Monthly Archives: August 2016

Deeya Bhattacharya

An Ekphrasis

She sleeps in Autumnal beauty

oh look! Her hairs a toast to the plumage

her skin a chiseled golden honey

she sleeps in a valley

of morbidness

her slip, trance a mystery

against a backdrop of neutral tones

she harbours innocence

a glance in a once, she stole

 

She sleeps in what hidden passion

one not knows

beneath her chin, a little bit

the colour ashen grows

 

She sleeps intense

her ochre hairs

encircle the womb of earth

cherubian beauty engraved

upon her livid pallors

constitute the Fall in dearth

 

Baby birds nestle against

her lucid skin

the tawny moon, a pale orb

illuminates the backdrop

and a cluster of stars decked

in a string of pearls

in refulgence crop

 

Unmindfully, the Diana

sleeps;

halo encircled ………………

while the hunter stalks his prey

the stag, hyena, cheetah

in array, she knows not

‘ coz her sleep easeful as the

strokes petite……… of a painter

prowess testifies.

 

 

An Intriguing Face

For how many hundreds of centuries

have I not seen

the image of your face

nor searched for it

 

The search for the face

by the dust-settled window panes

in the gold rimmed orb

of the scorching sun, went on

the flittering gaze

of a blue-bottle fly like

from here to there

 

The aroma in those

lost tragedies, over-arched

in rainbow-hued glass panes

surprisingly, short lived

raw mangoes in oil like

sharp and salty with a twang

 

Those memories never rested

from toil-sauntering in

the brisk sun-adding to the

plight of an incessant thirst.

 

 

Hunger in the Night

The night in our garden

is intense but fragile

the misty moon atop the dew

ceaselessly flows into each other

 

The night in our garden

is full of longing

sucking up the vortex of thoughts

flowing like river

 

The river in our garden

is full of silky fragrance

severed like cubes of ice

perch on our hunger

 

The hunger of the wind

on moss, ferns and potted plants

the hunger

in tales of lost love

 

On hungry nights like these

in our lit-up porches

we cook consciousness

which bind our thoughts

to skin and sylvan pitfalls.

 

 

Midnight Blues

The circles

under  your eyes

burn like midnight blues

under water currents

check the flow of dunes

shifting in your eyes

 

long black lashes

so poignant, at times

brush strokes of a maddening hand

guileless now

but discreet; like

the midnight strokes

of a prolific act.

 

Shaping a Poem

Words inky spelt all over

the diaphanous page

of a crumbled notebook

 

signs in blue , black, red

cryptic gestures like

creeping, crawling

wilted like a withered shrub

 

the shrubs of  ignorance

which I try to bury

under my pillows of

many insomniac nights

 

they haunt on me still

till I rearrange them

into an essay of quietude.

 

 

Deeya Bhattacharya ,hails from the Industrial town of Durgapur(West

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Bengal).She is published in many National and International mag. E-zines, websites in prints and in Anthologies. www.dimdima.com, literary yard.com, Contemporary Literary Review, Langlit, Criterion,  in’ Poetry World’, Journal of Literatures in English, Gulbarga University, All-Round Monthly (Faridkot) and the website:www.dimdima.com for children, Dimdima in print, Contemporary Vibes ( Chandigarh) , TAJMAHAL REVIEW, HARVESTS OF THE NEW MILLENIUM. wwwliteraryyard.com , New Academia, Subaltern Speak : A Journal Of Postcolonial Studies, The Sunday Hans. And International Mag like Tuck , oddball, Dissident Voice and learningandcreativity.com. Visited several poetry fest. She teaches English and Poetry in a Govt . Sponsored High school.

Shouvik Narayan Hore

ON THE MOON
Perhaps this July Moon shall wander no more.
The ever radiant object of this still sky,
Flyeth no more, nor feign sympathy’s cry,
But remains present within deep heart’s core.

Tranquil it shines, tranquillity’s colour
Colours her pure soul; No Earthly pastel
Can reflect devotion to night so well,
This must be Nature’s most truest valour.

No star adorns her, nor no cloud obstructs
The lone pilgrim’s view- the pilgrim of love,
Who melancholy removes from worlds above,
As if her rays penetrate darkest ducts

No fancy entreat, for beauty’s the end,
One who hast foreseen would higher be sent.

TO N.D.
Today’s the birthday of melody!
No nature’s music sounds more natural
I ascend the ultimate Poet’s tree!
How carefully careless thee, Songstress!
I cannot but drown in thy enamelled sea.
No harp, no lyre, no flute better dress
Thy sweetly sad song a Heaven’s seagull
Could only deliver; Oh! If this debris
Would listen to my Cuckoo’s preceptor sing
This poignantly pleasurable Kingdom’s queen,
I have not been prouder, nor lovelier been
Any song, for this past melancholy bring.

For I have overcome outrushing fears,
Thy voice transcends from the valleys of tears.

 ELEGIAC NOTES
“With ye, my dear, what tumult dare suppress,
What mountainous valleys journeys disturb?
To what breaking limits the dismal press?”
Loud saith he, as we prepared to curb

That day, whilst the clouds thundered with rain,
Night’s darkening sky like monsters prancing
The visage of forests- beyond lies the Main,
Where can be overheard Oceans dancing
And adversities more, the snow capped peak,
The silver smeared beauty through those woods bleak,
But while the clouds clapped beneath the Heaven,
Seen not one hope save one retreating raven,
We thought and thought of that freedom unseen,
Yet moved not an inch, for the moon would not gleam.

WHERE ARE THEY?
Where are those purple dawns and purple dusks?
Those twilights that twinkled on violets blue,
The perfume of dendrons whose sensuous musk
Travel many a mile; Oh! What bizarre flu?
What fever was it? Why was slipped away?
Why now are my senses betrayed of thee?
When sunk in polluted passions knee deep
What remains to express? What remains to say?
No doubt greater truths are nearing history.

How can this virulent world be saved
From infidel airs and morning’s saw dust
From juvenile touches, from illusory sleep?
Cross over this state as Martyrs braved,
And entered the trance of Nature and her crust.

TO THE ROMANTICS
I sit amongst dozens of ancient books,
While Shelley in mystic abodes doth breathe,
Those works of Wordsworth my natural hue shooks
When Haidee in Byron’s vigoured laps writhe,
And Hermes wanders foreign shrubs and weeds,
I sit thinking- should I adopt their creeds?

“No!” says the brain, “Thou art a freelance bird,
A Northern star- why should adopt their ken?
May fluent flow their ideas in thy words,
But must lurk thy emotions in their den?
If heart loves them, love too, with unheeding will
Yet construct thy own warm solitary hill.

How appeal’st me, the blue Sun and the Sky!
The heart of the Classics, my soul’s libertie.  (liberty)

 

Shouvik Narayan Hore  has published two books souvikof poetry- The Horizon of Thoughts and Poet’s Choice(Volume 2).  His poetry has been published twice in The Penwood Review (USA), selected for publication in Journeys Along The Silk Road and Temptation  Of Lost Tower Publications (UK), and published in Taj Mahal Review, Diganto Patrika, Cuckoo, Efflorescence, Labyrinth, Panorama Literaria and Abhih(IND).He is currently the co editor of the Creative section of The Literary Voyage and is pursuing his Masters’ Degree at The University Of Hyderabad.

Asim Kumar Paul

 MORNING AT THE SEA BEACH

Sea water forms waves those have passage on water,

Our world lives on brittle waves at turn of peak stage

 

Upon flowing of gravitation that pulls every breaking point

Of our mind and scatters loose links to unite or reunite

 

Upon the shore, where footsteps mark the presence of life,

Weather forms passage for gyration to the planet’s climate.

 

Words of waves speak with golden sun in this morning.

 

A SUNLIT WATER-ISLAND

A sunlit water-island, morning looks

At the sea, earth says, “The Nature”.

It is the wonderland that looks beautiful.

 

No place have we found to put this to compare,

It creates super-exposition of state of art,

Mind cites trumped beauty at eyes’ fulfilment.

 

We are just staying under this view,

From the shore where wet sand takes dip,

And above is the sky, our shoulders relies

 

On the battlefield of world, trails of words

Stealth mind’s mirror, sharp introduction

To nature’s service, like rainbow after rain.

 

Nearest and dearest ones do change mind

A parallel likeness harbors rhyme and stillness

With dependent lovers’ sail for loving trail.

Asim Kumar Paul is a retired person. He is of 66 years of age. He lives ASIM KUMAR PAUL 1with his wife at Kharagpur town, West Bengal, India. He has four publications of poetry books, 1. Three Poems (2005), 2.Winter Shade to His Liking (2007), 3.Azure (2010). These three books are praised by eminent poet, Dr Benjamin Zephaniah of UK. His fourth poetry book is Poetry Album (2014). And he has one poetry brochure SCULPTURE (2015) Asim has two poetry blogs 1. http://asimkumarpaul.blogspot.in/2.http://asimkumarpaul.wordpress.com/.Asim’s full Bio-data is at the link,https://www.flickr.com/people/asim_kumar_paul/

Saheli Mitra

BUDS THAT NEVER BLOSSOMED

Have you ever torn a bud before it flowered?
Rudely awakening the silence of a sleeping soul it harboured.
That would have otherwise blossomed
Looking up at the sun and
blessing the Earth?
Your brutal curiosity left you
with just a few sepals!
You missed the gradual spread
of the whorls,
Vibrant hues that could have brought spring                                                                           to your worn out wintry months

 

Or perhaps you never did
mutilate a bud?
But they did.
Not one, but several.
They snatched those budding lillies
from their frail cradles,
Rudely terrifying the innocence
of blooming eves.
Threw them into dungeons of slavery
Brutally tore them, stripped them naked,
To check?
They were left just with soft flesh and clotting blood.
They missed the halo around them
that could have brought heavenly bliss
To their otherwise demonic lives.
Buds fell, Heaven lost, Demons bloomed.

 

 BLOWING IN THE WIND

Just between now and nowhere
as I was busy whisking a homeward flock

that was utterly lost in the maze of smoke and dust,
I brushed in flurry your muddy skirt.
You clasped it hard
Refuting my inviting charm.
Yet I was thrilled,
to delve under your skin,
And so were you to touch and feel
Something you have never seen.

And then between now and next
I played on dancing flower stalks,
Breaking twigs, rustling leaves,
chasing wings, whistling weaves,
I wafted past your wrinkled arms.
You covered them down
In your ashen gown,

Yet I never stopped whispering aloud,
Between this day and next
I will find my way.
Steering tonight
Blowing off your candle light.
And how hard you try
to keep that flicker alive,
You will blow along as free as me
On my wings to unknown lands.

 

SEARCHING ALONG

Miles I went, miles I will tread again,
dreaming of sailing out
between this night and that day.
On a yacht of twinkling stars
between my room and your quay,
That you chose to cross alone one day.

Miles I will float again.
Riding on a rain-cloud
between these eyes and your shadows,
threatening to burst open,
Spilling a river of sorrows.

Miles I will run again,
Slipping on a crystal train,
between these seconds and those decades,
Smashing moons of Jupiter
kissing craters where you stood,
Zooming past the dust storm
Hoping to find you soon.

Only then will I stop
counting miles
That I took.
Do I see your steps across the quay
That someday you took?
Did you turn around to give me
one last look?

Saheli Mitra is a journalist, poet, author and blogger from themitra vibrant country India. She uses poetry primarily as a tool of protest against the patriarchal Indian society as well as against war and terrorism rocking the world today. Her first romantic novel Lost Words was internationally launched in 2014. Her verses have featured in several national and international literary journals like Yellow Chair Review, Piker Press USA, Tuck Magazine, Learning and creativity, Du-Kool, Taj Mahal Review, Red Balloon Anthology and many more. She runs a blog on women issues called allabouteve. 

Bipul Banerjee

Blue flames

Silently heat the vessel of passion

Dark fantasies brew in emotions

Aroma of exotic attractions

Draws you near my cup

Print your lips

Drink me

Sip by Sip

Hit the orgasmic peak

Quench the yearning of lust

Slowly,

Gradually,

When peaks come down

Put me back in place

Prevent from shattering

For I shall serve once again

When your lows

Take you over….

 

The Phoenix ….

Knowingly I took the savaged route,

Carrying a heartfelt of misunderstood emotions

Journey romantically uncertain

Twists and turns of drastic quantum

A toil of dawn to ‘dusk’

Laboring to suture the torn

Skidding, Slipping, still holding on

Uncanny efforts to mend all

For the one all intended

Smashed in

Shattered the fragile to pieces many

Sarcastically smiling : all broken and done !!

The ‘dusk’ is a little known Phoenix

Risen from ashes of hell

Burnt

Buried

Broken

Written off several times

Ah! that is the infliction’s perception

While each broken bit reunites,

I will be one again…

 

Love Chemistry…

I dive deep in your ocean blue eyes

In pursuit of pearls of emotions,

Ego,

Self-pity,

Pride,

All dissolved on the way…

I the solute,

You the solvent

WE the solution of Love…

 

Thunder Love..

The bolt of thunder,

Illuminating skies of feelings,

Traveling faster than the sound of expressions

Clouds of impregnated emotions,

Dropping honey dew love.

Cracked bare landscapes of self

Sucking greedily like a hungry child

Rainbow of hope,

Ensure Love,

To me, to you, to all the deprived and yearning …….

 

Yours truly

When hopes are bleak

Opportunities sleek

When despair rules

Misery the tool

When appreciation is gone

Ridicule is on

Used

Battered

Tattered

Forlorn

Forgone

Lime Lights replaced

Spots of darkness covered

Standing in eternal time

Arms stretched

I behold

Come seek refuge

In abandoned temples of Love

The bell still rings

The light still glimmers

I pour the oils of self

Keeping the flame ablaze

No questions asked

No shame inflected

Come home

For your hustling emotions

Need some rest !!

 

 

Bipul Banerjee :The author is a sales and marketing professional With bipula degree in science and M.B.A in marketing.Pursuing Ph.D in marketing and industry experience of 20 years.He has a passion for writing poems capturing human emotions in words.

Rahul Ahuja

Departure

Cloudy nights travel in dewy realms

of my nostalgic tears

 

Dusky longings of your horizon

washes away the sand castles of my infatuation

 

My half-wrecked ship struggles

to reach the abyss of your ocean

 

Rains arrive and depart in my isolated town

I pluck out few withered dreams

from the rainforest of your eternal sleep

 

You left vague footprints of your silent departure

upon the marshy land of our memories

 

I follow them every day in my craving to reach you.

 

 

Rahul Ahuja is a poet hailing from Surat located in Gujarat. He feels that ahujapoetry is a fortuitous journey. His poems have been published in several national and international anthologies. He won the “Poiesis Award” for the third place in the 4th Rabindranath Tagore Award- International Competition 2015. May it be a crumpled leaf, floating clouds or trees; he loves to observe the essence of nature which has also inspired him to pen down his poems. Being a lover of art, he believes that everything around us is art and poetry. He can be reached at rahulahuja159@gmail.com.

 

Sheikha A

When I was

When was I interred with the seed

of kindness –

 

was it when I was cast from the sky,

thrown like rain

 

on an earth that knew of only despair

and wanton; my soul was clipped

to my feet like a slave

 

to follow and I lead, with a mind

but without scripture;

 

what was my wrong – the share of

grains I snatched

 

from the hands of a worker,

was it my hunger

 

despite all of nourishment my blood knew

 

the greed of teeth that bore

the taste of  the apple

 

the sour juices that turned sweet

with every bite

 

was it my glare of the hardest rock

not even a sun could break

 

was it my tongue that brittled

the skin of a malleable heart

 

when was I given the stick of itr

to purify myself

 

for when I fell as rain,

I smelt of tears and sin

 

but you promised me a plan

and handed me a map

of many junctions

 

and I stopped at the one that fed

me water from its dying well.

 

The False Prophet

(after Oscar Wilde’s The Fisherman and His Soul)

The dust swirled around in coils

before being sucked back into the box;

 

a staircase rolled down from the sky

and the king of stars walked majestically

 

not to earth, but midway left his step

and let the wind float his body, vertical

 

tall like a long rod over a low horizon,

the air burnt of sweet fragrant incenses;

 

the land opened its gate, and a soul rose

to be taken to his home in the high sky

 

and waited for the heavy mantle of gold,

the silver from the rich seas, and amber

 

stones of purity to garnish his finger;

a sound rang from the horn of the finest

 

ram, and an angel on his wings swiftly

swept to where the soul hung to his breath

 

last; the king stood over the grey foams

of where a man was killed, and the soul

 

spoke in pride as his body became covered

in red dust from the heat of scorched sand,

 

and the king said to him:

 

the prophet for you has always been

no man, but merely an opinion.

 

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 200 of her poems have been published in 70 different literary venues quarter-ways across the globe, such as Red Fez, Mad Swirl, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Penmen Review, Open Road Review, The Muse, Poetic Diversity, Poetry Pacific, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, Earthen Lamp Journal, Knot Magazine and several others including many anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India

Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo

Kindred Spirits

there is this lingering memory from the past
which haunts me day and night
an echo reminiscing the days gone by
accompanied by a sweet whisper
as if carried by the whistling wind
with an angelic voice caressing my ears
as I travel back in time…

a countenance which I can vividly remember
but can’t seem to fathom where have I first seen him in my lifetime
you invade my dreams and I caught myself entering a meadow
with bright, illuminating lights of different hues
enveloping my soul, lifting my spirit and forgetting all my cares for a while
an echo from the past which I often go back to
a lingering memory of a dream within a dream…

twin flames meet in different lifetimes
and you could be the soul my heart is trying to search for
the face of an angel I could see
but it felt like a distant memory
deep within me, I know you are the missing piece
and when the Perfect Time comes dear Kindred Spirit
you would not just be an echo anymore as we finally find each other…

Copyright Author/Poet Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo
December 11, 2015

When a Writer Falls In Love with You

Remember that time I told you when a writer falls in love with you, you will never die?
That is oh, so true for my love flows eternal and runs deeper in time,
It is engraved from the innermost core of my being and infinite, boundless
Beyond time and space, for I give it freely and not to be begged for.

A love that is beyond mere words and sweet whisperings
For ever beating long after the soul leaves the body to go back to its true Home.
Stories of you will be written as my love bleeds eternal portraits of your serene face enveloping my mind as it drifts away…
Characters which will remind me of your traits will be created on and on.

Poems of love only for you will be composed time and again,
With every beat of my heart, your name will be the only one to be uttered
I will not run out of words to tell you how much you mean to me
Call me a hopeless romantic but that is how a writer was born to be.

When I decide to give my heart, every written word will be dedicated for only you,
How can you die when I can create a thousand fold of stories in which I will let you live in my heart forever?
With every ink that I bleed, you are the one I will only think of
Yes, when a writer falls in love with you, you are forever alive!

Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo is a multi-awarded and widely-cpublished contemporary writer/poet/artist/editor/speaker from the Philippines and the author of “Seasons of Emotions” (UK), and “Inner Reflections of the Muse” (USA).Her articles and poems have appeared in international online magazines and literary magazines. She has co-authored more than 60 international poetry anthologies in the USA, UK, Canada, Romania, Africa and India. This includes “Live Life: A Daydreamer’s Journal”, a world record holder for the most number of artists contributing to an anthology, a global charity anthology for the benefit of the American Cancer Society released 2012

Gary Beck

 

To the Lost Children

At night I hear the cries,

mostly ignored

by fellow citizens

of dwindling moral sway,

too preoccupied

with their fears

to stem the flow of tears

from tormented children,

screamed at, beaten by Mom,

tortured by the boyfriend,

murdered for gobbling candy,

for not using the toilet,

getting in someone’s way,

easier to remove

then to comfort, educate,

give a chance

to become a person,

survive a daily diet

of indigestible abuse

shocking the brain cells

until they no longer learn,

shattering the heart

until it no longer feels,

locked away in prison shell

a simulacra of youth

amputated from humanity.

 

The shattered discards,

punished for being born,

the wrong place, wrong time,

to the wrong people

unfit to raise children

whatever the reason,

corroding the minds and souls,

destroying the bodies,

creating twisted creatures

who cannot adapt

and succumb to rot of the street

in indifferent cities,

arbitrarily denied

the right to join the system,

with hopes, dreams, aspirations,

consigned to urban trash piles

for a tarnished existence.

 

Yet they watch the same tv

as the rest of us

and cannot comprehend

why they are deprived,

with no structure

to provide guidance

turn to crime, violence,

a desperate attempt

to get the goods they crave

dangled tantalizingly

out of honest reach.

But they never see beyond

the nearest store to rob,

the nearest victim to mug,

oblivious to the system

that manufactures monsters

from what should have been humans.

 

I do not sleep well at night

having seen the suffering

of so many children,

helpless to alter their fate,

knowing it is worse

in third world countries,

but the anguish never leaves me

that I cannot prevent

the horrors that go on

all over America.

 

 

Ode to the Passage of Time

When young,

preparations to go out,

grab a jacket,

no fuss, no complications,

no farewells,

gone.

When old,

preparations to go out,

laboriously dress,

lengthy bathroom visit,

double check

keys, phone, wallet,

climb into wheelchair,

slowly depart.

 

 

Health Problems

You have an ailment,

go to the doctor,

wait and wait.

 

Finally your turn.

The nurse leads you

to an examination room,

says she’ll be right back

to take blood pressure.

You wait and wait.

 

Finally she comes back,

draws blood,

technique acquired

from bayonet course,

says doctor will be a minute.

You wait and wait.

 

Doctor arrives with your chart,

barely looks at you,

does superficial check-up,

says he doesn’t know what’s wrong,

refers you to a specialist,

will write a painkiller prescription.

You wait and wait.

 

The nurse returns,

gives you the prescription,

after four hours

you’re free to leave.

 

You phone the specialist,

get an appointment

in three months,

so you’ll wait and wait

to resolve whatever ailment

makes you rear for your health.

 

 

Thinking of Farewells

I do not despair

at the approach of death,

having lived much longer

than expected.

 

I do not spend my time

musing about what comes next,

for the promises of man

are polluted by his deeds.

 

I can’t believe in heaven

when children suffer on earth

endless, heart-wrenching torments

from those who should protect them.

 

The self-righteous always claim

that we should accept on faith

what we do not understand,

yet there can’t be faith without justice.

 

In a cruel, unjust world

the promise of an afterlife

has always appealed to many,

desperate for something better.

 

I do not know if after death

there is punishment or reward.

I think there will be nothingness,

but I can’t imagine nothingness.

 

I have learned that my regrets

for the evil I have done

can’t erase the harm I have done.

There’s no atonement for my past.

 

I live each day with memories,

some good,  some painful,

and I can only try harder

to do better before I die.

 

 

Purpose

I do not know

what comes after this life,

despite the efforts

of various religions

to describe the next station

on a haphazard journey

with few guidelines

that can be trusted,

judging by the behavior

of my fellow beings.

If it turns out

I have a choice,

my preference

is for rebirth

according to merit.

Of course, due to my sins

of commission and omission

I would return

at a lower level

than human,

assumed by fellow beings

to be the highest state

of existence,

but what I have seen

of the works of man

convinces me

there should be something better,

perhaps a simple creature

genetically determined

to subsist,

reproduce,

not destroy too much

of the beleaguered Earth,

then pass on,

barely noticed

in the choreography of things.

 

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, andgary1 as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance will be published by Dreaming Big Press. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Stanley H. Barkan

THE SHOESHINE BEGGAR OF CHONGQING

 He wet my left shoe,

I didn’t agree but let him continue.

 

He rubbed it with a cloth,

brushed it once.

 

Then he pushed the left away

and pointed to the right.

 

I moved my right shoe

onto the box.

 

He wet and rubbed, clothed,

and brushed it.

 

Then held out his hand.

I gave him 5 Yuan.

 

He shook his head.

I shrugged my shoulders.

 

He pleaded with his eyes.

Again shook his grizzled head.

 

Finally, I gave him another Yuan.

But he rubbed his belly.

 

I patted his right shoulder

and shook my head.

 

He went on to another

who refused his footwork.

 

Now, I think of his thin, gray

stubbled face, eyes full of mirth.

 

But, most of all, his rubbing his belly—

regretting I didn’t give him at least a dollar.

 

 

 

SAILING THE YANGTZE

After listening

to the song of the bells,

struck by thick long sticks,

each larger than a man,

and the echoes of the stones,

the sonorous whistling

of the mouth blowing

the bamboo lusheng,

and the plucking of the strings

on ancient zithers . . .

 

After watching

the young girls

in red silk

trimmed with gold,

topped with

hats of Chinese calligraphs . . .

 

After amazed

at the works

of a distant past,

long before Moses

wandered/wondered

in the desert,

long before

even the pharaohs

dreamed of structures

to contain their

imagined immortality,

signals to the gods

charioteering

in the distance

of ten-thousand li . . .

 

I feel the pull

of the river’s current,

gliding along the paths

of my yearning . . .

 

Buried in the belly

of the cruise ship,

half-awake,

I prepare to rise,

to lift up mine eyes

unto the mountaintops,

there in the mists,

there beyond the Three Gorges . . .

 

Listen!—

the rush of water

over rocks,

over rocks,

cascading down

into the subterranean

meanderings of the

mind of myth and magic . . .

and pure exhilaration.

 

 

 BATHING IN DEW

 “. . .  those who bathed in the dew

were believed to become immortals.”

—Robert Payne, The White Pony

 

They say that those who bathe

in the morning dew become immortals.

Thus, I leave my plate outside

waiting for the rise out of the grateful earth.

Each dawn, the dew returns the rain to the sky

so that the clouds can form again and fly to all

dry spots of earth, and spill their load.

Thirsty, the earth drinks in the offering of sky

and new shoots spring out of the saturated dark.

Then, each time the last star appears beside

the golden moon, and the shafts of sunlight

begin to strike the earth, the dew comes up and up,

flying like a string of kites, up and up into the sky.

Catch the morning rise, bathe in it, drink it—

become immortal as a kite slipped from its tether

becomes part of the clouds which come from the earth

and inevitably returns again and again to its mother, the sky.

 

 

 

KITE-FLYING ON THE YANGTZE

 Two long-tailed fish,

green & orange-feathered birds,

in tandem, each kissing

the tail of the other,

long-stringed kites in the wind . . .

lines strung above the top deck

of the cruise ship sailing the Yangtze . . .

a wide-winged eagle & long-faced snake,

stretch long, long into the sky . . .

a pig-tailed Chinese girl pulls at the cords

to control the currents of the winds . . .

fingers seeking, finding the source,

kitetails tattering the gusts . . .

 

 

MESSAGE IN A SNUFF BOTTLE

Inside the crystal snuff bottle,

the thin L-bent brush paints

calligraphs & figures of ancient China—

eighteen buddhas in meditation,

emperors at various rituals,

children playing games,

women in various dress,

poems of Li Po & Tu Fu . . .

The girl, Mei Li, who paints them

(whose name means “beautiful”),

comes from a family

(brother, father, mother)

who practice this rare art

(fewer than 100 among

the more than a billion

still have the mastery).

Now twenty-two, Mei Li

has been painting thus

since she was six.

She shares her work,

she says, with “new-old friends,”

then disappears inside

a bottle

in a box

on a ship

on the Yangtze

sailing to,

through,

somewhere

beyond the Three Gorges . . .

 

Stanley H. Barkan, Poet/Publisher of Cross-Culturalstanly barkanCommunications 239 Wynsum Avenue Merrick, NY 11566-4725/USA.
E-mails: cccpoetry@aol.com ; cccbarkan@optonline.net
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