Category: Arts

October 11th, 2004 by Margaret Szumowski

How to navigate the river of a son named David
at the hot time of day is what we want to know
and we donít hear the knock.

I dream we are in the bedroom.
We don’t know what to do in Africa
but love each other and walk the beach.

Andrew loves the brown women, lets tide
somersault him in undertow, loves the tormenting market,
sniffs pineapples for the sweetest. Read more of this article »

Posted in Poetry, USA

October 11th, 2004 by Ann Neuser Lederer

They met where the south marched north,
where crosses sullenly blaze
and men shoot guns.

We drove in silent marvel down roads
where pigs mutter in front yards
and dead deer hang from the trees.

We were to turn at the town store, easy to miss,
disguised as post office and gas station.
The light was almost out of the day
when we finally found the church.
The glossy brown oak leaves
drained somber like the sky. Read more of this article »

Posted in Poetry, USA

October 11th, 2004 by Elvan Zelda Elcin

In the dead of night, my hands hit the face of the drum
Every beat tears my skin, calling for my love
While shadows of angels are dancing across the moon
Their hands are stained from the remains of my wounds

Ah, my country was my medicine
Ah, like raindrops on my skin

I kissed The Book three times before I laid to sleep
Said a silent prayer blessing the souls that weep
May each tear from their eyes cover my beaten flesh
The numbness in my body longs for the pain that left Read more of this article »

Posted in Poetry, USA

October 4th, 2004 by Stoyan Valev

Translated from Bulgarian by: Ivailo Dagnev

“And what happened in the end?”
No reply.

Silence froze again over their heads like a crystal chandelier, threatening to fall down any second. He had noticed, on evenings like this one, that questions like shark fins surface unexpectedly.

There is something mystic in the hours before the New Year. It is as if we listen for the first time to the whispers of time. We even realize that it robs us, if we perceive it as sand in an hourglass, trickling away incessantly. But time does not move, it has been frozen for quite a while; we are the ones who keep changing. Yet, we donít want to admit it. We are crucified on its frozen face.

Evenings like this one are lustfully predisposed to foul silence. You just sit and watch how questions take you by surprise. In order to answer them you have to turn your pockets inside out, look into every corner of every moment. Actually, are answers possible at all? Spiridon sighed. Aren√ɬ≠t they just the other side of questions? Read more of this article »

Posted in Bulgaria, Fiction

September 20th, 2004 by Elizabeth Mumbi Waichinga

Mugumo is the name of a special sacred tree known to the Kikuyu community and many others in Kenya. Its name was inherited from the ancestors, and the ancestors inherited it from their ancestors.

For some reason, the holiness of this tree has survived the ages. Even a cultural invasion by foreigners -which Mugo Wa Kibiro prophesied about and influenced the dress code of the natives and gave them a foreign language- didn’t destroy the sacredness of the Mugumo tree. Several theories have evolved about this indigenous tree.

Some natives believe that going around this tree seven times would automatically change one’s sex. But no one has ever experienced this transformation. Others believe spirits of the ancestors and the living dead hover around this tree. In fact some have claimed to have heard and recognized voices of departed relatives.

Mugumo is a rare tree found only in big forests like Mount Kenya. The Kikuyu community inhabiting the slopes of mount Kirinyaga, which has since been renamed Mount Kenya, considers this tree their shrine. They use it to commemorate their land’s independence. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, Kenya

August 30th, 2004 by Dipak G. Parmar

The Ganesh Festival is a ten-day festival celebrated with great pomp and festivity. This festival falls in late August or early September. It begins on the fourth day of Bhadrapada Shukla Paksha and concludes on the fourteenth day of Bhadrapada Shukla Paksha, as per the Hindu calendar.

During British rule over India, freedom fighters were prohibited from gathering in public places. To circumvent this restriction, India’s revolutionary freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, popularly known as Lokmanya Tilak, organized the Ganesh Festival in Maharashatra in 1894, promoting it as a public festival. During the Festival, they performed stage shows and used other means to keep alive and spread the need and importance of freedom, while also creating a social solidarity among the people. Today, its celebrations are held throughout all of India, and more particularly in Maharashtra. This Ganesh festival is considered an essential part of Maharashatrian life and they celebrate it wherever they are, whether inside or outside of India. It is a festival for worshipping Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and conqueror of the soul and mind. All Hindus worship Lord Ganesha before any important function, praying to the Lord to remove all obstacles to prosperity.

This custom springs from the mythological story of God Shiva and Parvati who had remained childless for a long time after the birth of their first son Kartik. While Lord Shiva went to the Himalayas for tap (religious austerity), Parvati, in order to avoid loneliness, created a statute of clay in the form of a son and using her divine power instilled life into Ganesha. Read more of this article »

Posted in India, Op-Ed

August 23rd, 2004 by Roland B. Marke

Appears haggard brainwashed
AK 47 drags, heart-beat trauma
Probably 9 or 10 years of age
Boy or girl conscripted in war
Bush-bred deprived of school
Ordeal to survive, hungry soul
Blurred speech irrational mind
Effects of hallucinogen drugs
Dangerous kid fantasy of war
Mandated extinction life itself
Kills and rapes blood or alien Read more of this article »

Posted in Poetry, Sierra Leone

August 23rd, 2004 by Mekhled Al-Zaza

A child cries the seas
and in your eyes my lady
there is not any tear an apology
a lover begs the fates
and you burn the hearts
and implant in the memory
the denials!

To when this decision is?

you know that the seas are
waves and a movement
and the love
Is coming with insistence
what is after it an insistence!
Then, you seize the chance
and end this escape Read more of this article »

Posted in Jordan, Poetry

August 16th, 2004 by April Hunt

When one mentions Mexico City in the US, it’s not the beach resorts that come to most people’s mind. Rather, people think of crime, pollution, corruption and impoverishment. But while the crime rate (mostly thefts and burglaries) in Mexico City has reached significant levels of concern, one of the highest in Latin America, there are many other global cities that echo the same issue.

So why does Mexico City seem to stand out as the epic center of metropolitan crime, pollution and poverty? Perhaps the apparent rundown barrios or slums make it difficult for the ever-present media not to focus on them. But this is not how the majority of Mexico City is. Living here for several months, I discovered that the City has an overwhelming rich history, culture, and a unique architecture deserving the worldís attention. I spent five months in Mexico City teaching English to a variety of students. Coming from the U.S. where one can see many films that depict Mexico in a one-dimensional and conventional way, I was relieved to discover a world contrary to the common stereotypes of shady dealings and dirt roads.

Mexico City’s rich history layered with modern advancements outshines the standard dull images of the city I, coming from the US, was accustomed to seeing.
My days would typically start with grabbing some breakfast from one of the many vendors in the Centro Historico, the historical centre of Mexico City, with its colonial architecture. The Centro Historico, in addition to the famous Zocalo plaza, demonstrates the well-preserved Mexican history stemming from the Aztecs and the Spanish colonial conquerors. The Zocalo is the largest plaza in the Western Hemisphere. It was also the site of the Aztec capital Tenochtitl√ɬ°n. Read more of this article »

Posted in Mexico, Op-Ed

August 9th, 2004 by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Walking briskly, almost at a half run, Hema loped around the track. She couldn’t believe how much space there was here – so much space to drown herself in. She loved it. Basked in it. Being alone on the track didn’t bother her – indeed she looked forward to these stolen moments at lunch. Instead of eating she would take off, run towards the track, the bottom half of her pantsuit exchanged for flowing cotton pants. Summer on the East coast was not arid like the heat of Calcutta and by the time her legs, unaccustomed to pantyhose and sneakers, hit the asphalt of the track, she was already sweating.

The dark circles forming under her arms and around her neck would later disappear when she exchanged this twin set for a fresh one. For now however, nothing mattered but her and the silence. She tried to imagine the vastness inside her, tried to compare it to the circle of the track. She wanted to picture her lining inside, red, soft and cushiony, waiting to nourish their baby. The image was fuzzy in her head because she kept getting distracted by the doctor’s voice, “Keep trying, keep trying. There’s nothing wrong with either of you. You’re both perfectly healthy.” Hema had wanted to slap his smug face. He had beamed at them from behind a desk cluttered with pictures of a chubby boy with a toothless grin and a dimply girl in a children’s bathing suit. They were in various poses, sometimes with a woman, sometimes on their own smiling into the camera. Each picture was in its own frame. Six in all. The images of their pale white skin haunted Hema’s sleep.

Her legs drove her onwards; she pumped her hands as she had seen the elderly women in her neighborhood do every evening immediately after dinnertime. She could feel the cotton rubbing slightly across her hips, chafing with the rotating movement of her thighs. The shell of her twin set hung directly below her navel and she fought the urge to feel for her bellybutton. She was fascinated by this hole. Its emptiness was evidence of her lifelong debt to her mother. She tried to imagine a cord stretching from between her legs to the center of a squalling, blood-covered infant. She couldn’t. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, USA