Afzal Moolla… A Child of War

 

A Child of War

As she lies bleeding
the girl who skipped and hopped to school
all of nine and a half years old
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was
her father’s pride
 
As she lies bleeding
the warm bullet lodged in her torn stomach
she stares at her skipping rope
as her blood soaks it the colour of the cherries her mummy buys
 
As she lies bleeding
she sees the people through the thick black smoke
blurred visions of scattering feet and shoes left behind
hearing nothing but the pinging in her blown-out eardrums
 
As she lies bleeding
she slips away quickly and then she is dead
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl
whose laugh was her father’s pride
 
As she lies bleeding
for even in death she bleeds some more
the warm bullet wedged in her torn stomach
steals the light from her bright little eyes
as she lies bleeding
 

in Jallianwala Bagh in ‘19

Leningrad in ‘42

Freetown in ‘98

Soweto in ‘76

Jenin in ‘02

Hanoi in ‘68

Beirut in ‘85

Kabul now

Basra still

Gaza too
 
As she lies bleeding
this little nine and a half year old girl
whose laugh was her father’s pride
we know she’ll bleed and bleed some more
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn
with that warm bullet in her stomach
ripped open and torn
 
As she lies bleeding.
 

Afzal Moolla was born in New Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. His father Mosie Moolla represented the African National Congress (ANC) in India, Egypt and Finland.

Afzal returned to South Africa following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. He works and lives in Johannesburg, and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic – his 12 year old cat – Scully.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Afzal Moolla

 
 
 
 
 
 

Michele Alice… DC Circus

 
 

DC Circus

 
 

I.

 
Golden rod
       is so pretty, I wonder–
has it a fragrance?
 
 
 

II.

 
Who needs Ringling
Brothers when we’ve got
Washington?
 
 
 

III.

 
New Economics 101
 
Debt
is
stimulating.
 
 
 

IV.

 
The Paul Krugman
       Equation: You’ll know it’s enough
when it works.
 

Originally from Detroit, I spent my college years studying Philosophy at the University of Arizona (Tucson) before escaping the heat and ending up in the Berkshires (Massachusetts) where I support my writing by working in a museum.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Michele Alice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Darren C. Demaree… TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #424

I see a king as light as a feather held on to by the teeth of wolves. The wind does nothing to him. The spittle is his joy. He is held so tightly by their sharp attention that it must at certain panicking points feel like real love meant to make his struggle valiant. He is a real man. That is his blood. If it’s not his blood, then this story is really fucking dark.

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #425

The secrecy isn’t cruel. The secrecy is a misplaced mercy. We have written down the names of so many people that would prefer us to be dead or at least gone. We have chanted some of those names. The secrecy is an animal without bones. It’s useless, but it’s important if we’re going keep the fear that gives us these names.

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #426

Don’t let them separate your nerves. They’re poking you to divide you. Accept that this is painful. Challenge their fingers!

 

My poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review.

I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly” (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

I am currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and children.

Copyright © 2017 by Darren C. Demaree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gary Beck… Entertainment Industry & Medical Profession

 

Entertainment Industry

In ancient Rome
the games entertained
rich and poor alike,
the only difference
the rich went home to comfort,
but both equally enjoyed
barbaric bloodshed.
 
Other empires before Rome
gave the people festivals,
the Olympiad in Greece
the most notable
non-religious event,
substituting games for war.
 
In modern times, radio
spoke directly to millions,
a rapid revolution
in mass communication
and the airways were innocent,
except for some of the news
bringing distant horrors
to avid listeners.
 
Once a picture was worth
a thousand words
and television briefly
confirmed the exchange rate,
when people tended
to believe what they saw.
 
Then new technology,
fueled by the computer
developed the power
to alter images,
so we can no longer trust
whatever they show us.
 
Twenty four hours a day
 
cable tv
provides diversion
for most appetites,
the spread of sex and violence
consistently guaranteeing
attentive audiences.
 
 
 

Medical Profession

In the 17th century
barbers were doctors,
cut your hair,
treated your illness
mostly by bleeding
to remove noxious vapors
that cured or killed you.
And you paid bills promptly,
aware of the perils
of a close shave.
Like much of humanity,
you managed to survive
health practitioners
who never seemed concerned
with how little they knew.
 
 

Gary Beck has spent of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) and Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Acts of Defiance will be published by Dreaming Big Publications. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Copyright © 2016 by Gary Beck

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Michael Schaffner… Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile & Squatters

 
 

Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile

Osprey trailing a thin branch, treetop high,
repeating every few minutes, on schedule
to finish a nest larger than the homes
of the rootless beings I used to see
waking in the park beside my office.
 
Feral creatures, well past their breeding years
by dint of their minds or toxic habits,
they seemed no more than wary scenery.
 
Across the river the sun nestles down
in a bed of shady pines. The sky glows
like a wick just as the flame escapes it.
A slight traffic of herons, homeward bound,
changes shifts with swifts, who give way to bats.
 
I’ve not returned to Franklin Square at dawn
nor seen the sunset there for several years,
nor think that species even values tears.
 
 

Squatters

While running I saw two vultures landing
atop a new house to escape the crows’
harmless yet irritating attentions.
 
A girl at the bus stop noticed them, too,
but I could not presume an acquaintance
based on black vultures, handsome though they be.
 
And they were: black scalps and iron hooked beaks,
above not only crows but even us
as they paced down a million dollar roof
 
as if they owned it, as in fact they own
everything their talons touch or shadow.
I passed around the block. The girl had gone
 
and the great wings spread broadly on the draft
from the near apartments, patches glowing.
 

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former People, Raintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.

Copyright © 2016 by Michael Schaffner