Poetry Showcase by Christian Jethro

A Happy Home

Dad doesn't make enough from the books he writes
But his smile is strength enough to tuck the kids in at night
His hands are dirty with ink
And many words are still imprinted in his eyes
A lot of them he said 
But there's still a lot more he holds inside;
A Pandora's box he keeps out of sight;
A chest pregnant with butterfly words, 
Eviction notices,
Screaming loads of unpaid bills
And a memory of their first kiss
All swimming softly within the chest
Like a calm school of fish,
Caressing past the waters without ever knowing the sea


His lips quiver
As he lands gentle kisses on the children's fattened cheeks as they lay asleep
He recites a prayer smoothly 
As though it is part of the many dead objects in the room
It lingers and stays
Hangs on the their clothes
And glows behind the moon
It becomes ambient 
And sleeps on their skin
Climbs up to their necks 
And rests where there's a heartbeat


As soon as everything is warm
And his silent tears have left his eyelids tender and soft
He clears his throat to make another silent wish
And longs for better hands that'll help him mould their dreams
His are poor
Adjoined to twig like fingers
That hate the feel of rough surfaces
And resent the taste of thick engine oil
But the curse is a tight rope
And has them lynched by rabid responsibilities
Until silence is what becomes of their voice


However,
They jolt when their nostrils are carrolled by the acid scent of ink
The life in their eyes terraforms pages
And seasons a compound of stories on papers that were once blank as milk
And speak of worlds he wished his children's eyes could see;
Worlds that defeat the fortified pillars of "wants and needs"
And ruins the dichotomy of "kings and thieves"
While chewing on the legs of society's spineless lores
That sends many men to wars that are based on no truthful cause
And widows mothers that bear orphaned seeds
It always has to be blood and colorful explosions that are forced to declare victory


She waits for him in the kitchen
Plates are cleaned and there's but a bit of foam left in the sink
The sweat from her hair reaches her temples
She sighs and looks around
The house feels small 
And the framed memories
Replay themselves in her head
She smiles at how everything seems a long distance away
But how new the words that made her stay all these years still remain;



They're still bright eyed
And still tickle the insides of her heart
Their exuberance pounces and quiets the silence
Until she forgets about the holes on her cotton frock
And the missing numbers in the dusty old clock


Observing her reflection in the silver tablespoon
And time's handiwork that now decorates her skin
Her wrinkled smile reveals the corner of her teeth
He walks in 
Smiles at her
For he, once again, discovered those lights in her eyes;
Those intoxicating little lights
That makes him ignore the blinking stars
And forget the inventory of words he had when he walked through those doors
The same lights,
That humbled his proud knees
And built her tall in front of him
Until all that was left was to adorn this deity with a ring
And forgive his nerves for being so weak


They embrace
And dance


They can't afford a phonogram
So no music plays in the back
But they both know the one that's playing in their head

("If it's all gone the other way...And hell is above us;...Heaven forbid!")

AS YOUR ROSE, AS YOUR TREE, AND AS YOUR CLOUD

Consider me a moment 
Consider me a passing second in your clock
Consider me as evanescent as the clouds
See that I can only carry you for a while;
From here to there,
And accept the colors I'll leave with you as soon as I depart
Know that it wasn't a decision I held in my heart,
Nor a choice I made within the belly of the dark;
I'm forever moving 
And I hoped you could see it from the start


But maybe I hadn't included it in the bind of words I sent to you,
Or wrote it so well the way you'd like me to,
For sometimes what I want said occurs only in my mind,
And out of my mouth,
Specs of dust find their way out,
But even they fail to say the words i want them to
So then, 
Consider me a monument;
Saying nothing but hoping you'd understand; 
Fleeting away from your sight knowing we might not meet again;
Evaporating to nothingness and hoping you'd like me 
like this than when I was whole instead 


Learn to love me as I am in fragments than when you could fully cloth me with your hands
Enjoy the lines we traced in the sands,
And the times that ended that which we thought could never end
I never wished to leave you with just memories,
And transparent pieces of me you can't cup with your palms,
Or afterimages of responsibilities I could've done,
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
But unfortunately my presence is the one thing I cannot craft
And if I could, 
I'd mail each one of my limbs to you
Enough for you to build me up and allow me to spend these quiet nights with you


Phantasm seems to be my only art;
Planting a rose in your heart but never being there to watch it bloom;
Saying the words you want to hear but leaving it to my absence to watch them spark,
And I'm always without a pen when it comes to 
finishing these lines I start,
And always without fingers when it comes to fixing such parts
So I use my mouth and sometimes my heart
But how do I act for you when I have already forgotten my role?
And how do I live for you again when I barely understand this same heart's beating tone...
And the exact peaks it reached for you when it was only me and you alone?


I'm also afraid you won't derive much from my words
I doubt I'll be worth your sight,
Or even worth your stance as you look over my drying bones
Perhaps I'll be written off as a failure 
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
I'll be dwindled in the confines of your heart 
As one who cherished words but spoke like a liar,
And mingled himself within your garden but was never a flower 
For truly I was nothing, 
And I am nothing still;
I was never anything 
Maybe it's your fault for seeing in me a fertile land,
And then deciding to bury your band of roots within its 
sands,
And maybe I am wrong for posing as such,
And dipping your face in such a belief; 
I may be nothing,
But what I could be is a thief


No more than I wanted you saved, 
I was bound to an addiction to leave
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
But more of a compounded cloud from that trinity to you
For when the wind brushes past,
My bones shiver for I know it's my time to move

                  I HAVEN’T MOVED. IM HERE.

        I haven't moved
I'm here
Still and sound
My blood has stopped flowing
And I'm knee deep into the ground


I search for your name in the sky
But everything seems obscured by the clouds


The wind has died next to me
And all the stars have lost their strength


The moon cannot make sense of the night anymore
She buries her head in dust 
And now and then forgets her place in heaven
Thus the vast tables of waters wallow and mourn
Without direction and clash into each other
The earth quivers and begs for their silence
All the birds remain in hiding
And the beasts are drowning and cannot escape the cadence

                                  
        Questions are without answers
Words are as clear as air
I cannot tell who I am anymore
I do not understand the weight of my fears
Nor your chastising hand that's looming above my head


You found me within the belly of death
Crouched inside my vices 
And being fed more lies by my own hands
At first glance I thought you were the enemy
Until you drew near and held open my rose colored eyes


You said life can also be found in this darkness
And I cannot reach for it if I held on to mine
So I begged to die;
I begged for death and relief from this plight
Because what's the use of breathing when these bones cannot contain life;
Like a cracked and broken bowl expected to hold water


So I began biting off my skin
And hurriedly chewing off my flesh


I wanted to get to you even though you stood right before me
I was prisoned by an epiphany that you could also be right inside me
Because as you spoke,
Another voice echoed from within me


You stopped me and held me against the wall
Your words were shaped like swords
But your voice carried the still of a rushing brook
I was losing blood 
But you said it's fine 
And that you already bled enough blood for me
And then I asked you, "what about life?"


Before I knew it,
I couldn't sustain my tears
I crumbled to the ground 
And huddled amidst my wasted flesh
I couldn't bear the despair nor the curse coded in my own name


What began to leave my mouth conjured flames 
And sundered everything thing in that place


I was only looking for words
But my crippled soul borne destruction
And had no hands to mould life or fashion fine existence


You wanted me to say something besides the chaos I thought were letters
It was somewhere within me, you said
So I kept uttering shambles of phrases
Nothing with well-structured bones of sense
And each time they left my mouth,
My own world would twist and badly break apart


Every flower began to lose their color
The wind in his mighty strides
Fell down like an upright pillar
And died right next to me


Before all was lost,
In my huddled stance I closed my mouth
The air reeked of decay and cooling ash
You remained amidst the mess 
You sat down cross legged right in front of me


Having found no words,
I lifted myself up and looked to the sky
The earth began to swallow me
It was true then that I had lost my fight
I could feel the bones in my legs turn to stone
My strength was wasted and I nearly destroyed my home
"I give up", I said to you
You smiled at me and that's when I died


I'm awake again


I haven't moved
I'm here
Still and sound
My blood has stopped flowing
And I'm knee deep into the ground


I thought you said you killed all my demons,
So why is my own blood on your sword?

UNDER A NEW LIGHT
                            (Sol’s Beginning)

You told me not to worry about tomorrow
You gave me this blank page 
And left me in the middle of a parched land
I forgot who I was 
But my soul is weighed by memories of home


You said ahead of me lies a country where I'll recieve a new name
And be given new garments after I feed these ones to the flame
But the hot earth has left blisters underneath my feet
And the sounds in the wind have a way of surrendering my knees to the ground
So what really did you mean when you said "this is a gift"?
And why do you hide your face in the clouds,
And hide your voice behind the noise of the seas


In this utter silence,
I should be able to hear your footsteps in the breeze
But why am I alarmed by the hoarse peals of yesterday's demise inflating about me;


Scratching like a beast on the walls of this reprieve
And burning its own lungs while screaming to be set free
And like a mad man I wander under the cooking heat
Repeating your name until the angry groans sleep 
And until my knees stop knocking against each other
So that I savor the little ounce of air you gave me 
And steal many more chances to remain still 
Waiting and longing for something my famished heart should feel


I never thought you'd come down and search for me 
My ears have heard a lot of voices
And my eyes bore witness to many ends
I've seen pale putrid bodies wrenched 
And forgotten on the still bossom of river banks
With weeds growing from within the coves of their open mouths
Then after the countless winds of days
I was buried by the rubbles of my fallen kingdom;
My timid spine couldn't stand upright when my demons began petitioning for a new king
They tore apart my throne and shared the pieces amongst themselves
They melted my crown and sundered my robe of red
All because I betrayed them by asking for a different 
                                                        life to live


Death was on his way after having learnt from them the whereabouts of the dying king
But before he wrapped my name in his tongue
You appeared above the burning city like a glorious reverie
Your speech troubled the tides
And sent every frolicking flame to die
Death swallowed my name and quickly fled the site
I was left nameless desiring the endless darkness
And like the other remaining flames,
I awaited my turn to die

But here I am 
Every epic of my mighty reign remains embedded in these scars
Encapsulated by memories that are only conjured when I choose to look behind me
And pretend to see chances of rebuilding what was erected from bitter foolishness
Even in the risk of losing what's precious but unknown, 
Kept and concealed in the windowless promise of tomorrow
And this future you speak of should be enough to 
strengthen my failing eyes
But there's not much in sight
And there isn't anything more to ask from this barren ground


Should I understand that I'm traversing past myself 
And all that's around me is what I'd behold if I opened up my chest;
I'm as arid as the baked surface of this place
I'm accented by cracks and ajar empty lines 
I too have to face the burning sun 
And miss the wind after not having felt her kiss for a while
I too am deemed purposeless by my own thoughts
And wish to know of what value I am behind your eyes


If this is what you wanted me to see and write down on this blank page,
Why didn't you also entrust me with a pen?

"Everything is already written down, Sol."

How unworthy am I to not see this "everything" you speak of?
Why can't you free me from looking at myself as some 
derelict artifact
That has been exiled to a greedy nothingness that begs for more of what I don't have

"Everything will be made known in time. For now, this is where 
you start."




Bio: C.J Leonard Kalondi (Christian Jethro) is a poet and freelance graphics designer based in South Africa in the city of Johanesburg. Contact: chrsjthr@gmail.com




New poems from Fadairo Tesleem

A poem in which I mourn a friend

To the clarion call of death,
I know how reflexive you were,
If the dragon still lives,
The one that pronounced your death,
Let it film life & take it up,
So you'd see how your death -
watered every land with grief.

I passed through your grave after years,
& split at all that interlocked my sight:
The land you were tucked into,
I cursed death too,
The doctor that confirmed your death,
& the lorry that conveyed your body.

The mischievous yells of ours reached the crown,
He asked if death has done beyond -
taking a soul and we said yes,
He's parted a mother from his fruits/
A woman from her husband/
A wicked water has put off a fire in our family.

Holy words from the holy alter

Today, I opened the scripture and it 
journeyed my eyes to where our Lord says; 
"Someday, none of Man's assets 
shall be of benefit to man plus his wife/
Children/ all he had/ all that makes man a man.
"& man would on this day flee from all he owns/
His siblings/ from all things, owned and discarded/

So, there would ever be a day I would -
see my siblings and scream at my heels,
Sight the emergence of my children
& run as prey would from predators,
& that there's ever going to be a black-
day my parents will listen not to my yells.

I'd once shared bed with a ghost

The last time i attended the funeral
of a young lad, whose age's same as mine.
I couldn't in his grave find a log of body,
But a condensed cloud of unfulfilled dreams.
I ne'er believed heaven is a place
for black-haired men too,
Till the night my brother and I said 
the Lord's prayer with our hands interlocked,
& when morning knocked, I met his statue beside me,
Except that since then  we haven't seen each other,
The rest, I couldn't fathom, till now !
Mum said he is dead and Dad said the same.

visited an orphanage home

They rushed at me and said,
Tell us uncle,please tell us,
The joy of being owned,
Tell us what's a home?

I raised my brow to the sky,
But its place was too high,
So,I held the details in a sigh.

The truth of a home is the -
suicide note a frustrated father left
behind after exceeding his debit limits.
& a mother that sold her son to feed 
his siblings and abandoned him to 
the tartness of his sour fate.

I wrapped all these in a sigh &
said--Home is sweet.

Tell us more uncle,
What's parental care? What's a hug?
What's mother's warmth embrace & 
What's father's soothing words?

I breathe heavily this time & said,
They are the most pleasurable things.

"Take us home uncle"
ion have a home too-i replied.
I'm an orphan too,
We're all orphans, picturing -
what is it to own a home.


Bio: Fadairo Tesleem is a young Nigerian poet that writes from Ilorin, Kwara state. He is a teacher, a poetry coach and a literary critic.
His poems are published or forthcoming in Fiery scribe review, Pangolin review, Queer Toronto literary magazine literary, Arts lounge, Best of Africa, Blue Minaret, Down in the dirt Ninshãr arts and the host of others. He has some poems published to his honour on some self-publishing literary platforms.
He tweets @Olakunle.

A Poetry Showcase for Rickey Rivers Jr.

man hugging his knee statue

Finally Understood

It took me a while to understand what you wrote.
I banged my head against the keys.
 
The words didn't correlate so I questioned their meaning.
 
I decided no meaning made sense.
I went to bed.
I went there angry.
 
How dare you write something so off putting?
 
I slept angry.
I couldn't settle.
You made me that way, confused, upset. 
 
I woke up screaming.
 
I got it.
 
What you wrote woke me up, gave life to my tears.


Cool Heads

Let us remain cool after warmed
With stress and pain
Our heads cool enough to nearly freeze
 
Not with numbness 
We've had enough of that
Instead with bliss
 
The opposite of overheating, we cool troubles away
A cool head prevails without danger of freezing
 
It's cold outside, it doesn't affect us
We are warmed in tranquility.

Evils of the World

For spouted lies and tales told
Chaos, destruction, death 

Father Time will punish 
And Mother Nature will morn 
For only so long

The evils of the world are often people 
The good can only suffer.
 
The law of the land 
History: a teacher

Am Not Muse

Muse I am not
So do not trace me

Muse I am not 
So do not draw me

Muse I am not 
So do not paint me

Muse I am not 
So do not sculpt me

Muse I am not 
So do not snap me

Muse I am not 
So do not touch me

Muse I am not 
So do not love me

No, I never said that.

Application of Learning After School

I should have applied myself better
I use to like school

But the years went by
And interest dwindled

School came with more than learning
They were distractions

No excuse
I allowed myself distraction

Who could blame a young mind?

Those things were not told beforehand
Perhaps they were 
And I chose not to listen?

You find out a lot through living.

It seems when school ended 
My will to learn came back
And it's fun again
When you're able to learn
On your own accord

Teaching the Self

Fooled by rules in school
With years in the proverbial pool

A kind of ignorance
Reality blew

A tool only
To gather information

Plenty unused after school

Learned a bit more 
After swimming on the hypothetical edge

Feet on the pavement
Gathering data

My wants I say
My wants, my way


Bio: Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a Best of the Net nominated writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in Brave Voices, Sage Cigarettes and Hell Hued Zine (among other publications). Interactive fiction: https://rrj.itch.io/notable-neighborhood-garbage  Twitter.com/storiesyoumight Mini chapbooks are available here: https://payhip.com/StoriesYouMightLike


3 poems from Rickey Rivers Jr.  : “Confidence, Anxiety, Self Doubt” “Who I am Now?” “Case of Emergency”


3 poems by Rickey Rivers Jr. “Sour Cup of Us” “Living in the Past” “The Thing about Us”


Poems from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Rickey Rivers Jr.










A Fevers of the Mind Poetry Showcase for Adwaita Das

Bio:

Adwaita Das is the author of Quantum Tango, a volume of science-fantasy stories with illustrations, Colours of Shadow, a novella and short fiction collection, as well as, the books of poetry, 27 Stitches and Songs of Sanity. Their art features in Young Mental Health: Mindscape SeriesDivine Darkness: Black Bough Poetry and Brown Bodies: The Rights Collective, amongst other publications and series. They have worked in theatre, news, advertising and filmmaking. Global speaker and creative facilitator for inclusive and innovative mental healthcare, Adwaita applies sound and imagery to address trauma and share peace.

The following five poems are from my book Songs Of Sanity published by Writers Workshop India.

9.
Stir the sun in the brewed tea,
A pinch of silver bromide,
A spoon of pearl spit
(Posterity to add to the taste),
And they will see the reflection of the moon
In your intestines
When they slice you to make you confess.

23.
The stars fall onto my wakefulness.
The stars tonight are alive.
Tonight this blue night,
this blue room of sky and stars,
make a wish
before all is lost.
Make a wish
although all is lost.

48.
The games that people play
Take my breath away,
Gut me cold,
And leave me crying crumpled in corners.
I do string my words beautifully;
But this time I’m screaming for help.

49.
Chilly seeds on widow cloth.
Fire specks dusted into eyes.
I have seen her some where
in summer,
in white.
Indian widow
using spoons
in punishment,
for reward.

Slave girl, she prepared cow dung cakes
for winter to come after rain
when she could sleep.

60.
Wishing on stars blue and green.
So what if it’s not a fairytale
And such things don’t happen here.
The sky’s still singing for dreams.

New Poems from Pasithea Chan

Tap or Pap

Flip a coin hold and tap
to reveal love or loss’ pap
Fifty-fifty chance tap or pap.
Let the commotion begin!
Pride the ultion will flip
this coin to deeds that trip

Many walk into this trap
innocently to play tap or pap
but fail this trip and dab
their hearts to spin:
Loss, like a sip
and love like a nip.

Guilt is a strap
tying fault like crap
to silence like a slap.
Care is a cleft chin
bearing hurts pin
falling with a din
to silence's coin spin.

Surely this coin will stab.
words with silence so drab
bleeding minds that blab
with melodies so drab.
Tap or pap silence to dap
meaning from life’s map.

Surfacing

I look at its roads
of veins and arteries.
It flows like woes
with heartbeats.

It never sees
light living airtight.
Everything seems right.
Who’d think of plight?

Hurt is a knife that cuts
a skin letting blood ooze.
Air burns its surface
water deepens its gaps.

Suddenly an iris once
so clear gets washed with tears.
Only then we realize
clarity comes from tears.

Suddenly light tears
confidence with real fears.
Tears are fierce
teachers sharper than spears.

Wounds are lights
let in by reality’s shears
clearing destiny’s ways
in lessons about other beings.

Author's Notes:
Inspired by: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”-Rumi.

Passion's Wheel

It takes a heart to ride the wheel
of passion and start
to reference position without taking part
or sides in stories that break one apart.

Empathy is the ability
to ride passion’s wheel aptly.
A journey reserved for the extraordinary
they say but on the contrary;
open to all humanity.

To be human is to feel
and understand what it means to keel.
But to empathize is to ride passion’s wheel.

It takes a heart to see
when eyes are built to look.
It takes a heart to journey
when legs are built to walk.

Passion’s wheel is a tricircular sphere
with eight portions for emotions
marked by color for qualities
and distance from the center for intensities.

Where annoyance, anger, and rage
form the first octant;
red denotes aggressiveness.

Where boredom, disgust, and loathing
form the second octant ;
berry denotes contempt.

Where pensiveness, sadness, and grief
form the third octant;
dark blue marks remorse.

Where distraction, surprise, and amazement
form the forth octant ;
light blue marks disapproval.

Where apprehension, fear, and terror
form the fifth octant;
light green marks awe.

Where acceptance, trust, and admiration
form the sixth octant;
dark green marks submission.

Where serenity, joy, and ecstasy
form the seventh octant;
yellow marks love.


Where interest, anticipation, and vigilance
form the eighth octant;
orange marks optimism.

Like passion’s tricircular hierarchy wheel
emotions in humans reveal
empathy, Alexithymia, or antipathy.

Hearts sort humans
as riders of empathy;
drifters of Alexithymia
and the walking dead of antipathy.

Those who see with their hearts
understand where others stand
and stood to be understood
are riders of empathy.

Those who are blind in their hearts
fail to understand where they stand
and run before understanding themselves
or letting others understand them
are drifters of Alexithymia.

But those who are blinded by their hearts
and refuse to understand where others stand
yet expect to be understood
are the walking dead of antipathy.

It takes a heart to sort humans
but it only takes a rider
to tell drifters from dead walkers
for only a heart sees
when the eyes look with ice
at compromise, demise and advice.

Author's Notes:
This poem reflects the definitions of empathy, alexithymia, and antipathy from the side of an empath with scientific connotations aligned with morality and humane values.


Magical Fail

Abracadabra I lift the veil to an epic fail
The cage is gone so is my reality’s scale.
I am running from my fears within my tale.
Surprise I found them grabbing me by the tail.

Outrun by motives I ail
under actions that wail:
Life breaks those seeking breaks to curtail
struggles running without brakes down a trail.

My fears are catching up but I’m so frail.
I lost my heart beneath hurt’s sail
Hiding behind others’ success like mail
stashed and forgotten like a folktale.

I am no magician just an escapist trying to bail
out of a life that’s been an epic fail.
Sad part is I am now stuck in my own jail
trying to get out before I kick the pail!

Inspired by : Steven Universe's song Escapism by theCrewnUniverse & Rebecca Sugar; link on youtube: https://youtu.be/lpVsF8e8NZM

Blueish Hues

Light fell on her book to light
night’s loneliness and show a night
lost to sadness over a love lost.
Love had fallen out of love.

Light fell on her love’s dying light.
Casting darkness behind branches casting
stars of lament with blues’ branches
hiding a castle of sorrows worth hiding.

Glowing blueish hues glowing
with hurt for whom she can’t be with
turn fires that light into fires
that burn hearts just like that.

Love is a fire curling hearts with love
like timbers curling under the fires of like.

Author's Notes:
The prompt is a blueish night with a girl holding a book to the light curling her toes. This piece is a shadow sonnet reflecting emotions I felt looking at that photo


Crimson Heart

Care runs through your blood
Red with sensitivity and comfort
Infused with admiration’s platelets
Musing companionship’s cells to
Sincerity and dedication that are enjoyed
Only by me your best friend.
Never did a heart look so red until I saw yours.

Author's Notes:

Genre : Acrostic Word Count 41

A Poetry Showcase by Pasithea Chan

Love and Poetry by Pasithea Chan

When an Oyster Chokes on its Pearls by Pasithea Chan

4 poems by Pasithea Chan : Daily Revelations, Empty Words, Skylark of the Dark, Aloof

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Pasithea Chan















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