Sentinel Literary Quarterly

Vol.2 No.2, January 2009. ISSN 1753-6499 (Online).

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Bernard Gieske
Genna Gardini
Helena Carolinska
Michael Lee Rattigan
Nnorom Azuonye
Ramesh Dohan
Sholeh Wolpé
Terri Ochiagha
Tolu Ogunlesi
Uche Nduka
Uchechukwu Umezurike
William Stephenson





















Helena Carolinska


A string of pearls untrue


Your words were wound around

My neck,

Pretty pearls strung a string …

Of lies

That you captured with a clasp

and held fast in your grasp,

To tighten at YOUR leisure.


Who could doubt such white innocence?

Every bead

And letter

Just fetters that

Shone like the sunny soul you showed us

and dazzled me for a while,

To hide the darkness within.


No longer shall you rein

Me in

With your torturous ties;

Worthless Christmas cracker prize:

These plastic imitations, barely cool to the touch

Could never ever melt

MY Liberated Heart.


London 2006.



The red flowers from Spalding and Amsterdam

(are dead)


My love found you

A boy,


And it sucked the words out,

Sensually …

And made them shine,

Then eclipse me.


So I took the tulips

You gave me,

Out of the water

And into the Sun,

To die.


Because they were too beautiful.


Because you were too beautiful.              


Paris 2008.



An apology


We had some good times together,

Didn’t we?

When you would play “Salty”

And I’d be your “Baby”.

And before that.

Before America cast his green gaze upon me.

(his Boston eyes were smiling. I’m sorry)


but I was just trash.


We had some good times apart together too.

When I was there

And you were here

And after that and now?

Now French fools court me in the night.

(my body too young and restless to resist. I’m sorry)


but I do not dance for them.


Let me


Break their hearts

One by one,

All of them,

(all and none)


Like he broke mine,

Like she broke his,

Like I broke yours.


Let me reconcile this.


Paris, August 2008.



An explanation


That air conditioned summer still chills me to the bone:

I was hotter for you than ever before

When you,

You were tepid.

I have not written to you since then I know.

And it must seem strange seeing as we,

We were friends.

But New York still hurts.

The film of us runs on a loop and

In my days like nights I see us

Running in and out of golden cabs hand in hand

You in your suit

Me in my evening dress

Sharing secrets on street corners

By bars where they knew your name

And me the mystery

From England, via Paris.

Oh the glamour of my broken heart.

I guess where you’re from they don’t do things by halves:

In the back of a taxi

Downtown to Battery Park your expensive backhand

Sliced it expertly in two

And arriving at out final destination

I smile as you open my door

For you were

Ever the goddamn gentleman.


New York, July 2008.




Dear You,


French lover do not send me an invitation

To our friend’s Expo opening

By the Pont Neuf in Paris,

When I am in England.


(It is too perfect

And I am still wild,

Not the cool English woman I pretended to be.

But I think you know that.)


French lover you have loved me

As a man when I was a girl.

That was dangerous,

Please remember that.


And finally French lover

Now that I have the true love of another

Do you love another?

I wonder that. 


(Although I know you do.

I think you always have.)


P.S. Sometimes I think of you

And wonder why I won’t allow myself to fall

For your “simple life.”

And then I remember


French *



But oh


French lover,

Why Japan?




Nottingham, 2008.






The language of love,


Mon amour.



The language of lust,






“Je t’aime”

They shout on the streets.


“I love you”

Once and under the sheets.


Rather the rare I love you from my English man’s lips,

Than the je t’aime that throbs from French mens’ loins.


Nottingham, 30th September 2008.


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Helena Carolinska

is currently a modern languages student at the University of Nottingham in England.


Sentinel Literary Quarterly

 Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement

Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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