Cécile Savage in Conversation with Jane SpokenWord

In this month’s podcast we introduce you to Cécile Savage, a jazz musician, composer/improviser, singer, poet, and single mother. In our interview she shares her personal experience of parenting a bi-racial child and shattering the glass ceiling of the role of women in jazz. Throughout history, women have made significant contributions to this male dominated field without recognition. Women, especially professional single mothers have often been overlooked, undervalued and dismissed. At the forefront of the Feminist art movement of the 60’s and 70’s Ms. Savage openly addresses the role of women in jazz, how she is perceived, evaluated or appropriated according to gender and parental stature. ~ Jane SpokenWord


Cécile Savage in Conversation with Jane SpokenWord

Cécile Savage was born in Martinique, French West Indies, and raised in Paris, a musician/composer/chanteuse, and poet, she has toured throughout Europe, Africa and North America. Currently living in Chicago, she has also made NYC and New Orleans her home. She holds a Bachelors degree in Jazz studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago, a Masters in Education from DePaul University and a Masters in Music Education from Vandercook College of Music.

Jane SpokenWord

Jane SpokenWord.interviews

Street poet Jane SpokenWord’s performances represent the spoken word as it is meant to be experienced, raw, uncensored and thought provoking. From solos, to slams, duos, trios, and bands, including a big band performance at The Whitney Museum with Avant-Garde Maestro Cecil Taylor which garnered All About Jazz’s Best of 2016. Other collaborations include: Min Tanaka, Miguel Algarin, Beat Poet John Sinclair, her son HipHop musician/producer, DJ Nastee, and her partner in all things, Albey onBass. Combining the elements of spoken word, music, sound and song “Like those of the Jazz poets, the Beats, The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron and others – she is usually accompanied by Albey onBass Balgochian’s moaning, groaning, rumbling contrabass – adding double the gut-punch to her words.” (Raoul daGama) To preserve the cultural heritage of wording to document life, and foster a broader collective community, she brings her poetry and spoken word to a diverse set of venues including museums, festivals, libraries, slam lounges, art galleries, clubs, busking street corners and living rooms everywhere. She has authored two books of poetry with art and music by co-author Albey onBass: Word Against the Machine and Tragically Hip. Publications include: TV Baby A collection of Lower East Side artists – OHWOW, Shadow of The Geode, Bonsia Press, Stars in the Fire and Palabras Luminosas – Rogue Scholars Express and We Are Beat in the National Beat Poetry Anthology.

A special thank you to Albey ‘onBass’ Balgochian for the sound engineering in the prelude and postlude of the audio. Albey’s performances range from the Bowery Poetry Club to the Whitney Museum of American Art, his résumé includes many distinguished artists including  Nuyorican Poet Miguel Algarin, Beat Poet John Sinclair, Darryl Jones (Miles Davis, Rolling Stones,) and the Cecil Taylor Trio & Big Band  (“Best of ’05, ’09, ’16” All About Jazz) https://albeybalgochian.com/

Return to Journal

3 Poems by Masudul Hoq

Masudul Hoq

Christmas Letter
 Drowsy leaves of pine-
 Olive forest-
 December-snow has become the white page
 Across Europe - 
 There, I'm writing a letter.
 Letter, engraved on the ice
 While my hands are getting frozen.
 You are searching, on the way to Bethlehem
 Walking and walking, many decades before.
 Still I have no idea
 If my letter, written on ice will reach the destination
 Towards your country of pebbles.

 Santa Claus
 A colorful balloon
 Keeps the girl awake
 The winter moon gets sleepy, fall asleep
 The reindeer of Santa Claus keeps flying
 The girl with sanitized hands
 During this pandemic, will old Santa Claus come?
 3. Christmas Tree
 White bears are sleeping with the beauty of ice
 Igloo – mound of ice cream.
 The moon came, sat on the ice cream, in the light of the sun
 Refugees are hidden in the forests of Serbia on such a night.
 Solar energy on their chests, warms the ice.
 The Christmas tree is watching with eyes of love.

 Tired Jesus
 The ice in December is melting with the virus fever 
 Only paracetamol is inside Santa's socks 
 The Christmas tree is fading
 People are more sick with fever than cold
 Winter outside, the warmth of the house is gradually increasing.
 In the corner of the wall, the spider is
 running in search of paracetamol in order to be rid of this fever,
 at the parade ground under military supervisions.
 People inside masks are as tired as Jesus hanging on the cross.

Return to Journal

Masudul Hoq (1968) has a PhD in Aesthetics under Professor Hayat Mamud at Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a contemporary Bengali poet, short story writer,translator and researcher. His previous published work includes short stories Tamakbari(1999), The poems Dhonimoy Palok(2000), Dhadhashil Chaya which translated version is Shadow of Illusion(2005) and Jonmandher Swapna which translated version is Blind Man’s Dream (2010),translated by Kelly J. Copeland. Masudul Hoq also translated T.S. Eliot’s poem, Four Quartets(2012), Allen Ginsburg’s poem, Howl(2018), from English to Bengali. In the late 1990’s for 3 years he worked under a research fellowship at The Bangla Academy. Bangla Academy has published his two research books. His poems have been published in Chinese, Romanian, Mandarin, Azarbaijanese and Spanish languages. At present he is a Professor of Philosophy in a government college, Bangladesh.

Three Six Five. A poem by Jordan Lide

Jordan Lide Picture

 Three Six Five 
 A new year will bring 
 The cleansing sensation 
 Of new beginnings 
 Or the bitter reminder 
 Of old regrets  

Return to Journal

Jordan Lide is a senior at the University of Wollongong studying Management and Theatre. She freelances as a writer and has had works published with the Tertangala, Hyde Magazine, and the blog Less Talk, More Writing. Additionally, Jordan runs a travel blog Little Fish, Bigger Pond, capturing her international adventures. When not writing Jordan enjoys going for walks on the beach.

The Tourist Visa. A poem by Sylvia Petter

Sylvia Petter.fiction

The Tourist Visa
 “The North Pole is melting
 so where do we go?" 
 "Why, off to the Jungfrau,
 she's covered in snow.
 I'll call myself Rudi,"
 the last reindeer said,
 "and we'll fly down to earth
 and just park our sled." 
 "But what about visas?
 They're sticklers, I hear.
 We can't say we do chimneys
 and spread loads of good cheer." 
 "No worries, Santa,
 as tourists we'll go.
 You'll clip your whiskers
 and I'll turn off my glow." 
 "But the gifts from the North Pole,
 so many, so fine?" 
 "We'll get us a laptop
 and send them online.
 Then we'll sit in the sun
 surrounded by snow
 and your beard will grow back
 and I'll turn on my glow." 
 And so on the day the North Pole dissipated
 Santa and Rudolph to Schweiz relocated. 

First published in Ex Tempore, An International Literary Journal, Volume XII – December 2001 Third prize in the 3rd Annual Poetry Competition ‘Christmas in Switzerland’ run by Bergli Books, Basel; featured at https://miombopublishing.org/2020/10/22/literary-genius-sylvia-petter-spiritedly-walks-onto-the-podium-of-fame-carrying-poetry-candle-lights/

Return to Journal

Vienna born Australian Sylvia Petter trained as a translator in Vienna and Brussels.  Founding member of the Geneva Writers´ Group, she holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UNSW (2009). Her stories have appeared online and in print since 1995, notably in The European (UK), Thema (US), The Richmond ReviewEclecticaReading for Real series (Canada), the anthology, Valentine´s Day, Stories of Revenge (Duckworth, UK), on BBC World Service, as well as in several charity anthologies, and flash-fiction publications.Her latest book of short fiction, Geflimmer der Vergangenheit (Riva Verlag, Germany, 2014), includes 21 stories drawn from her English-language collections, The Past Present (IUMIX, UK, 2001), Back Burning (IP Australia, Best Fiction Award 2007), and Mercury Blobs (Raging Aardvark, Australia, 2013), and translated into German by Eberhard Hain, Chemnitz. She has led flash-fiction workshops in Vienna and Gascony, France. Writing as AstridL, several erotic stories appeared in anthologies in the US (Alyson Books) and the UK (Xcite) and subsequently in her collection of 17 erotic tales, Consuming the Muse, (Raging Aardvark, Australia, 2013.) In 2014, she organized in Vienna the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English. In March 2020, her debut novel, All the Beautiful Liars was published as a Lightning Bolt eBook by Eye & Lightning Books, UK. In July, 2020, she served on the jury for English-language flash fiction for the Vienna Poetry School’s second literary magazine to be issued in October. Sylvia works part-time at the University of Vienna in education science, and blogs on her website at http://www.sylviapetter.com where there is more on her and her writing.

The Christmas Scene. A poem by Geraldine Sinyuy


The Christmas Scene

 Mothers rush in and out of kitchens
 Each making her best to present the best meals.
 Fathers rush in and out with chickens
 Each making sure the chicken’s neck is ringed.
 Children keep themselves busy with Christmas trees.
 Lights blink on the trees; it comes on and off.
 Sweets and balloons hang like oranges on the tree.
 The shop-keeper’s safe is full of red coins
 Gotten from sweets and balloons.
 Business people swell the prices of goods,
 It is Christmas, it’s time to make profit, they say.
 Transporters double the transport fares,
 Yet, desperate passengers fight to pay,
 It is time to be with family, they say.
 Quarrels break out in some homes.
 Two or more girls scramble for a dress.
 “Mother loves you more than me”
 One says to the other.
 Christmas Eve is filled with excitement,
 Churches are filled with music,
  Memory verses are recited by the smarter kids.
 The choir sings of a frosty night,
 Marching through the snow,
 Even though it is dusty here in our land.
 The streets are filled with youths 
 Walking hand in glove under the moon light.
 It is a night of love, it is a night of joy.
 Fireworks hit the sky in competition with the moon and the stars.
 Off licenses are filled with men and women drinking and chanting songs of joy.
 Christ is born in Bethlehem.
 On Christmas day, the service is long,
 Reconciliation sounds from the pulpit.
 At home, tables are filled with assorted dishes,
 Rice overrides every dish, it  is a children’s feast.
 Keep the rice away and Christmas is marred.

Return to Journal

Cameroonian born Sinyuy Geraldine earned her PhD in Commonwealth Literature from the University of Yaoundé in 2018. Dr Sinyuy started writing poems in her teens and most of her poems and folktales were read and discussed on the North West Provincial Station of the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) Bamenda where she was often a guest writer for the programme, Literary Workshop: A Programme for Creative Writing and Literary Criticism. Sinyuy Geraldine has received the following awards: Featured Storyteller on World Pulse Story Awards, May 2017; Prize of Excellence as Best Teacher of the Year in CETIC Bangoulap, Bangangte, 23 October, 2010; Winner of the British Council Essay Writing Competition, Yaoundé, 2007; Winner of Short Story Runner-Up Prize, Literary Workshop: CRTV Bamenda, 1998. Her publications include: “Stripped” FemAsia: Asian Women’s Journal; “Invisible Barriers: Food Taboos in V. S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon.” Tabous: Représentations, Functions et Impacts; “Migration related malnutrition among war-instigated refugee children in the northern part of Cameroon” in South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition; “Cultural Translocation in Three  Novels of V. S. Naipaul” in International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities. Vol. IV, Issue XII; “Journey without End: A Closer Look at V. S. Naipaul’s Fiction” in International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities. Vol. IV, Issue IV; “Which Other Way? Migration and Ways of Seeing in V. S. Naipaul” in Migration, Culture and Transnational Identities: Critical Essays. Some of her   poems are featured on Time of the Poet RepublicAfrica Writers CaravanFor Creative Girls Magazine; and Fired Up Magazine. She is currently working on her collection of folktales and her first novel.

Opal Jewelry and Beckoning Bread For Nana. A poem by Lydia Renfro

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lydia-renfro.jpeg

Opal Jewelry and Beckoning Bread 
 For Nana
 She was old, at least 
 As if that won’t be us tomorrow.
 As if life continues on forever 
 and doesn’t snap shut—
 a screen door while you’re still on the threshold. 
 She wasn’t in her right mind
 As if the times she watered tulips 
 or mixed up paint in Styrofoam bowls 
 weren’t consequential, didn’t carry over with her 
 into days emptying out on yellowed linoleum. 
 She’s at Home now 
 As if I’m not remembering how I always felt 
 peaceful around her, the self-contained pool— 
 timidly gathering brown eggs beside her calm body.
 As if I can just continue to go on without her 
 saying my name or giving me orange sherbet. 
 Did everybody decide to just forget about 
 her oval watch or that exquisite gap in her teeth
 or especially those navy blue sneakers? 
 How can they calmly say 
 she’s not suffering anymore 
 when she will no longer print off the list of 
 family birthdays and tape it to the side of the fridge? 
 And now everyone will share stories of their special bonds
 and it won’t matter that my birthday is one day before hers 
 because she would bake loaves for anyone who was hungry. 
 4 cups warm water, 2 packets of yeast, ½ cup of honey, 
 ¼ cup of shortening,13 cups of flour, 4 tsp of salt,
 proofed, rested, covered with a warm cloth, 
 baked until gold brown and thumping-hollow.
 She would grease her hands and knead sweetened-dough
 for all empty bellies, waiting each time for the second rise,
 and it would do us well to remember that. 
 Maybe I’m panicking because people continue to have babies
 and the replacements become more important than
 the originals. I don’t understand how it’s decided 
 when we stop caring. 
 So what if those last days she was unreachable 
 in her inner world and ate only chocolate for dinner? 
 I dare to insist her pink Velcro slippers matter. 
 Let her benediction be golden rod in early evening
 and a cherry Jollyrancher at the bottom of a purse.
 And a Sunday full of humming. 

Return to Journal

Lydia Renfro holds an MFA from Adelphi University and is the recipient of the Donald Everett Axinn Award for Fiction. Her work has appeared in Litro U.S., Siblini Journal, The Blue Nib, Witches Mag, Miletus International Literature Magazine, The Merrimack Review, Isacoustic*, and others. She currently lives in Colorado, and is completing her first novel manuscript.

Amen. Cracked Skin Pomegranates. 2 poems by Mansour Noorbakhsh

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is canada-persia.jpg

 Long time ago, once the star war started. 
 I quit beholding the sky, Moon 
 and planets around it, and in silence 
 uttered a dreaming heaven 
 Rain for me and sea for you 
 I fled with burning feathers.
 Am I afraid of falling in love? 
 What about you? 
 Choose either absurdity or pain. 
 Live without any pretext 
 in this giant circus. 
 I need someone to dream for me 
 If it’s impossible to dream of heaven
 let it be in its very primitive shape. 
 Rough eyes and fiercely look, 
 such as the sweat of wine and liquor 
 that could be smelled from the armpits. 
 Like the freshness of grape vines in a misty garden, 
 as if some galloping horses had left there;  
 dust, sweat and manure. 
 Have you ever seen yourself
 as I see you? I know human beings are eager to be alive 
 even in slavery, in prison or other humiliations, 
 “I want to know if you can be alone with yourself” * 
 Here I stay in the abyss of Hell 
 content with a drop of wine. 
 I can’t live without failure*. 
 You, cleric go and find your supposed  
 heaven, if it’s still not ruined by love. 
 * The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 Cracked Skin Pomegranates
 I've been silent for a long time
 Like that pomegranate tree in our house 
 when I was a child,
 A tree that never had enough water to its roots 
 but every spring was filled with blossoms,
 and its branches full of pomegranates  
 every Summer, 
 though most of them had cracked skins.  
 My mother was said smiling,
 These are smiley pomegranates.
 She was keeping some of them 
 for cold long winter nights
 I've been silent for a long time 
 like my mother, my father, my siblings 
 and my classmates. 
 Like our pomegranate tree 
 and other trees in our neighborhood, 
 which have never spoken
 Share your drunken moments with me 
 until I drop the last drop of my life  
 into your glass 
 like a cracked skin pomegranate. 
 Sadness is nothing but a heart,
 empty of a bright imagination. 
 Share your drunkenness with me 
 abandoned but rich. 
 Music of the joyful roar of trees 
 rivers, mountains and seas 
 which have never been spoken
 in a cold long winter night.

Return to Journal

Mansour Noorbakhsh writes poems and stories in both English and Farsi, his first language, and has published books, poems and articles in both languages. His book length poem; “In Search of Shared Wishes” was published in 2017. He tries to be a voice for freedom, human rights and environment in his writings.

He is an Electrical Engineer, P.Eng. and lives with his wife, his daughter and his son in Toronto, Canada.

3 Poems by Jyotirmaya Thakur


Awesome Autumn

Taste the auburn smell of autumn glance,
Different shades of coloured leaves that dance,
Flowing rhythm of striptease in a trance,
The last leaf persists, awaiting its last chance.

Flowers gaze at elusive beauty of leaves,
Half green, half yellow carpeting on streets,
Enduring grace of drying petals crease,

Broken branches float in brooks at ease.

Perfect blossoms now a grieving pale,
Enchanted weather of most soulful season
Exceptional beauty haunting lonesome dale,
Phenomenon mysticism sets with reason.

Squirrels hoarding nuts in old cracked stumps,
Nightingale sings alone in woods forlorn,
Sea birds fly in migratory turns,
Fields delight with bright blue flowers of corn.

Autumnal full moon like summer solstice beams,
Shines on once romantic dreamers’ parks,
Stars contemplate to greet new morning dreams,
Awesome softened breeze with lovely sparks.

Autumn Sunsets

Beauty of morning crisp garment,
I dress up in gold stars to look fair,
Silence in woods where trees are bare,
Intoxicating stealth of woody aromatic air.

I often visit the lonely quiet grove,
Where time stands still in Autumn's awe,
While leaves would rustle on my toes,
I gathered yellow leaves of gold.

Slipping bark of branches creep,
How hours went by in vagrant keeps,
Our mighty hearts are ticking still,
While willow gently bends to weep.

I sat on a log couch fallen down,
Waited for him, wearing my long frown,
And when he came to me with his shy smile,
I picked gold leaves to rest with him a while.

Autumn sun sets on my withered dreams,
Waiting for the sigh of lingering scenes,

I pick up two gold leaves in both my hands,

One to keep, one flies to magic lands.

Winter Love

The snow has fallen knee deep,
Bare trees stooping sadly weep,
Memories awaken our love mirth,
Winter waltz forsaken in dearth.
Frozen feelings buried in snow,
Loneliness scattered in fake glow,
Silent tears exhaustively slow,
Solitary repentance on meek show.
Serenity white-spread on the road,
Where we walked in lovers’ mode,
Held each other in tight embraces,
Breathless  passion on our faces.
Abandoned park waiting for Spring,
Leaves on branches, birds on wing,
Lovers enveloped beneath the trees,
The bench is witness to this new love’s ease.

Return to Journal

Jyotirmaya is a retired Principal, author of twenty- three books with many waiting to be published and translated in many languages in International anthologies. She is a Multi-Genre Award Winner with more than 200 awards. Reviewer, columnist, academician, translator, motivational speaker, and a philanthropist, she holds prestigious positions in many International organisations, literary and humanitarian. Her numerous research papers on literary and social issues ,essays , reports ,critiques ,articles, short stories and poems are published  in more than 300 international anthologies, magazines, poetry forums ,reputable media both conventional and online.  Jyotirmaya Thakur is a widely traveled person in love with diverse cultures of the world and portrays their impressions in her poetry, is an ardent advocate for women, the unprivileged and positive social & environment change.

Solstice. A poem by Frances Boyle

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is frances-boyle-author-photo-credit-john-w.-macdonald.jpg

photo by John W. MacDonald

 I hate this season of aerosol 
 expectations, too much
 chocolate, stale traditions, 
 efforts to saturate teens 
 with nostalgic spirit
 when one family evening 
 is a lifetime stolen
 from their real world of friends.
 I cling to outgrown games to slow 
 my daughters’ inevitable drift 
  —empty arms. 
 What ballast can I add?  
 Presents or guilt. 
 I might gift-wrap the girls in shimmering foil,
 Place them beneath a tree whose needles drop, 
 distant chimes echoing tired carols
 I still know by heart. But they’d
 shake free, cry hypocrisy.
 The most I believe in, strong 
 enough to offer in cupped palms, 
 is the quench of seedling light  
 along passage grave’s sunpath.
 Every candle lit
 against the dark I’m just beginning to fear, 
 I gather family to the hearth, 
 shadows faltering across our faces.

Return to Journal

Frances Boyle was raised in Regina, and lived in Montreal and Vancouver before settling in Ottawa. She is the author of two books of poetry: This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019) and Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks, 2014 as well as Seeking Shade, short stories (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-influenced novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). Her writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, and appeared throughout North America, in the U.K. and in India. Recent and forthcoming publications include Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Dreich, Prairie Fire, Event, Ayaskala, Ice Floe, Mookychick, Vox Viola and Humana Obscura. Frances was part of the editorial team at Arc Poetry Magazine for 10 ½ years, and now reviews poetry books for that journal and for Canthius: feminism and literary arts. Visit www.francesboyle.com and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.

Winter Solstice. Morning Makes. Poems by Betsy Lawson

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is betsy-lawson.jpg

Winter Solstice
 Rose-colored burnishes bright
 By the western wall,
 Majestic mauve clouds
 Sweep the sky.
 Hues wax radiantly,
 Glow momentarily,
 Vanish into voids.
 Immense stars
 Into ancient patterns
 Night materializes.
 Silver flings her mantle
 Over all creation.
 Horses, fields, flower
 Stand frozen in white time.
 Shifting pearly fog
 Enamels frigid air,
 Etching frosty snowflake
 As it freezes.
 Suddenly the sun streaks
 Blinding flashes, pointing to
 Pink paths.
 Day emerges.
 Day and night
 So fragile, so finite
 Til the time
 The sun implodes
 And no one is left
 To linger. 
 Morning Makes
 Beyond the glass
 The dark is damp and Dewey.
 At 7:45
 Cold grey Dawn barely
 Begins to materialize.
 The light brightens, slowly,
 Continues to brighten, slowly.
 Twittering birds
 Chirp, scatter leaves about,
 Finding food frantically.
 Inky pines
 Stand in vertical silence.
 Scarcely over tree tops
 A rosy sheen takes shape.
 Wispy streaks of purple
 Coalesce and spread.
 Lacy pine boughs begin to
 Vibrate in the breeze.
 In ten seconds,
 The drama is over,
 Making morning
 And blinding white light.
 Dear God​,
 May this scene never end.
 Will we too
 Become​ an
 Illuminating​ vision?
 Are we one now?
 My Garden of Eden
 I will build
 A house of
 Earthen blocks,
 Smeared with
 Creamy stucco.
 I will top
 The roof with
 Orange colored tiles,
 The door,
 A powdery turquoise.
 Arched Moorish windows
 Will surround
 Stained glass
 Edged with
 Wooden shutters.
 Laced grape vines
 Will roof the patio,
 Peach trees, fig trees,
 Apple trees all around.
 Fragrant flowers
 And pungent herbs,
 Delectable vegetables,
 Drawn from
 Thick black soil.
 A solar panel
 Atop,hard glistening tiles
 On the floor,
 Walls bathed in
 Violet vibrant hues,
 A place of my own
 A place
 Where there are 

Return to Journal

Betsy Lawson, twenty year retired teacher grades 4 – university, is now at age 83 really enjoying life. Surviving a devastating divorce is what pushed her to write her many poems which ultimately found their way into her book Soul Mirrors. Always a teacher, she hopes these poems also help others to find their way to happiness