Figure 8 Revolution
With the right pen you find your voice and the notion of what’s love can be drawn in the sand with a stick. Your song moves me across the dunes at night and I draw a figure 8 in the sand before the fire. In time poetry takes place and watching the sunrise over coffee becomes a poem going up the side of the day. The 8 in the sand is still traceable for now. An ant crawls across the stick. Encounters another. They bow to each other in greeting. We smile in the golden light, good morning.
Guy Biederman is the author of Translated From The Original, one-inch punch fiction (Nomadic Press), Nova Nights poetry (Nomadic Press), Edible Grace, lyrical micro prose (KYSO Flash)) and three other collections of short work. A former peace corps volunteer (Guatemala ’81-’82), gardener, publisher, and creative writing instructor, Guy lives on a houseboat in Sausalito California, hosts floating word jams, and walks the planks daily.
Creeps along a dark drooping tail
unto its green beady eyes-
behind my silhouette.
In wake for the veils to flutter,
gently wave rhythm of colours
onto the white georgette-
pink, yellow, orange
from far end of darkness.
Little patches of red
are shared by the dancing girls,
golden tiaras and long necklaces.
On a cold night open to sky,
crouched memories spring to music,
roses warm among the dead
pretending to be life.
Abha Das Sarma
An engineer and management consultant by profession, Abha Das Sarma enjoys writing. Besides having a blog of over 200 poems (http://dassarmafamily.blogspot.com), her poems have appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Spillwords, Verse-Virtual, Visual Verse, Sparks of Calliope, Trouvaille Review, Silver Birch Press, Blue Heron Review, here and elsewhere. Having spent her growing up years in small towns of northern India, she currently lives in Bengaluru.
The Garden of Beautiful Things
The artists, saying: which
unexplains-- that unknowingly so--
bound simply by where the mirror
takes it. And this,
In a grumble office,
tread cloth that might emulate
For sigh, testimony, more truths--
though none would claim
the religiosity needed.
Yet needed, lands vivid and ripe,
long alp and straddled flume,
laid out to the
people vibrant, naked only in
in their disproof of angst and
Robert is a college student hoping to take his pen along the way.
Homage to Nina Simone
Goddam, miss a hippy & your shot will go all the way to Baltimore where the sinnerman sits in his colourful stew, cradling the Bill of Rights, whose brother, the Bill of Wrongs, with his golden hair the true length of their love, has left for the north of Europe where they paint with their souls, staining canvasses in history’s hues, black blood mixed in the toothy bite of little girl blue standing in the pink, left lonely in the Rue Rabelais where the devil sits sniggering in his Citroen, strange fruit hanging from his twisted mouth, white lipped & lusting after the long armed angels back in Philadelphia, you gotta sing for your supper in Atlantic City to be canonised the patron saint of rebellion, the German Shepherds are howling in Carnegie Hall, Baching at the colour of your skin, the sergeant stashes the cash beneath the bleeding fountains in the yard, climb, climb the piano & hang from the lilac tree screaming for your people, your purpose, your peace of mind, birds flying high, past all disappointment singing their show tune for all the ladies in the country of lies, lie down, take your medication & turn off the television, all the babies are cared for before they are born & your mothers keep whispering their prayers in the back of the police car, the handcuffs no hindrance to their rosary wringing, learn how to hide those tears, they’re no good for watering this pale land, if you wanna live in the palace its yessir yessir yessir, the raindrops will fall & it’s nobody’s fault but yours
Simon Parker is a London based writer, performer and teacher. His work been published in The Ekphrastic Review and has been performed at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio, Hackney Empire Studio, The Place, Somerset House, Half Moon Theatre, Southbank Centre, the Totally Thames Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Simon is an associate artist of Vocal Point Theatre, a theatre company dedicated to telling stories from those not often heard, and providing workshops for the marginalised. He runs creative writing and reading groups for the homeless, socially excluded and vulnerable. If you want to know more go to https://www.simonparkerwriter.com
These burning skies overhead
draped in the scattering light of motley bubbles
shadow a nimble jamboree
of voices youthful and ripe
rejoicing nearby the murmuring creek
frolicking in the leafy shades
their nakedness laid bare in a verdant meadow
carefree about the world
shading that which hides their flaws
revealing the naiveté of their childish nature
vulnerability in its purest form
unmasked, for all to see
awaiting the sun’s setting melody
flushed in the colours of fall
of crimson, amber and gold
the mellow notes of guitar strings
an undulating motion of their leisurely breaths
evoking soothing contemplation
about an indelible moment such as this
impenitent in its distinctive nature
reminding me of life’s transience
as I hope to pencil in my legacy
parietal art for posterity
Like so many before me
Andrea Damic born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She’s an amateur photographer and author of prose and poetry. She writes at night when everyone is asleep; when she lacks words to express herself, she uses photography to speak for her. She spends many an hour fiddling around with her website https://damicandrea.wordpress.com/
If I Were Nina Simone, This is What I Might Say
Call me Eunice, for Nina is a lie. My father’s name is Divine, my
mother’s Mary. Even so, and to my mother’s great disappointment, I was
not the second coming. Just young, gifted, and Black. But by God, I
could play the piano. The singing was just something I needed to do to
earn a living. Funny, most people think of me as a singer, if they think
of me at all.
I hid who I was from my mother and my father, playing the devil’s music
and living the devil’s life. I mean, I dwelt in Greenwich village – what
did they expect? I even married Satan, though he looked like somebody
else. Someone in a uniform. I suppose I hoped for order, but it just
made things worse. Others followed. Some I loved, some I cursed; none
helped me any more than he did.
When I sing, I become Bach and Blue, for that is the tone of sadness. I
spit bullets, I seduce. My songs are like my life, all over the place. I
sing in search of a country, a new country. But in the end, I have no
home. Do I succumb to the blues? Sometimes. Sometimes. That’s a truth. I
sing sweet, I sing raging, and then I refuse to sing at all. How can I
not turn blue with sadness, blue with anger, with all the colours that
Wayne Garry Fife
Wayne Garry Fife is an anthropologist and writer who lives in St. John’s on the island of Newfoundland in Canada. He writes micro fiction, flash fiction, short stories, memoir, novels, and non-fiction. His latest book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, is entitled Imaginary Worlds (Invitation to an Argument).
To Match the World on Fire
Red bodies chained to match the world on fire,
predating our scorching
summer. The origin of life,
the in between.
There is no amount of blue that may quell our haze,
no amount of green that may bring us back
To an original lie,
to life, I
meant to lie by a rock,
scalding our backs.
To lie by the banks of the river
of fire, to lie.
The three ages of Man replace the clouds,
my eyes stray, strain
itchy from the smoke around me.
Air Quality Index 7,
my lungs wished to be those
trees. Alveoli refuse
to expand, even
the guitar burns.
Luciana Erregue-Sacchi is an Argentinian-Canadian art historian, poet, translator, editor, and award winning publisher (Laberinto Press) from amiskwaciwâskahikan (Treaty Six). Her creative-non-fiction has been longlisted for the Susan Crean Award. Her work has been published in Polyglot Magazine, Humber Literary Review (Canada), The Selkie (UK), Agni Magazine (US), and others. Luciana is a Banff Centre Literary Arts Alumni, 2019 Edmonton Arts Council Artist in Residence, and the WGA’s Horizons Writers Circle coordinator. Her debut chapbook titled Of Mothers and Madonnas(April 2023 through The Polyglot. Luciana loves walking everywhere, especially the Edmonton River Valley with her family and friends.
“Summertime and the livin' is easy”
bob painted his figures in all the colours
for those who only saw Black & White
knew eyes needed to really see
magic figures, simple, symbols
popping from the page
more real than life
moving, flowing in 3-d
a fantasy of equality
bob played his melodies
mixing oils on the palette
figures lithe as blue notes
scatting across his canvas
nina always the centre
chanteuse adding her Goddam
songs calling for change
soul and sass and bad-ass rage
I put a spell on you
To be Young, Gifted and Black
(nina and bob both knew)
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
Today is a killer
Don't let me be misunderstood
Ain’t Got No Life
Let it be me
The Desperate Ones
(and she meant every word of it)
Note: the second half is a found poem using selected titles (with annotations) from “Nina Simone’s 20 greatest songs – ranked!" Alexis Petridis in The Guardian, 20 July 2023
Emily Tee writes poetry and flash fiction. She's had pieces published in The Ekphrastic Review Challenges, Aurum Review and elsewhere online, and in print in some publications by Dreich and other places. She lives in the UK.
Homage to Nina Simone
We had danced with abandon
all through the night as though
a spell had been cast on us.
We were feelin’ good
as streaks of morning
colored the sky and we collapsed,
exhausted and settled on the grass
to enjoy our dejeuner sur l’herbe,
a picnic someone had brought.
And while we ate, we listened
to the woman with the guitar
singing the blues.
Gretchen won the Poetry Society of America's Bright Lights/Big Verse competition and was projected on the Jumbotron while reading her winning poem in Times Square. One of her poems was choreographed and performed by dance companies in Palm Beach and San Francisco, and others appear in datebooks published in Chicago by Woman Made Gallery. Her poetry has been published in journals including The Chattahoochee Review, Inkwell, Pudding Magazine, Upstreet, Canada’s lichen, and online at Poetry Southeast, SeaStories, and prairiehome.publicradio. Her poems are also included in anthologies including Sincerely Elvis, You Are Here: New York Streets in Poetry, Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge: Poems About Marriage and Capital BookFest’s Family Pictures, Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones. Gretchen has led writing workshops for Florida Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. Her chapbooks, That Severed Cord and The Scent of Oranges, were published by Finishing Line Press.
Suzanne In the Morning
She didn’t even plan to sing
the Devil’s music
for the crowd
that gathered round
To hear her
Her perfect pace
an instrument tuned
To honey silk
In the morning
Like Nina Simone
High Priestess of soul
of equal rights
You can listen today
and it’s just the same
Jessi Waugh lives at the Carolina coast with her husband and two boys. Her background is in science and education; her interests run all over the place. Jessi teaches yoga and writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is having pieces published in Main Street Rag Literary Magazine, Sasee Magazine, moonShine review, and Last Stanza Poetry Jounral this year, among others. Find her online at www.reader-writer.com.
Electric colours rendered flat
beneath the melding pastel sky;
this young black, deconstructing art
that’s old white for a hipper age,
whose story, back, excluded hues.
Thus dusky, husky sultry stage
of bacchanal where lute is changed
to strumming, groovy moody blues,
of flesh, skin, simple idyl nudes,
in Nina’s brew, sway. sinew swing.
His riffing, shifting of techniques:
they happened, all as Ginsberg primed,
but barriers broken, abled vice,
as burst, twist, stick, spill over, out
to souls, mouths, eyes unscene before.
‘It’s just a feeling’ - homage thing,
‘you can describe’, but tell it, no.
‘But when it happens’, then ‘you know’
so ‘that’s what I by freedom, mean’;
the Simone sermon, sane to see.
He died as fast as he had lived,
visceral pleasures, pains conjoined.
To live in flesh so die there too;
he’s disappointed, not surprised,
no longer here; as he, so we.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including The Ekphrastic Review. His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com
fell over the people
did not know they were
the same, unclothed
music made them
sway and dance
under the sky
a spell made them
one – music, earth
a life celebration
feeling good –
people, all colours
dawn of a new day
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson has written poetry for most of her life, from memories, nature and prompts, having discovered Ekphrastic Poems, she was hooked! Her poetry appears in over 65 journals including Lothlorien, Misfit, Girl God and The Ekphrastic Review. She has served on two poetry boards and as guest editor on several journals. Her degree in Behavioral Science allows an interesting look into the nature of people.
Black is the colour of my true love’s hair,
he’s my brown eyed handsome man
and I’m falling in love again (can’t help it).
He’s funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter
and it might as well be spring,
blue in green, I’ve got a crush on you.
Lush life in sentimental mood,
oh blackbird, light my fire, let it be me,
won’t you dream a little dream of me?
Turn turn turn my cotton-eyed Joe,
give me lilac wine, fine and mellow.
Brown baby, you go to my head.
My funny valentine, you’d be so nice
to come home to, why not take my hand,
precious lord? Be my husband.
Wild is the wind, but here comes the sun,
I’m your little girl blue and I’m feeling good,
I’m falling in love again (can’t help it).
Helen loves trying her hand at the prompts on The Ekphrastic Review. She also enjoys Nina Simone’s songs. She has poems published on various sites and magazines and currently lives in Durham, England. Instagram @chemchemi.hf
on the needles
on the snow
(with a nod to Abel Meeropol's haunting lyrics)
Donna-Lee Smith had the privilege to teach writing courses in First Nations and Inuit communities during her 25-year tenure with McGill University. Her students' laughter and innate story-telling gifts made every session pure pleasure. She learned more about life from her students than they ever learned about writing from her (she often told them this and they laughingly agreed!) Tragically, heartrendingly, inconceivably, there are over 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) across Canada.
To Bob Thompson Regarding Homage to Nina Simone
Your vibrant colours sing the praise
of melancholy and malaise
as tapestry of sea and shore
becoming vivid metaphor --
the shards of shattered dream embraced
as window stained that courage graced
with disadvantaged discontent
unbowed, unwilling to relent,
and persevering to profess
defiance of undue duress,
clinging to unrest as gleam
that glistened as her self-esteem
in music letting jazz infuse
Bach and gospel, soul, and blues.
Old man. Ekphrastic fan.
Prefers to craft with sole intent...
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Ekphrastic joy comes not from praise
for words but from returning gaze
far more aware of fortune art
becomes to eyes that fathom heart.
At last! Re-dressed! Re-dreamed!
Why it took them so long
to leave Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe
and realize how ridiculously they were mocked
behind those cravats, jackets and old verbal rag
against her dazzling nude rebellious act?
At last, they changed their minds,
and redressed, I mean – undressed,
in accordance to her vanguard stance,
their long-imprisoned bodies raising red
with anger for being so rudely misaligned
with her exposed spellbinding vibe.
No more. Here they come in matching demeanor
happy to correct their interactive miss-manner,
yet, instantly dashing all hopes,
arriving at a splitting point:
just as Manet couldn’t stop their chat,
so Thompson couldn’t control their argument:
- It must be to the left - one pointed.
- No, to the right - another objected.
Red fingers firing a quest
in a-la-Matisse dense color forest
for the best setting of the new rebel muse,
towering over her as over a threaten nest,
missing to realize that resonance
was not a matter of spatial precision,
but of her whisky-soaked vibrato expansion.
Pointers heat up until the brawl
brims out of Thompson’s hand,
and tumbles in Poussin’s Bacchanalia scene,
where, as by the artist’s memoir, they mingle
with other rebels and soak some tips
for cool interactive skills.
From Thompson’s modern brush
via Manet’s avant guarde twists,
to Poussin’s notorious classics,
reflecting color revolutionary Matisse,
and bouncing back in style, is, indeed,
Salon de Refuses’ grand tour
with solemn soul-and-blues allure.
At this point her deep timbre
intones the soul’s love of the single note,
and her sun-soaked bold bearings
start slowly departing from Manet’s
polished porcelain daring.
Then she sits – yes, she is plain grounded,
but on the opposite side of the canvas
to keep in check the other’s syncopations,
setting an audience inducing entanglement,
while the sunny mass of her voice rolls
the rhythm of the embodied blues
until it emancipates her body language
from her counterpart’s strain phrasing
reaching a guttural arch with a deep ecstatic urge.
Her liberal musings come across the viewer’s wonderings
igniting a flash behind the scene, where it seems
she had seen the light of her dream, hence -
the melting source of her swinging resolve,
outshining the porcelain anticipation stronghold.
Her spirited vibrato raises a stout jazz turnaround,
replacing chords works a turn of phrase:
her inflamed fulfillment pitch
over the other’s chilled expectation launch.
(The two ends of a genitive change.)
By that time, behind the scene, the fiery fighters
are on their knees before the altar of her voice
in the soul of souls, breathing and praying
each single note as a resolve
to each of their piled trials and tribulations –
in and out of: hard days, nights, streets, centuries,
boundaries, back of busses and audiences –
fiery soul and blues outbursts, live,
piled in the timbre of her sun-soaked
Ekaterina Dukas, MA, has studied and taught linguistics and culture at Universities of Sofia, Delhi and London and authored a book on mediaeval art for the British Library. She writes poetry as a pilgrimage to the meaning and her poems have featured repeatedly in the The Ekphrastic Review and its challenges. Her collection of poems Ekphrasticon is published by Europa Edizioni, 2021.
All on That Day (for Nina Simone)
Oh, sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Sinnerman where you gonna run to?
Where you gonna run to?
All on that day
--traditional, African American
unlimited this landscape as it echoes oh and oh again--
the essences naked, footsteps spiral bleeding
red earth footsteps voices naked with dancing
fire levitating the sinnerman entangled with the river
river overflowing fire through the body of the sinnerman
filled with the who and the what and the nowhere to go
nowhere to go at all but to the devil waiting within
the sum of all the opposites patched together
from the opposing forces of toolate prayers that add up
to nothing but please please please begging for mercy
crying please and begging from the threshold
of confession riding the currents of reluctant regret
keep digging deeper past regret beyond confession
beyond words beyond silence beyond hope
beyond the unforgiving past of actions speaking too loud
running through the labyrinthine lies filled with excuses
excuses you have integrated into the stories you left
hanging in the fragments of the wild wind
the fragmented words that drown inside the whirlwind
that is the power, the Power of Creation
the power that questions every foolish footstep
every hunger fulfilled with endless useless desires
hunger that ought to be filled instead with prayer echoing
oh into being--a landscape all the colours of amen
A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on her blogs, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/.
A VIEW OF HEAVEN, GODDAMN
"EVERYBODY" sang Nina
"knows about MISSISSIPPI, GODDAMN"
everybody knew the suppression of black folks voting
the murder of CIVIL RIGHTS WORKERS
for registering people for a basic HUMAN RIGHT
EVERYBODY, EVERYBODY knew;
who knew about this world of people
EVERYBODY with skin so hauntingly bright
REDS and BLUE a YELLOW woman
kids with BLUE hair and some WHITE folks too;
a world void of shadows, skin color so EQUAL,
the sky is evolved into opaque swirls
never seen this side of HEAVEN
where lolling in the ORANGE grass
listening to guitar, without FEAR
means KNOWING, EACH and EVERYONE what it is
TO BE FREE, and NINA'S surrogate PURPLE body
hair piled AFRICAN GODDESS high
comes prancing in to observe
this KINGLY DREAM, while FUTURITY it may well be,
she's put a SPELL on
Daniel Brown has just published at age 72 his first collection FAMILY PORTRAITS IN VERSE and Other Illustrated Poems published by Epigraph Books. He has most recently been published in Jerry Jazz Musician and Chronogram Magazine and has been included in Arts Mid-Hudson gallery presentation Poets Respond To Art in Poughkeepsie, NY.