Near and Far.The Teratogen Sonnet Series. Poem. Video. Norman Ball


“The death camps were not built in the Gobi Desert. And when barbarism challenged, the humanities, the arts, philosophic thought proved not only largely impotent but often collaborative with despotism and massacre,”

–George Steiner, from ‘A New Literacy’, The Kenyon Review, 24:1, Winter 2007, 10-24


Teratogen 1: Sex on the Brain


“Thy nakedness shall be uncovered,

yea, thy shame shall be seen…”—Isaiah 47:3


This mission is a sin. What kind of spaz-

tic draws vigor from pornographic veins

or penis-headed parodies of ass?


But you’re no baby, Baby. Holy weans

alive, I could not diaper your fine mess.

You soil all metaphor. I’ll author blame:

My labs, my country tis of thee. My shame

is writ uncovered on your face. No less

you’d scare Sears’ portrait guy.


And yet I’m drawn

to parse the prick that promenades your head.

They told us, Horus, Set, the Golden Dawn:


a Third Eye—neither naked, neither dead

of shameless form would, near the end, arrive

commending those whose fear brought it alive.


Teratogen 2: Cabbage Patch Moll


“Hence world picture, when understood

essentially, does not mean a picture of the

world but the world conceived and grasped

as picture.” –Martin Heidegger


You vandalize distress at no small cost

through nylon skein and cabbage patch

disguise. This manhunt though is long since lost.

All have been found. First paparazzi snatched


unguarded moments. Then we watched gray puffs

televise precision. Your face

is pixelated aftermath that stuffs

everything in the close-up. Common place


covers all bases. Where’s the intimate

to hide? The convict is a partial judge

on all subjects of visual merit. Split

my screen and your forehead suggests a smudge-

print. We share the mounting headcount’s ripe bruise.

For I no longer feel eyewitness news.


Teratogen 3: Thumbelina, Dance


“…advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” –from Project for a New American Century (PNAC) Manifesto, 2000


We vet foot bills. Are pissed-on borders worth

a mongrel birth? doG gone us Pentagon.

Hotdog Girl rolls so we might rule the earth?


Our barking men of outrage are all gone.

Lassie’s come home to her unleashing hour.

Stream? I cannot stream out into the streets.

Fluoride neutered all my upright power.

I’ll litter no more dog-days in these sheets.


Poor pup, you play dead well. No, we’ll not lift

you up. One burp and you could well explode

across complicit shoulders. To the swift

life opens up. As for an honest road

with cars to chase, let’s first define your legs.

Right now you are a thumb. How motion begs.


Teratogen 4: Waterboy


“No, you people are drinkin’ the wrong water.”

–from The Water Boy, the movie (1998)


 Suffer this baby floating on the earth

amphibious. Grace alone can mend

fluidic pustules. Please make haste. No berth

so wide of God, nor time-belabored End-


time should deflate ascent. Prospects look grim

for god-speed. Though we tire of boils and sore



Oh procrastinating seraphim,

whitewash no more. These mutants wash ashore.

Our amniotic seas now euthanize.


Please hear, oh Lord, water-boy’s gurgled cries.

His isotopic lungs cannot advance

beyond collapse. How does he stand a chance

of reaching Heaven, waterlogged on Earth?

The New Disorder liquefies at birth.


Teratogen 5: Burpee Girl


“Satan said: ‘I am not the one to prostrate

myself to a human being, whom You created

from sounding clay of altered black smooth

mud.” –Quran 15:30-35


Christian soldier, you battle your mortgage

with Abd al-Chuckee puppet-strings away,

sculpted like a Mujaheedin porridge

from amber waves of O, so gamma ray.


Our acronym-cadavers cyphered this.

The Pentagon got wind of ill-wind skies.

Re-baseline victory. All vectors miss

these eyesores too contained to leak out cries.


Children, don’t play! The cradle robs the grave

before the grave has time to rob your wild

unripened stares. Uranium defiled

His altered mud. God’s breath we, breathless, waive.


Dead verse tomatoes horror. Who’ll baptize

the Burpee Girl with ovulating eyes?


Teratogen 6: Improvised Existential Denouement (IED)


Up close you could be anybody’s child-

care scandal. Hamburger Hill limps beside

your fresh pink meat. While no one looked, life filed

your backstroke down to blisters. They will hide

your books in study hall. Who will arrest


this mutant form now terrorizing cells?

Without a clear and sewn-up threat the West

cannot hold the line. Deformity spells


doom. No tight-knit group of key advisors

props up your bloated puppet-string regime.

Sit up. Exude malevolence. Your sores

must find themselves else war will lose its steam


pressed irony. Don’t make us make Big Macs.

Cater our events. Weather our attacks.


Teratogen 7: Baby Skeletor (Brought to You by ‘Masters of the Universe’)


“Skeletor’s face accidentally got splashed with acid and he sacrificed his face to

survive.” –from ‘Masters of the Universe’, a Mattel media franchise


Before ill-winds impinged on faultless weather,

I had a barrow glazed with rain for you.

I’d wheel you to the bus-stop, but why lever

a father’s guilt atop your unhinged glue?


I’m loath to hold you up for God to see,

nor shower you with blue comforts. Why not flee

my too-short arms, your wails so out of key?

You scream small monster none the least at me.


I’ll prop you up at school if you insist.

But stand-up kids are cruel. They will resist

the womb’s last weapon, shrunken in their midst.

The universe won’t stoop. You are the grist

for chemistry swept under bazaar rug,

a Hazmat spill, the morning-after drug.
This series first appeared in The New Formalist, then Cinemension. Teratogen sonnets 5 and 7 will appear in ‘The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of sonnets of the early third millennium Friesen Press, Victoria, B.C., Canada, 2013.
NORMAN BALL (BA Political Science/Econ, Washington & Lee University; MBA, George Washington University) is a well-travelled Scots-American businessman, author and poet whose essays have appeared in Counterpunch, The Western Muslim and elsewhere. His new book “Between River and Rock: How I Resolved Television in Six Easy Payments” is available here. Two essay collections, “How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?” and “The Frantic Force” are spoken of here and here. His recent collection of poetry “Serpentrope” is published from White Violet Press. He can be reached at [email protected].
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Coral Reveries (3).Poem. Audio. Ian Irvine (Hobson)

Tree of Life

Image: ‘Darwin’s Tree of Life’ [from public domain image, drawn by Darwin]



Ian Irvine Hobson. Audio Version.

Poems: (3.)


(i.) Their Massive God

(ii.)The Noble Love of Freedom

(iii.) To Inhabit the Fields of Time


Poems by Ian Irvine (Hobson), copyright all rights reserved.


Please Note: many of these poems meditate upon or, in some cases rework/recombine, random phrases appearing in the 2nd edition of Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle. The first edition of the work appeared in 1839. I hope I have done some justice to the natural lyricism evident in Darwin’s relaxed prose style.



Their Massive God


Whether I killed their God,

one and massive.

book-tombed, with chiselled words

on granite—his puny reign,

mere millennia—

was not the issue.


Mine was the gambler’s fear, for

the mist-wrapped hull of the new

drifts only slowly into view

contrasts with the rotting hulk of God

(as slowly sinking).

How will they endure

this unbearable in-between?



The Noble Love of Freedom


In the forest,

with huge butterflies

that float

among horses and men

such brilliant colours!

– they flit

from shade

to sunshine

I find it dreamy

to think of her

and ignore the granite hills

steep and bare


They tell a story

steep and bare

of runaway slaves

and the moon was dim

(a few fireflies)

and we came upon a desert

followed by a wasteland

of marshes and lagoons

heard the sea’s sullen roar

off in the distance.


We tethered the horses

but they refused to settle.


We tethered the horses

on a sandy plain

next morning, more salt lagoons

and a few stunted trees.

The nights grew hot, and

a dim moon on white sand.


Became aware

(the exact moment is not recorded)

of a problem with the horses.


We bathed in lakes and lagoons

traversed pastures ruined by ants’ nests

passed forests with lofty trees.


Every morning more horses

bitten and infected

until one evening

I saw it in the gloom

suctioned to a horse’s back

a large vampire bat.


I found it dream-like

blatant in the gloom

(How could I ignore the granite hills?)


But then I saw it

suctioned to a horse’s back


a large vampire bat.



To Inhabit the Fields of Time


The more I observe

‘mother nature’, the less

God I see,

the more in need of a God

(or gods)

I become. Even as I

refuse to believe their

broadcast baloney.


The idea gnaws.


I came upon a parasite

in some distant jungle—

it gives me wild ideas, and though

the doctors work their alchemy

I still feel ‘inhabited’. Besides

my son in a coffin.


So many blind millennia—

and still they refuse to see.

But is my vision true—

unencumbered by faith

(my daughter, my daughter)?


The clear and terrible beauty

of aeons of methodical suffering.

He never did intervene. If

he exists, he’s a patient sadist

or useless as the carnivores

of all ages, thrive and



Ian Irvine Photo

Ian Irvine is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in many Australian and international publications, including Fire (UK) ‘Anthology of 20th Century and Contemporary Poets,’ (2008) which contained the work of poets from over 60 nations.His work has also appeared in a number of Australian national poetry anthologies, and he is the author of three books and co-editor of many more (including Scintillae 2012, an anthology of work by over 50 Victorian and international writers and poets). He currently teaches writing and literature at Bendigo TAFE and Victoria University (Melbourne) and lives with fellow writer Sue King-Smith and their children on a 5 acre block near Bendigo, Australia.
Links related to his work are as follows:


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There is only love.Poem. Bhuwan Thapaliya

Grasping her hands closely,
I halt my heart
at the edge of her lips
and stare deeper inside
the lava of passion
ejecting shimmering
volcanoes of love.
I let myself slide
through her hand,
easing myself
deeper into her core.
With each cuddle,
the air shakes with joy;
the clouds of passion
grow thicker
– waves of mountain air
rumble past my soul.
A whisper
from beneath her core
– a rumbling moan –
fills my ear
and rolls across
my soul and beyond.
And in the tender
air of love
– destiny, direction,
and time seems to
waft away.
There is only love,
– two tectonic lips
colliding as one.
The earth shakes,
She pulls a flower
from my heart
and lifts it to the sky.



Bhuwan Thapaliya works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections. Thapaliya’s books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride ( Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more.
Bhuwanthapaliya picture
Our Nepal, Our Pride


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Griefs Home. Poem. Amparo Arrospide


Perhaps grief is a home
with a haughty ceiling and a bolted door
where you feel so comfortable, sometimes,
that you do not hear the steel s edge
slashing the tapestries,
suspended on the scented air:
it is heliotrope blended with brimstone,
seeking to settle in the corners;

only the window stands
between the limit and you.

Arduous walk, in silence you listen to the ancient voices,
firewood for this grief
always starved of you,
as demanding as a newborn child
whom you already love.

The door opens ajar and you close it:
There is nothing to be afraid of.




Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published four poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and Presencia en el Misterio as well as poems, short stories and articles on literary and film criticism in anthologies and both national and foreign magazines. She has received numerous awards. Together with Robin Ouzman Hislop, she worked as co-editor of Poetry Life and Times, an E-zine.

Who’s Really Learned from Experience on the World Stage.Poem. Jim Dunlap



Why do Americans detest the French?

The answer is patently simple and plain:

but it gives U.S. national pride a wrench.

The French find senseless warfare inane,

teach their kids to think for themselves,

to study — and never to drop out of school.

Faced with a problem, the Frenchman delves

to the bottom, isn’t shown as a fool

by taking religious inanities to heart.

The Frenchman knows there’s a world out there,

and never puts the horse before Descartes.

He’s wily, tenacious, tough and aware.

Famed as a lover, he’ll fight if he must,

but invades no one if his cause is not just.


Jim Dunlap’s poetry has been published extensively in print and online in the United States, England, France, India, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand. His work has appeared in over 90 publications, including Potpourri, Candelabrum, Mobius, Poems Niedernasse, and the Paris/Atlantic. He was the co-editor of Sonnetto Poesia and is currently a Content Admin for Poetry Life & Times. He is also the chief proofreader for the On Viewless Wings Anthologies, published out of Queensland, Australia. In the past, he was a resident poet on Poetry Life & Times and the newsletter editor for seven years with the Des Moines Area Writers’ Network.

You may find him here:










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Daddy #2.Poem.Janet P. Caldwell


I Remember him

Glassy blue eyes

Fingertips brown

Black greasy hair

Forehead high

Child killer

Sick bastard


I Remember me

Scuttling like a rat

Running from a cat

Scattering across the tile

 Like a roach on fire

When the lights came on

Better scatter, Daddy’s home!


I Remember (séances)

Straddling his head

The Shoulders so high

Calling up the dead

Peering in the sky

Let the dead arise

It’ll stop Daddy’s cries

I Remember Abuse

Dancing to the belt

That beat me blue

Decorated with welts



 I Remember You


© Janet P. Caldwell 2003 -2013

janet Caldwell

The Hunter (Villanelle).Poem. Amparo Arrospide

Fear, a throbbing fear, as fiercely white
as the forest snow I roam while all sleep,
And over my tracking boots there was moonlight
Over my drunken steps, only her orbit

As white as anguished snow and the forked path
to the castle where my fate had been decreed:
“You will bring me her heart”
And looked at the moving distaff turn
–her face I couldn’t  see, perhaps abominable–
And over my tracking boots there was moonlight
Over my drunken steps, only her orbit

How pale the child was, her heart in throbbing fear
As Snow melted away for wolves and dens,
The forest snow I roam while all sleep,
And over my defeat now only moonlight
And over my drunken steps, only her orbit



Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published four poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and Presencia en el Misterio as well as poems, short stories and articles on literary and film criticism in anthologies and both national and foreign magazines. She has received numerous awards. Together with Robin Ouzman Hislop, she worked as co-editor of Poetry Life and Times, an E-zine.

Translated Poems by Michael R Burch. (Basho,Sappho,Shugyo.)


Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
―for the children of Gaza

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
Michael R Burch

Eros shakes my soul:
a wind on desolate mountains
leveling oaks.
Sappho, fragment 42, loose translation by Michael R. Burch


The butterfly 
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch


Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I’d leap into the torrent! 

― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
Mike Burch Face Book_n
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest and hundreds of literary journals and websites. His poetry has been translated into Arabic, Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. He also edits

*Translator’s note: I consult a wide range of sources before I do a translation, since I’m not an expert on other languages. For instance, before doing my translations of Basho and Sappho, I studied hundreds of translations and comments about their work by various experts.

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