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A Poem by Catherine Smith


Sunday morning, nine a.m., we congregate
at our local pool. Almost naked, our bodies
hold no secrets from each other - like lovers,
we celebrate heavy legs, cellulite, fur, spider maps
of broken veins, ink blot bruises, the sad sag
of paunches. We know scars, birthmarks,
we’ve seen hair plastered to scalps, each body
poor and compromised. Underwater, it’s as though
we’re transparent - look through our glass skin
to our clotted hearts and lungs, our fat blue veins.
And yet the water parts for us, for our muscle
and sinew, blood and bone. I love the tattooed man,
a torpedo of inked flesh, who calls me Babe.
I want to stroke his mole-soft head -
damp suede - and tell him he’s beautiful,
I love the way he swims, then to whisper
how cleansed I feel, afterwards, as we shower.

( More Poems by Catherine Smith

A Poem by Luciana De Palma

That defeated love
That lost memory
That cancelled smell
That calmed voice
That not more repeated gesture
That changed look
That empty space
And that useless time

My small soul
You persist to preserve
You don't resign yourself
To leave to go

And I die
With you
As a captain
With his ship
That sinks

(poem from "RISACCHE", ed. Secop, 2007)

(More Poems by Luciana De Palma)

A Poem by Anupama Raju


Yesterday, I died:
In the teacup you broke,
spilling years of love.
In the letter you wrote
of a love once alive.

Yesterday I died:
In the green, green grass.
In the footsteps that measured
three and a thousand years.

Yesterday I died:
In the sliced onion
rotting in a dark kitchen.
In the lazy pile of dust
Swept by wrinkly fingers.

Yesterday I died.

And today, in my place stands
A papery young rose
With dew on its petals
And the sun by its thorns.

(First published in 'Mosaic', An Anthology of Poems, Unisun
Publications, 2008)

( More poems by Anupama Raju)

One  Poem  by L. Ward Abel

We met in the Rothko Chapel

and I knew her by her
afloat in cool dark colors
along the lining of a room
without shape. She
enjoyed the paintings there,
said they were happy, said
they were smiling from
shadows. Maybe the essence
of 'happy' is morning arrival
by way of night, I said to myself.
But I couldn't be sure
what she meant. I couldn’t see
the joy in those panels.
Then she was gone, as gone as
And there I sat, stood, sat,
dreamed without sleep.
I glowed like a nap, though.
Her perfume still
in that holy open space.

(More poems by L. Ward Abel )

A  Poem by Abhimanyu Raman


The wench
lay drowning, upon fluid arms

Of the
vast unmoving lake

true depth none knew, save the many condemned

To spend
eons within its shadowy bounds

puddle, though it was

To those
who knew, what she did not

embraced the water's cruel depths

I had to,
to save her,

From a
death too early, in its wake

To save a
life, yet unlived

I did it
for I loved her

danger passed, she was safe

For some
unseen miracle saved us that day

And the
water did not claim its prize

caressed her hair, to feel her touch,

Once more

Her eyes
opened to mine, an unearthly red

And I
realized, the water that glistened,

Upon her

Was not
all from the lake

"Send me
back to my watery bed!' she cried

"Where I
may sleep an eternity,

But not
again to your arms!

This gift
of new life, is all nut wasted,

In a love
so contrived, on a moment's sacrifice!"

For all
love's misery, I heard her voice

spoke yet, without sound

The words
unuttered, falling lifeless,

On the

And I
knew at last

That I was,
truly alone

(One more poem by Abhimanyu. Raman)



When vision be my friend,
the darkness be no bound,
all that I feel, I see,
my senses are profound.

To touch and feel a flower,
is sense not all can taste,
for vision be my friend,
he cannot feel this way.

No eyes ought to feel the touch,
how special it can be,
but close your eyes and touch a rose,
and feel a thorn just for me.

For feeling of a thorn will tell,
the true nature of a flower,
for vision be my friend,
this is one of darkness power.

(More poems by GAURAV BHADURI)

A poem by Marina Ma

Surviving Jakarta 1998

It's been ten years since Jakarta 1998.
Never forgetting, not always remembering
That otherworldly flee. Never questioning
Nor knowing when to say 'farewell'. I had

A hero and a heroine quite ordinary - a
Driver and my mother who wore black,
Drove speedily in and out of fumes and
Promised that I would soon be home safe.

Tucked into bed with a spanner and a bat,
Me and my sisters were kept in a great
White house bubble wrapped in black
Garbage bags. In hiding, we were protected

By flickering sounds of Cartoon Network and
MTV lullabies. Sleepily, we boarded that last
Cathay flight back to Hong Kong with one stack
Of the new ten thousand Rupiah bills worth

One bowl of wanton noodles each. One bowl
Each, one bowl each day times three. Five
Of us each to our naivety; we were safe but never
Home. Each of us still dreaming ten years alone

This May. Ten years this May, we fled far away
From barbed wired fences and tales no one believes.
Ten years this May, I revisit ten years away. Ten
Years this May, I am still surviving Jakarta 1998.

Previously published in River Poets Journal

(Marina Ma)

A poem by Aju Mukhopadhyay

Insect's Nest

When it came and built the frame
on the wall,
briskly I bruised it
by a finger.
Twice it came again
I ignored it then.
Now on the wall it has a shelter
at the back of my computer;
a frail one inch hollow tube
upside open downside closed
clipped to the wall.
It's a tiny wasp
may be with family it lives;
they come and go.

Ain't all the great constructions
like insect's nest
brittle and fragile
sure to go
today or tomorrow
measured by time?
Why bother about any mark made of lime?

( More poems by Aju Mukhopadhyay)

A Poem by  Nirupama Datta

Before parting

Come let's forget the storm
that tore us from our
respective caravans
and brought us
together for the night
And to please a
fussy hotel manager
made us write
Mr & Mrs
before our names
Let’s forget that
we will
tread separate paths
in search of
yet another mirage
Tonight let's become
babes lost in the woods
wear garlands of
wild flowers
and lose ourselves forever
in the fragrance of musk

(More poems by  Nirupama Datta

Chulpon's Verses ( Uzbek Poetry)

White month

In your embrace I'm trembling and shaking,
I'm fed up with your coldest winter days.
Let me look, they say the spring comes soon,
I'll leave these lands if you open ways.

Using white and light dawns which fell from the sky
the hand of power makes for you snow-white dress.
A flock of ravens which came from the other place
to your honor read the odes, yes, they bless.

Having heard that spring comes very soon,
in the coldest tears your eyes have been drowned.
Having gathered and united all these tears,
hang ... your neck was weighed down to the ground.

The surface of the pond was covered with the ice,
Lots of little boys and girls are skating here.
An old man died – he froze to death in the mosque.
Now his orphan’s crying weeping bitter tear.

In the village road leading to the town
a boy has died bringing milk and cream today.
Having frozen to death many people died,
early in the mornings - at dawns, in this way.

In the embrace of yours it is very cold,
Spring comes: I'll be pleased, I'll be bold.

Translated by Olimjon Dadaboev.

( More Verses)

A Poem by Christopher Barnes

In The Mountain

The deliberate
of pardel lynx.

Red kites
depicting sky
with hidden strings.

and boot-legged

Pick up
the gunfire
of white-backed woodpeckers.


Ring ouzels
ring ring ring.

(More poems by Christopher Barnes)

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