The Irony of the Pacific Ocean
For Liu Xiaobo
You imprisoned me for my words.
For calling dark nights dark, dark
times dark, spade a spade, gutter a gutter.
For identifying the bloodied sun scarring dawn.
Prison, that wet, clingy thing around
my throat, had to yield to death, my death.
Doors that shut words in had to be flung open
to let the big word in – ‘he, who must not be named’.
And to let in the winds blowing from lost corners of my land.
My death is an empty chair. The peace of Nobel stares at it.
My wife stares at it. I stare at it. It ransacks the dreams
of exiled artists in Berlin, rummages into their colour tubes.
Demands to be painted and hoed into walls.
Freedom is tiredness. A bone crushing fatigue
that makes my body feel as though it’s a sack of hacked desires.
A game I play with myself. All my moves wrong.
And then I feel the burn. Freedom is fire.
A blaze. A flame connecting the dots of severed heads.
A chant streaming across borderless skies.
Freedom is me—destroyed in the liver but whole in the heart.
Freedom is what my ashes sing as they kiss the Pacific Ocean
emptied from a copper urn at Dalian Port.
Vinita Agrawal an award winning poet and writer. Recipient of the Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence, USA, 2015, her poems have appeared in Asiancha, Constellations, The Fox Chase Review, Pea River Journal, Open Road Review, Stockholm Literary Review, Poetry Pacific, Mithila Review and over a 100 other national and international journals. For more, visit www.vinitawords.com
Poets don’t quit; they pass on the baton
mourn your murder
when an empty chair
lights up still
in the periphery of my
As the far east sun
across the weave of its
worn out seat,
I can hear it breathe
tale after tale
of storms it fought
through exiled nights.
The wood- chipped off.
Yet I know, it is willing
to bear my weight
as I sit on its
turn into you.The war isn’t over.
The chair’s not empty.
Ananya Chatterjee is a poet and member of Poetry Paradigm, Kolkata. She was longlisted for the 2016 RL Poetry Award. Author of 3 books of poetry, Ananya is a senior software professional with Oracle, India.
Resistance, in memoriam Liu Xiaobo
It shows how all that meditation in the deserts
Peter Cowlam, writer and critic. Brief stint as commissioning editor saw two issues of The Finger, a journal of politics and culture. His last novel, Who’s Afraid of the Booker Prize?, won the 2015 Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction. Latest novel is Across the Rebel Network. Poems forthcoming in Fulcrum. Poems, short stories have appeared in The Battersea Review, Literary Matters, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Four Quarters Magazine, The Liberal.