Dear Frederick, From Your Friend James: Found Poem
(from the artist’s actual letter, in his own words)
I can’t thank you
for the name
as a title for my moonlights.
You have no idea
what an irritation it proves
to the critics, and
the consequent pleasure to me.
Besides, it really is so
charming, and does so poetically
say all I want to say,
and no more.
Lorette C. Luzajic
Lorette C. Luzajic is an artist and writer. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
All night long they heard in the houses beside the shore,
Heard, or seemed to hear, through the multitudinous roar,
Out of the hell of the rapids as 'twere a lost soul's cries,--
Heard and could not believe; and the morning mocked their eyes,
Showing, where wildest and fiercest the waters leaped up and ran
Raving round him and past, the visage of a man
Clinging, or seeming to cling, to the trunk of a tree that, caught
Fast in the rocks below, scarce out of the surges raught.
Was it a life, could it be, to yon slender hope that clung?
Shrill, above all the tumult the answering terror rung.
--William Dean Howells, "Avery"
Nothing else I could do. It’s my profession after all. Photographing Niagara Falls. Its
views. Its visitors. And selling the resulting daguerreotypes. Quite successfully. Because
I’m a damn good daguerreotypist. Ask anyone around here. And I’m on duty every day,
365 days a year. This day, July 16, 1853, I was waiting for tourists along the American
Channel rapids when I saw three men struggling to maneuver their row boat to shore.
They had been working on the big dredging scow anchored in the river. Their oars were
broken. Or lost. I turned my lens toward them just as the boat capsized and I saw two
bodies cartwheeling over the edge of the American Falls too fast for me to capture them
in my camera. There was no sign of the third man — turned out to be a local fellow
named Samuel Avery — until he leapt up like a fucking phoenix and sat astride a log
cantilevered in a rocky shoal in the middle of the river. The rapids were way too loud for
him to hear my hallo, so I waved at him with both arms, but he was likely too afraid to let
go of the log to answer. He was riding the river like a scared girl on a runaway stallion,
but luckily he kept still enough for me to create an historic photograph. Took an even
longer time till someone thought to hitch a lifeboat to the Bath Island Bridge and send the
boat down toward the man. Avery caught and climbed into the boat, but before I could refocus,
the rapids turned the lifeboat upside down, and Avery, thrown back into the river,
met his fate just as his friends had hours before. Nothing else I could do. I returned to my
hotel where I processed the plate and encased a dozen of the images for sale at my Point
View stand. They sold well. They still do.
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. Snakes and Angels, a collection of his adaptations of classic Indonesian folk tales, won the 2009 Cervena Barva Press fiction chapbook contest; No Bones to Carry, a volume of his poetry, earned the 2007 New Sins Press Editors' Choice
Award. Penha edits TheNewVerseNews, an online journal of current-events poetry. @JamesPenha
"Getting around." Luminous-Lint. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
"Niagara River - Life & Death on the River: Accidents & Rescues." 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
"Platt D. Babbitt (Getty Museum)." The J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
Weld, Charles Richard. A Vacation Tour in the United States and Canada. London: Longman, Brown,
Green, and Longmans, 1855. Print.
Two 19th century girls seated between
barrel and basket, the older’s small posed hands,
ethereal as her complexion,
near-lost in the sleeves of the boating
The younger one balanced
a blue-brimmed hat, a small garden
of flowers for trim. Aslant--
the girls’ eyes turn in opposite directions.
Beyond the terrace, the flow
of the Seine. The ruminative face
of the girl in blue or the dovelike blue eyes
of the one in white dress.
I’m hooked. Is it the saturated colour
of bittersweet red, the skeins of yarn
in the basket? The detail of the sash
trailing in the sweep
between elbow and waist?
Bodies that did not seem to touch.
Posed like my childhood
black-and-whites. My sister and I.
In spring dresses, ankle socks, patent leather
Mary Janes. We were artists’ models,
arms locked at our sides. Sisters.
Doing what we were told.
These days our eyes, lives, angle
in opposite directions.
Our words nettle.
Gail Goepfert is a poet, amateur photographer, and teacher. Currently, she is an associate editor of RHINO Poetry and teaches online English courses for Rasmussen College. Her first chapbook, A Mind on Pain, was released by Finishing Line Press in early in 2015. Recent publications include Blue Lyra, Crab Orchard and Jet Fuel Reviews, Florida English, Examined Life Journal, and Room Magazine. Her photographs appear online at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Olentangy Review, 3Elements Review and on the cover of February 2015 Rattle. She lives, writes, and snaps photos in the Chicagoland area. More about her photography and poetry at gailgoepfert.com.
words are just things. like all other things in my work. bits and pieces and marks and implications and juxtapositions and shades and lines and thoughts. they are found and refound and rewound. they come in from all angles. through the airwaves from easy listening lyrics like so many splendoured things. from random papers and pages and letters lying on my table and floor and hiding in the middle of fifty-three year old books. misplaced titles and labels, fragmented formulas, forgotten sentiments, nonsense narratives, rearranged adjectives, verbs, and plural nouns. lists and more lists. recontexturalized things. things that were originally never meant to be together. collage. meaningless. meaning-full.
Simon Says: This is Not a Game
All I heard was shouting
And whips against bare skin
Their orders: March!
No one cried,
Tears becoming icicles
In the dead of winter
Walking on decayed soil
Beneath my feet.
Daddy called it a game
Just follow orders
Like Simon Says
But Simon never stroked my back
With the blood
Of my sister.
The wind choked
My fragile spirit
Pressing with tepid bitterness
Against the back of my throat
A tease of warmth
Away from destruction
So little still standing.
If they did not
kill us first.
Mirissa D. Price
The doctor said she would live in a nursing home, confined to a wheelchair, crippled by pain; that was thirteen years ago. Instead, Mirissa D. Price is a 2019 DMD candidate at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, spreading pain-free smiles, writing through her nights, and, once again, walking through her days. Follow Mirissa's writing at http://mirissaprice.wordpress.com.
Color Keyboard Eye Hammer
Matthew Hittinger is the author of The Erotic Postulate (2014) and Skin Shift (2012) both from Sibling Rivalry Press, and the chapbook Pear Slip (2007), winner of the Spire Press Chapbook Award. He received his MFA from the University of Michigan where he won a Hopwood Award. His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, has been adapted into art songs, and in 2012 Poets & Writers Magazine named him a Debut Poet on their 8th annual list. Matthew lives and works in New York City.
The Ekphrastic Review
Find a writer, artist, or poem, etc. by searching here: