Joni Caggiano

Sadness Moans

shooting pain lurches like a stranger in the blackest night
where monsters live releasing their copies, swarming past, out of sight

jealousy walks on rugged stones stealing from the gifted
holding hands of small cactus plants until the desert sands are shifted

behind their peering eyes a Judas runs to throw a stone
whiffs of his betrayal, climbing to the top of the field, I hear his moan

trust a blanket, with a thousand promises, tickling me
deceit, painful rubbing of an alligator’s bony plates, I run to a forest tree

a stranger in this house of horrors, yet I have to live
stealing glances, taking chances, as I taste the bitter love I cannot give

Luna Moth and Her Lover

intense eyes open imaginary shutters
her green wings, the luna moth flutters
she mates once has no mouth, dies, lays eggs in wooded covers

would I give my life for one more night
knowing death would be my one last flight
with you, my darling, keeper, and lover of my heart, I just might

Rumor Damage

rumor is a spineless seed dipped in fertile shadow dirt
that multiplies and causes pain and unexpected hurt

silence, a bed partner that takes but never gives back
as a man tells a buddy how easy he got her in the sack

black spots jump off potatoes and out of a perfect dish
surviving boiling water and a blemish on an ideal wish

misfortune of a hammer that averted a four-inch nail
a hungry man begs for food and becomes a vulgar tail

her legs jump from flower to flower, hoping for a treat
for sleeping alone with her legs and scheming little feet

jealousy and deceit was the cause of their blue demise
scissors cut paper, and true words, well – their end is no surprise

Uncle’s House

memories grow roots that spring up like dandelions on a freshly mowed lawn
hiding among floating clouds, unwanted hands, or those thin leafless limbs
the taste of cigars on lips or the slimy feel of uncles’ probing thick tongue
he took me to church, like to watch me dance and listen when I sang hymns

lots of summer afternoons, I sat for hours while the birds sang songs to God
his lap was big, and it felt good to have someone to care what I liked to do
summer days remind me of candy, fishing, and rum bottles hiding everywhere
the smell of marigolds or that living room and wiggling to get away from you

Mermaid’s Lost Love

seaweed, green, like my eyes, harbor me in this woeful abyss
waning as my golden blueish scales morph into blackness
shadow life, and inquisitiveness died and bled the colors of the
Bolivian orange-red sunset, which calls to your land’s hummingbirds
as their darting ceased, when my only child died not far from your brown banks

caught in a mile-long fishnet with a dolphin, and sea turtle friends
a triangle of death as I watched her die slowly as I tore my fingers
trying to save my little mermaid child as my blue tears floated skyward
a mere full moon later my merman swam into a black pool of thickness
unable to swim, black death covering his scales, cocooned as he died a painful death

I visit a river that has ancient trees with long gray hair, our family knew
my sorrow theirs, for they would clap as we would sing our odes
large white stones for basking, close to flowers that smell of love, and hope
braiding the morning glories, red swamp hibiscus, and white gardenias
into black hair as reminders of the lifeless and those that will follow

our world under and above the sea is dying from white man’s greed
regret and sorrowfulness breaks my heart into pieces
soon cut into ribbons like the seaweed I will die from sorrow
for no longer do I wish to see the sunrise, no, not one more tomorrow

Old News Is Not Old News

whites of fearsome eyes looking up from blood-soaked boards
black bodies stretched naked, branded, and shackled to floors
fifty women drowning overboard that enslaver’s work quickly done
another coast, heavily greased black muscles, glimmer in the sun
2021 computers on –  I listen while today’s news on a video rolls
spinning lies another bright young man died as this story unfolds
choked, gaged, sprayed, or flayed, old news nothing fresh today
sadness is killing me daily, as I think, what will their mothers say
another way of killing folks instead of hanging on a hoary oak tree
black people want to live their lives, be respected, and to be free
I am sick and tired, of being sick and tired, of the filthy shocking pace
of how white men keep eradicating people, not included in their race

~~~

Joni’s blog is Rum and Robots. Her national and international publications can be found here: https://the-inner-child.com/publications/. She is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal. Since the age of six, she has been writing songs and poetry. Joni is an avid environmental advocate. She was first featured on The Short of It in December 2020, and her work was published in the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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On The Horizon

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #229 & Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Starry Nights

on these starry nights
immersed in that which grounds me
reflective insights come easily
seeing immense possibilities on the horizon
i have untapped abilities waiting to be discovered

Reblogs – Chris Hall & Rashmi Buragohain

These two pieces clearly show the juxtaposition between a life which is freely chosen and one which is not.

You dance for us too by Chris Hall

We watch you dance in the sunlight 
admiring your graceful fluidity 
your total abandonment 
to your art. 

We watch you dance from our windows 
confined inside, with limbs 
no longer able 
to obey. 

That freedom, which once was ours 
lives on, as we watch 
while you dance 
for us too. 

Barely Ten by Rashmi Buragohain
Featured on Masticadores USA 3/31/22

She was barely ten 
When she had to take 
Those seven steps around the fire 
With weary eyes 

She was barely ten 
When she stepped in that house 
With a toy of a doll 
Clasped in her hands 

She was barely ten 
When her toy was forgotten 
Lying somewhere in a corner 
Covered with dust 

She was barely ten 
When the ladle became her life 
To feed them all, but none to ask, 
«Where is your morsel, dear?» 

Deviant Bent

Redux
Originally published PhiloSusi 8/18/15 Accepted for the Smitten Anthology 10/18

Deviant Art

I don’t know what you like.
You don’t know what I like.

The head thinks it’s normal,
society thinks it’s wrong.
What you prefer feels delicious to you,
but exposing it is dangerous.

The Internet says it’s ok.
My friends say it’s ok.
I feel like it’s ok… privately.
But the judgment is real.

What’s right and what’s wrong?
Your inner circle doesn’t care.
Absorbed in your version of the unnatural,
it feels good.

But the outer structure is in control,
and pleasures stay hidden.
So back to reality now,
back to bland.

We’ll keep hiding in our world of normal.

Well, some of us.

2 Pieces Accepted for Wounds I Healed Anthology!!

Good news, first thing this morning! The upcoming anthology Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women notified me that my two pieces My Self Evolving and Loud, were selected! This highly anticipated anthology, edited by Gabriela Marie Milton (Short Prose) and published by Ingrid Wilson (Experiments in Fiction), debuts in early June 2022. I’m grateful they felt my thoughts spoke the message of this anthology—the power and boldness of strong women. Thank you so much, Gabriela and Ingrid.

Stay tuned for more information about its upcoming release!

Goutam Dutta

Autumn

Season of fall
Few fallen leaves cling to us…
We carry the memories. 

Lockdown during pandemic

Lockdown…
Hospital full of Corona patients
Empty local train. 

Re-opening post 2nd wave

Post lockdown….
Swimming towards morning walkers
Fishes at the lake. 

Twilight hues

Vibrant twilight hues…
The sky resplendent in pink
Conch shells herald dusk 

Riding through country roads

Swathe of green and blue
Hues bordering the road…
Traveller’s delight. 

Onset of Monsoon

Onset of monsoon…
Parched earth scans the horizon
Sweat oozes from pores. 

Onset of monsoon…
Blotch of black at horizon
Dance of the peacock.

Onset of monsoon…
Dark clouds come floating with breeze
Fingers type a poem. 

Onset of monsoon…
Hanging raindrops swing with breeze
Shades of grey all day.

~~~

Goutam is passionate about poetry and writes whenever something or someone touches his heart. His poetry finds space in a number of anthologies, including The Sound of Brilliance. Hues of Life (Notion Press) is another collection of his poetic works. Living in Kolkata, India, he can be reached at gdutta17@gmail.com Goutam was first featured in The Short of It on October 23, 2020.

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The Start Of An Adventure

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #228 & Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Sublime

he had me at the twinkle of his eyes
reaching for the right sentence
to convince, catching me in a stare

the flash of his smile
and the boyish charm wrapped up in this man
invited an enthusiastic engagement

coffee? sure
our like-minded language spanned hours
a request for more became a dinner date

sushi, then? sure
an adventure wrapped up in a wink
a chance meeting with a sublime creature led to more

Reblogs – Shanyu & Reena Saxena

Let the words fall out…

I am a poem by Shanyu

I came looking for a place to write upon your skin,
But it was far too gentle.
To hold the weight of my words.

I bought a sheet instead.

I went hunting for words in your precious smile,
But it hid pain far too vicious.
For me to even tame.

I bought a dictionary instead.

When I finally came looking for poetry in those lucid eyes,
Even the calm of your hazel dreams.
Jolted wide awake.

I could not buy a poem,
So I became one instead…

Escape from Oblivion by Reena Saxena

unspoken words
floating in steam
on coffee cups
trapped in prisons

eager to break
cages in air
and fly away
captured by keys

oblivion
-a richer space
with all that’s lost
in deep silence

thoughts thank the keys
on man-made boards
for shapes given
in expression