A Birthday Gift

A Birthday Gift

By Joyasmita Ghosh

It is not the day that seems special,
But the people who make it so.
For it is just another day;
The same sun, the same sky
And the same universe that guides the pass.
But you speak of it as a day of remembrance
And insist it be celebrated.

But is a day worth celebrating Life?
And given you, given your love,
Celebration and gratitude are an enormity.
Life and Death are a game of scores;
Each second that brings us closer adds on to Life
And each moment that pulls us apart add on to Death.
You ask for my choice of gift,
But I already have you.
What could be more dear, than a heart which beats in a rhythm similar?
A soul that bows in prayer for Eternal togetherness,
And happiness that unleashes at the smile that brings the dawn to your day.

You urge, and I finally ask you for a gift
And you instinctively say yes.
Don’t, for this may hurt,
promising a thing prior knowing its price.
And I go on to tell you:
If ever a lonely soul you stumble upon,
A shoreless sailor, with all hope gone,
Promise me you’ll hold her hand
And be the loveliest roses on her barren land.
For a heart that is dilapidated,
Life happens not in worldly dreams,
But in a feather-touch that brings joy untold
And shuts out one’s inner screams.

Thus begins the celebration of the heartbeat, knowing that
Gone is the chasm of bitterness;
A life awaits anew.
I say this, for I have once been a shoreless sailor.
Give you such a life, know that our love lives then
As the Heavens doth forever.

Tis my birthday today, and you can’t refuse me.
All I ask for someone, just like me, is a reason to celebrate;
Not just a day, but a life;
A life that gives glories, a life that gives pain,
But above all, a life that brings you home
And prepares you to set sail again.
<strong>Joyasmita Ghosh</strong>
Joyasmita Ghosh

Joyasmita is from West Bengal, India.
Current job: pursuing Graduation course in Mathematics.

Hobbies: Sleeping, watching cartoons, sky-gazing and muser. A hardcore bibliophile and a music lover.
Instagram handle: read_andrelate
Focus for writing: A break from everything boring.

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It Soon Reaches You

It Soon Reaches You

By Peter Anko

It's so close
Very close
Thus why does it seem so far?
As the feet approach
The view gets distant
Luring the heart to walk infinite miles
Grazing along the broad wide road
There lies the path to love
Entangled in a circle

What seemed nigh stands afar
Feet are swollen to the kneel
Strength fades away at each step
From the eyes
Flows two rivers down the cheek
Why should the pursuit seize?
When you've entertained love's wonder
How it mends broken hearts
Keeps hope alive
And stripes stench of sorrow

Its path remains circular
And it soon reaches you
When patience is not exasperating
Best you take a position within
Always alert
Love soon smiles at you
<strong>Peter Anko</strong>
Peter Anko

Hi, my name is Peter Anko, and I was born in the early nineties. I am a Nigerian and a teacher of English Language and literature.

I enjoy reading, writing, editing print and playing the keyboard. Writing is serious for me. I write poems, short stories and screenplays. Someday, I wish to publish my work.
Catch my thoughts on Instagram – Peteranko1

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Zero Gravity

Zero Gravity

By Jeff Thomas

I have been so sick in my life
That the sun and the moon
Ceased to exist
Time was nothing
The days and
The weeks and
The months
Melted together
While I floated
And the rest of the world
Kept moving forward
Around me
Kept moving forward
Passed me

I have been so sick in my life
That the good days
Terrified me
So comfortable in my poverty
That the warmth and the love
Of other people
Made me want to kill myself
In my self-imposed exile
I observed groups of strangers
Laughing and enjoying each other
And felt the sinking feeling
Of my own impotence
I have been so sick in my life
That I've lied through my teeth

Because to get help
And admit my sickness
Would mean
Hurting my family
I am not a man
I am not a human being
I am diminished
I am dehumanized
By the sickness inside of me
I wake up every morning
Into the stench
Of reaching for something
I'll never grasp again
To float is all that I have
<strong>Jeff Thomas</strong>
Jeff Thomas

I grew up in a small rural village in the thumb of Michigan. Currently, I reside in Washington, MI where I work with a sub-contractor to Home Depot as a fence installer.

My most prominent hobbies outside of reading and writing are all related to music. I like to sing and play guitar. The word is out, and I have become the karaoke entertainment for friends and family. I love listening to classic rock records. I love vinyl, and I’m totally addicted to Dylan and Zeppelin and any Jack White project. I’ve made it a point this year to pay attention and listen to new releases in pop and indie music, it has rejuvenated me spiritually/creatively to see so many young people making great stuff. In my spare time I also record stuff for Soundcloud and make cds for people close to me. After a few tumultuous years writing became kind of a therapeutic exercise, it wasn’t until recently when a friend read some of my stuff that I had lying around in notebooks I started considering being published.

My goal as a writer is to keep working on improving my work and get books published. I would love to be travelling and doing readings and meeting people. On tour in 2015 Jack White paused mid Madison Square Garden concert to say “I hope it feels good when you need it to.” And that’s how I feel about my writing. I don’t want people to feel as bad and be as lost as I’ve been in my life. If I can use my writing to help someone take the edge off for just a moment, that’s a beautiful thing. That’ll always be the goal. I’m taking the heaven in me and giving it away. People can follow me on Instagram @jeffthomasprose and they can check out my Spotify playlists and Soundcloud home recordings @jeffreydthomas

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Poetry by Niamh

Poetry by Niamh

As You are Flowering

by Niamh Murphy

You will 
meet people
in your life
who will stamp 
on your stem
when they notice
the blossoming 
rooted in your skin
their crooked roots
intertwined with decay, 
envy rotting their soil
they cannot bare
to see such beauty 
flourish from you

Others you meet
in this life
will water you 
even with their last
turquoise droplet
gently guiding 
as you fumble
finding your way
up and out 
from the earth
they will admire you 
boasting to others
of the purity
within your leaves

Evenings

By Niamh Murphy

That evening I looked up
losing my eyes in the thick black abyss 
that wrapped the sky so suffocatingly tight
that I wondered how the stars 
did not shatter 
under such pressure 

That evening I looked down
losing my eyes within the crumbling of 
my body as grief tied a knot around my limbs
I wondered how my bones 
did not shatter 
under such pressure

This evening I looked up 
placing my eyes on the azure gleam above 
that glazed so delicately
I understood grief had flown from me
and had strengthened my soul 
under such pressure 
<strong>Niamh Murphy</strong>
Niamh Murphy

I’m from Birmingham in the UK. I’m nineteen years old. I’m living in the beautiful city of Bath as a second year university student! I study creative writing, I absolutely love it. I get to explore so many writing forms, such as journalism, writing for children, life writing and even publishing. This year I’m studying spoken word within my course, which I can’t wait for because I’m performing my poetry. I’m a member of the spoken word society within my uni, which lets young aspiring writers like me share our work. I think this is so important within a university environment as poetry can be so emotionally based, I think it’s so important for uni students to listen to emotional content because they’re words that could help them with their own battles that maybe nobody knows about. Writing has always been a passion of mine, it’s my first love for sure. I’ve been writing poems and my own quotes in notebooks since I was around fourteen.

It’s almost been therapeutic for me, if I’ve had a challenge or a life experience I’ve found hard to digest, I naturally just start writing a poem about it. For example when I experienced grief, I wrote a collection of poems. This was a chronological set of poems, each exploring the individual stages someone encounters when grieving. Within this collection, I personified different elements of
nature as helping the speaker through each step. 

I love including imagery of the sun and moon in my poems, personifying them as beings that want to help and guide us; I also love personifying nature itself as a caring entity. The overall focus of my poetry is to help others with emotions and challenges in life and to embed a positive perception of tough situations so that the reader can be assured there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I love embedding modern issues for people of my age and all ages, such as feeling lost within yourself or worthless. I weave these issues into my writing in ways that provide my readers with fresh outlooks towards hard situations. hey 

I have a book independently published on amazon titled ‘Emotionfull’, that almost takes the form of life advice. I was seventeen at the time and feel my writing style has changed since then, but I’m still proud to have achieved this. I have my poetry Instagram titled @niamhmurphy_poetry and would love it if you give it a follow as it’s where I post my work regularly. I also provide my followers with a little daily thought segment! Thank you so much for your time. 

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I Am Yours

I am Yours

By Van Owen Sesaldo

A golden explosion
And I see your sun
Rising again.
I feel the warmth
Of your rays on my skin
As the breeze gently
Touches my face.
-
I feel the drops of life
As the sea sprays merrily.
Oh what joy your
Light brings to what had
Been my bane in eternity
-
The dreaded night was long
And all so even longer
I had started to close my eyes
To answer the calling oblivion
Yet hope was never gone.
-
Now look at me and see
I remained on your shore
I am here
-
No thunder roared hard
Enough to scare me.
No storms raptured
stronger to blow me off.
No waves were big enough
To wash me away.
-
In this life of misses
And different sets
Of chances,
I am yours
<strong>Van Owen Sesaldo</strong>
Van Owen Sesaldo

From: Cebu City, Philippines
Hobbies: Song writing, Poetry writing and reading, cooking – exotic dishes
Day job: I work as an IT Director for a university in our city and I also run 2 tech startup companies: a music curation service for businesses and the other a market place for the services sector. 
Focus of my writing: Relationships, missed chances, seeing opportunities, love letters, love stories

Getting serious on the writing. I have already published my first book in Amazon Kindle Store. It’s entitled “On Your Shore: Of loves and love letters”.
I post my pieces in Instagram as @owensesaldo and use #fatpoet and #fatpoetdaily as my main hashtags.
I am also on Facebook and member of the Cafe as Van Owen Sesaldo.  https://www.facebook.com/OwenSesaldo  

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From the Paper Crane

From the Paper Crane

A Short Story by Denelyn Catbagan

Light spilled into the darkness as a little girl opened the package, a smile breaking through her face like she had just found a treasure. She picked me up and gazed at me warmly.

“Papa! I found it!” she said.

A man appeared next to her beaming with pride–I recognized him. He was my creator. He had folded me and shaped me. Made my paper wings and beak with such care and love.

“Make her happy, my friend,” he whispered, as he hid me in a box.

I don’t know why he would talk like that to me. I was useless, a paper crane incapable of doing anything. Protect a smile? How could I do that? Yet, now, as she held me in her hands. I felt like my life suddenly had a purpose. She carried me and played with me as her father watched, delighted with her happiness. My world became colorful with her by my side. 

But as the days go by, so do the happy times. Her father had gone, and she succumbed to her loneliness.

“You didn’t keep your promise!” She cried out. She hid me in a trunk, forgotten and decrepit.

They left there me. I kept wondering and wondering if there was something, anything I had done wrong. I was as useless as I had thought, and I felt guilt weigh heavy in my fragile heart.

Did I not keep my promise? 

I waited and waited, even as my body started to mold, even when I start to lose my vivid color. I kept believing that she’ll be back.

One night, I had a dream–a memory of when he had made me. I could remember him writing something in my body, but I couldn’t read it. Black ink seeped into my paper body; the ink felt cold, yet; I felt honesty and love within these symbols. I wish I could speak and ask him about it, but I can’t speak or talk for I’m just a mere origami that he made for his daughter.

The next day, the trunk opened, and I saw her face again.  She had changed.  She became a beautiful lady now.

She scavenged the trunk for a phone, long forgotten like the rest of its contents. She continued to search until she finally noticed me, a small paper crane in the trunk’s corner. She picked me up and examined me. She, at first, thought of me like nothing and was about to throw me away again.

I panicked at first and tried to calm down. With the little strength inside me, I tried to move and shake until one of my folds became undone.

That was when she noticed the strange symbols inside me. She unfolded me revealing the writing inside. Tears began to form in her eyes as she saw the strange characters.

That when it dawned on me–I made her cry. I began to blame myself as she cried, thinking I was useless and terrible. Her hands held me tightly, and she ran out of the open doorway.

A woman saw her and hugged her, but I couldn’t care. I kept thinking I was terrible. Maybe I shouldn’t exist. Maybe I was just a mistake. I wish I could have stopped him.

Epilogue

The girl cried, held in her mother’s arms. Her mother reassured her and said, “I see that you found it. Don’t worry, your father loved you too. I know he has already forgiven you.”

They held each other for a while as she held the handmade origami crane her father made. Though the little paper crane thought of itself as useless, it accomplished something of great relevance to her life.

<strong>Denelyn </strong>C<strong>atbagan </strong>
Denelyn Catbagan

I’m Denelyn and I am residing in the City of Manila, Philippines. I live with my family and pets. A cat and a dog, respectively. I like to travel and have been to places such as Europe, Asia, and Australia.
At first, I wrote poetry to express my mental illness in a safe way. Then, I began to enjoy writing and reading poetry books. I’m fascinated by how writers could tell stories so effectively that I now wish to pursue a career in writing. I still continue to write poetry and short stories and share them on my Instagram and Blog: Thoughtful Wisps.
And I am very thankful for this chance to share this with you all!

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Halloween Scene Creators

The Blotted Truth

A short story by Leena Auckel

She glanced at the paintings hanging on the wall. Some abstracts and some landscapes. It was a pleasant sight! When Henry wasn’t busy analysing enzymes and DNA in his lab, he used to paint in his studio. In the corner, she saw a sturdy shelf containing thick books. She trailed her fingers along the titles on the book spine. Secrets of the Chemists, DNA Demystified, and after more interesting titles. She reached his easel. On the canvas was a majestic swan gliding in a blue lake, that part was freshly painted with different shades of blue, which rendered it very vivid, she could almost catch the faintest ripple on the lake. She liked how the sky pigment sculpted the contours of the conifers around the lake.

It was amazing how he could handle electron microscopes and his paintbrush with the same finesse. She came near his table, a white mug contained water he had rinsed his paintbrushes in and the pots of cobalt blue and navy blue pots of paint he used to paint the lake lay next to it.

Cassandra had a passion for painting too but the sands of time wanted otherwise. Each time she started to draw something she was discouraged by her partner’s harsh comments.

Somehow seeing colours always brought back her childhood memories for those were the only colourful phase of her life. Unlike the last 2 years which were only a bleak black and white. She had been under constant psychological and moral abuse by her partner Jake, which had eroded her cheery personality and rendered her stoic. She was being dragged in the swirling vortex of manipulation without even realising it.

Henry had been abroad for some years. It was only two months ago that he came to Hamilton. At first, Cassandra plainly refused for the meet-up, like she had been doing for many other reunions and outings lately because Jake did not see it with a good eye.

In the beginning, she used to feel bad about not being able to meet her friends and relatives, but with time she changed. She started spinning a cocoon of low-esteem around her, and she showed no interest in sharing laughter with happy people.

Cassandra gave in only when her other two friends told her they would pick her up from work and meet over lunch. She would have been swallowed in a depressive tornado by now, if it was not for Henry, who saw how drastically she had changed from the happy-go-lucky girl he had known as a classmate to a forlorn girl with wrinkles of worry.

She went so far back in time that she inadvertently knocked over the cup of water which tipped over the pots of the navy blue and royal blue paint. A navy blue river started to form its way on the table sinuously until it reached Cassandra’s finger, which was lingering on the table. The cold water stimulated the thermoreceptors on her fingertips and flipped Cassandra back to reality. She stared at the mess in horror. She quickly picked up the cup and grabbed hold of some tissue paper and stopped the water from flowing from the edge of the table. Just in time before it reached the floor!

There was still some paint residue on the table. She reached for the tissue roll to wipe the rest of the paint only to find that it was over. She heard the garage door opening. Henry was back! Oh my god, what do I do now?! I created such a mess. It’s always me. Wherever I go things go wrong!

Her heart was pounding as she looked frantically around the room for something to clean the mess. Luckily, she found a bunch of filter papers lying on the bookshelf. She grabbed one of them and lunged towards the table. The knob of the door clicked and Henry’s shadow flooded the doorway.

“Am-am so sorry Henry, I didn’t mean to. I mean it’s my mistake, ev, everything just toppled over. I am cleaning it!” she muttered.

Henry just stood there staring at her. This made her even more uncomfortable. She wondered how will he react, will he brood? Will he scold? Or worst, will he beat me? This was how Jake used to react during disputes, with time she had been conditioned into walking on eggshells.

“Am almost done,” she said heading towards the table her cheeks turning crimson. By now the filter paper had absorbed most of the residual paint. She reached for it and started to crumple it.

“Wait!”

She froze. She closed her eyes. It’s coming. She closed her eyes harder, conditioning herself to bear the pain.

She waited. Nothing.

“Cassandra …Cassandra!” he said in a soft voice.

Henry held her shoulders and turned her around and looked into her eyes.
“It’s fine!” he said. “it’s just some paint,why are you getting so worked up?”

He picked up the filter paper and admired it,  the blue colours which had seeped in had taken different hues of blue.

“This is beautiful,” he whispered.

He bent down took his paintbrush and dipped in the the navy blue pot of paint and brushed a few strokes on the blotting paper. Cassandra peered to see what he was doing but she could only make out a blue blob of paint at the rim of the paper. He dipped the brush in black paint now and painted few more strokes and placed it back.

Now she could make it out. He had drawn a woman figure on the filter paper.

“For you this might be a wasted filter paper meant to be discarded. But the artist in me sees a sky on that paper. And that’s you with all the sky stretched in front of you showing you that possibilities are infinite.
Even if you soaked up all the mess that doesn’t make you less valuable, Cassandra. What you have endured does not put you to a disadvantage instead it has built you and armoured you with shields that will help you face harder days with ease.”

He stared at Cassandra’s awe-filled eyes and continued. “Don’t make yourself a victim of what you have undergone, you are more than just a sufferer. You are a Warrior! This sky is just waiting for You to open your wings and fly. Yes, Cassandra fly! Fly and conquer new horizons!”

<strong>Leena Auckel</strong>
Leena Auckel

I am from Mauritius, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.  Presently, I’m working as a lecturer in a Medical University.  I started writing as a hobby back in college and gradually, written words became my lifebuoy.  With life becoming more of a whirlpool, writing keeps me afloat and helps me reach out to people.

During my journey from medical student to tutor, I have come across many students with difficulty to cope at both academic and psychological levels hence my purpose to write motivational quotes.  My other hobbies include cooking, drawing and painting. My current project is to bring together my paintbrush and pen to promote mental and physical health.

Find me on my Facebook Page: Sun-Kissed Ink

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Poetry by Rosei Simpson

The Other Side of the Mirror Never Smiles

By Rosei Simpson

I told you to smile when I saw you cry, and you did, 
not because you liked me,
nor because you listened to me,
but because you knew I understood what it feels like to be half dead.

Life in reality without life itself is the same as being alive
but not knowing who you are.

I love the smell of the ocean but I hate the beach.

The sand on my feet reminds me
I’m alive and I can’t hide.

I told you to smile.

People say eyes tell a thousand stories but yours just hold lies.

When I see you I’m reminded of the overwhelming feeling of drowning.

Maybe that’s why I hate the beach,
or maybe it just reminds me of when I finally learned to swim
and no longer felt the sensation of my own emotions,
the drowning feeling I felt when they took their spot at the head of the table
and led the night with fake smiles and laughter,
the pain in my heart holds disaster but I’ve learned to live with it.

I’ve learned to love it.

The Sand on my feet reminds me that this is the reality
and for now I have to live with it.

So I told you to smile.

I leave you trapped in the mirror so I can try to live freely, but whenever I see you,
I see me.
<strong>Rosei Simpson</strong>
Rosei Simpson

She goes by her my middle name, Rose, but prefers to be called Rosei. Born in Guatemala City, she was adopted and brought to the island of St. Croix USVI. She was raised on St. Croix and visits Guatemala every summer. Rosei’s other hobbies include playing tennis and volleyball, and reading. At school, she played on the JV tennis and volleyball teams. Her day job is actually a night job where she works as a busser at a restaurant called The Bombay Club.
Rosei’s writing focus is poetry, although, she does write short stories and journalism-style pieces too. Rosei intends to go into creative writing as her major in college. She doesn’t currently have a book published but she has works published on Wattpad, Prose, and a zine (mini magazine filled with her poetry and various artists art). Rosei’s school has a Literary art journal which has published some of her work.
You can follow Rosei on Instagram: @spokenspeakss

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