Issue 94 — 

Liz Dolan(ArLiJo#94)
Ahmed Rayan El Nadim(ArLiJo#94)
Dorie LaRue(ArLiJo#94)
Paul Lieber(ArLiJo#94)
David Anthony Sam(ArLiJo#94)
Emily Strauss(ArLiJo#94)

Liz Dolan

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 94



After They Got the News


From behind the lace curtain
I watched
the black-veiled nuns
pour whiskey
down Mama’s throat
to quell her screams
to calm her
to keep her from pulling out
fistfuls of hair.


Copyright © 2016 by Liz Dolan.



Acceptance


I do not know if you love me
as I love you. No matter.

When I ride
the curves and edges of your body

I feel I have fallen off a cliff.
But if early on a summer evening

under a eucalyptus you wish
to whisper sweet syllables into my ear

and wind a vine about my heart
I will lie

silent and listen to the sound
of rain falling on the lime green leaves.


Copyright © 2016 by Liz Dolan.




About the Author:
Liz Dolan’s poetry manuscript, A Secret of Long Life, nominated for a Pushcart, has been published by Cave Moon Press. Her first poetry collection, They Abide, nominated for The McGovern Prize, Ashland University was published by March Street. An eight-time Pushcart nominee and winner of Best of the Web, she was a finalist for Best of the Net 2014. She won The Nassau Prize for Nonfiction, 2011 and the same prize for fiction, 2015. She has received fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, The Atlantic Center for the Arts and Martha’s Vineyard
 

 



Almed Rayan El Nadim


Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 94


The Auctions

Who can sell the sun in Auctions?
We are sitting on the houses thresholds, looking from behind the sills
Waiting for the shimmering, sparkling, glistening, glittering, shining Egyptian moon
With all the our open elderly, grey-haired, gibberish, and babble windows



Copybooks

Disturbances, harassments, and upsets demolish, smash, and tear us down
A pallid, wan, and faint city blinded by copybooks, papers and compresses
Our lives are thieved by taximeters
All electric meters are palsy, paralysis, and paraplegia



The faces

I carried my heart on my shoulder for eons
In the endless seas, I couldn’t find a land
I am lost in a handful of sand
All faces are colored
The one hundred winged stars can’t be attained
The horizon is so blind
Hug me, my darling love
So tenderly and so kind




About the author:
Ahmed Rayan El Nadim, a poet, writer, and cinema director who lives in Cairo, Egypt, is the founder, promoter, and editor in the chief of El Nadaha magazine, an online magazine for literature and folk arts, folklore, and fine arts. He also produces the Egyptian Colloquial for poetry, the fifth edition issued in June 2016, and the sixth edition issued in August 2016; it is considered the most important aggregation, and grouping of the Egyptian cultural class. He has produced and directed more than 120 short films in the last two years. Many Egyptian and Arabic critics considered him the most expressive of the eastern and oriental fantasy world and the fabulous, legendary, mythical, superstitious, fictitious folklore, and while considering his poetry more philosophical and esoteric. His poetry collections include: Paper walls, Cellophane cities, Fir trees, Thursday market, The seven Crescent moons, Cloves gardens, The chrysalis, My dear love is a turquoise rose, My short poems, Stretching your braids in the palm tree, and others. He has also published his poetry and critical essays in many Egyptian and Arabic journals and magazines for over forty years.


 

 


Dori LaRue

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 99


A Hundred and One Ways to Die in Bangladesh

My horse’s stall in
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA,
is roomier than these muddy caves,
the best of them like the concrete hovels
of some previous civilization.
I am walking to school between
the women holding their babies
for effect, and the vendors
officiously fiddling with their fruit
and I can’t help wonder,
beneath the low hanging rat’s nest
of electrical wires
assembled by unskillful
but courageous electricians,
where every intersection sports
a sewer’s yawning maw
and its standing invitation
for dreamers or busy texters:
Why are there so many ways
to die in Bangladesh?

I’m not referring to
the monsoons, typhoons,
and draughts, political assault,
the social barriers, the religious bars
on windows with women
and children looking out
ready to starve or drown
whichever comes first,
but the primo genesis
thinginess of things.
I have been known to trace
my head cold back to the one
who sneezed in class,
who gave me a late paper
dangling with germs,
some snuffling colleague
who borrowed
my doorknob simply
to walk away . . .
a salesclerk with puffy eyes.
I am mean spirited like that.

So let us not forget
the heads and breasts of gulls
who came to roost
on the masts of galleons
surging forward as their sails
filled with wind
and glinted like white minarets,
the first sea invasions
to India coming as they did into
a barely nibbled world
with its future of secret meanings.
First cause, the armies of Islam
fanning out, spreading
through Persia, Iraq,
Byzantine lands.
By 8th century the Spanish Catholics
went belly up,
and they were knocking
on France’s door;
then fast forward four hundred years
to their little foothold in India;
those Hinds living
insouciantly on their own rich,
fertile, bountiful lands
became like someone on a death bed
leaving the world in angry silence
with no time for grand words.

What the invaders wanted was loot.
Tough freebooters from foreign lands
wanted everything,
and after their getting everything
came four decades
of identity dismantlement,
the vivisection of 1947.
I wasn’t even born yet. It was a few months
before my beginnings in the womb,
in Crowville, Louisiana, USA,
so I wasn’t there. I don’t know.
Anything I say is mere commentary,
ex post facto,
an occidental distortion.
But, darkly, moodily, why?
Why did Bangladesh opt out?
Because of the poets? The heroes?
The take-this-country-and-
shove-it jingoism?
Maybe there were grand words
before death.

The effects live on in the faces
of 21st century under five deaths.
Or those who survive,
the over fives, looking
and pointing at,
crying for kabobs
sold in the streets, these streets
I walk to school on every day,
(occasionally decorated with dead rats),
jog on in Nikes I’ve brought back,
bought in the USA,
made in one of the Bengali slave factories.

Is the answer in a scholarly analysis
of history’s, say the British Empire’s,
greedy gut? “Empire’ is not
the Brit’s word for it.
But nevertheless the lowly loom
came to be symbolic
and Gandhi immortalized it,
protested the way
Britain banned its use,
banned the cotton, the sturdy shirts,
with threads like a man’s,
like a woman’s sturdy charactermdash;
all that was outlawedmdash;
their multi-kazillion dollar worldwide
trade gone, dooming them all to slave.
Britain was selling the first
mass produced clothing to the world
notwithstanding their very own Ruskin,
his lofty whining about craftsmanship
and the sin of haughty architecture.
Then came the war to end all wars,
then American hegemony,
then the peace to end all peace,
created in whimsical drawings at tea.

In the Pink Palace, in Old Dhaka,
according to the tour guide,
Aga Khan II often ate lunch.
(In Aga Khan’s Palace Detention Camp,
Gandhi fasted.)

Everything in Bangladesh
seems to be globally warming,
the snows of Nepal, the clear ice
of Everest are melting,
melting because of greed,
overflow the Padma,
because of greed,
because there is no law against dams
or what happens after dams
to lower countries that sink and rise,
and sink again.
There is no law against greed,
and this is no proof.

We go where the hungry heart goes.
The conquerors noisily step ashore.
They leave packs of warring dogs
to roam the streets.
They teach many to accept their lot,
and teach many the flip side
of consumerism.

Why are there so many ways
to die in Bangladesh.
Please forgive my lack of question mark.
Perhaps, despite the grammar books,
that last was rhetorical
and does not deserve one.
Perhaps it is a polite request.


Copyright © 2016 by Dorie LaRue.




The Consolation of Laundry

Dickens saw it on his
London slum walks.
In N.Y. C. Melville saw it
strung between Five Point’s buildings.
Rio, Manila, Nairobi—
They are still with us.
Something makes the dwellers
rise from dirt floors, and near piles
of garbage, in buckets, rivers, ditch,
perform the liquid ritual of consecration.
Thus on Palestine’s shattered streets
wrung out trousers eternally sway,
pairs of socks, scarves, a child’s cap
and even by itself, one man’s undershirt ,
can testify to the enduring consolation
of laundry .

In Dhaka beside the floating latrine
and narrow bamboo bridge
an invisible agent
(read woman like a slender captive)
has spread clothes over
a wire strung head high.
She has already spent
yesterday’s wage on meds.
(Give her a sick child,
a wallah for a husband,
a gnawing fear of eviction.)
She can go to her street sweeper’s job
now in Model Town, Uttara.
When she returns
the bulldozers may have come
and gone, the latrine ascended to greet her,
her toddler grown more croupy.
Maybe her husband
will have been beaten
beside his rented rickshaw,
but now a clean shirt
covers his back,
and tomorrow’s clean shirt flutters
in the morning wind,
like a planted flag
on some impossibly
scaled mountain.


Copyright © 2016 by Dorie LaRue.

About the Author:
Dorie LaRue’s poetry collection entitled Mad Rains is due out January 2017 by Kelsay Press.


 

 


Paul Lieber

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 94



Homesick

I’m facing north,
the ocean over my left shoulder.
That would be the Pacific.
On the east coast, the Atlantic
would be swaying over
my right shoulder.
Two blocks away my wife and child
argue and another 2448 miles east
stands Parker Jewish Memorial
Nursing home where my mother
free associates.
I skim the ocean, its swells,
channels and salutations.
The surfers look for thrills.
I’m just looking. They wait
for the wave in hiding.
Everything below the surface
rises and bursts open,
a billion epiphanies.
Where will they break?
Surfers misjudge the future
like the rest of us
as cells collect and spin in their
assignments; water cells
adhere to water while humans
stick to humans until
these smooth collisions.
Foam spreads,
temporary maps dissolve.
I sit cross-legged
and my calves tingle, asleep
until I change positions,
maybe move back east
and wake the entire body.


Copyright © 2016 by Paul Lieber.




I’ll Bury It in the Catacombs

My son plugs into
eIectronic isolation.

I want to drag him
back a few centuries,

to cross the Tiber River on to
the Pantheon. Pigeons approve

in Trastevere. One starts
towards us and retreats,

a pecking of black and gray
like a 14th century Syrian or Jew

searching for a nibble
on these streets with so many slants,

the ups and downs, the difficulty
of putting one foot in front

of the other
on this cobbled festival

of church bells.
Shutter windows open

when I grab my son’s iPad
and struggle in a tug-of-war.

I could scream I diapered you,
wiped that mustard

sauce from your anus.
You’re drowning in pixels

and I want you to swim in these streets.
I rip it from him,

run down the block where
a stranger leans on his motor bike.

He understands the rage but not
this thing in my hands

is driving me crazy.
I yanked it from

his abdomen.
See, see his blood drip?



Copyright © 2016 by Paul Lieber.





About the Author:
Paul Lieber’s collection, Chemical Tendencies, (Tebot Bach), was a finalist in the MSR poetry contest. He also received an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Contest. He produces and hosts Why Poetry on KPFK radio in L.A. and Santa Barbara. Guests have included Poet Laureates, National Book Award Winners, and many other known and lesser-known poets. His poems have appeared in The Moth, N.Y. Quarterly, Patterson Review, Askew, Poemeleon, Alimentum, and many other journals and anthologies. He also works as an actor and has performed on and off- Broadway and in numerous films and TV shows. He has worked as an adjunct Professor in Creative Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and lives in Venice, CA. Visit him at www.paullieber.com.

 

 
David Anthony Sam

Featured in ArLiJo No. 94



The Exile is Orphaned


Afraid or alive,
he is the phone ringing
from over the horizon,
tolling new pain.

Awaiting an old world
in winds that blow
his heart to unlearn
any past, he answers.

A voice crackles
with discord instead
of language so he
hears himself as echoes.

All is lost in a static
of wailing offering
him the unacceptable
over an unbearable sea.

His mother is lost
twice over and her
voice is left to silence
as a dial tone prays.


Copyright © 2016 by David Anthony Sam.



Defiled by Exile

Evil sings a distance
shadowed with wanting,
blurring the edges
of an old passport.

A heretic creates names
for home when
he has none, dreaming
inside a post office box.

Curses made and unmade
bleed the same red
in deserts—leaving
the whiteness of bones.

A coward flees discord
and warms himself
with flickers of news
digested for him.

Evil comes regardless
with smiles selling
stocks and coffee
between outrages.

A traitor lies undreamt
in twisted bedclothes
sweating his past
into nameless mornings.


Copyright © 2016 by David Anthony Sam.


Dark Fathers

I know my father’s father
only as he fades
in one browning snapshot
taken two years before
his lungs breathed final blood.

He glares from history
with a hawk’s black eyes,
suspicious that the camera
might reveal his failures,
a peddler with nothing left to sell.

He is a scorn of choices,
of golden Syrian dreams
dying on American concrete.
He left only his image
fading with the photopaper

into the sorrow that sometimes
wore my father’s face
and ghosts now in my mirror—
as dark fathers fade
into my dissolving image.


Copyright © 2016 by David Anthony Sam.



About the Author:
David Anthony Sam has two collections: Dark Land, White Light (1974, 2014) and Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves (2014) and his poetry has appeared in over 50 journals. He was the featured poet in the Winter 2016 issue of The Hurricane Review and in 2015 was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His collection All Night over Bones received an Honorable Mention for the 2016 Homebound Poetry Prize. He lives in Culpeper, Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda, and serves as president of Germanna Community College.
 

 








Emily Strauss

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 94



Leaking Heart


this third time
on dark streets
empty
to the hospital

occasional street lamps
blind houses
everyone asleep
but us— quiet

watchful, no cars
I'm driving again
not speaking
tense, alert

this familiar path
now turn here
entrance ahead
shining marble floors

follow the nurse
I know the routine
once more under care
once more procedures

his heart in question
irregular
fragile
light leaking into the day




Copyright © 2016 by Emily Strauss.




Shadow and Shade

—one always/went envying/ the quietness of stones.
Robinson Jeffers, “Ante Mortem” from An American Miscellany (1927)


beware of explanations—

you cannot interpret stones
nor their shadows
moving by the hours.

Shadows defy that which stands
in sunlight
attached to their solid
companion at a razor
edge.

Shade, which rocks don’t
possess is a more
general notion
a covering like mottled
leaves or long hair pouring
down a woman's bare spine.

A shadow defines
the shape that owns it.

Shade is the quiet
solemn side of cliffs
at noon, when stone
rises
the vertical
light pouring down
but for a sliver
against the walls,
its absence.

The shaded walls
pulse now with heat
or else
thaw a little in winter
when frost abides
deeper within.

The stones are all the same.
This may be what we envy.


Copyright © 2016 by Emily Strauss.




About the Author:
Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 400 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is both a Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.