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Thursday, September 1, 2011

CLRI 2/4 September 2011

Editor's Line

Public Crusade Against Corruption

A great philosopher has said theories follow action. True. Days before Anna Hazare, a veteran social activist and Gandhian, started his pre-planned anshan1 for bringing a law against rampant corruption in the country, a good number of political parties sidelined themselves safe. Many even voiced against Anna’s agitation. They have the reservation that a law should be made in the Parliament only (so that the law comes to the Parliamentarians and they do what they want). They allege that law is not crafted in the streets (it risked becoming a stray law), it is crafted in the Parliament. Two, if some day another man sits on a similar anshan and agitates to bring a law of his choice, how the government can make laws based on such demands. Three, the government argues that if the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is brought about, it would run like a parallel government.

So before Anna began his anshan he was arrested by the Delhi police for precautionary measures and sent to the Tihar jail in Delhi. As soon as this news reached to the people, they came out on the streets voicing against Anna’s arrest and demanding his immediate release. Soon the movement gathered momentum and it became the movement of the people. They took Anna’s arrest as Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975, for which she is criticised even today.

Seeing the ever growing anguish against corruption and support to Anna in the streets—that streets grew in number day by day—the theory changed within few days. With their changed ideology, the language of the government also changed. Those parties and politicians who were questioning the very movement of Anna started supporting him, some even paid a visit to Anna at Ramlila Maidan where he was on fast unto death.

The intellectuals are showering high accolades on the crusade against corruption, they are saying this is the first time in free India history that the apolitical people have come out in such a large number. Till some time back, these very people were regarded uncared about any happening on the Indian political stage. They were accused of being reluctant to participating in voting during election, keeping themselves away from being part of any agitations, and were busy in enjoying the luxury that liberalism brought in for them.

Now even the government is meek. Earlier some politicians were attacking Anna harshly while now they are meek. Had Anna’s agitation failed as did Baba Ramdev’s, those who were vociferous against him would have gained deeper faith in their side. They might have shown such an agitation does not earn anything. But it is because the people—the middle class that comprises of the youth, intellectuals, and above all the taxpayers in general are in support of Anna’s cause. Now everyone seems to be against corruption and wants to support such a law that can eradicate corruption completely.

Hints: 1. Fast unto death

Terrorism has No Religion

No, there is no Islamic terrorism, there is no Christian terrorism, there is no Hindu terrorism. It does not exist. But some terrorists and terror organisations do certainly have a religious face. Any attack that has certain fundamental logics is the stereotype of “-ism” killing. If an individual (or an entity) claims to be a true believer of a faith, he clamours for a pan “-ism” world of his faith, does not like to share space with other believers, and carries on killing with a fascist approach, such a man is a terrorist and his mission is terrorism.

We often commit a mistake by being too fast in drawing the religion the terrorists follow than accusing them for their deeds. Also we find people divided, many others reject that these terrorists have a religion. But you cannot say that such a person is not a true believer if he belongs to a certain religion, and yet carries attack on innocent people. As to quote Joyce Dubensky, CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, that "millions of Muslims say Osama bin Laden is not a Muslim, that no one who believes in the prophet Muhammad commits mass murder." Likewise Bill O'Reilly said a similar thing on his Fox News show about Anders Behring Brevik, who killed over 90 people in Oslo, Norway in July 2011, "Breivik is not a Christian. That's impossible. No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder”.

This is simply because no one has the right to snatch one’s faith, it cannot be possible either. Not accepting the truth that terrorism has a religious face would be a blunder. So Osama bin Laden and Khalid Mohammad are Muslim terrorists, Sadhvi Sangya and Assemanand are Hindu terrorists, and Timothy McVeigh (the American Christian who killed 168 people in the bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995) and Anders Behring Brevik are Christian terrorists.  These people have almost the same feelings toward their own religions and others’ as well.

But the bigger question is whether we should say that a religion’s tenets promote terrorism. No, again. A religion never tends to promote terrorism or mass killing, whether it is Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism. So if Osama is a Muslim and terrorist, the entire Muslim community cannot bear the brunt of his misdeed, likewise all Hindus cannot be made infamous for Hindu terrorism, and the entire Christianity cannot be made responsible for Christian terrorism.

Moreover, it would be a great blunder to believe that the entire community sanctions terrorism as soon as we get an example of a terror attack by a believer. So a community should not be blamed for terrorism and should not be made a persecuted community. Rather it should be considered misinterpretation of their own faith by some handful individuals.

Typically such terrorists do not hesitate to kill their own fellow believers if their target fits. Many Muslim terrorist organisations have killed thousands of innocent Muslims, McVeigh and Brevik killed Christians in both the attacks, and yet they claim to be true believers of their respective religions.

CLRI 2/4 September 2011 Issue

Contemporary Literary Review: India (CLRI) is ever growing on popularity chart among readers and writers. Thanks to one and all! CLRI is soon releasing its half yearly Kindle edition. Keeping the growing popularity of CLRI, it is now planning to bring out the print version also. Both the CLRI Kindle edition and the CLRI print version would be half yearly issues for now, which would later turn into quarterly issues.

CLRI 2/4 September 2011 Issue presents some finest pieces such as poems by Richard Luftig, Lucas Wilson, Zachary Kluckman, Lisa John, a critical essay by Rigan Mazumdar, and artistic presentation of corruption in India by Ashish Chadda along with thought provoking editorials.

Khurshid Alam,
Editor, CLRI, September 2011.

Three Poems by Richard Luftig

Three Poems by Richard Luftig

About Face

her memory leaves
                   him without a trace of hope
of holding on day
                    to day. Pushing her away,
still the same as holding on

                     so tightly that rocks split
under the weight of moonlight
                      and trees impose
their will on the solitude
                      of a sky best left alone.

Chiaroscuro

“The perfection of art depends on the correct distribution of light and shade called chiaroscuro.”- Leonardo Di Vinci

For her, the darker shades
are always in the foreground
like those low-hanging clouds
that seem to crowd out the stars.
But there are times, so brief,
when some unexpected happiness,
so surprising,  appears like
background in a landscape,
here, a cut of sunlight, there, off
somewhere,  a brief ribbon of remembered
summer. But mostly it is winter
shadows, evening cold, the steady
crosshatching of his touch, his smell,
what’s left of his clothes still hanging
in the closet. These memories ranging
from black to gray to perhaps. Still,
though, a sure sign of progress.

Equations

These Buddhists,
finding the perfect
Zen; whatever is done
to one side must
happen for the other.
Here is the middle path,

the brotherly art
of negotiation,
renouncing power, never
taking sides. They have
reached the Nivana

of negative space,
that place of bliss achieved
through the balance
of adding by subtraction,
becoming, complete by
perfect compensation.

Author’s Bio: Richard Luftig is a professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio (US). He’s a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India. His third chapbook was published by Dos Madres Press. He can be reached at: luftigrl@muohio.edu.

Birthday Cake by Lucas Wilson

Birthday Cake by Lucas Wilson

Try me...
Lie with me...
Buy me.
Everything you see, you can take.
But not just my tangible flesh,
but also my innocence and confidence you break.
You steal my small lips,
my mouth that is fake,
painted red to make
me seem older than I actually am,
for your sake.
But really what I should be putting in my mouth...
Is the cake from my ninth birthday...
But hey, that's not what matters today;
all you want to do is lay, pay and go on your way—not to take care of this lonely girl
and give her not a diamond or a pearl or rubies...
But simply, perhaps, maybe, take me to the movies? An ice cream cone? A teddy bear?
But like I said,
you don't care.
You wear your business suit to cover up your skeletons hanging in your sport jacket,
not in the closet,
because instead that's where we fucking well had sex,
us two...
Oh sorry, did I offend you?
Because what shocks me more was that you were more disturbed by my speech being off-hand
than the fact that last night I was raped by some man.

Author’s Bio: Lucas Wilson, originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a college student in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has a keen interest in social justice and has been to Tanzania to do work with inner city youth and rural people groups. His hope is to be a high school teacher in inner city Toronto or Hamilton, Ontario after graduation. He wants to be a light in a dark place.

The piece Birthday Cake is about a nine year old child prostitute in the sex industry in South East Asia. Lucas sheds light on the fact that there is such a despicable reality in the world and hopes this piece will bring awareness to the subject.

The Idol Scandalized: Abnegation of the Lyrical India in Aravind Adiga’ s The White Tiger by Rigan Mazumdar

The Idol Scandalized: Abnegation of the Lyrical India in Aravind Adiga’ s The White Tiger 

Abstract 

The resounding ‘India Rising’ rhetoric receives an abrasive treatment in the hands of the America-educated Indian novelist Aravind Adiga. Unlike most Indian writers, in his first fictional endeavour The White Tiger, Adiga brings into question the authenticity of this much-vaunted slogan, in which his own voice as a disillusioned Indian is unmistakable. Corruption, both financial and moral, seems to Adiga an unsurpassable reality in the ‘New India’. This has made most Indians reluctant to compare what the promises were and what things actually are like. This essay tries to weigh the success as well as the limitations of The White Tiger, which could well be the starting point of a different string of Indian fiction.

The Idol Scandalized: Abnegation of the Lyrical India in Aravind Adiga’ s The White Tiger
 
…it (The White Tiger) portrays India in a very unconventional and unflattering way.
How would one account for the widespread reaction to Adiga’s first novel? Of course the Man Booker Prize is no small feat for a debutant novelist. But it can be said with some degree of assurance that the sensation it has created inside and outside India owes much to the fact that it portrays India in a very unconventional and unflattering way. Much of the great bulk of the established canon, some would like to call it an industry, of Anglo-Indian writing in recent years draws upon the intricacies and peculiarities of Indian culture. Adiga’s novel, too, is an attempt at unfolding it – the wonder that India is – but he accomplishes it in an utterly subversive way – by exposing the underbelly of its roaring economic go-ahead.
It will be very profitable to follow how markedly most Indians’ reaction to The White Tiger differs from that of most western critics. Michael Portillo, the chairman of the judges, considered The White Tiger as in many ways perfect. “It knocked my socks off,” said he. Portillo also hailed the novel for undertaking ‘an extraordinarily difficult task’–winning the reader’s sympathy for a hero who is little less than a thoroughly unpleasant villain, a man who is contaminated financially and sexually.1 (The Times. 15 October 2008)
Balram’s cynical, gleeful voice captures modern India: no nostalgic lyricism here, only exuberant reality.
Kate Saunders of The Times wrote “Balram’s cynical, gleeful voice captures modern India: no nostalgic lyricism here, only exuberant reality.” 2 (The Times. 01 May 2008). Deirdre Donahue of USA Today observed “ Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in decades. No hyperbole. This debut novel from an Indian journalist living in Mumbai hit me like a kick to the head…This is an amazing and angry novel about injustice and power.” 3 (USA Today. 23 April 2008).
…(The White Tiger is ) ‘an unfunny slog’
On the other hand Anjali Kapoor, an Indian freelance editor, said, “I used to hate Naipaul for talking contemptuously about India, about how cleaners mop the floor in restaurants by crouching and moving like crabs and all that talk about Indians defecating in the open. Adiga is the same, focusing on everything that is bad and disgusting.” 4 (Indians Fear Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger says too much About Them. www.telegraph.co.uk). The folk art expert Ritu Sethi put, “ I felt the book took us three decades back. It had every stereotype going in it. The BBC used to show nothing but cows on the roads for years. We’re back to that with his book.” 5  (Indians Fear Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger Says too much About Them. www.telegraph.co.uk). Another, author and playwright Manjula Padmanabhan of Outlook India, denounced it as ‘an unfunny slog’. She agrees that much of what has been written on India’s prosperity is fake and conceited, but “Is this schoolboyish sneering the best that we can do?” 6  she asks. (Outlook India, 05 May 2008).
…Adiga’s style is his unflinching gift for irreverence.
One refreshing thing about Adiga’s style is his unflinching gift for irreverence. His excoriating treatment ruthlessly breaks the halo about the various credos Indians pride in entrepreneurship, education, religion. The following passages are illuminating:
“Apparently, sir, you Chinese are far ahead of us in every respect, except that you don’t have entrepreneurs. And our nation, though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality, does have entrepreneurs. Thousands and thousands of them.” 7  (The White Tiger. Harper Collins. page 4).
“It’s true that all these gods seem to do awfully little work – much like our politicians –and yet keep winning reelection to their golden thrones in heaven, year after year…How quickly do you think you could kiss 36,000,004 arses?” 7 (Ibid. pages 8-9).
“No!-Mr.Jiabao, I urge you not to dip in the Ganga, unless you want your mouth full of faeces, straw, soggy parts of human bodies, buffalo carrion, and seven different kinds of industrial acids.” 7 (Ibid. page 15)
“Open our skulls, look in with a penlight, and you’ll find an odd museum of ideas: sentences of history or mathematics remembered from school textbooks (no boy remembers his schooling like one who was taken out of school, let me assure you), Sentences about politics read in a newspaper while waiting for someone to come to an office, triangles and pyramids seen on the torn pages of the old geometry textbooks which every tea shop in this country uses to wrap its snacks in, bits of All India Radio news bulletins, things that drop into your mind, like lizards from the ceiling, in the halfhour before falling asleep – all these ideas, half-formed and half-digested and halfcorrect, mix up with other half-cooked ideas in your head, and I guess these half-formed ideas bugger one another, and make more half-formed ideas, and this is what you act on and live with.” 7 (Ibid. pages 10-11)
Adiga also caricatures ‘the world’s largest democracy’ by equaling villagers bantering about local elections with ‘eunuchs discussing the Kama Sutra’.
…it’s (The White Tiger) not an attack on the country, it’s about the greater process of self-examination.
It seems hard to contend that there was any calculated didacticism behind this story. Of course it is not a morality story that he intends to tell us, neither is it a rags-to- riches telltale. Such broad categories of issues as gender, religion, ethnicity in a multicultural country like India dwell only on the fringes of the novel and there is no attempt at doctrinizing on these subjects. But it is interesting at the same time to note that Adiga does assign himself a great task in writing this story. Adiga tells Stuart Jeffries, “ At a time when India is going through great changes, and, with China, is likely to inherit the world from the west, it is important that writers like me try to highlight the brutal injustices of society. That’s what writers like Flaubert, Balzac and Dickens did in the 19th century and, as a result, England and France are better societies. That’s what I’m trying to do – it’s not an attack on the country, it’s about the greater process of self-examination.” 8 (Interview with Stuart Jeffries. The Guardian.Thursday.16 October 2008).
…nationalism has been reduced to an opportunistic rhetoric at the hands of the rulers…
So it appears that Adiga is aware of what he is trying to do while embarking on this novel – bettering his society; but he does not try to do it the way a nationalist or even an ostensibly patriotic writer would try to do. And this is where his mission baffles our effort to read his novel as a postcolonial text. This is rather a self-deprecating mockery of what nationalist Asian Tiger rhetoric of the rulers tries to establish, because nationalism, the predominant ideology of the 17th to 20th centuries, wears thin at the advent of the 21st century. Who sings the nation state in the age of economic globalization? It would require the greatest of naives to not see the fact that nationalism has been reduced to an opportunistic rhetoric at the hands of the rulers to serve a vested interest group. One does not have to ride aboard ideological bandwagons to grasp this reality.
Yes, the middle class can afford to remain liberal…
Surprisingly, Adiga also believes that the Indian middle class is mostly liberal in its approach to anything that examines the status quo in Indian society9 (interview with Stuart Jeffries. The Guardian. Thursday. 16 October 2008). Yes, the middle class can afford to remain liberal or at least indifferent as long as the indictment is coming from one of their own class, not necessarily forging anything detrimental to their existence as a privileged class. At the personal level even some of the rich at times may and do exhibit some regard for basic humanity, which is depicted in the apparent sanctimony of Ashok, Balram’s America-educated employer, as he sometimes appears to feel the prick of conscience at the abuses inflicted upon his chauffeur-cum-domestic aid. But whenever it comes to a question of privilege, it takes no time for the master to compromise with morality. His being the master itself bestows upon him this advantage. We cannot mistake that it was Ashok who made Balram agree to shoulder the blame for his wife’s hit-and-run car accident. The incident is disturbingly reminiscent of an Indian filmstar’s driving over a pedestrian a few years back. This only leaves the impression that the rich in India can and do commit crimes with impunity; all they need to do is lubricate the proper palms.
…Adiga does not preach revolution.
One comforting thing, then, for the establishment could be the fact that going so far as exposing the moral bankruptcy of the privileged class, Adiga does not preach revolution. The freedom his protagonist manages to win for himself is far from anything cataclysmic in the social scale. Because he, too, profits from moral ambiguity and outright criminality, as one critic puts it. Balram dares clinically postulate the rules of the game in the urban jungle: “Kill enough people and they will put up bronze statues to you near Parliament House in Delhi, but it’s not glory that I’m after. All I wanted was the chance to be a man – and for that, one murder is enough.”
We are left wondering what the twist of his personal fortune effects in the order of things: doesn’t it create yet another thug in the urban confusion of Bangalore? As it is seen in the closing pages of the novel, Balram himself learns to work the system to his personal ends. And this is where the novel seems to fall short of its ambitions. But this is also where Adiga’s contention marks a substantial departure from John Steinbeck’s classic tale The Grapes of Wrath, which Adiga cites as one of his favourite novels. This may have prompted Tony D’Souza, The Washington Post critic, to observe that “The White Tiger offers something less than it might have achieved.” 10 (The Washington Post.08 June 2008). The point is not that Adiga fails to find anything gratifying in poverty, but the fact that Balram’s escapades in the urban jungle of Bangalore leaves the lesson that poverty and oppression create only demons, and he himself is just such a demon. While Steinbeck believed that “repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed”, that’s why Jim Casey talks about “workin’ together”; Adiga overrules altogether the possibility of anyone coming nearer: An Indian revolution? No, sire. It won’t happen. People in this country are still waiting for the war of their freedom to come from somewhere else – from the jungles, from the mountains, from China, from Pakistan. That will never happen. Every man must make his own Benaras. The book of your revolution sits in the pit of your belly, young Indian. Crap it out, and read. Instead of which, they’re all sitting in front of color TVs and watching cricket and shampoo advertisements.(page 304, HarperCollins edition). For Adiga “The system is beginning to deteriorate but it remains. It will remain, but with higher levels of crime and lower levels of security… the middle class is becoming more insecure than before because it is richer now and has more to lose.” 11(Interview with Lee Thomas. Email. March 2009).
To the critical cliché as to the aptness of a writer with a background like his for writing about the Indian poor, Adiga does not say that the subaltern cannot speak, as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak famously put, that someone from without has to ventriloquise their sufferings. He, rather, senses a growing hunger among Indians for neo-realist fiction, a craving for different stories. He says the same appetite exists in the film industry as well. He, therefore, finds it a fitting business for writers like him to speak for the disenfranchised.
But, the question persists, can Adiga’s ‘new realism’ hypothesis be taken for granted for what he has to say about India? In other words, could it be possible that Adiga just exploits the ‘poverty’ theme to gratify his own literary ambitions? It is only obvious that analogies have been drawn between Adiga’s fictional endeavour and Danny Boyle’s potboiler Hindi movie Slumdog Millionaire. With some really disgusting scenes, for example young Ismail’s obtaining Amitabh Bachchan’s autograph, the film has been condemned by many Indian critics as merely selling ‘poverty porn’. They suspect that under the mask of all its social babbles Adiga’s novel is another such catchpenny. But this accusation does not flabbergast Adiga. He says, “The way the Indian elite has reacted to Slumdog Millionaire and The White Tiger – with hostility – proves to me the fundamental accuracy of both works. Both are ultimately mild, middle-class critiques of the state of things in our country. If the elite cannot swallow either of this, if they react with such naked fury to works that question their right to rule India, then this can only be a sign of trouble ahead.” 11 (Interview with Lee Thomas)
Obviously, one widespread allegation against Adiga has been that his portrayal of India readily panders to the western prejudices against this rising power of Asia. It makes many Indians feel indignant as it manifestly aims at bringing to the forefront the fundamental injustices underlying the collective euphoria of the Indian middle class. This undeniably tends to gratify the ‘othering’ tendency of the Occident. But it is a self-deceiving notion, maintains Adiga. He, on the contrary, brings into question the navel-gazing preoccupations of the Indians over the so-called uniting social institutions as religion and family: “the family ties get broken or at least stretched when anonymous, un-Indian cities like Bangalore draw people from the villages. These really are the new tensions of India, but Indians don’t think about them. The middle-classes especially think of themselves still as victims of colonial rule. But there is no point any more…India and China are too powerful to be controlled by the west any more…”8 he tells Stuart Jeffries (Ibid).
Questions have been raised about Adiga’s narrative technique…
Questions have been raised about Adiga’s narrative technique as well. Adiga does not appear to have adequately exploited the premise for his narrative form – the epistolary novel, as he designs the novel in the form of seven letters, presumably unacknowledged, to the Chinese Prime Minister, who is poised to visit India in a few days. The narrative perspective also – Adiga uses the first person narrative – has drawn critical dissension. For many of the adventurous generalizations that the ‘half baked’ Balram Halwai makes, a third person omniscient narrator would be ideally fitting. The ‘half formed’ protagonist’s occasional reflections on the poetry of Rumi and Iqbal also sound a little too hard pressed.
How far Adiga’s success is that of a sociologist or a political commentator, thanks to his journalistic background, and how much of it is that of an artist does remain a question. It may not be a perfect debut product, but the overwhelming response he has drawn testifies that he has managed to touch very raw nerves; there can be no denying that fact.
Reference:
  1. The Times. 15 October 2008.
  2. The Times. 01 May 2008.
  3. USA Today. 23 April 2008.
  4. Indians Fear Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger says too much about them. www.telegraph.co.uk. 18 October 2008.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Outlook India. 05 May 2008.
  7. The White Tiger. Harper Collins.2008.
  8. Roar of anger. Interview with Stuart Jeffries. The Guardian. Thursday. 16 October 2008.
  9. Ibid.
  10. The Washington Post.08 June 2008.
  11. Interview with Lee Thomas. E-mail. March 2009.
  12. Francisco Chronicle. 27 April 2008.
Bibliography:
  1. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck. The Viking Press. 1939.
  2. Can the Subaltern Speak? Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (1988). Edit. Lary Nelson & Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  3. Who Sings the Nation State? Judith Butler & Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Seagull Books. Oxford 0 X 4 1 A W, UK. 2007. 
  4. Slumdog Millionaire. Vikas Swarup. Harper Collins. Canada. 2010. 
  5. Slumdog Millionaire (Film). Director: Danny Boyle. Distributor: Pathe Pictures (UK), Warner Bros. Pictures (US). Release Date: 12 Nov 2008 (US), 09 Jan 2009(UK).

Two Poems by Zachary Kluckman

Two Poems by Zachary Kluckman

Tracking the Kites

I argued against the bar codes
but you insisted their need for forehead adornment.
You prevailed.

Now our children are lost.

Your insistence was based
on the resurgence of men with political goals,
the disquieting needs of deviance.

We lost them to your diligence.

The salt tang of summer sweat
in their eyes, they became sailors of wind.
Made trees boughs
into sails, unfurling skinny

arms, embracing the wind
with parted lips and the long lungs of the sky.
Carried away
despite your awkward protests,

fruit does not cling to the tree.
Our children, aware of well intentioned paranoia
saw their parents
as a burden of eyes and watches,

a guardhouse for a mother.
A father’s instincts turned up above tiger.
Their wish a freedom
from protections.

The river is not bothered
by thunder, but the stones we place mid-
stream to cross over
forgetting the feel of the water.

Choke the Dust Shouldered Ghosts

Warehouse your tongue like linens
in a mouthful of worries.
Swallow dust shouldered ghosts,
waiting for something more than thin apologies,
witless with brief bright intentions.
Gone thin with the effort to smile,
to remember when sweat meant dancing naked
with her swollen breasts loose among the shadows.
His hornet hands stung her flowered stomach.
Never let her thighs escape his savage dreams.
Torn dress becoming insect wings under bully hands.
Neon purple bruising shoulder bone and clavicle.
Outside the throat choking city streets screaming
mosquitos become brownstone butterflies.
Dirty city, dirty children drink from rain gutters.
The moments of silence sit heavy between them.
Haunch heavy heels glisten with
dreams of scarlet thread heavy horizons.
The window in her throat allowing the stain,
the shadows puppeting her eyes. 
His fear became her armor, wet with blood.
How many bricks did it take
for the ground to accept his deadly weight?
With his hands in his pockets, her crying,
carry the flag of her knees up past her eyes
stricken with pledges to recall the fallen
but quietly             quietly.

Author’s Bio: Zachary Kluckman is the Spoken Word Editor for Pedestal Magazine, Associate Editor for The Journal of Truth and Consequence, Director of the Albuquerque Slam Poet Laureate Program and a founding member of the Albuquerque Poetry Festival. His poetry appears in print and on the radio around the world. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his recent publications include The New York Quarterly, Memoir (and) and Cutthroat among others. When he is not untangling string cheese, Kluckman is hard at work on a new manuscript titled “S(he) Doesn’t Exist…”

An Artistic Presentation of India Chained in Corruption

An Artistic Presentation of India Chained in Corruption by Ashish Chadda


Concept: India Heavily Chained in Corruption

Artist: Ashish Chadda is in an IT professional who sees India chained down in corruption, which has made it limp in one leg and the head is hanging down in shame.

Three Poems by Lisa John


Three Poems by Lisa John

Love Letters

To my one and true love,
Who will not love me back.
I will not give up,
Till your heart no longer black.
I’ll wait till you’re ready,
To say how you feel.
I will not give up
For my heart you did steal.
Why don’t you love me,
I just don’t understand,
Why my heart
You refuse to unhand.
I have told you one; too many times,
That my love for you is unconditional
That my love for you will never be undone
But your hatred for me is immense
And your love for me is...
Well there is none...

Goodbye (I still love you)

I never got to say goodbye
Or even show you how I feel
I never got to tell you
That my heart you did steal
I never got the chance to say
How wonderful you were
Everything happened so fast
To me it’s still a blur.
I knew you loved me deeply
And for that I’m truly grateful
But you left so suddenly
The memory is still painful
But now I know the truth
And my confidence; well it grew
So from the bottom of my heart
I loved you too

After math

It’s been years
Since my heart broke
But it still isn’t mending
It’s been years since you left me
But the darkness; it’s still descending

Co’s when you left so did half my heart
So my chest feels unbearably empty
And you haven’t come back
So my chest remains empty

My mind trapped in the past
Replaying our last moments together
Still working hard to find out
Why we didn’t stay entwined forever

My arms are so weak
As they try to reach out for you
But you’re not here remember
So my arms they ache too

So you left my heart empty
And you left my mind trapped
You left my arms aching
But you left my soul cracked

Author’s Bio: 12 year old Lisa John attends Kingsford Communtiy School in Beckton London and had been writing poetry since she was 10. Her first poem she wrote was called Willow tree and since has been published in 'young writers poetry book' after she won a competition. Now Lisa has written an estimated 30 poems and still carries on writing. She hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

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