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Wise Words with Bruce Wise


In Paris With Joe
          by U. Carew Delibes

I was once in the city of love.
I walked down the Champs-Elysées.
I went all the way
to the Arc de Triomphe
without a cell phone.

I also went into the Louvre,
ablazoned in millions of rimmed suns—
bursting vermilions and crimsons—
reminding me now of the giclées
of Leonid Afremov.

I went over too
to the Centre Georges Pompidou
with its exoskeleton
of brightly coloured tubes:
red, yellow, green and blue.

At Les Invalides, you
went straight for Napoleon’s Tomb.
I still remember the room,
colossal, and filled with my gloom
and your awe,

like Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris,
grand and vast, such an enormity.
I sat in it
a minute…
It seemed an eternity.

I walked to La tour Eiffel,
and leaning on the iron lattice on the Champ de Mars,
                                        I fell
under the spell of Marc Chagall
and Guy de Maupassant.

You went to the Basilica, Sacré-Couer,
on Montmartre’s curve,
while I sat in a Station of the Metro,
waiting, on a cold, hard, gray bench in
la réalité ciment,

and later that night,
amidst a rainbow of light,
after exquisite champagne,
I was mugged in Pigalle,
and my train ticket to Heilbronn stolen.


U. Carew Delibes is a music critic and poet enamoured of France, its art, its music, and its poetry.
His intimate circle of friends include art critic Beau Ecs Wilder and poet Claude I. S.Weber. His influences include, inter alia, the Impressionists, Les Fauves, Romantic composers from Berlioz on, and the Parnassians, particularly Stéphane Mallarmé. Joe was a military buddy of his from Minnesota.


Emily Dickinson Footnote
          by Cadwel E. Bruise
              in memory of Thomas Wentworth Higginson

The ballerina spins around
in shiny, frilly clothes.
The only point she touches ground
is on her iron toes.

She spins about in circling swirls,
then floats firm as a cloud,
a flower opening unfurls
its petals for the crowd.

She takes a leap across the stage,
a pirouette in space,
then drops into what seems an age
her faint and painted face.

And on it goes, she does not stoop,
it seems she will not pause,
until she flops, and sepals droop
to thunderous applause.


Cadwel E. Bruise is a poet surprisingly at home intellectually in New England, and is particularly thankful to the poet Jason Wright, who kindly shares his rugged thoughts with the likes of him, and other oddballs.


Thomas Wolfe
          by Usa W. Celebride

Carl Perkins may have been the one who brought his work to light;
although at times he did his damnedest, to cut down his write,
while William Faulkner thought the lengthy books of Thomas Wolfe
were like a hootchie-kootchie line of dancing elephants.
Competitor E. Hemingway considered that Wolfe was
an over-bloated, Little Abner literary buzz;
yet Malcolm Cowley thought that only Wolfe could be compared
with Dostoevsky, or with Dickens, in America.
In 1938, he came out west to Washington:
pneumonia hit—Seattle spit—and then his sprite was gone.


Usa Celebride is a poet of America. Some influences include Whitman, Melville, Twain, Hart Crane, Dos Passos, Jeffers, Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.


I’m Not a Kurd
          by Curdise Belawe

You ask me who I am. I’m not a Kurd of Kurdistan.
There is no Kurdistan. I only am one lonely man,
who’s not on fire with dynamite, nor in my foe’s hard face.
When furious I shake, but not like a volcanic mace.
I shake no mountain peaks, nor kill my dreaded enemies.
My fury leaves behind it no inspiring memories.
With rocks and boulders, towns and hamlets, I rise in the east,
but can not save the Middle East from raging Turk or beast.
These plains and deserts are my friends, and ancient emperors,
who ruled withdrawing empires with knowledge, death and wars.

You ask me who I am. I am not proud of what I see.
I am not noble, nor at peace, but I want to be free.
I wish I weren’t forever beaten down and so oppressed;
but I’m not like my stout ancestors, nor am I so blessed.
I will not liberate the parks and meadows from Iran,
from Turkish and Iraqi despots, or mad Syrian.
I want to live in my own land, there’s much I want to build,
contributing to all humanity; yet I am killed.
The halter of my horse is gone, as is my paladin.
I am not Richard Lion-Heart, nor Sultan Saladin.

You ask me who I am. I am not Noshi Rawan’s ghost,
nor spirit of Ardasher dashing stones against the coast.
I don’t exist, nowhere between great India and Greece.
I pay my timely tributes to insanity and geese.
I have no forts or castles. Time has taken them away.
I have no name. I have no fame. I live from day to day.
I have no friends or nation. I am paralyzed by strife.
I’m swindled by assailants; germs attack my very life.
Despite it all, I’m not unyielding, nor formidible.
No long-haired Medes have ever thought my valour terrible.

You ask me who I am. I am not Blacksmith Kawa, no,
who slew notorious and dark Dahak; I’m not Newroz.
I’m not Ahirman, god of wisdom, who defeats Ormazd,
that vile, evil god, nor am I Zoroastra’s dad.
I don’t enjoy my orchards, or the green hills filled with vines.
I do not relish pomegranates, nor red sacred wines.
I am not now nor have I ever been friend to Kelhor.
I do not speak Kurmanji, nor do I know Lor and Gor.
I never had a crown, nor ruled a mighty nation state.
I never, in religion’s name, became a potentate.

You ask me who I am. I am not waking from deep sleep.
I will not march proud as a lion, like a leopard leap.
I will not learn from great ones flourishing in every age.
I will not make a vow to shake the tyrants from the stage.
I will not struggle endlessly, nor will my will survive.
I will not live forever, it’s enough to be alive.
I do not hold a tiger’s tail. I’m not Cigerxwîn.
I do not long to shed blood, nor wait for a bigger wind.
I long for peace, but I have foes. I’m only one lone man,
who thinks that maybe some day there will be a Kurdistan.


Curdise Belawe is a poet inspired by the history and people of Kurdistan.


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Poem by David Leo Sirois


            on the occasion of Paris attacks, 13/11/2015

The stars revolve around our heads,
& this moon is no fake –
I just cannot help but give,
but am I authorized to take?

        I know we love our pretty city –
        but one day we all have to go.
        Will I stay here with my pigeons?
        We all unlearn, just to know.

I am older than the Seine –
you are youthful as new snow.
Oh, but it don’t snow here in this town –
if it did, outdoors you’d go.

        I know we love our pretty city –
        but one day we all have to go.
        Will I stay here with my pigeons?
        We all unlearn, just to grow.

Well, you could make a shadow laugh,
& I am much in debt
to your luminous kindness
& crazy alphabet.

        I know we love our pretty city –
        But one day we all have to go.
        Will I stay here with my pigeons?
        We are heavy with what we know…

Please, please, please…
Sing me to sleep. Sing me to sleep.



David Leo Sirois was born in Edmundston, New Brunswick, and grew up across the border in Madawaska, Maine, the northernmost town on the East Coast. He attended Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, majoring in Literature and Languages. He has served as a staff writer for The Better Drink: A Sparkling Wine and Living Magazine, contributing poetry, essays, fiction and film reviews. His poems have also appeared in journals including Silo, Poesy, Ibbetson Street, I Left This Here For You To Read, and Echoes. He currently resides in Paris France where he hosts the open mic SpokenWord 2 – Open Secret.

Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published works in Ibbetson Street, Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She has produced cover art for chapbooks by Kenneth Pobo (Save My Place and Placemats) and her artwork is featured at Spruce Alley Press, where she published a colorful 2014 Calendar as well as distinctive illustrations for the chapbook, When The Light Turns Green.


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Poem by Shannon O’Connor


I’m Sorry, Paris

Most of the time,
when you think something’s going to be one
way, it turns out to be a different
way. It’s not always how you think.
It could be better or worse.

I thought Paris would be the most
fabulous place in the world,
but the energy I got from the people
was that they were all miserable.

I am a sponge that absorbs.
I can sense things.
I know when unhappiness exists.
I felt a city full of history and pain.

How many years has Paris existed?
Longer than American has been colonized.
The sadness of generations permeates
the air.

I felt the same thing in Russia and Germany,
but I was more vulnerable then.
I didn’t have the protection of medication,
which helps.
It hardens the heart.
So I didn’t feel as much misery in Paris
as I would if I weren’t
under the influence of pills.

Cheers to a walled heart.
Cheers to empathy.
Cheers to not letting other’s suffering
get me down
or drive me insane.

I’m sorry, Paris, but I didn’t feel your pain
as deeply as others.
I hope you forgive me.


Photography © Shannon O'Connor
Photography © Shannon O’Connor


Shannon O’Connor holds an MFA from Bennington College. She has been published previously in ODDBALL MAGAZINE, MEETINGHOUSE MAGAZINE, WORDGATHERING, and others. She has spent time in Southern France, where she wrote a lot of unplanned poetry. She lives in the Boston area.