Poems by Fabrice Poussin

No memories of hers

Resting by the glare of a broken pane

she has aged in the grace of past happenings

her breast heaving gently through the press of time

beating on her hopes as it would the anvil of Zeus.

 

Her hand rests upon her throat testing

the remnants of a life she stills counts on

she feels the pulse within the canals of purple paste

but ponders a moment ago what may come tomorrow.

 

Her flesh trembles in forgotten fibers afire

sending vibrations like lightnings to her thoughts

a new present arises among the shambles of a sham

she stretches in search of a last ecstasy.

 

She will not move paralyzed in her last intimacy

fantasizing about a past perhaps watching her go

imagining a future upon the cracks in the glass

she dares not take a step into another moment.

 

Images come to the passionate embrace of her warmth

they may be her children once or those of another

Christmas trees fallen upon the road to more holidays

celebrations to millions of her kin she recalls all.

 

Now panic settles and the machine beats like a hurricane

perhaps she had a chance at living once

now she fears only delusions implanted in her soul

she dies unaware of a biography other than strangers’.

 

Seeking a Language

How does one speak without words

to reach through the fibers of the realm

cross over to the one yet so close

when the air is thick as the walls of a citadel.

 

Where may the secret of this eternal language

be found in the human mire of false destinies?

 

How does one speak to the one he seeks

when the words are danger to those who love?

 

Seeking the cord to connect with other passions

how does one scream across the universe

unheard but to the recipient of the living message?

 

Boiling within he is only a presence now

unseen of all others blind as they desire

though the waves shock their weak frames

his language is silence in search of a soul.

 

Without Time

I sit on the rocker by a dying fire

I look upon a flaming shadow upon your eye

and I wonder whether a child

I still am.

 

Poised in the grey dress of unending mornings

you stand silent in majesty

your chest still as if eternal

ready to pounce on this chilly dawn.

 

Aromas made of comforting memories arise

as the mist retreats around the aura

she leaves, innocent girl

she crosses her arms in defiance.

 

I lower my gaze to the dying fire

bowing to her ageless years

while a deep touch passes with the air

and she is but a shivering apparition.

 

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.

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Poems by Joe Maclean

This Poem

This poem will not be the last one

I write because that one will flow

like the medium between galaxies,

not light, not dark. It will celebrate

life and death by imitating both as

a single point inverting upon itself

that reflects the limit of in and out.

It will contain future words sewing

4D images behind your eyes where

optic nerves weave stray memories.

This poem is not that one that will

last forever, asleep, not knowing it

 

Order and Chaos Out Of Chaos and Order

 

Gulls wheel, crowning the wind.

Ocean traces a curve of earth

beneath the rackety arcs.

A few fishing craft head out

on Sunday rides. Straight

white wakes crisscross.

Captains have mates elbow close

save one glum as autumn squall

at the helm of the boat Gisele.

 

The Path of Life

 

The world discovered molding life

from mud does indicate that clay

is modelled from information.

If knowing permits prophesy,

remembering aids survival.

My life will ride on rails at night,

asleep while swaying over earth

with ice age dreams of glaciers.

The Panthalassa poet splashed

the earliest near rhyme of life.

We carve a Mobius from time

and softly pace upon the rim

escaping back to forever.

 

J.S. MacLean Photo

 

Joe Maclean has two collections, “Molasses Smothered Lemon Slices” and “Infinite Oarsmen for one”. He has published over 170 poems in Canada, USA, Ireland, UK, France, Israel, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Australia. He won THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt in Poetry. He strives for lyrical and hopes for accidental.

Poems by Judy DeCroce

And

I have shaved all my words down to truth,

a wide circle in early light.

Guilt comes away easily,

leaving a smooth silence.

This time of day sifts.

Cool or dark…

I feel the movement,

a laugh.

a rise

 

With persistence,

I dip in and begin this poem.

 

 

Missing

See me?

I turn, watching the place where you were.

I, the old one, the other end of the day turned.

 

There may be nothing or perhaps it is an elusive sum

that together we were…a bell without echo.

 

There is a sound in your dream,

though my footsteps are quiet.

 

Life in dreams is hard to hold.

Will you report me missing?

And,…to whom?

 

 

The Tarnished After

The proverb:

   the reverse side also has a reverse side.

   And both have a middle.

 

It is always the day before

splitting “was and after,”

the last day of peace;

that childhood belief in safety.

 

It’s hard to remember yesterday,

stepping over the middle.

 

That image blurs to nothing,

until later someone says,

“Remember?”

 

And, with all your strength you try,

try to catch the real before, only to find

the tarnished after.

 

 

Tranquility

for what morning brings,

I am grateful.

 

through minutes of harmony…

as rare beads slide

 

this patch carved out of a day.

rich, slow, in words or silence

 

waves of peace adjusting my focus

mutable—changeable

 

Judy DeCroce portrait small size
Picture by Antoni Ooto

Judy DeCroce, a former teacher, is a poet and flash fiction writer.
She has been published in Pilcrow & Dagger, Amethyst Review, The Sunlight Press, Cherry House Press- Dreamscape:An Anthology, and many others.

She is a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre. Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband writer/artist Antoni Ooto

 

 

Three Poems by William Doreski

Lindens on the Avenue

Chateau_d'Opme_Linden_trees
Source: Siefkin DR, Wikimedia Commons

 

The lindens on the avenue

turn over their leaves for rain.

They will outlive you by one

or more centuries, their breath

fragile and necessary, their smiles

too subtle for cops and dogwalkers

to make time to appreciate.

 

You’ve overlooked this city

for so long it has absorbed you,

your powerful blonde persistence

inciting unnatural forces

to open a secret grave somewhere

among the broken warehouses

south of the financial district.

 

When after a night of mating

with that rich old man downstairs

you stumble into that cavity

you’ll remember the swagger

of the lindens in tropical storm

when a fallen limb stopped traffic

and seagulls blown from the harbor

cackled and sneered at the mess.

 

The rich old man won’t miss you

because money has blinded him

to the glare of your Renoir pose.

With both his eye and his glass eye

he also observes the lindens,

but from a lower floor, unable

to see the tops sway in the wind.

 

The days slip past with little cries

you mistake for your grandchildren

calling from a terrible height.

Those are actually the creaking

of linden boughs, a form of thought

philosophers more adept than you

have struggled to interpret,

snagging their beards in the twigs.

 

Akasaka

 

Inside the inn a man

returns from the bath, a towel

draped over his meaty shoulder.

Akasaka_sacas2.jpg
Source ITA-ATU, Wikimedia Commons

 

Another man smoking a pipe

reclines while a blind masseur

kneels in the open doorway.

 

To the right, in their own room,

three women touch up their makeup

as they prepare to entertain.

 

Is this a place of sex work

or merely of roadside rest?

The rooms stand so widely open

 

to the plank connecting walkway

that nothing remains secret

for more than a moment or two.

 

Weed People

 

Already before May ends

some roadside weeds have rusted

the color of certain old men

who had taken too much pride

in heritage, race, and hauteur.Chicory_roadside_weed_(8689131548)

 

The stems look brittle and crude.

Reproductive parts have withered,

having already done their best.

You want to trim our frontage

to let certain ferns flourish

 

in all their asexual glory.

You don’t care that cutting

these scrawny uprights would hurt

where I’ve never been hurt before,

spilling the sickliest fluids.

 

It’s that kind of season, the cries

of tiny animals audible

for the first time, toads fisting

in the garden, the daydreams

of songbirds ghosting in the blue.

 

Today I should enclose myself

in a thicket of books and drowse

until I reach the threshold,

then pull myself back to the world

with a shameful little blush.

 

But I feel restless, afraid

that if I stay too still I’ll root

against my will, striking bedrock

only an inch below the surface,

confirming the slope of my pose.

 

william-doreski175

 

William Doreski‘s work  has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall and Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston

 

 

 

Amreeta’s Musings on Mess-Bari

My maternal grandfather’s brother Moni dadu spent his entire life in a mess-bari near College Street and drew a lot of ire for wasting his life in a dingy shack. My parents tell me that he vehemently resisted all attempts of his friends and family to persuade him into moving out. He died in neglect and somehow his indifference to conventional domestic life in an owned or rented property peculiarly isolated him. He stayed back in the mess-bari even after he should have outgrown it. Typically mess-baris were spaces of transition, characterized simultaneously by rootedness and flux. I have grown up with anecdotes and tangible traces of the mess-bari where my grandfather spent a better part of his student life. The Mess-bari project, organized by Heritage Walk Kolkata, headed by Dr. Tathagata Neogi and Chelsea McGill  seeks to document anecdotes existing mess-baris and create an archive around their histories. An excellent survey of the project is available on the official website of Heritage Walk Kolkata. Most of the mess-baris surveyed by the team (Dipanwita Paul, Barshana Basu and Anmol Grover) are in dangerous dilapidation, albeit, many of them being still fully occupied. With the rise of paying-guest facilities, and affordable rentals the practical demand for mess-baris are shrinking resulting in the disappearance of a rich and vibrant culture of alternative residence. Barshana Basu in the introduction to the survey writes that they were able to identify 26 currently functional messbaris, 24 obsolete mess baris and 4 that have been demolished. The survey contains detailed accounts of the location, present condition, lodging charges and cultural legacy of all the functional messbaris. Most of these boarding houses grew up in the 19th century as affordable accommodation options for young men and women flocking into the city from the rural areas in the wake of land regulation policies such as the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793. The larger impact of this act was decreased income from land based and agricultural earnings. This was coupled with new employment opportunities created by the colonial government. The demography of the mess-bari was as varied as the cosmopolitan capital city of British India. There were boarding houses of Indian Christian and Muslim communities. Basu writes, “The 1915 and 1935 street directories mention boarding houses meant for specific communities like Odias , Goanese, Madrasis (umbrella term in uses signifying people hailing from the Southern part of India), Portuguese, Scottish, Europeans and so on. Certain messes al so served religious communities and thus we find mention of messes for Indian Christians and Muslims .” There were all-women messes as well. So what overwhelmingly appears in popular culture as a Hindu Bachelor’s den turns out to be more complex and culturally diverse in reality. One such mess-bari was Shabari and its former owner Mrs. Beauty Bose. The Mess bari has been long demolished. She ran the hostel, after taking the business over from her husband and would do so for 38 years until it became financially impossible to sustain 48 boarders. Needless to say, running an all-women’s hostel in decades when attitudes towards unmarried working women were hostile to say the least and ensuring the safety of these women, must have been a trying task.

What many of these mess-baris possibly provided to young persons, often travelling from patriarchal family environments, was a space of autonomy. It opened up for them an opportunity to fashion their own community standards, while keeping class affiliations intact. This community outside familial ties could have been extremely liberating, albeit taxing in terms of the domestic duties that young men had to now perform which traditionally their mothers or wives would perform at home. Mess-Baris feature in the popular imagination of Bengali literature in numerous ways. Not only did many of these mess-baris had illustrious figures from the field of culture and politics spend their days here, these boarding houses are famous settings of many works of Bengali Literature. Bomkesh Bakshi, a famous fictional detective started his career from one such mess-bari. Noted humourist and short story writer  Shibram Chakraborty’s erstwhile mess-bari still has walls which are scribbled with numbers purportedly by the author’s own hand. Located at 134 Muktaram Babu Street, this mess-bari purportedly housed many illustrious personalities, Bogra Congress Leader Satish Chandra Sarkar, dhrupad singer Bhootnath Bandopadhyay, essayist Upendranath Bhattacharya and freedom fighter Taranath Roy.

Mess-baris have a strange anecdotal resonance for me. My own study table, used by three generations, was bought from a mess-bari that my grandfather lived in. He was a History student in the city sometime in the 1950s, flirting with Marxism and some partywork and spending copious hours studying and reading. The table is made of excellent wood even though we don’t know how he managed to carry it home from his boarding. This table, painted and repainted with several decades of use, is a palimpsest of sorts, containing traces of the histories of so many people, their personal quirks and odd scribbling habits. It is important to remember that mess-baris are not dead institutions of the past. That they are still in use, demonstrates the utility and resilience of this cheap accommodation option. With burgeoning population and urban space crisis, it would do no mean benefit if existing residential structures can be renovated and reused, with revised tenancy rates. Converting parts of some of these mess-baris into museums, could be an interesting way of generating revenue for the maintenance and upkeep of these structures.

 

References

1.     Project report available https://www.heritagewalkcalcutta.com/projects

2.     https://messbariproject.wordpress.com/

3.     Article on Shibram Chakraborty’s mess bari https://www.telegraphindia.com/culture/inside-the-messbaris-that-inspired-byomkesh-bakshi-s-quarters/cid/1671771

AmreetaAmreeta is a first year MA student, interested in the history and literature of Early Modern England, takes a keen interest in Latin and Greek literature and mostly swoons over anything written by JM Coetzee. She manages an informal library for students in college for which she has spent three years cataloguing books. She is definitely bad at writing bio-notes.

Poems by DS Maolalai

Beauty

scratching my face

in the morning. I am

a broken plate – certain edges

you can’t smooth

and then

they’re useless

to eat off. some

look good with stubble – I don’t even

manage

to look good

shaved. I think

it’s the sharp chin,

swimming in life

like a shark through water. I try my best

but what of it? my electric razor

hums in the morning

and breaks against the challenge

of making me

more beautiful. all its value

lies in making the silence

less.

 

Hosting

at 5pm

I shift the table

from the corner

into the middle of the kitchen. it is waiting

for a plate of salad eggs, a brown bowl

of chorizo stew

and everyone to sit around

and yell. I am used to this – parties,

not hosting – but chrys knows

where things should go. I let her

do it, but still, I am embarrassed

when the guests arrive

and see the new place – uncomfortably aware

that suddenly the garden

smells of dogshit

my bedroom

is full of laundry.

 

Ingoldsby

I sent a message through facebook:

do you know how to reach

pat ingoldsby?

I had book of poems coming out in the spring

and I was hoping he would maybe

say something

I could put on the back cover.

 

I got a message back:

we don’t know

how to reach him

but he sells his books on college green

under the central bank

you can just talk to him there

if you want to talk to him

 

I sent a message back:

I’m in canada right now;

the book is coming out in america

I can’t meet him in person

do you think you can get a copy to him

I have attached a pdf

that the editors have sent me

hoping I can get endorsements

from well known poets

 

no response.

 

I suppose perhaps

he didn’t like what I had written

or they had decided not to show him

or he had cycled once

down along college green

and up

george’s street

and down

through an unbalanced

manhole cover.

 

I’ve gotten back to Ireland since

and I haven’t seen him

selling his books anywhere.

I hope something good

has happened to him.

 

 

Diarmid

DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

 

Poems by Sayan Aich Bhowmik with Sketches by Shreemoyee Banerjee

1. 1.

“”The house remains
It’s tenant is dead
He died in love
With words unsaid.

His room remains
With a mourning bed
For he died in love
With words unsaid.”
2.
2.

“I’ve just reached home
My day is at an end
Whose love can I borrow
What sorrow can I lend?

I pick up the telephone
And I call her again
Her love I could borrow
If it still remained.”

 
3.  3.

“I am leaving
And leaving a part with you
In departures,
A little apart from you.

Some birds and cages
Remain bound and free
Some stay with you
Some leave with me.”

Four Sorties by Hiya Mukherjee

1.How to Wear a Fascist Regime Like it’s Nobody’s Business

‘Hurl the babies! Hurl the babies!’ we shouted in unison once we spotted the patrol van. Our cries ejecting from our frail vocal cords like bullets made out of butter and hit the wallpapers like an intoxicated wasp. The babies were giggling like satanic Centaurs once we started throwing them one by one to the nearby pond. They floated in the air like delicate lilac petals, without contempt, for a while; then slowly sank, prompting not even a ripple. The patrolling guy with his faux leather jacket and exotic cigar case stood underneath us pretending to look for a lost puppy. And we just stood there, motionless, like porcelain gargoyles, pretending to praise the clouds. The sun melted down like honey on our wheatish organs. We were so proud of having survived yet another doom. We felt like we deserved an applause. The sirens were fading with our sweet thuds on the staircase as we rushed to the kitchen for some celebratory pudding. Underwater, the babies were still giggling.

2. How to Follow a Forest into Oblivion without Rousing Suspicion

 

A gentle stroll through the woods is not always what you expect it to be. Partly because you left your mother’s glacial mouth in spite of her vehement warnings ‘Achtung honeypie! Beware of the strangers!’, and partly because of the soft creatures that lurk in the burrows, looking saintly innocent with their sharpened horns carefully hidden beneath those fury blossoms. But you were adamant and careless enough. You wanted to meet the Husband. Husbands often promise to meet in front of the gate of a certain reserved forest. Husbands often trade their wives in exchange for more attractive boons, like a vintage Harley Davidson or a bowl of stale onion soup. But you went nonetheless. And then the woods became quite expectedly dark and scary, and you started spotting fanged animals on your way, you finally come across the Husband in front of the gate. In the face of your awe, he strips you naked and ties you to a government check post. He ties colorful helium balloons to your hardened nipples. ‘It’s for the stray specters of the forest, you see. They’ll come and want to fuck you for eternity. I’ve made a pact with them.’ And you being you, a humble and dutiful daughter, comply by putting on your mother’s glacial mouth and wait for it to happen while the Husband disappears beyond the restricted area, whistling happily on his newly acquired Harley Davidson, looking for a bowl of stale onion soup.

3. How to Rightfully Whistle ‘Hangman, Hangman, slack up your rope, oh slack it for a while’ Even When Your Tongue Feels Completely Numb.

Embrace fine arts or homosexuality. Opt for the cheaper alternative. Smoke countless unfiltered cigarettes. Drink at least fourteen cups of espresso during your day. At night, shift to Moonshine or some equally obnoxious local variety. If anyone tells you that it’s not healthy, prudishly quote Jean-Paul Sartre. Choose your idols carefully depending on your sex. For girls, she should be Juliette Greco with her kohl-smitten eyes and untamed bird’s nest of a hair. For boys, there’s no use, all your idols are dead and so will you be, sooner than you expect. Your task is to listen to an impossible number of Miles Davis singles while crying uncontrollably and repeating the single phrase ‘la résistance’ over and over. Slowly, start resembling the frail foliage of your mothers’ torso and your fathers’ shriveled neck. Strangle your lineage. Shout obscenities. Fire the therapist. Fuck till your private parts are as blue as a dead rockfish. Lose your progenies to the famine. Tuck their minuscule dead bodies behind your ears like flimsy dandelions. Sigh as often as possible, preferably in public. Fashion a pair of blood-red tea-cup shades, even in the dark. Secretly, invest in a cloning facility. No need to carry a white handkerchief embroidered with the initials of some obscure lover. When the clock strikes, they are going to shoot you anyway

4. How to be a Dutiful Daughter despite the Drought.

She picks up the tricky remains of her Mother one by one and puts them in a mason jar. Mother has been in a state of pathetic disintegration for quite some time now. She picks up the pieces like a person possessed and waits for the Father to return. The Father never returns. The Father is always away on a business trip to some distant African country. She traces a makeshift map of Africa on the refrigerator door with her tongue. It feels cold and impersonal. Mother’s remains complain of back pain from inside the mason jar. She makes out tiny droplets forming on the outer layer of the glass. The sun makes them shine like coagulated rubies ready to burst out anytime. She sweats and tends to the cattle and wonders about Africa. Africa is going nowhere. It just stands there like a gothic window with its rusty panes and hazy glass panels. Nobody is allowed to peek inside. It holds the secrets of the Father like an envious concubine. The cattle become hostile to her touch. The Mother’s remains complain of a diarrhea infestation. The mason jar looks fuzzy. Her head spins as she keeps waiting for the Father. The days are getting longer out here. Nobody has dusted the furniture for ages. She tries the only thing that comes to her naturally. That is, tending to the cattle. Not once does it occur to her why it is always about the Father. The mason jar ceases to complain.

 

hiya

 

Hiya Mukherjee was born and brought up in Kolkata. She writes mostly in her mother tongue Bengali. She has published a chapbook of her Bengali poems. She co-edits a bilingual bimonthly blogzine called Agony Opera. She is currently pursuing her PhD in theoretical physics.

Poems by Abin Chakraborty with Sketches by Subarnarekha Pal

cover

Shrunkp01 (2)

Around my father’s frames

Unanswered questions cling.

At night, in silence, they bring out their tapes

And plug in their scales

To shape their reports of withdrawal and loss

Which linger as shadows without end.

 

Even in the absence of strands of light

They pile upon beds as unpaid dues

And stab at my skin from all sides.

 

Bruised, I wake and look into the glass

And shrink with each passing night.

 

Telemachus Redivivus  

His was a far wider world

Peopled with networks of far reaching goals

With anchors in uncounted hearts.

I, a recluse, with few valid friends

Never really moored in any of his isles

And only paid homage with indirect routes

That long have lost lustre and gloss.

p02 (2)

So all of those words which he sang in my praise

As he led me to halls of mighty and great

Now seem as tattered as paint on our walls

And rust in a corner, unkempt.

 

And even as he beams from his picture on high

On corners of his lips I trace

Such little pixels of unfulfilled hope

That only my eyes can sense.

 

Rewind

Long have I grappled with his loss

Tangled in all five stages of grief

Without any definitive end.

 

A random rewind, and there still reigns

His rich broad smile, with brightness in eyesp03 (2)

And that ever so gentle arm on my back

Tougher than all tempests I faced.

 

And yet amidst that,

Like superimposed stain

Intrude those images of a frail old man

Curled in a ball of his waste;

Or perhaps ravings of despair or rage

When he bawled as an alien disguised.

 

Inconstant memories now bicker and clash

And leave my inheritance in doubt.

Two Poems by Ketaki Dutta

Back from Coma

Peregrinations on a plane called Earth,

Like the parachute, alighting on a dry land,

With all dreams cocooned in its womb;

Brought a wide smile on her face!

At least she could win the battle of existence,

Slipping off the main charter of diurnal reality,

Mixing up day and night in a beaker,

Stopping all conjectures and all snigger,

Jumping up from her comatose state

To be reinstated in the cycle of Life,

As a lost planet leaping up to its orbit

it was chucked out from,

Long, long ago.

 

Promises made to be Broken

 

Reason and unreason lay strewn on her way,

She waded gingerly through the clutter,

She cocked a snook at her foe,

She took her pal in a bear-hug,

She could not make out whether

To walk along the undulated way

Of unsure choices, not many,

Though held out to her in a platter!

She hesitated, she swooned,

She erased her presence off the

Map of being and nothingness,

Yet she came, breaking a promise

Of not coming back at all!

 

 Dr. Ketaki Datta is an Associate Professor of English, Bidhannagar College[Govt], Kolkata. She is a novelist, short story writer, critic and a translator. Her debut novel “A Bird Alone” has won rave reviews in India and abroad. Her poems have been published in anthologies published by Brian Wrixon, Canada and in Pangolin Review, books edited by Padmaja Iyengar and P. Gopichand and P. Nagasuseela. Her second novel “ One Year for Mourning” has been acclaimed, here and abroad. Sahitya Akademi has assigned her with the translation of “Dhruboputra”, a Sahitya Award winning Bengali novel by Amar Mitra , lately. She has a book of poems , “ Across the Blue Horizon” [Feedaread Publishers, UK, 2014].Her translations of short stories have been included in several national and international anthologies.