Numb Nights

-Samira Ahsan

I don’t know if it makes sense

To damage someone beyond repair

And put them on the fence.

I wonder if anyone can hear

The screams; fading echoes

louder than night waves

sharper than a prey’s fear.

Yelling in the pillow –

yearning to be expressed

But nothing.

Just failure.

If you can hear the howls I swallow,

Show me a way of life to follow

I sleep and sleep away my pain

But it’s always there when I awaken.

When you ask me why I don’t want to fall asleep,

It’s only because I have to wake up and

build myself all over again.

So far, I do, eager to free this chain

I sleep to escape, wake up to remain

Yet nothing.

All in vain.

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A nocturnal being, Samira studies Architecture and Design. She is a professional over thinker and a part-time procrastinator filling blank pages with contemplation. She is quite fast at typing messages but never picks up phone calls. You can reach Samira at samiraahsan20@gmail.com

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The poem appeared in the April 2021 Issue of Pop the Culture Pill. Read the complete issue now!

The Winds

-Ashwika Chhabria

The winds caress me

So does the moonlight

My limbs stretched and free

I slip in to slumber and my dreams take flight

I’m pulled into the ground

With tenuous hands soft

I feel like I’m floating above the crowd

Seeing myself from high above, aloft

The blades of grass sway

Singing me a lullaby

I’m lulled asleep in the middle of the day

On nature’s bed I lie

The winds caress me

So does the sunlight

I sleep to dream and dream of sleep

I’m Icarus, but my wings will fly

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Ashwika can fall asleep anywhere, doing anything, except walking, perhaps. It’s a bit tiring to wake her up every time she dozes off before dinner. She hopes her poetry can rouse you enough to feel alive, if not sleepy. You can find Ashwika on Instagram.

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The poem appeared in the April 2021 Issue of Pop the Culture Pill. Read the complete issue now!

Once Upon a Dream

-Sudiksha Kartika

I only truly wake when I sleep

When my breathing slows, my stirring stops

My feet slip into a world of mine and mine alone

Take my hand, dear traveler 

Here, soft grass whispers beneath our heels and pale-lipped buds tremble at our touch, peeling back to reveal sleeping silver sprites who nip our fingers

A litany of warbled singing spills from a lake as a scaled woman dips beneath its surface, her hair blooming from under like a flower

The scent of spring, youthful and fresh and naive, fills your nostrils and you tug a handful of gooseberries free from its branches and let it burst in your mouth

Somewhere, a cursed prince is relearning how to make his twisted limbs to move

Lovelarks sing their woeful tune and yet another pair of wanderers fall prey

We duck in the foliage as a herd of dragons burst through the sky, heading north –

In another world, sunlight spills through a half-opened window and dark eyes snap open, sleep still clinging to the lashes 

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Sudiksha is an aspiring poet and author who has a deep-rooted love for fantasy and mythology. She has had her works published in numerous zines and an anthology. You can find her on Instagram.

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‘Once Upon a Dream’ appeared in Pop the Culture Pill’s April 2021 Issue. Read the the complete issue here.

Submissions for our June 2021 Issue is open. Submit your entries now!

Helicopters

-Athira Unni

to see death in a petal of a flower

is to witness the garden reveal traps

mother’s wish is to send me to sleep

a three-day break I took from that

and counted curtain folds and tiles

when space finally happened between days

shut eyes saw neon honking dreams 

of fast-moving trains and suicides

of chocolate in a vending machine

that refused to open like my eyes

burning from a negligent purpose 

blessed by decaf, pills and a breathing app

waiting for the blast of sound in silence 

when A used to sleep all the time 

in his hostel bed even during exams 

and me unable to during exams 

now waking up to lights and scars

with wondrous leaves clinging to us

like dreams we brush off into compost

a collateral murder took place in sleep

a pimply child with his toy helicopter

once told me he wanted to die 

I took the helicopter and threw it

it flew a distance and kept falling

and falling and falling until it went 

to the place dreams go to die 

and on a blue quilt I made my home 

wrapped up tears in soggy cotton 

waited for my hair to fall and wake up

to the heretic field of death 

where sleep is the ferryman 

and I paid with sanity to sleep

and meet my monsters once again

this, the cycle of my eyelids opening

and closing to your face, is flying 

round and round and round 

helicopters falling from the sky 

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Athira Unni lives on coffee and thunderstorms. She is a PhD candidate at Leeds Beckett University, UK. Her debut poetry collection “Gaea and Other Poems” was published in September 2020. She blogs at chocolateandink.wordpress.com.

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‘Helicopters’ appeared in the April 2021 Issue of Pop the Culture Pill. Read the full issue here.

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Any Number of Platitudes That Are Beholden to the Sympathetic

Colin James

We have been waiting

in this hunter’s blind

since before 2 a.m.

Invisible to the wildlife or

they give us a wide berth.

We have tried to adhere to silence

pissing into a muffled trough.

Turns out, I don’t have sleep apnea

or even a very mild form of it.

Sat up when spoken to,

still lost very little weight.

Lay off the sidearm curve

instead bring the heat.

As regards to nectar, no

not even to keep warm.

These decisions have

already been made for us,

like kissing me good

night and good morning

to be absolutely certain.

The flowered blouse endangered

like the Marsh Sparrow

shoulders some responsibility.

Innocence has become vague.

My 2 a.m. wake up call

delivered with personal diplomacy,

you catch little naps when able.

The late bus won’t wait.

Back row seating is preferable,

scorned by the many clear thinkers

usually a space exists between.

Sleep is the odd one out

mistaken for thoughtfulness.

Daylight brings a graffiti blur,

the ectoplasm vomit of art.

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Colin James has a couple of chapbooks of poetry published. “Dreams Of The Really Annoying” from Writing Knights Press and “A Thoroughness Not Deprived of Absurdity” from Piski’s Porch Press, and a book of poems “Resisting Probability” from Sagging Meniscus Press.

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The poem appeared in our April 2021 Issue.

Submissions open for June 2021 Issue.