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Painting by Kim Cogan
Painting by Kim CoganCourtesy Berlin ArtParasites

What is poetry’s place in the digital age?

In honour of World Poetry Day, we asked online magazine Berlin ArtParasites to curate five of their favourite submissions

”There is nothing more powerful than storytelling,” muses Ioana Cristina Casapu, Managing Director of Berlin ArtParasites. “We need a place to put our passions into, and as long as we can feel and make others feel, poetry will never die.” With a following of 2.9 million and counting on Facebook, the online magazine, founded by Marcus Johst in 2011, publishes poetry, stories and artwork submitted from all over the world. Taking its name from the idea that, like small bugs, the emotions of love, pain, lust, peace or melancholy naturally invade our daily lives, Casapu explains that Berlin ArtParasite’s goal is to “explore these basic feelings that are, after all, the primary reason why art is created.”

At a time when we are spending the majority of our time glued to smartphones and laptops, having a poetry hub to engage with online provides literary relief from endless cat memes and disaster stories. The internet has dissolved the barriers of publishing and the difficulties of having your voice heard, allowing literature to be born straight away on social media. Poems are liked and shared thousands of times on Facebook, showing how poetry continues to resonate and be engaged with even in the digital age.

In honour of World Poetry Day, we asked Berlin ArtParasites to select five of their favourite poems.

THE QUIET WORLD BY JEFFREY MCDANIEL

In an effort to get people to look

into each other’s eyes more,

and also to appease the mutes,

the government has decided

to allot each person exactly one hundred   

and sixty-seven words, per day.

 

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear   

without saying hello. In the restaurant   

I point at chicken noodle soup.

I am adjusting well to the new way.

 

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,   

proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.   

I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,

I know she’s used up all her words,   

so I slowly whisper I love you

thirty-two and a third times.

After that, we just sit on the line   

and listen to each other breathe.

"EPILOGUE" BY ELI ANNA

I hope you are doing well in your life. I do not need updates, we might go to deeper conversation, I do not mean any of these.

I am writing because I do not need an answer from you

I am writing because I want to close the story

I am writing to you to say I am sorry and I forgive you

We were both in love

Both right and wrong

both angry and cruel

both remembering happy and sad moments

both never able to forget

Now I am done. Memories don't bring me pain any more, only nice feelings of whatever has happened, because it has happened to me and joined the line of amazing stories of my life.

Only thing I regret is losing you as a person, a friend, who was always ready to answer, empathize and listen, a person who lied a lot to stay with me.

I always believed we met at a very wrong time in our lives.

This is not true, we met at the most right time as we needed each other: you were like a mirror to me, I saw my flaws, I tried to change my boundaries, I tried to be me. Thanks for this.

Let's not be sorry for loving each other at least for a moment.

Maybe we meet in next life, or maybe we did in our past lives. But for now I just want to tell you that I am sorry and I forgive you.

May nice memories enlighten your heart.

MEN ALWAYS WIN AT LIFE BY IOANA CRISTINA CASAPU

Last night I realized what is the problem – there is no problem:

Men always win at life
That is what I found out
Or was forced to admit
You have to look at their hands
Not at their mind
Cause it’s not very sharp
Look at the lines on their face
Look at the way posture strikes sometimes
as they walk into a room
Like cats
they always fall on their feet
They keep up with that charm
even when they rob a bank;
especially if they rob a bank
they have something called charisma
Which is fluent
even when they deceit.
In fact, they always deceit
because they know they will be forgiven.
They always smile
because they know the world is made of train stations
and it’s easy to jump into another story
once this one is done.
Men always come clean
and with age, they come across
more and more train stations
let’s call them opportunities
because life had a strange way to present men and women with growing in reverse;
and we were taught to leave in order to gain presence;
we were taught we are disposable
and equipped with liquids, minerals and gold to preserve our fading beauty
because our charm is our only fluency
and it’s a language with an expiration date;
men always win at life
it’s always been like this;
Unlike women, for whom deceit is a stain
presence is an ephemeral stage
and balance
Balance is the runway where we jog hopeful to misguide age.
But men always win at life
Because they have to make us laugh
make us fall
head over high heels
and they do
even when they deceit.

CONNECTION IS NOTHING NEW BY P.H. BEDIM


I like to think
That the atoms of wind
That caress my skin
Have, once, travelled
Through your lungs

I like to think
That the water
That I use to make my tea
Was, once, a tear of joy
On your cheek

I like to think
That the piece of paper,
Where I'm writing this poem,
Was, once, a tree
You liked to climb

I like to think
That our lives
Are more connected
Than our Facebook pages.

POEM TO CALL LOVE IN BY ANCA ROTAR

When you show up, I’ll say –

Hey, let’s give this a go.

You’re gentle and feel warm –

we can be silent

and we can crack jokes.

If this sounds good to you,

I’ll be your beggar queen –

my cheap metal bracelets

turn pink against my skin.

I loathe glass slippers,

but you can kiss

the extra bones on my feet.

Come, my love –

we will laugh

at red unicorns inside plastic hearts.

We will hold hands

through the vampire forests

of our minds.

We will cry.

We will try.

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