Rajnish Mishra… Bowl’s Best Friend

 

Bowl’s Best Friend

 
Did you know that glass can store all acids but one?
Hydrofluoric acid eats glass up.
It’s called corrosion in chemistry.
Interesting sound: co-rro-sion,
and interestingly, it reduces weight.
What’s more, this villain of an acid
causes permanent tissue death on contact.
 
Hydrochloric acid is harmless, comparatively.
It’s stored in glass bottles, you see!
It’s a cousin of hydrofluoric, yes but does nothing
sinister: no glass corrosion nor permanent tissue death.
It’s so harmless that it’s produced and stored
in every body of every nation, in all civilizations
where humans have a stomach.
What does it do there?
It kills microbes there and does something to protein:
‘denature’ is the word in zoology.
Interesting sound: de-na-ture,
and interestingly, it’s natural.
 
It’s a good friend, this hydrochloric acid.
It’s a good servant too.
It can’t corrode glass and stomach wall
but does a good job over toilet bowls.
Corrosion gives the surface sheen,
removes the outermost layer in direct contact
with the world and filth with it.
 
To combine chemistry with zoology,
This mild ‘friendly’ thing denatures, corrodes,
combines with epidermal water,
releases heat, a lot of it, and severely burns
the largest organ in human body.
The standard instructions for its splash (accidental)
on skin are: ‘gently wipe it off, flush with water
and cover the area with a cloth moistened with baking soda’.
 
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Uganda, Cambodia, Afghanistan,
Palestine, France, Israel,
Iran, Zanzibar, Indonesia,
Greece, China and UK,
man’s best friend has at least one active and direct use.
 
Revenge is the motive that malignity cites in confessions
and statements later, much later. So proves the self-justified rage,
of the self-righteous man, yes it’s always a man
who throws hydrochloric acid, the friendly, harmless servant of mankind,
and burns layers, fifteen to twenty, of epidermis,
generally of a woman’s face, in all the countries
where its active and direct use is reported.
 
Nobody thought of writing instructions
against its more direct (active, planned and common) use.
 

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India. He is the editor of PPP Ezine, a poetry ezine. He has a blog on poetry, poetics and aesthetic pleasure: https:/poetrypoeticspleasure.wordpress.com.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Rajnish Mishra

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jared Pearce… Prognostication

 

Prognostication

On the day you came home
I am hustling one place
To another, sweating on
The air that won’t lift and won’t breathe,
 
And there are three blue jays
In the oak up third, younger,
I think, and quieter, chuffing
Softly and letting me near,
 
Fanning their tails to match
The blistered sky, looking askance
As I perambulate by. I hope
They’ll stay and believe
 
In the love and the need in me.
Yet the blue in them wasn’t heaven’s
Grace, but the blue of your eye,
The blue of deep space,
 
And without a shout, without
A race, they spread the day and hurtled away,
With nothing of cruelty
And nothing of hate.
 

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, A Quiet Courage, DIAGRAM, Inlandia, and Poetic Diversity. His first collection is due from Aubade Press in 2018. He lives in Iowa.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Jared Pearce

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rajnish Mishra… Sic semper [evello mortem] tyrannis

 

Sic semper [evello mortem] tyrannis

 
‘Still waters run deep’.
 
Clichés are good to begin a poem with.
I love justice and hate tyranny.
I love justice more than
I love my country, its people, my people, fame or wealth.
Sometimes, truth sounds clichéd.
 
Quid est veritas?
 
At first it seems not easy,
not quite, but then, as it’s natural to kill, so natural,
in fact, that they need to write,
sometimes on stone, sometimes on paper:
‘Thou shalt not kill!’
 
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
 
He rose high, and masses called him God.
He’s not alone, but caput gone triumvirate kaput.
It’s unnerving to feel within – a fierce, feral,
beast, unnamed and ferocious, rise and fill
all the space up under the skin
of a citizen: civilized, harmless and tamed.
 
Hoi polloi
 
The masses, sheep, sons and daughters of apes,
imitate, submit, follow and yield liberty
to tyrants, despots, usurpers with power,
for their patch of pasture or bunch of bananas.
 
‘But here I am to speak what I do know’
 
I am an honorable man, not a butcher.
You are an honorable man, no accomplice.
We are all honorable and good men.
They are not honorable.
 
Ehyeh asher Ehyeh.
 
You are what you are,
and masses are ‘them’, not ‘us’.
Strangely though, it’s them, not you,
who lust for blood tonight, my blood.
Bloodthirsty sheep? Lion-apes? Always?
 
‘Fearful symmetry’
 
Tiger’s fire is sheep’s death.
Thy blood my brother bought death for me;
Thy blood ‘cries out’ to them ‘from the soil’
brings vengeance, seven fold,
Insane at night, sane at dawn.
No, Caesar never cried ‘Et tu Brute’,
nor I ‘Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis’.
 

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India. He is the editor of PPP Ezine, a poetry ezine. He has a blog on poetry, poetics and aesthetic pleasure: https:/poetrypoeticspleasure.wordpress.com.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Rajnish Mishra

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Afzal Moolla… Massacre at Houla

 

Massacre at Houla

 
She was no more than 10 years of age.
He could have been a grandfather.
 
Young, old, women, girls, men, boys.
 
108 lives.
 
Now they are buried,
in hurriedly dug graves,
on the plains of Houla.
 
Killed by knives,
shot at point-blank range,
slaughtered, mowed-down.
 
108 lives.
 
Snuffed-out. Decimated. Taken-out.
 
108 lives.
 
As Damascus lies blatantly,
spewing forth untruth,
108 warm, dead bodies,
remain buried,
in hurriedly dug graves,
on the plains of Houla.
 
108 lives.
 

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

 
 
 
 
 
 

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