“Lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud...”
(Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind")
We let the west wind take his remains.
Gentle, she bore each flaming ash skyward
to burn with momentary brilliance
then vanish like an unremembered word.
And in the end, there was little left--
an unremarkable band in black
who mourned in minor voices
and the west wind
who did not pause to grieve.
This was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Steve Deutsch, a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves, lives with his wife Karen--a visual artist, in State College, PA. Steve writes poetry, short fiction and the blog email@example.com. His most recent publications have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, Misfit Magazine and One-sentence poems.
Self-Portrait Facing Death
It looks like a crude thing a child might draw
with its crayoned pink and simple features
little more than a doodle with a face,
though after peering at it for a while
it begins to appear less infantile.
See how the stubble on the upper lip,
the hair on the jaw, the bony shoulders,
give the figure an archetypal feel
something totemic a tribesman would paint
or is it an image more ancestral
still, the low forehead, ape-like skull and brow
evoking mankind in primordial times
and this rough-hewn visage our prototype?
But study the face’s geometry,
for are the mouth and lips parallel lines,
those eye sockets distorted rectangles,
the nose and the creased skin beneath
forming semi-circles and triangles,
and do not these symbols of abstraction
suggest an intellectuality
and the evolution of modern man?
It seems all of these, yet it is the eyes
that mesmerize, wide open and exposed
those portals to the aging artist’s soul,
bewildered, vulnerable, yet resolute,
displaying fear and courage facing death,
their gaze both a window and a mirror.
Then I realize that this masterpiece
contains us all and is everything
we are and everything we have been.
Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Ian has an MA in English from Oxford University. He lives in Taiwan with his wife, two daughters and cat. He teaches English in a high school. He has had poems and short stories published in 1947 A Literary Journal, Dead Snakes, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and in various anthologies.
Monet's The Magpie, 1872
A house behind trees,
steep-pitched roof, red chimneys,
fence and gate horizontal
at the scene's centre—
caesura from white, silver, gold
snow which cushions, catches
in crooks. Swirled strokes convey
layers, echo arched tree limbs.
On the top rung of a warped gate
a magpie basks, beak cocked
in silhouette, tail feathers angled right,
same as shadows that point
to the canvas bottom corner
where Monet's signature slants.
Past the magpie's umbra, dark tracks
(boot or hoof) walk off
the painting, invite you to enter,
Distant fields stretch, fuse
with sky, late day sun unseen
reflects from every surface
onto your face
Karen George is author of the poetry collection Swim Your Way Back (Dos Madres Press, 2014), and four chapbooks, most recently The Fire Circle (Blue Lyra Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in America, Adirondack Review, Naugatuck River Review, Louisville Review, and Still. She reviews poetry and interviews poets at Poetry Matters: http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/, and is co-founder and fiction editor of the journal, Waypoints: http://www.waypointsmag.com/. Her website is: http://karenlgeorge.snack.ws/.
Three D Art
Trees that blaze bright red
are not danger signs
warning of perils,
but colourful explosions
of vain Mother Nature
showing her creatures
she is the master artist.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Acts of Defiance will be published by Dreaming Big Publications, Sudden Conflicts by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.
Now at last I lay at rest
upon this prickly pyre,
cradled in this smoking nest
enveloped by the fire.
To leave behind what I detest
remains my one desire,
to turn my back on life's cruel jest
escape the loveless mire.
Let mourners wail in tones distressed,
perhaps they are not liars.
But I alone am truly blessed
as twilight lifts me higher.
This was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Kati Nagy is a semi-retired, globe-trotting ESL teacher who now resides in San Francisco with a view of the sparkling Bay Bridge. She weaves her stories in poems, collages, memoir, and solo performances.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,”
he began each trig class. Unflappable.
Mr. Thurston, with his silver hair
and military bearing – always in coat
and tie, could have stepped out
of a 1930s movie. The butler.
There I sat – the lone girl surrounded
by teenage testosterone. He often told us,
“When you become an engineer…,”
as I glazed over. So I’m glad I was paying
attention the day he asked, “Does anyone
know who Firpo was?”
Firpo was before our parents’ time.
A long pause.
“He was a boxer,” I answered.
I cared nothing for sports, but I did know
a thing or two about art.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She became fascinated by fine art at an early age, even though she had to go to the World Book Encyclopedia to find it. Today she visits museums everywhere she travels and spends time at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where her husband is a volunteer guide. Alarie’s poetry book, Running Counterclockwise, contains many ekphrastic poems. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
Twenty times the artist revisited the wreckage of his face
the way I do certain photographs—the dead stacked like
cordwood at Buchenwald, the naked girl running from
napalm at Trang Bang, the suited man plummeting on 9/11.
These people knew death first hand, were its messengers.
Like Terence, Albright claims through his blasted faces:
Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto. “Nothing
human is alien to me—even if I have become an alien
to myself.” I bow to Albright’s bravery. I still stagger
when I face my corruption in the mirror—my waist given
out like rotten elastic, my skin creped, my once thick hair
stubble on a razed field. Each of his portraits catalogues
the horror anew—age spots, puffiness, wrinkles, balding,
fear, rheumy eyes. Each one bellows: I am staring down
the worst of it and still, Homo Faber, I create. In a world
that worships youth, what is more gruesome than an old
woman—unsexed, blown? Yet, like Albright, I would
revisit my demise in endless variations, even as he did,
until his final days, reduced and reduced until all that
remained were his fierce eyes. Perhaps my poems will
distill me, godlike, to a single word, my own yod-hey-vav-hey.
Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon, who learned to love art from her artist parents. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, among them: 3 elements, 13 Myna Birds, Anti-Heroin Chic, Dream Fever Magazine, Dying Dahlia Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Free State Review, MAW, Rat's Ass Review, Rattle, Red Paint Hill Publishing, Referential, Serving House Journal, The Cape Rock, The Literary Nest, The Yellow Chair, Timberline Review, vox poetica, and Vanilla Sex Magazine. She welcomes contact from her readers.
Lost in Translation
I’ve linked your name to each time
the muezzin pleads;
he will, by default, call your name
to my tongue. Forked lines on my palms
speak of cruel fate – fickle charity –
continue your sacrificing of me
if this will bring the world
to your feet.
The act of waiting isn’t lost
to my artistic clarity.
Your sleep is a castle of bones.
I’ve tied my wrists to your dominance;
way sided the hour of dawn
that should otherwise see me
bowed in worship. Become
known to the distances I’ve eliminated –
the boats I’ve been burning
to progress to you.
Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work has appeared in over 90 literary venues so far, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India. More about her can be accessed on her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com
Suvojit Banerjee is from India and the United States. He started writing early, but found his niche in his early twenties. His works have been published in many Indian and International journals and
magazines and featured in several anthologies. He currently works in a software company, and has worked as a lead writer/reviewer for a technology website. When not writing, he can be found dabbling in sketch and photography.
Twelfth century icon from St. Catherine's Monastery, Egypt, based on The Ladder of Paradise, by John Climacus around 600 A.D. The monastic treatise, also known as the Scala, was widely used in teaching in Eastern Christianity. It included thirty steps or "rungs" that included "on lying," "on cowardice," "on despondency," "on avarice," and "on peace of the soul."
(use search box above)
Meghan Rose Allen
B. Elizabeth Beck
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Suzanne E. Edison
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
A. J. Huffman
Olivia J. Kiers
Jean L. Kreiling
Tanmoy Das Lala
Lorette C. Luzajic
Ariel S. Maloney
Mary C. McCarthy
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
William Butler Yeats
All works of art or literature are used with permission of the creator or publisher, OR under public domain, OR under fair use. If any works have been used or credited incorrectly, please alert us so we can fix it!