February 2023: Writer/poet of the month – Deeya Bhattacharya

Deeya Bhattacharya is a PUSHCART PRIZE Nominee (2022) and a published poet based out of Kolkata. Her works span the internet in various poetry sites, journals and e-zines. She has to her credit nine anthologies. She is a poetry critic and co-edited an Anthology on Autism under the banner of “Different Truths” publication 2018, India. Some of her works have appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review (USA), Shot Glass Journal, Oddball Magazine (USA), Piker Press, OVS Mag, The Green Silk Journal (USA) and many more. Her debut collection of poems Ashes of a Collage has currently been published by Penprints Publication India.2022

Apart from writing poetry, she teaches in a GOVT-SPONSORED Higher-Secondary School in West-Bengal, India.


Here are some poems by Deeya Bhattacharya:


Scars

You have a home near the sea
ticking in an hourglass –
The fragrance of the sand here
is a memory
You long for a real home.


Here dragons breathe fire
In fierce Orient tales of
finest silken weave. A garden of
ephemeral sadness
houses nymphs handing over
legacies to generations of mankind.

You have handed me a paper
full of scribbles and lost hopes.
In one of them, I see an old man
dancing to a tambourine, his
hat full of coins, jingling from 
one end to the other. His toothless smile
serpents like births an effortless Twilight
of dreams being sorted- the good ones
from the bad and each a chapter
in discomforting darkness where your body
searches for mine, and we swim past
stars making love, their bodies
full of scars.

Urban Love

You smile

I cook inherent necessity in it

an ugly dish of overcooked veggies

stale meat, burnt pie

served in a chaotic manner,

You smile.

I calculate the oddity of it against

an unsanctioned appetite and as I

watch the sky, I unlearn the mysteries

of Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez.

I often complain of the musty air

that accompanies a hungry night,

my survival instinct turning gibberish

lacklustre, and downpour of longing

rain smashing against the window pane

seeping in.

I inhabit-

the by lanes of an intimate city, its gullies

the flavour of its pickles, unsavoury ghettoes.

Far somewhere

the strumming of a guitar accompanies the

expedite in war, immigration, industry and agriculture.

The art of losing

isn’t hard to master

so many things seem filled with the

intent to be lost.

The loss is no death.

A galaxy dies like a snowflake

falling on water, and I figure out

the lost syllables of urban love

Megata’s Dream.


The sky was starlike in Megata’s dream,
thousand fireflies giving birth to a
luminous sea in her eyes-

Suddenly, the falling star, the sky
spreads out its talons in an open embrace
and threw up

What emerged on Megata’s palm was
the slushy embrace of colonial bruises
stored in silicone jars buried underneath
the ailing earth.

The dribbling juice on her vicious palm
the bed of primeval loam, where
centuries of civilizations lay secrete.

Her predator eyes, emerald blood
sienna lips all drank from the visceral earth.

This and everything at once, wrapped up
dissipated carrying in its wake the
curse of Medusa, an evanescent dream
Megata’s Dream.

Deeya Bhattacharya

Advertisement

Translation Services by Vatsala Radhakeesoon – 2023

Dear Authors/Poets,

I’m back to my translation services for 2023.

If you wish to have your poetry chapbooks, poetry books, children books (prose and poetry) translated from
English to French
French to English
Mauritian Kreol to English
English to Mauritian Kreol
please feel free to send them to :

vatsfrankness@gmail.com

Translation Fee: $0.08 (Rs 3.52 Mauritian currency) per word

Translation of Individual poems may also be considered. Please send a minimum of 5 poems if you wish to have a small number of your poems translated. Those poems will be published on my blog.



Payment Method: PayPal


Looking forward to working with you.

Thank you in advance,

Kind regards,

Vatsala Radhakeesoon
Poet/Translator

January 2023: Writer/poet of the Month – Dustin Pickering

 Dustin Pickering is the founder of Transcendent Zero Press, USAHe has contributed writing to Huffington PostCafé Dissensus EverydayThe Statesman (India), Journal of Liberty and International AffairsThe Colorado ReviewWorld Literature Today, and several other publications. He was placed in the top 100 out of 12,500 entries for the Erbacce prize in 2021, and was a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal’s first short fiction contest. He was longlisted for the Rahim Karim World Prize in 2022 and given the honor of Knight of World Peace by the World Peace Institute that same year. He hosts the popular interview series World Inkers Network on YouTube.


Here are some poems and a short story by Dustin Pickering:

I want now

i want now to want more,
something under me is demanding.
the hours watch as light descends, hours passing.
tilting my head from one height to another,
i recognize her autumn loves.

the soul does not cry for the red wraith.
she is distant from this island of time.
opaque are beaches of broken eyes—
o, but they will never want me.
trees guard the sanctity of life.

think again of the bridge you burnt
in the stillness of one a.m.
the iambic of your spirit kills the frivolous.
much divinity is compunction
to this discerning eye.

i want now to want you,
to engage your sleepy touches
and think only of the medicine
of your powers, my doctor,
my favorite, my eyes…

The scent of musk, the scent of mink

I wander within the closed error—
Time knows nothing of me
My womb winnows through the silence.
Charred remains are rivers and chasms.

I come close to the night as the stars glisten
on my face. An error, an error,
Nothing knows me as the same universe
When I am in love with the imagination.


Glow with me, sense the starving animal
Within me—
A dying dream of flaxen earth, fallen and afraid.
The mind ignores crimson derelicts
Hypnotized on the streets of bliss.
Blacker than the sounds of harmonies free,
The mannequin silenced on the bridge
Where suicides never happened,
We listen to each other
As the fuckery ends.

New Birth

sleep the shallows,
sleep the currents,
drown the majestic,
eat the righteous plum.

shadow your eyes,
shadow the stars,
do not look for grace,
there is nothing beyond!

sleep as a child,
do not bite your hands,
keep the pencil rolling
on the desk of your heart.

we hear your voice,
we know the singing of time,
all is a fabrication of the beastly nature,
animals are the soul.


do not demand demons,
uncloistered harmonies;
instead think of the molecules dancing,
science is a new birth. 

Christmas Wishes

At the end of the evening we walked together until we reached her porch. She gave me a peck on the cheek as if to tell me she was fond. I felt that I was in love but did not have the ability to mouth it.

She turned, her golden locks of hair bounced against her back. I felt her back was most savory and gentle part of her. When she turned to walk askance, I felt the hinges of love turn in my heart. Somehow I knew she was to be my future wife and I, her husband.

She smiled toward me one last time before entering her house. Then she waved each individual finger at me in goodbye. We planned to see each other, spontaneously, because our relationship had reached that point. As I shifted my attention to the left of me, I noticed a small mulberry bush. Some of its leaves were tinged bright red like holly. Christmastime was nearing and I felt warm in an attentive golden glow from the shining sun above.

I smiled and walked back to my shabby apartment three streets down. I swung my gloves around happily as a schoolboy.

*

Midnight neared as I listened carefully to the bells outside. They struck delirious chords in the aftermath of my sleep. I woke several hours before and could not return to my dream state. In my dream, she was with me and we were children again. Clouds mistily hung above us, developing heaviness like a tired eye.

As they neared we were happily engaging with one another, laughing and talking as children do when there is else to occupy them. Finally I looked up and saw what appeared to be a shaft of light, sword-like, emerging from the dismal thickness of clouds. The sky appeared filled with strange moods and images. I was frightened but heroic in protecting my love.

When I awoke, it was early in the darker hours. I sighed heavily in relief.

She would be near me again and my passion would be foresworn momentarily.

*

I arrived at her house at the usual hour. The maid told me she was not home.

“Can I wait?” I asked.

“No, she won’t return for some time now,” the maid replied. Her nose turned up to the sky briefly in an arrogant manner.

I held my umbrella. When the door shut before me, I felt tears on my cheeks. Anger overrode my ability to think. Do they think just because I am a poor scholar, I cannot love a gentle woman such as she?

My teeth bit into my lip a little before I became aware. I looked at the same tree as I had seen before. A young boy dressed all in white sat at the bush now.

“Hello sir,” he said to me. “Would you care for a newspaper?” I reluctantly responded. My initial impulse was to turn quickly away.

“You have to answer me before you leave.”

“Who are you?” I asked in sudden shame. I stuttered slightly in speech.

“Well, sir. I am the Ghost of Beastliness.”

“OK, so this is some Dickens’s, novel I walked into?” I chuckled.

“I have a question for you sir.”

“Other than the one you already asked?” I responded with impatience.

“No, or I actually I mean yes,” the boy said.

“Make up your mind,” I snapped.

“Well that is what I was going to ask you.”

“OK, going forward…”

“If I offered you 100 million dollars to kill your girlfriend, and I would protect you from repercussions, would you do it?”

“What kind of lousy question is that?” I snarled. “Of course not.”

“What if I also said you would die yourself if you refused?” The boy smiled with a passive charm.

“What is at stake here?”

“Nothing but your life, or her life.” I was suddenly aware the boy was dressed in a boy sailor outfit and had a devilish grin.

“What other choices would I have?” He intrigued me although I could not figure him out.

“None, her or you. 100 million dollars or your life.” There was small glint in his eye when he asked.

“Who are you, really?”

“The Ghost of Beastliness, sir. Nothing more.”

Again I started to leave but a strong wind gripped me like a man carrying a sidearm. “What, what was that?”

“You cannot leave. You see how they treat you, Make a choice.”

“Well, would the death be painless?” As my selfish impulses took root, the red on the mulberry appeared to be droplets of blood, thickening and oozing on the leaves. The sun appeared more like gold to my greedy impulse.

“Painless, yes,” the boy said. “Of course.”

“What is at stake? I don’t understand why you suggest I must choose one or the other.”

“This is to test you.”

“And if I pass?” I felt relieved.

“You can’t pass. This determines what direction your life will take from here.”

“On whose authority do you stand before me?”

“God.”

“And God seeks my answer?” I shouted.

“No, he seeks your resolve.” The boy grinned slightly, cocking his head to the side.

“In that case I can no longer bear this question! I choose to kill her!”

“Good. Moving forward you will encounter me again, but I will be in a blue suit instead of white and I will be somewhat older.” The boy then disappeared.

I stood still, in shock. My teeth were clenched tight and tears welled in my eyes.

*

The next morning I woke as usual. I walked to her place as I was accustomed. She was there. She dressed casually in green.

I smiled shyly after my meeting with the boy.

“Hello, my love…”

“Hello, Gregory.”

“Good afternoon, isn’t it?” I said.

“I think so,” she smiled. I was relieved she was alive.

“What do we do today?”

“We can go to the library and observe the children,” she spoke with high-minded candor.

“Yes, can we talk on the way?” I wasn’t sure what we would talk about,

“Oh, of course, We always do, do we not?” She chuckled. Suddenly I observed that her smile was patronizing somehow.

“I feel something has changed between us. I don’t know what.”

“Well, do go on then,” she said.

“How do I tell you what happened to me yesterday? I met a young boy.”

“OK, so was he kind?”

“Yes. No. I honestly don’t know.” I stood still a moment. How could I tell her?

“Well do tell me what this boy said, or did.”

“I can’t…I…this has really changed my conscience… my vision of myself…I don’t know how to tell you.”

“This sounds serious for a young boy.”

“Believe me, it was devastatingly serious.”

We stood at the library doors. I suddenly took a deep breath.

“Well, tell me then.”

“Listen, I can’t. It’s just too much. I cannot even believe what I experienced. This boy, he asked me something.”

“What did he ask?” Her genial mannerisms were bright to me in the moment.

“I really can’t say. Look, it is very bad that we are here together.” I blinked as I spoke.

“What could you possibly mean?” Her tone was doubtful and frustrated.

*

After the last imbroglio between us, I did not return to visit for a long time.

When I did, there was a young man standing at the door holding a hoop. He spoke in irrational and disturbed phrases but he spoke clearly.

“Got ya on the pantomime, don’t I?”

“What? Oh, god….this isn’t real.”

“What’s not real but the very thing itself?” He laughed like a bully.

“Don’t demand anything from me.”

“Well, look at you, murderer…charmer.”

“What? I’ve killed no one.”

“Oh, no one…as in no one close to you, ever?”

“Look, who are you and why are you haunting me?”

“I am he Ghost of Self-Realization. You sought me, and found me.”

“What?”

“She will be dead in less than two hours. You poisoned her. How is that?” He threw the hoop over me and laughed aggressively as he passed. “No loopholes.”

*

I knocked at her door. No one answered. Finally she called up to me from the window.

“Hello, Gregory!”

I felt relieved again knowing she was alive and well.

“Don’t come in yet, but wait a few minutes. I’ll be down,” she cooed.

“Great!” I felt a shiver of what could have been excitement or fear.

After some time, the door opened and she was before me. She was dressed in a golden dress. Her face seemed to have developed some wrinkles.

“Hello Gregory,” she said in deep tones. She was calmer than before.

“Hi Cynthia,” I said surprised.

“We are just starting Christmas dinner. You can join us. It is a special occasion after all. Togetherness!”

“Yes, togetherness.” I stepped over the hoop and tripped. I heard a rattle in my jacket pocket.

“Um, hang on. Let me gather my composure,” I said.

“Sure, take your time sweetie.”

I felt a stronger bond between us then than ever before.

*

I walked in her house casually. Her folks stood around the Christmas tree. I felt welcome in the home for the first time.

“Oh, my dear Gregory!” Her father chimed and reached his hand out. I shook it gently.

“Oh, it is nice to see you after so long,” her mother said. “We anticipate a big dinner.”

“Great,” I responded. “I am looking forward to the evening.” I heard the rattle in my pocket again. I reached carefully to see what it was, It was a small vial of powder beating against my keys like birds’ wings.

I looked at the vial and I saw the first little boy again.

“Your life or hers, pal.”


Dustin Pickering

November : Writer/poet of the Month – Mihaela Melnic

Born and raised in Romania, Mihaela Melnic later moved to Italy. Her first attempt to writing poetry occurred in 2011 and her prose and poetry are in constant evolution, taking different shapes with every new life experience.

Her first poetry collection, Change of Seasons was published in 2018.

In 2021, Mihaela wrote and published in co-authorship with Scott Thomas Outlar,  the book entitled Evermore. She is currently working on her third poetry book, Layers of rust and life.
Links to her published works in various literary venues and anthologies can be found on her website :
https://telluricverse.wordpress.com/poems

Here are some poems and a short story by Mihaela Melnic:

In the Wheat Field

Alone in the room
where the dark walls shrink,
where the ceiling sinks
underneath the ground
and the mirrors turn
into shards that watch,
I figure myself
in a wheat field with crows
under violent brush strokes|
of a painter’s madness
in times that are gone.

Each shard, a memento.
The crows in flight, a sweet lento.
The blows of wind, an impression.
Each breath, soul’s departure.

(From the book, Change of Seasons)

Two Coins

I consecrate this page to you
for your black wings gleaming in the cars’ headlights.

Once, you must have flown higher
than my imagination.

Erected now on the sidewalk, you guard a newspaper kiosk
gone ablaze during a blink of your eye.

You greet me with the smile of a raven
imbued in lores and history that is soaring in its own sky
embodied in a nomad.

I bet you have green eyes and a soul that is white
that melts and seeps through the cracks of my shaken spirit, becoming a splinter
that I’d rather not pull out.

I think of those who once were alive
as I twist two coins in my pocket.

They sound like rust being scraped off
from the key that opens the door to the afterlife.

I need these coins just as much as you.

( Published by Ariel Chart : https://www.arielchart.com/2022/01/two-coins.html?m=1)

If Time is Ours

If Time is ours,
ours are the pleasures
ours are the struggles|
ours are the heartbeats
for us, from the others.

Ours are the glances
those glances we capture
in the eyes’ golden flecks,
in the grains of sand
of us, human hourglasses.

In electric nights
let us not pine away
before the liquid crystals
beneath the moon in fever
that knows all our secrets.


If Time is ours, then let us release
the stars from our grasp
and take instead the bull
by its horns
or the reins in hand
and a deep breath let’s take!

(From the book, Evermore)

Constant Changes

Impervious, brackish realities made of
roots torn from the origins,
mentality transplants, inhuman efforts, dangling shreds of goals reachable or not.

My spirit seems to be changing
in the eyes of life itself
that peers my every move in amused amazement

waiting for me to become aware
of the nothingness beyond it, |
an abyss that will undoubtedly be
my boundless home

or maybe it already is
while my ear is endlessly strained towards that last, fatal toll.

( An unpublished excerpt from the manuscript, Layers Of Rust And Life scheduled to come out soon.)

And in closure, the short story “The Greatest Conquest” published by Mad Swirl

The Greatest Conquest

For years Milton stood there on my shelf with the sword of St. Michael stuck between ivory pages that are dripping with demonic blood. Yesterday, I picked up the black book of Good and Evil and was resolute to read it thoroughly to better understand the military strategies described in there. I bet Milton displayed great wit. Besides, I always loved English humour.

But then, I don’t know how, I opened it at random and my eyes set on a few lines of Book Second, page 63, and who did I find there? Mammon yearning to dethrone the King of Heaven!

Unbelievable stuff. Hot as hell. I closed the book because I needed to ponder a bit. Too much information in one line.

A flashback of myself reading a cluster of books fulminated me at some point. The SS books, written by A, B, C, etc, some of which by the hand of X, credited though to Z, but only because there is not enough evidence to believe the opposite, in which a people, led by Mr. Y, one gritty, strong in his own way but damn jealous guy, desired to possess other people’s things and territories.

Not even once did Mr. Y bother to say: “Guys, listen to me, I may be a man of war but only up to a certain point. I no longer feel like razing the peaceful peoples we keep coming across during our constant march to find the land that I promised you. We should not scorch these florid hills, rather we should sip with our glances the wild swaying of the desert’s dunes that seem to dance like a woman crazed in her hips in the clutches of the blowing wind. We should go camping elsewhere and set up a luxuriant village up there, look, over there up North or down South. We’ll create it out of nothing, like father did. Come, let’s do it, we’ll have some fun!”

No, Mr. Y never said that.

It never occurred in those bloody pages that Mr. Y ever drew back from the possibility of pulling out his arsenal and settling his tent and his people into countless lands that didn’t belong to them by right. He used the criteria of a chess player caught between tough decisions on his monstrous chessboard. But these are details of little importance.

Thus, I’m afraid I’m done with Milton for now, and with Mr. Y. I’ll probably continue to ignore many things because I didn’t give Milton many chances to make me laugh and expose his war theories, and the cluster of SS horrified me before I even got to read the Apocalypse.

Once I settled Milton back on its shelf, I glanced at my cat thinking at this bitch called Life.

Life nowadays is not easy. We are guests of honor in the Covid-19 Global Pandemonium.

Some provident people have already had the epitaph “Vissi” engraved on their tombs, wisely rented a long time ago for the next one hundred years. Not without reason, but because they’ve heard that it’s good to invest in something if you had a bit of common sense and a little money left. And if you’ve been good in this life, they say, you slip straight into that peaceful dimension where seraphs have been humming their chants ever since they were invented. If you’ve been bad, you end up elsewhere and once there… The more you invested here, the more you’ll have there, they say. For better or for worse.

Maybe I should not linger among those soft clouds and tremendous circles that are fruit of recent fantasy. Mr. Y. never said anything like that.

We have a Bio Beast to deal with.

No more time for digging graves to ensure ourselves a piece of land. The pandemic worked its fulminant way throughout the globe and swept away every shovel that ever dug a hole. Mr. Y. has no idea of what’s going on here and now or he’d take the scales in his own hands, perhaps. But discerning fables from reality is our duty alone, thus, let’s stick to what we know. And we know the beauty and the purity that spring out from the ones we love. Each gesture for a good purpose makes us conquer life anew every single day when we move forward like St. Michael’s sword that tears into shreds every evil, every virus ever created by an entity higher or lower than us .

Mihaela Melnic

October : Writer/Poet of the Month – Ann Christine Tabaka

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020 and 2021,” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 15 poetry books, and 1 short story book. She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking.  Christine lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: Eclipse Lit, Carolina Muse, Sparks of Calliope; The Closed Eye Open, North Dakota Quarterly, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Fourth & Sycamore.

Website: https://annchristinetabaka.com

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/christinetabaka (all her sites listed in one place)

Here are some poems and a micro- story by Ann Christine Tabaka:


Eternal Bond

What else can be so beautiful
as love shared between friends?

Warm summer days stretched out
horizon to horizon.

Remembering
sunshine
rainbow
laughter


Shared secrets & bottles of wine,
as winter painted a snowy landscape
beyond our windowsill.

Embracing across a universe
that knows no time nor space.

Footsteps into an uncertain future,
handholds upon an unforgotten past.

Forevers that lasted forever,
tomorrows that may not come.

Yesterdays that glued us,
in an eternal bond.

*   Published by Qutub Minar Review, April 2022

Learning to Climb the Mountain

I read a book once: The Fear of Flying.
It was not about flying at all.
I climbed a mountain,
spread my wings and tried to soar.
The cat thought I was crazy
as I tumbled to the ground.
I was twenty then.
I did not know my power yet.

Life lingered on the cusp,
the old man shed his beard.
Tides ran their rhythms with the moon.
I idled away my life in snips and dreads,
always going the wrong way,
then doubling back.
I was forty then,
still turning pages to discover who I was.


I visited a Greek Garden once.
It was not in Greece.
I rushed home
to plant my seeds among the thorns.
The sparrows were dismayed
that Doric columns did not grow.
I was too old then.
Too many years had crumbled beneath my feet.

*   Published by The Squawk Back Magazine, November 2021

He Flies His Cage

I have no idea how birds fly. I cannot see their wings
beat past my own gaze. Nor do I feel the air flow of
soft feathers on the wind. I have no idea how a child
becomes what it is not. He left my womb too long ago.
I cannot see his future / grappling with false faith.
He flew away beyond my reach. I am torn in two / feathers
scattered far & wide. A gale escapes my withered lungs.
Wings clipped / I am grounded. I have not gotten there yet,
to that place between life and death. I tried so many times,
in so many ways. I am not as strong as I used to be. I used
to be strong. Life has a way of snatching our dreams
before we are done playing with them. I do not exist
anymore. I am just a shadow left behind in the wilderness.

*   Published by The Pacific Review, June 2022

I Hear the Water

I hear the water.
It calls to me from lakes, and streams, and rivers.

My mother was the ocean.
She carried me on her shoulders above raging storms.

Her strength washed away islands, eroding sin.
Dolphins swam in her dreams and gulls sang of her glory.

I walk on water.
I am her child, the one she bore in sorrow.

Man raped her bounty, polluted her shores,
but still, she did not cry.

I am rain.
I will cry for her.

*   Published by Valiant Scribe, May 2022

Stepping Stones

Sally always loved to play outside in the little stream that ran behind her house. You could find her there on most warm sunny days. She particularly loved it right after the rain, when the water was running fast and high. She would splash in the rushing water as she turned over each stone looking for crayfish and other fascinating creatures, especially the creepy-crawly ones.  Sally liked to pretend that she was a great explorer, and the stream was a mighty river. She would make a game of carefully stepping from stone to stone, trying not to fall off into the treacherous current that she imagined. As long as she could remember, Sally wondered how all the large rocks got into the stream. There were so many, and they almost seemed to have personalities, as if they were more than just stone. Some had features that Sally found curious.  They had expressions on them, as if they had faces. She was fascinated by them and felt as if they were her friends.

One late summer day, Sally decided to go out to play in her stream after dinner. Her parents did not like her being outside alone when it was getting close to dark, so she snuck out without telling them that she was going.  She was full of excitement and wonder at the thought of her new adventure. She felt free and all grown up being out in her stream at dusk. She could not wait to wade in and play among her rocks. 

She was just getting ready to step on a silvery flat-surfaced stone when suddenly one of the largest rocks vibrated, rolled over and stood up straight and very tall.  It became a foreboding creature right before her frightened eyes.  Sally screamed and tried to run, but it was too late.  The rock monster looked at her with an evil glare, then extended an algae covered hand and grabbed her.  Before she knew what was happening, she began to curl up tight and become rigid.  Then, within moments, she became just another rock, among so many other rocks in the little stream, forever keeping their secret hidden from the outside world.

*   Published by World of Myth Magazine, 2019

*   Published in Journeys Anthology / The Writer’s Journey Blog, 2021

Ann Christine Tabaka

September: Writer/poet of the Month – Heath Brougher

Heath Brougher is the Editor-in-Chief of Concrete Mist Press, USA and co-poetry editor of Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Awards for Best Magazine. He received Taj Mahal Review’s 2018 Poet of the Year Award and is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. In 2020, he was awarded the Wakefield Prize for Poetry. He has published 11 books and, after spending over three years editing the work of others, is ready to get back into the creative driver seat for a bit. He has four books forthcoming in 2022 and 2023.

Here are some poems by Heath Brougher:

Peeling Philosophies

Your crow wears hats
and bursts out of your chest
whenever the barometer dips


scrapings, remnants
rule the world
the always knocked off-kilter world
while feathers
drip with blood
in a sudden
Universal guttural

after all the Universe
began with a sudden explosion
a “burst’ if you will
but you won’t admit to it
because you don’t exist.

Metallic Forest

Steel trees bloom above my head,
their tinny foliage gleaming from certain vantage points

along the path in the night, shimmering, as I trek onward
noticing a copper bird’s next built on the silver branches


without a smidgeon of Verdigris. I can’t help but wonder
what happens when the chill of Autumn arrives


with its light aluminium breeze and the iron leaves
fall clanking to the ground beneath the turquoise sun.


But for now it is warm and I pick you a metal rose,
so heavy and shiny and    lifeless

Imitation of Life

The Spirit of pigeons 
from 1800 pastorals 
emanates from a yonder hollow;
flies with thick, paint-heavy wings.

A morning of aerial scissors 
snips kites from the bone colored polka-dot air.
A fallen plastic goldfish
no longer swims through the sky.

In a rare dream, I bought an umbrella
that rained acorns. But that never really happened.
It was only a subconscious projection
experienced within a spurious limelight.

Gonna Lose

A boy floats down Glendale Rd in York, PA—
his girlfriend [I imagine her name is Cricket]
proceeded in her 1999 Jane-like summer shorts
or 2002 Shannon-like tight winter jeans.
Two pieces of twine adorned with an anklet     
to prevent her shoestrings from falling apart. 
She walked into the gloaming downstreet.
She reminded me of love and vitality.
She resembled the perfect mixture 
of Jane and Shannon. 


I assume Jane and Shannon have 
disappeared forever into 
the legendary landscapes 
of my sacrosanct youth. 

Heath Brougher

August: Writer/Poet of the Month – Lidia Chiarelli

Lidia Chiarelli is one of the Charter Members of  Immagine & Poesia, the art literary Movement founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007 with Aeronwy Thomas.

Installation artist and collagist. Coordinator of the Dylan Day in Italy.

She has become an award-winning poet since 2011 and she was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from The First International Poetry Festival of Swansea (U.K.) for her broadside poetry and art contribution. Awarded with the Literary Arts Medal – New York 2020.

Six Pushcart Prize (USA) nominations. Grand Jury Prize at Sahitto International Award 2021.

In 2014 she started an inter-cultural project with Canadian writer and editor Huguette Bertrand publishing E Books of Poetry and Art online.

Her writing has been translated into 30 languages and published in more than 150 Poetry magazines, and on web-sites in many countries.

https://lidiachiarelli.jimdofree.com/

https://lidiachiarelliart.jimdofree.com/

https://immaginepoesia.jimdofree.com/

Here are some poems and an essay from Lidia Chiarelli:

My liquid world

(amid winds of war)

to Dylan Thomas


This ashen day in March
opens with dancing shadows –
images carved in the air
of the Spring still too far.
An insidious mist enshrouds me
in crescendo.

Among echoes in subtle vibration
teach me, Dylan, to take shelter in
my liquid world


teach me to feel the pulse
of the tides that ceaselessly
ebb and flow


And while time and space dissolve
in the primordial roar of the ocean

teach me to fly away, with you, from
the void … of this bewilderment  of that insanity*

* from: Although through my bewildered way


February Mist

Tribute to “I genitori perduti” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 (March 24 1919-February 22 2021)

In Washington Square
where the first light gets lost
and the seagulls are the lords of the wind
you have found your family
today.
Bewilderment and silence in your every breath.
Your mother’s faded smile greets you
in the morning mist
and  your father turns to you
as you are listening to
your brothers’ muffled call.
Then through a blanket of vapor
all together you slide
towards the gray horizon
– extreme, borderless spaces –
towards that vacuum swirl
further and further away

Ocean Greyness
to Jackson Pollock

There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death…

Emily Dickinson
Solitude

in the unreal grey
of these liquefied lines
in the vortex
of a sea of steel
where shadows stretch
darker and darker.


I listen to
the breath of
the October wind-


echoes in subtle vibrations
like a slow crescendo
like a gloomy, confused whisper.

The sky has a pearl glow.

The horizon
no longer shines through
in the distance.

(Tribute to  Ocean Greyness  painting by Jackson Pollock, 1953)

Poppy Red

I put my hands among the flames

Sylvia Plath


Of that summer
you had no memories
only red poppies
small flames
that burned your soul
a thousand poppies
open wounds
bleeding
inside you.
Your journey in search of oblivion
started in the soundless  hours of the day
now lost
in the barren paths of the mind.
Then  long sunset strips
sad omens
stained the sky red
slowly
surrounding  you
in deep muffled silence

Rhapsody in Gray

to Tamara de Lempicka

… I mark
On the horizon walking like the trees
The wordy shapes of women

Dylan Thomas


Beverly Hills, California, 1939

Lightly the paintbrush slips
on the canvas caressing
elongated bodies
women behind steering wheels
 an enigma inside
 melancholy and distracted eyes.

Soaring skyscrapers
take form
in bold vertical lines.

Reflections of alabaster
flood
a road in the night
interlocking games
and new geometries.


The modulated sounds of a saxophone
come from afar
while in the light
of street lamps
shadows descend in
long variegated spirals of
iridescent gray.

EKPHRASTIC POETRY THEN AND NOW

One of the most interesting aspects of today’s poetry is  Ekphrastic Poetry.

The term “ekphrastic” originates from a Greek expression for description. According to the Oxford Classic Dictionary ekphrasis is an extended and detailed literary description of any object, real or imaginary.

 In antiquity one of the earliest forms of ekphrasis can be found in “The Iliad,” when Homer provides a long account of the detailed scenes engraved on the shield of Achilles.  In Greek literature, the relationship between art and poetry was examined  by Simonides of Keos (c. 556 – 468 BC) who stated: “Η ζωγραφική είναι ποίηση που σιωπά”  “ Painting is a silent poetry.” In Latin literature, Horace (65 – 8 BC), in his “Ars Poetica” said: “Ut pictura poesis” meaning “As is painting, so is poetry.”  And Leonardo da Vinci in “A Treatise on Painting” states, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

Ekphrastic poetry flourished particularly in the Romantic era; a notable example  is “Ode on a  Greek Urn”  by John Keats. This poem is the description of a piece of pottery that the poet considers very evocative. He formulates a hypothesis about the identity of the lovers who appear to play music and dance, frozen in perpetual motion.  Other examples of the genre were common in the nineteenth century and twentieth century. Let’s remember two particularly significant:  Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poem “Before the Mirror” which ekphrasises James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s “Symphony in White, No. 2” and Claude Esteban’s prize-winning volume “Soleil dans une pièce vide,” inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.

 But it was only in 2007 that a true literary art movement called Immagine & Poesia was founded by the poetess Aeronwy Thomas, (daughter of poet Dylan Thomas) with four other Charter Members (Gianpiero Actis, Lidia Chiarelli, Silvana Gatti e Sandrina Piras) who believed that the power of the written word and the power of visual image, when joined,  would create a new work not only greater than the parts, but altered, enhanced, changed and magnified by the union. On the stage of Alfa Theatre in Torino, Italy, the Manifesto of Immagine & Poesia was read in front of the audience on November 9th 2007, at the conclusion of the celebrations of the Dylan Thomas Festival of that year.

Within a few years Immagine & Poesia rapidly spread via the web where collaborations between artists and poets are published, as well as through international exhibitions. Today, the Immagine & Poesia’s Manifesto is translated in thirty languages and the movement includes hundreds of artists and poets from all over the world.

Since 2014, the annual e-book of Immagine & Poesia has been published  by the Canadian publisher Huguette Bertrand and the President of the Movement Lidia Chiarelli. Every year the e-book includes many ekphrastic contributions from different countries. The works of Beat Generation poet-editor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the American artist Agneta Falk Hirschman are part of the latest five editions.  An on-line journal devoted entirely to writing inspired by visual art is The Ekphrastic Review, founded by Canadian artist and writer Lorette C. Luzajic.

The Movement Immagine & Poesia has particularly evolved in recent years by carrying out a message of peace, brotherhood, mutual respect and cooperation between writers and artists belonging to different countries and cultures.

 On the other hand – on a purely aesthetic level – ekphrastic poetry  has conveyed an incentive to the development of “beauty”: beautiful poems combined with beautiful images, almost adopting as a motto the words that Fyodor Dostoevsky attributes to Prince Myškin : Beauty will save the world.

Lidia Chiarelli, Italy

* Mary Gorgy:  https://imagespoetry.wordpress.com/immaginepoesia-now-and-then-by-mary-gorgy-fine-art-photo-by-adel-gorgy-long-island-n-y/

Source:

https://immaginepoesia.jimdofree.com/

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ekphrasis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekphrasis

https://www.ekphrastic.net/

Lidia Chiarelli

July : Writer/Poet of the Month – Sunil Sharma


Sunil Sharma is Toronto-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 23 published books: Seven collections of poetry; four of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, nine joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.

Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA:
— https://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html  
 
 For more details, please visit the link:

https://sunil-sharma.com/  

Here are some poems and a short story by Sunil Sharma:


To Emily Dickinson: An Epistle

Your words comfort
Across the divide of
Time, space and race;
You lived in isolation,

I am Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -Nobody- too?
Then there is a pair of us!

That is what you said in
One of your famous poems
That might shock today’s narcissists
Poets and all others that revere
Their self-image;
Yet, living and dying un-loved,
Your poetic soul was incredibly rich,
And included the whole universe in it
Like that other distinguished voice,
Walt Whitman, your peer,
And both of you
Spoke about us,
And still speak to us,
Although the world hardly listens
To its own great masters!

Empty Oyster Shells

Life in metros,
Becomes a series
Of empty encounters,
Resembling
Oyster shells
Strung together artfully,
Humming in the
Sun-kissed breeze –
Outside hard,
The shells but
Inside blank
And gaping,
Found on the beach,
By a solitary walker,
After the sunset,
Left there in a great hurry,
By a thin urchin,
Curly-headed,
In torn half-pants,
Feet bare,
The kid perhaps
Afraid of the dark,
And the soft shadows that
Always follow,
Such a fleeing figure,
And, of the violent beatings
By an alcoholic father,
Cussing, cursing,
On his unsteady feet,
In a dark hut –
Harboring many secrets,
And a silent ghost
Of a mother,
Seen often
By a crying child,
The little thatched hut,
Standing alone,
Decrepit,
At the edge
Of the long beach,
Like an abandoned boat,
On the moonless nights,
When a lonely sea sighs,
Heard by that lonely child
And a soul encased in
A flat in a High-rise.

The Starry Night

Forced by the power cut,
Suburbanite went up
To his deserted terrace;
Was hit by the immensity
Of the starry night,
Felt overwhelmed by
The primeval beauty
Spread out,
The breath-taking magnificence
Of the swirling night sky
Stretched taught overhead,
The eternal space
That glowed with twinkling silver bulbs,
And beckoned the little child gaping
At this rapturous sight, along with his mesmerised dad.


The huge moon and the pale-white light
Washed the blue of the vast sky and produced
Strange lights that streamed down on a French village,
In a different era, when things were more quiet,
The darkness mild and the well-lit sky
Was an enthralling discovery by Vincent van Gogh,
Who had painted and immortalized this ethereal spectacle,
Through his Starry Night over the Rhone and The Starry Night

The poetic painter, committed to sanitorium,
Suffering from delirium and what not,
Studied the curious effect of darkness and light,
The two paintings still transmit
The same sense of first-time wonder and delight
To the subsequent viewers, living in polluted cities,
Breathing fumes and pure carbon dioxide.

As the cold wind of November buffets the
Father-son duo that stood silent,
Before gods of yore, now not recognised,
The two felt standing in a pagan shrine,
Found accidentally,
In the heart of a commercial city,
And
Overawed by this rare divine sight,
Stared at the infinity and felt their own
Small size.


They then understood that
There exists a unique mysterious realm
Beyond the sodium vapour lamps,
For centuries,
That has been trying again
To communicate
With humankind but in vain


This rich world that was once deeply understood and captured
By the likes of Gogh and Wordsworth,
Now lost forever for the ever competing,
Rude,
Aggressive,
Utilitarian,
Raider
Called
Homo Economicus.


A White River of Light

A white river of light
Flows ahead and
Always travels beside,
On the tranquil mornings,
In the grimy suburbs,
Unleashed by a baby-faced wintry sun
High above in a clean sky;
The highway dips abruptly,
And
Rises up again,
Like heated verbal attacks,
Dying out and again revived,
Among the sparring couples,
And
Often heard outside,
Floating on putrid air,
Snatches vicious,
Delivered
In shrill/low tones,
By lovers turned warriors;
The moving shadows of the trees
Along the lean highway
Nod and smile,
And quickly
Draw various intricate patterns
On the rough rolled-out concrete,
Like a child doing rangolis outside,
The line-drawings moving about,
A chiaroscuro different,
Being trampled upon
Mercilessly,
By the manic cars and buses
Speeding by;
And a flight of happy cranes,
Circling all of a sudden,
Above the green
Tree tops,
A startling sight
For the crying child,
Looking fixed at the
Blue-white clear sky.

(Credit: Boloji.com: https://www.boloji.com/writers/2679/sunil)



Crush on a masterpiece

—Sunil Sharma

 What happens, if you get a crush on a European masterpiece?

Plenty of fast-paced action, totally strange!

Any doubts, please check with young Varun, the guy that got sucked into a series of bizarre events.

Here is the how of this fantastic tale:

The bespectacled nerd— no, it is not stereotyping a profession or professional in a media society but a bio- fact about a real man; the one excited by the machine and repelled by the solid world of the physicality— on that memorable Monday when all things move out of spin, beyond his control and logic, decides on a whim to visit a museum and falls in love with the world-famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer.

Acts, he later recalled, were not planned by him but a higher power beyond human comprehension and standing above human intelligence.

“Some force bigger than me seemed to be guiding me that day,” said he to his bemused listeners.

Visiting museums was not his red-hot passion or an artsy habit. In fact, arts repelled him. Only the software, hardware and tech tomes turned him on. Rest was garbage.

Hence, the decision to visit a place full of coloured surfaces—what you and I prefer to call the canvases—surprised his detractors and allies, both in small numbers, as he had only very few friends and since there were limited friends, the number of critics was also logically, limited.

To anyone seriously listening in the digital world and really interested in this narrative, he would freely recall and with relish, the sequence of the events set off by a whimsical desire to visit a museum. An instant that changed the restricted world of the 24-year-old forever. And introduced alien emotions to his wired brain that resembled computer software on a quick scan by a team of neurosurgeons doing research on computing programming, human brain and an extinct species of feelings called love and appreciation.

He was turning into a machine and according to some skeptical listeners, the short and unplanned visit actually saved him from becoming a complete android!

“It was the sudden liberating effect of the painting on me,” he recalled. “Kind of crush on the painting!”

In other words, he came, saw and got conquered by a slightly tilted face of a famous painted woman.

Unbelievable!

1.       Just listen to his version of getting erotic thrill by a piece of artwork.

“It was a mad sensation! The pink visage left me breathless. The division between the real and the artistic ceased operating for me,” said he, tone thrilled, cheeks suffused with the memory of that fated encounter with the fantastic.

Here goes the summary for the super-busy guys with little attention span: The faint stirrings in his choked-up heart—foreign experience so far—evolved into powerful pounding of that marvelous machine that has produced the likes of Shakespeare and Blake in an earlier uncomplicated age, and soon, rising up like crescendo in fast-moving milliseconds, developed into a tidal wave and crashed over a lanky frame never admired by the aggressive females of the planet either in reality or on the FB or Twitter.

Varun roamed a solitary universe peopled with the digital images and morphed creatures. A race of the hideous folks created by a tech that could alter anything at the click of a mouse. Varun inhabited such a weird world and enjoyed it. Werewolves or vampires interacting the homo-sapiens. Bloody inter-species marriages and wars for supremacy. Intergalactic journeys. Permutations and combinations, half human and half machine, appealed. The species altered by tinkering with the basic DNA and through the genetic engineering feats.

Something unusual.

The mundane kills!

So cyber-space became his sole kingdom, the PC, his navigation tool of that infinite labyrinth.

That got changed!

That ordinary day dawned—yawn! —like any other day. Dull. Boring. The ordinary guys were rushing to work-places; overloaded children to schools; the doddering old— the dinosaurs! —sat on the front steps, while Varun, the whiz kid, woken up very early by the screaming horns, remained in temporary limbo. Normally he woke up at a time when half of the day’s business was already over and then slowly unwound and reached his peak at midnight and slept around dawn, red-eyed and drained out after consuming cups of bitter coffee.

Something was in the air.

Spring!

An alien sound finally jolted him. He sat up, wide awake, slightly bewildered. The notes sounded divine and cast a spell over the unemployed computer engineer, pulling him to its source with magnetic force.

Such sweetness! Honey dripping!

It was a tiny creature with soft feathers and tinier throat that bulged.

It is a bird! He remembered his grandpa once telling him from a different time-zone; that scene now sunk in a remote recess of a hyperactive brain.

The first encounter with tangible world has begun.

More was in store.

The bird- song entranced him.

The cynic surveyed his room and noticed the general mess and mayhem of a disorganized life of a bachelor living in a leaking attic in a mega-city—thanks to generous parents slaving somewhere in a small Indian town—and hunting for lowly jobs that never materialized.

Varun—V for his friends— wanted to be a CEO of a start-up in the Silicon Valley. Nothing else suited him.

The best! He would exclaim. I want the best!

Alas, the facts were otherwise. The CV hardly got any response from blue-chip IT firms. But Varun— oops! V— never gave up hoping and eternally waited for the golden opportunity that knocks only once. The low-paid jobs were for the lesser of the tribe. So, with the approval of industrious parents, V waited for that elusive opportunity. And clammed up internally during the long process entailed in the eternal wait of a man out of sync with reality of a market-driven society.

So, slightly energized by the sonorous notes, V stirred, washed himself and tidied up the room—the first sign of organizing the mess and taking control.

After an hour, he decided to venture out into the outside world, on the advice of a friend. They were to meet over coffee later in the day.

The moment he walked out into the real world, V felt something in the air—again.

Something different!

He could feel it in his heart but could not put his finger on it. Something…somewhere…odd!

He looked around and saw that the flowers were blooming. The streets looked pretty.

New Delhi was drenched in colours.

Music was in the scented air. Euphoric, V decided to walk around and savour the fragrant air.

With his friend held up, he decided to investigate an exhibition in a nearby property, on a sudden impulse. A decision that surprised him in retrospect.

Painting and arts were as remote to him as tenderness/ mercy to an executioner or philanthropy to a greedy Scrooge!

The decision to enter the rare region of art by V was, of course, willed by some higher agency.

“I just got this idea of going in and going out of the exhibition, not lingering long. Walls covered with canvasses of irregular sizes never appeal to me. Art is abstract for me. I thought I would circulate and leave fast,” he later confessed. “I wanted to know why art appeals to some guys? Those crisscrossing lines, irregular cubes, blocks and splashes of colours? Eccentric compositions priced so high! Can we afford art?”

Only five minutes! He told himself. So he walked in with this firm resolution.

Then the destiny took over.

As he moved around hurriedly, he saw the iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring.

“I was destined to discover her,” he said over coffee.

The masterpiece was a stand-out.

And a knock-out!

Like bird-song, it again hypnotized him. He stood powerless before a great piece of art that began speaking to him, despite a location in a different time and place.

V stared open-mouthed. The girl looked back.

The spell was cast.

 A breathing canvas, pulsating with energy and life!

It turned his monochromatic existence upside down!

The girl that has hypnotized millions worldwide now managed to affect him at a deeper, subliminal level.

The gaze!

V, the classic nerd with tousled hair, got completely bowled over by a canvas!

It was delicious!

And odd things happened afterwards.

Here is the confession of the viewer, first person singular:

I was visiting the museum and came across the painting by the Dutch master, neglected in his time. The afternoon in New Delhi was pleasant and a warm sun shone on the manicured lawns of the museum featuring the seventeenth- century Dutch and Flemish art. It was almost deserted. I took a turn and there she was.

Girl with a Pearl Earring!

Her eyes honest, gaze spellbinding! The blue-n-gold turban, parted lips, a wistful look and a big pearl in the left ear.

Then a strange thing happens!

The girl becomes animated and steps out of the framed painting!

Her iridescent beauty remains untouched by time. A face finished in 1665 becomes fully alive in 2014.

She hovers between real and ideal!

Suffused with a luster only the Renaissance masters could create!

The everyday and the marvelous meet and congeal in her glowing complexion!

Although ordinary, the girl looks extra-ordinary, exuding a vitality and charm you will not find in real-time world!

It is out-of-the-world experience!

And then, she comes over and holds my shaking hand and we step out of the hall—into the pale light of the day. Suddenly her presence dazzles the ordinariness around and turns it into a scene of golden beauty. I carry her around. Or is it the other way around? Being carried by that heavenly subject on the campus of the museum. Young people stare at me and whistle at her. Catcalls follow her graceful figure. Sacrilege! Pure and shocking! How can men be so mean? The girl, unfazed, keeps on walking. We go out on the circular streets of the Connaught Place and enter a coffeehouse full of the local crowd—middle-class, uncouth, staring. The waiter conducts us to a corner table and we sit and order coffee. The girl is demure and flutters her eyes, rosy cheeks blushing, as the nearby clients gape and lust after her through the famous male gaze. It is Delhi crowd, you know! Some guys openly comment on her Caucasian features and cut bawdy jokes in Indian English. The profanities colour her cheeks a tad red and I decide to take her out of the close space filled with lecherous men. But they start following us in the sun-lit corridors, whistling and commenting.

“What a thing!” exclaims an old man with a large tummy.

“STOP!” I scream. “She is a work of art!”

“Indeed!” he says, drooling. “What a thing!”

“You do not deserve her,” another man says, threatening, “Give her to me.”

“No. To me,” another one commands. “Never seen such a woman in real! I can murder to get her.”

“Idiots!” I shout. “She is a painting only.”

“So what! We want that woman!” They all shouted.

“She is to be revered!” I say but they do not listen.

“Quote her price!” somebody shouts. “For a night.”

“Double that amount!” another croaks.

It is sickening. For me, she is spiritual.

“We want her!” They shout. “Give her price! We want to feel and touch her and…”

Grossed out by the tone and degrading obscenities, the girl left my hand and…

“And?” asked V’s friends.

She disappeared, leaving me in the middle of a yelling crowd that finally dispersed, defeated by this sudden disappearance of the object of their collective desire. That they could not own a piece of her showed on their flushed ugly faces. A reverential figure had been defiled for me! I felt awfully disgusted!

And privately grieved for my loss, roaming endlessly among the crowds of shoppers and tourists eating the streetfood, the entire Connaught Place a huge eating joint and carnival being staged for the consumers. But my mind was not registering the details, benumbed as it still was by the encounter with an ethereal girl from a different time. I kept on moving like a zombie.

“Then?” The friends probed.

I went back to the museum on an impulse. It was getting late and sun was setting, heightening my loneliness and solitude. There was a chill in the air and inside the soul. I went inside the hall and saw the painting again, this time more intently.

To my horror, second time, it looked like any other famous painting only!

The rare connection was broken.

It remained static! There were a few visitors circulating around the paintings and talking in hushed tones, some giggling irreverently at these great works. The visitors were hardly interested in her!

I came out of the museum, aware of my loss but carrying her image in the heart on that memorable day, when, I could truly understand the meaning of beauty and art in few hours; an experience that has altered me forever…

(Credit: https://www.antarcticajournal.com/short-fiction-crush-on-a-masterpiece-by-sunil-sharma/)



Sunil Sharma

June: Writer/Poet of the Month – Scott Thomas Outlar

Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He guest-edited the Hope Anthology of Poetry from CultureCult Press as well as the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Western Voices editions of Setu Mag. He has been a weekly contributor at Dissident Voice for the past eight years. Selections of his poetry have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Dutch, French, Hindi, Italian, Kurdish, Malayalam, Persian, Serbian, and Spanish. More about Outlar’s work can be found at 17Numa.com


Here are some poems and a prose work by Scott Thomas Outlar:

Beyond My Sphere of Explanation

These many moods of the churning cycle
with the wink of moon
the kiss of fog
and softly glowing pink hues
splashed against a violet canvas

Please show me where to place my lips
upon the fiery crown
to welcome home the roaring lion

I barely have a poetic breath
left in the lines of my palms
but I live out these visions each day
and cradle them close to heart

If all I have are fragments
slipping past the veil of consciousness
to tease my tongue with ineffable thoughts
then I will do my best to sigh sincerely


Whether we laugh or weep
in the pouring rain
our steps will learn to tango
with the shaman king of the dancing geese

and the birds will chirp
to herald spring

and the buds will shift
from red to green

and all these gifts of grace
will brand our spirits

Governor

Pretty bird, pretty bird
soar either way across the street
or hum loud enough above the music
and thick tinnitus
to start this poem forthright

There are two parks
within one mile from home
and I have walked them
3,500 times or so
since returning


I try to keep
my obsessive compulsions
framed
in a positive light
soft as a feather
so I can stay flighty
and continue dancing
as these bones crumble

The reason I hesitate to speak about
my own suffering
is because I know everyone else
has their own
bouts with the world
to contend with

I lick my wounds in the woods
and rub coconut oil in both eyes

God, you know
the burn feels good
but saps and salves are better

Rarity

High on honeysuckle perfume
scent of ouroboros
solar mass corona
taste aurora’s sweet drip
yellow light enters form
whet the tongue of thorns

signs of the source
please
sing me back safely

carrying lost thimbles
home
to quell the ancient thirst

I haven’t felt this way
since I was eight years old
but I think I’ve finally
found the flavor
of spring transcendence

or at least
caught the white flash
of momentary remembrance

during the buzz

Dispatches and Declarations (Circa November, 2020)

My memory is mostly shot. A kaleidoscope of groans and sighs shifting throughout the years. Laughter and sentimental sways. Traumas and trigger points. The subtle difference between a bleeding heart and silent detachment. The fallen leaves of autumn’s spell. Prayers of peace and heaven’s whispered love. Something sacred for the save.

Fill me with the Holy Spirit and I will write something beautiful. Or speak of terrible things concerning love, war, God, and what we all saw coming.

The Beast System has its fangs sunk deep into the body politics and culture of this world. An entrenched establishment, a decadent empire thrashing in its death throes, yet held in place by fraudulent means. The way of the wicked always weaves its deceit in darkness.

But it’s nothing to get all bent out of shape about. Schemes shriek loudest when exposed under pressure. Light burns hottest at the melt point of truth. What has begun cannot be stopped.

The New World Order globalist agenda promises to “build back better” with a “great reset.” No, thank you. The ideology is destined to fall. Hard. International communism blended with corporate fascism boils into a stew of collectivist faux-utopian hell. It is the greatest evil ever unleashed upon the earth. Stick a fork in it.

They say it all comes down to good vs. evil in the end. And I guess that battle is summed up in human society as being freedom, sovereignty, and liberty on one side and tyranny, authoritarianism, centralized control systems, and power hungry despots on the other. There’s nothing new about any of it. Thousands of years ago in the past it was playing out in a similar vein as it is today. On and on the story unfolds. One thing is for sure: it’s an exciting time to be alive no matter which side of the sand you stand on.

Each turning of the season brings along its own twists of fate. Some more unexpected than others. And so we flow and flux as best we can with mindfulness during experiences of both sun and storm alike.

In the end, there are only a few questions that truly matter. Did you do your best with the gifts, talents, and unique sills you were born with? Did you face your fears with courage, strength, and resolve? Did you act in accordance with what your heart knew to be right?

Life is not always easy, but it does weigh out fairly when balanced on karmic scales that we would sometimes like to ignore or deny the existence of. Just as there is peace found in moments of happiness, ecstasy, and joy, so too is there a purpose for every challenge, trial, and tribulation that arises along the path to test our mettle. It is sometimes a harrowing proposition to keep putting the next foot steadily forward when the ground seems to be shaking and collapsing underneath, but in those times of uncertainty we must at least continue crawling until a solid foundation is reached once more.

The greatest sin is to give in and not get back up when we have fallen. Continuing to adapt, adjust, and push ahead through all circumstances, especially those beyond our control, is a victory in and of itself. Perseverance is the golden key that unlocks doors waiting on down the line.

But what of your distractions, your impulses, your compulsions, your pulls, your sways, your turns through time?

What of your anger, your aggression, your petty annoyances over the minutiae of everyday circumstances?

What of your revolt, your rebellion, your banging of head against walls, your piercing of veils behind masks, your shatterings, your shaking of foundations?

What of your goodwill, your glowing aura, your grasping toward God, your longing for peace and love, your promises of higher ideals?

What of your holiday spirit in the Wuhan Age, your dancing heart in the Roaring Twenties, your blinding vision of Atlantis rising, your eternal optimism for golden days?

What of your sorrow, your sadness, your ecstatic joys?

All as one momentary emotion, bound tightly in disintegration, eternal yet impermanent, expansive in its temporary nature.

Scott Thomas Outlar

International Dylan Thomas Day 2022 – Artworks ( Mauritius)

Celebrating International Dylan Thomas Day 2022

by Vatsala Radhakeesoon (Editor and Organizer, Mauritius)


Dear Artists /Art-lovers,
Every year International Dylan Thomas Day is celebrated worldwide on 14 May .

I would like to thank Hannah Ellis, granddaughter of Dylan Thomas (UK) and Lidia Chiarelli, founding editor of Immagine and Poesia (Italy) for inviting me to conduct this event on my blog for the third time.

Many thanks to all the 7 artists from various continents who have contributed their works for this special event.

Hope you will enjoy going through the artworks featured here.

Sending Blessings of peace, love and light to Everyone!


Ruben Molina
Homesickness
Oil on canvas
50 x 40 cm
2017
Venezuela

Ruben Molina was born in Barinitas Venezuela on October 23, 1969.He started in the plastic arts at a very young age when at the age of 9 he took lessons in Drawing, Painting and Graphic Arts. In addition to his passion for painting, he experiments with sculpture made from recycling. He studies the great masters like Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, Sorolla and Pollock who influence his work. In 2018 he exhibited his works in solo in the museum of modern art in Merida Venezuela and in the Dubai Design District.He has been invited to participate in the 1st Sculpture Symposium in Egypt. His work has been awarded by The Paintbrush community art community in Dubai. They are also present in various collections in several countries such as: Colombia, Peru, Panama, Spain, US, UK, Holland, Egypt, Dubai, Al Ain.
He currently lives and works in Merida Venezuela.


Gopakumar Ra
Who am I ?
Acrylic on paper
40 x40 cm
2010
Bahrain/India

R. Gopakumar is an Indian contemporary multidisciplinary NFT artist. He works in different media including Digital Art, Motion Photography, Installation, Drawing, Painting and Print. 

He uses art & technology to discuss and expose the environmental and social issues of the society. He believes the work of art should change the existing visual, intellectual and aesthetic sense and experiment with finding new visual phenomena. 

His works exhibited The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, Tate Britain, UK, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (Collateral Projects) Kochi, India, Sofia Underground – International Performance Art Festival, Bulgaria, CICA Museum, South Korea, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India, Arte Città Amica, Torino, Italy, V-Art Digital Art Spaceship Exhibition – Ukraine, CADAF Crypto and Digital Art Fair, Paris, France. Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea Grafica Manzoni, Torino, Italy, Kinsey Institute Art Gallery, USA, ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, USA, Bahrain National Museum, Manama, Bahrain, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Kerala, India. 

His motion photography was shortlisted by the Saatchi Gallery London and Google+ for their inaugural Motion Photography Prize. 

www.gopakumar.in https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopakumar_R



Lidia Chiarelli
All Fishes were Rayed in Blood
Dylan Thomas Portrait- Iron sculpture on round steel table
180 x150 cm
2022
Italy

Lidia Chiarelli is one of the Charter Members of  Immagine & Poesia, the art literary Movement founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007 with Aeronwy Thomas, Dylan Thomas’ daughter.
Installation artist and collagist. Coordinator of #DylanDay in Italy.
She has become an award-winning poet since 2011. Six Pushcart Nominations (USA).
Her writing has been translated into different languages and published in more than 150 Poetry magazines, and on web-sites in many countries. 

https://lidiachiarelli.jimdofree.com/

https://lidiachiarelliart.jimdofree.com/


Gianpiero Actis
Tribute to Dylan Thomas 2022
Seascape painting, Iron sculpture book on round steel table
180×150 cm
2022
Italy

Gianpiero Actis (Italy) is one of the co-founders of the artistic-literary movement “Immagine & Poesia”.He often creates his works as “responses” to the poems of different authors. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions. His paintings can be found in permanent exhibitions / collections in Italy and abroad.
https://gianpieroactis.jimdofree.com/



Juliet Preston
Marlais great blue-green sea
Digital abstract
4.2 Megapixel ,2048x 2048 resolution
2022
USA

Juliet Preston is a poet at heart, an artist by passion and an engineer by profession.


Neerja Peters
The sublime
Acrylic on linen canvas
48 x 36 inches
2021
India

Dr. Neerja Chandna Peters  is a trained physician. she found her passion in art, about eleven years ago and she decided to pursue art full time. Through spiritual expression she found her language. To her, creating art is a form of meditation, a means to reaching bliss, so characteristic of a mystical  unison with the Divine. 

Her geometric abstracts are a search of the ‘real’ through abstract expression. 

Winner of third prize in First International Biennale by International Association of Visual, Performing and Other Arts, Lithuania, she received Critics Choice award, Artist of the year award-and Wallace Hartley World Art Day award from World University of Design, Bharat Nirman, International Association of Art (Official Partners of UNESCO) respectively. 

She participated in Biennale of Miniature Arts, Timisoara, Romania, first World Art Virtual Biennale, Columbia Arte, U.S.A., VBIG Guarulhos International Bienal of small format 2020, Brazil,  World Health Organisation x Create 2030 Covid -19 Arts Festival, exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art, Lutsk, Aerogramme Centre of Art and Culture,USA ,North Dakota Museum of Art etc.

Her works have been published in Bluebee magazine, London, Flora Fiction Literary Magazine and Quarantine Zine, New York, Art-hole UK, The Knack Magazine U.S.

Faisal Mateen
Based on Fern hills (1945) By Mr Dylan Thomas
watercolor
15 x 28inches
2022
India

Faisal Mateen is the founder of *Art for Cause* “I Design Dreams” and “Surma Bhopali fictional character” . He is 51 and had got his PG degree in Fine art (Drawing & Painting).  He has over 40 group and solo art exhibitions in India & abroad (Including 2 exhibitions, held in famous Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai) to his credit. During pandemic ,Art for cause organised 27 international online exhibition and got many international awards.