This beach is more frightening The waves drag the stones The collisions adding up To a furious cacophony Turn my hearing aid down Then it gets freakier The noise quietened To a bag of bones
Used to love magical realism Until it all became too real Younger me Would hope for the jellyfish cadavers To rise upon their tentacles And tell me I’m the one Before opening the waves To a Miyazaki city Full of the unexplainable And nonsensical
Now I just run away Because I’m pretty sure one of the suckers moved.
Bio: Scott Cumming never considered himself to be a writer until recently, but turns out he has some stuff to say. He has been published at The Daily Drunk, Punk Noir Magazine, Bristol Noir, Fevers of the Mind, Versification, Close to the Bone and Shotgun Honey. Catch up with all his misdemeanors on Twitter @tummidge
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Jeremy: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. This is truly an awesome moment for me. I started to write back in 2016 when I was trying to get myself out of high school. It was a tough period for me. I was coping with the deaths of a few of my childhood friends that died in the earlier part of 2016. My first influence as a writer was when I lost my uncle to death. In order to express my grief about his death, I became a writer. My uncle’s death was the biggest influence on me becoming a writer.
Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?
Jeremy: Today my biggest influence is my mother. Whenever I look into my eyes I am urged to write more. I want her to see the best in me as I tell our stories. My mother has been my first supporter and she remains my biggest influence. I believe her stories of motherhood need to be heard.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Jeremy: I grew up in Logan Town, one of the many slum communities situated in Monrovia, Liberia. In Logan Town we struggle to survive everyday and the reality of you being a dweller in Logan Town comes with a lot of consequences. These things have shaped and influenced me in being honest and real when telling a story in a poem. Nineteen years of my life were spent struggling to withstand the outcomes of a slum dweller.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?
Jeremy: Yes, my father leaving Liberia for Ghana when I was still a baby trying to plant the word “mama” on my tongue has influenced my work. My childhood was centered mostly on my mother and her sister. I don’t have any childhood memories with my father. My father plays no role in my childhood. I have tried my best to write about these things in my poems. I have tried to write how I longed to have a father in my childhood. My father’s travel to Ghana was a major turning point in my life.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer?
Jeremy: Yes, after my uncle’s death. The period after his death I told myself that if I want to tell a better story of my grief and pain I need to become a poet. And today I am a poet.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Jeremy: When I am not writing, I am reading. This makes me feel more relaxed. Also, I find myself watching legal movies and documentaries, especially the OJ Simpson’s Trial. These things help me to relax when I am not writing.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming work you’d like to promote?
Jeremy: In a few months my chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, will be out. Miryam Magdalit was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (The African Poetry Book Fund), in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set. It can be pre-order through this link: http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog-tag/jeremy-teddy-karn/
Q8: What would be one of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?
“We have swallowed this country down our throats with the blood of those shot dead, and rebuilt it on unmarked graves.”
Jeremy: My writer friends have helped me the most when it comes to my writing. Their critiques on my works have helped me in becoming a better poet now than I was before.
Jeremy T. Karn writes from somewhere in Liberia. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Volume III, The Whale Road, Ice Floe Press, ARTmosterrific, The Rising Phoenix, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Lolwe, Minute Magazine, FERAL Poetry, Liminal Transit Review, The Kissing Dynamite, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, and elsewhere.
His chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, has been selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani of The African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set.
Bio: Jeremy T. Karn writes from somewhere in Liberia. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Volume III, The Whale Road, Ice Floe Press, ARTmosterrific, The Rising Phoenix, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Lolwe, Minute Magazine, FERAL Poetry, Liminal Transit Review, The Kissing Dynamite, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, has been selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani of The African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2021 New-Generation African Poets chapbook box set
I saw you and I soon wanted you.
Like a sucking hummingbird
Your stream, I celebrated
In a pity
In the Inner Unit
From the improper saying
Between entail and graces
We laugh at each other
Only you put me up
Wrapped in a prayer
That we were looking for
Do what we want
The night encompassed
And you laugh at the sun
The charm of your being
You rolled like a sunflower
To me, to reap you.
Slaving is living
When everything erupts from you
Sunshine that makes us see
Time that does not corrupt
Prayers hallelujah sing
To the creation of your being
In sharpening spells
The treats of seeing you
In a dream journey landed
Boil the warm nights
And it is transfigured there
That the hours are valid.
The feeling prevails where lack of lucidity
In the interpretation of the symbolic
That surpasses us in tasty acidity
In a melancholic and urban trance
Sound characters can be seen
Between plasma decompositions
The hertzian curvature of the carbons
Juxtaposes annoying cognitions
And it is said in passing here present
In the skewed prism that links
We seek within us the fiery
Daring moment that sets us on fire
Januário Esteves was born in Coruche and was raised near Costa da Caparica, Portugal. He graduated in electromechanical installations, uses the pseudonym Januanto and writes poetry since the age of 16. In 1987 he published poems in the Jornal de Letras, and participated over the years in some collective publications.
Hope you are doing well. I’m writing this email to share the news with you that my chapbook “My Body Is Not an Apology” by award-winning Finishing Line Press is now open for advance sales. The chapbook will come out on October 1, 2021. The advance sales period is from Jun 07- -August 06, 2021. The number of copies sold during this period will determine my press run.
To those of you who have ordered: “My Body is Not an Apology”, A BIG THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and hope you will enjoy the book and those who wish to purchase a copy when it is released, you can preorder through the publisher for $14.99 + 2.99 Shipping in the following two ways
“My Body Is Not an Apology” can be pre-ordered ONLINE here
and can be pre-ordered by snail mail here ( Mail Order Form Attached)
By mail only: If ordering multiple copies, shipping is $2.99 for the first copy and $1.99 for each additional copy.
Finishing Line Press PO Box 1626 Georgetown, KY 40324
Advance Praise for the Chapbook
My Body is Not An Apology is a testimony of female rebellion and a journey of self-discovery in a most wanted and unwanted way. The poems roar to voice the pain of silent torture, cruelty, and agony of a woman’s heart to reclaim her dignity not only as a female but also as an individual. This book is a fierce approach to life in poetry, and the poet dissects the ironies of women’s existence with razor-sharp language, intellect, and courage like Simone de Beauvoir. In the poet’s own words, it is a triumphant proclamation and an unfettered declaration. –Kalpna Singh-Chitnis (Poet, Writer, and Filmmaker)
Sometimes with acerbic irony, sometimes with wise comeuppance, but never with hopeless resignation no matter how bleak the refracted rays of reality, Megha’s stanzas find their way through the blind alleys of patriarchy and misogyny looking it unblinking in the eye. The vulnerability of her perception is also her strength, as each stanza duals with difficult truths using the female body and the form of poetry as weapons of grit and gumption. This little book is a fist of fury and unveiling. –Rochelle Potkar, Author of Paper Asylum & Bombay Hangovers
These poems recognize the body as the ‘eye of the storm’ in the turbulent churning of our age. The guttural cry of the feminine forges these poems with a primal rawness cast in images as varied as radishes, pickles, broken book spines, and armchairs. Megha Sood joins her unapologetic voice with urgency to erase any error of ambiguity, ‘You don’t own shit’. These poems will ‘sit like a welt’ on the tongue of the world. –Usha Akella, Poet & Founder, Matwaala, South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival
A unique feminist exploration through the written word, investigating the body and the world society overlays atop women, Megha Sood does justice uncovering, discovering, and discarding herself to find an inexorably beautiful woman within. Sood’s My Body Is Not an Apology chisels away at the construct our society imposes on women, revealing an exemplar poet of the highest caliber. –Joshua Corwin, author of Becoming Vulnerable
Megha Sood’s “My Body is Not an Apology” is a powerful debut with poetry that contains multitudes. These poems are fierce and unapologetic as they explore the toxic culture around gender-based discrimination and reproductive rights. Sood crafts with cutting precision as we read about personal experience and the influence of these issues in the wider world. Far from a desperate cry of the disenfranchised, these poems raise a fist and demand to be heard from a position of strength. Woven in and around every poem is the question that asks: what would life be like if we could change this? This book is a clarion call to eradicating gender-based injustice. It is also a book full of hope and empowerment. –Juliette van der Molen, Poet, Writer,Feminist
My Body is Not an Apology by Megha Sood is a woman’s journey through gender-based discrimination. It is a cry and a plea as Sood questions, “How can you live a life like a broken spine of a book?” In her poems, we see a parallel to Sylvia Plath, and her words bring alive the voices of the Bronte Sisters, Emily Dickinson, and Phyllis Wheatley. At the same time, we see similarities to Sarojini Naidu’s rage and certitude when Sood says, “But I never give up …as I learned from the footsteps of warriors.” Sood’s My Body is Not An Apology is a whimper, a roar, an awakening in the feminist world. –Meenakshi Mohan, Ed.D., Professor, writer, painter, critic
Megha Sood’s poems show a vulnerability that is welded to resilience in remarkably ingenious ways because poetry occupies the interstice between the felt and the unspoken.
Don’t let the aroma leave the pickle jar Keep the lid tight my granny used to say– Some things are better left unspoken. (Even My Grief Should Be Productive)
Here’s the wisdom of an entire civilization. Sometimes it comes pickled in a jar. Call it Indian or South Asian, or what you will. It teaches you how to hold one’s own, anywhere. –Lakshmi Kannan, Poet, Novelist, Short story writer, and Translator.
Megha Sood’s chapbook, My Body Is Not An Apology is exactly what the title says. The human body is not an apology for anyone. It’s not meant to make us feel ashamed simply for being born as we are, for existing, for belonging to any race, religion, gender, age, or any diversity markers that exist in our world. Our body is also not space where anyone can reside with abuse, disdain, or evil. Our body is a temple where our soul lives protected and safe. Megha through her deeply sensitive and poignant poems urges readers to ponder, deliberate, and act upon ensuring that our body is not an apology. Megha’s poems are fierce and tender at the same time. They are like raging storms or quiet whispers; both compel us to listen, look and consider. Megha delves into a plethora of issues that plague the human mind and in consequence the body. She questions and pulls the reader back again and again to her poems leaving behind a memory of heightened awareness. Very few writers can do as such. This collection of twenty-five poems will surely leave a mark upon your heart. Among the contemporary diaspora writers, Megha Sood is one to definitely read! –Anita Nahal, poet, professor, flash fictionist & children’s writer. Find her works at: https://anitanahal.wixsite.com/anitanahal
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
The gripping, riveting poems of Megha Sood’s chapbook ‘My Body Is Not An Apology’ carries the inherent legacy of the truths that our exemplary literary predecessors Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, Nikki Giovani, Alice Walker, Kamala Das, and others, embodying unabashed feminism, upheld in their poetic creations.
When the poet utters her angst and her rhetoric reflects a discourse, built around the quintessential strength of a woman, these lines are born from her pen: “My body is not an apology/ it’s a roar: a declaration/ an unapologetic/ unabashed/ straight truth in your face/ a war cry:/ a deafening scream from the silence.” These lines hit the nail at just the right place, confronting the age-old power dynamics of a patriarchal social structure. As a strong woman of color, as a sensitive poet, her verses in the collection are like smoking cinders of the thinking feminine voice, empowering and liberating the feminine psyche. In the growth of her poetic voice, she has successfully absorbed the little nuances of her Indian roots and her grandmother’s legacy of truth (reflected in the poem ‘Even My Grief Should Be Productive), at the same time, having the deep insight of a woman acknowledging that her ‘body goes from a shade darker than yesterday’, as she gives birth to her ‘own revolution’. In the collection, the body and being of the poet as a woman reaches its zenith of celebration as she categorically unfolds the themes of the feminine identity, body politics, repression of womanhood, and also, the rampant rhetorics of violence ingrained in our postmodern society. Her voice is both subtle and empowering, essential and redeeming, hence the chapbook will indeed be an asset in the ever-evolving arena of feminist writing and art. –Lopa Banerjee, Critically acclaimed author, poet, translator, editor from Texas, USA
Hoping that you support this little poet in her creative endeavor.
I slept wet, drenched, dripping splashed into a pool of hot water boiling Had to feel the bubbles rising from the bottom hot waterbed head towards ‘A look’ but not the sense to know slow dreams (on my own) clock stop time not wrinkles or Father Time, but appreciation (these words are mine) I’ve learned enough to know Jack Crap and that’s a fact check these turning words into Poetry…give thanks and glory to Hughes, Angelou and Gorman for this