Poem by John Sweet

twilight in the city of empty fables

and you stand there doing
nothing while the house
falls down around you and you
talk about the meaning of truth while
ashes and broken glass spill
 ……………from your mouth

we crawl from the
palaces to the factories

we drink from the river
despite what we’ve been told

debate the existence of poverty

who among us could ever eat
more than their share knowing the
world around us is filled with
……………starving children?


John Sweet has been writing for almost 30 years with a Writing as Catharsis approach to things.  His most recent collections are THE CENTURY OF DREAMING MONSTERS (2014 Lummox Prize winner) and  A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications)


Poem by Saloni Kaul


On The Alert

Ah, what a lot of strange little people are we
Sleeping through hurricanes and wildest sound,
Like newborn that likes three four hours stretch lengthily
Of sound sleep before he’s ready for next round ;
Yet in all our most sound sleep silent dream,
Silent but peopled with visual and talk,
At that crucial point when there’s a thud, scream,
Crash, bang, shout, moan, we wake up white as chalk.
So also in the long run we’re immune
Taking trauma and tragedy in our stride,
It’s sudden ‘unexpecteds’ that jerks us, like wind sand dune,
Out of dream worlds, set us on jostling haycart rides.
Sleep like a babe to make most of your time awake,
Once shaken in life or dream, be alert for your own sake.



Saloni Kaul, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed thirty seven years of being published. Saloni Kaul’s first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All.

Poem by Idongesit Ifet

African Sunset

The sun bids Africa a farewell
Rolls her mass of heat away for the day
Smiles a crimson streak across the sky
Birds chirp a chorale of tweet lullabies
As the sun goes home westward to sleep

Fishermen and farmers return from toil
“Did Mother Africa smile on you?” they ask
As they barter Tilapias for yams from their take
Telling tales of seas and soils where they toil
Parting they greet “may the day break”

As men sit over palm wine belching aloud
Women and children in a chatter of folk tales
The town crier sets out bearing his gong
His sonorous voice heard from clan to clan
“He who does not work must not eat” he says

Gentle African breeze pure and fresh
Caress our faces and rustle the leaves
Of trees swaying in a last dance at sunset
Blowing out our oil lamps as we lay to rest
Till the cock sounds a call “the day is breaking”



Idongesit Ifet is from Akwa Ibom State Nigeria; an accountant. He is Chairman; Society of Young Nigerian Writers Akwa Ibom State chapter/ National Secretary, Society of Young Nigerian Writers; founder, Ibom Literary Fellows Initiative (ILFI). His passion for literature is the driving force behind his writings. He has won several literary prizes including first runner up; Eriata Oribhabor Food Poetry Contest, 2014. His literary work has appeared in diverse publications like “Natural Reflections” an anthology of poems by Shannon Norman,” Who Shall I Make My Wife”, an anthology of food related poems by Eriata Oribhabor, newspapers, magazines and blogs.




Anne M Carson. Two Poems

Old friends, three elementals

Lake Takepo McKenzie Basin, South Island, New Zealand

The wind picks up, playing the pines by the lake-shore – delicate
fingers across filaments. Today they sing a plaintive song, Aeolian
lament to the body of water they have lived by for so long. It’s not

always like that – when the sun shines and turns the lake translucent,
sometimes the wind whips up wavelets – then the trees are loud
with vigour and exclamation. They are old friends, three elementals –

though the wind is a gyspy-spirit and the water an alchemist.
They are familiars familiar with each other’s moods, each other’s
histories; ease of connection emerging from long-standing proximity,

the repetitiveness of daily life. Sometimes the lake dredges up the past;
plunging, writhing, frozen heart. It gets fractious, tosses in its bed,
then settles again into the habit of placidity, the pleasure of flow.

It retains the glorious turquoise depths of its glacial past, losing only
solidity in exchange for freedom of expression. Always an equilibrium
between the three, moving out of, then back into balance again.

The detective’s chair (7)

There is nothing noir about Guido Brunetti. Noir needs ground
of loneliness, food of melancholy. Crime gets him down from time
to time, but he is reflective, philosophical, dives into Herodotus
when distance is required. He doesn’t come home from violence
to empty taunting rooms, to the siren song of ghosts. Awaiting him –
the love of a good woman, laughter from his kids. Most days Paola
cooks for him, real food, not the grease and salt of take away. Often
both lunch and dinner: calamari ripieni, fusili con mozzarella di
bufala et olive nere. If lunch must be eaten on the run he is aggrieved.
Even gourmet tramezzini don’t placate him, no match for Paola’s
deft hand with homemade fare. Her wise words, humour at his
expense often pull him out of gloom. His chair is on the third floor
terrace, next to hers. Together they contemplate la Serenissima,
share conversation, sunset, a glass or two of chilled prosecco.

Anne M Carson has been published in literary journals internationally and widely in Australia. Removing the Kimono was published in 2013. In 2015 she was commended in the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize. She is looking for a publisher for Massaging Himmler: A poetic biography of Dr Felix Kersten. www.annemcarson.com

Poem by Alok Mishra

You, Me and Poetry

Every time I see you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I know you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I touch you,
………………..poetry happens.
Every time I remember you,
………………..poetry happens.

……….You are poetry
……………and so,
………………..I am a poet;
sans your love,

I am museless!



Alok Mishra, from New Delhi, India, is a poet, author of Being in Love (a book on honour killings) and Editor-in-Chief of Ashvamegh Journal. An MA in English Literature from Nalanda College, Alok has also interviewed many notable poets and authors. His is awaiting his maiden anthology to appear in 2016.

‘Landmarks’ – a poem by Ted Mc Carthy


There is first a calm, yet a sense too
of the glacier only lately having moved,
of being somehow at lake’s edge
instead of the edge of wood and mountain.
Lovely, yes; green, pastoral, the very frailty
of wooden churches stronger
than an act of faith. A calm of having
stepped forever out of the primeval,
looking across and down
into the richness of tilth and history.

How this land yields up its stories!
One by one, like the dreams of a child
leaving him until there remains
no more than a handful, worn, distorted,
one grown like the fact of a shadow –

a two-roomed school, grim as the wire
that sets it apart; it admits no light,
neither through glass nor in the mind
of one who would lead, ambition
shrivelled to a paper grid –
words, more words! A figure sick,
frightened, calling for a taper, believing only
in her image on a wall,
grasping the substance of delusion,
young minds scattering like mice
from corner to corner of a box

and the church it faces: barn-shaped,
it gathers in what little harvest
encroaching age provides.

Nowhere here is far from Jung’s country
and the breadth of green is the measure
of snow-skies past and to come.


Skirting the woods, the paths move in and out of shadow
and no view is true to memory,
even the signposts are a suggestion – something
may have happened here, an intake of breath,
a line of pollen along the body
and a longing then – for, sure, now –
for the unconsciousness of trees, stock-still,
their leaf and spread outliving names,
the change of language swirling about them like the wind
or the noise of far-off battle:

to be a cell in that great animal, the forest,
and not an ant crawling through the maze of our absences.
An hour’s trek to a well that isn’t here,
on no map now. You feel again
under your outstretched hand, cool air
rising from its depths – but where?
and you fight with the certainty that it wasn’t
a dream last time, and envy the wide-winged bird
circling its distant field. The Roman Well:

always some word will trigger a search,
pick at a scab of loss deep in the psyche
where no art can truly heal; years alone
may soothe it to a pilgrim’s itch, storied, timeless,
and never wholly futile.
The rows of corn, so improbably green
in the baked clay, seem to converge on a point
hidden in a dip. What chance has the mind,
torn between wilderness and order –
and the sky’s relentless, level blue?


The air is full of its own strangeness, loaded
with the power to startle – like that ringing
of a bell across a meadow where there is no bell,
where the small yellow flowers have no secret
stretching as they do as far as the neatness of a long road.
Midday, so bright the eyelids fill with a red-gold darkness
and it seems that this breadth, green, yellow, blue, is its own closed room,
and that sound in the air is a knocking on the wall
to be let in or out: or a summoning,
for the snake to slough back into its cast-off skin
and trees to spear their way through the miles of fields
like soldiers, like fathers. Three thousand years
of clearances are a holding at bay; those scattered
houses are small boats ready at any moment to sink.
The  grasses, fattened on water, rustle nonetheless
like paper. The sun passing from shadow to shadow
is taking all to itself. Only the forest is spared,
deep-rooted, grown beyond the gift of light.


The stream is a trickle in summer,
last year’s flotsam beginning to bleach,
branches becoming bones.
Flowers like pale blue stars
are forming among the shingle
and a lizard warms its belly on another stone.

A step across and into the flat hectares
where drainage keeps the ground
as it should be, and cars, hidden,
are a steady hum.

Over the meadow missionaries rest.
What would they make of this
enormous neatness: no bears, no wolves,
an element of held breath in our coming and going?
Dizzy on stomach-churning waters,
navigating by breaks in the cloud
and then by mosses and the call of birds
their clearances were an act of acceptance,
that they worked, ate and healed
at the sufferance of the wilderness:
that there was no holding together,
only a holding back, a planting
between one harvest and another,
a prayer between peace and tumult.

Against great pagan fires they pitted their damp bones,
against dawn they tested the entranced mind,
the body in the cell of its own cold.
Some slept in stone; others the bears had
or roots claimed, their tendrils like a child’s fingers
and round their traces boxes grew,
walls, fences, advance and retreat.
But how triangulate the mind?
Only in the clearing haze of chaos
when truth settles like a chill, and fields
yield sustenance and unexpected bone.


Bones in the dry bed of dreams,
pinned to a page, sucked dry of life
as air sucks the curve of ink
and no letter illuminated, the room
silent but for the clock chanting
the running down of its own wheels
and the pennants outside, still, breathless,
the train a gliding, yellow dot, its carriages
a pencil-line drawn along foothills.
White is the only colour; the knight
the scholar, fade into it as memory
bleeds into the necessities of day.
Down the corridor, mobile phones
are held like scapulars before an altar,

they range along windows like birds
greedy for flies; the snapped to be buried
in piles, world wide: rubble without matter,
the triumph of the immaterial world.
But is it any different from the firing
of a monk’s imagination, his desire
for an unearthly city on a hill?


Evening and an empty platform. The sun
is a haze on the tips of the hills,
the hills themselves like a blanket
ready to be unrolled. And distant, a lake, bottlenecked,
feeding a river, funnelling last winter’s snow
toward the ocean. The last pleasure-steamer
has put in, and that urban sound, quieter than silence,
a settling, a hundred thousand sighs,
falls like a landing of dust.
And more than silence, the emptiness
of waiting for a train, the knowledge of being a dot
on that unending rectangle, the railway cutting,
that time itself is invalid, will only resume
with the first sound, faint, almost beyond hearing,
of an approaching engine. Others come out,
shrouded now; their speech, low, unintelligible,
is all of the setting off, a hope that nothing
has been left undone. One pair of soft hands flutter
too soon, too soon! Too late, and like a bird,
they settle. Then the light, always stronger than daylight,
that is power an inevitability, glides
over the heat of the tracks. The engine
comes into shape behind it. When the doors
slide open, all this will be over; again
no more than names. But since the names
themselves – stations, churches, wells – were given
in turn to a story, when did it all start, this dash
along a strip of light between two shades?

And yet not done; moving backwards, across
a cleft in the hills, the sun’s rim
a mere gold wire now, picks like a lighthouse beam
an abandoned shepherd’s hut, squalid, ramshackle,
suspended in a clearing. Its fall will be gentle,
its stones will tell no hurt.


Ted Mc Carthy lives and teaches in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada Austraia and Germany. He has had two collections published,’November Wedding’, and ‘Beverly Downs’. He is currently working on a third collection, as well as a series of translations.

Two Poems by Ogundare Tope

Happiness is being

I finally step out of my self
And walk the miles to you.
I have worn the cloak of winter for too long
And lived on dried raisins gathered in the summer
Many seasons ago
Living is empty when the heart is dry and stale
And memory becomes a bad brew of ale
Happiness comes from being –
My epiphany from intoxication on fumes of dried tears
Remnants of aged agony
From the cellar of sorrow.
In a drunken haze, I stagger into wisdom:
It takes courage to be naked.
I undress in sobriety
From the soul out,
And feel my manhood shrivel from the cold winds
Of your eyes
I step out of the pile of me
And take unsteady steps in your direction
A walk of shame
Towards redemption.


Sleeping on the same bed
Bodies touching
Hearts separated by a wall –
Travelling in different directions.

A lingering look
Radiant smiles
Arms locked
Weeping hearts
Picture perfect

Smiling faces
Cold eyes
Hearts at war

Bodies locked
In an intimate dance
Body double.


Ogundare Tope is a lover of books and music. He is a scientist by day, unraveling the mystery of the mind, and by night a writer- lost in the world of words. His poems have appeared in 2 anthologies, and in online and print magazines. He blogs at www.zaphnathpaaaneah.com

Poem by Frederick Pollack


The guide must have worked here
before the war, before the first war,
before the French Revolution,
modifying his script to suit regimes
and brushing his teeth once a decade.
The hangings he explicates
are vivid, though their only colors
are pink commemorating red,
dispirited blue, bankrupt gold.
The knights, pretty pages,
and ladies like high-waisted flower-stalks,
proceeding into castles barely
taller than themselves, seem confident
that ritual is action, impassivity courage.
All any of it means is the coat of arms
topping each image like a nailhead.
After this, I swear, no more culture.
The past can only ask so much of one.
One should be grateful that the guide ignores
some rags, their tones reduced to single threads,
that appear to have gone through a carwash.
Those appeal, however. Truth and beauty
are after all ambiguous and fragmentary.
One seems, if I can make it out, to deal
with something besides simpering
and status: the rear view of a chubby man
facing a doctor coming through a door.
A classroom, children drawn
like little unpleasant adults. A mandala
like that which hovers over Rembrandt’s Faust,
but endlessly, absurdly more complex.
If there’s a castle it was worn away.
I catch the guide’s eye,
which is colorless and bleary and
shows feelings ineffective yet distinct
from weary habit as he leads us out.

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, 2015 from Prolific Press. His poems have appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Main Street Rag, Fulcrum, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Thunderdome. He is adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.

Poem by Lazola Pambo

‘I Am Of This Gender’

I am of this gender
which has been shunned by society
cursed and despised
as being immoral
I am of this gender
that lost the right to human dignity
cast-away and isolated
from social interaction
I am of this gender
perceived differently

Labelled as demonic
forsaken by people of my country
I am of this gender
who cries at night
so eager to be loved
I am of this gender
carrying these violent crooked scars
in each day I conquer
my life impediments
I am of this gender
masculine feminine



Lazola Pambo is a South African poet, novelist and essayist.  The majority of his works have been published in “The Kalahari Review,” “Aerodrome,” “New Coin,” “Nomad’s Choir,” “Black Magnolias Literary Journal,” “Sun & Sandstone,” and “Aji Magazine,” among others. You can follow him on Twitter @LPambo

James Bell. Two Poems


you must eventually accept there is no word
for goodbye in Swahili
it’s – see you when you return
when you come back one day -
Kenya has touched you
although you must migrate north again
like wildebeest and zebra
who travel in herds with that pull – that flow
man and beast know so well
so deep it is never consciously acknowledged –
in spirit you cross the Mara river
that you wait for as the water drops
and lets you go
…………………….there are no demands
upon you – like the heron that stands
among a clump of reeds
and the water is so low
the crocodile cannot stop you
the hippo has sunk into its own deep pool
go now then return someway somehow


you saw the life go
…………how it eased from the body
……………………when there was still a head

demonstrated how
…………nothing is forever – and always when
……………………caught in carnivore jaws

the pelt is a discarded life
 …………or life has discarded the fur
 ……………………and guts and skeleton it grew

it is grey – dulled – movement now
 …………dictated only by live wind –
……………………has become smaller

James Bell has published two poetry collections the just vanished place and fishing for beginners. Born in Scotland he now lives in Brittany where he contributes photography and non-fiction to an English language journal. He continues to publish poetry and short stories on an international basis both online and terrestrially.