Black Petals Issue #88, Summer, 2019

Love River Forever
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Place of His Own-Fiction by Dorian Sinnott
Blood on the Riviera-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 13-Fiction by A.M.Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 14-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 15-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Conclusion-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Red Dress-Fiction byTrisha McKee
The Dead Are Not Lonely-Fiction by A. L. Hodges
The Taxidermist is Hatching-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
This Isn't You-Fiction by J. David Thayer
Love River Forever-Poem by Hicham El Qendouci
Fire Rages from Her Fingertips-4 Poems by T. B. Kelley
Sheepsquatch-3 poems by Richard Stevenson

Love River Forever


Hicham El Qendouci

Editor’s Favorite



Where do I start?
From any wound among thousands of them,

From the beginning of the tough infection three months ago…
I suffer from pain and disease, sick with a virus
Lurking like fire beneath my skin,
A hidden danger waiting in ambush.
I suffer within my wounds.
And even my weapon betrays me!

I’m still looking for safety, but is it safe to stay here
Sick, homeless, hunted, and besieged?
Even our brothers drink our blood and eat our bones.


Darkness goes on in my eyes
And speech shall die in my mouth
Until I stop asking for silence.
Even if morning comes I can do nothing
About leaving, except to cry: Where do I start?
All our streets are closed,
And our tongues have become spoons

And our borders gallows.
My yellow face hates to invade the mirror.

Only nights of lamentations come,
And the same old funerals and wailing.


My heart shakes as a dead body or a massacre echoes,

Full of flashes, colors, and sorrows,
Waiting until a favorable star enters

The orbit of death or the homeland of losers.
I head to the river, a beautiful river
Reflecting in its flowing the mixture above me

Of planets, stars, and enormous galaxies filling the universe.
I walk slowly, through tears, seeing clouds and stars,

While my ears hear explosions and my hands touch flowers of light.

I long to go to a distant planet where there is no disease
Because I want to live in peace away from Earth.


I feel my body trembling;
Each organ vibrates with limitless longing.
Sometimes I think I see my love,
A red flower above the beautiful river,
And whisper gently, Sarah, my love, I love you!
I write my love lovely poetry
To open wondrous horizons.
Oh, what limitless love!!

Our days might be wine,
But our lives are silent graveyards
Into which our eyes stare.


Where do I start?
Is it useful to start
In the time of the end?
How can I enter
Where there is no longer a door for me
Except the death door?
Oh, Homeland,
You no longer give me even a shroud,
And I keep screaming in madness.
Earth does not hear or care about me,
Nor does death.


From tent to tent
And from place to place
My heart is full of pain and sorrow.
I stay awake all day and night

And treat my burning heart alone.
I do not see the face of anyone

Who cares about my voice or suffering.
I have a sticky sickness in my gut,
So I can’t eat, only take water,

But, thank God, whose mercy is revealed,
That I still live, breathe, feel…and love.


I know my life seems limited,

A small light hanging in space.
I feel like a dead planet—
Just like the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter.

I should stop circling the Sun
Under which I was born,
And take the first spaceship
To another planet in a distant galaxy,
Away from this place of virus and disease,
Where life may continue,
And love flourish forever.



Hicham El Qendouci,, who wrote the BP #88 editor’s favorite poem, “Love River Forever,” is a freelance writer, poet, and painter. He lives in Morocco and speaks six languages, including: Tamazight, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, and English, and holds a Baccalaureate Certificate in Literature and Human Sciences. In his free time he writes science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction, literary stories, plays, and poems; he likes reading same, and enjoys drawing and practicing sports.

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