Not even souvenirs
these scraps and fragments
gathered like the pieces
of a broken plate
saved for a mosaic
you might never make
but can't stop dreaming of.
to tell a story
of memory and loss
a few strands of white hair
not neatly woven
like those Victorian
badges of grief,
but loosely coiled
in a tangle
as though waiting
for a gentle comb,
a few scraps of cloth,
delicate and faded,
once worn close
to your skin-
all fastened with bright
exclamations in red
and yellow tape,
enough to catch and hold
these fragments safe.
Mary McCarthy: "I have always been a writer but spent most of my working life as a Registered Nurse. Ekphrastic writing is relatively new to me, I find the process rich and rewarding, and especially enjoy these challenges. I have had work published in many on line and print journals, and have a digital chapbook, "Things I Was Told Not to Think About" available as a free download from Praxix magazine online."
Message In The Mail Box
Deep inside my mail box
perched proud like a stork on one leg
amongst IRS demands,
reminders from utilities that last quarter remains unpaid,
offers of 5% unsecured bonds,
junk from retailers in premier fall malls and
letters from Mom (she still chastises me each week)
is a package of mystique - unfranked, unstamped
with no return address but
Cat#306 labelled on top of
a montaged overcoat.
Another came last week.
One the week before.
And one before that.
All returned to the mail drop unopened for
I’m dutiful I guess.
But could it be the same package?
Can this be a metaphor …
for the circle of life?
Born in Scotland of Irish lineage, Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse achieving success in poetry competitions in Europe and America. He has featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. His ekphrastic poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review and Nine Muses Poetry.
Triangle of Hope
a shred of gauze
exuding a faintly medical smell,
the torn-off stub of an event
that looks like a catalogue #
aimed at posterity,
and a small yellow triangle
all have been carelessly
ripped off their moorings,
and are about to be swept up
by broom and pan
when her hands stall –
the black rectangle could be a base,
faded epaulette stripes call out to her
as does that layer of gauze
covering a quivering mess of string
bending down she picks up
the first piece –
the yellow triangle of hope.
she will call her work:
#7 and date it, 1948.
Barbara Ponomareff has been a child psychotherapist by profession. Since her retirement she has been able to pursue her life-long interest in literature, psychology and art. She has published a novella on the painter J.S. Chardin, and her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies.
Weightless, this interior--
this structure of bones,
this old house
a whisper away from falling down--
a feather bed
a quilted sky
a shadow in the air--
Where are the birds
to mend the spirit?
the circle of hands
to untie the knots
the years, the days?
The cold is hungry.
The silence is breaking
The Chariot awaits.
Kerfe Roig: "My daughter and I, wandering lost in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, turned a corner and chanced upon a room full of tiny exquisite jewels of texture, colour, form, and light. This was my first encounter with Anne Ryan. Her collages reflect my love of the serendipitous juxtaposition of elements. And Number 7 is perfect for my present state of mind--a journey, a transformation--'The Chariot awaits.' You can see my art and poetry on my website http://kerferoig.com/, or on the blog I do with my friend Nina, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ ."
A fine string attached at centre of the collage
like what could have been used for tatting,
an old word, an old use of hands at night
when settling down after dinner under a lamp
where the glow is only enough for what is in lap,
but this string has the shape of a loose infinity,
so the woman’s world gets bigger.
She packs a trunk big and black with brass hinges,
wooden hangers on a rod, drawers opposite so slim
they fall when pulled as she is afraid she will fall
as she boards a steamer for what is called the continent,
that place across the sea where she wants to walk
down a gangplank and disappear into a pension
on a narrow street, melt into walls that descend at angles
where she leans her head out the window when she hears
the deliveries before dawn and waves to the teamster,
his horses, and does this every morning until he becomes
her friend as do the horses she feeds what she calls
crumpets, the rest of each day hers. She hasn’t gotten lost,
the teamster would come looking if she disappeared
into that infinity, that seven, a prime number.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
The Hodge Podge Prayer
I don’t know how to get there. I am always lost. Suite 10. The therapist waiting. I will have to pay, not enough time to cancel effectively. I hurry and my purse catches on the gate. Contents spill, concrete at my feet.
It must’ve been the angle. Or an angel at a precipitous tilt. A message I can see. I can understand.
Follow the steam boat along the river path until I come to the silhouette of the man wearing the detective’s hat - think - what is it called? Fedora! Indented Crown.
Crown Towers. Halfway there.
Cross three streets until I come to the yellow square. Caution. Look. Look.
I see it now, the Cajun Café. Blackened. Stop at the counter on the lower level and trade my library card for two pieces of bacon before I climb to the second floor.
My kind of money is good here.
I am not late.
I did not forget.
I carry gratefulness in my purse at all times.
Thank you. Amen.
A three-time winner of the Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Jade Ring, Eger’s stories appear in Fictive Dream, Flash Fiction for Flash Memory, Runcible Spoon, Fifty Word Stories and the Cadence Poetry Anthology. She is working on an apocalyptic novella under the name Copper Rose. Connect at https://julieceger.wordpress.com/.
Who Put the Sass in S.A.S.E.
It used to be a well-known phrase;
S.A.S.E. in olden days
meant your submission must provide
an envelope, where its outside
is S.elf A.ddressed and must be S.tamped,
the E.nvelope then licked and tamped.
Submitting is committing to your cause.
The stamp is lovely, strong and thick,
and so it’s sure to play the trick,
to carry your submission’s entry
past each doleful, bleary sentry
till it lands upon a page
to carry you, from age to age.
Preserving you, unswerving from your cause.
Then fear sets it, the fading grin
becomes tight-lipped without, within;
the forehead beads, for many needs
depend upon these planted seeds
and yet, there’s hope: the stamp assures
great eminence will soon be yours.
Fortuitous? No—you’ve become your cause.
Then comes the day, so far away
from when the verse began to play
within your head, that fertile bed
where it would grow until it’s read.
But now, S.A.S.E returned,
you fear defeat and want it burned.
Take courage. Don’t give in, but trust your cause.
But the cure is worse--
it not a blessing, but a curse.
You tremble and now fear your muse,
because you hear its voice accuse:
You don’t belong. Your poem’s wrong.
It’s just a jingle, not a song.
Your confidence betrayed. Your cause has flaws.
Imposture Syndrome sets in deep--
submission’s promises won’t keep
your hopes and heart and dreams awake,
for all that’s good, it’s sure to take.
That stamp, so beautiful before,
you wish had never left your door.
And for a while, you’re crying, just because …
Ken Gosse uses simple language, traditional metre, rhyme, whimsy, and humour in much his poetry. Initially published in The First Literary Review–East in November, 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News, 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.
Anne Ryan, Poet and Artist, As Seen in "# 7"
At first, it troubled me to find
collage as art of poet's mind
so seeming in such disarray
as if all hope had given way...
...to remnants of evoked despair
as litter scattered here and there
that seemed as though perhaps employed
to camouflage artistic void...
...until I saw her soul released
in layers she together pieced
as pattern random fate could find
befitting space to which confined...
...and I confirmed a poet's heart
was simply drawn to freer art.
Portly Bard: "Old man. Ekphrasis fan."
(for Anne Ryan)
Remove me from representation to a place of pure
geometry, imagined intersection, a hazard of texture,
numbers shaken loose as in baccarat, single letters
limning bark or granite. Burlap scraps and scissors-
snicks jag edges. I’m tired of bodies, their more
of the same. Watch as colours blur,
and fade, as the disposable becomes high art. Sure
my images weren’t made to last. Edges brown and curl,
glue unsticks. Yet the archival photographs endure,
intention preserved, like footsteps in mud-slurry,
like my sonnets with their fourteen lines, their
rhyme-snagged chaos, the fury of their birth--
the world made bigger to contain my pleasure.
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has seven chapbooks and three collections out or forthcoming, among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Aeolian Harp Folio, The Free State Review, Rattle, and more.
It was summer and the wheat
stood high. The old VW beetle full of gear
and cases, canvas bags; school far away, sign posts
ambling by telling us how slow we’d come.
And I'm reminded of blue to deep blue skies,
occasional clouds threatening
but not unloading. Do you remember skylarks?
The South of France, or Almería, North Africa… how long
is a piece of string? Time stood still. The tent ripped
in a short summer storm, then the sun
baked the earth dry again.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of ‘Tangents’, a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). She was three times winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, a new poetry collection (‘From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949 : A Child’s Journey’) has been published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and a new collection (‘Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back’) has been published (January 2018) by Kelsay Books.
Ode to Collage #7
Paper sings like bow on cello, torn by hands
and scissor skill, adheres where number 10 arises,
where CAT appears in cornered fill. Form and color,
surface rhythm, pieces placed in artful still,
strips of blue touch string in tangle, translucence
floats in softened twill. Black and gray join rust
and yellow, meet where cloud-like mass distills.
Shears of pink cut peaks of texture, edge with cuts
where ravel frills, trim of cloth and burlap added,
a crop of shapes, a drawer, a till.
Jeannie E. Roberts
Jeannie E. Roberts lives in an inspiring setting near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where she writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. She has authored four poetry collections including the most recent The Wingspan of Things(Dancing Girl Press, 2017). She is Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs.
I was pleased when they
examined my collage from every angle.
It seemed some of them
were more than willing to stand on their heads
for a better view.
The whispering tipped me off--
“But why seven?” she said
“It’s there if you look hard enough,” he said.
“Ah, now I’ve got it,” they said as one.
If you paint your Uncle Arthur at the shore,
you might well name it Uncle Arthur at the Shore.
Bob Rauschenberg named one of his
“Bruised Knee,” because he hurt himself
carrying it down the stairs--
his knee was purpled for weeks.
A little secret.
I named this seven
because it was after six--
which I tore to shreds just yesterday
and before eight--
a piece I will work on through the teens--
Some have the knack
and have the critics
oooh and aaahing
pontificating over the importance
and perfection of the name.
“It makes the piece,” you’d hear them say
of a blue dab on white background
the artist named “Blue on White.”
I will name one 8 ½
(Perhaps I”ll put 1/2 before the 8).
the first critic to find Fellini
in abstraction will be lauded
with generous spreads in the Times
of London and New York
and l will be declared a modern marvel--
“She merges art and film,”
“See the movie, see the exhibit,”
“Prepare to be blown away.”
In my ingenious plan,
½ 8 will be just after eight,
And just before 9.
I plan to start on Wednesday.
Steve Deutsch in State College, PA. His recent publications have or will appear in Thimble Magazine, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Ghost City Review, Borfski Press, Streetlight Press, Gravel, Literary Heist, Nixes Mate Review, Third Wednesday, Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, The Drabble, and The Ekphrastic Review. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, will be published next year by Kelsay Press.
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