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.

Emma Parker – Secret Teeth




In her work Emma explores the “Shadow Self”, the dark and hidden aspect of the human condition. By experimenting with different materials and reforming them though an intuitive process, she responds to emerging characters letting them form their own narrative. These characters tell the story of the misfit, the mischievous, the awkward and the strange.



Kyle – Poems


again with the rain, sexless
slashing dead skin to confess
i love you but
the sea’s love is harder
certainly bluer, its cooing depths
beyond measuring
we need a damn compass
if not a whole lighthouse
take your blue velvet gloves off
take your blue velvet gloves off until only the skin remains
the skin of your fingers bowing down to touch the sea
in this moment
making the sea tremble
the sea trembles for no one
in time nothing of this will be left
except the sea the sea’s blueness the sea’s inward trembling mouth kissing
and maybe this
and this
is never going to be good enough



ok fine
i took father’s knife
the big one
used for separating large slabs of meat
into smaller slabs of meat
and cut out little stars
in the tablecloth
it was me ok it happened are you
happy now

then i cut into the wood itself
dark and deep
sturdy family kitchen table
i’m useless
forgive me
have you ever thought about
the wood “itself”
the wood
i cut and cut and cut
until the flesh gave way
the flesh itself
glistening, i opened up
i’m right here why can’t you
see me i’m right

ps. 2
a flower grows inside a flower grows inside a…
like the old
saying goes

ps. 3
slept in his cold embrace
a long winter’s day
woke to the sound of fresh blood
kissing the threshold




Kyle is an engineer.  He doesn’t want to disclose his full name for fear of work-related repercussions regarding his poetry.

Jennifer MacBain- Erasure poems



time for a riddle

He repeat(s) pigs

says dogs

breasts disgust

at level real

a working wife

is a whore, a

shattering kick

a little less

each day

which is she?





heavy first-ness // her handlers // positioned her // a  stable // decorated                     long


Tuesday night // her sniveling // all her whiffed // a strong     ground game assault//who called

to play // fully              tipped



Erasures created from the article “Why Hillary Clinton Couldn’t Win Over Female Voters,” by Emily Jane Fox (published online, 11/10/16) Vanity Fair.


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and lives in the DC area. She is the author of two full length poetry collections. Recent work is up at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Sweet Tree Review, The Chiron Review, Sea Foam Magazine, Zombie Logic, and decomP. Visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/.

Saira Viola – Dirty Sermon


art by eNdO

Dirty Sermon


The night is hoarse with protest

Vomiting bodies:  North South East West

Love whispers reserved for the dead

But dick pics and sugared asses

continue to warm the middle classes

And clown vagina millionaires

spread their dicta in the air

Right or wrong

They throw arsenic lullabies

at the rebel’s song


Red carnage at dawn

And silence seizes the town

A half dead baby in foetal rest

spider violets bruise his chest

The Grim Reaper flew

back to  Washington

he kissed a pigeon in the gutter

and had dinner with Ned –

at the Emergency Food Bank

An American Eagle  clipped her wings

and for five whole days she heard

Gershwin sing.


Saira Viola pop scribe poet fiction ball buster song lyricist and creator of sonic scatterscript when not penning words for her scripted universe can be found under the flutter of a Red Admiral or playing astro tag with Jimi and Ali. On occasion has been found in psychtropic discourse with Rimbaud or helping in soup kitchens and dancing with subway kings.



Short statement on the “One More K” Campaign


Sir Durndal Durmps, Primary People Chief, Swordsupervisor of the Defending Against Enemies Group of Amrikka, and Trailboss of the Amrikka Fighting People published a statement to Amrikkans on December 25, 2016 about the Amrikkan future and his future government’s “One More K” campaign.  Riot Felice reprints his statement here:

Dear Amrikkans,

Dear Defending Against Enemies Group of Amrikkans,

Dear Amrikkan Fighting People,

We move toward a new year and leave behind the remarkkkable achievements of 2016 in the mirrors behind us.  Unlikkke other countries whose leaders only lookkk back with one mirror, Amrikka’s leaders lookkk into many mirrors to see the past.  It is because of these multiple mirrors that we kkknow 2017 will be a glorious addition to our Amrikkan history.

My father Lord Fredikkk Durmps left me with a yearning for more yearning and it is this boundless yearning that also makkkes Amrikka yearn ever onward into the future even if that future means going backkk to when Amrikka was great again.  Amrikka was once great again but it hasn’t been great again since the birth of the greatest evangelical leader on this day thousands of years ago: Jesus.  Who by the way would have a been a big fan of the One More K campaign.  And we have big plans to bring backkk that K to Amrikka.

Our “One More K” campaign is an effort to reach out to real Amrikkans to start a movement to bring backkk that K to makkke our great country again.  We used to have that K but it was takkken away by emancipators and suffragettes and immigrants.  Yes, those people who don’t likkke Amrikka.  The gays under their leader grabbed another K but we’ve started to reclaim it so we thinkkk we’re still two K’s strong.  And we’re going to bring backkk the K we lost.  I don’t want to live in a country called Amria, Amrika, or Amrikka for that matter.  We need all three of our K’s likkke we’ve never needed them before because something is going on in this country and we have to figure it out.

I also love blackkk people.  I’m a big fan of the blackkks.

Thankkk you,

Sir Durndal Durmps