Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hero Checklist by Mgcini Nyoni

If a man fights gallantly for his country
If a man decimates the enemy
and liberates his country
If the same man goes on to rape and murder
Is he a hero?
If a man feeds the hungry
clothes the cold
and shelters the homeless
If the same man then molests little ones
Is the man still worthy of praise?
If a man who fought gallantly for his country
Loots resources meant for many
Is that man a hero?
If there was a hero checklist
Would rape, murder and looting be on that list?
If the right hero checklist was used
Would our heroes be heroes?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Siren of the Streets by Donal Mahoney

 Photo by Carol Bales
Whenever she comes by
it's always the same thing.
I make her comfortable
and then she leaves. 

I tell her she's a harlot 
hooking up all night 
with God knows who 
but in her case God

looks the other way.
Curious neighbors 
ask if I know her.  
I ask them do I look 

like that kind of man?
Peter denied Christ thrice
but I make Peter a piker
when it comes to denying 

this siren of the streets.
Once in a while a neighbor,
smitten as I am, takes her in
because she's attractive

and it's peaceful until
some morning very early
she's on my deck again
heartbroken, forlorn,

willing to do anything
for a nosh and a drink. 
Since no one is up
at that hour to see me 

I sit on the deck
and she leaps on my lap
and I stroke her until
she's a Lamborghini 

purring at a red light. 
Then she drives off,
leaving me on the deck
heartbroken, forlorn.

She must have been spayed.
Never had any kittens. 
What might Pope Francis 
think about this?

Her kittens, after all,
would have been beautiful 
just as she is,
harlot or not.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ruhi (My soul) by Brihintha Burggee

You're only a blurred image,
Of smiles, affection and piety
A fragile mirage,
I breathe in every moment.
You are the whisper of every prayer,
From a heart whose longing has left it barren!

My ruhi, my qalbi –
Every night you sneak into my bed,
Thrusting a map from my heart to yours,
Tracing away ancient grief with your fingers,
One detour at a time until dawn breaks in,
And you point to your chest, “This is your home”.

I am lost to handful of mornings,
Jealous of the silence of wakefulness that pulls you away,
Like the ocean teasing the shore only to leave it parched.

Ruhi : Soul
Qalbi: Heart

Friday, March 6, 2015

Feline in Winter by Donal Mahoney

Photo by Carol Bales
Some days you think the cat will stay till summer comes, 
this Prodigal Son you've fed for years, this feral cat
who comes and goes and comes again when hunger strikes. 
But he just eats and leaves your porch, 
despite the pillows plumped for a Sultan’s duff. 

He disappears in falling snow 
only to appear again outside your door at dawn, 
his green eyes dancing when he sees you bring 
his mound of kibble, topped with tuna, 
and his bowl of milk. Some days he mounts  

the pillows for a nap. At noon, however, 
he begins to yowl. He wants out again 
to parade triumphant down the walk, 
his tail an exclamation point. He romps 
across the snow and fits beneath the fence. 

He's gone again. Out of sight.
He plans to spend another evening  
where the feral cats hold services.  
They yowl and fight and copulate 
till hunger strikes and then 

this Prodigal Son comes back and sits 
outside your door with tail wound round
and waits for you to bring his kibble,
topped with tuna, and his bowl of milk.
Then, he's gone again. Out of sight.