Better Than Starbucks
Poetry and Fiction Journal
. . . if you love diversity and creative writing in any and every form, then you’re in the right place . . .
Vol VI No III
February, May, August,
From the Condo’s Rooftop, 7:00 pm
Afar, the city skyline
lies as the crooked lower teeth
of the wide-open and swallowing maw
that is the night sky.
My Urban Certainties
In the underbelly of this city
lies the ancient
and still-active archive
of unanswered prayers,
and the displaced fireflies,
the flitting cigarette glows
of the homeless
at the street corner,
of the entire metropolis.
Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines, is the author of the full-length poetry collection Metro Manila Mammal (Some Publishing, 2018). His poems have been twice nominated for the Best of the Net and appear in Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, Eclectica, Matter, and others.
Voice of a Fetus
I’m the ripening fruit
of desire in you.
I know I’m not the sun
that will rise above the mountains
of your hope tomorrow but you know
there are hands in the world that wait for me.
Life isn’t in the garbage heaps
nor in a pack of stray dogs.
My unknown fathers disown me.
So, let me cry a cry of hope
before it recedes into silence.
Sreekanth Kopuri, PhD, is an Indian poet and Professor of English from Machilipatnam, and the Poetry Editor of Kitchen Sink Magazine. His work has been published in Honest Ulsterman, Christian Century, Memoryhouse, and The Rational Creature, to mention a few.
Early morning meetings
My grandmother stands at the door,
wearing a smile that resembles
the pink floral prints of her everyday
saree. ‘Ready?’ she asks,
as the golden sun slants
through the off-white curtain.
I dress in a blue frock with pink frills,
comb my hair, stick a clip
and caper, across the cement courtyard,
in my red polka dotted slip-on shoes.
When we reach the barn,
she nudges the brown door open.
A row of newly hatched chicks
with their marble eyes,
chirp and squeak.
I feel the brush of yellow down
covering their soft bodies
three decades later, when I hear
my grandmother’s voice
over the phone,
first thing in the morning.
Preeth Ganapathy’s writing has appeared in a number of online magazines, including Buddhist Poetry Review, Mothers Always Write and Young Ravens Literary Review. She is also the winner of Wilda Morris’s July 2020 Poetry Challenge.
When the garden’s most beloved flower
Filtered through sorrow, becomes a blinding
Eye disease, like love rotting to cloying,
Crippling obsession, the vaunted power
Of language to shape and heal life’s lost folds
Cracks like eggshells under bare feet,
Like chopped heads hurled at a tower,
Then the dying ones, looking at the wall
Outside the window, at bleak-bricked glory
And stout rectangles, do offer up all
The gratitude left in them, that the sea
With which they wished to mingle their bones holds
No sway here. When moonlit waves meet
Wasting flesh, they know no mercy.
Hibah Shabkhez is a writer, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Shot Glass Journal, Across the Margin, Panoplyzine, Feral, Literati Magazine, and a number of other literary magazines.
At eight in the evening on a Friday, you are trying to find
Rue Saint Louis — a street with yellow colonial buildings
and smell of moth, as if,
history has a moth-smell all over
its body of work
and, it seems, somewhere down the road, a rendezvous
is written like a lone mothball
in a locked wooden chest
where you finally meet an old beginning
or a new end
Around the block, you sit at a corner table
in a restaurant
where the wall is glass
and the menu card is only in Tamil. Here you fervently wish
to donate Ovid’s memory of sex and death
to anyone who is interested
in this elegiac foreplay of ailing autumn before
a callous winter
and easily pluck and release frangipani flowers (as if,
they are white and yellow
butterflies with six wings floating on air!)
from a row of trees near the promenade’s edge
You know that this place was waiting
for you ever since
your birth and will wait for you even after
your death. You sit and wait endlessly
with a pint of Tiger beer,
a plate of Chettinad chicken and two restless ants
on the table for someone to come
Sekhar Banerjee is an author. His works have been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Tiger Moth Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Kolkata, India.
The Highway Lullaby
Gently, gently spreads the road
Deadly net to draw me in.
Murky clouds idly float,
Trace my way with gloomy grin.
Slowly, slowly thoughts die out.
Sounds vanish one by one.
Only engine hums about
Every instant of its run.
Bit by bit the senses wane,
Fading into dreamy haze.
Quickly, quickly drowsy brain
Loses way in foggy maze.
Swiftly, swiftly death is springing.
From the road’s endless traps.
Startled, I perk up from dreaming.
Death retreats — for now, perhaps.
Gently, gently weaves the road
Deadly net to draw me in.
Murky clouds idly gloat
From above with gloomy grin.
Irena Pasvinter divides her time between software engineering, family and writing. Her stories and poems have appeared in many literary magazines. Her poem "Psalm 3.14159..." was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. https://sites.google.com/site/ipscribblings/. She lives in Israel.
Angry river climbs the rows of steps, breaks
Bounds while the wild wind blows,
slaps water, makes sounds: lapping, fluid,
disturbing, disturbed sounds.
Then it breaks all silence. Whirling waves,
no more tame, eddy around bends, concave.
Sights, no more serene, as the brown new river
reminds of the river old, blue and green, swollen now,
broad and muddy; in no way the same.
Ganga it surely is, yet known only by that name.
The course and colour and its summer flow,
All change — it will go on for a month or two.