June 2020

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Con Artist - by Arantxa Carvalho (Photo by Noah Silliman)Photo credit: Noah Silliman

Con Artist

By Arantxa Carvalho

Towards the end of time

In the moment that you find yourself alone,

Will you walk forward

Into the room of mirrors where you’ll face your soul?

Will you be brave enough to face yourself,

The real you, hidden within deception?

All the laps you ran

All that you eluded

The acts committed seasons apart

Have finally found their way

To your hiding place,

Catching up to you

Like a bullet fired by justice

On its way to your conscience,

Countless times that you thought

None would see,

But the fire has set its course.

You’re here now

All by yourself,

All alone,

Accountable

For the wizardry

Your wayward soul chose,

You are not trapped, my love,

You’ve been brought

To the Courts of Judgement.


Ode to the Girl with the Sunflower Tattoo - by Khadija Ajaoud (Photo by Annie Spratt)Photo credit: Annie Spratt

Ode to the Girl with the Sunflower Tattoo

By Khadija Ajaoud

I saw you once, a long time ago
and felt as if we met elsewhere in our lives.
I tried to sing but I stuttered,
and could in no way pronounce
the word Liberta
as you like people to pronounce it.

I killed all the airs then and sank
in the sounds of your voice.
I was frightened to explore you
as well as the thousand little nerves
inside my heart.

You were walking on my stanzas
soundless just as your plastic bags of–
Tobacco.
And I, was pretending triteness
telling you about how Picasso met
Fernande Olivier.

We were pure as a soft morning breeze
floating around.
You and I, where did we come from?
Are we from the murmuring of–
the mid-sea swell?
or the wall where scarlet windows burn?

or hope or calm–

or wisdom of the East?!


seminvitation - by Salma HQ (Photo by Sarah fotografierende)Photo credit: Sarah (fotografierende)

seminvitation

By Salma HQ

“if you want…”

an invitation twisted clean upside-down into a faux-apologetic formality

a socially acceptable excuse to retract kindness for brazen emotional frugality

a formidable mentality, it is

a denial on a technicality, it says

‘I don’t want you and you’re welcome to take that in neutrality’

but if hatred is neutral

will my reaction ever be fruitful?

or will we continue to lie in brutal

static banality.


Decayed Tooth - by Maher Gidwani (Photo by Maria Teneva).jpgPhoto credit: Maria Teneva

Decayed Tooth

By Maher Gidwani

Today is like a decayed tooth
Because it is hollow from the inside

Waiting to be filled by the present
Left hollow by Yesterday

Or crumbling under the pressure placed on it
Because tomorrow can be fragile

Even though teeth are said to be
The strongest bone in the body

We use it to digest the difficulties of the present
A tooth is killed by plaque

Something that it produces
Like tomorrow can be killed by fear

Something it produces
So every time fear comes around, brush it off

Because it’s just plaque
It’s not worth decaying over

And when you feel a cavity in your life, get it filled in with hope.


Kanya - by Shital K Gusani (Photo by Isaac Quesada)Photo credit: Isaac Quesada

Kanya

By Shital K. Gusani

The birth…
Like a primordial war cry,
She emerged kicking and screaming,
Angry at being disturbed,
Indignant… wanting just for the cocoon she was used to…
The precious gift!

The woman…
Exploded into a zillion emotions,
All synonyms of love, courage, a shield.
Flowing from each and every pore of her body…
The guardian!

The mother…
Both connected by the ethereal umbilical cord
Which could never be severed,
A dull pain of wisdom became her constant companion,
Waiting for that spark of understanding.
She fought on all fronts.
A lone warrior.

The child…
Which was like a fetter,
Stopping her from reaching for the sun.
Making her sizzle and fume,
Like raindrops on the parched earth.
The innocence, arrogance and courage of youth.
Invincible!

The relationship…
So they tangoed,
One patiently answering, teaching and guiding,
one observing indignantly, questioning and accusing.
The struggle between,
Youth and maturity,
patience and impulsiveness,
Honesty and diplomacy,
misunderstandings, natural and sowed,
Raised it’s ugly head.

The realisation…
Unconditional love, faith and trust in her,
Made her introspect,
Till everything became clear as day,
She saw her pathless path,
clear ahead.
Rose like a personification of Truth, love and compassion,
to write her own destiny!

The gift…
Both had risen like a phoenix from the ashes!


Finding Happiness - by Abeer Alaloul (Photo by Devin Avery).jpgPhoto credit: Devin Avery

Finding Happiness

By Abeer Alaloul

I look back at a time where simplicity brought joy..

running freely barefoot on a hot summer day after your friends

throwing buckets of water

rolling on the floor as you laugh so hard your muscles hurt

A time where happiness was a way to be

now we search mountains and lovers to find that feeling again

yet an emptiness is still there

we try to fill our cries with consumer goods

yet our insides still want more

we try to drown our sorrows

with bottled liquids

yet our souls still want more

where has the happiness of my inner child gone?


Is This Utopia? - by Zainub Jenna Bata (Photo by Tim Mossholder)Photo credit: Tim Mossholder

Is This Utopia?

By Zainub Jenna Bata

and in that place
Men will be there
to mend, not break hearts

and there,
Women will stand on each other’s shoulders
not to push each other down
but to raise each other up to the highest of heights

and children,
they will play in the sand
together, lovingly

in that space
Mothers will bond
over protecting the universe’s children

and there, Fathers
will share ideas
on what makes their children smile

Grandmothers
would cook family delicacies
in a big kitchen

and Grandpas
they will take the world’s children
to explore the magic of the woods
‘Meet me after school’ they would yell

Older couples
would be connected by soul
and only remember the good things about each other

and Newlyweds
would be guided through the hard times
so they could just enjoy the good ones

there, all Aunts
would inspire their nieces
as symbols of strength and assertiveness

and, Uncles
would provide spaces of sanctity
where Nephews can play at ease

Cousins,
they would be a beacon of hope
the brother or sister someone never had

oh and Friends,
they would catch you
JUST before you fall

Teachers
would un-school children
and show them how to be citizens of the world

but Builders
would build schools
where the world meditates

those enthusiastic Politicians
will create policies
about love and happiness

and the Army
will be an army of peacekeepers
to mediate conflicts

Travel Agents
would bring countries home
for those who cannot travel

and Planes
would run on air not fuel
to encourage the wanderlusts to travel

every Doctor
will look to cure the soul and heart
from the ills in the world

and Lawyers
together
will boycott the courts

Musicians, Poets and Artists
will be paid and fed by the community
so they can keep producing art

and the Homeless
won’t be homeless
because the world will be their home

Money will cease to exist
and we will live in a place
where the currency is love

Dance will take place freely
in the streets
the old dancing with the young

and most importantly
Everyone would be their own Superhero,
saving themselves in order to save each other

Let’s live in a world
where there is

Love.

Only.

Always.


Soulful Echoes - Averine Simethy (Photo by Shahin Khalaji).jpgPhoto credit: Shahin Khalaji

Soulful Echoes

By Averine Simethy

Whipped, burned and laughed at

These incessant whispers of scorn and loathing,

Like salt to my wounds, sting and obliterate my fire.

Crimson –

Like the plush color of your lips that once revered me

Now twists into an unforgiving scowl full of hate

I close my eyes, damp lashes leaving the briefest of kisses against my cheeks;

I rock my body to the phantom feeling of your arms around me,

The feeling of warmth that has dwindled to frost bite.

Glacial –

The biting cold in your eyes as you lay them on me,

You question the very essence of my being like a broken record

Until it echoes within me, pulsing with darkness in my mind, my soul, my very being.

Like a blindfold, it cages me in the darkness

A prisoner of my echoing thoughts

I pray for liberation from you,

I pray for liberation from me.


To Those Who Try - Sanjna Iyer (Photo by Pop Zebra)Photo credit: Pop Zebra

To Those Who Try

By Sanjna Iyer

A new day, the same drill,
The same mechanic hue and cry,
Contributing to the madding crowd,
Failing, but not failing to try.

A compelling force, a magnetic drive,
Nudging and pushing everyone alike,
Workers, students, and artists too,
A strenuous, never-ending uphill hike.

It’s not all to waste, I have to say,
As perseverance pays, to one or two,
The others lay crushed, down below,
Seldom forgotten, at the back of a queue.

But the drill keeps going, the show goes on,
With muted condolence, to those who tried,
Because this world, drilled into our minds,
That success is to show, and failure to hide.

Let’s pay heed, to not just the cream,
Let’s get above this hue and cry,
Let’s appreciate the rest of the mill,
Let’s look up to those who try.


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