January

NOLI MI TANGERE by Emily Bilman

Cast out from the city with her dead
Child, her dark conscience
Paralysed both her hands.
The adultress turned her prison
Pages with guilt-laden hands.
Like prowling nocturnal rodents,
Her lover’s reproaches gnawed
At her with the pains of remorse.
She yelled in her cell, to him,
Until her mind became an empty
Parchment. Noli mi tangere.

Dr. Emily Bilman is London’s Poetry Society Stanza representative and hosts poetry meetings and seminars in her home in Geneva.  Her poetry book in French is entitled La rivière de soi. Poems are published in The London Magazine, Hunger Mountain, Offshoots VII & XII, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Iodine, and The San Diego Annual 2014, Aois 21 Annual in America and The Inspired Heart Vols. 1 & 2, & 3, and Ygdrasil in Canada. Two academic books, The Psychodynamics of Poetry and Modern Ekphrasis were published in 2010 and 2013. Her most recent poetry books are A Woman By A Well and Resilience. The reviews can be read on the Troubador/Matador UK website and on http://www.mciwritershouse.com/emily-bilman.html

***

A PLEDGE by Nnaka Okonkwo

I pledged for time
To garnish life’s expectancy
To unravel the uncertainties
Of what is and would be
I solemnly swear to hold you
Not minding wagging tongues
And lying lips
And devouring thoughts
And slothful beings
And unwanted imaginations
Of gloom and unheralded signs
I seek for an answer
To a plaguing question
And of death and birth
And of decay of human thoughts
And of victories of deceit
And of the eternal realm
And the mortality of man’s forays.

Nnaka Okonkwo  is a writer that discovered himself late and has done some notable works. He is a graduate of Sociology and Anthropology and presently works in an educational facility in the border town of Seme in the Badagry area of Lagos state of Nigeria.
He writes, “Poetry makes a lot of sense to me because it is the only factor of sanity. It brings back reality to many who knows its true value.”
***

Blue Period by Brad Rose

At the end of the saddest sentence,
you avert your face,
and stare out the hospital window
into the broken-hearted distance,
as if searching
for perfect
punctuation.

Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray, Big Table Publishing, 2015. (Available at:  http://www.bigtablepublishing.com/,   http://www.pinkx-ray.com, and Amazon.com)  Twice nominated for a Pushcart prize,Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, decomP, The Baltimore Review,  San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Heavy Feather Review, Posit, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, The Midwest Quarterly,  Right Hand Pointing, The Potomac, Santa Fe Literary Review, The CommonLine Journal, The Molotov Cocktail, Sleetmagazine, Monkeybicycle, Camroc Press Review, MadHat Lit, and other publications.  His chapbook of poetry,  Democracy of Secrets, from Right Hand Pointing, is available here:  http://www.righthandpointing.net/#!brad-rose-democracy-of-secrets/c1ec2    His chapbook of micro fiction, Coyotes Circle the Party Store, can be read at: https://sites.google.com/site/bradroserhpchapbook/ His forthcoming chapbook of poems, Blood Orange Lemonade, will be released by Right Hand Pointing, in early 2016.  Links to Brad’s published poetry and fiction can be found at:http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com 

On why poetry matters, and why he writes, Brad Rose says, “The reason I write is beautifully summarized by  Galway Kinnell, when he said, “To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment” –Galway Kinnell .”

***

At the Blood Bank by Pat Tompkins

 Clench, pierce, pump:
out flows a hot, dark pint.
Before I make a deposit,
the nurse checks pressure, heat, iron,
questions drugs, sex, travel.
How little a no or yes tells.

A plastic vein transfers saturated memory,
richer than my medical history:
remembrance of every song the Beatles sang
craving for ice cream and chocolate bittersweet
preference for Graham Greene and Edgar Allan Poe
delight in snapdragons and swimming
abhorrence of foie gras and caviar
fondness for spaniels and basset hounds
experience with Iowa winters and West Coast earthquakes

Every few months, I gain unknown relatives
eating dessert, petting dogs, singing of love, looking for clues.
Mingling talismans, blood sisters/brothers,
somewhere out there, my secret sharers.

[Flashquake, 2007]

Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, including the A3 Review, Haibun Today, and A Hundred Gourds.
She writes, “Poetry matters because language matters. As with many words, the origin (a poet was a maker in Greek) informs the meaning.”
***

Summer in Gaza by Lynn White

In the rain of the rockets
there’s no water.
Metal rain.
In the rain of the rockets
there’s no sunshine.
Smoke rain.
Black rain.
In the rain of the rockets
there’s no life.
Death rain.
Life ending rain.
Death without life rain.
In the rain of the rockets
there’s no hope.
Deaf rain.
Deaf rain.
Deaf rain.
Death rain.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She believes “Poetry is a powerful way to communicate these ideas.”
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