lunes, agosto 20, 2007

New Poetry From Felino Soriano

Bouncing Light, A Variation of Dance


anatomy of automatic

birth of morning's
reality of existence,

exercising in elongated stretch,

beauty in specialized openings.

Light in peeking formulations,

slanting, searing, soaring,
solidifying an existential mode of

Below, a breathing lake,

devoted to life in contrast to
stilled dryness of deadened grass.
Lake of marbled veins,

received multiple

glares from specialized light,

winding in fashions of
more to come, meandering thought,

mere movement,

due to the irregular widths of cloud formations,
landing atop the alive lake as in
dancing duos atop wooden floors,

whose rhythms mimic


momentary vanishing.

Felino Soriano, from California, is a philosophy student and behavioral assistant. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in Silent Actor, Pen Himalaya, Breed Press, Bolts of Silk, and Wet Asphalt, among others.

martes, agosto 14, 2007

New Poetry From Tommy FitzGibbon

Hay Vida?


How can it be, that when I open my windows, after drawing back my curtains, in order to let in fresh air, I always get trampled on? Why not just let the breeze carry in the smell of the ocean? The dogs are on the seashore again, their legs stuck in the sand like branches. That is why I drew back my curtains, opened my windows, and let the noise of my operation drift out into the night air.

The wind blows, shakes the dead leaves, drifts across oceans, destroys homes and now breaks into a still hot day and refreshes its occupants. There were over 30 people and the few who survived were swimming for three days. Crippled fishing boats nest sleeping, jumbled about the shore.

I was bustling about the house preparing for something when the doorbell rang and there he was, just there grim in his winter coat, oblivious. I saw hundreds of tractor trailers standing in lines across a moonlit lot, singing, the vehicle sticks to the road. You step out onto a black river and walk across the water; it forms in puddles around us. His face felt like a sea shell, curious eyes like little light projectors followed my movements. A wet nose bumps into my hand. Friday, woke up.

We crouch on the shore of the estuary, search among the piles of shells and scuttling crabs for plastic bottles, chunks of foam, bits of rubber or fiberglass. In order to start our fires, in order to repel mosquitoes. The local firelight reflected off the skin, the sound a thick liquid of mangrove insects and currents. Beneath night clouds slumbering cultures build themselves, a man emerges from the darkness and into the light of the fire. Reduce me to an idiot.

It seemed to come down from the sky and it was beautiful, a million ruby feathers and sharp crystal eyes that amplified our sounds of breathing into a pounding surf against the shore of the future. Rain protects us from our lonely networks. Now that we've fallen from the tall buildings I go from city to city. I change my clothes, I tell stories of the ocean and fleets of ships that stood still in the water.


Race cars speed through limitless boundaries burn fuels beautifully crash explode become rusty and fall apart, make their own music as they age and evolve into horns. We never told you to grow up like this, we never intended to be where we are now, we only spent a few dollars but we feel a distinct disappointment. I intend to become the masses and behold the breathtaking effectiveness of our most taken-for-granted structures and most organic mechanisms. Is enthusiasm the ticket?

Dogs smell other dogs, on your legs, the mind draws a blank, the economy rolls. My head tilts forward and I dribble out onto the page thoughtlessly. When a pet dies it can cause a lot of grief for its owner. One should not get scared or avoid eye contact. Take the bag with the merchandise and walk out quickly.

The intrinsic advertisement. If I could rope down a thought in a moment of time it would be like a billboard or a subway poster. Maybe there are good people and bad people. Maybe we move to the rolls of some unexaminable die.

Take the air blowing about gently over the plateau at mid day. Take the stars as they align to the streetlights. Take the indulgence when it presents itself? I wouldn't remember how the words fall into place among the lines. I recover and cast my lure in pursuit of a glorious fish. One person overflows into another, mistakes are made, communication fails.

Behind closed doors rules break and alternate realities emerge. I walk strict circles in pursuit. I overtake stragglers, absorb their energy and continue on. They all remember time at different speeds.

When was it that, emerging from a dim alley, she became white like hot fire and transformed in front of us and followed us home like an animal? We, as the reality, as the functioning experiment, are required to project our wills over digital networks. We, as the functioning reality, cradle picture-boxes like babies. We, humans of the future reject, fail, and become humans of the past. Insects fly in low patterns within the air between and above the plants themselves.


Clouds hang over this spectacle on strings. Planets move in this detailed universe on lips that part and emit laughter. On old eyes that shine a dim light. Maybe when the door opens above the world's lost oceans. The sky is thick with airplanes, a tree shakes in the breeze, a white car is parked on the side of the street. The sidewalks are flowing like rivers.

I was here for this sunrise, let me speak of it in a loud voice. Let me breath out in fire my frustrations. I have used words to describe bridges and their interactions with the water at night. I have drawn highways into sentences. Perhaps I am the vehicle that misses both the target and the scenery along the way. The fathers were right and the fathers were also wrong. Even now the translators fail, to give us what we need, to deliver a message that is not haunted by errors and misunderstandings. The experts brag pathetically from their brilliant prisons, trees take root, pot holes form, surfaces change.

These are the controls, we make ourselves out to be just what we are. It is easy to look on one's footprints and say "Thank god these ailing days are sometimes broken into by episodes of joy." The last seat we took in the front of the theater was a dangerous one. The actors were disintegrating under the spotlights. A wind was blowing, we had to close our eyes and wake up somewhere else. Survival. The vehicle runs on gasoline so some of the people keep moving and the janitors come out to sweep up those left behind.

It's not modern; it's an hourglass. I have been outside where there's nothing but the wind and the water but the air was filled with electronic waves and the islands I came across were completely imaginary.

When we meet at the cash register and I load my purchases onto your conveyor belt I can't bear to look into your shining eyes because they gesticulate in numbers and cash. And because we speak across deserts, or as from one watchtower to another, perpetually our sentences arrive incomplete, obscured in jet air planes that move people from one place to another. And because we speak clinging to the terrain we find ourselves littered upon until from the ground explodes, amphibian, our mutual sensation.

Tommy FitzGibbon recently returned to Brooklyn, New York after a year living and traveling among the Islands of the Bahamas and Hispaniola. Once again among friends he is learning to play the guitar and trying to find the Old Road amidst the joys and horrors of modern America. His poems have appeared previously in Zone.

lunes, agosto 06, 2007

Six Poems From Martins Iyoboyi


Heart glow in the dark
Scudding along, refractory smoke
Drifts like kissing waters.

Here, we dole remnants
Upon graver convictions
A bat hanging the measure
A millennial nascence

Itself, the episode replays
A pall of darkness issuing
Night-bird songs heralding
The loss of the years before.

An apparition, sickle-headed
Waiting –
Parting in alien solutions
Gesticulating our road to take.

My spirits open up, yielding
To conference.

Sitting at the ‘sycamore’ of my long affection
Inured by age-mates, who languid by aged toil
Do convene to decipher dark and momentary tales
I embellish my fuming senses to obliterate the leer

The defensive encampment of wine has flown
Bending and twisting into a vale-fashioned waste
The soup-con satisfaction grounded in oblivion
And all the animal figments upbraided
Sliding into the hubbub of the soul.

As tangibility suddenly resurrects from opaque thought,
And the transient glee of inebriety ebbed
A bitter notion does weightily float upon my plane
Briefly, vaguely indicating the present reality;
The day is dawn upon my deep abysmal slumber
The senses sentient, enunciating an existence.

If I daily sing to the sediments
Lachrymose at the faded lights of yore
What vigour shall permit my oracle
Like fast-revolving mills?

In the bizarre scene of mystery
Treaded not by sane-cultured minds
A whetted illusion oils the heart
A more tranquil place does possess there
A penchant, more like bliss and clover
Where effrontery is thought
Then if it be this above you dwell
Resting from the pallid state you once engaged in
I deign to invite death-strings
For the unfathomable dearness.

Under the bold ‘sycamore’ life-brimming
Will the wreath come in moments of despair
Dwelling in figment and appearance
To extinguish the craggy war?
My grief pours out of its cistern
And in the multifarious gloom
I see thee, brothers, rise in unity.

The moon moans,
The celestial home in the welkin sends
Vellum of titillated rays
Upon a redolent cottage of grief.

A sick-soul, in a trice, fuddles
Attempting to ease the gall
Conveyed by selfish vintage –

The excoriating flesh falls lightly
Upon earth’s incessant wetness
As patch of drifting clouds

Advances –

But leaves his door ajar
Heralding the frightful day;

Moments of deep thought
In fury

Come to recollection of
Elongated days.

A bitter departure
Deserting this bitter self, striated body.
O, if I were thus governed –

Solid states, grey and beaten
Should fulminate the blisters.

Stars are bedimmed by lonesomeness
Clouds become diffident
Memorial, my spirit haunts
Till I mingle with the after-world

A reproach greets mortality, mine –

The drift, yours –
Of a higher plane
Deathless you live –

At nightfall, curses are fizzled
Leaving us pusillanimous
With thy dust in the dust.


Lives of nobility
Caution mortals
That meekness is –
The road that we should take.
Sometime too soon dust usurps breaths
The world’s business fretting and anguish
Soon in season – quick fashion
Heaving, like sowers upon a done field
Oneness of toil and enterprise;
All are paths, where through
Mortal gleam will admonish young buds –
The road that we should take
Time evil inundates to chastise the just;
Benignity incarcerated in barbed abyss
Leaving the cosmos murky and shallow
But an age arrives to douse
Shelter the embers of inhumanity –
In their squalid residence kindness
And good – the road that we should take.
It’s no paradox life’s own demises
From crudity to nakedness
That the wealth of all mortal labour
Successes, downfalls and ambitions
All inter I mortality –
Yet if in this, cruelty abounds,
And that immortality will advance like a ray
Then must the rat race be done,
Washed off from the fretful spirits
Spirits of incessant rushing like vexed tides
But in tranquility of value and purpose –
To chose dignity in enterprise
The road that we should take.


I decry the acerbity of age,
Tears of mortal woe gather to the chill eyes,
I know no more of tender years
The youth that is no more.
A benediction he was
An opulent dream given bountifully
A nascent thing unknown
Among market plazas and fainéant plots
A hope, a glee and a laugh
The youth that is no more.
Demotic dances do gaze again
Not lugubrious sights behold I now,
Rich and divine lament do I share
Of puerile plays and fragile path
I hear of death’s horns sounding
While all eager young are no more.
I fight and doze unequal pair
Singing of the youth that is not more.
Rapacity then was nothing of point
Nor rabid thinking ever invited
Though contumacious plays did abound
Yet must it be God’s greatest time for man
He who has no youth and no age
That carves future ideal, - the youth
The glory, the emancipation, of the mind
That I cry, the youth that is no more.
Will it ever crowd my nightmares,
Arrive – those raw meditations
Free – unfettered existence – O, how,
Can that bold age come? Never! I say
The youth that is no more.


It is forty years, ten weeks and eight days
Since the shabby creature, full of anguish,
And sick of the numberless times at sea,
First tasted this land full of my brothers,
Sisters, relatives, unfortunate to
Change hands with gold and silver in that land.
I can no more recall those pangs, in the
Searing burns, oppressive whips and stale food,
Occasioned by the business of the seas,
For they seem but eternity to me;
Not the unspeakable deaths inflicted,
At those gloomy stakes and wooden crosses,
On those who, in defense of their kingdoms,
Felt reluctant to desert their native gods,
Hospitable tribesmen and bosom friends,
Will yet fade like the mast of a great ship,
From the tussled consciences of my thoughts.
Nature and the dual forces of man,
Which have but been merciful to my life,
Did admonish the buyers of humans,
And thus I became a liberated man,
(Though in some sense parochial, in
Color, tongues and outlook) to have a house,
And bred through my own strength four hale children,
Full of African blood and ideals.
My gentle friends, with whom my stiff stories,
Have, in the greatest description, found good,
Mirthful attention, to go to that old land,
That is thousands of miles from here, and
Departing my household that I so love,
Is but the loftiest error I could commit,
Yet to erase that bizarre impression,
About the odd accusations by you,
And to establish universal truth
And convince you of the greatness of the
Black continent, I shall forfeit my home
My estates and possessions, in all,
And appoint my humble good eldest son,
Who is four and twenty seasons this day,
To take charge over my huge business;
Thus, we five shall embark on this journey,
Though full of strange tides and troubles, in midst
Of natural threats and calamity,
And shall, by the grace of our mighty God,
Arrive without harm at a black harbour
From whence I show you what I so speak of.
Tomorrow, at the setting of the sun,
At that time when the seas are calm and quiet,
And all the world ignited from dusk,
We shall prepare two heavy, loaded ships,
Built with firm, stubborn wood and stiff metal,
And augment the burden, in greater rate
With provisions of food and flavored wine.
Let us take some mementos, made with fine gold
And some other presents that could well speak
Of the sojourners, to the villagers.
There is the harsh weather, the piercing tides,
The oppressive beings abounding at shores;
Our chief object though shall be to see
The foremost glint of any place, peopled
By creatures, who though in deep variance with
You, have the features which constitute men.
About three months, from this chilly harbour,
With fortune and nature well on our side,
Across the far south, through the Pacific,
On whose waters many strange tales abound,
And across then onto the Atlantic,
Picking the time and praying fervently,
We shall see my like in full-throttled bliss
And the famous empire of Ethiopia,
And see the tomb of the great Haile Salasie,
Here, we visit the shrine, our common bond,
And see the pontiff calling the spirits;
The families are pleasant and shall well
Take us in for a cup of drink and a meal,
For our laws being of such a formidable type,
Allow sweet hospitality for men of all climes;
But I am full of tears and my heart breaks,
That the scenarios which our eyes shall see
Have imported fashions and odd manners.
The ladies, that were once good and loyal,
Giving in to their father’s admonitions,
Have taken to the naked streets, giving
In to any stray call and could be found
In useless brothels and dark thickets.
The men are no better in taste, for since
The advent of white learning to the race,
Illicit hair, strange deportment, unusual
Characters have taken their better parts.
Here is the land we so hear about,
Nigeria, that great African nation,
A beacon in the horizon, full of
Life and antiquity, and we by fate shall
Pay a visitation to the great men
And women of whom we are proud here.
In this country lies the great Calabar,
Where the blacks were so dehumanized and who
After constant beating, were gathered, sold
As slaves and bought here as labourers.
Here also, we shall see the statue of
Jaja, one who in tears, pains and anguish,
Little cared about his own existence but strove
To fortify his land against this place.
My son, I appoint you over my house,
Till that time I shall return, but if not,
If I find disfavour in fortune’s sight,
And fall prey to the monsters of the deep,
Do not weep for me, but pray constantly,
That one day, the injustice against us,
The problems which we have been plunged into,
Shall end and the blood of Africans,
Most of whom were interred in fragments,
And whose blood cries to the highest heavens,
Shall be atoned for, and the troubles of
Ethnicity, religion, sentiments
And blind loyalty that so cursed the black race
Shall fade, and the black become a beacon among men.
Note that I embark upon this business,
To educate the world about the notions,
Odd conceptions and ill tales told of us.
Though I go in the grayness of my years, I do not
Forget the processes of the seas, for
I shall regain the lost valour while I
Fight for my fatherland. So, take heart, and
Weep no more, till when I shall be with you;
Yet, if in ten months, no news of me is heard,
Know that fate has done its due, and that I, an
Ill-fated man, is gone to where he comes.


Once more works of noble glee
Might again recur by artifice, to avert
All deep emotions, thought-veiled to your wonders,
And to the mind make possessions and not despoil.
Disputation usurps arguments stemming day long
Mainstay of which is ambiguity
Amazement comes elementary before all
And engenders all mouths to confess its esteem
Long has the in-satiation for knowledge commenced
To seek and dominate the strangeness of its core
Nor that mouth-philosophizing could make amendments.
The feat that no soul could discern nor discover
The soft-motioning wind causing fumes.
O! The great craftiness employed by its skillful
tender hands
Makes us halt all engagements to sit in thought.
The advent and departure of the seasons, unmistaken –
The marriage of the innocent waters roving silently
Humming and singing making no infraction of the
wonders’ ethos
Like an ingénue invoking the glee of a beloved soul
And are ingathering like heaps made by a labourer!
By your ingenuity and the aptitude we know not
By the interlink of wonders in juxtaposition
Cause pains insoluble and unyielding.
What about the nightingales, migrating to their
carefully made nests,
Or the tender dove, invigourating our strength, that
seeking nothing
But awash by your tiny waters sent from far awayhorizon
If by the care, the oncoming winter, we expect or
The refreshment of tides when seated by river banks,
Or the thought of life when nightingales release their voices,
What entity we cared or to render the message of a supreme being,
If we, fascinated by the resplendence of the lilies
Let the appeal sneak in to the world’s remotest places
And by the witness of these things in creation, revoke this
What honours have we by the wonders of nature
Let alone the creator of all things?


O, to give honour where it is undue
And fall at the idle feet of fame,
Or look with disdain the lowliest of the low
Or trample the weak to increase their woe;
O, to seek power where it is least found
To achieve results where results are weak
And praise idle brains of want of means
And covet the society of the rich –
To bear the orphan's cry and the widow’s tears
And walk my way with all reckless abandon
To fear for earth because I desire life
And allow cruel hearts to achieve their ends
Or be a pacifist where injustice reigns
And look with hope at a land in mist –
Yea, to live fretful where sorrow comes
And eat my soul’s comfort by the dying day –
Or beg to win fame, wealth, dignity or laurels
And be sung where earth rings her applauses –
Oh, to please men instead of myself
And make me the slave to the world’s wishes
These and lots more, O soul of mine
I know not how to do!

Martins Iyoboyi was born in 1972 in Ebelle, in the Esan speaking part of Edo State, Nigeria. Losing his father at a tender age, indigence and want compelled him to work as a farmer, insurance and tax agent, a teacher and a newspaper correspondent. Through dint of hard work and extreme sacrifices, he was able to educate himself at the Bayero University Kano, where he graduated with honors in economics, which he teaches at the Kano State College of Education in Kano, Nigeria. A prodigious writer, Iyoboyi's poems have appeared previously in Zone, as well as in The Flask Review, 63 Channels, Contemporary Rhyme, The Bending Spoons, and International Zeitschrift.

miércoles, agosto 01, 2007

Three Poems From Srinjay Chakravarti


Where the straits are perilous, more hungry spittle. . .
The ghosts gather, a shimmer on the waves.

-- Meng Chiao, Sadness of the Gorges
(Trans. by A.C. Graham)

The tide foams at the river's mouth,
wind contrapuntal in a threnode
of susurrant sorrow.

Mermaids, drowned in air, gasp
for water: they abandon
their spindrift of spittle
at the white waves of the estuary.
The water is as briny as tears.

Coming to drink there,
ghosts of sailors exhale
wisps of smoke.
They return home
as thirsty as they always were.

Where the valley yawns,
cold breezes from the north
sough through ivory trees,
petrified pillars stained
with weeping starlight.
The leaves of the forest
tremble under the weight of dewdrops
as they condense in the chill air
into the white jade of memories.

This is the hour of seances.
The soul escapes its moorings,
loss its only cargo
as it flees across the dream-dark sea.

The surf has beaten its head, grieving,
on the rocks throughout the long night.
The blue twilight is fugued:
with wind and spume,
river and rain.


Kaminis, white belles of dusk
with fragrant bodies
swaying to an aeolian rhythm,
their laughter scattered
in splashes of moonlight
on the grey-green bushes.

While kanchans nod
their gold-blond heads
musk-scented skin
soaking in the bejewelled melody
tinkling on the feet
of night's nautch girls.

This is the paradise
for emperors and monarchs,
satyrs and cardinals.

Saying it with flowers,
and butterflies:
petalled wings of pleasure,
on the hinges of which

delicate dreams unfold
and sleep.

Kamini: a pale nocturnal flower; also means 'woman' in Sanskrit
Kanchan: another evening flower, often with yellow blossoms; also a
term for 'gold' in Sanskrit


Your questions float in the air
of the embargoed room, nebulae
in the dark night of my trespass.

"What do I do?
How do I make my living?"
I work nights
walking on air,
harvesting galaxies
with a sickle moon.

Yesterday, near the collapsar
at Andromeda, I met
a girl with a golden silhouette.
In the shadow she cast
on the trapeze of silver gossamer,
I could see a white hole
where her heart should have been.
I could see right through it
to the other end of the universe.

I asked her, sotto voce,
"Where do you come from,
and where do you go?"

She gave no reply,
only pointed a finger
at the Milky Way
and turned into a river
flowing with sand.

Now I was standing in a desert
twilight, the turquoise silence
of countless candles.
She had become the stars
in the black sky of my eyes.

Srinjay Chakravarti is a 34-year-old journalist, economist and poet based in Salt Lake City, Calcutta, India. His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications in over 25 countries. His first book of poems, Occam's Razor, (Writers Workshop, Calcutta) received the SALT literary award from from John Kinsella and a literary trust in Melbourne, Australia. Absolutely straight and square, he is a teetotaller (no nicotine, no caffeine, no drugs), never married, a celibate and loves it that way!