poetry magazine

My Body Lives Like a Threat by Megha Sood

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By Candice Louisa Daquin

If we consider poetry as a polemic for societal change – then Megha Sood’s full-length poetry collection, My body lives like a threat, will strike a deep chord in the reader’s psyche. Sood doesn’t aim to soften the blow; her truth is brutal and honest, wrapped in her wordsmith craft. Social activism runs like a hot vein through these poems, imploring us to step outside boundaries and challenge the broken system until it begins to give way.

“Your breath on my skin spits and marks its boundaries. Your words carve out / the burnished wounds. The bourgeois display of pain splayed for the whole world. / To whom this body belongs? Suffering is nameless. Carved out of the tongues of those / who abused us. Misunderstood and mispronounced like a foreign language.” (Entry/Exit)

Reading these poems separated into four relevant sections, we’re submerged in a collective outrage against inequity and racism. When in recent history have, we needed a book like this more than now? They say it takes a village, and Sood’s words are a veritable village of experience. Her reach into empathy and intelligent understanding (“This lack of emergency / this hunger frothing between our teeth” – True Lies) of how the machinations of oppression, patriarchy, and injustice work, is uncanny and deeply moving. Sood’s poems deftly unravel the lies we’re told; instead, she presents the gory truth about suffering, bias, and prejudice as it really is.

“Where were the entry points for the catacombs this city / was hiding for so long chewing and spitting out the half-eaten narratives. / The flawed narratives. / Where is the blind mouth of this cave which /devoured everything which one was once black and beautiful.” (Safekeeping).

We badly need civic-minded, eyes-open poets like Megha Sood. Not to write pretty poems but to storm into a room and present the truth for all those who are too comfortable to do anything about it.

“the unbroken trails of tears have yet again / dusted by the ashes of dead and unknown / screaming from the headlines of the paper, / lying helpless at our doorsteps / waiting to be hauled in we are averting our eyes to living these days.” (Are You Listening, World?).

If poetry can cause social change, and I believe it can, then My body lives like a threat will drive a much-needed stake into the heart of apathy; forcing us to confront our notions of what is acceptable. Megha Sood has written a battle cry, and I for one am turning up. Her fierce unbridled words are searing truths for a world that has misplaced the art of truth-telling. Maybe she’s the original reason people wrote poetry.

“You are not carrying your freedom in your arms /your right to bear arms/ when the only right you give to a mother / is to stick a cross in the middle of an unknown street / giving a piece of land for her dead son.” (An Act of Self Defense, After Ahmaud Arbery).

This intense poem about a shattering event, continues scathingly:

“To hell with your right to the Second Amendment / when it’s laced with the blood / of a black brother whose murder / you are incessantly / trying to justify as self-defense.”

We think of poets as breaking conventions but even then, to blatantly call out a system with the purity of outrage, is relatively new because for so long those complaints were denied publication and only localized. Sood stands outside parochial group-think as an outsider looking in, sharing with us a collectivized observation through her no-holds-barred approach. Perhaps when you have experienced the immigrant journey and survived it, you have transcended notions of ‘place’ and you can write fearlessly on what you witness without needing to watch your tongue. There is a freedom to Sood’s truths that most will find refreshing and necessary. When poets share the inequality of the world, they forge conversation. Sood’s style is a perpetual question, calling out that which is unacceptable but accepted, that which is wrong but justified.

“how thin is the separation between / the love and the acceptance, / despair and the second chances, / between the judged and the forgiven.” (Demarcation)

And should you for a moment, think this poet is safely removed, speaking from a distance, then reflect please on the title of this book and its message of survival. Megha Sood the woman who has endured and thrived even when she thought she could not. Consider the aching truth of what it takes to survive and how even if we do, we understand the pain in a molecular level ever afterward:

“My pain impaled on the stars in the nightly sky / I shine through my pulverized skin, / the broken pieces I foraged together / to make a whole of me.” (My Survival Story).

When Sood says “I am the knowledge in the verse.” She’s not being pithy, she’s harkening to the reality of being a woman: “I’m the war cry, the mortal fear / residing behind the enemy lines.” (My Survival Story). Aside from being a well-informed polemic on the depleted state of racial equality today, Sood’s work is intensely feminist, standing in defense of all women in the 21st century. Some may say, we don’t need defending, but as long as inequity exists, that’s simply not true, and without speaking out, change will never be wrought. We need poets like Megha Sood, not just in India or America but every continent, until it becomes universally accepted to treat all people with respect. The book’s title is both a woman’s body being under threat but also being a threat (to the established norms of violence and oppression) gives a clever double-meaning to this collection’s title. With reproductive rights under attack, this is beyond timely.

This canny poetess is a leading voice in Indian-American poetry with her voice carving a way through the false belief that everyone has an equal chance in America today. Her blunt, informed, fierce voice refuses half-measures, and stands shoulder-to-shoulder alongside other social justice warriors, utilizing the power of poetry to identify and harness meaningful change.

You can find the book here: https://www.flowersongpress.com/store/p/my-body-lives-like-a-threat

Candice Louisa Daquin, Senior Editor, Indie Blu(e) Publishing. Poetry Editor, The Pine Cone Review. Writer-in-Residence, Borderless Journal. Editorial Partner, Blackbird Press. Author of Tainted by the Same Counterfeit (Finishing Line Press, 2022).

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Bloodline by Michael A. Griffith

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By g emil reutter
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Poet Michael A. Griffith writes in the opening poem of this collection, Polyglot:
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To know true meanings and speak plain
as whales tell no lies in their arias
and bees are never false in their dance
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To whisper a word to the wind
and make the hurricane stop.
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In this 26 poem collection released by The Blue Nib, Griffith brings the commonplace to life through the use of stark, truthful language blended at times with extraordinary metaphor in settings of the ordinary, never false in his dance with words.
He writes of a strained relationship in the poem The Old Dingy. Griffith captures the divide between father and son, a stubbornness on both parts he equates to the quiet dark cold lake:
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The distance between us in not so great,
but the space…
it stretches out like darkness,
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like the lake his dinghy is on.
Dark, even at noon, wide, can’t see the other shore,
Quiet and cold, this space between father and son.
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In the poem, Satan’s Toy Car, Griffith writes of the salesman who comes to visit his mother, capturing the sleazy nature of the man in the description of his car. his long red car./ A big city car./Shiny, real shiny in the sun./ New. The poem tells us how the salesman attempts to get rid of the child by presenting him with a toy car so that he can hit on the mother. After several attempts the mother slaps the salesmans face who departs. The child also departs later in the day with the toy car. Day later I fetched Satan’s toy car,/ buried it up at the church/ where it ain’t done no harm/ or no good ever since.
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In the first four stanzas of Noona, he captures the hopelessness with imagery that brings you into life existence in a nursing home:
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You called me “honey” amid your clutterspeak
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You will forget what you said to me
or that we spoke once you turn and leave.
You will roam the halls,
look into darkened rooms
for someone you might see.
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You will moan and wail and cry.
Wet will drip from your nose.
And the next time I see you, you could be calm.
You might be laughing,
Yet your eyes never seem dry.
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Only remembering patches of a life before,
thoughts so full of holes,
like the ivory doily
on your cluttered night stand,
brought here with your family pictures and more.
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Griffith covers a large swath of life in this short collection. Of birth and death, of politicians and creeps, of love and loss. An observer, his poems bring you into the real world he has lived and loved.
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You can find the book here: https://thebluenib.com/product/bloodline/
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g emil reutter is a writer of stories and poems. He can be found at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/
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Some Places You May Want to Visit

This is a short list of where you may want to visit to read some outstanding poetry and fiction on the net. Of course you may also desire to submit your work for consideration. Enjoy!

 

North of Oxford wordpress

 

Visit with us at North of Oxford

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

easy-header-new

Easy Street Magazine

http://www.easystreetmag.com/

midnight

Midnight Lane Boutique

https://midnightlanegalleryii.wordpress.com/

scar

Scarlet Leaf Review

https://www.scarletleafreview.com/

InShadesLogo-Square-Blue

In Shades Magazine

http://www.inshadesmag.com/

empty

Empty Mirror Arts and Literary Magazine

https://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/

panoply

Panoply – A Literary Magazine

https://panoplyzine.com/

blue

Blue Heron Review

https://blueheronreview.com/

odd

Oddball Magazine

https://oddballmagazine.com/

pang

The Pangolin Review

https://thepangolinreview.wixsite.com/mypoetrysite

canary

Canary Literary Magazine

http://canarylitmag.org/

jonah

Jonah Magazine

https://jonahmagazine.com/

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Call for Poetry Submissions

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We are pleased to announce we are bringing in the New Year with an open call for poetry submissions. We are currently caught up with future editions and are looking forward to receiving your best. We carefully read all submissions and strive to provide poets with a timely response. Please read and follow the guidelines when submitting. You can find our guidelines here: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

New Poems From g emil reutter

Arriving at Kings Courtyard (2)

Contributing Editor to North of Oxford, g emil reutter has recently had poems published at   In Between Hangovers and Carcinogenic Poetry.  You can view the poems by clicking the links below.

On the Rubble   at In Between Hangovers

poems at Carcinogenic Poetry

 

Submissions Open at North of Oxford

 

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Reviews- Interviews- Essay- Commentary Submissions:

Submissions of book reviews, essays, and commentary are welcome. Send your submission for consideration of publication in word doc with any images or photographs attached , Include a brief bio. All submissions are to be sent to:  sahmsguarnieriandreutter@gmail.com Please note in the subject line of the email- submission- your name. Our response time should be less than one month. Reviews, essays, commentary, interviews will be published the 1st of each month

Poetry Submissions 

North of Oxford is now open to submissions of poetry. Please send no more than five poems in word doc with a bio and jpeg to sahmsguarnieriandreutter@gmail.com for consideration of publication. Please note Poetry Submission and your name in the subject line of the email.  Poems will be published the 15th of each month. Our response time should be within two months. We do not accept any previously published poems.

North of Oxford is Now Open to Poetry Submissions

sub open

New:

North of Oxford is now open to submissions of poetry. Please send no more than five poems in word doc with a bio and jpeg to sahms-guarnieriandreutter@gmail.com for consideration of publication. Please note Poetry Submission and your name in the subject line of the email. Poems will be published the 15th of each month.

A Few Magazines You May Want To Have a Look At

eleventh_logo_894_x_238

http://waxpoetryart.com/eleventh/

easy-header-new

http://www.easystreetmag.com/

indiana

http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/

empty-mirror

http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/

new-verse

https://newversenews.blogspot.com/

in-between

https://inbetweenhangovers.wordpress.com/

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http://www.close2thebone.co.uk/

yellow-mama

http://blackpetalsks.tripod.com/yellowmama/

in-shades

http://www.inshadesmag.com/

tuck-logo-finished

http://tuckmagazine.com/