Tinker Bell Gone Bad
God made me from Miley Cyrus’ rib,
deemed me wee, winged…wicked. Lush,
my pixie-dust gets all the lost boys high.
They fly like puppies, a frisky litter
of fits and starts. Pheromones waft down
from their loosey-goosey formations,
pollinate my woods with mortality and funk.
I am pink, punk, pouting, naked
as a wrecking ball, nary a fuck to give.
But then Pete leaves and I descend
into the real anguish of imaginary beings:
Our Lady of the Butterflies, shepherdess
of cherubim, my throne a toadstool,
my ponytail flick the prick that once drew blood.
I am tiny, but my heart, my heart is titanic,
a sunken ship. I breaststroke its broken
chambers, drink deep of its seething, its bitter
pirate wine. Fairylight, effervescent,
my floodgates unhinged, I let fly with belch
and giggle, a twisted husk of sob.
So my yearning’s become my armor, it’s true,
but now who will protect the world from me?
Wendy - the thief - is beyond my reach,
my ken, so I murder Disney Princesses
with a glance, feed them to the ticking
that talks in my noggin, sing Crocodile Rock
as I pick my teeth with their bones. Oh Petey,
my pixie dust, it got you high and now
you’re never coming down. But still I stare
at the sky between my leaves, still I sing
those old-timey lyrics, so maybe you will find
me in your dreams: Second star to the right,
my love, straight on ‘til morning.
This duo in a larger collaboration between writer Brent Terry and artist Lorette C. Luzajic is a kind of reverse ekphrasis: Lorette created the collage-painting to respond to the poem. It is from a larger series slowly underway of poems inspired by her mixed media paintings, and paintings inspired by Brent's poems.
Brent Terry’s poems, stories, plays, essays and reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines. He is the author of the poetry collections yesnomaybe, Wicked, Excellently, and the recently released Troubadour Logic,as well as a novel, The Body Electric. Among the honours he has garnered are a fellowship from the Connecticut Arts and Tourism Board and the 2017 Connecticut Poetry Prize, as well as nominations for Best of the Net and Bettering American Poetry. Terry has worked with writers of all ages and abilities, and currently teaches creative writing and literature at Eastern Connecticut State University. He lives in and runs the trails around Willimantic, CT.
Lorette C. Luzajic is an award-winning artist whose collage paintings have been collected in over 25 countries. She is also the author of Pretty Time Machine: ekphrastic prose poems, and editor of The Ekphrastic Review. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
Editor's note: As many of you know, the 12x12" square is my signature in collage paintings. I also make very large works, but love working this size with analogue found paper sources like magazines and newspapers. I have an ongoing series called The Writing on the Wall that features writers. I have done Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Adrian Mole, Nabakov, etc. These two feature Joy Harjo and Amanda Gorman and are still available. Thanks for looking! Lorette (questions, email me at email@example.com)
The Canals of Mars
Percival Lowell mapped
the canalis of Mars,
gave the features he saw
a noble purpose:
to funnel polar ice melt
to a parched and dying planet.
And those straight lines--
more Klee than Miró--
evinced a civilization
at peace: no enemy borders
to bypass, shortest-distance
salvation for all.
Now we see Lowell’s
hypothesis of hope
as the failing of flawed optics:
the coursing canals
he spent his life mapping,
defending, were but
the life-giving blood vessels
of his own inner eye,
reflected in a glass pupil
starved of light,
fed to a brain
thirsting for grace.
B. Fulton Jennes
The Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, Connecticut, B. Fulton Jennes serves as poet-in-residence for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her poems have or will appear in The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Night Heron Barks, Connecticut River Journal, ArtAscent, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Naugatuck River Journal, Frost Meadow Review, and other publications, and her poem “Lessons of a Cruel Tide” was awarded first place in the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition in the rhyming poetry category. Jennes’s chapbook, Blinded Birds, will be published by Finishing Line Press in the fall of 2021. She lives in the wooded ridges of a small Connecticut town.
No fisherman, he,
though his boat glides below a fishbone moon
suspended in the east behind him,
thin moon that stains a moss-still sea:
soft as silence,
silver as serenity.
Where the bow meets the salted dock
he has come to the place of his slavery
among a barbarous, knotted people:
to cast moon-shadows deep
into the waters of baptism;
to lift instead the lamp of grace, of peace--
so to illumine their hearts.
Murmurous, they descend
the tumbling cliff: twisted, rough
as trunks and earthen roots of trees,
with glances over turned shoulders,
blades whetted at the ready:
to confront a man who comes
with hands empty of all but prayer,
though with a longing for their souls;
one who stands in the shadow
of crucified and hanging sails
who is lit by a radiance brighter
than the fullest moon, the sea, or any star,
ignited with a passion fiercer
than their weapons
or the clamour of their war-mongering;
bearing truth more salt,
more sharp, than dagger blades.
A published novelist between 1984 and 1996 in North America, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden (pen-name Elizabeth Gibson), Lizzie Ballagher now writes poetry rather than fiction. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including South-East Walker Magazine, Far East, Nitrogen House, The Ekphrastic Review, Nine Muses, and Poetry Space.
Day washes over my mother’s house.
When I open my eyes, light will stutter
into the room, pockmark the wall
with promises. For now, though, there’s just
the world tattooed under my lids,
its fluid hieroglyphs offering
work, walk, sun-dappled street,
talk on the bus, shop windows, men
and women, jacaranda pouring silky
petals on the paving stones. Life’s not great
but it can be good. In a momentary lapse,
as if carried away by its own diorama
of everyday grace, it even calls forth
my father, restless behind the wheel again,
dapper in clothes long donated
and stirring my phone up to hurry.
Laura Chalar was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. She is a lawyer and writer whose most recent poetry collection, Unlearning, was published by Coal City Press in 2018. Her short story collection The Guardian Angel of Lawyers was published by Roundabout Press in 2018.
Soutine’s Still Life with Rayfish
He started with Chardin’s The Ray, losing
the cat, startled guilty-fierce by someone
we’ll never see who caught it pussy-footing
among the shucked oysters. That leaves nothing
animate in Soutine’s painting: a wing, a wedge
of dead fish spilling its guts, a bottle shaped
like a woman’s butt, a creepy-crawly face
formed by the ray’s nostrils and mouth. All flesh
is meat, Soutine reminds us, essentially
impermanent, offal and incarnadine
jumble of vegetables alike. He held
no truck with Chardin’s measured, mellow-murky
palette, reworking his own ferocious pigments
to snare the world’s furious, fluid turbulence.
Aaron Fischer worked for 30+ years as a print and online editor in technology publishing and public policy. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in After Happy Hour, Briar Cliff Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Five Points, Hamilton Stone Review, Hudson Review, Nervous Ghost, Sow’s Ear, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Black Stars of Blood: The Weegee Poems, was published in 2018. He has been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes and won the 2020 Prime Number magazine poetry contest.
On Edward Hopper’s Cape Cod Morning and Morning Sun
I’ve been taught to think of myself as lonely. Inherited the lesson, like a house, that oh so American assumption: to hold loneliness close. To keep loneliness precious. As if there was something about the vastness of this place, this American land, that was meant to make us feel all alone. Maybe the lesson is of solitude, of humility, of that ineffable feeling of being one pine among the barren. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s less about my incredible smallness than it is about the wanting, the desperate wanting, the looking at the window for the company that never quite comes. Me, a woman, sitting pretty in her pink dress, watching another sunset as if it were the same as dawn.
Sarah Haas: "I’m a writer and critic living off-grid in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. My recent work has been published in Lit Hub, Longreads, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, among others."
Click here or on image above for the new challenge prompt!
Old, Young, Red, White.
Our mother, our sister, sat by the sea.
First it was you, then it was me.
Sons, like a string of pearls,
Devoured by the waves.
My mother now departed
Sits with me by the shore.
She cannot breathe,
But whispers me stories
Of the great unknown.
As he descends into the deep,
The mariner imagines: his mother,
His wife, back on the shore, sitting.
How long will she wait, before
Remarrying - the butcher's son.
The day decays into twilight.
Red tint of my despair
In the sky, on my dress:
He will never come back.
How the sea witnesses
The passing of my years:
Me, a red-hearted youth,
Willing to compromise
Myself with men.
Me, twenty years later,
Having entered the whiteness
Of life already spent.
Old, young, red, white,
Days of glory, days of grief -
The sea remains unchanged.
Lorelei Bacht is a European writer living in Asia with her family. When she is not carrying little children around or trying to develop their appreciation for modern art, she can be found in the garden, befriending orb weavers and millipedes. She once edited and published poetry, under a different name. Her current work can be found and/or is forthcoming in Open Door Poetry Magazine, Visitant, The Wondrous Real and Quail Bell. She can also be found on Instagram: @lorelei.bacht.writer
crewmen stand eternal
in a blue-collar
lives rigged on concrete
steel platforms, the drilling
rig was rigged too by
argued money, money sealed
the fallen crewmen
—steel on stone
figures welded from
doubloon-steel discs, the sculptor
shapes the sculpture as wind
look out not in—
their eternal gaze calls outward
in one uniform
good men bore under
a bad star, drilled the source
rock, spilled under the
tall on Elysian Fields
Ave. before being
moved to another
Elysian Field, they rest west
of St. Rose, you
hidden for a more
private view, out of public sight
stand in a blue-collar
circle—no matter where
you stand, they are
crewmen—no matter where
you look, they are
This poem is from Eamon's collection, Dolphin Ghosts, poetry inspired by the work of Jason Kimes, and the Deepwater Horizon disaster eleven years ago. Click here to view or purchase book.
Eamon O’Caoineachan is a poet, originally from Co. Donegal, Ireland, but living in Houston, Texas. His work is published in Prometheus Dreaming, The Ekphrastic Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Madness Muse Press, Vita Brevis Press and the University of St. Thomas's literary magazines, Thoroughfare and Laurels. He is the recipient of The Robert Lee Frost-Vince D’Amico Poetry Award and the Rev. Edward A. Lee Endowed Scholarship in English at the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He has his Master in Liberal Arts in English and his first poetry collection, Dolphin Ghosts was published in Spring 2021.
The Ekphrastic Review
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