Poets and Translators:
Stanley H. Barkan
Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda
Richard Jeffry Newman
Dhanonjoy C Saha
Natasha R Clarke
Amirah Al Wassif
A Tribute To
Buddhadeva Bose (1908-1974)
Poetry in Bengali
Suman Dhara Sharma
Letters to the Editor
Peter Thabit Jones
Thaira Almayahy Husen
Celebrating 21 Years of Publication
প্রকাশনার একুশ বছর
Stanley H. Barkan
THE NAKED TREE
(18 September 2008)
Shorn of bark,
in flesh-colored paper skin,
naked on the shore
of Marina del Rey.
Its few branches
extend in supplication,
a beseeching plea,
as if to beg of Heaven
some care for its openness,
its exposure to the elements:
the gusting wind,
the searing sun,
the greedy gulls.
It’s a living caryatid
rooted in the earth
reaching for the sky.
THE WEATHER STATION
(8 November 2006)
The rock in the open box
revealed the weather.
If still, no earthquake.
If speckled with raindrops,
rainy day in Oranjestad.
If shaking up & down, earthquake.
If covered in white, snow.
If moving from side-to-side, windy.
It is primitive
No long-calculating tapes.
Just a rock
held in place
ORGAN PIPE FOREST
(15 November 2006)
Like the saguaro,
these organ pipes
form a forest,
long pipe-like arms
the altar rocks,
surrounded by the sea.
to have cacti
in such profusion
on desert plains
of sand and stone,
side by side
with coral by the sea,
always the sea,
great cumulus clouds
—white, gray, black—
rain, storm, hurricane.
But the trade winds
blow them away
across the aqua-tinted sky
over the turquoise sea,
where the sun nightly falls
into its calm, smooth secrets.
FROM “THE SACRIFICE”
Why is it my fate
to be in place
of his son?
Am I not flesh
as he is?
If I’m cut,
do I not bleed?
do I not cry out:
I am father
of my own kids—
who will provide?
Already I hear
of the wood
placed near the altar.
Already, I smell
Here on this high place
above the valleys,
almost touching the stars,
I am caught in the brambles,
by the horns
that were meant to protect me.
Oh where oh where
is my angel, guardian of goats?
Oh when oh when
will I and my progeny
cease to be his sacrifice?
THE BRIDGE OF STONES
(12 November 2006, Aruba)
on huge boulders,
stones on rocks,
pebbles on stones.
All in little
like the stones
placed on the graves
of relatives and friends
here on the edge
Long Island, NY
Plenteous trees are bustling in my garden
going through adjustments imposed by changing seasons
greening andblooming all through the spring,
emitting fragrances into the night air,
producing fruits mostly in the fall,
some shedding leaves in winter. No matter what,
the old garden replenishes itself year after year.
Trees’trembling branches generate tiny sounds,
songbirds of all species nest in them.
Happy trees, inanimate future of the landscape,
make all sorts of noises as winds are at work,
soft rustling of leaves in a still breeze,
or, a “whoosh” sound before a storm breaks.
Each species has its own distinctive sound
depending on its size and shape,
what a scientist might call a geometric response.
If your ears are wide open to the sounds,
you can hear piano sonatas emanating from their leaves,
jazz concerts, sounds of different drums, and I know even
the Mongolian throat singers’ songsoccupying
their well-defined place among the fig trees.
Sounds reveal numerous things one can’t see.
For instance, you can always tell an oak tree from a maple.
At the end of summer most fill with ripened fruits.
They are generous entities, not caring who eattheir bounties,
a prey to all migrating birds, fruit flies, and other insects.
I have given names to the old ones in my garden,
here they stand, trees with different fruits and names:
Rumi, Li Po, Whitman, Hikmet, Veli, Akhmatova, Brodsky,
Mistral, Kipling, Vallejo, Neruda, Gibran, Transtromer, Fuzuli.
And the younger ones growing between them: Barkan,Wolak,
Ismail, Millan, Abdullah, Thabit-Jones, Gillan, Boss, Seshadri.
Blue dashers flit away
from waxy green leaf
upon leaf, edges curling
toward rays of light.
as the lilypad-sprawl rides
from the underneath.
Like eel head,
yawn into blossoming
circles of white teeth
from ooze; streams
Breathing and breathing and breathing again
snow veils sidewalks and trees
swallows light spinning dreams
demanding silence inside the thickening sky
falling breathing flying
as Earth tilts toward the sun
yet aspires to winter’s darker side
flakes multiply descend reflecting
the glow from flats and brownstones
shifting into drifts making silhouettes
of the city
growing pale growing grey and white
veins of cold disintegrate reunite
into lacey shapes of opalescence
swirling fractals bits sinograms
compacting in cracklecrunch
by a frozen torch the organizing force
that causes snow to stick
breathing now on windows face after face
smothering spires and creeping cars
muting hustling hours into waking slumber.
I WON’T LET YOU
I cry a lot,
but they remain unheard to you.
The busy streets swallow down my utmost wail of anguish
like a hungry bird eating up a slender worm.
No one ever spent time listening to me,
Not even YOU!
My unheard stories are the emblem of my desolated soul.
Sure you heard me, but never listened;
so I speak to myself, holding my own hand,
console myself in the midst of a dark, cold, lonely night
‘cause I won’t let you extinguish the flame of my mind.
They ask to show my bruises, but
I have none!
My eyes were never swollen,
no one ever punched me on my face
or tortured to leave me half dead,
no mark of strangulation on my slender but irritated throat.
I have no discoloration on my fairly light skin,
never I went on hunger to be a bag of bones;
no lost limbs or injury to mend,
nor do I look withered at all.
They refuse to have reliance on my assertion
as if I am the transgressor and
give me abominable looks waiting to tear me apart
like a cackle of hungry hyena.
Destitute, I give a blank stare . . .
How can I show my wounded heart,
captivated thoughts, wrecked desires,
shattered dreams, unredeemed hopes,
suppressed wills, silenced voice and on and on?
No one left any evidence except my zealous memory
of austerity and deserted struggle.
The voice of insanity hounds me trailing
from past to present
rupturing my sweet sensible delicately
Like a hunted deer, I too writhe in pain
as if it’s my utmost destiny.
Abandoned, I bury my deepest thoughts
in the graveyard though
the haughty air swirls around me
like a bee to the honeysuckle.
In a dusty world I am deserted,
deprived of my dreamy life—
my shadow is my only companion.
Around neck is my mother’s
umbilical cord, choking me hard;
penetrating pest over my desecrated
body and mind hammers my nonchalance . . .
I have nowhere to escape.
Lingering in the graveyard of memory
Through received transmission
By way of high vacuum cathode ray tube
In three strip color technology
From Television City in Hollywood!
Brought to you by the good folks at
Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice
Borscht belt oracle
Spoke of the absurdity
Of the purple car
Causing uproarious laughter
From his well-fed audience
Quiz show conundrum
Dressed in shtick
For union scale
Game board sliding panels
Reveal puzzle’s inscrutability
Reproachful buzzer dooms contestant
To tragical consolation prize
Ding! Ding! Ding! The blinking bell
Declares The Purple Car the new improved thing
It’s good product placement to have a bonus round
With the violet object of which you dream
The Purple Car killed vaudeville
Made the cathode ray tube obsolete
Ran over every dinosaur
Left our demographic in the dust
The Purple Car stays so damn cool
That it will freeze your old ass out
It does not need to get the joke
But you will be sure to remember it
Like some lame advertising jingle
Stuck in the back of your head.
POEM FOR MISS DICKINSON
The enterprising honey bee
Hov’ring in the sultry summer haze
Became your endless fascination
Seeding pure poetic reverie
Miraculous defiance of gravity
More effortless than birds on the wing
Like Shakespeare’s Midsummer fairies
Flitting about your open ear
Waxen extraction of nectar
Rich source of life’s vital essence
An aching mystery to behold
While feeding off your own desires
As the conservatory windows
Became the bound’ries of your world
And exotic plants and hothouse flowers
As close as there was to soulmates
Could help you
The vice-like grip of corsetry
Squeezed out each flame of passion
The crinoline soaking with sweat
An egregious affront to God’s eyes
Your barefoot rank on dewy grass
Would ne’er bring you Fame’s laurel crown
Nor would dipping pen in inkwell
Pollinate an only heart
So instead you dallied with Death
That elegantly clad coachman
Promenading in your mind
About one’s final destiny
Each trip outside of Amherst town
Narrowed your fearful horizons
Each needy poetic inquiry
Sadly deemed unfathomable
Could help you
Only Whitman could have saved you
Singular giant in the gloaming
Would have ta’en you in lovelorn arms
And whispered, “Yes, your way is true”.
Eye suffer from a disease
It’s called chronic eye lie syndrome
Eye do not see things as they are,
but for how they threaten my narrow worldview
Burst blood vessel lightning bolts
of outrage in my repressive vision
You may read my holy book, and infer His grace applies to you
Yet all eye can comprehend is that
only those who see like me are chosen
Only those who tap that oil, frack that shale,
clean coal with their insatiable tongues
Or however they rape Mother Nature and claim she wanted it
Eye haven’t seen it with my own eyes,
but I’ve been told how eye
should see it
and though that view has been
debunked by numerous reliable
Eye persist in accepting it,
because no one (else) is going to tell me
What eye didn’t see
Eye know eye haven’t seen me get mine
What eye was told eye could get
So eye can’t see anyone new getting anything at all
The way eye see it, we are all liars
What eye need to see is someone
who does not respect his own lies
Who makes it obvious he does not care if he is believed
That’s what eye am looking for
If eye see something
Eye know it is expected that eye say something
But, hey, eye am no snitch!
a meteor shoots across the sky
to fulfill my wish
but what is my wish?
I fumble to recall
and before I can recall my wish
it shoots away with a mystique tail
leaving me mesmerized.
I wish that one day
I will break myself loose
and roar down the earth
like an avalanche.
when the hills come alive
with the beads of light
like twinkling stars
the phosphorescence of cities
gathers at her feet
for a glimpse of her
revelations of darkness.
the diamond blades of march
flashed with betrayal
you too, my dear?
and blood flowed from my back
and ran through the dust
like a desert snake.
THE ELASTICITY OF TIME
‘there comes a point in life
when your mind outlives yr desires’
from ‘the life of david gale’
(a literature professor accused of false rape
on death row who sacrifices his life for the Anti Death Penalty)
the way she sits there w/ her pale hands
curled over an iphone and her thickly polished nails,
part of a picture hanging
in a room painted a color between peach and pink,
containing a husband sitting on a bed,
and 2 spotted doggies on a rug
well, i’ve been there, in that bedroom before
w/ those doggies, that husband; seen it all somewhere
else, and before crawling under cool sheets, looking out
her windows onto a yardsandy patchedin-between weeds
i wonder why are window views so special?
a bird’s eye focus on a world outside myself;
the sigh on an old women's face when she thinks of belt
buckles, a woolen skirt, school supplies,
even cheap socks because it’s autumn and nothing goes wrong;
especially w/his mouth bent towards her breast,
her head tucked under his arm
‘there comes a point in life
when time outlives your desires’
‘the life of david gale’
disappointment, she thinks is sometimes far homelier
than out and out misery: the turning point in a life
once cheery or at least optimistic,
until its pitched a hard ball
shattering mind and heart simultaneously;
a punch in the gut and all that’s hopeful
slow-leaks out of you, thendeflates
to your feet, socks, underwear
and a wooly sweater
you lie in a rubber puddle: c'est toute
o, of course it’s about love: and of course that love ebbs
and of course its a bumpy ride,force quitting frolics
in the sky, and of course it was alive w/a sugar
sweet night, of course it’s the salt of Niobe
that gave her such insight, and of course
it was sharing themselves
that caused him fright
but of course now
it feels distant
a smudged outline of life
In the end
their fire turned torpid
no trigger, not even a spark
just slow burning ash lying in wait
for a combustible hale
Richard Jeffry Newman
I knew the blues song front to back.
I was not the only one
exiled from the sanctuary of virtue.
All you need is meat.
It stands up in praise of God,
and yet you’re still alive.
The colors I heard stayed.
Her bookmarks were dead flowers,
razor sharpened on both ends.
Before the idea of awe,
I did not know
what to say or what to do.
I have to hold on tight,
or I will be killed.
rifle through these parts,
a price she will be paying
until she is old.
How is our imperative to endure
different from yours?
First Tuesdays Cento – June 5, 2018
This poem is composed of lines from work performed
at the June 5 First Tuesdays open mic by, in order
of appearance: Denis Gray, Liz Gray (reading a translation
of Hafez), Barbara Gray, Valerie G. Keane
(reading Sharon Olds), Marty Levine, Pat Duffy,
Stained Napkins, Herb Rubenstein, Dan Fleshler,
Lydia Chang, Norman Stock, Henry Sussman, Malcolm Chang,
& Pichchenda Bao. (Since the cento is composed
orally during the open mic, without reference to the
line breaks in the original poems, the line breaks in
this poem were determined by Richard Jeffrey Newman,
First Tuesdays curator.) The feature poet of the event
was Hassanal Abdullah, the editor, Shabdaguchha.
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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি
A Tribute to Buddhadeva Bose
Poetry in Translation (polish)
Poetry in Translation (Bengali)
Poetry in Translation (Ahtna)
Poetry in English 1
Poetry in English 2
Poetry in Bengali
Letters to the Editor
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