The sky leaks it first.
Then we’re pulled to the oily drift
of the bridge to see where it ends.
If it ends. Pulled
To the figure in the foreground
both less and more than human
holding forever in his hands
both his ears in a view
that will never be over--
So infinite is it.
One raining pitch, a twisted
splicing of lines, clogged
both less and more
in the pipes of the sky
than the dim canals of the ears.
How it bends and winds
etched pen and ink, drilling
the runnels of rough
and worn wooden slats
with the depth of enduring
inception luring us
further and further in
to the silent camp of the deaf
where the railing of inner liquids
runs in elliptical rivulets--
embalming the brain
pumping a skeletal premonition
through the facial bones of this gnome
whose hands, upon staring
become two pinned wings, two
symmetrical slabs of marble
framing the face
like the hair of a woman--
So that now it is lion,
the shared eye and ear
of the inhuman, wild
in the shadowed
arm in arm
in the tiny background--
calm as the cloud of lake
while ribs of the sky
in testament to the steeple
riding its fading spine
to the edge of the cliff
gliding and ringing
and above the bridge
singing and singing
a gorgon’s lullabye.
This poem was previously published in Where Divinity Begins, by Deborah DeNicola from Alice James Books.
Deborah DeNicola is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently, Original Human, 2010 from Word Tech, Where Divinity Begins from Alice James Books, four chapbooks, and her memoir,
The Future That Brought Her Here from NicholasHays 2009. She edited Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology (UPNE.) An adjunct professor, and editor, DeNicola
received The Carpe Articulum Award in 2010, Briar Cliff Poetry Award, 2007, the Santa Barbara Poetry Award, 2008 and The Paul Hoover Critical Essay Award from Packingtown Review, 2009. She is the recipient of an artist’s fellowship from the NEA. Her web site is www.intuitivegateways.com.
Two small birds on the canvas
even in repose
end of a long inheritance
to saurian life
before we could have
coming so late
and so full of new ideas
you were our first music
your songs rising
in counterpoint above
the drumbeat of our blood
giving us dreams
full of wings
lifting in the bright
air of morning
or swift and soundless
as the great owl
for the grace of flight
This poem was written in response to the surprise ekphrastic poetry challenge on birds.
Mary McCarthy has always been a writer even though she spent most of her working years as a Registered Nurse. Recently moved to Florida, she has been enjoying the abundant local wildlife, including a great variety of birds, everything from snowy egrets and pelicans to osprey and vultures. She has had work published in many online and print journals, and has an e chapbook “Things I Was Told Not to Think About” available as a free download from Praxis Magazine.
A Clear Image Is Not Available
I will decide this one is different.
I will say the teeth, this time,
are bared in ecstasy.
I will glory in the respectable bed,
the clean white sheets,
Let the exhausted ghosts rest.
The source of light, I say, is the sex--
is soul upon soul--
is innocent flesh, innocently held
in a firm dark box of rapture,
This was written in response to the surprise ekphrastic challenge on sex and art.
Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of three poetry collections, a mixed genre collection, and two novels. The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh (novel, Blade of Grass Press, 2017) is her latest. Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: http://shirleyglubka.weebly.com/ Online poetry at The Ekphrastic Review here and at 2River View here and at The Ghazal Page here and here.
My mother, who knows nothing about birds, points to the nest.
The eggs have hatched and all we can see from afar are
three, thin, little needles bobbing up and down towards the sky.
If we stop talking for a second,
we can hear the high-pitched cries of the hungry chicks.
"I wonder where the mom goes off to." My mother says.
I know exactly where, because I've been out here
perched on a ladder watching birds for hours.
I signal to the top of the Pine Tree.
For the first time, we see the mom with another hummingbird in flight.
“Look,” my mother says. “There’s the dad.”
“Probably not.” I tell her.
Hummingbirds are the least romantic of birds.
Soon after mating, they each go off to another partner.
They don’t even stay together to raise their young.
The female builds the nest alone.
She also cares for them all on her own.
My mom doesn’t ask why
I know all these hummingbird facts.
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
This poem was written in response to the surprise ekphrastic challenge on birds.
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara received an MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her fiction has previously appeared in Chicago Literati, Genre, Sonora Review and Badlands Literary Journal. Her poetry has appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry and Ekphrastic Review. She lives in Los Angeles, California where she watches birds all day, every day.
Petals and Garden of Nymph Ancolie
A friend and I attend the exhibition
at The Menil. The Max Ernst mural
served as backdrop to the dance floor
of a Zurich nightclub, 1934–smoky room
with zebra-striped upholstery,
jazz band, stylish dancers
gliding across the polished floor.
In the painting, a bloom suggests
the head of a heron.
Tendrils of exotic flowers–vibrant red,
orange–curl between four-fingered hands.
Curve of a woman’s leg lazing against
a shapely pool of blue.
Plant, animal, human entwined.
Playful, strange and pleasurable.
I mention a contemporary artist whose exhibit
I've just seen twice. My friend smiles.
She'd seen it, too.
We discuss the significance of birds
in both men’s work, the political undertones.
She lowers her voice and tells me–
years before, she and the artist were lovers.
She speaks of art, but I want to hear more
of life. At dinner, she promises.
Outside, absorbed in her revelation,
I rummage for my car keys. Look, she says.
Dusk has brought a fine mist to settle in the grass
and low limbs of the live oaks
while above, the air is clear–as though
we’ve stepped into two halves of a world.
Fog silhouettes a couple strolling,
a man tossing a stick to a dog,
and one of those birds I’ve seen here before–
a yellow-crowned night heron.
The bird seems here by design. How perfectly
its elegance and colours–grey, black, white–
complement the museum.
The delight of one thing playing off another.
Later, over a glass of wine, she tells the story
while I picture her younger,
dashing to his studio in a cab in Manhattan
(so very New York, she says).
I’m seduced by her daring,
the delicious interlude.
Laura Quinn Guidry
Laura Quinn Guidry grew up in New Orleans and currently lives in Carmine, Texas. Her poetry has been published in The San Antonio Express-News; journals including Louisiana Literature and The Texas Review, and in anthologies including In These Latitudes: Ten Contemporary Poets. Her first full-length volume of poetry Between Two Gardens was published by Alamo Bay Press in 2017.
Go Back to Finger Painting
Remember the smeary freedom and tactile bliss? How you could fill the page as it curled with fire and became uniquely yours, yellow never just yellow and red never lonely red.
The fluidity of identities, a meld of hues and primaries, of places, lands and waters crossed, capsized emotions. Light and its absence, the greatest sorrows, fragmented and unpredictable. By the time you finger your colour it’s already changed.
Take Klee whose watercolours shift according to your gaze. His Architecture of the Plain depends on conjecture. Some days deliver its pleasing synchronicity – darker blues and greens defining margins left and right – and the coloured rectangles overlap, now raspberry, now vermillion. Fleeting moments pass and all you see is collision, hear a noisy argument, colours clamouring for space.
Klee knew what he was doing – flat as a checked shirt pressed on an ironing board, yet there’s such depth to the painting, you want to put your hand through the paper and feel around, you want to wear your shades, tag your name graffiti-style to the lowest rainbow stripe.
This is a multicoloured manifesto of love. Darkness and light in perfect Greek proportionality, an artful construction based on math and spontaneity where form is all there without being too visible.
Look carefully: the ratio of the smaller part (the yellows, say) to the larger part (the reds) equals the ratio of the larger part to the entirety (the painting). Even your fleeting childhood, even your fingers painting reflect a perfect symmetry where
yellow is to red
equals red is to (yellow plus red).
See what I mean?
The painting is greater than the sum of its brushstrokes.
Cora Siré is the author of three books. Her latest novel, Behold Things Beautiful, was a finalist for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2017. Her poetry, short stories and essays have appeared in many anthologies and in magazines such as Arc Poetry, Literary Review of Canada, Geist, The Puritan, carte blanche and Montreal Serai. Based in Montréal, she often writes of elsewheres drawing on her encounters in faraway places and her family’s history of displacement. For details, please visit her website, www.quena.ca.
Another Take, with Prologue, on Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
As youth will, knowing nothing but to soar
on a spring day’s rush of baby-green sprout
and lemon haze, too much aching to resist,
he ignores warning; hoots and yowls as he climbs
the thermals, pushes up and up, vein-bulged arms
and legs pumping, swimming the clouds,
gasping his ecstasy, watching farm and hill
give way to the coast. Drums out over the sea’s
cerulean heave, thrusts higher, higher, as it recedes,
appears a puddle, prone to dry to saline flakes
before day’s end. Now the sun grows attainable,
a wild tale for his grandchildren, and he pumps higher,
pores weeping in the effort (easily cooled once
he’s made history). Higher still, heat, sweat,
hot drops on shoulders, more hot drops and wings
have grown smaller; the sun suddenly farther.
When survival keeps grown-up heads down
in planting’s and herding’s urgency, dinner’s catch,
and shipping’s commerce, why worry strung feathers,
bits of congealed wax, two legs kicking sudden
on sea’s surface. Splash. A young fool’s foiled.
Bernadette McBride, author of three poetry collections, most recently, Whatever Measure of Light (Kelsay Books, 2016), is poetry editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a Pennsylvania county Poet Laureate, and poetry winner, second place, for the International Ray Bradbury Writing Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Ekphrastic Review, Cider Press Review, Philadelphia Stories, and Ragged Sky Press as well as journals in the UK, Canada, and on PRI's The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She welcomes your visit atbernadettemcbrideblog.wordpress.com.
I have known the eons-long longing of insects gone to stone, the empty wishes of disjointed plates no longer encasing throbbing thorax, fecund abdomen, the despondency of coxae that once cupped flexing femurs, the weariness of wings become limestone lithographs, the layered years hardened against weather: sturdy siltstone, kiln-baked mudstone that hold the compressed millennia of wisps of beings that whisked the air mere days, then died.
And I have seen a day pass from horizon to horizon in the instant I looked up from stone to sky, the split second I became aware of buzzing and flapping around me, the flicking wings, the whirring flags of chitin and scales, the jumping, hopping, stalking, searching, pulsating life arisen from these very foundations of their world.
Roy J. Beckemeyer
Roy J. Beckemeyer is a retired engineer and scientific journal editor who lives in Wichita, Kansas. He currently studies the Paleozoic insect fossils of Alabama, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and writes poetry. His poems have appeared in half a dozen anthologies as well as in many print and on-line literary journals. His first book of poetry, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, Lawrence, KS, 2014) was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He won the Beecher’s Magazine poetry contest in 2014, and the Kansas Voices poetry award in 2016. He recently co-edited (with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, Pittsburg, KS, 2017).
January the Tenth
In a far corner of the room, the Christmas decals,
peeling from the edges, but still enough intact
to reflect off the rain on the window,
retain some of the light of the season,
but only when the traffic signal so many floors below
changes from red to green and back again
in its predictable rhythm.
The gateleg table--so practical
the way it could hug a corner
and still seat sometimes five or six for holidays,
but not if they were too full-grown--
now’s on its way to being antique,
though purchased new from a small shop in Buffalo,
soon after the war, when all seemed possible.
But the cards we place upon it
don’t always want to remain upright,
though if they fall, we fix in passing,
without thinking much, even at this late date
when they could just as soon be gathered up and tossed.
We’ve mostly forgotten who sent them,
as friends we’ve known grow farther away,
and many more each year exit our life
and, we only hope--how silence follows silence--not their own.
Though even this perpetual not knowing
can be comfort as time hurries by
and another Christmas, with any joy we’ve remembered to share,
dwindles in January’s own sharp cold
and unkind light.
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 (artist), 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 watercolor, 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/
Of course it takes
time, like studying
a contact sheet, frame by frame.
So how does this work and where
does wanting end? No
such lines, just blur
like chalk on an old blackboard
at three in the afternoon,
like a sketch left out in the rain.
Have you ever wrestled
something for so long
that you were worn out, ready
to call it quits? Sometimes
a lover makes a face--
sometimes you make a face--
that in a silent film
could be pleasure, pain,
or a premonition of both.
What if you get everything
you long for, but not for long?
Sometimes you’re on top,
then the reverse. Maybe love
sets you up for the takedown.
You’re all in, stripped
down and exposed.
Then he cheats or leaves
or takes his own life,
and you have to take it--
held there like that,
shoulders against the mat.
This poem was written in response to the surprise ekphrastic poetry challenge on sex and art.
Matthew Murrey: "My poems have appeared in various journals such as Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, and Rattle. I received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and my first book manuscript is seeking a publisher. I am a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where I live with my partner. We have two sons who live in the Pacific Northwest. My website is https://matthewmurrey.weebly. com/"
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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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