Artwork © Judson K. Evans


Free Will

I didn’t know daffodils cried,
And Jasmines wept along,
their fragrance with grief tainted.
It’s free will they cry,
weeping and laughing
all at once.

Did you know
dancing on your toes,
your heels, cures back pain?
resting in the chest awhile,
perchance winge the throat.
Free-wheeling is the gain,
says the pain.

Did you know
drunken stupor forgets woes,
yet is not the path alone?
very hot coffee,
will scald your palate,
every sip down your gullet
thereafter, frees all other pain
to mark territory where it will.

Did you know Love,
Its face neither pretty nor ugly,
nor spotless, not unmarred.
will chase you out
with nowhere to hide,
lay bare your gold shine.
while a cat has nine lives,
Love’s Free Will escapes none.

these skinheads in crimson cloths,
are friends who coax
my wrongs to their right,
dye my will to theirs.
may I be done with this ruse,
enticing yet nefarious
is friendship’s willfulness,
mere cicada’s nocturnal chorus.

I can disaffect,
detach, disown and negate
anyone at will.
I’m learning on the job,
liberating myself,
all mismatches unlatched,
until a day,
those chains I might chose again,
free will I say.


Kamalini Natesan is a French teacher by profession and a published novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Naked Beneath The Midnight Sun, was published in Sept, 2019. She describes this poem as one of many “written in exile,” as she awaited a repatriation flight to take her to her current home of Thailand.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek. His poetry collection with Gale Batchelder, Chalk Song, is forthcoming.