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"Hello" by Richard De-Graft Tawiah

Richard De-Graft Tawiah is a writer/spoken word poet from Shama in the Western Region ofGhana. He is a 2022-2023 Nadèli Creative Cafe Bootcamper. His works have appeared or areforthcoming in the Global Writers Project, Decolonial Passage, GhanaianWriters, NadèliCreative Company, and elsewhere.

Hello
After Anthony M. Kwavah
When a poem finds me in the midst of people,
I bend my body to trap it and scrape its surface.
I go with a few words—anything enough to exchange pleasantries.
To find its delight.
To let her know me.
When I bend in my welcome,
I give her my hand,
like paying off a public transport fare,
and I ask,
How far can you take me?
She smiles rather shyly, like the sun using clouds as her cover.
What gives her light away must be the wind.
I allow myself to stay cool, trusting that she will take me home.

"Massachusetts Without Me" & "A Strand of Hair" By Tom Caton 

Massachusetts Without Me

 

You cherished the pilgrim state

delighted in its colour

its limitless appeal

its end-of-the-world feel.

You were the kitten

to Rockport’s cradle-

it pushed you off course

shifted your perception

of what you considered an idyll.

It was the good Doctor Jekyll,

not the belligerent Mr Hyde 

whom you left behind.

Salem smiled, Boston beamed

and I faced east, ill at ease

that you were content without me.

 

 

A Strand of Hair 

 

The strings that linked us have become threadbare

but loose ends are crying to be tied there.

The garment may be torn, and what we share 

may have been a stitch in time, but be aware

though only akin to a strand of hair

it never really left me, it’s still there.

 

Stuck like a harpoon, a stubborn spear 

adjoined like wires we are, my dear

which flow through valleys then reappear

at the heart of things, like a small souvenir

that closes the gap and makes things clear

 

drawing our distant pathways near.

"Winterized Love" By Clem Zheng

Winterized Love

 

Grip those affections in hands,

Love then slips between fingers.

Love, you have me in any case.

 

Build a fire in the snow,

In the most melting warmth,

Have a heart-to-heart,

Of the sincerest nonsense.

 

Long waits before the lights,

We'd have lingering kisses.

Love, please do not worry.

Let the heat flow as they please.

 

Around the enclosed car,

Into the half-closed elevator,

Settled in the wide open bedroom.

 

In the dead of winter, my love,

You are the sole flame I'd need.

I'm meant to fall for you, irresistibly.

Rhymes & Rain by Aves Condor
 

Aves Condor is a Puerto-Rican college student from South Jersey, where he grew up. Deriving inspiration from his own life, emerging with a passion for creative writing and poetry/prose.

Rhymes & Rain

 

Tears pour from the heavens

Clouds pant and heave

Doused in water, no one was an exception

Scrawl on paper melted away, suddenly bereaved

Heavy air and winds humid

Eye contact with passerbys, was always putrid

A little drizzle has got everyone acting stupid

Under a petrichor spell, no longer lucid

Unaware of what's in store for this reign

Downpour consumes this day with rain

Rhymes and their internal pain

Extinguished, once a thermal flame

Lighting a match, itching at, biting at a scratch

In the middle of a torrential storm, seeking for heat in any potential form

Attempting to reform from quick scorn and those thick stabbing horns

Of this wild animal, this vengeful cannibal, eating me whole, it's become unmanageable

Cusping my hands around the lighter as it flickers, growing sicker, brave words come out as

murmurs and bickering, those with umbrellas can't stop snickering

It'll never stay lit in the rain, an obvious, evident claim, one that common sense would sustain

But I couldn't stop trying

If the flare would stop dying

Maybe, to myself I was lying

Maybe

You could still have that fire inside, while crying

"Truth Vs Lies" By E.M.J

E.J.M. is a poet/writer who loves putting her soul into her poems. What inspired her to share her work with theworld was the hope that her words could help people asmuch as they helped her. She has always loved leadingsince she was young. Now, she is writing various booksand is excited to have people read them.

Truths vs. Lies

 

what’s of the truth

and what is told from lies?

at first, it was clear

but now, every truth is hidden in a disguise

 

people say i’m pretty

they tell me i’m kind

but what if that is just something they say

to keep some peace in their mind

 

pride fills your body

when you praise someone else

so is that why they are saying this?

to only help themself?

 

however, people also say i’m smart

and i know this

for i have done well in school

and i make sure to follow all the rules

 

but if i know this to be the truth

then what are the lies?

 

perhaps i only label this as truth

because i can see it in myself

 

my pretty-ness is absent to me

but my smartness is known

i have let people tell me who i am

all based on which me they were shown

 

some people will hate your guts

never for a reason

just because they perceive you differently

 

some people will think you are the best

and those are the people

who will be on your side

 

maybe all along

in order to see my truths

i just need to speak of the uncertainties

as if they are facts

 

i am beautiful

and i am kind

 

i will nurture my soul

and then i will find people

who have a similar mind

 

silly me

i was basing who i was on what others thought

when in reality the only me is who i choose to be

 

people can’t tell you who you are

only you can do that

people are only able to tell you

who they think you are

and views vary from person to person

but in the end

you will know who you really are

 

so don’t let people’s opinions keep you tied

from being the best you

and living your best life

"This Is A Goodbye" by Kira Harris

Kira Harris is a New England poet with a focus on maternal divinity. You can often find her drinking way too much coffee and spending time with her cat. You can find her poetry in a variety of magazines including daughterzine as well as on her instagram @harrismusings

This Is A Goodbye

 

There is poison in my tea and blood on my teeth.

I only know how to live in the violence.

The ocean tosses me around like a child with her favorite doll

and the chaos feels like the love of my mother,

back when she still held her innocence like a weapon.

Girlhood was one gift she could never give me,

but the rage she gave instead is equal enough.

Girlhood is Godhood after all and I know too well how to be worshiped.

The deeply maternal act of being prayed to eats me alive sometimes,

it is a good thing I thrive in the violence

otherwise I would have died with the other saviors.

I wish desperately that you’d stop asking me to save you.

Haven’t you read my other poems?

Don’t you know my heart doesn’t beat like it should?

There is blood on my teeth and poison in my tea,

yet you ask me to pour for two.

I think I hate you a little when I brew a new pot.

I think I hate you a little when you ask me for sugar

as if I am the type who could ever provide sweetness.

I think I hate you a little.

You ask me, stirring your unpoisoned tea,

who takes care of me.

I tell you the truth, although it tastes bitter and metallic,

no one saves a savior.

No one listens to the desperate pleas of a fragile god.

You disagree. You say you always listen.

My unpoisoned tea tastes worse than the truth did.

 

Vulnerability is the sharpest knife,

and it’s buried in my hollow ribcage.

You sip your tea blameless, but I can’t help but run.

"Under Idle Lights" by M.S. Blues

M.S. Blues is an 18 year old multiracial, queer, and versatile writer who has been writing since the age of seven. Her work revolves around the darker pieces of humanity society tends to neglect. She has been abundantly published by many literary magazines and currently serves as an editor to The Amazine, Adolescence Magazine, The Elysian Chronicles, and Hyacinthus Zine. Her Instagram handle is @m.s.blues_

under idle lights

 

employed at a store –

standing idle,

the store is vacant,

the merchandise exchanges frolics,

i watch, envious,

i wish i had someone to talk to –

but nothing except

lifeless objects are here to listen,

correspond with me,

as i sit,

under idle lights.

"Age of Wonder" & "Cycle" by Amna Kashif

Age Of Wonder

 

Time and time again I wonder

if I’m meant for something greater

The age of discovery and 

breakthroughs past, 

and every land’s been

found at last

Is there anything left for 

me to find?

Anything to leave as

a legacy, behind? 

There are things to 

discover, alright

In the ocean of stars,

beyond the realm of flight


 

Cycle

I wish for an adventure,

one like no other

Instead I’m left dreaming,

stuck in a trance

I wish to leave my mark,

in this world

Instead I’m stuck in a cycle

of mundanity

"Starlight" "Why" and "Sunday Cutlery" by Kerry Rawlinson

kerry rawlinson is a mental nomad & bloody-minded optimist who gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Winner of Princemere Poetry Prize 2024, honorably mentioned in Proverse Press and Fish Poetry prizes and placed in others, e.g. Bridport, Canterbury; Room; National Poetry Society and Palette, she has forthcoming or recent work: League of Canadian Poets; Pinhole; Touchstone Lit; Novus Lit; Passager; UCity Review; Drunk Monkeys; Wild Roof Journal; Suburban Review; Grain; Rochford St. Review; and more. kerry is still wandering barefoot through dislocation and belonging—and still drinks too much (tea). kerryrawlinson.com @kerryrawli

Starlight

It is true that its glimmer is so faint that it disappears where the eye tries to fix upon it… yet… it gives an impression of brilliant beauty. —'A History of Astronomy’ —A. Pannekoek—



 

you have to squint

                              or gaze sideways 

 

to see the farthest star.

                              its light is peripheral

 

& quixotic—but if

                              you peer obliquely

 

you can spot it.

                              I never look at grace

 

full-on, either, but try

                              to be discreet, peeking

 

askance through slitted

                              eyes. with this technique

 

the spark & flicker partnership

                              of humour & decency

 

should have a half decent chance

                              of reaching me.

Why?
 

trivial as a zit on the face of a lunar eclipse;

distant as Neptune          on a night unlit & dark

as tar, unsightly as scars & crowsfeet

on the cheeks          of a hollywood starlet,

 

this word…

 

trifling as the smothered heart of a humming-

bird;           ridiculous as a turd on the Queen's

kingsize sheet, bleak as the brothers

Karamazov in their white          Siberian sleet, 

 

this word…

 

fragile as frost-brittle buds, foolish & tiresome

as lust, as oddly lost          as a glass eye from a

china doll in grubby silk, detached as the

Flying Dutchman          in an ocean of spilt milk, 

 

this word…

 

wasted as a piddle in the sea, grotesque

as the stain of puttana          in the Vatican; silly

as the riddle on the guillotine that its victim

will never read:           this irrelevant, insolent 

 

word.

 


 

Sunday Cutlery



 

forks & tines &

juggled knives—

 

the flying cutlery

of exhausted couples

 

reflect the inner massacre

of our hacked-up lives.

 

sharpened all week,

we wield the tips to nick;

 

to prick juicy drips

of delectable gossip

 

for the neighbours to lick

from each other’s necks;

 

to fling at the spinning

sacrificial disks

 

of homey entropy

to which we’re hogtied

 

blindfolded, as if

they were gut-spinning

 

Wheels of Death.

but it’s sunday…

 

today, can’t we quit

the slicing & dicing

 

the crazed sawing back

& forth of routine? abandon

 

edges of animosity? on this

one day, let’s carve

 

ourselves free. let’s curl

into the quiet contours

 

of release, stow our ivory-

handled weapons snug

 

in their velvet vaults

& make a toast. after

 

sunday roast & spuds

have soaked up life’s bile

 

let’s spoon past midnight,

afloat in the gravy of love.

"A Man Walks Into A Bar" by Áine Vane

Vane (they/them) is an aspiring young writer who comes from a childhood of reading which has molded their life forever. They enjoy the macabre and the beautiful, especially when the two collide. They are currently studying English, Politics and Philosophy in Scotland.

i

… with dirt twixt his teeth. 

I give him a once over 

pour him a gin and tonic. 

He asks for a triple. I make him a double. 

Last shot’s mine. 

I ask if he knows how it got there. 

The dirt, mate. 

He isn’t sure he remembers. 

He worries its been thur’

as long as he’s had teeth.

Holds his glass in his left

feg in his right 

looks at peace. 

Makes me want to scream.

 

ii

… smelling smoke. 

There's a symptom of a stroke, so. 

Aye. Depends. How long has this been 

allowed to go on for? 

Hm. Fair. 

I look at him closer to see

a bullet hole in his coat. Just 

a little above his heart. 

Wallet, he says. I nod 

as though this is a logical thing 

to happen to a man like him. 

His skin is burnt to a crisp. 

 

iii

… dressed head to toe in green. 

I’ve never fared well with his kind. 

Too nauseating. They’re like smoke, they are, 

I tell ye nai. Can’t trust a man like that.

Can’t hold him in yer hands long.

But he’s not here for me to trust him. 

He wants wine.  

I mean really, who orders red wine in a bar like this?

His left hand twitches when I hand him 

the glass. He manoeuvres himself awkwardly

to take it in his right instead

and the bar feels distinctly too 

small with him in it. 

Stroke, says I. 

Nerve damage, he says. 

Mortars?

I wish.


 

iv

… and I think that he has 

finally been domesticated. Or at least 

he's learning. Learning how to sit still 

and say please and thank you and 

pull his punches. Learning that 

I won’t pull mine. 

He politely pushes me from the bar 

and pulls - with shocking ease -  

a perfect Guinness 

from these unruly taps

asks (he’s getting better at asking) me to try it. 

Sobs like a baby when I do. 

I ruffle his hair 

and drive him home.

"Wildfire" "and it begins" "that’s one way" "Creativity Must Be Spontaneous" & "lila. (01)" By Chriss Locker

Chriss is a poet and author living in Northern Idaho with their spouse, cat, dog, and too many unused college degrees. Healthcare professional by day. Daydreamer by night. Look for their work in new words {issue three} from new words {press}, as well as in milk: on consumption, materialism, and taste from Carrion Press and the debut issue of Tension Literary: Writing with an Edge, both to be released later this year. You can follow them on Instagram @viciouschrisss.

w i l d f i r e 

 

every july the west burns

the skies darken

sicken

from yellow to brown to grey

and the wind fans the flames

that cleanse the forest floors

and barren hillsides

to clear the way for the coming year

 

every july i burn with those hills

and everything i am and have and want

goes up in smoke

rains down in ash

ripping/tearing/breaking me down

to clean bones and aching soul

 

every july i am destroyed with the forest

rebuilt with the grass

burned and healed

layer by layer

until i can start again

 

 

 

 

and it begins

 

strut to that electronic beat

sway those hips &

shake those curls because

oh don’t you know you’re sexy

when you shout out

hey!  hey!  hey!

welcome to the revolution

my delicious little narcissist

 

whisper to your shadow

painted pretty in the limelight

spending dimes to buy more time

before night takes it all away &

oh don’t you know you’re going

up  up  UP

it starts at midnight


 

scream to that song

because it’s yours

just let it out &

breathe it in again before

you meet me in the bedroom &

oh don’t you know that you’re mine

when you moan

yes-yes-yes

& baby we’ll go with them

when it ends

 

that’s one way

 

whisper it bohemian

when the cards in your hand read 8 & 7

& there’s no more money in your pocket

but why should you care

as long as there’s

gin in your freezer

& coffee in your cup

 

as long as wilde & bukowski

poe & plath wait patiently

ready to rock you to sleep every night

 

as long as you can sing on that sidewalk

& kiss underneath those trees

& dance in the streets when it rains

 

as long as the ink stains your skin

the blisters cover your fingertips

the tobacco fills your lungs

 

[ whisper it ]

 

 

 

Creativity Must Be Spontaneous.

i am

s u s p e n d e d

floating some place

soft – 

after sleep but not awake

where heartbeats slow

& thoughts wander f

          r

            e

  e

      l

        y

between conscious 

&

not.

i am

d a n g l i n g

hanging dormant – 

my waking potential on pause

while this sleep-rooted mind

breathes quiet

unchecked

      released.

i am

u

n

b

o

u

n

d.

 

lila. (01)

she wakes with blood under her nails

/ /

it would seem

she’s been picking at her seams

while she sleeps under the influence

of one too many downers

& the truth is never allowed

to be this damn obvious

but this time around

the stains aren’t washing off

/ / 

her windowpanes are cracking

even as she pulls the curtains

"Forest" & "Hopeful Spring" By Rebecca Harding

Rebecca Harding is a 23-year-old aspiringwriter and poet who is a recent English Literature graduate. In her spare time, she likes travelling, meditating and long walks. Rebecca enjoys incorporating themes of nature in her writing and feels that by exploring the relationship between humans and the environment, we can learn more about ourselves and our inner nature. She also likes to encourage readers to appreciate the world in which we live. More of Rebecca’s work can be found on her Instagram: @rebeccaharding_writing.

The Forest
In the forest, calm and quiet,
where all my family rests,
the people come in all their riot,
while beating on their chests.

Names they inked into my skin,
and through my veins it flows,
the poison of a thousand knives,
that hate to see me grow.

Why can’t they let me stand and be?
Why can’t they touch me soft?
Why can’t they gently see me,
instead of clawing at my croft?

Our roots run deep to each other,
from the healthy to the sick,
a community of child and mothers,
made of more than earth and stick.

Although our broken spines may ache,
and leaves fade in the sun,
we will brighten in Spring’s wake
and rise again as one.

Hopeful Spring

There was a sweet smell in the air,
of pollen dancing from flowers and bees
zipping in between tall oak trees,
no other season can compare,
with the glorious beauty Spring doth share,
when I am lifted by the gentle breeze,
Spring never fails to appease
the nourishment of my mortal flare.

Although there is a little rain,
and the odd bee doth sting
my contempt for man’s disdain,
I find comfort in the beating wing
of a butterfly that contains
all the beauty that Life can bring.

"The New Colosseum" by Kalvin Madsen 

It started when the viewer was young. Too young. 

Urged to ingest death as a trooper,

 or a spectator to gladiatorial games, 

only with a laptop computer. 

Brothers laugh hysterically, “let's show the kid,” 

a video of a woman being stuffed full of squid.

 Full screen, “how about that other one?” 

A roadside murder with a shotgun. 

Head exploded like a watermelon — this is something new

this New Colosseum offers quite the view!

 

Now let's try to sleep, 

a day started with cartoons.

Ending with strange visions 

Of human bodies slew.

 

Many years pass, The Colosseum grows.

So many choices, so many chose.

Two men, a bagged-hammer in pixilated view

Bludgeoning an abductee for a moment or two.

Red/green understory, deathbed smashed head

Such a terrifying sight, “it’s just like I said!”

Teenage friends laugh at groans from split jaw,

How is there humor in what we just saw?

The tongue desperately whirling in flesh-jelly

“Let's see the next,”

A car crash victim, 

with a steel pole through his chest.

 

Let’s learn about war, that’s what a Colosseum is for.

All wars, all cameras, nations be damned,

Show us rifles zapping men in the sand.

Helmet mounted camera offers quite the view

Or apache fire missions on a convoy or two.

Are these “Horrors Of War” no longer so elusive?

Or is trauma in-person exclusive?

“Let’s see the next clip!”

Militant friends all draw sticks.

Smallest hugs the rest 

Strapping bombs to his chest.

Like a graduation ceremony, a great escapade

Soon a distant ploom of smoke confirms their friend made the trade.

 

We watch yanks shredded at Normandy, 

there were cameras there too,

Or flamed in the pacific 

To name another two.

We can watch our Vietnam war, with its radio chatter.

Young, green like the jungle, but that shouldn’t matter.

 

Chest camera medic steps on a mine,

Quadcoppter death drone, Dirty and unkind. 

Two sleeping in a pit receive a direct hit.

Little drone zooms in, “Let’s get a good look.”

He releases the tourniquet.

He lost a foot.

Goes back to sleep, there is no cure.

Little drone drops another, just to be sure.

Armored troops cross the street, all in a line.

Bullets slap the rubble, one hits a thigh.

In dust and debris, the soldiers is still not free

Dragged off by his vest, and that's all that we see.

 

Our viewer has grown, 

not out of what's shown.

An infatuation with death,

Or mortality at best.

 

Visual illusions, 

a truckbed of wood,

For a pile of nude corspes

All stacked like logs.

Emotional confusion,

I was never involved.

Only a few videos, 

Google: “How to forget what I saw.”

 

An outpost overrun, 

cameraman got-it in the end.

He took a few with him, but lost all his friends.

His blood came seeping 

into grounded-camera view, 

Like a blanket over sand. 

At least he took a few?

 

Sabotage team in the snow,

Moving forward, steady and slow.

Position uncovered, we all watched them die,

Fleeing the enemy,

Not worried why.

 

Oh New Colosseum, 

where mass shooters make their mark

Or where swimmers are torn apart by sharks.

From public executions, and private ones too,

Is trauma exclusive to those within view?

How far am I from feeling what's really true?

I watched ISIS executions as a youth,

Then went to school and learned others had too.

Oh New Colosseum, 

you seek to inform.

Your knowledge is disputed 

And so is your form.

Such footage of death should prevent the next war,

They say civilians can’t tolerate these images anymore.

 

New uploads everyday, who are they for,

But thousands of viewers who miss what came before.

Oh Old Colosseum, do videos compete?

With the sights smells and sounds

Of a living thing’s defeat?

You drew such a crowd, an audience of our build,

Excited to watch a new way to be killed.

Broken at the wheel? Or drawn and quartered? 

You drew such a crowd, but your fire soon smoldered.

A fire may die, but its use never fades.

perhaps our modern world is no less depraved.

 

You sent bears agains lions, hundreds at a time.

Red hot prongs to the calf of a women for her crime.

Lets eat and watch murder, then animals doing tricks. 

How about we impale some convicts up on a stick?

They’d do it today, and film it too

And with the right connections

It would be pay-per-view.

You only need the right villain,

And you’ll draw a crowd

To hear them scream wildly 

Into their death.

 

It stands to say our world has done good,

At defining these horrors as petrified wood.

Ancient people, ancient beliefs.

It couldn't be we.

Our cities are safe

Our children don’t see

The bodies in the streets, that's only on the screen.

It’s all entertainment, it's all on the screen.

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