Archive for September 2014

Coriander And Cucumber And Nutella And A Dog

Defrauded and trying desperately to remember
the new number they sent through the post that morning.

This meltdown is melting me down on the corner between the cucumbers
and the rack of chemically sprayed coriander they're advertising as fresh, on this a Thursday afternoon.
It's after three and the schools are out and
I've had too much Nutella for this weak heart:
toast is not a breakfast nor a lunch, but a dinner or a tea
or whatever you call it from wherever you're from,
and the sugar free coffee is turning into half cups
drank because nothing tastes sweet enough anymore,
well not like it used to anyway.

A trainee dog-for-the-blind
sniffs where the coriander sits,
then rests its paws on the second shelf where the basil is
and its retired handler tugs hard on the reigns
and it turns its head as if saying sorry for being inquisitive,
I just wanted to smell something fresh,

and I forget about the lost pin number,
note it down as another ASDA-shopping-trip failure
and head home, taking the field-river-towpath-canal way back instead.

Ikea Couples And Their Table Leg Children

Their first and last house together
was a three bedroom semidetached somewhere on the outskirts of town
and once the bags were packed
and all the goodbyes not-sobbed through said
it was the furniture's turn to be flat-packed back up again;
the division of the IKEA.

The Dalfred bar stool was his;
black and fool proof, yet he'd
left the Allen key in his new North London flat
so faced a two hour commute from home to home
with a fully assembled stool sat between in his legs
until he came to rest at Mill Hill east sometime past ten.

They had made love against the Billy bookcase
and now the birch-veneer adjustable shelves were
stained with the one night they thought would
be another dowl-pin-notch on their relationship.
Sadly it was not and now neither of them want
the bookcase; so to the skip with that one
along with the many shared books on Hong Kong
they took notes from for their one international trip away together never taken.

She'll be keeping the Lack side-table for herself,
it's sat behind packed bags hidden from him.
Her reading glasses, picture of the dead family dog
and the bookmark brought back from Denmark by a friend
all fit perfectly on the top,
just the back left leg is a little wobbly but
she'll prop it up with a picture of him;
the only thing to keep the unsteady level again.

My Strength - Deborah Wong

The first roam is the widest call,
to shake the phoenix that has
drenched into lullaby.
Comfort zone – protected by dew,
replenishing happiness at the corridor.
A relentless stranger owns the garden where you
and I decided to throw a fruitless love,
by teaching our limbs some filthy lesson
to grow and fight. And then to re-energise
that reek pre-caution,
while winners are many, too many

to name;
in numbers –

In my spare time, I pluck an apple from our garden
Please take the first bite, my darling.
Fear not the venom for I wouldn’t die of
de-codifying a serpent’s tail.
The seed becomes a plum in my uterus.
Kiss the Kung-Fu fighting umbilical cord.
Harvesting in nine months time,
By then you are away; elsewhere
Photos to keep until your return,
Memories in rolling film credits.

- - -

Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Deborah Wong's poems have been published locally and internationally. She is an editorial contributor and the Editorial Board Member of Eastlit. Tweet her at @PetiteDeborah.

Once Met Hears Without Ears - Jim Cunningham

old truck had a flat
at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo* mountains
on a rutted brown road, by a singing stream,
swollen from snow melt, the sagging bridge across
looked too tired to handle our load

we replaced the bald tire
with one equally hairless

we were washing
the grit and grease from our hands
in baptismal waters, when we saw him,
so small we were surprised he could walk,
and her, at the other end of life’s long string,
so old she moved like a question mark down the bank,
a bucket in one sinewy hand,
the tiny boy’s paw in the other 

we crossed to greet them,
though neither of us knew why... 
but we were under an infinite blue sky 
and on four wheels again--what else was there to do,
but cross the rushing waters to meet strangers
by a strange road? 

the little one spoke, with words so small
they disappeared by the time they reached our ears 
how we knew what he was saying we would never recall 
though we did as he commanded, taking off our shoes,
placing our feet in the cold current, following his lead
in this dance on a nameless road 

the ancient one never uttered a word,
but gestured to us, to the sky, to the blue green peaks,
and to the waters at our feet, and told us, with skin and bone 
that the blood of every-man flowed from the high country,
and washed our tangled toes
and simple soles

- - -

*Sangre de Cristo: "Blood of Christ" mountains, a range in northern New Mexico in the USA.

Jim Cunningham is an American writer who spends most of his time in Texas, on the blistering edge of the Southern Plains. He has lived in the mountains of the desert southwest. The poem, "Once Met Hears Without Ears", is based on a reverie from Cunningham's 2006 play of the same name.

Spills On Stairs

They said that heavy hands held worried heads,
or the other way round,
and the room was stuffy.
Bar punters talked to the bar maids who
couldn't hear them for the ear
pieces in their ears and intercom bosses were telling them
of spills on the stairs and a fight outside,one
that started because one guy saw another guy kissing his girlfriend but he thought that she was his girlfriend so went in with punches when, really, all he ought to do was ask nicely with a carefully punctuated sentence and walk away after.

I went home last night to no one wanting my heavy head to be held in a pair of worried hands.

Tacoma Callum

for Neil's new love

A shadow of Washington State on her forearm;
a bruise from her storm after the calm.

His name was probably Callum or Luke,
or something equally as annoying, and
in his canon of hugs and kisses
was a battalion of punches and verbal threats sent forth and forward
when he was pigeon in the park, unpredictably drunk.

But when they were out nobody knew of their
war on the home front, because for the punters of that Italian bistro,
that one in the centre of town,
they put on a Louis d’Or worthy show so no one would suspect;
conversations of extended families got tangled up in their spaghetti,
linguini lines of work schedules and when-will-you-be-homes were twisted around their forks.
And his knife tried to cut the tension.
And hers spread something, anything, over the wounds and bruises,
reaching for her cardigan sleeve to hide the Tacoma light rail
lines of ruptured vessels that made up her Washington State bruise
he had given her hours before in the upstairs, never-going-to-be-a-family bathroom.

Nail Down To Cuticle

The nurse leaves her 12 hour shift behind
and waits for the bus biting her nails.
The last time I bit my nails
I chewed down to the cuticle
asking myself where along the line the confidence was knocked out.

Everyone's Poems - Namitha Varma

Tears hijacked his dreams,
fear overtook love.
In rotating ceiling fans
and rolling hips of dancers,
he searched for them both.

I sold myself to the wrong people,
the wrong people solicited my souls.
amid a flurry of wrongs,
my heart set out to claim some rights.

The blue veins shone through her fair skin,
and the knife in her hand glistened.
the brightness of the red spilled
was also never disputed.

Rheumatism, Arthritis, Blood pressure, Insomnia;
There was no ailment she was not proud of.

Dust, smoke, CO2, NO and a little oxygen.
The human is contented

- - -

Namitha Varma is a media professional based in Mangalore, India. She is a voracious reader, a music enthusiast and an opinionated social observer. Her works have been published in Sahitya Akademi (May/June 2014), eFiction India, Coffee Shop Poems, and A Little Poetry. They can also be found on

Twitter Verified

Sit down and
tell me how you really feel.
Take off that binary mask
and let the light from the living room
turn those ones and zeros into
a pale pink, paint-by-numbers human face.

Let the birds do the twittering,
you don't need to join in with their chorus.

Google Maps Found Him There

Thoughts and family-life dreams of the future
will bleed out onto a desert floor somewhere.

Aid worker training and pavement lines walked when wet in the rain will spill overboard and merge with sand,
loose grains will meld with foreign blood in a foreign part of this land known to some as home and
to others as found it on Google maps.

We, or them, tried to stop it
but gave in when they found out their conkers were glazed over with nail varnish and
now we're looking to hard-to-find websites waiting for our string to snap.