hide in your eyes,

And I curse my poet's heart cause,

It is a poem to me.

 

 

Anne Silva

 

Kandy, Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

Back from Spain

 

Black clouds, white clouds

Skating over grey-blue sky

Making moving pictures.

Patterns merging, moulding,

Ever changing metaphor

Of life.

 

The garden ripens

With the waiting Autumn’s fruits

Among the green-leafed trees,

A plethora of colour -

Reds, pinks, purples,

Yellows, whites and blues

Of multitudes of flowers,

Upturned heads

Worshipping the whispering rain.

A dozen shades of shrub

Shiver in the breeze

In an English garden,

On an English day.

 

“Look at the mountains

soaring high above the sea,”

they said. I looked.

Where nothing grew,

I knew

They hadn’t seen the bloom

Of heather on the Moors,

The verdant, grass-blessed Dales.

They hadn’t walked the Aysgarth

Paths, or watched in wonder at

the life-force

of

A waterfall

Cascading

To an ambling stream.

Their blue sky, never changing

Seared my eyes.

Their desert held no promise

For my soul,

Only pity

For their “beauty”

Made so bare.

 

 

Jackie Hales

 

Yorkshire, England

This Little Corner Of Mama S

 

Did fate bring me to you, Mama S?

I seem to find serenity

just looking at you

relishing your humble space

in this little corner of the world

where babies

are blissfully born

by their mothers

hushing their cries

touching

smiling

so vibrant and reassuring

 

Did the sun,

the moon, and the stars

feel the same way I felt?

confoundment

and exultation

Will I be like you

a contented septuagenarian?

Can I also hush a baby’s cry;

with my touch and smile?

 

Can I hold you now, Mama S?

I seem longing for a mother’s touch,

Pandemic and lockdowns

get hard and tougher

my soul more than ever

needs a hush

Can you illuminate me

the ramifications of life and living?

Can I be your daughter for a day?

 

 

Zea Perez

 

Philippines

 

 

 

FAMILY

She was a family girl

He had none

He liked the rain

She liked the sun

The more he pushed back

Them more she would run

To him 

 

She loved horses

He gave them apples

But would never ride 

He let it all out

She kept it all inside

Except for him

 

So

 

You know what they say

Opposites attack

Never mind that

They got it on track 

 

And for a bit

No love did they lack 

 

There are a million reasons

But only one stirs a pout

Who really knows why

It doesn’t work out

 

So

 

They looked for answers

High and low

All they could come up with

Was I don’t know

 

So

 

They kept in touch

Through out the years 

They could have been

Each others careers 

 

But

 

They closed up shop

After every juggled ball dropped

 

Her family still liked him

And his persistence

Just as long

It was from a distance

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

Tell

Tell the words of of your song

That you did nothing wrong  

Find someone that wants to listen

You don’t know what you’re missing 

 

But

You have got to remember this

Sell your song as you would sell a kiss

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

Today

           

Today I make take me off the shelf                                                                                                                 

Today I may spend some time liking myself

Today perhaps I won’t stare at my face

Today a temporary honorary member of the human-race 

 

Let us take a walk, me and me and see where we roam

Let us be together instead of all alone

Let us see how long it takes to get out the door

Let us do some window shopping and see what is in store

 

Maybe the distance between us is not that grand

Maybe we do share the same area code in the same land

Maybe I will stay outside for a while

Maybe today I find that elusive reason to smile

 

Going to see what happens after a few steps

Going to give myself a medal instead of a flag of regrets

Going to fondly remember all my past pets 

Going to remember holding hands with you watching sunsets

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

 

The Dead

 

There are more of us

Than more of you

Burned or buried

This will always be true

While you’re down there

Enjoy your stay

Think of delay

When you arrive

To claim your reward

You will wonder why

You were ever bored

It’s deader up here

Than down there

No sky in Heaven

Can replace a nice earth floor

 

There is too much air up here

Too much room to spare

Don’t like not being hungry

Don’t like not being thirsty

This Angel and her harp

Are playing in the wrong key 

 

I ran into one of my past pets

She said she was sorry

For yelling at me on the way to the vet

And despite all the trouble

She always looked at us

As a married couple

My new old pet

Made my old new eyes wet   

 

I asked if up here

All debts were cancelled

No more regrets

She said take another look

What did you expect?

I said I thought this was the land of divine

She said nothing is different

You keep what you get

And I keep mine

 

Then she vanished

I said oh. Well

I fell short of Heaven

I reside in Hell

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

 

A Sweet Tasteless Treat

 

5th of April 2020,

Day 22 of Enhanced Community Quarantine,

three billion people

are in Lockdown.

The world becomes a battlefield,

all are fighting an invisible enemy,

the Covid 19 virus.

 

She wakes up at 6 am.

Today is not an ordinary day.

She sits serenely on her bed,

checking her cellphone.

No faculty reminders,

no teaching notes.

School is on hold.

She types greeting phrases

and sends it.

 

Not minding for a reply,

she washes her face

and combs her hair.

A quick comfort

from the shower room

to lighten herself up.

 

She prepares to go somewhere.

Confirming she gets to bring the pass,

checking she gets to wear

her face-mask and shield.

Ensuring she gets the plastic bags.

She's now like-a warrior

going to a battlefield.

 

Off she goes to the main street.

Relishing the quietness

of the empty street

going to the market.

Keeping herself

not to come in contact

with anyone.

Observing social and physical distancing.

 

Now, she is saying hello

to the market vendor,

She gives the list of items to buy.

Careful, mindful not to get into unnecessary human contact.

A few more minutes and she got all she needed:

pork, veggies, and groceries.

 

She goes back home.

She now cleans and disinfects the bought items well,

she showers herself again.

Then she prepares to cook the pasta, veggies,

meat, and sweets.

Singing.

When all the dishes are done,

she smiles with satisfaction.

The sweetest beautiful smile she can ever have.

 

 

Then she takes photos

of the treat she made

and sends it.

Her virtual gift,

A tasteless treat,

attempting to reconcile

physical distance

of the pandemic times.

That feeling of longingness,

a longing of togetherness,

a mother feels

to be with her one

and only beloved daughter

on her birthday.

 

 

Zea Perez

 

Philippines

 

 

 

Big Dog Training

 

we’ve taken her

to the big dog training group

for the first time.

 

it’s in a church hall

with, depending on your view,

 very little or enormous evidence of God.

 

the trainer snarls

at us

as if he, too, is a big dog.

 

he’s suspicious and

even more so when I tell him

our dog’s name is Brute.

 

we like poodles.

“Brute?” the trainer says.

that’s all,

 

doesn’t

have to say more,

because the expression

 

on his cloudy face

says it for him.

he tries to talk us

 

out of joining big dog club.

we insist Brute has outgrown

small dog club.

 

he thinks for a minute,

then his face lights up.

sort of.

 

there’s a club

that’d be perfect

for us he says,

 

run by a Mrs Guest

for

intermediate dogs.

 

Brute barks to show she

doesn’t like being thought of as

an intermediate dog.

 

we dig our heels in

and against his better judgement

the trainer lets us stay.

 

we feel victorious,

despite the nearby sneers of those with

bigger dogs than Brute.

 

until Brute has

an accident that the trainer

steps in.

 

“Out!” he yells.

but we

were already gone.

 

and if such a thing

was possible,

Brute was grinning.

 

 

Wayne Dean-Richards

 

Sandwell, West Midlands, England

 

 

Saunter Through the Rain 

 

A Friday morning started to lose its light as the old time clock just passed six. Spencer flipped the ironed collars flat down on his conservative clothing. 

 

He wondered that morning if that one song by The Beatles would play when he walked past the record store, if the fourth lamp post on Hawkins Street would turn on first instead of the sixth, if he would talk to Michael or Sam or Leah that day at work. 

 

But instead, his delirious thoughts led him outside on his drenched driveway. The rain pummelled down in bullet shapes, setting the sombre mood. It smeared the street’s with puddles, the air a grey haze. 

 

Spencer took in a deep breath, sighing at the unsatisfactory stench of pure dirt. Spencer’s umbrella was already sheen with water.

 

Ambient white noise was all he could hear as the shower poured across Quantico. Spencer began briskly squelching across the road. A wisp of unwelcoming wind polished the trees with a saturated musk which Spencer admired. 

 

A completely absurd decision was made by Spencer as he discarded of his only protection and shelter. Snapping his head to the sky, the water became a living blanket, the clouds lurked in his sight like savage, rabid murderers cascading their victims onto Spencer. 

 

His steps came to a stop as he furrowed his brows. Everywhere he looked, there he was, in a monochromatic funeral themed party of torrent downpour and despair. 

 

Like he was being invited to a romanticised heaven by the devil.


 

 

Maeve Luka

 

Manchester, England

 

 

 

 

A Shopping List And Lowry

 

my eye is drawn to Flowers in a Window:

the regularity of the bricks,

and no one inside looking out.

 

meanwhile my head begins the list:

of groceries to be got

for the life lived.

 

in Going to the Match,

the game’s a magnet:

droves drawn in.

 

always the basics:

bread and milk,

eggs and cheese, greens and tea.

 

in The Bedroom, Pendleton,

the bars at the foot of the bed,

are reminiscent of jail.

 

mustn’t forget rice,

pasta, salt, flour,

and Heinz Baked Beans.

 

the smoky sky of Peel Park:

a series of smudges,

achingly real.

 

don’t !

forget!

toilet rolls!

 

in Industrial Landscape: so many chimneys,

but church spires too, and Lowry’s words on the wall,

saying there was no ‘message’.

 

cleaning products:

cloths and bleach,

some spray to clean the shower.

 

in Coming from the Mill,

a machine orchestra plays unheard,

heads bend, men retreat as if on invisible wires.

 

oh,

and a TV guide,

why not?

 

‘Had I not been lonely...’ he said,

more of his words there on the wall:

LS himself.

cat food,

8,

or 9 tins.

 

at the Lowry museum it’s free to get in,

but they ask for a donation,

even give recommended amounts.

 

there’ll be a bill,

bags,

a regulation wonky trolley.

 

coming out, the world feels changed:

Man Laying on a Wall one I remember,

then do.

 

Wayne Dean-Richards

Sandwell, West Midlands, England

 

 

People Person

 

I’m a people person

Till you close the curtain

I’ll be there for you for sure

Till I close the door

Out there I’m brave

In my room I’m afraid

It’s not me it’s you

Look what you made me do 

 

I’m ok when someone is looking

When I’m not being watched

Nothing is cooking

 

You think I don’t know?

I don’t go with the flow

Trust me, I know  

 

Outside I make the grade

Inside I’m a slave   

 

But

With you all is possible

Without you mission impossible   

But you will not be here for long

When you realize the meaning of my song 

 

I’m a friend till the end

Till we reach the next bend 

And

Why should I listen to your advice?

Read from your pages?

Look at you

No love for ages

 

So

 

Don’t tell me how you are different from me

You only show me what you want me to see

I’ll gladly admit I am weak

It’s your risk if you want to take a peek  

My mountains are flat

And my roof is deep 

 

You think you’re better than me?

I’ll be the first and last to agree

 

But

I’m a real nice guy

Till I turn away when you cry

I don’t think for a minute

All I do is spin it 

I love the world and its glory

But I’m not part of its story  

 

A history of my suicidal thoughts run deep

 

Heading

Towards a future of a good nights’ sleep

 

Here comes that rainy day feeling again

Keep it coming and I’ll say when

 

How did I get so ruined and corrupt

Like everyone else

The baby steps add up

See you at the till

One day

Maybe you and I could share the bill  

 

But

I think I like your style

I’m just not sure

If you’re the symptom or the cure

 

Leadership or fellowship

Neither one has been my trip

 

I’m a really nice man

As long as you stay off my land

 

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

 

Decisions Decisions

 

I can’t decide to get it over with

I can’t decide to get it under with

Either way, my brain is a shiv non-stop

What winds up on the floor

Starts at the top

I can’t decide between a gun or a mop 

 

Decisions Decisions

 

Does it make a difference which way I turn?

It certainly won’t change the dim glow of my inner lantern 

If it’s all already written, can I still editorialize on my own?

I have a few thoughts out on a short-term loan 

My,” I surrender flag”, is being proudly flown

 

There is nothing wrong with a few bumps in the road

When you drop a few things to lighten your load

 

Decisions Decisions 

 

Who do I listen to?

And who do I don’t?

My own voice is sometimes water-logged

Right now, it won’t float 

 

Decisions Incisions

 

Sometimes I get on my knees

Lay my head on the bed

It is where I go to ask for things

That I could get for myself instead

But now and then we all need a hand

Even if the prescription is written in the sand 

 

Decisions Decisions

 

While we drag our burdens

Aloud the grievances we voice

The best decisions we make

Are the ones where we have no choice

 

 

 

Alan Berger

West Hollywood, California

 

Un-Spoken Words

 

Walking down the avenue

The wind wet and blowing

Do not know or care

Which direction going 

Why do we struggle with the flowing?

 

Walking so fast 

In the night-time gloom 

Falling in love

With impending doom 

 

Animals know it well

As clear as a bell

Alone or in a herd 

The bird is the word 

 

Walking so slow  

On the land and the sand

Who really wants to know?

The masters plan

 

Skipping down the lane

Of my mind’s boulevard  

Calling  for the things

I have not yet marred

 

Before it gets too dark

Take a walk in the park 

Maybe under a leaf

Maybe a spark

 

Even when your ideas

Are un-even and slurred

Nothing will beat

The un-spoken word

 

 

Alan Berger

 

West Hollywood, California