In This Garden by Almond Syiem

In this garden they do not grow flowers.
Here is earth tarnished by blood, soil mixed
with flesh that returned to an earthy residence,
and the family chanting and encircling a mass grave
is only lamenting for a loved one who had lost an appeal
to live. After all these years, the blood has not lost
its voice and it speaks to a forgetting world.

In this school they do not teach children. In these sad rooms
is only an education from a time of ideological madness,
a twisted algebra to produce of new way of living,
a season when the final screams of those gunned by red fire
were muffled by blaring music so that the neighborhood
would not hear.

In this memorial there is only one honor. It is the honor
of skulls resting with each other, an integral silence
that remembers human cruelty, eyes in empty sockets
that once pled for mercy. We try hard to imagine and fail,
we perspire beneath the blue Cambodian sky, and we click
our pictures, ready to move on to our world of plastic dreams
and fleeting memories.

But these are my cousins of a related tongue, relatives
from a historic time. They say thousands of setting suns ago,
our forefathers walked twelve years to reach these soggy hills
of cloudy waterfalls, of wild berries, pines and shrieking thunderstorms.
They called this place home, determined to explore and inhabit,
cultivate and reproduce, not knowing how decadent we would
turn out to be. But on the banks of the Mekong today, old women
dance with the young, shops wake up to the crowd and the music,
and everyone is trying not to think of the mines that still blow up
now and then.

In this garden there is no hatred. Only the silent regret of trees
whose trunks were used to bash infant heads, excruciating
memories in black and white, children behind fences begging
for dollars, a middle-aged woman in a little shop selling postcards,
artifacts and films retelling the sad history of this recovering country.


Almond Syiem loves to write songs and poetry. His works have appeared in several journals and magazines including Indian Literature and The New Welsh Review. He recently brought out an e-book, Sleepless, which showcases a few of his poems set to stunning photography by Tim Wallis. You can find Almond’s blog, here.

A Dream and a Wish

Over the weekend I watched a rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Mid-summer Night’s Dream.” It made me think about the beauty of a dream. How fluid they are and how they happen even when we’re unaware. Dreams are the way our minds shuffle reality into some form of sense for the morning.

Have you ever had a dream that you couldn’t shake the next morning? One that held you in its grips through the day? This week’s poetry prompt is to write about a dream that feels entirely real for whomever is the dreamer. Have fun with it.

Write your poem and link it to this post or share it in the comments. Remember any poems linked up to this post will be considered for this year’s anthology. Submissions are now open. Happy writing!

A Little Love from Nothing

So last week we gave you thirteen romantic words and then asked you not to write us a romantic poem. It can be challenging to make words we normally associate with certain emotions work the other way around for us. In the same spirit of opposites attract, here are thirteen more words.

They aren’t romantic, but we want romance from you. Take these words and make us feel the love.

Remember to share the prompt and that every poem linked up for the week will be considered for this issue of the magazine. Submissions are now open, so send in your best work!
1. apathy
2. animosity
3. indifference
4. disdain
5. hatred
6. merciless
7. cowardice
8. fear
9. disloyal
10. lie
11. fake
12. broken
13. misery

Inner Space Odyssey by Martha Magenta

I wish to be free from the heavy weight
of guilt, and shadows of sin and hate.
Slave to desire, I see I’m weak.
Escape is not the flight I seek.

On the edge of the abyss I meditate,
and know I must begin a great
journey of the inner soul,
the only way to become whole.

My inner space odyssey begins,
as I am drawn deep within –
an inward journey where I’ll find
jewels in the monolith of the mind.

I feel a pull I can’t resist
to where time ceases to exist.
Everything becomes a void.
All I know has been destroyed.

I feel a sense of peace instill,
as the empty void begins to fill
with all the scattered parts of me,
and broken pieces of humanity.

I am the sentinel of my mind,
that only a dissident can find.
I am all parts of infinity,
stretching through eternity.

Deeper, I’m drawn into the depths,
creating energy with my breath.
I see Venus, Jupiter and Mars…
and…Oh… my God it’s full of stars!


Martha Magenta is a poet who resides in England. She has been writing poetry for over three years. Her poems focus on a wide variety of topics and issues including: love, loss, inner discovery, spirituality, Buddhism, and meditation, environment abuse and violence against women. She parleys political propaganda and sheds light on concepts such as freedom and patriotism. You can find Martha’s blog, here.

Valentine’s Day without the Valentines

It’s back. Hearts. Flowers. Chocolate. More couples than you knew existed skipping their way out of the woodwork. Hallmark’s cash register chiming cha-ching! It’s February and the Valentines are letting their red and pink shine.

Let’s try something a little different in honor of this holiday for lovers. I’m going to give you a list of lucky number 13 words associated with Valentine’s Day. I want you to write about anything but romance. Non-romance poem, heavy in romantic words. Try to use all of the words. I think you can totally rock this challenge.

Remember to always bring more people to the party. You may not be in love with Valentine’s Day, but share the love with your friends anyway.

Remember any poems linked up to this post will be considered for this year’s anthology. Happy writing!

  1. heart
  2. teddy
  3. ring
  4. partner
  5. date
  6. romance
  7. affection
  8. rose
  9. committed
  10. spark
  11. passion
  12. whispers
  13. love
    romance

Ulysses by Gary Tribble

Artist: Joby Dorr

Artist: Joby Dorr

As no one tied me to the mast.
I dove in headlong, swiftly swimming
To the nearby stony shore;
And there was dashed against the rocks.

Tossed by churning waters
Back and forth, in frothy foam,
Drawn by voices indistinct,
Disjointed, stretched in violence.

Disoriented where the waves fell
Hard on boulders’ jagged edges.
Lost — my former goal, my purpose —
In this great new urgent need — survival.

Where are now my boon companions
Whom I should have charged to bind me?
How had I abandoned them,
And let my yearning overwhelm

All my training, all my wisdom,
What experience had shown
Must inevitably follow
Following my yearning heart?

Now I strive to make some sense of
Where I am, of what confronts me
How to exercise control of
All my strength, establish bearings

That will let me choose a handhold,
Hold a jagged edge of boulder
Flexibly, just long enough
To thrust myself up free of swirling,

Tossing forces that would dash me
To disjointed pieces if I
Let them overwhelm my strength,
My purpose, vision, goals — my future.

Now above the cliff, surveying
What my strength has won for me.
Calm, reflecting on my struggle,
Turn and set my foot ahead.


Dedicated to Michael S. Tribble, who wears Ulysses on his arm.

Lost in the Darkness | Prompt

Some of you may noticed the prompt was…well,…not here yesterday.

I am so very blessed to be living in the affected area of what everyone seems to be calling “snowacopolyse.” I’d laugh at the absurdity of it, but I’m on day three of having my children home from school and it’s just not funny anymore.

We had a power outage yesterday that left us spending quality time together in the glow of so many candles it looked like we were mourning the dead or performing a demonic incantation.

So in light of our darkness, I want you to write about the darkness.

Make it your theme, use the word, talk about light in the darkness…Whatever inspires you, let the darkness guide it!

Remember to link up by posting in the comments below or linking back to this post. All poems submitted for the prompt will be considered for this year’s magazine. Happy writing!