top of page

International Poetry الشعر শ্লোক ကဗျာ ליבע ਪਿਆਰ өлүм

with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka and Rameeza Nasim

It is a cheat code


She has plumb run out, up and up…

Up, up, up, up… Cancer!

Is the only way to construct a year, a house

Unbuilding itself, in measurement of the dead.

God’s blazing fingers cryptically etched

On your mother‘s face


No one is there for you to dally now,

Except a drying mother, dying

Your mom- still there, in the basement of your memories,

In a dark place, in the middle of a breath, where

It feels like it has stayed away, stopped for a second.

half prayer, half request, half a whisper.

But no sound escapes you, encases you.


Howsoever long you now allow yourself to stay here,

You need no keys, no padlocks

For no door is locked, none is opened,

Every window is opened, every window is closed.

You have become the false answer you had always hoped

You will touch if you question a little deeper.

Loss like this percolates underneath


Up to the moment you want everyone you know to know of this

Yet you do not know who to let know of this

Triangular the pain, diagonal the circumference synapses

Not communicating laughter, but a mourning thing

Strapped inside your chest.


She tells you of her mother’s union to the man who adored her

Not her marriage to a man she doesn’t mention when she mentions of her.

She tells you the best way to deal with this is to go through it

With faith, with the support of

Mourners who allow the mourner to mourn.

But do you tell her that from its case,

Your heart has vanished, a display now empty,

As empty as a vacant apartment in a vacant street.


The moment she tells you that part of

Mourning is helping other mourners respond to you,

And you answer her that when others lose sight of you

All you will be left with is this-

A dying canary so bent and alone,

Wimping- singing and mourning the morning off.

Let the bird’s song soaks into your skin

For this awhile you sing ice cold tears.


But when the stars burn,

The songs from their mouth is dark

As if they have stretched thin as wilted tissue.

The wind is never your friend;

You don’t concentrate on the trees,

But follow deep blue black skies



Tendai Rinos Mwanaka from Zimbabwe is an editor, publisher, mentor, writer, visual and musical artist with close to 20 published books which include among others, Frontiers, Wild, Semi-Wild, Human… (Photographic book), Zimbolicious Poetry Anthologies (Anthology series of Zimbabwean poets), Playing To Love’s Gallery (poetry book), Keys in the River (short stories novel), Voices from Exile (poetry book), Counting The Stars (poetry book), and many more here: He writes in English and Shona. His work has appeared in over 400 journals and anthologies from over 27 countries. Work has been translated into Spanish, French and German.



I call it a “dark cloud” but

that’s a lie. What holds me

has jaws that bite across

the back of my neck, reaching

to the top of my head, a pear

soft and juicy in its grip, firm,

fangs slicing through tender

muscle, productive hours.


I smell its acid breath, stench

Of rotting life, flies, rats rabid,

gnawing, scurrying over me,

phlegm down my spine.


And there I wait, blind, trapped,

entwined in heavy black

that presses on my head,

pounds on my heart, on and on

till I drag my carcass to the edge

and I look down –I must jump,

I must jump, it wants me to jump,

waiting for me to melt.


But I never do.

Perhaps tomorrow, but not today.


So it grows tired, loosens

its grip, and takes leave

till the next setting of the sun.


I can see. I am free.                              

“The dark cloud has passed,”

I smile to my wife, my lie,

feeling sunshine and jelly

as I mop up the remaining

phlegm and stench. 



Athol Williams is a South African poet and social philosopher.  He was awarded the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award in 2015 and 2016.  Athol has published three poetry collections, the most recent being Bumper Cars.  He holds several degrees and is currently studying a PHD at Oxford University.  His website is here

To the African Migrant


Knowing many ways to catch a lizard

Does not make you a brilliant wizard

Not all hunters that set traps in forests

Return to the village with their quests

You loathe the land of your birth

And seek crooked paths to mirth

You walk over your tillable lea

And court thorny routes to flee

The hurting hunger at home

Across dry deserts you roam

Aiming to sniff freedom across the sea

But you run into a taste of bitter tea

In the abode of your vicious slave master

Dogs don’t tell the redolence of faeca matter

From the acrid vomit of a preg house wife

Into Libya’s jaws you turn in your life

For carnivorous hounds of brothers to prey

Upon the mean blood in your idiotic array

In that furnace where fraternity has taken flight

Where neck and ankle chains withhold your right

To direct the wind of your gluttonous thriving

Hanging your obstinate heart on the steep of living

There, where sometimes your bones in dunes interred

As prize for your chicken-livered soul deterred

Where at times the desert air your flesh devours

Or your treasures a gang of robbers scours

As reward for your indolence and vain greed

For evading to vie with them for bread

That drudge to survive in your recessed lands

As you elect to become meal for sad Arab sands



Macpherson C. O. Okpara is a highly acclaimed Nigerian poet, playwright, short story writer, literary critic and editor with a number of publications to his credit. He took both the Bachelors and Masters Degree in Literature in English from the prestigious Abia State University, Nigeria and has been a lecturer in English/Literature since 1998.

Pas la Dette


The collection calls come in their sudden bursts

Laid stochastically over life's swells;

They murmur threats, they plead with me to pay.

"Do you not acknowledge what you owe?

Do you not regret this delinquency?"

I hear her claims: "gagné à l'arracher!"

Beneath those agent scripts, and disconnect,

In absentia on default judgment day.


A strange inversion, this holding cell,

It struggles to confine me from within,

To route my senses through its dear tollway,

But I'm far too cochlear. Sadly powerless

Under these modern laws, she can lock me up

Neither for mere debt nor lèse majesté;

Her vengeful knight's tin-tarnish voice punctuates

My absence this default judgment day.


Sometimes a bill unpaid forms the kernel

Of common tragedy, compounded loss,

The claimant's finances in disarray.

She seems no bank of swollen bonuses;

Am I the larded with lazy greed, have I

Worked for my desert of that sweet play?

Write it red with my disdain of credit,

My willful absence this default judgment day.



Uche Ogbuji, more properly Úchèńnà Ogbújí, was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived in Egypt, England and elsewhere before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his poetry chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press) is a Colorado Book Award Winner, and a Westword Award Winner ("Best Environmental Poetry"). His poems, published worldwide, fuse Igbo culture, European classicism, American Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop. He co-hosts the Poetry Voice podcast and featured in the Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology.



To the Text Maker who leaves nothing to chance.

- Tendai R Mwanaka


Touch, untouch me, lack of touch, there is a piece of you in such words, voices, the fertilization, float, sink, attach, wait, wait, wait… Touch, attach, untouch me, part precision, touch me, part poltergeist, untouch me, buzz the words, sink, float, the fertilization, there is brickwork behind the words, the lack of, the contact. Touching needs the part untouched, touch me…


Breathe, inhale, breathe, hold it in, breathe, exhale, we schlep and squeeze, like a baby all the words to each other, breathe… Breezy, warm, breathe, exhale, hold it in, only one word is left, this word… unword it, inhale, exhale, breathe… It’s in the contrast that meaning forms.


Word it, unword it, words are erotic beings, blank parchment, silence, talking, quiet, let it enter, noise, talk, talk, talk…, you build a room like a wordless sentence. Stories, words, poems, voices, purpling with the winter, wording behind the radius of summer, listen, silence, listen, hear it…, and listen again.


To words negotiating with silence, with what can’t be spoken, with what can be spoken, talk, silence…  I want to hold, caress, read, imbibe, a black book full, empty it of screaming words, quiet words, quiet, quiet, quiet… Words need space to breathe; stories need what’s left unsaid!


And to a text maker who leaves nothing to chance; change, unchange it…




- Uche Ogbuji


How long are we for this world?

How long is this world for us?

Shall we remain only remains

Or burst spaceward in wanderlust?

The writing is on what stars we'll make,

And back on the birthworld of our wake.

Tendai R Mwanka

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 being 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.

Counting theStars by Tendai R Mwanaka



Light. I hide from it

But the sun’s radiant rays

chase after me

piercing the barriers

around my soul

highlighting every flaw

I wish to bury


Light. I run from it

But the moon’s

sparkling slivers

force themselves

past my shuttered eyes

showing me shortcomings

I pretend not to see


Light. I extinguish it

But the stars’ gentle glow

slips through the

crevices in my skin

illuminating regrets

in my heart

I seek to forget


No light at the end

of the tunnel, you say


I will be safe there. From me






Srikakulam. Funny name. Always elicits laughs. Unpronounceable. Except for those born there. Like me.

Forgettable really. I remember grandma's searing mango pickle in boiling June. The memory lives on my tongue.


New Delhi. Also blazing. 44-degree summers. Sensible to search for any scrap of shade. Except for those too young to care. Like me.

Mid-afternoons in school grounds. On the volleyball court, living fully in the moment. The heat still singes my skin.


Singapore. Encased in a humidity bubble. Difficult to breathe. Except for those who get used to it. Like me.

Never meant to stay this long. So many plans to move on. Yet, 15 years later, still here. Probably will always be.


Some places sink their roots into you.



I lie on the couch

A limp fish

though I am still breathing


On the TV

the salmon on the chef’s board —

looking fresher than me —

is most certainly dead


The knife slides smoothly

through the soft flesh


I think longingly of butter and toast


His fingers run tenderly

over the succulent pink


Then he yanks the bones out

The way I sometimes rip words

out of my soul — not quite so cleanly


for the jagged edges

fuse awkwardly into scars


But we do have something in common

The hapless salmon and I —


Neither of us bleeds


Living in Singapore, Uma Venkatraman is a journalist by day and a poet all the time. The day job pays the bills, the poetry provides the succour. She has been published in anthologies including Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in The Pink Panther Magazine.



In the sweet winter

last November

The glamour, hot and warm

Worn between intimate lovers


And blessed with affection

Adorned with attraction

Elated by emotion

Close in each other's arms


Up in the mid-night

Furtive and cryptic in the dark

Away from people’s sight

Embracing bare-bodies, burning ice


In the mantle of love;

Making and doing

Replacing each; up and down-

They beat the chill too far


Muzammil Ahad Dar

is a Lecturer in Kashmir India

Nature (Acrostic Poem)


Nature hides in itself, treasures,

Are worth every single praise, worthwhile,

Treasures, that God carved in His imagery,

Unreal, at first sight, but,

Real, they are to the eye's delight,

Expressing is God, through Nature, about his Might


Sonnet: The Road I Walk


this road I walk, leads me to thee,

I fear myself, and my desires

this walk, is comforting to me,

for this road leads to what heart conspires


I have naught left an interest to survive,

my heart has bled, wept and cried,

I forced myself to move on, I have tried,

I guess, there is no reason but to stay alive


fortune, has led me to day dreaming,

all I could do, is stare the night sky,

in the constellations up high,

your face is what I end up seeking


Loving you was no choice of mine, but the heart

and I have walked this far, as was the will of heart

Kazi Nabeel is a passionate writer and a wanderer from the city of Karachi. You can find more of him on his blog where he shares his thoughts and poetry.


To escape all harshness around,
I stepped into the valley of dreams.
Where there lie all sorts of dreams,
Waiting to be dreamed.
Sweet dreams,
Enchanting dreams,
Aspiring dreams.
There at the corner of the valley
Flows a stream of Lethe.
In order to dream well
one should loose all remembrance
I sipped the water of forgetfulness,
And was lost in the captivating valley.

Where there were sweet dreams
Of bed of roses,
pixies with pointed noses.
Of lilies,chrysanthemum and hyacinths,
all in fascinating labyrinths.

Of rainy nights,
Of gallant knights,
Of far away lands
Of valleys and islands

Of sweet love song,
Of Keat's Nightingale's song,
that I always long .

And of kingdom of heart,
where every end is a fresh start.
Of a die-heart lover
the one that can shower
endless kisses!

But wait!
I am an aging soul
my dreaming days are over!
sweetness has been replaced bitterness
now there is no hopes
as one cant dream
with silver strings ,
now no more springs.
yes my dreaming days are over
no more dreaming
I should give up all my dreams
all hopes!
I think I will feel better
as proverb says
" Since I have lost hope I am feeling much better"
so should give it a try
Will give up all my Dreams

But is dreaming not the other name of living?
Should I give up life too?

there are not only sweet dreams
that only fuel desires,
there are also one that aspires.
dreams are milestones
dreams are divine zones
dreams are illuminations
dreams are revelations
dream on!
dream on!

                                                Rameeza Nasim

                                                 28 November 2015

Say it once


Say it once

What you have to

Without employing puns

Say it once!

Tell me what you should

Not a candied lie

Lets say no to falsehood

All you need is to remember

That truth is handsomer

Than a prolonged slumber.

Say it once!

Don’t fabricate

Don’t twist

Don’t hesitate

Say it once!

Say that I am waiting long

For that true words

Which I will never take wrong.

Say it once!

Rameeza Nasim

12, Jan 2016

Rameeza Nasim

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.

bottom of page