A Poem by Poems by Hélène Gelèns

stammer the name!

breathe slowly in and out, breathe in
and out, think of the name bearer, in and out
in and out, well done, in and say the name out loud

huff for the name, try to huff
for the name as for air, just like this:
huffhuff, huff for the name, huffhuff

no not cough, huffing huffhuff, no not cough
breathe slowly in and out, breathe in
and out, no not cough, breathe in breathe in

gasp for breath as for the bearer of the name
huff for breath, try to huff
for breath, you still have to stammer, huff! huff!

Hélène Gelèns
Translation: Astrid van Baalen

(More poems by Hélène Gelèns)

A Poem by Anna Bagriana

Anna Bagryana



it is approximately there
where God ran out of threads
where land is not sewn to the sky
and dangles
as a teddy bear’s torn paw,
another bit of someone else’s childhood

it is approximately there
where the Lord’s hand
doesn’t touch the shadow of a lonely tree
felled by human hands
just before the Holiday

this is something like
as if the sun knelt
and beseeched forgiveness
from you
and me
our hearts

Translation: Iouri Lazirko

(More poems by Anna Bagryana)


A Poem by Dhrijyoti Kalita

Owl-less Cities

In the heart of an owl-less city
I stood inside a dark gazebo
lights of high volts focused to my eyes
constant. Behind the lights, there were more lights
that the darkness sublimed in notion. Laxmi might be still weeping
at the unseen corner of a thatched hut, or a broken hut, or a hut
with a courtyard of strewn tea leaves injured with dry puddles,
puddles which will soon turn
thick red like the betel spit under hilly boots, blue sandals and bare foot.
She might still wish to come to this owl-less city, even if the demons
called her
masochistic. She might still wish to bear pain to break down a
mindless hierarchy.

Trouser-ed men and women had no history,
they lived in shops and markets,
and had no homes,
only owl-less cities.
They ate carrot sandwich with mozzarella,
they poured out wine and laughed mindlessly,
read big books, understood nothing,
politics was always what they hated,
and history made no sense.
Once upon a time, Bruce and Dewan collected tea leaves.
Oh…a wonderful history!!
When Laxmi began collecting them,
history was no more written.
All ran to the owl-less cities
of unknown matrices.

Laxmi: Laxmi Orang, a girl from a backward tea tribe of Assam, who
was stripped and manhandled by some city people during an agitation
led by tea tribes in Guwahati city. She along with her tribesmen were
in Guwahati to demand reservations for the tea tribe of Assam. Many of
them had been harshly beaten up, crushed by foot and killed during the
agitation. Some of the city dwellers were evidently held responsible.
Bruce and Dewan: Robert Bruce, the Englishman and the Assamese man,
Maniram Dewan were the pioneers to discover tea in Assam.

Name: Dhrijyoti,
Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Delhi University


A Poem by Allison Grayhurst

Far And Here

Far from the small-talk daze

and this season I long to unload,

my hands are open

open but numb from the cold.

My body turns the colour of moonlight

glowing, hollow, a thing only of reflection.

My last chance came and went.

My blood flow has displaced its timing.

Everywhere power escapes me

and the place I live is wrought with extremes,

incapable of toning down.

In the sandpit of my mind

the pit-patter of small feet

goes undetected - I hear only

the wail of those who fell by the gestures

of the corrupt and greedy.

I hear the faint and the desperate echoing

like spider-feet moving across a tongue.

I hear and I am listening to nothing else.

I am far from a solid core, far from the plane ride to paradise,

far from the sodium dream,

but I am here

and here

I am looking around.

(More Poems by Allison Grayhurst)




Be still– don’t move in that dark anodyne!

A simple act of closing one’s eyes,

entering time’s death–

pulse quiets, mind steps aside,

heartbeat of the dream is all that matters.

To be awake now is slow measure of counting the hour,

sunrise a commuter whose train is always late.

Oh, how fortunate the sleeper, breathing softly,

arriving in a country far away!


(More poem JACK PEACHUM)

A Poem by Irene Kaesermann

Spring Fatigue

On a dais a spring exhibit:
a wicker chair, eggshaped,
hangs on a hook
above a pseudo lawn.
Glasses in all colours and sizes,
carafes and picknick baskets strewn about,
give an impression of le déjeuner sur l'herbes.

A sleazy woman, twenty at a guess,
clothing non-descript, soiled,
totters and stumbles through the glass door.
Handbag dangling from her wrist,
she aims for the chair,
lets herself fall into its seat.
The instant shatter
and tinkle of breaking glass behind her
pierces her stupor. She blinks,
struggles to her feet, and signals to a sales woman.
Then in amazing rush exits the shop.

The staff does not stop her.
Raking and gathering the slivers and shards
with hands and brush,
the cleaning lady suddenly sucks a finger
before more blood drips onto the dais' green carpet.

( More Poems by Irene Kaesermann)

A poem by Ali Znaidi


& if you feel like a bewildered fish

not sure where to lay its eggs,

or like a wandering star

not sure where to bathe in the sky,

& if you are a fly enmeshed in

a hungry spider’s cobweb,

& if you are a bewildered lover

not sure what to offer to his beloved,

& if you feel like a confused woman

who doesn’t want her lipstick

to smash on a frigid lover’s lips,

& if you feel like soldiers in battlefields

who are waiting for their endings,

& if you feel like a thirsty nomad

who is waiting even for a mirage,

& if you are a dormant volcano,

waiting – on tenterhooks – to ejaculate

its magma,

& if you feel like a deserted mirror

that yearns for faces,

& if you feel like curtains that

are afraid of the blowing winds,

& if you are a poem

that yearns to be anthologised,

just forget about your perplexity,

& check your archive, {perhaps}

you’ll find some moments

of comfort.


(More poems by Ali Znaidi )

A Poem by Usha Palat


Sprinkles of ixora reminded you

of his presence.

Bright red and pink stars

danced in the wind,

clusters of the universe.

He tended them carefully,

yet grasshoppers and pests

made gaping holes in their leaves.

The lawn was wet with droplets:

his hose sprayed it as he stood there,

lungi clad, knobbly kneed.

His sinewy swarthy figure

laid shadows in the early morn.

He swept up dry leaves, pruned bushes.

The garden bore his mark:

neglectful, he found excuses,

like a schoolboy playing truant.

His wife scolded and ranted:

his pay was meagre, too many children.

You tried to make it up:

his willingness to shirk irked you,

but you could find no other.

Mali, thottakaran, weed world king.

( More poems by Usha Palat)

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