a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z

a

I am a dreamer who dares to dream of.

Perhaps at day or may be at night;

When the whole world is busy sleeping tight.

I may seem sometimes fizzled;

But actually I am not riddled.

People’s suzerainty over my mind,

And the fisticuff of words they find;

Shall shatter all within no time.

I am a dreamer who dares to dream of.

Stood up again, assembled all my courage;

To give the shattered pieces a new fuse,

And to make them a bit huge.

Shielded them with the vests of positivity;

To ensure their more infissility.

No furlough from the mind;

Just to chase them again from behind.

I am a dreamer who dares to dream of.

I dream of, not becoz it’s my birthright;

But becoz I want to.

These dreams aren’t one day plan.

Seeds are sown the day I born.

Perhaps they aren’t too high;

Unlike others, who aspire to reach the sky.

Surely, I not wanna be captious hereby.

I am a dreamer who dares to dream of.

Perhaps it’s being called a one rapacious;

It hadn’t made me sleep for years and years.

My dreams are purely emancipated;

From when and where are they emanated.

Inseparable part of my journey;

And the best ever comrade;

To lead me perfectly the way ahead.

I am a dreamer who dares to dream of.

Does it really seem to be reverie?

Of course not, it is an awry.

Not meant here to be in captivity;

Under this sunshine, want my own identity.

The thought is wholesome and invincible.

But absolutely it is not infeasible.

And this is why I dared to dream.

Bio: My name is Achla Mishra. I am a resident of India. I am a B.Sc graduate and currently pursuing my LL.B(3 Years) from K.S. Saket P.G. College. Along with this I have a great interest in reading, writing and hence do greatly believe in giving the words to my emotions by trying to jot them down on the paper. Hence poems catch most of my attention and I feel a best relation with them which really inspires me to write more and more.

I wish

I could be like that of universe;

Gigantic enough to shower blessings.

I wish

I could be that sunshine;

That strews a potion of happiness.

I wish

I could be those raindrops;

That contains all the colours of rainbow.

I wish

I could be that brightening moon;

To which every lover compares their beloved

I wish

I could be those twinkling stars;

To accompany those broken hearts.

I wish

I could be like that ocean;

That is calm enough to fathom the deepness.

I wish

I could be the smell of the flowers;

Inseparable even in the difficulties hard.

I wish

I could be like that of water;

Whose drops slip through the fingers but still can behold a ship.

I wish

I could be the roots of the tree;

The foundation so strong that no one can see.

I wish

I could be those emotions;

That a poet tries to pen down in his poem.

I wish

I could be that beautiful heart;

That can rule the entire humanity.

Bio: My name is Achla Mishra. I am a resident of India. I am a B.Sc graduate and currently pursuing my LL.B(3 Years) from K.S. Saket P.G. College. Along with this I have a great interest in reading, writing and hence do greatly believe in giving the words to my emotions by trying to jot them down on the paper. Hence poems catch most of my attention and I feel a best relation with them which really inspires me to write more and more.

Thy mind flickers;

It actually sucks.

From this to that, it wrangle;

Although difficult to strangle.

No noise, silence prevails;

Battling thoughts dismays.

Depression takes the centre stage;

Thus making thy a hostage.

When the time goes tough;

Gently hold the hiccough.

Beyond the line, when it seems;

Laugh enough to make its memes.

Start thy journey from thereon;

To make it reach the targeted horizon.

Have guts enough to open your heart;

Even though, if not everyone gets your cart.

Do not get trapped

Within the threads

Of your own thoughts.

Weave them well

To form a nutshell

Of aughts.

The journey though begans here;

Creating its own sphere.

At the source of thought,

Beyond the mess,

Lies utter blissfulness!!

Bio:My name is Achla Mishra. I am a resident of India. I am a B.Sc graduate and currently pursuing my LL.B(3 Years) from K.S. Saket P.G. College. Along with this I have a great interest in reading, writing and hence do greatly believe in giving the words to my emotions by trying to jot them down on the paper. Hence poems catch most of my attention and I feel a best relation with them which really inspires me to write more and more.

I sit here sobbing for your grief stricken family
Knowing they can no longer see your smile
Hear your laughter
Embrace you
Or hold your hand
But perhaps the hardest to comprehend
They cannot sit together
The cannot offer a handkerchief or tissue to a crying loved one
Or a gentle squeeze of the hand
They cannot embrace as mourners do.

I am live streaming a funeral service from my lounge room
A near empty church sits silently in bereavement, remembering the life of their mother.
A near empty church that only mere month’s ago, its mourners would have spilled from its doors and on to the street.
A cherished woman who was deserving of the celebration she gave to everyone else.

We would have still cried for you, for your family’s sadness.
But we would have cried together.

Bio: A Registered Nurse, I have spent the last seven years working in Palliative Care in Melbourne, Australia. I have worked extensively in inpatient and community Palliative care and more recently, in Palliative Research.
I am the mother of two gorgeous young boys, 5 and 2.
COVID-19 has imposed many challenges on our household.
On medical advice we are self-isolating; my 2-year-old son has a significant heart condition.
Palliative care holds a strong place in my heart. It is what made me become a nurse.
These poems reflect my professional, personal and present experience.

Please give her the morphine and let her suffering be over.

The morphine will not hasten her death but only aid in her symptoms.

Your mother is dying.

If she is breathless, I will treat it.
If she is in pain, I will treat it.
If she is restless, I will treat it.
I am here.
You cannot be here to hold her hand, so I will.

May she have peace in her final breaths and know how loved she was.

But know I was here, holding her hand.

Bio: A Registered Nurse, I have spent the last seven years working in Palliative Care in Melbourne, Australia. I have worked extensively in inpatient and community Palliative care and more recently, in Palliative Research.
I am the mother of two gorgeous young boys, 5 and 2.
COVID-19 has imposed many challenges on our household.
On medical advice we are self-isolating; my 2-year-old son has a significant heart condition.
Palliative care holds a strong place in my heart. It is what made me become a nurse.
These poems reflect my professional, personal and present experience.

You think you know it all.
They taught you at university
How to keep your patient clean,
Mouth care, Pressure area care.
To give them a bed bath without wetting the sheets.
How to keep the patient dignified during such undertakings.
They taught you to assess for signs of distress and administer medications to alleviate suffering.
And then;
Years of experience nursing the dying teach you careful and compassionate communication with those most vulnerable.
It gives you the ability to read a room.
The capacity to tell the odd joke with the family watching their loved one die.
Or when to gently stroke your patient’s head and remind them they are loved when they are alone.

And now here you are,
Dying in front of me.
I’ve forgotten everything. All I can do is to sob as I hold your hand.
How will I ever recover from this?

Bio: A Registered Nurse, I have spent the last seven years working in Palliative Care in Melbourne, Australia. I have worked extensively in inpatient and community Palliative care and more recently, in Palliative Research.
I am the mother of two gorgeous young boys, 5 and 2.
COVID-19 has imposed many challenges on our household.
On medical advice we are self-isolating; my 2-year-old son has a significant heart condition.
Palliative care holds a strong place in my heart. It is what made me become a nurse.
These poems reflect my professional, personal and present experience.

Eight metres high
Looking at the sky,
Giving us shade
While others fade.

Monkeys or Squirrels
Or birds or ants,
are benefited
like from a holy chant.

Head in the sky
While feet on the ground,
Looking at you assures
an elder brother i found.

Obsessed with the world
at you i look,
guide me the path
like a holy book.

You only gives
like mother cow,
For your love
we all bow.

If you die tomorrow,
then I am screwed
big time.

I will need to lead
in your final prayer
stand in front of those old Tok Imams
and recite strange verses
which I can never comprehend
which you have never understood.

If you die tomorrow
I will need to buy that archaic Book
start learning what to say
how to say
when to say
so much to say
for two minutes worth of say
and all that falling to deaf ears.

If you die tomorrow
I will need to start saving
because it is not cheap to die,
I need to get the cleaner, the make-up artist,
The wardrobe guy, caterer, the real estate agent, the house,
we need to buy the house,
six feet deep
with six other occupants
it’s government subsidized
so it’s cheaper at least
it’s cash term only
so the thousands in your CPF can still accumulate interest.

If you die tomorrow
your past burden will be
your farewell present to me
with loose ends
which I will have to tie, else
they will come after me
with empty threats
and bloodied fists,
their expletive-coated tongues
and phoenix-coloured hairs
demanding my invaluable head
they will stand alongside rigid men with rigid clipboards
handing out summons to our names
my name now crosses your name
Because I am you, Bak
I am my father’s son.

If you are going to die,
please,
let it be
not tomorrow.

Bio: AL HAFIZ is a graduate from Nanyang Technological University, obtaining an Honours degree in English Literature with Minors in Creative Writing and Drama Performance. He has since developed his works in different platforms such as stage and screen acting, teaching and spoken word poetry. He has performed his spoken word poems in locally known venues like Blu Jaz Café and The Arts House Singapore.

Do you resuscitate
a leaf turning yellow?
Do you attach it back
piece it back, take it to triage?
Do you bandage it
two rounds left, one round right?
Do you opt for a transplant?

A transfusion is in order
for a photosynthesization to happen
for life to happen
once more
one more season, one more cycle,
one more day.

Do you bury your family
or do you weep from afar?
Do you watch it disintegrate
into tiny microbes of little life
becoming one with the ground?
Do you even shed a tear for the fallen?
Do you?

Do you let go?
What do you do when death smiles at you?
Do you smile back?

Bio: AL HAFIZ is a graduate from Nanyang Technological University, obtaining an Honours degree in English Literature with Minors in Creative Writing and Drama Performance. He has since developed his works in different platforms such as stage and screen acting, teaching and spoken word poetry. He has performed his spoken word poems in locally known venues like Blu Jaz Café and The Arts House Singapore.

When Sunday comes
You bring out a box
Filled With Berita Harian
Newspaper you’ve kept for months
So that you make some money with the karang guni man
hopefully
When Sunday came
I brought out a box of
Berita Harian, The Straits Times, TODAY,
And other flimsy clippings and faded articles
Of my existence that my mother kept
All sealed in a box, and I gave it all away to the cleaner
So that they make some money with the karang guni man
hopefully

Memories of my mother
Compartmentalize in brown boxes
But the heaviest one came in the smallest of boxes
The one I brought home from hospital after she died
With her brush and olive oil,
Her many colourful tudungs
The floral red pattern she wore during Eid
The plain black she adorns on her Sheng Siong shopping runs
The white one, the last one.
On her mattress, I found strains of fallen hair
Which used to be hers
I comb it away
As I imagine myself brushing her hair in the morning
Extracting the grey ones as she requested
Nitpicking on her greasy scalp
Feeling the warmness of her curls
Onto this barren hands.

I collect every single strain of hair in a Ziplock bag,
Sealing every memory of her in 5 by 5 bag
With air entirely sucked out of it, I wonder
How can hair feel this heavy?

Bio: AL HAFIZ is a graduate from Nanyang Technological University, obtaining an Honours degree in English Literature with Minors in Creative Writing and Drama Performance. He has since developed his works in different platforms such as stage and screen acting, teaching and spoken word poetry. He has performed his spoken word poems in locally known venues like Blu Jaz Café and The Arts House Singapore.

we take lola out for dinner
tagaytay with its cold evening wind
the raindrops like pins and needles
on her soft, sagging skin.

my parents order bulalo and
an ensemble of musicians approach
our table to ask her what song
she wishes to hear.

she asks for lolo’s favourite
and they begin to play “paper roses”
i see iridescent pearls roll
down her sunken cheeks.

her hands, flesh resembling a map
filled with crossroads, find mine
underneath the table and
i wish i could pull away
but she still remembers me.

she tells me of lost loves and betrayals
of adventures high and low
though i can no longer distinguish
which stories are real.
and i feel that neither can she.

on worse days she screams
at the top of her lungs
“let me go! let me go to my house!”
even when she is already in it.

on better days she can recall
the names of her children
my father, her bunso.

on the best days she sees me, smiles,
kisses me on the cheek
and says, “ang laki mo na, apo.”
(you’re so big already, my granddaughter)

lola asks me to sleep
in her room where the air
doesn’t feel like heat waves
and she does not sleep until i do.

Bio: Aleia Marie H. Anies is a 22 year old Creative Writing student from the University of Sto. Tomas. She has been writing ever since she learned to form coherent words and sentences, and wrote her first story at 5 years old about why the duck and the cat weren’t friends. Aside from writing, she also finds purpose in life by being a mental health advocate. She was also part of The Varisitarian’s 14th Creative Writing Workshop in UST, receiving a spot in Fiction. She tries as much as possible to make time and space to read and write every day.

in my dream
i am a witch and
my lola’s memory
is a bundle of yerba santa
it does not catch fire
but it burns slowly,
forming embers
that begin drifting
through the wind
it is hot to the touch; still smoldering,
turning into ashes with each ritual.

Bio: Aleia Marie H. Anies is a 22 year old Creative Writing student from the University of Sto. Tomas. She has been writing ever since she learned to form coherent words and sentences, and wrote her first story at 5 years old about why the duck and the cat weren’t friends. Aside from writing, she also finds purpose in life by being a mental health advocate. She was also part of The Varisitarian’s 14th Creative Writing Workshop in UST, receiving a spot in Fiction. She tries as much as possible to make time and space to read and write every day.

As I walk to the hospital today
To the Lord, Most High, I pray
Guide and protect me throughout the day
To hold my hands and guard my tongue in every word I say

To the patients ailing in pain
May I provide comfort and never complain
May I show joy and never disdain
So that their hope will always remain

To the patients about to first hear about their cancer
May I deliver the news in an emphatic manner
May I give them hope and willpower
So they may face this new trial strong as a fighter

To the patients cachexic and cannot eat
May I not just prescribe nutrition to make them fit
May I also show compassion to all patients I meet
So that their souls may also be nourished and lit

To the terminally ill patients, fragile and weak
May I continue to wear a smile and never meek
May I emanate true happiness at its peak
So that they may have the tranquility they seek

To the children about to lose their father or mother
May they have the strength to never falter
May they accept the reality of the matter
So that they may have peace and find the answer

Bio: Dr Alfredo Chua, or fondly called “Alfie” by his family and friends, is a medical oncology fellow-in-training from the Cancer Institute of the Philippine General Hospital, the largest tertiary hospital in Manila which caters to undeserved Filipinos from all over the Philippines. Caring for patients facing a formidable illness like cancer allowed him to experience the reality of health and disease, life and death, joy and suffering, and hope and despair.

No one knows.
When? Where? How?
Probably when I go to sleep later
Or when I walk to work tomorrow
Or while crossing the street going to home.

Patients usually ask, “Until when?”
“How many months?”
“Will it hurt?”
No one knows.

If we have the answer, will it matter?
Will we live differently?
Will we cross the street more carefully?
No one knows.

Bio: Dr Alfredo Chua, or fondly called “Alfie” by his family and friends, is a medical oncology fellow-in-training from the Cancer Institute of the Philippine General Hospital, the largest tertiary hospital in Manila which caters to undeserved Filipinos from all over the Philippines. Caring for patients facing a formidable illness like cancer allowed him to experience the reality of health and disease, life and death, joy and suffering, and hope and despair.

There was once an old man
A man unknown to none
He lived his life a fulfilling one
Never left work undone.

When he grew weak and weary
past his prime and old glory
He isolated himself from society
drowned himself in regrets and anxiety.

His monthly dues were automatically paid
from the money in the bank he saved
but when he ran out of earnings,
that’s the only time they discovered his remains.

Three years after his last breath
that long for his untimely death
his body remained undiscovered
only grubs who came and heard.

There is nothing lonelier
than dying alone.
Woe to life and woe to death!

Bio: My name is Alonika Furio Fragata. My friends call me ‘Nika’. I grew up in a small town with my family of nine. Yes, I have a big family. Life was simple. The smallness of our town did not hinder me from being curious about the world outside. As a small kid, I started to write short poems about simple things. Writing is like a sanctuary for me. So are books. The fantasy genre is something I really love reading. It amazes me of the creativity, world-building and the complicated characters I can relate to. They inspire me to write.

May there be fewer days when you reach
for my absent hand as for a banister in a
house of sway, and may the years we have
made echo like worn bells or the distant
throats of cranes you cannot name, and may
your heart, broken by that first love lost, his
golden fur still nuzzling your dreams, lead
you to new thunder, and may what is undone
become so much wet grass. The long drives
we took through those neighbourhoods
of unspent time, snacking on distraction.
May they have taught you more than silence
and may all the words I left unsaid be yours
to forget. And may there be little to forgive.

Bio: ALVIN PANG is an internationally active poet and editor based in Singapore. He was Singapore’s Young Artist of the Year in 2005 for Literature and has also been conferred the National Youth Award for Arts and Culture. Featured in the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English, and the Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, his writing has been published in more than twenty languages, including Swedish, Macedonian, Croatian and Slovene. His noted recent books include What Gives Us Our Names and WHAT HAPPENED: Poems 1997-2017, and his latest title is  UNINTERRUPTED TIME (Recent Work Press: Australia, 2019)

Thirteen years
Thirteen years I carry the memory
Of wires
Of tubes
Of your shallow breath

Your eyes close
I slip out of the hospital room
For food
For air
For life to come back to you

My phone rings
Come back now
I run
I run
I can’t run fast enough

One more minute till I’m there
No time to waste
Be quicker
Be faster
Be there

Your ashen husk is still
I plead for one more breath
For your smile
For your warmth
For my little hand in yours

Thirteen years holding that memory
Not of the thirty years before
Only the ache
Only the echo
Only the day I couldn’t hold your hand

Bio: Amanda started telling stories as child in the 1980s. However, family life overrode her craving to write. Desperately seeking something to nurture her soul, Amanda picked up the pen again in 2016, commencing writing studies at the University of New England, Australia. Amanda lives with her teenage son and dreams of a garden that doesn’t need weeding.

To my dearest princess,
I received you in my arms when i was three
No words could express how I felt to be an older sister
Everything was going well you were even hitting your milestones faster than me.
To the prettiest girl I met,
I will never forget the words said to me when I was five
Mum said you will never be the same
Everything milestone you hit seems to be harder and harder each day.
To the strongest warrior I met,
I started admiring your courage when I was six
The countless needle pricks in your then soft skin
Everything seems so painful yet like a warrior you were always ready to fight .
To the girl with voice that seems like angels,
I enjoyed hearing your voice everyday till I was seven
Hearing lesser and lesser of your angelic voice I was forgetting how it sounded like
Everything was hitting the end as I saw you loosing every part of you bit by bit.
To the most atypical girl I met,
I never felt that you were special till I was eleven
But I was wrong. you were never what the world called ‘special’ you were like any other atypical kid
Everything that this world have, you would want to explore even with your disabilities and this makes you atypical.
To the most willing to learn sister I have,
I made the decision to homeschool when I was fourteen
Because I knew I was loosing you , time with you was like uncountable joy
Everything the world showed you, you never said no because you are always willing to try.
To the toughest girl I met,
I remember watching you fight for every breath when I was fifteen
You were hooked on a ventilator fighting for your life. No one knew if you were going to make it
Everything didn’t seem too good yet you did the opposite of what the doctors think and fought to lead your life.
To the girl they call disabled,
I once again heard your voice when I was sixteen
It was the best year of my life to make memories and conversations that I longed for with you speaking
Everything in this world seems so tough yet you found your voice through your eyes and showed others that you had a fighting spirit.
To the girl who taught me inclusion
I will never forget the night when I was seventeen
Doctors said you were degenerating and your condition was not going to be the same
Everything in my life flipped as I knew loosing you was real. While I know you were fighting, heaven seems closer and closer.
To my sister who taught me that theres hope in life,
I want you to remember that I will always be by your side
Even when you depart this world earlier than me,
I want you to know that you will never be forgotten
Even when you are afraid,
I want you to remember that we have invisible strings and I will be there
To my sister that I love so much,
I want you to remember that I will always love you
To my sister who fights like a warrior,
I want you to know heaven to a pretty place that is safe without pain. It will be filled with endless joy
To my beautiful sister,
I want you to know that you have impacted everyone in this world and now as we see heaven coming towards you day by day
I live as though my last with you making every memory I can have with you everyday
I will always love you no matter on earth or in heaven.

Bio: This poem is written through my experience with my younger sister with special needs. She was put in hospice care when she was 5 but she fought through and is still here with us and is turning 14. This poem is a story of my life together with her. Amelia currently is unable to move any of her physical body, she is g-tube fed, needs a bipap 24/7 (with oxygen when needed) , In out for urine output but even though life seems so tough, she once again found her voice using an eyegaze at the age of 12. This year, doctors told us that her brainstem is degenerating and we are now living our lives as though the last for her. I know Amelia have impacted many and I would want to share our story.

Once upon a time, I was ill.
The doctors gave no hope.
No medicines, they said

To cure a broken heart.
I lay in bed, rambling about lost childhood and chariots,
Angels of mercy.

People around were crying, their last tears.
Then suddenly, for no reason but because
Life itself wanted to move

Calm after the storm,
They saw me sitting up, one morning
Asking for some juice.

I was ready to peel oranges.
Bring some tomatoes too, I said.
They brought me all that.

Tomatoes, potatoes.
They made a shrine – with vegetables next to my bed,
On the table, spotless with sunshine.

It had my favourite cold cream, a mosquito repellent, combs, scissors
And a potato.
I loved potatoes the most. A shrine like no other.

Later, the potato was joined by others.
We got the whole kitchen garden in.
Broccoli. Garlic and pepper. A beating heart.

A thing of beauty, sacred.
Home, I said, breathing.
Then I got up and said I was ready to cook.

Bio: Amlanjyoti Goswami’s recent collection of poems ‘River Wedding’ (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world, including in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the UK, the USA, South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Hong Kong, Austria and Germany. His poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.

The walls coloured cream, to let the light in.
The glow on his face
Blends with the day’s moods

Before night draws a curtain in.
Autumn now. Winter is next.
Then spring, and who knows, summer.

The sparrow at the windowsill, who visits for a nibble.
Afternoons, the squirrel climbs a mulberry tree
Outside, it may rain soon.

The bed will be white and empty.
But now I have come
To say hello. Like every evening

Carrying a book of haiku.
When I read, his eyes close and he discovers sunset,
Says he is dreaming with heart open.

A tear drips down the lamp, like a raindrop
As he enters the world of feeling,
Basho, Issa and Shiki speak to him

He feels the way they feel
The sun’s moods, daylight’s lost colours
Evening’s long dangling shadows.

Bio: Amlanjyoti Goswami’s recent collection of poems ‘River Wedding’ (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world, including in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the UK, the USA, South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Hong Kong, Austria and Germany. His poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.

I slept well. No dreams.
Woke up in time for tea and biscuits.
Sat out in the verandah, watching

Leaves go down, one by one.
Five thirty. The sun about to set.
The bed unmade. No, no bread for me, I told the girl

Just some fries.
She looked curious, and went inside.
I stepped out,

Saw a neighbour had just passed.
Thought I should take a look. Walked down
And asked his boy, down the straw lane.

No, still in hospital, he said.
I looked around, the corner shop
Closed and bolted so early. No life on the street,

Not even the hungry dogs. I turned around.
So quiet lately. No one steps out.
Came back to watch TV. The same news.

When the nurse came, I asked
Why now? Are you staying the night?
No, she said, this is my usual time.

I have come to replace the other nurse.
What time is it?
Six thirty she said. I looked at the other clock. Yes, it echoed, from the wall.

I closed my eyes.
My wife on the sick bed, still sleeping.
Is it really morning?

The many times I wondered
If dawn and dusk were one,
And how I couldn’t tell one from the other.

When the cold winds of the winter blow against the window pane
Making the unstable plastic material shiver from pain,
I’d feel the warmth of her clammy palm against my arm.
Fingers far fatigued from the day’s cry, peacefully resting in calm;
“Anna!” she’d call out to me, always with an exclamation,
As if expecting something new to come every day, upon
The nurse’s waking her up to being fed till she slept
A curious smile gracing that oblivious woman’s body and heart.
As she’d befriend the flower pots and dogs in retreat,
The evening sun in the western sky lowering the heat.
Sporting a cheerful smile bright enough to illumine the world
But Dark enough to crumble our world.
Every time I’d tuck her in the bed, she’d smile
All the sparklers at me, making me smile.
Every morning I’d brace my heart to look at her wrinkly face
As she’d innocently say, “I’m going to school, tie on my shoe-lace!”

Bio: I am a student currently pursuing my masters in English literature from the University of Delhi. I love reading and writing. I love to write poems, short stories and novels. I like to interact and communicate with people of various ages and like listening to them. I am greatly inspired by what happens in the real world and love to incorporate the same through my pen, words and emotions. I am a self-published author on Amazon and Notion Press publication.

The flame wavered just as did the old man in the wicker chair;
The growing darkness of the evening slowly bringing us near.
Often have I seen him on the verandah adjacent to mine-
Finding him deeply immersed either in a word or a line.
Today as I lay stretched against the wall after a long day of class,
I found him immersed not in a book but in a glass.
I knew it was no cola, for no cola could make one that limp,
Shiver he did, but not from the mildly pleasant breeze
But from something of his own lease.
His chin wobbled as his toothless gums clanged,
Clattering like a machine out of order.
From being scolded by the day nurse to hiding
In defeat and distress, the figure resigned in tremor,
Slowly giving way to counting his days-
As he lay shivering still, like the last fallen leaves of Autumn.

Bio: I am a student currently pursuing my masters in English literature from the University of Delhi. I love reading and writing. I love to write poems, short stories and novels. I like to interact and communicate with people of various ages and like listening to them. I am greatly inspired by what happens in the real world and love to incorporate the same through my pen, words and emotions. I am a self-published author on Amazon and Notion Press publication.

The days have been trying
to test how long more we can last,
even the minute feels painfully longer.
We remain in our place, even as
the room breathes an air of stillness.
Will weariness wear off on its own ?
I consume the daily delivery of
sanitized versions of reality,
each passing me by gently.
Is losing count a sign of recovery
or a symptom of numbness ?

Bio: I decided to submit to this anthology in remembrance of my grandfather who passed on this year.  He was diagnosed with cancer and spent his last few months in palliative care. it was difficult watching him endure so much pain and how it slowly drained him till he was only left with his final breath. i knew that leaving would let all suffering cease but it’s just difficult saying goodbye to someone i have always looked up to. Even now I’m still having trouble coping with his absence. I wrote this poem in his perspective as I wonder how he felt as a patient in palliative care. I can only imagine how challenging it was for him to remain positive even when all odds were against him.

Tell me,
how does it feel
to be
everything yet nothing
at once?

Tell me,
how does it feel
to be
invincible yet vulnerable
at once?

Tell me,
how does it feel
to be
peaceful yet resentful
at once?

Tell me,
how does it feel
to be
healing yet bleeding
at once?

Bio: Anastasia is an author and a poet who writes poems based on personal experiences and dealing with emotions. Writing is also one of her coping mechanisms in dealing with mental illness that she has been struggling with for years. Recently, she just published Repressed Feelings, an e-book of poems and prose about her healing process.

For once,
in my life,
I don’t want to
overthink anything
I don’t want to
fix anything
I don’t want to
solve anything

Let me watch everything goes by
as I’m drowning in disquiet
Let me leave everything as it is
as I’m growing in the midst of uncertainties
Let me allow everything to unfold by itself
as I’m finding peace in my doubts

Bio: Anastasia is an author and a poet who writes poems based on personal experiences and dealing with emotions. Writing is also one of her coping mechanisms in dealing with mental illness that she has been struggling with for years. Recently, she just published Repressed Feelings, an e-book of poems and prose about her healing process.

I’ve fallen out of grace
and my body is rupturing
spilling ichor while
begging for mercy from the gods

My wings are burning
and its ashes are scattered in the clouds
whispering the tale of my plight
to the universe

My soul is torn apart
and they’re melting like wax
into the earth while
I keep pleading and pleading

But the only answer I got
is a voice pounding inside my head
This isn’t your falling, my dear
This is your resurrection

Bio: Anastasia is an author and a poet who writes poems based on personal experiences and dealing with emotions. Writing is also one of her coping mechanisms in dealing with mental illness that she has been struggling with for years. Recently, she just published Repressed Feelings, an e-book of poems and prose about her healing process.

Gasping
while grasping
at letters
hidden in a green bag,
your tiles fall
into place on the board,
spelling out the past, present and future
tense as we see what may come.

My word “grit” casts a spell
down,
down
on you of fond remembrance,
of moments with your daughter
across
a monochrome landscape of
tumbleweeds rolling
across
the wild, wild west-
a movie that moves
hearts beating to the rhythm of hoofbeats thunderous and
eyes wide open with every shot fired,
the acrid odour of gunpowder wafting in the air,
as father and daughter travel far and wide
screen with father and daughter…

Later on the same day,
as we watch that movie together
in the same room
with your monochrome self and your twelve year old daughter,
your technicolor daughter with your grandsons and granddaughters,

looking at you,
I see True Grit then

in the way you live
to the moment
the pale rider comes,
not a trace
of fading in the air

and in your eyes
gunpowder ablaze
with memories past, in the making and to be made
in days still to come…

Bio: A dreamer, a writer, a singer, a teacher, a freelance educator, a volunteer, a volunteer manager, a lead in culture and organizational development. Me.

Once upon a time,
pushed past the glass door,
where everything was clear to see (except for tomorrow),
he slumped in the wheelchair,
body burdened by a shriveled heart
fear full
of infection, contamination, blight-
the tumour had drained him
of

light
colour
and life.

One turn of the wheel brought him closer to
the people behind the door who greeted him,
infecting him instantly
with open smiles and hands closed
around his own,
warmth returning
to a smile that began to blossom
on his own face,
light starting to flicker in his eyes.

One more step (he was walking by then) brought him nearer to
his friends seated at the tables who beckoned to him,
contaminating him concurrently
with beautiful inks and art-and-craft ugly
to only the hardest of hearts,
hues returning
to a laugh that began to boom
from his open mouth,
colour in his resounding voice.

One more stride (he was running by then) brought him in the vicinity
of music streaming from the front of the television,
where the stage was our world
and we sang and danced together,
strangers no longer,
blighting blissfully his very being with every beat of the drums,
his heart sang to the tune
of a sick rush of energy coursing through his breathing body
full

of life,
colour
and light

in the spaces between every breath he took-
his tumour shrank three sizes that day
when his small heart grew three

and he walked free
past the glass door,
once upon a time…

Bio: A dreamer, a writer, a singer, a teacher, a freelance educator, a volunteer, a volunteer manager, a lead in culture and organizational development. Me.

Blast cells appearing
In his circuit of life
Racing around ignoring traffic lights
Now killing his drive

The fighter in the family
Not a single tear he shed
Face to face with mortality
A joke or two he cracked

Soaring temperatures
A mean rasp of his throat
In between breaths he gasped
His first cry to stay afloat

We armed him with the best weapons
But soldiers he had none
He was fighting on a losing front
Yet two thumbs up he gave, not just one

A machine powered each puff
But the rhythmic beeps were all programmed
A plastic tube anchored him to reality
Robbed his voice, his taste, his sanity

On the eleventh day
‘I am sorry’; a cruel apology
His trembling hands stopped writing
The light in him faded away

He wanted it out
One last breath was his to draw
Nestled in the love of the living
He sipped his favourite drink with a straw

Bio: I am a Haematology Registrar working in Singapore General Hospital.

For once,
in my life,
I don’t want to
overthink anything
I don’t want to
fix anything
I don’t want to
solve anything

Let me watch everything goes by
as I’m drowning in disquiet
Let me leave everything as it is
as I’m growing in the midst of uncertainties
Let me allow everything to unfold by itself
as I’m finding peace in my doubts

Bio: Anastasia is an author and a poet who writes poems based on personal experiences and dealing with emotions. Writing is also one of her coping mechanisms in dealing with mental illness that she has been struggling with for years. Recently, she just published Repressed Feelings, an e-book of poems and prose about her healing process.

I’ve fallen out of grace
and my body is rupturing
spilling ichor while
begging for mercy from the gods

My wings are burning
and its ashes are scattered in the clouds
whispering the tale of my plight
to the universe

My soul is torn apart
and they’re melting like wax
into the earth while
I keep pleading and pleading

But the only answer I got
is a voice pounding inside my head
This isn’t your falling, my dear
This is your resurrection

Bio: Anastasia is an author and a poet who writes poems based on personal experiences and dealing with emotions. Writing is also one of her coping mechanisms in dealing with mental illness that she has been struggling with for years. Recently, she just published Repressed Feelings, an e-book of poems and prose about her healing process.

Gasping
while grasping
at letters
hidden in a green bag,
your tiles fall
into place on the board,
spelling out the past, present and future
tense as we see what may come.

My word “grit” casts a spell
down,
down
on you of fond remembrance,
of moments with your daughter
across
a monochrome landscape of
tumbleweeds rolling
across
the wild, wild west-
a movie that moves
hearts beating to the rhythm of hoofbeats thunderous and
eyes wide open with every shot fired,
the acrid odour of gunpowder wafting in the air,
as father and daughter travel far and wide
screen with father and daughter…

Later on the same day,
as we watch that movie together
in the same room
with your monochrome self and your twelve year old daughter,
your technicolor daughter with your grandsons and granddaughters,

looking at you,
I see True Grit then

in the way you live
to the moment
the pale rider comes,
not a trace
of fading in the air

and in your eyes
gunpowder ablaze
with memories past, in the making and to be made
in days still to come…

Bio: A dreamer, a writer, a singer, a teacher, a freelance educator, a volunteer, a volunteer manager, a lead in culture and organizational development. Me.

Once upon a time,
pushed past the glass door,
where everything was clear to see (except for tomorrow),
he slumped in the wheelchair,
body burdened by a shriveled heart
fear full
of infection, contamination, blight-
the tumour had drained him
of

light
colour
and life.

One turn of the wheel brought him closer to
the people behind the door who greeted him,
infecting him instantly
with open smiles and hands closed
around his own,
warmth returning
to a smile that began to blossom
on his own face,
light starting to flicker in his eyes.

One more step (he was walking by then) brought him nearer to
his friends seated at the tables who beckoned to him,
contaminating him concurrently
with beautiful inks and art-and-craft ugly
to only the hardest of hearts,
hues returning
to a laugh that began to boom
from his open mouth,
colour in his resounding voice.

One more stride (he was running by then) brought him in the vicinity
of music streaming from the front of the television,
where the stage was our world
and we sang and danced together,
strangers no longer,
blighting blissfully his very being with every beat of the drums,
his heart sang to the tune
of a sick rush of energy coursing through his breathing body
full

of life,
colour
and light

in the spaces between every breath he took-
his tumour shrank three sizes that day
when his small heart grew three

and he walked free
past the glass door,
once upon a time…

Bio: A dreamer, a writer, a singer, a teacher, a freelance educator, a volunteer, a volunteer manager, a lead in culture and organizational development. Me.

Blast cells appearing
In his circuit of life
Racing around ignoring traffic lights
Now killing his drive

The fighter in the family
Not a single tear he shed
Face to face with mortality
A joke or two he cracked

Soaring temperatures
A mean rasp of his throat
In between breaths he gasped
His first cry to stay afloat

We armed him with the best weapons
But soldiers he had none
He was fighting on a losing front
Yet two thumbs up he gave, not just one

A machine powered each puff
But the rhythmic beeps were all programmed
A plastic tube anchored him to reality
Robbed his voice, his taste, his sanity

On the eleventh day
‘I am sorry’; a cruel apology
His trembling hands stopped writing
The light in him faded away

He wanted it out
One last breath was his to draw
Nestled in the love of the living
He sipped his favourite drink with a straw

Bio: I am a Haematology Registrar working in Singapore General Hospital.
I thought I live all my life in the city
Lights, smoke, sounds that are ever quite dizzy
I recall the streets and the people there all busy
Not to mention the morning action that makes one go crazy

We wake-up, dress-up; go to school or to work
We keep our tabs and heads on phones as we talk
The day ends, we rush home and run as we walk
To-do list fulfilled and still ends up all broke

I do love the city, always has been
A real daily roller-coaster and surprises unseen
But has it eaten away life out of the most precious ordinary scene
Like a leaf or a rainbow or a mildew untouched and clean?

Is human life meant to toil like this forever?
And when death knocks, the busyness is suddenly over
It hasn’t yet entered and now one cringes to find a four-leaf clover
The bidden now sees the flowers, clouds, bees and daubers

That’s when time becomes most precious
When one realizes that not every gold is meant to be precarious
You did good in living the best you could even if it was too serious
Time and life are not wasted as we are all trying to live courageous

So, when I moved to the suburbs, I saw things differently
Time is linked to space, nature, sky and stars with no currencies
I saw white clouds of cranes flying below the fields of burgundies
Ignoring humanity like all other beasts of bureaucracies

No matter how beautiful the sunrise is or the sunset sublime
The greens are fat, water abundant and weather fine
These flying long-neck white ballerinas have schedules in mind
They migrate away from the scene, one crane at a time….

Bio: I lived all my life in the busy humdrum of Metro Manila. Now, we moved to the suburbs and I can focus in doing more sketches and writing my unpublished novels. I sometimes miss the city-life but the tranquility of the provincial state stretches my time frame longer unfathomably.

Remember that the sun
also steps down during the sunset
and lets the moon lead the night
as it rests it weary head.

Remember that the sun
is also reborn with the sunrise
and tells the moon to rest well
as it bids the people to rise.

Bio: Angeli is a Filipina who writes poems in order to provide herself and her readers the thing this world needs the most: faith. Her works serve as reminders for everyone to have faith in themselves, to never lose themselves as they tread through the darkness of this world – that there will always be light at the end of the midnight journey. When she is not writing about life and its difficulties, she writes about love’s wonders and complications.

There would be days when you’ve given
your absolute best, your everything
– with dirt from the mess better known as life
on your palms and beneath your fingernails
along with scarlet scars on your feet
from tiptoeing on broken glass
scattered haplessly on the floor –
and it still wouldn’t be enough.

On such days, remember to pause,
close your eyes, and take a deep breath.
Tilt your head and look skyward,
at the vast expanse of blue, gray, or black
with the endless possibilities that lie above us all.
And then, let it all go. Scream your heart out.
Cry your eyes out. Feel the stress slowly crawling
out of your body and over your skin.

The sky, no matter what temperament it has,
will accept it all and take away your exhaustion.

Bio: Angeli is a Filipina who writes poems in order to provide herself and her readers the thing this world needs the most: faith. Her works serve as reminders for everyone to have faith in themselves, to never lose themselves as they tread through the darkness of this world – that there will always be light at the end of the midnight journey. When she is not writing about life and its difficulties, she writes about love’s wonders and complications.

I walk by-
Nameless buried bodies-
While carefully making my way to you.
Dew-bathed grass blades
Touch my feet
And I awake anew.

I breathe in the cold winter air.
I breathe in infused colors of nameless-
Flowers that bloom over the neat quilts of grass.

The cemetery is no place where death reigns with his flesh-less horses,
But rather a place quite holy;
Where tears of love cherishes-
The growth of the growing green.
A cemetery is, in all honesty,
No more a place of death
Than a place of life.

Because, is it not when we walk-
On the moist earth of a cemetery
That we recognize-
Life blooming within us?

And I, lost in torpor,
walk to the place where you lie
Or your bones do,
And I see that the quilt of grass-
That covers you-
Brushes my feet in a warm embrace.

And I know, I surely know,
That death blooms within the life within us,
And wrapped within the clutch of death- breaths the life of a grass blade or a marigold or a bird that lives off fruits.
And I know, I surely know,
That the cemetery is no more a place of death than it is a place of life.I walk by-
Nameless buried bodies-
While carefully making my way to you.
Dew-bathed grass blades
Touch my feet
And I awake anew.

I breathe in the cold winter air.
I breathe in infused colors of nameless-
Flowers that bloom over the neat quilts of grass.

The cemetery is no place where death reigns with his flesh-less horses,
But rather a place quite holy;
Where tears of love cherishes-
The growth of the growing green.
A cemetery is, in all honesty,
No more a place of death
Than a place of life.

Because, is it not when we walk-
On the moist earth of a cemetery
That we recognize-
Life blooming within us?

And I, lost in torpor,
Walk to the place where you lie
Or your bones do,
And I see that the quilt of grass-
That covers you-
Brushes my feet in a warm embrace.

And I know, I surely know,
That death blooms within the life within us,
And wrapped within the clutch of death- breaths the life of a grass blade or a marigold or a bird that lives off fruits.
And I know, I surely know,
That the cemetery is no more a place of death than it is a place of life.

Bio: I am a person who loves to write, and therefore lives when she writes.

Wind rustles through my hair,
Invading the rooms of each tress.
Suffocated by the living air-
I fall with fumbling hands- a living mess.

My skin rips open wide-
As the wind slashes through the soft curtain of flesh-
Spiked by veins green and blue,
Which holds,
Within its folds-
Blood sticky like glue.

The smell of wet grass-
Suddenly mists my eyes,
My ears yearn for the jazz-
Played by the scurrying mice-
In the squeaky darkness of my wardrobe.

I have seen numerous suns setting,
I have seen the skies as pools of gold.
I have smelled clouds and winds mating,
And have felt leaves trilling in summer’s cold.

Tears spill as I blink
“How strange it is!”, I think-
As I laugh without mirth as the wind blasts through my heart in a beat-
“How strange it is to think of dampened earth with air beneath my feet”

Bio: I am a person who finds recluse in writing. I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.

That afternoon,
after she was injected by morphine,
She saw a centipede clinch
on her windowsill.
It moves on the panes,
on the ledge, it dances.

Is the windowsill solid?
She does not dare to touch it.
But her eyes tell her that it is concrete.
All that is not abstract is not the windowsill.

A desk, however, how hard she tries to clean
will always be cluttered with prescriptions.
The wheelchair, however, how hard she tries to sit on,
will always be frosted.
The room, however, how hard she decorated,
Will always be piled with falling hair.

This afternoon,
after she was injected again by morphine,
The centipede gives her a smile,
enjoying her tears on the windowsill.
On the ledge it dances.

She envies its one hundred legs,
envies its steps,
spites its movement and its ballet.
She shuts the window
The centipede is cut in half,
She will never have to envy it again.

Bio: Anna Corina C. Ang, is currently a Senior High School English teacher. She is a member of Teachers, Inc., a civic society organization for teachers and Storybook.org.ph, an organization of children’s book writers. She was a fellow at Cavite Young Writers Association for poetry writing. Her undergraduate degree is on Communications at University of Santo Tomas and units in Education and Law. Previous employments include sales, management, customer service and marketing. Teaching experiences varies from ESL and tertiary levels from STI College of Tanauan, Batangas; First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities. Her interests are on theater, reading, and writing.

Mortar and Pestle, chicken soup, urine, and disinfectant.
Pale, dry, cracked lips and hallowed cheeks.
Gruntled neck, prominent collar bone, sagged breasts
Combed her medieval hair.
She looked in the mirror and smiled,
In her eyes, she is seventeen.

Vanilla ice cream, roller coaster rides, drive-in theater —and her.
1964, she took her photo, and ever since that day,
She smiled differently.
She is the one who could have been.
But society pushed them to get married— to have children.
Her, to a bank teller.
She, to a sales agent.

Today, they will finally see each other,
after fifty-seven years!
Chicken soup cooked for her and photos she took,
maybe enough to remind her of their past.

When their eyes met,
She smiled.
A smile that is enough to bring back the lost times of 1964.

Bio: Anna Corina C. Ang, is currently a Senior High School English teacher. She is a member of Teachers, Inc., a civic society organization for teachers and Storybook.org.ph, an organization of children’s book writers. She was a fellow at Cavite Young Writers Association for poetry writing. Her undergraduate degree is on Communications at University of Santo Tomas and units in Education and Law. Previous employments include sales, management, customer service and marketing. Teaching experiences varies from ESL and tertiary levels from STI College of Tanauan, Batangas; First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities. Her interests are on theater, reading, and writing.

Twelve steps,
a wish,
a plead,
forty-eight folds,
I am number six hundred forty-four.
Sadako Sasaki, please keep on folding.
I am meant to fly.
I am the guardian,
protector of the nine hundred and ninety-nine,

Sadako Sasaki, please keep on folding.
I am meant to soar.
I will protect you,
Can I carry you with me?
My claws will hold you.
I will never let you go.

Sadako Sasaki, please keep on folding
I am meant to glide,
I will protect their evil minds
Can I embrace you?
My wings will cover you.
I will never leave your side.

Twelve steps,
a wish,
a plead,
forty-eight folds,
I am number six hundred forty-four.
Sadako Sasaki, take a rest now.
The nine hundred ninety-nine are with me.
We fly, glide and soar!
As loud silence is on our wings.

Bio: Anna Corina C. Ang, is currently a Senior High School English teacher. She is a member of Teachers, Inc., a civic society organization for teachers and Storybook.org.ph, an organization of children’s book writers. She was a fellow at Cavite Young Writers Association for poetry writing. Her undergraduate degree is on Communications at University of Santo Tomas and units in Education and Law. Previous employments include sales, management, customer service and marketing. Teaching experiences varies from ESL and tertiary levels from STI College of Tanauan, Batangas; First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities. Her interests are on theater, reading, and writing.

I live a life
Different, but joyous
I know my time is short
Limited
I cannot speak
I cannot stand
My wiring short-circuits
Many look upon me with pity
Or, not at all
But, not all

My family
Does everything for me
And I watch them in their orchestrated dance
My mothers’ soft sweet breath
Whispering unbridled love into my ear
A beatific face
Transcendent

Siblings bounce around me
Cajoling, me, to join
Oh, but that I could
What joy, it would be
I envy, their agility
Yearn, to run
Screaming in anger and delight

I see my fathers’ heart breaking
Shining with love
He and I
Breaking rules
He gives me the rough and tumble
I so yearn
He fly’s me through the air
A taste of life
He becomes my legs
My voice
My risk taker

I am grateful for
The enabling
The hopeful
And the realistic
I know so much more
I know what comes
All of it
Its’ wonder

Bio: I am a 60 and a Social Worker working with the WA Paediatric Palliative Care Service in Perth WA. I am married and have 3 adult children. I came to Social Work in my early 40’s working primarily with children and families. I was inspired by a Social Work Professor who believed that academia and research was vital but that it was inseparable from being a practicing Social Worker. I love to read, collect old dinnerware and over the last 10 years to write. I first started writing poetry and more recently I have ventures into an attempt at a memoir.

Palliative
No, not my child
I will not
You will not
They and everyone
Must not
Give up

I remember those thoughts
And lament
Not my fear
But my understanding

The language of cancer
Seemingly foreign, often
To good palliative care
Families, bombarded with this discourse of war
Battling
Suffering
Fighting
Losing
Beating
Winning
Surviving, this, cancer
We evangelize
Cancer’s holy struggle
Where death is shunned too long
Too long after it needs be

When palliative care is left, too late
As some unwelcome
Sometimes unnamed intruder
No wonder, families are averse
As by the construct of the cancer war
How else can it be?
Greeted?
With anything but dread as abject failure

Denial keeps us trapped
Recognition sets us free
Live fully now
Death will come
It always does
But it can be full and joyful

Bio: I am a 60 and a Social Worker working with the WA Paediatric Palliative Care Service in Perth WA. I am married and have 3 adult children. I came to Social Work in my early 40’s working primarily with children and families. I was inspired by a Social Work Professor who believed that academia and research was vital but that it was inseparable from being a practicing Social Worker. I love to read, collect old dinnerware and over the last 10 years to write. I first started writing poetry and more recently I have ventures into an attempt at a memoir.

Tread lightly when dreams shatter
Loss writ large and unfathomable
Destined to walk another life, unimagined
So, fatigued and frightened
Reality, stretching like infinite mirrors
Wretched and without end

Love … yes, love keeps you going
Little bits, built with hope
An, heroic construct
Like life sprouting through concrete
Fierce and beautiful
Triumphant

Feelings’ stir
Some, too frightening to speak
Death will come
And we will grieve for you, who are gone
But silently, for what has been lost in us
A barely discernible memory of long ago

Oh, yes …
Loss carves equal measure of
Grief and relief
Love and guilt
Agony and joy
Forever changed

Bio: I am a 60 and a Social Worker working with the WA Paediatric Palliative Care Service in Perth WA. I am married and have 3 adult children. I came to Social Work in my early 40’s working primarily with children and families. I was inspired by a Social Work Professor who believed that academia and research was vital but that it was inseparable from being a practicing Social Worker. I love to read, collect old dinnerware and over the last 10 years to write. I first started writing poetry and more recently I have ventures into an attempt at a memoir.

while our hands turned paper into crane,
we were quiet and empty with desperation.
we wanted to make a difference,
as though we could tip the scales.
i sat across from a boy who liked me —
one i‘d carefully avoided for the past year —
and felt our shared humanity unite us.
our childish emotions lay at our feet
forgotten, as our childhood forgot us —
left us in the moment.
we knew something more could be lost and so it was.
you were lost.
i next saw your face in a newspaper clipping.
how surreal to see you in a photograph when you once stood
before me so full of life. your life was but a brief moment.
we’ve almost caught up.
you were loved. you are loved.
i was late getting back to class — to a scolding i barely heard.
the cranes were confiscated. it didn’t matter at all.
i realised, then, that fire could rage all it wanted
and die out just as suddenly.
the truth shook me, as you did, burning fiercely
enough for us to power through the grey days.
i still think of you and endeavour to shine.

Bio: Anne Yeoh is an artist from Singapore who believes in creating work that is personal, accessible and socially conscious. She enjoys writing poetry and drawing webcomics. Both are attempts at communicating her experiences while making sense of them on the page. Her work has been published in the poetry anthology My Lot Is A Sky.

Cockroaches dressed in all-black ensemble,
mockingbirds feigning royal parentage,
assemble in late night ceremonies to condole the death of
the only Banyan tree in the city.
Starlets of yesteryears forget to wear push up bras,
on their anniversary parties…
Hungry bureaucrats, thirsty politicians and struggling poets
Come as surprise lovers on the smoke-filed dance floors.
Sizzling glamorously, semi-nude Pizza slices,
casually X-ray the sperms of overgrown ambition

We all know…
Prejudice grows handsomely like fungus on the skeleton of pride.
Opulence sulks in her belly button like missed phone calls.
Scrap-books from school days change colours like
Lizards frolicking over asbestos roofs.
Neighbours dry winter clothes over remains of Ravana idols.
And roaming fakirs surreptitiously nap at busy crossroads.
He remembers no toothbrush, no shaving cream, and no hair gel…
He remembers no sons, no daughters and no siblings-
Only his first job in the wounded forests.
Only his first bribe from a poor widow.
Only his first entry in the confidential report.
Only his first car drive on icy Tulsa turnpike.
Alzheimer comes sheepishly like extramarital affairs,
Offering instant promise to rejuvenate rotten arteries of lost love.
Bereaving the death of my old school headmaster,
I fail to remember why the local cemetery remains closed on Sundays…

Bio: Ashwani Kumar is a poet, writer, and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His major anthologies include ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ and ‘Banaras and the Other’- first of a trilogy on religious cities in India-, long listed for Jayadev National Poetry Award. Recently, his select poems have been translated for a special volume ‘Architecture of Alphabets’ in Hungarian. He is one of the chief editors “Global Civil Society” at London School of Economics. He is also co-founder of Indian Novels Collective for translation of classic Indian language novels, and writes a regular book column in the Financial Express.

I see a river,
A little guest-house with a terrace on the water,
People dining; rich men, poor men, together.
Zebras are playing here and there, and
Speak of love even though they are not
In love with their zoo-keepers.
There are old manuscripts in the kitchen,
Waiting to be washed, cleaned before they fall in
the hands of the invisible enemy.

The ophthalmologist told me,
I have a rare eye disease but
There is nothing wrong with my eyes.
Sometimes I can’t use my ears of flesh
But I can hear sounds
Through my carnal eyes,
Imitating hidden amnesia of vowels-
A perfect case for obscene medical investigation.

There is no trouble with the visual parts of my brain,
But I occasionally have problems with ghost-foot
It hurts like hell. Toes curl up, go into spasm.
This is worse at night.
When I am not doing anything
I keep changing shoes, from left to right foot,
As though I am a stage actor
Interchanging roles,
Leading a troupe of suicide bombers
In the forests of red ants.

I am very good at ordinary work-
Cleaning utensils in extreme solitude.
With animal strength and energy
I enjoy touch-typing and Morse code.
Often, I am wakeful, alert, and enjoy my fame
like a twin of the radio announcer.
I haven’t forgotten you nor your care
Bringing back butterflies from my homeland.
It is a new autumn in my life, and
I live happily with my prolonged stay in the sanatorium –
Illness is a fiction; a construction of sensations or perceptions.

Bio: Ashwani Kumar is a poet, writer, and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His major anthologies include ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ and ‘Banaras and the Other’- first of a trilogy on religious cities in India-, long listed for Jayadev National Poetry Award. Recently, his select poems have been translated for a special volume ‘Architecture of Alphabets’ in Hungarian. He is one of the chief editors “Global Civil Society” at London School of Economics. He is also co-founder of Indian Novels Collective for translation of classic Indian language novels, and writes a regular book column in the Financial Express.

I am aware
Seasons vanish, fruits perish, and
Mountain grasses burn in the wilderness.
It is not possible to avoid dying
But you can rise again with blood, milk, and sap.
July is golden orange
My ashtray full of burnt basil leaves.
I miss steamy winter smokes, and greedy
bone- marrow in my spine.
What if we are all happy and the same age?
It is possible even if you don’t believe it.
Come and see me in the new hospice
Smell old paints- shining on my metallic skin.
I am quietly nourished back to life by wandering fakirs
And sun-kissed poems.

Bio: Ashwani Kumar is a poet, writer, and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His major anthologies include ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ and ‘Banaras and the Other’- first of a trilogy on religious cities in India-, long listed for Jayadev National Poetry Award. Recently, his select poems have been translated for a special volume ‘Architecture of Alphabets’ in Hungarian. He is one of the chief editors “Global Civil Society” at London School of Economics. He is also co-founder of Indian Novels Collective for translation of classic Indian language novels, and writes a regular book column in the Financial Express.

b

We’re inside a room,
Everyone felt doomed
But I expected this to come.
Yes, this might be crazy to some
But I’m just waiting for this day to arrive
‘Coz I know—only few merely survived.

Along with the words buzzing,
There’s also music that I am hearing
From the devices and wheels of this bed—
Like a song, running through my head.
My thoughts, like choirs’ second voices,
Also speaks annoyingly—added in the noises.

In a sudden, the room hits its silence
And only one beat got the presence.

Everyone rattled with that long beep,
I guess this man didn’t want to just sleep.
Their speeches took double pitch higher
While I took a pair of steel, pulled its wire.
“Doctor, please help him,” cry of a woman.
She crumpled my gown. “Please help my son.”

I pulled my arms away and moved closer,
Dropped the equipment. “My love, its over.”
“Let’s give him this peace from all the chaos
That he have been through. A peaceful ‘adios'”
I grabbed his hands and placed it in my chest.
“Time, O-800. My brave son, take your time to rest.”

Bio: Bannie Bandibas is a freelance writer and poet who never took a degree in writing and any literary courses. He first get involved in literature when he was in grade school but only just for a hobby and acquired his knowledge through writing and performing arts competitions. He also got some coaching and seminar but mostly, he learned writing through experiences. Some of his poems and writings was also published in some books, magazines, websites, pages, and e-pubs both locally and internationally.

I would consider this to be
The finest day I’ve lived.
The Sun outside sits on its cloud
As butterflies fly by.

The birds above soar oh so high.
The flowers start to bloom.
The smell of lilies and roses
Begins to fill the air.

Oh, how I wish I was outside
Together with the world-
Yet you are gone and here, I mourn
As bees go on and dance.

Bio: Benedict Apostol is a Filipino college student. He has started writing when he was twelve years old and continues to write whenever he isn’t busy studying for his exams. Despite medical school being very demanding, he still manages to find the time to write and continue his hobbies. When he isn’t writing poetry or drowning in his school’s requirements, he usually spends his time listening to his music, taking long walks and playing the guitar and singing off tune. He currently resides on his house beside the family business with his mother, younger brother, and three dogs In Zamboanga City.

Each day, at the appointed hour, death will come to forgive you
once more of your forgetfulness,

reminding you
of the words you’ve marked on the back of your hand
with the same familiarity you’ve buried
wordlessly
on the back of another, hoping
that someday you will still be able to read

their painted strokes, all weathered now in a moth-eaten
country.
Once, you were a church
bell overrun with doves, windless.
Once, a boy picking a stray bullet lodged deep
into my throat
on the orchards of a dream. But you contained
no imperium within you, no soul
coffined in deathly ebony
but cradled rather
carelessly in the effluvium you call time.
As you rise out of bed to work, the news will carry
all the faces you’ve mistaken, hewn into their finer
forms. The street names
you know well
by the games you’ve played those summers ago.
A childhood ago, an age ago,
the world must have seemed
a single majesty closing in
as the night begins to embrace you.
Only when you have left would you
have remembered.

Bio: Bernard Capinpin is a poet and translator. He resides in Quezon City.

this is our funeral for each other.
breathe deeply
the scent of petrichor in the air
as stale as the regret on your tongue
and know,
there was nothing else we could have done.

place your heart in the hands of somebody else.
straighten your spine.
the gentle strains of our halcyon echo,
final and fleeting and poised.
we settle
for interim oblivion and silent noise.

your sister’s hair like stars beneath your fingernails—
rake through
the solar flares brief in their brilliance—
and her smile like the truth, what you long to believe,
eloquence embodied
and gone when we are all asleep.

we lose to gain victory and
accept our hand,
never meant to have worn billowing capes
and armor that glinted in the sun.
not magnificent,
but we are as real as the falling of snow.

this is the last night of our lives.
take her hand
away from life and into death and back again.
don’t forget to dance until your skin falls away and
this time,

We’ll be the ones to lay ourselves down.

Bio: Bianca Santiago is a sophomore college student majoring in BFA Creative Writing. She lives with her father, extended family and their two dogs in the Philippines and attends school at the Ateneo de Manila University. There, she is a financial aid scholar with a penchant for sitting in the library and wondering about the possibility of an afterlife, and not necessarily in that order. When she isn’t studying or daydreaming, she enjoys playing with her family’s dogs, listening to musical theatre and expanding her film knowledge.

                            I remember our grandmother—

white-crowned and wizened by age—as she cut

her nails by the door where the sun

crept in to kiss her ankle as her pauses

filled the space she sat in. 

 

She breathed in the morning,

asked me and my cousins to dust

the tiled floor, watched it speak of

silence as if it has bathed in it,

as if it had not known the whisking

of feet and ragged slippers,

garnered the bustling noise

from children awoken by the dipping light.

We washed the fish in the sink,

rid it of any hint of saltwater,

gutted them and washed the blood,

followed her instructions on slicing

the onion on the board, and that was how

we learned of inheritance.

 

I saw the house then when I was

older, back in the province, where it

hushed the dust that swam its wide

expanse of tile, wood, and window—

mornings’ve grown foggy, I could

not wipe the sky away with its

impending hint of rain—

and the stairs creaked when whispered to,

it has forgotten the sensation of

weight and merely sighed

in our presence. Our grandmother

was no longer by the door

where she cut her nails for us

to sweep away, no more counting

of the few black hair amongst

the immaculate white,

 

but we could still see the silhouette

of her timid body near the mango tree,

with its fruits in early budding

from its branching fingertips.

We could still

hear her wish spone in her native tongue,

“katulog nga imong kasingkasing

nasa ilalom sa imong habol,”[1]

                 whispered between her palms,

swept away with the solaced wind.

[1] It is loosely translated to “Sleep with your heart tucked under your blanket”

 

Bio: I am a third year Creative Writing student in the Philippines where I pursued the sweet comfort of words and where I have learned to hone my craft. I am an only child, and thus, I reveled in the comfort of silence. I prefer hot coffee in the morning; one teaspoon of dark coffee, two for creamer, and sugar to taste. I enjoy travelling alone but wouldn’t push away the company of a friend.

 

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z