International Poetry الشعر শ্লোক ကဗျာ ליבע ਪਿਆਰ өлүм

with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka and Rameeza Nasim

Ayo Oyeku’s weaves words with a touch of his soul, experience and animism. His works have appeared in various anthologies, most recently, Best New African Poets Anthology 2016. You can find more of his poems online.

VERSE

 

littered pieces of unspoken

       words,

roving thoughts etching at the

       forehead –

of a soul that chooses not to

       speak,

but with verses creeping out of

       limbs.

 

REEDS ON THE RIVERS

 

Hollow stems

swaying gently over the waters,

clutching tenderly at the beds,

drifting quietly under the currents,

swaying, clutching, drifting.

Hairy footings on soft teguments,

clinging unto the tender roots,

mocking at the finagle of erosions,

hoping to sap its nutrients,

clinging, mocking, hoping.

 

Reeds of unanswered prayers

a torturing spirit for a broken heart,

distorting every countenance of expectations,

delaying hopes for tomorrow.

 

Reeds of hidden secrets

dried scabs of a wounded flesh,

silently renewing memories of regrets,

feasting upon the mind for reconciliation.

 

Reeds on the rivers

hollow stems with numbered leaves

feeble as it is

yet it rules over the waters.

Rogers Atukunda is a Ugandan journalist, filmmaker, researcher and educator. An upstart writer, he is a published poet, essayist, short story writer and screenwriter.

Beyond Beauty

I still recall-

That rare creature

A Mutooro girl

With a thick mass of falling black curls

Onto her tender face kissing and tossing

Like a lily in a cool after-drizzle-breeze

 

Abooki*, how can I describe her face?

Those brown watery eyes,

Pleading, oo, pleading-almost dosing . . .

Like two moons lighting up the sky

That honey-dripping mouth

And lips, so succulent—mmnh!

Glowing cheeks and a pointed nose

A neck, graceful as a crane’s

In the breeze, gently swaying

So slender, so youthful

 

The daughter of Bachwezi, how can I put it?

Rounded shoulders

The mango-like breast pulsating with life

The slimmest, most fashionable waist

A pale peachy skin

So smooth, so soft

 

Oo, how shall I say it?

Firm, well-curved hips

On legs of bamboo

Upon which I gazed, gazed

and gazed-more wildly . . .

Then, I saw, a perfect beauty!

[*Abooki is one of pet names Batooro of western Uganda use. Batooro are also said to have originated from Chweziempire aka Bunyoro-Kitara which ruled the Nile Valley]

 

 

The debase

 

Remind me, grandson, what was the day?

A Friday, grandpa, January 15, 2016

And you say it was a tea story?

No grandpa, I said it was on TV

Ooh, but did you say it was a primary debase?

Grandpa, a presidential debate

I see. And the old man who spoke big words, was who?

The judge, Justice James Ogoola, grandpa

Eeh, that one, did he really say the debase was the sin?

No, he said the debate was the thing

Did I also hear Mbirizi?

No, not Mbirizi grandpa, the name is Joseph Mabirizi

Ooh that one, okay, but did he really say he was adapted?

Mnh! That is what I heard, grandpa!

You are sure he didn’t say abducted?

For sure grandpa, he said adapted two times

And what did the lady Kyanwa say about women leaders?

Kyalya grandpa, Maureen Kyalya

Aah, never mind, but did she call them dummies?

[Our hardworking mothers are like the display dummies!]

Hnh! That is what I heard grandpa

And that Amani (Amani?), what did he say about his stomach and God?

Grandpa! It is For God and My country! And the name is AmamaMbabazi,

But wait . . . grandpa, are you trying to mock him?

Ooh, him? Tell me, what was that he said about erections?

That he has never witnessed a stolen election since independence!

Hahaha, hihihi, hehehe, my ribs, my ribs

What grandpa?

Never mind . . .but tell me, what did he say about serve houses?

Not serve, grandpa, he was talking about safe houses

And he wants to serve our goats macron and chips?

Microchips, grandpa, that was Abed Bwanika

And he also wants to empower them down there?

No, now that was Mabirizi. He was talking about women

And all the debasers don’t know oil papers?

Indeed grandpa, they don’t! But one wants totake the oil to Kenya . . .

I see, but, why was one chair empty?

You mean the one for Museveni, grandpa?

Yes, he was my hero president when I was a young man

He is still the president, grandpa

No wonder he missed the debase!

The debate grandpa, DE-BA-TE.

But why miss the debase?

He said it was childish grandpa,

Did he mean childish or challenging?

I don’t know grandpa but he said it was for kids

Kids? You mean a young one of a goat?

Children grandpa

Did I also hear him mention peace or pieces?

He was talking about peaceful elections, grandpa

Waw! I love fairy tales

What grandpa?

Ignore me . . . and what is this man of eyes bringing

Ooh, you mean KizzaBesigye, grandpa?

Mmh, he means to bring us new walking sticks?

No grandpa, he talked about walking with swagger

Hmh!

What is it grandpa?

My friend, these eyes have seen, these ears have heard,

these hands have touched . . . enough, enough!

Are you okay grandpa?

My grandson, you are yet to see!

Archie Swanson is a 61 year old poet-surfer living in George, South Africa. His poems appear in English Alive 50 (an anthology of 50 years of South African high school creative writing), the 2014 and 2016 McGregor Poetry Festival Anthologies and in the 2015 and 2016 Best New African Poets Anthologies

journey

 

the two appeared from the north

walking briskly on the hard sand

along the low tide line

sack-clothed

hair caked with salt

eyes down searching

looking for what the ocean had to offer

but the sea had nothing to give

on this otherwise perfect april day

 

the older man walked ahead

not because he was faster

but because he was the leader

they crossed the river mouth before me

the older man staring ahead

tracing his eyes across the coarse sand

but the younger man looked to me

as they had no food

and because he knew the leader would not ask

he asked

“is daar iets?” (is there something?)

i  ripped the velcro on the pocket of my board-shorts

and hauled out four R5 coins

his eyes lit up

“ons eet vannaand” (we eat tonight)

“ons kom ‘n lang pad - van langebaan” (We have come a long way from langebaan)

 

a string of cormorants traced their symmetry across the fading sky

last rays touched lion’s head across table bay

as the two continued  towards paarden eiland

stickmen petrified by an amber sun

 

12 april 2015

 

pelion 

 

there is a squashed sun on the risen horizon

there is a mountain with distilled streams

and a booted eagle hanging in an indigo sky

on outstretched wings

where ancient hardwood forests thrive

formed of wise trees and of ancient rocks

and velvet moss and bees

where spotted fauns prick timid ears

and apples and chestnuts hug tumbling slopes

where swooping swallows scoop variegated tears

from gilded sheets of mirrored dusk

and honking donkeys call to furtive foxes in the night

here warm rains fall from thunderous vaults

and here in the worn flag-stoned square of tsagarada

the ancient plane has stood a thousand years

 

on pelion in the centaurs cave

jason learnt the secrets of plants and hunting and the arts

and sailing forth to distant colchis with his agronauts

ploughed dragon’s teeth with fire snorting bulls

to snatch his golden fleece

 

and passed these rugged shores

a thousand ships did sail

sinewed arms straining at the oars

on a morning when the shadows of hurried clouds

scurried across the buffeted sea

towards the bloodied sun of troy

 

here too like a giant ray i swam

along time-sedimented cliffs

arms fanning forward

legs thrusting out

i swam and i swam through stained-glass blue

i heard the burnished pebbles rolling on the shore

i heard my glad lungs sigh

i heard my thoughts play

i heard the stretching of my sky

 

31 august 2015

Loop of Creation

Time and space, so delicately robust    
Breaking itself into complex                                                                              Fragments, into non-existence,                                                                         Every second, yet still existing.
Time and space, so vast and exquisite,                                                             Breathing life into itself, into the                                                                       Nothingness and wholeness of itself,                                                                 Recreating its existence every second.
Time and space, so empty yet so full                                                                 Of new beginnings, and yet                                                                                 There is no beginning,                                                                                         In a delicate loop we exist.                                                                                   A loop of creation and                                                                                         Recreation, a fragile balance.

Of Reality and Matrix

Trapped in the cage of reality

And matrix, twisted into intricate knots.

Too gnarled to untangle and feel the

Warmth of the light beyond.

Andrea Ashima is a student in Punjab, India, who is an avid reader and a movie buff.  She reviews her favourite books on her blog and likes to conduct occasional gastronomical experiments.  She is also musically driven and enjoys all genres. you may follow her blog at https://princessperceptions.wordpress.com/

 

What do I call it if not beauty?

 

 What do I call it if not beauty?

Though, you are not the play of colors

in the sky with rising sun, my one year old.

 

When I keep your soft, small right palm,

yes it has to be the right palm for reading,

with mine, and look at the three thicker,

longer lines with their tributaries,

narrower, shorter, many;

when I take pride at the similarities,

and am happy with the differences,

then I can see only beauty.

 

When you O little one, climb my back

to ride horse and gleefully shout tica-tica-tica

in your own tongue, and bend a little time and again

to look at me

and smile when our eyes meet;

When I rock you gently to sleep,

stroke your forehead softly, comb

your soft, thin hair with my fingers,

touching your scalp with all the affection,

that I never knew was dammed in there somewhere, 

that my being can hold, dripping

from my fingertips as blessing,

as love, upon you all the time,

I can see only beauty.

 

I’m not very sure whether I know

what beauty is.

Let’s say beauty is

what it does to us,

and call you beautiful,

for you make me feel blessed,

just by your presence, at least sometimes.

Angels, even God, cannot do better than that.

No, they can’t make me feel blessed in their presence,

even sometimes.

 

My city rises from within

 

My city rises from within,

in me,

around  me,

filling everything up.

It’s stronger than any known force in the range:

White noise, television decibels,

the whistling pressure cooker,

the shouts of the vegetable vendor,

and other Sunday concerns hovering overhead and around.

 

The metaphor of water,

and the guilt of its knowledge,

rising slowly up, touching the skin every inch up

and the skin registering it all

closely, completely, clearly –

translated to the abstract,

of a slow and sure rise

of memories, thoughts and emotions.

 

It may have happened with many other losses,

but happened with only one loss of mine:

of my home, my city, my place.  

 

The flow breaks

 

Under my skin lives a menacing stranger.

He is not the man I know I used to be,

or am, when free.

There from the mirror he stares back at me.

 

When you want to meet me, choose your time

wisely, and place too.

The time: neither now nor tomorrow,

nor the day after.

The place: neither here, never;

Nor there, nor anywhere

other than my city.

 

I like the man who walks by the river nearing dawn.

I like the man who breathes his liberty in, is free

to sit on steps of stone, no watch ticking.

This was my cue to fill in those things little:

the faint tinkling bells,

cymbals clanging, gongs and conch shells loud,

the wafting incense streaming slow

and floating plates of flowers -

red petals (rose costs a lot)

and yellow (marigold is cheap).

 

The flow breaks, the flight lands,

and home comes the pigeon.

Not I.

Nor will I ever have that day of mine.

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India. He is the editor of PPP Ezine, a poetry ezine. He has a blog on poetry, poetics and aesthetic: pleasure: https:/poetrypoeticspleasure.wordpress.com.

Free

 

Your voice has been etched

On my poor memory

The vibration of your voice stretched

For miles and set me free

 

Free from what you may ask

From all the distractions

That tormented me under my mask

From all the possible options

 

Free from the prison

They wanted to build for my mind

Free from the illusion

That had made me blind

 

Blind to your existence

Blind to your eyes

Lost in your absence

In the world of lies

 

You paved the way for my eyes

To take a step in your direction

You brightened my dark skies

You cured my depression

 

Even if it was for a day

To me, you are a solace

So believe me when I say

My love for you is endless

Mohsen Saadi Khosroshahi is an Iranian poet.

Dancing Woman

                      

In the soulfully dead darkness there’s a fainting flame enlightening a colorful world.

 In the lively beat of anklets and enchanting fame there‘re suppressing doleful words.

Fatedly Feathery but bounded taut stitches are weaving Gloomy jewels on her soul ‘s attire.

Fleshy manifestly but blinded wrought itches are selling with weepy mewls in the hands of her foul buyer..

Her seductive wiggling walk across the room evince her twisted journey.

Her attractive giggling twinkles, gloss the doom that eclipse her histed misery.

She rhythmically sways her arms at every beat as she is swirl to twine with her inherited purl.

She whimsically emblaze her charms at every  meet as she thrills to tie in with her dispirited beloved.

In the soulfully dead darkness there’s a fainting flame enlightening a colorful world.

 In the lively beat of anklets and enchanting fame there‘re suppressing doleful words.

 

 

Story of that one night

It was the story of that one night.

Where shady darkness sheltered on us its hind.

When our stormy thoughts deflected with the wind.

Where feely moonlight reflected us transparent.

 

When fiery candles flamed our passion.

Where light threads of rose petals scattered on our bed cover held us strong together.

When his sunny glance on my rosy face blossomed my heart just like a heather.

Where in a wheezy room his breaths got tightened just like anklets on my feet.

When his brisky heart danced with my anklets rhythmic beat..

Where he freed me to the new horizon as he unbolted my back’s knot leisurely.

 When i sailed through new mizzen as his hand swim down my deep valley.

Where his dusky clouds took over my dale.

When his warmly arms covered me just like a veil.

 

Words of intimacy

In a room filled with sad despondency.

Our Silence spoke the words of intimacy.

His forehead wrinkles on his cynical face.

Squeal the stress down his waist.

My lips rubbing against each other.

Were fighting a warfare amongst lust and tender.

As the softness of his hand touched my palm.

Made my inner intense turmoil calm.

Around my neck the feel of warmness of his breath.

Heal the coldness of our dearth.

 

Heat of closeness between us.

Melt the frostiness of reticence betwixt us.

Behind the close doors of secrecy, we lived the ecstasy.

With our open bodies we travelled the world of fantasy.

In a room filled with sad despondency.

Our Silence spoke the words of intimacy.

A dreamer, thinker and solitude lover, Areesha Babar is a medical student. An aspiring poet and writer, She publishes her work at her wordpress site: https://httpareeshababarworld.wordpress.com/.

Unlike most books paraded as representing Africa while only touching a small portion of the continent and its people and poets, this anthology shows Africa in its multiplicity of races, languages, countries, cultures etc... blacks, whites, Arabic, Indian ... that is really what Africa is about!

Best "New" African Poets 2016 Anthology

All 5 poets have poems in this anthology (link embedded above).

Please visit the link to purchase a copy. Its a massive African Literary offering as it touches on everything that is Africa...over 430pages

Tendai Rinos Mwanaka is a leading poet and writer of the new generation of African writers and works hard to promote African writing through anthologies he has curated and co edited. Mwanaka has been shortlisted and won several writing awards, including shortlisted for a record 7 times for the UK based Erbacce poetry award, 3 times nominated for the Pushcart, The Caine African Writing Award etc. He is a published and exhibited visual artist (photography, painting, drawing, installation, collage, video.), represented by ARNA gallery, Sweden, until 2020, upcoming exhibitions include among others, Alice Art Gallery Johannesburg, February 2017, Le Corridor Gallery, Harare, May 2017, a published sound/musical artist using mostly tradition instrumentations like the mbira. He is a mentor, translator, scholar, theorist, reviewer, editor, critic, whose work has been published in over 400 journals in over 27 countries, translated into French, Germany and Spanish. He also works part time as a research consultant for a NGO based in Mozambique, in the primary education field.His published work can be found here: Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

Rameeza Nasim was born and lives in Karachi, Pakistan. Holding a masters degree in English Literature and Linguistics, she makes her living through writing and Blogging. Poetry is her Passion and it's something in her genes.

Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2017, a poetry magazine    

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