Thursday
Oct172013

Poetry by Bhisma Upreti, Catherine Bailey, Kenneth Pobo, Jake Dennis, Stephanie Scordia, and Opeyemi Joe 

Two Poems by Bhisma Upreti

 

Grandmother

 

One day

news sailed to me

riding on the telephone—

My grandmother suddenly

emerging out of her human body

entered a frame

and became a photo.

 

Reaching home in panic

saw it all and wondered. 

How could she move into a photo-frame

just abandoning the

ninety-year old human body!

didn’t she have feelings for us?

 

For the last chance

I looked

with a heavy heart

and offered garland

burned incense

and bowed!

 

Thought--

Oh, how sad

this human life

leaving the world

loved for so long behind

so glibly becomes a photo!

 


Before the Sunset

 

Now I realize

life is so beautiful!

 

Spent the whole age

hustling bustling

blaming and chiding others,

falling and uprooting the trees

making love’s clean pond murky

with vanity dark

spent the whole age in ire, anger and jealousy!

 

Now, as I look back

from this hillock

everything seems dazzling in beauty

the nature, the colors, the sun and the moon

the birds and the shadows

the flowers, men and women and dreams…

all so beautiful.

 

From this hillock

I see my age flowing like water….

 

Regrets and only regrets

I now notice that the life is so beautiful

when it is about to be  extinguished.

 

Catherine Bailey

 

 

Dialect of Skin

There is no substitution

for the dialect of skin;

 

its absence sings of razors

hurled fast at mirrored gates.

 

The presence of the body

and its lurid implications

 

intersect, square junctions

on a tiled kitchen floor.

 

Some see the splatter

formed by the dark and some

 

say the white is the image,

but really, the truth is, the

 

negative space and the positive

pits are one blade.

 

What ponderance is given by

the round, pulsating cells?

 

What provisions granted by

the way they all perspire?

 

Leena knows that she touches

her spine in the night, a lean

 

beheaded arrow, just to know

the world is there, that she gleans

 

secret comfort from the railcars’

jostle because it means dancing

 

with strangers’ hard knees. She

knows that the world is always

 

imperfect, that touch must be

fed on and famine fed on too.

 

5 Poems by Kenneth Pobo

 

Spacker’s Crayons

I lug a boulder,

drop it on a still pond,

bored when ripples fade. 

This craving to bust

things up, I know

it’s trouble—most

people here live

like crayons in a box.

I melt crayons,

let colors blend

and reharden into

something no one has

ever seen before.

 

 

 Aunt Gwen And The Juke Box

 

 She never gets the song she’s looking for,

goes from title to title—

the rhythm’s off, the beat

loses punch.  She’s beginning

to lose interest in music. 

 

It’s dawning on her that

she can dance without it.

 

 

 

Jennifer’s Pet Peeve

 

Invite long-winded, talky people to dinner.  Serve gasoline and light them on fire.  Gather around with marshmallows on forks and roast them.

 

Even when the long-winded talk, talk, talk, their words are skunks letting loose, each syllable a dark alley a mugger leaps from to get your money.

 

I know a long-winded man who can’t stop talking, ever.  This jukebox with only one song informs us of this over and over.  Being near him is like driving into a tunnel at night—his words, bats smashing against the windshield.

 

The long-winded secretly yearn for quiet.  This is the one heaven they will never enter. 

 

 

Woman With Foliage

 By Pablo Picasso

 

Her head a rectangular box, 

she tries to speak, holds

 

a leafy branch

that she won’t drop

 

or give away.  If she did,

the seasons would die.  Look! 

 

She raises her arm

as if she’s about to say what

 

has taken centuries

to articulate—moving across

 

her face, a terrible

silence, a hint of decay.

 

 

 

Loplop Introduces Loplop

Painting by Max Ernst

 

I have a painting to show you. 

It’s the real me. 

 

Or it was when I painted it.  Now

I think someone else painted it,

a stranger.  Does it matter

who signs what?  Maybe while

 

painting, but later, once I, Loplop,

am flotsam, my name will be

one more feather,

 

falling, blowing away.  Even

in death my feathers will travel,

will enter the world in ways

I never could—

 

they will be my soul.

 

 

Jake Dennis

 

Clearing the Evidence

 

For ‘Cinderella’

 

Aunt Sally dissects defrosted chicken,

fingernails peeling off fat. His kitchen

sink drains the blood. Garden galahs

peck seeds she scattered this morning like stars.

 

Aunt Sally beats saffron into squelching flesh,

slices onions beneath tears then slides the mess

into a bag she takes out. A flutter of pink

is lost in the sky. Sally sparkles the sink

 

and tables, toilets, and floors. Evening.

Cinderella showers for dinner. Drying

herself, she wipes the bowls white as bone.

From the front door he sings, “Honey, I’m home.”

 

Stephanie Scordia

 

Tryptich

 

the river

as a child, i fished its waters and let it filter through my fecund young mind. so ripe for sowing, i needed only water. muddy brown, its surface sheen hid unexplored depths. in the muck below, another young girl, her body no longer her own. it belonged to the river now. after weeks of waiting, her parents buried an empty casket. never swim alone, he’d said. an unexpected wind takes my hat from my head & i wonder if she’ll like the color red. 

 

the garden

lying on my belly in the warm dirt, the honeysuckle forces its way into my nostrils, insistent and beautiful. eyes closed, i picture the bleeding heart and morning glory slowly creeping across the path to find me hidden under the willow tree. that summer, spent with relatives in the country. no one will see us, he’d said. suddenly, everything is still & silent. no breeze, no bird calls. an unfamiliar pain strikes deep as the garden awakes and the bees make their retreat.  

 

the grid

outside, on the street, i lean back my head, breathe deeply, & inhale the invisible currents flying through the wires above our heads. i take them in & let my heart push them through my veins. outside my body, the hard black casing protects the delicate wires within. my skin is not as hard, easier to puncture. our circuitry is connected, he’d said. an open window left us exposed to the lines with their whispered promises of an electric life.

 

Two Poems by Opeyemi Joe                                    

 

Irene

                                        

 

I've learnt to be sober

learnt to be vigilant

learnt the adversary comes in many a disguise

such as zealots internecine

protagonists of one propensity

or the other

ideologic, theocratic...absolutism

that breeds recidivism.

 

And above everything

I've learnt to be human being

sentient with no benefice

of some ghosts bloody

humane..not some god's slave
         

nor heir

but one with fear

yet brave enough to dare.

 

 

 

Severance  

 

Glint in her eyes – hurt in disguise –

glint of delight

 

she had uncovered
  a phone chat,

a betrayal
  the unlikeliest quarters

 

her

sole sister

had played the Brutus

friendly foes are most lethal

 

and she told us

with that glint triumphant

of discovery so discordant

 

but seething latent

in the exultant…is sore grieving

for the murder of the consanguine tie

 

the hitherto unsullied fealty

now tainted and guilty.

 

 

 

 

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