Stephen Moran – Fiction


Mr Lyons was on his way out to buy the paper, at precisely 9.05 am, just like any other day, when he saw it. Someone had stubbed out a cigarette right on his doorstep. It hadn’t blown in, it was there with shreds of tobacco squashed out of it. Mr Lyons knew every inch of his front garden, every pebble, every crack in the mortar between slabs, every tiny weed that had the temerity to poke its head out. He was very sure there hadn’t been a cigarette butt there when he took in the mat the night before.

“Good morning,” he said to the postman, who was just heaving round the gate with some letters for him.

“Do you want them in your hand?”

“No, I’m going out. You don’t smoke do you?”

“No, I try not to.”

“Somebody has been smoking on my doorstep. Look.”

“Oh yes. Delivery?”


That’s when it came back to him. He thought he had smelled cigarette smoke last night, when he went to bed. He always slept with the window open and his bedroom was at the front of the house. He made a mental note to sweep the step when he got back from the newsagent’s.

Mr Lyons made a living repairing sewing machines from home. His routine was unchanging, up at 7:30, wash and dress, breakfast and Radio 4, then out to the newsagents to pick up the Observer to read at lunchtime. When he got back he would work through to nearly one o’clock and seldom think about anything but sewing machines. But today he was distracted, couldn’t concentrate. The stubbed-out cigarette was bothering him.

Who would do that? Why were they at his door? There had been no note. Ah, perhaps it was a mistake and whoever it was realised they had the wrong house. They were just so rude and thoughtless to put out a cigarette on his doorstep. It would have been bad enough if they had done it on the path but the step: it was aggressive. That was it. Maybe the smoker had in mind to do him some harm.

Living alone, Mr Lyons occasionally felt a bit vulnerable. He wasn’t all that old and he swam twice a week. He kept a lumpy great cudgel of a stick in the corner of a wardrobe and that was what he planned to defend himself with if it came to that. Of course it was useless against a gun but short of that, he reckoned he could hold his own in a fight. After lunch he went upstairs and took the cudgel out and lay it beside his bed.

He managed to put it all out of his mind, or rather his mind grew tired and bored with the puzzle and he completed servicing and reassembling a classic old machine. The anxiety he felt earlier had abated and he was fairly sure it must have been someone who had to approach to read the door number in the dark. Someone rude, and anti-social but nevertheless, not worth fretting over.

My Lyons bought himself fish and chips for dinner, though it always made him ill. He wanted cheering up. He had it with tea with Scotch in it and watched The One Show and Eastenders and the latest drama serial. After the ten o’clock news, he prepared to go to bed. This time he had an extra task, to check the doorstep for cigarette butts. He had swept it earlier and it was still clean. So he locked up and retired to try to read another bit of Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples. He had tried every night for several years but was still on the first chapter. At precisely 11 pm, he gave up trying to make his eyes focus, turned out the bedside lamp and rolled onto his side.

In front of him the curtains made artistic lines in monochrome, lit by the streetlight outside next door. He usually thought the same thought about painting the scene and all night scenes, shortly before his thoughts started to drift. But there it was again. The smell of cigarette smoke. Just like last night. He put his hand on the cudgel beside the bed and grasped it, then not without a degree of fear, eased himself up, trying not to make a sound. The blasted cudgel fell with a clank.

He had been planning to peep out the curtains, and told himself he still had to, but with the noise, someone might look up. Why was it worse if they looked up and saw him peeping? Never mind, it just was so much, much worse. To be seen. Seen to be afraid. But man up, he thought to himself. Mr Lyons, are you a man or a mouse? And to himself he answered, a mouse. But the mouse that he was still peeped out through the curtains.

Nothing. There was nobody there. He pulled the curtains open more and peered up and down the street in case someone had scarpered, ludicrous as it would seem. Nothing. Just the ghostly monochrome scene of empty cars parked under streetlamps. A car came by and turned at the next junction.

My Lyons didn’t sleep well after that. He dreamt he was in an exam but couldn’t even answer one question, so he left early but then got lost in a maze of empty corridors. A door led to a dark street and someone he couldn’t see in a doorway raised a lighted cigarette to his face. Only it wasn’t Harry Lime. He woke. He couldn’t remember who it was he’d seen.

In the morning there was no cigarette butt on the doorstep. He raised his eyebrows a little and turned to go back in. That’s when he noticed there was a spent match stuck in the letterbox.


Steve Moran lives in London, just about. He has published short stories and poems, and tried his hand a bit of light editing. He is married and has reproduced once. So he claims anyway, and you can fact-check this news at

Catfish McDaris – 5 poems

The Eagle Killer

I made a bald eagle die
once, after McDonald’s
I was in a glass
elevator in Chicago

My wife and daughter
were with me and they
almost passed out

Well dressed women
got on the elevator,
screamed and sprayed

Perfume, that pissed me
off, so I made wind every
three floors, when we got

To Michigan Avenue the
elevator opened and an eagle
happened to be flying over-

Head, it plummeted to the
ground temporarily stunned,
the women trampled it to death.


Van Gogh Blues

Thinking about Vincent’s madness
layering paint on canvas, thick
plaster colors, mountains, valleys.

An earthquake in Italy killed 100’s.
A one year old baby was hot in
Milwaukee, he tried to climb out

A window and the window slammed
down on his little neck, killing him.
A woman put her baby in the refrigerator

To cool down, she forgot she did it, her
man comes home three hours later, goes
to get a beer and finds their dead daughter.

An eleven-year-old girl was riding her
bike, the driver hit her dragging her for
three blocks and kept on going, drunk.

Vincent, you died at thirty-seven, you
are thought of as a freak that cut off his
ear, I see you in the starry night smiling.


Necropolis Ghost Dance

A buffalo cloud sky,
good for copperheads and
turtle ants, a coyote sun
dream, peyote perfume

A Cheeto bag with a 357
inside, robbing banks slick
Mexican bandito style
while Buddha and Confucius
plays banana split with Linda

Lovelace, mosquito’s fat as
grapes from blood they’d
gorged from fellow vampires,
like Saturn Devouring His Son
by old Francisco Jose de Goya.


Fried Catfish

Made a blind lady cry
just by walking by

No jail gonna hold
old slippery catfish

Your papa man ain’t
gonna laugh, he wanna

Cook me up, rolled in
corn meal and jalapenos

In a big cast iron skillet,
needing a big distraction

Jose got his red guitar and
played some Jeff Beck

Ramona fetched some ice
cold beer, I took a gulp

The freight train moaned,
we headed north for Pierre.



Spaniard sat on the dock smoking
a cig he’d rolled, he thought about
how expensive tobacco was now,
killing yourself ought to be cheaper

He waited on trucks to arrive, so
they could be unloaded and maybe
he could catch a catnap in the sun

Spaniard’s strongman Frank loomed,
putting him in the shadows, “You’ve
met my Uncle Big Nate, he’s starting
a roofing business on the Northside.
Can you think of any catchy names?”

“How about: Niggas With Big Ham-
mers? It will draw attention, both black
and white. You could draw some soul
brothers with big hammers for business
cards, stationary, t-shirts, and logos for
trucks. Nate will clean up big time.”

“You are one crazy motherfucker.”

“I know, but that’s why we’re amigos.”


Catfish McDaris has been in more magazines, chapbooks, and broadsides than a porcupine has quills. He’s from Albuquerque and Milwaukee. Currently he’s selling wigs in a dangerous neighborhood in Milwaukee.

NOW ACCEPTING FUR(foy and felice meet the unacknowledged legislators uptown)NITURE

let’s do it like we’re friends


we accept poetry, prose, essays, maps, patterns, recipes, reviews, warnings, parables, sketches, equations, menus, instructions, photographs, pictures, maxims, manifestos, distress calls, furniture, riddles, rhymes, rap, lists, lyrics, code, jokes, ingredients, music, humming, cartoons, interviews of real people, interviews of fake people, coupons, signals, labels, movies, biographies, tattoos, symbols, utterances, and silence.


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The end

big money.png

a message from the editor

some dayys my fingers grow enorrmously
super ginormouuss!! my everythingg grows!!
With imposssible feelingss!
My feelings way too big for the small stupidd keyybord!
So stupid. They let you do computer
If you’re good & take your meds but Gaaahrr!
it works reeelly bad
Not the fingers stupid the feelings! INSIDE!
Way too big!!see? im monster big dummy
Never does work becasue I can’t Hold it IN! i guesss
My Callussses!! My Lovess!! i want do diee foronce
from Too pain much! and always in transitions!
go here and there and not complain!
be big hero!to be strong and like a man-man!
but who ever helps me huh!
i want to smassh but no good.
beccuse I presss all the words! at the same time! like this see?
so Its no good poem in the end

Places to Hide a Book While Living Under an “alleged” Rapist’s Fascist Regime (#books, #rapist, #djt, #barbeque)


By Jeramya tha Profet

dedicated to Nina Byznazitina (who pees on Richard)

In the event that an uneducated, fascistic, immoral, repugnant “alleged” rapist (a.k.a the King of Pigs/the King of Piss) comes into power in your country, just remember that being in possession of a book that isn’t the Bible (specifically the New Testament), Mein Kampf, or something written by whoever the “alleged” rapist is could be dangerous.

The number one rule of being in possession of such books under the “alleged” rapist’s regime is to craft a book cover that has the word “Bible” (or “Koran” or some other religious storybook’s name depending on the country you’re in) written on it and use it to cover any book that you’re reading.

If you’re on the move then none of the “alleged” rapist’s bootlickers—even if they suspect that you think for yourself—will turn their attention away from the Nazional Enquirer shitrag they’re browsing to stop you.

However, the fake Bible book cover itself isn’t enough.  If you find yourself being followed because that thinking person’s gleam in your eye has given you away then you’ll need to find places to quickly hide your book where it can’t be found while you lay low until you can return to pick it up.  I’ve listed just a few of the places to hide a book while living under an “alleged” rapist’s fascist regime.  As you might have guessed, I can’t list them all because the bootlickers of the “alleged” rapist’s regime would also know where to look and the consequences to you and your book could be dire.  I’m revealing these five places because they are such good places to hide your books that the “alleged” rapist’s bootlickers wouldn’t find them anyway.

1. Fancy hair salon

One of my personal favorite places to hide a book is at a fancy hair salon underneath the magazines on the waiting room table.  A book resting on one of these tables would be “hiding in plain sight”.  I once laid down fully prone, my arms and legs stretched out, on one of the larger waiting room tables at one of the fancier hair salons on which I was covered by only a few beauty and sports magazines but no one even noticed me—a full grown human being—lying there.  I even sneezed once from all the hair flying around and nary a glance from those patrons of fancy haircuts.  So books especially blend in quite nicely on these tables and can go unnoticed for years.  The salon doesn’t have to be fancy but the fancier the salon the less observant the people in them are.  You may think it’s not the best place to hide a book but it’s my favorite place because a hair salon is like life in a container of focused activity but everyday conversation relative to the level of its fancy.  Yes it is.  Think about it.

fancy1Can you see where it’s hidden?

fancy2I’m also hiding among the magazines but Riot Felice has convinced me to not reveal exactly where I’m hiding for fear of revealing my identity.

2. Church

There will probably be very few bookstores left in an “alleged” rapist’s fascist regime so hiding your book in a bookstore probably won’t be an option.  You probably wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a bookstore anyway because the chances are good that you would probably be found dead later.  And I know you don’t want to be caught dead in a church but bookstores in the future will be a separate part of churches where they’ll sell bibles and other religious texts that are useful only to the church but that people will likely be forced to read or at least be forced to pretend to read as part of the church’s agreement with the “alleged” rapist’s regime (it’s happened before—#catholics, #germany, #nazis).  If you have to hide your book in a church make sure you take the fake Bible book cover off because there is a natural repulsion of most church people (most, not all) to a real book and they probably wouldn’t even see it.  There’s a theory that the most devout church people actually can’t see real books so that’s why they don’t read them.  Weird but true as far as theories go.

fancy3Most religious people can’t see it but it’s there.  Can you see it?

fancy4It’s been there the whole time!

3. Inside (or outside!) a barbeque grill on someone’s patio

Inside a barbeque grill on someone’s patio has a scale of danger levels other hiding places don’t have.  During the winter the danger level of the book being found is low.  But during the summer the danger level of the book being found is high.  There are other places connected to someone’s apartment or house to hide a book during the spring and summer and even fall and I recommend using those other places during those high danger level months but in case of an emergency and if the book absolutely has to be hidden because some bootlickers dressed in black followed by a band of dickish news media personalities (especially the morning ones like Morning Toe—ah what the fuck?!…all of them—who say they are just there to report the news instead of telling the truth) have forced their way into your private enclave, then a barbeque grill on someone’s patio isn’t the worst place.  Expert book-hiders even hide their books on the outside of a barbeque grill.

fancy5An expert book-hider makes sure you’ll never see it!

fancy6But voila!  The “alleged” rapist’s bootlickers will never see it!

4. On top of a ceiling fan

On top of a ceiling fan in a fan shop or wherever you are that might have a ceiling fan (best during cooler months) is one of the trickier places to hide a book because balance is of the utmost importance.  For inexperienced hiders the book must have both covers and be at least 200 pages long.  For new hiders, I recommend placing a never-opened book flat on the fan blade.  For the more experienced hiders the shape, size, and placement of the book shouldn’t matter.  I hid one book on a ceiling fan by placing it spine down with a book marker (which shifts the weight to make the book unbalanced) between pages 23 and 24 of Chapter 2.   I’ve heard of some hiders who don’t have a book marker (and don’t want to fold the edge of the page so as to not damage the book) leave their book open to where they had left off reading and come back weeks later to find the book in the exact same position as they left it so they could just discreetly scuttle up a ladder, grab the book, and continue reading where they left off.  The blade of the ceiling fan should be dusted first, however, so the hidden book doesn’t get dirty (unless it’s a dirty, nasty, juicy book already).  But most stores clean the blades on their ceiling fans so worries allayed.

fancy7Where is it?  Can’t see it?

fancy8Take a closer look!

5. Pinned to the bulletin board of a city coffee shop

Almost everyone I know likes to drink coffee so you might think that a coffee shop would be too busy a place to hide a book but no.  If some other writer showed up at a coffee shop or was kidnapped for some reason to be killed later after some secret memos were found that implicated not only you but most of your family members then where would be a better place?  Also the chances are pretty high that you might already be at a coffee shop in the city and if you can’t hurry outside to hide the book in a newspaper vending machine* and/or the coffee shop doesn’t have a ceiling fan (which most don’t) then you’ll need to think quickly.  Just make sure that when you go to a coffee shop that you also carry a sturdy hammer and a couple of big nails you can use to nail your book to the coffee shop’s bulletin board.  Make sure you do it when no one is looking.

fancy9The book hidden on an empty coffee shop bulletin board.  You’ll see it if you know where to look.

fancy10Ta-da!  It’s right there.  But don’t let those bootlickers know.

There are other places to hide your book and there are different reasons for hiding books in different places which is an entirely different branch of book-hiding studies that we haven’t delved into but as you are forced to hide your books in different places you’ll begin to understand the nuances of those reasons and become an expert yourself.  Where are you Felice?!

*A newspaper vending machine is a great place to hide multiple books.  Send us a message if you want the details.




a good quote about quoting

“Be careful–with quotations, you can damn anything.”

– André Malraux



Note: Felice would often write quotations on napkins and leave them behind when she left: on coffee tables, the seat on a Ferris wheel, the inside pocket of a stranger’s overcoat, behind an ancient artifact in the natural history museum where we once played ping-pong until dawn.

a good quote

“The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen … Perhaps it can’t be done without the poet, but it certainly can’t be done without the people. The poet and the people get on generally very badly, and yet they need each other. The poet knows it sooner than the people do. The people usually know it after the poet is dead; but that’s all right. The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.”

-James Baldwin

Juliet Cook – Poems


Dark Purple Spread Shot

The plums darken,
face the wall.

He makes you feel like nothing
you do is important.
Instead you should be taking sexy photos
of yourself for him,
let him inspect for more imperfections.

In his grading scale, you have nothing
better to do than stand, sit, lay, spread
and then snap.




When my computer crashed, I thought I had lost so many details of myself
or at least seven years worth of me
stored on the computer he had bought me
and let me keep when our relationship died.

When my hard drive was restored, I found out I hadn’t lost
his rampant collection of hardcore porn videos
including woman after woman sucking dog dick.

We’re not in physical contact anymore.
His password had been forgotten for years.
The newly restored disk was all mine.

So why didn’t I just quickly delete it,
instead of spending hours clicking
scene after scene of naked, moaning females
letting dog dick drip down their lips, whole loads
of cameras flashing in the background.

Maybe our relationship wouldn’t have lasted unless
I started sucking dog dick in front of him
and didn’t want him to pay
and didn’t want him to work
and didn’t tell anyone else
about all the dog shit in our closet.




It’s easy to write about how tough you are
even if you are not. Even if you’re more
like a sob story inside a split
sapling, dripping down

and down
and farther down

still feeling young, but
getting older and wondering when

does the cervix drop down lower
as a body ages? Will it fall
out of the corpse into the casket?

What if you’re not buried into anything?



Root Rot

My clavicles are turning
into grim reapers inside me.
They want to pierce their way through
my own dying skin.

Sometimes I can’t ascertain my taste
buds and why they want
to rip out my seedy tongue.
Replace it with acidic marmalade vomit.

My whole body will be engulfed
by bitter oranges, rotting oleander
that still drips, an ongoing cataclysm of poison
flower bed abortion.



Dancing By Myself

If you don’t like my dance moves, I don’t give a fuck.
I don’t like the gym, I don’t like aerobics and
my main exercise routine at night involves
dancing by myself to loud music
that most people don’t like, visualizing myself
as a bizarre burlesque dancer spewing blood
out of my panties and into the invisible crowd.
Invisible or not, I’m invincible and bloody.

I can stand on an invisible stage reading one of my poems
and then there’s a guy on each side of me and when
I rip off my shirt and count 1, 2, 3 in between poems,
they each pierce a nipple so that blood drips down
while I read my next bloody poem and who cares
if the audience doesn’t want to see my real blood
dripping out of my mouth.  I’m dancing by myself
and nobody inside my head ever wants to leave.



Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at


Abhimanyu Kumar Singh – Poems



Down and Out in Paris

The street corners of Paris are full of Syrian refugees. Metro stations too. Sleeping in the cold. With children in tow. It undercuts the haughty imperial grandeur. It undercuts the long lines in front of the Louvre and the Grand Palais hosting an exhibition of Mexican art. It undercuts the knowledge contained in obscure books in the numerous book shops. It undercuts the amply available food in the restaurants, the year-end revelry, the immaculately dressed citizenry. The golden eagles and lions watching over the pedestrians and speeding automobiles-guarding the bridges dotting the Seine-like a necklace folded over many a times. It undercuts the Great Men featured in the Pantheon lecturing the city in a quiet monotone about liberty, equality and fraternity, the erstwhile Parliamentarians and theoreticians of democracy watching with disdain the hoi polloi pass by. The celebrated expensive deaths of rock stars and bohemian writers. It undercuts the very raison d’être of a modern city still trapped in a nostalgia for colonial power past. For when the heart rots of vengeance, all other organs start to decay.



Being Human

The nicest
least cynical
most noble
people that I know in this world
are the cycle-rickshaw pullers who live
near my house – some of them sleep
in the rickshaws at nights, especially
during summers- next to the ghura
behind which lies the booze black market, famous in entire South Delhi.
There is Bikram, the ‘alpha male’,
Prone to being drunk 24/7 and picking up a fight and who was for a while a henchman for the Anna, local alcohol bootlegger, running a betting ring on the side.
Noor, who lives with his family said they had packed Bikram off
To his home in MP for the same reason
-‘else he may end up dead anytime’
Noor could not pay the rent in the month of Eid as his stubborn son
Insisted on buying an expensive pair of trousers as his festival gift but it is fine
There is Pawan, who has a sob story ready every time I take his rickshaw.
I have learnt to ignore them when I have nothing to give. His left eye is half-closed for the last few days, an insect bit him- he is taking eye drops and medicines, he said. He keeps regretting not taking up a job offered to him years ago which would have helped him avoid this dreary existence he is forced into today.
Then there is the guy with one bad leg* – gangrene I guess; every once in a while someone calls an ambulance for him and two days later, he is back again, sleeping under the tree, wrapped in his dirty blanket like the disgruntled Delhi moon under a layer of smog, gesturing with his hand near his mouth when he sees people pass by.
Raja’s foot was injured too but he has recovered and is now back to plying his trade, his smile as sweet as ever; he is a bit of a rogue and he knows I know it and he does not not try his tricks with me anymore.
When the dismay becomes too much
To bear sometimes, I chat up with them and I feel alright, convinced
That there are still people who know what it is like to be simply
A human being.

*he died on the day this poem was written.



Amongst the Ruins

The heart is a city
torn down after a war.
the old landmarks
have been reduced
to ash and cinder.
the ancient monuments
have shaken and crumbled,their
epicentres moved irrevocably.
The fortress of fate
Is in shambles; an existence beyond
Recorded history: uncharted territory
With no map-making possible
The empty street is a palimpsest
Of scrubbed out desires.
I stagger and stumble
moving amongst the ruins
like a bar of slick soap
on a wet torso.
nothing makes sense.
makes sense.



Milan and the Sea

Today I took my son
To the beach at Thalassery.
Before making it near the sea
I crossed a couple of men
Packing freshly caught fish in chunks of ice – I asked one if he was with the Party- but he said no, a little startled at
My question and somewhat disdainfully, ignoring the hammer and
Sickle flag hovering on a pole
Behind him like one ignores a gatecrasher at a wedding reception.
The air smelt of salt, fish and piss.
The sea was a beast, wounded but not
Hurt irredeemably. It had the sun caught between its teeth, bleeding slightly over the waters. It whispered to me
That if lived with enough conviction, even a lie turns into a truth.
Milan,daunted by the awesome spectacle, clung to Aletta and started to nap- I was reminded of another poem I had written about the sea many years ago which I sent to several fancy literary journals but they all rejected it.
I felt like me my son too must have felt immortal
Before the sea, like all men do but
Too small to contain the feeling he chose to sublimate it in sleep.
(Maybe if I had written about feeling mortal instead of immortal in that poem it would have had a better chance at publication for that would have pleased the editors with its humility. But I do not do humility. Just like the sea.)



Metro to Chawri Bazar

Every time the metro train
Reaches Chawri Bazar
I feel a sort of home-
The three storied exit
That made you dizzy
Even before you came out
Of the station,
Like a mole out of a burrow
The cramped road –
Choked like the arteries running
Through a big man’s heart
with daily wagers pulling their rickshaws, carts what have you
Loaded with useful but dull goods –
Which we would walk down
Every other day
Looking for our angry fix
In the Bangladeshi slums.
Shared degradation can sometimes cement
a friendship
better than everything else.



The Exclamation Mark

the exclamation mark is the underdog of literature. its flamboyance is suspected by serious types. its earnest nature is considered ‘too personal’ /’confessional’/not ‘universal’ enough. it makes everyone uncomfortable. its innocence is looked down upon by experience. caught in this Blakean paradox, it rues its very being and fidgets endlessly into the moonless night. it tries to upset the status-quo with little success. it befriends teenagers and eternal adolescents and enhances the excitement of their communication. it stays away from conferences and seminars where bearded intellectuals speak of James Joyce. it peeks through the heavy doors of academies. it finds itself allowed in jejune political pamphlets sometimes. it flatters some poets who let it in their verse occasionally. and so on and so forth.



From One Day to Another

i stumble from one day to
another like a trapeze artist
quite certain i will land on my feet
from all the practice
but always slightly unsure still
(tempting fate is the most fun
thing to do)
god gave me a face
a ear to hear
in my youth, I read the Russians as well-
which is why on some days
I feel just fine.



Fuck-off blues

Many came to colonise my mind/men,women,beasts,activists/literary editors/publishers/poets/distant relatives/friends of friends/poetry lovers/professors/ but I could see their love was a knife that cut both ways/the hatred in their heart had left them incapable to realise/that the sky above their heads was a tattered canopy/ that any child could see/ I met them in corridors of hospitals and ministries/ protest sites,police stations and city squares/ Film festivals and poetry readings/ they told me everything that was noble about them/the wind showed me their dirty underwear/ they seemed to resent my resistance/to join their side in a war they deemed righteous / I said I do not care for your diseased conscience/the earth is my friend and the river and the mountains/ what use have I of your patronage/ not one of your dictums shades me from the sun/not one of your strictures cares for my pain/there is no way we could be friends/ for the tongue in which you speak/ is a tongue I have discarded/for a silence lighter than the stars.



Speaking in euphemisms

You spoke in euphemisms so often
I forgot the timbre of your actual voice
Like the bark of an ancient tree
Carved into names of lovers all over.
An excess of beauty too
Can get on one’s nerves sometimes.
(All men violate.
Women preserve all that is worth preserving.)
Was Ginsberg in cahoots with the CIA himself?
Can I trust anybody except my wife?
I have honed my skills as a devourer of storms
under the best
but still, sometimes, after the act,
My head reels and my body shakes.
Words are the balm I apply
To heal my throbbing forehead
As I convulse into atoms
breaking and remaking the universe
In my own image – I forgive myself.
To hell with your poesy!
What do they of beauty know
Who shudder at the ugly?
I don’t want to go to places.
I want to stay here and tiptoe around
A coloured glass bottle
all day in which I have transferred the latest storm
I harvested,
Like a little genie. It asks me to name
No wishes.
At nights, it turns into a
firefly and illuminates
dark corners of my room.




Abhimanyu Kumar is a Delhi based journalist who occasionally dabbles in poetry.