the unexpected


Kushal Poddar

Chickens and Kalashnikovs tumble

from the postern of a blind truck. 

It zigzags, fades into dust.

The old man picks up the birds.

The child expects the gun to be warm

and his chagrin will make you so.

Nowhere sprawls everywhere.

The hut hosts a business of flies.

The scraw nibbles at skin, feather

and the metal so dead, heavy and cold.

And this settles a new township.

Children sell cold. Old ones sell heat.

Sometimes the eyeless truck


returns sniffing for the things it lost,

but picks up no scent, or perhaps this,

a recurrent succubus, the child sees,

the old too, and the heat seeks equilibrium

we know. Fever flows. The chickens,

drained of blood, turns to be ice.

The calefaction of those guns, used 

when a sale goes wrong, marks 

the user’s skin with signs as old as lightning.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and father. He has authored seven volumes of poetry including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’ and ‘Eternity Restoration Project – Selected New Poems’.

the unexpected


Kushal Poddar

The fading begins,

and the tiny monkey

that hangs from the tree

in your forlorn rooftop scene

ghosts the twisted wind.

The strange light is actually

your eyes 

staring at all those strangers


Below a hallowed hollow grabs

every feet.

Beat it; fading begins.

Veil your heart; blood fades your flesh.

Bow you are

only a flow and nothing else.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and editor of ‘Words Surfacing’ magazine. He has also published ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse – A Prequel’.

the unexpected

Hierophant (Tarot Major Arcana 5) // A Főpap (Tarot, Nagy Arkánum V.)

László Aranyi

Drinks his blood, eats of his flesh, the « No »

promises « Yes »; that, which is broken, forms itself

into a whole again. The pupil is prepared,

a net is his attention, his bag a harbour to the loot.

That obnoxious Ubu-puffball maltreated me,

like that teacher Mr Hébert did Jarry, 

and taught that teachers were the foe.

(Tyranny is pathetic and childish,

it whips about, canes spouting volcanos, 

disciplines the storm.)

Do not teach: learn! If you have talent for notoriety:

that is what Teaching is!

In vain you sneak

into dark doorways, you will

vomit and crap on the cassock anyway!

I never become a chair-clown,

remained a lone Searcher. Every sentence I write is 

a newly discovered continent,

(rain makes the reed cry, it delicately bows and leaves

the spider-web that hides by its roots untouched).

The shoddy, the profane, the petty retreats.

My mastery cleanses to inhumane.


Vérét issza, húsából eszik, a „Nem”

ígér „Igen”-t; ami tört, roncs, egésszé

formálódik. A tanítvány felkészült,

figyelme háló, zsákja zsákmány-menedék.

Ocsmány Ubu-pöfeteg gyötört, 

mint Jarryt Hébert tanár úr, s a tanítót 

ellenségnek látni tanított.

(A zsarnokság szánalmas és gyermeteg, 

kitörő vulkánokat vesszőz, vihart fenyít, 

korbácsával csapkod.) 

Ne taníts: tanulj! Ha képes vagy hírhedtté válni: 

az a Tanítás! 

Hiába osonsz sunyin 

a sötét kapualjba, úgyis

lehányod és lefosod a reverendát!

Nem vált belőlem katedra-bohóc, 

maradtam magányos Kereső. Felfedezett

földrész minden mondat, amit leírok,

(esőtől sír a nád, érzékenyen hajol,

érintetlenül hagyja a tövénél megbújt pókhálót).

Hátrál a bóvli, a profán, az alantas.

Embertelenné tisztul hatalmam. 

László Aranyi is a Hungarian poet. He has published work in English in Quail Bell Magazine, Lumin Journal, Moonchild Magazine, Briars Lit and many others. His work often explores spiritualist mediums, art and magic.

the unexpected

Philosophy of The Blind

Kushal Poddar

The way someone blind 

wears his ignorance

and gallivants through a throng.

Tim holds his hope, says,

« It’s me. » over the phone

to the number his deceased

wife used until the May end.

May means many things.

May all calls are answered.

The blind reaches the crossroads.

Here sometimes sights return

although it costs the vision.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and father, and editor of the magazine ‘Words Surfacing’. He has authored seven volumes of poetry, and more of his work can be found here.

the unexpected

The Bad Hire

Aditya Shankar

The bullet is an employee stuck in the wrong job. 

I prefer missing the mark, it says. The perfect shot 

turns four-legged bulkiness into overturned cars.

Two-legged egoisms, flattened like the stuffed hide 

on a hunter’s wall. One-legged leafy wisdom, reduced 

to inaudible sobs. Never pierce a pound of flesh, it 

prays. No splattering of plasma or blood then. No 

post-mortems and surgical removals. No unwarranted 

limelight or people gathering around. No forensic 

examinations to track the fatherhood of violence. 

Loud bawls that descend like a dark cloud, an 

unending drizzle of grief. The sharpshooter isn’t my 

best friend, the bullet clarifies. Bestows the infamy

of single-bullet theory. Perched in the hands of 

children, I turn the City of God into a raging hell.

The aimless shot is the best shot, it consoles. To soar 

over the sky, to fall in a deserted strip of land, to

be lost in a garbage dump, to not be accused of

murder. The bullet wishes to retire, to be ignored. 

To be lost in layers of soil, to dissolve like a penance 

over centuries: a native that longs to return to the 

elements at the core of the earth.


Single Bullet Theory – JFK Assassination

City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles

Aditya Shankar is a poet from Bangalore, India who has been published and translated into Malayam and English. He has work that has appeared or that is forthcoming in Buddhist Poetry Review, Columba, Collective Realms Magazine, Slippage Lit and so on. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018).

the unexpected

The Unexpectable

Carmine Denis

watchman watchman during dawn

what have you seen that’ll make us frown? 



my sister

rocks started floating 

and a stray star went dull

and the milk plate went sour 


watchman watchman during the day 

what have you heard that’ll make us stay?


streetcars dance in noon’s shadow

and said shadow rejoices

but make no mistake

grab its hand and get poisoned 


watchman watchman during the night

have you smelled the latest blight? 


I smelled it first, o my sister

its heart of white, its bones of rot

it ate us whole like grains of salt

o my sister

your shawl is loose on the great walls 

what did you taste 

when death went live 

watchman watchman dusk has risen on the horizon 

leave the tower and carve some rest 

out of the night that crawls quickly 

feel its hot rain on your fresh corpse. 

– Haven’t you heard?

O my sister, ‘twas me traitor

who let it enter. 

Carmine Denis écrit de la poésie en français, anglais, et franglais. Vous pouvez retrouver son travail sur son Patreon :

the unexpected

Az Ősök // The Ancestors

László Aranyi

(English translated by Johanna Semsei)

Az égből érkeztek ők, a Letaszítottak.

Bebábozódva szunnyadó Ősök. Őrzők,

tengermély törékeny poklából

millió kriptaéhes késztetés…

Ereskidal is szunnyad, ágya véres háló,

nyirkos leheletű kagyló-száj tárul vádlón,

üzenete hívás: „Tedd amit akarsz, nincsen más törvény!”

Borostás Lenin-fiú biciklin tolja Krisztus keresztjét,

a bámészkodó maskarák falanxa nyílik,

öblös röhögés nyugtázza mutatványt.

Ocsúdnak a letaszított Ősök, lélegzik,

gyűr és gyúr, újból vért iszik a tenger,

s már másznak,

másznak a bárkasor, a part felé…


They have come from the sky,

the down-hurled. 

Ancestors tucked up in warm cocoons, sleeping. 

Guardians from the depth of the oceans Hell, 

the urge of millions — Cryptic like hunger Ereskigal

fast asleep,

his bed — like a blood-soaked net, Damp breath, clam mouth

opens suggesting

accusations, his message is a call.

‘Do as you please, thats the only law.’

The Lenin — boy, face full of stubble, 

pushes the bike with the cross of Christ Gapers everywhere, 

staring, orotund laughing confirms the end

of his performance.

The Ancestors who have been pushed aside, 

looking confused, its breathing. 

Kneading and malaxating, 

and finally the Sea drinks blood once again, and

they are climbing,

arks are climbing.

László Aranyi is a poet, anarchist, and occultist from Hungary. He has been published in a wide-range of journals and books in Hungarian and English such as Quail Bell Magazine, Lumin Journal, Moonchild Magazine and A Nap-és Holderők egyensúlya. You can follow him on Twitter @azmon6.

the unexpected


Samuel Strathman

I shake the dust

From my coat

until it blazes,

turns to ash.

Great witch Edith’s

sneer projects

onto a wall.

Her laughter 

invades the halls,

makes a pendulum

out of me – 

arms strung

around my head,

windshield wiper legs.

Suddenly, the conservatory 

grows quiet, 

a pin drops.

A door screeches open,

and in rolls 

a troll’s head

that stops and smiles,

sprouts limbs.

I bend to pick 

the creature up.

Edith edges near,

but I do not feel

her until she sticks

the pin in.

Samuel Strathman is a poet, visual artist, author, kitchen coordinator, and the founder/editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions. 

the unexpected

How to Read a Tree

Aditya Shankar

Birds are golfers of heaven. They swing their 

club-like wings and score their birdie and par 

in treetop nests. A tree is a vertical golf course,

says the snake that gobbles up the egg. And a 

grassland of highest branches— the Giraffe. 

Watch closely. You can spot the Garibaldi beard 

of their stooping caddies— the Bees. A human 

sighting of trees is the wrong side of an arena, 

the gloomy lower of a green turf. Their poets 

stare at the underside and pine about seasons,

foliage, solitude, and thorns. But a tree is the 

hardened cable of an elevator. In a netherworld 

of downswing, they maintain heavens of glee. 

Beneath ecstasies and pleasures, we operate 

among seasoned roots and neurons of pain. 

Aditya Shankar is a Best of the Net and Pushcart prize nominated Indian poet, flash fiction author and translator. Hailing from Bangalore, you can follow him on Twitter @suncave.

ephemeral environment

Journey, After Annie Dillard

by Ella Bartlett

Went to the wettest inner slip and 
found mangroves, multiplying by 
themselves, or with the help of the 
wind. Humans swam around their 
trunks, sliding in simple rhythms 
like rounding out the corners of a 
square. There were sounds of 
birds breathing, millions of buds 
growing on the outside of the 
prop roots. Barely half the size of 
my thumb, the insects believed in 
gods who live behind eye sockets 
and I said to my lover, let’s walk 
over there, to see the swimmers 
better. I was crisp, uncomfortable 
watching the water striders clip 
the edge of a fallen branch. 
Underneath this lake are 
a thousand skies, stretched out, 
teeming with things still drifting.

Ella Bartlett is an Iowan-born, New-York-educated, and Paris-based writer. This poem was inspired by a landscape described by the incredible writer Annie Dillard, in whose writing Bartlett finds familiarity and strangeness.

You can follow her on Twitter @EllaTheRewriter.