homunulus poetic cycle alisa velaj

Poetic Cycle by Alisa Velaj


[for lack of the word…; time: midnight]

You have always disturbed my nights, Homunculus,
and I am making no mention of days here,
for you’ll never have the slightest idea what they are.
Both are one and the same to you,
as alike as, say, the sun and the moon…

You thus deeply aggrieved me, Homunculus,
when I spotted that laboratorial halo
in your frail being.

I was a wretch at the time, young man;
too diffident to sniff the scent of my victory.
Nay, I even thought I had lost…

At times, your halo pushed me into doubts
whether I should acknowledge it as such or not.
Anyway, what good are my doubts? What matters now
is but the fact that you are a made-up creature,
threatening to pass your contrivance onto other embryos
ever conceived in fertile, healthy wombs.

This is what scares me, Homun.
This is what I am scared of…

Scent of Linden Blossom

After such a long time,
scent of linden trees on the streets.
Scent of linden!
On occasion, greenery blasts in blossom
                                   when least expected.

I hurry to finish my errands before sunset,
for, afterwards, bats give me the creeps,
running against walls and getting nowhere!

It’s horrible to be robbed of your eyesight, my friend.



“Why are you insisting to interrupt me, Homun?
If the scent of linden offends your nose so badly,
farther down, on the right of fall, there are some crags.
There you can sit and wait for your buddies, the bats…”


A lab is a woman, but not a mother, Homun.
In there, songs hit the glass panes like meaningless sounds
and the cuckoo’s call may reach you like a refrain of sirens.

A lab is merely a woman, my dear.
The gestation within a shell’s womb
swells up in skeletal dimensions.

A mother it will never ever become,
as long as its wills be entrusted to the memory of leaves
and infinite blueness be not accepted as the ultimate limit…

A Memory from Two Oak Trees

(instead of a good-morning greeting)

On the trunks of two oak trees up on the mountain,
I and you, Homun, used to carve our names.

You wouldn’t stop laughing at Faust,
while he toiled to engrave our names on stone:
“Go, master Sisyphus, go!” you would cheer.

Today, I am taking a walk on these parts.
Alas, our oaks must have been cut down long ago.
Legible is but a FA in the quarry of sounds…

It Was Your Ultimate Role, Homunculus!

Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Through breezy fingers
over two guitar strings.

The orchestra begins to heat up
for no good reason…

I don’t dance that dance, Homunculus.
Age-wise, I am a perennial leaf,
and my every effort to arrest the air
is rewarded with phantom flights.

Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Through breezy fingers
over four guitar strings.

Neither should you dance that dance, Homunculus,
a creature contrived as you are, nought born.
One must love way too much to not perish altogether.

Dancers of your like got scythed by a gust of wind
while, in extasy, they were busy cutting hyacinths.
You are the last one of that dynasty, Homunculus!

Incense of smoke
Incense of smoke
Incense of smoke
The guitar vanished in thin air.

Ah, my son, why wouldn’t you for once listen to me?!
That was your ultimate role toward perfection,
that was your single role…

Requiem to the Exile-Bound Light

(time: 6.59 AM)

Thirst is drying even the shores to the last drop!
Weak of vibe and wing,
the seagull is lost in doomsday thoughts
of her homelands soon to remain but memories.
Vengeful pangs, of a darker purple than sunsets,
command her to silence, prayer, and back to silence.

translated from Albanian by ARBEN P. LATIFI

Featured image by Kyle Glenn

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than eighty print and online international magazines, including: Michigan’s Best Emerging Poets (USA), San Diego Poetry Annual (USA), FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK) The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK) etc etc. Her poems are also translated and published in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French, Bengali and Portuguese. Velaj’s digital chapbook The Wind Foundations, translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published by Zany Zygote Review (USA). Alisa Velaj’s poetry book With No Sweat At All will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

Parker Schmidt : A Downhill Skateboarder in his Own Words by Jason Anders

Parker Schmidt

A downhill skateboarder in his own words

By Jason Anders

Pushing yourself to the ragged edge outside of comfort to find utter serenity is the way some people live and love in life. It’s the daring danger zones that bring peace, comfort, and courage to the free spirit, renewing the zest for living outside of the boundaries.

It takes these qualities for extreme sports such as downhill skateboarding—and the thrill and adrenaline you receive from it! Parker Schmidt is a downhill skateboarder with a drive to set himself apart even from those who live outside of the boundaries. This is a profile and feature of this athlete in his own words as he describes what makes him driven to succeed in the sport and the satisfaction it gives to him.

“I’m Parker Schmidt, an 18-year-old Professional Downhill Skateboarder from Boise, Idaho. This 2018 season will be my second year competing on the world stage, as well as my 4th year partaking in downhill skateboarding.

“I try my best to set myself apart from the rest by taking a different approach to the sport. Only the top 10% of racers are those who continuously train every day, whether that’s on board or weight training, along with maintaining a clean diet and lifestyle can be difficult for everyone to do. I do my best to provide information to those who are wanting to begin a healthy and fitness based lifestyle by posting informative blogs or posts either on my website or social media.

“Downhill skating is an escape for me. While blasting down a hill at upwards of 60mph, it’s a moment of bliss. When the moment comes to slowing down and drifting in order to make a corner, I drop my hand and push my board out from under me, going sideways in order to drop 10mph to keep my line through the corner, it feels like you’re weightless. I’ve never experienced this sensation anywhere else, surfing or snowboarding may come close. But nothing can resemble the sensation of the grip and slip from wheels at high speeds.

“When it comes to racing, I’m going into the 2018 season with the mindset of racing myself. Nobody else on the course matters, they’re not the reasons for my faults, only I am. I’m there to beat … my previous records, and if that ends up with me being on the top of the podium, then I consider that some bonus points. I am my only strength and weakness.”