A Moment at the Mirror
That moment when we separate: as form continues with its sinews, mind diminues to within while pondering what may be fate until reminded to begin once more to congregate.
That other, who looks out at me,
so indifferent, does she see uncertainty
beneath my smile, realizing all the while
this makeup hides so much below,
those essences which must not show
when on the street I chance to meet
someone that I might know.
And did she notice, moments past,
I hesitated, paused to wonder--
would my guise be put asunder
at the moment that’s my last?
Tonight, perchance, that solemn dance;
my will succeeded or surpassed.
This breast and neighbor pass the test
which carries them among the best
of youth and those still at their peak,
although an aging gent might seek
a matron who can patronize,
who’ll lie, in spite of every lie,
who’ll realize that wealth and power,
name and fame, a healthy dower--
not her flower—keeps her in their clique.
But someday might I find a lump
while their firmness mesmerizes
young and old,
those very bold who might apply,
or even those still very shy
who need my wile and loving smile,
not aware that all the while
darkness keeps my heart at bay,
controlling all I do and say.
Yet flattery o’er many years
may flatten chests upon which rests
the privilege gained from these amours,
whether one is truly yours
or just another tête-à-tête,
a chance to fête before the fate
of aging causes to abate
those passioned nights and daily fights,
revulsions and delights.
I noticed, looking back at her,
my pondering did not deter
the tasks which render her expressions,
hiding any indiscretions, beautiful,
full dutiful to those who seek
a face which pleases and appeases,
never dark or bleak.
Anointing face with many hues
of red, perhaps a touch of blues
around the eyes, a fair disguise,
and euphemistic beauty mark,
a mole (so droll it seems a lark);
some reflexed, some with practiced skills--
for many years they’ve been the shills
of beauty’s commerce wont today.
Once makeup’s on, I’ll start my day.
Ken Gosse writes poetry using simple language with traditional metre and rhyme, often filled with whimsy and humor. First published in The First Literary Review–East, November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, The Ekphrastic Review, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, he and his wife have lived in Arizona over twenty years, always with a herd of cats and dogs underfoot.
Not all magic
drains into the pool of exploitation.
She sees a remnant,
to bring forth through
that help her forget skin-deep and,
focus on what the mirror doesn't reflect.
In 2015, Tim Philippart sold his gymnasium equipment sales and service business. He started writing poetry, short fiction, non-fiction and ghost blogs. Since then, over 60 of his pieces have seen daylight in publications like Gravel, Magnolia Review, Saltfront, Chicago Literati, and Third Wednesday. Chances are, if you are reading this bio, you are about to encounter something Tim wrote. Feel free to email him (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or comments. If, perchance, you have answers he always enjoys receiving those too.
After Woman in the Mirror by Cagnaccio Di San Pietro
At your vanity in the blue room
Soft and naked as a mollusk
In its pearl walled shell
Your rosy flesh a reflection
Of your red rouge pots-
Creams and unguents
Ordered before you
Like the words
Of an alchemist's equation
You lean forward
As if to protect your own
Image in the glass
As yet unpolished
To bear the touch
Of any man's
The figure in the mirror
Watches the door
Fearful of intrusion
And hides in the border
Queen of sorrows
Mary McCarthy: "I have always been a writer, but spent most of my working life as a Registered Nurse. My work has appeared in many print and on line journals, including 3Elements, Praxis, Verse/Virtual, and Third Wednesday. I have an electronic chapbook Things I Was Told Not to Think About available as a free download from Praxis magazine online."
Why would he make her paint herself
and leave so disarrayed the shelf
on which he put her arm to rest
in pose as if by thought possessed...
...of scent he had her atomize
as aura he could improvise
to layer, in transparent veils,
the earthiness that art entails...
...by tease of beauty both exposed
and yet still left to be disclosed
to yearning and bewildered eyes
left solely to their mere surmise...
...of all that he had fully seen
and so admired to see her preen?
Portly Bard: "Old man. Ekphrasis fan."
The Woman in the Mirror
She struggles to the parlor,
sits half-naked in front of
the vanity with a clinical
look that realism always
Her eyes are heavy with
fatigue—she was sleeping
on the floor with the others,
wine bottles, poker cards
and cigarettes scattered
eye shadow, and rouge
attempt to cover up
regret and the lingering
loneliness after the orgy.
She slips on fresh lipstick,
the color of her nipples
still perked on her ample
breasts, supple, waiting
for her John to take her
John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal,Baltimore Review, Windhover and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the contest’s celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His third collection is Flux Lines (Celtic Cat, 2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. he’s a retired physics professor living in east Tennessee.http://jcmannone.wordpress.com
He didn’t even bother to shut that front door
quietly. Slammed it shut.
I followed him with my eyes
as he walked down that dark and wet street,
his coat collar turned up
against droplets from the skeletal trees.
Mirror, mirror… the eyes were clear once,
once there was not one line around the mouth.
My breasts are still where they should be,
my arms still solid. But I have seen him with her.
One night, near Seven-Eleven.
She was so young. And his paunch
hung over his belted trousers.
How will loneliness feel?
Once upon a time, we loved each other.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and three poetry collections, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print).
Act II Scene VI Line 138
Shakespeare wrote--All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players--centuries ago. Imagine the increased depth of meaning had he given that speech to a Jacqueline instead of a Jacques.
But there you have it—patriarchal platitudes. Metaphor masquerading as truth. We are not considered equal in that phrase. Men might be players, but we are the game pieces.
Or returned with care.
Every day I sit with paint, powder, and perfume—preparing for a gauntlet of judgment on the world stage. A better comparison might be that I prepare to stand trial every day in the court of public opinion—where the jury catcalls, the judge leers, the lawyers make baseless accusations, and the gallery tries to pretend everything is normal.
My war paint mask must be attractive, but not desirable; my odour pleasant, but not intoxicating; my dress fashionable, but not form-fitting if I am to hit all my marks, deliver my lines, and arrive home after five unassailed.
Mirror, mirror, ...I am exhausted in the act of merely existing.
Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. His work has been featured in many online and print publications, and has been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi.
the tenement museum
after a photo by Simon Watson
this is it then, the single photo
that describes my private heart
a lone chair for a solitary man
bare wooden floor, well worn
a mirror, dark with sorrow
that cannot, will not show my face
whatever reflections may be had
must be pulled from somewhere else
fireplace, half seen, but full cold
no passion there for so long
no one even bothers to lay a log
not even at yuletide
paint and plaster left untouched,
unattended, are leaving
not in leaps and bounds, no
but in daily dissolutions
fueling the dust that settles
daylight, yes, but muted
as though the sun is unwilling
to put too much effort here
or maybe unable to penetrate
the grayness of late life
even the blue trim has faded
testament to fleeting joys
finite moments of pleasure
of peace, of contentment
and almost as an afterthought
a single candle stands
half-used, half waiting,
ready at the smallest spark
to flare into active hope
ready to say "i am not done"
to say "i am not gone"
The image shown to illustrate this work is an amazing photo by Christian Holmér (Sweden) but it is not the image that inspired the poem. We were not able to get permission for the photograph by Simon Watson (USA) that prompted lewis's poem, but invite you to see it by clicking here. It is the second photo from the left in the top row.
j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. His poems have appeared online and in print in numerous journals from California to Nigeria to the UK. His first collection of poetry and photography was published in June 2016, and is available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/clear-day-october-j-lewis/dp/168073055X). A chapbook "every evening is december" was published by Praxis Magazine (http://www.praxismagonline.com/every-evening-december-j-lewis/) in February 2018.
For Judy, Whose Husband is Undergoing Surgery
Nothing much is going on in this painting: high summer,
rolling clouds, deep blue sky. The tall poplars
fill the left hand side of the canvas; the Seine
slithers, a silvery S, barely visible through the leaves.
Someone is standing in the field, knee deep in poppies.
It could be you, before the diagnosis, when your life
seemed to spread out like a meadow of wildflowers.
The detail here is lost in the brush strokes, dots and dashes
of red and yellow, green and blue, small exclamations
of color, the sky pressing down from above. Now
you are trying to decipher the doctor’s calligraphy,
the impenetrable code of sonogram and MRI, the odds
of choosing this treatment or that. The poppies flare
like matches struck in the dark, or something that should not
be there, on the monitor screen. If you were to bend
and pick them, they would wilt in your hand, the hot
orange petals falling to the ground. All you can do is raise
your face to the light, which shimmers, elusive, changes
but stays the same, a zen riddle. It’s the only thing
you can hold onto, and it runs like water through your hands.
This poem was first published in Barbara Crooker's book, More, C&R Press, 2010.
Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry; Les Fauves is the most recent. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Commonwealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Poetry of Presence and Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. www.barbaracrooker.com
Under the blue Tuscan sky a ten year old shepherd
picks up charcoal from a dead fire, sees the black marks
on his palms, draws circles on his arms, clouds on his legs,
a way to pass long hours watching sheep crop brush.
Soon cypress trees, scrub plants, a distant hill cover
his arms and legs. He shapes the charcoal into sticks,
moves to the rocks surrounding him, sketches the solid
animal bodies, strong shoulders, rounded hind quarters,
distant hills, nearby valleys cover boulders. His work
attracts visitors, includes a master painter from Florence.
Here is Heaven. My gaze moves up, into the blue sky sprinkled
with gold stars. Color from lapis lazuli, chosen for power, longevity,
ground by his hands, stained blue, nails near black. He experiments
with binders, egg, oil, works with a jewel box of colors from the earth
vermillion, azurite, malachite for clothing, burnished gold leaf for halos
angels’ wings. Only blue, not Byzantine Gold, the backdrop for his stories.
His solid figures gesture, drink from cups, weep, faces full of expression.
Mary’s anguish breaks our hearts, we feel the touch of her hands,
hear the din of horns. We are invited into the paintings, illustrations
of an imagined time, played out before a familiar Tuscan landscape,
complete with trees, rocks, a flock of sheep,
Here is Hell. The Last Judgment looms over us. Christ’s stern face
watches the virtuous pass into Heaven, the vice-ridden move down
into torments for eternity. Heat radiates from the horned Devil
rendered in charcoal. Naked sinners tumble from his hands
into an abyss. Saints and sycophants watch, halos secure.
We assume a place in the Heaven line, dismiss the Devil, an idea
as old as man, out of favor now. Giotto believed, presented choices
for our consideration:
fortitude, temperance, justice, faith, charity
or stupidity, sloth, idolatry, envy?
Will stupidity lead us to Hell? Or will it be envy?
Betsy Holleman Burke
Betsy Holleman Burke is a poet and floral designer living in the Washington, DC area. Her poetry has appeared in Front Porch Review, Searching for Hummingbirds (a collection of my work) and the Surrey Street Poetry Anthology, 2018.
Their numbers are uncountable: it seems
four stones are sleeping underneath the ground
rising through centuries or falling back
beneath this undulating soil line.
And there are other mysteries: no track
remains from where they rose to where they're found
and we can't know their means of motion. Some
believe the slate was rolled on timbers from
our northern forests, carried here by hand.
Others suspect their weight was simply hauled
by means of rope across the ridge's spine.
But visitors who've seen them are enthralled
more by their use. We try to understand
and fabricate long explanations for
these unfamiliar structures we adore.
Were they a calendar, an almanac
to track the megalithic solar year?
Or were they simply placed in rough design:
coincidental symbols, stark, austere?
Some even hold they're aphrodisiac
backdrops for rituals conceived in dreams.
W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (2011). He received his PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), the Paris Lake Poetry Prize and Potomac Review Prize. His work appears widely online and in print. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is editor of Peacock Journal.
Still Life with Goat’s Skull, Bottle and Candle
Now the colour has gone out of everything
skull, bottle and candle emerge from the twilight
glints of a grisaille world where white burns
with an artificial incandescence like the glow
of roman candles. Imperious,
the bottle is quiet, mysterious,
its shadows concealing as much
as revealing – its candle a flower blooming light
that bursts like a flash-bulb of astonishment
that this is all that’s left.
There is agitation in the still life
and still life in the agitation – the goat’s
horns writhe as though animated by
Grünewald’s hell bristled brush.
The empty eye socket glares at us –
‘Who you looking at?’ it snaps;
as the skull bone flares its angry nostrils
and haphazard teeth snap shut
on our minds.
This poem first appeared in Colin Pink's book, Acrobats of Sound (Poetry Salzburg, 2016).
Colin Pink lives in London. He writes poetry and lectures on the history of art. His poems have appeared in literary magazines such as Poetry News, The SHOp, Poetry Ireland Review, South Bank Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review and on-line at Ink Sweat and Tears. Acrobats of Sound, a collection of his poetry, from which this poem was taken, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2016.
inspired by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, the music and the story
Building story on story
Balcony by balcony
Windows through blinds--
We frame our lives
Your oboe takes us forward,
We heed recurring themes
A river flows unwinding
with currents underneath
The leavings too familiar,
Arpeggios gone rogue
Each day a chapter lengthens,
each year the epic grows
We deflect, we hide in labour,
Your trumpets push us on
We raise the shades of mourning,
a seed becomes a rose
We soften as your harps wrap
Around the violins
Torment melts to forgiveness
reprise becomes reprieve
There’s a rhythm to our days now,
Remorse and anguish end
We know this lilting story
we climb the stairs again
We need one thousand stories,
To fall in love so slowly
A tender piccolo’s refrain--
standing on balconies, I remain
Lee Woodman’s essays and poems have been published in Tiferet Journal, Zócalo Public Square, Grey Sparrow Press, Ekphrastic Review, Vox Poetica and The New Guard. Lee is a longtime artist and media producer, whose radio and film awards include five CINEs, two NY International Film Blue Ribbons, and three Gracies from American Women in Radio and Television. Lee is a recent recipient of a FY19 Individual Poetry Fellowship Grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. www.poetleewoodman.com
Judith Beheading Holofernes
I went to Florence to escape his ghost
that haunted me and made me claw my way
deep into closet where I met a host
of fears and ragged breath amid the fray.
Gazing at Artemisa’s masterpiece,
In the last room of my Uffizi tour
Amidst low hum of panic interstice
I felt fear’s hands around my throat once more.
Her blood-flecked bosom steady through the strain
As amber silk envelops strength of arm.
Not left alone, her maid too bears the pain.
I hear his dying gasp with some alarm
because I hold the blade to roughly hew.
Across the centuries, I know her too.
Gretchen Bartels is an associate professor with a passion for writing poetry that is matched only by her enthusiasm for dancing Lindy Hop and Balboa. She volunteers with survivors of sex trafficking at Rebirth Homes.
Ekphrastic Writing Challenge
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Cagnaccio di San Pietro writing challenge, which ends today. Accepted responses will be published on November 9, 2018.
The prompt this time is Untitled, by Bahman Mohassess. Deadline is November 16, 2018.
Everyone can participate! Try something new if you've never written from visual art before and discover why there are so many of us devotees. Ekphrastic writing helps artists and lovers of art to look more carefully, from different angles or mindsets, at visual art. And it helps writers discover new ways of approaching their work, their experiences, and writing itself.
The rules are simple.
1. Use this visual art prompt as a springboard for your writing. It can be a poem or short prose (fiction or nonfiction.) You can research the painting or artist and use your discoveries to fuel your writing, or you can let the image alone provoke your imagination.
2. Write as many poems and stories as you like.
3. Have fun.
4. Send only your best results to email@example.com.
5. Include BAHMAN MOHASSESS WRITING CHALLENGE in the subject line in all caps please, so that your submission doesn't get lost in the sea of emails. Mislabelled or unlabelled emails end up in with regular submissions, which are viewed in chronological order of receipt and not considered for the challenge. Submissions discovered after the deadline due to omission of subject line will be discarded.
6. Include your name and a brief bio. If you do not include your bio, it will not be included with your work, if accepted. Even if you have already written for The Ekphrastic Review or submitted other works and your bio is "on file" you must include it in your challenge submission. Do not send it after acceptance or later; it will not be added to your poem. We are sorry about these technicalities, but have found that following up, requesting, adding, and changing later takes too much time and is very confusing.
7. Deadline is November 16, 2018.
8. Please do not send revisions, corrections, or changes to your poetry or your biography after the fact. If it's not ready yet, hang on to it until it is.
9. Selected submissions will be published together, with the prompt, one week after the deadline.
10. Rinse and repeat with upcoming ekphrastic writing challenges!
The Ekphrastic Review is pleased to present a special student showcase of ekphrastic writing!
Teacher Sarah Malesh says, "This class of students is from C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air, Maryland. This course offers young students from tenth to twelfth grade a chance to learn about different genres of writing as well as potential careers and publication opportunities for these writings. During our poetry unit, students evaluated artwork of their choosing and created a poetic interpretation of this work. These interpretations are shown throughout this showcase."
The Woman before me
The Woman with the long dark cloak.
The Woman with the story written on
Her hands folded in her lap, showing
confidence, despite her growing age.
Draping over her shoulders, is a cloak.
But it’s a strange cloak, it doesn’t cover
her features, but enhances
It brings out the fierceness in her
eyes. The pain and agony she’s faced.
The shimmer of light that brings out
The mysterious shadow, that makes
her seem like she’s trying to get you
to figure her out.
But also, the love her eyes show.
The love she gave, and the love she
Her mouth curved in a slight smile,
that can be mistaken for a smirk.
Her eyebrows slightly tilted to tease
me with her confidence.
Her cheekbones, high enough for her
head to be tilted to be looking directly
She embodies herself. Laying enough
of her story out of the table, to make
you want to learn more.
About this Woman in front of me.
the dancers fell,
they broke their toes,
the scenery collapsed,
but even as the curtain tore,
The Audience stood, and clapped.
In a world so vast
Full of exploration
This place is yours
The grass, the sand, the buildings, the trees
Made amongst our own
The world can take you to fetching places
The world can take you to ghastly places
But either way this world
So claim it and make it yours
The Death of Marat for the Umpteenth Time
Are those to consider
The end of an era
Another in the deaths of Marat?
A man lay dead here
And yet I stand here
To show self to me as what you’ve done
For you left me to be as what I’ve become
I did as I am to be
For what I am to do matters not
As without you I am only as good as I am dead,
I’ll be taken before it's off with my head.
I am already naked and bare
I’ll be there watching
Laughing as you're washing
The unladen blood
Off from your revolutionary hands.
As I look at the detail the blacksmith put into the forging of that piece of metal into the shape of a sword with every swing of his hammer and to be precise to make sure to get the metal to bend and form the way he wants it to. Making sure that he doesn’t forge the blade too thin so that the blade will not shatter into a million pieces with every clash. When the shaping of the blade is done, he takes a chisel to it making the deep grooves in the blade going around and round the blade.
I’m standing here with the wind blowing on my cheeks.
The leaves on the trees rustling as the wind blows harder
I’m standing here watching the mountain reflect off the water.
The fish dancing away as I skip a rock
I’m standing here listing to the peaceful sound of nature
The calm lullaby making me relaxed
I’m standing here wishing I could share the moment with my friends
The beautiful sight giving me goosebumps the more I look at it
I’m standing here releasing how gorgeous this earth is not touched by man kind
I used to think in red and blue
Now orange and green are all I see
With dashes of pink and cold grey detail
Off white blocks placed as if my mind was bought at retail.
Preached until the opposing is only few.
Labelling me with a single colour, but is it not clear that my being is an amalgam of colours.
If at all possible, attempt to understand the deep navy river that is my stream of thought.
Notice my unique value as my shades of grey ever so smoothly transition.
I change, I am complex, simplicity is not my definition.
As if repetition of the same colour is the only way you may understand me.
All Along the Watchtower
You watch us as we dance
As your fate is decided by chance.
You think that you can win
So you raise the bet and go all in.
You’ve just sealed your fate
The chips are at their limit.
You still think you've won.
You hear a gunshot.
You feel your hip.
It was a direct hit.
Your body falls on to your cold blood.
In your last moments you realized we distracted you.
All Along the Watchtower is your blood.
Our silly little dance was predicting your future.
You’d be dead after the shuffle.
The secret was our dance disguised the shuffle.
THICK HAIR GROWS ABOVE MY LIPS AND BETWEEN MY EYES
I AM A WOMAN
I DRAW THE ATTENTION OF ANIMALS
THEIR EYES PEER INTO MY SOUL AND I KNOW
WE ARE ONE
THEY SAY I'M FOOLISH FOR SPENDING ALL MY TIME IN THE FOREST
AND I SHOULD BE OUT LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND
BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN
BUT I REFUSE TO BE HELD DOWN BY ANYTHING BUT MOTHER NATURE HERSELF
I AM NOT IDEAL
THICK HAIR GROWS ABOVE MY LIPS AND BETWEEN MY EYES
I AM A WOMAN
Mount Wellmington - Kangaroo Point
I've been on this land since I was born
I grew up with a huge family
They helped me hunt
Hunting was so exhilarating
The feel of the fish when it touches my hand
The way the arrow shoots off into the trees
Hitting through brushes to the animal
The wonderful feeling of the sun rays hitting my back
While I carry the prize animal on my shoulder
Smiling cause, I did something great
The long uncut grass grazes across my legs
As I'm walking to the fire
The warm rays of burning flames
The ashes shifting through the air
As we approach, the tribe witnesses my find
They start to celebrate
Jumping up and down waving their arms in the air
We feast on the animal
All the flavor going through our bodies give us joy
As days pass by we notice changes
White people start to arrive to our lands
They call themselves soldiers
They start to build homes
Ships of people arrive
More and more things get crowded into our beautiful open lands
We were fine until they came to our side
With weapons in hand they told us to move
That this was their land and we were no longer needed
We didn’t want to leave
They were wrong to move us
What did we do?
Now I'm in another area
But I will always remember my home land
Cause it was the land to which I am from
And they stole it
So, I hope that they are happy
Living in a place I called my own
Worried about getting to work,
Worried about how you’re going to pay the bills,
Worried about how you’ll be able to get over this depression and act like you’re all right,
Worried about finding the right one and getting married,
Worried about making him happy so he doesn’t mention the word divorce,
Worried about what the doctor will say when you go to your next appointment,
Worried about taking care of your family,
And scared to think about what will happen if you can’t take care of your own children one day,
So much of it that you lost yourself.
You let yourself go because you’re so caught up in stress,
It swallowed you completely.
It’s sad that people let themselves get to that point,
If you’re in constant stress I want you to stop and ask yourself,
Can your inner child come out and play?
It was a beautiful night
The brilliant crescent moon casted her glow onto the calm ocean waters
The sky was dotted with millions of magnificent little stars
I could see the flicker of candles from many open windows
The soft breeze catching the light silk curtains, causing them to dance...
It was a shame I had to carry out my job on this evening
I drifted downward from where the stars shone so brightly
I floated towards one of the only houses in sight without candle light
The open window granted me entrance into the dark, cool room
There in the corner was a child, on a small bed fit for her size
My feet touched the soft but chill wooden floors and I watched over her
A cat who so silently slept, suddenly perked his ears
He lifted his gentle, small head and opened his eyes to stare
He stared with an unfazed gaze, and went back to his nighttime nap
The bedroom door opened, a woman peered in with a gentle gaze
A gaze that met mine then looked away to see the child
The woman planted a kiss on the child’s forehead and left
I then took the sleeping child gently into my arms
I could hear her soft breathing, it broke my heart to take her away
I slipped from the window and slowly took off toward the sky
As we hovered over the village I couldn’t help but smile
This exchange was sad but beautiful
But what a wonderful job it is to be a guardian angel
Never Trust the Living
A faint scent of lavender fills the air,
The sound of a video game and reloading guns filled my ear drums.
The air had been silenced of any voices for a good moment,
His chocolate brown eyes focused onto the screen.
I faced his back starred at the white lettering.
Never Trust the Living,
The room slowly fell more silent as the sound of his game being finished.
I wrapped my short arms around his dense chest
Allowing the massive amount of body heat to consume my every touch.
A soft hand fell upon mine as I shoved my face farther into him.
A sweet deep chuckle left his dark lips.
The words of "You Dork” left my blush pink lips as I was suddenly met with his face.
His soft lips soon meet mine.
The Mind of Annabel Gray
Beyond the isles of conscious thought
Is Annabel Gray
With the ability to poise herself so clearly
Her thoughts unknown to the undivine
Shakes my mortal being.
Her gaze electric with pre-processed fire
For precious moments to burn the bridge
Like a crouched beast
She waits for her moment
An evenhanded alignment
Quiet as my god
Is Annabel Gray
The Starry Shades
Soft silver gleam upon old aging Wood,
Upon old natural carved posts it Stood,
The light once grey refracted as royal Blue,
As if Starry Night was based off this image Drew,
Surrounded by the morning Dew.
The tree once black as night stood warped and Black,
An ashen colour upon their mirrors Plaque.
A carving sat unaging within the Planks,
An eternal scripture and title of Name,
A sample of which never to be found Blank,
Lest it falls to time's immortal Game.
Dark Dragon Boy
Dark Dragon Boy
eyes glistening upon the sky
Swirling and flying along in Avalon
Free as ever was
Knowing the world finally set you free
To your actual form
White dragon boy
With eyes as yellow as the midnight harvest moon
The scales telling a story
For many lifetimes to learn
Soar high white dragon boy
As your feet transform back to talons
May you release the fangs
And rip yourself from death's claws
Dark dragon boy fly high
And let those brilliant scales
Glisten your form on all
Who love you
Saying to them your melody of roars
Dark dragon boy
Your life take by another
But your mind always yours
As the symphony you sing transforms
It's sings the song of relief
Flying free from denoted titles
Of the human vessel
To form into the roars of who you are
Dark Dragon Boy
Soar high in the night
And roar your symphonies loud across the land
The man in the clouds
Ponders away with his own thoughts
Thoughts of love, fear, dreams, and nightmares
He continues to think
In a world with millions of people
He thinks alone
Back against the world
Head down to the ground
Alone in a sky full of thoughts
The only question that now wonders his thoughts
Is why is he still alone
The man in the clouds
The Danger of a Wish
The clouds swarm above my head.
Dark and heavy, ready to rain
Still I run, never stopping, never slowing.
Through the woods into the dark
I pick the path where the most dandelions lay
Kicking and stomping on them
The woods cave in
And only then do I fall
Tumbling down like little Alice
Just as I struggle to get up
The dark clouds rumble like a battle cry
Then the rain, not the soft droplets but stinging rain a thousand needles in my skin,
falling for heaven.
Looking up, there’s one perfect dandelion
Staring at me, judging me for the dreams I let go.
Blood washes away from my slit knee and my trembling lip.
The rain runs down my cheek, wiping it away.
I reach for the dandelion snapping the stem, separating it from the ground.
I hold it watching as if it has all the secrets in the world.
Deciding whether I should crush it like my dreams or make a wish.
I made a wish and as all the seeds blow away I watch all my dreams fly away left
with only the hope of a wish to come true.
Editor's Note: The Klimt painting shown is a placeholder. Christine Wolf's poem was inspired by Body Language 2, by Romanian artist Dorina Costras. As we were unable to get permission to show the image, please visit artist site at www. dorinacostras.com/paintings/ and scroll down to see the work.
The Top Hat Man
The light shimmered off the crimson,
coating my palms.
The sticky substance was still warm.
In each ripple of the puddle now
accumulating around him,
were memories of the final moments.
Pain enveloped my skull.
And I screamed.
The path to fresh air was slippery.
The salty air stung my eyes first.
Followed by the alarming of gulls.
And the unmistakable smell of already rotting
Watchmen could not see me.
The endangered could not hear me.
Perilous was the path before me.
Vocal chords were ripped
like the body.
Sweat dripped off my brow,
like the tears that had stained his cheeks.
My hands soaked in the evidence.
I resembled the one in the top hat.
Who hobbled away,
Down the crowded streets.
Forever the concealed culprit,
of the promenade tragedy.
We were just walking
Like we did every day
Then out of nowhere it sprang out
I was so scared and lost control
Of course, my master did not notice
He was too busy singing
He noticed that I was spooked
But could not imagine what would happen next
He was flung from my bridle and could not get back up
He lost full control of me, his trustworthy horse
But he did not know the fear in me
He held on for his life, but I was so spoked that I was not paying attention to him at all
He fell and then out of blindness I stomped on my master
Again, and again until there was no movement
Once I realized that I was stomping on my master I stopped
For I feared that he was dead but luckily, he was alive
People say that horses are dumb but that was all out of pure terror not out of spite.
Tempest Ariah Akins
Pain From Pleasure
As I sit here, looking out over this land, the walls that divide the two halves of my brain finally break, rushing every thought from either side in to all forbidden places, just as the clear edges of these city buildings blur in to the maze of jagged rocks lining the ancient mountains that cradle them with a perfect stillness.
It appears from here, as if no one but me lives here. As if I could ever discover such an exaggerated serene place on my own.
Or is it serene? My mind began to speak back at me.
But of course, can you not see the seldom shattering in the smooth mist blanketing the water? Do you not pay attention to the divine silhouette of this impossible mass of land? Why will you not look at this world the way I want to? The way everyone else wants to?
If you believe you should only view this tide as beautiful, you are a disgrace to everything that the balance of life holds, I say to myself. Look closer, you can always see that horrid city you are here to abandon, you know it is there, so why do you ignore it?
I prefer to watch it as if there are no problems haunting me there.
Of course, you do, look at yourself, too human for your own good, I say. Then again, you still think of human as a description for the good of your existence.
What am I saying? Of course, it is! I am part of man, and as such I survive for the peak of my own survival!
You as a man, strives for what is convenient! You as a man, strives for what is comfortable for the now! You justify your eradication of this world with gracefulness in your methods of survival! You as man disgrace the means to be called alive!
No, no you’re wrong, stop.
You squish them under your feet with pride, but you are locust yourself, at the start of your cosmic feast!
You can not bury these truths, they are a part of you. There are bad things in this world, why won't you embrace them?
I won’t listen to you anymore.
You can not truly experience pleasure until you’ve felt the touch of pain! You can not truly feel the touch of pain until you have sat contently among pleasure!
NO! You’re wrong! Wrong I say!
If I’m am truly wrong, then ask yourself why you have come to this hillside? You’ve convinced yourself that you are here to escape from your life in that horrid city, but I know the truth! You came here to escape from the shadows lining those cliffs, hanging over you, swallowing you, as you ignorantly accept it.
I-I am here to, escape? But what of my family and friends, and their families?
They will die wallowing in the darkness, blissfully looking only for the light.
I must go back then, right? Because I know how to help them. I know how to save them, right?
And for that moment, I had forgotten I was alone with my thoughts. My very, aware, thoughts. Willing to suffer, in exchange to know.
Editor's Note: Billy Rayboen's poem was written in response to the painting Viewing the Tide, by Chinese artist Yang Yongliang (2008.) We were unable to find permission to show the image and used a placeholder artwork instead. We invite you to view the original prompt for the poem by clicking here.
My legs grew tired as we walked down the endless dirt path
My father looking at me with a smile
Knowing what’s to come
He held my hand as I looked ahead
I heard people laughing
The sound of water splashing
As we took our final steps on the dirt path
I looked down at my feet
My feet and toes digging into the soft sand
Surrounding the beautiful water’s edge
My father keeps his gentle grip
On my small delicate hand
As he beckons me over to a small boat
He lifts me up as I let out a small giggle
Taking a seat obediently as I watch him get in as well
The cold water hitting the side of our small boat
Some even splashing onto me
My father grabs onto each of the oars
Pulling them back before pushing them forward
Pushing us out in the deep crystal water
The cold wind was blowing through my hair
While singing in my ears
My father stayed quiet with a soft smile on his face
As he rowed the boat down the river
As we entered the thick fog, I questioned him
But he did not answer
He kept his smile
After a few moments passed the fog was lifting
My father pulled the oars into the boat
Letting the beautiful water splash around in the boat
He pointed up to his right
I followed the way his hand moved with my eyes
Looking up to where he pointed
And all at once I felt my heart beat get faster
Before me was a large gorgeous mountain
Standing tall and old
Knowing so many secrets
I turned to my father with a large smile
Telling him with my excited and lovable voice
One day father
I'll climb that mountain
Capturing her beauty in all its glory, am I capable?
For she is so captivating like a rose, perfect from day one, infatuated with beautiful I am,
In her leisure for she is still so beautiful with intellect and emotions,
pleasing pure aesthetic, I want to love,
So deeply in complete admiration she has made me,
so deeply in desire to love and care for her,
Beauty beyond description, your warm brown eyes dazzle in the golden hour,
your skin glows a heavenly bright,
and I beg of you if this is a
sweet dream for please
don’t wake me up.
my favorite colour.
in the spot where it all began.
where we had our first kiss.
the butterflies trapped in my stomach.
i thought we were perfect…
the weight on top of aching shoulders.
where we had our last fight.
in the spot where it all ended.
my favourite colour.
Editor's Note: This poem was written in response to Blue Blanket, by Catherine Murphy (USA, 1990.) The painting is not in the public domain so we used a placeholder image, but invite you to view the work that inspired Kaitlyn Valenza's poem, by clicking here.
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