After a feverish night,
she brings the quieted babe
to the edge of the wood.
Her narrow path is well trodden,
soil worn smooth by the passing of many feet.
The air is crisp, the scent of green life and gray decay
mingle in the cool air wafting from the dark forest.
She cradles the baby in her lap, her farm hands dark
against the luminescent child,
her daughters’ fair skin
blending with the ashen tones
of the swaddling cloth.
O babe, world of wonder and beauty,
sweet scented perfection.
In a gesture so subtle, so distinct,
she leans back at the appearance
of a slight Slavic figure,
hooded, who now bends tenderly to the child
as if to breathe in her still scent.
One hand digs into the folds of her baby’s blanket
while the other falls away.
This poem was written as part of the surprise ekphrastic Halloween challenge.
Elizabeth Burnside's poems have been been published in the I-70 Review, Fourth River, Plum Tree Tavern and The Ekphrastic Review, among other places. She found this painting one of the most haunting of the Halloween Challenge.
Mary Celeste you look adrift
encompassed from keel to topmast of fibrous ivory
linen tendons disheveled but seaworthy
your last log entry was dated ten days ago
personal belongings appear undisturbed
where are your captain and his wife
their two-year-old daughter
the crew of seven
at this moment there is no sign of wind
approaching except for storm cloud grey
azure water hash marked by brigantines
are you there
you are the banded hamstring connecting sky to water
the space between them looks fathomable
incalculable intelligence of ether and aqua
somehow keeps you afloat
how to measure it do they even touch
do they interlace their fingers
cup your keel in their hands from rudder to hull
if you’re indeed wet do the sea salts and chill air
surround you or slip through you
are the heat and cold real
riddle me this
barrels of denatured alcohol and a crew
composed of parallel arrays of collagen
closely packed together elastin proteoglycans
copper manganese calcium cartilaginous zones
reticulin fibers vascular walls capillary membranes
all are entangled in a sealed hold
atoms are mostly empty space
nothing stands still sinew is flexible but
makes for inelastic bulkheads
it is impossible to predict when a particular atom will decay
your passengers may be simultaneously both alive and dead
I fear unresolved suspicions
your inconclusive nature fosters mystery
false details of methylated spirits and fantasy
in a state of quantum superposition dense irregular sheaths
connect to random subatomic events
that may or may not occur
show me truth both sacred and profane
open your hatch
Amy Baskin’s work is featured in What Rough Beast, Fire Poetry Journal, The Ghazal Page, Postcards, Poetry & Prose, Dirty Chai, Panoply, Riddled With Arrows, and more. She is a 2016 Willamette Writers Kay Snow Poetry award recipient for her poem “About Face.”
—Henriette Browne (1859); oil on canvas; 92.4 x 73.6 cm
Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti Bergamo, Italy
The time of day set still as stone for prayer
Nones, that ninth hour after dawn, that place
I’m looking, wimple wound around her head
Drawn to shadow under chin, the sheer black habit
Of praying, the pages with their red rims
That long path on the way to finding grace.
Her heavy lids like louvers closing in
On infinity. She seems a novice--
A cover girl for nuns—that parchment robe
The unity within the whole
The composition triangulated
Each shape solid and weightless, so balanced
Something so pellucid I remember
Kneeling in a pew—nave, nun, that pale light—
Sharon Tracey is a writer, editor and author of the poetry collection, What I Remember Most Is Everything (ALL CAPS PUBLISHING, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Ekphrasis, The Ekphrastic Review, Naugatuck River Review, Silkworm, and are forthcoming in Canary and Common Ground Review. Art and nature are recurring themes in her work. She has enjoyed a varied career as an environmentalist, policy analyst, editor and communications director. She is currently working on a series of poems featuring women artists of the past five centuries.
Been a tough day down here, God knows:
this one all knees and chest and feet
and now folded in half on the hard subway bench
to make way for the guy in boxers
who dangles an unlit cigarette from his lips.
Though the “E” never did encourage such sprawling--
just read the car-cards or the faces of the rest--
as it heads for Jamaica Yards all the way east
where all trains go to spend the wee hours
and get half-cleaned and aired-out, or if not
the skeleton crew might at least kick back
and light up a smoke of their own.
But at 3 am, the graveyard cop
has passed with nary a nudge from the nightstick
he’s twirled so all might take proper note--
with only an imperceptible shrug at the one in boxers.
This guy’s seen it all and some fights
are just worth less this time of night
now when all might get to where they’re going
with just a baby-dose of live-and-let-live,
an accompanying sigh that says life’s too damn short
and who the hell would disagree,
least of all the guy with the sketchpad,
him making like he’s found a higher purpose
when he’s pretty much the same as us,
riding the “E” the middle of the night,
finding another way of murdering time.
Alan Walowitz’s poems can be found on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College and St. John’s University. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing. Go to alanwalowitz.com for more poems and more information.
Tim Savage, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, is a graphic designer, fine artist, and teacher of art, calligraphy, and web design. He’s won numerous awards in watercolour, oils and pastel painting and is a published illustrator. Tim’s a member of the Art League of Nassau County, the National Art League, and is an active volunteer in the Inkwell Foundation, an organization that brings cartoonists and illustrators together with children in need. He can be found on the web at http://timsavageteacher.com/
T concerned for U
riffed no notice plucked
from farm of cube
signs dark days had
come Z peering over partition
hoping alphabet coup
Orwell said of the work
[ R E D A C T E D ]
& now mad scramble
N’s in with 2’s & U’s
doubled over into T’s sector
labial glubs & fricative
grit of drowning sailors
doomed aboard capsized ships
fled as emptiness floods
each tight compartment
none part of today’s
tomorrow’s stenciled crate
Whole lotta H C J K 3
left on everyone’s mind
& What can be spelt
V’s W’s X
How language dies & dies
& dies again entombed
in letter setter’s
inconvenient box lost
questions close eyes
camera moves in hear
hard answers cringe
while the other side
faces to the floor hide
single U V W-X
This poem was first published in Bobo Books: 1.1.1: Vol. 2. 2017.
Tony Brewer is chair of the Writers Guild at Bloomington, Indiana; executive director of the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Festival; festival director of Slam Camp at Indiana University; and one-fourth of the performance troupe Reservoir Dogwoods. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016 and he has 3 books: Hot Type Cold Read (Chatter House Press), Little Glove in a Big Hand (Plan B Press), and The Great American Scapegoat (self-published).
St. Matthew and the Angel
From behind his right shoulder she leans
close by, hand resting lightly, wild hair a cascade,
daughter of earth and sky, lips
Perhaps she was there, invisible attendant
at the birth, hovering over tentative steps,
or one of the host who comforted in the desert
of temptation and grief.
The old man pauses, veined hand rising
to finger his beard, comes wisdom
in candlelight, far beyond his own poor
experience of life, dares to write
the unearthly story that threatens the social order,
lived by someone sacrificed for a world
unready to hear it.
No more ready are they in this newer age rife
with fear, pettiness, dreams for better, for words
he can barely comprehend himself, overwhelming
those who will read them, unmoored,
adrift in their fragility.
His hands cover his face, he works free the fatigue,
picks up the pen to write words distorted,
as they must be, by the lens of his humanity, mere
shadows of words, the mist, not the flood,
that bleeds through his pen to the page.
Eileen Mattmann’s poetry has appeared in several print and online poetry journals. She began writing poetry after a long teaching career.
my heart pounds,
gut clenched like a fist -
I look straight up the far
left side of the tall canvas
wall like a world trade tower,
like a redwood tree and
my spirit grasps the edges of
flat black emerging from the
upper left drawing it over me,
a blanket of darkness, this
is how hope enters a field of fear
and violence - the raw red wound
reaching down through glossy
blackness - the colours
blood can be, this open field
killing ground, the things
blood can become.
M.J. Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania. He has resided in northern California since 1979. He began writing poetry at age 11, stories in his teens and memoirs in his late 40′s. His work has been published in a lot of little magazines, small newspapers and 9 anthologies. He is the author of two poetry collections: “With Fingers at the Tips of My Words” 2002 and “Room Enough” 2016. Arcangelini maintains an occasional blog of poetry and prose at https://joearky.wordpress.com/
Moments of Pause
Red-hooded, she stands
Aware of her own
Unawareness. The sheep
Graze behind her,
Backs facing back
Accenting time’s irrelevance.
I crave moments like these
When peace and harmony
Seem inevitable. Instead,
It is usually rush and stretch
Go and scatter.
Some days I stop too,
Cloaked in my synthetic fibers.
But instead of calmly peering
At knitting needles, creating,
I am staring at my smart phone
Desperate for answers to questions
About lamb eye health,
Droopy ewes, dewormers
Safe for lactation.
I strive for her contentedness
Though I know it is fleeting,
Those moments of pause when all
You need are sun breaks, fresh
Grass and the passive, soothing
Sighs of your own breath.
Jessica Gigot, Ph.D, M.F.A, is a poet, farmer, teacher and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, WA, called Harmony Fields that grows herbs, lamb and specialty produce. She also offers educational & art workshops through her Art in the Barn series. Jessica has lived in the Skagit Valley for over ten years and is deeply connected to the artistic and agricultural communities that coexist in the region. Her writing has been published in the Floating Bridge Press Review, Poetry Northwest, About Place Jounrnal and All We Can Hold: Poems of Motherhood. Her first book of poems, Flood Patterns, was published by Antrim House Books in 2015.
Winter in Petrograd
is a blue window
on the wide space
tiny in the
unclothed in the
Mark Silverberg is the author of the Eric Hoffer award-winning ekphrastic poetry collection, Believing the Line: The Jack Siegel Poems (Breton Books, 2013). His poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review and Contemporary Verse 2. He is an Associate Professor of English at Cape Breton University where I specializes in American poetry, visual arts, and artistic collaborations.
I Knew This Girl in High School
This could be her, at least,
this is how I remember her,
older than us, wiser,
letting everything in.
Junior boys who got drunk
on Saturday nights
all wanted her.
She let cigarettes burn
to ropes of ash,
drank Tequila shots,
lemon and salt a sacrament.
She drew lilies in textbooks,
hid her poetry under the bed.
She blew classes with senior boys.
They wagered on the colour
of her pubic hair,
listened to her
as they would their mother.
Rumours of an older man,
she dropped out of college,
backpacked through Europe.
At a used bookstore,
I found a poetry chapbook,
cover art by the poet,
keep it under my bed.
Billy is a hospice case manager, visual artist, and poet. He's had numerous first, second, and third place wins at IBPC (InterBoard Poetry Community). His poem, Hospice Nurse, won second place for poem of the year for 2014-2015. Several of his poems have been published in anthologies and at online poetry sites.
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Meghan Rose Allen
Mary Jo Balistreri
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
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
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
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
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
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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