Sin Fronteras ❘ Borders Without Boundaries

Edited and Introduced by Don Miller
Those of us living in the United States have been inundated with political rhetoric telling of a “humanitarian emergency”, and from some of the international headlines gracing the media it would appear this rhetoric is rampant throughout the nations of the world. Almost daily there are headlines, and in the States they are capturing our leader’s utterance, which of late have been about “closing the Port of Entries with Mexico”, “pushing to restart family separations” and implementing a “policy to move asylum-seekers to “sanctuary cities”.

However, the perception of this “emergency” is a flawed vision blurred by prejudices and biases, and an unwillingness to accept differences exist not only along physical borders between countries, but also along personal boundaries of sexual orientation, gender identity, mental and physical disabilities, in addition to the barriers separating race, ethnicity, religion, the sexes, and social status. It is not a border wrought in crime and violence our leaders would have us believe is behind this emergency, it is the boundary of intolerance swelling with the persecuted huddling in the shadows of fear and a frustration toward unsympathetic populations unwilling to accept a person for who they are.

The humanitarian emergency before us is the lack of understanding a person’s situation, and willingness and compassion to assist and aid in their flight searching for a new frontier. . . without fear.

Nueva Frontera
Let us
Pledge Alliance to a New Frontier
within the state of Sin Fronteras
and to the humanity
for which it stands
without barriers
without boundaries
and with acceptance and justice for all

1) Christina Nguyen, Minnesota, USA

I tuck my daughters
onto the boat
and shove them out
into the storm

2) Anonymous, USA

eleven-year-old granddaughter
approaching trans-adolescence
it’s private medical information

says she wants to go
to coding camp

3) Kira Nash, Wales/France/Spain

the child of a people
forever forced to run
i seem unable to stop
this frightened world
chasing me

4) Margaret Van Every, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

ing up
the down
escalator the
dyslexic reach
es the top his way

5) Pravat Kumar Padhy, Odisha, India

how far
she stretches her hand
the tiny daughter
rushes and screams aloud
echoes against the blind wall

6) Robin Anna Smith, Wilmington, Delaware, USA

my choices
of bathroom:
“mens” or “womens”
I listen at the door
and choose the empty one

7) André Surridge, Hamilton, New Zealand

refugee camp
how do you prove who you are
without papers
my husband had them
but they burned him alive

8) Grunge, South Florida, USA

the people saying
islam is not a race

are the same that harass
my indian catholic father
for being muslim

9) Pris Campbell, Greater West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

a sweet lullaby
drifts over the barbed wire
the guard
hides tears of shame
over things he’s told to do

10) Joy McCall, Norwich, England

I grow weary
looking at faces
way above me
then one passing man kneels
and we see eye to eye

11) Michael G. Smith, New Mexico, USA

from the list of questions
asked lone children
who did you travel with?
coyote always
three steps ahead

12) Gerry Jacobson, Canberra, Australia

dancing alone
holding the tension
for an hour
opening to possibility
of dancing with another

13) Chen-ou Liu, Ajax, Ontario, Canada

the edge
of the border fence
this winter night
last silhouettes

14) Autumn Noelle Hall, Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA

the border
between unconsciousness
and consciousness—
if only fewer were able
to cross it so freely

15) John Tehan, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

the final crossing
at journey’s end

16) Lee Felty, New England, USA

the cashier smiles
at the flowers
I purchase
of acceptance

17) Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan
from the chaotic world
a peaceful mind
draws a double rainbow
on both sides of the fence

18) Marilyn Humbert, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mardi Gras
celebrates 40 years
LGBTQI pride
Sydney harbour bridge
glossed in rainbow colours

19) Miriam Sagan, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

looming range,
an abandoned water tank—
the passerby,
crescent moon
over the border patrol

20) Lorne Henry, NSW, Australia

its castellated walls
stand proud
a contrast to mosques
centres of peace

21) Matthew Caretti, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA

peace stupa
a migrant builds
the border wall
keeping out nothing
save ill-will and hatred

22) Tracy Davidson, Warwickshire, England

breaching the walls
of brotherhood
one woman’s word
against a man’s . . .
when will it be enough?

23) kenneth slaughter, Grafton, Massachusetts, USA

what power
can words have
against a wall . . .
five lines
blowin’ in the wind

24) Carol Raisfeld, Atlantic Beach, New York, USA

the highest glass ceiling
her new secretary
straightens his serious tie
before bringing the coffee

25) Elizabeth Moura, East Taunton, Massachusetts, USA

a child runs
across the desert
with a stick
rubbing out boundaries
redrawing the future

The following links are to two sites exhibiting winning entries to the 2019 World Press Photo contest. Some of the images depict better than words the poverty, the violence, the intolerance forcing persons to flee their homelands, travel hundreds if not thousands of miles through hostel territories and inhospitable terrain in search of safer havens. Please take a moment to view these photographs.

Thank you for your support of and submissions to this ATPO Special Feature: Sin Fronteras ❘ Borders without Boundaries. With over 330 individual tanka submitted by 64 writers, the decision arriving at just 25 poems was difficult to say the least with many quality and provocative tanka “left behind”. Again, many thanks to those of you who accepted the challenge and were willing to push through personal borders and share your tanka with us.

Don Miller


André Surridge
Hamilton, New Zealand
Born Hull, England, André lives in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand. Over 1000 of his tanka have appeared in a wide variety of publications and online journals. He recently won an award in the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix.

Anonymous (US) is a poet who thinks tanka can illuminate love, loss, and social issues.

Autumn Noelle Hall
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA
Autumn Noelle Hall is one of just 500 year-round residents of Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. A stone’s throw in either direction from her cabin live two immigrants—a German Fascist and an Israeli Zionist. A Tree-hugging Vegan Leftist herself, Autumn marvels at the way they all manage to dwell in peace together. Not one of them has built a wall. Deer and bears, bobcats and mountain lions roam freely across their borders.

Carol Raisfeld
Atlantic Beach, New York, USA
Carol Raisfeld lives in Atlantic Beach, a barrier island close to New York City. Her hobbies include sailing, chess, sculpting, painting and boxing. She holds US and foreign design patents in interactive toy design. Her poetry, art and photography appear worldwide in print and online journals. Carol is a worldwide anthologized poet and winner of several international awards.

Chen-ou Liu
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Chen-ou Liu lives in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of five books, including Following the Moon to the Maple Land (First Prize, 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest) and A Life in Transition and Translation (Honorable Mention, 2014 Turtle Light Press Biennial Haiku Chapbook Competition), His tanka and haiku have been honored with many awards.

Christina Nguyen
Minnesota, USA
Christina Nguyen is a writer, poet, and mom. She started to write tanka and haiku when she joined Twitter in 2008 (@TinaNguyen). Writing, meditating, and walking are all part of her deep listening practice. After 20 years in marketing, she left her job to become a women’s coach and lead girls’ coming-of-age circles. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Moonbathing, Skylark, GUSTS, Take Five (Volume 4), and A New Resonance 8.

Elizabeth Moura
East Taunton, Massachusetts, USA
Elizabeth Moura lives in a converted factory and works with elders. She has had poetry, flash fiction or photographs published in The Heron’s Nest, Chrysanthemum, Atlas Poetica, Presence, Shamrock, Flash, Paragraph Planet, Flash Fiction Magazine, Occulum and O:JA&L. She is currently planning or assembling three manuscripts: a collection of haiku and tanka, a book of longer poems, and a collection of very short stories.

Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Australia
Gerry Jacobson lives in a Canberra suburb. He has been writing tanka daily for ten years and enjoys its challenges. He writes about his experiences, memories, and feelings. Gerry dotes on four young grandchildren and visits them in Sydney and in Stockholm.

South Florida, USA
Grunge is an Indo-American member of the LGBT community, who specializes in urban tanka. He is currently the editorial assistant for Keibooks, and lives in South Florida with a collection of pet arthropods, an ancient cat, and a pudgy leopard gecko.

Hifsa Ashraf
Hifsa Ashraf is from Pakistan. She writes Japanese short form poetry in English especially haiku, senryu, tanka, and haiga. Her poems have been published in different online international journals. She won first place in the Third Annual Jane Reichhold Haiga Competition and third place in the Annual Tanka Contest 2017 by Mandy’s Pages. Her haiku and tanka received honourable mentions in The 19th HIA Haiku Contest and Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Pix Contest, respectively.

John Tehan
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
After many years in New York City, John Tehan now lives in a small village on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he reads some, writes some, and ponders this and that. His poetry has appeared in Atlas Poetica, Ribbons, Neon Graffiti, Bright Stars and the cherita: your storybook journal, as well as in several ATPO Special Features.

Joy McCall
Norwich, England
Joy McCall lives a mostly happy life in Norwich, England. She is a paraplegic, amputated ex-nurse. In her heart she knows we are all disabled, one way or another.

kenneth slaughter
Grafton, Massachusetts, USA
No bio provided.

Kira Nash
Kira is a nomad by circumstance. Her recent move from France to Spain is an attempt to escape the looming shadows of Brexit and Europe’s growing far-right and anti-Semitism. She hopes that people can be nice to each other soon. Kira finds joy in her family, the sea, and the gentle grace of trees. When not in woods or water, she works as writer/editor, artist, tech support elf, and practitioner of alternative medicine.

Lee Felty
New England, USA
Lee Felty is a published New England poet. Her work focuses on tanka, senryu and haiku which appear in eight print hedgerow issues and the upcoming Atlas Poetica #36. She has found her greatest successes in writing Japanese forms of poetry.

Lorne Henry
New South Wales, Australia
Lorne Henry has been writing Haiku since 1992 and Tanka from 2005. She writes the occasional Haibun and Tanka Prose. She now lives in countryside NSW Australia.

Margaret Van Every
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
Margaret Van Every lives in Ajijic, Jalisco, a village in the Sierra Madres of central Mexico. She has published three books of poetry: A Pillow Stuffed with Diamonds (bilingual), Saying Her Name, and Holding Hands with a Stranger. She also writes short fiction and has contributed to many anthologies.

Marilyn Humbert
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Marilyn lives in Australia. Her tanka and haiku can be found in many journals, and online. Her free verse poems have been placed in competitions and some have been published.

Matthew Caretti
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Matthew began composing short poems in 2009. His work has since appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, vol. 4, Atlas Poetica: Geography and the Creative Imagination, and Stacking Stones. His poems have also garnered a few awards here and there. Matthew is inspired daily by long walks in the forest and by small acts of kindness still abundant within a world in turmoil.

Michael G. Smith
New Mexico, USA
Michael G. Smith’s poems, tanka, haiku and haibun have been published in many literary journals. No Small Things was published by Tres Chicas Books. The Dippers Do Their Part, a collaboration with artist Laura Young of haibun and katagami, was published by Miriam’s Well. Flip Flop, a collection of haiku co-created with Miriam Sagan, was published by Miriam’s Well. The Oregon Poetry Association selected his poem Disturbance Theory for their fall 2017 New Poets Award.

Miriam Sagan
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Miriam Sagan is the author of TANKA FROM THE EDGE (MET) and numerous other books. She has been writing about the border since 1984 and will continue as long as she can.

Pravat Kumar Padhy
Odisha, India
Pravat Kumar Padhy hails from Odisha, India. He holds Masters in Science and Technology and a Ph.D from Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad. His literary work cited in Interviews with Indian Writing in English, Spectrum History of Indian Literature in English, Alienation in Contemporary Indian English Poetry, Cultural and Philosophical Reflections in Indian Poetry in English etc. His Japanese short form of poetry appeared in various international journals and anthologies. His haiku won Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Honourable Mention, UNESCO International Year Award of Water Co-operation, The Kloštar Ivanic International Haiku Award, IAFOR Vladimir Devide Haiku Award, 7th Setouchi Matsuyama International Photo Haiku Award, and others. As a mark of recognition, his tanka, ‘I mingle’ is featured in the “Kudo Resource Guide”, University of California, Berkeley. Recently his haiku has been selected for inclusion in the Red Moon Anthology, 2018. His maiden tanka collection, “The Rhyming Rainbow” is awaiting release.

Pris Campbell
Greater West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
The haiga, haiku and tanka of Pris Campbell have appeared in numerous journals, including Frogpond, cattails, Atlas Poetica, Acorn, Haigaonline, Skylark, A Hundred Gourds, and Failed Haiku. She won a Bronze award in the 2018 Ito-en competition and a Sakura award in the 2018 Vancouver Cherry Blossom contest. Seven collections of her free verse poetry and one book of tanka have been published by the small press. A former Clinical Psychologist, sailor and bicyclist until sidelined by ME/CFS in 1990, she makes her home in the Greater West Palm Beach, Florida.

Robin Anna Smith
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Robin Anna Smith (she/her/Mx) is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated writer and visual artist, whose work focuses on disability, gender, trauma, and loss. Her work is published internationally, in a number of online and print journals, and anthologies. Robin is the founding and chief editor for Human/Kind Journal and a regular contributor at Rhythm & Bones Press.

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, England
Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire, England, and writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including: Poet’s Market, Mslexia, Atlas Poetica, Writers Digest, Modern Haiku, The Binnacle, A Hundred Gourds, Shooter, Journey to Crone, The Great Gatsby Anthology, WAR and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.

© 2019