Reena Prasad | Poem: “Voodoo”
Tonya Eberhard | 2 Poems: “When, How” & “Good Friday”
Sudeep Adhikari | Poem: “The Noise of Becoming”
Ojo Taiye | 2 Poems: “Motif of Pain” & “Memory and Grief”
Sheikha A. | Poem: “Evil Eye”
Lana Bella | Poem: “Grey Chicago”
When there is nowhere else to walk,
either down the park or the nearby lake,
the night is as violent as gray Chicago
and stymied as a decade-long hangover.
From inside the glass house, my eyes
gaze past the frosted garden, out the lane,
then beyond the horizon’s wings that
stretches thick and wide like a velcro
igloo domed over the ground of ice-
I watch the gray city take in more snow
from the incensed sky, marking it a paler
gothic version of dream and thought’s
dovetailing, when the powder pour
on the earth’s heart like triumphant
burns on the stove again
supposed remedy for this –
ward off the name,
ward it off, don’t bathe
on Tuesdays and Saturdays
don’t go near sea water
on days you should sully prayers
don’t step on stray garbage
especially a shred of black cloth
or a sealed envelope of lemon
and chilli – ward them off
cover your hair, don’t let them
eyes fall on its beauty
those that never praise the lord
those whose tongues are spotted
those that summon premonitions,
they who eat
your soul in nibble-sized bites,
don’t stare – don’t watch –
don’t let a cat smell your blood
and take away your womb
I have been recounting my steps
as my hair falls out in full,
what belief did I override
for the spirit to escape
the cloth that tried to ensnare it
and return on the stove,
gleaming red eyes through
the fast burning camphor
Motif of Pain
the scramble letters of
life, converse in diglossia
that its dead weight
mutters two syllable:
salty puddles, or
Memory and grief
Some things mama left undone:
a suckling who needs an urgent un pair
a galley attendant
a cotton ball to
Some things papa left behind:
a red bank note
a tattered monument
all the things they both left behind:
in a bowl of grief
Ojo Taiye is a twenty- three-year-old microbiology graduate from Nigeria. She loves books and Anime, in that order. Taiye has some of his muddled thoughts published in a few e-magazine.
The Noise of Becoming
This all starts with a river
It always has;
I don’t know
if I am listening
or seeing its sound.
A hydraulic high
of pure becoming
is the grammar
gone batshit drunk.
is the love-story
of our God-sweetened
I am not a preacher
call me a hummingbird
or Merzbow’s noise
on a ghetto phonograph;
or the unheard infinity
of Cage’s 4 minutes
and 33 seconds
if you call me noise
a ghastly recursion
of absence and presence
a sexed-up fuzz
call me any-sound-whatever
but a poem, a symphony
or a thought.
Sudeep Adhikari is a Structural Engineer from Kathmandu, Nepal. His poetry has found place in many online literary journals/magazines, the recent being Kyoto (Japan), Scarlet Leaf Review (Canada) and Red Fez (USA).
Before the evening meal:
chicken, rice, grilled mango
charred diagonal stripes on
yellowed juicy skin.
Just as the thunderstorm rolled
into scorching heat
A voice read each letter aloud
under hot whirls of a ceiling fan
so no lines would be skipped,
no words could be missed.
After writing out each letter
that formed words that created
a letter. Trying to capture the
feeling behind every stroke of the
Everything in life an
I don’t know
A lightning bolt with no telling
where it would strike next
too shy to pick the chicken carcass clean
as knives and forks scrapped
across ceramic plates
After the sign of the cross was said
At nine o’clock the gummy bears were baptized in vodka.
Night was a baby barely out of the cradle. Oh, Eucharist,
Holy Communion taken with mascara wands and eye shadow
palettes in hand. Rap music, pre-gaming shots shooting down
the throat, hot and startling. Jesus Christ, you take forever
and a goddamn day to get ready. Squeals running out to the
parking lot, passing the boys smoking, poisoning their lungs
with toxic inhales outside the dormitory. The sinners who
wanted to bite the coffin wood early. Static blasting in the
car. Speeding to the top of the hill, tires screeching over
patches of ice. The party was glamorous—beer pong out
on the balcony, white circles floating on alcoholic ponds.
Chug. Chug. Chug. Goes the music. Hookah pipe passed around,
chalice of Christ’s blood as vaporized smoke. A conversion.
A change. Indeed you will drink from this cup. The flesh
and blood was real. It was all Resurrection until two disciples
left the apartment. There was a winter coat stirred by the wind,
talk of broken families, fruitless prayers to the dead.
Unrequited attraction, a tempting offer only the other had
to consent to, to make complete. Finally, the truth: It was all a
story about memories that were never made, a salvation that
was only granted to those who stole it for their own.
Tonya Eberhard‘s work has appeared in Algebra of Owls, The Commonline Journal, Dirty Chai, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, among others.
It hurts when you choose to appear
Between two yellow cheese slices
Bread chars, another finger burns
My eyes are blurred,
I love a failed murderer
You smile and I forget the distance
I put between your fingers and my neck
I am choked up, it isn’t emotion
It is a paper doll walking down
Our unflattering history, I relentlessly flatten
Till no questions bulge in your frame
And stick you among pages you abhor
My wan idea of revenge
But that grin
It burns up wood, not yet a tree, not yet paper
And my ashes float in the milk I spilt
We hated once, a better kind of love
Any more of it would have been incest
Paper thin siblings of a shared sorrow
You and me
We fight through our failings
I pulped your memories long ago
But you still stick pins in me
EMILY AS THE IRON IS TOO THICK
When I was young
I wanted to use Emily
to construct a life
& for several years
after we married
I tried to lift her
into that frame.
I learned quickly
that there is always
one beam that is more
art than construction
material, one that
you would carve into
& live inside
if it weren’t iron.
So, I lived around
Emily, with Emily
& I treated her
as the key to modern
living. I never tried
to use her again,
but I built up
a whole world around
EMILY AS FLAT WITH DESIRE
for M. Mack
I wanted to want Emily
so much that I leveled my chest,
that I gave up muscle
& gave up deep breaths
& forced my posture to become
one with the floor.
I chose an intersection
of our house
that she would cross
& I went blue with waiting
for her. Blue is my favorite color.
I made a lot of right decisions
& I when I woke up, my chest
expanded again, I watched her
slide off onto the floor,
unable to account
for my returning gradient.
I constricted myself
& she lay down again
on top of my still body.
It was good to know
that the less I became
the more she returned
to the cavity I made for her.
Darren C. Demaree‘s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of five poetry collections, most recently “The Nineteen Steps Between Us” (2016, After the Pause). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He currently lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.
I called her yellow and she laughed at me.
She asked me if she looked afraid.
Whether she was a weed that needed to be plucked away.
Quite the contrary, little canary;
If you are my dandelion, I give in.
Your eyes, I know they’re brown
But you are spring and summer and
You exude the colour yellow in your intangible fashion.
You are bumble bees, fumbling around
sunflowers and daffodils,
You are the sun trickling through
wispy clouds and frolicking through rivers,
You are the smell of apricots in the morning
and that one perfect bite as juice runs down your chin,
You are molten gold running through
the fractures and cementing them back
You are silky smooth feathers swaying
in a light breeze, tantalisingly grazing
You are my happiness and I can only
think of you as yellow.
The day of my death, I tried to return,
I swore on my grave I would burn my urn.
If only it were so simple.
The day of my death I saw friends cry,
Saw them scream to the sky, ask me why.
I couldn’t answer them.
The day of my death I thought I’d left
But I never did
And it filled me with more sadness than life ever could
And I was more threadbare than my socks ever were
The day of my death I stood
Harder than I did when I was left
Because now I am the one who crept
Away, and I missed my green cardboard box
of memories and I forgot and things floated away
The day of my death the earth still spun
But I never expected it to stop.
It felt like time did.
I felt so slow.
The morning was so long that I ate porridge,
though breakfast was something I never ever ate
The day of my death I heard people say
“What a tragedy”
It was the longest day.
Voyages are fun but there are no jolly ferries
left on the bay
But the day of my death was like any other day.
The weather didn’t change.
Everything ordinary, nothing strange.
Just no more windmills or zesty fruit in agave
The day of my death I meant as an end.
I meant it as peace and no more pain.
Then I saw.
I felt no gain.
I would pay everything to roll my dice again
The day of my death I wandered, caged.
Life is a prison but death is too.
At least life holds a key for you.
I look up at the superheroes I pasted on every wall
and I wish I was brave
The day of my death, I died again
And I died every time someone cried
And it was worse than when I was just dead on the inside.
Because I could still feel the flowing water,
I could still drink and be sustained
The day of my death I tried to rewind
To remind myself of the why
And in that moment I didn’t know
And in that moment I was so afraid
And in that moment I couldn’t even hold your hand
and I hope you weren’t angry or sad
But I knew that you were and it ached
The day of my death was a normal day.
The day after was too.
And the day after that.
I never knew what would be different
Until I died.
And I wasn’t a King and it didn’t snow or even hail
And I wished to take it back
I wished so hard on the holes in my socks
And the big green box
And I wished on my bowl of oats
And my love of boats
And windmills and an orange slice
And the collection of dice
And I wished on the posters on my walls
And I wished on hands and feet
And thrones and sleet
And I wished.
And I wished.
But I couldn’t wish anymore.
The day of my death I thought I would live
But I just kept dying over and over again.
Zara Young is an English writer, photographer and Media student based in Yorkshire. She prides herself on her ability to work across many different platforms, including prose, plays, articles, songs and more. Her work often centres around personal experience, feelings and nature. She is enamoured by words and art.