What do I care for the company of men,
I, who would sentence them all
to hard labour, death, for the price of a fuck?
Now I hear you making your excuses,
you leave nothing out, except the price
of hope, as if hope could save you
from God’s opprobrium. Shame me
with your godless words, I am a girl alone,
a girl without God, a girl without a mate.
I have inured myself against love,
against men, and I’m too exhausted to pose.
Leave me be. Leave me be. Leave me be.
"But my darling," says Tolouse, "I will love you,
my black stockinged girl, as if you were all mine,
as if our love was always meant to be."
Mark A. Murphy
Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse, was published in 2013 by Salmon Poetry, Eire.
High Noon, 1949
A woman alone in a doorway, her sheer
robe parted. A shrug would drop it to her feet.
The loose gown is mirrored by the window above
where curtains sway half open and a yellow
shade is half way down. We wonder if the woman
looks for the one coming or watches someone
leave. Like her saltbox house, she’s caught
between whites and grays, the Cape Cod scene
stilled except for the red flare of foundation and chimney.
What has happened before she gave her beauty
to a sun that bathes her features, golds
the fair hair. Shadows play on the half-naked body.
In this moment when morning becomes afternoon,
when the hero steps into the street to meet his fate,
a woman moves into the light. Behind her darkness waits.
Diana Pinckney is the winner of the 2010 Ekphrasis Prize and Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Poetry Prize. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize 5 times. Cream City Review, Crucible and Persimmon Tree are among the journals that have given her awards. Published in RHINO, Cave Wall, Arroyo, Green Mountains Review, Tar River Poetry, The Pedestal Magazine, Nine Mile Magazine, Still Point Arts Quarterly, & other journals and anthologies, Pinckney has five books of poetry, including 2015’s The Beast and The Innocent.
Shadow of a Bird
The fission of your breath from mine,
our union fleeting like
the shadow of a bird
climbing the rock wall that sheltered our love.
A shadow goes where a bird cannot,
and so our farewell was wrenched in disdain,
crafting a crystal cage around my breast,
the embers lost from my hearth.
The passing of years has slackened my face,
cast glow on memories like ripened dust.
My chance to hold fast to your love
skipped over like a puddle, because
I believed elders to be
enforcers of a virtuous truth,
not inured to society’s patrons of continuum.
Time perhaps imagined
failed to chisel me down to prejudice
as it did those who refuted the passion of youth—
street drains allowing love that didn’t belong
to fall discarded.
Seek, if you will, my reflection
in the waters of the fall, music for our lavender kiss.
Keep with you the girl
wearing the skin of youth,
aimée pour toujours.
Hilary Hauck lives on a small patch of woods in rural Pennsylvania, far from her native London. She writes to explore the vulnerability and strength of the human condition, particularly through cultural identity, life lessons, and the food we eat.
Oh, Absalom, Absalom,
Announced by a throng of runners.
A chariot’s spectacle.
From crown to sandals, no defect.
And your hair, your hair, weighed like revenge.
Your charm was your decoy,
Your charisma, a magnet for the young.
Kissing their feet, you
Hid your agenda and
Stole their hearts.
They made you king, realizing not
Your treachery manifested itself
But pride goes before a fall.
You chanced upon your enemy.
You caught your locks in the forest’s terebinth.
You dangled like a broken bough until
Your heart was lanced, your body beaten.
They threw you into a shallow place,
Stones, a scant pile,
To mark your grave.
Oh Absalom, Absalom!
How dangerous to sow strife,
To root bitterness,
To erect monuments to
Would God your legacy were written in water,
Not on your father’s heart.
Jo has been an English teacher for over thirty years, and poetry has always been her favorite genre to teach. In recent years, her students' success with publishing has motivated her to relinquish her writing, and the experience has been rewarding. She is one of nine children born and raised by tenant farmers in Middle Georgia, and much of her poetry reflects that family heritage.
Entering Pollock’s Enchanted Forest
Resist the urge to run. Don’t be
deceived by the lack of fresh air
and pine. Push past the brambles,
sit against a tree, and wait.
Forests only pretend
to be empty. Feel the ground
trembling, hear your imagination
cawing overhead. Horses gallop
through, then a bison escaped
from the caves of Lascaux.
Do not fear the Cossack.
He wants to play his accordion
for you, nothing more.
Keep going and you may come
across my father, looking amused
that you found him.
Alarie’s latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
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From a Prison Notebook
won’t hurt you? These
are locked on.
This poem was also inspired by Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks.
Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. He is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US and Hong Kong.
Here he sits at a table
in the kitchen, a vase of poppies
set just so, and on his palette
water mixed with tinctures
he’s hidden in canisters, colors
brought out against orders.
Is a flower’s soul always innocent?
Perhaps a bit of carmine,
and stems of grenadine.
These he renders on letter paper
taken from the office upstairs.
Verboten, the act of painting
this degenerate modernism
that spilled from his oils
before the regime gave its orders.
And he a former sympathizer.
Maybe a flower becomes a soldier,
the shoulders overbearing
above slender legs walking
all night in the snow. Does
the tulip bleed into its neighbour,
and, if a cloud comes
to the window, might it blot out
the sun almost completely?
These shapes, a bouquet
unfettered above turquoise,
a garden fragrant with peonies
and lilac blended such that
there is no ground upon which
to grow. Sometimes the sea
threatens to inhale him,
just as it has his work--verboten--
the next wave coming on violet seas
with its undertow, undiluted white
set to drown his own
brooding maze of moods
from the once-upon-a-yellow-sky.
Judith Skillman’s recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions. Her work has appeared in LitMag, Shenandoah, Zyzzyva, FIELD, and elsewhere. Awards include an Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. She is a faculty member at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Washington. Visit www.judithskillman.com
Arch of Hysteria
The man who hangs
from the rooftree
is wrenched back
into an arc
his bronze skin
glints where it
catches the light
his fingertips might
touch his heels
were it not
for the spine's
the thrum of his mind
if he could arc
into a circle
if heels and fingertips
Sharon is a retired college principal, who lives on the Isle of Portland, England. She spends her time cooking, reading and writing poems, some of which have been published or are forthcoming in Algebra of Owls, Ink Sweat and Tears, Picaroon and Three Drops from a Cauldron.
Frida Explains Herself
Because I held that crescent child,
sliver of a life, but could not
keep him. Tried to memorize
his silent mouth, trace the
blue waters through his parchment skin.
Because I smelled Diego
on my sister’s neck, so familiar
yet unplaceable for a moment:
our blankets, peppery scent
of his hair, the paint under his fingernails.
Because I have dug into my lovers,
a robber sifting dirt
of their stories, collecting
artifacts from their rawest places.
Because I have been asked for
so much of my blood.
I did not know myself until
I found us there on canvas.
Broken. Together. A map
I had not seen, yet knew
to be my way home.
Stacy Boe Miller
Stacy Boe Miller is an artist, mother, and second year poetry candidate in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Idaho. Her most recent work can be found in Mary Jane's Farm Magazine, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, and Mothers Always Write, where an essay of hers was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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A. J. Huffman
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Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
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Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
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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
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
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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