Emily Wang – Ponder Away

(For the children aborted or separated from their biological parents as a result of China’s
mandated one-child policy which restricted most couples to have only one child)


In a snakelike dream, oolong stretches
to a sun-dried face pressed up against concrete,
nose breathing in the soles of sweetly caked dirt.
This overpopulated city. This overrun city.
Neon signs pass a loveless woman’s eyes,
time going under in maple blur.
She listens closely to the current of people going home.
Filled to the brim with harmony of grandmama’s cooking
and the light of their lovers laughing in their stomachs
when she herself holds an empty belly
void of her daughter, void of the light of her life
empty without the lovesong of her child.
Woman cradles her aching feet, the rhythm of her body
going back and forth, back and forth
Sway. Forth and back.
Blood bruises in a desolate color beneath her palms and legs
in the shape of plum hearts.
Woman feels for bright peony plumps
where cold air grips her thumb.
There can only be one, she knows.
One body of damp breaths,
a single cry echoing from the womb.
Half a lullaby to a one child policy.


Artist:

Emily Wang is a high school student that currently resides in Montville, New Jersey. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing awards and aims to use writing as a means to express emotions that can’t be confined to a single word. She can usually be found watching films or brewing tea.

Ruth Kozak – Ponder Away

MIDNIGHT MUSE

My Muse comes after midnight

nudges me awake.

Whispers urgently,

“Get up! Write!”

I curse her,

stumble across the dark room,

search for matches,

light the candle wick.

Where has she been in the daylight?

How many hours did I wait for her

listening for her voice?

“Where were you?” I ask.

“Was it your voice I heard

while I daydreamed in the sun?

Or was it only the sound of

of sheep bells on the mountain?”

“Write!” she demands. “Write!”

If I wait til morning

the words she whispers to me

will be extinguished

like this candle flame.


Artist:

W. RUTH KOZAK is a published historical novel writer and travel journalist who sometimes writes poetry. Several of her poems have been published in anthologies including the most recent, “Precious Moments on the Beach” in Limitless, an Anthology Charity Project by McGrath House with proceeds going to refugees and immigrants.  Ruth plans to publish a book of poems written during her many stays in Greece titled “Songs for Erato”. She is currently working on a YA historical novel titled “Dragons in the Sky” in which some of the chapters are written as Bardic verse.

Jay Gandhi – Ponder Away

Wondering wanderer

when at home, I imagine the Himalayas:
the yellow tent to buy from Decathalon,
the UGG Men’s Butte Snow boot.

when in nature, I think:
if my Dad has taken Ecosprin 75 mg,
if my Mom has got an eight hour sleep.


My problem, my solution

You cross my mind
while I eat roasted almonds.
I begin counting the pieces left
in my right hand paying close attention
to the size, color and feel
of each almond. I try to name
the taste & listen to the crackle —
smell the roast.
I visualize the smiling face
of my 3-year old niece,
followed by how the sun rises
in the gullies of Ghatkopar.
I imagine the sound of the rain
on the Himalayan mountain.
After that I count back from 100—
only the multiples of 7 & 3
and on the numbers like 63,
I utter “a double”


Pedestrian meditation

I look out from the 8th floor window
to count the number of buses
which halt at the bus stop

All the buses roar in,
dash out: there is an urgency

Everyone wants to reach somewhere

They want to meet someone;
someone wants to meet someone else
and someone else might just want to visit me

Focus Charlie! Focus

my bladder is screaming,
acids are churning the stomach,
eyes are getting weary—

Here comes #399;
Nirvana isn’t a piece of cake


Cold Diwali

(i)
these days I am writing
a thesis about how bats
& owls survive the nights.
I think it would help
sole rangers like me

(ii)
there are coloured tablets
in my medicine case which
create different rangoli
every time; this Diwali
they are the only colours


Children have left the house

the timid streams gather courage,
bustle as they build momentum.
they start to join at the junctions
and begin to soften all the rocks
one at a time. sandstone is becoming
quartzite. granite is becoming gneiss.
milk is slowly curdling and the
tributaries are forming a river.
a river which is uninhibited,
it has no colour, no nationality,
no race, no religion. it breaks
all the boxes, crashes mental dams,
while it houses the salmons and eels,
it is the home for fishes and flies,
a place for hippos and rhinos
but has no place for a thought
of flowing backwards.


Budding Romeo

Today I’ve visited the home of my beloved
It seems as if I’ve visited the entire city

Black tea created such an atmosphere
I’ve sensed my partner in just a few moments

In the shining diamond around her neck
I’ve seen the stone which hypnotises

I’ve felt such a peace and relief
that I’ve seen the fear of loneliness tremble

In the slightest of her smiles, I saw a boat.
Trust me, I could visualise the full sea


kaka

A portrait is locked in my wrist.
My 2B Natraj pencil chokes
on the Fido-Dido sketchbook.
Muse’s forehead has many lines:
first line is a prayer for his wife
battling breast cancer,
second line denotes the loans
taken to send his son abroad,
third line is for the pregnant daughter.
His hair is grey but doesn’t
appear so when oiled.
The oil seeps through the head
and tries to dissolve the turmoil.
No Old monk. No Jack Daniels.
Each day when he returns home,
his wife opens the door
and greets him daily;
that moment is Nirvana—
the precise reason to stay alive.
His knees no longer bend
but he still tries to do so
when bowing to the God.
Even Picasso would tremble to get
the layers and wrinkles right.
But I have taken up the challenge
and the running title is kaka.

=====================================================
kaka 
is a respectful way of summoning a old man in Gujarati Language


Badlapur Local

In a first class compartment
there are blue seats with
soft cushion.

In a second class compartment
there are brown seats made
of wood.

some people discuss
the features of the Apple XR

others are contemplating
the next step to be taken
because the water supply
would be cut by the time
they reach home


White

She loved vanilla,
eggs & snow.
Every night she
tracked the cusps
of the moon—
she died today;
she was wrapped
in whites as she
traversed the clouds.


Rubato

More than 10000 pieces of broken mirrors
are stuck together for the installation.

Some pieces are dull, some are luminous,
some from the crashed wardrobes of a big shot
while others from the remains of the dashed cars.

they reflect with different intensities
but create the Large beat—

Earth hums songs on this very beat


Artist:

Jay Gandhi is a 33-year old accountant from Mumbai, India. He writes free verse in English. Most of his poems derive their inspiration from human inter connections. In free time when he isn’t reading poetry, he practices guitar, enjoys the peace that Yoga Asanas brings and walks for long distances.

Chella Courington – Ponder Away

Dancing Together

Adele constantly played the twenty-year game. Twenty years ago I was thirty, twenty years from now, I’ll be seventy, counting years like a handful of coins, knowing they would be spent for trinkets, a pair of gold earrings or the mermaid wind chime sculpted from copper wire, its tail outlined in green with amethyst squiggles and silver glitter, a dream no doubt as all mermaids are but a tangible vision with a gold star in one hand and a blue shell in the other, and Adele held it in the breeze to catch the currents before hanging it on the ornamental apple tree outside their glass doors, an ageless woman with golden locks reminding Adele of the ballet dancers who hung in frames on her childhood wall, their forms perfect in pink, toe shoes never scuffed or dirtied, perpetually on point, waiting in this moment, unruffled by the past or future and later when she read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” she thought of her ballet dancers and how lovely they would look encircling any vase, almost touching hands, the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for Gelsey Kirkland to reach out from the ceramic, alive and offering Adele a charm, a talisman for longevity, a silver marble almost an inch in diameter, that she placed in her left palm, and suddenly she felt the continuity of it all, how the urn and Gelsey and the mermaid met at the center, life converged, and there were no tears since existence was a sequence of bubbles, fragile and full of color, busting into another and though Adele could see them vanishing into the distant light, she felt they somehow would continually be, not in her sight or that of anyone else standing on earth now, but the bubbles were always somewhere always becoming something new because today, June 23, was the day she felt, for the first time truly felt, those she loved endlessly around her, leaving snatches of notes and crumpled tissues to remind Adele that time was arbitrary and depended on limited eyesight but existence continued forever to wrap her in its threads.


Sharp Edges

That’s what it was, yes, the sun, a trapezoid on her bamboo floor. She wasn’t even sure if she knew what a trapezoid was, those days in geometry long ago, Mrs. Burgoyne in thick beige hose and a floral dress, exuding the mustiness of tobacco, and they stopped in their seats, held their breaths that Burgoyne would not single them out, ask for an answer, rapping the wooden desk with her nails. Yes, a trapezoid of light. Adele had remembered the shape after all those years, two parallel lines with uneven sides, the metal clothes rack on rollers, long shirts and short on plastic hangars waiting for someone to wash or iron or wear defined the side closest to the bed. Trapezoid. The sound, that’s what she remembered most about eleventh grade math, all those delicious words—perpendicular, quadrilateral, rhombus, isosceles, especially isosceles with all the s’s tickling her tongue. She would roll the syllables, listen to their sibilants whistle on ivory, and think of her new skates, the ones her mother bought at Loveman’s Department Store three weeks before Christmas. She handed them to Adele that day, a white box with white skates so Adele could slice parallel lines. Though her marks were often ragged, splinters glistening under Loveman lights at the store’s indoor rink, she dreamed of leaving the ice cut clean. Had she outgrown those skates and skating, giving them up for boys with pimples and their sticky hands, grasping, reaching like the tentacles of some kraken, leaving marks jagged and uneven? All that fumbling and pushing when no meant no or maybe or yes.


Artist:

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a Ph.D. in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of six poetry and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry and stories appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quaterly, The Collagist, and the Los Angeles Review. Originally from the Appalachian South, Courington lives in California.

Follow:

Twitter: @chellacouringto
Instagram: @chellacourington
Mother/Father Poems@Califragile https://califragile.org/2019/06/
Chella Courington on Facebook

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