Caravan Chef talks to poetically dynamic Cathleen Davies as they   eat metaphor/irony-calcium rich strawberries from aloka magazine forest

Cathleen Davies, your poetic- organically simplified verses are bitter-chocolate mousse to architects of political discord, you are not a literary dissident but you are pen warrior with your ink fumigating   economic parasites and corruption maggots tearing apart /rotting the fabrics of sanity as the decay the freedoms / hope of nations. They use propaganda masquerade and slogan pontifications to kill promising nations and bury promising generations. The future is blotted with pain, the present is studded with controversy as crooked political grandstanding takes center-stage. Your poetry DNA plaque is carved with uncontested vivid -imagery rimmed revolutionary message – you are a revolutionary literary acumen/doyen carrying the rags of your cultural ideology in your creative back-pack with poetic patriotic zeal. Your poetry is protesting, patriotic and revolutionary. You remain the mirror of your society. It is fascinating to eat metaphoric-calcium-iron rich berries with you Cathleen Davies, head of content at Aloka Magazine. The Caravan is honored to feature the summarized profile of the prolific aloka magazine and the outstanding creative errands you partake with your artistic camaraderie Ellie (LI Ying):  – blessings (curator mbizo chirasha)

From Balconies

While bodies still lie stiff in morgues,

And cannot yet be burned for change,

Their ash cannot blow onto tree roots

Will not feed a dawning age,

But people will get restless

And they’ll sing

From balconies

While governments still hide the facts

With masturbatory façade

Of staying strong and saving face,

With cries of truth and protest barred,

The people will get restless

And they’ll sing

From balconies,

And here,

With empty, barren shelves,

And mugs of English breakfast tea,

And vacant office carparks left

To our optional quarantine,

Our isolation leads to love

And building up communities

And anger gets directed at

Authorities with hands unclean,

When clapping means far less to us

Than taxes spent responsibly,

And we have time to strike and fight,

For those who suffer mercilessly

And all of them will realise

These dead will not be burned unseen

‘Cause people will get restless.

Yes, us people will get restless

They can fight, kill and arrest us

But we’ll scream

From balconies.

  • Cathleen Davies

In March of 2020, a video emerged of Italians in quarantine singing together from their balconies. It was a show of solidarity intended to lift spirits, and this beautiful moment of humanity and community inspired a universal emotional reaction.

 
The virus brought out the best and worst of society. With Chinese authorities trying to hush up medical professionals in an attempt to save face, the community demanded a change in the totalitarian politics that has ruled their country for decades. In England, people were panic buying to such an extent that the shelves were empty, and children were selling squirts of hand sanitizer for a pound in school playgrounds. Meanwhile, in the most powerful country on earth, the American president refused to take precautionary measures and insisted on injecting himself with bleach. Millions died. 

But radicalisation was rife. People had time again, away from nine-to-five drudgery, and they were able to protest incompetent leaders, police brutality, and systemic inequality. Everyone cheered for the same National Health Service the Tory government had been attempting to privatise, and celebrated the value of key workers who had often been diminished and overlooked. For me, it felt as though this was the closest I had come to a complete revolution, where we could see that the system had failed and rebuild something new, with human life more significant than profit, valuable workers paid what they deserved, and an end to the unnecessary eight hour-a-day office lifestyle, which forces people into a system where they had no time or energy for art, community and self-improvement. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. 

People have now forgotten the spirit of the pandemic in their desperation to return to what was ‘normal’ and comfortable. But still, I recall the Italians singing together from their balconies, and I’m glad I wrote this poem to immortalise that moment, where for the first time in a long time I felt hope: 

Cathleen Davies is an MA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of
Birmingham and a BA graduate in Creative Writing at UEA. Currently, she
teaches and researches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
You can find her writing in various anthologies, and her debute collection
of short-stories *Cheeky, Bloody Articles *has just been released. Send her
grit, send her beauty, send her authenticity. She loves real stories by
real voices so if you have one she’s bound to be impressed.

Aloka Magazine

alokanotes

Aloka magazine is a volunteer-run literary magazine to meet and publish
those wonders in non-native English and multilingual writers’works.

Aloka is the Sanskrit name for the goddess holding a light who is believed
in Vajrayana to guide people to freedom from the painful reincarnation
circle in the period of the luminous bardo of dharmata, that is to say,
from this ephemeral tip of the soul to the other end of life only the firm
trust in the seemingly less remarkable light can ward off the ever-changing
spells of the illusional world. We believe the great sensitivity and the
crucial choice you will have to make in various (semi-)transformative
phrases or daily moments just resemble the way you respond to and navigate
the weather of the art of language. With the peace and spiritualism that
comes with art, Aloka is just beautiful to us and we hope you will feel the
same too.

Masthead (Aloka Magazine)

Cathleen Davies is an MA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of
Birmingham and a BA graduate in Creative Writing at UEA. Currently, she
teaches and researches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
You can find her writing in various anthologies, and her debute collection
of short-stories *Cheeky, Bloody Articles *has just been released. Send her
grit, send her beauty, send her authenticity. She loves real stories by
real voices so if you have one she’s bound to be impressed.

Ellie(LI Ying): Am MSc graduate in Sociology at the University of
Bristol(2020-2021). MA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of
Birmingham(2017-2018), honourable mention in poetry category in 46th Youth
Literary Awards(held in Hongkong, 2019). She revels in a euphoric ocean
where you can find a pearly, talking seashell mirroring systematically the
red tentacles of clouds, and she firmly believes that writing in an
unfamiliar language (a second language), this alien nature will endow the
writer a gift to get closer to splendid literature, and the loyal heart of
language.

Mbizo Chirasha is the author of A Letter to the President and Pilgrims of Zame, co-author of Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi, and co-editor of Street Voices Poetry and Corpses of Unity. Chirasha is associate editor at Diaspora(n) online, chief editor at Time of the Poet Republic, founding editor at WomaWords Literary Press, publisher at Brave Voices Poetry, and curator at Africa Writers Caravan. He has also been a UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist at University of Glasgow, 2020 Poet in Residence Fictional Café, 2019 African Fellow at IHRAF, project curator and co-editor of the Second Name of Earth is Peace (Poetry Voices Against WAR Anthology), and a contributing essayist for Monk Arts and Soul Magazine. Poetry and writings appear in FemAsia MagazineWrath-Bearing TreeInk Sweat and Tears JournalOne Ghana World Poetry AlmanacDemer PressAtunis GalaxyOne MagazineOfi PressIHRAF PublishesThe Poet a DayBezine.ComSentinel UKOxford School of Poetry PamphletAfrica CrayonsPulpitMagazinePoetry PacificZimboliciousBest New PoetsPoetry BulawayoGramnetDiogen PlusPoeisis.siFestival de Poesia Medellin, and elsewhere.

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