Posted in Poems/Poetry

Alphabet of Love

Living this life again
as though I were six sick
again and grasping about in silence.
I will learn to breathe again,
how to go beyond it
So that I can dance and fly
to those zones of magic.
Stones and burning light
and the kind of openness
you can never plan.
Tones of people touching.
The taste of food licked and loved.
As HD says, “I must read some hours every day, it is food.”
Now, I must write some hours every day.
It is my alphabet of love.

© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Posted in history, John Anstie, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Lost Gardeners

Northern Summerhouse garden at the Lost Gardens of Heligan courtesy of Heinz-Dirk Luckhardt CC BY-SA 3.0

There was such colour and bustle
where now reflective calm.

In the thunderbox room
nearby the melon yard
haunting echoes of silent voices

once green fingers that pressed
a trigger for King and country
gently call from an early grave,
who once scattered humus here.

They shed tears for weeds
that stained the fresh leaves
of Spring, unfolding, unseen

cold frames of mouth-blown glass,
warmed the summer fare
that meant so much to those
who dug one last trench

so many lost at such a cost
shovelling cold organic mud
to sow the seeds of future green
in very unmilitary drills

and who would say what
could have been had peace
been thoughtfully nurtured
like the fruits of this place.

Inundated by nature’s mission
their names forever bleeding
from these crumbling walls

so few in the flesh of then
left much in the earth of now.

© 2019 John Anstie

[A visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, revealed to me a very poignant story of its gardeners, 16 out of 22 of whom lost their lives in the First World War; of the gardens, which subsequently fell into ruin until the 1990’s when a descendant of the original owners set about restoring them to become one of the UK’s most popular botanical gardens. The scene is set around the ‘thunderbox’ room where they would carve the names in the walls as they sat and the very peaceful garden adjacent to it, where you can feel the history of this particular part of the gardens, which had almost completely succumbed to nature’s will. This intoxicating mixture history and place was powerful enough to compel me to write this in their memory].

Posted in poetry

Four Poems by Diana Raab

Elegant Air

I inhale breaths and ethers
………..    offered by this place,
 ……yet wonder where in this universe
………………………………..lies the rest of my needed oxygen.
…………………………………………I cannot help but wonder as I
………………………………………………….separate myself from its beauty.

You Remember

You remember my voice
even though I have

long ago peeled myself
from you, your shoulder,

on that crisp autumn day
while the pungent smell

of burning leaves
fell from our sky.

Your voice still resonates
even though

I am in that other world
because this one

have transitioned
no longer serves

nor wants to witness us—
a love that’s so deep.

Will you accompany me
to this final refuge?

Renewal Welcomed

I want to be saved from disease,
natural disasters and psychic pain
or whatever might slip
a frown upon my face
or on the face of my beloveds.

Save me from fires and mudslides
which only yesterday
ripped through our neighborhood,
and cancers which swim in my genetic pools,

or massive shooters
who want to end it all
and coyotes
who want to snatch our dogs away.

There are so many ways
to be saved and renewed,
so go ahead write a book about me,
and share secrets of your own renewal

in a sanctuary to call yours,
as I sulk in my darkness.

Buddha Skin

People whisper in my ears
to remind me of my Buddha skin—

enlightened wisdom to share
with friends and strangers,

through green eye glances
or words strung across blank pages,

but somehow I remain unable
to tap into the distance which separates you and me.

Are you able touch the chaotic chasm
which divides us from melted fusions

of different color skins or anything
which might possibly bring us together

in what many might call
the most mysterious of unions?

© 2020, Diana Rabb

DIANA RAAB, MFA, PhD (dianaraab.com), is a poet, memoirist, and blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of nine books. Her work has been published and anthologized in over 1000 publications. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, and Wisdom Daily and is a guest blogger for many others. She has four poetry collections, including Lust. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Book.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Three poems by Kirsty A. Niven

Luna

When lilac clouds conquer the sky,
it’s easy to forget she exists.
The moon lurks behind its thick veil,
a lunar laugh rising in her throat.
Flanked by the flashes of constellations,
she has nothing to fear.

I can still feel her watchful eyes
critiquing every word, every movement.
Our content orbit an object of fascination,
a concept she cannot understand.
Her glow extinguished, albeit temporarily,
a simple streetlight can have its spotlight.

She can only look on in wonder.
The days of bullets and blitzkriegs
when we cross paths are over.
The starry battlefield, silent and empty.
And no one else remembers,
except the moon and I.

One Night

In the still of the night the moment pauses.
Heartbeats hushed. Voices lost to lust.
This dead end dark could make me anyone.
I’m sure that’s the only reason you’re here.
Lips continue on regardless, not caring anymore;
happy to be broken, just to feel something.

Light interrupts. Lust flees. Life rushes on.
I can never be the girl that you want.
Fluorescence ravages that illusion instantly.
No parts of our bodies are touching anymore
and the familiar numbness settles in again.
Your voice ends it with words I forget.

Bird On The Wire

My twig feet dither on this tight rope,
desperate to wobble away to freedom.
Talons cling and my drunken heart sings,
taking my life into my feathered fingers.

It is so far down to fall with fractured wings
and I’ve hurt so many just to get here.
Apologies tweet from my open beak,
I am just trying in my way to be free.

© 2020, Kirsty A. Niven

KIRSTY A. NIVEN lives in Dundee, Scotland. Her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Strength, The Alien Buddha’s Feminist Agenda and Landfall. She has also featured in several journals and magazines, including The Poet’s Republic, Cicada Magazine, Monstrous Regiment and Silk + Smoke. Kirsty’s work can also be found online on sites such as La Scrittrice, Anti-Heroin Chic and Poetry Breakfast.”

Posted in Domestic Abuse, news/events

A Man, A Woman, and A Stick, a poem; Social Distancing and Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence [Resources]

A purple ribbon to promote awareness of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Prevention courtesy of MesserWolandCC BY-SA 3.0

a man, a woman, and a stick

(1921)

the stick stood in the corner of the kitchen
a constant threat; stoking, as it was meant to,
chronic intimidation

he had a man’s right to deliver his blows
to vent his anger and his self-contempt
to cause suffering for the insufferable

someone had to make it up to him,
his loss-of-face to race, creed and poverty

for her part, eve’s daughter was ripe,
shamed by her intrinsic sinfulness,
worn by her constant pregnancies

her femininity: tired and task-bound,
guilt flowing freely, as all-consuming as lava

[relief, only in death]

and the seventh child was born to die
and the man was demanding his bread

she wrapped the girl in swaddling cloth,
placed her gently by the stove, and
while the newborn made busy with dying,
the woman prepared him his meal

© 2015, Jamie Dedes



While we are being directed to quarantine ourselves in the sensible effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, it is easy to forget that home is not a safe place for everyone.  Domestic abuse happens and the stress of these times is likely to exacerbate that impulse.  Here are some resources if you are in this situation or know someone in this situation. A link is included for a directory of every country’s domestic and sexual violence agency,. These are courtesy of Maggie Royer, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Persephone’s Daughters Magazine. [Recommended]

Courtesy of Maggie:

1. We are spreading awareness on our social media pages of the unique impacts of COVID-19 on domestic and sexual violence survivors using the hashtag #MakeHomesHavens. Please feel free to use this hashtag and share information as well from our Twitter: https://twitter.com/persephonesmag

2. We are building a By Survivors, For Survivors COVID-19 Self-Care List. During this time, media coverage of the virus is overwhelming and may trigger panic and anxiety among survivors already experiencing trauma. How can we take care of ourselves during this time? If you identify as a survivor and would like to share your self-care ideas here anonymously, please do! We will compile and share via social media, website, and newsletter.
PersephonesDaughters.sarahah.com

3. Our March newsletter will focus specifically on providing calm and peace from anxiety. We know this is a time of uncertainty, and our newsletter will reflect ways to cope with that.

4. We are sharing links to coverage that focuses on how the virus is impacting survivors. Please read and share.

How Coronavirus Is Affecting Domestic Violence Victims (TIME)

Home Is Not a Safe Place for Everyone (Huffington Post)

Coronavirus Social Distancing: Bad News for Domestic Violence Victims (LA Times)

Staying Safe During COVID-19 (National Domestic Violence Hotline)

5. We are offering information for how to support your domestic and sexual violence programs during this. For a directory of every country’s domestic and sexual violence agency, please visit Hot Peach Pages. Programs may need the following support: financial donations, in-kind donations of sanitary products, toilet paper, disinfectant, and cleaning supplies, and as always, your calls to legislators to support their work.

RELATED:

The Return of Persephone, c.1891 (oil on canvas) by Leighton, Frederic (1830-96); 203×152 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (City Art Gallery) U.K.; English, public domain

PERSEPHONE’S DAUGHTERS is published online, in print and in film. This magazine’s content is based on a mission to empower women / femme individuals who have experienced various forms of gendered abuse (sexual, emotional, physical, racial, verbal, etc), or other forms of degradation (harassment, catcalling, threats, etc).  Persephone’s Daughters welcomes all identities.

Online Sunday Stories feature personal accounts of those surviving abuse. There is also a film submission category that aligns with the mission. Accepted works are featured online on Film Fridays.  Of note is a post-election mini-issue, a writing and art collection by people who are negatively effected by the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. Proceeds from the sales of that collection go to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which provides services, legal help, and advocacy to unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing trafficking, conflict, poverty and more.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Scars

If you’d walked the doorway of my mind
and saw my light surrender
to darkness
Saw that sneaky twin twined in creation
Your indifferent lips would’ve dared not call me a psycho and a nutcase

If you’d understood how death strays not from its constancy
And how no eye peeks wholly, at what roams in tomorrow’s heart
Remembering this, should’ve caused
you to cultivate compassion
and dared not label me the cursed or possessed one

If you’d believed how every bit and piece of your being
is vulnerable to breakdown in its order, one time or other
You would’ve seen how you too could be a victim like me
to mistakes or misadventures
and dared not call me a wacko

If you had bore scars; glaring or unseen/ some real or perceived
and had been shackled up and forced
to gaze at dancing images of gloom
Cobwebs warped around your head
in symphony of thundering voices
You would’ve dared not call me a loose cannon

If you’d looked hard and saw how thinly the lines runs
Between your ability to stand and stumble; speak or fumble
In just a slip or flip of fate , or flip or flop in your securities
You’d have dared not call me a loose bolt and cuckoo in the head

Your nonchalances, my dear friend,
would’ve neither sent me down
the abyss
nor let your sensitivity hear my silent screams
and not catch me before my catastrophic fall
Your little sympathy to inject belief
Into my disbelief
would’ve been the ultimate relief to my torment
From one who’d dared not call me
A knuckleball, a schizo and a zombie

® 2020, Samuella Conteh

SAMUELLA J. CONTEH is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. She is a writer, poet, dramatist and motivational speaker. She is a member of the Sierra Leone Writers Forum and Member of Board of PEN-SL.  She is also President of the International African Writers Association in Sierra Leone.

Samuella’s poems and short stories have been featured in several national and international anthologies.

She has also received many awards including the Medal of Ambassador de Literature (ADL), Award of World Poetic Star, Award of Mahatma Medal, and most recently, the Order Of Shakespeare (OOS).

Samuella is also a member of the Motivational Strips Academy of Literary Excellence and Wisdom (MSALEW).

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Environmental Justice ~ Poseidon’s Plea

 

Courtesy of Joseph Barrientos, Unsplash

Oceans are one of the many miracles of the Creator as the Earth itself is. The water holds itself yet moves, full of life, rebirth and deaths and fathoms of fluid space, stable for all ships and boats, salty roadways, for travelers transport and sport. / Anjum Wasim Dar



O’ Poseidon bestowed with the power unique
tell us the secret of the two seas that do not meet
yet flow with different colors, wave by wave, move
by move, side by side, a perfect acceptance of diversity,

Poseidon speaks, ‘Man is nothing without the Gods’
oceans or skies the sole power is with the Creator
who loves clear open hearts, He blocks nothing nor
builds walls, see my home has no doors nor windows’

All are free to enter, float, sail, swim dive or dig
I am full of food, fish, color, charms and treasures
but many living beings are careless, inconsiderate
they throw harmful waste trash plastic on and in me.

Water will not become less but will be a source of
trouble for human beings themselves, the dead will
float the dying will cry and curse, the thought makes
me shudder, storms surge, waves rise to great heights,

Water is hurt, it is red now with blood and scales
breathing is difficult, inhale a struggle, exhale an
ordeal, oil blocks unmarked uncharted paths
Ocean ides, no longer accept offerings from fans.

Home state worries Oceanus, growing more old
countless pennies coins of gold, are useless down
on the sea bed, worthless is such a treasure which
sinks and loses its values, shine and becomes cold.

A revenge rises a tsunami results, as the grand
bowl shakes jolts jumps and throws up-
beware O People …I envision a huge surge…
sing not any songs nor lie naked on the beach

Pray pray pray peace, repentance, forgiveness, seek

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
 .
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
.
Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
Posted in General Interest

Happy International Women’s Day from The Zine Team and a poem for the occasion

I Read a Poem Today

I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to some lost, lonely
fatherless child… to embrace her

along her stone path, invoke sanity
I want to tell her: don’t sell out your
dearest dreams or buy the social OS

Instead, let the poem play you like a
musician her viola, rewriting lonely
into sapphire solitude, silken sanctity

Let it wash you like the spray of whales
Let it drench your body in the music
of your soul, singing pure prana into

the marrow and margins of your life
Let your shaman soul name your muse,
find yourself posing poetry as power and

discover the amethyst bliss of words
woven from strands of your own DNA
Yes. I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to a lost fatherless child

© 2011, Jamie Dedes (Written for an International Women’s Day forum and republished in 2012 for International Girl Child Day in 2012) / Photograph courtesy of Caroline Hernandez, Unsplash

Posted in poem

Illness ~ Mosquito’s Gift

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Oh what shall I say about this fever of mine
in the morning it’s normal, in the evening 99

The body shudders and shivers and quivers
sweat pours out like a rushing gushing river,

the liver and spleen get  painful and enlarged
with bitter quinine mixtures one is charged,

you may forget that the mosquito net will
block the tiny insect, day or night, it flies

from cool nooks, to suck human  blood in pure
delight as it swings, sings and dances in to bite,

weak and restless drained of strength  and ease
the body is pale, enlarged are the liver and spleen,

what gender mosquito may be the cause, culprit
is the female Anopheles, that brings this disease

even if tons and tons of DDT we spray, the insects
don’t die, they breed and  grow and stay and stay,

we may say, strange is the law of nature creator, but
insects, birds, animals wild and tame, have rights-

there is a strong purpose of the tiny insect, in history though
It killed the cruel one, flying in his nose, biting the great Pharoah-

to live breathe eat kill or die, face all troubles and strife
they are inhabitants of planet Earth, and have a right to life.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

 

Posted in disability/illness

Three Poems by Assamese Poet Guna Moran, Translation Courtesy of Bibekananda Choudhury

Courtesy of Jan Kopřiva, Unsplash

SNAKE

I frisson on seeing a snake

As if the long venomous tongue jutting out
Would bite me lethally
Instantly on seeing

But the number of death
Bitten by long pointed tongues
As thousand time less
Than the number killed by
Blunt tongues

Failure far exceeds the achievements
The fear of losing in achievement
is not there in failure

As the fact
How heartbreaking s the sorrow
Of losing after having
Compared to
Not having at all
Is vivid in memory of the snake
It juts out its long forked tongue
So that none can settle at a desolate corner of its heart

The tongue is the impenetrable sentinel
Of the inner world of the snake
Visitor takes to its heels
On seeing the guard
But snake do not chase to bite anyone

Actually
All the snakes are innocent
We are indeed
Panicky

SLEEP

Sleep is bliss
Death is bliss too

The first one is not permanent like the second
But the transitory is favoured to the permanent

Fatigue after gratification
Sleep after fatigue
Gratification possible following sleep
Gratification impossible after death
That is the reason
The second one is everyone’s favourite

We are basically punters
Punters need more sleep

ILLNESS

Now

She cooks meals
I devour

She washes the clothes
I put on

She is responsible for
Fetching the children
To and fro from school

She is responsible for
Receiving guests and relatives

Marriage and functions
Meetings and discussions
Are her responsibility

She is like a bobbin
Since waking up
Till retiring to bed at night

I just give a call at time
She appears in a whiff

That I fell in love one day
I forget altogether

© 2020, Guna Moran; Translation Bibekananda Choudhury

GUNA MORAN is an Assamese poet and critic. His poems and literary pieces are published in national and international magazines, journals, webzines, newspapers and anthologies such as –
(i) Tuck magazine (ii) Merak (iii) Spillword (iv) Setu (v)Story Mirror (vi) Glomag (vii) Poem Hunter
(viii) The Sentinel (ix) The Hills Times (x) Litinfinte (xi) Best Poetry (xii)Academy of the Heart and Mind (xiii) The Creation times (xiv)Infinite sky (xv) International Anthology of Poems on Autism (xvi) International Anthology on Water (Waco Fest Anthology 2019) (xvii) International anthology on TIME (xviii) THE VASE : 12th Guntur International Poetry Fest Anthology 2019. (xix) POETICA : The Inner Circle Writer’s Group Poetry Anthology 2019 (xx) Nocturne (poetry of the Night, An Anthology). (xxi) Phantasmagoria Magazine.Apart from this, his poems have been translated into Italian and French, Bangla language also.

BIBEKANANDA CHOUDHURY, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothillsof Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Posted in Illness/life-threatening illness, Poems/Poetry

Cancerland

Out with the old, in with the new could

apply if refers to surgery to remove

urinary bladders all studded with tumors

that don’t respond to chemotherapy

administered intravesically through thick

catheters oy ugh inserted in penises.

 

With this dim prospect of employing such

a big procedure which’d fashion

a bit of large colon into a fresh sterile sac,

one realizes how much we have

now bonded with previously unnoticed

unloved taken-for-granted organs.

 

Well-wishers offer hope old receptacles

and us, after many happy years

together, reconcile relations, start to work

out existing problems — or if not

in cards dealt, resolve to divorce benignly

before move on to new partners.

© 2020,

GERARD SARNAT is a poet, physician, executive, academic and social activist. Gerry is an MD who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently Gerry is devoting energy/ resources to work with internationally known and recognized leaders addressing global warming.

Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize and was nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including University of Chicago, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Arkansas, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Slippery Rock, Appalachian State, Grinnell, American Jewish University, Sichuan University, University of Edinburgh and University of Canberra. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such U.S. outlets as GargoyleMain Street Rag, New Delta ReviewMiPOesias, poetica, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Circle, Every Day Poems, Clementine, Tiferet, Foliate Oak, Failed Haiku, New Verse News, Blue Mountain ReviewDanse Macabre, Canary EcoFiction Southeast, Military Experience and the Arts, Poets And War, Cliterature,  Qommunicate, Texas Review, Brooklyn ReviewSan Francisco MagazineThe Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. Pieces have also been accepted by Chinese, Bangladeshi, Hong Kongese, Singaporian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scotch, Australian, New Zealander, Australasian Writers Association, Zimbabwean, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Romanian, Swedish, Moscovian and Fijian among other international publications. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2017. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons with a sixth on the way and looking forward to future granddaughters.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Alana Saltz

Field Trip

For you, Ms. Frizzle, I would fold
my fingers around the curves of my stomach, dig
my nails into the flesh, rip
it open so you can go right in.

Take your big-eyed bus full of curious children
and explore my mysterious body.

Watch organs lighting up a little too bright.
Red blood cells drifting lonely
like they’ve lost their best friends.
Scattered inflammations and infections hiding
in muscle and tissue.

Explain to the children that these are things
that make me hurt
but not enough for anyone to see.

And when people don’t see something,
they don’t do anything.

Teach them that lesson.
It will always apply.

This poem first appeared in Philosophical Idiot and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

Halt

I’m enthralled as I watch an actor scribble symptoms
in notebooks and cry when the pain is too strong
and see doctors who seem to know a little too much
about what’s happening, but it’s okay.

I’ll keep watching.
I can’t be that picky.

I ignore all the cues that this will end
the same way as all the other TV
reflections of me, the fun house mirrors
that only show sickness as a distorted, shortened
one-way road.

There was no other ending.
He’s only got one place to go.

His actor family
weeps over his departure
at just the right time
in the series.

His death is art.
My life goes unseen.

This poem first appeared in AlienPub and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

ALANA SALTZ (alanasaltz.com) is the editor-in-chief of Blanket Sea, an arts and literary magazine showcasing work by chronically ill, mentally ill, and disabled creators. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Five:2:One, YesPoetry, Moonchild Magazine, LadyLibertyLit, and more. She’s the author of the poetry chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light. You can visit her website at alanasaltz.com and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @alanasaltz.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Four poems by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Song of the Mad

It wouldn’t be so bad
if I lost it in one place
at least I’d know where to find it!
But Noooo…
I have to lose it here!
I have to lose it there!
And just when I find it there
I‘ve lost it again here!!

People wonder why
I never answer my own door
I wonder if they can hear me
breathing from under my covers?

Sometimes I hear myself
calling from another room
Or it could be that other guy
who blames everything on me
Of course it’s never his fault
Nothing ever is!

You see
Nothing is enough for him!
First he impersonates me and steals my best lines
Now he covers his ears with mine
and complains that I don’t sing
with the right inflection!!

As if
he’s the only one
who has to listen to me at night !

Song of the Deaf

What can I say
that you haven’t already heard
before me?
I feel left out

Everyone else has two sides
but when I turn around to face the other way
I still point in the same direction!
Sometimes people talk behind my back
right in front of me!

Of course I must expect that
I try to anticipate everything
otherwise I fall behind
and I have nothing to fall back on!
That is why
my world is suspended in animation–
I use my hands to balance silence
the way stars hold up the sky

A cloud can fall back on the sky
but I must climb deeper
into God’s Ear!
Only…where does the sky begin?
I’d give anything you know
just to hear the color blue

Song of the Blind

It bothers me that my eyes are broken
and God will not fix them

Each morning I watch and listen for Him
and wonder through which doorway of my senses
He will choose to enter next

Each day He and I together
make and remake the bed–
make and remake the world

Mostly it is the same
And that is both my comfort and my fear

I have heard that once someone is truly loved
she is never the same
You cannot imagine how I long for change!
You cannot imagine how I long for certainty!
I can only imagine

I never quite know which
I will stumble into next:
Death that l o n g night
or
Life that l o n g day!

Dear Lord
I am without sight
I am not without vision
Please find me

Song of the Homeless

How long must I go on
pushing my life before me?
My feet are bare and swollen—
they do not know me anymore
And I haven’t yet enough hands
to keep me warm
nor make a pillow for my head

Maybe I’ll grow new fingers tomorrow
so they too can stick out
like a sore thumb

I suppose you think
I can find a better place to hide
than in the poverty of my skin

Do you think I like
carrying my heart around with me
in a basket?

You do not care
that I have forgotten the words
to the songs I am singing
And I am running out of songs

How could you know first-hand
that it is not my death I fear…
only that I should learn of it
second-hand

© 2020, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry, poetry

So You Want to Know What Autism Is Like

Autism* is standing still while
Everyone runs for the cliff edge
And you want to know why
Before joining them
But the surge pushes you down
And they thunder across your back
And you’re bloody but not broken
Because the rage keeps you sane
 
Autism is always being chosen
To be
The Cheese
In Farmer in the Dell
The Cheese stands alone
In the middle of the circle
As baby classmates point and sing
And you cry
But the next year you don’t cry
You will never let them break you
At least they won’t know
You care
 
Autism is getting it wrong when a boy flirts
Confusion from what he means
Interpreted by his ego
Thinking you’re indifferent
To his oh-so-obvious charms
And he hates you
 
Autism is being nice to a boy
Who seems like a friend
But not realizing
His ego cannot allow someone like you
To be kind
To flirt (must be, he reasons)
And he hates you
For showing interest in his
Oh-so-obvious charms
 
Yet autism is like everyone else
Loving friends and movies
Books and games
Dreaming of being asked
To the prom
And buying a dress
To transform the lightning and thunder
Into rainbows of love, peace and happiness
 
Autism is loving sex and drugs and rock and roll
But luckily learning that drugs can take you
Where you don’t want to go
Because you can’t come back
But some nights you think
Maybe that’s not bad
What’s to come back to?
Only thunder and lightning and rain
 
Autism is when married
Choosing a dysfunctional 
Who becomes an adversary
Family and friends roll their eyes
And laugh when he reveals your secrets
Meant only for him
It’s not like you’re barking like a dog
Or flapping your hands
Everything looks “normal”
But there must be some type of invisible mark
That all can see
Except me
 
What did they see?
What did I do?
What did I say?
 
Answers? No, so
Although I’ve never been a head banger
I want to badly butt
My head against theirs
Make them see
I’m like them
I am!
But I don’t know what to say
My tongue gets in the way
 
Children come
One is finally labeled
“Somewhat autistic”
What does that mean?
No information pre-internet
Never heard the word before
No idea I am
We’re all so different
But raise my children 
In the offbeat way
AKA, autistic
And their lives
Get drenched in different shades of rain
Thunder, lightning
Mudslides
 
What is Autism?
 
Autism is traffic jams
Oncoming headlights in
A foggy, dark night
Thunder drowning out your heartbeat
Automobile stereo’s base line ripping through your brain
 
Autism is thunder in your soul
As rain pours from your eyes
And lightning jerks your strings
 
Autism is knowing you are safest locked alone
In your room
Where no one can hurt you
But the curse is
Like everyone else
You crave society…
.
Poet’s note: Not all people on the spectrum are the same. I speak only about my life.
.
© 2020, Clarissa Simmens
.

CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja) is an independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Favorite music genres include Classic Rock, Folk, Romani (Gypsy), and Cajun with an emphasis on guitar and violin music mainly in a Minor key. Find her onAmazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE.

Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Feeling Good Was Good Enough For Me

When being sick was all you knew
Sweet Jesus, the doc last week asked
“When was the last time you felt good,”
Me and Bobby McGee and I saw black
Roses. Could not thread my way to good.
Life a Harlem-globetrotter procession of sham
Dunks and wheezes. Born RH negative all my
Blood exchanged. Lord have mercy then
Coughing times in bed over and over again.
I hadda find good feeling cuz i was an other early
Outcast over and over. Put the music on
And I would play the piano
Rocking to peace my outcast soul.

Sickness made me hold on to my
Strange and play it on an Aeolian harp
To woo the good places and make me me.
Thank you Kris Kristofferson,
Good enough for a life to live,
To share with you the secrets
Of my soul on the edges
Of strong all along. Be a pearl
On my own making the
Good happen. Jiving Janis.
Feeling good was good enough for me.

© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in General Interest

Neurological

You’ve Become Neurological

What a fetish we have
for being in balance, for
homeostasis in a golden mean, drone balancing the books of life.
Scales, balance, dead weights.
This dubious insistence upon equalities kicks out the untoward: albinos frozen in their pale,
stammerers and limpers struggling with impatient eyes looking on.
Like they’ve crossed over the line “for whites only.” And certainly you neurological ones should stay in place, out of sight, too.

If your proprioception snaps, too,
it’s the granddaddy of the bombing out of you as you know you to be.
This is the medical tyranny of the majority as de Tocqueville cautioned about democracy.
Now what you touch is somewhere, but just not here,
It’s always a reaching.
Your fingers lost your nose to feel find. Feel find has gone.
Like your whole being’s gone dyslexic: you neurological zoo.
No more you for you.
There is anger, too, when people don’t get that it’s out of your hands.
Slithering along between neurons,
that there’s nothing to do
when your nerves fail you.
This new kind of notness,
this neural obliteration
where you can perhaps start reconnecting you.

© 2020, Linda Chown

Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in Disability, disability/illness, General Interest, Illness/life-threatening illness

Pugliese

(poo-glee-ay-zee)

my grief
in listening to music that I cannot dance to
is just the feeling of my heart leaving my body
as it soars across the dance floor
begging my feet to follow

it is the same pleasurable agony
of missing the one you love,
my brain places each step
and says oh!
wouldn’t it feel good to move this way?
naively seeking a reunion
that will never arrive

but my affair
with listening to Pugliese,
the beast of the tango world
that dancers study for years to master,
is like having my body hurled across the room
against the walls
against the ceiling

it screams why
aren’t
you
dancing

you
will never be enough

you

are

not

worthy

And yet I return to it
to be thrown again
and again and again

a fractured soul
with a battered body
returning to her abusive lover

how I long for the way Pugliese hurts me

—Kella Hanna-Wayne ©2020

Posted in disability/illness, General Interest, healing, Illness/life-threatening illness

Triptych—Space

Neil Armstrong Goes for a Walk

Uncle John’s airedale watches the moon
with me as we walk. The man up there
does not excite a dog’s sense of smell.

John doesn’t understand
how I freed myself from the tv.
This is more exciting than sex, he says.
A man just walked on the moon.

The moonlight outside lacks magic
for him. Meanwhile, every possibility
sparkles on its river of quantum waves.

My Son’s Space

My son wants to find a planet
hotter than ours, but cooling rapidly.
We will trade places with the goldilocks
aliens so each of us finds a just-right home.

This is how he solves problems—missile attacks,
the climate crisis, poverty. He invents solutions,
builds models, gives all the energy and love
he has to liquid possibilities of rescue.

Hearing I have lymphoma doesn’t dissolve his glittering
resolve. He sits, quiet. Then he says, I will find a cure.

Originally appeared in: Black Bough Poetry, 20 July 2019, Issue 2, Broadside 36

The Flea Market

Artists painting river stones
at a flea market table yielded
pet rocks as Apollo reached the moon.
Mine had the moon lander.
I carried that promise of technology
with me until I turned from space.

Now, washed by dust and light from
other galaxies, my smooth head reflects
a chemotherapy travelogue. I retune
to technopoly and drifting planets.

A slightly different version appeared in: Black Bough, 20 July 2019, Issue 2, Broadside 9

 


Bio

Michael Dickel is a contributing editor for The BeZine. He writes on- & off-line & edits his blogZine, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play. His most recent poetry book, Nothing Remembers, came out from Finishing Line Press in September, 2019. He lives, writes, and teaches in Jerusalem.

Poems and recordings ©2019 Michael Dickel.

 

 


 

Posted in disability/illness, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Two Poems by Antoni Ooto

Housebound

everything was so honest once
but more disappears

games in vacant lots
old haunts
all those loves

days tick down
the mirror considers what’s left

“I sit talking to myself
losing time.”

“I’m at the end of everything
barely existing.”

and my resolve?
that’s already hardening.

Minimal

How small can a life get?

Once with the strength of a Morgan
everything pulled uphill…
now, over time, resigns to cleverness of necessity.

Graceless age clutches my shirttail
dragging me everywhere.

I remember tricking my way.

In a book I read,
a bite of land was given toward the end
something—manageable to lose…

© 2020, Antoni Ooto

ANTONI OOTO has and still looks for answers which he shares at times with poetry. He finds pleasure in reading the works of many poets such as WS Merwin, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Elizabeth Bishop, Margret Atwood, and the humor of James Tate.

“I read various poet’s first thing in the morning aloud.

My wife and I discuss the structure, rhythm and beauty of the lines.”

Reading poetry aloud (he feels) allows the voice to find a cadence that the reader might miss when seeing the words on a page.

Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer.  He came to writing late after many years as an abstract expressionist artist. He eventually found his voice in poetry.

His works appear in Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, The Ginger Collect, Soft Cartel, Eldritch Lake, Pilcrow & Dagger, Young Ravens Literary Review, and many others.

Antoni works in upstate New York with his wife poet, storyteller Judy DeCroce.