Planting M&Ms

To make up for the lack of peacocks in Peacock Grocery below my apartment building, me and my Cousin Anan would buy mini M&Ms to cheer ourselves up, before our Ammas took us to walk in and out the little streets between the buildings and villas of Passport Road, Abu Dhabi. Don’t worry, Amma laughs, we have the passport to walk this street. On the way, me and Anan would pour M&Ms into each other’s hands, offerings of our cousinhood, like communion bread we were not old enough to partake in yet at St. Joseph’s church.

One day, a red M&M falls into the patch of empty sand between my apartment building and the sidewalk. It’s like a seed, maybe it will grow. Anan smiles wide-eyed as he plants his favourite green M&M next to the red and I drop a yellow one a few steps away because my science textbook says roots need space. Everytime we walked by that sand patch since, we’d watch for trees dripping in rainbow M&Ms, pigeons and mynas nesting upon its branches and dream of plucking a new yellow or green or blue or red M&M off to bite into its chocolate insides.

But the harsh heat of the Gulf is not for M&Ms and so the trees did not grow. With childhood persistence, we kept dropping them into the sand patch, hoping that like the M&Ms, we too could take root in the Gulf we called home.

Artwork by Helen Levitt, “Cops and Robbers.”

“Talking Drum” by Chuka Okoye

Chuka Okoye is a self taught artist from Anambra state, Nigeria. He seeks to capture visual elements of African culture, using art as a strong medium to showcase the beauties in the ways of life and other aspects that have gained little attention yet are deep and attractive. The dominant abstract style in the painted figures has been influenced by other artists of African descent. Okoye is greatly stirred by the works Sandorfi Istvan, George Inness and others.

“Talking Drum”
acrylic on canvas, 2 x 3ft

The talking drum tries to capture in abstract style, the popular use of this musical equipment among the Yoruba indigenous peoples of Nigeria. The pitch and prosody of such a drum can be regulated to mimic the human voice, hence its name.

Becoming Beetles

Once there was more song than birds,
and the birds did not mind because they had trees,
and the trees did not mind because they had enough earth
to sink their roots into and inhale the earth’s phosphorous core
without some barren tractor ruining their fun.
When the school bell rang, you tore open
your snot-stained shirt and tumbled from
gates to muddy shores and dug earthworms
by the fistfuls. Hungry fishes waddle
out of water, heavy with the past in their porcelain bottoms.

Now all we do is make dunghills out of disposables.
They pile up all colorful and rusty and unbreakable.
We made a mess and we made it ugly
and we made it in the image of ourselves.
But we are the generation who will make pillow talk
out of missiles, make missiles into pillows,
cheer the fireworks on while worrying about the dogs,
nurture our houseplants and compete with them
for water. When we recycle, we recycle the past into cash.
And when the day comes, we will rideshare our way up,

               up,

                            up into Mars.

Artwork by Adel Abdessemed, “Turtle”, 2015

Poems For the End of the World

By Scout Satterfield

The graffiti was placed by a group who wanted to cover up the fact that the walls of its city were crumbling down.
Without making it overt that they were a legitimate group, responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure.
Soon enough, people who called themselves “artists”, believed it was a movement.
And that’s how the walls of this city became patched up with words of righteous rebellion and feminist sentiments.
Free of charge.

***

Cloud-seeding
Is a government-led
Tactical maneuver
The artificial clouds fill the entire space
The rain falls heavy
Into the publics’ eyes
They cannot look up
They cannot see past the clouds
For if they could
The army of drones
Hovering just above their heads
May disturb them
And a disturbed public
Is more likely to foster
Rebellious sentiments.

***

The deaf man can’t hear the sirens
So, when he wakes up in the morning
He takes his time getting dressed and having breakfast
When he walks outside
He is only a bit surprised that there is no one around
It is a Saturday morning after all
So people could be sleeping in
He walks to the park
The sirens wail
People watch him from their windows
Shocked at his defiance
As the end moves through the streets
Like a wave of forever-change
The deaf man sits on his park bench,
Watching the silent birds sing.

Is the world really ending,
If you can’t hear the sirens?

***

One euro for a flame
Otherwise it will be too dark
For God to see you

Roll a joint
Light a match
Smoke it on the windowsill

Experience twice the candle light

***

They don’t know what will happen.
Maybe the buildings will burn
Maybe the page will rip
Maybe the baby will cry
Maybe the lights will just go out
It doesn’t have to be so earth-shattering an ending.
In fact, the less infrastructural damage, the better.
Rather than the destruction of the world,
The destruction of the mind
Is much more manageable.
But none of them are looking in.

***

I’ll meet you in the garden

Forgetting the vastness of the garden

I arrive at the garden
I walk up the hill
Down the other side
Into the maze of the wood
Through evening tea tables in flowery patches
Past statues of men I don’t remember
Endless figures hidden in shadows
Just out of sight in the trees

Affogami nella vasca

I can’t find him
He can’t find me

Un giardino solitario

Artwork by Hope Gangloff