Poetry and Prose

Indian Navy veteran Dilip Mohapatra reflects on life in five subtle, but often highly charged, poems that are at once lyric and ethereal in purpose and aura. They celebrate The Deity and sing a note for the hapless: "But the indelible furrow / that you leave behind / by the tail end of the cross / which you drag to your crucifixion / is a scar that never heals / and incessantly oozes / your sweat and blood / till eternity."

Ishmael Annobil's latest poem inspired by the charred remains of the Pompeii. Here he speculates on the possibility of love between a prostitute and her client at the final hour. The overarching purpose of this lament is to re-sensitise modern human to tragedies old and new, and to reinstall the noble tradition of mourning and raising the keen for our ancestors.

Prodigious Poet Lindsey Hall presents a series of poems that are at once lyric and rarefied: "Home goes on without you / And the place you've stumbled into anew / Does not even shrug its shoulders / To acknowledge your presence. / You stop existing at home / And abroad / You are left / To face your insignificance / No more important to anyone / Than the discarded coffee cup / Full of spit and lipstick stains..."

Lindsey Hall's important, neo-classical poem: "Iocaste sighs in her last breaths of life as she’s done through all time./ Chamber on high in the pale Grecian sky looks upon the demise / of the queen of all Thebes as she ties to a beam her fate, final crime / rope hanging slack ‘til tis called to its task of swinging Iocaste to sleep."

Anita Keymatlian is a modern beat poet, naturally influenced by her surroundings: the British Inner City, Hop-Pop, the pains and triumphs of the individual in an ever challenging and alienating cycle. "The reason I write so passionately about it all / The reason I'm telling you about this particular fall / Its coz I see it everyday, everyday in front of me / I see it in their eyes and I see what they should be..."

Chapter One of Ishmael Fiifi Annobil's novella, Crispus Attucks, about a West African stevedore who stowed away to the USA many years ago. He has just finished his 50-year contract as a painter of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the past has caught up with him - he is missing his home: "But Crispus was too intense a dreamer to give up on America just because of the doings of the other half, for that was the intended outcome of all the lynching and mockery that had gone on. He was no fool to fall for that trick."

Chapter Two of Ishmael Fiifi Annobil's novella, Crispus Attucks, about a West African stevedore who stowed away to the USA many years ago. He has just finished his 50-year contract as a painter of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the past has caught up with him - he is missing his home: "But Crispus was too intense a dreamer to give up on America just because of the doings of the other half, for that was the intended outcome of all the lynching and mockery that had gone on. He was no fool to fall for that trick."

Two movements from Ishmael Annobil's long poem for the Homeless, Miserere. Here he contrasts dire nostalgia (and the foolish myth of fate) with deliverance: "You may not remember the storm / Said to have rushed into the birth-room / To cross itself at your feet as though / You bore a fake warrant to feint the world..."

An elegiac poem by Ishmael Annobil for the more sensitive members of  the expatriate African/Carribean community, who are pushed into mental illness by alienation: "If we linger just slightly longer on him / (or if he draws out a wallet) / He will emerge triumphantly / From the depths of his patchwork clothes, / And the grip of the giant spider surrounding his all / Like dire reminiscence."

Sean Charles explores parallel universes with his first story for Chiaroscuro - a particularly well-observed and gentle piece of prose, balancing the poignancy of science and the suprarational: “The Space Exploration Commission has authorised the release of the following information. The existence of life elsewhere in the Universe has now been confirmed. We are not alone. More details follow when we have them, stay tuned. And now, some advertisements from our sponsors.”

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