Poetry from Yusuf Olumoh

I rear my grief like a fisherman

i am rearing my own grief 
like a fisherman sailing in his 
trawler. i peregrinate beyond
the exigency of the Neptune—
incarcerate by a hope of lassoing 
something big—fish. until i plunge 
into the vast of ocean. so all I hope 
is hallucination. i am beguile again 
by my thought. i goad my father to
to death—douse him into water till 
he drown. he wants me save but he 
is not saved. after all, i am pronounce 
my father dead. this my body veers to
domicile—a abode of grief. i once 
reminisce about a gold my father left
for me—a tale about a fisherman rearing 
a fish he caught from the sea in his pond 
till the fish produced thousand of fish. 
now my body, too, is a pond where i rear 
a grief till my body become a cicatrix 
after sea steal my father's soul

to love is to create a memory

there is a dagger in my brain—a portrait
of mààmí, shaped into a grief like an idol

called òrìsà. 

there must be something powerful in love. 

they say, a decrease with a child does not 
sleep, but this feeling keeps me awake; love 
for an unseen & grieving over palpable thing. 

to love is to create a memory— a lifetime 
one. or, how can i reverse time? & end the
pains that entwine my heart? did you not 
see, when grief dissected my chest, & make 

my heart its abode? 

i, too, try not to be grieved like a boy:
a boy whose soul is heavier than his body. 
a boy whose soul becomes a wanderer, 
when merriment gushed through his heart, 

but found no place to live.

a boy whose a grief cut him open,
& indulge a machete at the nest of his chest.
a boy whose pains flow in his veins.

i, too, try to raise, again, like a phoenix 
from the ash. but, anytime i try to tame 
the grief, i realized, “grief is a beast that 
will never be tamed.”

i realized, i love mààmí. & i realized, 
i have created a memory—a lifetime one.

Poetry from Ian Copestick

White man in a checkered buttoned top lying down with his arm up by his head, next to a dog.
Ian Copestick
Another Sunny Day

I sit outside
enjoying the
beautiful sunshine,
with my dog, and
a few beers.
Then, I have to
go back inside.

As I wait for some
cannabis to be dropped

I know that it doesn't
help me, in any way,
but sometimes you
need a break from your
usual mind, and manner.

And I really need a break.

A break from reality,
and a break from

I'm not proud of it,
but at times it has
to be done. 
Sheer Joy

I know that it's really not cool to say it
But sometimes I love being me
There are LOADS of things that are terribly
Wrong in my life.

But, when I've had a few Whiskeys, and a joint, or two
And the words are flowing through me,
There's nobody else I'd rather be.
Who else would I want to be, who ?

At these rare moments, I love being me
I'm a fountain of creativity.
Yes, I may be totally pissed
Buy I'm also an artist.

Trying to help humanity
Get up on it's feet
Trying to help my fellow man
Reach his potentiality.
Or am I just a drunken liability? 


I sit here,
on top of
4, or 5 days
of drunkenness,
and dope smoking.

I feel great !

I feel fucking great !

But, I know that
something bad
is hiding around
the corner.

Just waiting to
trip me up.

I don't know where
or when, but I know
that sometime soon.
I'm not going to be
feeling well, at all.

Poetry from Satis Shroff

1. DIED FOR FREEDOM (Satis Shroff) 

Many Ukranian men from 18 to 60
Have given up their lives,
For Mother Ukraine in the cold winter.
When Spring comes,
Flowers will spring in their graves.
They died for freedom
From a tyrannical power,
Armed to the teeth.
A man who invented lies
To invade Ukraine.
* * *
2. HUNGER FOR POWER (Satis Shroff) 

Deeds of courage and resistance,
Words of farewell in railway stations,
When mother and children were sent away,
To safer destinations,
While the men stayed,
To defend the motherland.
Tears rolling down the cheeks
Of men, children, siblings.
Invaded by a ruthless autocrat
A narcissist with dreams of restoring
The faded Glory of the Soviets.
Will the Cold War be followed
By an age of chaos
Violence and conflict?
A world that cannot distinguish
Between destruction and self-destruction?
No desire to legitimize the nefarious deeds.
Violence develops a momentum of its own.
The slaughter, the butchery,
Driven by the greed and hunger for power.
* * *
3. A RABID MUNGO (Satis Shroff) 

What has Russia attained?
Territorial gain and loss of lives.
The airspace has been closed,
No Russian planes can fly
Over other’s territories.
The Russian in the street
Can’t pick up money for the automat.
Russia is internationally isolated.
Russian athletes, soccer clubs,
Even Paralympics cannot compete.
The world shuns them.
A whole country ostrasized
Because of one man:
An ex-secret agent, a small cold warrior,
Who desires the glory of the Tsar.
He curses like a rabid mungo
And says: ‘The West is imposing
Illegitimate sanctions’
And Nato leaders make ‘aggressive statements.’
Pray, who bombed the cities of Georgia in 2008 ?
Who annexed Crimea in 2014?
Who has invaded Ukrania?
Who has conquered Cherson?
Who is ceaselessly bombarding
Tschernihiw and Maripol?
Trump was the liar of the USA,
And who has lied to the Russian folk?
Disinformation for his own people.
Poor Russia.
* * *

What has the ‘honest’ black-belt holder done?
He has waged a war against a smaller country.
Over a week of pounding with artillery and rockets.
His 46 lorries are stuck since days.
Sitting ducks if Ukraine had missiles.
He wanted a third break for talks,
But not ceasefire.
The warlord bombed further.
Moscow is isolated from the world.
There are demonstrations
In Berlin, Prague, London,
Madrid and Brussels,
On behalf of besieged Ukranians.
Spontaneous demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg
Are stifled immediately
And people arrested.
Putin’s march to Ukraine
Is stopped by people
Of the Land of Sunflowers.
The would be Tsar gets angry
At his own logistic shortcomings,
And the stiff fight put up by the defenders.
* * *
5. CIVILIANS DIE (Satis Shroff)

Putin orders rocket attacks,
Like Stalin’s organ in World War II,
In the town of Chernihiv,
Northeast of Kyiv.
More civilians die.
The Russians aim at civilians
Instead of military targets.
They want to destroy their infrastructure.
Troops advance from Crimea,
The port Maripol, a land-bridge,
Between Donetsk and Ludhansk,
Is conquered.
Putin’s troops close in on Kharkiv.
Ukranians rally around Zelensky,
The heroic symbol of bravery,
And put up a great fight. 

* * *
6. A FOE BECOMES A FRIEND (Satis Shroff) 

A Russian soldier surrenders
And calls his mom in Moscow.
The defenders are so nice to him.
They could have easily lynched him,
But he even gets a drink and food.
A foe becomes a friend.
Other Russians sabotage their own tanks:
What is kaput is kaput.
Fed up with the mad Tsar’s war and dreams.
A pretty pilot dies in action,
Some Ukranians capture a Russian tank,
And take joy rides like children. 

* * *
7. AMMO, NOT A RIDE (Satis Shroff) 

Ukranians are extremely patriotic.
Zelenky decides to remain in Kyiv,
Come what may.
His family refuses to be separated.
What a symbolic and courageous gesture.
Zelensky inspires all Ukranians
And even volunteers from Europe
To fight against Putin’s men:
Independence, democracy and freedom.
Zelensky is not Ashraf Ghani,
Who fled with money in his baggage.
Zelensky told an American,
Who wanted to evacuate him:
‘I need ammunition, not a ride.’
A historical, metaphorical statement. 


Written by Satis Shroff 


Putin shakes hands with veterans in Moscow.
Russia should never be underestimated;
Power is being mobilized as in the past World Wars.
Russia has not lost the war is the tenor.
The bells chime in the Kremlin like mockery for those killed.
There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

Modern and old weapons are on display,
Generals in black cabrios take the salute.
A sea of smart, disciplined soldiers carrying weapons,
Swords, salutes and martial music on the Red Square.
It’s all about defending the Fatherland
And solidarity with the soldiers.
Stoltenberg’s message to Putin is to end the war.
Bundestags_President Bär lays down a wreath in Ukraine.
Eggs are thrown toward Baerbock
At an election speech in Germany. 

Moscow’s inner city is like a fortress:
Chauvinistic and neo-imperialistic is the pathos of Putin,
The gatherer of Russian honour.
Russia a military and nuclear power,
Second only to the USA,
Speaks of security guarantees.
Reanimation of Russian Weltmacht.
In the defense of the Fatherland,
There is no family in Russia,
That hasn’t been involved in the Wars.
Russia has always fought
For a system of the folk.
‘The Nato states don’t want to listen
To our endeavours,’ says Putin.
And speaks about the neo-Nazis and foreign military advisers
From the USA and Nato countries.
‘Ours is the only right solution,
We’ll respect and honour our ancestors
And the Immortal Regiment.
We’re proud of carrying it in our hearts.’ 

There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

The others have Russophobia.
Today our soldiers fight in the Donbas.
We remember all who have given their lives
For the Fatherland: men, women, children. 

A minute of silence.
Only the flames of the eternal soldiers lick the sky.
Moscow holds its breath. 

The Victors Day parade honours the 27 million Russians
Who died in World War II.
The death of our soldiers is sad,
We shall support the families of the soldiers.
I kneel before you for your sacrifice.
Terrorists also exist but they are not successful.
We will care for the children.
The bomb splitters will hold us together;
An independent Russia.
We’ll orient ourselves to our Armed Forces.
An exercise in being one with the people.
All men and women shout as one: hurrah!
The military bank plays.
‘Russia must ensure the horror of a global war
Will never be repeated,’ says President Putin cynically.
The fluttering flag, the Kremlin and gun salutes.
What was in-between the lines of his speech? 

There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

No mobilisation in the speech today.
No feared demonstration of POWs,
No MiGs and Sukhoi jets over the Red Square,
No declaration of war against Ukraine.
No provocation to the world.
19 battalions of 15,000 soldiers ready to cross Donbas.
Casualties are taboo and the war goes on as usual.
After the parade of the Armed Forces,
Even a separate women’s battalion in skirts comes by.
Putin appears as a professional, closed personality.
The Russians really believe in the fascist danger in Ukraine.
That the Nato troops are out to help the neo-Nazis,
And are about to surround Russia. 

The Cold War worked in the Soviet days to keep its enemies at bay.
The belief is that the future belongs to Russia,
Although the launching of the invasion in Ukraine
Was the biggest military blunder.
A retreat from Ukraine would mean Putin
Has lost the battle and his face.
Seventy years of refraining from using the nukes;
A path has to be found for mighty Russia
To leave Ukraine in a dignified manner. 

The heavy, cumbersome tanks come:
A display of hardware that Ukrainians love to destroy,
So long as they have the right weapons.
Soldiers popping their heads out of the tanks,
Saluting the Generals and the President.
The ugly, fat missiles with red caps float by.
Five big rockets mounted on trucks,
No angst in the hearts of these unaware souls.
Putin’s ultimate game is to set back the clock
And regain all former Soviet territories.
Donbas, Crimea, wherever there are separatists.
Monstrous warheads featuring prominently,
Warheads that spell Hell to countries where they explode; 

There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

It’s a bright day in May with fluffy clouds.
And the Russian brass band plays heroic tunes
For the soldiers who died like sacrificial lambs.
Then comes the all-male choir,
Thundering voices in the Red Square.
The band marches past in splendid formation.
A few nondescript global dignitaries are also present.
Putin looks short and obese as he gets up
And walks in the Red Square with his generals
Whose breasts display medals;
Enough to sink a cruiser.
Men are indeed ruled by toys. 

He holds a short speech for the leaders of the Armed Forces;
Talks with a general while walking briskly,
With security men in black as shields.
Do you hear the stutter of rifles,
The screams of missiles,
The thuds of the shells?
The vast majority don’t watch news
About what’s going on in Ukraine. 

There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

The rivers of Ukranian and Russian blood flow
In Kiev, Bursa, Mariupol and Donbas,
Haven’t clotted.
More blood is to flow.
This is the reaffirmation of Putin’s ambitions.
Till the troops have achieved their objectives
A formidable country of patriots, 

Rifles go up in salute,
Two soldiers bring a wreath
Aging generals with roses in their shaky hands.
President Putin arranges the ribbons,
And spends a quiet moment
In memory of the 27,000 dead Soviets.
Young girls with all their tenderness
Lay flowers for the dead;
Who now can neither touch silk nor cheeks. 

The bank begins with a clash of cymbals,
The men and women of the Armed Forces salute.
The Victory Day Parade is done with fervor and pomp.
Many military invitees lay their red roses on the floor.
The Russians feel good about the leadership.
That was the would-be tzar’s sole intention. 

The parade goes on with smartly dressed units marching past.
Putin walks and swings only his left hand.
His right hand is stationary beside his rump.
He has deep furrows below his eyes.
Sleepless nights caused by Ukraine’s resilience.
Lays scarlet flowers on coffins of the recently dead soldiers.
A general with a grandchild and blues eyes. 

Putin tries to justify the Ukraine war.
Collective responsibility for the war in Ukraine;
A country which was attacked without provocation.
A sovereign and independent state.
The Ukrainians have surprised the whole world,
With admirable sacrifice, resistance and the desire
To survive and exist as a nation,
Bringing great military losses to Russia. 

The marine troops dressed in Prussian blue,
Holding their weapons with a rehearsed pride,
Noses like Roman senators in the air,
Conjured up images of a defiant, proud Russia.
It all smells of fascism and tyranny during the Third Reich
The difference is that it is Russians who are the fascists.
Putin’s days in the GDR were well spent.
He has not only learned the German tongue
But unfortunately was fascinated by the Gestapo methods.
But Ukraine, and Crimea want their territories back. 

Putin’ s Blitzkrieg, Special Operation, has led to a war of attrition.
The Ukrainians put up a good fight,
Inflicting heavy losses to the fascists from Russia;
Their conventional weapons couldn’t compete
Against Nato hardware.
The losses were enormous.
No mention of Victory Day.
The war against Ukraine
Dishonours the dead
Of the past and present.
There where the soldiers lie buried
In cemeteries and on the roadside,
Sunflowers and poppies will grow;
Orthodox crosses arranged in rows.
The dead loved, drank vodka,
Sang songs and now sleep,
In the killing fields of Ukraine. 

* * * 

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg and is a poet, humanist, lecturer and artist. He writes poems, fiction, non-fiction, and also on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. The German media describes him as a mediator between western and eastern cultures, and he sees his future as a writer and poet. He received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 for Poetry in Crispiano, Italy and the Heimat Medaillie Baden-Württemberg 2018.






Poetry from J.J. Campbell

Middle aged white man with a beard standing in a bedroom with posters on the walls
J.J. Campbell
sitting in the dark
scribbling poems
by an old flashlight
listening to the silence
power has been out for
about two hours now
this is when you wish
you had a front porch
and something to
smoke in a pipe
trying to figure out
what in the pantry
can pass as dinner
good thing mom isn't
on oxygen anymore
what a clusterfuck
that would be
the longest line of whatever
it is very tempting
to just check out
of this world
snort the longest
line of whatever
and hope that the
light is a fucking
the lousy cards
you were dealt
you played as
well as possible
old fucks like you
aren't supposed
to be around this
and sure, there is
always a debt to
be paid to the
but you chose to
become their leader
a spokesperson
a restless soul
defying the
until you can't
stand another
day of it
never cool just effective
an endless
of paperwork
death is
as painful
as living
of course,
you don't learn
that until it is
much too late
life is wasted
on the young
and it has been
that way since
someone decided
that time existed
and simple
was never
cool just
i checked out
of the rat race
years ago
never had the
money to play
those games
tearing at the seams
chasing death
like tomorrow
may never exist
the fabric of the
family tearing at
the seams
how could we
ever forget the
rich are never
the old skeletons
start to dance
and all the young
alcoholics already
know what is
waiting for them
on the other side
it is a slow trickle
of good news on
a cloudy day
the woman of
your dreams
was burned
at the stake
imagine those
maybe these demons
five in the morning and the
neon queen dances across
my mind
all these miles between us
fade as time seems to stand
no matter how much i love
you, i can't help but think
disappointment is only a few
seconds away
you have a way with your
smile to calm these old nerves
and eventually, i'll get out of
my own way
hopefully, you'll still be alive
or even fucking interested
maybe these demons will finally
let the old fool win one for a

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is old enough to know better. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at Terror House Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash, Misfit Magazine and Mad Swirl. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Poetry from Mark Young

Today the post-
woman brought
me a tracking
cookie. I don't
mind it

following me
around the
house, but I
hate the crumbs
it leaves behind.


Today the post-
woman brought
me the end

of the world. It
whimpered at
me. Goddamned

Preacher! Spoilt
things for all us


Today the post-
woman brought
me a refugee

camp. “What’s
this?” I asked
her. “It’s the cast-

off thousands you
said you wanted,”
she replied.


Today the post-
woman brought 

me The City That
Never Sleeps. "I'm

here for some R&R,"
it said; & promptly

crashed out on the
La-Z-Boy in the front

room where it's
been snoring for

the last four hours.


Today the post-
woman brought
me a compendium
of investigative 

studies by Shop-
Wiki & others 
that report an
average of 13 

people per year 
are killed by over-
tipping vending 
machines but less

that one every
two years is
killed by under-
tipping a waiter. 


Today the post-
woman brought
me some ephemera—
at least that's 

what the customs
declaration on the
empty box said
was in it.


Today the post-
woman brought
me a letter 
for Abraham 
Lincoln. He's here

only during the
winter months
so I sent it on,
c/o his Gettys-
burg address.


Short story from Peter Cherches

An Autograph from Mingus

	Charles Mingus was my first jazz obsession. When I was an adolescent, my older brother Bart worked in the mailroom at Columbia Records and was often able to bring home swag from the label. I glommed onto Mingus Dynasty, the follow-up to the landmark album Mingus Ah Um. I was especially taken with the tracks that went beyond the jazz I was familiar with, the ones that had adventurous compositional structures, “Far Wells Mill Valley” in particular, which combined influences of classical composition with wildly swinging jazz. This wasn’t the somewhat forced and stiff “third-stream” music I’d later learn about, it was a consummate artist putting all his influences and resources at the service of his music.
Mingus’ earliest recordings as a leader tended to lean heavily on his classical compositional proclivities, and then, around 1955, he took a wholly new tack, eschewing written arrangements for a looser approach, where he’d talk his band through arrangements in rehearsal, aiming for greater spontaneity. By the late fifties he’d started bringing both approaches together, along with liberal doses of blues and gospel, forming the style that would characterize his music for the rest of his career, a brilliant tension between the composed and the spontaneous, emphasizing the individual sound characteristics of his sidemen (something he learned from Duke Ellington, one of his mentors), creating a repertoire that drew upon a wide variety of influences to make music that was both eclectic and idiosyncratic.

	After hearing Mingus Dynasty, I started buying other Mingus albums, and then, in 1972, when I was just short of 16, I saw him live, one of my first jazz concerts. It was a New York homecoming for Mingus. He had been only intermittently active since 1965 and had just released his first major-label album in 8 years, back at Columbia after more than a decade, Let My Children Hear Music. The concert at Lincoln Center, like that album, featured a large ensemble playing new compositions as well as many of his career classics. It was also my live introduction to a number of other jazz greats who appeared as guests to help celebrate the return of Mingus, including saxophonists Gene Ammons, Gerry Mulligan, and Lee Konitz. Mingus and Friends in Concert, recorded that evening, is the first of a number of jazz albums to include my applause.

	From then until 1977 I saw Mingus many times, in concert halls and clubs. A Carnegie Hall concert in 1974, featuring a number of Mingus saxophone alumni in a jam session, was released by Atlantic. On Mingus at Carnegie Hall, the discerning listener can hear how much more self-assured my applause had become in just two short years.
I caught Mingus at least one time each at The Five Spot, The Village Vanguard, and The Bottom Line, and numerous times at The Village Gate, where he had two-week or month-long residencies. Most of those times at the Gate it was Mingus with his tightest quintet in years, featuring tenor saxophonist George Adams, trumpeter Jack Walrath, and pianist Don Pullen. During those longer engagements other musicians, like singer Jackie Paris and trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, would often sit in. 

	At The Village Gate, Mingus performed at the upstairs space called The Top of the Gate. Most of the time I’d sit at the bar—which was just outside the main room with the stage, but from which you could still see the band—because there was no cover, just a drink minimum (and back then 18 was the legal drinking age in New York). But one time a friend and I splurged for a table. We had arrived early and got great seats right by the stage. Shortly after we sat down, as Mingus was setting up, tuning his bass with his back to the audience, he let out a big, brassy fart. Next thing we knew, Mingus turned around and graced us with a big shit-eating grin. 
	It’s the closest I ever came to an autograph.