A Poem for Georgia O'Keeffe
The difference between flowers
that fruit or not is only a nodule
hardening to zucchini, cucumber,
squash or pumpkin, who's to say
from the first broad leaf?
Even now in late September
hugely orange arrays
splay about the yard on hose
mandalas rigged for fruit
too late to come by.
What's given is accounted for, well
on its way to being eaten. Among
the parasols of pumpkin leaves
chipping sparrows peck for seeds.
About us milkweed parachutes silk
dancing as we catch the work, the word as
light play. Patterns. How we toss
to and fro still expectant mid-way
through our lives. Almost mature, almost
coming into our own. Seed potency
bursting beyond hard casement
through the boundary of design.
London ON performance poet, activist and playwright Penn Kemp is the 40th Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets and their 2015 Spoken Word Artist of the Year. As Writer-in-Residence for Western University, her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: a Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, Pendas Productions. Her latest works are two anthologies for the Feminist Caucus Archives of the League of Canadian Poets and the Guild of Canadian Playwrights, to be launched at the Writers’ Summit at Harbourfront in June. Forthcoming is a new collection of poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice and a play, The Triumph of Teresa Harris. www.mytown.ca/pennkemp
How to Bend the Light
William Turner, lashed to a clipper ship’s mast,
in the crow’s nest, enduring a snowstorm.
Tied, so if his fingers froze he wouldn’t fall
to choppy winter waters, or smash on the deck.
He had to know a squall first-hand. No other method
would let him bend the blurs of light the right way.
Deckhands bring him below nearly iced-over,
frostbit but smiling. Even in the sleet spray,
Turner sees a flicker of his deity: the sun, God.
No difference. We’re all under it, warming,
even when the anvil clouds obscure it.
He was up there bellowing, saving the view
to push out brushes, a human camera obscura,
not unlike a telescope, focusing and diffusing,
concentrating rays. The essence of the necessary
image live in his mind’s eye, Turner marks
the precise location of that vital glimmer,
evidence of holiness, even out to sea and in a storm.
TODD MERCER won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry in 2016, the National Writers Series Poetry Prize for 2016, and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer's recent poetry and fiction appear in: Bartleby Snopes, Blast Furnace, Cheap Pop, Eunoia Review, The Fib Review, Flash Frontier Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, In-flight Literary Magazine, The Lake, The Magnolia Review, Softblow Journal, Star 82 Review and Two Cities Review.
The painting hangs at threshold
to the basement—a journey of the sight,
left to right, the way I might
if I were reading, say, a book of some adventure—like
Marco Polo traveling to cities spiced and towered golden--
two approach, the master and the youth, the old
one ushering forever
the novice to the palace. Here,
stately mandarins hold seats
before the scribes, kowtowing to calligraphies.
The inked instruction
I might read from right to left…pine,
the flowered branches leading sight to ocher
roofs. Beyond, the clouds instruct:
Absence is presence
in the higher order of accounts--
not this basement with its binders, this dragonhold
of filed receipts, the reams
in busy folders, this waste
of bark. Wealth
I’ve khanned. I should have left
accumulation at the gate.
Poet, educator and former journalist, Kathleen Hellen is the author of the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night published by Washington Writers’ Publishing House and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento.
Her poems are widely published and have appeared recently or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, The Nation, North American Review, Poetry East, Poetry Daily, the Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Witness, and elsewhere. She has served as senior poetry editor for the Baltimore Review and now sits on the editorial board of Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Twice nominated for the Pushcart, she teaches in Baltimore.
(she)ll on the shining sand
she sees it on the shining sand
gleaming silver, then pink,
then silver again.
she smiles to find the
once a gold snail lived within, then
a hermit crab who quoted edna st.
vincent millay — the jingle-shells that
lie and bleach. she crawls
and falls asleep. she dreams of
primeval green turtles, black-lipped
pearl oysters, and a sliver of white moon
hanging over the Shell in the painting
in the sea.
Tricia Marcella Cimera
This poem was first published in Fox Adoption Magazine, March 2016
Tricia Marcella Cimera will forever be an obsessed reader and lover of words. Look for her work in these diverse places: Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Foliate Oak, Fox Adoption, Hedgerow, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones, Yellow Chair Review, and elsewhere. She has a micro collection of water-themed poems called THE SEA AND A RIVER on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois / in a town called St. Charles / by a river named Fox.
John Constable's Seascape Study with Rain Clouds
Praise be the Art whose subtle power could stay
Yon cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape;
Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape,
Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day....
-- William Wordsworth
What could be more impossible than to paint the shapes and unstable configurations of
clouds? The painter gazes, marks the canvas, and looks up; the clouds have turned,
twisted, swelled into something new. They present moving targets in time, stories, rather
than image. Impossible to arrest no matter how fast the painter paints.
you can feel the speed
of his desperate laying on
paint with urgency
trying to capture the smoke
to reproduce falling rain
he rides the raindrops
down with quick slashing brushstrokes
hammering the sea
stirring up the salted waves
refusing to hold their pose
frozen wisps, the black
racing clouds, stilled by his brush
in his petrified stone air
as tiny ships hesitate
This poem was first published in Haibun Today.
Charles Tarlton says, "I am a retired professor of philosophy living and writing poetry in Northampton, Massachusetts with my wife, Ann Knickerbocker, a painter."
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