International Poetry

Mythomania

after Natasha Rao

 

For years, the only way to speak was to lie. Have you brushed today? Yes. Are you still in bed? No. Have you eaten since yesterday? Yes. I wander the streets of Tribeca, Brooklyn, or Manhattan, bird-watching — B&W warblers and American dippers — & writing poems. I think about the homeland, where the sky is not as clear. Before I came here, my friend cautioned me about it. Don’t be alarmed at your sight. I can only be myself away from my mother’s gaze, into anyone else’s. I have inked my body with colors outside of dust. I have never eaten a rabbit or a duck or even a quail or its eggs. I am afraid of swallowing tenderness. Afraid I will like it. Afraid I’ll remain hungry for the rest of my life. For once, I want my body to stay in my body. Open my arms & not have them fly away from me. Open my legs & have nothing come out.

Javeria Hasnain is a Pakistani poet and an incoming MFA student at The New School on a Fulbright scholarship. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AAWW's The Margins, Gutter Magazine, Superstition Review, Substantially Unlimited, and elsewhere.

The death of a marginal person

Has gone to the west 

The sunset 

Without sipping the last sip of tea. 

Was the tea bitter or sweet? 

A confusion . . . a confusion . . . 

 

A handful of grains . . . 

The sparkle of the toil . . .  

Was the dream green or grey? 

A confusion . . . a confusion . . . 

 

Never will I meet the one 

Who has gone to west 

And the spinning toy. 

Is it round or square? 

A confusion . . . a confusion . . . 

Partha Sarkar writes poems to protest against social injustice and crimes against nature and does not know what to do but dreams of revolution . . . of course in vain.

Moonburst

I saw a comet streak across the night,

And rend the sky with fire-tipped harpoon;

While stars went out in fits of astral fright,

The comet struck and burst the silver moon.

The moon came down in shards of silver ice,

A million bolts that pierced the trembling earth;

And where each fell a magic tree did rise,

Upon its branches silver fruit took birth.

I plucked a fruit and held it in my hand:

A lucent orb that felt as light as air.

There I stood transfixed in silver beams, and —

What happened next alas I'm not aware:

For that is when I woke from slumber deep.

Or, could it be that then I fell asleep?

First published in Society of Classical Poets..

Sourav Sengupta is an architect by training and a human resource manager by profession. He lives and works in Kolkata, India.

Padua

Featured

In the beginning was Mama asking me to kneel

For an earring she misplaced. Saints listen to children,

Any child whose timbre is nonsense and honey.

 

The earring turned up from under the broom

The next week. The month of Papa going on his way.

Let there be people in the dark between

 

A patron of lost things and a prophet of same —

Where one speeds you on your search,

The other consoles you for what now

 

Feels right in your hands, snug in the whiteness

Between fingers. “Just a matter of time,”

Whispered Mama, saying prayer would cost me

 

My hobbies, one by one by one. That a domain

 

Of returning to where you left it had thin borders —

Beyond was hair on the floor of the barber shop,

 

Makeshift tambourines of Christmas carols,

Cholesterol flushed with intent and impunity,

Passwords composed and forgotten, a cabinet

 

Stainless in a parlor of the district you know,

 

Peek-a-boo shoals on maps wide open.

The sound of someone you once asked for a dance

On the tip of your tongue.

Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo teaches at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. His work appears online in Philippines Graphic, Pananaw, Petrichor, and other places. He blogs at tekstongbopis.blogspot.com.  

in lieu of snow

rain showers in bursts

every droplet sweet and smoky,

tree sap and carbon dust followed by

fevered mist,

heavy,

on beaded brows and bare arms

 

mosquitos

featherlight on the flush of hot skin

they travel, pilgrims, carollers

from shin to tilting neck

this blood feast, rich

and salty

 

lover, shed your quilted covers — here,

we love in the open

in the haze of streetlamps and lanterns

of gunpowder and the barest of starlight

You and I —

we are flint and kindling

kiss me

and set us all on fire

Simone Sales is a storyteller and anthropologist from the Philippines. Simone teaches art and conducts research for NGOs by day and works on scribbles and doodles by night.

Saliman

Saliman as usual sits in her makeshift confectionery shop,

As I arrive there to do menial shopping;

I know what she will ask me, for she has asked it

hundreds of times before when I came to her shop —

‘What’s your age, my son?’ And I always tell it to her.

Then she smiles with moisture in her eyes recalling her daughter —

The baby-girl was born on 14th August — the same day as I was born.

. . . but the girl, Varisa her name, died in her infancy, and I survived.

So Saliman loves me like a mother loves her child.

 

Even after thirty-five years, she cannot forget her daughter.

And I distinctly see a mixed expression of pain and satisfaction

writ large on her face — pain for having lost her child and satisfaction

for having someone in her life of the same exact age and color.

 

Saliman is seventy now, but she carries a childlike aura on her face.

She is snow-white and her color has not faded through terrible time.

I’m awe-struck as I return home: Saliman doesn’t ask the Question today.

Just she asks after my wellbeing, my job, my family and nothing else.

But the moisture is there still in her vacant, infantile, smiling eyes,

perhaps Time has taught her to accept life and bear all its backlashes.

Ziaul Moid Khan is a speculative fiction author, poet, and modern philosopher from the North India countryside, Johri. Recent publishing credits include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Better Than Starbucks, The Society of Misfit Stories, and more. Email him at ziamoidkhan.b@gmail.com.

Dumpster à la Carte

A homeless man named Arif eats food from a restaurant’s dumpster and grabs whatever he finds: large loaves of bread, half-rotten chunks of bacon and small slices of cheese sandwiches; you name it. “They have a good menu”, he often says. He shares his food with his friends too. They all call the dumpster their “God” and bow their heads to it/Him. When one restaurant closes its business, they sing another hymn and move to find another god.

Fizza Abbas is a Freelance Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published on quite a few platforms including Poetry Village and Poetry Pacific.

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