Three Poems by Jowell Tan

[half-aware]

these dreams at the edge of my
memory, dimly lit and hazy
undetailed and uneasily
remembered;

oftentimes
a sharp recollection –
minor details and major scenes
the most important parts of the dream;

like a passing wind the thoughts recede
retreat to its forgotten corners;
leaving me unsure if it was real
or a figment conjured whilst i slept.


Acheron, The In-Between River

like Jesus i walk
light-footed onto water. each step
is a memory. below the waves i see myself
across decades. still lifes chosen from
history as exhibition pieces.

my tongue rolls about
a coin. payment
for passage.
on the shore, the
ferryman patiently waits.

did you find what you needed?
a slow boat to heaven.


[Digital Window]

The television
Speaks out loud; sends messages
For us to decode.


Born, bred, and based in Singapore, Jowell Tan writes prose & poetry after hours for fun and emotional release. His nights consist of writing, rewriting, watching Youtube videos to avoid writing, and finally, writing again. Please say hello to him on Twitter / Instagram at @jwlltn.

He thanks you for your time.

Two Poems by Leela Soma

Cityscapes

On the Empire pink- washed map
Edged by blue Bay of Bengal
My dad’s Madras, golden-sanded beach
Yet Seussian in my mind, a landscape
In black and white of a tapestry hung
With fragments recorded in Brownie
Camera shots of the dying days of
The Raj. I try to cross to that world
In pages of books imagining the
Poetry of their lives, of the hunger for
Freedom, the burden of their grief
The potpourri of emotions, Dad’s life
King Emperor George V1 Rupee coins
The British suits to work
The impeccable English
A calligraphic writing
Playing cricket and tennis
Mount Road, Elliot’s Beach
Higginbotham Bookstore
Reels of Laurel & Hardy
Black & White silent films
Screened on 35mm projector
Life of hardship and happiness
The washed pink city coloured
New in saffron, white and green
Born again, an Independent India.

Knotted

Snaking around, confused,
green on brown
Gnarled, convoluted,
sculpted by nature
carved by wind and rain
seeking the sun
a scission, chiselling its way
braided- twigs
through the welter
reaching for the skies
for its existence
forming
its own patterns
in a language unique
every leaf, branch its own code
a deep mystery
rooted in the
wilderness
prosopography of a tree’s life
no bark with circles
survival etched
in its slant.


Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry.
She has served on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee and is now on East Dunbartonshire Arts & Culture Committee. Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland. She was nominated for Pushcart Prize 2020.

Ben Berman Ghan

That Ghostly Voyage Beyond

For you, I would relinquish
My precious solitary
signified being and
embrace a gaseous dizzying
Consciousness of nebulae
Altering star-ways on a journey

To eventually settle a planet
So blue all the way through
To call home, and there I would
drift among the berries
And the birds and stars with you
And experiment with all the forms
Of conjoining dewdrops

Until one day when
Our bodies have fallen
into mixed memories leaving
Nothing left that might signify a me
Or a you in this endlessly distributed
Cognitive we

Would I spin us
From lilac stems and
Sweet honeys, remoulding
A you with touch and soft attentions and
A me made from your light recognitions
To lie in a garden of we and look at
The constellations we have midwifed
In our travels

 

Ben Berman Ghan is a Jewish Settler, writer, editor, and scholar based in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, His non-fiction has been published in the likes of Empty Mirror Books, Augur Magazine, and Strange Horizons, and his fiction has appeared The Temz Review and The Sweet Tree Review, and his poetry in The UC Review and The Trinity Review. His novel What We See in the Smoke was published in 2019 by Crowsnest Books. His novella “Visitation Seeds” is forthcoming with 845 Press. You can find him @inkstainedwreck or inkstainedwreck.ca

Shome Dasgupta

The Only Way We Know

Brittle the smile, gone went the grimace–
shallow heads sunk deep into a well
full of gone and gone, long done the thoughts:
past blocks–in shades and hues, imagined realities
once existed in distorted skies, fickle:
is the dance of the mind, and cloud cloud
clouds sang stretched lights–parallel to lines
connecting a tick tock world to haphazard
hazardous souls of belonged beings,
who once found meaning–of love and life and memories
in a stray mutt, tongue sagging, watery barks–
while searching for tasteless suds,
anything means everything when the forgotten
remember to remember: that they are the ones
meant to fade away into darkness, that is–
light we know but no longer want to exist,
and this, why geometric planes tilt this way and that,
plates welcoming maths of uncertainties.

Hoarse throats: lullaby of perception–
we are all so very gone, so very here–
time unaccounted for, but here here here:
just a moment, we reached out our hands
for skin for a leaf an orange a lime,
when sought a mud of ideas, that
once lit the universe, were no longer
purposeful–so we went our ways with a tongue
tasting of grit and smiles and a grimace gone full of dirt
and leaves of a fallen whatever truth–
so went and goes the matter of atoms, particles
of which we are all made but were never made to realize,
we’re all so made to be confused: the end of it all
is just the beginning, and glitter sprinkles upon
our faces as if we know what really happened.

Shake shake shook.

All of our science: took the turtle’s shell,
skull in meditation, chins are so up–
chins are so weary and worn:
worn was what we were meant to be–
glass, o’ the glass and glass, glass glass sparked
the touch of ignition made to lead us
to a spiral of reflections and wooden ladders
beaten, eroded like rivers traveling
through crevices of our tongues
and taste buds and tacit towers,
soles of your standing: sound
and sound and sound, bells shout
like we haven’t been heard for an infinity,
but no matter, no matter at all–we drift,
let ourselves unravel–it was all meant to be:
a silent understanding–it was never going to happen.

A blaze a fire a speck of ash:
swimming, stomach of ghost–
a specter spectacular,
we all should know–we are all that ghost,
the ghost that waves hi when we are looking down–
concrete cement coffins below, our souls
rusted–unwavering, fireflies once knew
what we were thinking–we never asked
for solace, we want but never seek–
a lake of glimmer settled upon our faces,
shimmer and shiver, it’s all the same–
we’ve seen it all–heard, felt:
learned that the beginning is much like the end–
we’re not surprised, not surprised at all–
in the end, we expected it to be that way,
and that is the only way we know.


Shome Dasgupta lives in Lafayette, LA. He is the author of i am here And You Are Gone (Winner Of The 2010 OW Press Fiction Chapbook Contest), The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India), Anklet And Other Stories (Golden Antelope Press), Pretend I Am Someone You Like (University of West Alabama’s Livingston Press), and Mute (Tolsun Books). He can be found at http://www.shomedome.com and @laughingyeti.

Sarah Little

Ghostspeak

She calls you on
the first of every
month.

Her voice changes,
disappears
into the mouthpiece.

After six months
she sounds weak.
Her voice

is breathy,
thin,
as if she’s apologising
 for

existing.


Sarah Little is a poet who scribbles when she remembers and gets tetchy when she goes too long without writing. Her work has appeared in L’Éphémère Review, Alien Pub, and Milk + Beans, among others. Her first poetry micro-chapbook, Snapshots was published with Broken Sleep Books in July 2019.

Three Poems by Robert Frede Kenter

Tsunami

With abalone hair, string-tuned
Medusa turned men to stone
melted night-mare

eyes. Gone, faces
carved in trees, endless
monuments.

The sea kept churning
lifting things up
from deeper places.

Beware one location
but not another? It
does not have to be this way.

Walk beaches in broken step,
coal-black sand, demanding hearts, twisted
limbs, dreaming sea walls, expressive hands.

Up the shore
amidst curled-curved culverts
— a ribbon- of police

Uninformed men  ecstatic women
thrown out of ocean on angrier waves,
hurtling the thrusting scruff of fluted palms


Milk River

Metal  taste     methane

his military      chest medallion

Not lucid    —    I mention  —    paper bags

and brows in terror

A terrace  of   tears   mother   weeping in

a water-closet        open  door

Coming up: The Dire Wolf    (in an ambulance)
locked in starlight.

Ambling towards comatose
Ample   verdant not ambulatory

Father, staggering   towards a dish of  sugar

To make an oven tray-full of sacred
burnt – blurred –left upper cut  trunk

of (words)

Borrow into
the armature.  Sutured.

A sentient tattoo —

sewing the lips up
tight        Night of churning

Eyes of black stitches   —

Threading a  blood needle
Crimson    marooned
with ampules.  Knitting

the Moon.

Terrible.  Father.

Cold pours with gasoline into Milk River.


Econoline economies

With economics
(par excellence)    the
Industrial waste land    measured

by unit     display    porch
lamps (in fog)

the pariah ( parasitical )
(in parenthesis)

The parent wheel endeavour
The coach-wheel-brokers

Wheel upon wheel      work
Is attitudinal

(respect the Gold Standard)

A   RUSH ))))))))

In the schools of regents regret
Neglect is procedural            a   (regal)

routine
(innocuous)

this route and the railroad # tracks

all crown imperial uranium techniques !
on the television   the umpire   strikes

to clear the fields,
clear them  the (TIN FOIL TRUMPETS)

Colgate       clerestory       chloroform

Clear the head  – reading — Irigaray —

(the Irregular Currents/ of Hollywood monsters
and British investiture    the    inventories
of misadventure    the Dividends)

 

Ruptured mined   in Hydro   waterfalls

Velcro   sheets

 

Hydrophone  euphemism        Hyper-oxide
Hydroxide

The beauteous rapture   at Bala

Running together a long stretch of forgetting    (forgeries)
Fording picture frames all hammered edges


Robert Frede Kenter is a writer, visual artist and editor.  He is the EIC and publisher of Ice Floe Press.  His writing and images have been published and exhibited widely including: Burning House Press, Dandelion, New Quarterly, Cough, Anthropocene, Going Down Swinging (Melbourne), Visual Verse, Grain, Arc, Writ, Twist in Time, the Failure Bailer and Black Bough. His chapbook Audacity of Form (2019) is available from Ice Floe Press. He tweets at @frede_kenter.

Tianna G. Hansen

evanescence 

like the revontulet fox fire in the northern sky
I dance, sparks rising from my paws as I run.

lightning without thunder, burning romantic
flames across the clouds. if I disappear into

darkest night, I will rise again, brilliant
beyond your wildest dreams. I am a creature

who belongs chasing constellations & stars
the evanescence of my being is a discovery.

you may think I disappear, but I shift skins,
become something fiercer than you first

thought I could be. this fur envelopes me
in soft touch, excites me. hybrid soul

of legend & folk tales, existing beyond belief.
I sigh a final breath from convulsing lungs

my body spread across the night sky in cascading
stars, twinkling their infinite brilliance.

your children’s children will look up & see
me chasing my tail, my grinning fangs

winking. they will follow my lead into
the hungry forest, become lost to you

forever, the way I have been.
the way I always will be.

 


Tianna G. Hansen has always been a poet at heart, though she has studied fiction and dabbled in creative nonfiction. In human form she runs Rhythm & Bones Press (rhythmnbone.com), giving space to those with trauma to be turned to art. Find more of her work at creativetianna.com or follow her and more of her wolf writings on Twitter @tiannag92.

Two Poems by Jesse S.

Two

White house tastes blue, like chalk, like ocean
Sunset or sunrise, quilted through my skin and wrapped around my body, windows whispering don’t tell don’t tell don’t tell

We seek paradise with no forethought
We welcome demons, and like us

They feast
There is no Heaven to chip your teeth on
And no Hell
There is only maple tree
Sandbox
Mud
And closed eyes
There is only white house
Golden trim
It is only purgatory
And you are little death

Bloody your tongue like your hands
Unthread your skin
White house tastes blue like abstraction,
Like
Rushing water, burning lungs and ribbons
Around throat

 

In the desert

rock
for miles
red, and dust
once sea

once great,
and submerged

once mountain,
and execution


Jesse s. is a Black author and poet from the Midwest, with a specialty for horror and homoeroticism. He is currently developing a chapbook entitled “Eros in Dying” and can be found at the bottom of any shallow ditch, or at @gothqore on Twitter.

Ellen Chang-Richardson

How bold I was, when I was seven

I touch my left earlobe to bring myself luck,
as I listen to the words of colonialists. Yet I
in some ways am a colonialist too. Full of brimstone
and the belief I belong; existence that blood / belies.

I shake my left leg to field preoccupation,
as I think back to my blood’s migration. My parents,
their parents, their flight bringing with them
another culture, foreign.

Stop stroking your ears, shaking your legs, they’d say.
Place hands to your lips, steepled and silent.

Now bow low and focus, why, because
only whores shake coin from their thighs.


Ellen Chang-Richardson (she/her) is a poet, writer and editor of Taiwanese and Cambodian-Chinese descent. Winner of the 2020 POWER OF THE POETS Contest and the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, her writing has appeared in The Town Crier, Anti-Heroin Chic, long con magazine and more. Her debut chapbook Unlucky Fours is published by Anstruther Press (2020) and her second Assimilation Tactics is forthcoming this fall. Find out more at www.ehjchang.com.

Two Poems by Colin James

MYTHOMANIA AND THE LIFESPAN OF HEROES

Whenever I see a bolt
sticking out of someone’s head
with protruding thread,
I think another off season spent
compiling interpretations of
fascinating northern Europeans.
The anti-establishment congruent.
A dollies rusty bent wheel echoes
through drafty castle corridors.
Soon to be oiled bloody.
If brought back to life,
expectations will detract from
the actual, so I am going to
place your remains here.
Mourners filing past may
flinch in anticipation of one
good final flying flat-liner.

 

SCHOOL STREET

The dirt floor crawl spaces
beneath front door porches
held much more appeal
when I was younger,
running from neighborhood
dogs or owners. Surviving
territorial amendments
that played out daily.
Some had unused coal doors
accessing dusty cellars.
Patience resulted in vindication
for my naked apparatus,
fittingly just an aphorism.


Colin James has a book of poetry, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press.  He lives in Massachusetts.