My father again —
ants his way through the day,
bearing the weight of mother’s humor,
five thousand times more than his own heart’s.

Sunny sill, oblique shades
of the curtains’ standstill,
My father coughs into his coffee,
and whispers another anecdote
about my mother. Who listens? Not me.
Then why do I know this story?

Have we all lived and demised this day?
A sudden wind flashes the room’s emptiness.
A used plague mask floats in the stream.
A dog should bark now. No noise perturbs
the wholesome hollow.


Remember this —
no cops visit the neighborhood
since the pestilence. Let’s rob the powerless
ice-cream parlor naked.

The streets survive the fulmination of grass.
I devour a hodgepodge burger until I remember
hunger shall return to diminishing resources.

Let’s rob something. Naked.
Tim says, he needs to bury his mother
sometime soon. The refrigerator dies away.
I promise to write a new series of funeral rites.
And a new religion. We lord the swarm. The fittest.

Picture:  Dean Pasch (Germany)

Music: Song by Paul Olsen  (USA)Performed by Ben Fisher (England)

Poem: Kushal Poddar (India)

Paul’s lyrics for his song:

And They Say God Is Everywhere

I’m sitting on my front porch on the 4th of July, it’s crowded on Main St, watching the cars roll by

Kids on the corner with a lemonade stand, the summer days go on forever, not even Norman Rockwell can bring them back

It was only a dream, ain’t ya heard? Hey, Langston, what happens to a dream deferred?
So Jack be clever and Jill come quick, bring a bucket and some water, all this bullshit is making me sick

With a gun in his hand and a club by his side, take that pistol and empty it into his hide
You kicked him and cursed him like the lowest bitch on the street. And they say God is everywhere, in all places, in people, in me

Say their names over and over again, and remember there’s a danger present, real and imagined

They promise solutions for those who have died, and I’ll take the knee for this democracy is still alive

Jack be nimble coming over that hill, for doing nothing but nothing we can be killed
Young Miss Morris, what would you think? And they say God is everywhere, in all places, in people, in me

Ben and Paul talk about their collaboration on the project 21 Fragments

Firstly, I love collaborating with Paul. He’s one of my favourite songwriters/musicians/human beings and, despite the distance, is one of my closest friends.

In this instance, he had written this wonderful song and asked if I would record it for 21 Fragments.

For my part, I wasn’t focussed on anything other than doing the best job I could in delivering someone else’s song without sounding fake. We phrase things differently and it was a challenge attempting to tap into Paul’s sense of rhythm, vocally, while still trying to sound like myself.

Lyrically, he had painted these clear, wholly American images, such as referencing Norman Rockwell and Langston Hughes. As COVID 19, BLM, the political tug of wars, protests, and violence we’re witnessing are global, and I’m an Englishman singing this song, I thought it would be interesting to add a similar reference of our own, hence Olive Morris’s inclusion in the final verse.

I always enjoy talking shop with long time friend Ben Fisher. He lives in the UK and I live in the States so we don’t get too many occasions to meet in-person however we manage to keep in touch. I have always appreciated his musical and humanist insight and sensibility. And he’s a fantastic songwriter and musician. We always welcome the challenge of overseas collaboration.

“And They Say God Is Everywhere”, was born out of the current state of what’s happening in our world today. Times are hard. Times are changing.

Kushal talks about his writing

During this pressing period, people pursue memories and seek precedents. In my case, I trapeze between bad and worse and then good and better. The parents and present, loving wife and newborn daughter, and past bleeding forever and blurred; if uncertainty brings in mood swings, I set my swings in poetry’s yard.


  1. Stormy Dormire


    • John guzlowski

      Love this.


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