Thursday, April 25, 2024

GAS Featured Poet: Santosh Bakaya, Ph.D

Winner of International Reuel Award for literature for Oh Hark, 2014,  The Universal Inspirational Poet Award [ Pentasi B Friendship Poetry and Ghana Government, 2016,] Bharat Nirman Award for literary Excellence, 2017,  Setu Award, 2018,  [Pittsburgh, USA] for ‘ stellar contribution to world literature.’ Keshav Malik Award, 2019, for ‘staggeringly prolific and quality conscious oeuvre’.Chankaya Award  [Best Poet of the Year, 2022, Public Relations Council of India,], Eunice Dsouza Award 2023, for ‘rich and diverse contribution to poetry, literature and learning’, [Instituted  by WE Literary Community]  poet, biographer, novelist, essayist, TEDx speaker, creative writing mentor, Santosh Bakaya, Ph.D has been acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu [Vitasta, 2015], her poems have been translated into many languages, and short stories have won many awards, both national and international.Part of her column, Morning Meanderings in Learning and Creativity website, is now an e-book. 

She has penned twenty five books across different genres. 


Where are the Lilacs? [Poems, 2016]
Flights from my Terrace [Essays,2017 ]  
Under the Apple Boughs [Poems, 2017]  
A Skyful of Balloons [ Novella, 2018 ]  
Bring out the tall Tales [short stories with Avijit Sarkar, 2019 ] 
Oh Hark! [ Award winning long poem, 2022]
Songs of Belligerence [ Poems , 2020 ]
Runcible Spoons and Pea -Green Boats [Poems ,2021] 
What is the Meter of the Dictionary ? [Poems, 2022]
 A Sonetto for the Poetic World and You heard the Scream, didn’t you ? [With Dr. Ampat Koshy, 2022] The Fog, A Liquid Ditty Float[2023] 

 Only in Darkness can you see the Stars [ Biography of Martin Luther King Jr, Vitasta , [2019] 

Collabortaive E- Books :
Two collaborative e- books : Vodka by the Volga [with Dr. Koshy, Blue Pencil, 2020]
From Prinsep Ghat to Peer Panjal [with Gopal Lahiri, Blue Pencil, 2021]  have been No # 1 Amazon bestsellers.

Other collaborations: 
Mélange of Mavericks and Mutants[ With Ramendra Kumar, Blue Pencil, 2022]
For Better or Verse: Passion. Profundity. Politics [ With Ramendra Kumar and Ampat Koshy, AuthorsPress, 2023]
The Catnama [ With Dr. Sunil Sharma, Authorspress, 2023]  


1 Foul is Fair 

Hey, what was that explosion?
Was that a harsh splitting of wood?
Did a window pane shatter?
A lampshade clatter to the ground?
What did I see?
 Another window pane shattering!
Or was it just the night nattering?
Soliloquizing? Yak- yak – yak.
Maybe the rain pitter- pattering?
I saw glass fragments shooting through the air.
Foul was fair.  Foul was fair. 

Who was that master – blaster glaring at me? 
Baring tobacco -stained teeth, staring at me?
 Cracks of plaster sliced the wall.
 It was indeed so droll. I shuddered. 

The cracks reminded me of jagged edges of black lightning.
I saw something eerie slithering out of those cracks.
 Instinctively, I lashed out my right hand,
 the lamp on the side table spiraled off the table.
No fable this – but there was also a hiss…
Was the night done with yakking, and was now packing? 
Turning in?  Feeling sleepy? But, it all felt so creepy.
 Another bullet cracked the plaster.
 Faster – faster- Faster – flew the bullets, ricocheting off the wall.
 Bullets, blustering breeze and bombs! 
Foul had suddenly become fair.
 Life had become so unfair.

2 The Golden Oriole of Granny’s Memory

 I remember my grandmother
sitting so elegantly under a tree,
crowned by a shock of white hair
lost in the world she left behind.
Wistfully, she looked at the skeletal branches of the tree,
where the noisy parakeets doing somersaults
did not amuse her much. 

Her mind’s eye, saw only a golden oriole
perched on the pine tree back home, in Kashmir,
her ears riveted to the sounds of the splash- splash of oars,
 and the ripple of the waves in the River Jhelum.
She smiled half- a smile recalling the houseboat folks
waving out to her, with cheery greetings. 

But now for miles around,
she sees nothing but an expansive, arid desert.
She furtively wipes a tear from her wrinkled cheek,
and smiles a fake smile at what for her is a fake world. 

The Golden Oriole of her memory chirps on.  Unstopping.

3 The Haze

She looked dazedly at the man in front of her.
He looked familiar. Quite so.
“Every day I am losing more and more of myself.
 I want to grasp those precious chunks
before they completely vanish and hide in dinghy bunks.”
She mumbled looking at the man anew.
 Something clicked.
It was the spark in his eyes.
In that spark, there was something she knew.
 Tightly patting herself on both cheeks,
 she tried to remove the fuzziness from her mind.
The man looked familiar and kind. Quite so. 
He kept staring at her, looking grim.
 She kept looking and looking,
 wanting to capture that moment for eternity.
 And then she smiled a victorious smile.
She remembered their first hug outside her house,
and the way she had blushed.
 All of a sudden, a hush fell. A haze too.
 She stared glassily at the man who looked familiar and kind,
 when he asked her kindly,
“Do you remember our first rendezvous?”
She stared at him, wondering why the glass had become more opaque. 

4 The girl with the Haystack 

The ten-year-old girl with the haystack on her head,
looked this way and that, cautious her tread. 
Her eight-year-old younger brother followed her,
eyes darting toward the stalls selling fast food.

The girl kept looking back over her shoulder.

 "Can't you walk faster?’

The girl bellowed to her kid brother. He walked faster, 
running his tongue over his lips,
and his eyes over the fast food. 

Then putting her arm over her brother's shoulder,
the girl pretty burst into a ditty.
The twosome skipped onwards.

"Mother must be waiting for the wood."

Said the sister.

“Yes. I am hungry, I need food."Said the boy,
tending to a blister under his foot.

This scene quickly crept into my mind,
as I stood watching from the sidelines,
giving me immense food for thought.

5 The Man in his Easy Chair 

 The man sat in his easy chair, recalling the uneasy times-
the time he had been caged.
 The struggle, the strife, the frustration and the rage.
The gnashing of teeth, the wringing of hands,
the flowing of tears- and the stink.
The Overpowering stink! The filth and the contaminated air.
He ran his fingers thoughtfully over the arms of the chair.
 He still felt numb. Indignant.
But then he heard something. A tiny melodious trill.
Ah, it was a tiny robin which had swooped down on the window sill.
 It trilled with full throated- ease; gone was the man’s unease.
He shook away those memories,
and sat riveted to the robin’s song,
slowly forgetting that strangled existence. Those caged times.
No longer tense, he too lent his voice to the robin’s song. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

GAS Featured Poet/Artist: LaWanda Walters

 LaWanda Walters is the author of Light Is the Odalisque, which was published in 2016 by Press 53 in its Silver Concho Poetry Series. New poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern ReviewPoetryThe Georgia ReviewThe Ekphrastic Review, and Live Encounters Poetry & WritingShe received Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards in 2020 and 2024. She is also a painter who once worked with acrylics but now concentrates on digital painting via Procreate on her iPhone and iPad. She lives in Cincinnati.

What Glass Is


Glass shows itself through what

it holds, as in a Janet Fish still life—

four old-fashioned tumblers like

the ones in restaurants for water,


before you had to say you’d like

water with the menu. Here the water

fills up the almost-invisible glasses

set on a glass table outside, somewhere.


The bottoms of the glasses kiss

their upside-down likenesses

that swim up to the table’s surface

as fast as starving koi. The glasses 


might obscure the road that goes somewhere,

surrounded by woods on either

side, except that we see the scene,

the road disappearing, again and again,


a swirl of green and ochre, repeating

concentric circles of lemon-lime grass, indigo

sky, fir trees bending in the water, filling

the curvy tumbler, tumbling the view.





balances, the way it settles the wings

of the shoulder blades, how my mind becomes

another thing, a composition in greasy oils,

which takes time, which allows no fussing over,


the mind’s surplus of feeling in need of the blade

of the palette knife, scraping off the errors

I was fussing over for too long, muddying

what should be clear—taking time to clean


the excess of color with a palette knife

so it has time to dry in the sun, so the trees

show in their clear tones of green and brown,

so I don’t drive off into spinning mud,


so the sun dries the trees in their perfect being,

so you’ll see what I mean, meant all the time.


Screen Porch


Still tangled together in bed, we keep on talking

like water overlapping, small slaps

at a blue pool’s edge, like riders 

walking their horses home,

like two people rocking on the porch swing,

loath to go in to the bright yellow light.


The Renaissance of Grandparenthood


Grandparents, if they’re lucky,

get to go down the lane again,

make up stories, say “Let’s play like

we’re pirates with the costume earrings,


now we’re princes, now we’re home again,”

get to see what once they had no time

to see—how lost earrings make a pirate’s

loot—and know their child should be painted by


a Mary Cassatt. They see, this time around,

the curves that made Giotto’s cherubim,

the child in the painting all of them

at any time, and those who sit in court


should recognize Giotto’s cherubim

from a blue mosaic sky—gold and earth tones

seen and shown with awe, any court aware

of a chessboard that is garden, toads and all.



Two Seasons: An Elegy for My Second Husband


In the video 

your daughter posted last night,

Tokyo petals


loiter, swirl, circle—

a blizzard like a slow dance

of cherry blossoms


in the lantern light,

like that night in early spring 

I left you at Good


Sam and it started

to sleet as I was driving.

I was terrified


until the flurries 

distracted me. Like flowers 

riding the headlights



my journey home to our kids,

escorted by snow.



Thursday, April 11, 2024

GAS Featured Poet: Wayne Russell


Wayne Russell is a creative jack of all trades, master of none. Poet, rhythm guitar player, singer, artist, photographer, and author of the poetry books Where Angels Fear via Guerilla Genius Press, and the newly released Splinter of the Moon via Silver Bow Publishing, they are both available for purchase on Amazon.

The Man in the Blue Cadillac 

In hindsight

I could have been a statistic

I could have been a cold case

that rainy day 

walking back from school

to that loveless home

in 1975.

It was just a short walk 

about half a mile

but I was only five

and the distance seemed

much further.

Out of nowhere

came a blue Cadillac

he pulled up alongside me

he rolled down his window 

"Where are you going?"

he asked in an accent that 

sounded vaguely northern.

It started raining a bit harder 

and I just started walking to get away

from this stranger.

We hadn't heard of "stranger danger"

in 75' all that much.

Kids that disappeared often ended up

on the backs of milk cartons

and you read about them

at the school cafeteria while at breakfast

but that wasn't until Etan Patz in 1979.

"The milk carton campaign" was only started by 

the Ragan administration in the early 80's.

The man in the blue Cadillac was so nice

he politely insisted that I get in the front

passenger side 

as the rain grew heavier

I caved and hopped in

I could have been that kid on the evening news

and the poor boy that was the talk of the town

for a while. 

That poor kid from Florida-

I could have been the pre-Ethan Patz and Adam Walsh

but my guardian angel was pulling a double shift

that day.

And the man in the blue Cadillac

just turned out to be a good Samaritan

doing a good deed to a frightened gen-x kid

that was caught up in a rainstorm

on his way home from kindergarten.