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José Duarte

Contributor Biography

José Duarte is the author of four poetry books, the chapbook The World Seems to be Asleep but it’s a Lie (2013), included in The New Orleans Review and two children’s books. His poems have appeared in Culaccion Magazine, The Waggle, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, among others.  

Three Poems


To some I am worse 
than an embarrassment.

But it makes no difference.
It’s not local at all. 

I suppose that in general
it would be different.

The act of living
spread over everything.

But no, absence comes to 
me pretty quickly.


I find the house empty. I will
not start buying books as a
safety-valve. Sometimes you are
present. That is when I’d be a fool
to go to bed. And this time it frightens
me to think of love interrupted,
unreal – something foreign we never
shared. I was deceived. There was no
sudden light.


I could make a map of sorrow, 
a story to be chronicled every day.
Sometimes I do all the walking I can.
Today every horizon, every stile or
clump of trees seemed to me horrible.
I find that I don’t want to go back again
to something so foreign a second time.
Anything but that.

Author's Note:

These poems were originally published in Observations, an erasure of C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed, published in 1961.

Samuel Sim

Contributor Biography

Samuel Sim is a student with a deep fascination in the intersections between the arts, our environment, education, politics and society.

Our Sol has left us with Solastalgia—new 




pain or sickness caused by the inability to derive solace

from the present state of one home's environment.

In my arms, the Earth spins, 
like a cosmic disco playing some blues, 
or a lil jazz, whatever keeps 
the musical tornado swirling,
sheltering unnatural body-rocks,
silencing nations with some
rock-a-bye baby boo

But sooner I realise, sooner I drink 
Wonderland’s potion and shrink 
down to microbe on boulder, feed on 
mosses and critters also living off 
me. That I say—four walls surrounding. 
Feel the house toppling, everybody’s sleeping; 
the right rain someday falls. So calm down: 
rock-a-bye baby boo 

A virus rocks the world hard, giving all a tight  
slap. Wake up! Why wait for pipe to break, 
gas to leak at daybreak? 

See now you—you 
go to sleep. Lullabies won't. 
Forget the fires and the screams, 
clasp our hands, unroll the seams: 
rock-a-bye baby boo 

Somewhere dreams do come true; 
Let algae be your blanket, the river, your bed; Return 
to deep soil that feels better than your head. May a flower

                                     make annual greetings till the sun sets and life fast asleep.
                      By then, abandoned worksites form the oceans anew, with waves
          like tree rings—scars of people since passed. The lights have gone out early
      for them. But you? You'll survive baby. Just rock a bye that baby
boo, and the lands, they eulogise the things you brew

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