When gloves and masks
became our daily attires,
and aeroplanes were grounded
like birds with broken wings;
when love lost its sensuality,
and the frost of isolation
gnawed on our souls;
when no one prayed
in mosques and churches,
and no one attended
when death rode swiftly,
secretly, on the wings
of an invisible monster,
and danced in the crevices
of our, gasping, lungs;
when time, unlived, turned stale
like unused fruits in our fridges,
and no one noticed
a blooming spring;
when we spent our days
and nights, idling, talking
about angst and boredom,
about deaths and wills,
about the spread
of a contagion;
when we all clung to the straw of life
with hand washing,
and social distancing.
(Javed Ahmed is a physician and a poet based in the UK. His poems have been published (both print and online) in various literary journals and magazines as well as in anthologies in the U.K, the USA, India, Ireland and Canada. In poetry, He has found a medium to explore the philosophy of life, Kashmir, and three-pound universe called the brain. He writes in the language of common people, about their ordinary thoughts and about their ordinary insights. He is also a board member of a UK literary journal "The Beautiful Space-A Journal of Mind, Art and Poetry.")
so all that’s left is the curve
of the wind up the swing
the horn section
the girl her first day on the ice
her red ear
the surgeon’s needle at rest
the bone after the lamb chop
after all that gnawing
in school, in jail, in cars, in bed
don’t recognize that sound
it ain’t rats for darn sure
the gnawing on bones
that'll never be straight
nothing is straight
big bangs measured by petty clerks
I want more.
Doubt and Guilt
Doubt and Guilt,
went out in the sunshine
to play a little catch
a little pepper
If I had none like some people have no headaches,
or even if it were surgically removed by well-intentioned
medics who hadn’t thought very far ahead,
I have none that the result would be the same:
to freely tease, wallop, bed & board, run
roughshod over like Banshees the wives
of all my friends, say, werewolf
in the outer-limits of 170 x 210 cm
a raft on the Mississippi of my libido, my God-given instinct
shooting up into space, to light the gray sky of France in November
easily ten to twenty if not more and
then and then the rot would set in
I'd be finished, consumed by sin
because there is no future
without my two friends.
(E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 35 years in eastern Sicily where he teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared most recently in Ginosko Literary Journal, Abstract Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Poesis, Thirteen Myna Birds. Martin is an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He blogs at: emartinpedersenwriter.blogspot.it)
Decision to Heal
There’s a pain that comes
With knowing that the past
That you’ve stuffed in a box
Under your bed
Has turned into a monster
That screams faintly in the dark
When you’re hiding under the covers
But one day you may decide
To open the box
And release the contents in the lake
While you watch the pain
Part of her feels empty.
Empty, like the space
between you and her.
You sit on a wicker chair
looking her up and down,
to try and find the lost girl
in front of you that
you can’t see. She grows
every second, but she
isn’t there. You still can’t
find her. A magic trick
(Sarah Losner is an aspiring writer from Long Island, NY. She suffers from an eating disorder and depression and is passionate about breaking down stigma around mental illness. When she is not writing poems or short stories, Sarah works as an accountant at a nonprofit in New York City.)
The Celestial Stardust
I've got to get away you breathed
Oft' in silence with no reprieve
Surrounded here you are so alone
The rising tide a deafening tone
Tis not the life you wished to live
You seek th' resetting that death shall give
Silence this chatter, the thunderous wave
The crashing rocks in your mental cave
Visions of anger, hate and unrest
Inside the chest lives this dogged tempest
As the waves barrel hard onto earth
Two energies meet offering rebirth
If only I'd known in my young angst
there was a plan for me on earth and ocean banks
Too little we remember that we are stardust
Little tiny beings living on Earth's crust
I beg of you now, if not known how
Speak up, shout, howl and fight
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
We all live with thoughts of terrible fright
Take strength with you my Brother
Be fierce and steadfast my Sister
The storm will end
The light will come out
You will find the solace of shore
This journey through life will always be hard
You must find courage deeply sewn in your heart
You are not alone and never shall be
We are all shining stardust in this celestial galaxy
(Thomas Patrick Hywel Williams has been personally affected by mental health tragedy. He is dedicated to helping in any way to alleviate people from feeling alone and unhappy in life.)
My fight against darkness
My depression is-
a hide and seek champion-
I no longer search for.
But still it jumps out at me-
ready to play again when I least expect it.
I don’t want to be a flatline.
I want people to see me, know
I can survive.
I don’t want to be dead; I am happy.
I have reached my limit- I have had enough. You haunt my every move, make my life too tough.
4 years ago, you released your poison, you started to invade my life. You shocked the breath out of my body. Your pain as sharp as a knife.
The lies you whisper into my ear, send a chill down my spine. They make me feel like, my life is no longer mine.
You have torn all the happiness out of me, put a filter over my life so I can no longer see.
You took away my dad, you stole all my friends now you leave me not knowing who I can trust. Everything I used to enjoy is now covered in a layer of dust.
Today is not your day. I stand up to the demons that you sent to block the way.
My life is mine to take back. My happiness, my future. I have hope and that you cannot attack.
I know you won’t disappear straight away- that’s okay.
As long as you know that, I won’t let you take control of me today.
(Tom JF Wood is a nineteen-year-old performance and media student studying in Cardiff, UK. He is keen to create content which challenges issues within society. He focuses predominantly on his work to campaign for mental health after losing his father to suicide. Tom has chosen not to let this traumatic event burden him and instead uses his story to inspire others and to create a positive change in the world.)
God Only Gives Us What We Can Handle
Looking into my neighbor’s eyes,
The cigarettes burning behind their pupils
their woodend irides,
It’s evident those words
Are just Bee smoke bullshit
Are fentanyl soaked eyes
Just aqueous humor for you?
I don’t see the humor
[at least I can see]
How can my brother’s eyes
Relay anything besides
Tinctures of titrated smiles,
Writing by candlelight is my only connection to the past
I don’t know if I’m a tea merchant or stockbroker
My name might as well be a serial number
On a wood pallet
Or perhaps cornflakes
Detached from the past, how is there purpose?
No wonder the anxiety is floating
A dirigible mess
Waiting to catch ablaze
My notebook is too close to this candle
My heart is to close to my brain--
Maybe my writing is a half-cooked chicken
And I should push closer
Towards the flame
To burn down this dimly lit apartment complex.
I don’t know if this contains meaning anymore
Or just stylized ramblings
The Allostatic load of my hatred is too much.
I can’t bear this,
Yet I know how to slash tires
And hide my humanity--
Under my bed
Under the carpet
A few feet from hell.
Stoic pettiness and romantic fires
Are all I have left.
If only it was nothing
If only we never coexisted--
As magnetic foils
If only I was as discriminatory
If only I was ignorant of ignorance
(Austin Vertesch is a student at Indiana University. He writes unclandestine garbage)
Edge Of The Cliff
As they lower your lifeless body
into your last resting place
there ware so many questions
that are stuck in my head.
They will never be answered now.
Wish I knew when the thoughts
of ending your life entered you.
Not once did I see it coming.
Whatever demons you were fighting,
you hid them from us all.
More than anything I wsh
that I saw the signs
and tried to talk to you
or found the help for you.
Maybe we could have decided
on a completely different fate
and held your hand
back off that edge of the cliff.
Now we will never know.
September 12, 2017
© Andrew Scott - Just A Maritime Boy 2017
I see her in the grocery store
swollen with child and glowing
just like they say, and it’s true
I can't help smiling but it quickly fades
under a slow avalanche of dread
so I say this useless prayer--
may you grow straight as a green sapling
tall enough to look your peers in the eyes
may you be without a limp or stutter
or deformity to draw the pack’s attention
may your soul have elephant skin
may you fight your battles against the living
and not wage futile ones against ghosts
may you live more in the tangible world
than roam monstrous dreams or nightmares
and become forever entangled there
and may you never feel the urge to write
a better life than the one you live
LOSE THE ‘TUDE!
is often talked about
like dirty underwear
I’ve heard this
since I was a kid
but mine seems
more like a leopard’s spots
or an Ethiopian’s skin
like the good book saith
you don’t ask the potter
about your shape
or about that thumbprint
maybe a near death experience
or a visit from a ghost
my third eye opens
I wipe away a lifetime
of encrusted gunk
(an acid trip? shrooms?)
I lie in the river
flows over me
and I say farewell
a grain at a time
more are hemophiliac
than is usually realized
and it’s not
a recent phenomenon either
despite all the shouting...
even God himself
or the current tough guy
in the mansion
after the first few--
or 10 or 20...
we learn to avoid
the sharp edges
I’ve heard it said
to lean in
to become inured
but I’m a big coward
and there’s already
so much blood
you can’t go anywhere
without slipping in pools
“Oh! I’m sorry!”
“Is that yours?”
“No...I think it’s mine...”
people stalk and creep
with eyes askance
faces war painted
a crimson fog appears
if you squint
you can see it
as it dampens
and unites us
(Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada. He writes free verse poetry, and has been published in The Blue Nib, The American Journal of Poetry, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others. His first poetry collection, “Ordinary Trauma,” (2019) was published by Alien Buddha Press.)
Life was a Phoenix
The fallen souls,
have risen again,
And the frozen have melted,
The rain that pounded the ground like drums ,
had evaporated to the sky,
The mountains crumbled over the centuries,
then the new ones took place roaring and rumbling,
Life was a phoenix.
A broken tree branch,
grew a young stem,
A little girl with a broken leg,
took off running across the fields,
A baby bird with broken wings,
soared to the skies screeching,
Life was a phoenix.
A broken heart,
had shattered my entire world to fragments,
Traumatized my entire essence,
as red hot knives slashed at me,
I wailed and screamed,
like an abandoned little boy,
so scared in this unloving world,
Life was phoenix.
With my bitter tears,
I glued back my shattered heart,
I tended to my scarred soul,
I tamed my raging emotions,
Outside sunlight had washed my face with warmth,
My lips formed a weak smile,
Life was a phoenix.
With cautious baby steps,
I carried on with my tormented life,
I picked up where I left off,
when warmth replaced the torture in my heart,
I was ready to love again,
I steered this life ahead,
With renewed strength and determination,
I was a phoenix.
(David Grigorian was born deaf in Armenia and got his first hearing aids at the age of eleven. David has been to a lot of places such as Ukraine, Black sea, Japan, and settled in USA, Colorado. He began to experiment with poetry in his teenage years as he experienced first love, first best friend, and first heart break. With poetry David explored and tried to understand life. He had attended and graduated Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. His writings have been published in local newsletters and a magazine. David's life dream was to be a published author and a poet.)
The Wild Blueberries
Happiness and sadness were two sides of the same coin they said
But he always knew that flipping coins was not his thing.
Dragging himself out of bed
With jammies that looked unchanged since forever
He made his way into the kitchen
Past soiled clothes and mirrors that didn't serve his interest any more
The kitchen sink was full
But the stomach - empty.
Luckily the fridge had an unexpired gallon of milk.
Oatmeal, wild blueberries and milk he thought
Slowly slurping his oatmeal, he pondered
Whether blueberries brought any blues
And why breakfast tasted better with unbrushed teeth.
The body seemed to have gained some energy
But the mind still lurked in some corner.
Some corner of those thoughts
Which had made a close bond with two imposters in the by lanes of yesterday,
Negativity and Melancholy.
Like uncalled visitors,
They frequently visited
With no rhyme or reason
Pretending to give him company.
Instead they left him with residues
Of a gnawing pain
That was hard to explain
To someone or anyone
Well, explain if they called
But phones didn't ring anymore
People didn't call or listen anymore
He was anyway used to
Cold bathroom floors and
Night had set in
The stars still seemed to shine on him
Tucked away in bed
He lay staring at the ceiling
Counting sheep and
Pondering over random thoughts about
Stardust’s in his body
Lyrics to Everybody hurts
And the wild blueberries!
(Caroline James is a information technology professional but she strongly believes that in this age of digital, it is always the human connections that matter more.
She likes to spin magic with words and hopes to change the world one word at a time.)
The Beautiful Space-