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Mint & Gold Poets 
Amita Paul
Srinivas S
Tom Barlow
Poem 1.JPG


Somewhere between December and February

Ice enters your heart in those cold lands

And never goes away again. Iron in the soul.

You feel the sinking of despair deep in the gut

That which the Globe reports on its crime page

And hungry homeless men muttering on pavements

Graffiti on the walls of subway stations

And funeral parlours not far from cemeteries.

The chill that will not let a grown plump woman

Forgive her mother just recently dead

After a ritual mourning when the will

Is read out and siblings are torn apart:

You know it in your bones. Evil is in you.

Who would want to live there and who to die

Who could wait for the ephemeral Spring?

Who should move to the South yet not escape it?

The child psychiatrist divorcing at eighty

The dog abandoned and the one home sold.

So stark the truth you long for sunny tropics

Lush with emotion and flora and fauna

Where people weep buckets in movie halls.

It’s quite enough to turn you a believer.

So much for Nietzsche.

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Death is a white-winged bird

Perched on a silver wire

At the black point

Where the circuit becomes green.

Purple rivers bear witness

To orange passions raided by rage,

As moon-deep tears echo the heat

Of a yellow orb’s own red end.

Even gold gods of bold myths

Rust into brown forever;

As from thought’s grey clouds

Pearls merge with blue oblivion…

And in a tragic tribute of violets

To a florescent Australian son,

Death was just another maroon ball

That cut through colourless daylight…

And finding a spot of life therein,

It Closed an Innings much too soon;

And moved a harried sport, enough

To show a heart beyond its hearth.

Thence, many-hued pens have rendered

The indigo silence of caps on bats,

Across many, many cricketing lands:

“O spirit of Stumps! O soul of Sixty-Three!”

Poet's Note: This poem was written some years ago to mourn the death of the Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who died on 27 November 2014 after being hit on his head by a cricket ball. He was not out on sixty-three in a Sheffield Shield Game when the fatal incident occurred. Hence the title of the poem.

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Twenty to a dollar

I dream of nickels

back when they

weighed down a boy’s pocket

like manhole covers

when they emboldened him

to strut into the general store

to consider his purchase

wax lips candy cigarettes atomic fireballs

like a dock worker on payday

down at the dance hall

I saw a nickel on the sidewalk today

too dirty for one freshly lost

I passed it by

twenty to a dollar

and then what do you have

a handful of nickels

not worth a busker’s spit

he knows nickels

today are only worth the carrying

when he needs to prop up

a wobbly table leg

Me, I keep one around to flip

when I have to make a choice

between indulgences

like air and medicine

we all diminish in time

from a child’s hand to old fingers

fumbling for coins which will drop,

roll down the sidewalk

and disappear.

Image by Hannah Olinger

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia is one of the various pen names used by Punjab-born, Patna-based, retired Indian bureaucrat Amita Paul , who has , of late begun to be recognised on various digital platforms for her original writings in different genres, in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi .Her writings are imaginative, humane, socially relevant, ecologically sensitive and public- spirited, with occasional flashes of humour ranging from sharp satire to gentle ribbing of her indulgent readers.


A phonologist by training and in thought, Srinivas S teaches English at the Rishi Valley School, India. He has let accents, cricket and poetry partake equally of his mind; and spends his free time marshalling his thoughts on these subjects, often while taking long walks. His writings have found a home in places such as ESPNcricinfo, Amethyst Review, Borderless Journal, Narrow Road Journal and The Hong Kong Review as well as in a number of haiku journals.

Tom Barlow.webp

Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer of poetry, short stories and novels.  His work has appeared in journals including They Said, Trampoline, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, The North Dakota Quarterly, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more.

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