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METAMORPHOSIS by Alexandra Krolikowska

Why chrysalis doesn’t feel pain becoming butterfly?
Why snakes are fine shedding their old skin?
What’s wrong with me that I am drowning in agony
By trying to spread my new growing wings?

How can I convince my heart that it is alright
If the tightest hugs are not calming anymore?
What should I tell my aching soul when it’s crying
Begging me to just listen to its hopes?

Where is your hand? I can’t see in the darkness
I am scared, the void fills my mind
I am keeping my tears behind just it’s cold 
Please I just wanna get home

Alexandra is a multimedia conceptual artist from Ukraine (born in 1990, in Donetsk city, but because of a war conflict with Russia had to move and based in Kyiv currently) who works within the duo Krolikowski Art. Mostly she works with analog photography and video, installation, performance, and writing. Since she studied psychology and considers the human psyche the greatest source of inspiration, her focus is spinning around the therapeutic effects of art, the mechanisms of memory, trust, and intimacy in the post-truth era. 

Illustration by Anna Berger

CITY OF NO STRANGERS by Meliha Šaćirović

Brisk steps over the pavements
Kissed by the many drops
Of a sudden, spring-like rain

A loud laugh escapes the throat
In a city 
Of no strangers

Careless moments—born by a mere spark
Of something hidden
A natural trait
Demanding to soar
In all its beauty

There’s plenty of life
Yet to be filled
Plenty of moments
Yet to be lived
And plenty nuances of us
Yet to be loved
And grown

In a city of no strangers
Their eyes can reproach
Until they realize the liberty
Of running in the rain
In love

Meliha is currently living in Serbia, while Bosniak is her native language. Always wandering and wondering, Meliha’s observations pour into verses and lines which at times surprise her too. She’s on a quest of her own Walden, still far in sight, yet so close to the heart. All life is a journey of becoming oneself.

Illustration by Anna Berger

Interview with Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali is a poet, born in Jerusalem, Israel. She has written four bilingual poetry books and her literary works have been translated and published in many languages.

A few details about yourself.

My name is Tali Cohen Shabtai, I am a poet and I was born in Jerusalem, Israel.

I first started writing at the age of six, became a straight-A student in high school and was submitted in ninth grade to the matriculation exam in literature. 

I wrote for the school newspaper, and my first poem was published in a well-known, popular journal in Israel for adults when I was only 13.

I have written three books:

“Purple diluted in a black’s thick” – bilingual, Gvanim publishing house, Tel Aviv, 2007 
“Protest” – bilingual , Sifrei Iton 77 publishing house, Tel Aviv, 2012
“Nine years from you” – bilingual, Sifrei Iton 77 publishing house, Tel Aviv, 2018.

During 2021 my thick-volume book will be published as a book of poetry, written in Hebrew and English.

My works have been translated in many languages and my achievements are many, especially in my publications in English as a second language.

I have been living for years in the United States and Europe.

What does being an exophonic writer mean to you?

“Man is but his native landscape pattern” – [Russian-born Hebrew poet] Shaul Tchernichovsky.

I do not accept with a strong nod and side with this well-known proverb, and if I do, I have to turn the tables: I mean, me and my homeland-Jerusalem, Israel, but does my belonging as an “Israeli”—only by definition—belong and/or connect to Israeliness, to the culture in my country, and moreover to the world of literature in Israel? The answer is unequivocally no!

I am a woman with a broad-minded vision, very cosmopolitan and interested in the universalism of cultures, landscapes and livelihoods other than those in my reach and familiar to me (which has earned me a reputation as an international poet). I lived for years across the ocean and from here I strive so that even what is expected after these statements, I will also use what is most precious to me—my poetry in a foreign language. It does not indicate detachment, on the contrary, it indicates that a person can be flexible with their “native landscape pattern,” that a man has the fundamental choice of how to use his art, and for that matter in what language.

Also, Hebrew is very dear to me, and there are no mistakes with me. The maximal potential of my messages feels clearer and more complete in Hebrew.

However, I write in English because there is less friction, war, there is lightness and freedom in my second book of poetry, which was published in 2012, called “Protest “—it was written about it that “the poems express real and mental exile, and they are necessary”. . .”The book’s symbolism plays a considerable role in the division of poetry into two different languages, reflecting the exile element in existence, Hebrew poetry expresses the exile of Cohen Shabtai, while the poetry in English documents the freedom.”

From here, there is an element of exile in my being and I emphasized it before, when I described it as a loose affiliation to my home country yet very grounded. 

Not for nothing are all my four books written in English and Hebrew.

It used to be considered a paradox, nowadays it has a name: exophony.

What do you write? What is your writing process like?

This is unequivocally the tactic of a poet that is very subjective to each and every one. In the past two years, I have begun to make it easier on myself and make room for publishing intuitive poems that were written in the blink of an eye, and did not go through the processing stages from first draft to a completed poem. I revealed that these are the poems that the audience connects with the most. I often look through journals to investigate from different aspects or a specific aspect the issue about which I am writing. The poem begins with a sentence or paragraph, and after that comes a moment of musing and concentration and inspiration as I expand this raw material into a written work, erase, add, read it to myself—hear how the tone of the poem sounds, until the poem is ready and completed so that I directly add it to the file of poems for future publication in my books. I hope I have clarified this.

Also, I need four walls that envelop me where my desktop is situated (in my home). This way I don’t feel detached, my concentration level is healthy and clarity of mind at its utmost. Indeed, I write everywhere, but in order to process the writing into a written poem, I have to sit on a wide wickerwork chair and do it at my desktop with a double-glazed window beside me that overlooks a narrow courtyard containing three generations— grandmother, mother, and daughter. Their talk is always vocal and loud and lacking restrain, and they are the symphony as I write my creations. By the way, all 350 pages of my fourth book I wrote from this space.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

I don’t have one of those in stock, nor in my lexicon. 

I can be saddened by things that I read, but between the feeling of sadness and the reproduction of a tear or moisture in my eyes there is a great dissonance in me.

What advice would you give to other exophonic writers?

To those who write in a language not generally regarded as their first or mother tongue, and to some exophonic authors that may be bilingual or multilingual from their childhood years, even polyglots, while others may write in an acquired language; 

and to the writers whose second language is acquired early in life, for example through immigration, and it is not always clear whether the writer should strictly be classified a non-native speaker;

and to those who write in a non-native language, in cases where the language is acquired through exile or migration;

I have one piece of advice:

Keep on writing your way!

Read Tali Cohen Shabtai’s poem for Litehouse here

AMNESIA by Sachin Rana

I will let the sea recite my poems
and the waves carry my words,
my mouth is sealed
and my eyes cannot talk.
Sands of time haunt me
so does the cosmic clock. I know
time is relative.

I look at the damp red wall
in front of me, some photo frames,
a broken mirror,
a calendar hanging.

The photo frames—
have old pictures with faces,
I don’t recognize, they look happy.

The broken mirror—
splits my reflection into two;
I don’t remember the second one.

The calendar—
has some dates marked,
I don’t remember those dates.

Sachin is a 22 years old filmmaker, screenwriter, and poet from Dehradun, India. He lives in a grave with his companion Mr. Melancholia and often spends time making bouquets of dried roses, marigolds and dandelions.

Photo by Johannes Beilharz

BEACH FUN by Lorelei Bacht

Heavy rain. The sea,
Suddenly troubled, struggles
To read its own face.

What a drag! My heart
Broken beyond repair, when
I should “just relax”. 

Daddy watches them
Build sandcastles while I drown 
In my middle age. 

Bottom of the sea, 
Smooth black hand of cold water— 

I was lonely once. 
I was lonely twice, and then
I just stopped counting. 

Corals, dead white bones—
Soon, everything about me
Will cease to matter.

Murmur of the waves:
When I made you, you made me.
Walk out, and happen.

Reverse of the sky,
The sea welcomes everything,
Birth, death and the rest. 

Rolling hopes and hurts
Between its invisible
Fingers, it forgives. 

Lorelei Bacht is a European poet who recently started writing again after moving to Asia, making two beautiful children and failing two marriages. Published last decade, under a different name, her previous work is no longer relevant. Her current work focuses on such themes as aging, motherhood, infidelity, and finding oneself as a nearly middle-aged woman. Some of her musings can be found on her Instagram feed @the.cheated.wife.writes.

Photo by Una Laurencic


There are so many pepper beads on your plate
too much for that little tiny body to take
feel constant ticking inside your mouth
from the tip of tongue
to the damp hole of throat
unlike worm – eaten ground
broken, graded
we walk
it leaves me floating
hooking my claws on double b
so that I might forget
fear of loud voices
in strange places
gaping like wounds
impersonal shudder
street crossings remind me
of mammoth tusks
I am on one side
they on the other
when we meet in the middle
glances will noise
growing up to the stars
embracing light and dust
for us
to remain ourselves

Julija Kaselj (she/her) is a poet, essayist and playwright from Croatia. She’s currently studying Art History and Latin at the University of Zagreb and is especially interested in observation, introspection, philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, music and theatre. Poetry has been her primary media for some years now, and one in which she wishes to work most. She uses it to explore topics of visual thought and its reflection in pursuit of understanding.

Photo by Pejac (@pejac_art)


Thousands and thousands of musings
And proclamations have been made on the planet,
From the beginning of the mankind.
Ages have slept, but
Ages have also awakened the poets of the sleeping tides
And also,
Self made people and corrugated hearts.
Today the marginalized are also making their say
What got written is only a small reflection
of what happened.
Perhaps, It is more real than the larger world.
The world fits in a room today.
Who knows what’s behind the tough screen.
Let’s hope that each world gets understood and
Everyone can make their own world inside this world.

Sushant is from Nepal and an M.A. in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy, New Delhi, India. He is the author of the book “The Poetic Burden and Other Poems” published by Authorspress, New Delhi, India.


As the winter’s sun takes away the moisture from my dreams
desiccated in the scorching heat;
desires unfurl like the fern leaves
I move slowly not to wrinkle them all
treading carefully not to step on them
or crumble them to pieces—
those pulverized concoctions
is paving my way to salvation.

How alone will be the loneliness
within this cacophony and voiceless din,
If waves never return to the shores?
Stripping the shores of its blaring noises
and of their wilful crashing
How lonely the seas would feel to its core?

How will the bough of the mighty oak
in the forest feel?
when the laughter hidden in the trees
are stripped of its wind
carrying those hushed whispers
treading carefully,
sewing the solitude in those tangled branches.
Will the forest feel bereft and alone?

How lonely would those stormy nights feel?
Stripped of the howling and the roaring
of that boisterous gale
weaving a symphony
out of the broken frame
of the window’s constant tapping
Would the nights feel lonely, so evermore?

How lonely the heart would feel?
Bereft of this emotion and its existence
if stripped of the rhythm of its beat
and companion of its soliloquy.
How much is that we crave the noise?

This dissonance,
the cacophony;
which brings the sudden realization of life to us
that the syncopation of solitude
is the noise carved in its core.

Megha Sood

Megha Sood is an award-winning poet, editor, and blogger based in New Jersey. She is Assistant Editor of Lit Journals Mookychick (UK), Life and Legends (USA), and Literary Partner with the “Life in Quarantine” Stanford University. Also, a Pushcart Nominee and National Level Winner for the Spring Mahogany Literary Prize 2020.


is the TV’s tense click in

the crispy three am cold

lusting after the blankets

thuds on hardwood floor

as my body moves about

the house hunting for

confections and epiphany

the neighbor’s cat on the

table yawning to the

smell of rotting bananas

dreaming of long, yellow

rats, paws chasing tails

aside in silence I borrow

a humble place from

the universe’s expanse

listen to the little

the first sounds of

dawn has to say until

morning finds me poised

sage-like, in full glory

a man of truth, wisdom

this house, this world

my private Bodhi tree

go human, go your way

leave me my livelihood

Maed Rill Monte is a nineteen-year-old Filipino poet. His works can be read on Anti-Heroin Chic, Feral, and Trouvaille among others.

Photo: Max Ernst, Flowers of Seashells (1929)