Garden of the Painter at Saint Clair, 1908
Under the cool blue slats
of palm trees, a table
and two empty chairs;
an invitation to come and sit
in this luminous paradise,
perhaps with morning coffee
as the sun squeezes lemon
light through the scaffolding,
Or perhaps with a glass
of wine in late afternoon
as grapey shadows
lengthen, stain the ground.
There are purple and yellow
iris in the foreground, colours
laid down in long strokes,
the way the foliage slices
the light. We’re not there,
of course, but we could be,
even if it’s just the garden
of our dreams. Here, paint
has stopped time in its blue
and gold tracks. And these
flowers keep unfolding.
This poem is from the author's book, Les Fauves, C&R Press, 2017.
Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and has published eight full collections and twelve chapbooks. Her latest book is Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017). She has won a number of awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. A VCCA fellow, she has published widely in such journals as Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, and The Beloit Poetry Journal. website: www.barbaracrooker.com
The Blue Hour
If sometimes I am silent
when the sun has moved from the hill,
and the breeze cools my skin
like a swiftly drawn breath,
it is as though the air
has formed a frame around me
and I am going back--
I am always going back--
to the farm, to the lonesome houses
clumped around the creamery,
to those winter nights
when I walked home from chores,
and darkness did not descend, but
coalesced around me, a convergence
of longing, youth and light.
In those winter twilights,
the future aching within me,
every post and tree was honed
into itself, and I’d look up
to find a sapphire
beginning to enclose me,
and for one moment of merging,
I would step into the crystal.
Sonia Gernes taught Creative Writing and American Literature at the University of Notre Dame for thirty years and is now happily retired. She has published one novel and five books of poetry.
Not Just Another Starry Night
After a seemingly ceaseless bus ride barreling down empty asphalt,
hints of silver light on a ragged eastern horizon,
piercing the coal dark of a cold winter night
in the bowls of a crater called Ramon.
Slowly slivers of glittering gold invade the cloak of sleeping desert.
Suddenly a fully exposed orb of blinding fire illuminates our still slumbering
bodies, aching and tired, hunched up against the bone-wracking chill that always
precedes the welcomed warmth accompanying the sun's dawning.
Our souls struggle to greet this new day and grasp this chance
to better understand what drives us in our search for meaning.
The sky fades into a clean, pristine Carolina blue, punctuated by cotton ball
puffs floating above the rugged moonscape that envelopes us. Bright
ochre yellow and matte beige compete with iron-rich red, dull
black and muddy brown. We embark on our journey, hike,
stumble, climb and claw, breathless by the time we crawl
to the summit of a rampart, only leading us further down
along paths of jagged-edged rocks and stones and pebbles that tear
at our poorly-prepared footwear and sleep-deprived patience, down
into the barren belly of this collapsed dome, where we sit to consider
who we are, or strive to be .
Endless trekking brings us to nightfall and a campsite clutter
of pup tents, foam mattresses and cooking paraphernalia
scattered on the sharp, inhospitable desert floor
inviting neither appetite nor respite from the
day's draining demands;
yet, the skies above, cloudless and crystal clear, celebrate the culmination
of our ordeal with fireworks of twinkling spots and slashes swirling in every direction.
The heavens are awake with a universe so wide and high and far away
that one cannot but wonder at this silent composition.
Just another starry night for those who dwell here.
But, for me a rush of awe and humility at my insignificant presence
in this mute concert. Does it really matter who I am, or want to be?
Is this how Van Gogh felt as he filled his canvas with twirling
white and yellow, green and blue, red and black, dwarfing
the dark foreground into irrelevance?
Robert (Bob) Findysz: Born in Chicago. Married with three grown children and nine grandchildren. Spent forty-some years teaching English to Israeli high school and university students, with periodic leaves-of-absence. Since retiring, after a lifetime of helping others write, now writing for himself.
Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2
I am the Nude Descending a Staircase
Carefully, gingerly, all my parts
Shooting and fluttering off,
Each to its own. It's all me,
And yet the first does not recognize the last.
The Nude Descends.
She keeps on going.
Each colour shades into the next.
The echoes spread above her.
Who is she?
She is me,
Once again in my element
And then beyond it.
Again. And again.
She is not there,
And she is there.
She is echoes of herself.
She is all the echoes,
One at a time and all together,
Crack of thunder containing all sound.
Do you hear it?
Here is what I want:
I want that thunder recognized.
I want those echoes seen.
I want the shadings
To meld and move into three dimensions.
I want all the angles appreciated.
I want all the frequencies registered
On an instrument
Delicate enough to catch it all,
Strong enough to hold it all,
Clear enough to contain it all
With no pollution
And no distortion.
A clap of thunder
Is just one sound.
A nude descending a staircase
Is just one person.
Ann Bar-Dov is a former Brooklynite who has made her home in Israel. After almost 42 years, she can finally say that she writes both prose and poetry in English and Hebrew.
For his journey he took with him
andesite, dust, emotion and
he forms crust in answer,
woozy in the
heat of transference,
shooting to the
How does he
and cadence, waves so easily
the means to all
beginnings, too young
a fold to hold any one
formation, too old
a soul to desire
The words themselves aren’t golden,
nor the clast from which he
obvious yet unknown,
rounded when worn.
His sills stretch and thin, joy and sorrow
phone screen cataracts
blind to his being
passed out as data on sheets
not taken with them.
He doesn’t cling to forms,
as if each white dawn prints
another book of of poems,
untorn yet creased as
paper often becomes,
each bead of sweat a gas giant
He is fusion holding
at the brink
for the pleasure of the
burning, honoured simply for
to be new
warming he folds each time
his core melts,
ductile each time
he gives himself.
I’m not sure there’s a name
for the grade,
that basalt he
calls home formed
from parts of everything.
The glacier melt we barely
hold our heads above
a swollen, breccia rush
tumbled to cobbles in his throat.
Possessed his cheeks flush.
He paces the peak.
Searching for correlation we
struggle to keep up,
origami in his genesis.
Only when angles sheer
and distress can grey matter
shed its rust.
He whips his magmas to fury,
plutons his dead language, draws stars
conducting fertile soil where
none was before.
It’s all here with him;
all he endures, all he loves.
New mountains to climb,
each unique in texture and hue
(how do you do you?)
Tiffany Corley is a 44 year old house painter, life-long writer, and current junior student at the University of Missouri, working towards her PhD in quantum mechanics.
The big feet
of the tall thin men
as they walk.
They are always walking
leaning forward to gain
an unreachable momentum.
encased in bronze,
Only their shadows
Derek Adams is a professional photographer, originally from London, he now lives in Suffolk. He has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths and his poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK and abroad. He has a collection Everyday Objects, Chance Remarks (Littoral, 2005) and pamphlets Postcards to Olympus and unconcerned but not indifferent: the life of Man Ray. He is currently working on a collection of poems about the American photographer, model and WW2 correspondent Lee Miller.
Apricot sunrise caught me
under a green blanket.
It enters as it will
with no apology, no blame.
If I take the road across
the wolds, how long before
the fields end and you
begin? Is that the sea?
I’ll never make
that drive, nor you return
Editor's note: The photograph shown is a placeholder image. Laura Cherry's poem was inspired by David Hockney's The Road Across the Wolds (UK, 1997.) We hope you will follow this link to see the painting so that you get the full effect of the poem.
Laura Cherry is the author of the collection Haunts (Cooper Dillon Books) and the chapbooks Two White Beds (Minerva Rising) and What We Planted (Providence Athenaeum). She co-edited the anthology Poem, Revised (Marion Street Press). Her work has been published in journals including Antiphon, Clementine Poetry Journal, Los Angeles Review, Cider Press Review, Tuesday; An Art Project, and Hartskill Review.
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Place Me Like a Seal Over Your Heart (A Golden Shovel)
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame." Song of Solomon 8:6
Workmanlike, I lift the hod, set
it on my back. Show me
what needs doing, and I will, as stolid as
a draft horse leaning into the yoke. Many mock me as a
simpleton, but I bear willingly the original seal
laid on Adam, to work by the sweat of his brow. Upon
me falls the same injunction. Let it be done to me, according to your
word, I say. I find pleasure in sweat, in the pounding of my heart;
Decades have made maul and trowel as comfortable for
me as my own hands. The sawblade sings my love
for the thing done well. What is
finer than the crossbar true beneath the level, the strong
fence, the well-joined table? As
a father, I pray my children outlive me, but neither shall death
rob me of what I’ve made. I feel jealousy
before the cathedral, Stonehenge, the menhir. Behind them is
my twin, separated by time. It’s cruel
that one day my hands will tremble, that I’ll only watch as
others labor. The
trick will be the reachable task, even the preparation of my grave;
As my world contracts, I’ll survey the spot, map its
length, dig it deep, shore it up. Only in flashes
can I imagine what comes after, glimpses that are
swallowed as quickly as they come. Only in flashes
can I set aside fear and trust that the god of Eden will know of
my nature and either smelt me anew in his unquenchable fire,
or craft me otherwise, making me more like a
comfortable when consumed, even by vehement
This poem is from the just released Risk Being/Complicated, a full-colour illustrated collection of poems by Devon Balwit inspired by the art of Ekphrastic Review editor Lorette C. Luzajic. Click book cover image below to view or purchase on Amazon.
The poem was first published at Ink and Letters.
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming, among them: The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, the Aeolian Harp Folio, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, The Inflectionist Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and more.
On Slim Whitman and How Irony Entered the World
• The river only looked red on paper.
• The river only felt red from a distance.
• The river only sounded red in Spanish.
To sell more albums than the Beatles
as the infomercial asserted
seemed more curse than blessing,
but then so too did the shuffling
of shoes from the dance floor,
heard but not seen from the stage,
that he refused to be defined by,
the pencil mustache that served its purpose,
but no more.
The crooner can't remember in which city
tonight’s hotel is located,
the warmth on the pillow that might be Memphis,
simple irony to one
who shrugged off the blues.
The between-song repartee always swings around to
the obligatory anecdote about
having to bum an overnight bus ticket
just to record two songs
in a midtown Manhattan studio,
hyperbole that may have sounded better as the
ending to the second verse
of another unfinished song about heartache
than as the justification of the journey itself,
the de rigueur metaphysics
of the train's whistle.
Take for example the red of the sun,
a conceit in the bridge designed
to somehow make the inevitable parting more
palatable but less real.
Short of the river
nowhere ever really came to feel like home.
Christopher T. Keaveney
Christopher T. Keaveney teaches Japanese language and East Asian culture at Linfield College in Oregon and is the author of three books about Sino-Japanese cultural relations. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Review,Spoon River Poetry Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Minetta Review, Stolen Island, Faultline, Wilderness House Literary Review, and elsewhere, and he is the author of the collection Your Eureka not Mined (Broadstone Books, 2017).
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