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wes parham Aug 12
The wheel of fortune turns for me,
And always, revolves at its own leisure.
Time is curved where the future will be,
But always flat when it is measured.

The rest is a serpent, in every direction,
Forever consuming the end of its tail.
Self contained death and resurrection,
Superluminal ship, without wind or sail.

Will you safekeep our knowledge when it is done?
Humanity’s worst as well as its best?
Will you mind if it’s turtles, all the way down?
A stable foundation on which to rest?

Where will you fall, at the teeth or the tail?
Destroying or rebuilding anew?
If All is cyclic, then we’ll meet once more,
Eternal versions of me and of you.
Apropos of nothing, I wanted to mix the concept of the World Serpent and the old quote about, “turtles, all the way down”.

Along the way, though, some things also crept in that just seemed to fit.

Considering altering the first stanza to:

Time is curved where the future will be,
But always flat when it is measured.

(Edit:) After a comment from HP poet Lori Jones McCaffrey, it’s been changed.  Previously read:

Time is flat where the future will be,
And curving only when it is measured.

Words can be so fickle.
DeVaughn Station Mar 2021
I am from a dreamland.
My great land was diverse yet so grand as
the food and words were never bland.
The hands were rich with bands and rands,
built from working the same ground upon which we stand.
I am from a home that once spanned
prosperity itself; such a lovely
thing was a gift to our health. The sands,
skies, and seas could even hold the Heavens.
The trees used to dance in the breeze with ease.
I am from a dwelling of past envy,
but not of a hating feeling,
in the purest form, this was just only beauty.
But I am from broken societies.

Our hearts were bled dry
as we were taken overseas.
We prayed, begged, cried why
ever so loudly, but it was in vain.
I am from a place where our veins
still course with a saddened passion,
as a lack of love is our new fashion.

With sorrow, I am still from a life of death,
as their malice has never left.
Yet they still set us so carelessly upon the trees;
despite our screams and pleas, we
become the strangest fruits you have ever seen.
We have no identity and we have no names.
yet they still set us so harshly upon the pyre;
the painful extermination of desire
is a freedomless and killing fire.
Even our look for love is seen as theft,
and sadly, I am from where they even have my last breath.
N Chairannisa Feb 2020
My words are borrowed,
From the tongues of those
Who stole our freedom.

Yet now I use them,
For my expression
In the name of —

A contemplation on the genuineness of my expression -- is it truly liberation when I exclusively use English, a language widely used by my oppressors?

On the one hand, I have no choice since I'm much more eloquent in English. On the other, even the circumstances that lead to the huge difference in proficiency between English (my second language) and Bahasa (my mother tongue) reeks of privilege. This is a constant dilemma I have when writing about social, economic, or political issues.
Winter Oct 2019
My Black Black Man
The Walls of your Mind
Beckon only a Unique kind
The Love of a full Woman
An illusioned witness to
the Truth behind You
and your fettered prime, can
Be more black, more diaspora than
thee. Educated with sight
Yet conflicted by societal rite
And a King in every Troubled Stage
Unable to Fight
Can or cannot Love right?
My Black black man.
a dark, dreary dream it seems-
no fog thicker than it's haze
this land is real, it exists-
this place has a sign with its name
no map on earth has inked
to draw the arrows to this maze
a garden of eternity,
where the rabbits, feral and wolves, tame

this place is cloudy,
but each whispy haze weighs a metric tonne
the crown on each tree
and their boughs so far up their trunks
they form a cloak, impenetrable
that paints it sable against the sun
and what little sunlight dies-
in the ebon sea, its flare had sunk

there is no light here,
save for an oil-less lamp yet to be lit
an ashless bonfire-
wood yet to be gathered and be burnt
these pixies have no home
other than the cage one carries them in it
these fireflies have no light,
save for what is suffered and learnt

the forest makes pub ******
of those who lose themselves there
leches of those thirsty
who drink from its streams and creeks
they fail and falter and fall on the forest floor,
and the bushes wake back to life and stare
these are the sentinels of the forest,
and it is your surrender they seek

skulls and rib cages decorate
and hang from the boughs in this forest
the beaten trail there is paved
with the bones of the pleasant and their tales
the lamps are candles stuffed in the skulls
of the truthful and honest
you walk on these and where the bones stop,
you stand on where the last of them failed

the night here is neverending,
according to whom have endured
when it actually ends,
all memory of its trees and creeks cease
each and every soul that stands,
has left footprints here for sure
no telling which are the footprints of those,
living, lived, or recently deceased

this place is cold,
the clement light drowned out eons ago
it's cruel too,
this brumal darkness too tame to **** you
it keeps your heart-beating,
pounding down on you with layers of snow
it makes you forget the clement light,
makes you forget the warmth your breath once drew

how you get there nobody knows,
one wrong step- the forest eats you
from the sidewalk, from school to home, into the alleyway,
the forest eats you
the door between your room and the living room's screams,
the forest eats you
from the covers of your sheet into the noise of the streets,
the forest eats you

from the street to an inn, back to the street again,
the forest eats you
from the light of screen into the darkness of bed,
the forest eats you
from the concave stomachs and a mountain of debt,
the forest eats you
the stool between you and a knotted rope,
the forest sill eats you

and then, skin hard and frozen cold
since wandering this grove of a thousand broken lights
the crown of the trees recede
and the boughs begin to thin towards the opposite pole
there is no sun here, other than the immolated torch
of your flesh burning bright
there is no sun here,
other than the immolated phlogiston
that combusts at the end of

the dark night of the soul
Marie-Lyne Jul 2019
That’s the thing about lived realities
They are not expectations
Nor stereotypes about cultures
They are the opposite of common knowledge
How about we document our life and get rid of these misconceptions?
Nuha Fariha Jun 2019
Allah’s messenger said, ‘Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one and he who memorized them all by heart will enter paradise.’ To count something means to know it by heart - Sahi Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 93, Hadith 489

Cook her with Honey, Sweets, Glorious Sugar
Peaches and Hares, Soft Haired Stranger
smells like Tulips, Beloved Roses, Jasmines,
Violets, Blessed Lilies, Lotus Stars and Songbirds

First Born, Second Born, Eighth Born
The Oldest Daughter, Shy and Timid
My Father’s Blessings, My Mother’s Tears
Promise of God, God is My Father
One Who is Alive, a Songbird Fantasy

Person of the Night who Loves the
Beautiful Night Rain, *****,
Jezebel’s Daughter, Detesting Witch  

she is One Who Can Forsee, Prideful,
Original Sin, Woman of White Magic
Wild As a Mountain Goat
Torch of Light, Light of Mine, Light All Around

watch the Woman with Crown, a Woman of Victory
Truthful Ruler of the House, Ruler with a Spear
Fighting Filled With Wrath, Strong as a Little Bear
Battle Armor From the Land of the Broken
Protector of Sunrise and Nightfall
Fighting a Battle in Winter with
Wisdom and Justice

A Princess Who Has A Heart of Gold
Beauty, A Woman of High Manners
Noble Queen, Radiant Precious Stone
Shining Diamond, Like Smooth Dark Wood

our Possession, our Brand New Home, our Feast
A Reward Given, an Afterthought Charity, Chaste Homemaker
Wealthy Companion, Warm Fire, Compassionate Nurse
Say the Prayers with Heavy Stones

Divine Woman. Universal Woman.  
God’s Messenger,
Holiness, Living.
Nuha Fariha Jun 2019
Cockroaches peering between the shattered plates scattered once they heard the slap of Shanta’s footsteps up the narrow halls. 5’4 in white socks and brown sandals, she commands the room, her yellow sari, a beacon in the darkening winter days. Mrs Tagore’s radio leaks through paper-thin walls.

Pagla hawar badol diney/ Pagol amar mon jegey othey

Out the **** elevator, she glides above dull linoleum floors to her two room cardboard box. Salina’s neon pink birthday banner hangs on, cobwebs burrowed between ‘A’ and ‘L’. She put the meager groceries away, and hung the bag out the window next to of her neighbor’s drying *******, cold air a mercy from the heat of the stove. Next door, the radio blares on.

Chena shonar kon bairey; Jekhaney poth nai nai re, Shekhaney okaroney jaai chhootey

Lamb’s breath sauteed with cumin, onions, garlic and green chillis from Aladdin’s Grocery on 14th and Jasper clings to her collar like an expensive perfume. The water hisses when it’s poured over, steam rising in protest. She traps under the lid, allowing a single stream to whistle her a lonely tune.

Ghorer mukhey, aar ki re? Kono din shey jabey phirey/ Jabey na jabey na, deyal joto shob gelo tootey.

Today is Salina’s birthday, her plastic table mat is still in its place on the three legged table propped against the living room wall. Shanta puts down a chipped white ceramic plate, cuts out a slice of angel birthday cake and lights a candle, a spell casting soft gold on the old crayon drawings on the plaster walls. She sits in a plastic chair and watches the door. The song reaches its crescendo.

Brishti nesha bhora shondha bela/Kon Boloraam-er ami chaela/ Amar shopno ghirey naachey maatal jutey, joto maatal jutey.

Each echo of stilettos makes Shanta hold her breath. Perhaps this year Salina will finally come back, perhaps this year the door will open and her daughter will smile, will hug her, will laugh as her mother cries. On the table, wilted jasmines, calling cards left unused, Salina’s poems cut from magazines, the word collage blurring together. “My mother's hands/calloused/call me/ bruised mango/this is love”. Each ticking of the clock another blow, another **** collecting on the plate.

Ja na chaayibar tai aaj chaayi go, Ja na paayibar tai kotha pai go? Pabo na pabo no

Mrs. Tagore’s song ends. The candle wax melts on the cake, the cake is thrown away, the room grows dark. Shanta collapses next to the stove. She undoes her yellow sari, loosens her blouse. When she strokes herself, when she comes, she bleeds, she is coming home.
Nuha Fariha Jun 2019
Hello, thank you for using Bangladesh Free. please input the number you are trying to dial.

yesterday i bought a long distance calling card to talk to myself
there, not here, my body straddles two nations
yesterday i rubbed my fading purple stretch marks
i don’t know which language I dream in any more  
yesterday i sat in cold bathwater scrubbing until the purpura bleed
my mothers’ mothers’ mother died in a red river
my mothers mother’s mother birthed a nation
between her bleeding legs
most days I am still, her water’s edge, algae between teakwood toes
yesterday i bought a long distance calling card to tell myself

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