Sunday 31 January 2021

Three Poems by Gopal Lahiri




I still remember the mahogany colour of your smile

voices utter monosyllables, the absence of meaning-

the frail walls are pink and nervous.


A shadow of time waits with my words

hidden in the last cabin,

the corridor gets frozen, numbed.


The elevator door never opens,

there are ruptures in the ceiling,

mystic alphabets break away in numbers.


The fugitive winds tell it’s not you,

eyes strive for the sudden shift in fortune

whispers prepare you for the world outside.


Painted walls rip open the buried maps

living is history now,

candle lights rearrange our own molecule.



Photo Frame


There is the light, the unhurried air.


My fingers run up and down in a frenzy,

grandfather is there on the photo frame

reclining in leisure on the easy chair,

there is a long pause,

unmindfully I drop ink on my coat.


Stirring the reservoir of memories,

bifocals and graphite pencils reclaim

the wall clocks and iron chest,

outside shadows taper across the grey sky

there the clouds drip haiku of rain.


Something like tapping a vein,

the whispers of yearning sweep across

from one room to the other,

still remembering the quiet walk on the

pavement holding my hands.


There is this soft heartbeat of serenity.



Unheard Echo


We are living history

I long, long for that floating metaphors


Each punctuation is aroma of wet earth, dry grain
that makes the chair of hay bales.

Perhaps, the story I’m looking for
is buried beneath the lies of anonymous shadow.


The unheard echo makes way for sleep

behind the fluorspar wall, on the granary floor.


Your smile converse in the language of dark kites.

evening sky opens a light-yellow page,

puts words inside.


The rusted lampshade fills memories

self-imposed halo flickers, seeds breaking into the heart,
sounds of darkness linger in nothingness.


Chilling hiss of the abandoned planets bring

the treasured moments, the romance of chipped poems.

©Gopal Lahiri

Gopal Lahiri is a Kolkata-based bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator. He is the author of 22 books published including fourteen volumes of poems in English (includes four edited/ jointly edited anthology of poems) and eight volumes of poems and prose in Bengali, His poems, translations and book reviews have been published across various journals (includes Indian Literature) worldwide. Recent credits: Ink Sweat & Tears, Catjun Mutt Press, Verse Virtual, Borderless Journal, Different Truth, Piker Press, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Daily Sun, Spillwords, Internationaltimes, NewYork Parrot, Tourvallie Review, Indian Periodicals, Setu, Muse India, Glomag and elsewhere. He has recently edited the book titled ‘Jaillianwala Bagh- Poetic Tributes’. He has attended various poetry festivals in India and abroad. His poems are translated in 12 languages.




One Poem by Madeline Coelho





mysterious as life

sapphire sky above

red dust below.

The Dreamtime –

no beginning/ no end

worshipped  by the

Anangu  people

not as Ozymandias’

man-built colossal wreck

now lying in mortal decay


off-limits    a sacred site

in tune with nature

the planet

the seasons

Madeline Coelho is a writer and award-winning artist living in the Blue Mountains. She writes mostly poetry and short stories   and has self-published a novella; a memoir ‘Magda’s Testimony.’

She has had poetry published both in Australia and overseas.  In Aspiring Writers 2013 Winners Anthology: short stories and poetry she had three poems published.  This was published in the USA July 2014.  In December 2014 she had the poem ‘Nature’ published in The View from Here: Poetry to Help you Soar- an anthology of contemporary  poetry edited by Nancy Riecken.  In 2017 she had two poems published in Poetic  Voices of the Disabled ; an anthology edited by Debbie Johnson.  This was published in the USA also.

At present she has a manuscript: an anthology of short stories and poetry called ‘Eye of the Storm’.  The cover will feature her abstract acrylic ‘Eye of the Storm’.  The short stories and poetry are those she has written over the past almost thirty years from stays in Marsfield, NSW, Warwick, Queensland and the Blue Mountains, NSW.  This has yet to find a publisher.             


One Poem by Guna Moran


The Pet Bird


Fly away  oh bird

The iron cage

I’ve opened


Fly away

to the twig

of your chosen tree


Fly away  oh bird

At will I’ve let you

come out of the cage

Do fly away

far into the distance out of sight


Fly away  oh bird

I’ve  picked you up

and put you on the house top

Do fly away


Perched on the ridge

are you looking around

Do you know how many springs slipped away

while you were in the cage

Do you know whether your buddies

are dead or alive

Are you scared of

being swallowed by the vastness of the whole sky

if you lift your eyes


Fly away  oh bird   do fly away

Why are you looking at me and not flying


Suddenly you’ve flown back

and perched on the hand

of this cruel man who kept you in captivity so long

You seem tamer than before


Oh my dear bird

is it your kindness to

or pity for me


From now on you’ll be looking for me

in life and in death

From now on I’ll live for your sake

From now on the cage has no use at all

Guna Moran - is an Assamese poet and critic. His poems are published in more than a hundred international magazines, journals, webzines, blogs, newspapers and anthologies and have been translated into thirty languages around the world. .He has three poetry books to his credit. He lives in Assam, India.


Two Poems by Allan Shawa



In the Raven’s haven

Abound are the cries of the fallen;

The sunken souls calling for heaven,

The heavy laden, with none to bear the burden,

Wailing when struck by the Raven;

In the Raven’s haven

The innumerable treachery is never hidden,

The Raven is forever more craving

To forever claw the craven,.

The uncountable unkindness subdues the brazen,

When enslaved in the enclave of the ocean,

The Raven drowns the weary never less often.

In the sands of eternity, his name is written,

His image is graven to grieve the seeds of the virtuous women,

His splendour, like gold is for all to behold and keep every eye open.

In the Raven’s Haven,

His croak is forever spoken,

To keep his spell unbroken,

And darken the sight of the awoken.




 I adore the rainbow when non obscure

The absence of its glow is what I adjure,

It has radiance, so radiant and pure;

Healing all dullness in the absence of a cure,

I crawl towards its glow and allure

Calling it to wander within me, in my heart to tour,

A stable home for its splendour to endure,

To implant its sparkle and sprout for sure;

Its abundance has a hope to assure,

And strength eternal, for the soul to conjure,

A flame for the faithless, to warm the insecure;

An embrace for the homeless, to shelter the poor,                

Despite the unbridled stares of the stars getting fewer.


Allan Shawa is a Zambian creative writer, with an insatiable appetite to carve a legacy as a writer. Aside from other endeavours, writing is his passion especially Storytelling and writing insightful poetry.

Saturday 30 January 2021

Three Poems by Ace Boggess


“What Will I Need to Do for My Daughter

When She First Gets Out of Prison?”


                               [question asked by Lena Mae Hanft]  


She will have stories, as America has stories,

with no one to receive them.


At times bleak, others comic,

they unravel the fabric


from a center not as hardened to time as appears.

They must be allowed to walk the yard in daylight,


shared, revealing the secret prisoner,

secret America. Who wants to hear


what outsiders, disbelieving, would call horrors?

To her: integral scenes


in the narrative of a life

like what happens in a college dorm


or among cubicles at customer-service centers.

She will say this is her America.


Listen closely to its anthem distinct from yours.

Receive it without need to sing along.




One expert says we’re entering a third wave;

another, the second—

virus all around us, virus

singing softly like a mother

about to drown her babies.


The anger I experience

watching television or walking through a supermarket

wields a rusty knife, might kill me first.

I’m in a constant state of panic—

you can’t see it, or couldn’t if you saw me, hiding in my room.


There will be an election soon

to determine how America proceeds.

I’ve voted by mail-in ballot.

If the virus gets me between now & then,

at least I know the dead will have their say.





Creepers set their ringtones loud,

bounding through the house

like hyper kids refusing to take my calls.


Their point of entry is a mystery

I’d solve, but nature picks too many locks

as with the virus. On TV today,


news the President’s son has caught it.

Not the obnoxious one or the oft-

disrespected; the young, silent boy


we forget exists because of absence

from perception—like the virus,

like crickets keeping their distance


in shrubby ampitheatres at night.

The insect hardcore band will thrum, &

I must play my instruments of percussion.


Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Harvard Review, River Styx, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia. 


One Piece of Flash Fiction by Roger Haydon


Not likely round here

It was in a plain buff envelope, as you would expect with that sort of thing. It had our names, Neil and Sylvia, written on it but no surname. Inside was a photocopied message made up of letters cut from a newspaper saying:

Friday evening. The Brown household. Be there. That day will be the last. Cuckoos in the nest.”

Nothing else, nothing on the back, no stamp. Pushed through our letterbox some time Monday night. There is no Brown household in the village or, indeed, any other colour (thank goodness, ha ha) so, at first, we thought it was a joke. I didn’t mind but Sylvia said it was creepy, get rid of it, so I didn’t laugh. Actually, I kept it and didn’t tell Sylvia, you know what she’s like about that sort of thing. I found out at the church coffee morning on Tuesday that Mary across the road got an identical note with “Mary” on the envelope. She burnt hers. Some people think she was a witch in another life and I have to say I do wonder about her.

The so very delightful Kevin and Angela at the top of the lane in their swanky palace with its huge conservatory and the gazebo at the end of their enormous garden, they got one too. They’ve got a swimming pool, the jammy so-and-sos, but they’ve got the space for that, what with all the land they’ve got. And the money to pay for it though the word is that the money is a bit iffy, if you know what I mean.

And Josh and Steven, the local gay couple – they’re everywhere days I believe - down near the end of the cul-de-sac overlooking the railway line, they also got one and paid it no mind at all.

They said, ‘Being what we are, we get this kind of thing all the time, other people being what they are.’

Brian, living on his own after his wife walked out because of his temper two months ago, got a copy of the note. I walked past his front gate on Wednesday morning and he said it made him really angry. His neighbours, Sarah and Nick, with their beautiful new baby, got a copy so Jen told me. Jen is Dr. Houghton’s wife and the village oracle, never cross Jen if you can help it.

It became clear that only some people in the village received it. Apparently, the Reverend Baldwin was left out, which was odd because he’s always been one of us after all. Or so we thought.

Anyway, here we are, it’s Friday evening and the usual gang has got together in Dr. Houghton’s enormous kitchen to chew the fat about the Great Mystery and other stuff. There are the many bottles of wine that people always bring to this sort of thing, and a carry out chinese to come that Jen has ordered from the Emperor’s Palace at the top of the hill, so very kind of her.

Brian says he thought he saw some people, including the Reverend Baldwin, hanging around outside as he walked up but he isn’t sure.

‘It’s because you live alone, you’re seeing things Brian.’ says Kevin followed by general laughter all round. Brian looks cross. And now the Reverend has actually arrived looking a bit flushed, carrying what looks like a heavy sports bag of all things.

‘Been to the gym. New Year resolution, don’t mock.’ he says. ‘Sorry I’m late. Didn’t get the message that you all got, you know. Very odd.’

‘We know, Reverend. White wine or red?’ says Jen.

Anyway, we’re getting through hilarious theories including a cry for help, sneaky advertising, a prank, a party political manifesto, a strange work of art (Gareth says Banksy but we all say he paints, not writes, you idiot), a death threat and a revolutionary call to arms.  The last from Seth and Jemima, the university lecturers - sociology and media studies I believe. They’re nice though their lefty political ideas don’t really fit in round here (“woke” is the term to use I’m led to understand), but it takes all sorts. Eventually silent, dapper Gordon the IT specialist, who we all suspect works for “the government”, opines it could be a coded message and says he’ll take it to work on Monday and see what he can do.

‘Great,’ we all say, ‘thank you Gordon, thank you so much, what a relief.’ Gordon guffaws loudly at this, no idea why. Gordon’s wife is foreign, from Africa I believe but she’s actually quite nice, speaks good English.

But, we’re getting a jolly party out of it so why worry? We’ve finished the wine we all brought, so we have a whip round and send Ben – Dr Houghton’s son home from university– out to the offy to get some more drinks and we tuck into the newly arrived chinese which is actually delicious, who would have thought it.

Then the Reverend says, ‘Midwich Cuckoos.’

And we all say ‘What?’

Jen says, ‘Midwich Cuckoos, a scary story from yonks ago.’

‘Oh yes,’ says Gordon, ‘something happens and everybody in some village falls asleep and when they wake up all the women of child bearing age are pregnant.’

‘Not likely round here, I’m afraid.’ I say. ‘Most of the ladies here are well past that sort of thing, ha ha.’

Gordon continues, ‘And in the end all the evil children are persuaded by the frightened villagers to gather together somewhere indoors.  Then someone they trust sets off a bomb inside, kills them all. I think it was the vicar that did it, but I can’t be sure.’

I’m looking at Reverend Baldwin who has just put his hand inside the sports bag.

Roger was born in London and has lived in the North East of England in the Tyne Valley for well over 40 years. He retired in 2012 from a working life in health care, environmental consultancy among various other odd occupations that demanded mainly dry as dust reports and proposals. Now, getting on a bit, he is finding deep pleasure in writing flash fiction, short stories and the occasional poem. He’s trying to learn what words can really do, find a consistent voice and, mainly, have fun with them. About six years ago, he acquired an allotment and wishes he had done that years ago.

One Poem by Margaret Kiernan


Voice for the Wolf-



Desolation, measured odds of

wind cries through ravines,

Spring floods gain impetus,

to the oratories of Eco banter

with Hedge funds.


Hunted fleece, since long-ago

when men got me put down, as

survival odds I estimated, now

rising heat and melted floes

leave no consent.


Going higher to the roof of abode

I contemplate centuries of

extinction, it runs back to now,

survive to fail is not my call,

fur traders have gone home to their Gods

yet, the axe persists.


Whooshing eagles fly up the mountain

almost wavering in their flight

like, weary commuters going home ,

their feathered wings carry

above the wrung-out sedition

of governments out of sync’

with natures choirs,

soaring sweetly.

Emerging writer. Poet at Over the Edge, Galway. Published on-line and Literary journals. Pendemic. Blue Nib, Lit.Mag. Journal. Honest Ulster etc.


Three Poems by Judith Borenin

Swing Low

The playground is empty save

for a song wavering on wind


gusts and the repetitive snap

and release clinking of chains.


Swiiing low sweeeet chariot

commin’ for to carry me home.


And home is a place she hopes

someday to find as higher and


higher she climbs with each pump

and thrust of her legs – fingers


wrapped tightly round the links

of the chain tethering her to the


world - this playground of dust.

I looked over Jordan and what


did I see - her father’s a ghost who

rarely returns – a band of angels


commin’ after me – her mother a

disembodied smile – commin’ for to


carryyy meee home. As the metal

poles churn losing grip on the ground –


Ka CHUNK Ka CHUNK – with each

snap and release of the slack in the


chains her fingers still cling to. She

saw clouds crumble in the roof of the


sky when the world was a playground

of dust - when all things were possible –


when forgiveness was enough –

commin’ for to carry me home.


The Way Things Shine When Cloaked


in darkness.  Stars fleeing like

bats from black holes


hidden in the sky. Lights from

mastheads moored along


the shore that stare and blue like

glowing eyes over a black


sea. Indoor lights that beckon just

like hands to lost souls


passing by to move in closer for

a shaft of comfort


which cannot warm. Sparks that

float like paper


lanterns from the hollows of

ringed black eyes


of nocturnal raccoons who

prowl past the last


perimeters of light. The chartreuse

shock of a green shoot


inside a moist black cocoon of soil

as it wakes. Or how bad


dreams drive hands to reach

for bedside lamp


chains in the middle of long

and lonely nights. 


The last bright white blaze

that shrieks from


death’s darkening gaze before

each synaptic snap


and spark is suddenly erased.


Who Am I?


I hide behind a mask.

I am a blast

of black breath –


a smile climbing out 

the window of

a roadside wreck.


I am a flatlining sun

beneath cloak

of grey. A gutter of


moon in an emptying

drain. A neon

white vein stripped


clean of its blood. A gale

hooded neck against

a gleaming windowpane. A


black plastic scrap ripped

free of its load. A

curled paper of darkness


left stranded in the middle of

a deserted road.

Words are permanent


graffiti scrawled across my

skin. My ears ring a hum

of pandemonium. My


eyes are mere cut outs of

parchment epiphanies.

My fingers are flailing


acrobats over a widening hole

scribbling equations

on my yellowing vellum soul.

Greetings - 

Judith is a poet living in Port Townsend, Washington. Her poems have appeared online and in print journals including: The Raven Chronicles: Last Call, The Floating Bridge Press Review IV, Ethel Zines 3 & 4, Synchronized Chaos, The POETiCA Review, The Night Heron Barks. Her chapbook, The Evidence & The Evermore was published by Ethel Zine in 2019. She used to have a black cat named Lothlorien.

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...