The Moneyed Universe (or, Origin of Specie)
The idealistic amongst us used to believe that Nature is the final reserve of purity and innocence; that mankind would do very well to return back to the ways of the natural world. Of course, this was before our first observation of a butterfly, with gold coins for wings, fluttering about.
Initially, we refused to believe what we were seeing, but the evidence grew before our very eyes until it became futile to deny it. Flowers started to replace their petals with rubies, diamonds and sapphires; instead of scales, fish now had doubloons covering their bodies. Rather than having worthless leaves made out of unprocessed material, trees replaced them with bill notes of world's leading currencies. And instead of changing the colours and shapes of their leaves according to the seasons, the trees now altered them according to the financial year and the fluctuations of the stock market. Thus, at a particular time of the year, when the U.S. dollar was the strongest, the leaves assumed the appearance of a greenback. At other times, when euro or yen were stronger, the leaves became identical to those banknotes.
The final blow, the coup de grace, was the Sun arising one morning and revealing its new face to be a 22 carat (92% gold, 8% copper) sovereign that was worth around 200 pounds in 19th century Britain.
Thinking back, it now seems inevitable that things turned out this way; that rather than man taking on nature’s ways, it would be nature taking on man’s ways; that the materialism and avarice so prevalent in the human world would permeate and contaminate the natural world as well as the heavens. It was only natural and to be expected then that all the living creatures on Earth and all the stars in the sky would also want to get a piece of the booming economy. Consequently, animals and plants evolved bodies composed of precious metals and gems and stars transformed themselves from being valueless, unprofitable spheres of superheated plasma into valuable hard currency.
This was a type of pollution no environmentalist could ever fight against. Not only was it adopted voluntarily by both animate and non-animate matter; more than that, it was a spiritual pollution that infected the very soul of the natural world.
All natural sciences now became branches of economics. Instead of studying the physical characteristics of the universe, astronomers treated it as one giant stock market and determined its total monetary value to be 12599435797842039745203740238430483023843084 American dollars and 17 cents. Chemists used the post-Keynesian econometric approach to explain how molecules and elements interacted. Biologists found that the best way to analyze and predict animal behaviour was to use neoclassical macroeconomic methods and model all creatures as independent agents that seek to maximize utility and profit.
And so, as we look back at those momentous changes that have rocked and radically transformed our world, we realize that the ultimate truth of the Universe has finally been revealed to us all: not only is Time Money, but Nature, Cosmos and Spacetime are Money, too.
Editor's note: Unfortunately, we were unable to contact the artist for permission to show the very unique paintings that prompted this story. While beautiful in its own right, the image shown is more of a placeholder than a parallel example of the works that inspired Boris's fiction. The Ekphrastic Review asks that you please visit these links to see the original surreal imagery by Vladimir Kush, so that you can better enjoy the story. Many thanks.
What the Fish Was Silent About, by Vladimir Kush
Treasure Island, by Vladimir Kush
Boris Glikman is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia. The biggest influences on his writing are dreams, Kafka and Borges. His stories, poems and non-fiction articles have been published in various online and print publications, as well as being featured on national radio and other radio programs.
Orange and Red on Red
it’s just [red] and [orange]
[orange] and [red] just as
these [marks] are here
[black] and [white] the
way the [red] stands
square with the [orange]
the way they stand
for [red] and for [orange]
the way these [marks]
stand here for [black]
and for [white] as the [red]
stands for [red] being [red]
being [orange] as [marks]
being [black] and being
[white] just as the [red]
and [orange] here and
Henry Crawford is a poet living and writing in the Washington, DC area. His work has appeared in several journals and online publications including Boulevard, Copper Nickel, Folio, Borderline Press and The Offbeat. He is a 2016 nominee for a Pushcart Prize for his poem “The City of Washington” appearing in District Lit. His first collection of poetry, American Software, is scheduled for publication in the Spring of 2017 by WordTech Communications through its imprint, CW Books.
finding the patron saint of lost causes
rack of candles
a humble camp
off the streets
passing the plate
rice and beans, a coin
someone washes their face
in the baptismal font
the altar is set
as cars pass outside in the street
William Schmidtkunz is the author of Home, and Other Poems, about life as a carpenter in Alaska.
This poem was inspired by the chapbook of art and poetry The Luzajic Variations, a collection of poems by Ekphrastic contributor Bill Waters, after the paintings of Lorette C. Luzajic. There are still a few copies of this limited edition gem- click here to view on Etsy.
Dawn in Pennsylvania, 1948
The earth’s first viscera
dismembers into sky,
as clouds shred into blue-purple shrouds,
and buildings yawn
from the night, borne by revulsion
of light from their orifices.
Grey bridges, grey walls, grey factories:
the streets are senseless,
Vernaculars of stone, the store windows
gape, the mute chant of churches
spire the horizon.
What weather comes, mortar
will answer with brick.
As light spills
shadows from hydrants, poles,
pigeons clock squares and parks,
sparrows break from balled fists
Wings of night air
evaporate. Listen: a few
shouts, warble of distant
horns. Even here, time opens
like a flower.
Originally from New York City, Robert Bharda has resided in the Northwest U.S. where for the last 35 years he has specialized in vintage photographica as a profession, everything from salt prints to polaroids. His illustrations/artwork have appeared in numerous publications, both in the U.S. and abroad. Also a writer, his poetry, fiction and critical reviews have been published in The North American Review, Northwest Review, Shenandoah, Quarterly West, Willow Springs, ACM, Cutbank, Fine Madness, Kansas Quarterly, Yellow Silk, Poets On, Conclave and many others, including anthologies.
Return of the Prodigal
After the reggae hard-beat, the Haitian guitars and the delicate
the unattainable sloe-eyed dancers, sips from forbidden chalices,
and the inevitable descent to the wood-and-zinc
shack—you came to count your losses,
exhume, with some embarrassment, his unread letters,
raise, to your startled heart, his shameless wishes--
then, giving up your feet and hands to love’s caressing fetters,
you arrived again in the familiar yard, to the evening’s last trumpet.
John. R. Lee
Saint Lucian writer, broadcaster, teacher, Bible preacher John R. Lee has a Collected Poems: 1975-2015 forthcoming from Peepal Tree. Click here to learn more.
Each Awaits Its Rising
Peeling paint lifts into landscape,
reeds like a legion of spearheads
splitting still water. Shore fronds lean
to catch a glimpse of themselves
as they expire. Clouds bring together
jagged edges, a clapping before
thunderclaps, a closing of hasps. Bark labia
round into dark lips, trunk
opening a birth canal to light. Close by,
a lone figure considers, perhaps
stepping, perhaps readying for a leap,
each form awaiting
its continued rising, offering itself
to wind and to weather.
Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems have appeared in numerous print/on-line journals, among them: Oyez, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Serving House Journal, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Emerge Literary Journal, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine VCFA, The Prick of the Spindle, and Permafrost.
(dedicated to my grandmother's family and and all the others who were slaughtered in the Nazi concentration camps)
I’ve walked these halls before,
seen the dimmed faces of those
born to die because they were “Juden.”
Time-tattered images of people
frozen in time, matted on walls
like cheap paper.
Eyes of the innocent open.
Eyes of the world shut.
Now I’m left wondering,
in a world once again
parasites of hate,
if this could ever happen
We cannot forget
those who now live
only on walls.
Shelly and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland with their 4 cat rescues. They have two sons: Richard, 32, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Her first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. Shelly's poetry has been published by Silver Birch Press, Whispers, Praxis, Verse-Virtual, Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing and Visual Verse.
I used to hold her poised
as a tadpole
edge of the porcelain
holding bottom suspended
holding (fingers tracing rib spaces)
Tiny cold splash
and she touches toes
for the safe necessity of doctors and mothers
Squeaky vanilla peach &
bouncing blond curls.
Lindsey Thäden is the most recent winner of New York's 2016 #PoetweetNYC contest. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in New York Metro, Passages North, eleven40seven and Apeiron Review.
Originally from New York City, Robert Bharda has resided in the Northwest U.S. where for the last 35 years he has specialized in vintage photographica as a profession, everything from salt prints to polaroids. His illustrations/artwork have appeared in numerous publications, both in the U.S. and abroad, and are current or recent on covers of Naugatuck River Review, Blue Five NoteBook, Cirque and Rio Grande Review. His portfolios of images have been featured in many others, including anthologies.
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