Thick, violent lines, scratching out the darkness
Anger, loneliness, sadness, locked inside
Assaulted by the images hiding in the darkness
given life by imagination, mutated/interpreted from outside
I see You there, not the You I want to remember, but
the You that attacks me when I close my eyes,
the You that defined Rending and Gnashing in your final days
Not the You that taught me about life, fairness, and not judging by sight
Not the You that shaped me with kindness, patience, and love,
but the You that was decimated by cancer - locked You inside your own head,
called the medication that mutated the world You imagined You saw
It is not the loving life I see, but the goodbye that haunts me.
It’s the regret that locks me inside my own box,
Hastened by sadness, loneliness, and fear of the future and the past,
Mutated by the fear that projects self-judgments into the eyes of others.
Tony Daly is a DC/Metro Area based creative writer and federal writer/editor. He has an MA in Creative Writing from SUNY College at Brockport and a BA in English from the University at Buffalo. He has had a few short stories and poems published in collections in the US and the UK. Most recently he had a poem published in the Rat's Ass Review.
(with a line from Jane Kenyon)
Jane, there are days I want to shout
that like you, I too have found
the gray hair in the wash bucket
and the drop of dried gravy on the boat lip.
My man’s shirt tail, as well, is lucky
tucked as it is, into his pants waist.
Modern ears are stoppered
to the whispers of daily delights
and miseries. The agenda of every day
is not enough. The wash line is not flag
enough to raise. The bird at the feeder,
the rippled pond, the thrum in the chest,
none of these enough.
From you, I learned there is no need
to clash cymbals and rattle bars.
On a good day we can hear
the rustling step of others.
I have heard yours—for me
that is more than enough.
It might have been otherwise.
Poet's note: "In 'Plains Truths,' images were taken from the poetry of Jane Kenyon, including a line from her poem, 'Otherwise.'
Editor's Note: This poem was inspired by the poetry of Jane Kenyon, not by the image shown, which was an editorial decision.
Carol McMahon is a teacher and poet who has been published in various journals (Prodigal, IthacaLit, Unlost Journal, The Wild Word, Blue Collar Review) and has a chapbook, On Any Given Day, published by FootHills Press. McMahon received an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop in Washington State and when not teaching, reading or writing can be found out trail-running or on the water rowing.
En Plein Air- an Ekphrastic Haibun
The morning chill steeps into my tea, hands cupping the bowl slowly start to warm, but my toes are still freezing. In this predawn quiet along with the muzzein’s litany I hear a crow call, then another and still another while an all enveloping opalescent mist rises beyond the widow makers.
In the harvested field I see a haystack with its belly open, excavated, hollow.
I am reminded of the 25 canvases of ‘Haystacks’ painted by Claude Monet in Giverny to show the difference of light in various seasons. The one that attracts me most is "Wheatstacks (End of Summer)." It was one of the paintings discussed by the docent on our free Seniors Art Tour Day at the Art Institute of Chicago. Monet’s genius with the subtle colours displayed there are the same as those I now see in India.
Then Van Gogh’s last painting "Wheat Fields with Crows," also painted in 1890, comes to mind and a deep desolation engulfs me. I look at the dark lowering sky with crows over a wind-whipped wheat field. I wonder what angst drove him to shoot himself that day.
It is time for the Shradh to begin. For the next two weeks we will fast, pray and give offerings to the Brahmins, birds and animals in their name, seek blessings from our ancient ones. This year, I will add Monet and Van Gogh to my list of souls.
autumn equinox –
above the lightening
the last koel’s song
Poet's Note: Shradh is one of the most significant times to remember our ancestors and pray for the departed souls to rest in peace.
This haibun was first published at Nature Writing.
Dr. Ms Angelee Deodhar is an eye surgeon by profession as well as a haiku poet, translator, and artist. She lives and works in, Chandigarh India. Her haiku, haibun and haiga have been published internationally in various books and journals, and her work can be viewed on many websites.
Autumn fills the kitchen –
golden onions and Ma’s copper kettle
warm the dimming light.
makes me cry, she says, but I know
Soon the savory aroma deepens.
Carmelized onions turn the broth a beefy
brown. She adds thyme, a splash
of apple cider, starts the slow simmer.
Our noses feast long before our tongues.
The memory makes my eyes water.
This poem was written as part of the 20 Poem Challenge.
Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She became fascinated by fine art at an early age, even though she had to go to the World Book Encyclopedia to find it. Today she visits museums everywhere she travels and spends time at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where her husband is a volunteer guide. Alarie’s poetry book, Running Counterclockwise, contains many ekphrastic poems. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
Blue Green and Brown
She wonders what is intimate
about an enormous canvas hung
up on a museum wall.
Museums are silent except for
garbled conversations, docents’ lectures, spills
of sound from someone’s device.
Nothing is intimate, not even
silence, the pristine space between
each person in a public place.
She sits at home with
the image on her screen,
all other lights off. In
twilight, blue, green, and brown
envelop her, keeping her company
in this humidity. Cicadas call
each other. Indoor and outdoors
blend : buses’ wheeze, the washer’s
slosh. She feels the space
between her and them dissolve.
This poem was first published in Setu.
Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... , an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review, and a professor of English at Montgomery College. Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press.
Her first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking up at Trees of Heaven, is available through Kind of a Hurricane Press: http://barometricpressures.blogspot.com/2014/10/listening-to-electric-cambodia-looking.html .
Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including The San Pedro River Review, Cactifur, Of/with, bird's thumb, Truck, Algebra of Owls, Setu, The Bees Are Dead, and South Florida Poetry Journal. Two poems have received nominations for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize respectively. Recently she was artist in residence at The Wild Word: http://thewildword.com/artist-in-residence-marianne-szlyk/ .
She hopes that you will consider sending work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: http://thesongis.blogspot.com/
György Ligeti, Lontano
There is micropolyphony
a fractalic geometry
of canons in canons
faraway echoes of Bach
on the horizon
massive clouds of Mahler
(all the right notes
but not necessarily
in the right order)
e lon gat ed
and I wonder
what it all adds up to
until I look up
and see my daughter
in the eye of the storm
Jonathan Taylor is an author, lecturer and critic from the UK. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), and the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the UK. He lives in Leicestershire with his wife, the poet Maria Taylor, and their twin daughters, Miranda and Rosalind. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.
Rockets and Blue Lights
Close at hand to warn steamboats of shoal water,
flares like fireworks stage this catastrophe.
A palimpsest: a sail rides where once were two,
the second sunk under a quagmire of pigment,
which insists in and through its provenance.
Blues: azure, ultramarine, sapphire,
fuse frail chromatics; they babble from the shore,
where a daubed shadow holds a telescope:
no steamboat, just an implosive vortex of light,
purblind to its white hole heart.
How it beguiles, this hinter-world.
Up close, the canvas hides not quite wholeness
with brushstrokes, which despite brio, bravura,
reveal themselves as such: handiwork.
To the left, a mast-shroud ship’s translucence,
half lost in steam, spray,
once again the underpaint disclosing itself:
the tones, crude retouchings, the uppermost
layers of glaze. They shore up figure and ground,
stir the wreckage, keep it in abeyance.
To the right though is the most sundered,
most torn, and the thing itself pierces
through the multi layering, braid of authorship.
All is a gyre, which marks the brink
of memory. Fog funnelling centripetally
staves off the risk of everything folding in
on itself. All is, after all, restoration, stripping
off a surplus of harmonies, atmospherics;
staying within the frame, obeying its edges,
till all that’s left is one axis: that of metaphor.
Patrick Wright has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His poems have been published in several magazines, most recently Agenda, Poetry London, Iota, and Brittle Star. He teaches Creative Writing at the Open University.
The pretense of sleep gives way to trusting slumber
under a cloud of black, a grey wall, that low, dun
wreck of a ceiling. The rise of her hip makes my breath catch.
It squares, slopes to the fall of rounded buttock.
Her legs are positioned to ease the pain of knee on knee
Like an expectant mother. Such inviolate privacy.
The brush licks sacral shadows, private hollows,
her rough and callused heels. Still she sleeps,
a monument in milk and twilight, flesh and stone,
chalk and ink, ash and linen.
Karen G. Berry
Karen G. Berry is a writer who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared in Goblin Fruit, Prairie Poetry, Fireweed, Dream Journal, Napalm and Novocaine, and numerous themed print anthologies. She's the author of one novel and co-author of another. She gave up telling lies for telling stories in her early twenties and has never regretted the choice. She blogs at https://karengberry.mywriting.network/
Interior of a House in the Yoshiwara
My face is drawn a hundred times the same –
the same slant eyes, the brow as light and
insubstantial as a moth, the lips like blood,
a hundred of us, glowing sisterhood,
we scratch and squabble for the same prize.
It is an eternal art, our heart-shaped faces
and the way we make them smile, a thing
so practiced it consumes the soul. My lovers
flash and are gone in an instant like lightening
bugs in the thick of August. I remain.
Margaret Wack has been previously published in Strange Horizons, Liminality, and Twisted Moon, among others. More can be found at margaretwack.com.
This Family Called Apple
Plumped up and pinched,
rosy-cheeks of a kind,
ample curves, breasts
and buttocks nestled
side by side, silent
picture of health,
what could be growing
wrong on the inside. When
lost in thought in the orchard
I plucked their glossy bodies–
let them fall into my canvas
apron– ignoring your warnings–
invisible bruises show up after
the snap of leaf and stem. Now
which will go first? Taut
skin resists, shines
against the bite
that changed paradise–
sudden waters, flesh, seeds,
unlocked stars– the secrets
of many in this chaste household.
First published in Language of Color: Writers Respond to the Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe (Big Pencil Press).
M.J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. She is Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor at St. John Fisher College. Her lyric essays have appeared in In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal, edited by Mary Paumier Jones and Judith Kitchen (Norton, 1999), Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction, edited by Judith Kitchen (Norton, 2005) and Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, edited by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney (Norton, 2015), and her recently released third full length poetry collection Small Worlds Floating, Cherry Grove Collections, August 2016.You may follow her on mjiuppa.blogspot.com
(use search box above)
Meghan Rose Allen
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Suzanne E. Edison
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
A. J. Huffman
Olivia J. Kiers
Jean L. Kreiling
Tanmoy Das Lala
Lorette C. Luzajic
Ariel S. Maloney
Mary C. McCarthy
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
All works of art or literature are used with permission of the creator or publisher, OR under public domain, OR under fair use. If any works have been used or credited incorrectly, please alert us so we can fix it!