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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s a good day to read the work of Adrian Slonaker! Don’t miss his fabulous poetry below!
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.
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.
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.Zine, Caustic Frolic, The Pangolin Review and others.
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.
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.
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!
This dry moment
we lay in sweat beds.
Limp flowers turned
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
bleeds upon rails.
blue, white flashes
they move, they move
constantly they move.
close your eyes
compared to train
speaking for itself
in no language
to what we do not know
plans of distant stars
galaxies floating by as
through time as
I lay thinking always
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
over in my mind trying
to find some pattern
finally night, long, deep
and black covers me with
blankets of forgetfulness
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.
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!
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”.
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.
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.
Link to some of his poems, short stories and flash fictions are given below:
Come see the artwork of Andrea Bass! Her whimsical take on the corona virus is the bit of delight we all need right now. Take a look below to see her series, Coronaville!
My art is a biased representation of contemporary life, feminism and femaleness, filtered through pop media and my prior corporate marketing career. Media include digital, assemblage, and fiction in the form of graphic novels and animation. I try to be amusing, if possible.
My videos, “JEALOUSY” and “The Pussyhat Street Art Project” are nominated for several short film festivals in 2020.
Since September, 2019, my public art “All Hands on Deck” has appeared on 24-foot flood barriers in downtown NYC.
“Wretched Sister Installation Video” was included in the group show “La Femme du Futur” at Galerie de l’Avenir in Paris in March, 2019.
I completed my MFA in Studio Art at The City College of New York in 2018.
Cheryl Vargas brings a tranquil poem for us to relax into. It doesn’t feel so much like reading, as it does like being in a sweet meditation.
She rests beneath a cascade of flowers. The earth yawns. A spring sky awakens. Clouds make their own waves over turquoise sea. She fashions an Irish lace shawl. The tree’s knotty trunk is as strong as her lover’s arms and she leans as lovers do. Twigs coated in mud artisan-style house unborn robbins. The nest hidden on a short branch, distributes the weight. She carries hers daily in her shoulders. Birds whisper and she listens. Their secrets safe with her. She carries fragrant blooms that remain on her dress, as well as his scent. Her beloved Cherry Blossom tree absorbs it all. A Japanese parasol protects her identity.
Cheryl Vargas is a New Jersey native who writes for pleasure. Her poems are inspired by the many hats she wears. This includes her daily experiences working and enjoying life with her husband, sons, and daughters. Her latest poem was featured in the Spring/ Summer 2020 edition of Tiferet.