A Child Again
viewing the Dutch film The Vanishing
I lean forward to meet the flame at centre frame engulfed
in darkness. My eyes adjust.
A red silken backdrop falls forward. The heroine’s elbows fan out
against the casket that hems her in.
My feet press the floor. Her trembling makes the spark waver
then go out.
Will she catch a whiff of chloroform beneath her quivering upper lip?
Again she flicks
her lighter, its flame held close enough to scorch the fabric
of fear. Her low groan
makes me shudder. The camera cuts to the fresh-turned ground
she lies beneath.
From moving upright to buried alive. I can’t breathe! My own elbows
measure left, right.
I’m twelve again, reading burial tales under thick covers
by flickering flashlight.
Her tremble risks setting silk on fire. Be still. Don’t waste oxygen.
Margo’s poems have appeared in Light: A Journal of Photography & Poetry, Wisconsin Review, Midwest Quarterly, Slipstream, Agave Magazine, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Forthcoming poems are to appear in Misfit Magazine, Civilized Beasts, Vine Leaves Literary, Burgers and Barrooms Anthology, and Echoes Off a Canyon Wall, an ekphrastic photo / poetry exhibit.
Tonight, after the men leave,
this white farmhouse is like
a poem about Quiet.
Softly ticking clocks. Faucet
Photographs on the piano
smiling at no one.
Polished floors uncreaking.
Purse gaping on the floor.
Outside, fields stretch
out below the moon.
Animals shift in their stalls.
Farmhouses in the country
always seem to mind their own
business, keep their mouths shut.
In the morning — Sunday
before church — two girls will
walk up the staircase of this
silent house, call Nancy?
approach her bedroom,
the door standing open
inviting them in to see.
Tricia Marcella Cimera
This poem first appeared in 22-5.
It was inspired by Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Look for her work in these diverse places (some forthcoming): Anti-Heroin Chic, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Failed Haiku, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, The Bees are Dead, Wild Plum and elsewhere. She has two micro collections, THE SEA AND A RIVER and BOXBOROUGH POEMS, on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois / in a town called St. Charles / by a river named Fox and keeps a Poetry Box in her front yard.
René Magritte: The Unexpected Answer (1933)
Later you will wonder
how I locked the bedroom door
from the inside. “Open up!”
you’ll yell. Try the knob, barge
in without an answer.
For the rest of my days,
I’ll relish imagining that moment
you find the room stripped,
empty as your heart.
This poem was written as part of the surprise ekphrastic challenge for Magritte.
Alarie’s latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
The Pianist and The Poet
Seymour Bernstein barely blinks
when he talks, his eyes as at ease
in the light of the world as his hands,
poised over the keys when he asks
us to mark how the note hovers
in air after it’s struck so that even
its final hush finds accord. He touches
his student’s arm with a gentle continuum,
in perfect concordance, urges her heart
closer to Bach, reminds her to listen,
to breathe, like my poet friend Amy
says in a poem: “Listen. The high kiss
of finch grabs a thread of air.”
This is a transport, rapid as half of a breath
“as if ears were satellite dishes on stems”.
She teaches too and waits as long as it takes
for her students to hear. She knows
what that means, how it helps to blend
the word and the sound of the word
so the ear and the brain work together.
“These tiniest bones hear us think.”
Yes, listen to the hush that carries the sound.
Editor's note: This poem was inspired by Ethan Hawke’s documentary about Seymour Bernstein, Seymour—An Introduction, and Amy Young’s poem “Ossicles.” Scroll below to read Amy's poem.
The Ekphrastic Review was absolutely delighted to hear from Amy Young, who generously agreed to share her poem, too, as well as from Seymour Bernstein, the subject of Judith Bowles' poem and the documentary movie by Ethan Hawke.
Judith Bowles lives, writes and gardens in Washington D. C. She has an MFA from the American University in short fiction and taught creative writing there. Two of her stories were selected for the Pen Syndicated Fiction Project. Her poems have been published in The Delmarva Review, The Innisfree Journal of Poetry, and Gargoyle. Her book, The Gatherer, was published by WordTech Communication’s Turning Point in November of 2014.
The Replicants in Question
"Every angel is terrifying."
—Rilke, The Duino Elegies
What’s this? Deckard asks: not who.
Clever bit of exposition, to reveal the quarry
to us and Deck together, let him query Bryant
for us, our proxy, blue membrane
of smoke haze rising between them.
Nexxus 6. Each description straight
from dimestore pulp, a reduction
to function, the body’s brute
uses. The heads, factory fresh,
spin as in a shop window. Skull-capped,
mute and gazeless, a sameness.
No snake tattoo, no shock of white hair,
no hate love fear anger envy yet.
Transformation, the interpreted world: time
cut off as failsafe. And if
the machine doesn’t work?
Flight, light: Deckard narrows his eyes.
Spinners flare out their flame-red haloes.
The score recalls its daring first notes --
a kestrel keening—
This poem is from the author's in-process manuscript addressing the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner. Envisioned as a sort of "poetry commentary track" for the film's Final Cut version, the poems address the movie's themes of memory, the body, and what it means to be human by weaving screen action and imagery with personal memory, interpretation, and a splash of Rilke.
Jan Bottiglieri lives and writes in Schaumburg, IL. She is a managing editor for the poetry annual RHINO and received her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Jan’s poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including Harpur Palate, Court Green, Bellevue Literary Review, and Rattle. She is the author of the chapbook Where Gravity Pools the Sugar and the full-length poetry collection Alloy. Visitjanbottiglieri.com.
after it all becomes too much, the girl begins to run.
she is running away from her past life,
running away from her future life, her death.
she is running away from those that ruined
her brothers, her fathers and mothers,
running away from the those that would ruin her.
she is running away from everything
she knows to be good and right and true,
toward the great unknown
with no one beside her.
she is running away
and she does not know where she is going –
she does not want to know – it does not matter.
they begin to follow, give chase,
but then they stop,
smile, laugh, smile all the more.
they do not need to shoot her,
do not need to do anything.
they have done their job.
the world will take care of her, they think,
and they are right, of course.
the girl is running away, and maybe
she is even making good speed,
making progress, but
she is running toward nothing,
and she has nothing,
and she is nothing.
they know this.
they forget, however,
the running girl is not just one thing.
running girl can write. running girl can sing.
This poem was inspired by the film, Inglorious Bastards.
Jordan Makant is a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. He is an Assistant Editor for Scott Owens' Wild Goose Poetry Review and a co-founder for the Hickory, NC based theatre arts charity, the Hickory Playground. Previous publications include Rat's Ass Review, The Main Street Rag, and Winston-Salem Writers' Poetry in Plain Sight project.
Storm and Stone
Beneath the lightning's storm where nothing stirs,
Your beauty, like Toledo's bridge, remains:
Four centuries of night span now shares,
Yet Greco's arch, like you, my heart sustains.
As silver leaps from green 'cross Tagus' tide,
You sweep me past all threatening chasms' cares
And set me free to choose ways to your side,
That I might rest where my true love prefers.
There, stayed within the pillared ranks of men,
Insensate stone and cloistering beauty's pride,
I am but helpless till you choose, and then
Our souls are matched, mere marble's mask denied.
No stone, storm lit, in exile's fairest image shines
As fair as bounds my heart,
where my fair's heart opines.
Nigel Stuart is a retired history professor with a secondary professional interest in renaissance Europe, artistic practice, and in film. Toledo is one of his favourite places, and it appears in the painting by El Greco, in the film Tristana, and in this poem.
Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman
Of course, she is grossly out of proportion.
A woman only fifty feet tall would not be able
to straddle a four-lane highway, hold a Desoto
in one hand as though it were a burrito.
And that car is twice the size of the others strewn
before her. I mention this, because I do think that
size matters — certainly in the instance of this beauty
in her skimpy skirt and top made of bed linens.
For a male growing up in the fifties and sixties,
a redhead with breasts the size of weather balloons
is pretty much the Goddess incarnate. I would
gladly be one of her subjects; I even know which one.
Of the five people between her well tanned legs,
four run for their lives. But the one near her left calf
dashes toward the center of that highway, headed
for the spot where he can contemplate the abyss.
And though he is tiny, less than the size of her thumb,
he has gumption, a can-do spirit, and a stiff spine.
He will rise to the occasion. The others may flee in terror,
but he means to stand tall; he intends to fulfill.
Roderick Bates has published poems in The Dark Horse, Stillwater Review, Naugatuck River Review, Hobo Camp Review, and Rat’s Ass Review (which he now edits). He also writes prose, and won an award from the International Regional Magazines Association for an essay published in Vermont Life. He is a Vermonter and a Dartmouth graduate.
The Last Confession of Sister Ruth
On top of this mountain, the air is too thin even for God. He can’t see me out of habit,
slinking down the scrabbled path, my prayer lost in the drone and strafe of the high
Himalayas. There’s a man waiting, warm blooded, where the wind is calm. Oh, sisters,
how do you quench the fire, the lava that flows from between your thighs, the constant
reminder of past and present, the vow of untouched future? I am a Bride of Christ, but
this long distance relationship just isn’t working out. What did I think I would find here?
My life’s purpose blowing out of the snowcaps? Maybe the devil found me instead. On
those long, cold nights as the wind moaned desire into my ear, a demon appeared in the
mirror, put ice in my veins and murder in my fingers. No one can stop me now. I’m going
to the village to offer myself as a sacrifice, and if that man sends me back up the
mountain, I’ll just come down again – flying – wearing my forbidden red lipstick as a
Collin Kelley is the author of the poetry collections Better To Travel, Slow To Burn, After the Poison and the American Library Association-honored Render. Sibling Rivalry Press has published his trilogy of novels, Conquering Venus, Remain In Light and Leaving Paris. His poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies around the world. www.collinkelley.com
Imagine an alternate future
in which Tom Cruise
is elected president.
I’m not saying
it could really happen,
but imagine a future
in which the state
is one gigantic eyeball
that never blinks.
In this perversion
the group mind is such
that any deviation
is treated with the utmost
anyone who uses thus
in a poem will be summarily
executed. I’m not saying
it’s going to happen,
but sooner or later,
is going to blow himself up.
Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize. The recipient of the 2015 Literal Latté Poetry Award and the 2007 Discovered Voices Award from Iron Horse Literary Review, she has published poems in Best New Poets 2007, The Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and many other journals. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a PhD from Western Michigan University and is currently Associate Professor of English at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.
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