Editor's Note: It has been an honor and a pleasure to be the first guest editor for an Ekphrastic Writing Challenge! I’ve loved reading your many submissions, dear contributors, and marveled at your creativity. How hard it was to leave any of them out! I’m a writer too, and to turn away the work of writers not unlike myself -- striving, hoping -- was a wrench.
So: how were the decisions made?
Everyone knows that editors must be objective if they want a publication to be more than an echo chamber for their own personal preferences. Subjectivity plays a vital role too, though, and balancing those two forces is . . . well, a balancing act.
My key criterion, then, for accepting a piece was that it helped to create a cohesive body of work with texture and depth. A publication isn’t a contest; in my view it’s a collaborative creation, so the more submissions -- whether accepted or rejected -- the stronger the resulting publication. I offer a heartfelt thanks, then, to everyone who submitted work for the Joseph Cornell challenge. Namaste!
Now . . . on with the show!
--Bill Waters, T: @Bill312
--- PART ONE ---
Health and Human Services
So many bottles filled
with hope and despair--
a cabinet of failure
energy and fatigue.
This bottle contains
blankets for pain
that tuck a person
in for the night
or for the day
or for an eon of ache.
That bottle holds
a mother’s hands
across her child’s brow--
each capsule a promise
of it will be okay.
And here a container
suppositories that banish
old age, abandonment, loneliness.
Three ampules from the left
on the second shelf,
an extra fetus
for the barren
desperate to conceive.
A vial of crystals sits
on the last shelf--
a chrysalis against
the finality of finitude.
Transparent, it hides behind
the gloss of medicine,
the closed cabinet of a life.
Charles W. Brice
Charles W. Brice is a retired psychoanalyst and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (forthcoming), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of the Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, SLAB, The Paterson Literary Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
Each of the stoppered jars,
five and six to a shelf,
shines with directed light
above and mirror behind.
Crystals, beads, seeds,
shells, berries, and bark;
shavings, sand, leaves,
and more draw us into
But this is Cornell’s
world, not ours; a place
where he can safely relate
to small and varied things,
placing them in the order
he devises. Are the jars
sealed with O-rings, we
wonder. How pleasing
to see them snugly
encased. How pleasing
to see their tinted
Carole Mertz, poet and essayist, has recent work at Dreamers Creative Writing, The Ekphrastic Review, Eclectica, Front Porch Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, South 85 Journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Quill & Parchment, and elsewhere. She is advance reader of prose and poetry at MER. She reviews poetry collections at Mom Egg and Eclectica. Carole lives with her husband in Parma, Ohio.
No Ordinary Apothecary
I am no ordinary apothecary,
you will not ingest my vials
a spiritual remedy
from inside out
not outside in.
From my hand-sculpted box
I will source for you
of broken mirror
so you can see all angles,
a splinter of wood
to dig out prescription
printed on paper, ailing,
a glass of sand
to buy you time
before it runs away,
a bottled shell
so you can hear
an echoed cry for help,
a gasp of coral
to give you underwater breath
when you are drowning,
a cork bobbing
to keep you afloat
when champagne bubbles pop,
a flight of feathers
to raise your spirit,
wings to soar, healed.
Kate Young lives in Kent with her husband and has been passionate about poetry and literature since childhood. After retiring, she has returned to writing and has had success with poems published in a variety of magazines. She is presently editing her work and writing new material, particularly in response to ekphrastic challenges. Alongside poetry, Kate enjoys art, dance, and playing her growing collection of guitars and ukuleles!
Joseph Cornell rode the bus from
3708 Utopia Parkway to Flushing, NY
to pick up the train into Manhattan.
I rode that bus many times
to go to school, to the movies,
to shop, to escape.
Would I have noticed him
amongst the other passengers?
Would he have worn an overcoat, a tie?
Would he have shopping bags
to hold the things he found in the city?
Would his theatre tickets be stuffed in his pockets,
or carefully tucked in a book?
Would he have stared at the floor,
or closed his eyes and dreamed?
Would I have approached him,
if I had known who he was
or picked up something he had dropped
and followed him to return it?
Or, would I have stuffed it in my handbag,
taken it home, and put it
in a box?
Karen A. Deutsch
Karen A. Deutsch is a multimedia artist whose work ranges from figurative to abstract. She does photography, collage, painting, and illustration, drawing from nature, the body, beauty, detritus, and her imagination.
In the shadowbox of Joseph Cornell’s Pharmacy
is not what is ingested, but what causes you to think
that a trip to the beach on a summer morning
to collect shells would do the most good
picking up what you see along the way
to put into pockets or pouch as if you were the artist
heading to Coney Island on the subway.
When you get off, it is only a short walk to Nathan’s
and the store where you buy two narrow
beach mats of straw still in the back of the closet
in memory. How you tried to walk to the edge
of sand where the surf spreads its foam
but it was so crowded
you could not make it without stepping over people
so you lay out everything you have gathered
into rows and think
about what brought you here--
rearrange them until they make sense of the journey.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, Colorado, where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). Ride the Pink Horse is forthcoming from Spartan Press. With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
After Pharmacy, 1942, by Joseph Cornell
A Christian Scientist, he was
bereft of chemical cures,
collected pushpins and corks,
rubber bands and string, objects
any of us might assemble
for later use.
But what of the cloud
crammed into a bottle, the cork
pushed askew by its insistent mass,
wisp thin pencil shavings,
or is it dried fish, ready for a sauce
or potion? Here he has gathered
the feathers of tiny tropical birds,
in case we might wish, against
the advice of the ancients,
to take flight, or to construct
lures for fly fishing, sharp-tipped
arrows. In one jar, the shells
of sea snails whisper to one another,
curling like commas. In another,
gold paint awaits a scribe
to take up the brush and ornament
a page. Cornell asks us to construct
our own narrative--art as a cure,
a collaboration between mind and mind.
Robbi Nester frequently writes ekphrastic poems. Her published books include a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and three collections: A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and a forthcoming book, Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). She has also edited two anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-book published as a special issue of Poemeleon Journal, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees, which celebrates the photography of Beth Moon. Robbi’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared recently in Pirene’s Fountain, Rhino, North of Oxford, Ghost Town, Tipton Review, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, and several anthologies, including Poets Facing the Wall, Dark Ink, and Collateral Damage.
A Brief Radius
Grampa’s life is tethered to a brief radius:
home--workshop (across the yard)--
a drive to the supermarket in town.
Ankylosing spondylitis welded his spine
at age twenty-three. He looked for an outlet
on crutches. Designed a woodcraft studio.
Tools purchased over time cut--
drill--assemble whirligigs. Wooden
toys cover walls from floor to ceiling.
Friends and folk art aficionados alike
stop to regale him with travel tales,
often leaving small mementos
in their wake, far-flung offerings
to a mountainous imagination. A creator
of displays for the right-brain mind--
old shelving and former window panes
hold dusty, re-purposed apothecary bottles
containing exotic shells, newspaper clippings,
coloured sand, maps, and photos.
Each curated case
an open window on
otherwise inaccessible countries.
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. To see more of his work go to: https://jordantretheweywriter.wordpress.com or https://openartsforum.com.
We Found It All
In grandmother’s cabinet:
remedies, memories and dreams--
bloodstone and cinnamon,
whiskey and honey,
black salve to draw
the splinters out,
candle ends to keep
for when the lights fail,
balls of string and old rags
with the clean smell of sheets
dried in the sun,
rose hips and dried flowers,
smooth white stones,
fragments of old plates
with bright designs,
pieces of colored glass,
shells and seed pods,
bird nests and the soft fur pelts
of small animals--
all the lost and broken pieces
kept and saved
like syllables of half remembered words
from the long story shared
mother to daughter
down the chain of generations,
a gold thread tracing
one life to another
back to the earliest atom
spinning in the dark
Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday, and Three Elements Review. Her e-chapbook Things I Was Told Not to Think About is available through Praxis Magazine online as a free download. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.
Geniza: The Treasure Chest
Behind an ancient house half sunk into
the ground, a hidden passage leads us towards
the ruined storage shed, its roof askew.
Inside, a store of music instruments --
hipbones scraped clean, through which the desert
wind might whistle; knucklebones strung on
a cord to click and clack; ribcage for reaching
tympanum, recording phases of the moon.
Beneath a scattered stack of manuscripts
you find a pharmacopeia carefully selected
and well-preserved, the pharmacist long gone.
Fire and flood and time itself have done
their work, instructions have been lost.
Step closer. Behind glass, free of dust,
each vial clear and faintly ocean-green.
In one there’s fiery red cayenne, another
holds small marble fragments from the Parthenon.
Here, a child’s spinning top; there, conch-shell
beside a wedding ring. One vial holds pure gold;
another, seeds with red and yellow feathers.
What is most beautiful for you right now
is what you need, a remedy for grief.
A scrap of foolscap on the floor floats to
your feet. You pick it up and read in half-erased
calligraphy a text you’d studied once
in dreams. You shape each syllable
in silence still, your tongue unsure until
you find the melody and sing.
Rhoda Neshama Waller
Rhoda Neshama Waller holds a master’s degree in comparative literature. Her poems have been published in Between Worlds, El Corno Emplumado, Ikon, Black Maria, A Year of Being Here, and elsewhere. Her article "Elder Wisdom: Walking the Path of Poetry" has been widely published and reprinted. She has taught in New York State Poets-in-the-Schools, was Central Park Resident Poet, and teaches in libraries, senior centers, and other venues. She lives on a mountaintop in Freedom, Maine, and is the editor of Traces: A Journal of Elderwriting.
Tonight, he dreams: the pharmacy’s door stays open.
Inside, the shelves are packed with bottled pills:
some blue, some white . . . but which for the heartbroken?
Wind blows in from streets dim and frozen,
and curtains billow above the windowsills,
yet all night long the door stays open
while he seeks a cure for betrayed devotion.
He twists a cork. Onto a table he spills
capsules, pink, green . . . None though for the heartbroken.
He looks and looks -- sure he’ll find a potion
for saddened lovers among so many phials.
Deeper in sleep, the pharmacy’s door still open,
he sees shimmers on a wall: interwoven
reflections of small flasks, to their brims filled,
some brown, others red. Which for the heartbroken?
Alone he sleeps. Not once is he woken.
Papers by windows flutter and then are still.
All night he dreams. The pharmacy’s door stays open.
Countless pills -- yet none for the heartbroken.
Gregory E. Lucas
Gregory E. Lucas writes fiction and poetry. His short stories and poems have appeared in many magazines such as The Horror Zine, The Lyric, Blueline, Ekphrasis, The Ekphrastic Review, and Blue Unicorn.
Pharmacy is a place of bottled healing. But instead of medicinal vials of pills,
He selected therapeutic seashells, cures of colored seeds red as drawn blood
And salves of butterfly wings, feathers, amber as soothing honey. Joseph Cornell
Replaced his 20 stopped glass bottles with odd, found collections for his
Miniature apothecary shadow box. He added wood fibers and silver foil to create
A collage of nostalgic longings, losses and loves. Did he try to recreate his
Childhood with bits of beauty? And like a poet Cornell turned ordinary
Yellow swizzle sticks into gold, color of light’s glow. A shade of Broadway glitz.
Gail Ghai’s work has appeared in Descant, JAMA, Poet Works, Women’s Review of Books, and the Yearbook of American Poetry. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of three chapbooks of poetry and an art/writing poster entitled Painted Words. She is moderator for the Braden River Poets and works as an ESL instructor for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida.
--- PART TWO ---
The Curiosity Cabinet of Joseph Cornell
1. An apothecary needs more than pills and plastic. Broken blue glass jars are better, and the remains of other vessels, the bones of chipped tea cups. Dried roses, dusty, strung like Christmas tree popcorn on a wire. And tiny and rusty mechanical devices of vaguely ominous origin. Bakelite buttons tossed willy nilly, an assortment of glass tubes and vials. An upturned ceramic hand offering peppermint bonbons, or somebody’s tooth.
2. Joe. No one called him that except his mother.
3. Joseph Cornell. He was a salesman. He was a balletomane and cinephile. Until he started to put his accumulated treasures in order, he didn’t know he was an artist. He couldn’t paint or draw. He couldn’t sell, either.
4. The quiet type, and lover of silent screen stars. Also ballerinas, and cowgirls, and Emily Dickinson. He collected news scraps and pictures of the beautiful and the damned. He sifted and thrifted in antique shops and flea markets, bazaars and libraries, and anything left curbside, finding himself in objects. He put those objects and torn pages in order, into drawers. Dossiers, his word. Every box labelled: history, insects, advertising, aviary, clocks, planets, plastic shells.
5. Joseph was liked enough by peers and artists, got along with others, but never too close. Some said there was always an invisible barrier between him and them, like a glass pane.
6. Never married. Never moved out of his mother’s house.
7. Cornell’s shadow boxes--juxtaposed curios. Arrangements, small theatres, nostalgia and talismans, assembled.
8. Assorted little things. Precious objects. I have them too. Everyone does.
9. Two other things defined him, besides his curiosity cabinet creativity. His brother, trapped in a wheelchair and inside his mind, by palsy; and the religion he joined, ironically called “Christian Science.” It was a faith healing cult where illness was just being out of spiritual alignment with God’s perfection, and desire was prayer. Joseph was loyal to Robert above all others, and never left him. His brother never did get up and walk; maybe Joseph should have wished a little harder.
10. The artist worked in the basement, at night, with Robert snoozing in his wheelchair among a loving setup of toy trains. Joseph glued and sorted at all hours, and also wrote painfully innocent and creepy notes about teenage girls in his diary. It is said that he never knew a woman.
11. Postcards of Paris, doll heads, images of angels or rocking horses, wooden balls the blue of robins’ eggs, disembodied Victorian hands, scarred marbles, postage stamps, corks and bobbins, pressed flower petals, wooden blocks glued over with snippets of poetry.
12. “I wish I had not been so reserved,” he told his sister over the phone. His last known words.
Lorette C. Luzajic
Lorette C. Luzajic is a writer and visual artist living in Toronto, Canada. She has four books of poetry, and has appeared widely in print and online publications. She uses poetry as a main ingredient in her mixed media collage paintings, which have been exhibited or collected locally and on all of the continents except Antarctica. Lorette is the founder of The Ekphrastic Review. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
They appear innocent
enough, these clear-glass
in size and shape,
filled with random
trash cans. Who can say
what this debris was
Best left untouched?
Under the box, it says
Pharmacy. If I lift
the glass stoppers, what
might I unleash
into the world?
Healing drugs or
assortment of the world’s
Maybe that coiled shell,
second shelf middle,
holds my anger,
like a hermit crab
deep inside its spiral.
Maybe the black beans
and fire-red pepper,
bottom shelf middle,
hide my hot,
particle in the bottle,
top shelf far left, the one
whose intense indigo
first caught my eye,
holds every blue hour,
blue dream, blue feeling
crowding my life,
dragging me down
into sad song one
minute, donning light
the next. Could Cornell
have followed some unconscious
instinct as he assembled
this box? Maybe what appears
to be detritus is his own
shadow--that begins to look
so much like mine.
Sandi Stromberg loves gathering poets’ work into anthologies. She co-edited Echoes of the Cordillera (ekphrastic poems, Museum of the Big Bend, 2018) and Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston (Mutabilis Press, 2015). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, read on PBS during the April 2017 “Voices and Verses,” and published in multiple small journals and anthologies. She has been a juried poet ten times in the Houston Poetry Fest. Her translations of Dutch poetry were published in the United States and Luxembourg.
Collection, Reflection, Connection
So many are the little things
so apt to be imagined wings
that lift what time can resurrect
from such assemblage they perfect.
Although they seem in case confined,
they are instead in truth enshrined --
immortal now by role assumed
of art forevermore entombed
in mirrored mime of human brain
as data to inert remain
until by dream or reason read,
as images to process fed,
becoming meaning by such use
and feeling therefore they induce.
Prefers to craft with sole intent
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent
ideally also compliment.
fetch a seashell
from the shores of Myrtle Beach
grind it to sand with mortar and pestle
encapsulate it into comfort
I can swallow
let me take it with a glass of water
let me know that you forgive me
and all will be alright
write a script to give me
access to the truest serenity
one hundred milligrams
of stability of a child who knows no death
paste a poultice of love letters
and crumbling edifice upon my skin
sell me a sample from behind the counter
I'll buy wholesale at retail prices
inject the childhood colors of 64 boxed crayons
brighten my veins, anoint my eyelids
with tinctures, dissolve the cataract blindness
loosen my girdled heart
let me smell the air in those beveled jars
remove their stoppers
can I huff them
do I mistake numbness for living
is there a powder to make me
aware of my pulse, my breath
cinched as I am between gas pump and errand
fearing time will run ahead even faster
if I dare to move quickly
seated at the soda fountain
praying for sulfas or powdered
enzymes to stave off
fear fast approaching
what is there to lose
when you stop collecting
Amy Baskin’s recent work has appeared in journals including Visual Verse, armarolla, and Friends Journal. She is a 2019 Oregon Literary Arts fellowship recipient. When she’s not writing, she matches international students at Lewis & Clark College with local volunteers to help make them feel welcome and at home during their stay.
Pharmacy: Shell and Sand
For you, my dear, I think some shell and sand
to take you back, remind you of the body
before the aches of aging came on hand
and memories grew faint, a little foggy.
To take you back, remind you of the body,
a single grain holds all youth’s summer days,
sweet memories grown faint, a little foggy,
but how you wowed them with your girlish ways!
A single grain holds all youth’s summer days,
so many hours on beaches with tanned boys;
how you wowed them with your girlish ways,
your smile, your laugh, such easy, simple joys.
So many hours on beaches with tanned boys,
a thousand back-flips, skating, volley-ball,
your smile, your laugh created simple joys;
your body, taut and strong, could do it all.
A thousand back-flips, skating, volley-ball,
and late at night, cool moon-lit skinny-dips,
your body, taut and strong, took in it all,
enjoyed salt lingering on surfers’ lips.
Oh, for those nights, cool moon-lit skinny-dips,
when 50 seemed a full lifetime away;
now Epsom salts replace chapped surfers’ lips,
your muscles loose, your blonde hair turning grey.
At 50 now, a lifetime’s slipped away;
behold the aches of aging come on hand,
your muscles loose, your blonde hair turning grey:
for you, my dear, I think some shell and sand.
Hayley Mitchell Haugen
Hayley Mitchell Haugen holds a Ph.D. in 20th-century American literature from Ohio University and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Ohio University Southern, where she teaches courses in composition, American literature, and creative writing. Her chapbook What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To appears from Finishing Line Press (2016), and poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Rattle, Slant, Spillway, Chiron Review, and many other journals. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag Publishing Company (2018) is her first full-length collection. She edits Sheila-Na-Gig online (https://sheilanagigblog.com/) and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.
cardboard cut from cigarette packets
covered in her writing
each day she spends time
I knew a musician in Cooma
who kept collections
I think he’d understand
why today the display near Hillary’s door
yesterday it was messages
which are now
on the floor
near the new
set out in rows
beneath the window
Mercedes Webb-Pullman earned an M.A. in creative writing in 2011 from the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. Her work appears online and in print in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, U.S.A., U.K., Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Israel, and Palestine.
Pharmacy of Forgotten Cures, Balms, Purgatives, and Sundries
You’ll find us tucked in a back alley, lost
in a maze of boarded-up shops. A few clients
insist we relocate between visits. Most find
one stop satisfactory.
The bell tinkles and I step out from the back
curtain. New patrons look confused, stopped
by the imposing oak counter, unlabeled
bottles out of reach.
They often wave a prescription, but we don’t take
them. What is bothering you? I ask. They don’t
always know, but I do.
They’d walk out if I said, You’ve lost your
butterfly wings, banished your whoopee.
Spend two weeks in Sicily or write a book on fly
Our custom blends will let them find the cure
for themselves. You seem open to the unknown.
For you, I’ll blend lapis, cinnabar, the last rosebud
of autumn, the first raindrop of spring, remnants
of Thursday night’s dream.
I don’t expect to see you again unless you
choose to be my successor.
Alarie Tennille’s latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
The Apothecary Shop
The door opens to a breeze of spices fused with musk.
In the center sits the apothecary at his dust-splattered table,
sweat beaded on his brow. He barely notices the crowd of children
around him. Pounds his pestle like a giant hammer
into a small stone mortar. Crushes parsnips and catnip,
lavender and rosemary, greying his woolen green waistcoat and white shirt
with granules. Boys and girls giggle at his white tights and black breeches
but he doesn’t flinch -- too much to do before dark, too many patients
await remedies long before white coats, insurance, and costs
that make the sick incurable. Here on the cobblestones of time
stands the apothecary shop, its wall of jars filled with bee balm, mint,
and sage -- essences of labor that time has replaced with profit.
Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland. They have two sons, ages 34 and 32, who live in New York and Texas. Their empty nest is now filled with 3 cats and a foster dog. After careers in both journalism and public relations, Shelly has settled into a life of scrapbooking, card-making, refereeing animals, and her first love, writing poetry. Her previous work has been published in The Ekphrastic Review, Praxis Magazine, Super Poetry Highway, Whispers, Silver Birch, Winedrunk Sidewalk, as well as other publications.
Escape into the Blue
These things you choose to keep safe--
hidden, condensed, air-tight, sealed.
They are forever kept on that shelf in the dark.
The door kept closed,
The jars closed tightly
with knowing hands.
Vulnerability hides with the cotton balls.
Pride wants a corner of its own,
but it can’t seem to dodge the tongue depressors.
Your secrets press themselves thin
onto the sides of the glass,
hoping that no one will notice their texture.
These jars are transparent though.
If someone opens the door,
they will find you.
They might even see you
for the very real, flawed,
richly hued, authentic person you are.
A reason to break glass--
to escape into the big, blue, wide open.
Cristina M. R. Norcross
Cristina M. R. Norcross is the editor of the online poetry journal Blue Heron Review (www.blueheronreview.com) and the author of 8 poetry collections. Her latest book is Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019). Cristina’s poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in: The Toronto Quarterly, Visual Verse, Your Daily Poem, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Cristina is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day (celebrated annually on February 20th). Find out more about this author at: www.cristinanorcross.com.
--- ENCORE ---
Pharmacy, a Joseph Cornell Cento
A glass case, resplendent in the sunlight,
arrested motion, strange toys, objects, white
magic to increase the sense of awe, no
people, old houses in elaborate detail
dreaming out of windows, but as though
they were seen in a picture book, exultancy,
wondrous resolution of states of the psyche,
the remoteness of a dream eagerly
devoured, “tranquil light,” mystical early
hours, dreams of water beyond one’s depth,
strange locales, buildings, bewilderment,
treasure plus everything else.
Cento words or lines taken from Joseph Cornell’s Dreams, edited by Catherine Corman and (c) 2007 by Exact Change.
Jenene Ravesloot has written five books of poetry. She has published in The Ekphrastic Review, After Hours Press, Sad Girl Review, DuPage Valley Review, The Caravel Journal, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Packingtown Review, The Miscreant, Exact Change Only, THIS Literary Magazine, and other online journals, print journals, chapbooks, and anthologies. Jenene is a member of The Poets’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois State Poetry Society, and Poets & Patrons. She has received two Pushcart nominations in 2018.
How to Keep a Lover
Two pieces of white wortelnumb,
one drop of yellow sin,
a teaspoon (heaped) of feverdrain,
a pinch of powdered fin,
three quarts of red rebutnot oat,
a second of your time,
ten heartsops of the melting kind,
a sharp Italian chime.
Then mix it all with time and care,
make sure the weight is right,
and give it to the girls who dare
to buy it late at night.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born U.K. national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the U.K. in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in U.S. poetry journals (online and print). She was three times winner of the now-defunct Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections: From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back.
I slept on a cot in your cellar. Where a pipe leak kept time. And a spider peeked out from a Magritte poster. I even took the black substance you told me to. But it was a bust. As luck would have it. I only saw a leaf and a pair of die wrapped in foil. Something cut from felt. And the skull behind everything mortal. I’m not sure if today, any of it, would pass for a life. Now, I’m still hearing a cab horn. Late into the night. And the ghost of Duchamp. Lit by some kind of light from outside. The only good thing, I recall saying to you, to come out from a briefcase. And then the door at the top of the stairs. Starting to open. Okay, we’re recording, I heard from somewhere above. And thus began my stint. Playing at being a poet.
Mark DeCarteret has appeared next to Charles Bukowski in a lo-fi fold out, Pope John Paul II in a hi-test collection of Catholic poetry, Billy Collins in an Italian fashion coffee table book, and Mary Oliver in a 3785-page pirated anthology.
Does this box contain any prescriptions for curing:
1. a recluse’s eccentricity
2. a compulsion to collect (and hoard) memorabilia and bric-a-brac
3. An addiction to the quest of juxtaposing past with present, this with that so as to construct miniature cosmoses contained in boxes just like this.
I hope there aren’t any.
An armchair voyager
Ellen Chia exchanged her corporate heels for paintbrushes in 2007 and has since embarked on a journey from Singapore to Thailand as a self-taught artist. When she is not painting, Ellen enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature’s treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry.
The Ekphrastic Review
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