St. Matthew and the Angel
From behind his right shoulder she leans
close by, hand resting lightly, wild hair a cascade,
daughter of earth and sky, lips
Perhaps she was there, invisible attendant
at the birth, hovering over tentative steps,
or one of the host who comforted in the desert
of temptation and grief.
The old man pauses, veined hand rising
to finger his beard, comes wisdom
in candlelight, far beyond his own poor
experience of life, dares to write
the unearthly story that threatens the social order,
lived by someone sacrificed for a world
unready to hear it.
No more ready are they in this newer age rife
with fear, pettiness, dreams for better, for words
he can barely comprehend himself, overwhelming
those who will read them, unmoored,
adrift in their fragility.
His hands cover his face, he works free the fatigue,
picks up the pen to write words distorted,
as they must be, by the lens of his humanity, mere
shadows of words, the mist, not the flood,
that bleeds through his pen to the page.
Eileen Mattmann’s poetry has appeared in several print and online poetry journals. She began writing poetry after a long teaching career.
my heart pounds,
gut clenched like a fist -
I look straight up the far
left side of the tall canvas
wall like a world trade tower,
like a redwood tree and
my spirit grasps the edges of
flat black emerging from the
upper left drawing it over me,
a blanket of darkness, this
is how hope enters a field of fear
and violence - the raw red wound
reaching down through glossy
blackness - the colours
blood can be, this open field
killing ground, the things
blood can become.
M.J. Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania. He has resided in northern California since 1979. He began writing poetry at age 11, stories in his teens and memoirs in his late 40′s. His work has been published in a lot of little magazines, small newspapers and 9 anthologies. He is the author of two poetry collections: “With Fingers at the Tips of My Words” 2002 and “Room Enough” 2016. Arcangelini maintains an occasional blog of poetry and prose at https://joearky.wordpress.com/
Moments of Pause
Red-hooded, she stands
Aware of her own
Unawareness. The sheep
Graze behind her,
Backs facing back
Accenting time’s irrelevance.
I crave moments like these
When peace and harmony
Seem inevitable. Instead,
It is usually rush and stretch
Go and scatter.
Some days I stop too,
Cloaked in my synthetic fibers.
But instead of calmly peering
At knitting needles, creating,
I am staring at my smart phone
Desperate for answers to questions
About lamb eye health,
Droopy ewes, dewormers
Safe for lactation.
I strive for her contentedness
Though I know it is fleeting,
Those moments of pause when all
You need are sun breaks, fresh
Grass and the passive, soothing
Sighs of your own breath.
Jessica Gigot, Ph.D, M.F.A, is a poet, farmer, teacher and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, WA, called Harmony Fields that grows herbs, lamb and specialty produce. She also offers educational & art workshops through her Art in the Barn series. Jessica has lived in the Skagit Valley for over ten years and is deeply connected to the artistic and agricultural communities that coexist in the region. Her writing has been published in the Floating Bridge Press Review, Poetry Northwest, About Place Jounrnal and All We Can Hold: Poems of Motherhood. Her first book of poems, Flood Patterns, was published by Antrim House Books in 2015.
Winter in Petrograd
is a blue window
on the wide space
tiny in the
unclothed in the
Mark Silverberg is the author of the Eric Hoffer award-winning ekphrastic poetry collection, Believing the Line: The Jack Siegel Poems (Breton Books, 2013). His poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review and Contemporary Verse 2. He is an Associate Professor of English at Cape Breton University where I specializes in American poetry, visual arts, and artistic collaborations.
I Knew This Girl in High School
This could be her, at least,
this is how I remember her,
older than us, wiser,
letting everything in.
Junior boys who got drunk
on Saturday nights
all wanted her.
She let cigarettes burn
to ropes of ash,
drank Tequila shots,
lemon and salt a sacrament.
She drew lilies in textbooks,
hid her poetry under the bed.
She blew classes with senior boys.
They wagered on the colour
of her pubic hair,
listened to her
as they would their mother.
Rumours of an older man,
she dropped out of college,
backpacked through Europe.
At a used bookstore,
I found a poetry chapbook,
cover art by the poet,
keep it under my bed.
Billy is a hospice case manager, visual artist, and poet. He's had numerous first, second, and third place wins at IBPC (InterBoard Poetry Community). His poem, Hospice Nurse, won second place for poem of the year for 2014-2015. Several of his poems have been published in anthologies and at online poetry sites.
Thank you all dear readers for keeping the home fires burning at The Ekphrastic Review. I am near the end of my two week hiatus, having an exhibition in Mexico. If you haven't heard from me about your Halloween writing submissions or if postings are slow, please be patient and know I'll catch up soon. It's been a terrific opportunity and learning experience to show my work here in Mexico and I'm so blessed.
“More like the sitter than the sitter herself,”
Raphael declared of a Lippi Madonna.
The living may seek their own perfection
but never find, the painter implied,
the way a mother cannot hold a child
close enough to keep it from all harm
though that be a woman’s deepest desire.
The sun would never glare in her child’s eye,
for she? She would never turn away.
But Maria, Madonna’s model, is hungry
and imagining pears, with none like
herself seeing herself in any way
than what she is, at least in her own eyes.
Where else would art find its light
to launch itself above our shade
than in a beauty bound to be nevermore,
with nothing else like it when it lived?
Lines etch themselves beneath our eyes.
Art though in lines finds no such doom
once freed from the tomb of the artist’s hands.
It photoshops a shadow in the blank march
of days that flicker by us on our way,
a flock of birds frozen in the sky,
a sun blinding us by other means.
Sometimes we see the fatty hand of art
loom over the hand, or a portrait
not with the gait of any man that lived,
a limp counterfeit of humanity,
as Hamlet says. Sometimes we awake
to find we’ve been actors in our own skin.
That’s when death or love throws out art,
and we find ourselves sitting in a park
on a cold slab crying hot tears,
a sad clown, our mascara dripping,
or frozen like a stone, freed by death
from having to act another’s part.
Will we care then if nobody comes by
to offer a word, remark on how we look,
place a flower just so turned to the light?
It could be a common one, not even bought,
a violet plucked from a garden where a crow
seemed to mock our hand for its secret theft.
This poem previously published by Levure Littéraire.
Anthony DiMatteo's recent poems and reviews have sprouted in the Cortland Review, Hunger Mountain, Los Angeles Review, Verse Daily, and Waccamaw. His current book of poems In Defense of Puppets has been hailed as, "a rare collection, establishing a stunningly new poetic and challenging the traditions that DiMatteo (as Renaissance scholar) claims give the poet 'the last word."(Cider Press Review).
Egon Schiele, Seated Male Nude
In the studio, shadows stretch
across the easels;
a pale array of colours
mottles the torn and hanging
canvases. The air eats
the morsels of food
that remain, while coffee
colors the palette itself.
And after darkness engulfs the room,
light bulbs bulge into
brightness, and the shadows
cleave to their corresponding
objects, caressing the extensions
of themselves. Hands
and feet, once numb, dull
into nubs at his concentration,
vermilion, over the days, spiders
the whites of his eyes. He draws quick,
ascetic breaths, not drawing—but flaying
the paper, carving figures into
existence. He climbs from his seat,
palming his protrusions. I am
fierce and angular.
Andrew Hanson is an English Literature student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. His work has appeared three times in his college literary magazine. He was born and raised in Miami, Florida and grew up careening around the Caribbean—catching fish and spearfishing. As of late, he has turned his attention to Medieval Literature and Philosophy, studying as a visiting student at Oxford University.
Procession in Fog
Squeezed out by the heavy feet
of mourners, an unearthly fog
rises from hell. Day after day, the dead
pass my door, followed like a shadow
by those who can still pray or dig.
I think I see Mother,
and she’s been gone ten years.
Death, like a new pastor, busily
makes the rounds to every household
I have nothing more to say to God
for myself, but ask mercy for parents
who plead, Please, Lord, please.
Take me instead.
This poem was written for the surprise Halloween ekphrastic challenge.
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 Boy in Red
Debating the merits of high- and low-
Tuscan machinery – like lutes and flutes,
Embellished tales that refine the senses
But avert the actual – we sought only
To accompany the icons, dissolute
And charming, on their way to the eye.
By God, the enchanting nobility was not
The receptacles nor what they contained,
But the idea of storage – so urbane
And homely – that eluded the absent-
Minded brains all around us: the lousy
Shepherd donating his flock to the absolute
Wherewithal; becoming the painting and
A nuisance. At no point in our belonging –
Me and this peasant boy – did we perjure
The nymphs of satisfaction, graciously
Beguiling yet always worth knowing. The sun’s
Cache of verisimilitude put on its cloak for you
To cast me a glance so furtive, well thought-out
And dismissive, it could hardly be considered
Unreasonable to never make up your mind.
Jake Sheff is a major and pediatrician in the US Air Force, married with a daughter and three pets. Currently home is the Mojave Desert. Poems of Jake’s are in Marathon Literary Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). He considers life an impossible sit-up, but plausible.
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Meghan Rose Allen
Mary Jo Balistreri
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. 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
John Scott Dewey
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
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
Daniel J. Pizappi
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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