The Sleeping Gypsy
It is the witching hour. It is Sunday, July 11th, 1897. S. A. Andrée is about the happiest man in the world and if not the happiest, perhaps, detrimentally, the most confident. Tucked in, asleep in his bed in Sweden, gathering his energy, he dreams, not of Örnen, his balloon, but of himself – himself as an African man in simple drag. Exhausted after having flown his village, he decides to crash. Feet swollen from the joyous flight, spreading himself out beneath the full moon, he smiles at his freedom, the luxury of the open path, the exhilaration of the unknown. He begins to drift. Floating in the space between consciousness and unconsciousness, at the door of the subconscious, that is, the sub-subconscious, his young friend Frænkel, covered from head to toe in the hair of the sun, approaches him from the north, and attempts to speak. Where words are intended a roar escapes in which is heard the crunch of snow beneath boots wrapped in the winds of the uncharted Arctic, that shadow of white. In a dream-logic, Andrée’s bones interpret this as an auspicious omen and for an instant, everything is frozen in place, which is to say, both past and future, the present’s determiners, lose weight. There is no better condition in which confidence can know.
Sacha Archer is a Canadian writer residing in Ontario. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, Experiment-O, and Matrix. His most recent chapbooks are Detour (Spacecraft Press, 2017), The Insistence of Momentum (The Blasted Tree, 2017), and Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders, 2017), with two chapbooks forthcoming: TSK oomph(Inspiritus Press) and upRoute (above/ground press). One of his online manifestations is his blog at https://sachaarcher.wordpress.com
One Viewer’s Response to Emily Carr’s Red Cedar
That is one mighty leg
jutting out from beneath
her flouncy green skirt!
All sinew and ropy muscle,
it supports a woman of
— and heaven help the man
who stands in her way!
This poem was written for the Surprise Challenge, ekphrastic poetry on Canadian paintings.
Known primarily for his Japanese-style micropoetry, Bill Waters also writes ekphrastic poetry, found verse, book spine poetry, and all manner of short prose. He lives in Pennington, New Jersey, U.S.A., with his wonderful wife and their two amazing cats.
Eva Gouel’s Last Tango with Picasso
"Women are machines for suffering."-- Pablo Picasso
For all the machismo
of your slashing diagonals
you cannot bear the absence
of our close embrace,
the demise of your dominance.
So on canvas you dance your denial:
one primal stroke dissects
the curve of my neck
you slant the slope of my shoulders
into the flatline of the future.
The breasts you once kissed,
the womb you might have rounded
are in your hands half-moons
burdened with the guache of grief
sisters of the love-sick moon
who illuminates the anguish
of your blank stare.
You make certain
no one else will caress
the flesh you slice
from my thighs
that my dismembered fingers
will grasp no other shoulders
in a sudden lunge
submitting to another’s will.
The love letter you write
where your angles part my legs
shortens the single step
between love and death
between the red-green-yellow-blue
of children’s toys with which
you paint my moods
and the black
of your bladed lines.
And while you remake my mind
into an empty latticework
my eyes remain open but unseeing
lips still and silent.
With this dance of death
your genius flowers
yet transforms me--
into your milonga, the scene
of an immortal crime.
This poem was first published in A Rustling and Waking Within: Poems Inspired by the Arts in Ohio, ed. Sharon Fish Mooney (Ohio Poetry Association Press, 2017).
A Pushcart Prize nominee, Jennifer Hambrick was a winner in the 2017 international Golden Triangle Haiku Contest and received prizes in the 2017 Montenegrin International Haiku Competition (English) and the 2017 Kaji Aso Studio International Haiku Competition (Boston). Her debut chapbook Unscathed (NightBallet Press), was nominated for the Ohioana Book Award. Her work has appeared in the Santa Clara Review, Third Wednesday, Mad River Review, Heron Tree, Pudding Magazine, River River, Muddy River Poetry Review, the major Japanese newspapers The Asahi Shimbun (The Morning Sun) and The Mainichi (The Daily News), Modern Haiku, and many more. Jennifer Hambrick is founder and editor of the International Women's Haiku Festival. A classical musician and public radio broadcaster and web producer, Jennifer lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Her blog, Inner Voices, is at jenniferhambrick.com.
A Sharpshooter's Last Sleep
He lays on a mattress of hard earth
as if he has fallen asleep, one knee bent,
arms resting comfortably by his side
the way he might have lain at home in his own bed.
Leaves of a mulberry stir in the morning breeze.
The sounds of battle have faded but
traces of black powder smoke sour the air.
If I could kneel down with my ear close to his,
I might hear his mother's voice
calling him to morning chores before breakfast,
a call that will not rouse him today.
David Jibson grew up in western Michigan near the dunes and shores of Lake Michigan and now lives in Ann Arbor. He is retired from a 35-year career in Social Work, most recently with a Hospice agency. He is a member of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle and co-editor of the literary and visual arts magazine, Third Wednesday.
Surprise Ekphrastic Challenge: Rene Magritte
The recent poem by Andrena Zawinski on Marilyn Monroe and Magritte provides a perfect segue to our new surprise challenge.
I am amazed still, thirty years after first standing in front of Magritte's paintings of bewildering dreams, by his ability to surprise.
Especially intriguing is how there always seem to be paintings we have never seen!
Magritte hated to be called a surrealist, which I suspect was a combination of conviction and a clever bit of showbiz and tongue in cheek. His paintings are the very definition of surrealism, but the artist wanted us to think beyond labels and how they directed our conclusions.
Your challenge is to use these ten prompts to write some poetry, prose, or fiction. Use one or try them all. See where contemplating Magrittian mysteries will take you.
There are no rules. Any form, any length, any genre, any painting. And any other Magritte painting, should you be hooked and want to go for more.
But please, send only your best as submissions for possible publication in The Ekphrastic Review.
We always take late submissions, because we will consider work responding to any artwork at any time. So if you are coming upon this challenge after the fact, you aren't excluded. But try to send your responses by the deadline.
August 1, 2017
I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Lorette C. Luzajic, editor, TER
Read my essay, "What is the Artist Trying to Say? Nothing, Says Magritte" published earlier in The Ekphrastic Review, from my book Truck, and Other Stories About Art.
(Thinking of Marilyn Monroe after viewing Magritte's white dress in Philosophy in the Boudoir)
So here she comes again,
that big blonde dreamboat
sailing onto the scene,
polished to a sheen,
heady and haloed by seabirds,
sails at her mast billowing
like a finger crooked
and calling you to her.
And you move toward her,
just on the chance
she may ask you to enter
some cabin holding
a geography of mounds
in breasts and buttocks,
and where in the closet hangs
a perfect white dress,
dreaming her body
breathing inside it.
This poem appeared previously in Eating Her Wedding Dress: A Collection of Clothing Poems, edited by by Vasiliki Katsarou, Ruth O'Toole, and Ellen Foos, Ragged Sky Poetry.
Andrena Zawinski’s latest poetry collection is Landings. She has two previous award winning collections and four chapbooks. Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. Zawinski runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com
The Birth of the Virgin, circa 1627
Gathered taffeta curtains frame the birthing scene.
Recumbent, tucked in blood red flannel,
Anne sags into her bedclothes, oblivious
to offers of consommé and sweet loaves
from her girdling attendants. Linens cascade
down shoulders, pour out from the hamper’s lip
unstained. Mary mews, hearty in the midwife’s arms.
Uninvolved in the slow commotion, aglow in blue
and mustard organdy, a patron meets Zurbarán’s gaze.
Her widow’s peak pronounces rank and age.
She poses crimson-cheeked, laden with gifts:
a chest, a basket. Her eggs intact.
Christina Lloyd's work appears in various journals, including Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme and The North. She is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing through Lancaster University.
A Stellar Fingerprint
Its fingerprint of astral trace
singles out sidereal face
amongst the heavenly array
of stellar orbs in star ballet
that dance in metamorphous space.
The light dispersals limn with grace
celestial body in its place
for earthly mortals, to portray
Yet nature’s flux persists in pace,
as death takes all in vast embrace
despite what star one’s cast to play,
plus humankind will fade away
and time shall by and by erase
This poem was first published by the Astro Poetry Blog of Astronomers Without Borders.
Harley White is a born word-lover and has written works dealing in fairy tales, musicaltheatre, many genres of poetry, and awakenings, as well as a book titled The Autobiography of a Granada Cat – As told to Harley White. For many years, she has been a follower of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin and its practice of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Canada? Boring? What If?
The artist asks
“What if daily life in Canada is boring?”
an impossible question,
it’s too complex, and so
to parse it I ask myself
“if I were a province,
which one would I be?”
Alberta comes to mind.
I’m thinking mountains and
nature when I say that, not
oil fields and pipe line conservatives.
The same way I envision
Yellowstone grizzlies and bull moose,
not gun-toting white supremacists
when I think of Wyoming.
Then again there are
the coastal provinces,
and I’m big on the ocean.
I could be a mix
of big city BC -- Vancouver
and laid back little Nova Scotia.
But back to the question
Canada? Boring? What if?
It’s too much.
My big city friends wonder
if daily life is boring where I live
here in small town Vermont.
I could tell them, but that wouldn’t be
the answer. When it comes to
big questions the only answers
that count are those you find out
on your own.
This poem was written for the Surprise Challenge, ekphrastic poetry about Canadian paintings.
Charlie Rossiter's popular poetry podcast can be heard on the first and third Fridays of every month.
Get his free ebook, Poems People Like, here:
On Seeing Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase
Splintered, fractured, loosened,
you began a free fall --
a bundle of firewood with untied strings,
slipping from one loose end,
like spilled water in a frozen frame.
Nude, stripped from all signs of life --
no trace of green, no scent of freshness,
no moisture or growth
of the forest you once belonged to --
dried and ready
to turn into cinder in the fire…
yet somehow still bouncy and alive --
as if all the cutting, stripping and splitting
that had been done to you
only unleashed a new life --
a life doesn’t seem to be what it seems,
descending the stair -- but to where?
Robert Y. C. Hsiung
Robert Y. C. Hsiung: "Born in China, attended colleges in US, received degrees in architecture from University of Illinois and MIT. Five decades of architectural practice, combined with teaching and watercolour painting. Wrote poetry during teens, again briefly at age 60, in Chinese. Resumed poetry writing at age 81, in English. This is my first attempt for publication."
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Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
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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