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.
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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).
Chardin’s Pitcher, Two Eggs, a Casserole, Three Herrings, a Copper Pot, a Slice of Fish, and a Jug, by Shelley Benaroya
Chardin’s Pitcher, Two Eggs, a Casserole, Three
Herrings, a Copper Pot, a Slice of Fish, and a Jug
This is the poem Marie Howe warned you to walk away from.
The one about staring into the kitchen gloom at a dead fish on the table.
A lot of dead fish.
Never mind that others more gifted than you
wade against the undertow of sleep
to their own dark corners of the house each day
and re-emerge later waving won lotteries:
poems about blue spiked veronica,
watching the unsubmissive sleep,
furbelows of Venetian lace,
and how wonderful it is after all
to be you, just you.
Never mind how glorious its conception:
when strung along a museum wall
its quiescence lures you with a great title,
having anticipated someone with your sensibilities
would one day screw that light bulb into its mystery.
Soon, it’s sending you on errands to find out
who delivers the Frenchman’s groceries each morning,
who he will propose to at night fall.
It promises to showcase your hidden talents,
beginning with those both you and Jean-Baptiste share:
A fascination with solemn, almost penitent, crockery.
Spunk for staring into space. The love of herring.
With time, it begins to stink up the whole house,
your most important relationships.
It glues its poster over your daughter’s face,
as she expresses desire to see the world.
It interrupts your husband calling for you from the bedroom.
Never mind there are things you still want to know –
how, for instance, he could stand sitting indoors day after day,
smelling the vastness of the sea suspended there above his table
and in the raw umber on his hands,
knowing what it did to him
that he never did anything about.
This poem was previously published in Mad Poets Review, 2005
Shelley Benaroya is founding director and teaching artist for the Writing Center for Creative Aging (www.writingcenterforcreativeaging.org). Her poetry has appeared in Diner, The Edison Literary Review, Ekphrasis, The Lyric, Mobius, Thirteenth Moon, and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Ekphrasis Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination.
Not hard to see why some family lost track
of you, abandoned in some attic for 200 years.
Pinched face, crimped hair, hands like flippers,
good for nothing but shoving. Neither smiling
nor elegant, yet seated high up as if enthroned,
obsessively well-tended garden a backdrop
for your tattered jacket, faded dress,
big black boots fit for kicking small animals.
Greta Bolger is a writer and visual artist retired and living the dream in NW lower Michigan. Her previous work has appeared in several print and online publications, including Electica, typishly, The Chimaera, Third Coast, Literary Bohemian, Snakeskin and others. She volunteers with art organizations and international efforts to support women and girls in the developing world.
after viewing The Pianist
You play Chopin’s Ballade no. 1
in an orphaned house of cement,
shirt and jacket worn
like my father’s work clothes.
Soiled fingers commencing
chords with timid strokes of keys.
Breath drawing hills and valleys
under moonlight’s gaze.
Face rigid with tempo’s apogee.
A steady cadence and thundering
clang closes the performance.
Hosenfeld, your sole spectator,
gives no applause, only a question: Juden?
Does his trim, grey uniform remind you
of German boots clacking on Warsaw
streets, Star of David armbands, death’s
long scythe slicing through a ghetto’s
flesh, thick from ingesting half-a-million,
your parents, siblings, sister-in-law
herded into cattle cars
whistling to Treblinka’s silence?
Someday I will learn to sing
to those who loathe my body,
make melodies in times of lament
and desire life above all else,
as you did, Szpilman,
survival your great composition.
Jonathan Rowe currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts where he is an undergraduate student and writing peer tutor at Emmanuel College. His work is forthcoming in Cecile’s Writers’ Magazine, Kweli Journal, and Black Fox Literary Magazine and can be found at newgenerationverse.com.
The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski (Poland). 2002.
First it was narrowing,
as if breathing, as I walked around the pond,
difficult to sleep so many monuments
shifting position, brimming.
I considered its mass, surfaces.
On the bench beneath the dogwood—blue,
from the corner near the road—white,
the angles narrowing
to the west, then
as I turned to hug the curve, expanding--
like a black wing against the sky.
Theresa Burns’ poetry, reviews, and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, Bellevue Literary Review, America Magazine, New Ohio Review, and upstreet, among other publications. In 2017 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her second chapbook of poems, Two Train Town, was published by Finishing Line Press. A long time book editor in New York and Boston, she has taught writing at Seton Hall University, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and the 92nd Street Y.
These sombre shades stand by
like broken effigies. Scooped out,
expressionless: five icons of fatigue.
It’s not the nakedness that shocks you,
but the dull compliance, staring out
across a century of perpetuity.
Waiting, with their lush curves, harsh lines,
eyes widened, thick with flesh: a hand
up there, a chiselled nose, a mask
of ancient womanhood, an elbow, breast,
thick thighs, and yet the edges stick –
a curl of burn that presses in, encapsulates
their umber form, their solid state –
in limbo in the world, exposed, for what?
Like mermaids sculpted out of plasticine,
existing out of time, they gaze back
at your own ungainly frame, caged-in
like pigeons, on all sides, awaiting
the inevitable fate: more of the same.
Rachel Carney lives in Wales, in the UK, where she is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing alongside her day job. She’s had poems published in a few journals including Sarasvati Magazine, the Open Mouse and the High Window Journal. She is also a book blogger at www.createdtoread.com and has had articles published in Wales Arts Review, the Welsh Agenda magazine and The Poetry School website.
and the winter of things -
silence sweeps the land
Originally from Chicago, Dan Franch currently resides in the country of Estonia. Currently a language teacher in Estonia, he has traveled extensively, has lived in six countries, and has had a wide variety of random life experiences. Restless by nature, Dan is doing his best to settle into an extended stay in his children's homeland.
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Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
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Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
John Scott Dewey
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
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Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Judith Lee Herbert
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Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Amie E. Reilly
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
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