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.

Guna Moran & Bibekanada Choudhury – Ponder Away

MEMORY
Original : Assamese : Guna Moran
Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

Shall return
To this day
Turned into past
Someday

In the past
The mind
In the future
The body would stay

Squatting on the carpet of grass
Playing flute on a full moon night
There in the sky above
the youthfulness of the moon is dancing
behind the thin curtain of cloud
Listening to tinkling sound of tinkles
wafting to the ears

World is silent in the magical tune
I am imbibing moonlight getting oblivious of myself
Rain of moonlight is the favourite taste of lover Earth

Shall sit as past
In the holy place of my favourite memory
Shall repeat the same work
Feeling euphoric thinking about it


Artists:

-Guna Moran is an Assamese poet & critic. His poems are being translated into Italian and France language and have been published in various national and international magazines, journals, websites, newspapers such as The Tuck magazine, Spillword, The Merak magazine, The Setu magazine, Story Mirror, The Poem Hunter, The Sentinal, The Hills Times, Best Poetry and so on.

-Bibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothills of Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Ikechukwu Obiorah – Ponder Away

TELL YOUR TALE TO THE CLAY

Do not dwindle away in a motion of sway

The world needs that your green thumb in bay

To save situations at hand and  make a way

Where there is no fish in sea to help live in ray

Whether you are the bearded vulture of the day

All kinds of specialist are needed in isle of cay

To render some shoulders in building a railway

That will enable souls reach their nautical day

Time is the red sea flowing to every pathway

Spaying the crinkle of living souls that slay

Yet in crossing the divide you need to pray

To spray the anointing of heaven on the way

Don’t strike dumb when things are not okay

Though you are nothing but an earth clay

You have the animus to shift tale of the day

Just tell your tale to the faculty of the clay.


Artist:

Ikechukwu Obiorah is a Nigerian Writer, a Prolific Poet and Novelist. He studies B.A (Hons) English at the Benue State University, Makurdi; 400 Level.  He is a Student Ambassador of POETS IN NIGERIA (PIN). The Editor in Chief of Writers’ League (BSUM) and also a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA Benue Chapter). His poem “The Oracle Bard” has been published in “POETICA 2019” by Clarendon House Publications, England, UK. His poem “The Throne of Truth” published in Ponders Series by Ponder Savant Publications. His poem “Bat of the Underworld” published in Samhain Issue 2019, by Sage Cigarette Magazine, Florida USA. His poem “Skeletal Romance” has also been published in Nigerian Ero Gospel Magazine. He has been published in several reputable International Journals and Magazines. For a decade Poetry has been his sweet heart.

CL Bledsoe – Ponder Away

Probably Named Jim

Whoever came up with life

insurance was a genius or

a sucker. The value of dissolute

minerals, the odd carved shell

weighed against the shareholders’

faith. I am at my best when

I’m recycled, a worm’s timeshare

he dreams of retiring to someday.

Everything you die for is

a long-established lie, except

Chocodiles, which exist

as part of a publicly traded

entity. Find me an ounce of love,

justice, quiet. There is a kind

of machinery, oiled with the sweat

and blood of somebody else. It grinds

ever onward while we all try

to pretend we’re not screaming.

Remember, as a child, how you

thought nothing? And then,

the first time you realized what

they’d made for you, you raged?


This is how I heal.

I wash enough things

to make me forget

my hands. I count

dogwood blossoms

until I’ve forgotten

how many times

I’ve started over.

I make a video in

the stairwell I just

cried in trying to

sell it to the French.

Offer the squirrels

outside the window

nuts until they pancake

on the glass. Then feel

strangely ashamed. Some

people who don’t

understand time think

it exists all at once.

The past is now.

The present is the past.

And the future is

something that happens

to other people, who

were better at planning

or just had more luck

than I ever did.


To Know Thyself

Start with the proper accoutrements:

a bowtie with soft colors. A hawk’s

wing draped across your clavicle.

Look at what the pretty people do

and then don’t do that. If you don’t

know what to wear, I know a guy

who knows a guy. What I’m saying

is it’s good to have friends, even

if you have to pay for them. Who

do you think isn’t collecting a check

from you? When the villagers come,

slip a mustache onto your upper

lip and tell them the bastard ran out

the back not five minutes ago. Grab

a pitchfork and a torch. Hope

to God that mustache glue holds.

They make it from the neediest horses,

so. The thing is, you weren’t meant

for any of this. No one was. You

were supposed to be a dancer or

lay on the couch for three weeks

straight or find someone who sees

the you you forgot to make yourself

The one that’s clever and cool. Someone

who somehow isn’t disappointed

in the you you became instead because

of traffic and poor time management.

Good luck. There’s not a one of us who

wouldn’t settle for a nice dessert and

something to talk about that isn’t ourselves. 


Artist:

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections RicelandTrashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael  Gushue located here: https://medium.com/@howtoeven. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.