I Just Wanted to Write About De Chirico
who, with a shrug of the wrist,
ducked away from the whole heaving weight
of Homer’s glance, leaving us to decrypt
the anxious crisis of these figures huddled
on their parapet. Rootless and inorganic,
buttressed and shod, they stand effaced
above the sunless plaza. Meaning:
here is landscape sans reference, framed
and fraught, a map composed only
of itself. And yet — these neuter objects,
flat-crotched and eyeless, retain just enough
of their stance and tilt that they still read
as guileless blazons of affection. I want
heraldry of a similar stripe — two mannequins
displayed Or, a sloped neck of marble
and wood — this spindly apparatus
of life without life. Giorgio, leaning
on the wrong side of the canvas,
understood this: that the urge of motion
stands orthogonal to happenstance.
The spirit pawing always at the edge
of porosity. That even as Troy resumes
its rude intrusion, we step away
on the delicate feet of birds.
Anurak Saelaow is a Singaporean poet and writer. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Hayden's Ferry Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Eunoia Review, and Ceriph Magazine, amongst other places. He is the author of one chapbook, Schema (The Operating System, 2015), and holds a BA in creative writing and English from Columbia University.
My museum bird pauses in the wise hypervigilance of birds, on the sculpt of a flayed arm. The arm poses, hyperrealistic, in Second Position, stretched horizontal from the missing body, hand curving down from the wrist, à la Michelangelo’s Adam, the thumbnail a postmortem lilac. Bright muscle strands shade from brick red to terra cotta to clean egg-shell tendon. Oil paint on clay, the placard says. The arm’s slick shine is that of a rubber anatomical model on a stainless steel countertop in a windowless examination room.
He builds an impossible scaffolding of reasons to forgive her. He was always feeble in self-defense. Her knives were painted with butterflies. Now the world is a wall of thorns.
The bird’s feet: anisodactylie—3 toes fore, 1 aft—lizard feet evolved into dainty twigs. Note: a bird is incapable of sin. No hands, no sin.
He talks to birds, sucks cherry cough drops by the bag. He retreats into the softness of animals, nestles into the fur of their bellies.
The arm and its bird make three shadows on the blank museum wall. The smooth-feathered flank almost breathes, the neck nearly twitches and turns, the eyes of oily black glass glisten with benevolence.
He watches lightning from the rooftops, and has taken to eating sawdust in the evenings. He is the town snake-cuddler.
In the long emptiness of the day he dreams he will be carried away, over fallen-down neighbourhoods, into far green fields strewn with skeletons.
Ryan O’Connell is a retired U.S. Army warrant officer, undergraduate student and apprentice writer at Portland State University. He is writing a nonfiction account of his experiences as a medevac helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.
Dear Readers, Writers, and Friends,
I think you will all agree that The Ekphrastic Review is a special publication. We are one of the only outlets that is dedicated solely to publishing writing inspired by visual art, and we are a unique community of poets and artists who have become friends. We are committed to promoting a wide range of poetry, prose, and art. Our writers range from young adults to Yale-published writers. We have featured first time poets, and award winning masters. Most of our submissions still come from the USA, but we are open to and have published ekphrastic writers from all over the world.
It's an exciting journey!
You know where this is going: we want money.
I rack my brains for ways to monetize The Ekphrastic Review in some way. I certainly don't expect riches from a literary journal. I also didn't expect that it would grow to take 40 to 60 hours of time each and every month. I love it, but confess to being overwhelmed. I promised when I started the journal it wouldn't be another fly by night literary blog, but something for the long haul.
I refuse to charge unpaid and underpaid writers "submission fees" but it takes A LOT of time to read through, sort, and respond to submissions (and publish some of them). This step would cut down on the number of submissions and on submissions that are inadequately researched and targeted (we still get tons of poetry and essays from writers who don't understand our ekphrastic mandate.) But I think ultimately it is unethical and I won't do it.
I have considered small subscription fees to readers, but feel this would ultimately harm our goal, which is to freely and widely promote writers of ekphrases and the art that inspires them.
I can't bear to make the talent in our beautiful journal ugly through Google Ads other clickbait crap.
I thank those who have used PayPal or Patreon or mailed a check, or who have purchased artwork from me. In the spirit of full disclosure, we earn about $10 a month through Patreon at the moment and have had about $600 in art sales or donations in support of the journal since 2015.
Ultimately, as an artist what I do best is make art and I enjoy sharing it with ekphrastic readers, who also love art. So in brainstorming a fundraiser for The Ekphrastic Review, I have decided to offer a crazy promotion on my square foot artwork line. All sales from the promotion will be used in support of time and promotion spent on the journal.
The square foot artworks have recently launched at www.squarefootartbylorette.ca. For one week only, they are available for $150 Canadian dollars flat (regular $250.). Shipping is free.
Use checkout code EKPHRASTIC100. If you want to purchase two or more, thank you. Please order them separately to get the discount from each listing.
My goal is to sell 20 pieces today through August 31. You get an awesome discount, some original art, and the chance to support your favourite literary and arts journal.
If you would like to support us in any other way this week or anytime, you can PayPal a gift to the email email@example.com. We are grateful for gifts of any size! Many thanks. If you would like to mail a cheque, kindly email me for a snail mail addy.
Please consider helping us reach our goal. At least stop by www.squarefootartbylorette.ca and browse the 180 originals, all sized 12x12", and see if anything speaks to you. My artwork shows regularly in other literary journals, in my home city of Toronto, and has been exhibited as well in Edinburgh, Chicago, Tunisia, Mexico, Brisbane, Vancouver, and is collections around the world.
Lorette C. Luzajic, editor, The Ekphrastic Review
Full inventory of square foot collage paintings:
as if the piano
loosened the power
of god-breath to shatter
like a crystal chandelier
into this belly-releasing
crush and groan
as if the hum
this artic elegy
unhooked the glacier
descending in beauty
across the cold keys
of time’s shoulder
crowding the mountainous
white sky with awareness
as if a platform
afloat a steely
churn of sea
and a man nimble-handed
alone searching his life
equipped with a concert jacket
and life preserver
might break barriers of sound
to calm this ache
and call back
the calving iceberg
as if his lush chords
must have been born for this.
Sandra Fees is the author of two chapbooks, The Temporary Vase of Hands published by Finishing Line Press in 2017 and Moving, Being Moved by Five Oaks Press also in 2017. She resides in Reading, Pennsylvania, and is 2016-2018 Berks County Poet Laureate. Her poetry is forthcoming in Michigan State University Press’s Poets Laureate and Social Justice Anthology.
Youtube: Elegy for the Arctic, by Ludovico Einaudi (Italy). 2016.
Football is My Wife, Baseball is My Mistress (Ode to Deion Sanders)
Score. 1989 Rookie.
is what the top of your first football card says.
at the bottom, a Falcons helmet,
the old, red one with the black logo.
You’re wearing a black Falcons hat, black logo
and the white jersey with red numbers.
“This is the outer manifestation of an inner condition,”
you’re thinking through your pensive stare.
Football player in the 80s jersey with the 90s hat,
football player in a football jersey with the baseball hat,
caught between worlds--
Reaganomics flash and Clinton Era...flash.
Jerri curl bouncing off your neck in still frame,
moving and statuesque,
wondering how it’d feel
to get a hit in the World Series and an interception in the Super Bowl,
calculating the feasibility
of helicoptering from centre of the outfield
to the corner downfield.1
Torn between your wife,
who prefers football
so you can spend more time
with your family
and your mom,
who prefers baseball
so you’d be less likely to get hurt
and your father,
who prefers you do both,
so you could show the world how good you are.
The odd bounce of colours
in the cardboard frame,
the odd bounce of the ball,
dancing in stadium corners,
you spinning towards third
before the spinning fielder
can even gain his equilibrium.
The excitement of your triples
the excitement of your punt returns
defenders grasping at air,
spinning into nothing, losing equilibrium
the odd bounce as you strut into the end zone
balanced by the odd bounce of your legacy:
New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta.
A few other stops along the way
yet these are the high points
as you high stepped in two sports
into sports immortality.
1 On October 11, 1992, Sanders famously played a football game in Miami then took a helicopter and a private jet to Pittsburgh to a game that would helps his team make the World Series.
Nick Bush is an associate professor of English at Motlow State Community College and an English PhD student at Middle Tennessee State University as well as an amateur standup comic in Nashville who writes fiction and poetry when he's not watching the Titans or cooking low carb meals. He co-hosts the "Nick & Garrett Get Serious about Jokes" podcast and co-edits the Mosaic literary magazine.
Score for the Recreation of Fisherman at Sea
Cover their faces with solemn shadows
That mirror those stones’ worn distant medley.
Carefully -- dash colour onto their clothes,
Cast their boat into the water -- gently...
The skies: gather the clouds from depths below
And sit the fishermen in close ensconce.
Fear not the waves as they tumble and grow:
The serf was free until the renaissance.
Now give them predecessors on those seas,
So over waves, they gain a hopeful sight.
Do not awake the sun, leave her at ease,
Divide the clouds, make way for the moonlight.
The sea reflects now graceful light above,
And notice how each gull becomes a dove.
Sam is a teacher and student in Melbourne, Australia. He enjoys polishing his boots to gain the esteem of the local shoe repairer, Felix. His father created music, and his mother appreciated silence - Sam already has grey hair.
James Turrell Has Seen the Light
the sky was teal
and other colours too
flames of sky
my slits of eyes
and I just sat
shades travel past
head thrown back
how light is life
Kathy Gibbons was born and raised in Philadelphia, later landing in Houston for her second iteration. There, she and her New Yorker husband raised their Texan son until he left to become an Angeleno. From Houston, she continues as a stay-at-home poet/essayist, writing about these three coasts and other worlds. Her words can be read in Anti-Heroin Chic, Tuck Magazine, Poets Reading the News, and in the "Tiny Truths" columns of Creative Nonfiction.
Threshold to Coyoacan Plaza, Mexico City
Maia Elsner is a graduate student from Britain, with Mexican and Polish heritage, whose writing focuses on migration and diaspora.
Lover, Mother, Immortal
“The face that launch’d a thousand ships,” that’s what everyone remembers of Helen. When tourists coming tromping up the slopes of Mount Ida, smelling of insect repellent and sunscreen, slurping bright blue and orange drinks from plastic bottles that, emptied, are often left to litter the woods at the edge of the trail, they tell and retell one another the story.
My mountain teems with tourists now, flies to a corpse. They clamber up the slopes and wade in the pools of waterfalls, water that looks pure but will sicken them if they drink, so they carry purification systems and think nothing of the stream itself, only of what they will consume. They bring binoculars and point at birds, unaware of just how few there are these days. They stand on ledges and watch the sun set over the sea, as if Phoebus Apollo’s passage means anything anymore through the haze of pollution that rises from their sprawling cities along the coast.
They talk, usually of matters inconsequential, and sometimes of the war that rages on the other side of Turkey, of the refugees whose boats now and then are visible on the horizon. Often, in a funny game of one-upmanship, they try to outdo one another in the retelling of the ancient stories, piecing together the history of my mountain from fragments of memory from the schoolbooks of their youths. I hear them tell Paris’s story—cast out by Priam, raised by a she-bear, judge of the fateful beauty pageant. They seldom mention me, Oenone, his first wife, or if they do, it’s always the rumor of my death.
Homer tossed me on Paris’s funeral pyre. Bacchylides threw me from a cliff. Another tied a rope around my neck, and yet another hurled me from the walls of Troy. These are not my story. These are stories told by men who understand little of the ways of women, whether human or nymph.
A man should love a nymph and end up brokenhearted, not the other way around. It is not the nymph’s nature to love one and only one, the way a man expects her to. Her heart is not a human heart. Her life is not a human’s life. How can it be, when she will never die or grow old? A man to a nymph should be a toy. A playmate for now. A brief distraction from the tedium of life without end.
But to me, Paris was all. With Paris, I felt time for the first time, understood the preciousness of every moment, clung to the passing hours, feared the inevitable loss of outliving the one I adored. How I worried over him.
At first he laughed and called me mother, gently chiding my overprotective ways. Then, when I bore him a son, he called me mother tenderly as we doted on our child together. But all men must leave their mothers. I was too much mother and not enough lover, too much agape and not enough eros, and he left me on my mountainside, left me in the shade of the olive trees, left me for lust, and incited a war.
Fates, you say? Ha. They spin, they measure, they cut. What a charming story. But it is mortals who tug and tangle the threads of their lives. Fate is all mortals must die. They have choices while they live.
More the pity they do; they are so bad at choosing. It was not Helen’s face—beautiful, yes, of course, the most beautiful woman in the world, so said Aphrodite, who should know—but it was not Helen’s face that began the war. Man’s inability to choose wisely led to the launching of a thousand ships. Isn’t it funny how easily men blame women for their own folly? They say for Helen so many fought and died, but it was because of Paris, and it was for Menelaus, his pride so wounded by his wife’s betrayal.
Oh, Paris, vain-glorious fool. You had everything when you were with me. In the forever of my existence, I will never understand why my love wasn’t enough.
When he came back to beg my help, he already had one foot in Hades. He thought my herbs would spare him, but they only would have prolonged his suffering. When I looked into his bloodshot eyes, believe me, I was tempted to give him what he sought so I could watch him endure the misery he had brought upon himself. First, he abandoned me, then our son followed him to war seeking glory and finding only death, and then he had the audacity to beg me for his life! He thought he could pierce my heart once again with the desperation that shone through his eyes. I looked into them, peered into his soul, and saw how he loved life and how he didn’t wish to leave it, though he would leave me again if he had it all to do over.
For a long time, I wished I had never met Paris. For a long time, I told myself loving Paris was my one regret. But that day, when I looked Paris in the eye and saw him approaching death, fearfully, yes, but without regret, I understood that I, too, would do it all again if I could. If I could travel back in time to the day I met Paris, even knowing how it would all turn out, I would love him again.
So I let him go. I let him die, not out of cruelty, but out of love. Despite it all, I loved him. I let him go, though I must stay here forever, nymph of the mountain, watching the tourists in their Lycra and Gortex, with their selfie sticks and portable speakers blaring pop music that scares away the animals, with their own mixed-up versions of my story, versions that have erased me entirely.
On my mountain, the olive grove still thrives. I tend it as if it were my child. I talk to the trees and build homes for the birds and guard it from the tourists who would carve their names in hearts into the bark as Paris once did ours. That tree is long since gone, felled by a lightning strike in a summer storm two millennia ago, but I remember it. I remember him scraping at the bark, unable to contain his feelings, overcome by the need to leave an indelible mark of our happiness. Alas, no tree can live forever.
I know that when he went to the land of the dead he drank from the river of forgetfulness. All of his folly, all of his suffering, all of the hurt he caused washed away by death. And what of the love? Must that, too, be forgotten? Perhaps even the Lethe cannot wash away the memory of love, but here, on my mountain, I’ll never know.
Diane V. Mulligan
Diane V. Mulligan is the author of three novels, most recently What She Inherits. She is an English teacher at Saint John's High School. From 2012 to 2018, she has been the managing editor of The Worcester Review.
Ekphrastic Review Fundraiser
The Ekphrastic Review is having a fundraiser until August 31.
Our hope is to sell 20 square foot artworks (from Lorette C. Luzajic, your humble editor) for 100$ off, making them $150 Canadian dollars with free shipping. There are countless original options to choose from.
Thank you to a supporter in UK for ordering this piece above, Ray of Light, 12x12", mixed media on canvas.
Thank you to the others who chose to send a gift or become a patron through Patreon!
The Ekphrastic Review is a unique journal devoted exclusively to writing inspired by visual art. We hate the idea of subscriber fees, submission fees, or ugly ads that degrade the work of our writers and artists. For this reason, I decided to try a brief fundraiser with very special prices on my square foot line of artworks. You get an amazing price for original art, and a chance to support a great journal.
Stop by and look through the inventory of options. If you decide you'd like to own a piece, use EKPHRASTIC100 at checkout as a coupon code. The total is flat $150 Canadian with free shipping worldwide. Thank you so much. We hope to sell 20 and are off to a good start with our first order!
Sale ends Friday August 31.
Scroll down for writers, archive by month, and categories
(use search box above)
Sherry Barker Abaldo
Meghan Rose Allen
Mary Jo Balistreri
Karin Wraley Barbee
Janée J. Baugher
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Marion Starling Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Gonzalinho da Costa
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
John Scott Dewey
Marc Alan Di Martino
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Jordan E. Franklin
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
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
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
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
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
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
Our primary objective is to promote writing, art and artists today and through history. All works of art 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.