Mirabella takes care not to step on the cracks when she walks down the sidewalk. The MARMOTS are abundant along the river side of MacArthur Island, in Kamloops ... and they're not too shy! Walking quietly and carefully with one's heels raised and one's weight on the balls of the feet, is the least one should do.
Mirabella carefully avoids discussing difficult or sensitive subjects. ELEPHANTS have good hearing, detecting sounds as low as 14 to 16 hz (human low range: 20 hz) and as high as 12,000 hz (human high range: 20,000 hz). Whispering a message through ‘broken telephone’ is the polite thing to do.
Mirabella does not turn on the lights in her apartment at night. ANTS are social insects, so when one ant enters your home, others follow. Mirabella hears the footsteps of armies marching. She buys plush carpet.
Mirabella likes to wear high-contrast and bright coloured clothing. The bat-faced TOAD found among the leaves of Amacayacu National Park in Colombia is masterful at blending into its surroundings. Mirabella has a playful side and is not trying to make life difficult.
People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.
This story is "found flash fiction," meaning its materials were sources through Google, remixed and transformed.
It was first published in CarpeArte.
Editor's note: This story was written in response to L'Arte Surreale by Christian Schloe. Please click here to view his work, especially the first one which inspired Schauber's story. We regret being unable to contact the artist. The image shown is another wonderful surreal artwork but was not the original source of inspiration.
Karen Schauber is a seasoned Family Therapist practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her earlier writing is non-fiction and details three decades of psychosocial and analytical cases. Flash Fiction is a new and welcome adventure for her. Fictional short stories are much more fun to read and write! As an emerging artist, Karen hones her craft at home and at the dog beach on the Pacific coast (when it’s not pouring out).
I Love You More Than Popcorn
There’s a pearly translucence to the kernels of corn,
whose hulls hold a hardened starch, which catch the
glints of kitchen light. Shimmers in hot bacon grease
remain hidden when the lid of a cast iron kettle-pan
shuts tight. But the glint in your grandfather’s eyes
will linger there, for a while, in that prolonged light
of your memory. Pangs. From inside
the endosperm, superheated steam pings the popped
corn against the metal cover, it triggers your agitation
of the pan—a methodical turning of the handle
driving metal fins shaped like boat propeller blades
to scrape kernels off the bottom of the gas-fired pot
keeping them from scorching while lifting up
the foamed white puffs of starch. You anticipate
the taste, the crunch, and you carefully control these
explosions just like your grandfather taught you.
No wonder you love popcorn so much,
he was the only one who understood
your desperate hunger, your craving
for the kind words your mother never knew
how to speak to you when you were five,
and even now, often burnt and bitter.
You’d think that your mother’s popcorn pan,
fitted with a pressure relief valve, would make
great popcorn, but she shuffled the round-bottom
pot over electric burners too hard too long
and wore the metal thin. It was always low yield.
After you learned how in first grade, you wrote
a letter to your grandfather with large printed words
puffed-up, saying that if you took the bus to his house,
you hoped that he would pick you up and let you live
with him. He kept your letter in his wallet, together
with his smiles for years. Maybe it was his popcorn.
Only your grandfather’s popcorn, and maybe even
mine with a hint of sea salt and butter on my lips
pressed to yours, can satisfy. You said you love me
more than popcorn… I took your hand and kissed it,
then said the kindest words that I could think of,
Let’s go to the movies… And you understood.
John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone has work in Artemis, Poetry South, Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Pirene's Fountain, and others. He’s a Jean Ritchie Fellowship winner in Appalachian literature (2017) and served as Celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He has three poetry collections, including Flux Lines (Celtic Cat Publishing) forthcoming in 2018. He’s been nominated for Pushcart, Rhysling, and Best of the Net awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, and Liquid Imagination. He’s a professor of physics near Knoxville, TN. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com
Ekphrastic Writing Challenge
Thank you to everyone who participated in our ekphrastic Van Gogh challenge, which ends Friday.
The prompt this time is Summer Joy, by Anders Zorn. Deadline is September 21.
Everyone can participate! Try something new if you've never written from visual art before and discover why there are so many of us devotees. Ekphrastic writing helps artists and lovers of art to look more carefully, from different angles or mindsets, at visual art. And it helps writers discover new ways of approaching their work, their experiences, and writing itself.
The rules are simple.
1. Use this prompt as a springboard for your writing. It can be a poem or short prose (fiction or nonfiction.) You can research the painting or artist and use your discoveries to fuel your writing, or you can let the image alone provoke your imagination.
2. Write as many poems and stories as you like.
3. Have fun.
4. Send only your best results to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Include ZORN CHALLENGE in subject line so that your submission doesn't get lost in the sea of emails.
6. Include your name and a brief bio.
7. Deadline is September 21, 2018.
8. Please do not send revisions, corrections, or changes to your poetry or your biography after the fact. If it's not ready yet, hang on to it until it is.
9. Selected submissions will be published together, with the prompt, following the deadline.
10. Rinse and repeat with upcoming ekphrastic writing challenges!
My unborn son, I must teach you to die
just as I have been taught.
I must teach you Death’s lines,
the shades and hues it carries,
how it stretches on walls,
a contortionist of pastels.
My death with your mother was a fever,
our conjoined hearts always bleeding.
She knew of dying, caught it
on the reflection of canvas.
Stone belonged to me.
This earth was hers.
I buried your mother in a mural
her toes the olivine of a forest,
a revolution of rose under her back,
the long, black crow over her eyes,
its plume widespread. It was then
that I knew I was ending.
La Catrina sings herself a skin tonight.
Long dresses hide her feet. She will ask
me to dance and I will succumb again.
I am a man. I control nothing in this world.
Ready the emerald tie for my neck.
My son, I trade air for thorns.
Jordan E. Franklin
Jordan E. Franklin is a poet from Brooklyn, NY. An alum of Brooklyn College, she recently earned her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton where she served as a Turner Fellow. Her work has appeared in the Southampton Review, Suffragette City Zine, Breadcrumbs, easy paradise and acorn & iris. In 2017, her work “Black Boy” was selected by Major Jackson as the winning poem of the James Hearst Poetry Prize hosted by the North American Review.
When nighthawks strafed the meadow last night,
it reminded me of yours, of those lonely people
at the diner counter, separate but together,
sealed in melancholy, bathed in artificial light.
There’s none of that here, where nighthawks
are known as Fair Birds because they arrive
just before the Ferris wheel and bumper cars,
swooping legions a-twirl at twilight, sudden,
then gone. We are joyous for the promise
they bring: crisping nights of fall, brilliant leaves.
In free, rambunctious flight, our nighthawks
sail on seas of grass, unencumbered
by any artist’s frame like that fencing yours,
and I wonder: did your Nighthawks come
freely, or were they captured, posed
and frozen for your exhibit of despair?
When our nighthawks return this year
to pirouette and dive, we will feel
the heat of August take wing.
We will hear them buzz and cluck
and, if we listen closely, perhaps, a call
to join them — to climb off our stools,
abandon our seats at the counter,
and soar into the night.
Priscilla Melchior is a retired community newspaper journalist who discovered a love for reading and writing poetry five years ago. She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband and two border collies.
The $100 off art sale for the back to school fundraiser for The Ekphrastic Review finished yesterday. Our goal was to sell 20 square foot paintings at $150 (Canadian dollars, free shipping). We fell a bit short of that, selling 1 piece. Nonetheless, I am still most grateful to that person for her support. We also have one new Patreon subscriber and a few PayPal gifts, for which I am so thankful.
The Ekphrastic Review is dear to my heart and I intend to continue to showcase the poetry and prose of talented writers like you, and develop the spectrum and quality of ekphrastic creativity. As I intend to continue my rejection of subscription or submission fees, and my refusal to sully the writers' work with ugly ads or click bait, I will continue looking for ways to monetize this project. My expectation is not to become rich and I understand that most of my work here will always be volunteer hours, and I am committed to the long haul with that understanding. I do hope that I will be able to sell some art to help support the time I put in here and the promotion and development of this journal, and web fees, etc.
With this in mind, I hope you will endure with a smile some occasional "ads" with me sharing some artwork in hopes someone might wish to put in on their wall.
Thank you for reading us, writing for us, and for being part of The Ekphrastic Review!
Gift us through PayPal! From one dollar to one million, we'll gratefully accept. Use this email: email@example.com
Become a Patreon patron here. You can subscribe for as little as $2 a month and your support goes directly to time spent working on Ekphrastic.
Pick out some original art from Lorette C. Luzajic at www.mixedupmedia.ca. Just drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org after you do, and I'll know that proceeds from that purchase are intended to support the journal.
Scenes from an Ideal Marriage
This one, a bluff in autumn:
bloom of sumac and the crushed fruit
of the red chokeberry trailing. Flowers early,
but this more vibrant. That colour that always catches
the eye first, goading, goading, and, also, asks us to stop.
We went headlong down the slope in November,
his assertion as guide: hurtle yourself forward and run
and you won’t fall. Not right away.
Not for years even, maybe.
So, see, we began in the season leading
to decline, to the sleep of the deciduous.
And didn’t think anything of it.
There’s the froth of pink lighter than of the smoke bush
we planted by the first house. And the spill of grey interrupted
by light coming through the window, that butter yellow
one of us doesn’t mind. And just a little bit of blue.
And then here: the space for leaping.
Could be snow, dirty snow. Certainly
more of that than the other of other months –
all those cheerful flowerings, bleh.
Smudge out the rectangle, the box
we kept the letters in. Back when we wrote letters,
the ink a smudge, too.
All that ink, here: the tipped well.
Eventually, you found a pen that wouldn’t bleed,
but only one missive came after.
Since there was no need for the written word
any longer. Across the table we sat from one another,
another rectangle. And the bed with the blue coverlet.
And something like song.
Spring is for rutting. The stamen
dusted and thrusting. And green, really,
for the first time.
That exposed collarbone does something
one of us cannot speak of. Though the other sees
it, too. And gives over to another year, a new year.
Wait. This is the ideal. The gloss.
The wedding toast, vacation pic. The love song
of mid-May one of us once danced to.
Here is spring with its feverish nuptial planning
and the pink of the feathered peony. Also:
the pink of the hydrangea that comes later.
You will stake the tree, but it will lean and topple anyway.
The circus of summer. Riot of growth.
The blasted rose so unlike those she displayed
in bud vases on the shelf, on the windowsill.
Here is purple in swirls, or is it violet, he asks.
Something like the haze that comes over mountains
we once saw from a distance.
And the rectangle now an upright box, maybe
a booth one of us sits in and smiles,
thinking of another.
The wash of water and reach of fern, the fronds
rusting at their tips. And the mum on the doorstep:
that cheap, wedding garnish.
And almost nothing of the empty paper, just the upper
Kelly R. Samuels
Kelly R. Samuels lives in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net (2017), and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including The Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, Heron Tree, and RHINO. She has a chapbook forthcoming in January from Unsolicited Press.
Paris through the Window
Our window, this colourful life we share. Surprising. Or is middle age always surprising? It feels swampy, landlocked with a view in every direction but no opening. That’s why it’s so important we have this one view, our view, our recent history or now, you would say, because we’re trying to keep our heads here by the window of today, whatever the view. We’re trying to stay in this up and down dimension, the depth of the present, learning the point of things that has nothing to do with a horizontal story of me or you.
I dreamed last night that you’d lost an arm and I still loved you, loved you so much, and so I learned that I could forgive myself too for weakness, doubt, and complication. You were me and I you because I also needed to see that you would still love me too. Should I wish you had said it, that I wouldn’t have had to see it for myself? Words matter more to me than to you. What are words to a heart in the hand, a tractor-beam animal loyalty?
You’ve been part feline to me for a while, affectionate, at home, but still wild in the eyes, slightly acrobatic around the house, occasionally ironic in movement, rarely very serious, light and many-lived without looking it—resilient.
My face is cold, classical, Helenic. Yours is gentle and un-cold even though it’s blue. How do you do that? This is the kind of question you see in me. I think about things with serious black eyes. You drop flowers from your lips. But there’s also this light yellow glow in me I’ve just begun to see reflected in the Paris windows and parachuters sending me thank-you notes.
We often stand and look out the window. I thought it was for the view, but it’s for this image of us, the waking dream we create to see what we need to know.
Elizabeth Paul’s chapbook Reading Girl is a collection of ekphrastic prose poems based on paintings by Henri Matisse. Other work has appeared in Cider Press Review, Unbroken Journal, Duende, and elsewhere. Liz served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and currently teaches at George Mason University. Find her at elizabethsgpaul.com.
He painted it as though Watteau had seen
The Myrtle Avenue El at twilight
Just after rain had glazed the wood to a sheen
So that the platform mirrored a burning sky.
On the platform’s glass he stands, a Harlequin,
At vanishing point: rails glazed by dying light
A gigantic lamppost threatens like a gibbet,
Night falling fast on buildings now exhibits
Surprising light that winks from the last few windows
Except for the single one of the Reader Advisor
Who is always home, you will never catch her dozing.
Has Harlequin consulted her? Is he wiser?
After putting his last question, is he closer?
Prepared to strum his mandolin, on fire,
He waits for Columbine on the next train.
But does he know there will never be a next train?
For the Myrtle avenue El, it is long gone
but the Reader Advisor is always home.
Frank is a 75-year-old retired Hematologist Oncologist who grew up in Brooklyn. He is an unpublished writer of poetry and fiction who hopes to be published before his demise.
Alouette, Au Lapin Agile
You like visiting the famed cabaret.
visited, as well, by Utrillo,
Picasso, and others famed in former
days, their paintings hanging there,
brushed by Yesterday’s collected
dust and smell of cooking grease.
What trusting tones from muted talk,
what pretty French chansons! What
press of crowds and squeezing onto
benches hard! And seemingly
Picasso revisits, and Hemingway’s
seated there—and from songs
at the center you recall events
told in childhood fables. And you
muse on that thief who made off
with many of your best memories.
Carole Mertz has poetry and critiques at various literary journals, including Ascent Aspirations, Arc Poetry (online), Conium Review, CutBank, Eclectica, Indiana Voice Journal, Mom Egg Review, Prairie Light Review, Society of Classical Poets, South 85 Journal, World Literature Today, and The Write Place at the Write Time. She enjoys spending as much time out of doors as possible, riding bike, and reading in Italian.
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