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

 
 
 
 
 
 

Valentina Cano… Purgatory Around a Table

 

Purgatory Around a Table

How is it this feeling has taken
over my very veins?
I am thrown out,
disposed of myself,
and filled with swamp water,
dark and brimming with flies.
I cannot sit still,
but rising burns my toes, my calves.
Even breathing has lost its charm.
My hands are stiff
and held at my sides like plates,
ready to smash themselves
to pieces against the wall.
My voice slashes upward in a scream.
The only sign of its sound,
the teetering of wine glasses.
 

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time either writing or reading. Her works have appeared in Exercise Bowler, Blinking Cursor, Theory Train, Cartier Street Press, Berg Gasse 19, Precious Metals, A Handful of Dust, The Scarlet Sound, The Adroit Journal, Perceptions Literary Magazine, Welcome to Wherever, The Corner Club Press, Death Rattle, Danse Macabre, Subliminal Interiors, Generations Literary Journal, Super Poetry Highway. You can find her here: carabosseslibrary.blogspot.com.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Valentina Cano

 
 
 
 
 
 

Purple Mark… Being Vincent Van Gogh

 

Being Vincent Van Gogh

 
On the day before the Parade:
I fastened the handles on the golden Frame
with great difficulty, gilded the protruding screws,
located and steamed the turquoise velvet outfit,
and found the sunflower brooch.
I had previously grown out the side parts
of my beard out and dyed it orange in order
to be Vincent Van Gogh: a walking painting.
 
I had thought it would be great if a group of Artists
were to come as either their own artworks
or other famous paintings or sculptures.
We would be an Artwalk where instead of the people walking
by the Art, the Art would walk past the people.
 
On the day of the Fremont Solstice Parade,
the make-up was truly like oil paint as
I built up the layers into a reasonable
facsimile of Vincent’s self-portrait
with brushes which gunked up,
sponges that disintegrated,
difficulties with hair-sprays
and a bobby pin which despite
the efforts of many people resisted
all attempts to restrain my beard or
remain invisible during my time as
Vincent. At last I had to be satisfied
with my efforts and began my Walk.
 
I walked downtown and curiously enough
very few people looked my way or even looked
like people trying to get to the Parade,
I chose a number Fifteen bus to Ballard,
(instead of my usual number Seventeen
walk across the bridge along with the throngs)
and walked another mile along the Burke-Gilman
to join the colorful chaos of the staging area.
 
I found the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
first and then I saw others that I knew
finally my friends with the Emerald City
Social Club that I usually walked with appeared,
but not unsurprisingly none of those
I had invited to be a Work of Art with me.
 
Margo made me look comparatively tame
in comparison with her Electric Blue body suit
which had 1200 Fluorescent Green earplugs hot-glued
to it in addition to her Fluorescent Pink heels
and two bubble guns, only one of which worked.
 
She got the majority of attention after we jumped
in following the Phoenix group and before
a Dance & Drum group because we’ve found
that it’s necessary to have good music going
to keep everything moving along pleasantly.
 
Vincent and I had our admirers among the crowds,
most of which got who or what I was,
though some called me Picasso or Miro
and I had to correct their mistaken impression.
I was repeatedly told that “I had been framed!”
and of course, I got the thing about the ear.
 
With the Frame, I was able to coax out a few people
from the crowd and be in the picture with me.
This included children as well as adventurous
teens and adults who enjoyed the opportunity
to be part of the action if only briefly.
 
The handles on the Frame were not so easy
on my hands which cramped-up and the sly brass
numbed my fingertips and even on the next day,
my left index finger remains partially numb
and wasn’t the only consequence of my Parading.
 
The Fremont Solstice Parade is about two miles long
and by the time my section of it had reached Gasworks,
I was glad I didn’t have to hold up the frame anymore as
my fingertips were now numb and my feet were buzzing
with that peculiar energy which comes from dancing,
standing still for the cameras and just being part
of the whole extravaganza.
 
As was my Solstice tradition, I walked back along the
Parade route to view those acts which had followed mine.
Then having done my bit to bring in Summer, I left Fremont
and the Fair foregoing the no doubt lengthy
waits for packed buses and began my long walk
home by way of a path next to Lake Union with
the Frame digging its way into my shoulders.
 
I went through the new-to-me Maritime Park,
past the geese, over a bridge, past a Naval building
now shuttered that I had welcomed one New Years Eve in,
by the Center For Wooden Boats and it’s seemingly
attendant Orange canopies in a Park still in formation.
 
From there I made my way through the Mercer Mess
up Fairview contemplating finding a meal, but those
places I found along the way were either closed,
uninteresting or nonexistent and I continued on up
that last and steepest stretch: Denny Hill walking
8 ½ miles altogether for the day all in the name of Art.
 
Then I hung out with friends to give my feet a rest
while they wondered why I didn’t remove my make-up.
Having had nothing to eat except cereal, I planned
to go out one last time to a well deserved dinner as
Vincent Van Gogh complete with my Frame, I chose
Julia’s on Broadway as my spot to hang out at.
 
Unfortunately, they had no Absinthe with which
to add that touch of verisimilitude at the Green Hour,
so I had a Lemon Drop instead and a pasta dish
to satisfy my appetite and energy needs though
like earlier in the day relatively few even glanced in.
 
I had learned a few years back to avoid eating the food
at the Fair after having been blessed with Food Poisoning
from improperly made or cooked Crab Cakes which caused me
to projectile vomit and pass out three times each,
I had also learned the futility of eating in a
well-established restaurant there which were packed with
Fremont Fair-Goers and had their own harried staffs.
 
On the way back from Julia’s, I found a pack of
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence outside of C.C. Attles
where my Frame provided numerous Photo Ops
for everyone who wanted to get into the picture
one last time. I went home and began to bid farewell
to Vincent Van Gogh with cleansing pads and a bath.
 

Purple Mark aka Mark Wirth courts way too many Muses: Chocolate-Making, Costuming, Millinery, Photography, Painting, Drawing, Novel-Writing and Poetry. In College, he was the Art Director for the MSU Literary Annual for 2 years and an issue of Scimitar: Illustrations, Layout and some Poetry. In the Seattle area, he worked on Mythos in a like manner and provided additional photography as well as short stories.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Purple Mark

 
 
 
 
 
 

Jennifer Roush.. The Jazz Trumpeteer

 

The Jazz Trumpeteer

Cheeks of pink, eyes of blue
I loved the jazz trumpeteer.
A gentleman; always in tune.
Never drained spit on a peer.
 
Takes my hand, asks, “hey Jen!
Go out with me today?”
“We can hide, we can seek.
Practice all day in the caves”
 
“Here’re my friends”, gleefully
Strange, the looks on their faces.
Try to run, try to flee
In my head I win these races.
 
All his friends took their turns
What they did wasn’t just jerking
I shift my butt, it still burns
But nothing’ll stop their circling.
 
Day the next, in the class
I play every drop of fear.
He, speechless, I “goodbye”
Motherfucking jazz trumpeteer.
 

Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Roush

 

In this particular piece, the author, Jennifer combined 2 Lines with the 111 words of anything goes. Notice how cleverly she wove the prompt lines “the girl shifts her buttock, but they keep circling,” in her narrative. Her use of crass language is reminiscent of the author of those two lines, Charles Bukowski. All in all, good work for a few minutes of time.

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