Manuela the Tortoise – Poetry by Cheryl Caesar

July Online Open Mic

Journey with Cheryl Caesar in the story of a tortoise! Look below to view a video of her reading!


Manuela the tortoise

What does a tortoise think? What does she feel?
She lives long and moves slow, heavy and protected.
Thirty years may pass like a sluggish dream.

We may rail against her long incarceration,
like Ricky Jackson’s, deserving of reparations —
but wonder: as a pet, was she not always captive?

Or we may cheer her escape, like Billy Hayes
fleeing on the midnight express from his thirty-year sentence —
although it seems she never scratched the door.

Or pity her stolen life, like Jaycee Dugard’s.
But, as Dugard found out, little by little,
the life you live becomes the real one.

Around her termites flashed, emissaries of light.
They live only a year or two. They feed on the trees
whose prana we block and hide in darkened rooms.
But nature always finds her way in.

In thirty years of encephalitic lethargy, Miss R,
a patient of Oliver Sacks, thought of nothing.
“It’s dead easy, once you know how.”

Turning the corners of a cerebral quadrangle.
Silently repeating seven notes of a Verdi aria.
Drawing mental maps of maps of maps.

“My posture leads to itself,” she said. Perhaps Manuela too
curled endlessly inward, a shell in a shell. Perhaps
she too repeated for thirty years (in Tortoise):
“I am what I am what I am what I am…”


Author:

Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She gives poetry readings locally and serves on the board of the Lansing Poetry Club. Last year she published over a hundred poems in the U.S., Germany, India, Bangladesh, Yemen and Zimbabwe, and won third prize in the Singapore Poetry Contest for her poem on global warming.  Her chapbook Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era is now available from Amazon and Goodreads.

Follow:

Facebook page: Cheryl Caesar Author
Website: http://caesarc.msu.domains/

Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era

Rinsed With Morning’s Gold & Other Poems by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

July Online Open Mic

Bobbi Sinha-Morey’s refreshing poetry is here to uplift your day! Come take some time to relax and get lost in her calm words.


Rinsed With Morning’s Gold

From the ridge plums are
dangling from the vine like
ripe prayers, my cares waning
like a glacier’s melting thumb
looking to the sky where God
owns the heavens — a bird
changing its course in the wind,
the sun a streak of preach over
the lake, memories of the past
so far away from me having
bought my ticket with my tears
just to be here and that’s all
I’m going to spend, an idyllic
home by the water, my bedroom
window rinsed with morning’s
gold every day I waken.


Tulips

Morning just at their door,
breathing in the light wind
after they’d slept tulips shyly,
modestly pose as the dawning
blue shadows begin to grow,
tulips bending on their willowy
stems, petals so prettily parting
at the throat, their knots uncurling,
tying their lives together; tulips
each one of them budding girls
or old divas lit by the heavens,
their love outlasting the sun.


Knots

On my bed I feel like
a jeweller, gold chains and
diamond necklaces before
me, and it’s my mission to
examine each one that, like
fine threads, have either been
coiled together or tangled into
a series of hard knots. With
a tiny needle from my sewing
basket and a magnifying glass
I study one knot at a time
under the lamplight, picking
apart every intricate strand
that fingers alone could never
undo. With a fine eye for detail
one sleek golden lace was set
free in ten minutes; a silver
one with an amethyst having
the fine workings of a Rolex
watch I hold closely to
extricate each knotted inch
til it was clean as a river.
I could never do it under
the mad insistence of an egg
timer or stopwatch. I could
do this for wages, be paid
a tidy sum for ladies and girls
in their teens who had clumsy
hands on rainy days or days
before a special occasion,
the bonus seeing the curving
lip and glowing cheek of
the wearer dressed to the nines
for a formal affair.


Author:

Bobbi Sinha-Morey’s poetry has appeared in a widevariety of places such as Plainsongs, Pirene’s Fountain, The Wayfarer, Helix Magazine,Miller’s Pond, The Tau, Vita Brevis, Cascadia Rising Review, Old Red KImono, andWoods Reader. Her books of poetry are available at Amazon.com and her work hasbeen nominated for Best of the Net in 2015 and the Best of the Net 2018 AnthologyAwards hosted by Sundress Publications.

Follow:

Her website is located at http://bobbisinhamorey.wordpress.com.

Paintings by Anindya Roy

July Online Open Mic

Come see the beautiful paintings of Anindya Roy! Each one painted with incredible thought behind it. As you absorb each piece, be sure to also take the time to be inspired by reading about the concepts behind them.


Environment of Corona Effect
Speed in Front of Monument

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO MY RECENT PAINTINGS 

During the period of training my works were mostly the reflectionof the city life, the aspiration and dreams of the urban middle class living in a molt-cultural and multi-lingual society.  Those days I crated the works like ‘back to the city’, ‘nagorik’ etc., by mixed media.  

To develop the concept I have been traveling historical, and culturally significant places and try to conceptualize the togetherness of living and non-living objects and a sense of mystery.  Things and particular colour encompassed me, thus my creative mind and feelings is blend.  Through I have social, ritual relation with my surroundings, I would like to search there hidden relations of mine in my works.  It is known there a relation among the living and non- living beings in nature. I saw a rhythm with the costume, ornaments, happiness, sorrow and habits of the rural people, I is wonderful to me when I inhale those things then, I express my feelings of love through my visual art work.  Some times ‘ composition ‘ starts from my dream, which leads to reality by using any conventional and non- conventional skills. Here art evokes with emotion, braveness of mind and necessary experience.  A mysterious spiritual height appears in my recent works to illuminate the images.  Thus a series of paintings came out which were titled as  ‘ conceptual –scape’.  It happened in my sub conscious and not on any stereotype conventional norms, they are unique on there own right as my feelings are.

We know the nature has a universal approach that I would like to share.  I visited Ajanta and Ellora and surrounding caves where I saw yellowish stone in roof and ceiling and walls in cave perhaps that was a meditation room and yellow colour also represents knowledge and intelligibility.  Where the ancient highly skilled sculptor did purposely or not is not a vital matter to me at that moment, but I was intoxicated by the environment of Ellora.  So I expressed my feelings through there ‘ mind scapes” for that purpose I have to travel more. 

In my works human figure and other objects some times signify a character sometimes not, simultaneously they are used to balance the paintings.  The motives are also used to decorate the painted surfaces.  Colour used in big space come balance, blue for communication and knowledge or red for empowerment.  I forgot my which at action yet the final eventuality of unconscious effort does bare conspicuously my nature and attitude. 

My pleasure gets multiplied if my art soothes the sole of the viewers and comfort their mind and eye.  Somewhere my works have got flavors of spirituality and miniature of ancient Indian art.


Artist:

Anindya Roy

Clouds & Intrepid Traveler – Poetry by Adrian Slonaker

July Online Open Mic

It’s a good day to read the work of Adrian Slonaker! Don’t miss his fabulous poetry below!


“Clouds”

As the sun slipped through mounds
of sour cream in the sky
the way water flowed through the
oolong tea leaves in Papa’s evening cuppa,
I imagined iridescent angels frolicking
while I lay on bendy grass
growing like the waves of whiskers that
sprouted years later
along with puberty
and anxiety
and profanity.
Now in a front aisle seat aboard
a propeller plane jerking and rocking its way
towards the Saint Lawrence River,
I peer past the
burly businessman in earbuds,
whose elbow battles mine for the armrest,
and out the cushion-shaped slab of window
into white wisps like
the fog in films featured on
Halloween horror marathons.
Trying through turbulence
not to spill a bilingually labeled
bottle of water,
I surmise that the
seraphim must be on strike.


“Intrepid Traveler”

Creeping out from quarantine
on a noiseless Sunday,
I spotted a wispy, sable-colored
spider refusing to shelter in place,
shimmying through
shifting sunlight
up an imperceptible thread
to the awning above my head
just how I once rocked
to a peak of an Alp smeared with
tourism and snow
(or was it white Toblerone?)
in a fully-packed funicular
when I was twelve
and not yet terrified of heights.
And now I feel as exposed, but
not half as carefree as
that nimble arachnid in
the wind.


Artist:

Residing near the banks of the Petitcodiac River in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee Adrian Slonaker toils as a word boffin and enjoys rock ‘n’ roll records, opals, iced coffee and ghost stories during summer thunderstorms. Adrian’s work has been published in Ez.P.ZineCaustic Frolic, The Pangolin Review and others.

I See Myself in Everything, Especially the Trees by Sara Collie

July Online Open Mic

Sara Collie shares with us her writings about trees and hope. During these challenging times, it’s a good reminder to find life in art and the scenery around us.


I see myself in everything, especially the trees 

On the morning in question, I woke up feeling incredibly calm. It had rained all night – I could practically hear the water seeping into the garden doing good when the birds woke me up at dawn with their usual singing. Everything’s growing! I thought. Ah, life! I dozed back to sleep. But then came the morning and I heard another noise which didn’t fit the usual pattern. A neighbour’s handyman hacking away at the beloved lilac bush that leans over our garden filling the air with its perfume every May. Every year I wait patiently for the buds to open. When they turn purple it means winter has really gone and we’ve made it to spring. This is no small thing. I sit outside and inhale their perfume in the dark for weeks. That morning when I went into the garden, the branches of that bush were strewn about the floor. Once he was done with them, the man hacked the branches off the nearby elder tree too, blossom, burgeoning berries and all. 

I don’t understand people who cut down trees. It makes me so sad. 

Luckily this world also contains all the poems Mary Oliver ever wrote, and there I can see that I am not alone in loving the trees and all their leaves and branches and all the things that live in them and all the birds that perch on them en route to wherever they’re flying to. Luckily, I can flick to the pages of one of her books and find a little solace. Her poem, ‘Foolishness? No, it’s not’ tells of her counting all the leaves on a tree, ‘half crazy with the wonder of it — the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort.’ I read it in the cool darkness that evening when I can’t sleep. I remember the lilac bush as it was when it was thriving, full of life. I think about how hopeless I feel now and try to remind myself that this will pass. Of course, the poems are all printed on paper so I’m just another hypocrite in a world full of people saying one thing and doing another. Nothing is ever so simple as good or bad, right or wrong. The stump of the lilac and the elder remain, mangled, mutated, but rooted in the ground, still. Hopefully they will sprout fresh branches. Plants bounce back, often much more quickly than humans do. 

Whatever their fate, at the very least, I’ve got a tiny lilac plant that self-seeded from the hacked apart bush growing in a pot. One day, years from now, when its grown and blooming for the very first time, I’m going to sit underneath its branches and whisper Mary Oliver’s poem to it in the dark.


Author:

 Sara Collie is a writer and wandering soul living in Cambridge, England. She has a PhD in Contemporary French Literature and loves gardening, wild swimming and walking in the mountains. Her writing explores the wild, uncertain spaces of nature, the ups and downs of mental health, and the mysteries of the creative process. Her poetry and prose have appeared in various online and print anthologies.

White Heat & Other Poems by Joan McNerney

July Online Open Mic

Joan McNerney brings us the perfect poetry for these warm summer days! So, grab your iced drink of choice, find some shade, and add read her excellent work below!


White Heat

This dry moment

we lay in sweat beds.

Limp flowers turned

into themselves.

Lightning scorches

skies with hot zigzags.

Will it ever rain, when

will cicadas be silent?

Memories of a white room

burning pains…shunts, stains.

A bottle bursts filling the

sidewalk with rancid beer.

Throat of bird

swollen, screaming.


Joan McNerney

“A” train

brassy blue

electric

bleeds upon rails.

blue, white flashes

leap forward.

they move, they move

constantly they move.

close your eyes

watch points

like stars

think now

how insignificant

you are

compared to train

speaking for itself

stars known

in no language

shooting

thru

tiger’s eyes

brain in

constant action

reaction

to what we do not know

plans of distant stars

galaxies floating by as

“A” train

silver worm

bursting through

big belly

of city


Joan McNerney

tumbling

through time as

I lay thinking always

remembering

how this crapshoot of life

crushed my dreams spinning

me into an unlikely comedy

listening to a busy world

trains, ships, planes,

never ending hiss of cars

revved up motorcycles

loud televisions, shouts,

radios, alarms, sirens

shifting memories

over in my mind trying

to find some pattern

finally night, long, deep

and black covers me with

blankets of forgetfulness


Author:

Vivitar

Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Spectrum Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title, The Muse In Miniature, is available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net.  She has four Best of the Net nominations. 

2D Artwork by Cynthia Yatchman

July Online Open Mic

Cynthia Yatchman’s serene and exotic paintings are sure to bring goodness to your day! She captures the many layers to life, the bold and the subtle, creating a sense of magic that rests in the simple beauties.


Artist Statement-In my 2D work, I work primarily with acrylic and latex paints, inks, papers and charcoal. My images contain many diverse layers of meaning from the universal to the specific and personal. My works are often abstract. I am frequently interested in pattern and/or creating a rich sensual surface by making layer upon layer of marks. There is often an unseen history within these layers as images are obscured and revealed. My work frequently gives reference to my experience with nature and I usually have an ongoing series that is more representational focusing on flowers, birds and animals and the human figure. At times my work speaks to issues of social justice, revelation and connection.


Artist:

Cynthia Yatchman is a Seattle based artist and art instructor. With an M.A. in child development and a B. A. in education, she has a strong interest in art education and teaches art to adults, children and families. A former ceramicist, she studied with J.T. Abernathy in Ann Arbor, MI. After receiving her B.F.A. in painting from the University of Washington she changed to 2D work and has stayed there since, working primarily on paintings, prints and collages. Her art is housed in numerous public and private collections and has been shown nationally in California, Connecticut, New York, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon and Wyoming. She has exhibited extensively in the Northwest, including shows at Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Shoreline Community College, the Tacoma and Seattle Convention Centers and the Pacific Science Center.

Follow:

Instagram: CynthiaYatchmanArt

Facebook: Cynthia Yatchman

Sternradio – Artwork by Tatiana Arsénie

July Online Open Mic

Tatiana Arsénie’s artwork takes me to another place, which is much needed during these times of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Come admire her work and also read about her life full of art!


Sternradio

Artist:

Tatiana Arsénie was born in a family of artists in Romania and became a dentist before emigrating to Berlin, Germany and working full-time as an artist.

Her training includes techniques in printing, Byzantine art techniques, drawing and painting and she was part of numerous individual and group exhibitions. .

A series of projects carried out from 2007 to 2016, among which “gezeichnet.Pankow” (drawn.Pankow) resulted in several collections of drawings that were well received by the public and led to the publication of Tatiana’s two books: Pictopoems of Berlin and “gezeichnet.Pankow”.

Follow:

Web: http://artwork-tatiana.blogspot.com/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/artwork_tatiana_arsenie/

Writing on the Broken Wall & Other Poems by Sushant Thapa

July Online Open Mic

Fill your weekend with the euphonic poetry of Sushant Thapa! Step into the world he creates with his imagery.


Writing on the Broken Wall
Sometime back I read on the wall of my university: “Walls, the publishers of the poor.”
Today, I count the lockdown days
Numbering them in the calendar hung on my wall
Writing on the calendar hung on the wall
I am drawing lines of time
Unknown it is, my days
What if I count more than I will have?
This air is so thick to breathe
My heart is heavy like a stone
I am a poor man today
I wish to publish my writings on the wall
Only if the wall is broken,
For then, it will keep my plight straight
Broken will be the letters
Just like my broken plight
My sight has served me to see this world
My vision when I close my eyes will still see
This world divided by pandemic, hunger and ignorance
Across borders people have been moved by territories of their own
They want to reach home,
“Home, homeland and the pandemic” is
Bringing us together in what we have lost
Not losing the way back home we have found our existence it seems
So, I still wish to write on the broken wall.


The Old Man in the Rickshaw

He sees what others do not see,
he is on a journey.
Stationed homes and barricaded compounds
never knew his plight
Thin air blows and he is lost in it
His life was also stationed like stationed homes
when he was young and working
Now, he is out venturing
sitting in the rickshaw — he is no more
himself that he used to be.
How young is the rickshaw?
How old is he?
The road is muddy and the cool weather is blowing in the breeze
The old man is sitting in the rickshaw and chewing a gum,
the city seems new for him today.
It is his day — a day in his life
The young rickshaw puller is his friend
The road is his companion
His dog left him early
His wife was once so dearly
The city is still breathing and so is he,
in the rickshaw slow and steady
The old man is on a journey
The evening sun touches his face
He sees a half moon in the horizon,
some children dive into the pond
He waits in the rickshaw to be free and forever young.


The Taste of the Evening Tea

white milk foams till the rim of the tea cup
turning to creamy brown tea —
dark dips of tea leaves
blooms the color
I drink the color and the white rainy clouds
pour sweetness — measured in the tea cup
sugar coated vistas and hiatus of everyday
blooming reality grooms
in the sawdust of effervescent twilight
the orange sun is transparent in the
tea cup
I gulp the sun and only the tea cup stands
as a fleeting memory
of the sun
which was like an image in the evening sky
a little while ago.



What makes meaning?


Is it the ever flowing stream of words that carry meaning?
Is it the concept that draws images in one’s mind, that makes meaning?
Does the idea so subtle and particular — tend to carry affection on its own?
Does it glow for the meaning as a whole?
Is meaning same for one and all?
How poetic can a poet be?
How interpreted can his meanings be?
What is left unsaid and unknown, how meaningful can that be?
What makes sense — is it always felt close?
Can senses be forever disclosed?
When at times unpoetic becomes the poet, where hides his words?
Where lies his feelings when in winding thoughts he is reeling?


Repeating the One Night Stand

Caught in the darkness of lonely lonesome day
the night sky is falling beneath the blanket,
incomplete to both of us.
Just like one cigarette
that kept burning in the ashtray
I burned in my insides too, and
like the ashes of the cigarette
my ashes scattered all over
the room
blew out my insides
in the act and washed away the fumes,
as the ashes subsumed.
Beneath the chest of mine
I shared love with her — lies my ‘self’
so at unrest there.
I was once broken
the day was dark,
the night was cold and stories were — untold, but
the bed was unfold and manifold.


Author:

Sushant Thapa is an M.A. in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He writes in English and the Nepali language. His English poems, essays, short stories and flash fictions have been published in print and online publications from Nepal and abroad including The Kathmandu Post and Republica Daily from Kathmandu, Nepal, The Writers Club or greythoughts.info from New Jersey, USA, Kitaab.org and Borderless Journal from Singapore. His Nepali poems have also appeared in print and online publications including Udghosh Daily of Biratnagar, Sahitya Post, firewordsdaily.com and khalipanna.com from Kathmandu, Nepal. Sushant revels in rock music, poetry, books and movies from his home in Biratnagar, Nepal.

Follow:

Link to some of his poems, short stories and flash fictions are given below:  

https://greythoughts.info/clubpieces/tag/Sushant+Thapa

https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/author

Black Lives Matter Artwork by Leonardo Ibanez Valenzuela

July Online Open Mic

Standing up for Black Lives Matter can be in many forms, and each one is important. Today, Leonardo Ibanez Valenzuela shares with us his remarkable BLM artwork to take in and appreciate.



Artist:

Leonardo Ibanez Valenzuela is a Chilean artist living in Venice CA. He makes visual poetry or graphic poetry, as well as masks out of recycled materials.

Follow:

Instagram: @19leonardo

www.45leo.blogspot.com