Ghazal


Image: © “Abandoned Porch Barn and Windmills 1407 C” by jim.choate59

Author: V. J.

Why do we chase light in the night and dark by day?
What’s sad is that to die suffices a day;

To live it takes eternal seconds of
Mad fight to break the flow of every day.

Some Summer’s late afternoon on the porch
Seems to be like dull or sun or Sunday

The dance of the wind blown out of the leaves
Gives a glimpse of what there was yesterday.

We own everything but what matters most,
We own the light; the night; the dark, but not today.

Landscapes – Guillaume’s poems

Image: ©️ Guillaume Amstutz

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Rosy Dawn

A blinding light floods the sky
Stretches from the soil to mountain high
Dyes the land in the sweetest tones
Nourishes the leaves, brightens the stones
The droplets that hung in the air
Now shine bright, pink and fair
The world is a prism bathed in light
Reflecting life, banishing night.

The World in Winter

The mountains are like the earth’s teeth
hungering for a dawn after a long, long night
and the frost takes hold in this barren heath
a potter’s field covered in white

The falling flakes are the cold ashes
of a fire that bright burns no more
on the meadow the snow crashes
burying deep the earth’s ardor

Under the rooftops covered in white
a quiet maze of vacant halls
bathed dimly in faint daylight
when in slumber the pale sun falls
and as the wind howls over the world
whittling the trees with its whistling
carving the rocks with runes all twirled
crushing the hopes and their kindling
a bitter cold devours the groves
turning the wood into splinters
while a waning moon rises up above
silent witness of the winter

The Shattered City

An organism of steel and concrete
spreads like a disease, far out into darkness
with skeletons adorning the streets
waiting for light to shine on the nameless

The dying stars flicker only dimly
as the towers are circled by haze
the ghosts are roaming limply
in this collapsed and dusty maze

Under the ground, hopes are buried
old love letters in the streets scattered
and hate letters in the chimneys burned
down to ashes, by winds carried

Broken wings caught in cobwebs
clipped apart by vicious hands
far below, the water ebbs
and crashes on the cliffs and sands

But far above, a faint glimmer
beyond the forest and the hills
a distant hope that still lingers
before diving in the landfills

Nightfall

It expands to the furthest corners
All the sorrows, the joy, the songs it covers
The darkness progresses, and soils, and gathers
But through the tears in its skin, the light shimmers

I wish I was a ship Captain

Image of boat

Image: © Gislain

Author: Gislain

I wish I was a ship Captain
To sail afar and leave at sea,
To run away and once be free;
To escape shores I’ve known too long
To realms I may feel to belong.
My crew will hear: raise the anchor!
Do not turn back, have no rancor!
Full speed ahead, to the unknown!
New lands out there have to be shown.

If just I was a ship Captain
I’d have all I dreamed of, for sure
I’d feel the wind of adventure
Swells up my sails and shakes my ship
And sends me on my one last trip.
To islands of the purest sand
Under sky made of artist’s hand.
New shores never by man explored
Of mysteries too long ignored.

I wish I was a great Captain
To seek far off and primal woods
Hiding magic misunderstood.
Remote jungles so exotic
Colors and scents are erotic;
Dazing taste of forbidden fruits
Bringing back to humankind’s roots.
All treasures I could bring back home
Once I would have finished to roam.

I wish I was my own Captain
So I could choose where I’d sail;
So I could write down my own tale.
With the night sky as only guide,
And my dearest friends by my side,
I’d stir my vessel off its path
And fight against every wave’s wrath.
I wished I was, but I am still
A shipless sailor that hopes will,
One day, be Captain by all means
Riding his raft made of dead dreams.

At Doorstep

Image: ©️ Gislain

Author: Gislain

Standing eyes to eyes

Hooked fingers

Tension that rises

Hugging strangers

With heart that cries

Brain off – just lovers

Arms hang on thee

Keeping tight the other

Close to the body

Closer than ever

Closer they could be

Harder they have ever

Heart pulsing the pressure

Beating out the time

For a song or a measure

For a poem or a rhyme

To get a last taste of pleasure

Of an instant so sublime

Don’t know what to feel

Apart the heartache 

Not made out of steel

And can easily break

Not afraid to leave for real

Just afraid to stay for fake

Long ago

Image: ©️ Creative Commons -“Storm” by Daniel R Thompson – License

Author: Lisa Ziegert

Long ago, my fire stopped burning.

A big dark storm started raging,

Everything falling and flying.

A darkness, in my heart, growing.

Sadness started taking over,

Loneliness is my new lover,

I want it all to be over

But letting go I can never.

Whatever I do, feeling lost.

Staying alive, an endless fight.

Always trying to find some light

But I don’t know if it’s worth the cost.

Long ago, my fire stopped burning.

Long ago, dark thoughts appearing. 

Long ago, wills of life fleeing.

Long ago, I started dying.

Fireflies Temple


Image:
© Timon Musy

Author: Timon Musy

On the ceiling of a thin plastered cheekbone

03:00 a.m. probably not a Thursday

Fades the shaded reflection of a dim, buzzing streetlamp

On the irises of a non-sleeping amnesiac


“Sing in turn, tomorrow’s a blackout away”

He seems to scream inside his head

Lips half opened

Humming the sound of a dead lightbulb

On the flowing beat of the insomniac cars

That exist but to this only purpose

To give the illusion  a whole world revolves around a center of entropy


The man, is he

The sum of anything that could be

Facing a wall

Sitting as a drunken or erased Buddha

Thinking in spite of all its emptiness

Could that be a man

It could try to be first


A thin crack warns

From it will disappear in a thousand, three hundred and fifty-two years

Mind, wood, and the temple that contains them


Felt it something once it could have been pain

Love

Hatred or indifference pondered in the presence of another pain

Love

Hatred or indifference


Suddenly, a blackout, out of time all clocks considered

Quartz, copper, photon, sun through death sentence

In the harshness of a cold, unwelcoming bed

A tomorrow is sought

Though it is feared, that other self it always brings

The oblivion it shares

The indecency it sweats

The so it is now it imposes


On the sound of a first rain drop

No one is there

On the noise of the flood

All waits and looks, will someone open that door, will someone talk

Of the hive full of smoke, of the other so different


Facing a wall, behind a door, dimly lit by the reflection of a streetlamp on the ceiling

Wondering why the moon and the birds chase each other

Or if the blackout really has to end

Blinding as it is

In all the consistence it possesses


The drunken spoke once: “I heard of a sick medic”

Next thing we know he fainted

Nobody rose him up

He may still be lying there right now

Inflated with water and disillusions

What he meant was never understood


In a small crack on a wall

A train station where people leave but never arrive

Electricity jolts in the wires

As it coughs in a handkerchief the beat of a heart

That exists but to this only purpose


Drowned in a cold bed occupied by a single person

Whose eyes buried in the wrinkles of an unrested trunk

Enlightened by the loss of those who live

Awaits the blackout

Hoping for it to never end

But knowing well that tomorrow is at the window

Bringing oblivion

Until the amnesiac falls again on the head

Poems by Alex Pérez

abstract dark photo

Image: © Alex Pérez

Author: Alex Pérez

song of adelphity

content warnings: self-harm, description of physical pain

I
it seems to be highly recommended
to have your heart broken
your head broken
maybe your arm even
I’ve tried
but never found a way to be at ease
with the concept of self harm
cells do it enough by themselves

II
have you ever had a headache
a deep profound stomach ache
your period riping off your womb
the teeth coming out
even though you’ve turned 18 a while ago
your bones
your flesh
driving you mad
have you ever felt the pressure
so hard on your weak back
that you felt it was needed to remove all of your fur with the help of cold bands of cheap wax
taking a bit of skin with it
that’s how it goes
have you never had a moment of mourning
thinking back years from now
remembering something gone that left a hole that you thought would never be healed
have you never had someone hurting you more than you ever imagined you could hurt yourself
?

III
everything is left behind
everything is said alright
and if you’re not strong enough for us all
still I will ask you
to listen
to go to the core, to the root and think twice
the how and why
if you have yourself
I will have your back

§
§

the body shape

the body shape
i imagine
i embody the un-other
how far from the sheet
under
i go under way too softly
gentle
i knot my arms
feel the fingers on my back
this may work
i forget whose touch it was
what if
i can reproduce
the softness of uncertainty
the shake
the breath
fall asleep in silence
half awake
i lay still

§
§

there was a window

content warning: description of physical pain

I need to work on my saying skills
to try is not to be nor having any kind of interest towards you or you or you
I do not want to resist
I do not want to get stuck again
a year from now
will the stomach ache be gone
constantly trying to achieve the insatiable fantasy of existing
not even close
I never get the tone right
going out and running till stomach gets ripped out
feet on the ground
my back aches since I can’t move

§
§

somewhere behind your eyes

I would like to write a poem about you
maybe even
poems
about you
if you don’t mind me doing so
I wonder if you hated that I ordered decaf
I couldn’t drink it until it was cold
and I wonder
why I care
when we were drinking coffee I stopped thinking about
the taxes I have to pay
not that it was on my mind before that
but still
I do not know why I see the things you can’t see
you said
you can’t see them in your head
only somewhere behind your eyes
this is not a love poem but
I want to remember how you said it was awkward
how you asked if I had been anxious
and the relief to be able to say
of course
sure I was
it was not because of you
you didn’t ask
I saw the image in my head
so I wouldn’t fear anymore
but you couldn’t
I’ve said why already
before you asked you always said
like a song
can I ask ?
like a poem
I’m sorry I haven’t done the work in other languages yet
do you mind
if I take my time ?
we could keep asking questions and answering with blunt emotion
and make them all think it’s pure theory

The Time We Took

Image: ©️ M. A.

Author: M. A.

The lucid idea
that love was merely a concept
ceased to exist
little by little
since the day
our eyes first locked.

Six years
of mutual unconsciousness
of the other’s existence
yet subsisting within
that tangibly close proximity
which served the sole purpose
of leading up to that
one ocular exchange.

It was that prelusive look
we shared
that perpetuated longer
than requisite
and that entailed
a series of events
that shaped our lives
to prevail such as they are
today.

The disappearance
of the butterflies never came,
it was instead superseded
by the feeling
of the ultimate piece in a jigsaw puzzle
slotting immaculately
into its emplacement;
you are everything
I never knew I always needed.

That bittersweet wait
consisted of many
profound twilight discussions,
exchanging innocent affection
and soul-reflective glimpses
into each other’s eyes.

Up to that moment,
I never had desired anything more
profusely than to entrust
my uttermost vulnerable
proof of love
with you.

From the time we took
which claimed the extinct rush
we were never in,
rose up the question;
“why waste the sweetest moments
of falling in love?”

Anonymous Poems (Third-place winner of the poetry competition)

a red crabapple hanging on a branch

Image: ‘perfectly sugared and glazed crabapple’ © paul+photos=moody. Source

Author: Anonymous

India pale ale

Third-place winner of the poetry competition

Were hectic bitter undertones of a first swig
steadying for the exclamation that our four
feet would trip through an all-nighter and
your former swarm?
Foam swirled into complete ego burial or

the censure of any comparisons stuck on
under chins like unsolicited spittle. One
spewed as fruit flies drowned in drink rings,
plucked, sponged, wiped
away by bartenders with the promise of a

blithe night, so to relinquish limerence was the
embrace of scarce sweet nothings as I secured
hair you once adulated from streams of bile and
the sticky grips of duplicitous people. Outside,

our collective reeling did not wane with the ease
of moons, yet we were tethered to your unrestrained
insistence it would pass. Just as one announces that
all the pigeons are vanishing from town tomorrow.

§
§

To come to a crabapple’s aid

Tannic throughout, the orchard’s
horse marine, a tart fruit scattered
across threadbare canvases of

eroded soil can be saved from
composting neglect in the shrubbery’s
shade. Chopped, it froths and slushes

above warm pans, strained for juice
then boiled into jelly. Perhaps that
seemingly unpalatable character

waits upon a baker’s time with the
heat of stovetop endeavors, before
revealing their sweet ambrosia.

I am the earth my mother walked on (Second-place winner of the poetry competition)

Image: ©️ “UP Turns 100” by ~MVI~ (warped) is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Source

Author: D.K.

I am the earth my mother walked on
The chalky snow on my young stripped shape
Her years of molding me
The shores of my memory, breaking like waves in the night

I am a body
Unknown scars, raw flesh, frozen bones
Legs that will turn to dust, hands that could hold the skies
I am a constant fading carcass, a peeling god
Made of oak and gold
My eyes are black stones in the long flood
Muster every muscle I must
To face the fear dwelling in my heart

I am a soul
That smells like rain and moves like smoke
The spirit of a herd of horses, the fervour of a crushing star
Violent, young, wild
It falls in the lands of the old stories
Where men fought death in the final red sunset

Note to Myself

Pine trees in the snow

Image: ©️ “Naked Winter Trees” by Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 51 Million views) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Source. 

Author: Valentin Jeanmonod

When anxious, don’t try to write alliterations: the sound of the pen on the page will not prove any pride.

Look at the sky every six hours, otherwise your eyes are worthless.

Don’t drink more than what knocks you off per day—or night—exception made for pregnant persons.

Look at the girl or at the boy next to you, fall in love with this person, then go back home and kiss your lover’s lips and fall in love again.

Think less about sex; more about texts.

Look at how sensual semicolons are.

Do follow some friend’s advice on fleeing fear. Then, the absurdity of life might lose its strong grip; smoke a Chest’–get some rest.

Smoke again, even though you really never should listen to written words…

However, you could try to write some words too, what about that train travel the other time:

“Great trees at great speed are gorgeous
I see through limbs the lighting sun
It shines and shadows enlighten
Our day whose closure is porous.”

NONNA (First-place winner of the poetry competition)

The shadow of grandma with her cane

Image: © Ivana Erard

Author: Ivana Erard

A year ago I wrote you a poem,

in an absurd language you don’t speak

They were

               happy sad words about who you 

were and 

               what I want to remember you by

                              [warm tea, childlike stories, 

                              laughter from the chest]

I could see those tiny cracks of the heart

When grief is approaching

Yesterday you asked me

                              [My head was on your lap; 

                              you were 

                              gently combing through my hair]

Polite, pause:

               Excuse me, 

               what is your name?

I swallow a scream and I smile

                              ‘Hello, 

                                            I am your Blood

                                                           and I am Stranger, 

                                            You gave me your eyes

                                                           and your curls

                                            I have your stubborn 

                                                           and your proverbs

                                            I am the daughter 

                                                           and the sister

                              Do you remember me?’

I see you running out of yourself, 

               fracture of the soul

and the 

               patient 

trickling down of

               sand 

in the

               hourglass.

A Madwoman’s Saudade

A drawing of a woman smiling from a three quarter view

Image: © Andreia Abreu Remigio

Author: Andreia Abreu Remigio

To Robim, the dog

I.

“Sum total we were seven kids with me,

One brother vanished, one’s son turned the gun.

My sisters? Jealous of what I could be,

How close I would be flying to the sun.

I took my talent to the capital,

Whence I could almost get to the New World.

The lessons I learned were all tangible.

“Can you please tell me what are my words worth?”

I asked them, worried, waiting for my call,

I had the life that I’d dreamed of at last.

Above the landmarks I could smell the salt,

And honestly, I thought the worst was past.

My waves met his coastline by accident –

He got my missing piece of innocence.

II.

My hand he asked the man who put me here.

Our love was like two burning flames combined.

My freezing hands could hold his pain, my dear.

So magical like folklore was his mind.

When he would let his heavy eyelids close,

I’d polish plates as hard as a devout.

And he would not let anyone oppose…

His lips would make any seeds and sweet peas sprout.

Believed in him like in my childhood’s dream.

I’d swing and sway softly in my chest.

Remember times when he would glow and gleam,

There was no reason to go and get dressed.

We tried to overlook the tears, truth was

The stasis amplified each of our flaws.

III.

And he went looking for another one,

As if I were somehow wasting honour.

Eventually I guess he found some

Fragment in bottles. My once bright colours

Are now eclipsed… I’d keep doing the laundry

Like Groundhog Day, and everything was gauche

In my life as he was out the country.

Through my curses and cries unharmed he goes

And goes. I had the shiniest voice, now

It’s rusting. Our coming of age has come

And burned out. You know the love story died out –

So what is this poem for anyway, um?”

Absentminded I hear “Happy birthday

By the way! You should call more!” I hang up.

The Collected Songs of Honest Shores

Image: © H.S

Author: H.S

These poems were written nineteen-hundred years ago on the rocks, trees, and Temple walls of Switzerland’s Jura Mountain, then under Roman occupation.

The poet was Honest Shores, a pagan hermit who begged for food at temples, lectured in the streets and often sang and drank with goatherds in the forested mountains.

Little is known about his life, except that he lived in relative poverty, despite having an education. He might have lived for a time as a tutor in a middle-sized Roman city, as he seems to understand societal ills that assailed the Roman Empire, even during its Golden Age (Cf. “Pax Romana”). However, all of this is speculations taken from the poems themselves.

This new translation of his work, despite being incomplete (This collection only including twenty poems, even though some sources suggest he wrote a thousand) significantly revises and updates the poems for a modern audience. Be not shocked if you see references to modern technology and problems, as the translator took some liberties to adapt old roman references for more contemporary counterparts.

Although he was educated, Honest Shores was derided at the time for using colloquial and vulgar forms of Latin in his poems. This suggests that, although he derided morals of his time, he never took himself too seriously. Likewise, the translator used an idiom that is clear, graceful, and neutral enough to last nineteen-hundred years more.

1

I’m lifting my drink

“The ancient generations

Sowed and Reaped

Until the soil became acidic

Then, they pierced the crust

Extracting the blood

Until the caverns collapsed

Now they send cars into space

Burning metric tons of fuel

The worst is

They lived peacefully

Enjoying the fruits of their labour

But us? We will live to see

The Earth becoming Venus

And with the sky filled with blood and smoke

The ocean licking my mat

And the woods burning

I will receive a message

From my manager that says:

‘Damn that’s crazy… Can you come in though?

We’re short-staffed tonight.’

So here it is

To the UMURANGI Generation!

The generation

That has to watch the world die!”

2

A lone boar

Amongst the woods of Neuchâtel

His fur, dull enough

Attracts no hunters

But healthy enough

So he attracts mates

Compared to others

His stature is small

But he hides in the bushes so well

Never the fighter

He is rather weak

But his tusks are sharp

So others don’t bother fighting him

Living his whole life

Unremarkable, unnoticed

Only when he dies

One may see the jewel

That was inside him

3

The marionette

Wanted to be a real boy

Without realizing that

His incarnation

Would not cut his strings

Even if it did

He would not move anymore

4

Those who pray

Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha

From whence did they come?

Some say “God”

Others say “Dieu”

Others still

Say “Allah”

Those are only words

Vibrations of air

Written names

On blank sheets

Absent of meaning

They’re helpful without being useful

To think them useful

Is to consider

The pointing finger

As the moon

5

Empty woods, no one in sight

Yet hear! The jingle of bells

From deep… Over there!

Filtered by the trees

The slant rays

Shine once more

And the sheep

Bell on his collar

Looks – inquisitive –

At his grass

That became golden

6

So young yet

One of my friends is getting married

He asks me

“When will you marry?”

I ask him

“When will you divorce?”

We both laugh for a different reason

Him: Because I am behind

Me: Because he is in front!

7

My dream house

Has a room

Turned into a library

Hundreds of books on each shelf

An old leather chair

Plants! As numerous as books

The light of the evening

And the wind

Filtered by the evergreen forest

Thus I will travel

Without ever leaving home

8

I settle for a studio

Lone in the empty city

Like the tailor bird

Were it to have the whole grove

It would settle on a single branch

9

Alone on its branch

The crow sings

Watching the people

The cold wind:

The only one who caresses him

10

The hermit drops by

Bringing drunkenness

At the same instant

That the welcomed notifications

Make the dusk for two

An evening for ten!

11

In the deep forest

An Oak sings

In the wind

But solitary

No one hears his song

12

Under the willows

Of the lake

A beautiful rock

Perfect for building

A palace

A temple

Or a hut

Forsaken by all

Caressed by the waves

At least it shelters mice

13

From below

The canopy seems ablaze

The autumn sunset

Makes redheads of us all

14

Without an effort

The duckling

Let itself go up and down

With the movement of the waves

15

To each tool its usefulness

The Lamborghini

Cannot park

Where the lil’ Twingo

Simply can

16

Wanting everything 

Doing everything

Experimenting

By experiencing all things

Zip gets done

A wave when it breaks

Added nothing to the sea

17

“Learn to code”

“When will you get your license?”

“Put some money on the side”

“Learn a new language”

“Take care of your mental health”

“Take care of your body’s health”

It is hard to make a ball

With dry sand

18

Reap the day!

Savour the instant!

Carped Diem!

If you only think about reaping

You’ll forget to sow

And end up with a wasteland

19

If you chase

Money, followers, wisdom

By gesticulating wildly

You’ll exhaust yourself

But see how

The branch most idle

Is the seat of many birds

20

In your library

You should have:

No Bible

No Qur’an

No Sutras

Rather than this poppycock

You’re much better off with my poems

Feel free to flash them up on your screen

And read them from time to time

lonely siren’s song

Cliff of Moher

Image: “Cliff of Moher en profundidad” ©️ gpoo. SourceCC License.

Author: Mel A. Riverwood

Oh dear when I say that I’m ready to grow older
And when I trace kisses on the back of your shoulder,
Know that in my tongue it means ‘love, love, love’

To build a home from a word, one pain,
And so have a roof to keep out the rain
And stand in its ruins when the wrath of our joy will come from above.

			(If one day I could find that your hand fits in mine,
			On the isle of wonder, washed up by the tide,
			Then no deed nor sin shall have a meaning I know
			And there’s no way in hell that I will let you go.)

But still to this day I find my hands empty,
No crown on my head, and no “my fair lady”
My memories are one lonely memorabilia;
			(but no love comes from a pen,)

Oh I’m broken in lacheism,
Waiting in ellipsism,
I’m as mad as Ophelia.
			(so drown me then.)

The wind and the ocean speak in my tongue
And Death tries to lure me, to love her with song;
On this cliff I scream and if still no one comes I’m afraid I will fall.
			(and if we are to be phantoms, let our shrouds be paper-thin;)

And if no heart can find in mine a twin,
Let frost cover all of my loveless skin.
It seems that my fate was to be the loneliest monster of all.
			(but promise me one thing, dear.)

Let me haunt nightly shores
Where the dark water roars,
And may mariners cover their ears,
Let them grip their boat’s railing in fear

And whisper “don’t heed the call!
Let her cry in the squall,
She’s the loneliest siren of all.”
			
			(please tell me you 
						are the one 
								who shall 
										kill me.)