Carcinogenic Poetry: Top Ten No. 8

Fixed Positions

Tyrannies demand
strict obedience
from their citizens
and will kill anyone
who tries to defy them.
Anarchists demand
unlimited freedom
from government restraint
and will kill anyone
who tries to control them.
Terrorists demand
numerous restrictions
on nations of consent
and will kill anyone
who tries to resist them.
Democracies display
one standard at home
another abroad
and will kill anyone
who tries to dispute them.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. His chapbook ‘Remembrance’ was published by Origami Condom Press and ‘The Conquest of Somalia’ was published by Cervena Barva Press. He currently lives in New York City, where he’s busy writing. His poetry and fiction has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines.

Carcinogenic Poetry: Top Ten crystallizes the journal between 2009 and 2015, sharing the most read posts to date. Presented from final poem to the top of the set, Gary’s poem was published on Monday, May 24, 2010, and was the third most read post at Carcinogenic Poetry.

The VGP Literate No. 13

A Terrorist’s Confession

He is fighting for a cause and vanity
To introduce crime against the whole of humanity
He does not have any goal actually
Something to target is his goal only
Do you dare take it for some religion or ideology?
Consciously he kills, and he does not owe an apology
He does not like peace, and he abhors silence
Violence he prefers and it is evident in his senses
All he wants is to make the green world fade
For that he kills and paints things red
He condemns you if you call him Jihadi or rebel
He is a fighter and does not want any such label
His cause is the only reason for survival
His soul is dead already, and his body is his apparel

Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi is university faculty and assistant professor of linguistics at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, India; and author of two books on lesser known Indian languages: A Grammar of Hadoti and A Grammar of Bhadarwahi. He has published around fifty poems in different anthologies, journals, and magazines worldwide. Until recently, his poem “Mother” was included as a prologue to
Motherhood and War: International Perspectives (Eds.), Palgrave Macmillan Press. 2014.

Carcinogenic Poety : Top Ten No. 7


Thick, white breath-fumes
creep slowly over a cold table –
a thin arm stretching
into the steady suction of crisp air
nears a warm mouth,

displacement like a long argument
overheard between thin city walls –

and the tense adrenaline extensions
of an unknown anger,
accelerates and decelerates
along uneven spaces,

the syllabic blur of black faces
in the vacuum of imagination
around passionate bodies,

permeates like that old frozen breath,
dissolving into the widening pools of memory,
dissolving into the widening masquerade of words.

So Much Ash to be Blessed

Sick bodies in a long, orderly
line before a single closed door –

the declining dignity of faces
overcome by the elongating shadows,
the flow of sunlight into evening –

heads rocking to the intermittent
music of low moans and staccato coughs –

There in the silence of distance
too far for the steady hum
of weak voices in whispers,

it is clear their bodies are shrinking
in the decay of gravity and time,
and the heartbreak of charity
from a cold building that doesn’t open –

The line of bodies persistent and endless
ashes over layers of ashes –
the needed blessing,
and no words but my regret.


Bright sun-meadow sky,
the reversal of gravity in warm flows,

and a vertical body travelling the deceptive
horizontal passages of atmosphere,
held there between buildings, cupped
like breath over numb-frozen hands –

the unknown handshake of old memories,
when the historian’s today is discarded
and his obsession with the shallow
footprints of old paths renews –

like the author rewriting the same story new
and marveling at the coincidental, replicating
flow of life –

that retouched
blue sky of morning
and the long clouds of fading dust.

The Memory of a Hand

Flowing bodies line the thin parallels,

the gray-scarred sky shadow
is a cool gloom of imperfection

and the escape-fear of being witnessed
deflects our slow steps away from
this looming shade of failure –

this hue slightly reminiscent of memory
like its tepid wind that marks the cheek
slightly cooler than the memory of a hand,

the comforting cradle of a warm mother
leaving that last touch of darkness

as the reality of our eyes
ended in that swift, smiling fade
of eternal contentment.

Jeffrey Parker currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. One of his poems will be published in the Fall 2011 issue of The Midwest Quarterly, and his first volume of poetry, Downturns, is currently in search of a publisher.

Carcinogenic Poetry: Top Ten crystallizes the journal between 2009 and 2015, sharing the most read posts to date. Presented from final poem to the top of the set, Jeffrey’s poems were published on Saturday, January 29, 2011, and was the fourth most read post at Carcinogenic Poetry.