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Wise Words with Bruce Wise


          by “Clear Dew” Ibuse

It comes—the cherry-blossom front, at th’ end of March
in Tokyo and Kyoto. The blossomings,
hanami, flower viewing, at the river’s marge,
alerts one to th’ awareness o’ th’ pathos o’ things.
Blossoms of purest white, tinged with the palest pink,
the Prunus yedoensis flower blooms, and flings
its petals to the air before leaves reach their brink,
and fall within a week; it is called Sakura,
Sakura by the Japanese, whose scent they drink.
Like billowing willowy clouds all occurring
en masse, across the heavenly azure they arch,
enduring even if only ephemeral…ly…

“Clear Dew” Ibuse is a poet of Japan. Mono no aware, the pathos of things, is similar to Vergil’s lacrimae rerum, the tears of things, found in Book 1 of the Aeneid. One of Ibuse’s favourite “folk” songs is Sakura, Sakura, which was actually an urban song of the Edo period (1603-1867).


          by Walibee Scrude

With all my heart, I love Australia; I can’t help myself,
a golden, sprawling mass, lined with a continental shelf.
I love its cities on its rim; it’s where I long to loll.
I love its flora, fauna, but the people most of all:
the swimmers, surfers, cyclists and soccer players too,
retail sales workers, carers of the old and new,
school teachers, electricians, nurses, managers and clerks,
accountants, medical providers, truckers, and the works.
Australia is an arid land between two oceans set,
a brilliant coloured opal, time won’t easily forget.


The Australian Gamer
          by Walibee Scrude

He had a man cave in his house that he loved to be in.
He loved to play computer games. He really loved to win.
He lay upon his gray couch with controller in his hands
manipulating his device with steady, thumbed commands.
His short cropped head, with neat trimmed beard, was focused on the screen;
he stretched his legs out from behind, o, gripped by the machine.
He rested on his elbows, mesmerized by figures seen.
His concentration was pronounced. He pounced upon each scene.
O, there he was, and long would be, within pale light-green walls,
there playing with his game’s device, as serious as balls.

Walibee Scrude is a poet of Australia. With all the problems in the World, is it any wonder how so many flee to relaxing pursuits?


          by Sri Wele Cebuda

On Wednesday, a live satellite in space had been shot down
from Earth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced.
The operation Mission Shakti gave to India
fourth place in space, aft China, Russia, and the USA.
The target, in low orbit, had been sent a month before,
though there was no announcement then to know what it was for,
a lower orbit to ensure that all of the debris
that’s generated will decay and fall to Earth in weeks.
Pursuit of Asat weaponry gave Modi space and time
to leave behind mundane concerns by pointing to the sky.

Sri Wele Cebuda is a poet of India. Shakti derives from the Sanskrit root shak, divine feminine might. So Shakti is the mother goddess, the source of all, the universal principle of energy. The worship of Shakti is a central objective of Tantra Yoga. Shakti-man, the Universal father was called Brahman in the Upanishads, and Shiva in the Tantric tradition. China did its first Asat (Antisatellite) Test in 2007, Russia and the USA in the 1980s.


A Pointing Man, Some Flowers, and a Fence
          by Waseel Budecir

I saw some guy was standing by a tan, plank, wooden fence,
and he was pointing toward some flowers. He was so instense.
I wondered what those lovely, large and climbing flowers were.
I also wondered what it was that he was doing there.
But I had to demur; for I knew neither. Just the same,
I wished I did; for there was nothing lame about his aim.
I gazed upon that backyard scene for just the briefest time;
yet there was something grand about it, something so sublime.
Though it was just a pointing man, some flowers and a fence,
I’d stumbled on to something rich and strange, and likewise, dense.

Waseel Budecir is a poet of South Asia, particularly Pakistan and Western India. At times, just the simplest garden scene, strikes him as unbelievably gorgeous.


          The Man Back From Iraq
          by War di Belecuse
          “the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering my tongues explosives for the           rifling I have inside of me.”
              —Brian Turner, Here, Bullet

He stands against the rough, hard, brown, bark of a tree
far from the hills of Bosnia and dry Iraq,
bathed in a brilliant solar-white supremacy
beneath wide California skies. He has come back.
The eyes are not the same. [Are they in anyone?]
They peer in somber umbrage o’er a dark blue-black
elastic top that seems a plastic sack. The sun
alone reigns here supreme above the tree-filled hills
that move from green to blue to the horizon. He
is facing us with graying sideburns and war’s ills.
The edges of his mouth go down to misery;
but there beneath his cropped, brown hair is more and still.

War di Belecuse is a poet of war. Two Americans recently died in Afghanistan, SFC Will Lindsay and SPC Joseph Collette.


Senegalese Hip-hop
              by Lebu Seric Wade

In Senegal, the beats and rhymes of hip-hop songs have come
to politics, where each side has a rapper with a drum.
Though some say it is cynical to tap the younger vote
with hip-hop slogans, simple log-ins, and newsworthy notes,
the politicians use such songs to charge their voters up
and shake the status quo with rhythms that the parties push.
Thiaf, a Keur Gui rapper who co-founded Y’En a Marre,
says hip-hop helps to make his country’s people more aware.
Enough they said in 2012 to Wade’s long decade rule;
and after mbalakh, hip-hop keeps up with its music pool.

Lebu Seric Wade is a poet of West Africa. Though French is the official language of Senegal, in Dakar, Wolof is the lingua franca, and the language of hip-hop. Y’En a Marre means Enough.


The Russian, Raw Recruits
              by Alecsei Burdew

They stood, all in a line, one reading letters in
a row, another being weighed upon a scale,
occasionally an unemployed veteran,
one’s knee was tapped, one coughed out at a finger nail;
one got a shot, a hypodermic needle’s prick.
This was a healthy lot; not one managed to fail.
The doc signed off on all, pro forma, nice and quick.
They moved along from station x on to the next
without a big to-do, the operation slick;
and everything was done according to the text.
The whole thing couldn’t have gone any better than
if it had been a magic show perfectly hexed.

Alecsei Burdew is a poet of Russia. Two Russian military planes have landed near Caracas, with troops (about a hundred) and equipment (over 30 tonnes).


Bard in the Garden
          by Bard Eucewelis
          “Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take,
              towards the
          door we never opened, into the rose garden.”
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

A man was sitting on a seat; he was a sunlit bard.
He looked like he was quite content, although his seat was hard.
He wore loose sandals on his feet; he seemed to be relaxed.
It seemed as if he were at peace, quite pleased, in fact, untaxed.
He seemed to be quite focused on a nearby growing plant,
a beautiful, hot-house variety, up at a slant.
Absorbed upon the gorgeous plant, and at one with the sky,
he loved the climbing shrubbery that rose before his eyes.
He was excited to be there, to be so high on life.
It was one of those few times he was glad to be alive.

Bard Eucewelis is a poet of Britain, but particularly of Wales.


District E
          by Eric Awesud Ble

It always was at night when people simply disappeared.
Names were removed from registers; such memories were seared.
The record of what one had done was wiped out and denied.
One-time existence was forgotten, thoroughly applied.
One was abolished, hence annihilated from the rolls.
The word they used was ‘vaporized’, policed by all the trolls.
This was the Party’s way of dealing with subversive types:
to make them disappear, and then with dedicated swipes,
remove them altogether, place their names in District E,
Elimination for forever and from history.

Eric Awesud Ble is a poet of Orwellian nightmares.


The Fallen Man
          by Raúl de Cwesibe

I saw him falling in a stairwell, flat against his ass.
He held himself upon the railing, with both hands he grasped.
In black boots and black pants, his skin a shiny copper brown,
he tried to keep himself afloat, from further falling down.
He was a pile of frustration on those light gray steps.
Next to the drab and light green walls, one saw that he was spent.
What hope was there for him—that guy? Would he get out of there?
His eyes were dark, his chin was stark, his skin went everywhere.
I wished that I could pull him up, but such was not to be;
for if I dared to help him out, his weight would pull
d(r)own me…

Raúl de Cwesibe is a poet who studied Spanish for five years in secondary school and his first year in college. When he was a first year student in college, in a cement stairwell, one day he started wheezing, as if in a panic mode attack. He couldn’t breathe in breaths and rushed to his dorm room, lay flat on the floor, and eventually his regular breathing returned. He had one more similar event that year; and then they all went away.


The Artist at His Ease-l—the French Photographer
          by Cawb Edius Reel

He stood behind his tripod in the middle of the day,
beside the open window in the shadows of the bay.
Black hair, black tats upon his back, but beautiful the ease;
outside the bright white light of sunrise sunray’s sunny seize.
He held his cam’ra closely, bending down his head to see;
he clicked the picture in the bare room, o, so thoughtfully.
He was an artist at his work, and did it carefully.
He got the beauty of the scene, and caught it perfectly.
He longed to get a good shot of the buildings and the trees,
and so he got them all—the structures, limbs, and lovely leaves.

Cawb Edius Reel is a poet of film and photography. He remembers vividly, when he was at the Vatican, looking at the Sistine Chapel, and the picture police were crying out, “No Fotos, No Fotos,” in their thick Italian accents.


On This Date, March 26, 2019
          by Aedile Cwerbus

Though one may wonder, one can’t know, no. What will be, will be.
We are not Babylonians, and babies cannot see.
Don’t tempt the numbers, it is better to live patiently.
Praise Jupiter we made this winter. Now face satient spring.
One day Tyrrhenia will cease its sea spray at the rocks,
though still it wrestles through the seasons, wisdom, wine and walks.
It’s time to gather life’s brief space for later, richer fruit.
Enjoy the graceful pacing and appreciate the loot.
So come what may, o, seize the day, none knows tomorrow’s fate,
as we observe the flying ages passing on this date.

Aedile Cwerbus is a poet of ancient Rome. This poem derives from Horace (65 BC – 8 BC)


Henri Cartan
          by Euclidrew Base

Henri Cartan brought function theory to math’s centre in
the middle 1900s with his synthesizing spin.
He also worked on sheaves and algebraic theory too,
topology, potential, and his homologic view.
With Weill, Dieudonné, Possel, Desartes, and Chevalley,
he helped launch Bourbaki, a mathematical cafe.
Known for his proofs, which were meticulous, precise and neat;
he liked things to be perfect, never sketchy, but complete.
In homologica algebra, he lit the way with grace,
applying algebra’s techniques to topologic space.

Euclidrew Base is a poet of mathematics. Early members of Bourbaki included Henri Cartan (1904-2008), André Weil (1906-1998), Jean Dieudonné (1906-1992), René de Possel (1905-1974), Jean Delsartes (1903-1968), and Claude Chevalley (1909-1984).


On Winning Pulitzers
          by Caud Sewer Bile

Each won a Pulitzer, the WaPo and the New York Times,
for top reporting on collusion in these troubled climes;
they focused on the special counsel’s sifting of the facts,
and demonstrated standards in their journalistic acts.
The WaPo and the New York Times showed how great writers write,
and they received their just awards, reporting truth with bite;
by covering collusion Trump had with the Russian mob,
they proved that they had done their duty, they had done their jobs.
The WaPo and the New York Times, each won a Pulitzer,
in 2018, armed with propaganda howlitzers.

Caud Sewer Bile is a poet of the DC Swamp.


          by Cal Wes Ubideer

Ten-thousands came to
view vast floral patches of
rain-fed orange blooms
on warm canyon hillside walls,
the poppy apocalypse.

Cal Wes Ubideer is a poet of California. There were so many viewers near Lake Elsinore, officials had to close roads and trails to Walker Canyon.


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Bamboozled No More! Only If


The gatekeepers guarding the door
Between hell and earth,
Will always try to brush you off,
Like you were dust that settled
On the furniture.

No one was sure who was in charge
Of the gatekeepers.
Neither god nor devil cared
As long the door held both worlds in place.

Because the gatekeepers were the ones
Who could guide the spirit to and or from
As quickly as breath could displace thoughts.
Or their words could become the stones
That weighted and bound history in place.
Their words could awaken a dreamer
But only if…


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.


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It’s All One Thing #278: Attack of the Zombies


Another Why I Hate cars Poem

The Living Dead was always just a voodoo doll
From some obscure island in the Caribbean Sea
Until some up and coming filmed The Night of
The Living Dead just down the Pennsylvania
Turn Pike when I lived in Fayette County, Pa.

Even this youthful brush with mindless threat
Failed to alert me to the strange virulent virus
Whose symptom had somehow just emerged
So close to the State College system I found
With vets like me in school on the G.I. bill

Since then Vietnam vets were still all suspect
Ready to go off at the sound of a loud backfire
Or the churn of helicopter blades that chopped
Their way through anything alive in their way
Always another alarm and hectic emergency

And even before the CREEP movement managed
To re-elect that strange gawky inhuman thing
That waved its arms as if it were a lurching doll
Somehow I already intimated the rain forest dis-ease
And read of the take over of vital rain forest lungs

That gasped in shock at the advancing intruders
So intent on what they had no capacity to know
Ready to do anything you could possibly imagine
And all for nothing, all for an arcane compulsion
To make everyone so impossibly just like them

Until now those of us still alive again after all
Long rides on dark roads so way far out there
In the country hills which you cannot hope to see
Loom over it all while we are still riding, riding
On twisting roads where anything could appear
In the headlights senseless, unstoppable, advance.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.


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Poem by Daniel Ajayi


Afika Genetics

The south and the Mediterranean Sea Dab flow of rich taste
Participate in the same showroom of tribal group, the blood boils and it’s thick
to harmonise the long years, long enough to wait

Afrika, such nation there you find maize
Abundance to fill the desert but meek
Origins of black the cultural taste

Let me tell you names of umbrella, fought wars that determine fate
And the layers so strong, it bore own chick
I have reached my eyes, to see only cape that wait

Our old self on a new shelf____ not mate
Shouldered in miseries unknown till date stick
The rovos rail____ you ride on the back of black taste

With the evil eye to seek mercy from heaven’s gate
Taboo paint skins of innocent and made us sick
Lives amidst danger but tried to embrace souls to not wait

Amazed by undergrounds nature and gene infused in its veins
Differ as food for the souls____ descendants grains on the earth
To be right____ people of very good taste
It’s in our gene you see afrika and our sole reason we could wait.


Daniel Ajayi is a Lagos born poet who writes anything but not everything from the reading of nature. He enjoys researching, and had been learning about what makes life better. His works have appeared on Ovi Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Failed Haiku, Bravearts Africa, Voice Project, Aphelion Zinc, Sierra Leone Web and more.

Jury S. Judge is an internationally published artist, photographer, writer, poet, and political cartoonist. Her “Astronomy Comedy” cartoons are also published in Lowell Observatory’s quarterly publication, The Lowell Observer. She has been interviewed on the television news program, “NAZ Today” for her work as a political cartoonist. Her artwork has been widely featured in literary magazines such as Dodging The Rain, The Tishman Review, Open Minds Quarterly, Blue Moon Review, and The Ignatian Literary Journal. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014.


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Poem by Gauri Dixit


Women be damned

Women be damned
Those who disguise their wings under the dupattas or shawls or whatever           scrap of clothing they have on their self
If they do not possess clothes
They cut themselves up
And cram the wings inside
Giving a damn about if the wings break or fuse with the organs that are least like wings

Wings are machines
They need to be used
They need to be oiled
They need to be polished
They need to be maintained
The skill needs to be taught, debrief, honed

Wings be damned
They demand so much
They demand the dark
They demand light
They demand days, nights and the space in between
They demand peace
They demand strife
They demand the whole life

There’s only one set that will ever fit one person in their lifetime


A software professional from Pune (India), Gauri Dixit writes English poetry. Her poems have been featured in multiple Indian and international anthologies. She is a regular contributor to many poetry pages and e-zines of repute such as Destiny Poets UK, Duane’s Poetree, Glomag, Kubili Cafe, Learning & Creativity, Mind Creative, Spillwords and Stanzaic Stylings. She recently won the ‘Reuel International Prize for the Most Promising Poet – 2018’. Her first poetry book In my skin, I find freedom was recently released. She loves reading, photography and traveling.

Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.


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Jagged Thought #264: Free Prose to Forget Everything


Tired, romanced the idea of igniting the fire,
Batted my eyelashes at death, in a suit and tie,
And I saw death, as he drove slowly by.
And he left me.
And she saved me.
An angel dropped acid on my lucid sky.
It burned my eyes, it signed my signs.
I rode along, thought I was fine.
A roll of thunder, seven seconds later, I saw lightning.
That’s the way to say I lost everything.
And the basket weavers wove an identity,
And the cobra charmer gave me an identity,
And the poetry slams made me a sight to see
And gave me a place to be.
And the ocean gave me oxygen to breathe.
And God gave me eyes to see, and that I can’t look back.
No matter how hard I try to.
Every Cesar has a Brutus or a Judas that lied too.
Butter and bread and insanity said, this suits you fine.
That pine box, that diagnosis don’t define you.
And I walked and embraced the road, and the shoes that I slept in.
I left my vacancy sign out to let the vagrants in.
Soldier of sleep, medicinal victim, pillar holding up the goddamn coliseum.
Wrote my constitution on the walls of the asylums.
And I wrote you letters, all 26 of them.
Many poems, all alone, and you made my house a home.
And Thank You Beautiful, your memory just trickled in.
In this poem about how to forget
In this poem
I wrote to forget


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly.