Daily Archives: March 11, 2018

IRAQ: DOHUK: YAZIDI, by Jude Cowan Montague

I am not a silent poet

Children who fight still have to learn
when they return from Daesh.

Crayons, drawings of tanks, flags and guns
on white paper, grab pink and brown and draw car bombs.
Yeah, give me, shouting. Polite voices of children,
playing nicely drawing purple, blue legs,
attached to the square torso, black hair and beards,
I don’t know – family or fighters, or what?
Psychotherapist Qassim show us, show us.

Shaking and jumping, outside,
when you get older, girls grow white dresses
and gold coins that bang on their headdresses,
In a playground cluster giggling, with care
they adjust the younger boy’s red and white scarf,
maybe saying, ‘he is so cute.’

Sitting in class, drawn in eyebrows,
eyes down at the paper, thinking and listening
to the teacher’s shouting, your green eyes see –
– what do they see? – what do I see?
Did the camera operator choose you

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Yemen Open House, by Jude Cowan Montague

I am not a silent poet

Bakeel heard the rocket inside the house,
last night.

Today is the day of carnage.

Houses have been opened by bombs
A blasted tree leans on the edge of the house
sprouting branches, steel rods,
the reinforcing concrete prods the azure sky, aimless.

Poor old walls, proud of your white diamonds.
Even now they look good. For now,
everyone’s moving, carrying mattresses,
but this is only temporary.

There were no Houthis here.
Just women, just children. Bakeel will tell you.

We will be back because otherwise
others take what’s ours from under this beautiful blue,
our land, we have to return,
we will rebuild our own house right here
or they’ll make us pay.
They always make you pay.
You have to fight to keep land.
The preciousness of soil.
Even this rubble is full of our souls.
This is our home, know
the fattest bombs won’t take it.


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Pruning (They Call it FGM), by Marvel Chukwudi Pephel

I am not a silent poet

Papa looks at his girl and says:
“You are a girl, you are delicate,
You are a flower and must be taken care of.”
So he sanctions her pruning:
Cut! Cut!! Cut!!!
Organic fluid drips in painful drops,
The joy of a backward-looking tradition.
On the floor she lays, counting stars at noon.
And then, at sunset,
The flower feels the sun retiring underneath her.
And the flower is abandoned;
Abandoned to take care of herself.


Marvel Chukwudi Pephel is a prolific Nigerian writer who writes poems, short stories and other things besides. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New African Poets 2016 Anthology, Jellyfish Whispers, High Coupe, Praxis Magazine for Arts and Literature, The Avocet, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Pyrokinection, The Kalahari Review, African Writer, The Naked Convos, PIN Quarterly Journal, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, amongst others. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Quality Poets Competition. He…

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Jaguarundi, Santa Ana Refuge in the Age of Trump by Myron Scott

I am not a silent poet

I crouch, a darkness in the dark
……trees. The trees have claws like mine.
……They do not cut me; my deft feet, my
……hairs like sensors protect me.

I climb the dark trees in the blue light
……at dusk and before dawn. Most days
……I hunt by day, from the shadows,
……to eat, to live; not just to kill.

Most days the two-legs come quietly, just
……looking for green jay and yellow
……kiskadee. They never see me, I’m
……quick and quiet; but I see them.

But today they came many and loud.
……They tied red cloths to my trees. They
……dug holes in the ridge that holds
……the waters. I left early, to hunt.

Tonight, my trees are gone, dead on the
……ground. I know the two-legs killed them.
……Now a wall rises too high for

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FOR THE RECORD & Doctors Without Borders, by Stefanie Bennett

I am not a silent poet

You’ll understand
That enough
Is enough
When the stars
Climb down
From the labarum’s *
Of change
It bare
Like a hole
In the heart
Of darkness…
[* Syrian flags, labarums, also
conflict via their star numbers]
Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee]
Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry,
a novel & a libretto & worked with [no nukes] Arts Action
For Peace. She supports Doctors Without Borders.

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Miscommunication, by Maya Horton

I am not a silent poet

You think she thinks you’re stupid
and that she’s always mocking you.

So, take the time to point out her flaws,
correct her errors. Bring her down a peg.

That stupid bitch has got it coming,
thinking herself so much better than you.

Just look at all the mistakes she makes!
Remind her how often she screws up.

It’s not as if she was abused for years.
It’s not as if each moment of her life

has been lived as an outsider, facing
hatred, rejection. It’s not as if

she admired you, looked up to you,
thought you wonderful, longed for your praise.

Not like she’s afraid to express herself
and so communicates in awkward jokes.

It’s not as if your coldness cuts
deeper than any other knife she’s known.

Not like she’s crying in a corner,
believing herself unworthy, unwanted.

Nah. She definitely thinks you’re stupid,
and is always…

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Free Woman, by Ingrid Bruck

I am not a silent poet

After Langston Hughes
Let America be America again,
Where sheiks turn the firehouse into a temple
Where wearing a turban won’t get you shot
And a man slapped to the floor doesn’t get his ribs kicked
Let America be America again
A science museum turned into a classroom where Chinese artisans craft
Where visiting the zoo isn’t for the bear eating the preacher
And that preacher ain’t no geek in the corner wearing a dunce cap
Let America be America again,
Where children sleek as rabbits climb the jungle gym
Hang upside down on monkey bars,
Walk balanced on top of a fence rail
Slight and slim, they run its length unafraid of falling 
As I once did on a fallen oak over a stream
Let America be America again,
Where a girl jeered by boys as a…

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