Archive for May 2014

Topman Vest #1

I’ve left friendships at the side of roads,
wandered off and out of sight
of people I thought I knew but now I’ll never know,
I’ve made mistakes in blackout drunk opaque
segments of time that have led to questions being raised
further on down the line,
and I am ashamed to say that in the first year of university
I wore a vest for a while
because I thought the less material a garment has the cooler you are:

this is not true.

My arms were reduced to kindling-fire-wood,
my ribs easily recognisable through the cotton
because this torso is tinder-skin, pale and thin,
below my body was not warm
and I thought I’d start thinking in swarms of confidence, like,
man, you totally get laid because of this vest,
but in reality I was thinking,
put a jumper on.

Dying at Midnight - Donal Mahoney

Two big attendants 
in white coats are here 
to remove my remains.
My son called the mortuary 
after Murphy said I was gone.
The doctor, a good neighbor, 
came over at midnight, found 
no pulse and made it official.
I could have saved him the trip.
I knew I was gone.

My wife's in the kitchen 
crying with my daughter 
in a festival of Kleenex.
I told her I was sick
but she didn't believe me.
She thought I was faking it
so I wouldn't have to go 
to her mother's for dinner.
I don't like lamb but 
her mother's from Greece.
Lamb shanks are always
piled on the table.
Stuffed grape leaves I like
and she'll make them for  
Christmas provided I start
begging at Thanksgiving.
Every Easter, however,
it's another fat leg of lamb, 
marbled with varicosities 
and sauced with phlebitis.

Right now I'm wondering 
who'll win the argument
between the two angels 
facing off in the mirror
on top of the dresser.
The winner gets my soul
which is near the ceiling,
a flying saucer spinning 
out of control.
I want the angel 
in the white tunic 
to take it in his backpack.
The other guy in gray  
looks like Peter Lorre 

except for the horns.

- - -

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

Secret Poem At The End of The Album

Swollen river
broken white noise rain.
Corridors can be long,
but so can hotel hallway kisses.
Try writing with the door open and the bra on floor;
try writing for someone who's never there.

The Gift of Vision - Trupti Arabatti

in amour 
in agony 
in shock 
with emotions 
with astonishment 
in mischief 
with glee

Two little windows 
open to the soul
The abode
 of innocence
The reflection
of inner beauty
A prism
of colors
The powerhouse
of expressions
Lips may lie
but these never do!

- - -

Trupti Arabatti is an engineer during the day who turns into a creative soul by night. A closet poet for years, she is finally out and exploring different platforms to share her work.

I Know Who You Texted Last Summer

Your phone is an easy-to-open vault:
a service-model-colt-coloured piece of
metal that hides your secrets voluntarily.

Twist the code and key in the numbers
and in-there on separate iron shelves
shall sit your saved messages and deleted photos
from family gone and parents present.
Ex-lover texts that once made sense have now melted
away like every Oxo cube you’ve ever used and mixed up.
You’ll discover conversations that bruised your
slightly-confused-what-should-I-say-next younger self,
and there at the back there’ll be conversations and
late night talks that ultimately made you, you:
a somewhat collage and mood board of ideas you wanted to be true.
Air-brushed ideals and allegations you once alleged when you were
16 are now binary coordinates on a map you’ve
long forgotten existed.

Nobody knew of the shit they were spouting:
it’s ephemeral remember, just a bit of virtual shouting,
but when we’re taken early in an accident
on a journey we take almost daily, zipped up in brown-tarpaulin
bag ready for the mortuary, the first
place they’ll probe for evidence is in our
service-model-colt-coloured vault
to be found in our right-hand-side pocket.

With rubber fingers and cameras that flare
its contents will be sort-through,
laid atop a table, unpackaged and bare.
Service providers will be contacted so to
extract every character you ever typed,
every character you ever pretended to be,
placing each new piece of evidence
on an axis that plots lovers and losses
against friends and new bosses,
culminating in a graph with a steady trend of,
this was him in 2010.

New York Sailor: An Apple

A tall sailor-striped woman
swam into sight, sailing-in
high on high heels
towards the promotional stand of
one-pound apples bagged in
stacks of twelve behind me:

they were on offer and all they were offering her was a reason to be out of the house.

It was late on a Monday night
and the light from the supermarket
framed her eyes in a red halo of,
my back-home boyfriend hits me where the t-shirts cover up;
t-shirt sleeves hiding bruised skin
and questions raised by the authorities.

From the pictures falling from
her on-the-floor-purse
art college was not long back,
and the wedding ring tacked to her fourth finger
was a decision made in a thin-air conversation
on a back-of-the-pub chair.

She didn’t want to be there buying apples,
she wanted to be back wearing double denim
dungarees on top of her building looking south
towards the Financial District at sunset.
She wanted a cat, a full length mirror,
bric-and-brac baking bowls bought from the Bowery,
she wanted to get high in the afternoon and
read books about space flight,
have her palms read by sweetcheeked con-artist mystics
whose stock phrase was, and will always be,
'in the next six months you'll meet the one',
she wanted to look after the pets of friends when they worked,
she wanted to steal paint from the store,
hide in hallways to waste time
and eat whatever and whenever in order to
make her waist Nigella-round-
something she could never achieve now,

but instead she was fingering her way through
the one pound apples stacked to the side behind me
in the Wakefield ASDA on a Monday night.

About A Girl - Laboni Bhattacharya

The sight of your bony fingers
turning long photocopied pages
sets my stomach afloat.
I can't tear my eyes away
from your knuckles, joints
fingernails, riverine veins.
You're all elbows and knees
like construction equipment;
as sparse as a skyscraper.

This is my first time, you see.

There is asceticism in the way
that plaid shirt hangs on your frame,
your practical shoes, the men's watch.
You said you loved earrings
I love them on you too.
Are they a girly indulgence?
Your chocolate chip cookies
tasted like adrenaline on my tongue
so I was careful to chew silently.

I'm a little terrified of how I feel.

Your bones move
delicately under your skin;
your skeleton must be beautiful.
Your tongue is to-the-point
(if I'm not careful when we talk
its like getting a papercut)
I don't know where to put
this tangled need for you
to laugh at my jokes, not me.

- - -

Laboni Bhattacharya is a girl who is late for everything. She has nearly completed her post-graduation in English Literature from St Stephens College.

Poitiers In July

I know a place with
cobbled capillary streets that lead
into heart-of-the-city squares,
the kind that beat from 2pm onwards with the 
swell of leisurely lunches and wine by the bottle;
two hour breaks away from back-at-the-office workdays
set back into arches of architecture no
CAD program could program today.

I know a place where the hotel bed sheets
remember me and the wi-fi password
to the seemingly dial up connection
is an amalgamation of letters and numbers
that no mathematician could find their way out of.

I want to be back in the city
that forces my feet to walk
its alleyway-cut-throughs that
lead to new churches only known in the history books,
that lead to tucked away back-of-the-tenement restaurants
where professional waiters attend to your table
with swift feet that stand stable all day, every day,
but then take Sundays off because their gentlemen's-agreement
contract states so.

I want to be back in my city
where parents and their children are
reduced to inked Lowry figures
seeping into the wet page square
that simmers with the late afternoon sun.

A Letter To Mum. RE: George Clooney

I'm sorry mum,
but George Clooney has gone.

That man you thought you loved
has moved onto the next step,
leaving you and millions more behind.

Let's face it, he was never going
to see your face in the crowd ‘cos you were
late home from a parents evenings that ran over
just as he was getting ready for the red carpet,
dressed in labels you can't find in Yorkshire.
And he probably stays up late at these parties
drinking all night
and you fall asleep-
every Sunday without fail just after your cup of tea-
in front of Countryfile just as Adam’s farm begins.

Whilst he's off making films putting on
the masks of Danny Ocean,
Michael Clayton, that gravity guy
and Ryan Bingham, you're
making the back bed of the garden look just right,
moving that double dahlia away from the light.

And I know that you joke of the millionaire
lifestyle and a move away to the sun with Clooney,
but chances are he'd pay for a gardener
to sort out the Algerian ivy for you,
but you’re too hands on to leave the i
to a Californian gardener you don’t know the name of.

Although you’re the same age,
and both look not-a-day over 21,
getting into a relationship now would be silly.
I know I’m not the best guy to give you relationship advice,
but think of all the packing.
and the unpacking.
and the way they drive on the right over there,
think of the lack of Countryfile on cable TV
and the daily expedition you’d undertake to find a good cup of tea.

Yes he’s rich and writes his own films,
and yes he has the chiseled good looks of
a Michelangelo sculpture,
and yes he was the first face on the cover of Men’s Vogue,
but he’s not for you.

I'm sorry mum,

but George Clooney has gone.

Sweet Little Lies - Shaista Tayabali

You buy cupcakes with your cappuccino
and the barista asks after your love life.

You play dumb and ask after his
(you overheard him and his friend -
the coffee drinker before you -
discussing how she played him).

He breaks it down scene by scene -
(how he went to her birthday and
bought her Millie's Cookies and everything
but then she never bothered
to show up to his
after he took her out to lunch
and paid and everything).

And then he turns to you, till rung up,
and chatting, about the single scene,
as though I might be prowling
and buying cupcakes
in exchange for dates,
might just be my thing.

I deflect, and pick my way
over to a solitary table
and scald my tongue
on the first bitter sip
before the chocolate lacing soothes it.

What if I told him the reason I was single?
That my body was a battlefield
and my flesh destined for needles
and my eyes a network of scar tissue
and how pain can become the glue?

But later, when two girls come by
and I hear them giggling together
I trace the tip of vanilla butterfly wings
and drench my tongue in lemon curd
and let the chocolate orange sing to me

and be glad the only thing he heard
was that I was free.

- - -

Shaista Tayabali aims to one day be the poet laureate of hospitals. Not because she loves hospitals but because poetry makes beauty in strange places. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin Univeristy and is trying to commit to the longer disciplines of a memoir and a novel. She writes a blog at

Across The Road - Riya Ray

For love comes slow
                along the winter passing by.
The trousers squeezed into shorts
bare thighs, slashed hands.

Such was the situation,
                fingers dipped in coconut sauce,
licking it off,
smacking double tea,
and then again passing it on.

“We do not belong here.”
“We need to move.”

This makes us dream
of vacuum and
                And nights dim.

Howl and Kaddish
from this lap to the next
                Butler slides
just above yours, and around your head.

Machines copying questions
           of collective consciousness
beeping Azadi, every now and then.

Anger, so impotent
                is burning our soul away.
Eyes dropping,
the wretched heart
Still drunk
                on ideas of yesterday’s love.

The lazy dog,
                nesting worms
and we nest, memories
unwanted, irrational emotions
                eating us up.
“Skeptic! Skeptic!”
we screamed and vowed
Yet fell into
                judgments and cynicism.

Stacks of our own thought,
drowning in the rain.

Socially unaccepted
and then the insanity
                A shrewd plan, a sarcastic laugh.
Somewhere a clam nod.

Collecting leaves,
                ignoring Raymond
we had poetry calligraphic
on blown brown sheets.

Hands touched and
eyes matched
                Accessory, hypocrisy.
We walk out and fall back

Existential crisis twenty, something.

- - -

Riya Ray is a literature student presently in the twilight zone of Bachelors and Masters. She writes poetry when life gets too much to hold inside her. Part time daydreamer and a full time Reader.

High Colonics in Berlin - Donal Mahoney

The Nazis call her Hilda,
this ancient woman who
makes a simple living in
a bathroom in Berlin
giving high colonics
to constipated officers.

She helps each man
settle in the tub and asks
"Are you comfortable?"
and then she slides
the nozzle in and says
"Here it comes, Mein Herr!"
and turns the pressure
on full blast.

She loves to hear the officer
yell and curse as water
scalding hot crumples him
and he can't make it
to the toilet.
Hilda apologizes
for the accident
and leaves the room to
let the Nazi wallow in
his excrement and stench.

Hilda's real name is
Aviva Goldfarb Stein.
She was a surgeon once,
had a brother die at Dachau
and uses high colonics
hotter than Gehenna
one bastard at a time.

- - -

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

Random Emotions - Ananya Dhawan

Unguided soul,
Pushing the being
On a directionless path.
Wavering emotions
Too jaded to be balanced,
Sometimes too ecstatic,
Sometimes too low,
Sometimes too demanding,
Sometimes all giving.
As the fear encapsulates,
Palpitations increase.
Quitting sometimes,
Creating conclusions.
Its all unreal,
An unreal reality.
Impeccable comforts,
People around.
Yet the soul is alone,
alone in a crowd,
Finding a soul,
A fellow soul,
To lean on…
- - -

Ananya Dhawan is an avid reader and writes poetry and stories in her spare time, which reflects her deep fascination for Literature. She has a cheerful disposition, believes in living each moment to the fullest and shows keen interest in the sensitive side of life.

The Missionary - Lauren Page

All was utterly ruined,
like a run in a brand new pair of panty hose
on a fancy woman.
With diamonds in her ears.

Through the dust-encrusted window,
we passed a truck.
Fishtailing off the mountain.

The bus ran along a red dirt road
that matched the rust-colored skirts of the women
who stopped and stared, baskets on their heads.

And I thought about reaching out,
as he watched the two mutts
barking from the roof of a desolate, white house.

But the bus threw us over a pothole,
and his long hair was saturated with grease.
My fingers instead
twirled the white gold band encasing my thumb.

- - -

Lauren Page is a junior at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia where she studies microbiology and minoring in English literature. Lauren spends her free time writing, hiking, working at a local veterinary clinic, and interning at the Blacksburg farmer’s market. There, she shares her love for fresh and local food with the community. Lauren's work has appeared on The New Poet and she was a finalist in the Steger Poetry Prize.