Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vaughan Rapatahana

who will speak?

who will speak for
    the teenagers raped flat
            by ‘boyfriend’s’ fistic ego?
                                                   I will.
who will parley for
    the indigenes ripped raw
            by ‘master’s’ rancid tongue?
                                                   I will.
who will talk for
    the invalids invalidated
             by bureaucrat’s grumpy stamp?
                                                   I will.
who will argue for
     the masses abnegated
             by tyrant’s wartorn gun? 
                                                   I will
I’ll stand.
I’ll korero.
I’ll be staunch.
I will
scrawl down lines in the sand
shout them relentless.
set them in stone.
                                                     I have.
[korero is New Zealand Maori for talk.]
let me be your friend
your true friend
and on those dark days
when the hardness hits your heart
turn to me
I will soothe our path.

Vaughan Rapatahana: New Zealand Maori, married to a lady from Philippines, where we also have a home. We live and work in Hong Kong and ours' is a polyglottal family.

Published very widely in variety of genre: two books of poetry in 2011 being Home Away Elsewhere (Proverse Hong Kong) and china as kafka (Kilmog Press, Aotearoa-NZ.) Links as here: and

June 2012 will see publication of the significant critical work English Language as Hydra (Multilingual Matters, U.K.) Link as here:

Finally, yes - I have been through severe mental torment and affliction, being institutionalized at one stage many years ago. Being Indigenous and marginalized has also been a factor in this situation, as well as having had quite a few torrid family situations. Engari kaore nga raruraru (But - no problems.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Annette Hakiel


I have a mind like a Liberty Bell, a curiosity
because it's cracked. I have a mind

that needs inspection like an Italian restaurant
filled with rats. When my mind wanders

out of my life like a broken tooth or cheating
boyfriend, a fairy leaves small change under my

pillow with a note saying, "These pennies
are for your thoughts. Swallow them

with a full glass of your pride. You're either
nobody now, or the Maharishi hiding in the body

of a giraffe." When my mind wanders
it descends down the winding staircase

of madness in a flamenco dress. My mind
is a nondescript piece of black luggage

I lose, presumably put on the wrong plane
of existence in an airline error. My mind

is the rottweiler that runs away from home,
wagging its tail as it chases reality

like a mailman to La La Land two
counties over. I was going to put up fliers

saying, Have you seen this lost
mind? Responds to the name Fluffy, but

guess what, Fluffy, that scrapper,
came home, and now every day like clockwork

at two pm on its new leash, my mind, barking
mad and broken, growls as it tries to bite

reality right in the ass. Forget reality. Never am I again
going to lose my mind, my furry, crazy friend.

Annette Hakiel lives in New York.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kallima Hamilton

Bipolar Sunday

Red Hot Chili peppers strumming
through the ceiling as my upstairs
neighbor plays his fuzzy electric
guitar. Weird phrases
keep falling from my fingertips

and I rise, a baby phoenix,
from the fire and ice of manic
depression, crazed and alone.

Sometimes it feels like
peacock tails and dusty tumbleweeds.
The pace revved up inside
my well-greased and dripping brain.

Captivated by a sparkle or
brought low by an unkind word,

I turn slowly,
a broken-winged angel,
towards the musical face of the sun.

Kallima Hamilton's worked as an assistant museum librarian, ESL instructor and legal clerk. Her poetry has appeared in Mudlark, Sugar Mule and Shenandoah.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Austin McCarron

The Indispensible Guide to Unearthly Practices 

After a universe of time,
spring is a shock to my eyes:
the promise
of light in a chimney of air.

On hills or near gardens, baby
lambs offer kisses of new blood.
Beautiful animals glide on
colours and draw blinds of sound.

There is a gift of water, like breath
in open veins,
but leaves of skin gather like food
of inconsolable factories
around plants and trees and lawns.

Looking ahead I throw away the
blanket of its extraordinary aim but
it is not higher within, where graves
fester like flies around sweating pits.

The sun of fire returns a blaze but its
inner light is forked. In spiritual
green the doctors of spent deliveries
appear in shining
boots to unravel traces of the dead.
Roots of demonic earth I fail to revive.
I see into the mirror of its eyes and find
nothing but still
like worms in hair its silence is a word.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tatjana Debeljački

Japanese Mountaineer

Filled up with lust

to quench my thirst,

shocked through the rays

of the tired sun.

Revived by the breath.

Ignited, you wake me up,

you kindle during my sleep

the last signs

of recognition.

Every ground letter

You bring back written

In all languages

In the dark lair.

Smudge again

The colors across the dead

whiteness of the night, smash the dawn

before the sun.

From the night, the flowers bloom

And the morning is glittering in the horizon,

Under the veil of the morning.

The eyes of the mountaineer,

The light of the sun

Japanese mountaineer

naked in the moonlight.

Tatjana Debeljački was born on 23.04.1967 in Užice. Writes poetry, short stories, stories and haiku. Member of Association of Writers of Serbia -UKS since 2004 and Haiku Society of Serbia - HDS Serbia, HUSCG – Montenegro and HDPR, Croatia. A member of Writers’ Association Poeta, Belgrade since 2008, HKD Croatia since 2009 and a member of Poetry Society "Antun Ivanošić" Osijek since 2011. Deputy of the main editor (cooperation with magazines & interviews).

Editor of the magazine "Poeta", published by Writers’ Association "Poeta"

Union of Yugoslav Writers in Homeland and Immigration – Belgrade, Literary Club Yesenin – Belgrade. Up to now, she has published four collections of poetry: “A HOUSE MADE OF GLASS “, published by ART – Užice in 1996; collection of poems “YOURS“, published by Narodna knjiga Belgrade in 2003; collection of haiku poetry “VOLCANO”, published by Lotos from Valjevo in 2004. A CD book “A HOUSE MADE OF GLASS” published by ART in 2005, bilingual SR-EN with music, AH-EH-IH-OH-UH, published by Poeta, Belgrade in 2008. Her poetry and haiku have been translated into several languages. Email/Websites/Blogs

Monday, January 30, 2012

Peter Taylor


I want to say thank you
for welcoming me into your healing homes
even though all I do is dishes
and then I break a few—
eleven, I think; maybe six.
They are buried in the usual places.

I want to say thank you
for teaching me useful things again,
like eggs that have more than chickens
in them, frogs, cooking spices,
playing cards, and how some walls
that are hard and immovable
can be beautiful, too.

I want to say thank you
for listening to my poems
even though they made you cry,
and trusting me with your car,
and offering me kindness
I could not find on my own.

I want to say thank you
but dream, this is family.

Peter Taylor’s poems explore how time and imagination shape our perceptions of the world through creative expression. He is the author of three books and his poems have appeared in literary journals in Australia , Canada , the Caribbean, France , India , Romania , Sweden , the United Kingdom , and the United States . He lives in Aurora , Canada .


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sophie Waring

Bring Battle

To hasten the clouds that

charge the west in the dark. Light

of the red apple that peels

itself from the caterpillar

and crudely turns crimson.

Where are the babies now?

Are they turning flash west? Coconut

bluebells of African descent are folding into tulips –

a clown of great importance, an eel

in the bath.

She was a north-westerly,

diacritic situation, bringing gingerbread

to the house of Eden,

rubbing rosemary on her thighs.

Orange fever, bring me the children.

Let me feed them

my home, my sanity

in its own right. Great golden houses

with little yellow men. No crowns,

no leftover rivers

or open wound sores.

Sophie Waring: I am twenty-one years old and live in Palmerston North, New Zealand with my fiance. When I was eighteen, I plummeted into a dark and dangerous world. I was in the prime of my life, having just recieved dux of my highschool. I was studying towards a double major at Massey university and finished my first year with straight A's, but I was holding a dark secret. Following self-harm, substance abuse, overdose and a very close suicide attempt, I spent seven weeks in a psychiatric ward. I left hugely medicated and sedated and the next year was quite a battle. However, I feel like just now my life is getting back on track. I felt unable to write (though I had a massive output while unwell) until recently, and although my studies never resumed, I have just started a new position training to become a pharmacy dispensary technician. I am also engaged to my soul mate and feel like I am finally happy. For someone my age, I feel like an old soul. I probably know myself, as well as the ins and outs of life, more than a lot of people. My values have completely changed, but what's important to me now is family, love and happiness. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Bus Station

Please don’t steal my bag.

Please don’t steal my blue bag
With all my poems in it.

Please don’t try to to steal my
Blue bag with all my poems
In it and a bag of pepitas
And the number for my caseworker
Then feign confusion when caught
Because you, too, have a blue bag
That says Downtown Mental Health Center.

Please don’t try to lift my blue
Bag with all my mom’s cancer poems
And the name of my caseworker in it etc...

It’s far too heavy.


Every face
At the bus station
Is a torn
Lottery ticket.

Thomas L. Vaultonburg is from Rockford, Illinois, United States. He was diagnosed with both Schizoid Personality Disorder and Major depressive Disorder at age 16. Most of his adult life has been a battle against these disorders. Poetry has always been one of his great solaces. His poetry has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Chiron Review, Caliban, Bogg, Gargoyle, and others. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

B.Z. Niditch


What signals
when eyes withdraw
their masks
and you notice
a light twinkles
on a mushrooming
face with expressionism
rebounding to thought
of choreography
covering themselves
in the air
of conversation
in ideograms of language
hidden from awareness
that only a poet
would comprehend. 

B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; Hawaii Review,; Le Guepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest); Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jefferson Hansen


the people I know
with schizophrenia

are a far cry from “schizos”—
the stereotypical guy
drooling in his beard
who takes a break
from braying at the moon
only long enough to ask
for a quarter

as for violence
most violent acts
are committed
by so-called healthy folks

the actual dangerous category

if a person with schizophrenia
is violent
does the condition
have anything to do
with the act

why is it okay
for the TV news
to mention “a history
of mental illness”
when no relevant link
has been established
between the condition
and the crime

prisons are full
of the mentally ill
but what sane person
wouldn’t go crazy

time to consider cause
and effect

time to think through
the implications
of metaphor

would we say “drunk like
an Irishman” or
“stupid like a Polish

why “crazy like
a schizo”

the people I know
most reckless with
others’ feelings
are horrifically “healthy”

you would probably
be surprised to learn
how many schizophrenics
you interact with
on a daily basis

what is it to stuff
a human being
into a sealed
metal category

wind of a reason

the wind of a reason
aimed in a particular
started walking
like a root
curling and
branching its way
toward water—
it thinks
in its way

Jefferson Hansen
has been publishing in a variety of contexts for several decades.