Sunday 31 December 2023

Garlic - Flash Fiction by Toyb ben Uilliam




My friend Alte at the grand age of 22 has achieved his life's goal. I love him, but what am I to do? What is he to do? Yeah, this is not the era of great dreams, but where does he go from here?

One hand wants to throttle him, wring that smug loving completed neck and end a world. One hand wants to smack his back, Mazel Tov and deep embrace. One handed like men do.

He's got years to coast and drink off of, and treasure the memory of and mourn that perfect bulb. That single clove fused from all other cloves. A full bulb of garlic like a boiling onion pearl.

He can linger, and if life is kind and if he is lucky beyond the lot of one man, maybe he can find another. He looked at it with such love, he never looked at me with such love as that immaculate bulb.

This is not the era of great dreams and a fused bulb is not a charmed thing. It is not heritable. It was eaten. Ah, if only it were me. The lucky find or the lucky affection, or this not being the era of great dreams, the consumption.

Toyb ben Uilliam (they/them) is a botanist and IWW union organizer from the American Northeast. They dream of a kinder world, and restful Shabbos. Their work has appeared in Discretionary Love, Lothlorien, and Rulerless among other publications. They can be found at

One Poem by David Barber


Le Dernier Chevalier du Graal

A knight at the gate. The steward leads him

into the Great Hall and points out a bench

amongst drunk courtiers and their women.


In the days of his valour, lords made space

beside them to better hear him speak

of tourney, imperilled maidens, and the Grail.


Wasn't the wild wood a haunt of dragons,

where sorcerers hoarded their last magic

in ancient towers overgrown by time?


Proud knights would bar the way at bridges,

a passage of arms the toll for crossing,

and no one of true heart refused the lance.


Standing shoulder to shoulder in the fight,

they became a fellowship that somehow

proved them better than they knew themselves,


the burliest of them round the Table

spellbound as Arthur spoke of visions,

mailed fists thumping approval for the Quest.


Yet when Guinevere came to Camelot

who guessed her doom was to betray the king,

or that the waters would reclaim the fated sword?


Eager hoofbeats; a lance shocked to splinters;

foes tumbling backwards; his name being cheered;

King Arthur come to shake him by the hand.


But that was long ago, his comrades dead,

their lives become tales invented by bards.

Addressed, the ancient knight did not reply.


Arthur himself coming to shake his hand.

By David Barber

Five Poems by Lan Qyqalla


In the Theatre of Tragedy


Hamlet is shouting on the stage

in the backstage

Romeo and Juliet

burn in the fire of love

caress the stains of the cloth

left from Kanun's time

the intrigues of friends with empty souls

in the museum of memories

in the imagination of Eros in Prishtina.



curses Hamlet beyond the scene

that he had penetrated her thoughts

she is seeking the paradise in poetry

why is Romeo lying

about fiery love

I do not have a covenant or ask for the breakup

Juliet feels that he speaks with his heart.


Romeo blesses the love

that remained like a wound

from the years that have passed

trots in the lit cup

the bedbed curses

at the table...

One Day

(Requiem for the poet)


You will not see the poet


in Edi Café 2*

nor will you intercept

intrigues and contemplations

he will not order espresso

the table will be empty

as the memories that evoke

alcoholic beverages...

and a toast of friendship.


The poet blessed by hatred

does not withdraw

the words blossom with rose perfume

and cry for the memories in solitude

do not believe in dreams and magic

to give the world love

and the lyrics will need calligraphy


The poet burns in an ironic smile

the storm and the sky evoke a memory

every word in the fire of words

a world you do not know

Queen with beautiful eyes.


You will not see me

in the coffee shop

nor the streets of Prishtina

the atmosphere steps on your footsteps’ traces,

some quiet storms

strikes like the lightning in the sky without clouds

how many stars are lit

you are crystal in the heart and you know

memories of a distant time bring me

farewell and a voice

that babbles lyrics as a hymn...

we give life the spiritual dough

all the dreams we've written

the love we sang in each letter

we the unloving lovers!


*Edi kaffe in Prishtina

Lora in Adriatic


The plains swing

the unsung serenade

the text sinks into the water of the lake

the sounds of love cover the mountain

the eyes dissolve the exuberant magic.


The ring of the lake shines in the Adriatic

The lake wears the ring on the finger

The rays of the sun caress the face

Lora's lips bite the words

curdled on the eyebrow

"For me you are unique, oh Lan"

and the lake trembles.


The lips redden in the drunkness of the kiss

Lora squeezes the fingers to her chest

the adder bite at the neck and at the nape

the chest whiteness shakes on the lake

the whips of excitement like the oak sap

Lora loses the trace in the longing of waiting

the cherry melts in the language of love.

Lora in the Rain


Lora was jealous of the rain

when it washed Lan’s

hair, lips

neck and eyes


in crazy



Lora melts in eternity

sighs in words

stuttering took

and glimpses gave.


Lora stops the nomad time

Lan nihilist

in the burning rain

both face

Prishtina's fiery kiss


The rain makes Lora jealous

she gives

the kiss of the tear

to the rock in the dark.


Lora kneads her breasts

in the longing of love

Lan feels time

in the frozen sea

of wishes


Lora and Lan

tease each other in the galaxy.




we wander through time

like snakes in the bushes

Lora and I

in the ecstasy of the painting

I gave her Mona Lisa's smile

I drank water from Lora's bosom

and I lost myself in adolescent dreams,


I gave Lora a life

I gave the sky a kiss

the sun seemed to be silent

and left a free way to darkness

the rainbow lightens my way

fiery I take the stars to the bosom

I hug the sun

to feel its tenderness.


Lora is silent

and she silently speaks

in her blonde hair

I touch the love

embers in the lap

white frost

Lora left traces


Lora is asleep

with the fiery stars

tickling her lips

in the corrugated crown

the sounds of silence

I put her crown

and I read under her eyelids

the novel I will write

Lora with her bosom as virgin snow

lures the Talmudists’ years


crystalline meteor.

Lan Qyqalla - from KosovpHe is the Director of the Association of Writers "Naim Frashëri" in Fushë-Kosovo, Lan is a member of the presidency of the ASSOCIATION OF WRITERS OF KOSOVO and Editor-in-Chief at "Orfeu" Magazine and Web ORFEU.AL He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Magazine of World Historians based in Switzerland and Vice-President of the Union of Albanian Writers and Critics, The author of 19 books of poetry, he works as a Professor of Albanian Language and Literature at the Gymnasium. He lives and works in Pristina.


One Poem by Avantika Vijay Singh


A water nymph

A modern-day water nymph are you…

Fitted in your tracks

Sitting on the rocks,

Surveying your surreal expanse

That flows blithely beside you in a dance.


So fluid and graceful are you…

Here you sit on the banks

And there you morph with the ranks

Worshipping the gentle waters

Divining their tranquillity for your inner altars.


Gracefully swimming with the flow,

The ancient songs flowing in your veins,

Burbling with the mystical knowledge,

Of nature's beauty and eternity

At one with the divine forces.



With such grace you preside over the corporate waters,

Often swimming gracefully upstream,

Against the current...

Such quiet strength in your long limbs.

Such rigor and discipline in your gentle disposition.


Tender hearted and compassionate you are,

Melting like the silver moon

In the ripples of the river at night tide,

To encompass all in the benevolence of your beatitude

Stemming from the infinite wells of your empathy.


With such fluidity you cross the borders

Between personal and professional waters

Bringing to the table, a professional exemplary

Bringing to the home, an unmatched identity

Naiad... you are the modern-day woman!



Avantika Vijay Singh is a writer, editor, poet, researcher, and photographer. She is the author of two solo poetry books i.e., Flowing… in the river of life and Dancing Motes of Starlight (her debut ebook). She is the winner of the Nissim International Award Runner Up 2023.

She enjoys a good laugh over herself, as attested by her blog “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives” in the Times of India.

Three Poems by Mubarak Said




I basket the elasticity of my home, & shadow

the face of sadness. there are many paces of

growth, sadness is one. the old man counts our

childhood dialects, his fingers pointing

at all the wreckage of memories. he said:

even when the universe becomes an ocean, 

life is still a telescope of reality. I set a cloud on

fire, and it rainsfolding my despair into a hill.

the world descants my name into a poem to see

if there's happiness in the things I attached my

name with. I've carried the desire with me, and

anything is ugly except my mother's smile.

there is a promise in prayer, &I exchange

all the blessings to plead for redemption.

All Wait To Decay


I take refuge in the bodies that turn to carcasses.

my flesh is a rotten meal. yesterday, a wolf feasted

in our house. &today, It comes, looking for

who is ready to die. my fear is one:

seeing what deprived the sweetness of the sun

from reaching my eyes. I promise to see God

folding the yolk of my neck. even after battling

my fears by fanning my ribs, I still lament taking

my first breatha first step to being prey.

I am a fold of flesh, I wait to decay. &all that decay

is a feast of vanity. from a dream, I could hear

my mother calling my name, stressing the

middle alphabet: BA instead of ba. I hang my grief

in the air. so, it levitates. I burn it and sleep beside it,

&the fire does not feel like a fire but chalk.



I'm balancing between myself &Heaven

so that it can't be naked again. strange

things shuffle on my face. &I ask myself,

how many songs can my lip spit before

it wrestles time into the curtain of the sky?

nobody knows that I'm a reflection of a

mother's wrath. whenever the sun rolled

on the floor, I drew on its belly, all the

sins I made; heavier than exile of grief.

before, the Holiest is the spoilt. now, I've

not written a poem on grief. my room is bright;

my fear is lust. this morning, I lay on the

floor, sinking in my beauty &collecting

memories at a mango tree where we feed

a solid smoke; it is still clear in my eye.

I am not sure how it feels, but I was forced

to wear the veil of the sun. every time, I've

thought of living under the empty sight.

let my thoughts yield the basket of skeletons

&let them pluck the fruits of light.

Mubarak Said, TPC XII, SprinNG & SAF Alumni, is the winner of the 2023 Bill Ward Prize For Emerging Writers (Prose) and the Threposs poetry contest. He is also the 3rd runner-up in 2022 of the Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers (Poetry) and longlisted in Gimba Suleiman Hassan esq poetry prize. He is an editor of the African Literary Summit Anthology, poetry reader at the White Cresset Journal and a guest contributor at Applied worldwide, US. He is a member of Jewel literary and creativity foundation and Hilltop creative arts foundation. His works are forthcoming from and published in; Brittle Paper, Kalahari review, Spillwords, Eboquills, Fevers of the mind, Ghudsavar, world voices magazine, Literary yard, Upwrite Magazine, Wellerism, Teen Literary Journal, new feathers anthology, Acedia Journal, ILA magazine, Love/heartbreak anthology, the yellow magazine, ariel chart, Afrihill, Icreative, piker press, madswirl, imspired magazine,  Pine Cone Review, Double speak Magazine, Memory house Magazine, Sink Magazine, Aural magazine, Arting arena, Synchronized chaos, Susa Africa, culture cult press, south broadway press, thebezine magazine, hot-pot magazine, peppercoarst lit, Literary cocktail, Applied Worldwide, Opinion Nigeria, Today Post, Daily Trust and elsewhere.

Five Poems by Duane Vorhees




I'm attentive to the tempest

but ignore the lioness

that hunts from within.


And I fear the inner disease

but yearn to embrace my temptress.

Again and again.


I am more than I am, and less.

I'm self and society.


Illusions of reality

manifest as machines,

not as holograms,


or Self succumbs to anarchy,

freedom enslaves identity.

Chaos is the plan!


Tradition's electricity

depends on historic currents.


One duty of once-observants

is to strengthen the still-fervent

to resist truth's blasts.


Masters of self are the servants

who attend the Now's sacraments

though its moments passed.




Impatient to cohabit,

the shot in the hunter’s gun

and his fiancée rabbit

rendezvous in the red dawn.


This sacrament of union

consecrates nature’s sabbath.


The 10th-generation nun

inherited the habits

of her ever-gracious mom

and that unchastened abbott.


They celebrate the sabbaths

and god honours the unions.




My psyche is littered with living Its.

Disregarded superegos still whine,

erotic remnants writhe among the crypts.

Od and Ob hiss between young green vines.


Disregarded superegos still whine.

Bony hilltops strain to catch day’s first light.

Od and Ob hiss between young green vines,

their bloodguilt insufficiently contrite.


Bony hilltops strain to catch day’s first light,

erotic remnants writhe among the crypts,

their bloodguilt insufficiently contrite.

My psyche is littered with living Its.




The walls I wear withstand

the world's battering rams,

mangonels, and catapults.

The walls I wear protect

against the firm attacks

of your constant sappers' love.





If your vaginal kindling

stops firing my effigies,

will other environments

break into our quarantine?


The waters of the fountains

have frolicked through every day

while all the time draining back

into the underground's black.


Can proud naked expression

become clothed in words at last?


The unlusting of passion

must soon commence some passage

of a shape into a shadow

when my kisses don't redden

your features any longer.


Today may be eternal

but the yesterday is long.

And the yesterday is long.

Duane Vorhees is an American poet living in Thailand. Before that, he taught University of Maryland classes in Korea and Japan. Hog Press, of Ames, Iowa, has published three of his poetry collections and is preparing a fourth.

Six Poems by R. W. Stephens

  Like Extended Haiku       Tango music muted , o pen window    Fading summer light s hadows   C hair on the porch   An empty glass       ...