Saturday, 4 December 2021

 

The Tight Possible

by Pamela Nocerino
 
 
If I felt worthy
of the love
I offer others,
what would
tick, spin,
loosen, or cling?
The long songs 
of Sundays
and midnights
would hum 
in what key?
I drum 
evergreen needles
like jazz brushes
against the tight
possible
and try.


* * * * *

Pamela Nocerino is a ghostwriter and teacher who once helped build a giant troll in the Rocky Mountains. She enjoyed a brief career on stage in Denver until she needed health insurance. Then, she taught public school students for over 20 years and raised two inspiring people. Two of her short plays were selected for staged readings in Colorado and Georgia, and some of her poems were published Plum Tree Tavern, Splintered Disorder Press, Gyroscope Review, Third Estate Art's Quaranzine and Capsule Stories. Most recently, she had a short story selected for Jerry Jazz Musician



Friday, 3 December 2021

 

Some

by Pamela Nocerino


Women are back
to nothing again today
in a country far from me —
their personhood revoked 
like a license
because some turned away
 
And I am here
impaired by freedoms 
claimed by some
in proud lairs of personhood
where gender 
is but one offense
 
We are all
falling backwards
in the fight for 
the right 
to turn some
away


* * * * *

Pamela Nocerino is a ghostwriter and teacher who once helped build a giant troll in the Rocky Mountains. She enjoyed a brief career on stage in Denver until she needed health insurance. Then, she taught public school students for over 20 years and raised two inspiring people. Two of her short plays were selected for staged readings in Colorado and Georgia, and some of her poems were published Plum Tree Tavern, Splintered Disorder Press, Gyroscope Review, Third Estate Art's Quaranzine and Capsule Stories. Most recently, she had a short story selected for Jerry Jazz Musician


Thursday, 2 December 2021

 

A Minor Event

by Pratibha Kelapure


Darkness lingered around the house when
the newborn’s first cry pierced the still of the night
when the midwife announced, “It’s a girl.”
overhead kerosene lamp swung a little
and the new mother clutched the cold bedpost
and moaned faintly, “girl!”
then the light was out

at dawn, grandfather knocked on the door
his regal gait and his weighty chest belied
his worn-out shoes and his empty pocket
cradling the baby in his callused hands
disappointment lain bare for mother to see
“girl!” that one word he said! “girl!”
tears of terror rose in mother’s eyes

one simple word! A slammed shut iron gate
a tight knot crawled up her chest
and curdled the milk in her bosom
in a wordless voice, she sang to the baby
a loving lullaby, a song of regret
the baby cried for her birthright denied
cried and cried in vain

until one day when she smiled
smiled and gurgled until
the grandfather’s heart warmed a little

a minor event—noticed by none
the momentous one
girl’s first bargain for love


* * * * *

Pratibha Kelapure is an Indian-American poet residing in California. Her poems appear in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Anthology, Haymarket Books, 2020), Entropy Magazine, Plath Poetry Project, miller's pond poetry, The Lake, Tab Journal (upcoming), Amethyst Review (upcoming), and many other literary magazines. She is the founding editor of The Literary Nest.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Power of Silence

by Dorah Achieng


When you are so mad,
And feel like crushing.
When you can’t hold on,
And want to scream it all.
When you feel so walked on,
And want to do the same.
When you feel you have been used,
And want to pay back.
When they have said enough about you,
And you want to confront them.
When you feel like you can’t stand them anymore,
And want to pay back.
Just maintain your silence.
Just keep off from all the noises.
Just take a step of faith and walk out.
You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.
You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
Sometimes, it is better to just walk out in silence
Than to pay back.                                                                              
There is power in silence,
It communicates loudly,
What couldn’t be understood in your words.
Sometimes your absence,
Communicates what your presence couldn’t.


* * * * *

Dorah Achieng is an upcoming poet and a fictionist who is passionate about writing. As a little girl, she observed her dad always glued to his books and she would sit beside him. He would then give her a book to read as well and eventually, she grew a passion in reading and writing. Her manuscripts are yet to be published and is looking forward to publishing them soon. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

 

My Body as Rock Creek Park

by Deborah Hefferon

 

My body meanders through

the city on a sweet braided network

of nectar-reconnaissance:                                               wild,

 

wooded, quarried, and scrambled.

Smooth as packed sandy soil,

its eroded banks echo a Kingfisher’s scolding.

 

My body is like the shallow cap

of the red oak’s acorn, a patchwork

of outcroppings, panic grass and nettles,

 

rising to the crowns of white oaks,

strumming with cicadas,                                             darting

among blue damselflies.

 

Half a billion-year-old rippled

rock angles through polypody ferns

and paw paw                                         leaping              down to the wooded

 

stream valley, splashing into clarity.

My body is a therapist, a refuge,

a samara                                               whirling                        in full flower          and in bud.       

 

* * * * *

Deborah Hefferon is a recently retired cross-cultural communication trainer in Washington DC who morphed into a full time writer during the pandemic. She has had poems and essays published in Prospectus: A Literary Offering (spring 2021), Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers’ Literary Journal (Spring-Summer 2021), District Lines (Winter 2018, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC), Ekphrastic Review (2020), Story64anderbo.comThe Washington Post Sunday Magazine, and other print and online publications.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Winter

by Andrea Smith


The crunching snow
The signal to doom
The rings and the clicks
The voice at the other end; tiresome, exasperated
The howling wind
The shoveling grazing the pavement
Tires screech; the shock simmers
the settling slush
or a slip on a patch of ice
purposely or accidentally
Felt in a frantic frenzy
crackling fire cozy for two
or the sound of collapse
Every word topples my faith
The moon blasts a message
I bypass and listen to nonsense
My thoughts grinding into insanity
As the wind picks up
I fear this is my discontent
Half of my heart frozen
Shattered like a felled icicle
The droplets in tune with my broken heart
This is humiliation exposed
Boots dragging through the snow
The whoosh of snowballs
I am assaulted with chilly conversation


* * * * *

Andrea Smith can usually be found telling Alexa to play her favorite songs. She empties her mind by telling stories. The mother of two lives in Delaware County, Pennsylvania with her cat (Simba). She is best known for her cooking skills and reading books. She also writes non-fiction on uncomfortable subjects and other topics from books to true crime.  She finds joy in wine and knitting. No blog yet, but stay tuned.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Owed

by Reena Kapoor


I have answers for the complacent ones, who lounge in their stupor
Bleating on: What can we do? we are too little, too weak, too far away…
What answers do I give to those who were battered themselves
Whose bones were hacked, lives torn up like secondhand trash
What do we tell those who cry: I was there.
It was me they felled; the rest simply walked away…

I think of you often and wonder what dreams you left unfinished
How much your mother cried, or couldn't—even as she bled
When your father stopped breathing, every breath hurt so much
Whither those you touched now drift, emptied by humanity's betrayal

Yet there were those who simply left you for dead, near dead
"What could have we done?" "We are but helpless..." Indeed!
"It is the system that's so rotten" they most boisterously proclaim
Then secure their homes to rebirth the same wretched filth

Maybe the sleeping wrath you woke will howl unto hell
Maybe the world will move on—unmoved
Maybe one day you'll come back, seek us out for an answer
Was it me or your dharma that was raped that day?


* * * * *

*dharma = duty/ righteousness in Hinduism

Author's note: Originally this poem was written for “Nirbhaya,” who was fatally raped and brutalized in India on December 16, 2012, but applies to any girl or woman who suffered a similar fate while we stood by. Molestation, rape and sexual assault of women in public spaces is often written off rather euphemistically as “eve teasing” in India; while things have marginally improved in terms of awareness, this type of violence continues to shake the country’s conscience all too often.

Growing up an “army brat” in India, Reena Kapoor feels lucky to have lived all over the country. Reena has been muddling with poetry for over a decade. Arrivals & Departures is her debut poetry collection. Her poems take the reader on journeys through a multitude of places and time periods. Reena can be found at her blog https://arrivalsanddepartures.substack.com/. As the 2020-21 playwright-in-residence for EnActe Arts, a Bay Area theatre company, four plays by Reena were produced in April 2021. Reena’s photography can be found on Instagram at @1stardusty.