One-Liners Abound – Shola Balogun


Shola Balogun is a Nigerian poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is the author of The Cornwoman of Jurare and Other Poems, The Wrestling of Jacob, and Praying Dangerously: The Cry of Blind Bartimaeus. He also screenplayed The Secret Place, The gods Are Liars, Wrestling with Shadows and Deliverance from The Rod of the Wicked, based on the messages of Dr. D. K. Olukoya, which have been made into short films. Balogun studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, West Africa. His work has appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies, most recently in Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, The Invisible Bear, a Journal affiliated with Duke University’s English Department Graduate Poetry Working Group, Durham, North Carolina and The Tau: The Literary and Visual Art Journal of Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio. Balogun lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Father & Son Standing in Soup Kitchen Line & Other Poems by Anthony Mondal

July Online Open Mic

On this sparkling Sunday afternoon, we have the serene poetry of Anthony Mondal! Delve into the flow of his words and the stories that he creates to edify your day.

Father & Son standing in soup kitchen line

The defeated, the down and out, the forgotten,
They all have gathered, on a wintry Sunday night
To feed the belly’s hunger fire, and escape the plight.
In the crowd of people you see, A father and son, restless and uneasy.
Quickly you observe, they there don’t belong.
But something somewhere, must have gone wrong.
Eight to nine, must be the boys age barely he understands not why?
His playful carefree days are over so suddenly.
He had a warm home, he had a loving mother.
Now all is lost and gone forever.
Some say because, the lost job took a toll on his father.
And others say, he is an addict and, a gambler.
Many questions run thru his young mind.
To which he can’t any answers find.
In great fear he clutches, his father’s arm
Hoping he will protect him from all harm.
The hostile world walks by indifferent.
His tear stained face, has yet to lose its innocence.

And another boy, the mean streets of life is hungry to swallow.

The Death of a Plant

Sitting in the corner, upon the ledge
looking gloomy, looking sad, very much on the edge
Weeping in grief
For want of sunlight and fresh air brief,
Leaves, they are stained with oily grease
The poisonous fumes, makes life unease.
Surrounded by tools and machineries of all kind.
Not to mention, the people devoid of hearts kind.
Cold and damp is the room temperature
Where things delicate, have no place, no future.
Slowly but surely toward death it proceeds.
Only to be replaced, by another plant indeed.
Uncared for, unwanted, suffering torture endless.
It will also follow thru, the same bloody cycle, more or less.

Yet it was only yesterday
In a garden full of mirth and joy
Tended they were, with much love and care
By a Kind Gardener Dear.

One Day by the Pier

The rolling waves, gently dashing
Against the wooden pier.
Sea-birds circling, high above my head
Their beautiful symmetry, with grace displayed.
And the infinite blue sky dome
With not a trace of clouds, there roam.
Falling rays of sun on the water surface glitters
Beckoning me to a world of treasures deeper
Immersed I was in my tranquil day dreams
Lost I was in space and time it seems.

But just for a while!
Then the ear shattering growl of the helicopter
All my finer moments, made disappear
Left I was, only, with the sounds inharmonious
Of a bustling busy metropolis.
Who like a sultry mistress attracts
The faithful husband’s devotion distract.

The 12 Foot Journey

Grey ugly looking birds swoop down on the grass,
right beside my tin hut.
They are busy hunting insects in the tall grass.
Then I observe this one insect
trembling and shaking crawling to safety.
Crossing the concrete path to the other patch of grass.
It must seem like one hell of a journey or crossing
from the bug’s point of view.
If not now, but in few hours time or may be even tomorrow….
The bug will find a place in the bird’s stomach.
Us humans also we cross lakes, deserts, mountains and oceans
To find that perfect place of nestled peace and tranquility
Only to be rendered homeless……. Again and Again.

© Anthony Mondal 2018

Approaching Fall Quatrain

The cold Northern front arrives at my window
Late at night, the air is chilled
I reach out in the dark and switch off my fan!……

…… And the crickets resume their singing.


Anthony Mondal is a poet, novelist and actor. He considers himself simply as an artist beyond the confines of nationality and religion. He proudly calls himself a citizen of the world. His most recent book of poems was titled A Burst of Sunshine, which is his second published book. He lived in New York City for almost ten years pursuing writing, acting and song writing – well, then he had a breakdown! And now our artist recuperates/resides in Michigan, USA. As an actor he has appeared in the film “Sabrina” and the TV show “Strangers with Candy” (2000). He received his BA from Calvin College in geology in 1995. He worked in the World Trade Centre, Building One in 2001 and has survived.

Currently he is working on an existential novel tentatively titled “In Search Of…” and is looking for a publisher/agent for his completed Memoirs.

Read more about this author at:

Forgotten Borough & Other Poems by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

July Online Open Mic

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner gifts us with sharing his oil painting as well as his poetry today. He expresses his experiences and sorrows with the Corona Virus. Let’s join with him in his reverence for those who’ve passed, as well as the appreciation of life.


Forgotten Borough

Coffins stacked side by side on Staten Island.
without wreath and floral decoration.
Hastily shovelled earth rumbles on cheap wood.
No prayer, no commemoration, no last salute.
As the last humane appearance
people in protective clothing
shoulder the shovels as a salute.

Coffins side by side, with dead who never met.
Anonymously as they arrived
so do they part again.
Coffins on a site where over decades
shiploads of burdened, persecuted,
passed by on their way to Ellis Island
under the flame of hope from far away.

Buried now side by side
and on top of one another
and with them buried the American dream,
dreamt by millions
who fell back or were born in poverty,
in a rejected class, with the wrong colour,
failed, ill, disabled, no WASPS for sure.

And a pimp in his fine suit still mocks them.
“10000 dead a great job”.
Signs cheques to buy votes.
To make him great again.
Dug graves, digging a grave for him too.
The gravedigger spits in his hands
and does not keep a distance.
Grim Reaper grins, reaps a rich harvest.
What a success, the numbers are rising,
but not on the balance sheet.

Death pulls the doughy mask off his skull,
a grinning skeleton
that keeps the world in suspense,
powerful, power-obsessed,
now the maggots are licking their lips.
His coffin will also be made of wood,
maybe with a little more varnish,
but 6 feet under it will soon come off
and make all equal…..So equal.

Condemned to wait

I am sitting in a train
which does not leave the station.
Nobody knows the departure time.
Discussions on the platform
by people in uniform
and worried travellers.
Experts draw deviating conclusions.
All seems fine
but seconds later doom
and disappointment.
Some leave the train
and are never seen again.
Some turn to entertainment
and read or write.
And for spite,
the announcement says
that all have to wait
further three weeks.

We speak again…

We speak again of heroes,
we speak again of war.
Hundred thousand victims,
thousands of dead and coffins,
at an invisible front.

We speak again of suffering,
we speak again of who is worth to live.
Emergency laws are passed,
harsh rules, curfews imposed.
We face shortage, rationalisation.
History repeats.

For the politicians we are pawns.
There will be war profiteers,
charlatans will raise their heads.
Mass graves, deserted regions.
Nothing will be as before.

Enforced rest

Re-dating history,
revitalize deleted words,
see butterflies with closed eyes,
patiently counting dead flies,
that fell from the windowpanes,
kill time,
and lie to the clock every now and then,
read again what has been read,
hum forgotten melodies,
dig through yellowed photos
and be glad that fate spared me
when I see
photos of ex-girlfriends,
who went out of shape,
and passed the aphroditic stage.
Nod off now and then,
without being reprimanded,
talk to the dogs
and lecture the cats
about impermanence.
Watching the sheep graze so peacefully,
the clouds on the mountains, the Reeks,
and follow the flight of the gull,
that floats weightlessly.
Wait and see what the future brings,
when we have to race restlessly again.

Silky case

Twelve weeks served
in prison without bars.
Days dripped like a leaky faucet.
Calendar shows five months elapsed.

As my own faithful companion
I looked over my shoulder
while writing
and wrote down at the same time
how I looked over my shoulder.
Words whisper side effects.

Age poses the grumpy question:
How much longer? Isolation.
We see the world sinking into wars
and collateral damage
and with determination
going astray.

I pupated to wait like a silk moth
to emerge from the cocoon
or like a caterpillar
to become something colourful.

Became, as if to add insult to injury,
stultified in banishment.
Everything is covered in mildew
even my brain
not to speak about my soul.

What I miss is dialogue,
the voices of the others,
the reaction, the advice,
the warmth, the embrace,
exchange of inspiration
and hopefully empathy, too,
the vibrations of the mind.


Berlin, long ago
an island in a hostile sea.
Cut off in an August
from the rest of the world
by a wall.
Wherever you went
you bumped into barriers
and concrete blocks
3.6 metres high
in the centre
the Brandenburg Gate.

Restricted, incarcerated.
An island kept alive
by an air lift
to make sure all had to eat
and coal to heat.

I remembered that when I felt
like on an island
when the virus threatened
and surrounded us
and we were not allowed
to leave or fly out.

How lucky we are.
At least the glance is not limited
by grey bricks.
And there is no barbed wire
to restrict our way.

There are friends and neighbours
who provide.
They give serenity
in our isolation.

Social impoverishment

Audible and cognitive fatigue
when listening to certain keywords,
emotive terms. Corona, Covid19.
The fear of the unexplored,
the unknown enemy,
the invisible blight.
Rumbling carts of the corpse collectors:
“Hand out the dead” accompanied by drumbeats.
Memories of the Middle Ages.
Camus’ “The Plague” is recommended
to be read during these dull days,
also, as a pastime for those elderly
they want to sacrifice to the gods,
to ask for good tidings
and to appease unknown spirits.
Weighing, triaging,
whom they allow surviving
or whom to abandon
in the rough sea of this fight.
Like on the Auschwitz ramp:
You to the left, you go to the right.
Hoarding of toilet paper
and shifting of masks
by elegant dealers.
The black market is flourishing.
The greed, the avarice, selfishness
is not killed by the virus.
Hatred thrives even more.
The search for culprits, well-poisoners.
When you think the Dark Age is over,
it peeks around the corner.
The dark instincts, desire to kill, violence,
the Neanderthalian takes its place,
is pathbreaking again.
Culture just swam free,
is drowning, lost now
in the whirlpool of events.
The thin skin,
music, art, science, ethic,
torn apart and reveals betrayal,
utter aberration.
Futility and senselessness
in the face of abuse of power,
wars, oppression.
All malevolent spirits
believed forgotten
are rising again.
The free opinion is punished,
religion imposed,
heads cut off, education denied,
equal rights undermined,
opportunities smashed.

We do not need tear-gas to cry.

Time void

A rock as outpost
of a person in seclusion.
Summer without people.
Months of loneliness,
without conversation.
A boat bobbing on a lake
in its own indivisible time,
on a Sunday without end.
A lonely seagull his companion.
Both keep distance, eying each other.
He hears voices, but discards them,
the whisper of faces,
he cannot see.
Vague sound memories
of the last carefree year.
Not a soul is here.
A bookmark in a book,
which he reads again and again,
an expired train ticket.
For a train he never took,
a journey he never made.
Time as a band
that ties in with the past.


The years will pass,
eagles will circle up in the sky,
roses will be picked for someone,
and a wreath braided for a head,
flowers are bound for a grave.
And the sun and the moon
will set the rhythm
for day and night;
tears will flow
and laughter will be heard.
Everything repeats itself
and goes down again.
The eternal cycle.


Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku and short stories.

He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose.

Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany.

Published in 103 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, India, France, Mauritius, Nigeria and Canada.

One-Liners Abound! – Mark Blickley


Mark Blickley is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center. He is the author of Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press), Weathered Reports: Trump Surrogate Quotes from the Underground (Moira Books) and the just published text based art book, Dream Streams (Clare Songbirds Publishing House). His video, Widow’s Peek, was selected to the 2018 International Experimental Film and Video Festival in Bilbao, Spain. He is a 2018 Audie Award Finalist for his contribution to the original audio book, Nevertheless We Persisted.

One-Liners Abound! – Atif Khurshid Wani


Atif Khurshid Wani is a Kashmiri poet, reviewer and a columnist. He was born on 11th January, 1995 when everything around was frozen. Atif has become part of more than 30 national and international poetry anthologies. Currently he is working as freelancer and his poetry collection “The shattered She” is likely to be published soon.


Words – Original Song by Mia Savant

This new song has been simultaneously the easiest and yet most difficult to create. The meaning of the song is so deeply personal to me that It was a struggle to get it just right.

Most of the abuse that I have encountered in my life was not obvious abuse. A good portion of it was subtle and quiet. So subtle at times that it was masked as helpfulness or love. It didn’t make me hate my abusers, but rather, they made me hate myself. Their soft, seemingly insignificant words lingered in my head and created a self-deprecating dialog. Cruel words that I would never tell another person in a million years became my personal mantra. I believed any insult given to me as valid. Feeling “less than” was not just a moment, but a state of being. Finding my flaws in any given situation was my superpower, and the only thing I could feel confident about.

When I went on my journey to break free of abuse, it took me a long time to realize that it was so much more than physically separating myself from abusers, because I was now a victim of my own mind. They didn’t need to be around anymore because their damaging words floated in my head with each and every new moment I encountered. I was just as tormented as I was before because I had become the words that I hated so much. I loathed the self-loathing, but it was now fully embedded in my programing that there was no me without it. So, the very nature of pursuing freedom was a painful deconstruction, because these pillars of myself, even if I could destroy them, had to be replaced. This posed a new problem of finding what to replace it with. It was an internal war, and at times, an external one with the people who either didn’t understand or continued to abuse me.

Over time, as I grew in emotional strength, I became something different. I recreated myself, rather than being the person that was imposed upon me. The effects of abuse that had my own mind attacking itself no longer imprisoned me. It’s not that the words went away completely, but rather, when they do come up, I now know how to fight them. Learning those tools and skills have been essential to finding real peace in my heart.

This song is about this battle that’s been inside me for so long. It was the war against myself long after the war with others was over. It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to even be able to have the courage to write it and share it.

Thank you for listening, and I want to encourage you if you struggle with self-deprecation as result of abuse, to challenge it and fight it. Don’t accept it as life, but rather make your own journey of finding your own strength.

-Mia Savant


How do I let go

Of these words

I swear they’ve burned

Into my skull

I’ve etched them so deeply

In the walls of my heart

Maybe I don’t want to part

With them at all

I am no one

I am nothing

I am inadequate

I bring nothing but


To me….

How do I strip


These words

Of hate

I can’t shake this feeling

That I don’t belong

And that I’m always wrong

No matter what

How I long to be free

Wish that I

Could accept me unconditionally

But I just can’t

It’s so much more than I’m not enough

It’s that every act is wasted breath

Oh, this badge of honor, posed humility

Is a twisted mask of a bully

Starring me…..

How do I strip


These words

Of hate

I will


My own bones

My own bones


I will


My own form

My own form


I will strip away

These words

These words

Of hate

One-Liners Abound! – Christian Garduno


Christian Garduno edited the compilation Evolver and his own solo poetry collection Face, while a History undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. His work can be read in, Corpus Christi Writers 2020, and Riza Press, where his poem, “The Return”, was a Finalist in their 2019 Multimedia Poetry & Art Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie, young son Dylan, and pet bear-cub Theodore Bexar.