Cooking Carrots . . . responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Such a wonderful mini-anthology of poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, August 20, A Puppet Dancing in the Dark. Featured today are three poets new to the weekly writing prompt. They are Iulia Gherghei, Kakali Das Ghosh and Reena Presad and, since they are new to this activity, their photos and bios are included. Also this week are the remarkably productive Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Renee Espriu. These poets are all experienced, smart, talented and devoted to this art.  It’s fun to see how differently they spin the prompt, though clearly they share some values.  Enjoy! and please support and encourage our poets with likes and comments and visits to their blogs.

Spinning Endlessly

We are spinning endlessly
Around the sun
A sun who
From time to time is hiding under the moon
Probably he is bored too
History, a book of tales
Bible, a book of tales
Ideologies, some well sewn tales

Why do they feed us with tales
Are they responding to a need
Our need?
The need to fill the time between two blinks of the sun…

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei, (Sky Under Construction)

IULIA GHERGHEI is a Romanian poet writing in English. Her debut collection is Prisoners of the Cinema Paradiso.  In 2014, Iulia received the Poet of the Year title from Destiny Poets, run by Louis Kasatkin. In 2015 she won the Blackwater Poetry Group contest with her poem Lost in Blue Curtains. Her poetry is featured in many anthologies including The Significant Anthology (2015) edited by Dr. A.V. Koshy and Reena Prasad.

#The grave of darkness#

The brightest of lights is obscuring my vision ,
An aroma of darkness is permeating my vein,
Please – come as storm addicted to rain and thunderbolt,
I have kept my tears in a camouflaged hidden in dew drops over grassy lawns,
Craving the dumb show be arranged as a farewell through the last faraway train,
I’m waiting lonely for your storm in this dark station
Descrying a tormentor’s kick in an impoverished stomach,
My acoustics is shattered in lakhs* with a cramped girl’s cry,
And witnessing to a stabbed sanguineous boy
lying down on the railway line;
A demon of darkness is swallowing me wholly,
Is everyone born deaf, dumb and blind?
None has illuminated a flare,
Whistles of the trains reverberating through the night are no more greeted;
Perhaps one more corse**
or corpses would be waiting to be evacuated,
I’m scaring of the fair of sky burial
And eagerly waiting for your storm with celestial light and pearly raindrops,
As I’m encountering a gloomy grave frantic for drops of blood.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh

* lakhs – rupees
** corse – corpse

Self-employed poet and writer, KAKALI DAS GHOSH was born in and lives in India. She did both her undergraduate and graduate work in Personnel Management. Kakali also works as a teacher.


The jungle crow is truthful. When he caws, he is the grandfather
and great grandfather too. The soul doesn’t differentiate between
male bodies charred at different times. The feminine rots to mute dust.

The rat snake and the cobra are slinky eyes
crawling over female forms-young, widowed or both
Fertile coconut palms brood over the misogynist terrain

The curry leaf plant recognizes friend from foe. The *Koovalam
disapproves of monthly spurts. The lemon tree withers away
upon female touch but is immune to bird eggs in its straggly, green shirt

The kitchen steps face south. I must not sit there, elbows on knees
or chin in hand. It is mourning that they fear here, more than death.

I will lie in the clearing, strangled by the vengeful biota
and the temple priest will chant mournful curses to free the trees

© 2017, Reena Prasad (Butterflies of Time, A Canvas of Poetry)

(*Koovalam = stone apple tree)

REENA PRASAD is a poet from India, currently living in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). She is the co-editor with Dr. A.V. Koshy of The Significant Anthology (2015). She writes poems looking in awe at the world from the seventeenth floor of a high rise in the Arabian desert. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and journals including The Copperfield Review, First Literary Review-East, Angle Journal, Poetry Quarterly, York Literary Review, Lakeview International Journal, Duane’s PoeTree, and Mad Swirl. She is the Destiny Poets UK’s, Poet of the Year for 2014.  More recently her poem was adjudged second in the World Union Of Poet’s poetry competition, 2016. Reena’s passionate essay about the comforts of poetry – Sanctuary – is popular here at The Poet by Day and in The BeZine.

Stained Glass Windows

She embraced the rituals of worship
of which practicing seemed to bring calm
to a personal life bereft of its’ being

whereupon entering a sacred place of
stained glass windows and the statues
of holy saints long dead brought
daily tests to question her soul

she watched men cloaked in white robes
garnished with vestments hung about
their necks symbols of their holiness

where the incense they spread in the air
afflicted her senses but must be done
for it was said it purified & cleansed
raising up the prayers of the faithful

but nothing addressed her innocence to
enlighten her of past holy wars that spread
death to those who believed naught the same

so she entertained a communion white veil
to be replaced later by a robe of red as
she promised to put her belief in those
words written by nameless faces of others

she believed in it all until the day her
faith stood the ultimate test of the reaper
causing her heart to have a hope of its’ own

© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Haibun, ART & Haiku, Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity With Wings)

Red The Strong Says

“Belief is a ship
on the fish flecked sea,
close hauled and tacking,
against this Christian gust.

It has a dragon’s head,
and aft a crook, which turns up,
and ends in a dragon’s tail.

Gilded carved work on each side
of the stem and stern.
I call this ship “The Serpent”
Its hoisted sails are dragon’s wings.

I’m brought before me boss,
who offers me baptism.
“And,” says he, “I will not
take thy property from thee,

but rather be thy mate,
if thou wilt make thysen
worthy to be such.”

I exclaim with all me might
against his offer, say
“I’ll never believe in Christ,
and this so called God.”

Boss was wroth, and says “Thee
shall die worst of deaths.”

He orders I be bound
to a beam of wood, me face
uppermost, and round pin of wood
set between my teeth
to force me gob open.

Boss orders an adder
rammed down my gob,
but adder shrinks back
when I breathe against it.

A hollow branch of angelica root
is stuck in my gob; others say boss
put his horn into me mouth,
and forces adder in
holds a red-hot iron
before me open gob.
So adder creeps into it,
down me throat,
gnaws its way out me side.

My last breath is a ship
on the fish flecked sea,
close hauled and tacking,
against this Christian gust.”

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,
you and your kids,
a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

A Toleration

So I says to our Vicky
” ‘ow come thas back so soon lass.”
Well she were in a right towing.
says “I were right with him, only he weren’t with me, the wazzock.”

Well, I like a strong fella, misen,
makes us all soft inside and tha feels cossetted, but when as they start, demanding tha do this or that.
It’s a right pisser.

That lad, Olly, asking to wed her,
says to her, ” I think it best love, as tha abandon this pagan stuff so we’ve a regular going on.”

Vicky says, “I’ll not abandon my faith,
and that of folk afore me.
I don’t want thee to abandon thy Christian doings, either.” Understanding his predicament, like.

Well, laddo, sloshes her int face
with his glove. Tosser.
Well, she slaps him back,
as you would, and
comes back home, quicksticks.

Tha can only tolerate so much.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

“1712 we write of wool”

again, and weaving.

listen to the coventry carole,

little tiny child, fingers tapping

in time, the medieval, the membrance

of cathedral . walking up hill chanting.

repeatedly. they moved the stairs.

we hold the cotton, the wool

for comfort.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

white linen

.. cooking carrots, and thinking of belief ..

the other side of the mirror


it is a source of inspiration, and research. it is written, yet having writ. we use. imagination, add a dose of suggestion, slightly thinking this is fact we do not move on when perhaps we should. so moving on quickly……

cut them.

maybe we need to check our numbers at the end, see if one or more are missing. need to count them carefully, one side then the is all a pattern, that keeps us safely, leads us onward.

simmer them.

what about this list, to do it before you die, well as she said, you probably can’t do it after. some may disagree – another belief. we try not to judge, yet that bucket was not worth five pound,so

we paid two.

strain them.
ready for later.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

. magna carta .

is left behind with tiny writing. salisbury cathedral.

the back way. written in latin for those who matter.

those words and those words

an historian uttered sent me reeling outside.

where air is cleaner.

oh , by the way

left you both there too. were you trying to appease

the barons?

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings )


SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events and Other News and Information


Opportunity Knocks

ANTINARRATIVE POETRY is open to submissions of up to three poems and says if, “you’re not sure what that is, send it anyway.” Details HERE. (Thanks to Michael Dickel.)

WTAW PRESS is a nonprofit “founded and directed by Peg Alford Pursell, that supports the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature through publishing books and through providing its national neighborhood of premiere live author readings, Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series.” It is currently open to submission by established and emerging writers of full-length books (fiction, nonfiction and essays). $28 submission fee. Details HERE.

CAPUTLET MAG, a far cry from Verona is a lit mag for women by women; i.e., young Juliets.  It “seeks balcony dreamers, lark singers, and late-night readers [and publishes] …. fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art.” Demographic restriction: woman between the ages of 15 and 29. Submission guidelines HERE.

LITTLE LEO, an online publication, is open to submissions of poetry and flash fiction. Details HERE.

ESRA MAGAZINE, Israel’s Community Forum welcomes feature articles and stories “with a wide interest.”  Submit up to 1,500 words HERE. (Note: Though the editorial board doesn’t say it, I would remind you to as always read two or three issues of any magazine to which you want to submit your work. Only in that way will you know that you are on target.)

RELEVANT MAGAZINE “covers faith, culture and intentional life… readership is culturally savvy, mainly Christian 20 and 30 somethings…” How to submit and pitch HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

TONGUES & GROOVES PROSE POEM PRIZE 2018 (Poetry and Music in Portsmouth and Southsea) offers three prizes with cash awards. Submission fee. Closes January 1, 2018.  Details HERE. (Thanks to Michael Dickel.)

WOW! (Women on Writing) Summer 2017 Contest closes on August 31 for flash fiction. Publication and cash awards. $10 submission fee. Guest judge, Quressa Robinson. Details HERE(Note: they will accept stories you’ve already published.)

2017 BOOK PIPELINE COMPETITION “seeks material for film or television adaption. Open to writers worldwide, the contest accepts any genre, fictin or non-fiction. Published and unpublished works are both acceptable.” Grand prize is $10,000 and circulation to production companies. $65 entry fee. Entries may include: novels, non-fiction, plays, graphic novels and comics, book proposals or pitches (fiction or nonfiction) and short stories. Deadline: November 1, 2017. Details HEREWinners are scheduled to be announced in early March 2018.

THE 27TH ANNUAL JEFFREY E. SMITH EDITORS’ PRIZE for fiction, nonficton and poetry. Publication, cash awards ($5k US) and reception and reading. Fiction and nonfiction to 8,500 words, poems up to 10 pages. Entry fee $22. Deadline October 2, 2017. Details HERE.


  • POETRY MARATHON January 1, 2018, St. Mark’s Church, The Bowery, NYC, 3 p.m. – midnight. Hear 140 poets read. Details HERE.
  • SENIOR THESIS READINGS IN POETRY, SCREENWRITING AND TRANSLATION FREE Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. and open to the public. Seniors in the Program in Creative Writing read from their thesis work in poetry, screenwriting and literary translation at Prospect House, located off Chapel Drive between the Princeton University Art Museum and Woolworth Music Center on the Princeton campus.
  • WINCHESTER POETRY FESTIVAL and Heritage Days (U.K.), September 9, 2018 at 2 p.m. Details HERE.


YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • though your book or other product doesn’t have to be available through Amazon for review here, it should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.


Often information is just that information – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications featured in Sunday Announcements or elsewhere on this site. Awards and contests are often a means to generate income and publicity for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I am homebound due to disability and no longer attend events. Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.

Affiliate Links Disclosure:
Some product links within posts are Amazon affiliate links. The Poet by Day is supported in part by these links. Your use of them costs you nothing and helps to keep this site running. When you click on a affiliate link (not all links are affiliate) and/or make a purchase I sometimes receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thank you for your support.




The BeZine, August 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 11, THEATRE

August 15, 2017

In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, Seamus Haney comments that “as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present.” For me, theatre (whether in its broadest or narrowest sense) is very much the same. Theatre always encourages us to be in that continuous present. As an over-arching art form it can integrate every other form of human (and even animal) expression. It usually rewards our engagement and disdains our detachment. Even when a show runs for a thousand performances, it can never be quite as canned, as mass produced as many of our other entertainments. Human variability is on display every night.

More broadly, theatre tends to mean any place in which we think there is a scripted or specialized drama occurring. In that sense it often indicates that we’re seeing a performance driven by an agenda and perhaps designed to deceive. We criticize this as hypocrisy. In ancient Greece, a hypocrite was merely an actor, i.e. one who had made a judgment or assessment of a script when preparing to perform that script for others. At that time, it was also thought unworthy for actors to become politicians since actors were skilled at impersonation. We could not know their true selves.

In the context of our art, we would probably judge this as unfair. We’ve all had the experience of “donning the mask” or crafting a persona as a way of freeing ourselves. In expressing the lie, we hope to tell the truth.

I’m delighted to be Guest Editor this month. It coincides with a production that I’m currently in. This is an experimental production staged as immersive experience. We’re telling the story of a family in crisis (the passing of parents, dealing with aging and the end of life, and the break-up of relationships). We tell this story in a residence where small audience groups (a dozen to two dozen at a time) sit in the “living rooms” of the characters. This intimacy connects us with our audience. They do not participate in the sense of interacting with the actors. But, they are side-by-side with us as we make the journey, watching us, crying with us, laughing with us and even eating with us. Detachment is not an option. We join together in the continuous present.

This month’s pieces remind  us of these connections and touch on so many of the stages on which we act.

Priscilla Galasso speaks of her experience with theatre and its broad impact in her life. “Playing the muck of human behavior” as she says.

Charles W. Martin’s poetry talks passionately of life’s stage, reminding us that, yes, detachment is not an option.

Corina Ravenscraft gets to the root of why we should all spend time in “the seeing place.” It’s a broadside worth taking around when it comes time to fund arts in schools and communities.

Michael Watson recounts an early experience where his personal humiliation also reflected larger and deeper ones around him. He shows us how Playback Theatre is another powerful way to connect.

John Anstie recounts the life of his mother. In reading her story, I think on the many roles we are often forced to play and how we adopt certain personas to help us survive.

I feel that basic joy of theatre in Renee Espriu’s contribution. “The hills are alive…” means a little more to me now than it did before.

Jamie Dedes points us to theatrical entertainment with its golden moments and the theatre of life with it’s chaos and absurdity. [And, seriously, check out Fanny Brice’s physical comedy.]

John Sullivan’s four poems this month are, for me, intriguing and searching meditations on the self. They speak to who we are, the personas we have, the masks we wear, the music we sing. And, he’s allowed us to publish an excerpt from his new play, Hey Fritz, Looks Like You Lost It All Again in the Ghosting.

Naomi Baltuck’s discussion of Come From Away focuses right in on an essential aspect of our experiences both in life and in theatre. Specifically, I’m thinking about what it means to literally commune with strangers, whether it’s the characters in Come From Away or the audience who watches it.

Karen Fayeth shows how, no matter what size or shape the spectacle, there is something profound in the simplest of relationships. Say, between a boy and his horse. Because, whether we’re seeing animals at play or a play about animals we are moved.

In bringing together both her visual art and her poetry, Sonja Benskin Mesher has each explain the other. And, yet, each also enlarges the other and perhaps we see our own actions a little differently, too.

Of course, plays and poetics go hand-in-hand. Michael Dickel thoughtfully discusses how one arises from the other and the personal origins of both.

Paul Brookes’ poems read as very modern, but also touching on things quite old, such as shared rituals and the hypocrisy of actors (in the classical sense).

And, finally, there’s a last word from Denise Fletcher. I hope we’ve achieved a kind of success along the lines of what she describes.

Thank you to all who contributed this month and for letting me join the show. I’m having a wonderful time! I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. And, to the last one who leaves the theatre, please turn on the ghost light.

Richard Lingua
Guest Editor


How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
  • To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.

Photograph: Gargoyles as theatrical masks above a water basin. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. The piece can be found at the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Palazzo dei Conservatori, first floor, hall of the Horti of Mæcenas. From the Baths of Decius on the Aventine Hill, Rome.


Priscilla Galasso

Charles W. Martin

Corina Ravenscraft

Michael Watson

John Anstie

Renee Espriu

Jamie Dedes

John Sullivan

Naomi Baltuck

Karen Fayeth

Sonja Benskin Mesher

Michael Dickel

Paul Brookes

Denise Fletcher

Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


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