On a boat from Langkawi to Penang
I sat next to a woman who smiled easily,
she read a novel that was “borderline-erotic”
investigating this other life with curiosity,
another mind’s fantasy.
She was exquisite and breathing
lost in the labyrinth of movement –
chasing the sublime.
I drank in her stories –
she spoke of mediocre men
who rubbed against her like hungry cats.
Interpreting her desire in shallow ways,
disclosing their sexual routines,
interrupted often by my hiccupping laugh.
She spoke of the bee stings and brutality
that she had encountered as a child.
Like it was as simple as a sneeze,
she spoke to a stranger honestly.
Nisha Bhakoo is a British poet and editor, living in Berlin. She is currently working on a PhD on the uncanny in contemporary poetry at Humboldt University. Her first poetry collection, You found a beating heart, was published by The Onslaught Press in 2016. Her second poetry collection, Black & White Dream, was published in 2018 by Broken Sleep Books.
It may take a weird coincidence to make you feel relaxed
It may take the special touch of fine frost to turn
your head into a bulletin board.
We gathered, around the TV to watch the latest news. I thought
I had spotted some of your mates but could not say
It may take ice and fingers of flakes
to write about how you had danced your night away
to the bombing sound of rock and roll
In a mortuary, a young woman lay. She was
my sister, they say
Khaloud Al-Muttalibi is a poet and translator. She resides in the United Kingdom. She is the author of six poetry collections. She has also translated and edited two separate anthologies. Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and journals, including After the Pause, The Glasgow Review of Books, Anapest, Harbinger Asylum, Ink Sweat & Tears and Poetry24.
He’s breathing so I can’t.
I hate him for being.
He takes a pretty girl, I try not to watch.
He excels and I cannot move.
Aging on my couch. My heart is skipping beats again.
Nothing bad ever happens to the perfect ones, like him.
Why not just once? Everything is so damn uneven.
I am still being punished.
My heart is a dirt basement; sometimes I feel nothing.
And here he is again, to make my day even worse.
Sharon Ava Ezekiel is a registered nurse, attorney and native Ohioan. She has performed with a dance ensemble and loves all four-legged creatures. Her work, “The Storm Cellar”, was published in Flash Fiction Magazine.
I need a job and an apartment, but to get a job
I need an address and a phone number
and a driver’s license and a social security card.
I walk back to my “office” at the pay phone.
A middle-aged woman with a three-year-old granddaughter
tells me it’s always hard at the beginning
but you adjust and you apply for as many as possible
since a help-wanted ad may not mean
any help is wanted just now.
The guy with the crucifixion t-shirt
(SOMEONE TO LOOK UP TO)
complains that his baked potato is too hard
and his iced tea too icy
and leaves no tip at all. I try to
treat each shift as an emergency:
you’ve got starving people,
so feed them! Forget that you
will have to do this tomorrow. Forget
that you will have to be
alert enough to drive home tonight.
Amanda Laughtland lives in the suburbs of Seattle. She is the author of Postcards to Box 464 (Bootstrap Press) and a handful of chapbooks. Most recently, her work has been published in E·ratio and One Sentence Poems.
It may be morning
but I bring you
a touch of the night.
The night black night
that I will unfold
and bequeath to you,
whatever you may do.
There is nothing
you can do.
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. Find Lynn on Facebook or visit her blog here.
Photo by Danielle Dolson on Unsplash