REVIEW: SPHINX BY CAT WOODWARD

by Laura Potts

The most recent iteration of Volta, Salo Press’ regular Norwich poetry and prose night, drew a willing and eager crowd for the launch of ‘Sphinx’ by Cat Woodward. After a short open mic session, which saw a number of talented poets sharing their words to warm up the audience, Cat took to the front to read from her fascinating book.

Continue Reading

SPRING-BEARING COURAGE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Verusca Costenaro (1974 – ), ‘Il coraggio che fa primavera’

It’ll be from your comicseyes

that a new courage will rise

for the autumn, it’ll tangle in the wind

and the wind will paint it snowinter

so that the sun may thaw it

fresh in spring, it’ll be

a bearing of violets and mixture of calls,

cerulean choir bearing life in the background to desire,

the sprint of wings on the field, to feed on the grass that will grow,

summervoice adorned of an evergreen yellow,

a remedy to the fears brought by good

dreams of a small evening in august.

Featured image via caffellattefirenze


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THE HARBOUR

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Anna Belozorovitch (Moscow, 1983 – ), ‘Il porto’ from Il Debito

The harbour breathes as everything changes;
it carries in its womb the still change,
the evolution to turmoil-based unexpectedness,
the summer heat. And it makes no soundContinue Reading

REVIEW: THE POWER, BY NAOMI ALDERMAN

by Eli Lambe

The Power is a profoundly affecting read. In it, Naomi Alderman envisions a switching of roles and of power dynamics, deftly parodying and reflecting back the ways in which we justify, enforce and understand gender roles.

It asks the question: “What if women were stronger than men;  What if men had to be afraid of women?” and follows its core characters – Roxy, the daughter of a British crime boss; Tunde, a Nigerian journalist; Allie, an American foster kid who escapes an abusive household; and Margot, an American Mayor trying to balance her city in the wake of this sudden shift, and protect her daughters Jocelyn and Maddie – as the world progresses towards “Cataclysm.” Continue Reading

THINGS ONLY WOMEN WRITERS HEAR AND THE TROUBLE WITH TWITTER

by Hannah Rose

Virginia Woolf stated in her 1929 seminal essay A Room of One’s Own that, because women remain unequal to men in society, they are less likely to succeed as writers. A writer has two basic requirements in order to write productively: an independent income which provides basic necessities—food and shelter— and uninterrupted writing time. In 1929, the majority of British women were either working to provide the basic necessities for others, and did not have a private space in which to pursue a creative life or an independent income. This, says Wolf, is why the literary canon is dominated by men. “Intellectual freedom,” she writes, “depends upon material things.”

Almost a century later, some women are still having to argue their right to a creative life.Continue Reading

UNTITLED

1

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Nadia Campana (1954-1985), untitled from Verso la Mente

more of the living during the journey
many horizons for hours and hours
submerged in distanceContinue Reading

SEX & LOVE & ROCK & ROLL: TONY WALSH ON WOMEN

by Carmina Masoliver

CW: mentions harassment, domestic violence

When I first saw Tony Walsh, aka longfella, it was as a feature act at the Genesis Poetry Slam in Whitechapel. I remember being struck by a line about how growing breasts being something that labels some people ‘women’. This was a revelation to me, and yet something that I could identify with as a cis-gender woman reflecting on adolescence; it felt profound that a man could understand this experience in a way that made me feel understood in a way I hadn’t yet articulated myself.

When I later read what I assumed to be these same lines in Sex & Love & Rock&Roll, they didn’t strike me in quite the same way, as they offered something different. In ‘Start All the Clocks’, Walsh repeats ‘tell me how it feels’, as he asks of the readers

‘…tell me how it feels when you start to grow breasts
When Mother Nature writes ‘woman’ across a girl’s chest.’

It is in these lines that mean that Walsh is not solely a poet to hear on stage, but also one to read on the page, where you have the time to reflect and think.Continue Reading

REVIEW: FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, BY NALO HOPKINSON

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by Eli Lambe

Hopkinson’s writing is enchanting. Her words wrap around you and inhabit you, they turn your skin to bark, the wind into a goddess, your body lifts and falls with the lines of beautifully crafted prose. To read her work is to be transformed, transported, transcended. Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), explored community, magic, and family in a Toronto “hollowed out” by white-flight and financial catastrophe.

Her second, Midnight Robber (2000), used language — particularly dialect — and mythology to imagine, from a Caribbean perspective, “what stories we’d tell ourselves about our technology – what our paradigms for it might be” and to bring together ideas of storytelling, colonialism and trauma. Since then, she has published several other novels and collections, all of which are thoughtful, accessible and fundamentally affecting, the most recent of which is the subject of this review. Continue Reading

THE WOMEN ARE LAUGHING IN THE GYM

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Caterina Sinibaldi, after Alex Valente’s translation of Andrew McMillan’s ‘the men are weeping in the gym’, ‘le donne ridono in palestra’

the women are laughing in the gym
on smooth backs words run to the music,
thoughts and dreams on sweaty mats.
solitary machines with white towels sing the intimate exhaustion of a quietness
women.Continue Reading

REVIEW: A BOOK OF FRAGMENTS AND DREAMS, REBECCA McMANUS

by Lewis Buxton

Despite being called A Book of Fragments and Dreams, the poems in Rebecca McManus’ collection are far from fragmentary. They speak loudly to one another and are rooted decisively in the people, places, and objects of her life. Unthank Cameo has released this collection posthumously after Rebecca McManus was killed by a speeding driver whilst waiting at a bus stop. She was 21 and just weeks away from graduating from the University of East Anglia.Continue Reading

NOT YET SPRING

by Alex Valente 

Original Italian by Ada Negri (1870-1945), ‘Non è ancora primavera’

Spring? It’s still early February
and there is plenty of snow to fall, still:
still plenty of cold to bite.
And yet, now that I consider it
and take a better look around,
the announcement of Spring is not just
on the mouth of the flower seller
left on the corner of the road.Continue Reading

FRIEND SISTER COMRADE ENEMY

by Alex Valente 

Original Italian by Edith Bruck (1932-), ‘Amica sorella compagna nemica’

Friend sister comrade enemy
for one gesture of yours my pain
could still change and dissolve
at the tip of a mulberry tree
on the sleigh of two planks nailed
by the boy who behind the stable
would caress between our legs with feathers so soft.Continue Reading

REVIEW: ROWENA KNIGHT’S ALL THE FOOTPRINTS I LEFT WERE RED

by Carmina Masoliver

Rowena Knight has been making waves both in terms of poetry on the page (including Magma, Cadaverine and The Rialto) and on the stage, being a regular at poetry nights across London, as well as a team member of She Grrrowls. Self-identifying ‘Feminist Killjoy’, the collection deals with becoming a woman and growing up as an immigrant from New Zealand as a teenager.Continue Reading

LITTLE GIRLS MUST

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Alessandra Carnaroli (1979-), ‘le bambine devono’. Part of Sartoria Utopia’s Calendario Utopico 2017.

little girls must be
little girls
with long hair
or short if sweaty
with rhinestones

and hairclips
and headbands

they get ready to have children
to behave
to earn less than boysContinue Reading

CIVIL WAR

1

by Carmina Masoliver

He rolls the ‘r’ in my name, and the resentment I’ve felt fades,
resentment for the absence of mi abuelito, and the language
my tongue stumbles over, yet hungers for like tortilla Española.

They greased their rifles with olive oil, with Vaseline, with cold cream, with bacon-fat:¹
an opera, with the occasional death.²Continue Reading

UNTITLED

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Annalisa Teodorani (1978-), no title. Part of Sartoria Utopia’s Calendario Utopico 2017.

I still go looking for
fires in the countrysideContinue Reading

THE NORWICH RADICAL YEAR IN REVIEW 2016

by The Norwich Radical

2016 was a bleak year for many. Across the world, the forces of liberty, of social progress, and of environmental justice lost time and again in the face of rising fascism, increased alienation, and intensifying conflict. That notwithstanding, there have been moments of light. In the Austrian Presidential election, the electorate confirmed the independently Green candidate Alexander van der Bellen; the #noDAPL water protectors gained a soft victory in early December; in fact, there is a full list of positives from the past year, if you want cheering up.

2016 saw our team expand to more than 25 writers, editors, and artists as well as host our first ever progressive media conference, War of Words. Our readership has grown from 5,000 per month to more than 6,500 per month. In total, nearly 80,000 people have read content on The Norwich Radical website this year.

In 2017, The Norwich Radical will turn three years old, with plans to grow our team and publication more than ever before. We’ll also be returning to Norwich to bring debate and discussion on the future of the media, with War of Words back for a second year. Continue Reading

THE SMALL THINGS


by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Azzurra D’Agostino, ‘le piccole cose’. Featured in the Calendario Utopico 2017, in May.

The small things, the ones you almost
don’t see, the secrets under your clothes, dreams
Continue Reading

FROM ‘PRAYERS OF THE PLACE OF THE WORLD’

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Francesca Genti (1975–), da ‘Preghiere del posto del mondo’, in the ‘Ma il mondo, non era di tutti?’ anthology (Marcos Y Marcos)

word, my place in the world,
word who says things,
word who says stories,
who says war and says death,Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE GIRL IN THE DOG-TOOTH COAT, BY ZELDA CHAPPEL

by Carmina Masoliver

A book filled with moths, whiskey and full moons; reading Zelda Chappel’s debut collection The Girl in the Dog-Tooth Coat, published with Bare Fiction (2015), forces you to be in the moment with each and every piece. With each turn of the page comes a fresh clarity and precision, yet still connected like water – at times a stream, and at others, a rushing waterfall. It explores grief, and through its dark and sombre tones, there is a glimmer of hope: that this is a tale of survival.

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THE TREE CLOCK

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Vivian Lamarque (1946-), ‘l’orologio degli alberi’

You were always really
early for any appointment, made
the whole world seem,
late, the world felt bad,Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES, BY KATE TEMPEST

by Carmina Masoliver

Kate Tempest is well known for her work within the world of poetry and music, yet her latest venture sees her trying her hand at prose, using her original modern mythologies weaved into a different form. Although the points of move from character to character, Becky stands out to be the central character.

The first chapter made me think of the question uttered by both Shakespeare and Brecht about the role of art, suggesting to possibility for it to be both a mirror and hammer, when it comes to most peoples’ realities. Yet, at times it felt like the outlook was too cynical, too similar to the thoughts in the heads in this generation where we so often feel powerless to make change. It was almost too real, holding a truth too close to the bone.Continue Reading

REVIEW: BURNT ROTIS, WITH LOVE, BY PRERNA BAKSHI

by Carmina Masoliver

Prerna Bakshi’s debut collection Burnt rotis, with love was published in 2016 by Le Zaporogue via Lulu.com. Poems featured in the collection have appeared in many literary journals, magazines and anthologies across the world. Hailing from India, Bakshi offers a refreshing perspective on feminism and the wider would, enlightening readers with its undeniable South Asian roots.Continue Reading

INTERESTING PEOPLE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Laura Accerboni (1985-), from ‘La parte dell’annegato’

We are interesting
people.
Our arms are
interesting
as are our teeth,
every sign of resistance
shows something interesting.Continue Reading

TRAVEL WHILE DYING

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Sonia Gentili, ‘Viaggio mentre morivo’

I travel while I was dying and I was
absent or maybe only
alone: still before the last anchor
of the world as homeland of
the present
I travel where the present is consumed
in the black womb of the light, see-through
like the dark waiting for the moon
it’ll come and it doesn’t come and I
am distantContinue Reading

THE SOURCE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Evelina De Signoribus (1978 – ), ‘La fonte’

The day when you have only one thought
the sea shivers and the wheat moves the field
everything calls for the return
though the roads have never been this many
to choose but one, clearlyContinue Reading

A CHILDHOOD MEMORY

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Maddalena Lotter (1990-), ‘Un ricordo d’infanzia’

We built a house on the sand
then we stamped on it.
On its ruins our supreme leader
decreed it was time to goContinue Reading

BLUE OF DELETION

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Maria Attanasio (1943-), ‘Rosso…’

Red
which now is blade and shears
flaking wall shadowContinue Reading

WOMEN IN TRANSLATION MONTH – WHAT’S RADICAL ABOUT THAT?

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by Katy Derbyshire

If you read fiction, think of a translated writer. Just the first one who pops into your mind. Let me guess: Stieg Larsson? Karl Ove Knausgård? Thomas Mann? Marcel Proust? Haruki Murakami? If you thought of a woman off the top of your head, I salute you.

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THAT HE WAS REAL

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Margherita Rimi (1957-), ‘Che c’era vero’

– They say nothing is real –

I make up a language
because I’m embarrassedContinue Reading

CRITERION

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Selenia Bellavia, ‘Criterio’

From the closed recesses of a star
you ask me the real portion
of the clothed hypothesis
you cannot imagine
you do not know the rustle
of the river undivided by an ethosContinue Reading

CROMER, 2013

by Carmina Masoliver

The rush of the lapping waves of the sea,
the sound of shells, smell of salt, is where,
the humdrum left behind, I can just be.
The horizon before me, I can stare,
watch where the sea meets sky and then it leaves –
nowhere I’d rather be than standing there.Continue Reading

FIRST LOVE, OF COURSE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Valentina Pinza (1982-), ‘Primo amore, naturalmente’

It was love, but we didn’t notice
none of us knew
years have passed
enough
for us to forget everything, the breathing and all the rest
we’ve thrown out those t-shirts
summers and summers ago
maybe even the following year;
that night we watched the stars
who said wishes are lonely?Continue Reading

REVIEW – EMILY HARRISON’S ‘I CAN’T SLEEP ‘CAUSE MY BED’S ON FIRE’

by Carmina Masoliver

I have seen Emily Harrison share her work countless times at Burn After Reading events, and at my own night, She Grrrowls. She never fails to amaze me in the way she is able to articulate herself, speaking out about mental health issues – amongst other subjects – interwoven with links to gender and class. When I read lines about imaging someone loves you ‘when you simply asked/during a routine blood test, ‘Emily, how are you doing today?’ I sort of imagine she’s what I would be like if I were an extrovert.

The first couple of poems are familiar to me, and it’s hard not to picture Harrison on stage delivering these words, because as much as it’s incredible to be able to read the pieces, seeing them live is an important part of the way the text works, as it tends to be with Burning Eye Books – the go-to publisher for writers who refuse to remain on one side of the page/stage divide.Continue Reading

FROM ‘ON LIVING’

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by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Martina Campi (1978-), from Sull’abitare

From the following academic day Penelope
drags on her face a pale-sided sun
and, to one side, unravels, extraordinarily powerful
backwards, tightly wrapped up in
cellophane, for the nights to come, the great labourContinue Reading

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: CAROL ANN DUFFY’S POETRY DESERVES CELEBRATION

by Jake Reynolds

Here’s something that will make poetry sound a little more dangerous (but not really), and doesn’t involve tattooing Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ from your neck to your toes: it is said that the poets chosen for the UK’s prestigious poet laureateship are plagued with a curse.

That is to say, the poems written during a poet’s tenure as poet laureate – an honorary position in which there is no strict demand but certainly an expectation for the poet to write original poems for important national occasions – are sub-standard when read in light of poet’s earlier, or later, work.Continue Reading

BEAUTY

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Rosita Copioli (1948-), ‘Beltà’

Look, everything returns, even the markings on the wall
and behind the bushes the eyes of our heavens
without a reason to be tend towards a return,
they return not to forget, how much each
and every one finds their own pleasure – adspice:Continue Reading

RADICAL POETS AT THE UEA POETRY FESTIVAL

by Fern Richards

Over the past couple of years, the UEA Poetics Project has been doing the important job of sneaking radical poets into the institution without much fanfare. The Norwich Radical featured an article by Linda Russo fairly recently – one of the readers at the last Poetics Project event – but apart from that, not a huge amount has been written about these readings. As a fan of radical poetry, political poetry, anti-establishment poetry, I thought it might be worth giving a small preview of the second UEA Poetry Festival, or at least its featured readers, Sandeep Parmar and Sean Bonney.Continue Reading

OF THE WORLD

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Maria Luisa Vezzali (1964 – ), ‘del mondo’

you lower your head to cross the doorway and beyond the threshold the world breathes
with vision, a restless wave that carries the smell of houses, damp,
rust, ashes, petrol, ages that vortex towards duskContinue Reading

THE HOURGLASS

by Carmina Masoliver

 

grains of sand pass like biology
my body ticking like a heart
my love straining like teaContinue Reading

AN ORDINARY DAY

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by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Alessandra Racca (1979-), ‘Un giorno qualunque’

In the match
between what we call good
and we despise as evil
today a bomb will make noise
smoke will assault the eyes
scattering shards on screens
and people
a woman’s tears
will stand stillContinue Reading

THIS MAN

by Rebecca Tamás

This man is an angel
because
he is not a man

I reject the penis as my chosen ontology
even when his penis is in my hand
even when his mouth is open like a sodden
breastContinue Reading

VENICE, AGAIN

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Verusca Costenaro (1974 – ), ‘E Ancora Venezia’

Venice, again
and the taste of your distant steps.

Water sliding over waves of words,
telling each other of dreams and struggles.Continue Reading

COMPUTER GENERATED IMAGES

by Carmina Masoliver

we grew up on html

love was a cartoon heart
pink or red
we dissected some cold slab of meat in science labs

and with that, every Disney film turned dirty
we would publicise our most private thoughts
kidding ourselves it was poetry
when it was catharsis at bestContinue Reading

SERIOUSLY VIVACIOUS READING: A FEMINIST POETICS OF LITERARY INQUIRY

by Linda Russo

I wrote To Think of her Writing Awash in Light as a way to investigate aspects of literary women’s lives that tend to be overlooked. The questions that interested me – how do lived spaces (domestic, urban, or natural spaces or environments) effect women’s relationships to their materials and ideas and language? How do women navigate these spaces and their various prescriptions for what women should or can do? – suggested a geographic inquiry, one that required leaving my desk and books behind to wander about and write in various environments, literal and imaginary.Continue Reading

WHAT PEOPLE THINK

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Manuela Dago (1978-), ‘Cosa pensa la gente’

It’s a wordy problem
even not being able to say
not being able to explain
explain your words
to those listening.Continue Reading

BLACK‘N’BEAUTIFUL

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Ribka Sibhatu (1962-), ‘So bella nera’

Black market
black cats
black Friday..!
And they call me
‘of colour’.Continue Reading

REVIEW: WARSAN SHIRE’S HER BLUE BODY

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by Carmina Masoliver

In 2013 I was amongst around twenty poets long-listed for the first Young Poet Laureate for London prize. I remember meeting Warsan Shire that day; she seemed quiet, perhaps nervous, yet confident and bold. We performed one piece to a panel of judges, and I was either before or after Shire. Although she prefers writing to performing her work, I remember being blown away by not only the words, but the delivery of her poem Ugly. I remember that I had already heard lines quoted by Kayo Chingonyi from a workshop he was leading for students at the school where I work. It was no surprise when Shire was shortlisted, much less when she won.

To have the power to write poetry that sticks in the mind is certainly a gift that Shire bestows in much of her work. I have since had the pleasure of seeing Shire again at the launch of the first Podium Poets anthology, by Spread the Word, and attended workshops lead by her on an Arvon retreat. As an aspiring poet, she is an inspiration to many as a writer and as a human being.Continue Reading

A WHATEVER RAMBLING MOMENT

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Leyla Khalil (1991-), ‘Un attimo qualsiasi di sproloquio’

A whatever rambling moment

which, by the way, they decided to call free internal discourse or interior monologue or stream of consciousness.

There must be – I just wrote mustard instead of must be and noticed it right away – some sort of difference dammit, I mean I’m sure there is but the essence at the end of the day is the same: they’re all ramblings.Continue Reading

CONSTELLATIONS

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Gilda Musa (1922-1999), ‘Costellazioni’

Coppering of stars, gold
illuminated designs, visible flashing
vanguards of a thousand million invisibiles,
sigils of a space that’s close and signs
of remote spacesContinue Reading

MEET THE WOMEN REVIVING NATURE WRITING

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by Tara Debra G

Among the young students who frequent this magazine it’s a safe bet to assume that most of us aren’t running to the nature writing section when we walk into our nearest bookshop. So let me introduce you to the women aiming to change that. Forget the image of a rambling old man in the woods with a Thoreauian beard, and come meet Cheryl Strayed, Kathleen Jamie and Helen Macdonald.

Continue Reading

SHELTER

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Antonella Anedda (1955-), from Notti di pace Occidentale.

She was running to shelter, covering her head.
She belonged to a tired image
not dissimilar from any other woman
surprised by sudden rain.

Continue Reading

THE COLOUR OF SAYING NO

by Sara Helen Binney

It was November, and the school hall was packed with pupils and teachers freed from lessons. In the festive atmosphere people mingled and chattered and joked. A few nervously practiced their Bible readings; I stood, arms crossed, before a school administrator. She shook her collection box.

‘Poppy?’ she said. It wasn’t a question.
I said, ‘no.’ I doubt I was very polite – I was sixteen, angry and definite.
‘You have to wear a poppy, for the service,’ she said.
‘Why?’ I demanded.
‘Everyone has to wear a poppy.’
‘But I don’t agree with it. Can’t I refuse?’
‘You have to take a poppy – just make a donation.’

Neither of my parents had ever worn a poppy. They brought me up listening to the anti-war songs of the folk revival, and took me to CND marches while I still struggled to pronounce ‘disarmament’. But at school, saying no wasn’t an option. I eventually put a penny in the box.Continue Reading

DEEP DISCOMFORT

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Valentina Diana (1968-), from Bastarde Senza Gloria

Poems are not mats
on which to lie and catch some sun
and say It makes me think, how lovely!
that it really is like this.

Continue Reading

TRIGGER

by Cadi Cliff

In response.

Troup County, January 26th 2015, 5

What is it about the rifle, the pistol, the Ruger 22?
Protection you can prop, old-school, by the front door
keep walking the perimeter of your picket fence
come on boy, let’s have some father son timeContinue Reading

I DID MY BEST TO LEARN THE RULES

by Robyn Banks

I did my best to learn the rules.
The world was a nice place,
children shared, we waited our turn,
we helped those in need and said thankyou and please.

The board was black and the chalk was white,
together we learned to read and write,
I tried to learn the rules.
There used to be racism,
there used to be war,
there used to be poverty and workhouses and suffering
but Martin Luther King had a dream and women won the vote
and everyone shared now, and waited their turn
and Tony Blair painted rainbow children on my primary school walls.Continue Reading

FACING FORWARD – COLLE DI MASSENZIO

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Silvia Bre (1952-), ‘Colle di Massenzio – Prospettiva frontale’.

The wind is always here in this place this time of year.
Maybe you depend on traditions like this one –
the points you connect collect the space
and you breathe. And you admire it,
you compare it to the sky triumphing
at the immeasurable height of its arches.Continue Reading

THE PEOPLE WANT

by Jo Thompson

Hard to look, hard to understand
the softness of his drowned bones
rocked here by the waters.

How quickly banners can catch alight,
a mumble in the crowd growing up,
becoming certain of itself: the people
want to topple the regime. All’s parched,
and everywhere the green sickens yellow.
Outstretched hands wither into fists.Continue Reading