31 August 2010

Sara Basrai

Stephen Jarrell Williams

Sara Basrai


Street Baby

I’m born and I’m born


Mother can’t care
4 me
Sniffing yellow glue
Am born in a shack
By a dump
Am growing up
Aged 2
Working on the dump
Breathing in bad air
Kicked by dump's
Making friends

Growing up
Police hate
Stealing and running
Man is grabbing

Train to
Train to America
Hanging on the roof
Digging with nails
Through tunnels
Lowering head
heat of the day
Holding on
holding on
Kid overboard
Killed on the rail

In America,
Walking through the desert

Back Home

On the dump
Working on the
Sniffing yellow
Having a

I’m born and
I’m born
Mother can’t
care 4



Sara Basrai is a UK citizen who lives in NYC with her husband and two young children. She used to teach in London schools. She grew up collecting money for Amnesty International with her mother. Her writing appears in 34th Parallel, Outwardlink.net, the Cloud anthology. Her poetry will appear in Grey Sparrow Press and Nefarious Ballerina.

(author retains copyright)

Stephen Jarrell Williams


The Pelican

Near sunset,
sapphire sea streaked with black ooze.

On shore the pelican sits
covered in oil,
eyes staring, unseeing.

An old man standing above it,
poking the pelican with a sharp stick.
“What’s wrong you ugly bird?
The world got you down?”

He snickers,
the bird still breathing.
“Should I put you out of your misery?”
He pushes the stick into the pelican’s back.

The bird flinches, too weak for escape,
its wings closed, coated in sticky goo.

“Yeah, you’re close to dead,” says the old man.
“I’ll be like you in a few years,
lying in my room, gurgling, all alone…”

He pulls the stick away, blood mixing with oil,
the pelican still alive…

“You’re a tough old bird like me.”
The old man tightens his jaw, “Damn world.
I hate it here.”

He shakes his head, takes off his coat,
wraps it around the pelican,
takes it home to clean and nurse it back to life.

Stephen Jarrell Williams has been called "The Poet of Doom," "A Voice in the Wilderness," and "A Minstrel for Love." He was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His parents are native Texans. He has lived most of his life in California.

(author retains copyright)

17 July 2010

Kristin LaTour

Kristin LaTour


The Kaytn Forest Massacre


Shots fired
to the lower rear of the head
a clean hole from a pistol
one hole for entering
another for exiting
were not enough

bodies placed side by side
officer's woolen winter coats
hats placed on their heads
covered in soil
freezing hard over winter
holding them still and grouped
a massive embrace


disinterred by Germans
Polish faces still covered in white
skin, eye lids still closed
coats keeping them covered
even though warmth receeded

black and white pictures
removed from coats' pockets
held up before a movie camera
blonde and brunette ladies
white skin, curled hair
chubby babies
in bathubs, against chests, on chairs
smiling and toothless

doctors saying they had been buried for weeks
in this forest
not at the front line
or in camps, eating stale bread, drinking bad coffee

women saw their own faces
on screens in movie theaters
and probably collapsed
or stared unbelieving


after first blessing and reburial
softening into food for worms and trees
shading forest floor in Russia
the ground turning to mud, promising spring
then fall, covered in leaves,
freezing again, thawing,
grass growing over large mounds
forest swallowing what it needs


years later, to be uncovered again
by Russians this time
now lacking flesh, just flaps
black and white and grey
falling away from white skulls
showing holes again
entering and exiting
doctors trying to cleanse history
with a report on white paper about dirty bodies
now mismatched
from their families
and their lives far passed by


second blessing and third burial
left now to disintegrate into soil
beyond being nutrients
silent coming
and going of nature's cycles

decades pass
the forest breathes
freezes, thaws
the animals pass over
there are no headstones
bodies are beyond caring

when truth is unearthed
the blamed are as dead as the blameless

I'm a poet living outside of Chicago in Aurora, IL. I teach at Joliet Jr. College, and am active in Chicago's poetry circles, especially by performing at open mics. I have two chapbooks, Red Beaver Lake, Minnesota published by Pudding house Press, and Blood published by Naked Mannequin press. My work has appeared in After Hours, Pearl, and online at LaFovea.org and New Verse News.

(author retains copyright)

03 July 2010

T. L. Cooper

Diane Elayne Dees

T. L. Cooper


Foreign Language

The words you speak
I do not understand
They sound like a song
But could mean anything
Please keep talking

All around me
The words continue
A fleeting sense of comprehension
Am I right?

In any language
Laughter sounds the same
Tears communicate clear emotions
Love flows between words
Anger bleeds through
Words still unknown

Is communication beginning?
We of two different languages
Finding a way
To reach one another
To connect
To understand each other
To bridge the gap
Between individuals
Between cultures
Between peoples
Between countries

Even to change the world
In a small way
So please keep speaking
I’ll continue to listen
Maybe someone else will as well

T. L. Cooper grew up in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Corrections and Juvenile Services and a minor in Psychology. Her short story, Fortress, won second prize in the Professional Division of Idaho Magazine’s 2005 Fiction Writing contest. Her articles, essays, short stories and poetry have appeared in magazines, books, and online. Her essay, Common Values, won first prize in the 5th Annual Be the Star You Are! Essay Contest. She contributed an essay, The Gift of You, to Be the Star You Are! for Teens. She is the author of the novel, All She Ever Wanted. Currently, she and her husband live in Albany, Oregon.

(author retains copyright)

Diane Elayne Dees



Crack of brown pelican eggs
Smash of chicks under oily boots
Crush of tern nests beneath giant tires
Sounds of BP cleanup

Splash of Corexit into the Gulf
Whoosh of oil spouting from dolphins
Rustle of marsh grass as dying birds flee
Sounds of BP cleanup

Curses of workers still waiting for pay
Gasps of crew members with no respirators
Unheard cries of widows and children
Sounds of BP cleanup

Diane Elayne Dees lives in Louisiana. Her poems of protest have appeared in Out of Line, HazMat Review, Mobius, The New Verse News, Poetry SuperHighway, and several other publications.

(author retains copyright)