rendezvous with a Night Witch
we liaised over a cough
in a wind draped hut
that raked the white hard steppe
a war babe achingly pretty
under the grey beret & red epaulettes
her trenchcoat a Tzarina's ransom
I asked if she had Stalin's ear
or Van Gogh's starry vision
she saw off my crush
with a military brush
as if ten thousand Comrade Ivans
hadn't staged the same unpatriotic plot
save it for your lipsticked WAAFs
she quipped you great homesick clot
Philip Lee: "I’m a sixty year-old Scouse refugee in Turkey."
The scene is a vegetable garden
on an immaculate springtime morning.
At the back there is a white-walled cottage
fronted by a blossoming apple tree
with freshly-washed sheets hanging on a line.
A wooden wheelbarrow, gate and fence,
the soft earth turned and furrowed by the spade,
show nature harnessed but not exploited
by the worthy toil of a long-vanished age.
The father and mother are dressed in blue
matching the azure of the firmament
the mother bending over to support the child
while the father pauses from his labors
and on one knee crouches rooted to the ground
his arms outstretched like the child’s who must
traverse the expanse of land between them
to earn an embrace with loving praise.
His daughter is the apple of his eye
bringing ample meaning to a life
of tilling the soil until the day he dies.
This sentimental picture speaks volumes
still for in the drama of its pastoral
it seems to exist in the land of dreams
the countryside of the imagination
an idyllic world that might never have been
yet which captures the spirit of humanity
in this vignette of domestic felicity.
You may say it’s just a painting but I know
that nowhere in the realms of infinite space
could mankind discover so sweet a place
as van Gogh’s garden beneath the apple tree
and the love between this humble family.
Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Ian has an MA in English from Oxford University. He lives in Taiwan with his wife, two daughters and cat. He teaches English in a high school. He has had poems and short stories published in The Ekphrastic Review, 1947 A Literary Journal, Dead Snakes, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and in various anthologies.
I dream olive trees as rain pings glass,
veins windows in swirling tapers,
remembering the heat of Greece, you.
Gnarled branches offered scraps of shade,
Ionian Sea too far for fondling breeze
under blue sky burning.
I discovered you there, where all roots dive deep.
Marketplace stacked with cobblestone,
woven blankets, pottery fired and glazed
like grandfather’s grandfather shaped.
You hovered like a butterfly, Eros’s breath
searing my shoulder, nibbling the nectar of my lips,
fingers like wings brushing skin.
But somewhere across the ocean,
past frosted caribou-crossed land,
you withdrew. Psyche lures, and you listen
to voices from the past, sputter with doubt, fear.
Oh, petalouda, which is the real you?
KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her latest collection, The Perfume of Leaving, has just been awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award. Her work also appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). Her third collection, What Comes of Waiting, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award.
One Thing Leads to Another
Every stray thought
sets off a slide show –
each frame a collage
of random association. A smell,
a twinge, even the word “horse”
excavates hidden ore
from the gray matter. A horse,
if not a dozen, will appear
along with acrobats from the same
circus, a runner rounding the track.
Stamps, even wallpaper may surface.
Impossible to catch or sort it all.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She became fascinated by fine art at an early age, even though she had to go to the World Book Encyclopedia to find it. Today she visits museums everywhere she travels and spends time at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where her husband is a volunteer guide. Alarie’s poetry book, Running Counterclockwise, contains many ekphrastic poems. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
We have landed randomly
on the subject of
fear of flying.
I am not afraid, not really, I say,
I have many anxieties and
aircraft are not among them.
Mildly, he says.
He sips my latest offering,
an almost spicy
Some people have had that dream,
Anthony says, some haven’t.
he has never dreamed that
he was flying. Which category are you? he
wants to know. Oh, I have,
I say, because I have,
but only the one time, and it was not
long ago. How my father loved those
dreams where he was a bird, or
I had that peculiar brand of
little girl envy of his adventures,
he would tell me the story
and hold me on his knee.
It was strange, I tell Anthony,
I was not in any kind of
craft, I had my own wings, and I
swooped low and high,
I flew above the vineyards of
my youth, and out over
some far away ocean I don’t even know.
I was spinning cotton
candy out of clouds.
The unfamiliar motion
made me seasick,
sky sickness if you will.
I felt, briefly,
a crushing wall of panic
when I became
what was happening.
with this perfect Garnacha,
I am floating
there, above an old Dutch
landscape and a
forever sea. So what did you do?
Anthony asks. I remember:
Mid-dream, I heard myself say,
you know you are safe in your bed,
you are asleep, and
you will land at home if
you fall. In that next moment,
there was pure, absolute liberation.
I was free of everything.
It was transcendent, I say,
because it was. And you
will have the dream, I say.
I was fortysomething
before I did. And you will have it too,
you are an imaginative,
inquisitive person and you
are going places,
you have already gone and come back
a thousand times from flight,
I see you, pacing the darkness in
pyramid shadows, looking for your lover,
you are writing, scripts
with words that break the hearts of dead men,
and you dine on maple goat cheese
and real Champagne
with ghosts whose books
I think about how you play your piano
after the night falls, how you fling the window
back, just a few doors down
from Glenn Gould. And from me.
And maybe that
is what I heard, those nights from across
the street burning through my sleep.
The music entered the
dark and made me dream,
how to get silver wings.
Lorette C. Luzajic
Lorette C. Luzajic is a writer and visual artist in Toronto, Canada. This poem is from her ekphrastic collection, Aspartame, below. Click image to see book on Amazon.
The orphan hears her mother
call from the fields of Hellas,
and meets her where blossoms of red silk
Turk's Cap curl back on their stems,
acres of glorious suns blooming
against the Mediterranean sky.
For a moment,
she feels her mother's petal-soft olive skin,
smells the floral scent of her Grecian curls.
In the city she sells crocus
and grape hyacinth, enough
to pay for bread and figs.
Lilies would earn her pomegranates,
but she would rather
her stomach and basket be wanting
and know where her mother waits.
Rebecca Weigold's poems are forthcoming or have appeared in BlazeVOX, The Tishman Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Winamop, The Skinny Poetry Journal, and others. In 1987, she founded and published The Cincinnati Poets' Collective, which featured the work of national and international poets for nearly a decade. Her writer's page can be found on Facebook at Rebecca Weigold--Poet.
Come whispering up
from the deep trenches
like poison gases
feeding the strange lives
that can live nowhere else-
their songs a dark music, rising
like the voices of the drowned
who have swallowed the moon
and wonder why
there is no light.
They use up all the oxygen
making it impossible to breathe
the leaden air,
impossible to avoid
infection by the burden
of despair, unsolvable,
a crushing weight
keeping you down until
a new sun rises
strong enough to melt
an age of ice.
This was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
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. 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.
Leaving her sisters
off to follow Apollo
This haiku written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Kati Nagy is a semi-retired, globe-trotting ESL teacher who now resides in San Francisco with a view of the sparkling Bay Bridge. She weaves her stories in poems, collages, memoir, and solo performances.
His Beauty My Secret
And when I brought his face to life,
manifest idea of heaven into his eyes,
it was of my own personal Jesus.
It was in his beauty
within which I toiled,
made his face smooth
as worked marble,
touched his lip with tip of finger
then left him for time to abuse.
In court yard of soiled faith
etched from empirical pagan ritual,
I’d watch his sun warmed lips
call beyond olive gardens
to where, in red wine reverie, I rested;
and I’d dream of buildings
where I could tell the story
of my secret faith, retell it
within his simple hands.
Gardens where I’d whisper
secrets into empty nights
and where he keeps them still,
no loose tongue let slip
for deceptive judges’ to cast scorn.
In place of purest sanctuary
I brought him to life.
With a lick of gilded brush
his holy cheek flushed pink
as if affected by heavenly hand
that blew life into his heart.
Now he overlooks their days
as he does mine, but
they shall not know his name,
his real name, is not wrought
from scripture, but wrung dry
from a thirsty shame
that casts shadow on my days.
Paul Crompton is a poet and journalist on the south Coast. He performs at Brighton's many open mic nights and produces a quarterly chapbook of the town's poets
The Giant Egg
Where exactly the giant egg was found is no longer remembered clearly.
What is certain is that an egg of such a size had never been observed before and it dwarfed the sightseers who gathered to gawk at it. The immediate instinctive reaction was to attempt to crack it open right where it lay to see what was within, but a voice screamed out above the din of the excited crowd that something rotten, perhaps even a half-decayed gigantic monstrosity, could be inside.
It was therefore decided to drag the giant egg to a nearby beach so the sand could absorb any putrid liquids that might leak out once the shell was broken, and the ocean could then be used as a trash can to dispose of every trace of this aberration’s existence.
Engineers arrived on the scene to draw plans for the most effective way of breaking the shell. Environmentalists gathered to ensure the surrounding land would not become too contaminated, should the egg release any foulness. Scaffolding was erected all around the egg, upon which an army of labourers hammered relentlessly at the egg's thick, concrete-like shell.
No one can recall how much time it took for the workers to make even the slightest dent in the shell or how long it was before the first visible cracks appeared on the surface of the mysterious egg. The spectacle of the egg unveiling its secret was just so overwhelming that all other details faded into obscurity.
An awed hush swept over the crowded beach as the inner contents slowly came into view. Some could not bear the stress of the suspense and turned their backs; others even ran away. But those who stayed to watch are unanimous in their recollections of the wonder of the moment when a golden star, bathing the surroundings in soft light, drifted calmly out of the broken shell and settled cozily upon the horizon, as though it had always belonged there.
Boris Glikman is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia. The biggest influences on his writing are dreams, Kafka and Borges. His stories, poems and non-fiction articles have been published in various online and print publications, as well as being featured on national radio and other radio programs.
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Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
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David Allen Sullivan
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