Archive for March 2014

Jazz: Rhapsody in You (Pt. 10) -- Lifeblood - Michael David Saunders Hall

1st love
Is such sweet
despair, like these words
Penned in delicious agony

Crisscrossing currents
Between my body & soul. more
Than just a metaphor, you dwell from my first to last

I heed
The basic
Instructions before
Leaving Earth), as though poetry

Chanting down
Walls of Babylon
With words as guardians of love.

Is you
Who will be
First & last finale, flying

A bird
Of beauty
Of the air we breathe, immortal
As the clockwork of spirits transcending life & death.

- - -

Michael David Saunders Hall describes himself as 'a 21stCenturyGriot from the myriad of leaves on the Poet Tree'. You can find more about him, and his poems, here at his website >

When She and I Go Together - Akhil Katyal

for Anannya Dasgupta

what is it
that makes the sales-guy
only speak
to her when we buy

My guess is
it's the same thing
that makes
that silly broker think
he can
only look at me
and vent
as we try to see

- - -

Born in Bareilly, U.P. in 1985, Akhil Katyal is a writer and translator based in Delhi where he also teaches literature. His writings have appeared in The Houston Literary Review, The UCity Review, North East Review, The Four Quarters Magazine, The Bangalore Review, Ezra - Journal of Translation, Earthen Lamp Journal among several others. He has translated the works of Mangalesh Dabral, Wislawa Szymborska, Agha Shahid Ali, Om Prakash Valmiki, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes among others. He finished his PhD from SOAS, University of London in 2011. Write to him at

Talk To Frank; Or, How To Tell It To Him Straight

This body is a poor man's idea of grandeur-
and Talk To Frank says that confidence doesn't come in tubes,
pills nor injections, but when tomorrow morning you
feel like shit with a stomach-pit of methylamphetamine
and a head craving caffeine,
you'll disagree and say to him,

Look, I talked to a girl I wouldn't normally talk to and we kissed.

An Ordinary Evening - Shloka Shankar

Rain lashed against the pane
and thunder struck hard.
I saw a silhouette of a cat
on the wall in the back alley
and watched the raindrops
peter out the streetlight. 

Here I was, taking refuge in
a dilapidated building
of a club, with a glass of
rum and ice cubes,
playing cards with
fellow sharpers.

The rain stopped,
I gathered my winnings,
walked out the door
in triumph and
kicked the black cat
out of sight.

- - -

Shloka Shankar resides in Bangalore, India. She is notable for her work in anthologies of repute including 'Traversal of Lines', 'The Dance of the Peacock', 'The Unsettled Winter' and 'Family Matters'.

Dream Feaster - Sheikha A.

While you sleep...

I gaze upon your face
as I breathe in fragrance
hanging off  contours
along telling, arching,
angling lines of your jaw.
Your skin that spans
into a valley broad
met by a dipping chin
across a flat but strong visage.
I feast on your deep set eyes,
luring, provoking,
tantalizing cocoons
of hypnosis
as they rest away tired
dreams of the day.
Their closed sensuality
flickering embers
of a sweet mating game.
Those lips pout
to alluring culverts
where desires vegetate,
lingering, forming,
as they imbibe
a throbbing palate of dreams
to escape
your mouth ingenuous
unknowing to sins.
I read into your slumbering face
to feed my sores
the beds of many I have visited.
Come my feast,
rescuing beauty,
glazed mounds of delectable dreams,
I have been long hungry...

- - -

Sheikha A. is a writer based in Pakistan. She loves to write and voice her opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. More about her works can be read on links:

I Kissed Vivien Leigh - Jim Cunningham

I kissed Vivien Leigh,

well not really… though I told
every grinning green Catholic soul
at my school I did that and more

I did smell the wine on her breath
and watch her trip into the trailer 
her gown hitting the floor 
before she closed the door 
her body as white as the fake snow 
spitting onto the set, and
as cold perhaps

I was sixteen and she was fifty one 
this was my one and only, her last, 
flick, not fling, though I would have
cut off an arm for it to have been so 
not the arm she touched 
in our one immortal scene together… 
her electric hand, 
all the blond hairs on my forearm standing at attention 
me wondering if the camera caught
their helpless vertical veer 

it mattered not, most of the scene
landed not on the screen, but
the cutting room floor, my two lines slashed to one 
my 48 seconds with her shaved to 22

I did not cry when I heard she died,
twenty months later, but my lie seemed soiled 
once she was in the ground
I confessed to Father Ryan 
he was silent when
I asked what to tell 
the fools who believed 
the dying star lay with me 
simply because she said,
“Call me Vivien, not Ms Leigh”

- - -

Jim Cunningham is a Texan poet, stranded on the prairies of the USA. He lives in the wily world of words most days. This poem I Kissed Vivien Leigh came in second in last month's Goodreads Poetry Competition.

Anorexia - Donia Varghese

A glittery group of girls meet for lunch
In their Prada shoes and nose pins that flash a sudden sharp light.
They snack on salad – shredding the chicken to tiny bits but not eating any.
They smoke and laugh hollow laughs,
Worried their lipstick may smear if they bite into the meatloaf too much.
They sit texting their friends or deleting spam
And then stop every few seconds eyeing the boy with purple hair
Sitting across from them with a phone that’s too big.
They munch on lettuce, think it’s cool.
Closed mouths chewing delicate leaves to paste.
They leave the pudding untouched and pay with plastic cards
Before they’re out the door, a mass clacking of high heels against the floor.
Leaving nothing but a faint fragrance of Chanel.

- - -

Donia Varghese is an aspiring writer and a constant dreamer. She has a penchant for exploring small towns and likes to meet people with interesting tales to share. Donia also enjoys writing fiction and poetry and someday hopes to write a book with a very catchy title. She lives in Toronto and owns a quirky collection of books and toys.

Pen & Paper

You've bruises on your thighs,
both sides of skin beat and red.
If this is how he says hello to you
then maybe it's time leave, or is
it time to relieve yourself with
hits and smacks and colourful
comic-book thwacks back so his
bloody nose can complement those
he gave you that time in spring.

Take your glass slippers and be
one of those girls in red dresses;
dance, twist, and twirl as well as
the rest of them, churn up that
dance floor ring and take time
out for more drinks, re-hydrate
before looking for another long-
term date to be a tactile touch-er
with, another involved and committed

Take note from the pint husbands
and their half-pint wives around you,
pen a note to yourself for the future
beginning with,
then moving swiftly on with,
If you find another man that hits
before he kisses you than you've picked wrong,
ending with,
You've plenty of time left, stay strong.

Two Seasons Left

Season's greetings, or the omission of a hand to hold
when it's winter bleak, miserable and cold.

Two weeks away in the sun, or campsite summer-lit mornings
and sand in our sandals from an evening on the shore.

The dew puddles are forming,
its stagnant river sister foaming
with cream lips at the edge of the white water;
she's whispering well-thought-through white noise
because she knows of the future to come,
the upriver source told her that you've
two seasons left to sort yourself out.


Beach, hotel,
One Direction and Bach.

Train ride, taxi connection,
Beer and other-language, confused information.

3 week realities and forgotten home-life mysteries,
Cat to feed, fridge to fill, neighbours to be neighbourly with.

Fat - Ron Singer

In the course of food-and-diet chin-wags,
people often invoke a fat metaphor:
“I’m still fighting the battle of the bulge,”
they quip, ambiguously. Does that refer
to weight-watching or (as the Germans say)
“The Watch on the Rhine”? In both cases
--global and personal, body and war--
there is ebb and flow, great redundancy.
Still, the metaphor seems trivial, extreme,
perhaps even obscene.

My wife’s late cousin, Harry, noted wag,
used to call Eliot’s poem “The Waist Line.”
That joke would shake us like bowls of jello,
although it, too, like the Bulge metaphor,
was undermined by its evocation
of the ruined landscape of “The Great War.”
Talk about ebb and flow!

Jokes and metaphors aside, there’s something
to the pairing of Lucien Freud’s mis-shapes
with ravaged landscapes: Appalachia,
Detroit, for starters, not to mention
the global stations of garbage and war.
In the course of an anti-obesity campaign
in my own waste-ridden city, New York,
another wag, this one a comedian,
made a quip to the effect, I recall,
that big sodas are the country houses
of the poor. But I’ll speak of rolls of fat,
garbage mounds, carcasses, waistlines and waste
... no more.

- - -

Ron Singer ( has published seven books, and he recently completed three trips to Africa for an eighth, Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with Pro-Democracy Leaders (forthcoming). His serial thriller, Geistmann, and his serial farce, The Parents We Deserve, are both available at His work has twice been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.

An Editor Suggests Revisions - Donal Mahoney

Yours is the first email I opened this morning. 
I appreciate your suggested revisions and invitation 
to send the work back once I've made the changes. 
I can tell you spent a lot of time analyzing my efforts. 
I'm afraid, however, that I can't make the revisions 
although I feel I should compensate you for your work. 

It is to that end that I took your name to Rebecca. 
I showed her your suggestions and she said your name 
would be introduced at the next gathering of her coven. 
She asked if I had suggestions for revisions to your life 
and I said I did and that she might want to take notes.
I said I thought it might be best to have your organs 
rot one at a time while your heart remains strong 
so you die at a leisurely pace. 

She said that could be arranged 
although it was an unusual request. 
In similar cases, when dispatching someone
who has insulted another, she has found
the insulted usually wants the insulter 
sent off as quickly as possible. 
I'm unusual, she said, in that respect.
I told her I didn't want to be heartless 
and have you die before you have time
to put your affairs in order. 

I reminded her not to inflict cancer 
on your pancreas too early because 
medicine has yet to find a cure for that. 
In short order, cancer of the pancreas 
means lights out, no lingering about. 

I suggested the cancer start in your gall bladder, 
move on to your kidneys, then to your lungs 
and then to your brain. That will keep 
the doctors busy while you waste away. 
I suggested she save your pancreas for last. 

I also asked her to let me know when 
your pancreas becomes fully involved 
so I can make plane reservations 
to come and say good-bye.

In the meantime, may your next issue 
be stillborn. No reason to make it 
different from the last.

- - -

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at

Bah! Feminism! - Shobhana Kumar

post my best friend’s wedding,
i am introduced to her husband:
an eager voice,
a smile, slightly out
of propriety,
and before i know it,
his eyes have sized me up,
with a handshake that lingers
a trifle too long.

i leave it at that—
she’s moonstruck; it must be my feminist genes.

the second time,
his eyes grope around familiar sights,
the laughter gets louder,
and the handshake, harder.

before the third time,
i make excuses
and then some more.

two years later
he files for divorce.
cites her probability to infidelity
as reason enough:
‘she hugs her male friends,
has them on speed dial
goes out to dinner with them.
surely there must be more, your Honour.’

he ekes out a divorce. 
and that is how my friend
turned a feminist.

- - -

Shobhana Kumar's first volume of poetry, 'The Voices Never Stop' was published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta in 2012. Her work has appeared /is forthcoming in anthologies and several journals/ publications including Origami Poems Project, Read Leaf Poetry, The Buddhist Poetry Review, and others. Her second collection is under print and she has authored 5 books of non-fiction.

The Wait - Namitha Varma

As the lone shores
That wait for waves,
I wait for the turbulence of life.
The calmness of the waters,
The inadequacy of tides,
The brooding silence of the sea,
drives me crazy.

Let the sea rise,
and unleash anger on the sands —
I care not for the consequences.

Give me a break
from the monotonous quietude.

As the quiet oyster
On the sea bed,
I wait for the grain of sand.

- - -

Namitha Varma is a media professional and a self-proclaimed narcissist based in Mangalore, India. She is a voracious reader, a music enthusiast and an opinionated social observer. Her works have been published in eFiction India and can also be found

SOLILOQUY: A Confession To Self - Odessa Gheeneil R. Agbas

Was it last night
when you felt him between cold metals,
And his tears forever silenced
with one cruel pull?
I remembered I paused to coo at him
While he was asleep in his cocoon,
And he was probably dreaming
what it would be like when he woke up—
Sadly just a mere thought now:
A story shattered in a writer’s mind;
A piece that would never get written and read.

He took my heart with him,
locked inside a cookie jar,
the cold chamber that would likely see his gradual rotting.
If one look could kill,
I’d probably gaze at you
until you’d feel what it was like to be deprived
Of air to breathe,
Of beauty to see,
Of love to feel.
But I knew it would be

- - -

Odessa Gheeneil R. Agbas has a bachelors degree in Mathematics. She writes mostly poetry. Some of her work has appeared in WalkingBlind Art and Literature magazine and the Emerge Literary Journal.