Two poems by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal


On the emergency room
table a bearded man
being examined was
found with ants in his beard.

Each ant carried crumbs of sweet
bread, which they could not
enjoy because the nurse
who cleaned the man's white beard,

swept the ants away, some with
malevolence, as
she pinched the ants between
her little god fingers.


I was accused
of chasing or
following a
woman around. 

I was told I
did something wrong
and that is a
lie.  All I know

was that I was
on the street.  I
was hungry and
now I am here.

I don't know where
my green card is.
They took it from
me.  I don't know

where it is and
I don't see what
business it is
of yours to ask

me such things.  I
don't have to speak
to you.  I was
falsely accused.

•  Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal says “I enjoy reading the work in IS&T, especially David McLean's poetry. Recently, my poetry has appeared in Beat the Dust, Munyori Poetry Journal, and Kendra Steiner Editions. I work in the mental health field in Los Angeles, California.”

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Two new poems by P-T Diep


Pine cones filled with snow
litter the feet of tall firs
pointing ever skyward,
hairs on the back of the world
draped with miniature stars


false weightlessness of F
   thrills, as branches breAk
  time stutters, turns, tumbLes
    earth mocks the sky and fLees
       blurring – stomach churnIng.
               Dirt becomes profouNd
                         – a final restinG place.

• Phuoc-Tan Diep is a regular contributor to IS&T

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Two pieces for Remembrance Day

Yes, we are a day late but here are two pieces (one by Maureen Weldon and the second by IS&T editor Charles Christian) with a relevance to Remembrance Day on 11th November. Not so well known these days is that November 11th is also St Martin's Day (or Martinmas) and that good weather on the 11th is know as a “St Martin's Summer”.


They came one by one
El Alamein  –  the khaki inferno,
of smoke, oil and yellow tongues.
For every one that lived
two comrades died.
Now a million ghosts move silently
buried in the ever moving sand,
or talk in old men's  dreams.

• Maureen Weldon adds “I wrote this poem for my father who served with the British Army throughout the Second World War. My father did, thank God, return home after the War.”


St Martin's Summer
butterflies still flittering
over poppy wreaths

• As well as editing Ink Sweat & Tear, Charles Christian will be the editor of the British Haiku Society's 2008 members' anthology.

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New taiga by Pamela Babusci

Pamela Babusci is an American poet and artist and previous contributor
to IS&T. She describes 'taiga' as
made-up term for combining tanka with art, in the same way that a haiku
+ art becomes a haiga.

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Willow Tree Night & Snowy Visitors bu Michael Lee Johnson

Willow Tree Night and Snowy Visitors

Winter is tapping
on the hollow willow tree's trunk –
a four month visitor is about to move in
and unload his messy clothing
and be windy about it –
bark is grayish white as coming night with snow
fragments the seasons.
The chill of frost lies a deceitful blanket
over the courtyard greens and coats a
ghostly white mist over yellowed willow
leaves' widely spaced teeth –
you can hear them clicking
like false teeth
or chattering like chipmunks
threatened in a distant burrow.
The willow tree knows the old man
approaching has showed up before,
in early November with an
ice packed cheek and brutal
puffy wind whistling with a sting.

• Michael Lee Johnson is a regular contributor to IS&T and his latest piece has a very seasonal feel to it, for readers on both sides of the Atlantic – although over here in the UK the only chipmunks we hear chattering are in cartoons.

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Two new poems by Juliet Humphreys


This is home: you could be happy here.

Spangled lights fill the hallway, a painted smile.

From the outside it sounds like a party –

high-pitched screams, music turned up way too high.

Look around you, no-one's laughing.

Smoke crawls into their throats,

everyone's trying not to breathe and some succeed,

lie sleeping. Clamouring hands reach out to nothing;

erase the lights, the colours, everything.


The boy, as he had been,
who'd loved her first,
lay before her sleeping,
dreaming – she was sure –
not gone as it said.
She wanted to hold
his mangled heart,
feel for signs of care,
instead she allows a finger
to glide over those lips
as if to kiss them
but there is nothing,
no quiver,
and it isn't the same
so his curled fingers
she gently eases
between her own –
here we are
she says to him now,
the two of us,
the living and the dead.

• Juliet Humphreys say “About me: I would like to be a poet who teaches but too often it is the other way around.”

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for Sharon by Gary Kissick

for Sharon

I know I said I loved
Helena Bonham Carter,
but since I’ve met you, Sharon,
I’ve gone off her.

It’s true I said I hated
that shameless whore Madonna,
but since you said you like her,
I’ve gone on her.

Your pin-up boy
is love’s hegemonist:
Darcy dripping
pride and prejudice.

The wounded voice
of Bobby Dylan
you called a cow
in need of killing.

Twice forever.
Two divorces.
One’s much safer betting
on horses.

Love’s a menace.
Love’s a yoke.
Love’s an egg
in tennis.

Let’s break it gently
to our frail mothers first.
Then I’ll call Helena,
you Colin Firth.

• This poem comes from Gary Kissick’s new collection Another Kissing Couple Has Exploded which was published by Gatehouse Press (see link in sidebar) last month.

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