Open Letter to a Lady

Open Letter to a Lady


by Troy Bigelow


Some of us douse the fire of the torch, Lady.

Some of us black out the sympathetic harbor—we are

not in agreement, Lady Liberty, never


in agreement on who and how to absorb the poor and weary

bombed out of homes in Basra—Syrian people not sleeping

but lying cold and awake in a Turkish camp.


Hungry people are dying cold doomed homeless,

and some of us say it is too dangerous to help;

Lady, they make you stand with a raised octagon:


four white letters on a field red as a bloodletting:

STOP, Lady Liberty, in your right hand in a harbor,

harbinger of sorrow, a burned out light on a hill.


Some of us sit and drink glasses of wine,

cuddle beneath soft electric blankets,

and feel sad about the huddle of refugees,


but I don’t think we really understand, Lady,

the little girl so hungry she cannot


stop trying to scream through the cramp

where the food once was.


Some of us export rockets and missiles and earn the refuge

of gated mansions and armed security guards and walls

ten million dollars deep, from waging the business of peace


in lands we will never really see on TV, where a little boy’s

left leg was blown through his father’s bedroom door,

but his sister still has the chance to starve some more.


There are some, Lady, who want a door and a wall

to bear a sign that says, KEEP OUT in letters

the size of the book in your left hand, red letters


painted high and mighty enough to maintain our safety

against starving, fleeing, displaced and desperate daughters

and sons of men and women who might be radical killers.


Refuge is a dream that we, Lady Liberty, can cut off

in their sleep; so many more line up to be refuted

by the land of the free—we create more refugees.


Troy Bigelow,


Ο Δρόμος της Προσφυγιάς

Ο  Δρόμος  της  Προσφυγιάς

Θα μπορούσε ο άνθρωπος να μάθει από τη φύση ….


Έφυγα, για πάντα από κοντά σου

απ’ του πολέμου την  κλαγγή

πήρα τους δρόμους που οδηγούνε

στο άγνωστο πάνω στη γη.

Έκλεισα μέσα στην ψυχή μου

όλα τα όνειρα,  τα παιδικά

θάρρος μου δίνουνε κι ελπίδα

να μη μ’ αγγίζει η απανθρωπιά.

Σκιές ανθρώπινες βαδίζουν

ξυπόλητες σε πέτρες, σε νερά

και με σκυμμένο το κεφάλι

ψάχνουν να βρουν απανεμιά.

Ξεριζωμός, πόνος και αίμα

πάντα υπάρχουνε χωρίς  αιδώ,

ποτέ δεν μάθαμε απ’ τη φύση

συμπόνια τι είναι,  και πολιτισμό.

Καπετά – Γιώργος   Σπηλιώτης     21-3-2016

When Mouths Say No

When Mouths Say No

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 by George Kalamaras


Was Jack Spicer a refugee? Was Thoreau?

One man cast into the expanse of Martians,

the other thrown from the woods of his own


heart into the swampy dark of possum scent

and skunk. The owl is whirring through the chests

of every child who crosses the border of here to


nowhere. Of nowhere to there. To certainly not

here. Not in my state, proclaims the Governor

of the United States of Goodliness. Let Greece


or some other cradle of possibility

take in all the bad-as-it-can-get. If we step from

the easily said into the way words could


and would but won’t. If we go to the woods

to grieve deliberately, to front only

the essential facts of dearth. A mother moves


from Sudan, from Rwanda, toward mouse bone

cracking in the wind’s wind. We are all buffeted back

by our buffeting back? We retreat into pond scum


of sassafras hollow, stagnant and sad,

as we rush to guard the well? One man

spoke to Martians, was banished


to a Tennessee still. The other said no to war

taxes, and before jail only the woods would take him

in. What if you lost your home to dragon smoke


and screech? Your family cast into splinter-shunt

and shake? Not in my mouth, reiterates the Governor

of Good. Syrian airstrikes, then airdropped


powdered milk. Lentils and rice. Fruit leather, salt.

Let some other home of Democracy, he says, hold

the democratically poor. Not in my mouth. Not in yours.

When Neighbors Can’t Be Neighbors Bop

When Neighbors Can’t Be Neighbors Bop

—for the refugees


by Curtis L. Crisler


Grump’s plan—to stand fences so neighbor can’t see Grump’s eyes.

All neighbor hears—murmurs, a shrill buzzing instrument—

a circling of fussy gnats, invisible, at height of the fence.


Grump hands toss countries over barrier, don’t want that “debris”

in his yard. Grump hands want spotless life, no dislodged hearts

or babies, no dislodged longing for back there, older cities.


      Somebody’s knocking at the door,

            somebody’s ringing the bell.


Good knocking lets neighbor hands exchange casserole dishes, apple pie.

Bad knocking is a diamond needle stuck in the groove of scratched

memories, a wedging in the heart’s glovebox, hiding your


first-aid kit, or a perennial Phillips head screwdriver that never fixes or gets

used, but just rusts. A precaution for caution, for that love-box of equity.

Oh, to decree for love. Oh to nourish for love. Then, to stomp


love into sordid sod, expecting lilacs to grow? Neighbors saw Grump push down

his boot on the shovel’s head, knows Grump has dreams to be neighborless.


      Somebody’s knocking at the door,

            somebody’s ringing the bell.


With all the chitty-chatter earmarking walls, establishing borders, donning

defenses, how can a neighbor exact the landscape that a neighbor must

traffic on foot? How can neighbors discuss the alikenesses shared


no matter the publicity of fear, of angry teeth? And if Grump’s not searching

for two hands to make a sound, two voices to linger about each other’s flower

bed, how can a neighbor be born if “neighbor” can never be a noun?


      Somebody’s knocking at the door,

            somebody’s ringing the bell.


Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow

“Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow”, a poem by Linda Bess, was read on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue Unversity of Fort Wayne (IPFW)  during the local event on March 21 2016, as part of the A Poem For Refugees campaign:

Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow


by Linda Bess



What can I do when I ache for you

and you, tired with Spanish sparrow’s sorrow

flit from the dream of Sardinia to Serbia?


Take me to Cradle Island,

to our archipelago

to “the city in which I love you”*

to the nest of an eagle, fertile

with no chance of rain

or, with chance of storms,

with no chance of child, but

the warmth of your skin

and the swell of bulbous song,

Sweet Sweet Smile, Passage

careening its groove

a little like a warbler,

genus Sylvia (not Plath).




Yes, I pushed dear into darling with intent,

like the wisdom of the Atlantic Ocean further than the Adriatic,

like Atlas like you like me,

like Sofia hungers for her name,

like the drama in Greece that demands my papers,

like the Danube carves a new bearing,

sustaining Spanish Sparrow’s Sorrow

no bearing on deceased willows that weep

into the empty of childhood

that if I could, I’d remember like a first kiss should be remembered,

but that island wasn’t a part of an archipelago.


Instead, it manifested a recurring dream:

A broken two-story weathered abandoned house

on an island

in the middle

of a torrential

refugee camp.




Yes, I left dear out and forgot my consonant.


I can’t walk. The children I didn’t bear

I now bear in my atrophied arms.

Where are your arms? What arms do you load

under tattered canvas? Do you paint

my picture, like 2,500 faces daily,

like blood leaving your face not your gland not your eye on me my child no child?


In the city in which I did love, I loved you, darling.

I ache for you. Your touch was my sanctuary.

Our child no child is my penchant.

Who’s Black Butler slayed you whilst

a screeching rendition of The Devil’s Trill

drowned me in a river of strange hands,

shafted, spotted with buzzing florescent gratuity?

Who they were they are I cut them away

because, I love you and because, I am Andjela,

and because, you are my darling, Mirza.




How do you bear the loneliness?

*The City in Which I Love You, poetry book title by Li Young Lee

“Ξεριζωμός” & “Προσφυγιά” – Ποιήματα των μαθητών του Mουσικού Σχολείου Τρικάλων

Ομαδικά ποιήματα μαθητών του  Μουσικού Σχολείου Τρικάλων. Γράφτηκαν στο πλαίσιο του Λογοτεχνικού Εργαστηρίου Δημιουργικής Γραφής το οποίο συντονίζει  η φιλόλογος-ποιήτρια Γεωργία Κολοβελώνη.




Κανένας δεν μου είπε φύγε

Έπρεπε να φύγω

Άφησα πίσω την καμένη γη των προγόνων μου

Μόνο ένα σάπιο καράβι με περίμενε

Κομμένη ζωή

Όπως τα κομμένα πόδια του γιου μου

Μακριά απ’ όλους κι απ’ όλα

Είναι σαν θάλασσα η ζωή

Κι η ελπίδα μου ένα κούτσουρο που πλέει

Άπλωσα σε μια στροφή το σπίτι μου

Και σκεπάστηκα με λίγο ουρανό

Είναι η αυλή μου με γρασίδι

Όπως το ήθελε ο γιος μου από μικρός

Και αύριο που έχουμε γενέθλια

Θα μας χαρίσουν δύο λέξεις

«Είστε ανεπιθύμητοι»


Συμμετείχαν οι μαθητές της Γ’ Λυκείου: Ραφαηλία Κόντου, Χρήστος Κούτσιας, Μαργαρίτα Κωστοπούλου, Χρήστος Λόλας, Χριστίνα Μπαλλά, Χαρά Τσιγαρίδα, Φωτεινή Χαντζιάρα.

* * *



Ξεριζωμένα σώματα και ψυχές αναρωτιούνται

Αν έρθει το αύριο

Φόβος κυριαρχεί στην καρδιά

Κι ο τρόμος την ειρήνη κρατά

Δεν ζεις το σήμερα ούτε το χτες

Κάθεσαι εκεί σαστισμένος

Μια ελπίδα μέσα στη φωτιά

Που λιώνει τη σάρκα

Σβήνει το χαμόγελο

Ξεχασμένο σε πατάρι παιχνιδάδικου

Πόλεμος στα μάτια των ανθρώπων

Κόσμος πνιγμένος στο αδιέξοδο

Πρόσωπα χαμένα στο μαύρο σύννεφο

Κι όλα αυτά άλλη μια είδηση στην τηλεόραση

Απάνθρωπη πραγματικότητα

Σε κόσμο με αισθήματα


Συμμετείχαν οι μαθητές της Α’ Λυκείου: Μαριάνθη Γκουλιώνη, Κωνσταντίνα Δήμου, Ρεβέκκα Ζάμπρα, Αγγελική Κοκόρα, Βάιος Κουκουλέτσος, Ομηρόλη-Μαρία Μπάλτου, Παρασκευή Μπαντόλια, Μελίνα Μπουτσιώλη, Δωροθέα Νίτκο, Κωνσταντίνα Πασσιά, Διονυσία Σάρρη, Αθηνά Σφέικου,  Αλίκη Φλιούκα, Γιώτα Χονδρού.



by Ayo Ayoola

i speak, i speak,

i speak by the glow of the moonlight

Where is that nonsense?

Where is that sense?                                                                                                                                                                 I was born when the sun sang

I saw starkly like an open flower

before the heat came down my mind came down.

i speak, i speak,

i speak words like waterfall

and the days go blind,

and hearts go deaf

The earth is my body,

so i worship bubbles and waited

for a blissful undisturbed sense.

i speak, i speak,

i speak like my flesh

i have learned to smell burnt words.

that hit upon my heart

yet my face laughs like hyena

And yours like a drain

sitting in the sky as

blue as a swimming pool

My sense runs nowhere

I speak, i speak

I speak like the sunrise

At dawn, life is on the whole

sense and nonsense

and at dusk nothing absolutely nothing.

My head ran everywhere and sang

till the river dried up in all places.

i speak, i speak

i speak  like the morning

waken from her dream.

What is that nonsense?

What is that sense?

i saw sense in nonsense and nonsense in sense.

And leaned where the sun ran

no longer welling up and out

I never quite know…

I speak, i speak

i speak like nature

I sang my mind out like tulips.

My sense runs everywhere.

Who is that nonsense?

Who is that sense?

You know it, because you are in it.

I speak, i speak,

I speak like a god

there’s a rose in my heart

and stink in the sink.

I’ve had enough

I can’t find my head.

but I  have learned to keep my two clay heads.

©ayo ayoola-amale  2015



by Ayo Ayoola

I sit alone for centuries in endless waters.

Yesterday earth and the heavens i can’t take with me.

Lost to night, lost to an extremely old night

i called the moon to join me.

The moon was always drunk.

Heaven and earth are gone and

half of the sun is trapped in the river’s tongue.

Yet, I have been a child bursting forth like volcano

I sit alone for centuries, neglected and self-neglecting.

I grew into understanding and misunderstanding.

Then I melted into the room but the sun keep singing.

The earth is heavy with this rhythm, again and again.

This ancient night keep falling bullets like autumn leaves

from the earth. My insanity known to one and everyone

in the rivers clear with a thousand tulips, my heart grow to the heavens.

Only to scatter like rain, but the sun keeps singing.

I sit alone for centuries

With my eyes swimming in darkness

between self and self.

They were inside me like flowers

they grew deep inside me and

sent my mind through thousands of miles

I was sure, i was unsure

This night has busted.

©ayo ayoola-amale  2015



by Ayo Ayoola

A dewdrop against the unseen rock is a sacred dust.

Where the clouds roar above a sunken ship

in mid sea or among the waves of the distant shore.

A wreck marks the end deep and dark,

woven of the warp and wail of mystery.

The eye of the soul is a narrow vale

between the cold and barren peaks of all dewdrops.

The voiceless lip speaks.

The moon fled like a scared bird,

The world ran like the wind,

The stars walked away

while the earth kept yawning.

 How deep the earth inhabits us?

She pulls her flock into the sky.

They passed to silence. A pathetic dust,  a sacred dust.

The voiceless lip speaks.

Time became nothing

 she was the center of all.

We can hear the rustle of her wings.

©ayo ayoola-amale  2015



by Ayo Ayoola

Harmony sticks to the whole

Harmony sticks to everything

where night doesn’t fall.

Life’s morning touches the sky where all souls are temples.

Where all souls’ music is jeweled with joy

all hearts are perfumed flowers touched beneath

a wilderness of humanness.

A vine and flower in sunshine where eager winds kiss every sail

Harmony sticks to the whole

Harmony sticks to everything

where night doesn’t fall.

The dawn rises from the violence of love,

the violence of brotherhood,

the violence that explodes storms

as the moon veiled her light

all minds fill the golden dawning.  All souls complete.

©ayo ayoola-amale  2015