Monday, May 18, 2020

Arlene Corwin writes

The Princess & The Pea 2020

Since my operation, I mean amputation
I’ve become the princess & the pea:
A whole set of new formed, framed sensitivity,
Plus a set of parts I cannot feel.
Forever reeling with the adaptation,
Realising all life is but adaptation - 
And perhaps adoption of the new.

Bare feet and I feel every crumb.
Two knuckles barely touched
And I am numb,
No more the nimble fingered
I was used to from
The decades prior.

Poor princess! Now I know
Why she goes down in history,
Fairy tale no airy tale: reality.

Time will pass 
And more will happen.
Whether it will be ‘Alas’
And I the captive,
Or a brand new happiness
I cannot prophecy.
But by and by
The pea may liquify
And dry, and I, 
A princess only.
Edmund Dulac - Princess and pea.jpg
The Princess and the Pea -- Edmund  Dulac

Ananya S Guha writes

In the Streets

Now I no longer walk streets alone
Mr Covid is there beside me
But where?
Doctors try to extirpate him
Nurses cradle him in their arms
Children bear his brunt 
Comorbidity is his friend 
But where O where 
Is Mr Covid?
He is out there in Africa, America
And dreaded seas
In Asia and the west
They meet through him
And his ruins cannot be felt
Only his presence, as we are thunderstruck
And back home the children weep
There out in the streets.

Connor Orrico writes


remembering the ghosts of joy
offers ephemeral escape
but is its sweetness worth the pain
of tearing out sutures again

Connor Orrico writes


nightly --
of language
languish --
in my mind
my spirit
to the bonds
of a body
a name

Shibaprasad Deb writes


He a recent entry
to the seniors jam,
not all that tech savvy
yet surely had his way 
about social medium.

Signed up all and sundry
Facebook and Instagram,
Twitter, Tiktok, without a why
Whatsapp, Telegram all day,
life a never ending dream.

Joined groups and individually,
mindsets quite similar some
and at a variance lot many,
few from a good old school day
others of sober, restricted idiom.

All was hunky dory
forwarding posts at random
Until the other fateful day
an unhindered post of a school buddy,
found itself in the sedate forum!

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes

(On Dens and Groupies )

“ I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.”


And good riddance, too, frankly
For they can set up quite a cacophony

No, I am not a Den Mother, nor was meant to be

I am just an Independent-Minded Woman
Used to doing pretty much as I please
Prudent enough to negotiate the World
But keeping movement to the bare minimum
I’m barely able to learn to be Human
In the sense that others suffer from this disease
I walk about my realm with my lips curled
And an expression just this side of being glum
Far from that of Jack Horner who pulled out a plum

At least most of the time, yes much of the time
Now tell me Madam, Sir, is that a crime?

How can I try to be something I am not?
How can I not try ways to stem the rot?
I’m not the kind to hatch intrigue or plot.

I totally revolt against anything the wee-est bit twee

No, I am no Den Mother, and I totally refuse to be

I simply do what I have to do
Though I might let slip a hint or two
But woe to those who’d use me as a tool
I’m not here, for you, to be of use
For myself, not you, I’m meticulous
Why, Groupies, to my hints, are you obtuse?
Do you not know you look ridiculous?
Do you really take me for a Fool?

It’s not without learning that I have grown old
Life taught me many things as the years rolled

So should anyone think they have found a ripe peach
Or that I’ll go for a spin around the beach
Just give yourself one tight slap each

From me , you’ll get nothing that is the wee-est bit twee


Yet I must say this frankly without shame
Emotional Blackmail can’t be let to sail
Although at times it can afford some glee
Let it not encrypt in cell memory
And ruin your character

Coming to personalities, hold your tongue
And think again and again ere you act
It takes no time for refined to turn vulgar
Carefully sort your friends tested and tried
And from the dross separate the true steel
Remember many come just for entertainment
With great luck you may find one true comrade
Of factions that none gains from being in
Be wary of one, more so of two, and most of three
Beware you do not lose your own true voice
Beware the pressure does not cloud your judgement
Beware when favours you begin to buy
Beware of sacchrine sweetness, greetings gaudy
And deadly as Den Mom is also Don Man
Sitting and waiting at the writing station
It can not look more impressive than that

In short: this is my message, you may heed
Or not, depending on your choice and need:

Neither Den Mother nor a Groupie be
For Den oft loses both itself and band
And jealousy soon destroys the coterie
If your own resolve cannot uphold you
You can’t stand on what others do or say
Depend not on another, Mom or Man
I hope my words will help to set you free!

“ And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character “


Isn’t it time someone cleared the air?
It’s suffocating
Pray you undo this button, and so on?

Wherever the female phenomenon is referred to , please add the male version also,
And vice versa

“She then: "Does this refer to me?"
 "Oh no, it is I who am inane."

"You, madam, are the eternal humorist,
The eternal enemy of the absolute,
Giving our vagrant moods the slightest twist!
With your aid indifferent and imperious
At a stroke our mad poetics to confute—"
 And—"Are we then so serious?"

John Doyle writes


I swipe two cans of Coke 
left for accounts,
crack one open as my train leaves behind a grizzly scene 
of vacuum cleaners strangling each other
in a cupboard about to explode like an atom-bomb.
I sit back letting the fart-soothed seat 
have its way with me. 
I let out a slow soft-belch,
a satisfyingly baritone-emission 
just inches short of where 
my esophagus is big daddy 
in the biological underground, 
where tonsils are bagmen 
who run from bars to bookies 
to cafes and address cops as Mr. Mulligan, Sir
James told me this morning he believed 
the difference between a Yorkshire accent 
and a Lancashire one was a certain buuurrrr 
that clings to the final syllable
of each sentence.
This is how it goes down,
how it should be,
this is how we moved from a swamp 
to a city, conquering all that dared stand before us

John Doyle writes

Arguments Outside Motel Windows

Houses were made for murders
eight miles from town,

teens in love
are on the run,

a whistling plague of locusts suddenly silent -
comes to mock those

alone in motel rooms, arguments loud,
getting heated -

skinned killers saying little on checking-in,  

the horn-rimmed glasses
of lonely penny-counting men -

no newspapers left, 
the rack is empty -

though the rack keeps twisting
and twisting like an argument outside motel windows,

traffic driving past
on the interstate highway,

flies buzz
around oil-drums in the overgrown weeds, examining shit on leaves,

sleeveless-shirted girls on motorbikes
slap men who rev away

John Doyle writes

Taking Down Curtains in August

which bring a song to us, 
are days

that slowed down a globe
to watch 
the queens of 

plant corn
in the droves of August;

it's summer-time, 
a time to cleanse your curtains,
wear a dress to match your shoes

doesn't submit to swords and sea,
that won't leave toe-traces 

on sands that fire turns to glass -
there, water washes-up 
to take a soul,

a soul left in a song 
a window starts to locks-in,
that curtains hide like a spider looks for a fly

John Doyle writes

It All Just Fell Into Place

I'm used to drunken men
who cry at parties pops drives us home early from,
after two shots of Fanta, or his fourth glass of milk. 

Steve McQueen turned down roles 
as he couldn't cry on cue -
it was said to be his sole failing. I don't know.
I've cried a lot both drunk and sober -
Uncle Joe
cried after two shots of H2O
at his first party, months after his wife died.
I sat beside him, 
The Hunter was on T.V.,
Steve McQueen close to tears in his final scene
at the changing of the guard.
Somehow it all just fell into place, that night

John Doyle writes

For John Patrick Robbins
Scott Walker
murdered seventeen infidels
in butcher's cuts of logic.
This was the nouveau chic 
of year-zero,
the kiss of death
an orchestra with their violin bows 
doused in gasoline
perched their lips to touch;
some made it,
others tumbled over the precipice -
the tympani-player for one, had to start again.
Scott Walker
gets measured-up 
for double-denim
in Saville Row
If we pack our bags and leave by 5, we might just stop him,
but the men 
who wait at customs 
are former KGB. This makes things difficult

Sinchan Chatterjee writes


As the screams fade into a whisper
That floats in circles and is blown away
Like ashes from the pyre by the wind,
We wear black to mourn the death
Of the dead word on the dying mouth.
The clueless crowd chants the word a thousand times,
No longer remembering the meaning
(Did it ever contain any? the deaf man asks). 

The boats come and go from shore to shore
The setting sun has burnt the oar
And we row with our fingers,
Leaving behind ripples that will be replaced.
The living are left behind to taste more of death;
The appetite is lost at the sight of a full plate. 

This day, our roots have been torn from us,
Our essence has been extracted;
We will live on as hollow husks ---
Faded perfume, jaded bodies,
We will walk like insomniacs sleepwalking
Until we knock at the knobless door behind all doors. 

Someone else has claimed the cave in their hearts:
(The memory of flesh pulls stronger than the flesh of memory)
The sleeping word is now a dream only those awake can see. 

The bridge between the two shores
Glitters in the moonlight, grows faint, and then evaporates.
Somewhere in a dusty heap of rusty scrap,
Another word is born,
And deaf men lean in and strain their ears
To hear what it means.

Sinchan Chatterjee writes


Selfish as we are,
We read books so we may hear about ourselves
And see our own stories
Lived by different fictional men in different climes.
We walk through their minds and trot through their thoughts
And laugh and cry and mourn and pine with them.

And at the end, we tear ourselves away from them
Drawing a line between us and them.
We put our finger to the printed page
And tell ourselves these are just words,
These are just thoughts of a person who never existed.
When our favourite heroes die and are mourned,
We breathe a heavy sigh and shed a tear
To remind ourselves we are real, we are alive.
We shut the book and turn it in our hands
And tell ourselves we are eternal because
So are the stories about us. 

When I am passing over and they ask me
What one thing I want to carry with me onto the other side,
Between my palms, clasped to my chest,
I want it to be a book, reminding me
Someone somewhere is reading my story
And finding himself in it.

Sinchan Chatterjee writes


The infinites between us
As our worlds draw closer,
Your universe and mine:
Our stars dance together
And our planets play music. 

Then they collide and crash and break
We are lucky
To have escaped the cosmic stampede
With breath in our bones
And blood in our flesh,
And we will spend our whole life
Guarding that fleeting breath,
Like a glass case covering a candle
To protect its wick from the wind
But suffocating it with too much love.

Sinchan Chatterjee writes


The God and the Human
(In me)
Play see-saw all day
To see which one outweighs the other:
The human self sins and repents,
And the God self forgives and smiles
And washes the slate clean;
It's a ritual. They do it every day. 

Until one day
The weight of the sins is so heavy,
It dries up all the mercy
In God's pocket,
And with a dull thud
The human side
Crashes onto the ground,
Then into it,
And digs a hole -- so deep
It reaches the womb of Brahma.

On the other end of the see-saw,
With the supplicant's sacrifice
On bowed knees
At His altar,
The God
And soars
Until the sun
Is a halo around his head.

Sinchan Chatterjee writes


I tie a rope around my stomach
And ask to be lowered again.
I hang in the air
And wipe the four sides of the walls with care:
One layer at a time.
I sing myself a song
As I go lower and lower,
Starting from the top
Scratching the surface,
Every day I see new depths
I scrub and scrub,
I toil and toil. 

Sometimes I get crushed
Between the narrowing walls.
Someday I will reach the bottom
Having swept it clean
All the way to the ground. 

I am journeying through my mind
And all the darkness that has gathered
From years of ungrateful, exhausting use.
I run my fingers gently
And dream of buried memories. 

Nothing passes here except for fire
Nothing stays except for soot and ash.

Scherenschnitte (cut paper) of a chimneysweep -- Hans Christian Andersen

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes


How does one Heart bear 🍁so much love, so much fear? 🍁That is the Wonder! 🍁🍁
How can the Beloved be, 🍃so far, and yet so near? 🍁That is the Wonder!

How can any one land be, 🍂violent yet full of beauty?🍂
What we hate is what is dear! 🍁That is the Wonder!🍁🍁

Mists and cloud 🍂the mountains shroud 🍂hanging so heavily
Then sun shines and all is clear! 🍁That is the Wonder!🍁🍁

Saffron blooms, Fruit trees blossom, 🍂On Earth’s old bosom🍂
Nature proclaims Spring is here! 🍁That is the Wonder🍁🍁

Curtains of pollution fall 🍂you can see the Pir Panjal🍂
Air’s now transparent and sheer! 🍁That is the Wonder!🍁🍁

Hope rises Joy wakes 🍂even after Heart Breaks 🍂
‘ Anjum ‘ shines in Heaven’s sphere! 🍁That is the Wonder!🍁🍁

Arlene Corwin writes

Making IPad To An Eye-Pad

When there’s someone you’ve not met
Or seen in years, you can get 
Shivers of delight
If you can get them in your sites,
The longed for sight appreciated.

I requested such a meeting on this day,
A “please delay no longer”.
I felt stronger after sending,
As if there can be no ending
When a friendship is involved.

It’s so easy
To turn iPad into Eye-pad;
And somehow I  had
A gladdened interest and the need.

Ahmad Al-Khatat writes

Choose Your Own Poem 

Choose your own poem 
If you can't reach the moon 
Regulate your life journey 
and never say that ”You can't.” 
Many things to write about 
Just always read more books 
Never lose hope on your ink 
Just adopt an optimistic effect
Study hard and work fairly
Be smarter than you think 
Don't expend your time in 
an unethical background
Choose your own poem 
and find the honest lady 
to share her scent, eyes, 
and her desire for your poem.

Ahmad Al-Khatat writes


When will I rest well from overthinking 
I have blinded the daylight in my sights 
I even paralyzed all steps to my objective 
because I have been the blues in my deafness 

When will I rest in peace from awful mouths 
I ceased to exist between everyone I know it 
I started to support the fight against poverty 
unexpected death, and money with bloodstains 

When will I learn myself to nothing but to rest 
My wordless spirit is an immensely tragic story 
It made my heart wonder what I would’ve done 
--if I will have the strength to ignore my longing to 

Before everywhere I go, I hear continuous outcries 
But presently I see the sunshine with birds singing 
This quarantine makes me think as we are all given 
another bet, to heal what we have ruined before...

Ahmad Al-Khatat writes

Layla's Disappointment

Layla, I do not laugh effortlessly 
Layla, I do not weep skillfully 
Layla does not your name mean
-- the night, or blues?

We no longer have the possibilities 
Our story made the entire universe 
--rain, as well as the students in the 
classroom, I weep as I read it today 

When I visit your tomb in the graveyard 
I remember how the war forced the 
--survivors, to transform our memories 
into gray clouds of ash 

Layla’s disappointment is everyone's tale 
It is touching and sad to realize she 
got married at a young age, then she 
became a widow, before she died in the refugee 
Heart Broken Majnun Bonds With The Beasts - nazmiyal
Heart Broken Majnun Bonds With The Beast [carpet] -- Aboul Ghasem Kermani

Ian Copestick writes

All You'll Ever Get

When I think about how old I am,

too near to 50. I look at the people
I admire
and see where they were at my age. 
The terrifying thing is that so many of them 
were dead before they reached my age of 47. 
Robert Johnson, 27, Jack Kerouac, 46, 
Lester Bangs, 33, Kurt Cobain, 27, Hank Williams, 29,
Elvis Presley, 42. The list goes on and
on and on. When I think about my age,
and the life I've lived, I think I should
prepare myself to go at any minute.
Like in " My Way," I've got my regrets,
but I can still sleep at night. I've still got
a lot I want to achieve, but I can live with
that too, I suppose. We've all had certain
opportunities, and limitations, you do
what you can with the hand you're dealt,
and live with the consequences. That's
the best and the worst you can hope for,
and all you'll ever get.