Poetry by Tezozomoc, Jude Alexzander , Leanne Neill and Ankush Banerjee

Tezozomoc is a Los Angeles Chicano Poet and 2009 Oscar Nominated Activist and has been published in the following journals: The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles Paperback (ISBN: 9781882688524, Northwestern University Press, 2016),  Men’s Heartbreak Anthology (Karineh Mahdessian, 2014).   Tezozomoc has an academic chapter in Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements: A Decolonial Reader Edited by Devon G. Peña, Luz Calvo, Pancho McFarland, and Gabriel R. Valle ISBN: 978-1-68226-036-4, “Chapter 11 Fragmentary Food Flows: Autonomy in the “Un-signified” Food Deserts of the Real”.  Winner, 2018 ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) Book Award, Edited Volume. Tezozomoc has published essays in Urban Future Manifestos produced by the MAK Center (2010, ISBN 978-3-7757-2731-0).  Tezozomoc’s work also includes academic essays on Nahuatl indigenous languages please see the following:http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/TIL_7.html which was published as chapter in Teaching Indigenous Languages, 1997.

Tototl itech nomai
(Nahuatl: Bird in the hand)

The early bird may get the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese. –Jeremy Paxman

It was after the 1992 LA uprisings
that the community of South Central Los Angeles
came together to start the largest community farm;
it was located at 41st and Alameda;
just 3 miles west of LA City Hall.

It was 14 acres of a dump;
the mere leftover unused architecture;
strewn with hallowed bodies and remains
of shrivelled memories.

If the quasi-pseudo-gaussian noise of the system;
of the built oasis; is the mammalian Rattus norvegicus
or city rat; then we are the roaches that scatter
when surveilled by the gaze of the imperium.

The Homo-Periplaneta-Americana
the cockroach people that interrupt
the normative chain of extraction;
interrupt the transmission of the
proscriptive narrative edict
justifying the “take”;
the cockroach that soils
the half “Natalie” salad
with baby kale and Feta cheese.

We are the uninvited dinner guest;
the unsilenceable noise interrupting
the social narrative
interrupting the American Dream/Nightmare.

The roach people that give
and are prevented from taking;
against the social discourse of
social loafing.

The water roaches that are attracted by
heat and food, and blood and bile;
wanting to socially lick the
the unreacheable paleo dish
the Atkins carb-ed out
processed narcissism.

We are those people
who grow our own food
cause we could not position
ourselves in the proper place
of the “wolf’s game”;
the ultimate sovereign game
where who lives and dies
is decided by political gerrymandering.

We are the ones who
answer when the
artists from little tokyo lofts
come and interrogate
our parents about what kind of
birds inhabited the farm.

One day a fine young hipster
came to ask my father;
a cockroach farmer; with
very little English; and of course
I always ended-up being the interpreter
to the dominant world.

What certain birds were called in Spanish.
What do you call that bird that likes to perch on cars
and license plates?
He would look to me and say, “dile que se llama
el pajaro que me a placas.” I would say the bird that urinates
on license plates.

They say that bird over there is called the racist bird, why?
“Dile que se llama el pajaro que me aprietas”
It is the bird that urinates on minorities.

What do you call the bird that likes to wear
tennis shoes… .
Dile que se llama “el pajaro consuelas”
The shoed bird.

Which is the bird that is considered magical?
Dile le que, “el pajaro que te encanta”
The bird that enchants you.

Which is the bird with the most manners?
Dile le que, “el pajaro que se para pa’ que te sientes”
The bird that that gives up its seat.

Which is the bird most hated by poets?
Dile al pendejo que es, “el pajaro que mea rimas”
It is the bird that urinates on rhymes.

Such was the work of the
cockroach people
the rat people being
called to service the wolf
at the end of the predation chain;
being asked to jump-in
the dinner remains that needed to be
devoured and soiled;
the catalysts of food,
messages, interruptions,
entertainers, and
expected to clean
the 1st mouse and the second cheese.

 

 

Jude Alexzander studied English at Aberdeen University and has worked as a teacher among other things. She now writes poetry and short fiction in her spare time Her poetry has recently been featured in Lagan Online: Poetry Day Ireland Mixtape Vol. 2. Jude lives outside Belfast with her very tolerant husband and a motley assortment of rescue animals.

 

Perhaps (Mar Dhea)

Once upon a time, I moved back home,
After years Away-
Quite by accident, I assure you.
Now time and again,
Auld Wans will lean in to ask
“Well so, now, are ye settled?
Daughter, are ye happy here?”
The “Yes…” seems to be assumed
Before the question has even landed-
Jarring and inevitable,
Like the daily Ryanair from Over the Water.
But it’s not so simple-
For God forbid anything on this
Sainted isle should ever be so
Sinful as to be straightforward.
‘Tis a miserable, wet, cauld place-
Ye’d not be long Gettin’ Frostbit-
Unless Will Grigg is still on fire.
But, sure, never worry about the immersion,
Or democracy and equal rights-
Big Arlene has the boilers running anyhow.
Ach, sure we’ll be grand,
For there has been
A jar of poitín
At the back of the hall cupboard,
Since before the dinosaurs
Faked their own deaths and
Devolved to become politicians.
Now wheest and eat your sassidge rolls
And take your brown lemonade-
But mind which fleg you wipe your mouth on-
And don’t forget to always say your prayers:
“Now God save us from
The Ra and the Pope-
And Blessèd Virgin protect us
From the ghost of King Billy
Hiding under our beds!”
And so still the Auld Wans ask
“Daughter, are ye happy here?”
And I always say “Perhaps”.
For I’ve enough sins under my belt-
And God forbid I should err,
Betray my heritage,
And give a straight answer.

 

Leanne Neill is a company director, mother of three, and a self-professed ‘composer of words.’ She has over twenty years of experience in public libraries and local government. In 2016, she started her poetry and art inspired Facebook page : LUST for WORDS, and has since been published in many ezines and pages including Spillwords , Bymepoetry, including their WOMb anthology, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Blue Nib, Raven Cage, Husk Magazine, and US anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses. Her first collection, Fine Lines and Unpolished Pieces of Me was published by The Australia Times in 2017. Her second poetry collection, Blue Lotus was released in June, 2018.

WRITTEN IN THE CARDS

Voodoo woman,
mystical knowledge;
flips animal cards for me –
I’m not an animal person…
(I suspect it’s the faux-fur vest
I’m wearing!)
Draws a salmon card –
apparently, I’m likened to
a deep-sea fish…
I politely tell her
I do indeed enjoy salmon!
(already, I’m quietly sniggering.)

Flip, flip…
Starts off well –
You are amazingly creative, aren’t you?
Your power is in your hand.
Wow, I think,
I’ve struck the jackpot
of crackpots!
I’m elated…
until she sees no real money
in my powerful hand,
or even the other one…
But of course,
I must NEVER stop the words!
They are my soul, in case,
I don’t already know.

Flip, flip…
Devils, fools, women in chains…
I relate instantly and wait –
she’ll know I’m broken,
homeless of heart and any intention.
Instead,
I’m assured my home is wonderful,
my heart is secured forever…
(those bloody chains I surmise.)

Flip, flip…
Am I aware I have three children?
An old soul with a head screwed
on correctly according to the laws
of…screwed on heads…
A studious middle child with
potential to design rocket ships.
(albeit glad for anything less significant,
as slightly uninspired.)
A daughter who has taken my throne,
along with my man’s heart.
Well I never!… (snigger, sigh again.)

Flip, flop…
But you know,
I am going to leave
something,
as she says…
Her,
with a sense of heightened humor
and these words
she in fact gifted me,
and the definite realization of
just how talented
I’ve become,
at knowing how to bullshit
the bullshit artist.

 

Ankush is a mental health professional and Ethics & Organisational Behaviour instructor. He published his first collection of poetry, An Essence of Eternity (Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2016). He is the recipient of the 2014 USI Gold Medal and 2017 Silver Medal for his essay on Military Ethics. His poetry has appeared in Indian Literature, Muse India, Eclectica, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and Linden Avenue Literary Journal. He blogs at: cogitoerigosum.wordpress.com.

Blue

Why does it have to be the airport –
a space clotted with
business suits, attendants waiting with placards
the sadness of abandoned luggage trolleys
– where we gather loneliness from each other’s
bodies like discarded secrets?

It is the urgency – everyone with having
‘somewhere to go’ and only so much time –
check-in, security, boarding –
that punctuates each line –

Here. To meet you and feel cut open
like a fruit, like a suitcase that bursts open while you are
collecting your Boarding Pass – shatters narrative
with a forgotten tune, slicing its progress of check-ins, security
boarding with a knife as sharp as tongue

we return to the line with bag and baggage
we do so after she tells me why she can’t
afford another heart break, her hand on my chest,
slowly absorbing the quickening of the beats
like sand feeds on water,

I should have confessed – for you, I’d risk one.

We embrace in short, hurried bursts, like lightening,
like machine gun fire,
the smell of her shampoo causing tremors in my skull,
her forehead a playfield for mad lips.

Long after her aircraft is 30,000 feet in the air
I remember she was wearing blue shoes –
the color of possibility, the color of the sky.

Allegorizing Faithlessness

And who did we fool when we proclaimed
that love was eternal and
the heart held all the answers!

Petting a lonely, lovelorn stray,
dry blood sitting on its nose
like a crimson nose ring,
maggots eating his ear,
I remember you. Cleaning your room,
folding your clothes while you were at work,
I knew the birthmark on your waist
will hit me like a 16 tonner while I cut through
solitude and butter at breakfast. Its unsure red,
unfolding like memory huddled under your skin.
It wasn’t that we will
fall out of love, you said, standing in the
grocery line – maybe, we will just not care –

The maggots have made a white continent
on its ear. It extends to the centre of the head. I am caressing
its back, its stomach. It wants me to pet the head.
It begins to lick my knee.
I want to kiss the continent on its head.

Reliving a memory of a tragedy
helps us cope with it, my therapist tells me. I want to reply,
I am hunger that seeks laughter
often stained by guilt.
And so, I look for coffee stains and
love bites. I look for any shape without corners, without
endings. I look for continents I had lost,
on the head of a rabid, affection-hungry dog.

I don’t know.
Whatever I seek for, and find
I am careful
not to get
too close to the heart. After all it is a pump.
Its sucks. It ejects. Repeat.

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