Self Portrait Seen in Floral Queen
No image have I ever seen
more faithfully as mirror glean
the essence of creative soul
so by its art becoming whole
as in the lilt of floral queen
whose realm is her imagined scene
where colors effervesce as breath
of life, though still, immune to death
and borders of reality
within which she can juxtapose
emotions as if embryos
to cast as seed to wind that nigh
so makes it seem that she can fly.
Portly Bard: Old man. Ekphrastic fan.
Prefers to craft with sole intent
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Buddha and Jesus: Gap Years
Siddartha Gotama, did you travel,
Goatskin bag, begging bowl,
Dusty sandals, orange robes,
Finding the coast of Australia,
60,000 years people living the Dreamtime,
Did you sit with an old shaman
Under the shade of a gum tree ?
Your visage serene
still lovingly wrapped
in an ancient tree in Siam.
Jesus, in those missing years
Were you in India
Finding freedom from suffering
Among the Buddha’s disciples
On the banks of the Ganges ?
Your bloodstained face impressed
on the shroud of Turin
a mirror cinquain
or eternal spirit,
enlightenment or carver’s art?
gazing into the Now
in brevity of centuries.
Who are you?
What are you?
Merely stone in wood?
More than human?
You breathe nature
though you breathe not.
in a block of marble,
Who saw Buddha
nestled in the roots
of that banyan tree?
Who saw you in full detail--
lips resting soft,
one upon the other?
Was it I?
Matter and form,
He is awake
I am asleep.
"What are you?"
asked the five ascetics,
"Are you a ghost?
Are you a spirit?
Are you a demon?"
I look upon that face
looking out at me,
that tree birthing that face,
and I hear your answer,
"I am awake!”
All reality awakes
to its true nature,
its true being,
that which can be
to that which is,
and out of doubt.
Wherever I go,
there I am,
George W. Ross
Three lives wandering six of the seven continents, meet and, charmed by the Muse of Poetry, collaborate. Joel Rombouts, originating in S. Africa, S. America, and Australia is the author of a novel, short stories, and poems set in Australasia when he isn’t tending his mango farm. George W. Ross hails from Boston, but raised his family in Costa Rica and San Francisco before retiring to Thailand where he writes poetry and performs at the Magic Poetry Theatre. Victoria Crawford moseys around in retirement writing and doing needlework. Individually and collaboratively the three have been published in journals such as Parousia, ColdNoon, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Lyric, and performed at the Magic Poetry Theatre.
The Persistence of Memory
could not tell time at all.
Dalí knew it.
and hung like laundry.
Dalí counted on it.
his dream memory
and persisted in
the clocks that needed
to cool off.
tick tock, Dalí mumbled
as he worked.
the clocks amusing and
soft to walk on.
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, born in Mexico, lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His poetry has been published by Alternating Current Press, Deadbeat Press, New Polish Beat, Poet's Democracy, and Ten Pages Press. His latest chapbook, Make the Light Mine, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions.
Witch Hunt: Salem
Step in. It’s cooler in here.
Darker, too, though.
She must have heard them coming.
Men. Horses. A wagon. A righteous mission.
They came by night, cloaked in darkness.
There. By the fireside.
She must have waited there.
The fire warmed her pill box house
as her family gathered around her
seeking solace and strength.
She was a good Christian woman.
She must have been praying to God --
to a god whose Bible
said she must die.
For a mark. A mumble. A rat. A cat.
She had them all.
She must have known it was useless.
She was helpless against them.
They had power. Zeal. Torches. Rope.
She must have gone calmly and piously.
That was her way.
She had gotten old being that way,
day after day, faithfully.
She had tended the fields, the flowers, the fires,
but mostly her family --
her straitlaced husband and her eight children.
who now gathered around her,
struck silent by fear.
She must have realized
she would be jailed, whipped, starved, tortured,
then hanged from the gallows,
left to swing there in the dark night
until she was cut down and buried
in the hard, cold earth.
No one knows where.
Step out, now.
Watch the light. It can hurt your eyes.
Editor's Note: Rebecca Nurse, 71, was hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The poet visited her homestead and was moved by the experience and the cover art, depicting Nurse's home, of the book she bought, first published in 1930.
Cynthia Pitman has had poetry published in Literary Yard and Right Hand Pointing. The title of the RHP issue, The White Room, was from her poem, and the artwork was designed around it. She has poetry forthcoming in Amethyst Review and Postcard Poems and Prose, and a short story forthcoming in Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.
after Kara Walker’s artwork by the same name
A midnight woman in the shape of a monster takes center stage. Master of ceremonies
Shrinks in her radiant shadow, though still wields the sting of his tiny stick
Like a promise of rage unstrung. Is she revelation or divination? Is she embodiment
Of her own, or our salvation? Has she read the quilted maps of her own star-crossed palms?
Master shrinks in her pulsated shadow, becomes little man gripped in one
Hand, while pinstruck voudou child rides the other. Mother/Destroyer, Mama Oya.
Her dual nature compels her still: squeeze the pale life from him, throw his husk to hogs.
Be rid of his ever-present will; lift the chains of his privilege. She knows she can
Take his wand, break that hated stick by sleight of her gifted hand. Her revenant laugh
Cracks the air, blows back the dusty curtain of history to reveal power: her long repressed,
Her stereotyped, her hungry, her abandoned, her mythical sex. Once called succubus,
Wanton, witch, unsexed field-hand, now she channels hidden centuries of womb wisdom.
She’ll teach master his true size; this is not his show. The show must go on and will repeat
Like syncopated refrains of ancient songs. Far from copasetic, yet it will do. It will do,
Cake-walking its steady road through cotton-pricked fields of pain. She tacks a scrap of her
Scarred heart to the magic doll: pain she wants to give that little man, a sharp knife serving
Soured fruit. She knows pain can teach, reach beyond mere truth. She offers her own
Needled coming-of-age, keloided ebony skin as proof: pain alchemized her power. Behold:
She is fabled vision, no mere ingénue. Her breasts should sag with weight of long labour, famine.
Her beauty, defiant rides high. Colossal, her sex yields rivers of pleasure above his shrieks.
She speaks: I am a multitude, the only one, made anew each hour, each moon;
I eclipse your every imagination. I birth myself without respite.
I name myself: The Stillness and the Dance
I name myself: Mother of Nations
I name myself: Hope of Warriors
My name is Confluence, Convergence: my powers multiply.
I transform the small world in my mighty, mighty hands.*
Maura Alia Badji
*Source for last two lines: Lines 37 and 38, Exquisite Corpse 032015, Strange, and Tribble.
The poet was inspired by a particular work of Kara Walker, called You Do. Click here to view it.
Maura Alia Badji is a poet and writer. Her poetry and essays have appeared in many publications, including Cobalt, The Delaware Review, Pirene’s Fountain, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The Good Men Project, This City Is a Poem, Barely South Review, Red Flag Poetry, The Phoenix Soul, The Buffalo News, and The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. Her poems are in anthologies from Liberated Muse, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Night Ballet Press, Yellow Chair Press, and others. Maura earned her MFA from University of WA, Seattle where she was also an editorial assistant at The Seattle Review. She is a member of The Watering Hole, an online community for poets of colour. A NY state native, Maura lives in Virginia Beach with her son, Ibrahim.
Theo, what good news!
You're a father and everyone
is healthy. I imagine
little Vincent's finger
clinging to yours, like
a new tendril hooking
a stem for support.
It lifts my spirits
to know, no matter how
my mind wanders,
you are forever
The orchards were flowering
when I first arrived in Arles.
This almond tree
captures that moment,
its milky blossoms lit
the only way happiness
can be, from
Bob Bradshaw is recently retired, and living in California. He is a big fan of the Rolling Stones. Mick may not be gathering moss, but Bob is. Bob's work can be found in many publications on the net, including Apple Valley Review, Eclectica, Loch Raven Review, Peacock Journal and Pedestal Magazine, among others.
Lounging lord and lady they are today
Makers of their own realms and in-between.
The drama of lover and libertine,
Locked in passions draw, its hold, its replay,
Dazzles the audience with golden touch
Of Midas, the king of all our metals.
Earth, who I chiseled into place, settles
Her accounts, peppercorns for such and such.
Sea creatures toss up their ready sovereign
To direct the tempests with trident wand.
He metes out his hoard of riches in salt.
Together the sentient world they govern,
As inlets and ridges entangle a bond
That pleasures them both. Our lives they exalt.
Dennis Daly lives in Salem MA. He has published six books of poetry and poetic translations. His 7th book, The Devil's Artisan, Sonnets from the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini is now seeking a publisher.. His blog site Weights and Measures is dennisfdaly.blogspot.com.
If you let go of your Halloween
peanut and candy corn coated breath,
it will become a ghost in the city of Odessa.
Not like that cheery chubby Casper cartoon
or those grotesque movie ghouls.
Rather a spirit of relief floating in an October chill.
Is this how we make the world small?
Through breath and air?
Maybe the redwoods in California
will smell the sweet aroma of your release.
If you dress yourself in a coat of curiosity
while driving around these overcrowded concrete streets,
you will see the city’s dress is summer green
with a hem of frightened yellow, drab brown
and a collar of panicked orange.
Munch mimics fall with the same hues
in Der Schrei der Natur.
This contorted face he sketched
in his whirlwind of colours
is no more terrifying than my dreams
rummaging through the darkness, fishing for stars.
Is this what fear looks like,
a distorted jaw and murky shadows?
If so, does a violet scream joy?
If we wait until tomorrow to remove our masks,
truth will follow us into November.
You will see beneath this flesh I am a pole.
Your words lean against everything you once feared.
Loretta Diane Walker
This poem was first published in Ilya's Honey Literary Journal.
Loretta Diane Walker, a multiple Pushcart Nominee, and Best of the Net Nominee, won the 2016 Phyllis Wheatley Book Award for poetry, for her collection, In This House (Bluelight Press). Loretta was named “Statesman in the Arts” by the Heritage Council of Odessa. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies including, River of Earth and Sky, Her Texas, and Concho River Review. She has published four collections of poetry. Her most recent collection is Desert Light, Lamar University Press. Her manuscript Word Ghetto won the 2011 Bluelight Press Book Award. Naomi Shihab Nye states, “Loretta Diane Walker writes with compassionate wisdom and insight—her poems restore humanity.”
Two Seamstresses in the Workroom
"I wonder: are my limitations ours?
What can my hands produce which yours cannot?
These shears - a polished steel interface
between me and the cloth - could you not use
their intersecting contours to trace
the same patterns I find carefully wrought
in chalk along this silken organdy,
its plain weave balanced by complexity
of printed roses, petals, green-veined leaves
falling away along a future seam?"
She answered: "When all patterns interfuse
their borders into one, roses redeem
all our divisions, and the eye perceives
no separation, even when the stem
turns back upon itself beneath the hem,
our vision follows, crafting it complete.
And so my hands are yours, and yours are mine
and all these roses, ruby or chartreuse,
repeat what they conceal: curve or line,
the flowing border or the gathered pleat,
until blossoms, transformed, become earthstars.
W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (2011). He received his PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), the Paris Lake Poetry Prize and Potomac Review Prize. His work appears widely online and in print. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is editor of Peacock Journal.
For Roland Barthes and Crockett Johnson
The punctum is his red toe
Not August in Maine
Not his blond hair turning wheatish in the back
Or the frowsy sweep of the home haircut
Not the jump
Or the big weird rocks
Ok maybe the rocks play a role
But not the one we thought
Not his age, 5
Or time passing, now seven months
Here in Perkins Cove the garbage cans sport aspirational messages
Here are ice cream cones blueberry infused
Wearing his sister’s old sweater
Maybe the punctum is his ear
Maybe his tiny, delicate profile
Not the cowlick cut by his father
But the gentle closing of thumb and forefinger on his right hand
Unconscious signifier of balance and grace
Picking up the ocean like a curtain or a blanket
Drawing to its fold
Allison Moore teaches contemporary art and photo history at the University of South Florida. Her criticism has been published in Artforum, among other places, and her scholarly book on Malian photography is forthcoming with Duke University Press.
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Charles M. Boyer
Marion Starling Boyer
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Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Faith M. Deruelle
John Scott Dewey
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Steven Wittenberg Gordon
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
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Matthew E. Henry
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
David M. Katz
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
Fiona Tinwei Lam
John R. Lee
Clarissa Mae de Leon
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Diane G. Martin
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Sharon Fish Mooney
Thomas R. Moore
Diane V. Mulligan
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
Casey Elizabeth Newbegin
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Andrew K. Peterson
Laurel S. Peterson
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Molly Nelson Regan
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Jeannie E. Roberts
Ralph La Rosa
George W. Ross
Mary C. Rowin
Iain Lim Jun Rui
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Brian A. Salmons
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Pamela Joyce Shapiro
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
Helen Leslie Sokolsky
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Memye Curtis Tucker
Janine Pommy Vega
David Joez Villaverde
Loretta Diane Walker
Sue Brannan Walker
Joanna M. Weston
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
Amy Louise Wyatt
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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