A Moment at the Mirror
That moment when we separate: as form continues with its sinews, mind diminues to within while pondering what may be fate until reminded to begin once more to congregate.
That other, who looks out at me,
so indifferent, does she see uncertainty
beneath my smile, realizing all the while
this makeup hides so much below,
those essences which must not show
when on the street I chance to meet
someone that I might know.
And did she notice, moments past,
I hesitated, paused to wonder--
would my guise be put asunder
at the moment that’s my last?
Tonight, perchance, that solemn dance;
my will succeeded or surpassed.
This breast and neighbor pass the test
which carries them among the best
of youth and those still at their peak,
although an aging gent might seek
a matron who can patronize,
who’ll lie, in spite of every lie,
who’ll realize that wealth and power,
name and fame, a healthy dower--
not her flower—keeps her in their clique.
But someday might I find a lump
while their firmness mesmerizes
young and old,
those very bold who might apply,
or even those still very shy
who need my wile and loving smile,
not aware that all the while
darkness keeps my heart at bay,
controlling all I do and say.
Yet flattery o’er many years
may flatten chests upon which rests
the privilege gained from these amours,
whether one is truly yours
or just another tête-à-tête,
a chance to fête before the fate
of aging causes to abate
those passioned nights and daily fights,
revulsions and delights.
I noticed, looking back at her,
my pondering did not deter
the tasks which render her expressions,
hiding any indiscretions, beautiful,
full dutiful to those who seek
a face which pleases and appeases,
never dark or bleak.
Anointing face with many hues
of red, perhaps a touch of blues
around the eyes, a fair disguise,
and euphemistic beauty mark,
a mole (so droll it seems a lark);
some reflexed, some with practiced skills--
for many years they’ve been the shills
of beauty’s commerce wont today.
Once makeup’s on, I’ll start my day.
Ken Gosse writes poetry using simple language with traditional metre and rhyme, often filled with whimsy and humor. First published in The First Literary Review–East, November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, The Ekphrastic Review, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, he and his wife have lived in Arizona over twenty years, always with a herd of cats and dogs underfoot.
Not all magic
drains into the pool of exploitation.
She sees a remnant,
to bring forth through
that help her forget skin-deep and,
focus on what the mirror doesn't reflect.
In 2015, Tim Philippart sold his gymnasium equipment sales and service business. He started writing poetry, short fiction, non-fiction and ghost blogs. Since then, over 60 of his pieces have seen daylight in publications like Gravel, Magnolia Review, Saltfront, Chicago Literati, and Third Wednesday. Chances are, if you are reading this bio, you are about to encounter something Tim wrote. Feel free to email him (email@example.com) with questions or comments. If, perchance, you have answers he always enjoys receiving those too.
After Woman in the Mirror by Cagnaccio Di San Pietro
At your vanity in the blue room
Soft and naked as a mollusk
In its pearl walled shell
Your rosy flesh a reflection
Of your red rouge pots-
Creams and unguents
Ordered before you
Like the words
Of an alchemist's equation
You lean forward
As if to protect your own
Image in the glass
As yet unpolished
To bear the touch
Of any man's
The figure in the mirror
Watches the door
Fearful of intrusion
And hides in the border
Queen of sorrows
Mary McCarthy: "I have always been a writer, but spent most of my working life as a Registered Nurse. My work has appeared in many print and on line journals, including 3Elements, Praxis, Verse/Virtual, and Third Wednesday. I have an electronic chapbook Things I Was Told Not to Think About available as a free download from Praxis magazine online."
Why would he make her paint herself
and leave so disarrayed the shelf
on which he put her arm to rest
in pose as if by thought possessed...
...of scent he had her atomize
as aura he could improvise
to layer, in transparent veils,
the earthiness that art entails...
...by tease of beauty both exposed
and yet still left to be disclosed
to yearning and bewildered eyes
left solely to their mere surmise...
...of all that he had fully seen
and so admired to see her preen?
Portly Bard: "Old man. Ekphrasis fan."
The Woman in the Mirror
She struggles to the parlor,
sits half-naked in front of
the vanity with a clinical
look that realism always
Her eyes are heavy with
fatigue—she was sleeping
on the floor with the others,
wine bottles, poker cards
and cigarettes scattered
eye shadow, and rouge
attempt to cover up
regret and the lingering
loneliness after the orgy.
She slips on fresh lipstick,
the color of her nipples
still perked on her ample
breasts, supple, waiting
for her John to take her
John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal,Baltimore Review, Windhover and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the contest’s celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His third collection is Flux Lines (Celtic Cat, 2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. he’s a retired physics professor living in east Tennessee.http://jcmannone.wordpress.com
He didn’t even bother to shut that front door
quietly. Slammed it shut.
I followed him with my eyes
as he walked down that dark and wet street,
his coat collar turned up
against droplets from the skeletal trees.
Mirror, mirror… the eyes were clear once,
once there was not one line around the mouth.
My breasts are still where they should be,
my arms still solid. But I have seen him with her.
One night, near Seven-Eleven.
She was so young. And his paunch
hung over his belted trousers.
How will loneliness feel?
Once upon a time, we loved each other.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and three poetry collections, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print).
Act II Scene VI Line 138
Shakespeare wrote--All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players--centuries ago. Imagine the increased depth of meaning had he given that speech to a Jacqueline instead of a Jacques.
But there you have it—patriarchal platitudes. Metaphor masquerading as truth. We are not considered equal in that phrase. Men might be players, but we are the game pieces.
Or returned with care.
Every day I sit with paint, powder, and perfume—preparing for a gauntlet of judgment on the world stage. A better comparison might be that I prepare to stand trial every day in the court of public opinion—where the jury catcalls, the judge leers, the lawyers make baseless accusations, and the gallery tries to pretend everything is normal.
My war paint mask must be attractive, but not desirable; my odour pleasant, but not intoxicating; my dress fashionable, but not form-fitting if I am to hit all my marks, deliver my lines, and arrive home after five unassailed.
Mirror, mirror, ...I am exhausted in the act of merely existing.
Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. His work has been featured in many online and print publications, and has been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi.
The Ekphrastic Review
Find a writer, artist, or poem, etc. by searching here:
Join us on FB and Twitter!