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Shadow Hand by Flange Melange

 

 

 

 

5 poems by David Sheldon

[Santa Rosa, California]

 

 

Storing The Sunlight

 

The earth has grown a winter beard.

The eyes are lost to us behind the fog.

We wait with our hats on,

peering into the dark, forgotten places

blessed by last summer’s storms.

 

Far away in the east,

a rooster wakes up the peasants.

Someone’s hand goes in search of a warm belly.

 

We sleep a little longer -

last night’s bookmark inches from its cocoon,

teetering on the nightstand like a shadowless sundial.

Next to it, a leftover gold wrapper from Christmas

storing the sunlight.

 

 

 

What We Lost

At one time, we had everything we needed within a square mile of our homes. When we misplaced our imagination, we walked to the local fortune teller, who traced out each line of destiny with utter sincerity. We enjoyed all of this but believed only in the guidance of our omniscient beings and those dimly lit estuaries of worship. We were acquainted with the northern lights in the sky and the heavenly light of our painters. We recovered our history at the butcher shop and grocery store, and in the isles of the feed store, our muscles awoke to the weight of a tool in our hands.

 

Sitting on sacs of seeds, we listened to people dressed in overalls - men who leaned on counters with toothpicks in their mouths and spoke of distant famines. We were farmers and one-room school teachers. We rode horses, reshaped our streets with shovels and carts pulled by oxen, wrote letters in a meticulous cursive script, and when we were lonely, the mailman invited himself in for a cup of coffee.

 

 

 

The Glittering Curtain Opens

 

I crouch down on a thick dock and wait. Buoyancy stretches out across the silver-tongued water. Where a family house had once been, I see a red silo storing old arguments. Remembering, I touch the love letter in my pocket and walk the empty streets late into the night - my Cinderella skirt keeping me company from the cold. Stopping to peer through a window, I startle upon my younger self, levitating in the middle of the room, suspended in gold light, courageously faultless with my wand. Walking away, it feels like the Fairy Godmother has pulled me through a narrow passage and left me laughing.

 

In the morning, I see them milling about outside my window, unsure as mice, colorful as pumpkins, as though they want to stop what they have wished for. And yet, I know what they do not, how the wide-ranging subjects get reduced over time. The focus of desire narrows and then narrows again until you find yourself in the imaginative arms of France, where a poetic man lightly inks the dusk of your repose.

 

Your chosen words are made of wood and grass, banked and lit by an evenhanded practice that keeps falling through a rain-soaked window like glittering declarations of midnight’s purse, spilling across the polished surface of a desk I have come to miss, guaranteeing my return.

 

 

 

Waiting

 

Once, there was a pistoned rhythm to us. We chased down metallic time. You could hear it rising above the train tracks, racing through the forest. Stories arrived through the fiery ink of a typewriter, lifting fibers on the page. In the modern world, words take the slightest pressure. Thought moves on too fast. What is and isn’t here, a fleeting taste on the tongue. Without the waiting, we have lost the stillness between here and getting there, there being a row boat out on a lake, here being the glide right of the mind.

 

The oars were in their locks,

raised and dripping wet, ready

for the plunge into deeper privacy.

 

I watched your hand trail into another time,

when arms were made for work.

You said these arms are for holding on,

gathering mine like a life vest. Our drifting life,

I replied, mesmerized by your refracted light.

 

And I am rocked now by the taste of your mouth, reliving

the ripe berry tang of it after all these years. Each parceled-out

memory collected over a handful of days spent on the porch of

a cabin that looked out over June Lake.

 

The tug of oars, the bleached wood stained by the blackberries.

We lived in the changing light of long days. Touching even when we weren’t,

our bodies saturated in visions of slow lovemaking.

 

The clot of cream,

          your white thigh,

                       this need of mine

                                   for that wake we left behind.

 

 

 

 

Courting Tamara

 

I strode into an arch of green light

shaped by a colonnade of trees.

Fifty meters on, a deer glided overhead.

Impulsively, I reached out to touch

the woman I wanted to love yesterday.

 

In that flash of white belly,

the collaboration of generations

refining, reducing, deciding

upon the exotic underside.

 

The headlights of her peculiar intelligence

are sweeping my bedroom walls now,

illuminating my nakedness, forcing

these decisions of what to keep and discard,

where to hide my secrets, how to distract

her from my heirloom weaknesses.

 

I pick up a book of poems and swing open its weight like a doorway of escape...

 

 

 

 

9 Poems by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Right Around The Corner

 

Right around the next corner

A stranger

A foreigner

Just for you one day

In your corner

 

Maybe with a few kids

That are not too bad

Giving you the family

You never had

 

A breath of fresh air

In a world of I don’t care

A pause of the frantic

A warm lifeboat

From The Titanic

 

Maybe sometime soon

Someone to share the moon

Not away too far

For a mate

To swing among a star

 

You won’t regret

Keeping a forward step

Heading for that corner

Alone no longer

 

 

 

Between One And None

 

It’s cold outside

It’s colder inside

 

Alone as the night with its unwanted guests

Blinding as the day with its two-legged pests

Adrift in the deepest ocean

With feet touching the sand

A non-beach going surfer

My own sufferer and slave

Waiting for a wave

 

And that is how it goes

A bouquet of roses

Does not fragrance

Under the wrong nose

 

It’s been quite a ride

Quite a slide

I am afraid

Of becoming my own genocide

 

I felt here and there

That I found my way

But it looks like this feeling

Ain’t going away

 

It’s been a lifetime of bad business

Then asking for forgiveness

 

But as they say

Tomorrow is another day

 

 

 

A World Apart

 

Heaven is leaking

Hell is erupting

No one is speaking

Just interrupting

 

I have been walking this rock for so long

Every few steps I ease into wrong

Why can’t it be bathed in peace

Instead of the crazy stuff

I guess it’s because we don’t want it bad enough

 

The moon is shining

Like a lighthouse to the blind

The gravity that holds us together

Is about to unwind

 

Everything has a shelf life

And we have ours

At the end of it all

We all will beg for more hours

And settle for minutes

Or more seconds smelling flowers

 

No matter whose life you envy

Or whose world you want to switch

At the end of it all

We all share equally the same ditch

 

 

 

Ugly And Vain

 

As a matter of pride and principles        

I never attended day or night schools

 I’m as dumb as they come

 Money, I have none

 The roof flew away

 Over my dome

 But no problem I cause pity

 To me I’m too pretty

 

Standing in the rain

A fucking shower of pain

Ain’t it a shame

My genes are to blame

I’m ugly and vain

 

 Maybe I could have been a model

 Except the agents didn’t see it that way

 In my eyes I’m beautiful

 I just play it a different way

 Now if truth be told

 Inside I break

 Like a week old roll

 On the outside when all else crumbles

 I still never fold

 

 Standing in the rain

 With a tin cup

 I can see my reflection

 And things are looking up

 Only I see that plain

 Ain’t it a shame

 Being ugly and vain

             

 They say looks are deceiving

 Mine are easy to figure out

 People think I’m ugly

 I don’t know who they are talking about

 Standing in the rain

 In a bucket of flames

 But my thing that is my main

 Is I’m ugly and vain         

                                

If I had a car but I don’t

I’d be living in it

It would have a few mirrors

For my reflection to float

But I live here there and no where

Have I the right to

Being so ugly and so vain

And you can look at me

And wink or blink

Don’t matter what you think

But I am real and what I am is fake

For I am simply only

 A dishonest mistake

 

 

 

No Choice

 

As I get older

My imagination runs bolder rather than colder

 

Besides

 

Some of the best decisions you make in your life

Are the ones where you have no choice

But you still have a voice

 

Ready willing and disabled

Will be the way at the end of my fable

Feeble and weak and an unsuccessful sinner

Will have not a place at my last supper dinner

 

My kids will still be here after me

I hope they enjoy telling our history

I’m all about peaceful drama

And I still love grandma

 

There is no such a thing as dying gracefully

Living gracefully is the antidote to life’s folly

 

I’m not getting older

It just looks that way

 

Don’t hold the door for me

Rather get out of my way

 

 

 

Just Us

 

I hate my job

I hate my boss

I hate me

 

I hate the world

In its inglorious

Slaughter

But I tenderly lovingly protectively

Love my daughter

 

She is the world

To me

But not the one

Outside our door that I see

 

Her mother left us on a Greyhound bus

Which makes sense for the dog she was

Now it is just us

 

My little girl will be lied to

And taking advantage of

My living and dying wish is that she finds true love

 

I thought that once I did

But the only result was my beautiful lovely all that matters is my kid

 

 

 

My Grid

 

A moonshine still

Beside a hill

Brewing sour mash

While I smoke sweet hash

Tax man and the press

Pull away from my stash

Off the grid

Closed the lid

Wooded fortress I stay

Adios

The world

And its way

Every night

Every day

I sew and Tailor

My own payday

Me and mine

You will never find

 

Why did it take so long

To find my solo song

 

Did not belong

In a world gone wrong

 

Got a woman

And a dog

We three sleep like a log

 

Instead of texting

Drinking smoking eating and sexing

 

Generator

Percolator

She left behind her vibrator

I did the same

With insane brain

Happy and true

When we are not

It still will do

 

You would know my face

If

You saw it

But

You won’t

 

 

 

Falling Up

 

How do you play in a game you can’t win

By falling up my friend

How do you lose

With a grin

Till the end

 

Call it what you will

But its name is your will

Oh look, another hill

Take a fountain

Over the next mountain

 

Nowhere to hide?

If you can’t be the best man

Be the bride

 

Running on empty

Fumes for another ride

Out of gas

It will not last

Hesitation

Always another filling station

 

Barred from the pub?

Welcome to the club

 

Nothing in the cup

Fill it

And

Fall up

 

Maybe not so sensational

Just a humble

Inspirational

 

 

 

All Dead

 

All the greatest

I have read

Who awakened me

Then sped and fled

Planted a seed in my survival need

 

Now

 

They lay in meadows

Oceans

Ashes in the Heavens and Hells

I never met them

But they knew me

And touched me well

 

Took me through the worst it

Joined me through the best of it

 

Now

 

All dead

All gone

Yet forever and ever

Belong

 

I am still here

I still roll

They are all

With me in my bed heart and soul

 

And

 

All the still living sad ones

That currently show me right from wrong

Will eventually sing a peaceful happy song

 

 

 

4 Poems by Njie Martin Vevanje

[Cameroon]

 

The Lost History

 

When the last hour comes,

When the owner wants your life,

The old pant to say their last wish

But something shatters their quest.

 

Oh! I remember,

How they fought for survival,

HOW the bell of quittance rang,

Mboliri has finally gone home,

But his kids and friends ponder why.

 

Mboliri’s death pierced my bones,

The prolific writer died with stories in him,

The grave, the dark world receives you,

The warms of the earth welcome you home

But you died with hidden truth.

 

As the sun rises at birth,

And when it begins to deem at grey,

Pant to unleash the hidden you,

Before the sun goes to sleep,

For when it goes to sleep,

It will be lost in history,

Just like Mboliri left without a word.

 

His legacy is lost,

As his relatives fight for property,

The earthly things of man will be no more,

All is for the dust of the earth,

When the God of the breath,

Finally collects the priceless jewel

And life will be no more.     

 

 

 

Why The Daffodil

 

When it was dawn, I made you see earth,

I covered soil on you like the farmers do,

I cherished you as my own,

I waited to see you grow by dawn,

But you fade away.

 

I asked myself why so soon?

Why do you grow by night?

Because you are my possession,

But I didn’t know its Gods will for you.

 

My jewel, my happiness is to see you grow,

But I waited all night to no avail,

For there I realized I didn’t create you,

But to take care of you,

The night is your birth hour,

And the dawn is your death hour,

Just like the sunrise and sunset of man.

 

 It will take me sacrifice and years to understand you,

Your beauty is for the spirits to glorify,

For when I woke up to do same,

I rather bleed in my heart.

 

How can I see you grow before you die?

That myth I hold in my heart,

With no one to give me an answer,

But I will carry your pain for I made you.

 

 

 

 

My Reflection

 

When I looked at you,

I saw a reversed image of me,

Like the faces of the dead,

It frightened me.

 

I was dying inside,

For the mirror trapped my soul,

I was under a curse for years,

The demons of mirrors were at work.

 

For seven good years I suffered,

For seven good years I was doomed,

I will break a mirror no more,

For its images are demonic.

 

I slept with my mirror at night,

By dawn, I had no soul for the master,

Even Joseph in the Bible,

Looked at a mirror and saw his future.

 

 

 

 

The Socio-Political Crisis

 

The Socio-Political Crisis,

That left many completely destitute,

Their tears was like a waterfall,

Wind of death and destruction,

The depths of despair.

 

The Socio-Political Crisis,

Is like a cannibal,

What are we gonna do to combat it?

Let us look at the root cause of it,

Let us address the plight of the protagonist,

Let us reconcile with each other.

 

The Socio-Political Crisis,

Needs divine and human intervention,

There is a lot of stereotype in this crisis,

It’s a cry for revival.

 

 

 

 

2 poems by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

What’s New

 

Was In AA for a long while

Was sucking up drink like The Loch Nest Monster

Went back eventually to my new old ways

When I learned my wife was fucking my sponsor

 

I don’t have too much left

I am not a candidate for identity thief

 

I only drink now with someone sexy and blue

Then as always

I only think of you

 

But what is not new and what is not that painless

The sooner guys like me die

The sooner we become famous

 

 

 

The Whole World Is Watching
 

The shadows are gone

The hiding places are begone 

The little guy ain’t that little no more

Getting away with murder is a thing of the past

Just thinking about that thought could be your last

 

The whole world is watching

If you ain’t on the news by seven

You will be by eleven

 

The whole world is listening

 

I whispered in her ear

In my romantic quiet way

My neighbor recited it to me verbatim

The very next day

 

The thrill is gone

Along with the still of the night

Nothing stops recording

In your darkness or in your light  

 

Planning to make a plan

Getting ready to say what to say

Keep it to yourself and your loved ones

Then tuck it goodnight away

 

Funny how the grass will always grow and smell that pretty green

And the waves on all the pretty beaches will always be rolling in

 

The whole world is waiting

To catch a universal break

The species are pacing

Maybe it ain’t too late

 

 

 

 

Unseen [written for Selective Mutism awareness] by Antje Bothin

[Scotland]

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annika-Treasure-Iceland-Antje-Bothin/dp/B0CD93WQ27/

 

You hear the word ‘gather’

And tremble with fear

Lots of people together

All way too near

 

A party, a meeting

The heart starts beating

You know, you can’t speak

You’re such a freak

 

The words won’t come out

You won’t say those thoughts aloud

The world doesn’t really know you

You don’t tell stories to listen to

 

You’ll end up all alone

Hiding quietly at home

With your heart full of shame

Are you getting insane?

 

Your house is a safe space

For a person, loud, happy and fun

But in public a change takes place

You’ll become a different one

 

Unseen, you exist

But what have you missed?

 

 

 

 

Day Moon by Alex Bennett

[Liverpool, England]

 

The old man pulls in rope for the boat
to unmoor, leave, to find something new
between water and air, and the day moon
half-lit against the blue

Soon to become full amongst Athena
and other gods, loved ones and wishes
melded in gas giants, dying but beaming
across our understanding

to you, and me
here with cigarettes and hand games
beat legs, insect bites, blissed out on
pastel terraces and thin apartments

Sedentary minds will be put to work
on home cement, when the rain comes in
to catalogue the afternoon under the day moon
fried anchovies, bitter spirits, the ecstasy of tennis

And the rain will come
but the day will open up again
And the old man will see
a clear path to return

Having found something new
having felt something new
Safe now to moor, handing out
discoveries to the harbour

And there we’ll be
In the windows between the rain
And there we’ll be
Under the day moon again

 

 

 

5 Poems by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

 

She Died In My Sleep

 

I missed

Her sweet sixteen party

Her brother

And I

Had had a fight

He was older and outweighed me

But I survived that plight

But not her sweet sixteen sight

I heard she cried all night

 

When she delivered

Our first kid

I was overseas

In the Army

She named him after me 

 

After I got home

We never left each other’s side

Almost till the end

That was the way it would keep

 

She died in my sleep

 

Some things are meant to happen

But not to be seen

I am still next to her and her next to me

Her eyes are still green

 

 

 

Hope

Sweating regretting

Rehabbing forgetting

Guilty of my own backstabbing

 

Lying in a snake pit

Of my own design

Can’t even remember a better time

 

Will I ever walk in the sun

Skip in the rain again

Go with the flow

 

I have to believe so

I have to know

 

Very chill

Very hot

How many more days

And when will it ever stop

 

I have to know

I have to believe so

I don’t know

 

 

 

Out There

 

It’s tough out there

But I’m tough too

And scared through and through

Bold and shaking

From scalp to shoe

 

A lot of things

I had to tell myself

A lot of things

I had to sell to myself

 

The industry was bear

But

The worse it got

The less I cared

 

It’s tough in here

I’m in here too

I scare myself

This is my truth

 

The death penalty

At the end of the road

Claim your reward

Whilst you

Add and subtract

The paths

You have strode

The horses

You have rode

The stories

You lived and told

 

So

 

Take a bow

Take a vow

All that matters is now

 

 

 

Upgrade

 

Just a slip of a girl

In a slap of a world

Just a breath of fresh air

In the winds of despair

 

Hunted and haunted

Stiff and sauntered

Still somewhat undaunted

 

But

 

It was for her a hard ride

Her baby years fell by the wayside

All for noting when she thought about it

All for everything when she thought about it

 

For awhile

The phrase a basket case was written on her soul and her face

With not much to say

She only wanted to get out of her ways

Got rid of the anchor around her pretty neck

Took night and day classes

Got her some respect

Met a guy with lovely kids

Soon they became hers and his

 

Was it all worth it

The late long overdue changes in herself she took

Everything came together after that inner look

 

 

 

I Put It Out There

 

I don’t know who I am anymore

That’s alright mama

Because I never did

Instead of breezing thru life

I slid

 

Then

 

Over a walk

I met a stranger

And we talked

We fell in lust at first sight

We fell in love by the time

Of the dawns early light

 

What a difference a lay makes

 

So

 

All and all

 

In my life

I have put it out there

Then I took it back

Why not?

Everything I wore was off the rack

 

I ‘ve had my fun

And as I survey my world now

I plainly see

My work here is done

 

 

 

 

5 Poems by Tony Stowers

[English, living in France]

 

Poem For Smokers

 

My day once started with a smoke and coffee by the ton

and then it went on endlessly until that day was done.

Each time I put one to my lips I thought 'I'm in control',

couldn't see addiction had me and a tight grip on my soul.

Like a mug I thought I knew it all and all my fortune flew

because I was a smoker and once I was just like you.

 

Hungry, robbed of vitamins yet desperate for a light,

I'd rather choke on smoke than have a tasty bite,

turn my tongue to ash, watch my gums go grey,

poison the air of friend and foe, see my money slip away.

Yes, I could have been a winner, could have topped the queue,

it all went up in cinders for once I was just like you.

 

Thirty thousand pounds I blew, to show for it what did I got?

A wracking smoker's cough, dodgy lungs full of snot.

Shareholders of tobacco firms laughed at their prediction

of how they'd profit on their terms and mocked me my addiction.

They told me life was impossible without a nicotine stick or two,

and I swallowed this cynical illusion for once I was just like you.

 

I'd leave in mid-conversation, friends abandoned in a frozen pose,

politeness all upended so this addict could get his dose.

Freezing my nuts off outside and calling it a 'pleasure'

but blessed with a stupidity completely beyond measure.

Shivering in rain and snow, nose and fingers turning blue,

I'd lie to myself 'I'm enjoying this!' for once I was just like you.

     

I know why I started – to 'fit', be part of the group

and was trapped in a never-ending loop.

A vape, a pipe or a straight – it's all the same to Death :

liberating you of dignity and stealing every breath,

pretending to be your friend and leaving you in a stew

but it'll never let you mend, yes, once I was just like you. 

 

Have you ever kissed a smoker? Like kissing a monster's ass

after sixteen pints of lager and a hot chicken madras.

The same monster's inside you, full of hate and rage

and everytime you light a smoke you release it from its cage

and it crawls around like a vampire seeking new victims to chew for once I was its prey and once I was just like you. 

 

It didn't sign the Geneva Convention, takes no prisoners see,

uses you up 'til you're dead in the dust like a shooter on a killing spree.

Ciggies and booze go hand-in-hand, a wasted spiral down,

addicts in a fatal orbit and in smoke and hops you'll drown,

with a chemical cauldron added to liven up your brew,

like a slave you'll eagerly crave, yes once I was just like you. 

 

Two days to kick the habit with patches and a non-smoking friend,

we barred the losers, banned the boozers, binge-watched 'til the very end.

Then I woke and thought 'Wow - two whole days I'm free!

I wonder if I've got the courage to try and make it three?'

 

That was ten years ago now, over three and a half thousand days,

the smartest move I ever made of my many risky plays.

So if you're serious about quitting, come up and take a pew,

I'll be nothing less than hard-hitting for once I was just like you.

 

 

 

 The Ticket Inspector

My name is Harold Everyman, in my shirt and tie and hat,

you wouldn't think to look at me I was such an obnoxious . . . person,

but obnoxious to you is honest to me and the lot of an ordinary man,

but give me a badge and a uniform and I'll behave like Genghis Khan.

At school, the Careers lady said 'What do you want to be?

Do you want to join the Army, fly or do you want to go to sea?

Do you want to be a doctor, lawyer, baker, butcher or nurse?

You could even be a computer programmer or a composer of musical verse.

Yes, you can choose the whole plethora, from Nothing to Director'

and I beamed and said: 'It's plain to see – I want to be a Ticket Inspector!'

I want to wear a black uniform and have people afraid of me!

I want to punish the poor for trying to get something for free!

I want to see them squirm because they haven't got a ticket

and relish the moment I say 'There's my boot – lick it!'

Of course I'm only joking, yes I have a sense of humour,

I'm really quite a decent chap or at least that is the rumour.

I think of myself as an ordinary guy with ordinary ambition:

car, wife, garden, kids and house, retirement and pension.

The idea I'm a pawn bought by a capitalist machine

is something I never think about 'coz I choose to not know what you mean.

But there isn't much difference between me, a traffic warden or security guard

we've all sold our morality cheap and our sympathy by the yard.

I'm sorry you're humiliated in public (not really), that you beg and plea and sob,

but I'm not really a baddy, my friend, like Eichmann - just doing my job.

 

I've heard all the excuses, you know, nothing’s new in my line

and I'll even address you Madam or Sir before I issue your fine.

My colleagues and I - devoted pros, our duty never lacks

and we're much more efficient as a team, that's why we hunt in packs.

 

Where we have the most success is where people are most poor,

like council estates or ghettos where the incomes are much lower,

where people are desperate to get to work or save a few quid for grub

but you'll notice it doesn't stop them smoking or boozing down the pub!

 

But to say I'm on a power trip is really rather silly

and no I don't behave like a tyrant because of a microscopic . . . ego.

In my fantasies I'm a hero, a saviour and protector

but in reality I'm a bit of a twat - that's why I'm a Ticket Inspector.

 

 

 

 The Problem With Chocolate

 

 The problem with chocolate, from what I've understood:

addictive and expensive but tastes very good

and though I love the odour and, as I said, the taste,

dentist isn't a fan and neither is the waist.

Another problem with chocolate: more popular than cocaine,

legally profitable, twice as much to gain.

Cadbury's, Nestle, Lindt all making an absolute mint

but the people that make them rich (us!) are usually skint.

Put it in our cookies, put it in our cakes,

put it in our cereals, put it in our shakes,

put it in our mousses, put it in our desserts,

we eat it 'til our teeth fall out or our kidneys hurt.

Sell it to us in boxes, in bars and in eggs.

Offer it to our dog, that's why it sits and begs.

Use it to bribe our children and stifle all their cries,

put it in their ice cream and flash it before their eyes.

Ensure we're addicted, constantly in need,

bombard us with advertising, stoke and fuel our greed

along with burgers, sugar, additives, make us fat by stealth,

normalize obesity and strain the national health.

Another problem with cocoa, one that bugs the most,

much is grown in West Africa or on the Ivory Coast

and the rest in South America where people don't make what they oughta

just like their Indonesian cousins on the other side of the water.

It's called the Ivory Coast ‘cause white Europeans were there

to plunder slaves and elephant's tusks with profits not to share

but when slavery was abolished and the elephants all had died,

the white men said 'What else can we steal to keep us satisfied?'

so they planted cocoa everywhere, hired children as young as ten

to sow the cocoa beans and harvest it for them

and paid the sort of wages to make Europeans blush

and if they were reluctant got a little push.

Exploitation, trafficking soon became the norm

but as long as Billy Bunter got his Ovaltine in a big mug nice and warm

and another unpalatable fact, this you can't deny it,

the workers that pick this stuff can't even afford to buy it!

So a final problem is when our taste buds are anointed,

thousands of kids and parents are all being exploited,

with a salary that’s a pittance, one dollar a day,

from sunrise in the mountains to sunset in the bay,

six days a week, fifty-two in a year,

no minimum wage, no unions there,

no medical, no schools, no pensions, no thanks,

just greedy First World mouths and greedy First World banks.

So the next time you're thinking about chocolate for a nibble or a bite

don't forget to say 'Who cares, as long as I'm alright !'

or grow a conscience like me and wallow in choc-a-dence

but don't forget to buy Fair Trade and give the workers a chance.

 

 

 

Being British Abroad

 

The thing about being British abroad's though you never really change

though everything else around you does - the familiar's suddenly strange.

A square peg in a round hole, you cling like truth to a liar

trying to make your new world bend to your desire.

 

You can follow your national teams to bolster your ID

and sports you never cared about suddenly get priority.

You can wave a Union Jack or stick GB on your car,

try to hold the crowd back while queuing vainly at the bar,

 

insist on milk in your coffee and sweetener in your tea,

read English papers and Radio Four at three,

eat an English breakfast, spill ketchup on your vest,

boast about the good old days and on your laurels rest.

 

Accepted concepts taken as gospel melt like molten wax

dentist, banking, directions, car trouble, an ache, admin, tax.

Struggling to explain your needs within a dictionary's pages,

you mime and grunt like a stupid twit, inside frustration rages.   

 

You flounder in silly arguments trying to get your point across

and get into trouble at work by disagreeing with your Boss.

'You don't under-stand!' becomes your daily plea.

The penny drops: 'Who don't understand? O my God, it's me!'

 

But it's a losing battle 'cause the world is bigger than you,

grinds you down, wears you out like a walking stick or a shoe,

beats you up, slaps your chops and orders you to sober up

just because you won the war and once won the world cup. 

 

You were told GB was everything, beyond a mere zoo,

a pond to dip your toes in but cloudy not clear and blue

yet the further you go away from it, the smaller GB gets

and all you held important shrinks and like a sun, it sets.

 

And you want to remain a part of it but must accept you are apart,

abandon worn-out friendships but for new ones lose your heart.

'This is the centre of the world!' you think, but then you stumble and fall 

and live abroad and realise the world has no centre at all.

 

The less adventurous say: 'Not me! I'd miss family and friends'

but that's not hope of change talking, that's fear of changing ends.

Born and dead in the very same place while all you do is moan

but were you ever really challenged, ever left your comfort zone?

 

If we all spoke the same language we'd end up saying the same things,

a world of  'Can't' and 'Won't' and the negativity that brings.

A scientific experiment - labelled and analzyed,

trying to shape it to our ends instead of rationalized.

 

And those who stay behind get defensive when criticised,

they think you're criticising them but you're simply politicised!

Media, history, tradition, culture – it's really a double-edged sword,

it can make you strong at home but can be meaningless abroad.

 

The biggest surprise I ever had was teaching in a French school,

I asked a history question, was left looking a fool:

'What happened in England in 1066?' - I saw 30 faces blank

until one brave kid raised his hand and said 'Ze English invented ze bank?'

 

Nationalists talk of 'us and them', 'foreigner' clichés abound,

but we're migrants in a rudderless boat going round and round and round.

If all you know is only one way then you never see the rest,

the Self is never challenged nor convictions put to the test.

 

British life is island life – a drawbridge and a moat,

pull it up, shut out the strife like an immigrant in a boat.

Drip-fed technology our attention's soon diverted

and we end up talking to ourselves or preaching to the converted.

 

Being British abroad's Pandora's box – once opened, never shut.

Do I regret opening it? Ha! I'd like to say 'no', but . . .

 

 

 

Just Because We Can, It Doesn't Mean We Should

 

We can own and drive a car for each day of the week,

a hundred miles to work and back, a salary to seek,

a million gallons of fuel driving race cars round a track,

a million gallons more to go to Mars and back,

common sense sacrificed on the big business altar,

leave a carbon footprint the size of Gibraltar,

poison the atmosphere, coat the earth in crud

but just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

 

We can split the atom, cross the ocean in an hour,

drill tunnels under mountains and build the tallest tower, 

make war with robots, computers, deadly drones,

breed animals in test-tubes, make sheep identical clones,

wipe out entire species within the wink of an eye,

all this we can do and more with no logical reason why,

we can defy Mother Nature, favour plastic instead of wood

but just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

 

We can invent insane religions that think killing is normal,

condone bizarre rituals conceived as bland and formal,

we can turn gardens into car parks, supermarkets, malls,

we can even freeze our dead when the Grim Reaper calls,

put nuclear waste into landfills or bury it at sea,

slip the Earth an IOU and hope she will not see,

build high-speed rail links by cutting down all the wood,

but just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

 

We can transplant hair and hearts, livers, skin and eyes,

stick our kids in front of screens and pump them full of lies,

fly round the world in a day and still be home for tea,

fill landfill full of waste and poison all the sea,

flood the music charts with blandness built round a three-chord deal,

line bank accounts with crap, think we're reinventing the wheel,

we can tell everyone it's vital and for the common good

but just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

 

We can flood valleys and cities for reservoirs and dams,

dig tunnels under oceans and bridges over lands,

industrialise traditions, turn heaven into hell,

turn logic into madness and what we can't buy we'll sell,

we can make people so rich that it borders on obscene

and make many so poor our humanity we demean,

we can melt the polar ice and make the valleys flood

but just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

 

 

 

The Girl In The Mirror by Shiza Khan

[Mumbai, India]

 

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl built in flaws.

With a nose too big, eyes too small, skin too dark, and lips too thin for her jaw.

I see a girl they tell me I look like, a girl built artless

With the hair too dry, and eyes with halos of darkness.

I see knobbly legs, and scratches up her arms.

They tell me these aren’t things girls are supposed to be.

A girl should be dressed in skirts and frocks - they tell me,

Her hair in pretty little rings, her skin just the right shade of pink.

A girl should be tall, but not too tall, fat, but not too fat, 

Should sit with her back straight, her legs proper.

Smile politely, even when she’s hurting, and not play even if she feels like it.

They tell me this, but not how,

Not how to tell them, that when I look in the mirror, 

I see a girl chasing butterflies through flowering fields, and discovering bunny burrows,

A girl reading by whatever light she finds, searching for other worlds,

A girl scratched up as she rescues kittens stuck up in trees.

How do I tell them that behind the girl with flaws is a girl beautiful.

Even if she is so to me.

A girl, beautiful even if she doesn’t sit proper, doesn't do what others tell her, a girl who is free.

I see a girl happy, who’s smile crinkles the dark skin around her eyes.

I see ice-cream stains down the front of her shirt, and her white shoes muddy and torn.

How do I tell them that’s who I want to be?

A girl, beautiful; just to me.

 

 

 

2 Poems by Anthony Ward

[Durham, England]

 

Un-conditioned

 

I’m living the air-conditioned dream,

Of consumerist conservation.

A clouded comprehension of understanding the innuendo of intellectualism,

Lying about life in the hope of living beyond it.

Farming fame from Facebook fans punch drunk by all the hits,

Like a moth perplexed to the light of my phone,

Fingers tapping out aggravation,

Spending my life trying to buy it.

Drawn to shop windows

Purchasing patented personalities,

Eyes extracting what they want me to see,

With superficial surveillance sentimentality

Time-lapsing existence through the digital era.

24/7 news making movies of reel life

Such superficiality in a virtual reality,

Creating counterfeit celebrities -

Living the designer life in a flat-packed reality.

A water marked individual wanting recognition on tap.

Blogging into my minds,

Subscribing to memories.

No longer kept in line but on line,

Activated instead of active,

Through synthetic socialisation

Of patented personalities.

Making a hash of my life as it ‘appens.

 

 

 

Streaming

 

I push myself further into the darkness

Drawing from the light

Able to see from a distance what’s happening beyond -

My mind vacuumed by the pulse radiating in my space

As I’m sucked into a network of tubes

Travelling through time in an instant

To places I never knew existed,

Until I find myself back where I was.

 

 

 

4 Poems by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Schadenfreude

 

I would like to be responsible

For creating a smile

Once in a while

 

Besides on my own face

Maybe something more

All over the place

 

I got something new

In the way of my mind

I want to start paying it forward

And leave the rest behind

 

Knowing me

How is that for a kicker

It’s going to be my new bumper sticker

Just because it’s in my DNA

I don’t need to give my negative bullshit the right of way

 

Were the monkeys in the trees

Where we all come from

Way back when

Less mean than we

Now and then?

 

I’m sorry to say

I’m sorry to feel

That I want the world

To slip on a banana peel

 

Some people go overboard with it

Inserting their automatic magazine clips

Going down in a blaze of gory

A few others fire a different story

 

I would say I can’t help it

But I know I can

Wishing the best for each other

Should be a universal plan

 

Schadenfreude is German

For enjoying whoever is hurting

 

 

 

So You Say

Since your passion got the best of you

I guess it got the best of me too

If you say you love me, and are sure

I will believe you

If you don’t say so

I’ll believe it even more

Or am I grasping at straws

Just like all the times before?

 

I guess without

Unrequited love

We wouldn’t have those great blues songs

Is it ok to think like that?

I hope I have it wrong

 

 

 

So How Do You Feel About Convicted Felons?

Are you open

Or a mouse

Are you a thinker

Or do you have a square wheelhouse?

What’s next?

I was going to tell you while we were having sex

 

How do you feel about dating a felon?

Because my dear, I are one

 

But don’t fret my maybe pet

It wasn’t for the big three

Sex, violence, or being a druggie

And I might add

Although being a felon

It’s been a long time since I’ve been rebelling

 

I was a thief

That is how I rolled

But no one missed a meal

After I stole

 

Call it stupidity

Call it dumb

Please don’t run

 

 

 

Present

Our last winds of words

Blows in the same directions

Whiplash speed memories

Dive ins and hesitations

 

All present

All here

When we were strong

When we came near

Please don’t make all I have done disappear

 

Our last grabs and gasps

What course and line will they travel

Will they hold built on Iron

Or will they unravel

 

Hold that thought

Keep it near and dear

Then keep it you yourself

Through your fog and your clear

 

All on trial

At the bittersweet end

All guilty

All framed

All sewn in

 

If you were captured or warehoused in a vault

It’s not the manufacturers’ fault

 

The mighty

And the might have

 

The thoughts and the deeds

The frills and the needs

 

Our last wish

Our last hand

A transfer-ticket

To the un-promised land

 

One last thought

The one we keep still

The one we never know

Till it’s time to pay the bill

Up the anchor hoist the mast

It all went by so fast

 

 

 

 

Desk Plant by Jason Last

[Ipswich, England]

 

Is there anything more depressing

than a desk plant

all aslant

and limp?

 

You brought in in last week

kidnapped it from a florists

to hold it hostage in the office

so we can all glimpse

its torture

 

Yeah these three square inches

of constantly fading pink

really make me think

of some bucolic oasis

 

The lilting death curl is especially cheerful

gets worse with each passing day

think I’ll get one too

a little mirror for my desk

 

 

 

4 Poems by Ian Andrew

[Australia]

 

The Early Dawn

 

I woke to screams

Of metal striking glass

Leather on wood

Hinges ripped apart

Like families

 

Trucks on dark eyed streets

No lights in windows peering

No signs of seeing

We are blindly taken

As shadows in the dawn

 

Rings of uniforms

In cocooned armour

Denying freedom

Shepherding with viciousness

Like wolves

 

We are the deportees

As Guthrie sang

While Liberty weeps

Broken promises to huddled masses

Such are politicians

 

Gone, from your world

Out of sight

Out of rage

This new political right

Still fascists

 

 

 

11 November

 

We gathered, heads bowed

Solemn thoughts of those left on youthful fields

And words of good deeds, brave deaths and love filled our hearts

A saviour’s promise in

Prayers and pipes healed us for another year

Silent, while lost comrades stand sentry

Until we who still march, relieve them.

 

 

 

The Eighth Of September

 

Address the black

That falls before the dawn

the hush of solemn hearts on highland peaks and rainy streets

of nations, unified across divides

of those who spoke when silence should have reigned

of those silent, when comforting words were needed

of those vocal, when common courtesy

would have best been heeded

 

and in our isles, where division has so often coursed

in long and fractious history, unimagined the like of this could have forced

men and women, long at odds, together, in mutual acceptance of a part well-played.

Paying respect to one who crossed the road.

 

For future days the ways of things will be examined.

Structures of commonness, common bonds, common wealth

will be dismantled or renewed, strengthened or broken

yet for a day more, the world will gaze on historied streets

buildings older than nations, pageantry younger than most suspect.

To lay at ease a touchstone of the world.

 

And for all dissenting views

or love unbounded

some things agreed and clear.

A duty unbroken, a faith unbowed. A life to service.

A story that in four hundred years,

in distance from this second as we are from the first

a legacy will be confirmed.

A young woman, icon of her era.

Longest served, with furthest reach, who never complained, nor never explained.

A billion and more watched

In solemn procession

The carriage

Of a Monarch, who rests.

Her promise kept.

 

 

 

First Day Of School

 

I hate my school, I hate my school

I shall not go again

I hate my school, I hate my school

My teachers are a pain

 

They want to teach me history, of Vikings and of Rome

But I just want to leg it, and make my own way home

They want to teach me how to paint, it really is a farce

I want to yell out very loud, “You can shove it up your… Jumper!”

 

They want to teach me science, mathematics and design

I have no need to know such things, I need no tan nor sine

I need a space to run about, to leap, to jump, to soar

Instead, I get a classroom and a teacher that’s a bore

He drones and drones in tones so dull, I start to fall asleep

Then he shouts to, “Sit up straight.” I feel that I could weep

 

But suddenly the subject shifts, what’s this we’re on about?

I feel my interest being stirred, of that there is no doubt

The teacher talks of Shakespeare, some ancient bloke who wrote

But then he reads a passage and I recognise the quote

Apparently to be or not is up for some debate

And now we’re looking at a shrew, whose name I think is, Kate

Then daggers are before us and witches stirring pots

For a bloke who died at 52, this William sure wrote lots

 

Gadzooks, the bell is ringing, class is over for the day

But I somehow wish to linger and ponder on the play

It seems the thing to mystify, enthral, entice and hold

The focus of mine own mind’s eye, with scope both vast and bold

A cockpit with some dodgy steel, I might have misconstrued

But O, how sad, these star-crossed teens, caught in a family feud

 

All serve to make me realise that of learning, I'm a fan

I wish that I had known that when first the day began

“Go home now boy,” the teacher calls, so I rise and join my peers

But I’ll be back tomorrow, with a loan chit for my ears.

For I love my school, I love my school,

It isn’t very hard

When your bottom’s been transfigured,

by the genius of the Bard.

 

 

 

 

A Crazy Old Man by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

The next thing you know

Could be the last thing you need

So

Call an ambulance

Or let it bleed

 

As dead leaf’s scatter

I try

To

Separate the fear in my head

From the heart of the matter

 

Will the last thing I heard

Be the next thing I say

Or

Will I find an original word to parlay

 

It was not my plan

To become a crazy old man

I did not

Know

It was in the cards

To lose belief in the stars

 

Every note

In tune or not

Every sliding scale

Every slippery slope

From the tree of woe

To the jungle of hope

Please

Don’t throw me too much rope

 

As they write and say

Anything you do 

Whether good or nay

Will be held against you one fine day

 

But then

 

What a difference

A split second makes

As I continue to swim upstream

In the world of the give and take

 

 

 

He Seemed Fine by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

The clouds

Left the sky

And joined him in his bed

An unwelcomed partner

Of course

He would have gladly welcomed a lover

Or at least a pet instead

 

He was no good at either

Just could not make them work

But

He seemed fine

He seemed alert

He buried his hurt

 

Sheets of rain

Sheets of cotton

Trying to remember

How he became so forgotten

Checking

In and out

In his brain hotel

 

But

 

He seemed fine

 

O well

O well

 

Then

The doorbell rang

And against his solitary resistance

Opened it

There were two Jehovah Witnesses

Wanting to talk about Armageddon

He told them, “I’m a getting ready for breakfast”

Closed the door

They went on their way

Was happy he had some humor left

 

Anyways

 

 

 

 

6 Poems by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

Father And Further

 

My father

Never wanted children

That was plain to see

I couldn’t blame him

But I never blamed me

 

I’ll even take it further

My friends had fathers

I noticed them after school

I think I wanted one too

 

They would laugh together

And actually spoke

Not just about the weather

I kept alive some hope

 

But

 

He died at 45 and did in the ambulance say goodbye

I even tried to cry

 

Of course

 

I would have preferred he stay alive

And not die

The way he did

 

I am 73 now

And well hid

I can look back

And think back

Of my father

I can now call him

My kid

 

A man

Of few words

And I heard

Less than those

Sometimes father and son relationships

 

Well, that’s how it goes

 

I hope

He made it ok

Though the Pearly Gates

And if it’s ok with you

I can wait

 

 

 

Now Appearing

 

Keep your idols

Older than you

So when they fuck up and or die

It’s ok

For you

To fuck up and or die too

 

One day

I was wiping away

Idol tears

I met an actress I never met

But hated for years

We fell in love

As idols and detractors sometime do

We have times to be tasted as yet unseen

 

And

The good news is

She doesn’t scare me

Like she does on the screen

 

 

 

Dear Boy

 

Hello dear boy, how are you?

I hope these words find you well

In peaceful turmoil times like these

Who the Hell can tell?

With all the good and bad

When it all collides

I hope you keep on walking

Ahead of the waves and tide

 

So many names call out to us

Sheridan, Jones, and so

Each one with their personal library

Stocking the shelves of hope and woe

May you never lose the key

I wish I could shower it with love

But I don’t have anymore

 

There are no thoughts uttered

Without a few kept in the blind

Don’t let your guard down

And get caught up in the crime

There are few among us

That are not doing time

Hope you don’t get pulled over

Travelling down the line

When it all goes or doesn’t go down south

I only pray I am able to write

While I shut my damn mouth

 

There is a place for the likes of us

And the short of time

Another one stares at us

One moment at a time

Giving breath to pleasure

With no voice and mime

May you be able to

Separate the gold from the mine

 

Hello dear boy

How are we?

Or do I really care

I wanted to take the place you’re in

When I saw you existing there

As armored as I am

In my only skin

I continue my private journey

Without and within

 

 

 

Just Sayings

  

Hear no evil speak no see no evil

Not

A chainman’s chance

 

Politics is choosing

The lesser of two feeble

 

Growing old

Is not a disease

It just looks and feels that way

 

I cried because I had no shoes

Until I saw a man who had no cock

 

What does not kill you

Makes you weaker

 

A bird in the hand

Is better than one up your ass

 

Tomorrow never comes

Unless it’s bills

 

Never take candy from strangers

Unless you’re hungry

 

Don’t kick a man when he’s down

Wait until he’s sleeping

 

Honesty

Is the best piracy

 

The longest journey

Begins with one backward step at a time

 

Be careful what you wish for

You may get not get it

 

May your bucket list

Be your fuck it list

 

 

 

Wanted

Dishwasher

 

Decades of learning

Ivey league schools

Became a big dick lawyer

Certainly

Nobody’s fool

Suddenly

Swiftly

Reversal of fate

Hope I make on time tonight

To clean

And rinse tonight

The food off your plates

 

Tons of cases

Then

Including my own

Lost my license

Lost my wife kids and home

Ain’t it funny

No it’s not

Winding up broke and alone

 

Then one night

Undaunted

Sign on a window

Dish washer wanted

Took the sign down myself

Time to make some money

And put my past on the shelf

 

But

Perhaps any night or day now

Don’t know when

What was once written for me

Will

Be

Written again

 

 

 

Afterthought

 

After him

After her

After all that I sought

After all that I fought

I, me, and it, all became an afterthought

 

I have forgotten

Every battle

When I rode tall

In the saddle

I remember the ones

When I started out

Already done

 

A collection

Of the loose

And the taut

The tattoos on my souls

And

The afterthoughts

 

A slip

On the ice

From not thinking twice

You can always find what you seek

If you think before you speak

How hard is that

Very hard

And so easy to repeat

 

Some have a bucket list

Some have a fuck it list

But

After all you rail and wrought

It’s all nothing

But

An afterthought

 

 

 

 

My Brothers Across The Ocean by Camagu Gongxeka

[Eastern Cape, South Africa]

I've seen the Atlantic

Calm as the pacific

I stood

And I saw the reflection

Of my brothers waving -

Hello, how's home?

 

I'm waving

Greetings to my brothers

Home is bad

But, it's still a home,

I'm taking this moment 

Of

Atlantic calmness 

To greet you

With a box

Of

Love from your

Dead fathers

 

Through this Atlantic 

Reflection

I've seen the african diaspora

Sweeping you away

While

Weeping for your father

Who's now dust to dust

And your tears are gone now

Drank by the atlantic

And vomited into some ice

In the northern pole

 

My love for you

Is like that of my home-country

And corruption

Your dogs are still catching -

Dead and tired rabbits

At their best

 

Place some stones there!

Upon my younger ancestors -

Who await paradise there

We are still here

Without fear

Praying that the almighty

Could keep

Our brothers across the ocean!

 

 

 

Wedding by Balu Swami

[Buckeye, Phoenix AZ, USA]

 

The bride sparkled

The groom was stunning

She smiled the colors of a peacock

His bearing held an elephant aloft

He said volumes of nothing

She laughed volumes of muffled nothing

His priest offered prayers to the Earth God

Her priest offered prayers to the Sun God

The guests, a thousand strong,

dressed in ceremonial splendor,

watched from the meadow,

the trees on the hill and temple walls

He offered her a garland of rice saplings

handpicked from fields far and near

She gave him a handful of dried alfalfa

from her ancestral home

The cooking pots glistened in the afternoon sun

The wedding meal wafted across the valleys

Where is the band?

Here is the band

Let the conch sound

Let the festivities begin

 

 

 

The Will To Power by Ray Kohn

[Sheffield, England]

 

The royal sons could not compare

as Harry had that strand of hair

and in the country of the bald, it’s the thing

for a single strand to divine the King.

 

Although brought up as a princely pair

Willy never felt it fair

that because he had the smoothest head

it was always Harry who was first fed.

 

And whilst he was treated with respect

he grew to know what to expect

that whenever it was time to choose

it was never Harry who would lose.

 

When their father left the throne

and Harry claimed it as his own,

Willy found it rather galling

to be left alone to find a calling.

 

He broke with tradition and started a trade

and soon his business was being paid

massive sums. Harry thought it funny

to have a brother making money.

 

Willy’s empire was built on precious stones,

elixirs and ground animal bones,

all of which purport to show

how to encourage hair to grow.

 

These concoctions might be trash

but before his company could crash

Willy does business with a man

who does what nobody else can.

 

He brings the kingdom something big:

it’s the first time they have seen a wig.

Armed with this impressive tool

Will says Harry is a fool.

 

He challenges him to display

the single strand, that’s turning grey,

and shocks the gathered ministers and court

with the wig he has just bought.

 

 

They bow before the curling locks:

Harry concedes as his family mocks

the meagre cover to his pate.

So, Will becomes the Head of State.

 

To prevent another revolution

Will’s come up with a solution

to block the vengeance Harry might harbour.

He’s appointed him the new court barber.

 

Every day he sits in his lonely shop

waiting for a customer to crop;

until through boredom and by his own hand,

he snips away his only strand.

 

 

 

Ten Years In The Life Of by Andrew Senior

[Sheffield, England]

https://andrewseniorwriting.weebly.com/ 

Today would have been her birthday

and I am wondering

about a face I might still recognise

or might not have been expecting.

 

We’ll never know.

I would show

I had remembered. Nothing much,

a card, maybe a call.

 

Today, instead, an image conjured,

A face imagined aged by a decade

which has not carried it,

as it has carried me

 

to this silent consideration

of all that was, and a lump in the throat

catching

on all that could have been.

grave girl.jpg

Image supplied by Andrew Senior to accompany his poem 'Ten Years In The

Life Of'.

 

It’s Only Money by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

A malaise

That ebbs and flows

Not knowing

When to come

And when to go

Shedding new skin

Again and again 

 

But why try to fight the ocean

When it looks so nice

After a morning and afternoon

Of bottles and ice

 

Why do yourself in

With breath left to win

 

Lots of famous talented people

With a lot of bread

Have been known  to

Give it to themselves

In the arm neck and head

 

Goes to show

Money can’t buy happiness

Just a lot of I told you so

 

Or the knowledge to know the reasons why

 

But I would not decline to give it a try

 

My medical condition is ripped and torn in the thicket

My retirement plan rests on a lottery ticket

 

So

 

However, or whenever

Even knowing I can not buy it

Or change what is askew

It would be rather delightful

To have the wherewithal to

To buy sometimes new

 

 

 

Sleep On It by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

The drinks kept flowing

There was no sign of slowing

Should leave now and sleep it off before work

Before I pop yet another cork

 

After an  undertow of oblivion

I decided to watch the dawn 

I’ll just stay up all night

And go to work where I belong

Why bother to sleep it off

When I can sleep it on

 

So much Stark black or bright white

Sometimes it’s nice

To stroll once upon a time in a kinder kind of light

 

Not go to work at all

Tell them I missed the memo

Won’t be the first time

As I sort of recall

 

Meanwhile

 

Maybe something in the grey spectrum

Would do a welcome easement on the rectum

A vacation from all the pains in the ass

Grab a seat, this thought is drowning fast

 

It is either an Oasis

Or a Mirage

There is nothing in between

In my Sun, Moon, And Stars

 

Must drop a bad habit

Of looking back

Suicidal or hypochondriac

And shallow

A tough act to follow

 

So I guess

Feast or famine

I will

Keep on the lurk

 

Anyway

 

I’m late for work

 

 

 

The Things I Know Now by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

I have lived older and younger than you

No serious accidents

No code Blue

Long distance love

Has never met you know who

Maybe a short run

And that was only one or two

 

I have not travelled far

But I have travelled wide

The ups and downs

Among the great divides

 

I come from many

Untutored tortured souls

Very proficient at digging their own holes

 

Outside

So far above

Inside

So far below

Stay in my middle lane

I don’t think so

 

So how is this for a circuit breaker

Cut in line to meet your maker

Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems

Maybe forever you go from dream to dream

 

 

 

12 poems by Thaddeus Arjuna

[American, currently residing in Bali]

 

We Never Cried

 

Once upon a time, I dreamt of a moment when parents cared for their children and children loved their parents. When life was carefree and simple and little things made us giggle and smile. And we never ever cried. It must have been a nightmare, or maybe I died.


 

I Miss You

 

To my parents.

I wasn’t there when you died. It was just too painful for me. I couldn’t stop it or help you. You were hopeless romantics, and you would have never left each other, and yet the two of you created such dreadful anguish. You ended up dying from tragic circumstances that could have been avoided. You created the condition because of the pain you felt. The pain of loving each other. It was unfair. No one should have to feel so alone when they are loved. I sat on the beach and I cried with you. I prayed that you would return. I looked up at the sunset and I wondered if you felt the same. Did you feel betrayed? Did you feel helpless?  Maybe God’s sitting on some beach with the three of us. Will he give you the comfort we craved?

 

 

The Giant Orb

 

It lingers quietly above my home. It leads me in the dark through jungles and across uncertain waves. Its light casts down on me. My refuge when I am lost. Its radiance has made wolves sing and children cry. But now it protects me on my bed where I lie, from outside my window. Why won’t you show me your face? Why won’t you talk to me, giant glowing orb? Your beautiful silence captivates me, but I want more. All my life you have only shown me one side. I want to know the dark side. Is that the side that tugs on my river, and on my ocean?

 

 

The Purple Tulip

 

A love letter to a beautiful lost Assassin.

 

My lovely lilac. That has shined blue for so long. Let me be your sunlight. The sunlight that opens your beautiful petals that smell like honey and lemon. The fragrance delights me and reminds me how wondrous the world is. Know that you have given meaning to all that is good in the world, simply by being a part of it. Don’t let the world destroy you. I am always with you, no matter where I am. You are my world. My universe. I am scattered stardust without you.

 

 

The Borobudur

I dreamt of you. An angel from some world between heaven and Earth. Your voice in the wind melted like soothing silk to my ears. Your scent was like sandalwood enchanting my senses. You were majestic and graceful. Your beauty was all-encompassing. Illusive and exclusive. I climbed your steps of stone past all the bells with the 500 meditating Buddha’s. Finally, out of breath but reaching the top you were nestled between two volcanoes sitting so peaceful and unafraid. You were forgotten for hundreds of years and discovered finally from a lost map by strangers. The stone Buddha’s sat quietly watching the sun rise and set all alone in the jungle. But now your glory is a silent voice no longer. You inspire all those who visit you in this land full of wonder.

 

 

A Lovely Memory    

 

In Maui next to a sunken volcano at sunset.

We laid in your boat adrift, in an ocean full of stars.  A soft breeze comforted our faces, as we drank crisp wine that tasted like grapefruit, and we watched flying fish skip across a golden watercolor ocean of a brilliant glowing orb sinking into magical oblivion.  We were surrounded by booming thunder clouds that were muted by their distance, like a faraway battlefield. You told me stories about sea monsters with long tails. Thresher sharks, hunting mackerel.  We watched in silence as they whipped their giant tails in the water, unaware of us, stunning the frenzied seafood and upsetting the glowing phosphorus. The gulls woke us, with their chirps of joy.

 

 

I Have No Thyme

 

I have the potatoes peeled. The Asparagus is washed. The Chicken seasoned all but one thing. I am out of thyme. I had wondered when this day would come. When thyme evaded me until the dreaded end. Thyme has been my friend, all these years. I wished for it to come when I was 10, I wished for it to go away when I was 30. But now I am late in life and I look at the stars so far away, and I wonder about thyme. How it feels in my fingers, how it smells so earthy. Even lemony. I wonder if they have Thyme on Mars or some other distant world? Is there someone looking at Earth now asking about the thyme? How much he has left? I slip the sprig under the chicken’s skin and into the oven it goes. I rub my nose with the smell of the wondrous green herb and await this magnificent fragrant bird that will grace my table with its scent of woodsy lemony goodness.

 

 

 

There Is a Stranger In My Home

 

Where did you come from? You came so quickly, and I had hoped you could save us from each other. You lay so peacefully on my bed next to me. Your scent is somewhere between eggshell and guano, but no matter where I am I cannot stop thinking of you, and I await to be near you. You drool when you’re asleep or awake, but I must say that when you lie silently not making a peep, I see the joy pervade our house and the smiles fill our faces, and I cannot thank you enough for that. I hope you will be patient with us. When you learn to crawl when you learn to walk. When you learn how much you have meant to us. When you are a teen, remember me. Don’t break my heart. I listen to your footsteps in the hall, I hear your laugh when you play with the ball. I am so thankful to be your all now, and sadly, I know that won’t last. Because someday you’ll be on your own living your own life. But I will always be elevated to have known you and see you grow up. Know that if nothing else when you get older, you helped keep me centred on what was important and you kept me strong when I didn’t believe in anything else in the world.

 

     

 

Find The Joy 

 

Away from the noise, there is a peaceful silent place that is deep in your heart. In all of life’s disappointments, don’t wait too long to find that joy. It is closer to you than you think. It seems so fleeting sometimes, so out of reach. But it’s not. It is right there next to you. Just don’t let those who claim they care for you, keep you from it. It is so much easier to find the good inside you than to shed the bad in someone else. Leave this Earth with a grateful heart full of awe and wonder.

 

 

 

The Red Wood Chair

 

The chair that sits at my desk, Vigorous but worn. The joints perfectly seamed. The strength disguised in its smoothed arms and steady legs. I envision it came from a mighty tree that towered over the landscape. Taller than all others. The chair has stood perfectly still through all these years and even before I acquired it. How many luxurious homes did it grace? How many proud fathers sat in it, enjoying a fine cigar or an aged cognac by a roaring fire? Celebrating a successful business deal or a special anniversary. How many mothers nursed an infant in its embrace? How many children climbed on its strong back? Sleepy pets rested underneath its shadow. A soloist sat here, writing a concerto. A student studied law in this chair. He carved his initials on it. A Senator looked over the final draft of a bill that he had written. A President negotiated a treaty from this chair, pounding on its arms to make a point. I am sharing this warm comforting space where a marauder planned his heist, and now this soft chair comforts me with its secrets kept.

 

 

 

The Road To Hypatia

 

For a Prince on Mars.

Take the road to Hypatia. Past James Crater. The dusty red road with the blueberries and the pink sky. I will meet you at Sarah’s large hole in the ground. And we will sit on our backs and watch Phobos race across the sky. We will watch the six-legged cats nibbling on Martian Marjoram. And we will eat Goat’s milk yogurt, and drink Spearmint Tea. We’ll pick cotton from the cotton trees, for soft pillows and I ‘ll tell you stories about when we first came to Mars.

It is so much easier to love the things you have than to grieve over the things you have lost. And you have so much. Don’t forget that, Prince. I wanted you to have a better world. Now it’s up to you.

 

 

Donna You Can Drive My Car

Donna, you can drive my car. I don’t even care how far. We’ll hit every bar under these dimming sad stars, on our way back through this broken world all alone but together, and I promise I’ll finish the lyrics to this psalm while we drift asleep to the sounds of lemon and honey coming from Stanley’s Stradivarius. You can be in charge I won’t make a peep. While I fall asleep in your arms in the back seat, just let me take the flowers from your hair.

 

 

Descended Darkness by David M. Rubin

[New Hope, Pennsylvania, USA]

The Celentir cache dormant, most barely arise and pass, few spark dark, their pallid warnets carve, melted lipents drain, arrange on the finger-tips of angels, vast distance travelers to cribs and carriages, their cargo wormed into every tiny ear. Fractioned moments, thrashing at the precipice, junctured between physics, dancing invisible on pre-sentient lightning. The Celentir stalk the first nourishment, realization, pain vast like space, the first Planck flashes of awareness, a trigger to feast and fight, winners transcended, darkness descended, losers cast to light. Every soul will be harvested, every ear will itch its loss.

4 poems by Thaddeus Arjuna

[American, currently residing in Bali]

 

The Sultry Seamstress

She studies the fabric for the cross-grain and searches for any flaws. Her slipover clinging to her soft brown skin, that tug at the buttons on her blouse, as she tosses her mahogany hair onto her shoulders so she can study the soft linen better in the light. Her bias examined, her svelte elegance appealing to my tired eyes. She continues with her edge stitch, gently feeding the fabric under the needle that clips and weaves. She holds her back straight so that she can stay refreshed to complete her task. How I wish I were a sleeve on her machine. Her needles would not hurt me. Her cut would be soft, her touch so gentle. I would love her stitch and interlace. I would hold her button hooks tight with all my might.

 

 

Kiss Me

Kiss me like we are in heaven. And whatever wrong we have done will wash away in our tears. Make love to me, and the stars in the sky will embrace us. You and I will rise up above Earth, and peace and tranquillity will visit us.

 

 

Midnight Pass

My island hideaway that held so many secrets.

I loved you sitting on the dunes as we watched the Mexican sun dip into the sea. We dreamed of a calm tide and walked on the limestone reef among the eels and octopus. The waves crested over our faces and the ghost crabs danced across our path.

I think of you.

I loved you when I was overthrown by a fast boat in the pass, near the beach, where my tackle swam to the bottom. When the warm mud kissed my feet. And the clams and scallops hid from my reach.

I dreamt of you.

I loved you when you let me sleep on your pine needles when you bathed my eyes with moonlight and you let me walk on your windswept beach and find your black teeth in the sand.

I cried over you.

When they filled you in. I breathed you in for the last time. Your perfume, salty but sweet. Your voice hung on the limbs of the Australian pines and was absorbed by the Myrtle Oak. Your chorus rang out from the man o’ wars and the black skimmers that kissed the sky. And now you are gone.

I still think of you.

 

 

The Siren’s Verse

Come along, all ye lost fishermen. I’ll lead you above the breakers and you’ll soar through the dark clouds away from a watery grave. We’ll whisper sweet dreams to caress our fears until they fade away in the fog. And then we’ll ring the bell on the Crow’s nest three times and like magic our fears will vanish. The Sun will rise with the black skimmers that kiss the sky and they will make us free. All you have to do is believe. I’m your trusted friend.

 

 

 

Everything Lasts Forever by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Everything lasts forever

Nothing goes away

Pain and pleasure

Are permanent residents

In your movements

And your stay

 

I tried a course

In memory loss

For the mud in me to toss

It said get used to me

The only thing to decide

Is who will be the boss

 

All the things I laughed at and cried

Hitched a ride

Inside my hide

 

Grin and bear it

You’re going to have to wear it

 

Everything lasts forever

Like the lines on your face

To the style of your pace

Nothing goes away

Once it is in your book

You are only in its way

 

On each page

No matter how you spell it

No matter the memory and the smell of it regarding those long-ago nights and days

Nothing goes away

 

 

 

Loner by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Too old for this

Too young for that

Slim enough to slide right through

Too much weight to run to the truth

 

An anti-social rover

I am a loner wherever I stand or sit

And yes

I have suffered from it

 

Isolation has its minor disparages

But a sea of advantages

In still waters I float

Closed the bridges on my moat

There is a lot to be said for being half dead

 

I once was a tell it like it is man

I now say as little as I can

 

I see crowds and want to join them

Till I get close and must ignore them

 

Warm heart, hot head, cold feet

If you can’t do it, I’ll supply my own defeat

Selfish to the point of mental denial

Judge and jury at my private pre-trial

 

But

 

I have made it this far as sane as I could be

Don’t want to hurt no one

Unless it is me

 

Maybe one day

Someone to care with

Someone to share with

Until that day

Kindly stay out of my sway

 

Having bled that

 

Ain’t a cat been born

I won’t save from a high tree

And that my friend

Is the real me

 

 

 

Where?  by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

We inhabit a world

In order to survive

Kill something living

For their meat and insides

 

Where dose evil and good come from?

Who or what

Gave them that ride

Take a gander

At your own insides

 

Down as deep as you can go

Now go deeper

Go with the flow

Or you don’t go

 

Go a bit further

To the beginning of time

I was not there

But I heard there was crime

And the rest

Walking that crazy line

 

Why do we do these things

I don’t know

And don’t know enough

To say I told you so

 

Where does it come from

The soft and the brittle

The excellent and the spittle

 

Maybe it’s best to smile

Lend a hand and wish them all good luck

Do the good and the best you can

Walk away from the dirt pile

And not give a fuck

 

 

 

Song Of The Impractical Poet  by Brian Purdy

[Halifax, Nova Scotia]

 

once, books ruled my passions

I left them - all but a few

then pictures claimed my attention

I chucked them one afternoon

 

now, song is my single intention

though it brings no revenue

I travel with no possessions

but a toothbrush and a tune

 

I camp in a farmer’s cornfield

in sight and sound of the sea

I sleep in the swallow’s shadow

come early and dance with me

 

we’ll take our meals at noontide

dining on things we find

we’ll open a packet of moonbeams

we’ll eat and spit out the rinds

 

don’t worry about your mother

your brother, sister or spouse

invite those worthies to join us

at our pinecone and bracken house

 

we’ll dance and sing like children

we’ll sing like the chickadee

come follow the tug of your lifeline

come early and dance with me.

 

 

The Master Builders by Brian Purdy

[Halifax, Nova Scotia]

 

To reach me during the summer of my groundhog

you needed to feel your way on hands and knees

careful not to unseat the rough-barked pillars

I raised to support my fortress of butchered trees.

 

Six feet into the silvery rows of the woodpile

and the height of father’s elbow when he crouched

I built my fort from nothing anyone needed

except for the stove and later for the hearth.

 

Father called it a dead-fall; I knew its dangers

but went to live as a hermit, summer through fall.

I shared the place with spiders and crawling beetles;

chipmunks left their paw prints on my sill.

 

Mother stood on the stoop beneath her washing

calling and calling me in; I didn’t come.

Hermit of the woodpile, summer’s student,

my ears were stuffed with dust and cicada songs.

 

Through eye-hole chinks I left in the fortress walls

the field unfolded its carpet —  and forty yards out

a sentinel groundhog, butter-fat and golden

lazed on the lip of his hole and preened his coat.

 

Seeing him dressed in gold I thought to name him

master builder of the kingdom under the field.

I added rooms to the fortress in imitation

and planned a secret escape hatch under the hill.

Two years earlier, on Spitzer’s acres

my father borrowed a shotgun and went to murder

the enemy that ate old Spitzer’s alfalfa.

I came too but a headache did for my sister.

 

All day we stalked chimeras through the hedgerows

came home faint with sun. No groundhogs died.

‘The buggers can’t be killed’ was my opinion

from that day to the day I made my find:

 

a body squashed and mangled, caught and thrown

by the wheels of farmer’s truck or someone’s Chevy.

That winter my fortress collapsed but I was elsewhere

so lived to see the ancient leave his hole

 

due for a cartridge through his foolish melon

and though it was late in spring the light was cold.

 

 

The Credit by Brian Purdy

[Halifax, Nova Scotia]

 

Green river of my childhood

brown river fished

below the paper-mill race

where in midday mystery

your dark waters widely spread

 

Green-brown river

mirrored in memory

among the scales

of myriad fish

 

each new river

that astringently finds me

binds to mine

still more intimately

your medicinal waters

 

For puny understanding

of things which swiftly twist

and smoothly

flow - river at my source

I resurrect your myth

extol your legend.

 

Grandmother by Zea Perez

[Manila, Philippines]

 

everything about

her physique was slim, lovely

speckles set on

her face, her calloused hands sewed

daintily floral dresses

 

she sang kundiman

to grandfather as if he was

still alive

sometimes her

tune was full of love

at times

tragic

 

she sang about

a widow of a

soldier during WWII

her voice quivering

the sad refrain falling from her lips:

in war

life was cursed

 

 

*kundiman is a Filipino love song

 

Grandfather by Zea Perez

Manila, Philippines

 

tonight, stars shine like

votive candles against      

cloudless skies                 

I remember my grandfather

would play his guitar

whilst humming melodies                

as if wooing the moon to come out

however

more haunting                    

were his requiem songs

recalling WWII:                   

his grave life as a soldier

the killing of many kinfolk

the rape of women and children

bayoneted babies

shattered cities

ruined villages beneath

starless skies     

 

 

 

Going Home Early by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Been a long day

Heading towards

A longer night

No matter

How I focus

Nothing

Looks right

I have said

All there is to say

Maybe

I’ll go home early today

 

My debts

And my dishes

Are all packed away

Gave all the horseplayers

Their tips for the day

Got the car warmed up

Got enough gas

Don’t need the carwash

Just need to blast

Perhaps

Without

Too much delay

Going home early today

 

How many times

Can you hear

The same song

Before the material

Turns to

See thru worn

How many

Places to go

Where you just don’t belong

I never thought

It would turn this way

Might just

Go home early today

 

But knowing me

The way

I talk and play

Most likely

Change my mind

And stay

The rest of the day

 

 

 

Some Other Day by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Why not tell me

All about your troubles

And I’ll tell you

All about mine

Then

We could do something

Or nothing About them

Some other time

 

Why not tell me

What you have been through

And I’ll tell you How I got through

But first

Answer me this

Were your eyes

Always this blue?

 

We can talk

About your last marriage

The Hell and the wail

Or we can talk

About the Heavenly days

I spent in jail

Either way

Your hair looks very nice today

 

And

 

 

The world is

 Full of problems

There are plenty

For us to solve

 

But

 

Your perfume

And your loveliness

Are keeping me uninvolved

 

So

 

What do you say

I think it would be OK

I mean

Why not save the world

Some other day

 

I Go To Bed When I Want To by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

I don’t have to stay up

And I don’t need to stick around

Either way

I’m wearing my night and day gown

And I don’t have to pretend

Or defend

Nor do I feel the vibes of the bleak

When I’m asleep

 

This is going to be some kind of morning

This is going to a great day

I have no timetable

Minimal static

Just like yesterday

And while you’re at it

Go back another day

We are in the same play

 

It may even be

A better night

When I surround myself

With your starlight

Then

You got your place

And I got mine 

It may even be just as good the next time

 

Hello

Goodbye

Hello

 

Just Don’t Do It Again by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

I was a lawyer

I spent more time at the bars

Then studying

For the bar

I never missed a party

I went to all the dances

That is why to make ends meet

I currently chase ambulances

 

Give me a stay of execution

Before I come to my end

All that I did or didn’t do

I just will not do again         

 

I was a doctor

My focus was on the nurses and their pretty supposes

My diagnoses 

Became nothing more than hocus-pocuses  

After the malpractice suits

The fraudulent medical billing

The prescription fails

I began another internship, in jail

 

For Gods sake

Give me a break my friend

I just won’t do it again

I was a star

Stage screen and film

I took sexual advantages of the extras

Every her and him

I ruined every production

Turned them all upside down

Then the bottom and top fell off

I now work for peanuts as a circus clown

 

Please powers that be

Give me a new spin

I just won’t do what I did ever again

 

I was a husband and father

I was a cheater, and I was a liar

I broke my sweetheart’s heart

To my brood I became a pariah

 

For Christ’ sake

Give me a break

Wash my sin

I just won’t do it again

 

And if we all did not get caught

And all those times were erased and stayed still

Would we all do it again?

 

We humans are a mistake

 

Always up and down to no good

 

So

 

Of course

 

We would

 

 

 

 

Repeat Offender by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

Folks never listened

That wasn’t nice

Guess that is why

I say a lot of what I say, twice

 

First half of my life

Hands in pockets crying and staring

Second half

Aggressively not caring

 

In my case I’ve been told

Two halves did not make a whole 

 

All it takes is one bad day

One bad day

 

Say it moving

Say it standing still

 

If I can’t have me

Know one will

No one will 

 

It was perfect at first

But what isn’t

What broke it down exactly

It was simple

And

None of your business

No one’s  business  

 

Yes

Yes  indeed

Yes out deed

 

What started as a spark

Turned rather dark

What started with a howl

Turned into a growl

 

There you have it

And there you don’t

What was written in the beginning

Would become all she wrote

All we wrote

 

The sacrifices of not doing but merely trying

Soon give way to the naked and dying

An unoriginal failure

I salute you, Norman Mailer

 

And in the end

When I blow my final gasket

The friends and lovers

I do not have

Can all view me

In a wide-open casket

 

That would certainly be a long overdue bill

And

 

If I can’t have me

No body will

No body will

 

 

 

A House by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

A house

With a wife

That won’t get

Fat

Big

German Shepard

A Siamese cat

 

A fireplace

That

Will not

Burn out

Hard

On

Each night

Solid

And proud

No matter

How high

I am

Know and

Understanding

When I

Am

Talking out

Loud

 

A roof

That won’t

Leak

Laughter

That

Won’t cease

 

A kid

Or two

Up and Down

The stairs

Always be

Around

To show them

All

Who

cares

 

Bump by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

One day at the mall

I could not help overhearing

A couple talking

I swear I was not leering

I said I know

My own business I should mind

But did you say

Someone eligible in your immediate

Family was blind?

We got one in our family too

By any chance

Are they nice and pretty pleasant

But what blind person isn’t

Should I keep on talking

Or mind my own business

 

Well 

 

They said they had a blind boy

As blind as far as the eye can see

He is in his late teens. and real smart too

 

Was yours born blind?

Yes

Yours?

Yes

A good start

 

Allow me to go on and say,

The one I have at home is already delighted

To look good, be smart, and have no need for the sighted

But a companion

With physically demanding leanings

Might be pleasing

No looks at all are hardly deceiving

 

The one we have at home 

 

Sometimes looks down on us

In the nicest misty way

She does read a lot and has plenty to say

Having said that

She likes things

Her own way

 

The one I got at home

Has got plenty of vision

Too much if you ask me sometimes

But he thinks as quick as a Detroit piston

 

We should get them together

Sit back and watch the fun

What’s the worse that could happen

If no one shows up with a gun

 

Blind faith with a dash of un-seen warpaint

 

 

 

My Jobs by Alan Berger

[West Hollywood, California]

 

It took no application

I earned it bit by bit

The town drunk

The village idiot

What’s it to you

Ever feel like a slow-motion train running thru you?

 

A citified fool

A chump from a dump

A sucker with three to take him

A solo duet of mayhem

 

Before the before

I accomplished plenty

I was the pat on your back

There were many 

 

All the details

Led me to derail

It just wasn’t worth it no more

I weighed anchor and set sail

To a who gives a fuck distant shore

 

It felt good letting go of the paperwork

And replacing it with a life on a wind perch

 

 

 

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