Read Poem: The secret Lover, by Tansy Roekaerts

Suffusion of sadness so tender,
What I yearn for lies inside.
In bed you await me,
Together we will hide

from those who think we have a choice
Or that one day you’ll be gone.
Believe you to be transient
A bus I can hop off and on!

I marvel at the swell of you
So familiar yet never the same
I know you’ll never leave me
Nor your power ever wane.

In bed I shiver with anticipation
For you’re my only truth
All else is farce, and only in your arms
Can I cry as I did in youth.

Accepting life would mean losing you
So that line will never be crossed.
Pain my most faithful lover! Pain:
All that remains from what I’ve lost.

Read Poem: Around the block, by Lamia Firasta

It’s Friday and I’m passing the station

But

Right above the station steps

Lies a young man standing

Most likely in his twenties

Trying to run away from life

Contemplating the feeble jump.

Only a few people notice

One lady says ‘you don’t wanna do this’

In an attempt to comfort him

And I think

There’s so much to live for then just this one jump

100 metres down

But then

Right around the corner

There’s some people in blue vests

Striking up a conversation

About how some girls don’t have access to education

But my money can help

And my blood boils

It curdles

I think

Theres a young man going to commit suicide and

only five people noticed

Yet 20 people in blue vests picket for education in third world countries

I guess I should donate all my money to this cause so that will fix one problem

But what about that boy who’s going to jump right around the corner

just ignore him ?

we’re too focused on changing the world

so he’s irrelevant

Making this big change in far away places

Helping people we don’t even know

But what about our own?

No one realizes

hat if change is right around the block

But maybe just maybe a revolution is just waiting to happen

If we stop that boy from falling

What if?

Read Poem: Trinkets, by Kartik Prajapat

if a home I had
I wouldn’t have discontinued
the trinkets, I find my life.
dispersed, decorative
they somehow have me they aren’t alone.

don’t figure out
who they are? or else you’ll
lead me, my urban
which you give the dreams
and where me, a dream daily dies.

a vase of 1990’s vintage stands
down in the mouth, porous, its skin
holds the patterns of the past,
sleazy newspapers read bulletins of the times horrible than ours;
in a pitcher, surrounds the life
of a broken lid, and no undersides.
thousands of kilos of polyethylene bags promises within,
an énouement sky I see over flyovers
gently sloping to our huts underneath
much the same as silt, grit, and gravels.

people where understand no people
think no more.
they couldn’t have but they’d skinned my cat for
their one-time meal and me, I ate my heart.

―Kartik Prajapat

Poetry Reading: Live Again, by Anika Anderson

Live Again, Anika Anderson

Alive but not living
Surviving but not thriving
Wearing masks, hiding identities
Controlled but not in control
Conforming to roles, titles and positions
Giving all but feeling empty
The meaning of me lost
A life summed
On that precipice of life, I awakened to a revelation
That the the key to me was found in my Creator
The Creator and His creation a relationship never fully explored
So I began seeking to know and understand
About my purpose and design in His master plan
What I discovered was peace, love , joy, trust and intimacy with Him
Most of all I discovered how to live again

Read Poem: The last words I ever spoke to my father, by Ross Vassilev

for Rossen V. Vassilev, Ph.D. 1952-2020

Tatko, are you hungry?

Are you thirsty?

Is the room too hot?

Is the room too cold?

Is there anything I can get you?

Do you remember all our walks in the park?

Which park was your favorite?

Do you remember all those summer days

we spent at the beach

listening to the waves

and looking at pretty girls?

Do you remember this photo of you and me

and Baba Snezha?

Do you remember the beach at Burgas?

Remember how we used to cook dinner every night

and then watched movies together?

Remember how we always forgot the bread till

it got all moldy?

Is there anything I can do for you now?

Are you hungry or thirsty?

Was I … a good son?

Did you really tell the nurse

that you’re seeing angels?

What do you keep pointing to in the corner?

Tatko, do you really see angels?

Read Poem: What is life?, by Vrinda Nair

An illusion
or an introspection of our deeds
We are puppets in someone’s hands
Starting with aught and
ending with griefs
Restless souls, brooding over past
Lost in the mayhem of snippets of life
To be believed in nurturing
but become wayfarers of thoughts
Crossing many paths, handed aid to several
That was the mission
but juncture fiddled in like an alibi
Approaching the end-
What do we do?
Nowise…!

Read Poem: FOREST COMPOSURE, by Marck Riggins

Wing’s bright song staid forest realm
Shrill, dripped notes from soft breeze staff
Commandeered ear’s thirsting helm
Had raised my sight to branches, aft

Sweet ribbon air, thus quivered joy
To penetrate ‘ere sonnance ran
Imbibed each drop creature employed
Where sun’s shy rays dared not fan

My eyes run by beauty’s reason
For reverie, embrace this wild
Among mute trees placid season
I stand alone, an entranced child

Through glades, new dressed in morning’s sash
Invades his song to heart defiled
No more to burn the rebel ash
Such uncaged heart bowed to his, mild

Read Poem: Breathe, by JoHill

I was born into a mess and although we protest changes has not come
So I think back to where this came from and as I began to ponder my mind is left to wonder if this disease will ever be healed
We sit in a nation of riches and power,
yet hour after hour I watch as the very people that brought this to be
beg and plead for justice, change, equality
from a land that was built on their backs
full of welps, slashes, and blood filled cracks, as it poured down to fertilize the soil that is enjoyed to this day
there must be a way
to turn back the hands of time of a mentality that remains till this very day
where our family structure is broken with psychological hurts that go unspoken by lips too swollen to speak to the lies and deceit that have survived throughout the years
Silenced as my cries fall on death ears
I can’t breathe!!!!
forgive me, because sometimes I wear my feelings on my sleeves and I’m sure my actions are sometimes hard to receive
so if I act like a uncaged animal in the streets remember that is what I was trained to believe as a man thinketh and such,
Because as a people we have endured so much in hopes of change,
only to be disappointed time and time again
held down and slowly suffocated by the hand of injustice
left injured, heart broken, and disgusted at the outcome
meanwhile, my brothers and sisters are out hung to die and as hard as I try to understand why… that question remains…and evil maintains to kill, steal, and destroy another day.
So there must be a better way
To simply just love

Read Poem: Depression, by Jade Wankhruea

Depression… Is like being in a dark room that you just can’t get out of no matter how hard you try.

No lights
No windows
No doors;
There’s nothing in it but you and dark emptiness
And it’s suffocating.

So cold,
So numb,
Yet it tingles at the same time
Like an electric current running through your body
Waking up motivated one day
And empty the next.

I’d rather die than be stuck in this deep darkness,
I’d rather die than be stuck in this never ending sadness that I call hell!

But if I did that…
Then it would win.

This disease that constantly puts you down,
Tells you you’re not good enough,
And makes the simple task of waking up every morning…
One of the hardest things to accomplish.

It would win…
The never ending battle with your own mind
The constant fight to keep pushing through all the pain-
when the only thing you really want to do is let it take over
It would all be for nothing.

I am not a quitter
This spell that my brain has cast over my body…
It will not be the end of me.

Every day,
The struggle will continue
But I will know that I am a fighter
And I won’t let it win.

Read Poem: giving thanks, by Dan Brook

over the centuries
indeed the millennia
too little thanks giving
too much thanks taking

I give thanks
to those who give thanks
to those who give care and comfort
to those who give themselves
not to those who take lives and things

I give thanks
to those who make and pursue peace
to those who help and heal
to those who make whole
not to those who practice violence

I give thanks
to those who teach and learn
to those who share and smile
to those who create
not to those who degrade and destroy

I give thanks
to those who build and rebuild
to those who care and construct
to those who make homes
not to those who dispossess and evict

I give thanks
to those who pause and protect
to those who serve and save
to those who give and sustain life
not to those who take it

I give thanks
to those who set free
to those who encourage and emancipate
to those who love and liberate
not to those who oppress and imprison

I give thanks
to those who joke
to those who smile
to those who laugh
not to those who scowl and scorn

I give thanks
to those who sing
to those who dance
to those who create art
not to those who silence and censor

I give thanks
to those who inspire
to those who uplift
to those who help out
not to those who crush down and suppress

I give thanks
perhaps too little thanks
to those who give thanks
to those who give themselves
grateful for them all

Dan Brook teaches sociology at San Jose State University.