I Don’t Want To Be Selfish But I Am by Saranya Subramanian

I watch you as you drown
my hands are tied behind me – not by society, but by society’s inability to teach me how to build a raft.
All that my eyes can do is build a bridge by looking into yours
but it’s not concrete, it’s not enough.

I’m taught to say “fuck society,”
I’m taught to fill my blood with radical thoughts and pump them through my body so that
I am a machine coursing with power.
But in this war I have shed more blood than my feeble heart can pump.

And look at me now.
Talking about myself again
making this all about me
while they call you weak.
Little do they know that you are built with an armour made from your own tears.
They don’t know how you can never seek escapism because the one thing that keeps you from jumping into Wonderland is the grappling, spiky hook of reality that has held hostage the ones you love.
How can they call you weak, immoral, pitiful,
when they can’t see that you are a sponge,
and you absorb abuse so easily – too easily,
until you will one day be squeezed dry
and all that will be left of you will be the semblance of a mind,
the shadow of a soul that ran away from its own outline of a body.

And we can’t whisper a word about it.
i’m screaming through this ink, but I can’t be heard because half my brain has been jailed.
For the past few years I have been taught how to pick locks, but when it comes to doing it,
I just end up tightening them.

So I don’t tell you.
I use shitty, cheesy metaphors because no matter how much I want to be beyonce,
I am a coward.

So I tell you that molehills have been made into mountains,
that Pandora’s box has been opened,
that her shoulders droop down from bending over backwards because she carries the weight of the world on them.

I am taught in class after class that my vagina does not have to be kept in a safe until the man who owns the key allows it to be used.
I am taught that my voice is heard and echoes and is pocketed by people,
but how does any of this matter outside of that fragile bubble?
I was still floating in it until the thorny bushes of real life popped it,
and now I am free-falling, yelling for help,
but my screams have been masked by the ambiguity of poetry,
and standbys think i’m skydiving.

What do I do?
I carry a heavy bag of liberal ideas that form a parachute,
but the heavy rains and roaring thunder flood the land on which I was supposed to hold my ground,
pushing the strong concrete miles beneath where my feet are.

So I do what I do best.
I use my parachute to fly upward again,
to a dry, happy land far, far away.
A place so far away that my eyes no longer burn having to watch you drown,
that my ears no longer ring with your cries and plea for help,
but a place that is just right for me and my backpack.
So we both can be


Karma Works In Seasons Sometimes by Saranya Subramanian

I wear jackets and sweaters in this godforsaken cold weather –

all of them weigh more than the children who make them.

But i love the cold that hangs in the air.

Because everything i avoided that evaporated in the sweltering heat of summer –

condenses, and falls on me like dumbbells i’m constantly carrying

adding to the anger and resentment i take with me everywhere.

Now i’m juggling all of this

as my hands freeze with guilt in the cold temperature,

forcing them still, unable to reach out to you.

I am 60 kg of apologies that never got out,

of guilt racing in my blood until it reaches every muscle,

of anger that flashes before my eyes — making it difficult to see everything as i did before.

And of utter disgust that amidst all the buildings that tried to burn you down,

and hearts that tried to steal your smile,

I am here writing about me –

so that people will read about it.

It’s all about me, me, me.

My name is Saranya Subramanian and I am 19 years old, currently studying Liberal Arts at Ashoka University, India. I have attached here six poems written by me, and I would be honoured if you would publish any, or all of them.

Or Maybe Not by Joshua Syn

My spirit is a barren wasteland
Devoid of life, with strife and misery
Nothing new or nice grows anymore
As the land remained unchanged.

My soul is like a dry desert
Endless sand that spans forever
Holding onto hopes for help
That may never come

The wasteland of an oasis
And people always hope for the better
Moses and the Israelites
Made it to the Promised Land

Too soon to give up
To push away the pull of purity
Right myself and decide to reach
For the kid still inside

Start believing in a better beautiful tomorrow
Looking off into the distant, I see
Helios rises in the horizon
The warm light brings new beginnings

Joshua Syn is a drawer from the United States who takes inspiration from his surroundings, from the trees to the people. His pencil creates the features of great heroes, terrible villains, and entirely new worlds. While being an animator is a dream of his, being an author at the same time would also be nice.

What Comes About Love by Shanelle Rosete

From simple hellos
To casual meet and greets,
You came before me

Laughing through the phone
Spontaneous late night drives,
Together we loved

Thunder and lighting
Yelling and crying there was,
Space is what we need

Empty heart and soul
The connection cut away,
Separate ways we go

Shanelle Rosete finds her sanctuary under the beat of music and the motion of dance. You’ll find her wearing her favorite pair of sandals splashing through puddles and admiring the rain. Cheese is a controversy that her tastebuds accept but her stomach says no.

Beloved Butterflies by Yuan Changming

You often imagine your soul
Transforming into a butterfly
That is, one of 20,000 species of
The kind, or 725 north of Mexico

As a butterfly, your soul can perform
The many deeds you can never hope to
For example, perch on a pink petal
Flap its wings against sunlight
Return to its cocoon to change its past
Or even travel back along the trail when
It was still an ugly caterpillar before it flies
Forward to the dawn of tomorrow

Although unable to fight with an bald eagle
Relocate a whole forest or, more
Modestly, bite off a thorny leaf, it can dance
With an angel for a whole night

Yes, you enjoy being that butterfly, take
On a different shape with more colors

Yuan Changming, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Changming currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include Best Canadian PoetryBestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1279 others across 38 countries

Crimson Tides by Dylan Leeloo

A primary school teacher asked her class
What colour is the sea, tell me it fast
Hands raised as fast as the unemployment rate
All around the class, all the answers were same
Blue, blue, blue, I expected Fay-Ann to come bursting through the doorframe
In the sea of blue there was a small dot
A tender tot with eyes bloodshot
The teacher walked up, why are you crying, she said
The boy looked up and said, the sea is red
Red from all the people that are dead
Red from all the tears that are shed
Red as the pepper in the sun outside granny shed
These monsters are not born and bred
I say this with my morning breath
I eat my morning bread
I’m not talking about physical sustenance
I mean the daily verses like the ones in Leviticus
Trinidad hot again, and not just rainy weather will wash away the ailments afflicting us
Khari Kill hit the nail on the head with that line
Now all I see walking down the street is that white line
All that’s left of someone’s lifeline
The end of another lifetime
But this ain’t no movie, judgement day really is an hour away
The hours in a day see more blood than Dracula’s breakfast tray
What can I say?
That little boy has a point
The waters are red from Chag to Point
The waters are red just like in Egypt
We have frogs in the Ministries and insects flying through the air we breathin’
Cattle are starving cause the farmers have no good land to make crops grow higher
The sun so hot it’s like a hail of fire
Look through Exodus and try to call me a liar!
Well already have the plagues of darkness and death
All that’s left is the trumpets blast when he cometh
So we all can go to the beach, lime, take a drink and go see
Moses not here to part this red sea

Seasons by Joanna Seo

My life is like the four seasons of the year.
It can be freezing
It can be blazing
It can be warm
It can be cool.

Often opinions of others oppress me like winter,
Shaping, shifting and sharing pain.
Almost like a chameleon,
I blend into what people say about me.

My life’s a desert
Searching for the Oasis is my life’s challenge.
Looking, liking, and loving is all part of the process.
But people’s prejudice paralyzes me regardless,
And always alludes acceptance.

But sometime a bee can sit upon my blooming flower
Pollinating as it sucks the honey out of me.
Although it can hurt to release a part of myself to the world,
It’s all in preparation for a spring day

Joanna Seo has three identities: Korean, Australian, and American. She likes to spend her time juggling the dynamic movements of Taekwondo or releasing her inner craze at karaoke. If not, you can find her snuggling inside a blanket on a Friday night, accompanied by horror films.